John Carpenter’s The Thing is completely terrifying, with body horror to the max. Kurt Russell’s R.J. MacReady leads the men stuck at an Antarctic research station whilst they struggle to survive ‘The Thing’ – an alien lifeform that takes control of its host and resembles them. So you never know who the alien could be and that’s where the jumps lie – who is going to be next? One of the most tense and scary scenes is where R.J makes the surviving men test their blood to see who is human…and ‘The Thing’ shows its true, bloody colours. Yuck.
Sam Raimi’s cult horror classic is a laugh riot – a high octane, relentless blaze of black comedy, in your face gross-out and a formidable performance by lead actor Bruce Campbell. Boy, does he get put through it.
It’s really bloody funny. BLOODY funny. Whether it’s Ash’s (Campbell) severed hand attacking him, laughing lamps or all of the memorable quotes – ‘Workshed’, ‘We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw – does that sound fine?’, ‘Gimme back MY HAND’ – Evil Dead II has its tongue firmly in its cheek but there’s still some moments that absolutely terrify us. The possession of Ed (Richard Domeier) and Annie’s mother, now a deadite, popping up from the cellar is one of them.
‘We are the things that were and shall be again! Spirits of the book! We want what is yours! LIFE! Dead by dawn! Dead by dawn!’
Gulp. Non groovy.
Lamberto Bava’s wonderful, self-reflective 80s’ Italian horror classic has a select group of punters invited to a private horror movie showing only to become prey to the Demons. It’s all set to a great heavy metal soundtrack too, with Motley Crue and Saxon amongst the treats.
It’s a gross-out gory flick with so many disturbing and horrible moments. The Demons are truly very icky and there’s some really nasty stuff going on. Especially chilling to us are when the Demons mass and start to ascend the stairs in the cinema. The hairs will go up on the back of your neck.
If you can stomach it, it’s one of our favourite horror movies.
Oh Ridley Scott. Ohhhhhh. There was so much promise in those trailers and we were SO ready to be terrified again. We really wanted Alien:Covenant to, well, be good but it’s soulless with poor character development, too much alien CGI (which just doesn’t work) and nothing in the way of scares. Sad face xenomorph emoji 😦
There’s some neat stuff around the origins of robot David (Michael Fassbender) and why he likes to play God, and then we’re blasted into space with the merry (dull) crew of the colonisation ship Covenant. Billy Crudup’s Christopher Oram heads up the ship, with a new Sigourney Weaver heroine of Katherine Waterston as Danny Daniels (with Demi Moore Ghost hair), Michael Fassbender’s OTHER robot Walter, Danny McBride’s spunky pilot Tennessee Faris and various other alien fodder. The ‘neat’ (dull) touch this time is that the crew members are married but we never get as far as working out who is married to whom or who actually gives a crap about each other.
There’s some flakey stuff around Oram’s faith which is never fully explained, before he heads the Covenant off to explore a radio transmission from another planet which is wayyyyyy off from where they’re heading. After landing and encountering some pesky black weird alien spore stuff, a crew member is infected and we have a reverse John Hurt moment. Pity what he ‘gives birth’ to is so CGI and crummy – it really does spoil the moment.
There are three particular things to enjoy from the film; Fassbender plays a blinder as the two robots and when they meet it’s pretty divine. This movie is essentially David’s story and he’s absolutely chilling. Danny McBride as action hero is also something very special indeed – next time, next film, we want him as romantic lead. And Waterston is great as Daniels – kick ass and strong. It’s just a shame the rest of it is so shambolic.
GORE RATING: 3/5
Watch it for: Michael Fassbender’s dual role
Watch out for: Extreme backache
New to buy from Arrow Video, Evil Ed is a fun Swedish horror comedy which plays loving homage to Evil Dead and other cult horror classics and definitely has its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Ed (Johan Rudebeck) is a film editor who is transferred to a ‘Splatter and Gore’ department to work on the gory Loose Limbs horror film series, editing hours upon hours of grisly footage. The on-screen violence soon gets to him, and Ed becomes a killer – despatching of his victims in increasingly gruesome ways.
Evil Ed is about the strong film censorship in Sweden, which ran until the mid 90s, but it’s also a true horror film fan’s movie – fast camera shots moving through houses from the perspective of Ed, a staple of Sam Raimi/Evil Dead and one of the characters even says ‘Groovy!’ like Bruce Campbell. There’s hints of Troma and the comedy horror of Lloyd Kaufman. Keeping the movie going is Rudebeck’s portrayl of Ed – he is wonderful to watch and has a great, cult film face.
If you’re not familiar with it, check it out if you love horror. We think you’ll enjoy it.
GORE RATING: 3/5
Watch it for: A loving homage to horror
Watch out for: The beaver did WHAT?!
We’re now in a rather apt political climate to revisit Brian Yuzna’s 80s horror cult classic, of the wealthy elite consuming the lower classes. Not much happens for the first 60 minutes but then…then…oh god. Can we even talk about it?!
Baywatch’s Billy Warlock plays Bill Whitney, a rich kid who doesn’t feel he quite fits in with his family although they have it all. When his sister’s ex boyfriend plays him an incriminating recording from her first society party – including incest, an orgy and what sounds like a murder – Bill becomes a bit suspicious of what his family are actually up to.
The first two Acts set up what is coming to Bill nicely, with almost David Lynch/Blue Velvet like qualities to its look and feel. Are Bill’s concerns justified or is his family, with their secret parties, a different species altogether?
Yuzna’s film is clever, satirical and never more relevant body horror. The climax is as yukky as we remember it and…hang on…doesn’t that look like Trump in the throng?
GORE RATING: Off the scale
DISTURBIA: 5/5 *sob*
Watch it for: The ending. Oh boy!
Watch out for: Butthead!
In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jay (Jason Mewes) famously proclaims to Ben Affleck “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms, yo!” – and he’s dang well right. Phantoms is a creepy flick, based on the novel of the same name by horror author Dean R. Koontz, and it’s a solid mix of The Thing, Aliens, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob. There’s genuine jumps and it really does get under your skin.
Jennifer Pailey (Joanna Going) picks up her sister Lisa (Rose McGowan) from LA to bring her back to her peaceful, quiet home town of Snowfield, Colorado, where nothing much ever happens. On arrival, they find Jennifer’s housekeeper dead and the town’s 400+ residents seem to have disappeared. Cars won’t start and all electrics are going a little gaga. Add to that some strange crackly voices down the telephone.
Bumping into Affleck’s Sheriff Bryce Hammond and his two deputies – the very strange Stu (Liev Schreiber) and Steve (Nicky Katt) – it soon becomes very clear that something’s very wrong indeed. Steve is tempted outside by a woman’s screams, and is snatched away. And then a giant bloody moth turns up.
In a separate location, academic Dr Timothy Flyte (Peter O’Toole) is contacted by the FBI on a matter of national security. His research area is on the Ancient Enemy, who he suspects is behind mass disappearances in history such as Roanoke and Nanking, China. But who are the Ancient Enemy and why are they so interested in Snowfield?
The plot is rather over complicated but Phantoms is a gripping and scary film that hooks you in. You don’t know what the threat is or what form it will take – like The Thing – so you’re never quite sure what’s around the corner. The seemingly innocent, cute Labrador? Yep, stay away from him.
O’Toole hams it all up gloriously and it’s very silly, but a lot of fun. The end, gory pieces are also pretty bold and yukky. There’s some real body horror here.
And is Affleck “da bomb”? You betcha. Phantoms is a whole lot of unpleasant fun and well worth seeking out.
GORE RATING: 4/5
Watch it for: Peter O’Toole. BRILLIANT
Watch out for: That poor dog
One of the most infamous ‘video nasties’, Abel Ferrara’s debut film is misunderstood – many originally judged it on its video artwork alone (the cover showing a close-up of a man being drilled in the head + loadddds of blood) but it’s so much more than a splatter. It’s an arthouse exploitation film essentially – low budget but aesthetically appealing, with way out performances and some really kooky characters. It’s also one of the best punk movies ever, all kudos to the film’s house band, Tony Coca-Cola and The Roosters, who set the tone; as the movie’s opening credits state, ‘This Film Should Be Played Loud’ – that applies to the drill sounds AND the punk rock.
Ferrara directs himself as New York artist Reno, who lives with two beautiful women in a boho lifestyle but is on the edge due to taking his time on his next masterpiece, the bills coming in, the punk band practising downstairs and a growing obsession with power tools. As his rage builds, his visions of lashing out at victims with a drill also take over and he explodes in a violent rampage.
The influences of Driller Killer are everywhere, from American Psycho to Maniac. Ferrara’s performance alone is extraordinary and there’s a (really) dark humour to his rampage. We also found ourselves tapping our feet to all the punk tracks. This is late 70s New York at its finest and grittiest, and it’s a whole lot of grimy fun.
The Driller Killer is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and Dual Format on Monday 28 November from Arrow Video.
GORE RATING: 4/5
Watch it for: Abel Ferrara’s performance
Watch out for: A drilling surprise at a bus stop
Robert Rodriguez’s movie – essentially an exploitation zombie flick – forms part of the double feature of Grindhouse, with Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. It’s all jolly good, gory fun with a starry cast and lots of melting bodies. Rose McGowan’s kick-ass protagonist Cherry Darling is a strong lead, as some nasty chemicals are released into a hicksville town. The locals start to transform into bloodthirsty ‘sickos’ and the survivors…well, try to survive.
A typical Rodriguez film, it’s over the top and features some really graphic – but graphic novel-like – violence. It doesn’t take itself too seriously at all and there’s some great fun to be had here. Cherry’s gun leg also needs to be seen.
MOST TERRIFYING THING ABOUT PLANET TERROR: Josh Brolin is really horrid in this
GORE RATING: 5/5
TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10
Watch it for: It’s OTT, and it knows so
Watch out for: Quentin Tarantino melting