Nightmare #1 - Malevolent Dave's Stain of Mind

Nightmare #1 – Malevolent Dave’s Stain of Mind

This is editorial on all things dark and horrible. We’ll publish this hodgepodge monthly. Expect quick hits on movie opinions, horror current events and general mayhem. The lunatic is running the asylum and his brought his party hat.

Nightmare (1981)

I got a chance to check out the infamous 80’s film, Nightmare (1981). Some will remember this one as on of the famed UK video nasties. Quit honestly, I found a lot to like about this one. As a cohesive work of art, it struggles a bit, but the sum of its parts actually play very well. Directed by Romana Scavolini, Nightmare tells the story of George Tatum, a man traumatized by terrible events in his youth. This leads to an eventual unraveling that ends in psychopathy and murder.

All in in all, it compares favorable to other films like Maniac (1980) and Pieces (1982). Nightmare delves into the topic of trauma and childhood. It also seems to make clear that while traumatic events often adversely affect people, it doesn’t always make them a sympathetic character when weighed against their heinous acts. While it’s arguable that any film should ever be classified as a “Video Nasty”, if there ever were a film that qualifies, this one should. At least one scene borderlines on outright pornography and the kills assault the senses with their up-close and graphic nature. When coupled with some seriously psychotic episodes and haunting imagery, this one deserves a look.

Nightmare (1981) - A real Video Nasty
Nightmare (1981) – A real Video Nasty

Session 9 (2001)

This one directed by Brad Anderson perplexed me a bit. More than once, Session 9 has been recommended as a top sleeper pick for extreme psychological horror. It stars David Caruso, which already makes it a bit weird. Not that David Caruso is bad, but unfortunately for him he can’t stop being David Caruso even for a second. This one also stars Peter Mullen, notable for his role as Jacob Snell in Ozark and Josh Lucas doing his best asshole impersonation.

While the film succeeds in creating a creepy atmosphere in a dilapidated mental institution, it fails to tie the past sins of the institution to the current events of the film. Session 9 wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t memorable. Don’t believe the hype.

House of the Devil (2009)

2022 proved to be the year that Ti West became a household name in horror.  Those familiar with the industry have been tracking his contributions to the genre since 2005. Being fully transparent, this film has been beckoning me from the shelf for some time, and I just finally reserved the time for it. The life of a horror blogger is on of ever conflicting priorities. I finally got a chance sit down with the one and immediately noticed Ti West’s inclination to recreate the grainy look and feel of the late 70s.

Ti West presents the audience with a slow burn, slowly ratcheting up the tension and foreshadowing over a long period of time… perhaps too long. Tom Noonan’s adds yet another creep to his resume. While I enjoyed the 70s patina and overall faithful recreation of that era, the film as a whole didn’t really cash all the IOUs it creates. By the time the payoff comes, it feels too little, too late.

Still, House of the Devil should make the late night watch list if shows in your streaming queue for the right price. If anything, I really like the DVD cover art for this one.

Dark Glasses (2022) - Ilena Pastoreli as Argento's new giallo girl
Dark Glasses (2022) – Ilena Pastoreli as Argento’s new giallo girl

Dark Glasses (2022)

Let’s be crystal clear on something, it’s been a dreadfully long time since Dario Argento put a giallo on screen that felt inspired. Some will trumpet the narrative that Dark Glasses represents a return to form, but I assure you that it falls way short. The plot is painfully pedestrian and frankly absurd. A killer stalks a young prostitute named Diana. One evening, in pursuit of her, he causes an accident that causes her to be blind. But this is no Cat ‘o Nine Tails (1972) I assure you. Argento completists, will find something to like. For everyone else, with so much golden age Argento to behold why bother.

So as not to totally eviscerate the film, the cinematography and general professionalism of the photography seems to be a few steps beyond some 2000s stinkers like Mother of Tears (2007) and The Card Player (2004). Gone is the stark digital picture and the boxy soap opera feel of the sets. The gore and special effects also exceed expectations. Who knows, maybe he still has one hiding in recesses of his mind, but this one isn’t it.

Crimes of the Future (2022)

Needless to say, I launched over the moon when he heard that the man, David Cronenberg, would be releasing a new film called Crimes of the Future. Being a huge fan of his work, the thoughts of what madness had been percolating in that man’s head for nearly a decade were fascinating. However, the anticipation proved more compelling than the delivery. Apart from some strong imagery involving a deliberate act of filicide (killing ones own child), the movie begins to flounder almost immediately.

The big problem with this one concerns a strange, but not captivating plot. Additionally, some downright silly depictions of bio-mechanical machines helping Viggo Mortensen digest his food detract from the already weak story. The acting struggles, including that of Viggo and Kristen Stewart. At times, Cronenberg musters enough sexual depravity to make for an interesting scene here or there, but those moments are fleeting. Crime of the Future continues an increasingly long line of lackluster Cronenberger films. Maybe it’s time for the heir apparent to take the reigns.

Changing Topics

I am here to say Slayer Diablous in Musica (1998) is a top-5 Slayer album. That pretty lofty company considering spots 1, 2 and 3 are held by South of Heaven (1988), Seasons in the Abyss (1990) and Reign in Blood (1986)… not necessarily in that order. Every time these guys try something different, the results are fantastic and their fans hate their guts for it. If you are picking up what I am laying down, you know damn well why this article is called “Stain of Mind”. What about that Diablous album cover, amiright?

For a long time, MalevolentDark.com considered including music, the supernatural and the written word. In fact we had a false start with the publishing of “The Life and times of Glen Danzig”. We eventually took those posts down, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll return to the world of dark and evil music. When wishes turn to rainbows, that’s when the unicorns appear.

Evil Dead Rise (2023) - Because we all wanted it
Evil Dead Rise (2023) – Because we all wanted it

Evil Dead Rise – Coming Soon!

Being totally transparent, I panned Evil Dead (2013) pretty hard. It wasn’t so much that it didn’t have any redeeming qualities. In fact, the reality is that it had some fantastic visual effects and RAINING BLOOD (shamless Slayer plug). It really boiled down to this, for a series that created one of the most loved horror icons of all time, the characters in Fede’s remake sucked terribly. To put a pin in it, I accept the contrarian opinion.

That all being said, I watched the new Evil Dead Rise mini-trailer and received the most wonderful shiver up my spine. I’m all in for another round. If your like me, nothing has replaced the hole in your heart left by the demise of Ash vs. the Evil Dead.

Thanks for reading.

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