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)
Director: Konstantin Lopushansky
Starring: Viktor Mikhaylov, Vera Mayorova,Vadim Lobanov, Irina Rakshina, Aleksandr Rasinsky, Iosif Ryklin, Yu. Sobolev, Vladimir Firsov. Russia/Soviet Union/West Germany/Switzerland. 2h 16m
The jaw dropping, mind bending and highly disjointed follow on to Dead Man’s Letters (1986), shows that Lopushansky has lost none of this amazing vision of the world after an apocalyptic disaster. Usually history is written by the victors but who really comes out on top when the entire planet sinks into a nuclear winter?
From it’s dark crimson opening, it’s clear that the world is a very different place in this complicated post-apocalyptic future, that carries on from living memories of Chernobyl. The world attempts to keep things moving as a tourist attempts to traverse the barren landscape to visit a museum buried deep below the ocean. Clothed in a long black coat and carrying a single suitcase he stumbles through massive piles of waste, fights through clouds of dangerous dust and catches the saddest looking train I’ve ever seen limp down a track. Eventually he makes it to his “hotel” a house run by rich elites that looks out onto a vibrant shore that leads to a hidden fabled Museum. Continue reading Posetitel Muzeya / A Visitor to a Museum (1989)
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Starring: Iván Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale Coka, Alexandra Masangkay .Spain. 1h 34m
When we have the truth of our social or cultural climate thrown in our face in graphic ways it’s quite common for people to feel ashamed, disgusted or maybe intrigued by its complexity. Taking something which most are unable to comprehend or actively turning a blind eye too, and reinventing it, is threaded throughout this spectacular Spanish Sci Fi Thriller.The Platform is an incredibly busty portrayal of our current tragedy of the commons but this one is a touch harsher than the Allegory of the Long Spoons fable.
It’s a popular trend for movies made for a more astute audience to often hit the ground running, chucking it’s characters and audience into an odd situation and assuming that grey matter will get them through the fleshing out of the plot, this is so welcomed than a third of the movie being taking by the director hammering home what they want the audience to think. So after watching a Michelin style kitchen prepare perfect foods, Galder opens with the lead Goreng (Massague) waking up on a bunk, on a platform with a strange man who keeps saying obviously.. there should be a warning to buckle up because things are going to get strange, violent and incredibly deep. Continue reading El Hoyo / The Hole AKA The Platform (2019)
Director: Richard Stanley
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Some Alpacas, Tommy Chong, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliott Knight, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hillard, Josh C Waller. USA. 1h 51m
Richard Stanley has made a succinct but highly notable list of horror movies over the last 37 years, my personal top favourite is Hardware AKA Mark 13 (1990), a film I associate with so closely I have my own MARK 13 tattooed as part of my sci fi leg piece, Dust Devil (1992) and Island of Dr Monroe (1996) received mixed reviews but retains a solid cult fan base for their unique approach to horror. Somewhere within all of his back catalogue there includes crazy hallucinogenic colour bursts, unknown hidden horrors and strong powerful characters who are usually lost in the heat of the earth. Continue reading Color Out Of Space (2019)
Director: Irvin Berwick.
Writer: John Buckley. Starring. Robert Gribbin, Russell Johnson, John Harmon, Randy Echols, Dorothy Bennett, Mary Ellen Christie USA. 1h 27m.
This is a strange concoction between Hitchcock’s Psycho and any generic sleazy 1970’s exploitation with hints of real life serial killer shenanigans, what a perfection mix of madness and murder! Most of the movie is as obsessed with Howard (Gribbin) as he is with his prey. For the most part Howard us a pleasant clean cut young man, he’s polite and dedicated to his mother and his job, which involves driving around picking up and dropping off people’s laundry but he’s a good Samaritan and will pick up lonely single women who are trying to hitch a ride. Depending on their reasoning for hitching, they might make it to their destination or they become the next victim of a one of his violent sexual tension and murderous rage. Continue reading Hitch Hike To Hell (1977)
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes . USA. 2h 4m
There comes a time when every movie is going to be remade, no matter how cult or classic the original is. But did we really need this remake of the near perfect Michael Mann gusty thriller Manhunter (1986), Originally Brian Cox played the flesh eating doctor, but while his take on the now iconic doctor; is different from Hopkins laid back soft talker, Cox’s interpretation is very apt for the direction of Mann’s psychological dog fighting style. Is the Hopkins trademark on the character so powerful that he gets to shoulder his way through to complete his trilogy. Well, Dino De Laurentiis, producer of both Manhunter and Red Dragon and effectively the Lecter copyright holder, has decreed it. So Anthony Hopkins returns, for the final time, because after this he vowed never to play the role again and it’s not surprising as the task was given to Brett Ratner to facilitate, a director who can handle a fast paced popcorn action flick but really struggled with this type of deep psychological and powerfully cerebral thriller. If only this was an equally horrific sentimental comedy, like The Family Man, where Ratner would feel more at home. Continue reading Red Dragon (2002)
Director: Robin Hardy
Based on: The Ritual by David Pinner
Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Diane Cilento .UK. 1h 27m
In the past decade Horror Folklore as a genre has raised its curious demonic fiery head. This new dawning, pioneered by new cult directors such as Ben Wheatley, Ari Aster, Gavin Liam and Roger Eggers to name a few haven’t been able to make a movie without it being likened to the pioneering game changer, Robin Hardy’s slow-burning chiller The Wicker Man.
Looking back at it’s small budget and menial takings at the cinema, numerous cuts and actors paying for critics seats, it’s rise to cult status wasn’t a simple one but what it achieved was truly unique, not even it’s remake was able to mimic it’s true sense of dread and horror. Continue reading The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Eric Steel.
Starring.Various. USA. 1h m.
Worlds literally end in Eric Steel’s slightly tastefully feature length documentary which focuses solely on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. For one year the iconic bridge was filmed including every suicide that took place on The Bridge that year with candid interviews of the people left behind.
The film opens like a tourist promo, with beautiful scenes of the bridge, the crew setting up hidden cameras, vibrant wildlife is in abundance, the quiant businesses nearby are lit in golden sunshine, then suddenly a body drops, and we are initiated into the Bridge, a bold unwavering look into the jolly suicide spot.
Be afraid of what lies beneath…
Continue reading The Bridge (2006)
Director: Noel Marshall.
Starring.Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall, Melanie Grifith, Zakes Mokae, Will Hitchins, Jerry Marshall. USA. 1h 42m.
I have so many issues with this “movie” and I can’t say it’s something I settle down with and watch with glee, I fully understand the allure in making something like this, anyone who lives with big cats will appreciate the love and danger of any situation, Tippi Hedren herself did live with many large cats in her home and for her this was a “natural” environment, but even she admitted in interviews after the movie that what started out as a great idea eventually became the worst decision of her life after watching the end result.
The most dangerous movie ever made.
Continue reading Roar (1981)
Director: Babak Anvari .
Starring. Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz. USA. 1h 34m.
This strange and dutifully tragic movie owes a lot to Cronenberg and H.P Lovecraft despite opening with a quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, that ends with “it echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core”. It’s hard to recognise the significance at this early stage of the movie but recalling back to the character it’s now easy to see how the main characters overall weakness as a human being made him so vulnerable for the nightmare that is about to unfold before his eyes. Continue reading Wounds (2019)