Thursday, 29 September 2011

Book Review : Drowned Sorrow by Vanessa Morgan

Megan Blackwood has lost her son in a terrible accident. Now she has come to Moonlight Creek with her teenage daughter Jenna, hoping that a change of scenery might help to put her life back together.
But something odd is happening in Moonlight Creek. Something that has given water a life of its own so that it can now move, think... and kill.
When Megan realizes that her daughter's life is in danger, it might already be too late.

Its always a pleasure discovering a new author of Horror fiction. It often feels like I'm running low on new books to read. Theres only so many time's I can re-read my Brian Keene or Edward Lee collections, (okay okay, that's not actually true, but you get my point!), so to discover an up and coming writer who really has the chops to go all the way is both inspiring and joyful. Even more so when you discover that said writer has an original voice, and has much to say with it.

News : Daughter of Darkness (My firstborn arrives!)

Hi everyone.

Life has been moving pretty fast recently, and sadly, Ive been neglecting my little corner of the Internet. Trust me though, there is good reason....

As of 2am, 'British Time', on the 27th of September, a future fan of all things Horror entered this world. A perfect little person to whom my whole heart belongs and to whom all my childhood and adult experiences within our genre will be relived and revered anew.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Review : The Dead (2010)


Elizabeth Akingbade, Benjamin C. Akpa and Stephen Asare Amaning

When the last evacuation flight out of war-torn Africa crashes off the coast, an American Air Force Engineer emerges as the sole survivor in a land where the dead are returning to life and attacking the living.
Is there any sub-genre that's had more ups and downs than the Zombie film? Well, yes, there probably is, but lets be honest here, the zombie movie swings from high to low almost as frequently as the works of Dario Argento. Sure, quality tongue-in-cheek zombie films are far from a rarity, but the number of truly exceptional, serious takes on the subject is a very small one. For every bright beacon of hope, (THE WALKING DEAD), we get a whole slew of sub-par bullshit. And with the advent of the so-called 'adaptation' of Max Brook's wonderful WORLD WAR Z looking like its going to drag the undead movie's back into the gutter, its a breath of fresh air, and a real relief, to come across a serious take on zombie's. And that's exactly what we get with THE DEAD.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Horror Hotel Cinema : The Devil Bat (1941)

What do Bela Legosi, cheap perfume and a huge screaming rubber bat all have in common?

They all feature prominently in tonight's show, THE DEVIL BAT. That's what!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Review : A Horrible Way To Die (2010)


Adam Wingard

An escaped murderer is in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town.

The first thing your gonna notice when you sit back to watch A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE is the camerawork. To call it restless would be one hell of an understatement. Excluding anything directed by Peter Greengrass, (who's constant overuse of shaking camera pisses me off and ruins every single film he directs), I'm actually very tolerant of the technique. In fact, I rather enjoy it if its used accordingly. In AHWTD its used constantly and is occasionally so distracting that it defeats its intent and actually removes you from the film rather than immerses you. Even for me, this pushed the boundaries a little. Sometimes it's beautiful, lending a naturalism to the film that otherwise would be missing, and I'll go out on a limb and say that in the grand scheme of things its benificial to the story being told; yet it can pull you out of the film, and it can frustrate you, when all you wanna do is focus on the performances. If your in any way anti-shaky-cam, your going to have a hard time getting through this one. Adam Wingard has took a real risk with his decision to use this technique. It's going to alienate a sizable number of viewers, yet if you can look past it theres a whole hell of a lot to enjoy.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Art of Darkness 2 : Al Cook's Necropolis

For my second dive into all things artistic that take their cues from Horror and the macabre, I felt I'd bring you something close to home, that is as simultaneously delightful and as twisted as the man who creates it.

Writer/Illustrator, Al Cook is a close friend of mine. We hail from the same dark region of the world and we share many of the same unsavory habits, including a taste for whiskey and wine that probably merits psychological study, and has often found us lying side by side in the gutters of our world. We also share a very similar taste in genre cinema, (Al's every bit as obsessed with HAMMER HORROR as I am, among many other oddities), yet Al's upbeat and positive approach to life lends to his artwork a certain whimsy and delicate nature that offsets the darkness beautifully.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Review : Creature (2011)



Fred Andrews

In the back country of Louisiana, a group of friends unearth a terrible secret that unleashes a monster from the depths of the swamp. 

Louisiana bayou. Rubber monster suit. Lesbianism. Pretty girls getting butt naked. Incest.

If all the above terms and words sound appealing, (perhaps not the final one), then you've came to the right place. CREATURE is a film so unashamedly bad, so ridiculously plotted, paced and edited, that its a miracle it ever made it anywhere near the silver screen, never mind 1,500 cinemas. This film does just about everything it sets out to do with an almost artistic level of ineptitude. Its trash from beginning to end, and anyone who enjoys this sort of nonsense needs their head looked at. I recommend it wholeheartedly. How could I not?

Friday, 9 September 2011

Review : The Orphan Killer (2011)



Matt Farnsworth


Diane Foster, David Backus and Matt Farnsworth

Marcus Miller is a serial murderer hellbent on teaching his estranged sister Audrey what it means to have family loyalty. His lessons are taught in massive doses of vulgar and unimaginable pain. Throughout her brutal torture we learn that Marcus is not the only Miller with Killer in the bloodline as Audrey proves to be a formidable adversary.

Old school slashers. We all love em. Who can resist a masked maniac happily going about his business of hacking up some mediocre actors? I know I can't. And while I'm sometimes a little unforgiving if I have a lot invested in the slaughter, (see my COLD PREY 3 review here), I am, for the most part, very open to the many flaws to be found within the sub-genre. In fact, many of the 'flaws' can be beneficial to the work. The young kids trying (too hard usually) to make their mark in the acting world are sometimes far more endearing for their lack of experience. And, as its a sub-genre that truly belongs in the 'low' to 'seriously low' budget bracket, the creators have to work far harder, often producing surprisingly impressive results. And much like LAID TO REST seduced us with its creative kills and cooler than ice lunatic, THE ORPHAN KILLER seeks to win the slasher fan over with great visuals and an yet another instantly memorable nutcase.

Horror Hotel Cinema : The Screaming Skull (1958)

 Tonight's show is a real treat, or a real trick. It's all a matter of perspective. I first caught THE SCREAMING SKULL when I was a very young kid. I caught a late night showing, while my parents slept. It scared the holy hell out of my younger self, as these things do to a kid with a susceptible imagination and no grasp of the line between fantasy and reality. Watching the film all these years later, (and yes, I have it on DVD), its a full on cheeseball fest of the highest order. And of course, that just makes it all the more adorable. I love these films. I always dreamt of drive-in's and 50's Americana as a boy. There's something effortlessly charming about these B-movies of old. In a sense, they capture a part of history that we'll never see come around again. White picket fences, wholesome ladies and solid male counterparts, (not this guy in tonight's film though, he comes off as a total dickhead!)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Review : Bereavement (2010)



Stevan Mena

The horrific account of 6 year old Martin Bristol, abducted from his backyard swing and forced to witness the brutal crimes of a deranged madman. 

Just take a look at the BEREAVEMENT one-sheet. Is it any wonder I was excited to see this bad boy? Its a startling image, and it caught my attention and fueled my imagination on sight. That was a year ago. I had no idea the film was a prequel to a well respected low-budget slasher by the same writer/director until I decided to give it a whirl. The original, MALEVOLENCE, tells the tale of a serial killer who is impervious to pain. He can't feel it, period. You could cut this guys nuts off while averting his eyes and he'd be none the wiser, (although if you were in his vicinity, you'd probably most likely be dead or dying, and the only nuts getting chopped off would be your own). Its a cool slice of reasoning for why our slashers just keep getting back up, and I wish I'd heard of the film earlier, because frankly, it sounds pretty fine.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Review : Chromeskull - Laid to Rest 2 (2011)

When we last saw Chromeskull, he'd had his face melted and his head caved in via baseball bat. Not a fun situation to find oneself in. Now, with Chromeskull catching up on some much needed rest, his second in command, Preston is sent out to finish the job he started and tie up loose ends. But Preston has ideas of his own about who should be running this show...

The first time I saw LAID TO REST, I was immediately charmed by its antagonist. The Skull faced, camera wielding headcase known as Chromeskull was, and is, a slasher for the ages. Theres a real lack of truly iconic killers in the genre these days, and alongside Babyface from THE HILLS RUN RED, our knife happy pal was one of the few masked killers who's image alone made him eminently watchable. Shame then that his stomping ground was a film so mired in terrible acting and ridiculous plot developments that took the viewer straight out of the experience. It was a strange mash-up of brilliant ideas and half baked execution. Let me rephrase that, the only thing that was not 'half baked' in LAID TO REST was the execution. The kills were beautiful to behold, and stand among the greatest ever put onscreen in a modern slasher. I've seen the film a few times since, usually with a beer in hand and a group of buddies round to enjoy the bloodshed. You ever drank far too much and slept with someone you know is trash, but you just couldn't resist? LAID TO REST is like that. You'll have fun with it when your trashed out of your skull, but you'll wake up feeling guilty come the dawn.