Director:Alejandro Brugué, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryûhei Kitamura, David Slade
Starring:Mickey Rourke, Richard Chamberlain, Eric Nelsen, Mariela Garriga, Adam Godley, Patrick Wilson, Ezra Buzzington, Stephanie Cood .USA. 1h.59m
Anthologies are an important part of any genre but their significance to the world of horror is vital for getting a collection of directors to get those shorter, sometimes more obscure ideas out there. Horror is usually just a concept, Short Stories to tell the dark is a great example of a very short one page stories that kept a lot of kids up at night and is about to start scaring them again with the upcoming horror with the same name by Guillermo del Toro.
Every era has its highs and lows, from the golden era of Amicus to the more recent VHS and Southbound movies, we’ve also been treated by cult classics like Creepshow and Body Bags, the list really does go on. A lot of these films really took themselves seriously, trying to deliver something unseen, new and unbound, but most of this is set aside for a slightly retro kookie mish mash of bizarre horror and a few giggles in this bizarre anthology, partially starring Mickey Rouke in the wrap around.
Nightmare Cinema is set around an out of the way cinema called the Rialto, run by the master of nightmares Mr Rouke, the basis is an unsuspecting victim wanders into the cinema, once seated they are forced to see their worst nightmare, but the aftermath is slightly different for each character, this was a bit unnerving for me, I like a good routine in an anthology. Continue reading Nightmare Cinema (2018)
Director: Robert Green Hall.
Starring. Nick Principle, Mimi Michaels, Danielle Harris, Owain Yeoman, Thomas Dekker, Brian Suatin Green. USA. 1h 33m.
After the pretty dismal and tiresome start to Laid to Rest (2009), the film eventually grew on me, slowly creeping up like a Carolina Reaper, to deliver some pretty amazing b movie results. As an introduction to Chromeskull, a lone slasher type figure who kills and tortures for his own amusement, it stands as a very good set up for a series of movies. Unfortunately all the good was rapidly undone but an abysmal sequel.
Chromeskull does a great job of picking up right where the first movie finished, the survivors ride off into the distance but the game changer is that Chromeskull isn’t a deranged lone ranger like we were led to believe, he has a clean up crew, a highly strung apprentice and a personal assistant back in his “base of operations” it seems as if the attempt to explain the clean up process for the chilling Chromeskull actually makes the movie less plausible and for me ruined the mystery. Continue reading Chromeskull : Laid to Rest 2 (2011)
Director: Michael J. Murphy.
Starring. Judith Holding, Bruce Lawrence, Warren May, Trudi Tyrrell. UK. 1h m.
For a moment you’ll have to forgive me for being a lover of movie trash, if this is the first review you’ve read from my blog then this may come across as misleading in some way, I so adore cinema, but in all its facets, but I have a soft spot for small budget movies that have a lot of heart and effort, but while I can’t put my finger on why I can easily say that I really enjoyed watching this movie despite it’s faults, but respectfully it doesn’t get above its station.
The story is both simple but is presented in a totally complicated manner, possibly as an attempt to add intrigue, in the modern day an escaped mental patent is rescued by a country club MILF, but the backstory touches on the infamous Witch trials where a woman is accused of murder and burnt at the stake, which isn’t something too dissimilar to some of the classic Hammer Horror plots, but at times the connection is weak. Continue reading Skare (2007)
Director: Richard Shepard
Starring: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber. USA. 1h 30m
There is something surprisingly poetic about, Paul Haslinger’s unabating film, a movie which is pretty easy to fall into and follow despite it constantly throwing the audience a curved ball by rewinding time and showing things from a different perspective, it’s charming but for me there just wasn’t enough obscure strangeness, instead that was reserved until the bitter…. sweet end.
Opening with a somber tone, a woman lays wide eyed on her deathbed, her daughter looking on with a 1000 yard stare, there is a slight sign that something is not quite right , through a montage we see her getting pulled from a prestigious school to return home and look after her mother, scenes of self harming and a girl desperate to escape , but also something much darker from her past. She’s damaged but is hopeful of a better future. She calls her old mentor for help, her mother has gone and now she wants to return to Anton (Webber) the person who was painstakingly training her to be the best cellist in the world but the world has moved on and he has a new best, the stunning Lizzie (Browning) her face plastered all over the streets of Shanghai, China, she’s utter perfection but the hint of jealousy falls into lust when the two virtuoses spend a night on the town then ends up in the bedroom, something pretty strange for rivals but these girls are also striving for the best and see it in each other but this flashy romance won’t last. Continue reading The Perfection (2018)
Director: Bernard Launois
Starring: Véronique Renaud, Marcel Portier, Catherine Day .France. 1h 12m
This crazy French horror movie isn’t easy to categories, it’s definitely unique at times quite zany and while it has certain charms with being different and outlandish its major let down is the repetitive sound effects that really started to grate on my nerves within the opening 20 minutes only increase its irritability right to the bitter end.
Overall Devil Story feels as if narrative isn’t really all that important but the director, Bernard Launois, seems to have reveled with delight by adding everything you possibly could into his last production. The film opens with a crazed man slashing innocent victims and rural France and ends up with an occultist bringing about a Mummy Showdown. But like other infamous French movies of the era such as Zombie Lake (1981) there seems to have been this drive to just make gory horror films with little story line to back them up, but it’s generally all good groovy fun and being a lover of “bad movies” you gotta roll with the bizarre and they don’t get much more off the beaten track than this. Continue reading Il était une fois le diable / Devil Story (1986)
Director:David Cronenberg .
Starring: James Woods, Debbie Harry, David Cronenberg, David Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Julie Khaner. Canada. 1h 29m.
Having watched Videodrome at quite a young age the film fascinated me for all the wrong reasons, pulsating VHS tapes, clips of dodgy torture rooms and people morphing into guns and machines really lit my young mind on fire, this was something that really carried on through my teens while lapping up underground comic books and really came to life when I discovered tales of the dark web and Tetsuo Iron Man (1989) which hit home this idea of bio mechanics along with my love of Giger’s artwork but nothing was quite on that level of bizarre as Videodrome, covering so many aspects of the darker side of the human psyche it’s science fiction body horror touches on some worrying habits and disgusting practices but all in such a way that it’s almost too clever for it’s own good.
James Woods takes centre stage as Max, as the CEO of a small UHF television station specialising in sensationalist programming he’s constantly displeased with his current line up which is mostly soft core, while looking for ways to boost the station, he stumbles on a bizarre broadcast featuring extreme violence and torture which he believes is staged and wants the show known as Videodrome for his station as he perceives it as something that everyone wants to see. While searching for the source of the broadcast, he employs his cameraman Harlan, to record the shows for him, eventually he deduces that the show is being transmitted from Malaysia, and soon Max orders that Harlan to broadcast the show unlicensed via his network. The more Max watches Videodrome the more he begins to hallucinates the world around him, mechanical items become soft and fluid, pulsating with life and breathing, but this is only the beginning. Continue reading Videodrome (1983)
AKA The Ancestor and Shatterbrain
Director: Dan O’Bannon.
Starring. John Terry, Jane Sibbett, Chris Sarandon, Robert Romanus. USA. 1h m.
Based on: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward : HP Lovecraft
I didn’t know this was based on Lovecraft’s writings before watching because I do very little research about movies as I know I’m going to watch them to find out if I like them anyway.. But it takes about 15 or so minutes before that heady sense of Lovecraftian crazy logic and dark magic seeps through this straight to video horror movie.
Starting like any modern detective story, the film opens with a rich and forgotten wife Clare Ward (Sibbett) pleading for help from a private detective John March (Terry) to investigate the worrying mysterious behaviour of her husband Charles Dexter Ward (Sarandon). Through a series of conversations the backstory is revealed, Charles has recently isolated himself in the families carriage house, after doing extensive family history research he discovers an ancestor, Joseph Curwen, to whom he bears an uncanny resemblance. Continue reading The Resurrected (1991)
Director:Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter.
Starring: Amanda Pays, Talia Balsam, Kim Hunter, Rod Steiger, David Allen Brooks .USA. 1h 32m
80’s horror will always be remembered for being gutsy and it really liked to spill those guts all over the screen, This film is mild i some respects as it tries to build a respectable story but as the monster is slowly revealed there’s healthy lashings of tentacles and slime but without much actual blood, a strange combination that remains interesting but is noticeably lacking all the right ingredients to make it a stand out from all the other films of the era.
A brilliant scientist Amanda Hollins (Hunter) awakes from a coma and informs her equally brilliant son (Brooks) that he must destroy her journals and her final experiment aka his brother, bewildered he arranges to take his research staff and his girlfriend out to his mother’s house to carry out her request but soon she dies, unknown to him she’s killed by a rival (mad) scientist Dr. Phillip Lloyd (Steiger), who can’t be trusted around small animals and to be honest I wouldn’t trust him with kids either, but he’s desperate to find out what Amanda has been up to. Continue reading The Kindred (1987)
Director : Adrián García Bogliano
Starring : Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest. USA/Spain. 1h 35m
I had been looking for this film for some time as i made it a personal mission to watch every werewolf movie when I was a creepy deathrock teenager and preferred them over vampires any day. Werewolf Order!!!
It’s an unusual set up to a lot of other horror movies with wild beasts involved, and the strange concoction of seasoned cast seems to side step the normal for a set of very unusual and slightly surreal characters, at times I wondered if this was a metaphor for something more profound?
A cantankerous veteran Ambrose (Damici) moves into a quiet and peaceful retirement home in a gated community called Crescent Bay, after the loss of his wife, the aging, blind vet and his dog are settled in by Will (Embry), Ambrose’s adoring son but it’s clear their relationship has been through the the wars there’s respect but something gloomy from the past under the surface. Ambrose’s exceptional smell and hearing leads him to his adorable neighbour who he befriends, but later on that night she’s brutalised by a hairy beast, Ambrose attempts to save her but he and his dog are injured in this unexpected animal attack. Sadly the beloved dog dies from his injuries but Ambrose goes into survival mode and begins a personal hunt for the beast. Continue reading Late Phases / Night of the Wolf (2014)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier~
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Macon Blair . USA . 1h 35m
Here’s another gorgeous piece of gore from the invigorating direction Jeremy Saulnier, the director who likes to use colours in his film titles. After the success of the brutal revenge movie Blue Ruin (2013) he returns with a punks vs nazi horror flick that hold back no punches.
In the UK there was a similar but tamer film that ran into a mini series called This is England which showed the peaceful Skins get tainted by psychotic politics and there was a divide as the Nazi’s tried to take the scene over. This pales in comparison to the night of hell this alternative band is about to experience in the Green Room but it’s equally important to make a note of the difference of opinions between punks and nazi’s..
Seemed to be the next on the list of taboo scenarios that attracts the attention of Saulnier, Punks vs nazi’s has been an age old battle. But what’s really interesting is Saulnier’s choice of cast, it seems the unlikely bunch, Patrick Stewart, especially after his years with American Dad just doesn’t “sound” like a neo nazi leader but being such a brilliant actor he performed so well, as does the small role by the main star of Blue Ruin (2013), Macon Blair who’s the cutest and most polite fascist ever. But let’s start at the beginning… Continue reading Green Room (2015)