Category Archives: Gothic

Ghostland (2018)

Director: Pascal Laugier.
Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.

Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.

The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)

L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)

Director: Sergio Martino.
Starring. Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson. Italy. 1h 40m.

Somewhere in this science fiction fantasy horror, there is a great director who’s floundering out of his depths. Martino has some crackers under his belt including All the Colours of the Dark (1972).

Starting with a murder is always the best way to start a Giallo and Martino with all this previous experience kept to his tradition, a couple embark on a shifty night time mission to find hidden treasures, only to be met with clawed fish hands and bloody death in the (surprisingly well lit) dank caves of an unknown island, along with their mercenary crew who are slaughtered by the same hands along the shore. A short while later in 1891 a military doctor Lieutenant Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) survives not one but two shipwrecks and ends up on a mysterious island with a handful of prisoners survived with him. On this strange isle the are faced with hunger and some of the convicts meet grisley ends with the fishmen and the survivors flee into the jungle only to encounter Edmond Rackham (Johnson) who’s a sadistic douchebag who’s on a power hungry ego trip, alongside him is a stunning captive, Amanda (Bach). Continue reading L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)

Frankenstein Vs The Mummy (2015)

Director: Daniel Leone
Starring: Constantin Tripes,Ashton Leigh, Max Rhyser, Brandon deSpain, Boomer Tibbs. USA. 1h 45m

I find it’s adorable that this century old story is still influencing directors today, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been one of my all time favourite novels since I was a wee bearn, and the ancient histories of North Africa has been a huge influence, both villains have been huge horror characters since cinema began and finally they meet in the dank basement of an American University in this sketchy horror, it could have flourished into something with more substance but is still entertaining, more so than others in the genre but don’t expect your socks to be blown off.

Heavily inspired by the Gothic novella and possibly a few Hammer Horrors in between, this tepid horror attempts to pull together two monsters for an epic battle but totally misses its own mark and churns out a terrible romance story which slows the movie down and doesn’t give much space to maneuver these foes. Continue reading Frankenstein Vs The Mummy (2015)

The Nun (2018)

Director: Corin Hardy.
Starring. Taissa Farmigna, Demian Bichir, Bonnie Aarons, Jonas Bloquet. USA. 1h 36m.

Supposedly the most terrifying chapter of the Conjuring Universe!! *queue the dramatic music* We have the NUN!!! *queue lightning and scary sound effects* But they say that about every new Conjuring related movie.

The Conjuring turned out to be a pretty decent horror movie a touch of class and a dash of “run of the mill” but overall it had a mix of scares and thrills which really enthralled it’s audience, detailing a real life couple who get their pleasures from investigating hauntings and other paranormal events. In their debut they mentioned Annabelle, a haunted doll unlike any other, and her short creepy clip gave way to a full length movie, which did ok, my only gripe is that it really should have featured a doll which resembled the original. But after the abysmal rendition of the Enfield haunting which was subject of the Conjuring 2, a new unrelated character got shoehorned into the mix, a rather scary Nun, and now she has her centre stage, but sadly she doesn’t get to play much in her own film. Continue reading The Nun (2018)

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

AKA Non Si deve profance il sonno dei morti, Don’t Open the Window, the film officially has 15 titles, so take your pick..

Director: Jorge Grau
Starring: Ray Lovelock. Arthur Kennedy, Cristina Galbo. Spain/Italy. 1h 35

There’s a subtle Giallo twist to this unusual but gripping science fiction zombie flick, undead, mystery, giallo, car crash, sci fi horror, pesticides, it’s got so much going on but all to the backdrop of the gorgeous English countryside and littered with the creeping dead.

The film focuses on two protagonists who until their vehicle crash led two totally different lives, there’s Edna (Galbó) Who’s trying to visit her family and the brash George (Lovelock) a hot tempered and pushy individual but his drive really powers the action. Continue reading The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Hereditary (2018)

Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne. USA. 2h 7m

Boldly highlighted as the most frightening film of all time, Hereditary certainly does have its moments and a dark twisted ending but is it really all that horrific? It’s undeniably creepy and boils into a crescendo of violence and psychological demise, but what it doesn’t offer are hoards of false jump scares, buckets of blood or unbelievable torture porn.

It’s hard to detail the movie as it’s subtle approach and devilish details makes it something that once explained will ruin many surprises. The movie does manage to support a constant feeling of dread for the first 90 minutes it’s hard to really see which direction the film is taking, hard to know what’s real and what might be a dream and ultimately it lines up a powerful ending that won’t be predicted by the more discerning horror fan. Continue reading Hereditary (2018)

Black Cat (1981)

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Director : Lucio Fulci
Starring: Patrick Magee, Mimsy Farmer, David Warbeck, Al Cliver. Italy.1h 32m

A giallo tribute to the brilliance of Edgar Allen Poe, but as Fulci was the king of gore it pulls away from the gothic nature of the original stories and lathers it in slasherific fun.  

In a small English village there is something macabre going on, a man notices a cat on the backseat of his car that appears to  hypnotise him which results in him crashing his car and his death, the car cheerfully scampers off home to the cottage is shares with Robert Miles (Patrick Magee), a retired; hateful professor who doubles up a psychic or medium and spends most of his time recording in at the tombs or graves of the recently deceased.  Meanwhile an American tourist Jill Travers (Mimsy Farmer) wanders into a tomb to take photos and finds a microphone, she’s eventually warned off b a local bobby Sergeant Wilson (Al Cliver). A young couple sneak into an airtight room in a boat house to make out, when a black cat appears suddenly the key goes missing and the two are seen dying from an unfortunate lack of oxygen. Continue reading Black Cat (1981)

The Terror (1963)

the-terror-jack-nicholson

 

Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, Dick Miller, Dorothy Neumann. USA. 1h 20m

There’s not a lot to this old meets new Roger Corman film, a gothic ghostly romance that features Boris Karloff near the end of his career and Jack Nicholson near the beginning of his illustrious career and he’s still quite wet behind the ears, especially in stark contrast of the seasoned Karloff, but even with his mastery it’s easy to see that the film would have benefitted from being much shorter. Continue reading The Terror (1963)

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy hollow 2

Director : Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christopher Walken,  Christina Ricci, Michael Gambon, Christopher Lee Miranda Richardson. USA. 1h 45m

The alluring Johnny Depp returns to the big screen under the gentle hand of his best friend Tim Burton in the timeless epic,  Sleepy Hollow,  Washington Irving’s all  American gothic mystery thriller romance,  and with it’s dark and twisted back story it’s one of the prime suspects of a classic novel that would  inspire Tim Burton to direct again and he manages to give it his stereotypical darkly tinted overhaul, conjuring up massively creepy action scenes for his favourite leading man despite his cheerful disposition and constant fainting, he is strangely the man for the job. Depp plays Ichabod Crane a police officer sent by the New York authorities, in this case by Christopher Lee in the late 18th century to investigate a supernatural crime wave in a small town almost lost within a forest called Sleepy Hollow, one of the obvious twists with this retelling of the story is the modern FBI approach that Crane has towards investigating the series of beheadings like Takeshi Kaneshiro in Dragon (2013) but without the CSI graphics. Continue reading Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The Company of Wolves (1984)

the company of wolves

Director: Neil Jordan
Writer: Angela Carter Neil Jordan
Starring: Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Micha Bergese, Sarah Patterson. UK. 1h 35m.

A dark and twisted gothic fairytale derived from a cult classic stage play based around the Red Riding Hood story, brought into fruition by Director Neil Jordan and as a second movie it’s both delicately beautiful and visually powerful and it’s worth a mention that Jordan later brought us Mona Lisa (1986) the Crying Game (1992) and Byzantium (2012) three movies which detail tortuous deep sexual relationships and fantasy characters. Continue reading The Company of Wolves (1984)