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Hereditary (2018, USA)

Hereditary (2018)

There isn’t much I haven’t already seen when it comes to horror films. I’ve been watching them ever since I was old enough to get away with it, or even before (on one occasion I got in to see The Exorcist while underage because I was accompanied by a priest!). I’ve seen all the regular horror tropes play out in scores of films, with varying degrees of success.

Although the overriding premise of Ari Aster’s first feature, Hereditary, isn’t a particularly original one, the unfolding and execution of that premise is exceptional.

“Every family tree hides a secret.”

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MusicReviews

Future of the Left and Tokyo Taboo live at Wrong Festival 28/05/18

Future of the Left and Tokyo Taboo live at Wrong Festival 28/05/18

Collaborating with John McGovern and Julia Johnson, I contributed a few words on Wrong Festival (specifically about Future of the Left and Tokyo Taboo) for issue 89 of Bido Lito! My original contributions were truncated for length, so I have presented my original, unedited musings here for your enjoyment.

“Audience please! Every minute matters.”

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Rob Zombie 😈 Astro-Creep: 2000 Live (Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head) (2018, USA)

Rob Zombie - Astro-Creep: 2000 Live - Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head (2018)

Astro-Creep: 2000 was the final studio album released by White Zombie in 1995. Fast-forward to Astro-Creep: 2000 Live. Rob Zombie has returned to his songs of love, destruction and other synthetic delusions of the electric head, 21 years later – performing the album in its entirety at Riot Fest.

“Look, I know the supernatural is something that isn’t supposed to happen, but it does happen…”

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The Vault (2017, USA)

The Vault (2017)

Writer/director Dan Bush says of his film, The Vault, that his vision was to make a movie where ‘Heist meets horror’. He couches this ambition in a story dealing with sibling loyalty and conflict.

When Michael Dillon gets into trouble with a vicious gangster, he has to come up with a great deal of money very quickly in order to save his life. His two estranged sisters, Leah an ex-con, and Vee who has spent time in the military, come up with a plan to recruit some heavies who will help them rob a nearby bank.

“No one is safe.”

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FilmHorrorReviews

Ring (1998, Japan)

Ring (1998)

Adapted from Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel of the same name, Ringu リング is a cultural phenomena. Directed by Hideo Nakata, Ring launched a revival of horror filmmaking in Japan, and influenced American horror cinema at the turn of the 21st century. From the moment the Toho vanity card ends, Ringu gets under your skin. Forgoing the science behind the videotape in Koji Suzuki’s original novel, Hideo Nakata and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi instead re-imagine Ringu as a curse.

“So that video is… It’s not of this world. It’s Sadako’s fury. And she’s put a curse on us.”

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BooksHorrorReviews

Ring by Koji Suzuki; translated by Robert B. Rohmer and Glynne Walley (1991, 2003 Japan)

Ring by Koji Suzuki (1991)

A cult phenomena has to start somewhere, and as a longtime fan of Hideo Nakata’s horror film Ring (1998) I thought it was about time I delved into the original source material.

Written by Koji Suzuki, his second novel after releasing his debut Rakuen 楽園 (Paradise), Ringu リング, or Ring as it would become known in the west, transformed the landscape of contemporary horror in the 1990s.

“Those who have viewed these images are fated to die at this exact hour one week from now. If you do not wish to die, you must follow these instructions exactly…”

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Baby Driver (2017, UK / USA)

Baby Driver (2017)

It’s becoming easy to recognise a film by Edgar Wright – there are trademark aspects: a sense of wit, sharp editing, and a rousing soundtrack. Baby Driver, Wright’s first-ever solo screenplay, offers a premise that is a cinematic convention, but told in a wholly energising and original way. The action-movie potential of the virtuoso driver is hardly a new concept. It’s a proposition that has had its twists and turns, from Walter Hill’s The Driver, The French Connection, Bullitt and Ronin right through to Ryan Gosling’s nameless specialist in Refn’s Drive.

“All you need is one killer track.”

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A Quiet Place (2018, USA)

A Quiet Place (2018)

John Krasinski, better known for his portrayal on The Office, has not previously tackled the horror genre; either as a director or as an actor. His directorial debut, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009), and his second feature The Hollars (2016) were both comedic dramas that displayed Krasinski’s talent both in front of the camera and behind it. But Krasinski’s transition into horror is something special. Co-written by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods and John Krasinski, A Quiet Place is as much about parenthood, as it is about the otherworldly creatures that hunt exclusively by sound.

“If they hear you, they hunt you.”

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Nightmare City (1980, Italy / Spain / Mexico)

Nightmare City (1980)

Umberto Lenzi had quite a career during his time as a film maker. Lenzi started law school, then decided his true passion lay with movies and attended the prestigious Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. His resume’ included peplum, westerns, giallos and mysteries, all typical of Italian cinema of the time. He later retired from cinema and wrote a series of detective novels. Then in 1972 Lenzi made what many consider the first true, cannibal film, Man from the Deep River. The work contained many of the attributes of future cannibal movies; violence, sex, the consumption of raw, human flesh… The movie established Lenzi as a director of turgid, offensive films.

“The nightmare becomes reality.”

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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981, USA)

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Continuing five years after the events that occurred on Friday the 13th, this second installment is significant for introducing audiences to director Steve Miner (House, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later). Miner previously worked with producer/director Sean S. Cunningham on projects such as The Last House on the Left and the original Friday the 13th, before carving out his directional debut with Friday the 13 Part 2. Knowing how the character of Jason Voorhees evolves as the franchise continues, Friday the 13 Part 2 feels like a particularly special entry.

“The body count continues…”

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Ghost Stories (2017, UK)

Ghost Stories (2017)

It’s a while since we’ve seen a cinematic anthology of horror tales, but Ghost Stories revives that tradition with a trio of supernatural stories in the style of English portmanteau movies of the 1960s and the Ealing classic Dead of Night. The film’s writer-directors Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson have adapted Ghost Stories from their successful stage show. (Nyman is an actor, writer and magician who has devised productions for Derren Brown; Jeremy Dyson is actor, writer and co-creator of The League of Gentlemen) Their film offers a tribute to an array of old-school horror tropes.

“We have to be very careful what we choose to believe.”

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Wishmaster (1997, USA) Vestron Video Blu-ray Review

Wishmaster (1997)

In the mid-1990s there was a void in horror cinema. When Wishmaster was announced, it was met with excitement. This was a horror movie created by horror fans for horror fans. Executive produced by Wes Craven, directed by special make-up effects artist Robert Kurtzman, starring horror icons Robert Englund, Angus Scrimm, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Joseph Pilato, and scored by Harry Manfredini, Wishmaster appeared to have the ‘killer’ team. What could go wrong?

“Be careful what you wish for.”

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