Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Monster Club

"The Monster Club" (1980, Roy Ward Baker, Amicus Productions) is a British horror anthology based on short stories written by R. Chetwynd-Hayes.

The author, Chetwynd-Hayes (John Carradine) bumps into a strange fellow, Eramus the starving vampire (Vincent Price) who asks him if he could feed off of him in return for some monster stories.

Eramus takes Chetwynd-Hayes to a local club known as 'The Monster Club' which is pretty much a cabaret bar for the supernatural.

The film jumps from the vampire and the author enjoying the evening in the club, the acts going on in the club and also the stories acted out as Eramus tells them. The stories focus on three different supernatural creatures.

The Shadmock

This story is a story with a lesson. Very similar in style to some of Stephen King's 'Creepshow' shorts.

A young woman, Angela (Barbara Kellerman), decides to take a job with a rich, reclusive man (who's not a man, but infact a Shadmock - a supernatural hybrid creature with a terrible whistle which can kill!) called Raven (James Laurenson). She is to work with him in his secluded mansion, categorising his antiques.

Raven is odd, awkward and odd-looking. Angela is at first repulsed by him, but eventually becomes friends with him. She finds, however, that some of his stuff is really very valuable, and she and her boyfriend decide to take advantage of Raven's kind personality and rob him.

Unfortunately, Raven takes Angela's 'kindnesses' the wrong way and proposes to her. Shocked, she declines and rushes her attempt to rob him. Catching her in the act, Raven uses his terrible superpower on her! Seeing the results of the creature's whistle, Angela's boyfriend runs for it, but loses his mind.

And the moral of the story? Don't be a dick.

The Vampires

Eramus decides to tell Chetwynd-Hayes of his own kind, but not his own story. This isn't an Anne Rice novel, after all!

A young bullied boy (Warren Saire) and his parents live quiet lives. The boy's father (Richard Johnson) works nights and his mother (Britt Ekland) constantly reassures her son that he is destined for greatness and that he is to be aware of men in suits carrying cases.

The boy discovers that his father is in fact a vampire! Unfortunately, a bunch of vampire hunters also become aware of this...

A nice little tale with a good ending.

The Ghouls / The Humegoo

A movie director looking for a spot to film his next works discovers an uncharted little town. Unfortunately, the town is home to only Luna (a seemingly innocent girl who is in fact a Humegoo, or human-ghoul hybrid) and a bunch of man-eating ghouls.

Can he fend off the hordes of man-eaters and save Luna? Well, he can try.

Eramus then goes on to detail how many different ways humans have concocted to kill one another, formally announcing the horror writer to be an honourary member of the 'Monster Club'.

Some very late 70s and early 80s music acts, some terrible monster masks and an entertaining strip tease (right down to her bare bones!) make this movie a small cult hit. But it's mainly notable for the presence of both Price and Carradine; horror legends!

Cheesey, British, horror anthology fun.

Carradine and Price discuss monster geneology and breeding
[Picture: Amicus Productions]

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

"The Woman in Black" (2012, Hammer Film Productions, Momentum Pictures) is the modern adaptation of the novel by Susan Hill (a fabulous book, definitely read it!).

I went to the cinema on opening night in Glasgow to see this film, and have to admit to hiding my eyes! Me? Big tough horror-lover? Yup, scared me shitless, I must admit! So, I kept my reviewing for the DVD so that I could watch it without my fingers in my way!

Daniel Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor in London, who's wife passed away in childbirth. He feels haunted by his departed wife's spirit, but he soon finds out how it really feels to be haunted when he is sent to deal with the estate of the late Mrs. Alice Drablow in a small English country town.

Mrs. Drablow has passed away, leaving the large house and estate empty... or so they think. Kipps is sent to put the papers into order and sell the house. He leaves his nurse and young son (played by Radcliff's godson, Misha Handley) in London while he goes to Eel Marsh house.

Kipps meets Sam Daily (Ciarán Hinds) on the train. Hinds plays the role of the local landowner tremendously and very closely to the book's character. His wife, Elizabeth Daily (Janet McTeer) is diferent to the book, a little more crazy and with psychic powers... but on the whole it adds to the story.

Hammer did extremely well to set the scene. The whole film feels very authenic, rustic even. The villagers are suitably suspicious and private. If only they had warned him better! Unfortunately, this is not the case, they warn cryptically and we all know how that goes!

The house is out on the marshes and can only be accessed while the tide is out. The road to the house is called 'Nine Lives Causeway' - an awesome name if you ask me! The road is treacherous and cuts the house off from the rest of the world. Arthur is doomed from the get-go, even before he notices the woman's spectre.

The ghost is extremely well capured. She is like an onryō ghost seen usually in Japanese stories. She can appear anywhere, often sneaking up in the background before jumping out from the foreground.

Kipps uncovers the terrible secret of the Drablow household and the ghostly inhabitants of Eel Marsh house; Alice's sister, Jennet Humphrye, had a child out of wedlock. Her son was taken from her and raised by her sister, while she was locked in the house, believed to be insane. Her son died in tragic circumstances in a terrible carriage accident on the marshes while she stood helplessly and watched from her window. This accident is replayed over and over on the marshes in the form of a horrific ghostly loop.

The feel to the movie as a whole is very classic Hammer, but the modern special effects and clever camera work make it a truly engaging and terrifying watch.

The Woman's ghost is usually a precursor to the terrible death of a child. She is seen in the very start of the film, which is truly haunting, causing three young girls to plunge to their deaths from the attic window, the very room where Kipps is housed for the first night of his stay. The children's deaths are striking, and some gruesome, but not ridiculously bloody, which I appreciated.

The ghost is fierce, angry and unrelenting. She menaces Kipps throughout the film, and she cannot be sated.

The eerie setting, minimal conversation and excellent camera and sound work bring Susan Hill's fabulous book to life! You will find yourself on the edge of your seat. And Radcliffe secures himself in the main role, not a hint of Harry Potter in sight. A very good, tense and deep performance.

Unlike the original film, Hammer makes you read and look with minimal character voiceover. No wax cylinder recordings here!

A very worthwhile film, it is full of jumps and shocks to keep you entertained.

The best of it is, things go bump, but not just in the night. I find even the busy scenes when Kipps and Daily attempt to end Jennet's terrible haunting, don't ruin the film.

I highly recommend this film for a good tense scare! Hammer are back!

[Picture: Hammer Films]


I saw this piece of awesome and thought I'd share

Don't own anything. And thanks to Bruce Campbell, the man himself, for linking it on Twitter

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fright Night (1985)

"Fright Night" (1985, Tom Holland, Columbia Pictures) is the original Fright Night.

In case you missed my review of the remake from 2011, I love the original Fright Night! I have to say, the remake's good though.

A nice, comedy vampire flick. Young Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is convinced his sinisterly suave, fruit loving new next door neighbour, Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon), is a vampire. And he's right! The only problem is no one will believe him! See, he's such a big horror geek that everyone thinks he's finally flipped, a problem I can personally vouch for! His nightly viewings of 'Fright Night', hosted by Peter Vincent, a clever mash-up of Peter Cushing's and Vincent Price's names (Roddy McDowall), have gone to his head!

Jerry knows that Charley is aware of his true nature, and decides to threaten him.

Charley tries at first to convince his girlfriend, Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse, who you may know as Marcy from 'Married with Children'), and his loser, horror-loving buddy, 'Evil' Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys). Neither are convinced, but when it appears Charley is going to attempt to murder Mr. Dandridge, both jump in and pay Peter Vincent to 'prove' Jerry's not a vampire with faux holy water.

Unfortunately, Peter Vincent spies that Jerry is severly lacking in reflection during their visit and it takes some convincing to bring him back on board! That big scaredy cat!

Jerry kidnaps Amy in an attempt to make her a vampire; can Brewster and Vincent save her before it's too late?!

He also turns Ed into a vampire. Shame he didn't show him the ropes too.

A really 80s movie with some seriously messed up vampire faces and a wolf scene that is one of my favourite vampire deaths to this day (and that includes the bathroom scene from "The Lost Boys", ladies and gentlemen).

Poor ol' Evil Ed gets the short end of the stick, but Geoffreys is just brilliant in the part. And I still say his "You're so cool, Brewster!" is by far the better.

Really a worthwhile watch with lots of 80s gore (green goop, slime and extremely red blood). The soundtrack is not quite as good as "The Lost Boys", but then even now, not many are!

Sarandon's character is perfect. He's scary, creepy but there's something about him you just like. And again, no glitter!

If you've seen the remake and not the original, you are denying yourself a "dubious pleasure".  Now go get that DVD in your player!

[Picture: Columbia Pictures]


Shadow Puppets

"Shadow Puppets" (2007, Shoreline Entertainment, Angel Entertainment, Michael Winnick) is a haunted insane asylum flick.

A woman (Jolene Blalock) awakes alone in a padded cell with no memory of who she is, wearing only a vest top and shorts. She eventually becomes aware of a man (James Marsters) in another cell. He too cannot remember who he is and is also wearing a vest top and shorts.

They decide to trust one another and go on a tour of the apparently abandoned building. They find several other people, all in the same state of dress and with apparent amnesia. Some are locked up in slightly more worrying ways, and so the group let them out dubiously. Amongst the crowd are the ever awesome and combative Tony Todd, Marc Winnick, Natasha Alam, Diahnna Nicole Baxter, Richard Whiten and Jennie Ford.

During this, they are being hunted down, and some killed, by a living shadow. It appears to have heat vision and is hungry for people...

For a sense of roundness, despite all the characters having supposed  amnesia(!), you have the nerd, the vixen, the scary guy, the one who just dies first, the moan-y chick who's probably talking sense, the hero, the heroine... etc... etc....

As well as trying to find their way out of the asylum, avoid or vanquish the monster and find out who they are, they also attempt to solve the mystery of what has happened to them.

Will they escape? Can they trust one another? Will they like what they find out about themselves? Watch and see!

The special effects are computer generated and low budget. Some of the scene dialogue is a bit 'by the numbers' but Jolene Blalock shines as the lead character and the cast as a whole are really very well rounded. And when can you not love Tony Todd getting angry?

I'm a James Marsters fan. Any movie he is in I'll watch. Any movie he's in running around in a state of undress is really a bonus. It's nice to see him playing a role in his own accent and a human too! Although, as usual, he's not all he appears....

There's a twist which you may not see coming if you keep away from the internet. The characters are built up well to make each look suspicious, and the setting is spot on!

Not a huge fan of the end, and poor James gets the worst of the special effects for his big exit! Some shadow spokes through the nipples? Really?!

There is one really fun scene in the lab though, which they used in the trailer.

The start might make you jump if you're not expecting it. But all in all, it's not a very scary movie. But it has promise, and I wouldn't chuck it out of my collection, even if it's just so I can own things with Mr. Marsters in that don't involve bleached hair...

A good yarn.

[Picture: Shoreline Entertainment]


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Plan 9 from Outer Space

"Plan 9 from Outer Space" (1959, Edward D. "Ed" Wood (Jr), Valiant Pictures) is an infamous cult classic from an infamous director.

According to the box, the film is about aliens raising the dead as part of their mindless army against Earth as Earth's weaponry progression is looking likely to end the Universe.

This confusing, woodenly acted and B-er of all B-movies film is hilarious! Not that it was ever intended to be a comedy!

It bills Bela Lugosi in the credits, but alas Bela died in 1956, before this film was even begun! Instead, Wood used old unused footage of Lugosi in places and tried to incorporate them into the script. Bela was replaced, in parts which he had not filmed in advance, by a taller not-quite-a-look-a-like, holding his cape over his face and walking very slowly.

 So one scene, where Bela Lugosi attends a funeral and weeps is really not for 'Plan 9...' but they tried to write it in, making Vampira (real name Maila "Vampira" Nurmi) Bela's young wife. Got to hand it to Mr Lugosi,  however, that quivvering lip at his young wife's graveside was very touching!

The movie suffered from several issues; no cash, bad plot, bad acting, a conflict of baddies and genres, and scenes that didn't make sense.

I wonder why the airplane pilot and his wife consistently sit in their garden at night. Especially since their garden appears to look on to a graveyard! Don't they have a livingroom?

The space ships/flying saucers are more like hub caps on very visible strings. They're also described by the pilot as looking like cigars... Have you ever seen a saucer-shaped cigar? Didn't think so. No idea what that was about, unless they filmed that scene prior to sourcing the 'space craft'...

The 'aliens' are hilarious too. They are simply humans in shiny suits!

Generally, this film is really only watched by cult fans who wish to laugh at this terrible 'photoplay'. A genuinely terrible movie. I think a lot of 'Red Dwarf' fans would appreciate it though, when watching it,  you can't help but hear Kryton, and suspect that Ed Wood must of been taking the proverbial on some level!

By far the best thing about this film is Inspector Dan Clay (Tor Johnson, a Swedish wrestler!) who's 'zombie/ghoul' face is just the funniest thing!

The film is also narrated by "The Amazing" Criswell,  who as well as narrated terrible movies, was also a Psychic... although, not a very good one! He was real character, an eccentric who reportedly slept in a coffin. His narration is odd and his voice, I find, harrowing... however, it really made this movie what it is!

So, if you have 78mins to kill and want to not believe your eyes, have a gander at this film.

[Picture: Valiant Pictures]


Bram Stoker's Dracula

"Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992, Francis Ford Coppola, American Zoetrope, Columbia Pictures) is the big-budget version of Dracula.

It stars Gary Oldman in the title role, who plays a Dracula who is surprisingly close to the novel. Not that I don't love Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee or Richard Roxburgh's versions of the famous Vampyr.

The film does well to stick to Stoker's plot and the styling of the film scenes and storytelling are beautifully reminiscent of the classic Dracula films.

The special effects are artful, and although slightly dated by today's standards, very effective and eerie. I'm a big fan of the way they captured Dracula's shadow which moves on its own accord.

The plot, in case you've been under a particularly secluded rock, is thus:

Vlad Dracula returns from the holy wars to find that his love, Elisabeta (Winona Ryder) has committed suicide, believing him killed in battle. Dracula is informed by his holy men that as Elisabeta died at her own hand, God will not allow her soul to enter heaven. Enraged, Dracula renounces God and declares that he will fight on the side of darkness, returning after his death, to avenge Elisabeta.

Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves), a young solicitor trying to make his mark on the world so that he can marry his lady love, Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray (also Winona Ryder), is sent on a career making opportunity to Transylvania to make a deal with Count Dracula who is buying property in London. Harker is to replace Renfield (Tom Waits), who has mysteriously lost his mind and is now locked up in an insane asylum eating insects and babbling about his Master.

Harker happily heads to Transylvania, but upon reaching the castle and meeting the Count he begins to regret his situation.

Mina remains at home in London, where she spends most of her time with her promiscuous and rich friend, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost). Lucy is a beautiful, young, red haired girl from a wealthy family. She enjoys attracting male attention, leading rich and handsome men on and dreaming up ways to make them prove to her why she should marry them. She also probably likes long walks in the rain and pina coladas, but I can't really comment.

Mina is more reserved and simply wants to marry Jonathan. Or so she thinks.

Dracula forces Harker to send letters to his family, fiancee and employers stating that he has chosen to stay with the Count for a month.

Dracula, having seen from photographs that Harker's Mina is the reincarnation of Elisabeta, travels to England by boat and begins his courtship of her. Soon Mina falls in love with the Count, even though he enslaves and turns Lucy into the undead and she is killed by the famous Vampire Hunter, Dr. Abraham van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins).

Harker and Mina marry, only for Harker (who begins turning extremely grey haired after all the stress and sex with crazy vampire vixens) to have to fight for Mina against Count Dracula.

A good old romantic vampire story, with absolutely no glitter at all! Dracula is a scary vampire, even if he is lovesick for Mina and the audience can both sympathise with his situation and fear him as the villain of the piece. He changes form many times from old man, to wolf, to bat-like creature, to young man, to angry vampiric monster. Dracula is truly no longer human, but he still loves like one.

I liked that Lucy's suitors included Richard E. Grant and Cary Elwes (of 'The Princess Bride").

As I mentioned, the styling of this film is done artistically in order to set the scene and recreate the romance of old vampire films. The back drops and scenery are particularly striking, and the make up and character clothing is well suited to the era. I'm not sure sunglasses were invented back in the 1890s, but we'll overlook that.

Anthony Hopkins gives an enjoyably mad performance as Van Helsing. His babbling lines and demeanor are perfect for the role.

Keanu Reeves is believable as the wronged man. He also fights back, even if it is in a proper and polite 19th Century Englishman's way.

Lucy's wedding dress (which also became her burial gown) is freaky as. No way would I like to be married (or buried for that matter) in that crazy get-up! And I do wonder where a proper young woman would get all those natty, provocative outfits! Unless she's prancing around in her underdresses!

It's a long film and the language is proper to the setting and original book and plays. But the styling, action and special effects keep this vampire classic interesting. I really like this film as a Dracula adaptation and would rank it up there with some of the original and Hammer versions as my favourite Dracula!

If you like the Dracula story at all, definitely give this version a spin!

Count Dracula; a budding barber!
[Picture: American Zoetrope]


Saturday, 23 June 2012


"Phantasm" (1979, Don Coscarelli, New Breed Productions, AVCO Embassy Pictures) is one of these low-budget cult classics that seem to live on for many years, like a tortoise; not much noise, but you know he's there.

This was my first viewing of "Phantasm" and I'll admit my main motivation to track this film down (Thank you to "CEX" on Union Street, Glasgow, for my £0.75 dvd!) was because of the Buffy episode where Xander thinks he's borrowed "Phantasm" from the video shop, only to find that they've given him "Fantasia" :D

So, it's taken me several years to finally pick up the dvd, but I have to say, I'm glad I did!

I'm a B-movie fan (as you can clearly see by my viewing list so far!), so low-budget is more of an invitation for me. If you're a cinematography nut, you probably wouldn't like this film.

The film is about two brothers, eldest brother Jody (I always thought that was a girls name!) Pearson (Bill Thornbury) and his little brother Michael (Michael Baldwin). Their parents passed away years before and are buried up at a mortuary called 'Morningside'. I've never truly understood why cemeteries, mortuaries and their ilk have to have such fake-sounding 'happy' names. It's like 'legal highs' having cute names... People are weird!

Anyway, a friend of the brothers' dies (while getting it on with a mysterious woman in the cemetery, that dirty dog!) and is buried up at Morningside - the very place he snuffed it! Kind of creepy.

Jody attends the funeral. Mike spies on the funeral from the bushes (he does a lot of this).

After the funeral, Mike spies a 'Tall Man' lifting the guy's coffin by himself and heaving it into his hearse and then driving off! Now if you don't think that's weird, you need to check your touch with reality. Coffins are damned heavy! Also, usually they're buried in the grounds of where the funeral takes place....

He visits a fortune teller who has some crazy magic skills and a pair of sunglasses Ozzy Osbourne may have lost at a gig. I find the significance of the fortune teller to be a bit hazy, I get that it's to do the weird thing with the black box... and to show that Mike's worried that his brother will leave him... Other than that I'm not sure.

Anyway, Mike is convinced something's going down when, while spying on his brother getting jiggy in the graveyard (the little perv!) - with same mysterious lady! - he is approached by a midget in a brown coat. Running from the Jawa-like-thing, Mike is spotted by his brother who, ladies knickers in mouth, chases after him. Classy!

Mike convinces his brother pretty quickly that something is going on with the help of a living severed finger in some custard-like-goop which mutates! I liked that Coscarelli didn't feel the need to string out the I-don't-believe-you-bit. I do get bored sometimes. Fair enough, in reality, you wouldn't believe what this clearly crazy teenager is saying, but for the sake of audience! Please!

With the help of their friend, the ice cream man, Reggie (Reggie Bannister), the Pearson brothers fight the Tall Man to end his enslaving (and shrinking) of the dead! But will they survive? Or will they be slaughtered by the iconic flying silver balls of death? (and OMG for a seventies low-budget film, I loved the silver balls of death!)

An odd twist that doesn't make too much sense and then the 'shock' ending are confusing. Well, not the 'schlock', I mean 'shock', ending... that's pretty straightforward, but the random twist with Mike and Reggie... I felt like I'd missed a scene or two from the reel there!

I'm surprised that they haven't tried to remake this film yet, it seems to be what they're all at right now. In fact, I'm surprised Michael Bay hasn't jumped on it and put his trademark explosions everywhere!

Some points of note:
  •  Ice cream vans are explosive!
  • Midget zombies sound like rabid dogs
  • A shotgun shell would do a lot more damage (probably to you!) if hit with a hammer...
  • Getting it on with mysterious ladies in the cemetery will either a) get you killed or b) mean you are actually having sex with a creepy old dude with magic powers!
But I do love the scene with the crazy mutated finger-fly-thing. It may be low-budget, but you have to appreciate the low-tech excellence of this scene!

For the sake of cult status, this film is a worthwhile watch. I wouldn't go paying a fortune for it though! Definitely work 75p! Win.

The balls aren't picky who they choose to gore!
[Picture: New Breed Productions]


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Drag Me To Hell

"Drag Me To Hell" (2009, Sam Raimi, Universal Pictures) is a movie about a girl who is cursed by an old lady.

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a bank loan officer. Feeling like she is failing in her career prospects because of her friendly nature, she finally takes out her frustrations on a creepy old woman, Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver), who is looking for another extension on her mortgage. Christine tells Mrs Ganush that she cannot give her an extension, and Mrs Ganush begs her to reconsider (like literally, on her knees). Christine has Mrs Ganush thrown off of the premises.

She later runs into Mrs Ganush again who attacks her and tells her she's cursed.

Then the crazy terror begins. In true Raimi style it's nuts and manic! And uh... gross. Brilliantly gross! And hilarious! Like a live action 'Tom and Jerry' cartoon if it had been written by Sam Raimi.

I think Alison Lohman does very well in the, how can I say it? - 'female Ash' role. Which it pretty much is; innocent person put into crazy situation, goes crazy, does crazy things.... it never ends well for them! She goes crazy in an entertaining way. And she's feisty, not the poor-me female lead... but hell does she scream! OK, she's no Bruce Campbell, but I find her performance most enjoyable.

The spirit torments poor Christine through the whole movie. She cannot find forgiveness from Ganush, as she is dead, and she simply appears mad to everyone around her, including her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long). Thankfully, she finds help from a fortune teller, Rham Jas (Dileep Lao), the only person who believes her. Jas convinces her to pay Shaun San Dena (Flor de Maria Chahua), the woman we see at the beginning of the movie who was unable to save a young cursed boy, $10,000 to save her.

There's some séance-ing along with some chanting of "I welcome the dead into my soul!" which reminds me of the deadite's chant in 'Evil Dead 2'; "I'll swallow your soul!"

Really fun, even if it is a bit odd; I mean, crazy old lady or not, surely someone explained what mortgaging your house meant to her?!

Anyway, I'd recommend for some gore, fantasy violence and shock value. And it's very loud!

[Picture: Universal Pictures]


Sunday, 17 June 2012


"Slash" (2002, New Africa Media Films, Neal Sundström) is a rock band slasher flick set in the American countryside. It's also an 'Old Macdonald Had a Farm....' horror...

'Slash' are a young rock band on tour. After a show, a strange fellow called Billy-Bob shows up to inform lead singer Joseph 'Mac' Macdonald (James O'Shea) that his aunt has died and that his father Jeremiah Macdonald (Steve Railsback) requests his attendance at the funeral.

Mac and his band jump on their tour bus (while playing a riveting game of 'celebrity death cause') and head to Macdonald's farm. At the funeral a crazy Christian lady, Jesse (Jocelyn Broderick) begins yelling at Jeremiah about his cursed family and the legend of his father Jethro (Danny Keogh), who murdered people and harvested their blood to feed his crops... Apparently, this began due to an old slave superstision that if you sprinkled chicken blood on crops they'd grow better... it appears the Macdonalds took this tradition a couple of steps further...

The band stay the night, only to become the latest victims of Old Macdonald and his blood thirsty farm.

A relatively good opening scene with young Mac (Adam Woolf) spying his grandfather's handiwork before an accidental barn fire killed ol' Jethro (or did it? Dun dun dun!) is kind of spoiled by a severly overacted scene where two teens are murdered in the corn field while on their way to a nightclub Halloween party. Of course, any sane person would feel up their girlfriend's boob after a car crash.... Ray's a dick. Also, if I ever see a scarecrow with clearly human teeth, I'm not going to pee next to it! I'm going to run like heck! Geese!

Some stilted editing ruins an otherwise pretty good running-away-from-the-killer-through-a-corn-field-and-cemetery-in-a-short-skirt scene.

'Slash' have just the worst stage presence ever! They're way too pleased with themselves through the whole boring first track. And the typically portrayed big-headed axeman annoys me. No matter how good a guitarist you are, if you can't be bothered to be on stage for the gig and are too busy getting jiggy with a hippy groupie chick, you're outta the band!

I did enjoy the changing room papered with iconic band posters though; System of a Down and Creed.

Like all low budget slashers, 'Slash' feels the need to mention and parody several famous slasher genre films...

The awkward romance between bassist chick, Suzie (Suleikha Robinson), and Mac is odd. And her idea of pillow talk is disturbing; a threesome between he, she and his grandfather's spirit!!! Really???

I did enjoy Jeremiah's character though. He's always 'yanking your chain' and makes a creepy yet likable antagonist.

Billy-Bob was also a pretty interesting character, between taking the mickey out of the band members, being creepy and killing chickens.

Who knew the ultimate death machine was actually the combine harvester?!

I did kind of enjoy the idea of the band having a song called 'Old Macdonald's Farm' though, which also actually included 'ee ii ee ii oh' in the lyrics.

Some, but not all, of the acting in this movie is pretty wooden, and most of the characters are unlikeable, except for Jeremiah, Mac and Billy-Bob. But on the whole, there's a lot of scythe related deaths and the scene with the combine harvester is pretty gruesome.

I can't stomach a horror with too happy an ending though... although I suppose it's not really a happy ending for everyone.

Another bargain bin buy, but it's not the worst I own...

[Picture: New Africa Media Films]


Friday, 15 June 2012

The House on Haunted Hill (1999)

"The House on Haunted Hill" (1999, William Malone, Warner Bros., Dark Castle Entertainment) is the modern remake of the 1959 classic by William Castle which starred Vincent Price.
Everyone who is anyone knows the basic plot to this classic haunted house horror: 5 people who don't know one another are randomly invited to the birthday party of Evelyn Price (Famke Janssen) and her 'loving' husband Stephen Price (Geoffrey Rush) in an old, disused insane asylum where in the 1930s many patients were murdered and mutilated by Dr. Vannacutt (Jeffrey Combs). The challenge is to survive the night and the final guest standing will receive a $1 million reward.
The house is leased to the Prices (who are named as a nod to the great Vincent Price) by Watson Pritchett (Chris Kattan), a great-great-relation of someone or other, and now owner of the 'house'. Pritchett is twitchy; he wants his money and he wants out. Having lost many family and friends to the house, he knows what's going to happen.

The five guests enter. Evelyn, in a rage at her guestlist being rewritten, goes to her room. And Price entertains the party for a while. Some spooky stuff happens, Pritchett gets drunk and then the full blown terror begins as the house locks down and makes its claim on the visitors.
I love this film for many reasons. Let me list them:
  • James Marsters (Spike from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer') cameos as a camera-man in Price's horror theme park... yum
  • Price has a horror theme park!
  • The music score in this film is fabulous!
  • Geoffrey Rush does a killer Vincent Price impression, and I just loved the tension between Stephen and Evelyn; especially the bedroom scene which was a great homage to the original film
  • The ghosts are scary
  • The characters are somewhat believable; I even decided to like a few of them, never something I do in horror films as they tend to die off...
  • The twists in the plot are well placed. Some are not even obvious
  • It's gorey!
  • It keeps a lot of the original themes but updates them without tredding on Castle's toes (Evelyn's backstabbing and then Stephen's payback for instance)
But one impressive change to the original, is that the ghosts are actually real! In the 1959 version we discover that the house is in fact not really haunted, and that Frederick Loren (he was not called Stephen Price in the original) has elaborately set up the whole thing. While Price has indeed set up some of the happenings in the film, he loses control quickly when he discovers the house is truly haunted.
The only major error, in my view, is the giant smoke/goo/ghost/dead folk ball of evil that forms at the end to get our last two survivors. It's just too much. Spooky happenings, bloody corpses and psychotic surgeons were enough! Why did they need to emalgamate them all into one big blob?

Although I do love the ending! How the hell do they get down? I don't know, but it's a good finished-yet-unfinished end.

Also, who knew pencils could grow and were also so dangerous?! Well, unless you've seen 'Evil Dead'.... ;)

[Picture: Warner Bros.]


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Final Scream

"Final Scream" aka "Final Stab" (2001, Third Millenium, Sidekick Entertainment, David DeCoteau) is a crappy early 00s slasher I picked up in a bargain bin when I was 15.

It's worthy of the bargain bin, but don't me wrong, it has its charms. And for what appears to be a college project, it's pretty good! Although, it's no 'Evil Dead'.

The basic plot is that Angela (Melissa Renee Martin) and her troubled boyfriend, Charlie (Jamie Gannon) are invited to her rich, bitchy sister, Kristin's (Erinn Hayes) party in an abandoned house, along with some old college friends.

When they get there the party soon kicks off (rather disappointingly. Where's the tunes? Where's the booze? Definitely a shit party), until suddenly Steve (Michael Lutz) is 'brutally' murdered.

The worst cross-eyed-slow-mo fake murder ever! Hilarious!

Charlie freaks and bolts. We learn his parents were murdered in front of him, and he has never recovered.... meh.

So Steve's not dead. This is all a 'murder mystery' weekend set up by Kristin to freak out Charlie and get at her sister. Angela soon learns this and spends the rest of the movie not believing that any of the bodies of her friends are truly dead... silly her, they totally are! There is a real murderer prancing about, he's killed the faux murderer, Wallace (Donnie Eichar) and is now wreaking slaughter around the house.

Can Angela and her friend Doug (Chris Boyd) find her boyfriend and save what's left of her friends before it's too late? Can she indeed.

This movie follows all the slasher conventions. It's predictable, but I've actually seen much worse acting, making this not the worst £1 movie I own!

The opening scene is fun. It kind of pays homage to the first 'Scream' (which is also mentioned in the script), but unlike most slashers it's the guy who's getting all naked and sudsy. Sadly, they went for the 'it's only a dream' get out clause. Lazy, but useful to the plot for setting up the crazy boyfriend character.

There are 3 badass dudes, you know they're badasses because they're wearing tank tops of course, who are out to spoil the party. I don't think these characters were used to their full potential. But, hey I'm just the viewer. Also one was called Cosmo. Seriously. Cosmo!

The plot constantly quotes horror movie titles, which instantly makes me think of 'Scream 3' and just about every other low budget, teen horror out there.

Our good friend 'shaky cam' makes a few appearances, and the director appears to be a Scooby Doo fan, going by all the dodgy slow motion chase and hide scenes in this film.

The end twist is transparent, but not too badly revealed, and the gore is valiantly attempted with some good prosthetics (albeit off the shelf) and the blood sprays a-plenty.

No girls get naked in this movie, but there's talk of homosexual experimentation in college, and one guy has a nice six pack!

All in all, not a movie I'd recommend you pay more than the Amazon asking price of £2 for. It's less 'Scream' and more 'Scooby Doo', as I said.

But I've seen a lot worse, and as I mentioned the acting's surprisingly good for such a low budget attempt!

[Picture: Sidesick Entertainment]


Monday, 11 June 2012

The Birds

"The Birds" (1963, Alfred Hitchcock, Universal Pictures) is a very suspense-filled nature-bites-back horror film.

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a young woman of leisure from a rich family. She is goaded by a young lawyer, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a bird shop and, intrigued, goes out to his home town, Bodega Bay, California, to teach him a lesson. She winds up meeting his mother, Lydia (Jessica Tandy) and little sister Cathy (Veronica Cartwright) and decides to hang around as Mitch and she become close.

She is randomly attacked by a seagull while on her boat back from his house, but dismisses this as an odd happenstance. Later that night, another seagull flies face first into the front door, killing itself, but she also dismisses this.

She rents a room with the local school teacher, Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), who also happens to be Mitch's ex, and joins Mitch and his family for dinner.

A series of other bird attacks soon become suspicious, and the town slowly realise that the birds are purposefully attacking them!

Some gorey corpses always interested me in this movie as a child, especially the guy with his eyes pecked out! And the bit with the sparrows and the fireplace is still spooky!

If you have a bird phobia, obviously this film is either not for you, or will give you a good scare, depending on what kind of person you are (for instance zombies give me the grade A creeps, which is why I love watching zombie movies; actually scary!).

Melanie's character is enjoyable as a female protagonist as she doesn't scream mindlessly all the time. She keeps it cool until the end when she finally loses it, and she's actually useful without being written as a man with boobs (see the character of Rayne in the first 'Resident Evil' movie). In fact, the only time I was willing her to scream is the bit in the attic when she does lose her cool; screaming would have been helpful here!

I find this film a little slow to start, but once it begins it keeps up the pace and the slow build up of birds around the houses and school is really, very atmospheric. I also enjoyed the constant, intially unnoticeable, but later very obvious, bird noises throughout the movie. The flocking noises are reminiscent of insects swarming which is very effective.

I like birds, and have a pet parrot called Paulie (yes, honestly that is his name), but I can hands-up admit that when he freaks out and goes for your face it is the scariest thing! I can't imagine what hundreds of angry, panicked birds attacking you would feel like, and I don't think I ever want to know!

The reason for the attacks is never explained and the end of the movie is open with no real conclusion. But rather than feeling cheated, this adds to the charm of the film. A real classic.

[Picture: Universal Pictures]


An American Werewolf In London

"An American Werewolf in London" (1981, John Landis, Universal Pictures) is one of the best werewolf movies ever made!

I am a huge fangirl for this movie. It was my introduction to the werewolf myth at the tender age of 4 and it contains, by far, the best transformation scene in cinematic-lycanthrope-history! Forget your modern CGI and your Seth Green werewolf-possum-thingumies! This is it!

We begin by following two young college teens, David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), on the British leg of their backpacking tour of the globe. They're regretting their choice in destination as they become accustomed to the lovely weather we have here! Rain, rain, rain and just for a change, rain!

They tag a lift with a sheep farmer, in his sheep trailer, and stop at a local country pub called "The Slaughtered Lamb"; very cleverly advertised with a wolf's decaptitated head on the sign. Or is that a werewolf's decapitated head?

They soon become aware that they are not particularly welcome in this little farming community's local, and since it doesn't sell food or coffee, they decide to head on, after a good old tale from the local story teller, and few creepy utterances of "Stick to the roads" "Beware the moon!" from the locals. There's also a lovely warding spell shrine on the wall for them to question. Bad idea.

Also, I'd like to point out that Rik Mayall is playing checkers in the corner!

Of course, young American teens don't listen to advice, and the boys soon find themselves lost on the moors under a full moon. Surprise, surprise.

Now, you might not be impressed with the werewolf in this scene, but I promise it improves!

Young Jack doesn't make it, but David survives with quite minor injuries, considering.... Only, is he still just plain old David?

He falls for his beautiful (and somewhat very trusting) young nurse, Alex Price (Jenny Agutter, who you may know from "The Railway Children") and decides to stay with her after his discharge from hospital.

He's soon troubled by the rapidly decomposing corpse of his deceased friend, Jack, who warns him that he is a werewolf and will soon kill. Jack tells him to kill himself before it's too late.

A few jumpy scenes and misguiding dreams which may take you by surprise the first time. And a scene in the London Underground which I find actually spooks me whenever I visit London are just a few reasons to watch this fabulous flick!

As I said, the transformation scene is epic and makes you twitch a bit in sympathetic pain for poor David.

There's also some hilarious scenes with nudity; the obvious downside of transforming into a rampaging wolf and waking up in the local zoo! And some porn, just to keep you interested.

Jack's makeup is immense and I always find myself watching the wiggly bit of torn flesh on his neck, ever hoping that it'll fall off or something! By the time he's decomposed beyond recognition, it's a bit fakey, but, hey, it was the 80s!

John Landis' "American Werewolf..." is by far my most favourite werewolf movie (and yes that includes all the Lon Chaneys!!!). I'm even reading his book about Monsters in the Movies, and I'm glad to report that he is as much a big FX and prosthetic geek as I am! Very entertaining!

If you haven't seen this movie, get a move on, you're embarrassing yourself!

[Picture: Universal Pictures]


Sunday, 10 June 2012

White Zombie

"White Zombie" (1932, Victor Halperin, United Artists) is credited as the first 'feature length' zombie movie and is the inspiration for the band, White Zombie, 's name... clearly!

It stars Béla Lugosi as Murder Legendre, a Voodoo witch doctor, on Haiti.

Neil Parker (John Harron) and his beautiful fiancé, Madeleine Short (Madge Bellamy) arrive in Haiti in order to be married. They are invited to the home of a rich plantation owner named Mr. Beaumont (Robert Frazer). Unbeknownst to them, Beaumont plans to turn Madeleine into a zombie slave for himself, using the powers of Legendre.

Beaumont's plans go awry, however, when Legendre changes his mind and opts to keep Madeleine for himself! Can Parker and his friend, Dr. Bruner (Joseph Cawthorne) save Madeleine from a fate worse than death?!

A silverscreen original, in the typical Lugosi style; lit up eyes and over dramatic posturing. But I love it!

This film did terribly in its original box office ratings, as it was released at a time when other movies of a similar genre were flooding the market and it used many props from other films in order to keep the costs down.

The acting was criticised at the time, but I find it to be typical of the 1930s horrors. Again, if you're not a fan of old, creaky horrors, this film is not for you! It's long and quiet and you can see where the scenes have been edited in the cutting room. Also the screeching of the vultures become monotonic and annoying after a while! I find this quaint and interesting, but it may just distract you from the story.

The makeup is impressive for the time, I especially enjoyed the zombie chauffeur!

All in all, it's an old movie, and its charms are only valid to enthusiasts like me. "White Zombie" is a traditional zombie movie; no infected monkeys, no solanum virus, no Umbrella Corporation, no running zombies, just plain old walking undead under the control of a ruthless Vodun priest.

"With these eyes he rendered her powerless!"
[Picture: United Artists]


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys

"Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys" (2004, Ted Nicolau, Terry Kelley) is the 9th film in the Puppet Master series and the first cross over with the Demonic Toys Series. Definitely a made-for-TV film. And it's set at Christmas. And that should tell you all you need to know about it!

Ok, Ok, I'll tell you more :)

Robert Toulon (Corey Feldman) is the great-grandnephew (seriously...) of the original Puppet Master, Andre Toulon from the first movie. Robert and his daughter Alexandra (Danielle Keaton) live in a Doll Hospital, surrounded by toys which they repair. They're both kind of weird, like awkward children. I'm going assume that this was intentional.

Robert seems to have a bit of an obsession with bringing the original Toulon puppets back to life... Why, at this particular second, I don't know... but it's handy that he does because the Sharpe Corporation, an evil toy manufacturer run by Erica Sharpe (Vanessa Angel), are spying on him in order to steal his secrets and his puppets... and unfortunately his blood, because that's the main ingredient in the potion!

Erica is also quite childlike, but more like a little spoiled, bratty, girl. She kind of reminds me of Glory from BTVS, but that might just be her dress sense.

Robert and Alexandra work out how to animate the puppets on Christmas eve (ah, the magic of Christmas, bringing murderous puppets to life!) and explain to them that they are their new masters. The Puppets seem cool with that, and don't attack them.

Erica's recent line of Christmas toys are called "Christmas Pals" (damn original!) and they are alive. Well, they're demons inside the toys. The demons are there as Erica's misguided father sold his soul in order to please her with 'living' dolls. In order to control them, she has to sacrifice virgins (usually secretaries) to the demon Bael (who had surprisingly good makeup!).

The box said "Monsters, in-your-face-gore and breast-focused nudity".... there are none of these things, much to my buddy Jim's disappointment. It should have said "Evil toys and puppets, some fake blood and a secretary gets her shirt ripped open and her cleavage bitten by a demonic baby doll".... But I suppose that wouldn't have sounded half so good, right?

The demons are crass and rude, as demons tend to be, and Erica wants Toulon's secrets so that she can make obedient, yet nasty little guard puppets of her own. But she's selling Demonic Toys to children as she hopes to rule the Earth; as any modern business woman does, right? No?

After an attack by the Sharpe company, Robert and Alex flee their home and fix up the puppets with some kind of cyborg weaponry. The puppets seem pleased with this, which is good and well, else our story would have been cut short when Blade decided to cut up Toulon.

But the fun soon moves to the Sharpe company premises, where the puppets face off against the toys in a very retro-styled scene by special effects dude, David Allen, and Toulon seems to take 10 minutes to get past one guy to save his daughter from certain death by iron maiden (the torture device, not the band).

There's also a random cop lady, Jessica (Silvia Suvadova), who inspected the Toulon premises solo, decided she quite fancied a bit of Robert Toulon, and has since just been around, solo... Is it just me, or do cops usually run in pairs??? And how did she know where Toulon's ex-wife's mansion was?!

So who will win? The Puppets with their weapons, or the Demonic Toys with their teeth and apparently eye bursting laughs, I'm looking at you Jack Attack! Well you'll have to watch and see for yourself!

The special effects aren't great for a 00s movie. But the animation of Jack Attack is particularly good, especially when he, snake like, escapes his box. And I think the awkward, almost stop-animation technique adds some charm to the puppets and toys, as this is how I'd picture them moving! Also, I could get really geeky here and bring up the stop-motion master, Ray Harryhausen, and over-analyse by saying that maybe David Allen was paying some homage to him in some way. But then again, maybe it's just a low-budge made-for-TV film, and I'm just a SFX nerd... probably more likely.

Corey Feldman's Robert Toulon character is awkward and a bit nuts, but I find this entertaining. Plus, he keeps tripping over things, which I presume to be part of the plot, or else someone put the mark on the wrong bit of floor for him! He's also got that funny voice thing going on again (you know, the one Chrisian Bale is so fond of mimicking in Batman).

The plot is just nuts, the script is not the best, with lines like "What's the ruckus?" and a need to explain every move of every character, just in case you didn't think what they were doing was in any way to do with plot development.

And as I said, no nudity, other than Corey Feldman in his boxers, a secretary's bra and an evil corporation lady's almost boobs. Oh, and did I mention a particular lack of blood?

Also, Feldman and Keaton don't really look much like father and daughter. But I can assure you, he's about 33-ish in this film, and the pigtails she's sporting indicate 'young teens' in the movies, so I suppose it's ok.

But all in all, I laughed, Jim laughed and now we have something else to watch on Christmas eve along with 'Die Hard' and 'Scrooged'.

[Would you shake hands with Pinhead?
Picture: Sci Fi Pictures]


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fright Night (2011)

"Fright Night" (2011, Craig Gillespie, Dreamworks) is the remake of the original "Fright Night" from 1985 (another 80s favourite of mine, which I will no doubt rewatch this week and review for fun).

Just like in the original, the plot is that young Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) discovers that his new neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire and he has to kill him in order to save his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), mother (Toni Collette) and neighbourhood.

Now, unlike the original movie, where Evil Ed, Brewster's nerdy 'friend', doesn't believe him about Jerry's true nature, in this version it is Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who is trying to convince Brewster that vampires exist! The results are similar, in that Evil Ed winds up one of the undead, albeit a completely useless one, and poor Brewster has to put him out of his misery.

David Tennant plays Peter Vincent, a gothic magician on the Las Vegas strip who Brewster convinces on board to help him slay Jerry. I've always been appreciative of Peter Vincent's name; Peter Cushing and Vincent Price - Kings of horror in their own right! Very witty.

In the original, Vincent is a down-trodden horror TV host on his last legs, sporting a sort of Dr. Van Helsing/Sherlock Holmes look. David Tennant's Vincent is much more glamourous as the faux goth rock star magician with his supposedly loveless marriage to a beautiful woman and a big show. Also, he loves midori.... Wow.

This remake is good. It keeps enough of the original story to still be a remake, but it modernises the setting, characters and plot enough to make a good modern film in its own right.

The director (Gillespie) and writer (Marti Noxon, one of my most favourite Buffy The Vampire Slayer writers) pay homage to the original movie both subtley and not so subtley.

 The kitchen scene, the night club, the cellar, the sunlight, the "You're so cool Brewster" quote (although, I was disappointed in Mintz-Plasse's delivery of this line to be very honest), and many other nods to the '85 version make this film a good one for fans. Plus the new FX, the gore and the sheer misbehaviour of Mr. Tennant make this film a good modern vampire tale for this generation.

I like Jerry as a vampire; he's scary. As vampires should be. He doesn't glitter, he doesn't play nice and he is the epitome of creepy in nice packaging. He has scary super powers and he's ugly when he's hungry.

There's explosions, threats, secret passageways, vampire senses, blood, guts, gore, mythology, severed limbs, quips and most importantly a visit from the original Jerry, Chris Sarandon, as a victim on the desert highway!

As a fan of the original, and a horror fan in general, I recommend this movie as a fun, modern, casual watch. It's not anything to hide under the covers about, but it's a good film.

[Picture: Dreamworks]


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Shaun of The Dead

"Shaun of The Dead" (2004, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Universal Pictures) is a zombie comedy with a difference; it's modern day En-ger-land-shire to the max! And it stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Jessica Stevenson, Martin Freeman.... etc, etc... Really, very awesome!

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a no good, lazy, loser working in a non-job in London, living with his loser, lazy, no good buddy, Ed (Nick Frost). They game, they smoke, they drink in the local; The Winchester. That's about it.

Shaun's long-suffering girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), dumps him due to his disinterest and complete lack of life-lustre. Shaun eventually realises he's heartbroken, and decides to do something about his life. Unfortunately, a zombie apocalypse gets in the way. Luckily, he's seen enough zombie flicks and played enough "Resident Evil" to use this to his advantage.

Once he and Ed finally realise it is a zombie apocalypse, they decide to come up with a cunning plan; get Liz, get Shaun's parents, get their friends and then to the local pub. Obviously, I mean, that's where I'd go!

Comedy gore is really fun, and this film has buckets of it. I especially enjoy Dylan Moran's exit. But it's not all guts and blood gags, the scene where Shaun wanders back from the shops, unaware that he is surrounded by undead (because that easily could be any day in London!) is really quite haunting! Living in a city myself, I realised I could quite easily do the same thing; earphones in, eyes ahead, and march to Rufus T Firefly's bar!... Wait... was that a zombie? Nah! Crazy person!

The usual themes of group arguments, power struggles, panicky people making dumb moves and interesting weaponry are all paid homage to, and the humour is British, but not so much that you have to be British to get it.

A fun filled nod to the zombie genre made and acted by people who are themselves, fans of the genre. Nicely rounded off with no reason for the zombie outbreak (Liz keeps switching channels just as this is about to be revealed), and a happy ending, with zombies!

[Picture: Universal Pictures]


Monday, 4 June 2012

House Of 1000 Corpses

"House of 1000 Corpses" (2003, Rob Zombie, Universal Pictures) is an entertaining sick-fest from the mind of the great Rob Zombie. I'm a big fan of Rob Zombie as a musician and I like his movies. I wouldn't say I'd watch them a lot, but they're weird and tense and bloody.
This film is no different. It's set in the '70s on the dusty backroads of America where there appears to be a high population of lunatics. The style of the film echoes 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', but I'd say it holds its own weight as a movie, too.

Two young couples stop for petrol at a crazy side attraction called "Captain Spalding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen" where they encounter Captain Spalding (Sid Haig), the crazy, but by this movie's standards, friendly nutjob. They go into his museum and the two boys become interested in a local mystery; the missing body of a mass murdering surgeon named Dr. Satan.

While leaving, they stop and pick up a hitchhiking chick wearing a cowboy hat and little else... Her name is Baby and she is played by Rob Zombie's wife, Cheri Moon Zombie. Suddenly the car breaks down (funny that, when you run over a trap...) and Baby convinces Bill (Rainn Wilson) to walk to her home to get her brother to come collect the car with his pickup.

Soon her brother (Robert Mukes) arrives with the car and Bill's friends Jerry (Chris Hardwick), Mary (Jennifer Jostyn) and Denise (Erin Daniels). It's safe to say that they do not enjoy their stay with Baby's crazy family; her mother (Karen Black), brother Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley), Grampa (Dennis Fimple) and Baby's deformed brother Tiny (Matthew McGrory).

If you've ever flicked through any White Zombie or Rob Zombie cover art, you'll know what to expect. If not, be warned; not for the faint hearted.

This is a rough cut, brutal murder flick. The characters are weird and disturbing and the camera work is bound to cause some kind of seizure if you're not expecting it as it likes to jump between random scary stuff and plot.

I love the opening scene of this movie though, kind of reminds me of Creepshow 2's "Old Chief Woodenhead" story except where the shopkeeper wins.

All in all, this is a flick for fast paced slaughter fans.... it's not a slow burning artful horror, don't watch if you're not a gore hound. Also, it's not serious, so don't go in expecting genre bending lines and awesome character development. It's just weirdos murdering people! But if that's what you're expecting, it's one big crazy ride!

Maybe as a girl I shouldn't like this film so much, considering, but hey, what can I say?

Sid Haig steals the show as Captain Spalding (above), but out of all the characters, Bill Moseley's Otis (below) is the scariest. 
[Pictures: Universal Pictures]

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jennifer's Body

"Jennifer's Body" (2010, Karyn Kusama, 20th Century Fox) is the story of a maneater.... literally.

Megan Fox stars as Jennifer Check, the popular cheerleader type who attends high school along with her nerdy BFF, Needy, aka Anita Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried) in a small American town where there is little entertainment. We learn at the beginning of the movie that this is a flashback in the mind of Needy, who is now in an insane asylum.

A 'big city' indie band, Low Shoulder, on the way up randomly decides to play in their small town bar, so the girls and most of the school go along for the gig. Tragedy strikes, causing many casualties, and the oddly calm and collected band mates 'save' Jennifer in their van while Needy refuses the lift.

The town is devastated with the deaths and casualties of the gig, but Jennifer seems quite different. See, she's now become a demonic succubis who feeds on men, after the band traded her soul in order to improve their career. See, this is why it's usually virgins who are sacrificed!

In order to stay beautiful, Jennifer must feed, so she makes short work of picking off some key men-folk from the senior buffet.

Needy becomes suspicious after a ravenous and not-so-human Jennifer spews some prickly gunk in her kitchen.... and begins trying to work out what's going on.

But it all becomes personal when Jen turns her attentions to Needy's boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons - yes, Young Neil from Scott Pilgrim!).

This movie's bad in a good way, fitting in nicely with my love of B-Movies. The only characters worth liking are Chip and goth-kid Colin, and naturally they are on Jennifer's menu. That's not to say that Megan Fox isn't any good; she successfully gives the audience what they want - a sexy, demonic she-bitch.

I think you're meant to side with Needy, but I just ended up feeling the character fell a bit flat. She's been Jen's sidekick and punchbag for so long, and now she's meant to finally be becoming her own self, but instead she tries to take it all on alone. I think this was meant to show her unravelling etc... but instead she just seemed to be flustering about. Hmm...

Needy is eventually blamed for the whole incident, hence her current location... And there's a random side effect giving her super powers which was clearly only added to enable the end scene. However, the gore is medium, the scares are not many but the film is entertaining, if not scary. And it's one of the few horror movies which keeps my horror-hating boyfriend happy! Oh the powers of a sexy female protagonist!

[Picture: 20th Century Fox]


Friday, 1 June 2012

One Missed Call (2004)

"One Missed Call" (2004, Takashi Miike, Kadokawa-Daiei) is the Japanese original horror which was then remade by an American company in 2008.

Unlike "The Grudge", where the American remake is almost on par with the Japanese version, "One Missed Call"'s remake was of a much lesser quality.

If you can withstand the subtitles, the 2004 version is really, very creepy.

The premise of the film is that you recieve a call on your mobile phone (or cell phone for all you non-British folk). The phone doesn't ring with your usual ringtone (instead with a creepy little tune) and will ring regardless of whether the phone is off, broken or without a battery. No matter whether you try to answer or not, you always miss the call, and have to fetch a voicemail message.

The voicemail is always set in the future, is from your own number and features the last sounds you make/hear before dying painfully. There's also always a candy sweet in each victim's mouth..., granted sometimes their mouths are quite far away from the rest of their bodies by the time the candy is found...

Creepy stuff!

Now, like "The Grudge" and "The Ring", "One Missed Call"'s ghost girl kills in a domino effect, beginning with Yoko (Anna Nagata) and then working through her phone book...

It's up to Yumi (Kou Shibasaki), Yoko's best friend to try to stop the curse before it's too late for herself! But in order to stop the ghost, she has to follow the clues to the ghosts' beginnings and face some other spectres from the dead girls' past.

But can she convince the angry spirit to stop with the murder? One can only hope.

Nicely gorey with some disturbingly creepy scenes and it may put you off MMS messages for life!

Japanese ghost horror is always a winner with me as it's always creepy, but I sometimes find the differences in culture make it hard to follow. But a shit-scared person staring into the gruesome eyes of death, is a shit-scared person staring into the gruesome eyes of death in every culture, so the importants parts of the film are easy to follow.

I must also admit to jumping nowadays if my phone has an episode and randomly changes its ringtone from a Black Stone Cherry song to one of the preset ringers; Mimiko's gonna get you!

[Picture: Kadokawa-Daiei]