15 posts categorized "Exploitation"

October 12, 2023

NEKROMANTIK 2 — SHOCKTOBER!

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Nekromantik 2.In the brainwash of modern ideologies it seems apropos that Jörg Buttgereit’s follow-up to his banned 1987 horror film “Nekromantik” would also be prohibited in his mother country of Germany, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, and a slew of other countries. After all, “Nekromantik 2” exploits the same taboo conceit as the original film, namely the erotic and romantic tension between an attractive girl and a corpse. As with the first movie, a real-life boyfriend just gets in the way.

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From a filmmaking standpoint Jörg Buttgereit’s potent stab at transgressive cinema is more in line with the early films of John Waters or David Cronenberg than with the litany of directors associated with torture porn movies of the “Saw” franchise ilk. It would be sad to say that by modern standards, the “Nekromantik” movies are tame by comparison; they are not. Jörg Buttgereit’s consciously low budget approach prods the viewer to question obvious aspects of the film’s production. You might take a believable corpse for granted in a big budget film, but be taken by surprise by the apparent authenticity of the dead body getting all of the attention here. Buttgereit’s convincing Grand Guignol trump card might be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works like a charm.

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The film’s title tells you what you need to know. Romance with the dead is a heavy burden in every way imaginable. Set in the downtrodden streets and apartments of East and West Berlin the story picks up with Rob, the abandoned boyfriend from the first film, committing suicide with a knife while achieving orgasm. Death and sex are united. Enter Monika; a fan of Rob’s former exploits with the dead, to dig up his decomposing green body for some quality time between the sheets. Still, Monika learns that necrophilia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Her attempted sex act with what’s left of Rob sends her running to the bathroom to vomit. She chops up the body, bags it up, and returns it to its grave, albeit with one set of naughty bits kept behind in the fridge as a souvenir, or l'objet de fetish if you will, or if you won't.

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A chance meeting at a local cinema delivers Monika into the loving arms of Mark, a voice-over talent for cheap porn movies. As romance seems to grow between the couple, so too does Monika’s recurrent desire to make it with a cadaver.

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It is one thing to show a Hollywood action hero killing an endless army of nameless people, but widely considered beyond the pale to show a character acting out carnal fantasies with a corpse. Sure it’s gross, but is it any worse or better than other popularized filmic expressions of murder or sexual expression? This is one of the essential ideological questions that Buttgereit wrestles with in an ambitious adult horror movie that is as much about the audiences that will never see it as it is about a commercialized culture of war.

German officials have come around to accepting the “Nekromantik” films as works of art, and have since renounced their ban.

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Not Rated. 104 mins. 

4 Stars THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULA Screen Shot 2023-10-12 at 12.35.39 PM THE BLOOD OF DRACULA THE BLOOD OF DRACULAColeSmithey.com

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I STAND ALONE — SHOCKTOBER!

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I Stand AloneDesolation of the human soul is the provocation for Gaspar Noé’s dead-end French antihero, a nameless, broke 50-something butcher (played by the commanding Philippe Nahon). Nahon’s insidiously repulsive narcissist carries all the marks of a card-carrying right-wing extremist. Self-loathing, racist, misogynistic, and shaking with pedophiliac desires, Noé’s existential everyman of moral depravity narrates his life story. It reads like a bad acid trip.    

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Growing up as an abandoned child during World War II leads to the adult butcher owning his own meat shop. His mute 13-year-old daughter appears with blood on her panties. Believing his daughter was raped, he chases the suspect with a knife, but accidentally stabs an innocent man. Several years in prison leave the butcher briefly ready to “reset the counter” on his life. It doesn’t take long for that fantasy to fade. The setting is France circa 1980. Our hateful man (with the metaphoric and literal occupation title that describes him) questions his morality while wandering Paris on the run after pummeling his pregnant girlfriend, thereby killing their baby. Noé’s dual-antagonist-protagonist earns no empathy from his audience.

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The Argentinian filmmaker uses simple but dynamic stylistic devices, such as a single gunshot sound effect, to emphasize sudden leaps in the butcher’s progressively offensive inner monologue of discontent and rage. Noé isn’t above using cheap gimmicks to toy with his audience, as when “ATTENTION” flashes across the screen before giving the audience “30 seconds to leave the screening of this film,” with only 20 minutes left. Rest assured any weak-kneed viewers would already have exited the cinema long before Noé’s tongue-in-cheek alert.

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I Stand Alone” (Gaspar Noé’s feature debut) is as much a philosophical denunciation of humanity as it is a thought-provoking treatise on mental illness as a socially communicable disease. The suicidal butcher’s cynical philosophy has flashes of clarity amid bouts of violent actions and bloody fantasies. Love may be the only remedy for the butcher’s nagging death wish but even that comes as a sick travesty.

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Not Rated. 81 mins.

4 StarsColeSmithey.com SHOCKTOBER!!!!!!Cozy Cole

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October 06, 2023

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST — SHOCKTOBER!

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

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ColeSmithey.comIn 1980, long before horror films like "The Blair Witch Project" or "Paranormal Activity" took up the "found-footage" trope, screenwriter Gianfranco Clerici and director Ruggero Deodato wrote the book on the subject with an exploitation horror film with a subtle name, "Cannibal Holocaust."

Deodato proved himself a master of guerrilla marketing by having his actors sign contracts agreeing not to appear in any type of media, to support rumors that "Cannibal Holocaust" was a snuff film for which the performers had actually perished.

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The filmmaker's ploy worked a little too well. Aside from grossing $2 million in the first 10 days of its release, the film was confiscated by Italian police in Milan. Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges, later amended to include an indictment for murder.

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Deodato avoided a life sentence after he proved the death sequences in the film were staged. Still, nothing could prevent censors in dozens of countries from banning the film outright. It took another three years before an edited version could be released in Italy. Years later the original uncut version was finally made available.

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The genus for the narrative grew out of a conversation Deodato had with his son about news coverage of the Red Brigades in Italy at the height of the leftist group's kidnappings and bank robberies. Deodato believed that some of the stories had been staged by media outlets to fulfill their agenda of editorial history-shaping.

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So it follows in the film that NYU professor Harold Monroe (Robert Kerman) is part of a rescue team that discovers reels of lost footage taken by a group of four New York journalists searching for cannibal tribes in the Amazon basin — also referred to in the film as the "Green Inferno." The ragtag group of hippie reporters consist of a director (Carl Gabriel Yorke), his girlfriend assistant (Francesca Ciardi), and two cameramen.

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The rescue team’s discovery of a bug-infested human corpse precedes the film's first onscreen killing of an animal — a coatimundi that serves as the team's first jungle meal. Over the course of the film Deodato revels in the brutal murders of seven animals, including a monkey, pig, and giant tortoise. The gruesome animal deaths inform the tortures and murders of people that occur so that the viewer is immersed in an atmosphere of gory jungle hell.

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The story frequently returns to New York, where researchers carry on a cheesy objectifying discussion of the found footage and what it says about contrasting morals between civilized and uncivilized societies. Indeed, every terrible act of sexual and violent transgression committed by the Amazon cannibal natives is matched by the "professional" journalists who similarly stage the murderous acts they collect on film.

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Apart from being a truly disturbing film, "Cannibal Holocaust" serves up a cold plate of scathing social commentary. That it does so with a self-reflexive end run that encompasses the whole narrative context is a stroke of genius. However insane that genius might be, it perfectly mirrors the horrors of the extermination of indigenous cultures.

Not Rated. 95 mins.

4 Stars“ColeSmithey.com” Screen Shot 2023-10-05 at 12.33.50 PMCozy Cole

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