Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Anatomie 2

"Anatomie 2" (2003, Stefan Ruzowitzky, Strand Releasing) is a sequel to, you guessed it, "Anatomie". It's a German language body horror set in a Berlin hospital.

A young neurosurgeon called Jo (Barnaby Metschurat) moves to Berlin to make his big break. Quickly he manages to catch the attention of Dr. Müller-LaRousse (Herbert Knaup). The doctor invites the young man to join his research group, where Jo becomes not only acquainted with other young, inquiring minds, but becomes completely immersed in their licentious research, and therefore equally culpable if their immoral practices are found out.

However, when a fellow group member, who was having an attack of conscience, is found murdered it becomes apparent that the good Dr. may not suffer any dissension in his ranks...

I have admittedly not seen the first movie, but would definitely search it out now that I've seen its sequel. This film was so much fun. It has a strong plot, a good amount of fairly gruesome effects and a good cast of interesting and unusual characters. The film explores the ethics of research and science and the hunger for knowledge.

Jo's character is not only driven by his desire for success, but also for the desire to help his brother who has Muscular Dystrophy, giving the character a more rounded motive. His fellow researchers are all also driven by their own personal motivations. Be it sexual pleasure, vanity or fame.

A really fun film and one of the best random DVD finds I've had recently!

[Image: Strand Releasing]

Saturday, 2 December 2017


"Wolves" (2014, David Hayter, TF1 International, Copperheart Entertainment, Entertainment One, Ketchup Entertainment) is a werewolf movie.

A high school football player called Cayden (Lucas Till) discovers he is a werewolf when he attempts to attack his girlfriend and then blacks out, only to find his parents ripped to shreds. Mortified and wanted for murder, he goes on the run and comes across more of his kind in a small town called Lupine Ridge. There he learns that there are two kinds of werewolves; pure-breds and people who have been bitten and infected.

Cayden is not exactly well received by his werewolf brethren, particularly by Alpha-wolf, Connor (Jason Momoa) who takes exception to Cayden's romantic interest in Angel (Merritt Patterson). However, he does secure some work as a farmhand for John Tollerman (Stephen McHattie) and refuses to leave town.

Will Cayden's presence end the uneasy peace of the werewolves? What is his connection to the wolves and to the mysterious Connor?

A cheesy, and mostly forgettable movie that enjoys some fast-paced scenes but overall doesn't wow. Jason Momoa's presence is valued, but his character is not utilised nearly enough (and holds an axe at least once without throwing it. WTF?).

The effects are passable but the overall plot is standard fayre and pales in comparison as a coming-of-age werewolf flick to the likes of "Ginger Snaps".

[Image: TF1 International, et al]

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Toxic Avenger

"The Toxic Avenger" (1984, Lloyd Kaufman Michael Herz, Troma Entertainment) is a midnight movie staple and horror comedy exploiting the trope of the heroic monster.

Melvin (Mark Torgl) is a weedy guy working as a janitor at a local gym in the fictional town of Tromaville. His life is made miserable due to the torment and relentless bullying of a group of gym customers (who also run over kids for fun); Bozo (Gary Schneider), Slug (Robert Prichard), Wanda (Jennifer Babtist) and Julie (Cindy Manion). But Melvin can't help but fall into their trap every time due to the goading of the scantily clad Julie and Wanda.

The group coax Melvin into a trap where he falls into toxic waste and become gruesomely transformed into the larger, bulkier, super-strong and super-ugly Toxic Avenger (Mitch Cohen). He also develops a huskier, more manly tone of voice (Kenneth Kessler).

Toxie takes to the streets to fight crime and work out some serious anger issues, where he attracts the attention of the local press and the local gangs.... During his adventures he also meets the beautiful Sarah (Andree Maranda) who, being blind, falls in love with him for his sparkling personality.

But, is there any place in the world for a hero like Toxie?

A fun and ridiculous piece of 80s Troma cinema that still delivers its cheesy message of 'it's what's on the inside that counts' with exceptional physical splatter-humour to this day. The bad one-liners, cartoonish gore and the comeuppance of the bad guys make for a delightfully gruesome and humorous 79 minutes.

[Image: Troma Entertainment]


Friday, 10 November 2017

The Presence

"The Presence" (2010, Tom Provost, Khartoum, Saturn Harvest Films, Flatland Pictures, Lionsgate) is a quiet, eerie ghost story.

A woman (Mira Sorvino) is staying at a secluded cabin to get away from it all. She is being stalked by an apparition (Shane West) who has taken up residence in the cabin. When the woman's boyfriend (Justin Kirk) turns up expectantly to surprise her, the ghost becomes more possessive, jealously trying to keep the woman for himself.

A quiet film that needs your attention to have impact. The ghost wonders around in the background, following the woman as she goes about her day. Although she can feel that there's something there, she is unable to see him.

As time goes on, and especially as their peace is broken by her boyfriend's sudden arrival, the ghost begins to step up his haunting and the woman also begins to behave more erratically as a result.

The film is slow, quiet and eerie without much dialogue. The scenes are beautifully captured and somewhat melancholy in essence. Although I enjoyed it, despite it's slow nature, the ending is somewhat muddled and didn't match the rest of the film, which was a little disappointing.

More of a contemplative and mysterious thriller than an exciting horror, it's definitely not one for everyone. And the lack of explanation within the plot could be a sticking point for some viewers.

[Image: Lionsgate, et al]

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


"Parallel" (2016. Ieva Makselyte, Parallel Entertainment) is a supernatural thriller about alternate dimensions and love.

Heather (Faye Sewell) is chatted up by Neil (David Magowan) at a party. The couple hit it off and suddenly they enter a bit of whirlwind romance. Their whirlwind is stopped, however, when they encounter a mysterious psychic called Machlis (Brian Carter) who tells them about the parallel world; a world similar, and yet different from our own where there are parallel versions of us living different lives.

Heather is fascinated, and although Neil is not convinced initially, he too becomes interested after a session with Machlis. They find that their parallel lives are very different. In this reality, they do not meet one another at the eventful birthday party, and instead become romantically involved with much less savoury people.

Having both become obsessed with following their alternate lives, Heather and Neil risk losing everything. And there's that ever hanging thread of doubt that what they're experiencing is even real...

An interesting premise that's handled well for a low budget, indy film. The characters have some good chemistry and there are a few twists and turns in the plot. However, there are a few sound issues which are distracting and take a little away from the quality of the film.

The film won semi-final status at Los Angeles Cinefest 2016 and is available to stream on Amazon UK and Amazon Video.

[Image: Parallel Entertainment]

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Stepford Wives

"The Stepford Wives" (1975, Bryan Forbes, Palomar Pictures, Columbia Pictures) is a science fiction horror film based on a novel by Ira Levin.

Aspiring photographer, Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross), and her husband, Walter (Peter Masterson), have just moved from the bustling streets of New York City to the quiet, homely suburb of Stepford.

Joanna finds life in Stepford dull and isolating. All the other women are perfect housewives who's interests seem limited to looking perfect and household chores, all the men are members of a secretive local men's club and spend all of their time split between the club and work. Walter quickly settles into life in Stepford, joining the club.

She finds two other women who are also new to the area; tennis playing Charmaine (Tina Louise) and messy Bobbie (Paula Prentiss). Like her, they have other interests and personalities than housework and pleasing their husbands. However, to Bobbie and Joanna's dismay, Charmaine mysteriously changes overnight and becomes a housework obsessed wife, even going as far as to have her beloved tennis court removed. Worried that they may be simply paranoid, the two remaining women begin to uncover some clues.

During their investigations into the strange behaviour of the other women in the area, they uncover some very disturbing things and realise that they too might be in danger of becoming... a Stepford Wife.

A fun, but chilling concept. The film is very of its time, and suffers from being a little too slow-burning in the build up. The wives are all perfectly, surreally creepy; especially Carol van Sant (Nanette Newman) who's unnatural reactions are the first trigger warning for Joanna.

The settings are all very cheerful and colourful; a perfect contrast the what is going on under the surface and a sure inspiration for other following horrors and homages set in the suburbs.

Although slow starting and a little leisurely, the film enjoys an exciting climax on a stormy night and boasts some nicely chilling scenes with the Wife characters. It delivers a strange and unsupporting message on the suburban "dream" and makes a commentary on the value of marriage.

[Image: Columbia Pictures]

Monday, 2 October 2017

Cult of Chucky

"Cult of Chucky" (2017, Don Mancini, Universal 1440 Entertainment) is the seventh Chucky film and a direct sequel to 2013's "Curse of Chucky".

This time we get to meet up with Andy (Alex Vincent) again. He's all grown up and making extremely strange life choices... like living in what looks like Grandpa's house from "The Lost Boys" and keeping the still-animated severed head of his childhood trauma, Chucky (voiced so iconically by Brad Dourif), around for torturing. No wonder he's single, really.

We then catch up with our pal from the last movie, Nica (Fiona Dourif), who wound up taking the blame for all of Chucky's murders in the last film and has found herself incarcerated in a home for the criminally insane. When a new therapy technique with Good Guy dolls is introduced, more Chucky mayhem unfolds as the wisecracking mad-doll begins his usual rampage.

The film has some really good points. Brad Dourif, as usual, being one. He always gleefully takes the role of Chucky on. It's hard not to enjoy it. The doll is also very well animated and looks pretty organic without losing that nice 80s vibe that makes Chucky such a fun franchise. Another good point is, of course, having Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), around a bit more. She deserves more screen time.

The film has a B-movie feel about it. From the weird, awkward silences, the strange unnatural acting and all round scripting of it, it's pretty apparent that this is on purpose. However, it was maybe too successful and lost some of the atmosphere and more satisfying jumps that were garnered in "Curse of Chucky". Nica's character is also a bit underutilised until past the halfway mark making her feel less like a protagonist and more of a plot device.

There are hidden jokes and nods to both previous entrants of the Chucky franchise and other projects of the cast and crew. It's a pretty self-aware piece, clearly made for fans. The film enjoys taking the already batshit premise and antics of Chucky and not only slabbering them on with gusto, but also adding to the lore and creating a premise for new opportunities for the murderous duo.

It is more cheesy than Curse, less fun than Bride and gives a sprinkling of cartoon-style gore.

[Image: Universal 1440 Entertainment, et al]