Saturday 25 August 2012

Horror Hotel Cinema : The Maze (1953)

A slice of homegrown horror for you tonight...

Well, not quite, though this quaint and atmospheric little chiller is set in the remote Scottish Highlands, I'm purdy sure it wasn't filmed there. This is studio bound as they come, folks. And you all know what that means.....fog, great lighting, picturesque as hell, and Gothic as all get out. Good times, old chaps!

The plot revolves around a dashing Scotsman, played by the ever excellent Richard Carlson, (THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE), who is heir to a spooky Scottish castle, and breaks off his engagement to some hot 50's dame to return to the family estate after learning his uncle has went to the big caber-tossing competition in the sky. Said ladyfriend doesn;t hear from the fella in weeks, and decides to go investigate the situation for herself. Soon, she's up to her flapjacks in misty mountains, crumbling castles, aging actors and macabre mazes. And you, the audience, are in for a fun, old-timey ride.

Admittedly, its a little slow to get going, but Carlson holds the interest with a fine performance, and when the action does shift to my bonnie home-world, things pick up pretty quickly. Its a spooky, atmospheric work, and it has a very entertaining and worthwhile finale. And yes, that means its ridiculous and features a cheap, rubber beastie!

So, stop reading, and start viewing.

And stay the fuck away from Haggis....

Review : The Cabin in the Woods (2011)


Drew Goddard


Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison

Five college buddies head out to a remote cabin for a weekend of beer, weed, sex and general grooviness, but soon after arriving, they find that, well, I'm not telling....

This will probably be a very short review, folks, and for good reason. If like myself, your a wise and experienced soul, you'll know to avoid all trailers, spoilers and amatuer reviews of this little ditty, (and horror in general, as it happens). Its a film that simply sings if you know nothing about it going in. Hell, it sings anyway, loudly and beautifully. The impact is far greater though, if your out of the loop entirely.

Its no secret by now that what seems like a template horror scenario is turned upside down, spun around, shot full with head-fuckery and let loose on the populace, but boy, does the film impress, hyped or not. This is what horror cinema is all about people. Its a perfect example of why the genre inspires so much love in its audience. Its creativity is boundless, its execution is perfect in every single way, and its just about the most fun I've ever had watching a horror movie in my life.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Review : Nailbiter (2012)



Patrick Rea


Joicie Appell, Emily Boresow and Jason Coffman

I first heard NAILBITER being described as being very much like an early X-Files episode. You know, one of those 'monster of the week' numbers that many of us enjoyed so much back in the day. And while its true that it is reminiscent of one of those ideas, NAILBITER, sadly, the comparison only runs as far as its idea's.

It begins promisingly enough, with a slightly dysfunctional family, (one mother, three daughters), being caught up in the eye of a tornado and having to take refuge in the basement of a seemingly abandoned house out in the countryside. Once the storm passes, the family find that they are not alone, and are being held against their will in the basement by someone/something unknown.

Horror Hotel Cinema - Invaders from Mars (1953)

I've been reading a novel by Robert McCammon this past week, called BOYS LIFE. It's an exceptional book that details with pinpoint accuracy the bittersweet endurance test that is 'coming of age'. I can't recommend the book to you folks enough. It really is beautiful to behold. Anyway, this ain't about that, this is about this...

There's a chapter in the book in which two of its young heroes attend a local cinema where, along with their peers, they are terrified out of their minds by a film that plays on the most dreaded of childhood fears...the mistrust of our parents. The book goes into the film in great detail, and it really did set a fire under my ass to revisit this age-old classic and see if it stands the test of time. I did, and it does.

Classic science-fiction, 50's paranoia, a kid in fear of his family, and a hell of a fine time at the Hotel Cinema. Kick back, hop in yer time machine, and prepare yourself for...INVADERS FROM MARS!

Oh, and read that book already.

Monday 13 August 2012

Review : The Corridor (2010/2012)



Evan Kelly


Stephen Chambers, James Gilbert and David Patrick Flemming

If any further proof were needed that low-budget, independent cinema is the breeding ground for intelligent and unique horror, THE CORRIDOR should put all lingering doubts to rest and seal the deal once and for all. What will understandably first appear as yet another cheap exploitation flick very quickly subverts all expectations and rises above the crowd to become one of the most thoughtful, disturbing and resonant horror films in recent years.

The plot, going in, feels bare bones and time-worn....a group of lifelong friends are invited to a remote cabin in the woods by one of their number; an estranged friend who, one year previous, went a little insane after watching his mother die, and struck out violently at his friends as they tried to help him. The friends all arrive at the cabin to find their old buddy awaiting them, and as the already fragile groups distrust in their once beloved companion increasingly fractures, blood begins to flow....

Sounds like standard slasher fare, right? Well, THE CORRIDOR uses this simple set-up as a jumping point for a tale that goes to some very dark, completely surprising places. Its a film made crafted with skill, intellect and poise.

Sunday 12 August 2012

Editorial - The Greatest Christopher Lee Performances

As a card-carrying Hammer Horror obsessive, I'm no stranger to the mighty Christopher Lee. Known to many as the quintessential Dracula of their generation, and known to other of a younger brand as the devious Saruman of THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY, Lee has wore many guises. He's been in more sword-fights onscreen than any other actor, and has played everything from Rasputin the Mad Monk to James Bond's nemesis. In short, the mans a legend.

These are my picks, in no particular order, for some of his greatest characters. I'm focusing on Lee's performances, and the impact he made on me personally in these roles. I don't pretend to have seen anywhere near all of the mans cinematic output, so don't be angered if I missed out some greats, (as I'm sure I have). Feel free to agree, disagree, rant and rave, but remember this is my own personal selection, for reasons of my own. Enjoy..

Horror Hotel Cinema - The Hideous Sun Demon (1959)

Its beautiful here in Scotland at the moment, and as that's something that happens as often as a politician telling the truth, I figured I'd post the first of this months classic cult movies, THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON.

I first came across this movie fifteen years ago, while reading a coffee-table book on Cult Horror. The article, and in fact, the book, were sub-par, but there was a picture of the films protagonist in there in full costume and make-up, standing under the rays of the burning sun in all his hideous, lizard-like glory. Looked cool, but what really sold it was the piss-stain on his pants. Now that's attention to detail right there!

Here's the picture, folks. Classic cinema...

There's little more need be said. Its got a sun demon, he's hideous, and he has some wicked pants, (though shorts would be far better in that burny old sun). Its time you watched it already.....

Review : Detention (2011)


Joseph Kahn


Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell and Spencer Locke

As a killer named Cinderhella stalks the student body at the high school in Grizzly Lake, a group of co-eds band together to survive while they're all serving detention.

'What the FUCK are you watching!!??'

Yep, that's the first words that came out of my lady-friends mouth when she walked in and caught me watching DETENTION...

'Well, honey, its sort of a cross between PROM NIGHT, URBAN LEGEND, BACK TO THE FUTURE and DONNIE DARKO, with some SAY ANYTHING thrown in there for good measure. It's about a time-machine and a serial killer who digs Cinderella and its sort of a romance but with a Grizzly Bear in there.Oh, and some alien mutations too. I think I may have had my drink spiked' I replied.

'Looks fucking crazy' she retorted, and left the room without another word.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Review : The Tall Man (2012)


Pascal Laugier


Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland and Stephen McHattie
When her child goes missing, a mother looks to unravel the legend of the Tall Man, an entity who allegedly abducts children. 

I picked a damn good time to return to horror.

In my extended hiatus, I managed to miss every single tidbit of news, hype and hearsay on this one. Its came at me out of nowhere, and to learn that this film was written and directed by none other than Pascal Laugier, he of MARTYRS infamy, (review here), was a gift from the dark gods.

THE TALL MAN, is, in fact, Laugier's first film since MARTYRS was burned into our souls forevermore; and whether that film disgusted or delighted, (or both), few would deny that his follow-up work would garner a significant degree of excitement among genre fans. I can't fathom how I never heard of this thing.

Anyway, onto the review...

Monday 6 August 2012

Hotel Management Update - Dark Days, Doomed PC's.

Hi folks...

I just thought I'd drop you all a line to explain why the Hotel has been so quiet of late.Not sure where to begin so I'll begin someplace in the middle and figure shit out from there...

As many of you know, I have a beautiful little baby girl who was born stateside last Sept, (I'm based in Scotland). Without going into any great detail, (I'm legally bound NOT to, as it happens), I'm currently going through something of a struggle to keep my family intact. It's been taking up a great deal of my time and energy, as I'm sure you can imagine, and has taken its toll on my health. Don't worry though, I'm far from beaten yet.

Couple this with the fact that BOTH my home computers, (one Laptop and one Tower), decided to succumb to demonic possession and blow up in the same week, and you have your answers as to why things have been slow-to-dead around here. I lost half of a short story compendium I'm working on, (Horror, of course!), and much of my poetry and journals, but nobody died horribly, so its all good. What it meant having no Laptops, (and having all my money devoured by legal bills), was that I found myself without a damned vessel through which to channel my nonsense.

Fortunately, I got my bloody mitts on a brand new, shiny Laptop yesterday, and I'm back in business. Almost.....

During my hiatus, I cancelled my net connection, and won't be back up until next week, but I'm planning to find some dingy Wi-Fi joint nearby where I can spew equal parts wrath and love at the world of Horror as and when I please. So stay tuned and I'll be with you all soon.

Also, if there's any budding journalists out there, look out for a post in the next few days regarding guest writers. I'm looking to get some varying viewpoints on here; spice things up a little. I'll post an Ad soon and I hope some of you good people feel up to the challenge.

Anyway, that's all for now. I gotta go catch up on whats new in Horror and get to work on some new reviews and articles. I feel left behind. And while I'm only half back at this date, its still a damn good feeling to be posting here.

Love you all. Stay Spooked

Kyle Scott - Hotel Management