Edge Of The Axe YIFY ((TOP))
We first encountered The Child at a Halloween party thrown at the palatial Mexican War Streets home of Mr. Groovy Doom himself, Bill Van Ryn. While some folks drank in the kitchen or enjoyed the mix of Goblin and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult blasting in the sitting room, I was entranced by a film that was playing on the TV. The sound wasn't turned up, the images all felt like transmissions from beyond and nothing really added up in the movie. "What the hell is this," I asked. "Oh, The Child!" exclaimed Bill, hurriedly running in to try and explain why he was growing more and more obsessed with multiple rewatches of the film.Every print I've ever encountered of this film has been beaten to hell and back. So when it was announced that Arrow Video was about to clean it up and release it was part of their American Horror Project series, I was excited. For me, it was the main selling point of the entire second volume.Sometime in the 1930's - which you'd only know from the old cars, as this film feels like an anachronism lost in no particular time - Alicianne has been hired to be the caretaker for Rosalie Nordon, the titular child, who has just lost her mother. Along with her father and brother Len, she lives in a house on the edge of the woods.Even the trip to the house is strange, with Alicianne's car breaking down after she drives it into a ditch. A journey through the woods brings her to Mrs. Whitfield, who warns her about the Nordon family. She probably should have listened, as everyone in this family - hell, everyone in this movie - is touched, as they say.When Alicianne first meets Rosalie, he jack in the box suddenly moves by itself. It's a very subtle scene that hints that things might not be right here. After all, people have seen Rosalie wandering the cemetery late at night, a place where she brings kittens so that her friends there will do anything she asks. And even dinner is strange, as her father relates a story of Boy Scouts eating a soup stirred with oleander that caused them all to die. Father and daughter have a good laugh at that while Len just seems embarrassed by his family.Then there are the drawings - Rosalie has been sketching everyone who was at her mother's funeral, marking them for death. And if she does have psychic abilities, is she using them to reanimate the dead or control them? Or do they just do whatever she wants? The Child wasn't made to give you those answers. It just screams in your face and demands that you keep watching despite your ever-growing confusion.Mrs. Whitfield's dog is taken first, then that old busy body pays the price, with her face getting ripped off as the zombies mutilate her. That gardener has some of mommy's jewelry, so he has to pay, too. And Alicianne, who was supposedly here just for Rosalie, has started to spend too much time with Len. She's next on the list.There are some really haunting scenes as we get closer to Halloween, like a scarecrow come to life and a jack-o-lantern that keeps relighting itself and following our heroine around the room.Finally, Mr. Nordon starts to discipline his daughter, which leads to Rosalie unleashing all of her powers. She decimates her father, crashes Alicianne's car and sends zombies to chase her governess and brother all the way to an old mill. Len tries to fight them while Alicianna just screams and screams, but he can't stop them from dragging him under the building and tearing his face to bloody pieces. As the attack of the zombies stops, Rosalie walks through the door just as our heroine hits her with an axe. She walks outside into the dawn's light and everything is still. The threat is over.Written by Ralph Lucas as Kill and Go Hide, The Child isn't a great movie, but it's an interesting one. If you ask me, that's way more important. Some people will get tied up in things like narrative cohesion, good acting and a soundtrack that makes sense. None of those people should watch The Child with you, as they'll just ruin what can be an awesome experience. This is the kind of movie that takes over, kind of like one of those dreams you have and try to write down the moment you wake up, but it gets lost in the ether of reality. For most of the film, the zombies are barely glimpsed, just seen in the shadows, so they really could just be tramps that live in the cemetery. Or something much worse.Producer Harry Novak acquired this film and made his money on it, even if director Robert Voskanian and producer Robert Dadashia saw no profit. It's a story we've seen hundreds of times - an interesting movie taken, used and abused by conmen who have no interest in art.This new version of The Child simply looks amazing. I'm used to VHS level or worse copies of the film that obscure everything in the movie. That said, there's something about a battered copy of a movie like this that makes you love it even more.This release also includes an appreciation of the film with Stephen Thrower, who also moderated audio commentary on the film with Voskanian and Dadashian. There are also interviews with the creators of the film, which discusses how the movie was shot on heads and tails of film stock, which were sometimes left in an ice box until they afford to send it out for developing.My favorite part of The Child is that there's a dream sequence. Just think of that - a dream scene in a movie that completely feels like one big dream. If that doesn't make you run out and find a copy of this, I don't know what else will. Or come over to my house, where we can do an all-night movie watch of this, Cathy's Curse and The Children.
Edge of the Axe YIFY
Al Filo del Hacha, or Edge of the Axe, is a very late in the slasher game film directed by José Ramón Larraz, who also directed Estigma, a movie that I've been obsessed with for some time. Other films from him include Symptoms, Vampyres and The House That Vanished, which was also released under the titles Scream... and Die!, Please! Don't Go in the Bedroom, Psycho Sex Fiend and Psycho Sex. The posters for that movie are great, as they shamelessly steal from The Last House on the Left's ad campaign.The crazy thing about this film is that it's set in the rural Northern California mountain community of Paddock County, yet it's a mixture of scenes shot in Big Bear Lake, California and Madrid, Spain. Most of the exteriors are in the U.S., while the interiors are a world away. For example, the car wash killing that starts the movie is split, with the signage and cars in America and the actual killing in Spain. It's a seamless transition, which makes it even more interesting.Before the credits even roll, nurse Mirna Dobson dies at, well, the edge of the axe at the aforementioned car wash. Just from this first incredibly shot scene, you realize that this is anything more than your basic stalk and slash.Our hero is Gerald Martin (Barton Falkes, Future-Kill), whose cabin is filled with computers and video games, in direct contrast to the natural world all around him. This puts him at odds with his landlord, a hermit named Brock.Gerald hangs out with Richard Simmons -- no, not the guy who danced with the oldies, but instead a wanna-be lady killer -- who works as an exterminator when he's not acting as a kept husband to his much older wife. He's played by Page Moseley, who was in Girls Nite Out, Open House and The Jigsaw Murders. And his much older wife? None other than Patty Shepard, who was Hannah Queen of the Vampires and appears in Assignment: Terror, The Werewolf vs. The Vampire Woman, and Slugs).Gerald and Richard check out the smell coming out of a bar, which ends up being the corpse of one of the barmaids, who it appears has killed herself. As this is a small town, the police ask them to keep it quiet, kind of like how they ignored someone slaughtering pigs and leaving their heads in the bed, as if these California farmers were Jack Woltz.Paddock County is a lot like my hometown. All that's there are bars. Lillian Nebbs is the daughter of the owner of another of those many bars and she's home from school. She loves technology and video games as much as Gerald, which makes this movie into some sort of science fiction story. Of course, she does wonder why he has a list of all of the dead women on his computer. He replies that he loves making lists of data, you know, as you do.This is one of my favorite tropes of all movies -- a computer that does more than computers in 1988 were actually able to do. This is a pre-Siri world, but the personal computers in this movie are able to speak in a very understandable voice. Trust me -- I had a computer in 1988. It was a six-year-old Commodore 64 that took an entire evening to download less than a megabyte of info.The killings haven't stopped, as Rita Miller (Alicia Moro, Exterminators of the Year 3000, Slugs) is stalked and killed by someone she seems to recognize before her body is placed on the train tracks and torn asunder. Poor Rita -- she has the best slash job I've heard of: beautician/prostitute.This finally puts Officer Frank on the case. He's just in time, because the farmer's wife who found the pig's head is killed and Richard finds the severed head of a nurse while out on the lake cheating with his wife. And oh yeah -- yet another woman finds her dog murdered before the killer chops her fingers off and then chops her to bits.Lillian tells Gerald her family secret -- her cousin Charlie has just been released from a mental hospital. And he was there because she pushed him off a swing set and caused the injury. She feels that he's the one behind the killings. She uses his computer to do research, attempting to learn more about the psychiatrists who treated Charlie.Later that night, Richard's wife learns that she's bankrupt and gets wasted with local drunk Christopher (Jack Taylor, who was in everything from Pieces and Eugenie... The Story of Her Journey into Perversion to The Ghost Galleon, The Ninth Gate and The Vampires Night Orgy). On their way home, she drunk drives into a tree, only to be further inconvenienced by getting killed by the masked axeman.At the scene, the cops find a pin from the Lillian's father's tavern -- the same one she pinned on Gerland at one point -- which leads them to question her and her father.So who is the killer, in this movie that feels just as much American/Spanish backwoods giallo as slasher?Lillian accuses Gerald of being Charlie, which seems like a stretch. He responds by telling her that she is Charlie, as he's learned that she had a head injury at one point and spent plenty of time in the hospital. It also turns out that all of the victims were either people who cared for her or women interested in her father. So Lillian attacks Gerald with an axe.As the two fight, the cops arrive and shoot our hero. As Officer Frank tries to help Lillian, we notice that she's smiling like a maniac.Larraz considered Edge of the Axe his worst feature film, but it has more quality in it than ten slashers. Seriously, I've been holding off watching this for a while, as I had always loved its poster art and felt it could never live up to it. Good news. If anything, it exceeds it.Unlike most slashers, which are content to ape from Halloween and Friday the 13th, this film spends more time making us care about every character, even the side ones like Richard's wife. This isn't kids in the woods screwing around, making us count the seconds until they're decimated. These are real people caught up in the web of a killing machine.The killings themselves are bursts of the unreal that intrude upon the problems that all of these characters face -- money woes, marital infidelity, family secrets -- and that makes each of the very creative death scenes even more effective. 041b061a72