FilmHorrorReviews

It Comes at Night (2017, USA)

It Comes at Night (2017)

Deceptively titled and oddly mis-marketed as a horror movie, Trey Edward Shults’s second feature It Comes at Night, might much more appropriately be viewed as a ‘post-apocalyptic psychological family drama’.

I’m often loath to place a movie under a genre classification, because certain movies might straddle several genres and don’t easily fit into pigeonholes.

However, if you go to see It Comes at Night expecting a conventional horror film, you will be disappointed… or perhaps you’ll be surprised.

“You can’t trust anyone but family.”

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ComedyFilmHorrorReviews

The Return of the Living Dead (1985, USA)

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The attempt to combine humor and horror is a dicey proposition at best, which makes this film all the more extraordinary. The Return of the Living Dead weaves the two genre together seamlessly, each one complimenting the other. The screenplay and cast are perfect, with the always reliable Clu Gallagher holding the action together. A group of attractive young people plays their roles with a combination of believable finesse, terror and hormonal fever interspersed with slapstick style hysteria. Any movie with Linnea Quigley as part of the cast certainly is headed in the right direction.

“They’re back from the grave and ready to party!”

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FilmHorrorReviewsThriller

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016, UK / USA)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

The concept of the ‘beautiful female corpse’ is by no means a new idea in the realm of gothic horror. In fact, it has been a stalwart of the genre since it began. Edgar Allan Poe was particularly partial to it and Bram Stoker took it to its natural conclusion when he hit upon the novel idea of having alluring dead ladies start walking about and seducing people.

Norwegian director André Øvredal follows up his found-footage indie sleeper Troll Hunter, with English-language debut The Autopsy of Jane Doe – a gory excursion through a dead woman’s innards.

“Every body has a secret.”

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ActionExploitationFilmReviewsThriller

Almost Human (1974, Italy) Shameless Blu-ray Review

Almost Human (1974) Shameless Blu-ray

Before Umberto Lenzi’s 1981 exploitation film Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) was “banned in 31 countries”, Almost Human had a reputation as a particularly nasty Italian crime thriller.

The late, great Tomas Milian (The Designated Victim) stars as the sadistic, criminal low life Giulio Sacchi, a man capable of rape, torture and murder.

“CAUTION: This picture may shock you, but it’s an experience in psychosadism you’ll never forget!”

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ActionDramaEroticaExploitationFilmReviews

Truck Stop Women (1974, USA)

Truck Stop Women (1974)

This film was typical of the drive-in features Claudia Jennings appeared in the early 1970’s, with one notable exception. Although Truck Stop Women demonstrated what audiences would identify as the quintessential Claudia Jennings character, this was no working class, feminist hero Karen Walker from Unholy Rollers… In this film, Claudia commits about every original sin and violates a few new ones. She could easily be considered one of the screen’s best villains- a living nightmare, having no feelings for fellow human beings, and perhaps the sexiest sociopath of all time.

“No rig was too big for them to handle!”

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ComedyFantasyFilmHorrorReviews

What We Do in the Shadows (2014, New Zealand / USA)

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

There have been hundreds of vampire films made worldwide and dozens of vampire comedies produced as well. However, none of them comes close to combining horror and humor effectively as What We Do in the Shadows.

What We Do in the Shadows has been highly praised by the mainstream press, and rightly so. Although not a cinematic masterpiece, this New Zealand gem has everything a fan could ask for- blood, guts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and more laughs than any so-called comedy of the last decade.

“Some interviews with some Vampires.”

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BooksFantasyReviewsSci-Fi

Lords of the Cosmos #1

Lords of the Cosmos #1

UGLI Studios out of State College, Pennsylvania has broken into the world of science fiction with the debut issue of Lords of the Cosmos.

Created by Jason Lenox, Jason Palmatier and Dennis Fallon, this first issue in what will be an ongoing series is a remarkable homage to the comics and cartoons of the 1980s. It vividly depicts that age of conflict between noble heroes and loathsome villains, aided and abetted by their truly repulsive henchmen.

“CY-CORN. The last unicorn. Now more machine than beast. The great betrayer of his fellow magical creatures…”

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I Saw the Devil (2010, South Korea)

I Saw the Devil (2010)

The South Korean film industry has enjoyed a twenty year renaissance especially in the thriller/horror/gore genres. The release of Oldboy (2003) put South Korean cinema back on the map, after seeing its once glorious traditions wane for many years. I Saw the Devil is the penultimate representative of this new style of Korean cinema, with acting, cinematography, direction and production values equal to any of the world’s leading movie centers.

“Don’t act so weak… this is just the beginning. Remember… your nightmare’s only getting worse!”

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ComedyFilmReviewsThriller

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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ComedyFilmHorrorReviewsSci-Fi

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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FilmHorrorReviewsSci-Fi

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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