comment, directors, gems of netflix, guest blog, Hidden treasures, horror, Movies, Verite film magazine

Guest blog – XX marks the future

Hello my good fiends, to mark the passing of Samhain and the beginning of winter, I am bringing you only the second ‘guest’ post in this blogs brief history. A few words of introduction, apart from being a dear friend of mine (one who I shall be having for dinner soon) Mr David William Hall was my editor at the late and highly lamented Verite Magazine (all issues archived online here). Along with Toby Weidmann editor of Official Walking Dead Magazine, I credit David’s gossamer editorial touch, critical insight, and encouragement for making my writing at least passably readable.

Obviously the views and opinions that follow are the author’s own, but they appear with the complete endorsement of this blog, with the caveat that I liked the Annie Clark segment of XX, and still think Rosemary’s Baby is a classic horror film. Continue reading

Best of 2017, comment, directors, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews, SAVAGE CINEMA!

Is Darren Aronofsky’s mother! the most reviled masterpiece of 2017? – Spoilers ahoy!

Darren Aronofsky’s new film mother! arrived in nachoplexes this weekend (15th September) carrying a huge weight of anticipation following a carefully calibrated and secretive marketing campaign and a premiere screening at the Venice Film Festival that provoked both applause and catcalls from the audience (at least at the early morning press screening). Now sooner did it arrive than it died at the box office, opening below projections with a reported $7.5m in the US and achieving a rare F from Cinemascore, the lowest possible rating from the site that polls opening weekend audiences in the US as they leave the theatre.

Equating the worth of a movie to its box office success is something only idiots do, but it is interesting to consider why Aronofsky’s film has received such a rough reception from audiences whilst simultaneously being generally well received by critics. That is what I’m going to try to do with this blog whilst also discussing the film, and my personal interpretation of its meaning in depth.

In order to achieve this, I will thoroughly spoil the film. So if you haven’t seen it and you intend to… do not read past the jump. In fact, even if you don’t intend to see it, don’t read past the jump. Because who knows, one night you might stumble over it in late night TV, or find it as an in-flight movie (a hilariously unlikely prospect, but you never know). Trust me, you should see this film as cold as possible for it to realize maximum effect. Continue reading

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What’s going on Alfred? “Um, how best to describe it sir?” – Batman v Superman and the exquisite madness of Zach

Beware, ahead lies spoilers and madness in a sort of defence of gazillian dollar mega-biffage epic Batman v Superman. I’ve probably lost my mind… Continue reading

comment, crime, directors, Favourite films, horror, Movies, Uncategorized, Verite film magazine

“John Doe has the upper hand!” In the frame – Se7en

This article was first published in the January 2015 issue of Verite Film Magazine. Before you proceed this was for a running feature called ‘In the frame in which Verite writers wrote about their favorite scenes in movies. This was my one entry in the strand and looks at a scene from near the very end of director David Fincher’s 1995 masterpiece of neo-noir horror, Se7en. If you haven’t seen the movie and you read this, I will personally visit you in the night and force feed you Spam till you burst. Spoilers okay! You have been warned. Continue reading

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Blog: Why Patrick Brice’s Creep should make you reconsider found footage horror

Of all film genres, the one that has simultaneously seized the day and arguably been most negatively impacted by the massive shifts in film production, distribution and consumption caused by digital technologies has been the horror film. Continue reading

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Guest blog – Mother’s milk is sacred: Mad Max reborn as a feminist [SPOILERS]

Written by the warrior woman, Jacqui Barr

Mother’s milk is sacred in the world of Mad Max: Fury Road. To see an adult male drink it is transgressive not just because we are squeamish about such things – after all this is a post-apocalyptic world and the film starts with Tom Hardy’s Max Rockatansky eating a live two-headed lizard – no, it is because this milk is being coerced from mothers – dead babies in arms – in order for men to trade it. In the brutal patriarchy that has risen in the wasteland even a woman’s breast milk is not respected. Therefore when Max, covered in another person’s blood, washes himself in mothers’ milk, he is definitively reborn. It is a hugely important totemic symbol to the women he travels with, and for the audience it signals that (blimey-oh-riley) Max has become a feminist. Continue reading

british film, comment

The Regent Street Cinema, the birthplace of film culture in London makes a grand return

The first public cinema in Britain, the historic Regent Street Cinema reopened last night (the 6th of May) following a three year refurbishment process.

London’s first public film screening was held at the site on the 21st of February 1896 when the Lumière Brothers brought their Cinématographe show across the Channel from Paris. By accounts cinema in a capital got off to a rather slow start with only 54 customers in attendance, but the popularity of this new form of entertainment soon grew as it become incorporated into music hall programmes. The cinema was closed to the public and converted into a lecture theatre some 35 years ago by its owners the University of Westminster, now it is resurrected as a repertory cinema showcasing a carefully curated programme of contemporary independent, foreign language, and classic cinema.  Continue reading

comment, exploitation, horror, Movies

The House on the Edge of the Park – nasty for life 2

Following on from my previous re-blog about I Spit On Your Grave, I thought I’d follow that up with a second post about another notorious ‘video nasty’ known for its shocking and transgressive use of sexualised violence. In this case it is a film I think is considerably more artful in execution, as well as explicitly political in subtext, the 1980 Italian film The House on the Edge of the Park. This was originally written in 2012 comparing the film to a Chilean horror film called Hidden in the Woods which had been presented with some fanfare as the latest thing in shock at that year’s FilmFour London FrightFest festival. Needless to say, Hidden in the Woods has been quickly forgotten (although predictably there is a US remake mooted) but The House on the Edge of the Park is still notorious.

Continue reading

comment, exploitation, horror, Movies

I Spit On Your Grave, nasty for life.

The news that Anchor Bay has taken the rights to a second sequel to the 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave first made me despair that anyone would wish to franchise rape revenge. Then it made me reach back a few years and dig out a piece I wrote on the first blu-ray release of the original 1978 film. I’ve given this a light rewrite from the version first put online in 2010.

I should forewarn you that this isn’t really a review, more an essay/comment piece and as such will thoroughly spoil the film’s plot (such as it is possible to ‘spoil’ I Spit on Your Grave). Also while the majority of the original video nasties are now rather quaint, this one and a few others (Cannibal Holocaust, Last House on the Left, and House on the Edge of the Park spring to mind) retain their power to shock and appall. As such the plot details may offend. If in doubt, do not read on.  Continue reading

comment, Movies

‘Don’t look back’ said the pillar of salt – my barely literate first writings on film

Okay, they say a life unexamined is not worth living, and so it is with writing. Here I am cracking the seal on a collection of really old film reviews written in the early nineties, mainly at 3am. I present these unaltered, with only minor typos corrected. I have even left in the director credit on Dust Devil to one Paul Stanley (it’s Richard Stanley in case you need to be told).

Back in the early nineties kids, there was no internet I had my battered copy of the Time Out Film Guide and the impressive collection of big box VHS tapes on the shelves of the late and lamented Edinburgh video emporium Alphabet Video for research. These were published in the pages of Convulsion, a music fanzine to which I contributed excitable and occasionally chemically deranged writings on the pop platters of the day and interviews with bands mostly conducted in toilets backstage at the Edinburgh Venue (RIP also you were a foetid pit, but I loved you).

Anyway, mostly this is of stuff I will have seen at the Edinburgh Film Festival, the occasional pre-release VHS from Alphabet, and the odd bootleg. Dig in… Continue reading