Monday, 28 November 2016


"Within" aka "Crawlspace" (2016, Phil Claydon, Safran Company) is a 'new house' horror set in Suburban America. I say 'new house' horror because it all begins with a family moving into a new house. Genius, right?

A man, his new wife and his daughter, Hannah (Erin Moriarty), move into a new house. Everything seems fine until Hannah notices strange things going on in the house. Of course, her parents do not believe her, especially upon learning that the house has a dark past. Her dad, especially, believes that Hannah is just freaking herself out. But Hannah is convinced that there is a presence within the house and she's determined to put a stop to it.

This film is pretty generic with lots of genre tropes and a few plot twists that weren't particularly effective in grabbing viewer imagination. It plays out as a standard haunted house film which goes through the motions and then takes another avenue that muddies the plot. On the other hand it's far from terrible. The acting is good, and the film doesn't outstay its welcome. It does, however, meander through a plot by numbers and doesn't really break any new ground.

[Image: Safran Co. et al]

Sunday, 20 November 2016

I Sell The Dead

"I Sell the Dead" (2008, Glenn McQuaid, Glass Eye Pix) is a horror comedy about grave robbers.

Arthur (Dominic Monaghan) is visited by Father Duffy (Ron Perlman) to take down his last words before he is executed for the crimes of murder and grave robbery. Seeing no reason for not sharing his side of the story and seeing his last opportunity to state his innocence of murder (but not grave robbery; that he did do... a lot), Arthur describes his life as the young apprentice of grave robber Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden), his on-going career and the events leading up to his and Willie's arrest. Oh, and his frequent adventures with the undead.

Although silly and chalk full of cheesy scenes and action, it's a fun little flick that doesn't quite break through into anything amazing, but keeps viewer interest enough to be entertaining. The characters are funny and outlandish and the almost horror anthology style of story telling splits up the incidents as the interview goes on. I also enjoyed the inclusion of Angus Scrimm (of Phantasm fame) as the devious blackmailer, Dr. Quint.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Crawling Hand

"The Crawling Hand" (1963, Herbert L. Strock, Donald J. Hansen Enterprises) is an American sci-fi horror about why even med students shouldn't take home severed human remains as souvenirs...

Right, Vyvyan?

Back to the film...

Young Paul Lawrence (Rod Lauren) discovers the severed arm of a deceased astronaut whilst out on the beach with his girlfriend. He takes the gruesome discovery home but lives to regret this decision as the arm comes back to life, strangling everyone in its wake....

A very of-its-era black and white film, with fun background music and too much dialogue. Man finally landed on the moon in 1969, but this film was made right at the time of the space race hype. The action is quite tame by today's standards, but people like me will still get a kick out of it and enjoy the film for what it is; classic, cheesy horror. The acting is pretty campy, but for me that just enhances the experience.

The film also features Syd Saylor in his final film role, and a small nod to Bela Lugosi. It was also featured in the Mystery Science Theatre 3000.


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Ouija: Origin of Evil

"Ouija: Origin of Evil" (2016, Mike Flanagan, Allspark Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Hasbro Studios, Platinum Dunes, Universal Pictures) is a film centred around the Hasbro game, Ouija and is the prequel to 2014's film: "Ouija".

Set in LA in the 1960s, we follow the Zander family: widowed mother, Alice (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters, Lina (Annalise Basso) and Doris (Lulu Wilson). Alice is a medium, giving false seances with the help of her children. She tells herself that her job helps her customers cope with their loss, but she's not completely sure herself. As part of her seance kit, Alice picks up a Ouija board game, however, it turns out that at least someone in the house has actual supernatural talent.... and the Ouija board is about to unleash something dark. And angry....

A sequel that is far superior to its predecessor in plot, action and acting. The film is creepy without feeling too tropey. And while it does suffer some plot flaws nearer the end, the characters are extremely relateable and I genuinely felt remorse for some of their losses. By far the best performance was from the youngest star, Lulu Wilson, who absolutely aced her role.

A really rare return to form after what was a severely blah first movie. Definitely worth a watch.

[Image: Blumhouse Productions, et al]


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things

"Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" (1972, Benjamin 'Bob' Clark) is a low budget zombie movie from the man who later brought us 'Black Christmas' and 'Porky's'.

A theatre group lead by a contemptible actor called Alan (Alan Ormsby), sail out to a secluded island graveyard for the night. What begins as a bit of fun ends up going too far when Alan digs up the body of a man called Orville (Seth Sklarey) and then proceeds to perform a ritual supposedly to raise the dead. As the night go on, some of the group become unhappy with the lack of respect they are showing to Orville's body, but it's not long before they have bigger worries when the other underground island tenants begin to rise....

A cheesy horror mostly cast with Clark's friends and college classmates. The acting and scripting are not exactly stellar, but the film manages to cross the so-bad-it's-good-line and venture into cult territory. There's surprisingly little gore but some fun action scenes with zombies attempting to enter the caretaker's house in which the group are hiding.

A great film title, but the plot is just very, very weird and macabre. I'm still not sure why these people would continue to play along with Alan's antics. Personally, I'd rather get fired from the theatre company. But then, I'm not an actress trying to make it in the industry.... A good 70's schlock-fest for movie nights, but don't expect too much.


Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Tall Man

"The Tall Man" (2012, Pascal Laugier, Image Entertainment) is a thriller with a disturbing message masquerading as a horror film. It is not a horror film.

Beware, spoilers below...

A small former mining village called Cold Rock has seen a lot of child disappearances over the years. The villagers have associated these disappearances with an urban legend known as The Tall Man, a figure who is seen taking the children into the woods where they disappear without a trace. Jessica Biel plays Julia, the town's nurse. We see Julia's son, David, being kidnapped and follow her as she fights for his return...

The film starts off as a horror, but quickly boils back to a confusing mystery plot that seemed to be going in a different direction, before quickly jumping in yet another direction and passing into a plot quicksand pit that delivers a garbled message about child abduction being a good thing? Provided, apparently, that the children are taken from the poor and delivered to the rich. Besides this somewhat misguided premise, the film suffers from a jumpy, complex plot which wasn't intriguing enough to make the big twist very forceful.

For me, the only redeeming feature of this film is Biel's character showing injuries throughout the film that didn't miraculously heal themselves in that good ol' fashioned Hollywood manner.

[Image: Image Entertainment]