Fear City (1984)

On the surface, it looking like a cheap bit of crime drama. Just under the surface, a lot more T&A than expected, but I should have seen the “Thriller” tag and put two and two together so that’s on me. Beneath all that, a far more complicated movie which tries to push at the boundaries of what cinema could . Or, at least, something that throws every idea it can think of into a mafia / slasher / romance / cop / action / psychological / thriller cheapie.
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Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin (2022)

I’d never heard of Jean Rollin before, so when this documentary about his life and work turned up I was rather excited to give it a go. As usual I had my notepad out, ready to jot down the odd movie that would be worth a look, but by halfway through I just assumed it safer to work through his filmography. I appreciate that a lot of effort when into making this a valid and informative collection of anecdotes and titbits for long-time fans, but I’m quite sure directors Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger are going to take my uneducated reaction as a win.
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Final Exam (1981) is a bad film with some genuinly amazing ideas.

In context, this still makes no sense

This can easily be dismissed as yet another slasher that turned up on the coattails of Halloween and Friday The 13th, as part of The Golden Age Of Slashers. And it has all the hallmarks of such a film; it’s cheap, follows the tropes, and has a lot of so-so acting and directing. However, for all it’s many failings, writer and director Jimmy Huston needs to be applauded for making a film that really tried to do something different with the genre in several interesting ways.
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The Haunted House Of Horror (1969)

I wasn’t sure how to write this review, but after I did a bit of reading I found out that the producers had no idea about how to make this film. Half of it is an interesting proto-slasher, directed by Michael Haworth and stating a giggle of up-and-coming stars of British Cinema (and Frankie Avalon on his way down). The other half is an interesting drama, using the backdrop of swinging London and mostly the same cast. Sadly, you can see the welds. Continue reading

The Undertake (1988) is underwhelming

Whilst this 1988 film has nothing to do with the most successful persona of Mark Calloway, of the great wrestlers of all time, it does have a lot of the hallmarks of professional wrestling of this era. Bad acting, weak camera, incredibly cheap tricks, a near-incomprehensible plotline, and the audience constantly having to work to maintain the willful suspension of disbelief are all on show here. The end result is something that is utterly unenjoyable as intended, and only marginally fun as a beguiling slice of bad cinema.
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Grandmother’s House (1989)

It’s time for some more 80s horror, and this one is the directorial debut of Peter Rader! You know, the guy who then went on to be one of the people who wrote Waterworld. It stars no one I’ve ever heard of, is a title I’ve never seen mentioned anywhere, and seems to be one of those strange “aimed at teenagers, but just that bit too violent for them to see it” movies like The Gate. Still, it’s not a strong cover and is juxtaposing something nice with the promise of being terrifying so let’s crack this open!
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Killer Pinata (2015)

There is a grand tradition in the horror genre of random and ridiculous things getting possessed; Cars , Sofas , even lamps have been so afflicted, to varying levels of success. So let’s skip giggling at the pretext (even though it is joyfully stupid) and instead giggle at how funny this micro-budget comedy-horror is. Also, at how wonderfully messed up some of the ideas in this film are, as this is an effortlessly inventive bit of nonsense.
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Black Christmas (1973) Is A Chilling Horror Classic

This has been on the “important genre film to watch when time is found” stack for a while, because as the alleged inspiration for Halloween, the film that spawned the 80s Slasher craze, it’s one you’ve got to see even if it is a low-budget indie. So, because it’s coming up to Christmas, it got scheduled as a watch-along and we sat down for a bit of snark-along exploitation cinema. Which meant we were totally unprepared for what we ended up watching.
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Micky (1992)

We all know that, just as in real life, children are evil little homunculi, hellbent on destruction (at least I sure as heck remember being one). However, the Mikey in this movie is one step above by being a stone-cold killer; murdering well above his age with a variety of weapons and facial twitches. All because he just needs to feel loved but can’t be because he’s an absolutely awful little shit.

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Deep Blue Sea 3 (2020) –

The sequel to the 2018 Deep Blue Sea 2 that few remember, which itself was a sequel to the 1999 Deep Blue Sea that many remember as being about genetically engineered killer sharks, is out on disc, and it’s time for everyone to quietly scoff at the silliness of the idea just like they have for the last 20 years. Inevitably people will chortle “It’s never going to be as good as Jaws”, because apparently 1975 was when “scary things in the water” films hit their absolute zenith, never to return. And, yes, if you want to compare it to one of the most perfectly crafted thriller movies ever put on the big screen, then it won’t stand up to it. But that’s because this is a slasher film, a totally different beast (as it were), and it’s playing, and winning, by a very different set of rules.
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