It’s rare that I’m left speechless or lost for words after a horror film but perhaps the only way to describe Art of the Dead is to say that it defies any definition! Brimming with influences that range from Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) to American Horror Story and Dario Argento, this offering from director Rolfe Kanevsky (who has a prolific output) is a visceral feast for the eyes. It’s fair to say that this is a horror based in spectacle, shock and sensory overload rather than it being a deep and searching exploration of fear. If this film were a painting itself, it could be described as schlocky, daring and off the hook.
While you don’t need to take a ball-peen hammer to the forehead to enjoy Patryk Vega’s film Mafia Women (aka Women of Mafia), it sure would help. The movie’s biggest failure is the unbelievably bad plot, which would be laughable if so much money hadn’t been spent trying to turn such a cinematic sow’s ear into the semblance of a silk purse. The only reason why certain characters survived the events of the film was because everyone around them made so many stupid, unintelligible decisions…
“Marie Curie discovered radium and polonium, and you think women can’t make drugs?”
Directed by the prolific master of the macarbre, Lucio Fulci, The Beyond is the second film in Fulci’s ‘Gates of Hell‘ trilogy; a series of horror films all connected by a unifying theme, and actress Catriona MacColl. In each of these films, one of seven gateways to hell is activated, bringing misery to those unfortunate to stumble upon the doors of death.
“The seven dreaded gateways to hell are concealed in seven cursed places… And from the day the gates of hell are opened, the dead will walk the earth.”
It is safe to say that this is cinematic artistry at its very best. This horror, although silent, screams of an unhinged nightmare full off vivid expressionistic imagery. From the beginning the film’s soundtrack alerts the viewer that something dark and sinister is on the cards. The set is the work of a mastermind and with the scenery being uneven and far from any utopian environment, this is reflected in the twisted music.
“Dr. Caligari and his mysterious slave – the black and white phantom who lives in a cabinet and goes forth in his sleep to do his master’s bidding.”
Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner we have the classic 1977 David Cronenberg film, Rabid. In the opposite corner, we have the Glenn Danzig opus, Verotika. Is one a better film than the other? Will the cult classic crush the newcomer or will the Master Misfit cut new horror film ground based on his comic book kingdom?
If you’re like me, your interest in anything Danzig related was piqued the moment it was announced he was working on a movie. Unfortunately, the promise faded with ever passing time…
“Pray it doesn’t happen to you.”
In White Zombie, death feels inescapably omnipresent with images of crosses, cemeteries and headstones filling every scene. In one of the most unnerving shots of early horror cinema, we see a pair of pervasive eyes peering across the landscape. What’s so discomforting about the eyes is their vacancy and the troubling inevitability that they are undoubtedly watching us. Recognising these eyes from the film’s iconic poster we are instantly pulled in by the power and symbolism they represent.
“WITH THESE ZOMBIE EYES he rendered her powerless. WITH THIS ZOMBIE GRIP he made her perform his every desire!”
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.”
There’s an old joke that goes something like, “If God can do anything, can He create a rock so heavy that even He couldn’t lift it?” Adapted to the cinema, the question becomes, “Can you make a slasher flick so bad that even Dee Wallace couldn’t save it?”
Yes. Yes, you can. Red Christmas is that movie. There are such things as good slasher flicks. Maybe they’ve got some funny lines, some memorable kills, or a distinctly horrific antagonist. Unfortunately, Red Christmas has none of those things…
“This Christmas, the only thing under the tree is terror.”
I’m well into my 30’s now. That means I was lucky enough to be in my pre-teens when Fred Dekker was still directing films and TV. He may be known by most people as either the director of the entertaining Night of the Creeps or calamitous Robocop 3, but sandwiched in between these two totally dissimilar yarns was 1987’s The Monster Squad.
The titular “Monster Squad” is a small group of horror-loving kids, led by Sean, who run their affairs from a poster-adorned treehouse.
“You know who to call when you have ghosts. But who do you call when you have monsters?”
Botoks is unafraid to address controversial subjects like abortion, though it does so in a way that might charitably be described as clumsy. For example, an OB-GYN doctor manipulates the system to allow a woman to abort her 22-week-old baby, and the wriggling, mewling child, having survived the procedure, is placed on a metal tray in an empty room to die. This is considered Standard Operating Procedure, apparently. Later in the movie, when the doctor herself gets pregnant, she has a change of heart and refuses to perform any more abortions. She then gets fired by her amoral male boss.
“What the fuck is going on in this hospital?”
With a title such as Accidental Exorcist you’d be mistaken for thinking this movie was firmly rooted in the comedy-horror genre. I was. So it was a total surprise when on viewing that I realised this was definitely not comedy and moderately horror, more a psychological-thriller – which is fine, but very misleading.
Okay, so I now settled into what I soon discovered to be a very serious, brooding thriller about Richard Vanuck, who’s only talent in life is successfully being able to perform exorcisms.
“Evil touches us all.”
Christmas time approaches, snow is falling and the once opulent and lively Butler House has now stood abandoned for many years following the mysterious death of its proprietor. Jeffrey Butler, grandson to the property’s namesake is in town to sell his inheritance but just why he has appeared after so long and what dark secrets lie within the Butler family history are a puzzle to the locals. An entertaining piece that often has a charm in its roughness, Silent Night, Bloody Night gives us some memorable kills complete with the help of that old favourite Kensington Gore.