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”
Director: Patrick McManus
Starring: Lauren Bronleewe, Stuart Rigby, Bailey Gaddis, Elizabeth Friedman, Jessie Paddock, Sarah Schreiber, Alena Savostikova
Also known as: The Mummy Resurrected (original title)
RONNIE: “I thought we need a permit.”
TRALANE: “Not if we’re only going to find the tomb. We’re fine as long as we don’t take anything out. Shall we?”
RONNIE: “I don’t know, that sounds like the archaeologist’s version of ‘just the tip’.”
It’s only fitting that the resurrection of That Was A Bit Mental begins with a review of a film in which something else comes back to life after a long period of death.
In this case, however, it should probably have been left in its coffin. The mummy, I mean, not this website. Continue reading “Resurrection Of The Mummy (2014) review”
Director: J Lee Thompson
Starring: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Tracey Bregman
“You’d be proud of me now, mother. All the kids like me.” – Virginia, Happy Birthday To Me
After the success of Halloween, film studios went out of their way to ensure every other major calendar date was covered by a slasher film.
Graduation Day, My Bloody Valentine, Black Christmas, Friday The 13th – it’s safe to say that if Shrove Tuesday existed in America someone would have made a movie about a killer jamming poisoned shroves up hapless victims’ shitepipes.
It went without saying, then, that someone would eventually make a slasher based on birthdays. After all, everyone celebrates their birthday, so everyone can relate.
Cue Columbia Pictures with Happy Birthday To Me, a Canadian horror film that’s actually a little more left-field than you may expect. Continue reading “Happy Birthday To Me (1981) review”
Director: Joe Berlinger
Starring: Kim Director, Jeffrey Donovan, Erica Leerhsen, Tristine Skyler, Stephen Barker Turner
JEFF – “If you don’t believe in the Blair Witch then why the hell did you come along?”
KIM – “I thought the movie was cool.”
After The Blair Witch Project sold out cinemas and soiled boxer shorts around the world, a sequel was quickly greenlit to capitalise on its massive success.
There was one hefty problem, though. Part of what made the first film so successful was the fact it came out of nowhere.
Here was this film about young filmmakers who had gone into the woods and disappeared, and crucially it had this found-footage style that made many cinemagoers question whether what they were seeing was actually fiction.
Realising (perhaps wisely) that lightning probably couldn’t strike twice in the same place, director Joe Berlinger and the rest of the Blair Witch 2 crew instead decided to ditch everything that made the first film a success and go in a completely different direction. Continue reading “Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) 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: 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”
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”