Wednesday, March 16, 2016

wreck too.

Oh no not another found footage extravaganza I hear you cry/type.

'Fraid so but fear not as this one is fairly unique seeing as:

A. It's from Israel


B. It features what could be the first time I've ever seen someone sporting actual Lego hair on screen.

Plus I'm pretty sure that Michael Bublé is in it playing a sexy Muslim waiter.


JeruZalem (2015).
Dir: Yoav and Doron Paz.
Cast: Danielle Jadelyn, Yael Grobglas, Yon Tumarkin and Michael Bublé.

“There are three gates to hell, one in the desert, one in the ocean and one in Jerusalem...or is it West Bromwich?"

Aforementioned Lego-haired chinstress Sarah (Jadelyn best known as Katie, the Water Bottle Girl in Skins.) and her BFF Rachel (Council estate Amanda Heard, Grobglas) are all set for a trip to sunny Tel Aviv, Rachel to get pissed and have sex and Sarah in order to finally lay to rest the memories of her dead, comedy hat wearing brother.

This bit may be important later.

With Sarah sporting a pair of comedy 'Google-Glasses' given to her by her dad as a present  our dipsy duo head off to the airport where they come across (not in that way, well not yet) a wannabe Indiana Jones (if he were a foetus) named Kevin (Israeli actor and singing superstar Tumarkin, mean that wasn't his real accent?) who persuades them to instead head to Jerusalem first for the cities fantastic Yom Kippur celebrations.

Which as you know girls just can't resist.

Unfortunately the scene ends before we find out if he really is Jewish or not.

Arriving in the city and booking into their hotel the by now terrifically toothsome trio make friends with part-time waiter and professional sexy man Omar (Bublé,  under the alias Tom Graziani) and soon hit the towns various religious sites (of which surprisingly there are a few, who knew?) alongside its hip 'n' happening nightclubs, scoring some top quality hash along the way before indulging in some silky smooth thigh revealing sex and finally visiting the Wailing Wall where Sarah, never being one to selfishly bring everyone down asks God to bring her brother back.

Again, this may be important later.

Unfortunately all these first person, character based shenanigans are cut short (but not alas for us seeing as it's around an hour before anything of note happens) when the previously prologue mentioned gate to hell suddenly opens spewing forth an army of winged albino demons upon the city with the sole intention of violently converting the living to their undead floaty ways.

Either that or the Hawkmen have had it rough since Flash Gordon.

Which I'm pretty sure it isn't covered in their holiday insurance.

Brian Blessed's let himself go since Flash Gordon.

 In a kinda reverse It’s A Wonderful Life way, the bells ring in the suddenly appearing wings as Jerusalem is put under lockdown as the local Israeli soldiers, unused to shooting at anything other than children throwing stones valiantly try to get everyone out of the city.

Well for about five minutes before they lock the gates and start bombing stuff.

Attempting to escape via some handy tunnels our heroes soon discover that the demonic plague is spreading fast and that the possessed will soon outnumber the living.

Alas the end of days (tho' not the Arnie one) is fast approaching and scarily it's shot on shaky cam by a snot nosed, middle class whining brat.

Hell is indeed on Earth.

It might look fun now but just wait till the mooth shite-in starts.

After a fabulous pre-credit teaser featuring Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy oohing and aahing over an undead mum we're brought kicking and screaming back to Earth with yet another run of the mill first person poofest that pisses away any goodwill it may have gained as soon as the infinitely kickable Sarah opens her tomb-toothed mouth.

Our sci-fi spectacled heroine spends more time looking at her shoes (or in most cases Yael Grobglas' albeit luscious arse) than the terrors around her culminating in a scene that whilst on paper should be utterly terrifying - a giant Cloverfield-esque fire-breathing beast stumbling around downtown Jerusalem as helicopter gunships try to blow it up - ends up as yet another 'Sarah notices that her glasses are dirty and must clean them' moment.

It's like having the worlds funniest joke retold to you by a wooden tongued mute.

Or Michael Mcintyre.

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don't you know
Butterflies all havin' fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done
That's what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me...and it's fuck full of winged demons!

It does have some good points tho', and the best of these is it's stunning location. Unlike World War Z this production actually got to film in Jerusalem (tho' after WWZ finished shooting in sunny Glasgow you can understand that no other city could ever be as beautiful) and the city is almost a character in itself, oozing as it does with such a rich history and diverse cultures and architecture.

Pity then that it's shot from the eye-level of a tiny woman-child thru' a pixelatted haze for most of the time.

It'd be like getting permission to shoot on Mars but abandoning your plans for 3-d Imax and doing it with Polaroids instead.

Eye son!

And this is the unforgivable thing about the whole "Let's make it found footage" trope because beneath the shaky-head cam and half-arsed Google-Glass jokes there's a halfway decent Omen style chiller fighting to get out.

Worth a look for the scenery, some genuinely spooky monsters and a couple of good performances- Grobglas and Graziani in particular are great -  but other than that there's little of any consequence on show.

They say that The Devil has the best tunes but if this film is anything to go by what he really needs a better PR guy.

I'm sure Max Clifford isn't too busy right now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

cock robin.

Occasionally a movie comes along that is so magnificent, so splendid that you experience an almost religious awakening whilst viewing.

A film that can truly claim the title of cinematic perfection.

Ladies and gentlemen celluloid alchemy does indeed exist and its name is....

Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood (2012).
Dir: Oliver Krekel.
Cast:  Martin Thon, Ramona Kuen, Martin Hentschel, Kai Borchardt, Anika Neubauer, Dennis Zachmann, Kane Hodder, Dave Kaufmann, Carolina Grigorov and Lord Tom Savini.

"And I kill you now!"

Our tale begins in the mystical woods of Sherwood Forest (magnificently played by a children's playground behind the directors house),where a bedraggled group of homeless men in makeshift medieval uniforms (the tea towel budget must have almost bankrupt the production) stumble about aimlessly before falling down (quite carefully I must add, you don't want to get a splinter) in a manner usually reserved for a child’s deflating bop-bag toy.

Meanwhile, just behind the swings and across from the sandpit, another group of totally dissimilar medieval men are wandering around in what looks like an alcohol fuelled haze whilst attempting to construct a tent out of a washing pole and an old bed sheet as two disembodied voices explain the films storyline in the manner of someone who has only just discovered the ability to read.

But sod the speech we're here for the fighting and as luck would have it a small group (Re: three) of the king’s men are engaged in an exciting and incredibly well choreographed* sword fight against a band of angry tinkers.

Thankfully the director, being aware of how overwhelming such an incredibly exciting fight scene can be has thoughtfully placed the actors in such a way that the camera can just sit peacefully and capture the whole thing without needing to move from the old apple box that it's perched on.

This not only makes the whole thing much more peaceful to watch but ensures that our excitement levels don't get too high, leading to fainting and/or panic attacks.

The action hots up during the 1979 Cradley Heath dogging finals. If you don't believe me ask your dad (he came second).

But who is that dodging and diving 'tween the arse-kicking kingsmen?

Why it must be Maid Marian! (played it seems by Helen Hunt's younger, plainer sister, the real Ramona Kuen).

C'mon it's a Robin Hood story, I mean what other female do you know hangs around the park looking for groups of men?

Apart from your mum.

Anyway whilst kicking arse in a rather fetching knock-off Frozen dress from the market our bubble-bonced babe is being watched from afar by that lank-haired, pube bearded, jug-eared rocker dude that we all know from our college days.


The one who was always trying to sneakily smoke hash at the back of the class and was forever doing the fish-lip face whenever Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen came on?

Oh no, hang's actually Robin Of Loxley, the hooded man himself, Robin Hood (Thon, check out his frankly stunning show reel here).

T'was the lack of hood that confused me obviously.

And the lack of height.

And charisma.

Leaping (over the camera in an obvious homage to The Red Hand Gang) to her rescue our hero half heartedly kicks a few bad men up the arse before attempting to shoot them with his bow and arrow.

But lo! He misses because in a fantastic twist on the legend he's actually really shit with a quiver.

But dead handy with a ballpoint pen and a packet of Quavers.

Or so I'm told.

Insert cock here.

With the fight finished it's on to the plot good and proper and in a scene of soft-porn style overdubbing not seen since the heady days of Zombie(s) Lake  Robin discovers that Marian is actually the Sheriff of Nottingham's niece and that she's spent the last five years back-packing around Europe in an attempt to forge alliances and stuff. Liking her style (if not her scary inability to even breathe convincingly) Robin invites her back to his camp to meet his so called “merry men” who, in a change from accepted facts are no longer a hundred strong band of rough 'n' ready bandits willing to do anything for a righteous cause but are in fact a small group of  knitted trouser wearing homeless people sitting about on logs with their teeth blacked out pretending to chat after being promised a pork pie and a glass of Tizer.

Having never encountered women with bad teeth and hairy legs - not to mention short, beardy men with greasy barnets before (what did she have her eyes shut when she travelled thru' France?), Marian is intrigued to learn more of their customs but is shocked to find that the group not only don't work for a living and just sit about drinking (no doubt paid for out of their benefits) but supplement this by stealing stuff from the rich.

And I bet a fair few of them are immigrants too.

Bloody lefties.

Angrily confronting Robin about his frankly Pikey-like ways our hero responds with an impassioned (for a plank of wood) speech about international Marxism, the joys of commune living and eating toadstools which utterly convinces Marion to give up her rich kid lifestyle for a place amongst the Proletariat.

Right on.

Not only that but in a fit of zealot rage agrees to help Robin - alongside Friar Tuck (a man with a sinister lack of leg hair) and Will (son of Captain) Scarlet - to rob her uncle and redistribute his wealth by disguising themselves (via a face-changing magical potion no less - methinks certain cast members were busy this day) as monks before climbing up the toilet pipe and pocketing his gold.

It's not like he has any dignity left to steal.

Talking of absolutely no dignity it's at this point that The Sheriff of Nottingham himself finally makes an appearance.

In the form of the moustachioed god of gore (not to mention magician, photographer, pilot, highwayman, dentist etc.) himself Lord Tom of Savini.

With a Pittsburgh drawl, leather trousers and a beanie hat.



Obviously tho' (because the plan was conceived by madmen) this whole operation fails resulting in not only the deaths of Will and Tuck (thank fuck) but Robin getting a kicking before being hung on a wall like a discarded condom.

Which gives us just enough time to wonder why Marian needed to take the face-changing potion at all, I mean surely she wont have changed that much in five years?

Oh hang on it's because wannabe pop star and runner up of Kiddy Contest 2005 Carolina Grigorov was free for a few hours wasn't it.

Well fair play to them because she is fairly lovely.

In that mid 80's East Berlin kinda way.

Look what can I say? I went to art school in's not my fault.

Can I also throw in at this point a totally random references to the town of Chestershire?

I don't see why not seeing as the cast seem to every five minutes.

Back to the action where, much to the guards confusion the face changing magic has worn off giving Robin a chance to escape  but not before being mortally wounded by some archers.

Of the bow carrying kind I mean he doesn't overdo the peach schnapps.

Tho' by this point I was on my third bottle.

Waking up in the lair of a sinister (is there any other kind?) witch (Marketing, Communications and Psychology graduate cum film producer Neubauer), Robin is mildly surprised to find that he's  been partially restored to life - which is twice as energetic as is usual and in order  to stay alive, he must relinquish his soul to the Devil.

But not for three years so that's OK then.

Robin, being a good guy is shocked by the thought of selling his soul to Satan (tho' obviously wouldn't think twice about selling his arse to sailors for loose change round the back of a supermarket) until that is the witch lets it slip that she has a potion for bringing the dead back to life.

But it will only work within the first 24 hours of death, otherwise the unfortunates will return as flesh eating zombies.

Remember this as it may be important later.


Swallowing his pride - which is much less salty that what he's usually guzzling - Robin takes the deal in order to save his friends and heads back to Nottingham to collect their corpses and bring them back to the witch where they are successfully restored to life.

"Shite in mah holy mooth!"

Back in Sherwood Forest life goes on as normal and Robin and Marian (now back to being played by Kuen), as is the way with the story, fall in love during a soft focus montage scored by the bastard child of Bryan Adam’s and Enya that was unfortunately dropped on it's head during its botched, backstreet birth.

Luckily all this mushy stuff (and ear rape) is interrupted when Robin casually lets slip about his deal with the Devil and Marian, none too happy with this turn of events storms off to the witches lair in order to bargain for Robin’s soul whilst our hero shuffles from foot to foot looking at the ground like a wee boy who's been caught with his hand in the biscuit tin.

Surprisingly enough Marian actually manages to make a deal with the witch which involves giving her a big bag of pennies in order to just buy replacement souls from greedy folk.


Marion should really be on Dragon's Den, she's wasted in this.

As are most of the cast if I'm honest.

Skipping hand in hand from the witch’s cave and with nary a care in the world, Robin and Marian's happiness is shattered when the discover that the Sheriff’s men (all six of them) have stumbled across Robin's base camp and killed everyone.

To death.

Angrily attacking the evil knights Robin is soon cut down by a swathe of arrows leaving Marian - who by this point is hiding behind a tree - alone and without hope of help.

Or is she?

For out of the woods strides an imposing figure of a man with an infeasibly square head.

It's Little John back from the social and clutching an emergency  Giro.

And not only that but he's being played by Jason Voorhees himself Kane Bloody Hodder!

Obviously Derek Mears was busy.

That's probably not the only thing she blew for this role.

Marian, relieved to finally be sharing a scene with someone who has more than two facial expressions fills John in on the story so far before casually mentioning the witches abundant supply of the resurrection potion and the pair hurriedly head back to the cave, giving Hodder an excuse to beheaded the old crone before stealing it.

Which is nice.

Marian and John return to the camp (it's a wonder there's any grass left seeing as everybody always seems to be walking thru' the same bit of forest) and begin dosing the bodies with the potion before siting down to await the results.

Unfortunately the camp have been dead for longer than a day (see? I told you that was important) and in a howl of almost orgasmic grunting not heard since your dad was caught with the bridesmaid at your uncles wedding the by now even dirtier than normal Merry Men rise again...

as flesh hungry zombies!

"Spice Girls number one for Christmas....MONSTA!"

Realizing - in a bizarrely nonchalant fashion - their mistake Marian and John quickly rifle thru' the stolen magic bag in the hope of finding a spell or potion to aid them in their fight against the undead, first giving themselves "skin of stone" (which wasn't the only think hard at this point) then fighting back by turning rocks into explosives and creating a “rain of rockets” ("You know like the Chinese have." helpfully explains Marian) before finally deciding to trap the zombies in Sherwood Forest by means of a mystic forcefield.

As you would.

With the undead hordes contained the only thing left for Marian to do is deal with the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

Oh yes and change back into Carolina Grigorov for no reason other than to placate my desires.

Thanks for that.

 As luck would have it he just happens to be passing by with several of his guards in search of his niece (which begs the question as to how long she's been's seems like months - no really - but must only be a few days which mean for all his faults Robin's a fucking quick worker).

She explains to her uncle that her and John had been verbally abused by some drunken football fans in the woods and that they should go and sort them out,  taunting Little John for being too much of a wuss for not dealing with it himself (and no doubt for appearing in Charlie's Farm) before heading into the woods to kick some arse.

Cue a sexily stifled moan followed by a scream and some top rock guitar (courtesy of Michael Donner) as the titles crash into view over a blurred still of a sunset thru some trees.

Fucking magic.

But no, there's more.

We cut back to Nottingham Castle where an scary witch with an even scarier accent is being questioned by Little John - who appears to have been elected the new Sheriff after Tom Savini went missing in the woods as the French knight from Monty Python And The Holy Grail skulks about in the background.

It appears that the potion supply is running low and he needs a witch to help make some more, agreeing to free her if she offers to help.

Although only being a YTS witch with only basic spell skills she readily agrees rightly thinking that anything is better than spending your days in stocks with your arse on view to all and sundry.

Tho' I'm not too sure

Anyway as John prepares to send a large group of of men bedecked in ill-fitting and mismatched armour into the forest (and possibly certain death) a forlorn  Marian gazes off into the middle distance, no doubt thinking about where it all went wrong after her talent show heyday.

And that's really the end


SAVINI! on a horse!

For the first time ever I'm at something of a loss to fully do justice to the experience of viewing this film. Every fibre of my being is screaming out "Burn it now!" yet there's something almost otherworldy about the delights and sheer entertainment value it holds

Like a lobotomised, Disney-fied version of Excalibur violently bumming the best bits of Hawk The Slayer drunkenly filtered thru' the design (and dubbing work) of Burial Ground, Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood runs the giddying gamut of total shite to utter genius and back again thru' every part of its almost 2 hour running time, everything about it seems to have been roughly plucked directly from the screaming brain of a madman and I for one am very grateful for it.

"Fiona! Where's mah lunch?"

Lazy camera work, inept dubbing, coma-inducing lift music, a cast with all the charisma of a bout of genital warts (with obvious exceptions) with a plot that doesn't as much meander as drag itself painfully across a glass strewn floor and a film so cheap that it manages to make the aforementioned Hawk The Slayer look like Kingdom of Heaven.

However none of this can dull the utter joy derived from the whole experience.

Oliver Krekel, I salute you.

Carolina Grigorov, I love you.

And Martin Thon?

Get a bloody haircut. 

As close to Godliness as cinema will ever get, this is the type of movie I dream of seeing.

And the fact that it was only a pound only adds to the joy.

Buy it now and demand a sequel.

The campaign begins HERE.
Thank you Poundland!

*For our American readers this is what we British call irony.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

post mortem.

Another year and another Frightfest over so before I forget everything that occurred (tho' days after everyone else obviously) and by popular demand (OK one person asked my opinion), here's the mini round-up reviews type thing of the whole gory story.

The whole shebang was previewed back here so forgive any repetition and I'll try to keep things brief and to the point. 


Going back to gory holes (sort of) the whole kit and kaboodle kicked of with a special Thursday night preview showing (for those of us not in the pub) of Jason (I wrote The Houses That October Built but don't hold that against me) Zada’s tree-based tummy troubler The Forest which headlines smirking sultress Natalie Dormer as twins (one has a comedy wig as to not confuse the audience) one of whom has gone allegedly missing in the spooky Aokigahara Forest.

I say allegedly as the nearest the production got to Japanese culture in any way appears to be playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES whilst masturbating to Harumi Asano videos.

Which there's no shame in but does mean that you wont be concentrating on putting together little things like a coherent plot or making sure there aren't any wee bits of clichéd racism in your script (Japanese food is gross! Look! as the camera lovingly focuses on a plate of sushi).

Luckily tho' they did have enough time to buy some Just For Men for hunky lead Taylor Kinney's frankly magnificent locks, just a pity that his T-Shirt was too small for him.

Seriously his nipples poked me in the eyes so much I had to wear a bandage across them for the rest of the weekend.

Which made viewing the other movies a tad challenging.

Hampered with dodgy dialogue, massively signposted scares and a script that requires the Dormer to have undergone a common sense removal operation before shooting, The Forest can only be recommended for those of you who enjoy camping equipment on the big screen or with a man-tit fetish.

Which means your dad would love it.

Natalie Dormer searches vainly for an original idea in The Forest. Well technically it's a hotel lobby but the film is entitled The Forest, no idea what the hotel's called.

The first film up on Friday was soon upon us in the form of The Hexecutioners, the latest tale of oddness from writer Tony Burgess, he who gave us the sublime Pontypool but not A Clockwork Orange as that one is dead.

Saying that tho' at the time of writing who's to say that this Burgess isn't fighting for his life somewhere? I mean we all face our own terrifying demons and battle against personal pain - both real and imagined - everyday.

A bit like the lovely, librarian-like and ravishingly redheaded - a theme that we will be returning to throughout the weekend - Malison McCourt (Liv Collins, daughter of Irish revolutionary leader Michael and actress Joan) in this movie.


I'm not just rambling.

In a world where euthanasia is not only legal but a growing business, the mousy Malison, after suffering the indignity of having a dying woman vomit on her is teamed up with seasoned pro Olivia (all your school teacher fantasies made flesh Sarah Power) and sent to the remote estate of the high Scrabble scoring Milos Somborac, whose deathbed wish is to die via the Tibetan death ritual known as the Yotar Sky Burial.

Nicely written, played to perfection and with a fantastic central premise, the film is unfortunately let down somewhat by some unsure direction, a nervousness regarding its mix of scares and (very black) humour and more importantly by signposting its twists in neon ages before they happen.

Which is a shame as there are the seeds of a real gem here and the central performances from Collins and Power are fantastic.

As are Collins clothes.

Still worth a look - and miles more inventive than most mainstream horror around - The Hexecutioners has much to be recommended for.

Liv Collins, that is all.

From luscious librarians to loopy (young) lassies now with writer/director Sonny Mallhi's Anguish, the slow-burning, soulful story of troubled teen Tess d'Urbervilles (Ryan Simpkins, sister of the wee boy with the pudding bowl haircut and Autistic traits in Jurassic World) who suffers from a form of mentalism that causes her to struggle distinguishing between what’s real and what's imaginary.

I can relate to that.

Moving to a new town our batty-brained heroine is soon seeing spooky visions all around her that seem to be centred on a young girl whose life was tragically cut short in a car accident.

I say cut short but it's more like squashed flat.

Any concerns regarding another American movie about possession that alleges to be based on a true story are quickly laid to rest by Mallhi non-flashy direction which keeps the film moving at a slow and steady pace towards a genuinely surprising third act that totally fools your expectations.

Nicely underplayed and with a warm homely feel (thanks in part to a fantastically folky soundtrack and lush cinematography courtesy of Laid To Rest 2's Amanda Treyz) Anguish is one for anyone looking for a more sensitive and - gulp - mature approach to the paranormal.

Definitely a surprise and a director (and star) to watch.

On screen that is, I'm not suggesting you stalk them or anything.

Simpkins in a hat.

Next up - and giving the audience a well deserved break from full length fear-mongering were a trio of terrific shorts beginning with Jon Mikel Caballero's Cenizo, a brilliantly bonkers tale of eviction (yup, really) told from the viewpoint of a comic-reading young girl trying desperately to help her dad fend off an army of space nasties, which was frankly fantastic and thoroughly heart-warming (tho' the lead characters name may have help sell me on it).

Search it out now.

Adam Quintero: Specs appeal (sorry).

This was followed (as opposed to It Follows which as we all know is utter shite) by director/writer Katie Bonham’s menacingly mournful Mindless, a short yet shocking story of Peter (Nicholas Vince), a middle aged man on the edge of senility and his health visitor that packs more of a punch in it's scant eight minute running time than most features do in ninety and goes well to cementing Bonham as a Pete Walker for the new millennium.

Albeit less grumpy and with better taste in shoes.

Finally Burlesque bombshell and comedy writer Cat Davies’ cautionary tale of the dietary details of undead dating KEEN-wah hit the screen to much laughter and applause tho' to my mind it suffered from being a great idea let down somewhat by technical/make-up issues when compared to the previous two efforts and didn't reach its full potential.

Still, worth a giggle I guess.

What's new (pussy) Cat Davies?

And now to the dark horse of the festival, bravely replacing the Stephen King, John Cusak starrer Cell was Pandemic - a shoot em, loot em first person plague people vs Rachel (Continuum) Nichols actioner from director John Suits, he of the stylish 2014 thriller The Scribbler.

When a nasty virus (is there any other kind?) decimates humanity, former green-skinned Star Trek babe Nichols (as a CDC doctor not as herself obviously) is sent into an infected LA to retrieve a previous group with whom contact was lost shortly after reporting finding uninfected survivors.

But personal agendas and well kept secrets may jeopardise not only the mission but the very lives of those involved.

Incredibly intense in parts with a rough and ready guerilla edge missing from many movies of its ilk, it's eclectic cast and instantly recognisable - and relatable - characters means the movie grabs your attention from the start and never lets up.

Imagine The Crazies hotwired thru a PS3 and you're halfway there.

And to be honest that's no bad thing.

Welcome to Dudley.

From crazies to Cthulhu now as the fantastically funny Portal To Hell!!! burst onto our screens (well the GFT screens obviously).

A beautifully played homage to all things Lovecraft and featuring the final performance from the legendary 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper (plus sterling support from Laura Robinson who is, bizarrely enough the co-inventor of the best-selling game Balderdash - strange but true), Portal is just perfect.

Nuff said.

Rowdy Roddy reacts to the original They Live! reviews.

Wiping a tear from our collective eye (son) we sat in anticipation (which is the bar opposite the cinema) in readiness for Joe (Almost Human) Begos' brain-popping, bass pounding tribute to Scanners, the sublime The Mind’s Eye.

This 90's set telekinetic terror centres upon the misadventures of ESP-powered Everyman Zack Connors (Almost Human‘s Graham Skipper) who after being tricked to join a programme designed to help those with these 'special' gifts by the dodgy Doctor Michael Slovak (a scenery devouring performance from John Speredakos) discovers that not only does the doctor wish to steal these powers for himself but that he also has our heroes true love, the hotly mumsy Rachel (pear eyed poppet and star of Jug Face Lauren Ashley Carter) held captive.

Lauren Ashley Carter: Yummy quite frankly.

Proudly wearing it's influences on it's bloodied and torn sleeve and filled to the brim with gravity defying performances, exploding heads and a (not so) sly reference to everyones favourite CIA crazy John Rainbird, how much you love this will depend totally on how much you love the films it's celebrating.

And in this case it's a hell of a lot.

Oh and the score from Steve Moore of Zombi is pretty fucking special too.

And how do you follow that?

Well with Tyler MacIntyre’s heartfelt love letter to botched body swaps, social acceptance and true love, the brilliantly barmy Patchwork.

Mixing Mary Shelley with a dash of early Peter Jackson to wonderful comic (horror) effect, Patchwork is the story of three young women - work obsessed Jennifer (Tory Stolper), glitter loving airhead Ellie (Tracey Fairaway - so close) and the frankly perfect Madeleine (be still my beating heart, Maria Blasucci) who wake up after a night out to find themselves not only in a strange laboratory (which would be bad enough) but also hastily stitched together in one (fairly hot it must be said) body.

Charlie's Angels: The Pikey Years.

Discovering that they share thoughts as well as arms and legs (but not alas three arses) the trio must learn to work together if they have any chance of extracting shevenge on the person who did it.

Playing out at points like a Frank Henenlotter version of Inside Out (no, really) the films central concept of having three distinct and decidedly different personalities inhabiting one body gives Stolper, Fairaway and Blasucci the chance to really shine, giving a real heart and soul to a film that in less capable hands could become a trashy, offensive and unwatchable mess.

Great fun and genuinely touching Patchwork was, for me the surprise hi-light of the festival.

Maria Blasucci: Twice.

And with that Fridays turn ended with a bang leaving just enough time for a tearful wank, a Pot Noodle and forty winks (see? It does affect your eyesight) before rising early the next day (tho' not early enough to catch the first five minutes....damn you alarm clock) for the frankly fantastically monikered Roar (Cold Prey) Uthaug’s The Wave.

"Are you looking at my bra?"

Norway's biggest hit of last year, The Wave finds pube-chinned geologist Kristian (The Revenant's Kristoffer Joner) in a race against time to save his family whilst attempting to convince the authorities that the country’s most unstable mountain is about to collapse causing a massive tsunami.

Which is nice.

An unashamedly old school disaster flick featuring great performances and top-drawer special effects (the wave itself is terrifyingly real), it may not add anything new to that well worn genre but when you're on the edge of your seat and willing our hero to pull thru' none of that seems to matter.

Well it does if you're an arsey film bore with no joy in your life obviously.

"Somebody help me! I can't seem to find a coherent plot!"

 And talking of joyless thinks brings us neatly to Southbound, the much hyped (by 14 year old boys) anthology horror from the folk who graciously gave us V/H/S.


Tying together five stories (well I say stories but five hastily scribbled, half-baked ideas would be a more apt description) of guilt, horror and shoddily CG-ed ball-headed monsters via a stretch of desert highway, Southbound is the perfect example of (makeshift) style over (very little) substance, the cinematic equivalent of a drunken jam session between four fairly competent pub bands best known for covering Oasis as it's the only band they've ever heard.

True there are some great ideas on show but none are followed thru', everything just seems to stop with an uninterested  'meh' rather than a shocked gasp, saying that tho' maybe I'm being too harsh as I'm not the intended audiences seeing as I'm not 12 and I've actually seen a film before.

More like a synopsis on the back of a box than an actual movie, Southbound is the cinematic equivalent of your mum drunk trying to dance provocatively to Beyonce, interesting to look at for a while but ultimately forgettable.

Harumi Asano, just in case you were wondering what she looks like.

Which is the total opposite of the arse-kicking martial arts action hit SPL2: A Time For Consequences, director Soi Cheang's tale of 'orrible organ-leggers, crack-head cops, family ties and tiny children in hospital is an unashamedly old-school HK thriller that plays out as if there has been no other films made since John Woo's The Killer and is all the better for it.

The basic premise sees undercover Hong Kong cop and part-time junkie Kit (Wu Jing) sent to a terrifying Thai prison after his cover is blown during a botched operation  where he discovers that the jail is really a cover for an organ trafficking ring run by a Chinese David Bowie impersonator ably aided and abetted by a gravity defying, slick-quiffed prison warden and an eyebrow-shorn hitman with a line in deadly letter openers.

Luckily there's one honest guard in the prison (and he's played by Tony Jaa - how lucky is that?) named Chatchai how is painfully aware of all the badness and corruption going on around him.

Unfortunately his daughter has leukaemia and is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant so our good guy guard is forced to remain silent, until that is he realizes that Kit is not only a cop but the perfect match for his daughters blood type setting the scene for an top-tier, turbo-charged excuse to watch grown men kicking seven shades of shite out of each other in a variety of ever more amazing ways whilst trying to get a signal on a mobile phone.

No really.

Played to straight-faced perfection and a with a deadly serious tone usually reserved for stuff like Schindler's List, SPL2 is a text-book example of why we fell in love with the likes of Chow Yun Fat and Sammo Hung in the first place.

Ball-breaking cinematic gold.

And yes there's an inappropriate pop song over the end credits.

"Does my skin look buttery?"

From chop-sockey trumpings to Indian summers now with The Other Side Of The Door, Johannes Roberts’ tale of totems, terror and antique tables where the Mumbai-based tat peddler Maria (Sarah Wayne Callies from The Walking Dead), distraught after losing (as in he died, not in a McCann way) her son discovers a dark rite (there's always one isn't there?) that will let her to say goodbye to her dead child and hopefully find closure.

Unbeknownst to her husband Michael (Jeremy Sisto) she travels to a remote temple where it is said that the barriers ’twixt the world of the living and the dead is at it's thinnest.

A wee bit like Dudley town centre then.

The land of the dead yesterday.

Being a girl tho' Maria messes up the ritual allowing the spirit of the evil goddess Myrtu to enter our realm and roam the earth once more leaving her no choice but to try and protect her daughter and husband from this netherworld nasty whilst trying to act like she's done nowt wrong.

Yup, typical bloody woman.

Although not the most original plot in the world, Roberts raises the movie above the norm with a great cast, a uniquely exotic setting and some genuine scares in a film that is as unashamedly British in feel as it is exotic.

Reminiscent (in tone at least) at times of the 1975 Tyburn Film The Ghoul, The Other Side Of The Door does exactly what it sets out to do and is an unapologetically old school chiller.

All the perils of double dating in one pic.

From subtle chiller to blood soaked thriller next with the première of Can Evrenol’s terrifyingly trippy Turkish delight, Baskin.

When a bus load of foul mouthed Turkish police officers answer a call for help from one of their colleagues they get more than they bargained for, stumbling headlong into a Black Mass being performed by a nightmarish cabal of subhuman cannibalistic freaks with a thing for gory blood ceremonies and bare arses led by a ball-headed boffin called simple 'Father'.

Almost impossible to describe but totally impossible to ignore, Baskin comes across like a primary coloured, living breathing arthouse vision of Hell as curated by Clive Barker, Lucio Fulci and David Lynch with tickets designed by Nicholas Winding Refn in a lock-up in Silent Hill.

Bloody good stuff.

"Boiled onions!"

The penultimate movie of the weekend was by far the most contentious, Kevin and Michael Goetz’s remake of Pascal Laugier’s comedy classic Martyrs.

'Serious' (I.E. those with poles up their arses) horror fans were enraged at the thought of an American remake of this 'classic' and weren't backwards in coming forwards (or over the seats in front) with opinions about it.

I, myself tho' felt rather different.

It's confession time.

You see, I don't actually rate the original.

True it has a brilliant premise, a fantastic beginning, beautifully twisted middle and a massive punch to the bollocks of an ending but then, unfortunately it has an extra 40 minutes of meandering and boring torture added to it for no reason other than shock value before dropping the ball completely by leaving the whole "Does God exist?" question totally unanswered.

Not even Star Trek V fell into this trap.

And as for the remake?

Well it's totally what you expect, a flashy yet vacuous retelling that replaces the originals religious overtones with a so-so strong woman revenge trope that is neither fleshed out enough to be engaging or different enough to warrant the film being remade in the first place.

The kinda film that your boringly haircutted workmate would find 'shocking' but in reality the cinematic equivalent of watching grey gloss paint dry.

Saying that tho' it does feature some of the most unintentionally hilarious CGI I’ve seen in a mainstream movie for some time alongside a blink and you'll miss it homage to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.

Tho' that was probably an accident.

I'd say it's worth a look but as a horror fan you really have to see it to make up your own mind.

Not as shite as you feared but not as funny as it could have been.

But it is nice to see Big Trouble In Little China's Kate Burton back on the big screen.

The Ronko Wankaway proved a great success with young and old alike.

And now for a feast of sugary sweet fun from writer/director Sean Byrne, he who gave us the sublime The Loved Ones and introduced us to the ultimate maid of mentalism in the button-cute form of Robin McLeavy.

No pressure then.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you The Devil’s Candy.

Lank haired heavy metal loving art type guy Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry), his wife Astrid (Ex-All Saint Shiri Appleby) and fellow metal-head daughter Zooey (Kiara - I belong to - Glasco) moves to a house in Texas, unfortunately (for them that is) the house has a violent past.

By that I mean that bad things happened in it and not that the actual house itself got up off its foundations and ran amok, tho' that would've be worth seeing and probably a lot more realistic than Martyrs.

But I digress.

It's not long tho' before his paintings start to take a darkly disturbing turn and when a drifter called Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince from almost everything) turns up on their doorstep begging to move back into where his parents tragically died things start to get really strange.

Literally THE only still available from The Devil's Candy.

What could be seen as yer average 'family under siege' movie is immediately elevated to greatness by Byrne's almost uncanny ability to make even the most mundane and comical situations turn terrifying and it's this, couple with his skill at creating instantly likeable 'everyman/woman' characters, the relationship between Jesse and Zooey is absolutely beautifully played and it's this bond 'tween father and daughter that drives and informs the films darker elements.

Kudos too to Appleby and the always watchable Vince.

I for one can't wait to see it again.

And this time I promise to keep my trousers on.

So that's it for another year, strong, steady and infinitely enjoyable Frightfest Glasgow continues to go from strength to strength - roll on next year and hopefully a belated big screen showing of this classic.....

You have been warned.

Friday, March 4, 2016

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 56).

The bespectacled bombshell of bespoke blouses herself, Lindsey Creel, Project Runway Season 14 designer.