Tag Archives: horror


Streaming on Netflix

detentionI have already reviewed a film called Detention with a similar basic premise to this film but this has very different style. In fact this film is all about its style and if you find its too-cool-for-school self-aware hipster hilarious then this will be perfect for you. I didn’t like it at all. I think that this film annoyed me so much because it wants desperately to be a cool, culty film but it’s so busy being impressed by itself I felt it vanished up its own fundament.

The hate starts right away with an introduction to some spoilt brat cheerleader character Taylor Fisher (Alison Woods) whose fourth-wall-breaking reality show style narration of herself gets interrupted by the film’s killer in the mask of a cheesy derivative killer Cinderhella from a slasher film series that is popular because it is cheesy trash.

The main character Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell) is introduced by a sequence that deliberate echo of the Angela’s introduction and she’s every bit as self-obsessed as Angela but it manifests as self-pity instead of arrogance. She is also cynical and judgemental and it’s this character who put me off the film because I found her insufferable.

Riley goes to high school to meet the other characters who are the usual bunch of clichés that never get deep below the surface of what the barely literate literati use as labels nowadays. There’s Carlton Davis (Josh Hutcherson) who is a bland adolescent but apparently cool because he doesn’t care and is so random and he has a cheerleader girlfriend called Ione (Spencer Locke) who used be Riley’s best friend until she got a bitch implant and of course Riley fancies Carlton because it is in the script.  Carlton has friend called Sander Sanderson (Aaron David Johnson) who is barely formed just like him but a virgin. Of course there has to be a bully and he is  … who the hell cares really he’s a cartoon character defined completely through the eyes of those who are not him and the film just at laughs at its own attempt to give him a backstory and he’s called Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley) just like theBully in Carrie and he’s a football player

There are various background clichés like the nerdy Asian student called Toshiba and the teachers at the school are the various types of caricatures of the types staff that populate the American High School movie such as the cartoonishly angry football Coach and the Headmaster Verge (Dane Cook) who hates all the kids. The story is so busy giving us all these characters and set up before it finally remembers that there is a killer.

There plot with the serial killer is still somewhere in there and he makes a couple of attempts on Riley but no-one believes her until after a drunken party where Billy Nolan gets killed and Verger puts the main cast and supporting characters in detention to prevent them going to the prom. This is the point where the plot starts piling on the absurdity in the hunt for the killer which includes time travel, an alien modified stuffed bear and a threat to the future of the whole world. The story is certainly not lacking in imagination or audacity. There’s an amusing scene where they are watching Cinderhella on an illegal streaming site and there’s a scene in that film with a bunch of students in detention watching an illegal bootleg DVD of a cheesy horror film which in turn has a scene of students in in detention who watch a bootleg VHS tape of a cheesy horror film. It gave me chuckle

I have been pretty negative about this film but I realise it is not being targeted at me. Many people will love this film and I can completely understand that. It has been compared to Scream and Scott Pilgrim vs The World and that is a reasonable comparison but I don’t think it succeeds like those films. I will not be surprised if this becomes a cult films as it will probably find an appreciative audience out there. I’m just not one of them.

Rating 4.0/10

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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Entertainment, Film


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Big Ass Spider

Video almost on Demand

1656281_586345511459484_2063871959_nThis one of those B-Movies that  parody the genre like many of the Troma films and the much of the output of Full Moon or Roger Corman. It is a creature feature with mad science, a giant deadly monster, gun happy military and a city in peril but it is also mainly a buddy comedy

Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg) is a pest exterminator that takes his work very seriously but despite his experience he still gets bitten by poisonous spider while helping a mad cat lady (Lin Shaye) with her pest problem. He goes the hospital get the bite treated and a dead body is brought in and taken to the morgue. The body turns out to contain the Big Ass Spider and it is already creepy enough at the size of a medium size dog. It bites the morgue attendant and the hospital manager sends Alex down the morgue with Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar) the security guard.

Jose really likes Alex, impressed by his knowledge and self-confidence  and bizarre little spider impersonation he keeps doing and Alex likes the way Jose actually listens to him. They track the spider down in the basement of the hospital and just as it is going jump on Alex Lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer) arrives and shoots at it. While Karly and Alex bicker and Alex tries to put the moves on Karly the spider gets away into the sewers.

The military are led by Major Braxton Tanner (Ray Wise) and they have tracked the spider to the hospital. They have a scientist Lucas (Patrick Bauchau) with them who has of course being doing mad science and created this spider by accident when trying to create giant tomatoes. They thank Alex and send him and Jose on their way though Alex does try to put some moves on Karly again.

Alex is about just walk away but his new buddy Jose talks him around and convinces Alex that he can find the spider. They figure out it is in the drainage tunnels in the LA river but when they get there the army are already there and it’s killed a mob of homeless people by webbing them up, dissolving their bodies with digestive juices then sucking them up. It is grisly but the film avoids showing too much

Alex and Jose track the spider down to the woods in a local park and get there just as the spider goes on a rampage slaughtering people and webbing others. The first victim is a lecherous old jogger that fans of low budget Troma films will recognise as Lloyd Kaufman and he gets eaten to the very obvious sound of someone munching celery. The spider is now as big as an elephant and killing everything in it path. Alex and Jose attract the spider with Alex’s truck and it chases them right into roadblock the army have set up.

There are few surprises in this film which has sees the army give it their best shot with guns and missiles but it  is up to Alex and Jose to actually take down the spider and rescue the girl.  I liked the comedy double act of Alex and Jose and the film reminded be of other films like Tremors though I can’t say the special effects or supporting performances were as good as Tremors. Some of the spider effects looked really creepy but there were times it just looked like a big cartoon.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Entertainment, Film


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John Dies at the End

The Hard Drive

photo_08I have been waiting a while to see this film because I’m a fan of director Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm films and the excellent Bubba Ho Tep but like almost all independent films it never got cinema release and the their UK distributor went bust so there’s still no UK release yet but it is available on iTunes so I downloaded it. I heard very mixed reviews but that just intrigued me more. Fortunately my wait was rewarded with a strange quirky film with a good sense of humour and I  have already watched it a few times.

This film is narrated by its main protagonist David Wong (Chase Williamson), a young man who has a meeting with a writer Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) at a quiet Chinese restaurant. David has something he wants to tell Arnie but the story is so fantastic he is approaching it slowly. The film is basically the stories that David recalls as he talks to Arnie, often in answer to a question from Arnie but there are many asides to the audience too.

There is not a obvious central plot but the stories revolve around the effects of a strange new drug called soy sauce and David’s adventures with his best friend John (Rob Mayes) afte they have taken it. This is a black liquid that seems to move around as if it has life of its own. John gets the drug from a fake Rastafarian who talks bollocks called Robert Marley (Tai Bennett) and he calls David in a panic the morning after. The main effect of the soy is to change the user’s perception of space and time so they can perceive past, present and future in different order. One example is when John is trying to explain this to David and David gets a phone call from John from some other time. One side effect of the soy is the ability to perceive creatures from other dimensions and portals into them.  Now they use their soy abilities to help people who are having strange problems and we it has other properties and other sinister secrets.

There’s a plot of sorts involving a police detective (Glynn Turman) who is investigating the deaths a group of soy users who all exploded including Robert Marley but this only a small part of the film. There’s a charismatic TV psychic Dr Albert Marconi (Clancy Brown) who helps the boys out with guidance and practical assistance when the boys find themselves in over their heads. There’s also a strange intense man called Roger North (Doug Jones) who seems to be wanting to guide the boys.

The lack of overall plot wasn’t too much of problem for me because I liked the characters and their sense of humour. It is a stoner horror and there is a sense that like other stoner films this film is a series of stories linked only by the characters and mood and the conversation between David and Arnie. The effects are weird more than horrific with a mixture of CGI and physical effects with puppets etc and they help create a dreamlike quality to this film that is similar to the feel of the other films Coscarelli has done. I Like the quirky sense of humour and think I’l be watching the film a lot and as a bonus the music is pretty good too.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Gremlins

The Bluray Shelf Xmas Special

gremlins bluray 001

How could something so sweet and cute get a 15 certificate?

This is a popular Xmas film but has a dark streak of humour  that may be a little too grown-up for younger members of the audience even if Gizmo looks like a sweet kiddie friendly ball of fluff. I loved this film the first time I saw it with its Looney Tunes inspired comedy from Joe Dante and I even seem to be one of the few who also enjoyed the even more comedic Gremlins 2

An inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) goes to Chinatown in some city to get his teenage son Billy a Christmas present. A  young Chinese boy promises him that he’ll find something at his grandfather’s junk shop. Randall uses the opportunity to try to sell the owner one of his inventions, a clumsy brick with multiple gadgets that doesn’t really work. Randall hears a strange singing and goes to the back of the shop and in a box he sees a strange creature called a mogwai and Randall wants to buy him offering the owner $200 but he refuses saying that the mogwai is not for sale. The owner’s grandson tells him to wait outside and he brings him the creature and takes the money.

He tells Randall three important rules for caring for a mogwai: bright light hurts him and sunlight kills him, don’t let him get wet or have any contact with water and finally don’t feed him after midnight. As soon I heard them it was obvious that breaking these rules was going to be an important part of this story.

Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) is at home trying to get his car to start so he can get to work at the local bank. He turns up late with his dog and settles down with the dog under his counter. The local nasty rich woman Mrs Deagle ()Polly Holliday comes storming down to the bank, rudely knocking people aside. In the bank she barges right through the queue at Billy’s counter dumping the snowman head on the counter. She’s there because Billy’s dog broke the rest of the snowman. She wants Billy to have to dog put down or she threatens to kill it herself. The dog reacts by freeing itself and jumping on the counter and knocking the head off and it smashes on the floor. This gets Billy in trouble with the manager Mr Corben (Edward Andrews) and his slimy kiss-ass assistant Gerald Hopkins (Judge Reinhold) sticks in a few nasty remarks for good measure.

Billy goes home where his mother (Frances Lee McCain) is preparing dinner and she asks Billy to crack her some eggs. Randall has an invention for doing this but when Billy tries using it he just ends up with a bowl of broken eggs. It is typical of Randall’s inventions that they cause a mess that takes longer to clean up than any time that could possibly be saved if they ever manage to work. Randall comes home and he gets greeted warmly by his wife are Billy When he gives the mogwai to Billy he is delighted and we get our first sight of him and he I’m sure that even if you haven’t seen the film I’m sure you know what the mogwai look like. He’s got great big eyes and is covered in soft hair and it has a huge pair of leathery ears and Peltzer says he calls him Gizmo and Gizmo seems to like that name and repeats it.

Gizmo settles in to his new home though there are a couple of incidents with bright lights that unsettle him. Gizmo really enjoys watching television and he really gets into an old film featuring racing drivers. This does become relevant later. Next day the neighbour’s kid Pete (Corey Feldman) comes round to deliver a Christmas tree for his father. Billy is in the kitchen trying to get orange juice out of one of his father’s inventions but that just leads to Billy and the kitchen covered bits of orange.

After he’s cleaned himself off he takes Pete up to his room to show him Gizmo and Pete is impressed. Gizmo likes showing off but when they move him over to a desk next to the window Pete knocks a jar of water over Gizmo who squeals in agony. His flesh looks like it’s boiling and then five little balls of fur pop off his back. Within minutes the balls swell and uncurl and Billy realises he has five more mogwai on his hands. Pete asks if he can have one but when he reaches his hand out to the five squabbling mogwai one of them tries to bite him and he loses interest. Billy is fascinated but from the look on Gizmo’s disaster is just around the corner. Years before CGI and motion capture they really do an amazing job getting expression from the Gizmo puppet.

Next day Billy takes one of the new mogwai to the Pete’s science teacher Roy Hanson (Glynn Turman) at the local high school and shows what happens when he puts a drop of water on its back creating another little mogwai. Hanson keeps the new mogwai so he can run some tests and Billy takes the other one home. Unlike Gizmo the other mogwai are badly behaved and very mischievous and seem to be led by one with tuft of hair that Billy has named Stripe. That night Billy finds the family dog strung up in Xmas lights on the front porch.He is certain it was Mrs Deagle but from the smirking the face of one of the mogwai they almost certainly did it.

Billy talks to his father about what happened and he starts thinking about perhaps selling off mogwai as pets. Randall has to leave to go to a mad inventors’ convention so he won’t be with home on Christmas Eve. Billy goes out on an errand and he passes the bar where Kate Beringer (Phoebe Cates) his co-worker at the bank works in the evening. She’s seeing the last drunk out of the bar before it closes and it’s Billy’s neighbour Mr Futterman (Dick Miller) who operates a snowplough. Kate talks him out of trying to drive the plough while drunk and he ominously warns them about Gremlins. Billy walks Kate home and he learns that Kate doesn’t like Christmas. Kate does agree to go on a date with Billy later in the week.

At the school Hanson is working very late and he takes a blood sample from the mogwai which he has put in a cage and is very unhappy with him. Billy gets home and settles down to watch Invasion of the Bodysnatchers with Gizmo. The other mogwai are in a box complaining noisily about being hungry so Billy checks the time on his clock and since it’s before midnight he fetches them some chicken which they devour with disgusting haste. Back at the school Hanson goes home leaving half a sandwich next to the cage.

When the morning of Christmas Eve comes and the five mogwai in the box and the one at the school have turned into large green slimy pods. Billy works out that they must have all eaten after midnight except for Gizmo and finds out that his clock was unplugged, almost certainly by one of the mogwai. Hanson reckons this is a pupal stage and that the mogwai are undergoing a metamorphosis. They don’t have any idea what they’re changing into but then they don’t know that they are in a film called Gremlins.

Billy goes to the school and discovers Hanson has been killed by the gremlin in his classroom that has now hatched out of its pupa. The gremlin is not the cute little bundle of mischief it was before the pupal stage. Now it’s a nasty slimy looking malevolent little demon intent on causing chaos.Billy chases it through the school and it takes quite a bit property damage before Billy gives up. He realises that if the gremlins at school is awake so are the ones at home so he calls his mother to warn her.

This is a bit late because Mrs Peltzer has already got her hands full with gremlins in her kitchen. She manages to kill one in the Peltzer orange peeler and juicer then kills a second one with a kitchen knife and gets a third in the microwave. She is attacked by fouth hiding in the Xmas tree but Billy gets home in time to rescue her.  That only leaves Stripe who makes a run for it. After making sure his mother is safe with a doctor neighbour Billy goes back to the house and finds Gizmo stuck in the laundry chute where the gremlins had thrown him. They go off after Stripe who has run off the YMCA. Just as they catch up with him he jumps into the swimming pool. This spells deep shit as Stripe produces hundreds more gremlins so Billy and Gizmo get to hell out of there.

Mr Futterman is at home with his wife trying to watch TV but he can’t get reception because half a dozen gremlins are swinging from his antenna. He goes out to check the antenna and gets chased by the gremlins who are now driving his snow plough. They smash the plough into his house destroying it.

Billy tries to explain the problem to the police but they don’t take him seriously even when he shows them Gizmo who is just too cute and charming to believe the others are a threat. Just then loads of calls come in with reports of chaos all over town. They tell Billy to go home while they drive out to see what’s going on. They don’t notice a gremlin cutting their brake line which quickly takes them out of action.

There is chaos all over town and one group pay a little visit to Mrs Deagle where they try a bit of carol singing. Mrs Deagle hates carol singers but then she hates anything that involves people doing things they enjoy. She has a bucket of cold water ready to throw over them but she gets a bit of a shock when sees five little monsters croaking out a crude impersonation of carol singing.She runs back inside but one of the gremlins screws around with power supply to her stair lift and when she sits down and switches it on it shoots her through a window handfuls her head first in the snow, killing her

At the bar the gremlins are like a really noisy bunch of jocks on a Saturday night and she forced to run about mad to keep the nasty little monsters satisfied with booze to stop them attacking her. We get lots of little scenes of the gremlins doing all sorts of things like a gremlins in an overcoat flashing Kate and a group of gremlins are playing poker with one dressed up as a woman.She is finally rescued by Billy when the gremlins flee from the light from Billy’s headlights. Kate notices the reaction and uses the flash on her camera to get out of the bar.

Kate gets in Billy’s car and meets Gizmo who gives her a bit of a scare. They drive around looking for gremlins but after the chaos from earlier it has gone very quiet. They find out that because have all gone to the movies and are all sitting watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and loving it. This there chance to get all in one go so Billy and Kate fill the place with gas and blow it up

Unfortunately Stripe wasn’t in the cinema since he had gone to get candy in the shop across the street. They need to stop him getting to water and sending them back to square one. Billy goes after Stripe while Kate and Gizmo go to shop’s control room to try to turn on the lights. This doesn’t go well and Kate manages to switch on everything except the lights, including a fountain in the garden centre. Stripe is really giving Billy a hard time using sports equipment and tools from the hardware section to try to kill him.

I think this an excellent comedy horror and it has one those them catchy themes tunes by Jerry Goldsmith that stick around as an ear worm for days after watching it. There is something very appealing about taking all the standard tropes of the small town Xmas celebration and ripping it to shreds with hundreds of rude violent little monsters and I think its a nice antidote to typical Xmas specials. The montage of scenes of the gremlins parodying the pop culture of the time may have dated the film but I think the humour still mostly works. and there are some genuinely scary scenes like the one in cinema with the shadows of the gremilns  cast on the screen as they come to attack Billy, Kate and Gizmo en masse.

Rating 8.0/10

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Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Carrie (2013)

Cinema Review

Carrie 2013 DVD 001I wonder how much point there is giving a separate plot outline in the case of the is film since this remake sticks so close to Brian de Palma’s original film. Some remakes take the original story as a starting point for creating a different story and that can be a great success such as John Carpenter’s The Thing or David Cronenberg’s The Fly or total disasters such as Day of the Dead or the Wicker Man. Other remakes stick to the original story but update the setting and these tend to seem a bit pointless. Unfortunately this Carrie remake falls firmly in the “a bit pointless” category.

This version actually starts with Carrie’s birth and we see Margaret White (Julianne Moore) in labour and sure she is dying of cancer. When the pain goes away she finds she’s given birth to a baby girl and she is about to kill the baby with a pair of scissors out of guilt at her sin of fornication. Fortunately she doesn’t but then it would have been a very short film if she had. It is clear that Margaret White is manically religious and even though she should seek medical help her beliefs won’t allow her to.

Forward to Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz) being just as crap at water volleyball as the original was at volleyball.  We get to shower scene which where Carrie has her first period and thinks she’s dying while the other girls pelt her with tampons and shout “plug it up”. Carrie is hysterical with fear and humiliation by the time the PE teacher Ms Desjardin (Judy Greer) arrives and puts a stop to it. Almost unnoticed in the chaos are clear signs of Carrie’s telekinetic power. Another update for modern times is that one of the girls Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) films it on her mobile phone.

The headmaster and Desjardin talk to Carrie about what happened and assure her that nothing is wrong with her. When they tell Carrie that her mother is coming to collect her Carrie gets upset and lashes out with her nascent power breaking a water cooler. When Margaret arrives it’s clear that her religious mania has not diminished and Carrie has been on the receiving end of her very extreme views all of her life. To Margaret there is her God and herself and the rest of the world is of Satan, especially the school.

Desjardin punishes the whole class with strenuous exercises and let them know what she thinks of their stunt. Most of the class accept their punishment with resignation but Chris is a sociopath and refuses to accept that she did anything wrong. She tries to get her classmates to join in her selfish little rebellion but they refuse especially Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde) who really regrets what they did to Carrie. That leaves Chris stomping of in a huff on her own vowing vengeance so Desjardin suspends her meaning she can’t go to the Prom.

Sue decides that she wants to do something for Carrie to make up for taking part in humiliating her so she talks her hunky jock boyfriend and really nice guy Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort) to take Carrie to the Prom. Carrie is sceptical as is Ms Desjardin but Tommy and Sue is determined and eventually Carrie agrees.

Carrie is really looking forward to the Prom but there are two dark clouds on the horizon. Chris is plotting a way to get back at Carrie and convinces her violent older boyfriend Billy Nolan (Alex Russell) to help her out. Then there is the problem of Margaret White who won’t stop going on about sin and evil and trying to undermine Carrie’s confidence

I won’t talk about the last act at the Prom but if you’ve heard of the story you’re probably aware that everything comes together in a horrific combination of good intentions and petty vengeance resulting in the force of a lifetime of anger breaking free tragically.

The story is strong and this film certainly does a fair job bringing it to the screen and I have no problem with any of the performances of the cast. It does update the story so I guess this film is for anyone allergic to seeing it set in the 70s with 70s fashions but it really doesn’t do anything De Palma’s film didn’t do. For me the main problem it just didn’t make feel the emotions at play the way the original one did and that is most obvious when the film gets to the Prom scene.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


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October Horror Day 20

Horror Journal

I always enjoy a good anthology film. The mix of stories means that if one section is a bit weak it doesn’t last long. The shorter stories also mean that the stories are condensed to the bare bones

The House That Dripped Blood

The framing story here is the investigation the disappearance of a famous actor who lived at a large creepy house with a morbid history. The first three stories are all tales of the fate of the house’s previous occupants that the police sergeant tells Detective Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) about.

Method for Murder: A writer Charles Hillyer (Denholm Elliott) moves into the house with his wife Alice (Joanna Dunham) and starts working on his latest book. To help himself he creates a sketch of his main character; an ugly brutish killer called Dominick. When Charles starts seeing the man that he created he starts to think that he is losing his grip on reality.

Waxworks: Philip Grayson (Peter Cushing) moves to the house to retire for a quiet life in the country and to get over the recent death of the woman he loved. One day he visits a horror museum in town and is captivated by the figure of Salome. He is disturbed by his feelings and tries to stay away. Then Philip gets a visit from Neville Rogers (Joss Ackland), an old friend and love rival. They take a trip into town and Neville insists on visiting the horror museum where he too falls under the spell of the wax figure of Salome

Sweets to the Sweet: John Reid (Christopher Lee) recently widowed man with a young daughter moves into the house. He hires a nanny Ann Norton (Nyree Dawn Porter) to look after the daughter when he is away on business and to take of her education. Ann grows increasingly concerned about the cold hostile way John treats his daughter and is even more worried to learn that it is out of fear of the girl. This one of those tales with a truly horrifying ending that is only implied rather than show it in all its gruesomeness

The last story is told to inspector Holloway by the estate agent leasing the house as it involves the case that he is working on.

The Cloak: This is the cheesiest and lightest of the stories. A pompous arrogant actor Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee) moves into the house because it is close to the studio where he working on his latest schlock horror film with his co-star Carla Lind (Ingrid Pitt). Paul is not happy with e low budget efforts of his producers and is especially upset by the tacky cloak they have for his vampire character so he buys one himself in an old costumiers shop

V.H.S. 2

The framing story here is a bit of an improvement over the thieving shits from the first film. This time we have a pair of private detectives looking into disappearance of a teenager by his mother. They go to house he was staying in and find piles of VHS cassettes all over the house. One detective goes to search the house while the other starts watching the videos to try and get to an idea of what is going on. Like the first film there are different uses of found footage to tell the stories

Phase1 Clinical Trials: This segment is about Herman (Adam Wingard), a man who has been given an experimental artificial eye that records everything it sees. He returns home and is having no problems until night comes and he starts seeing ghosts who also seem aware that he can see them. He learns from Clarissa (Hannah Hughes), a woman who recently had an ear implant, that he’s not he only one that this is happening to. The POV footage in this segment really worked nicely.

A Ride in the Park: An off-road cyclist (Jay Saunders) is wearing a helmet cam for his ride through the woods and he comes across zombies and rinds himself in ride of his life. This is really excellent use of the POV camera and I really liked this segment though it did feel short.

Safe Haven: A team of investigative journalists manage to convince a cult leader simply called Father (Epy Kusnandar) to let them film inside one of his compounds. They have normal large cameras and spy cameras so they can film anywhere Father doesn’t want them to. Father seems to have something big planned for their visit and what at first seems like a suicide cult turns out to be something much worse.

Slumber Party Alien Abduction: A teenager and his friends are bugging his older sister and friends with juvenile pranks which they film on their camcorders. One prank is putting a camera on their pet dog to film the sister with her boyfriend. While boyfriends is chasing them away they see lights over the lake and aliens arrive and you can probably guess what comes next just from the title of this segment.

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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: I Sell the Dead

October Horror Month

This light-hearted comedy horror about the lives and deaths of a pair of body-snatchers is everything that Burke and Hare wasn’t and that is charming and genuinely funny. I’ve always liked Dominic Monaghan and this is another great part for him. This film appeared with no fanfare or publicity on the DVD shelves and not many people have heard of it which is a pity.

The film opens with execution of Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden) by guillotine. Arthur Blake, his partner in crime, is sitting in his cell waiting on his turn and he gets a visit from a priest Father Francis Duffy (Ron Perlman). Duffy wants hear all about Blake’s life of crime as a warning to others of where such a life leads. Blake has been charged with murder but he denies this charge but is happy to admit to the crime of bodysnatching. He was found by the authorities by a trail of body parts to his door which is an insult to Blake’s intelligence. This was the same evidence that they used to catch Willie.

Blake is reluctant to speak but as soon Duffy produces a bottle of booze his tongue loosens up and he tells his story in flashback. He first started working for Willie as a boy of about twelve. Willie was going to kill him and sell his corpse but instead he took him on as an apprentice. Willie taught him all the tricks of the trade but for many years they worked exclusively for Dr Vernon Quint (Angus Scrimm), a medical researcher with a big demand for fresh corpses and enough dirt on Grimes and Blake to keep them from quitting. With the families of the dead getting more active at protecting their dead relatives they have to get more creative at finding bodies for Quint. When Blake’s auntie dies he goes to the house where her corpse is laid out for a wake and fakes grief so he can be alone to steal the body.

Ronnie the landlord at their local bar is a good source of information on jobs and he tells them about a corpse that changes their lives. Blake explains that they had just been body snatchers digging up the dead but with this job they became ghouls who would dig up anything dead or undead. It’s not too hard to guess what that means about what they dig up out on the moors in a remote grave in unhallowed ground at a crossroads. They find the corpse of a young woman with a stake through her chest and a wreath of garlic bulbs around her neck. Willie is worried by this but Blake tosses away the garlic wreath calling it superstitious gobshite. He pulls out the stake and they get ready to load the body onto the cart. But the body gets up the two men run. She is a vampire but they never call her that. The cart breaks it wheel and they see the vampire in front of them. Grimes runs off and Blake approaches the woman who turns and leaps at him. Willie appears hits her off Blake with shovel and she disappears only to leap at them later and attack Grimes who was holding the wooden stake and he stabs into her and she drops dead again. He pulls it out and puts it in again, repeating this until Blake tells him to stop it. Grimes somes up a cunning plan. They deliver the body to Dr Quint and of course when he’s alone and removes the stake from body the vampire wakes up and kills him

Now they are free of Dr Quint they can work for themselves and digging up the undead and other strange things is much more profitable than normal body-snatching  Duffy asks if they had any dealing with rival gang of ghouls called the Murphy family and tells Duffy about a very strange job where the earth of the grave is frozen. They uncover a small casket that is too cold to touch and when they are carrying it they drop it and it breaks open. The creature is the familiar grey ET of modern UFO lore but they’ve seen nothing like it before. Blake lifts the body which is not frozen and much easier to carry. They get stopped by Cornelius Murphy (John Speredakos) who politely demands they give him the corpse. Grimes doesn’t want to cross Cornelius and tells Blake to do what he says but it took them hours to dig up the corpse and he’s having none of it. The two men struggle over the body but there’s a sudden flash a light and the body has vanished.

Duffy wants to know more about their dealings with the Murphy family and Blake talks about them. He describes Cornelius Murphy as a mad bastard from a long line of mad bastards whose father is an evil sadistic bastard and runs the family business from the background. Then there’s Valentine Kelly (Heather Bullock) whose face was badly disfigured in a fire so she wears a mask but she shows her face to the people she is about to kill. Lastly is Bulger (Alisdair Stewart), a large powerhouse who lost all his teeth so Cornelius got him transplanted with dog’s teeth. Ronnie tells Blake and Grimes about a big money job retrieving two crates that have washed up on a nearby island containing Romero type zombies. The only drawback is that the Murphys have already been hired for the job and Blake and Grime don’t mess with the Murphys. However thy have taken on an apprentice called Fanny Briers (Brenda Cooney) and she wants them to go for it. With some sex and constant nagging she eventually gets her way. This leads them to a showdown with Murphy family and the zombies that I won’t spoil but it certainly leaves the way open for a sequel.

I think this a great fun film with a nice cheeky sense of dark humour. Larry Fessenden and Dominic Monaghan are a good comedy double act and their banter carries the film. There’s a pulpy horror comic feel to story and in fact there is a comic book version of the film included in DVD box. I really enjoyed the story and the characters but it’s a film that doesn’t get a lot of attention and I think that it deserves a wider audience

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Film


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Review: Idle Hands

I always have a lot of fun watching this stoner comedy horror. It is definitely more comedy than horror and while it has a few moments of tension  especially towards the end it never loses its humorous tone. Sure the plot is full of holes but it never really became an issue for me. I liked the characters and the silly story and it had some nice special effects. It has also has a good rock soundtrack which is always a bonus to me, including the Offspring actually appearing in the film.

Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa) is a stoner waste-of-space who lives his parent’s attic and spends all his life getting stoned and watching TV with his friends Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson). He sleeps through his parents being murdered and barely notices the town in a panic over several more murders. The only thing that gets his lazy arse moving is running out of weed. He tries to get more from Mick and Pnub but has no luck getting grass from them. He gets slagged off over his pathetic infatuation with Molly (Jessica Alba), a girl who lives across the street from him that he’s too shy to talk to.

Anton goes to the shops to get supplies and returns home. After he finds a blood-covered knife he finally finds his parent’s bodies and he thinks the killer might still be in the house. Mick and Pnub come around and when Mick examines the bodies he finds a scrap of torn cloth in Mrs Tobias’ hand. Anton is frightened and confused when he realises that it came from his own T-shirt. Mick wants to the call the police but Anton stops him and his right hand suddenly seems to have mind of its own. It takes a broken bottle and stick’s it into Mick’s head, killing him. Pnub freaks out while Anton’s hand tries to kill him and Anton tries to warn him to get away. As Pnub tries to get out Anton’s hand tosses circular saw blade at him slicing off his head.

While Anton is trying to calm down and think his psychotic hand throws the pet cat out of the window. He goes out to find the cat which landed in Molly’s garden and his hand rings her doorbell. When she comes to the door Anton has to cover up his crazy hand and try to stop it killing Molly. Molly finds his crazy behaviour attractive and she takes him up to her bedroom. Molly wants to make out but his hand still wants to kill her so Anton ties it to her bedpost which Molly thinks is kinky and she likes it.

Anton goes back home and buries his parents and friends. Just when he finishes he hears Mick calling him from under the ground. Both his friends are re-animated but not as zombies, just as walking corpses that are just the same as when they were alive lounging about the house watching TV. Pnub has to carry his head around under his arm while Mick has the bottle sticking out of his head.

Anton is desperate for help but then he’s also very dumb so the only person he a can think of to ask help is his heavy metal loving neighbour Randy who is pissed that Anton thinks he’s an expert on occult just because he listens to heavy metal. All he has is the hoary old saying “The devil find’s work for idle hands.” Anton takes his advice tries to keep hands busy with knitting but when two very dumb cops burst into his house after seeing the bodies of Mick an Pnub sitting in his living room his hand quickly kills them before he can stop it.

Anton is desperate now so he cuts off the hand. Mick and Pnub leave to get munchies and bandages for Anton’s arm  and his severed evil hand attacks him. He throws it in the microwave and cooks it while Molly bangs at his door. He goes out to talk to Molly but while he’s gone Pnub and Mick come back and the let the hand out of the microwave.

Help is actually on its way in the form of a druidic priestess Debi LeCure (Vivica A. Fox) who has been chasing the demon possessing Anton’s hand and has a magic dagger that can kill it. She tracked down its previous host but quickly realises it has moved on and she traces it to Anton’s town simply by tracing the murders it commits. She runs into Randy at the bowling alley where she tells him who she is and what she’s looking for telling him the hand posses the weakest laziest people. It is an amazing coincidence that she met Randy who remembers Anton saying his hand was evil and he tells where Anton lives.

Anton, Mick and Pnub  head for their school’s Halloween dance ‘borrowing’ Randy’s van and everyone thinks they are in costume. Mick fixed Pnub’s back on with a toasting fork and some duct tape so his head a bit loose. This is one of those school dances that only exist in films where they have booked a reasonably well-known band to play, in this case The Offspring. Anton interrupts the band to try to warn everyone they are in danger and just then the hand strikes, scalping the group’s singer and causing panic then it goes on a murder rampage.

Molly and her friend Tanya escape into a large air duct (another film land exclusive) but the hand follows them. When they are trying to escape through a large lethal fan the hand kills Tanya in the fan and captures Molly, intending to use her in ritual sacrifice and take her back to hell. Anton and his friends arrive just in time to save her, with a bit of help from a superbong and more weed. This doesn’t finish the hand which attacks Mick but Debi arrives and kills it with the knife.

The story is very silly and full of holes but it allows for a lot of gross out stoner humour which is what I like about this film. The characters are funny and likeable and seem immune to taking anything seriously. I’m sure that Evil Dead 2 was an influence on this film and Devon Sawa was pretty good at acting as if his hand was out of control. I think if you like stoner humour you will probably enjoy this.

Rating 7/10

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: The Relic

This 90s creature horror is clearly nonsense and although the cast do try to create a believable story it gets dragged down to a climax of chases in dark tunnels and it isn’t as much fun as it should be.

The film starts in the jungles of Brazil where anthropologist John Whitney has gotten a little too involved in his research into tribal customs and is tripping off his balls while a medicine woman laughs at him. Next we see a panicky Whitney at the docks trying to stop his collection from being sent to the Natural History Museum in Chicago but he fails so he stows away in the ship to continue his search for his crates. Several weeks later the ship is found adrift in Lake Michigan and the crew are missing or dead, their bodies found floating in the bilge tank.

John Whitney’s crates arrive at the museum having been sent by air freight and not on the death ship. The museum curator Dr. Ann Cuthbert (Linda Hunt) is busy organising a large fundraising benefit and is only interested what artifacts he has sent them. His colleagues are also worried that they haven’t heard from him. Dr. Frock (James Whitmore) opens the crates and in one he finds a statue of a native god called Cthugga, an evil-looking chimera sitting the skulls of its victims that we last saw back in the hut of the medicine woman in Brazil. In the second crate they find only leaves covered in a strange fungus. Evolutionary biologist Dr. Margo Green is curious abou the fungus and takes the leaves away for further examination.

That night a security guard at the museum is violently slaughtered by a creature. Homicide detective Lieutenant D’Agosta (Tom Sizemore) is in charge of the case and right away thinks there’s a connection between the dead bodies on the ship and the security guard’s death. He discovers that the bodies all have their hypothalamus removed from their brain and is immediately interested when he finds out that Whitney was working in Brazil where the ship came from. The initial suspicion is that killers working for a drug gang are responsible because they don’t know there’s a monster on the prowl.

Margo had left the leaves in box in her lab and a beetle had crawled in. Later a monstrous mutated beetle emerges from the box and she kills it right away. She discovers that the fungus is full of powerful animal hormones that seem to not only cause gigantism but recombine the genes of different species to form  monstrous chimera.

A couple of cops searching the museum’s basement are attacked by a crazed homeless guy covered in blood and they shoot him dead. The museum security chief is very happy about this because it means that they can go ahead with their big benefit night. D’Agosta is less happy and still demands that police are present. He’s worried that dead crazy guy doesn’t explain the missing hypothalamus and feels that the killer is still at large.

Of course D’Agosta is right; the creature is creeping around and attacks the security guards in the control room and sets off the security system and the sprinklers and it wrecks the power. It attacks the room full of rich people and everyone freaks out and most of them panic and run. But the security doors come down sealing a group inside, including the City’s mayor.

After they have done lot of shouting a cop manages to talk a group of them into finding an alternative way out through the basement. A group of injured people and annoying pricks wait by the main door for the police to break through and rescue them. This group don’t last very long and nor do the police that attempt to break through the domed ceiling and abseil down.

This leaves the group heading through the basement, D’Agosta searching for the creature with a police dog and a few scientists in the lab area including Margo and Dr. Frocke who have found what the creature is but this discovery is pretty irrelevant. It doesn’t help them figure how the kill the creature. After a lot of repetitive chase scenes through dark tunnels and dark corridors they eventually kill the creature and the survivors all get out of the museum.

This film does have some goods parts. The acting is okay and creature effects are pretty good but the story is pretty stupid and it really starts to drag in the second half. A lot of time is spent on a subplot about the petty politics of competing for research funding but it’s just uninteresting jibber jabber. Many of the characters are just thin stereotypes with one obstructive prick and an ass-kisser created to give a cheap thrill of seeing them killed.

I suppose for a dumb no-brainer film it passes the time harmlessly enough but I found it a bit too dull and cheesy

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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Review: Intruders

This is a fairly competent psychological horror that has plenty of scary moments but it wasn’t very memorable and ultimately I don’t think I’m going to remember much about this film in a couple of weeks time.

A nightmarish faceless creature called Hollowface haunts two different children in two different countries and we keep cutting between the two stories. In Spain a ten-year-old boy called Juan (Izán Corchero) sees a hooded figure climb scaffolding into his house in the middle of the night. The figure attacks his mother Luisa (Pilar López de Ayala) and when he screams at the creature to stop, it grabs the boy and tries to escape with him but Luisa manages to pull Juan to safety. After that every night Juan lies in bed seeing Hollowface forming out of the shadows and coming after him.

In England twelve-year-old Mia (Ella Purnell) is a bright cheerful young schoolgirl but after she finds a piece of paper hidden in a tree with the story of Hollowface and tries to pass it off as her own in school she finds herself being haunted by a creature she knows is fiction. Her father John Farrow (Clive Owen) [so that’s Mia Farrow!? okay] tries to reassure her that it’s just her imagination but he gets attacked by Hollowface too.

John calls in the police but despite the assurance that the attacker has probably gone Hollowface returns. In Spain Luisa turns to the church and Father Antonio (Daniel Brühl) to help Juan with an exorcism to get rid of Hollowface. As the film goes on we learn who Hollowface is and the two separate stories come together.

This film does a pretty good job building up the tension and the visuals with Hollowface are pretty scary and it had a feel of a Guillermo del Toro story. As the film starts revealing its secrets things start getting a lot less satisfying. I can’t really say what it is about the ending I didn’t like as it’s a spoiler but I don’t things were wrapped up all that well. The film looks good and the cast are fairly convincing so if you want a creepy watch it might be worth seeing but it’s not a classic.

Rating 6.5/10


Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Entertainment, Film


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