Showing posts from April, 2011

Beyond Re-Animator

Dir. Brian Yuzna

Surviving the collapse of the crypt he was cornered in by a horde of his reanimated corpses, Dr Hebert West continues to conduct his grisly experiments. He is eventually arrested and imprisoned but continues his research. When a young doctor named Howard Phillips begins work at the prison, he teams up with West to help bring his experiments to the next level. Hell breaks loose and copious blood is spilled when several of the reanimated corpses break free and wreck havoc in the prison. Creative carnage and grisly mutations ensue.

Stuart Gordon’s progressive and splattery adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s Herbert West: Re-Animator was one of the defining horror films of the Eighties. Fiercely independent, unconventional, awash with splashy effects and boasting the darkest, severed tongue-in-cheek humour imaginable, Re-Animator still wields its grisly power and effectiveness today. It was followed by the Brian Yuzna directed sequel Bride of Re-Animator, which while now…

Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt

Dir. Paco Plaza

Spain, 1851. The inhabitants of a small village are terrorised by a savage serial killer. Ravaged corpses bear both animalistic mutilation and precise surgical incisions. As the village is plunged into panic-ridden chaos, travelling salesman Manuel Romasanta eventually confesses to the crimes, but claims that he is not responsible for his actions because he is a werewolf…

Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt is a sensual, unusual, boldly original and at times rather uneven take on the werewolf film. It is based on the true story of Spain’s first documented serial killer, Manuel Blanco Romasanta, who confessed to thirteen murders in the mid-nineteenth century. Writers Elena Serra and Alberto Marini (who specialise in lo-fi, brooding horror such as Darkness, The Machinist and The Fragile) have written a screenplay that concentrates more on presenting the story as a historical drama allegedly based on facts, than a typical monster movie, while director Plaza adopts the slow…


Moments before he’s set to be burned alive on a pyre of kitties, an evil warlock (Julian Sands) uses the dark arts to transport himself from 1691 Boston to 1991 downtown LA, in order to escape the flames and track down the Satanic bible, which he hopes to use to bring about Armageddon.
Fortunately, ‘Warlockfinder General’ Giles Redferne (Richard E Grant) is hot on his heels. They crash into the life of sassy chick Kassandra (Lori Singer) who is subsequently cursed to age 20 years a day until the warlock is apprehended.

While immensely trashy, Warlock also takes itself very seriously, which is probably its saving grace. A number of striking ideas pepper the schlock, and it's interesting to see how writer DT Twohy mingles medieval superstition with more contemporary ‘old wives tales’ and practices, and a healthy dose of Eighties sass.

Head over to Eye for Film to read my full review.

The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh

Dir. Sergio Martino

The arrival in Vienna of international diplomat Neil Wardh and his wife Julie, coincides with a spate of vicious murders. In her husband’s increasing absence, Julie finds herself the (mainly) unwilling recipient of attention from her sadomasochistic ex, Jean and her latest suitor, George. As the killer continues to wreck havoc, and Julie's affair with George becomes more torrid, it becomes apparent that the victims are all connected to her and she begins to suspect each of the men in her life of being the sadistic maniac… Can she work out who it is before it’s too late?

During the early seventies, just after Dario Argento’s dazzling and justly influential The Bird with the Crystal Plumage sparked a trailblazing trend, director Sergio Martino made several giallo films back to back which would come to represent several of the genre’s most evocative and archetypal entries. Giallo (plural: gialli) is Italian for ‘yellow’ and the name originates from the trad…

Cat People

The first film in a series of moody, literate horror films produced by Val Lewton in the 1940s, Cat People is an evocative example of how effective the ‘less is more’ approach to horror can be. Directed with effective restraint by Jacques Tourneur, the film is a masterpiece of mood and atmosphere. Choosing to suggest the horror rather than show it outright, Cat People remains a beautifully eerie and atmospheric chiller to this day. One of the first films to reference the work of Sigmund Freud, it plays out as a dark and unflinching study of sexual repression and anxiety.

Head over to the Classic Horror Campaign to read my full review.

Keep up to date with the Classic Horror Campaign on Facebook and sign their petition to return classic horror double bills to BBC scheduling.

Classic Horror Campaign Presents: A Horror Double Bill!

The lovely folks behind the Classic Horror Campaign have just announced the launch of a series of horror double bills! The first event takes place this Easter on Good Friday, at the Roxy Bar & Screen in London.
Starting at 3pm on April 22nd and in the old tradition of the BBC Horror Double Bills, there will be a double bill screening of Night of the Demon (1957) followed by Hammer’s classic Vampire Circus (1972).
As well as the movie screenings there will be some horror DVD giveaways and the opportunity of appearing on the Classic Horror Campaign website when they post coverage of the event.

Tickets are £5 and are available on the door. Seating is limited, so it’s recommended that you get there early.

More details of The Horror Double Bill event can be found on the Classic Horror Campaign Facebook page - so check it out regularly for updates. And why not support the campaign in its noble cause to bring back the old classic horror double bills to BBC scheduling, and sign their pe…

Night Train Murders

Dir. Aldo Lado

L'ultimo treno della notte, The New House on The Left, Second House on The Left, Don't Ride on Late Night Trains, Last Stop on the Night Train, Late Night Trains, Last House Part II and Xmas Massacre

Two young girls are dealt a harsh blow by fate when they take a night train from Germany to Italy and cross paths with two thugs and a psychotic nymphomaniac. What follows is a gruelling night of degradation, rape and murder. In another twist of fate the murderous trio eventually encounter the parents of one of the girls. When the realisation of their daughter’s ghastly fate onboard the night train occurs, the parents’ exact bloody revenge…

A loose reworking of Wes Craven’s groundbreaking grit-fest, Last House on the Left, and therefore Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, Lado’s outing is a much more stylish, polished affair, raising it to a loftier status than its American predecessor. While Craven featured grimy realism, Lado opts for cinematic flair tha…

The Werewolf and The Yeti

Paul Naschy (born Jacinto Molina Alvarez) is a cult icon and one of the most significant figures in the history of Spanish Horror cinema. He is best known for his twelve “Hombre Lobo” movies, featuring the tragic werewolf character, Waldemar Daninsky (played by Naschy himself). The Werewolf and The Yeti AKA Night of the Howling Beast AKA Curse of the Beast AKA Hall of the Mountain King (!), is the eighth in the series, and was directed by Spanish exploitation devotee, Miguel Iglesias, under the alias M.I. Bonns. Made at a time when Spanish horror films were starting to fade out of popularity after their ‘Golden Age’ in the early Seventies, The Werewolf And The Yeti would be the last Daninsky picture for several years, until Naschy returned in 1980 with El Retorno del Hombre Lobo/Return of the Wolf Man; one of his own personal favourites.

The Werewolf And The Yeti’s pre-cert VHS release was banned in the UK by the BBFC under the Video Recordings Act of 1984, and was featured on the “Vi…