Category Archives: Reviews

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez

Starring: Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, Mike Williams

“I just want to apologize to Mike’s mom, Josh’s mom, and my mom. And I’m sorry to everyone. I was very naive. I am so so sorry for everything that has happened. Because in spite of what Mike says now, it is my fault. Because it was my project.” (Heather, The Blair Witch Project)

There have been so many shaky-cam movies since the release of The Blair Witch Project that it can be hard to go back to the film that kicked off the frenzy and appreciate it in a more recent context. It no longer feels fresh, it no longer feels original, but what it does still offer is a well-structured, creepy film… as long as you’ve never seen it before.

The story goes that three student filmmakers – Heather, Josh and Mike – decide to make a documentary on Ellie Kedward, a woman who lived near Blair, Maryland in the 1700s and was dubbed the Blair Witch by those who shunned and exiled her from her village. Kedward was said to have led children away from the village and killed them as punishment for her banishment. Fast-forward to the 1940s and a madman called Rustin Parr takes seven children into the woods and kills them, claiming the Blair Witch told him to.

Burkittsville, Maryland is actually a real place, though it wasn't originally called Blair, Maryland as this film claims

And so, in 1994, our trio of filmmakers set out to investigate and try to find out more about the legend. Or at least, they did. You see, The Blair Witch Project opens with a message that Heather, Josh and Mike went missing while filming this documentary, and the footage that makes up the movie is what was found in the woods by a search party looking for them. Of course, in reality it’s all bollocks and Heather, Mike and Josh were just actors who are alive and well and still struggling to find film roles, but at the time of its release The Blair Witch Project’s rather convincing website and a “real” documentary about the Blair Witch legend on the Sci-Fi Channel had plenty of filmgoers certain that what they were watching was real footage of three missing children.  Continue reading

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Resurrecting The Street Walker (2009)

Director: Ozgur Uyanik

Starring: James Powell, Tom Shaw, Lorna Beckett

“I’m trying to make myself indispensable.” (James, Resurrecting The Street Walker)

The mockumentary has been done so many times now that it would take something pretty special to grab people’s attention these days (case in point, Troll Hunter). Resurrecting The Street Walker manages this on an incredibly low budget and left me very impressed with the results, despite it ultimately not being the zombie prostitute film I thought the title was promising.

James is a budding filmmaker who’s desperate to get into the industry. He becomes a runner at a small production company in London in the hope that his hard work will eventually get him noticed and eventually move him up the filmmaking ladder.

James demonstrates the best way to defend against a confrontational lamp

While sorting out the company’s archives one day, James comes across some reels of The Street Walker, a (fake) 1980s video nasty that was ultimately never finished when the cast and crew went AWOL. Sensing an opportunity to make a name for himself, James convinces his boss to let him film the remaining scenes of The Street Walker and release it as “the film that was never released”. Meanwhile, James’s mate Marcus, himself a filmmaker, starts a documentary following James as he starts work on his project.  Continue reading

Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)

Director: James Hickox

Starring: Daniel Cerny, Ron Melendez, Jim Metzler

ELI – “We who are young have a vision and that is the gift to us from He Who Walks Behind The Rows. Our greatest harvest is to come!”
T-LOC – “Harvest this, motherfucker.”

Let’s face it, there are only so many corn-related scenarios you can plant before the crop gets spoiled, so after Children Of The Corn and its iffy sequel it was decided to take the series to the streets instead. No longer are we dealing with a town full of creepy-looking Amish kids, instead we’ve got two of them living in the city.

Joshua and his younger brother Eli have been moved from Gatlin to live with foster parents in Chicago. Since they come from Amish backgrounds it takes them a little while to get settled into their new city lifestyles, and this is further compounded by the fact that the younger brother is a fucking maniac.

Eli fell for the "shaken Coke can" trick

Things come to a head when the inseparable brothers go to their new city school and are promptly separated (due to their age), which doesn’t go down too well with Eli. While Joshua tries to fit in, learn the city life and befriend his new classmates, Eli instead starts hatching a plot to make everyone pay.  Continue reading

Alligator (1980)

Director: Lewis Teague

Starring: Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Michael Gazzo

“I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna find that alligator, and I’m gonna kick its ass.” (David, Alligator)

Here’s a top tip – if your young daughter does something that annoys you, don’t flush her pet baby alligator down the toilet to punish her. Chances are, twelve years later the alligator will still be living in the sewers and will have mutated into a huge beast by eating genetically modified dogs. Oh, and according to Alligator, your daughter will also mysteriously age about 20 years and become a redhead.

Alligator is a fun creature feature that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It follows David Madison, a Chicago cop investigating a number of body parts that have mysteriously been turning up in the city’s water filtration systems. It soon emerges that there’s an alligator living in the sewers, one much bigger than any other alligator known to man.

Well, if you're going to get out of your car like a dick that's the risk you take

You see, a local pharmaceutical company has been experimenting with hormones. They’ve been illegally acquiring dogs, injecting them with a serum that makes them grow quickly, then dumping them into the sewer when they’re finished with them. The gator’s then been eating them, hence its ridiculous size. After going into the sewers and seeing the gator eat one of his partners, David has to convince his fellow cops – as well as an alligator specialist (who’s the little girl grown up) – what they’re dealing with.  Continue reading

Beyond The Mat (1999)

Director: Barry Blaustein

Starring: Mick Foley, Jake Roberts, Terry Funk, Vince McMahon

“My mother was 13 years old when I was born. Why? Because my dad raped a little girl that was in a room asleep. My dad was going out with my mother’s mother. There you go. There’s some bones for Jake the Snake.” (Jake Roberts, Beyond The Mat)

I know professional wrestling isn’t “real” – I know the results are predetermined, I know the storylines are set months in advance and I know winning a championship belt is nothing more than a backstage reward for your in-ring ability and the way you connect with the crowd. So does Barry Blaustein, the documentary filmmaker who spent a few years making Beyond The Mat. But that doesn’t mean the athletes involved (and they are athletes – they might have already picked a winner but it still hurts) don’t often go through both physical and mental hell to bring an entertaining show to the public. This film aims to expose that torment.  Continue reading

Religulous (2008)

Director: Larry Charles

Starring: Bill Maher

“Of course [you don't believe in Santa Claus], that’s ridiculous, it’s one man flying all over the world, dropping presents out of chimneys, that’s ridiculous. But one man hearing everybody murmur to him at the same time… that I get.” (Bill Maher, Religulous)

Bill Maher is no stranger to controversy, but in Religilous he tries to take it to the next level by discussing, criticising and mocking every religion he can think of, usually to the faces of those deeply involved with said religions.

For the record, I’m a part-time Catholic. I was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic school, used to go to chapel on a weekly basis and consider myself Catholic. That said, I’m not the greatest Catholic in the world. I don’t go to chapel anymore and I pick and choose which of the Bible’s rules I live my life by because society has changed a lot since then – if slavery was okay 100 years ago and it isn’t now, what’s to say the stuff we were being taught 2000 years ago is still valid?  Continue reading

Troll Hunter (2010)

Director: Andre Ovredal

Starring: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Tosterud, Johanna Morck, Tomas Larsen

“People always want natural explanations for things. But if you know what to look for, you’ll see what’s been caused by trolls.” (Hans, Troll Hunter)

The billboards currently advertising Troll Hunter claim it’s “the best monster movie since Jurassic Park.” This claim is, to put it as kindly as possible, a load of old arse. That’s not to say it isn’t an impressive film – it certainly is – but if you’re going into it expecting a modern masterpiece then, rather fittingly, you’ve been trolled. Instead, if I’d been in charge of the ad campaign, I’d have gone with something a little more accurate: “a bit like The Blair Witch Project, only you actually see something.”

Feeding time at Meatloaf's house is always a dangerous situation

Indeed, Troll Hunter‘s handheld amateur footage looks just like an HD version of Blair Witch or Cloverfield, as it follows a trio of Norwegian college students as they film a documentary investigating a bunch of mysterious bear killings. Eventually they come across Hans, a mysterious chap who it soon emerges is a troll hunter. He agrees to let the filmmakers tag along on his hunt, as long as they follow his instructions. But are trolls real, or is he just a delusional old dick?  Continue reading

The Monster Squad (1987)

Director: Fred Dekker

Starring: Andre Gower, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan

“The Creature stole my Twinkie.” (Eugene, The Monster Squad)

Kids’ films in the 1980s were much better than they are today. They had an edge to them, a realism that most of today’s films are too scared to address. You only need to look at Spielberg’s 2002 re-release of ET, in which he digitally removed the guns being held by the agents and replaced them with walkie-talkies. In short, today’s children’s movies are for pussies.

Anyone who’s recently watched The Goonies will know exactly what I mean. The kids in that film acted realistically, they had an attitude, they got into nasty scrapes, they wanted to see women’s boobs, they make fun of the fat kid, and every now and then they’ll swear to sound tough (but only in each other’s company, mind, never when an adult’s around). It felt real. Ditto, then, with The Monster Squad, a similar film of that era which for some odd reason never gained the same cult following as that other much-loved “group of kids go on an adventure” movie.  Continue reading

Best Worst Movie (2009)

Director: Michael Stephenson

Starring: George Hardy, Michael Stephenson, Margo Prey, Connie Young

“You compare our movie to a Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart movie and it fits in. Because our movie was all about people and the experiences those people are experiencing. Just as Casablanca and those movies are about people and the experiences they are experiencing.” (Margo Prey, Best Worst Movie)

Let’s not beat about the bush here – I review an awful lot of shite on this site. That’s what makes it fun. The worse a movie is, the more I generally enjoy watching it. As a film that many regard as the worst ever made, then, Troll 2 is a film that holds a special place in my heart.

The New Kids On The Block reunion wasn't a very pretty sight

Most of us don’t take the time, however, to consider the people who starred in these films, or those who directed or wrote them. How do these people feel when they read the countless reviews ripping their hard work to shreds? How does it affect your confidence when, 20 years down the line, people are still calling your film a bucket of dogshit or saying you shouldn’t even be cast in a primary school play? These are the questions that Best Worst Movie attempts to answer.  Continue reading

Creepshow (1982)

Director: George A Romero

Starring: Ed Harris, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, Stephen King, EG Marshall

“You see that crap? All that horror crap? Things coming out of crates and eating people? Dead people coming back to life? People turning into weeds, for christ sake? Well, you want him reading that stuff? All right then! I took care of it. That’s why God made fathers, babe. That’s why God made fathers.” (Stan, Creepshow)

If you’ve read my previous review of Creepshow 3, you’ll have noticed that it has the dubious honour of one measly Trevor mask as its rating. This wasn’t just because Creepshow 3 is bad – it most certainly is – but also because its predecessors were so good that the third film let the entire series down. To cheer myself up then I decided to re-watch the original Creepshow over the festive period.

Well, it certainly beats a caterpillar cake

If you’re not familiar with it, Creepshow is a collection of five short stories written by Stephen King and directed by George A Romero (back when he was still good and not slapping his name on any old shite for a fiver). It’s an homage to the old EC comics of the 1950s like Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror, and as such each story starts and ends as if it were in a comic book, with garish colours and speech bubbles. It’s an interesting style that not everyone will love but it’s fun and keeps things light-hearted. Make no mistake, this may be a collection of horror stories but (much like the EC comics themselves) its tongue is planted firmly in its rotting cheek and its five tales of morality are much funnier than they are scary. Continue reading