FrightFest reviews roundup: Black Sabbath, Bring Me the Head of Machine Gun Woman and Hellfjord
- Henry Northmore
- 28 February 2013
Day two opened with a restored print of Mario Bava’s Italian horror classic Black Sabbath. This trio of terrifying tales is a wonderful anthology that really showcases his style: the exaggerated use of lighting and colour give the film a queasy, unsettling, otherworldly quality.
The opening story ‘The Telephone’ is the only one set in the modern day (well, 1963, when it was filmed) but the sets still evoke a period setting despite the story revolving around the very modern phenomenon of stalking. It also showcases many of the aesthetics that would become the standard for the entire giallo movement. The second segment stars Boris Karloff, who gives a wonderfully bonkers performance as a ‘Wurdalak’ (a type of particularly nasty vampire). The final section ‘The Drop Of Water’ is probably the strongest. A tale of ghostly vengeance after a nurse (Jacqueline Pierreux) steals a ring from a dead woman’s corpse, that waxy deathly visage will haunt you hours after the final credits have rolled.
A slice of deliberately retrograde grindhouse fare from Chile as a young DJ (Matías Oviedo) mistakenly gets involved in the hunt for assassin Machine Gun Woman (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1343708/). It’s a passable time waster broken down into missions and structured like videogame Grand Theft Auto. There are a few great gags but a big lull in the middle: it needs to be even more trashy and sleazy to really compete with the likes of Planet Terror, Hobo With a Shotgun and Dear God No!.
Episodes of this Norwegian TV show Hellfjord had been screening through the fest and the weekend finished with the final two episodes back-to-back. This proved to be the surprise hit of FrightFest 2013. The show is like a cross between The League of Gentlemen, Twin Peaks and Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom as a policeman is sent to the bizarre remote town of Hellfjord and soon gets embroiled in a local mystery. It’s surreal, totally over the top, totally inappropriate, very wrong but very funny. [In the name of transparency we have to admit that, due to interview commitments, The List didn’t catch all seven episodes. This score is based on the ones we did see, but we’d be very surprised if the few we missed were deal breakers.]
This trilogy of three horror stories follows a woman terrorised by phone calls in her apartment, a Russian count in the countryside with some nasty vampires and a nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients. A treat for fans of vintage Italian horror.
Get ready for a real blast! After accidentally overhearing Argentine gangsters talk bloody assassination, a nightclub DJ and video game addict avoids execution only by offering to kill the object of their hatred himself. But the scantily clad, femme-fatale bounty hunter Machine Gun Woman is not going to become a sitting…
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