Everyone likes to try and pin down the best posble double feature for those nothing-to-do Saturday nights. I know that, because I too am one of the (often) socially deprived recluses, endlessly seeking a solid grind house effect to occupy a drab evening. Well, I’ve tracked down some sufficient features, sure to keep you entertained into the early a.m. hours. Amazingly, they actually work quite well for date nights. Darkness, danger and terror… sounds like a recipe for seduction!
EDEN LAKE/THE COTTAGE
EDEN LAKE deals with a couple who opt to vacation, heading for what seems to be a mellow, isolated area. That is, until a group of brash, atrocious youngsters ruin any plans of solitude. This group is particularly heinous, and hell-bent on making these campers pay…for no apparent reason. The film is more sadistic and savage than most films the American market is blessed with, and as a result, viewers are treated to a carnal joyride that seems destined to end in the grandest of fashion: complete disaster.
THE COTTAGE employs a milar theme, but exercises an unpredictable set of plot twists which ultimately result in one extremely disturbing set of circumstances. When two brothers kidnap a young woman, demanding a large sum of cash for her release; things backfire in a way no one could imagine. It seems the cottage in which our victim is held captive doesn’t exactly harbor friendly neighbors. One of those neighbors in particular, is extremely menacing, deformed and rapacious in his dere to claim human flesh. Another grand finale here!
After watching these two films at midnight, back to back - I encourage you to throw some Vivaldi on the headphones…in hope your dreams do not betray you.
JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER/ARMY OF DARKNESS
JACK BROOKS focuses on Jack Brooks, a young man with a nasty anger problem. After seeing his family brutally murdered by a monster as a child, Jack grew up with plenty of problems. Well, now, as a grown man, it seems those problems may be back to haunt him. After accidentally unleashing an unspeakable evil, it’s time for Jack to face his demons, and take out a gang of hilariously gruesome obscenities in order to save himself, his few friends, and who knows - maybe the whole town.
ARMY OF DARKNESS is the third installment of Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD series, and it’s a blast from the Alpha all the way to the Omega. Much like Brooks, it’s up to Ash to conquer a wide variety of demons, ghouls and creatures that are just about indefinable. If Ash can’t stop a medieval apocalypse, it could mean our hero is stuck in a long distant past, and the world as we all know it, could be doomed.
These two make an absolutely incredible double feature. There’s so much over the top humor, obnoxious effects and clasc one-liners that it’s imposble not to get a serious kick out of these two, especially viewed in tandem.
THE HITCHER (1986)/DUEL
THE HITCHER (1986) focuses on the psychopathic John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) who has a tendency to stick his thumb out there in the hopes of finding potential murder victims. He’s quite successful in his ventures, until he picks up a young couple who are a bit more relient than past targets. A slick game of cat-and-mouse ensues, and a whole lot of carnage builds along the way. This is unquestionably a great film, with a terrific finale.
DUEL, a bit more docile in terms of gore, is the tale of a man on a buness trip who stumbles upon a nasty load of hostility en route to his destination. When a mild traffic altercation leads to a full blown psychotic case of extreme road rage, one man must fight for survival as a menacing semi bores down, and attempts to end things the brash way.
An excellent double feature sure to instill second thoughts within those inclined to road rage - these two are a perfect antidote for any lackluster televion evening.
PULSE is, unlike the American remake, absolutely creepy. The story now is well known, friends die, and ghosts communicate, and seem to almost transfer via computer connections eventually resulting in some great death scenes. The pieces to the puzzle are on the table, but can the puzzle be solved into time to save any more lives?
RINGU features a video tape that when watched, unfortunately brings upon imminent doom. Seven days after watching the film, expect a phone call, and shortly after that - expect death. There’s a riddle to be solved here, but the question is: do the films inhabitants really want to solve that riddle? Keep an eye out for a few disturbing moments, and a rather unsettling resolution.
A great companion piece here, as both films highlight the pinnacle of true modern terror in the Japanese market. Both films are ncerely disturbing, and the best part is: it’s not all about 150 million dollar budgets, but good ole fashion high quality storytelling!
ROSEMARY’S BABY/THE OMEN
ROSEMARY’S BABY is the story of a woman eager to finally give birth. At first, all gns indicate a smooth pregnancy. But as horrific nightmares and extreme paranoia (which may or may not be warranted) begin to eat at Rosemary, panic quickly sets in. The problem is, she can’t be sure if her husband is on her de…the same could be said for those eccentric neighbors of hers.
THE OMEN centers on little Damien, an adopted child who seems to be perfectly normal, though there’s a whole lot more to the stoic youngster. Tragedies begin unfolding in frequent succeson, and it seems that the apparently innocent Damien may be behind it all. Once Damien’s true identity is revealed, it becomes a battle of good versus evil - literally.
If ever there were two films regarding children guaranteed to scare the trousers off of you, these are the two to do it. The relation between the two films is incestuous, and after viewing both back to back, it’s a safe bet you’ll feel a tad less than ‘pure’.
HAUTE TENON/THE DESCENT
HAUTE TENON is essentially a tale of split personalities and obseson. Two women out to get away from things venture to an isolated home, inhabited by one of the girls fathers. In what seems like a run-of-the-mill trip, people begin dying - at a rapid pace. The murders are gruesome, but the antagonist is the real surprise here.
THE DESCENT follows a group of thrill seekers into an unexplored cave. Unbeknownst to these adventurers something nister dwells in these caves. Who will make it out is a mystery, and just who will kill who may surprise, and disturb as well.
From the cinematography to the surroundings, these two share a great number of milarities. Don’t take that to mean either film is a rip-off of the other. These two are extremely unique, extremely disturbing, and undeniably enjoyable. Be prepared for the return of the heroine, savage or not.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)/THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006)
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is as sadistic a film could be in 1974. This tale of dismemberment and tortured children still holds a hefty impact on new viewers today, 25 years later. A group of kids stumbles upon the house of their nightmares, where Leatherface and his family of freaks like to do all nasty kinds of things to anyone fool enough to approach their lair. Needless to say, there’s plenty of gore, and very few survivors in this exciting piece of cinematic history.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006) is an enjoyable remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 low budget shocker. The ‘reinterpreted’ veron is exciting. The detailed gore is enjoyable, and the story moves at a steady pace. A family breaks down in the middle of the desert. Well, this desert isn’t your normal desert (so to speak). Nope, radioactively mutated creatures dwell in this desert, and guess what: they’re cannibals.
Despite the age differential between the two films, they work wonderfully together. Both serve as clearly refined depictions of insanity and desperation at work. Both are unnerving, and I guarantee you - both will make you double-check your Mapquest directions before heading toward the unknown.
If you don’t mind franchise excluve nights, you may also check these cool double features:HALLOWEEN/HALLOWEEN 2 PSYCHO/PSYCHO 2 HELLRAISER/HELLRAISER 2 IT’S ALIVE/IT’S ALIVE 2 STEPFATHER/STEPFATHER 2 POLTERGEIST/POLTERGEIST 2 SAW/SAW 2 FRIDAY THE 13th/FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2 PROPHECY/PROPHECY 2 EVIL DEAD/EVIL DEAD 2 LAID TO REST/CHROMESKULL: LAID TO REST 2
All of which are pretty solid franchise debuts and sequels, well worthy of a double feature night; no doubt!
For some really recent reboots that make for enjoyable companions, check these pairings out, as they’ll satisfy those thirsty for the nostalgic yet contemporary darkness…
THE STRANGERS/I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE
THE STRANGERS pits a feuding couple against a handful of motive-free psychopaths in the middle of no man’s land. It’s an almost saddening film, experiencing the torment and knowing the inevitable fate that awaits our protagonists, and that element of dread makes for a harrowing viewing experience. If you head into this one hoping for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, well…
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE offers a milarly dismal tone as that of THE STRANGERS. There’s a certain feeling
of hopelessness that comes fixed to the picture, and though a bit sadistic, the film is certainly successful in forcing the sensation of doom upon its viewers. Unlike THE STRANGERS, ISOYG offers a payoff that should please those disgusting by the films antagonists.
While different in too many ways to count, these two films really do share a lot of milarities; desolate surroundings, virtual uselessness, an advancing claustrophic sensation that really burrows deep as the films unravel. A great duo here!
FRIDAY THE 13TH/HALLOWEEN
FRIDAY THE 13TH is a shockingly well assembled reboot that essentially nabs a chunk of the first four FRIDAY films, and blends them together into one overachieving picture. Many a purist have howled and raged over this one, but it's a blast. Everything you’d expect from a vintage FRIDAY film is alive and kicking here, plus a twist or two, or three. The kills are fun, the characters are memorable and the atmosphere is great; don’t let a review fool you, decide for yourself!
Everything I just said about FRIDAY can be reiterated in direct relation to Rob Zombie’s first HALLOWEEN film. While it’s not quite as fast paced as FRIDAY, it moves at a respectable pace, builds upon the Michael Myers mythos, and features the smoking hot Danielle Harris. Winner winner, Myers dinner!
It’s pretty amazing that two of the greatest slashers from the late ‘70’s, early ‘80’s eras earned quality reboots, but I won’t bitch about it for one minute. These are two great examples of the campy greatness of yesteryear effectively brought to life today. Don’t sleep on these two!
PREDATORS was one of the finest remakes to hit the market in quite some time. These days filmmakers love to tarnish their pictures with an abundance of wretched CGI, but Nimród Antal was smart enough to keep the digital work minimal, while, like the original focung on the cast. PREDATORS is one of the few reboots that I may conder to be equal if not superior to its source.
THE THING is currently stuck in the eye of the storm. The film just earned released, and it’s being bombarded with an assortment of critiques, potive and negative. While I can decively say it is inferior to John Carpenter’s original, I cannot decively tell you it’s a terrible film. In fact, I found it rather enjoyable, albeit flawed.
Two kick ass monster movies from the 80’s have been treated to modern translation; both turned out to be entertaining films. Why not bring these monsters together?