Tuesday 31 December 2013

Flavours of the Month: December 2013...


The Walking Dead - the Mid-Season 4 finale and Season 3 commentaries. The first eight episodes of season four have been the most consistently entertaining and well written episodes since the first season. Season 2 got off to a slow start, and the back half of Season 3 had some structural problems and a couple of other issues, but this recent batch of eight episodes has been a straight run of top quality TWD goodness (and well worth a second run-through in a pre-Xmas marathon session). Roll on Season 4B!

What Happens In Kavos - for the uninitiated, this is a Channel 4 documentary series about young adults jetting off to the titular Greek resort for a cheap holiday that's nothing more than sun, sea, sex, and astonishing amounts of alcohol. It's eyebrow-raising, jaw-dropping stuff ... like watching animals in a zoo, but with sloshed Brits mangling the English language and throwing every last shred of caution and decency to the wind.

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes & flavours for December 2013...

Double Bill Mini Musings: Hard Partridge...

A Good Day To Die Hard:
What's it about?
Fifth film in the Bruce Willis action franchise. John Sr goes to Russia to help out John Jr, who is actually an undercover CIA operative seeking to bring down a terrorist organisation threatening to unleash nuclear war.
Who would I recognise in it?
Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Oh dear ... half the time Willis looks bored starring in this surprisingly brief Die Hard outing, which is hardly surprising seeing as John Sr appears to be playing second-fiddle in his own movie. The father/son plot is rough and shoe-horned into action sequences at inappropriate moments, the action is big and dumb and accomplished - but goes waaaaay beyond the 'average guy in an extraordinary situation' vibe of the original. Falls from great distances and leaps through glass windows are dime-a-dozen events, but the worst offender is the climax - going from Moscow to Chernobyl (even though they technically visit Pripyat), which is a big old distance by car (and in an entirely different country), in a couple of hours, and then not requiring any radioactive protection (despite most of the bad guys being fully geared-up).

Director John Moore (of the abysmal Max Payne movie) tries to sling as many explosions, trashed cars, and slow motion at the screen as possible to cover up all the narrative nonsense that fails to grasp your intrigue, but you can't do a damn thing to distract from the logic leaps in this dim-witted load of old noise. Some moments are good fun (such as a rush hour chase through Moscow, and a safe house attack), but when your franchise star doesn't seem to give a stuff (not to mention the screenwriters), why on earth should we? Sometimes shite, and only alright at best.

Click "READ MORE" below for a siege in Norfolk...

Monday 30 December 2013

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Holidays, Punching, Fighting, and Walking...

What's it about?
Dark comedy about a British couple who go away on a caravanning holiday and end up committing a series of impulsive murders.
Who would I recognise in it?
Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Tony Way, Richard Lumsden.
Taking the sort of low-level social nuisances that would normally only raise a reserved under-the-breath tut and tisk, and punishing them with full-blown murder (flinging people off cliffs, bashing their heads in, etc), Ben 'Kill List' Wheatley's film (written by the two stars) combines efficient arms-reach character study with quirky slaughter. The characters are beautifully drawn - complex, yet lightly sketched, warm and relatable yet capable of sudden outbursts of violence - and the balance of the film never dives too far into comedy or too far into savagery. Writing a sad letter can be lit up by a gigantic gift shop pencil, or a typically English quarrel about dog muck can explode into head-crushing brutality, and all these tonal shifts work together seamlessly. Uniquely British in all regards. On the cusp between good and great.

Click "READ MORE" below for Kick Ass 2, This Is The End, and The Hobbit 2...

Friday 20 December 2013

Triple Bill Mini Musings: December 2013...

Cloud Atlas:
What's it about?
Centuries-spanning sci-fi epic from The Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer that's pretty damn hard to summarise.
Who would I recognise in it?
Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Keith David, Ben Wishaw, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, and more.
Covering numerous intertwining stories that cross centuries, cultures, nations, genders, sexualities, race, and more, this near-three-hour venture is a tough sell from the get-go. However, the sprawling story is chopped up into constantly changing bite-size chunks, so you're always getting a new piece of information, and a different setting at regular intervals. Themes of imprisonment (physical, mental, or social), slavery, and good-versus-evil bind the disparate tales together, all of which feature the same group of actors in different guises. Actors swap gender, race, and colour, just to make things a little trickier, but at the same time surprisingly more cohesive than you'd initially think. Told across various points in history (slavery-era 19th century, pre-WW2, the 1970s, the present day, futuristic Neo-Seoul, a strange post-apocalypse, and then even further into the future), it's a heavy load at first, but the constant drip-feed of answers and questions keeps the film fresh and the pace moving forward. It certainly won't be to everyone's tastes, and while I was dubious at the start of the film, by the end I was won-over. It's strange, it's out-there, it's complex, but it's a smart and commendable piece of filmmaking that can't manage to reach the dizzying heights of The Matrix, but easily swats away the overblown funk of Speed Racer. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for Compliance, and Seduce & Abandoned...

Sunday 15 December 2013

He Knows You're Alone (Armand Mastroianni, 1980) Review

Find more film reviews here.

In 1978 John Carpenter's Halloween (following the likes of Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Black Christmas) popularised the slasher movie format to such an extent that a torrent of imitators would soon follow. Some became enduring genre classics like Friday the 13th, while others were rushed knock-offs … He Knows You're Alone is, unfortunately, one of the latter. However, some of its cast members went on to become very well known – one of whom even became an A-List Oscar winner.

Click “READ MORE” below for the full review, many more screenshots, and to find out who the Oscar Winning cast member is...

Wednesday 11 December 2013

2019 After the Fall of New York (Sergio Martino 1983) Review

Find more film reviews here.

“Since the nuclear holocaust, twenty years have passed.” Many of the Italian film-makers who became best known for a particular genre – be it giallo, cannibals, zombies, etc – were experienced in a range of genres. During the 1970s and 1980s the Italian film industry was booming as socio-political upheaval provided impetus for change and ideas for screenplays, and productions sought to become ever more ambitious. In 1983, Sergio Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Torso) unleashed an audacious – if derivative – sci-fi action extravaganza that stretched its modest budget far and wide with obliterated cityscapes, vehicular combat, and even a space shuttle.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Walking Dead/Laughing Dead meme stats...

Find Walking Dead memes here.

The good folks over at The Laughing Dead - a group dedicated to Walking Dead memes - share some of the memes that I make with their community via Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the many more they share from around the web and of their own creation.

Click "READ MORE" below for the stats...

Sunday 8 December 2013

Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (Umberto Lenzi, 1972) Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

“Let's make a hypothesis – two dead girls and a single killer.” Umberto Lenzi (Eyeball, Oasis of Fear) traditionally kicks off his films with a quick-firing few minutes to get the audience's pulse racing, and Seven Blood-Stained Orchids is no different. A black-gloved killer driving through the night accompanied by composer Riz Ortolani's laid-back grooves, the ever-present flick knife gleaming in the moon light, a home invasion, and then the savage bludgeoning of a prostitute – Lenzi isn't one for hanging around during his opening act.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Silent Night (Steven C. Miller, 2012) DVD Review

Find more film reviews here.

Based on the 1984 slasher film Silent Night Deadly Night, which inspired controversy and parental panic across the United States upon its release, this 2012 remake takes the basic premise – a vengeful killer in a Santa suit slaughtering their way through a small town – and runs with it in a sufficiently different and more detailed direction.

Click “READ MORE” below for the full review and many more screenshots...

Monday 2 December 2013

War & Feels Edition: The Walking Dead 4x08 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Bloody nora, that was a bit of an epic slice of drama wasn't it?! The mid-season finale was an adrenaline-pumping hit in the feel-bag, so have a bumper collection of episode memes - 12 in all!

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Serious Governor, Serious Business...

Click "READ MORE" below for eleven more memes ***EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD***

Friday 29 November 2013

Flavours of the Month: November 2013...


Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (Blu-Ray/DVD) - an exhaustive seven hour documentary on the entire Friday the 13th franchise. It's a shame that an early stab at covering the series ("His Name Was Jason", by some of the same people) recurs so frequently here - pre-existing interview footage is used liberally. However, even if you're familiar with HNWJ, you're in for a real treat (particularly with fresh interviews and rare clips). Based on the exceedingly excellent book of the same name by Peter M. Bracke.

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes & flavours for my November 2013...

Thursday 28 November 2013

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Figures, Rims, Weeds, and Videos...

Dick Figures The Movie:
What's it about?
Feature-length action-fest version of the online animation series about bumbling stick figures Red and Blue and their various cohorts. Pink's birthday is coming up and Blue wants to be the best boyfriend ever, so he needs to get her a great present and so, if he returns a special sword to The Racoon, he'll receive the ideal gift ... but booze-and-boob-obsessed so-called best buddy Red is coming along for the ride. All hell promptly breaks loose.
Who would I recognise in it?
Everyone you're familiar with from the original web series.
Fans of the web show will be in hog's heaven. Epic action, impressive animation, laugh-out-loud silliness (from the gross to the utterly random), endlessly inventive asides, and a brisk pace make this well worth checking out. It's available to view on YouTube (in 12 parts), or to buy through services like iTunes, and coming soon on DVD/Blu-Ray. Scattergun, lewd, crude, hyperactive - but all in the best way. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for giant-sized fights, a pot-fuelled Xmas, and nasty videos...

Monday 25 November 2013

Governor Edition 2: The Walking Dead 4x07 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Only one more episode to go before the mid-season break and it's all about to kick off! While you're waiting with baited breath for the rumble, have four new memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: No cheeky glances for him anymore...

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of this week's memes ***EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD***...

Monday 18 November 2013

Governor Edition: The Walking Dead 4x06 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Well, The Governor's back, and even a bad guy can inspire sympathy. He can also inspire 7 new memes.

Click to Enlarge: Now all he needs is a peg-leg...

Click "READ MORE" below for 6 more memes *EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD*...

Monday 11 November 2013

Hershel Edition: The Walking Dead 4x05 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Only three more episodes to go before the mid-season break and some serious shit is heading our way - in the mean time, have eight brand spanking new TWD memes.

Click to Enlarge: Cheater Hershel's got the power...

Click "READ MORE" below for seven more 4x05 memes... ***WARNING: EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD***

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eye (Antonio Margheriti, 1973) DVD Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

With gialli, you'd usually find a straight-razor-wielding maniac running amok in and around the beautiful architecture of an Italian city (often-times Rome), but Antonio (Cannibal Apocalypse) Margheriti's Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eye (aka Cat's Murdering Eye) stands out from the crowd with a Scottish setting in a coldly gothic castle. It's as if the frenzied slew of 1970s giallo crashed head-first with a mist-wreathed Hammer Horror Film.

Click “READ MORE” below for the full review and many more screenshots...

Monday 4 November 2013

Conflict Resolution: The Walking Dead 4x04 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

We're half-way through this portion of episodes already and the drama just keeps on cranking up - so have 5 new memes for episode 4x04 "Indifference".

Click to Enlarge: Michonne can't look away...

Click "READ MORE" below for 4 more memes...

Thursday 31 October 2013

Flavours of the Month: October 2013...


South Park Season 17 - recent seasons have seen a dip in quality, or perhaps expectations got in the way. Now though, after a slightly extended hiatus, we've had five good ones in a row - perhaps the apparent tweaks to how the show is written have paid off. Hopefully this upswing is set to continue.

The Walking Dead Season 3 (Blu-Ray) - TWD in HD, yes please. It's a shame there weren't more extras (and why they didn't include the making of featurettes AMC put on YouTube is anyone's guess), although I am yet to listen to the commentaries. There are some issues with the third season, mostly confined to the back half of the season - most specifically episodes 3x11, 3x13 and most especially 3x14, whereby pacing became incredibly mixed (both inside each episode, and across the overall arc of the season). I wrote on Homepage of the Dead about how some of these problems could have been tweaked. Not enough to sink the season by any stretch of the imagination, but they were unfortunate mis-steps in an otherwise satisfying season.

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes and flavours...

Tuesday 29 October 2013

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (Luciano Ercoli, 1970) DVD Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

Typically, giallo films centre around a crazed killer dispatching beautiful women, or anyone who blocks their path for vengeance, but there are occasions where the genre strays further afield, and the lines of definition begin to blur. Step forth Luciano Ercoli's elaborately-named The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion, a mysterious psycho-sexual tale of bourgeois blackmail.

Click “READ MORE” below for the full review and many more screenshots...

Monday 28 October 2013

Zoom-In Edition: The Walking Dead 4x03 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

We're now three episodes deep into season four - another good episode, but not one particularly suited to meme-making ... still though, here's four brand new TWD memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: How will he pass the time now?

Click "READ MORE" below for three more memes **SPOILERS AHEAD**...

Saturday 26 October 2013

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Ilsa Trilogy Edition...

Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (1975):
What's the Plot?
The first appearance of Dyanne Thorne's exploitation icon - the savage and sensual Ilsa of various employ. Set during World War II, the film takes place in an isolated prisoner camp used primarily for sadistic medical tests, as well as Ilsa's own private experimentations in search of supporting her theory that women are far more capable of dealing with pain than men (cue some rather graphic and disturbing brutalities). However, with an Americanised German native by the name of Wolf brought to the camp, an uprising is soon in the offing - as well as the chance for Ilsa to finally be sated between the sheets.

Raunch Factor?
Numerous energetic sexual encounters between Ilsa and Wolf - who is capable of lasting as long as he wants - sometimes involving a couple of her female cohorts. Thorne fans get plenty of bang for their buck. Frequent nudity in general, too, albeit sometimes in rather distasteful contexts.

Gore Volume?
This is the most savage entry in the series with particularly nasty blood-soaked interludes in the medical wing throughout the film. Boiled flesh, ocular trauma, death-by-lashing, bodies ravaged by disease and so on. It gets pretty rough at times and even seasoned genre fans will find their limits tested.

What's the Vibe?
Quite nasty and rather tasteless, in essence, and yet understandably iconic in exploitation cinema. The fact that it takes place during WWII and inside a prison camp makes the tone particularly horrible and mean-spirited. What's more, the generally bleak tone sits decidedly at odds with the campy exploitation elements (e.g. the athletic bedroom antics in Ilsa's private residence). Even stranger is that this film, filled with such brutality, was shot on the same set as beloved American TV sitcom Hogan's Heroes. Exploiting Nazis and WWII for entertainment isn't anything new by any means, but She-Wolf of the SS frequently crosses the boundaries of taste that makes for an uneven viewing experience, stuck somewhere between grindhouse titillation and repulsive recreation. Even the sense of relieving triumph come the finale takes a swift beat-down.

Click "READ MORE" below for an extra double-helping of Ilsa's persuasive charms...

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Watch Me When I Kill (Antonio Bido, 1977) DVD Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

Otherwise known as “The Cat's Victims” or “The Cat With The Jade Eyes”, Watch Me When I Kill was Antonio Bido's first foray into the world of giallo filmmaking. Coming from a background in art house film, Bido wanted a commercial hit that would appeal in equal measure to film buffs and general audiences. Taking inspiration from the likes of Hitchcock and Argento, and combining the original, artier script with more mainstream adaptations, Watch Me When I Kill came into being.

Click “READ MORE” below for the full review and many more screenshots...

Tuesday 22 October 2013

"Brother of Mine" (2013)

"Brother of Mine" is a short dramatic film in which Sean Connell ("Skinner") plays Thomas, a man seeking revenge in the long-running wake of a family tragedy.

Click "READ MORE" below for more information on the film...

Monday 21 October 2013

Singing For Your Breakfast Edition: The Walking Dead 4x02 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

We're two episodes deep into season four now, and it's already getting emotional - debrief with some memes.

Click each image for FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Beth's got this covered...

Click "READ MORE" below for more memes - **minor spoilers ahead**...

Saturday 19 October 2013

New short film coming soon...

Last week I shot a new short film with Sean ("Trapped", "Signing Off", "Skinner") and his brother Ben ("Trapped", "I Am Zombie Man 2") - editing is underway, and so here's a couple of preview screenshots.

The film will be posted up on my YouTube Channel as soon as it's done, which won't be too long.

Thursday 17 October 2013

The Las Vegas Serial Killer (Wolfgang Schmidt, 1987) Review

Find more film reviews here.

Just like with The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher, Ray Dennis Steckler is under the guises of Wolfgang Schmidt and Sven Christian as Director, Cinematographer and Editor of this sketchy 1987 follow-up, which continues in much the same vein as its predecessor.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots...

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Killers & Writers...

What's it about?
A taxi driving serial killer called Bob abducts a mother and child, takes them home, kills the mother, and then keeps the nine year old boy chained up in his house for close to a decade, treating him like a dog and his own post-kill cleaning attendant.
Who would I recognise in it?
Vincent D'Onofrio, Julia Ormond, Jake Weber.
Written and Directed by Jennifer Lynch - daughter of David, thus partly explaining the sheer darkness of this intensely disturbing psychological horror - Chained makes for a bleak but fascinating watch. Everything is deliberate and calculated, there are moments of shocking psychological conditioning, and the deep-freeze coldness of the selection and killing of victims by Bob is decidedly unsettling. The central performances by D'Onofrio (killer Bob, simmering threat and full stops in all the wrong places) and Eamon Farren (captive Tim, gaunt and painfully quiet) are utterly captivating - at times terrifying - while Lynch keeps the film moving forward at a precise pace. So pitch-perfect is the film for the duration that's it's confusing when a late-in-the-game development nearly derails everything ... however, recall one particular detail of a flashback and suddenly a bizarre left-field punch turns into a typically deliberate calculation that feeds right back into the nurture-over-nature theme. The last minutes do exhibit moments of messiness, but then maybe that's the point. Easily one of the most unsettling films I've ever seen. Great.

Click "READ MORE" below for one dud and one hit...

Tuesday 15 October 2013

The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher (Wolfgang Schmidt, 1979) Review

Find more film reviews here.

Wolfgang Schmidt is actually a pseudonym for Ray Dennis Steckler, who is best known for his 1963 movie “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies”. Steckler had numerous aliases which included Sven Christian – credited here in a dual-role of Cinematographer and Editor – and was well known for working on an extremely low budget (sometimes just a few thousand dollars).

If you're into ultra low budget, down-and-dirty slasher flicks, then you've come to the right place.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots...

Monday 14 October 2013

Story Time Edition: The Walking Dead 4x01 Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Season 4 is finally underway and that means it's time for some more TWD memes!

Click each image to view FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: The boy's growing up...

Click to Enlarge: The new-look season!

Click "READ MORE" below for more memes from the season 4 premiere (SPOILERS AHEAD)...

Saturday 5 October 2013

The Walking Dead: Season 2 & Bonus Memes...

Find more Walking Dead memes here.

Season 4 is nearly with us, so in the meantime I've been doing what a lot have been doing - having a TWD marathon of the first three seasons on DVD/BluRay boxset - and it's inspired a bundle of new memes.

N.B. Click on each image for their FULL SIZE.

Click to Enlarge: Dale's got experience.

Click to Enlarge: Victory will be Hershel's.

Click "READ MORE" below for a barn load of more memes...

Monday 30 September 2013

Flavours of the Month: September 2013...


The Newsroom Season 2 - I rather enjoy watching this quick-witted TV news drama, even if some of the characters leave me cold and every single protagonist talks in the same fast-lipped, quick-fire come-back style. There's just something about it that keeps me watching and keeps me entertained.

Back to the Future Trilogy (Blu-Ray) - I've got them taped of the telly, I've got the 3-disc DVD boxset, and now I've got the 3-disc BluRay boxset. The films look stunning and the new special features are a treat. One thing though - whoever put the discs together needs a slap - there's so many screens of bullshit before you even get to the menu, and then when you finally do get to it, there's these awful button sound effects which re-appear, even when you've turned them off, when you re-insert the disc. Every. Single. Time. Pages of bullshit ... you can cumulatively feel minutes of your life wasting away ... some discs are very good about getting you where you want to be very quickly, while others are very happy to repeatedly waste your time (non-skip-able warnings and endless trailer-reels are particular affronts to viewing pleasure). Aside from that it's Back to the Future, so what's not to love?!

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes and flavours of my September 2013...

Tuesday 24 September 2013

YouTube Finds: September 2013 Edition...

Posting has been a bit slow this month what with finishing up a new DVD project, putting finishing touches to another screenplay, and a little game you might have heard of by the name of GTA V, so here's some videos that I've particularly enjoyed in recent weeks on YouTube.

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Edgar Wright, and Steve Jones on All Star Celebrity Bowling:


A superb zombie short film, which is also perhaps the saddest and most poignant zombie film ever made.

Click "READ MORE" below for many more YouTube Finds...

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Double Bill Mini Musings: Iron Men & Iron Bars...

Iron Man 3
What's it about?
If you don't know about Iron Man by now, then where have you been? Tony Stark/Iron Man comes unstuck when international terrorist The Mandarin starts causing global chaos while the 'extremis' biological development only makes things worse.
Who would I recognise in it?
Robert Downey Jr, Gweneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, James Badge Dale, William Sadler, Paul Bettany, Miguel Ferrer.
Better than the second, not as good as the first. In spite of few plot holes and story jumps, the script is breezy and sassy enough to make this a hell of a fun ride. Director and Co-Writer Shane Black works his sardonic magic - a summer blockbuster that's set at Christmas, a precocious kid side-kick, innumerable withering put-downs, and an audience-splitting 180 degree blindsiding reveal, all make this a thoroughly enjoyable time. Some might gripe that 'there's not enough Iron Man in it', but there's plenty of iron-fisted mayhem come the finale. Focusing more on Tony Stark this time around makes things more personal and ties up some loose character ends - Iron Man 3 is, after all, the beginning of 'Marvel Phase II' after the billion-dollar juggernaut that was The Avengers. Much better that they play with the formula somewhat rather than just stick rigidly to the same old tricks we've seen before. Good.

Click "READ MORE" below for sleazy reform...

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Arse-kicking, Exploitation & Exploration...

Taken 2:
What's it about?
Revenge-fuelled sequel to the original Liam Neeson arse-kicker about a man with a particular set of skills suffering the consequences of his rampage of violence from the first movie, which was all predicated on rescuing his daughter from traffickers.
Who would I recognise in it?
Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Jansen, Rade Serbedzija, Jon Gries, Leland Orser.
I'd heard some pretty bad things about it so I went in expecting the worst, but was pleasantly surprised in general. It's definitely not as good as the original, which was a surprisingly good and rather brutal action flick filled with memorable moments, but the sequel isn't a huge let down either. That said, with the filmmakers aiming for a PG-13 release in the states (which was further trimmed for a piss-weak 12A in the UK), it all feels like a soft scoop version of what came before - necks and bones are broken soundlessly, blood has been digitally removed or desaturated, and the extremely dark and sinister undertones of the original are mostly absent. There's a harder cut that was released on home video, but annoyingly the version shown on Sky Movies was the watered down cut of the flick. Director Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3, and Colombiana, both of which were lacklustre affairs) has put out a good-looking movie, even if the fight scenes become a tad jumbled with shaky cam fast cuts, but it's a hard act to follow the original film's Pierre Morel (District 13). See it in the uncut form, and expect a drop in quality, and without the spine-tingling moments of the original, and you'll see a serviceable follow-up - not great, not awful. Alright.

Click "READ MORE" below for more mini movie musings...

Saturday 31 August 2013

Flavours of the Month: August 2013...


The Kevin Pollak Chat Show - it's a little rough around the edges, and Sam Levine's semi-off-camera interjections don't float my boat, but there's some good and lengthy interviews to see on YouTube. Some I've dug into this month have been Ed O'Neil, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and a massively entertaining sit-down with the reliably verbose John Landis who has a veritable shedload of fascinating and entertaining stories from his decades in the movie industry to share. The shows are good because it's just two people having a relaxed and varied chat - although Pollak could ask his questions faster and more succinctly.

Click "READ MORE" below for more looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Autopsy (Armando Crispino, 1975) Review

Find more giallo reviews here.

Otherwise known as “The Magician” or “Macchie Solari” (“Sunspots”), this is a review of the uncut version of the film which clocks in at 100 minutes, as opposed to the 85 minute cut.

“People have been knocking themselves off like flies.” Thrust into the boiling hot, blinding white light of the sun – as solar flares erupt and moans of sexual ecstasy call out – Armando Crispino's giallo gets off to a fast-paced and violent start. A rash of suicides plague the beautiful city of Rome as it bakes in the August sun – a woman slits her wrists, a man wraps a bag over his head before diving into a river, another blows himself up in his petrol-drenched car, and a father shoots himself to death after slaughtering his own children.

“It seems sweet to die in August.” There is a blood-soaked madness spreading through the populace, and the morgue is jam-packed with mutilated cadavers – but is every single one of these apparent suicides what they appear to be? Might this be the ideal time for a killer to strike and hide their devious deeds under the guise of suicide?

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots...

Thursday 15 August 2013

Evil Dead (2013) – an all-out stream of fan thoughts...

As a huge fan of the original 1981 movie – it is one of my most cherished formative cinematic experiences – I was frustrated to hear that it was going to receive the remake treatment. However, the news that the original producers – Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell – were going to be involved softened the punch. If the progenitors were offering hands-on guidance, then perhaps this remake could steer clear of offensive trash like the 2010 remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street, and aim for worthwhile and respectful endeavours like the 2010 remake of The Crazies.

Well, I've finally been able to check it out (on Blu-Ray) and here's the essential meat of my view – I like it, but I don't love it. Mercifully it avoids the ANOES2010-like level of abusive suckage, but there are a few too many awkward quirks and overly-slick problems for it to match my respect (perhaps, even, love) for the likes of The Hills Have Eyes 2006, or Maniac2013 (admittedly, the 'worthy remakes' club is a rather exclusive one).

Rather than a straight review, I'm going to dive into the film from an obsessed fan's perspective, picking through the movie – my loves, my likes, and my hates – piece-by-piece – and go for some horror nerd analysis.

Click “READ MORE” below for a blow-by-blow, slice-by-gouge, hack-by-slash run-down of Evil Dead 2013...

Wednesday 14 August 2013

The ABCs of Death (2013) Review...

Anthology horror films are experiencing a regained sense of rude health of late, particularly with high profile flicks like V/H/S and it's sequel, but The ABCs of Death manages to strike new ground within the anthology horror sub-genre – put simply: 26 Directors, 26 Ways to Die

However, the trouble with anthology films is that not all parts are equal, with some failing to measure up at all – so what will it be for this inventive onslaught of horror? Hits, misses, and the iffy in-betweens all coming up for all 26 shorts.

Click “READ MORE” below to learn your ABCs...

Monday 12 August 2013

Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (Sergio Martino, 1972) Review

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In the year following his masterpiece giallo The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (1971), Director Sergio Martino returned to the genre with this sordid tale of the Italian aristocracy gone wrong.

“Of course, you'd much rather be drinking from my skull.” Kick-starting under the oil-painted gaze of the recently deceased matriarch of the Rouvigny family, Martino introduces us to the excesses of the Italian aristocracy, housed within a crumbling and hollow mansion. As free-loving guests from a nearby commune enjoy the free booze, and a grope of slave/servant Brenda, the bitter marriage of Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli, The Good The Bad & The Ugly) and Irina (Anita Strindberg, Who Saw Her Die) is laid bare to all without a care in Oliviero's mind.

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Sunday 11 August 2013

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings:

The World's End:
What's it about?
Terminal man-child Gary King gets his mates back together to re-attempt "the golden mile" pub crawl which bested them the last time, back when they were teenagers. However, all is not as it seems in their home town of Newton Haven - cue alien replicants and fisticuffs aplenty.
Who would I recognise in it?
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, and shedloads more.
Shaun of the Dead became an instant classic mixing romantic comedy with zombie-thwacking carnage and a poignant sense of brink-of-30 fear. Hot Fuzz was full-bore action comedy, a hyperactive shoot-em-up that threw every piece of lead at the screen ... but despite the machine-gun guffaws, it was lacking in emotional heft. The World's End - the third and final in the "Cornetto trilogy" - rediscovers the Wright/Pegg sense of English heart, combines it with gloopy-comedy-gore, full-on and non-stop laughs, and a surprisingly dark undertone. Pegg deserves considerable plaudits for making Gary King not only an entertaining character, but a sympathetic one - earning pity, laughs, and respect - in spite of the character's selfish, drug-fuelled, arrested development ways. Likewise, Frost stretches himself as a weary white collar lawyer who becomes a boozed-up, head-smashing Hulk. A sense of freshness underlines the alien invasion plot - something other recent 'alien invasion comedies' didn't bother with (The Watch, for example) - and really, the only minus-point is the threadbare arc for Pike's Sam. The World's End is a well crafted and extremely pleasing close to the Cornetto Trilogy. Great.

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Sunday 4 August 2013

Eyeball (Umberto Lenzi, 1975) Review

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Umberto Lenzi is best known for such violence-spewing film fare as Nightmare City and Cannibal Ferox, but as a director who dipped his toe into numerous pools, some of his other work has faded into the background. Lenzi's optic-bothering giallo Eyeball is one such obscure effort.

“The flowers of death? I'm far from ready.” A bus-load of American tourists are in Barcelona to see the sights but, for some, the glint of a raised dagger will be the last image to flash across their moist little peepers. The holidaying ensemble are a motley bunch – the unhappily married Alvarados, a grandfather with his bored granddaughter Jenny, shifty-looking Reverend Bronson (George Rigaud, The Case of the Bloody Iris), letchy photographer Lisa and her lesbian muse Naiba, all leaving secretary Paulette (Martine Brochard) looking positively dull by comparison.

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Saturday 3 August 2013

Hextuple Bill Mini Musings: Limos, Aliens, Monsters, Soldiers, Savages, and Murders...

What's it about?
A successful rich bloke hops in his limo to go and get a haircut. He then proceeds to talk utter bollocks with a random collection of arseholes for 105 interminable minutes.
Who would I recognise in it?
Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton, Kevin Durand, Mathieu Amalric, Jay Baruchel.
Exceptionally stylish, David Cronenberg's "psycho-thriller" is a visual treat, but the script (by DC, based on Don De Lillo's novel) is wilfully obtuse and keeps the audience at a belligerent arm's length for the entire duration. Side characters drift in-and-out for vignette's where people we don't know, or understand, talk in the most poncy, inaccessible manner about stuff we - at best - only half-get in general terms. It's an audience-splitter to say the least. The DVD comes with a making of as-long as the film itself - but I've not braved it yet - perhaps that'll shed a bit of light on all this malarkey, but I just couldn't access this Cronenberg outing. It's a shame as I usually enjoy his work so much (I recently checked out A Dangerous Method, and rather dug it). Alright.

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Wednesday 31 July 2013

Flavours of the Month: July 2013...


The Returned - this 8-part French supernatural series (that's not about zombies, despite what numerous lazy news articles claim - hint: the clue's in the title "Les Revenants") has been a real joy to watch. Beautifully crafted in all regards, it's a mystery that keeps on giving - so many questions, and thankfully numerous answers. There's the big central mystery that will go unanswered until the very end - naturally - but there are innumerable medium-and-mini mysteries throughout, which are either answered, or brought further into focus by small pieces of new information in each episode. There's always a sense of forward momentum, so the mystery never becomes frustrating or stagnant. Bring on series 2!

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Sunday 21 July 2013

The Bloodstained Shadow (Antonio Bido, 1978) DVD Review

Otherwise known as 'Solamente Nero' in its native Italy, The Bloodstained Shadow is a twisted and highly atmospheric giallo directed and co-written by Antonio Bido (Watch Me When I Kill) set in a 'hypothetical Venice' where murder, Catholicism, and alternative spiritualism clash in a semi-blasphemous mystery wreathed in mist and deadly shadows.

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