London 1888; the Jack the Ripper murders are gripping the nation and the people of Whitechapel are growing increasingly scared. Chief Inspector Abberline is struggling to figure out who the killer is, and with the added pressure from above to catch the murderer his demons begin to get the better of him. But there is someone out there who wants to help…watching…in the shadows…waiting to strike. Mixing Jack the Ripper and Batman is a formula I’ve been waiting for since reading the steampunk/superhero mash-up Gotham by Gaslight back in 1989.
When I first watched Hell House LLC I’ll be totally honest, I wasn’t expecting much. Found footage movies have run their course, but I was genuinely impressed. It had some genuinely creepy moments. Two years later we are given its sequel, Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel. Now, because I was so surprised by the first installment I was really looking forward to this. Unfortunately after a mere ten minutes into the movie it was evident this wasn’t going to fulfill me with the same joy.
“This hotel has a long history of unexplained events being caught on camera…”
We are here to discuss a horror movie that uses the formula of found-footage. No matter how many times you review a film that uses this technique you can’t help bring up The Blair Witch Project. Unfortunately there will always be comparisons. Films have tried to replicate this style, but rarely succeeded in finding that magic ingredient The Blair Witch Project possesses. Fortunately Hell House LLC breaks the mold. Going into this movie I’ll be perfectly honest I didn’t expect much. In my defense I have had to suffer numerous found-footage movies over the years that are absolute trollope.
“New York’s scariest haunted house tour.”
When Netflix dropped Spanish director Paco Plaza’s new film Veronica earlier this year, I doubt even they predicted it would get the attention it’s had? Some people have dubbed it “the scariest film ever!” and it’s supposedly based on a real events, so naturally I had to check it out to see what all the fuss was about. I’m a fan of Plaza’s [•REC] movie so I knew he would cook up some decent scares.
The story is set in Madrid in 1991 and focuses on teenager Veronica.
“Someone answered your call.”
Matthew Holness is best know for his turn as Garth Marenghi, the darkly comic horror novelist that spoofs trashy 70’s British television, but here in his directorial feature debut there’s nothing humorous, in fact things are extremely grim indeed. What formula he does stick to is keeping with the style of trashy 70’s British horror films.
“Mother, Father, what’s afoot? Only Possum, black as soot. Mother, Father, where to tread? Far from Possum and his head. Here’s a bag, now what’s inside? Does he seek or does he hide? Can you spy him, deep within? Little Possum, black as sin.”
Defarious is gorgeously shot, with a tinged-blue colour pallet reminiscent of 80’s retro horror, with hints of slasher genre thrown in. Pallante is able to build the atmosphere well with an easy on the eye leading lady – Janet Miranda (as Amy) – and a wonderfully large environment to broaden its scope. As Amy roams the house her visions manifest into a crazed killer or demon, which raises the questions of what’s reality and what’s only in her head. Overall Defarious hits a few marks. Not as unsettling as it thinks it is, but is a nice nod to the inspired classics of the 1980s.
“Fear is all in the mind.”
The name Ken Foree needs no introduction in the horror world. A tremendous, versatile actor who’s familiar with fans of the silver and small screen, but will always be a legend to horror fans since his breakout performance in Dawn of the Dead.
“It was the seventies and racism was as prevalent as it is today.”
When an alien from another world crashes to earth via meteor and takes human form to hide in plain sight, it’s not rocket science to establish they’re not here to do any good. In fact all nastiness is planned as it’s on the hunt to impregnate a female to birth its own spawn!
The Spawning’s premise is simple enough, with clear influences of 70s & 80s British low budget sci-fi which I do have an affinity for, so I was so wanting The Spawning to succeed. Unfortunately what we get is a strained affair that may have played out better as a short.
“To save his race, he will devour yours.”
Fright Night Part 2 would only work if its main vampire – following the iconic Jerry Dandrige – was strong. Regine Dandridge, the sister of Jerry, was played wonderfully by Julie Carmen. Sultry, sexy with a huge element of danger, Carmen truly became part of the Fright Night universe with this performance.
“Fright Night Part 2 would have evaporated into the ethers if it were not for some dear loyal souls who originally saw the film and who continue to talk about the effect it had on them while growing up.”
It’s extremely rare that a director creates a sequel to a short film, but director David Teixeira obviously felt he wasn’t finished with his tale of ‘Bloody Mary’.
The first film told the story of three friends, Jess, Alyson and Chloe who spend the Halloween weekend at their friend’s country home partying. Late into the night they accidentally summon the legend of ‘Bloody Mary’ after speaking her name three times. We now pick up the story with Jess staying with her friend Pierre, trying to recover from the incident the year before.
To achieve a successful short film firstly you need to have a solid idea. Having such a short space of time to tell an entire story is an extremely difficult feat, but when it’s done right it’s a joy.
Girls Night from director David Teixeira tells the story of 3 friends, Jess, Alyson & Chloe, who are kindly permitted to use their friend’s home for the weekend and have a girls only Halloween party. It’s here that the legend of ‘Bloody Mary’ comes up…
“Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary.”
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.