Tuesday 26 October 2021


Directed by: Rodrigo Aragão. Starring: Carol Aragão, Elbert
Merlin, Francisco Gaspa. Brazil, 2018, 98 mins. 

Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD meets Lloyd Kaufman's POULTRYGEIST, with a seasoning of Michele Soavi's DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE in this bloody bananas Brazilian folktale.

Naïve foundling teenager Clara's (Carol Aragão) eventful and hostile first excursion into the nearby village concludes with her coming into possession of a demonic spell book known as Cipriano's Black Book. The book's dying owner warns Clara to burn this Necronomicon of black magic after entreating her to perform a ritual from its pages to aid his soul passing peacefully into the afterlife in exchange for a bag of gold coins. Unfortunately for Clara, the villagers, and ultimately all of humanity (but not for us viewers), the lure of gold leads to tragic consequences and Clara's increasingly desperate attempts to redeem the situation by resorting to darker and darker magic from her book of spells results in the boundaries between life and death blurring amidst a bloodbath of hellish retribution.  

For a modest budget, director Rodrigo Aragão delivers a heady intoxicating cornucopia of nightmarish set-pieces and some gloppy practical gore effects in a (quite literally) all hell breaking loose final third featuring demonic chicken embryos, reanimated corpses, an exploding head and demonic disembowelment. 

Before unleashing his KFC bargain bucket of blood, Aragão’s magical realism tale lands a couple of critical punches towards religious hypocrisy and a few stabs at socio-political themes. None of which detract from the essence of this cautionary terror tale warning of the potential perils of selling your soul and renouncing your moral beliefs.

It's a rollicking yarn, directed with maniacal assurance and infectious gusto, and given Aragão's resources, quite a coup (or rather coop considering the demonic fowl he unleashes).

****(out of 5*)

Paul Worts

Sunday 24 October 2021


Directed by: Dick Mass. Starring: Huub Stapel, Monique van
de Ven, Serge-Henri Valcke. Holland 1988, 104mins. Certificate 15.

Thanks to streaming on Amazon Prime, this was a rewatch after a 30+ years gap from when I first caught it at the cinema on its initial release. It took many years to get that damned catchy ‘Amsterdamned’ end credits song out of my head, so now of course after all these years it’s once more taken up long-term lodging in my brain. Damn you ‘Amsterdamned’!

I have a lot of time for Dick Mass flicks, which is just as well given that here he stretches the (admittedly nifty) premise out to just 7 minutes short of 2 hours. And whilst this Dutch frogman canal giallo/slasher is relatively restrained with regards to the body count and actual on-screen kills, it more than compensates with:

  • zippy dialogue (even surviving relatively intact in the English dubbed version),
  • gloriously immersive location work,
  • quirky throwaway moments such as the bakery holdup,
  • cheeky references to ‘Jaws’,
  • outrageous set-pieces:  e.g. the very messy tourist canal boat ride, the James Bond like over the top speedboat chase, and a restaging of Nancy's Elm Street bathtub nightmare on an inflatable with a rather large knife.

 Definitely worth a punt down these murderous Dutch canals.

 P.S. all together now…

"Amsterdamned, Amsterdamned, ooohooo

This is Amsterdamned

 Amsterdamned, Amsterdamned, oho

(This place is damned!)

This is Amsterdamned"

****(out of 5*)

Paul Worts