Director: Sergio Martino.
Starring. Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson. Italy. 1h 40m.
Somewhere in this science fiction fantasy horror, there is a great director who’s floundering out of his depths. Martino has some crackers under his belt including All the Colours of the Dark (1972).
Starting with a murder is always the best way to start a Giallo and Martino with all this previous experience kept to his tradition, a couple embark on a shifty night time mission to find hidden treasures, only to be met with clawed fish hands and bloody death in the (surprisingly well lit) dank caves of an unknown island, along with their mercenary crew who are slaughtered by the same hands along the shore. A short while later in 1891 a military doctor Lieutenant Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) survives not one but two shipwrecks and ends up on a mysterious island with a handful of prisoners survived with him. On this strange isle the are faced with hunger and some of the convicts meet grisley ends with the fishmen and the survivors flee into the jungle only to encounter Edmond Rackham (Johnson) who’s a sadistic douchebag who’s on a power hungry ego trip, alongside him is a stunning captive, Amanda (Bach). Continue reading L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia WIlliams, Djimon Hounsou, Julianne Moore. USA/UK/Russia 1h 42m
Based on The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
In principle the story is ok, I’m pretty sure the better selling novel by Joseph Delaney is worth a read if fantasy is your thing, but in this bizarre adaptation there’s no longer anything particularly outstanding. Which is totally bizarre as it has all the ingredients, great actors, many who have starred in many fantasy movies, a Russian director, and without prejudice some of the most inventive fantasy movies have come from the region, topped with a lavish story, this should have blown many pairs of socks off, but it could barely figure out how to put them on.
Opening at a weird stage in the story, we see a man locking away a screaming woman in a remote hold in a vacant landscape, is alludes to this being the outcome of an epic battle between Mother Malkin (Moore) an evil witch and Gregory (Bridges) a member of a knightly order called the Falcons who dedicate their lives defending mankind from supernatural threats. Continue reading The Seventh Son (2014)
Director: Julius Avery
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk USA. 1h 50m
I didn’t know anything about this movie before I started seeing it’s backlash, but I personally believe that it’s a mistake to look at Overlord as a Horror movie, it’s just a Blackened Action War movie. The mechanism is generally simple, good guy Americana vs pure evil monster nazi,in between there’s a overnight coming of age, us and them dynamics and any excuse to shoehorn in some swearing and mild violence. Overall I find that the film sits neatly between a homage to lurid EC Comics series like Tales from the Crypt and the Wolfenstein video games, without taking it too seriously or trying to fit it neatly into historical facts I really enjoyed the black lead cast in their sometimes gory adventure, it’s not a great film, there’s nothing truly outstanding but for me it’s incredibly enjoyable. Continue reading Overlord (2018)
Director: Jim Henson.
Starring. David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, USA. 1h 47m.
It’s hard to write to about films that have been around so long, that are so wildly popular, but alas it’s a film that I’ve seen; many times and therefore it has a place on my illustrious blog, but don’t expect me to take this review all that serious, because that would be boring and this film like so many other Henson productions always suggest that you shouldn’t take life too serious.
The film is a meeting of three great talents and a lavish history of children’s fairy tales, arranged and directed by Jim Henson’s who made a range of amazing creatures in all sizes, all built around the twisted imagination of renowned Brian Froud, and with the presence of David Bowie the film already has enough credentials for perfection, and it literally all the ingredients you need for the faultless fantasy film. Continue reading Labyrinth (1986)
Director: Corin Hardy.
Starring. Taissa Farmigna, Demian Bichir, Bonnie Aarons, Jonas Bloquet. USA. 1h 36m.
Supposedly the most terrifying chapter of the Conjuring Universe!! *queue the dramatic music* We have the NUN!!! *queue lightning and scary sound effects* But they say that about every new Conjuring related movie.
The Conjuring turned out to be a pretty decent horror movie a touch of class and a dash of “run of the mill” but overall it had a mix of scares and thrills which really enthralled it’s audience, detailing a real life couple who get their pleasures from investigating hauntings and other paranormal events. In their debut they mentioned Annabelle, a haunted doll unlike any other, and her short creepy clip gave way to a full length movie, which did ok, my only gripe is that it really should have featured a doll which resembled the original. But after the abysmal rendition of the Enfield haunting which was subject of the Conjuring 2, a new unrelated character got shoehorned into the mix, a rather scary Nun, and now she has her centre stage, but sadly she doesn’t get to play much in her own film. Continue reading The Nun (2018)
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring:George Kennedy, Chris Lemmon, Gregg Henry, Deborah Benson. USA. 1h 42m
While gearing up to write a review for Satan’s Little Helper (2004) I finally deciding to actually investigate who directed it and low and behold it happens to be the pretty well known director Jeff Lieberman better known for his earlier films such as Squirm (1976) and the hippy flashback from hell Blue Sunshine (1978) but while I passed through life totally oblivious to directors, I never would have connected the two as the style is so very different but in between these amazing varied classics comes another slightly different movie, a backwoods slasher with a very different atmosphere to a lot of the other genre specific slashers of the era. Just Before Dawn is a menacing thriller that takes a very sly stab from time to time. Continue reading Just Before Dawn (1981)
AKA Non Si deve profance il sonno dei morti, Don’t Open the Window, the film officially has 15 titles, so take your pick..
Director: Jorge Grau
Starring: Ray Lovelock. Arthur Kennedy, Cristina Galbo. Spain/Italy. 1h 35
There’s a subtle Giallo twist to this unusual but gripping science fiction zombie flick, undead, mystery, giallo, car crash, sci fi horror, pesticides, it’s got so much going on but all to the backdrop of the gorgeous English countryside and littered with the creeping dead.
The film focuses on two protagonists who until their vehicle crash led two totally different lives, there’s Edna (Galbó) Who’s trying to visit her family and the brash George (Lovelock) a hot tempered and pushy individual but his drive really powers the action. Continue reading The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Starring: Jinpachi Nezu,Mako Hyōdō . Japan . 1h 15m
This avant grade collaboration between Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii is like a waking dream, the film has very little dialogue and what is said is as fragmented as the action within the film. The sparse plot, while linear, doesn’t really suggest a solid straight forward narrative but, but instead has a hazy, “make of it as you will” atmosphere. It’s very easy to sum this up as “Animated Art House” rather than a film with direct meaning and purpose, but it continues to inspire with its unfamiliar themes and dark visuals.
There are two main characters, a young girl who lives in an abandoned building near an abandoned town, a man appears on the shore watching a temple like orb raise from the ocean, and he descends silently into the town. Meanwhile the girl collects her giant egg, an object she protects each day by stuffing it under her dress, and heads into the eerie neo gothic town to scavenge for food and bottles to collect water in. She wanders around looking through windows and only gets startled when the man arrives on a biotechnical tank their silent glare results in the girl running away and the man slowly following after her. Continue reading Tenshi no Tamago / Angel’s Egg (1985)
Director: Lance Daly.
Starring. Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keogham, Sarah Greene. USA. 1h 40m.
This brilliantly dark poetic revenge flick from the bleakest part of Irish history is rough but so intense. Based on the Irish Language short called An Ranger by PJ Dillon and Pierce Ryan, this lengthy retelling is focused on an Irish Ranger returning home from war and finding his homeland is very different to how he left it.
Starting on another tangent, the film opens with Hanna (Weaving) losing his temper with a prisoner, a member of the Young Irelander movement, while losing his temper he strangles the man he sips from his canteen while another guard realises Hannah has killed the prisoner.
Meanwhile Martin Feeney (Frechville) a former Connaught Ranger arrives in Connemara, west Ireland in 1847, the worst part of the Great Famine, he finds family home hollowed out and filled with pigs, he learns that his mother died from starvation and his brother was hanged after stabbing a bailiff during the family’s evection. Feeney stays with his brothers widow (Greene) who are squatting in one of the few remaining houses. Soon the landlord arrives to evict the family, killing Feeney’s nephew and destroying the home. Feeney is arrested but managed to kill his captors and destroy the barracks and re returns to find his sister in law and her daughter dead from exposure. This sparks something dark inside of Feeney and he begins to seek a tortuous bloody revenge on the men who have wronged him. Continue reading Black 47 (2018)
AKA Alien Terror AKA Strangers
Director: Ciro Ippolito
Starring: Ciro Ippolito, Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Michele Soavi,Judy Perrin. Italy. 1h 32m
Before the Alien (1979) film could be fully licenced and trade marked, it obviously had a profound effect on Italian director Ciro Ippolito decided to take it upon himself to craft a unauthorised sequel, and while this film has a low budget, the scope is there for a much bigger and impressive project, but the Alien lifeform is more affiliated with The Thing (1982)– In a Cave.. and has little to do with Ridley Scott’s cult classic.
While the earth eagerly await the return of a group of astronauts, meanwhile in an unrelated television studio, Thelma Joyce (Mayne) appears to talk about Spelunking and caves but she had a terrible psychic episode and violent visions forces an abrupt ending to her interview. The spaceship arrives but the crew are missing, in theory I believe this is supposed to be the derelict Nostromo. Meanwhile a young girl playing on the beach finds a pulsating blue rock, when her mother finds her, she’s missing her face. Continue reading Alien 2 – Sulla Terra / Alien 2 – On Earth (1980)