Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Original Book : Peter Ackroyd
Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays. UK. 1h 49m
Lessons can be learnt from this gloomy victorian epic, it has all of right elements but it just lacks that little je ne c’est quoi. Characters fall flat and the mystery becomes boring and repetitive. Within the elaborate stages and cliche back streets of London, before the time of Jack the Ripper there was the Limehouse Golem, a mysterious killer who slaughtered at will for his audience.
John Kildare (Nighy) is thrown at the case as the powers that be believe the killer can’t be found, so he’s the fall guy, so without any backup and being dangled in front of the media and disapproving public he is forced into action, sparing their prized detective for other simpler cases, but Kildare jumps into the case, almost becoming obsessed; using his brilliant meticulous mind and working with his close friend Officer Flood (Mays) the two are an alternative Holmes and Watson. Continue reading Limehouse Golem (2017)
Director: Kevin Chu.
Starring. Brigitte Lin, Sally Yeh, Loretta Yang, Teresa Tsui, Sylvia Peng Taiwan. 1h 30m.
I’m not sure which came first, Golden Queen or Pink Force as they were both made in 1982(?) but these explosive action adventure Commando movies often have each other’s scenes spliced into one another. Personally I found Pink Force to be way more thrilling with its stronger western themes and total kookiness, but that doesn’t mean that this prison based flick is worse, but it has very different themes with an almost identical cast.
Golden Queen Commando opens with some Visual Kei gang leader playing cards with some street gangster types when a fight breaks out despite her fast shooting the police crash the party and she’s sent to prison, other short vignettes for other criminal women (Black Fox, Clack Cat, Dynamite, Sugar Plum, Amazon, Brandy and Quick Silver (our stunning card shark)), each with their own special skill and extreme costume all end with them being sent to the same nazi war prison.
Things being to heat up when one of the women starts to antagonise the others while getting a feeling for their strengths and weaknesses. And they slowly hatch a plan to escape and to kill the vile fat nazi warden and his henchmen and then head out to destroy a WWII nazi chemical lab. But not before they being total chaos and mayhem with their unique fighting skills, and all looking totally beautiful within the prison walls..
Control of tone is essential to any film but this is kicked into the wind and blasted to pieces, the film had no formula and that’s what makes it a marvellous and highly entertaining bonkers exploitations flick. The final act is highlighted with a soundtrack from Ennio Morricone which makes this a hash up of the Dirty Dozen (1967) / Magnificent 7 (1960)a la psychotronic style. Obviously there is a stunning finale and the scene which sees a spy outed is straight out of an X-Japan music video. All round fun and frolics that’s hard to ever forget.
R – Pink Force Commando (1982), Love Massacre (1981),
L – A-Z of Taiwan Cinema Vol 1.
A – Pink Cinema
Vs – Pink Force Commando Vs Golden Queen Commando.
Director: Can Evrenol
Starring: Gorkem Kasal, Mehmet Cerrahoğlu, Ergun Kuyucu. Turkey. 1h 37m
This surreal Turkish gory horror, directed by Can Evrenol, based on his 2013 short film by the same name, although in this blood soaked feature length debut he turns up the nightmare factor to full. Not running totally parallel it’s like a lucid dream within a dream, something more like Inception (2010) Vs Hellraiser (1987). While it’s not obviously as to what’s going on, the puzzle presented within Baskin is not something that you’ll be able to work out until the end, providing you have the stomach to get to the bitter end. There is a heavy handed dose of blood, meat, strange symbolism and a chilly silenthillesque atmosphere that is bound to entertain horror fans throughout. It’s crowning achievement is that it successfully manages to make you a passive spectator as this incredibly vivid nightmare unfolds. Continue reading Baskin / Raid (2015)
Director: Alan Parker.
Starring. Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet, Robert De Niro. USA. 1h 53m.
In the dark final scenes of Angel Heart, after you’ve picked your jaw up and shaken the last hour and 1 hour 53 minutes out of your system the sweat dries, the blood and dust settles and it’s all quite simple to understand but it certainly didn’t’ feel that way only moments before and you begin to feel silly for not seeing all the warning signs as the detective story turns into a dark occult nightmare. Continue reading Angel Heart (1987)
Director: Peter Greenaway. Music: Michael Nyman
Starring. Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Andrea Ferreol, Frances Barber UK/Netherlands. 1h 51m.
It’s impossible to mention Greenaway without Nyman, the two work so well together (until their falling out.. ) but it’s noteworthy to mention that this is the first collaboration with cinematographer Sacha Vierny and who he referred to as the most important collaborator, Vierny passed in the 1990s.
The film has lots of subtexts; the first is loss and grieving. Twin zoologists, Oswald and Oliver Deuce are at work studying animal behaviour when their wives are killed in a car tragic accident involving a large white swan which crashes through the windscreen, the eccentric woman who was driving the car, Alba Bewick (Ferreol) survives but has to have her leg amputated. Continue reading A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)
Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: WIll Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma, Taccone. USA 1h 32m
This turned out to be a slightly psychotronic and fairly deranged movie. Having an air about it similar to the legendary Buckaroo Banzai while tossed into the Twilight Zone with the Flintstones.
A space-time vortex sucks scientist Rick Marshall (Ferrell), his assistant Holly (Friel) and a survivam nut Will (McBride) into a world populated by dinosaurs and painfully slow creatures called Sleestaks. With few resources at their disposal, Rick, Holly and Will must rely on their only ally, a primate named Chaka (Taccone), to try to survive long enough to figure out a way back home. Continue reading Land of the Lost (2009)
D: David Ayer
S: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton. Noomi Rapace USA. 1h 57m
Described as the worst movie of 2017, I had to check this out, maybe it was a PR stunt but it worked, it got me looking and I was pleasantly surprised, while constantly looking for the loopholes, terrible acting and a story that I couldn’t understand I found the opposite and was a bit more confused about why this is was coined as being so bad when I was tempted to watch it again….
Not quite realising how long the film was going to be, as a lot of current films are getting shorter for the attention span of the masses, this is a bit of an marathon, being just shy of 2 hours, but it does use all that time quite wisely while being a sort of fantasy rip off of Alien Nation (1988). Instead of aliens descending upon us, this is an alternative reality where Orc’s, Elves and other mythical beings exist. Daryl Ward (Smith) is a know it all police officer who’s been teamed up with a pariah Nick Jakoby (Edgerton) who’s an “unblooded” Orc, we learn that this makes him a bit of a hipster, who’s from a long line of other hipsters who basically don’t kill, this gives him a bum status with all the other Orcs but the humans refuse to accept him as Orcs are famed for having accepting the “darker” more evil path as part of their nature so they can’t be trusted, in the locker rooms men boast about being Orc slayers.
Continue reading Bright (2017)
Day 8 – Carnival of Souls
Director: Herk Harvey.
Starring. Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, USA. 1h 24m.
A cult classic that still influences a host of modern directors, this independent horror film manages to create a bizarre ghostly atmosphere that has been difficult to re-create since.
A few girls are out for a lark, when then encounter some greasers who challenge them to a drag race over a bridge, the girls car crashes in the river and they get pulled along by the rapids, the rescue mission fails to find anything but a shabby and bemused young blonde bombshell emerges from the water the only survivor from this tragic misadventure. Mary’s life is never quite the same after the accident. The church organist relocates to Utah, where she finds herself set apart from the locals and stalked by a strange pasty faced ghoulish man (Harvey) as she’s drawn towards a mysterious carnival on the outskirts of town near the river, where she’s inclined to dance. Continue reading Carnival of Souls (1962)
Day 3 – The Void
Director: Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie .
Starring. Aaron Poole, USA. 1h 30m.
It’s not often a film grips my attention quite like this one. The first trailer I chanced upon was quiet mysterious and the poster had tentacles, that’s pretty much me sold on any movie. So the Void didn’t promise much, it kept 90% of the fun a secret and that added to the fun and intensity of the gory film. Starting with a curious scene a man escapes from some crazy occultist and flees into the woods, bleeding and disorientated. A lone cop sees him the road and takes him to the nearest hospital to get him patched up. The hospital is in the process of being relocated, so there is minimal staff and they are caring for one pregnant girl and packing, quite reminiscent of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and before you know it, they are soon surrounded by shrouded occultist and have to barricade themselves but unlike the 70’s siege film they are fighting unknown metaphysical forces that are beyond comprehension, yet very familiar to those lured tales from HP Lovecraft. Continue reading The Void (2016)
AKA The Mansion of Madness
Director:Juan López Moctezuma .
Starring.Claudio Brook, Arthur Hansel, Ellen Sherman. Marin LaSalle. Susana Kamini. Mexico. 1h 39m.
The concept of this darkly macabre path into insanity is simple, the inmates have taken over the asylum. This vision of madness come from the king of the unusual, the film is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The System of Dr Tarr and the Professor Feather. A reporter (Brook) and his entourage have been invited to 19th century asylum hidden deep in the woods, their guide promises easy access but they are confronted by two armed guards, eventually they are let in and split up, the reporter takes one route while his beloved is chased through the woods and abused. After meeting various groups of people acting out wildly in the forest he meets the megalomaniac who’s running the whole affair and soon realises that the inmates have taken over and the prisoners are the redundant staff. In the absence of medical care they are left to their own crazy devices and act out their basest fantasies and have incredibly surreal urges. Continue reading Dr Tarr’s Torture Dungeon (1973)