Director: Hank Braxtan
Starring: Natalie Victoria, Arielle Brachfeld, Stephanie Greco, Lacy Fisher, Lony’e Perrine.USA. 1h 35m
I’d be a terrible hypocrite if I claim to champion indie movies and let this one slip by without raising a glass to it. Now I might be slightly biased with my opinion about this low budget horror but I was awake at about 3am feeling like death had warmed me up, delirious with a fever I thought a movie would help me pass over to a better place, and this gem cropped up, I love the title Chemical Peel, it sounds so grotty. So while high on chewable morphine I really got into the movie, I should add that later on I watched Blood Glacier for the first time and was doubly blown away. I have since watched the movie on tree more occasions and each time I’ve been laid up in bed with a virus and knocking on heavens door. I guess this makes it my official sick flick? Continue reading Chemical Peel (2014)
Director: Brian T Jaynes
Starring: Larry Jack Dotson, Audrey Ellis Fox, Holt Boggs, Billy Blair .USA. 1h 15m
In the seemingly inexhaustible Bigfoot Indie Movie sub-genre, Bigfoot Wars has a many thriving backstories (originating from Eric S Brown’s book series) but doesn’t appear to do anything outstanding with the subject matters. It tries to offer a crazy alternative idea to most bigfoot mythologies that points; not only to the existence of Bigfoot but that there is a community living on the outskirts of a small town, that once threatened, will turn on the local human population until the one or the other is extinct.
Holt Boggs stars as Sheriff Jim Taylor, a dutiful officer loving father who struggles to find his feet when the carpet is swept out from underneath him when a spate of violent animalistic murders shakes his sleepy little town, Boggy Creek. The movie opens with the violent (offscreen) murder of the mayor, then some teens are slaughtered by a unknown beast while “partying” and camping in the woods, but the locals aren’t all that shocked, as a local news reports reveals that a majority of town folk believe that Bigfoot and aliens are all real and out there waiting to be discovered. Continue reading Bigfoot Wars (2014)
Director: Ti West
Starring: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Aduley .USA. 1h 39m
Without any official admission this dramatic found footage movie is obviously based on Jim Jones and the mass suicide that he orchestrated at Jonestown. In all fairness the film gives a fairly accurate playback of the terrible events which occurred in Guyana, it does have a touch of cinematic license but for me, the kick in the gut wasn’t the shocking deaths but instead the failure to really show any respect to the dead. It was never the aim to reiterate the story blow by blow, that’s what documentaries and books are for, instead the movie dives in from a found footage aspect trying to give a fly on the wall view into the largest mass suicides in living memory. Continue reading The Sacrament (2013)
Director: Brett Simmons.
Starring: Stephen Lang , CJ Thomason, Michelle Pierce. USA. 1h 31m
I love when an old classic story gets a boost into a modern film, although there is always a need to be sensitive in the approach of modernising any aged tale, some stories seem to thrive as costume dramas, being so heavily strung in their own time that it’s almost impossible to shift elsewhere, such as Witchfinder General, while it could be updated, it relies on the mass hysteria of the age to really boil up some trouble. Timeless classics can be shifted back and forwards through time effortlessly, Lifepod by Alfred Hitchcock became a pretty interesting Sci Fi piece in 1993 by the talented Ron Silver (RIP) a ship lost at sea can easily become a ship lost in space.
The Monkey’s Paw was a story which filled me with marvel as a child, the moralistic side is deeply devastating but the horror aspect usually boils down to the concept of the evil dead returning, in the original story they simply come knocking but this presence has been resurrected many times now and death takes a gory step closer each time. The charming segment “Wish you were here” of Tales from the Crypt, the screaming dead are resurrected at the wrong time and face an everlasting life of pain.. ooops! Continue reading Monkeys Paw (2013)
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: Emilio Portes.
Starring. Joaquin Cosio, Tate Ellington, Tobin Bell, Aurora Gil. Mexico. 1h 54m.
Whenever I need a real horror fix I usually find it within the ranks of non English, or at least non Hollywood movies, the last thing which really rocked my boat was the Turkish Baskin (2015) and the aptly named Aterrados/Terrified (2017) from Argentina to name a few, but in nearby Mexico I found a gem in Belzebuth. I was quite pleasantly surprised about this violent demonic film from seasoned director Portes, who’s mainly known for his fast paced action comedies, so to see him traverse this new genre like a pro says much about his outstanding directorial qualities and hopefully we’ll see more from him in the future, with this blinding spiritual sequel to Pastorela (2011). Continue reading Belzebuth (2017)
Director: Bharat Jain
Starring:Darshan Apoorva, Krishna Prakash, Vijay Chendoor, Pallavi, Tanuja, Mruthyunjaya . India. 1h 44m
Without wanting to sound like a broken record, this monotonous found footage romp in the forest is very much like Blair Witch (1999), with hints of Paranormal Activity (2007), but at this stage in the game after so many films that end up mimicking the Maryland thriller, what would it take for a lost in the woods found footage, horror to not be like Blair Witch? Sadly this Indian scareless horror doesn’t offer any answers to this puzzling conundrum. Continue reading 6-5=2 (2014)
Director: Demian Rugna.
Starring. Maxiiliano Ghione, Norberto. Elvira Onetto. Argentina. 1h 28m.
We who are about to be scared Salute you Argentina!! Thank you so much for breaking the rules and making a truly terrifying movie!! (you see what I did there?)
I get really annoyed when people give up on a genre, be it music, art or indeed beloved Cinema, for the amount of media being produced you can be guaranteed to find something to tickle your fancy but the only thing stopping you from finding it is effort and if you’re searching for that next buzz, then I always suggest that you try something not aimed as the masses for profit. Continue reading Aterrados /Terrified (2017)
Director: Alvin Rakoff
Starring: George Kennedy, RIchard Crenna, Nick Mancuso, Victoria Burgoyne. Canada. 1h 31m
Death Ship could easily be labelled as another prime example of how the horrors of World War II still plague the minds of modern man, with acts so cruel, barbaric and insane that the strong cinematic belief that this pinnacle of human shame has the power to infect and infest. Time and time again movies find the dark depraved experiments and human torture so hard to portray on screen that it’s analogiased as a demonic haunting, let’s face it, witnessing world War ii is like peering into vignettes of hell.
I wouldn’t want to say this was the blueprint for future ocean horrors but it so easy to see its effects in the tangled mess of Triangle (2009) and the palatable Ghost Ship (2002) the mechanics of this salty horror have more in common with Outpost (2008) and Christine (1983) and in my humble opinion Amityville (1979). Continue reading Death Ship (1980)
Director: Don Dohler
Starring: Don Leifert, Tom Griffith, Richard Dysz, Mary Mertens, Richard Geiwitz. USA. 1h 30m
Make no mistake there’s a deeper meaning behind this 16mm Quality Color movie, on the surface Dolher’s homemade sci fi adventure is simply about a small handful of rogue aliens that have landed on earth and intend on making some mischief, but by the end of this wintry escapade we’re left questioning who the real monsters are.
In a sleepy Baltimore down during mid winter, the biggest crisis was who was going to be nominated as the new mayor, but after a suspected meteor lands out in the woods, there’s a spate of unusual deaths. Before the town can really comprehend who or what is killing anyone who wanders out into the wilderness, a brilliant scientist is soon lending a hand and aiding the officials in the right direction of a possible downed UFO. Continue reading Alien Factor (1978)