Hands up who likes flesh torn from the body, severed Achilles’ tendons, mutilated genitalia, and hacked-off scalps. Well, for those with your knife-wielding hands raised, you’ve come to the right place, because it’s day three of FrightFest 2012 and things are getting a tad nasty. Which is fine by THN. And pretty much everyone else present at London’s best loved film festival, is the enthusiastic cheers and whooping are anything to go by.
For those with the stomach for it, here’s a rundown of what FrightFest had to offer…
Directors: The Manneti Bros
Cast: Lorenzo Pedrotti, Francesca Cuttica, Peppe Servillo
Plot: When three pals trying to escape their day-to-day lives find the keys to a local villa, they take residence whilst the owner is away on business, but soon discover a nasty secret in the basement…
Horror highlights: A strong peformance from Cuttica, who does a charming ‘nutty woman locked in the cellar’. Also genuinely tense in places (including one almost unbearable sequence of… ahem, shaving), with some satisfying gore. Boasts the greatest nipple twister ever committed to film.
Gory gash: A very slow start that feels as if it’s building toward something interesting, but instead becomes a predictable retread of familiar material. Also, the 3D is pretty much pointless, except from moment when somebody waggles a stick for a bit.
Overall: PAURA 3D unfortunately screams mediocre from the opening seconds, and current trends in the horror genre ensure this never elaborates of the premise’s potential (it would have been much better if there was something supernatural lurking in the basement rather than the usual torture enthusiast). However, it does touch on real world events (well hello, Mr Fritzl) which is slightly unnerving, all helped along by a particularly creepy villain. But this alone can’t save PAURA 3D from being overlong and underwhelming.
Director: Federico Zampaglione
Cast: Claudia Gerini, Michele Placido, Nuot Arquint
Plot: City girl Lisa finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery when a masked psycho targets members of her high-class fetish club…
Horror highlights: It’s suitably sinister, with a top-notch soundtrack, and ace grisly murders (death by barbed wire, cooking oil, and severed cock and balls are all put to use). There are also some killer lines in the spirit of the poorly-dubbed, poorly-acted 1970s Italian horrors.
Gory gash: Undoubtedly not to everyone’s tastes and possibly lost of those unfamiliar with the original cycle.
Overall: ‘Giallo is back,’ went the FrightFest introduction to TULPA, and indeed it is. Part slasher, part surreal European art house, TULPA perfectly recreates the Giallo tropes, and tries to bring something new to the table. Sexy, funny, and dripping with blood.
Director: Franck Khaloun
Cast: Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Liane Balaban
Plot: Withdrawn mannequin restorer Frank has a deadly passion: stalking and brutally murdering women. When he meets a young and beautiful photographer, it’s only a matter of time before his crush on her develops into something far more deadly…
Horror highlights: A great turn from Elijah Wood, some gut-wrenching violence, and an interesting narrative twist, as the action is presented almost entirely from a first person perspective.
Gory gash: The Freudian backstory which accounts for Frank’s naughty behaviour is a bit heavy-handed and as always, a bit too easy.
Overall: Not only a homage to the original MANIAC – both THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS are explicitly referenced – Khaloun’s new version is a movie aimed squarely at horror fans with a penchant for the nasty: it’s brutal, intense, and thoroughly unpleasant. MANIAC’s technical innovations also make it very distinctive. Far better than we’d have given it credit for beforehand.
Check out all of our FrightFest 2012 coverage here!