Saturday, 31 October 2015
After a long month of reviews here is the final horror film to be reviewed for my Halloween celebrations. Halloween III: Season of the Witch was a huge disappointment when I first watched it as I had fully been expecting a Michael Myers horror, I had even put off watching the rest in that iconic series while I waited for this to be posted to me. As everyone knows this is the one film in the series to have nothing whatsoever to do with that particular killer, originally each of the Halloween films was due to be a stand alone piece, just using the theme of that great holiday as inspiration but after a poor reception for Season of the Witch that plan was dropped.
Halloween III opens on 23rd October 1982 with a terrified man on the run from cold suit wearing figures. Eventually he comes across a gas attendant who takes the poor man to hospital. This is where Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) meets the man who desperately tells him "They're going to kill us. All of us! All of us!" before fainting. Challis takes him for a crazy person but soon the man is found murdered, his attacker committing fiery suicide, and when the man's daughter Ellie shows up looking for answers Challis feels compelled to team up with her to trace her Dad's final movements. This leads them to the sleepy town of Santa Mira; the home of the Silver Shamrock Halloween mask company...
Happy Halloween! Later today I shall post the final of my sixteen horror film reviews I have been doing as part of the celebrations for Halloween 2015, but first a small bonus post featuring the trailer for found footage horror Moth which comes from directors Jozef Gallai and Gergo Elekes (Bodom). I covered this and featured the teaser trailer back in April (here).
Moth concerns itself with the Mothman legend and as a found footage there is a small bit of worry as that genre is so easy to get wrong. However I though Bodom wasn't that bad and had some interesting moments so if the strengths of that movie can be built on there may be something special here. Anyway, check out the brand new trailer for Moth yourself...
Friday, 30 October 2015
I really loved season one of Telltales The Walking Dead adventure game, it made you care about the characters, especially the relationship between Lee and his ward Clementine. That game ended relatively optimistically and so I never felt a sequel was needed. Finally after putting it off for a year I played through season two, but should this new chapter in Clementine's life have been left untold?
It is nearly two years since Clementine's journey with Lee and after a series of misadventures she finds herself with a new group of survivors. Their plan is to head north as there is rumour of a settlement named Wellington which is walker (zombie) free. However she soon finds this group are being hunted by a ruthless man named Carver and his cronies for reasons unknown and soon she gets caught up in events.
Thursday, 29 October 2015
You kind of know what to expect when you go to see one of Vin Diesel's power fantasies. In the Riddick series he played an unbeatable bad-ass in a nightmare sci-fi world, in The Last Witch Hunter he plays an unbeatable bad-ass in a nightmare fantasy world.
Diesel stars as Kaulder; a witch hunter who was cursed by a witch with immortality, and so for the last 800 years he has been roaming the planet doing what he does best. In that time a truce has been made between the witches and the hunters, they now have their own council who work to ensure that they don't interfere in the world of man. When Kaulder's trusted aid (Michael Caine) turns up seemingly dead he realises that someone is working to destroy the fragile truce and bring doom and destruction back to mankind, and so he teams up with his new aid (Elijah Wood) and a friendly witch; Chloe (Rose Leslie) in order to stop this plan.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
It was just over a year ago that I read Hater; the first book in the Hater series and now I have finally gotten around to reading the second book Dog Blood. These are horror stories that seem almost like an off shoot of the zombie genre. There are the normal people; the unchanged and then there are the Haters who have an overwhelming desire to kill anyone who are not like them but who retain their basic humanity in all other aspects of their lives. There are going to be spoilers about Hater here as a warning.
Dog Blood takes place around three months after the events of the first book and explores the deepening war between the unchanged and the Haters. The majority of unchanged are now grouped together in shanty towns at city centres, protected by the military, one such unchanged is Mark whose home in a hotel room holds a deadly secret. Danny McCoyne meanwhile has adapted to his new life well but his desire to find his hater daughter Ellis has made him more inclined to self preservation and less interested in fighting, and so he has more self control than most. While searching for her he becomes embroiled in a plot to bring the war to a new devastating level.
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
For this finale entry in the original series I was expecting something along the lines of the insipid Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later yet I was both surprised and delighted to find a film that has well stood the test of time, both innovating as well as being a decent Myers film.
The unrelated prologue set in 2001 has killer Michael Myers (Brad Loree) heading to the insane asylum where Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) has been kept for the last three years after murdering a man she had mistaken for the masked psychotic. With that storyline over the film begins proper in 2002. An internet web show run by Freddie (Busta Rhymes) and his DangerTainment company has planned something special for Halloween. Six competition winners are going to get to spend a night in the childhood home of Myers, their every move broadcast to the web, however predictably the killer turns up and soon starts slaughtering the group. With no one to help (due to the authorities and viewers all thinking the murders are fake) Sara (Bianca Kajlich) and her fellow survivors must find a way to escape the house of hell.
Monday, 26 October 2015
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a remake of the similarly titled flash game that came out 2011. It is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler that draws on religion heavily for it's story. If you want a measure for what this games like then think the dungeon sections of old school Zelda made into an entire game.
Isaac and his very religious mother live together happily until one day she starts hearing the voice of God who tells her Isaac is full of sin. First she takes his clothes and belongings away from him but unsatisfied the voice tells her more needs to be done. Next she locks him in his room but again she is told more must be done. Finally the voice tells her that to prove her faith she must sacrifice Isaac. As she approaches his room with a kitchen knife he desperately searches for an escape, in his search he discovers a trap door leading to the basement. With no other choice he flees...
Sunday, 25 October 2015
Wow, they just keep churning these out, I felt for sure Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension was about the ninth or tenth one in this often tedious series but it is only the sixth. To make things try and feel fresh this time around for once you can actually see the ghost haunting people via the use of a magical camera.
It is December 2013 and Ryan, his wife Emily and their daughter Leila have recently moved into a new house, it is not long before Ryan discovers a strange video camera and a box full of old home movies. The camera is strange in that it seems to be able to pick up things that are not visible with the naked eye. His brother Mike is staying at the house after a messy break up and one night while stoned the two decide to watch some of the home videos; what they see is quite odd. The videos from the late 1980's feature two girls; Katie and Kristi (from Paranormal Activity 3) who are being hypnotised by a creepy cult guy and who seem to be able to see into present day. The strange camera starts to pick up more and more hidden activity in the house and soon the family come to the shocking conclusion that some sort of ghost has a special interest in their young daughter.
Friday, 23 October 2015
Bloody Knuckles is a Canadian horror directed by Matt O'Mahoney due for release by Artsploitation Films. It features as it's main focus a severed hand which acts in the vein of Thing from The Addams Family crossed with Ash's evil hand off of Evil Dead II with a bit of Idle Hands thrown in for good measure, obviously making the film a horror comedy.
Travis (Adam Boys) is a controversial underground comic writer who tries his best to offend with his publication. After his latest issue pokes fun at local Chinese businessman Leonard Fong he finds himself kidnapped, for Mr Fong is secretly the head of the Golden Dragons; a local criminal gang. Wanting to give a lesson he orders his gang to cut off Travis's writing hand. With his lesson learnt a defeated Travis abandons his art, but things don't go so smoothly when his now somehow sentient severed hand inexplicably turns up wanting revenge on the Golden Dragons...
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
I did not like Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later when I first saw it, after the pretty good series before this felt like a bump up into main stream territory, to be honest I'm still pretty lukewarm on it. Also I have only just noticed what a long ridiculous title it has.
H20 is a direct sequel to Halloween II and completely wipes the time line of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, as far as this is concerned those three didn't even happen. So it has been twenty years since Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis) had a night of terror when her brother came for her and she is now the headmistress of a private school. She still lives in fear of Myers whose body was never found and so gets extra jumpy every Halloween, it seems she has good reason to be nervous as this time he does come back, but with her son in danger Laurie decides this time she is going to confront her demons and fight back.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
The Ninja Gaiden series is known for it's punishing difficulty but is also considered quite a solid series (with the exception of Ninja Gaiden 3) so when a kooky zombie themed spin off was announced there was much concern it would not be very good. Me personally? I have always found the series too difficult and actually a bit boring so despite Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z getting near universal low scores when I saw it cheap I picked it up to see for myself what it was like.
In Yaiba you play as ninja Yaiba Kamikaze who is actually a bad guy. In the introduction sequence he squares off against series hero Ryu Hayabusa but after a brief sword fight his sword is shattered and he himself is sliced into chunks. Sometime later he reawakens to discover he has been reborn as a cyborg by Forge Industries, while he was dead zombie apocalypse swept the world but that doesn't bother him, all he wants to do is track down Ryu and defeat him once and for all. Ryu meanwhile is on a quest to stop the zombie outbreak and so Yaiba follows his path, but does the shady Forge Industries have a ulterior motive for bring the angry ninja back from the dead?
Monday, 19 October 2015
The trailer left me cold for Crimson Peak but I had heard a lot of people saying good things about it, even my father had heard of the film. It is a Gothic horror directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and is a pretty solid horror excelling for the most part at the genre chosen.
Mia Wasikowska stars as Edith Cushing; the only daughter of a rich American businessman. After Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) an English Baron meets Edith after a meeting with her father the two start a relationship of sorts, Edith has little knowledge that Sharpe is after her for her fathers money. After he turns up murdered Sharpe is there as a shoulder to cry on and not much later they are married and living at Sharpes dilapidated Allderdale Hall in England. However Edith starts to be visited by ghosts and slowly she starts to unravel the dark secret of Crimson Peak (the nickname locals give the house due to the blood red clay it stands on). Sharpe and his sister Lucille are certainly not as innocent as at first appears.
Sunday, 18 October 2015
I was recently contacted by Laszlo Illes about an Indiegogo campaign that is currently in progress for his hoped for horror film The Basement that he is going to direct, write and produce . Illes describes the film as an 'independent, high quality, and super scary UK horror film'. It is due to use actors from Hungary and the UK and would be Illes's first international feature film.
Set in Budapest a group of international students are having a house party at some flats to celebrate the end of their exams. With the party shut down by the police there are only a few stragglers left, one of which suggests to the others that they try and perform a seance for fun. Not long after doing this strange things start to happen and the group end up investigating odd noises coming from the basement which up to this point had always been locked. Once inside the real horror begins and the friends must try to survive whilst trying to find a way to escape the now locked basement.
Saturday, 17 October 2015
So Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is the sixth film in the series, but the fifth to feature the mask wearing slasher Michael Myers. I have seen it many times before but it was only after seeing it today I realised what an utter mess it is. This had a troubled making with many of the actors in it disowning the movie due to the innumerable changes made, and the terrible editing. Interesting fact; the title was suggested due to the extreme problems the cast and crew encountered during the filming.
Curse is set six years after the events of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Michael Myers and Jaime had been presumed dead in the massacre at the Haddonfield police station (which ended that film) but had actually been secreted away by a mysterious cult. All this time it turns out Myers had been controlled by this cult in order to fulfil a ritual that will ensure prosperity (or something barmy like that). After Jaime gives birth to a boy a cult nurses conscience gets the better of her and she helps the girl and her baby escape. However Myers is hot on their heels and it isn't long before he has finally murdered his niece, but the baby has been secreted away and is discovered by creepy Tommy (a survivor from the original Halloween). Tommy teams up with Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and Kara (whose son has been targeted as the next Myers) in order to finally stop the killer.
Thursday, 15 October 2015
I first watched and reviewed (in draft) American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire last Sunday, and I had planned to put up my review Tuesday, however it vanished off Blogger and so I find myself today having to rewrite my review and try and remember what I wrote. Slew Hampshire is an indie horror that was written, directed, and edited by Flood Reed.
It is Kid's 18th birthday and so to celebrate, his friends Buddy, Dude-Guy and Bro (Dayo Okeniyi from The Hunger Games) decide to drive him out to a secret strip club that Bro's creepy linguistic teacher tells the boys about. However on the way to this alleged strip joint the group end up kidnapped at the hands of a bunch of murderous raping rednecks. As if this were not bad enough a band of roving Norse wild men also enter the scene, and soon the four friends find themselves hunted by both groups as they try to find a way to escape the madness.
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
For a few months I had been hearing people go on about how great they thought the Scream TV show was, then one day it turned up on UK Netflix and I just had to see it, and from pretty much right away I was hooked. I had thought the show would be a sequel to the often dodgy films but was interested to find this is actually more of a reboot telling an original tale.
After a cruel and embarrassing YouTube video goes viral the perpetrators; Nina and her boyfriend Tyler end up dead at the hands of a hooded figure wearing a creepy surgical mask. This is only the tip of the iceberg and soon Nina's friend Emma (Willa Fitzgerald) finds herself at the centre of a sick game. An unknown person keeps calling her, threatening her, dropping hints about her family's secret past, while one by one her friends turn up dead. An incident in which a disfigured boy went on a killing spree fifteen years previous seems to be the key to the mystery of just who is trying to recreate the terror.
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
It is that time of year again and as part of my Halloween plans I wanted to watch the rest of the Halloween films I had not yet reviewed. Previously of the originals I have done Halloween, Halloween II, and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, I would have started with Halloween III: Season of the Witch but I wanted to lay in bed to watch a film and could not find my VHS copy of that one! Also as an aside this review was originally meant for Thursday but Blogger decided to delete the review I had planned to put up today.
Halloween 5 takes place exactly one year after the events of the fourth instalment. Believed dead after being shot to pieces, falling down a mine shaft and getting blown up (!) the psychotic Michael Myers has instead survived, spending a year being looked after by a hermit in the mountains. Myers niece Jamie (Danielle Harris) meanwhile now lives in a children's mental institution after her encounter with her uncle left her a mute and prone to psychotic episodes. She also seems to have picked up a psychic connection to him and so when he returns to Haddonfield once more she knows. With the manic Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence) again out to stop Myers will the killer succeed in his obsessive goal to kill Jaime?
Monday, 12 October 2015
I brought this game when it came out back in 2010, so yes, it did take me five years to finish. In that time I had two playthroughs, my first took me all the way to the end of the game but my interest faded as I waited for the DLC to be released. My next play through started a year or so back, I have finally finished it today. Now I kind of had to panic play as I learnt Fallout 4 is due out next month and I didn't want this to still be hanging around. As such for my final push I put the difficulty down to very easy, this was not due to the game being too hard, more that I needed to quickly mop up what was left, namely the four DLC packs.
It is 2281 and four years after the events of Fallout 3 though you play as an unrelated character in an unrelated place. two hundred and four years since nuclear Armageddon destroyed civilisation. You play as a courier who had been charged with delivering a package to New Vegas, the game starts with you a prisoner of Benny; a small time gangster. He executes you and buries you in a shallow grave. However you somehow survive this ambush and wanting revenge, as well as answers of just what it was you were delivering you head off into the Mojave wasteland. This is a world where two giant armies; that of the NCR (The New California Republic) and Caesar's Legions (modelling themselves on Ancient Romans) are gearing up for war, your actions will have a direct outcome on who wins.
Sunday, 11 October 2015
Zombeavers is a film I had heard good things about, and at one point I did nearly end up buying it on DVD, but it just sounded a little too silly even if it is kinda about zombies. I am pretty sure the title was come up with long before any semblance of a plot was formed.
A canister of toxic chemicals is accidentally knocked into a lake, finally ending up at a beaver dam where the chemicals spray all over the creatures. Not long later Mary, Zoe and Jenn arrive at Mary's cousins log cabin by the lake for a weekend of relaxation (followed soon after by their boyfriends) but the group soon encounter a mutated beaver which they mistake for having rabies. The following day mutated beavers (zombeavers) attack en mass and the group end up barricaded in their cabin under assault from a pack of undead creatures. With one of their group missing a foot they desperately need to find a way to escape the evil things and get to a hospital...
Friday, 9 October 2015
I had been debating whether to see Solace as a potential film for review for quite a few weeks now, I finally decided I would and so headed to my local cinema for the very last showing of this film. Now this is not horror, instead this is a straight thriller but it has some elements that felt appropriate, also as part of my Halloween mission I am needing to watch a lot of films so that i can continue to review one every two days.
Anthony Hopkins stars as John Clancy; a psychic who is called upon from his old friend Agent Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in order to help him and his partner Katherine solve a series of bizarre murders where the killer leaves no trace. Clancy at first refuses to help having given up his work but something among the case files he is given compels him to travel to the city to assist. It is not long before Clancy reveals that not only is the serial killer they are after also a psychic, but that he has far better abilities than himself and is able to know exactly what the people hunting him are going to do, and that the trio will be in grave danger should they continue their hunt.
Thursday, 8 October 2015
I was very excited when I first learnt that The Walking Dead was to receive a spin off show, after all that's an amazing program so how could a spin off, even one with far less budget fail to impress? Over six episodes of near tedium I came to learn the hard way just how this could indeed fail to impress.
A strange disease has taken root in America, yet for Travis and his family the world is still pretty much normal, rumours of this disease are just that; rumours and so daily life continues. However when Travis's junkie son Nick turns up in hospital babbling about walking corpses events in the city soon start to escalate, and pretty soon it is apparent to all that a world changing event is in motion, one that will change things forever.
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
When I first came up with my list of horror films I would be watching for Halloween 2015 I had some breathing space to swap out films for ones I got given for review. Indie comedy horror The Slashening is one such film. This comedy horror comes from the same people who did Fear Town, USA and features many of the same actors, despite being unrelated to it there are even some actors playing the same characters.
Lucy and her friends are having a get together at Eva's home (as her parents are away) in order to help Lucy get over breaking up with her cheating boyfriend Brett. Early on in the evening a cop calls warning the girls not to leave the property as there is a killer on the loose, yet even staying in the property becomes a bad idea as one by one the girls and their friends are brutally killed off by a hooded figure, but why is the killer targeting them?
Monday, 5 October 2015
I haven't seen The Monster Squad since I was a kid, I used to make my parents repeatedly rent out the film from the local video rental shop, it appealed to me back then because of the amount of different classic movie monsters it features. I have to say watching it now I had no idea it contained such a high body count, as well as a fair bit of swearing!
Every hundred years at the stroke of midnight a magical amulet is able to open a gateway to Hell that can suck away all evil from the world. Van Helsing fails in his attempt to do this in the nineteenth century and so in modern day (well the 1980's) a band of monsters led by Dracula (Duncan Regehr) arrive in America to prevent the amulet from being used once again. This magical device just so happens to be located in a small town where a group of social outcast kids obsessed with movie monsters live, when they learn of the arrival of these evil beings they formulate a plan to stop them.
Sunday, 4 October 2015
Soma is the new survival horror game from Frictional Games whose previous work includes Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Much like that game this features virtually no combat at all, most of the game is exploration with some stealth sections occasionally. I knew the location of the game world but I had no idea it would be so sci-fi focused. The plot is by far the best part of this and so I will really try and avoid any spoilers as this is really something that should be experienced first hand.
You play as Canadian Simon Jarrett who in 2015 goes in for some experimental treatment as he has terminal brain damage which has left him with only weeks left to live. During getting his brain scanned Simon passes out, when he awakens he is shocked to find he is no longer in Toronto, instead he discovers he is in a research complex deep at the bottom of the ocean. As if things were not confusing enough he learns that it is nearly a hundred years in the future and that the vast majority of humanity has been destroyed due to a cataclysmic meteorite impact, the complex saved due to its location deep in the sea. Over radio he befriends a woman named Catherine who has a mission for him to do that just might save what is left of mankind, however the ruined base he is at is full of horrors...
Saturday, 3 October 2015
This is another film I have being meaning to watch for review, alas again due to another iconic person sadly passing earlier this year. The People Under the Stairs is written and directed by horror legend Wes Craven and is quite the under rated classic. The general message of the rich taking advantage of the poor coincidently has a bit in common with my first Halloween film They Live.
Learning on his 13th birthday that he and his poor family are going to be evicted by their cruel landlords unless they can pay rent by the morning Fool (Brandon Adams) reluctantly teams up with family friend Leroy (Ving Rhames) and his partner in order to rob the landlords house as it is known that they have an expensive coin collection there. However once in the giant house Fool soon ends up all alone as it turns out the landlord couple are psychotic and don't take kindly to intruders. Not only are they and their vicious dog out for his blood but the house is full of deadly booby traps and all the exits all locked up. In Fool's search for an escape he comes across the couples terrified daughter Alice who decides to help him out, and also discovers...the people under the stairs.
Friday, 2 October 2015
There are lots and lots of apps on smart phones that let you alter your appearance, and probably a tonne of them let you become a zombie. Modern technology always astounds me and while this app is not perfect by any means I had a lot of fun pulling faces on it.
Turned is actually the first face altering app I have ever used, I don't usually bother with things like this but the people behind it sent me an email and so I thought I would check it out. The press release proclaims it to be the first mobile app that 'harnesses augmented reality and facial tracking to give users the powers to create and send zombie videos with photo-real special effects in real time'. It goes on to say the technology has been used for Hollywood special effects in films such as Godzilla.
Thursday, 1 October 2015
As mentioned in one of my rare general blog posts I am going to be reviewing a horror film every two days for the month of Shocktober and I'm kicking things off with John Carpenter's They Live as a tribute to wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper who of course sadly passed away earlier this year.
Piper stars as Nada; a homeless drifter who arrives in town looking for work. He befriends builder Frank (Keith David) who finds him a place to stay in the homeless community. While watching TV one night a strange broadcast takes over the airwaves, in it a man proclaims that society is being brain washed, this gets Nada interested and he soon discovers a strange group operating nearby that are related to this strange signal. He gets his hands on a bizarre pair of sunglasses and discovers to his horror when he puts them on that all is not as it seems. Where before billboards and advertisements were full of images and colour now they just have stark words such as 'Obey', 'Consume' and 'Marry and Reproduce', even worse it seems about one tenth of the population are actually hideous alien creatures living silently among humanity...