Sunday 25 December 2011

Editorial : Horror Hotel Managements 'Christmas Antidote'

Its that time of year again when huge corporations hook your children in with a barrage of advertising media, and your already half empty wallet is bled dry in the name of material possession. It's that time of year again when your drug-addict uncle throws up all over your X-Box, and your drunken father lets you know, in no uncertain terms, that you were a ripped condom, and have impoverished him ever since. A time for unwanted gifts to be received and over-expensive gifts to be given in order to save face. A time for burned Turkey dinners, and overdosing on Disney movies till the stinging sugar pours from your eyeballs.

Yep, its Christmas. The most stressful time of the year for the poor among us, and the most fun time of year for the Wal-mart, Tesco and Amazon shareholders of the world. Hallelujah, indeed.....

Monday 19 December 2011

Review : Retreat (2011)


Carl Tibbetts

I remember vividly the first time I saw ROSEMARY'S BABY.

It wasn't so much the concept, or even the terrifying final moments, that struck such a strong chord with me. Instead, it was the sense I had of being completely doubtful of all that was taking place, while watching it. I was questioning everything. Rosemary's sanity, her husbands motivations, her neighbours strange, overbearing behaviour. I had absolutely no idea who the good guys were and who, (if any) the bad guys were. It was a wonderful feeling, to experience a movie from exactly the perspective the director intends you do. The feeling of questioning everything was intoxicating, and the pay-off was so expertly handled, I immediately proclaimed its director, Roman Polanski, a 'master of suspense', ( of course, everyone else already knew this. I was rather late to the party)  Had I known his work I would've known just how well he could pull my psychological strings. For the duration of that movie, he owned me.

Sunday 18 December 2011

Review : Little Deaths (2011)

Sometimes I feel like I'm from a different planet, friendo's. If anyone knows directions to Earth, draw me a fucking map, will ya?!

I had read nothing but good things about LITTLE DEATHS, and had even been recommended it by a very close, very drunk and very enthusiastic friend. Most of the more established Horror websites have proclaimed it a worthy addition to the much beloved 'Horror-Anthology' sub-genre. Some have claimed it has depth, style, great acting, satisfying stories and its fair share of gore-filled set pieces.

Well, I'm not buying any of that shit...

I love a good Horror Anthology. At least I have that in common with my peers. I mean, who doesn't love those short sharp blasts of Horror? The broadly drawn characters, the inevitable (twisted) twist in the tale, the cornucopia of well-known faces and the literal guarantee of at least two or three payoffs. They resemble nothing so much as E.C's 50's Horror comics writ large, and when done properly, they can be a hell of a lot of fun.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Review : Hostel 3 (2011)



Scott Spiegel


Michael D. Weiss, Eli Roth (characters)

While attending a bachelor party in Las Vegas, four friends are enticed by two sexy escorts to join them at a private party way off the Strip. You know the rest, or do you....?

HOSTEL 3 has arrived, and its a DTV movie. The third in a series that looked dead in the water, and made on very limited financing...its must be terrible, right? Wrong.

Its by no means a classic, but HOSTEL 3 is a solid example of the dominance of imagination over finance. This film feels far more expansive than it has any right to, as it's clearly underfunded. It may have the look of a DTV movie, but its has ideas far bigger than that, and Director Scott Spiegal manages to pull them all together admirably.

Monday 12 December 2011

Horror Hotel Cinema : Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Every self respecting Horror lover appreciates a scarecrow themed Horror film....

So for this weeks show, I have an absolute stunner for you. DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW was originally made for TV, and while its roots were humble, its developed something of a cult following over the last few decades, and for many, is the last word in 'scarecrow horror'.

Its a genuinely eerie work. A haunting story that will stay with you, and it boasts perhaps the creepiest damn scarecrow ever put on screen. If you haven't seen this little known masterpiece, your in for a good time, folks. Scarecrows are a sparsity in Horror, sadly. I've never understood why, as for me, theres something fundamentally frightening about those silent figures, deep within the corn-rows, lifeless and poised. They freak me out, man. Ever patient sentinels waiting to strike the unaware.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Review : The Shrine (2010)


Jon Knautz


Jon Knautz (screenplay), Jon Knautz (story), and 3 more credits »

A group of young journalists looking for the 'big break' investigate the disappearances of a number of travellers in rural Poland, but their ambitious ways may lead them to becoming the next victims of a sacrifice practising cult who may be behind the mystery. Ya think.....?

Its two days since I watched this little ditty, and though the weekend beckons, Ive put aside my Budweiser Lites and turned the music down low, in order to review this flawed yet relatively fun movie. I feel its worth it, as theres an enjoyable time to be had here, and its worth sharing.

I hate to lower the standards once again by writing the whole, 'something meets something' bullshit, but I really have to, here, so forgive me for my sins....

THE SHRINE is, essentially, the outcome of splicing THE WICKER MAN with HOSTEL. At least for the first two thirds. After that we head directly down 'EXORCIST alley', for our hokey and enjoyable finale. More on that later. For now, lets step back a bit, and have a look at this bad-boy from start to finish.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Review : Straw Dogs (2011)



Rod Lurie (screenplay), David Zelag Goodman (earlier screenplay), and 2 more credits »

L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both. 

(Brief History Lesson : In 1971, legendary Director Sam Peckinpah shocked audiences worldwide with STRAW DOGS. At the time, the films violence was pretty extreme, but it was the films unflinching look at male aggression that got the censors dicks in knots. Not to mention a rape scene in which the victim appears to be quite enjoying the whole thing. Long story short, the film was banned for 25 years, and finally found its home on DVD. End of lesson. Now onto the review.....)

Another hangover....another unnecessary remake. That's two for two in so many days.

I cant complain too much though, some of these recent remakes have been ego-crashingly good. FRIGHT NIGHT and MOTHERS DAY are sitting proudly atop that list. And while there will always be cash grab movies that piss all over the intent and artistry of the originals, (NIGHTMARE ON SHIT STREET), there seems to be a greater trend of late towards actually paying respect to the original works. Basically, it seems the less remakes are made by those fuck-nuts at Platinum Dunes, the better our cinematic environment shall be.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Review : The Thing (2011)


Eric Heisserer, John W. Campbell Jr. (short story "Who Goes There?")
Near an isolated Norwegian outpost in Antarctica,  a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when an alien is unearthed by a crew of international scientists.An alien that can mimic any living thing perfectly, including humans....

There are two kinds of people in this world....those who love John Carpenters THE THING, and those who haven't seen it, (never trust these people, folks). Its that sort of film. A film so perfect in each and every detail that it  transcends genres as effectively as it blends them. For me, its the single greatest Sci-fi Horror in the history of cinema, even surpassing Ridley Scott's ALIEN. So it was with great trepidation that I approached this 'prequel'.

I say prequel in quotations, as this film could very easily be viewed as a remake. Not only of Carpenters masterpiece, but of the equally brilliant Howard Hawks original, THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. It takes Hawks genesis story, and transports it to the desolate landscape created by Carpenter in his version. I'm sure you all know by now that this film follows the fate of the Norwegian camp who originally unearthed our shape-shifting hombre. No one ever really gave two shits about seeing what went down at the camp, as we've all spent years dreaming up the scenario in our own imaginations, and no film could ever come close to rivalling the bloodbath we all dreamt of. Despite being unnecessary, word that the Norwegians tale would be detailed did raise interest in the Horror community. Interest and fear...