Film

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.

(more…)

Advertisements

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.

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.

(more…)

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…)

Prison

Cult film: Prison (1988)

Prison is a supernatural horror film directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight). It’s one of a growing number of ’80′s horrors that passed me by before the DVD-era. I have never seen it on TV and I don’t remember its theatrical release (I can vividly recall Ghoulies, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday The 13th advertising campaigns, despite being far too young to see them at the time – I was born in 1979).

The film stars Viggo “Aragorn” Mortenson, back in the days when he used to appear in low-budget horrors (for another watchable example, see 1990′s Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III). He plays Burke, a young petty car thief who finds himself incarcerated in a newly reopened prison. The prison had previously closed some years ago because of the aftermath from an ill-omened execution. A prisoner (Charlie Forsythe) was wrongly accused of murder and sent to the electric chair. His ghost still haunts the prison, which, due to budget cuts, has been reopened

After a quiet first night, things start to go wrong. Burke and a fellow inmate are charge with reopening the execution chamber which (predictably enough), houses Forsythe’s ghost. An inmate attempts to escape, and is literally constricted by pipework and electrical cables when the prison’s inner workings come to life. A stream of gory and macabre incidents follow, with the corrupt warden (played by the late Lane Smith) carrying out increasingly harsh punishments on the inmates, while struggling to keep a hold on his own sanity.

Prison is a cross between The Shawshank Redemption and The Twilight Zone. It has plenty of supernatural scares, gory deaths and some really cool special effects that stand up well even today. Chances are you haven’t seen it, so I won’t spoil the ending. It’s well worth watching if you can find it on DVD. Like most of the cult horror films I will be reviewing here, however, don’t pay too much for it.

Copyright © Steve Wilson and The Third Realm, 2014