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Possessor (2020, UK / Canada) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

Possessor (2020, UK / Canada) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

If David Cronenberg was the prime mover of the horror sub-genre known as ‘body horror’, his son Brandon is taking it to the next level. With Possessor, his second feature after debut Antiviral, Brandon Cronenberg starts with a scene that braces you for the bloodletting that will come… A young woman stands in the bathroom of a hotel and stabs a long metal electrode into her skull as blood seeps around the wound. Her face runs through a gamut of emotions as the electrode fulfils its mysterious purpose in her brain.

“You have a very special nature. One we have worked hard together to unlock.”

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I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2019, USA) Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment Blu-ray Review

I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2019, USA) Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment Blu-ray Review

40 years after the theatrical release of I Spit on Your Grave became one of the most depressing experiences of Roger Ebert’s life, Director Meir Zarchi has returned with a sequel so vile, so morally reprehensible, the new generation of film critics won’t be able to contain their stomach contents. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a new Day of the Woman! The ultimate day of terror!

“Before setting out on revenge, first dig two graves…and spit on one of them.”

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Shirley (2020, USA) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

Shirley (2020, USA) London Film Festival 2020 Review

For some people, confronting a house full of ghosts might seem a more benign situation than braving a pack of judgemental housewives, especially in the 1950s, an era haunted by impossible standards for women. Finding herself amongst the snooty wives of academics, Shirley Jackson must often have been the target of their gossip and probably preferred to imagine herself trapped in ‘Hill House’. Jackson reputedly cultivated an interesting, if fearsome, persona – prickly, idiosyncratic, unkempt, contemptuous. She was tolerated in academic circles, being a successful author in her own right.

“Let’s pray for a boy. The world is too cruel to girls.”

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The Dare (2019, Bulgaria / USA / UK) Lionsgate UK DVD Review

The Dare (2019, Bulgaria / USA / UK) Lionsgate UK DVD Review

Directed and co-written by Giles Alderson, The Dare could easily be dismissed as a copycat of the movies that led to the mid-2000s resurgence of the splatter subgenre; unfortunately labelled “torture porn” by film critics and horror detractors. James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s Saw (2004), and Eli Roth’s Hostel (2005) are both seen as the pinnacle of the subgenre; the first to be labelled “torture porn” due to their emphasis on extreme violence and sadism, and never surpassed by the countless thrillers that followed. But despite a certain familiarity, The Dare breathes new life into the art of splatter.

“Let the evil out.”

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💀 The Dead of Night Film Festival Virtual Edition 2020 💀

The Dead of Night Film Festival Virtual Edition 2020

The Dead of Night Film Festival returned this year despite everything happening in the world, proving you can’t keep a good horror hound down. After all, look at how many different ways Christopher Lee died as Dracula. This year’s festival was a free virtual edition!

“27 Short Movies. 4 Filmmaker Q&As. Across 12 Horrific Hours.”

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Cannibal XXX #1 (2020, UK) Review

Cannibal XXX #1 (2020, UK) Review

Artist/writer/creator Paul PJ Johnson has been a consistent and prominent figure on the UK independent comics scene for the past 7-8 years. Being well known for his character Razor Bastard is only half the story, as Johnson’s versatile imagination and unique artistic style has seen him also release some absolute gems, such as the epic graphic novel Death Truck and the amazing Once Monster. Now he’s back, with what may be his most raunchy, most graphic, and most violent creation: Cannibal XXX.

“Yeah, what’s the worst? You drop your toast, butter side down? … Oh yeah, being eaten alive by fucking cannibals!”

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Teething (2020, Canada) Review

Teething (2020, Canada) Review

A dog’s bark pierces the silence of the night as a man emerges from a car into the shadows wearing a Michel Myers style jumpsuit. We are only a few seconds in and already there is an atmosphere of intrigue and dread. The man is John, a janitor who has arrived to work a shift at an orphanage where strange occurrences are afoot. In an office turned nursing room, a woman holds a baby closely as vintage music pipes its way out of an old radio, adding to the overall sense of foreboding.

“I swear to god, I wanted to throw her right down the stairs earlier. It’s awful, I know. She’s teething…”

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Powerbomb (2020, USA) Review

Powerbomb (2020, USA) Review

Powerbomb has an interesting premise. A superfan kidnaps his favourite wrestler who he thinks isn’t realising his potential. But there isn’t much wrestling in the film.

The first five minutes of the film are mostly showing the main character, Matt Cross (Matt Capiccioni), in action and his athletic ability; including performing a Lethal Injection (handspring stunner) and Shooting Star Press (mid-air backflip) which demonstrates that he should be performing in big venues.

“Lights out.”

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Ravage (aka Swing Low) (2019, USA) Review

Ravage (aka Swing Low) (2019, USA) Review

A welcome throwback to classic hixploitation. If you were a fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mother’s Day and the golden days of R&R movies, Ravage will bring you a ton of warm and fuzzy memories. From the effective score to the absolutely beautiful photography, director Teddy Grennan elevates a rather familiar narrative far above its starkly crude subject matter. Despite a few gaps in logic and plot, this is one of the few modern horror films that treats its Grand Guignol aspects with subtlety.

“Torture is the barometer of a nation’s creativity.”

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Touch of Death (aka When Alice Broke the Mirror) (1988, Italy) Review

Touch of Death (aka When Alice Broke the Mirror) (1988, Italy) Review

Lucio Fulci is so synonymous with movie splatter that it is kind of expected to see excessive amounts of bloodletting (and rimozione degli occhi) whenever his name appears during the opening credits. And whilst Touch of Death isn’t quite the same level of gorefest when compared with his earlier efforts, it still offers a generous amount of face-melting fun (literally) that made me fall in love with his giallo/horror output. Known in Italy as Quando Alice ruppe lo specchio, Touch of Death was developed as part of a series entitled I maestri del thriller aimed at the direct-to-video market.

“I don’t make mistakes. I won’t make mistakes.”

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Irrational Fear (2017, USA) Review

Irrational Fear (2017, USA) Review

Rational boredom. Perhaps its me, that watching decades of horror films has left me jaded and able to predict the action in banal and mindless twaddle like Irrational Fear. The movie reminded me of those direct-to-video slashers of the 80s, the plastic covers promising extreme violence, sex or both and more often than not, failing to deliver. I wanted to enjoy the film, honestly, but the poor production values, shoddy camera work, incompetent direction and uneven acting wore me down. It really is a shame because there is some talent evident.

“Face them all!”

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Union Bridge (2019, USA) Review

Union Bridge (2019, USA) Review

After a somewhat confusing opening featuring a brutal beating in a night-time field and some navel gazing, this film finally settles on its focus – the down-on-his-luck prodigal son Will. Despite his best efforts, he is back in small town life after flaming out in the big city; a somewhat humiliating return that results in him skulking about town attempting to avoid inevitable re-connections with those folk who knew him before.

His old friend Nick seems to have fallen on hard times and now is given to wandering around the town dirty and troubled.

“Every family has secrets.”

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