Bats (2021) is, against all odds, enjoyable nonsense


Chekov said “The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them” so Scott Jeffery (writer and co-director) has produced some of the purest art available because I can’t think of a single one of the 83 minutes of this movie in which I wasn’t going “what the fuck?” at the screen.
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Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)


I’m not sure what I was expecting when I finally got around to watching this “must see classic” of trash/psychotronic culture. Obviously, having read about it in a thousand cult movie guides, I was expecting the constant presence of sex and violence that is Tura Satana and the satirical sleaze of Russ Meyer’s oeuvre, of which this film delivers in spades. But I wasn’t prepared for what else was lurking under the tight top of this juggernaut of a cinematic experience. Continue reading

The Basket Case Trilogy is surprisingly good.


The general pattern for b-movie horror movie trilogies is, to my mind, a relatively established, disappointing and inevitable one. The first film is a success, frequently because the people involved in making it are new to the business or coming in as outsiders so don’t know/care about the preconceived notions of “how to do it right” (Evil Dead, Ginger Snaps, Night Of The Living Dead). The second, often not planned when the first was made and often with a bigger budget, is often made soon after as an attempt to cash in on the success of the first by building on whatever part of the mythos or scares stuck with the audience the most (Friday The 13th Part 2, Hellbound, Evil Dead 2). The third part is normally where the wheels come well and truly off the bus in spectacular fashion, as the core talent moves on (Halloween 3), the budget falls away as the makers realise the core audience will buy anything with its name on it (Wishmaster 3), or it shifts into a new direction (Army Of Darkness).
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Burnt Offerings (1976)


It’s time for some “Classic 70s horror” that you’ve never heard of, which mostly means a couple of well-known actors getting caught up in some supernatural shenanigans until their next big serious role comes along. In this case, it’s Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Burgess Meredith, and one of the first appearances of the soon-to-be “ooh, I know them! They were in the thing!” Anthony James. It’s all very intense, it’s all very moody, but is it any good? Read on or watch the trailer that follows the era’s trend of giving away all the best bits.
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FairyTale: A True Story (1997)


As a long-time reader of The Fortean Times, and having a general interest in the more esoteric bits of social history, I was keen to find out what this dramatization of the Cottingley Fairies story would be like. I could remember it making some noise when it first came out, but that was mostly because it was a British costume drama that had some bits of CGI in it rather than because it was a great film. So I was also curious if was going to be bogged down with The Great British Worthiness that meant we had tried to pretend we never had a genre cinema industry after the 70s. Continue reading

Theatre Of Blood (1973) Is Wickedly Watchable

Not quite sure how I didn’t know that Vincent Price and Diana Rigg started in a film together and that they both considered it some of their finest work. Probably something to do with Theatre Of Blood being a modestly budgeted British film, done half a century ago, and them having over 250 screen credits between them. The important thing is that I watched it as soon as I found out about it, and by reading this So Can You!
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The Howling: Reborn (2011)


Horror was hot again in the 2010s, and werewolves had just got very hot thanks to Twilight making them take off their shirts. Which explains why, 26 years after the god-awful New Moon Rising, Anchor Bay was willing to give The Howling Franchise another chance with a Reborn. They also gave it a reboot, just make clear it had nothing to do with the shoehorning, time padding, nonsense of its predecessor. So, how did director and writer Joe Nimziki do with this post Scream, post Saw, post remake onslaught, bit of fur frenzy?
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Blood Red Sky (2021)

The trailer for this film makes it look like an interesting twist on the “special agent on a hijacked plane” school of action movies. Specifically asking the questions “what if the special agent’s child was also on board?” and “what if the special agent was a vampire?”. Whilst I’m sure writer and director Peter Thorwarth could have done that well, I’m just happy he ended up asking enough further questions to justify gluing three movies worth of concept together.


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Replicas (2019)

There is a good chance you haven’t heard of this Keanu Reeves starring-and-produced film, even though he is one of the hottest properties in cinema right now. Produced in 2016, sold on before it’s 2019 release, and allegedly passed over by Nicholas Cage, it’s box office bombing should have been the talk of the town. Instead of it becoming a cause célèbre, it just got shuffled off the big screens at a rapid pace, another miss in a summer of hits. It then rolled into the Amazon Prime bargain bucket of Amazon Prime in the middle of the year and then on Netflix this month. So, is it as bad as the odd critic has tried to make out?
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