Friday, June 17, 2011

30 Day Horror Challenge Strikes Back Day 17: Character you would want to talk horror movies with.

I guess in this day and age, with ebay, torrents, and deluxe super ultra limited Criterion ultimate directors cut premium special edition 12 disc blu ray releases for every obscure flick you can think of (with a few notable exceptions), the concept of the “holy grail” movie has disappeared. There’s not a movie any more that it could take years to find a copy of. I’m not that old, I’m only 31, but I remember an era when hunting for rare movies took more than googling. Back in the day, I searched for a couple of years before I found an unrated copy of Return of the Living Dead 3. Until it was released on DVD last year by Shout Factory, who has been putting out some amazing stuff by the way, Galaxy of Terror was another one. The character I would want to talk horror with understands the “holy grail” movie, and takes it to a new level.

Cigarette Burns, directed by John Carpenter, was the best episode of Masters of Horror. That’s saying something too, because there were some really good episodes, primarily in season 1. It’s about a man named Kirby, played by Norman Reedus. Bellinger, played by the legendary Udo Kier, hires him to track down a rare film. This film, titled Le Fin Absolue du Monde (The Absolute End of the World) is cursed. It was shown publicly once, at a festival in 1971. Everyone who witnessed the film went violently insane, rioted, slaughtered each other, and the theater burst into flames. Everyone connected with the film in any way is either insane or dead. The flick holds a bizarre dark power. Bellinger explains to Kirby that he has over eight thousand films in his collection, including “the most extreme images created by some of the most obscure filmmakers from around the world,” but has never seen this film. It is his life’s dream and, since he is dying, he must see it before he kicks off. Bellinger offers Kirby two hundred thousand dollars to track down the film for him. You know I don’t like to give spoilers, so I’ll just say that Bellinger’s tale ends in one of the most poetically fitting ways it could for such an extreme cinefile.

That’s hardcore man! Two hundred grand for a movie? I balked at sixty bucks for Galaxy of Terror on ebay. Bellinger is definitely my kind of film nut. I would love to sit down with him and pick his brain. The guy has eight thousand movies in his collection. I thought mine was getting excessive, and I don’t even quite have two thousand. He also shares my fascination with extreme cinema. I love finding films that test the limits of what film can do, show, or mean. I can only imagine the stuff he could show me. What a wealth of knowledge he would be. He’s also not well, and if we hit it off, I might be able to weasel my way into getting that film collection in his will. After watching Cigarette Burns though…two severed thumbs up, Nathan says check it out, yada yada…I think I’d leave Le Fin Absolue du Monde alone. Eh, who the hell am I trying to kid? I wouldn’t be able to resist it either.


hawkdmh said...

I really liked that movie myself.

Cash Wampum said...

I remember really enjoying Cigarette Burns. The snuff segment was harsh and I wasn't expecting that at all!!

Carpenter really hit that episode out of the park. I've just recently seen his Season 2 episode called Pro Life with Ron Pearlman. Interesting but it didn't touch Burns.

I hear you on the pre-internet obscure movie hunting, Nate. Rare and typically graphic or disturbing titles were hard to come by in Canada. It was years before I could get my hands on I Spit on Your Grave. And in the end I needed it bootlegged by a mom and pop shop in the States that copied it for me for $20. They wouldn't sell it to me.

Cannibal Ferox was hard to find too until one day I went to a con in Novi and this guy handed it to me for free. I'm like, "BOING!!! For freeeee?!?!"

It took a LONG time to find an unrated Day of the Dead. All the R-rated cuts were missing, get this; TEN PERCENT OF THE FUCKING MOVIE!! And the editor wasn't even casual about it. The cuts were blatant and horrible. If I wanted to watch the true gore from that movie I had to throw in Scream Greats Vol. 1 Tom Savini; Master of Horror Effects.

But there was a fun feeling that I miss now, walking into a video store you've never been to and heading into the horror section with your fingers crossed, hoping you'd find a title that would just blow your mind.

The first time I saw Ilsa I caught Shewolf in the War Films section of Jumbo video. There she laid among films like Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Bridge on River Kwai. I had heard about Ilsa, I remember reading about her in my old Gorezone magazines so I picked it up and after the initial castration scene I knew I had picked a winner, LOL. I'm such a sick fuck ;)

Needless to say Canadian video distributors were Nazis for cutting excessive gore so anything Rated R was usually hacked to shit. You needed to find titles with obscure labels on them and no rating. Texas Chainsaw II unrated was hard to find until the end of the 90s. I don't think I've ever seen the unrated ROTLD 3. Phantasm III uncut was hard to find. The Burning Moon (or anything Olaf Ittenbach) was non-existent until the internet came along.

Notable titles that I stumbled upon in my youth that I didn't even know existed until I found them and rented 'em.....House by the Cemetery, Buio Omega (Beyond the Darkness), Gates of Hell, Nightmare in a Damaged Brain, The Evil, Superstition and scores more.

And to answer your question this blog I would want to talk horror movies with YOU Nate, since you seem to have a great love for the genre and have probably seen everything I have, if not more. Its hard to find someone in person who is as knowledgeable as I am in the subject. It'd be fun ;)

SonOfCelluloid said...

Wow, I'm honored man. You're right, I do have great love for the genre, and there's nothing I love more than talking horror. Hell, that's why I started the blog. You probably have the same problem as me, most of the time when you talk horror movies with someone, it ends up being a never ending string of "You haven't seen?"s and "You gotta see!"s. If I ever find myself in the great white north or you find yourself down Atlanta way, it's on.
Ilsa was in the war movie section? That's CLASSIC!
Question? Does Canada have their own movie rating board, or do they use the MPAA rating? I know some countries like England and Japan have their own censor boards, while a lot of foreign markets just go with whatever the accursed MPAA says. Wondering if a Canadian R is the same as an American R.

Cash Wampum said...

Our rating system was for the longest time very close to the American rating. There was one huge detrimental difference when I was growing up, however. Over here an R meant NO ONE under 18. You guys got to bring a guardian with you to let you in a rated R flick while underage. Over here there was no such thing. Either you were 18 or you weren't getting in. And this went with renting rated R flicks too (and since most of the videos were shipped from the states EVERYTHING was R on the shelves). The interesting loop hole with renting was, most of the baddies that were uber violent were unrated so without the R rating on the box cover, you could rent whatever the fuck you please. That was the only reprieve we got to get our hands on hardcore horror under the age of 18.

This is how little Cash Wampum got his hands on uncut Gates of Hell and House By The Cemetery back then.

Obviously, getting someone to rent something for you was easy but for new horror that was at the silver screen? Much different. At that time I noticed that almost EVERYTHING in the states was an R. Over here we had something in the middle of R and PG-13 called AA14 which had the same rules as R except the age limit was 14. So when I was 14 - 17 and a movie was coming out, I was on the fence for two reasons; I wanted it to be violent enough for an R rating but then I couldn't see it at the show. No parents were driving us young fans to the states for a horror movie they'd just assume not see themselves. That option was out.

But if it was AA14 then I knew the movie was tame and not as shocking. And it was a big lottery for us adolescent horror fans too. The newspaper would have the listings of movies coming out the next day and THATS when we would learn what the rating would be. Fangoria and other zines would have us rubbing our hands together for months, knowing these flicks would be out later in the year or even next year. But you didn't know until the day before whether you could see it right away or not. And spoilers sucked back then too. You waited at LEAST 6 months for VHS release. By then, every fucking cat was out of the bag.

Halloween 4 was AA but 5 and 6 were rated R

Nightmare 3 was R, 4 and 5 were AA14 and Freddy's dead was a big R. Freddy's dead came out when I was just shy of 18 and it was playing at a single screen cineplex odeon and the lady carding people was a huge Nazi so I had to wait to rent it.

Probably the best title that scared the hell out of me when I was 14-15 that got an AA14 so I could see it in the theatre was Exorcist III. An excellent film. I love it just as much as the original but for completely different reasons.

Chainsaw III was the only R movie that we almost saw in the states but my buddy's dad pulled the plug on that plan at the last moment.

Other titles I was able to see under 18 at the theatre was Child's Play, The First Power, Popcorn, Darkman, Army of Darkness, that ridiculous Dr. Giggles, Hellraiser III and a bunch more.

Nowadays things are MUCH different. We have an additional rating which is the same as your R and its called R18. So under 18 can see it with an adult. We still have the R thats completely restricted but the only movie I've seen in recent years to warrant such a harsh R is Hobo with a Shotgun. Thats right. It takes THAT level of mayhem to keep adolescence away from horror these days. I wish it was that way 20 years ago. But times change and nowadays they want everyone 13 - 17 buying tickets to as many movies as they can. The movie industry used to be mainly for adults. Now sadly, its made for the teenie boppers. But this WAS one teenie bopper that wanted adult horror entertainment back in the day.

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