Horror Bites - Hopping Mad


The classic Hammer archive is full of what you might consider remakes and new versions of old material, which is particularly true of earlier the Universal properties. But they also had their a hand in adapting TV serials which the BBC had produced several years before. Taking an older story and giving it the full colour big screen treatment might not seem like most creative endeavour but the result is one of their best science fiction releases. It's a bit of a leap from the usual Gothic horror, but they retain a few recognisable elements including cast members from the likes of Dracula Prince of Darkness and director Roy Ward Baker who would go on to make a few of his own vampire features for the studio. This is hardly a big budget adaptation and some of the sequences are laughable, but there's plenty to like. It's story with a lot of atmosphere no matter how ropey things look at times.

Horror Bites - The Witch


Dario Argento's baroque tale of ballet and blood is a kind of a crazy fork in the road when you consider the films he made which came before. The straightforward detective mystery elements which were so strong in his earlier films have been almost thrown out entirely. Some stylisation was always present of course, but even the telepathy subplot in Deep Red was nothing compared to the madness which would follow. The whole strangers in a foreign land idea is still present, but the rest of the familiar ingredients are almost gone. The shift in colours and sounds alone as American student Suzy (Jessica Harper) passes through the airport doors are just a hint of what is to come. It's a surreal journey into the occult in which reality is almost completely absent. Let's take a look at why this nightmarish journey is such an enjoyable ride.

Review Roundup - Spore


Interesting, small scale science fiction stories are something I often harp on about. There's just something appealing about features which are cold and clinical in their approach whether the subject matter is alien life or artificial intelligence. So, it's typical that this sort of thing is given an extremely limited release and then the freshly minted 'dumped on Netflix' treatment. Why this was deemed necessary is a mystery beyond some vague notions that it lacked broad appeal, but in an age when low budget horror films are often successful I fail to understand why a few marketing tricks wouldn't have solved the problem. But I digress, this is a follow-up to Alex Garland's Ex-Machina. Where his 2015 film looked at life being developed in a robotics laboratory, this is all about the creeping dread of unknowable organisms from outer space. It's a shift in theme but the result is just as successful.

Super '70s Sunday - The Film with Balls


Don Coscarelli's weird and wonderful funeral home escapade finally got a remastered release (from Bad Robot and J.J. Abrams of all people) so it's time to venture into the Tall Man's domain and see how things hold up nearly four decades years later. Is it a strange nonsensical horror story, or a laughably silly film about beings from another world? Is it just a tribute to the Italian traditions of shock cinema? Perhaps all of the above. It's certainly a movie that provokes a few both laughs and a few creepy feelings along the way, mainly because of the structure and the random nature of the events that transpire. These are certainly bizarre in nature even without considering the editing and the music choices. But let's take a closer look and see how this all comes together.

Weekend Restrospective - Your Move Creep...

DREDD (2012)

I was never a huge reader of 2000AD or comics generally as a kid, simply because I couldn't get hold of them often. However I did try to get my hands on them whenever it was at all possible, be it through random issues sold in mid '90s newsagents or as annuals and collections I found in local used book shops. Judge Dredd was easily the favourite thanks to his visual appearance, the look of the world and the characterisation. They left their mark on my imagination, with things like body recyclers, weird fashion fads (Get Ugly!) and riot foam staying in my memory. My feelings on another attempt at bringing this all the screen were pretty mixed but I'm happy to report that John Wagner's big chinned fascist finally gets a movie worth seeing, and more importantly it actually includes the character he created rather than a dumbed down interpretation.