Showing posts from February, 2011

Issue 11 of Paracinema Available to Pre-Order Now!

The latest issue of Paracinema, an independently produced, full colour genre-based, Rondo Horror Award Nominated magazine, is available to pre-order now. As this is Women in Horror Month, this issue’s contents have been provided solely by, you guessed it: Women!

Amongst a plethora of insightful and provocative features you’ll find the likes of Rape-Revenge Films: A Guide for the Faint-Hearted by Chelsea Suarez; The Degrading Last Days of Laura Palmer: A Backwards Glance at Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me by Christine Hadden (of Fascination with Fear); Mental Illness in Horror Films: Lifting the Stigma with Let’s Scare Jessica to Death by Andre Dumas (of The Horror Digest) and Frankenhooker: Titular Commodification of Women by Lisa Cunningham.

Plus much more…

It costs $7 to pre-order a copy, and you can do that my visiting the official Paracinema website, here.

And don’t forget to vote for Paracinema at the Rondo Awards!

Wine of the Month

Another month, another Rioja to tjuzs up your palette. Vega Roja is a cheap and cheerful ruby-red wine. As well as being irresistibly inexpensive (less than £5) it also contains all of the familiar characteristics of a typical Rioja: slightly spicy and smooth finish with hints of fruit and stuff.

This wine does come with an allergy warning though: like all wine it contains sulphur dioxide in various forms, collectively known as sulphites. Even unsulphured wine may contain up to 10 milligrams per litre. Red wine does not need any added sulphur dioxide because it naturally contains anti-oxidants from the skins and stems of the grapes. Commercial winemakers add some anyway. So be careful.

This is the perfect accompaniment to wafting forlornly around your crumbling garret whilst listening to the latest Philip Glass or watching a stately Boris Karloff chiller…


Vital stats for quaffers:

* This wine is produced in the Rioja region of Spain
* The vintage is, erm, 'Non Vintage&#…

An Evening With Nosferatu At The Ulster Hall: 1920's Style

Last night saw the Ulster Hall in Belfast play host to a very special screening of FW Murnau’s undisputed classic of German Expressionist cinema, Nosferatu.
The film was accompanied by an improvised score courtesy of renowned organist, Martin Baker, who has since 2000 been the Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. Baker was granted the rare honour of being allowed to play the world famous Mulholland Grand Organ, one of the oldest examples of a functioning classic English pipe organ. The Organ is named after former Lord Mayor of Belfast, Andrew Mulholland, who donated it to the hall in the 1860s.

Patrons of the sold-out event were encouraged to dress in typical 1920s garb and though many didn’t, this writer was impressed by those who did; particularly an enthusiastic couple dressed as the undead. Before the screening, there was an insightful introduction by local film historian, opera fanatic and all round film buff, George Fleeton, who lovingly dissected the historical significa…

Pleasures of the Damned

Before there was Isle of the Damned, there was Antonello Giallo’s Pleasures of the Damned, soon to be available on DVD for the first time ever in a re-mastered and restored “European Cut,” just in time for the DVD format to die!

In July of 1979, Italian director, Antonello Giallo, completed work on his debut feature. Shortly after the film's premiere, he was brought up by the Italian government on 17 charges of indecency, and all copies of the film were presumed destroyed... Until now!

When a group of Satan worshipping bikers seek out a book that purportedly holds the secrets of eternal life, they accidentally resurrect an ancient evil that manifests itself in the zombified forms of cult members who sacrificed themselves to Satan some 200 years ago. Private Investigator Jack Steele, while on a mission to help rescue Evelyn Crane’s brother Tommy from the psychotic cult, may be the only one that can lay the curse to rest for good!

DVD BONUS FEATURES: 20 Minutes of Deleted Scenes, …

Random Women in Horror #31: Marina De Van

Body dysmorphia. Existentialism. Cannibalism. Psychological disintegration. Identity crisis. Murder mysteries as musicals. French writer/director/actress Marina De Van makes downright provocative genre films that blow many of her other horror contemporaries out of the water. Her film work veers between enchantingly enthralling (8 Women) and brazenly confrontational (In My Skin). After making a name for herself as a regular collaborator with François Ozon (she’s starred in See the Sea and Sitcom, and she wrote 8 Women and Under the Sand), it was only a matter of time before De Van would branch out with her own brand of fiercely intellectual and visceral cinema.

Born in 1971, De Van studied Philosophy at Sorbonne University before enrolling at the prestigious film school FEMIS. Here she would meet and befriend future filmmaker Ozon, forming a bond that would fertilise some of the most important and interesting films to ride the crest of the latest New Wave of French cinema.

Her own f…

Dying On Film: 5 Movies About Snuff Movies

Whilst certainly not a bad film, Terror Trap wasn’t exactly the grindhouse shocker I thought it would be. The central premise, a creepy motel used as a front for a snuff movie studio, is instantly charged with so much potential. While not a wildly original idea (Vacancy did this a few years back), it is still a provocative one, and the fact that the residents of the small rural town the motel is situated outside, are aware of what it is used for, adds another perverse level to an already sinister set up. And hey, ever since there was some nasty business at the establishment of Norman Bates and his mother, the humble motel - haven and sanctuary to weary travellers in transience - has been a reliably sinister location in horror movies.

While lamenting the mediocrity of Terror Trap, I got to thinking about other films that revolve around the idea of snuff movies; films that are said to depict the actual death/murder of someone, without the use of special effects. Here are five films th…

Terror Trap

Dan Garcia

When bickering couple Don and Nancy’s car is forced off the road when they pass through a small, rural Louisiana town, they are taken to stay at a nearby motel by the somewhat inhospitable sheriff. They soon discover that the motel is used by a gang of twisted individuals to produce snuff movies. And Don and Nancy are to be the unwitting stars of their latest film!

Beginning suspensefully with a menacing scene in which a young woman is stopped by a surly sheriff in the middle of nowhere, hauled out of her car, has her keys confiscated and told she must either spend the night in a jail cell or a nearby hotel because she’s in ‘no fit state to drive’, Terror Trap sadly goes down hill from here on in. The taut uneasiness created in this scene, depicting a helpless individual powerless to do anything when a corrupt authority figure abuses his power, could have lent the film real suspense had writer/director Garcia incorporated more instances like it throughout. What exact…

Short Film Showcase: Smoke

A young man (Grzegorz Golaszewski) has moody visions/flashbacks to a series of increasingly macabre and downright bizarre incidents that may be his interpretation of a love affair gone wrong.
Adopting the role of Charon-like driver, he chauffeurs another man to some sort of private club where people sit around immaculately laid tables and seemingly indulge their dark fantasies. A young woman (Marta Szumiel) reappears fleetingly throughout his visions and the introduction of a mysterious Dictaphone seems to threaten him with truths he’d rather not hear…

Meanwhile, people stare pensively and longingly at one another and writer/director Grzegorz Cisiecki, who hails from Minsk, Belarus, rummages through themes and concepts such as paranoia, desire and longing with myriad beautiful images that waft about each other like some spectral puzzle slotting into place.

Are these dreams? Fears? Cryptically significant moments blurred by the skewed logic of memory?

A languid cacophony of striking …

Random Women in Horror #12: Ida Lupino

Trailblazer Ida Lupino was to moody, suspenseful film noirs and taut thrillers in the 40’s and 50’s, as Jamie Lee Curtis was to slashers throughout the 80s. Born in 1918 and beginning her acting career in the 30s, Lupino starred in many noirs and thrillers such as They Drive By Night, The Hard Way and On Dangerous Ground. She eventually went on to become a pioneering figure amongst women behind the camera in cinema. She was the first American woman to ever direct a film noir (The Hitch-Hiker) and her other feature directorial offerings, such as Outrage and The Bigamist, were concerned with such shocking social issues as rape and bigamy. No mean feat considering she was making films in a post Hayes Code Hollywood.

While her directorial offerings can’t really be described as straight ‘horror’, they still contain moments fraught with suspense, violence and unsettling moodiness and she dabbled in hard boiled noirs and gritty B-movies. The Hitch-Hiker, one of Lupino’s most significant fi…

Women in Horror Month

February is Women in Horror Month. It is also LGBT History Month and in the States, Black History Month. That’s a whole lot of celebrating going on right there. These month long observances are important as they help shine a light on and give voice to people and communities in our society who are often not only unfairly overlooked, but also too frequently on the receiving end of discrimination and prejudice.

Over the next few weeks, as well as the usual film reviews and wine appreciation, I hope to follow the herd and post a few articles about people who are women and have made important, unusual or interesting contributions to Horror and genre cinema. There’ll also hopefully be a few doffs of the hat to the fact that it’s LGBT History Month.

That’s all for now. Happy Women in Horror Month!