Director: Tod Browning.
Starring. Wallace Ford, Harry Earles, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates, USA. 1h 04m.
This has long been one of my favourite movies since I was a young child, I think my parents realised that I was going to be watching what I liked but my mother was always a spokeswoman for learning history and basics, so I read and watched the classics, which included The Freaks! I had a hand me down horror book which I still hold dear to my heart, I obsessed over the grainy black and white photos and was really drawn to the sideshow misfits of Tod Browning’s The Freaks which I still have to admit are a huge thing for me, not just the movie but the history and scientific research and study, encouraging me to travel the world visiting museums like Mutter and seeking out Cabinet of Curiosities worldwide.
Being one of the first and (possibly) only movie with a predominant cast of genuine “circus freaks” this tale is quite European in it’s make up, with a range of fair maidens, lost love and bitter revenge it’s something quite magical, but don’t get lulled into a false sense of security this fairy tale is grotesque and dark as fuck. Continue reading The Freaks (1932)
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Starring. Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Treat Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek. USA/Canada. 1h 35m.
Children change everything, but asshole parents and terrible family relations are the driving force of this strange thriller. Everything about the opening suggests that this is going to be a cold heartless chase to the death, that can only get grittier and more dangerous but each step of the way but each step towards this badass edge is followed by some daddy issue drama until family relations eventually kills the fun completely.
Eric Bana plays Addison a wild eye psychopath on a mission to get across the border to Canada, his beloved sister is making a similar route but the choice to split up is a necessity and for her protection. Despite his quick trigger finger Addison does have a strange moral compass which does sometimes sway in favour of protecting women but this soft approach doesn’t reduce his kill count by much. Continue reading Deadfall (2012)
Director: Harley Cokeliss .
Starring. Jemma Redgrave, Timothy Spall, Jimmy Nail, Katheleen Wilhoute, Mark Streenstreet, Susan Fleetwood, Nickolas Grace . UK. 1h 26m.
This timid British television production boasts some great names, but for some reason the most influential actors were cast as dodgy villains; two posing as slimey reporters another as a repressed memory bad daddy character it’s sad to see the smallest and nastiest roles in what turns out to be a pretty uneventful haunted house horror go to great names while it’s lead by two no brainer whimsical women. Let’s say Cokeliss lost a lot of the power and charm he exacerbated in Black Moon Rising by this time but the film isn’t a complete loss. Considering the very different surreal undertones it’s a different kettle of fish and thus treated in a very different manner. Continue reading Dream Demon (1988)
Director: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca Santos. USA. 1h 29m
This film is just constantly bad. I want to end the review there but I owe a full explanation, and here it is…
Ouija has become the in thing among teens and adults, that little edgy thing that divides groups of believers and non believers, those who see them as a parlour game and others who see them as elements of evil, every few years the mysticism about this “game” raises its head and creates more urban myths, believers and skeptical non believers. Along with this rise in fame comics, books, tattoos, movies and music are all heavily influenced by the spirit board and it’s planchette accessory. Continue reading Ouija (2014)
Director: Andy Milligan
Starring: Allan Berendt, Hope Stansbury, Patricia Gaul, Michael Fischetti . USA. 1h 9m
This bloodfest has everything in it, monsters, romance, carnivorous plants, a host of deformed servants, affairs, crooked solicitors and a batshit crazy old woman, and all in just over an hour, Andy Milligan really knew how to make a thrilling movie on no budget but with a bucket of originality and a touch of lowbrow comedy.
A stuffy estate agent takes a doctor to view a new property, there he attempts to make his excuses about the state of the property and show the man around but before he can lay on the bullshit he’s given a hefty cheque and forced out the house with reasoning not to return, the second his foot is out the door screaming shrouded figure is rushed in the back door by two crippled servants and a crazy freakish woman. The ghoulish melting corpse they uncover is one of the more gross scenes in the movie and it’s legendary that it’s done so early in the production, it turns out this vile thing is really the beautiful wife of Doctor Orlovsky, a brilliant scientist who’s returned home to claim his family fortune to further fund his experiments. Continue reading Blood (1973)
Starring: Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Louise Brealey, Pippa Nixon. UK. 1h 30m
This plucky little drama horror is set in an average London tower block with average London people forced to go through an extraordinary ordeal for reasons unknown.
The lead Mark (Ross) wakes up late for work, rushing to get ready, swallowing some coffee he attempts to call his estranged wife but soon discovers that his front door isn’t just locked but epoxied shut, thinking that someone is playing a trick on him, his attention is soon brought to a loudspeaker telling him and the other residents not to panic, emergency services and hazmat suited staff are setting up a base outside the apartment and a few faces can be seen in neighbouring apartments staring back in as much dismay as him. Continue reading Containment (2015)
Director: Frank Merle.
Starring. Malcolm McDowell, Paige Howard, David Dastmalchian, Billy Zane, Katerina Mikailenko, USA. 1h 30m.
Malcolm McDowell somehow manages to steal the show while only playing a small but vital role in this dark twisted interview from hell as he looks away a handful of top contenders for a new role in his powerful company allowing them to eliminate each other for the perfect job.
I was really impressed to see this “sub-genre” of interview/exam thrillers cropping up within the Escape Room horror genre. It’s pretty scary enough to have a few strangers locked in a room desperate to escape but when greed or desperation for a new job is also thrown into the mix there seems to be a heighten level of underhandedness in an already cut throat world.
Each candidate is entered in the first of a series of jobs interviews with their fierce future boss, played by the seasoned McDowell whose presence rightfully dominates his screen time, his no nonsense approach gives a great indication of his ruthlessness in the boardroom, and his determination to find the right person. But waking up in a locked room with a few strangers, it’s James (Dastmalchian) who starts to steer the movie. I haven’t seen him in much since Prisoners where he plays that freaky psycho with the snakes but in a total reversal he’s quite a pleasant and capable lead but he’s only just stands out in this mix of mad characters. Continue reading The Employer (2013)
Director: Chris Sun.
Starring. Bill Moseley, Nathan Jones, John Jarratt, Simone Buchanan, Melissa Tkautz. Australia. 1h 35m.
With all of the cult success of Razorback you’d think that a future giant killer pig movie would try to work on that cult goodness and up the ante, but for so many reasons Boar kept trying to deliver but for me it stumbled and fell flat in the mud.
There are two intermingling storylines, one surrounds an Australian family, with a new American patriarch, Bruce (Moseley) who’s pretty iconic when it comes to the horror scene but sadly he’s really out of place and underused in terrible way, people really should be arrested and jailed for this kind of neglect. The family is on vacation and are aiming to camp out and meet family, kicking back and having a good time. Meanwhile an eagle eyed wisen old man of the land Ken (Jarratt) is looking to kick back with some beers and a friend when he notices something strange and head out in the night to investigate. After this laborious introduction the movie fails to pick up the pace but it does try to delight it’s audience with a few blood thirsty killings and they are pretty mediocre. Continue reading Boar (2017)
Starring: Vinessa Shaw, Ebon Moss-Bachrach .Mexico. 1h 40m
Based on: El juego de los niños by Juan José Plans
In a bold attempt to update and update the 1976 classic Who Can Kill a Child but Narciso Ibanes Serrador, Makinov has basically just remade it with little care to really expand the story and somehow it now seems slightly underpowered and drawl in all areas which could have been improved.
A young couple, Beth (Shaw) and Francis (Moss-Bachrach) are on holiday and travelling around remote islands before the birth of their child. On arriving at a new island they discover a lone boy fishing but make their way into town finding it pretty vacant. Settling down in an abandoned bar they make themselves drinks and food, assuming that everyone is sleeping off the after math of festival season. Continue reading Come out and play (2012)
Director: Lowell Dean
Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Michael Shanks, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jesse Moss .Canada. 1h 27m
For a debut feature, there are a lot of pluses for this well written movie from director Lowell Dean, as he explores the almost burnt out zombie horror wave but despite falling back on a few cliches it’s a fairly good horror that sees a few members of Ginger Snaps reunite for a toxic zombie horror adventure in the woods.
Six forensic undergraduates have to ace a scientific field exam if they want their dream job of body hacking in the name of science. They are taken to a remote deserted island in an area known as Eerie Strait, island 13 has been set up as a Body Farm, their tutor Tomkins (Shanks) is overconfident and seems bored and often put off from the outset. He has prepared the island with surveillance cameras and walkie talkies and had the task of monitoring the students throughout their tests of finding corpses and identifying cause of death and length of time left to the elements. Continue reading 13 Eerie (2013)