Movies

The-Devils_UK poster

Film: The Devils (1971)

The Devils dvdThe Devils is not a film for everyone.”

Ken Russell’s 1971 masterpiece The Devils mixes the avante garde with the blasphemous, creating an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Censored and widely banned since it’s release, the full, uncut version of the film, which includes an infamous scene involving a crucifix (known as the “rape of Christ” scene) and several other salacious scenes, has never been made available to the public. This DVD version contains as much of the film as Warner Bros. will currently allow to be released and is as good a version as I have ever seen.

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Film Review: Spookies (1986)

richard-corben_spookies-poster_1987Spookies harks back to that glorious time for American horror films – the mid to late 1980’s. It has the perfect mix of stereotypical teen characters (all played by actors that are well into their twenties, in line with horror tradition) and incredible special creature effects that still look good today. No CGI here – all the effects were done with puppets and models, giving them a solid, believable look that is sadly missing from today’s horror movies. (more…)

True Survivor – The return of the ‘Hoff’

“Hey – you got a permit for those guns?”

For those who have been blissfully ignorant of the fact all these years, iconic 80’s and early ’90’s actor David Hasselhoff (better known as Michael Knight from the TV show Knight Rider) is also a singer. He specialises in extremely cheesy 1980’s-style power ballads and pop rock, and for reasons unknown to the rest of us, he is a huge music star in Germany (remember when he sang on top of the Berlin Wall in 1989? Sadly, I do!).

Hasselhoff (or “The Hoff” as he is affectionately known by ageing ’80’s kids like me), has lent his voice to ‘True Survivor,’ the theme song to the new Kickstarter-funded action-comedy Kung FuryI can’t work out if the Kickstarter was a huge success and it helped pay for David Hasselhoff, or whether he was going cheap! If the movie lives up to the footage in the trailer and music video, it looks like it could be good fun, though. I’m hoping for something along the lines of Hobo With a Shotgun or Dead Hooker in a Trunk, only much more over the top.

5 Philip K. Dick novels/stories that were made into films

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

– Philip Kindred Dick (1928 -1982)

If I had to name my favourite author of all time, the answer would be Philip K. Dick. He may not be responsible for any literary classics, but the short stories and novels of this strange college drop-out from California continue to inspire. Most of the current generation of Science Fiction fans will be familiar with Dick’s work from the cinema. From Blade Runner to The Adjustment Bureau, there are more films based on PKD stories and novels than you might think.     (more…)

Soundtrack: The House By The Cemetery LP

House by The Cemetery LP cover

“In this house, what you don’t know will hurt you.”

The career of Italian director Lucio Fulci spanned several decades and crossed all popular genres, from Westerns to Giallo, but it is for his horror films that he is most fondly remembered. Not all of them are great, but there was a period in the late 1907’s to early 1980’s when Fulci was on form. This period gave rise to the classics Zombie Flesh EatersThe Beyond and City of The Living Dead.

Obscure European cinema releases and later 1980’s ‘video nasties,’ these films have since found a new audience with a younger generation thanks to DVD and Blu Ray. One of the coolest things about Italian horror films (aside from the gory violence), is the music. Death Waltz Recording Co. have recognized this fact, and have spent the last couple of years licencing and reissuing remastered versions of many cult soundtracks as lavish limited edition vinyl packages. I’m completely hooked on them, and I hope that the other classic Fulci soundtracks are given similar treatment, if they are available for copyright reasons. (more…)

Soundtrack: Paul Ferris – Witchfinder General

Paul Ferris Witchfinder General soundtrack

The world famous De Wolfe Music Library are re-issuing some of the rarest and most sought after soundtracks from their 100 year history. Among them is Paul Ferris’ soundtrack to the 1968 classic Witchfinder General which starred Gothic-horror legend Vincent Price in the title role.

The film was directed by Michael Reeves (The Sorcerers, Castle of The Living Dead, She Beast), who died suddenly in 1969 aged just 25. Witchfinder General was his last film.

Telling the story of the sadistic and brutal Matthew Hopkins (the eponymous Witchfinder General), this was a controversial film upon its initial release, with many of the more graphic scenes of violence being cut. The director’s tragic death added to the film’s notoriety and helped forge the cult status it has today.

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Horror Films

Why Do We Watch Horror Films?

According to Wikipedia, “Horror is a film genre seeking to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience’s primal fears.”

Why would anyone choose to spend their time viewing a genre that affects them in an emotionally negative way? What kind of masochism is being indulged in here? I’m usually too busy watching my favourite classic horror films to care why I enjoy them, but it’s something I’ve been thinking more about lately.

The fact is, some of us get a kick out of being scared. This is a universally accepted fact. The question is, why do we enjoy feeling threatened by imaginary monsters, vampires and ghosts? (more…)

cult film horror

Cult Film: Blood Orgy of The She Devils (1972)

“A terrifying, screaming plunge to the depths of Hell!”

BOOTSD

Blood Orgy of The She Devils

Produced by Ted V. Mikels (Astro Zombies, The Doll Squad), this film has a one-star rating on its IMDB page. Despite this less than encouraging first impression, I was determined to give the film a chance. After all, someone had kindly uploaded it on to Youtube so I would be watching for free. I had nothing to lose and I can’t resist an obscure old horror with witchcraft and scantily-clad actresses. In fact, the one-star rating piqued my interest. If the general viewer considers the film to be complete garbage, then it just might turn out to be a hidden gem!

Of course, the film does not entirely live up to it’s title, but it does feature some scenes that attempt to depict witchcraft.

Lila Zaborin stars as Mara “queen of the black witches.” She presides over a coven of impressionable teenage girls (who also happen to be reincarnated witches!) and performs demonstration rituals for them for a living with a view to teaching them the secrets of the Black Arts.

While these rituals are taking place, Dr. Helsford (an expert on witchcraft) meets with two students, Mark (Tom Pace) and Lorraine (Leslie McRay). He attempts to explain the historical truth behind witchcraft, and goes into some detail about the real life witch trials that took place in centuries past. There is a relatively chilling reenactment of a witch being burnt at the stake about mid-way through the film. This is one of the most interesting scenes along with the Mara coven scenes, which build in intensity as the film reaches its climax.

The plot is not that engaging, and the acting and dialogue is beyond cringe-worthy. That said, it is worth a watch for fans of obscure 60’s and 70’s horror. If you discovered these films through bands like Electric Wizard and Cathedral, then this will be a good choice. It’s not a patch on The Living Dead at The Manchester Morgue (this film makes it look like Shakespeare!), but is does have some cool retro scenes for connoisseurs of exploitation cheese. Visually, it’s the kind of film you would expect to see projected behind a band at the Roadburn Festival.

If you’ve seen Zombie Flesh Eaters so many times that the idea of re-watching it scares you more than the movie itself, then you could do worse than Blood Orgy of The She-Devils. Just don’t set your expectations too high.

Remember: You can find the whole thing on Youtube for free, but to be honest the two-minute trailer I’ve included here covers all the best bits!

Copyright © Steve Wilson and The Third Realm, 2014