The Horror

October 2, 2019

80 years young, and we’ve lost one of our lesser known icons. He may not have been Christopher Lee or Vincent Price, but Sid Haig was a character. A ‘character actor’ that had featured in films from 1962 until the day he died, there are still several to be released starring the great man, including his last time as Captain Spaulding (3 From Hell, on DVD October 14th). The homicidal clown, in Rob Zombie’s films about a gang of maniacs, is how most people know of Haig, yet he has appeared in many things you may not be aware of.

Think of a TV show from your childhood, go on: TJ Hooker, A-Team, Charlie’s Angels, Mission Impossible, Buck Rogers, Dukes of Hazzard, Six million dollar man, Man from U.N.C.L.E., even Star Trek and Batman. He was in them all, and that was only the tip of the iceberg....

August 5, 2019

As the proverb goes, never work with children or animals while making a film. Well, this director threw those words at the wall.

If you are wanting a werewolf film in the manner of early 1980s: The Howling, Wolfen, Company of Wolves, or the American variety that entered London, you will be let down. Also, if you are in the mood for the cheap SyFy channel creature features in all their crappy CGI glory, think again. This film is a Polish character study that does not fit into the conventional horror box - it’s real horror!

It is the year 1945, and a group of children have survived nearby Gross Rosen concentration camp. After growing up in these conditions, they have already lived through hell, what else could face them? Lacking in communication and social skills, they are evacuated, afte...

July 10, 2019

Anybody going into the cinema expecting a straight horror film may be disappointed, but this is a theme if anyone knows the production company A24. Their output consists of arthouse films that have either been surprise hits or two-days-and-gone experiments. In other words, they take chances. Have a look and you might be thrown by what you thought they did by reputation, and what they do in reality. Also, you might see another element - loyalty. They take risks on first-time directors or avant-garde artists working on the very periphery of the circuit. Sometimes it has paid off, with a few breakout hits on their hands. This particular reviewer could go through all the best experiences in film over the last five years and the vast majority were produced by this company, and here we get to th...

Hollywood’s continued fixation with classic ’80s horror has certainly produced some variable results - from the nostalgia-rich, wisecracking charm of Andrés Muschietti’s IT through to the blandly characterless butchering of Poltergeist back in 2015. With many such remakes proving to be as lifelessly uninspiring and plastic as the vacant-eyed, mass manufactured ‘Buddi’ dolls infesting this box-fresh new adaptation of Child’s Play, tracking down genuine creative spark in an industry riddled with sterile, corporate clones is always a real pleasure. Happily for us, director Lars Klevburg’s freshly released re-imagining is one such riotously entertaining shocker.

Let’s begin by first addressing the question of the...

How can a Batman film be a horror movie?

Well...for starters there is a whole subsection of the genre that fits into carnival horror. Take the films of Rob Zombie for example, or Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse. Then you've got the huge German expressionism influence on Tim Burton, one of the main characters is called Max Shreck! This film is not just a dark comic book, it is genuinely disturbing, full of crazed ideas and the Penguin is a villain who brings the viewer close to being sick with that green ooze dripping off his lips then down his chin scene after scene. Oscars don't often go to these type of performances, but this deplorable character deserved awards.

Then there is the fact that after Batman made a shedload of money, the studio said that Burton could make any film he wanted (after h...

March 21, 2019

From 1983-84, the director Jonas Åkerlund was a drummer for the Swedish band Bathory, which would later inspire the Norwegian black metal movement. He stated in a 2018 interview that when that culture developed in the '90s and became "too serious", he left the music scene and moved on to film-making.  He was always the man for the job of adapting the 1997 book of the same title. People may forget Metallica’s 'Man UNkind' music video was his, with the same cast, as a preface for covering Mayhem’s story and especially Euronymous’ downfall.

You could have done this film one of two ways: showing the scene, or from the scene. The former means making it into a dramatic story that helps the film play to a general audience. The secondary would include making a gritty, darker film told fro...

January 29, 2019

1973 was an important year for horror. For that is the year that 'The Exorcist' was released, singlehandedly putting companies like Hammer out of business. Even most contemporary shockers could not keep up with the image of a teenage girl masturbating with a crucifix while possessed, hissing out the infamous words ''Your mother sucks cocks in hell''. Horror had to catch up.

That same year a film came out that was between two stools. It is known as a cheap knock-off of 'The Haunting'; the horror archetype from 10 years before, and therefore of a bygone age. Yet it is quite forward-thinking in its style, in fact having a lighting and colour scheme that would be used to similar effect four years later in the cult Italian classic 'Suspiria'. The source novel is by the great writer Richard Mathe...

January 12, 2019

The most divisive director working today could arguably be Lars Von Trier and whether one considers him as someone who sets out to shock or not, he manages it either way. His latest caused a large walkout at Cannes, where he had seven years previously been banned, but managed to be readmitted. All is forgiven? Not quite, it seems.

So, down to the film in question: The House that Jack built. Named after a Metallica song, some might not expect much from such meagre beginnings. However, this is a piece of art that demands more than one viewing. It is also a full-on psychological horror film full of the allegorical elements people have come to expect from the great Dane. Jack is an engineer who has dreams, aspirations to build a magnificent house based on his architectural ideas....

September 19, 2018

With its numerous sequels, spin-offs and assorted prequels, you’d be forgiven for thinking James Wan’s multi-million grossing horror franchise was the stuff of lazy, creatively exhausted film-making. But rather than the relentless regurgitation and rehashing of a provenly lucrative storyline, closer inspection reveals that, despite discernible ties with previous titles, each skilfully crafted instalment displays more than a smattering of its own unique cinematic merits. Take, for example, the impeccable period detail and deeply disquieting possession scenes of The Conjuring II or the quiet, slow-burning menace of Annabelle: Creation.  

Enter our most recent case in point: The Nun. A lavishly crafted gothic horror set some twenty years before famed husband and w...

 Be it in the lurching, coldly robotic menace of Jason Voorhees or Freddie Krueger’s oozing, lacerated flesh and knife-edged one-liners, there’s long been an irresistible lure and magnetism about 1980s horror. As generously drenched in gore as it is steeped in personality and nightmarish atmospherics, it seems our appetite for such blood-curdling classics has never been more insatiable. But while the big-budget likes of IT may have dominated cinema screens everywhere last September, a humble little slasher by the name of Terrifier has been quietly taking the charts by storm following its awaited DVD release last month. With this lovingly crafted tale of a killer clown being led by the bloody and blackly comedic stylings of David Howard Thornton, the American acting talent tells Dark Matter...

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