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Belgium horror

Calvaire (The Ordeal), 2004

Director: Fabrice Du Welz
Stars: Laurent Lucas, Brigitte Lahaie, Gigi Coursigny

CALVARIRE’S (THE ORDEAL) story revolves about a singer called Marc, traveling from one gig to the other, his van broken and get caught in an small hotel middle of nowhere, kidnapped, tortured, abused and “womanized” as a hillbilly wife. Things go even worse from there. This movie borrows from many others; more obvious from Texas CHAINSWA MASSACRE, DELIVERANCE and MISERY.

The best part by far was the piano scene at the local tavern. The music was macabre and artistic, and the dancing seemed like it was part of someone’s bad dream.

The scene where the group of local evil animal fornicators dance themselves into a frenzy though is a total classic. If this movie gets seen kids in future years will certainly do this dance. I think it happens on or about chapter 13 in the movie, it’s almost worth getting it just for this scene alone. One of a kind. The rest of the film is pretty forgettable ultimately or not really good when it comes right down to it.

belgium horror

La nuit des étoiles filantes (A Virgin Among the Living Dead) 1973

Directors: Jesús Franco, Jean Rollin
Stars: Christina von Blanc, Britt Nichols, Rosa Palomar

VIRGIN is yet another surreal, enigmatic Franco film where you might be asking yourself once it’s over, “What the heck did I just watch?!” This Franco film is brimming with eye candy..from the beautiful naked women to the setting and many well-orchestrated images. The title obviously gives away who the characters Christina is amongst during the running time are. So that bit of mystery is revealed rather right off the bat, but this shouldn’t keep you from giving it a shot. I’m sure, like many of Franco’s films from this period, will leave many frustrated. Like, say, SUCCUBUS, the film seems ungrounded in reality. I guess one could see similarities to ALICE IN WONDERLAND, yet this turns into an erotically grim fairy tale. Among her weird family of misfits include an alluring sexual creature, Carmencé(the luscious Britt Nichols), morose Aunt Abigail(Rosa Polamar), the demented Uncle Howard(Howard Vernon in one of his most bizarre portrayals), and the family’s mute loony manservant Basilio(Franco, who steals the film when Nichols isn’t on screen). Paul Muller has a great role as Ernesto, Christina’s father. Anne Libert is The Queen of the Night/Darkness, who reminds me a stunning grim reaper..her scene where she removes Ernesto from Christina in is desk chair as they slide away into the darkness is an amazing moment in the film.

Coming along with a sublime score by Italian maestro Bruno Nicolai, “A Virgin Among the Living Dead” is an unspeakably weird little film with an incredibly confused plot, that blends sleaze and lots of female nudity with a wonderfully picturesque Gothic style and fever-dream like atmosphere. The ravishing Christina (Christina von Blanc) comes to her family’s castle Montserrat in order to accept the inheritance of her late father. Upon her arrival she meets her… err.. rather strange family members, among them the totally bonkers uncle Howard (Howard Vernon), the seductive and perverted Carmencé (Britt Nichols) and a retarded house servant (Jess Franco himself). Henceforth, she is tormented by strange, psycho-sexual nightmares…

Lucker the Necrophagous 1986

Director: Johan Vandewoestijne
Stars: Nick Van Suyt, Helga Vandevelde, Let Jotts, Marie Claes

Lucker the Necrophagous has been an (in)famous flick for over 20 years. Never released in the U.S., it could only be found as a multi-generational bootleg copy, the original negative long since destroyed. It made a huge splash in the late 80’s because of the graphic content (remember, this is before “Nekromantik”), and I think it helped that the only copies available were blurry bootlegs. Viewed now with a little extra clarity, the effects are very poor.

The plot is so simple, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything with this synopsis: a maniac escapes the hospital in search of the one surviving victim from his previous killing spree. Along the way, he encounters new victims as he searches for “the one that got away.” There are a couple of decent gore scenes, and admittedly the corpse rape is pretty disgusting as long as you don’t look too closely at the poor effects. Compared to “Nekromantik”, this film just doesn’t hold up. “Nekromantik” is much better filmed, of higher quality, and generally has better special effects.

The film only lasts for just over seventy minutes, which is a definite good thing as the plot is thinly applied even given that run time. A lot of the plot is concerned with watching the central character maraud around murdering people, and it’s lucky that the director manages to introduce another sick sequence just about every time the film looks like it’s getting a bit too boring. I have no idea what ‘Necrophagous’ means, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that the title character enjoys using the women he kills after death. The sequence towards the end where he licks gore from one of his dead victims from his hands is the sickest in the movie…but it didn’t offend me too much. The style of the film is down and dirty throughout, which definitely does the movie a lot of favours and the only other positive in the film comes from the lead actor – Nick Van Suyt – who does well in providing the right kind of feel for a character as sick as this one. The role doesn’t require much actual acting, but at least he looks the part. Overall, I have to say this film doesn’t really look up to its reputation, and while I sort of enjoyed it; I can’t recommend it.

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