Number 14 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After moving into an apartment with her husband, Rosemary begins to hear and dream strange things, and she starts to suspect her perculiar neighbors are up to no good : I’ve watched Rosemary’s Baby dozens of times down the years and I’m still as disturbed by it’s general foreboding as I was when I first watched it back in the late 80’s, with it’s narrative ranging from pregnancy, satanism to demonic rape it’s a movie that slowly and subtly builds, chipping away at your nerve ends until it’s shocking finale : there are times during the movie when William Fraker’s photography makes me feel slightly claustrophobic especially the early scenes in the lift and apartment block, the close-up scenes of the sensational Mia Farrow and work behind the camera throughout really adds to it’s feeling of nauseating unease : I love the suspense and sheer drama of the phone box scene (which I believe was done in one take) and the discovery at the film’s finale but there’s no question when Rosemary passes out after eating Minnie’s chocolate mousse only to wake find scratches on her body with her husband admitting to having sex with her whilst she was unconcious to be the most terrifying, pulse racing scene of all : so if your expecting a blood curdling, jump a minute horror film then think again, Rosemary’s Baby is a mess with your head, psychological masterpiece that will lure you in and unsettle even the most hardened of minds, it’s been 52yrs since it’s release and it still kick’s like a newborn ★★★★★
Number 16 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A group of people barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monster who are ravaging the United States. : “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!…” : There’s good zombie films and then there’s George A Romero’s 1968 ghoulfest NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD : crafted in black & white with a runtime of 96mins this slice of horror is pure suspense, alongside a towering performance full of energy & style by New Yorker Duane Jones & scares that would make most of today’s horror films blush Night of the Living Dead is high calibre filmmaking, by a director at his most raw & potent best : I recently rewatched the restored Criterion edition and was reminded (like I am every year) on how creepy the movie holds up, from it’s unique appearance, how fiendishly evil the undead look to the films unsettling graveyard and old farmhouse shot’s with it’s black-and-white filming only adding extra spice to the unnerving viewing experience : Judith O’Dea’s Barbra is terrific, the way she shows us her character’s shock after loosing her brother in the cemetary attack and the terror she’s overcome with is quite chilling : I love the scene in the movie which sees Harry coming up from the basement and arguing with Ben on why they should all be barricaded in down below, Hardman & Jones have the floor mostly to themselves and it’s all quite riverting, Tom & Judy’s ill fated trip to collect some gas from the barn is also one my movie highlights, from it’s chaotic build up, big explosion to the aftermath of Harry locking Ben out of the house to be breathtaking : since it’s release Night of the Living Dead has spawned a zombie franchise and countless other immitations but for me Romero’s original beats all others hands down and is still a spine-chilling masterpiece ★★★★★
Number 19 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After switching his child at birth in an Italian Hospital, an American ambassador & his wife start to suspect that the child they are raising could actually be the Antichrist : From the nanny hanging herself in dramatic style at a child’s party, Father Brennan being impaled by a lightning rod from the church roof, the vicious attack by the rottweilers in the cemetery, Lee Remick’s window plunge to Warner’s decapitation THE OMEN has a darkness about it that scared the hell out of me growing up and still does today : I love horror and films that deal with the supernatural and the Devil and they don’t come much better than Richard Donnor’s The Omen, an eerie, slow building low budget chiller that spawned four sequels, a remake and won the great Jerry Goldsmith his first & only Oscar after 18 nominations for original score : my favorite scene in the movie is when Thorn played by Gregory Peck discovers the 666 on his son’s head and is then subsequently attacked by the nanny, the whole scene packs a punch from it’s suspense to the ferocious attack : if you’ve never seen The Omen the film comes highly recommended, it’s not only a creepy bone chilling movie experience but with a cast that includes Peck, Remick and Warner it would be crazy to ignore : SUPERB ★★★★★
Number 24 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : When five friends arrive at a remote cabin in the woods for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them : I have rewatched Drew Goddard’s THE CABIN IN THE WOODS several times since the big screen back in 2011 and each & every time I have found something new to smile about : from Goddard & Whedon’s FRESH, FUNNY & ORIGINAL script to that bizzare feeling your watching two movies wrapped up in one it’s almost like an R rated Twilight Zone episode, it just keeps getting better and better, so much so that it recently made My Top 20 Movies of the Decade : The Cabin in the Woods is so far removed from their work together on Buffy the Vampire Slayer it’s actually insane to think it’s from the same team, but when it sinks in and you’ve watched it a few time the penny drops and you realise HELL YEAH this has their stamp it’s just on a different level, a more sadistic, crueler and blood splattered level : The Cabin in the Woods has so many horror layers and each time you peel one away the next is scarier, first you get the old garage attendent who’s creepy as fuck and at this point I would have turned for home, then it’s the cabin with it’s remote location, double sided mirrors and a goddam cellar and then the monsters start to come out to play, one by one each scarier and more violent than the next… well you get the picture….. it’s brilliant : the film is just everything you’d want from a horror movie, it’s scary, sexy and relentless, I mean watching Jules make out with the wolf is just…..wtf just happened have I been smoking some of Marty’s drugs or what?, the pair of Amy Acker & Fran Kranz add so much greatness and nostalgia to each scene their part of, the way the story arc twists and turns like a Rubik Cube is utterly bonkers and not since Wes Craven gave us Scream have I seen a better horror lead than Kristen Connolly, she’s fearless, gorgeous, takes no shit and she just owns her character : WHAT A MOVIE !! ★★★★★
Number 27 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : Whilst at the local zoo an American man falls for a Serbian illustrator, who fears that she will turn into a cat person if they are intimate together : Scary movies come in all guises and Jacques Tourneur’s RKO masterpiece CAT PEOPLE is one of the many examples, that you don’t necessarily have to see the horror coming to be petrified of it’s existence : I’ve always be a huge fan of producer Val Lewton and his stable of great horror movies for RKO pictures, films such as I Walked with a Zombie, Ghost Ship, Isle of the Dead, The Leopard Man and of course Cat People and it’s sequel The Curse of the Cat People made use of great light, shadows and rolling fog combined with the Golden Age maestro Roy Webb and his unbeatable spine-chilling scores : Cat People was filmed in 18 Days and for me is the finest example of that era, a terrific horror with some unsettling scenes to drool over, or in my case hide from : two such scenes involve the wonderful Jane Randolph and her character Alice, the first sees her leaving a cafe and being followed by Simone Simon‘s Irena, the sound of both of their footsteps and the sparsely lit pavement that Alice follows sets the scene in RKO atmospheric tradition, she’s panicking & constantly looking over her shoulder and then she then starts to run as if something is chasing her, terrified, out of breathe…. this moment in the film is giddy perfection, suspense of the highest order and so typical of it’s time that I will never get bored of watching : in the second scene we find a Alice alone in her hotel complex going for a swim in the basement’s pool when she’s startled by a young cat and a scary shadowy outline that overhangs the stairwell, before we know it Alice is alone and in the centre of the swimming pool, the camera-work is sensational during this scene circling the pool as the shadows illuminate & drip off the walls on all sides as the sound of a wild cat echoes around the pool, then Alice starts to scream…. for me it’s the movies highlight and it’s most unsettling moment too and executed with heart stopping precision : I loved revisiting Cat People on the restored Criterion edition, it truly is a horror masterpiece ★★★★½
Number 28 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further : the second movie on my list directed by James Wan and originally titled The Further Insidious is like the twisted twin sister of Poltergeist a film that has supernatural & astral dimension elements thrown together with a scary looking psychic played by horror veteran Lin Shaye, and a delightful pair of paranormal investigators who come together to help the Lambert family in their hour of need : Insidious was written by Leigh Whannell who also stars as Specs in the movie and took just over three weeks to film, the budget was an incredible $1.5 million and has since spawned a franchise including two further movies making a shit load of dollars in the process : Insidious is my favorite James Wan horror movie, the last quarter of which is haunting and unforgettable, we get to see Patrick Wilson’s Josh travelling into the Astral Plane to look for his son and hopefully bring him home, it’s pace slowly builds as Josh is seen creeping around the house inspecting the ghostly figures around him, some of which are quite distubing, then without warning and to a deafening screaching crescendo the film picks up pace and literally all hell breaks loose : the sound in the movie is unusual and quite eerie and the lighting helps give the film it’s atmosphere, there’s also the wonderful gift of Barbra Hershey in a small yet pivotal role (I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Barbara later on my list) : overall Insidious is genius story-telling, a legitimate horror gem that has a great twist during it’s final act and will scare you half to death: you may want to stay around after the credits too ★★★★½
It was tough but here it goes : Christopher Nolan’s Top 8 Movies in order : (1) MEMENTO : 2000 : Nolan’s least pretentious movie, was shot for $9 million in less than a month, it’s story is exciting, fresh & edge of the seat and to this day it’s the filmmaker’s finest achievment with great turns by Guy Pearce & Joe Pantoliano : (2) THE PRESTIGE : 2006 : a hidden gem that I like to annually revisit & then think about for days after : Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman are immense as is Rebecca Hall who gives a stella turn playing Borden’s wife, from the sets, sound & story the film’s pure magic : (3) INCEPTION : 2010 : It’s been 10yrs and I still find myself marvelling at the effects, the rotating sets & Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s gravity fight scene which is so awesome to watch : breathtaking cinema built around a beautiful love story : (4) INTERSTELLAR : 2014 : Nolan’s ambitious scifi thriller blew me away whilst tugging at my heart strings from start to finish, the scene of Coops as he watches the clips from back home are tough, that enthralling docking sequence & the enormity of the tidal wave scenes are stunning : Hoytema’s work on this is quite simply wow : (5) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES : 2012 : Darkness rains down on Gotham & I for one loved the chaos & the ride Nolan brings to this trilogy ending masterpiece : in Tom Hardy’s Bane Batman has met his most demented nemesis & that delicious Talia twist in it’s finale gave the franchise the explosive ending it deserved : (6) INSOMNIA : 2002 : showcases the masterclass that is Al Pacino, his performance captures every essence of Will Dormer and it’s up there amongst the actors best work : Of course Wally Pfister’s DP and his canvas of British Columbia doesn’t help either – a tense, character driven remake that still holds up well today : (7) BATMAN BEGINS : 2005 : has sheer depth, towering action scenes, Liam Neeson & Cillian Murphy’s villainous pair, Michael BLOODY Caine, a cameo by Lucy Russell & of course Nolan’s ace in the pack Christian Bale who’s easily the “best actor” that’s played our Caped Crusader : (8) THE DARK KNIGHT : 2008 : Heath Ledger’s Joker waddling out of the hospital dressed in nurse atire as it explodes is one of many highlights from Nolan’s stupendous action packed sequel : lots of love here for Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent & Batman’s custom made bike is craaazy good too !! (also worth mentioning that I really enjoyed Dunkirk, Following and of course Nolan’s latest Tenet)
As you can tell from this movie blog or my social media feed I was born a Cinephile, I have this passion for all things film : I watch, collect and talk about the movies, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly things that I’m passionate about : My love stretches to every genre, from the western to scifi, from the 30s to modern day, Cagney to DiCaprio, Foster to Hepburn, Movies are my crush, my excitement and I’m at my happiest surrounded by them : Last year someone posted a question “What is your Mount Rushmore of Film Directors?” I know we all have different views on this and that’s more than fine, but for me the four filmmakers and their respective filmographies that have consistently made me tick, given me the goosebumps & excelled in their work are Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino & Martin Scorsese what’s yours?
The GREAT actor IAN HOLM has died aged 88 – what a wonderful, versatile performer Ian was – his roles such as Ash in ALIEN, Sam in CHARIOTS OF FIRE and Bilbo Baggins in THE LORD OF THE RINGS are all memorable, some are disturbing but all are pure cinema – he is an incredible actor to watch and truly one of the great actors of our time RIP
Sad news – the Oscar Winning director of one of my favorite movies The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme has died aged 73 – Demme also directed several other superb movies including the epic Something Wild that stars Melanie Griffith & Ray Liotta, Rachel Getting Married, Married to the Mob and Philadelphia but it will always be the brilliant and chilling 1991 classic that the movie world will remember him for – those who worked with him called him one of the most enthusiastic and kind filmmakers in the business, he always had a story to tell and was devilishly smart in bringing that story to the screen, his films changed the course of an actors life, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks and Mary Steenburgen all won Oscars and much acclaim for their roles in his movies and all became better actors because of it – through the medium of film Jonathan Demme has left behind a cinematic legacy, a treasure trove of funny, gripping, haunting movies that will continue to entertain and live on forever – he was a passionate filmmaker who loved his craft, so when your next watching one of his movies take a moment to smile and fondly remember this talented New Yorker and the joy he breathed into the cinematic world we all love so much…
“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti”
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
It’s always painful as a film fan to loose anybody you’ve admired in the business, even if that person was from afar and sadly the passing of Garry Marshall is one that hurts like hell – yes I know what your thinking “you never knew the guy so why the sad face?” well let me tell you why the sad face – Garry Marshall was a huge part of my television life, back in the 80s I would watch his classic creations Mork & Mindy, The Odd Couple and Happy Days the Marshall stamp was clear on all these shows, simple, effective and loveable characters that would bring tears of joy to my face, then in the late 80s and early 90s when I became truly addicted to film he delivered two classic film gems 1987s Overboard with Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell and then in 1990 the romantic Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts & Richard Gere, both fantastic slices of cinema that continue to get replayed in my home on a yearly basis – other much loved films in my collection include his 2004 film Raising Helen with Kate Hudson and the underrated Frankie & Johnny from 1991 that starred Al Pacino & Michelle Pfeiffer – so as you can see Garry Marshall meant a lot (and still does), his film style, his love of the audience, his performers and most of all he above all else his creations made me smile when I needed to smile most and for that I thank him RIP
I adore Post Apocalyptic movies, that sense of emptiness, them barren wastelands and characters that are usually infected, desperate or in some way void of humanity, these type of movies usually make for great movie escapism and Thomas S Hammock’s directorial debut THE LAST SURVIVORS aka: “The Well” is certainly one of the best of its type in recent years !
First & Foremost is the emergence of the film’s star 20yr old Haley Lu Richardson – some talent right there !! She’s not only convincing in her given role but she is kick ass in the action scenes especially the movies bad-ass finale and the atmospheric interior shots where she attempts to hide & escape the big bad and his masked cronies – Haley Lu is a name for the now let alone the future, she revels in the role of Kendal a teenager fighting to save what’s left of her farm from the villainous & greedy water baron, she’s an actress who has tremendous screen presence, exciting to watch and one I hope continues to take risks with her film roles, not settling for the mundane romantic comedies – Secondly Is the great support cast & small cameos throughout the film including veteran beauty Barbara Crampton playing Grace, a cameo from filmmaker Adam Wingard as a soldier, the brilliant Michael Massee as the stranger & Leo Lee playing Judas all credit to Hammock for reaching out to this talent and getting them all on board – And finally no Apocalyptic movie would be complete without a location to suit the film’s storyline and some Stella cinematography to back it all up and this scifi gem comes up trumps on both counts !
Overall: Absolutely loved The Last Survivors – shot on a small budget this gritty horror from a debut director is a joy to watch – yes the storyline has a few holes, but the movie is never dull, it’s tense at times and it’s action sequences brisk and effective – if you enjoy this style of movie then you will struggle to find one better ★★★★
Happy 98th Birthday to the greatest movie star of his generation KIRK DOUGLAS – back in 1949 Kirk was slowly starting to make a name for himself on screen when cast as the lead actor in Mark Robson’s great boxing film CHAMPION – below are some rare photo’s of Kirk taken around that time – I hope you agree Kirk Douglas is a cinematic treasure & these are wonderful!!