Thursday, 31 May 2012

Demons (1985)

‘Demons’ is a ridiculously entertaining piece of atmospheric gory schlock with a cheesy B movie charm and a very smart premise making it impossible for most hardened horror fans to ignore. Many of that said fandom hail the film as Lamberto Bava’s masterpiece, which really is not saying much looking over the director’s body of work. However, credit is due where credit is due and this is the one the son of legendary auteur Mario Bava will be remembered for - a somewhat bright spot that shines out of his filmography that is eclipsed by his late great father’s shadow. While by far no way the great example of genre cinema that its fanbase would have you believe, it is easy to see why it has garnered such a loyal strong following that has given it its cult classic status.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

StageFright (1987)

Michele Soavi a former assistant director to the likes of Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Joe D’Amato (the producer here) created this hit and miss pastiche of the slasher and one of that sub-genre’s main innovators the Italian giallo. In this his directorial debut Soavi recreates all the common characteristic traits of a slasher film both good and bad with the latter being displayed here in the massive gaping flaws in logic. ‘StageFright’ also fails to elicit the mystery of the gialli thriller.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Antichrist (2009)

‘Antichrist’ is high art filmmaking employing the conventions of horror through a narrative of a prologue, four chapters and an epilogue. The film is a subversive study of despair and violence that displays some genuinely disturbing scenes yet some eye wateringly beautiful moments as well with director Lars Von Trier detailing with profound provocation the dark side of human emotions captured elegantly by Anthony Dod Mantle’s exquisite Red One cinematography.

Monday, 28 May 2012

C.H.U.D. (1984)

‘C.H.U.D.’ plays out on the conventions of a sci-fi B movie premise - grotesque mutated creatures that are the result of the government carelessly storing its toxic by-products in the sewers. Although, it also employs the execution of the horror genre - the monsters are more demonic in appearance and there is an array of mutilated bodies sprinkled throughout.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Piggy (2012)

Written and directed by Kieron Hawkes his debut feature ‘Piggy’ is a disappointing yet worth watching gritty exploration of violence in the inner-city life of modern day London. The strength of the two central performances by Paul Anderson in the title role and Martin Compston as Joe both seeking revenge for the murder of Joe’s older brother John played by Neil Maskell (last year’s ‘Kill List’) along with the prolonged scenes of skilfully executed ultra-realistic violence and the pathos Hawkes injects to the material all makes for entertaining viewing. It is just that the film does not fulfil the promise it had making this just another average British revenge thriller and ultimately a letdown.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Loved Ones (2009) and What the Hell is “Torture Porn”?!!!

Torture porn” is a lazy journalistic media label for the resurgence of splatter films in the mid-00s due to the phenomenal commercial success of the hit and miss Saw franchise (2004 - 2010) and Eli Roth’s solid duology of ‘Hostel’ (2005) and ‘Hostel Part II’ (2007). A whole load of imitators followed milking the cash from the cow that were often third-rate efforts such as the God-awful ‘Captivity’ (2007) but also included more decent fare like ‘Turistas’ (2006) that exploited this type of horror entailing prolonged violent sequences taken to the extreme. Explicitly depicted in these scenes are sadistic torturous mutilation supplemented by a fair amount of female nudity thrown in over the duration of the movies’ running times.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Madison County (2011)

Every so often a modern slasher will come along that promises to hark back to the early 80's heyday of the sub-genre and deliver the gruesome goods while not pretending to be anything more that it sets out to be. Independent production ‘Madison County’ is one such effort that does not strive to be anything different other than trying to introduce a new horror icon to the genre and simply tries in homage to replicate this era. An era of cinematic terror that’s main goal was to shock its viewers with its exploitation showcasing of gorily horrific and creative murder set-pieces along with generous doses of naked female flesh injected into the sure fire box office winning formula. These films were largely and purely geek shows for an audience that lapped it all up with much glee as they watched young attractive people getting cut up for their own pleasure.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Wicker Tree (2011)

Robin Hardy’s ‘The Wicker Tree’ a spiritual companion piece to the director’s own occult horror ‘The Wicker Man’ (1973) has been severely maligned since its festivals debut last year. To be fair to Hardy I do not think he ever attempted to try to top his much-celebrated previous work as I think he knew he could never achieve such a feat especially after a stonking near forty years gap. It is a far less dark, edgy and gritty affair being an updated black comedy version of the themes presented in the original film that borders on parody wrapped up in a very similar narrative.