To save his declining business, Chris Cringle, also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military : There’s something strangely wonderful watching the legendary Mel Gibson play Santa in a Hitman Christmas movie that’s insanely dark yet mighty festive, filmed with lots of heart, a teeny-weeny bit of tongue in cheek and a wickid mind by those Nelms brothers who gave us Small Town Crime a few years back : along for the Sleigh Ride is the sublime Walton Goggins who collects authentic Santa pressies whilst filling out his calendar carrying out hits for anyone who requires his demented service, the stunning Marianne Jean-Baptiste who’s crazy good as Ruth Cringle, Santa’s devoted wife and Eric Woolfe aka: Elf 7 the foreman in Santa’s workshop : EVERY scene between Marianne and Mel is an absolute delight, talk about chemistry, the film’s finale is bloody and Goggins Skinny Man is central to all the mayhem and Chance Hurstfield who’s spoilt and cruel Billy is fantasic : so if you love your festive movies to include a side dose of Christmas magic featuring elves, cookies and that ever so sweet naughty or nice seasonal message mixed with a rather dark and brooding evil tone then FATMAN should be earmarked as a must watch this Festive Season : IT’S BRILLIANT ★★★★
A former policeman wrestles with his personal demons and slow becomes obsessed with a hauntingly mysterious woman : So why is Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO amongst the top tier of the great man’s work? yes Coppel & Taylor’s screenplay is as good as any in the genre, the way the great Jimmy Stewart tackles Scottie’s infatuation & fear of heights is superbly played out, the magnificent striking color’s used throughout literally take your breath away, it’s San Francisco backdrop add’s a certain comfort to each scene and Barbara Bel Geddes gives a career best in playing Scottie’s best friend Midge : all of these give VERTIGO it’s energy but for me the real spark comes from Chicago born Kim Novak and she is why us cinephile’s still talk about this GREAT 50s thriller today, it’s as alluring a performance I’ve seen in any of Hitchcock’s movies, her mystery, beauty and character switch still gives me chills each & everytime I revisit this cinematic classic : I love that moment when Scottie lays eye’s on Madeleine for the first time in the restaurant, Novak’s beauty against the red decor is a sight to behold : and take the moment around 95 minutes in by which time Madeleine has died, Scottie has spent some time in a hospital recovering and upon his release spots a young lady walking down the street that he thinks resembles his lost love, he follows her, knocks on her hotel door only to find a startled Judy Barton standing before him…. the acting from Novak in this scene is captivating, her mind working overtime, the dreaded guilt, the excitement and the possibility are all laid out bare by a vunerable yet driven Kim Novak performance : I truly love revisiting the GEMS from yester-year and there’s not many that better Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling VERTIGO for it’s towering achievement in suspense, the camera work including the terrific zoom out effect and it’s undoubted beauty ★★★★★
Bodies are discovered, mutilated after each full moon so it’s upto the local sheriff and his deputies to find the killer before they strike again : Firstly let me say how visually stunning the introduction is to THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW almost like The Shining the camera follows the mountainous backdrop of the films location, at times it’s scenery is cleverly reflected above as the camera reaches it’s destination….. a big old grisly moon, what a terrific intro and the perfect mood-setter for what’s to follow : I personally LOVE everything about this bat shit crazy slasher from it’s director & star of the movie Jim Cummings who’s nutty sheriff is having the worst few days of his fucked up life and boy this guy loves to SCREAM : I found the dialogue really witty and at times I didn’t know whether to laugh, console or shout at this poor guy loosing his shit with everybody who crosses his path : the snowy Utah backdrop and action scenes are well shot by Natalie Kingston, it’s quirky Lynch-esque characters are somewhat adhering, we get to share in the great Robert Forster’s final screen outing, a stand out performance from the delightful Riki Lindhome and it’s Agatha Christie keep you guessing narrative The Wolf of Snow Hollow is an absolute riot that tackles addiction, dealing with your demons, marital separation and a killer on the loose : it’s so much movie goodness wrapped up in the smallest of run-times with a bunch of character’s I hope we get see more of….. some time soon : IT’S SO GOOD ★★★★½
To be honest I still find it hard to choose between Taxi Driver and Goodfellas as my favorite Scorsese movie so I have decided to pick the film that I watched first and although it came out in 1976 I didn’t get to watch it till the mid 80s and you know something? it hasn’t aged one bit, if anything it’s got better, it’s still as compelling and shocking as it was when I first loaded that VHS tape into my video player back then and pressed play : everytime I’ve revisited Taxi Driver since I drool over the way the film’s dark narrative takes you on this emotional rollercoaster that ends with a sharp jolt, relief and in some ways sadness, the way the seedy, dark streets of New York are captured, the innocence of Jodie Foster and the power & excitement a certain Robert De Niro brings to Travis Bickle, a complex character and a role that may just be his finest….
Born on the 17th November 1942 in Queens New York Martin Scorsese has directed some of my favorite movies of all times, he’s part of My Mount Rushmore of Movie Directors and is still one of only a handful of filmmakers that I would pay good money to watch his movies numerous times play out on the big screen : his pictures tend to use camera moves that are huge in scale, fill the screen and engulf you with this wonderful creation, some of his films use voice-over narration to only enhance the experience, my favorite’s include Goodfellas and Casino and he always uses the cream of the crop to bring his work alive, getting the very best out of stars such as De Niro, Keitel, DiCaprio and Day-Lewis : he’s been nominated 9 times for Best Director at the Academy Awards sadly only winning once for his 2006 remake of The Departed, and although I enjoyed it for me it’s bottom tier Scorsese : his next film Killers of the Flower Moon comes out next year and is a 1920’s crime thriller based on David Grann’s book of the same name and star’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro
One of my favorite Martin Scorsese quotes : I have a desire to tell stories. And I’m never quite satisfied
A young boy battles the complexities of life with his father : I really, really enjoyed Mark Webber’s THE PLACE OF NO WORDS : it’s hard to interpret the film’s true meaning to Mark but for me it’s an exquisite, fantastical journey centered around life, death and it’s beyond : the film has touches of Labyrinth and other such fairy tales and is beautifully shot in North Wales, the rugged landscape of Snowdonia is captured in breathtaking style especially the scenes involving father and son as they battle the elements on their journey of self discovery : for one so young the film’s star Bodhi Palmer gives a magical performance and is well supported by his real life parents Teresa Palmer & director Mark Webber with Nicole Berger delivering a wonderful turn as an enchanting fairy : I love and desperately want a Grumbler, their scenes with Bodhi were beautiful and that creepy moment in the film when this creature emerged from this slushy pool is still giving me nightmares : with the lack of originality on our screens The Place of No Words is a breath of fresh air, an emotional, personal journey that’s tough to think about let alone film with a four year old child : a truly unique and quite wonderful piece of filmmaking ★★★★½
On a secluded farm, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows and a sense that something evil is taking over the family : I really LOVE scary movies and Bryan Bertino’s THE DARK AND THE WICKED does not disappoint : it’s an unsettling rather loathsome horror film that reeks of EVIL at every turn, from it’s deliberately slow start that peels back the layers to it’s grim, nightmarish finale with grisly scene’s such as the knitting needle, dad on the cealing, the slaughtered cattle and those chopped mushy fingers The Dark and the Wicked is certainly in keeping with the filmmakers twisted horror style : I really love the farmhouse at the centre of the film’s bleakness, from those bottles, horseshoes and hooks that hang from the rope ends in the cattle pen to it’s nerve jangling interior including it’s dimly lit kitchen and dad’s death surrounding bedroom Bertino manages to get under your skin early on, not everything is what it seems and the emotion pouring from it’s cast including Michael Abbot & Marin Ireland who play siblings and Lynn Andrews who plays the nurse is compelling yet disturbing to watch : the scenes when Michael returns home to his wife and kids is wickedly upsetting and Louise waking up with lipstick drawn on her face is draining : so if like me your a fan of Bertino’s work that includes The Strangers and most recently The Monster then wait till you see The Dark and the Wicked it’s a movie that mirrors it’s title and one of the BEST horror movies of the year ★★★★½
It’s always tough when listing any Top Movie List but as this will become a steady feature on the site I have decided to start Our Top Four with the enormous talent that is Grace Patricia Kelly : I started my obsession & collecting movies during the early 80s, films from all era’s & genre’s, facinated in general by anything and everything movie orientated and I remember watching Dial M for Murder one afternoon whilst home from school and being mesmerised by this screen goddess, this lady that oozed sex appeal yet had this commanding persona one that filled the screen with a kind of movie magic, I guess Grace Kelly became my first movie love and what a magnificent yet short career this American Sweetheart gave us : I hope you enjoy my ramblings….
Born on the 12th November 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania GRACE KELLY not only had the beauty & elegance of a Hollywood Leading Lady but also had the acting chops of a high quality veteran working & becoming goods friends with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock on three occassions, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief and also winning the Academy Award for Best Actress in the wonderful George Seaton picture The Country Girl, this was viewed as a major shock, many thought Judy Garland would win that year for her turn in A Star is Born : in her short Hollywood career Grace would star with Gary Cooper in the acclaimed western High Noon, William Holden in The Bridges of Toko-Ri and Clark Gable in Mogambo : in 1956 Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier ending her love affair with the screen until her death in 1982
One of my favorite Grace Kelly quotes : Mr. Hitchcock taught me everything about cinema. It was thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes
Number 4 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night, a young man escapes from a mental hospital and returns to Haddonfield to kill again : I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN : to me it’s the greatest slasher movie of them all, influenced no doubt in a small way by Bob Clark’s Black Christmas it just ooozes a tour de force in the horror genre that’s been emulated many times but never surpassed : Halloween was developed and put to film by Carpenter & Hill, on a shoe string budget of $300,000 and is the finest use of lightening, sound and music in the genre, with it’s eerie atmosphere, suspense that drips from each scene like the blood from Myers knife, Jamie Lee Curtis movie debut and an alluring, chilling score that cranks up the mood perfectly when required : from those early scenes of a young Michael Myers butchering his sister to it’s nerve jangling, exciting climax, there’s nothing quite like this slice of late 70s horror to get your heart pumping : John Carpenter’s Halloween is not gory or drenched in blood like many of the slashers that succeeded it but instead relies heavily on it’s suspense and effective story telling : it’s also the most immersive experience I’ve felt watching a horror movie in a theater, from it’s wide & open interiors to the creepy neighborhood shots capturing the street’s autumn look and the scene’s of Michael Myers masked figure stalking Laurie Strode at every turn, the photography combined with Carpenter’s score really does make you chew your nails frantically as the pace slowly builds to it’s terrifying crecendo : if like me you love your slasher movies then why not check out the newly remastered edition of this 1978 masterpiece, even after all these years it’s still the perfect slasher movie ★★★★★
Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1930 and died in The Bahamas this morning in 2020 : the film world has lost a legend, a hero to many including myself and an actor that spanned a 60 year career….. he escaped from Alcatraz, was a British Secret Agent, an Irish-American cop, a Soviet Submarine Captain, an Immortal Swordsman, was King Arthur, Robin Hood and Indiana’s dad….. may you rest in peace Big Tam…..
Number 5 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a bunch of psychopaths whilst travelling to visit a family grave : The very first adult horror movie I watched was Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE : I was twelve years of age and I remember sneaking over a friends house, inserting this battered video tape and being terrorised by these cannibalistic serial killers led by Gunnar Hansen’s terrifying Leatherface and the house of horrors he lived in : I’ve since watched Texas pretty much every year since and although it’s suprisingly not that bloody it’s the look of authenticity of what takes place in that farm house, especially the infamous dinner scene that really did a number on me : watching Marilyn Burn’s Sally tied to that chair screaming hysterically, the extreme close up of her twitching eyeball, the manic laughing of the depraved family sat around the table and the total insanity of what’s happening is incredibly unsettling : it’s the only horror movie on the list that makes me feel queasy, uneasy & downright afraid right from the gecko, from the creepy hitchhiker & his antics, the bringing down of Grandpa played by John Dugan and that hammer scene to Pam played by the brilliant Teri McMinn who stumbles into the room full of feathers & bones mostly human but some are animal, the camera taking us on a tour of the carnage that Pam sees before her, the big chicken housed in the smallest of cages, the skulls & tools that were used to mutilate it’s victims, this is nasty, unflinching horror at it’s sweet mercy best : due it’s very low budget the cast was mainly unknown and Gunnar Hansen wore the same Leatherface outfit for the film’s four week shoot, the lack of a score as such and Daniel Pearl’s low angle, handheld at times raw photography gives The Texas Chain Saw Massacre it’s realism and makes Tobe Hooper’s influential horror one of the fines low-budget exploitation movies that’s ever been ★★★★★
WOW !! take a look at these 3 Horror BEAUTIES from Jessica Seamans (Tenebrae), Greg Ruth (the Babadook) and Timothy Pittides (The Omen) : all three of these posters capture their movie perfectly and in scary detail, the blood splatter & shadows in Tenebrae is effective & like Argento’s masterpiece quite nasty looking too, the Babadook looming over the bathroom via the tiles on the wall as Amelia & Samuel sit in the tub is delicous and quite haunting and the jackal’s from that terrifying cemetery scene in the Omen seen here nurturing a young Damien is sublime
Number 10 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community during it’s summer season, it’s up to the sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down : through the years people have argued whether JAWS is an actual Horror Movie but not me…. I not only think it’s one of the Greatest Movies of All Time but I also think it’s a bona-fied, shit your pants scream fest, a horror classic that will have you dodging the water like it’s a jalapeno pepper : Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard to a budget of $9 million making over $400 million at the Box Office winning 3 Academy Awards and spawning a bunch of sequels that truly weren’t that great but still made money with bums on seats : it’s one of the most Iconic and quotable Spielberg movies with memorable scene stealing lines such as “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, “Here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women” and my personal favorite “Here lies the body of Mary Lee; died at the age of a hundred and three. For fifteen years she kept her virginity; not a bad record for this vicinity” : the film starts with two teenagers breaking away from a beach party their attending, just an innocent skinny dip in the ocean turns into a nightmare as a great white tears one of them apart : one of the many things that makes Jaws so scary is the way Steven Spielberg along with camera operator Michael Chapman & Bill Butler sets up each scene with unsual, mostly hand held camera angles to achieve the shot, obviously like most great movies the photography & the acting isn’t enough but when you add John Williams exciting, unforgettable score these cinematic moments that Spielberg delivers would terrorise audiences for years to come : a lot of the great scenes in Jaws are simple but scary nevertheless, such as Quint telling the story of how he survived the USS Indianapolis whilst Brody & Hooper look on with absolute terror in their eyes, that moment when Hooper goes down in the Shark Cage armed with a spear gun, and with the Orca sinking & Quint sliding towards the open mouthed Shark and the beach scene with all the families on the beach enjoying the summer’s sun, dogs catching frisbees and kids frolicking in the water when suddenly spine tingling screams, the water a canvas of blood and a mother standing on the beach looking for her child, the one child that didn’t escape the shark : JAWS is relentless filmmaking, a movie full of iconic characters, a chilling monster at it’s core & horror that puts the fear of god in me and makes my eye’s widen at the thought of what lurks beneath our waters ★★★★★
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 15 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A group of camp counselors are stalked by an unknown killer while trying to reopen a summer camp which was the site of a child’s drowning and a grisly double murder years before : Originally titled A Long Night at Camp Blood Sean S. Cunningham’s FRIDAY THE 13TH was shot for a measly $500,000 and was released in 1980, becoming a box office success and spawning numerous sequels : from Harry Manfredini scary Hitchcockian score that screams Psycho, the film’s inventive and cruel kills created by the special effect guru Tom Savini, especially Marcie’s axe to the head and Jack’s arrow through the neck are grizzly & quite realistic, the beautiful cast including Jeannine Taylor, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram & Kevin Bacon and their colorful raincoats to the late Barry Abrams atmospheric, close up camera work that creeps around the lake & captures each scream, each kill with chilling gratification : I know the movie inside out & love everything about it, from the iconic Camp Crystal Lake sign to the wonderful yet brief role of Annie Phillips, the cute & bubbly councelor who hitchhikes to the camp at the start of the movie but there’s no doubt my favorite moment in Friday the 13th comes in the last 20mins where Alice played by Adrienne King uncovers the killers identity and then a showdown takes place as she battles to stay alive : being a huge fan of the slasher genre and especially the “golden age” from around the mid-70s onwards Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic horror movies of the last 50 years, we not only get to witness the origin story of one of the most terrifying villains of all time but also get to meet his creator : two words HORROR CLASSIC ★★★★★
Number 17 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : A small-town farmer’s son falls for a beautiful drifter who’s part of a traveling group of Vampires : “I’m gonna separate your head from your shoulders, hope you don’t mind none…” : Since watching this movie in ’87 Kathryn Bigelow’s NEAR DARK has been one of my favorite movies of all time, let alone one of the darkest, scary movies I’ve ever seen : yes it may have tanked at the box office but over the years Near Dark has gained cult status, and I for one love watching the movie : I mean come on… has there been a better Bill Paxton performance (and there’s been some crackers) than Severen the psychotic, blood thirsty vampire that has all the best lines, the best moments, and the insanity he injects into the role gives Bigelow’s Near Dark it’s captivating performer : and is there a better bunch of vampire names than Severen, Diamondback, Jesse and Homer? there incredible, all kinda dark & twisted yet so yummy : amongst my favorite moments in the movie is the motel shootout, the beautifully shot scene when Caleb feeds on Mae near the derricks is as crazy and in love as you get and the films tense and burning finale is both dramatic and sad as you watch the vampire’s demise : Overall Near Dark is a moody neo-western horror with a scintillating, atmospheric score by Tangerine Dream, the RV with it’s tin foil covered windows that keep the light out & the darkness in, the energy & humor of the Aliens trio Paxton, Henriksen, Goldstein and quite simply the BEST bar scene in horror movie history : it’s FINGER LICKING GOOD ★★★★★