More superhero films now hit our cinema screens after the success of The Avengers (2012), and financially most of them make a killing. However, they are not without their detractors, pointing out how they are formulaic and lacking depth. But what about the superhero films before the post-2012 boom?
Whilst the 2010s are probably my least favourite decade for creature features, it got me thinking about my favourite monster movies. I’ve focused on the big two horror creatures – vampires and zombies – and then various other monsters…
“There are some very good reasons to be afraid of the dark.”
A Zombie Christmas Musical… Anna and the Apocalypse has it all, and no doubt that’s why it took 6 years to make after the release of the short film Zombie Musical. Sadly one of the writers (Ryan McHenry) died before this 2017 Scottish film was released and it never received a UK cinema run. So unless you are a fan of the genre who travels to independent festivals you may never have heard of it. But, you should do. The zombies and special effects are great with plenty of gore and some really interesting fight scenes; particularly in the bowling alley which is where my favourite kill takes place.
“She’ll Slash. She’ll Stab. She’ll Sing.”
The Dead of Night Film Festival returned to Liverpool and this time there were more short films (and a quiz too!), all for the low price of £12 for the day. In total there were three feature films and nine shorts screening on Sunday 13th October.
“Made for horror fans by horror fans.”
Meet Mick, he’s a psychopath who wants to be famous and he’s found a way of achieving his dream – but Mick is no ordinary killer, he knows a secret. A secret he shares with Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Judy Garland, and other dead celebrities.
Dead Celebrities is misleading, with the narrator Mick seeming like he has a fetish for dead celebrities, or at the least, a conspiracy theorist with his tales of a get famous quick scheme. However, as the story unfolds there are attempts to make his tale seem credible.
“Who doesn’t want to be famous?”
Liverpool Horror Club brought back their horror fest to Seaforth on the 17th August and it was still a bargain. Like last year’s Liverpool Horror Festival there was a small selection of stalls, but there were several new ones boasting some unique artwork.
“A full day celebration of all things horror!”
Last month saw the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the latest instalment in the X-Men franchise, to largely negative reviews. Most focused on the underdeveloped characters, the villains, and the fact that it didn’t bring anything new to the genre. X-Men meh sums it up. Now, after a few weeks, I think it’s time to look at some of the good points of the film, where it ultimately failed, and what’s needed to make the X-Men stand out in the saturated superhero film genre. The X-Men comics are about discrimination – about being different – and this needs to be referenced…
“Every hero has a dark side.”
I needed to know for myself how far Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House had diverged from the 1959 book and if it had actually improved on it. So I read the book first and then watched the 1963 film, The Haunting, which I’d heard was a classic. I must admit I enjoyed both of them – and found them very different from one another – so I decided that so I decided that all three needed to be compared.
“You may not believe in ghosts but you cannot deny terror!”
It’s rare that I write a review of a film I really hated, but Goosebumps 2: Happy Halloween held such promise I’ll make an exception. The first film had a fair few faults of its own, such as straying from the source material. But for the most part, the original stayed true to the tone of the books and had some good comedy moments. The second film however has fewer comedic parts that made me laugh, but at least does feel true to the tone of the books – more so than the TV series – with the main plot being similar to Night of the Living Dummy.
“Halloween comes to life.”
Netflix have done a brilliant job at exploring the Castlevania story with this season, which is twice the length of the first and has a lot more Dracula. For anyone who didn’t see the first season there’s only two things you need to know: First- Dracula has declared war on the human race after the Church killed his wife. Second- Trevor Belmont (the last descendant of the famous monster fighting family) and Sypha Belnades (a witch) have joined forces with Alucard (Dracula’s son) to defeat the vampire lord himself.
“In killing my wife, humanity has proven to me that they don’t deserve the Earth… We will scour them off the land!”
People have been raving about this Netflix series for a while now. Even Stephen King has praised it, so I’ve given it a go. The Netflix series differs from the novel. The advantage of only being loosely based on the novel is with the differences the Netflix series has made. Eleanor “Nell” Vance, for example, was the main character in the novel, but by mid-season the dynamic changes, so you don’t know what is going to happen.
“A ghost can be a lot of things. A memory, a daydream, a secret. Grief, anger, guilt. But, in my experience, most times they’re just what we want to see.”
In the original series you could really root for Sabrina as she learns witchcraft and all the negative aspects that came with it but here the stakes are much higher, not just regarding whether she will be a mortal or witch, but to be a witch she has to sign her name in Satan’s book and he could call on her at any time. There’s a stronger sense of Sabrina’s desperation to learn about her family history and what had happened to her parents, along with the struggles of being a half witch, giving the series a bit of a Harry Potter feel, even though the original Sabrina comics and 90s series predate it.