Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, USA)

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, USA)

It would not be an exaggeration to call Beyond the Valley of the Dolls one of the strangest movies ever produced. Looking to cash in on Jacqueline Susann’s deliciously trashy novel (and subsequent trashy big studio film) the movie is by turns funny, amateurish, gross, distasteful, misogynistic, exploitative and brilliant.

There are so many back-stories and interesting behind the camera plot-lines that Russ Meyer himself would be hard pressed to invent similar tales. Distinguished film critic Roger Ebert helped write the screenplay, surprising because, while Ebert would praise [the] occasional exploitation film, he generally held a dim view of horror and slasher cinema.

“This is not a sequel. There has never been anything like it!”



The Shape of Water (2017, USA)

The Shape of Water (2017, USA)

Gaining accolades at film festivals around the world, The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro’s latest feature, is part tribute, part pastiche, of the post-war monster movie. In his recent talk at the London Film Festival, Mr. del Toro affirmed: “Monsters are evangelical creatures for me. When I was a kid, monsters made me feel that I could fit somewhere, even if it was…an imaginary place where the grotesque and the abnormal were celebrated and accepted.”

“Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love. It humbles my heart, for you are everywhere.”



Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980, Japan)

Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1980)

I heard of this anime film years ago but heard such bad things it put me off, then last week I found a good review on it that mentioned the plot and I thought I’d give it a go. Firstly like many other reviewers I must admit this is probably the craziest Dracula plot ever. It’s based of Tomb of Dracula issues 40-75 and as such there’s a lot going on…

Overall this film is very true to the comic and has a good storyline but it’s too rushed. The visuals in part are faithful to the comic but frequently seem low budget. If you liked Tomb of Dracula I’d definitely recommend this. If you’re looking for a different Dracula film you should enjoy it.

“Darling, I want to tell you about the man I used to be before I became the cursed slave of Satan.”



Beast of Blood (1970, Philippines / USA)

Beast of Blood (1970)

Those unfamiliar with the works of Eddie Romero should make it a priority to search out a few of his titles. Romero is the John Ford, Frank Capra and Wes Craven of Philippine cinema all rolled into one, having directed war films along with dramas, comedies and horror movies. The film industry of the Philippines is a remarkable story in itself, a business that is now well over a hundred years old. In the late sixties and early seventies Romero put a series of films together known as “The Blood Island Trilogy” which were low-budget shockers containing sex, blood and monsters.

“See human heads transplanted!”



The Gate (1987, Canada / USA) Vestron Video Blu-ray Review

The Gate (1987) Vestron Video

No one can dispute that Tibor Takács’ 1987 Canadian horror film The Gate is a cult – kid-friendly – horror classic. Growing up during the late 1980s and 90s, a fair amount of my spare time was spent watching the countless movies my parents had recorded off cable TV onto long play VHS tapes. We had stacks of them – mostly horror – which I would work my way through each one every weekend; discovering what would become all-time favourites, such as The Evil Dead. It was through these tapes that I discovered The Gate.

“They have opened the gate. Pray it’s not too late.”



The Lair of the White Worm (1988, UK) Vestron Video Blu-ray Review

The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

Adapted from the Bram Stoker novel of the same name, The Lair of the White Worm was written and directed by Ken Russell (The Devils, Gothic), and released in 1988 by Vestron Pictures. Based upon the North East English ‘Lambton Worm’ legend, revolving around John Lambton and his battle with a gigantic ‘worm’, The Lair of the White Worm was the last novel released by Stoker before his death in 1912.

“Now, if you’re sitting comfortably, I shall tell you why you must not be afraid to die. To die so that the god may live is a privilege.”



Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974, Mexico / USA)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Sam Peckinpah achieved prominence as a director and writer by showing us the savagery and the effect violence had upon human beings. The Wild Bunch, a revisionist, neo-western epic. The movie shocked critics and audiences alike with an opera of bodies torn apart by various weapons and the wholesale killing of women and children. The Wild Bunch thus became the essence of a Peckinpah film, one against all his other movies were judged.

“Why is his head worth one million dollars and the lives of 21 people?”



Islandrocks 🏝 Covering Horrors of the Past (2018)

Islandrocks: Covering Horrors of the Past (2018)

Grab your Walkman, your headphones, your roller skates, and press play! ▷ Islandrocks is about to give you an audible history of Italian and American cult cinema. Underrated Swedish musician Thomas Nyholm has been creating cover versions of exploitation, cult classic theme songs.

“When the earth spits out the dead… They will return to tear the flesh of the living.!”



The Green Inferno (2013, USA / Chile)

The Green Inferno (2013)

The Green Inferno is the horror director’s homage to the Italian cannibal films of the 1970s and 1980s. Those films, such as Cannibal Holocaust, Make Them Die Slowly and Eaten Alive were in turn influenced by the sub-genre of Mondo films. These films showed actual executions, animal slaughter and other graphic scenes of barbarity. While these movies portrayed indigenous and primitive peoples in an unflattering light, the invading Western protagonists also committed unspeakable acts of violence, leading the audience to wonder who the real savages were.

“No good deed goes unpunished.”



Super Dark Times (2017, USA)

Super Dark Times (2017)

Sometimes in film, a mood or feeling transcends the writing, itself. Kevin Philips’ debut feature, Super Dark Times is one of those films. The overall moodiness and aura of this teenage drama/horror film creates a skin-crawling dread that stuck with me long after viewing it. Super Dark Times is a teenage drama film that feels closer to horror at many points, and because of this, may scare off some fans of either genre. It is also extremely well-crafted and wonderfully moody, which is why it is a film that should definitely not be overlooked.

“If anybody asks, we’re already fucked.”



“Feeling a little inadequate?” Tank Girl, Riot Grrrl

Tank Girl, Riot Grrrl

Tank Girl’s protagonist is a sexually-liberated, confident, independent woman who, quite literally, spits in the face of her oppressors. Kesslee doesn’t want to beat Tank Girl, he wants her to join him. But she refuses to be co-opted by the mainstream. It’s the fault of riot grrrl, of course. There’s a bold, alternative spirit to Tank Girl, thanks in no small part to its soundtrack.

“In 2033, justice rides a tank and wears lip gloss.”


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Beyond Skyline (2017, USA) Signature DVD Review

Beyond Skyline (2017)

Released in 2017, seven years after it’s predecessor Skyline, the aptly titled Beyond Skyline sees Liam O’Donnell take over the directorial reigns from Greg and Colin Strause, in his directional debut.

Beyond Skyline was unwarranted. It is a sequel no one expected, and perhaps, a sequel no one wanted. Even as someone that appreciated the first movie, Beyond Skyline went beyond (pun intended) my expectations entirely. It works because it is so wild…so out there… Beyond Skyline is an experience.

“Survive? We did a hell of a lot more than survive… We evolved.”