Monday, 30 December 2013

The Human Centipede

Director - Tom Six
Starring - Dieter Leiser

Many a time I've gone to watch and each time I've remembered the storyline and thought.. "Really?"... But as Lovefilm has kindly added both films from the incomplete trilogy I got into bed with some chocolate (yeeeah I'm hardcore that way) and switched on.

The storyline is likely to be well known but for the sake of those who live under rocks.. A mad doctor, renowned for being a pioneer in separation of Siamese twins kidnaps two young women, a trucker and later a Japanese tourist to create a new project. The project is to sew three people together, anus to mouth. Why? Because he's mad obviously!

First off the acting of the two girls is terrible. Thankfully they are the middle and end piece of the creation so we don't have to hear them talk for long. The doctor who is frankly brilliant makes the movie bearable. When he describes to his patients what he'll be doing you actually shudder. He's just terrific! Kudos should also go to the Japanese guy. His final moments include a monologue which was delivered with near perfect conviction. Six's biggest mistake was including serious moments of perfection in a film that even he didn't seem to take seriously.

Now I'm under no illusion that the film is serious. There is an obvious dark humour running through it. There is a gross out factor, but like many others, I thought it wasn't explicit enough. It doesn't help the movie is incredibly over hyped by its fans, the people who disliked it because of its gross out factor and the director himself. If I had gone in blind, it'd probably had more of an effect. Maybe those people who did hype it up were the lucky few who hadn't heard so much about it.

Gore is minimal. For a film about people crapping into each other there isn't even any of that. Not that I'm complaining. However, for an "extreme" horror, there is little extreme about it. I wasn't all that grossed out like I wanted to be. Cinematography, it's fairly basic. Nothing really special here. Acting as mentioned before is pretty shocking but I'll give credit to Dieter Leiser (The doctor) for creeping me out during his explanation. There is very little to like here really. I did enjoy some of the dark comedy but it isn't a redeemable feature for the rest of the movie.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

It's been a while since I wrote horror, read horror or even really watched horror therefore coming here has been pretty left out. Personal life and crap in the way. Anyway, I decided its time for a come back. But as horror is living on the back burner at the moment I've decided to review a none horror for now. However, the love of violence is still here.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Directed by - David Fincher
Starring - Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgard.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is probably one of this decades most read thrillers. While every other woman was captivated by the Shades of Grey novels I was unable to put the first Steig Larsson's fantastic Millennium Trilogy down. The books have sold billions of copies all over the world and Sadly Larsson passed away before he could see the storm his perfectly written trilogy had created or the franchise it had become. David Fincher's version is not a remake of the Swedish adaptation but a stand alone adaptation of the book.

The story centres around Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist and editor of Millennium magazine. After his career and credibility is all but destroyed by a libel scandal he is hired by the ageing Henrick Vanger to investigate the disappearance and possibly murder of his great niece during the 60's and the prime suspects are member of her own family. Reluctantly Blomkvist agrees and during his investigation he comes across the talented but socially awkward hacker and private investigator, Lisbeth Salander. Together they discover that there is a far more sinister reason for the girls disappearance than anyone ever imagined.

Clearly Fincher knows the book well and adapted is near on perfectly. While the Swedish version from 2 years earlier is a fantastic film, Fincher as usual, has put his all into keeping his adaptation as close to the original material as is possible. I am a fan of Finchers work and rarely can I pick faults. The casting is perfect. At first I thought Daniel Craig would be far too high profile as Bond to ever be able to play Blomkvist convincingly without me waiting for him to shoot someone with a pen but Craig really pulls it off. Rooney Mara is excellent as the cold, emotionless Salander. However, I do still prefer Noomi Rapace in the role. In my opinion, Rapace is Salander so Mara had big shoes to fill and while she filled them well, Rapace was more captivating.

Cinematography wise, its basic for Fincher but set against a beautiful Swedish backdrop its easy to appreciate its simplicity. The opening is a work of art though and something akin to a Nine Inch Nails video and quite usual for Fincher. His openings are always stunning on their own.

Overall I do still prefer the Swedish adaptation but Fincher as always has impressed me. I really enjoyed it and felt it stayed true to the almost perfect material it was working from. I do hope he continues the trilogy at some point. It would be a shame not to.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Book Review - Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Bright

So I don't usually read horror novels or stories. I'm a visual person but every now and then a book is so well written and the horror so well described I can visualise is as easily as if I was watching it on screen. Only time this has really happened with a horror is Stephen King so when a friend brought round some books for me to try, mostly crime and I found a book by "Poppy Z Bright" amongst them I thought why not.

Exquisite Corpse is the story of two serial killers. One a London based gay necrophiliac who escapes from the confines of his prison cell and travels across the pond and the other a gay cannibal with a liking for young tourists and runaways in New Orleans.

The first killer, Andrew Compton tells his story from the first person in past tense. Getting us deep into the mind of a psychopath. The depth Bright goes into to describe who he is and what he does is intense. Stomach churning accounts of how he murders, rapes and tears apart (in that order) his victims made me nauseous I could smell the blood and other bodily fluids. Compton is complex. The almost genuine love he feels for his victims is poetic and twisted.

Jay, our second killer is told from the third person and while his character is less complex and in depth as Compton he's still an interesting person. Jay is a wealthy man who uses his money to entice young homeless boys to his home where he drugs them, has sex with them and eventually kills them. Eating some, storing others for later use. Eventually the killers meet causing the perfect storm, you can see where it's going to go.

The theme seems to be HIV and Aids amongst gay men in the 80's. All the characters are male, gay and most of them HIV positive. One character, a complicated man named Luke life has been destroyed by testing positive for the virus and as during that time little was known about its cause or effects Luke is angry and in pain mentally and yearns for his ex lover, Tran, a Vietnamese homosexual who is a disgrace to his traditional family.

As far as horror goes, it's not supernatural but pure human destruction. The scariest kind. The story is captivating, devastating and brutal. The descriptions of the characters actions are vivid and in depth. During the climax if I hadn't been in the bath while reading I would have needed a scrub down afterwards!

I highly recommend this book for those intrigued by the criminal mind. It is written like an erotic novel but there is nothing titillating only provocative. I will be seeking out Brights other books but after reading Exquisite Corpse I will have fairly high expectations.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

August underground Part Three! (Finally!)

So its been a few weeks since i watched due to health, personal and other crap. So finally here is my review for August undergrounds Penance.

The trilogies finale at last. This is something else. Forget what you saw in the first 2, the 3rd and final part is a whole new level of nasty. You really have to really drop all morality while watching in order to sit through. And many a person has had to watch in parts. I hate doing that so I sat through it from opening to closing without stopping. I won't lie, I did kind of know what to expect. I knew the first 2 were tame compared to this one. Vogel really has outdone himself.

The story is pretty much the same. Now we have Fred and his girlfriend only. How much time has passed since part 2 is unknown. There is no real indication as to what happened to the brother but you can kind of put 2 and 2 together from the ending of Mordum. The atmosphere is very different. As always we see Fred and the girl doing couple things. Messing around, professing their love to each other. Being together like any other "normal" couple. As the film goes on and we see their crimes take place - much more explicit this time I should add - we feel a depressive atmosphere now. It isn't fun and games anymore. There are problems with Fred, personal issues we clearly get to know. He and the girl are not the same as they were previously, the love is dying. During a particularly disturbing and brutal home invasion scene, which I will admit, did get to me we see these issues clear as day. While Fred has become impotent and he needs more sick stimulation, his girlfriend has lost it. She goes from looking rather fresh faced at the beginning to looking tired, depressed and resembling a long term drug abuser. They come to blows eventually and the finale, what I really did not expect is intimate, distressing and just plain sad. To compare it to your run of the mill, emotionless torture porn is inaccurate. There is a lot more going on. Psychologists would have a field day with it. Fred and his girl would make perfect subjects for a psycho-sexual analyst and you can literally choose any scene and pick it apart to read between the lines.

The violence has escalated. A disgusting shot involving a fetus almost, (ALMOST) made me gag. There is a lot of internal organs to be seen. The home invasion scene - taken place during Christmas eve to add insult to injury - is explicit and brutal. Being shot in HD rather than the degraded footage from the earlier films is a bit disappointing. It was one of my favourite elements and gave it that sordid realistic underground feel I love but we do get to see all the blood, tissue and violence in all its glory and it shows off Toe-Tags FX team's amazing talent fully and I can appreciate it even more. I am again, extremely impressed!

Penance is definitely the highlight of the series. It is brutal, emotional and disturbing and while some changes were made, for better and for worse, the film stays true to its predecessors. Watching the self destruction of the serial killers is powerful. The way they go from youthful and excitable to tired and miserable is harsh. If they weren't who they were we'd feel sorry for them. Vogel, you've turned me! I was pretty negative towards this kind of horror before watching the series but now I've experienced it, I take back anything I've ever said!


Overall, the series hasn't been enjoyable. I am glad I sat through them and each one in full (Yeah I can now show off that badge of honor!). It certainly is an experience, but not one I'd recommend unless you know what to expect to an extent. This isn't a walk in the park and it is the epitome of extreme underground horror. While I wouldn't make them a regular watch I cannot fault them for being so bold. The talent among Toe-Tags is undeniable. Credit where credit is due, I am pleased, although not pleasantly, with the films. If you're an avid extreme horror fan and have doubted that August Underground is anything more than a torture porn for the hardened, give it the chance it deserves!

You can buy all 3 AU DVDs from the Toe-Tags website in the US from -
Alternatively, you can find them on amazon, but expect a hefty price tag...

Friday, 21 June 2013

August Underground Trilogy - Part 2

Last night I wrote about the first in the trilogy of the extreme indie movies, August Underground. Not one to turn down an opportunity for something to actually effect me it only felt right to give the second a look!

August's Underground Mordum. 

Vogel returns as the sick and twisted camera killer with two new buddies. His girlfriend who can only be described as a complete fucking psycho and her brother a long haired man child who takes sexual violence to a whole new level. This time around Vogel has something to really show us. While the first wasn't all that violent or visually disturbing and relied on humiliation to really unsettle us, Mordum is out there. It's again presented as a degraded VHS tape that's been way over used, we still get mundane stuff, the trio with their mates drinking and being stupid, going to see gigs, getting piercings, messing around together. This time however, it's more chaotic. The girlfriend who is unhinged and to be honest a ticking time bomb, her brother a simple mind. Childlike and obviously disturbed. I really cannot imagine what their back story would be if they had one. As well as being in a relationship with Vogels character, the girl is having sex with her brother! Disturbing enough for you?

Violence in this one is stronger, and more sexually motivated. Simulated blow jobs with severed penises, necrophilia, rape its all there and it's not pretty. One scene involving the gaping stomach wound and the brother's weird fetishes almost made me vomit in my mouth a little! A very late scene involving a small child is pretty nasty. The dialogue during was sickening and indicated there really is more to why they are like they are, the girlfriend in particular. One thing is, this will offend people. Not everyone but the majority of people, even a lot of horror fans will be upset by this. Children, babies and animals are killed even though this is mainly off screen and to avoid the animal death just don't watch after the credits.

Again the effects are spectacular. Realism is achieved perfectly. It's exciting as a horror fan to see such amazing effects even from 2003. If they can do it with barely a budget then Hollywood certainly can! The characters are realistic. I've met people like them, probably don't go around kidnapping and killing people but on the outside these characters are people we know and are generally normal apart from their hobbies.

I was disappointed in a few things. I thought sometimes it was too chaotic. Everyone these people know are killers of some kind. A guy later on in the film has quite the party piece in his basement and we are treated to witnessing his own sick killing. There is a real escalation from 2 mates pissing around to 3 people who are now seasoned killers. I don't know how much time is supposed to have passed between the first film and the second. I think it concentrated too much on the two new faces I kinda missed seeing more of Vogel! It isn't until the end when he quite obviously loses it with his girlfriends brother we see him properly or at least his other scenes just weren't as memorable as the other two. I also thought the sexual element was too much sometimes. However, Vogel and co wanted to gross me out and appall me and that they did. Again.

While I "prefer" the first, again I didn't enjoy it but this one is certainly more effective in what it sets out to do and hasn't put me off finishing the trilogy.... Part 3, August Underground's Penance coming soon.... Watch this space!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

August Underground Trilogy - Part 1

Its not often curiosity gets the better of me. I'm not a person to give in just because a film has a hype. Not many films get the same controversy as the August Underground Trilogy. When I first heard of it, I was skeptical given the way people described it. "no plot, lots of violence". It's pretty off-putting when even the most open minded horror fans describe it this way. I figured it must be pretty nasty, given the story that while Fred Vogel was travelling to Canada with copies of the films, they were seized and he was kept in a cell for 10 hours before they dropped the charges. On reading another person's review lately (you can read Dani Carnage's review HERE!) I thought sod it, got a copy and went for it.

August Underground: 

First things first, there is no plot. That is true, the film follows two killers. One behind the camera who we never see, only hear his sick giggles of enjoyment and excitement. The second killer played by Fred Vogel who also produced, wrote and directed the film is the star of the show and despite him playing a complete psychopath he's actually oddly likable in the same way as we all love Captain Spaulding in The Devil's Rejects. The film is highly degraded, like it was watched a lot, gives it that hush hush feeling about it. Like its been passed about by friends and collegues then discussed in hushed whispers. I love this! The authentic feeling that this is a well kept secret only the hardcore horror fans are privy to. Sound is pretty good. It's to be expected that the sound would be as distorted as the visuals but its actually quite clear. Now for the gory details, literally. Actually, August underground is not as shocking and gory as i'd come to expect. However, the effects are stunning. If I didn't know better I'd have questioned if it was in fact a truly authentic snuff.

Now I know I said this was absent of a true plot, the reason is it's supposed to be real. I'm yet to see a home movie with a well written story and strategically placed plot devices. This isn't Hollywood, this is raw underground with a shoe string budget. I wonder exactly how much was written in a professional script or if most of it was ad-libbed. The conversations seem natural. Clearly, Fred and his co-star are friends in real life. Their dynamics as a duo are spectacular. Just another thing to add to its realistic feel. There is also a lot of mundane shots, them being jokers in a store before turning on the customers by assaulting and humiliating them. Going to see bands play in local clubs, before being kicked out for fighting, just messing around together and with friends. While they can't seem to go anywhere without causing some sort of trouble they're pretty normal apart from the naked women and dead bodies in their basement.

To say I enjoyed this film would make me look pretty sick. There's no way a sane person can enjoy August Underground. Instead I feel impressed, I didn't "like" it but the film was so well done I have a great respect for all involved. Vogel definitely has talent. What I thought would just be a pure endurance film turned out to be a whole lot more. Dig deep enough you can see this may be missing the important factors like story and coherence but instead it's a character study through the eyes of a serial killer.

I am glad I was persuaded to give it a go. I had completely misjudged it, shame on me!!

Next up.... August Underground's Mordum.

Monday, 17 June 2013

UV supports Indie! - Legitimate (screener)

This week I had the pleasure of being contacted (Thanks to a friend) by a new and upcoming director, Izzy Lee. I had the privilege to see her screener of "Legitimate".

The film opens with a quote "if it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting down" (Todd Aken). At this point, I knew I was going to see something here. As a politician is led to his chair, given his usual drink and given a show from a beautiful stripper, bound in rope, becoming unbound as she dances. The politician seems to fall asleep, most likely drugged. Waking for a moment we're shown 3 women holding something grotesque in a jar. When he awakes again outside, confused we're treated to our punchline. 

It's difficult to make a point when you only have a few minutes to do so. Izzy Lee makes her point right from the off. The undertones of female empowerment are subtle even during the dancing. As the dancer get more into it she is unbound. From what I could get, freedom from male oppression. The punchline is where you really get the point. I did let out a chuckle. It tackles sexism and the vile view of rape that sadly, some people still have. While doing this, it doesn't become a feminist tirade. Instead, taking someones view, and twisting it so the shoe is on the other foot. I doubt the use of a politician character was accidental either. 

The filming felt professional, effects clever, while absent of real gore. 

I am thoroughly impressed with this short. It was intelligent without being pretentious. I like that. I look forward to what Izzy Lee gives us next!

I really have to see more! 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

An Extreme World - Battle Royale

When talking about Asian cinema, Japan is pretty hard to ignore. With directors leaving their mark with crazy storylines, awesome gore and twisted humour that makes us rub our eyes in disbelieve and ask ourselves, "what the hell am I watching?!" it's easy to see why J-horror is so popular. Now I'm a fan of more sensible stuff, things need to be on the right side of bonkers for me to enjoy but one film I enjoy again and again and features some disturbing and graphic imagery without being absurd is Battle Royale.

Battle Royale - Japan

Directed By - Kinji Fukasaku
Starring - Takeshi Kitano, Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda.

Based off a popular Japanese manga, Battle Royale is set in the near future. Petty crime is common place and the youth of the country and wild and unruly. To deal with the problem the "Battle Royale Law" was created. The law states that each year a class of children, in their final year of schooling will be put on an island, given a bag with a weapon and some essentials and the last one standing will win. How do they win? By killing each other!

I've not long discovered Battle Royale. I went out as soon as I'd seen it while it was showing on Lovefilm instant and bought it. The story is basic, a simple kill or be killed story made fresh with side stories of love, friendship and betrayal. The film follows Nanahara and his friend, who is apparently in love with him (along with every other girl in the class apparently) Noriko. They are joined by an older boy, Kawada, who later reveals how he has played before and was the survivor. The only villains are Kiriyama, a bat shit crazy kid who volunteered for the game who silently blows one student away after another without feeling and Kitano- Sensei played by the fantastic Takashi Kitano. Kitano is the life and soul of this film. He's funny, bitter and sometimes moving. A deep sadness hides behind those eyes and it is revealed later on why.

The acting in this film is ridiculous. The characters that matter and are well acted and their lines well written. Otherwise it's hammy, over the top and sometimes just blatantly funny. Somehow, Battle Royale gets away with it! Usually bad acting will ruin a film for me but strangely, it enriches it and gives it a little more body. It doesn't take itself too seriously and I love it for that reason!

Cinematography is stunning. Wide and long shots of the beautiful scenery splattered with the blood of children. The score is perfect, a range of well known classical music. Almost unsettling given the violence that is going on. What makes it extreme is not it's graphic visuals but the way the film is showing children killing children. What is more senseless? The fact its entertaining seeing young people shooting and slashing at each other unsettles me.

Battle Royale isn't flawless. It's fun, violent, gory and has a re-watch factor which makes it worth every penny. The least extreme in the series and some might say it doesn't fit in with the likes of Martyrs but hey, I think its a pretty violent and extreme flick, maybe the best gateway drug there is before taking on the more extreme titles. I know it was mine!

My rating.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Review - Wilderness.

Directed By - Michael J Bassett
Starring - Sean Pertwee, Alex Reid, Toby Kebbell, Stephen Wight.

A juvinile prison guard takes several of his young inmates to a deserted island where they find themselves hunted by a man with a crossbow and his pack of blood thirst dogs.

Another film I stumbled upon quite a while ago on netflix. I seen it was British and starred a few actors and actresses I knew so gave it a whirl. It opens to a young prisoner being beaten by his fellow inmates. The first scenes display a campaign of bullying against the young man, Davie and his only friend inside, Lesley until Davie finally cracks and is found dead by the newest inmate, Callum (Kebbell). After Davies father visits the prison the governor demands the senior warden (Pertwee) takes them to "the island". At the island they seem to bond, or not so much at camp before they find a group of female inmates and their warden (Reid). When Callum finds a homeless man dead and rather torn up he is accused of the murder before the group are attacked by a mystery man with a cross bow and several nasty dogs under his command.

This isn't a complex film. No twists for you to see coming or complicated story lines. Simply just twisted justice and lots of killing! There are some great kills, a man is eaten alive by dogs, a girl hung from a tree and set alight by a cool booby trap. You can completely switch off and enjoy this film for what it is. Some people might find it a bit cliche, and honestly, sometimes it is. Despite that, it's a good time. Character development is there, but there is little of it but it doesn't feel like you're missing out on anything. You know who you want to feel sorry for and you know the ones who deserve their fate.

Cinematography wise, its basic but effective. A nice bloody POV shot of the dogs ripping into someone is the highlight for me. Lots of long shots show off the idyllic scenery.

In short, Wilderness is a fun flick that can be enjoyed without thinking too hard. A nice refresher for me personally given the subject matters of other films I've been watching lately. I really enjoyed this film, it's not without its flaws. Some parts are a bit hammy and could have been written better and sometimes it does get a bit cliche. However, I still felt it worthy of a buy and now sits on my shelf.

My rating. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Review - Peeping Tom.

Directed by - Michael Powell
Starring - Karlheinz Bohm.

Mark Lewis is a strange man. He loves being behind the camera and works in a filming studio. His sexual repression is only released by the murder, and filmings of said murders of young women. Watching their fear as he goes. When he meets a woman who shows the affection he's craved his entire life Marks life changes and his secrets become harder to conceal especially from his new love interests blind but all seeing mother!

Made in 1960 when a certain Hitchcock horror movie was reaching great success, Powell's Peeping Tom was greeting with much less appeasement. Critics tore this film a new one. Powell never really had any success after that and the film was not appreciated until many years later. Now it is seen as a classic and praised the way it should have been 50 years ago.

Voyeurism is the main theme, at the time this was probably a taboo subject, even for a horror movie. While Peeping Tom wouldn't be classed as a horror movie to today's standards, the idea of having someone shove a camera in my face as he pokes a sharpened tripod leg into my throat is pretty horrific to me!

The best thing about this film is it's character development. At first glance Mark Lewis could be seen as just your run of the mill pervert but delving deeper, and seeing what his childhood and life is like, he become a sympathetic character. Craving some female influence and love. His father's treatment of him and how he used him in his own cruel experiments is difficult to comprehend.

The cinematography is beautiful to the eye. Every scene is crafted well, every line written and delivered is perfect, the violence is very tame for the average or hardened horror viewer of today but put yourself back 50 years you can feel that these scenes would have shocked an audience to the core. The only issue is the way the story just plods along. It can feel quite slow at times. This could be because I've become used to todays fast paced slashers. Even so it's enjoyable to watch.

I loved Peeping Tom from the first time I seen it years ago. It doesn't get the reception is deserves.

My rating


Saturday, 8 June 2013

An Extreme World - Martyrs

Extreme world horror is becoming more and more popular with the western world becoming desensitized to violence. Child abuse is reported on the news daily, as is domestic violence, rape and murder. Is it any wonder we turn to film to get away from the real life horrors going on daily. France again has used all these nasty real horrors to their advantage to create realistic and horrific cinema that makes us need a bath afterwards. Martyrs is the first film to do this to me.

Martyrs - France.
Directed by - Pascal Laugier
Starring - Morjana Alaoui and Mylene Jampanoi

Martyrs is a film I heard a lot about before eventually getting the opportunity to watch. I knew from reviews and chatter in horror forums that I was going to go into something horrific and would be taking on something that even I questioned if I was ready for.

Martyrs begins with a young girl, Lucie, of around 12 years old escaping from a warehouse wearing a filthy vest top, knickers and covered in dirt and blood screaming with terror and relief. She is taken to an orphanage where she is taken under the wing of Ana where she is taken care of. Lucie is haunted by something monstrous and terrifying which physically harms her as well as mentally torturing her. Later on, when Lucie and Ana are adults Lucie takes revenge on the people who hurt her in a bloody and shocking manner. Nobody is spared. Still haunted by the mysterious creature, which frankly, is a grotesque work of sfx art. Its only in the final act of the film we see what Lucie was subjected to and it's then the film take the most brutal and sinister turn.

To say Martyrs is down beat is an understatement. Nothing in this film brings any rays of light, no relief from the tension. Things just get worse and worse. The story starts out as a simple revenge plot we're all familiar with but as things progress you just know nothing will work out well in the end. No happy endings here and as the final part of the movie turns into an exercise in endurance, it could have been easy for the film to get boring and tedious as the violence against one of the characters gets progressively worse but the story is enough to prevent this film from becoming just another Hostel. For me, it wasn't the violence that was difficult but the claustrophobia of the entire film taking place in just a handful of settings with much of the final half an hour being in a dark and dingy cell. I felt dirty watching and I felt a desperate need to make the violence stop. I wanted to reach into the TV and stop it from happening! The director does a great job of drawing us in enough to feel almost like we are taking part but sitting and watching. The ending with undoubtedly have you questioning for days after watching.

One thing that is overwhelming in the film is the score. The music is slow, upsetting and sickly. It adds to the nihilistic feeling beautifully. Filmed almost like it's in first person. Like you are following their every move. The actresses are beautiful and play their parts with conviction. The effects in martyrs are scarily real. The creature that haunts Lucie is so realistic, it's hard to tell if it's real or imaginary. whether we are watching one woman driven crazy for the hell she has lived with or a classic vengeful ghost story reminiscent of Japanese supernatural horrors. It's this ability to blur lines that makes the film so successful.

One thing I can say for sure, Martyrs is the most difficult film I've ever sat through. I have done it twice and it wasn't any easier second time round. Infact, it was harder. This film for me is the best of the bunch in the French new wave category.

My Rating.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

An Extreme World - Kill List

The UK get a bad rep for horror really. There isn't a great deal of money being put into british film but with Film4 and the National Lottery funding independent directors have been bring some excellent british cinema. We also have some great horror directors around. Recently, we've started seeing a more extreme side to us. The latest being Kill List.

Kill List - UK
Directed by Ben Wheatley.
Starring Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiley.

I will hold my hands up now, I hated Kill List on first view. I found it confusing, dull and I didn't feel the payoff was worth it. However, after much convincing from friends and other horror fans I decided to give it another shot. It's currently on lovefilm free with my subscription so wasn't losing anything. Second time round, Kill List is a whole different experience. Yes I know what's going to happen but I also notice so much more!

Maskell's character Jay, a hitman, hasn't worked in 8 months since something went wrong on a job in Kiev. You get the impression that he is both mentally and physically affected by the job. When money runs out and pressures get on top of him, Jay agrees to do one last job with his friend and partner so he can live comfortably with his wife, played by MyAnna Buring and his young son.

It starts out as a bit of a domestic drama then a hitman movie. On first view, the horror just doesn't seem to play any part until the final 10-15 minutes. On second viewing I started to notice the overall feel. That nasty vibe where you know things just are not going to end well for anyone here. Religion plays a huge part here. Jay obviously is not a believer in any sort of organised religion. I got the feeling he had been at some point but history had caused him to lose that faith. Smileys character seems less skeptical and spends some time apologising for his partners behaviour. Right from the get go you know this job isn't what it appears to be. When the deal is sealed with blood being spilled. The thing that stands out for me on the first and second viewing was the explicit kills. One kill involving a hammer is just so brutal I was not expecting it. It appears all the effects are practical too! A welcome change from the CGI infested industry at the moment.

Storywise, Kill List plods along nicely, some bits feel long and drawn out on first watch but on second watch you realise it's importance. The scenes of family life, violence and friendship are all there to give that ending the kick that it needs. Cinematography is very well done. It feels gritty and realistic. Conversations don't feel forced and scripted. Some scenes you just want to see more and questions are left unanswered but the fun is in wondering, making up your own conclusion. Wheatley never spoon feeds.

Quite frankly, I regret ever slating Kill List. It is a great piece of british cinema and Britain needs more exposure in the horror world right now!

My Rating. 


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

An Extreme World - Inside

When concidering world cinema and the new extreme horror, you cannot forget about the French. French new extremity is making waves allover the world with themes of vengeance, jealousy and abuse. Their talent for shocking while telling truelly emotional stories is second to none.

Inside - France
Directed By Alexadre Bustillo and Julien Maury
Starring Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis

I had this sitting on my watchlist for a long long time. It's been at the top a few times and I've skipped it to watch something else. The theme of pregnancy is a controversial one especially for people who are parents themselves. Often scenes of pregnant women and babies being sexually abused, murdered, tortured and killed are the scenes which put many people off a lot of horror movies. One thing's for sure, Inside touches on a lot of hard subjects. Pregnancy, grief, infant death and impending birth.

Inside starts off with a car crash in which a pregnant woman loses her husband in the process. Cut to 4 months later and Sarah is due to have her baby any day. When a woman knocks on her door she turns the woman away. But the woman won't leave and invades Sarahs home, tormenting her throughout the night and murdering those who try to help. What does this woman want? Sarah's unborn baby!

It is undeniable that Inside is one of the most bloody films I've ever seen. It is also one of the most disturbing. The relentless "La Femme" terrorises Sarah is some of the worst ways imaginable. The death scenes are brutal, and we see almost everything. With a certain infamous ending that is so explicit it had me squirming. The storytelling of Inside is perfect. The focus of our sympathy is always on Sarah, with shots of the baby in utero giving us a new perspective of the unborn child and the pain and suffering he goes through too. These parts, although the CGI is quite obvious, can be extremely difficult to cope with. One scene where Sarah is hit repeatedly in the stomach shows the baby's reaction. This is so raw and the thought of a defenseless unborn child being put through this torment is painful to watch but I could never look away. Surprisingly, for something so extreme, never does it feel forced or over the top. The violence seems realistic and sensible. While some scenes are extremely difficult to deal with unlike some extreme movies they don't feel hamfisted and silly and although the violence is almost constant it doesn't get tedious or boring. Whenever you think Sarah is safe La Femme takes it to another level. La Femme eventually does reveal her story to Sarah. It's heartbreaking what she went through and her reasoning for wanting to take the baby from Sarah, she is obviously going through a complete mental breakdown. There is a scene where she seeks comfort from a cigarette while screaming in what seems like physical as well

as emotional pain. We don't get to feel for her for long though as she continues to kill anyone and anything that gets close to Sarah.

With much of the film being shot inside a blood soaked bathroom, it gets very claustrophobic. There isn't much in the way of light either. The hardest part of any film that takes place in just one or two rooms is the feeling of being trapped, covered in dirt and blood. It makes you want to clean yourself after watching.

In short, Inside is shot beautifully. The camera work is amazing. Nothing feels rushed or hamfisted. The score is one made up of fast guitars or slow gentle piano. So haunting.

My Rating

Sunday, 26 May 2013

An Extreme World - I Saw The Devil.

Extremes in horror isn't a new concept. Boundaries have been pushed since horror began. At first it was monster movies, then Romero blew minds with his Night Of the Living Dead during the late 60's. Later the 80's saw the moral panic and the birth of censorship in the home. The BBFC were given more power to control just how much violence was allowed on video. The birth of the internet made it possible for underground extreme cinema to become what it is today. I began to explore extreme cinema at the same time as foreign cinema. They seem to go hand in hand. France, Japan and Korea have given us some of the bloodiest movies in the past decade. A new era of terrifyingly real effects and shocking storylines which hollywood and mainstream audiences could never handle. In celebration of this new wave of extremities I've been watching some of the best examples.

I Saw The Devil - S.Korea.
Director - Kim Jee-Woon
Starring - Byung-Hun Lee, Min-sik Choi

A serial killer, Kyung-Chul has been running around and police are stumped on how to catch him. The sadistic killer makes the mistake of abducting, torturing and murdering Agent Kim Soo-Hyeon's pregnant young wife which sets off events where said Soo-Hyeon goes against his moral codes to seek revenge.

I Saw The Devil is brutal, raw and tragic. The violence is extreme. The blood flows in buckets. No one is safe here. Sexual violence, dismemberments, stabbings and torture are all present. Some scenes are so nasty its hard to keep watching, at the same time you cannot look away. At first the violence feels justified. After all you've just watched this sadistic killer -played by Oldboy's Oh Dae-Su actor, Min-Sik Choi- murder a pregnant woman, dismember her and leave her body for a heartbroken man to find. He doesn't deserve mercy. If it was simple as torturing and killing the man it would have been rather easy to stay on side with the agent but he doesn't. He catches, tortures and releases. Not once, not twice but several times. It's like watching a cat play with a mouse. It becomes cruelty. However, sides do not switch. While Kyung-Chul is running, he still kills. He does not become a victim. Eventually, it's two monsters facing against one another. Neither of them is a hero, they both become villains. It's just a case of deciding who is worse.

Cinematography wise, I saw the Devil is so beautiful it's startling. Such a mean spirited film can come across as attractive to the eye. Everything passes expectation. One scene where the killer stabs 2 men to death inside a car is stunning. As the camera circles the three men you see every reaction, the sound of the knife stabbing into them almost nauseating. The violence, although strong does not come across as over the top or forced. The finale is spectacular. Every time it rocks me.

I Saw The Devil is not for the faint of heart. It's brutal, shocking and nasty. It is very long. Runtime, almost 2 and a half hours but it does not drag or feel long. The pace is quick, barely a moment to breath.

My Rating10/10 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

[[Review]] - Dead Hooker In a Trunk.

Jen and Sylvia Soska 

Starring - Jen and Sylvia Soska, Rikki Gagne, C.J Wallis.

After an evening of drunkenness doing god knows what a sexy "Badass", her "Junkie" friend, "Geek" sister her Goody Two Shoes friend find a dead hooker in the trunk of their car. Trying to decide what to do with it aswell as investigate and avoid a serial killer, they come across angry drug dealers, a cowboy pimp who wants his hooker back and a necrophiliac motel manager among other crazy things!

The Soskas exploded onto most people's radar with their sensational American Mary on the festival circuit last summer. Most people hadn't heard of them before let alone seen their previous work. Among some shorts and a part in Lucifer Valentine's Slaughtered Vomit Dolls there is some genius and the girls' first feature length movie proves it. Dead Hooker is so low budget that on first glance it looks like a student project. The camera is often a bit shaky and the sound is either too loud or barely there. The special effects are 100% practical, just how I love 'em! There are clearly some things that needed a bit of work but are forgivable given the film's good points. The grind-house feel to it is awesome!

The acting is sometimes a bit hammy. The sister's when in more emotional scenes are perfectly dynamic  not surprising given they are twins, the sister who plays the geek, Jen Soska never dropped the ball and Sylvia is hot and powerful in her role as the dominant but unpredictable sister. The actress who plays the junkie is probably my least favourite. She was often annoying but she does redeem herself in a later heart to heart with Jen's character. The goody two shoes is fun and has some reoccurring jokes at his expense. Notice I never use a character name? That's because, they don't have any!

The action and gore comes in force. You don't get constantly gratuitous gore like you come to expect from horror these days, instead when it did come it was often unexpected, brutal and perfectly done. One thing the Soska's know it's how to make blood splatter! The kills come in the form of big guns and power drills! What more do you want!

Over all I loved this movie! It was a damn good time! There is just not enough fun in the genre anymore but Dead Hooker In a Trunk brings that fun back. I look forward to what the Twisted Twins come up with next!

My Rating


Sunday, 3 February 2013

[[Review]] - The ABC's Of Death.

Directed by: (Deep breath!)

Kaare Andrews         Angela Bettis
Hélène Cattet                 Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Jason Eisener                 Bruno Forzani
Adrián García Bogliano Xavier Gens
Lee Hardcastle                 Noboru Iguchi
Thomas Cappelen Malling Jorge Michel Grau
Anders Morgenthaler Yoshihiro Nishimura
Banjong Pisanthanakun Simon Rumley
Marcel Sarmiento         Jon Schnepp  
Srdjan Spasojevic         Timo Tjahjanto
Andrew Traucki         Nacho Vigalondo
Jake West                 Ti West
Ben Wheatley                 Adam Wingard 
Yudai Yamaguchi

26 directors from allover the world were given a letter each, $5000 and told to go away and produce a 5 minute segment relating to the letter they were given and a way to die.

ABC's was for me one of the most anticipated horrors of 2013. I knew that it could either go really right or horribly horribly wrong but there was promise with names such as Ti West (House of the Devil), Angela Bettis (May, The Woman), Simon Rumley (Red White and Blue) and some newer names such as Srdjan Spasojavic (A Serbian Film). It was ambitious. Such a small budget and time frame to create beauty but gives 26 directors a chance to showcase their skills in hope to become the next Raimi or Carpenter.

Rather than go through all 26 one after the other I'll pick some of the worst and some of the best to give you an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

D is for Dogfight (Marcel Sarmiento) was for me the best piece in the whole selection. It was clever, brutal and well made. The budget was spent well. What starts out as a simple man vs animal fight comes away with a moral message possibly a commentary on the brutality of human nature.

V is for Vagitus (Kaare Andrews) Was quite a fun one, involving robots and what seems to be an end of the world distopia and features a hilarious scene involving a dead baby coming back from the dead. Vagitus in case you don't know already is the first cry of a newborn baby and is explained at the end of the segment.

P is for Pressure (Simon Rumley) is as always for Rumley a sobering drama of a young prostitute with many children living in poverty and the lengths she resorts to to give her daughter the one thing she wants for her birthday. Rumley knows how to hit you where it hurts and to me this was actually genius of him yet again. Makes me more and more excited to see what he's going to come up with next!

M is for Miscarriage. (Ti West) A very disappointing effort from Mr West. Not at all what I was hoping for from him and his segment seemed lazy and cheap compared to others who used the money and time to their best ability. As the title suggests its about a miscarriage but had no pay off, no drama, no real effort at all really. I think West is best off sticking to atmospheric haunting stories that he does so very well.

Z is for Zetsumetsu. (Yoshihiro Nishimura) Terrible. Ok maybe just not for me but those who are fans of J-Grindhouse might just love this one. I just thought it was just bizarre, completely and utterly bonkers. I didn't get it.

Over all this 2 hours of showcase is well worth watching. Most of the fun was in guessing what the story was about if there was any story at all. It was also fairly fun to guess what the word that it was relating to. There were so downright stinkers in there particularly F but some real genius pieces. Sometimes it seemed like five grand had been wasted on nothing. In Ti Wests case the sound and cinematography was terrible, no thought had gone into any of it but the likes of Rumley and Sarmiento the money was well spent and the time they had wasn't wasted at all and real creativity had been put into making them. I will be following some of these up and coming directors in the future. Give this one a look. It is currently available on VOD only. Will warn there are disturbing and intense scenes of pedophilia, infanticide, nudity, gore, sexual scenes and animal death so if any of this deeply offends you stay away from it. Don't watch it knowing what it involves then cry to the complaints board that a kitty get squished.

My Rating
7 Stars

Saturday, 19 January 2013

[[REVIEW]] - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Directed By : Timur Bekmambetov
Starring : Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper

The title says it all really! An alternative "biopic" about President Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) and his side job as a vampire hunter! 

I was never totally sold on the idea of taking an american president and turning him into a Helsing like character. At first I thought it was an April fools joke! I should start from the beginning. Abraham at the age of 9 witnessed his mother get bitten by a vampire and from then on swore he would take his revenge. Later in life he meets Henry (Dominic Cooper) in a bar. Henry saves his life when he faces the vampire that killed his mother and teaches Lincoln to become a vampire hunter, giving him names and locations until he is ready to face his nemesis who he kills but later finds out that Henry is a vampire and turns his back on the hunting to follow his politics career and start a family with his wife Mary (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). It's only when more of his family is taken by a vengeful vampire that he goes back to his old job to save his country. The biggest flaw in this movie is it's CGI. There is a scene where Lincoln and Adam (Rufus Sewell) a bloodthirsty and cruel vampire are fighting among hundreds of wild horses. The horses are so obviously fake it's almost embarrassing to watch. The slow motion is cringe worthy and quite annoying because of how frequent it is used. There is plenty of blood splatter and gore but I feel like it hid too much and the blood was very cartoon like. A lot of what was done in CGI could have been done practically with make-up and prosthetic.

It's not all complaints however. I liked the story and it provided great entertainment. I loved how it tied in historically with facts from the real Lincolns life and career. The acting was pretty good and the script was adequate. A few ham lines but nothing too big.

Over all it was OK  Worth watching if you have an hour and 45 minutes to spare and nothing better to do. I wouldn't say it was disappointing because I didn't expect much from it anyway but I won't be rushing out to buy it. Rent once only kinda thing.

My Rating

Saturday, 12 January 2013

[[Review]] - The Loved Ones

Directed by Sean Byrne
Starring Xavier Samuel and Robin McLeavy. 

Brent (Xavier Samuel) is a teenage boy who's father was killed after Brent swerved his car to avoid a bloody figure in the road, crashing and killing his father instantly. Six months later and it's the end of school year dance. When Lola (Robin McLeavy) asks Brent to the dance he politely turns her down as he's going with his girlfriend. Later on Brent finds himself kidnapped, tied up and things don't look good for him as a vengeful Lola and her father torture boys who upset the little princess. 

I loved this movie. It was a real thrill to have a torture movie that wasn't the same old Saw and Hostel kidnap someone, torture, kill, rinse and repeat. The story is a simple one, we don't have any majorly complicated back story. Brent is obviously disturbed by the death of his father and self harms and has become detached from his mother. The only ray of sunshine for him seems to be his gorgeous and caring girlfriend, Holly. While we don't see much of them together you can tell they really like each other and she is his reason for getting up in the morning. Lola is the complete opposite to Holly. A very plain looking chubby girl who you can see has been rejected numerous times. Shy and sweet looking at first glance. There is a lovely scene where she tries on her pink prom dress for her father and the joy on her face when she gets his approval is childlike and innocent. This is far from the real Lola. I was expecting to feel for her going by just the descriptions alone you expect Brent to somewhat deserve some payback so to watch an innocent young boy who's had his fair share of hell be tortured by the mentally unstable duo of Lola and her father can be quite painful to watch. The most interesting part of The Loved Ones is the dynamics between Lola and her dad. Sometimes I couldn't tell if the Father was a role model for Lola or if Lola had complete control over him. It becomes apparent that they've done all of this before but who started it? There is the character of "Bright Eyes" who is Lola's mother. She appears to be a vegetable and it's unclear if she was Lola's victim or daddy dearest. But one thing that I was sure of, she was not a part of it and that is probably why she had fallen victim to the pair. There is a side story going on throughout between Brent's best friend and his prom date which seems a bit out of place but all does become clear later on.

In conclusion The Loved Ones is for me, the best Australian horror I've seen and is exciting, unflinching and enjoyable. I will be adding this one to my Blu ray collection. Sadly it didn't see a wide release which is a real shame because it's a gem. Hopefully if horror fans spread the word the demand will lead to a wider release.

My Rating

Saturday, 5 January 2013

2013. What I'll be looking forward to!

2013 promises a range of horror, with four notable remakes and a horror comedy coming up in the next 12 months that has me very exciting and apprehensive for the year!

Texas Chainsaw 3D .. 4th January

A young woman heads into Texas to collect her inheritance. She soon meets the famous psychotic family including our favourite insane chainsaw wielding villain, Leatherface!

It's more of the same with Texas Chainsaw. Groups of friends going to Texas and getting attacked by Leatherface and his clan of murderous inbred family members. I can't see this being any different from the slew of remakes, imitations  sequels, prequels and reboots we've already seen but if you're a fan of Leatherface it's certainly worth a look in. There's a nice new young cast including singer Trey Songs (what a slasher without a token singer eh) and plenty of gore to go around. This could be a great reimagining of a classic or it could be like many remakes before it. Pants!

Mama .. 22nd February

A couple are given the task to raise their nieces who have been living alone in a forest for 5 years.

Produced by one of my favourite horror names, Del Toro, Mama looks very interesting. Supernatural terror throughout with some wild children to boot. It kind of reminds me of something like Case 49 or Don't be Afraid of the Dark. Everyone loves a creepy child and in this we get two! The movie was originally a short directed by Andres Muschietti back in 2008 and this is his first full length movie. He's a new name and one worth keeping an eye on based on his shorts.

Warm Bodies .. 8th February

A zombie falls for the girlfriend of one of his victims.

A romantic comedy with zombies directed by Jonathan Levine, director of  "All the boys love Mandy Lane" and "50/50". This looks fun and is based on the Shakespeare favourite "Romeo and Juliet" with all the character names being somewhat similar to the characters from the timeless play. Hopefully better than Levines earlier entry into the horror genre, Mandy Lane wasn't brilliant. Warm Bodies looks promising if you don't take it seriously, one of those you have to just go with. I highly doubt it'll be the deepest romance we've seen on screen but I'm looking forward to it just for laughs. The zombies almost seem more "human" than I've ever seen before and the love story looks kinda cute. Nicholas Hoult stars as the undead teen who falls in love with the girlfriend of a guy he just ate. You might remember Hoult was the cutesy singing kid from About a Boy way back when he was all little. He's all grown up now and has a few staring roles under his belt including a stint in the UK coming of age series Skins. John Malkovich also makes an appearance.

Maniac .. 15th March

A remake of the 1980's slasher starring Elijah Wood as Frank, a repressed psychopathic mannequin shop owner with a taste for scalping.

I liked the original and when I heard it was being remade I did groan. While the original was far from perfection I didn't feel it needed a remake. It was good in its own way and to some is seen as a classic. The POV shots were creepy and the remake will be keeping this aspect. The biggest shock for me was Elijah 'Frodo Baggins' Wood. I just couldn't imagine him as Frank. He's always been such a sweet boy. But given the fact Wood is an extremely tallented actor with some great roles under his belt I have high hopes for this especially with it being directed Alexadre Aja. It is essentially a romance with very dark overtones. Of course Frank is a serial killer so it'll be interesting to see how his relationship with the female lead develops. In the original, Franks relationship with the photographer was lost a little among the chaos so I'm hoping that this remake doesn't do the same.

Stoker .. 1st March

When a young girls father dies her uncle moves in with her and her mentally unstable mother. The girl becomes increasingly suspicious of her uncle and what his motives are.

Park Chan-Wook is my favourite thriller director. Oldboy and Lady Vengeance easily slot in my top 10 movies of all time with Oldboy dancing near the top spot. This is his first English language movie and is written by Wentworth Miller. I admit, Millers name did make me blanch a little.  The cast looks impressive and as Park is directing I have high hopes for it being great. It has echos of The Stepfather and A Tale of Two Sisters.

Carrie .. 5 April

Carrie is an abused, unpopular and timid school girl who's telekenetic powers create distruction after school bullies push her too far.

We all know the story of Carrie, either from the favourite movie or the Stephen King novel. Carrie is one of the most sympathetic characters I know of, it's hard to see her as a villain even though she is responsible for many deaths. The remake is causing a lot of heat among horror circles with people demanding a reason why they are touching perfection and I somewhat agree. The original aged well, it's still relevant and to me is as terrifying now as it was in 1976 but I think by going into it with an open mind or even seeing it as a standalone movie, it could be enjoyable but I do fear that many fans, me included, will be comparing it from the minute it starts, especially the young actress challenged with the task of taking the crown from Sissy Spacek. I don't doubt, looking at Chloe Moretz's CV that she's the right actress for the job. Julianne Moore co starts as the terrifying Mrs. White.

The ABC's of Death .. 28th February

26 directors each given a letter of the alphabet and a small budget to create a 5 minute short each relating to the letter and a way to die.

Ambitious and could go horribly wrong. 5 minutes isn't very long but so far reviews are looking good. As with all anthologies there will be amazing segments and there will be dire segments and with 26 of them there's bound to be a few you don't like. Trailers look brilliant. The red band is highly explicit and with directors such as Ti West, Simon Rumley and Xavier Gens involved it looks really exciting. There will be something for everyone here, the question is, is it worth sitting through 26 horror shorts in one sitting to find just one or two good'ns? Surely can't harm!

Evil Dead .. 19th April

You know the plot! It's age old and the plot for so many others. It's the granddaddy of cabin horrors. 5 friends go to a cabin in the woods on a weekend break where they come across the book of the dead which unleashes an ancient evil!

This is it, the one I've been waiting for. I know that most of us will have sat there when we first read the headline, where ever we read it that Evil Dead was being remade in despair. It was our worst fears realized, nothing was sacred. But then rumors circled, cast lists were confirmed. No Ash character! Raimi and Campbell being on board. And then that red band (that I have included) it looks likely that we'll get the 18 BBFC rating that we want! I cannot contain my excitement for this. I do believe this will be the horror movie of 2013. Or it'll fall completely flat on it's face and we'll desperately try to forget it. I'm an optimist.

So that's it. That is the few that I think will be the horror movies to look out for in 2013. I think the year will be a great one for horror I have a good feeling about 2013. Are they on your list?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My year of Horror

So this is my first blog entry, what's better than a look back on the past year and what I've discovered in my journey in horror over the past 12 months.

Well 2012 is over, it's been a slow year for horror and I have to admit, I've not been watching much of it. I've been catching up on earlier movies that I somehow missed. Before 2012 I was a horror fan but not the same kind. I didn't hunt down movies but casually watched movies with a preference for gory, scary stories. This past year I've begged stole and borrowed to see some brilliant movies and not so brilliant from the past decade this was also the year I finally invested in a Blu-ray player to experience horror in HD! Here are just a few that stood out for me.

The Crazies (2010)

 A toxin spread in the water causes ordinary people in a small town in Iowa to act out violently while a sheriff (always a sheriff!) struggles to save a small group of people including his pregnant wife.

It's a remake but it's a good one. I enjoyed it for what it was. Nothing too serious and I wasn't completely ignoring it's good points like so many people do with remakes these days. I like viruses too. I'm not a great zombie lover, I find them rather tedious and nothing really changes with them. The Crazies has a none stop action quality, rarely is there a slow scene but when there is, it's short and sweet. What I really loved about this was the gore. It isn't over the top out of this world wacko gore but it's still pretty nasty! The best part for me was a fight between the Sheriff and a truck driver, humorous but tense at the same time.

Cabin in the Woods. (2011)

Your typical story of five college kids go to a secluded cabin in the woods for the usual sex, drugs and partying but there's something more than the undead rising going on!

I loved this. It was everything I love in a satirical horror comedy. I did a good job of avoiding any talk, spoilers, reviews even trailers so to not spoil this for me. I'd been excited about it's release since the first poster was revealed. When I seen Joss Whedon, one of my TV hero's was writing it and collaborating with Drew Goddard, writer of several Buffy episodes on his directorial debut I knew that I was going to love this. It starts out pretty typical but as the story unfolds you can see this is lovingly crafted by a duo of true horror fans. The fun lies in spotting the cliches and homages and the final act gives the biggest reward for a gore hound I've seen in years.

Red White and Blue. (2010)

Simon Rumleys Red White and Blue centers around 3 people who meet by chance and who's lives all effect each other in tragic ways. Erica is a young woman lacking in self respect who lets any man go what he wants with her, Nate is a kind hear-ed but dark person who takes Erica under his wing in a platonic relationship. Frankie is a young man who takes care of his sick mother whose chance encounter with Erica sets off a chain of in such an explosive way it left me shaking!

Simon Rumley is a name I've heard mentioned among horror circles for a while but didn't really think too much about his work. Red White and Blue really shook me to the core. It's tragic, miserable and shocking. One thing I have to applaud other than the visuals is the acting from the three main characters especially Noah Taylor who plays Nate. I didn't even realize it was Taylor until the credits rolled. Someone who I usually see in a comedic or child friendly role to play such an oddball and terrifying character rocked me. I have never felt so conflicted by a movie. There are no clear “good vs bad” lines in this one. I look forward to seeing more of Rumley and hope this isn't his last full length project.

The disappointments?

Prometheus (2012)

OK it's not a horror but it has horror themes and some horror imagery, a certain explicit medical procedure gave me the willies and those are some scary aliens. It's the prequel to alien and a much awaited come back by Ridley Scott. Sadly, it fell short of its expectations and that's the reason I say “don't read anything!”. It was just a bit flat. It could have been epic, a great that would become an instant classic. Quite a shame really. 

Kill List. (2011)

I didn't get to see this at the end of 2011 when it was released and a lot of horror sites were raving about it. What looks like an exciting Brit horror flick is actually much different. The first hour or so is a hit-man movie. With, granted, some very cool and brutal kills but the final 10 minutes where the horror shows its face is just not worth the wait and the ending is frustrating. Not good frustrating either. Apparently I missed the point here somewhere.

So that's just the movies that stood out for me that I have seen in 2012. There will be more, in depth reviews of the movies above and many more over the coming months along with some features on sub-genres I've been interested in. There will also be a look at what horror fans are looking forward to in 2013.