Film, Horror

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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)…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…