What splatter films to watch for Thanksgiving…? That is a difficult question, since all the studios hit hard with Halloween releases, and Thanksgiving is not widely considered to be a time for gore. Cranberry sauce, maybe.
One recommendation is THE BATTERY. This was a no-budget zombie-avoidance film – the yang to WORLD WAR Z’s ying – produced by an East Coast filmmaker, Jeremy Gardner, who also directed and starred, and I’m going to try to bring him to SVA in the near future to talk about writing a script that can be professionally made for that amount of dough (IMDB says $6,000 – I’ve heard less), then getting it out there on the PR circuit and having it lead to further, hopefully higher-budget projects. I thought it got off to a slow start, but had a spectacular finish, and managed to introduce a few thoughtful ideas about post-apocalyptic life styles along the way. Shot along the back roads of New England, it’s about two baseball players with widely conflicting personalities who endeavor to survive while hoping to run across more humans on their journey.
Me, I’m going to be watching DEAD SNOW: BETTER RED THAN DEAD. This is a sequel, and the original was fun, but not a keeper. I’m hearing that, as with THE EXPENDABLES 2, EVIL DEAD 2, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND UGLY, and many other sequels and threequels, they’ve learned from their first effort and surpassed it. I just received the disc, and it’s going into the player tomorrow evening.
And then there’s an older title that calls for attention: DEMONS (1985), produced by Dario Argento and directed by Lamberto Bava. It was an inspired pairing in that the director was Mario Bava’s son, his father having been one of the Father’s of Italian Horror cinema (BLACK SUNDAY, etc), and Dario we all know from his remarkable early-to-mid-career work which eschewed logic for experimental uses of color, sound design, special design and editing. What makes it required viewing now, 29 years later, is the restoration it received from Synapse Films. The BluRay is so much more vibrant, its color palette infinitely more varied and evocative, that where once it was clearly a Lamberto Bava film, now it’s unmistakably a Dario Argento film. You have to see the transformation to believe it (which might mean seeing it twice, once in the old mastering, which I hope the school’s library has, and then in its glorious new incarnation).
Argento, incidentally, is following in Spike Lee’s footsteps and raising the money for his next film on Indiegogo. It’s called THE SANDMAN, stars Iggy Pop, and has thus far raised $156,610 of its $165,000 goal (95%) with 6 days left. The perk list was full of provocative goodies. If you donated three grand, for instance, composer Akira Yamaoko would have come to your house and played the film’s new song live! For $5,000 – get this – you would have been allowed to kill someone in the film, wearing the traditional black gloves, an honor up-until-now reserved for Maestro Argento himself. I’ll bet that one was snapped up the day the site appeared.