Haunted Transmissions Vol 1

Please note there will be spoilers..

So the brain fart behind this list, with all the best intentions, was to collate a bunch of movies where some kind of media has been possessed, cursed or a strange entity is controlling, and in turn is spreading itself via modern(ish) technology such as video, photography or radio signals etc.

Throughout history fairy tales and horror stories were filled with twisted tales of cursed items, a spinning wheel here, fake food there, red dancing shoes everywhere. The notion of something being cursed isn’t new at all but the type of items that surround us everyday have changed and it’s only natural that they too become subject to this affliction of being cursed or possessed.

For me the first memorable modern story featuring haunted media was in the Koji Suzuki 1991 novel The Ring, where a girl, Sadako is able to project her hate onto a video tape where the viewer is given 7 days to live after watching the abstract footage. The video description was chillin it kept cutting out going back every few seconds, it’s not until the end of the novel you realise it was literally looking through the eyes of Sadako and perceiving her blinking.

In the original book Sadako possess the paranormal trait known as Nensha, the ability of Psychic Photography but it was okay as a book in the written format you could only read about the video recording, the actual recording didn’t exist, although things really changed when the movie was released, all hell broke loose in fact, with people losing their shit about a real curse. The cursed video tape remains a constant fixture in the movie and book series, eventually it begins to evolve into other formats both in fiction and in the mass hysteria that it caused, there were reports of Japanese school girls losing their minds about reading reports about the tape and then dying 7 days later, had their raised a tulpa? Is the power of suggestion that strong, Ring mania has begun.

Nensha, is the ability to burn thoughts onto photographs, was around a long time before Koji Suzuki’s groundbreaking novel, the earliest claim comes from Tomokichi Fukurai around 1910 and even Uri Geller jumped onto that bandwagon in 1995. The only evidence that I’ve seen of this in a movie was the darkly comical Premonition (2004) and that’s when I started this magical list, but 16 years later here I go with my first installment…

So here we go 10 Haunted Transmission movies, please note that these are not rated in anyway. Continue reading Haunted Transmissions Vol 1

Flatliners (1990)

Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. USA. 1h 55m

One question has plagued mankind since the dawn of time, what happens after death? Is there a big party in the sky, do you get to rekindle your relationships with your ancestors? But what happens if you just enter the afterlife and return, does this make you a god among mortal men? In Joel Schumacher’s science fiction thriller, the question is raised and sharply dodged as the cast fumble around personal nightmares and repetitive resuscitation scenes.

Shortly after his greatest achievements, Lost Boys (1987) and St Elmo’s Fire (1985) he came back with this pious theological piece, which is dramatic but becomes silent and empty when it attempts to give reason and answer to it’s meaning, in fall fairness it’s hard to answer what lies after death but if you’re going to make a movie about it, you really should have a theoretical process in place. Continue reading Flatliners (1990)

Sweet Virgina (2017)

Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young, Jared Abrahamson .USA/Canada 1h 35m,

For the most part this dark neo-noir thriller takes two distinctive strong men and the troubles that surround them, highlights their strengths and weaknesses, then crash them together in the mist of a brutal cash for murder in a small American town and watches the fireworks blow them apart in a spectacular and emotive fashion.

A puzzling stranger sends bloody shock waves through a close knit community, after committing three brutal cold blooded murders. In the wake of the devastation of the remote and bleak Alaskan town, a tightly wound drifter Elwood (Abbott) checks into a motel run by Sam (Bernthal) a former Rodeo star, having retired he is making ends meet with this new venture to motel keeping but he’s a deeply troubled soul. Continue reading Sweet Virgina (2017)

Against The Wish (2020)

Director: GF. Emeka Nnakihe
Starring: Yul Edochie, Joyce Kalu, TC.Okafor, Precious Chukwueke, David Osagie.Nigeria. 4h+

There comes a time in a person’s life when they have to think about how they wish to be buried, cremated, sent off, returned to their ancestors! This is usually a somber time but one where someone’s true beliefs in the after life and their burial must be honored and treated with utmost respect.

What comes after the burial is sometimes utter turmoil for the family who are often more concerned with the family wealth, but the sparks begin to fly with this prestigious Nigerian family before their patriarch, The Loin, is in the ground and things only get hotter. Continue reading Against The Wish (2020)

Burial Ground : The Nights of Terror (1981)

Director: Andrea Bianchi.
Starring. Karin Well, Cianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattoli,Antonella Antinori, Pietro Barzocchini. Italy. 1h 25m.

AKA Nights of Terror, Zombi Horror, The Zombie Dead, Zombie 3

This seems to be one of the long-lost zombie films of the 80’s, but there’s a reason why this isn’t talked about that much in the same circles as Fulci, Argento and D’Amato.

During the 70’s and early 80’s Italian cinema became saturated with dark tales of zombies and ghouls coming back from the dead to feast on the living. While Burial Grounds seems to follow all the popular trends of the golden age it somehow does this without much of a narrative. but still remains a fan favourite and is admittedly a very unexpected thrilling viewing experience. Continue reading Burial Ground : The Nights of Terror (1981)

Excalibur (1981)

Director: John Boorman.
Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.

Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)

The AOFA Short Introduction and History of Bigfoot and B Movies.

Since my uncle gave me my first secondhand copy of Fortean Times back in about 1986 I’ve been hooked on the paranormal and the earth’s mysteries, everything from spontaneous human combustion, ghosts and possession, to UFO’s, rolling rocks and Bigfoot. I’m not saying I believe everything I read about these subjects but I enjoy a great skeptical tour of those unusual things which are often talked about around the campfire.

It seems that some monsters and paranormal entities are easily adapted to the big screen, I couldn’t fathom how many ghost or vampire movies have been created to date but the number of Bigfoot movies are probably outnumbered by the sightings.

Each yeah more explorers and adventurers seem to find more shaky cam blurry footage of the elusive creature, more books are written, more strange stories catch small press headlines. The latest was only yesterday (literally why I am writing this today, lord knows when I’ll post it. but on the 25 January 2020, in Washington, traffic cameras supposedly caught a hairy hominid and you can see the evidence on Twitter (https://twitter.com/WSDOT_East/status/1220090003805442048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fkatu.com%2Fnews%2Flocal%2Fwsdot-camera-captures-images-of-figure-that-might-be-sasquatch) Continue reading The AOFA Short Introduction and History of Bigfoot and B Movies.

Monster Island (2019)

Director: Mark Atkins
Starring: Adrian Bouchet, Jonathan Pienaar, Natalie Robbie, Donna Cormack Thomson, Chris Fisher, Eric Roberts, Toshi Toda .USA/South Africa. 1h 29m

Trying to blend ancient folklore monsters into a modern sci-fi story just makes for a really poor Godzilla rip off seem like goldust in comparison. But coming from Mark Atkins, the B Movie god who made a slew of strange shark movies, it’s interesting to see some attempt to add in a backstory for once.

Using a mediterrainan style setting (although filmed in South Africa) there’s an attempt to make things seem exotic and distant, tropical and mysterious, but the research team who had enough warnings makes a terrible set of decisions and set themselves on a path of destruction in order to chase a giant critter that they witnessed crushing their expensive equipment, just because.

Adrian Bouchet stars as Billy Ford, who’s in charge of an advanced remote deep sea diving team, but when they witness a giant tentacle crush one of their remote machines, while setting up a demonstration for a rich backer, they decide to go in deep and investigate. Billy and his team seem to have access to everything, private choppers, boats, subs, both robotic and remote controlled but not much common sense. When they notice that the top of Reveen has vanished and is in fact a living lava blooded monster, they decide to fight back. This strange crustacean/octopus monster manages to kill a nuclear armed Russian sub but they get away and then luckily the government inspector who forced her way on board to make sure they are all working to strict guidelines, remembers that high university professor tried to teach her about these legendary monsters but she thought her tutor was talking shit, so they fly over and pick her up.. Sometimes I wish my life was this simple. Either way they awake a giant “Guardian” who isn’t Godzilla so the movie begins to not only let its audience down but things are now depressing as well.

Bouchet comes across like a cub scout leader, the tutor seems a bit away with her meds and Eric Roberts pops up from time to time as some admiral or something but all he does is shout down a phone with Toshi Toda wandering around in the background (maybe they skyped in their performances?) The special effects are terrible, when you don’t have money for good or intelligently lead CGI then just don’t go there, for a production like this I’d have been more impressed with a man in a suit, I’m an advocate for more monster men in suits if you didn’t guess.

Like all of those “terrible sharknado movies” this one is a switch off and drink a beer to make it interesting kidna popcorn flick, at times it has a few interesting links to a fake mythos but the usual abysmal rubbish that often gets served up on syfy, why i don’t know…

Rating: 2/10

R: Planet of the Sharks (2016), Sand Sharks (2012), Jack the Giant Killer (2013)
L: 20 Wonderful Made-for-television sci-fi disaster movies
5s: Mark Atkins
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Trailer

Torture Ship (1939)

Director: Victor Halperin.
Starring: Lyle Talbot, Charleton Young, Irving Pichel, Shelia Bromley, Skelton Knaggs . USA. 49m
Based on: A Thousand Deaths by Jack London.

The notable short story from the creative and imaginative Jack London in 1899 saw a mad scientist experiment with death, finding new ways to kill and revive the protagonist with crazed experiments that lead to yet another more deadly invention to aid escape once the experiments get more depraved! This compelling sci fi story inspired the 1932 White Zombie director, Victor Halperin; to develop his rendition, not just based on any ship, but the mysterious Torture Ship.

Halperin speeds through through his story in record timing, and in under an hour he’s arranged a few twists and turns, alongside a whirlwind romance as a group of cons try to go about their daily lives on board a cruise while not giving away their criminal backgrounds but not realising that’s why they have been forced together on this particular ship by a crazed scientist with a fever dream. Continue reading Torture Ship (1939)

Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)

Director: Elliott Goldner.
Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Lee Arnold, Patrick Godfrey. UK. 1h 29m.

There are some strange going on in Elliott Goldner’s dark found footage horror set in the beautiful rural Devon landscape. After a miracle at a small church close to being closed down, a team of Vatican expert investigators and a plucky technician head out to prove or disprove the supernatural activity only to discover the truth is harder to believe than the miracle.

Goldner successfully sets up a plausible reason for the cameras and maintains a really good combination of shaky and static cam set up. Starting in South America the camera follows the authorities barging into an abandoned church, Brother Deacon (Kennedy) is screaming into the phone that everyone is missing as the cops find hidden microphones and equipment, it’s an obvious religious scam, “get that camera out of my face” fade to black. Continue reading Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)