Director: Oren Peli
Starring: Micah Sloat, Katie Featherston . USA. 1h 26m
Sometimes it takes a great director to make a movie, other times it takes a great director to endorse a movie to make it a winner! Steven Speilberg couldn’t praise the movie enough, claiming that he had to stop watching as he was so afraid and had to continue the next day with the lights on! What on earth could freak him out that much?
The film was hyped up as the scariest movie you’ve ever seen, this instantly made it a target for criticism and doubt. The series of trailers were chock a block with clips of audiences reeling away and jumping with fright more than highlighting what the film is actually about. The most we know is there’s something going on in the pristine suburban home of two beautiful young hopefuls.
Continue reading Paranormal Activity (2007)
Director: Aaron B Koontz
Starring: Melora Walters, Zachary Knighton, Noah Segan, Stan Shaw, Devin Druid, Bill Sage .USA. 1h 36m
While being blown away with the wild violence on Bone Tomahawk (2015) I wondered if it was going to mark a revival of the Horror Westerns and luckily it did, The Nightingale (2018) and The Wind (2018) soon followed and really kept up the momentum, pioneering new levels and atmospheres in the genre, then things started to spiral out of control and the low budgets are now having a bash at grisly film with a western feel.
The Pale Door has one of those movies titles that sounds poetic and could allude to a rabbit warren of possibilities, sadly they picked a really strange combination of events to try and build a story on. Continue reading The Pale Door (2020)
Director: John Boorman.
Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.
Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory
There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)
Director: Brett Simmons.
Starring: Stephen Lang , CJ Thomason, Michelle Pierce. USA. 1h 31m
I love when an old classic story gets a boost into a modern film, although there is always a need to be sensitive in the approach of modernising any aged tale, some stories seem to thrive as costume dramas, being so heavily strung in their own time that it’s almost impossible to shift elsewhere, such as Witchfinder General, while it could be updated, it relies on the mass hysteria of the age to really boil up some trouble. Timeless classics can be shifted back and forwards through time effortlessly, Lifepod by Alfred Hitchcock became a pretty interesting Sci Fi piece in 1993 by the talented Ron Silver (RIP) a ship lost at sea can easily become a ship lost in space.
The Monkey’s Paw was a story which filled me with marvel as a child, the moralistic side is deeply devastating but the horror aspect usually boils down to the concept of the evil dead returning, in the original story they simply come knocking but this presence has been resurrected many times now and death takes a gory step closer each time. The charming segment “Wish you were here” of Tales from the Crypt, the screaming dead are resurrected at the wrong time and face an everlasting life of pain.. ooops! Continue reading Monkeys Paw (2013)
Director: Stuart Brennan
Starring: Stuart Brennan, Marcus Macleod, Mark Paul Wake….UK. 1h 28m
This darkly twisted fairy tale follows a group of soldiers fleeing a war zone who find themselves lost deep in the woods where only magical things can happen.This British horror with a small budget definitely dreams big and while it has a solid story the execution comes across a little trying.
There is evil inside all of us.
Continue reading The Necromancer (2018)
Director: Babak Anvari .
Starring. Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz. USA. 1h 34m.
This strange and dutifully tragic movie owes a lot to Cronenberg and H.P Lovecraft despite opening with a quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, that ends with “it echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core”. It’s hard to recognise the significance at this early stage of the movie but recalling back to the character it’s now easy to see how the main characters overall weakness as a human being made him so vulnerable for the nightmare that is about to unfold before his eyes. Continue reading Wounds (2019)
Director: Liam Gavin.
Starring. Steve Oram. Catherine Walker. UK/Ireland/Wales. 1h 39m.
For a directorial debut things can’t get much better than this enlightened and powerful independent movie about grief, revenge and the harsh deeper side of the occult. An obviously distraught and confused mother, Sophia (Walker) rents an isolated house in rural Wales to try and convince an angry and unhinged occultist Joseph Solomon (Oram) to lead her through months of grueling rites in order to summer her Guardian Angel to grant her a special favor after her son was abducted and murdered, all she wants is to talk with him again.
Sophia follows the rules to the letter, collecting large amounts of supplies and spending thousands just to entice Joseph to the house and after some rugged persuasion he begrudgingly agrees but has reservations about Sophia’s motives but she is persistent and pretty durable, and she grinds through the punishing exercises, changing her diet, and begin soaked with chilled water, denied sleep and spends hours learning complex sigils and rituals. All the while in the dim secluded house that’s alien to them both and is constantly creaking and being generally creepy, Joseph remains a moody occult guide and rude rule maker, reading from the Book of Abramelin, and making some things up to help him keep his mind in the game, usually involving Sophia’s naked body.. Meanwhile Sophia doesn’t see enough results for her hard work, but ever so slowly the magic starts to work, or is it all a result of the demanding time locked away in the house with a volatile and pushy occultist?
Continue reading A Dark Song (2016)
AKA Are You There?
Director:Scott Di Lalla .
Starring.Demetrius Sager,Courtney Foxworthy, Kelly McLaren, Caleb Courtney USA. 1h 25m.
As part of my Occult A-Z I have been watching some of the best and worst that cinema has to offer and pretty early on I was easily set on this being the end of the list but i’m afraid that the list will end on a low note.
I‘m a huge supporter of lower budget movies but what they lack funds they do have to make up with some passion, some drive, a bit of energy!! But this is little more than entry level horror, which is a shame as the whole Zozo mythos is pretty interesting and usually harbors a few jumps and sleepless nights. Continue reading I am Zozo (2006)
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia WIlliams, Djimon Hounsou, Julianne Moore. USA/UK/Russia 1h 42m
Based on The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
In principle the story is ok, I’m pretty sure the better selling novel by Joseph Delaney is worth a read if fantasy is your thing, but in this bizarre adaptation there’s no longer anything particularly outstanding. Which is totally bizarre as it has all the ingredients, great actors, many who have starred in many fantasy movies, a Russian director, and without prejudice some of the most inventive fantasy movies have come from the region, topped with a lavish story, this should have blown many pairs of socks off, but it could barely figure out how to put them on.
Opening at a weird stage in the story, we see a man locking away a screaming woman in a remote hold in a vacant landscape, is alludes to this being the outcome of an epic battle between Mother Malkin (Moore) an evil witch and Gregory (Bridges) a member of a knightly order called the Falcons who dedicate their lives defending mankind from supernatural threats. Continue reading The Seventh Son (2014)
Director: Jeff Maher.
Starring. Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cymyn, Dennis Andres, George Kirssa, Hamza Fouad. Canada. 1h 25m
After watching the long lost and brilliant psychotropic Death Bed : The bed that eats (1977) , I chanced upon this modern gore thriller about a similar piece of haunted furniture and thought I’d see how far we’d come in terms of awesome cinema and to sum it up in one sentence, watch the 1970’s classic instead..
This film is based on one wishy washy idea then introduces another and another then forgets to actually define why any of this is happening! But it all respect it has a respectable level of cinematography, effects and tries to be devious with a semi intelligent plot but it runs out of steam after the initial 20 minutes and fades from memory. Continue reading Bed of the Dead (2016)