Director: 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”
Director: Mark Hicks
Writer / Composer / Cinematographer / Casting Agent / Sound Effects Editor / Special Effects: Mark Hicks
Starring: Mark Hicks, John McCuin, Jennifer Hamill
“Qava! I want you to start rounding up all of the Laffrodites off the Boulevards en masse! They will become infamous in the Maximus.” (Polpox, Actium Maximus)
Many amateur filmmakers dream of making the next underground smash, the next low-budget gem that does a Night Of The Living Dead or Clerks and emerges from obscurity to take over the world.
Mark Hicks, who is seemingly some sort of real life Garth Merenghi figure, clearly had this goal in mind when he wrote, directed and acted in Actium Maximus. Unfortunately, during this process he failed to notice his complete lack of writing, directing and acting ability. Continue reading “Actium Maximus: War Of The Alien Dinosaurs (2005) review”
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Chris Klein, LL Cool J, Jean Reno, Rebecca Romijn, Naveen Andrews
“ROLLERBALL!” (Paul Heyman, Rollerball)
As I wrote in my recent review, the original 1975 version of Rollerball is a fantastic, prescient commentary on the way massive corporations suffocate society.
It’s also a superb action movie, with plenty of high-paced and violent sequences with rollerskates, motorbikes, fists and feet flying all over the place.
What a difference 27 years makes, then, because the 2002 remake is one of the biggest piles of vapid cockwash ever committed to celluloid. Continue reading “Rollerball (2002) review”
Director: Norman Jewison
Starring: James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
“Corporate society takes care of everything. And all it asks of anyone, all it’s ever asked of anyone ever, is not to interfere with management decisions.” (Mr Bartholomew, Rollerball)
The best futuristic movies are those grounded in reality, the ones that aren’t just flying cars and laser guns but actually feel like they really could happen in the years to come.
Although some elements of Rollerball may not fall under this category – I don’t see a sport in which deaths are considered acceptable coming any time soon – so much of it feels remarkably spot on 40 years after its release. Continue reading “Rollerball (1975) review”
Director: Tom Holland
Starring: William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall, Stephen Geoffreys, Jonathan Stark, Dorothy Fielding
“I have just been fired because nobody wants to see vampire killers anymore, or vampires either. Apparently all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski masks, hacking up young virgins.” (Peter Vincent, Fright Night)
The classic Dracula films aside, my favourite vampire movies are the ones set in the present day, taking an ancient monster thats often hundreds of years old and putting them in a modern setting.
No, I’m not talking about that. You wash your mouth out.
I’m talking about stuff like The Lost Boys, Near Dark and Vampire In Brooklyn. Okay, not that last one either.
The point I’m struggling to make here is that Fright Night is great. Well, that could have gone better. Continue reading “Fright Night (1985) review”
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Starring: Mariangela Giordano, Roberto Caporali, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Karin Well, Antonella Antinori, Simone Mattioli, Peter Bark
Also known as: Le Notti Del Terrore (The Nights Of Terror), The Zombie Dead
“Mother, this cloth smells of death.” (Michael, Burial Ground)
When you ask someone to name some old zombie movies, the usual suspects inevitably pop up.
The obvious contenders, the ones folk will almost unconsciously start with, are Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead.
Then you may get the occasional Return Of The Living Dead, or – if the person you’re asking knows their video nasty history – Zombie Flesh Eaters.
This is all perfectly understandable, mind – all five of the above are fantastic films – but there are plenty of excellent old zombie movies that, for some reason, never quite reached that same level of universal notoriety and acclaim.
One of the finest examples is Burial Ground, or The Night Of Terrors to give it its original Italian title. Continue reading “Burial Ground (1981) review”
Director: John Fasano
Starring: Jon Mikl Thor, Teresa Simpson, Jim Cirile, Jillian Peri, David Lane, Denise Dicandia, Frank Dietz, Liane Abel, Adam Fried
Also known as: The Edge Of Hell
“You killed no one, Bub. Or is it less familiar to call you Beelzebub? Or do you prefer Abaddon? Or, as the Hindus called you, Shaitan? Or, as you are known to answer to, Ahriman? Belial? Apollyon? Asmodeus? Because, you see… I do know you.” (John Triton, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare)
Well, now. Where to begin.
If you aren’t aware of Jon Mikl Thor, his Wikipedia page describes him as “a bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician”.
Having now watched Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, which was both written by Thor and starred him in the leading role, I’m almost tempted to edit that page and remove “actor” and “screenwriter”. Continue reading “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) review”
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Michael Stahl-David, Jessica Lucas, Mike Vogel, TJ Miller, Lizzy Caplan
HUD – “For all we know, it’s from another planet and it flew here.”
MARLENA – “Like Superman?”
HUD – “Yeah, exactly like… wait – you know who Superman is?”
MARLENA – “Oh. My. God. YOU know who Superman is? I’m, like, feeling something here. Are you aware of Garfield?”
For some reason despite my love of horror movies, my penchant for giant monster movies and my odd knack of stumbling upon countless found footage films (every word there linking to a different example), I’ve managed to go eight years without watching Cloverfield.
With its sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane recently released in cinemas, I figured if I was going to be late to the party I should at least do it at a relevant time.
I’m glad I did, because – and apologies if you already know this – Cloverfield is a nifty wee film. Continue reading “Cloverfield (2008) review”
Director: John McPhail
Starring: Tyler Collins, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Alison Peebles, Deirdre Murray, Richard Addison, Maryam Hamidi
“My granddad had to move in here. I couldn’t leave him here. He’s my granddad.” (James, Where Do We Go From Here?)
Here’s a disclaimer: I’m friends with writer/director John McPhail, the man behind such lovely short films as Just Say Hi and V For Visa.
Here’s another: I’m one of the 264 people who contributed to the crowdfunding project for Where Do We Go From Here?, his first feature-length film.
And here’s a final one: disclaimers are shite.
You see, I feel the need to tell you the above so that some clever dick doesn’t come across this review, get suspicious and realise I have a connection with the film.
But it’s shite because, friendship and funding aside, I adore this wee film with all my heart. Continue reading “Where Do We Go From Here? (2015) review”
Directors: David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Adam Ingard, Radio Silence
Starring: Hannah Fierman, Mike Donlan, Drew Swayer, Joe Sykes, Joe Swanberg, Sophia Takal, Norma C Quinones, Drew Moerlein, Helen Rogers, Daniel Kaufman, Chad Willella, Nicole Erb
“You’re all gonna fucking die up here.” (Wendy, V/H/S)
I’ve spoken of the low-budget junkyard that is the found footage genre a number of times on TWABM in the past.
While early examples like Cannibal Holocaust and The Blair Witch Project felt fresh and genuinely terrifying, for the most part the genre has since become a cop-out, an easy way for talent-starved directors to make a cheap horror movie without much effort or skill.
For every umpteenth Banshee Chapter, The Tunnel and Frost out there though, there’s the occasional Paranormal Activity or The Taking Of Deborah Logan – films that actually use the limitations of the found footage style to their advantage.
V/H/S falls firmly in this latter category, offering a selection of creepy tales that are made better by their low-quality production values rather than forced to grudgingly accept them as a necessary evil. Continue reading “V/H/S (2012) review”