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Patient Zero (2018)
Zero recommendation for this dross
A worldwide virus has infected billions, turning them into blood thirsty zombie like beings. Yet another apocalypse movie, to say that this sub genre has been done to death would be an understatement! The only slither of originality here is that one of the main characters (former Dr Who Matt Smith) is able to verbally communicate with the infected, but this is done really badly and is just silly.
Patient Zero is set in the USA but was filmed in the UK with a largely British cast. Sadly the American accents are terribly phoney, including Smith's. There is an outdoor scene in which an American car is driving down what is obviously a British street. The film is heavy on dialogue, it is pretty slow and boring. Very unoriginal. Couple of gory moments, including a graphic arm amputation.
I hated this movie, waste of time.
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
I can remember watching this on late night TV back in the 1980's when I was a kid, it impressed me a lot. I liked the combination of horror and science fiction, all the better for being in colour. Some 30 years on and I have just watched it again. I have to say that it does now look very dated. Not that it is a bad thing, obviously all films date, but it just lessened the initial impact. Still a very good movie from my favourite studio.
C'mon people, it's really not that bad!
I am not a big fan of Hollywood movies that mash up horror, fantasy and martial arts, I prefer my vampires to be more Lugosi or Lee, but BloodRayne does deliver 90 minutes of non stop action. It has a cast of well known actors, lots of violence, buckets of gore, some nice sets, nudity and stunning Romanian scenery. OK, so Michael Madsen, with his mullet and American accent doesn't really look or sound like a convincing European vampire hunter. OK, so much of the gore effects are CGI, some good, some not so good. And OK, it is hardly taxing on the grey matter. But for a brain in neutral horror/action flick it really isn't a bad ride. Kristianna Locken does make a very sexy vampire (or half human/half vampire, to be precise!), worth seeing for that alone.
Satan's Blade (1984)
Great title, great artwork, But not a great film
Satan's Blade starts off with possibly the worst and least convincing bank robbery that I have ever seen. After this the rest of the film is set at a mountain side resort, where grisly murders have just happened yet two separate groups of guests are none the less allowed to book in. In good old slasher fashion they will get bumped off, one by one. This does taken some time, however, with most of the killing taking place in the last 20 minutes or so. And then the deaths are pretty lame to be honest, with a few victims being guilty of some serious over acting. And talking of acting much of it here is awful, very, very amateurish. But for me that is part of the charm. There is some female nudity thrown in, a common element of slasher movies. I liked the outdoor filming in the snow, some decent camera work.
I have watched this twice now, I enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure type way, and no doubt will revisit it again.
A Dark Song (2016)
Impressive occult slow burner
A grieving mother rents a large, isolated house and employs an occultist to undertake a gruelling set of magical rituals so that she can contact her dead, 7 year old son.
The idea of making a film of which most of the running time focuses on magical ritual is excellent, the occult being a topic that has always fascinated me.
As other reviews state this is a slow burn but it is very well made and the two main characters (both played excellently by Catherine Walker and Steve Oram) make for compelling viewing. He, the occultist, is rude, foul mouthed and frankly common, whereas she is well spoken and well educated. They are like chalk and cheese but this is what helps make their relationship so interesting. The house itself is creepy, the location is bleak and the fantastic musical score just elevates the moodiness.
There is in horror movies a saying that less is more and this is true for most of its running time. However, when demons are actually visible near the end I felt that it did lower the film very slightly, not quite the brilliant ending that I was hoping for but decent none the less.
If you want a slice of torture porn watch something else instead
Two thieves choose the wrong house to rob, they break into the home of a crazy psycho who likes to shackle people up and torture them to death.
This is a jump on the bandwagon, torture porn Saw wannabe. Probably the worst example that I have seen, this is hard to watch. Not because of any stomach churning gore and violence but because everything about this crap really, really sucks. I was fooled into buying it by the enticing DVD artwork but sadly the contents were a big let down.
The Undying Monster (1942)
Very atmospheric but lacks much werewolf bite
A werewolf tale set in an old, large family mansion on the English coast. The film's strongest features lie in the wonderful sets, locations and camera work, the fog adding to the eerie atmosphere. This is a great example of why black and white movies can be so stunning, had it been shot in colour I'm sure it would have lost much impact.
Most of the plot plays out like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, with a detective from Scotland Yard (with an American accent) on the case. While most of the cast were English there are a few characters with unconvincing, Dick van Dyke sounding accents.
In terms of being a werewolf movie the creature is not fully seen until near the end and sadly does not require the traditional silver bullet to kill it. So a bit disappointing in that respect, otherwise this is an enjoyable, spooky 60 minutes or so.
Amicus, masters of the horror anthology
Asylum opens with Robert Powell driving his MGB sports car to an imposing lunatic asylum to the sound of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain", absolutely fantastic. Watching this again last night (on an old VHS tape) instantly brought back fond memories of staying up late as a kid, seeing it for the first time on TV.
Amicus were the masters of the horror anthology and this is a fine example,featuring four engrossing stories. My favourite is the first segment, Frozen Fear, a tale about a love triangle and a dismembered corpse.
Wonderful cast, very well filmed, this is one horror movie than I can never tire of.
Space: 1999: Breakaway (1975)
Loved this series
As a kid Space 1999 was essential viewing - I watched every episode, I had the toys, the books and when I grew up I wanted to be an astronaut. Move on four decades and the Horror Channel (UK) are repeating them, beginning with this episode.
For 1975 this still looks pretty good, it is only the 4:3 ratio and flared trousers that really age it. Quite a grim and depressing story for mankind to kick off with.
Lake Placid: Legacy (2018)
South Africa stands in for the USA and a cast of mainly Canadian and European actors play American characters, in some cases not very convincingly.
Pointless and very poor sequel in the Lake Placid franchise this entry can only be recommended as a time filler to viewers who can tolerate bad movies. Worst thing about this is the abysmal "special" effects. Whether it is the creature, a swarm of bats or explosions the CGI suck big time. Predictable too.
The Legacy (1978)
An American couple find themselves as unexpected guests at a mansion in the English countryside. Soon after some high powered guests arrive, only to die one by one in imaginative, gory ways.
The Legacy plays like a cross between British Gothic horror (which the likes Amicus and Hammer did so well) and a plot from Agatha Christie.As others have stated there are plot holes (for example, why wait until the next day to contact the police after the first death?). But the fact is that The Legacy is a very enjoyable yarn. Good cast, creepy house, some shocking, Omen-like deaths and a supernatural, Satanic plot. And Charles Gray, one of my favourite British actors, stars.
I can remember first watching The Legacy on TV back in the 1980's, when I was a teen and being very impressed. Several viewings later, the latest being on an old VHS, I never tire of it.
Not sure if this was meant to be funny but I couldn't stop laughing!
A retired American couple inherit a French country house but must spend 12 months there in order to gain possession. They become terrorised by a loathsome gang of vicious teenagers but eventually snap and bloody revenge is in order.
There are many flaws in this British movie. Despite being set in rural France (and it does use some nice locations) everybody here speaks fluent English. Russell Floyd looks good as the husband but his English accents keeps slipping out.We have a couple of comical cops who just seem to pop up all over the place at convenient times. There is an English teacher who plays a completely pointless role.
Offensive is a bit of a slow burn but when the husband sees red and turns into a Charles Bronson type character crossed with a Hobo with a Shotgun (or shovel in this case) the violence, laughably far fetched as it is at times, goes into overdrive. Trust me, this is a violent, gory film. Fans of gore will not be disappointed. I couldn't help but root for our senior citizens. But I just couldn't help laughing at how it was all staged, pretty comical and very predictable. Not sure if that was the film makers intention but at least I enjoyed it.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Probably make a good date movie
A female university student keeps getting murdered in her sleep, only to wake up to find that she is still alive. This keeps happening over and over so she must find a way of breaking the cycle and therefore save her life.
As others have stated this is Groundhog Day meets Scream. The idea behind this is fun but after the umpteenth time the novelty does start to wear a bit thin. What's more no explanation to this time loop is ever given. HDD is at least as much a romantic comedy as it is a horror movie. In fact die hard slasher fans will probably find this pretty tame, although the mask worn by the killer is very creepy. On the other hand those wanting a scary film but without the nastiness should find this very watchable. The production values are good, it is a well made film. Jessica Rothe plays the lead and her character is the backbone of this movie, my only criticism being that a 30 year old actress playing a part that is meant to be much younger isn't very convincing.
Overall a good fun movie with a few scares but I think many of these reviews are over generous. Doubtful I'd watch it again. Unless it's with a chick on a date!
Offers nothing new but it's not bad
A young boy called John Radley, who is unable to speak, is persecuted by not just other children but his cruel mother too. One boy pushes him down a well. Fast forward 10 years and John escapes from a mental institution with bloody revenge on the agenda.
This bears more than a similarity to Halloween, not just in plot but also the musical score, which sounds John Carpenterish, but I'm not knocking it for that. Offerings is a straight down the middle, average slasher movie, There is an adequate body count though none of the deaths are particularly gory. My favourite has a victim hung from his bedroom window whilst his parents are sat watching TV in the room directly beneath, totally unaware what is happening. John is a plump and facially disfigured maniac, and the fact that he is mute helps make him pretty creepy.
If you are a slasher addict - like me - then Offerings is worth checking out, otherwise not much to recommend.
Strangely watchable despite its faults
Low budget, independent horror/comedy following several vampires in 21st Century New York.
Bit of a tough one for me to review. On one hand I am tempted to say this is an overlong piece of crap, but on the other hand it certainly has some merits to make it watchable (provided the viewer appreciates low budget flicks).
The good - I felt compelled to stick with it as I wanted to know what was going to happen to the various characters, all of whom are vampires, or people attacked by them. Interestingly these vampires can walk around in daylight, the Sun has no fatal effect on them. I liked the soundtrack, a crucial element to any movie. There is a fair amount of bloodshed and violence. Camerawork is pretty good, at times using imaginative angles, and there are some creepy dreamlike, nightmarish sequences.
The bad - acting is at times poor, but then this is to be expected with movies of this type of budget. There is a dose of comedy but sadly at times it is just dumb, especially a couple meant to be Vlad the Impaler and Countess Bathory, real historical characters associated with "vampirism. But the worst thing for me was the film's mega running time - my DVD clocked up 140 minutes! Way too long for a film like this, in the unlikely attempt that I should feel the urge to revisit STHAS then I would probably do so in two sittings.
Legacy of Satan (1974)
An occult curiosity that lacks any skin
A New York couple are lured to a masked party, held at the large house of an evil occultist who has set his sights on the wife.
Very low budget, bad acting and a plot that could be written on a postage stamp this ticks the boxes for viewers seeking 1970's grindhouse trash. One of the movie's strongest points is the ever present, eerie synth score. This combines well with several surreal, nightmare like sequences. Some of the make up is OK too.
Two things that I didn't like are -
1 - no nudity, which was unusuall for black magic films from this decade, and
2 - despite the title I never once heard the name "Satan" get a mention, instead some Lord Rakeesh, or something, is the demon to which the cult is dedicated. A name that I am not familiar with.
Yes, this is trashy but it is still far more enjoyable that most of the horror movies being churned out in the 21st Century.
Blood for Dracula (1974)
Udo needs to find a "wirgin"!
Udo Kier, a fine actor in my opinion, plays Count Dracula, who travels to Italy along with his male secretary (Arno Juerging) to find a new bride, who must be a virgin. Easier said than done!
This Dracula is able to move around outside in daylight, and can hold a crucifix without killing him. He also describes his diet as vegetarian! And it is some 54 minutes in before he does any serious neck biting, though when there is blood there is plenty of it.
This is as least as much a skin flick as it is a horror, plenty of sex and nudity on offer, including some lesbian sisters, forced sex and the seduction of a 14 year old girl. I liked this movie, nowhere near as trashy or arty as I half expected. There is some great cinematography and the sets are delightful. The only thing that sucks - and I don't mean this in a vampire way - is the accents of most of the cast. Kier and Juerging plays Transylvanians but make no effort to disguise their German accents, and neither can pronounce the word "virgin", instead saying "wirgin". Rather Monty Pythonish! And the Italian family they stay with only the father sounds Italian, his wife English, at least one of his daughters French and the handyman/gardener a New Yorker!
AKA Andy Warhol's Dracula
Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält (1970)
"I want confessions, not corpses!"
A story that uses some facts about witch hunting in the 18th Century, adding a touch of romance. This is a period drama, a love story, part documentary and an early example of the torture porn sub genre, all deliciously wrapped up to make Mark of the Devil a superb movie. Great cast, though some of the English dubbing is terrible (but that only adds to its charm), stunning Austrian locations, a glorious colour palette, a score that will be familiar to fans of Cannibal Holocaust and plenty of nudity and graphic gore.
Like other great horror movies from the early 1970's, such as The Devils, The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this suffered terribly at the hands of the British censor. Thankfully now available in all of its uncut beauty. A film that I own on VHS, DVD and BR
The Devil's Candy (2015)
Not bad heavy metal horror
A painter and his heavy metal loving family move into a creepy Texan house, where the previous occupants were killed and demonic forces appear to be at work.
I found this to be well acted, well scored (some classic metal tracks here), it has some good, fluid camera work and a few effective moments of horror. The only thing I think that let it down was the lack of backbone to the Satanic aspect of the story.
They say that the Devil has all the best tunes. He certainly has better movies than this.
Fascinating for us horror/VHS geeks
Fascinating documentary on the story of unregulated movies, horror in particular, that flooded British homes on VHS from the late 1970's and through the Video Nasties era of the mid 80's. Betamax isn't entirely left out by the way!
I am a lifelong horror fan, having fallen in love with the genre as a young boy in the late 70's and I can remember with great fondness hiring movies on VHS to watch at home. Like many others I did build up quite a collection but then sold most when DVD came along. How I wished that I had kept many titles! I have recently started recollecting tapes but their prices have soared. So to people like myself watching this is of great interest and nostalgia, helped by the fact that many of the experts that appear in this documentary are easy to contact via social media. I am Facebook friends with several.
My only criticisms are that the sound in places is a tad poor and at 91 minutes it is quite long, though I must stress never boring!
Shakey start, then it improves
A young bride to be (Casey) is bitten by an unknown bug whilst on vacation in Costa Rica with her two friends. When she returns home she wants to call off the imminent wedding, discovers that she is pregnant and starts to transform into a hideous insect creature.
The first 7 minutes consists of truly awful, shakey hand held camera work in the style of a found footage movie. So bad that it made me queasy. Thankfully it then adopts a normal style, and later on this initial footage does play an important part of the plot. Made in Canada it was obviously heavily influenced by David Cronenberg's body horror classic The Fly. Casey's prisoner in her own apartment situation also reminded me of Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. Elma Begovic plays the role of Casey well, sadly some of the other cast are less convincing in their roles, in particular her two friends.
The real star of Bite, however, are the many gooey, gross out special effects. There are far more shocking movies out there but Bite may prove too strong for viewers with a low tolerance for onscreen gore. My initial opinion on Bite was very low but it soon improved and turned out to be a reasonably good watch.
Curse II: The Bite (1989)
UK title - The Bite. A young couple driving across the American Southwest are warned by a gasoline attendant not to take a short cut through a former military testing ground. Naturally they ignore hit advice and the guy ends up getting bitten by a snake. Over the course of the movie he slowly mutates into a gross half man half snake creature.
The acting is pretty good and there are some interesting characters but at the end of the day The Bite is all about special effects. Screaming Mad George provided them here, and does a great job. However, most of these come near the end of the film, it is a bit of a slow burn until then.
I watched this on VHS, it is a classic example of great sleeve artwork, which entices the viewing to watch the movie, but ultimately the end result is not quite so great. Does have a sufficient amount of Bite though to make it worthwhile.
Bad Match (2017)
Fatal Attraction for the iPhone generation
Harris, a successful bachelor, uses dating apps to meet women for his own satisfaction, but when he meets Riley things rapidly get out of control. Is she crazy? Watch and find out!
This is not in the same league as Fatal Attraction but is a reasonably good time passer. Acting is sufficiently good, the pace never gets too slow, there are a few quite brutal moments and the film does throw in some effective black humour. It is also predictable but overall I quite enjoyed it.
A small group of bad actors investigate apparent hauntings at a Louisiana mansion. This opens up claiming to contain real footage, a huge insult to the viewer. It was an early cash in on the found footage style but the atrocious camera work made me feel nauseous. The acting is pathetic and the only scary thing about this crap was that it actually got released!
Saturday the 14th (1981)
Monster mash-up that is reasonably entertaining.
A family inherit a large, creepy house which is home to an old book that opens up a world of assorted monsters.
Horror comedy that has nothing what so ever to do with the Friday the 13th movies, this is a romp featuring vampires and other beasts, one of which looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Made in 1981 I think this has aged quite well. The family gel well, after all the parents were a real life copy. There's plenty of horror shenanigans and simple comedy, at 77 minutes it runs along at a good pace.