Two films that have nothing to do with each other. I’m a bad, bad film curator.
You may have heard of LEMORA. It’s had some renewed interest in the last few years. If you haven’t seen it yet, you certainly owe it to yourself. I first watched it after having stayed up for days. I used it to sort of wind down and finally go to sleep. I swear to god I don’t know what happened. Time and space might have warped because I have very clear memories of being in the movie. I’m not sure that’s an anomaly, however, as even watching it now I get the feeling I’m seeing images I dreamed a long time ago and am slowly becoming trapped within (or buried beneath). I don’t know if it’s something I read about it and am repeating here (maybe Stephen Thrower wrote it in his review of the film), but it feels as if the movie is inside an aquarium…or the bottom of a pond…and you’re growing scales and becoming adapted to that environment…and you can never go back. Exciting, huh? Imagination is a dangerous thing.
This is the grainy, videotape version of the movie. The picture quality and sound quality are right on the edge of perception. I’m sure there are cleaned up versions of the movie by now, but I don’t want to see them. This is the one. You will feel like you are blind and deaf during a zombie apocalypse.
THE BITE was released as CURSE II in the U.S. Yes, THE BITE is yet another Italian film billed as the sequel to a movie it has nothing to do with. It doesn’t necessarily feel like the typical Italian horror movie, however. The production values and acting are up to par with cheap American horror of the period, and the narrative at least attempts linearity. That said, THE BITE ain’t no normal horror film. Clue number one is the special effects artist: Screaming Mad George. If you see his name on a movie, watch it. It’s that simple. He’s the only make-up effects artist who describes himself (quite rightly) as a Surrealist and, when he is given free reign, miraculous films are born (like SOCIETY, in which the characters literally turn themselves inside out, joyfully, during an incestuous orgy). This is a movie in which he was given free reign.
But you have to work for it. This is a slooooooooooow burner. That’s part of the fun, though. I was anxious as hell while watching just KNOWING it’s coming, but not knowing when. I’m quite certain that was the director’s intentions. We follow the characters around for ages before things finally begin to build, slowly, scene by scene, toward a climax that only Screaming Mad George could envision. I give the director credit for the inventive pacing, as slow and deliberate as a snake in mud, but I give Screaming Mad George credit for the payoff. They work together beautifully.
Fast forward if you must, but only perseverance is rewarded when it comes to weird horror. There are a few moments of campy looniness in there to tide you over if you don’t get off on monotony as much as I do. Did I mention that Jamie Farr plays a Jewish doctor who has sex with a tough trucker woman named “Flo”? (Correction: Jamie Farr plays a traveling salesman, not a doctor, who happens to dispense snake venom anecdote from his suitcase…) And then there’s the most intuitive nurse that ever existed who can do genetic testing without even having taken a blood sample. She’s also the most hilariously slow character of the bunch; treasuring every syllable of her completely unrelated monologue while her patient is dying in front of her. Well, there you go…lots of good things to enjoy here.
This version of THE BITE has subtitles for some language I have no familiarity with, but it’s the best version on the net. I was able to ignore them eventually and I hate distractions of these sorts with a deadly intensity, so you should be fine.
LEMORA: A CHILD’S TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL: