Showing posts from May, 2013

The Appeal of The Wicker Man

2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the The Wicker Man's original release. In celebration of this and continuing its project to conserve, restore and release for future generations the best of Classic British cinema, STUDIOCANAL announced its intention to release the most complete version of the film possible. The now widely lauded film was released with minimal promotion in 1973 as second feature of a double bill with Don’t Look Now. The version exhibited to audiences was significantly shorter than director Robin Hardy's original vision. In what has now become an apocryphal episode in British film history, the negatives disappeared from storage at Shepperton Studios, were then allegedly used as landfill in the construction of the nearby M4 motorway, and are considered lost forever.

STUDIOCANAL are now appealing worldwide to film collectors, historians, programmers and all-round fans to support the campaign and come forward with any information relating to the potential wherea…

The Collection

Dir. Marcus Dunstan

When a young woman is captured by a masked psychopath after attending an underground warehouse party, where the revellers were mowed, sliced and crushed to death by a macabre series of contraptions, a group of mercenaries are dispatched by her rich father to track her down. Aiding them is Arkin, a former captive of the killer who somehow managed to escape. Can they get to Elena before she becomes part of his gruesome 'collection'?

Attempting to do for The Collector what Aliens did for Alien,The Collection ups the scope of the first film from the get-go, lurching into gear immediately with a series of jaw-dropping bloody spectacles that set the scene for the large scale carnage that follows. The introduction of a group of badass mercenaries, who are attempting to hunt down the mysterious serial killer and do what 'the police can't', also establishes the action-packed ante. These guys mean business. Too bad they’re all two-dimensional fodd…

Don’t Go In the Backwoods: Rural Rampages & the Horror Film

Dir. Calum Waddell

Backwoods: pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. Heavily wooded, uncultivated, thinly settled areas.
2. An area that is far from population centres or that is held to be culturally backward.

West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are dark narrow glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where thin brooklets trickle without ever having caught the glint of sunlight. On the slopes there are farms, ancient and rocky, with squat, moss-coated cottages brooding eternally over old New England; but these are all vacant now, the wide chimneys crumbling and the shingled sides bulging perilously beneath low gambrel roofs.” HP Lovecraft

The backwoods has long held a strange place of morbid fascination in the collective mind of American city dwellers. It represents escapism – somewhere to go to negate the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle; a place which grants mind-clearing solitude, fresh a…

Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever

Dir. Calum Waddell
Ever since Alfred Hitchcock filmed Janet Leigh being stabbed to death in a shower in Psycho (1960), stories of knife-wielding madmen - stalking and slaughtering helpless, usually scantily clad victims - have become a permanent fixture in horror cinema. Hitchcock humanised the monster and made audiences think twice about being alone in the company of that nice looking, quiet guy from next door. You know, the one who lives with his mother.

Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever takes an often irreverent look at the universally-maligned, frequently misunderstood, slasher sub-genre which came in the wake of Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Made by Calum Waddell and Naomi Holwill of High Rising Productions, who have been widely acclaimed for their work with Arrow Video and other labels, it is a knowing love letter to stalk and slash cinema. Amongst those discussing the appeal of the slasher are the likes of Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Adam Green (Hatchet)…

Diabolique Issue 16

Issue 16 of Diabolique is now available to pre-order. In this issue we celebrate what would have been Peter Cushing’s one hundredth birthday, and inside you’ll find an overview of Mr Cushing's career, memoirs of people who knew him and highlights of some of his finest moments in genre cinema. Cushing appeared in dozens of classic horror films and is known for no less than three major character roles: Van Helsing, Dr. Frankenstein, and Sherlock Holmes.

Widely acknowledged as a kind and humble soul, Cushing’s personality seems at odds with the lurid horror titles that dominated his career. It’s fitting then that he gained the reputation as ‘the gentleman of horror.’

This issue also includes:

The Dying Game – a look at Neil Jordan’s new Gothic vampire film, Byzantium.

On The Cutting Edge: Visions Quest – in which Nigel Wingrove talks to Max Weinstein about his 23-year crusade against censorship.

Victor Frankenstein – Creator And Monster - Bruce G. Hallenbeck’s examination of the evolut…

Lord of Tears

Set in the remote highlands of Scotland, and inspired by the unsettling and bleak tales of H. P. Lovecraft and the creepy Slender Man mythology, Lord of Tears is a forthcoming gothic chiller that, if these striking images are anything to go by, should prove to be an immensely atmospheric and nightmarish yarn indeed. Written by Sarah Daly, it tells of James Findlay, a teacher tormented by childhood memories of a strange and unsettling entity – an owl-headed figure dressed in Victorian attire and sporting elongated limbs and sharp talons. After the death of his mother, the nightmares return and with them, a familiar, watching presence. As James faces a descent into madness, his only hope to fight his tormentor, to banish the evil that haunts him, is to return to his childhood home. He travels to the lonely mansion in the Scottish Highlands, a place notorious for its tragic and disturbing history. There, he must uncover, once and for all, the chilling truth behind the immortal stalker…

The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears

Anyone familiar with the irresistibly beautiful, yet devastatingly violent Italian giallo films of the Seventies – made popular by Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Sergio Martino – will no doubt have wept tears of joy while watching Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s breathlessly sensual Amer. Many of the now iconic motifs, visual codes and stylistic traits from the blood drenched and vivid archives of the giallo film were present and correct throughout Amer; a virtually dialogue free film revolving around concepts of obsession, sexual desire, psychological trauma and murder…

Following on from their contribution to The ABCs of Death - O is for Orgasm – the duo are currently making their sophomore feature, tantalisingly titled The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears (L'Etrange Couleur Des Larmes De Ton Corps). They have released a teasing synopsis, describing the film thus: The Strange Colour is the story of a man who investigates the weird conditions of his wife's disappear…

Italian Horror Night

Filmgoer, Belfast’s latest film night, presents an exquisitely deranged giallo-themed double bill at The Black Box, with screenings of Dario Argento’s dazzling trendsetter The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, and Peter Strickland’s distressing love-letter to by-gone Italian shockers, Berberian Sound Studio.

With his strikingly shot and sadistically violent directorial debut, Argento built on the giallo blueprint laid down by Mario Bava in the groundbreaking The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Blood And Black Lace; effectively kick starting the popularity of the giallo movie in early Seventies Italian cinema. A slew of films combining art-house aesthetics and exploitative sex and violence followed suit. Few come close to matching The Bird with the Crystal Plumage though. Exploring traits now commonly associated with Argento’s blood-soaked body of work – such as fetishised violence and death, identity, gender, Freudian psychoanalysis, paranoia, voyeurism and spectatorship – Bird follows an Ame…

Speak of the Devil: An Interview with Sean Hogan, Writer/Director of The Devil's Business

Director Sean Hogan is known to fans of horror cinema for his quietly unsettling and eerily atmospheric tales, usually set against a backdrop of urban gloom and featuring desperate characters with shady secrets. Lie Still followed the increasingly nightmarish experiences of a lonely young unemployed man staying in a creepy, strangely deserted old boarding house. House and Home, Hogan’s contribution to the Amicus-inspired contemporary British horror anthology Little Deaths, focused on the exploits of an upper-class couple with peculiar sexual tastes, who invite a homeless girl into their depravity. With horrific consequences.

His most recent title, The Devil’s Business, tells of two hit men sent to murder an old associate of their underworld boss. To their increasing horror, they gradually begin to realise that things are not all they seem to be in their would-be target's house. The discovery of a Satanic altar - and its shocking sacrifice - sends the pair on a descent into the sh…

Audiodrome #16: Evil Dead

Sam Raimi’s low budget, splattery shocker Evil Dead (1981) tells of a group of friends who, while staying at a remote cabin in the woods, unwittingly unleash demonic forces which possess and mutilate them one by one. The combination of slapstick humour, inventive camerawork and splashy make-up effects ensured the film much controversy upon release - though it has since attained cult status. With the remake still riding high at the box office, I thought it appropriate to revisit Raimi’s original film – hailed by Stephen King as ‘ferociously original’ – and explore its creepy soundtrack by Joseph LoDuca.

Utilising both analog synthesizers and more traditional instrumentation, LoDuca’s score is rife with violent, Herrmannesque strings and a diabolical mischievousness, perfectly enhancing the sadistically impish shenanigans which ooze, slosh and spatter throughout the story.

Head over to to read my full review and listen to an excerpt of the score. While you’re there, why …