The Howling VI: The Freaks (1991)

It was bound to happen; we’ve made it to the 90s! So, obviously, it’s time for a story set in what feels like a 70s backwater town, somewhere in the midsts of rural Americana. This particular story of werewolf shenanigans has everything you would expect from the kind of cod-gothic the era became renowned for; overacting, excessive self-importance, and men in incredibly frilly shirts. But there is still fun to be had, as we enter the world of The Freaks.
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The Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)


After the blatant sexploitation of The Howling II, it’s time for new producers and a new direction: Ozploitation! The same director though, as Philippe Mora managed to buy the rights to make this one and is now the writer and the producer. So we now have an idea of what would have happened previously if Hemdale Film hadn’t decided to repeat Babel and Sybil Danning’s boobs to the point of absurdity. It would have been different, to say the least…
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Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985)


When a film starts with Christopher Lee talking pseudo-biblical nonsense into a camera, carrying with it the weight of the world as we know it and with a skeleton staring at his neck, and then kicks into the outrageously silly title “Your sister is a werewolf” you know that you are in for a hell of a ride. Whilst none of that gives a clue as to just how thirsty this mid-80s horror will be, the film fulfills all its promise of gothic nonsense with unrelenting determination. It also manages to be far more entertaining than it should be as, unlike its predecessor, it leaps both paws first into the trashier side of the werewolf world.
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The Howling (1981)


One more unto the horror-series-that-won’t-die breach, and this time it’s the furry favourite of The Howling series. Eight movies over a 30-year time span (so far), all kicked off by the eponymously titled 1977 best seller which doesn’t actually get made into a movie till Part IV. Still, the first movie meant that director Joe Dante and producer Michael Finnell got to make Gremlins three years later, so it can’t all be bad.
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The VelociPastor (2019)


Yes, I know this was the talk of the psychotronic town a couple of years ago. I was too busy watching other junk to get around to it, and I’ve got a weird (possibly anti-hipster) aversion to popular B-Movies, so that’s another cheap newscycle I missed out on. Anyway, I’m here and I’m sorry I missed the start of the party because, holy heck, this is one fun movie. Continue reading

Mulberry Street (2006)

A regular criticism I hear about zombie movies is that “no one does anything different with them”. This annoys me for three main reasons; firstly, that there could be anything wrong with the classic plot of “people fine, zombies turn up, zombies eat people”. Secondly, because there is a massive difference between plot and story and it’s pointlessly reductive to confuse them (“person commits crime, they think they go away with it, turns out they didn’t”, I’ve saved you watching everything from Hound of the Baskervilles to Wolf of Wall Street), And thirdly because it’s so ignorant of all the amazing work that’s been done in the genre, even within the “confines” of it’s three-act framework.
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Infestation (2009)


It’s always a gamble to seek out and watch movies that are on the margins of quality; they could have their middling, C-grade rating because the work doesn’t gel with that wide an audience, or because the makers were trying something new and exciting and just missed the mark. B+ rated movies are a known quantity, it’s most likely that they are going to be good at what they are doing from the offset, and any issues are just going to be personal preference. D- films are just punishment for punishments’ sake, something you watch for pure snark or irony. But the middle ground is when hitting “play” becomes an adventure in its own right; an exciting land where things can go either way…
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Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (2017)


There is a long-standing tradition in folk-horror, all the way back to camp fire stories, of the weirdo family that lives in the middle of nowhere and eats anyone who inadvertently trespasses onto their hunting grounds. On an intellectual level it’s probably something to do with fear of the unknown and warnings against wandering too far away from the safety of the collective, but for B-movie fans it’s a very basic “hicks are inbred idiots” combined with the visceral thrill of transgressing one of the biggest cultural taboos. It’s morally reprehensible enough to make murder worse, it’s instinctively nauseating due to the fear of disease, and when done right it’s bloody funny.
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Humanoids From The Deep (1980)

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h4>The chances are that, based purely on the title of this film, you’ve already made up your mind if you are interested in this film or not, as no one comes up with “Humanoids from the Deep” if they want to make things enigmatic and surprising. Names like that are meant to evoke a certain set of feelings, much like how these kinds of films are designed to evoke a set of emotions whilst watching them. It’s not meant to be smart; it’s meant to be an obvious signal of a specific kind of entertainment. It pretty much screams “this will be puerile and base, in the most amazing of ways!” and then holds out an open can of beer and a smoke to entice you in. The good news is that this film delivers on those promises, the only problem is that it’s intercut with two other films that manage to do both more and less.
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Thanks to Stranger Things, Day Of The Dead has gained a bit of an increase in its otherwise tepid reputation. Known mostly for being the final of George A Romeo’s original Living Dead Trilogy, it never gained the prestige of Night nor the hipness of Dawn. It was just “the third one”, and didn’t really get talked about. That’s probably due to it being so utterly downbeat and bleak, even by the standards set by the master of zombie cinema.

The main reason for this is that it doesn’t follow the three-act drama set by the previous two films. Both of them, for all their diversity and difference to each other, have three key beats: zombies turn up, the humans find sanctuary and then quarrel, the zombies get in and nibble everyone. Day doesn’t have this tempo, as it’s set in a post-zombie apocalypse world. It’s three acts are: the zombies have won, the humans have false sanctuary and are already quarrelling, and then… well, no spoilers. Let’s just say it’s all far less optimistic, far less positive, and somehow far more realistic than the others. It’s also far more satisfying, if you are willing to entertain something close to a nihilistic zombie Waiting For Godot.
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