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Showing posts from July, 2010

Fell

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2009
Dir. Marcus Koch

Devastated by his breakup with Jenny, a manic-depressive and heavily medicated Bill rapidly descends into a hellish world in which the lines between reality and blood-fuelled nightmares become increasingly blurred. Bloody visions, ghosts from the past and bodies in the bath all conspire to push Bill ever closer to breaking point…

Opening with a fractured series of shots of Bill sopping blood off the kitchen floor and listening to a radio whilst in a seemingly catatonic state, Fell starts as it means to go on: nightmarishly, hazily and disorientatingly. Koch films such mundane actions and activities as Bill cooking eggs, shuffling around the house, talking on the phone and sleeping on the couch so that they seem ripe with an undercurrent of dread. They take on a hellish, threatening glean and are filmed in tightly constructed close-up shots which better serve to thrust us further into Bill’s rapidly fraying mindset.

The script, co-written by the cast (Katie Wal…

The Sky Has Fallen

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2009
Dir. Doug Roos

A mysterious and highly contagious virus spreads throughout the earth’s population. Those who survive have fled to remote locations, but before long they begin to catch glimpses of mysterious black-cloaked figures, carrying away the dead and experimenting with them. When strangers Lance and Rachel cross paths, they begin to fall for each other and in doing so, realise that despite everything, hope should never be lost and life is worth fighting for. They set out to kill the leader of the creatures in a last ditch effort to save humanity.

The opening credits of Doug Roos’ mainly dialogue driven, character-centric film unspool beneath statically charged radio reports of an airborne pandemic spreading pandemonium across the globe. When the film begins, events are set a while after the earth’s population has been almost completely eviscerated. The two protagonists are amongst only a tiny amount of survivors, their initial detachment and wariness of each other indicat…

Rejected by the Devil - An Interview with Bill Moseley

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Bill Moseley is no stranger to portraying psychotic redneck ‘hellbilly’ types, having breathed life into several of the most memorable and downright nasty horror movie characters in recent memory - including the deranged Chop-Top from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and the mercilessly sadistic Otis Driftwood from Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects and House Of 1000 Corpses.

With the release of Tim Sullivan’s 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams, Moseley looks set to add yet another barnstorming oddball to his already engorged menagerie of freaks.

Head over to Eye for Film to check out my interview with Mr Moseley, in which he discusses his career to date, including his latest role in 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams, as well as his love for horror movies and how he deals with playing such usually very dark and disturbing characters.

How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse

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Most people will have their own contingency plan in place in preparation for the possibility that our world should one day be plunged into post-apocalyptic, zombie-ridden chaos. But just how well stocked up are you? Would you know how to deal with the inevitability of destroying a loved-one who returns from the dead? And should you hold up in your local shopping mall or head to the nearest off-coast island resort? These are just some of the points you’ve no doubt considered.

And you’re not alone. Last year the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, amongst others, played host to a series of ground-breaking seminars introduced by the leading expert in his field, and ‘zombology’ guru, Dr Dale Seslick. The seminars are your one stop shop to the world of zombie survival techniques. Aided by a dedicated team of specialists from the School of Survival, attendees will learn everything they need to know when coping with the undead as they rise from their graves and begin eating their way th…

Someone’s Knocking At The Door

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2009
Dir. Chad Ferrin

A group of young medical students begins to experiment with bizarre pharmaceutical research drugs while listening to therapy session tapes from the Seventies. On the tapes are interviews with homicidal couple John and Wilma Hopper (Ezra Buzzington and Elina Madison) - psychotic sexual deviants who claimed to be possessed by demons. Soon the group of students are pursued and raped to death by the shape-shifting Hoppers and their monstrous genitalia.

If the above synopsis sounds fucked up to you, you’re not alone! Someone’s Knocking at the Door is part of a new breed of horror flicks in which the source of the horror stems from the human body: monstrous, warped and shockingly mutated bodies featuring all manner of grotesque orifices and appendages. Essentially riffing on the likes of Teeth, Dead Girl, Ginger Snaps, Bad Biology and to an extent Jennifer’s Body, all of which actually follow on from where Cronenberg started off, Troma graduate Ferrin’s fourth feature …

Psychosis

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2010
Dir. Reg Traviss

When horror novelist Susan (Charisma Carpenter), relocates to the rural English countryside from sunny California to recover from a nervous breakdown, her life begins to slowly unravel as she experiences unsettling and horrific visions. Could the blood-spattered sights be real, or the result of her increasingly fragile and unhinged mindset?

A multi-layered, frequently engrossing contemporary horror story, Psychosis successfully combines many of the elements that made British horror films of yore so memorable – off-beat mystery, hints of supernatural threat, quirky characters, psychological intrigue and bloody murder. Director Reg Traviss attempts to evoke twisted classic chillers from British cinema past, combining an off-kilter and edgy energy reminiscent of more contemporary horror fare with a classic British sensibility which draws on the old ‘Hammer House of Horror/Tales of the Unexpected’ school of terror.

Head over to Eye for Film to read my full review.

Curtains for Bray Studios?

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Fans of Hammer Horror will no doubt be familiar with and aware of the important role Bray Studios played in the history of the production company throughout the 50s and 60s. Situated next to the River Thames at Water Oakley, Berkshire, Bray Studios was also where Ridley Scott filmed Alien in the late Seventies.

The studio has recently come under threat. The current owners have applied for permission to carry out refurbishment work on the Grade II listed Down Place - the building at the centre of the studio complex. It is also their intention to demolish all of the existing Bray Studios buildings and convert the listed Down Place house into private residence (which will be lived in by the owner of Bray Management Ltd. and his family). If this happens, the character of the Bray Studios site will be irreparably altered and a piece of British film history will be completely eviscerated. Bray is actually set to celebrate its 60th year as a film studio next year, and is one of the few surv…

Short Film Showcase: Nightshadows

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2004
Dir. JT Seaton

Matthew Coburn is a young man who would like nothing more than to stay young and attractive forever. On the eve of his 30th birthday, he invites David, a young man he meets in an online chat-room to his home. In the middle of the night, Matthew wakes up to find himself alone. Or is he? He soon begins to realize that someone, or something, is lurking in the dark in his home. Is it David? Or someone else, skulking in the shadows? As Matthew is plunged into a waking nightmare, he comes to realise that the price of vanity is high… Very high.

‘Has your past ever come back to haunt you?’

Unlike Hellbent - which came out the same year as this short film, and whose gay angle is its raison d’être - Nightshadows doesn’t need to rely on its ‘queerness’ to make it stand out. The characters in this dark tale of obsession and guilt could be of any sexual orientation. They just happen to be gay. What director Seaton is really concerned with is weaving together a number of elemen…

George’s Intervention

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2009
Dir. JT Seaton

George's friends have all gathered for an intervention... George's intervention. You see, George is a zombie and his friends have come to realise that he has been snacking on his neighbours. They attempt to convince him to stop eating people and to enter 'zombie rehab'. But the intervention doesn't go quite as planned, and George’s monstrous appetite gets the better of him. Blood, mayhem and innards – lots of innards – ensue, as George’s friends, various gatecrashers, door-to-door salesmen, Mormons and strippers all end up on the menu.

Ever wonder what happened to the likes of Ed from Shaun of the Dead, Bub from Day of the Dead or Colin from, well, Colin – zombies who somehow retained an element of what it was that made them human – after the credits rolled? What if a zombie was able to retain all of their personality, and everything that made them who they were as a person while they were alive? That is precisely the angle this satirical and …

Mega Piranha

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Just when you thought it was safe to rummage around in the bargain bin of your local video store, the latest ‘mockbuster’ offering from the ‘so-bad-its-good’-centric studio The Asylum, raises its shameless head from the dank depths of straight-to-DVD hell for a brief release on the big screen. Mega Piranha features a ‘plot’ involving a mutant strain of genetically modified giant piranha that escape from the Amazon and make their way towards Florida, leaving a trail of poorly realised, miniscule-budgeted destruction in their wake. Cheap CGI, copious explosions, absurd pseudo-science, baffling technical jargon, 80s popstress Tiffany and much mindless entertainment ensues. Huzzah!

Head over to Eye for Film to read my full review.

Interview With Paracinema Magazine Editor, Christine Makepeace

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Born from a conversation about film magazines in a small Queens, New York apartment in the summer of 2007, Paracinema Magazine has steadily been making a name for itself as a distinct, intelligent and left-of-centre publication of the highest order. Taking its title from a phrase coined by film scholar Jeffrey Sconce, the independently produced, quarterly magazine focuses primarily on all facets of cult and genre cinema.

Each issue contains accessible in-depth analytical pieces, critiques, interviews and academic articles on all manner of genre cinema – from Hitchcock to Ed Wood – all presented in a strikingly designed and attention-commanding magazine. Paracinema is for those who want to delve deeper into the often murky depths of ‘periphery’ cinema; each issue contains pieces on a staggering array of movies. Works by everyone from Herzog and Bergman to Carpenter and Wiseau, to name but a few, are analysed in enthusiastic articles written by fans, for fans.

The types of films the mag…

Random Creepy Scene #846: Friday the 13th - Part VII: The New Blood

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The Friday the 13th franchise isn't exactly renowned for its subtlety. It is a series of movies essentially repeating a very familiar pattern: teens in secluded backwoods by Crystal Lake fall victim to hulking and very repressed killing machine Jason Voorhees. After they’ve indulged in copious amounts of booze, drugs and premarital sex, naturally. It’s generally held that the higher the number of the sequel, the lesser the quality of the film. This has never stopped me from enjoying each instalment though. With a nice Sauvignon, natch.

In part seven of the series the filmmakers actually attempted to take the franchise in a slightly new direction – as well as all the usual stupid teens wandering around in the dark woods investigating strange noises and getting murderlised by Jason, a pretty girl with latent telekinetic powers is also thrown into the mix. It’s essentially Jason vs. Carrie and was intended to directly compete with the successful and overtly supernatural A Nightmare …

Goblin: Audio Imps Of The Perverse

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What usually comes to mind when one thinks of the films of Dario Argento? Is it the ravishing, ceaselessly prowling camera work? The lurid, stylised colouring of his cinematic canvas? Perhaps it is the rhapsodic and fiendishly elaborate violence that perforates his morbid tales? Or the bounteous beautiful victims swirling the boundaries between bloody orgasm and sensual death throe? Chances are that no matter what the director’s name conjures up, the music that accompanies his striking images will surely rank highly in terms of what we associate with his brand of lavishly sadistic cinema.

Whilst Argento has worked with some of the most original and unusual composers throughout his career, from the great Ennio Morricone and prog-rocker Keith Emerson, to jazz musician Giorgio Gaslini and most recently, Marco Werba, his most distinct musical collaborations have without a doubt been with psych/prog-rock horror outfit, Goblin.


Argento’s long-lasting and highly distinctive relationship with…