Category Archives: creature feature

Curse II -The Bite (1989)

Director: Frederico Prosperi (as Fred Goodwin)
Starring: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr, Bo Svenson .Italy/USA. 1h 37m

After the success of The Curse (1987), an indie effort to breathe cinematic life into the classic HP Lovecraft story The Color Out of Space. An Italian/American sequel, in name only manages to cobble together a strange blend of body horror and romance and in some respects it stands strong as a very strange orphan.

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Byzantium (2012)

Director: Neil Jordan
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Riley, Caleb Landry-Jones  .UK. 1h 58m

Every few years vampires find themselves reinvented and they refuse to remove their fangs from our necks. Jim Jarmusch swung back with Only Lovers Left Alive, a revival of the romantic mixed with his own take on the eternal blood sucking genre, and it’s been two decades since Interview with a Vampire, the film that made millions swoon…

Byzantium switches between modern day and yesteryear through dreamy sequences and guttural gore as Gemma Arterton, often dolled up in numerous sexy outfits, and her supposed daughter Saoise Ronan play vampires who after years of running from hunters, end up in a dead end seaside town.  After shacking up with a timid hotelier, Daniel Mays, they set up their own brothel in his shabby establishment.

By the time the girls have settled into their new home, the authorities are taking an interest in them, but these agents have a good idea of the monsters lurking within the innocent faces and they are highly equipped to track down these undead wenches in order to make them more dead.

The strange unsettling drama will always been known as one of the new wave of modern neon movies, at times it sets itself among vibrant titles like Into the Void (20??), and yet there’s a creepy nostalgia when remote waterfalls turn into torrents of blood, but as the girls struggle through adversity in the 19th and 20th century, with and without corsets, the compelling story of power and hunger has a heavy feminist subtext that adds weight to the already fantastic adventure.  The girls are very unique from other vampires, while they are super strong and have acute senses, but their tool of the trade is a retractable fingernail which they use to kill, with this slightly feline temperament and talons the movie oozes yet another feminine thread.

” I’m never merciful, and knowledge is a fatal thing.”

-Clara

The story often stops and starts, falling over its own timeline, the girls seem to spend a lot of time sandboxing, falling in love with sick boys, updating their fries, struggling with the school system and the bittersweet gothic backstory determines why the girls hate men so much. But with such a long play time it seems to take a long time to describe what we have already guessed, and yet we still don’t really know where they are intending to go.

Certainly one for those who like a bit of mysticism and pretty visuals as much as a compelling story but don’t expect to have too many memories of the film other than pretty visuals as it frustratingly loses its personality along the way.

Rating: 6/10

TLDR

Related: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Enter the Void (2009)
Lists: Vampire romances Vol 1, Neon Cinema
Spotlight:  Sam Riley, Caleb Landry Jones

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The Dark (1979)

Director: Tobe Hopper, John Cardos Starring:William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jacquelyn Hyde. USA. 1h 32m

This could have been a real contender as one of the more imaginative bold and vibrant sci-fi thrillers of the late 70’s but it fails on a few fronts which is a crying shame. The total of it’s dismal failures is all down to a ton of rewrites as the director duo of Tobe Hopper and John Cardos scramble around trying to wedge their classic into the shadow of the other highly successful sci-fi movies like Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979).

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Howling III (1987)

Director: Phillipe Mora
Starring: Barry Otto, Max Fairchild, Imogen Annesley, Frank Thring, Michael Pate, Burnham Burnham, Barry Humphries. Australia . 1h 38m

Easily the most Australian of the Howling franchise and possibly the most Australian movie ever. If you’re a fan of the 80’s Australian Horror genre then you might just have a soft spot for this turd instalment in an iconic werewolf series. In saying that, if that’s not your into garish lit scenes, vulgar humor, vile body horror and ransom nun, commandos and Aboriginal spiritual warriors popping in at random points then this might be hard to get into. I do wholeheartedly agree that it’s not a brilliant made movie, it doesn’t really make sense, and is more comedy than horror, but is Howling 3 really that bad? A film so bad it didn’t even get a cinematic release in its home country?

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Maneater/Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan
Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Graham Greene, Gregory Crux .USA. 1h 29m

A year after his gross toxic adventure featuring a group of strong femme friends in Chemical Peel (2014), Hank Braxtan is back with a similar environmental disaster movie, but this time a similar uncaring tech company aren’t illegally transporting chemicals but instead they have something dangerous brewing in their icy labs.

There seems to be a drive within Braxtan to warn us of the dangers of covert labs and the dark secret organizations who are totally ruthless with their chemical waste and with arcane unrelenting needs to control nature. In the opening scene we have a gleaming smile from the cult actor Ray Wise who is the spokesman for Clobirch claiming to be an environmentally conscious company they have everyone’s interests at heart.. But no one is fooled.

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Willow Creek (2013)

Director: Bobcat Goldthwaite
Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson .USA. 1h 17m

Set in Humboldt County, California, and filmed over 5 days, a film now commonly known as the Blairquatch Project emerges from the forest to (not) wow it’s audience with the adventures of a Bigfoot enthusiast who drags his girlfriend into the wild to hunt bigfoot for his birthday treat. Continue reading Willow Creek (2013)

The Invisible Man (2020)

Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, Oliver Jackson-Cohen . Australia/USA. 2h 04m

So many years after the temptatious story of the Invisible Man by the legendary H G Wells, later made into a Black and White Classic by Universal Studios. The implausible idea of a chemical formula to make humans invisible has now been cleverly updated to an optical genius and a camera suit but why would we need such an application in this day and age? Infiltrating rival governments? To make an invisible army to take over the world or just a tool to torment an ex girlfriend who dared to leave a toxic relationship? Continue reading The Invisible Man (2020)

The Barge People (2018)

Director: Charlie Steeds
Starring: Kate Davies-Speak, Mark McKirdy, Makenna Guyler .UK. 1h 18m

The opening of Mutants is a love letter to 70’s horror, it has a true retro feeling about it, chunky yellow fonts with a boombing synth soundtrack and fuzzy graphics, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a re release of an older movie, as it’s so authentic rather than imitation, you’ll also be excused to wondering why the movie is called Mutants, it seems to exist with two titles, Mutants shown at the beginning and Barge People shown at the very end.. Continue reading The Barge People (2018)

Ouija Shark (2020)

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Director: Brett Kelly
Starring: Leslie Cserepy, Steph Goodwin, Kylie Gough, Robin Hodge, Satci Marie Lattery. USA. 1h 21m

Well I knew that Sharknado (2013) was going to open the flood gates of bizarre cheesy horrors but I couldn’t have predicted this one! A home grown horror from Brett Kelly with a long history of off key horrors including, Iron Soldier (2010) who isn’t Iron Man, Avenging Force (2010) who aren’t the Avengers at all, Pirates Quest for Snake Land (2009) *cough*and Spyfall (2014), you get the idea right? This instalment of fear follows a girl who finds a Ouija board while out swimming in the sea (or a lake) and throwing all caution to the wind she uses the board with her friends an act which unleashes a vicious shark spirit. Continue reading Ouija Shark (2020)