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RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 5/10/2011 8:11:58 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Cheers Bill, and I remember reading about Argento's Frankenstein script, set [correcv me if I'm wrong, you the Argento expert!!] in Nazi Germany I believ, sounded fascinating.

You say i'm the Expert,well your spot on,Argento and Luigi cozzi did a radically new script of the Mary Shelly story involving Hilter's early days,with the Monster used to make comments on Nazism.They even had Timothy Dalton lined up for the role of Baron Frankenstein,but both Universal and Hammer turned it down,refusing to release the film rights.Saying that Argento has said the script in it's first draft was shit,so he was glad to shelve it,but he has been dusting it down from time time,so you never know.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 1081
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 14/10/2011 7:34:42 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5153
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
The release date for the ArrowDrome DVD of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has been moved to January 2012.

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1082
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 25/10/2011 7:32:57 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

The release date for the ArrowDrome DVD of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has been moved to January 2012.

Another Argento classic that deserves a remaster.
Now  there's two Argento films that are now throught to round two so get voting folks on  The Haunted House of Fame - Round Two   http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=3227514


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 1083
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 28/10/2011 7:15:11 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5153
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
ArrowDrome will release Cat o' Nine Tails on DVD sometime in 2012. Here's the artwork:


(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1084
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 14/11/2011 7:43:22 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

ArrowDrome will release Cat o' Nine Tails on DVD sometime in 2012. Here's the artwork:



We want this on Blu-Ray


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 1085
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 17/12/2011 6:57:37 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5153
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
So who has seen the leaked trailer for Dracula 3D? It's the entire film in 2 minutes, and looks so OTT and ridiculous. Unfortunately, it seems we're due another huge disappointment.

< Message edited by paul.mccluskey -- 19/12/2011 2:37:20 PM >

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1086
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 17/12/2011 7:19:15 PM   
garvielloken


Posts: 1186
Joined: 23/10/2011
Didn't see the trailer and I can't say I really want to tbh. Argentos good days are well and truly behind him.

_____________________________

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Post #: 1087
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 18/12/2011 12:04:45 PM   
kargon


Posts: 1024
Joined: 6/6/2007
From: BOWELS OF HELL
Master, no, last few of his i watched were pretty much a joke

_____________________________

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Post #: 1088
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 18/12/2011 12:58:02 PM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.

quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

So who has seen the leaked trailer for Dracula 3D? It's the entire film in 2 minutes, and looks so OTT and ridiculous. Unofrtunately, it seems we're due another huge disappointment.


Worth it for the giant praying mantis.

_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 1089
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 21/12/2011 2:51:42 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5153
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Originally scheduled for release this month, the new Shameless DVD/Blu-ray release of Four Flies on Grey Velvet has been moved to 30th January 2012. Here are the special features and artwork:

- Introduction to the film by Luigi Cozzi

- New, exclusive and extensive recent interview on the making of Four Flies On Grey Velvet with writer and assistant director Luigi Cozzi

- Original English audio remastered in HD exclusively for this Shameless release from the original magnetic soundtrack and available for the first time since the film’s original theatrical opening in the 1970s

- Shameless re-build edit of the complete version of the film including four inserts of previously missing footage known amongst Argento fans as the legendary “missing forty seconds” (the inserts are in Standard-Definition quality). The Blu-ray will allow for seamless branching of the four inserts giving viewers two versions of the film: one all HD without the re-inserted scenes and one longer version including the inserts

- Restoration of all individual damaged frames, most notably with respect to the removal of the black diagonal frame line (caused by the film jumping the high speed camera gate) in the final car crash sequence

- Optional Italian audio version in HD with English subtitles

- Italian and English trailers

- Alternate English opening and closing credits

- Shameless Trailer Park (Blu-ray only)


(in reply to Pigeon Army)
Post #: 1090
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 21/12/2011 7:26:34 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

So who has seen the leaked trailer for Dracula 3D? It's the entire film in 2 minutes, and looks so OTT and ridiculous. Unfortunately, it seems we're due another huge disappointment.

Looks like ye old Master Of Horror has lost the magic touch,maybe for good,or he might just be on a bad decade????

This i've been really looking forward too.



_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 1091
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 22/12/2011 8:38:05 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3966
Joined: 19/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Originally scheduled for release this month, the new Shameless DVD/Blu-ray release of Four Flies on Grey Velvet has been moved to 30th January 2012. Here are the special features and artwork:

- Introduction to the film by Luigi Cozzi

- New, exclusive and extensive recent interview on the making of Four Flies On Grey Velvet with writer and assistant director Luigi Cozzi

- Original English audio remastered in HD exclusively for this Shameless release from the original magnetic soundtrack and available for the first time since the film's original theatrical opening in the 1970s

- Shameless re-build edit of the complete version of the film including four inserts of previously missing footage known amongst Argento fans as the legendary "missing forty seconds” (the inserts are in Standard-Definition quality). The Blu-ray will allow for seamless branching of the four inserts giving viewers two versions of the film: one all HD without the re-inserted scenes and one longer version including the inserts

- Restoration of all individual damaged frames, most notably with respect to the removal of the black diagonal frame line (caused by the film jumping the high speed camera gate) in the final car crash sequence

- Optional Italian audio version in HD with English subtitles

- Italian and English trailers

- Alternate English opening and closing credits

- Shameless Trailer Park (Blu-ray only)




I will certainly buy this.  The, ahem []  version I have is complete [I think] but of terrible quality!!


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 1092
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 10/1/2012 7:48:30 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5153
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Reverse artwork for Four Flies on Grey Velvet:


(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 1093
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 10/1/2012 8:12:31 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Reverse artwork for Four Flies on Grey Velvet:



The bad news of this release is it's Pan and Scan,going by Empires review,which is like watching a TV movie from the 70's.What happened to the Widescreen version released some years back,all it need was a clean up and some re mastering of the sound.


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Post #: 1094
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 12/1/2012 3:23:53 PM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010


Really, Pan and Scan - how dissapointing? it says it will be "anamorphic widescreen" on Amazon. Having recently bought a Blu-ray player I was going to make this one of my first BD purchases, but I may as well stick with my Blue Underground region 0 DVD if it's pan and scan.
 
having said that, are you sure it's not the review of "Cat O'Nine Tails", that was said to be pan and scan by Empire.


< Message edited by Discodez -- 12/1/2012 3:30:43 PM >

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1095
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 12/1/2012 7:13:35 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Discodez



Really, Pan and Scan - how dissapointing? it says it will be "anamorphic widescreen" on Amazon. Having recently bought a Blu-ray player I was going to make this one of my first BD purchases, but I may as well stick with my Blue Underground region 0 DVD if it's pan and scan.
 
having said that, are you sure it's not the review of "Cat O'Nine Tails", that was said to be pan and scan by Empire.


You may be right just read Empires review,it might be a certain DVD Review got it's wires mixed,i just checked out Amazon,and your right.


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Post #: 1096
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 13/1/2012 9:56:38 AM   
DONOVAN KURTWOOD


Posts: 9056
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: PLANET G
Watched cat o nine tails for the first time a couple of nights ago, on blu. It was fairly good, not one of his best. Felt a bit standard cop thrillery to me although it was peppered with some great argento trademarks and camera work.

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Post #: 1097
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 13/1/2012 12:52:19 PM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010
quote:

ORIGINAL: DONOVAN KURTWOOD

Watched cat o nine tails for the first time a couple of nights ago, on blu. It was fairly good, not one of his best. Felt a bit standard cop thrillery to me although it was peppered with some great argento trademarks and camera work.


That's maybe because of it's age (40 years old now), I really do think it's not hyperbole to call it the defining template for Giallo and cinematic mystery thrillers. It feels familiar because you have seen it all before, it's just that "Cat" is where most of it was done first.

I love it though, Bravura camerwork like you say, and for it's time the murder set pieces are very gory.

(in reply to DONOVAN KURTWOOD)
Post #: 1098
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 16/1/2012 7:41:42 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Discodez

quote:

ORIGINAL: DONOVAN KURTWOOD

Watched cat o nine tails for the first time a couple of nights ago, on blu. It was fairly good, not one of his best. Felt a bit standard cop thrillery to me although it was peppered with some great argento trademarks and camera work.


That's maybe because of it's age (40 years old now), I really do think it's not hyperbole to call it the defining template for Giallo and cinematic mystery thrillers. It feels familiar because you have seen it all before, it's just that "Cat" is where most of it was done first.

I love it though, Bravura camerwork like you say, and for it's time the murder set pieces are very gory.

I want this on Blu-Ray,and as said it looks old because it is,but it shows a director in control and on  his way up to become a Master Of Horror,shame he seems tio have slipped.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Discodez)
Post #: 1099
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 8/2/2012 6:50:43 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3966
Joined: 19/10/2005
 
In the Swiss countryside, a lost tourist, Vera Brandt, is murdered by an unseen assailant.  Sometime later, her head is taken to forensic entomologist John McGregor, who is helping the police try to catch a vicious killer.  Meanwhile Jennifer Corvino, daughter of a movie star, arrives at the Swiss Richard Wagner Academy for Girls, and that night, whilst sleepwalking, witnesses a student being killed.  Found by McGregor’s chimpanzee attendant Inga, she is brought to his house and McGregor becomes convinced that she has some kind of telepathic communication with insects, something that she could perhaps use.  Back at the school, another student is murdered and Jennifer if led by a firefly to the killer’s glove……….. 

Dario Argento’s Phenomena is one of the director’s most certifiably bonkers films, a haphazard, crazy dream of a movie that perhaps shouldn’t work very well at all, at times coming across as a combination of elements from earlier Argento movies mixed with Carrie with a load of insects thrown in. It continues to divide fans, while Argento himself has, on a number of occasions, said it is his best or favourite of his films.  Though not much liked at the time of its release outside Italy, more and more it seem to me, if not one of his best, one of his most intriguing films, one of those films that is possibly at its greatest when it’s it at its most ridiculous.  It was inspired by something Argento had heard about insects being used to help murder investigations, though its origins can perhaps also be seen in an early scene in his Deep Red where a character talks about insects using telepathy.  Filmed in and around Zurich, it was Argento’s first collaboration with Franco Ferrini and his first movie to be shot in English.

Though a commercial success in Italy, Phenomena was badly treated by its distributors, who removed 28 mins from the US/UK version and retitled it Creepers.  Many dialogue scenes were drastically shortened, resulting in a choppy, awkward experience, and at least two major scenes of Jennifer receiving a brain scan removed and witnessing a murder were removed, while of course the violent scenes were toned down.  The climactic razor slashing was removed entirely for the UK video release.  Back in the days where it was hard to obtain uncut films of this nature legally in the UK, I remember eagerly obtaining the full length version on video and being pleasantly surprised by the oddly poetic nature of the movie.  It was still an absurd movie, and only made slightly more sense, but it now seemed to me as much an odd ‘coming of age’ tale as a horror film.  It’s worth noting that a version a couple of minutes longer than the ‘full’ Italian release version is obtainable on DVD, and it seems like this print is going to be the one used for Arrow’s upcoming release,though the extra bits are dubbed into Italian.

Phenomena opens magnificently.  Vera misses her bus, and the look on her face is almost heartbreakingly sad.  She wonders about, the Swiss countryside being undeniably beautifully photographed but being given an undercurrent of menace, something increased by Bill Wyman’s haunting synthesiser track, which passes the same chords around and increases them in volume and power.  Finally, she is chased by the killer, whom, of course, we are some of the time, and viciously dispatched, scissors horribly impaling a hand and the head crashing through glass in slow motion, the director, as usual, finding considerable poetry in violent death.  Considering the length of the film though, there isn’t as much gore as you might expect.  A great majority of the running time is devoted to Jennifer at the school and her time spent with McGregor, making for a film which, in its full version [the one under review here], moves quite leisurely for much of the time.  The sheer absurdity of some of the things said are priceless.  “You’re attracting him, and he’s doing his best to attract you” says McGregor to Jennifer when a bug she picks up clearly fancies her.  “And to think we only just met” replies Jennifer.


Then again, criticising scenes like this in Phenomena is really missing the point when the whole movie is full of outlandish scenes and concepts like a firefly leading Jennifer to a murder victim, Jennifer summoning a horde of insects when bullied by her classmates [originally she was supposed to levitate but the effect wasn’t good enough], and Jennifer teaming up with a fly to find the killer’s house.  The movie is a virtual melting pot of disparate elements; a girl who can sleepwalk and communicate with insects, a giallo mystery, necrophilia, a murderous deformed child, his equally murderous mother, a vengeful chimpanzee with a razor, a morbid back story involving rape, a strange boarding school in the ‘Swiss Transylvania’, an asylum reminiscent of the nine circles of hell, reliable old Donald Pleasance with a strange accent etc.  Do they hang together? Not really.  Is the movie fun?  In my opinion, yes.  When so many genre filmmakers play it safe and ‘hold back’, it’s great to see an auteur just chuck whatever he wants to into his film.  Phenomena has a nonsensical, almost dreamlike logic to it, situated somewhere between the surreal nightmare world of Argento’s Suspiria and Inferno and the heightened rationality of his gialli like Tenebrae and Sleepless.

Taking matters at a relatively slow but quite rewarding pace for most of the time, the film finally goes into total overdrive with a scene where Jennifer is thrown into a pit full of mud, dead bodies and maggots, one of the director’s greatest images of pure horror, a pretty girl trapped in the pit of Hell.  The thrilling final reel is full of gruesome fun and games, taking in death by insects, a thumb being snapped to remove a chain, one of the most surprising decapitations ever, and a razor killing that at the time must have seemed closer to the studied, drawn out viciousness of Lucio Fulci than typical Argento violence.  It also has one of the greatest shots ever in an Argento movie; Jennifer emerging from the water in darkness, the black showing up the very green grass in the foreground which Jennifer is about to reach while, behind her, is another patch of grass, but unnatural in colour, blue and grey, represented the surreal nightmare she is escaping from.  Though this is not often regarded as one of Argento’s most visually strong movies, Romano Albani’s work is actually quite stunning.  Dispensing, for the most part, with bright colours, instead emphasising white and black, and lighting nocturnal scenes with an eerie blue, he constantly treats us to shots of beautifully composed shots, virtually creating Italian Gothic artwork with his restricted colour palette.  Even the lush shots of the Swiss countryside have an eerie quality to them, a sense of twisted beauty, that is hard to actually pinpoint.  These gorgeous locales, the lakes and cottages, are scary.

Jennifer Connelly, in her second film role [the first was Once Upon A Time In America], is sometimes very good, sometimes a bit poor, especially in the longer dialogue scenes, but she was still just starting out and it was a very difficult part to carry off, especially considering the chimpanzee bit off part of her finger.  Daria Nicolodi, though not having much screen time, stays in the mind as one of Argento’s most unhinged, yet oddly most sympathetic, crazies.  Phenomena has an incredibly eclectic sound track [though not as eclectic as the one for Opera his next movie], ranging from the uneasy ambient droning of Simon Boswell to beautiful compositions, often making use of Pina Magri’s haunting wordless singing, by Claudio Simonetti, to heavy metal tracks by the likes of Iron Maiden and Motorhead.  The music is often totally ‘in your face’, but seems entirely appropriate to the film.  At night time, an ever-present wind whistles and blows the trees, helping the dark fairytale ambience.  The special effects are variable, the insect scenes employing all the old tricks from pepper on the lense to cartoon animation, but serve their purpose, and I doubt would be any better with CGI.  Phenomena remains a very curious film indeed, almost idiotic in its storytelling, but made with great care and cleverness. It is perhaps because of that, even though I wouldn’t rate it as one of his masterpieces, it is one of the Argento films I find myself returning to most.
Rating: 7.5/10


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1100
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 8/2/2012 7:16:56 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

 
In the Swiss countryside, a lost tourist, Vera Brandt, is murdered by an unseen assailant.  Sometime later, her head is taken to forensic entomologist John McGregor, who is helping the police try to catch a vicious killer.  Meanwhile Jennifer Corvino, daughter of a movie star, arrives at the Swiss Richard Wagner Academy for Girls, and that night, whilst sleepwalking, witnesses a student being killed.  Found by McGregor's chimpanzee attendant Inga, she is brought to his house and McGregor becomes convinced that she has some kind of telepathic communication with insects, something that she could perhaps use.  Back at the school, another student is murdered and Jennifer if led by a firefly to the killer's glove……….. 

Dario Argento's Phenomena is one of the director's most certifiably bonkers films, a haphazard, crazy dream of a movie that perhaps shouldn't work very well at all, at times coming across as a combination of elements from earlier Argento movies mixed with Carrie with a load of insects thrown in. It continues to divide fans, while Argento himself has, on a number of occasions, said it is his best or favourite of his films.  Though not much liked at the time of its release outside Italy, more and more it seem to me, if not one of his best, one of his most intriguing films, one of those films that is possibly at its greatest when it's it at its most ridiculous.  It was inspired by something Argento had heard about insects being used to help murder investigations, though its origins can perhaps also be seen in an early scene in his Deep Red where a character talks about insects using telepathy.  Filmed in and around Zurich, it was Argento's first collaboration with Franco Ferrini and his first movie to be shot in English.

Though a commercial success in Italy, Phenomena was badly treated by its distributors, who removed 28 mins from the US/UK version and retitled it Creepers.  Many dialogue scenes were drastically shortened, resulting in a choppy, awkward experience, and at least two major scenes of Jennifer receiving a brain scan removed and witnessing a murder were removed, while of course the violent scenes were toned down.  The climactic razor slashing was removed entirely for the UK video release.  Back in the days where it was hard to obtain uncut films of this nature legally in the UK, I remember eagerly obtaining the full length version on video and being pleasantly surprised by the oddly poetic nature of the movie.  It was still an absurd movie, and only made slightly more sense, but it now seemed to me as much an odd 'coming of age' tale as a horror film.  It's worth noting that a version a couple of minutes longer than the 'full' Italian release version is obtainable on DVD, and it seems like this print is going to be the one used for Arrow's upcoming release,though the extra bits are dubbed into Italian.

Phenomena opens magnificently.  Vera misses her bus, and the look on her face is almost heartbreakingly sad.  She wonders about, the Swiss countryside being undeniably beautifully photographed but being given an undercurrent of menace, something increased by Bill Wyman's haunting synthesiser track, which passes the same chords around and increases them in volume and power.  Finally, she is chased by the killer, whom, of course, we are some of the time, and viciously dispatched, scissors horribly impaling a hand and the head crashing through glass in slow motion, the director, as usual, finding considerable poetry in violent death.  Considering the length of the film though, there isn't as much gore as you might expect.  A great majority of the running time is devoted to Jennifer at the school and her time spent with McGregor, making for a film which, in its full version [the one under review here], moves quite leisurely for much of the time.  The sheer absurdity of some of the things said are priceless.  "You're attracting him, and he's doing his best to attract you” says McGregor to Jennifer when a bug she picks up clearly fancies her.  "And to think we only just met” replies Jennifer.


Then again, criticising scenes like this in Phenomena is really missing the point when the whole movie is full of outlandish scenes and concepts like a firefly leading Jennifer to a murder victim, Jennifer summoning a horde of insects when bullied by her classmates [originally she was supposed to levitate but the effect wasn't good enough], and Jennifer teaming up with a fly to find the killer's house.  The movie is a virtual melting pot of disparate elements; a girl who can sleepwalk and communicate with insects, a giallo mystery, necrophilia, a murderous deformed child, his equally murderous mother, a vengeful chimpanzee with a razor, a morbid back story involving rape, a strange boarding school in the 'Swiss Transylvania', an asylum reminiscent of the nine circles of hell, reliable old Donald Pleasance with a strange accent etc.  Do they hang together? Not really.  Is the movie fun?  In my opinion, yes.  When so many genre filmmakers play it safe and 'hold back', it's great to see an auteur just chuck whatever he wants to into his film.  Phenomena has a nonsensical, almost dreamlike logic to it, situated somewhere between the surreal nightmare world of Argento's Suspiria and Inferno and the heightened rationality of his gialli like Tenebrae and Sleepless.

Taking matters at a relatively slow but quite rewarding pace for most of the time, the film finally goes into total overdrive with a scene where Jennifer is thrown into a pit full of mud, dead bodies and maggots, one of the director's greatest images of pure horror, a pretty girl trapped in the pit of Hell.  The thrilling final reel is full of gruesome fun and games, taking in death by insects, a thumb being snapped to remove a chain, one of the most surprising decapitations ever, and a razor killing that at the time must have seemed closer to the studied, drawn out viciousness of Lucio Fulci than typical Argento violence.  It also has one of the greatest shots ever in an Argento movie; Jennifer emerging from the water in darkness, the black showing up the very green grass in the foreground which Jennifer is about to reach while, behind her, is another patch of grass, but unnatural in colour, blue and grey, represented the surreal nightmare she is escaping from.  Though this is not often regarded as one of Argento's most visually strong movies, Romano Albani's work is actually quite stunning.  Dispensing, for the most part, with bright colours, instead emphasising white and black, and lighting nocturnal scenes with an eerie blue, he constantly treats us to shots of beautifully composed shots, virtually creating Italian Gothic artwork with his restricted colour palette.  Even the lush shots of the Swiss countryside have an eerie quality to them, a sense of twisted beauty, that is hard to actually pinpoint.  These gorgeous locales, the lakes and cottages, are scary.

Jennifer Connelly, in her second film role [the first was Once Upon A Time In America], is sometimes very good, sometimes a bit poor, especially in the longer dialogue scenes, but she was still just starting out and it was a very difficult part to carry off, especially considering the chimpanzee bit off part of her finger.  Daria Nicolodi, though not having much screen time, stays in the mind as one of Argento's most unhinged, yet oddly most sympathetic, crazies.  Phenomena has an incredibly eclectic sound track [though not as eclectic as the one for Opera his next movie], ranging from the uneasy ambient droning of Simon Boswell to beautiful compositions, often making use of Pina Magri's haunting wordless singing, by Claudio Simonetti, to heavy metal tracks by the likes of Iron Maiden and Motorhead.  The music is often totally 'in your face', but seems entirely appropriate to the film.  At night time, an ever-present wind whistles and blows the trees, helping the dark fairytale ambience.  The special effects are variable, the insect scenes employing all the old tricks from pepper on the lense to cartoon animation, but serve their purpose, and I doubt would be any better with CGI.  Phenomena remains a very curious film indeed, almost idiotic in its storytelling, but made with great care and cleverness. It is perhaps because of that, even though I wouldn't rate it as one of his masterpieces, it is one of the Argento films I find myself returning to most.
Rating: 7.5/10


You can feel your love for what is Argento's most crazy film,hated by critics,hated by censors and has divined fans into to clear camps,hate or love.As you know i love this one and when i first saw it as an uncut bootleg many years ago(decades if i'm honest),it was called CREEPERS.Great insight into the film and it's problems,yet you like myself are trapped in it's pure over the top mayhem,but then so was Demons,The Church etc that he produced and was the main writer.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 1101
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 9/2/2012 6:08:07 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3966
Joined: 19/10/2005
Thanks, I always appreciate your comments, and we obviously feel the same way about this one, I wanted to give it higher than 7.5/10, because I do love the film and find it such fun, but felt from a critical perspective it falls rather short in certain areas!

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1102
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 9/2/2012 7:45:30 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Thanks, I always appreciate your comments, and we obviously feel the same way about this one, I wanted to give it higher than 7.5/10, because I do love the film and find it such fun, but felt from a critical perspective it falls rather short in certain areas!

I scored it a 7/10 for the same reasons,i felt it's crazy mixed up story line was so over the top,and lacked a center,it's only Dario's direction that saves it in the end.Here's ye old review of the uncut version.

Phenomena 1985 Aka Creepers.
Teenager Jennifer Corvino(Jennifer Connelly), daughter of a famous actor, arrives in an expensive board school in Switzerland,and shares her room with the French schoolmate Sophie(Federica Mastroianni). Jennifer is a sleepwalker,and is capable of telepathically communicate with insects,and one night while hile sleepwalking, she meets and becomes a friend of a Scottish entomologist, Prof. John McGregor (Donald Pleasence), and his chimpanzee Tonga. Jennifer decides to help  Dr. McGregor in the investigation of a serial killer,that is killing young girls in that area. When her friend Sophie disappears and Dr. McGregor is killed, the scared Jennifer decides to call her lawyer and return to Los Angeles. She is invited to stay in the house of Frau Brückner(Daria Nicolodi)waiting for her flight, but the serial killer is already closing in on her.

This is Jennifer Connelly's second film in a staring role,her first was Once Upon A Time In America,which Argento had seen and wanted her for the part.She only agreed after Dario hired a body double for the nude scenes,and a stunt double for scenes involving the chimp,and she got to use her own first name,as in the script the girl was called Martha.Now Argento says the movie is about the loss of innocence,which is why he wanted her,she was only 14 at the time,so once again Dario was pushing at the limits.Now the nude scenes that survived the cutting room floor are in fact a bit of a cheat as the girl is seen in see through robes,though still erotic enough to cause some outrage at the time.Also it has to be said that Connelly carries off her role very well,and helps lift the movie,in what was a very difficult role for any actress never mind a 14 year old.

As far as the acting goes in this film,as already said Jennifer is excellent and for me carried the movie,yet Donald was also pretty good if a bit ham at times,and of course  Daria was well up for her her part.The film score,well it's another fine Goblin piece of music,though there's Motorhead and Iron Maiden thrown in,which is ok but then it was the 80's so i'll forgive that.If your lucky enough to get the 111 minute version,your in for one hell of a gore fest,as it's easily one of Argento's most brutal bloodiest movies.

From the opening scene to the end,this is a dark,dark tale that never let's up on violence and gore,and of course as ever Argento make's it all look so erotic at times.Take the opening killing where we see a beautiful young Danish tourist played by Argento's eldest daughter Fiore,stranded in the middle of the Swiss countryside after missing her last bus back into town,and all filmed in board daylight in the beautiful Swiss countryside.She enters a house looking for help but after hearing some strange sounds she runs for her life,as a chained killer breaks loose and gives chase.Argento brilliantly cross-cutting between the traumatized tourist desperately asking for help, and the thick chains of an unseen foe slowly breaking away from the wall on which they've been bolted.The killer stabs and beheads her all in view of a beautiful water fall,yet we only see the flash of the blade,and all this in just a few opening minutes.Later we see a pool of rotting corpse's which are heroine falls into,while she to tries to escape a chained psycho,a totally bizarre scene that will make you flinch.There 's amazing scenes with insects,where we see are heroine speaking to them,again so bizarre,yet for it's time high art effects,there still was no CGI at hand,and the knife wedding chimp,has to be one of the most crazy ideas ever put to film,yet it's bloody scary.And what a blood soaked ending,that makes even some modern horror movies look tame,it's no surprise the Distributors got scared and cut 30 minutes from it
.
I think it is a far better film than the story would have you believe,and this is down to toning down his usually mind-bending visual style /colour schemes/cinema-scope compositions and atmospheric camera movements.Dario  going for a much colder visual look, with soft blue hues and black and white costume designs captured by a camera that tends to observe from a distance.Yet the set piece killings are a true treat for ay horror fan,and this has plenty of them,though the story takes some getting used to.All in maybe not a classic,but one hell of a horror fantasy movie,that is very daring in story and direction,and for me a creepy as hell nightmare of a movie.7/10


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 1103
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 22/2/2012 10:12:22 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3966
Joined: 19/10/2005
And here's another one I did;


While on the trail of Alfredo Grossi, serial rapist and murderer, policewoman Anna Manni succumbs to the Stendahl syndrome, a feverish reaction to works of art, in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. She is recognised by Alfredo, and, after Anna has experienced some art-induced hallucinations, Alfredo kidnaps and rapes her. She manages to escape but is understandably severely traumatised. Despite confessing her emotions to a psychiatrist, she spurns her boyfriend Marco, returns to her home town and begins to retreat into a world of her own, painting disturbing pictures, Then Alfredo kidnaps her again, and this time takes her to his underground lair behind a waterfall, where he assaults her again………..

The Stendahl Syndrome, though a major box office success in its native Italy, was mostly received with scorn and even indifference upon release, and, though the film’s reputation has improved slightly over the years, this is one of many occasions where I disagree totally with general opinion. I consider it one of Dario Argento’s boldest and most interesting works and probably his last great movie. It’s an extremely disturbing but also, bizarrely, rather beautiful work of art that seems to deconstruct elements of the giallo into something quite new and interesting. While there are certainly aspects of Tenebrae and Phenomena in the story, it really shows the director doing some new things, while fearlessly giving us glimpses of his psyche in a way that few filmmakers would probably want to. What is a bit of a shame is that, after The Stendahl Syndrome, Argento didn’t explore further down the passageways shown by this film, and his work began to show a tired, lazy quality. Perhaps he had delved as deeply within himself as he has wanted to and subsequently just wanted to have fun with successive projects, and you can’t really blame him for that!

The condition of the ‘Stendahl syndrome’, where someone can experience strange feelings and even hallucinations when looking at art, was not invented; it actually exists, and was first diagnosed in 1982. Argento himself experienced it when he was a child when he was in Athens with his parents where, whilst climbing the steps of the Parthenon, he was overcome by a trance that caused him to become separate from his parents for hours. The Stendahl Syndrome was actually originally going to be shot in America with Daryl Hannah as the lead, but plans fell through and it was relocated to Italy. Still, both Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh [she would have good!] were both offered the lead before Argento’s daughter Asia signed on for the difficult part. Unsurprisingly, it mostly went straight to video outside of Italy and, equally understandably, it was often censored, with the first UK release receiving nearly three minutes of cuts to the rapes and gore, though most export versions also lost two dialogue scenes. Amusingly, the first DVD release in the UK was of the uncut version, but it was quickly withdrawn because the BBFC has not passed it, and replaced with the cut version. Of course now it is available totally uncut, though it has been said that Argento himself prefers the version which loses the two dialogue scenes. He also planned a sequel also featuring Asia’s character; it eventually metamorphised into the [somewhat disapponting] The Card Player.

The initial theme of The Stendahl Syndrome is art, illustrated by the opening titles, where on one side are the credits and on the other side are images of various paintings crawling upwards as if they are on a roll of film. Art of course has featured in many previous Argento movies, from a painting containing a clue to the killer’s madness in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage to a painting actually revealing the killer in Deep Red. The director is obviously fascinated by the effect art can have, so The Stendahl Syndrome having a heroine who actually imagines she can go into paintings is merely a continuation of this concern. The film’s opening sequence, of Anna in the gallery [Argento is the only film director allowed to shoot in Florence’s Uffizi gallery] gradually succumbing to the Stendahl syndrome, is one of Argento’s most bravura. Calm long shots show Anna becoming more and more trapped by the crowds, while shots from her point of view are jittery, almost handheld in nature and dominated by exaggerated sounds of people chattering, all the time while Ennio Morricone’s repetitive theme music, which is basically an eight note pattern repeated over and over again, moves from beauty to tension to madness, while still never deviating from its main musical idea.

The hallucinations are handled in a more restrained manner than Argento may have done ten years before, perhaps because of the more’ serious’ and in some ways realistic nature of the story, though the sights of Anna being kissed by a fish and a painting of a demon with a huge phallus coming to life are profoundly disturbing, and the way Argento marriages this aspect of the film with other strands is ingenious, often combining the visual side with the narrative in a very ambiguous and interesting way. One hallucination sees Anna step into a painting and find herself in the past, where she is being asked to first investigate the case, cleverly giving us exposition without it seeming like exposition, while another actually reveals a waterfall which will later be the killer’s hideout, yet we see Anna virtually bathing in the water, trying to wash away her rape and finding a moment’s beauty and peace in her increasingly fragile existence. There are many other instances of intriguingly chosen shots; for example when Anna and another policeman examine a body we see them from the body’s point of view, and have seemingly beautiful things like statues ever looked more ominous? Nor can you miss some images absolutely rife with symbolism, such as Anna, covered in paint, lying on the floor in the foetal position.

Make no mistake, elements of The Stendahl Syndrome are exceptionally harrowing; the rapes, though relatively short in nature, are supremely nasty and make unpleasant but justified use of shots from Anna’s point of view, and amidst other horrors we also get to see razor slashing, eye gouging, death by car bonnet and a bullet going into one side of a head and out the other. Though the CGI [this was the first Italian film to use a large amount of CGI] is a little poor in this bit and a few others, there is no attempt at aesthetic beauty in this particular movie’s violence. Instead, the viewer is meant to feel as violated as the people receiving it. Likewise, the effect of Alfredo’s assaults on Anna are detailed in a rather painful, even sensitive way, from Anna almost screwing her boyfriend from behind as if she is the man in the relationship, to the disturbing pictures she paints. Echoes of films such as Repulsion reverberate through this study of growing psychological trauma and even madness, but Argento still remembers to give his heroine moments of compassion, of respite from her trauma, such as a tryst in a park with a French student. Critics have complained that the Stendahl syndrome aspect of the film doesn’t have much to do with some of this stuff, though it doesn’t bother me – not everything connects in life either.

The actual script, by Argento and Franco Ferrini, is oddly structured, with the story seeming to end two thirds of the way through, and I remember this really irritating many critics at the time. I think it’s wonderfully audacious. A typical giallo mystery does partially rear its head but otherwise most of its conventions are turned on their head, such as the revelation of Alfredo as the killer and the complete absence of black gloves! In regard to pacing, the film does have problems. At times the film almost draws to a halt, such as during Anna’s visits to her psychiatrist which don’t really tell us anything we can’t work out for ourselves, though at least such scenes give us an opportunity to fully appreciate Asia’s stunning performance. Some have remarked that it is questionable her doing such roles in films directed by her dad, but you cannot deny that she throws herself into this part, and never being less than convincing even if you watched the dubbed version. Thoman Kretchhmann, Argento’s Dracula, doesn’t quite match her though certainly makes an impression even though he’s not in the film that much. Morricone’s endlessly repeated note patterns cast their own strange spell; it’s not a diverse score at all, but works very well for the film. This was his first score for Argento since 1973′s Four Flies On Grey Velvet, where the two had fallen out. The Stendahl Syndrome is not an Argento movie I watch very often – it’s too uncomfortable viewing for that – but every time I do it impresses me a little more. It seems more and more to me his last great movie, possibly his cruellest, but also his bravest and, oddly, his most human and compassionate.

Rating: 9/10

< Message edited by Dr Lenera -- 22/2/2012 10:17:39 AM >


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1104
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 28/2/2012 5:43:50 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

And here's another one I did;


While on the trail of Alfredo Grossi, serial rapist and murderer, policewoman Anna Manni succumbs to the Stendahl syndrome, a feverish reaction to works of art, in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. She is recognised by Alfredo, and, after Anna has experienced some art-induced hallucinations, Alfredo kidnaps and rapes her. She manages to escape but is understandably severely traumatised. Despite confessing her emotions to a psychiatrist, she spurns her boyfriend Marco, returns to her home town and begins to retreat into a world of her own, painting disturbing pictures, Then Alfredo kidnaps her again, and this time takes her to his underground lair behind a waterfall, where he assaults her again………..

The Stendahl Syndrome, though a major box office success in its native Italy, was mostly received with scorn and even indifference upon release, and, though the film’s reputation has improved slightly over the years, this is one of many occasions where I disagree totally with general opinion. I consider it one of Dario Argento’s boldest and most interesting works and probably his last great movie. It’s an extremely disturbing but also, bizarrely, rather beautiful work of art that seems to deconstruct elements of the giallo into something quite new and interesting. While there are certainly aspects of Tenebrae and Phenomena in the story, it really shows the director doing some new things, while fearlessly giving us glimpses of his psyche in a way that few filmmakers would probably want to. What is a bit of a shame is that, after The Stendahl Syndrome, Argento didn’t explore further down the passageways shown by this film, and his work began to show a tired, lazy quality. Perhaps he had delved as deeply within himself as he has wanted to and subsequently just wanted to have fun with successive projects, and you can’t really blame him for that!

The condition of the ‘Stendahl syndrome’, where someone can experience strange feelings and even hallucinations when looking at art, was not invented; it actually exists, and was first diagnosed in 1982. Argento himself experienced it when he was a child when he was in Athens with his parents where, whilst climbing the steps of the Parthenon, he was overcome by a trance that caused him to become separate from his parents for hours. The Stendahl Syndrome was actually originally going to be shot in America with Daryl Hannah as the lead, but plans fell through and it was relocated to Italy. Still, both Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh [she would have good!] were both offered the lead before Argento’s daughter Asia signed on for the difficult part. Unsurprisingly, it mostly went straight to video outside of Italy and, equally understandably, it was often censored, with the first UK release receiving nearly three minutes of cuts to the rapes and gore, though most export versions also lost two dialogue scenes. Amusingly, the first DVD release in the UK was of the uncut version, but it was quickly withdrawn because the BBFC has not passed it, and replaced with the cut version. Of course now it is available totally uncut, though it has been said that Argento himself prefers the version which loses the two dialogue scenes. He also planned a sequel also featuring Asia’s character; it eventually metamorphised into the [somewhat disapponting] The Card Player.

The initial theme of The Stendahl Syndrome is art, illustrated by the opening titles, where on one side are the credits and on the other side are images of various paintings crawling upwards as if they are on a roll of film. Art of course has featured in many previous Argento movies, from a painting containing a clue to the killer’s madness in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage to a painting actually revealing the killer in Deep Red. The director is obviously fascinated by the effect art can have, so The Stendahl Syndrome having a heroine who actually imagines she can go into paintings is merely a continuation of this concern. The film’s opening sequence, of Anna in the gallery [Argento is the only film director allowed to shoot in Florence’s Uffizi gallery] gradually succumbing to the Stendahl syndrome, is one of Argento’s most bravura. Calm long shots show Anna becoming more and more trapped by the crowds, while shots from her point of view are jittery, almost handheld in nature and dominated by exaggerated sounds of people chattering, all the time while Ennio Morricone’s repetitive theme music, which is basically an eight note pattern repeated over and over again, moves from beauty to tension to madness, while still never deviating from its main musical idea.

The hallucinations are handled in a more restrained manner than Argento may have done ten years before, perhaps because of the more’ serious’ and in some ways realistic nature of the story, though the sights of Anna being kissed by a fish and a painting of a demon with a huge phallus coming to life are profoundly disturbing, and the way Argento marriages this aspect of the film with other strands is ingenious, often combining the visual side with the narrative in a very ambiguous and interesting way. One hallucination sees Anna step into a painting and find herself in the past, where she is being asked to first investigate the case, cleverly giving us exposition without it seeming like exposition, while another actually reveals a waterfall which will later be the killer’s hideout, yet we see Anna virtually bathing in the water, trying to wash away her rape and finding a moment’s beauty and peace in her increasingly fragile existence. There are many other instances of intriguingly chosen shots; for example when Anna and another policeman examine a body we see them from the body’s point of view, and have seemingly beautiful things like statues ever looked more ominous? Nor can you miss some images absolutely rife with symbolism, such as Anna, covered in paint, lying on the floor in the foetal position.

Make no mistake, elements of The Stendahl Syndrome are exceptionally harrowing; the rapes, though relatively short in nature, are supremely nasty and make unpleasant but justified use of shots from Anna’s point of view, and amidst other horrors we also get to see razor slashing, eye gouging, death by car bonnet and a bullet going into one side of a head and out the other. Though the CGI [this was the first Italian film to use a large amount of CGI] is a little poor in this bit and a few others, there is no attempt at aesthetic beauty in this particular movie’s violence. Instead, the viewer is meant to feel as violated as the people receiving it. Likewise, the effect of Alfredo’s assaults on Anna are detailed in a rather painful, even sensitive way, from Anna almost screwing her boyfriend from behind as if she is the man in the relationship, to the disturbing pictures she paints. Echoes of films such as Repulsion reverberate through this study of growing psychological trauma and even madness, but Argento still remembers to give his heroine moments of compassion, of respite from her trauma, such as a tryst in a park with a French student. Critics have complained that the Stendahl syndrome aspect of the film doesn’t have much to do with some of this stuff, though it doesn’t bother me – not everything connects in life either.

The actual script, by Argento and Franco Ferrini, is oddly structured, with the story seeming to end two thirds of the way through, and I remember this really irritating many critics at the time. I think it’s wonderfully audacious. A typical giallo mystery does partially rear its head but otherwise most of its conventions are turned on their head, such as the revelation of Alfredo as the killer and the complete absence of black gloves! In regard to pacing, the film does have problems. At times the film almost draws to a halt, such as during Anna’s visits to her psychiatrist which don’t really tell us anything we can’t work out for ourselves, though at least such scenes give us an opportunity to fully appreciate Asia’s stunning performance. Some have remarked that it is questionable her doing such roles in films directed by her dad, but you cannot deny that she throws herself into this part, and never being less than convincing even if you watched the dubbed version. Thoman Kretchhmann, Argento’s Dracula, doesn’t quite match her though certainly makes an impression even though he’s not in the film that much. Morricone’s endlessly repeated note patterns cast their own strange spell; it’s not a diverse score at all, but works very well for the film. This was his first score for Argento since 1973′s Four Flies On Grey Velvet, where the two had fallen out. The Stendahl Syndrome is not an Argento movie I watch very often – it’s too uncomfortable viewing for that – but every time I do it impresses me a little more. It seems more and more to me his last great movie, possibly his cruellest, but also his bravest and, oddly, his most human and compassionate.

Rating: 9/10

Another excellent informed review,and it seems we two have been reading the same books on Argento,as well as being massive fans of this once great talent.For me his last great film was SLEEPLESS,though i have a soft spot for Mother Of Tears,and Gallio is just a mess,though it could have been a decent film if a certain Mr Brody had kept his hands OFF!!!

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 1105
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 29/2/2012 10:37:18 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3966
Joined: 19/10/2005
Could be, the two books I have are;



Though both are a little old and the second stops with Two Evil Eyes [think there's an updated version].

Talking of favourite Italian directors, I also have [not showing off or anything];



_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1106
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 29/2/2012 8:05:34 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
Well well i also have;
 
and the one i would really recomend to any fan of Argento or Horror;

I also have;

But not your other two ,Mario Bava is on my wish list.

< Message edited by evil bill -- 29/2/2012 8:13:15 PM >


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 1107
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 1/3/2012 11:19:53 AM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010
either of you read this?



He covers all Argento's films up to and including Giallo, and also features all the films he's produced or written too. Being the first book I've read on Dario I enjoyed it. The guy is obviously a massive Argento fan.

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1108
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 2/3/2012 5:40:47 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6717
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk

quote:

ORIGINAL: Discodez

either of you read this?



He covers all Argento's films up to and including Giallo, and also features all the films he's produced or written too. Being the first book I've read on Dario I enjoyed it. The guy is obviously a massive Argento fan.

I've read good reports on this book,and with it being right up to date i think it maybe on my wish list.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Discodez)
Post #: 1109
RE: DARIO ARGENTO overlooked master. - 31/5/2012 2:02:36 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5153
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Anyone seen the reviews for Dracula 3D? The opinion is unanimous: awful.

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 1110
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