Thursday, 2 April 2020

Rutabaga (2018) - Horror Film Review


Rutabaga is a French horror that was written and directed by Julien Botzanowski, who also stars as the main character. I at first assumed 'rutabaga' was a French word, but as it is revealed in the movie it is actually the name of some sort of turnip hybrid. This was an odd one to watch, not much at all happens, yet this wasn't a slow film, there is always things going on. The story is purposely vague, open to interpretation and often to a fault.

After an argument with his girlfriend, journalist Adrien (Botzanowski) is given an assignment deep in rural France. He has been asked to go to a newly opened remote guest house in order to write a promotional article. He is greeted by one of the owners, Mademoiselle Agathe (Anouchka Csernakova), and spends the next few days there, his article facing some difficulties due to no electronics seeming to work in the area. When he is due to leave the owners insist he stay a little while longer, but the more time Adrien stays at the guest house the more he begins to suspect that something really is not right with the place.


At seventy minutes in length it is no small wonder that this felt like it raced along at breakneck speed. Usually if not much happens in a film you would feel like it is a slow burn, here there is a whole lot of nothing, but this nothing maintains some solid atmosphere. This could be accused of being a bit tame in terms of what is shown, but for me the mystery was just about worth it. There are times where characters see things off screen and react to them, but the viewer never does get to see what they have seen. There is a bunch of exposition thrown in towards the finale, but it is said in such a way that the character speaking assumes prior knowledge and so it was never clear exactly what was going on.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Beetlejuice (1988) - Comedy Horror Film Review


I was never taken with Beetlejuice when I saw it as a teen. At the time Tim Burton was my favourite director, Batman Returns remains one of my favourite films of all time, but for me there was something a little off about Beetlejuice. It shares plenty of elements with the horror genre but I never felt it went far enough. With its recent appearance on Netflix I decided to give it another chance, but it turns out this is one of the few times where my adult self and my childhood self have pretty much the exact same thoughts.

Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis - The Exorcist TV series) are happily married, and live an idyllic life in their sprawling house by a sleepy village. One day they get in a car accident which results in their deaths, a fact which they soon become aware of when they return home to discover quite some time has passed, with their house sold and a strange new family moving in. The family is made up of tasteless designer Delia (Catherine O'Hara - Home Alone, Frankenweenie), her long suffering husband Charles (Jeffrey Jones - Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow), and their goth daughter, Lydia (Winona Ryder - Edward Scissorhands, Stranger Things). Adam and Barbara are distraught at all the changes the family are making so come up with a plan to scare them away, but in the process unwisely call on the services of a ghoul named Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton - Spider-Man: Homecoming, Batman) who specialises in getting rid of unwanted pests.


While it is not one of my favourites it doesn't take more than a few moments before it is clear this is traditional Burton in every sense of the word, usually a good thing. There is the typical Danny Elfman theme tune, while the monster designs are very familiar, I wouldn't be surprised if some of this design served as inspiration for the look of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Things such as the black and white pattern that appears throughout, and the gothic looking architecture. I can't recall what I thought of the effects at the time, but now they have dated a bit. That is not me saying it looks bad, practical special effects stand up a whole lot better than the truly atrocious CG of the early 2000s, but the stop animation worm for example do not look the best, nor does the super imposing of characters onto the desert hellscape that occasionally pops up. This is inventive though, parts like the couple visiting the afterlife waiting room are real highlights, including sights like a delivery man who is being moved around via a noose around his neck attached to a metal frame, and the explorer with the shrunken head. The moments where Adam and Barbara change their faces into monstrous visages also look fantastic still.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for March 2020


What a difference a month makes, and what a strange time to be living through. The UK, where I am based, is just past its first week of lock down but it is only really this past weekend I have felt what it is like to self isolate. The business I work at for my day job is classed as essential and so I am still heading into the lab and getting to interact with people during weekdays. On the one hand I am getting out the house, earning money, and able to really lose myself in my work, but on the flipside, I'm a die hard introvert so feel I am missing out on the few benefits this pandemic is bringing, namely blissful isolation! Plus I look at all my work colleagues the same way characters in zombie films look at people they suspect of having been bitten, anyone, me included could be unknowingly infected. Anyway, I seem to have a load of news this month, who knows if it is still relevant as the virus is bringing changes to all walks of life. Some news, especially pertaining to theatrical releases and film festivals I have decided to omit at this time.

Doom Eternal came out a week and a bit ago, I'm not finding much time to play it, but when I do I am loving it. Currently I'm around seven levels in and it is a total blast. Resident Evil 3 remake is due out on Friday, so I am desperately trying to zoom through the original in time for that, if need be I will delay playing the remake until the original is completed again!
This past weekend has seen me re-watching the six films of the Resident Evil series. I have a real soft spot for those films and have really enjoyed watching them once again. Saturday saw me get through Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Sunday I viewed Resident Evil: Extinction and Resident Evil: Afterlife, while on Monday I watched Resident Evil: Retribution, and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. For each of these I did a bit of editing on the reviews as well as added my current thoughts on the films. Onto the actual news!


Arrow Video released The Passion of Darkly Noon on Blu-ray on 23rd March. Philip Ridley's 90's cult classic stars Brendan Fraiser (The Mummy) as a young man who falls into a destructive rage after the death of his highly religious parents, Viggo Mortensen and Ashley Judd co-star. This release features a brand-new 2K restoration, and marks the films worldwide Blu-ray debut.
Blue Underground are set to release Zombie and Maniac on 4K UHD Blu-ray on 26th May. Both releases feature a whole slew of extras, Zombie and Maniac are both 3 disc limited editions.

A new clip has been released for Realm of Shadows. This is an anthology horror that stars the legendary Tony Todd (the Candyman and Final Destination franchises), Jimmy Drain  and Vida Ghaffari. All the stories in this anthology are said to be based on real events



Dark infinity's Tales For the Campfire 3 is now available on DVD. This is an anthology that stars legendary action star Mel Novak (Bruce Lee's Game of Death), and Dawna Lee Heising. It came out on 6th March exclusively from SCS Entertainment. It includes a bunch of extras, and even has a mini-poster included. This film is made up of five short films that include We One, Cole Canyon Creeps, The Prisoner, The Bitter Half and The Gateway.

Artsploitation Films have announced the acquisition of two new films. The Dead Ones is an American indie horror directed by Jeremy Kasten. In this one four outcast teens are made to stay at school in order to clean it after an incident they caused. However a gang who have stylied themselves on The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse have broken into the building and are hunting the four friends down.
Dead Dicks is about mentally ill man Richie who is shocked to discover himself reborn each time he tries to kill himself. This has been described as 'Cronenberg meets Brunel'. Check out the trailers for both of these ones.





Hex Studios have released a new video on their YouTube channel which is made up of a feature length video diary that covers the teams adventures at Glasgow FrightFest, obviously this must have taken place pre quarantine. They talk to the festival organisers and guests, as well as provide tips for filmmakers and show some behind the scenes stuff.



Multi-award winning actor/filmmaker Michael S. Rodriquez (Last American Horror Show) received the 'Directing Honor' at the Hanford International Film Festival in California on 7th March. He won the 'Director's Choice' award for his short horror Jack Incarnate (that reimagines the theory of Jack the Ripper and his crimes). The film previously also won 'Best Short Horror Film' at the festival, as well as at last years Los Angeles based Nollywood Film Awards Festival.

American Horrors has announced it is continuing production on its original TV series Groovey TV, Gorecast, American Horrors: The Lost Seasons, The American Horrors Intermission, Mission Terror and Horror Show. Founder and head of programming, Hart D. Fisher stated:
"I am personally bunkered down in the American Horrors studios and I'm prepared to ride this thing out right here, even if I'm the only one left to keep the horror streaming."

Frolic Pictures have announced the release of a whole bunch of double feature DVDs. From my experience with these I can say they are quite fantastic, at least the double feature I watched was pretty darn great. As always, there are far too many to list, some chosen at random include Ghosthouse/Firehouse, Kindergarten Ninja/Ninja Demon's Massacre, Winterbeast/Nudist Colony of the Dead, and The Witch Who Came from the Sea/The Bat People. The full list can be found here.

On the Trail of UFOs was due for release on 20th March, and to advertise this a final trailer was released. This documentary takes an in depth look at America's relationship with UFOs and follows investigator Shannon LeGro as she travels across the United States, going to such places as Area 51, New Hampshire and New York.



Dark electro-pop band Shadow Fashion have released a new single and video for their track Children of The Night. The band, who are said to appeal to fans of Depeche Mode, The Cure and New Order have created a song that speaks 'of the loneliness and isolation we have all gone through'. The video was shot in three locations, including the Houston Vampire Ball.



Horror rock band Saturday Nite Shockers have shown off their new video for the song Blessed Be. The inspiration for this video comes from The Craft as well as the historical Salem Witch Trials. The band say the theme of the song is one 'of self-pride despite the oppression or discrimination of others'.



Finally, please check out YouTube channel Collectors Detective. This channel reviews comics, as well as the occasional movie review and is hosted by Andrew Carr, who I can confirm is not only a comic book geek, but is also one who is passionate about the subject and gives out good recommendations. Check out his view on the DCeased mini series below, and if you like what you see then head to his channel and subscribe as he deserves way more subscribers than he currently has!



That is it for this month. When this pandemic initially arrived in the UK I was concerned that now really might not be the time for people to be watching horror, but I think it is actually the right time to be watching anything you damn well want. Escapism will be key for getting through all this and horror films are just as relevant as any other form of entertainment media as a means to escape the world. We are all missing seeing family and friends so any gateway out of this reality is a good one. So, be safe out there, wash your hands, stay the government approved minimum distance from people, and rejoice that at least the dead are not walking...yet!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Theatre of Terror (2019) - Horror Anthology Film Review


Whenever I review an anthology I say this, but here goes again; boy do I like anthology movies, there is always something new just around the corner when watching them. The Theatre of Terror is an anthology that was directed and written by Tom Ryan. It contains within it four different short films, each of which was also directed and co-written by Ryan. Rather than be created specially for this, each of the shorts was a previously released stand alone short that was brought together, there isn't really a theme, though I guess you could say the theme is New Jersey, as each of them was filmed there.

After finding a flier that talked about requesting help to keep an old theatre running, Amber (Lauren Renahan (Pretty Fine Things) heads there to give her assistance. Inside the building she encounters a strange man (Ryan) who tells her the theatre has closed down now, but that he is more than happy to give her a tour before she leaves. In the main room he starts to tell her stories of four different people who once frequented the place. This part makes up the wraparound story; The Theatre of Terror. The story here didn't really go anywhere, aside from the introduction this is more a vehicle for each of the shorts to be introduced, there are environmental hints that lead up to the beginning of each of the shorts.


The first one is The Gift. Here, a prostitute (played by Heather Brittain O'Scanlon) ends up in a antique shop while on the run from an accidental death she caused. The shopkeeper sensing her anguish gets the woman to recount the events that led up to her situation, promising he will be able to give her a gift that will give her what she wants most. Most of this short plays out as a flashback, showing how the lady came to be a street worker. The horror part comes towards the end, with the old adage of being careful what you wish for. What happens here is coincidentally similar to a short story in the Black Mirror episode 'Black Museum', obviously that had a much bigger budget and so was able to explore the idea further. While this was one of the better shorts here I did feel it took a bit too long to get to the really interesting part, it felt like it was stuck at the end with no real time to develop the idea. I did like the design of a creepy doll and what was done with it though, that part was a highlight.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

My Hollywood Story (2020) - Featuring Indie Filmmaker Ryan McCoy - Short Film/News


I don't tend to do news post any more that focus solely on the one topic, but when I received an email from indie writer/producer/director/filmmaker Ryan McCoy, I felt I needed to make an exception. My Hollywood Story is a slickly made video that is now up on his YouTube channel. It is twenty two minutes long so I felt it was a bit too much to fit in neatly with my monthly news post (that will be going up on Tuesday).

In the video McCoy talks about what he thinks is the current state of the American film industry as it stands today, and why he believes now is the time for aspiring filmmakers to tell their stories. He talks about his experiences in the industry both negative and positive. This is all shot, edited, produced and featuring McCoy. It is split up into chapters and really was quite interesting. Obviously the 'now' he talks about isn't these strange times we are all in, but more the times before, and the times that will follow.

He also talks about his 2012 found footage horror film Evidence, as he was talking I started to suspect that I had once seen this film. A quick search of my blog and I found an old review I wrote at the time, so I went back to that and read through it, and did a little bit of editing. Often I totally forget the particulars of what happens in films I have seen for review, there have been hundreds and hundreds over the years, with that one though I still remember the cool twist that changed up the style of the found footage format. Anyway, I digress, McCoy talks about how this film of his had its idea stolen by a producer who then went onto make a horror film in the same sub-genre a year after his film released, it even used the same title. The experience of this burned him a bit, and so he also talks about why there will never be a sequel made by him of Evidence.

My Hollywood Story has gone up today on McCoy's channel, hopefully I will be able to include it below, if not then I will include a link to the page it can be found. It made a change looking at something that was around the industry itself, rather than just checking out a film for review. There is also due an announcement McCoy has about the formation of a new media company and film company. Interesting stuff indeed.

 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Tony (2019) - Thriller Film Review


Much like Turnabout I had a feeling that Vipul K. Rawal's Indian thriller Tony might not actually be a horror film. Due to the subject matter I took a chance on it, as the synopsis did have some horror elements. In terms of the quality of the film making, and the general idea behind it this was decent enough, but the key part that drew me to this actually became background to the core story being told, and I think that was to the movies detriment.

Psychology student Ashish (Mahesh Jilowa) is discovered to be in possession of an unlicensed gun after he is stopped at a police roadblock. The frightened man is hesitant to reveal just why he had a firearm, but eventually he decides to tell his story. He, along with three other students had been given an assignment in which they had to analysis a person of their choosing. Martin (Dhruv Souran) decides to do something a little different, he secretly filmed a confession booth at a Catholic church in the hopes of being able to interview someone who had a dark secret. He thinks they have struck gold when they hear the confession of a man named Tony (Yashodhan Rana) who talks about having murdered many people. They manage to get in contact with this serial killer and the man tells the group that if they go along and witness his crimes then he will give them all the information they need for their project. Thinking this will make their careers the friends all agree to his terms.


It seemed to begin with that the majority of the film would be Ashish's account of what led up to him getting found with a gun. In actuality it is around half the film that takes place in the past, huge chunks are dedicated to the present day, with a police officer investigating Ashish's claims. I figured the serial killer part would be where most the film takes place, but this is sadly left to fade into the background. There are a fair few murders on screen, but these are brief, and a chunk of them even take the form of a montage. To begin with the character of Tony felt suitably cold and calculating, but then there is a strange shift in which the students begin to idolise him, especially Martin. There didn't seem to be a realistic reason for the change in these students attitudes. There is no sense of remorse or guilt at witnessing the killers crimes from the group, except for Ashish. The characters were also not that well developed, Kartik (Kabir Chilwal) as an example had barely any lines until towards the films climax. The character of Tony also took more of a back seat, with him hardly figuring in the present day sections. There was no real sense of threat from this guy.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Omnivores (2013) - Horror Film Review


I have to get this out the way to begin with - the screener I received for review didn't have any subtitles, and as this was a Spanish horror that caused quite the problem for me. The sole word I know of Spanish is 'si' so that didn't really get me too far. I could have simply not reviewed this, I could have also asked for a screener with subtitles, but as I had scheduled in this movie for review anyways I decided to press ahead. As it is this wasn't the first film I have reviewed in which I didn't really know what was going on, that would be Turkish horror Baskin,which at least had a lot going on visually. Needless to say, take this review with this information in mind as I'm sure if it had been understandable it would have at least a single point higher rating.

This story is put together from my understanding of the film. After a boy's mother dies he is left with no choice but to consume her in order to not starve to death, eventually he is discovered and rescued by someone else. This child either grew up to be a wealthy businessman, or he grew up to be a butcher (I'm not sure which). In present day the wealthy businessman offers his rich clients a delicacy that is very hard to find, and also quite illegal. His butcher abducts people from off the streets and slices them up for food. A food critic (Mario de la Rosa - Hellboy, Terminator: Dark Fate) discovers all this and decides to check it out for himself, with the possible aim of secretly trying to find a way to stop it.


It doesn't take an understanding of the Spanish language to know this really wasn't my type of horror. Consumption of human flesh as a horror topic ranks up there with insects as one of my least favourite types of horror. In real life I really like meat, I often don't feel like a meal is a meal unless it contains some sort of meat. The idea of eating human flesh though is something repulsive, and so I felt queasy throughout Omnivores. This by default made me not like the film, I didn't enjoy the topic, and I was glad when it was all over. That is just me though, ignore that if it is the sort of thing that does appeal.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Turnabout (2016) - Thriller Film Review


These are weird times we are living in. Turnabout isn't really a horror film in the traditional sense, and it wasn't even one I was obliged to review, as it was sent my way along with a bunch of other films that I could pick and choose from. Traditional horror films rarely scare me anymore, and when they do I can see the ropes and pulleys that are creating the illusion of horror. I am quite an empathetic person, able to read the emotional state of people around me and subconsciously change my own state to match, an annoying habit. So with this crime drama I felt I was a third passenger on the night of madness that unfolds, and I found myself with heart in mouth fearful for all the repercussions this night brought with it.

After a failed suicide attempt in which waster Billy Cain (George Katt) was saved from drowning himself in the river one dark night, he decides to call his old best friend to ask for help. Perry (Waylon Payne - Walk the Line) hasn't seen Billy for over fifteen years, but as he tells his wife, it is his duty to help out his old friend, and so he leaves the comfort and safety of his bed to travel out to help. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and over one long night of deviancy Billy is indeed saved, but with a high cost to Perry...


I really enjoy the types of film whose story takes place over one single span of time, and with Turnabout nearly the entire film takes place from around midnight to half six in the morning. Both Katt and Waylon were expertly cast and fitted their roles perfectly. Katt plays the waster rascal, a seemingly loveable rogue who frequents the dives of the town they both live in. Waylon on the other hand has grown to be a respected member of the community, the owner of a small opticians, and with a wife and child. A lot of the format of the movie has Billy taking Waylon to places he would never normally frequent, and do a lot of things that is totally out of character for him. I empathised with his plight, as he keeps saying, he has work in the morning, so the last thing he wants is a wild night. In real life, when pubs were still a thing, I have been in situations where I really wanted to get home to get some decent sleep for work, but have been convinced against my better judgement to keep on having 'just one more drink'. Throughout the movie I kept projecting myself onto Perry, and so was keenly feeling his anxiety.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Who's That at the Back of the Bus? (2018) - Short Horror Film Review


Who's That at the Back of the Bus? is another surreal horror from director/writer Philip Hardy (Moose Limbs). This takes a typical short horror film idea and does something to it to make it a little more unique.

An old lady (Susan Barham - Seven Boxes) gets on a nearly deserted bus at night. With a drunk man being on the ground floor (Richard James-Neale - The Legend of Tarzan) she decides to go to the top floor where it appears she is alone. However the reflection in the window in front of her seems to tell a different story...

At under five minutes I predicted the type of short horror this would be. These types of horror are dime a dozen, so usually a film of this type wouldn't stand out. However, there is what seems to be the usual Hardy twist in that rather than a ghost or demon, it is something far more silly presented as the threat. A lot of the film has the woman constantly checking the window reflection where she sees that it appears she is not alone, and then looking back to see nothing. it is the last minute where things ramp up. I liked the change up from the usual antagonist, and it is as darkly bizarre as I had come to expect. It also had a good design to it, more blood in one scene would have been cool, I can see why there wasn't though.

While the general idea behind this has been done before this was a skillfully made horror that again invoked something like The League of Gentlemen with the jokes removed. Its short run time means that Who's That at the Back of the Bus? is definitely worth checking out.

SCORE:



 

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Moose Limbs (2017) - Short Horror Film Review


A few years back a friend from work recommended I check out a YouTube video titled The Blobby Witch Project. This was a found footage short horror film that in its three minute runtime managed to present a ridiculous situation (popular 90's TV mascot Mr. Blobby turned killer), yet still create genuine moments of horror with the idea. Earlier this year the creator of that video; Philip Hardy left a message saying I should check out some of his other short horror films he has made, and so I checked out 2017's surreal Moose Limbs.

Doctor Tom Beaumont (Daniel Attwell - 1917) has recently relocated to a rural English town with his wife, Sue (Kelly Harrison - The End of the F***ing World) where they find themselves treated badly by the locals. This is due to the fact that both of them are half-human, half-deer people and the country folk there are all into hunting. An incident occurs at the local pub (a place people used to go to drink alcohol) which may cause the locals to put aside their speciesism.

This short clocks in at just over fourteen minutes and is roughly in two halves. The first half introduces the doctor and it is clear to see the obvious contrast between these characters discriminated against due to what they are, and real world racism. Everything from graffiti scrawled on their car telling them to 'go home', to the very frosty reception they get at the pub, full of scowls and sideway glances. This works in showing how ridiculous that topic is. There was a Straw Dogs type vibe here that I liked, it is of course ridiculous to have half-man, half-deer creatures but this is handled in a way where it manages, like the Mr. Blobby film previously made to have layers of horror here. The tone of the music, and the way it is all filmed creates a sense of peril.

The second half felt like something different entirely, and if I was to give some criticism to Moose Limbs it would be that these two parts felt like they were different films entirely. The message of the first half is dropped to instead focus on a gruesome body horror section. This was well made, and chaotic, and I enjoyed it nearly as much as the first half.

Moose Limbs was something so much better made and put together than what I had seen of Hardy's work previously, I admit I was surprised by the quality here. It takes a surreal idea and normalises it, helped by Attwell's always straight faced performance, a zany one would have dragged the short down. The actors here, especially the main ones really made the idea here work. Check it out for yourself below.

SCORE:



Thursday, 19 March 2020

Nécrologies (2018) - Horror Anthology Film Review


Anthologies are one of my favourite styles of horror films. I have said it so many times before, pretty much every single time I review one of them in fact, but it's a simple fact that having a variety of stories rather than just the one means even if some aren't great there is always something new and different not that far away. Despite the bland title, Nécrologies turned out to be something good, even the weakest of the short films here had something unique to offer at the very least.

Within the film there are five different stories, with a sixth one working as the wraparound. The set-up is that a horror vlogger has snuck into a graveyard at night in order to take some selfies. He gets caught however by the graveyard keeper (Jean-Claude Dreyfus - The City of Lost Children) who takes him to his hut. He tells the vlogger he is going to call the police to report him, but after learning the man is interested in horror he decides to tell him a series of bizarre and unsettling tales about how some of the many people buried in his graveyard came to meet their ends.


The first short is The Call of Death, that was written and directed by Nathalie Epoque. Here a woman who is home alone begins to get threatening calls on her phone from a man who seems to have an intimate knowledge of the woman's life. All the shorts within the movie are around ten to fifteen minutes long, and that really works for this one. There is the right sense of suspense here, and the length means to doesn't have time to become dragged out. The pay-off for this is absurd, but it wasn't something I at all saw coming, so this was a great start to the anthology.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Castlevania: Season 2 (2018) - Horror TV Show Review


It was only when I noticed the upcoming release of season 3 of the Netflix show Castlevania that I felt propelled to getting around to watching the second season. The video game series of Castlevania is one of my all time favourites, it is horror based after all, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was one of the twins, along with Super Metroid that created the fantastic Metroidvania genre of platform games. One of my complaints of the first season was that it only contained four twenty minute episodes. This time around that episode count is doubled and episodes in general are closer to thirty minutes, so there is far more story being told. Spoilers for the first season are bound to follow, so if you have yet to see that then pop off and return here in approximately 80 minutes.

The vampire hunter Trevor Belmont (voiced by Richard Armitage - The Hobbit trilogy), magic user Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), and half vampire Alucard (James Callis - Battlestar Galactica) have pledged to rid the land of Dracula (Graham McTavish - The Hobbit trilogy). Together they head to the Belmont family home where lies centuries of knowledge with how to battle vampires.
Meanwhile, Dracula is hell bent on wiping humans from the face of the Earth in retaliation for the murder of his human wife. In charge of his armies are two human forgemasters, Hector (Theo James - the Divergent trilogy), and Isaac (Adetokumboh M'Cormack - Lost). His vampire lieutenants led by Camilla (Jaime Murray - Gotham) however start to plan against him as they see it suicide to completely wipe out their primary food source.


I expected that the action would really ramp up for this new season, I imagined there would be the heroes fighting their way across the demon infested lands in search of Castlevania. How wrong I was, however despite six of the eight episodes being more plot heavy than action orientated I loved this. The heroes spend nearly the entire season sat around in a basement researching, while the antagonists spend most their time getting up to intrigue and plots at Castlevania. A smaller complaint of the first season was that we see Dracula's commanders, yet I don't believe they actually got any speaking roles. This time around there is a lot of character development, especially around Hector and Isaac who were both great characters, and via flashbacks are shown just why Dracula saw them as needed. Even with quite a few of the high up vampires getting fleshed out there were still a few who didn't get any speaking lines despite being well designed. In particular, a vampire wearing a turban was one character I really wish had got to be an actual character as he looked cool.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom (2014) - Horror Film Review


The Torment of Laurie Ann Cullom is a throwback eighties slasher style horror that was written and directed by Mark Dossett who also appears as an actor in not one, not two, but in four different on-screen roles. Again showing its indie roots is lead actress Shannon Scott, who herself appears in three different on-screen roles. These two also provided a lot of the voice overs within the film itself, and did a multitude of production jobs that include among them script supervisor, set design, graphic designer and stunt coordinator.

After a traumatic incident in the past, Laurie Ann Cullom (Scott) suffers extreme agoraphobia and is unable to leave her house. It is now 1988, and her mother has gone away on a business trip, so she is left alone for a few days. Strange things start occuring around the house as the days pass, doors are found open when before they had been closed, objects subtly move, and soon Laurie begins to fear there is someone in the house with her. Meanwhile, Sheriff Parks (Dossett)  gets some progress on his search for a local girl reported missing in the area.


Apparently this was inspired by real events, but that is a dime a dozen nowadays. More interesting was how this starts, a screen of text saying that the movie is a recreation of the last 72 hours of Laurie, a series of events that the text says has turned into something of an urban legend. What this film does do right is everything involving the titular woman. Agoraphobia is the perfect excuse for why the character doesn't just flee the house at the first sign of danger. I liked how at the films start her house is her safe space, the outside world is scary and full of peril, but she is happy and content in her own little world. This gradual build up over the films first 45 minutes inverts this with it becoming clear to the girl that what she believed to be true has been turned on its head. At times (excluding the subplot), from musical beats, to the decisions made this felt like Halloween if the entire film had been laser focussed on one victim. Ideas such as not showing the antagonist until the films third act, even the way the killer moves around are shout outs to eighties slashers. The way the killer cocks their head to the side at one point in particular made me think of Michael Myers.