Director: Christophe Gans Starring: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Deborah Kara Unger .USA/France/Canada. 2h 5m
Before the massive remake revolution audiences used to get some kind of excitement when their beloved media was about to be revamped into something new and shiny. However over the years we were battered to death by abysmal rehases that missed the plot and we all lost faith that any remake was going to be worth our time… but before we learnt the painful lesson there was some hope that Silent Hill, in the hands of Christophe Gans, might, just might make a decent horror movie. After all the games are fucking terrifying so even if you miss the mark, you’ll still end up with something unsettling and creepy right? Right?
Director: Various Starring: Various Worldwide. 1h m
Despite setting records on the Shudder platform, there’s a lot lacking from this instalment of the VHS series, however maybe there was a gap in the market, as this came out during the height of yet another lockdown! leaving it with reviews swaying from weak to the best of the series? Being a total marmite chapter lets me dive deep into it. The wrap-around for this anthology-found footage compilation follows a SWAT team stumbling on a sinister VHS cult and the underground compound, for all of the other wraps it’s one of the strangest as we don’t really see the team settling into the movies like the rest.
Director: Fred Olen Ray Starring:Buster Crabbe, Raymon Roberts, Linda Lewis, Georeg Kelsey. USA. 1h 27m
Mind bending retro sci fi horror, featuring gator eating alien zombies that lay siege on a quaint rural southern town where a journalist ends up in a dead end town that seems to be running out of gators only to stumbles on the story of a lifetime.
Director: Juan Piquer Simón Starring: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Ely Pouget, Deborah Adair,John Toles-Bey. Spain/USA. 1h 19m
If you’re a fan of underwater horrors such as The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six etc, then this film will feel really familiar to you. Often seen as a BMovie version of the movies mentioned above due to its lack of originality in the plot, the film is often praised for providing a decent entertaining sucker punch for it’s limitations. Considering that 1989 was the sterling breakthrough for deep sea thrillers involving a host of alien and mutant creatures, it’s a strange step backwards to watch Endless Descent ride on their back 2 years later, but for all its flaws it’s incredibly watchable.
Director: David L Hunt Starring: Chris Cleveland, Matthew Alan, Mark Hayter, Circus-Szalewski. USA. 1h 52m
The creepy pasta scene is rarely taken too seriously in the world of horror, as most of the popular stories are usually upvoted by teenagers, the hidden genuine creepy gems usually go largely unnoticed. It’s not until a couple of 12 year olds try to ritually sacrifice their friend to Slender Man, that a few more people finally wake up to the range of stories and twisted tales that were being shared and obsessed over in forums worldwide. Continue reading Living Dark : The Story of Ted the Caver (2013)→
Director: Mark Atkins Starring: Adrian Bouchet, Jonathan Pienaar, Natalie Robbie, Donna Cormack Thomson, Chris Fisher, Eric Roberts, Toshi Toda .USA/South Africa. 1h 29m
Trying to blend ancient folklore monsters into a modern sci-fi story just makes for a really poor Godzilla rip off seem like goldust in comparison. But coming from Mark Atkins, the B Movie god who made a slew of strange shark movies, it’s interesting to see some attempt to add in a backstory for once.
Using a mediterrainan style setting (although filmed in South Africa) there’s an attempt to make things seem exotic and distant, tropical and mysterious, but the research team who had enough warnings makes a terrible set of decisions and set themselves on a path of destruction in order to chase a giant critter that they witnessed crushing their expensive equipment, just because.
Adrian Bouchet stars as Billy Ford, who’s in charge of an advanced remote deep sea diving team, but when they witness a giant tentacle crush one of their remote machines, while setting up a demonstration for a rich backer, they decide to go in deep and investigate. Billy and his team seem to have access to everything, private choppers, boats, subs, both robotic and remote controlled but not much common sense. When they notice that the top of Reveen has vanished and is in fact a living lava blooded monster, they decide to fight back. This strange crustacean/octopus monster manages to kill a nuclear armed Russian sub but they get away and then luckily the government inspector who forced her way on board to make sure they are all working to strict guidelines, remembers that high university professor tried to teach her about these legendary monsters but she thought her tutor was talking shit, so they fly over and pick her up.. Sometimes I wish my life was this simple. Either way they awake a giant “Guardian” who isn’t Godzilla so the movie begins to not only let its audience down but things are now depressing as well.
Bouchet comes across like a cub scout leader, the tutor seems a bit away with her meds and Eric Roberts pops up from time to time as some admiral or something but all he does is shout down a phone with Toshi Toda wandering around in the background (maybe they skyped in their performances?) The special effects are terrible, when you don’t have money for good or intelligently lead CGI then just don’t go there, for a production like this I’d have been more impressed with a man in a suit, I’m an advocate for more monster men in suits if you didn’t guess.
Like all of those “terrible sharknado movies” this one is a switch off and drink a beer to make it interesting kidna popcorn flick, at times it has a few interesting links to a fake mythos but the usual abysmal rubbish that often gets served up on syfy, why i don’t know…
R: Planet of the Sharks (2016), Sand Sharks (2012), Jack the Giant Killer (2013)
L: 20 Wonderful Made-for-television sci-fi disaster movies
5s: Mark Atkins Post Discussion
Director: John Carpenter Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, Charlton Heston .USA/Canada. 1h 35m
This epic slice of classic horror and the final piece of his Apocalypse Trilogy seems to be John Carpenter’s homage to a lot of the great names in literary horror, from HP Lovecraft to Stephen King he carves out a creepy tale which every horror writer has probably dreamt of, and that’s the ability to make their horror very real and literally jump of the page and effect their readers, getting all up in their grills. Anything to stop those whiney kids to stop complaining that nothing scares them huh?
Director: Justin Timpane. Starring. Cory Eskridge, Okouchi, Daniel Ross, Dan Guy, Carla Okouchi, PJ Megaw. USA. 1h 26m.
Independent cinema is a minefield to navigate sometimes, there are bad films and bad bad films and good bad films, but those gems which really capture fan attention are those which no matter how bad they appear, there is a clear attempt do make something to the best of one’s abilities here and to have fun while doing it and that just might be the charm which makes this a unusual cut above the rest.
This is definitely a homemade, call in the help of some buddies and maybe a local band to get this project off the ground; but in all fairness without the years of classical training and millions of bucks it’s quite an accomplishment, although on par with the video segment from VHS 2.5. It’s strange how we take some projects to heart and ignore others, luckily though it’s small cult following there have been a few follow ups. Continue reading Ninjas Vs Zombies (2008)→
Director: William Eubank Starring: Kristen Stewrd, Vincent Cassel, Mamoduou Athie, TJ Miller, John Gallagher Jr, Jessica Henwick. USA/Canada. 1h 35m
It was only a matter of time where the connection between the isolation of outer space was going to be matched by that of a deep dark space closer to the earth was going to be matched up and Cthulhu chucked in for good measure. The last milestone year for underwater horrors was 1989 which saw the release of three masterworks DeepStar Six (1989), Leviathan (1989), and The Abyss (1989) which saw fearless deep sea adventurers encountering different unknown vicious beasts and sometimes aliens while often digging deep into the earth’s crust. So why not knock it up a notch now that we have access to a lot more.. technology and green screens.
William Eubank is obsessed with a flighty spacey sci fi adventures filled with twists and turns from the epic loneliness of Love (2011) and his attempt to make a viable sci fi mystery in The Signal (2014) which looked stunning but employed too much slow mo action , he’s certainly built up an amiable arsenal of techniques and the ability to build gorgeous sets and to create a realistic other world atmosphere, nevertheless he keeps most of this new epic Underwater fairly grounded under the final act where all hell quite literally breaks lose.
Director: Richard Stanley Starring: Nicolas Cage, Some Alpacas, Tommy Chong, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliott Knight, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hillard, Josh C Waller. USA. 1h 51m
Richard Stanley has made a succinct but highly notable list of horror movies over the last 37 years, my personal top favourite is Hardware AKA Mark 13 (1990), a film I associate with so closely I have my own MARK 13 tattooed as part of my sci fi leg piece, Dust Devil (1992) and Island of Dr Monroe (1996) received mixed reviews but retains a solid cult fan base for their unique approach to horror. Somewhere within all of his back catalogue there includes crazy hallucinogenic colour bursts, unknown hidden horrors and strong powerful characters who are usually lost in the heat of the earth.