Years later, the woman returns to her childhood home. The place is stalked by an unseen figure, the classic Giallo villain with black leather gloves and a straight-razor.
The heroine is a lady detective. She is partnered with Liam Cunningham ( Game of Thrones ), a hard-drinking Irishman who is also a gun-toting Scotland Yard detective on assignment to the British Embassy.
The problem is that the film concentrates on the cops rather than the killings, so it is a police procedural rather than a slasher film. The result is slow and predictable - but it comes to life when the killer targets a couple of characters who are involved in the investigation.
It is only by looking at the credits that one can ascertain this was directed by Dario Argento , master of the Giallo genre. With the exception of one single camera-shot, this completely lacks Argento's impressive visual flair.
The title refers to a whip used by a serial killer. Blind investigator Karl Malden ( ) teams up with journalist James Franciscus ( Beneath the Planet of the Apes ) to find the killer.
The explanation for the killer's rampage is that he has a double-Y chromosome, which gives him a genetic pre-disposition to criminal behaviour. This film has that strange thing - a piece of movie science that actually rings true in real life!
A group of tweenage dancers meet up to practice in a disused warehouse. They spend the first half of the movie performing a series of dance routines - closer to break-dancing than ballet.
Around the mid-point, the tweenagers realise that someone has spiked the bowl of sangria that they have all been pouring drinks from. First the recriminations start, then the violence.
Finally in the third act the tweenagers start to mentally melt down. The camerawork becomes surreal, as does the lighting. Instead of characters and plot, there is nothing but spectacle.
Once upon a time, a newspaper columnist would receive hand-written hate-mail. Of course, she would not have had to read them herself. Instead her employer's mail-room would sort them, and administrative assistants would weed out the death threats and forward them to the police. Now, Boot scrolls obsessively through Twitter.com in order to find the people who are most offended by her words.
The police are fat and lazy, and cannot arrest people for the kind of schoolyard bullying that takes place on the Internet. When Boot's rage eventually takes over, she starts murdering anyone who criticised her. Not in the stylish manner of a classic black-gloved Giallo killer, but in a sloppy and amateurish manner. The sight of a small woman slaughtering much larger men is so over-the-top as to make this a clear parody of the genre.
Boot's daughter is an aspiring journalist who is on the editorial team of her High School newsletter. The school principal disgrees with her work, and decides to censor her. This leads on to a freedom of speech theme, where she has her mother write a speech refuting censorship. After all, it is only in Axis of Evil countries that a person might be killed for expressing their views. Except, as the movie illustrates, when it is a woman who cannot take consequences for her freedom.
The hallmarks are all there - the serial killer with black gloves who performs a series of stylish kills.
A young man from out of town is about to marry a local girl. The night before the wedding, while excavating the back yard, he discovers human remains. The next day, at the wedding reception, he starts to act unusually. At first he seems epileptic, but later on it seems as if he has become possessed.
Eastern Europe has a terrible history of anti-semitism, especially during the 1940s. The locals today could be excused for thinking that some things are best left buried.
The story starts like a Giallo, full of suspense. However, the music is all wrong for it. Instead of the classic tunes of Goblin we get a series of 1980s soft rock tunes that keep the pace moving at too fast a speed.
At night the characters go to an old cinema to the special screening of a movie-within-a-movie. A pity nobody in the production team remembered Cannibal Holocaust , an earlier Italian horror effort, because this was a prime opportunity to use the Found Footage genre.
The movie-within-a-movie is about some tweenagers who go to a graveyard and inadvertently dig up the tomb of Nostradamus. Unfortunately they then become infected - what these days would be called a Fast Zombie. And predictably, the audience also become afflicted with the same infection.
The third act is where it goes completely over the top. One of the infected managed to escape from the building. Within half an hour, this has caused a global zombie apocalypse. Luckily there are some survivalists around, with an American-style jeep (and an American-style collection of shotguns).
The characters use a wide variety of languages, but they are all telepathic and we are provided with subtitles so the dialogue is easy enough to follow.
This was shot in France, and is subtitled in English. It is gritty and realistic, up until the third act ...
Argo, a remote town in northern Spain, falls victim to a gypsy curse. A hundred years later, in the modern day, a young writer returns home from the big city. Unfortunately the local yokels still believe in the curse ...
Sad to say, this was actually done better in the similar American effort, The Watermen . Seriously, the American version (despite being low-budget crap) still had certain advantages such as decent cinematography (including impressive helicopter shots) and a halfway decent script. This Icelandic effort lacks anything redeeming, including likeable characters.
The killer targets brides on their wedding day. His motivation is Paranoia - yes, yet another medical term mis-represented by a slasher film. It would have been more straightforward to use his unhappy marriage as a motive. But despite the typical sloppiness, the film really takes off when the killer gets stalked by the ghost of his most recent victim. There are shades of Les Diaboliques as the killer's sanity takes a turn for the even worse.
This was directed by Dario Argento , and bears the usual hallmarks of his work. Garish lighting and an operatic soundtrack are foremost among them. While it is not technically a Giallo film, since the villain is a supernatural entity and not a human slasher, the presence of a black-gloved killer makes it the next best thing.
The problem is that the story seems to stagger from one set-piece to another. There is not really a central protagonist that we are meant to care about, merely a series of vulnerable persons (usually females) who are constantly put in jeopardy. And when some characters start to act in a suspicious manner, the unseen villains start to shorten the list of suspects by bumping off any rivals in villainy.
The blond-haired American protagonists, boyfriend and girlfriend, are seeing the sights on a remote Greek island. But he is a religious zealot and she is a sadistic nympho. They start killing off anyone who is sexually open-minded. The result is a lot of soft-core porn scenes.
Three years later, a couple of American tweenagers visit the town. They insist on going snowboarding on the cursed mountain. Everyone tries to talk them out of it, particularly the receptionist at their hotel. However, they insist on their transgression.
The girl snowboarder stays at the top to take some photos, while her boyfriend goes down ahead. But when she tries to follow him, there is no sign of him. Then she is menaced by a masked figure riding a ski-mobile.
So how does this compare to the average slasher movie? The cast is much smaller, with most focus on the Final Girl. However, it does not look cheap because of the drone footage which shows off the awesome scenery. The soundtrack includes a couple of versions of the title song, Let it snow ... a trope reminiscent of Jeepers Creepers . Finally, there is a twist ending of sorts - and a post-credits sequence.
A young woman is apprenticed to help a middle-aged nurse look after an elderly catatonic woman. The heroine and her idiot friends decide to break into the old woman's home and go looking for the treasure. After all, this plan worked so well in The People Under The Stairs , didn't it?
A serial killer starts to stalk the lead singer in an Opera company, and murders anyone who gets too close to her. The movie makes a few allusions to Phantom of the Opera . However, it adds a few original touches. For example, there is an amazing scene with a flock of trained ravens.
The players are typical movie victims, shouting loudly at each other when they know that they are being stalked by a heavily-armed murderer. Only one player takes it seriously - and he is portrayed negatively, because he is ready and willing to be the last one standing in order to survive.
This was shot in handheld, a cross between the shakey-cam of the Jason Bourne Series and the Found Footage of Blair Witch Project . However, it is neither of these things - the camerawork is simply amateurish.
A group of strangers meets up at the apartment. There is a conspiracy regarding a solar eclipse.
Our little heroine meets Scottish (!) scientist Donald Pleasance ( Halloween ), who by incredible coincidence is an advisor to the Police investigator. In another unlikely coincidence, he is an expert in insects ... And the girl has a superpower - she can talk to the insects!
This is one of Dario Argento 's biggest films, in terms of scope anyway. It is nearly forgotten, which is almost a pity - the supernatural aspect is ridiculous, but the film certainly has its moments.
The Police are baffled, so they stage a media cover-up. Unfortunately, a lady reporter starts nosing about. The only plan the cops have is to send Lynda Day George in undercover as a sexy Tennis Coach. At least this is realistic, because she is technically too old to pass for a co-ed.
The poor lighting, cheap SPFX and especially the blatant over-dubbing all mark this as a Euro-trash effort. Exteriors were shot in Boston, but the main work seems to have been done in Madrid. There are some inventive scenes, but this is overblown and unrealistic. The worst example is the final sequence, a reference to Carrie but taken to the extremes of Grand Guignol.
This is not a slasher thriller, it is more of a survival drama. The civilians turn on each other, becoming far more dangerous than the slasher. And in an impressive twist on the usual trope, when the cops turn up they make things worse instead of better!
She has to deal with sibling rivalry, an overbearing mother, and an uncontrollable hunger for raw meat. Worse, her taste for meat is specifically for human flesh. This leads on to some grotesque gore scenes.
The local Magistrate hires a Professor who has the basic fundamentals necessary for CSI work, but seems obsessed with now-discredited theories.
This was shot in Spain with a bilingual Spanish-speaking cast - but the film itself is in English! Werewolf transformations usually have a man change into a wolf - in a spectacular scene here it is the other way around!
This is a pretty weak effort, compared to the Director's other work. The mediocre dubbing into English is the least of its problems. It is based on a book, and that may be part of the problem. Like The Cardplayer it is a Police Procedural, concentrating on the cops instead of the killer. The star ( Asia Argento ) is too young, and her father ( Dario Argento ) directed it around her.
Firstly, the protagonist must transgress. In this case it happens when he is a thoughtless driver and tailgates another vehicle. It turns out that his victim is a professional exterminator with a van full of lethal equipment, who seemingly spends his time cruising around looking for provocation. Needless to say, the protagonist provides the killer with an excuse.
The second trope is the reactive protagonist. Even in something like Predator (1987) , the killer must have the upper hand at all times. Since the protagonist here is an average white-collar guy with no practical skills, and he is on the defensive because he has to protect his wife and kids, he is certainly not in a position to take active steps.
The next trope is isolation. Just like the hero of Duel (1972) , the characters spend most of their time in the car. The difference is that instead of being alone, this time the hero and his family get to bicker like the students in The Blair Witch Project (1999) .
Unfortunately, a black-gloved Giallo killer is killing attractive women in a fashion reminiscent of the protagonist's new novel, Tenebrae. The killer is obsessed with the novelist's work, and the police investigation centres around him.
This is one of Dario Argento 's early forays into International film-making, evidently aimed specifically at the American market. The climax has a few surprises, but all in all it is not nearly as good as his earlier efforts such as Deep Red .
This movie has a weird supernatural vibe, possibly because it was shot by a European director ( Jess Franco ) and contains a lot of soft-core nudity. The soundtrack makes it seem incredibly dated. It also stands out because it was shot in the exotic city of Istanbul.
It turns out that the passengers are all sinners, responsible for someone's death, and the reaper will take them to hell. Unfortunately this just means that they are even more unsympathetic. The only recognisable face among them is the Doctor (Noah Taylor - Powers ), who specialises in the unlikeable.
The token Japanese character manages to work out what is going on. Unfortunately he only speaks Japanese, so his ability to help the others is somewhat limited. However, this is a perfect example of the Magic Negro trope. He is the only ethnic minority character, and yet his spiritualism is the only effective tool against the monster.
The Final Girl is unrepentant about her crime. Will she show some actual character development?