Review Roundup - You Better Watch Out

KRAMPUS (2015)

There aren't that many films which combine Christmas with other elements and still have it as a central theme; one main idea usually takes centre stage. Sure we can all watch Gremlins repeatedly on an annual basis, but as a mixture of festive themes and puppets the monster elements have always been the focus - it was originally a summer release after all. Michael Dougherty's Krampus (not to be confused with the countless low effort releases to feature the same Yuletide figure) is all about the holidays. Part Scrooge, part creature feature this is certainly a low budget affair, but you'd never notice during the story since this is a film made with a maximum effort from everyone involved involved.

Review Roundup - Laser Moon Awakens


I had a lot of ... well let's call it anxiety about this one. After all, the debut of the first Star Wars anthology story marks a major transition for the franchise. The long gestation period of past movies (once 3 years between episodes not counting the major hiatus or spin-offs) has now officially been reduced so that a boardroom friendly annual release can be deployed. Playing it safe while using fan service nostalgia has become an obvious tactic. Why take risks when you can foster positive casual audience reception, while also keeping long term followers sated with things they know and love? But this level of jaded cynicism isn't entirely justified. Well maybe some of it. But there's still plenty of room for the basic ingredients that add up to a good time in front of the silver screen. But just how many of those are included this time around? And how much of this story really needed telling in the first place?

Review Roundup - Replication Errors


The original X-men series has its detractors, but I always found the original two to have plenty of likeable elements despite the changes to the source material. Part three on the other hand ... falls short of the mark. A lot of time people cite Bryan Singer's departure as a reason for this, unfortunately the same excuse cannot be used to explain this latest outing. As a third entry to a pretty loose prequel trilogy, it delivers well below what should have been expected. But why should it not be a winner after the last two? Building on what worked should have been an easy task. However for reasons that are just not clear this really isn't up to scratch, so let's explore what we are left with.

Review Roundup - Odd Couple


It's been a distressingly long time since Shane Black's last crime thriller, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. In the meantime we had a mixture of his usual material under all the blockbuster spectacle of Iron Man 3, but this is more in line with what I'd be expecting; a detective plot full of silly lines and idiosyncratic characters. I suppose the problem is that back in 2005 the formula didn't bring in enough of a return at the box office, and unfortunately the same is true here. Call it what you will, bad luck, poorly planned release dates, or lack of audience buzz. Maybe in another decade we'll get a third one of these types of stories. Such a wait is not a prospect that I welcome, since this one of 2016's best releases.



FILM OF THE MONTH Police Story ☆☆☆☆
Baraka ☆☆☆☆
Blackfish ☆☆☆☆
Crippled Avengers ☆☆☆☆
Nosferatu the Vampyre ☆☆☆☆
Predator ☆☆☆☆
Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny ☆☆☆☆
The Five Venoms ☆☆☆☆
Into the Inferno ☆☆☆☆
Five Elements Ninjas ☆☆☆☆
Gremlins ☆☆☆☆
Die Hard ☆☆☆☆
The Thing ☆☆☆☆

HCF Review - Idyll


Slovenia’s first horror film, an award winner at the Portorose film festival is clearly influenced by the kind of American films to feature lost travellers, mountain men and inbred killers living in the wilderness. It’s the kind of film where the antagonists actions and facial features are equally awful.


Halloween Wrap Up

Well that's all we have time for this year ... as if seasonal ideas have ever dictated when a horror film or ten get screened. While it's not quite the 31 days of nonsense that I'd have preferred there are some considerations to take into account that may have cut it a little short. Still this is the biggest and most eclectic mix yet.




FILM OF THE MONTH House (Hausu) ☆☆☆☆
Blood Simple ☆☆☆☆
Bride of Frankenstein ☆☆☆☆
The Devil Rides Out ☆☆☆☆
The Mummy ☆☆☆☆
The Thing 1982 ☆☆☆☆
Phantom of the Paradise ☆☆☆☆
Phase IV ☆☆☆☆
We Need To Talk About Kevin ☆☆☆☆
Psycho ☆☆☆☆

Horror Bites - It's Different Than Us

THE THING (1982)

This was not a commercial success on release as many are well aware. Just three years after the release of Alien some people apparently forgot what it was like to enjoy a serious science fiction horror story that was well made and really got under your skin. It was deemed was too nihilistic and too mean spirited in the wake of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. But why is that even a factor? Just because they came out close to one another? It seems like a bizarre comparison to make. Because both have spaceships? I'm sure they can exist together, I mean nobody balked at Alien because Star Trek: The Motion Picture had a different tone. It's 'pure nonsense'. This is of course John Carpenter's magnum opus; a love letter to the original 1950s movie and the peak of his work with Kurt Russell.

Horror Bites - Motel Hell

PSYCHO (1960)

It's crazy to imagine now but that famous Bates Motel shower scene might ever have happened... this could have been a murder mystery with Audrey Hepburn instead. After she dropped out another direction was chosen, however studio stomachs turned at the idea of this adaptation of what they considered to be repulsive novel, and refused to produce the story. Costs were cut, black and white photography was in, and of course movie magic was set in motion. The look of the film as a purely economical measure seems strange to imagine, after all the fractured Saul Bass credits and many shots of silhouetted knives and creepy houses are so iconic in monochrome. But like many production stories there's often art through adversity.

Horror Bites - Dummies


George Romero's second, and most popular zombie flesh eater story is something that really shouldn't work. The sound quality is poor, the library music is weird and often feels 20 years older than the movie itself. The living dead make up is just blue paint for a large proportion of the extras and the blood is well, orange at best. Yet in spite all of these weird problems and oddities it endures, shambling on like its rotting menace. Recut in Italy on release and remade in the 2000s, the original version remains a cult classic whichever edition you see. Let's begin the dissection and take a look at what makes this cadaver tick; all the little things that made is so influential.

Horror Bites - Rats, Rats, Rats

INFERNO (1980)

Placed between the two greatest Dario Argento releases Tenebrae and Suspiria, this second journey into a supernatural nightmare is never remembered quite as fondly; despite it being a thematic follow up to the latter. But this is strange considering that on the surface much of it is the same. The weird dream like visuals are still here, the shock deaths and surreal set designs are similar, but somehow there's something missing. It's not the music despite Claudio Simonetti and the rest of Goblin being passed over for a different sound from Keith Emerson. And it's not the really plot since a lot of these films are not heavily focused on character depth or super complex storylines. Yet there's something lacking that will need further exploration.

Horror Bites - Ghost Fights Ghost


Built like an elephant, moves like a monkey; Sammo Hung. While only Jackie Chan could ever get away with saying this about his old friend, it's never been more true than here in a film where Sammo's fugitive rickshaw operator 'Bold Cheung' is possessed by the Monkey God in the final showdown. I'm not sure the kinds of things portrayed here ever happened in Journey to the West. Mixing both supernatural fantasy, horror and kung fu, it's often absurd and frequently spectacular. This is up there with his best martial arts adventures, and is probably tied with Odd Couple and Eastern Condors - which combined make for a good trilogy of different action flavours. But this is the month for ghoulish thrills, so we'll take a look at those on offer here.

Horror Bites - Balls of Fury


There have always been comparisons with this to Joe Dante's Gremlins, and it's easy to see why. Both are horror comedy creature movies with a twisted sense of humour and a bunch of titular puppets on the rampage. Interestingly the makers refuted this and said it was written prior to its release, which is sometimes the case with production periods overlapping and actual release dates seeming to confirm shall we say, inspired ideas. There are some key differences; while the holiday favourite is clearly a supernatural adventure, this is purely science fiction schlock. Many of the funniest moments come courtesy of the intergalactic mercenaries sent out to stop the monsters, since their methods are often incompetent and excessive in equal measures. So let's break down all of these ingredients and see what other parts stand out.

Horror Bites - Mother Knows Best


Peter Jackson is often accused of being excessive and self indulgent, pushing material beyond it's natural life span and extending films to extremes that need to be pared back. It's odd that people generally aren't talking about his splatter films when these criticisms are brought up. Perhaps it's because these are actually the reasons they work. At a trim 100 minutes, his entry into the living dead category is overflowing with bodily fluids and puppet effects. Outdoing similar flesh eater adventures in terms of violence and out goofing the likes of Evil Dead II and Return of the Living Dead, it's a comedy horror feature on a whole other level.

Horror Bites - Castle of Illusion


Time for a cartoon. The translation of folklore from Europe into features made in East Asia is always interesting, their takes on vampire mythology in particular. This animated horror adventure is full of zany ideas like werewolves with torso mouth parts, armoured cars with crucifix headlights and bounty hunters with astral projection mind powers. Not content with taking elements from Dracula and Carmilla, this is a full blown fantasy world mixing parts medieval Europe, parts Mad Max and parts Old West. The title half-human half-vampire loner races against time and rival bounty hunters to save a girl from the clutches of a bloodsucking noble, but does she want to be rescued?

Horror Bites - Kisses for all


Rarely has there been a more fascinating mixture of contradictory elements. The lavish sets and costumes, the garish art direction and the fine creature and make-up effects... clashing with the bizarre casting and performances. Coppola's (or Oldman's if you like) Dracula is a wild blend of creative ideas and creepy moments, not all of which are related to monster sequences. Alive with masses of writhing bloodsuckers and eye popping decorations, it's never going to live up to the title which declares this is a definitive adaptation. It just doesn't work as Stoker's Dracula. There are just too many odd choices and extraneous plot elements that don't belong. But seeing what works and what doesn't is always an interesting experience.

Horror Bites - Feeding Frenzy

PIRANHA (1978)

The so called 'best of the Jaws ripoffs' seems sort of like damning praise when you consider how many of those must have existed in the late 1970s. Fortunately this quote is attributed to Steven Spielberg, and he was talking about a film from Joe Dante, someone who he'd later work with on several entertaining projects. He even stopped Universal interfering with the release which was close to their official Jaws ripoff, it's own sequel. It seems like an idea that should be boring, stupid slog - the killer fish movie. The premise itself sets off all kind of alarm bells - the search for two missing hikers accidentally releases the threat from ... a military research facility. But like anything, with the right amount of effort and a tone that works it can be made into something watchable.

Horror Bites - Body Bags


This is a Frank Henenlotter movie, so from his repertoire there are a lot of staple ingredients you can expect to be included. You might have guessed from the title, but like his films prior to this it's weird, sleazy and full of black comedy moments. In fact this is probably the funniest one of all. They make sure to include plenty of Frankenstein references too of course, and in general the science fiction production values are pretty good. But you can't avoid the fact this is full of flying heads, exploding bodies and bizarre characters. For those familiar with with this sort of thing, it's exactly what you think it is. For anyone else prepare yourself, this is one crazy adaptation. The dirtiest streets in New York City await.

Horror Bites - Blood Omen

VERSUS (2000)

Well it had to be done eventually, let's take a look at that awkward early 2000s period when was leather was in, sunglasses were on, and bad techno music played frequently. Ryuhei Kitamura's zombies versus yakuza flick is an action and horror hybrid that throws in all kinds of random influences. It's a blood soaked kitchen sink effort; you want shots lifted from Evil Dead II amongst your gun-play and sword battles? Sure, here they are. What was once a brain melting look into foreign cinema for teenagers in a time when DVD was new, is now over acted and ridiculous. But like all cheap films that spent their budget on fake blood, dismemberment effects and corpse makeup, there is a certain level of enjoyment to be had in all this. It's welcome entry to any guilty pleasures list.

Horror Bites - Theatre of Blood

DEMONS (1985)

The dubbing of foreign language films is a contentious issue which can often change the meaning or general cadence of dialogue. However there are always going to be those types of movies which seem to fit a cheesy, over done sound because it just seems to fit more with the tone. It's probably no surprise that this is something I often apply to guilty pleasures, and Lamberto Bava's cinema nightmare is a good example of this. Credible Italian speakers are not going to help a story which includes vomiting zombies and motorbike action sequences. The plot is minimal, the splatter effects are overflowing and the levels of '80s schlock are all the way up to 11.

Horror Bites - The Wizard


While the Hammer library is full of different takes on Dracula and Frankenstein, their adaptation of this Dennis Wheatley novel - via a Richard Matheson screenplay - is a stand out entry which exists without the usual monsters. Christopher Lee gets to fight against the forces of evil rather than embody them this time around in a story about devil worshippers and black magic. In some areas it's just as silly as you'd expect a 1960s take on the subject matter would be, but there's something endearing about the deadly seriousness of the characters and the inclusion of ritual elements that feel authentically researched. It's also a great mixture of supernatural set pieces and suspense building that still holds up in many ways and delivers a fine trip into the occult.

Horror Bites - Name in Blood


A musical may not the obvious choice for Halloween viewing, but of course there are several exceptions to the rule. Pre-dating some of the more popular rock operas out there, Brian De Palma's take on the masked avenger combines the music - and screen persona - of Paul Williams, as well as his own cinematic style to bring new life to the Paris Opera tale. Opting to move the action to the present day allows for a scathing fantasy version of the music industry, and we are treated to voice modulators, deaths by neon lighting fixtures and a twist on the material which merges the original novel's Faust performance with the plot itself.

Horror Bites - Onryō


It's been a long time since the J-Horror craze was big, but it's still fun to check out the original films which started the trend. It's interesting to see how things began in the days before everything was digitally graded to make it look spookier and prior to so many remakes and sequels. Ju-On is an absurdly long running series, and though this movie was first released in English speaking regions it's actually part three of a franchise that has by now over ten instalments; not including short films. But the narrative was never the strongest element, so it just about works by itself. Let's go back and take a look at where for things started for those of us outside Japan.

Horror Bites - Gods and Monsters


While the original James Whale Frankenstein is iconic, and is full of moments that are memorable and stand the test of time, it's always felt like a prelude. Perhaps it's because the creature never developed as a character, and was so quickly disposed of by the classic angry mob. The sequel builds on just about every aspect of this and fits in perfectly as a second half to the story. It looks better, has more quirky bit parts, and gives the monster himself more to do. It never goes in for the parenthood idea from the original book which is a shame, so we are still left with the theme of a flawed creation acting out because of an imperfect brain. Mary Shelley herself makes a fun appearance in the recap, but her intelligent and more human creation never materialises. But this is still the best adaptation in many ways, and of course one of the best sequels.

Horror Bites - Circling the Bowl


I guess it's the way that this looks, but you'd be forgiven for thinking this is going to be another Gremlins or Critters. A creature feature right? Puppet mayhem and all that good stuff. But the title monsters are only a weird tangent in all this, a story which is in fact about demonic rituals and evil powers being drawn from the netherworld. The little guys are always around whether it's the opening ceremony or the third act where things get out of hand. But there are so many other pieces that make them feel strangely superfluous. It's a weird mesh of ideas that doesn't really fit together in a lot of places, and worst of all you get the impressive that the rubbery menace could be excised, and it would have no impact on the narrative.

Horror Bites - Thanks, Ants

PHASE IV (1974)

Part man, part ant... wait hang on, let's back up and try that again. This is one of those sinister 1970s science fiction movies, the kind that really get under your skin. It's sort of like a demented clash between Look Around You and The Andromeda Strain. The isolated laboratory setting and the focus on testing solutions to a problem in particular remind me of Michael Crichton's space microbe story. Interestingly, it's the one feature film directed by artist and designer Saul Bass, who of course made numerous title sequences and posters for classic movies, but never made another full length release. This is a story full of striking images, eerie moments and a general sense of creeping dread. But they're just ants, what can you do outside of b-movie monster moments?

Horror Bites - Finger Trap


Yeah, it's a killer hand movie, just check out that name - what a title. But bear with me, it's not total nonsense. Well sort of. While this kind of idea appears in all kinds of features from Dr Terror's House of Horrors to Evil Dead II, this one at least tries to maintain a certain tone of seriousness. Which is pretty difficult of course. But this is the 1940s, and Warner Bros have Peter Lorre on board for what will be their only horror movie from the period. Instead of going for silliness, this for the most part, plays out as a murder mystery plot inside a mansion in rural Italy. A wealthy pianist, left with only the use of one side of his body after as stroke gathers his acquaintances around him to witness his last will and testament. What could possibly go wrong?

Horror Bites - A Dracula Indeed


Watch Franco's Count Dracula they said, it's more faithful to the story they said. Okay maybe I'm being harsh. But while it's true that Christopher Lee actually gets to speak some of the dialogue that Bram Stoker wrote on the page, there's more to whether this works or not than just lifting scenes from the book. It's probably better than Lee's other vampire movie with Hammer that year at least; the title of Taste the Blood of Dracula is the best part. But the film in question here is kind of a mess with parts that work, parts that are just bizarre, and all kinds of head scratching technical choices involved. After hearing Lee's complaints about the sort of lines he got working with the likes of Terence Fisher, I wonder if he was happy with the results here.

Horror Bites - The Eyes Have It

DEAD & BURIED (1981)

Something rotten is going on in Potter's Bluff, a seaside town where you certainly do not want to spend your weekend away, or even stop to ask for directions. Yeah it's another scary isolated community story, albeit with a few surprises along the way. There are a couple of reasons to see this beyond adding to the obvious '80s horror quota for the month, and while Dan O'Bannon's name on the title credits is apparently there against his wishes, the other main draw here is Stan Winston, who provides some of the memorable moments here. But let's go past the names involved and talk about this creepy venture into mysteries at the morgue.



FILM OF THE MONTH Dead and Buried ☆☆☆☆
A Man For All Seasons ☆☆☆☆
Heroes from the East ☆☆☆☆
Matinee ☆☆☆☆
Captain America: Civil War ☆☆☆☆
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad ☆☆☆☆
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad ☆☆☆☆

HCF Review - Double Bill

MATINEE (1993)

It usually goes without saying that a personal project for a film maker is probably not going to be a commercial venture. Joe Dante, known best for the likes of Gremlins and The Howling has of course done plenty of comedy melded with various other genres. But this is something quite different, a movie about the experience of movie going itself...

HCF Interview - Ray Santiago

In anticipation of the DVD release of Ash vs. Evil Dead Season One and the premier of season two, we chats with Ray Santiago who plays Pablo on the show. Ash’s loyal sidekick and fellow Value Stop employee discusses his time on the series so far including the laughs, the chills and the fountains of blood.




FILM OF THE MONTH: The Mask of Satan ☆☆☆☆
10 Cloverfield Lane ☆☆☆☆
A Nightmare on Elm Street ☆☆☆☆
RoboCop ☆☆☆☆
The Gift ☆☆☆☆
The Raid 2 ☆☆☆☆
The Raid ☆☆☆☆
Krampus ☆☆☆☆
No Country for Old Men ☆☆☆☆
Once Upon a Time in the West ☆☆☆☆
Hard Boiled ☆☆☆☆

HCF Review - The Gate


Is it just me or has that old 80s nostalgia trip actually been pushed into overdrive recently rather than fading over time? With the likes of Turbo Kid and It Follows among many others, this latest eight part offering from Netflix is in a similar vein as other releases in the last few years. Whether it’s your kind of thing or not, the novelty value has certainly evaporated by now. Here they’re aiming for that Super 8 feeling with the D&D playing gang of outcast kids-on-bikes style adventure, albeit one with a modern horror and sci-fi element included. However it’s not that simple as the cast includes many other characters with intertwined stories. But like all these releases the genuine atmosphere and overall tone of an older film is more difficult to capture than the makers seem to realise.

Horror Bites - Who's Laughing Now?


With all the press quotes about how scary this is, it must have been confusing to people at the time when what they actually got is another wacky Sam Raimi film. What a surprise. But I know, as you probably do reading this, that his body of work is full of garish colours, crazy camera movements and gross out splatter gags. But with Ash vs Evil Dead back for more TV episodes I sat down to reconsider this big screen venture into demonic madness. It was something I slighted at the time as being kind of amusing but lacklustre, however recently I felt compelled to reconsider.



FILM OF THE MONTH: Barton Fink ☆☆☆☆
The Revenant ☆☆☆☆
The Untouchables ☆☆☆☆
The VVitch ☆☆☆☆
Yes, Madam (Aka Police Assassins) ☆☆☆☆
Mad Max 2 ☆☆☆☆
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan ☆☆☆☆
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ☆☆☆☆
Scarface '83 ☆☆☆☆
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn ☆☆☆☆
JFK ☆☆☆☆

Review Roundup - Super Punch Out


Oh boy, where to even begin here. Right from the outset there's that weird title which looks like something they've taken from the Castlevania series (maybe Dawn of Sorrow would be a better fit, or Curse of Darkness). So let's step back for a second. Man of Steel came and went, to mixed reviews. It was underwritten and had a lot of problems in tone, but for the most part it was kind of average. I could just look at it as a sci-fi spectacle movie, and at least at the time think of what they might do next with the character. I certainly didn't predict anything like this, which takes all the worst parts and amplifies them. To come right out and say it, this is a bewildering mess. It wastes all the potential from the titular conflict and takes elements from comics like The Dark Knight Returns amongst others and just kind of throws them in haphazardly without any apparent planning, and in doing so loses the depth and nuance they originally contained. What I'm saying here is that it's no good.

Review Roundup - A Tale of the Christ


There will always be a certain rose tinted view of the past when it comes to the movie industry, and with a film set during the so called Golden Age of Hollywood this is certainly the case. But rather than focus simply on the production of grand scale epics and musicals, this is another oddball Coen Brothers picture so it's also full of behind the scenes in-fighting, gossip column writers and potential career wrecking political scandals. But with all this material to cover as well as a large amount of detail to be included to recreate the size of film shoots and the number of people involved, it's probably no surprises that there's a certain lack of focus. Can the studio system which produced the phrase a cast of thousands be easily viewed through the perspective of one character?

Review Roundup - A Series of Unfortunate Events


While the term Oscar-bait gets thrown around a lot with something like this or Alejandro G. Iñárritu's last feature Birdman, it raises a lot of questions about the intent of the production and whether there is actually any kind of pretence of self importance or visions of grandeur involved. The sort of questions I generally have to avoid. Whether Leo pushed himself to physical extremes or gagged on real animal blood is irrelevant to what's on screen which is mostly complete artifice. This is a spectacle movie in many ways after all, so I have to judge its content on the merit of what is actually presented and avoid awards season politics. So with this discussion of people squabbling over prizes out of the way, let's get into the film itself where people argue about the value of an entirely different kind of trophy.

HCF Review - Off the Rails


Peter Bower (Adrien Brody) is a troubled man; trying to get his life and his career as a therapist together after the death of his daughter in an accident. The unpacked boxes in his new home suggests this isn’t working out, and it’s not a good sign that his wife shares the same traumatised expression on her face. It’s not helping that he seems to have moved them into a part of town where it never stops raining. This is a stylish, if drab and grey opening scenario coupled with a slick title sequence to set the tone. As Peter gets to work trying to help people attending his office, it’s soon pretty clear he needs more counselling than they do. But the worst is yet to come, and after an unscheduled visit from a strange teenage girl things start to veer off into more than a standard mystery. It’s about to become apparent that he’s being haunted by more than just his tragic past.

HCF Review - Guilt Complex

FEVER (2014)

Fever is a French crime story (not to be confused with the German drama directed Elfi Mikesch) about two young boys studying literature and philosophy who, in the opening seconds of the film have murdered a woman in her apartment. This happens off screen, with just a few sounds of the death being heard. This impersonal act starts the whole thing moving and gets to the core themes in a story where they have decided that without motive, without even knowing the victim it’s not really a crime.

HCF Review - Come Get Some

TV Review - Season One

In a strange turn of events, Evil Dead – that’s the remake not Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead – didn’t get a sequel. Or at least it hasn’t at the time of writing. Which is kind of strange in the world of low budget horror movies that get churned out all the time. Not that I’m complaining. While bloodthirsty fans of splatter were sure to have been sated, for me it lacked personality and was filled with characters who were so thinly written for the sake of plot convenience that it was laughable at times. That’s not to say this is a series about deep and interesting people of course, don’t get me wrong. But they were more like puzzle pieces that fit into their designated roles instead of just a fun ensemble. Even the original with its nastiest moments had some level of charm. Remember kids; toothless, dumbed down action and horror is bad... but X ratings do not make a movie. However the real twist was yet to come.



FILM OF THE MONTH: Deep Red ☆☆☆☆
Aliens ☆☆☆☆
Tenebrae ☆☆☆☆
The Hateful Eight ☆☆☆☆
Manhattan ☆☆☆☆
Lady in a Cage ☆☆☆☆
10 Cloverfield Lane ☆☆☆☆
The Pirates! ☆☆☆☆
The Wolf of Wall Street ☆☆☆☆
Raising Arizona ☆☆☆☆

Review Roundup - Cabin Fever


At this point a lot of things can probably go unsaid here, Quentin is back and he's brought plenty of familiar faces along with him. Along with Tim Roth and Michael Madsen, more than half the cast are returning actors in what is a pretty gnarly ensemble of crooks and nefarious characters. But even this is obvious from the title, this isn't going to be a cosy fireside get together. Ennio Morricone also makes a comeback on the score, despite words to the effect that he'd never do so again after being displeased with how his original work on Django Unchained was implemented. Being mixed into to this already potent blend are of course several other ingredients that have come to be expected, and the amounts of violence, depravity and strong language are all correct and present here. But what's new, what is all this talk about 70mm widescreen, and does all the Tarantino dialogue still have it's sharpness? Fortunately this is a mystery plot so there's plenty to discover.

Horror Bites - Hail Hypno Toad


Time for a quick catch up with our old friend Takashi Miike with a look at Yakuza Apocalypse and an over due viewing of The Happiness of the Katakuris. A variety of deranged pleasures can be found in both of these, from a director whose work is often as unhinged as it is diverse. But how else to describe a vampire gangster movie and a story about a series of unfortunate deaths which is also a musical? I can only try to discuss some of the madness you can expect to find here, but I will give it my best shot.

Horror Bites - Red and Black

There's probably little left to be said about horror pictures from John Carpenter and Brian De Palma, but I took some time to catch up on those hit and miss ventures they both took a hand in - Stephen King adaptations. His ideas are often wacky and the execution can leave a lot to be desired but fortunately there are plenty of strengths to discuss in this case, as we take a look at the crimson stained adventures of evil cars and misunderstood teens in Christine and Carrie



FILM OF THE MONTH: The French Connection ☆☆☆☆
12 Angry Men ☆☆☆☆
Song of the Sea ☆☆☆☆
High and Low ☆☆☆☆
Super ☆☆☆☆
The Man Who Could Cheat Death ☆☆☆☆
The Odd Couple ☆☆☆☆
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ☆☆☆☆
Beavis & Butthead Do America ☆☆☆☆
What We Do in the Shadows ☆☆☆☆
Black Sunday ☆☆☆☆
Captain America: The Winter Soldier ☆☆☆☆
Carrie ☆☆☆☆
Flatliners ☆☆☆☆



The Exorcist III ☆☆☆☆
The Exorcist ☆☆☆☆
The Omen ☆☆☆☆
Captain America Civil War ☆☆☆☆
Prodigal Son ☆☆☆☆
Superman ☆☆☆☆
Guardians of the Galaxy ☆☆☆☆
Inside Out ☆☆☆☆
Enter the Dragon ☆☆☆☆

Review Roundup - Red vs Blue


The Marvel mega franchise is in a strange place coming off titles like Ant-Man, Age of Ultron and The Winter Soldier. Can you make a sequel to the latter and include elements of all the others without it falling to pieces? After all the tone of each isn't exactly a great fit, it's the challenge they face making this latest instalment. With the release line up they have scheduled the problem is only going to grow from what I can see. But with returning film makers at the helm I expected a certain sense of continuity. There are interesting conflicts to be explored and a wealth of returning characters to choose from, so they also have the issue of bloated running times and convoluted screenplays to consider. Have the Russo Brothers managed to pull all this together successfully or is this a potential sign that things are coming apart at the seams?