Film, Horror

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GFF 2012 - Day planner

6 Feb 2012

Our highlights for each day of the Glasgow Film Festival

It can be difficult, when any festival rolls around, to decide which events to skip in favour of others. Searching rigorously through the programme, referring back to the calendar, trying to fit in as much as possible - it's a painstaking piece of work…

GFF 2012 - Frightfest highlights

2 Feb 2012

A round up of the best films showing as part of the Glasgow Film Festival's horror strand

FrightFest is back once again to terrorise the Glasgow Film Festival. Now taking over the GFT for two full days, this year (as with every year) it’s a vibrant snap shot of the state of horror cinema. It’s been so successful the organisers have launched…

GFF 2012 - Italo-horror artist Umberto

1 Feb 2012

The soundtrack specialist fits comfortably into the Glasgow Music and Film Festival strand

Horror-score revivalist Matt Hill channels the creepyass compositions of Goblin, John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi in his eerie synthjams, conjuring up a sonic witches brew. A member of drone-merchants Expo 70, Hill has, in his Umberto guise, explored the…

Steven Severin: Vampyr - Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh, Thu 12 Jan

1 Feb 20123 stars

Ex-Banshees bassist delivers brooding live score to 1930s horror classic

The man with the flowing white hair walks towards a small table and chair to one side of the Cameo’s big screen. Sporting a long black winter coat and carrying a glass of red wine, the man looks as if he’s stepped in from another, altogether darker age…

The Woman In Black

23 Jan 20122 stars

Daniel Radcliffe's first post-Potter film lacks the requisite scares for a classic ghost story

(12A) 95mins Susan Hill’s Victorian ghost story has been terrifying theatre audiences for the best part of twenty-five years, second only to The Mousetrap as the longest running show in the history of London’s West End. It has already been…

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Intruders

5 Jan 20123 stars

Derivative, moderately engaging paranormal horror starring Clive Owen

(15) 110min Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has never quite delivered on the promise of his clever debut feature Intacto. Retro chiller Intruders is cleverly constructed and suspenseful but fades when pitted against superior genre fare like…

The Awakening

15 Nov 20113 stars

Superior British period ghost story sets a tone of creepy unease

There’s been a glut of cinematic ghost stories this year. The likes of Paranormal Activity 3 and Insidious often relied on jump scares and cheap parlour tricks, whereas The Awakening goes in the opposite direction letting the story unfold to reveal the…

Paranormal Activity 3

21 Oct 20113 stars

Surprisingly effective third instalment of found footage suburban ghost story

(15) 84min Now Saw has relinquished it’s stranglehold on the multiplex each and every Halloween, Paranormal Activity has stepped up to fill the void. And it’s impressive that they’ve managed to mine this much back-story from the simplicity of the…

Shark Night 3D

6 Oct 20112 stars

Dumb fun as big fish chow down on stereotypical college kids

(15) 91 min The avalanche of 3D releases may be slowing down but there’s still a few chuckles to be had with the format. Shark Night 3D has the flimsiest of plots as seven college kids head out for a weekend at a luxurious lake house in Louisiana…

Red State survey reveals loss of morals in UK

29 Sep 2011

A questionnaire promoting Kevin Smith's Republican-skewering horror flick has interesting results

Kevin Smith is well-known for baiting controversy - his apocalyptic comedy Dogma drew massive complaints for its depiction of a shallow Catholic church, while latest release Red State focuses on a group of serial-killing Christian fundamentalists.

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The Woman

28 Sep 20114 stars

Challenging horror from the minds of Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum

(18) 98 min There has been a spate of interesting indie horror recently, films like Dead Girl, The Loved Ones and Red, White & Blue have brought a real intelligence to the genre. A challenging leftfield take on the idea of what is horror. The Woman…

Red State

14 Sep 20113 stars

Uneven political horror-thriller from Kevin Smith

(18) 88min Outspoken filmmaker Kevin Smith hit a creative and commercial low with his last studio-backed production, the Bruce Willis-starring flop Cop Out, but before that film was even released Smith had shifted focus to this long-gestating…

Don't be Afraid of the Dark

13 Sep 20112 stars

Unimaginitive reboot of 70s cult horror film

(15) 99min Looming large in the childhood memories of many US pop culture aficionados, the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was a minor but effective 1973 TV movie in which Jim Hutton and Kim Darby played a couple menaced by demonic creatures in…

Profile: Melissa George

1 Sep 2011

Aussie actress Melissa George tells us all about her new film A Lonely Place to Die

Born 6 August, 1976, Perth, Australia. Background Yet another Aussie soap alumni done good, after starring as Angel in over 300 episodes of Home & Away. ‘I’m a very good quitter, I always quit a job at the right time,’ explains George. ‘I was…

Final Destination 5

24 Aug 20113 stars

Horror franchise gets back on track with some suitably gory bloodshed

(15) 92 min In many ways the Final Destination series is the ultimate streamlined horror franchise, they have dispensed with a villain and it is death itself that stalks our victims. And FD 5 returns the glorious gory yucks to the screen after the…

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A Lonely Place To Die

24 Aug 20113 stars

Tense and riveting Brit-thriller set in Scottish Highlands

How far would you go to save a stranger? Would you risk your life? And your friends’ lives? It’s a question Alison (Melissa George) and her fellow climbers must answer after they stumble across a young girl (Holly Boyd) buried in a wooden box while…

The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito)

19 Aug 20114 stars

Almodovar's adaptation is measured, playful and spellbinding

(15) 120min The Skin I Live In has all the elements of a campy Vincent Price B-movie. There is a meddlesome scientist driven mad by grief, a grisly revenge plot and a hapless victim, not to mention multiple murder, kidnap and rape. In the hands of…

Kill List

19 Aug 20113 stars

Genre-schizophrenic crime spree lacks clarity

(18) 95min Down Terrace director Ben Wheatley second feature is another tale of crime, skullduggery and mystery. Kill List is one of those movies that starts off in one genre (kitchen sink drama) and turns into another (horror). Robert Rodriguez…

DVD reviews: The Kingdom, Giallo, The Pack, Bloodrayne 3, Evil Rising and Lake Mungo

18 Jul 2011

Summer horror DVD round-up

Forget Hollywood – this month we embark on a European horror odyssey. First up, Lars von Trier's superlative haunted hospital drama The Kingdom (Second Sight ●●●●). Collecting both of his four-part Danish TV series into one boxed set for the first time…

Julia's Eyes

1 Jul 20113 stars

A very well made chiller in the stalk ‘n’ slash tradition

(15) 112min In addition to directing visionary adult horror-fantasies (The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth) and outstanding Hollywood blockbusters (Hellboy and its sequel), Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is also carving a second career for…

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DVD reviews: Amer, My Soul to Take, Season of the Witch, The Resident and more on DVD

24 Jun 2011

Horror DVD round-up

Time for another dastardly delve into the horror DVD pile. We’ll start on a highnote. Amer (Anchor Bay) is actually French but is a studied homage to Italian 70s gialo filmmaking, more concerned with sound, colour, style and mood than coherent…

The Last Circus

20 Jun 20114 stars

Spanish black comedy/horror takes in clowns, circus life, love and madness

The latest film from writer/director Alex de la Iglesia is almost unclassifiable, a love story, a black comedy and horror all apply and as fans of his Accion Mutante (1992) will know it’s this glorious mess of ideas and themes that makes for such a…

Rabies (Kalevat)

17 Jun 20113 stars

An interesting twist on slasher movie conventions from Israel

The problem with slasher films is that they perhaps have the most rigid rules in cinema. It’s so easy to fall into the standard clichés as set out by Halloween and Friday the 13th. Not that it means you can’t make a fun, entertaining film within these…

Profile: Jim Mickle, director of vampire horror Stake Land

23 May 2011

Director turnes hometown into a post-apocalyptic wasteland

Name Jim Mickle Born Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 1977 Background After graduating from New York University’s filmmaking programme, Mickle worked in the camera department for features Transamerica, Shortbus and Pride and Glory. The experience gave him…

Kaboom

23 May 20114 stars

Cult director Gregg Araki returns to his B-movie roots with comedy-sci-fi-horror

(15) 86min Cult director Gregg Araki (The Living End, Mysterious Skin), one of the leading figures in the New Queer Cinema of the 90s, returns to the style of his earlier work for Kaboom, a gloriously trashy, insane ride of a film that wears its…