Horror Bites - Vault of Horror

CREEPSHOW (1982)

As we slip into the season of the witch it's probably quite appropriate to revisit such a classic blend of horror and comedy. After all, the combined talents of Stephen King and George A. Romero are what bring us this outing into the macabre. The idea to simultaneously create a throwback to the old style anthology movie while at the same time writing a fond love letter to EC Comics from the 1950s is pretty much a master-stroke. It's a winning combination of elements even before we look at the cast listing which features plenty of period talent and familiar faces for anyone into kind of thing. So get yourselves comfy as we turn the pages and enter a world of people turning into weeds, zombies demanding cake, and mysterious boxes under the stairs.


Horror Bites - The Guest

VISITOR Q (2001)

Takashi Miike's films often go from one bizarre shift in tone to another, sometimes within one film and sometimes inside of a series. This is the case in both something like the Black Society Trilogy where the horrifying sleaze in Shinjuku Triad Society switches to the restrained and dour melancholy of Rainy Dog as well as the the classic bait and switch reveal in stand-alone nightmare Audition. The ease at which things move from sickening to sickly sweet is integral in his body of work, which remains startlingly diverse today. However when the boundaries of genre and tone are less obvious things become rather more unsettling. Enter Visitor Q.


Review Roundup - Replicator

BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2017)

In what must be the apex of reviving brand names for the whole 1980s nostalgia trip crowd, this is a direct sequel to Ridley Scott's original cyberpunk noir. After all it's a cult favourite rather than something that was a hit in its own time. In a time when reboots and fraudulent sequels made decades later are all over the place, this is one that I had no real interest in visiting. But at the same time my interest was piqued after seeing that this was going to be from the director of Arrival and Sicario. Is this another arresting detective story in a believable world where the high tech causes a lower quality life? Or is it just a visually stunning but cold and detached story that pushes a simple tale to an overly long running time?


Horror Bites - Mr Driller

TETSUO TRILOGY

A bespectacled man sits waiting to meet his train at the station. There's a big plaster on his face, covering over a cut he made after finding a weird metal shard growing out of his cheek. He's really not having a good day. Then just as things seem to be normal he gets chased by a fellow commuter, a crazed woman whose arm has grown into a writhing mass of rusted scrap metal and junk. After a bizarre chase through the building he escapes, but later that day his own body starts to turn into a similarly grotesque collection of tubes and wires.

Why? Because of reasons. Well why not I guess. After this the really weird stuff begins. Tetsuo, sometimes subtitled with its English translation The Iron Man is a dark and bizarre nightmare sequence in black and white. It's full of strange imagery, crazy music and ear piercing industrial sounds. It's also a lot of fun despite some outlandish and disturbing sequences of sex, violence and metamorphosis. As an example of the Japanese take on the cyberpunk genre, it has a lot of unique and entertaining ideas.

 

Horror Bites - Contamination

ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)

Call me crazy, but in the five year gap since the release of Prometheus, I was kind of expecting them to have come up with some really great story material for a follow up. It's a long time to wait for a sequel in an era where every franchise entry is treated as a stepping stone to the next money spinner. More and more focus is given to connected stories these days. However for whatever the reason, this latest instalment feels surprisingly hollow. Maybe it was something to do with the cancellation of Alien 5, or the studio pushing for more recognisable series motifs and creatures. There are certainly elements here that feel far more like action schlock than they should, perhaps clashing with Neill Blompkamp's ideas. Whatever the reason the outcome is just the same, this is a weak and uninspired addition to an already pretty shaky brand.