Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Paracinema Competition Extravaganza!*

The lovely folks over at Paracinema HQ are having a contest. Anyone who purchases a magazine in the month of October is automatically entered into a raffle to win an AMAZING prize pack.

Just head over to paracinema.net and pick up an issue for a chance to win! Each single issue purchased is another entry. For example: 2 copies of issue 7 equals your name 2 times in the drawing. Just remember, subscriptions do not count. It is only for printed issues already in existence.

So what's in this amazing pack of prizes? Well, I'll tell you.

* A year subscription (4 issues) of Paracinema Magazine
* 3 titillating releases from Pink Eiga including Tsumugi - Special Edition, New Tokyo Decadence - The Slave and Sexy Battle Girls.
* Viva the uncut & unrated release from Cult Epics.
* A copy of Trash Cinephile the "irreverent guide to exploitation cinema" by Blake Ryan.
* A Fright Rags t-shirt the style and size of your choosing (must be a regular "horror t-shirt"; does not include "vintage horror" or "artist series" shirts).
* A tee in the size of your choosing from Last Exit to Nowhere (style of shirts vary by size).

If that isn't enough, the lovely, LOVELY folks at Paracinema are working their pretty, blood-spattered fingers to the bone to procure even more goodies.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Why not drop an email to christine@paracinema.net.

*This competition has now closed.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Stepford Wives

1975
Dir. Bryan Forbes

When former photographer Joanna Eberhart (Katherine Ross) and her family move to the sleepy town of Stepford, it isn’t long before she suspects something sinister is afoot. All of the women in Stepford have an uncanny hankering to do whatever it takes to become the perfect embodiment of housewifery. What makes matters even stranger is Joanna’s unshakable feeling that the men of Stepford, including her own husband Walter (Peter Masterson), are involved in something diabolical that transforms the women of Stepford into empty shells of their former selves. But what could it be? Surely they’re not being replaced by mindless automatons solely programmed to please the men-folk? Surely not!?

I would love to be able to watch The Stepford Wives again for the first time – without knowing anything about it. From the outset, it is obvious that something sinister lurks beneath the pristine exterior of Stepford’s white picket fences and expertly maintained hedges and it soon becomes obvious that the town has a sick and twisted underbelly full of dark secrets that David Lynch would be envious of. Even when I watched the film first time around, I was aware of what the outcome was – I think most people are, simply because its reputation precedes it. The film’s influence is peppered throughout pop culture, TV advertising, can still be seen in the likes of Desperate Housewives and has even entered everyday vernacular – those of a somewhat anally retentive nature, keen on keeping up appearances and presenting an immaculate and flawless visage are referred to as a ‘Stepford wife.’ Having said that, even though you may know how things will turn out for the unfortunate ladies of Stepford, the film is successful in creating an intriguing mystery that expertly builds to the chilling denouement, and though audiences may already know what’s coming - it still has quite an impact when it arrives.



Obviously quite dated in style, The Stepford Wives is at times more than a little camp – I think this is part of its appeal though, and there is however still an undeniably creepy menace that lurks at the heart of the film. Joanna’s mounting sense of paranoia and desperation is palpable. Her plight is lent a certain degree of pathos in a number of scenes as the story unfolds. The film strikes one of its most powerful chords when Joanna pleads with her soon to be vacationing psychiatrist, exclaiming ‘When you come back, there will be a woman with my name and my face. She'll cook and clean like crazy, but she won't take pictures and she won't be me!’ The idea that we are made up of our own experiences and by the things we love and do is nicely evoked here. What if we couldn’t do them anymore? Would a little part of us disappear and reconfigure what makes us who we are? Who would we be if not ourselves? ‘I guess I want to be remembered’ states Joanna.



Elsewhere, Levin’s take on 70s women’s Lib movements continues to wield a quiet power in his approach to portraying subservient (quite literally) android housewives, whose only goals are to please their husbands. The 60s and 70s were radical times as far as social movements were concerned, particularly groups centring on gaining equal rights and opportunities for women. Joanna initially encounters a couple of like-minded kindred spirits amongst the plethora of nightmarishly perfect housewives on Wisteria Lane, sorry, in the quiet suburban Stepford. She finds feisty comrades in the ridiculously leggy Bobbie (Paula Prentiss) and tennis pro Charmaine (Tina Louise). However it isn’t long before they too succumb to the mysterious goings on in Stepford. A moment that is both darkly humorous and out-right disturbing occurs when Joanna visits Bobbie, only to discover her friend has changed somewhat… An altercation culminates in a malfunctioning Bobbie whizzing around her now scarily pristine kitchen exclaiming ‘Oh Joanna... I thought we were friends... I thought we were friends... friends... coffee... how could you do a thing like that? Like that? Like that? Like that? Friends... friends... I just wanted to offer you some coffee’, etc. While quite funny, the scene, like so much of the film has a disquieting undertone.

It turns out that most of the women in Stepford where formerly quite powerful, influential women who held top jobs and were making radical changes to how women were perceived in a typically male-dominated career place. The women of Stepford are rendered no more than the products they mindlessly consume from the local supermarket. This is all down to the conservatively minded husbands and how they believe women should be, namely in the kitchen and thinking only of pleasing their men; parodies of the ideal housewife - all floral aprons, immaculately styled hair and a penchant for recommending various household cleaning products to her friends.
A man carrying a mannequin in one early scene shot in New York provides an arresting image that conveys so much – the power struggle between the sexes and the objectification of women and their form by men.
The idea of women as automatons takes on a comic, though quite disturbing, edge yet again when the malfunctioning Carol (Nanette Newman) glides through a garden party declaring ‘I'll just die if I don't get this recipe. I'll just die if I don't get this recipe. I'll just die if I don't get this recipe.’



The opening scene features Joanna alone in her apartment. Though she sits in the midst of the family unit, she still feels alienated – it could be argued this is the plight of many housewives (a debate that still floats through contemporary society): should she stay at home and make her family her priority, or should she strive to realise her own personal goals as far as achieving career success or obtaining personal fulfilment goes.

Despite the campy quality and somewhat over earnest attempts at social commentary that often stray into overwrought territory - Forbes eventually goes all out with the creepy atmospherics and heavy reliance on horror film clichés, such as thunder storms and sinister mansions – a number of provocative ideas play out under an array of seventies floral prints, shag-pile carpets and bell-bottomed slacks. These ideas are where the power of the film lies. Forbes’ approach may be varied – is it satire or sci-fi? – but the questions raised by The Stepford Wives are what holds it together and makes it an interesting film that remains relevant, strangely moving and just as topical today.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Suspiria Remake Update...

A remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece Suspiria has been on the cards for some time now. While things have been fairly quiet since the news that David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) was set to helm the re-imaginification, some new information about the project has been posted over at Dread Central.

In the current climate of Hollywoodised remakes of classic horror flicks from yesterday, it was probably only a matter of time before Argento’s nightmarishly gothic fairytale of witchcraft suffered the same fate as the likes of The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and an ever increasing plethora of others.

Suspiria is the tale of a young ballet student who realises that her prestigious school is actually a front for a coven of evil witches. It is a firm favourite with Argento fans and often hailed as the director’s masterpiece. One can only wait with a certain degree of trepidation (and hopeless despair) to see how his film will be inevitably glossified and diluted to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Stay tuned for more updates and angry rantings about the injustice of it all…

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Paracinema: Issue 7...

The latest issue of Paracinema is set to hit shelves soon.

Issue 7 includes such features as 'Deconstructive Feedback: The Cinema of Larry Cohen' by Adam Protextor, 'The Bikinis, Hairspray, and Shattered Ceilings of Bimbo Feminism: Anita Rosenberg’s Modern Girls and Assault of the Killer Bimbos' by Jonathan Plombon and (shameless self-promotion alert) 'Cold Cinema: Emotional Glaciation and Active Spectatorship in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games' by yours truly.

Why not head over to Paracinema and order a copy now. Before its too late!


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sexy Killer

2008
Dir. Miguel Martí

Head over to Eye for Film to read my review of Sexy Killer - a film that surely resembles what would happen if Pedro Almodóvar directed a slasher movie. I kid thee not.

Sexy Killer is the story of Barbara (Macarena Gómez), a promising student at an exclusive Spanish university, who also just happens to be a psychotic serial killer.
Events become increasingly complicated when her victims are resurrected by a couple of medical students hoping to solve the case of the 'campus killer.' However, said victims, whilst only too happy to help a zombie detective with his enquiries, suffer the unfortunate side-effect of an insatiable craving for human flesh...
They don't let this stop them though and are soon making their way to the campus Halloween party to seek revenge and maybe get lucky...

Kinky, kitsch and ludicrously over-the-top, Sexy Killer perfectly balances humour with gross-out effects and lovingly references a plethora of old favourites such as Friday the 13th, Scream, Re-Animator and the work of George Romero. Irresistible fun.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Black Sabbath

1963
Dir. Mario Bava

AKA
The Three Faces of Fear
(I tre volti della paura)

Mario Bava’s Gothic horror anthology consists of three different tales of horror, each with their own unique tone and style, but all containing that inimitable Bava touch. Each of the films unfolds as an exercise in style and atmosphere, bolstered by intriguing stories that carefully unfold to reveal a deadly sting in the tale.
As a whole, Black Sabbath is most satisfactory and none of the segments outstay their welcome. What makes it all even more appealing is the introduction of the film by none other than Boris Karloff himself, waxing lyrical on the mechanics of fear, the uncanny, things that go bump in the night and a treatise on what makes a scary film and why. Each segment is introduced by a title card and contains its own share of nightmare-inducing moments; all beautifully captured by Bava’s ever prowling camera, and rendered dreamlike in the vivid lighting.

First up is the giallo-esque The Telephone, a discomforting little tale of obsession, lust and revenge. Rosy (Michèle Mercier) returns home to her modestly sized, yet elegantly plush apartment, only to receive sinister phone calls that seem to be from a maniacal gangster she helped imprison. Said gangster appears to see Rosy’s every move within her chic abode and delights in revelling in her increasingly panicked movements. Rosy eventually calls her confidant and former girlfriend Mary (Lydia Alfonsi) and begs her to come over and stay the night. It transpires that Mary is still bitter about her and Rosy’s break up and it was she who placed the calls in a desperate attempt to make Rosy become dependent on her for protection. As the two women slip into slinky lingerie and settle down for the night however, someone - who may actually wish Rosy real harm - sneaks into the apartment and puts an end to Mary’s lovelorn meddling before turning his attention to the petrified Rosy…



Bava makes excellent use of the one location that provides the backdrop for this story. Rosy’s apartment, while enviably tasteful and more than a little cool, soon takes on a more menacing atmosphere as the night goes on and Rosy becomes a prisoner in her own home. A lounge-jazz score keeps things kitsch and groovy until events take a darker turn and Rosy begins to receive the phone calls and proceedings become taut and claustrophobic. Apparently the lesbian subplot was completely excised from the US cut of the film – this is confusing given the necessity of the subplot to instigate the short film’s first twist. The initial phone calls before Mary’s arrival to liven things up a bit, soon become repetitive: Rosy answers phone (‘Pronto? Pronto?! PRONTO!!??), strange voice threatens her with violence, Mary flails around in a fit of mascara-drenched hysteria before she receives another phone call – lather, rinse, repeat until Mary shows up. Luckily the short running time ensures that the story doesn’t really have a chance to flounder and it moves along at a fairly brisk pace ensuring you have the chance to enjoy at least one glass of wine…

Next up is The Wurdalak, a creepy yarn involving vampirism, a doomed family and the recent return of their undead patriarch – played with diabolical glee by Boris Karloff. A Wurdalak is a vampiric creature specific to Eastern Europe where the tale is set. It preys on those it loves most – family, friends and lovers – transforming them into fellow blood-suckers who wander the twilight hours.
Vladimire d'Urfe (Mark Damon) seeks refuge at an isolated farmhouse after he discovers a headless body with a sword in its back. He is greeted with caution by the family who are anxiously awaiting the return of their father who had ventured out to track down a Wurdalak. The family were given strict instructions to deny entry to the father if he returned after midnight. Sure enough, just after midnight and the countryside begins to suffocate under a billowing fog, Papa Gorca returns and when he insists on being allowed in, he soon sets about killing his own family and turning them into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. The youngest daughter Sdenka (Suzy Anderson) and Vladimire – who have also fallen in love by this stage – make a break for it and hide out in some nearby ruins. But the ties that bind this family together are not easily shredded, and the now transformed clan track down Sdenka and whisk her off home with Vladimire in hot pursuit.



The Wurdalak is a highly atmospheric and beautifully lit mood piece also successful in its utilisation of limited locations. As in the other two tales in Black Sabbath, the place where characters are most threatened is in the sanctuary of their own home. The family farmhouse here is initially warm and inviting and appears as a beacon of hope and light in the darkness surrounding it. Not for long though. It soon takes on a weird and threatening atmosphere, with danger lurking in every room and from everyone who resides within its four walls. There are several moody shots of various characters looking in or out of windows, eerily lit and steeped in an ominous aura. Bava slyly subverts the notion of ‘family’ and contorts it into something evil and warped. The very thing that causes the downfall of this family is their love for each other; provocatively highlighted in the scene where the young boy – now turned vampire – calls to his mother. Unable to resist her maternal instincts, she goes to him and seals her own doom in doing so. Actually, the fate of the young boy is one of the film’s darker elements considering the era in which it was made (the early 60s) and the fact that even today this is a touchy subject in cinema. The film’s bleak ending in which evil conquers and darkness prevails was also quite a radical departure for the time and proves how daring and innovative a filmmaker Bava was.

Last, but by no means least, we have The Drop of Water – the supremely unsettling story of a nurse who steals a ring from the deathbed of a medium, only to suffer the ghastly consequences in the privacy of her own home. When she is called late at night and asked to prepare the recently deceased body of a local medium, Helen (Jacqueline Pierreux) leaves the relative cosiness of a night in, crocheting and sipping brandy (a kindred spirit, obviously), to embark on her journey. Arriving at the dead woman’s house she is let in by a maid and makes her way through the opulently candy-coloured and cat strewn hallways to the bedroom of the medium. We are as shocked as Helen is to see the morbidly grinning death-face of the medium as she lies propped up on her pillows. Going about her business, Helen notices an ornate ring that she decides no one will miss, and she takes it from the dead woman’s finger.



Returning home, Helen is plagued by the sounds of a dripping tap and the memory of the ghoulishly grinning dead woman. Eventually, her nerves in tatters, Helen realises, too late, that stealing from the dead is just not cool. Seeking sanctuary in her bedroom she sees the spectre of the medium grinning from the bed and then rise up to float menacingly across the room towards her.
The overwhelmingly creepy mood of this final instalment is nothing short of oppressive. Helen’s compact apartment, much like Rosy’s in The Telephone and the home of the doomed family in The Wurdalak, soon takes on an eerie atmosphere, as the poor woman is plagued by the sound of dripping water and a buzzing fly. Bava’s use of light and shadow is mesmerising and surely ranks amongst the best in his Gothic nightmares. At times Helen’s apartment is lit only by a flashing blue neon sign somewhere outside the window. As she cautiously moves around the small interior, menace seems to seep from every dark corner until the nerve-shredding climax when she comes face to morbidly-grinning-face with the spectre of the woman she stole from. The nasty ending suggests all too strongly that a similar fate will befall the nosy neighbour who found Helen’s body and took the ring on her finger for herself…

With the last image of The Drop of Water still throbbing behind your eyes, Black Sabbath closes with a neat twist that breaks the fourth wall and, while far from undoing all of Bava’s masterful storytelling, reminds us that while we may have been affected by some of the things we’ve just watched – its all just make-believe. Karloff, still in character from his stint as Gorca in The Wurdalak, thanks us for watching and reminds us to take care when we are alone in the dark. As he does so, the camera pulls back to reveal he is riding on a fake horse in a studio, and the trees he is galloping past are fake ones, held by crew members running around the fake horse to create the impression he is riding through a misty forest. Whilst Black Sabbath is undeniably moody and at times unshakably creepy – particularly with its recurring notion that ‘home’ isn’t always as safe as we believe it to be and can quite often be invaded by malevolent forces - with this last reveal it highlights the magic of cinema and the often powerful spell it can weave with its stories and illusions…

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Reptile

1966
Dir. John Gilling

Harry and Valerie Spaulding move to the small Cornish village of Clagmoor when they inherit the house of his brother – who died under mysterious circumstances. Treated with contempt and mistrust by the villagers, Harry and Valerie are shunned. To make matters worse, a number of locals have been turning up dead, with mysterious bite marks on their necks. Harry’s investigations lead him to the home of the sinister Dr Franklyn and his mysterious daughter Anna, and he soon uncovers the horrific secrets of an ancient curse and a monstrous reptilian creature with a taste for human blood!

Filmed back to back with Gilling’s Plague of the Zombies, using the same sets and several of the same cast members, The Reptile is perhaps one of Hammer’s more overlooked hidden gems. Often unfavorably compared to Plague of the Zombies, the film nevertheless still manages to entice the viewer into its tightly coiled mystery with an alluring atmosphere and a number of compelling performances – particularly Jacqueline Pearce as the unfortunate Anna.

Opening with an intriguing prologue in which a man wanders across the beautifully desolate Cornish countryside and into a sinister mansion only to be set upon by a hideous, albeit briefly glimpsed creature that tears at his throat and sends him crashing to his death down an ornate staircase. Soon after, Captain Harry Spaulding (Ray Barrett) and his wife Valerie (Jennifer Daniel) move to town. It turns out the unfortunate victim of the mysterious beast prowling the halls of the mansion was Harry’s brother Charles, and Harry has inherited his house. The story follows Harry and Valerie as they attempt to settle into their new life in Clagmoor, find out what happened to Charles and be treated with hostility and suspicion by the locals.



Whilst the Spauldings set up home a number of villagers suffer similar fates to that of Charles and their bodies are found with puncture marks on the neck, blackened skin and foaming mouths – these murders are amongst the nastiest dreamt up by Hammer. Our intrepid outsiders soon realise that something sinister is afoot and their investigations lead them to the mansion where Charles died. Its occupants – Dr Franklyn (Noel Willman), his daughter Anna (Jacqueline Pearce) and their mysterious manservant The Malay (Marne Maitland) are also shunned by the villagers and have become recluses. Franklyn is a doctor of Theology and has explored the world researching strange cults and religious sects. He is highly protective of his daughter and it transpires that as a result of his interference with a bizarre cult, she was cursed to periodically transform into a ferocious reptilian creature. When in reptilian form, Anna is susceptible to cold temperatures and the house is constantly heated and festooned with tropical plants and foliage.



The Reptile musters and sustains a bizarre and exotic atmosphere throughout, helped along by an evocative score by Don Banks. The same sexual undertones that are laced throughout many of Hammer’s horror productions are also present here. A stifling claustrophobia hangs heavy over the house of the Franklyn’s and a particularly humid scene unfolds as Harry and Valeria are invited to dine with the doctor and his daughter. Gathering around a roaring fire in an already overheated house, Franklyn explains to a formally dressed and profusely sweating Harry that the temperature must remain high as he and his daughter have become accustomed to warmer climes in their travels. As Anna entertains the wilting guests by playing a sitar-like instrument, she becomes whipped up into an entranced frenzy, and the already heated, sexually charged climate within the house becomes unbearable, until her father snaps and demands she return to her room without super. Showed her.



The Reptile is essentially a vampire film but with a strange reptilian creature causing havoc and ripping out the throats of victims. Gilling utilises similar clichés found throughout the genre, such as the locals giving the outsiders the cold shoulder when they enter the village pub to ask for directions. When we finally see Anna in reptilian form, the make-up effects have dated quite badly, though they are still bizarre enough to intrigue, if not raise a wry smile. A couple of grotesque moments occur when ‘something’ is seen writhing beneath a dirty blanket in the cavernous basement of the house and even more unsettling, when Franklyn discovers what looks like a discarded skin lying on his daughter’s bed.

At its heart beats a flurry of ideas concerned with Colonial revenge and foreign threats to stiff-upper-lipped British society. A number of films during this time had similar themes and ideas, such as The Ghoul and any number of Dracula films – the threat always entering Britain was from abroad.

An atmospheric and bewitching entry in the Hammer canon.

Monday, 7 September 2009

End of the World

1977
Dir. John Hayes

When Professor Andrew Boran (Kirk Scott) decodes messages received from deepest space that coincide with recent natural disasters, his investigations lead him to a spooky convent where the inhabitants are not what they seem. They are actually aliens attempting to destroy earth because it has become too polluted and diseased. No, really.
Ladies and gentlemens – allow me to present the deliciously mediocre and irrestibly entertaining schlock that is – End of the World.

Mysterious messages from the cosmos! Parallel dimensions! Cloning! Laser beams! Christopher Lee! Nuns from outer space! Well, strictly speaking the nuns aren’t really from outer space – they are clones of nuns inhabited by the forces of an alien race who are desperately trying to leave earth and return to their own planet… And even though they have effortlessly mastered the concepts of inter-stellar time travelling and stuff, they still need the help of a mere mortal human scientist to assist their attempts to leave earth. You should be forgiven if you expect an all out explosion-fest, with lots of scenes featuring epic international disasters and the hopeless attempts of mankind to work together to save ourselves, in intimate scenes of humanity stiving to survive against overwhelming odds. As this isn’t a Roland Emmerich film, what we do get is a car exploding, Sue Lyon from Lolita and Christopher Lee as the leader of a group of aliens disguised as nuns.

At times End of the World resembles the early work of John Carpenter and contains a plethora of half-baked ideas, kept at bay by the restrictions of the microscopic budget. However, director Haynes has none of Carpenter’s ability to generate tension or construct a tight pace and the film sort of trundles along from one bizarre set piece to another, slowly generating intrigue but holding back on tension. The film opens with a - quite literally - explosive scene in which Christopher Lee walks into an empty diner and demands to use the phone to call the police. Before he can do this however, said phone explodes, as does the coffee machine – showering the proprietor of the diner with scalding water and flinging him out of the window into a neon sign. A rather irked Lee wearily makes his way to a nearby convent where the doors are flung open and he is welcomed by – Christopher Lee! This intriguing and highly entertaining opening sets the scene for more bizarre events that never quite reach the dizzying heights of splendid ‘what-the-fuck?!’ created in the opening moments. An atmospheric score, complete with Carpenter-esque synth-drones, bleeps and blips accompanies proceedings and perfectly enhances an abundance of out of focus shots of blinking computer lights and ‘weird alien technology’ that bulk out its running time.



The film has an intriguing story and some neat ideas, however the execution is rudimentary at best – having said that – it is never anything short of entertaining and somehow strangely endearing. The obvious lack of budget ensures the sets resemble those of an early morning kids TV show and the special effects consist of time-lapse photography and spooky flashing lights. The underground labs our reluctant heroes keep sneaking into are kitted out with an astounding array of flashing monitors, ambient lighting, giant revolving globes (no evil forces seeking to conquer the world should be without one) and ‘futuristic’ computer consoles that have a distinct whiff of the seventies about them. At times the lighting is so bad it is hard to see what’s going on – particularly in the scene where Andrew and Sylvia (Sue Lyon) investigate the first location they believe to be sending out signals – a creepy lab under a zoo. But as Sylvia quite rightly asks – ‘A zoo for what?’ They sort of stumble around in the dark for a bit as we wonder what they are doing, before eventually discovering that the underground lab is a station monitoring communication between Russian satellites – manned by a friend of Andrew’s. This scene actually provides the film with its one moment of genuine creepiness and thought provocation. The scientists explain that they often contemplate the futility of their task monitoring the Russians – as theirs are the only signals and messages floating around in space. This conjures a wonderfully dark and existentialist image of earth floating alone in space; existing in complete solitude and utter futility. Of course, all this is undone when we realise that Christopher Lee and his gaggle of stern-looking nuns are actually aliens. We are, it would seem, not so alone after all.

Another scene that could have been a nail-biter features our intrepid investigators making a break from the convent only to find that their every move is being manipulated by the evil Christopher Lee – and as they get caught up in some weird moebius loop – they keep ending up back at the convent where they are forced to help the nuns find some sort of crystal that will enable them to return home.



There is a vague eco-warning subtext simmering away unattended, that reveals earth has become so polluted and diseased it is becoming a threat to the universe. The aliens decide that the only way to address this is to blow it up. Cue lots of stock footage of natural disasters and models of villages being washing away by floods. The rather bleak ending has no resonance whatsoever, even though we are treated to a little model of the earth exploding – none of the impact the filmmakers were presumably striving for is obtained. End of the World, whilst promising much – that evocative title alone holds such power – sadly fails to deliver.

According to the IMDB, Christopher Lee commented on the film and spoke of it in none too flattering terms. He said ‘Some of the films I've been in, I regret making. I got conned into making these pictures in almost every case by people who lied to me. Some years ago, I got a call from my producers saying that they were sending me a script and that five very distinguished American actors were also going to be in the film. Actors like José Ferrer, Dean Jagger and John Carradine. So I thought ‘Well, that's all right by me’. But it turned out it was a complete lie. Appropriately, the film was called End of the World.’

Should you feel inclined to check out this obscure gem, and I implore you to do so – you can watch it for free here. Yes, for FREE!

Once you’ve ensured your glass is full, sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacle. Personally, I have no idea why Lee is so embarrassed by this – he was after all in Attack of the Clones… Clunky Seventies sci-fi bunkum at its schlocky no-budgeted best. Amen!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Cradle Will Fall

2008
Dirs. Lars Jacobson and Amardeep Kaleka

AKA Baby Blues

Head over to Eye for Film to read my review of this taut, yet grim little shocker.

Cradle Will Fall is a chaotic and deeply upsetting film about a young mother who snaps under the pressure of trying to raise four young children on an isolated farmhouse while her husband works away from home. Going utterly berserk, Mommie Dearest (a thoroughly deranged Colleen Porch) starts offing her sprogs in increasingly grisly ways...

A sort of Flowers in the Attic for the Eli Roth generation, if you like.