DNDF: Invisible Monsters

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Friday, September 20, 2013

DNDF: Invisible Monsters

In films like Jaws and Forbidden Planet, the less you saw the monster the more it built the tension.  Then there are films where either there wasn’t enough budget for the creature or something went terribly wrong and the costume got damaged or the production team thought your imagination should be enough to provide the terror.  Tonight I shall connect two films that have an invisible monster so as to make a double feature.

Sound of Horror (1966)

  • Original Title: El Sonido de la Muerte
  • Genre: Fantasy – Horror
  • Directed: José Antonio Nieves Conde
  • Produced: Gregorio Sacristán de Hoyos
  • Written:
    • Sam X. Abarbanel (Screenplay) 
    • José Antonio Nieves Conde (Story) 
    • Gregorio Sacristán de Hoyos (Story)  
    • Gregg C. Tallas (Story)
  • Starring: James Philbrook, Arturo Fernández, Soledad Miranda, José Bódalo, Antonio Casas, Ingrid Pitt, Lola Gaos, Francisco Piquer
  • Music: Luis de Pablo
  • Cinematography: Manuel Berenguer
  • Editing: Margarita de Ochoa
  • Studio: Zurbano Films
  • Distributed:
    • Viñals Distribución 
    • Europix Consolidated Corp. 
    • Columbia Pictures 
    • Alpha Video Distributors 
    • Mill Creek Entertainment 
    • Loonic Video 
    • Nostalgia Video
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: October 1966
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Country: Spain
  • Language: Spanish
In the Greek countryside, archaeologist Dr. Pete Asilov and Professor Andre attempt to detonate dynamite in an abandoned mountain cave, uncovering petrified eggs in the blasts. Taking one they fail to notice another had rolled off and hatched, releasing a reptilian creature that vanishes. Andre lives in a nearby villa with his orphaned niece Maria and their superstitious Greek housekeeper Calliope who warns Andre of the dangers of monsters and angry spirits in the mountain, which he ignores.
Yep, that's invisible!
Later, as Prof. Andre investigates his half of an ancient map that tells him there is over a million dollars worth of gold hidden in the cave, his business partner Dorman arrives with his associates Stravos, Andre his driver and his girlfriend Sofia carrying the other half of the map which tells them where to dig for the treasure.  Further ominous clues, such as the decaying body of an ancient Neanderthal woman, further enforce Calliope's warnings, but the men are determined to find the treasure.  They discover the bones of a man who was likely buried to keep from divulging the secret of the treasure.  As Stravos investigates the mummified corpse while alone, he is killed when the creature stalks up unseen and slashes him to death with its claws.  Shaken by its horrific scream, the men resolve to return to the cave for the treasure, blaming Stravos' death on would-be thieves from the nearby village. They are proven wrong and are chased back to the villa and in the process Dorman is injured.  Terrified of what might be hunting them, they forget the treasure and work up a plan to escape.  While fetching water for coffee, Calliope is killed by the creature and the humans barricade themselves in the villa.

Shake that groove thing!
Professor Andre, determined to see his niece safe, entrusts her with Pete who shares an affection with her and sneaks back to the cave in order to seal it.  He is attacked, but not before he detonates the dynamite and blows the cave entrance shut.  The next morning, believing themselves safe, the remainder of the group boards Andre's car he dubbed "Diana" and try to leave, but the engine floods.  As they try to start it, the creature returns, forcing them back into the house.  They are attacked by the creature who had snuck into the villa and are barely able to trick it outside, Andre notices a trail of claw prints leading from the kitchen and using flour to help track the creature, they injure it with hatchets and it flees.  They return to Diana and are able to start her, however, the creature reveals itself to be on top of the car which forces them to pull over.  Dorman ignites the fuel reserves in the back of the jeep, destroying himself and the creature in a massive ball of fire.  The creature dead and the four remaining survivors safe, they start their journey back to town on foot.

Did I mention the dancing?  There are numerous scenes of the characters dancing for no real reason.  If you wish to witness the horror for yourself it is available for streaming or download from Internet Archive.

Agyaat: The Unknown (2009)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Mystery
  • Directed: Ram Gopal Varma
  • Produced:
    • Zarina Mehta 
    • Sanjeevkumar Nair 
    • Sheel Nimbalkar 
    • Ronnie Screwvala 
    • Ram Gopal Varma
  • Written:
    • Nilesh Girkar (Screenplay) 
    • Puneet Gandhi (Screenplay) 
    • Sarim Momin (Lyrics) 
    • Prashant Pandey (Lyrics) 
    • Sandip Singh (Lyrics)
  • Starring: Vijay Vinayak Joshi, Ishrat Ali, Adesh Bhardwaj, Rasika Dugal, Joy Fernandes, Ravi Kale, Ishtiyak Khan, Priyanka Kothari, Kali Prasad Mukherjee, Nitin Kumar Reddy, Gautam Rode, Howard Rosemeyer
  • Music:
    • Kumar Bapi  
    • Imran  
    • Amar Mohile  
    • Tutul  
    • Vikram
  • Cinematography: Surjodeep Ghosh
  • Editing: Nipun Gupta
  • Studio:
    • Dreamforce Enterprise  
    • UTV Motion Pictures
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 7 August 2009
  • Running Time: 130 minutes
  • Country: India
  • Language: Hindi  Telugu
Agyaat (Hindi: अज्ञात) is a Bollywood horror film.  The film was released on August 7, 2009.  It was dubbed and released simultaneously in Telugu as Adavi.  The film is shot at Sigiriya jungle in Sri Lanka.
A film unit goes for a shoot in a forest, but breaks down deep in the jungle.  Resulting in a four-day delay, the 9-member cast and crew of a Bollywood movie, including leading lady Aasha, and her egoistic co-star, Sharman Kapoor; decide to relax and take an outing with their guide, Setu.  They end up at a picturesque spot and decide to spend the night there - not realizing they will soon be stalked and brutally killed by a seemingly invincible, unseen and unknown beast and/or an extraterrestrial entity.  Did I mention there is dancing in this one too?  Oh course I didn’t have to, it’s a Bollywood film.  Of course there’s dance numbers.

Upon release, the film received mixed reviews. Mihir Fadnavis of India.com, who gave the film 1 and a half star out of 5, noted that "There's no way Agyaat isn't a major career embarrassment for director Ram Gopal Varma, and a possible career stopper for Nisha Kothari."

Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave 2/5 (Average) for director Ramgopal Varma's Agyaat; Masand states "At a time when special effects and digital tricks can be used to create just about anything, here's a reminder that what really scares us is the stuff we can't see".

Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India gave 2/5 and noted "It neither thrills nor chills with its repetitive running-for-life sequences and its absolutely infuriating end which offers no explanation whatsoever for the scurrying and screaming".

Subhash K Jha (IBOS) gave 2.5/5 noting "Jungle fever has never been more contagious.  Every corner of the Sri Lankan jungle as shot with mesmeric skill by the cinematographer Surjodeep Ghosh is filled with danger."

Taran Adarsh gave this movie a rating of 3/5 saying "Ramgopal Varma thinks differently.  This time too, the maverick film-maker defies the stereotype and takes to the dense forests of Sri Lanka to meet an 'unknown' force" and explains further "But let's clear the misconception at the very start.  Agyaat is no supernatural thriller (like Phoonk) or a horror fest (like Bhoot).  This one's more of an adventure thriller that doesn't scare you at all, but makes you a participant in a pulse-pounding journey".

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