Saturday, January 21, 2017

it'll be alright on the fright.

Yup it's that time of year again when hundreds of horror geeks plus half dozen sweaty, high waisted folk who live at home with their mums (who will never die!) descend on my fair city ready to soak the streets (and seats) with the unmistakable smell of sweat, shame, semen and tears.

And when I cut and paste the previous paragraph from the year before.

And the year before that.

Add to that the fact that this is the only time I can copy wholesale from PR handouts makes me wonder why it takes as long as it does.

Oh yes, that's right it's because I'm fucking useless.

Thanks to all of you who email this blog to remind me of that fact.

It means a lot.

Anyway back to the matter in hand which is that our lovely pals at Frightfest have announced the 2017 line-up for sunny Glasgow.

Kicking off with not one but two Thursday night pre-fest films (especially for all you soft southern shites who are too feart to go to the pub) before starting good n' proper on Friday afternoon, this years fest promises a dozen cinematic delights covering everything from ancient Chinese myths to savage shark action via city stomping lizards all from the wipe-clean seats of the comfy as fuck Glasgow Film Theatre.

Which by the way is a posh word for cinema.

So without further ado here's the list of treats in store for you lucky, lucky people.

A Cure for Wellness (USA 2017)
Dir: Gore Verbinski.
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs and Celia Imrie. .

From the director of The Ring remake (but don't let that put you off) comes this Twilight Zone-ish tale of an ambitious, slick haired young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious 'wellness' centre at a remote location in the Swiss Alps.

But as is the way with such things (especially in horror movies) all is not what it seems and our brylcreem-bonced beau is soon battling bright lights and bizarro dreams within dreams after coming across a room of giant test tubes filled with old men in nappies.

Expect spooky scares, well styled hairs and big-chinned, button-nosed babe Mia Goth (soon to be seen in the Suspiria remake) writhing around naked in a bath of eels.

Which works for me if I'm honest.

"Put it in me!" - Mia Goth in a bath of eels yesterday. Fair enough.

Phantasm: Remastered (USA 1979)
Director: Don Coscarelli.
Cast: Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Angus Scrimm and Sir Reggie of Bannister.


It's fucking Phantasm.

Remastered in 4K.

And on the big screen.

What more do I need to say?

If you don't adore this movie you can fuck off right now.

Cinematic genius.


The Warrior’s Gate (France/China 2016)
Dir: Matthias Hoene.
Cast: David Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Ni Ni, Uriah Shelton, Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and Matthew Waterhouse (possibly).

Steve Gallagher's classic tale of Time Lords, time-winds and time sensitive man-lions gets the big screen treatment from Luc Besson and Cockney’s vs. Zombies Matthias Hoene.

They seem to have changed the plot a wee bit tho', transporting the action from E-Space to ancient China and replacing The Doctor with a hapless teenager named Jack who, instead of freeing a time/space fairing group of lions from slavery must  use his awesome video gaming skills to bring peace to the warring kingdom.

Hang on, I have a feeling it might be a different thing altogether and just have a similar title to the 1981 Doctor Who story.

Hmmm...We shall have to wait and see but I can probably say with some certainty that the lovely Ni Ni (star of the 2011 film The Flowers of War) wont appear naked in a bath of eels at any point.

Which is a shame but heyho.

As Jimmy Nail would say..."Crocodile Shoes!" - Sorry I meant "He's Lion!"

It Stains the Sands Red (USA 2016)
Director: Colin Minihan.
Cast: Brittany Allen, Juan Riedinger and Merwin Mondesir.

From Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz, who brought you Grave Encounters and Extraterrestrial (not that one) comes the story of  party hearty Molly who, after a horrendous flesh-eating apocalypse - as opposed to a non-horrendous happy one - finds herself stranded in the desert with only a ravenous and relentless zombie for company.

With nary a bath of eels or weapons to hand our heroine must attempt to outrun a stalker who has no need of rest.

Or even to stop for a wee.

In a world gone mad Molly begins to realize that this creeping cadaver is now her only link to reality.

"Keep those eels away from me!"

The Transfiguration (US, 2016)
Director: Michael O’Shea.
Cast: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine and Aaron Moten.

Orphaned African-American teen Milo in an attempt to escape his depressing life has drenched himself in vampire lore gleaned from such horrors as Nosferatu,  Let the Right One In, The Lost Boys and Near Dark, and has taken to sublimating his morbid fantasies bloodsucking on strangers.

But it’s when he befriends the equally troubled Sophie (whom he discovers in a bath of eels....hopefully) that a clear course of action presents itself providing liberation and tragic redemption. 

Or so the official write-up says.

Director Michael O’Shea’s film has been described as "A nihilistic meditation on millennial angst and the defense mechanisms needed to protect the vulnerable spirit." by someone quite possibly a lot cleverer than me so I'll just say
expect a modern version of Romero's Martin but on an even smaller budget.

If that were possible.

Just in case you'd forgotten.

Shin Godzilla (Japan 2016)
Dir: Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.
Cast: Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara and Gojira.

The first Japanese Godzilla movie since 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, Shin Godzilla (the 31st film in the Godzilla franchise, the 29th Godzilla film produced by Toho, and Toho's third reboot of the franchise fact fans) sees The King of the Monsters majestic return to the big screen (but not alas in a bath of giant eels) with his fire-breathing, stomping sights once more set on Tokyo once more.


You should be.

"If you're happy and you know it clap your.....oh."

Happy Hunting (USA 2016)
Dir: Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson.
Cast: Martin Dingle Wall, Ken Lally, Kenny Wormald and Connor Willimas.

When piss-stained drifter Warren turns up in the small town of Bedford Flats looking for a bed and a bath (no doubt full of eels) he's surprised to discover that the locals enjoy nothing better than rounding up drifters and hunting them as part of an elaborate sporting event.

Which is nice.

It's Turkey Shoot meets The Most Dangerous Game via The Purge and your mum in what promises to be a blood soaked battle royale.

"She did WHAT in her cup?"

Cage Dive (Australia 2017)
Director: Gerald Rascionato.
Cast: Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill, Suzanne Dervish-Ali and some sharks.

Deciding to film an audition tape for submission to an extreme reality game show - and realizing that someone else has already done a tape of them wriggling naked in a bath of eels -  three friends from California travel to Australia in order to document themselves taking part in a wee bout of shark cage diving.

But while on the dive, a catastrophic turn of events leaves them in baited water full of hungry Great White Sharks and turns there audition tape into a survival diary.

Which lets be honest sounds much more fun than if everything had gone without a hitch.

Plus there's a chance that one of the stars of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader may get ripped limb from limb which is worth a quid in anyones book.

"What do you call a shark with no eyes?" "Blind."

Fashionista (USA 2016)
Dir: Simon Rumley.
Cast: Amanda Fuller, Ethan Embry and Eric Balfour.

After Red, White and Blue and Johnny Garrett’s Last Word comes mighty bearded director Simon Rumley’s third  Austin, Texas based shocker.

This De Palma-esque nightmare is a hypnotic and bracing exploration of identity, body image and transformation via the wacky world of vintage clothing where hipster shop owners April and Eric find their marriage on rocky ground when she begins to suspect her husband of having an affair.

No doubt she finds incriminating pics of him sharing a bath with a beautiful blonde.

And some eels obviously.

When her suspicions are confirmed, April seeks sexual validation with the mysterious and kinky Randall setting off a chain reaction of stylish fever dream madness, fantasy role-playing ("Juliet Bravo!") and chic ultra-shriek.

Oh and possibly some vintage action slacks of the kind worn by Chuck Norris in the 70s.

Less Blue Velvet more Blue Broderie Anglaise Dress Fabrics but with a hint of savage bumming, if nothing else the fashions will look nice so that's me sold.

"Can you smell petrol?"

Bloodlands (Australia/Albania 2016)
Dir: Steven Kastrissios.
Cast: Gëzim Rudi, Emiljano Palali and Suela Bako.

The first ever collaboration between Australia and Albania (is you don't count the sordid back alley sex session my Uncle Brian from Queensland had with an exchange student in the 80s) comes a bizarre Balkan-based bloodbath written and directed by Steven Kastrissios, the man who gave us the genuinely disturbing The Horseman.

If you've not seen this little gem go see it now, I'll still be here when you get back.

To be honest I'll probably still be typing.

Rooted in the very real phenomenon of blood feuds still plaguing Albania (think Govan but with fewer pikeys) a struggling Albanian family, wrestling with traditions and superstition, must unite against another mysterious mountain clan’s aggressions.

I predict beard-based bloodletting and a variety of sweaty vests.

Fear the Shtriga!

Detour (UK 2016)
Dir: Christopher Smith.
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, Bel Powley and Stephen Moyer.

This 'tense, deftly constructed noir thriller' (it says on the production notes) from Christopher (Creep, Severance, Black Death and Triangle) Smith finds law student Harper suspecting his stepdad Vincent of causing the car crash that landed his mother in a coma so when a chance meeting with a tough, tattooed  redneck and his girlfriend gives him an opportunity to discover the truth our student pal begins a terrifying road trip of revenge and random violence.

Which is probably what it's like for folk traveling up from London for this.

Raw (France/Belgium 2016)
Dir: Julia Ducournau.
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella.

Shy vegetarian Justine (who looks uncannily like Cécile Fournier*) whilst attending her first year at veterinarian college is forced into eating raw liver in a bizarre initiation ceremony by the older students.

But soon she develops an unhealthy taste for meat and her new carnivore persona drives her to commit acts of increasing savagery as her unquenched sexual urges turn into an appetite for human flesh.

Which is exactly like the aforementioned Ms Fournier if I remember correctly.

"Sniff my finger!"

Hounds of Love (Australia 2016)
Dir: Ben Young.
Cast: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry and Susie Porter.

We head back 'Down Under' now for a true (sorta) life tale of torture and touches (of an inappropriate kind).

Which sounds like a normal Saturday evening in Glasgow.

It's the mid 1980s (an era which still haunts me if I'm honest) and 17 year old Vicki Maloney has just been randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed serial-killing couple.

A disturbed serial-killing couple with very bad hair.

Look that kinda shit is important to me so cut me some slack.

Anyway as she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realizes that in order to survive she must drive a wedge between them.

As in turn them against each other not fashion a huge triangular piece of wood from a discarded table and run at them with it.

Tho' saying that I've not actually seen the film so it might happen.

"When I was a child
Running in the night
Afraid of what might be
Hiding in the dark
Hiding in the street
And of what was following me
Nowget in the back of the car or I'll fucking chib you ya cunt!"
Night of the Virgin (Spain 2016)
Dir: Roberto San Sebastián.
Cast: Javier Bódalo, Miriam Martín and Víctor Amilibia.

At a New Year’s Eve party, nerdy and naïve Nico sets out to lose his virginity after 'striking out' (no I don't know what that means either) with some drunken 'babes' comes across (not in that way, well not yet) uber MiLF Medea.

Who let's be honest is probably younger than me.

Before he knows what’s happening he’s back in Medea’s filthy apartment where sinister Asian artefacts adorn the shelves, cockroaches crawl the floors and an ancient prophecy rears its head.

And if that wasn't enough there's a rowdy party of homosexualists next door and a very jealous ex-boyfriend waiting in the wings.

"Shite in mah....well shite anywhere you like actually."

Unfortunately for those who were looking forward to it there's still no showing of Evil Bod which has been turned down (again) by the organizers for being shit.

Oh well, there are plenty of DVD's still available for anyone who's interested.
But other than that it looks set to be a magnificent weekend of movie mayhem.

Frightfest Glasgow runs from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 February and tickets can be bought here.

 See you there.

*Who? I hear you cry. Well if you're really that interested (and you wouldn't have scrolled all the way down if you weren't) you can find out more here. I'll warn you tho' you may need tissues - and not just for the Zombie Lake review

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