Category Archives: Witch films
and featuring Lance Henriksen as the voice of God.
Written and directed by Jesse T. Cook
There are two things I love in this world; horror movies and professional wrestling. It was around the age of seven years old that my sister began scaring the crap out of me and leaving a lasting mark by telling me that there was a werewolf in my closet just waiting for the full moon to ravage and devour my tender young body. Wait a minute, stop, hold on, time out. Did I just say ‘my tender young body’? That sounds so…icky. The next thing you know I’ll have NAMBLA following my blog. Back off, you sick pervs!
Cut to three years later and at the age of ten I attended my very first professional wrestling match in 1972. The main event featured “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Johnny Valentine versus “Number One” Paul Jones and “The Eighth Wonder of The World” Andre the Giant. To say that it made an impression on my impressionable young mind would be the most understated of understatements. I am now 50 years old, and even though I know that pro wrestling is about as real as a Paris Hilton orgasm, I still have no intention of giving it up.
Now, for two interests as diverse as ‘rasslin’ and fright flicks you would think that never the two shall meet. But I am here to tell you right now that is as far from the truth as a porn star saying they’ve never done anal. Just look at the cinematic fright world for the match-ups that have taken place over the years. There’s King Kong versus Godzilla, Frankenstein versus The Wolf Man, Aliens versus Predator and on and on and on. Let us not also forget that professional wrestling has had its share of monstrosities. There’s The Undertaker, Kane, Gangrel, “The Monster” Abyss, Vampiro and many, many more creatures of the squared circle. Wrestling and monsters have been strange bedfellows for a number of years.
This brings me to the main event of the evening, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the battle for the ages, the fight of the century between the creatures and the undead. I am talking about the brawl to end it all and the war that will settle the score; the WrestleMania from the crypt and the death match of death matches. “Monster Brawl” is the type of movie that answers the question that we have all wanted to ask and would have done just that if we had just smoked a little more pot; what would happen if the world’s most (in) famous monsters met in the middle of the ring to determine who is the best of the best among the denizens of the darkness? Frankenstein, Werewolf, Lady Vampire, Zombie Man, The Mummy, Swamp Gut, Cyclops and Witch Bitch pound it out in the middle of the ring in this extravaganza of the weird. Lending a hand to the festivities are none other than “Big Daddy Cool” Kevin Nash and the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. So, if you love wrestling and you love horror movies then you just cannot go wrong with “Monster Brawl.” However, if you’re looking for a movie full of metaphors, subtleties and Academy Award winning performances then I suggest you watch something else. But seriously, if you can’t enjoy a movie like this on the lowest of levels then you really need to get that stick out of your ass. Wooooo!!
P.S. There are actually three things I love in this world. The third and most important thing is my wife. I don’t sleep with monsters and I don’t sleep with pro wrestlers. I do sleep with my wife. So if I want that sleep to be a peaceful one I damn sure better give my baby her props. Hail to the queen of my world!!
- Sheamus and the 20 Greatest Brawlers in WWE History (bleacherreport.com)
- Monster Brawl (2011) (horror-movie-a-day.blogspot.com)
- REVIEW: Monster Brawl (Blu-ray) (kdvr.com)
- War of the Gargantuas (1968) (oldgamereviewer.com)
- New Zaat Movie (seqnfoqm.typepad.com)
- In Defense Of … Billy Corgan’s Foray Into Professional Wrestling (Column) (popmatters.com)
- Buy Zombie Farm Movie Online (acyoavi.typepad.com)
- ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘Ghost Rider’ hit shelves this week (independentmail.com)
- John Ary On MONSTER BRAWL!! (aintitcool.com)
- Stop Blaming Rihanna for the Brawl (theroot.com)
- WWE WrestleMania 28: Could This Be Jericho’s Last WrestleMania? (bleacherreport.com)
- The Undying Monster Movie Dvd (ucvmzqn.typepad.com)
- Drake, Police Questioning: Rapper Refuses to Turn Himself in Following Brawl With Chris Brown (theboombox.com)
- Exclusive Interview: Filmmaker Jesse Thomas Cook Talks Monster Brawl, Ejecta and More (dreadcentral.com)
- WrestleMania 28: Why We Love Professional Wrestling’s Grandest Event (bleacherreport.com)
- New Orleans Ladies Arm Wrestling, Maytime Brawl is Saturday (videos.nola.com)
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- Frank Mir Open to Pro Wrestling? (asatt6.wordpress.com)
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- Brawl at Denny’s in Redlands caught on tape (abclocal.go.com)
- Does Curiosity Always Kill the Cat? An SML Review of “The Uninvited Visitor” (stuffmonsterslike.com)
- Video: The Massive Brawl That Broke Out During a Lacrosse Game Recently Might Just Be the Greatest Sports Brawl of All Time (complex.com)
- Rihanna ‘Disappointed’ in Drake and Company for Nightclub Brawl (celebs.gather.com)
- A$AP Rocky Brawl At London Show (rapradar.com)
- Lance Henriksen Talks TRON: UPRISING and the “Big Push” for a MILLENNIUM Movie (collider.com)
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- Foresight Features: Canada’s unlikely horror film factory (macleans.ca)
BLACK SUNDAY (The Mask of Satan)-Italy-1960
Directed by Mario Bava
Screenplay by Ennio De Concini, Mario Sarandrei and Marcello Coscia
Based on the short story “The Viy” by Nikolai Gogol
Is “Black Sunday” a film about a witch and her illicit lover who vow vengeance on her brother’s descendants? Yes. Is “Black Sunday” a film about a vampire and her illicit lover who vow vengeance on her brother’s descendants? Again, yes. Are the witch and the vampire the same person as portrayed by the hauntingly beautiful Barbara Steele? Oh, hell yes. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that this is Steele’s film in every way. The woman is so strikingly gorgeous that there is absolutely no way you can take your eyes off of her. Who better to portray not only the evil witch/vampire Asa Vajda and her descendant the innocent princess Katja Vajda? With one look into those eyes Steele can make your heart melt and you fall madly in love, or you will do her bidding on the path to your destruction. I have racked my brain trying to figure out a way to review this film and this is the only way I know how. This is Mario Bava’s debut film as a director and it would be the first in a long line of Italian horror classics that include “Black Sabbath”, “Blood and Black Lace” and “Planet of the Vampires.” But make no mistake about it, Bava’s name may be above the title but it is Barbara Steele and her raven beauty that is the star of “Black Sunday.”
In the October 17-23, 1998 edition of “TV Guide”, director Tim Burton says this is his favorite horror film.
Both Barbara Steele and Arturo Dominici were fitted with vampire fangs. Mario Bava decided against using them in the film. They can be seen in some of the publicity photos.
In the Italian language version Princess Asa and Javutich are brother and sister which hinted at an incestuous relationship. This relationship is not part of either English language version.
- Black Friday or Black Sunday? (infocult.typepad.com)
- Barbara Steele Front, Center, and Deadly on New Butterfly Room Art (dreadcentral.com)
- The Butterfly Room to Premiere in Brussels – New Stills! (dreadcentral.com)
- At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (Mojica Marins, 1964) (dcpfilm.wordpress.com)
- Black And Gold Sundays With Rob Pratte (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- What’s the matter, Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day? Can’t I fondle my own grandson? Give him to me! (aintitcool.com)
- Black & Gold Sunday (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Sunday Overlay | Manhattan – Down | Black and White (nycfstop.com)
- Black & Gold Sundays: April 29, 2012 (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Snazzy Sundays ~ In Black & White (kittenlounge.onsugar.com)
- Looks of the Week! (fabsugar.com)
- Day 46 – Snowy, black and white Sunday (withreverence.wordpress.com)
This film holds a special place in my heart. I know that may sound corny coming from a 49 year-old man, but the reason is because it was the very first date between myself and the beautiful woman who is now my wife of almost 4 years. There were so many reasons why I was so excited to see this film. The aforementioned first date, of course, but also because this film had so much going for it. It had two of the finest actors of past, present or future in Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland in the lead roles of Lucy and John Bell. There was the performance of Rachel Hurd-Wood as Betsy Bell that, while not Oscar worthy, was able to hold her own against the likes of Sutherland and Spacek.
Then there is the story behind the film. The story of the Bell witch is the most documented haunting in American history. It is the only reported case in which a spirit has caused the death of a living human being. The first time I remember reading about the Bell witch was in the pages of Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery. I was enthralled with the story of this vengeful entity who made life a living hell for John and Betsy Bell. Can you see why I was so stoked to see this film?
The first part of the film moves along rather nicely. It grows a bit tedious in some places, but for the most part is a faithful adaptation of the events that took place on the Bell farm in Adams, Tennessee from 1817 to 1820. The scenes of the haunting and the torture of Betsy Bell by an unseen force are well filmed and well acted and Sutherland and Spacek are at the top of their game. I am enjoying the film and intend to recommend it to friends the first chance I get. That is until the ending causes all that came before it to come crashing down like a house of cards.
Throughout the entire course of this film director/co-writer Courtney Solomon leads us to believe that he believes in the legend of the Bell witch. The ending that is tacked on to this film is like a slap in the face. Why does there have to be a rational explanation for the Bell witch? Why were the filmmakers not satisfied with what could have been an intriguing adaptation of an amazing legend in American history? The supernatural is not a rational thing, so why treat it as such?
Thank you, Courtney Solomon, for ruining a legendary tale. At least you didn’t ruin my date.