The Cult of Horror

The Cult of Horror

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Calvaire (04)

Directed by Fabrice Du Welz

This by-the-numbers slow paced "Oh-no, my car is broken down a creepy town horror" really caught my attention. I heard about particular scenes (bar dance) from this film for years and was surprised at the director's minimalist surreal approach to a typical setting story. A young traveling performer Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas) travels in a treacherous rain storm through old country road and unshockingly becomes stranded and led by an odd ball local, who is searching for his dog, to an abandoned Inn. The Inn keeper Bartel (Jackie Berroyer ) is a lovelorn man that never recovered from his lost love who was also a performer. The two become friends as the performer's vehicle is to be fixed within a day or two and the young traveler is heeded not to go into town.

Of course our young traveler heads into town and stumbles upon a glimpse of towns folk engaging in some pig bestiality. The man flees back to the hotel and realizes that the phone has never worked and no one is coming to fix his vehicle, at that point the Inn Keeper destroys his vehicle and holds him hostage. The traveler is then has half of his head shaven, wears women's clothes and is forced into the identify of his lost lover. The Inn Keeper goes into the town, with rifle in hand, and says to the peculiar villagers that his lover his back and he will kill anyone who tries to take her away. The oddball local finds a pig and thinks it is his lost dog and has Christmas Dinner with the Inn Keeper and his new found love. The Towns folk retaliate with rifles and pigs to take the traveler away.

The end is best left unspoiled. I was surprised with the symbolism and scenes of delusion from the antagonists and the transformation by the protagonist and when the credits rolled abruptly, The film felt as if it was more of a gritty and bizarre art piece than a horror film. 

I would recommend this only if you have a good attention span and appreciate films on  Bunuel, Jodorowsky level. Most horror fans would hate this and would be turned off by pacing and the overall weirdness of the film. Yet with the amount of depth and symbolism, there is a debatable and possible deeper meaning than just an unfortunate man's luck.


Burnt Offerings 76'

Produced, Written and Directed by Dan Curtis

An extremely well directed and plotted "Haunted House Horror" written, financed and directed by Dan Curtis (House of Dark Shadows) starring the impressive thespian Oliver Reed (Paranoiac, The Brood) as a husband "" and his peculiar wife Marian (Karen Black) and his mother " (Bettie Davis) and their annoying son rent (for a modest price) a large Victorian age house for the summer, two peculiar elderly folks (Burgess Meredith) with the condition of taking care of the old (and never seen) Ms. Aladice in the top room of the house.

Watching this 76' film feels like it will take steps towards The Shining but stays as it's own type of film and remains only creepy not scary. Modern Haunted House Horror fans may feel that the films length and may be to exhausting for how little danger presents it self with in the film. Few hair raising scenes from the Pall Bearer and the last 5 minutes are only real scares however, ending climax is delivered so well and after credit's role their is enough to digest and discuss what has happened in the Mansion's bloody history. The heavy execution and hard work from Curtis and crew are convincing however the film's only weak spot may be it's length. Some fans however appreciate a good slow burning thriller.


The Confessional aka House of Mortal Sin 76'

Directed by British Thriller Veteran Pete Walker (Frightmare, Flesh and Blood Show)

Young Jenny Welch (Susan Pehaligon) succumbs to the taunts of a manipulative and murderous catholic priest (played perfectly by Anthony Sharp) but has no one to turn to. The priests victims, who are morally askew, suffer his religious wrath through taped confessions and even a few of the fragile flock end up dead through poison communion wafers and Rosary Bead strangulations. The priests invalid and mute mother desperately tries to let someone know of his madness but her attempts are blocked by a disfigured Miss Brabazon (Sheila Kiethalso from Walker's Frightmare)

The Confessional is moderately paced and holds great restraint like all Peter Walker films and feels very 70's by film quality and UK location. However the forlorn score and scenes of surprising violence and bleak ending add enough tension to go head to head with even some of Hammer's best horror.