Last week’s installment.

What’s the best horror franchise of all time? For my money, it’s Phantasm.

If you ever get a free day I’d suggest watching all four back-to-back. It’s really the only way to experience this epic (yes, epic) story, and you’ll gain a huge appreciation for how well they managed to segue each one into the next, despite the many years that separated them.

It’s also remarkable how different the films are- from the personal fears of a powerless child in the first film, to the road-movie action of the second one as they find out what that Tall Man is up to, to the third one turns into almost a straight-up comedy and the fourth that goes back to its roots in a trippy, dream-like experience. There’s simply nothing else like them, and it’s a shame that the box set still isn’t available over here. Someone remaster these beautiful films and stick them in a blu-ray! And fuck, I wish Coscarelli would get cracking on Phantasm’s End.

Anyway, to the horror of the week!

THE BEST THING YOU’VE SEEN ALL YEAR-

This just in- a circus clown with machineguns.

1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A “Happy” circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. This absurd and disturbing scenario raises the curtain on a twisted tale of love, revenge, and psychopathic clowns that could only spring from the mind of filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia.

Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime.  Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father’s career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life – he’s simply not funny and is only equipped to play the role of the Sad Clown. He finds work in a circus where he befriends an outlandish cast of characters, but as the Sad Clown he must take the abuse of the brutish Happy Clown Sergio, who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment.

It is here that he meets Natalia, a gorgeous acrobat, and abused wife of Sergio. Javier falls deeply in love with Natalia and tries to rescue her from her cruel and violent husband, unleashing Sergio’s jealousy. But Natalia is torn between her affection towards Javier and her lust for Sergio.

With neither man willing to back down, this twisted love triangle evolves into a ferocious battle between Sad Clown and Happy Clown, escalating to unbelievable heights in this absurd, shocking, irreverent and unforgettable film.

Enjoy the red-band trailer on MSN. Last Circus played to stunned audiences at both TiFF and Fantastic Fest, and you can check out Jacob Hall’s ten out of ten review here. It’s where the trailer lifted that “Insane!” blurb from.  For more check out the official site.

GET [REC]D AGAIN-

I really enjoyed [REC], even if the hype was a little much. It’s a really fun flick with a great pace, and the sequel is apparently more of the same. We’re finally getting it on home video over here July 12th. The dvd will come with deleted scenes, a couple of featurettes, a walkthrough of the set and video from the film on tour.

The big gimmick here is that the film picks up 15 minutes after the events of the first, as cops storm the building to find out just what the hell is going on. Things don’t go smoothly.

GET QUARANTINED AGAIN-

Not to be outdone, the American remake of [REC], Quarantine, has its own sequel on the way. As you can see from the trailer below it’s quite different- rather than the same apartment setting of the first film it’s taking to the skies.

It’s actually hitting theaters today in a limited release, so keep an eye out for people acting strangely.

GREEN MAN IN THE PACIFIC RIM-

Charlie Day, best known for the role of the glue-sniffing madman Charlie from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, is in talks to appear in Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Can you imagine him screaming his head off in a mech, fighting aliens? I know I can.

Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunna is already on board in the lead role of the man who gets all the humans to come together to fight. Day will play a- wait for it- professor. All I know is I want him to repeat this line (with the same delivery!) when he sees the aliens.

YOU’RE ALL DAMNED -

I thought I did a decent job last week of covering all the horror titles coming out but one skipped my mind- Shadows of the Damned. This is the game that was co-produced by Suda51 (No More Heroes) and Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil), and it’s really got the former’s insane punk rock style mixed with the survival horror gameplay of the latter. Add in the stunning musical stylings of Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill) and you’ve got a reason to sit up and take notice. After playing it for a day, I hope people do.

My thoughts are embargoed till its release next week but let’s just say that this was just what I needed after slogging through Duke Nukem Forever.

Besides planning a one-year old’s birthday party, that’s all the horror I’ve got this week! See you next.