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.
Arrow Video are quickly becoming heroes to horror fans that cut their teeth on the genre in the 80s. Regularly releasing the type of titles that you would be fascinated with in your local independent video shop, it gives those of us who excitedly gorged on the type of low budget horror these shops stocked a chance to re-watch them with modern eyes, and those too young to rent them a chance to finally get their hands on them.
“They ooze. They slime. They kill.”
Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Morecambe and Wise, Sooty(!), Charles Bronson, Laura Dern, Johnny Rotten, Iggy Pop, Clive Barker… Apart from all being huge stars across various mediums (especially Sooty), they all share one specific thing in common… Barbie Wilde.
“At the Hellbound audition, I met Tony Randel, we had a chat, and the next day, I got the job. It’s funny, because I nearly didn’t go to the audition, as I thought that they were looking for someone to play the Chatterer character and I found that particular Cenobite far too scary in the first film.”
When you think back to the 80s, the true golden age of horror, there are certain films that define their sub-genre. I’m thinking of Fright Night and The Lost Boys defining the Vampire sub-genre. And the ones that (for me at least) defined Werewolf films are the likes of An American Werewolf in London and The Howling! One of the downsides from making a genre defining film though, is that there will invariably be a sequel (or sequels) that just can’t live up to the original’s quality. This has happened with Howling II …Your Sister Is a Werewolf.
“It’s not over yet.”
I’m not a fan of action films. You know the ones, purely ‘Action’. I hate car chases. DESPISE ‘em! I hate things exploding left, right and centre. I hate overly-long gunfights. They annoy me and make me all fidgety. John Wick is an action/thriller, directed by two stunt men and stars Keanu Reeves. “WHY ARE YOU WATCHING THIS, YOU FUCKING MASOCHIST?!!” I hear you shout, and you’d be right to ask. I dunno. But I’m SO glad that I did! John Wick is an ex-hitman, grieving for his recently deceased wife. When the son of a mob boss takes a liking to Wick’s car and decides to take it, bad things happen.
“Revenge is all he has left.”
This late 90s vampire tale is an essential watch for any fan of low budget indie gore and Hammer classics. Lilith Silver is the ‘girl power’ embodiment of modern vampires. In skin tight PVC, Silver is an ass-kicking, sexually confident vampiric hit woman, using her undead attributes to carry out the most daring executions. But life is never simple and her choice of career brings her to the attention of occult group The Illuminati who are hell bent on preserving their own existence against whoever is hiring her to eliminate them. Armed with their skills in dark magic and with Mason-like influence in the police and government, The Illuminati set out to take down Lilith ‘The Angel of Death’ Silver, in a gory, sexual game of cat and mouse.
“Part Seductress. Part Assassin. All Vampire.”
Coerced by his scheming brother and locked away in a grimy upstairs flat, sickly Frank is the talented, money-making half of a peculiar business endeavour in which paying punters communicate with deceased acquaintances via his distended stomach. With a tube in his mouth and a stethoscope pressed against his grotesque gut (bloated with the manifestations of the dead), good ol’ Frankie acts as a middle-man between this world and the next.
“Your inside his stomach…”
The first in a trilogy of novels by Australian author Phil Hore, The Order of the Dragon introduces us to two very different characters: the learned, dryly humorous Amun Galeus, and his hulking friend Sebastian Vulk. While this might sound like standard bickering buddies fare, the novel doesn’t descend into cliché: it’s a fun, pulp horror piece that starts off slow, but once it hits its stride, rockets like a freight train.
“My name is Amun Galeas and it is hard for me to fathom that I now live in an age of instant communication. But then again, I’ve said similar things about many an age for as long as I can remember…”
Fright Night Part 2 would only work if its main vampire – following the iconic Jerry Dandrige – was strong. Regine Dandridge, the sister of Jerry, was played wonderfully by Julie Carmen. Sultry, sexy with a huge element of danger, Carmen truly became part of the Fright Night universe with this performance.
“Fright Night Part 2 would have evaporated into the ethers if it were not for some dear loyal souls who originally saw the film and who continue to talk about the effect it had on them while growing up.”
So… I’m an 80s kid. The NeverEnding Story. The Childlike Empress. Tami Stronach. *nostalgic sigh*
“I feel very lucky to have fallen into being a part of this magical story.”
Remember the days when films were captured on, well, film? You don’t? Whippersnapper. Respectable and reserved editor Eddie Swenson does. So when he’s transferred from his quiet, restrained art house section, to the brash, blood soaked vistas of the splatter and gore department, he realises why watching hours and hours of video violence may cause one to lose their head. You see, his predecessor went out with an, errrm…bang, after chowing down on a hand grenade. So Ed’s boss Samuel Campbell ‘promotes’ him to a domain that produces the ‘Loose Limbs’ series.
“It’s a no brainer.”
Catastrophe can — and often does — happen in the blink of an eye, even in places that should be prepared for any eventuality. In The Rage, even a laboratory working with a dangerous virus, one place where everything had better be under strict control, can see all its safety protocols fall apart in an instant, leaving nothing but chaos behind. One moment, Joe and Terry, fellow lab techs at New Bio Energy Labs, are having a nice chat on a Monday morning, and the next Terry is on the floor writhing in pain and screaming in terror. It’s a great example of a compelling short made on very little budget.