Zone Horror
My reviews


I thought, as a fan of the horror genre - and as a person who has mentioned Zone Horror (formerly The Horror Channel) half a dozen times in my Digibox write-up - that I should review some of their offerings.


All thoughts and views expressed are purely my own opinions.
Titles in crimson are my favourites.

Please note that due to the nature of this document, some of the
pictures within may be gory or disturbing to sensitive people.
Just remember - it's all a bunch of movies - nobody really died!

Zone Horror contains sustained moderate horror...


Schedule clash? Came home late? Forgot? Don't panic - you can now get your regular dose of nubile girls screaming at fake spiders (etc) an hour later on Zone Horror + 1...
Catch the goriest bits once again!


Zone Horror (formerly The Horror Channel) is channel 321 on SkyDigital.
For those with FTA receivers, the tuning is 11261 H 27500 2/3.
Video PID = 2313, Audio PID = 2314, PCR PID = 2313.
You'll find Zone Horror+1 free-to-air as SkyDigital channel 322
or by manually tuning your receiver to 11222 H 27500.
Video PID = 2324, Audio PID = 2325, PCR PID = 2324.


The 'ratings' shown (i.e. 15, 18, etc) are the ratings given by Zone Horror (in the EPG).
Indented blocks are comments relating to "Jason's reviews" on the channel's website.

I have scored the films 'out of ten', aka "The Rick 'VideoFiend' rating":

Last updated 4th August 2009 at 00:30 CET


Union flag Wa-hey!, real home-grown material!
Stars and stripes Small-town America bites back!
The southern cross A movie made "Down Under".
The southern cross, differently Made "Down Under and right a bit". :-)
La tricouleur Un film d'horreur, normalement en français et avec des sous-titres.
La bandiera dell'Italia Un film dell'orrore da Italia, normalmente in italiano e con il sottotitolos.
Nihongo! Sumimasen - eigo-ga wakarimas ka?



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Quick links (158 reviews, 18 favourites (and 136 pictures Piccies; with links to 19 larger pictures)):

5ive Girls Piccies  −   Altered Species  −   Arachnia  −   Are You Scared?  −   Asylum Night Piccies  −   BackSlash  −   Berserker: Hell's Warrior  −   Black Magic Rites Piccies  −   Blood Reaper Piccies  −   Bloody Birthday Piccies  −   Bloody Murder  −   Bloody Murder 2  −   Breaking Dawn  −   Caged Terror  −   Charade Piccies  −   Children of the Corn II Piccies  −   Cradle of Fear  −   Dark Corners  −   Dark Shadows  −   Deadbolt  −   Dead Mary  −   Dead Scared  −   Dead Sleep Piccies  −   Death Valley: The Revenge Of Bloody Bill Piccies  −   Demon Wind Piccies  −   Descendant Piccies  −   Deuces Piccies  −   Devil's Prey  −   Dolly Dearest  −   Do You Wanna Know A Secret  −   Eegah  −   Elvira - Mistress of the Dark  −   Evil Aliens  −   Fair Game Piccies  −   Flowers In The Attic  −   Ghost Game  −   Ghost Lake Piccies  −   Ghost Town  −   Goth  −   Grim Reaper  −   Grim Weekend Piccies  −   Guardian  −   Halloween Night  −   Headhunter  −   Hellblock 13  −   Hell's Highway Piccies  −   Horror 101  −   Humanoids From The Deep  −   Hunting Humans  −   I Am Omega  −   I Am The Ripper Piccies  −   Ice Cream Man  −   Inferno  −   Insecticidal  −   Invader  −   It Waits  −   Journey To The Center of The Earth Piccies  −   Killing Car  −   Kolobos Piccies  −   Laboratory Piccies  −   Left In Darkness  −   Leprechaun Piccies  −   Leprechaun 2  −   Live Feed  −   Lover's Lane  −   Lycanthrope Piccies  −   Malevolence  −   Maniac Nurses  −   Maniacts Piccies  −   May  −   Momentum  −   Mommy  −   Mommy 2 - Mommy's Day  −   Monster In The Closet  −   Night Hunter  −   Nightmare Man  −   Night Orchid  −   Night Skies  −   Nude For Satan  −   Party Crasher  −   Penetration Angst  −   Penny Dreadful  −   Premonition  −   Progeny  −   Project Viper  −   Pterodactyl  −   Pulse Piccies  −   Pumpkinhead  −   Raven's Ridge Piccies  −   Raiders of The Damned  −   Red Riding Hood  −   Reign In Darkness  −   Requiem For A Vampire (Vierges et VampiresPiccies  −   Revenge of the Psychotronic Man Piccies  −   Satan's Little Helper  −   Second Sight Piccies  −   Serial Killer Piccies  −   Shades of Darkness Piccies  −   Shower Of Blood  −   Shredder  −   Shriek (aka The Shriek)  −   Sight Unseen  −   Sleepaway Camp 2 (Unhappy Campers) Piccies  −   Sleepaway Camp 3 (Teenage Wasteland)  −   Slugs  −   Slumber Party Massacre III  −   Snapped  −   Snapshot Piccies  −   Sometimes They Come Back...Again  −   Sorority Girls And The Creature From Hell Piccies  −   Soundman Piccies  −   Spider Baby Piccies  −   Spiker  −   Stalked  −   Stealing Candy  −   Strange Behaviour (Dead Kids)  −   Subhuman  −   The Bone Snatcher  −   The Chair  −   The Choke  −   The Brink  −   The Dark Dealer  −   The Dead Of Night Piccies  −   The Dentist  Piccies  −   The Dreaded Piccies  −   The Evil Below  −   The Grapes of Death (Les Raisins de la Mort)  −   The Greenskeeper  −   The Haunting Of Morella  −   The Horror Story  −   The Hunt  −   The Invisible Maniac  −   The Iron Rose (Le Rose de FerPiccies  −   The Living Dead Girl (La Morte VivantePiccies  −   The Lonely Ones Piccies  −   The Nude Vampire (La Vampire NuePiccies  −   The Red Right Hand  −   The Risen  −   The Scarecrow  −   The Source Piccies  −   The Tooth Fairy  −   The Two Orphan Vampires (Les Deux Orphelines VampiresPiccies  −   The Unborn 2  −   The Visitation  −   The Wisher Piccies  −   They Are Among Us  −   They Crawl  −   Torment  −   Through The Fire  −   Trauma Piccies  −   Trees 2 (The Roots Of All Evil)  −   Turkey Shoot Piccies  −   Unknown Origin  −   Vampires Anonymous  −   Vampire High (series) Piccies  −   Witchboard  −   Zipperface Zombie Lake  −  


Foreign title quick links:

I Am The Ripper Piccies  −   La Morte Vivante (The Living Dead GirlPiccies  −   La Vampire Nue (The Nude VampirePiccies  −   Le Lac des Morts Vivants (Zombie Lake)  −   Le Rose de Fer (The Iron RosePiccies  −   Les Deux Orphelines Vampires (The Two Orphan VampiresPiccies  −   Les Raisins de la Mort (The Grapes of Death)  −   Vierges et Vampires / Requiem Pour Un Vampire (Requiem For A VampirePiccies


My favourites (8/10 or more) quick links:

Asylum Night {9¾/10} Piccies  −   Breaking Dawn {8/10}  −   Ghost Lake {8¾/10} Piccies  −   I Am The Ripper {9/10} Piccies  −   It Waits {8¼/10}  −   Kolobos {8/10} Piccies  −   La Morte Vivante (The Living Dead Girl) {9¼/10} Piccies  −   Left In Darkness {8/10} Le Rose de Fer (The Iron Rose) {8/10} Piccies  −   Les Raisins de la Mort (The Grapes of Death) {8/10}  −   Maniacts {8/10} Piccies  −   Penny Dreadful {8/10}  −   Pulse {8½/10} Piccies  −   Serial Killer {8½/10} Piccies  −   Shades of Darkness {8/10} Piccies  −   Soundman {8/10} Piccies  −   Spider Baby {8½/10} Piccies  −   The Risen {8/10}



5ive Girls [15] (7/10) Made in America

Oooooh, this is gonna HURT!  Let's get it on!
There is something about religious rhetoric that lends itself to horror films. Sometimes it may be a valid questioning of the validity of the religion and its dogma, and sometimes it is just a cheap dig. In this sense, 5ive Girls is a bit of a hotch-potch, the inimitable pentagram even makes an appearance! But as far as I'm concerned, mock the rhetoric! ☺

No 'blessed be' in this place.A girl who can move things by thought is dumped at a locked gate by her agitated father. The gate is opened by a creepy hooded monk who lets her in and locks the gate behind him as he leaves.
Finding her way to the classroom, she encounters four other 'girls with problems' (who also turn out to have powers of some form), a priest (played by Ron Perlman of "Hellboy", "La Cité Des Enfants Perdus", etc), and an icy woman who just screams "I'm on a power trip".
In the process of reform, and the girls wearing pseudo-kinky tartan-skirted uniforms (well, this is supposed to be a horror movie, right?), they start to discover more about each other, about lead girl's pet ghost theory, and about what exactly is going on in the bizarre school... or should that be convent?
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Altered Species [15] (5¾/10) Made in America

We begin (well, 25-odd minutes) switching between freaky experiments on lab a lab (duh!), and a group of adolescents driving into a city in a van. The adolescents go to meet their friend, who works at the lab. They distract him and bust in, and exercise great dialogue like:
   Sombody:       She is trash, man.
   Somebody else: You're talkin' about my girlfriend, man.
   Somebody:      Get outta my face, man!
And then they come face to face with a bent-up cage, a rat busted out. A really pi***d-off mutant rat.
So the group go to help, some of them acting like sex-obessed children (why look for a rat when we can get nookie?).
The problem with this film is that there wasn't much of an emotional connection with the characters. Like the sex-obessed pair, you figure that in this sort of movie they should be the first of the group to buy it, but you don't really care, you just sort of wait for inevitable... though when the inevitable arrives, it is brutal.
Instant re-connection. Not an emotional one, but if that's how they dispatch the first few, how will they bump off the rest?
And so after the first killings, the film picks up pace and becomes more appealing...
Interesting title/end credit style.
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Arachnia [15] (6/10) Made in America

An up-tight pervy professor, a stoner, a nerd, a pilot, and two lesbians with a combined IQ of half a normal person are in a plane when a weird green meteor smashes into the earth creating a shock wave that causes the plane to crash - although I find it hard to see how such an obviously fake plane can fly, never mind crash.
The meteor had other effects, perhaps the title of the film might give you a clue to the giant spiders.
I would suggest you spend lots of time eyeballing the two chicks, who are reasonably cute even if whiney and daft, because it is a lot better to imagine them getting it on with each other than listening to some of the dialogue which is... um... ☺ Actually while the dialogue is sucky and such, there is plenty of comedy thrown in to keep the film interesting.
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Are you scared? [15] (6½/10) Made in America

After a gleefully vicious introduction sequence, a bunch of people wake up in an abandoned factory thinking they are part of a TV programme where they have to do things that are scary, think of Big Brother with attitude, or Fear Factor with balls; only this is more a set up by a deranged individual who seems to feel that an honest death is better than a miserable existence.
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Asylum Night [18] (9¾/10) Made in England, with pride!

One would imagine that this nurse doesn't have a pleasant bedside manner...  Ellen Cole to the rescue, da da duh!  Gun or machete? Gun or machete? Easy choice, really...

Without the slightest hint of a doubt, this was Zone Horror's best acquisition. I said this when the channel was called "The Horror Channel", and years later under the name of "Zone Horror" it still holds true.

Ellen Cole is an agency nurse. She goes to work a shift at a mental facility. The staff are not interested in knowing her, referring to her as "the agency" (well observed - that happened to me too!).
In actuality, she is an undercover reporter. Her brother is in the facility for the murder of their parents - something Ellen believes him to be innocent of. Somehow she must find a way to expose the abuse and get her brother out; for he never should have been sent to that facility in the first place.
Ellen gets more than she bargained for. Sexy female doctors, blood, sultry nurses, blood, the 'nice bloke' who happens to turn a bit 'odd' when he is holding a machete, blood, and the Christmas party.
Oh yes, and vampires.
Lots of vampires.

This is a new (in 2004...) British film, made by a new company called Revolt Films who promises more of the same in the future. I cannot wait!
As you watch this film, it is really difficult to believe that this is a debut feature for the new Revolt Films company - even in its best moments, Hammer Horror isn't a patch on this!

It is quite clear that the creators of this film are avid horror fans. This is certainly no "cash in on the trend" type of horror flick, nor another "let's put a bunch of teenagers in a forest..." film. Oh no. This film has been written by horror fans so it contains all the things that horror fans would want in a movie. Some great characters, great situations, and considering the low budget - the special effects were okay too.
It is really nice to have the humour played subtle, rather than several recent 'big' horror movies that were mainly funny because of stupid things they said or other movies they ripped off. Asylum Night is not like this at all. It assumes we viewers have a brain. It is a thinking man's horror movie.

In fact my only complaint with Asylum Night is the finalé, however this didn't put me off the movie - everything up until that point was near genius.
(I think I'll just have to shrug and say 'artistic differences')
I won't spoil it for you by telling you what I didn't like. Watch the movie, perhaps you can guess... If you really really cannot wait, open the 'source' of this web page and read the comment.

Ellen Cole is well played by Adrienne Carlyle; and David Horton puts in a brilliant performance as the sanest person in the asylum.
This is definitely a not to be missed film, and congratulations to Revolt Films for such an entertaining and intelligent horror movie...

Some behind-the-scenes pictures: Adrienne Carlyle (Ellen Cole) gets the giggles; filming the Happy Hacker scene; and the leading ladies at the film's premiere...

Adrienne Carlyle gets the giggles during filming...  Filming the Happy Hacker scene...  The Leading Ladies at the premiere...

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Backslash [18] (6½/10) Made in America

Some college students are putting together a really rather bad movie about a slasher killer, and also naming the cutest girls on campus on a website. The only problem? There is a real slasher killer who is using the website as a "to do list", and it is up to a geeky girl and Paris Hilton pretender try to figure out what is going on.
For a low budget film, this was surprisingly engaging. You also get the fun of looking at the credits to see who in the cast was also in the crew, not to mention "Mark Derryberry" - how's that for a name!?!
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Berserker: Hell's Warrior [18] (6/10) Made in America

This is a strange story about a viking-like man condemned to hell who has to fight for his soul or something like that for eternity. The film is marred somewhat by some bizarre visual effects that make the early Dr. Whos look sophisticated in comparison.
Oh, and Kari Wuhrer (who you may remember from Sliders, took over Wade's position in the group after she got herself lost in some alternate dimension) gets wet. A lot. Rain. Sprinkers in a nightclub. More rain. You can work out for yourself if that's a good point or a bad point... :-)
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Black Magic Rites [18] (5½/10) Prodotto d'Italia

A traditional witch burning...   The kooky girl dancing on the piano and, look, a typo! :-)

In Italian with English subtitles.
The odd screen format is space for the subtitles!

Plenty of cute girls in this movie...Imagine a Jean Rollin film given a slice of Italian style. The result? This movie. Black Magic Rites.

The story concerns a group of people in an old castle, following an uneasy shift of perspective forward and backward in time. A girl is captured and sacrificed to a creepy-looking statue. In the dark ages, a 'witch' was burned at a stake. The statue is, I think, a representation of this witch and it needs hearts and eyes and blood from virgins to bring it alive.
The group gathered in the castle are enjoying a song and dance; but they are, not entirely coincidentally, the descendants of the ones that were originally involved in the witch burning.
Lots of attractive girls will scream, and lots of people will act really badly. But somehow you don't mind as the sets are colourful in a way that perhaps only the Italians can manage (a horror film verging on ever-so-slightly-tacky cartoon qualities). And, being a film made by somebody other than Dario Argento, it contains all of the colours of the rainbow.

I'll tell you what, guys... Grab a beer, watch this movie, and see if you can tell me what the exact plot is supposed to be. There's a basic premise which could be written in one paragraph, and there's everything else which makes little sense and is full of logic faults!

Never mind. It is nice to look at. :-)
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Blood Reaper [18] (6/10) Made in America

When you're stuck in a cabin in the woods, in a teen slasher film, EVERYTHING is scary.  Now the smart girl REALLY wouldn't go in there.
In fact, the smart girl wouldn't be wandering around the woods alone.
So this girl? She can't be that smart...  Well look on the bright side, at least it isn't a hockey mask!

A low budget movie, and it shows! A bunch of people camp in the woods. Some weird guy with a guitar sings a creepy tale and... well... The gory effects are amazingly fake and the acting is so hammy...
That's why I liked this film, to be honest. It is a great one to share with a few friends and a couple of cans. You can all shout at the TV, like: Hey, moody dark-haired girl! You're scared, right? You're looking for your boyfriend, right? So WHY ARE YOU WALKING AROUND THE FOREST ALONE???
But it gets better, you can all shout NO! Don't go into that dark cave, you stupid girl!!!
Yup, this film has 'em all. Horror story clichés pile up relentlessly, like a motorway crash in thick fog. It just doesn't stop!

Oh, the plot? Well there's this bunch of people (supposedly teens, but a little bit too old) in the forest. And there's this guy with an axe and his face obscured by a gas mask. Just like in Dr. Giggles, they run and he walks and he still catches them. Who is he? We never find out. Why is he killing? We never really know. Why don't these kids run the moment one of them disappears? That'd make a crappy movie. Who is the weird old person? Local colour, I presume. Why is GasMaskGuy's shack missing most of it's walls? Better visuals?
To be honest, the plot is little more than "young adults vs deranged killer"... But it's a fun ride all the same...
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Bloody Birthday [??] (3/10) Made in America

When I was that age, I just knew girls were gonna be a whole lot of trouble... :-)

Three babies, all born at the same time during a solar eclipse...
That's the sci-fi rubbish that prefixes this film that looks as if it is from the late '70s or early '80s. We catch up with the three children about ten years into their lives. And, suddenly, as if it is some sort of born destiny, they start killing people.
This is one of those movies where you watch and have to ask "how stupid ARE those adults?"...
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Bloody Murder [18] (6/10) Made in America

Welcome to one of the most exercised sub-categories of the horror genre. Yes folks, we're in a summer camp lurking deep deep in the woods. Camp Placid to be exact, and the psycho of camp legend (Trevor Moorhouse and his trusty chainsaw) turns into a grisly reality for a bunch of hapless teens.

You can download the script from the Bloody Murder Films website (direct link (incomplete?)).
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Bloody Murder 2 [18] (6½/10) Made in America

Five years on, people are at Camp Placid. And, once again, so is Trevor and his chainsaw. After all, there's a score that just has to be settled.
I think this sequel is superior to the original, though both are quite watchable films. There's a nice twist in the ending of this one...

You can download the script from the Bloody Murder Films website (direct link (incomplete?)).
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Bone Snatcher, The [click to redirect]


Breaking Dawn [18] (8/10) Made in America

Every so often a film comes along that defies ordinary description, but down inside someplace your 'gut reaction' is a Keanu Reaves 'whoaaaa!'.
Not enough people go by their feelings. And, you know, that whoaaaa! was my first reaction and it is what I'm going to go with.

The movie, basically, is an attractive female med student is assigned a particularly difficult case in an asylum as part of her thesis work. To pass her course, she has to communicate with him and learn enough about him in order to be able to write up about him.
But he has a few surprises up his sleeve - including warnings about the shadowy creepy dude called Molokai.

This is a movie that you need to watch without disturbances. Take the phone off the hook, lock the doors, close the curtains, turn the lights out. Then watch this film, while taping it. When the twist in the tale is revealed, suddenly everything that has gone before will take on a slightly different context, a 'paradigm shift' if you will. Rewind the tape, watch it again to see how everything falls into place.

I cannot say anything else, I don't want to spoil it for you!
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Brink, The [click to redirect]


Caged Terror [??] (2/10) Made in America

This film has a very '70s appearance. The story? A Canadian-sounding pacifist and her hunt-happy boyfriend go camping in the woods. They find an old house and set up for the night. They meet some oddball characters that play guitar and sing at them...

Now you might be thinking that this doesn't sound so bad, right? The sad fact is that the above paragraph covers fifty four minutes of the film, which really should have been edited down to around ten minutes so that something interesting can happen.

So, now that we have the extra characters, the films picks up, right?

Yes and no. I mean, stuff happens but you are waiting for the big climax (if nothing else) and it never arrives. I found the film's ending to be badly structured and just as you are hoping for the film to really get going, the credits roll...

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Chair, The [click to redirect]


Charade [12] (6/10)

# I go with the InPhone, I go where the InPhone goes! :-)  Perhaps the guy with the hook was on loan from James Bond?

Audrey Hepburn on The Horror Channel? Say it isn't so!

Actually, it is so. This gentle film follows a woman's discovery that her husband had a whole secret life that she didn't know about. And following his death, there's a whole lot of money that a number of unpleasant characters want.
This film isn't scary, but it provides plenty of opportunities for the well-dressed Ms. Hepburn to scream and be scared; including her enduring a rather innovative torture in a phone booth.

Set in Paris. There's no flag as I'm not sure (right now) if this is an American or British production.

You can download the script from the Classic Movie Scripts website (direct link).
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Children of the Corn II [18] (6/10) Made in America

Lots of strange goings-on in the corn fields...

(this image as taken off-screen using a digital camera)

Following on from Children of the Corn, this film takes up the story, but it is perhaps bizarre in that it continues exactly where the original left off - no 'year later' or anything like that.

We, essentially, follow the story of a jaded newspaper reporter and the son that doesn't think much of him. And along the way they encounter a woman running a B&B and a young girl on a moped, respectively.

What to say? Well as a lot of material written by, or based upon, Stephen King - the undertones of the story are the religious weirdness that exists in some parts of America. We have the priest banging on about 'fornication' and 'sinning most vigorously', while the evil children are evidently led by an entity referred to as 'He Who Walks Behind The Rows'.
You'll notice through much of the early part of the film there is a boy dressed entirely in black, black hair, and his eyes are weirdly black as well. This should have been a bit of a clue to... like... everybody.

This won't win awards for being a great horror film, and it probably won't even go into a 'classics' category. But it is worth watching, in a Bloody Murder kind of way - don't take it seriously, it is actually sorta funny...
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Choke, The [click to redirect]


Cradle Of Fear [18] (5/10) Made in England

Well, it starts off as a reasonably odd low budget horror film (with Emily Booth being impregnated by an alien, or something?), but then the film starts to loose direction and you are hoping for the goth bloke that looks like a podgy girl to reappear just so you can find some sense of continuity in this overlong story.
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Dark Corners [18] (6¾/10) Made in America

A tragically missed oppotunity.

Thora Birch plays both lead roles - a blonde girl trying IVF treatment who has nightmares featuring...
...a much prettier, though less stable, brunette who has some pretty mental things happen in her life; like waking up beaten and vomiting up a key. This girl has the blonde in her dreams.

It goes along as a great little film, there's some really menacing stuff, and we are left for ages wondering if these two girls will find out about the existence of each other. Will they meet? Are they both real, or is one the dream of another? So many questions, so many possibilities, all let down by a muddled and lacklustre ending.
But, hey, watch the other 99% of the film and then in your head devise a better ending! ☺
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Dark Dealer, The [click to redirect]


Dark Shadows [??] (6¾/10) Made in America

My mom watching Zone Horror? I never thought I'd see the day!

When she was a little girl and televisions had not yet discovered the delights of colour or video editing, my mother would run home from school to watch a series that has attained a cult status. A series called "Dark Shadows".
This, showing on Zone Horror is a late eighties remake. Actually it is copyright 1991 however the clothing and especially the hairstyles seem late-'80s, unless California clung on to that decade a little longer than the rest of us. In any case, a remake was inevitable given that the original was recorded on to videotape in the days before proper tape editing (so fluffed lines and accidents remain); the whole concept was actually quite a good one, perhaps just a little before its time.

It is hard to explain what exactly "Dark Shadows" actually is. A woman goes to a spooky old house called Collinwood, in Maine (filmed in California), to be a nanny to a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt who you may know from "Third Rock From The Sun". There is crossing and double-crossing, a vampire called Barnabus, a fairly convincing French accent in a girl going by the name of Angelique (which, incidently, is the 'name' of my laptop - no relation)...

I find it a little bit cheesy in a "Dallas" sort of way, however mom says it is fairly faithful to the original series. One thing we cannot deny is that it is extremely complex. If you are faithfully following the story, you'll find it sucking you in regardless of the cheese or the ham.
This is truly one of this series where you miss an episode and you won't know what the heck is going on - and God help anybody stumbling in part-way into the story! Unfortunately this may have been its ultimate downfall, for only around 12 episodes were made...

Maybe Zone Horror could try to secure the rights to show the original b/w series? That would be most cool...
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Deadbolt [15] (7/10) Made in America

This film is another departure from the strict 'horror' genre; it is more a psychological thriller.
The beautiful Justine Bateman is a med student and after coming home to find her apartment ransacked, she decides to take in a roommate. Unfortunately, as smart as she is, she isn't good at judging people because the person she picks has 'creep' written all over him. And not just your regular creep either; pretty soon she finds herself locked in a padded room with the man controlling every aspect of her life...
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Dead Mary [??] (6/10) Made in America

A bunch of twenty-somethings in a cabin in the woods by a lake all alone. Yeah, okay, how many of you let out a big sigh? It's that again.
Hang on... it gets worse: The game is to see if you have the balls to go into the bathroom alone, look into the mirror, and say "Dead Mary" three times, for if you do her ghost is supposed to rise and start bumping people off only for them to come back as living dead. Or something. I wasn't really concentrating on the technicalities because as they went into the bathroom and said "dead mary", I was joining in... saying "beetlejuice"!

Of course Dead Mary (isn't that a rock group?) turns up. Of course people die. Of course they come back. This is a horror movie, after all. The question is, as always, which girl will survive. Or something. It was okay, if rather uninspired in the plot. It actually looked to me like a cast and crew doing their best with a rather lame plot, all filmed over a weekend on a tiny budget.
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Dead Of Night, The [click to redirect]


Dead Scared [??] (7/10) Made in America

A Fraternity and a Sorority get together to put on the ultimate hazing ceremony. Collect a bunch of stuff, from a list, and take it to a creepy old house and spend the night...
The people in charge of the frat/soro have rigged the house to have a number of spooks waiting for our hapless crew - only there are a number of uninvited guests, such as a recently deceased teacher who wants to open the portal to hell.

This is a funny, witty, and sharp story with some memorable characters - especially the dumb (or is she?) blonde in the bunny outfit. There's a name that ought to be familiar - Tiffany Shepis.

If you wish to look this up on IMDb, I should point out that the end credits say this movie is called The Hazing. The "Dead Scared" title is probably an English version because we Brits don't have the tradition of 'hazing' ceremonies.
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Dead Sleep [18] (6¾/10) Made in Australia

And your Named Nurse is...  A little bit of TLC is all we need.
A generic hospital corridor, only here the nurses look like real nurses!  And what did you say your name is?

A young nurse, fetchingly played by Linda Blair works at a hospital where a doctor is trying a new therapy. The therapy of sleep.
Essentially, you should think of this as a poor man's "Coma", that while Robin Cook revelled in the plausible technical details of medical horror stories, this one is a little harder to swallow, but it is engagingly played by Linda, who makes it believable.
Special marks also for having nurses that look a little frumpy - like real nurses - instead of the slutty sorts you often find in horror movies.
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Death Valley: The Revenge Of Bloody Bill [??] (7/10) Made in America

Chelsea Jean as the heroine of the film, or at least, the one with any balls and intelligence to go with it...  Little girls shouldn't play with matches. They shouldn't play with guns either.

A bunch of teenagers travelling down a lonely road in a posh minibus, en route to some sort of competition that they will take part in. They think they hit somebody. It turns out to be a gun-toting drug-pushing black man with a bad attitude (this unfortunate cultural stereotype is, really, the only let-down of the film).
The man directs them, at gunpoint, to a ghost town where it is always sunset - hence the name Sunset Valley - in order to track down the man's accomplice who just ripped him off. Sadly for them, the ghost town isn't just a ghost town. Time stands still, and as if that isn't enough, it is full of zombies!

Chelsea Jean, pictured above, makes a suitably quirky and fiesty lead character, even if it does appear as if she is trying hard not to giggle in a few scenes. She plays it this side of calm and collected, which is a touch creepy in itself. Bus hijacked? Oh, okaaay. Zombies gonna get you? Oh, okaaay. Sure, she gets upset once or twice. She even screams once. But nothing seems to get her down. I wish she'd be my girlfriend if I ended up in a horror flick!
I think we need a 'heroine' who isn't going to lose it as soon as things start to turn bad, who is suitably girly for a girl, without being all Gung-Ho Ripley. She's cute too.

This is obviously a low-budget affair, and it shows (the logic of the plot frequently defies itself and indeed the very definition of logic), but the sheer enthusiasm of the cast glosses over the various (numerous) deficiencies - you know, like the guys walking and the zombies running and they still get away, despite the place having some sort of weird circular thing going and it being about the size of a postage stamp...

As I check this review in MSIE, I notice that either my digitiser's idea of colour is seriously messed up (over-yellowification aside), or Chelsea's top is kinda blue in one picture and kinda green in the other! Oh, and with such an open-neck garment, you can also play "spot the bra straps" which appear to come and go, not to mention the 'blood' which looks to have been randomly applied by a finger dipped in red ink.
But hey, the girl isn't too freaked about the living dead, so I guess vanishing bras and tops that change colour aren't going to faze her either. Just so long as she has the bra when she needs to leg it, right? ☺

Bottom line? The photography is decent, and provided you don't attempt to take the plot seriously, this film is well worth a watch. For "artistic reasons", okay? To check out the rich lush and vibrant perpetu-sunset photography...

The ending credits has this to say:

The events, characters and firms depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Really. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental, and very weird. We suggest moving.

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Demon Wind [18] (6/10) Made in America

The obligatory 'creepy-old-dude-that-knows-something'...  Francine Lapensée.  The nice girl in red spends much of the beginning of the film just standing there, behind the men. It must be a hard thing to act - to be "I'll stand here and do nothing and try not to look unutilised"...

A young man called Cory (Eric Larson) wants to go and discover his roots after having weird dreams. He takes his sweet (in a librarian sort of way) girlfriend Elaine with him (Francine Lapensée). Despite warnings from 'the locals', he carries on going. And, along the way, a bunch of friends turn up for a party.
The first thing that isn't right is the house is a ruin. You can walk all around it. But go inside the front door, it's a house. Intact.
From here we have gore, grizzle, and all sorts of Evil Dead-style hijinks; in fact this is pretty much a rehash of The Evil Dead, only with a lower budget.
Much about this movie doesn't make sense, some of the acting is awful, and the effects are obviously effects (such as the oatmeal-puking zombies), but through it all it is so silly it is pretty funny...
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Dentist, The [click to redirect]


Descendant [15] (6½/10) Made in America

When you move into a new house, you shouldn't have to walk around holding a candlestick for protection!  Both of these people are descendants of Poe - go figure!  Here's Poe!

Two descendants of Poe meet each other and all sorts of chaos is unleashed as one of them has a bit of murder in mind, which is presided over by the ghost of Poe looking somewhat like a hammed-up John Cleese. You almost expect to see Manuel appear with his "I know nah-thing!" catchphrase.
There are a some action bits in this movie, not so many scares, but loads to giggle at.
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Deuces [??] (6/10) Made in America

It must be pretty 'heavy' to turn around and see yourself...  Split-screen, CGI, or twin sister?

Twenty years ago, a crazy old man was arrested for murdering... himself, apparently. Thus he was never sent to jail.
Fast-forward twenty years and this man knows something. You can't go in that room. The room protected with a really silly little lock. The police come to take him away, again, as he is refusing to let anybody near that room even though the old theatre has been closed a long while and foreclosed just then.
Our intrepid reporter has a feeling so she goes to find out what all the fuss is about. Along the way, being 'intrepid', she unlocks the room and walks in. But there's nothing in there!

Can't you just see the clichés piling up? Well here's the sci-fi part. Every twenty years there is some sort of... I don't know, cross-dimensional alignment or something. By this time my brain was more interested in eating spaghetti in the dark without spilling it than the flimsy science. Anyway, stepping into that room would, somehow, cause your 'double' to arrive on earth. Your double, of course, being the exact opposite of you (but looking pretty much the same, same hair colour etc). So for our intrepid reporter, her double was a good journalist that dished dirt, popular with the guys, and into kinky sex. In short, everything our original isn't.
This film does quite a good job of following the reporter's confusion ('but I didn't write this!?'), though one might suspect this had more to do with the cost and logistics of getting the same person on-screen twice rather than any major character development.

Hokey ending, but an enjoyable enough way to waste some idle time provided you don't try picking holes in the plot!
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Devil's Prey [15] (6½/10) Made in America

A group of adolescents wishing to reject their white-bread lifestyle crash at a rave, get pilled up, and then find themselves thrown out for a fight they didn't start.
Along the way, they find they've picked up a hitch-hiker − a girl in trouble. Only... the girl is apparently being hunted by a group of masked devil worshippers.
This movie attempts to transcend the various clichés, and while it gets amusingly daft in places, it almost succeeds. Note, I say almost. It was going nicely until the religious service − you'll know it when you see it.
The cast play it solidly and there are some nice visual effects, not to mention some prolonged, graphic, 'agony' moments.

You may find that one of the cast looks really familiar but something isn't quite right. Given the face, and given the name (Charlie O'Connell), it is pretty obvious to me now that he's the younger brother of Jerry O'Connell (you may know him from Sliders, Joe's Apartment, etc).
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Dolly Dearest [18] (5/10) Made in America

This is an attempt to rehash the 'possessed doll' subgenre that was basically created, oversold, and flogged to death by the Child's Play series of films.
The subtext this time is a family moves to New Mexico to revive a toy factory which... surprise surprise... just happens to be right next to an ancient tomb which is supposed to hold some sort of demon child thing that needs a way to get into the hearts and minds of children... guessed it. A possessed doll. This time the doll is female, and the child is female. But it doesn't really matter. The amusingly-named Rip Torn as the father of the family, his wife, the two children, and the religious Spanish-speaking housekeeper are basically not given enough decent material here. Nothing is scream-worthy. Hell, the possessed children aren't even scary when they've got their game faces on. In fact, I'd reckon anybody older than the young girl (usually wearing a puke-making "little girl" dress with frilly lace and such) in this film would probably find the dolls amusing rather than creepy.

I hope and I pray one day for a film to take up this genre and do something new an interesting (as Asylum Night was for the well-worn vampire genre), but, alas... this is much a by-the-numbers sort of film.

That isn't to say it is unwatchable - it is quite okay for watching while eating your ready meal, just don't have too many expectations. In fact, don't have any expectations at all...
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Do You Wanna Know A Secret [15] (6/10) Made in America

This is, perhaps, the second great horror sub-category. The "teens on vacation slasher". This doesn't quite carry the same taut ambiance as I (Still) Know What You Did Last Summer, but it still carries suspense. You see, the kids are dying off, in various ways involving lots of blood. The policeman seeds their minds with the idea that it is somebody in the room, and from there they panic as you would expect. To find out what else happens, watch the movie...
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Dreaded, The [click to redirect]


Eegah [18] (?/10) Made in the Dark Ages

A girl is terrified when she runs into a huge Neanderthal man. Some people hunt him down. She tries to communicate. Stuff happens. I can't say I was watching the film as much as I was watching the stuff in the film. The colours are amazing - perhaps they should pass this through the teleciné again and knock the colour saturation down - things look like a cartoon! The costumes. Or, get this - the car! It is basically a frame with a box containing an engine at the front, and some seats. It is hard to imagine that such a thing was accepted as a car once upon a time, back in the Dark Ages perhaps? :-)
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Elvira - Mistress of the Dark [15] (6½/10) Made in the USofA

Videotape this!
I know, I know, you must think I'm mad to ask you to devote an hour and a half of tape time to this crap. But trust me, when you are feeling blue and depressed and like you could blow your brains out if only you still gave a .... - Elvira will be there for you.

The story? Erm, there isn't one exactly. Elvira is this bizarre combination of Kelly Osbourne and Gonzo (yes, the muppet), and she is a witch who has just inherited a haunted house. No, not a clichéd warts and cackle sort of witch, and definitely not a Neve Campbell sexy-leather-look witch. She's the sort of witch that you might expect to find in a Leslie Nielsen movie.

No, I'm not going to tell you how the film goes. It is unbelievably silly. But trust me on one thing - next time you feel 'down', pop open a beer (this movie is best experienced when you are not entirely sober) and if it doesn't at least make you giggle, you'd have to be a tax inspector...
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Evil Aliens [18] (7/10) Made in England

This is a riotously funny film starring the channel announcer Emily Booth as a bitchy television journalist trying to get the scoop on a UFO story.
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Evil Below, The [click to redirect]


Fair Game [18?] (6/10) Made in America

The kooky woman...

An amusingly kooky woman is an artist. Living alone in a rather cool apartment with her artwork and her adopted cat (not exactly a clever mix, I speak from experience!) after breaking up with her boyfriend.
Only, her boyfriend - a computer programmer according to the EPG description, but not really mentioned in the film - doesn't take nicely to her new-found independence. So he keeps close tabs on her (by that I mean ridiculously close) and looks for innovative ways to ensure her life doesn't continue for much longer, unknown to her. But when the penny finally drops thanks to a chance video diary segment... well, what next? Watch to find out!
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Flowers In The Attic [18] (6½/10) Made in America

Four children and their mother make a return to their (grand)mother's house following the demise of her husband. Penniless, the basic idea is for her to return and get back into the affections of her father. In this way, she hopes to her back into her father's will, where she stands to inherit everything upon his death.

The first problem in the arrangement is the lady of the manor, the children's grandmother. She has decided that things would be better all around if the grandfather doesn't know of the existence of the children - apparently conceived in sin between a woman and her brother (though all looking rather normal for such inbreeding). The woman decides to lock the children in an upstairs room and give them the run of the attic, but since the children are 'unholy', she will never show them affection.

They are helplessly trapped and - slowly they come to realise - forgotten. But what can be done with four children that no longer exist?

Starring a young Kristy Swanson (later to be seen as the movie version of Buffy, as well as other sort-of-action roles), and based upon a novel by Virginia Andrews, this is an interesting tale of what people are capable of when all that matters is money...
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Grapes of Death, The [click to redirect]


Greenskeeper, The [click to redirect]


Ghost Game [15] (7½/10) Made in America

Two guys and two girls rent a cabin in the middle of nowhere, in amongst flashbacks of a group of teenage witches. Then a bunch more people turn up and they get to looking at the "Ghost Game" and then some weird-ass stuff starts happening. How are they going to sort it all out? It is nice to see a twist on the stuck-in-a-log-cabin genre that doesn't just slash'n'dash, this one has a touch of purpose to it...

Seen in the credits - thanks to: "Rami's Mom for her awesome meatball recipe", plus some other amusing stuff. So don't turn over as soon as you see the credits roll.
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Ghost Lake [18?] (8¾/10) Made in America

A ghost is not what a girl wants to see when she's attending her parents' funeral!  "I guess I should take these pills..."  "No! I'm not crazy! I'm NOT! Am I?"
Look, she's swimming around that lake fully dressed!  And there she goes again! :-)  It's a nice smile, even if the digitiser has made it too yellow.

Let's start with the lead actress. Tatum Adair. Looks to be mid-twenties to thirties. Blonde, round face. And - especially important - a little on the heavy side. Not 'fat', but not the fickle waif-like 'hip chicks' that often feature in horror movies (and are usually sex-obsessed and get slaughted before the first advert break). While this film has all the elements of a horror film, Tatum - playing the part of Rebecca (Becky) - made this film both watchable and believable. This is very important. And that is why some films score lower than you might expect.
I give high points to films with artistic merit or good stories or to a story you feel you can believe in, where you actually care about what happens to the lead characters. Compare this with, say, Hell's Highway where you watch to see how the girls will get dispatched and if any will beat The Big Bad - but if you are really honest with yourself, asides from perhaps picking a 'favourite', you can't say you really care which ones live and which ones die.
Not so with Ghost Lake.

And before I describe the premise of the film, I feel I must mention that the little girl is called (in real life) Azure Sky Decker. Azure Sky? Come on! Still, a flick through Google ought to find kids given far worse names than that...

Where it was filmed; in New York state.
Notice it starts off semi-widescreen, before reverting to pan&scan. Let's hope Zone Horror will someday show this in full widescreen.Becky is prompted by her parents to go out, to enjoy herself. She wants to be back by ten (ahhh, isn't that sweet?) but they tell her she can stay out until eleven at the earliest. Well, she meets a bloke with one of the cheesiest chat-up lines ever and she belies her niceness by getting into her car and getting her brains porked out before even a first date. She returns after this blast of insane promiscuity to find her parents dead. For those watching, bear with me as this part of the story is intercut with the funeral. When she starts seeing ghosts in the house, she leaves. Runs, a long way, to a little house by the lake - the only place she ever felt 'safe'. Only, there's something in the lake. One might imagine the title of the film could be a bit of a clue! Knowing about it is no real use really. Doing something about it. That's the key. And that, as always, is the hard part.

Overall, this was an extremely enjoyable film, and one with quite a long running time (around 1h55ish!). Because it was filmed on the border of a lake, and sometimes in the rain, it seemed Becky had to get herself soaked at practically every opportunity - sometimes for reasons bordering on the illogical - and all the while those around her not believing the things she said she saw, all adding up to the idea that perhaps Becky is more than a little bit unhinged; the whole time she was wrestling with the fact that she indirectly killed her parents (had she returned at 11pm, they'd not have died).
As you can tell from my score, I liked this film a lot. While I could nit-pick (as you could with anything), I found this film to be enjoyable, believable, entertaining, and well-presented.

Having looked this film up on IMDb, I was pleased to see that it was either adored or hated - no middle ground. This sort of situation usually arises because a certain demographic of the horror film fans watch this but expect something else. Sadly for them, the 'hook' of Tatum Adair's breasts at the start of the movie was about all they found worth watching. Perhaps they are emotionally incapable of relating too this sort of movie? It is all about the story and the atmosphere. There is no gore, no screaming zombies, no explosions, and not a lot of action... This has dead people coming back to life, but it is not a George A. Romero production.
And for some reason people slag off the cheapness of the special effects and the quality of the acting and then make comparisons to Lord Of The Rings (LOTR), which is perhaps the most asinine reasoning I've ever heard. Even if I was making a movie with a couple of million from a lottery win (I should be so lucky!), I doubt my effects and actors will rival those of LOTR - and I doubt my production would be anything like the scale of that movie. It was a huge investment with huge hype looking for a huge return. So totally out of the realms of most movies to even think of drawing a comparison.
So, okay, the effects could have been better. What do you expect for a more budget movie? I've seen worse, and some budget movies get around this problem by avoiding effects altogether.
So, okay, the acting could have been better. On the other hand, I've seen good actors ruin a film (and nearly their careers) by acting in the wrong sort of movies - what was Alyson Hannigan thinking when she agreed to be in Date Movie!?!?! The acting in this film is actually not as bad as some people wish to portray.
I feel both the acting and the special effects are actually above par for the low-budget category - compare with Raiders of The Damned which is low budget and pretty bad. Compare with a plethora of Troma Team movies that are low budget and range from 'so-bad-its-good' to 'absolutely appalling'.
Finally, it is sad that people expect to find a little something 'new' and 'different' in a movie, and when it occurs they would prefer to complain about it instead of saying "that was new". In Ghost Lake we see several scenes, at the beginning, that are presented in a split-screen style. Sadly the split-screen is showing the same thing (unlike the series 24 where the splits showed parallel action) so the effect was not as good as it could have been. What could have been a stronger idea is to have Becky dancing in one half of the screen, while her parents are dying in the other half; instead of the more usual cutting to and from the two parallel threads. But, never mind, it was an experiment. Not one that I feel worked, but I'm not going to mark the film down for it.
To sum it up, the IMDb reviews actually fall into two categories: those that 'got it' and liked it, and those that didn't get it.
I got Ghost Lake. As a bit of a fan of Jean Rollin (Le Rose De Fer / The Iron Rose), I understand this pace of film-making and, hence, I found this film worthy of 8¾ out of 10. It could have been better (I'd have dropped the slutty sex scene for sure), but then again I could probably nit-pick every single film in this review! Oh, wait... That's why I am doing! :-)
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Ghost Town [15] (7/10) Made in America

Is the title not a giveaway? ☺

A girl out in the desert vanishes in a big whirlwind. She looks at this wall of dust approaching and she screams. Twice. This is followed by her being 'dragged' along the side of the car in what may be one of the lamest special effects to grace any movie I've watched this year.

Thankfully it got better. Essentially this is a good ol'fashioned Western, with the added complication of some time-travel stuff in it. It's a sort of a haunted town, a town of ghosts (erm... hence the title!) who are trapped until some wrong can be righted.
As with the majority of westerns, it is fairly clear what/who/how from reel one. What makes this film worth pursuing is the ride. There are a few nice touches along the way. No spoilers!
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Goth [18] (7/10) Made in America

Gothe, with an 'e', is a Goth lifestyle mentor. Or maybe she's just a complete psycho. Chrissy and Boone, a wannabe goth couple new to the area meet the freaky tattooed girl in a club. The couple are taken on a low-budget spiral spinning way out of control, with a few twists along the away.
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Grim Reaper [18] (6½/10) Made in America

A girl trapped in a creepy asylum has to battle demons both in and out, including a rather comical vision of 'death'.
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Grim Weekend [18] (7/10) Made in America

The cute happy girl at work...  There's something inherently weird about the whole concept of clowns, isn't there?  The cute girl isn't so happy after finding the bodies - but she doesn't look bad considering she's only just tossed her cookies...

A bunch of people take a weekend off work to go up to an old house in the woods. The male lead entices a workmate by telling her that there will be an orgy and then she'll be fed to the monster (woo! can't hardly wait, huh?).
Barely into the journey, the females pick up another female and then this entourage make it to the house.

As you can imagine, people die. Well, actually it starts with decapitated dolls and moves on to people, along with a slightly distracting music track and a unnecessary psycho clown (Stephen King's It anyone???).

For much of this movie, I would have rated it maybe a five or six out of ten. That was until the denouement which was unexpected, amusing, and wrapped up the film nicely.
Grim Weekend isn't an award winner, but it is worth watching...

...unless you happen to be Jason Jones of The Horror Channel. His thoughts are:
But it is a horror in the other sense of the word too. It is, quite simply, horrific that a group of people, who are so completely without talent as the makers of Grim Weekend, were ever let loose with a camera.
and, amusingly:
STARRING: Oh who cares, we’ll never hear from them again.

I think Jason is being a bit harsh with this movie. Yes, the plot is crap. Yes, it is a pile of stupid clichés, and yes... okay, many (most?) of the so-called plot twists are gibberish. I would like to think that I am capable of writing a better story.
Sadly, though, if our criteria for 'good' horror movies required a completely plausible plot and good acting... well, that would probably wipe out a huge chunk of channel's playlist in one swoop. What did Jason think of Demon Wind? Did he score it only 1/10 and not bother listing the cast, because the plot was illogical, the acting worse, the special effects worse still, and all of it would seem spookily familiar to anybody who has watched "The Evil Dead"...
There is just something about the horror genre that lends itself to cheesy badly scripted movies with poor special effects (do they even deserve to be called 'special'? perhaps so - in the 'special ed.' sense of the word!). The vampire movie and the zombie movie are entire sub-genres that are so full of cheese that it is something really exciting (yes, I have no life!) to find a movie of said genre that is written by somebody with a brain.
This, of course, isn't an ideal situation. As a fan of many horror movies, I would like to think that the genre produces solid watchable movies. Every genre has its turkeys, it is just ours... well, we have more than our fair share.
Perhaps Jason should be forced to sit down and endure "The Class of Nuke Em High part 3" (one of the few cult/horror movies I actually abandoned, it was SO bad - and that is saying something given that I watched "The Psychotronic Man" from end to end... once).
On the other hand, it is kinda novel that Jason writes a review on the channel's official website that suggests, basically, the film is crap and don't watch it. I wonder how he got that past his superiors? At least we can't say he isn't honest! :-)
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Guardian [15] (5½/10) Made in America

A baby born in Iraq during an excavation of a cursed tomb, when the moon turns blood red. Old superstitions abound.
Snap to fifteen years later, the demon in the tomb wants the boy (the baby) as a sacrifice or somesuch. It is up to one police officer to protect the boy, only the boy is hidden away for most of the time. The cop is aided by a woman who talks like a bad Star Trek android, and dresses like a stand-in for Trinity ("The Matrix").

My main problem with the movie is that just as it actually starts to get moving, it offers a three-shots-ring-out ending, and then the credits roll.
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Haunting of Morella, The [click to redirect]


Halloween Night [18] (5½/10) Made in America

A frat-house Halloween 'do', some blokes who want to make the biggest, best, scariest halloween party ever, intended to "make them [...] s**t their pants". There's also, incidentally, a multilated-faced psycho slasher on the loose.
Come on, need I continue? You can join the dots, right?
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Headhunter [18] (6/10) Made in America

Scenes of black people (Nigerian?) praying, throwing bones, and giving wads of money... all intercut with scenes of smoulding bananas, blood dripping... and then there's a bright spark and a head flies across the room!
It's an African voodoo demon, apparently. Well, that might have been my second guess!

It is hard to imagine why this film has an 18 cert as it doesn't pass as a horror. It is more a slightly creepy detective flick - and there's plenty of character-building here to take place between the incomprehensible beheadings. There's a reasonably attractive female detective (who has a somewhat bizarre dress sense), and the old cliché befuddled male cop who smokes and drinks too much and doesn't have a clue really. The twist this time is that his wife found love in the arms of another woman, so at least that's a small diversion from the norm.

Now the problem is that this demon thing will decapitate anything that gets in its way, and this includes the two detectives lumbered with the task of trying to put everything together. This film, on the whole, was quite likeable - but by this point we introduce the fact that the demon can assume people's identities (like it can become your mother, kind of thing - like the T-1000 in Terminator 2). As of this point, the film just seemed to become a little bit formulaic, by the numbers. It was obvious for the last twenty or so minutes roughly how it'd turn out.
The characterisations aren't bad, the location shooting around Miami isn't bad (we do get beyond the dark-alley zones of some other movies), and the whole voodoo demon thing is absolute garbage, but enjoyable garbage, if you've nothing better planned for your evening...
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Hellblock 13 [18] (4/10) Made in America

This suffers the exact same problems as Stephen King's Cat's Eyes - it is essentially three mini-films wrapped into one by a common denominator. In this case, the stories are the writings of a gothic-looking female prisoner on death row. Her execution is scheduled for later that night, so she tells some of her stories to the warden (while trying not too hard not to have an orgasm as she says words like 'death' and 'murder'...).

Sadly, the stories are ludicrous rather than scary, and the obviously-fake prosthetic effects make the dead people look more like a mouldy version of that big marshmallow guy from Ghostbusters than anything actually... you know... dead. (cue excited moans and whimpers from the prisoner!)

If you dubbed over some of the bad language (à la ITV), then you could probably show this in the afternoon... on ITV perhaps?... for kids to smirk at. I think Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid Of The Dark has more spook-potential than Hellblock 13.
Furthermore, to be pedantically picky - the female prisoner says that the block is known to the inmates (living and dead) as 'hellblock six, six, six' so why is this film titled something else?
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Hell's Highway [18] (7¾/10) Made in America

Too many lollipops... ...can make you very strange! Getta loada my Boom Stick! Okay, so where is everybody?

Let's get the complaint out of the way first. The EPG description says:

Friends on a road trip pick up sexy hitchhiker Lucinda, who turns out to be a homicidal maniac. It's time to kill or be killed, but Lucinda refuses to die.
Excuse me? What? Like, did you even watch the same movie?!? Not only is there no hitchhiker that they pick up, but I've read the credits and there's not even an actress called Lucinda, never mind a character with that name! The credits here prove that. (yeah, I have no life, that's a given...)

The film... Well, a group of young adults go on a road trip. In a big-ass motor home. They are crossing... somewhere. It looks like Thelma & Louise country, so perhaps Arizona or New Mexico? The driver suggests a little detour to a location where some seriously weird drugs grow, could be some cash in it, right? The creepy weird dude at the run-down gas station tells them to leave in no uncertain terms. It isn't safe, you see. Crazy people, away on the drugs, roam the lands. Of course, it is a horror movie so they completely ignore the warnings and plough headlong into a desolate hell.

The characters. Let's see: there's the goth girl, partial to black, called Cashie (yes, cash-ee, not Casey). A gay homey - if you can imagine it. A lovey-dovey-make-us-pukey couple. Two more girls, the first (the blonde) is rather clueless. She has a fuzzy-teddy shaped backpack. The other (with the horrible blue (?) hair) is like a big sister. Both of them enjoy sucking on pacifier-shaped lollipops. Tell me, are Harmony and Tara New-Millennium Valley Girl names, or is the writer of this film perhaps aware of the creations of Joss Whedon? :-) Actually, Harmony (the blonde) does a pretty good job of sounding like Kermit in parts. I wonder if she was originally from Baltimore? Anyway, that leaves the driver. He is dorky in a cool sort of way. Like Riley. Or what's-his-name from Dawson's Creek (no, so totally not Dawson!). Oh yes, and nobody called Lucinda.

The dialogue is snappy, and amusing. The characters are rounded enough that everything just 'flows' nicely, even if the Big Bad of the film is a little illogical (what's the weird floaty-cam business all about?). And in some parts the cinematography belies the fact that this is a budget horror flick. And one of the best bits? The evil in the film makes sense. I'm not going to give it away, but there is a definite reason and sequence of events.
Nothing is so depressing as a manifestation of evil that just 'is', with no rhyme or reason. Refer to The Evil Below for an example of how to make evil suck...

As usual, as a film viewer (and some-day-writer) I have some ideas for alterations, but these are more personal 'tweaks' than anything else. That, for me, is one of the signs of a good movie (perfect movies would need no tweaks; crap movies I wouldn't entertain the thought). Certainly, I'm glad I have it on videotape. I can watch it again when my Digibox isn't working... like maybe tomorrow night?!
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Horror 101 [18] (6½/10) Made in America

A course about serial murderers and such and their influence on society is light backstory for this bunch of misfits trapped in their school at night. We know the teacher is involved as, really, her first private sentence outlines the plot, was that intentional or just bad script?
As for the rest of the story, you'll figure it out fairly quickly but the identity of the perpetrators may keep you guessing right up until the end.
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Horror Story, The [click to redirect]


Humanoids From The Deep [18] (5/10) Made in America

We begin with a bunch of army men blasting hell out of a porta-potty. After the bullets, flamethrowers, the whatever-it-was got away, and it is angry. And it lurks in the water knocking people out of boats, gnawing off their leg, that sort of thing. What caused it? Army genetic experiments? Chemicals put in the water to fatten up the fish? Binge drinking? Too many low-budget movies with nubile teens getting slashed open? My vote is "all of the above". Whatever, it's an ugly son-of-a-beach...
In other words, as somebody says during the obligatory 'explanation scene', "fish men"... Sounds like an episode of Buffy, no?
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Hunt, The [click to redirect]


Hunting Humans [18] (4/10) Made in America

The premise kicks ass: We get inside the mind of a methodical serial killer. His method, to escape detection by the authorities and give himself the 'edge', is to be big on patterns. We all have them. Most nights I can be found sitting in the corner of the bedroom watching TV or using this computer (sometimes both, I am re-watching The Iron Rose as I type this), with a big bowl of pasta. Tuesdays, I go to French classes at a local town. While my life is flexible and largely unplanned, even I have patterns. You? You do too.
And this is where the ridiculously named 'Aric Blue' comes into his own. He studies your patterns. Learns the things you do and when. So he can kill you more effectively. His life? His only patterns are the boring 'mundane' day job he holds down.
And then he goes to do a job and finds somebody beat him to it, leaving the message that this unknown person knows Aric's pattern!

The reality? The first flaw is the god-awful narration. It is like one of those private-eye movies, only the narration is spoken with the sort of smug self-assurance I'd hoped was left to die in the late '80s.
The second flaw, and this is a very critical one, is "so bloody what?". Do we have a cute girl in peril? No. Do we have a decent guy fighting for his life? No. Do we have... actually, I'll tell you what we have - we have a killer with no positive attributes what-so-bloody-ever. None. Not a one. Even Hannibal Lector (as in Silence Of The Lambs) has attributes that made him likeable, and a whole mind-play with Clarice Starling.
The critical importance of this is revealed when you start to examine the movie's plot. If you don't like, empathise, or at least have some sort of feeling for the main character then you are not going to care if he has met his match. If he lives. If he dies.
Worse still - spoiler alert - his match is another smug self-assured prat that thinks of himself as a serious killer. Or something. By this time the cynical crap spewing out of Aric's mind (but not his mouth) was really starting to annoy me.

I suggest you watch this movie once. Then while the credits roll you can let your mind float and give to you all sorts of cool ideas that would improve the movie. It's a shame that the writers didn't do this in the beginning...
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I Am Omega [18] (4/10) Made in America

It's another in a long line of zombie flicks. As somebody who generally enjoys zombie films, it is a shame that this one doesn't have any pizzazz.
Here's the deal. It's some sort of ex-marine type. Imagine, if you will, a really low budget Lou Diamond Philips who lives in a shack slowly losing his mind as zombies roam outside. When he goes out, he goes out to plant bombs.
Two mercenary types turn up and 'pursuade' him to enter the city (dum-dum-dum-dum) to rescue a girl who has immunity and could be the saviour of mankind. One look at them and you figure the survival of the species isn't exactly on their minds, unless she accidently winds up 'with baby'. And, well... come on, tell me you can guess the rest... it just seemed so unimaginative.
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I Am The Ripper [18] (9/10) Fabrique en France

And she's not leaving without a quick (live) meal either...  Oh YEAH?
You reckon you're hard?
Let's see who's going to play Grim Reaper NOW!  She can't quite believe what she's seeing...

In French with English subtitles.

This is a rather interesting French movie. The video quality is grainy and fuzzy. To be honest, it looks like something I could have made with my HandyCam. So you begin watching and think "mmm, it'll be a half hour shortie". In fact, this movie goes on and on and on. Two hours of it. And along the way we are treated to an amazing array of post-production effects and things that - if really filmed with a HandyCam - must have been pretty difficult. Some of the scenes are quite frenetic, and somewhat low-bitrate MPEG starts to break down and everything gets a bit blocky. Amazingly, I felt that this actually added to the film!

Anyway, enough of the nerdy crap. A bunch of young adults are in a flat in Paris. Having a bit of a party, discussing comics and horror videos and so forth. Suddenly this cloaked weirdo starts bumping off the cute girls and anybody else who gets in the way. It is death. He'll take you out in whatever way best suits him, the more overkill, the better!
The story is more involved than that, involving dead people doing Death's work for him, and Death getting to like his work a little too much, but I don't want to give too much away.
All in all, once I became accustomed to the somewhat distracting camera style (and bizarre bizarre editing that made me keep thinking my Digibox was losing signal), I found this to be a very enjoyable and blood-soaked film.

In the French way of speaking, the 'i' is said like an 'ee', so the title would be spoken as I am the reaper (Je suis le moissoneur), which makes more sense than 'ripper'.
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Ice Cream Man [18] (6½/10) Made in America

I bet everybody has, at one stage in their childhood, met a creepy bloke in an ice cream truck that has "pædophile" written all over him. Given that you aren't really in physical contact with children, do you need to be vetted to be an ice cream man? It'd be a pædo's wet dream, having loads of kids come running, big eager eyes when they see eight inch tall pictures of 99's and whippies.
I bet you might think differently about ice cream men now!

Here, the man is not interested in having sex with children. Film censors and general morality is rather touchy about that sort of thing, so instead we'll make the ice cream man your regular loner-slash-murdering-nutcase. I think it speaks volumes about society's so-called morals when raping kids is way beyond taboo but murdering them is fine.

Anyway, he's mad. As expected. Everybody around him isn't much saner, and those working in the mental health facility are so beyond help. And he is an ice cream man. A figure of many communities that is just begging to be a person in a horror flick.

As I write this on my PocketBook II (Psion) organiser, I am sitting in the dentist's waiting room. They made a horror movie about a Dentist. I think the star of that movie is busy drilling inside somebody's mouth eight metres away... and it is my turn next.
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Inferno [18] (6/10) Made in America

Dario Argento seems to have a thing about fully-clothed woman getting wet. In "Suspiria" we had the woman running around in a rain storm either side of her taxi journey. In "Trauma" we see his own daughter, Asia Argento, having the heavens open on her as she runs around a forest. And in this movie we have another woman standing in another rain storm following another taxi journey. But, that pales into insignificance as earlier in the film a nosy woman drops her keys into a hidden room that appears to be completely underwater. I'm sure you can guess what happens next...

The plot of this film from 1980 is less confused than some Argento creations. Basically there's a story of three woman (described variously as 'the three mothers' and 'the three sisters'). This story passes from New York to Rome, and back again, and everybody who encounters the story dies in some manner. It's a fairly nifty idea for a horror movie and a lot has been done with it (such as The Ring bringing the cursed object into the video era).
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Insecticidal [??] (6/10) Made in America

A nerdy-looking girl, nicknamed "Creepy Cami" because of her liking of bugs, is trying to breed an intelligent bug. Some sort of scorpion-like thing gets loose, and the head girl of the sorority house (a real bitchy type) decides to take matters into her own hands with a big dose of bug spray.

Mere hours later, the bugs have escaped and mutated into gigantic form - a praying mantis that stands twice the height of a human, a beetle bigger than an armadillo.

As much as I might have wanted to like this film, I just found it to be a little bit... well... dull... The jock was thick, the nerdy girl was a picked-on nerd, the look-at-me-I'm-wonderful Cordelia-type was exactly that (though she did at least get her come-uppance). The large blonde (Cami's sister?) was a lesbian, the Asian girl worked out with lethal-looking knives (surely against security policy to have those on campus?), the male security guard sat in the tree and masturbated over watching the Asian girl work out... and apart from geeky-girl they were all more interested in sex than anything else. This made the characters somewhat predictable, and when coupled with the CGI bugs that where quite well done but still CGI, and a story-line that went along more or less as expected.....

I don't know. It was a pleasant way to pass a few hours and I also used this film as a test (the computer recording directly to harddisc, never tried it for the duration of an entire film, I now have to look to XviD'ing a 4Gb file on a 450MHz machine, ouch!); but all in all there is nothing special. It's just a by-the-numbers soro-house horror with big-ass bugs being the Big Lurking Evil, and that synopsis is about all you need to know.
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Invader [15] (7¾/10) Made in America

It is a premise that crops up in sci-fi films time and time again. Some sort of alien 'life' returns to Earth (in this case on a Mars lander that NASA sent up some time ago). By planning or misfortune, the lander arrives in the middle of a secret military compound.
Some good scientists are initially involved, but when it turns out that "something came back", the military go all "national security" and think trying to kill the alien is the best strategy because, frankly, they are unable to see the big picture.
So hands up who would trust our governments to act responsibly with a visitor from another planet? Hands up who truly believes they wouldn't try to kill it or dissect it? In fact, hands up who thinks that half the planet (including a huge percentage of pseudo-religious fanatics) would act responsibly once there's actual solid proof of life in outer space? Exactly. Not a single hand is in the air. I can see it from here. So it does bring into question the very validity of the space programme - of saying "We're here and we're nice" while, through religion or egotism or just plain stupidity we actually still think we are the only planet with life. Still, we're coming on in leaps and bounds - it wasn't so long ago that we thought the planet was flat and everything in the sky orbited us.
And these are subtle questions raised in this above-average sci-fi film. Questions about how humanity (and the obvious cliché of the shoot-first-policy military commander) would prefer to react with violence instead of compassion. This, occurring just after some genuine compassion from the alien, sadly unwitnessed by those carrying the weapons...
In a nice twist, the alien has inherited intelligence, what it knows is preprogrammed from its parents, and their parents, and so on. This means that each offspring of the alien does not need to learn that mankind cannot be trusted. It already knows. And it can react accordingly.

You might be inclined to compare it to a latter-day War of the Worlds; but this is only true in a very general sense. The big point here is that it could have gone two ways, and the military decided to shoot to kill. In a way, the title of the film - Invader - prejudices you. From the outset you are lead to think of this alien as an invader, when 'visitor' could equally have been valid.

Perhaps on a repeated viewing this will be elevated to the eight-point-zero necessary to make it a "favourite". For now, it loses just a tad because I'm not entirely certain about the ending. There are good characters (especially the subtle change in viewpoint of the male as he starts to let fear lead him to the military conclusion - shoot and then think), and a good premise.
All in all, a quite satisfying sci-fi movie!
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Invisible Maniac, The [click to redirect]


Iron Rose, The [click to redirect]


It Waits [18] (8¼/10) [Canadian]

A park ranger, while trying to battle her internal demons, ends up with a real-life demon to deal with. It's a nasty thing, likes to mess with her head.

This is obviously a budget film, pretty much all of the action takes place at a ranger hut in the woods, and the surrounding (fairly generic) woodland. However this film could be used as an example of when a budget movie works.
What I think lifts it out of the ordinary is the ambiance. There is plenty of it, along with a good dose of creepiness, and an appropriately chosen soundtrack.
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Journey To The Center of The Earth [18] (7/10) Made in America

How could you not fall for the eccentric neurotic oddball scientist played with gusto by Deedee Pfeiffer? You might think she is a little over the top, but it glosses over a film with so many holes that it'd be easier to describe what makes sense.
Somebody should tell her that laser pointers aren't a well balanced meal...

Let's see... There's a teleport machine that is supposed to zap a bunch of military girls to Germany. Only they don't arrive in Germany, they arrive here:

Looks to me like an unused bit of scrubland...

Now "here", it turns out, is about 600 miles below the earth's surface. We know this because in some rather naff dialogue, two different characters come up with this exact same number.
They are inside the earth.
The Deep Digger makes an appearance later, dropping down from the sky, hence suggesting this world is an inner earth inside the planet. Deep inside, beyond the prescribed 600-odd miles of rock. So some questions - why is it not curved more? Surely it can't be much larger than the moon? It's a world with dinosaurs, really big spiders, and creepy plant life. How did this stuff get there? How has it managed to survive? Where is the ambient light, looking a lot like sunlight, coming from? It should surely be pitch black, or at least lava red! Why is there air to breathe? Why hasn't the forces of gravity crushed everything? These girls get hot and sweaty as it is a warm place, but it is a warm place that looks suspiciously like some local scrubland as opposed to any real attempt to imagine what the inside of the planet might look like.

The naffness continues - we see the Deep Digger making its way into the earth from side on, passing by what looks like two layes of darkness - rock we can assume. Of course, if it was digging a hole for itself, it would be completely impossible to see it side-on.

So why the high score? Because it was a fun movie. Suitably predictable, suitably enjoyable. Not one to take at all seriously, but one to pass a rainy evening with Emily-the-scientist brightening your day.
Oh, as what may be something of an in-joke, the Deep Digger is referred to, most of the time, as "Deedee"!
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Killing Car [15] (6/10) Fabrique en France

In French with English subtitles.

A Jean Rollin film where an Asian-looking woman (picture Lucy Liu) driving a big old American car goes around killing people and leaving a little model car at each murder scene.
The story is one of Rollin's more logical, it makes sense and there isn't a vampire or demon in sight. The let-down is the obviously low budget production values and some of the hammiest acting outside of an Italian horror flick... I can sort of imagine this working with a few more psychological games (instead of the "victims" remembering too easily something they shouldn't recall that quickly). Jean Rollin does quite well with his budget that must have stretched to four figures including both sides of the decimal point. Hats off to him, also, for keeping the camerawork relevant (instead of his usual penchant for long shots of trivia) and, for him, what would pass as tight editing. This film doesn't linger, it moves. That's why I've scored it 6 instead of the 5 the plot would deserve.
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Kolobos [18] (8/10) Made in America

The perky waitress thinks the whole thing sounds really fun.  Here's the gang.  Bye bye perky waitress (it's a long and grisly end).

The film begins with a girl, running, hit by a car. She is taken to hospital, and there she recounts her story as a series of discussions with the nurse and flashbacks. It started with an advert - freeloaders wanted. A bunch of young adults would be selected and stuck in a house together. There would be TV cameras all over the place. It would be a Big Brother sort of deal. Only it all goes very wrong when it turns out the house is booby-trapped and whoever is running the show has mass homicide in mind.
Perhaps one of the most critical points of this movie, and the one that has critics and viewers inventing all sorts of theories, is the ending. As before, you can read the HTML comments for more, or you can watch the movie...

The title, Kolobos, is loosely explained in the movie - something Greek and something about self-mutilation.

However, Jason was more than a little disturbed by the title of this movie. Actually the title "Kolobos" is what enticed me to watch this film in the first place. It wasn't "House of Horror Live" and "Evil Dude Three - Slasher House" or any of the run-of-the-mill 'dumb' names that horror movies get saddled with.
Kolobos was a unique name. Kolobos was a different name.

Jason, poor bloke, then goes and Googles and reads up on the biblical mythology and spends a lot of time to discover uncanny parallels between Armageddon and the happenings in this movie. While his efforts are very much appreciated (neither the end of the world nor Liv Tyler popped into my head upon watching this!), I am reminded of a long argument I had many years ago when a friend couldn't believe that I had a soft spot for Teen Wolf. He accused the film of doing grave injustice to the lycanthropic cause, and I had to eventually say "Dude, show me a real live werewolf and then we'll talk...".

SPOILER ALERT! The thing that remained with me longest after this film was the demise of the perky waitress. She had been slashed open, twice. Okay, it was a bit daft to think that a towel will stop the bleeding when there are practically guts falling out. But unlike so many movies of this genre, she died a slow and painful and scared death. It wasn't slash-ugh-dead. This girl lived awhile after the attack. It was almost a blessing that her body 'vanished', we viewers didn't have to keep watching her pain.
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Laboratory [12] (5/10) Made in America

Oh no!
FEAR the tin-foil aliens!
THRILL at their fakeness!
SWOON as their reflectivity!
LAUGH at their robot voices...

(this image was taken off-screen using a digital camera)  Out fishing and being chased by a bit of selective over-exposure - that's the sort of thing that would convince you that 'The Matrix' is real...
(this image was taken off-screen using a digital camera)

Aliens kidnap a bunch of mismatched humans so they can study them and perform strange experiments on them. Look out! Tin-foil aliens!
This is, actually, one of the last things I'd have expected to see on the channel. It is so much like a cross between Space:1999 and 'dude, aliens stole my cow' that it is hard to even begin to consider this a horror movie.
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La Morte Vivante (The Living Dead Girl) [click to redirect]


La Vampire Nue (The Nude Vampire) [click to redirect]


Le Lac des Morts Vivants (Zombie Lake) [click to redirect]


Living Dead Girl, The [click to redirect]


Left In Darkness [??] (8/10) Made in America.

It was my 33rd birthday. Nothing on TV, so on a whim I tried Zone Horror. My first surprise was that the signal was coming in without a hiccup. The second surprise was this movie which happened to be just starting...

A woman, celebrating her 21st birthday, goes to a frat house with a friend. There, it all goes wrong. She drinks too much, finds herself drugged, and is gang-raped. In the middle of it all, she ODs and dies. Charming story... but that's just the opener.

When she wakes up, her first issue is to come to terms with being dead. Her second big issue is that it isn't heaven or hell. It's the, uh, frat house... only with nobody in it. Her third big issue are the zombie-like soul-suckers who feed on the souls of the recently deceased. Not only that, they can assume the identities of people (or maybe they are the people?) so who can you trust?

A perfectly creepy horror offering for my birthday. Well done Zone Horror!
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Leprechaun [18] (7¼/10) Made in America

A girl goes to spend the summer with her dad. She's a spoilt city girl, and his house turns out to be almost a ruin. The girl? Jennifer Anniston, looking very good with the brunette pre-Rachael hair. She has problems though, she doesn't like to be called a wimp, certainly not in front of, or by, the hunky workman. So all he needs to do to get her to do something she wouldn't normally do, is say a line like "you aren't scared are you?".

Enter the Leprechaun. This is pretty much a wise-cracking Munchkin with a bit of an attitude. The sort of "Irish thing" that the Irish themselves would probably scratch their heads and think "Tha's s'posed tuh be Oirish?". If you think you'll need to forgive my bad attempt at an Irish accent, forgive this Leprechaun too. Anyway, he's after his gold coins. Exactly 100 of them. The movie explains, so I won't. :-) It doesn't take long before the Leprechaun turns up, but - you know - it is like the sarcastic way that people respond when you say you've seen a vampire. Really? It cannot be denied once everybody has seen it, and it's a whole cat'n'mouse chase thing.

The star of the show is Anniston, who plays a fine line between brave and terrified, and only for one brief moment do we see her lose it - which is really refreshing. The world is not full of Ripley clones who'll enjoy laying waste to an army of leprechauns, instead they're more like Anniston's character. Incredulous, then terrified, but smart enough to realise that being scared is only gonna get you killed.

The ending seemed, to me, to be somwhat contrived. I must mention this as you may watch the film on my recommendation and think 'naff ending'. Yeah, it is. Never mind. The rest of the film wasn't so bad...
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Leprechaun 2 [18] (4/10) Made in America

Sometimes you watch a film and you quite like it. Then you watch the sequel and as the credits roll, your only thought is "Why, God? Why?".

That's how I feel about this. The Oompa-Loompa Munchkin is back. In case you manage to miss the connection between the Irish past and the L.A. setting, the Leprechaun slept for 1000 years inside this tree, which was "given" to Harry Houdini by the people of Ireland. It has to be Houdini as the protagonists (other than the Leprechaun, that is) are a boy and a girl. The boy is running, with his drunk father, a sort of haunted tour of stars who died in nasty circumstances (and I guess the Houdinis were the least likely to sue?). The boy wants to woo the girl, but she is losing interest fast. The Leprechaun needs to find a wife, this he does once every thousand years by causing his chosen girl to sneeze three times.

There is a certain tameness to this film that you might expect from cheesy not-quite-horror movies from the early '80s. Saturday the 14th comes to mind. Because of this, and because the plot has so many failings, I just didn't find this to be that enjoyable. Certainly one might argue that I shouldn't judge a film by its predecessor. If that's to be the case, don't make sequels. The first was so much better. Or, as I said at the beginning, "Why, God? Why?".
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Le Rose De Fer (The Iron Rose) [click to redirect]


Les Deux Orphelines Vampires (The Two Orphan Vampires) [click to redirect]


Les Raisins De La Mort (The Grapes of Death) [click to redirect]


Lonely Ones, The [click to redirect]


Live Feed [??] (6/10) Made in America

A group of American tourists go to China. There they get rooms in a skanky motel, which turns out to be a house of torture kitted out with video cameras so twisted sadistic clientelle can watch people being tortured to death in a variety of ways. Think "Hostel" with less PR.
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Lover's Lane [??] (7/10) Made in America

We start out with a young girl accompanying her father to the scene of a crime - the murder of her mother and her mother's lover.
Skip forward several years, the girl is a teenager. The psycho killer breaks out from prison and it looks as if history is to repeat. The EPG description leads us to believe that the killer kills "lovers" because he has no luck in love, but this isn't really explored in the movie. Instead we have an above average teen group wanting to enjoy a night out; including Anna Faris as a cheerleader - she's doing quite well in these sorts of roles (re. Scary Movies and May), isn't she?
I found that while this film wasn't going to break new ground, it was engaging enough, with some (possibly unintentional?) comic moments, as well as a storyline above what I was expecting.
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Lycanthrope [18] (5/10) Made in America

[broadcast 2006/08/23 at 00h50 (BST), where the EPG described a totally different film, a film called "Underworld"]

Lizzie's daddy - wonky teeth and all!

The caption says "we have a serious ozone problem". This is followed by a little bit of arty nature footage, and just when you're getting bored, there's an absolutely lovely dissolve from an angry sun to a fresnel lens in a bright torch. We see a woman showering, and quickly we discover they are some sort of scientific team and something wants them dead. We then switch to a grouping of people getting ready to go find out what happened to the scientific team.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is one of the team is the inept dad from "Lizzie McGuire" (Robert Carradine), only his language is not like anything he'd say to Lizzie... until maybe she's a couple of years older.
Next, they're treking in the ozone-killed Amazon jungle, which looks suspiciousy like a hilly birch forest, which is amusingly silly. Perhaps the most distractng thing for me, over the pseudo-science and general cheesiness, was the audio. It was an uneasy mix of extremely hammy acting and what sounded like location audio, not to mention some distracting background music.
This film tries to build atmosphere, but since one of the women dated one of the men, then another of the men, and finally married the good doctor... there's just this whole who-loves-who issue getting in the way.
Perhaps the most amusing character is the black man with all sorts of voices and vocal effects, like the big bloke in those Police Academy films.
This film is rated in the EPG as 18. Perhaps that was relating to "Underworld"? I hope so, because I've seen gorier films with a 15 rating. I've also seen more interesting films... actually, maybe I'd have preferred the one they didn't show...?
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Malevolance [18] (6/10) Made in America

A bank robbery goes awry and one of the robbers, separated from the rest, hijacks a car with a young girl and her mother. They go to this dank old house where a-nut-job-with-a-dark-history hangs out. The rest of the gang turn up and it all gets a bit messy and lots of people are slaughtered in various violent ways. Just when you think the credits are about to roll, well, it ain't done yet...

This had the premise of being an interesting psychological horror. They could have focused on the young girl and asked "how will she cope" with being taken a hostage by some unstable bank robbers, especially when they are starting to turn on each other and she or her mother could be killed at any moment.
Instead they introduce the generic canned psycho (who wears a sort of a pillow-case over their head, what is it with slashers and masks!?!? re. Jason Voorhees et al) and they go for the cheap shocks.

It's a shame really. They could have come up with all sorts of inventively cruel ideas - the girl is tied up, they give her lots of fizzy-pop to drink, and then they tell her if she pees in her pants her mother will be killed, along with a good description of how - so will the girl pee in fright, from the drink, or won't she? And so on and so on. Given the right direction and some good acting, this could be a slow-burner of good proportion. Which, to my mind, would be better than yet another homicidal maniac: Backslash, Blood Reaper, Do You Wanna Know A Secret, and pretty much anything set in a cabin by the lake or teen camp or sorority house ...
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Maniac Nurses [18] (4/10) Made in America

I kinda admit that I had a feeling about this movie as soon as I saw the name "Lloyd Kaufman" on the screen, to be followed by the immortal words: A Troma Team Release.

Troma's movies, on the whole, tend to have little in the way of plot. The dubbing is usually horrible. And... it is basically just an excuse for guns and perversions in a way you might not have thought could be legally broadcast on British TV.

And this brings us to the badly dubbed Maniac Nurses. Some nurses wearing extremely short uniforms and toting guns need to go out to fetch people to bring back... for the thrill of dissection, murder, and the obligatory chainsaw moment. But much of this to to please the pretty blonde (Sabrina) who just basically gets her kicks from killing things. The others? Well, the others appear to like lesbianism and sado-masochism, but they are bored. I know they are bored because the bloody annoying narration said that they were bored...
The narration exists as a plot device. We can see girls kissing each other and 'nurses' walking around with their guns for longer because the narration removes the need to actually have to form some sort of sequence of logical plot-related events into the actual action. Oh no, the person in charge can come and fondle Sabrina, while Sabrina thinks about guns ... because this stupid narration is explaining - in detail - critical parts of the story.

Here, of course, is where it all falls apart. You see, David Lynch has a very sick view of reality, but sadly for us it seems his perceptions are possibly closer to the truth than we'd care to admit. Those things happen.
Troma, on the other hand, create an impossible reality. The sort of thing where you should suspend all notions of reality and just go along with what is often an excuse for soft-porn with S&M thrown in to keep it all moving (yes, bring your own subtext)...

There have been better Troma movies... and, sadly, there have been worse. :-)
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Maniacts [18] (8/10) Made in America

The female maniact (Kellie Waymire).  The act bookends.

A deranged serial killer (Jeff Fahey) is institutionalised in a special private place where it seems he is the only sane one there. He meets a cute girl (an equally nuts serial-killeress with an unhealthy obsession for Queen Elizabeth, played by Kellie Waymire, pictured above) and they fall in love, you know, as one does. Awww...
With his brains and wit and her gung-ho attitude, things are bound to happen.

Given its premise, this movie is surprisingly tame (or maybe constrained by budget?); however the two leads pull it through, along with a good number of throwaway gags, not to mention the time-old tradition that states "in an asylum, the inmates are the only sane ones".

The title is probably due to the act-based format of the film, bookended with captions such as the one shown above. Emily Booth, in the introduction, suggests this might be best described as a "serial killer rom-com", and that's not a bad way to think of it. Not a deep sharp dose of panic like "I Am The Ripper", nor as bleak as "Pulse", nor as outwardly funny as "Serial Killer", and thankfully no teens in a camp in the forest... but an enjoyable spirited performance of a slightly wacky concept played just right.
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May [18] (7½/10) Made in America

Written by Lucky McKee, and starring Angela Bettis, this is a very disturbed story of a young girl with a lazy eye. Wearing an eye patch to school, she finds herself an outcast. Her mother presents her with a creepy looking doll and says "if you can't find a friend, make one".
We fast-forward about ten years. May is a veterinary assistant. She sees a guy she likes but her social skills are extremely lacking, meanwhile the secretary (played by Anna Faris) is busy trying to hit on her.
This is a dark brooding film, and as the credits rolled, I could only think that Lucky has issues...
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Momentum [18] (6½/10) Made in America

There's a bunch of Bad Guys that can move things with their minds. They use their powers to pull off bank jobs. There's a lone teacher hiding his powers. There's an army-ish bloke who wants the teacher to infiltrate the gang to find out information, only he finds a charasmatic 'rebel leader' clone who portrays them as hunted people... oh, and Teri Hatcher as one of the FBI agents who gets caught up in the mess.
It's a little hokey, sure, but it isn't heavy (like "Carrie") and it isn't a crap mishmash of bad clichés (like "Carrie 2"). It's an enjoyable enough ride, so grab a box of donuts and have a polite giggle...
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Mommy [18] (3/10) Made in America

Mommy loves her little daughter. When it turns out that the 'student of the year' award is not going to her daughter (again), but to some 'ethnic minority' type (mommy supposes for reasons more political than academic), she has words with the teacher. The last words that the teacher ever hears.
In fact anybody who accuses, annoys, or just upsets the little girl will be sure to encounter the homicidal wrath of mommy, and the little girl is left to figure out what to do about Mommy.
This film has none of the charm or comedy of Serial Mom. In fact, it starts to get just plain annoying...
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Mommy 2: Mommy's Day [18] (2/10) Made in America

It's a media frenzy. The public are outraged. Blah blah blah.
Mommy, on death row, escapes. Recaptured, some nut-case doctor decides to tag her and let her out in public. Restraining orders, etc. I think the film's entire premise fails here. Not only is she a murdering mommy, but there is no 'trend' that shows she isn't going to carry on killing. What kind of idiot would let her out? Oh, I know - an American Idiot.
Now 'free', her primary goal is to find her daughter and win back her affection once more. But... you guessed it. Troublesome people get in the way. And, let me tell you, mommy is pretty handy with a knife.
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Monster In The Closet [18] (6½/10) Made in America

So I saw the name "Lloyd Kaufman", then the immortal words: A Troma Team Release, and I got a feeling...

By the end of this movie, there were two prime thoughts - firstly, I cannot believe that this is a Troma Team movie. It was, actually, pretty good! Reasonable actors and nobody got their kit off. And, secondly, by what cruel twist of fate was this movie assigned an 18 cert? There's a lot less bad language and violence in this movie than there is in Grosse Point Blank, and that movie was given a 15 rating!

Basically this is a 'spoof' horror movie. There's a monster. An ugly-looking beast. Kills people. It seeks refuge in, and apparently travels between, closets. Yes, you read that correctly - I said closets. Hence the title 'Monster In The Closet'...

Hot on its tail are a group - a scientist who looks like every Einstein cliché possible; another scientist who looks remarkably like Linda Hamilton in the first Terminator movie; a soppy newspaper reporter with big thick glasses and the name Richard Kent (mmmm, I wonder what that could be a reference to?); a too-smart kid that - thankfully - isn't allowed to join in much of the action (he was annoying); and the sort of slimy Ken-haired reporter that has no tact, less brains, and you can imagine a certain magnate started off like this...

As for the movie itself - it is an amusing affair with ideas pilfered from all sorts of sci-fi movies of the mid-'80s. Our 'monster' is communicated with using music. A five-note sequence. Sounds familiar, yes? But wait 'til you see how! :-)
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Morella, The Haunting Of [click to redirect]


Night Hunter [18] (5/10) Made in America

This is, basically, a vehicle for "Don 'The Dragon' Wilson" to show off his martial arts moves. He is a hunter of vampires. In order to make the plot less complicated, it rewrites some of the traditional mythology (stakes don't work, you need to snap their necks). A pretty woman is sent to investigate the killings and write a story for her paper - I think it was called The Global Inquisitor, no guesses which publication they're referring to!

So she is driving around trying to keep up with the police radio reports. She runs right into him. He dives in the car and makes her drive away at gunpoint. The police open fire, shooting her in the chest. She passes out.
In his loft, he fixes her up and - when she awakes - he finally explains things to her. Not that she believes him at first. It's all about the final four vampires that he had just killed. But wait, others have arrived, including the 'King of Vampires' (Sunnydale, this isn't!). And a bit of mystic 'total eclipse' nonsense thrown in too.

If you think you know the ins and outs of the vampire genre, be prepared for a logic fault of massive proportions. No stakes, no garlic, they can walk in sunlight...
It was interesting to see Don's character get thrashed. In many of the fights, Don wins (I'm giving nothing away, if he died the movie would be over) by using his brains and a whole lot of luck. Most of his adversaries are fully capable of pounding him to a bleeding pulp; which is certainly a welcome change from the Van Damme/Seagal method of one-on-one combat.

But there is something nasty. Something so nasty that I took an entire point off of the score I've given this film. It would have been a 6/10 if not for this one seriously annoying thing. It is, quite simply, that as soon as Don starts fighting, the camera starts to shake. No, I don't mean a cinéma vérité thing in the close-ups, you come to expect shaky camerawork if you're having the camera in the fight. Oh no... Even the wide shots shake! - at an almost predictable cadence, as if somebody is shaking the camera mounting. What the hell is that? The visual equivalent of a power chord?
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Nightmare Man [18] (6½/10) Made in America

The EPG portrays this as a woman running for her life who is lucky to bump into Tiffany Shepis who's decked out in lingerie and crossbow.
Sorry to ruin the fantasy, but it's the bad evil spirit-thing that has the crossbow. Tiffany has a big gun. ☺
The woman thinks she is possessed, while meanwhile the incarnation of her spirit chases her while weilding a big knife.
She runs to a cabin in the woods, a billion miles from anywhere - yeah, that old chestnut again. The four people in the cabin (two couples) aren't entirely sure what to do with the headcase woman. Well, what would you do if some terrified woman bangs on the door and says she's being chased by a demon?

Just when you think things might be getting a shade predictable, there is a lovely twist.
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Night Orchid [18] (7½/10) Made in America

First of all - Night Orchid is not a horror. It is a suspense. The only horror-hook is that the protagonist 'sees things'.
He drifts into a little down in the American south. Proves his worth and gets hooked up with a job and a place to stay. Along the way, he sees a beautiful (and beautifully kooky) young woman in the orange groves. She looks like she's interested, and he's certainly taken.
But then things don't quite go according to plan. Something is really awry, and he has to try to put together the pieces of a puzzle that the townsfolk tried to forget some thirty years ago.

Like I said, this is not a horror. In fact, not an awful lot really happens in the course of this movie (and, I'm sorry to say, I saw the ending coming from miles off). But, with a strong bluesy soundtrack and loads of atmosphere - I would recommend this. I would certainly recommend this to the same sort of person that liked the pacing of Fried Green Tomatoes and would like to try something a little bit creepier.
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Night Skies [18] (7¼/10) Made in America

A group of friends in a camper, taking a desolate road, it night, as a shortcut. Supposedly based upon the "true story" of the Arizona Lights.
So they're on this road around the back of nowhere when one of the girls sees a group of lights in formation in the sky. They get more and more interested in it until the driver narrowly misses a broken-down truck and crashes into a phone pole.
While the late-teens and their new-found ex-army friend are trying to put themselves together, it is up to the inevitable aliens to pick them off one by one.
There are some likeable characters and reasonable (if low budget) effects - like the alien ship being half a ton of slime-coated Silly String. However I simply couldn't shake the feeling that this was somewhat like an extended length episode of an X-Files rip-off... for that 'from a true story' nonsense, why do so many Americans think they have been "visited". I mean, there's only so many humans you need to dissect to learn all you need to about the human body, and there's only so many Americans you will want to abduct before moving on to other nations... or planets.
However there are plenty of Americans that have a pathological need to be special. In the old days they would have had religion, now they can be abductees. Not much difference really.
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Nude For Satan [18] (6½/10) Prodotto d'Italia

We begin with a slow motion scene of a nearly-naked woman running through a forest at night. Shades of Suspiria. Then we wait looking at the headlights of a VW Beetle while the titles are shown. What worried me was that the titles of this film were in English...
...and yes, I was right to worry. The English language dubbing is not as bad as the (intentionally?) terrible Suspiria, but certainly the beginning sounds as if it is voiced by two Meh-hee-cans!

Thunder rolls, lightning flashes. Wind howls. And you'll howl with laughter at the seriously low budget when you see the storm has not the slightest gasp of actual wind, and no rain either. There's a car crash (not suprising, the way these people drive) and we see a wheel roll by. Cut to a remarkably uncrashed looking car, the door open, and the girl lying unconscious in the most provocative position she could manage. Migod, how much cheese can a person take?!? This is Gorgonzola territory for sure!

After the Mascarpone crash, the doctor leaves the girl and goes to the creepy castle. He wanders around opening doors and seeing the weird stuff going on. Well, that's mistakes one through thirty, then, isn't it? The next mistake is to encounter the girl he didn't exactly help in the car crash - who has been waiting for him for such a long time...
...wait, hang on... why is the girl (called Susan Smith - very Italian, no?) from the car now walking towards the castle? Why is she talking to a bloke that is dressed like Lothos the vampire (Rutger Hauer in the original Buffy movie)?

The truth is quite simple - the people in the castle are the evil doppelgängers of the two that happened to be passing on the road outside. If you think that is convenient, wait until you see the rest of the film - pretty much any theory no matter how illogical will suddenly start to make sense. If you told us the guy was a distant distant relative of Jesus, we'd all be like "yeah, that explains the hairstyle..." or something!

This film is very lyrical and poetic, but I think a lot of it gets lost in translation, so we're left with amusing things like:
   Don't think about the past, or the present...
   ...just think about now.

Erm... now would be the present, huh?

To be honest, this film deserves perhaps a 5/10, but it is just so damn funny. The fake spider, looking rather like Dave Lee Travis' beard on the loose, killed me - it really did - so I'll add another point and a half for brightening up my night... :-)

And I don't think I'm giving much away by saying - do you remember that thing from the '80s that went "this is your mind on drugs"? Remember that phrase when you watch the end. I've never been 'high', but I kind-of imagine it'd be something like the end of this crazy crazy movie.
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Nude Vampire, The [click to redirect]


Omega, I Am [click to redirect]


Party Crasher [18] (4/10) Made in America

As Henry celebrates his 16th birthday, somebody slips him a drugs concoction. He wakes up the next day with a headache and half a dozen of his friends brutally murdered. Oh, and there's a knife in his bed and blood on his clothes.
Henry is locked up.

Fifteen years on, we are transported to a reality that could only exist in America. A reality where his worried parents, desperate to have Henry home, build an entire computer-controlled ultra-high-security cell in their house. Thus, Henry can come home.
I don't think I need to carry on, what happens next should be pretty obvious...
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Penetration Angst [18] (?!?/10) Made in England

This is one of the more peculiar offerings...
Okay. I give in... It is probably the single weirdest film I have ever seen...

Helen (Fiona Horsey) was abused when she was younger. Now, when she sees the right sort of man she gets terrible cramps. She absolutely has to have sex with the man. And in the course of doing so, her (whispering? talking? moaning?) vagina sucks the man in! (yes, seriously!)
Woompf! He's history. # No good to me, he's history, na na na-na...

Along the way we have twins joined at birth, later separated with an electric bread-knife, bank robberies, and all sorts of peculiar things.

This film, a fairly recent British creation - filmed in Portsmouth, London, and the Isle of Wight - is one of those films where you keep asking yourself "Can it get any weirder?", and... yes... it can.
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Penny Dreadful [18] (8/10) Made in America

A brilliantly simple plot well executed. A young woman ("Penny") is frightened of cars, ever since watching her parents die in a bad car crash. She is taking a road trip with her therapist, and along the way they hit a creepy bloke on a dark road. The therapist feels obliged to give him a lift, and once he had been dropped off, they get the hell away, only to find a tyre punctured. The therapist leaves the frightened girl in the car (she's stuck between the terror of being outside and the terror of being in a car) while she goes to try to call for help. The girl eventually goes to find a phone, gets spooked, runs, trips, knocks herself out.
When she wakes, she is back in the car holding a video camera which contains a recording of the murder of her therapist. That would be the body in the driver's seat. Oh, and the car is wedged tight between some trees. Now what?

It's delightfully creepy, invoking well that whole Blair Witch vibe, and it is quite incredible how effective it is given how much takes place within the cramped confines of the car.
And, thankfully, for once in a horror film we have the girl peeing into a plastic cup (and I think she pees again later on but I'm not sure in or on what) - it's a personal bugbear of mine that we can have a group of people trapped in a lift for a day with lawyers and lesser demons banging on the walls and nobody ever needs to go to the toilet!
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Premonition [18] (5½/10) Made in America

A square-jawed cop 'going through a difficult time' starts having visions. These visions turn out to be premonitions of future events which he might be able to influence the outcome of - if only people would listen and stop thinking he's a nutter.
An interesting idea that isn't really built upon - it all seems to revolve around one plot line that doesn't come together until the final act, ending with what may be one of the stupidest ideas I've seen in a while... not to mention the inconvincing CGI, the train crash was just so horribly fake - they'd have been better off with a tiny surveillance camera and a Hornby set.
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Progeny [18] (6/10) Made in America

A doctor with a non-existent sperm count and his pretty paranoid wife become "in the family way". Is the doctor losing his mind, or was it the work of aliens?
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Project Viper [18] (5½/10) Made in America

I really wanted to score this one higher. The premise sounded good. A semi-biological lifeform was created and programmed to go up in the Shuttle en-route to Mars to help terraform the planet, only something goes wrong and this thing rampages around the Shuttle killing the crew. Meanwhile some dopey people steal the other copy of this creation and get into this hugely oversized military plane. This military plane crashes down in a southern state with the vegetation looking suspiciously Asian - that's because the plane crash footage was shamelessly ripped right out of Air America, and it shows. The paranoid (as always!) military bring the assorted oddballs that made this creation on-board to try to locate it and clear up the mess. They find a town with a suspiciously high cancer/mortality rate which, oops, just happens to have once had its water pass through a uranium mind (tell me the townsfolk aren't so stupid they can't join the dots on that?). And so on. Why is this thing rampaging? Is it a cover-up? Is there a rogue on the geek team? Is it really an alien? All your questions will be answered, a few cute(ish) girls will be bumped off, and you'll get to see a really hokey CGI 'monster'. I think what irked me most was how much potential this concept had, which was never properly realised.
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Pterodactyl [18] (5½/10) Made in America

Might be "Pteradactyl?". Anyway: a professor, his ex (?), and a bunch of students are out exploring the Turkish/Armenian border. The pretty-but-not-very-smart-blonde sees one of the group dragged off by a giant dinosaur bird. Obviously nobody believes her. Some "Bad People" turn up, and they are attacked by the birds, and saved by some military people, the leader of which knows the 'ex's father. Small world, huh?
On the face of it, this isn't a bad effort for a creature feature and it is quite simple to make a savage otherworldly bird seem scary, despite its lack of plausibility.
What marred it for me, and was a huge problem, was it seemed that at almost every possibility these people ran headlong out of the woods and into a open field... which made them rich pickings for the hungry flying critters. Once, if it was the only way... but time and again was stupid. Braindead, dense, dumbass, these people deserved to be eaten. So it might have got a 6½ish, but a whole point knocked off due to such a lame attempt to create tension. I've not seen anything as patently obvious since the timer on the nukes in Broken Arrow!
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Pulse [18] (8½/10) Made in Japan

The girls in the flower shop.  Harue, the CS teacher, not explaining a simulation program.

No, this isn't the one with the boy and the disbelieving dad and the freaky electrics...

For a moment, I thought I was over the way on FilmFour. This is a Japanese horror - and I think it is fair to say that the Japanese make the most intense (if not always entirely logical) horror films.

It begins with a floppy disc. Strange images on a computer screen, and female geek (see? I was born the wrong side of the planet!). Sounds innocent enough, right? From there we are quickly sucked into a complex story involving ghosts and vanishing people. One thing is for certain - you don't want to get too introspective about stuff, because if you do you might realise exactly how lonely you really are. And that's not a good thing.

Fasten your seatbelts, this is one heck of a ride!The EPG description describes this as "deeply unsettling", and I would be inclined to agree. In keeping with many Japanese horrors, it isn't about cheap shocks and piles of dead bodies. It is about ambience. Spirit and emotion. They don't go in as much for a guy bursting out of a cupboard with a chainsaw. That's more a Western thing. For the Japanese, providing thirty seconds of fright is not as good as providing an hour or so of it, building and building. Sometimes it is said that the Japanese films do not have good endings. In a way you could view the ending of this film as something of a cop-out. But if you decide to engage your brain, you'll see that in reality the ending is more a beginning. This is where people more learned than me couple spout a few Taoist maxims, instead I'll simply say that this movie leaves you with its creepy ambience after the credits have rolled and gone away. In fact, a nice tidy everything-explained all strings-neatly-tied ending would have been ghastly.
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Pumpkinhead [18] (7/10) Made in America

This is possibly one of the most badly chosen titles I've encountered in a long time. It brings to mind Halloween rip-offs, right?
You couldn't be more wrong.

In this suspenseful movie, a bunch of young adults from the city are going for a vacation in a cabin in the woods. Near to a little shop, they get out their dirt bikes and play around. The little boy, who was left guarding the shop, runs across the land to stop the dog from being injured. One of the dirt bikes comes whizzing over the hill and flattens the boy.
In a panic, and possibly because of excessive alcohol consumption, the dirt-bikers flee. The girlfriends don't want to go but they do. In the end, it is left to one poor sod to stay with the kid and wait for his father (the shop owner) to return.
The child dies.
The father, brilliantly played by Lance Henriksen, vows revenge. And in a big way. He visits a local creepy woman in the middle of a bleak forest. Exhumes a body, and the woman does some mojo that raises 'pumpkinhead'. It is called pumpkinhead because it's head... erm... looks like a pumpkin. :-)
Father soon realises that he might have been a bit harsh. Pumpkinhead, on the other hand, will not rest until every single one of the biker mob (and anybody else that gets in the way) is dead. Through a spiritual connection, father experiences every single killing. He figures he unleashed this evil, it is up to him to try to stop it...

A good film in the classic sense of 'horror'. No 'knowing' references, no silly gags, just pure and straight horror movie material.
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Raven's Ridge [18] (7½/10) Made in America

He's every redneck cliché all rolled into one!

PS: This picture is a spoiler, the druggie-guy dies.  Was it her?
Did she take the money?
Or was it him.
Maybe it was the redneck?
Maybe they were high after a spot of ganja and there WAS no money?

Maybe, maybe, maybe...

A group of people plan a heist. Holding up an armoured truck to net a cool $800 million. They bury the money in the woods to let the dust settle...

Weeks later, one of the group is picked up by the police. The others panic and run to collect their share of the money.
Only, it isn't there.
A crazy hunt-lovin' redneck is there instead. It's his forest and trespassers will be shot. Lots. The redneck is... well, check out the picture on the left - he's a walking cliché!

There are plenty of twists and turns. Nobody is 'innocent', everybody would have a motive for stashing the money. Where did it go? You'll be guessing right to the end...

If I had to level a complaint at this film, I would say that the music backing is too obtrusive. Too loud. Too jarring.
Oh, and - you know what? I'd have expected $800,000,000 to be a teensy-weensy bit, you know, larger than the assortment of money bags that we see. Other than that, this film was okay. I liked the druggie character with the jazzy t-shirt!
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Raiders of The Damned [18] (5½/10) Made in America

Something was sprayed into the air, for some reason. It turned people into zombies. For some reason. A military helicopter unit flies over to check out the scenario, and the zombies - a rather well organised bunch - bring down the helicopter with a giant slingshot. Some important scientist was on the helicopter so now a special team (made up of all sorts of weirdos and misfits) must go into zombie territory in order to rescue the captured man.

I cannot say I was entirely following the film, the dialogue left me wanting (subtitles, perhaps?) and the special effects were unfortunately the sort done on a computer where it looks really computer generated - check out the totally unconvincing helicopter, that doesn't even entirely move like an actual helicopter (sheesh! they surely could have watched a few reruns of AirWolf to see how a helicopter behaves?). And then we have the special bit of magic in the form of a gadget that allows people to move through walls and - of course - there is a huge wall in the way. Between you and me, I feel that was a plot device designed purely so somebody could play with the CGI tools for a little bit longer. There's a whole "big budget" feel to this movie. But not a cool one, like Mad Max, but rather a sort that tried too hard to be something it isn't and lost a lot along the way.
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Red Riding Hood [18] (7/10) Prodotto d'Italia

A bizarre Argento-inspired film about an ill girl who dispenses vicious justice with the aid of a weird walking dog-like creature. Despite the hammy acting and plot bordering on ridiculous, it is fun to watch a deranged child at work, for far too often pseudo-Puritan morals kick in and say that "kids are innocent and don't get hurt" (witness Jurassic Park where a kid gets zapped by the high tension fence and lives to talk about it).
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Red Right Hand, The [click to redirect]


Reign In Darkness [18] (6½/10) Made in Australia

A scientist thinks he is working on a revolutionary new cure for AIDS, though perhaps the bizarre side-effects might have given him a clue? Well a test goes slightly wrong and he injects himself with the 'cure' accidentally. Now all the people want him dead before he turns into a vampire (this you can tell by the bloodlust and the weird eyes).

To me, this film seemed to be an uneasy blend of Trancers and Blade, with some really appallingly obvious computerised effects - like most of the gunfire!
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Requiem for a Vampire [18] (5/10) Fabrique en France

In Jean Rollin's territory, it is wise to fear bats.  Their first visit to 'The Pit' doesn't go terribly well.  # You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.
PS: girl-in-red ('Marie-Pierre'), nice outfit!

(this image was modified from the original screenshot)

Called Vierges et Vampires in French. Made in 1971.
aka: Caged Vampires, Crazed Virgins, Dungeon of Terror, Requiem Pour Un Vampire, Sex Vampires, etc etc etc etc...
In French with English subtitles.

Those who know anything of horror will know Jean Rollin. In the mid-'70s, this French director made a series of horror films that usually included: vampires, nudity, lesbianism.
Vierges et Vampires (or Requiem for a Vampire, in English) is no exception. The movie starts with two precocious (teenage?) girls, dressed like clowns, in a shootout. They kill, they run. They hijack a food wagon. They break into a creepy old castle. They find a bed. They instantly get naked with each other.
The EPG description reads:

Two young girls are trapped with no escape, forced to submit to the horrors of the pit, their innocence violated beyond description in an endless nightmare of terror.
When the owners of the castle turn up, they are - as the EPG suggests - subjected to horrors and violations beyond description.
You can run, but you can't hide!Really? I'd have thought these girls would have enjoyed vamping and bonking.

It is a real shame because the beginning of the movie does anything but portray these girls as cute and sweet. So when the 'horror' begins, and the girls are frightened (not that they can act particularly frightened), you sorta think "who cares?" or "you kinda deserve that". You'd find yourselves willing the vampires on - these girls are not sweet, suck 'em and be done with it...

Something else that people have noticed are the girl's appalling shoes. Okay, visually and stylistically they are not appalling, they are 'just shoes'. But when you have the two girls running around in the castle, it is 'clop clop clop', and it is annoyingly distracting - it sounds like the Foley team consisted of fifty monkeys with a hundred coconut halves to bang together!
This film is of interest for the interesting location photography and - quite frankly - the outrageous costumes (though I do like the red/white outfit that the blonde girl is wearing - even if it is dated!). It is, perhaps, unfortunate that the editing is so patchy, though given some of the oddities if it, I do wonder if this is a fault of the original edit or it is is due to later patches because of damaged film?
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Revenge of the Psychotronic Man [12] (1/10) Made in America

Uuurgh! Uuurgh! Uuurgh! Uuurgh! [no, it isn't the Tardis...]

(this image was taken off-screen using a digital camera)

The EPG describes this film as:

Chicago is again held captive by a man with powers beyond human understanding who remains one step ahead of the police and FBI agents on his trail.
This must be one of the biggest fibs going. As far as I could see, there is no 'again' because the man is not even sure why or how he is able to do what he does. And he stays one step ahead of the police because they are totally incompetent.

According to a review on IMDb, the movie is noteworthy as being the first film shot entirely on location in Chicago since before World War 1. It was also an entirely independent production. It used local talent.
The lead character, Peter Spelsen, also wrote and produced the movie. He was an out-of-work actor who figured the easiest way to get back into movies would be to make his own. Without sounding too cruel, I can see why he was 'out of work'. The storyline is dreadful, the acting worse - the horror here is that they had the balls to broadcast it at all.
Pretty much the only thing that can come from this movie is the word "psychotronic" which just lends itself to a generation of crazed-robot flicks ('Maximillian' would have been psychotronic; Davros was psychotronic (though his pepper-pot underlings were more moronic than psychotronic...)!).

In fact, the entire plot line of the movie is this amazingly-'70s-looking man (complete with the really stupid hair) holds his head and goes 'uuurgh!' and somebody dies. Then he holds his head and goes 'uuurgh!' and somebody else dies. Every so often he experiences a really weird premonition, so he holds his head and goes 'uuurgh!' and somebody dies. A few more times he holds his head and goes 'uuurgh!' and people die.

By the end of this movie, I held my head and went 'uuurgh!', and I died.
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Risen, The [click to redirect]


Satan's Little Helper [15?] (6/10) Made in America

It's a typical family. A busy mother, the father who is out 'working' a lot, a rather attractive older sister at university, and a younger brother who's such a nerdy prat he'd have made a young Bill Gates look normal (wow!). And, well, he's real big on a computer game called "Satan's Little Helper". It is how he wants to dress up for Halloween. Then he meets Satan (yes, really!) in his basement and he is kinda okay with it. In fact, he wants to be Satan's Little Helper for real, and in return could Satan please get rid of his sister's boyfriend?
There are some real laugh-out-loud moments, like using a shopping trolley to ram prams and pregnant women - it's all the morally dubious stuff you'd expect to find in American Pie 4: Halloween if such a movie was ever made; but sadly the little brat is in the middle of things. He giggles his way through half the movie. Most of the stuff Satan does is "so cool", the woman hanging from her porch choking to death is "so realistic". While the rest of his family figure it out and are busy wetting themselves in terror, we're still not sure if the boy has entirely so figured it out. One could concede that perhaps he has as he tells Satan not to hurt his mother or sister, so perhaps he is just so okay with carnage and rampant chaos?

To be honest I quite enjoyed this film. Okay, I had a few beers and an entire pack of chili nachos, but that is perhaps the way to do it. Don't expect serious horror. Don't expect much in the way of frights. There's an interesting twist in the end, but by and large you'll probably laugh your way through most of this film. A definite example of "so bad it's good".

(I have nicknamed one of our cats "Santa's Little Helper", and after watching this it may be hard not to accidently refer to him by the title of this movie!)
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Scarecrow, The [click to redirect]


Second Sight [??] (5/10) Made in England

It might be old and clanky, but I bet it has never blue-screened on him. :-)  The writer and his wife (who didn't appreciate being accidentally closed in the cupboard).

A British horror writer (called Ray (Patrick Olliver)) with a penchant for writing cheesy scenarios moves into an old house with his new American wife (called Victoria (Amy Raasch - do both of these people have doubled second letters in their surnames or are my eyes wonky?)) who is young enough to be his daughter.
Ray, however, is more interested in his fictional characters than in his wife, and is not above uttering extremely horrible phrases such as "I'll have to be dead first" when talking about when he will sell the rights to his books to the media.
Given this, it isn't too much of a surprise that Vicky starts to find herself more and more attracted to the handyman.
Along the way, an old flame turns up and we endure an excruciating scene in which Ray discusses how best to murder him. I mean, a common failing of action movies is the BlahBlah scene where the Bad Guy Explains His Big Idea, do we have to have a narrative of the rest of the movie? Please!

Then comes the event that gives rise to the title of this film. Ray has an accident (or was it?) that renders him temporarily blind. So Vicky and the handyman flirt shamelessly at the dinner table in front of Ray, safe in the knowledge that he cannot see them. When Ray's sight returns, he pretends to still be blind unknown to his 'wife'...

There are a number of twists and turns in this story and the basic premise is actually quite a good idea. Unfortunately it is badly executed - the Big Moments are set up so you can see them coming miles off (and they look so contrived, especially the ending) and the general pace of this film is so slow that it never really builds any tension.
Which is a shame, as there's a lot that could have been done.
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Serial Killer [18] (8½/10) Made in America

Lisa Loeb - playing a high school girl, despite being 34 in real life!

A bored school student, Casey (Justin Ulrich), fills in his 'your ideal career' paper as "Serial killer". This gets him the attention of the kooky girl in class - Sasha (played by a 34-year-old Lisa Loeb! yes, her with 'those glasses' and the catchy hit song). Casey plays well as the bored and fed up student that decides to enter into the subtle art of murder. He decides that being a serial killer; not just any, but the most notorious; should be his life's goal. And why the hell not? It beats serving fries for a living, doesn't it?

Only, there are problems. Casey can't even kill the annoying yappy-in-the-middle-of-the-night dog next door. Sasha wants to be his first victim, and, well, there's no way he's going to be able to kill her, she's way too cute, and he's in love anyway. So he figures he'll off a few old people. Probably be doing them a favour. I worked for a few years as an Agency Care Assistant in various nursing homes and, well, a number of residents ('victims') would have prayed for Casey to slash them to death. But, you know the way it turns out. He can't even croak the crusties. His 'going on the rampage' outfit is totally like something you'd expect from 'Data' in The Goonies. Heck - he can't even 'act cool' in front of the mirror!
To confound matters, while he has been blabbing about his ambitions, somebody else has been bumping people off. And, naturally, everybody suspects Casey...

This has some really funny moments. The sort of DIY clerk you wished you knew (Corey Feldmen, remember him?). How about the neighbour with a fettish for explosives.
All in all, a very enjoyable movie.

According to IMDb, this film is called Serial Killing 4 Dummys... yes really - 'dummys' and not 'dummies'...
Additionally, this film is also called Serial Killing 101.
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Shades of Darkness [15] (8/10) Made in America

This is how I feel in hospitals too...

Autumn Falls. It's a town. Where Bridget grew up. Now voices and dreams have called her back. But the main thing that called her back was the diary. Written by a person with the same name, a century before. It documented the entire town's descent into madness. Obviously she is intrigued, but she certainly isn't expecting what's to come. Neither is the newsgirl and her cameraman who are looking into the same story.

This film is only slightly marred by obviously low-budget effects. I'm sorry, there's just something about digitally rendered fire that makes it look like a graphic from the game Quake. Having made this criticism, it is an interesting film with a good story.
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Shower Of Blood [18] (3/10) Made in America

A bunch of adolescents in a van go to Uncle What's-His-Name's house to pass the night. There's lots of soft-porn shower scenes and some bad acting detracting from it all. Stuff happened, but I think I was concentrating more on taking my laptop apart to clean out the fluff and stuff around the fan. Put it like this... one of the girls was okay, one of the boys was terrible, the rest were the wrong side of bad. In all, it seemed horribly wooden. If the cast don't seem to believe in their roles, how are we viewers supposed to believe it? Maybe because the premise of the film was flawed. Shower. Weirdo. Blood. I wonder what the one-line synopsis read like? How does a film like this get promoted so that somebody actually agreeds to get it made. Answer that, I'll know what I've been doing wrong in my life and then I can get some of my ideas made and somebody else can write "I can't believe they actually made this". Yes, it's the old dad kick kid kick dog kick cat kick mouse. Whatever, it is more mentally engaging than this film was.

It is amusing to think that Jason once said "It is, quite simply, horrific that a group of people, who are so completely without talent as the makers of Grim Weekend, were ever let loose with a camera." about the film Grim Weekend.
It is amusing because I think that should read "It is, quite simply, horrific that a group of people, who are so completely without talent as the makers of Shower Of Blood, were ever let loose with a camera."...
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Shredder [15] (6¼/10) Made in America

There's a whole long list of films starring horny spliff-totin' adolescents with no regard or respect for authority. Usually they hang out in a cabin in the woods, and somebody always recounts this creepy tale of how somebody died somehow - but <spooky voice>they vanished</>... Zone Horror has shown too many of this genre to bother listing.

Shredder is, basically, the same. Same situation, same plot, same twist in the tale where the person you thought was the psycho killer isn't... The difference, this time, is that the ados are staying in a condemned old lodge in the mountains, at a ski resort that closed a while ago. Why this deviation from the norm? Well, it isn't a deviation really. It's an isolated location with trees and stuff, only snow too. And, hey, blood looks oh-so-good squirting over the virgin powder.
There are a number of amusing moments and this film doesn't take itself too seriously. Watch for some action and screaming, but don't be surprised if you get a sense of déja vu.

'Shredding', by the way, is apparently the name for snowboarding down steep inclines in an 'extreme sports' kind of way. There's some good footage of this sort of thing, and I'm sure the cast and crew had loads of fun making this movie!
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Shriek (aka The Shrieker) [15] (5/10) Made in America

Some students set up digs in an old abandoned mental hospital. There's some pseudo-witchcraft, and the evil force (which we thankfully see little of) is a guy with a halloween costume face on. The more interesting aspect of this film is how everybody starts to blame everybody else, and had they taken that a bit further then this could have attained a better score. This is what I'd describe as "soft horror", like those leprechaun films.
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Sight Unseen [18] (6/10) Made in America

We start with a killing and a kidnapping in a lift, the fluffy-haired woman faints and when she comes to her life has completely changed - the man and his daughter are now dead. She was spared, but got to wear a plastic mask. She is recounting the story in clipped flashbacks while speaking to her shrink, while she's in some sort of asylum - she's been there four months. She seems to know the two that died but her husband is in the hospital saying he wants his wife back - so what's the connection? And why does she keep seeing the dead child?
Watching the beginning of this movie is rather like putting us in the asylum, weird perspectives and flashes from one thing to another. Kinda like my attention span!
It is an engaging look into a woman's descent into madness, but it only scores a 6/10 because the revelations at the end were predictable, both of them, pretty much from about the point of the first advert break! It is still a watchable film, don't get me wrong about that...
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Sleepaway Camp 2 (Unhappy Campers) [18] (6/10) Made in America

If you go into the woods tonight...

Now unlike the Bloody Murder films, this one plays for subtle comic value. The protagonist is Angela Baker. She's the happiest of the happy campers. Oh, and she has exceedingly strict moral standards. Anybody who doesn't meet her expectations is burned alive, hung, drowned, stabbed, etc etc. A brilliant performance by Pamela Springsteen (yes, she's related...).

The EPG description says that these things take place at Camp Arawak. This is wrong! Camp Arawak is about five miles away, and is the place where the standard 'spooky camp story' happened (I guess from Sleepaway Camp (part one)).
The action in this film actually takes place at Camp Rolling Hills, as can be seen on Angela's sweatshirt in the picture...
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Sleepaway Camp 3 (Teenage Wasteland) [18] (6½/10) Made in America

Back in Camp... whatever, like we care, anyway back in Camp Something, Angela Baker gets another job as a camp counselor, and is able to resume her judgment. This time she finds a whole new range of ways to dispatch people - death by lawnmower!
Take Sleepaway Camp 2, freak out a bit, and you'll then have Sleepaway Camp 3. There is a sort of subtle beauty to the blend of comedy and violence. To see what I mean, look at some of the character names - Marcia, Herman... Crossing The Brady Bunch with The Munsters. Oh yeah!

The EPG mentions that Angela is a 'transgendered' psycho. You'd need to have seen part 2 to realise that as part of her original 'treatment', she was made a she from a he. I'm not exactly sure how this makes any difference to the story, especially given that the actress (Pamela Springsteen), does not exactly look like she was once male... but never mind, this is one of those horror films that doesn't take itself seriously and just lets rip. If you want to watch something like Bloody Murder with a sense of humour, Sleepaway Camp is for you.
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Slugs [18] (6/10) Made in America

Perhaps the creepiest thing is that I finished reading Shaun Hutson's book days before I saw the movie-of-the-book listed in the EPG!

The plot? Killer slugs. Some mutant version that are three or four times normal size, have a real taste for meat, and multiply like crazy.
The reason? It is explained in the movie. If you can't wait, think La Morte Vivante and you might get an idea...
The era? Mid-to-late '80s.

We essentially follow a public sanitation officer who cottons on to the potential threat pretty quickly, and his battles to prove that he isn't crazy - when faced with council officials who either don't care, or are too busy thinking of the big bucks from a new development plan to let a little thing like slugs get in the way...

But, along the way, the story is set for a number of gruesome deaths - you'll certainly think twice before eating a caper salad in the future (can't stand the things, myself).

And - before you ask - the answer is yes. Apart from various small modifications to make the movie 'flow' better, it was more or less the same as the book. Makes a change, huh?
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Slumber Party Massacre III [18] (4/10) Made in America

Horny teenage boys, semi-attractive girls destined for a life in certain magazines, and a psycho killer of some persuation.
Perhaps the only attraction of this type of film is "which one next, and how"... but since this pyscho killer drills people to death, we only get to guess which chick buys it next... while wondering that this is the third installment!
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Snapped [18] (5/10) Made in America

A cute and fluffy wannabe photograpy artist meets a man in a gallery who puts in her mind some interesting material for her forthcoming exposition. Her life sucks - druggie boyfriend and thieving, lying landlord - so perhaps it isn't really a surprise that she snaps (a double meaning in the title, see?) and starts bumping people off while taking photos of it.
This is the big problem with the premise. Our girl can play bitchy, annoyed, friendly... but when it comes to the murders, there is a remarkable lack of emotion. Killing somebody is going to solicite some sort of emotion, whether you gasp in horror like Hélène in The Living Dead Girl, or you look like you've completely lost your marbles (Jack Nicholson: The Shining), or even you might look like you are actually enjoying it (many Christopher Walken roles)... But here? It is almost as if a robotic body double stepped in for the killings. Sorry, her responses just didn't seem right.
Oh, and there's a bizarre plot twist at the end.
To sum it up, this movie includes several pseudo-arty references talking about "concepts". Well, this movie might contain the concept of a good idea. But only the concept. The conceptualised actuality simply doesn't deliver.
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Snapshot [18] (6/10) Made in New Zealand

Our hairdresser-turned-model on the right.

A cute hairdresser makes an uneasy transition into topless photo shoots for better money. Along the way she finds all sorts of slimy characters, and manages to acquire numerous stalkers - including one in an ice cream van!
Our lead character has the sort of wide-eyed innocence you'd expect from an early Sally Field movie, so one wonders how she ever agreed to get into the topless modeling scene.
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Sometimes They Come Back...Again [18] (7/10) Made in America

The credits open with some familiar names - Paul Gross (as the father), the always-capable Hilary Swank (as the daughter)... and from this we are launched straight into an old lady's death, and at her funeral a freaky old man says "You know that there is still evil here". Hardly out of the ordinary in horror-movie territory. What is more out of the ordinary are some of the camera angles which are interesting without being all "oooh, look, here's a cool angle". There's a "tense" moment about 12 minutes into the film, but I put "tense" in quotes as how creepy can things really be with a pet pig - but check Hilary's flip comment, it cracked me up!
There are flashbacks, freaky occurrences, and surely every manufacturer who makes creepy-looking black cars must expect those cars to end up in horror movies, right?
This film progresses at a steady pace, with Hilary's character being overly clueless to a creepy looking guy with a James Dean complex, all the while ignoring comments and warnings from the clairvoyant cutey Julia (Jennifer Elise Cox - wasn't she a Brady?). Well, don't say she didn't tell you so!
Final comment: I think it is quite interesting (and possibly quite telling) that there is a notice at the end of the movie saying "Edited on film".
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Sorority Girls & The Creature From Hell [15] (5½/10) Made in America

Would you believe it - the nerdy girl with the big glasses is one of the writers of this film!  She's kinda sweet really ... moreso than the other girls in this movie!

One of the girl's uncles is exploring a cave. He uncovers a weird carving and the next thing you know, he is a homicidal monster.
Conveniently, the girl and all her sorority friends are spending a weekend in the little cabin in the woods not far from this cave.
Standard fare. You can guess the rest.

Madeline (Twin Peaks).

Do YOU remember Twin Peaks? Jason says: "the unfeasibly large spectacles adorned by good-girl Sara may raise a chuckle or two", and "husband and wife writing team, John (who also directed) and Lynette McBearty".
Would you believe it - good-girl Sara is Lynette McBrearty; as can be seen by the parts of the credits inserted into the picture above left.
Perhaps Jason doesn't remember Twin Peaks, as Madeline wore genuine 'unfeasibly large spectacles' as shown in the picture on the right...
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Soundman [15] (8/10) Made in America

Meet Juliet Paradis!  She sings, dances...  ...and plays the violin.

Igby has a nice car. He also has a sweet (but very quirky) French girl living in the apartment next door, with a hair cut not unlike the infamous Amélie...
Those are the good things in his life.

The bad things? Everything else. His name is silly. His boss (a slimy director) doesn't like him, other crew on the movie wouldn't hesitate to pound his face, his job sucks anyway, his girlfriend isn't, and it goes on.

The studio boss who is a master of sardonic slime.I've included pictures of Juliet, played by Eliane Chappuis (who is also one of the executive producers of this movie, and sings one of the songs in it). If you want to picture Igby, think of Scott Bakula in his Quantum Leap days, then make him the weediest nerd possible.

This is not really a 'horror' movie. It is more a loss-of-control movie much in the style of Falling Down, only Igby's war - when it happens - is on behalf of Juliet; thanks to a load of 'important' people in the movie business who simply don't care about the little people - with the studio boss (pictured right) being excellently portrayed - a real piece of work.
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Source, The [click to redirect]


Spider Baby [12] (8½/10) Made in America

Isn't the 'little girl' bow perhaps a bit overstated?  A quick explanation of how the spider makes its captures stop 'squiggling'.  Oh deary me, we'll wake the neighbours!

A 'disturbed family', the Merrye family, live a peaceful existence in a manky old house, looked after by the chauffeur who made a promise to the children's dying father. The house is avoided by locals, and all is well until some distant relatives turn up looking for the gold mine of an inheritance that they think should have been theirs.

The 'children' are two adorable girls aged around twenty-something (Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner), and one weird bald bloke of the same age who looks like an extra from Les Misérables or something. The man spends most of his time going up and down in the food lift. The girls have fallen for the lifestyle of the spider... Actually it is more complicated than that. The children suffered a freak degenerative disease that would cause them to 'become mentally younger' as they passed through their teenage years. For some reason this would involve the girls turning towards cannibalism; but then again the blonde girl isn't above trying on a little bit of incest.

This is a brilliantly quirky film, also known as "Attack of The Liver Eaters" (I'm not quite sure why as they neither go on an attack (the hunt is a hunt, not an attack) nor are seen eating livers) or "The Maddest Story Ever Told". The old black and white photography adds a certain je ne sais quoi that I don't think you could ever match with colour.
I think a number of viewers would dislike this film because they would judge it against modern horror movies; and also there is a bit of a general dislike of self-referential comihorror movies since the Scream franchise spawned dozens of rip-offs.
Yes, if you think 'Scream' was a whole new twist to the horror formula, 'Spider Baby' did it decades earlier.
Psychologically, this film works well because it was made in an era before explicit gore and obscenities. Everything is astonishingly polite and the violence is hinted at rather than shown, save for an ear... For it to be effective, though, you will require a deeper 'immersion' into the story.
In black and white.

You can read an interview with Jack Hill (writer/director).
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Spiker [18?] (6/10) Made in America

Playing on our fears of unusual looking people, we have a tall albino bloke. He is being transported to some sort of an asylum when he gets free. He is a murderer. His method of choice? Railway spikes, hence the title of the film.
Playing parallel to this, some teenagers. A dark goth-like cheerleader who really doesn't fit in with the other cheerleaders and their lug-like boyfriends, but she's necessary for the séance that helps explain the series of otherwise coincidences. Essentially these teens go 'camping' in a creepy old house. Said creepy house has a long-time-ago association with the Spiker (and why he became crazy). He's on the loose. Join the dots.
In something of a departure from the norms of the genre, there is certainly no hint of optimism in the ending...
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Stalked [18?] (6½/10) Made in America

It is spooky bordering on disurbing exactly how many horror films featuring crazed men have the theme of parental abuse (usually an over-domineering mother) as the 'excuse'. This film is no exception. The mother, a bit of a heavy drinker, still treats her son like dirt even though he is grown up and is attending a therapy group. When he, by chance, meets a nice girl running a café and makes a date to see her again, he flips - kills his mother and then sets up this whole fantasy life for himself and his chosen wife, dispatching anybody who gets in the way. But he is clever and plays mind games with his chosen woman so her calls to the police usually end up with her looking a paranoid fruitcake.
I felt this film dragged a little in the middle, but on the whole it was watchable.
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Stealing Candy [15] (4/10) Made in America

Coolio in a horror film? Wow... Three ex-cons decide to appropriate the services of a well-known sex-part actress... by appropriating her!
Their big idea? Kidnap her in order to get her to perform live sex acts on a web site - strictly pay-per-view. They figure the money they'll get from that will be far in excess of anything they'd get by trying for a ransom. There's the black "gangsta" type, a wannabe geek, and the mastermind of the operation... and the actress who, it turns out, isn't really like her parts in real life (whoo, surprise!). This isn't a "horror", it's a story of some people who couldn't spot the inevitable that three cons and a load of moolah will lead to extreme paranoia and everybody for themselves. Depressingly predictable, even the twist at the end...
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Strange Behaviour (Dead Kids) [18] (6/10) Actually made in New Zealand...

A small town in the North West. Of course we're talking America, this sort of stuff doesn't happen in the Lake District!
Several disjointed stories. A young man in a doorless (!) car brutally murdered, and then a girl attacked in a pool at a party. A Halloween party, of course. The town cop and the crustiest mayor I've ever seen complaining about the result of a storm. It starts to come together when a high school boy takes his friend to the college to get some easy money taking part in weird experiments.
The professor is evil. You don't need me to tell you that, just look at her haircut! It says "I'm an evil bitch" all over it.

This film doesn't really deliver much spookiness, but it is reasonable in a very eighties kind of way - building up to the final showdown with pretty much full disclosure all the way...
...or as the scientists recently said about the possibilities of a 'supervolcano', it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

Despite being set in small-town America, this film was actually shot in New Zealand!
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Subhuman [15] (6½/10) Made in America

A couple, Ben and Julie are driving home one night when they run over a deranged man. He definitely doesn't want to go to the hospital, so they take him home ... like you do ... and before they know it, he's laying on them an amazing assortment of drugs and tales of vampire parasites.

This film has plenty of naff blood-squirting effects to giggle at, but to be honest the drug-guy annoyed me. He wouldn't shut up! He explained stuff, and then explained more stuff, and gave a whole procession of snappy dialogues − but it all got a bit too much...
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The Bone Snatcher [18] (7/10) [SA]

Some prospectors fail to report in. So some people board a weird looking truck and set out across desert sands to find the prospectors.
Doesn't sound terribly interesting, does it? So in order to make it a worthwhile movie, the would-be rescuers find the prospectors. Apparently eaten alive in a matter of seconds. And this is when the fun begins.

A South African movie, we are big on sand. One wonders how much skill and attention it took to have the usual movie entourage around without having lots of footprints in sand that is supposed to be unwalked upon! We are also big on characterisation, a bit of violence, and - of course - the Big Bad looking like evil movie monsters generally do. But - tell you what - the actual "scientific" explanation of what is going on will blindside you. Yes, I quite liked this movie.
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The Chair [18] (6¼/10) Made in America

A girl buys a house. A haunted house, only her sister doesn't want to believe as the girl has a history of delusions and mental illness.
Is she becoming possessed, or is she slowly going mad? And what's the deal with those cogs and wheels and things?
An odd little film, this, but something of a hidden gem, let down only by some rather implausible nonsense at the end.
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The Brink [18] (6/10) Made in America

Obsessed college girl wants to build a device to talk to spirits. She manages to rope a few friends into helping and, as this is a horror movie, you know she's going to get more than she bargained for...
...and, look, again, people rescued by an Apple computer!
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The Choke [18] (7/10) Made in America

A hard rock band (like a tall girl called "London" who wears spikey leather gear and likes dead things) are supposed to play at a gig in a club only it all starts to fall apart when the lead guitarist fails to turn up, and as if that isn't enough a dead girl turns up in the storage room and before they know it they are locked in this creepy concrete building with a killer on the loose, a killer who is taking to dispatching the members of the band with their instruments.

While there is a predictability about this film (especially seeing as the 'still' chosen by Zone Horror for the ad-break title was possibly the biggest spoiler going), what raises this film above the mundane is some snappy dialogue and a lot of throwaway one-liners, plus some reactions that are touchingly human. I'll give you an example, one of the girls is talking to 'London' saying that death is all creepy and stuff, why can't she fall in love with kittens or something. London considers this a moment and then says "Dead kittens would be cool!". Okay, maybe it's a "you had to be there" kind of moment, but I liked it.
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The Dark Dealer [18] (5½/10) Made in America

When people die, in various circumstances, they find themselves playing cards with the dealer. If they beat him, they get their lives back. Otherwise, they go... one presumes... to hell.
I'm sorry, but this film had no horror at all. It was, actually, quite amusing in its stupidity. As for that floaty plasma ball - what was that all about, really?
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The Dead Of Night [18] (5¾/10) Made in America

An expression you get to see a lot of in horror movies!

I score this almost-six because of the cast of virtual unknowns give this hokey material their best shot. Some of the characters are quite amusing - like the short girl (Tara Taylor, pictured) who is face to face with the undead and is giving them fashion advice.
Some of the dialogue is, perhaps unintentionally, amusing; but one simply cannot escape the sad fact that this is a pretender to "The Faculty" that doesn't even do it the justice of being a decent rip-off (like that other one, whose name escapes me).
Aaargh! Real Monsters!Only while "The Faculty" had a plot, this film... it begins with creepy goings on in a medical facility. We then shift to a hazing ritual where two "geeks" are thrown into a burial pit in a graveyard. The dead turn up, and quickly turn into the undead. So they walk around school all weird. Not like "aaargh zombie" but more... let's say that I saw guys like this at college - it was the result of a joint too many behind the bike sheds.

Somehow these normal looking kids turn into these damn-ugly monsters at night, and back again - with their same clothes on. These monsters vomit a lot both as monsters and as kids, and there isn't a drop of it on their shoes, never mind their clothes. Oh, and when they monster-out they aren't dressed. When they unmonster, they are dressed in the same outfits. Convenient, huh?
The audio effects sound like a five-year-old with an iMac pretending to be a Dalek, and the budget for the special effects must surely have run into double figures.

This film passes easily into the so-bad-its-good category thanks to the sterling work of the cast that try their best with a so-bad-it-hurts concept. If you can imagine "The Faculty" made as "a student video project starring my friends" then you get an idea. A shame, really. Nice twisty "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" kinda deal going on at the end, but so many logic flaws and errors. Some more time spent on the script and refining the concept could have worked miracles.
Never mind, material like that can give hope to us budding scriptwriters, for if they managed to get this made... ☺
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The Dentist [15] (7/10) Made in America

Exacting revenge on his wife.  The young girl with the weird dress sense.  When he says extract, you extract!

This film was fairly inevitable since I know people who would probably watch 24 hours solid of the goriest and scariest movies ever made than have to spend half an hour in the dentist's chair. Trust me, I recently had four wisdom teeth extracted, including one difficult tooth that needed what seemed like a Draper hammer drill and chisel set to gouge out - it was no problem at all until the numerous injections wore off, and then the codeine-enhanced prescription painkillers didn't even touch it. I suppose in our candyfloss and bubblegum culture, visits to the dentist are likely to be increasingly necessary (assuming you can find a dentist, that is). And this is where this film scores big. The dentist is feared, except maybe by those with balls of steel, and perhaps other dentists.

So here's a dentist who is "an instrument of perfection", and almost psychopathically convinced that he alone is the sole warrior against decay. When he discovers his wife with the pool guy, it flips something in his brain and he decides to exact revenge on not only his wife but everybody that is bugging him - though you can't help but raise a small smirk when the sleazy tax man sits in the chair...
As for the young girl, Sarah, what is she wearing?!?
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The Dreaded [15] (5/10) Made in America

This guy has a serious thing for hanging plates and other ceramic oddities on any available surface...   Wham hoanay, hoanay-hoanay-hoaney, soah hoanay...

(confused? try saying it aloud)

A weary vampire seeks refuge in a small town in southern America (Texas, I think). There's all the 'you won't believe who moved in next door' type of comments.
The good-looking vampire happens to 'fall' for the kind and demure librarian...
There is not much suspense, and nothing particularly 'dreaded' here. It is more a character piece between the vampire and the woman, though the very ending was an unexpected twist.
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The Evil Below [15] (3/10)

This film had potential. An old myth - a haunted ship that sunk a hundred years ago and the curse that it carried. A woman, desperate to find the ship and the hapless pleasure-cruise skipper she encounters. Oh, and the other guy who wants to find the ship so he can loot the treasure...

But, amazingly, this film manages to miss on every single point. The underwater effects look like it is somebody splashing around in a swimming pool with a rubber fish; the water is so murky it is hard to see; the acting is hammy; there's not much empathy with the characters; and the suspense just isn't there. In fact, the problem with a lot of films like this is that evil happens. It isn't like The Fog where the fog is the manifestation of the evil... here the evil is more a metaphysical thing, a curse, while the rubber sharks that turn up are more 'possessed' than inherently evil. What exactly is the evil here? The sharks? No. The ship itself? No. The treasure? No. It is all covered by the so-called curse. A complete non-entity. A story told generation to generation, but never really seen. Compare this with The Goonies where 'the evil' was just a story, and the actual problems were land developers, the crazy Italian mobsters and an elaborate sequence of traps, but no actual evil. And this, I feel, is where The Evil Below falls flat on its face. The evil, the Big Bad of this entire movie... it just doesn't convince.
This is confounded by a bad movie score that doesn't really fit the mood that the movie is supposed to be trying to set, and the pace just feels bad too. I mean, you can make a good suspenseful movie without the frenetic bloodfest that is Asylum Night or Reign In Darkness - two examples of the polar opposites to this would be Spider Baby and The Iron Rose. But, sadly, The Evil Below just misses, and misses, and misses. Even as The Iron Rose is seemingly doing nothing, there is something going on. A character building, or maybe just a suggestion of the state of mind of the two characters. In this film, however, when nothing much is happening - it is exactly that. Nothing much is happening.

Annoyingly, I can't quite put my finger on the problem - it is just missing... something... interest perhaps? A sense of "like I care?" when I wonder what'll happen next to the hapless tour operator and his passenger/girlfriend/whatever? Just... something... hence the 3/10 score.
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The Grapes of Death [18] (8/10) Fabrique en France

Called Les Raisins de la Mort in French. Made in 1978.
aka: Pesticide.
In French with English subtitles.

In Jean Rollin's interesting little drama we begin with people spraying vineyards. Then we see two girls in a train. A little bit of dialogue sets up the girls' stories. The train stops, and a confused man gets on. Of all the compartments in all of the carriages in all of the train, the confused man sits down with one of the girls. He goes all kind of gross on his head so the girl runs out... and finds her friend murdered.
She pulls the emergency chain and runs away from the train...

Given that this film is set in a run-down village in the countryside of southern France, this film manages to be pretty claustrophobic. The story? Zombies. Not like the lovely Françoise Blanchard sort of zombie, these just laugh and drool and kill. There's more to the story than I'm letting on here.

The thing to pay attention to is the crop spraying. Perhaps this should be an homage to those that cover their crops with unknown chemicals (one well-known company makes pest control products and biochemical weapons - need I say more?).

Jean Rollin himself apparently acts in this movie. I'm not sure which part...
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The Red Right Hand [15] (5½/10) Made in America

It's a high school reunion. But some of these people have a secret. A secret of something that happened a long time ago, on their prom night.

Now the problem with this movie is that it takes a few ideas from I Know What You Did Last Summer and a few ideas from Grosse Point Blank and somehow it manages to combine them in a rather bland way. And the freaky woman (you'll know who I mean if you watch it) is not really explained to my satisfaction, not to mention the ending that seems like either "oops, we've run out of budget" or "oops, the writer ran out of ideas".

On the plus side, the real name of the person who played 'Jake' is John Doe. How cool is that? I bet he has eyebrows raised when he signs things!
They have a website, which should be worth checking out for the amusing name alone. It's just a shame the movie itself didn't live up to it's potential.
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The Greenskeeper [15] (5½/10) Made in America

It is a touch of irony that a thing returned to a few times in this film is a cheesy crazed-killer movie called "The Milkman" - which the lead in this movie describes pretty much as having a third rate plot and starring third rate actors. Rather like this movie? He finishes by saying "Where's the art?". Well, one thing I can tell you is that this movie frequently returns to an 'establishing shot' of the country club, shot in bright sunlight. Not so bad, you say? Well, this establishing shot is used in action that takes place in the middle of the night!

Okay. The son of a couple who own a posh country club is having a birthday party. He invites his friends - generally the girls are sex-obsessed bitches and the blokes are sex-obsessed dope-heads. Frankly, when the "greenskeeper" starts going on his rampage, the world probably wouldn't really regret the demise of this lot! There's loads of violence, swearing, drug abuse and - of course - blood by the bucketful.
The fact that this movie is rated 15 is either an error on the channel's part, or it stands as great testament to the amazingly arbitrary nature of the film censor - especially considering that The Iron Rose has no gore, only a few seconds of nudity, no drug references, and very very few obscenities - yet it is rated 18. Go figure.

This is one of those horror films where 'all is explained in the end', and it is a satisfyingly lame excuse - just what you would expect.

If you are looking for serious and intelligent horror, give this a miss. If you fancy getting a few friends, some beer, and some nachos and looking for something amusing to watch - this film has plenty of daft gory action to talk about so give it a viewing!
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The Haunting Of Morella [15] (5¾/10) Made in America

After a quote from Poe (the film is from a story by E.A. Poe, though I'm not sure which as I can't find the string 'Morella' in my electronic book collection).
Anyway, we're straight into a period drama beginning with a rather grisly way of torturing a woman accused of being a witch. Then we switch to 17 years later, as a young Nicole Eggert is Lenora, the daughter of Morella (the now-long-dead witch). Was it filmed to tape? Or maybe 8mm film stock? It seems to me to be somewhat fuzzy and lacking in definition. What is quite obvious is that nobody should trust the nanny.
There's some quite bizarre imagery in this film.
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The Horror Story [??] (3/10) Made in America

A high school student gets picked on a lot. Since his hair looks like a cross between the lead singer of The Cure (Robert Smith) and Edward Scissorhands, it is actually quite obvious why the girls think he is a freak and the jocks bully him. There's a whole backstory of parental abandonment and abuse. This, I presume, is to justify the teenager taking a baseball bat to everybody he feels has wronged him; rightly or wrongly. In the middle, the obligatory "spout crap from the bible" scene - I'm not sure if this is answering the previous 'abuse' or as a means of justifying the killing that is about to take place.
A lot of the 'violence' scenes, and other bits too, were annoyingly out of focus. The ending? Well, I guess they couldn't think of a better way to end so they copped out.
All in all, a substandard film.

If you consider my review against that of Jason (on the website, under 'reviews'), you'll see a heck of a disparity.
Jason has picked up on the aspect of parental abuse that I hadn't really mentioned. This is primarily because I have never felt that serious subjects and horror films go together.
What's the lesson here? If you were abused then you can go and kill people for revenge?
Quite a number of us have upset in our childhood years - I don't know my father, he died when I was young. Maybe in somebody's book this can justify me beating up the grannies. But, you know, most of us adapt, accept it. Personally I think it was more traumatic to have a dozen teachers tell me I'm worthless for years (I'm actually dyslexic-with-numbers and short-sighted, but the teachers weren't that smart).
Thankfully I have never been 'abused' in the way of the protagonist of this movie. But if I had, I'm not certain I'd appreciate a horror movie about it. Not this one, because through the moralism in this film (yes, I did notice, it wasn't even slightly subtle), the ending just feels cheap... Like we've sat through this film and seen this character develop and that is it? That's how it ends? Are you for real?
I repeat:
All in all, a substandard film.
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The Hunt [??] (6½/10) Made in America

Quite an atmospheric hunt in the woods, let down only by the revelation of who the Big Bad is. Two men and a young boy are making a video about going hunting when they stumble across an area that is sealed with solid fencing. So obviously they enter.
This is apparently "based on a true story". Not that anybody believes such pronouncements these days...
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The Invisible Maniac [15] (6½/10) Made in America

Perhaps the greatest aspect of this movie is that it plays it 'for real'. It doesn't try to be a comi-horror (though it comes across as just that), it doesn't do the 'knowing wink' business, it just is.
The story opens with a little boy being verbally and mentally abused by the mother from hell, along with a doctor outlining some of what is to come almost as a pointless narrative. This part doesn't really add to the story, but it is actually a refreshing change to have the maniac aspect explained. All too often in films of this genre, the maniac is just... a maniac. The end. Fast forward to a long time later, the lead character is an adult, and a scientist. And he demonstrates his invisibility serum to a group of world-reknown scientists expecting a miracle. It all goes horribly wrong and they all start laughing at him. Flashback, his mother laughing. This flips him to the insane side, and he brutally kills several of the scientists.

Months later, he escapes from the insane asylum and takes a job teaching a rather dopey bunch of students attending 'summer school'. Is this perhaps a nudge towards the callibre of staff that teach at this time of the year? Nothing seems out of place. Awkward nerdy teacher by day, scientist experimenting on his pet rabbit by night.

Then, one day, he hits upon the formula. And this is where the fun begins. His libido goes into overdrive (a side-effect of the serum, it is explained) and being invisible, he quickly finds out what the pupils really think of him. They laugh at him. Uh-oh!

So he does what any frustrated invisible maniac does. He gets homicidal. And cue some lovely unitentially-comic scenes as various people battle and fight things that aren't there. The budget of this movie simply didn't allow for decent 'invisibility' effects, so instead we watch people tripping themselves up, running around with their arms in the air. It's a hoot, it really is!
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The Iron Rose [18] (8/10) Fabrique en France

What a way to entice a girl into a tomb!  No, it isn't bad if necrophilia is your 'bag', baby...  Tickle-torture!
Oh god! Those huîtres I ate last night must have been seriously mauvais...  Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...  It's the graveyard rock!

Called Le Rose de Fer in French. Made in 1973.
aka Nuit du cimitière (French) or Rose of Iron (English; literal).
In French with English subtitles.

I really like this film - the problem is that the sound mix is absolutely dreadful in parts. Is this the best that the studio had to offer of this film? Was there no better recording anywhere in La France?
 La qualité sonore sont vraiment terrible! Est-ce qu'il n'y a pas de meilleur enregistrement
de ce film en tout de la France?
Parts of it change tonality noticeably, and much of it needs to be put through some sort of filtering to remove the loud hissing. This is really a shame as the audio track sounds like it'd have been pretty good in its original form.
I'd have voted this maybe 8¾ or so, but for the sound problem.

This Jean Rollin film begins with a girl throwing an iron rose into the sea. The sea location looks like the same one as used in The Nude Vampire.

We then go to a big wedding bash (we have wallpaper like that in one of the rooms!). The next day, a male from the wedding do woos a girl that was there. The girl is kinda sweet in a sort of maybe-not-entirely-as-innocent-as-she-appears, the boy is, well, slimy is the word I'd use for him. They arrange to meet in a railway yard. This railway yard looks like the same one (and possibly also the same big stream train) as is seen in The Two Orphan Vampires.

After a romp in the rail yard our two cycle off and take a stop at a cemetery. The boy walks straight in, the girl isn't far behind...
...sure, if I was trying to impress a cute French girl, a ramble around the cemetery would be real high up on my 'list of places to take my nénette on a first date'... wouldn't you agree? (or is this where I've been going wrong?)

Suddenly it's like "Hey, why not stay here?". The next thing, the boy is opening an underground crypt and saying "Hey, this one's open, let's go inside and look around"... He has to be deranged to stand beside the scared girl, whilst inside the crypt, and say "It's not bad here"...
Fairly quickly they arrive at the idea of, erm, 'consummating' in the cemetery, in the crypt no less, while a depressed clown (shades of Requiem for a Vampire, anyone?) lays a flower at a grave above them.
When the two have finished bonking, they realise the sun has set. Slowly and slowly we come to realise that even the cemetery has an agenda in this crazy world.

The cemetery starts messing with them...

Much of this film is set in the claustrophobic confines of the nighttime graveyard and with only the boy and the girl. This is especially interesting in that we don't actually see deaths and gore (there are some memorable scenes - only in a Rollin movie would we have the characters 'getting it on' in a pit full of dry skeletons). What we do see is, in this case, perhaps of less importance than that which we don't see. Much of this film is psychological - their reactions, the alteration of their behaviour, and the story leading up to the extraordinary but understandable ending.

On the technical side, the timing of this movie is impressive for a Rollin film - the camera doesn't linger for ages on things that are visually impressive but mean nothing to the plot. Indeed, it could even be considered a 'tour de force' to set pretty much an entire movie in a graveyard, with only two characters, and yet keep it interesting. The leads are suitably quirky enough to carry the film (she's very tactile and impulsive, he's a sick sod) from the logical start to the truly extraordinary conclusion. As I said in the beginning, this film would score higher if it wasn't for the sound problems.

I'll tell you what, though - I had figured this movie to be early or mid '80s... Imagine my shock? surprise? horror? to discover that it is as old as I am! Yikes!

An aside to ponder...
If you ever wonder about what some people see in these subtitled frenchie-films, watch this and then watch Amélie.
I don't expect you to like either (though you'd be a bit odd not to like Amélie!) - just try to imagine a film like this churned out by the Hollywood industry - look at the lack of substance in the remake of My Father The Hero, and that starred the same actor in both versions!
Indeed, for that matter, try to imagine Working Title (loveactually, Three Weddings and a Funeral, etc) creating a film like either of these. They might get close to a comedy version of Amélie (starring Hugh Grant as the weirdo bloke with the tape recorder) however a lot of the comedy in Amélie is understated, not the fast one-liners and mad situations you see in, say, Bridget Jones' Diary.
Why am I talking so much about the girl with the weird hair style? The reason is simple - I cannot think of any reasonably well known film (or studio) to compare The Iron Rose against. I believe that such a film just would simply not be considered in America or England. Sure, we have horrors - Paris Hilton's acting in House of Wax is a horror all of it's own, and for the plain weird cottage industry style, we need look no further than anything made by The Troma Team. But the Tromies mostly verge on really sick 'humour', they don't have the style of a Jean Rollin film (or the Italian Black Magic Rites, which is visually impressive even if the story is naff and the acting worse). Romero's Day Of The Dead stars a cast of thousands of zombies, the entirety of mankind is in the action. And, there is action. So, a genuine horror movie it is, but it isn't something comparable to The Iron Rose...
There is something hard to explain but very noticeable about the style of film-making in Old Europe that is simply unknown 'stateside' and seems to have been lost in the inevitable 'Americanization' of the English film industry. But, then, why do you need 'style' and 'flair' and 'atmosphere' in a Harry Potter film when you have heaps of CGI at your disposal, right?
I think this is an achievement for Jean Rollin. No gore. No explicit nudity (okay, there's a bit on the beach but it is short and not overdone - she's naked, like her thoughts). No pointless shots or scenes. Everything either sets a tone or moves the story along. It is an engaging story, it is a damn weird story, it is actually - through it all - an amazingly philosophical story.
All in all, sound issues aside, a very pleasing movie.
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The Living Dead Girl [18] (9¼/10) Fabrique en France

Catherine is kinda pretty, even with blood pouring out of her mouth...  While Hélène comforts Catherine, you do wonder if she (Hélène) has other (sexual) things on her mind...  Catherine does a lot of agonising over her 'life'...
...a LOT of agonising...
Hélène, my dear, perhaps when you shock yourself THIS much, it is time to take stock of your life and the things you're doing... erm... to other people...  A totally gratuitous picture of Catherine in her night-dress.  Hélène will quite happily rescue her friend from the lake. After all, suddenly Hélène's life is Catherine and that's that. (a bit spooky really)

Called La Morte Vivante in French. Made in 1982.
In French with English subtitles.

Some workmen are dumping nasty stuff in a crypt. An open, well lit crypt with coffins in the corner. This is unlike any crypt I've ever seen (not that I make a habit of visiting crypts!), it is open and the coffins are just lying there, they might as well have 'Vole à moi!' written on them! And why were these workmen dumping this stuff in this crypt? Doesn't the French countryside method of disposal involve a friendly farmer digging a big hole?
Anyway... The stuff dumped, the workmen decide on a spot of grave robbing (well, tomb robbing). There's an earth tremor and some of the nasty stuff leaks out. I'm not sure what it is - radioactive toxic waste or something? Anyway, it revives a seriously beautiful woman, Catherine. She doesn't look like she's been in the coffin for minutes, never mind years!

The EPG writeup says she is revived "as a zombie", but don't think of the "grrr-aaaargh" type of zombie.

Catherine and her childhood friend, Hélène, made a pact back when they were children; to live together and die together - you know, 'friends forever'.
So Catherine turns to her friend for help. In the beginning Catherine cannot speak so she makes a phone call and plays a music box. That's all Hélène needs to figure out that Catherine is 'back', but on their first meeting she can't quite believe it. She also can't quite believe that Catherine has left blood-drained bodies in the other room; though it doesn't take Hélène very long to figure out that, as 'friend forever', she is now supposed to supply her morte vivante girl with lots of bodies.

Catherine...It is ironic that so many reviews on IMDb refer to the vampirism in this film. Yes, Jean Rollin is known for vampire movies, and yes, Catherine drinks blood in order to stay alive - but that is a myth with far greater scope than vampires. Even humans, back in the Dark Ages, used to drink blood as they believed they would inherit tendencies of those whose blood they drank. Therefore calling this a vampire film is possibly showing that you spent more time trying to see through Catherine's exceedingly flimsy night-dress, and not enough time paying attention to the subtitles!

Unfortunately...this is a French film. Had it been American, Hélène would have found people and Catherine would have drunk their blood until the cops (most likely a semi-drunk disgraced renegade who's just had a divorce and his partner killed in the line of duty; that old cliché) caught up with them.

Oh no. Not in a French film. Cette sorte de chose ne se passe pas en films français!

A very zombified looking zombie!Catherine is fully aware of what she is and what happened, and she spends a great deal of time agonising over the fact that she is evil and should be dead. Like I said, she's a cut above your average zombie. In fact, you will find yourself starting to feel really sorry for Catherine and her situation. She isn't an evil person, or even an evil zombie; rather she's a victim of a circumstance. She didn't ask to be brought back to life.
Hélène, on the other hand, just gets more and more frenzied. The things she's doing shock her, and... well, there's more than a subtle hint that Hélène would get serious satisfaction out of sharing space with Catherine, if you know what I mean...
One thing I do wonder about is Hélène's behaviour. There is no suggestion of 'brainwashing' or anything that I have noticed, though it would fit in with her scared reactions to some of the things that she does. Therefore, if she hasn't been cerebrally zapped - she is doing this stuff of her own free will. That's kinda scary, how quickly a 'normal' person turns into something evil; and a cute twist to have an evil human and an agonised zombie!

La Morte Vivante simply oozes atmosphere!

As the film comes to a close, and the unexpected and disturbing final scenes finish... this movie will stay in your head for quite a while.
Well done to Jean Rollin for making a sympathetic zombie part; possibly the only one in cinema history - most of the zombies I remember just hold their arms out and gargle mindlessly.
Well done also to Françoise Blanchard (Catherine) and Marina Pierro (Hélène).

This is a well realised film (not perfect, but pretty good - could have done without the annoying Americans and a bit of tightening up in post-prod.). Nevertheless, I completely enjoyed it.
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The Lonely Ones [??] (6½/10) Made in America

One of the leading ladies.

This unknown cast try hard to make the material something fresh, but sadly the material is almost as old as teens-in-peril horror flicks.
Let's see... A group of adolescents go on a sort of camping trip thing to a chalet hidden deep deep in the woods. There's an old tale about something bad that happened in a chalet. Geeky computer girl looks it up and - try hard to look shocked now - yup, it's this chalet! Creepy things start to happen. There's a hard-ass guy toting weapons who knows things...

Actually, it isn't a bad movie exactly. The assorted cast keep it bubbling along nicely despite the somewhat daft plot and the low budget. I think what I liked about this film is that the leading girls were not only quite cute, but they had brains too. The blokes? The usual assortment of hormones-meets-wannabe-heroes. At least we didn't have a 'bro dealing in smack' (the one major letdown of Death Valley).

Don't expect too much, and maybe this film will surprise you? Let's put it like this - if I was chained to a chair (ooooh kinky!) and told I had to spend all day watching a "teens in a cabin" film over and over, I'd either choose Ghost Game or this...
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The Nude Vampire [18] (7¼/10) Fabrique en France

Mmm, aren't vampires not supposed to cast a reflection?  # And we will all go down together...  See what I mean about looking a bit like a giant goldfish?

Called La Vampire Nue in French. Made in 1969.
In French with English subtitles.

All of the Jean Rollin trademarks are here - the pretty girl with the flowing flimsy dress, the nudity, the lesbians, the interesting costumes, the vampires...

And, sadly, another Rollin trademark is here - that is the taking of extraordinarily long shots of things; whether it be longer-than-normal shots of coloured liquid running into flasks, or that entire scene with the coloured girl and the artist which had no real relevance to the story, but hey - it was a naked girl so we'll watch her for minutes... Or holding shots for much longer than is really warranted, a good example being the people marching on the château.

The story is a pretty girl in a flowing nearly-transparent dress (sadly, a bright orange dress, so she looked a little like a giant goldfish!) is being kept away from people so as not to traumatise her to her 'condition'. She cannot tolerate sunlight, she can regenerate her body after injury, she's immortal, and she needs blood to survive. Some men, who like the idea of immortality, are studying her. Her food is generously provided by a suicide cult that worship her. And there are others who want in on the action or maybe to stop the action. Through it all, the man in charge has a son who is not only falling in love with the girl, but is also starting to doubt his father's motives.

The creepy twins... Indeed, it is almost a shame that the sexuality figures so heavily in this film because the story is an interesting one, and certainly an interesting spin on the traditional 'vampire' story. As always, Rollin produces a atmospheric pieces with bizarre characters (like the twins) and visually striking imagery.
As for the two on the right... Isn't there something sorta creepy and Oompa-Loompa-ish about them?

The editing is still a bit hit'n'miss, but the whole production is much much better put together than, say, Requiem for a Vampire. As always, Rollin's flare for a good angle and interesting use of light shows up (even if some of it is a little on the fake side).

This movie would have benefited from tight editing in post-production and less time spend with the nudity. But, then, it wouldn't be a Rollin film without these things!
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The Risen [18] (8/10) Made in America

A woman is admitted to hospital. Complications with her pregnancy. While on the operating table, she dies, and is revived.
Things are all different as she comes around. Not only is she suffering from severe amnesia, but when she looks in the mirror she doesn't see herself, she sees her decomposing corpse. What gives? Who's the boy?
From the beginning to the end, this movie is taut. No quirkiness, no comedy, just a suitably creepy film.
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The Scarecrow [18] (7½/10) Made in America

Goodness, Tiffany Shepis again. A nerdy college boy (called Lester!) who doesn't fit in is murdered, accidently-on-purpose by the slime picked up in a bar by his mother. So what's a boy to do?
I know! I know! Come back as a scythe-weilding demon scarecrow!
Now it is time for a big-ass dose of revenge.

I quite liked the way the soundtrack was put together. It reminded me of a Tarantino soundtrack, only it wasn't dripping cool in quite the same way.

A lovely touch, in the end credits, was to dedicate the film to "Il Maestro" Dario Argento, and to say thanks to well-known directors of the genre (such as Wes Craven), and thanking the caterers for the espressos. And you can have a little bit of fun seeing how many times you can see Todd Rex and Karl Hirsch in the credits (don't miss the songwriter credit).
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The Source [18] (7½/10) Made in America

Willow, she isn't!  A posing shot of the group  Getting even with an annoying teacher

A group of teenage misfits find a source of supernatural power around a rock in the forest... like you do. One is a computer whizz and figures out not only what it is, but how to 'charge' yourself with it. It can give you things like telepathy, the ability to heal, telekinesis, etc. How cool to be rejected by most of your teachers and the 'in' crowd at school, and to suddenly have the power to influence people's minds and make stuff happen. But, such power has to be used wisely...

There is a good story lurking under this digitally overprocessed movie. While some effects are necessary for the plot (such as the vibrant colours while charging themselves up), a lot of the things - like the eye flashes - are performed with all of the finesse of a five-year-old that has just discovered Magic Markers. There is also a lot of tonality shifting (the teacher shot on the right has a strong green hue). Jean-Pierre Junet did a similar thing in Amélie, the métro was tinged green, but it was more subtle so it affected you on a more subconcious level. In this movie, the green tinge is like looking at the world through a bowl of Jell-O. It is certainly an engaging and vibrant movie, though my hopes are that if this production team reunite for another film, they'll exercise a little bit of restraint with their digital box of effects!
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The Tooth Fairy [??] (6½/10) Made in America

A man is doing up an old house as a guest house. An attractive blonde turns up early as the first guest, as do the wife and daughter of the man - who just escape the wrath of two rednecks. The daughter, a young girl, befriends a local girl dressed weirdly, who warns of an evil tooth fairy who kills children as their last tooth comes out.

There are several stories running in parallel here - the old witch, the rednecks, the blonde and some other relative who turns up... and along the way bodies pile up all somewhat gorily...
Well-played by the two young girls.
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The Two Orphan Vampires [18] (6¾/10) Fabrique en France

Vampires that don't have 'issues' with religion.
(this image was taken off-screen using a digital camera)  This situation lends itself to the sort of thinking that it'd take many "Our Father"s to forgive...
(this image was taken off-screen using a digital camera)

Called Les Deux Orphelines Vampires in French. Made in 1997.
Dubbed in English.

Jean Rollin's topsy-turvy tale of two blind little orphan girls stuck in a Catholic orphanage. Oh, did I mention, they are vampires?

Jean is never one for sticking rigidly to the vampire mythology - which I guess explains how the girls can be cared for by nuns without their bursting into a cloud of dust. Additionally, it seems that while the girls don't dust in the sunlight, they are only capable of sight at night. Night, by the way, looking an awful lot like broad daylight with a filter over the camera lens!

It goes entirely without saying that these girls are more than a little amorous with each other - this is a Rollin film after all!

The premise and the purpose of the film is hard to understand; though as I watched it I was rather strongly reminded of Beautiful Creatures; I wonder if this was any inspiration?

In a departure from the regular Rollin offerings on Zone Horror, this film was entirely dubbed (which initially filled me with dread). I noticed a 'redemption' logo popped up before the film started, so maybe this company is dubbing in a new soundtrack instead of using subtitling?
But after watching the film - let's have three cheers for the dubbing effort! I have heard some horrible attempts at dubbing (including one film that sounded as if the entire cast was dubbed by the same person!). So to have this match up visually and psychologically was a welcome relief.
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Tooth Fairy, The [click to redirect]


The Unborn 2 [15] (5/10) Made in America

A deluded mother loves her ugly-as-hell latex freak of a baby... and a slightly older woman with a gun is hell-bent on tracking down these latex babies and blowing their brains out. Meanwhile the little brat is attacking and killing and deluded mother (who feeds the baby (possibly raw?) meat) still doesn't get it.
According to the EPG, it's all the result of a secret fertility experiment. Whatever.
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The Visitation [18] (7/10) Made in America

Edward Furlong (the boy in T2) comes to a small town, makes miracles happen. Is he the return of Jesus? If not, what is he...?
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The Wisher [15] (6/10) Made in America

A Big Bang.   An obvious 'Meet Cute'.

Mary is fairly pretty, in a slightly emotionless anorexic sort of way. She's eighteen years old, and a great fan of horror movies (at the start of the film you can see some videos by her TV − ironically including 'Devil's Prey' which Zone Horror showed just before this film!).

Her father forbids her from seeing more scary movies, so she wishes he'd just go away, and sneaks out to see a new release called The Wisher. At the cinema we're treated to a pretty cheesy movie-within-a-movie which is fairly amusing in how accurate it is about certain <cough> movies. But shortly into the film, for no reason, Mary leans forward and tosses her cookies onto the floor. She runs out of the cinema, shortly followed by her friends. She leaves with a muscle-bound football jock that has the hots for her, and on the way home they pass her father's car − wrecked. It seems that The Wisher is real, and has just made her father go away. Be careful what you wish for Mary!

And so it goes. This movie had loads of potential, a bit of work could have made it a 'favourite' of mine. But sadly as this movie ends there are just so many things that they could have done something with, especially the movie-in-a-movie concept. Mary confides to the school consellor that being scared turns her on, but when she is scared she doesn't shove her hand up her dress, she just screams like anybody else would. The "Wisher", of the movie, is evidently granting Mary her wishes but giving them a cruel twist (for her father, she wished he'd "just go away", he did − terminally). When the identity of this character is revealed, it just seems like a let-down. A tacked-on ending because they couldn't come up with anything 'cool'. And looking back, so much if it seems totally unbelievable.
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They Are Among Us [15] (6/10) Made in America

Somewhat uninspired sci-fi fare in which a boy, on his 18th birthday, realises that his parents are not all they seem to be, and maybe are not even human. Along the way we discover it is a society of non-humans, led by a very hammy bloke. This plays like the family take on They Live, and the little chubby blonde girl who wasn't what she appears can only have been ripped right out of Trancers (Allison Croft as 'Baby McNulty'), and the garage man who knows more than he lets on could have come from any number of Stephen King novels...

It's a shame, to be honest. Here we have a collection of people acting not entirely badly (except the head alien - you'll know who I mean) who are given a script which should have dared to try something a little bit different instead of collecting together a bunch of alien movie clichés...
To give you an example, Dark Star (1974) covers some familiar material, but the way it is arranged makes for a totally inventive and fresh film. It is a shame They Are Among Us chose to take the road well travelled, so this is essentially just another rehashing of that familiar "my mom's an alien!" concept...
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They Crawl [15] (6/10) Made in America

This is a strange cross between a watered-down Mimic and a evil-military film. A guy goes to meet up with his apparently-estranged brother, only he (the brother) is now cinders. He wants answers. A female police officer that isn't taken seriously starts to make connections between unrelated cases, and suddenly the question of who/what/how is a lot more complicated. Along the way is a highly encrypted file which everybody can tell is "military grade encryption" just by looking at a bit of it - it looks like any number of data files or program executables if you tried to get that old DOS 'EDIT' program to load it; come on, we can all tell military encryption just by eyeballing a bit of the file?!? Anyway, the text fuzzes out in a totally unrealistic way to display a big diagram of... a cockroach. Now I know a lot of older apartment buildings in America have something of a cockroach problem, but this is just playing with people's fears! Anyway, this 'revelation' annoys everybody. Bang goes the smoking-gun evidence, right?
This is most effective if seen as a slightly spooky sort of crime film. The female cop and the nosy brother, they're a double-act not unlike the pair in Due South.
Why only a score of six? I could suspend my belief for a lot of the hokiness of this film as it was a good ride. But the end. That was too much. That was really... It brought the score down a whole point.
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Through The Fire [18] (6¼/10) Made in America

Overseas FilmgroupA young woman's car breaks down. She tries to change the flat tyre. Headlights approach. She screams. And we're propelled into credits interspersed with driving-at-night scenes, in this low-budget horror from "The Overseas Filmgroup".
We then cut to a woman who gets herself sozzled unconcious and is then taken home by a policeman; and then we go to a seance that is getting kinda heavy; and next we're off to some kids camping in the back yard when something nasty lurks in the garage (sorry, not the wood shed)... What's the connection here?
The sozzled woman hires the policeman to search for her missing sister, while we also learn that the seance group have botched a summoning and their demon (Moloch) is on the loose someplace. The story doesn't unfold badly, if you can ignore the low-budget trick of casting a knowledgable historian who just happens to know, and be able to explain, everything that is going on. And, of course, the amazingly annoying habit of saying "It's a pentagram", followed by "Black magic".
A little soapbox rant - you can skip this...
It is rather ironic that in the news as I write this is Mel Gibson and claims that he is anti-semetic - when not many people seem to worry much about "pentagram = black magic". Practicioners of black magic probably do use a pentagram, but then traditional devil worshippers use an upside-down crucifix, so shall we assume those who worship the symbol of the cross are satanists? To say such a thing would upset many people, not to menion breaking numerous laws in numerous countries. It is just a shame that the same degree of 'protection' is not regularly afforded to followers of the Wiccan faith, and it is a shame that so often we hear the word "pentagram" alongside the words "black magic".
In all honesty this probably doesn't quite make the +6 score grade for the plot conveniences, not to mention the not-so-special effects, but it scores a little extra as it is so enthusastically overacted by Tamara Hext.
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Torment [18] (6/10) Made in England

Now the first thing I will say about this film is that it has quite a nice little story to it. The catch? Anna Bell (Debbi Stevens) sings in the film. No - the problem isn't her singing, which actually isn't that bad - it is the fact that she sings... and sings... and sings...
Honestly, at least an entire third of this film is Anna singing; and it is all filmed in a very '80s live-gig pop-video way, before the pop videos got sophisticated.

(a D-registered red Metro features, so if I remember correctly that would date this film as being made around 1986)

So what's the deal? Anna is a has-been rock star who still performs, but seems to spend more of her time mostly in solitude so that she can write new material. But her life is not her own. Her brother/manager bosses her around and drowns her in pills. She meets up with a 'new' boyfriend, the handyman, who in his way wants to control her. The seriously camp friend and her sister also try to control her. And to deal with this, Anna drowns herself in alcohol and consequently loses control (which, ironically, serves to justify those trying to control her). Count how many times I have used the word "control" in this paragraph and I think the primary theme of this film will become rather obvious.

Without wanting to give too much away, there is a very interesting plot twist for the end quarter of the film, and is where things become extremely... you know... interesting! :-)

In more competent hands, and with less singing, this could have been a good film and scored a seven or eight out of ten. I compromised on 6/10 as I didn't have the heart to score it lower. This film isn't bad, just mishandled.
If/when you watch it, I'm sure you'll understand exactly what I mean.
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Trauma [18] (6¾/10) Made in America

'Aura', played by Asia Argento.  It's an Argento film - you gotta expect a bit of rain!  Oh no!

I suppose if your daddy is a well-known director of horror movies, sooner or later you'll end up in one. After a quick decapitation, we meet a young man saving a girl (played by Asia Argento, with a heavy Italian accent, who is not unlike a young Julie Delpy) who is quickly picked up by two men from Youth Services and is taken back to a clinic that she doesn't want to go to, while a group of people get involved in the seance from hell. Are you following all of this? A complex web spins out in under ten minutes.
While this is a more commercial film than ones such as "Suspiria", there are numerous things that are to be expected from Dario Argento - quirky dialogue, rain, interesting camera angles, rain, a twisty story, and the odd spot of rain...
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Trees 2 - The Roots Of All Evil [18] (6/10) Made in America

A bizarre horror where people are attacked by badly-rendered GCI trees. This film remains watchable, just, to see all the actors hamming it up with either trees that aren't there (pasted in later) or being poked with a stick by an intern off-screen... Of course, it is Christmas. Of course, there's one bloke "who knows" and everybody else thinks he is a nutcase.
Of course there is a girl that can't defend herself - in this case she's blind. And, of course, the collective intellect of the police is less brainpower than you'd expect from a common garden slug... Perhaps falling under the banner of "Grindhouse 2000" explains why two characters dive into a swimming pool, a plot device that seemed to have little merit other than getting the woman into a tight cheerleader outfit each (this'll make more sense when you watch).
The film is, essentially, a horror comedy, however it plays it fairly straight. There is always a danger in this that it won't quite work. When you toss in some random exploitation elements, the end result is a bizarre mish-mash of ideas that never quite reach the mark.
Then again, the Big Bad are killer pine trees that walk like demented spiders. This isn't something you can suspend your belief over. Much like those Killer Tomatoes, the best you can do is say "ooh, ookaaay" and just go roll with what must surely be one of the more preposterous ideas yet...

For what it is worth, many years ago I wrote a short teleplay about a Killer Bahji that flew off of the plate in an ordinary Indian restaurant, and went around killing people by squirting vindaloo-power curry spices in various orifices where it would hurt like hell... maybe there's milage in that idea yet? [and if there is, you know who to send the royalty cheques to - I'll even volunteer to be a hapless 'victim' ☺]
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Turkey Shoot [18] (7/10) Made in Australia

It's hard to have a fair hunt when your prey is unarmed and you have exploding arrows.  It's amazing what you can do with a rubber glove and some jam...  Was this little vehicle a Mad Max leftover?

The premise... Some futuristic society when bad people are stuck in strange prison camps and regularly abused by those in charge. I'm sure you know the score - it is fairly staple future-fodder from Rollerbabies to Escape From New York...

She showers with her clothes (mostly) on!? Here, we meet a collection of misfits that are imprisoned. In some cases the characters are likable enough (if odd - why does that woman shower, fully dressed, in the middle of the night?) but in other cases the characters are annoying so you hope for them to meet a nasty end when the bad stuff starts to happen.

And sure enough, it happens. It happens in the form of the 'Turkey Shoot'. Some of the inmates are given their outside-world ID tags and allowed to walk out the door. The only thing they have to do now is stay alive until sundown.

There are parts of this movie that are totally daft - like the bit with the fighter jets. I guess this is to prove that the film has a bigger budget that first appears, and it might have worked if it wasn't: a, a totally ridiculous plot development; and b, obviously library footage.
Through it all, it held my attention which is why I have given it an higher score than you might have expected. It is an enjoyable enough romp.

The camera 'tonality' and the future vision suggests to be that this film is either very late '70s or early '80s. It in interesting because parts of the soundtrack sound exactly as if they'd been inspired by Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner.
In fact, if I had to sum this movie up in one sentence:

'A Handmaiden's Tale' meets 'The Prisoner', only lower budget.

It is nice to see this debut on The Horror Channel (7th March 2005) because 'horror' it isn't. It is more a foray into the darker side of sci-fi; and that's perfectly fine by me!

In case you have not seen Jason Jones' review of this movie on channel's website - let me inform you that there is a weird circus freak person. How do I describe him? My initial thoughts were to make allusions between Heseltine and Lord Sutch; but that would be a terrible slur on the memory of Lord Sutch, who wasn't so bad really.
Jason solved this problem by writing: Looking more like a cross between Helena Bonham-Carter in Planet of the Apes and a Bee Gee, it's quite an off-putting moment.
This is such a brilliant piece of visual imagery, nothing I can think of comes even remotely close...
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Two Orphan Vampires, The [click to redirect]


Unborn 2, The [click to redirect]


Unknown Origin [15] (5/10) Made in America

It's the year 2020 (which must have seemed a million miles away when they made this film), and mankind has used up most of the earth's natural resources. Yeah, that old chestnut... Only we're on an underwater research station.

This film stars Roddy McDowell as the wise older medical technician, a not unattractive woman as the plunky one rising up the ranks of StarFleet (okay, it isn't quite StarFleet, it's something similar in concept), and a bunch of oddball characters who don't seem to be a lot other than be put in danger so they can be killed after bouts of hammy acting.

It's a very dialogue-led movie with plucky woman and Roddy having lots of dialogue to make up for the poor plot and poorer special effects. Sadly there are many contrivances - for example:
  A woman: We've been walking forever - there's nothing here!
  A man  : Wait, look here!

That sort of dialogue is just too awful for words - it might have worked better if they inserted a cut-away scene in between. But, given that this is a low-budget movie and says so all over it, perhaps it is only to be expected...

Oh, yes... There is some issue with a virus picked up on a Russian ship that sent out a distress signal, and a not-at-all-scary latex monster with tentacles. I'm surprised Roddy McDowell is appearing in such a film - I thought that was the providence of Luke Hamil after his Star Wars fame...
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Vampires Anonymous [15] (7½/10) Made in America

A riotous tongue-in-cheek comi-horror where a bloke - obviously a vampire - signs up to Vampires Anonymous and enters the 12-step programme to try to kick his habit. He gets sent to a hick town where "Sheep are a member of the family" (literally) where the local farmers make out with the sheep, all the sheep have names, the cheerleaders sing songs about sheep and, well, without sheep the town would be nothing. Our intrepid vampire? After completing a billion-question questionnaire, it was determined that his best match for an alternative food source is, you guessed it, sheep. Uh-oh!

This film knows it is a nutty premise, and it plays with it. Apart from a few minor little things, I was satisfied at the end, rather than thinking "great idea, it's a shame they didn't realise it" as with so many films in this genre. Oh no, VA is a great antidote to a boring rainy evening.
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Vampire High [18] (--/--) American

The serious vampire - one might say 'the best of the bunch'.  An artistic entrance that has 'The Craft' written all over it!  Here's who plays 'Merrill', the serious vampire.

This is a series, set in a school (with remarkably few students) where they are trying to 'humanise' teenaged vampires by night, and teach sort-of normal kids by day (as the cover).
I guess, like The Lost Boys, they're prettier when they are 'young'? Anyway, it doesn't have the pace or the action of the likes of Buffy - it struck me as more akin to a Roswell or Dawson's Creek without the outdoors, and a small amount of Charmed tendencies just so you know some supernatural stuff is going on... Set in a dusty school. Oh yes, and they (mostly) happen to be vampires.
There is a lot of character building going on here, which is good, but sometimes it seems as if most of the episode is character building and you're asking "what's the plot, exactly?". The plot, sadly, is often annunciated by a brief voice-over. To be honest, I consider such tactics to be making up for a lack of plot (please - don't tell us, show us), or a cheap attempt to rip off a detective film-noir. And, in the case of Vampire High, it isn't the latter...!

While Vampire High doesn't have anything like the same level of 'zing!' as the first season of Buffy, it reminds me a lot of it. No, not because of the vampires! It reminds me because the first season of Buffy seemed to be almost timidly restrained, as if it wasn't aware of what it was and where it could go. The same with Vampire High (despite being saddled with such an amazingly daft title - doesn't it sound like one of those '80s spooky movies, in the Ghost Chase genre?). You see, even with such a small cast and fairly claustrophobic settings, a lot can be done - there is potential here - it only needs to spread its wings and learn how to fly (perhaps, with a slightly bigger budget...).
(sadly, it looks like the series was cancelled after about twenty episodes)

It is a big step forward that they are showing a series. Before, as explained somewhere on one of their forums, they were classified as a 'movie' channel so they had to show movies; and, I guess, fill time with advertising and horror-related reviews - I'm sure we've all enjoyed the behind-the-scenes of Asylum Night, and laughed at that poor girl (Mo Lovett?) that had to keep a straight face as she interviewed a 'half-vampire' in a bookshop...
...perhaps not for much longer? They're showing a series!

I wrote the above review back in 2005. Since then, further teleseries have been added to the channel's line-up. Check the EPG for details.

Since I first wrote the description of Vampire High, the series itself has also included more... people, locations, and some passable stories. I think the series has limited itself by the "ongoing war" scenario, as the humans seem to be reasonably 'unbothered' by the prospect of vampiric activity - but to mention that weird Federal Agent with the Bad Hair Day (so reminds me of Judge Canon on Ally McBeal!), and the various procession of strange 'things' that come looking for these few 'special' vampires. I think also time is against them - each episode lasts in the order of 22 minutes (to fill a half hour slot, with advertising) and you have to zip through the story in that short amount of time. All in all, nonsense plots aside, the series is certainly improving. I could make an analogy with 'fine wine', but then I'd have to become one of the undead for using such a terrible cliché - and talking of clichés, so's one of the actresses. Seriously - read the credits! :-)
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Vierges et Vampires (Requiem For A Vampire) [click to redirect]


Wisher, The [click to redirect]


Witchboard [18] (5/10) Made in America

A classic bit of '80s pap, this. It's a ouijaboard (way-jza, not wee-gee), nothing to do with witches. There's a preppy type, an earthgirl type, a fluffy-haired virgin type, a good-looking-hard-bloke type that looks like he could have fallen out of any number of movies (remember Big? Mannequin? that sort of thing)... and of course this is a horror film set in suburban America in the '80s so expect part of it to take place on a building site where flimsy-looking wood-framed houses are being put together. Yup, this ticks most of the boxes on the list of clichés, yet somehow remains utterly innoffensive no matter how hard it tries to be serious and not "a bit cute really".
If you want a little dose of nostalgia for a time when horror movies were more innocent and fresh-faced, you ought to enjoy this...
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Zipperface [18] (3/10) Made in America

We're in Palm City (sounds like a GTA location!). Their first female detective has set her sights on catching a person who brutally murders prostitutes. He dresses in an all-over leather suit and stuff, so is called Zipperface. It isn't long before she realises that she has become the fantasy of the person she suspects. Possibly two of the most unlikely male detectives are grumbling as they don't like the female newbie. The chief regularly gets an earful from the mayor. Blah blah blah.
The storyline, per se, isn't bad. Toned down, it could make an extended version of Cagney and Lacey. The problem is the acting. There's just something about it that gets on my nerves. It is like these people aren't comfortable in the roles, and are acting at acting. It isn't... you know, fluent.
There's a twist at the end of the story too, which is nice.
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Zombie Lake [18] (4/10) Fabrique en France

Called Le Lac des Morts Vivants in French.
Dubbed in English.

A tiny French town, a lake, nubile girls, and Nazi Zombies. Full of logic holes, extremely dodgy effects, and bad acting. This seems, essentially, an excuse for soft-porn - underwater shots of naked woman, that sort of thing.
One of the players (don't know which) is Jean Rollin.
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As I watch more films in their entirety, I'll review them.


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Oh my God! It cannot be human...About me...
I'm Rick Murray, 34 years old and single (so if you are a single female geek, email me!).
In case it wasn't obvious, I quite like the horror genre; I'd be hard pushed to think of my favourite-of-all-time horror film though, but you can see from this page the sort of thing that I like - albeit a rather eclectic collection.
I decided to write this page because, well, why not? It started out a lot as a record for my own use - what I thought of the movies and what I didn't enjoy - so I could keep an eye on the schedules and watch repeats of things that I liked.
It wasn't a big jump from there to drop in a few assorted pictures and tidy it up for consumption by the general public (that's you).
As you can expect, all of these reviews are heavily biased to my likes and dislikes - especially if a film contains cute girls that are still alive by the end of it, and particularly if the film has some sort of ambiance to it (some, like Asylum Night are intelligent, others like Demon Wind are so-silly-it-is-funny; but then you get the odd few that just have no good attributes). Of course, while I may hate Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man, it could be your favourite film (God help you!), that's how it goes.
I would like to hear from you - do you agree with my thoughts, have I slated a film you liked (state why, I'll give it a second chance and see if I've missed anything or been too harsh). Or vice versa? Have my reviews guided you in what to watch (or not watch)? Tell me...
One final thing - these reviews relate to films shown on Zone Horror. While I quite enjoyed the silliness of Scary Movie 2, it won't ever be reviewed here . . . unless ZH shows it. Okay?





Are they reading this?

If so, may I suggest (in no specific order):


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Content copyright © 2004-2009 Rick Murray
Movie stills taken from broadcasts on THC/ZH; copyright to their respective distributors.
Additional graphics by Rick Murray.