Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Review : Panic Button (2011)


Chris Crow


Scarlett Alice Johnson, Jack Gordon and Michael Jibson

Four strangers win a competition on the popular social-networking website All2Gether, and are offered a trip to New York via private jet. When they get on board, however, a new game is presented to them. One that will show them for who the really are, and in which their lack of participation will have serious consequences.... 

"Facebook - Never has there been a more wretched hive of scum and villainy" - Me

I hadn't heard of PANIC BUTTON until the day I watched it, (yesterday as it happens), and had no idea what it was dealing with, other than the fact that it had something to do with social networking, and was British. Now right away, that combination inspires dread in me. You see, Ive seen CHAT ROOM, and it was ninety odd minutes of my life and my sanity that I can never reclaim. That film tried as hard as can be, to be on the pulse of today's widespread self-whoring media obsession, but managed to be about ten years too late. Has anyone even been in a chat room since the early noughties? I didn't even know the things still existed.

Where that film was filled to the brim with upper class wankers, whom you wanted to eviscerate on sight.....PANIC BUTTON is filled to the brim with upper class wankers who you want to eviscerate on sight, too....at least I did.

Horror Hotel Cinema : Madman (1982)

Welcome back to the midnight show, friendo's...

This weeks mini-masterpiece needs to no introduction whatsoever. Why, you ask? Because I reviewed this little gem right here!

Go read that, then come back here, and watch 'Madman Marz' killing visually challenging cast members in style!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Review : Madman (1982)


Joe Giannone


Joe Giannone (screenplay), Joe Giannone (story), and 1 more credit »

Legend tells of a deranged madman, who lives deep in the woods surrounding some summer camp or other, and if you say his name above a whisper, he'll come looking for you, brandishing an axe and an attitude problem. Cue dumb teenage kids shouting his name out into the dark woodlands. Bad idea, son....

Believe it or not, this much-ignored little slasher sits proudly among my very favourite of the sub-genre, alongside BLACK CHRISTMAS, HALLOWEEN, THE BURNING, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and COLD PREY 1 & 2. I just cant get enough of this film, from its lumbering, doom-laden opening theme to its horrendous casting. Its just perfection.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Review : Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)



Troy Nixey


Guillermo del Toro (screenplay), Matthew Robbins (screenplay), and 1 more credit »
A young girl sent to live with her father and his new girlfriend discovers creatures in her new home who want to claim her as one of their own.

When reviewing  DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, I found myself in a state of internal conflict. Its been my hardest review to articulate by far, so bear with me and by the end it'll all make sense, I hope...

Anything with Guillermo Del Toro's name on it is usually a guaranteed work worth experiencing. Whether he's in the directors chair, (PAN'S LABYRINTH, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE), or working in a producing capacity, (EL ORFANTO, JULIA'S EYES), his unique vision, cinematic aesthetic and storytelling prowess are always upfront. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is no different, at least on the surface.

Taking on the role of both Writer and producer, this time Del Toro is dipping his toes into the shark infested water that is ' THE REMAKE'. Yep, DON'T BE AFRAID is a remake of a TV movie from the 80s that made quite an impression on many who saw it. I caught it for the first time last year and I really couldn't see what all the fuss was about. It had a cool concept that plays on a whole host of childhood fears, yet I found the execution to be severely lacking. In my mind, its a film that was ripe for a remake. After all, instead of remaking all the stone cold classics like HALLOWEEN, why not take a flawed work and push to make it better; make it what it could have been?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Interview : Zena, The Real Queen of Horror

Hello, Friendo's...

One of the most enjoyable things about working in the blog-o-sphere is the sharing of our work with fellow writers, and having the chance to discover their work for yourself. As I set about creating my own slice of online Horror, I would scour the net looking for like-minded Horror-hungry souls, who's work would inspire and inflect my own, Among the very finest of these discoveries was coming across Zena's popular little corner of the Internet, THE REAL QUEEN OF HORROR. 

The first thing I noticed was the lack of conformity. Zena is, (shock!! horror!!) a young, black woman! I know, I know....its unthinkable, but true! In a world where Horror fans are normally viewed within the cliche of morbidly overweight, spotty white 'Death Metal' fans, (thanks for that, Mainstream Media), it's always fun to see the blatantly false stereotype being shot down on sight.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Review : 11.11.11 (2011)


Darren Lynn Bousman


Darren Lynn Bousman (screenplay)

After the death of his wife and child, an author who has lost his faith in God, travels to Barcelona to visit his estranged brother, (a preacher) and dying father, where he  comes to realize that many important events in his life all seem relate to the number 11. As he investigates, he finds himself trapped in an ever-worsening nightmare that could herald the apocalypse. Demonic entities and Hellish visions begin to plague his every moment, as he comes to learn the terrible truth behind the mystery, and all the time the date 11-11-11 draws slowly nearer....

What the fuck happened?


Lets get this straight. I loved MOTHERS DAY. I enjoyed all of Darren Lynn Bousmans previous efforts, but I freaking loved MOTHERS DAY. (Heres the proof!). That film was vicious, unrelenting, intelligent and paced within an inch of its life. It managed to hold court with the French New Wave of Horror, and not embarrass itself, and it was one of the few remakes that not only surpassed the original, but kicked its teeth out and left it bleeding on the racetrack.. Bousman has been growing and growing as a filmmaker. The guy has serious skill's behind a camera and crew....

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Horror Hotel Cinema : Hammer House of Horror - The Silent Scream (1980)

Hello, one and all....

The Horror Hotel Cinema has yet another rare classic for your viewing pleasure, tonight. This one only runs at an hour long, as it is, in fact, part of a TV spin-off venture that the fabled Hammer Studio's partook of, in the last leg of their saga. The series was called, HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR, and was a hugely successful, if short-lived, set of mini-movies, dealing in a variety of Horror's; (demons, occultism and haunted houses, among others), each one with a different cast, writers and director. It was very much the MASTERS OF HORROR of its time.

I'm unsure what impact the show had on the rest of the world, but in the UK it was a big hit, and has taken its rightful place in the public consciousness, spanning two generations. Its a fine show, with some fine acting, not least in THE SILENT SCREAM...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Review : Apollo 18 (2011)



Brian Miller (screenplay), Cory Goodman
Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon...

This is gonna be a hard film to review, as its been a few days since I viewed it and I'm still not sure how I feel about it, as an entire film. There are so many things about the movie I adored, and some things that threaten to sink it completely, as a whole piece. I'll try and break it down as best I can. First the good stuff....

APOLLO 18 follows the 'found footage' road so regularly travelled these days, that its becoming passe. At the same time, I ENJOY the sub-genre when its done well. REC, REC 2, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and THE TUNNEL, all made fine use of its techniques, and are widely regarding as effective genre pieces. In fact, I find BLAIR WITCH to be a damned frightening film. There was a chance that APOLLO 18 could join the club in style. It's got a lot going for it...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Macabre Memories 2 : The Top trumps Horror Card Collection

I Woke this morning with one thing on my mind, and one thing only...to track down those superbly scary Top Trumps that done the rounds in our school playground when I was little more than a boob-munching rug-rat.

I was recently interviewed by THE DEVILS EYES.COM. You can read the interview here if you like, or at least the first question, as the initial I was asked was, and I'm paraphrasing here, 'What got you into Horror?'. The answer came to me straight away, despite being something I haven't thought about for a number of years. More than a number of years, in fact. My answer surprised me, I have to admit. We all have formative moments in our lives when we inadvertently become shaped by outside influences, and oftentimes, we're not conscious of them. As I spoke about those Top Trump cards that so paralysed me as a child, I realised that I HAD to see them again. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, man. And it's not always for the best.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hotel Management Interrogation.....

Hello, Friendos

Lets be honest, we all enjoy talking about ourselves and our experiences, don't we. And as a writer, any opportunity for shameless self-promotion and the chance to share more of our thoughts and feelings is one you just can't pass up. So when Rich Stiles, main author and contributor for THE DEVILS EYES.COM, asked if he could interview me for the website, how could I say no? It was very flattering, to say the least, and some pretty interesting issues came up through the questions. Rich was kind enough to allow me to re-publish the full interview here. 

I'd like to stress that Rich's description of what I do as , 'awesome writing skills', is entirely of his own accord. Yes, I bought him a shiny new Halloween Box Set, and slipped a few bucks his way, but I assure you no bribery took place. Honest!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Review : Territories (2010)



Olivier Abbou


Olivier Abbou (screenplay), Thibault Lang Willar (screenplay)

Five friends return home from a marriage in Canada to the United States. Not far from the border, two customs officers stop them to check their identity. When the officers observe that one of the men is of middle-eastern origin, things quickly escalate to the point of no return, and the friends come to learn the full truth about, 'Homeland Security'....

Trust the French to be the only film-makers with big enough cahones to explore the horrifying infringement of rights that happens under the noses of Americans every day.

Right of the bat I'm gonna state that TERRITORIES, is essentially a true story. I wish to god it wasn't, but it is. The characters may be fictional, and the setting of the film may be rather trite in a time when 'lost in the backwoods', flicks are ten a penny. But this films message, and its intent, are entirely based in reality. The anguish onscreen is a very accurate portrayal of what the world knows to be going on in detention camps states-wide. The truly heartbreaking fact is that while there are only the lives of five characters being demolished by the state in this film, the real numbers are off the charts. As you suffer through TERRITORIES, you'll never once be swept off on fancy. Its brutally frank in its depiction of Guantanamo Bay, now closed, (Read : Relocated), and the many other hellish facilities where we lock our 'enemy combatants', without due process, trials or even reason. This is an important film. It's a film that demands you, the viewer, heed its message and take on board your complicity in the events onscreen. TERRITORIES is exactly the sort of movie western audiences need to be subjected to, to help shake off the hypnosis that they've been living under for so long. Viva France, indeed...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Horror Hotel Cinema : Kingdom of the Spiders (1977 )

Well, Halloween may be over and the decorations taken down, but it's ALWAYS Halloween in the Horror Hotel, and I aim to replace those plastic spiders with some real ones...

Tonight's Horror-show is, well, to be honest, a film I haven't properly seen all the way through. Anyone who read my editorial 'The Arachnaphobic Five', will know that I'm rarely able to handle movies featuring my mortal enemies. Those creepy crawly bastards and I have little love for each other, and the last thing my psyche needs is a dose of arachnid Horror.