Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Brain That Wouldn't Die

"The Brain That Wouldn't Die" aka "The Head That Wouldn't Die" (1962, Joseph Green, American International Pictures) is a 'fabulous' little black and white horror/sci-fi B-move.

According to the box it was actually made in 1959, but for some reason wasn't released until 1962. Also, it seems to be available on the public domain, and I got it in the Pound Shop for, wait for it, 50p (it was a buy one get one free). So you know it's gonna be quality stuff!

Dr. Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) has become obsessed with his experiements in making body parts remain alive after dismemberment or death and reattaching them successfully to living tissue.

Unfortunately, during an odd car accident, Bill's fiancée, Jan Compton (Virginia Leith) is randomly decapitated. Naturally, Bill's reaction is to save the head, run to his laboratory and reanimate it before it's too late!!! I'd like to think this was the natural gut reaction of every man....not!

He keeps Jan's dismembered head alive in his laboratory while he considers murder in order to obtain a body for his soon-to-be-wife.

Jan, naturally, is not very chuffed with the situation. She's stuck in a tray of liquid as a head for FFS! She probably had an itchy nose, too!

She finds that she is able to communicate telepathically (I believe this has something to do with the life-preserving liquid) and begins to 'talk' to the creature in the locked laboratory cupboard (a failed experiment of Bill's). She hopes to kill Bill (heh, see what I did there?) and then end her own miserable existence.

The hideous creature does as Jan wishes and disposes of the doctor, saving the young woman Bill had planned on butchering. Unfortunately, it leaves the lab without killing Jan, who for all her complaining, doesn't seem too fussed about this. Maybe she figured the liquid would evaporate and she'd eventually die...

A good ol' yarn with some impressive special effects for the day, but not a very expensive movie to make and very old fashioned! The script is a little dull in places and the story makes little sense. But it's a B-movie! What do you want?!

I think if they remade this movie instead of potentially destroying the 'Evil Dead' saga, I would be very pleased. They could really update this film successfully! Unfortunately, this is not the case.

But poor old Jan in the Pan!

[Picture: American International Pictures]


Monday, 28 May 2012

Lost Boys: The Thirst

"Lost Boys: The Thirst" (2010, Warner Bros, Dario Piana) is the third Lost Boys movie. If you've read my April review of the original Lost Boys, you'd know two things;
1) I love "Lost Boys"
2) I love Corey Feldman

But, note I have not watched "Lost Boys: The Tribe"... despite having Corey Feldman in it, I've just never gotten around to it... it looked that bad!

So this movie is pretty much Corey Feldman running around dressed like he's still in the 80s and he's still a 16 year old kid. Edgar Frog still has the same gruff voice which Batman stole for the new movies, and is still pretty much useless at killing vampires (while also being surprisingly efficient at killing vampires).

The vampires are still uber-goth rejects with big teeth and terrible one-liners and the updated soundtrack is enjoyably reminiscient of the original film.

Jamison Newlander returns to the role of Alan Frog, who has now gone half-vampire after a bit of an error during a vampire-nest raid. He doesn't get to be as glamourous a vamp as Michael was, and instead spends the movie being gross with bad hair and a scowl.

Corey, as I mentioned, is still rockin' the 80s look, living in a caravan (or that would be 'trailer' in America) and has seemed to have forgotten how to brush his hair. I spent most of the movie brushing my own red locks behind my ears in a desperate attempt to get the message through the tv. Funnily enough, it didn't work.

Casey B. Dolan plays Zoe, the part-time comic book shop girl, part-time vampire hunter and full-time admirer of Edgar Frog. I liked her, she was not a terribly annoying female character, which is unusual in modern horror.

Edgar is talked (read as 'paid') into helping out mysterious vampire-teen-trash author, Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix), in the search and rescue of her brother whom she believes has been turned into a half-vampire.

Edgar arms for bear and along with a reality TV personality, Gwen, Zoe and a really useless cameraman, and goes in to battle at the nightclub where everyone appears to be turning into vampires. As usual, the aim is to kill the head vampire, and naturally, there's a twist.

Some terrible one-liners with wonderfully straight-faced delivery and some pretty good 'grr-ing' from Mr. Feldman just made this movie for me. Plus, who doesn't like a good vampire explosion???? But let's get this straight, it's not a patch on the original's just better than the second one.

A few nods to the late Corey Haim who had not been able to be in the movie anyway before he passed away in 2010 (I am not sure whether Sam's death was mean't to be poignant or not). And some general background story on the other original characters is also included, although not in a way that does any justice to the plot.

If you thought the first one was tongue-in-cheek, be prepared to rip your face open. But it's a pretty good 'turn-off-your-brain' movie.

[Picture: Warner Bros]


Sunday, 27 May 2012


"Hellraiser" (1987, Clive Barker, New World Pictures) is based on the book "The Hellbound Heart" (also by Clive Barker) which I've never read, so I can't comment on.

I only own the first three Hellraiser films because quite frankly, they start off weird and then just move into the trippy. Put it this way, I own all of the 'Nightmare on Elm Streets' and they get odd after the second movie, but for some reason Hellraiser just seems worse to me!

"Hellraiser" is gross, disturbing and hilariously 80s. So, naturally, I like it! The plot is pretty simple; magic wooden puzzle box, if you solve it the Cenobites; a bunch of sado-masochistic humanoids sent from hell to collect and torture people who solve the puzzle; come and torture you. See? Simple!

A man called Frank (Sean Chapman) solves the puzzle, why, I do not know. Pin-Head, the adopted name for the lead Cenobite (Doug Bradley), comes and rips him apart, and then puts the puzzle box back into its original state for someone else to solve.

Soon Frank's brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) and cheating second wife, Julia (Claire Higgins), move in with their teenage daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), some blood is spilled in the attic and for some reason this brings the mutilated Frank back to life (hell knows why...).

Frank's gorey escape angers the Cenobites who have clearly failed in their mission, and soon there's carnage everywhere while people solve the puzzle, Frank wreaks havok and other general torture takes place.

There's a lot of flayed corpses, skin-stealing and general gore. The cenobites are all very interestingly mutilated, clearly the costume designer had some fun.

All in all, it's not scary, just bloody. It's more of a mystery movie with some gore in there. But it's an 80s classic, and a horror marathon favourite. Plus, the special effects are impressive.

[Picture: New World Pictures]


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Haunting (1963)

"The Haunting" (1963, Robert Wise, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) is a silverscreen haunted house story, based on the novel "The Haunting of Hill House".

Four ghost hunters spend the night in Hill House in order to prove whether or not ghosts truly walk the halls. The film is very creaky and I find the mental narration from Nell (Julie Harris); the paranoid, jittery, old-maid character to be less tense and more tiresome. She is meant to be a woman who spent her life looking after her mother and has no life or possessions of her own, but she comes across as an annoying and selfish simpleton.

The other characters are:

Theo (Claire Bloom) the glamourous and confident woman.

Luke (Russ Tamblyn) the next person to inherit Hill House and a disbeliever of the supernatural.

Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) a ghost enthusiast and academic.

Before long, the spooky stuff begins to happen; writing on the walls, noises, becoming lost, strange winds, doors opening and closing by themselves, faces appearing on walls and doors seeming to bend inwards at our characters.
The main focus of the supernatural events appears to be Nell who is both terrified and flattered with the attention (having never had so much of it before). She begins to feel a connection to the house, but there's been a sad history of deaths connected to the building and the others are reluctant to give her her way.

The set up of the movie is elegantly portrayed, the story of the house being built, the tradgedies which befell it and the young girl who grew old and bitter in it are well played out.

The special effects for this movie are good for the time! I especially like the door which the ghosts push against.

This is one of the few black and white movies (which weren't monster movies or mad scientist movies) where there really are ghosts, although you don't see much naturally.

Only a movie for real enthusiasts or nostalgics as it's quite long-winded and boring at times.

[Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer]


Monday, 21 May 2012

The Grudge

"The Grudge" (2004, Takashi Shimizu, Columbia Pictures, Ghost House Pictures) is the American remake of the Japanese original from all the way back in, check this, 2003.

Now the Japanese version is terrifying! And the American version is too. This was my first viewing of the American one, and I have to admit to some jumping.

Similar to "The Ring" and "One Missed Call", two other excellent Japanese horror stories, the plot is based around a terrible death in a house in Japan, a curse and a Chinese-whispers-esque/domino effect resulting in the inevitable pile of corpses.

True to the style of the Japanese original, the remake of "The Grudge" keeps the terrifying can-come-out-of-anywhere ghost with straggly hair (an onryō ghost, Wikipedia tells me). Usually, seeing all ruins the effect, but this film is truly haunting, even if it does show you all the details.

I'm a Sarah Michelle Gellar fan, so naturally I was pleased with her performance as care worker Karen. And it's always nice to see Ted Raimi.

The child ghost Toshio (Yuya Ozeki) is absolutely terrifying in a very sad way. And naturally Kayako (Takako Fuji) is the stuff of nightmares as the vengeful female ghost.

The special effects are awesome and will keep you on the edge of your seat. While I prefer the Japanese original, this remake did everything right. Scary stuff!

[Picture: Ghost House Pictures]


Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Crazies

"The Crazies" (2010, Overture Films, Breck Eisner) is the remake of the 1973 Romero film of the    same name.

The main plot is the same as the original, the government have developed a virus which makes people crazy, violent and eventually kills them (after they've killed as many other people first, of course).

A small town in Iowa has been infected through their water supply after a plane carrying the virus crash landed in their resevoir. Simples.

This movie follows all the usual zombie movie conventions, and does so well. Tension, gore, nasty people and 'crazies' (living zombies pretty much). I liked that the crazies still remembered who they were and other than looking veiny and disgusting, were still coherent (if not, completely sack o' hammers). Human resentment and grudges are powerful things, you know!

We follow the local police sheriff David (Timothy Olyphant), his pregnant doctor wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) as they escape first the crazies, then the military, then both the military and the crazies.

The military presence as the straight up bad guys, as opposed to "28 days later" where they start off as the saving grace but end up corrupted, is a nice touch. The use of military style surveillance from the helicopter keeps the whole 'Big Brother is watching you' thing in play. 

Also, lets be honest with ourselves, yes the whole situation is the military and government's fault, but brutal as is it, they are only trying to stop the virus spreading worldwide. Do we even want our proragonists to survive?

A good conspiracy-cover-up/sort of zombie film.

[Picture: Overture Films]


Friday, 18 May 2012

Scream 4

"Scream 4" or "Scre4m" (2011, Wes Craven, Dimension Films) is the fourth installment in the Scream franchise.

I first saw this film in the cinema with a good buddy of mine called Steff. She and I used to be flatmates and our mutual love of horror (and also our other amazing flatmates) made my second year of University most enjoyable!

"Scream 4" laughs at itself; it's definitely a horror-comedy. Craven's magical talent to create films with successful and numerous sequels has struck again, albeit with one of the lowest-grossing films of the series. "Scream 4" knows it's daft and it's going to rub it in your face! And you're going to enjoy it.

Kind of merging the killings of the original "Scream" movie and the horror-movie-analysis style of all of the sequels, the film follows the life of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell); one of the three survivors from the massacres, the other two being, now Sheriff, Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and ex-reporter-now-struggling-author, Gail Riley, née Weathers, (Courteney Cox).

Sidney has returned to Woodsboro for the final leg of her book tour with her publicist Rebecca Walters (Alison Brie). Naturally, Sidney's return sparks a bunch of murders by the new 'Ghostfaces', but is it someone she knows? You'd think she'd learn by now to just keep away from Woodsboro around the anniversary of the massacres!

There's a lot of references to the original 3 movies; Billy Loomis' name is brought up a lot, bulletproof vests, there's a Stab-a-thon party... It's all in jest, and it's a nice little in-joke with the audience.

Also, I do love a few false starts to a movie.

All in all, Emma Roberts (who plays Sidney's cousin Jill Roberts) gives a good unhinged performance.

Also plenty of gore!

There's a few cameos (Anna Pacquin from Tru Blood and X-Men, Kirsten Bell from Veronica Mars) and I enjoyed Hayden Panettiere's character, Kirby Reed; the popular chick who likes horror movies (me thinks this is a little bit of wishful thinking on the part of Kevin Williamson, the writer).

All in all a good laugh and an excellent tongue-in-cheek addition to the already tongue-in-cheek series that is "Scream".

[Picture: Dimension Films]


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Wolfman (2010)

"The Wolfman" (2010, Joe Johnston, Universal Pictures) is the abysmal remake of the 1941 classic of the same name (which spawned many sequels and remakes).

It appears Anthony Hopkins was paid in whisky for his role, and decided to drink his payment during filming...

The problem with movies directed by fans of the originals is that they never seem to do themselves justice. On one hand, this film has excellent special effects (even if they are mostly CGI), the wolfman makeup itself is an excellent nod to Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolfman and modernises the icon well, and the transformation scenes take a little bit of "American Werewolf in London"'s bone-bending, hair sprouting goodness.

Also, a fairly high amount of gore, and some nice jumpy toothy bits (although not many suspense filled jumps... but this isn't a Japanese ghost story, so what was I expecting?)

On the other hand, however, the characters seem hollow and the dialogue unnatural and forced. I think the main issue is that the writer is trying to capture the classic feel from the original movie and the subsequent wolfman sequels, remakes and copy-wolf movies... The problem with this is, that rather than taking you back to olden times, it just sounds fake and takes away the atmosphere. The put-on accents and terrible conversing dialogue just don't seem researched thoroughly, and I felt like I was watching a bad reading of a Hammer Horror script, rather than a professionally produced monster movie. It's a damn good thing there's good gore and action in this film, because otherwise I'd never have sat through the whole thing!

As in most Werewolf movies, our main protagonist is the real victim of the piece, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) doesn't want to be a werewolf, he doesn't want to kill and maim, but unfortunately that's what werewolves do, so kill and maim he does!

The original plot is turned on its head with a sudden (but oh, so obvious) twist, and the addition of the ye olde Insane Asylum/Lecture theatre is just too Frankenstein for me.

Emily Blunt gives a good performance as Gwen Conliffe, Lawrence's now widowed sister-in-law and new found love interest (Oh my!) and has, by far, the most convincing accent in the whole film, second only to Inspector Francis Aberline's (Hugo Weaving). I have no idea what accent Anthony Hopkins was meant to have, it kind of wavered between English and Irish, and Lawrence was meant to have lived in America and so had a funny English-cum-American accent.

On the whole, I suppose my initial judgement is unfair, the movie isn't so bad that I'm going back to Debenhams for my £3 refund, but I wouldn't go singing the film's praises too loud either. Think I'll just go watch 'Silence of the Lambs' now to remind myself that Mr. Hopkins is really a wonderful actor!

[Picture: Universal Pictures]


Tuesday, 15 May 2012


"Creepshow" (1982, George. A. Romero, Warner Bros.) is the first and best of the "Creepshow" movies. It was directed by Romero, written by Stephen King, starred Leslie Nielsen and Ted Danson (amongst others)!

The film is based around a comic book called "Creepshow" and is lead (but not strictly speaking narrated) by The Creep, who is the fun but bad influence on young Billy.

There are 5 short stories of much better quality than those seen in "Creepshow 3"; "Father's Day", "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill", "Something to Tide You Over", "The Crate" and "They're Creeping Up on You".

"Father's Day" is an odd one, but nicely disturbing with a good ending. I just really didn't understand 1) why daddy dearest was so desperate for cake; I've never given my dad a Father's Day cake! and 2) why he waits so long to exact his revenge for his murder... unless there's more in a bottle of Jim Beam than I imagined! But it's enjoyable. And also, keep an eye out for the murder weapon throughout the other tales!

"The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" stars Stephen King himself. Jordy is a bit of a simpleton. Jordy finds a meteorite on his farm. Jordy imagines the lavish riches such a thing would bring him. Jordy accidentally breaks open the meterorite and he and all his home (and later other areas) becomes infected with some kind of alien plant. Jordy doesn't make it to morning. Very slapstick, very funny!

"Something to Tide you Over" is actually scary! But it's not the 'monsters' that give me the creeps in this short; it's Leslie Nielsen's jealous-husband character. He ruthlessly, imaginatively and slowly kills his wife (Gaylen Ross) and her lover (Ted Danson), but doesn't expect them to return for revenge - obviously they do! The idea behind this short is scary because theoretically, this could be done by anyone. Nielsen clearly thrills in his insane display and the couple's deaths are slow, tense and scary. Although, with all Nielsen's filming equipment around, I was waiting for someone to get electrocuted!

"The Crate" is fabulous. A Professor (Fritz Weaver) at an American college opens a chained, nailed-shut and bolted crate with the janitor (Don Keefer), who had found the object under the college stair case, locked behind a metal grill. Now, it could just be me, but if I found a box which was so locked up, I'd probably get a few more people around when breaking into it (note that I didn't for one minute think that I'd be smart enough to leave it alone!)
Anyway, what's in the crate is like a cross between one of the creatures from "Critters" and a carnivorous baboon. There's death and mayhem (my one complaint being that they appeared to be using water in place of fake blood and thought by shining a red light on it, it would look didn't), followed by yet more death and mayhem. Really the 'Crittoon' (as I've dubbed him) just seems to want to be left alone!

The Professor turns to a friend (Hal Holbrook), well he makes some panicky noises at a friend..., who sees this creature as an opportunity to get rid of his overbearing, bitchy wife (Adrienne Barbeau). Holbrook's character convinces his drunken wife to go under the stairs and voila! No more wife! Simple, right? Well... then he has to get rid of the evidence...

Now the final tale, "They're Creeping Up on You", is about cockroaches. It's disgusting and makes you itch. I'm impressed that E.G. Marshall, who stars in this short as the horrid businessman, was happy to film with so many horrible little things! Although to me they were horrible HUGE things (we do not get bugs that big in Scotland)! *shudders*.
His character is cruel and deserves his gruesome end. Very disturbing!

All in all, a great anthology of horror and 3, 2, 1 is a good order to watch this set of movies in; end on a good note!

[Picture: Warner Bros.]


Sunday, 13 May 2012


"Pieces" or "Mil gritos tiene la noche" (1982, Juan Piquer Simón, Grindhouse Releasing) is a completely nutty gore-slasher-sleaze-fest from Spain.

I first came across this movie at an 'All-night-Horror-madness' movie night at the Grosvenor Cinema in Ashton Lane in Glasgow's West End. I've been to a few of these now and I have to say, I have never been bored :)
 Plus there's nothing quite like a horror movie night to meet other like-minded people and enjoy a cinema full of screaming, laughing, applauding, enthusiastically crazy people! Really an experience I would recommend! (Also this girl brought muffins; it was a great night)

I went to the movie night with a handful of horror-loving buddies (and a few friends of theirs who I had not known beforehand). We chuckled our way through this amazing flick and then blearily (and ever so hungoverly) made our way home after another 3 bat-shit-crazy movies.

Pretty much this movie is about a kid who loves jigsaw puzzles (of naked women) and also killing people (mainly women), and how when he grows up he decides to merge his two favourite things together.

There's screams, chainsaws, OTT gore, naked women, creepy people, bloody suspicious characters, red herrings, tits, inappropriately racial stereotyped martial arts instructors, awkward teenage love and... an unrealistic end scene. What more could you want?!

Also watch out for Willard (Paul L. Smith), he's bound to make you laugh with his wild, suspicious and very intense facial expressions!

[Picture: Grindhouse] What a charming scene!

Hopefully will be returning to the "Creepshow" theme tomorrow night!


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Creepshow 2

"Creepshow 2" (1987, Michael Gornick, Stephen King, New World Pictures) is the second installment in the "Creepshow" collection.

This movie consists of three mini-movies part-narrated by The Creep (Tom Savini in make up with Joe Silver as the voice).

The film is laid out around a comic book (we also follow the life of young Billy, the boy who buys the comic) called "Creepshow", in the same style as the original film. All the shorts are based on Stephen King stories, but this time there are only 3 stories; "Old Chief Wooden Head", "The Raft" and "The Hitch Hiker".

"Old Chief Wooden Head" is a nice 'revenge-of-the-spirits' story about a Native American wooden statue who reaps revenge on some unruly teens who kill an old shop owner and his wife (George Kennedy and Dorthy Lamour). Nicely accomplished with some brilliant props!

"The Raft" is an awesome piece about some kids on spring break heading out to swim in a lake and instead becoming lunch for the creature that dwells there. I loved the effects for this too! Nicely simple, and yet oh so complex!

"The Hitch Hiker" is a nicely paced tale with a good moral and some gorey effects.

All in all, I find this film to be enjoyable. I'm a big fan of "Creepshow" and am happy to conclude that "Creepshow 2" keeps up the pace and style.

I also recommend having a glance at the 'Making of' extras on the DVD, as the props and special effects are really fun!

[Picture: New World Pictures]


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Creepshow 3

"Creepshow 3" (2006, Ana Clavell, James Dudelson, Creepy Film Productions) is the third installment of the Creepshow collection. The original "Creepshow" was created by Stephen King and George A. Romero. "Creepshow 3" was not. And you can tell.

Just like the rest of the series, "Creepshow 3" is a collection of shorts. In this collection we have 5 mini-movies; "Alice", "The Radio", "Call Girl", "The Professor's Wife" and "Haunted Dog".

While this is by far my least favourite of the "Creepshow"series, it is by no means a terrible way to spend a Monday evening amongst good friends and chocolate Rice Krispies cakes (yes, that is indeed how I spent last night).

Unlike "Creepshow" and "Creepshow 2", "Creepshow 3" does not have any narration by 'The Creep', and instead of the stories coming from the "Creepshow" Comic book as it was in the previous installments, in "Creepshow 3" the shorts have interlinking characters and are common in setting and surroundings (the hot dog stand for instance). Kind of reminds me of "Pulp Fiction"...

Anyway, the stories are odd, confusing and just not as striking as the first two movies. But the special effects are gloriously gorey!

"Alice" is fabulously disgusting. I at first thought Alice was getting her comeuppance for being a shallow, bitchy teenager, but after much debate with my good friend Jim, we came to conclusion that she was not, infact, a girl all along! We likened this story to one of the 'Goosebumps' tales from our childhood (the one when the children begin turning into dogs, but it turns out they were really dogs who'd been turned into children). An apt description, I think.

"The Radio" was one of my favourites. If you've seen "Magic" (1978, Anthony Hopkins) which is about a ventriloquist who begins killing people because the dummy told him to, then you'll enjoy this one. I like the transition of Jerry's character from 'Only-decent-dude-on-the-block' to 'paranoid-murderer/burglar'. Sad times when you become a freak in a building full of hookers, pimps and drug addicts...

"Call Girl" had a nice twist. I won't give it away.

"The Professor's Wife" I felt was clumsy and pointless. I think they would have noticed their mistake earlier, no?

"Haunted Dog" was very similar to "The Hitch-Hiker" short in "Creepshow 2" when the woman is haunted by the hitch-hiker she ran over... Thanks for the ride, lady! and Thanks for the good dog are much too similar phrases... The only saving grace for this short was how much I liked the dick-head doctor! Hilarious!

I enjoyed spotting the interlinking characters and watching the other stories happening around each other, although I found some of the story telling to be lazy and the absence of The Creep just ruined it for me! There was a small face-melting hint at the end with the hot dog vendor, but it just wasn't the same.

All in all, not the best, but frankly I've seen worse so no booby prize either!

[Picture: Creepy Film Productions]


Monday, 7 May 2012

Nosferatu the Vampyre

"Nosferatu the Vampyre" or "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht" auf Deutsch (1979, Werner Herzog, Gaumont) is the West German remake of the 1922 classic "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens". Naturally, it is based on "Dracula" by Bram Stoker.

The Nosferatu, Count Dracula (Klaus Kinski), would beat any Twi-shite sucker anyday. He's one weird, mean, ugly dude. In fact, he's so clearly not-human, I really do not understand why Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz), who has been sent to Dracula's castle in the Carpathian Mountains to finalise an estate deal, would even enter the castle upon seeing the Count. But I suppose, had Jonathan shown more sense, or listened to the cryptic, crazy town people, we would not have much of a story now, would we?

Jonathan leaves his wife Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) behind in Wismar, Germany to go on his journey to Romania, and she soon becomes worried for his safety.

I do enjoy Roland Topor's rendition of Renfield. Renfield is such a gloriously slimey little worm in all versions of Stoker's fabulous tale, but Topor's crazy laughs and manic eyes really bring the character to life!

Some of the scenes are very haunting and well put together, although being quite an old fashioned movie, I feel that it does not flow quite as well as some other versions of Dracula. The use of shadows seen in all good versions of Dracula, is again captured effectively. However, if you don't like rats, keep away from this film!

Herzog makes good use of the tense, slow moving Nosferatu, especially in the infamous bedroom scene. As I'm now watching as a woman rather than a child, I was struck for the first time at how rapey this scene truly is. Very scary!

Dracula is both monstrous and melancholly.. You kind of feel for the guy...

I think by today's standards you really can't expect to be scared by this film, but it's certainly creepy. The special effects are both minimal and effective, and the makeup is fab!

The Plague and rats (as I mentioned) are recurring themes in this film, and this version really uses the boat journey of Dracula to its full effect! I do love a nice ghost ship.

Lucy's character is a bit hollow, I feel, but again she's not the main crux of the story, and the film carries itself.

Beautiful scenes, clever cinematography and an artful feel, definitely make "Nosferatu The Vampyre" worth having in your collection if you enjoy creaky ol' horrors or a Dracula aficionado.

Also, it's available dubbed into English (dubbed well, might I add), so no subtitles! Hurrah!

(Picture: Werner Herzog Filmproduktion)


Friday, 4 May 2012


"Fido" (2006, Andrew Currie, Anagram Pictures) is the Canadian tale about a boy and his zombie, in the way that one would usually expect a tale about a boy and his dog.

Timmy Robinson (K'Sun Ray) is the boy and Fido (Billy Connolly) is his zombie.

The three main reasons I love this gloriously grisly horror comedy:
1) Zombies
2) Billy Connolly (I'm Scottish remember)
3) It's set in the '50s (I love the 50s, just check my wardrobe for proof!)

The zombie "apocalypse" has been and gone, and thanks to "Zomcon" (a corporation who have patented a collar which turns psychopathic zombies into slave-like-menial-workers) the world has moved on. Although, when you die, you will become a zombie.

Every respectable household owns at least one zombie servant. All except the Robinson family, who had up until recently, when Helen Robinson (Carrie-Anne Moss) decided to get a zombie to impress the new neighbours, avoided zombie contact due to Mr Robinson (Dylan Baker)'s fear of the undead or kinemortophobia. Understandable really, but in this 'verse, it's weird.

I enjoy this movie's quirky storytelling, love affairs and awesome zombie murder scenes. Everything is gloriously colourful and very '50s.

We of course have our gruesome murders, zombie-napping and mass hysteria! As well as our cheerful story about Timmy and his new friend... and some other disturbing zombie love...

The odd thing about this movie is how turvy topsy it is. You wind up routing for Helen, who finally takes notice in young Timmy's life, and of course Fido. But really, aside from his terrible choice in presents, general lack of interest and scary obsession with funerals, Timmy's dad, Bill, is the most sane person in this odd universe!

You can hear Billy Connolly's Glasgow twang under his zombie tones, which I find hilarious!

In my view, this is a movie everyone should see at least once!

(Picture: Anagram Pictures)


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Orphanage

"The Orphanage", or "El Orfanato" in Spanish, (2007, J.A. Bayona, Guillerma del Toro, Warner Bros. Spain) is a chilling Spanish film about a haunted orphanage and the family who come to live there.

Unlike in "The Awakening", Laura (Belén Rueda) knows that she is moving back into her childhood home, an old and now disused orphanage next to the sea (remember the sea and also lighthouses, these are important).

She moves in along with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and their adopted and ill son Simón (Roger Príncep). Simón does not know that he's adopted and also does not know that he has HIV.

As in all good ghost stories surrounding young children, Simón soon begins to talk of imaginary friends, in particular a boy called Tomás who wears a creepy mask made from a sack, and enjoys playing treasure hunts (commonly known as stealing your stuff and hiding it).

Tomás is the one with the big connection to the sea...

Laura and Carlos hope to open their new home as a place for disabled children, but alas their dreams are shattered when during an open day, Simón goes missing and they cannot find him.

In distress Laura slowly begins to unravel, and Simón is missing for months before she finally turns to confronting ghostly Tomás and her own past in order to get her son back. But the main question is, will it work?

A nicely jumpy movie with a slow burning, tense pace which quickens periodically and keeps your interest. Ghostly children movies are always a big hitter with me, kids are creepy! But the film is artfully done and connects the beginning to the end very nicely.

There's not a lot of gore, but there are some very horrific injuries. This isn't a slasher, so don't expect bucket loads of blood.

My only issue with this movie's plot is that Laura didn't know Tomás... I won't give too much away, but if the other children knew of him, surely he wasn't hiding too well! You'd think she'd remember a creepy kid in a mask!

I do feel for poor Carlos though.

Again, if you can't abide subtitles this is probably not the film for you, but if you can it's a good watch!

(Picture: Warner Bros. Spain)