ActionHorrorReviewsVideo Games

How to Survive (2013, Eko Software) PC Review

How to Survive (2013, Eko Software) PC Review

Released in 2013, How to Survive is a survival horror, action role-playing video game that has not aged well in a market flooded with zombie-themed action-fare. I’m surprised this even has a sequel!

“Thanks to my survival guide, you will get through this.”

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Rabid (2019, Canada) Review

Rabid (2019, Canada) Review

Sylvia and Jen Soska, known as The Soska Sisters, have made quite a name for themselves directing, writing and acting in some of most visceral, brutal horror films of the last ten years. Their breakout film, 2009’s Dead Hooker in a Trunk, attracted more attention for its controversial name than the movie itself. However, it established the style and mystique the Soska name would bring to independent film. I have to give Sylvia and Jen props for taking on the re-imagining of one of Canada’s greatest director’s best films.

“You’ve just had reconstructive surgery… You can’t take your bandages off just yet!”

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Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (1959, Italy / USA) Arrow Video Dual Format Blu-ray/DVD Review

Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (1959, Italy / USA) Arrow Video Blu-ray Review

It was very on trend in the 1950s for movies concerning blob-like creatures, with a taste for human flesh. There was The Blob, obvs, The Quatermass Xperiment, X the Unknown, and a whole slew of others, all squelching around, trying to cause as much chaos as inhumanly possible. Spotting the trend, director Riccardo Freda jumped on the amorphous bandwagon, with his sci-fi horror Caltiki, the Immortal Monster.

“Crawling, crushing colossus of terror!”

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First Love (2019, Japan / UK) Review

First Love (2019, Japan) Review

About to enter his fourth decade of filmmaking and with over 100 movies to his name, Takashi Miike is one of the most prolific filmmakers working today. With such a huge output (averaging four films per year) his work can vary in genre and in quality. Some of Miike’s crime features can be humorless and gory, but his latest feature First Love, sees him at his most anarchically playful, his trademark ultra-violence is present, but here it is tempered by black comedy and a touch of romance. First Love is the kind of film that is a treat for genre fans who are familiar with Asian gangster tropes.

“Why boxing? It’s all I can do.”

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The Films That Made Me: Donnie Darko (2001, USA)

The Films That Made Me: Donnie Darko (2001, USA)

Donnie Darko has been firmly entrenched in my favourite top ten films since it first hit cinema screens in 2001. I re-watch it every year or two, and it never fails to engage. If you’re expecting me to explain the movie, I’m afraid that I’m just as unlikely to do so as writer/director Richard Kelly. Besides, you know you don’t really want me to, because if I did explain what every twist in the film means and how it all fits together, the movie wouldn’t intrigue you half as much. No-one really wants to see inside the workings of a cuckoo clock, they just want to see the strange little bird pop out.

“Dark. Darker. Darko.”

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Fear Town, USA (2014, USA) Review

Fear Town, USA (2014, USA) Review

With an opening scene that’s bound to piss off every red-blooded, gun-toting American, but which had me in stitches, Fear Town, USA starts the way it intends to continue – irreverently. We meet a couple parked at lovers lane; a news bulletin comes over the car radio that there’s an escaped mental patient moments before he dispatches said couple in a bloody and hilarious manner… As a massive fan of 80s cheesy horror, the music, the acting, the setting, the costume, the comedy, everything was perfect and warmed the cockles of this girl’s tacky horror heart.

“Horror has a new hometown.”

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Let the Corpses Tan (2017, France / Belgium) Review

Let the Corpses Tan (2017, France / Belgium) Review

Having gathered a cult following after pastiches of lurid European giallos in their first two features, in their 2017 film Let the Corpses Tan, Belgian duo Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani pay tribute to the violent European crime thrillers of the 1970s. Cattet and Forzani make it clear from the outset that this is a splatter film – in the opening scene, in an array of disorienting closeups – imperious, cigar-smoking, ‘artist’ Luce (Elina Löwensohn) insists on her acolytes firing a series of bullets into a canvas she has splashed with messy splodges of colour.

“Now, we have to kill ’em all!”

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The Films That Made Me: Rear Window (1954, USA)

The Films That Made Me: Rear Window (1954, USA)

Rear Window was the movie that introduced the young Ren to the perverse genius of Alfred Hitchcock. I remember as a child, being irresistibly drawn into the voyeuristic position of his protagonist and fascinated by the goings-on in the windows he was observing. Hitchcock claimed not to care about the subject, morality or message in his movies, but only about the manner in which his stories were told, but his attraction to the psychological was one of his most obvious storytelling strengths.

“Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating ways…and murder!”

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The Films That Made Me: Alien (1979, UK / USA)

The Films That Made Me: Alien (1979, UK / USA)

In 2020 it’s impossible to approach Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien as a first-time viewer and feel anything resembling its original impact. Everyone has seen Scott’s vision of space taken up by countless sci-fi films and most people know each of Alien’s iconic scenes, whether they’ve seen the entire film or not. After several Alien sequels and spinoffs, countless imitators, and the wholesale cinematic plundering of Giger and Scott’s visual sci-fi language, it is hard for latter generations to imagine a time in science-fiction before Alien – a time before face-huggers, chest-bursters, and strong heroines.

“Sometimes the scariest things come from within.”

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The Films That Made Me: The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (1933, USA)

The Films That Made Me: The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (1933, USA)

Duck Soup is a 1933 pre-Code Marx Brothers film universally acknowledged as a comedy classic. It’s a movie which ridicules the leader of a country whose narcissism and rivalry manages to horrify, amuse or infuriate the international community and pushes him to create division and conflict.

Hmm… I guess some topics are simply evergreen. Yet, like so many film ‘classics’ Duck Soup hasn’t necessarily been viewed by people who consider themselves cinephiles, comedy fans or movie buffs.

“War is swell…when the Marx Brothers are in it. They’ll be out of the trenches by Christmas…if the food doesn’t improve!”

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Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered (2009 / 2018, Volition / Kaiko Games) PC Review

Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered (2018, Volition / Kaiko Games) PC Review

Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered is a third-person shooter where you play Alec Mason, who has just arrived on Mars looking for work. He barely has time to breathe before he’s thrust into a war between the Earth Defense Force (EDF) and the Red Faction.

“Destroy everything.”

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Mutant Blast (2018, Portugal / USA) Review

Mutant Blast (2018, Portugal / USA) Review

From the moment Mutant Blast entered my psyche I couldn’t shake this nostalgic feeling I was having. Distributed by the legendary purveyors of bad taste, Troma Entertainment, it is undeniable that the golden age of this independent studio has left an impression on director Fernando Alle. Mutant Blast is a low-budget, gore-drenched, post-apocalyptic action/horror film that evokes the Class of Nuke ‘Em High-style of gross-out humour.

“Dolphins are diabolical creatures! But you can’t wrap that around your heads, because you think dolphins are cute… The truth is, dolphins are motherfuckers! MOTHERFUCKERS!”

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