Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Horror...part 5: The Final Nail In The Coffin

We have reached the final part of my scary film countdown.
I will try and cram in the last few but the list keeps expanding!

Here Goes.

Halloween (1978)

Very little needs to be said about Halloween, Its a brilliant taught horror that makes me jump every time. And I seriously couldn't have a post without mentioning Donald Pleasence.
Maybe the best horror soundtrack ever made, Carpenter based it on a simple technique he was taught while learning the piano as a child.

Dead Of Night (1945)

Classic... What's not to love or be scared of. Eailings finest hour. I'm sure that everyones favorite story is the one with the Ventriloquists dummy staring Michael Redgrave.

The Omen (1976)

Another horror much loved from childhood. I love the great 70s feel to this film. It has a fantastic cast and the David Warner decapitation was probably the goriest thing I had seen when I was young. Great fun.

Special mentions:

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Terrifying ending. This picture says it all.


Cemetery Man (1994)

Great smart and funny film from Michele Soavi. Based on the Dylan Dog comics, I think this film is really underrated. The end is horrible. Thats why its on the list.

Martin (1976)

Nasty Masterpiece from Romero.

Uzumaki (2000)
Junji Ito's comics make me feel sick...This film made me feel very sick.

Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Best fun I have had at the cinema. A real Roller coatser/Ghost train of a film.


I think most of the films which made my lists have been films which I have grown up with.
Was I more easily scared? I was tried to write my list quickly so it was a more instinctual memory of fear.
I'm very surprised that there are no Dario Argento films on my list though I really love his films, I guess I don't find him that scary? Suspiria is amazing and is lurid and iconic but I couldn't honestly put it on the list.
No Zombie films either. I think that Fulcis Zombie Flesh Eaters is the scariest Zombie film (sorry Romero) and I think its a great film but Zombie films never really scare me either.
No Evil Dead, another surprise. I think parts 2 and 3 have made me forget about how horrid the first part is.
No Peter Jackson. Bad Taste is one of my all time favorites but its not really a fright fest.
Sadly no place for Polanski or Del Toro.
Other films that maybe could have been mentioned are Jaws,Texas Chainsaw Massacre,Society,The Orphanage,Black Sabbath,Masque Of The Red Death,Santa Sangre and Rosemary's Baby.

I guess It's not a list of great horror as Eyes Without A face would be near the top, its a list of great horror which shocks.

Sleep tight.
Don't have nightmares.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Secret Cinema Clubb

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Monday, 17 October 2011

The Horror...part 4: The Creeping Flesh

Chaos Reigns.

The Haunting (1963)

The Grandaddy of Horror.
This film is more Tense and Packed full of shocks than any horror made today.
To follow this dark malignant evil film Robert Wise made The Sound Of Music!
Wise can do more with a Camera zoom and and sound effect than a director with a bag full of CGI tricks.This film looks and sounds like no other.
The influence from this film runs very wide.
Its usually along with the next film one of the first horrors that children get to see.
This doesn't make sense to me as this film relies on your imagination so it was a bit much for a young mind.
Such a classic. Martin Scorsese has said this is his favorite horror film.
Julie Harris is superb also.
Do not even consider the remake.

Poltergeist (1982)

A fun child friendly roller coaster horror that scared me so much when I was a kid.
Was it directed by Tobe Hooper or did Speilberg take over?
It certainly has elements of both directors but feels to me that its more Hooper imitating Speilbergs style.
Many great scenes in this horror, the man eating the chicken with maggots on it then ripping his face off, The killer tree, the killer Clown (the star of everybody's irrational fear of clowns?), the decomposed bodies popping up through the ground.
A really smart Script and plot about 8os American dreams ruined by an Indian burial ground.
I love how the film moves for curious fun to absolute terror.
One of my all time favorite trailers also.

The Descent (2005)

Great fresh (well 70s fresh) British Horror from Neil Marshal.
Pot holing would be my idea of hell anyway and this film really squeezes you into those tight spaces.
Great subtle creatures, Marshal had his monsters on set most of the time never telling his cast they just blended in with the scenery.
Violent, shocking, relentless and very bleak.
Marshal has potential to be the British Carpenter, if only he didn't want to be him so much.
Didn't need a sequel.

Night Of The Demon (1957)

Many great M.R James adaptations around particularly in TV such as Whistle And I'll Come To You.
The great Jacques Tornneur directs this superior Supernatural horror. And I think this one really is British! He never intended to show the Demon just suggest its presence but I'm glad he was persuaded as its one of the most memorable movie monsters the way it appears is very creepy. Niall MacGinnis plays a different side of evil as the leader of the Satanic cult which is very playful and light.

Antichrist (2009)

The most recent on my list and one of the most disturbing.
Nature is Satans church and Chaos Reigns.
Lars Von Trier feels he unsuccessfully tried to make a horror film but I disagree.
Its horror on another level, intelligent and perplexing.
It looks phenomenal and Lars utalises his super slo-mo to maximum effect.
I can barley watch some of the gore, its just too much.
I don't think this is Von Triers greatest horror though,that would be Kingdom.
Also Antichrist could have benefited from some Udo Kier action! But Willam Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg give two very intense performances which take us right back to Possession.
Shocking, hypnotic and beautiful.
I really wish I had bought an Antichrist T-Shirt from the Zentropa website.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Horror...part 3: The Unholy Offering.

"In the blink of an eye, the terror begins."

Life force (1985)
I first watched this when I was young.
I can still remember the review in the paper that made me watch it.
"Naked,vampire,sex,zombies from outer space". How could I not watch this film?
Another underrated film, this time directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Dan O'Bannon.
Its great fun set in the Uk with a great British cast.
It was a troubled production that ran out of money, and Hooper had wanted a longer cut. I have it on DVD and just thinking about it makes me want to put it on. Its on this list because I think the special effects are superb and disturbing. I really like the spaceship designs, but its the life force sucking zombies that really impress me. Great Skeletal puppets that explode.

Creepshow (1982)
My favorite film to watch on Halloween. Such great fun, made with love. It look just like the EC comics its inspired by. I am a massive fan of portamento horror films, we made some fantastic ones in the 70s particularly the work of Amicus. There isn't one duff story here. So what's so scary?
Leslie Neilson?
I always struggle with cockroaches and the "They're Creeping Up On You" story always hits a nerve. Apparently they lost a lot of cockroaches while filming that and the little beasties took up residence in the studio. Also the heart breaking Stephen king story "The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill" totally creeps me out. Every time I watch it I think don't suck your finger.
What a colorful and joyous horror.
Just watching the trailer has made me squirm.

Death Line (1973)
What a misleading poster and what an amazing film.
Although it has an American director I think this is one of the greatest British horror films ever made.
Its Grim and dirty, a similar filthy feel as Hitchcocks Frenzy.
Death Line has some fantastic special effects for the time and its pretty full on with the gore.
It features a sympathetic and a beautifully crafted creature who feels like a victim not a monster. Very much in the Frankenstein mode, The only words the creature can speak are "Mind the doors", its amazing how much meaning Hugh Armstrong puts into those 3 words.
Its pretty obvious that I have a massive man crush on Donald Pleasence,His character in this film is insane.
"Make me a cup of tea"!
He plays his part with great relish and has such an honest last line which pretty much sums up what we are all thinking.
Funny Christopher Lee cameo also.
This film really feels like an anomaly in the history of British horror and doesn't ever get mentioned. We should put this right!
The director Gary Sherman didn't make another film for nearly 10 years after this. he followed Death Line up with Dead and Buried another great Dan O'Bannon film.
If someone could do a special edition which CGI'd out the annoying "Swinging" couple then I'm sure this film would be greater than Citizen Kane (Ha!)
Watch it.
Oh Soundtrack is awesome too. Trunk have done a lovely vinyl of it. Pure Sleaze.

An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Don't ever take me for granted.
I'm An American Werewolf In London and I am a masterpiece.
I was in a room with John Landis last year and all I could think was American Werewolf, American Werewolf...
Another film of love and understanding.
So much of modern horror is owed to this film. I'm going to claim its another British Horror classic (I know).
This films good fun,right? Its really funny, lightweight, you know for kids. Wrong!
This film terrified me. One of my first horrors. My baby sitters boyfriend (who was an animator on Raggy Dolls!) bought this round one night. He really wanted to watch it but my "Carer" thought it would be too scary. Not at all its funny not scary at all was his response. They had to turn the film off when it got to the scene with the Muppets and those weird Nazi creatures, especially the bit where one jumps through the window when Jenny Agutter opens the curtains. I cried...a lot.
Watched it again about a year later this time with my parents when it was on TV. Didn't get much further again. I spent the night in bed with my parents and I swear all the dogs on our estate decided to howl on that moonlit night just to scare me further.
I love it now but its the one film which utterly terrified me.
Great soundtrack and Rick Baker is a genius. This is a really well made film.
But please don't show this to your kids.

Alien (1979)

There has been so much written and said about Alien that I'm going to keep this short.
Alien is a very scary film.
The design work is phenomenal.
A truly alien creature and life cycle.
Get script,cast and director.
I saw Aliens first (as I'm sure many of you did), I was not prepared for Alien. I can remember my 2 cousins saying how boring it was...They were very wrong.
Saw a 70mm print on my birthday..what a present
I recommend the exhaustive bluray and Alien Vault by Ian Nathan.

5 more tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Horror...part 2: The Bloody Revenge.

Long Live The New Flesh.

Martyrs (2008)
I don’t like “torture porn” as a genre it’s not my bag.
I was worried that this film would be torture porn and it pretty much seemed that way until it came to a reveal that made this film transcend the torture and become a spiritual masterpiece of horror.
Its got a lot to say and has a unique voice. Pascal Laugier was due to follow this film with a Hellraiser remake after watching this you will understand why he got offered the job.
Watch it you may be surprised...And sickened...And shocked.

Note no trailer...It was too intense!

Slither (2006)
This film could have easily gone into the pile of not scary but great fun horror films, its directed by James Gunn who started off with Troma and then wrote the great Dawn Of The Dead remake. It features some of the most revolting images of body horror I have seen in a US film and makes me feel a bit sicky when I think of it. It pays homage to many great Sci-fi horror films and you can tell that James Gunn is a real fanboy.
It has no rules and you really don’t know who is going to survive. Its funny and sick in equal measures. And its got Nathan Fillion in it too.

Rabid (1977)
I could have chosen many of Cronenbergs films for this list.
Videodrome,Shivers,Scanners,The Fly but this one got to me the most.
And gives me that same anxious feeling when I think about it. No one does a body horror film quite as well as Cronenberg (Well maybe Shin’ya Tsukamoto with Tetsuo: Iron Man) he always finds new ways for humans to progress and to shock his audience. The one bit I can’t watch is the infected Surgeon cutting off a nurses finger to drink the blood during an operation. Grusome.

This trailer is amazing/awful.

The Beyond (1981)
I have a confession, I really struggle with a lot of Lucio Fulcis horror films.
He is a bit too exploitive and unnessecarally gross for me.
I can always picture film directing his films with drool pouring from his mouth.
Maybe I shouldn’t have watched Cat In The Brain?
How can I say this and put The Beyond in this list?
I think its more stylish than House By The Cemetry and Zombie Flesh Eaters (which is oddly absent from this list) it looks fantastic and its worth for the final image of hell. To get to that point you have to sit through 87 mins of depravity and insania. And how awesome is David Warbeck?


Excorcist (1973)
The greatest horror film ever made?
Its horror done with clinical prescion from 2 masters, William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty. The first time I watched it on a dodgy pirate I knew I had seen something completely different and it effected so much that I couldn’t speak for a while after. The same thing happened after I saw Reqiem For A Dream which made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach repeatedly. The film looks cold and grim, the acting is natural and superb. It has a real documentary feel about it. I love Max Von Sydow, Linda Blaire and Ellen Burnsteyne but the film would be nothing with out Jason Millers superb performance. A fantastic script too, which is so quotable. I may band the term masterpiece around too freely but I don’t think anyone has truly made a horror film to match this. Scaryest bit? I think its Father Karras’s dream sequence.
If you want to find out what became of the Astronaught who Regan told that he would die alone up there in space I suggest you watch “The Nineth Configuration” which is one of cinemas finest moments.
“Can you spare change for an old alter boy?”

More Miller love here.

Another 5 tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Horror...part 1.

The Darkness is forever...

I have been asked to write about my favorite horror film for Halloween.
This got me thinking, I’m not sure what my favorite horror film is.
Horror can comes under so many different categories.
I could say Dawn Of The Dead or Evil Dead 2 but I don’t think they are very scary.
I think most horrors that I love aren’t particularly frightening and at the end of the day I think that there has to be some terror involved. I have decided to make a list of films that have made me genuinely scared. This list will not include The Wicker Man which is probably one of my all time favorite horrors.
The scariest film I have never seen is also going to be missing from this list Demons by Lamberto Bava. I was so scared when I had the plot explained to me in the playground when I was a kid that I have never been able to watch it, its probably lame?
There was also a film that I saw when I was very little that is the first horror film I can remember watching,I have never been able to track it down, It involved an crew on an oil rig and a monster with lots of teeth that came up from the deep and bit one of the men. I wet the bed for a week after seeing it!

Possession (1981)
The ultimate head fuck film.
This film is the most oppressive, physically and mentally demanding film I have ever seen.
The first time I saw it was at a midnight matinee at the Broadway (remember those?), I went on my own and there were 2 other people in the audience. It made the experience even harder work. The walk home was terrifying. Its quite famous for having people pass out during screenings. I think its designed to give the viewer a panic attack.
Possession lives with you, you don’t need Sam Neil and Isabelle Adjani running around in your head screaming.
I have watched this film several times and still don’t understand the significance of the pink socks?
Berlin looks glorious in this film also.
Highly influential especially on Lars Von Trier, excellent creature effects by Carlo Rambaldi who followed this film with E.T.
Possession was on the Video Nasties list and wasn’t released uncut till 1999.
Famously Andrzej Zulawski wrote this film about a messy divorce…
He must have had the worst divorce the world has ever known.

Prince Of Darkness (1987)
Great film from the master of horror John Carpenter.
Really underrated but I feel its one of his best films and it gets me every time.
Smart Nigel Kneale inspired plot reminiscent of The Stone Tapes, John Carpenter acknowledges this by using the pseudo name of Martin Quatermass for his screenplay.
Loads of randomness in this film but it contains some truly creepy scenes and has lots of imagination.
Love the idea of Satan in liquid form.
Why is Donald character character called Loomis again?
Why is Alice Cooper playing a Homeless zombie?
A tense masterpiece and worth watching for the dreams projected back from the future
“You are receiving these images from the year".
Pray for death.

Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch
I’m going to get so much flack for this one.
I really love this film. It scared me shitless when I was a kid and if you presented me with a Silver Shamrock mask today I would not be able to put it on for fear of snakes coming out of my melting face.
A brave idea to do something different with the franchise,the film was originally written by Nigel Kneale and was going to be directed by Joe Dante!
Apart from the really ridiculous plot involving a stolen Stonehenge, I still think that the film has some great moments and is a really clever idea.
What a tense ending with Tom Atkins desperately trying to shut down the Death Silver Shamrock TV signal as the kids watch on.

Quartermass and the Pit (1967)
Well after two mentions of Nigel Kneale already it would be stupid not to include this masterpiece.
A really great idea,the human race being descendants of Martian grasshoppers. That sounds daft but its really well done. I like films that crossover the occult and sci-fi.
It has some terrifying moments including the moment when the Martian trace memories start effecting the drill operator.

The Thing (1982)
The greatest Sci fi horror ever made.
I don’t think any CGI effects have ever surpassed the demented,alien and organic feeling creature effects in this film.
The Thing is another film burnt onto my young mind which has forever ruined my peaceful sleep.
I don’t think I could ever use a defibrillator in case my arms would get bitten off!
This film could only be made better by the fact that Donald Pleasence was due to play Blair. Kurt Russell as MacReady has made a 1,000 young men grow beards. A paranoid horrific classic.

The list continues tomorrow....
Don't have nightmares.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The End Of The World.

I love Lars Von Trier.
I think he is one of the most important and interesting directors we have.
I really hated Melancholia.
Lets move on...His next film will be a masterpiece.

Still have a big crush on Drive.
I really am split over buying the Jacket from the film.

Just can't see myself getting a way with it, especially in Nottingham. Its an expensive Halloween costume at $160 also.
Its one step away from dressing like a Storm Trooper at Comic Con.

The Mark Cousins Story Of Cinema series has been excellent and has made my brain swell with knowledge. If you are quick you can pick up a copy of the book to accompany the series at Fopp for £3! Amazing.

Also watched a great documentary about the BBFC on BBC4.
They showed some footage from The Devils that I had never seen before. What a film .
I hope we get a chance to do a Devils themed night for Kino Klubb, it might get a bit depraved though.