Category Archives: Thriller

Sweet Virgina (2017)

Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young, Jared Abrahamson .USA/Canada 1h 35m,

For the most part this dark neo-noir thriller takes two distinctive strong men and the troubles that surround them, highlights their strengths and weaknesses, then crash them together in the mist of a brutal cash for murder in a small American town and watches the fireworks blow them apart in a spectacular and emotive fashion.

A puzzling stranger sends bloody shock waves through a close knit community, after committing three brutal cold blooded murders. In the wake of the devastation of the remote and bleak Alaskan town, a tightly wound drifter Elwood (Abbott) checks into a motel run by Sam (Bernthal) a former Rodeo star, having retired he is making ends meet with this new venture to motel keeping but he’s a deeply troubled soul. Continue reading Sweet Virgina (2017)

Torture Ship (1939)

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)

The Dark Red (2018)

Director: Dan Bush
Starring: April Billingsley, Kelsey Scott, Conal Bryne, Rhoda Griffis .USA. 1h 41m

An interesting idea with lots of character twists and turns in Dan Bush’s courageous drama that taps into the bond of blood of a particular family with uncanny powers. For the most part what seems to be a challenging time for one woman in a mental institution eventually creeps into a much more powerful action drama that has all the making of a really decent sci-fi fantasy drama but doesn’t come across with as much power as it might have if handled differently, but it did keep me glued while it transformed into something deeper and more meaningful, maybe there will be a chance to break this story open in a sequel? Continue reading The Dark Red (2018)

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, Charlton Heston .USA/Canada. 1h 35m

This epic slice of classic horror and the final piece of his Apocalypse Trilogy seems to be John Carpenter’s homage to a lot of the great names in literary horror, from HP Lovecraft to Stephen King he carves out a creepy tale which every horror writer has probably dreamt of, and that’s the ability to make their horror very real and literally jump of the page and effect their readers, getting all up in their grills. Anything to stop those whiney kids to stop complaining that nothing scares them huh?

Continue reading In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

The Canal (2014)

Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Starring: Rupertt Evans, Anatonia Campbell-Hughes, Hannah Hoekstra, Kelly Bryne. UK. 1h 32m

A paranoid love story inflames within the confined walls of a haunted house, but not just any ghost is lingering in the shadows, it’s the ghost of a violent killer. This is enough to make any film spooky but Canal just end up dragging out the age a repetition of the same old suspense scenes and delivers little else. Written like a gothic novel and presented as a bleak drama with added Ring (1998) style ghostly scares, and The Red Shoes (2005) style red herrings, the film attempts to blur the lines between the supernatural and a genuine psychological thriller.. Shrouded in the historical mysteries of the house and deluded paranoia, the film packs a punch (be it a weak love tap) on two sides of the horror spectrum simultaneously, this can easily be mistaken as a confused Continue reading The Canal (2014)

Warlock Moon (1973)

Director:William Herbert .
Starring.Laurie Walters, Joe Spano, Edna MacAfee, Harry Bauer, Steve Solinsky, Richard, Veille. USA. 1h 29m.

Warlock Moon is a stange low budget horror that has all the right intentions to be a twisted occult driven grindhouse thriller but it just doesn’t quite reach those dizzying heights, but still remains a hot favourite with a select few enthusiasts.

William Herbert’s confident homemade horror involved a lot of favours and dedication, but that’s what a lot of b movies are all about, making the most of what you can and creatively bending rules on public filming, it also helps to have a cast who are flexible and are fully dedicated to project, in this case, Edna MacAfee wasn’t allowed to wear makeup to enhance her old woman look and Walters and Spano were able to ad lib most of their scenes together which runs natural as they were a couple at the time. Continue reading Warlock Moon (1973)

악인전; RR: Ak-in-jeon / The Gangster The Cop and the Devil (2019)

Director: Lee Won-Tae .
Starring. Dong-seok Ma, Sung-kyu Kim, Mu-Yeol Kim. South Korea. 1h 50m.

One of my all time favourite genres in film is the South Korean Crime Thriller, They are filled with such slick plots, crazy bloody knife fights and inhuman bad guys, often thick with plots twists around organised crime, bent cops, serial killers and a strange honour code there’s a dark sharp violence in them which isn’t easily mimicked. I didn’t get too hyped about this until the second half but I have valid reasons. With a lot of Korean thrillers, there’s often an air of strangeness the crimes and methods of solving them are usually played out under sheets of rain at night, and usually the killer is really fucking derranged and hard to track, control or kill. But in this case they catch the guy but it’s not the end of the story it’s only the beginning. Continue reading 악인전; RR: Ak-in-jeon / The Gangster The Cop and the Devil (2019)

Kid (1990)

Director: John Mark Robinson
Starring: C Thomas Howell, Sarah Trigger, Brian Austin Green, R Lee Emey, Dale Dye, Michael Bowen, Michael Cavanaugh. USA. 1h 31m

If Chilling Revenge Western were a genre then this would be its definition, and despite the heat of the blistering desert, John Robinsons thriller only takes about 20 minutes to get to the first death, he really wasn’t messing around. After beating up some local bullies and getting the attention of the hottest girl in town the tall dark handsome stranger (Howell) rents a room and goes to the local hardware store, picking up some weird supplies, the clerk asks him “do much huntin’?” The Kid replies.. Thinking about startin” and we’re off to the first kill, the one that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Continue reading Kid (1990)

The Jar (1984)

Director: Bruce Toscano
Starring: Gary Wallace, Karin Sjöberg, Robert Gerald Witt as Jack, Dean Schoepter, Les Miller, Don Donovan .USA. 1h 25m

Often described as one of the worst of the worst, this trippy sci-fi thriller is packed with a weird psychotropic atmosphere and has an interesting concept and sterling synth soundtrack but it really does write the book on how not to make a movie, while still maintaining that under-developed charm which B Movie enthusiasts really love.

It’s not entirely clear what Toscano was going for with his movie, it starts well but once the random trippiness kicks in his main character spends so little time in the real world there’s not a lot to grasp onto, the ploy is generally simple, but there’s so much imagery which really needs explaining. With attempts to blast the audience with Altered States-esque visual conundrums with alien and religious iconography. Continue reading The Jar (1984)

Fright (1971)

Director: Peter Collinson
Starring: Susan George, Ian Bannen, Honor Blackman, and John Gregson .UK. 1h 27m

AKA The Baby Minder or Girl in the Dark

Often credited as the starting block for all Babysitter horror movies, this British cult classic really challenges it’s audience as much as it’s production challenges the actors. They say the best horrors are the ones where you can place yourself in the situation, and there’s nothing quite as frightening as being trapped in unfamiliar surroundings with a deranged lunatic trying to get to you while you look after someone else’s child. And this is where Susan George finds herself in Peter Collinsons cultured horror.

Collinson is probably best known for The Italian Job (1969) but only 2 years later he came back swinging with this taught thriller that verges into the Slasher territory. A young babysitter Amanda (George) settles into the Lloyd residence, the Lloyds display a lot of nervousness about their rare night out, but what dark family secret could they possibly be hiding. Continue reading Fright (1971)