Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beyond the Darkness: buio omega (1979)

In a dream, someone once told me that nostalgia is the mind’s inability to cope with change. 

The desire to make things the way they once were, when times were happier, can be overwhelming, but we must find comfort in believing that things can be better and that new warmer days will be on the horizon. Some find the ability to carry on by fondly remembering the past in the form of keepsakes and mementos, and accept the fact that there is nothing that can be done other than to move on with strength and a resolve for a better tomorrow, while others prefer to do things a bit differently. This is definitely the case for the loathsome and childish lead character in Joe D’Amato’s BUIO OMEGA. 

Orphaned Frank (Kieran Canter) is a taxidermist with a large inheritance who has just suffered the loss of the love of his life, Anna (Cinzia Monreale of THE BEYOND). Stricken by grief, Frank commits a highly objectionable act of exhuming his recently deceased girlfriend’s corpse before preserving and making a doll out of her in order to still be close to her, to still be able to talk to her, sleep with her, and express his never ending love while still being able to look into her eyes. And woe unto any who would interfere… 

Though it may seem out of place to some, the progressive rock soundtrack in this movie from GOBLIN is bitchin’ and gives me an impulse to air-bass-guitar. It lends to BUIO OMEGA a flavor that is less horror and more sleaze, violence, and rock ‘n’ roll. Nonetheless, horror mainstays are all here such as a giant mansion, a graveyard, gore, and a knife wielding PSYCHO-esque housekeeper (Norman Bates’ sister, perhaps?). Yet, it is not the music or the story of a young man’s yearning for his love so cruelly taken from him that causes BUIO OMEGA to be an astonishing achievement, but it is the way that D’amato pushes the boundaries of ‘nasty’ through the roof and way beyond anything that would already be considered unwholesome and just plain wrong, which causes BUIO OMEGA to really stand out and be forever remembered as one of the crazier and most screwed up forays into dementia that exploitation cinema has to offer. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Night of the Seagulls (1976)

The Templar zombies in the Blind Dead films are a good example of a simple idea that really hits the mark. They’ve been fondly remembered for decades by fans and still have an onscreen impact that is just as powerful today as it was in the 70s. Their iconic doom-laden theme music by Antón Garcia Abril enhances the believability of the creeping-death that is Amando De Ossorio’s blind dead. 

The opening to NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS of a woman being brutally sacrificed by the not-yet-undead Knights Templar is effective but not surprising to those already familiar with Ossorio’s films. During the sacrifice ritual while these evil men stand around observing the terrible act, I found myself shouting aloud “don’t you guys have anything better to do than torment, stab, and eat this poor young lady?!”. It truly is a disgusting scene that was still very well done. Afterwards, the poor mangled and severed body is left to the crabs in a chilling sequence that I primarily remember this film for. 

The shock and unpleasant feeling from the opening is shifted to a more melancholic vibe when the story transitions to present day while a mood setting synthesizer plays over the introduction of the two main characters, Dr. Henry Stein and his wife Joan Stein, played by Victor Petit and the always welcome Spanish horror regular Maria Kosty. The seaside village they’ve arrived at doesn’t feel like present day, in fact the film feels like an era piece, but Joan’s mall fashion wardrobe as well as the car they arrive in serves as a reminder that we are still in modern day Spain, just in a village that time forgot.