2013 is upon us, and Cinefessions is finally ready to ring in the new year! Last year was a solid year for the newly named Cinefessions, and though I still haven’t written up my annual Yearly Award lists, I want to introduce a new feature on the website. My buddy and I have been chatting back and forth about this for a while now, and I’m excited to introduce him as my first guest author on Cinefessions: Chris
Chris and I met a few years ago when I started dabbling around with writing video game reviews. Both of us share a common interest in gaming, and, more importantly for this website, film. We are both horror fanatics, and enjoy keeping track of our entertainment habits. At the beginning of the year, I approached him with the idea of contributing to Cinefessions. He has thankfully agreed, and I’m happy to bring his own unique history, filmography, and voice to this new article.
Because he and I have an enormous amount of films that we haven’t seen, I thought it would be fun to pick a film each week (or so) for the other person to watch. It has to be a film that the other person hasn’t seen, but can be from any genre, and can be terrible, incredible, or anything in between. The only promise we are making is to seek out and watch whatever film is picked for us by the other. After viewing, we both share our thoughts on the film in this article. Simple enough, right? Well, let’s get to the first edition of Cinefession’s newest article for 2013: Film Swappers!
Film Swappers #1
The Burning (1981) and Creature (2011)
I actually saw the image for this on Netflix before Branden picked it. I passed it over as a new, lame, campy horror film. I really didn’t know what to expect other than the fact that it was a slasher film from the ‘80s, which meant that I should have not only heard of it, but have seen it already.
Summary of Film
A couple teens pull a prank at a summer camp that disfigures an employee. A few years later, the disfigured employee is released from a mental hospital and seeks vengeance on a new set of campers.
Horror is easily my favorite genre. I love it all, from the cheesy, to the best, goriest, torture porn out there. With that being said, I never knew this film even existed, which is surprising considering I recently read Shock Value (a history of the horror genre from author Jason Zinoman), which omits this title. I have two requirements for a good ‘80s horror film: lots of blood and some nice nude scenes, because – let’s face it – if someone isn’t getting naked and dying, there’s no point in watching this type of film.
After a fairly slow start by horror standards (the first body isn’t slaughtered until around the midway point), the film eventually picks up the pace with the death and destruction, and, of course, boobs. What’s interesting is that most deaths take place during the day, which actually makes more sense to me than having them all occur at night (take that Jason!).
What I liked about the film is that the killer remained kind of “faceless” while he rampaged around. The body count is fairly high, and there’s one kick ass scene near the end that plays out like a shocking slap in the face. The gore is high, which lead to its entrance onto the video nasties list in the UK in the 1980s. The finale is also filled with some nice tension, and works like a fun game of cat and mouse.
I did some research on The Burning after watching it because I wanted to seem all “knowledgeable”. I was surprised to find out that the Weinstein Brothers came up with the original story (Harvey Weinstein), and wrote the script (Bob Weinstein), and are now even tossing around the idea of a remake. The film also stars a young Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld), who is mildly amusing, and even kind of cute.
I must say that I enjoyed the film a lot more than I was expecting. It’s one of those rare gems from the ‘80s that felt unique despite a quickly worn out theme. The campiness isn’t overwhelming and the gore/kills are solid and sell the film. It’s a shame the film has such a terrible cover as it doesn’t do The Burning any justice at all.
Creature is a low-budget horror film that I’ve known about for quite some time now. Back in 2011, my girlfriend and I went to the HorrorFind convention and had the privilege of meeting Sid Haig, who was promoting his new film, Creature. It wasn’t out at that time, and if you blinked, you missed its brief theatrical run, so Netflix having it on their Instant Queue got me excited. For whatever reason, though, Creature sat in my Instant Queue, amongst the hundreds of other unwatched horror films, neglected. I was quite glad that Chris decided that I needed to watch this.
Summary of Film
Creature is backwoods horror mixed with a creature feature. A group of young college-aged kids are on a two-week vacation to New Orleans, by way of the woods and swamps of Louisiana. They make a pit stop for some booze and a quick bathroom break, where they are introduced to a local myth about a half-crocodile/half-man creature that has an appetite for human flesh. The kids find out that the house this creature used to dwell in is still standing, and decide to take a little detour to visit this cabin in the woods.
I don’t know what I was expecting with Creature, but this wasn’t it. The story has a twist, but not one that is explained well, and I was admittedly confused by some of the actions of the film. The acting was exactly what most have come to expect from low-budget horror films, but the editing was sloppy and amateurish. Cuts in a film should be invisible – natural – for the viewer, but the opposite is true here, and I was taken out of the film on more than a few occasions.
That said, though, there are a lot of ingredients here for horror fans to enjoy. The movie is filled with beautiful, naked women (including a fully nude skinny-dipping scene, and some lesbianism), lots of gore, and some really solid special effects. The creature looks damn good, and it makes me wish that his story made more sense, or, at the very least, his intentions. It also has the aforementioned Sid Haig, who does a great job as the ringleader of the Deep South’s oddest.
Exploitation horror fans will surely get a kick out of Creature because the director knows that we enjoy naked women and ridiculous gore, not because he has crafted a well-told story. For what it is, Creature is worth seeing, but know that it has a lot of problems.
There you have it! Film Swappers #1 is in the books. Little does Chris know, but I hope this feature evolves into a podcast in the future because I think it would be a blast to discuss and debate these older films in audio form. The goal is to produce one of these each and every week, so leave a comment below and let us know what you like, what you hate, and what else you want to see from this feature in the future.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @Wolverinefactor.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.