When I interviewed the esteemed Producer/Director Roger Corman for Claudia Jennings’ biography, he said Unholy Rollers was his favorite of the four films Claudia appeared in for him. As Claudia’s breakthrough film, Unholy Rollers established the character she would be identified with until her death. Beautiful, fearless and ruthless, Karen Walker epitomized the Hollywood Bitch Goddess that many thought represented Claudia’s true nature. The film is noteworthy because it marked Claudia’s debut as a major B movie actress.
Having bought the rights to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre slasher franchise from The Cannon Group, New Line Cinema, “the house that Freddy built”, began production on a new sequel with the intention of “going back to hard-core horror”. Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III attempts to bring back the franchise to its unhinged roots, where the saw is family and dire situations lead to viscera. If only scriptwriter David J. Schow and director Jeff Burr’s vision had remained intact. “Some tales are told, then soon forgotten… but a legend is forever!”
“The saw is family.”
Liverpool Horror Club (LHC) and Two-Headed Snake Entertainment presented their second The Dead of Night Film Festival – this time in Liverpool – and like all LHC events there was a great club atmosphere where everyone is friendly, and you can chat to the people involved in the festival and the films.
“Liverpool’s only horror film festival!”
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.”
Masks, dressing up and spooky Halloween tunes. When you think of Halloween your mind turns to, what will I wear? I need to look good for trick or treat. This was before you watched Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Tommy Lee Wallace creates a nail biting movie which plays on all the main things that make Halloween and trick and treating fun. He turns it on its head, pardon the pun and terrifies the life out of anyone choosing to wear a mask and watch TV during the Halloween season. This classic horror uses three different types of mask; a pumpkin, a ghost and a witch.
“The night no one comes home.”
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.”
Marko Mäkilaakso’s movie It Came from the Desert evokes the creature features of the 1950s by way of the late 80s, making it a cheesy, nostalgia-packed thrill ride from start to finish. Inspired by the 1989 video game by Cinemaware, it never once takes itself too seriously, and keeps you watching with clever effects, over-the-top action sequences, and a number of hysterically funny lines that are sure to offend. What more could you ask from a monster movie?
“Okay, listen we need your help. We’re trapped by this giant ant… A giant freakin’ ant!”
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.”
Craaaazy killers decked out in scary masks, wreaking havoc on Halloween night! Pretty spooky plot for a film right? Eeeeh, you’d think so wouldn’t you. All Hallows, and the anonymity it provides those with devious tendencies has been an informative and conducive background to some of our cherished seasonal classics. So, for the premise to be utilized once again comes as no real surprise. Unfortunately, neither does ANYTHING in Bryan Coyne’s Bad Apples, which strives for Carpenter charisma, but winds up leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.
“Rotten to the core.”
There’s an old saying about how you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. You also can’t generally choose your neighbors, and sometimes they can be even harder to avoid than family. It can be a real risk to try to befriend a neighbor, because if it all goes wrong somehow your only option is to pack up and move, and that’s a hassle nobody wants. Still, in Under the Tree, both sets of neighbors would have been much better off if they’d fled to opposite sides of the country. Admittedly Iceland isn’t a very big country, but that might have worked.
“Two families. One tree. A bloody mess.”
At the outset of American Animals the words “This is not based on a true story,” appear onscreen, then three of those words disappear leaving the statement – “This is a true story.” Although American Animals is a heist film at its core, British documentarian Bart Layton, in an impressive feature debut, relies closely on a factual account of real events which took place in 2004. Intercut with the dramatization of the robbery played by actors, are interviews with the actual men who committed the crimes. This makes for an interesting and unusual combination of documentary and dramatic fiction.
“The perfect heist is a work of fiction.”
The Mountain of the Cannibal God was originally released in United Kingdom under the name Prisoner of the Cannibal God, and added to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) list of “video nasties” shortly after its home video release. Although The Mountain of the Cannibal God was one of the 33 “video nasties” not prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, it remained unavailable on home video until 2001.