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Posted 3rd September 2009 at 03:00 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs
Updated 3rd September 2009 at 03:45 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs

Hi there! Click here to read some reviews for films yet to come out and those new to dvd, from nazi zombies to new rape/revenge film.

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re all fine and dandy Anyways, as some of you may know, I went to Frightfest a few days ago and saw a tonne of new horror films, from Dario Argento’s new Giallo to nazi zombies and a rather f-ed up centipede! So, in this blog, I thought I’d review ALL the films I saw (in the order that I saw them), not just because I’ve not got much else to do today, but also, hopefully, it’ll help you decide what future horror films to watch out for and which to avoid at ALL costs, as most of these films were UK or world premieres. . So, I guess it’s a bit of a Shameless Exclusive...kinda. And I know I have a tendency to ramble on and on in a review - I’ll try to keep them as brief as possible. So sit back, grab your cup of coffee and pop on your reading glasses as I take you through the films. Oh, and by the way, there’s a few minor spoilers all the way through, but nothing serious, I’ll let you know when there’s a big spoiler.

THE HORSEMAN (2008; Dir: Steven Kastrissios)

The Horseman was the first film I saw there, so it only seems right we start with that, and what a bloody good place it is to start too. The plot of this is nothing out of the ordinary, and has been done countless times; it’s a typical rape/revenge film, in which a young girl is raped and then murdered and her father (Peter Marshall) attempts to track down and conduct violent revenge on all involved. We’ve all seen something along those lines many many times, from ‘Video Nasty’ favorite I Spit On Your Grave (1978; Meir Zarchi) to the recent, and more arty-farty film, Irreversible (2002; Gaspar Noe). However, it’s the way this film is told which is it’s strong point. Unlike the previously mentioned films, this film does not dwell on the sexual side of the narrative, in fact it takes place entierly AFTER the rape/murder. The only nudity you ever see is a very short glimpse [SLIGHT SPOILER] that is seen on the video sent to the Father [END OF SLIGHT SPOILER!]. This gave the whole film a completly different tone, one which focuses primarily on the dad’s struggle with the incident, whilst allowing more screen time for brutal gore. Horrah!

And yes, the gore is rather extreme. Almost every character in this film ends up being covered in blood some how as the dad goes on his trip of vengeance. But don’t get me wrong, this is not some Saw (2004; James Wan) or shitty Hostel (2005; Eli Roth) rip-off. Nope. Instead the film offers something much more gritty and realistic, which, in my opinion, ups the disturbing factor. One scene inparticular is shot in such a way that the act in completly implied and left to the audience’s imagination. Let’s just say, during that scene, I, and I bet every other male in the audience, crossed their legs and took in a deep breathe! Nasty.

Overall, this film is a MUST SEE. A very realistic and brutal film that follows the journey of a determined and clearly obsessive father, which not only plays with conventions, particuarly with the typical rape/revenge’s representation of gender but also frequently asks the questions why? Can revenge ever be justified? Unfortionatly, as far as I know, there is no planned DVD release of this Australlian revenge thriller, which is a terrible shame. If you can see it however...see it! Ill be keeping an eye on Kastrissios’s future career as a director – if this is his debut, imagine how good his other films will be.

Rating – 4.5/5

(2008; Glenn McQuaid)

From one masterpiece to another! Compared to The Horseman, this is a completly different kettle of fish (what a odd saying that is!). Instead of being an exceptional example of an exsisting type of film, this one is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It rolls around in it’s originality like...erm...a pig rolls in its own shit. Mmm – ok so that’s no the best similie ever! The best way I can describe this is the best of Hammer Horror meets The Evil Dead 2 (1987; Sam Raimi) with a narrative structure as interesting as anything Taratino or even one of the recent Saw films, but that would still not do this film justice!

The film starts of with the execution of Wille Grimes (Larry Fessenden) in a way not completly dissimilar to the brilliant Hammer film, Frankenstien Created Woman (1967; Terence Fisher) . After this we are introduced to Arthur Blake (played by none other than Dominic Monaghan – The Lord Of The Rings (2001-2003; Peter Jackson)’s very own Merry) who tells the fascinating and very odd story off his life as a grave robber, to Father Duffy (Ron Perlman – yep, Hellboy himself), before his execution the next day. And his story gets more and more bizzare and fun as the film proggresses. [SPOILER] We find out that there’s more to grave-robbing than just corpses, in fact there’s vampires, zombies, aliens and even a sea-serpant monster! [END OF SPOILERS] However, unlike most films with these creatures in, this movie doesn’t focus entierly on them, they become rather incidental – which makes it all the more unique and enjoyable.

As if the plot wasn’t amazing enough, the set, mise-en-scene, lighting, etc are also equally magnificent. Set in Victorian England, we’re treated to gothic conventions galore. From crippled, evil looking trees against the pale moonlight, to mishapen houses to, ofcourse, as much fog as you’ll ever seen in a film! AND (!) the directing of this film is some of the best I’ve seen, at least in a recent film. To think that McQuaid not only directed this as superbly as he did, but also wrote the script (truly an excellent achievement) surely shows that horror is FAR from dead. Even with what seems like endless remakes and sequels, there is some talent out there. And his name is Glenn McQuaid.

This is another film that I strongly suggest seeing and the good thing is it’s available on DVD! Horray and huzzar! A VERY VERY VERY funny and highly original well made horror.

Rating: 4.5/5


Yes, I know I said all these films are new, but, well, there’s always an exception. And what an exception this is! I’m almost 100% sure you’ve probably all seen this classic of werewolf horror, so there’s little point in going into detail about this one. So, I’ll keep it brief(er)!
There are few films in history that have as much acknowledgement as this film does. When someone says zombie, you probably reply Night/Dawn Of The (Living) Dead (1968,1978; George A. Romero),haunted houses; The Amityville Horror (1979; Stuart Rosenberg), Space battles – Star Wars (1977; George Lucas), and so on. An American this to the Werewolf genre, in my opinion, with the exception maybe of The Wolf Man (1941; George Waggner). It’s certainly true that this film has many AMAZING moments, from the very beginning with the odd villagers in The Slaughtered Lamb (look out for The Young One/Bottom’s Rik Mayall) to the uber cool dream sequences and transformation scene. There’s no denying that this is one of the best Werewolf films out there, but then again that’s not really saying much, as werewolf’s are not exactly the best sub-genre of horror out there (maybe that’s just my view?). In all honestly, I believe that this film is slightly overrated. And definitely NOT Landis’s best film, hence why I asked him to sign my Blues Brothers (1980; John Landis) DVD instead of American Werewolf...

Look out for it on a newly remastered DVD with documentary; Beware The Moon

Rating: 4/5

THE SHADOW (2009; Federico Zampaglione)

“The renaissance of Italian horror starts here” boasts the Frightfest programme book, comparing this film to the works of “Italian icons Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Ruggero Deodato”. With this introduction, I literally was peeing myself to see it. An Italian film! We all luv Italian horrors here. It must be good if compared to those masters of horror (although Argento has gone completely off the rails – see the Giallo review). Well, I could NOT have been more WRONG. This film is one of the biggest disappointments! It’s utter crap! Sorry, but it is. It’s just a mess.
Here’s the ‘plot’; [SPOILERS – IF YOU EVEN CARE! ]We’re ‘introduced’ to two people (male and female, naturally) who both find out that they share a strong passion for bikes. Yes, bikes! Then, on a bike ride in the forest, they end up being chased by two hunters and their dog. Then somewhere along the line (when I woke up lol) they had been kidnapped by a freaky looking skinny...freak and ‘tortured’. The end. Oh wait, there’s more. The film ends with a twist – wahey! Everyone luvs a good twist. Unless, ofcourse, it’s THE single most annoying twist in the history of the world; ‘It was all a dream!’. OH SHUT UP! You’re telling me I sat through that poop of a film, for THAT! Grrr! [SPOILER OVER]

This film is just stupid. It seems like a colour-by-numbers horror film, in which the director has somehow managed to colour it in wrong AND out of the lines as well. It’s one big mess. First of all there is no room for characterisation AT ALL. Now, I don’t mind films without any well-rounded characters, but this attempts to create characters but ultimately FAILS. Another thing that makes this film a FAIL is it’s stupidity! Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore stupid horror films, from Ed Wood to The Zombie Dead (1981; Andrea Bianchi), but this is not funny in the slightest. For example, [SPOILER], if you were on your mountain bike, being chased along a road surrounded by forest by a massive jeep, wouldn’t you think, ‘Mmm. Maybe I should ride into the forrest, the big jeep won’t be able to follow me that way’. Well, obviously (according to this film) the answer is ‘no’.[END OF SPOILER] Oh, and then there’s the instances when the filmmaker (who’s actually a rock star – need I say more?) attempts to be intelligent by throwing in some social commentary. Great! Except this ends up being stupid as well. [Slight Spoiler], This is ‘achieved’ when the main character, escapes the silly little torture dungeon and escapes through a tunnel of evil. Along this tunnel are a serious of evil portraits. First we see a portrait of Adolf Hitler! WTF! Firstly who the hell has a picture of Hitler on their wall, and secondly what type of clumsy point is this hack of a director trying to make? Then, as the star moves down the corridor, we see a portrait of another almighty evil entity...Stalin. Now, here comes the biggest laugh in the auditorium; we then see a large portrait of, none other than...George Bush! Bush! What is this? I thought this was meant to be a horror film, not a stupid and unfunny satire! If there’s any reason to buy this film, it’s that scene! [End Of Spoiler].

There is one good thing about this film however, besides the short running time, and that’s the lighting. It really does add to the mood (what there is of it) of the film. It’s that kind of dingy looking, dirty lighting used in the basement of Martyrs (2008; Pascal Laugier). This really is the star of the film, and I’d like to congratulate the person responsible for this, it’s just a shame the film never lived up to the lighting. The torture is also very poor, as poor as the acting in fact (and that’s saying A LOT!). I think only one person is tortured in the whole film, which is fine, except that scene was stupid as well. [Spoiler] One of the hunters from the beginning of the film, now strapped to a metal table, is slowly cooked from underneath as if on an oven. It sounds really good, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, unfortionatly. It’s all let down by the acting, who adlib lines such as ‘Oh no’ and other unconvincing grunts.

I really do not see how this can be described as the new ‘renaissance’ of Italian horror. It was neither disturbing nor beautiful. It was however a complete waste of time. Avoid unless you really REALLY luv your Italian horror!

Rating: 1/5

Damn, this blog is LONG! Right, time for a little break me thinks. I’ll write the other reviews in a bit. The next 4 films will be:

-The Horde ( a new French zombie film)
-Macabre (an Asian gorefest)
-Millennium: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (A Swedish Giallo)
-Giallo (Dario Argento’s new film. He’s seriously lost it!)
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  1. Old Comment
    bizarre_eye@Cult Labs's Avatar
    The Horseman and I Sell the Dead look awesome iluv. Really looking forward to the next part of your blog!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 05:49 PM by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs bizarre_eye@Cult Labs is offline
  2. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Ahh thanks BE.

    The Horseman and ISTD are seriously brilliant! UNLIKE SHADOW! Although I don't actually know why it's called 'The Horseman' though. Meh.

    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 06:05 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  3. Old Comment
    bizarre_eye@Cult Labs's Avatar
    No probs iluv.

    I thought that it might be a play on 'Horseman of the Apocalypse' or something cheesy like that - I'll guess we'll have to wait for the DVD extras to find out!

    Speaking of the DVD I've looked about on ye olde interweb and it looks like it's gonna get a release on 1st March 2010.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 07:52 PM by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs bizarre_eye@Cult Labs is offline
  4. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Mmm maybe BE. I never thought of that, I guessed it might be a play on the Headless Horseman. But that makes no sense. Its probably some cryptic metaphorical thing.

    Ahh, nice work mate! I've gotta get that one. It's a shame it's so long away though Do you know who's releasing it BE?

    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 07:59 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  5. Old Comment
    bizarre_eye@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Spirit Entertainment mate. The same people who are releasing Colin.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 08:03 PM by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs bizarre_eye@Cult Labs is offline
  6. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Ooooh really! Thanks for that - I'll have to pre-order it. As for Colin. Mmm. I'll be reviewing that in the 3rd and final part. Have you seen it?
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 08:15 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  7. Old Comment
    bizarre_eye@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Nope. But I've heard lots of good things about it... I look forward to your review!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 3rd September 2009 at 10:28 PM by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs bizarre_eye@Cult Labs is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Kyle's Avatar
    great review kyle im looking forward to the first two
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 5th September 2009 at 07:07 AM by Kyle Kyle is offline
  9. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Good news - it looks like we MAY be giving away I Sell The Dead in a future comp!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 5th September 2009 at 06:53 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
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