Tuesday, March 31, 2015

stars in their eyes.



Starry Eyes (2014).
Dir: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.
Cast: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy, Nick Simmons, Maria Olsen, Marc Senter and Louis Dezseran.




Skinny kneed wannabe actress Sarah (Essoe, a taller, skinnier, more highly strung version of Unwell fave Sally Hawkins) dreams of movie fame and fortune whilst spending her days waitressing (in what looks like a pair of painted on leggings) at a frighteningly depressing potato-themed restaurant named Big Taters.

Her scarily spud-headed boss Carl (the always great Healy from The Innkeepers) is slowly losing patience as more and more of her work-time is taken up with phoning and attending auditions as opposed to making potato-type puns and jutting her breasts out whilst her friend Erin (John Dies At The End's Therese) appears to be channeling Dynasty era Joan Collins, constantly trying to with her general bitchiness as she tries to undermine Sarah's confidence at every opportunity and attempting to steal any role she goes up for.

Saying that, she is really cute so I guess we can let her away with it.

You'd Fabianne her Therese. Probably.


The rest of her friends aren't much better seeing as they consist of a group of wannabe artsy types banding together thru' a shared love of interesting haircuts and tramps trousers.

Saying that tho' they're all  so painfully hip it's a wonder the can find any tramp trousers that fit.

In fact, the only decent folk amongst them is Sarah's doll-like roommate Tracy (Fuller, imagine an American version of Billie Piper - in a good way that is) and struggling writer/director cum Erin's fucktoy Danny (Days of Our Lives Conner Lockhart himself, Segan).

But he lives in a van so he doesn't really count.

You see whilst our American cousins may think this is really cool, in the UK we just call people like that Pikeys.

Before setting fire to their shoes obviously.

"Spuds in mah mooth!"


Good fortune (and the plot kicking in good and proper) appears to smile on our heroine one day when she's call up to  audition for a brand new horror epic entitled The Silver Scream, a new project being made by the world renowned  production company Astraeus Pictures.

A company that, due to it's name has either spooky mythological overtones pertaining to the Greek god of dusk and change (and father of the four wind deities) or was set up by a fan of Iron Maiden star Bruce Dickinson's much missed budget airline.

Tho' there's nothing stopping them being a fan of both I guess. 

With this information boosting her confidence Sarah excitedly attends the aforementioned audition only to have her (to my mind anyway) perfectly acceptable reading met with a wall of total apathy and boredom by the creepy casting director (genre favourite Olsen coming across like a scarier real life version of The Incredibles Edna Mode crossed with a shark) and her vaguely camp assistant (smooth chinned Senter).


"Hello French polishers? You may have just saved my life!"

 Sent home with a sigh, Sarah does what anyone would in that situation (if you're a mentalist obviously) would do and strops off to a nearby bathroom before proceeding to pull her hair out whilst screaming.

Which apart from being vaguely reminiscent of my nans stroke (in a totally non sexy way obviously....oh go on then it was a wee bit sexy) is enough to move the casting director to give her another chance.

Sarah that is not my nan, who's a bit too old to audition for a horror movie.

And probably a bit too dead as well.

Returning to the audition room Sarah begins to tear at her hair whilst pulling an 'I'm having a massive poo" face before passing out in a heap.

Not unlike a big bag of potatoes.

Cinematic symmetry eh?

She awakes to find she's been offered a callback to a second audition.

But this one will be slightly different in the fact that she wont need any of her clothes.

She needn't worry about feeling uncomfortable tho' because there'll be a huge fuck off strobe light in the room to help Sarah open up her potential to 'transform' whilst the casting director take pics.

Hmmm....sounds legit.

A pre-stroke, non dead gran yesterday.


Surprisingly Sarah is OK with this and is soon swaying provocatively to the click of the camera before finally entering a trance-like state of euphoria not seen since pill-popping posters 808state, A Guy Called Gerald, Ceephax Acid Crew and Mantra (possibly) last shared a make-shift stage in a deserted warehouse just outside Coventry.

Which to those readers who are too young to remember 'acid house' would be very euphoric indeed.

And probably result if the police driving a van into the speakers and arresting everyone.

But I digress.

Higher than your dads voice and feeling full of confidence Sarah quits her job at Big Taters and begins to prepare herself for soon to come stardom by acting mildly annoying around her friends and taking the piss out of them when they trip over.

Which would be OK if the fall in question didn't result in the groups most inoffensive member Ashley (Castillo) landing head first on a poolside and breaking her nose.

Called back to meet the films leathery necked producer, Peter Pervington (Dezseran), Sarah is shocked to find the saucy old goat attempting to pop his hand in her pants whilst explaining the plot and realizes, too late that she's expected to have some of 'the sex' with him to secure the role.

Balking at the idea of letting someone who looks like your dad put it in her (she doesn't know what she's missing, just ask your girlfriend) Sarah runs (well totters, her heels are quite high) home where she tells all to Tracy who, as friends do tells everyone else.

"It's a film about love, action, romance and maybe a wee bit of mooth shite-in..."


Feeling slightly humiliated by this turn of events Sarah has no choice but to beg for her old job and hope that Erin will soon find someone else to take the piss out of.

But seeing as none of her other pals are forced to wear leggings printed up like french fries on a daily basis I doubt this'll happen.

Everything comes to a head (quite literally) one night when, after a heart to heart with Danny, Sarah decides to bite the bullet (so to speak) and returns to the producers house where she apologies for running off before and offers to make amends by taking his flaccid member in her perfectly rouged mouth.

Which is nice if a little disconcerting when a group of black cloaked masked men appear from behind the curtains.

With her dignity gone and her friends alienated by her increasingly erratic behavior, Sarah first loses her job before losing herself in increasingly fevered visions of her as a glamorous movie idol with the producer at her side.

Suffice to say she's not a well girl.

But that's not the worst of it as just as she thinks things can't get any worse, she's woken one morning by horrendously painful stomach cramps and blood oozing from every orifice as the pungent smell of ripe onions emanates from her underwear.

Physically and mentally collapsing Sarah's life becomes a living nightmare as she realizes what she must sacrifice to see her dreams of stardom come to fruition....


...Talking of sexual favours for fame...



Inspired (consciously or not) in part by the Freddie Francis portmanteau Torture Garden and with hints of Rosemary's Baby thrown in, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer's reversal on the well worn Faustian pact tale may not be the horror classic it's been hailed as and it's true that the films overt policy of showing and telling (the producers is wearing a pentagram and talking about having to sell things! What could he mean?) almost scuppers the genuinely uncomfortable atmosphere generated in the films first half when the mundane reality of Sarah's life intersects with the mysterious auditions but on the whole Starry Eyes is good solid entertainment.

Which is always nice to see.

They just need to realize that somethings are better left imagined.

Case in point is the build up to meeting the producer. The aforementioned performance by Maria Olsen is just the right side of creepy as to remain perfectly straight yet increasingly uncomfortable as she hints at what fame will cost Sarah, the visions of what a Satanic casting couch could involve racing thru' your head as Sarah becomes deeper and deeper involved in Astraeus Pictures plot.

What vileness could be in store for the poor girl?

Well, disappointingly the casting couch is just that, she actually has to blow an old bloke and after all that build up it's a wee bit of a let down.

For us obviously, no doubt he loved it.

"He did WHAT in his cup?"

I might sound harsh but it's only because the rest of the movie is so damn enjoyable.

Newcomer Alex Essoe is fantastic as Sarah, flicking effortlessly between put upon victim and psycho-bitch badness without a hint of panto villainy whilst remaining vulnerable on both counts, giving the film a real world heart that plays nicely against the uncomfortable schemes unfolding around her.

As ever Pat Healy is as watchable as ever as are the rest of the cast who give a genuine likability to what could have been a group of annoying cyphers, Noah Segan especially shines as Danny giving a real warmth to what is a tiny, yet important role.

Best of all tho' is Fabianne Therese who nails the bitchtastically evil Erin to perfection.

Hopefully Kölsch and Widmyer have got enough incriminating evidence to keep this cast together for their next project.

Or at the very least leak any pics featuring Therese drunkenly dancing in the bear suit.

Therese...Bear suit not shown.

With a touch of William Lustig as well as nods to classic John Carpenter in both Jonathan Snipes' pulse pounding synth score and Adam Bricker's lush Cinematography coupled with some great production design from Melisa Jusufi (who also worked on one of my favourite movies, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore), Starry Eyes is an old school shocker - in the best sense of the word - and well worth 90 minutes of your time.

I for one am looking forward to the directing duo's next movie.


Recommended.

Friday, March 27, 2015

sex and violins.

Pop music, the fashion, killings and a helluva lot of permed hair today in an Arena tribute to Zayn Malik.

Who says this blog isn't down with 'the kids'?

Paganini Horror (AKA The Killing Violin, 1989).
Dir: Luigi Cozzi.
Cast: Jasmine Main, Maria Cristina Mastrangeli, Pascal Persiano, Donald Pleasence, Pietro Genuardi, Giada Cozzi, Elena Pompei and Dame Daria of Nicolodi.




Somewhere on one of the many canals in Venice (or it might be the dirty old stream behind the producers house, who knows) a fright haired, scarily Victorian styled child (the directors daughter, Giada Cozzi) is heading home aboard a row boat cum taxi after a hard day of violin lessons and working part-time as a Railway Children lookie-likey.

Arriving at her palatial abode she happily bolts upstairs to see her mum (who is currently having a soak in what can only be described as a cheap Parisian brothel themed bathroom), stopping only to grab what looks like a glam rock Skeletor doll from her bedroom before skipping into the aforementioned bathroom (it must have cost a bomb to decorate so they have to get their moneys worth) and chucking a hair-dryer into the bath.

Ouch.

Frighteningly I can imagine one of my beautiful twin podlings doing exactly this but I'm not saying which one.



"Jam in mah tombstone toothed mooth!"


Jumping forward God knows how many years (around seventy odd by the state of the wee girl and her mum I'd wager) and top poodle haired popstrel Kate (Main AKA Jasmine Maimone, the harsh faced star of Demoni and The Black Cat) and her 'rawk' band are busy recording a new single whilst not wearing trousers (less Jem and The Holograms more Jim and The Whorishgrans) and whilst these crazy chicks (and studly drummer Daniel) seem to be enjoying murdering what sounds like a Karaoke cover of You Give Love A Bad Name their monkey browed manager Lavinia (star of the Italian hit Breakdance, Mastrangeli) however is suitably unimpressed.

Basically she thinks it's shit.

Which, if I'm honest it is.

She reckons that to become the top of the pops the band needs something new, something unexpected and maybe a wee bit dangerous and Daniel (Persiano from Demoni 2 and Voices from Beyond) thinks he may have just the thing.

Less Donald where's yer troosers
more Donald where's yer dignity.


Taking a boat to a deserted industrial estate and armed only with a ladies satchel full of dollar bills and a nipple revealing silk shirt he meets up with the mysterious and suavely hatted Mr. Ralph Pickett (Pleasence, one step closer to death and Fatal Frames, poor sod).

Swapping the money for a (fake) leather briefcase (just like the one your geography teacher had) with the spooky lock combination of 666. Daniel excitedly opens the case, revealing a hither to unseen piece of music written by 19th century Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, composer and owner of the most luxurious sideburns in Christendom , Mr. Niccolò Paganini.

"Baby baby baby!"


Time for a wee history lesson methinks.

Paganini, as we all know got into a bit of bother whilst lying on his deathbed, as he was convinced that he just had a mild dose of the Flu, so decided not to bother his local priest with regards to giving him his last rights.

Which would have been OK had he not popped his clogs within minutes of this decision.

In true News of The World fashion, the gossip columnists of the time took this as a sign that the poor guy had sold his soul to Satan.

This is of course total bollocks.

But when has fact ever gotten in the way of a good story?


One direction?...Hmmmm and we all know which way that'll be.


Well, it seems this particular piece of music was written specifically for Old Nick himself and is said to have unearthly, nay evil powers tho' Lavinia is more concerned about any copyright/royalty issues.

Daniel puts everyone at ease by Tippexing out Paganini's name and putting his own on there instead (in joined up writing and everything) meaning Kate and co. are free to pick some spooky outfits to wear on stage whilst Lavinia is so impressed that she even hires world famous horror film director (and star of 'V') Mark Singer (Genuardi from Cemetery Man and Gates of Hell) to shoot a 'music clip' for it at Paganini's old villa, which is now owned by the strangely attractive - in a senior librarian kinda way - Sylvia (the gloriously gorgeous Nicolodi, who needs no introduction), who is more than happy to welcome a band of talentless half naked, no talent sluts into her home for a few days (oh and for a shed load of cash obviously).

"Laugh now!"


Anyway, we've yet to hear the group play this great song (now entitled Paganini Horror) so let's cut to Kate wandering around the mansion in a white wedding dress like some clap ridden council estate Madonna wannabe whilst Daniel (decked out in a frill fronted shirt and velvet suit that not even Jon Pertwee would be seen dead in topped of with a huge felt fedora, a gold painted poppy eyed skeleton mask and brandishing a gold violin) as Paginini chases her about for a bit before stabbing her in the stomach.

Director boy Mark can hardly contain himself as he shouts "Cut!" whilst Lavinia jumps up and down on the spot like a gin soaked chimp, rubbing her hands together with glee at the thought of all that lovely money she's going to make.

Sylvia on the other hand just stands in the corner holding a tray of tea and biscuits looking incredibly saucy in an Uber-MiLF kinda way, tapping her feet and nodding her head in time to the music.

Which frankly is enough excitement for any red blooded male.

"Boiled onions!"


Obviously needing to pad the movies meagre running time Kate and her pals perform the song again, only this time wearing boob tubes, braces, tiny black skirts and a selection of cocktail waitress outfits (yes even Daniel), luckily Kate's insistence on staring straight into camera, all wild eyed and puckered lipped helps stop the men watching from having any impure thoughts of any kind.

Which is one up to the feminists watching methinks.

Anyway all this sexiness is way too much for foxy, firm of tummy bassist Rita (Ravegnini; imagine a youngish, cheaper Joan Collins stinking of gin and holding her shoes at a bus stop and you're halfway there) who, throwing continuity to the wind decides to change out of her electric blue bunny girl outfit into something a wee bit more sensible for the final scenes of the video.

However unknown to her the real demonic violinist (wearing an exact copy of Daniels frankly shoddy Paganini outfit) is hiding behind the coat rail in her dressing room.

"And when I have a stroke I pull this face!"


Thinking it's Daniel up for a bit of a laugh, Rita light heartedly tells him to stop looking at her (fairly firm I must admit) breasts and get back to work, totally missing the fact that the violin he's holding has a huge blade attached to its bottom that's pointing straight at her toned flat stomach.

With one graceful move our golden pal plunges the blade into poor old Rita ending any dreams she had of playing bass in a Robert Palmer video (or getting paid) in an instant.

Uncomfortably shuffling and attempting to make small talk whilst waiting for Rita to return, Lavinia makes an incredible leap of logic and deduces that she has, in fact fucked off home after tiring of the whole rock 'n' roll lifestyle and orders Mark to replace he with a shop window dummy in a joke shop wig with a guitar round it's neck.

"No-one will notice" she says.

And on that bombshell Daniel excuses himself and heads off to the toilet where he comes across Rita, resplendent in a soaking, nipple revealing tissue paper dress with wild frizzy hair, lurching around like a (very attractive I'll admit) piss stained tramp.

Holding in his wee, Daniel decides to follow her thru' the cobwebbed corridors at the back of the house and into a small (and unfortunately empty) wine cellar where he's promptly stabbed to death by the violently vicious violinist.

Jade Goody: The Return.

Trapped in the mansion and with a killer on the loose, Kate, Lavinia, Mark and Sylvia can only pray that they'll survive till morning (or at least till Sylvia remembers where she's put the front door key).

Or is there more to the killings than meet the eye?

"Shite in mah mooth!"


From the mind of Italy's third (or is that fourth?) best director named Luigi comes this fantastic tale of music and mentalism topped off with an arse clenchingly bad Eurotrash score, the kind of non-acting usually reserved for prison productions of Chaucer and enough cheese to keep Domino's Pizza in business till the end of time.

Yes dear reader, the film is really that good.

Famous for directing (and writing) some of Italy's most enjoyable movies (oh, and Demons 6), including such classics as the Caroline Munro sci-fi epic Starcrash, the alien egg based thriller Contamination, the Italian re-edit of Toho's Godzilla (or Cozilla as it's widely known) and a couple of Lou (Hulk) Ferrigno Hercules adventures, Paganini Horror is the last movie (to date) that this great man has directed.

But if you want to finish your career on a high then you could do much worse than this.

Like all of Cozzi's work the plot may be nonsensical and the production values cheaper than your mum but it doesn't matter as his genuine love for the horror genre oozes like the movies bright red fake blood thru' every frame and the enthusiasm he has for the material infects the actors much like a zombie outbreak.

Everyone involved seems to be having a great time and the audience can't help but be swept along for the ride.

And surely that's what good cinema is all about?

"Put it in me!"


Speaking of the cast, Donald Pleasence seems to be having a ball (probably not a leathery one) in his cameo as the sinister Mr. Pickett, all twinkly eyes and dodgy accents whilst the goddess that is Daria Nicolodi is at once sinister, sexy and motherly in a role that would fade into obscurity had it been played by a lesser actress, she even manages to look good in an outfit that even Lady GaGa wouldn’t be seen dead in.

The woman is a legend and should be worshipped frankly.

Even the worst members of the cast are great; Jasmine Main's manic eyed performance seems to consist mainly of teeth, a bubble perm and the ability to screech whilst not looking good in a skimpy outfit (which must take real talent judging by the outfits) but it's pitch perfect for a film where everyone else appears to be just wandering around in a badly dubbed haze of harsh red and blue lighting waiting to be offed by what looks like a giant child's home made puppet monstrosity made flesh.

Which is no bad thing.

Some cinema somewhere should be brave enough to organise a Cozzi weekender so that the great man's work can be foisted on an unsuspecting public brainwashed by crap commercial horror fare and lowest common denominator action pants.

The fuckers wouldn't know what hit them.

The campaign begins here people.

Let the world's first Cozzi-Con become a reality.

Monday, March 23, 2015

childline.

It's almost the Easter holidays so time for something for the whole family.

Quien Puede A Un Nino? (AKA Death Is Child's Play, The Killer's Playground, Island of the Damned, Who Can Kill a Child?, Would You Kill a Child? 1976)
Dir: Narciso Ibanez Serrador.
Cast: Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo and the cast of Byker Grove.


  "Do you think the other children will start playing the way we do?"
"Oh, yes...there are lots of children in the world. Lots of them."


A pair of  particularly posh English love birds, the mightily moustached Tom and the pountily pregnant poppet Evelyn (Doctor Who's drug dealing tinker Tryst from The Nightmare of Eden Lewis Fiander and victim of the Silurian plague Prunella Ransome) are enjoying a well deserved break from drinking Pimms, watching cricket and abusing the staff with a holiday in sunny Spain, taking in the local lifestyle (letting your hair get greasy, not washing, seducing underage girls etc - possibly) and travelling to various festivals buying carpets and the like.

Whilst ordering food in English and sniggering at the locals trousers like all Brits abroad obviously.

After much saucy fun,bikini clad frolicking, vast amounts of el cheapo Vino and a fairly serious chat about abortion (Tom wanted Evelyn to have one, she refused - see it's a kinda child killing thing isn't it? I see what they did there), Tom decides to finish the holiday with a visit to the beautiful island of Almanzora (these days frequented by such luminaries as Ian Botham and Daley Thompson fact fans) and the small village of Shi'moo where he had many a magical holiday as a small (non moustached) boy.

Hmmm...another child reference. 

This  Serrador bloke is good.

But the couple get a shock on arriving at the island, the town is abandoned, the hotel is empty and the local restaurant is deserted. 


Worst of all tho' is that all the TeeVee's are broken and the corner shop is out of Take A Break magazines.
 

What has happened to this island paradise?


"Look! It's Fred Titmuss!"



Tom, being a hunky hero type  decides to play detective whilst  Evelyn, being in the fat lady pudding club, rests her swollen feet.


No sooner has Tom jauntily skipped down the road than a young girl pops up at a window and waves merrily at Evelyn before slowly creeping over and obsessively stroking our plump pals mummy tummy before smiling and running away.

Weird.

Returning to Evelyn empty handed save for a kiss me quick hat the pair, in a horror movie first decide to explore together, soon coming across an old man sitting at the roadside.


But I suppose that being heavily pregnant has put Evelyn off the sex so Tom has to get his jollies where he can.
 
But before the old fella can wipe himself down or even grunt "Aye son!" a small girl appears from nowhere and bludgeons him to death with his walking stick.
 

Kids eh?


Luckily the local kids fear the Bri-Nylon.


Finding the situation a wee bit strange and probably worthy of a bit of Scooby Doo style investigation Tom and Evelyn decide to follow the girl further inland, passing deserted cars, discarded teeth and many a battered skull along the way.
All belonging to adults.
Well obviously the cars belong to adults (they aren't toy ones) but I'm trying to build tension so stick with me.
It's not long before our dynamic duo have uncovered the terrifying - if fairly obvious - truth behind the killings....the children have become possessed by mentalism, murdering all the adults on the island to death!

Front bum, back bum, shitey mooth....three for a full hoose!


After school activities on Almanzora now include using dead peoples as piñatas, not brushing your teeth, skewering tourists and staying up all night to play Call of Duty on the PS3 whilst listening to Pixie Lott or something.
Yes, it's every adults nightmare.
Pixie Lott: Tunnel or funnel?
Tom and Evelyn, obviously au fait with the killer kiddies genre, decide it'd probably be for the best if they attempted to escape from these wannabe ASBO's by making their way to the up-market bit of town which - luckily - is populated by posh ex-pats (with even posher kids obviously), none of this council scum they keep finding around the streets where they are now.

See? 

Even more of that socio-political stuff, the director's a genius.
Just when everything seems like it's going to be OK (isn't that the way?) Tom makes a disturbing discovery, it appears that it only takes a sly look from those perishing pre-teens in the general direction of another child to pass of the madly murderous mentalism.
Tom and Evelyn are left with no choice but to fight back, the fate of their unborn child in their hands.
Well in Evelyn's tummy but you know what I'm getting at.

Pedants.

Begging for a mooth shite-in.



Unfortunately Tom's idea of fighting back is to lock himself and his wife in someones spare room and hope they can stay quiet enough to not attract any attention till the police turn up.
Which as far as escape plans go is up their with "Let's split up and search the woods for a way out alone!"
Hal Delrich would be proud.
Settling down for a well deserved rest (and maybe, just maybe a quick fondle of Evelyn's glorious globes) Tom's top seduction technique ("Oooh Evelyn I've got a pure steamer on!" probably) is interrupted when a blond small boy brandishing his large weapon bursts in on them.
Tom jumps into action, bitch-slapping the little shite before reluctantly shooting him in the arse, giving us a chance to not only see Fiander's Oscar calibre grief acting but to answer the question poised by the film's title.
This is getting all meta-textual init?
But this tearful wank and Pot Noodle moment brings only a brief period of calm for our cooped up couple as, without warning Evelyn starts leaking piss, shit and shame as her by now infected foetus murders her from within the womb. 
Which I'll admit I didn't see coming.
As the sun rises on a new day, a weary Tom is left completely alone. 
Apart from a handy assault rifle that is.

And an obvious dislike of children.

Shallow: Hal.

Violently grabbing the rifle, Tom decides (albeit a bit late in the day) to prove his worth as a  real man by running down to the harbour whilst firing indiscriminately into the crowds of kids and steal a boat back to the mainland.
Cue primal screams and comedy kid dancing as the bullets rip thru' row upon row of mad mini-people as Tom gingerly runs down the street before finally managing to cut the boat loose and head toward the open sea.
Wading into the water in an attempt to stop him leaving the children try desperately to overturn the boat as Tom valiantly tries to maim as many of them as he can.
Unfortunately (for him) Tom's world recording breaking infanticide attempt is cut short by the arrival of a Spanish police patrol boat, and the greasy crew mistakenly thinking that Tom has gone mad, shoot the poor sod dead.
Docking at the harbour, the officers begin tending to the wounded and asking the poor ickle children where their parents are.
One of the kids points toward town whilst the officer in charge asks no-one in particular the age old question "Who Can Kill a Child?" .
Which is a wee bit silly seeing as the answer is the guy he just shot obviously.
As the three officers begin the short walk to the shops (it's thirsty work killing tourists) one of them notices a small group of children sharing out the guns on the boat, turning to stop them the trio are confronted by a small moonfaced girl who waves them  Goodbye just before one of the boys shoots the three dead.

As the sun begins to set the children split into small groups, all the easier to infiltrate the mainland...



Murphy's Mob: the ASBO years.

The bastard offspring of Village of The Damned and daddy to every kiddie based horror flick since (and no doubt where Stephen King ripped Children of The Corn off from),
from it's opening montage of true life atrocities committed against children to it's downbeat ending Who Can Kill a Child? is as disturbing a movie today as it was at the time of release.

Thinking about it in these child safety obsessed modern times tho' it probably comes across as even more so.

Which makes the fact that a remake not only got green-lit but actually made even more disturbing.

But it's not just  the subject matter - or the haircuts - that makes this film an unforgettable and fairly harrowing experience.


No it's more to do with the leisurely pace at which Narciso Ibanez Serrador unfolds his story, unafraid as he is to build the tension slowly as he works quietly toward the movie's climax with an ever growing sense of dread. 

Filmed completely in broad daylight, Pedro Almodóvar's cinematographer of choice, Jose Luis Alcaine adds a sense of growing isolation whilst avant-garde composer Waldo de los Ríos' soundtrack of suitably soothing lullaby style songs gives a spooky Twilight Zone vibe to the proceedings.

But that's not all it has in it's favour, the small (in number as well as height) cast are unusually good for Spanish genre flicks of the time (casting English speaking ex-Doctor Who actors probably helped) and the Kiddie cast admirably pull of the task of going from sweet to shit scary in the bat of an eyelid.


A wee bit like my own podlings then.

Finally getting the love and care it deserves after years of being butchered, redubbed, retitled and generally pissed about,  Serrador's masterpiece can now proudly take it's place as the missing link between the horrific excesses of Jorge Grau's Manchester Morgue and Paul Naschy's Werewolf series.


Well we all know how much I like my little boxes, plus it makes it easier to put on your shelves this way.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

get me to the greek.

Noticed a total lack of nudity on the blog recently.

Hope this makes up for it.

Emanuelle’s Daughter Queen of Sados (AKA Black Emmanouella, Emanuelle the Seductress, Emanuelle's Daughter, Emanuelle: Queen Bitch, Emanuelle: Queen of Sados, 1979)
Dir: Ilias Mylonakos (Yup,THE Ilias Mylonakos you lucky people!)
Cast: Laura Gemser, Pantelis Agelopou, Haris Tryfonas, Gabriele Tinti, Vagelis Vartan, Nadia Neri, Livia Russo and Gordon Mitchell.

Photobucket
...and suffering from leg
cramp by the look of it.


Imagine this.....Laura Gemser in a nude film NOT 'directed' by Joe D'Amato but still playing the role she became famous (sort of) for.....so how does Ilias Mylonakos' vision compare to that of the god-like D'Amato?

Let's begin with a quick synopsis (yes, there is a plot....this time focusing on revenge and murder as well as 70's breasts and hairy arses).

Gladys Emanuelle (dusky beautie and your dads first Nat West Laura Gemser) hires a hit-man to kill her abusive (and incredibly kinky) husband, the devil bearded and mightily man-titted Victor alongside his two evil business partners, Robert and Ilona after suffering years of abuse, weird sexual rituals and rough bum love.

Even on Sundays.

Trying everything from putting bromide in his tea to ringing Jeremy Kyle our heroine has no other option than to hire the mysterious hitman Mario (Tryfonas AKA Harris Stevens AKA my real dad sporting the biggest - and brightest - pair of polyester flares ever committed to celluloid) to take him out for the agreed price of £37.80 and a quick shag.

Bargain.

"Suckle mah man tits!"


Mario comes thru' and kills the dirty blighter in a plane crash meaning that our olive skinned heroine inherits not only his successful orange growing empire and high waist trouser collection but also gains custody of his virginal teenage daughter Livia (dirty bird Russo).

Emanuelle finally free from all this death, dodgy deals and sex sees her new found freedom as a great opportunity to not only have some girl bonding time but also a good excuse to get away from all suspicious coppers skulking about her house so decides to book the pair on a package holiday to Greece.

What?

Has she not seen Island of Death?

Your mum licking piss off John Nettles yesterday.


Unfortunately (for them that is, for the entertainment of the viewer this man is a godsend) sleazy sex god Mario is in hot pursuit.

It would appear that the hunky hitman has begun to feel that his big wad (of cash) wasn't big enough.

He wants more.

Much more.

And not just money.

You see, he's taken a shine to young Livia's hymen for one thing.

The filthy rotter.

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"Ooh Vic...I've fallen".

Turning up at the depressingly off season holiday camp with some tacky gifts in tow (an arse plug for mum and a bag of sweets for the wean) Mario soon ingratiates himself with the normally shy Livia, much to her step mum's disgust.

And as Gemser enthusiasts know, if our heroines disgusted it must be bad.

The swarthy, handbagged faced lothario tho' is enjoying the awkwardness of the whole situation lifting Livia onto his lap and rubbing coconut oil into her smooth, milky virgin flesh with his big sweaty sausage fingers before inviting her swimming at a local secluded beach.

Emanuelle is raging which means that she storms out of the chalet looking for someone to stick it in her.

Obviously.

"Wahey Janet! I'm spunking buckets!" cried Peter Duncan as he announced the Blue Peter appeal total.

Luckily for all involved, whilst at the beach Livia ends up getting chatting with a geeky bowl haired local guy named Aubrey (Vartan), who although blessed with having a face like a wart riddled testicle is at least her own age (which according to various sources was about 14 at the time of shooting which doesn't make the beach front sex scene a wee bit uncomfortable to watch at all, no sir).

Staying out way past her bedtime in order to catch Aubrey's fantastic display of table top disco-dancing (to the Village People's “YMCA” - unfortunately overdubbed with mind numbing bouzouki music on the DVD release) in the nite spot from Bloody Moon, Livia's romantic night comes to an end with her bashful beau walking her home along the sands before stealing a goodnight kiss.

But unbeknown to the young lovers Mario is watching from behind a bush, angrily masturbating as he stares silently at her admittedly peach arse as it jiggles in the moonlight.

But if that wasn't enough, lurking behind a slightly bigger bush further up the beach are Robert and Ilona, trying to uncover the truth behind Victor's death while also planning to get Livia to side with them.

All this because it appears that she's the true heir to her late father's fortune.

And you thought it was all about the shagging.

Anyway, back to the, ahem, plot.

Whilst all this sinister subterfuge is going on, Emanuelle decides the best course of action is to meet up with Robert for a wee bit of bollock tickling (watch him sweat! Touch his warts!) before arguing about orange growing with a stubborn factory foreman (see him growl!) before finally going shopping for pants.

Edible ones of course.


Photobucket
If you sit close enough to the
screen you can smell the yeast.

Feeling a wee bit left out at this point, Mario (in between staring at Livia whilst licking his lips and wearing bri-nylon swimming trucks) has been spending his time shagging every woman with a pulse on the island.

This includes a naked-cooking fetishist he met on the flight out and Emanuelle's wonky faced, cod eyed and bulldog faced 'assistant'.

Obviously having some taste and a slight grasp of foreplay techniques, he began this sordid little liaison by first forcing her head down a toilet (no doubt in an attempt to straighten it up or at the very least wipe of some of the industrial make-up she was caked in) before cheekily forcing it up her (massive doughnut like) shitter.

And they say chivalry's dead.

Feeling on a roll (and after first wiping his shit encrusted cock on the squinty woman's curtains) Mario heads down to the beach and after a half-hearted attempt to generate some tension with a chase, he finally catches up with Livia and tosses her into a muddy puddle before stripping her naked and violently breaking down the gates to her lady garden and putting it in her.

The swine.

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"Nah....still squint".

Will Emanuelle get her revenge on Mario?

Will Livia survive the dirty puddle or ever walk again?

Will our heroines new technique for battery farming oranges prove a success?

Frankly, who cares.

Not me that's for sure.

"IT'S CCCHHHRRRIIISSSTTTMMMAAASSS!"


With Queen of Sados, director Mylonakos manages the impossible by making a low budget Laura Gemser skin-flick that scarily induces bouts of boredom and apathetic yawns from it's audience as opposed to the normal reaction of involuntarily releasing torrents of cum and tears.

Clumsily acted, plotted and directed it's about as erotic as a swingers party in an old peoples home and twice as leathery, featuring a cast of has beens and never wills including art house lunk Gordon (Fellini's Satyricon) Mitchell and the never seen again (outside Childline ads) Livia Russo.

I mean honestly, you know it's bad when Gemser's real life beau Gabriele (Bava's Lisa And The Devil) Tinti even looks bored when shagging his missis on film.

At least  Haris Tryfonas (and his cock) seem to be enjoying themselves tho'.

But unfortunately unlike Tryfonas and his overworked penis the story is reed thin and the characters seldom rise (snigger) above the lightweight plot, many of them coming and going throughout the movie with no other motivation than to stick something in somebody or get something put in them.

Livia Russo: I guess it's OK now seeing as she's probably old enough to be your mum. Or dead.


Lacklustre, insipid and uninspired, the only things in it's favour is the movies historic importance as one of the first films made to cash in on the success of Bitto Albertini's Black Emanuelle series (a series that grew from strength to strength under the milky eyes of Joe D'Amato and Bruno Mattei, taking in cannibals and horses along the way) and the fact that it's marginally more watchable than Mylonakos' other foray in the series, the frankly mad as pants Divine Emanuelle (AKA Love Camp) with it's free love cult and floating overdubbed Gemser.

Oh yes, and it does give us a chance to admire Haris Tryfonas fantastic collection of 70's fashions, from garishly vomit inducing leisure wear to tiny cock bothering Speedo's.

Still doesn't stop it from being half cocked and rubbish tho'.

A bit like your dad.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

aaahh!!! real monsters

Remember five years back when the then unknown bedroom director Gareth Edwards made his lo-fi debut with the fantastic Monsters?

A film so simple yet so affecting in it's telling of a tale of two lost souls journeying thru' a Central America overrun by lumbering Lovecraftian creatures who'd accidentally arrived on Earth via a crashed satellite.

Basically it was one of the best (and most realistic) on-screen love stories for years.

And it just happened to have huge monsters in it.

Jump forward four years and Edwards' career has gone from strength to strength, not only did him manage the impossible by making an actually halfway decent western version of Godzilla but he's also been given the keys to the X-Wing-centric Star Wars spinoff Rogue One.

Jealous much?

Well all this cinematic success and audience popularity means that he's had to leave his original big screen baby in the hands of another for it's long awaited sequel.


Unfortunately the hands chosen weren't all soft and lovely like Fairy Liquid fingers but sinister and sausage-like.


With dirty nails.


And made from wood.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you.....

Monsters: Dark Continent (2014).
Dir: Tom Green.
Cast: Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Joe Dempsie, Sofia Boutella, Kyle Soller, Nicholas Pinnock, Parker Sawyers and some monsters but only occasionally and then just out of shot in the background.


Serious film, serious poster, serious font, serious lack of imagination.


Beginning in a depressingly dull Detroit - lots of shots of skinny teens playing basketball, sitting on street corners and skulking about calling each other 'Nigga' and 'muthafucka', you get the idea - ten years on from the monsters first appearance, the overly earnest Michael (Keeley, all cow eyed and wobbly lipped and looking like a drug addicted Ernie from Sesame Street) has decided to join the army because, and I quote:

"it’s better than dealing crack."

This, my friends is as subtle as the movie gets.

It seems that the films titular creatures have decided that they'd be much more socially relevant if they moved to the Middle East for a bit in the vain hope that the Americans will turn up and upset everyone whilst trying to 'help' the locals with a problem that frankly doesn't concern them.

Yeah like that would happen in real life.

Anyway after a rap-scored drugs, sex and drink montage our hero, alongside his 'homies' (no me neither), Frankie (the ex-partner of Makepiece, Dempsie from Game of Thrones) and new dad Shaun (Sawyers) are shipped off to the sweltering deserts of Iraqistan and into the arms of the tough yet deeply sensitive Sgt. Noah Frater (Fortitude's mad dad Harris).

You can he's sensitive by the way that in-between his job as a sniper he phones his wife so he can hear his daughter breathing as a single tear drips down his cheek.

How can one movie have so many feels?

War might be hell but at least there's a chance of a bullet to the head to end it quickly...this goes on for hours.
After a fantastically ham-fisted (and embarrassingly cloying) scene where the team bond in a dust-filled backstreet whilst coming to see that, gulp, these dirty foreigners are people too our heroic boys in khaki are sent off on a dangerous mission to rescue some people from a slight and quickly glossed over danger somewhere in an insurgent held bit of desert.
 
Cue long shots of the boys - still calling each other 'Nigga' and 'muthafucka' - driving about in dust clouds as stringy plasticine space horses run passed them in an amusing manner.

Luckily something exciting happens (finally) when one of their vehicles hits a roadside bomb, quickly dispensing with half of the cast.

Unfortunately seeing as:

A. They're all dressed the same.

and

B. They all act the same.

We have no idea who's dead and who's alive.

But to be honest by this point I really didn't care, I just wanted some monsters to turn up and do something.

Anything.

But Ashton, I hear you cry, perhaps man is the real monster here.

And if I'd sat down to watch The Hurt Locker or American Sniper I might agree.

Only might mind you as I'm in one of those moods.

"Look at the dog!"


There's no time to argue tho' as those pesky insurgent types have the squad pinned down with heavy gunfire leaving our hard-hatted heroes no choice but to leg it to the nearest building in the hope that help will arrive before they've all been shot.

Or in the case of the team medic died of dehydration due to crying at the death of a comrade.

You see war isn't a game, it's hard and tough.

Eventually only Michael (due to his top billing) and Frater (due to having the same style of beard as the locals) are left standing.

Well I say standing but actually mean tied to a chair by the filthy foreign types.

You can tell these are bad men because they wear western style fashions (by that I mean shirts and trousers not that they're dressed like Roy Rogers, tho' that might have brightened the movie up a wee bit) and carry guns.

But more importantly they seem to have this totally crazy idea that the Americans, who've turned up out of the goodness of their hearts to risk their lives blowing up schools, farms and hospitals in an attempt to destroy the monsters are somehow making things worse.

I think that there may be a bit of political commentary there but not too sure.

I mean are they comparing the soldiers to monsters?

Or the insurgents to monsters?

Or are the monsters really monsters?

It's all too clever for me.

Talking of monsters one actually does turn up at this point (we don't see it tho' only hear it as it attempts to have sex with the building the duo are being held in) which not only gives Michael and Frater a chance to escape on a couple of motorbikes but another opportunity for the viewer to enjoy even more shots of vehicles driving passed shit that the Americans have destroyed in an attempt to keep the monsters at bay.

Including, quite subtly a school bus.

I think that must have been an important metaphor for something seeing as it has the effect of making our heroes gaze meaningfully into the middle distance for a few minutes as some big blurry shapes wander passed in the background.


"Laugh now!"


Will Michael and Frater complete their mission before the films subtle emotional content totally overwhelms them?

Will the movie ever get interesting?

And will there be any females characters of note turning up at any point that have either dialogue or clothes?

I mean Sofia Boutella is top billed on IMDB but she's not turned up yet and I seem to have been watching this for about 6 hours so far.

Perhaps the director mad her grown a beard and I just haven't recognised her.

Who knows?


Is Boutella too juicy for you?


Imagine if you will a world where during the planning stages of Jurassic Park, Spielberg decided to throw out his action adventure script and rework the film so that the whole thing was told from the point of view of an employee of the park from his office in America, the dinosaurs would still feature but only on monitor screens in the background as our hero battled valiantly to get thru' to the island by phone to see if everything was OK after the storm.

Or if Aliens had been all about Gorman fretting away inside the armoured personnel carrier as he desperately tried to raise Apone on the radio in between ringing his missis to see if the cat had been fed and checking that the cannons were oiled.

Well imagine no more because that's effectively what Tom Green (not that one) has decided to do with Monsters: Dark Continent, a sequel so unnecessary and so misguided that the only reason that it got made was to create a backlash against Gareth Edwards himself for creating the original.

Yeah, fuck you Edwards, why couldn't you have arsed up Godzilla so you'd have had to come back with your tail between your legs and beg them to let you make this?*

I mean how selfish can one guy be?

It ain't easy being green.

Perhaps then we wouldn't have been subjected to the cinematic equivalent of a loud-mouthed, middle class sociology student drunkenly lecturing us on world affairs like we were all 12 years old.

Whilst at the same time leching over the female bar staff.

Because according to this movie all women are portrayed as either naked crack whores or (naked) moaning mothers.

I'm guessing that Frater's wife was naked on the phone and possibly doing a line of coke which is why she was so angry.

How very forward thinking of them.

It comes as a real surprise then that when Sofia Boutella (as the dusky Bedouin Ara) does finally turn up that she's fully clothed and fairly sympathetic.

She does talk in a funny accent and isn't subtitled tho' so she obviously isn't that important.

Maybe there's a deleted scene where she gets high on camel dung and gives Michael a reach round as the monsters spew forth florescent seeds into the night sky?

No?

Fair enough then.

No fun, no mercy, no point.

File under a bloody big rock and forget about it.

God knows I'm going to try to.









*It's not a real tail by the way but a metaphoric one. Tho' he may have a real one I just don't know.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

let it go.

I think my love for Frozen is getting a wee bit out of hand....


Thursday, March 12, 2015

late night linus.


As you may have spotted there's been a slight delay in reviewing the rest of Frightfest due to the high quality of the films on show meaning it's much harder to take the piss.

So without further ado on with the show...

Barely recovered from the surprisingly super vinyl villainy of The Asylum (or Backmask or whatever it's called this week) Saturday mornings FrightFest fun kicked off with a classic killer clown caper in the form of  Jon Watts’....

Clown (2014).
Dir: Jon Watts (obviously).
Cast: Laura Allen, Andy Powers, Peter Stormare, Elizabeth Whitmere and Christian Distefano.




Loveable real estate agent and cuddly family guy Kent Clark (the instantly likeable Powers) ends up donning a clown costume he's found in a house he's selling after the entertainer he's booked for his son’s birthday party cancels at the last minute.

Yup, sounds legit.

Unfortunately the next morning our doting dad realises that the suit has started to attach itself to his body, even down to the foam red nose.

And if that wasn't strange enough our eponymous hero has started feeling very hungry.

For children.

And not I might add in a Savile way.

Tho' that's probably as bad.

The situation does have a wee bit of a silver lining tho' as Kent manages to track down the costumes previous owner, a man named Karlsson (cult fave Stormare) only to discover that he too had suffered the same terrible effects after wearing it.

You see, it turns out that the clown suit is, in reality the skin and hair of an ancient kiddie eating demon from Northern Europe named the "Cloyne", which is nice.

As a plus point tho' Kent also finds a way to stop the demon and regain his life.

And that's by sacrificing five children to it.

Much fun, gruesome child killings and clown-based hilarity ensues.


"Time to shoot your demon muck over your sisters jubblies!"



Actually living up to it's pre-screening hype, Watts' big screen movie debut is a surprisingly muted and almost camp free affair that brings to mind David Cronenberg's The Fly - as well as the Jim Carrey crapfest The Mask - in and it's painful portrayal of body transmogrification.

At least before the plot zooms off on a darkly comic kid-killing rampage which frankly is just the ticket for a Saturday morning.

A fantastic cast - special kudos to the wonderful Andy Powers - play the whole thing perfectly straight and to great effect with only Peter Stormare edging toward the camp corner, which after the uncomfortable winces at Kent's attempts to remove the costume and a couple of near child chewings manages to give some blessed relief from the movies disturbingly black heart.

Admittedly there's a real danger of it losing its way as the film races toward its bloody climax but luckily Watts and co-writer Christopher Ford manage to pull it back whilst delivering a surprisingly bleak ending.

Dead funny. 

No time to get our breaths back (but luckily time to pee) as the great god of cinema himself Sir Alan of Jones took to the stage to introduce  Arrow Films’ magnificent restoration of Mario Bava’s classic....


Blood and Black Lace (AKA Sei donne per l'assassino, Six Women for the Murderer. 1964)
Dir: Mario Bava.
Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner and Ariana Gorini.



If you haven't already seen this then I suggest you hang your head in shame, then go straight out, buy it, watch it then come back when you've finished.

I'll still be here.

I mean who doesn't love the maestro's groovy fashion-based slasher centring  as it does around a group of chain-smoking models being pick off one by one by a fright-masked, leather-gloved killer?

Absolutely fucking gorgeous to look at and packed to the gills with the biggest collection of preening beauties, dippy designers and antsy addicts alongside quite possibly the greatest quiff ever seen on a police detective and all set to one of the coolest soundtracks ever written.

Cinematic perfection.

Coffee, cakes and a quick cigarette next as we prepared to head back into the Black Hills of Maryland with Russ Gomm’s documentary that goes behind the scenes of The Blair Witch Project.

The Woods Movie (2014).
Dir: Russ Gomm.
Cast: Eduardo Sánchez, Dan Myrick, Gregg Hale and some other folk.



With access to over 3 million years worth of footage recorded at the time, Gomm lovingly documents Blair Witch’s origins, planning and production, tracing the story from its very beginnings via audition tapes, do it yourself set decoration and spooking its lead actors in the woods to taking over the world at Sundance with asides and comments from  directors Sánchez and Myrick alongside producer Hale in what can only be described as not only the final word on a cinematic phenomena but also on the world of micro-budget, lo-fi film-making in general.

Those expecting a critique of the movie and it's subsequent changing of the horror landscape will probably be disappointed by Gomm's love letter a film which so obviously shaped his career and tastes but to be honest The Woods Movie is much better for it and remains a reminds us why we all took the movie to our hearts.

Recommended to anyone and everyone who's ever been tempted or attempted to make a movie.

From putting the willies up students in a forest to putting them up kids in cupboards next with Hans Herbot’s adaptation of Mo Hayder’s darkly disturbing crime novel...

The Treatment (AKA De Behandeling. 2014).
Dir: Hans Herbot.
Cast:  Geert Van Rampelberg, Ina Geerts and Johan van Assche.




The Treatment tells the tragic tale of Detective - on the verge of a nervous breakdown - Nick Cafmeyer, a man whose career and life have been haunted by the abduction of his younger brother by a pervy paedophile when they were kids.

A paedophile who, due to a technicality got away scott free and now spends his time harassing poor Nick with notes pertaining to tell the true fate of his sibling and by standing in his garden waving at him in a creepy manner.

Seriously you can smell the warm milk off the man thru' the screen.  

The whole sorry situation comes to a head tho' when reports come in of a family being held hostage and brutalized whilst their child is abducted in circumstances that mirror his own trauma.

Determined to catch those involved whilst laying his own demons to rest Nick is forced to relive his own nightmares and fears as he attempts to solve the case.

The Cannon and Ball starring Boys in Blue it isn't.

What it is tho' is one of the most powerful and disturbing crime thrillers in recent memory.

The subject matter is sensitively handled by Herbot, tho' he's a director not afraid to shy away from the grim and grimy horror inflicted on the films young victims and by proxy the lead character - a kind of Dutch Lieutenant subtly portrayed by Geert Van Rampelberg, The Treatment is a bleakly stylish thriller that handles it's themes of child trafficking and abuse in a surprisingly - and welcome - mature manner.

The films biggest shock tho' comes when the director explains how this (British) based novel couldn't get funded in the UK due to it's subject manner which just goes to show what a sorry state the UK film industry is in.

Hopefully a DVD release will be imminent for this must see shocker.

Just don't expect to get laid afterwards.

Time for a cigarette (or six) and a quick bleaching of the eyeballs next before the final(?) chapter in the frankly magnificent [REC] series.

And I'll admit upfront that I do indeed love [REC] 3 (yes it's my favourite one, deal with it) as well as going all wobbly kneed at the sight of the yumsome Manuela Velasco, so it was a forgone conclusion that I'd love this.

Demon-possessed monkeys and all.



[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2013).
Dir: Jaume Balagueró.
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Paco Manzanedo, Hector Colome, Ismael Fritschi and Mariano Venancio.



Following on directly after the climax of [REC] 2 (the third part actually comes first then runs parallel with the original [REC] continuity pedants) with ace TV reporter turned demon fighter Ángela Vidal (Velasco, meow. Twice) being rescued from the infected apartment block by a couple of hunky special forces types before waking up - clad only in a paper tea towel - on a government commandeered merchant navy ship in the middle of the ocean.

With only the most ineffectual group of sailors this side of Captain Pugwash,   Clara's mother-in-law (from [REC] 3), some trigger happy soldiers, assorted boffins and the Spanish Nick Frost (La isla de los nominados' Fritschi) for company our beloved heroine must face down a rapidly growing army of demons and a hold full of killer monkeys before the ships self destruct is triggered.

Fast, furious and incredibly silly, [REC] 4 might not break any new ground or be as genuinely terrifying as the first movie but fell for it hook, line and sinker and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The most fun to be had with the possessed since Army of Darkness, hate it and be a crushing horror snob forever.

And on to the final film of the Fest of Fright, Jay Dahl’s mysterious reworking of his short of the same name....


There Are Monsters (2014).
Dir: Jay Dahl.
Cast: Matthew Amyotte, Jason Daley, Kristin Langille and Michael Ray (not Jay) Fox.




Whilst travelling across country gathering testimonials from successful former graduates of their college, four film student pals begin to notice that people around them are acting strangely.

Firstly in subtle ways, clothes on inside out and badly applied lipstick become more and more noticable to the foursome as do the fact that more and more people are standing perfectly still in the distance with their backs turned toward our travelling band.

And then there are those whose smiles are just way too large...

From it's genuinely jumpy pre-credits sequence to it's pulse pounding finale, Dahl's film definitely split the crowd into those who happily leaped headfirst into the directors headfuck nightmare and those too terminally staid to see past it's faux-found footage feel and extremely choppy editing style.

Like JT Petty's cult classic the sublime Soft for Digging, There are Monsters is the type of movie perfect for audience interpretation.

I mean of course it's a monster movie in the classic Invasion of The Body Snatchers vein but it also works as a story about delusional misidentification (or Capgras syndrome) writ large, or about how those with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) are viewed by/or view the world.

It's totally up to you.

One criticism aimed at the film has been its sometimes disorienting camera work with it's off focus scenes and covered lens conversations, which if taken as a result of the footage belonging to the students can be seen as a genuine concern.

I mean they're film students, surely they know how to frame a shot?

But if you assume that the footage is actually from the point of view of the movie-goer, making them an actual character in the film then it makes perfect sense.

The camera literally transforms into our eyes and ears, reacting as we would under stress, hiding our eyes, turning away, trying to block out the unpleasantness unfolding around us.

We are the camera and the camera is us, ironically in a film about change and deception and the importance of individuality it's us, the audience who transform first.

We become the film we are watching.

And in this disposable culture it's ironic that we become a digital medium rather than good old celluloid.

There Are Monsters is one of the few horror films that stayed with me for days after and, if you let it, will do the same to you.

And I for one can't thank Jay Dahl enough.

Long live the new flesh.