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Something Wild (1986, USA)

Something Wild (1986)

The best movies of the eighties either celebrated frivolity and gave us great entertainment, or rejected norms and pushed the boundaries towards broader innovations. Eighties indie movies were especially bold in this regard, and few directors tackled social and personal shape-shifting as deftly or entertainingly as Jonathan Demme.

The aptly titled, Something Wild gives us everything the eighties were famous for: laughs, sex, craziness, danger, secret lives, violence, drugs, nasty things in small towns and a great pop music soundtrack.

“Something Different. Something Daring. Something Dangerous.”

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Re-Animator (1985, USA)

Re-Animator (1985)

The first time I watched Re-Animator was on HBO, late one evening. I had never heard of the film; however 95 minutes later it became one of my favorite movies of all time. Adapted from the H.P. Lovecraft novella “Herbert West, Re-Animator”, this splattery opera is well worth multiple viewings.

Re-Animator is one of the best horror films of the 1980s and of any era. It has an uncommon mix of horror, suspense, humor, sex and splatter to entertain the most jaded of cult and horror fans.

“Herbert West has a very good head on his shoulders…and another one in a dish on his desk.”

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The Curse (1987, USA / Italy)

The Curse (1987)

Adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Colour Out of Space, David Keith’s 1987 directional debut The Curse is remarkably faithful to the source material; albeit poorly executed.

I must admit that I was unaware that The Curse was a tale of Lovecraftian horror until I realised the thematic similarities to Daniel Haller’s Die, Monster, Die! (1965); wherein a radioactive meteorite hits Earth with horrific consequences.

“It takes your body. And your mind. Then it takes you straight to hell…”

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Swiss Army Man (2016, USA / Sweden)

Swiss Army Man (2016)

In Swiss Army Man, first-time directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (the Daniels) genuinely present you with things you’re unlikely to have seen before – and that, in the current cinematic climate, is a feat in itself.

One can certainly see why Swiss Army Man was a movie that was inevitably going to polarise opinions. In a time when moviegoers are subjected to a constant barrage of remakes, reboots or sequels, I for one am not going to turn my nose up at any movie which places almost all of its bets on being singular and unique.

“We all need some body to lean on.”

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Get Out (2017, USA)

Get Out (2017)

Get Out concerns Chris, who is invited by his girlfriend of five months, Rose to travel upstate for the weekend to meet her parents. Chris is concerned about how Rose’s privileged white family’s might react to him, as she hasn’t told them that her boyfriend is black. Meeting the parents is a frightening prospect at the best of times, but Get Out offers a vision of a black guy’s unnerving entrance into a particularly unorthodox white world.

Chris’s girlfriend brushes off his concerns, assuring him that her parents are liberals and that he has nothing to worry about…

“Just because you’re invited, doesn’t mean you’re welcome.”

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The Void (2016, Canada)

The Void (2016)

Canadian writer-director team Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie are part of the Astron-6 collective, whose work includes the playful retro horrors The Editor and Manborg.

In their feature The Void, they tone down the humour and opt for suspense and full-on Lovecraftian horror. They draw their influences from a number of sources, including Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Anderson’s Event Horizon, Cronenberg’s The Fly, Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and Carpenter’s The Thing and Prince of Darkness.

“There is a hell. This is worse.”

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Eraserhead (1977, USA)

Eraserhead (1977)

This [month] marks the 40th anniversary of David Lynch’s enigmatic cult film “Eraserhead”; a bizarrely strange and surreal body-horror film that is sure to get under your skin. In 1977, the film became a popular ‘Midnight Movie’ and has continued to bother viewers’ minds since then.

Every single scene is shot in stark black-and-white with constant industrial background ambience, which is sure to make the viewer feel on edge. Love it, or hate it, this movie will for sure leave an impression on you.

“Where your nightmares end…”

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Kong: Skull Island (2017, USA)

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Coming into this movie I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I absolutely love monster movies, I always have. Kong: Skull Island is a total throwback to the fun, action adventure movies we got throughout the 80’s and early 90’s. There’s so much to like here and it’s hard not to enjoy, so even though it’s had respectable reviews, it certainly hasn’t taken the world by storm. Don’t get me wrong it’s not going to win any awards, but it’s clear that wasn’t it’s aim. It’s main purpose is to give the audience a nostalgic, happy time and to entertain.

“All hail the King.”

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Donnie Darko (2001, 2016, USA) 15th Anniversary (4K Restoration)

Donnie Darko (2001) 15th Anniversary

I emerge from the darkness of a doorway, blinking into the daylight of a Soho street. I look up at the sliver of wintry sky between the tops of the buildings, hoping that a random wormhole into a time portal might somehow open up.

Admittedly, this is almost a daily occurrence with me, but [at the time of writing] it is particularly significant as it is October 2nd [2016], and I have just come out of a special 15th anniversary screening of Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly’s much beloved and oft debated cult movie.

“What would you do if you knew the future?”

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Nemesis (1992, USA)

Nemesis (1992)

In 1992 Albert Pyun directed his 14th feature length film since debuting in 1982 with the sword & sorcery fantasy, The Sword and the Sorcerer. At the time of writing this review, Pyun has directed over 50 movies, so to say that Pyun, as a director, was (and still is) prolific is an understatement… He is a fucking machine!

From the moment the title appears, until the end-credits roll, Nemesis is a sequence of non-stop, over-the-top action set pieces woven together by a myriad of influences.

“In the future… it pays to be more than human.”

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Don’t Look in the Basement (1973, USA)

Don't Look in the Basement (1973)

Directed by S.F. Brownigg and released in 1973, Don’t Look in the Basement is an independent horror film that was unfortunate enough to fall foul of the UK media upon it’s 1981 home release; yet fortunate enough to not be prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act in 1985.

For me, Don’t Look in the Basement was an impulse buy on home video, spurred on by the film’s cult status and history as a ‘video nasty’.

“The line between sanity and madness can be crossed in a single step. And with this step you enter the nightmare world of terror. On the day the insane took over the asylum!”

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The Wailing (2016, South Korea)

The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing offers images that appear in many a horror films: disembowelled livestock; creepy candlelit shrines plastered with odd photographs; curtains of blindingly heavy rain; a foul-mouthed, possessed child; blackened, rabid zombies lunging at stunned victims and blood-splattered murder scenes.

It’s unlikely however, that any horror aficionado has seen all these tropes thrown with such bravado into the same melting pot, producing such a rich and unsettling brew.

“You awoke something recently that you weren’t supposed to. You disturbed it.”

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