Devil Girl From Mars (1954) review

Director: David MacDonald

Starring: Hugh McDermott, Hazel Court, Peter Reynolds, Adrienne Corri, Joseph Tomelty, Sophie Stewart, John Laurie, Patricia Laffan

MICHAEL: “Mrs Jamieson, may I introduce your latest guest, Miss Nyah. She comes from Mars.”

MRS JAMIESON: “Och, well that’ll mean another bed.”

Believe it or not, the UK was doing sci-fi themed stage plays as early as the 1950s. Devil Girl From Mars was one such production: what we have here is actually a movie adaptation. Continue reading “Devil Girl From Mars (1954) review”

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016) review

miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-posterDirector: Tim Burton

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Ella Purnell, Samuel L Jackson, Terence Stamp, Chris O’Dowd

“Because our abilities don’t fit in the outside world, we live in places like this, where no-one can find us.” (Miss Peregrine, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children)

If you’ve read anything about Tim Burton’s latest film you’ll probably have seen countless comparisons to the X-Men movies, due to the fact it’s set in a school occupied with children with special powers.

But I’m not that lazy.

Instead, I hereby declare that Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is in fact Tim Burton’s version of The Raggy Dolls, the popular British ‘80s and ‘90s cartoon in which a group of wee dudes with abnormalities team up to fight crime or something.

(I don’t know if the Raggy Dolls actually fought crime, I didn’t really watch it. I just liked the theme tune.) Continue reading “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016) review”

The House In The Woods (1957) review

the-house-in-the-woods-posterDirector: Maxwell Munden

Starring: Michael Gough, Patricia Roc, Ronald Howard

CAROL: “Spencer’s a lonely man I feel I can help, even if it’s only by letting him paint me. I don’t think I’m able to help my husband no matter how hard I try.”

MICHAEL: “I’m sorry darling. But you see, sometimes a man can sense an inner corruption in another man that is hidden from a woman by sentiment and sex.”

CAROL: “Inner corruption in another man! How do you know you’re not fighting it in yourself?”

Michael Gough was a legendary English actor who appeared in over 200 film roles over the course of nearly 60 years.

Perhaps best known to modern and international audiences as Alfred in all four 1990s Batman films, Gough had been a star of British stage and screen for decades before this.

The House In The Woods is one of his earlier roles, and though it’s more or less been forgotten over time it’s still a decent example of his ability to drive a film with his performance. Continue reading “The House In The Woods (1957) review”

Zardoz (1974) review

Zardoz posterDirector: John Boorman

Starring: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, John Alderton, Sara Kestelman, Niall Buggy, Sally Anne Newton

ZARDOZ – “You have been raised up from brutality to kill the Brutals who multiply and are legion. To this end Zardoz, your God, gave you the gift of the gun. The gun is good!”

EXTERMINATORS – “The gun is good!”

ZARDOZ – “The penis is evil! The penis shoots seeds and makes new life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the gun shoots death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth and kill! Zardoz has spoken.”

I don’t know how I feel about John Boorman.

The English director has been responsible for both one of the most effective films I’ve seen (Deliverance), and one of the most infuriating piles of pish I’ve ever had to struggle through (Exorcist II: The Heretic).

Zardoz, his bizarre sci-fi film in which a half-naked Sean Connery tries to bring down a community of immortals in the year 2293, has me similarly conflicted. It’s both shite and incredible at the same time, but leaning slightly towards the latter. Continue reading “Zardoz (1974) review”

Creep (2004) review

Creep posterDirector: Christopher Smith

Starring: Franka Potente, Paul Rattray, Kelly Scott, Sean Harris

“It sounds to me like some vigilante train driver got a wee bit carried away. The way I see it, you should be thanking the man, not running away from him.” (Jimmy, Creep)

The London Underground can be a bit pish sometimes. I’ve lived here for nine years and feel I am qualified to say this.

In fact, I’m writing this review on a Northern Line train just now and there’s an upended Chicken Cottage box on the ground, its delicious greasy goodness spilled all over the floor as an offering to the Tube gods.

But much as it leaves to be desired, it’s fair to say it could still be a hell of a lot worse. I’m talking “home to a hideously deformed hermit who kills passengers” worse.

Just in case you can’t imagine that premise, Creep is helpfully here to show us exactly what it would be like in unflinching detail. Continue reading “Creep (2004) review”

uwantme2killhim? (2013) review

uwantme2killhim posterDirector: Andrew Douglas

Starring: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Joanne Froggatt, Jaime Winstone, Liz White, Amy Wren HE HAS A GUN. IT’S VITAL WE STOP HIM.
M4RK_87: wot ru saying? YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING
M4RK_87: no
M4RK_87: i dont.
M4RK_87: u want me 2 kill him? thats wot ur askin me? YES.

Not only does uwantme2killhim? have one of the worst titles in the history of film, it’s also got a ridiculous plot involving a lead character whose stupidity leads to some frankly bizarre plot twists.

What’s remarkable, though, is that this isn’t the result of a screenwriter’s failure to come up with a believable plot. In fact, said protagonist was indeed a real person, and the bizarre web of events he finds himself tangled up in did actually happen in real life in Manchester. Continue reading “uwantme2killhim? (2013) review”

The House Of Him (2014) review

The House Of Him posterDirector: Robert Florence

Starring: Richard Rankin, Louise Stewart, Kirsty Strain, Hope Florence, Amy E Watson

“I’m so stupid. I’m so stupid. I mean, Sophie and I, we could see the windows were boarded up from the outside… and we still went in with him. So stupid. Everything was wrong, and we still went inside with him.” (Anna, The House Of Him)

At the time of writing this review, my day job is being heavily scrutinised by a bunch of scrotes who claim to be trying to expose a lack of ‘ethics’ in video game journalism.

In reality it’s a front for something much more sinister, much darker and misogynist in nature. While this is actually fairly apt when talking about The House Of Him, it’s not why I bring it up.

Instead, it’s just a wanky way for me to bring up this full disclosure: I know Robert Florence, the lovely Glaswegian chap who wrote, directed and edited this film. I consider him a friend and I’d like to think the feeling is mutual.

Despite this friendship, and the fact I love most of the stuff he does, that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of criticising him. He wanted Scottish independence, I didn’t. He loves Dynasty Warriors games, I think they’re pish.

So I approached The House Of Him with a mixture of excitement and fear. Excitement because I love the vast majority of stuff Rab does – his sketch shows, his games writing, his vintage video game webshow Consolevania, which was fucking nailing it many years before the era of annoying YouTubers began.

The Changing Rooms reboot was deemed a little too dark for daytime ITV audiences
The Changing Rooms reboot was deemed a little too dark for daytime ITV audiences

But also fear, because should it turn out to be shite, I would be placed in the awkward position of reviewing a mate’s work and slapping a pishy wee single-star rating on it then hoping he didn’t notice.

After all, comedy writing and video games writing are one thing, but I would imagine making a horror film requires a completely different skillset.

Thankfully I can rest easy, because The House Of Him is not shite. Far from it, in fact. Continue reading “The House Of Him (2014) review”

The Godsend (1980) review

The Godsend posterDirector: Gabrielle Beaumont

Starring: Malcolm Stoddard, Cyd Hayman, Angela Pleasence, Wilhelmina Green

“Do you know what a cuckoo does? It lays its egg in another bird’s nest. And do you know what the fledgling does? It pushes the others out, one after the other, until it has the complete attention of the parents. That’s Bonnie. Bonnie must go.” (Alan, The Godsend)

You can tell a film is iconic when it spawns its own brood of knock-offs. Take Night Of The Living Dead and the way every zombie film that followed had shambling, moaning monsters just like Romero’s, for example.

Another shining example is The Omen, the success of which saw a subsequent sharp increase in the number of films about spooky religious kids: Bless The Child, Children Of The Corn, even its own sequel, Damien: Omen II.

The Godsend is one of these offshoots, going so far as to go right down the ‘British couple inherits child that isn’t theirs’ route. And you know, it isn’t absolutely terrible, even though it’s about as original as a Harlem Shake video. Continue reading “The Godsend (1980) review”

The Amityville Asylum (2013) review

The Amityville Asylum posterDirector: Andrew Jones

Starring: Sophia Del Pizzo, Lee Bane, Andy Evason, Eileen Daly

LISA – “What’s that smell?”

DELANEY – “It always hangs in the air. No matter how much we bleach the floor, there is always that smell of death.”

In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue, a house in Amityville where thirteen months previously, a man had shot and killed six members of his family.

The Lutz family left the house after only a month, claiming they had been terrorised by evil paranormal forces living there. A book entitled The Amityville Horror was released two years later and the story went on to spawn a number of movies.

The Amityville Asylum is the eleventh movie to use the Amityville story as part of its plot, but in reality this review’s already discussed it more than the film does. Continue reading “The Amityville Asylum (2013) review”

Evil Never Dies (2013) review

Evil Never Dies posterDirector: Martyn Pick

Starring: Tony Scannell, Graham Cole, PH Moriarty, Anouska Mond, Fliss Watson, Katy Manning

Also known as: The Haunting Of Harry Payne (original title)

“The only thing I need to know from you… is how the hell you kill a dead man.” (Harry, Evil Never Dies)

Here’s an interesting one, a British gangster film with a paranormal twist. I haven’t seen anything like that since Cockney Spook, a movie I just made up in my head.

Evil Never Dies (which until recently was going to be called The Haunting Of Harry Payne, but was changed to a far more generic title in December) tells the story of Harry Payne, an aging mobster who’s just left prison after serving ten years for the murder of his gang boss and best friend. Continue reading “Evil Never Dies (2013) review”