The home of cult movies and genre cinema: from grindhouse to schlock, sexploitation to blaxploitation, kung fu to samurai, manga to J-horror, monster movies, mondo, spaghetti westerns and space operas. With added Steven Seagal.
The 1970s revolt of nature subgenre confronted human civilization with all manner of terrifying threats – indestructible white sharks, giant alligators, hardy cold-water piranha, vengeful killer whales, mutant hillbillies... but did you see the one about the flesh-eating worms? If not, now's your chance, because it's out on Blu-ray in a new HD restoration, looking squirmier than ever.
Over fifty years since they were uncovered, the crimes of serial killer Ed Gein continue to boggle the mind, and one film that reflects this shock factor more than most is Deranged (1974). Here, Gein is lightly disguised as one Ezra Cobb, “the Butcher of Woodside.” Scrawny, balding, socially inept, this poor hick is a devoted son to his bigoted mother, who fills him with fear and distrust of women, a theme she sums up in the catchy phrase, “The wages of fear is gonorrhoea, syphilis and death!” When she dies, he misses her so much that, after a while, he brings her back home from the graveyard, reinstating her rotting corpse in her bedroom. But she's in a sad state of disrepair, so he bones up on taxidermy and embalming and becomes a keen reader of the obituaries, snatching recently buried bodies in order to patch her up with bits and pieces of human flesh and skin.
There's only one thing you really need to know about The Initiation (1984), and that's that it's a sorority slasher flick. From there, you can more or less fill in the blanks yourself. Mean girls. Pranks and hazings that lethally backfire. Nude shower scenes. Tormented pledges (i.e., girls on probation, for those of you who aren't steeped in sorority movie lore. Not that we at LITM are. Definitely not). The Initiation covers all these bases: it has everything but the word “sorority” in the title.
The phenomenal success of Jaws left a toothy imprint all over Hollywood in the late '70s, especially on the lowlier forms of cinema. In the case of that most humble of subgenres, the homicidal vehicle shocker, there was Elliot Silverstein's The Car (1977), which relocates the basic Jaws plotline to a small town in Utah without a drop of water in sight.
This is a surprising film. It starts poorly, with sub-student level shots which think they're a lot cleverer than they really are, unwrapping a convoluted plot which takes ages to get going.
But thanks to a spirited, dedicated young cast and some nicely paced and delivered plot twists, it ends as an engrossing found-footage twist on a seventies-style supernatural cult story - The Blair Witch Project takes on Rosemary's Baby.