Number 11 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : An unearthly fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters : the movie starts on a beach, a group of kids sat around a burning fire as an old fishing captain tells the story about a shipwrecked clipper boat named the Elizabeth Dane….. : after the success of his 1978 horror Halloween, and turning his back on filming a more lucrative sequel filmmaker John Carpenter turned to a story he had written after finding inspiration from a 50s movie The Trollenberg Terror and also by visiting the infamous and some say mystical Stonehenge : THE FOG is both riverting and utterly hair-raising and unlike many of it’s contemporaries it’s not violent or gory yet there’s something quite unsettling lurking deep down in the belly of this 80’s ghost story : from the chilling synth score that accompanies the whiteness of the fog drifting up the coast and into Antonio Bay sweeping across the horizon into churches, underneath doorways, shrouding everything that it comes into contact with, in a death cosuming way to it’s terrific cast that includes Jamie Lee’s drifter, Tom Atkins townie, the wonderful Hal Holbrook as Father Malone and the gorgeous Adrienne Barbeau as DJ Stevie Wayne who broadcasts a local radio show from the lighthouse on the coast (filmed at Point Reyes) : there’s many ingredients to a great movie but for me apart from it’s director the person responsible in how the film looks & feels to the viewer is the DP and they don’t come more impressive than Dean Cundey, I mean talk about LEGEND, from Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York to Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future and Jurassic Park here’s a guy who has managed to capture moment on film like no other and with John Carpenter’s The Fog Cundey creates this ghostly, chilling atmosphere one of dread and unpleasantness that resonates from the very start of the movie to it’s finish : If you’ve never seen John Carpenter’s THE FOG then your missing a trick, it’s the perfect antidote for those dark & rainy nights when a good old fashioned horror is required, a scary movie that will engulf, unnerve and creep you down to your bones ★★★★★
HALLOWEEN: David Gordon Green
Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak & Virginia Gardner
If you love horror and especially the slasher genre then David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN movie is a must watch on the big screen – the film is set 40 years after the John Carpenter’s original 1978 movie and is classed as a sequel to that movie, I know what your thinking “wasn’t there a Halloween II?” and you’d be right but Green and his writing team and it must be said with the blessing of Carpenter himself have decided to take their new movie in this direction – David Gordon Green’s movie sticks to the same formula as it’s predecessor, keeping things simple, uncomplicated and downright SCARY – the filmmaker makes use of Carpenter’s iconic score that always manages to creep me out and if that’s not enough to scare one silly then the sight of Michael Myers prowling the screen will make you quiver in your seat, the violence is brutal at times and not for the squeamish and along with the many homages to the original film it’s the return of Jamie Lee Curtis who once again gives the horror it’s heart-beat, her character Laurie Strode is now older, battle worn waiting for the boogeyman to return to Haddonfield, that Sarah Connor vibe she’s giving off was really something, the writers did well putting some life in Laurie and I felt she looked ready to chew bubblegum and kick some ass (whoops wrong movie) but HELL YEA she was – Horror newbie Andi Matichak is a revelation and maybe a new scream queen in the making, Virginia Gardner gives a terrific turn as Vicky, veteran Will Patton is always great and I just love Judy Greer – Overall if your looking to see the second best film in the Halloween franchise then get your scared ass to the cinema this weekend and watch a treat of horror that will have you shaking in your boots and looking in your closet afterwards…… ★★★★
It was the year that Pixar Studios opened, Amber Heard was born and Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa won a Best Picture at the 58th Academy Awards – it was also the year screen legend James Cagney died and Mike Tyson became the youngest Heavyweight World Champion in the history of Boxing – it was also the year two of my movie heroes starred opposite each other for the last time – Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster first appeared together in 1957’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and in 1986 they would star in their seventh & final movie together Tough Guys….
My Definitive Action Movies of 1986 : at Number 1 is James Cameron’s epic scifi movie ALIENS that sees Ripley alongside a group of kick-ass Colonial Marines trying to stay alive down on LV-426 – at Number 2 Maverick & Goose fly into Top Gun coming up against the best Fighter Pilots the navy has to offer – and at Number 3 Sylvester Stallone plays Marion Cobretti a cop and part of the “Zombie Squad” who loves nothing better than Telling it to the Judge and putting the bad guys down in Cobra – at Number 4 is John Carpenter’s superb Big Trouble in Little China that sees Burton played by Kurt Russell battling a sorcerer named Lo Pan down in Chinatown – and finally there can be only one at Number 5 and that’s Russell Mulcahy’s Highlander don’t you just love that Queen soundtrack, that amazing Scottish backdrop and Clancy Brown’s villainous Kruger? – as you can see 1986 was an incredible feast of action movies, I was only 15 years of age at the time and my love affair with the movies was only just beginning….
Since I started collecting movies back around the age of fifteen (1986) I became fascinated by the Horror Genre, I loved watching the Hammer House of Horror films and started watching Hardcore Horror (well it was back then) from the likes of Fulci, Bava, Argento, Carpenter, Craven, Hooper and Romero these guys for me were the bees knees, the majority of their films have aged will and still terrify to this day – looking around at the modern crop of filmmakers I wonder how many of them truly stand out and make you white with fright or scare you enough to keep the lights on at bedtime? In recent years too many of the Horror Past Masters have turned to mediocre material to ignite their horror spark and have failed miserably – Wes Craven the guy who brought us Freddy Krueger in the early 80’s and who in 1996 re-invented the horror genre with his slasher flick SCREAM is one such example, his recent films Cursed, Red Eye, My Soul to Take and Scream 4 have been average at best and sadly the same can be said about Argento and Carpenter their movies in the late 70s and 80s are some of the best of the genre but in recent years it’s been a downhill slide – so WHO amongst the modern filmmakers are impressing in the scare department?
Over the last ten years my horror taste-buds have being actively looking for new exciting talent, filmmakers that can scare me, turn me on and elevate my heart rate to the point of explosion – during this period I have come up with 6 exciting movie directors, each with their own unique style and approach to the horror genre and each one of them at some point have managed to scare the bejesus out of me – from Left-Right and in no particular order we have JAMES WAN (Saw, Insidious & The Conjuring) I’m sure you will agree this guys creepy ass dolls are enough to scare anyone half to death, his imagination and camera work makes the hairs on the back of your next stand up – up next is ROB ZOMBIE (Devils Rejects, House of a 1000 corpses & The Lords of Salem) Zombie delivers hard hitting violent horror movies, if your squeamish & easily upset then don’t watch – onto one of my favorites, South Korean KIM JEE-WOON (Tale of Two Sisters and I Saw the Devil) these two films terrified me on so many different levels – next up MARCUS DUNSTAN (The Collector & The Collection) a surprise maybe but this guy is still only 38 and the two movies he’s directed have been blood curdling fun – next on the list NEIL MARSHALL (Dog Soldiers & The Descent) another modern filmmaker who’s violent & brutal horror will terrify and at the end of each you will have to retrieve your heart from your mouth – and lastly to SCOTT DERRICKSON (Sinister & The Exorcism of Emily Rose) Derrickson is a talented writer but an even better horror director – his 2012 horror Sinister is one of the best Supernatural movies in recent years….
Whether or not in twenty years time we will be talking about any of these filmmakers in the same light as Fulci, Bava, Argento, Carpenter, Craven, Hooper and Romero is debatable but with the old guard starting to fade a new chapter in the movie world of terror has begun….