Director: Harley Cokeliss .
Starring. Jemma Redgrave, Timothy Spall, Jimmy Nail, Katheleen Wilhoute, Mark Streenstreet, Susan Fleetwood, Nickolas Grace . UK. 1h 26m.
This timid British television production boasts some great names, but for some reason the most influential actors were cast as dodgy villains; two posing as slimey reporters another as a repressed memory bad daddy character it’s sad to see the smallest and nastiest roles in what turns out to be a pretty uneventful haunted house horror go to great names while it’s lead by two no brainer whimsical women. Let’s say Cokeliss lost a lot of the power and charm he exacerbated in Black Moon Rising by this time but the film isn’t a complete loss. Considering the very different surreal undertones it’s a different kettle of fish and thus treated in a very different manner. Continue reading Dream Demon (1988)
Starring: Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Louise Brealey, Pippa Nixon. UK. 1h 30m
This plucky little drama horror is set in an average London tower block with average London people forced to go through an extraordinary ordeal for reasons unknown.
The lead Mark (Ross) wakes up late for work, rushing to get ready, swallowing some coffee he attempts to call his estranged wife but soon discovers that his front door isn’t just locked but epoxied shut, thinking that someone is playing a trick on him, his attention is soon brought to a loudspeaker telling him and the other residents not to panic, emergency services and hazmat suited staff are setting up a base outside the apartment and a few faces can be seen in neighbouring apartments staring back in as much dismay as him. Continue reading Containment (2015)
Director: Gerard Johnson
Starring: Peter Ferdinando, Stephen Graham, MyAnna Buring, Elisa Lasowski, Neil Maskell, Richard Dormer, Tony Pitts, Mehmet Ferda .UK. 1h 24m
This matter of fact police corruption movie turns out to be not only thrilling, but delicately devious which sees the argument of righter and wronger turns heels from the streets of London into a literal blood bath.
Johnson keeps the movie on it’s feet with fast camera action that in ways follows it’s heroes and foes like an episode of [insert your favourite cop drama here] the story slowly steps out from the clamamtiy from time to time through bloody revelations, and it all becomes too much for the hardened street cop who is the focus of the movie. There’s something raw about the filming approach, the locations aren’t luxurious especially in the daytime which are filmed on any street corner, something we can all relate to, but at night the film comes alive in darkness and neon, the characters aren’t built on in the conventional way, instead they are more like sweaty desperate chess pieces but still the camera moves around them with glee. Continue reading Hyena (2014)
Director: Piers Haggard.
Starring. Linda Hayde, Patrick Wymark, Michelle Dotrice, Wendy Padbury, Anthony Ainley, Barry Andrews, UK. 1h 40m.
There’s always something dark and demonic smouldering in the movies situated deep in the English Countryside, and it’s never so in your face as in Piers Hagards, trippy macabre masterpiece that has a lot of connection with Michael Reeves’s Witchfinder General, the Wicker Man (1973) and in some ways I feel there’s an artistic nature similar to a Ken Russell the Devils (1971) albeit it in a much tamer manner.
A ploughboy stumbles on some strange remains in a field, the bones and ever staring eyeball causes the boy to start running in terror, he soon realises that his unhappy accident has unearthed the remains of an ancient demonic presence which is now free to possess his village. The first signs of danger happen in a prestigious house, where a wealthy family a host to a young girl, one that has taken the fancy of their eligible son, but due to his mother’s tough nature she’s forced into the attic, late into the night her screams wake the family, once she’s rescued her personality has completely changes, now deranged and bearing deadly sharp claws she’s taken away by the authorities and clergy. Continue reading The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971)
Director: Mike Leigh .
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, UK. 2h 34m.
There is so much praise I can lavish on Mr Turner but first and foremost I have to admit that the choice in leading actor is such a strange but perfect cast, Timothy Spall is such a seasoned actor with talent coming out of his arse but as for looking and being J W M Turner, he wouldn’t be a first choice but he totally embodies the persona of Turner, from what is known and how he’s been portrayed from first hand accounts he is the spirit of the great artist and that’s primarily why this movie is so successful. Continue reading Mr Turner (2014)
Director: Michael J. Murphy.
Starring. Judith Holding, Bruce Lawrence, Warren May, Trudi Tyrrell. UK. 1h m.
For a moment you’ll have to forgive me for being a lover of movie trash, if this is the first review you’ve read from my blog then this may come across as misleading in some way, I so adore cinema, but in all its facets, but I have a soft spot for small budget movies that have a lot of heart and effort, but while I can’t put my finger on why I can easily say that I really enjoyed watching this movie despite it’s faults, but respectfully it doesn’t get above its station.
The story is both simple but is presented in a totally complicated manner, possibly as an attempt to add intrigue, in the modern day an escaped mental patent is rescued by a country club MILF, but the backstory touches on the infamous Witch trials where a woman is accused of murder and burnt at the stake, which isn’t something too dissimilar to some of the classic Hammer Horror plots, but at times the connection is weak. Continue reading Skare (2007)
Director: Simon Rumley.
Starring.Terry Stone, Leo Gregory, Jamie Foreman, Roland Manookian. UK. 1h 51m.
I have to admit that I was spellbound by the cover of this lovely movie, but within seconds of the opening scene I was soon knocked off my feet that this is basically a retro version of Rise of the Footsoldier! In all fairness I really enjoyed the footsoldier movies, they started out with a purpose and were watered down but they had their own unique, balls in your face charm and a recurring cast, although a few characters are a little bit different in this war time london escapade, the most notable is Roland Manookian usually he plays the role of a drugged up loser who basically a bit of a plonker but he’s resurrected as a psychotic killer who’s not afraid to bleed. It’s pretty interesting to see him take on such a grisly role, maybe the boy will go far.
The film is based on real people and events, mostly surrounding Billy Hill and Jack Corner, again much like Rise of the Footsoldier (2007), and possibly with as much dreamy fantasties. The film looks authentic but doesn’t feel genuine in any way, it certainly feels like a modern movie but with just a cosmetic change and some different clothes, which is a shame as it could have been a real opportunity to branch out and try something an off key. The film seems to be poorly researched but the delivery is bold, a bit too forceful at times, it seems the use of shouting and violence takes the place of intense drama. Continue reading Once Upon A Time In London (2019)
Director: David Mackenzie
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend .UK. 1h 43m
There is something very bold and solid about starred up the acting is on point the choreography of the violence is brilliant a dynamic but the special jenesequa is just how realistic the film is but this is probably due to the whole project being a brilliant screenplay written by a former corrections psychologist.
Brutal and Brilliant
Starred up beings as a story of a young man Eric Love (O’Connell) forcing his way up through the grimy underside of the prison world but this youngster is displaying way too much cunning and wit about him, he’s more than dangerous, he’s potentially deadly, hence why he’s starred up. Despite a lot of the rumours being Starred up has nothing to do with bumming or other sexual acts, it’s simply a teenager who is so out of control that they get set among adults to receive some “proper prison schooling”. Continue reading Starred Up (2013)
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 volitlie and pushy occultist? Continue reading A Dark Song (2016)
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)