House of 1000 Corpses
“I don’t like chicken! And I hate clowns!”
If there was ever a modern equivalent of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 cult film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, it would be Rob Zombie‘s 2003 cult film, House of 1000 Corpses. The film focuses on a gang of kids who are held hostage by a sadistic backwoods family on Halloween.
The film features an impressive cast: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, Karen Black, Chris Hardwick, Rainn Wilson, Tom Towles, and Walter Goggins. Many of the character names in Zombie’s film were taken from Groucho Marx characters (Animal Crackers‘ “Captain Spaulding,” A Night at the Opera‘s “Otis B. Driftwood,” Duck Soup‘s “Rufus T. Firefly,” and A Day at the Races‘ “Hugo Z. Hackenbush”). House of the 1000 Corpses is an underrated modern horror flick that captures the spirit of its ’70s roots and becomes the cinematic equivalent to a House of Horrors dark ride – demented, twisted, and gorgeously gory.
House of 1000 Corpses: Blu-ray | DVD | Instant Video
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
“She’s to die for.”
A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane (Amber Heard), a good girl who became super hot over the summer, to a weekend party at a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of kids at the party mysteriously decreases.
Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was originally completed in 2006 and premiered at a number of film festivals including Toronto Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Festival, and London FrightFest Film Festival. After seven years of collecting dust, the film was finally acquired by The Weinstein Company and given a video on demand release last month. It is schedule for a limited release October 6, 2013, under Weinstein’s subsidiary label Dimension Films.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: Blu-ray | DVD | Instant Video
“Please don’t scream, you’re so beautiful.”
Psycho meets Drive in Maniac, Franck Khalfoun‘s remake of William Lustig’s 1980 horror film of the same name. In this art-house slasher flick, Frank Zito (Elijah Wood) is a lonely schizophrenic who spends his nights prowling the streets of Los Angeles, stalking and murdering young women.
When he isn’t painstakingly restoring vintage mannequins, Frank is a professional serial killer. He scalps women and takes their scalps and clothing back to his dimly-lit abode, where he decorates his life-sized dolls as fucked-up trophies.
In the spirit of films like Peeping Tom, Psycho, Halloween, and Friday the 13th, Maniac forces you to assume the perspective of the killer. Most of Khalfoun’s film is shot in first-person; Wood is glimpsed only briefly in reflections. You are trapped behind the killer’s eyes, watching Frank as he brutally murders his would-be girlfriends.
Maniac (2013): Blu-ray | DVD
The House of the Devil
“Talk on the Phone. Finish Your Homework. Watch TV. Die.”
“During the 1980s, over 70% of American adults believed in the existence of abusive Satanic cults. This film is based on true and unexplained events.”
Directed by Ti West (The Innkeepers), The House of the Devil stars Jocelin Donahue as college sophomore Samantha Hughes, who takes a babysitting job in the isolated mansion of the creepy Ulman family. Ignoring the warnings from her best friend (Greta Gerwig), Samantha has no idea that a nightmare of unspeakable horror and torment awaits her within these walls. At midnight, in the shadow of a full lunar eclipse, an ultimate evil will be unleashed upon the world.
Cult icons Tom Noonan (Manhunter), Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000), and Dee Wallace (The Hills Have Eyes) co-star in this acclaimed demonic thriller that servers as an unnerving return to the classic slow-burn horror films of the late ’70s and early ’80s.
The House of the Devil: Blu-ray | DVD | Instant Video
“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”
Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho is perhaps the most intriguing murder mystery captured on celluloid. A true psychological thriller, the film was loosely inspired by the crimes of Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein (whose cannibalistic ways also inspired Hannibal Lecter and Leatherface). While Norman Bates doesn’t make human skin lampshades or eat a census taker’s liver with fava beans and a nice chianti, he is a deeply disturbed individual that gave America a taste for the psychopathic.
As the grandfather (or grandmother?) of Slasher cinema, Norman Bates would lead the way for Leatherface, Michael Myers, and an entire roster of boogeymen to slay pretty girls on screen. Initially, the film focuses on Janet Leigh’s Marion and the $40,000 she embezzled – but this turns out to be a bait-and-switch when Marion is killed off suddenly, a random and meaningless murder that pushes Bates to the front of the story.
Psycho (1960): Blu-ray | DVD | Instant Video