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B-movie defined.
Vigilante, directed by William Lustig is pure B-movie, bargain basement fare. The tile pretty much reflects the plot which is shambolic and boring. Robert Forster leads a cast of recognizable faces, all acting in autopilot.

The cinematography captures the raw and gritty vibes of early eighties New York City, good enough that you can almost smell the smog and feel the streets. This could have been so much more. Despite having a good premise, good costume design and a decent cast, Vigilante falls short,


Hunter Hunter

Beware the woods!
A family live remotely in a hunting cabin in the sticks. The father (an unrecognizable Devon Sawa) occasionally brings his daughter out hunting with him.

When he discovers a few dead bodies, he decides to go it alone. He tells his family that he is hunting a wolf. He soon disappears and another man is brought into the story (an equally unrecognizable Nick Stahl).

A few twists and turns unravel and Stahl's stranger turns out to be the big bad.

The slow pacing pays off with an ending you won't soon forget.


Red Road

Andrea Arnold rules!
If you liked Fish Tank and American Honey, you will love Red Road.

The premise is simple enough, a CCTV operator who enjoys people watching, becomes obsessed with a man who appears on her monitors. She starts to follow a man and twist reveals why

This is a raw, gritty drama that will linger in your ind long after you've seen it.


40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic

I'd rather be knocked out by Ivan Drago than endure this again.
Horribly boring. Stallone narratives a making of over Super 8 footage. He repeats himself time and time again. If you want a more in depth narrative, listen to his DVD audio commentary for Rocky.

This is waste of everyone's time.


You Should Have Left

Worth checking out.
With the caliber of Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried on board, you might assume that this wouldn't be a turkey... well, there's proof in the pudding that A List actors can indeed star in a haphazard film that eventually caves in on itself.

The premise had legs - couple in a spooky house with goings on which may or may not be supernatural - but the story wavers in and out of a frustrating ambiguity throughout and the ending doesn't offer much relief.

Worth a watch but it let down by a poor script and the actors seemed to be on autopilot on this one.



Sputnik stands on it's own.
Sputnik is welcome addition to the science fiction horror space genre. Like Event Horizon and Alien before it, it delves deep into the fears around being confined in enclosed spaces and of being possessed by otherworldly creatures.

The story line very much pays homage to what has gone before - it wears the Alien influences on it's sleeve, while making itself a unique entry all the same.

Oksana Akinshina is fantastic as the scientist Tatyana Klimova, who is hired to examine a cosmonaut's mental state after he returns from space with an unexpected visitor.

Stay until the end with this one, you won't be sorry.



The rich are different.
Watching Society will make you watch your rich neighbours and relatives, a little bit closer. Protagonist Billy juggles high school dilemmas with his paranoid insinuation that his parents are part of a sinister, behind the scenes, after dark club. His paranoia soon pays off and he gets a front row ticket in the elite club's bonkers orgy in the third act.

In one scene the members literally climb atop their victim and become one pulsating, stringy mass of flesh.

The capitalist metaphor slaps you in the face like a wet fish. These parasitic lifeforms prey on the lower societal classes and wear that fact on their sleeves. This body horror 101 where raunchy meets gross in a full on, amorphic slab of flesh. It's as gross as it sounds.

You won't soon forget Society.


Between Earth and Sky

Ignore the haters!
This is the strongest entry in the Welcome to The Blumhouse series and the most watchable. It is dragged down by a made for TV narrative but the actors and the script keep this thriller afloat and if you stick with it you'll be rewarded with a decent twist - even if it seems like a let own in retrospect.


Papa, sdokhni

Darkly funny!
Why Don't You Just Die! (Papa, sdokhni) is a lot more fun than it looks. The story starts off with young couple, Matvey (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) and Andrey (Vitaliy Khaev) making out. Andrey tells Matvey that her Father molested her and this sets Meyvey off on a revenge mission.

What ensues is a medley of slapstick violence, dark humour and a twist you will not see coming until it smacks you across the face. The acting is top, the gore effects are great. This is a delight. Let's just hope that Hollywood don't make a straight-to-the-bin remake.



The most aptly titled film of 2019!
This is proper drama 101 - essentially, a character drama about family and romantic relationships, juggling the difficult decisions people have to make in life. Aptly title 'Waves' a good metaphor for the up and down motion on constant play here.

Waves has two narratives. The first half concerns Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) as he deals with his inner pain, despair and penchant for violence. The second story follows Tyler's sister Emily (Taylor Russell) in her journey of love and beauty.

This is a deep film, rich with interesting characters. If the first half is a derailed train heading straight for a solid brick wall, the second half is a meadow filled with lush greens and daisy chains.

Highly watchable



Hmmm... only if you must.
This is weird one and hard to pin down. The logline is pretty much all you need to know. Guy plans to murder a prostitute but she turns out to be a little too much for him.

There's a lot of sitting around, a couple of split screen screens. This is American Psycho meets Taxi Driver meets Audition and without those three movies, this would not exist.

Good background fodder and definitely not recommended as a first date flick.


The Painted Bird

Poetic, mesmerising, unapologetic and memorable.
This is like a gift giver that just keeps on giving. Never once throughout the almost three hour run time was I bored. I was captivated from the very first minute right up until the final fade out.

We follow a young Jewish boy trying to survive amidst the chaos of World War II. His luck is horrible and he is subjected to a series of abuses and abusers.

Stay with him, the Painted Bird pays off and will linger in your mind long after you've seen it.


Picnic at Hanging Rock

Unsettling, mysterious adaptation by Peter Weir.
If you're looking to get into Australian cinema, this is pretty good place to start. Based on the novel by author Joan Lindsay, the story follows a group of girls from Appleyard College - a girls' private school, who go on well, a picnic. Four of the girls decide to break away from the picnic and explore Hanging Rock.

What ensues in a progressive mystery that grips the viewer with an uneasy sense of foreboding. The Hitchcockian tension is stretched like an elastic band until you feel like you want to scream at the girls and tell them to turn back. One of the girls, in fact, does just that - but her screams are ignored.

Three of the girls ascend into Hanging Rock in glorious slow motion, while the fourth girl screams out in terror as if bombarded with some unseen force. What makes Picnic at Hanging Rock so unnerving is it's ambiguity and Peter Weir does a great job at stretching that figurative piece of elastic.

One of the three girls, Miranda St Clare (the beautiful Anne-Louise Lambert) plants herself in the viewer's imagination. She is carefree, daring and dangerous - and completely unfazed by the uncharted territory of Hanging Rock.

No definitive explanation is given to the girls' disappearance. There are two male characters thrown into the mix and there is a mild suggestion that they had something to do with the disappearance.

Keep a look out for a young John Jarratt (of the Wolf Creek series). When the other boys says that he wants to go back and look at the girls - which could be misconstrued as an admission that they had murdered the trio.

And yet, the story is completely open to interpretation. Hanging Rock is presented as the big bad and as something that can snatch people. Perhaps even draw them in like a magnet to metal. The boys perhaps stumbled across the girls' bodies. All of these unanswered questions make this truly chilling and it demands repeat viewings.


Prince of Darkness

It gets better with repeat viewings.
At times this feels like an unofficial remake of Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). Empty streets - check. Protagonists locked inside of a building - check. Antagonists lurking outside - check. Imminent danger - check. In terms of plot however, Prince of Darkness is an enigma buried inside of a Rubik's Cube

What can be derived from the scattered plot is as follows... a group of scientists studying an extremely ancient container holding a green, gravity-defying liquid find out that they're dealing with something paranormal and try their best to make sense of it. The inevitable evil arrives eventually, but it's a slow build and you'll need patience to stick with it.

There's a blink and you'll miss it appearance by a relatively make-up free Alice Cooper who's credited as Street Schizo and Carpenter brings in the master of calm Donald Pleasence, his go to guy for Carpenter-esque exposition.

While not John Carpenter's best effort, it certainly isn't his worst.


Hell Night

Haunted old castle flick meets early eighties fraternity horror flick.
A horror subgenre wrapped inside another horror subgenre. So... what's not to like? We have Linda Blair as teeny-bopper Marti, who along with a few fellow frat brats have to spend the night at an old castle in order to pop their initiation cherries. If they all survive the night, they will be allowed into the fraternity.

Blair earned a Worst Actress nomination during the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzies) which is probably little unfair - as she just about holds her own here - but it's all too hard to overlook the shadow cast by her role as Regan in the Exorcist.

The atmosphere in Hell Night is set up well and as the audience, we are made to feel tense. We know that something is going to happen, and soon. The tension is built up relatively well until the final revea - which is a seemingly unstoppable killer who is equal parts Lurch and Mr Hyde.

This is a fun ride!



Heavy exposition book ended by combustible body horror.
Scanners manages to blend technology and biology into unnaturally functioning organisms. Things that should not be, but are. The exposition alone will blow your head off more than the vision of someone's head literally exploding.

For a film so synonymous for that particular single scene, the rest of Scanners can be forgiven somewhat for it's drawn out scenes of people walking in and out of different rooms and having lengthily conversations a la classic 80's Cronenberg psychobabble which really is difficult to comprehend.

Perhaps this was Cronenberg's attempt - to throw his audience off guard? Deceive them with confusing exposition and them slap them at the end when they least expect it.

The allegory being that you just watched someone's head explode and so by being exposed to so much dialogue driven information, your head too... might explode.

That might seem over analytical but then again this is a David Cronenberg movie.

I held out for something to pop, but you do have to wait until the final climatic scene which is memorable and effect in terms of body horror.



An injustice that undoubted gives Perlman sleepless nights...
This redo was a wasted effort. There are rumours of David Harbour, and Neil Marshall butting heads. It looks like Ian McShane was brought in to add a bit of spice - but this overall, is a terrible experience.

Guillermo del Toro should make Hellboy 3 out of spite.


Brain Damage

More splatter gore craziness from Frank Henenlotter
A bizarre analogy for drug addiction, the story here follows Brian who falls under the spell of the blue juice secreted by an evil disembodied brain which looks more like a veiny blue turd.

This thing can talk and it taunts Brian, tempting him, reminding him that he needs a fix and that he will eventually succumb to his addiction. Brian is then led through Frank Henenlotter's dirty, people are seedy presentation of New York's nightlife.

The style is DIY shoestring and that's part of the magic.


The Last Boy Scout

A flop that a whale would be proud of.
After the mammoth success of Die Hard, it made sense to put Bruce Willis into a few action flicks and cash in on box office returns. A few Die Hard knockoffs followed - where he showed up to parody himself and Die Hard. The very forgettable (Die Hard on a boat) Striking Distance is one example of this.

The Last Boy Scout is a proper Christmas Turkey of a whopping, disastrous mess. There is no plot. There are continuity errors everywhere. The stunt doubles are laugh out loud stand outs.

The characters are wooden, the dialogue is laughable. The faux buddy relationship between Willis and Wayans is flat and the characters have absolutely no chemistry.

This is a movie about explosions and jumps and not much else.

3/10 for the effort but this really is a terrible movie and has aged terribly.

Fright Night

1980's American suburbia meets classic vampire flick.
When Fright Night hit theaters on August 2, 1985, it was surrounded by the current craze; the slasher subgenre. The Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise machines were dropping sequels - this, along with imitations, some meek - others worthy - proved that audiences craved this recurring formula.

Vampire hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) even adds weight to this argument; announcing that, "nobody wants to see vampire killers anymore, or vampires either. Apparently, all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski-masks, hacking up young virgins".

With the slasher film set aside, Fright Night resurrected classic plot devices from the golden age of horror - infusing it with a quiet American neighborhood.

The film is very much a product of it's time and it has aged like a fine bottle of Bordeaux. Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is the teenager who's convinced that his new next door neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Chris Sarandon), is a vampire. Jerry proves to be a worthy villain, he's both suave and evil and when he turns full vampire, it's scarily effective.

The added touch of Jerry having a fruit bowl in his house is a clever one, it was Sarandon's idea that Jerry is blood related to fruit bats which is why we occasionally see him chomping apples and peaches.

While Charley tries to convince his friends and his Mother as to Jerry's true nature, he is soon in hunter mode - turning his bedroom into some sort of protective shrine. His friend Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys) is the comic relief, his love interest Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse), is more concerned about Charley's mental health.

Help does come from in the from of vampire hunter Peter Vincent who hosts the TV show within the film; "Fright Night". Peter Vincent is aptly named, paying homage to classic horror icons, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price. The joke is that Vincent is merely a faux vampire hunter, something which causes him genuine discomfort when he is called upon to hunt an actual vampire.

Vincent's apartment is a collector's dream - there's movie memorabilia and vampire hunter weaponry on the walls. A painting of Bela Lugosi's Dracula hangs near the door, a mask of Nosferatu is displayed in a glass box, a few knives here and there, one or two crucifixes.

This scene in particular, really does like you are in the middle of a Hammer Horror. In keeping with tradition, we see some classic vampire rules being adhered to. Garlic, crucifixes, holy water, no reflection in the mirror and stake through the heart are all mentioned and demonstrated to differing effects.

The juicy, techno driven score provided by Brad Fiedel helps to remind us that we are back in 1985. While the punchy soundtrack belts out soft hair metal and synth.

With respectful nods to classic horror tropes, a healthy mix of horror and humor, Fright Night is a pure gem of eighties horror.



Next time you start an argument with your partner, think again... !
The best way to describe Possession to someone who hasn't seen it, would be to use the analogy of a roller coaster ride. Imagine if you will, creeping up that steep railroad track, strapped into your seat with no way out. You watch as the incline draws near and before you can gulp - DROP! Your screams robbed of you as shock trumps your breath.

Just when you think its all over, you see some tight turnings and steep slopes up ahead. Similar feelings of dread and apprehension are conjured up during the course of Possession. It starts off slow and rushes furiously through the progressivly worse second and third acts, When the end credits roll, you're left with the rug pulled from under you.

Andrzej Zulawski and Frederic Tuten who penned the screenplay - based in some part Zulawski's own marital difficulties - crafted a gradual, uneasy relationship breakdown and the subsequent psychological effects on both partners.

Mark and Anna are the characters in question, brought to life by the frenzied performances of Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani. As an audience, we're the fly on the wall, watching these characters go through a harrowing breakup.

Each scene progresses into something unbearable and yet, we are compelled to watch more. Their arguments are a mix of passive-aggression, verbal assaults and domestic violence.

We soon learn that Anna's infidelity is fueling these quarrels and Sam Neill spirals out of control as the now cuckolded Mark; his emotional devastation is grossly realistic and he looks to be losing a grasp on own his sanity. He also confronts Anna's lover - the slimy, yet suave Heinrich - only to be floored when the confrontation gets physical.

The horrors of Mark and Anna's breakup are intertwined with genuine horror tropes, a perfect marriage (pun intended) that makes the story work so well. Any Cronenberg fan will appreciate the body horror on display; we have a mysterious slimy, writhing tentacled creature that Anna visits and has intercourse with.

Plus, there's a seemingly random and utterly bonkers scene which sees Anna gyrating around an empty subway in a macabre dance until she falls to the ground and has a graphically intense miscarriage - a scene that feels much longer than it actually is.

The wrought emotion exerted by Isabelle Adjani in this scene is genuinely unnerving and it's no surprise that she won Best Actress at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival for her work in Possession.

Andrzej Zulawski included shots of Berlin Wall - on one hand to represent his own political affiliations - while on the other, it's a fitting allegory for Mark and Anna's separation.

Zulawski's nightmarish take on a marital breakup is a sucker punch for the senses. The invasive camera angles, dark tones and most off all, the performances, all work together to deliver a film you won't forget.

Highly recommended.


Dead & Buried

Small town paranoia turned up to 100.
The premise here is straight forward enough; a sheriff investigates a series of murders in a small coastline town. But there is a sinister subtext that pays off if you stick with it - and you won't be disappointed.

A professional photographer travels to the seaside town of Potter's Bluff for some recreation. An attractive local girl appears in the frame of his camera lens and a photo shoot ensues - which only leads to something horrific. This is where the plot grabs a firm hold of you.

The practical makeup effects were designed by the late, great Stan Winston and even by 2020 standards, are unnerving. Dead & Buried does have some haunting images that linger long after you've seen it.


Blood Diner

They serve up slop like this any more!
Cannibalism, mass murder and projectile vomit are just some of the things on offer in this sleazoid extravaganza, which is hard to categorize. But for the sake of argument... horror-comedy-slasher.

Strap yourself in, wear an apron and put on a helmet, because this insane mish-mash never lets up. In fact, you might even think a blood spritz has graced your face, fresh from your TV screen. The absurd story follows the Tutman brothers - Michael (Rick Burks) and George (Carl Crew), who are at the beckon call of their maniacal Uncle Anwar (Drew Godderis).

More specifically, Anwar's reanimated brain which has been preserved in an appropriately sized mason jar. From here, he barks orders at the brothers - and if you close your eyes, you'll swear it's Rodney Dangerfield shouting at them.

The brothers witnessed Anwar being gunned down by the cops outside the family home twenty years earlier, which, didn't seem to traumatize them as much as it should have. We find the brothers in the present day, grave robbing their Uncle's rotted corpse - whose brain is surprisingly ripe as Michael and George scoop it out of his decrepit head.

Anwar tells Michael and George that they must collect body parts from women, the plan being, to assimilate a host body for the ancient Egyptian goddess, Sheetar - whom they plan to resurrect. That's about it for plot, what ensues next is a free-for-all bloody mess.

There is also some blatant misogyny on play here including; an aerobics class comprising of half naked girls who are suddenly gunned down - sub-machine style - by one of the brothers in a Ronald Reagan mask. This is just one of the quests involving the collection of female body parts.

There is also gruesome exploitation of the female form symbolized by the resurrected Sheetar who, is propped up on a stage during her resurrection ceremony; a vaginal shaped cavity in her stomach lays in wait. This disgusting vertical mouth with long sharp teeth takes the concept of vagina dentata and moves it up few inches.

This ceremony is probably the craziest scene. It's basically a disco turned cheap gore fest with some slap up green make-up effects thrown in for good measure. While the brothers reign triumphant with their Bride of Frankenstein gone wrong.

It's hard to believe that a film like this exists and it needs to be seen to be believed. While it's undoubtedly cheap, gross and exploitative - it does, in a sick way, have a certain aesthetic - (in) so far as, it really does look like typical B-movie schlock, and one can't help but wonder if this was Jackie Kong's intention.

Either way, it reads like an interesting experiment. Like most movies of its ilk, it has found a cult following and is currently included in the Vestron Video Collector's Series on Blu-Ray.



This is better left in the trash!
Creepshow is book-ended by a prologue and an epilogue featuring a copy of the horror comic Creepshow being tossed - and later found - in the trash. Upon watching the feature length collection that is Creepshow, its hard to escape the symbolic image of the comic in the trash.

While it's a cruel allegory, it begs the question; did the filmmakers know that they were making trash? Was that their intention?

When King and Romero joined forces to create Creepshow, it was a marriage of Romero's initial idea for a contrasting anthology and King's idea of paying homage to bygone era, horror comics, specifically, E.C. (Entertaining Comics). With their creative forces intertwined, Creepshow was born.

The end result, unfortunately, is starkly uneven. We're presented with a five piece anthology; disposable stories that start off well before sagging and ultimately, falling flat.

Each story (in true form) is transitioned by comic panels. First up is Father's Day; about a rich family patriarch who returns from the grave for his cake!

Next, is the Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill - featuring King in his first and only, on screen appearance. King is the title character, a doofus yokel in dungarees who happens upon a comet and subsequently gets turned into a giant weed. In fact, he ends up looking like a pulsating piece of lawnmower grass clippings.

Third up is Something to Tide You Over. Leslie Nielsen stars as the jealous and vindictive cuckold playing second fiddle to Ted Danson. Nielsen gets his revenge by burying his love rival (Danson) up to his neck in sand.

The Crate is about, well, a wooden storage crate which houses a fluffy beast complete with a grin that would put the Cheshire Cat to shame.

Finally, we have the drawn out fable, They're Creeping Up on You - which sees a germaphobic janitor getting overrun by cockroaches.

Perhaps Romero and King were driven by a rebellious fuel - a need to right the wrongs of their former disappointments? Both men had a somewhat bitter taste in their mouths.

George A. Romero had hoped to direct the two-part miniseries, Salem's Lot - losing out to Tobe Hooper - while King has been very public about his dislike of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of King's own novel, the Shining.

Whatever the reasons, this one is best left in the garbage can!


Straight up horror comedy from the VHS bargain basket.
Vietnam veteran Roger Cobb (William Katt) moves into his Aunt's house which - as the tagline tells us - is haunted. The poster for House features a rotting hand positioned beside the doorbell, it's outstretched, bony, forefinger pressed into the bell - a creepy and ultimately, ambiguous image.

The reason being; this isn't an actual ''Haunted House Movie'', its something else entirely. There's no malevolent, unseen presence creaking the floorboards or banging relentlessly on the doors.

Instead we have a comedy-horror-home-invasion subgenre hybrid that never takes itself too seriously. Our hero battles mutated zombies and a giant writhing closet monster, to name a few.

Cobb destroys parts of the house in the process with grenades and a shotgun - putting his war experience to use. In one scene, he has to babysit his love interest's child, and manages to juggle babysitting duties with thd zombie bashing.

With so much going in the relatively short 93 minute run time, it's difficult to pigeonhole House. Perhaps it's an allegory for the effects and trauma associated with shell shock?

All in all, William Katt brings Cobb to life and the supporting character's straight up performances are the glue that keep this one together.

6½/10 for some adrenaline fueled fun that demands repeat viewings. You'll be back!

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