Arrow Video's "American Horror Project"

Discussion in 'General' started by Katatonia, Oct 31, 2015.

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  1. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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    Thanks to all of your for your feedback on the Nightmare USA book. I just bought a new one now from eBay. Despite free shipping from Amazon Prime, I would have paid $9.00 more there.

    Really looking forward to this book! Like Captain Hook mentioned, I will probably look to add many of these films to my collection before reading further. I own a bunch of the films in this book, but I'm sure I have not seen the majority.
     
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  2. Myron Breck

    Myron Breck BOO!!! Gotcha!

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    Wow, I had forgotten about this book! That's one of the things I love about this site--people make such great recommendations and bring up stuff that may have fallen off my radar. I bought a New-condition hardcover of this on Amazon this morning! It's coming from the UK, so it will be a while, but I'm just happy to be reminded of its existence.
     
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  3. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    I finally cracked this sucker open and started with Malatesta's Carnival Of Blood. Remember the haunting dream-like carnival scenes from Carnival Of Souls? Now imagine if that were an entire movie, and that should give you an idea of what you're in for. I really dug it.

    The plot is extremely straight-forward and the skeleton of the plot is all there. I had no trouble following it. However, it feels like there are scenes and transitions missing here and there throughout, giving the movie a very bizarre and dreamy feel. Later on, it turns into a sort-of chase movie, with characters running from set-piece to set-piece, but the movie gives you point A and point B and leaves out the in-between. It's really quite jarring but the strange thing is, it works. I have to wonder if it was a happy accident, since in the extras they say the DP took a really long time with camera set-ups and they weren't able to get all the coverage they needed. Couple that with the director's emphasis on imagery (and the production designer's affinity for red bubble wrap) and you have this crazy fever-dream of a movie.

    In a movie full of immersive imagery, I think the movie's most immersive image isn't much of an image at all. It's a night-time rollercoaster ride near the end of the movie, filmed from the POV of the passenger. The thing, it's so pitch black, you can't really see anything. It's pretty much just black screen with occasional hints of blue night sky paired with the audio of the rollercoaster clacking and zooming along. We've all seen the rollercoaster POV in movies before, but it's usually in the daytime. More than any other movie that has used it, this felt like I was right there in the seat. I imagine seeing it in a big old dark movie theater would give you quite a sensation.

    Rarely available aside from a small DVD release from the director himself, this was widely considered a lost film before Arrow's blu-ray release. In a way, that might have been for the best, because Arrow's blu-ray is the way it commands to be seen (outside of seeing it in a theater, of course). If I had seen the movie on an old muddy VHS transfer, I'm honestly not sure I would have felt the same way about it. It's a real visual treat. I was devastated to hear in the extras that the carnival in Willow Grove was torn down shortly after filming and is now a shopping center.
     
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  4. MorallySound

    MorallySound Mad Mutilator

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    Hell yeah it's worth it, but just like the Arrow set, it's also only Vol.1 with Vol.2 still in the works (and has been for more than a few years already) so you will still be drooling even after finishing the book - which took me 5 years of starting it to finally finish it, not because it wasn't interesting, just because of the sheer size and volume of the book! Helluva book, and an amazing and gifted writer/film historian. Eagerly awaiting the day news drops on release of Thrower's Vol.2!
     
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  5. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister The Schlock King

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    Got the set today and popped in "Maletesta's Carnival of Blood" and it's definitely the surreal experience I was told it was. I didn't love it but overall enjoyed the experience of watching it. I might pop it in again soon.

    Also watched "The Witch Who Came from the Sea" I also liked it but tbh I've never been too fond of psychological horror flicks so it didn't do as much for me as most horror films. The lead actress is fantastic though and I recommend it to those interested.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  6. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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  7. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    Did anyone watch the short films included on The Premonition? I think they're about 30 - 40 minutes each, so was just wondering if they were worth the time. The Premonition is the only one I have left to watch.
     
  8. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    Well, to answer my own question... No.
     
  9. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    As in "no, they are not worth your time?"

    I haven't gotten around to them. I still had The Witch Who Came from the Sea to go... which I watched last night. Out this bunch, Witch was perhaps the one I expected to like the most, but as a horror movie experience, I'd say that Malatesta got more under my skin. Still, I did like Witch, mainly for Millie Perkins' dialogue and the scenes where she goes nuts (I loved the one where she breaks the bones of one of her lover's hands and delivers this line about breaking bones and sucking marrow in creepy low voice). Rich in symbolism and thematically uncomfortable (the manbearpig rape scene made me squirm), it's in line with the arty feel of The Premonition, and fans of either should enjoy the other. All in all, I love this set and think it's perfectly put together, but wouldn't mind if the next set shifted in tone towards more straight horror.
     
  10. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    No, they're not. They're not just short films, they're student films. Boring, pretentious, nonsensical. Don't waste your time. Loved The Premonition though.

    I thoroughly enjoyed all three movies in the set, but I'd say Malatesta's Carnival Of Blood was easily my favorite and the one I'm most inclined to revisit.
     
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  11. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    I dug all three as well, and each is a unique horror movie experience. I mean, I've been harping on Blu-ray releases of Honeymoon Horror and The Prey on more than one forum, and while I would welcome something like that in the next volume, those two movies are much more formulaic. As a flagship for what will hopefully be an enduring project, I appreciate how Vol. 1 exemplifies artistic daring and possibly even eccentricity.
     
  12. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    Didn't want to start a new thread, so I thought this one might be the best fit.

    Nightmare USA Checklist: http://www.listchallenges.com/nightmare-usa-checklist

    ^ A check-list of most of the movies discussed in Stephen Thrower's Nightmare USA. Thought it might be fun to share.

    I'm only at 129 of 469. Was kind of thinking I'd have more. :(
     
  13. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    I hit 193. Some of the titles don't list alternates names so I'm sure there are a few more on there that I have seen. Also about 40-50 more than I have on DVD/blu-ray but simply haven't watched yet.
     
  14. russweiss

    russweiss Well-Known Member

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    I went through the list again and there are 41 titles that I own but haven't viewed yet.
     
  15. zompirejoe

    zompirejoe Member

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    I have seen 242 of these films. I will definitely be seeing more on that list.
     
  16. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I counted 270 that I've definitely seen before, and probably own about 75% of that total in my collection on various formats.
     
  17. Myron Breck

    Myron Breck BOO!!! Gotcha!

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    I have only seen 119 that I recognized. I will certainly use this list the next time I'm on a torrent site. I don't expect I'll find very many but I'm definitely curious.
     
  18. satans-sadists

    satans-sadists Ghost

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    I have only seen 99 films from the checklist. Of that number, I own 63 on either dvd or Blu-ray. It's disappointing how many are not even available on at least dvd. I bought the Nightmare USA book last month and have been really loving it thus far - reading quite a bit and researching which movies are available. Over the last two months I bought 5 more films that are in the book, but have not watched yet.

    I am hoping that between potential future volumes of American Horror Project and other upcoming Arrow releases along with other cult labels issuing their titles, we get to see more of these films. Not all of these films appeal to me, but the majority most likely will.
     
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  19. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    I have seen 112 of them, which I think is pretty good. This kind of cinema really appeals to me, and I'd count too many on the list as favourites to mention them all.

    Quite a few have been announced for a Blu-ray debut, by the way (feel free to mention any I may have missed):

    - Blue Sunshine (Distribpix)
    - Creature from Black Lake (Synapse Films)*
    - The Dark (Code Red)
    - Devil Times Five (Code Red)
    - Drive-In Massacre (88 Films)
    - Last House on Dead End Street (Vinegar Syndrome)*
    - Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (Synapse Films)
    - Mutant (Code Red)
    - One Dark Night (Code Red)
    - Massacre at Central High (Synapse Films)
    - Psychic Killer (Vinegar Syndrome)

    - From Arrow's March announcement: "Our first Volume of American Horror Project was unleashed and many of you will be pleased to hear Vol 2 is already in the works!"

    *Officially announced as delayed due to usable elements being unavailable.
     
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  20. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    Only 94. I have maybe another 10 on Blu in my collection that need to be watched.
     

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