Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. USA. 1h 55m
One question has plagued mankind since the dawn of time, what happens after death? Is there a big party in the sky, do you get to rekindle your relationships with your ancestors? But what happens if you just enter the afterlife and return, does this make you a god among mortal men? In Joel Schumacher’s science fiction thriller, the question is raised and sharply dodged as the cast fumble around personal nightmares and repetitive resuscitation scenes.
Shortly after his greatest achievements, Lost Boys (1987) and St Elmo’s Fire (1985) he came back with this pious theological piece, which is dramatic but becomes silent and empty when it attempts to give reason and answer to it’s meaning, in fall fairness it’s hard to answer what lies after death but if you’re going to make a movie about it, you really should have a theoretical process in place. Continue reading Flatliners (1990)
Director: Elliott Goldner.
Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Lee Arnold, Patrick Godfrey. UK. 1h 29m.
There are some strange going on in Elliott Goldner’s dark found footage horror set in the beautiful rural Devon landscape. After a miracle at a small church close to being closed down, a team of Vatican expert investigators and a plucky technician head out to prove or disprove the supernatural activity only to discover the truth is harder to believe than the miracle.
Goldner successfully sets up a plausible reason for the cameras and maintains a really good combination of shaky and static cam set up. Starting in South America the camera follows the authorities barging into an abandoned church, Brother Deacon (Kennedy) is screaming into the phone that everyone is missing as the cops find hidden microphones and equipment, it’s an obvious religious scam, “get that camera out of my face” fade to black. Continue reading Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)
AKA Le Mans ’66
Director: James Mangold
Starring:Christian Bale, Matt Damon, .USA. 2h 15m
For someone who isn’t into cars or racing all that much I have really enjoyed the small number of racing biopics that have hit the big screen in recent years. With so much energy from director James Mangold as he explores the run up to Le Mans 66 and the epic battle between two powerful car manufacturing giants from either side of the pong, he digs deep into the psyche’s of the less credited geniuses behind their success. Maybe it’s the drive and passion behind the vehicles which is more cerebral than the end race but I feverishly awaited this after enjoying Rush (2013), both movies are handsome looking and thrilling in their humanity but for die hard fans of the racing world, there’s nothing much new to enjoy but for the outsiders looking in, the film kicks into top gear and does a good job in keeping it there through to the bitter end. Continue reading Ford vs Ferrari (2019)
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)
Director: Osgood Perkins
Starring: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, Lauren Holly, James Remar. USA. 1h 33m
After an influx of “The Exorcism of [insert name here]” movies, Osgood Perkins hits back with an edgy and slow drifting art house approach to the saturated possession genre that insists on it’s audiences full attention; as it pulls them through a mid winter drama filled with tense dark undercurrents that chilled the cast before filming and has made it’s fans think and overthink the terrifying and mind bending finale.
Perkins struggled to get the film released despite it being loved at many film festivals, but after a change of name from February to the more sinister Blackcoats Daughter. Something which sounds like it came from an old rhyme or has a deeper historic meaning but it simply doesn’t. It’s these little touches which helped to confuse the audience and adds to the films mystery, Perkings does analogise that the blackcoat could be a priest or the devil, both have often been credited for dressing in black but he just simply liked the sound of the words together and it’s up to his audience to make what they will of it. Perkins has a talent for creating deeper mythologies within the narrative of his film projects and allowing interpretation, while this openness could be seen a wild genius, it can also become grating Continue reading The Blackcoats Daughter (2015)
Starring.Clems Ohameze, Mike Joseph, Chinyere Nwabueze, Chioma Ifemeludike, Yemsi Obi, Cece Edeme, Golden Black. Nigeria. 1h 56m.
Not often enough, a Nollywood movie will have a poignant message, they are typically littered with high emotional drama, horrible women being taught a lesson and people learning from their mistakes and finding religion, but there are some really big issues facing Africa and I champion any Nollywood movie which takes some timeout from the average thrall and attempts to tackle these issues, especially when they aim to change archaic views and aim to give people a better quality of life and equality, but sadly this cause is such a pivotal part of the plot I can’t go into detail. Continue reading The Fallen (2019)
Director: Darren Paul Fisher
Starring: Daniel Fraser, Eleanor Wyld. UK. 1h 45m.
Synopsis : Are human conditions, actions, relationships determined by fate, free will, or a combination of both? At any rate, if it we cannot control it – should we care?
Initially the slow drama of Frequencies starts out at school, where not only is the young and emotive Zak (Fraser) an outcast due to his low frequency he’s also deeply in love with the top girl Marie (Wyld) who is a victim of her high frequency, which totally rids her of any emotions or feelings. In this unconventional universe when they meet, their unusually high and low frequencies creates tremendous havoc. In their 60 seconds or less meetings they form a strained friendship, Zak being the lab rat while Marie tests the effects of their encounters. Later on in life, Zak’s persistent attempts to raise his frequency with the help of his best friend leads him to a discovery that not only uncovers our past but unlocks many secrets and has the potential to change all of our futures. Continue reading Frequencies / OXV: The Manual (2013)
Director: George McCowan.
Starring.Ray Milland, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Adam Roarke, Judy Pace, Lynn Borden, Mae Mercer, David Gilliam USA. 1h 31m.
You’ll have to forgive me for the review you’re about to read, but I adore this low budget eco horror which is widely considered to be a very poor movie, but for me it’s cinematic gold and I make very few apologies for adoring it, and thankfully writer Fran Lebowitz agrees with me when she called this movie “the best bad movie I have ever seen in my life.”
If YOU Are Squeamish Stay Home!!!
Many eco horror movies are quite subtle in their approach, the most famous is probably Long Weekend (1978) where a couple struggle to deal with their personal issues while taking it easy in the outback until nature decides to throw them a curveball, but others are more dramatic and usually after some kind of negative human influence, be it radiation, pollution or a truck load of PCP, the wildlife come to life and rally against mankind. From the dynamic Birds from Hitchcock, to Franco Prosperi ‘s Wild Beasts (1984) where a zoo’s water supply is compromised, sending an array of wildlife into a frenzy stalking the city streets.
Continue reading Frogs (1972)
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: Robert Lieberman
Starring: C B Sweeney, Robert Patrick, Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, James Garner, Henry Thomas. USA. 1h 49m
Based on: The Walton Experience by Travis Walton
After a decade of making dramas tinged with politics or romance, Lieberman took a step out of his comfort zone for this creepy film based on a the alleged accounts of an alien abduction survivor Travis Walton and this life after returning to earth.
The film starts out innocent enough when a group of life long friends are returning home from work in Snowflake Arizona, when Travis (Sweeney) is abducted by lights in the sky, the friends freak out but Mike Rogers (Partrick) reports that Travis has been abducted by aliens, this sparks a rugged local sheriff (Garner) to think that Mike and the others, were involved in Travis’s disappearance. after a lot of nervousness between the men who are reporting the incident, taking their unreal fear for guilt he approaches with a fairly open mind but believes he just needs to find evidence of a misdemeanour. Continue reading Fire in the Sky (1993)