John Carpenter’s The Thing still resonates with audiences to this day, with unparalleled practical effects from Rob Bottin and Stan Winston, themes of isolation and memorable performances from Kurt Russell and Keith David. In my own humble opinion, it is the perfect horror film. Fright-Rags commemorates 35 years of alien terror with The Thing Collection.
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.”
What a delightful coincidence that the young actress in Gore Verbinski’s latest feature A Cure for Wellness should be named Mia Goth. Never has an appellation been more appropriate.
A Cure for Wellness proves to be an audacious, intoxicating, feverish piece of cinema – administering copious doses of Freudian symbolism and classic Gothicism. If you’re not a fan of things Gothic, or if you suffer from ichthyophobia, this may not be the film for you…
“Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that’s the only way one could hope for a cure.”
Originally released in 1971, A Bay of Blood was later refused certification from the BBFC in 1972, ensuring that the film could not be shown at any cinema within the United Kingdom. Fast forward to 1984, and the unmonitored home video market was beginning to find traction with consumers. Bava’s A Bay of Blood would finally find a UK audience upon it’s simultaneous release on VHS and Betamax (from Hokushin under the title Blood Bath) that same year.
“Diabolical! Fiendish! Savage… You may not walk away from this one!”
In the United Kingdom, Liverpool Small Cinema presents an iconic Japanese horror double bill: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977).
“To try and narrow down a selection of Japanese horror films, which cover all things psychological, supernatural, explicit and mythological, is no easy task however, so we felt that the programme would need to reflect the full scale of myths, folk and ghost tales that have dominated Japanese culture for centuries.”
Directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali, Cube is a Canadian science fiction horror released in 1997. Significant for being the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) first feature film, and Natali’s feature length directional debut, Cube has polarised audiences since release due in part to it’s ‘kafkaesque’ setting; a surreal, industrial cube-shaped design.
Cube is one of the greatest, and unfortunately most underrated horror movies from the 1990s.
“The only way out lies within your own mind.”
Cesar Romero’s portrayal of The Joker as Batman’s greatest enemy was memorable to say the least.
Known for his sharp wit and malevolent laugh, The Joker was constantly escaping Arkham Asylum and a relentless threat to Gotham City.
“Have you heard this one? It’ll *kill* you, Batman!”
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): From its eerie opening credits – indistinct ripples ebbing over green wallpaper – to the plot twists and revelations at its climax, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is worthy of admission to the ranks of the best psychological horrors with greats such as ‘The Innocents’ or ‘The Others’.
“Do you know what’s really scary? You want to forget something. Totally wipe it off your mind. But you never can. It can’t go away, you see. And it follows you around like a ghost.”
Battle Royale (2000): Enforcing the terms of the new ‘Battle Royale Act’ one class of ninth-grade students is selected annually by lottery and relocated to an isolated island, fitted with explosive collars, given random weapons and forced to participate in a 3-day survival competition in which the last student left alive is the winner.
“There’s a way out of this game. Kill yourselves together…here…now. If you can’t do that, then don’t trust anyone… just run.”
When a new era of Asian horror films entered mainstream Western cinema with Hideo Nakata’s ‘The Ring’, Asian horror movies were soon perceived to be chasing Hollywood’s more hackneyed horror efforts into the shadows.
“This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own.”
Horror fans nowadays are spoiled rotten. They’ve grown up with fancy special effects and boundary-pushing thematic content packaged with the latest genre titles, whereas viewers way back when made do with the main actor staring at everyone as a movie’s big draw.
“His lust for voodooism spells D-O-O-M!”
Film review of 2016’s Hail, Caesar! “Lights. Camera. Abduction.” The directors and cast clearly had a lot of fun making this film. PRESS PLAY ►