Friday, 28 August 2015

Scars of Dracula (1970)

Much maligned by many critics and fans ‘Scars of Dracula’ has though its fair share of supporters including myself. It is the last truly good entry in Hammer’s Dracula franchise and is a step up from the mediocrity of I do not know why fan favourite Taste the Blood of Dracula released just previously in the same year. None of the sequels matches the magnificence of Terence Fisher’s lavish 1958 original ‘Horror of Dracula’ (the US title for Hammer’s ‘Dracula’ and my preferred title for it) but this one is the closest in recapturing many of its elements.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

American Nightmare (1983)

Released in 1983 but made in 1981, the little seen Canadian film ‘American Nightmare’ was shot at a time when the slasher became a horror sub-genre proper after the bloodgates opened for it the previous year with the phenomenal box-office success of Sean S. Cunningham’s simplistic yet effective Friday the 13th. This was Cunningham’s blood drenched contribution to the template innovated by John Carpenter in 1978 with the masterful ‘Halloween’ that itself took conventions from Bob Clark’s 1974 cult classic ‘Black Christmas’ that is also a Canadian production.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Coyote (2014)

‘Coyote’ is a micro-budgeted independent feature written, directed and edited by upcoming St. Louis filmmaker the talented Trevor Juenger. Produced by Juenger’s production company Live or Die Productions it was released in December of last year distributed on all media platforms by WildEye Releasing. It is a dark and surreal art-house psychological character study starring the versatile character actor and genre favourite Bill Oberst Jr. He plays a namesake character a struggling screenwriter suffering from insomnia whose fall into a sleep-deprived hell distorts his reality with hallucinations blurring the line between what is real and what is not, driving him insane with paranoia becoming a threat to himself and a danger to everyone around him resorting to extreme acts of violence. These graphic depictions along with explicit sexual elements proved to be too much for some film festival organisers resulting in a banning from certain events. This only helped the promotion though for the horror audience who are waiting to lap up such notoriety and it received a generous amount of awards at some of the festivals where it was shown.