Friday, 27 April 2012

Review : The Troll Hunter (2010)



André Øvredal


André Øvredal, Håvard S. Johansen (contributing writer)


Otto Jespersen, Robert Stoltenberg and Knut Nærum

A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.

Andre Ovredal's THE TROLL HUNTER is the definition of unique. A found footage film that combines fear, fairy-tales, action and atmosphere; blending real suspense with some very humorous scenarios. Its a movie aiming to meld documentarian realism to a fantastical story. A travelogue through Middle Earth via the breathtaking landscapes of Norway. A comedic adventure. An old school monster movie, and, finally, a look at belief and wonderment, and the importance of holding onto those feelings.

The film opens in the usual 'found footage' stylee, with a few solemn words silently filling the screen to set the tone. we're informed that the footage is indeed 'found' and that the creators are missing in action. The footage, we're told, is as it was found, in sequence and un-tampered with, (other than being edited down for time, of course), and then, we're off...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Promo : The Asylum

If you haven’t already heard of The Asylum yet, then you’re somewhat behind the times.

This American film studio and distributor has been making a name for itself by producing some of the most ridiculous and entertaining modern B-movies around, many of which directly parody the major feature films in cinemas at the time of release, earning them the title “mockbusters”. One of the first titles from The Asylum that quickly gained public attention was 2009’s Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, a creature feature that pits (yes, you guessed it) a monstrous shark against an outsized octopus in a duel to the death. These two creatures had been frozen in ice for thousands of years until mankind inadvertently caused their release, unleashing them on the unsuspecting world. To date, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is The Asylum’s most successful feature, leading to 2010’s sequel Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus.

Creature features have always been a popular B-movie genre, and The Asylum have produced a number of similar features including 100 Million BC and Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. To coincide with the mainstream cinematic release of the high budget Piranha 3D in 2010, The Asylum produced their parody Mega Piranha. However, they have also toyed with a variety of other genres including superhero films (Almighty Thor), a Christian parody of High School Musical (Sunday School Musical), and last year a disaster movie to coincide with the release in cinemas of 11.11.11 (11/11/11). Production at The Asylum is a fast process, usually taking just four months from the inception of a new title to the completed product. Scripts are written in four to six weeks, whilst pre-production and production get a few weeks each.

Although most of The Asylum’s releases are direct to DVD, you can also watch movies online at sites like LOVEFILM, whose extensive online catalogue features a number of Asylum productions.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Review : The Divide (2011)


Xavier Gens

A strong opening is a tradition in horror. It sets the tone, get the audience's hearts pumping, and should give a good taste of what lies ahead. Xavier Gans' punishing end-of-the-world shocker,THE DIVIDE, has a very strong opening.

Our first stark images show the total destruction of New York, as the nukes finally fall and civilization as we know it bites the radioactive dust. We only catch a fleeting glimpse of the destruction taking place before we're thrust right along with our characters into the only damn place that may be in any way safe...the basement of their apartment building. It's either a dark dead-end, or immediate melting of the face, and the face melting may turn out to be a better option. The doors are shut and sealed with tape to keep the transparent radiation outside, (good luck with that), and our small band of shell-shocked everyday New Yorkers are left alone, literally, at a dead-end. As we all know, if you put a group of relatively civilized folk in a claustrophobic, end-times scenario with little food and water, and practically no hope for survival, the wild things will roar. Human decency becomes cheap, power becomes survival, sanity crumbles, and 'Gods chosen species' revert back to their true, base form. Let the good times roll....

Monday, 9 April 2012

Review : The Wicker Tree (2012)

Director: Robin Hardy


Robin Hardy (book), Robin Hardy

THE WICKER TREE is based on the novel, COWBOYS FOR CHRIST, written by Robin Hardy himself, and concerns itself with the misadventures of two born again God-bothers who hail from Dallas, and are sent on a mission to save the heathen hordes of my home land, Scotland, by traveling door-to-door spreading the word of God, (because we all know that shit works). On arriving, they find my countrymen to be giving of precisely zero fucks, (so proud). All seems lost till they are approached by some' Lord of the Manor' type who runs a secluded community, and advises that while his people may not be easily converted, they will at least keep an open mind to the teachings of Christ and his pals. Out dynamic duo then pack their bibles and head off to save some horny souls from eternal damnation, via terrible choir music and insufferable behavior. Thankfully, our Scottish Pagan buddies have other plans. Can you say, 'Kentucky Fried'?

I'm gonna try not to bash on this movie too much. I have every reason to. Its an absolute shambles of a film, but its so inept, so disjointed, so confused, that I actually managed to have a good time with it, despite it's significant aura of shite.

I assumed going in that if THE WICKER TREE was bullshit, I would be pissed off in a big way. I mean, its the spiritual predecessor of one of my favorite film's of all time; the profoundly disturbing, unique and intelligent THE WICKER MAN. In my mind, this thing had a huge shadow cast over it from inception to birth. If it pissed all over the legacy of Robin Hardy's previous masterpiece, (he wrote and directed that classic work), my hatred would be unbound, thought I.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Exclusive : Interview with THE LOST COAST TAPES Director, Corey Grant

I've made no secret of my rabid enthusiasm for the upcoming Bigfoot themed horror movie, THE LOST COAST TAPES. In truth, it had me at 'Bigfoot', yet as time's went on, it's grown to become my most anticipated movie of the year. The dedication of it's cast and crew, the found footage angle, (which you all know I'm a huge fan of), the mythos behind the legend of Sasquatch, and the authenticity-drenched location shoots in the awe-inspiring redwoods have all conspired to fuel my horror-fan fire.

When the one-sheets were released, it tipped me over the edge, (you can view those bad boys here!). The images, like the whole production, screamed professionalism, and showed a real understanding of what us horror weirdos are looking for in a Bigfoot movie. Atmospheric, creepy, and in the case of one of the posters, downright nasty.

The world needs more Bigfoot movies. Of course, there are now a few in the works, but THE LOST COAST TAPES Director/Producer, Corey Grant, and his fearless band of lunatics, have got their first, and look to have carved out a unique take on the legend. This is the one I'm waiting for.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Book Review : 'Rot and Ruin' & 'Dust and Decay' by Jonathan Maberry

What can one say about Jonathan Maberry?

My first fateful encounter with the writing of this guy came when hunting for some 'fresh blood'. I'd exhausted all the works of my favorite authors, having read and re-read my huge collection of degenerate horror fiction more than once. I found myself facing what you could safely call a dry-out. Now, I could easily go back and visit the works of Laymon, Keene, Lee et-all, for the rest of my life and still shuffle of to the big fire a very happy, content soul; but I like to experiment from time to time. Take a dive into unknown waters, if you will. It was on one such excursion into the risky realm of blind book-buying that I stumbled upon his novel, GHOST ROAD BLUES.

The blurb caught me. The artwork caught me, the fucking title caught me, but I had no idea what I was in store for. I soon learned that it was book one it what is now known as Maberry's 'Pine Deep Trilogy'. A series of books that, for me at least, redefined horror literature. The influences were clear, but the execution was mind-blowing. It still stands as the greatest horror epic I've ever read.

Although with ROT AND RUIN, and its sequel, DUST AND DECAY, it's having a helluva fight to hold that accolade. These books, (two parts of a four part tale), take the zombie mythos we all know and love, reinvigorate and reinvent it for a whole new generation.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Editorial : Adventures in Horror Fiction

Something of a personal message to all my fellow horror nuts out there.

Things have been very hectic here of late. My daughter, born in America has finally arrived on my rainswept shores and is now living happily with both her mum and her dear old dad, (who plans to brainwash her with Universal Horror, and Hammer Horror forthwith!). Much time and energy has been spent decorating my once space-age party pad into a civilized family home, yet the real reason for such a slow month last month is that I finally pulled my head out my arse and started taking my own fictional work seriously.

Things are settled now, and the coming months will see more posts than usual. I'm disciplining myself and making time for both my forthcoming horror anthology, and this here strange little Hotel just off the beaten track.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Upcoming Horror : The Lost Coast Tapes' One-Sheets Revealed...

Some time back I wrote a small article on a humble, upcoming indie horror film that caught my attention and imagination from the very first. That film was THE LOST COAST TAPES, (you can read the original article here), and even way back then, it had the potential to be a stone cold winner. I had high hopes that these guys could pull it off. A Sasquatch movie in the found-footage mold....count me the fuck in!

Well, time passed slowly and surely, and the airwaves went deathly quiet, as the cast and crew headed off into those beautiful woodland locations. I for one figured the poor bastards had all met their grisly demise out there in the untamed wilds. Perhaps a case of life imitating art, thought I.

I'm glad to say my overactive imagination was taking me for a ride. The team behind the movie, and the movie itself, are all very much alive and in very good shape.