Victor has written 108 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • Rough Night

    Rough Night

    ★★★½

    Half a star for dragging Crash.

  • Teenage Seductress

    Teenage Seductress

    ★★★½

    If that’s a teenager, I’m a toddler.

    New Mexican daylight noir art-smut skews melodramatic, but with enough oddball Lynchian touches, ineptitude-inspired laughs, and low-rent beauty to rise above the muck. The emotional stakes, which culminate in a pair of equally equivocal climaxes, are rewarding, too. Incest, it turns out, is not best.

    It’s also nice to see New Mexico so proudly featured, although “annexed” is doing a ton of work in a sign that’s lingered over in an early shot: “Area Colonized by Spain 1615, Became Mexican territory 1821, Annexed by United States 1846.” Who‘s your daddy indeed.

  • Blacker than the Night

    Blacker than the Night

    Deliberate and atmospheric in a way that would’ve scared six-year-old me, comfortable if plodding and routine to ostensibly grown-up me. The parade of pulchritude and black-cat protagonist kept me (mostly) interested, plus I’m getting better at parsing Toboada’s stylistic and thematic conceits; aside from the predictable upskirt shots — that’s a theme, right? — he has a playful way of pushing up to the edge of narrative self-awareness, and an impressively subtle but rigorous visual control. The withholding central to…

  • Beautiful Noise

    Beautiful Noise

    A decent, if overstuffed, survey that makes up for its conventionality with a sophisticated, carefully constructed take on the elusive power of shoegaze (without ever once stooping to that derisive term). Take your pick of glaring omissions, though — Bardo Pond and especially Swirlies were mine.

  • All the Colors of the Dark

    All the Colors of the Dark

    ★★★½

    Pretty fluffy. Every time I hoped it’d lean into the cruelty and ugliness of its premise it amplified its Vegas revue by-way-of Bob Guccione affect instead. Fenech is a prize in every way, though, and Martino nails the nightmare visuals in a couple of scenes, so all is forgiven.

  • Poison for the Fairies

    Poison for the Fairies

    ★★★½

    A little too kid-centric for me, even if the leads are both excellent and behave like children instead of some adult’s conception thereof. (A double-edged sword if ever there was one in a few uncomfortable, mercifully brief scenes.) The climax is uncommonly satisfying, too, and Taboada leaving the witch-in-training angle open-ended is an impressive feat, although I’m still bugged by the fact that it’s partially (mostly?) in service of a horror trope some male artists just can’t seem to get…

  • Hot Rods to Hell

    Hot Rods to Hell

    ★★★½

    “What‘s left for kicks?”

    A childhood perennial, re-watched for the first time in over 40 years with zero recollection of the plot. The mood of constant menace, conveyed in simplistic terms (and scenes of legit car terror) any kid would respond to, had to have been the appeal. I think this is where my preoccupation with Mimsy Farmer got its start, too — her scary, hair-trigger bad-good girl in loud, seam-busting getups left a real impression.

    The adult portion of…

  • Zig Zag

    Zig Zag

    ★★★½

    I‘ve officially seen enough of George Kennedy.

  • Check to the Queen

    Check to the Queen

    ★★★½

    I’d somehow gotten it into my head that this was subtler and more nuanced than the poster up there would have us believe. But nope — everything from the illustration to the tagline to the alternate title is exactly what you get. Pursue or avoid as your interest dictates.

    I periodically settled into its loungey soft-core groove, and genuinely enjoyed the production design and score. Watching Haydée Politoff suffer the attentions of yet another gang of pushy pervs was even…

  • The Swerve

    The Swerve

    ★★★½

    Amazing lead performance and impressively sustained dread throughout, but I struggled to find anything illuminating in Holly’s one-way descent into the melancholy valley. Her fate is foregone from the start, and without some deeper insight into her motivations or distance from her turmoil the trip just becomes a melodramatic slog. Impossible to dismiss even so, and for those feeling particularly masochistic this would pair well with Krisha.

  • The Killing Kind

    The Killing Kind

    ★★★½

    Too sadistic and stifled by dreary plausibility to wring much fun out of its hag horror setup, which seems to be half the point. (The other half being a showcase for John Savage’s slobbery, full-bore scuzziness.) Harrington brings something grounded and poignant to a genre he also plainly enjoys wallowing in, and his commitment results in a powerhouse performance from Sothern, but this still left a sour taste in my mouth. Could’ve been the nastiness with the cat early on, which I hope was as fake as the notion that anybody, psychotic or otherwise, would ever want to harm Cindy Williams.

  • Assault in Paradise

    Assault in Paradise

    ★★★½

    I missed that Stuart Whitman passed away back in March, so this was a belated in-memory-of watch. He’s his usual, reliable self — a sturdy, comforting presence with an edge of menace just below the surface — and his character is pivotal to the action even though he’s somehow billed under Jim Mitchum. The movie itself is draggy and only so-so overall, notable mostly for Oliver Reed’s uncharacteristic restraint and some impressive widescreen framing, but it made for a decent tribute; I’ll do it up right and finally watch Eaten Alive soon. Until then, R.I.P.