Rating 15 Length 1h30 Release 19.07.2014 Director Richard Bates Jnr About An unemployed man who can talk to supernatural beings joins forces with a bartender to hunt down a vengeful ghost that has been terrifying their town. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Free with Ads on Amazon Prime Trailer:
It’s really clunky for such a run time. It’s almost as if they only had enough story for a short, so added lots of filler to get to the official run time of ‘a movie’
In fact, what it does feel like? A rejected pilot. Which is really quite sad, because I would have watched the shit out of that show.
Kat Dennings is the the saving grace of the film. The issue? She’s not in it nearly as much as she should be.
The aforementioned Kat Dennings. I’m not entirely sure she’s ever acting and, instead, offering up herself in whoever she plays. That said, I do not care. She’s awesome, she improves a film 1000%.
Matthew Gray Gubler is perfect for this role and scenes with Dennings just give him a spotlight to shine. It really is just a shame that they’re both bogged down with a raft of ‘other’ that makes the film hard to engage with.
I liked the attempted story, just not the execution.
Rating 18 Length 2h01 Release 28.09.2022 Director David Bruckner About A young woman must confront the sadistic, supernatural forces behind an enigmatic puzzle box responsible for her brother’s disappearance. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Hulu Trailer:
Well, they removed all the Britishness from it. I’m bummed about this because Clive Barker is a Scouser and also wrote Candyman. We have a growing film industry here in Liverpool so I would have loved to have seen it being filmed/set here. At least with Candyman there is a rational and the story is utilised in a way that the environment comes into play. This, it could literally be anywhere.
It takes a tad too long before we see any of the Cenobites. I think it is a good haldway through. Which would work if it was a new film and we’d not seen the designs. We had, the suspense didn’t work.
The Cenobites here have a much more organic look to them. Gone is the BDSM latex and they’ve passed on the chains to Mr Grey. Now they’re sporting a more steampunk look and flayed designs. Now, I’m not saying the original was bad, but this is bad ass!
The film is not about fan favourites and call backs. Yes, it takes what works from the original concept, but this is it’s own realisation. There’s a much more cohesive story, a clear protagonist and no questionable motivation to kill for a cause. It’s cleaner and it’s a solid foundation for any sequels to be built should this be a success.
A vast improvement in that I wasn’t feeling physically sick and I certainly like that it wasn’t a reboot, but a reimagining.
Rating 18 Length 1h34 Release 11.09.1987 Director Clive Barker About A couple moves to an old house to find the man’s brother and the wife’s former lover who has turned into an ugly beast. He now bids the woman to bring him human sacrifices to help him be whole again. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Free with ads on Amazon Prime Trailer:
It’s a bit of a mess, production wise. It’s clearly filmed in London, but the house is a family inheritance to the American in the couple?! It’s considered a “British” film, but every attempt is made to suggest that it’s set in America: including some bad dubbing. Don’t get me wrong, I hate it when it’s done the other way around too. It pulls me out of the film completely.
I’m meant to believe that Julia fucks Frank within five minutes of meeting him and that’s enough for her to not only accept him as the inside out baboon from The Fly, but go off and lure men back to the house even the Young Ones would be ashamed of?! Fuck off, I’m not buying it, and because I’m not buying it the film is shit.
I feel a bit like Frank when he’s being spun around; I don’t know where to focus and I really want to be sick. There’s something about the combination of sex and violence that feels exploitative.
The Cenobite designs are a thing of nightmares, but incredibly well made. You can easily see why The Priest (aka Pinhead) has become so iconic.
Andrew Robinson all but wasted until that final act when you can see why he was place in the role and then it makes sense. Many will know him from Star Trek, others perhaps from Dirty Harry and he is as much a joy here as he is in anything else you might see him in.
Ashley Laurence holds her own as daughter Kirsty. I almost wish we’d been following her from the start; it certainly would have given the film more grounding and a character focus.
Much like The Fly, this film goes into the pile that make me physically sick. For those that can handle it, it’s American Werewolf in London and The Thing cranked up to 11.
Rating 18 Length 1h29 Release 12.4.2017 Director Tom Hollad About When Billy runs over an old gypsy woman, he is cursed by her husband to lose weight rapidly and uncontrollably. Soon, the experience turns deadly for him and everyone around him. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Now TV Trailer:
Body horror isn’t for everyone and some scenes were even tough for me to handle.
The tone isn’t quite figured out. There’s an element of satire there, but it is so hard to tell if it’s self aware. The fat suit does not help matters. It isn’t easy based on the subject content and there just isn’t the time in the industry for someone to do a Christian Bale 360 during production.
There’s no one to root for. Not a single likeable character. Yeah, sure, you want to like Joe Mantegna but he’s a fucking mob boss. Even telling yourself its just Fat Tony doesn’t quite do it. You have the Romanian Gypsy community. Okay, dude should have been watching the road and not having his dick sucked. However, I’m not sure cursing three people is justice when your entire family are into a second century of living.
Call me woke, too PC or a snowflake, I don’t give a fuck. The representation of the Gypsy community in this film is appalling and outdated. Yes, I enjoyed the movie but I still have the point it out given the problems the community faces both here in the UK and around the world. For every attempt to throw a positive light, there’s bullshit like this that boils them down to a horror archetype (See Drag Me to Hell for an other example)
Much in the same way the anthology film Cat’s Eye (1985) takes rather mundane concepts and unspools the thread into an outlandish nightmare, Thinner gets under your skin. Hell, I’m currently trying to loose weight and I’m a little more aware of my body right now. There’s also the idea that Billy keeps on eating. Fuck me, does he eat. I think that turned my stomach more than anything else.
Intentional of not, I found it incredibly funny. The very fact that the whole film is catapulted forward on the grounds that Billy’s wife decides to give him a blowie in the car is so nonsensical that you have to laugh.
Stephen King makes a cameo! Bloody brilliant!
Blow jobs in a car were ruled out of the bucket list when Gillian Taylforth was arrested on the A1 before I even knew what one was but I’m sure they’re every man’s fantasy. However this film is probably enough to put all men off requesting them again for life. It’s a bat-shit crazy film, economic with its run time and will have you questioning the drugs King was on at the time of writing this story.
Rating 12 Length 1h44 Release 05/10/2022 Director John Lee Hancock About Craig, a young boy, befriends the elderly billionaire John Harrigan. Craig then gives him a mobile phone. However, when the man dies, Craig discovers that he can communicate with his friend from the grave. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
Since when did the early noughts become so far away that they can be done in flashback. I felt personally attacked at this retrospective narration like it was decades ag…. oh!
It’s a very slow burn. From the premise, I didn’t think we’d see much of Donald Sutherland. While there’s no complaints of having the legend on the screen, I do feel as if many audience members would have preferred more of the post-death phone mystery than the character build up.
It certainly tapped into my fears and nightmares. It is atmospheric and chilling, rather than an out and out horror.
Jaeden Martell makes not only a strong impression as a lead, but as an actor who is able to portray the character of Craig from teen years into the cusp of adulthood.
Donald Sutherland. While it was, I cannot deny, upsetting to see the man so frail, he gave an performance that chilled me to the core. As with many of Stephen King’s characters, there’s an element of ambiguity surrounding them. Mr Harrigan is no exception and Donald Sutherland is able to play the character to a tee.
Weirdly, the film gives me Stand by Me and Simon Birch vibes; something which warms the coldness of an October day.
Kirby Howell-Baptise is as on-form as ever in her role as the teacher, and mentor, to Craig. I’m actually only sad that while we seem to be getting her in everything at the moment, no one is recognising the talent and giving her a larger, leading, role.
All in all a very well made fill, but due to a number of scenes that caused me to recall my own father’s passing I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
Rating 18 Length 1h29 Release 12.4.2017 Director Greg McLean (Writer James Gunn) About An ordinary day at the office becomes a horrific quest for survival when 80 employees (John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona) at the Belko Corp. in Bogotá, Colombia, learn that they are pawns in a deadly game. Trapped inside their building, a voice over an intercom tells the frightened staffers that two workers must be killed within 30 minutes. When another ultimatum follows, friends become enemies and new alliances take shape, as only the strongest will remain alive at the end. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: To purchase on Amazon Prime Trailer:
The film looses steam about 40 minutes in. The issue being that the first half is solely relying on the charm of Dave Grohl to keep the story moving. It eventually delivers what the film needs, scenes without Grohl, but far too late and it feels like a mid-production direction change. It’s a shame because if we got some of those ‘rest of the band’ scenes earlier on, it have shaped up the narrative a little better.
In equal measure, the film keeps the rest of the band on the side lines. We see them all drift in and out of scenes, but never without Grohl.
The plot is there, and I guess it’s to do with following a protagonist rather than an ensemble, but it just feels like in an attempt to have some mystery the film left the audience behind.
So many brownie points for not making this a ‘found footage’/ documentary movie. It easily could have been the way they made this. I wouldn’t have survived more than five minutes if it was the case.
Dave Grohl *is* amazing. I’m sure you’d think, based on above, that I was the opinion he was atrocious. Not in the slightest, he was really good. It’s just that I felt the weight of him carrying the film. The sad thing about it though is that he didn’t have to. It’s safe to say that Grohl is awesome, he’s charming and he’s a solid performer. I had a smile on my face for most of the movie.
Once the film shifts its focus at around the hour mark, it gets a second wind and we finally see the other members of the band come to the forefront.
There is this amazing homage to the Exorcist that I just want framed. It’s not so obvious that everyone and your aunt will get it, but if you know… man, it’s Leo-pointing-at-the-tv brilliant.
There’s a blend of both B-movie practical effects and some killer CGI. They’re both used at the right time to keep the films tone and humour.
The music. Can I really talk about a Foo Fighters film without the music? It’s all great. There’s some call backs to their discography which I adored. There’s also a pretty decent cameo that I could rewatch for days. However, the gem of this film is the theme which is heard during the opening credits. It is incredible. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that none other than John Fucking Carpenter helped compose that bad boy! be still my heart!
When you consider other band attempts at playing themselves for the silver screen, this is light years ahead of any others. As a horror movie goes, however, the camera focuses way too much on Grohl until too late and the casual viewer has all but lost interest. Make it more of an ensemble and this would be incredible.
Rating 18 Length 1h26 Release 23.10.1998 Director Steve Miner About After escaping serial killer Michael Myers’ attacks, Laurie Strode relocates to California and adopts a new identity. However, years later, Michael returns to finish what he started. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
I spent a lot of the film writing down question: how has Michael learned to drive? (Rather well I might add), why does Laurie/Keri have a pumpkin that she’s taken the time to carve even though she does let Josh Harnett celebrate Halloween? Why has a coroner been called if the psycho hasn’t been declared dead and why THE FUCK has no one taken that mask off to aid in said declaration?
What I feel is an attempt to humanise Laurie and keep an element of her ‘Final Girl’ innocence, is that bullshit hand reaching tender moment we get between her and Michael. Fuck the hell off, Laurie is not soft and she doesn’t really know him as a brother. No one needed the moment of hesitation from her.
Laurie’s reveal to the boyfriend. Bullshit. Not a chance would he respond like that. He’s not some horndog teen wanting to get his leg over, you’ve spent the last almost-50 minutes building this life around Curtis’ iconic character, making it quite clear that she’s fucking hard work for anyone she lets in. It seems like a well established relationship that’s being kept hidden, that’s one patience dude. It doesn’t matter the reason for the deception, it is still exactly that and I just wish he’d had a more realistic response that that of a frat guy distracted by his hard on. Acceptance without process is such bullshit, and only happens when there’s one person writing both sides. Seriously, give me Will walking away, furious that she’s lied. A natural division that is typical for a horror movie. Have Will killed because he’s refusing to believe Michael Myers is behind him and will no longer humour his paramour. Or, have him realise too late. Literally anything other than “Okay, take your shirt off.”
For a short film, we really do spend a lot of time doing fuck all. There’s interesting things at play, but there’s no payoff. There’s the interesting attempt at exploring Laurie’s trauma and how it manifests as functioning alcoholism. Can you imagine if that’s explored further? She’s told Will who she really is, he’s fucked off to process and she drinks to the point that she’s hazy. That scene in the what I assume is the lunch hall becomes very different. Hell, own the alcoholism and firebomb the bastard?! Probably not the right message, but it’s certainly better that the half baked one we get.
Jamie-Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh sharing scenes together. Oh what a joy it is to see.
The “Williamson Opening”. I couldn’t put my finger on it while I watched, but there was something so familiar but not “Halloween” about that pre-credits, almost detached, sequence. Then I read that it was written by Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson and it all makes sense. However, do not get me started on the mis-casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the oft-expelled Jimmy.
Speaking of the opening, I do love the use of Mr Sandman. Not only as a call back to Carpenter’s second outing, but just in terms of it setting the scene of an idyllic town, the calmness of the 50s ‘family values’ and the charm that brings with it nostalgia. For it to cut mid song, just to remind you what film you are actually watching.
There’s a fair few Easter eggs and homages to other movies. Lip service thank you to Scream and its prominent use of Halloween (1978) in the first of that franchise, the car that Janet Leigh gets into at the end of the day and away for her weekend, down to the mirrored scene between Laurie, Molly (Michelle Williams) and the Shape. There’s so many more. I must say, I’m so very glad that Mike Myers turned down a walk-on cameo. It read like the Jay and Silent Bob one from Scream 3 and just a tad overkill.
Points for not killing my man LL Cool J. Extra points for not referring to or commenting upon the trope that the ‘black guy dies first.’
Upon reflection, this probably wasn’t the best film to put on after week-long nightmares regarding my father, Michael, being returned to me three years after his death. You know, with the whole Michael Myers being unkillable, to the point that he’ll return for yet another sequel despite having his head lobbed off.
Rating 18 Length 1h29 Release 12.4.2017 Director Greg McLean (Writer James Gunn) About An ordinary day at the office becomes a horrific quest for survival when 80 employees (John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona) at the Belko Corp. in Bogotá, Colombia, learn that they are pawns in a deadly game. Trapped inside their building, a voice over an intercom tells the frightened staffers that two workers must be killed within 30 minutes. When another ultimatum follows, friends become enemies and new alliances take shape, as only the strongest will remain alive at the end. Moon: Full moon when the Tree of the Dead is first seen Where to Watch: Netflix and Now TV Trailer:
This film is in my overall top 10. Surprising it would seem to others as apparently I don’t like Johnny Depp. It’s not that I dislike Depp, it’s that I do believe the use of Depp in Burton’s work should have been sparingly. I remember watching this as a rental during one of my summers at Aunt Ursula’s (You’d understand if you saw her). One of those stormy sort of days in which it seemed to get dark unusually early. I remember the poster took pride of place outside Walsall Arboretum in the Summer of 1999. I wasn’t allowed to go see it in the cinema given its age rating and being only 13. Oh, it looked awesome. Then I remember buying it as an ex-rental VHS the summer after. It became the sort of film I would put on and do other things while it was on. While I enjoyed the film in itself, it was the music that perhaps had me watching it as often as I did.
I’ve not watched it for at least two years now. I try to not repeat watch films in an attempt to widen my experiences and in favour of looking to much older films… I say as this film became a legal adult this year.
I would go so far to say that there’s an overload of flashbacks for such a film. However, I’m going to say that the ones I really could do without are those of Ichabod himself. I get that they’re to develop the character and give us insight into his leanings towards science over faith, however it can be deduced from everything else. other than it being a way of presenting a secondary filmic tone, there is very little to gain.
There’s a little too much gloss on what should really have rough edges. Burton works best within the realms of pulp. I love this film, there’s no doubt about that, but it really is missing the B-movie tone that would make it perfect.
Not only is this film an almost love letter to the Hammer Horrors, Burton manages to get two Hammer veterans onto the screen. Christopher Lee and Michael Gough, however fleeting, add a certain atmosphere.
Miranda Richardson is glorious in her duel role. She is, without a doubt, the standout among the ensemble. Which when you consider that involves actors who’ve fought in a galaxy far, far away or battled at the school for witchcraft and wizardry that truly is saying something. This is a woman who has scared the crap out of me and made me laugh within a split second of each other for year in Blackadder, in which the tone is overly buoyant and light. Burton has given her the keys to the gory kingdom and she doesn’t half bring her A-game!
I cannot deny, this film is visually stunning. The filter used, while detracting from the overall gore, adds something so much more sinister in terms of tone.
Ray Park could have been on a par with Andy Serkis. You know, if he wasn’t a massive bag of dicks. Okay, he also couldn’t act for shit, whereas Serkis doesn’t hide behind the CGI. That said, it is Ray Park and not, alas, Christopher Walken, who brings the Headless Horseman to life. Maybe it’s just me and my knowledge going into the film, but the fight scene with Casper Van Dean’s Brom has all the signature moves of Darth Maul. Believe me, it pains me to give this guy credit over Walken, but that’s a testament to how well he performed.
The last of Burton’s greats. A wonderful retelling of Washington Irving’s classic tale with the DNA of a Hammer Horror. A great watch at any time, but the perfect one for the spooky season. Long may it reign as part of my own personal top 10.
Rating PG Length 1h32 Release 19/08/1988 Director Tim Burton About When the deceased couple Adam and Barbara are unsuccessful in scaring away a family that has moved into their old home, they seek the help of bio-exorcist Betelgeuse. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Trailer:
While having a PG rating, there are some elements that might give little ones too much of a scare. Beetlejuice himself was frightening to me as a child, and I still feel a little off kilter when it comes to the snake scene.
This is Burton at his best. It’s crafted beautifully, perfectly cast and a true timeless classic. From those opening bars of Danny Elfman to the happy-ever-after epilogue, this film doesn’t put a foot wrong.
You know you’re in safe hands from the opening scene. The audience learn a lot about Adam and Barb and their life before death in that opening 10 or so minutes. It’s economic, full of foreboding and most viewers will be invested.
The Burton Muses before Depp and Carter. Ryder and Keaton are incredible in what is a heavy hitter casting. Ryder is the perfect strange and unusual Lydia, Keaton is barely recognisable as the eco-exorcist.
The effects! While Burton was aiming for B-movie obviousness, in a world now overloaded with cheap CGI, this is a welcome palate cleanser. It works with the colour palate and homages to other creature features. There’s also what has now become the Burton trademark Claymation for the world beyond the house for Adam and Barb.
There’s always something new to spot. There is so much detail in this film, that you could watch it a hundred times and still have something new to learn. It was only in this recent watch that I noticed Catherine O’Hara’s Delia recycles her husband’s red jumper from an early scene and wears the knitwear as pants.
Burton before he overused Depp in roles really not meant for him, his work was not only watchable, but rewatchable. It’s a perfect treat for an October evening and almost gives pre-Christmas Panto vibes.
Rating 15 Length 1h26 Release 12.4.2017 Director Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement About Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr are vampires who share a flat. Deacon’s servant Jackie leaves her ex-boyfriend Nick inside. Petyr turns him into a vampire and he soon joins them as a flatmate. Moon: no moon sighting that I noticed Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Trailer:
As with most improvisation, the plot can feel a little aimless. For an average viewer, that might be a little off putting or challenging when it comes to focus.
There’s a certain something about the humour of the creatives behind some of the most brilliant New Zealand exports. It’s vegemite, for want of a better word. You are either going to be hooked from the start and love what they produce, or you are going to question the sanity of everyone who tells you to love them.
Mockumentary films are not for everyone. Their style and tone will put a lot of people off.
A vampiric Spinal Tap?! What is not to love? From botched feedings to werewolf rivalry, this film gives you the lovable stupidity of the Tap boys and a centuries old view of a modern house share.
This is an example of incredible improvisation and what stands actors like these apart from the SNL crew. There’s an effortless chemistry between the players and it allows an element of comfort within the apparent aimlessness of the plot. Which, lets face it, is a natural feature of a documentary.
While your Flight of the Concords regulars are as amazing and on point as always, the star of the outing has to be human Stu. A computer tech guy thrown along for the ride through happenstance.
The humour, while niche, is outstanding. Think the IT Crowd, but with New Zealand panache.
The music and soundtrack will haunt you long after the film finishes.
The house share element is frighteningly relatable, the horror is on point and its no surprise that it spawned a tv series and a potential sequel.
Rating PG Length 1h 31 Release 27/09/2022 on dvd and digital 08/10/2022 Syfy broadcast in US Director Karen Lam About A cheer squad’s plan to have a secret practice at a nearby abandoned school on Halloween takes a terrifying turn when their teammates begin disappearing one by one. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: N/A Trailer:
The production value of the franchises seventh outing is rather shocking. While the best is done with what they had, it only makes me wonder what they could have done with a budget closer to the original.
It’s a sanitised slasher horror. Due to its PG rating, this horror is devoid of anything that will scare even the yellowest of bellies. Yes, there’s some heavily implied gnarly endings to the characters. However, it doesn’t have the same Hitchcockian impact that the iconic ‘shower scene’ had.
The final act is so pointless. It’s almost as if it was only put in to use the franchise name.
It is an easy, super silly, watch. Perfect for anyone who wants Slasher lite. Young ones and squeamish alike will be at ease watching this plot unfold.
It’s comical. Both in its deaths and in its dialogue. The actors involved have brilliant timing and saved this film from being a total trash fire.
The cheerleading skill really works with the slasher tropes. It worked really well and helped a number of them evade capture.
It ticks all the boxes for concept and story. The problem lies with its rating. Treating this outing to a 15 rating really would have brought this slasher to life.
Rating 15 Length 1h37 Release 30.09.2007 Director Damon Thomas About In 1988 best friends Abby and Gretchen navigate boys, pop culture and a paranormal force clinging to Gretchen. With help from a mall exorcist, Abby is determined to compel the demon back to the pits of hell — if it doesn’t kill Gretchen first. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Trailer:
It is a slow burn plot. It absolutely pays off, but you have to stick with the set up and some viewers out there today do not have the attention. Especially when you add the fact that this film is not getting a cinema release.
Anyone with 80’s nostalgia fatigue would do well to steer clear of this one. Yes, there’s an somewhat timeless tone that would forgive you if you assumed it was modern day with the 80s fashion back in style. However those who are tired of the era being used in every film and tv show since Stranger Things, will perhaps want to pop this to one side.
The nighttime scenes are made for a cinema. I lost a lost of the action during those scenes. Combine this with the slow burn, and you might just zone out before it gets good.
This film is Jennifer’s Body meets Fight Night, in all the right ways.
The 80s era, the bright colour and pop songs. It all contrasts with the darkness and sinister chill that everyone watching it there to see beautifully.
The friendship ups and downs really resinated with me, as I’m sure it will with others. The film tackles some fairly weighty issues that are really quite cleverly approved and resolved.
Christopher Lowell is always a joy on a project, but in this case he steals the show. Almost to the point that I wish he was much more involved.
The two leads, Elsie Fisher and Amish Miller are one’s to watch. While a slow burn is not my favourite type of film, the two girls and their friendship has me invested from the very start.
It’s a decent watch. Perhaps not quite as good as Freaky, but it will certainly give you enough goosebumps to see you through the spooky season.