Review Roundup - Family Matters

HEREDITARY (2018)

I must admit I've tended to stick with old school horror films over the years, as you might have noticed from all the blog posts about Hammer and Tigon amongst other things. Still, I step into the modern world every so often to take a peek... even if the paranormal preoccupations of contemporary cinema is a bit off putting to an old relic like myself. Too many CGI mouths and eyeballs for my taste y'know. Maybe that's why I like Hereditary so much, or why some viewers might find it boring. It's a slow methodical chiller that harkens back to the likes of Don't Look Know and various other essential nightmare fuel experiences. The stuff that's not super scary in the traditional sense but feels weird and disturbing long after the credits roll.


Horror Bites - Hairy Palms

CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961)

Time for a couple of firsts, combining both Hammer's only take on the Wolf Man genre and actor Oliver Reed's first starring role in a feature film. While Reed went on to make a few other appearances at Bray it's strange that this was the studio's one time foray into the realm of full moons and silver bullets. All the typical period locations and bloody horror moments are present and correct, so it's strange there was never a series of spin-offs like their vampire and mummy films. Even their rivals over at Amicus only touched on the idea a couple of times, so I guess the idea just wasn't a big favourite at the time. Maybe there's a case for this being a more unique bit of '60s monster mayhem, but maybe it's just a shaky release that failed to hit the mark.


Scorecard

FEBRUARY


FILM OF THEM MONTH Strangers on a Train ☆☆☆☆
Casino Royale ☆☆☆☆
Knightriders ☆☆☆☆
Hereditary ☆☆☆☆

Horror Bites - Woman in a Lizard's Skin

THE REPTILE (1966)

I've often considered Plague of the Zombies to be one of my favourite Hammer productions, with it's eerie location and unsettling make-up effects. This on the other hand is one I often overlook on repeat viewings of horror films from this period, despite it being the second part of the intended double bill. With the same rural village, the same Cornish moors and the same big manor house (which still burns down at the end) it's an odd experience, but cost saving efforts like this are nothing new. I'm reminded of Dracula Prince of Darkness and Rasputin The Mad Monk sharing both cast and castles. And like those two I prefer over the other. But in this case is the second feature really a let down or is it just a less imaginative chiller?


Horror Bites - X From Outer Space

THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT (1955)

While the surge of British horror films from Hammer is generally considered to have started in full blooded colour with The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 this is an earlier example that shows signs of the idea evolving. Or perhaps given the subject matter, mutating. Like the other films featuring eponymous rocket scientist Bernard Quatermass, this is a big screen adaptation of a television serial with a boost in production values to counter the trimmed running time. It's still in black and white, but the shameless title alteration to advertise the 'X rating' of the (admittedly pretty tame) film hints at the ghoulish sensibilities that were to follow.