Archive for Catriona MacColl

City of the Living Dead (1980) Review

Posted in City of the Living Dead with tags , , , , on June 6, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD

**** Out of 5

Tagline- The Dead Shall Rise and Walk the Earth

Release Date- August 11th, 1980

Running Time- 93-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Lucio Fulci & Dardano Sacchetti

Director- Lucio Fulci

Starring- Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Janet Agren

Released in 1980 City of the Living Dead has become a favorite among Lucio Fulci fans and while most will cite Zombi 2 or The Beyond as his best film (I go with Don’t Torture a Duckling), but there is a minority of fans that hail City of the Living Dead as his best film and while I don’t agree with that I do understand the appeal the movie has. What some people don’t realize was in the 70s Fulci wasn’t a splatter filmmaker and actually made movies that were more story driven and while these films may have gained a following since their original release they didn’t get a lot of attention and with the release of Zombi 2, which was a massive success and it retained the classic style of the past Fulci flicks, but also added splatter F/X, which would become his trademark in the 80s.

I’m a big fan of Lucio Fulci, but after viewing movies like Don’t Torture a Duckling his splatter flicks don’t hold up nearly as well with me. My first introduction to the films of Lucio Fulci was his splatter flicks and upon my first viewings of these movies I loved them and Fulci was starting to climb the ranks of my favorite horror filmmakers. But like I said after watching some of his 70s flicks including Zombi 2, which again mixed in Fulci of the early to mid-70s and the splatter Fulci and as much as I enjoy his splatter films I’m also saddened he went down that direction in his career since he was as good as a filmmaker in the horror genre as anyone else, but people seem to forget that.

The screenplay written by Lucio Fulci and Dardano Sacchetti is mostly incoherent and lacks any real direction; it almost seems as if Fulci & Sacchetti just thought of random stuff that would be cool and added them into the screenplay without any thought and what there is of a plot seems more like an afterthought. After a Priest (Jovine) hangs himself in a cemetery that opens the gates of hell and why that happens well your guess is as good as mine. Fulci & Sacchetti give as little explanation as possible and in certain aspects it does work due to the fact we know as much as the characters, which helps us understand their confusion, but it also makes the movie extremely incoherent and the lack of any real explanation also makes it a pointless and confusing mess. The characters are fairly weak with very little depth, but however they are mostly likable and even if they lack depth they are still interesting and at least have their own identities, which most likely has more to do with the actors than the writing. The idea behind the film was strong, but it could have used a little more explanation.

This isn’t the typical zombie movie at all and the movie has much more of a supernatural tone. Windows shatter, blood pours down from the walls and zombies appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. The zombies also seem to have some kinda supernatural power; by making direct eye contact with them, well let’s just say it won’t end nicely for you. Also we know to kill a zombie give them a headshot. Here by simply stabbing the zombies in the stomach will get the job done. This is the one aspect of the script I think worked well since it keeps in tone with most zombie flicks in some areas, but also offers a twist to keep it from being like every other zombie movie produced at the time.

The direction by Lucio Fulci is actually fairly strong and while it cannot fully make up for the script, Fulci does create an eerie movie with great use of atmosphere and location. The film suffers a little early on from Fulci’s odd visual style with constant close up of the eyes, but once he tones that down, Fulci is able to deliver an eerie flick with some decent suspense and tension. The fact the plot is so incoherent it allows Fulci to create a dreamlike feel and make a movie that turns out better than maybe it should have. The pacing at times can be a little sluggish and the fact nothing really makes sense can lead to some slow moments, but in general the film is well paced. Most people will tune into City of the Living Dead for the gore and Fulci really delivers in that area. The girl who vomits her insides was rather brutal. I have seen so many splatter flicks and many even gorier than this film, but there is just something about that scene that always gets me. And the gore scene involving the death of Giovanni Lombardo Radice’s death is one of the best F/X scenes of all time. The movie is gory, but a lot of the death scenes can be redundant as a zombie grabs the back somebody’s head and rips off a chunk and while this was really cool the first time, but not so much after the 3rd time. Despite the lack of story and explanation of what’s happening, Fulci with his direction does keep the film enjoyable and while this isn’t my favorite film he made it would probably make my top 5.

Overall City of the Living Dead is an enjoyable movie and while it lacks any coherent plot it does have a nice eerie feel to the movie and even if I do like the movie I also feel this was the start of the decline in Fulci’s career when he became a splatter director though with that said he did follow this up with some memorable films. The strongest aspect of the film is the excellent cast and fans of Fulci will no doubt enjoy this one.

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Top 15 Scream Queens

Posted in Top 15 Scream Queens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

What exactly makes a Scream Queen? Is it someone who has appeared in many horror films? What about an actress that made 1 horror film that she gave a great performance to go along with a great film? Many people will say you need a few horror films to be a Scream Queen and that’s fair enough, but what about if most of those films are terrible? So with this list I decided that it doesn’t matter if you have 1 credit or 100. All that matters is quality of the film and performance.

I know some will disagree with me including actresses that aren’t really known for horror, but again it’s about quality more than anything else. There were several actresses left out that I really wanted to include such as Daniela Doria, Zora Kerova, Lorraine De Selle and they almost made the cut, but in the end decided against it.

(For some reason I am having trouble with uploads so if any pictures don’t show sorry about that.

15. Hayden Panettiere

Notable films- Scream 4

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I know many will disagree with my placing of Hayden at number 15 and I could have placed several other actresses here, but I went with Hayden because Kirby in Scream 4 is just awesome! A hot chick who loves horror. As much as I liked Scream 4 without Hayden it might have been a little less.

14. Franca Stoppi

Notable Films- Beyond the Darkness, The Other Hell

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Her character Iris was downright creepy in Beyond the Darkness and while that may be her most notable credit (she has done other horror flicks) Iris is one of the more memorable characters and Stoppi more than deserving.

13. Marilyn Burns

Notable films- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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Like the above she has a couple more credits, but TCM is all she needs. I easily could have rated her higher. Besides a great performance the hell that she went through while filming alone gets her on this list. As Sally, Marilyn Burns was great and sure I could fill this up with other actresses with tons of credits, but none of those actresses gave as strong a performance or were in as good a film.

12. Lisa Wilcox

Notable films- A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 & 5

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I always preferred Alice over Nancy. That’s just me, but for certain purposes I couldn’t rate Lisa Wilcox higher. I just love how Alice starts and what she becomes. From shy nerd to kick ass chick ready to kick Freddy’s ass

11. Corteney Cox

Notable films- Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3, Scream 4

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Nobody can play the bitch like Corteney and rather than wanna see her meet a grisly end you root for her to survive. Her performances are hysterical and she always brings the fun factor to the Scream movies.

10. Cristina Galbo

Notable films- What Have You Done to Solange, The Killer Must Kill Again, Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

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One of the most stunning women to grace the screen, in all her films, Cristina not only brings beauty, but something innocent and naive to her performances.

9. Jennifer Love Hewitt

Notable films- I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

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I know some will disagree with J. Love on the list and perhaps as high as she rates. What guy wasn’t totally crushing on Jennifer back in the 90s? With her stunning looks, beautiful smile, J. Love brought the super hot girl next door quality to her films.

8. Catriona MacColl

Notable films- City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, House by the Cemetery

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Her work with Fulci was great and MacColl brought a lot of class and charm in her work with Lucio Fulci.

7. Heather Langenkamp

Notable films- A Nightmare on Elm Street, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, New Nightmare

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I can hear the groans now over the ranking. Nancy is one of the greats for sure and the original Elm Street a masterpiece. Nancy wasn’t like most characters in horror films as she was not only smart, but didn’t need help in taking down Freddy. I’ve always loved the character and how she changed in the series.

6. Edwige Fenech

Notable films- The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, The Case of the Bloody Iris, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Hostel: Part II

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Is there any woman more stunning? I think not. Her Giallo work was truly excellent and it didn’t hurt she was always willing to shed her clothes. Edwige is one of my all-time favorites and wanted to rate her even higher.

5. Daria Nicolodi

Notable Films- Deep Red, Inferno, Tenebre, Phenomena, Opera

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Her work with Argento is brilliant and at times European horror isn’t always know for strong female characters, but with Deep Red she broke that. Through the years her work with Argento made her a staple in the horror genre and Daria who sadly sometimes gets looked over is a terrific actress.

4. Danielle Harris

Notable Films- Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween, Halloween II, Hatchet II

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Danielle is probably the only child actor in a horror film that didn’t get on my nerves. As young Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4 & 5, Danielle gave performances far beyond her years and her work with Rob Zombie in his Halloween films were great. Halloween II she really got to show off her acting range. But she will always be remembered as Jamie Lloyd and dare I say I liked her more than Laurie?

3. Sheila Keith

Notable Films- The House of Whipcord, Frightmare, The Comeback

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Sadly an actress that time has forgotten. Her work with Pete Walker is truly amazing. She was downright creepy in House of Whipcord and the Comeback, but Frightmare she was just chilling! Its sad many horror fans don’t mention her as she was a terrific actress and if she doesn’t seriously creep you out something must be wrong with you.

2. Jamie Lee Curtis

Notable Films- Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, Halloween II, Halloween H20

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What can I say about Jamie that hasn’t already been stated before? Her title of the scream queen is more than fitting and deserving as her work in the genre is iconic for a reason. As Laurie Strode she set the bar on the woman in danger role. I often alternate on my top 2 picks since both are more than deserving.

1. Neve Campbell

Notable Films- Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3, Scream 4, The Craft

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This might be a surprise to some, but as Sydney, Neve Campbell set the bar for the modern scream queen. She was vulnerable, but not weak as she fights back at every turn. Neve brought this sweet tough innocence to Syd, but when push comes to shove she’ll kick your ass!