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The Driver

A very cool ride
Los Angeles cops are trying to put away a highly skilled get away driver but he's very smart. A friend of mine - who is heavily into all things 1970's cool - recommended this movie to me, and I am glad that he did. Very slick, well filmed, well acted, it's violent, suspenseful, gritty and has two superb car chases at either end. Ryan O'Neal is excellent in the title role. Car lovers be warned - some very nice motor vehicles were harmed in the making of this movie!


More Poo than Boo
It's Halloween and a bunch of kids think it will be fun to break into a disused, creepy hospital which harbours a dark past. Turns out to be haunted and one by one they succumb to an evil force. On the plus side it does have quite a lot of gore and the special effects are sufficiently well done. It also has Scream Queen Dee Wallace Stone amongst the cast. Sadly much of the cast is made up of bad actors delivering much cringe worthy dialogue. I couldn't figure whether some of the lines spouted were actually meant to be comical but I did giggle at the silliness a few times. The film is also very cliche and predictable. As a time filler it is OK but thankfully it cost me nothing, only 94 minutes of my life, to watch it.

Monster from Green Hell

Quite entertaining B-movie
Wasps return from a space experiment, huge in size. A team of scientists head to Africa to put an end to the horror these creatures are causing. The Green Hell is the African Interior - the heat and dryness, wild and deadly animals plus tribes of savages, not to mention the mutated wasps.There is a lot of use of stock footage, and the special effects and their stop-motion animation are laughably poor but it all adds to the film's charm. At 71 minutes it never out stays its welcome. Recommended for lovers of old sci-fi movies.

The Unholy

Trevor Howard's last film
Supernatural horror about a priest taking on demonic forces. The Unholy does have a good cast, decent special effects, one or two effective jumps scares and a smattering of sex/nudity. It also has that wonderful 1980's look, sound and feel. But sadly it is a bit on the slow side. It does build to an effects driven finale but it is rather silly and over the top. Trevor Howard made his final appearance here, not a great end to such a distinguished acting career. Worth seeing but there are far better 80's horror movies than this.

The Hitch-Hiker

Gripping dark thriller
Based on true events, two American friends set off by car for a fishing trip in Mexico, picking up a hitcher along the way. The bad news for them is that he is psychopathic criminal/killer Emmett Myers (played excellently by William Talmann), who is on the run. Film noir meets road movie, superbly set in the desert this is a constant exercise in suspense and cinematic tension. Highly recommended.

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

Not one of Hammer's classics, but it's still an enjoyable romp.
The plot is a little similar to King Kong for Hammer's second Mummy outing. An ancient Egyptian mummy (instead of a giant ape) is excavated with the intention of being put on a touring show across the USA by a flamboyant showman (entertainingly played by Fred Clark). However when the Mummy is first brought to Victorian London it awakens and embarks on a killing spree. Some reviewers have stated that they found this to be slow and boring but I thought that its running time passed quickly enough. It doesn't have Lee or Cushing but the studio's most used actor Michael Ripper does make an appearance, sadly only very brief. The film does have only an average plot and the characters are not terribly strong but it has the usual high quality filming associated with Hammer, the Mummy is looks good, there is a dose of humour and enough deaths to keep it ticking along. Plus a love triangle. Looked good on DVD in a ratio of 2,35:1

London Voodoo

Boring and poor. As I expected
An American couple relocate to London but upon a chance discovery in the basement the wife becomes possessed by an evil Voodoo spirit. This film is now 15 years old but I have only recently heard of it. Not a good omen. Neither was the trailer which I watched beforehand. Don't believe these glowing 10/10 reviews, they are obviously written by people associated with this crap. The film clocks in at a boring 140 minutes, way to long. Some of the acting is ok, some of it terrible, such as the character of Sarah the wife. Badly overacted with an obvious fake American accent. There are hints at sexuality but not enough of either that - or of gore/violence - to warrant the 18 certificate. Some of the musical score is ok, as are a few shots of the city. I had low expectations for this and it proved to be a real dud.

Tôkyô zonbi

More Jujitsu than zombies
I picked this up cheap, the DVD case proclaiming it to be "The Japanese Shaun of the Dead". Very misleading. Yes, it's a comedy with zombies but that is as far as the similarities go. Based on a manga comic with the same name, apparently, the story is mainly about two workmates and their obsession with Jujitsu. Only there's a zombie apocalypse (yawn) so they're constantly having to deal with fighting off the living dead. Unless you are a fan of Japanese horror/comedy then this may not be your cup of tea. It is funny at times, tedious at others. Bizarre, or silly, is an apt description. There is plenty of violence but it's more comical than gory, tame enough for a 15 certificate (UK)

The Snowman

Slow and boring
I saw the trailer for The Snowman a while back, it looked interesting, plus I think that Michael Fassbender is one of the best actors out there at the moment. Sadly it proved to be slow, confusing and very disappointing, clocking in at a long 2 hours. The worst film that I've seen the talented MB in. Set in Norway yet most people speak with English accents. On the plus side the scenery is very good and there are a few horrific, gory moments but overall it's a miss.

The Terrornauts

Charming in its way
A group of British astronomers, an accountant and a tea lady are abducted by an alien force and transported to their base on an asteroid. Amicus are best known for their splendid horror anthologies so this offering is very different. It is very dated, the special effects and make up are laughable - actors body painted green and wearing what looks like green swimming caps - and it has a ludicrously silly plot. But on the other hand it is visually very colourful, with greens and reds being prominent, and Charles Hawtrey and Patricia Hayes, two familiar faces for British viewers, provide much comical relief, A charming but dated sci-fi romp from Amicus.


Part prequel, part remake
Firstly I am a Rob Zombie fan, both in film and music. He is a total horror super fan, something to which I very much relate, I love his passion for the genre. And in every film that I have seen of his he delivers it by the bucket load in his own, trademark way.His version of Halloween plays for the first half as a prequel, we see a young, bullied Michael Myers start off by killing small animals, then progressing to murder and incarceration. This for me was the better half, Daeg Faerch did a really good job playing him. Then the second half plays out as a remake of the original classic, only no where near as good.At 6ft 8" Tyler Mane does make an incredibly imposing Michael. Halloween (2007) is an enjoyable watch. It has all of Zombie's trademark ingredients - a great cast of familiar horror genre names (though most are mere cameos), plenty of gore and violence, nudity, a great rock based soundtrack and a trailer park trash vibe. I know that the film industry is just that, it's about making money. But remaking/re-inventing classics rarely comes anywhere near to the original and this is one such example. I enjoyed this upon its first viewing but am reviewing it on a second and sadly I saw more faults in it this time round.


Weakish torture porn crime thriller
People are being abducted and put into a basement by a sick but clever killer, who then streams their horrific deaths over the internet. Untraceable jumps on to the torture porn bandwagon but it does not have the extreme content of films such as the Saw or Hostel. Those movies were straight up horror whereas Untraceable presents itself more of a crime thriller. However, it does kick into horror movie where appropriate and make no mistake, there is some pretty graphic and disturbing imagery. People with weak stomachs may best avoid. I found it to be a pretty decent watch. Two things that did let it down for me was that the killer is seen quite early on, so there is no mystery. And our heroine makes a really dumb mistake near the end, not giving away any spoilers but I was like "Nooooo, don't do that!" One other thing, the technology used back in 2008 would have been cutting edge but over a decade later it looks very dated. I picked this up cheap on DVD, watched it once and felt that I got my money's worth. I won't be watching it again though.

The Wicker Man

Folk Horror Masterpiece
A devout Christian policeman flies to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, only to be met with hostility from the pagan locals. This is not your typical horror movie, although the occult is at the core the horror is psychological as opposed to manifestations of demons, etc. It is a slow but gripping burn that culminates in one of the most powerful and disturbing finales ever. Beautifully shot showcasing some stunning locations, the film also boasts a superb cast and a terrific musical score. Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward give possibly their best performances. Britt Ekland is dubbed, but she looks great! And it was great seeing Ingrid Pitt and Christopher Lee together, as a horror fan I can't help but think of Count and Countess Dracula! I have just seen the Director's Cut. There is more footage but personally I don't think that it adds much to the Theatrical version. A masterpiece and must see for fans of British cinema.


Memorable "Video Nasty"
Gory Italian horror movie set on a Greek island about a crazed, cannibalistic killer who preys on tourists. This brings back memories of having to hunt down pirate VHS copies of movies such as this in the late 1980's/90's beacuse they had been banned in Britain and labelled as Video Nasties. Many of these films were just plain awful and while this is no classic it is one of the better ones, and I certainly enjoy revisiting it from time to time. It has its faults. The dubbing is very bad in places. There are obvious day for night scenes (but hey, Hammer did that). The story is set in the Summer yet people are wearing thick clothing and many trees are bare of their leaves. Thankfully these faults are outweighed by positives. The score is good, mixing traditional Greek music with dark, scary tunes. George Eastman makes a very imposing monster. Nice locations. And plenty of gore, including the infamous baby foetus eating scene. AKA Savage Island and The Grim Reaper (avoid, as this version is heavily censored).

Cry of the Banshee

"You're too pretty to be a witch!"
Vincent Price plays Lord Edward Whitman, a cruel, witch hunting English Lord in the Sixteenth Century. A curse is placed upon his family by the local sorceress. This is a role that suited him well, having already portrayed real life Matthew Hopkins. Again he hams it up, though not overly so. Michael Elphick,a well known face to viewers of British TV in the 1980's and 90's, plays his equally sadistic right hand man, and does a good job too. Though not as good Banshee does fit in well with similar movies such as Witchfinder General and Mark of the Devil. Some scenes are a little poorly staged, such as an almost laughable fight in the dungeon, and I believe that the VHS copy that I watched to be cut. Overall a good combination of horror, witches and their persecutors in old England. I shall seek out an uncut release

Dark Tide

Shark movies are two a penny, like zombies, a large percentage are just crap. So when I saw this dirt cheap, Halle Berry and a picture of a Great White, jaws open on the DVD cover I thought it's got to be worth a watch. Sadly it is a long, slow melodramatic burn. The promised shark attack doesn't happen until near the end, by which time I was itching for the end credits. And sadly said attack happens at night, so dark picture, not much to see. I'll pass my DVD on to a friend who's been cage diving in Cape Town, where this was filmed. I'm sure he'll find it more interesting than me.


Hit the FFWD towards the end
Interesting and fairly clever idea but to be perfectly blunt unless you have an interest in modern day Iran then this is pretty pointless. It started off with a few interesting, slightly comical "passengers" but once they've been dropped off it then becomes deeper and subsequently boring. I like passing time when I'm bored by exploring different places around the world by using Google Maps and to an extent this is similar, so that aspect for me was semi interesting. I have also now learnt that French cars, in particular Peugeot, are popular in Tehran, and that using a hand held mobile 'phone whilst driving is legal.

Patient Zero

Zero recommendation for this dross
A worldwide virus has infected billions, turning them into blood thirsty zombie like beings. Yet another apocalypse movie, to say that this sub genre has been done to death would be an understatement! The only slither of originality here is that one of the main characters (former Dr Who Matt Smith) is able to verbally communicate with the infected, but this is done really badly and is just silly. Patient Zero is set in the USA but was filmed in the UK with a largely British cast. Sadly the American accents are terribly phoney, including Smith's. There is an outdoor scene in which an American car is driving down what is obviously a British street. The film is heavy on dialogue, it is pretty slow and boring. Very unoriginal. Couple of gory moments, including a graphic arm amputation. I hated this movie, waste of time.

Quatermass and the Pit

Hammer horror/sci-fi
I can remember watching this on late night TV back in the 1980's when I was a kid, it impressed me a lot. I liked the combination of horror and science fiction, all the better for being in colour. Some 30 years on and I have just watched it again. I have to say that it does now look very dated. Not that it is a bad thing, obviously all films date, but it just lessened the initial impact. Still a very good movie from my favourite studio.


C'mon people, it's really not that bad!
I am not a big fan of Hollywood movies that mash up horror, fantasy and martial arts, I prefer my vampires to be more Lugosi or Lee, but BloodRayne does deliver 90 minutes of non stop action. It has a cast of well known actors, lots of violence, buckets of gore, some nice sets, nudity and stunning Romanian scenery. OK, so Michael Madsen, with his mullet and American accent doesn't really look or sound like a convincing European vampire hunter. OK, so much of the gore effects are CGI, some good, some not so good. And OK, it is hardly taxing on the grey matter. But for a brain in neutral horror/action flick it really isn't a bad ride. Kristianna Locken does make a very sexy vampire (or half human/half vampire, to be precise!), worth seeing for that alone.

Satan's Blade

Great title, great artwork, But not a great film
Satan's Blade starts off with possibly the worst and least convincing bank robbery that I have ever seen. After this the rest of the film is set at a mountain side resort, where grisly murders have just happened yet two separate groups of guests are none the less allowed to book in. In good old slasher fashion they will get bumped off, one by one. This does taken some time, however, with most of the killing taking place in the last 20 minutes or so. And then the deaths are pretty lame to be honest, with a few victims being guilty of some serious over acting. And talking of acting much of it here is awful, very, very amateurish. But for me that is part of the charm. There is some female nudity thrown in, a common element of slasher movies. I liked the outdoor filming in the snow, some decent camera work. I have watched this twice now, I enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure type way, and no doubt will revisit it again.

A Dark Song

Impressive occult slow burner
A grieving mother rents a large, isolated house and employs an occultist to undertake a gruelling set of magical rituals so that she can contact her dead, 7 year old son. The idea of making a film of which most of the running time focuses on magical ritual is excellent, the occult being a topic that has always fascinated me. As other reviews state this is a slow burn but it is very well made and the two main characters (both played excellently by Catherine Walker and Steve Oram) make for compelling viewing. He, the occultist, is rude, foul mouthed and frankly common, whereas she is well spoken and well educated. They are like chalk and cheese but this is what helps make their relationship so interesting. The house itself is creepy, the location is bleak and the fantastic musical score just elevates the moodiness. There is in horror movies a saying that less is more and this is true for most of its running time. However, when demons are actually visible near the end I felt that it did lower the film very slightly, not quite the brilliant ending that I was hoping for but decent none the less.


If you want a slice of torture porn watch something else instead
Two thieves choose the wrong house to rob, they break into the home of a crazy psycho who likes to shackle people up and torture them to death. This is a jump on the bandwagon, torture porn Saw wannabe. Probably the worst example that I have seen, this is hard to watch. Not because of any stomach churning gore and violence but because everything about this crap really, really sucks. I was fooled into buying it by the enticing DVD artwork but sadly the contents were a big let down. Avoid!

The Undying Monster

Very atmospheric but lacks much werewolf bite
A werewolf tale set in an old, large family mansion on the English coast. The film's strongest features lie in the wonderful sets, locations and camera work, the fog adding to the eerie atmosphere. This is a great example of why black and white movies can be so stunning, had it been shot in colour I'm sure it would have lost much impact. Most of the plot plays out like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, with a detective from Scotland Yard (with an American accent) on the case. While most of the cast were English there are a few characters with unconvincing, Dick van Dyke sounding accents. In terms of being a werewolf movie the creature is not fully seen until near the end and sadly does not require the traditional silver bullet to kill it. So a bit disappointing in that respect, otherwise this is an enjoyable, spooky 60 minutes or so.


Amicus, masters of the horror anthology
Asylum opens with Robert Powell driving his MGB sports car to an imposing lunatic asylum to the sound of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain", absolutely fantastic. Watching this again last night (on an old VHS tape) instantly brought back fond memories of staying up late as a kid, seeing it for the first time on TV. Amicus were the masters of the horror anthology and this is a fine example,featuring four engrossing stories. My favourite is the first segment, Frozen Fear, a tale about a love triangle and a dismembered corpse. Wonderful cast, very well filmed, this is one horror movie than I can never tire of. Highly recommended.

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