Tag Archives: uk

Approaching the Unknown (2016)

Previously Ad Inexplorata “Toward the Unexplored

Director: Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Starring: Mark Strong, Sanaa Latham, Luke Wilson, Charles Baker .UK. 1h 30m

A deeply philosophical sci fi drama that borders the aesthetics of lo fi and challenges a lot of immortal questions about mankind exploring anything about the world around them as well as the wells of unknowns from within.

There’s a ton of highly sophisticated looking tech and a groundbreaking invention at the centre of this one way trip into the void. But Director Mark Rosenberg is more focused on creating an intelligent and driven character and isn’t happy until he’s peeled back all of his layers to get the most intimate look into a fictional character that I’ve seen in a long time. Apart from his pet project, which literally milks water from rocks, the rest of the tech isn’t the shiny fan dangled aspect but Captain William Stanaforth (Strong) does know this machinery all too well inside and out but it doesn’t mean everything is going to run smoothly despite his expertise. Continue reading Approaching the Unknown (2016)

Excalibur (1981)

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)

Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)

Director: Elliott Goldner.
Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Lee Arnold, Patrick Godfrey. UK. 1h 29m.

There are some strange going on in Elliott Goldner’s dark found footage horror set in the beautiful rural Devon landscape. After a miracle at a small church close to being closed down, a team of Vatican expert investigators and a plucky technician head out to prove or disprove the supernatural activity only to discover the truth is harder to believe than the miracle.

Goldner successfully sets up a plausible reason for the cameras and maintains a really good combination of shaky and static cam set up. Starting in South America the camera follows the authorities barging into an abandoned church, Brother Deacon (Kennedy) is screaming into the phone that everyone is missing as the cops find hidden microphones and equipment, it’s an obvious religious scam, “get that camera out of my face” fade to black. Continue reading Borderlands \ Final Prayer (2013)

Reign of Fire (2002)

Director: Rob Bowman
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Alexander Siddig, Ned Dennehy, Izabella Scorupco .UK. 1h 41m

I fell out of love with fantasy movies for the surreal back in my teens, I still enjoy the genre but I live for the way out psychotropic pop surreal that goes that one step beyond. The fantasy genre is riddled with stories of dragons, maidens, cruel giant monsters, laws and riddles but going back to the standard western fantasy realm only gets a film canned as a tiresome Lord of the Rings rip off, so many attempts to bring Fantasy into the modern realm have challenged many a cast and crew, this silly bu entertaining project from X Files director Rob Bowman is interesting but slightly cringe.

After years of working the TV circuit Bowman branched out into a lengthy feature which resurrects a modern tale of dragons and legendary heroes, blending castles and helicopters, a tale of ultimate bravery and sacrifice unfolds. Continue reading Reign of Fire (2002)

The Canal (2014)

Director: Ivan Kavanagh
Starring: Rupertt Evans, Anatonia Campbell-Hughes, Hannah Hoekstra, Kelly Bryne. UK. 1h 32m

A paranoid love story inflames within the confined walls of a haunted house, but not just any ghost is lingering in the shadows, it’s the ghost of a violent killer. This is enough to make any film spooky but Canal just end up dragging out the age a repetition of the same old suspense scenes and delivers little else. Written like a gothic novel and presented as a bleak drama with added Ring (1998) style ghostly scares, and The Red Shoes (2005) style red herrings, the film attempts to blur the lines between the supernatural and a genuine psychological thriller.. Shrouded in the historical mysteries of the house and deluded paranoia, the film packs a punch (be it a weak love tap) on two sides of the horror spectrum simultaneously, this can easily be mistaken as a confused Continue reading The Canal (2014)

Deathwatch (2002)

Director: M J Bassett
Starring: Jamie Bell, Ruaidhri Conroy, Mike Downey, Laurence Fox, Kris Marshall, Hans Matheson, Matthew Rhys, Andy Serkis. UK. 1h 34m

The general trends with World War II movies is to punch your audience right in the gut with the violence and depression of the war. With all the progressions of cinema they all translate in more effect ways of demonstrating the darkest side of human nature and the brutal fight for freedom, but this isn’t the only way to portray the horrors of this dark chapter, since the was there have been numerous ghost stories written about lost soldiers, everlasting love and the occult nature of the “the enemies” of righteous civilisation. But is Deathwatch the new ghostly war story we need?

Bassett’s track record includes an array of action movies all tinged with the macabre, but Bassett is versatile in his approach with the lavish fantasy Solomon Kane filled with magic myth and monsters, and Wilderness, a group of wayward chavs verses a mystery slasher while stranded on a secluded island, he’s not a man who liked to be pinned down with a specialty apart from directing engaging movies. Continue reading Deathwatch (2002)

Psychomania (1973)

Director: Don Sharp
Starring: George Sanders, Beryl Reid, Nicky Henson, Mary Larkin, Roy Holder, Robert Hardy .UK. 1h 35m
AKA Death Wheelers

Sadly this is the only hippy occult psychotropic suicidal biker gang musical cult horror that Beryl Reid ever made, a movie that was the final nail in the coffin for George Sanders and one which most of the actors hated making but one of the first British cult motorcycle horrors that lives in the hearts of many fans.

Australian-born British film director, Don Sharp, is best known for his deeply atmospheric Hammer movies, in the 1960s, his titles included The Kiss of the Vampire (1962) and Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966). In his early days he often appeared in B rated movies, this lead to him being adept at making the most of any meager budget, something which he demonstrated with his 17th Century based movie Witchcraft (1964) elegantly shot in monochrome and it’s follow up Curse of the Fly (1965) but his strangest picture is Psychomania. Successfully managing to combine the Hippy agenda of freedom and peace with a dark frog worshiping satanic cult, Sharp blends all of this with a tongue in cheek humor but without much of a plan as to the hows and whys of immortality and untapped power, the film wasn’t made to make sense but as a feast for the senses. Continue reading Psychomania (1973)

Fright (1971)

Director: Peter Collinson
Starring: Susan George, Ian Bannen, Honor Blackman, and John Gregson .UK. 1h 27m

AKA The Baby Minder or Girl in the Dark

Often credited as the starting block for all Babysitter horror movies, this British cult classic really challenges it’s audience as much as it’s production challenges the actors. They say the best horrors are the ones where you can place yourself in the situation, and there’s nothing quite as frightening as being trapped in unfamiliar surroundings with a deranged lunatic trying to get to you while you look after someone else’s child. And this is where Susan George finds herself in Peter Collinsons cultured horror.

Collinson is probably best known for The Italian Job (1969) but only 2 years later he came back swinging with this taught thriller that verges into the Slasher territory. A young babysitter Amanda (George) settles into the Lloyd residence, the Lloyds display a lot of nervousness about their rare night out, but what dark family secret could they possibly be hiding. Continue reading Fright (1971)

Naked (1993)

Director: Mike Leigh.
Starring. David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Peter Wright, Ewen Bremner, Gina McKee, Greg Cruttwell. UK. 2h 12m.

It’s hard to talk about this brilliant, tres controversial, sour drama without describing it as a poignant thought provoking and slightly disturbing nocturnal odyssey, it’s the darkest journey throughout London by an unemployed Mancunian on the run after attempting to rape his date. But Johnny (Thewlis) is an infection character, he manages to draw people to him almost like a guardian angel at first, talking a language which they begin to understand, with his unique charm and eloquence but eventually he begins to erupt like a volcano of theories and rude personal attacks, and then he’s hot on the trail for the next conquest like a devil scavenging in the dark. Continue reading Naked (1993)

The Wicker Man (1973)

Director: Robin Hardy
Based on: The Ritual by David Pinner
Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Diane Cilento .UK. 1h 27m

In the past decade Horror Folklore as a genre has raised its curious demonic fiery head. This new dawning, pioneered by new cult directors such as Ben Wheatley, Ari Aster, Gavin Liam and Roger Eggers to name a few haven’t been able to make a movie without it being likened to the pioneering game changer, Robin Hardy’s slow-burning chiller The Wicker Man.

Looking back at it’s small budget and menial takings at the cinema, numerous cuts and actors paying for critics seats, it’s rise to cult status wasn’t a simple one but what it achieved was truly unique, not even it’s remake was able to mimic it’s true sense of dread and horror. Continue reading The Wicker Man (1973)