Thursday, 30 January 2020

Scream Magazine Issue 59 (February 2020)

The next issue of Scream Magazine will feature my first print article - my retrospective on the making of Hammer’s classic 1960 Gothic vampire horror, The Brides of Dracula. Now available for pre-order on their website. The new issue will be sent out to subscribers and pre-order customers on February 18th, and will be available in stores the following week.  

Friday, 3 May 2019

Day of the Woman: Feminist Revenge Exploitation in I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

Independently distributed by writer, director, editor, and co-producer Meir Zarchi in 1978, 'Day of the Woman' drew little attention on its limited rural drive-in circuit run. Zarchi pulled it due to hardly making anything back on the marketing costs, and it was quickly forgotten. Then a few years later in 1981, legendary exploitation producer/distributor the late Jerry Gross gave the film a wide release. He re-titled it to 'The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill', and 'I Hate Your Guts', before settling on the now notorious 'I Spit on Your Grave', named after Michel Gast’s 1959 film noir, an adaptation of Boris Vian’s 1946 crime novel J’irai cracher sur vos tombes ('I Spit on Your Graves'). Meir Zarchi hates this title. Its infamy then went through the roof, garnering the attention of mainstream critics and their scathing narrow-minded views. “A vile bag of garbage”, proclaimed the late, often great, but sometimes imprudent, especially when it came to genre cinema, Roger Ebert. He and partner in pomposity, but at times great as well, the late Gene Siskel, led a misguided campaign against films featuring women in danger, with this as its leading example and prime target. Ironically, this became positive publicity, as it generated even more box office revenue, because the horror crowds lap up this kind of controversy.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Apocalyptic Consumerism: George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) - A 40th Anniversary Retrospective

Almost a decade had gone by since George A. Romero revolutionized horror cinema with his reinvention of the zombie in 1968’s 'Night of the Living Dead', when he started to develop its follow-up. By this time, Romero’s reanimated, rotting, shambling, and flesh-eating undead, and his rules of how they can be killed - damage to the brain, or set on fire - were the definitive interpretation, becoming so iconic and forever deeply embedded in popular culture. Over these past 50 years, this incarnation has influenced every creator that has contributed to zombie mythology in all its forms - film, TV, books, comics, and video games. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) - A 30th Anniversary Retrospective

'Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood' opens with a very cool intro, albeit an unnecessary one. Fading in to a cemetery at night during a storm, we hear the voice of narrator Walt Gorney, who is familiar to fans of the franchise as the lovable Crazy Ralph in 'Friday the 13th' (1980), and 'Friday the 13th Part 2' (1981). Not that we need to be told at this point, but Gorney narrates how Jason Voorhees always comes back. Intercut with the footage of the cemetery is various moments from 'Part 2', Friday the 13th Part III (1982), 'Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter' (1984), and 'Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives' (1986). The sequence returns frequently to the cemetery between these clips. This is until we see the headstone of Jason’s grave explode from a lightning strike, which is actually unused footage from 'Jason Lives', of which we are then shown a recap of its events that lead into the prologue of the story here. The narration finishes with, “People forget, he’s down there… waiting.”