Archive for May, 2016

Films That Haunt Me: THE IRON ROSE

Posted in Films That Haunt Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2016 by smuckyproductions

For some years now I’ve been a fan of Eurohorror, but I always stayed away Jean Rollins – though I saw his name pop up around every corner – because of his reputation. Thankfully, having gone through most of the horror canon already, I had no other option but to try him out. And I am ashamed to have waited so long. At his best, Rollins is a Gothic master – and we have a fine example of this in THE IRON ROSE.

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The plot is so simple, it surprises me that it hasn’t been done a hundred times: a couple gets lost in a cemetery after having sex in one of the crypts. It could have been a Tales from the Crypt episode, or a good zombie movie – but Rollins takes a more interesting approach. Certainly, it starts out like a good ol’ B movie… until the psychological effects kick in.

The cinematography trapped my attention from the beginning. Rollins finds the most fascinating locations and the camera knows how to showcase them. Whether it be the beach, an abandoned train yard, or the cemetery itself, each image is enthralling. This is good, because most of the film crawls along at a snail’s pace. One of my favorite attributes of Eurohorror is its patience. This will be an instant turn-off for many viewers, but for those who can withstand it, the slowness becomes hypnotic. With a gorgeous (and seldom-used) score to back up his images, Rollins creates a delicious Gothic atmosphere.

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It is the atmosphere that allows for the psychological fear to come through. Unlike most films of its kind, “The Iron Rose” features fairly decent acting and dialogue, and no violence. Good thing, too, because the two characters carry almost the entire film. You might expect zombies or ghouls to come into play at some point – but Rollins opts for a more truly Gothic story. The only supernatural element is the graveyard itself, which goes on forever like a labyrinth. Everything else come from the characters.

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Once the plot kicked in and I realized there would be no traditional horrific elements, I was pleasantly surprised to still find myself afraid. It is the mental degeneration of these characters that is so unsettling. Rollins pulls this off without subtlety, but the effect is strong. His images emphasize the morbid trap that these people have fallen into. They are innocent for the most part, and yet they are dealt a disturbing punishment. It plays out like a realistic nightmare – who isn’t afraid of being lost in such an awful place? And the ending, while not as climactic as some might like, is genius to me – and haunts me still.

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While I am sure that most of Rollins’ work will not reach these heights for me, I am thrilled to have unlocked a new corridor of Gothic cinema for myself. The emphasis on image and mood, pertaining to psychological chills, is an art that I hope will not be lost. If patience is one of your virtues, indulge in this moody piece of the grotesque – you might get lost, too.

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Poem: EULOGY FOR THE YOUTH

Posted in Original Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2016 by smuckyproductions

As graduation is almost upon us, I feel the need to share this – one of the first poems I wrote, while still in college.

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Lying tangled on the bedroom floor
Medicinal poison ravage our veins
They won’t hear us in the sober dark
We, the gutted ones, trapped silent

Til the smell gets loose
And tells them for us:
Your brethren are dead.

They will weep, and grey-shroud snow
Will cover our graves, our stories untold
Effigies for children to see and to know

Blue corpse in black dirt, chose not to rise
The midnight call deaf on sodden ears
The bottle too thick, the liquid too dry
To allow us to keep our unchristened eyes.

CHAOS THEORY featured on Daily Dead

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2016 by smuckyproductions

Long time no see, boils and ghouls! Smucky’s been having a busy spring. We have a great piece of news for you, though – DAILY DEAD has featured CHAOS THEORY in this week’s Horror Highlights!

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CLICK HERE to read the article on their website.

And don’t forget to check out the full film, now available for free on YouTube.