Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Review : The Devil's Rock (2011)


Paul Campion


Paul Finch (screenplay), Paul Campion (screenplay)
Set in the Channel Islands on the eve of D Day, two Kiwi commandos, sent to destroy German gun emplacements to distract Hitler's forces away from Normandy, discover a Nazi occult plot that may help them win the war once and for all. 

Hands up those of you who don't get giddy at the idea of a Horror movie dealing with Nazi's and the occult. Anyone? Didn't think so. These two concepts are as endlessly fascinating today as they were when Micheal Mann directed THE KEEP, or when good old Indiana Jones was tackling the bastards back in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and THE LAST CRUSADE. There is something inherently attractive about such a dark subject matter, even when its handled lightly, as in the Indiana Jones film's. It's widely known that Hitler had a compulsion towards the occult, and took the whole thing very seriously, adding an element of reality to any film that focuses on the subject. Sure its all fanciful stuff, but the viewer often find themselves asking that most eternal of all Horror fans internal questioning. What if?

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Horror Hotel Cinema : The Woman in Black (Original Broadcast 1989)

Welcome back to the Horror Hotel Cinema, folks!

I had a really sweet B-movie from the 50's picked out for this week's show, but after writing an article here on the upcoming WOMAN IN BLACK adaptation by Hammer Studios, I thought the time was right to take a look back at the original TV Movie which aired one chilly Christmas eve here in Britain, and scared the whole damn country half to death. For those of you who have seen the film, join us and relive one of the most genuinely chilling ghost stories ever told. For those of you who haven't seen the first film, or read the book; sit back, turn all the lights off and let yourself believe. Your in for a real treat.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Review : Fright Night 2 (1988)



Tom Holland (characters), Tim Metcalfe, and 2 more credits »
Charlie Brewster and Peter Vincent from the original Fright Night must face more vampires out for revenge. 

FRIGHT NIGHT is my favourite vampire movie of all time. It often feels like my favourite film of all time, period. I see it at least four or five times a year and it never fails to enthrall me with its potent mix of King-esque suburban horror and Gothic, romantic sensibilities. I see the film as a love letter to the Hammer Horror movies I grew up with, and a perfect encapsulation of all that the vampire mythos has to offer. I semi-reviewed it here, for those of you who want my perspective on why its so damn delightful.

Now, its sequel is another matter. I hadn't seen this film since its original release back in the day, and with the new film on the way I figured it'd be a good time to have a look at it with fresh, (or, more accurately, less fresh) eyes. It never shook my world on its release, so could it charm me in the same way the first film did as an adult?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Horror Hotel meets World War Z : On the set of the new adaptation.

Just thought I'd share some cool-ass pictures I managed to take in my home city of Glasgow, during the WORLD WAR Z shoot this past week. In case your unaware, Glasgow was being used as a stand-in for Philly, and certain parts of the city were secured for chase scenes and random zombie craziness. I tried my best to get some close up pictures for you guys, and even infiltrated a derelict building to secure better pictures, (alas, I got busted and dragged out, but the workers were kind enough to pose for a picture when I told 'em I'd make em famous). What you see below is Glasgow's famous Georges Square, and the surrounding streets, being furnished as Philly, complete with SWAT vans, American cabs, Philly cop cars and some cool street signs. It was a lot of fun seeing my beloved home being 'Americanized'.

Monday, 22 August 2011

And the Horror Blog Award goes to.....

Hi troops.
Yesterday I hopped into the Hotel only to find that my good compadre, Dr Blood, had selected me for a Horror Blog Award. For which I am very grateful, may I add. Clearly my technique of mispelling, misqouting, and cursing like a pirate have paid off, as I always knew they would!

As this 'passing on of the baton' appears to be a time honored tradition within our awesome little community. I'd like to take the time now to pass it on to some others who richly deserve some praise, and who make my mornings and evening far more interesting with their thoughts, idea and insights into our genre. Now I'll adhere to the rules of this custom as they were passed to me by the good Doctor. So lets have at it.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Review : Cowboys and Zombies (2011)


Rene Perez


Rene Perez
A meteor lands in Jamestown California in 1849 during the gold rush. It is found by miners who release it's spoors which turn the population into blood thirsty mutants.
Before I go into this review, you should know up front that this is a VERY low budget film, and as Ive mentioned before, these films are an acquired taste. I always give them the benefit of the doubt and while I'm often left a little put off by the results, I occasionally come across some real gems, as my review of THE TUNNEL shows. That was a found footage film though, and they are arguably easier to make than a straight movie, if only because they not only utilise the same cheap technology, but they require it to suggest authenticity. In a straightforward production like COWBOYS AND ZOMBIES, the budget is often far more noticeable and can be a distraction to many. Luckily, I enjoy a good B-movie, and have a ton of respect for those who produce them, its not like I've ever got off my arse and made one!

COWBOYS AND ZOMBIES, or to give it its original title, THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED, is just about as low budget as our genre gets, and that's fine. You make allowances for films of this calibre. The actors ain't gonna be top of the range, the effects will most likely suffer under the financial strain, and the sets are liable to be non existent. If you can roll with that, you may find a few things to enjoy in here. Its got a hell of a lot wrong with it, which I'll detail soon, but it does a few things right too, that bode well for future productions.

News : The Woman in Black draws ever closer...

Now this is VERY exciting. The remake, or more accurately the new adaptation of THE WOMAN IN BLACK is fast approaching, is is produced by none other than the mighty Hammer Horror Studios. Anyone who reads this site regularly will know of my deep love and devotion to Hammer's glorious cinematic lineage, and their recent output has been pretty solid. But this is something altogether different.

For anyone unaware of the source material, THE WOMAN IN BLACK was written in 1983 by Susan Hill, and was heralded as an instant classic in the supernatural genre. Putting atmosphere and an all pervading sense of dread above gore and violence, the book recalled the works of classic authors of ghostly tales, such as MR James, and went on to spawn a brilliantly creepy British TV movie and a stage adaptation which plays worldwide till this day, and is downright terrifying.

The original movie was a horrifying experience, and has lost none of its power to scare over the years, but is a little known classic, and a very hard film to get your hands on. No plot details for you here, as surprise is fundamental to the tale, but I can guarantee it will chill any fan of traditional ghost stories. There are scenes in there that can take your breathe away. Its a fantastic film.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Review : Final Destination 5 (2011)


Steven Quale


Eric Heisserer, Jeffrey Reddick (characters)
Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there's no way you can cheat Death.
Calling FINAL DESTINATION 5 the best of the sequels isn't really saying too much, or in any way an indication of quality. After all, its the fifth part in what has been until now, a series travelling in ever decreasing circles. The first was great, the second was campy fun, the third was Mouse Trap with gore, (although often funny) and the fourth, well, I cant even remember the fourth, other than remembering I hated it. Its not a great track record, and like most Horror franchises, your most likely going to expect yet another drop in quality. Its great news for Horror fans then, that the fifth film does a whole lot right, and goes quite some way to putting the franchise back on track. Its easily the best since the first, yes, but its also just a damn fun film in its own right.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Review : Super 8 (2011)


J.J. Abrams


J.J. Abrams

In the summer of 1979 a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a huge train crash whilst making a zombie film on Super 8. As strange events and disappearances start occurring in and around town, they begin to investigate the phenomena, and quickly come to suspect that the train crash and its mysterious cargo are key to whatever is happening to their home.

I caught SUPER 8 a few days back, yet decided to hold out on my review for a very specific reason. I believe that an emotional reaction to a film is every bit as relevant as an intellectual response, and reviews coming from either place are equally valid, and both have their merits. I try to balance the two, but its often hard to gain perspective on things when your emotions are in full control. I remember viewing BRAVEHEART for the first time and being an absolute wreck by the films end. Its themes and messages hit me hard, and being a Scotsman, it was close to the bone; yet in retrospect its a pretty silly movie. With some seriously dopey plot strands and ridiculous dialogue. Had I reviewed back then, I'd have been slightly embarrassed looking back on my immediate thoughts. I felt the same risk was inherent in reviewing SUPER 8.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Art of Darkness 1 - Zoe Humphries

 I was doing my usual rounds of the interwebs the other day, when I stumled across some artwork that really impressed me, and it got me to thinking. I write articles on film and literature, but I haven't given much attention to the often great works of art that our genre inspires. From classic 'one sheets' to Tattooes, Horror is an inspiration and a muse for painters, sculptors and designers, all over the world. So, I thought to myself. 'Why not add a new concept to the Hotel?'. 'Good idea, Kyle!', answered I. 'Good work,son!' replied myself. So here we are.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Horror Hotel Cinema : The Tingler (1959)

Welcome to the second showing in the Horror Hotel Cinema. Tonight we have a stone cold classic for you. Directed by 'Gimmick King', William Castle, and starring the legendary Vincent Price, I give you THE TINGLER. Even wondered what ole Vinnie would look like tripping out his mind on LSD? Well no more shall ye wonder, my friends. Its one of the funniest scenes in Horror history, and is worth the price of admission alone. But theres more, a creepy ass plastic insect-like monster which grows in your spine unless you scream, 'DURING THE MOVIE!!!'. A seriously fucked up deaf chick and a blood filled bath in vivid color. Its all great stuff. A cheeseball psychedelic mini-classic for the ages. Unfortunately, this bad boy is in nine parts, but I'll post em all, because I'm a lovely fella.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Review : Blooded (2011)



James Walker
A group of hunters, led by a prominent Pro-Hunting lobbyist, Lucas Bell, are abducted in the remote Highlands of Scotland by animal rights activists, and given a taste of what its like to be hunted themselves.

This is a film site, so I'll discuss the movie on its merits before commenting on what I see as a very upsetting agenda within this film. Feel free to read and enjoy only the critique on the technical aspects of the film, and I'll let you know when it'll move on from that....

If your working on a low budget, and you happen to be based in the UK, there are worse things you can do than film your movie in my home land of Scotland. You need a sense of total isolation? You got it. You need a landscape so untouched by civilisation that it commands respect even when viewed through the lens of a camera? Well, you got that too.  You need a sense of majesty in your cinematography? An epic sweep that can make your humble little indie film look like a million bucks? Yep, got it.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Horror Hotel Cinema : American Scary (2007)

Calling all horror fans.....

Im gonna be posting films from time to time here, that you can all watch at your leisure without scouring the interwebs to find em, and I found this little number last nite. Its called AMERICAN SCARY, and I'll see you below the synopsis....

Take a trip back to a time when late night creature features were all the rage, and the personalities that presented them were nearly as popular as the movies, in this documentary about the uniquely American phenomenon of television horror hosting. Beginning in the 1950s, the horror host was a staple of regional television. From ghouls to vampires, to werewolves and crypt keepers, every host had a persona to suit their unique personalities. But their days were numbered, because as the local television business model began to shift thanks to production demands and the availability of cheaper syndicated material, Zacherley, Vampira, Ghoulardi, and the rest of these fiends began steadily disappearing from the small screen. Interviews with the hosts themselves, and the fans that elevated them to superstar status offer a chance to reflect on a bygone era of television that now appears poised for a comeback thanks to the internet and cable access.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Review : Tucker 'n' Dale VS Evil (2010)


"Well, it was really dark, but it looked like one of the guys was....eating her face off..."

Ladies and Gentlemen, we're looking at a new cult classic...

Two rednecks are spending their weekend renovating their newly purchased holiday home in the Appalachian Mountain region, when they encounter a bunch of seriously judgemental, spoiled college kids, who mistakenly believe that they are bloodthirsty backwoods killers and have kidnapped one of their friends.. Mayhem, violence and hilarity ensues.

The concept of TUCKER N DALE is so simple, so obvious, and so damn funny, that its both unthinkable and inevitable that its never been pulled off before. A million comedy writers must be slapping themselves upside the head on the release of this baby. That's not to say its an mindless film, its quite the opposite. Its smart, engaging, and from the first moments it raises genuine chuckles constantly. Its actually a very clever movie, but like all great idea's, this one comes from a place of simplicity. Its how writer/director Eli Craig and his writing partner Morgan Jurgenson tackle the subject and the situation that is so clearly genius. No stone is left unturned here, and the more you ponder the countless moments of high comedy after watching, the funnier they become. And trust me, they're funny to start with.

Monday, 1 August 2011

It Came from the Desert!

As you can all see from the photo above, taken of me yesterday, being away from my beloved Hotel has taken its toll on my dashing good looks. Its been rough, man.

So, just wanna let you all know that I'll be posting much more in the coming weeks. Sorry I've been neglecting my little corner of the internet. I've been writing for SCREAM magazine and put much of my free time into that. I'd still have had time, were it not for my freakin PC deciding to self combust last week and destroying all hope of getting my shit together. But I'm back now, and The Horror Hotel is re-open for business.