ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – E – Errementari (2017)

Director: Park Urkijo Alijo

Writer: Park Urkijo Alijo, Asier Guerricaechebarria (Screenplay)

Starring: Kandido Uranga, Uma Bracaglia, Eneko Sagardoy, Ramon Agirre, Jose Ramon Argoitia, Josean Bengoetxea

 

Plot: An orphaned girl discovers that the reclusive Blacksmith is keeping a demon imprisoned in order to avoid paying his debt to the Devil.


Tagline – Not all tales always have a happy ending

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning Demon World

 

Story: Errementari starts when a group of soldiers were eliminated by the mysterious blacksmith Patxi (Uranga) who has a demon Sarteal (Sagardoy) help him in battles. Years later Alfredo (Agirre) comes to visit the local area on behalf of the government in search of the missing gold, where he learns the legend of the blacksmith.

When local orphaned girl Usue (Bracaglia) loses her doll in the Blacksmith’s garden, she must sneak in to retrieve it, here she learns about Patxi and the deal he made with the devil, one he isn’t paying, because he is keeping the demon trapped. To make things worse the whole village believes he is a monster and now they have come to rid the village of their monster.

 

Thoughts on Errementari

 

Characters – Patxi is the mythical blacksmith that is known for being deadly, he is a recluse keeping himself locked away from the world, when people try to enter his property, he will defend it. He has made a deal with the devil, on that he hasn’t repaid, he does only want the good for the locals. Usue is the orphaned girl living in the village, the is often bullied and isolated. She ends up learning about Patxi kind nature being the only one in the village that will see him in this light. Sartael is the demon that Patxi has held captive, he will perform tricks to get out, though his failure to take the soul has placed him in the bad books in hell itself. Alfredo is the government man that has arrived in the village, he wants the gold being held by Patxi after years of having it hidden away.

PerformancesKandido Uranga as the blacksmith does make for an imposing presence in the film which is needed for his character. Uma Bracaglia brings the innocence needed for her role in the film. Eneko Sagardoy makes the demon looks and act just as playful and evil as you would expect. Ramon Agirre fills the government role being a character you believe would be about greed.

StoryThe story does feel like a Spanish fairy tale, having a pact with the devil, a figure surrounded in mystery, an orphaned child and village that has been waiting to take out the so-called problem. This added together does make everything come together nicely to give us the darkly side to the fairy tale. We do get to see this style of fairy tale in other films like ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ which brings a young girl into a world she isn’t prepared for. You can see elements of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in how the blacksmith is treated and how he wants to be left alone in the world, while the idea of the pact never being complete adds to the complex side of the story.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy world we are entering is filled with demons in the real-world ready to take souls. The horror comes from how the blacksmith is portrayed to the villagers, the vision of hell and the traps around the house.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the small village and it surroundings including the remote house the blacksmith lives, the vision of hell is also a highlight because it makes the scenes felt relentless.

Special EffectsThe effects are used mostly for the demons and the vision of hell, they feel unique with this.


Scene of the Movie –
Pathway to hell.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic actions from the children in the village.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable fantasy horror that once again show the idea of Spanish fairy tales having a darker tone, it has strong visuals and a final sequence that will leave you wanting more.

 

Overall: Darkly enjoyable fairy tale.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Exorcist 2: The Heretic (1977)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: William Goodhart (Screenplay)

Starring: Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty

 

Plot: A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl’s exorcist.


Tagline – It’s four years later…what does she remember?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Substandard Sequel

 

Story: Exorcist 2: The Heretic starts as we meet Regan (Blair) a couple of years after the events of her exorcism, she doesn’t have any memories on those events and with the help of psychologist Dr Gene Tuskin (Fletcher) they look to rid her mind of any lingering dreams. This is until Father Philip Lamont (Burton) charged with investigating the exorcism which cost the lives of Father Merrin (von Sydow) and Father Karres arrives to see if Regan can help confirm what happened that fateful night.

Father Lamont must travel to Africa to learn the origin of the demon that is still inside Regan in any hopes of stopping before it takes over once again.

 

Thoughts on Exorcist 2: The Heretic

 

Characters – Regan is now little bit older and getting back on with a normal life, she is still seeing a psychologist to keep everything under control, when she starts to get questioned by the church about the exorcism things soon start coming back to her, this time she is in control about where her character goes. Father Philip Lamont is sent by the church to learn the truth about the original exorcism, what he learns sends him on a journey to Africa to hopefully learn the origin of the demon living in Regan. Dr Gene Tuskin is the psychologist helping sick children, one of which is Regan, she has bold ideas that could bring about new ideas to helping children open up. Father Merrin is involved in a few dream sequences, it is his death that is being investigated by Lamont.

PerformancesLinda Blair does return for this outing and doesn’t reach the levels of the first film, mostly because we don’t have to deal with many possession sequences until late in the film. Richard Burton is solid though we know how talent he is and this doesn’t show his full range. Louise Fletcher was struggling to capture her skills too and hen we look at the non-existent involvement from Max von Sydow we don’t get anything better than solid in the performance area.

StoryThe story does start on the right path, the idea that Regan could still be possessed is acceptable because we are still trying to balance the line between actual possession and mental health. Where things go terribly wrong for this story, is when we start looking at an ancient demon that is controlling Regan which has caused the events. The investigation into the origin only confuses and lessen the impact of the original film. it becomes an even bigger mess as thing unfold and we are left wondering just what the hell we are watching.

HorrorThe horror in the film doesn’t come through in any way, nothing involving any of the possesses even remote will scare the audience.

SettingsWe have a new setting, New York I feel, which is fine, but the problems here come from have a large part of the story in Africa investigating the origin over having any possession sequences which should scare us.

Special EffectsThe effects in film are weak even for the time, that locust will have people laughing.


Scene of the Movie –
The first syncing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of possession time.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the weakest sequels to a true classic I have ever seen, it has weak performances, a boring storyline and effects which haven’t dated in any acceptable way.

 

Overall: Just terrible.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Exorcist (1973)

Director: William Friedkin

Writer: William Peter Blatty (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, William O’Malley

 

Plot: When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.


Tagline – Now… Open your eyes to..

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Horror Classic

 

Story: The Exorcist starts as we meet Father Merrin (von Sydow) working overseas on an arachnological dig, uncovering something evil, Father Karras (Miller) is facing a question of faith after seeing the different effects passed over by the church and single mother Chris MacNeil (Burstyn) caring for her daughter Regan (Blair).

When Regan starts acting strange the doctors aim to look for a solution with test and even a psychologist, with them failing Chris turns to the church where Father Merrin and Father Karras look to exorcise the demon that has taken over her body.

 

 

Thoughts on The Exorcist

 

Characters – Chris MacNeil is an actress and single mother working on her new project when her daughter becomes sick, she is a concerned mother that wants answers getting ever more frustrated with the lack of results being found. Regan is the daughter is Chris, she is like any other young teenager that becomes possessed by a demon, first however she goes for medical procedures to see if it is medical before the priest come to help with the problem. Father Karras is the local priest and psychologist within the church, he can study Regan’s case with a scientific and a religious side and has been having a crisis of faith after his mother’s death. Father Merrin is the experienced priest that has been through exorcisms before he is the one that gets bought in to try and cure Regan, teaching Karras along the way.

PerformancesThis is a performance heavy movie, Ellen Burstyn is excellent in her role as the concerned mother, Linda Blair (with help from another actress) gives us one of the creepiest scary performances in horror history and the two different stages of their careers in the film performances from Max von Sydow and Jason Miller are a delight to see.

StoryThe story here shows us what is happening to a teenage girl once she becomes possessed by a demon, where this story is intelligent, is by going through the medical and mental issue which are known for being used first. Away from this and the slow build as things become even more shocking and terrifying as the film unfolds shows how story telling in horror isn’t all about jump scares, it can focus on the idea of possession becoming more powerful. The film creates the right characters for the film by giving each of our main characters enough time to develop to feel like they are going to be playing a major part in the movie too. This will become the level all horror story tellers will be looking to get close to.

HorrorThis is a horror movie that uses the slow build and horrific moments to shock us to our core as we see the procedure behind an exorcism and just how the demon can take control.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well because they put us in a location where it could happen in the middle of a big city, which only adds to the horror we are seeing.

Special EffectsThe effects that we go through are some of the best effects we will ever see in cinema for the time, practical all the way through the use of make up shows us just what could be achieved to create the horror.


Scene of the Movie –
The exorcism scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me So many different edits of it.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the classic horror movies that can be enjoyed in terror by anyone in the audience, at 45 years old it still stands the test of time.

 

Overall: True classic.

Rating

 

 

The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)

Director: Freddie Francis

Writer: Anthony Hinds (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Cushing, Kiwi Kingston, Peter Woodthorpe, Sandor Eles

 

Plot: Upon returning to his home village to continue his experimental research, the destitute Dr. Frankenstein revives his old creature, but a hypnotist wants the monster to control for himself.


Tagline – The monster bred from a dozen corpses.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hammer Horror 101

 

Story: The Evil of Frankenstein starts when Baron Frankenstein (Cushing) returns home with Hans (Eles) to create his next monster, he finds a carnival in town which makes it easier for him to get around and see what has changed in his time away from the village.

While in hiding from the locals that learn of his return, Baron discover the body of the original creature (Kingston) frozen, he takes it back to his castle to bring it back to life once again, turning to hypnotist Zoltan (Woodthorpe) to help command him, only he has his own ideas on what to use the creature for.

 

Thoughts on The Evil of Frankenstein

 

Characters – Baron Frankenstein is tired of his work being interrupted, he needs equipment which takes him home to use his old castle, he isn’t happy with how the village is operating now, but will continue his work even if the person he turns to for help only makes his life more difficult. Zoltan is the hypnotist that is being run out of the village, he gets recruited by Baron to help control the creature, he soon starts using his own motives to control the creature to eliminate the people that got in his way. Hans is the loyal partner of Baron who helps him through his experiments without questioning him. The Creature has been frozen for years and now it is free again to follow instruction not from Baron, but from Zoltan.

PerformancesPeter Cushing is the icon of Hammer Horror and this shows why, he can make himself the strongest member of nearly any cast, this is no different. Kiwi Kingston as the creature is an imposing presence on the camera, while Peter Woodthorpe shows strength as the hypnotist with his own agenda.

StoryThe story fits into the Hammer Horror style of film making, lets just keep making sequels to our strongest movies, this is the third of seven which shows that we still us events of the first films and try to build around it with what to do with the creature that is different from before and we get a nice enough spin on where to go. This time we focus more on the battle between Baron and Zoltan for control of the creation while it goes on to scary the people of the village. This doesn’t however give enough time to the creature which is one of the main drawing points.

HorrorThe horror in this film comes from the creature which shows us just how it terrified the local village, though it doesn’t feel as scary as it should be.

SettingsThe film returns to the main village setting which shows us just how the people will never forget what they once saw.


Scene of the Movie –
The creature attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough of the creature.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid sequel that showed us just how the hammer horror system worked, just cash in on the names that work well.

 

Overall: Hammer horror system working well.

Rating

 

 

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil & Vile (2019)

Director: Joe Berlinger

Writer: Michael Werwie (Screenplay) Elizabeth Kendall (Book)

Starring: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, Jeffrey Donovan, Haley Joel Osment, Angela Sarafyan

 

Plot: A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy, from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who refused to believe the truth about him for years.


Tagline – The Story Behind America’s Most Notorious Serial Killer

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastically Tense

 

Story: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starts as we see Liz (Collins) visiting Ted (Efron) in prison, this leads to her flashing back to how the two first met in Seattle, the two have continued to grow a family, in the shadow of the mysterious killings of young woman in and around the local states.

When Ted first gets arrested for jumping stop signs, it soon spirals into attempted kidnapping before Ted gets charged with the murder of the girls on the university compass, with escapes mounting charges, can Ted continue to convince Liz that he is innocent.

 

Thoughts on Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

 

Characters – Liz Kendall is the single mother that starts dating Ted, she loves how he accepts her child and is accepted by her child. She is never going to accept that Ted has committed the crimes he once did, she is blinded by the love and charm Ted offers her. Ted Bundy is the most notorious serial of the last century, he used he good looks and charms to trick his victims, though we never see this on camera, we follow Ted as he convinces Liz he isn’t the killer, while using his charm and intelligence to stay ahead of the court cases he is facing, this version of Ted is one that played to the media that got the following and people interested in the case about his life. Carole Anne Boone is the woman that starts following Ted through his trial, she is just like the rest of the women, who is easily seduced by his charm. Judge Edward D Cowart is the Judge in the Florida trial, he must deal with Ted taking the trial into a media circus while remaining neutral through the case.

PerformancesLily Collins is the woman that was in love with Ted, in her performance we get to see how she is dealing with the guilt of not knowing or wanting to know the truth about Ted. Zac Efron has just shown the world that he is a major player in the acting field, this is easily the strongest performance of his career that is filled with the charm his character requires and the disturbing look behind his eyes. John Malkovich brings the much-needed calm presence for a judge. Kaya Scodelario is great to breaking away from the typical roles we are used to seeing her in.

StoryThe story here instantly gets the talking points, first any film that shows us the events of a known serial killer shouldn’t be put front and centre of a story, they don’t deserve to be the ones remembered over their victims. Away from that point, we get to follow most of the court cases involving Ted, this is refreshing as we don’t have to watch his horrible actions, just see how the cases are trying to prove whether he was the one behind the murders. The story does become interesting to see unfold because we are left to almost see why it was so hard to believe he was the killer by the way he handled himself trying to prove his innocence. This is easily the best way to look at the Ted Bundy story because it doesn’t glorify the violence he caused and showed us just how determined the authorities were to bring him down.

Biopic/CrimeThe biopic side of the film showed us just how Liz Kendall was involved in the life of Ted Bundy, how her love made it hard for her to believe he was this evil, we do see how Ted Bundy was determined to prove he was never guilty of the crimes, which leads into the world the crimes that have been committed.

SettingsA lot of the film is set in and around the courtrooms showing how the case is being broken down.


Scene of the Movie –
The verdict speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does seem to skip out a lot of the timeline of the murders.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best performances from Zac Efron that brings to life the serial killer Ted Bundy, showing how he would use his natural talents to charm and intelligence to attempt to get off everything he is being charged for.

 

Overall: Must Watch biopic.

Rating