Director: Matthew Holness
Starring: Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong .UK. 1h 25m
There’s a place that some dark artist like to go, it often involves gloomy and eerie aspects from a fuzzy past that are easily recognised but often pushed back to those obscure corners of our minds, like a suppressed memory Possum manages from slither its way out of the dank interior of an old English home, and hides itself in the brown bag carried by a disgraced children’s puppeteer as he embarks on a journey to confront his stepfather and his own inner demons.
The film opens with Philip (Harris) wandering aimlessly around a remote area of Norfolk with his bag clutched tightly to him, after some atmospheric art house scenes backed by a heavy Radiophonic Workshop soundtrack. He spys a few teenage boys on a train he tries to talk with one but he runs away from the creepy man, Philip returns to his home, a dank rundown home with a disheveled garden, here he opens his bag and chucks the contents into a metal barrel with the promise to destroy the leggy creature, eventually we are made aware of Maurice (Armstrong), a sly and controlling character who seems to want to encourage Philip to keep his puppet, while constantly keeps asking if he’s going to burn it, which Philip agrees to but then never does. Little by little Maurice exerts control over Philip and suggests different places for him to visit, while the puppet is slowly revealed and each time the effects on Philip get more disastrous. As a news story about a missing school boy flourish in the news, questions are raised over Philips possible involvement. Continue reading Possum (2018)
AKA Alien Terror AKA Strangers
Director: Ciro Ippolito
Starring: Ciro Ippolito, Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Michele Soavi,Judy Perrin. Italy. 1h 32m
Before the Alien (1979) film could be fully licenced and trade marked, it obviously had a profound effect on Italian director Ciro Ippolito decided to take it upon himself to craft a unauthorised sequel, and while this film has a low budget, the scope is there for a much bigger and impressive project, but the Alien lifeform is more affiliated with The Thing (1982)– In a Cave.. and has little to do with Ridley Scott’s cult classic.
While the earth eagerly await the return of a group of astronauts, meanwhile in an unrelated television studio, Thelma Joyce (Mayne) appears to talk about Spelunking and caves but she had a terrible psychic episode and violent visions forces an abrupt ending to her interview. The spaceship arrives but the crew are missing, in theory I believe this is supposed to be the derelict Nostromo. Meanwhile a young girl playing on the beach finds a pulsating blue rock, when her mother finds her, she’s missing her face. Continue reading Alien 2 – Sulla Terra / Alien 2 – On Earth (1980)
Director: Nick Szostakiwkyj
Starring: Shane Twerdun, Michael Dickson, Carl Toftfelt, Marc Anthony Williams, Andrew Moxham, Timothy Lyle, Steve Bradley. Canada. 1h 39m
Like a creepy love letter to John Carpenter’s; The Thing (1982) from a methed out HP Lovecraft, Black Mountain assembles a dark story the slowly gets more sinister until a bleak but strong ending.
Much like the thing, there are a small crew working in harsh icy conditions of Northern Canada, but this team are a group of archaeologists who uncover an ancient structure and some artifacts which date around the last ice age, perplexed by the date of the objects and in wonderment of the people who crafted them, the men continue to investigate and study the pieces but their presence spook the native members of the crew who quickly abandon them then their communications fail and their supplies are cut off, but this is the least of their problems. Continue reading Black Mountainside (2014)
Director: David Bruckner
Writers: Joe Barton and Adam Nevill’s The Ritual
Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton. UK. 1h 34m
One of the perks with Netflix is that it gives you the opportunity to watch on the go, which I tried to do with Ritual, but after watching the opening scene I had to stop the film, get home, get comfortable and absorb this film as it instantly grabbed my attention.
It opens with a few guys, not really willing to admit they are getting older but needing to get out on an adventure, or just the yearly lads holiday, Ibiza!? no they are getting to old, camping, that’s too boring.. so what? The discussion goes into the street and on the way home a couple stop to get some vodka, the night is young and it must be continued while picking up the booze in the offie, they become aware that the place is being robbed, Luke (Spall) hides behind a display while his best friend tries to talk the situation down, it doesn’t work they start attacking him, and he bleeds to death while staring at his cowardly friend… this is the first lesson of this movie but the location changes to the deep dark forests of Sweden and the stakes get higher. Continue reading The Ritual (2017)
Director: Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey
Starring: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman. UK. 1h 21m
There are a lot of familiarity about this 50’s Hammer Horror sci fi mystery film. Being from the classic horror company there are quite a few familiar faces especially the young round face of Michael Ripper who masquerades with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in a lot of Dracula and other Hammer monster projects.
Sadly Nigel Keale refused to give permission for his beloved character Bernard Quatermass to be used in this pseudo third chapter, but the similarities are there, and this contains the relevant allegorical threads revealing Cold War anxieties. Continue reading X the Unknown (1956)
In this 1960’s folklore inspired horror fest, a young monk, Khoma; is tasked with saying prayers over the body of a beautiful maiden who is in fact a witch and she terrorising him each night, the tormenting intensifies until the last night where the showdown unleashed all the goblins and trolls the witch can muster and the novice monk has an epic show down and has to basically exorcise the witch. This show down is amazing and I feel that for these scene alone the film should be recognised by more people. Continue reading Favourite Scene – Viy (1967)
Director: Bryan Bertino
Starring : Zoe Kazan, Scott Speedman, Ella Ballentine. USA. 1h 31m
This American horror was written and directed by Bryan Bertino and i have to admit that I haven’t paid much attention to him since his devastating brilliant debut, The Strangers (2008), it seems that his style is to meld together stark horror and gore with some raw emotions and it’s ever present in this unconventional creature feature.
A young girl, Lizzy (Ballentine) and her tattered mother Kathy ( Kazan) are en route to her father as it’s his turn for custody, due to Kathy’s alcoholism, Lizzy has to spend a lot of time looking after her mother and escaping her wrath. Through flashbacks it’s evident that Lizzy wants to stay with her father permanently and loathes her mother and her addiction. Continue reading The Monster (2016)