You may know her by many names but there is only one Geretta Geretta. She played Rosemary in Lamberto Bava’s 1985 film Demons (Dèmoni), where she was transformed into a demonic creature who tries to a slaughter Berlin theater audience. Since then she’s continued a steady acting career as well as writing and producing her own work including the comedy Sweetiecakes and the drama Whitepaddy starring Sherilyn Fenn and Lisa Bonet.
Geretta Geretta started her career as an off-Broadway actress in New York City but eventually moved to Italy where she had a full-time acting career. It was there she met Bava and Argento who worked with her on Demons, but she was no newbie to the horror scene.
“I have always loved horror it was my Mom’s favorite type of film and back in the day there were still ‘Fright Night’ channels, so I grew up watching all kinds of things go bump in the night,” Geretta recently told me.
Her experiences with the Italian directors were inspiring and led to a lifelong friendship.
“They were gracious guys and [treated] everyone so well,” she said. “I still hang with Lamberto Bava at the odd Fangoria convention I’ll attend or we do Q & A like at the New Beverly Cinema in L.A. and Grindhouse fests. Dario and I are Facebook friends.”
After working in Italy, Geretta moved to Los Angeles where she graduated from The American Film Institute’s MFA screenwriting program and took a turn behind the camera as a director for a number of shorts. Ireland was her next spot on the globe where she lived for two years, interning with the award-winning film collective Northern Visionsand taught a number of writing seminars. She received a number of grants to further her work and was the first American to receive the Northern Ireland Film Council Study Grant. She completed her film Sweetiecakesin 2001 while attending the University College Dublin’s program and was a producer for Ulster Television–appearing in a series called Geretta Geretta looks at…
I asked her what some of the biggest differences were in working with American vs. European directors and cast members.
“On the indie level in Europe most of the actors are sort of doing it as a ‘lark’ which effects professionalism where as most American actors pretty much show up ready to go and do what they are told. On the other hand, Americans hound you forever about the ‘premiere,’ ‘their shots’ and more of the ‘business side,’ yet don’t really have a clue about how almost impossible it is to make any film outside of the studio system. And, hey, fair enough; I’m the Producer. That’s my worry. Not the talent’s.”
Geretta’s experience as a globetrotter was vital to writing, directing and producing 100 Voices JeansAgainst Apartheid, a collection of 150 anti-segregation testimonials from Odessa, Billy Bragg, Miriam Makeba, Roberto Benigni, Run DMC, Public Enemy and more. Since then, her work has been featured in film festivals all over the world, including the Melbourne Underground Festival where she won Best Female Director for Sweetiecakes.
Though her film projects have run the gamut, Geretta still has a fondness for horror audiences. ”[They're] all the same, the best in the freaking universe and loyal as hell! (or heaven),” she jokes.
Some of her favorite horror movies include The Hunger, 30 Days of Night, The Sentinel, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, Love at First Bite, The Others, The Fog with Jamie Lee Curtis and the original Nosferatu. She’s currently working on a film called Seamens, a modern version of Demons. I look forward to seeing what this horror maven has to offer next so stay tuned!
The Dungeon Reviews!
TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1971)
I do love me some 70′s horror, especially of the European variety! This isn’t my first viewing of Tombs Of The Blind Dead, which I once owned on VHS but it has been a few years. I’m not going to tell you this is a perfect film, but it sure as hell has style. It’s a film about a legion of the Templar Knights who were executed and had their eyes pecked out by crows. And that is a pretty freaking awesome place to start!
Vacationing couple, Virginia and Roger run into an old school friend of Virginia’s named Betty. Much to Virginia’s chagrin Roger invites Betty to stay with them at a resort in the country. Virginia appears to be jealous of Roger’s flirtations with her former school chum. Then we learn through a flashback that the two women were engaged in a sexual relationship. What does this have to do with the blind dead? Absolutely, freaking nothing, but a horror film needs its victims. Both women were a little annoying, especially pouty puss Virginia. While the three are travelling Virginia has a hissy fit and jumps off the moving train they are on. She walks towards the only buildings in sight, which of course is the crumbling monastery. She decides to spend the night and barricades herself inside one of the empty buildings. You have probably guessed that Virginia’s campout doesn’t end well. After finding Virginia’s corpse the friends enlist the help of a local smuggler named Pedro who is being blamed for the death. Pedro, with his obnoxious girlfriend in tow joins Betty and Roger to investigate the real cause of Virginia’s death. Meanwhile, Virginia has risen from the dead. The film doesn’t follow through with other victims rising from the dead though. It’s a one-time offer, but they do give zombie Virginia some mileage. After killing the mortician she heads to Betty’s mannequin studio where her assistant is working alone. The scene ends with the undead Virginia’s body slowly burning to cinders. It is actually a very cool scene even if it did feel a bit out of sorts with the rest of the films vibe. The characters make questionable decisions and the dialog is downright daft at times, but it does provide some entertainment. My only real complaint is this side story takes up more screen time than it should. However, director Amando de Ossorio definitely compensates for the films lesser traits with the Templar Knight part of the story.
Amando de Ossorio directs with heaping piles of mood and style. Tombs Of The Blind Dead has a killer atmosphere. The crumbling old Templar Monastery is awesome! Grave markers shake and a fog gathers as the dead rise. Their bony hands reach out for their prey based only on smell. Their slow movement actually makes sense; after all, they are blind! The knights are decaying corpses resurrected through sacrifice by Satan himself. They are present only to serve their dark lord. The rotted remains of the Templar Knights hidden beneath hooded robes mounting their ghostly horses are a thing of beauty! It is a bit of a shame we don’t get to see the Knights more often. Tombs Of The Blind Dead is not without an exploitative edge. The flashback scenes of the Templar Knights before they were the blind dead add a bit of nudity and torture to the proceedings. Men on horseback circling a bound woman each whipping her exposed flesh as they pass. There is a lesbian love scene, a catfight, a rape and a bit more nudity included for good measure. The film ends on a lively note with room for a sequel. There is carnage and blood spill, but If you are looking for a gorefest you will probably be disappointed. Like a lot of European horror it moves at a little slower pace but compliments the films mood. The soundtrack featuring the chanting and moaning Templar Knights is the icing on the cake. As far as inspiration for zombie walk is concerned I give it top marks. Monk robes are an inspired choice for costuming! Whether you are able to give yourself a skeletal look or just cover yourself with ugly sores you are going to be a standout in a sea of zombies!
The DVD’s special features showed some great images of promo material for Tombs Of The Blind Dead. Advertising that the film “Makes Night Of The Living Dead look like a kids pajama party” and “Makes Mark Of The Devil look like a fairy tale”. There is also an alternate opening scene where the film was marketed as Revenge From Planet Ape to cash in on the success of The Planet Of The Apes. It’s damn amusing, so check it out if you rent or buy this one. If you dig the flick you will be pleased to know this is the first in a quartet of blind dead films that includes Return of the Blind Dead (1973), The Ghost Galleon (1974) and Night of the Seagulls (1975). This first entry is my favourite of the quartet although its follow up and Night Of The Seagulls are not without their charm. Be warned that the 1974 film also known as Ship Of Zombies is a weak link in the series.
Despite some issues, I enjoy Tombs Of The Blind Dead immensely every time I view it. It is well crafted with memorable, imaginative moments, an amazing atmosphere and a great exploitative vibe. Highly recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Amando de Ossorio
Starring: Lone Fleming, César Burner, María Elena Arpón, José Thelman, Rufino Inglés, Verónica Llimera, Simón Arriaga, Francisco Sanz, Juan Cortés
BIO ZOMBIE (1998)
12 Aug 2010
I apologize it took me so bloody long to get my first zombie review of the month up, but I am now officially in full frontal zombie mode! For your reference (and mine!) I swiped a list of zombie films from Wikipedia which I put in my sidebar. Seems like a pretty complete list to me, but if you spot an omission leave me a comment and I’ll add it. I also included links to zombie films I’ve already reviewed. I watched 3 zombie films on the weekend and I am pleased to say I enjoyed them all in varying degrees. The zombie sub-genre has always been a personal favourite. There is however a lot of shitty zombie films out there, and an awful lot that lack any originality and just feel redundant. But when they work, they really kick ass! Regardless of quality, I always appreciate a fresh attempt at the zombie film. I’ve really enjoyed the few Asian zombie flicks I’ve watched so I thought I would start out the reviews with a horror-comedy entry from Hong Kong.
Like Dawn Of The Dead, Bio Zombie’s action takes place in a mall, although that would be where the comparisons end. There is barely a serious moment from beginning to end of Bio Zombie. It is definitely intended to be comedy first. The film focuses on its two main characters Woody and Bee. Woody and Bee are a pair of lazy, irritating losers that work in the mall selling bootlegs films. They are loud, obnoxious and do some incredibly messed-up things, like mugging a character in the washroom and stealing her ring and cell phone. This film takes a while to get going and you are forced to sit through this pairs antics far too long. I wasn’t very impressed with the first 30 or so minutes of the film. But things do improve significantly as the film moves along. In fact, to my surprise, I actually ended up having a little bit of empathy for this pair.
We begin with the obligatory set-up where we learn that a soft drink called Lucozade has been spiked with a bio weapon that turns its consumer into a zombie. We are introduced to a prototype soldier who has drank the lucozade and goes nutzoid and chases a conspiring employee out of the building. Inevitably, the employee gets hit by our two dumbasses. Seriously injured and lying on the road he asks for a drink and wouldn’t you know it but a can of Lucozade has fallen from his briefcase. The employee ends up in their trunk full of zombifying Lucozade and the two drive to the mall. I don’t recall if there is another mention of Lucozade until the films final scene, but at this point people are turned into zombies the old-fashioned way, by biting. Well, it seems one cannot avoid some manner of build up but I just wish it hadn’t lingered so long. We watch Woody and Bee interact with various mall patrons and merchants, scamming, yelling, taunting and flirting. The other players include a couple of aestheticians; Jelly and Rolls (yeah, ha ha), Sushi-boy (you guessed it, he works at the sushi restaurant), and then there is the owner of the cell phone store and his meek wife. It is these secondary characters that help take the piss out of the Woody and Bee duo. Eventually the group must work together to survive. Even though I found the build-up tedious I must admit it definitely aided the character development. The man who owns the cell phone store is a bitter, cowardly asshole who is a complete dick to his wife. It is he who ends up being the revelation that Woody and Bee need, as the two realize he is them in grown-up form. The film ends up being a character-driven story as opposed to just a typical zombie showdown. In fact, even the zombies maintain a certain amount of their human.
I didn’t find much inspiration here for Zombie Walk. The zombie make-up isn’t bad; it’s just kind of mediocre. Some of the zombies face sores looked a bit gross but it really could have used some amping up. There sure seemed to be a lot more zombies than there were people in the mall, not that I consider that a negative, I actually found it amusing. The more zombies the better! Sadly there’s not much in the way of gore but there is a decent body count. There is a scene where the characters are mocked up into a video game screen that shows their profile. Their weapon, strength; the kind of stuff you see in a character profile in a video game. The scene actually works quite well. It fits the films vibe and the profiles are kinda humorous. But the best part is the surprise ending which you are either going to love or hate depending on whether you like hopeful endings or bleak endings. For me, the last half of the film definitely helped excuse the tedium of the films start. Bio Zombie does have some heart and tries to do something different that works more often than not. Lightly Recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 3/5
Directed By: Wilson Yip
Starring: Jordan Chan, Emotion Cheung, Sam Lee, Yiu-Cheung Lai, Angela Tong Ying-Ying, Suk Yin Lai, Tat-Wah Lok, Frankie Chan
I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)
Val Lewton produced several horror films for RKO in the 1940′s, each made on a tight budget and clocking in under seventy-five minutes. The result was high-quality entertainment beautifully filmed with intriguing stories, great performances and crisp dialog. Before starting this blog, my classic horror knowledge was sadly lacking. In fact, my first viewing of A Lewton produced horror film happened just this past December! The film was Cat People, which came packaged together with Curse Of The Cat People. A most impressive duo, particularly Cat People. I couldn’t wait to check out another Lewton produced effort! I Walked With A Zombie also came packaged as a double feature along with The Body Snatcher. I thought the Cat People duo was impressive but this pair completely blew my mind! I actually watched each film twice, back to back, once with and without commentary. Since this is zombie month and all, I’m only going to have a review for I walked With A Zombie. You’ll have to wait until September for my review of The Body Snatcher.
Betsy Connell’s story starts simply enough with a job interview for a nursing position. She successfully lands the job, which will take her to St. Sebastian, an island in the Caribbean. She is charged with the care of Jessica, the wife of wealthy plantation owner Paul Holland. Betsy meets her new employer and they travel by ship to their destination. Paul is cold and curt, but the man nonetheless intrigues Betsy. After arriving at the well-appointed home she meets Paul’s brother Wesley, and it is quickly established that there is animosity between the two brothers. She settles down for the evening but is awaken in the middle of the night by the crying of a woman. She investigates the source of the sound and follows it to another building on the property and is frightened by the gaunt and silent Jessica. Not the ideal first meeting with her new patient! Jessica is in a permanent non-responsive trance that resembles something close to sleepwalking. With only good intentions, Betsy sets out to care for Jessica any way she can, but becomes entangled in the local customs as well as the family’s sordid past.
Jacques Tourneur directed a formidable trio of films for Val Lewton including Cat People and The Leopard Man. Due to the snug budgets; directors were expected to complete these projects in an efficient manner. If you’re not able to do the job in the allotted time another director replaces you. Seems a bit harsh, but nobody said the film industry was all fun and games. Considering the time and money constraints it amazes me how polished these films are. There is not a minute of wasted celluloid. Although I Walked With A Zombie is only 69 minutes long, it doesn’t feel like corners were cut. The character development is excellent and the simple, but engrossing story is very effective. I Walked With A Zombie is full to the brim with memorable scenes I couldn’t possibly do justice, so I won’t. But there is one particularly clever scene I loved, where we are given information about the Holland/Rand family history when a calypso singer plays a little number entitled Shame and Scandal In The Family, and it’s pretty catchy too! The cherry on top is the superb surprise ending. It is also beautifully filmed. Black and white photography adds a great deal to mood and atmosphere but it is all the little flourishes that Tourneur adds that make this film special. The sound of ceremonial drums in the distance, wind rustling through fields, a dark shadow of a man passing over the wall as Betsy lies in bed and a late night voodoo ceremony. Imagery that is stunning, subtle and haunting. The sets, props, light and shadow are all used to great effect. Not to mention, I adore the fashion of the 40′s. The clothing was so elegant and chic, even their nightgowns are high fashion. I was completely hypnotized by I Walked With A Zombie from beginning to end.
The characters are interesting and the performances are top-notch. Particularly notable is the lovely Frances Dee who plays Betsy Connell and Tom Conway who plays Paul Holland. During their journey to the island Paul says to Besty “It’s easy enough to read the thoughts of a newcomer. Everything seems beautiful because you don’t understand. Those flying fish, they’re not leaping for joy, they’re jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water, it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies. The glitter of putrescence. There is no beauty here, only death and decay. Everything good dies here, even the stars.” Okay, he might be stating fact, but freaking hell buddy, Cheer up! What a charmer! Regardless, the chemistry between these two works well. Even the films two “zombies” who remain in a silent trance throughout are perfect with their long lanky frames and gaunt .
Okay, there isn’t anything in the way of costume inspiration for zombie walk, but I wasn’t really expecting there to be. This film was made in the 40′s so obviously a gorefest is unlikely. These zombies lack malice and have no hunger for human flesh. The horror elements are not shocking or grotesque, but work extremely well and add much to the films mystery and perfect mood. There is so much to admire here, in fact there really isn’t anything I would change.
I thoroughly enjoyed I Walked With A Zombie. Highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 5/5
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur
Starring: James Ellison, Frances Dee, Tom Conway, Edith Barrett, James Bell, Christine Gordon, Theresa Harris, Sir Lancelot
Posted in ZOMBIE NEWS
17 Aug Blog Roll
SCREAM QUEENS COMPETE AT "B-MOVIE CELEBRATION"
On Saturday, September 24 in Franklin, Indiana, the B-Movie Celebration and Fangoria are hosting a scream queen contest as part of the World Festival of the Scream Queens…
Allison Scagliotti on working at “WAREHOUSE 13”
With stellar ratings and a strong fan following, it’s no
surprise that WAREHOUSE 13 was picked up by the Syfy Channel for a fourth
season and will return in 2012. FANGORIA recently chatted with WAREHOUSE 13
actress Allison Scagliotti, who spoke about how she landed the role of Claudia
Donovan, gave her thoughts on the latest episode, “Don’t Hate the Player,” and
told us what she hopes to see next season.
Clive Owen attempts to ward off "INTRUDERS" in new trailer
A brand new look at Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s seemingly supernatural home invasion film, INTRUDERS has hit courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.
CONSTANTINE SPORTS FANGORIA IN EGYPT!
Special makeup effects guru Jerry (WATCHMEN, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, CREATURE) Constantine recently took a trip to Egypt and what was he wearing? One of our sexy new Fright Rags shirts, of course! Take a look at his Fang-friendly travelogue after the jump…
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 3:40 am and is filed under ZOMBIE NEWS, with these . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
It’s “TIME” for David Lynch to sing!
Filmmaker David Lynch is tackling a new medium, making his
solo debut as a musical artist this fall with CRAZY CLOWN TIME.
Plenty of “300”-like action in new “IMMORTALS” trailer
And that shouldn’t be a surprise, as Tarsem Singh’s
IMMORTALS comes from the producers of 300. Check out the new trailer for the
fantasy-action film, which takes place in ancient Greece and stars Henry
Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz,
John Hurt and Mickey Rourke.
“BIKINI BLOODBATH CHRISTMAS” DVD winners announced
FANGORIA and Brightly Entertainment are proud to announce
the winners in our BIKINI BLOODBATH CHRISTMAS contest! Five lucky fans will
receive a copy of the bodacious flick, out now on disc, autographed by
star/Fango scribe Debbie Rochon! Folks, watch your mailbox soon!
Jonathan Levine wants “MANDY LANE” back
The director of THE WACKNESS and upcoming 50/50 gives an
update on the status of his long-delayed 2006 horror film and directorial
debut, ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
"KILL LIST" poster seems to think they should suffer
The UK poster for Ben Wheatley’s incredible KILL LIST has premiered.
Cooper to no longer "CROW" for Fresnadillo
The upcoming reboot of THE CROW has hit another snag, with Bradley Cooper reportedly out. Who might be in?
17 July Blog Roll
Jul 31, Gladitorium Immortuos Zombie short story – Did zombies cause the fall of Rome?
Hi, please check out my story Gladitorium Immortuos about Zombies fighting in the Coliseum in Ancient Rome: http://baddreamsgranger.blogspot.com/p/gladitorium-immortuos.html
Jul 30, Brit zombie E-Books.
Good evening. Here’s a couple of e-books from across the pond that you may with to know about. The Unwashed Dead http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U34WXE
Fantasia Day 8: “NINJA KIDS!!!”
Before SUPER (review here), I caught up with iconoclast Takashi Miike’s latest off-the-wall family film, NINJA
KIDS!!!, which I had initially missed in favor of THE WICKER MAN.
"DOLL BOY" (Film Review)
This review is rated PG for “Pussy Gouging.”
Oh, wait. Sorry. I’m thinking of MR. FISTER, one of two clever ‘previews of coming attractions’ that kick off Billy “Bloody Bill” Pon’s inaugural short film release DOLL BOY (2010)…
WITCH DOCTOR" #2 (Comic Review)
Loaded with fresh wit and originality, WITCH DOCTOR #2 (Skybound) is a helluva terrific comic book for fans to pick up. In fact it’s safe to say this is the issue where the WITCH DOCTOR mini-series has found its voice. It’s a sick world out there with parents being terrified by strange acting infants, but Dr. Vincent Morrow couldn’t be less interested
"HACK/SLASH #6" (Comic Review)
HACK/SLASH #6 (released July 20th from Image Comics) succeeds at being a bloody, smart and hilarious take on popular culture. The story centers around a celebrity-obsessed stalker being tracked by slasher slayer Cassie Hack, who comes to question her own actions and motives as things progress. If you are unfamiliar with the HACK/SLASH series, #6 will be a perfect introduction…
“LAMBSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES” Q&A
Earlier this month editors Ann and Jeff Vandermeer released THE THACKERY T. LAMBSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, the follow-up to their 2003 faux-medical anthology THE THACKERY T. LAMBSHEAD POCKET GUIDE TO ECCENTRIC & DISCREDITED DISEASES. FANGORIA sat down with the duo to discuss their latest tome…
Toys: NECA Adds Deer Head to ‘Evil Dead 2′ Accessories
At this past week’s San Diego Comic-Con, NECA unveiled their Evil Dead 2 horror line featuring three versions of Ash (played by Bruce Campbell is the 1987 film directed by Sam Raimi), alongside a deadite version of Henrietta.
In the previously released images you’ll see all sorts of sweet accessories, but apparently NECA wasn’t finished. This morning the toy company changed their Twitter avatar to the possessed deer that’s featured in the maddening sequence where Ash laughs alongside a heap of furniture.
As revealed, the three Ash figures will be as follows: “Hero Ash,” “Deadite Ash” and “Farewell to Arms Ash”, along with “Henrietta” and her elongated demon head.
TIFF ’11: More Trippy ‘Twixt’ Imagery
Yet another batch of images were sent our way from Francis Ford Coppola’s top secret horror, Twixt, which will be premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this September.
Inspired by the gothic horror of Edgar Allen Poe, Coppola’s latest “tells the tale of a burnt-out mystery writer (Val Kilmer) who gets mixed up in murder and evil in a California town.” Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, David Paymer and Ben Chaplin also star.
“A writer with a declining career arrives in a small town as part of his book tour and gets caught up in a murder mystery involving a young girl. That night in a dream, he is approached by a mysterious young ghost named V. He’s unsure of her connection to the murder in the town, but is grateful for the story being handed to him. Ultimately he is led to the truth of the story, surprised to find that the ending has more to do with his own life than he could ever have anticipated.”
Within the announcement, the first ever images were release. The film will open to a 30-city tour this fall.
Controversial ‘A Serbian Film’ Gets Limited Edition DVD/Blu-ray Release
Srdjan Spasojevic’s highly controversial A Serbian Film has officially been announced for unrated DVD/Blu-ray on October 25 in a limited edition package. A full press release and specs are forthcoming, but take a sneak peak below.
“Milosh, a retired porn star, now leads a normal family life with his beautiful wife Maria and six year-old son Petar, in tumultuous Serbia, trying to make ends meet. A sudden call from his former colleague Laylah will change everything. Aware of his financial problems, Laylah introduces Milosh to Vukmir – mysterious, menacing and politically powerful figure. A leading role in Vukmir’s new production will provide financial support to Milosh and his family for the rest of their lives. Milosh is hesitant at first because the contract insists that he know nothing about the script before they shoot. But finally, he agrees. From then on, Milosh is drawn into a maelstrom of unbelievable cruelty and mayhem devised by his employer, ”the director” of his destiny – Vukmir, relentless in his attempt to make an ultimate artistic porn film. Vukmir and his cohorts will stop at nothing to complete his vision. In order to escape the living cinematic hell he’s put into and save his family life, Milosh will have to sacrifice everything – his pride, his morality, his sanity, and maybe even his own life.”
The release comes from Invincible Pictures.