this week’s ‘must-see dvd’ is the spanish film [rec]. 2008’s quarantine is almost a shot-for-shot remake of [rec] and is notable for being the only remake i know of to be announced before the original was even released. both [rec] and its american remake are extraordinary films, but the spanish film should probably be viewed first if possible. while it’s often said that the two are so similar that seeing one is equivalent to seeing both, each film has its own strengths and weaknesses and fans of quarantine should certainly not overlook the original. [rec] has a stronger finale, both in terms of its openness to interpretation and superior creature design, so of the two, i prefer [rec]. utilizing the ‘found footage’ template seen in blair witch and cloverfield, [rec] is a claustrophobic and visceral zombie flick i often describe as “the film you wanted diary of the dead to be.”
Pick of the Week
Trapped in a quarantined Barcelona apartment building with residents, firefighters and a growing horde of ravenous zombies, television reporter Angela (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman, Pablo, record brutal deaths and terrifying events while trying to stay alive. Filmed entirely from unseen Pablo’s point of view, this tension-filled Spanish horror film thrills viewers with its aggressive action. Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró direct.
Island of the Fishmen (1979)
After their prison barge goes down in the middle of the Caribbean, the doctor on board, Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli), and a group of convicts washes ashore a remote island where mad scientist Prof. Ernest Marvin (Joseph Cotten) is conducting a series of horrific experiments. When the prisoners begin to disappear one by one, Ross suspects that they’ve fallen into the hands of Marvin’s grotesque creations.
When bloodthirsty and unstoppable Mikos (George Eastman) miraculously recovers from an accident that should have claimed his life, Sgt. Ben Engleman (Charles Borromel) and a priest (Edmund Purdom) discover that Mikos’s indestructibility is the result of a nuclear experiment gone awry. Italian director Joe D’Amato helms this horror slashfest; Annie Belle, Hanja Kochansky, Katya Berger and Kasimir Berger co-star.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
In this supernatural thriller, the Campbell family’s move to Connecticut takes a mysteriously dark turn when a series of shocking paranormal events reveals that their inviting new home is a former mortuary with a sordid past. Based on a true story, this terrifying tale stars Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan as the well-meaning Campbell parents, Kyle Gallner as their cancer-stricken son and Elias Koteas as the enigmatic Rev. Nicholas Popescu.
Door Into Silence (1991)
After leaving his father’s funeral, businessman Melvin Devereaux (John Savage) sets off on a long drive home through the Louisiana back roads. Along the way, he finds himself ensnared in a horrifying labyrinth of absolute terror. Released in 1991, this psychological thriller is the last film written and directed by Lucio Fulci, the notorious B-movie legend known as the “Godfather of Gore.” Sandi Schultz co-stars.
OC Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown (2008)
Orange County, Calif. — home of glitz, glamour and ghouls — is the setting for this low-budget horror romp that finds a group of SoCal locals trapped in a bar, surrounded by zombies on the outside and (unbeknownst to them) a serial killer within. This wasn’t exactly what Sean (Vic Vasquez) and Ed (Brandon Shira) had in mind when they set out to celebrate the former’s 21st birthday, but then again, it’s not a typical night of rejection either.