Editorial: I Love Part Twos - Part One - Dread Central
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Editorial: I Love Part Twos – Part One

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DISCLAIMER: Help. Please help me. HELP. Never mind. That was a knee-jerk reaction to finally submitting this entry to you. See, I’ve been grappling with this article for months. Life interjected here and there, sure…but the real problem was realizing that I had bitten off much more than I could quickly chew. What was once a fun idea grew to Kongish proportions. Every day I would wake up and face the fact that, yes, I had more pages I had written – but where would it all end?

I refuse to share with you how many pages there are at this point, nor how many colleagues, friends and family I’ve forced to read this rambling beast out loud to me, in the hopes of finding some editorial light at the end of the funnel. As such, here is what I’ve decided to present to you for the time being. Please disregard all of the above and FOCUS.

Editorial: I Love Part Twos - Part One

A CONFESSION: I LOVE PART TWOS – PART ONE

Having just experienced Best Worst Movie for the first time, which reminded me of seeing Troll 2 in 1995 while attending my best friend’s sister’s slumber party, uninvited of course, I have Part Twos on the brain, and they aren’t going away. And I’ll tell ya what’s so great about first sequels – they’re sumptuously weird, like leftover pizza. The original idea is still there, still tasty in a pinch, but things done changed… A Part 2, Part II, 2 or II is usually chewier and/or coarser…depending on the crust. Some Chicago style sequels get mushy and mealy – the original ingredients have lost their kick from the cooling period, and have an objectionable mouth-feel and taste (Return of the Living Dead Part II). On the other hand, New York style sequels tend to become hard and concentrated, requiring a determined chew that tends to scrape the roof of a mouth (The Hills Have Eyes 2 ‘07). And that’s enough of that.

Nevertheless, just about anything Horrorific with a 2, II, Part 2, Part Two or Part II turns me on. In fact, that’s the rule for this entry – the films we’ll discuss here must have a Roman numeral or digit at the end of the title (since I found NO Part Twos in my collection – are there any out there?) Looking at my library, I count 24 of such creations (which I sought out and purchased – no unwanted gifts or review discs included):

Three from the 70’s
Two from the 90’s
Three from the 2000’s
And (drumroll) 16 from the 80’s

I’m assuming the reason for this figure is a combination of my age (29), my resulting taste in horror cinema and the marketability for creatures and killers.

Now consider this: every Top Ten Greatest Horror Films of All Time list that you’ve ever compiled or read? They all have sequels. I recognize that “all” is a strong word to use – I’m sure there are people who include Tentacles and Feed in their Top Tens. But those lost souls are not within the public majority I’m referring to. Without tonguing the internet for an example, I will now replicate a Top Ten List based on what I’ve seen on television, online and in print:

1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
2. Psycho
3. The Exorcist
4. Halloween
5. Night of the Living Dead
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street
7. The Blair Witch Project
8. Edge of the Axe
9. Rejuvenator
10. The Prey

As you can see, these films have all spawned sequels – but should they’ve? Imagine living in a world without sequels to any of these movies. CONSIDER what your emotions would be if the original filmmakers or anyone else stepped up NOT to deliver a remake, but a true Part 2, 2, Two or II. In this day and age, freakish hatred would equal anticipation. But back then, it was a cause for celebration: “Part Two is a go. Call everyone and bring beer – we’ve already got the champagne.”

Editorial: I Love Part Twos - Part One

But where to begin? Part Twos in general, I suppose (and let’s call them “Twos” from here on, unless someone has a better suggestion that’s easier on the eyes…). Typically horror, comedy and action films have Twos, but they’ve been known to slither into drama and musicals. Audience demand, profitability and critical success can only go so far, though. I can’t think of anyone with a decent heart and undamaged brain who yearns for an Apocalypse Now Part II, Pulp Fiction: Vol. 2 or A Clockwork Orange 2. But if they came to be, you’d watch ‘em, wouldn’t you? But some people have tried to capture that lightning in a bottle again, be they directors, writers, actors… Sometimes it works. Sometimes it almost works. Sometimes it’s like waking up with a scorching hangover, with only muddy realizations that some terrible fight that ended the night between you and a close friend, significant other or spouse – “why did we/they do that, and how could anyone let that happen?”

Editorial: I Love Part Twos - Part One

And that’s enough for tonight. More to come – in fact, far more than is necessary, should you want it. In the meantime, your thoughts are appreciated, because chances are I’ve overthought (not a word, I don’t think – overthought?) just about everything. Soundtracks, trailers, promo art…you name it. I really dug a ditch with this one, and I don’t see any way out any time soon.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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Thanksgiving Flesh Feast: A Cannibal Holocaust Retrospective

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“Why ban films? If you don’t want to go watch something, don’t go. Don’t spend your money to watch it. To me it’s against your civil liberties. Censorship is against your human rights. It just takes a critic to exaggerate and say the film is over the top, it’s gruesome and full of terrible violence.” Words from legendary cinematographer Roberto Forges Davanzati on the special edition Blu-Ray of Cannibal Holocaust.

As you celebrate this holiday of stuffing your face full of delicious gooey goodies and cooked meats, let us look back at a feast for the ages that was buried in lawsuits, censorship, exploitation and even jail time for its creator. Cannibal Holocaust, one of the most infamous video nasties of all time, is not only one of the most gruesome and horrifying collection of images put to celluloid but also, in its own way, one of the most beautiful. Often times it’s notoriety as a horrid exploitation film overshadows the artistry that crafted it and the true message behind it.

First off, let’s look at the fact that this is truly the first found footage film. Its narrative is about four young documentarians who set out into the Amazon into an area dubbed “The Green Inferno” to find and document several primitive tribes of cannibals. While this narrative is the backbone of the movie opening up the film, this footage is not shown until the latter half. Professor Harold Munroe is assigned by the television studio that employed the documentarians to go into the Green Inferno himself to see if he can unravel the mystery of the youth’s disappearance or obtain the footage they filmed. Today we have found footage movies left and right but it’s rare we get a movie within a movie in this style.

Davanzati has talked about his different shooting styles for the time on the Blu-Ray for the film. Munroe’s section of the film was shot on 35MM film while the “found footage” shot by the documentarians is shot on 16MM film, giving a much grainier and dirty look to their footage. Not only that, but since the four youths within the film at all times had two 16MM cameras operating, Davanzati would often film the two camera men within the film and then switch around showing the point of view of each camera man within the found footage, which he states helped edit the movie as they shot it. The artistic decision to have two narratives wrap around each other like this are perfect antithesis to each other as Munroe’s footage shows a completely opposite depiction of the cannibals compared to the documentarian’s footage. This style informed a generation and still does, but has never been stylistically approached the same way.

Some may argue that regardless of the artistic vision and groundbreaking filmmaking style of both Davanzati and director Ruggero Deodato that it doesn’t matter, because what good is beautiful footage of despicable trash? How dare they film something so atrocious? Actor Robert Kerman can maybe answer that in a quote from an interview on the Cannibal Holocaust Blu-Ray. “What’s the difference between Cannibal Holocaust and Schindler’s List? Or the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan?” The world is full of horrible atrocious things and sometimes we don’t like to acknowledge them. To simply not acknowledge them would seem an injustice to the victims. In this case, what may offend might be the same reason audiences were offended about the Universal Monsters: the fact that perhaps we are the villains. Perhaps those victimized within Cannibal Holocaust are the titular cannibals.

Deodato opens the film with a reporter speaking about how far the world has come and how advanced we are as a civilization, that it is strange that indigenous tribes still exist in the jungles of the Green Inferno. All the while, during this news report on the savagery of those tribes, Deodato cleverly shows us the jungles of the modern world as the imagery put to this news cast foreshadows the film’s true intentions. It would be easy to assume the “Holocaust” in Cannibal Holocaust refers to the humans devoured by cannibals, when in reality, the holocaust is the devastation inflicted upon the cannibal tribes by the so-called “normal” humans. Deodato cleverly misleads the viewer showing off all-American kids as the documentarians. He quickly follows the opening with a scene of the Yacumo tribe devouring a human body as the Colombian soldiers gun them down and capture one of their tribe. It’s a brutal scene that depicts the Yacumo as monsters.

As Professor Munroe ventures into the Green Inferno with his Yacumo captive and guide, Chaco, it is discovered that the Yacumo tribe itself has had some hardship and pain. They are the more peaceful of the tribes who simply thrive and survive. Their Yacumo captive who was found devouring a human was doing so as part of a ceremonial practice to ward off evil spirits. Befriending the tribe, they venture deeper to find the two warring tribes that scare even the Yacumo: the Yanomamo (Tree People) and the Shamatari (Swamp People). While the Shamatari are depicted throughout as vile and dangerous, the Yamamomo befriend the professor and Chaco due to the pair aiding them against the former tribe.

Munroe and the Yanomamo friendship gives way to a very beautiful scene in the movie. Munroe disrobes himself completely and swims in the river naked with a group of Yanomamo women. There is nothing sexual about the scene, only curiosity and playful ignorant bliss. This sense of peace is elated by the score of Riz Ortolani, which permeates the entire film with melancholy melodies and themes of religious experiences. This scene in particular is boosted amazingly by his score.

Munroe’s journey is the audience’s point of view where we watch in horror and wonder at what these “cannibals” are capable of but, upon venturing further for ourselves with respect towards the tribes, we find perhaps there is more to these people than monstrosities. There are definitely horrible things the Yacumo and the Yamamomo commit, but our eyes are slightly opened as to why.

Enter the found footage aspect of the film, which is the core of Deodato’s message. The young documentarians headed by Alan are the true villains of the piece. While the indigenous peoples within idolize their gods and ways, this crew of documentarians only idolize the gods of entertainment and visceral mind rape. What’s worse is the discovery of the studio behind them condoning their efforts in order to get people to watch. The found footage approach descends into madness as Alan and his crew are responsible for the Yacumo’s problems that Munroe discovered when he arrived. We see them burning down the village and even having sex on the ashes of their homes in a horrifying shot that pans out to show the Yacumo watching in sorrow as they are huddled by the river for warmth. As the television executives watch this footage unfold it is stated, “The more you rape their senses, the happier they are.” It’s disgusting.

The footage goes on and gets progressively worse as Alan and his crew commit horrible acts of rape and violence that parallels the natives actions. But while the natives at least have a misguided sense of purpose, there is none for the documentarians. They set up a girl on a spike after they rape her just to have something visceral to film. “Watch it Alan, I’m shooting.” Alan has a smile on his face from the atrocity he’s committed, their excitement paralleled by Ortolani’s score. This scene plays on the typical thought of things we don’t understand being weird. As the filmmakers have no concept of what makes the Yanomamo tick or of their religious rites, they just create something ghastly. Because their audience will not understand it, they lump it in with their actual spiritual and cultural beliefs, making it all seem bereft of rhyme or reason, confusing audiences just to entertain.

“Keep rolling, we’re gonna get an Oscar for this!” The final act of found footage is more intense and more satisfying than any you can see. As one of the cameramen dies, they keep filming, that prize in their eyes with the camera lens as a separation from what’s before them. Their friend is no longer a person but a spectacle to be shot as he’s torn limb from limb and prepared to be eaten by the cannibals for their transgression. Who is worse, those that created the situation or those simply reacting to it? The Yanomamo stand triumphant over the interloper and, as stated in the beginning of the film, they eat him ceremonially in order to keep out the evil spirits of the white man. Each is taken down and each filmed. Debts paid in blood to the cannibals and
the white man’s gods of entertainment. The found footage has all been viewed as Munroe and the rest of the executives walk off, “I wonder who the real cannibals are?” 

True, there are very vile things depicted in this film. Rape, animal cruelty, extreme violence. It is definitely not for the squeamish. I, myself, cannot stand the animal violence as it shouldn’t be in the film and is lingered on for far too long. However, each scene of extremism beyond those shots serves a purpose in the film, juxtaposing the actions of the protagonists and antagonists, often times blurring the lines of those roles.

Watch this film with an open mind and a filmmaker’s thought process. You’ll see the amazing direction accompanied by brilliant and, at the time, never-before-seen cinematography. The score elevates the film with its beauty against the ugliness of the visuals. While the actions of many of the characters are disgusting, you have to admit the level of excellence each actor gives in their portrayal of these characters, especially the tribes.

We must not forget in these dark times not to judge the cultures of others before we truly understand them as people.

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I Already Have a Dog But Now I Want a Baby Dinosaur

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The first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, is rumored to be attached to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since that film is going to be coming out in less than a month, it’s no surprise that the marketing campaign for the dino-filled trailer is already starting and today it kicks off with a six-second teaser that is as adorable as you can get!

In the teaser, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is petting a baby velociraptor, which coos and twitters in the cutest of fashions. Is there anything else going on? Nah. Does something else need to happen? Nope. The movie already has me sold.

Directed by J.A. Bayona (When a Monster Calls), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, and Toby Jones. However, the biggest and most important star of the film will be the return of Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, who is, in my humble opinion, the best character in the franchise, besting even the T-rex that seemingly cannot die.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will evolve into theaters on June 22, 2018.

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