Film, Horror

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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…

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Edinburgh Zombie Club share their Hallowe'en film recommendations

16 Oct 2012

What’s your favourite film to watch at this time of year? The Beyond ticks all the boxes: it has a spooky old house, zombies and an unspeakable secret. It’s creepy but gory, a classic Italian horror movie. Watch it with the lights off and candles…

Room 237

5 Oct 20124 stars

Compelling documentary about the hidden meanings in Kubrick's The Shining

This frighteningly engrossing documentary presents a series of (supposedly) hidden meanings to be found imbedded in Stanley Kubrick’s modern horror classic The Shining. The various readings of the film, which range from quite plausible to utterly balmy…

Sinister

1 Oct 20124 stars

Skilful horror staring Ethan Hawke

The opening of Scott Derrickson’s horror certainly lives up to the title: Super 8 ‘snuff’ footage captures a family-of-four hanged until dead from a tree, its branch acting as a lever to pull at the nooses and raise them off the ground. It’s an…

Resident Evil: Retribution

28 Sep 20122 stars

Vacuous but delivers when it comes to action

Films based on videogames have a bad rep. That doesn’t stop some of them being hugely popular. Resident Evil, the most successful game-to-movie franchise, has so far grossed over $670 million worldwide. And it can put that success down to knowing its…

Revisiting: Santa Sangre

25 Sep 20124 stars

Jodorowsky's 1989 cult circus slasher returns to cinemas

The circus has long provided rich cinematic pickings, from Freaks and The Greatest Show on Earth to La Strada and Lola Montès. In Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1989 contribution to the canon, the circus is the stuff of wild nightmares and childhood trauma. Set…

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House at the End of the Street

21 Sep 20122 stars

Jennifer Lawrence-starring teen horror/thriller blows it in final reel

Most film fans have heard of the horrors of development hell, how great movie scripts can kick about for years, often getting chopped and changed beyond recognition if and when they finally make it to production. Release schedules can be almost as…

When The Lights Went Out

11 Sep 20122 stars

Disappointing British ghost story set in 1970s Yorkshire, starring Martin Compston

The UK box office success of The Woman in Black is presumably the reason for the deluge of such penny dreadfuls as When The Lights Went Out, yet another ghost train ride with a succession of scary faces looming out of the dark, aiming to jolt…

Guinea Pigs

4 Sep 20122 stars

Tired and familiar low budget horror

In a remote research laboratory somewhere in the English countryside, eight unconnected volunteers – including students, ‘career trial patients’ and a curious journalist – gather to take part in a trial for a new drug called Pro9. The doctor in charge…

The Possession

3 Sep 20123 stars

A slightly moth-eaten Jewish version of The Exorcist from Sam Raimi's Ghost House imprint

A Jewish version of The Exorcist, The Possession is the latest entry in the minor sub-genre of horror films about the dybbuk, a malevolent spirit from Jewish folklore, familiar from David S Goyer’s The Unborn and the creepy prologue of the Coen…

A Night In The Woods

3 Sep 20122 stars

By-the-numbers supernatural horror from director Richard Parry

Richard Parry's Dartmoor-set A Night In The Woods was inspired by a real-life incident experienced by the director. While out camping alone in Wistman's Woods Parry awoke to feel someone's hands pressing upon his throat and a figure standing over him…

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[REC]³ Génesis

28 Aug 20123 stars

Dark laughs and outrageous violence feature in the third film in the [REC] series

Where the first two [REC] films relied on claustrophobic tension and shaky camera to impress, the third film goes for a more conventional format that's backed by dark laughs and in-your-face violence. Directed with over the top relish by Paco Plaza…

Interview: Kim Newman - film critic and novelist

23 Aug 2012

The noted writer talks Dracula, horror and vampires

Writer Kim Newman is probably most famous for his film criticism, a champion of horror and cult cinema, writing several books on the subject, while delving into the Video Dungeon at Empire magazine every issue and starting this interview with the fact…

Interview: Toby Jones on Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio

15 Aug 2012

Hannah McGill speaks to the actor about the genre-defying anti-horror movie

Two stories drew Toby Jones to Berberian Sound Studio, the sophomore feature project by British-born director Peter Strickland. There was the tale to be spun onscreen: that of a mild-mannered British sound engineer coming unstuck whilst working on sound…

Berberian Sound Studio

28 Jun 20124 stars

Striking and unsettling film from Peter Strickland set in a 1970s Italian horror sound studio

Films that address the artifice, fakery and manipulation inherent in their own medium obviously offer geeky thrills for knowing buffs, but they also draw out the intriguing emotional complexity of the filmmaker/viewer relationship: the fact that we…

V/H/S

27 Jun 20124 stars

A thoroughly nasty series of handheld horror vignettes

Using ‘found footage’ as its central theme, V/H/S delivers six different stories for the price of one. In the overarching narrative ‘Tape 56’, a group of thugs raid a seemingly empty house in search of a specific video cassette, filming their actions as…