Posts Tagged ‘rite

23
Feb
19

Luciferina (2018): Mercy for The Devil

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a Primal Root review

Is there any more tired trope in horror cinema than an exorcism?  Man, they’re a dime a dozen. You get a young girl (typically) put a demon in her, let science fail, hire a priest, he spouts some nonsense from the old testament, people die, someone sacrifices themselves, evil is either vanquished or at least there’s a stale mate. Like Beauty and the Beast, it’s a tired tale as old as time and, ever since it has risen to considerable heights with classic horror offerings like William Freidkin’s sublime 1973 touchstone, The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty’s truly exceptional and highly underrated The Exorcist III and then it kind of spirals into the abyss of B-Movie cheese or pop culture relics, not that I don’t love them, but rarely is the story ever given an update or does it conjure up anything truly shocking or surprising. When I hear there’s an exorcism in a film, I know I’m going to be in for shaky bed, ass spewage, cheese a minute city.

That’s why I was so damn pleased when I finally say my ass down and gave the 2018 Argentinian horror offering entitled Luciferina a shot.  When I first popped the blu-ray into my player I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Gonzalo Calzada’s latest offering.  I can tell you, I was not anticipating this startling original take on the stalest genre of horror since The Walking Dead drove the last nail into the zombie genre. But, I digress…

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Luciferina tells the tale of young, virginal Natalia (Sofia del Tuffo) who resides in a convenient and is on her way to becoming a nun when the tragic death of her Mother brings her home to be with her bed ridden, comatose Father and recovering drug addicted sister. Once she arrives, it becomes clear that things are not at all right there. Well, will all the blood drenched pieced of art featuring both phallic and yonic imagery which she created in her final moments. Bizarrely, their ill father who can’t get out of bed, no communicate, is kept all the way up on the third floor of their immense home along with all these disturbing pieces of art,  where his deceased wife’s blood and internal goopage was utilized by her own insane hands to create these masterpieces of the macabre. Not only that, but the dozen or so pieces are set up TO FACE THE POOR BASTARD…and there are two incredibly bright lights pointed at their poor Dad’s face both night and day which I cannot for the life of me understand how that’s supposed to help him with his illness, but I’m not Argentinian doctor, so…I mean, whatever you think is best doc.

Natalia’s sister, Angela (Malena Sanchez) believes a curse has been visited upon the family for both her and her sister having left and has arranged for the two of them, along with Angela’s rag-tag Scooby-Doo inspired team of misfits, including her ultra violent and uber rapey poster child the Argentina Proud Boys movement, Mauro (Francisco Donovan) to take a journey deep into the jungle to take part in a spiritual rite performed by a Peruvian Chaman (Tomas Lipan). This rite involves knocking back entheogenic brew of Ayahuasca. From what I understand, ingesting this concoction typically doesn’t lead to the ripping of one’s friends into multiple meaty chunks and leaving said chunks strewn about an ancient temple, but, some folks have far nastier demons buried within than others… Natalie decides to go along on the trip (hehehe) and take part in the ritual which will bring everyone face to face with the secrets of their past, their darkest memories and  lead to an unexpected, unplanned, and deeply affecting final rite that I can only describe as a sexorcism.

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Luciferina is an incredible slow burn of a horror film that does a commendable job of eschewing expectation based on the horror audiences common knowledge of such proceedings and keeping the true nature of Natalie a under wrap and still in question by film’s end.  Why is Natlie drawn to her mother’s blood soaked murder portraits of male and female genitalia? Why does she repeatedly have visions of those around her bathed in light? Why does she keep having dreams and visions of an abandoned abbey in the jungle and a mysterious old woman within? And why is this chaste, virtuous , nun in training beginning to feel sexual attraction and lustful urges towards those around her? The movie makes clear throughout how Natalie views sex as something dirty and obscene. Take for, for example, an early scene once Natalie comes home and takes a shower. She closes her eyes and begins to stroke her breasts and touch herself between her legs as the steam rises, but as soon as she opens her eyes, she sees several larch cockroaches by her feet in the bottom of the tub. It’s a grotesque and startling moment, but one that perfectly illustrates Natalie’s point of view, which becomes all the more relevant by film’s end.

I understand the issues many folks have with Luciferina. That the further we get into the story and the more things attempt to make sense, the less that they do. And by the final act,  the fine crafted suspense and feeling of deep, unsettling dread eventually give way to exceptional bloody practical effects and one of finest sex scenes I’ve seen in any film, horror or otherwise, what feels like eons. Natalie, who is portrayed pitch perfectly by del Tuffo, spends the first two thirds of Luciferina building her into a fragile protagonist, but by the film’s end, she becomes just as believable as confident, strong, uncompromising heroine. And, to be honest, the finale sexorcism scene is brilliant, equal parts arousing and disturbing and trail blazingly unique. It comes across as absolutely relevant and a full 180 degree turn from what exorcist films have presented to us in the past, as a woman embraces her own sexuality and empowering herself to destroy and vanquish a demon.

Can I get an amen?

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Luciferina possess a dark, alluring beauty all it’s own , one I am not accustom to in modern horror genre. With it’s wholly original combining of sex, the cycle of existence, angels, demons, is fascinating and disturbing and the film carves open it’s own bloody, beautiful path. From what I gather, Lucifernia has a truly progressive and positive message regarding sexuality female sexuality, which in itself is a blessed breath of fresh air in a genre that so often boasts a near medieval conservative view of female sexual relations (I’m looking at you, Jason Voorhees).   In Lucifernia, sex can be used for great good or absolute evil, it can either possess or exorcise. Sex is not inherently shameful, dirty or sinful, it all depends on the purpose of which you wield it. That mercy, not punishment, can perhaps be the answer. Now, how many religious horror films can you recall with the brass balls to convey this specific message?

Luciferina is by no means a masterpiece of the genre, but it is a one of a kind take on a thread bare genre, one that is captivating and alive with a creative energy rarely experienced by horror audiences these days. Exceedingly original, both disturbing in it’s imagery and astoundingly gorgeous in it’s cinematography, and manages to avoid making what could have EASILY been a cheap, exploitation “Fucked by The Devil flick” (not that there’s anything wrong with those.) and instead deliveries what I would say is among the most empowering and positive female driven horror films I’ve ever seen.

I give Luciferina FOUR out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

 

 

05
Nov
12

Uncle Grumpyfuk Remembers ‘Blood Feast’ (1963)

Unkce Grumpyfuk Remembers…

..Ugh..BUURRRPPP! …oh mighty Crom whisk away my poor hungover soul to thy grim grey mountain abode or let me find that damn pill bottle full of cricket legs! Urp,whew, yer ol’ pal Uncle Grumpyfuk comin’ atcha with some serious peach-fuzz on the brain this ..afternoon, shit. Me and a couple of buddies ..rather, a couple of buddies and I, ahem, had some unusually good fortune last night ..and earlier this morning, wait, what time is it? Uh, nevermind..time is…(eyes cross)..uh, give me a few minutes folks. I know you’ve been there. Buuurrp!

  I and my buddy Tangletoe and a fucking crazyass Irish ginger buddy of his…I’ll remember his name in a minute, were sitting in Tangle’s old truck hammering ‘fuckuppers’- Old Ezra Sour Mash Whiskey, Mountain Dew and 14 Sugar Pops -yep the cereal, crushed and stirred in, and a dash of tobasco. Talk about a drink that’ll put fire in your belly and get you going like a handfull of speed! We were listening to the radio and lo and behold, that the local boring shitty rock station was having a ‘beach party’ down at Lake Fornication today at noon so we figured fuck it, let’s pop some more Valium, head down there early and start the party ..13 hours ahead of time! Yee-haw!
  We found our way to the landing around midnight and what did our eyes behold but a party tent already set up under which lay 10 kegs of cold beer and 12 bushels of raw oysters, on ice, and a wasted hippy couple standing around a nice bonfire drinking beer and eating oysters,motioning for us to join the party, aaaand we did..post haste! Ugh, buurp. It was surreal, the radio station had obviously set everything up the night before so they wouldn’t have to in the morning and the braindead dj’s didn’t have the sense to leave someone to guard it! Deerrp! ..and to think those people can drive..and vote! Scary.
  Anyway the hippies left after about an hour or so, so the three of us stood there in front of a roaring fire,drinking and chowing down, having truly found our personal Shangri-la. A little while later,no idea how long, heh, we hear a distant mechanical growl and soon around 8-10 bikers and their old ladies roared up. We encouraged them to join us drinking free beer and eating free oysters,they finally caved after about .12 seconds and the ‘beach party’ was awn! So we sat there for several hours drinking and eating and trading stories of getting busted and wasted, of smashing rival gang members’ heads in with bricks and collecting comic books. At one point one of them saw me drooling at his skanky old lady’s tits so he let me screw her from behind for my 12.00 pocket knife. Let me tell you, whoever says that bikers aren’t good people has never gotten wasted with them and screwed one of their old ladies doggie-style! Hell, she even let Tangletoe and Sanchez,that’s it! Sanchez! …let Tangle and Sanchez have a go just because they were standing there watching! That’s a real woman for you, by cracky!
  Well I guess it was close to 6:00 AM when Tangle and I finally left. Sanchez stayed around for more and the bikers hadn’t slowed down a hair either! When we pulled out of there 2 kegs were empty and a third had been tapped, and almost 4 bushells of oysters had magically disappeared. It was amazing, in over 6 hours not one other person had come by, no cops, no one from the radio station, no other drunken partiers, no one. Shangri-la folks, seriously! After we got home I staggered down the street towards my duplex but felt those oysters wanting to see the light of day again, so, I lurched over to a hated neighbor’s Volvo and puked in the open window all over her upholstery. Ha-ha-ha! We wanted to listen to the radio station this morning to see if they mentioned going out and finding they’d missed their own party, but we totally passed out! Ha! ***
   Today my dear fiends, Uncle Grumpyfuk is proud, nay, honored and humbled to review a pivital film in trash cinema history. This is a film that horrified audiences and changed the art of film forever more..for the better! Fuckin’ay! I speak of one, some say the greatest of the Unholy Trilogy of the legendary Herschell Gordon Lewis, starring our favorite Playboy centerfold Connie Mason! Yes Mrs. Freemont it is exciting! Ha-ha-ha! …ah but I get ahead of myself. Yes my friends, I speak of the drive-in classic, the one and only, “Bloodfeast”! Yes, yes …(over 7 minutes of thunderous applause erupts, finally the din quiets a bit).. yes, thank you, I know, my genitals are covered with anticipatory sweat too. I shall strive to do my very best to honor the King of Gore and one of his masterpieces – I never have been able to decide whether I think this or 2000 Maniacs is better…AND Gruesome Twosome…I-I don’t know… I just love them all so much! (applause) Yes,we all do. Thank you, thank you.
  The film opens with a tense kettle drum beat and we see none other than Barbara Handler, daughter of the creator of the Barbie Doll, who named it after her! It’s her, I’m totally serious. I swear on your children’s’ future graves it’s her! ..Well ok it’s not her, but just look at’er! She’s the spit and image! You just want to pull her head off and give it to the family dog and pour lighter fluid on her body and set it ablaze! Damn!
  Anyway she turns on the radio as a report of ‘another murder’, that a girl was found ‘brutally mutilated’ and that all females should stay in after dark. The news ends and she strips her clothes off – tasty, and gets into a bubblebath. Now that is a great opening to any film, regardless of genre. She’s a scrub-dub-dubbin’ away, getting Miss Puss all nice and clean when she’s shocked to look up and see the psychotic eyes and dashing features of the protagonist of the film, one of your favorite actors, and mine; Mal Arnold! Yaaay! .. STAND AND APPLAUD you pisswipes!!! This man is the walking breathing definition of a cult star! ..well he’s no longer walking or breathing since he croaked but seriously you should applaud, I mean fuck. (more applause) Thank you,thank you.
  He stabs Barbara in the eye and begins hacking away with a carving knife and smiles proudly at his excellent knife-work, holding up a nice bloody giblet so we can see it real good- what a considerate gesture. He has a little more fun then chops off her leg for a keepsake perhaps? ..or possibly a future piece of folk art. Suddenly the screen is filled with the image of a cheap sphinx and pyramid replica,in front of a hotel in my own home state of Florida,where this film was shot! Yaaaay! ..and the credits roll. Thank you,thank you.
  Next we find ourselves down at the pigpen in the homicide bureau chief’s office. Inside he and one of his officers, Pete, played by another “2000 Maniacs” alumni, Connie’s companion Thomas Wood – the two of whom later became married in real life for many happy years; Tom you are the fucking man! – are engaging in some riveting dialogue concerning the murdered women’s’  mutilated states, concluding that a psychological killer just might be involved. Gee, ya think?
  Now we find ourselves outside Fuad Ramses Exotic Catering where our hero Mal, or Fuad runs a grocery/catering operation. In walks a ditzy rich blonde wearing a baby harp seal around her neck and a huge flowery hat any fat old black woman would be proud to wear to church’. She approaches the counter and begins to introduce herself as Mrs Freemont when her voice is cut off by Fuad’s intense,cobra-like gaze that leaves the air-headed bird mesmerized for a short spell, such is his irresistible charisma! At this point I have to mention Mal’s hair and eyebrows; they’re more thickly matted than a sloth’s fur, sans the vermin and disease, and although they appear to be grey, his hair and eyebrows blend in with everything in the background that’s blue. Tre chic Mal! How about it folks? (applause) Thank you, thank you.
  Mrs. Freemont explains that she wishes to throw a surprise party for her daughter, something different and unusual. “What do you consider to be unusual Mrs. Freemont?” inquires Fuad. She doesn’t know of course, stupid bitch, so he delivers the classic line “Have you ever had, an EGYPTIAN FEAST?” and we get a full-on shot of Mal’s dynamic peepers, whoa. She explains her daughter is into ancient Egyptian crap and that it sounded perfect. Fuad gets payment first, then hypnotizes her again, commanding her to give him a sloppy blowjob,then ejaculates on the back of her expensive coat, so that after she left everyone pointed at the gargantuan load dripping down her back like the fucking Blob’s albino offspring,with the dingy ditz blissfully unaware. Fuad you dog-you! Am I right folks? (applause) Thank you,thank you.
  As she leaves he slinks to the back of the store, through a back door to a room where he prays to an incredibly cheesy idol of his chosen goddess Ishtar, a department store mannequin, painted with cheap make-up and sporting the most dubious expression as if she just really isn’t sure about this guy and his goings-on.
  Outside Connie reads the headlines of the daily paper, “Legs Cut Off!” Heh, we’re way ahead of them aren’t we folks? The baffled cops are still pissed and clueless.
  After night-time has set in we see a couple of young lovers laying on the beach sucking face. She’s nervous but Tony really wants some snatcheroosky,so they begin rutting when she looks up and screams. Tony was confused; he hadn’t even mentioned trying anal yet! Wtf! Then he gets a split second glance of Fuad looming over him, machete raised and ready before Fuad smashed him good, then repeats with her. He cuts off the top of her skull for a really neat cereal bowl and takes her brains to boot! ..um, I don’t mean to boot as in kick it around in the dirt, I mean,you know, ‘in addition to’…just clarifying there. Anyway the camera shows some excellent shots of her ‘Jane Mansfield Look’ and concludes by showing some blood and bloody skull fragments in the sand, and about a foot-and a-half away is a boa constrictor being pulled out of camera range by an unseen hand. ..oookay.
  The cops arrive and revive Tony who blubbers and carries on like a foreign woman, totally unable to give them any pertinent information. The performance by the actor portraying Tony is bad on a magnificant scale, Bravo,bravo- actor who played Tony! ..what’s his name? Hell I don’t know, there’s the remote,you rewind it and look it up! Shit, lazy bastards.
  Back at the station the girl’s parents are carrying on like foreign women, at least the mother is, in a truly horrendous performance. All the cops learn is that she belonged to a book club.
  The screen goes red and we see Fuad’s hand placing some meat into a bloody pot and then he gives it a stir. Yummy! ..oooh Uncle Fuad when’s it gonna be ready? I’ze so hungry! Haw-haw-haw! What a knucklehead!
     Next we’re outside the hotel again,I mean apartment building just in time to see a sweet convertible pull up and out climb Abe Vigoda and Doris Day – it’s them I swear! 😉 – four sheets to the wind drunk. They manage to make it upstairs to her apartment door, she ‘gets a headache’, so he heads back down to the car and ends up falling asleep spanking his monkey. Two hours later the police arrive to find him, slimy cock still in hand, snoring away. Take it from yer Uncle, that is SO embarrassing!..though my paw thought it was hilarious. Hmph!
   Well while Abe is slappin’ the sloth who appears peeping around the corner? Yeppers, that devil-may-care kinda guy, our Fuad, up to his shenanegans. He knocks and Doris opens the door, thinking it’s Abe with more booze and one of the most shocking scenes in film history,up to that point anyway, takes place. Fuad reaches into Doris’ mouth and rips out her tongue and once again generously holds it up for our inspection. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds. It’s said that when Cecil B. DeMille viewed that scene he puked his guts out; talk about a compliment! Damn! Actually it was a sheep’s tongue,but that’s irrelevant, and when Fuad held it up for those 60’s audiences to see they fucking freaked out! I know,you’re envious too, it must have been pure bliss.
  The next scene is priceless. Connie and her mom are at home talking in the living room, discussing the upcoming surprise party and it’s easy to see that Connie is reading all of her lines off of cue cards placed around the room. ” I just shudder when I think about that butcher… that maniac,butchering all of those girls!” That’s a keeper there boys! What a woman,whew, down boy.
  That evening Connie and the cop, we’ll call him Maxwell Notsosmart, attend a lecture on ancient Egypt,the orator’s subject being ancient cults, namely the cult of Ishtar; priestesses, virgins, sacrifices, orgies, dirty rabble – some bloody fun times back then but talk about hazing, geez! As he speaks we get a flashback from those ancient times, of an ancient high priest, who turns out to be our own Mal Arnold again,showing his versatility by playing multiple roles! Thank you,thank you. A female sacrifice lays prostrate on the altar, Mal the high priest offers the sacrifice to Ishtar and places the handle of a plastic knife on her chest! He then quickly pulls it away and attaches a plastic blade with red paint on it and cuts out the girls bloody heart! Barbaric! Oh, and the boa constrictor is back hanging around the scene …but that’s why they call them the good old days folks. Now you point a fucking bb gun at someone’s ass and the feds put the whole fucking nation on magenta alert and declare martial law!
 After the lecture Connie and Maxwell go a-parking. Yay-yuh! He leans back and relaxes while she goes to town on that pole, slobber flying everywhere,showing how she got that Playboy gig! 😉 Heff you suck so badly..you fucking boss!!! Suddenly a radio bulletin interupts the suckfest and announces that another mutilated chick was found somewhere,or something. Pressed for time Maxwell says ‘fuck it’, grabs two handfulls of that golden hair,wraps it around his throbbing manhood and jerks off on top of her head. They teach’em that in cop school. It’s ok, Connie was totally up for it.
  Back at the station Chief tells Maxwell that the girl is still alive though her face looks like she made out with a weed eater. They race to the hospital and after the doctor tells them not to get her excited,they punch her in the stomach and slap her a few times to wake her up and answer a few questions. She tells them it was a wild eyed, wild looking old man who said ‘it was for Eetar, Eetar!’, so they put out an APB for Christopher Lloyd. Then she croaks and it’s really,really funny. I mean it’s a film so of course it’s funny when someone dies,but when she exhales her last breath and falls down,so much dogfood, there’s a little ‘Womp!’ from a trombone,signalling that she’s gone. It’s downright hysterical!
 You know,one thinks sometimes what we’d do differently had we created the universe ourselves, like give sea turtles the ability to breathe fire, or shrink all of the assholes to 4″ in height,to be preyed upon by insects and frogs, give eternal life to the members of Motorhead,that type of thing. It really is an ingenius idea,having it so whenever someone dies, have a little fart-like trombone sound effect signify that life has passed from the mortal shell. ‘Womp.’ “Well,he’s gone..heh-heh-heh.” That would be so fucking funny!
  At the grocery store Fuad opens a letter; an order from Connie for his book, “Ancient Weird Religious Rights”, otherwise known at the AA Handbook, a copy of which each victim has owned. Hmm. He calls and realizes Connie is Mrs. Freemont’s daughter,for whom he’s preparing the banquet! It seems he thinks the feast and sacrifice will bring Ishtar back to life. You never know, Uncle Grumpyfuk says it’s worth a try! Things are just going too well for him and his sly demeanor as he hangs up the phone is truly Oscar worthy. Notice the hair blending in with the blue items behind it? So cool, isn’t it folks? Mal Arnold ladies and gentlemen. (applause) Thank you, thank you.
  Connie and her friends are over at her house enjoying her swimming pool and Connie, now get this, is reading a book! I shit you not. She looks down and reads a page then laughs and it’s like her skull is made of rice paper and we can see her very thoughts. “Words are funny! ..and when you put them together they mean things!” Yep, a real keeper- lucky-ass Maxwell! As she’s looking at the pictures we see the shadow of a menacing hand float over her  body,but when she looks she sees nothing. When we look we see Fuad, right over there, climbing slowly and clumsily over the wall then limping away slowly. He’s like,right there. A keeper folks.
  One of her friends decides to go shopping at Xmart to see if there are any larger dildos than her own available (there aren’t). Connie makes sure to warn her to about not getting her head bashed in by the killer-at-large,but she gets it mixed up and as she’s walking down the sidewalk, Fuad sneaks up behind her in broad daylight, and bashes her head in with a rock. Her reaction when hit is as hilarious as watching Mal try to pick her lard-ass up and carry her off to the crock-pot! That’s how you injure your back by the way folks, that is what henchmen are for,for goodness sake, to do the heavy lifting! Fuad is a ‘One Wolf’ kinda guy though so, no-go. His really fakey limp doesn’t help.
The cops can’t find Lloyd. Connie invites Maxwell to her mom’s feast of Ishtar, he secretly hopes for the six days of rapine and gluttony but knows better. Dern it.
  Fuad is adding more meat to the pot, wink, and gives Connie’s friend a good whipping with the ol’ cat’o nine tails until acheiving a disappointing orgasm. (applause) Thank you, thank you.
  Maxwell sits at his desk at the office, repeating “Eetar, Ishtar, Eetar, Ishtar…”, he thinks it would make a pretty cool song! After a few he and Chief get hungry so they head over to Fuad’s for some grub, arriving just after Fuad left with the ‘feast’. They go in and find Connie’s friend and it looks like the makeup guy sat there and dripped fake blood over every inch of her body,very cool. Realizing they’re too late,they smell the delicious aroma from Fuad’s cooking and head over to the Freemont residence,stomachs a-growling!
  Fuad has arrived already and with great flourish announces that the banquet is about to begin, and requests that Connie assist him in the kitchen. If all goes well Fuad thinks, he can perform the sacrifice and still get home in time for ‘F-Troop’ reruns! Connie can’t remember to do anything right so by the time Fuad finally gets her in position in comes mom just in time to prevent him from bringing to life the great goddess Ishtar! Damn it I wanted to see if that was going to work! Stupid bitch. The cops arrive, tell everyone that Fuad is the killer, that Connie’s friend was the main course and Mrs Freemont wisely sums it up; “Well I guess we’ll have to have hamburger for dinner!” – extra cheese on mine please!
  Fuad takes off with the cops hot on his tail, through the neighborhood, across the nearby landfill, I bet it smelled nice filming on that location! Fuad manages to reach a trash truck that’s just leaving and jumps in the back,only to be crushed to death by the merciless jaws of the trash compactor. It’s a tragic and sombre moment. Maxwell then explains to Chief in lengthy, unnecessary detail how he brilliantly realized that Eetar and Ishtar sounded similar! The Chief doesn’t look too bright though so perhaps it was necessary to draw it all out for him. The End. (thunderous applause erupts and continues for several minutes) Thank you, thank you.
  Well that wraps it up folks, a true classic that is now 50 years old, hard to believe, and it still holds it’s own – the sign of a true masterpiece. Uncle Grumpyfuk hopes you vermin have enjoyed this one,I endeavored to do Herschell Gordon Lewis’ masterpiece justice, I pray to Crom I have succeeded, so this is yer ol’ pal Uncle Grumpyfuk signin’ off until next time!

Connie Mason: You Read About Her in Playboy!




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