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AICN HORROR: New Horrors with looks at SCREAM 4, Jodorowsky's THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, Sonny Fernandez's THE ABORTED, THE COLLAPSED, & HARPOON: THE REYKJAVIK WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE! Plus watch the Hobo vs Vampire Lincoln short film THE TRANSIENT!

Logo by Kristian Horn

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Why ZOMBIES & SHARKS? Well, those are the two things that I’ve had the most nightmares about. It’s the reason I rarely swim in the ocean. It’s the reason I have an escape plan from my apartment just in case of a zombie apocalypse. Now if you’ve ever had those fears or fears like them, inspired mainly by nights upon nights of watching films of the frightening kind, this is the place for you. So look for AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS every Friday for the foreseeable future, horror hounds, where we’ll be covering horror in all forms; retro, indie, mainstream, old and new.

This week we have another batch of new horror films including my review of SCREAM 4 (released in theaters today) and a review of Jodorowsky’s classic THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (newly released on DVD/BluRay).

(Click title to go directly to the feature)
New on BluRay/DVD: THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (1973)
SCREAM 4 (2011)
And finally…THE TRANSIENT!


New on BluRay & DVD!
Directed & written by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Horacio Salinas, Zamira Saunders, Juan Ferrara, Adriana Page, Kurt Kleiner, & Valerie Jodorowsky
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal epic gets the BluRay/DVD treatment finally this month. There are those who deem the filmmaker a master and I have to admit, I admire the guy’s artistic skill, but out of all of the Jodorowsky’s films, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is the most frustrating. The film couldn’t be more artsy and I can acknowledge the value of that. THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is a surreal treat for those looking to have their eyes stimulated with images that are both beautiful and bizarre. Looked at only as a visual exercise, you won’t be able to find a more warped treat, but if I wanted to introduce the work of Jodorowsky to someone unfamiliar to his work, I don’t think THE HOLY MOUNTAIN would be my first choice.

Basically, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN plays as a stream of consciousness journey as a Christ-like figure stumbles from one reality to another, meeting one offbeat character after another, and witnessing one mad act after another. If I were to have a party and wanted to play some trippy shit for folks to check out while talking, drinking and partying, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN would be the film to put in the BluRay player. As long as you don’t pay attention to the very loose narrative, this is a fantastic film. Sitting sober through this film, though, is a bit of a chore.

The religious iconography, I’m sure will piss some sensitive types off. Rabbits are crucified, Pope-like figures are found spooning a life sized crucifix, a statue of Christ’s face is eaten; even for me who is not a religious person, this was kind of tough to watch. Some of it, I’m sure Jodorowsky was going for shock value. And he achieves that goal here. Some of the other imagery is gorgeous, though. The temple the Alchemist resides in is a surreal masterpiece, with huge checkerboard walls and mounted goat statues. The scenes early on where frogs are dressed in Holy Crusader garb then blown up is another image that is both haunting, disgusting, and gorgeous all at once. Other imagery, though, mostly involving the crucifix, just kind of feel like lame attempts to piss off the establishment. I know this was filmed in 1973 and I’m sure the imagery was much more controversial then. But occasionally while watching THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, I felt like I was watching a lame art school student’s demo reel where he wants to rebel against his mom and dad who put him through art school in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong. Any fan of Jodorowsky must have this DVD/BluRay release on their shelf. It’s a gorgeous transfer and you’ll never find a better looking version. The imagery IS haunting, though the story is rather light. There’s an especially tedious sequence where people representing planets are introduced and given attributes relating to human society. Occupying numerous set pieces, this sequence goes on and on and on… The saving grace of THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is the surreal craziness that has become Jodorowsky’s style that loosely laces the story together. I’ll be reviewing EL TOPO later this month (which has a much stronger narrative, in my opinion, though not as strong as SANTE SANGRE) which is also being released on BluRay/DVD. If you like surreal and disturbing imagery, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is for you. Though the story won’t blow you away, your eyes will be stimulated and your hunger for the bizarre will most definitely be filled.


Directed by Sonny Fernandez
Written by Sonny Fernandez
Find out more at Sonny Fernandez’s Myspace Page!
Starring Sonny Fernandez, Chelsea Hagel, Justin Kavlie, Kelsey Parton, & Dan Sorenson
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

When we last visited a Sonny Fernandez film, I was utterly impressed by the true indie spirit every frame of his latest film, THE LAST BATTLEGROUND possessed. After viewing one film of this infectious creator, I had to check out another. THE ABORTED was next on my list, mainly because the filmmaker said that it was the film most folks respond to either with hate mail or praise. Intrigued, I checked it out. And you know what; I can see where some folks may have strong views about THE ABORTED. Abortion is always a hot topic for debate. But personal views on the subject aside, THE ABORTED is another indie gem worthy of support.

Sonny Fernandez’s films are not often well acted. They’re not often well shot. The effects are beyond zero budget. But despite it all (and I said this in my last review of one of his films), it’s the fact that Fernandez films these things on his own, writes them, edits them, makes the effects, and often stars in them, that impresses me the most. Reminiscent of that childlike enthusiasm all of us film geeks had trying to make our own films as kids, Fernandez cares not for his lack of funds, writes a bang-up script and just does it.

THE ABORTED begins with an amateur abortion performed by a goth chick in a bathtub. The scene doesn’t pull any punches and shows quite a few disturbing images of operation and extraction of an unborn fetus. The opening montage of stills of aborted fetuses is both an effective glimpse of things to come and stomach turning at the same time. Despite its attention to gore, the subject of abortion is taken surprisingly seriously here. And though this is a gruesomely bloody story about zombie aborted ghost babies attacking their parents in splooshy ways, the issue of abortion is handled carefully, maturely, and pretty fairly. I can understand why folks may cringe at the film, but despite the crude method of filmmaking, it is a strong examination of the subject matter. THE ABORTED is also one fun film by an amateur filmmaker who seems to have million dollar ideas and dreams and won’t let his lack of funds stop him from making them a reality.

And you can get THE ABORTED here!


Directed by Julius Kemp
Written by Sjon Sigurdsson
Starring Pihla Viitala, Nae Yuuki, Terrence Anderson, Gunnar Hansen, Miranda Hennessey, & Aymen Hamdouchie
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

On the one hand, HARPOON: THE REYKJAVIK WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE is your typical line up a group of fodder for a family of freaks to slash through flick. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on a boat or HILLS HAVE EYES on the open sea. In a lot of ways, that’s this film in a nutshell. On the other hand, it does the typical stalk and slash in an artsy and stylish manner with enough thrills and scenes of gore to be recommended here on AICN HORROR.

A group of tourists gather to go on a whale watching sea tour. The group is made up of an international cast, which at least gives the usual victims different accents and languages to differentiate from one another. After the whale watching boat takes off, the narrative cuts to another ship with a group of swarthy types talking about how annoying GreenPeace folks are. That seems to be the motivation behind this family of whale hugger killers (you’ve got to appreciate a family of killer pirates who hate sea hippies).

Gunnar Hansen’s name is on the cover of this one, but his role is very small here. At first, I thought he was the burly lead killer, but turns out he’s the Captain of the whale watching ship. And you know what happens to captains of ships like these in films like this. Soon, the tourists are adrift at sea, and though the ship on the horizon seems like their rescue, it’s really only assurance that this nightmare at sea is going to get a whole lot horrific.

HARPOON is a fun horror romp. The kills take full advantage of the sea boat setting; causing me to laugh out loud at how ludicrous they are. At the same time, HARPOON is pretty stylishly shot. Some of the scenes are chilling and beautiful all at once and the setting of the bleak Northern sea makes for a creepy backdrop. Though it goes through the regular paces of your conventional slasher family film, HARPOON stands out with enough original ideas, kills, shots, and locales to be a whole lot of fun. Bonus points are awarded for the effective use of Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” in two versions in the film (the thrash metal version over the credits being my favorite). HARPOON: THE REYKJAVIK WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE was recently released on DVD & BluRay.


Directed by Justin McConnell
Written by Justin McConnell (screenplay) & Kevin Hutchinson (co-story)
Starring John Fantastia, Steve Vieria, Anna Ross, & Lise Moule
Official Site can be found here.
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

End of the world scenarios are a dime a dozen in film these days. Be it zombies or robots or plagues or alien invasions, it doesn’t matter. What matters in these films is the dissolution of society as we know it. The fragile framework of culture topples and man is reduced to beast. These films let us know that after all of the technology and evolution, the difference between civilized man and rampaging caveman are not so far as we would like to believe. THE COLLAPSED referred to in the title of this film is as much about the collapse of the modern family as it is about the collapse of society. It is also a film that is extremely effective in almost every way.

Though after the film’s credits rolled, I felt THE COLLAPSED viewed like an extended TWILIGHT ZONE episode, I was fully entranced throughout. The film follows one family as they make their way across a desolate countryside. They pass burned out buildings, abandoned cars, and the occasional dead body. Right away, we know society has fallen. How or why are questions not so easily answered and director / writer Justin McConnell takes his sweet time divulging any information. Instead, McConnell focuses on a single surviving family allowing us to get to know them intimately and get to like them. They are your typical nuclear family (mom, pop, sis, and bro) aside from the fact that they are packing heat, traveling light, and fleeing an unseen foe or foes, that is. I found myself caring quite a bit about this family and as shit starts hitting the fan, THE COLLAPSED turns out to be a pretty moving family drama, well acted, and meticulously paced for that maximum gut punch ending.

Though it isn’t particularly gory and at times, it feels like there’s more than enough false startles and amped up scenes of tension amounting to nothing in the long run, I have to recommend THE COLLAPSED for being a smart and stylistically end of the world thriller. Everything is not what you think with this film and with a convincing cast and a talented director / writer at the helm, THE COLLAPSED stands out above the herd of films of this type.


Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Kevin Williamson
Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody, Anna Paquin, Kirsten Bell
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

SCREAM 4 (do I have to call it SCRE4M?) wants to have it both ways. It wants to make fun of the horror genre as if it was better than all of that, yet it still wants to function as a horror film itself. But in order to do this successfully, both the meta-criticism and the horror have to be top notch. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson pretty much achieved this in the very first SCREAM, but since then the SCREAM films became the horror clichés they tried oh so hard to comment on. As the movies went on, the plots got more predictable and scares got lamer. I was hoping that a decade off from the franchise would somehow give the folks behind the film enough time to harness what made the first one work. Sadly, that’s just not the case with SCREAM 4.

Those looking for a spoiler laden review naming the killer of the film and who will survive will be sorely disappointed here. Even though I didn’t particularly like the film, I won’t spoil the big mystery. Let’s just say that the reveal of who the killer is definitely is one of the lamer reveals of the series and leave it at that. The momentum screeching exposition by this character explaining each and every move they took to make sense of the film (which lobs out red herrings like a red herring cannon next to a pond well stocked with red herrings…ok, I know that was bad). But the identity of the killer is not what soured SCREAM 4 for me.

The film starts out promising and cleverly incorporates horror and comedy (the two elements that made the first one work so well) in a series of false starts that were genuinely fun. This opening sequence, by far, is the most enjoyable part of the film. It’s a clever and fun way of starting out this SCREAM like the other SCREAM’s while making it wholly original. I wish the fun would have continued at this level for the rest of the film.

The main problem of SCREAM is that it isn’t scary in the slightest. Due to multiple sequels and parodies, Ghostface just isn’t scary anymore, and here, the way Craven frames him, he is even less scary. Sure there are a couple of good jump scares, but I attribute them to the sound guy who mallet-fists a keyboard at full volume rather than the content of the scene. Every time Ghostface showed up, all I could think about was the SCARY MOVIE “wassap!” sequence. Craven and Williamson probably have it in them to make the character scary again, but with one or two exceptions (there was a good sequence where we think the killer is calling from the closet that works well), the killer just isn’t that scary.

Another problem is that the new generation of cast members aren’t nearly as likable as the original crew (or even that of the sequels prior). Sure there’s the chick from HEROES and there’s a Culkin, but none of them match the caliber of the original cast. The reason why the first worked was because the cast was filled with talented young actors (and Matthew Lillard…JOKE!). With SCREAM 4, it feels like casting just plucked whoever was at the food court on the WB lot at random and gave them a role. When you don’t care whether or not the cast lives or dies, you don’t give a shit when they are being chased by a killer.

The cast that do return (Cox, Arquette, and Campbell) just seem to be going for a paycheck here. Arquette’s Dewey has been elevated to sheriff status and spends the entire film arriving just shy of the nick of time and looking befuddled. Cox as Gale is given a bit of a meatier role with her character trying to write a new novel about the new murders while struggling with an understanding of the advancements in technology and media. Campbell has the same problem as Arquette, with her Sidney character serving only to react to all of the events around her and never really mattering in the equation. These three leads are barely present in the third act as the WB kids take center stage in the final showdown. Even professionals like Mary McDonnell fart through their lines with little to no energy. And don’t get me started at how ultimately lame Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody are as a pair of bumbling cops (one line in particular delivered by Anderson is definitely the biggest groaner of the film).

Speaking of groaners, the film is littered with them. The snappy dialog and sharp criticism of the genre just isn’t present in SCREAM 4. But here’s the thing, although I acknowledge the original SCREAM as a pretty good movie, I loathed what it represented and what stemmed from its success. Yes, the horror genre needed a reboot. It needed someone to stand up and call it out for its repetitive, formulaic trappings. SCREAM served that purpose and popped up at a time when horror was pretty stagnant. Being an avid fan of the genre, it got pretty annoying though after a time when every cliché listed in those films were deemed stupid or beneath the characters, writers, directors, and even viewers of the film. The thing is, a lot of those clichés, in talented hands still work. They’re still effective. They can still scare you. The most important failure in SCREAM 4 is that it has the balls to look down on scary films by casting the fans as nerds and weirdos, by listing aspects of the movies over and over and deeming them lame, by having the characters themselves not like horror films in a nudge, nudge, wink, wink fashion—without proving it can be scary itself. The final moments of this film are supposed to have us revved up to a fever pitch as the heroes and the killer battle it out. If I had the nerve to say how stupid these types of films are in a meta-commentary, I damn well better make a superior horror film. SCREAM 4 isn’t that as the last act fails miserably because of the lameness of the killer and the effectiveness of the story behind it.

At its best, SCREAM 4 is a remake of SCREAM. Though SCREAM made the slasher movie cool again with decent acting, funny quips (I still say “Liver alone!” on occasion), and somewhat astute observations on the genre, SCREAM 4 plays like the endless remakes that have overcome the industry these days with little else to add to the conversation. Though it started out strong, much like the bulk of the remakes out there these days, I could have done without SCREAM 4.

And finally, from the folks that brought you THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS VS A MUMMY, here is the full short film, THE TRANSIENT about a superhero hobo and his sidekick social worker as they fight a vampire Abe Lincoln. For more info, check out the website here. Enjoy!

See ya, next week, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!

Check out NANNY & HANK’s Facebook Page
Check out THE DEATHSPORT GAMES’ Facebook Page

Check out FAMOUS MONSTERS’ website here!

Find more AICN HORROR including an archive of previous columns on AICN HORROR’s Facebook page!
Readers Talkback
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  • April 15, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST

    all 3 scream reviews on this site began the exact same way.

    by RedHorseVector

    great work guys...

  • April 15, 2011, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Great minds...

    by Ambush Bug

    and all that, I guess.

  • April 15, 2011, 10:58 a.m. CST

    just say it was a piece of shit

    by Katet19

    I was so incredibly let down. Difficult I know because in the back of my mind I always knew it was going to be horrendous but even with my expectations tempered (if it's at least as good as 2 I'll like it well enough) I was mortified. The worst part about the whole thing is that they accentuate what they seem to think worked about the other films but it's all of the wrong elements. The first film gave y ou a killer who took a slightly comical spill or two but it served a purpose of illustrating that this killer was a normal human being not a hulking supernatural juggernaut like Jason or Michael Myers, a kick to the balls or a shove down the stairs slowed him down. Here they play that up times ten to the point where this movie is essentially a cartoon. Just wait for how the killer is dispatched legit ACME looney tunes style ridiculousness right along with a "clever" one liner to accompany it. What I haven't seen mentioned is the handling of the Voice on the phone. Say what you will about the original but the first time you see that film and he uses that very very calm voice and turns on Drew Barrymore at the drop of a hat it's scary. Here there is no patience or real malice, The Voice turns in a late Nightmare on Elm St entry Freddy Krueger style performance. It's as if they made a checklist of what they think is expected of the voice and AMPED IT UP. He's almost immediately yelling and there's no sense of that odd patience that made you feel uneasy. He's busy cracking off very cheesy filmic quips (cutting room floor). The original actually took the trouble to differentiate between the two killer and their manner of speech. (go back and watch based on who was doing the killing you can tell which voice is supposed to be Billy and which Stu. In the opening you can even tell when they alternate). It's a wash. It makes me sad that there's nothing left in the franchise as I have fond memories but they should just let it go.

  • April 15, 2011, 11:04 a.m. CST

    snarkiness aside, i enjoy the column bug!

    by RedHorseVector


  • April 15, 2011, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Column is kick ass

    by Katet19

    I really appreciate shining a light on all things horror well known and not. It's not everyday I see Holy Mountain mentioned. I hope it AICN horror pops up more frequently.

  • April 15, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    ANy Scream film shouldn't be attached to....

    by Roketopunch

    an article that has Holy Mountain in it. It's an insult to Jodorowsky and anybody involved. Scream is a shitty franchise.

  • April 15, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    I want MARTYRS on Blu Ray

    by Roketopunch

    Please. It's weird that it hasn't been transfered.

  • April 15, 2011, 11:38 a.m. CST


    by D.Vader

    Man I'd forgotten all about wanting to see that film.

  • April 15, 2011, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Holy Mountain is a horror movie?

    by Al_Shut

    Never saw it that way.

  • April 15, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST

    The Holy Mountain is truly a masterpiece....

    by fustfick

    ...and demands to be seen.

  • April 15, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Sorry Ambush,

    by dalcross

    anyone who refers to the sacred KB as "the girl from Heroes" and not Veronica Mars isn't allowed to write for AICN any,ore. Hand your pass in at the door on the way out.

  • April 15, 2011, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Bug, so what jodorowsky film would you reccomend...

    by RealDoubleJ

    For a first time viewer? Curious with his work but unsure where to start...

  • April 15, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    personal expectation

    by Katet19

    It wasn't hype that got me it was personal expectation based on the slight hope that maybe they could turn out something as decent as the first two films. It was actually alot closer to gone with the wind than you think, full of helpless useless women, bitchin mustaches, and black stereotypes. They didn't meet the most remote of my expectations because the movie was shit.

  • April 15, 2011, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Everybody complains that Scream 4 isn't scary, but...

    by RedEgiraahgnal

    ...the series (and slasher movies with normal [not mentally] human beings as killers) has never been scary! It's just a guy with a mask! True, being chased my someone like them is scary, when it happens to you in REAL life, but I never thought it's scary in a movie. Or do you think CSI is scary, because every episode features a killer of unknown identity? For me, they can only be suspenseful, which is as good as scary IMO, but not the same. (An action movie can be suspenseful too, but would you check your closet for Hans Gruber, before you go to bed? I wouldn't, but ask me about the ALIEN alien.)

  • April 15, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST


    by Katet19

    I think the first one succeeded in being scary to a degree. Toying with Drew Barrymore on the phone, the pre columbine notion that two seemingly normal high schoolers would start tormenting and murdering their friends in a relatively elaborate manner, and the idea that they'd go so far as to stab the fuck out of one another to frame an innocent man was pretty chilling at the time.

  • April 15, 2011, 1:18 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    Uhm...I referred to the girl from Heroes as the girl from Heroes. It's Hayden Pentierre. I didn't even mention Kirsten Bell in the review since she's in the film for less than two minutes.

  • April 15, 2011, 1:18 p.m. CST

    the "loose narrative structure" of Holy Mountain: It's called surrealism


    I understand that a lot of people don't appreciate surrealism, but why does every movie have to have a typical narrative structure?

  • April 15, 2011, 1:22 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    I think for someone who hasn't seen a Jodorowsky film, I'd start with EL TOPO. Equally as trippy and stream of conscious-like, but I found it to be more entertaining. Then I'd go a bit deeper into Jodorowsky's psyche and check out SANTA SANGRE which is a much more heady piece of work. Finally, after enduring those two, you'd be used to the guy's work enough to appreciate HOLY MOUNTAIN. It's not terrible, but very loose in story and high in style. Though not a straight up horror film, al_shut, but it definitely has enough horrific imagery to qualify mention here.

  • April 15, 2011, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Holy Mountain

    by schadenfreudian

    It's magnificent, but seriously, don't watch it if you're TOO high. Trust me on this.

  • April 15, 2011, 2:20 p.m. CST

    by Ingolfur

    It´s a piece of shit.

  • April 15, 2011, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Reykjavik whale watching massacre

    by Ingolfur

    it´s a piece of shit. Worst kill scenes I have ever seen.Pathetic directing, terrible photagraphy.

  • April 15, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    better quality trailer for The Collapsed

    by Jarek

    http://www.y GayHbrr6E

  • April 15, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Someone is going back in time and making movies...

    by Arafel

    ...and as we all know the discovery of time travel signals the end of the world....

  • April 15, 2011, 2:52 p.m. CST



    That's the only way to watch Holy Mountain!

  • April 15, 2011, 2:55 p.m. CST

    "Sitting sober through this film, though, is a bit of a chore."


    There's your problem right there, Bug. Get some smoke from Massawyrm and re-watch Holy Mountain!

  • 'HIGH'ly Recommended!


  • April 15, 2011, 3:52 p.m. CST


    by schadenfreudian

    There's high, and then there's HIGH.

  • April 15, 2011, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Choppah, not Chopper.

    by schadenfreudian

    Sorry, I'm listening to Louis CK and Ricky Gervais and I'm a bit distracted by the brilliance.

  • April 15, 2011, 3:57 p.m. CST

    RE: There's high, and then there's HIGH


    Yeah, that would not be good!

  • April 15, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST


    by Midnightcrow

    Damn it, you post a link to the trailer which has it spelt correctly for you, so even if you are too ignorant to spell the name of a fairly well known capital city, you could at least avoid being a lazy writer and check your article before posting it. Reykjavik is not in Eastern Europe so why on earth would you give it a slavic ending like Reykjavic??

  • April 15, 2011, 6:57 p.m. CST

    Holy Mountain like El Topo, great films with bad endings

    by strykebr

    I bought the box-set of Jodorskys flicks a few years ago, just stunning imagery Such great films so it would be hard to end them well I guess

  • April 15, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    For fucks sakes

    by DukeDeMondo

    What is this "The Holy Mountain is'n't TERRIBLE, like, but y'know..." clatter o muck? The Holy Mountain is fuckin incredible, every frame, every sequence, is unutterably exhilarating and surprising and witty and unique. Anyone who rates Santa Sangre - the one Jodorowsky-esque Jodorowsky picture that goes out of its way to pander to folks still expecting cinema to Tell Stories What I Can Relate To An' Stuff - above The Holy Mountain isn't anyone who can be trusted on that matter. The Holy Mountain, then El Topo, then Santa Sangre. That's the trajectory you want to be dancin' longside of.

  • April 15, 2011, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Jodorowsky and The Aborted

    by HS

    Jodorowsky’s movies give me a headache, but Bugs right, get a bunch of people over, get high and drunk and put them on in the background, look up at them every now and then and trip the fuck out. El Topo is his best flick, just cause it's a fucked up Western. It's nice seeing Fernandez getting love here! The dude has talent and he's one of the most original indie dudes out there right now. I can only pray one day he'll be able to make a sequel to The Last Battleground with like 20 million. That'd be an event in the making. I went into The Aborted expecting a gore-fest mindless kind of Tromaesque movie. I came out realizing that Fernandez is a really good moviemaker. He should be huge by now.

  • April 15, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Internet coincidences are weird

    by Shubniggorath

    I just read a synopsis of the Holy Mountain yesterday on a list of the most confusing films of all time. I enjoy confusion so I will be seeking it out!

  • a day and age when all of Harry's "news" is two weeks old and sourced from Latino Review, having real opinion content is refreshing. Having real opinion content on my favorite film genre is even better!

  • April 16, 2011, 12:55 a.m. CST


    by Sith Witch

    I couldn't agree with you more on that account!

  • April 16, 2011, 8:58 a.m. CST

    holy mountain is awesome.

    by alice133

  • April 16, 2011, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Always look forward to the column, Bug.

    by BangoSkank

    Thanks for the reviews. And The Holy Mountain ain't for everyone… Despite how some people are reacting, you certainly didn’t take a shit on the film. Plus, I haven't seen it reviewed anywhere else on this site, which means you’re possibly introducing the film and director to a new audience. So thanks again. And fuck the haters.

  • April 16, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST

    the holy mountain

    by gerhard_futkanister

    couldnt agree more with smack teddy. maybe you should just take down the part about holy mountain and never mention it again ambush bug, because this is just embarassing. this movie is obviously so far above your head, you only do yourself a disservice by reviewing it. the holy mountain a horror movie. just ridiculous.

  • April 16, 2011, 11:06 a.m. CST

    I'm liking this northern european slasher horror boom.

    by AsimovLives

    I have nothing but the deepest respect and enjoyment for the norwegian COLD PREY saga, of which i have seen the first two movies. Damn good spasher movies, the best slashers i have seen for quite a while. Makes the american slasher movies made in Holywood look like the pre-fabricated corporate souless jobs that they are.

  • April 16, 2011, 11:09 a.m. CST

    realdoublej, the best Jodorowski entry movie could be SANTA SANGRE.

    by AsimovLives

    It's still weird and very artistic, but it does have a more conventional narrative to it, if we can call it that. Me, however, the first Jorodowski movie i saw was EL TOPO, which is one of his most extreme. I'm not complaining, though, because i loved it. And THE HOLY MOUNTAIN too, of course. FANDO AND LIS might just be Jodoroswki's weirdest movie he ever made, though.

  • April 16, 2011, 11:12 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    You don't need drugs to watch THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and feel trippy. The movie does that for you quite well enough without the assistence of drugs. The movie itself is an allucinogenic.

  • April 16, 2011, 12:10 p.m. CST

    The Holy Mountain

    by djscott95

    Was the first film I watched by Jodorowsky. I was immediately hooked. I say start there. If you don't like it, you may find Santa Sangre or El Topo more "linear", but you're not going to enjoy them any more. All of the man's work is pretty similar. ...and The Holy Mountain is a fucking masterpiece. That is all.

  • April 16, 2011, 12:36 p.m. CST

    wow, guys, get a grip...

    by Ambush Bug

    Jeeze, did I rape your mother or something? Seriously, just because I didn't splooge on the film like everyone is supposed to do. I'd seen the film years ago, then revisited it and found it to be pretty damn monotonous. Especially the tedious and heavy handed "I am Saturn...I am Venus...I am Uranus..." sequences. I fully acknowledge the fact that the film is a classic, but tried to look at it objectively. My review stands as is. It's funny that if one look at a film critically and doesn't have the same view as the masses, it's somehow deemed "over my head". I got the film. It's jus that HOLY MOUNTAIN is not for everyone and stressed the strengths and weaknesses of the film in the review. I love it that folks take this so personally as if they made the film themselves and call for blood. Personally, I'd love to debate it here with folks who disagree with me, but internet cliches like smack_teddy aren't worth the time. Can't wait for the fervor for my EL TOPO review.

  • April 16, 2011, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Apologies to all Reykjevikiadingadonians...

    by Ambush Bug

    C has been changed to K.

  • April 16, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST

    if i hear one more of you douches say "Meta"..

    by kev8791

    craven says it a few time and now everyones all over it. is this gonna be the "cool" new word now?

  • April 16, 2011, 5:26 p.m. CST

    ambush bug

    by gerhard_futkanister

    you won't get off that easily. with a statement like "a lame art school student’s demo reel where he wants to rebel against his mom and dad who put him through art school in the first place" you literally state that the film went over your head. you obviously lack the depth of thinking that would enable you to understand a piece of art and jump to the good ole position of the philistine who thinks all art he doesnt understand is boring wankery. it's people like this who want a more action packed remake of 2001. you may be a 20 year old who still can learn something, and that's fine, who gives a shit. you can even spew your ignorant bullshit about movies you dont understand. but theres no way in hell you will not get called out on your utter lack of insight. p.s.: also funny that you think there's a "view of the masses" on this still pretty obscure movie, and that it is a positive one. in what world do you live in? oh yeah, in a world where the holy mountain is a horror movie...

  • April 16, 2011, 7:38 p.m. CST

    I didn't know Jodorowsky were so violent

    by HS

    I didn't think Bug really gave it a BAD review at all, I thought, overall, the dude was pretty fair. I know a lot of people who think Jodorowsky is complete and utter BULLSHIT, people who appreciate a real plot, story, know...stuff like that. Crazy I know. Some people think he's a genius, some people think he's a fucking hack. Like I said, I can't watch his shit unless I'm stoned or drunk, otherwise they bore the fuck out of me. I get why people like them, but it's just not my cup of tea, if people really can't understand why someone wouldn't like them then I don't know what to tell you.

  • April 16, 2011, 8:23 p.m. CST

    I didn't know Jodorowsky *FANS* were so violent

    by HS

  • April 16, 2011, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Alchemy of the Holy Mountain

    by masterchappy

    Its a rather opaque film that comes off as simply trippy unless you have a background in alot of the esoterica Alejandro is so fond of:

  • April 17, 2011, 3:33 p.m. CST


    by blakindigo

    Keepin' it One Hunnid. Absolutely spot on.

  • April 17, 2011, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Holy Mountain is an unrewarding hippy mindfuck.

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Therefore I have absolutely no reasonable explanation why I love it.

  • April 17, 2011, 8:41 p.m. CST

    The Holy Mountain looks like shit


    bleh. And of course Scream 4 sucks balls. It's directed by Wes Craven.

  • April 17, 2011, 8:45 p.m. CST

    By the way.


    I am a casual fan of horror and love that this new column exists. But I gotta say. The content is very shaky. What the fuck are these movies? They look like highschool video class projects. Theres gotta be at least 1 decent quality horror flick that's been released recently?

  • April 17, 2011, 10:54 p.m. CST

    @winona_ryders_pussy_juice and smack_teddy

    by HS

    I know Sonny's movies might look like shit, but I'm telling you, give his stuff a shot. He's VERY low-budget but the motherfucker's plots are the shit, he's a badass moviemaker. smack_teddy, why can't you just understand that some people don't think Jodorowsky movies are even WORTH analyzing? You dig them, other people don't, they're not dumb, or worthless, it just means they just don't like his stuff. I actually think Jodorowsky tries too hard. It makes him come off as being kinda of desperate. For me, he's just a poor mans David Lynch...but he ain't got shit on Lynch.

  • April 18, 2011, 8:41 a.m. CST

    I know horror

    by Azby

    can be dumb, but tht doesn't mean the reviewer has to be. Can we have a reviewer with at least half a working brain please?

  • April 18, 2011, 9:10 a.m. CST

    'jeez did I rape your mother or something'

    by Azby

    This is not IMDB - are you getting paid for this stuff?

  • April 18, 2011, 10:51 a.m. CST

    You take a day off and...just wow...

    by Ambush Bug

    Worry not folks, I'll be back next week with more horror. Glad you liked the column and great to see Jodorowsky bringing out the shining, new faces. Funny how no one wants to step up and actually chat about the film. Rather itegrity, brain function, appreciation of the arts and the assumed deficiencies in this reviewer is brought up rather than the merits of the film itself. In my weekly AICN COMICS columns (been going strong for ten years now!), we try to encourage intelligent debate and I'd love to bring that over here, but it appears from the cross section of Jodorowsky fans who showed up this week don't understand that concept. Next week is Easter Horrors, so be sure to check that out. Or in the case of you JodorBLOWsky's...don't.

  • April 18, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Cut ambushbug some slack

    by ras752000

    At least his review wasn't tainted by falling asleep during it. I actually finally got around to watching holy mt. a few days ago, and was impressed by the spectacle, but I also felt the planets section was too heavy-handed and long. But I'm looking forward to seeing el topo next.

  • April 18, 2011, 1:08 p.m. CST


    by gerhard_futkanister

    "intelligent debate" "jodorBLOWsky's" as you so eloquently put it: just wow. i can't wait for your review of jodorowsky's other horror classics, like santa sangre and el topo. sheesh...

  • April 18, 2011, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Who would've made a better killer?

    by gregburnscds

    Interesting how all those who talk about the killer(s) in Scream 4 being sooooooo lame can't come up with a single scenario that would actually be better. Who would have made a better killer, smart guys?

  • April 18, 2011, 9:32 p.m. CST

    Finally, something fun to talk about...

    by Ambush Bug

    I think if it were one of the main three stars it would have been infinitely more interesting. Sidney snapping after years of being tormented by the killer and copycat killers. Gale in a desperate attempt to find a new story to write. Hell, how awesome would the film have been if they had the balls to make all three returning actors the killers with Sydney and Gale's motivations staying the same and Dewey would be pulled into the plot because he didn't want to lose his wife and friend. Then have the three turn on each other in one bloody finale that offs them all in the end. With Sidney turning on Gale for exploiting her for the movies. Gale turning on Sidney out of jealousy maybe? Dewey is caught in the middle and is killed, then Gale and Sidney slash each other to bits. Final scene has all three of them dead and the newbs are made even less important to the narrative. Much more "meta" in that the series, through time, ultimately kills itself. Craven and Williamson would never do it though because that would put a serious finale to the series, and why would they do that if there was a slim possiblility of another lame sequel.

  • If anything, surrealism is the perfect genre for film. Films are much closer to dreams than they are to reality. I don't fault anyone who does not enjoy Holy Mountain, but I think as a film critic or film buff you should at least be able to appreciate the art and craftsmanship of the film. And I think Ambush Bug does. That Said, I do think he took some cheap shots at the film and us JodorBLOWskys.

  • April 19, 2011, 11:17 a.m. CST

    That's a ridiculous ending Ambush Bug

    by gregburnscds

    Really? REALLY! That's the WORST fucked up betrayal of character development I have ever heard in my life. Those three characters have shown in three movies that they are NOT serial killers, but you would have that all changed because you think it would make better finale. Albeit, I had some idea that is kind of similar to yours but in a much more logical way that didn't directly betray the development of the three main cast members. Do you even know about character development? That's like making the lead in Avatar suddenly turn around in the sequel and aid in the demise of those stupid blue people. I'm glad YOU don't write horror movies. Here is what I had imagined as the ending while I was watching Scream 4 (mind you, this does not imply that I am dissatisfied with the actual ending--I liked who the killer turned out to be). My idea about who the killer(s) were was: 1. One of the teenager kids trying to recreate the original events. (This could have been anyone really). 2. The murders happening up again would cause Sydney to snap into some kind of split personality, where she believed she saw the killer coming for people but it ended up being her (ala My Bloody Valentine). 3. The twist would be that these two killers were working independently of each other, only to face off at the end in some cataclysmic showdown, ending with Sydney being hospitalized (or something).

  • April 19, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    "people who appreciate a real plot, story, characters..."

    by AsimovLives

    Basically, people who only like movies thast spoonfeds them and don't have the brain-power to enjoy anything else. They invented a word to describe that type of people: morons.

  • April 19, 2011, 11:48 a.m. CST

    smack_teddy, go get them! Tell them as it is! You're the awesome!

    by AsimovLives

    The off-beat and art-house movies needs more guardian dogs with teeth like you. Well done, man, well done.

  • April 19, 2011, 11:49 a.m. CST

    stuntcock mike, you love it because it's a great movie, simple as that.

    by AsimovLives

    You don't need to agree with a movie to love it and think it's genious. There's more to love movies then just them ticking your boxes.

  • April 19, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    I know this is a ridiculous back and forth since it's basically just arguing the merits of one fan fic over another and I'm not trying to be a dick or anyhting, but why exactly extend the invitation for folks to who would have been a better killer? It doesn't seem like you were curious at all, just desperately wanting to lob out your own ending and you needed someone else to say something in order to try to discredit them in order to make your endings seem better. It's especially perplexing because while you say the ending I farted out in five minutes was ridiculous then offered two out of three ending scenarios which were pretty similar to the one I tossed out. Though it doesn't really matter in teh long run because we're arguing the ending to a shit film, the need for confrontation over debate here is really depressing.

  • Plus it's been done to death. Just saying. Idea #1 is basically what really happened in the movie (remember, they were modeling themselves to be the next Sidney & Randy in the "new franchise") Idea #3 would actually have been cool, and something different for a change.

  • April 19, 2011, 3:25 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    Very true. Most of my problem with the film is that the bony twit who turns out to be the killer looks like you could blow her over with a sneeze. Where's the terror in that. plus her acting skills were pretty lacking. I just think the film would have had a little teeth if one of the main returning actors would have been killer or been the killer.

  • April 19, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is so awesome, some minds just can't grasp it.

    by AsimovLives

    Like our friend reviewer above. It went over his head. Mind blowing indeed. The reviewer just couldn't cope with the awesomeness, so he does the usual thing when people like hom do when they truly get mind blown for real: they dismiss and make smart-ass remarks as if they are making some inotavive insightful coment on a much beloved, rightfully admired and EXTREMELY SMART movie like THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. i used to be pretty smart-ass a bout Fellini's movies. Until i finally saw 8 1/2 from start to finish, and shup my mouth, ate a big crow and finally understood what all the fuzz was all about. Best lesson of cinematic humility i ever had. This reviewer hasn't yet learned it.

  • Instead of the stupid retard shallow ass limp-wristed way that people use to describe such shitty tripe as the Michael Bay and the Zack Snyder and the JJ Abrams movies, which are bad parodies of the terms.

  • April 19, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST

    ambush bug:

    by Elgyn6655321

    Gale Weathers should have died when she was attacked at the 'Stabathon'. It would've lent some much-needed emotional weight to the rest of the movie. Plus when she survived that scene it became obvious that all the returning characters were "safe" which ruins a lot of the tension.

  • April 19, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST

    @ambushbug That wasn't three separate ideas.

    by gregburnscds

    I simply mapped them out in 1, 2, 3 to make it clearer, but that was one integrated idea. And Ambush Bug, I didn't care for your ending simply because I enjoyed the movie, and so asking who people would've thought a better ending would be was, in many ways, a way to prove that your dislike of the film really isn't based on any real merit. You couldn't come up with a better ending, nor could you have made a better movie. I'm getting tired of people blathering on about how much the killers were lame and what not, if you can't REALISTICALLY determine a better movie then shut up and come to terms with the fact that you don't like these types of films.

  • April 19, 2011, 5:51 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    If you read the review, my problem wasn't about the ending at all, it was the fact that by the time the ending came about, I didn't give a shit mainly for the reason elegy6655321, when Gale didn't die, I knew none of them would. So it turned out to be another unglamorous turd. If you liked it, that's cool. Glad you found some merit in it. I felt like I'd seen it all before, especially the killer's lame and overused motif to gain fame. SCREAM did something new. SCRE4M was just stale.

  • April 19, 2011, 6:12 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    You seem like a pretty intelligent guy. Intelligent people usually don't assume. The film didn't go over my head. I watched it and wrote how it made me feel. The listing of the planets and their attributes: monotonous. Sure there was meaning behind it, but that doesn't mean it has to play out like a laundry list reading at a morgue. Every time one of the planets came to a close, I breathed a sigh of releif only to be hit with another droning from another planet. The opening sequence with the religious imagery, the eating of Christ's face, the crucified animals, the Pope spooning the crucifix: Intriguing, morally challenging, and definitely surreal, making a statement on organized religion that most likely hadn't been seen before at the time of the film's release. But in many ways, I felt the film was trying too hard to be shocking by using these metaphors. Kind of like Serrano's Piss Christ, which was meant to be a comment on the commercialism of Christ in the current culture, but ended up being received by the public as a work inspired to shock. And though Serrano's intent wasn't originally to shock, he had to know that type of reaction would come from such an image. Same goes with Jodorowsky. The surreal imagery of the reptiles in tribal guard being blown up by frogs in Catholic Crusader garb was gorgeous and more interesting to me, in fact, I'd say that the film is top heavy with Jodorowsky loading up the first 45 minutes with amazing images (the checkered room with the mounted goats being the highlight for me and the climb to the top of the tower an amazing thing to behold because it didn't look like there were any nets or ropes at all being used), but the story skids into monotony with the planetary stuff. Again, I've dealt with this type of criticism before when I criticized Bendis or Morrison's work in the AICN COMICS section. There is a section who just feels protective about certain artists. They can't seem to articulate why it's so awesome. They just berate anyone who speaks to the contrary. Calling for my head is pretty pointless because I'm not going anywhere no matter how many posts you post. Then again, I just addressed you with respect and tried once again to back up the same argument I stated above. Can you do the same or should I expect you to repeat yourself in your "You just don't get it cause yer stupid." chant?

  • April 19, 2011, 6:30 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    By the way, good call on COLD PREY. Love that film, but I haven't been able to track down the sequels.

  • April 19, 2011, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Cold Prey sequels

    by Jarek

    Cold Prey 2 is pretty cool..... 3 is a waste of time.

  • April 19, 2011, 8:45 p.m. CST

    the main problem, bug,

    by gerhard_futkanister

    that you still dont understand is that the holy mountain is not an assembly of non related impressive images that is light on story. after pretty much everyone here articulated what it is that is so awesome about the holy mountain you still have the nerve to accuse these people of being inarticulate, especially when your criticism of the movie amounts to nothing more than "light on story, christians will be insulted, cool visuals!". you're impressed about how they didn't use ropes in one scene. you assume (what was that about intelligent people) that "the eating of Christ's face, the crucified animals, the Pope spooning the crucifix" was there to shock the audience, clearly not understanding the meaning of these scenes in the story and the journey of the thief towards enlightenment. i would explain it to you, but that would just be a humongous waste of time, i'd rather watch the movie again, there is always something new to be found in it... one more time: you did not understand this movie and since you are unwilling to invest the time and brainpower in it to do so your review came out as it did - a piece of shit. and no calling up your powers of looking up andres serrano on wikipedia will change that. (and i can't stress enough how it is just. not. a horror movie.)

  • April 20, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Ambush Bug, regarding the planet scenes in Holy Mountain

    by Stabby

    Each planet sequence is actually a brilliant commentary on an aspect of modern civilization: capitalist consumer culture, the military industrial complex, that art world, technology. I'm sure that you get this. What is surprising to me is how these sequences still holdup as relevant satire of the world we live in today. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but your main criticism of these sequences is how they interrupt the linear progression of the main character's journey and therefore you see them as irrelevant and find them boring? I can understand how you could view them this way. But, if you were to look at each of the planet sequences as a solitary short film I'm certain that you would find much in each one to discover. It is truly brilliant satire of Global Capitalism. Now, this is not to say that the planets do not fit in the larger picture of what Jodorowski is trying to accomplish with this film. I feel they definitely do. But if you feel that he was not so successful in making these sequences gel with the whole of the work than that may very well be legitimate criticism and I would love to hear why you believe they do not, other than they are just boring. In other words there is some reason you were bored by it.

  • April 20, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    I don't think the planetary sequences interupted the linear progression of the tale of the main character, but I do think it slowed the pace down considerably. It may have been the droning presentation that I had a problem with. I liked the fact that each planet represented aspects of culture and a lot of the metaphors were strong. I just felt that there were too many of them referenced and too much time was spent on each planet. Again, I thought the inundation of surreal/ controversial/gorgeous imagery in the first forty five minutes were perfect. Had the planetary aspects come at this pace, I don't think I would have had such an adverse reaction to it. But after that first 40-50 minutes, the momentum of the piece definitely slows to the point where it was very noticable to me. I'm glad you got so much out of it and I think you raise a great point that if the sequence were seen as mini-movies or shorts, wouldn't have had the reaction I did.

  • April 20, 2011, 1:33 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    If you look back at all of the posts, most come right out and bash the reviewer for lacking in skills rather than supporting any type of argument contrary to what I was saying. "with a statement like "a lame art school student’s demo reel where he wants to rebel against his mom and dad who put him through art school in the first place" you literally state that the film went over your head. you obviously lack the depth of thinking that would enable you to understand a piece of art and jump to the good ole position of the philistine who thinks all art he doesnt understand is boring wankery. it's people like this who want a more action packed remake of 2001. you may be a 20 year old who still can learn something, and that's fine, who gives a shit. you can even spew your ignorant bullshit about movies you dont understand. but theres no way in hell you will not get called out on your utter lack of insight." "maybe you should just take down the part about holy mountain and never mention it again ambush bug, because this is just embarassing. this movie is obviously so far above your head, you only do yourself a disservice by reviewing it." Those were your articulate contributions to the conversation. The "you just don't get it" argument seems to be all you've got. What do you have to say about the film to back up your words? "crickets chirping" I'm kind of done with this thread. Time to work on the next AICN HORROR, but as far as your record skipping "HOLY MOUNTAIN is not a horror film", I agree it's not a straight up, conventional horror film, but it does have horrific imagery and is done by an influential director who has been known to spark inspiration, controversy, and disgust, so I'll cover it here. Plus it was sent to me for free to review and this is my pulpit to preach from, so I'll cover it here. You'll see in previous and future columns, horror is a broad genre. I'd even categorize some Disney films as horror, so I'm not going to limit the films I cover here by someone who a) doesn't know how to back up an argument without resorting to berating the person and b) has such a limited view on what is horror. By the way, Fangoria and many other sites cover Jodorowsky as well. He's a genre icon. Are you going to point your limited views their way as well?

  • April 24, 2011, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Have ANY of you seen the Scream movies in 10 years!?

    by Chuck_Cobra

    NONE of them are scary!! They're suspenseful! Funny!! Satirical!! FUN. I re-watched the original trilogy (One a week.) before seeing the 4th, and you know what? Number 4 fits perfectly into the set. It didn't miss a beat and I felt perfectly at home in the Scream universe. The tone, suspense, and comedy. It's a great throwback to the originals and big fuck you to all the shit that's being pumped out today. With all the torture porn and serious scary movies coming out today, I feel the audience has forgotten what a FUN "horror" movie is like. This was it. Go back and watch the originals before you see this. Remember how great it was and relive it.