A homeless soldier is sucked into staying in a decaying old house and falls for a young woman who’s lives their with her dying mother : Written and Directed by Romola Garai AMULET is my kind of movie jam, a slow burning, bat shit crazy demonic horror that’s tangled up in atmosphere, flashbacks and haunting performances by the likes of Alec Secareanu (God’s Own Country), Carla Juri (Brimstone) and Anah Ruddin who gives an unforgettable performance as Mother : The movie is quite mysterious, a bit like a jigsaw the pieces fit together the more you watch and during the picture’s second half you find which direction the story is taking and watch in horror as it’s pace & tension is ramped up, the mind twisting insanity is nearing boiling point and you find yourself uncomfortably enjoying it all play out : I found the whole movie quite creepy & unnerving, from the interior of the decaying house, the gory & unsettling finale to a rather delicious performance by the sinister looking Imelda Staunton AMULET really does a number on you : A superb horror that will leave it’s mark on the genre for sure ★★★★
A young couple having trouble with their relationship take a trip to the families Beach House only to find their getaway turns into a struggle for survival – Jeffrey A Brown directorial debut THE BEACH HOUSE is my kind of movie jam, a slow burning chiller with enough going on to keep you interested and then WHAM BAM all shit rains down – It’s impressive how Brown keeps everything so damn eerie, from those opening 10mins to the final ten you really are biting your fingernails and sat on the edge of your seat in anticipation at what’s coming next, the drug induced scene is freaky in an almost uncomfortable sort of way and that cellar and beach scene messes with your mind – However the real payoff with The Beach House is that you have no idea how it’s all going to play out and more importantly what the actually shit is going really going on…. from Jeffrey Brown’s original story, it’s idealic yet sinister location but most of all Liana Liberato & Noah Le Gros innocence & fear driven performances make this one helluva trippy, atmospheric ride and a delicous horror gem that I’d highly recommend ★★★★
I have never seen Misery, Relief & Hatred captured so magnificently than in Todd Phillips JOKER – Over the years I have been lucky enough to watch every movie JOKER on the big screen and they have all been good for different reasons YET in my opinion they are all pale imitation’s of the DC character when you compare them to Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the madman of Gotham – the intensity that Phoenix brings to the role is immense, it’s a whirlwind of crazy, one that is quite terrifying to watch – The film has so many evocative scenes and it’s also possibly the best movies I can remember with night time scenes, all beautifully shot by cinematographer Lawrence Sher who also did great work on Phillips 2016 movie War Dogs – My Opinion: This is no ordinary comic book movie it’s essentially a character study, a thought provoking piece on how one of the great comic book villains came to be, it touches on mental health issues, bullying and is very dark and incredibly moving – it’s well worth putting on your happy face and visiting your local cinema NOW ★★★★★
In 2000 came in my opinion the greatest M. Night Shyamalan movie UNBREAKABLE a true masterpiece in it’s genre with great performances by Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson – 16yrs later Shyamalan came at us with a mind twister of a movie SPLIT that was linked to the Unbreakable universe and was pretty darn epic with James McAvoy going all batshit crazy on our asses – looking forward to 2019 both films will merge into GLASS and judging by the trailer below this promises to be the best yet.
Sadly another year for us at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando has come to an end but what another fabulous event Michael Aiello and his team at Universal has put together for us fans of this scary at times terrifying yearly event – HHN26 is our third straight and we always purchase the Frequent Fear Plus to maximize our nights in the park (this year we visited the event 5 times) – the 2 live shows are always entertaining, the scare actors on the streets and in the houses are mind blowing all acting their particular role with dedication and tireless energy and each year we continue to marvel at the attention to detail on the props, the devilish makeup, the smells and overall appearance in transforming a sound stage into one of our worst nightmares – yes it’s sad that another HHN has come to an end but thankfully my mind is full of lots of cool, disturbing memories that will tide me over for another year – I have posted below my Top 9 Houses of this years event, not purely based on scares but also appearance, all 9 were epic in different ways but the Texas and Halloween houses were just mouth watering, blood curdling fun and for me deserved top marks – we always try to view each house 4 times and this time round in some case we managed 5 so we were able to take more of the scares at different times and admire some of the interior more than if you just visited the house only the once – again a huge thanks to Mike, his creative team and the scare actors and performers at this years Orlando Event – see you all next year….
I wasn’t totally convinced by Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake but his latest the low budget thriller Don’t Breathe is a different animal – I’m sure my heart actually stopped for a brief second whilst being terrified by this darkly intense and at times brutally twisted horror movie – Alvarez really makes use of the house interior, his camerawork adds so much to the scares and along with Stephen Lang’s deranged victim come tormentor this is one creepy ass movie that will scare you senseless – do yourself a favor and don’t miss this on the big screen….
If you enjoyed Jeremy Saulnier’s epic “Blue Ruin” then you will love the grittiness, the uncompromising & at times the shockingly uncomfortable GREEN ROOM – from the time the punk band “The Ain’t Rights” hit the neo-Nazi club and takes to the stage you just know things are going to get downright ugly – Saulnier’s strength as a filmmaker is the weaving of realism into his characters, most are broken individuals (or soon will be) and Saulnier is the master of taking you into their world, a world that’s not pretty or glossed over, a dark unforgiving ferocious world and if you dare Saulnier will take you there – along with a very intriguing, delicious band lineup the movie is jam packed with interesting characters from the white supremacist club owner a creepy individual played by Patrick Stewart, a crowd of badass skinheads that look ready to peel your head from your neck like an orange, a mysterious girl at the scene of a crime, some vicious hungry looking dogs & a bunch of club management ready to spill blood for their leader – Saulnier weaves these characters almost Tarantino-esque in & out of his picture with great style, you just never know whats coming next – Overall: GREEN ROOM may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it – it’s an unpleasent suspenseful and at times dark humoured little gem that nails you to seat and makes you beg for more runtime at its conclusion ★★★★½
Once a year Universal Studios in Orlando gets transformed into an exciting, ghoulish Halloween event, one that uniquely allows its victims to get up close & personal with their deepest desires & darkest fears – I mean where else would you get the chance to walk through 9 different houses, each one crafted to scare the life out of you, some even designed to replicate your horror movie nightmares? You will even get so walk through scare zones, each jam packed with a different menace, streets shrouded in fog, monsters of yesteryear roaming freely and psychotic chainsaw wielding maniacs chasing you down if you dare look in their direction – this year HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS celebrates its 25th year, it’s bigger, better and more elaborate and if your a fan of the horror genre and want an evening or two of demented but delicious fun then please visit, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen – it’s an exhausting, Adrenalin fueled ride that will have you screaming at every turn !!
Below I have included some snaps of my Top 3 Girl & Boy scare actors, they all contributed so much to the nights I spent at the event, their mannerisms, makeup, costumes and sheer scare factor deserves a big thank you and my applause for such a great job !!
After visiting this years event on many separate occasions I have listed below My Top 9 Houses
Here’s a couple more snaps of my time at Halloween Horror Nights
In 1975 on June 20th the world of film was introduced to JAWS – based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, this film was the first summer blockbuster – JAWS broke numerous box office records, won 3 Oscars and made it NOT safe to go into the water – Steven Spielberg’s movie is still regarded by many including myself as his best achievement behind the camera – even today 40 years after it’s release JAWS holds up well as a cinematic triumph, it still scares the daylights out of me, it’s acting by the main trio of actors is top notch and it’s simple yet terrifying John Williams score sends my body into a quivering goose bump sort of mess – so congrats Steven Spielberg and all involved in making JAWS one of the Best Movies I have seen in the last 40yrs !
The Sacrament (2013/4) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: Ti West – Cast: Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Kate Lyn Sheil, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley & Gene Jones – Synopsis: Caroline (Amy Seimetz) is a former drug addict who has found solace living in Eden Parish a commune, miles from nowhere, self sufficient and led by the sinister and rather creepy “Father” – out of the blue Caroline reaches out to her brother Patrick by letter inviting him to visit her new home – Patrick (Kentucker Audley) travels to the commune with his colleagues, Sam (AJ Bowen) and Jake (Joe Swanberg) who work for VICE Media and specialize in “immersion journalise”, they hope to film these events and interview the man behind this mysterious commune – Verdict: shot in almost documentary style The Sacrament is easily Ti West’s best directed movie to date – the film draws inspiration from true life events and unlike West’s collaborator Eli Roth The Sacrament is not a picture full of B-Movie gore and violence, it’s a slow burning, thought-provoking feature that explodes into a melody of madness in it’s second half – it demonstrates one man’s sway over a group of vulnerable and somewhat weak individuals who are manipulated to his will – Overall although not a masterpiece Ti West displays his talent in combining the found footage format with a realistic, suspenseful story that’s well acted and has a superb soundtrack adding to the film’s overall feel – The Sacrament is nothing like West’s previous movies his supernatural The InnKeepers or horror homage The House of the Devil yet stands alone, taking his audience on an intriguing, frightening journey into the world of the cult – it’s a movie well worth the watch – just don’t get drinking the kool-aid !!
From filmmaker Jonathan Glazer comes UNDER THE SKIN a haunting tale of an Alien preying on Hitchhikers in Scotland – the film stars Scarlett Johansson and Paul Brannigan and is based around Michel Faber’s novel of the same name – Glazer also brought us the delicious Sexy Beast and the strange yet somewhat wonderful Birth so teaming up with one of my favorite actresses Johansson and with a backdrop that is Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands my anticipation for the movie couldn’t be any higher – here’s the official poster (that is visually stunning), some movie stills and the latest official trailer…. Enjoy!
Under the Skin – US (4th April) – UK (14th March) – Australia (N/A)
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….
GRAVITY 3D – (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast – Sandra Bullock & George Clooney – on his last flight before retiring Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) and Mission Specialist Ryan Stone (Bullock) have to work together to survive an accident in the darkness of Space – VERDICT does Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller live up to all the hype? well in a big screen cinematic blow your mind with visuals kind of way YES it does! – only a handful of films using the 3D format have successfully worked and due to the film’s spectacular setting, Alfonso Cuaron’s GRAVITY is one of the best I have seen and that’s saying something since the majority of the film’s 3D was converted from a 2D lens post production – from the film’s opening scenes, I felt a unique sense of floating as I was looking down 600km to Earth, you would be forgiven for thinking that the film was shot on location, the effects are truly that good and the 3D element only enhances that immersive experience – obviously Sandra Bullock will receive a lot of the plaudits and rightly so, she was terrific, rarely leaving the screen during the movie’s 90mins run time, her range of emotions in those close up shots were pretty realistic and I felt for her character as she tried to survive the perils and complete emptiness of space – overall Alfonso Cuaron’s GRAVITY is all about the visual, forget about it’s predictable script, stick those 3D glasses on and let Cuaron take you on an unforgettable ride, a ride that creates the illusion of isolation, claustrophobia and one of complete and utter helplessness – pay the extra few dollars for that 3D screening and enjoy the show….
SOLO (2013) – Movie Review ★★★
Cast – Annie Clark, Daniel Kash, Richard Clarkin and Steven Love – Annie Clark playsGillian a seventeen year old girl gets a job as a counselor at a Summer Camp, as part of her initiation to look after the kids at the camp she has to spend 2 nights alone on a remote island, with no camera and cell phone VERDICT the real find of SOLO is most definitely the lovely and talented Annie Clark who you may know from TVs Degrassi: The Next Generation playing Fiona – Ms Clark is not just a pretty face she’s a quality young actress with the ability to captivate and turn an average movie into a good one, hopefully given the right material we could see her as a leading lady in many pictures to come – Isaac Cravit‘s directorial debut in my opinion is not quite scary or dark enough to fulfill it’s potential – the writing is average, slightly predictable and the movies big bad is not quite menacing enough, I also felt not enough was done to capitalize on the film’s remote location, it could have been used to carry more bite and tension but instead I felt it was a mere spectator in proceedings – overall SOLO is certainly not the worst movie I have seen this year, Annie Clark looks like a star in the making and the film’s director is worth keeping tabs on for future projects….