‘Halloween Special’ Review: I Spit On Your Grave (1978) (A True Video Nasty?)

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“You came to a nice place”

Halloween is approaching…so I sought out a true video nasty: the original ‘I Spit On Your Grave.’ Last night I settled down with some tomato soup and popped the DVD in the player…

The plot can easily be summed up: a New York lady (Jennifer) goes to the countryside, gets raped by several men, then in various acts of revenge kills them. And there isn’t much in between: the rape scenes take about forty-five minutes of the film up; the murders about forty minutes. So there is little room for exposition, character development, or any of those things necessary to weave a cohesive story. The lady is a novelist, retiring to the country for some inspiration. Of course, when people retire to the countryside, they get a lot closer to ‘nature’ than they intended to in horror films! The men are no-good hicks, referring to women as ‘chicks.’ According to one of them, city girls only come to the village to get laid. So that’s a perfect justification rape! One of them, Matthew, is a ‘retard’ (in their words). So, they are the main characters, and we don’t find out much more about them. Continue reading

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Review: Prometheus (2012) (Or…How NOT To Do A Prequel!)

“It must feel like your God abandoned you”

I recently caught ‘Prometheus’ on television whilst holidaying at Llandudno (don’t judge me!). It was fortuitous, considering ‘Alien Covenant’ was due out at the cinema. My experience watching it at the cinema was not a pleasant one. More than anything, the film was dull. Yes, it may have been inexplicable, unsuccessfully fusing horror with pseudo-philosophical questions about the beginning of human life. It may have been riddled with stupid characters making stupid decisions (but isn’t that the core of most horror films?). It may not have answered any questions it posed. But, most of all, I found myself bored throughout the entire film. Would a re-viewing change my mind about it? Continue reading

Review: Arrival (2016) (Deserves The Hype?)

arrivalSPOILER FREE!

“Memory’s a strange thing”

I watched ‘Arrival’ last Friday, but it’s taken me over a week to process my feelings about it. I’ve been waiting for ‘Arrival’ for a long time. With films like ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Enemy,’ Denis Villeneuve became one of my favourite modern directors (‘Sicario’ was a rare misfire for him in my eyes; click here for my review). His foray into science fiction had me biting at the champ. The rave reviews made me bite harder and probably left me a little deflated when the credits rolled after the film. However, that’s not to say ‘Arrival’ isn’t a great film. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It’s not without flaws, but it is a must see movie. Continue reading

Review: Doctor Strange (2016) (Just Another MCU Origin Story With Trippy Visuals?)

doctor-strange“Stephen, everything is about you”

Fourteen movies in, the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows no signs of slowing down. The latest movie, ‘Doctor Strange,’ has just had an opening weekend in the US of $85 million. Not bad for a film about a superhero few people know about. As we all know, success is not a guarantor of quality. I watched ‘Doctor Strange’ when it opened here in olde England. It’s taken me a week or so to pin down my thoughts about it. Is it a quirky adventure that sets itself apart from the wider MCU? Or is it the generic MCU origin story with magic and eye-popping effects?  Continue reading

Review: I, Daniel Blake (2016) (Iain Duncan Smith’s Favourite Film?)

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“Can you walk more than fifty metres?”

Not only did I see my first Woody Allen movie this year (‘Café Society’), but this week I saw my first ever Ken Loach film. And what a film to break my Loach virginity. ‘I, Daniel Blake’ should be essential viewing for every English citizen. It’s the story of a man (the eponymous 59 year old) who struggles through the modern day English benefits system after suffering from a heart attack. His doctor says that he isn’t fit to work, but the government (or, rather, a government-appointed company) deem him fit to work. What follows is a stomach-churning and depressing look at what happens to those struggling in modern day England. ‘Benefits Street’ may give some people lurid entertainment, but ‘I, Daniel Blake’ shows us the plight of the truly needy in Britain who are left out in the cold (usually, literally). Men and women are stripped of their humanity, and I felt empty and distraught after watching Loach’s latest political rage against the machine. Continue reading

‘Halloween Special’ Review: Nosferatu (1922) (The Original Vampire Film…And Best?)

 

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nosferatuIt’s Halloween today, and what better film to watch than one of the original horror films? Yes, the vampire sub-genre has been done to death lately. Think of ‘Twilight’, ‘True Blood’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Being Human’, etc. But ‘Nosferatu’ came a very long time before those modern examples. Because everybody loves vampires! The vampire emerges every so often in popular culture, preying on adolescent sexual nature, and the fear and fascination of giving up the body to a stranger. But, let’s be honest here, nothing in the recent vampire boom can hold a candle to ‘Nosferatu’! Continue reading

‘Halloween Special’ Review: The Green Inferno (2013) (Gorefest or Borefest?)

 

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“Honestly, I hope they starve to death”

Halloween is approaching, so what better time than now to watch a horror film? Looking through my ever-expanding pile of unwatched DVDs, I found Eli Roth’s ‘The Green Inferno.’ How did it get there? I certainly don’t remember buying it, as I had heard/read terrible reviews about it. But you can’t validate a negative review unless you view the product yourself, I guess, so I sat down and watched ‘The Green Inferno.’ Unfortunately, the reviews were correct. Roth’s homage to films like ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ is derivative, boring, and even disappointing in the gore factor… Continue reading

‘Halloween Speical’ Review: ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (1974) (A True Horror Classic?)

texas chainsaw 1974

“It’s all the more tragic in that they were very young”

I’ve reviewed the remake of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ on my blog (click here for my review), so to balance the scales of quality I thought I’d review the original. The remake was so terrible, and reviewing it. I felt sorry for myself for watching it. The original gave me all I wanted in a horror film: it’s rough, nasty, and leaves a lot to the imagination! The remake was interchangeable with any other silly horror remake that pollutes the cinema screen. Obviously, at the time, the original Chainsaw Massacre didn’t have any competition; yet today, it still stand out as a horrific experience. Continue reading

Review: ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ (2010) (Documentary Or Mockumentary?)

exit through the gift shop

“I mean, it’s not ‘Gone With The Wind,’ but there’s probably a moral in it somewhere”

Was it a hoax? Was it a real documentary? Whatever it is, ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ is compulsive viewing. I’ve been meaning to watch the movie about Banksy for a while now, but chanced to see it on Netflix before doing a spot of ironing (I have to watch something whilst ironing. Last week I started to watch ‘The Resurrection of Jake The Snake’, which was a deeply moving documentary about a wrestling legend). ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Yes, Banksy was in it, but it was more about the (fictional? Real?) pseudo-filmmaker, Thierry Guetta and the history of street art. I got more than what I bargained for, in a fantastic way.
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Review: ‘Tokyo Gore Police’ (2008) (Ultraviolence With A Message?)

tokyo gore police

Tokyo Gore Police…if you haven’t seen it, and you have the stomach for gore that makes Saw look like Bambi, then I heartily recommend it. Trust me; you’ll have the time of your life! It’s fun, over-the-top, ludicrous, yet with a compelling message that isn’t drowned by the gallons of blood that (sometimes literally) splash the screen. It’s perverse, obscene, ludicrous, laughable, and unlike anything you’ve seen before. Unless, of course, you’ve seen other films of this type… Continue reading