Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Horror - Rob Galluzzo ""

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Favorite Underrated Horror - Rob Galluzzo

Rob is co-creator of ICONS OF FRIGHT, director of the PSYCHO LEGACY documentary, producer of the DEXTER WRAP UP podcast, web coordinator at FEARnet, and co-host of the KILLER POV podcast with Elric Kane and Rebekah McKendry. On Twitter at @IconsRobG.
This was easily one of the most difficult lists I've ever had to put together, not because I couldn't think of 5 worthy obscure horror titles to recommend, but because in the now 10 year time period that I've been writing on the web, I've already done a handful of lists similar to this and I didn't want to be repetitive with my selections! So for the curious, I'd suggest hitting up THIS ( ) piece on my 6 favorite gems from the 2000's first or THIS ( one for my fave summer slashers. Below are a few films that don't get talked about enough, including by me! So let's rectify that, shall we?

HABIT (1995) Dir. Larry Fessenden
Larry Fessenden is one of my favorite filmmakers. He's a tremendously talented and prolific writer, director, actor and editor, but he also has a very distinct view of horror that's not an easy pill to swallow for most. Those willing to take the ride with any of his films, all of which skate the fine line between delving full on into the supernatural and yet always remain grounded in reality will be generously rewarded. My favorite of the bunch (and a film I put in my top 5 vampire movies of all time) is 1995's Habit. It's a perfect time capsule of what New York City was like in the mid 90's, it's got a unique look and feel and is arguably the most original and realistic depiction of what it'd be like to hook up with a vampire. (Or a girl that thinks she's a vampire.) It's goreless, so don't come here looking for that, but instead you'll be treated to a beautifully artistic, mindfuck of a movie.

BRAIN DAMAGE (1988) Dir. Frank Henenlotter
I love Frank Henenlotter. He's another totally unique voice in the horror/exploitation genre. And while I have a soft spot for the original Basket Case, an obsessive love for the over-the-top sequel Basket Case 2 (I'll have to do another list just on sequels!), and I normally cite Frankenhooker as my personal fave of his filmography, BRAIN DAMAGE is the one I think best represents a “Henenlotter film” and it's the one I recommend above all others. Yet again, another wonderful time capsule of a New York City that no longer exists with some truly incredible, trippy visuals (all done practically and in-camera), a strange worm like parasite (Elmer!) who happens to have the voice of horror host Zacherly all make this weird little film totally irresistible. It's worth it alone for the blow-job/murder scene. (Seeing is believing, folks.) And keep your eyes peeled for a cameo from Basket Case's Kevin Van Hentenryck.

PIECES (1982) Dir. Juan Piquer Simon
I really dislike the term “so bad it's good.” The sole goal of movies is to entertain. That's why it's called entertainment. So this next title isn't a bad movie. But hell, it's not even a good movie either. It merely transcends the definition of good and bad and exists as one of the greatest cinematic experiences you'll ever have! I only recently discovered the lunacy that is PIECES, but had I seen it as a kid, I would've felt exactly the same way about it then. A child is scolded by his mother for playing with a nudie puzzle and immediately decides to hack her to death with an ax! Years later, the killer emerges on a college campus and is collecting “pieces” of female students I suspect to build the perfect woman. It works just fine as a slasher and has some memorable kills & gore effects, but there's so many outrageous ideas and sequences (“BASTARD!!!!”) introduced through out that make this film stand out against all others of this era. Plus, that tag line?! “Pieces... it's exactly what you think it is.” Amen for that!

SLASHERS (2001) Dir. Maurice Devereaux
Here's one that I remember Fangoria putting out during their early days of DVD distribution and while it's not a great (or even very good) film, it's a movie that's ambition and gimmick warrant your attention. We all love The Running Man, right? Well, what if a filmmaker took that concept one step further? What if the Japanese decided to do a reality based game show with American volunteers vying for a chance to win millions of dollars? And what if all they had to was survive a series of rooms and mazes while being chased by 3 masked maniacs? That's the looney premise of SLASHERS! Actor Neil Napier pulls double duty by playing both Chainsaw Charlie (a terrifying hillbilly killer who wears a disturbing MAD magazine Alfred E. Newman mask) and The Preacherman, while Christopher Piggins rounds out the psychotic trio by playing Doctor Ripper. And ya know what? The Japanese would think of a show like this for entertainment at some point. Hell, we're not far off from this grim future.

THE SIGNAL (2007) Dir. David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry, Dan Bush
Of all my selections here, this is the most recent of the bunch and I know I've probably spoken about it at great length on the variety of websites I contribute to or via my social networking sites or even on the Killer POV podcast, but I can't help it. I revisit it probably once a year and I'm always reminded what a special little horror film it is. And when I say little, I'm only referring to the budget which you'd never be able to peg because the ambitious scope of the story which spans an entire fictional city and is told through the eyes of three very different, distinct characters. There's also three directors at the helm for each of the acts, which tonally shifts a bit from straight horror & suspense to black comedy to drama. On top of that, I defy you to find another independent film with actors this good. And not just one or two actors, every single person across the board is terrific. Cap it all off with some brilliant social commentary and this horror movie has it all. Highly recommended!

No comments: