Jan 27, 2021


"What’s your favorite performance by a musician in a horror movie?"

Horror doesn’t get more operatic than Bram Stoker's Dracula. Featuring a powerhouse cast (and a regrettably terrible, studio-imposed Keanu Reeves) screaming for the rafters in over-the-top performances, along with an array of seemingly complex but slyly simplistic in-camera visual effects, Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the legend remains a bonafide classic and the focus of sad tumblrs everywhere. When you’ve got heavy hitters Gary Oldman as the titular foe and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, foe to his foe, what perfectly eccentric performer could play the small but vital role of Renfield, raving lunatic and Dracula’s human familiar?

Enter Tom Waits.

Either as a musician or an actor, Tom Waits fits exactly into one category: Tom Waits. Between his bourbon-drenched, tobacco-infused gutter throat, and his extremely dry, odd, yet charming and melancholic screen presence, he’s appeared in numerous Coppola productions over the years. His appearance in Bram Stoker's Dracula is brief but, as the bug-crunching, straightjacketed lunatic Renfield, Waits fits right in with the overly dramatic production and has the unenviable task of trying to be even more overly dramatic than everyone else, as demanded by the role. Whether he’s going big and grand, or in the smaller moments he shares with Mina Harker (Winona Ryder) through the bars of his asylum cell, he’s fully committed (pun!) to the character and a total delight to watch.

[Reprinted/excerpted from Daily Grindhouse.]

Jan 23, 2021


Long considered to be the most unconventional adaptation of a Shakespeare play, Richard III would take the same approach as Julie Taymor's Titus, which would follow two years later, in that their respective play's events would be transported to an alternate setting that blends disparate elements of both time, culture, and political aesthetics. While Titus utilized a blend of castle-era England with slightly futuristic underpinnings, Richard III smartly constructs a World War II-like juxtaposition of Nazi iconography with that of British and American military and Russian architecture. Ah yes, and Die Hard. That's right. One might think that Shakespeare and John McClane were destined for their own paths and never the twain shall meet, but that's the beauty of Richard III. Strip away the intimidation of Shakespeare's prose along with the 1930s Nazi propaganda, and Richard, Duke of York, and co., are presented as terrorists hijacking the crown with their tanks and their machine guns, and holding the title hostage.

Richard (Ian McKellen), younger brother of Edward, now the new king, is a man who craves the anarchy and destruction of war, and following their stealing of the crown, he has found himself withered and bored. Without a war to fight, Richard turns his piercing blue eyes to his own family, where he will create his own brand of anarchy. McKellen, who co-wrote the screenplay adaptation, wisely keeps the wry humor of Shakespeare intact, which is clear in moments such as when the film cleverly reveals that the titular Duke of York confides directly in the audience all of his evil masterminding...while taking a leak into a royal urinal and complaining of his boredom. (And let's not forget his hurling an apple at a penned boar and smiling as the animal squeals in pain.) Because Shakespeare is force-fed to students in schools, his extremely unique and dense verbiage not helping matters, his use of humor and his willingness to shed blood is not at the forefront of many minds outside of the bard's most dedicated. McKellen seems to realize this in his depiction of both, presenting a story that is often just as captivating for the events occurring on screen as the words gushing rapid-fire out of their mouths. (Every actor on board ably and exhaustively captures Shakespeare's words, but it's Maggie Smith as the Duchess of York who steals every scene in which she appears. Her last exchange with McKellen is absolutely devastating.)

Richard III is an elegant collection of performances (look for a quite young Dominic West of "The Wire"), writing, direction, production - everything that makes a film is present and accounted for. The subtle and meta winking/nudging that intimates some of the film's characters are occasionally aware their trials and tribulations are playing out on a stage for the entertainment of an audience is a technique that both recognizes the role of the play/the film, but also contributes to the conspiratorial design of the story itself. Like Titus, it is a daring and carnal story that preserves all the machinations, deceit, and humor of its source material while reimagining the events with clever and even appropriate modernistic flair.

Richard III results in one of the best adaptations of a Shakespeare work while also providing one of Ian McKellen's best performances. As thespians always say, it's so much more fun to go bad, and between this and McKellen's other villainous turns in the X-Men series and Apt Pupil, he also ably proves that he's so good at it. Often overshadowed by the 1955 adaptation featuring the legendary Laurence Olivier, this iteration of Richard III is not only severely underrated, but ultimately superior. A thrilling story and an impressive cast make this essential viewing to students of Shakespeare and devotees of uncompromising film.

Long live King Richard.

Jan 19, 2021


The People Under the Stairs, though dressed up in weird BDSM leather and sporting sadistic mutilation, isn't exactly subtle satire on social class division. When a character wanders around the crazy couple's basement, discovers the super secret gold room, and remarks, "No wonder there's no money in the ghetto," odds are Wes Craven's intentions with this early-'90s effort wasn't to subconsciously plant the idea of "the 1%," choosing instead to have Everett McGill scream it into your face and blast you with his cartoon shotgun. The dangers of capitalism are a playground in which some of our other renowned horror directors have played (Carpenter with They Live, Romero with Dawn of the Dead), so Craven threw his hat into the ring himself, concocting this tale of evil white people, a victimized urban demographic...and incest, which is always fun.

If you can get past this quite direct take on capitalistic evil, The People Under the Stairs is impulsively watchable, if only to see how insane a film released by a major studio is able to go. How Craven ever convinced Universal to greenlight and fund his movie about a man dressed in full-body sex-leather costumes and chase tongueless boys within the bowels of his house, we'll never know, but if nothing else, the man deserves accolades simply for having pulled that one off.

For the uninitiated, The People Under the Stairs, with its poster of a gigantic skull looming over a creepy looking house, promises something quite different from what the film ultimately is. This image was one that caught the attention of legions of children as they wandered video stores away from the watchful eyes of their parents during the 1990s. It became one of "those" movies - of the dangerous variety that parents would forbid their children from watching. Even though twenty-five years later some of The People Under the Stairs plays kind of hokey, thematically, there are portions of the film that still manage to be pretty disturbing. The idea of this twisted brother-sister/husband-wife team (McGill and Wendy Robie also played a married couple in Twin Peaks) "adopting" child after child, only to "cut out the parts they don't like" and lock away what remains in the basement is pretty heavy even for a horror film, and especially for children, who no doubt are going to compare what they are seeing on screen against their own parents - their only basis of comparison. When Wendy Robie's nameless "mother" character accuses her "daughter," Alice (AJ Langer, Escape from LA), of doing questionable things with "Fool" (Brandon Adams, The Sandlot) and forces her into a tub of scalding water, leaving her to scream for mercy, it's a legitimately disturbing image, if because, unfortunately, that kind of stuff happens every day, behind the closed doors of homes where one would quickly assume everything was perfectly normal.

No one could ever say that The People Under the Stairs, heavy-handed messages about wealth and crumbling urbanization aside, isn't well-meaning. Craven honestly had something to say about the division of social classes, and of one minority of class feeding off another, increasingly larger one. The idea is so potent even today that the intention to remake The People Under the Stairs with Get Out's Jordan Peele producing is now on the horizon. Artistically, the remake game tends to disappoint, but perhaps these People will offer something equally relevant. Just leave the sex-leather at home, please.

Jan 16, 2021


There's only one thing you should really keep in mind while watching Der Bunker. If it comes to certain points where you don't know if you should be laughing or not, you should be; and if it comes to certain points where you're certainly laughing, you should be disturbed as well.

This is Der Bunker's design.

Der Bunker is film without a genre. You could start by labeling it horror, but you'd almost certainly have to back it up with comedy, and then psycho-sexual thriller, and then drama, and then even science-fiction, and after a while it gets to the point where you realize to saddle it with one or several genre labels is fruitless. Der Bunker makes the case that a new genre label should be created just to help categorize it. Perhaps schizofreude--an erratic, unpredictable, dangerous film from which an audience can derive pleasure by their witnessing extremely discomforting scenarios that straddle the line between obviously funny and vaguely disturbing.

No matter your genre of choice, Der Bunker is easily watchable. Everything about it so oddly fascinating--like watching a car accident in reverse, and in slow motion--yet at the same time competently grounded. As strange as it gets, this strangeness constantly revolves around this makeshift family unit, which is something that the audience already has an innate sense to relate to. Once "The Student" joins them, at first only interested in renting a room, what's been commonly considered "the nuclear family" is complete. Father, Mother, two children. (Kind of.)

Of all the obviously insane moments peppered throughout, there's one that's a bit more subtle than most, and it's one that somewhat drives the plot forward. When "The Student" begins tutoring Klaus, as ordered by his landlords, Klaus confides in him that his parents are striving toward him becoming "President" (of the United States of America). In the middle of everything completely nuts about this family--who they are, how they appear, where they live, how they treat each other--Klaus' parents still maintain for him the same kind of high-reaching dreams that our parents held for us when we were children. To one day become President was that symbolic goal for us all--it wasn't so much actually becoming President as it was us being able to obtain whatever goals we set for ourselves. As utterly dysfunctional as this family is, there's a strange love and support system that's indefinable, but certainly present--bastardized though it may be.

"The Student," as played by Pit Bukowski (who also appeared in another incredibly oddity, Der Samurai), is close to being the German equivalent of our dearly departed Anton Yelchin. He has a soulful look, and the actor leans toward appearing in quirkier and riskier projects. Der Bunker is no different. He exhibits a wonderful air of someone desperately trying to coexist peacefully with his very odd landlords, agreeing to go along with their strange requests (or orders) simply in an effort not to make waves. But seeing him adapt to his surroundings, and give in to certain...urges...is brought to life by Bukowski's interesting ability to transform his character from meek and mild-mannered into someone of strength and even menace.

As Father and Mother, David Scheller and Oona von Maydell embrace their insanity with no reservations whatsoever. Maydell, especially, has some rather awkward scenes to film with her son, and which are performed with utmost confidence. But Daniel Fripan as Klaus walks away with having contributed not just the film's best performance, but an all-time memorable character (assuming, of course, that audiences gradually come to learn Der Bunker exists in the first place). His somewhat dopey, Beetles-inspired haircut and his cartoon wardrobe give him an easily amusing head-start, but his performance utterly indicative of an eight-year-old boy bored with school and who only wants to please his parents is, again, both disturbing and amusing in ways it probably shouldn't be. Seeing this "family" interact provides for the most uncomfortable of joys.

Despite taking place underground, Der Bunker manages to boast a somewhat diverse color palette--probably because of how insane it is! Even in the "classroom" (or should it be Klausroom? :D), the puke-colored bricks and spines of the books manage to, if not offer an attractive look, at least add some life to the screen. The "house" portions of the bunker look quite busy--likely purposely so--as if its quirky owners were trying to compensate for the fact that they don't live in a normal, every-day...you know, above-ground house. 

Odd. So odd I don't even know what to say. Some might be tempted to call Der Bunker "quirky," but that's not the right word. "Quirky" suggests it's a little off the beaten path, but not so off the path that mothers everywhere couldn't enjoy it. "Odd" is a better term, because while it's certainly off the beaten path, it's also--just the least bit--dangerous. With Der Bunker, and as cliched as it sounds, at no point do you know where the story is going to take you. The various aspects to the film which make it so strange cannot and will not be divulged here for fear of ruining its intentionally misleading construct. Der Bunker comes highly recommended for seekers of the strange.

Jan 13, 2021


"Which scary movie moment freaked you out the most as a kid?"

Oh, give me a break. No contest. Judge Doom, as brought to manic life by Christopher Lloyd in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, is the stuff of kid nightmares. One of the all-time great movie villains, Judge Doom, in his all-black, Gestapo-like suit, is an eerie menace from his very first appearance in a 1947’s version of Los Angeles where “real” human beings coexist alongside walking cartoon characters. And he hates ‘toons. Vilifies them. Wants to dip them all in barrels of paint thinner (“the dip”) until nothing is left but colored grease. The evisceration and erasure of Toon Town. A full-on cartoon holocaust – that’s his endgame. That’s all bad enough.

And then the classic film’s lunatic finale happens.

Judge Doom is flattened under the wheels of a steamroller, only to resurrect, stick a gas tank nozzle into his mouth, and inflate his pancake body. His glass eyes pop out of his head to reveal he is, in fact, a ‘toon wearing a human façade. In pure, unfettered mania of which only Christopher Lloyd is capable, he embarks on a tirade in which he proudly, insanely, over-the-toply admits to Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) that he was the one who killed Eddie’s brother – the crux of the movie’s conflict – and as his confession becomes more and more unhinged, his voice reaches a cartoonish high pitch like a whistling teapot before his cartoon eyes turn to daggers and springs burst from his feet, which he uses to launch across half a warehouse after a fleeing Eddie – and the whole time, his animated eyes are bubbling in his plastic face like a witch’s cauldron.

You know, for kids!

Watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit today, I’m still amazed director Robert Zemeckis was able to get away with the ghastly images that appear throughout the finale of his cleverly plotted Chinatown spoof. If the seed for horror hadn’t already been planted in my brain when I first saw it in my youth, then Who Framed Roger Rabbit was definitely one of the influences that cultivated it. (I also had an unhealthy crush on Jessica Rabbit, but that’s for another time.)

[Reprinted/excerpted from Daily Grindhouse.]

Jan 9, 2021


You can’t keep a good gimmick down, which is why, ten years on from the release of Paranormal Activity, found-footage horror flicks are still trickling in. Thankfully, theaters are no longer inundated with them, but quieter and lower key productions are continuing to use the tactic – hence we now have the awkwardly named Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten (which, come on, I will DEFINITELY be calling Triple H for the remainder of this review).

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a group of kids take an array of filming equipment into an abandoned hospital believed haunted for sensationalistic reasons but then – plot twist – turns out the place really does have ghosts! (Or demons, or witches, or the pit of hell, or, you know, something that HMOs will write off as a preexisting condition.) Along with this, the Germany-lensed Triple H opts for a modern update by presenting all the trespassers as hosts of their own very disparate Youtube channels, some more successful than others, which has led to some tension between them all. (I think they used to be friends in real life before or during their Youtube fame, but that’s never made clear). There’s Betty (Nilam Farooq), whose channel seems to consist of her sitting on a bed and talking about makeup but never applying any (accurate); Emma (Lisa-Marie Koroll), who helps participants face their very specific fears; and lastly, there’s Charly and Finn (Emilio Sakraya and the amazingly named Timmi Trinks), who host something called Prankstaz, which is exactly what it sounds like, and which is the most obnoxious thing you have ever seen. (Also accurate). Joining them are Theo (Tim Oliver Schultz), the level-headed worrywart, and Marnie (Sonja Gerhardt), a psychic and Theo’s former squeeze. (I’m going to be honest, I’m not 100% of that breakdown because all the girls, bundled up in hats, scarves, and big jackets, kinda look the same, and most of their names are barely spoken aloud during the entire running time. Girls just sort of keep showing up, making you go, “oh, guess I missed her the first time.” Just know that this movie is basically Hellstätten 90210.) The kids all figure that cross promoting with the sadly successful Prankstaz will boost the number of theiir Youtube followers, and that’s all that matters on the entire planet.

For the first two acts, Triple H unfolds exactly as you would expect: the characters are introduced and established as: the main one who will probably live, the “silly” ones who definitely won’t, and the window dressing ones whom no one will especially care about. Dark hallways are wandered, fleeting creepy things in the dark are glimpsed, fights break out among the cast, and bodies begin to drop. During this time, Triple H is very okay – it’s absolutely every other found footage flick you have ever seen, but it’s well made enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching anything offensive. In addition, there’s a scene where Theo berates the two Prankstaz hosts for peddling idiocy on their channel and contributing to “the stupidity of our youth,” so you might be thinking, “Oh, wow, Triple H has a message.” Once the third-act twist happens, whatever credit you were willing to lend toward Triple H goes totally out the window and you will groan, groan, groan. To its credit, you’ve never seen anything like it in a found footage flick, but that’s because the twist is nearly as ridiculous as, say, if it’s revealed that the haunted hospital had been under the hellish influence of an evil cantaloupe named Jeremy.

Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten is every found-footage flick you’ve ever seen – that is, until it’s not, and that’s when it’s worse. If you’re among the breed of fan who devours these kinds of flicks regardless of budgets or reputations, you’re likely to find a few worthy yuk-yuks within. For everyone else, avoid.

Jan 6, 2021


As a horror genre nutball, there were two films — held high above all others — whose statuses still remain as my top two most anticipated releases of all time. The first was Halloween: H20, released when I was a wee 14 years old. The second was Freddy vs. Jason, the ultimate mash-up dream movie combining the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street series' boogeymen. Unlike the former, an idea that came together pretty quickly, the genesis of Freddy vs. Jason, released in 2003, dates back to the late ‘80s, when both franchises were starting to suffer from box office fatigue and needed a shot of adrenaline. I even had in my possession, for a long time, a very small newspaper clipping announcing the film’s pre-production, then called “Jason vs. Freddy,” due to be released in “the summer of 1997” and would be directed by none other than special effects maestro Rob Bottin (The Thing).

This, obviously, did not happen — along with many other iterations which included different cast members, writers, and directors. Names like the departed Brad Renfro (The Client, Apt Pupil) and a pre-career revival Jason Bateman were once mentioned. Established characters from both franchises were to appear — Alice from A Nightmare on Elm Street Parts 4 and 5, along with Steven, Jessica, and a grown-up version of baby Stephanie from Jason Goes To Hell. That latter portion, especially, makes sense, given that Jason Goes To Hell’s shock ending included Freddy Krueger’s infamous glove pulling Jason’s mask down, essentially, into Hell. That’s how quickly New Line Cinema believed Freddy vs. Jason would come together, rather than the decade it actually took.

So, after all its false starts and legendary production hells, how did Freddy vs. Jason fare? Well, it lit up the box office opening weekend, and accumulated $115 worldwide by the end of its theatrical run. It was so successful that a sequel called “Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash,” which would have brought The Evil Dead series’ Bruce Campbell into the fold, was seriously discussed. Not bad for a very R-rated horror film consisting of franchises whose previous solo trips to theaters resulted in pitiful returns. Critics (genre ones, anyway) were split, but fans were mostly happy with the final product. Personally, I loved it, warts and all — and, holy shit, are there some warts. Kindly, and like Halloween: H20, the version of it that lives in my memory plays a lot better than on the flat screen of my present, but it still offers bloody violence, a reasonably clever plot, and a winking/knowing sense of fun. The creative talent behind the cameras of Freddy vs. Jason took the concept just as seriously as it deserved, and it shows (which is not a slight at all).

Not long after its release, Fangoria dedicated two whopping issues to feature a very long article about all the different iterations of Freddy vs. Jason that had been discussed over the years, along with interviews of those involved. It was reasonably in-depth for what Fango’s page count would allow, but was retold in an anecdotal nature. The morsels that were shared by previous screenwriters of unmade scripts hinted at far larger and more wild stories, some or most of which seemed destined never to have their stories realistically told.

From Dustin McNeill (interview here), author of Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion and Further Exhumed: The Strange Case of Phantasm Ravager comes Slash of the Titans: The Road to Freddy vs. Jason, the definitive look at the crazy-long and very troubled production history of not just the film Freddy vs. Jason, but the idea of “Freddy vs. Jason.” For those familiar with McNeill’s previous literary examinations of the Phantasm series, it comes as no surprise to hear that Slash of the Titans is a meticulously researched tome on the culmination of fandom’s favorite franchises. Some of the rejected concepts were admittedly nutty and ill-advised (Jason is arrested and goes to court; Jason and Freddy box in hell, refereed by Ted Bundy, and many more) but some of them make for some pretty interesting what-if concepts, such as Freddy having been a janitor at Camp Crystal Lake who had actually been the one to kill Jason as a young boy to keep him quiet…after having molested him. What’s interesting about the many different concepts is that they all seemed to share one thing in common: the screenwriters’ inherent bias as it pertained to either Freddy or Jason as characters. Much like how the final version of Freddy vs. Jason is more Freddy centric, each screenplay showcased a preference for one over the other — from their screen time to what they were given to do.

McNeill has done his due diligence, interviewing as many screenwriters of the many unused Freddy vs. Jason iterations as he could, as well as leafing through all the scripts and providing his own detailed breakdowns of their plots. Though the topic being discussed is light, it’s not exactly a breezy read. Small font covers nearly 250 pages, and it jumps back and forth between these script breakdowns, interviews, and the author’s own musings piecing together a timeline. It’s a dense book and there’s a lot of information to take in; as you read one plot breakdown after another, which particular detail belonged to which script starts to get hazy. Mainstays will remain in your brain (the kind of wacky stuff one might not forget), but some of the smaller details will fade. The book is best consumed in multiple sittings and consuming one unique script-dedicated chapter at a time. (Put it this way: the author’s previous book, Phantasm Exhumed, focused on four Phantasm films, as well as earlier films from director Don Coscarelli. And it’s only 20 pages longer than this one, a book that focuses on one film.)

Fans of the film that eventually came to be, or even fans of either franchise but not necessarily their long-mooted team-up, should absolutely snap up their own copy of Slash of the Titans: The Road to Freddy vs. Jason. It’s easily the most comprehensive source that will ever exist on the subject and will keep you busy for quite some time.

Official book stuff:

From the author of Phantasm Exhumed comes Slash of the Titans, a revealing look at why it took New Line Cinema nearly ten years and four-million-dollars to find the right screenplay for Freddy vs. Jason. Featuring new interviews with the original writers and filmmakers, Slash details the production’s troubled history from the surprise ending of Jason Goes to Hell all the way to the crossover’s red carpet premiere. Read about the many rejected storylines and learn how the project was eventually able to escape from development hell. This is the story of one film, two horror icons and seventeen screenwriters!


  • Comprehensive looks at ten different versions of the screenplay
  • Info on early crossover attempts by Friday the 13th filmmakers
  • Exclusive details on the never made Freddy vs Jason: Hell Unbound video game
  • Insights from producers, executives and developers including Sean Cunningham
  • An examination of why the Shannon/Swift script was finally greenlit
  • Summaries of the four endings considered for the 2003 film
  • Coverage of the never made Freddy vs Jason vs Ash sequel
  • New comments from the titans themselves Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger
  • Appendices full of story details including the outcomes of all ten versions

Jan 2, 2021


The word giallo immediately brings to mind the names of horror stalwart directors Mario Bava and Dario Argento, the former who gave birth to the popular European sub-genre movement during the late 1960s, and the latter who took what Bava had done and ran with it. Argento turned the giallo up to eleven with more sexuality and more gruesome killings, but also more experimental camera techniques and more dreamlike atmosphere. Many, many other directors soon followed suit, eager to leave their own mark on the sub-genre, and each going about it in many different ways. Some vied for artistic, some vied for pulpy thrills (which would be mirrored by the slasher movement in the U.S. following the release of John Carpenter’s Halloween). Soon, the giallo, whose etymology is traced back to yellow-covered pulp fiction novels from the early 20th century, would be applied to many different concepts: straight-up murder mystery, psychological horror, supernatural slice-and-dice, or a combination of the three.  (They sometimes shared their elements with another non-horror sub-genre known as poliziotteschi – think Dirty Harry reimagined as an Italian production, but with gorier killings.)

Director Sergio Martino enjoyed a career every bit as prolific as the filmmakers named above (which includes titles like Torso and The Case of The Scorpion’s Tail, along with a fair number of sex comedies), but he never managed to find the same kind of mainstream success as his contemporaries. Ironic, given that his 1970 film All the Colors of the Dark is considered to be a quintessential giallo and clearly inspired Argento once it came time to helm his masterpiece, Suspiria.

Starring the unrealistically beautiful Edwige Fenech, All the Colors of the Dark is about a woman named Jane, possibly suffering a psychological breakdown, who believes that a mysterious blue-eyed man in a trench coat is stalking her…with a dagger. Naturally, as the genre demands, no one believes her, and those in her life instead offer armchair analysis and advice, believing it to be a figment of her imagination. Her boyfriend, Richard (George Hilton), tells her to take vitamins; her sister, Barbara (Susan Scott), suggests therapy; and her neighbor, Mary (Marina Malfatti), suggests the most outlandish cure of all: a black magic ceremony to purge her of her fears. Jane tries each one, finding success in none, but after taking part in a black mass, things really go south.

From its opening frame, Martino is quick to inject some nightmarish (literally) imagery into what so far had been a straightforward sub-genre dedicated to murder mysteries. The opening moments present something not seen in gialli up to that point, and that same sense of unease carries through to the entire film, leaving you to wonder just how much trust you can put in Jane’s eyes, or if she’s your classic unreliable narrator. There are just enough fantastic elements that help the film and Jane’s frenzied journey feel just the least bit surreal, often making you question if what she sees is for real, or if the double-whammy of her mother’s murder when Jane was young, and Jane losing her unborn baby in a car accident, has warped her mind. And given that it’s right there in the title, Martino plays around with colors; in a pre-Shyamalan show of sneakiness, Martino hides blue – the same shade as the mystery man’s eyes – in plain sight, subtly suggesting that the person wearing that blue sweater or driving that blue car is not to be trusted.

All the Colors of the Dark has long been considered essential giallo, and I won’t disagree. Don’t miss it.