Film, Horror

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Citadel

20 Feb 20132 stars

Bleak and morally dubious ‘hoodie horror’ set in Glasgow high rises

The ‘hoodie horror’ subgenre can be neatly summed up as the Daily Mail’s favourite nightmare: good, honest (almost invariably white) folks terrorized by gangs of feral (almost invariably multi-racial) urban youths. 2008 horror Eden Lake and the Michael…

Director Ricky Wood discusses David Hayman-starring horror Sawney: Flesh of Man

19 Feb 2013

The film is a modern retelling of the legend of Scottish cannibal Sawney Bean

Sawney: Flesh of Man is a new horror film based on the life of Sawney Bean, the infamous head of a Scottish cannibal clan who robbed and ate travellers in the 15th or 16th century. Starring David Hayman in the title role director Ricky Wood has brought…

Eli Roth, Sawney: Flesh of Man and Lords of Salem among the highlights at FrightFest Glasgow 2013

19 Feb 2013

The Glasgow Film Festival's cult-horror strand also features screenings of Bayantium and The Bay

‘I think our major trump card is getting Eli Roth to come,’ is a minor understatement from Alan Jones, one of the fearsome four who – alongside Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy and Greg Day – orchestrate the two days of terror that is FrightFest. Roth is…

Stoker

18 Feb 20134 stars

Unusually intense slice of American Gothic adds something fresh to the thriller genre

Despite director Park Chan-wook’s previous involvement with vampires (Thirst), his American debut has nothing to do with Dracula writer Bram Stoker. Instead India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is a teenage girl mourning the death of her father Richard (Dermot…

Mama

18 Feb 20133 stars

Feature-length version of short is a supernatural tale of feral children

Picked up under Guillermo del Toro’s production wing following an utterly terrifying short film, the feature length version of Mama comes to the screen under auspicious circumstances. The film initially makes good on these promises, but as is often the…

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Warm Bodies

4 Feb 20132 stars

Hollywood's stab at the zom-rom-com starts off well, but slides into Twilight-style storytelling

Having already deprived vampires of any real bite and declawed werewolves into the bargain, Hollywood now turns its attention to zombies and attempts to tap into their sensitive side with zom-rom-com Warm Bodies. The result, while not quite dead on…

Chained

28 Jan 20133 stars

Dark, twisted and occasionally floundering horror starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Julia Ormond

Such is his unique place in modern cinema, it would be almost impossible to move out of David Lynch’s shadow. Wisely, his daughter Jennifer Chambers Lynch doesn’t even try. After her disastrous debut Boxing Helena two decades ago, her recent directorial…

Hollow

25 Jan 20133 stars

A real British spin on the 'found footage' horror subgenre, from Michael Axelgaard

Inevitably, Michael Axelgaard's impressive debut Hollow will be compared to The Blair Witch Project. A low-budget found-footage horror film, dealing with myths, legends and the fear of the unknown, it could quite happily sit alongside the 1999…

Interview: Director Glenn McQuaid on horror anthology V/H/S

21 Jan 2013

Films from genre's best upcoming directors, including Ti West, David Bruckner and Adam Wingard

You can easily argue that the VHS era was a golden age for horror. Directors like John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Dario Argento were releasing innovative new films while franchise juggernauts such as Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser…

Interview - horror directors Jen and Sylvia Soska

20 Jan 2013

The writer/director duo talk American Mary, horror movies and Dead Hooker

Writing/directing duo the Soska sisters made a cult splash with their debut Dead Hooker in a Trunk, a grimy, blackly comic ultra low budget shocker. Now they are back with a far more ambitious second feature, American Mary (out now on DVD and Blu-ray)…

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FrightFest 2013 programme highlights

17 Jan 2013

The directors of the horror film festival talk us though 2013’s Glasgow Film Festival line-up

FrightFest has rapidly become one of the most popular events at the Glasgow Film Festival, selling out way in advance. This year will be no exception especially when you take a look at the line-up of horror they have prepared. Plus the small fact that a…

Texas Chainsaw 3D

11 Jan 20132 stars

Disappointing return for Leatherface

The trend for quickie remakes has drawn plenty of ire from the horror community, bemoaning the lack of originality and often shoddy cash-in movies trading on brand recognition and little else. Of course there are exceptions John Carpenter’s The Thing…

American Mary

11 Jan 20133 stars

A shocking, memorable body horror, let down by a weak third act

American Mary marks the second feature-length film by Jen and Sylvia Soska, following Dead Hooker In A Trunk (a film that began life as a faux trailer – inspired by the Tarantino/Rodriguez project Grindhouse). Like the twisted sister of an early David…

Midnight Son

11 Jan 20133 stars

A confident but minor addition to the vampire-addict horror subgenre

Since directing breakout hit The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez has continued milking the low-budget horror market, executive producing this low-key tale of LA vampires for debutant writer/director Scott Leberecht. As Leberecht’s visual effects…

May I Kill U?

11 Jan 20132 stars

Blackly comic satire that lacks laughs, despite starring UK comedian Kevin Bishop

‘Assisted dying’ is the phrase used by disgruntled copper Baz (Kevin Bishop) to describe the brand of polite street-justice he invents in the aftermath of the London riots. Writer/director Stuart Urban’s black comedy revolves around the inverted moral…

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Grabbers

21 Dec 20122 stars

A contrived, one-note sci-fi horror comedy in which a community stays drunk to repel an alien attack

In Grabbers, an interplanetary invasion of earth can potentially be foiled, not by the fighting spirit of the human race, but due to the aversion of the aliens to drinking blood contaminated by alcohol. It’s a situation which forces the inhabitants of a…

Zombie Flesh Eaters

20 Dec 20124 stars

Reissue of the 1979 video nasty classic on Blu-ray and DVD

How can you not love a film called Zombie Flesh Eaters? And unlike so many exploitation movies it actually lives up to its inflammatory title. We get the infamous splinter meets eyeball scene, zombies fighting sharks underwater, multiple torn throats…

Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan

23 Nov 20123 stars

Documentary about the work and influence of the special effects pioneer

Ray Harryhausen saw King Kong (1933) and was instantly hooked on the magic of movies. Eventually going on to work with the man who brought Kong to life, Willis O’Brien, on another great ape movie: Might Joe Young (1949). From there on Harryhausen became…

Silent Hill: Revelation

1 Nov 20122 stars

Poorly-handled horror sequel inspired by the spooky video game

It's become cliché to point out that video games don't translate well to film but here's yet another example to ram the point home. After pilfering imagery and plot from the Silent Hill 3 game, Deathwatch director Michael J Bassett brings nothing new to…

Horror DVD review: The Pact, Monster Brawl, The Victim and The Aggression Scale

31 Oct 2012

Round-up of new horror DVD releases

It’s Halloween so the perfect time to check out a few horror DVDs. Kicking off with The Aggression Scale (Anchor Bay) which is being punted as ‘Home Alone meets First Blood’ which is a pretty accurate description of this home invasion thriller. Thugs…

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Excision

29 Oct 20124 stars

Gore-filled black comedy for those with strong stomachs

A blood-drenched slice of menstrual angst, first time writer/director Richard Bates Jr’s horror film, based on his own 2008 short, is most certainly not for the squeamish. A coming of age drama studded with hallucinatory imagery, it opens with a gushing…

Stitches

26 Oct 20122 stars

Poorly handled killer clown comedy-horror starring Ross Noble

Teenager Tom (Tommy Knight) is an uptight, nervous wreck. After a traumatic experience at a childhood birthday party, at which a scuzzy kids’ entertainer named Stitches (Ross Noble) was accidentally killed, he’s grown up to be a pill-popping neurotic…

Ross Noble stars in killer clown comedy-horror Stitches - interview

25 Oct 2012

The comedian discusses gory prosthetics, gruesome effects and Edwina Currie

Actors often complain about how long they have to spend in the make-up chair – how was that for you on the Stitches set? Oh, that does my head in! It absolutely does my head in! When people go, ‘Oh, god knows, I had to sit there and have prosthetic…

Paranormal Activity 4

17 Oct 20122 stars

The found footage horror series runs out of steam

Should we be suspicious of any series that manages to churn out a new film every single year? Saw managed seven years in a row, with new product in place every October from 2004 to 2010. Now Paranormal Activity is back for it’s fourth instalment in four…

Documentary Room 237 unravels the theories surrounding The Shining

16 Oct 2012

Kubrick's horror masterpiece has inspired multiple allegorical readings

You can tell a lot about a person by the classic horror movie that he or she is least inclined to watch alone on a stormy night. If religious trauma lurks in someone’s psyche, The Exorcist is going to be the one that most works their nerves. If their…