Tomaselli's 'Desecration' and 'Horror'

Discussion in 'General' started by marioscido, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. marioscido

    marioscido New Member

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    I recently saw Dante Tomaselli's two low-budget indie horror films, and was truly impressed. Now these films are far from being accomplished films, but they are among the most original and creative horror I've seen coming from the US in several years. As I'm sure most of you are aware, the films were shoot in 16mm ('Horror' was in Super-16) and for $150,000 and $250,000 respectively. However, these films go places and do things most US horror does not dare to go or do.

    For one thing, Tomaselli dispenses with straight-forward narrative structures in order to present us with images of peoples' inner-states, nightmares, hallucinations, and fears. And since the horror genre is generally pretty formulaic, this is a risky move, because it challenges viewers to do a bit of work with the narrative - filling in gaps and deciphering ambiguities.

    Also, I was impressed by Tomaselli's soundscapes. His use of sound is quite interesting; it reminds me of the work of David Lynch, who like Tomaselli, does a lot of the sound montage on his films. If you didn't notice Tomaselli's sound montage on an initial viewing, go back and listen to the careful layering he has done.

    Thirdly, his films are very personal - another rarity in horror these days. Tomaselli has produced images that come from deep within. I don't mean only his nightmares, but also, the very Italian-American Catholic culture in which he was raised. This cultural ethos permeates the contours of his films. In my opinion, this is a kind of signature, which shows the work of an engaged artist.

    I am looking forward to 'Satan's Playground' (based on the New Jersey Devil legend) with Felissa Rose and Ellen Sandweiss. This guy is a lover of the horror genre and his images are imbued with this love. And it is refreshing to see a personal and dynamic application of some of the genre's most archetypal images.

    What are your thoughts on these films?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2003
  2. hassan chaup

    hassan chaup Guest

    Yeeccchhhh!

    I saw Horror in a theatre with about fifty dedicated film goers (by this I mean a rather accepting lot). This was at a festival about a year ago and in a program of about twenty five films this was without a doubt the most disregarded and unliked film there. I personally thought it sucked terribly and could not believe that it warranted a special edition dvd recently released. It had no redeeming value whatsoever.
    I have no interest in anything else from this guy.
     
  3. Fart Lighter

    Fart Lighter Guest

    I was under the impression that HORROR was shot on video. It certainly looks like video with a film-effect filter added on in Avid.

    I have mixed feelings about Horror. The imagery was often good, but he just can't deal with characters. He has absolutely no idea about how to have characters reacting in certain situations, or even how to shoot them properly. Way too many lingering shots with people walking around slowly doing nothing at all. There are strong elements of Ameturishness directing in the film.

    Still, Desecration looks like it might be better.
     
  4. Tye

    Tye Member

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    I, personally, preferred Desecration over Horror. While both films had some great imagery, Desecration seemed to be a more solid film......Horror was too uneven for me at times. With that said, however, I am looking forward to Tomaselli's next film.
    I, too, loved the use of sounds in both of his films......and I would definitely see a film by Tomaselli over the load of (so-called horror) crap we are exposed to here in the theaters.
     
  5. Agent Z

    Agent Z "Get to the river...

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    I enjoyed HORROR slightly more than DESECRATION, if only because HORROR is just a more polished form of the type of movie that DESECRATION tried to be. Dante has some visual flair at times and it would be interesting to see what he could do with an actual budget. Of course, visuals aren't everything....and when Dante can raise the stakes, storywise, to go along with the set pieces....then he will be onto something truly special. For the time being, I am looking forward to seeing more from Dante.

    HORROR review

    HORROR review
     
  6. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

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    I have Desecration on DVD, but I still need to buy the Horror DVD. I kept hoping that I would see it for rent at Blockbuster, Hollywood or Hastings...but no.

    Haven't even seen it for sale at stores like Best Buy, Circuit City, etc......
     
  7. marioscido

    marioscido New Member

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    Neither of these films are polished. They were made on tiny budgets in 16mm (not video btw). I'm astonished to hear people complain about the unpolished aspect of these films. 'Evil Dead' is an unpolished film that is quite uneven in terms of direction and acting. This is not to take away from the moments of brilliance in 'Evil Dead,' only to say that I never hear folks complain about this aspect.

    Why are Tomaselli's films critiqued on these grounds, when everyone knows that he is working with very obvious limitations? I haven't heard anyone really critique the substance of his films yet, which is what distinguished them from the rest of the horror released in the US. Substance.
     
  8. The Chaostar

    The Chaostar Johnny Hallyday forever

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    I must say that I agree with Mario on this one. Tomaselli is definetely seeking for a different way to "see" horror and that is, at least, encouraging in these times.
    Haven't seen Horror but Desecration was VERY interesting. There are images that are still with me from this film.

    And on your remarks on Evil Dead you are dead on. I really can't imagine what TOmaselli could have achieved with a big budget!
     
  9. Luna

    Luna Guest

    I haven't seen Horror yet, but I did really enjoy Desecration, mainly for the very Italian-American/Catholic associations and imagery mentioned earlier. That old lady was pretty memorable. Some people seemed to think she overacted or couldn't act from what I recall, but wow, I've actually known old ladies who were just like her. I guess I liked the familiarity of the film, but also loved the surreal parts. I find I have a lot of the same thoughts about Alice, Sweet Alice, which is also heavily steeped in Catholicism. As far as Tomaselli's film being unpolished... well, yeah. It was obviously filmed on a small budget and I'm sure the guy is still honing his directorial skills, etc. Besides... evil nuns! Who the hell can resist the lure of evil nuns? :lol:

    So yeah, I rather liked Desecration and hope to see Horror sometime soon. :D
     
  10. Nasty Nate

    Nasty Nate New Member

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    I rented Horror and couldn't make it all the way through it. Maybe I'll give it another shot someday though. I'm sure this guy will get better.
     
  11. marioscido

    marioscido New Member

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    Why couldn't you make it all the way through? I'm curious.
     
  12. Nasty Nate

    Nasty Nate New Member

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    It made absolutely no sense at all. :lol:
     
  13. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I just watched Horror and i would say that overall i enjoyed it. Sure it made no sense, but I’m not sure it was suppose to, it kind of reminded me of having a bad dream where things happen for no reason and appear where they shouldn't. Yet still leave you will creepy images in your head long after it's over. The acting was pretty bad and the atmosphere and sound was great. Wait, kind of reminds me of how we talk about Argento. Not saying Tomaselli is in the same league but he does have some good ideas. I'm looking forward to his next film as I thought this one was better then Desecration and hopefully he will become more polished as his carrier goes along. I would rate Horror about a 7/10
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009
  14. dwatts

    dwatts Active Member

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    I watched Desecration tonight. What were you guys smoking when you watched it, just curious and all :lol:

    Awful awful film. No atmosphere, horrible cast (with maybe one exception), imagery that wasn't original, just daft, and no real plot. I can forgive low budgets, but the plaudits this guy gets - at least for this film - are way of the scale of reality for me.

    The first half is funny though. In fact, my wife and I had a hearty laugh at the death of the nun - which was just hilarious. But it wasn't scary, just funny. At 88 minutes it's far too long and drawn out. A scare might have been good.

    Really, on a fun factor - something to laugh at - this film has merit. As a horror film it's flat, really flat - with no merit I could discern at all. Watch it for grins. Watch the first half hour, get all the laughs, and then fast forward until thelast 15 minutes, because the yuck-yucks start up again.

    Watch something else by this guy? I think not. I'll keep this for bad movie evenings. You were all snortin' Whiskey and drinking cocaine when you saw this :lol:
     
  15. BrokeNads

    BrokeNads New Member

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    I see also Desecration with my friend and we laugh. Is so bad how is repeat same shot over and over and is nothing to much happen. This director can make a filming of people do nothing for 1 minute and turn into this 20 minutes of nothing happening.
     
  16. Anaestheus

    Anaestheus Well-Known Member

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    I've seen Desecration and Satan's Playground and I have to side with those that just don't get it. I respect Tomaselli a lot for doing what he's doing all on his own. But, when compared to other low-budget independent films, such as Begotten, Tetsuo, Dark Water, Blair Witch (yeah, I said it), the early works of Jean Rollin and even the aforementioned Eraserhead, he just seems to fall short for me. I can tell he's intelligent (from the interviews) and he has his heart in the right place. But I don't see a lot of talent or "vision" here. As for his use of sound, again, while I like what he's composed, it still fails to achieve the heights of those he's emulating, such as Lustmord, Sleep Chamber and Current 93.

    I'll keep an eye on him, as I think he has good goals, but the two films I've seen don't give me hopes that he'll come through as a major talent.
     
  17. Alan Smithee

    Alan Smithee Member

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    I saw Horror at a horror film festival a few years ago and absolutely hated it. I just sat there staring at the screen waiting for something, anything remotely interesting to happen, and then it was over. I've seen better film on teeth. Just awful on every conceivable level. Tomaselli did a Q & A after the movie and the audience just tore him to shreds, and rightly so.
     
  18. msw7

    msw7 Re-animated member

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    Of the two, I've only seen Horror, but I didn't like it at all - it was just really poorly done. The dialogue was terrible; it smacked of something that sounds better on paper than it ever could out loud, but even on paper it would be drivel at best.

    It felt like an attempt to be 'artistic' by being abstract, and (like many other arty, abstract films made by novices), it comes across as incomprehensible, boring nonsense. "Less is more" doesn't apply if you are starting with nothing.

    Did I mention that I didn't like this at all?
     

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