Director: Tobe Hopper, John Cardos
Starring:William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jacquelyn Hyde. USA. 1h 32m
This could have been a real contender as one of the more imaginative bold and vibrant sci-fi thrillers of the late 70’s but it fails on a few fronts which is a crying shame. The total of it’s dismal failures is all down to a ton of rewrites as the director duo of Tobe Hopper and John Cardos scramble around trying to wedge their classic into the shadow of the other highly successful sci-fi movies like Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979).
Director: Jack McHenry Starring: Tom Bailey, Maureen Bennett, Alfred Bradle, Robert Llewellyn, Timothy Renouf, Charlie Robb, Jessica Webber. UK. 1h 20m
Genre bending comedy horror doesn’t get much better than this frightful mini epic. Here Comes Hell, sees a small group of gorgeous 1930’s socialites hooking up to see one of their friends’ new purchases, which just happens to be a charming haunted mansion located deep in the British wilderness. The party includes a seance as getting a psychic grandma in on your party is thought to be terribly fun.
Directors: Karin Engman, Klas Persson Starring: Elna Karlsson, Thomas Hedengran, Ralf Beck, Nine Filimoshkina, Urban Bergsten. Sweden. 1h 27m
There’s been a modern trend of directors getting back to their ruddy roots and finding terror in the wood which is the driving force in this potent doom folk horror, as local hero’s search for a missing man of the cloth. Draug keeps a sharp edge through it’s dynamic set up of a foul mouthed beer swigging clan leader Kettil (Hedengran), his highly sensitive and possibly psychic adopted daughter Nanna (Karlsson), his main squeeze and apparently his bravest men.
It feels very “authentic” drab colours, crazy locals and lots of beer; it’s the stereotypical perception of any European pagan infused settlement, while not being historically accurate ,if gives you what you’d expect, and more, there are few whoopie moments, modern clothing being the main culprit, it will be interesting to see how many other goods a professional could pick out!?
After setting out, the rescue team start at the last place where the missionary was seen, a quite neighboring village but all they find there is beer and stories about the creepy woods, the only event is Nanna getting creped out by a demented old woman, signs start to appear that adopted daughter is quite different from the other morals around her and the movie hinges on her discovering her origins and powers.
Draug sits well between scandanivan journey epics like Wolfhound (2006) with touches of the dark mysticism of Sauna (2008), yet it really doesn’t know if it wants to be an action flick or something more supernatural. Without having the massive budget or drive, at times Draug flounders, yet manages to keep a somewhat brooding sense of danger until the final act, when all hell is supposed to break loose but this is where the lack of budget trips the production up and it ends up being an extended episode of Nightmare(1987-1994), the mood changes to some kind of ethereal neon lit world and a new entity finally makes itself known within layers of lightning struck scenery side steps all the good build up that the movie achieved until then.
There could be more character development apart from the ale quaffing kind and his daughter everyone else is just mud soaked Viking some braver than others but there’s no real emphasis on who these characters are. There’s a lot of technical and acting fails, see if you can catch modern clothes, people looking for the camera and lots of focal adjustments.
“Where’s the bloody beer”
It’s great to see the forest being used a home for monsters yet again, it’s certainly nothing new in folk horror sub genre, it happens time and time again but the strength of Draug is firstly with its approach of there being some peace between the religious and pagan people, and then in it’s bitter ending. Engman and Persson make a bold leap into the European fairytale narrative where there are no happy endings. There’s a lot to admire with the approach to feminine strength Nanna has to make some difficult choices, finding her a dark secret within her bloodline is something the film is set up to do from the beginning but the implications are so very damning. Draug is surely one that needs to be seen to encompass modern folk horror but it’s a movie which feels challenged by its own storytelling, it wants to be a dark nightmare but it’s a slightly confusing one at best.
Related: The Witch (2015), Hagasuzza (2017), Sauna (2008),The Ritual (2017), Wolfhound (2006) Lists: Folk Horror, A Witch in the Woods Trailer
Director: Gary Nelson Starring: Maximillan Schell, Joseph Bottoms, Robert Forster, Yvette Mimieux, Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Perkins. USA. 1h 38m
Black Hole is one of those gems from my childhood that, no matter how advanced space exploration has become, or my personal knowledge about the universe has grown, I can always return to Black Hole with a wonderment and fascination that takes me back to my youth and just makes me believe we’ll reach the stars one day.
It’s very much a Disney version of 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) or possibly their first attempt to jump into the Star Wars universe? The original story was conceived as a space themed disaster movie, but after being re-written several times and then adopted by a moderately desperate Disney for additional computerised camera technology to create the effects it slowly grew into a highly ambitious space opera. The Black Hole was finally reborn for it’s dismal box office failure not that this takes anything away from the films unique philosophy and small cult following, it still delivers a quirky look into space exploration and the mysteries of a black hole with lots of fancy additions, cute robots, sinister robots, and the moral questions that hangover he heads of those men who are willing to sacrifice everything to step into the true unknown . Continue reading The Black Hole (1979)→
Director: Dan Bush Starring: April Billingsley, Kelsey Scott, Conal Bryne, Rhoda Griffis .USA. 1h 41m
An interesting idea with lots of character twists and turns in Dan Bush’s courageous drama that taps into the bond of blood of a particular family with uncanny powers. For the most part what seems to be a challenging time for one woman in a mental institution eventually creeps into a much more powerful action drama that has all the making of a really decent sci-fi fantasy drama but doesn’t come across with as much power as it might have if handled differently, but it did keep me glued while it transformed into something deeper and more meaningful, maybe there will be a chance to break this story open in a sequel? Continue reading The Dark Red (2018)→
Director: Kevin S. Tenney. Starring. James. W. Quinn. Kathleen Bailey, Linnea Quigley. USA. 1h 20m.
Sometimes films are just so freaking bad they turn out to actually be really enjoyable, this just might be one of the best of this rare category.
I believe that in the beginning there was a brilliant idea to make some kind of creepy occult based gory horror with a wise cracking team of police officers to play skeptic against an advanced paranormal team who have to team up to fight some kind of grand occultist, but that concept seemed to be hazed by whatever happened during production of this chaotic horror.. Continue reading WitchTrap (1989)→
Director:Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman Starring: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman. UK. 1h 32m
By the time I had seen the trailer for this movie it was already being slated by a lot of the horror community, apparently it just isn’t scary enough, and looking back I can see where they are coming from, while I wholeheartedly disagree. If I were 18-19 and now venturing into the horrific side of cinema I think I would also be confused and high disappointed but this drama based horror, my hype train would be derailed and I left in tears.
There’s nothing quite like Ghost Stories out in the market today, there are no strange Swedish cults, no crazy CGI monsters, and no hint whatsoever of creepy clowns or a Sharknado. The main reason, well it’s based on a stage play and therefore it won’t be like all the rest, it’s been dutifully adapted in a pretty sensitive manner to really play off the original stag setting. The star of the production a character named Phillip Goodman (Nyman), speaks to the audience about his history and current job, which involves poo pooing the cold readers, fake psychics and charlatans who fool us into believing there’s an afterlife and a paranormal world around us, is this the life of Darren Brown?Continue reading Ghost Stories (2017)→
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.