Spirit Trap (2005) review

Spirit Trap posterDirector: David Smith

Starring: Billie Piper, Luke Mably, Sam Troughton, Emma Catherwood, Alsou

JENNY – “It’s a spirit clock. My mum had one.”

ADELE – “So what does it do? Horoscopes or something?”

JENNY – “It’s supposed to be a bridge between our world and the next. It’s a load of crap, really.”

True story: as Billie Piper was flying to Romania to film Spirit Trap, she received a call from her agent telling her she’d just landed the part of Rose Tyler, the assistant in BBC’s reboot of Doctor Who.

Excited, Billie turned to her Spirit Trap co-star Sam Troughton to share her good news. “That’s a coincidence,” Sam replied. “Back in the ’60s, my grandfather, Patrick Troughton, played the second Doctor.”

Interesting stuff eh? Shame they didn’t make a film out of that story instead, because Spirit Trap is a bucket of gash. Continue reading “Spirit Trap (2005) review”

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) review

Sleepaway Camp 2 posterDirector: Michael A Simpson

Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Renee Estevez, Tony Higgins

Also known as: Nightmare Vacation II (UK VHS)

ANGELA – “I did my time. Two years of therapy, electroshock, was on every pill you ever heard of, plus an operation. I’m completely cured. If I wasn’t they wouldn’t have let me out. How do you know so much about me?”

SEAN – “My dad’s a cop. He helped arrest you. You should have heard him the day you got out.”

ANGELA – “That’s too bad. Wait until he hears what’s happened to you.”

Warning: The following review spoils the identity of the killer in the original Sleepaway Camp. However, it does not spoil its big twist ending, so if you don’t mind knowing who the killer was you can feel free to read on, safe in the knowledge you’re still in for a shock when you watch the original. Which you really should, you know.

Sleepaway Camp caused something of a dilemma. When you end a film in such a shocking, outrageous manner, how exactly can you follow that up? Sleepaway Camp II decided the answer was to give the original’s killer a completely different personality.

Years after butchering a load of kids in Camp Arawak all those years ago, Angela Baker has gone through extensive electro-shock therapy and psychiatric treatment. She decides the best thing to do is get a job as a counsellor at a new summer camp, seeing as everything went so well the last time. Continue reading “Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) review”

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) review

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood posterDirector: John Carl Buechler

Starring: Lar Park-Lincoln, Terry Kisser, Susan Blu, Kane Hodder

“There’s a legend around here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake. A death curse. Jason Voorhees’ curse. They say he died as a boy, but he keeps coming back. Few have seen him and lived. Some have even tried to stop him. No one can.” (Narrator, Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood)

The Friday The 13th series has jumped the shark so many times I’m surprised Jason Voorhees isn’t dressed like Evel Knievel.

After apparently killing their iconic slasher villain for good in Part IV, introducing a copycat killer in Part V then resurrecting the original as a zombie in Part VI and chaining him to the bottom of Crystal Lake at the end, Paramount decided it was time to fill an entire swimming pool full of sharks, jellyfish and piranha and jump that instead.

Enter Tina Shepard, the heroine of Part VII: The New Blood. Not content with merely being the latest in a line of sole survivors in Friday The 13th films, Tina is different because (drum roll) she has telekinetic powers. Yes, she can move things with the power of her mind. Continue reading “Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) review”

Full Metal Jacket (1987) review

Full Metal Jacket posterDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin

“Tonight, you pukes will sleep with your rifles. You will give your rifle a girl’s name because this is the only pussy you people are going to get. Your days of finger-banging ol’ Mary-Jane Rottencrotch through her pretty pink panties are over. You are married to this piece. This weapon of iron and wood. And you WILL be faithful.” (Sergeant Hartman, Full Metal Jacket)

I always find the classics are the hardest to review. After all, what can you say about Full Metal Jacket that hasn’t already been said?

As a film widely believed to be one of the greatest war movies ever made, by adding my own critique to the never-ending onslaught of adoration it’s received in the 26 years since it was originally released, I might as well be spitting into a swimming pool. Continue reading “Full Metal Jacket (1987) review”

Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) review

Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives posterDirector: Tom McLoughlin

Starring: Thom Mathews, Jennifer Cooke, David Kagen, CJ Graham

“I went to go cremate Jason… but I fucked up.” (Tommy Jarvis, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives)

After pissing off long-time Friday The 13th fans by releasing a sequel in which Jason wasn’t actually the killer (see my review of Part V: A New Beginning), Paramount wasn’t taking any risks with the sixth film. That’s why Friday The 13th Part VI comes with a fairly definitive subtitle that states, yes, Jason is alive and well in this one.

Not that his resurrection makes a lot of sense, mind. After surviving a Friday film for the second time, Tommy Jarvis (now played by a third actor, the frustratingly spelt Thom Mathews) escapes from his mental institution, heading to Jason’s grave with his friend to convince himself he’s gone once and for all. After digging up the grave he sees Jason’s rotting body. Nice one, job done.

Except it isn’t, because Tommy decides he wants to drive a metal pole through Jason’s corpse, an act that comes back to munch on Tommy’s arse when a lightning storm hits the pole and brings Jason back to life, all zombified and annoyed and that. Continue reading “Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986) review”

Psycho II (1983) review

Psycho II posterDirector: Richard Franklin

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Meg Tilly, Vera Miles

“I don’t kill people anymore.” (Norman Bates, Psycho II)

NOTE: Spoilers for the original Psycho ahead – don’t read this if you don’t know (or don’t want to know) who the killer is in the original film.

When it comes to sequels created long after their predecessors, it’d take some doing to beat Psycho II. Released a massive 23 years after the original Psycho, the only thing even more amazing than this hefty gap is that despite the number of years that have passed the sequel still sees the return of Anthony Perkins in the lead role of Norman Bates.

Having spent more than two decades in a psychiatric hospital after the incidents of the first film, Norman is released on good behaviour and free to go back home. It doesn’t say much for the American justice system that he’s allowed to return to the house and motel where he committed two murders and start living there again, but there you have it. Continue reading “Psycho II (1983) review”

Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) review

Friday The 13th Part V - PosterDirector: Danny Steinmann

Starring: John Shepherd, Shavar Ross, Melanie Kinnaman, Dick Wieand

“Jason Voorhees? You’re outta your fucking mind. You’ve been out in the sun too long. Jason Voorhees is dead! His body was cremated. He’s nothing but a handful of ash.” (Mayor Cobb, Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning)

Picture the dilemma faced by the studio execs at Paramount. They’d just released the fourth Friday The 13th film, one which quite clearly drew a line under the whole series with the title Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter. And yet, people wanted more.

So, deciding to neatly brush the whole ‘final chapter’ business neatly under the blood-soaked carpet, Paramount greenlit a fifth film and decided to call it A New Beginning, the title implying that the first four films were still their own little series and now we were dealing with a brand new story arc. Continue reading “Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) review”

Series Overview – Child’s Play (1988-2013)

The Child’s Play films tell the story of Chucky, a doll possessed by the serial killer Charles Lee Ray. Although Chucky’s general aim in each movie remains the same – to escape from his doll body by possessing a human’s soul – the tone of the series grew more light-hearted over the years until Seed Of Chucky, which was a flat-out comedy.

More recently, Chucky returned to straight horror in Curse Of Chucky, essentially bringing the series full circle.

Click each poster for the full review.

Child’s Play (1988)
“This particular doll is possessed by Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), a serial killer and voodoo nut who transforms his soul into the doll just before he’s killed by a police officer. The doll, Chucky, sets about killing Andy’s babysitter as well as the other criminal chaps who screwed him over before his ‘death’. Cue various explosions and voodoo doll stabbings.” Continue reading “Series Overview – Child’s Play (1988-2013)”

Curse Of Chucky (2013) review

Curse Of Chucky posterDirector: Don Mancini

Starring: Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Maitland McConnell

ALICE – “Chucky, I’m scared.”

CHUCKY – “You fucking should be.”

The success of Bride Of Chucky and its follow-up Seed Of Chucky mean these days Chucky is commonly considered a horror comedy star. Despite this, there still remains a core following of long-time horror fans who have been hoping for years that everyone’s favourite killer doll would return to his roots and appear in another ‘proper’ horror film in the style of the original Child’s Play trilogy.

Curse Of Chucky is that horror film, with nary a dick joke, sex scene or zany sidekick in sight. Although it’s the first Chucky film to go straight-to-video, don’t let that put you off, because this is old-school Chucky doing what he does best – pretending to be a doll while trying to steal a small child’s soul.

Set four years after Seed Of Chucky, Curse begins with a mysterious package turning up at the house of Nica (Fiona Dourif), a wheelchair-bound paraplegic who lives with her mother. Predictably, the package contains Chucky, but Nica’s at a loss as to who would have sent this odd-looking doll. It’s a wonder she’s never heard of Chucky – she should probably get out more. Oh, right, the wheelchair. Continue reading “Curse Of Chucky (2013) review”

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) review

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter posterDirector: Joseph Zito

Starring: Kimberly Beck, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Peter Barton, Ted White

“Jesus Christmas! Holy Jesus! Goddamn! Holy Jesus jumping Christmas shit!” (Axel, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter)

Oh, you poor, deluded fools. To think there was once a time when the fourth film in the Friday The 13th series was supposed to be the last one ever.

Of course, hindsight tells us this couldn’t have been further from the truth – Jason would go on to star in a further eight movies – but for now let’s treat The Final Chapter as the concluding part it was seemingly intended to be.

Following on from the end of the third movie, an apparently dead Jason is carted off to the local morgue where he rests with his victims. Predictably, it’s not long before he’s up and at them again, killing a couple of doctors on his way out of the building. Continue reading “Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) review”