Category Archives: Thriller

Roberto Succo (2001)

Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Stefano Cassetti .France/Italy/Switzerland. 2h 4m
Based on: Je te tue. Histoire vraie de Roberto Succo assassin sans raison
by Pascale Froment.

What exactly is a criminal? Someone who goes above and beyond to get what he wants with little regard to anyone else or the law, or a totally feckless loser who just stumbles from mess to another? Cedric Kahn manages to paint a detailed picture of a man who crosses both of these descriptions and still manages to be both comical and highly dangerous in his escapades.

In this brilliant, slightly polished adaptation of real events, a bizarre criminal anti hero is etched out as Cassetti masquerades as Roberto Succo, a mixture of Jesse James, Hitler and Norman Bates, he argues about art, nationality and politics along the way. Mr Succo, esconded form prison five years after being convicted for the murder of his parents in 1981. His death defying run of fun saw him elude police in three different countries for 2 years, spending his time woeing girls, sightseeing, killing, raping, burgling and fucking up the odd bank job. The movie is generally detested by the French police for its alleged glamorisation of a real-life killer, but it’s a testament to the accuracies within the film and highlights how useless they were to allow him to carry on for so long. Continue reading Roberto Succo (2001)

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Of Unknown Origin (1983)

Director: George P. Cosmatos
Starring: Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane,Kenneth Welsh, Louis Del Grande. USA. 1h 28m.

There is a strong committed performance here from Peter Weller as he stars in George Cosmatos cinematic interpretation of The Visitor by Chauncey G Parker III, but it can’t shake off how “un-horror” and this horror can be at times. Instead the literary sense behind the film stands out strong but there could have been a huge opportunity for some gory visually to back everything up.

Peter Weller plays, Bart Hughes, a banking executive that is constantly outsmarted by a peculiar rat. While finalising big business ventures he’s also modernising an impressive brownstone apartment he’s unaware of a furry visitor making his home within the constitution. Continue reading Of Unknown Origin (1983)

The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Director: Ewald André Dupont
Starring: Robert Shayne, Joyce Terry, Richard Crane, Doris Merrick, Beverly Garland, Tandra Quinn USA/Germany. 1h 18m

One of my movie weaknesses is vintage sci fi movies, I just adore the heroism and pure wonderment and moral dilemmas they still offer, the 50’s were a golden age for the beginning of big scale science fiction, from mad scientists to space exploration, monsters and space exploration. Things might not really work how they were depicted, the same generation who were sure radioactive insect bites would only enhance a man also encouraged their kids to smoke, but sci fi wouldn’t really be sci fi without a level of taking things too far and being outlandish.

The Neanderthal man is a prime example of a down trodden scientist who pushes the envelope and takes things to the extreme The mockery of a brilliant scientist Prof. Clifford Groves (Shayne) by his peers, pushes him to the dangerous edge of self exploration, after being publicly ridiculed the professor continues his feverish work to prove that our cells remember their prehistoric past and turns himself into a Neanderthal man, his cat into a Sabretooth and his housekeeper into some scary beastly wild woman. The trio have little recollection of their primal actions and terrorise the wildlife and residents of their small town. Continue reading The Neanderthal Man (1953)

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Director: Bryan Singer Writer Christopher McQuarrie.

Starring. Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Sizy Amis, Benicio Del Toro. USA. 1h 44m.

First time I saw the Usual Suspects I was lucky enough to see it alongside a piece by Mark Kermode and the film finished with a short from writer Christopher McQuarrie about how he brainstormed the story, not that I needed any more convincing that the film is totally awesome the extra depth really cemented the film as being one of my all-time greatest and one I find myself returning to from time and time again.

Starting with a dark film noir style introduction which is slightly confusing, two silhouetted men talk, light a cigarette, one is injured and the other walks away as an explosion engulfs a ship and the wounded man..  the dark undertones shift to something more gangster as the film opens and builds in two timelines, Verbal (Spacey) has been pulled into a police office to be questioned by the sly agent Kujan (Palminteri), the shifty club footed criminal is forced to give up valuable information before he’s set free, reluctantly he begins to talk but once he gets started he lives up to his name sake and the verbal diarrhea  starts to flow. After some threats from Kujan, the past is unlocked up in audacious little chapters, almost like a 50’s crime comic, it’s slick and witty, and at times it’s on a higher level of brainy than the average movie. Continue reading The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Toybox (2018)

Director: Tom Nagel
Starring: Denise Richard, Mischa Barton, Jeff Barton Jeff Denton, Brian Nagel, Greg Cioland, Matt Mercer, Greg Violand. USA. 1h 35m.

There’s so much to like about the bare bones of this movie, a haunted RV with a dark past entwined with hints of a real serial killer, that takes a family hostage and starts killing them, you just can’t go wrong? Sadly something was definitely lost when translated to film, but I really enjoyed the film but find it hard to defend, yes it’s a BMovie, albeit slightly polished it creates a great grimey atmosphere and at times comes across as plausible but every now and again it just drops into the damned awful bin and struggles to get out.

A slightly more than average emaciated and botoxed Denise Richards heads up the estranged family heading out on their vacation in a second hand RV with a deadly past. The RV was purchased at a highly discounted price by Charles (Violand), as a promise to his now late wife, he wants to reconcile with his two sons and offers to take them and their families out on a road trip. Continue reading The Toybox (2018)

Il était une fois le diable / Devil Story (1986)

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)

Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

Director\Writer:Brad Parker.
Starring. Jesse McCartney, Devin Kelley, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Nathan Phillips, Dimitri Diatchenko. Hungary/Serbia. 1h 33m.

The first time I watched this movie I wasn’t overly impressed, silly me was sat there pffpffying at the screen cos I had seen better and scarier I was grown and I could deal with this, but then I started getting recurring nightmares and they were fucking awesome so I’m giving the film a mini thumbs up for that!

The entire film paints a pretty dim picture of the Ukraine/Serbia area, it’s monochrome greys and blue hues overpower the movie during its brightest hours, when a group of unattached youngsters manage to get smuggled into the no go area in the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster area. A young american couple are heading out for a off beaten adventure with the intention to propose just to warm the audience, while a scandinavian/Australian couple are just out for what they can find. After being stalled at the first checkpoint in the Ukraine they eventually go in through a rougher secret path that was discovered years ago by their local guide Uri. He assure them it’s safe, he has a geiger counter (so fuck your fears kids let’s ROLL!) but they are all constantly on the lookout for dangerous (glowing) wildlife and the military but they roam around the dusty ghost town in awe of the tragedy and well aware of the possible dangers. Continue reading Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

1st Summoning (2018)

Director: Raymond Wood.
Starring. Hayley Lovitt, Jason MacDonald, Teddy Cole, Brook Todd, Ace Harney. USA. 1h 37m.

Knowing that this Indie Movie is both found footage and about possession it’s a no brainer what’s going to happen, check out my list of what to expect in a possession, exorcism and demonic movie. but with indie movies, there’s usually a degree of experimental artistic license and providing they don’t play it safe, there can be amazing results. Sadly this film falls into most of the typical plot holes and ends up flopping around like a dying priest before expiring in it’s own unoriginal mess. Continue reading 1st Summoning (2018)

Killer X (1999)


AKA Natural Selection
Director: Mark Lambert Bristol.
Starring. David Carradine, Darren E Burrows, Michael Bowen, Joe Unger USA. 1h 31m

The offbeat style of this movie is incredibly alluring, as a possessive and unhinged FBI detective (Carradine) is tracking down a deranged psychopath but he might have bigger demons than the killer!? Eventually the story morphs into something very different as regular cop gets involved and the film takes on a documentary style, but despite being blasted from all directions this highly strange movie was on a duo disc with Satan’s Little Helper (2004) and if you’ve seen and enjoyed that, then there’s a chance you’ll get into this too.

Carradine’s character, Louis Dehoven, is brilliant, and possibly a requisite of his actual mentality at the time, but the Special Agent is tormented by demons who give him insights when he performs rituals with corpses and through self flagellation he gets clues for his case, there’s no real solid evidence that he’s anyway connected with the FBI as he claims but he’s certainly out for the killer. Continue reading Killer X (1999)

The Cell (2000)

Director: Tarsem Singh.
Starring. Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker. USA. 1h 47m.

I missed the boat on this visual adventure I don’t feel too hard done by but I think if I had watched this 19 years ago then I might have got more of a wow out of the visuals but I’m sure I’d agree with myself that the story was a little weak. But what we didn’t know back then is that Tarsem Singh was only now beginning his his filmography of stunning but needful movies.

I got duped into seeing Anaconda (1997) and I’ll never trust J Low again, actually I didn’t watch her in anything until she acted alongside Viola Davis in Lila and Eve (2015) and I only watched it to see Viola do awesome shit.. but I was looking for visually stunning movies and it got mentioned, a lot, I knew that it involved some amazing costumes by Eiko Ishioka but I’m a sucker for a good story FIRST and stunning visuals to follow . This was a very lavish attempt at an insight into a killers mind while fueled up on bright dresses but also fell short at times usually when out of the dream world, the back up story just add up. Sadly it I was left feeling that this was just a poor rip off of Silence of the Lambs (1991) with an emphasis on style rather than substance, and masochistic imagery. Continue reading The Cell (2000)