Demons

NOCTURNA discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Nocturna Tim is a typical orphan, round-headed and curious about the night, but when an after-hours misstep lands him in the grip of a creature named Cat Shepherd he finds himself on a very unique adventure. His new friend becomes a guide of sort as he shares with Tim the world of Nocturna, the nighttime world the rest of us sleep through, and shows him the true faces and beings behind our tussled hair, late night noises, dew-covered trees and very dreams. It’s not all fun and games though as a dark shape is floating over the night threatening to steal the stars right out of the sky. This Spanish film is a 2007 release, but its US debut was worth the wait for fans of animated wonder and pure imagination. The story keeps one sleepy toe in the real world even as it reveals an original and beautifully-crafted one behind the curtain of the night, and the animation follows suit as the familiar gets an inventive and enticing make-over. It’s a gorgeous dream of a film with scenes of true beauty and inventive thrills, and it deserves to be seen by more eyeballs. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurette]

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Synapse

The ’80s marked the waning days of Italian cinema’s mastery over the genre film, but there were still quite a few gems released during the decade. Lucio Fulci (The Beyond, City of the Living Dead) and Dario Argento (Tenebre, Phenomena) each managed to direct some memorable titles, but overall the quality of the output was decreasing even as the quantity raced in the other direction. One of the most popular Italian horror films of the ’80s — Lamberto Bava’s Demons — embraced both Argento’s color schemes and Fulci’s gore addiction and combined them with an anything goes narrative and a rock and roll soundtrack. It was followed a year later by an underwhelming sequel, but even that film manages a few fun surprises. Synapse Films released both movies to Blu-ray last year in limited run steelbooks loaded with extras, but next week they’re putting out standalone Blu-rays for folks whose sole interest is the movies themselves. Both films received brand new HD transfers, color correction and additional work, and they look spectacular. I watched a double feature of both films last night — it was my fifth or so viewing of Demons and my first of the sequel.

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You read the headline correctly. The number of horror classics that could be remade outnumbers the number that shouldn’t be. I’ve bought into it. I’ve seen enough good examples of remakes done well to no longer balk at the announcement of a new one outright (and I’m sure 5 more will be green-lit by the time I’ve finished typ…okay 5 more just got green-lit…); and if early word on the new Evil Dead picture is to be believed then it’s just one more punctured notch into the human-skinned belt of worthwhile horror remakes. No horror picture is safe from being resuscitated and put back through a brand new shiny meat grinder. Sometimes we get unexpectedly tasty ground sirloin; and sometimes we get mildewy grotesqueness reminiscent of “The Stuff” (which could use a remake). Talented filmmakers will make a good picture while talented accountants will make money. Sometimes both can be satisfied, and that readily occurs in the production of a horror remake because they’re cheap to make, easy to sell, and fun to play around with. They’re the pancakes of the film industry. Almost any horror picture is capable of being remade well given the right kind of people with the right kind of attitude. While it feels like everything’s already been remade, there are still a few stragglers that haven’t. Here are 5 that shouldn’t and 10 where an update might not be so bad.

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When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: Today is Sally’s birthday, and she’s throwing a raging party. No, I’m not confused. Despite that setup and the similar-sounding titles, this is not Night of the Demons. Sally lives in a massive high-rise apartment building and while she throws tantrum after tantrum in front of her guests, many of the other residents are riveted by a film airing on television. It is the sequel to a horror film whose premiere was…memorable to say the least. But slowly it becomes apparent that an evil presence in the sequel is influencing the realities of the apartment-dwellers just as the one in its predecessor turned a theater full of regular folks into flesh-eating monsters.

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In a film that will eventually become The Rite Stuff when Friedberg and Seltzer spoof the exorcism subgenre poorly, Anthony Hopkins plays the elder Priest giving advice to the younger, doubt-filled one. This is nothing new, but the trailer has the nice sheen of interesting cinematography that makes it seem like the film might be worth that second look. In the effort of full disclosure, Sir Hopkins has cleansed my everlasting soul of a demon before. Don’t let that keep you from enjoying the trailer for The Rite:

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The opening and initial set up of Heartless is incredible. Sadly, it takes a wrong turn almost immediately afterward and slowly crawls its way deeper into a hole it can’t quite ever get out of. It’s not at all a terrible movie, but it’s the kind of movie that frustrates with how many good ideas it has that it’s unable to flesh out or capitalize on. Jim Sturgess delivers another empathetic performance as Jamie Morgan – a young man whose self-confidence is completely wracked by a heart-shaped birth mark covering the side of his face. He learns that there’s a gang of demons wandering through London creating chaos, makes a Faustian pact with a sideburned Satan, and lives to regret the decision.

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Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; running out of jokes since early this morning. Every week I wax geeky over my favorite movies that earn few to no marks for quality but never fail to please at least one insane fan: me.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

While Neil is off galavanting in Park City, Utah, stocking up on watching movies for the coming year at Sundance TwentyTen, Kevin is left alone in the Magical Studio in the Sky. To help keep him company is Fozzie Bare, stepping into Neil’s sizable shoes as guest host.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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