Hidden Horror Gems: SleepAway Camp

SleepAway Camp(1983)

Directed and Written by Robert Hiltzik

Starring Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston, Paul DeAngelo, and Karen Fields

When it comes to hidden horror gems, Sleepaway Camp definitely fits that definition. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this film until recently, but I am glad that I discovered it. I was so impressed with this movie, that I had to purchase a copy.

Released in 1983, this film centers on Angela, a shy girl whose family is killed in a boating accident. As a result, she goes to live with her eccentric Aunt Martha and her cousin Ricky. Years later, Aunt Martha sends the two children to camp, where some mysterious and bizarre deaths occur.

Sleepaway Camp is both impressive and provocative. It is a well-paced, solid whodunit. The idea of using actual children gives you an authentic “life at a camp” feeling, and their overall performances were very engaging and memorable. Even though the kills were not too graphic, the practical effects were solid. And the ending..well, there is a reason Sleepaway Camp has one of the greatest plot twists ever in horror. You’ll just have to watch the film to experience it.

Not to sound like a commercial, but your collection will not be complete until you pick up a copy of this movie. Make sure you get the Shout Factory! Edition to watch the extras and gain more insight into this unique slasher. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

Bankside Films, Westend Films, Embankment Films, Among U.K. Sales Companies Benefiting from $608,000 COVID-19 Fund 

Bankside Films, Westend Films, and Embankment Films are three of the 26 major U.K. Sales Companies to have benefitted from the $608,000 COVID-19 funds set up by the British Film Institute (BFI). 

The fund which was generated from the BFI International Fund was established to support U.K. Sales Companies and help cover the increased costs the companies are incurring due to changes forced by the coronavirus pandemic. The value of the award varies based on the size of each company with the maximum award being $32, 278.  

The selected companies are expected to use the funds to cover costs that were not initially available in their budget for the year such as new post-covid digital marketing solutions; new technical systems for international deliveries; equipment for staff who will be working remotely; among others. Each beneficiary company will receive the awards until January 2021.  

The funding comes as a huge relief for Sales Companies who have had to develop new ways to acquire, market, and sell their products without putting their staff’s health and safety at risk.  

Speaking on the significance of the BFI fund, Chief executive of Film Export U.K., Charlie Bloye, said, “Sales companies always employ adaptability and ingenuity to export independent films but the current challenges are really severe. This pragmatic and timely support is helping them refresh their toolkit and make the most of opportunities to connect with global distributors online.” 

Below is the list of the U.K Sales company benefiting from the BFI COVID-19 Funds: 

All Media Partners International Ltd, £24,000 

Bankside Films Ltd, £7,750 

Carnaby International Sales & Distribution PLC, £14,000 

Celsius Entertainment Ltd, £20,000 

Cornerstone Films Ltd, £25,000 

Dogwoof, £16,440 

Embankment Films Ltd, £25,000 

Evolutionary Films, £15,464 

Film Constellation, £25,000 

Film Republic Sales Ltd, £10,000 

Film Seekers Ltd, £20,000 

GFM Films LLP, £15,000 

Goalpost Film, £7,500 

Kaleidoscope Film Distribution Ltd, £20,000 

Legacy Rights Ltd, £15,000 

Met Film Sales Ltd, £15,999 

Metro International Entertainment Ltd, £25,000 

MFH London Limited, £10,000 

Mister Smith Entertainment Ltd, £25,000 

Parkland Pictures Ltd, £15,000 

Protagonist Pictures Ltd, £20,000 

REASON8 Films Ltd, £20,000 

Rocket Science Industries Ltd, £25,000 

SC Films International Ltd, £20,000 

Screenbound International Pictures Ltd, £10,000 

Westend Films Ltd, £25,000 

 

Another Look: A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2:  Freddy’s Revenge(1985)

Directed by Jack Sholder

Starring Robert Englund,  Mark Patton, Kim Meyers, and Robert Rusler.

I haven’t seen a Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge in awhile, so I decided to watch it again, and perhaps gain another perspective. Yes, I am aware of the controversy that surrounds this sequel, but when I first saw it I was very young, and honestly, I didn’t see the subtext. There are other videos and reviews that cover that subtext if you want to look more into it. Controversies aside, I will say that this entry is an intriguing take on the Nightmare canon, and it deserves another look.

This sequel takes place 5 years after the first one. It focuses on Jesse, a teenager that has moved into Nancy’s old house on Elm St. As to be expected, Freddy Krueger invades his dreams. His goal is not to kill Jesse, but to use him as a conduit to enter into the real world. The movie starts off very strong with the scene of Freddy driving the school bus, tormenting Jesse and the other characters riding it. I will not give the entire movie away, but there are quite a few scenes that gives Freddy’s Revenge more of a psychological-slasher vibe.

There aren’t many graphic kills, but the effects work is impressive. The story is well written with stellar performances by Mark Patton(Jesse) and Kim Meyers(Lisa). The dynamic between those two is so engaging, that I wish that they were further explored in some of the sequels.

This entry in the franchise..you have to admire the risk the filmmakers took when they allowed Freddy into the real world, basically giving a different angle to the Nightmare lore. Also, Freddy is more menacing and scarier, not having the comedic tone we see in the future sequels.

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge may be considered underrated to some, but I will suggest that you take a different look at this one because of the risks, giving you another angle on Nightmare’s world. This film, in my opinion, is one of the definitions of an authentic horror movie. If you haven’t seen this one, I’d suggest you watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10-(Collection-Worthy)

Looking back at the Animated Classics: 101 Dalmations

101 Dalmations(1961)

Starring the voice talents of Paul Wexler, Mary Wickes, Barbara Luddey, and Lisa Daniels

This may come as a surprise, but I just saw Disney’s 101 Dalmations for the first time.    And I have to say that after watching this classic,  I was very impressed with the story.

I don’t want to assume that everyone knows the plot, so for those of you are unfamiliar with the movie’s premise, it centers on a Dalmation couple, Pongo and Perdita. The two go on a mission to rescue their puppies from the fashion-obsessed Cruella DeVille.

101 Dalmations not only had a well-paced and impressive story, but the characters’ performances were engaging and memorable. Another particular aspect of this animated feature that I admired was the vast network the canine community created to help any dog in need. For example, when the humans were unable to find the puppies, Pongo’s friend The Great Dane, helped them find their children through his contacts and vast “barking” network.

I don’t want to give away the whole movie, but if you’re an animation fan who wants a good adventure, 101 Dalmations comes highly recommended.   My Score: 8.5/10(Add this to your collection).

Sophia Loren set to make Triumphant Movie comeback in Netflix’s “The Life Ahead” 

Sophia Loren, one of the biggest stars of the Hollywood Golden age is set to play a lead role in Netflix’s acquired upcoming drama movie The Life Ahead. The film stars the Italian actress alongside Ibrahima Gueye and Abril Zamora and it is directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti. The screenplay is written by Ugo Chiti and Edoardo Ponti based on Romain Gary’s novel “The Life Before Us”.  

In the movie, Loren plays the role of Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor who strikes a connection with a young Senegalese immigrant (played by Ibrahima Gueye). Her role in this movie is quite similar to the role she played in the 1961 Film “Two Women” which was not only produced and directed by her late husband, Carlo Ponti but also won her the Oscars award for Best Actress. 

In a phone call with EW, Loren expressed how happy she always is when working on a project with her son especially because they know each other so well. Netflix’s The Life Ahead is the third project and second film Loren and her son have made together.  

Loren’s popularity and fame grew during the early years of her career both because of her amazing looks as well as her power to play roles that require a high display of emotions. This was why she became the first actor to win an Oscar for playing a role in a foreign language feature film. Now 86, “The Life Ahead” is Loren’s first live-action film in over a decade of retirement.  

Loren revealed that she had not intended her hiatus away from the industry to be as long as it turned out to be. Further discussion revealed that she wanted a film that would inspire and challenge her but most of the available films just didn’t feel right to her. While the role she plays in Netflix’s The Life Ahead does not portray any activity Loren is currently doing right now, she revealed that playing the role of a Holocaust survivor gave a nostalgic feeling of her own life as a young girl who grew during the Naples War.  

When asked about the first-time actor Ibrahima Gueye, Loren was full of praises for him saying: “He was a great partner, very in touch with his emotions. I think he will have a great future in this profession, if he chooses it. For his first thing on the screen, he was never upset about the camera, upset about the people around. He just did what he had to do.” 

The Life Ahead is set to premiere on November 13, 2020, in the United States. 

Palm Spring Cancels Its International Film Festival Slated for 2021, Film Awards Gala Date Remains Unchanged 

The organizers of the Palm Springs International Film Festival have confirmed earlier this week that the 32nd annual film festival of the organization which was scheduled to commence February 25, 2021, would no longer hold. This decision was made following the organizer’s lingering concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and whether or not it was worth the risk. The organizers did confirm that its annual film awards gala date would still hold. 

The decision was first reported by KESQ after a letter was forwarded to the festival’s board members. The letter which reads “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives in profound ways but we have not stopped believing that cinema has the power to change our hearts and minds. We stand by that truth and commit to continue our efforts in bringing film to our community.” was signed by the Festival’s board of directors. 

This new change is the second time this year the organizers have decided to push back the 32nd edition of their annual event due to health and safety concerns of their guests and staff.  

Other Palm Spring events scheduled for 2021 remains unchanged with the Palm Springs ShortFest still scheduled to hold from June 22-28, 2021. 

Although the film festival would not hold, the organizers confirmed in the letter that the awards ceremony will take place. While details on the Award gala are still not fixed, the gala is confirmed to hold at the Palm Springs Convention center. Also, as of the time of this writing, no honorees for the award have been announced. 

The cancellation of the 2021 Palm Springs Film Festival is the latest change to the annual awards season schedule forced by the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Oscars award ceremony was also recently shifted to April 25, 2021.

Looking Back at Remakes: Maniac

Maniac(2012)

Directed by Franck Khalfoun

Starring Elijah Wood, America Olivo,  and Nora Arnezeder

Sometimes, remakes do not live up to the original. Other times, remakes are impressive to the point that they are their own films. Maniac(2012) belongs to that latter camp.

This more hi-gloss update of the 1980 slasher flick centers on Frank Zito, a man who has an insatiable lust for killing and scalping women. He soon meets Anna, an artist who asks for his help with her exhibit. Maniac asks if she will finally be the one who stops his lust, and perhaps give him a sense of the love he has always wanted.

One compelling aspect of Maniac is that it is shot in full POV, allowing us to see the movie through Frank’s eyes. I admired that because this makes the movie unique, not being a carbon copy of the original.

This film is more glossy and a little more artsy than the original. The performances and the overall mood gives you an eerie feeling, but I admit that you don’t get a real sense of intense fear until the third act. The kills are interesting, and if you are into blood and gore, this slasher is for you.

If you liked the original Maniac, you owe it to yourself to give this one a watch.  However, if you haven’t seen the original, that is fine.  I think you will still find this intriguing and enjoyable.  My score: 8/10(Add to your collection).

Hidden Horror Gems: StageFright

StageFright(1987)

Directed by Michele Soavi

Starring David Brandon,  Barabara Cupisti, Domenico Fiore

I discovered this movie Stagefright after watching a countdown of Giallo films, and I’m glad that I saw this one. At first, I thought it was going to be another typical slasher, but I was surprised at how engaging this movie was.

Here’s the basic premise without giving away any spoilers: An actor with a mental condition escapes an asylum and goes into a theater where a group of actors are rehearsing for a musical production.

A lot of ingredients made this film a must-see. I was impressed by the engaging story, excellent performances, soundtrack, the decent kills, and the gripping tension. If you are looking for a slasher that does not have the usual tropes, Stagefright comes highly recommended. My score(8.5-Add to your collection)

Looking Back: Hollow Man(2000)

Hollow Man(2000)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Joey Slotnick,  Mary Randle, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Willian Devane, and Rhona Mitra.

I watched Hollow Man  for the first time in over a decade, and I have to say that this movie is still impressive. What would you do if you couldn’t be seen? That is the question this movie explores. It also asks you to imagine the idea of gaining a new power, and then deciding on how to use it, for good or for evil.   Not to start comparing, but this film effectively examines the theme of invisibility more than The Invisible Man(2020), in my opinion.

For those of you who are not familiar with the plot, here is the basic premise: A research scientist decides to makes himself invisible, but his new ability produces some unfortunate results.

There’s a lot that can be said about Hollow Man, but this review may turn into a term paper, lol. However, you can not deny that the mix of sci-fi and horror, and the top-notch performances, particularly Kevin Bacon’s role as the main research scientist, gave the viewer some thoughts on the dynamics of invisibility and its effects on individuals and the larger society.

If you haven’t seen this film, you should definitely watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

Looking Back: Sorority Row

Sorority Row(2009)

Directed by Stewart Hendler

Starring Brianna Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Audrina Page, Julian Morris, Margo Harshman, Matt Lanter, and Carrie Fisher

I just watched Sorority Row the other night again, and I have to say that this slasher is enjoyable. How else can I describe this movie? It has a great cast, the engaging story has a nice whodunit element, and the kills are very creative. If you haven’t seen this House on Sorority Row remake, I’d highly recommend checking this one out and adding it to your collection. My score: 8.5/10(Add to your collection)