Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door

A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Enemy of the World (Recently Found Missing Episode- DVD Release)

Looking back I didn’t really do the greatest job with my ‘Doctor Who at 50’ posts, did I? They weren’t the most spectacular collection of posts and being honest the whole idea didn’t really work out- particularly the part when I promised a who-related article every day and barely managed two! Truly, I feel pretty bad about this so in order to try and finish my rather underwhelming tribute to 50 years of Doctor Who with some sense of style, I didn’t think I could do any better than to look at the recently recovered and released Patrick Troughton story- The Enemy of the World. Now for those who don’t know (and if you don’t then where have you been) very recently two previously missing Doctor Who stories, The Enemy of the World and the Web of Fear, were returned to the BBC, with only one episode of the Web of Fear still missing. Considering that the majority of my ‘Who-50’ posts have been concerned with missing stories, a look at one of these would make a suitable finale. Now these episodes have been available for about a month now on I-Tunes so indeed I could have done this earlier, but considering I could pre-order the DVD for £13.99 or download for £9.99, well it was a no brainer really.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Doctor Who at 50: Spearhead from Space

After experiencing and loving the two Peter Cushing Movies at the tender age of five, I was fortunate that that same year BBC 2 decided it would be a good idea to repeat several Jon Pertwee stories and began by showing Spearhead from Space. As much as I enjoyed it, I shrank away from the Television Screen in pure terror and spent most of the night struggling to sleep. It’s not an entirely original story for a Doctor Who fan, most young Children seem to have found this a particularly harrowing story but I find it quite incredible that a piece of television made 38 years before I saw still had the same impact it did in its day. I’m not sure whether it’s due to this but since then Spearhead from Space has become one of my favourite stories and is easily one of the most important moments in me developing my love for the show. It’s also recently, due to it being the only classic Doctor Who story shot entirely on film (aside from the TV Movie) been released on Blu-Ray and was the first Doctor Who story in the main range to be released on DVD. If anything I think all of these things show the lasting appeal of this story and the importance of its place in Doctor Who History.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Evil of The Daleks

As the 50th anniversary looms ever closer, I’m going to be putting greater emphasis on Doctor Who and celebration of it as one of the greatest Science Fiction shows ever produced. So for the next week you can expect (hopefully anyway!) a different Doctor Who related post per-day. Now I’ve already discussed one of the best Doctor Who stories of all time (Talons of Weng-Chiang) but I feel that considering Doctor Who owes much of its success to them, I would be missing a trick if I didn’t look at one of the best Dalek stories. First appearing in 1963 in the second ever Doctor Who serial they have since appeared in 24 televised stories, 2 Movies, 41 audio stories, 6 Novels and 43 Magazine comic strips not to mention cameo appearances and other spin off media too varied to mention. The story I’m looking at today though, is what I personally consider to be the single greatest Dalek story ever in any medium. David Whitaker wrote two TV Dalek stories in the 1960’s (as well as a Dalek Novel, play and a heap of comic strips) and both of these adventures show the Daleks at their most cunning and evil. They story manipulate the characters to their own ends, they force the Doctor to experiment on Jamie and for the first time we meet their emperor. It’s a seven episode epic that was originally intended as the final adventure for the Daleks, with creator Terry Nation planning to give them their own show in America.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Quatermass Experiment (TV: 1953)

I think it’s fair to say that Nigel Kneale’s ‘The Quatermass Experiment’, has become legendary in the world of Science Fiction and for extremely good reason. Not only is it a defining piece of British Sci-fi (influencing other Science Fiction greats such as Doctor Who, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Alien (1979)) but a defining piece of Television in general. Broadcast live, the serial pushed the boundaries of what was capable at the time and indeed was a huge gamble, unlike anything ever seen before it in both story and style. During the early 1950’s the most popular science fiction was the American sort, movies like The Thing from Another World (1951) and ‘schlocky’ B-Movies such as Robot Monster (1953) and Cat Women of the Moon (1953). Now please don’t misunderstand me, whilst some of these films (the Thing for example) are undisputed classics, others, to say the least, are somewhat lacking in character development and have a disappointing ‘hammy’ feel. Kneale took this tongue in cheek approach and threw it out the window along with the stereotypical characters that often populated the worlds these movies were set in. Kneale's story was set in the real Britain of the 1950’s; he used recognisable landmarks and characters who had lives outside of what was happening in the main plot. In short he created a masterpiece.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Blackout (TV 2013)

Broadcast this Monday, ‘Blackout’ was an innovative feature length fictional ‘Docu-Drama’, that followed several characters stories as they attempted to cope in a Britain without power. Now personally I believe that in recent years Channel 4 has proved themselves to be the masters of Hard Hitting Drama on British Television, with great Shows like Utopia and Black Mirror already under their belt I had high hopes for Blackout. Now I feel bad saying that to a certain extent I was disappointed because ‘Blackout’ truly was phenomenal, it was well made, the characters were interesting and it’s use of the POV or ‘Found Footage’ style of filming was interesting. Sadly though it was just too depressing, I know it’s supposed to be hard hitting but I feel ‘Blackout’ might of done better as a film production rather than a Tv Drama. I found ‘Blackout’ extremely uncomfortable to watch, seeing characters put through horrific situations and then being giving facts about how this could really happen. As a film shown at film festivals I think it could be a Masterpiece, but as prime time viewing I think it was just too upsetting. It may be an odd opinion but it’s how I felt.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Texas Chainsaw (2013)

I think that as much as Texas Chainsaw tried to do something new with an old franchise, I would not be the first to say that despite good intentions, it kind of sucked. The filmmakers clearly had the intention of turning Leatherface into something of an anti-hero, an unusual and original idea, yet and extremely difficult one to achieve. Sadly I agree with the majority that the attempt here is sloppy, lazy and comes off as just tasteless. Indeed whilst the first half of the movie played as just a standard slasher flick and didn’t really bring anything new to the table, I found that to be a great deal more watchable than the nonsense that was able to pass as a second half. You can’t show someone as this horrific deranged murderer and then suddenly try and make an audience feel pity for him, particularly when what the so called ‘villains’ did to him is nothing in comparison to what he did to his victims. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t hate this film, it was enjoyable to watch and it was indeed different to others in the series. The filmmakers clearly have a lot of love for the original and I respect that, indeed the references were a great joy to see. However, basic plot flaws and sloppy film making stand out- not to mention the reliance on almost every Horror cliché in the book, resulting in a film that appears as a mess. An enjoyable mess, but still a mess.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds

Now when most people think of Doctor Who they think exclusively of its history on television but Doctor Who also has a long history in various forms of ‘Spin-Off Media’. Of the three main strands that make up the main crux of this Spin-Off Media, Audio’s, Comics and Novels, the novels are undoubtedly my favourite. Doctor Who has indeed had a long relationship with prose, Target novelised the majority of the series during its original run and even then there was the odd original piece of original fiction that cropped up now and then. It wasn’t until 1991 however with the Virgin New Adventures that original Doctor Who Fiction really found its feet, this series and its follow ups (The Virgin Missing Adventures, the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures and the Past Doctor Adventures) we’re different to the TV novelizations in that they we’re written specifically with an adult audience in mind. This meant that unlike the TV show their plots could revolve around darker themes, could contain a great deal more violence and in some cases they even expanded the sex-lives of The Doctor and his Companions. Indeed this is why I enjoy them, their Doctor Who with the breaks off so to speak. For example, a personal favourite of mine ‘Shadow in the Glass’ written by Justin Richards and Stephen Cole is a brilliant novel that concerns the Sixth Doctor meeting Adolf Hitler. Unlike the TV story ‘Lets Kill Hitler’, this story is dark and gritty and the Furher is presented as a monster, not played for laughs. The novels did things the TV series never good, they took Doctor Who to dark places that the TV show simply could not and I adore them for that. Some we’re too much, appearing to be Horror Novels or Hardcore Science fiction novels with the Doctor and his crew slotted in, others didn’t do it enough, appearing as simplistic children’s novels. Some however got it just right adding much needed character and darker themes, creating Doctor Who stories for adults only. Then in 2005 with the TV series returning the Classic Series Novels were discontinued and replaced by a series of books based on the BBC-Wales series and written with a teen audience in mind. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t the same. However last year saw the return of Classic- Series based original fiction with ‘The Wheel of Ice’ by Stephen Baxter. This was part of a new series of novels written by already established authors but for reasons unknown it sort of passed over my head. Then however in June this year to coincide with the 50th anniversary, ‘The Harvest of Time’ was released, featuring my all time favourite Doctor Jon Pertwee and my all time favourite Master, Roger Delgado. To say I was overjoyed was an understatement.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Batman #1: The First Appearance of The Joker

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of Comic Books are known as much for their Villains as they are for their Heroes and when one discusses some of the greatest comic book villains of all time then the Joker is one of the first to come to mind. The Joker has become a symbol, a force of chaos, he has no definitive origin story, he’s a psycho-killer who does things for reasons that only he understands and he is Batman’s greatest foe. Now I should warn you that perhaps more so than reviewing this particular issue I’m going to be discussing the Jokers character and what it is that makes him so great. The reason for this is simple, everybody with a slight knowledge of comics knows this issue, it’s the Jokers first appearance and is undeniably a classic. Now don’t mistake me to a modern audience it can have its faults, like The Amazing Spiderman #17 that I looked at a few weeks ago, it can seem quite dated but I was surprised how much closer this version of the joker was to the version seen today than the Prankster which actually appeared later in the 1950’s and 60’s. Personally I always assumed that the campy Joker (brilliantly portrayed by Cesar Romero in the 1966 Adam West TV Show) was the version that came first, so this was a nice surprise.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

My Soul to Take (2010)

Firstly, I must apologise for this post being a few days late. I got my A Level Results last week and the usual time I would devote to writing reviews had to be diverted. Anyway! I have to admit this was not what I was expecting when I sat down to watch My Soul to Take. I knew very little about it other than its positively dire reputation, one it admittedly deserves, but I was not expecting a plotless, senseless movie with shameless rehashing of the best bits from Cravens superior works. It’s not all bad, the lead character Bug was played expertly by Max Theriot and the sections spent examining his “sanity” were interesting and well done. However aside from rehashing other more well known Craven films, My Soul to Take also doesn’t know how to balance its mood correctly and has a plot that makes very little sense and the parts that do are just ridiculous. It’s a shame really to think this was made by one of horrors ‘Masters’.

Friday, 9 August 2013

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle

Considering that last week I took a look at the Sherlock inspired Doctor Who story, Talons of Weng-Chiang, I could not resist this week discussing the first Conan-Doyle Holmes adventure, A Study in Scarlet, which I recently read. Sherlock Holmes is perhaps the most famous British Character of all, but this original Holmes has many differences to the one more commonly known by the public today. Indeed Wikipedia states that it was the second book, The Sign of Four, that ‘Humanizes him in a way that had not been seen in a Study in Scarlet’. None the less this is the original Holmes story, and considering I have never read any others, I must confess I found it extremely enjoyable. Conan Doyle is without doubt a national treasure and I have previously enjoyed his other works such as the professor Challenger tales The Lost World and The Poison Belt, and some of his ‘Tales of Terror’ and the same relentless pacing and power to grip his readers attention is evident in all.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Talons of Weng-Chiang

So far on these ‘Doctor Who at 50’ posts, I have tried to somehow keep them linked to the fact that I am trying to celebrate 50 years of the show. My first post looked at Galaxy 4 and, more importantly, the newly found episode which was released on DVD this year. The second looked at The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve and the pure historical format from the shows early years, a format which is no longer used and so was a nice trip back to the beginnings of the show. The third looked at the return of the Great Intelligence for the 50th and discussed bringing villains from the classic series into the post 2005 series. As of yet though I haven’t really discussed one of the ‘greats’ and I feel that considering this is my 4th ‘Doctor Who at 50’ post I really should. Admittedly the story I am discussing today, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, is my third favourite Doctor Who story ever (I’m not in a position to reveal the other two yet!) and it’s not just me either! In the 2009 Doctor Who Magazine poll it was voted the 4th best and in 2003 in a similar poll it was voted the best story ever. Quite simply, it’s a cracker from start to finish.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Brighton Rock (1947)

Being a Brit, I am not ashamed to admit my love and adoration for our rich cinematic past. From Thrillers, to Comedies, to Horror and Science Fiction movies (as regular readers may be able to tell my personal favourite sub genre in British film) British movies have conquered each genre with their own unique feel and style. This adaption of Brighton Rock is quite simply one of the most famous British Movies of all time, one of the great classics. One doesn’t really have to wonder why, it’s a great movie with a great performance by a young Richard Attenborough, superb direction and visuals and most of all a fantastic and disturbing story that is still relevant today. So in short, it’s bloody brilliant.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man #17: Return of the Green Goblin

When I recently re-discovered my childhood love for Comic Books there was no more obvious place for me to start than this particular issue. As a child there was only one superhero that really interested me and that of course was The Amazing Spiderman, however the characters that captured my fascination even more so than the titular hero were of course the Villains. Particularly the two Goblins, The Green Goblin and The Hobgoblin. Although originally I only knew of the Hobgoblin (mainly due to repeats of the 90’s cartoon series) when I discovered the Green Goblin I became equally as obsessed, particularly due to the wealth of material available on this Goblin as oppose to his orange counterpart. Being only 8 or 9 I wasn’t in the position to spend great amounts of money on Graphic Novels and so had to settle for the cheaper ‘Marvel Pocket Books’ and Issues of The Astonishing Spiderman. Now for those across the water unfamiliar with that title, we in the UK have two ways of purchasing our Comic Books. One is to go to your local Comic Shop which will have the issues shipped in; however this is sometimes problematic as not everyone has a local Comic Shop. So most News Agents stock titles such as The Astonishing Spiderman, which (when I was a kid anyway) was published monthly and collected the Spiderman titles published in the previous month and collected them together.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Change and Not a Moment Too Soon!

A bit of a premature post I know but this is just a little note to let you know of the plans I have for my little corner of Cyber-Space which hopefully with any luck will be in place by either this or next Friday evening! So basically it was not that long ago that after realising the restrictions placed upon me by my blog simply being for Horror Movies that I did a bit of a revamp and instead widened the boundaries to “Cult Movies”. However as much as I hated to admit it to myself, I was still slightly bored. You see I don’t just love Cult Movies and Doctor Who, I have lots of interests (although admittedly most are as nerdy as the last!). I am an avid reader, being a huge fan of John Wyndham, I adore Superhero’s and have recently re-discovered my childhood love for Comics (or as I believe they are known across the water, Comic Books) picking up a few Trade Paperbacks and immersing myself in the stories I missed as a child, a journey I would love to share. I’ve also found myself with an increasing desire to step away from just doing reviews and write more articles on things that interest me, characters in fiction, my thoughts on various topics, perhaps even some of my own fiction or just little bits about my life in general?. In short as you can probably guess my wish is to make this a much more personal site, to step away from simply doing reviews and to make it my own. I’ll continue with the ‘Doctor Who at 50’ posts every Three Weeks and don’t threat! I’ll still be reviewing plenty of Cult Movies indeed they’ll still be the dominating presence, I’ve just decided to grant myself total freedom. Thanks for reading and I hope you support this rather drastic decision!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Like the “Composites” featured in the plot, this movie is something of a Frankenstein’s Monster. A campy hodgepodge of several separate plots that when combined make absolutely no sense at all, Scream and Scream Again is admittedly something of a disappointment. Now if you know sod all about this British horror aside from the fact that it features Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing then you are probably wondering how that can be. Well let me get the most infamous fact about Scream and Scream Again out of the way first. The three actors share no scenes together and all their screen time combined probably only counts for about 20 minutes of the finished film. However if you can get over that fact and let go of your brain before viewing, there is some enjoyment to be found.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Doctor Who at 50: Musings on the Great Intelligence

Growing up as I did, in the wilderness years of Doctor Who’s existence, I got most of my information concerning the show from the internet and the BBC’s official website. On those few scant pages I would look through publicity photos and the odd video clip. It was here that I discovered the Yeti in “Photo-novels” of The Abominable Snowmen (1967) and The Web of Fear (1968). The black and white telesnaps fascinated the younger me, particularly those from the Web of Fear. How the hell did the Yeti end up on the London Underground? Luckily for me I had done well in some sort of primary school maths test and was rewarded with a copy of the Trouhgton Years VHS. The episodes on the tape included Enemy of the World Episode 3 and the Space Pirates Episode 2 but the main item of interest was The Abominable Snowmen Episode 2. Here we’re the Yeti I’d read about, the ones I’d seen in blurry black and white photos but these weren’t still images. Needless to say that tape got worn out pretty quickly.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Lamp (1986)

*Sorry guys, probably due to just how unknown this film seems to be I could hardly find any decent pictures to go with this review, so apologies but this time you'll have to rely on your imaginations!

The Lamp seems to be something of a forgotten film, having an out of print DVD release in the UK but only getting a VHS release in the US. Information about the movie is also very sparse. According to Wikipedia the American version was retiled The Outing and had several minutes of footage cut. The version I watched can be found on you tube, and was simply called the Lamp so I’m guessing I watched the original and European cut? Now after explaining a little about The Lamps history I really wanted to begin my next sentence with “Now this is a shame as The Lamp deserves a reputation as a forgotten classic” but sadly as entertaining as The Lamp is, it was admittedly a bit of letdown. It’s still a great 80’s horror and a lot better than some of the more well known B movies from the period, yet somehow I doubt it will ever become recognised.

Friday, 31 May 2013

The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

I think out of all my recent trips to the ‘Golden Age’ of horror cinema, those that were made during the “Pre-code” era, have been my favourites. All of these have had a certain level of sadism and indeed have shown a great deal of imagination in their plots. Indeed after watching Dr Cyclops (1940) and The Undying Monster (1942), I have gained a greater appreciation for The Black Cat (1934), which I originally called a flawed masterpiece. Now it’s not that these movies we’re bad (well The Undying Monster isn’t anyway) it’s simply that The Black Cat is an ingenious and wholly original tale, where as these feel like they we’re made for a set audience. The Undying Monster is a truly great movie but it’s a jolly family friendly movie that relies on gothic cliché’s. That’s what I’m trying to get at. The great thing about the Pre-Code movies is that they we’re made when horror cinema was still finding its feet, before there were restrictions and set sub-genres. Each one feels like a breath of fresh air, an experiment in creating shocks for the audience. The Most Dangerous Game is no exception.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Peter Cushing: A Personal Tribute

No, not a review this week and not my usual post on Friday evening! This is not a new schedule; next week’s post will be a review and will be posted on Friday, from the title you can probably tell why I delayed this week. As I am sure many of you are aware today see’s what would have been the 100th Birthday of the Gentleman of Horror, Peter Cushing. I’ve made my love for this particular actor obvious in the past and I could not let such an event pass by without doing something in honour of this great and wonderful actor. I considered doing a review but decided that wasn’t special enough, besides choosing one film to represent a 100 years was simply too difficult. I thought about doing a biography type tribute but it’s been done in the past and I didn’t think that I could add anything new to the pot; also it just didn’t seem personal enough. I wanted to show something to express my love for the gentleman of horror. To show his impact on my life and how he became one of my all time idols. So instead I settled for this, a personal tribute to my favourite actor.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve

I think the pure historical stories of the Hartnell era are either loved or hated by fans. To some they are viewed as simply a product of the shows early days before it became the sci-fi icon it is now, a novelty to be quickly forgotten. To others, and particularly to those with a fondness for the Hartnell era, they are a set of extremely intelligent tales that are a welcome break from the more hardcore science fiction episodes. Being a student of history I must confess to belonging to the latter fraction. The pure historical’s of the shows early days were designed to educate the public whilst also providing adventure and excitement. However a great many of these serials not only did this but we’re extremely powerful pieces of drama in their own right. The Massacre is probably one of the darkest of all the first Doctor’s stories, its final episode leaving a bitter taste in the viewer’s mouth. Sadly though it is also one of three serials (the others being Marco Polo and Mission to the Unknown) that has not one scrap of footage remaining.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Dolls (1987)

I really was surprised to discover just how good Dolls was. I’ve never really been much of a killer doll fan, I mean I adore ventriloquist dummy movies like Dead Silence (2007) and Magic (1978) but movies where Childs toys run around trying to stab people? I always found it just a tad silly and not at all scary. Don’t get me wrong I love the odd one like Childs Play (1988) but there are not many others that float my boat. I was even more put off when I discovered Charles Band had some involvement with this one, I’ve tried again and again to get into Puppet Master (1991) among others, but I just can’t do it. So imagine my surprise then when Dolls turned out to be rather good, brilliant even. I just can’t understand why more people don’t talk about Dolls! Don’t get me wrong, it has its problems and it does lag in the middle, but it’s defiantly a great 80’s horror and stands up well next to director Stuart Gordon’s other works.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Scalps (1983)

First I'd like to apologise for the lateness of this review, I normally post on a Friday evening but sadly events forced me to delay it until this morning! Oh wow. This is 80’s cheese at its upmost cheesiest. Now depending on your opinion that can either be a good or a bad thing. Personally whilst Scalps is extremely bad, I did get one or two tiny kicks out of it. Admittedly though it’s not something I’m ever going to go back to, I had enough trouble sitting through it in the first place, falling asleep twice and having to watch it in several short sections just to finish the damn thing. It attempts to follow the standard slasher format but no deaths occur until the last twenty minutes or so. The characters are all ridiculously bland, having no substance at all and any chance to expand on themes presented to the viewer is wasted. Scalps does have some interesting ideas but the plot is simply too thin, the budget too low and no attempt is made to escape its Grindhouse origins. Still if you enjoy extremely low budget 80’s horror then there may be some enjoyment to be found, but it’s nowhere near as fun as other B movies from the same period and sadly- it just doesn’t try to be.

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Undying Monster (1942)

When a studio like Universals makes a hit like The Wolf Man (1941), it would be sheer lunacy for another not to try and cash in on it. The Undying Monster is exactly what that is, Fox’s answer to the Wolf Man but it’s more than that. Aside from being a straight cash in, it attempts to be something different and has become something of a forgotten classic. Instead of telling the story of a man dealing with the curse, we instead follow two witty Scotland Yard investigators as they attempt to unravel an age old family curse. They get more than they bargained for though and soon realise that not everything can be explained by purely scientific means. In some respects Undying Monster is similar to the much later The Beast Must Die (1974) and I love both of these movies. However this isn’t the only thing to recommend this underrated gem.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Doctor Who at 50: Galaxy 4, Episode 3 Airlock and BBC Reconstruction

I’ve been promising Doctor Who reviews for a while now, but I have yet to deliver. However with the 50th anniversary celebrations in full swing it seems like no other time would be more appropriate. What to begin with though? I didn’t wish to start with a personal favourite, no I’d much rather save those for November when it’s the anniversary good and proper. Fan favourites have been done time and time again and anyway I felt like I should start with something from the Hartnell era. Logically I jumped straight to An Unearthly Child, rather reluctantly so as it seemed this was what everyone was doing. Then however I managed to get my hands upon the special edition DVD release of The Aztecs which of course contains the recently discovered Galaxy 4 episode Airlock. Much more than this though, the DVD not only contains the missing episode but a cut-down one hour recon of the whole story.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Venom (2005)

Admittedly Venom is no masterpiece, it has its flaws and many of them at that, yet whilst being instantly forgettable, it still manages to entertain. For the 80-90 minutes that Venom lasted I must confess to enjoying myself, but not enough to stop me recognising its flaws. As it went on I knew I was watching a bad film, yeah the plot didn’t really let up and not once did I find myself becoming bored but I knew that there was a very slim chance that I would remember this in a couple of months. This is the real shame of Venom, with a little bit more effort and a lot less cliché it could have been so much better.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Curse of the Aztec Mummy (1957)

Mexican horror has a reputation for being quirky, but immensely enjoyable pulp nonsense and of all of Mexican Horror Cinema’s icons; The Aztec Mummy is one of the most famous. The star of a trilogy of movies between 1956-1958 the Aztec mummy movies feature the supernatural, gangsters, robots and the traditional Luchador Superhero type character that is common place in Mexi-Movies. These films became known in America mostly for their third instalment, The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy (1958) which was imported and dubbed by K. Gordon Murray. However K. Gordon Murray also imported and dubbed its predecessor Curse of the Aztec Mummy, sadly not gaining as much success as the former. For reasons unknown (to me anyway) the original The Aztec Mummy (1956) was never imported or dubbed and thus has remained a mystery to a great deal of monster fans. It was always my intention to try and watch the trilogy from the start but not wishing to buy a now out of print box set which I believe is the only way to get a copy, I went and watched this, the dubbed version of Curse of the Aztec Mummy. From what I’d read I wasn’t going to be missing out on much, the print in the boxset is apparently so bad that in several scenes people had trouble judging what was occurring and anyway plenty of footage was reused in this film. So despite being a direct sequel it shouldn’t be that hard to follow right? Right??

Friday, 29 March 2013

Halloween 2 (1981)

I’m just going to come straight out and say it. Halloween 2, whilst I admit not being the BEST of the franchise is without doubt my personal favourite. The original Halloween (1978) is a classic, one of the greatest horror films ever made and without out a doubt the best slasher movie ever. In its 90 minute run time, Carpenter created some of the most chilling scenes in a horror movie up until that point. Even today Halloween still has the power to terrify audiences. It set the mark for many similar films and personally I think few have bettered it. So although the original Halloween is the more stylish of the series, it doesn’t mean it has to be either my favourite or the one I find the most enjoyable. No, that honour falls to Halloween 2. Similar to its predecessor in many ways this sequel ramps up the gore, action and pace to levels that do make it distant from the original to a certain extent, but also make it a great deal more watchable for repeated viewings. As a sequel admittedly it’s a step down, it’s not as artistic as the first but something drags me back to H2 time and time again. With that in mind expect nothing but pure love and adoration in this review.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dr Cyclops (1940)

Maybe it’s just me but I just couldn’t bring myself to like Dr Cyclops. Admittedly I was expecting something different; I was expecting a chilling horror film and what I got was a kid’s sci-fi adventure flick. Now in theory there is nothing wrong with this kind of movie, many of the 50’s sci-fi films were aimed at this audience as well as one of my favourite movies ever Dr Who and The Daleks (1965). The problem with Dr Cyclops falling into this genre is that to me anyway it just comes across as corny and cheesy and not in a good way either. The jungle setting is used to minimal effect and the supporting cast is laughable, not to mention the cheery musical score! Indeed the films only saving grace is Albert Dekker as the titular mad scientist and the use of impressive special effects.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Spookies (1986)

Viewing Spookies is an unusual experience and I expect reviewing it to be even more so. Originally an entirely different movie called “Twisted Souls”; Spookies began life in 1984 and reached the editing stage in the same year when a disagreement between the producers and the financial backer prevented any final post-production work from being carried out. So what’s a guy to do when he has an unfinished movie? Hire a new director to shoot new footage of course! So this results in essentially two movies being stuck together, one rather good and the other extremely bad.

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Black Cat (1934)

At the end of my review for Island of Lost Souls, I stated I wanted to keep looking at horror cinema of the 1930’s and 40’s but stressed a desire to stay away from the main “Universal Monsters” for a while. As I said then and repeat now it’s not that I have anything against these films, they truly are classics but I always felt like they have been reviewed and discussed so much that my interpretations would add little. There are so many other great and extremely original horror movies from the period, often overshadowed by the likes of The Mummy (1932) and I feel I’d rather spend the time on these than simply go on about how great The Wolf Man (1941) is for example. However in doing this I’ve discovered a want to go back and view the Classic Monster Movies again, hopefully with fresher eyes. So expect plenty more on the lesser known 30’s/40’s horror but also reviews of the greats as well.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Island of Lost Souls (1932)

I must confess to being slightly annoyed at myself. I have been running this blog on and off for some time and as of yet I have never reviewed a film that was pre-1950. So not once have I examined any of the delights from Horror’s early and in the opinion of many, Golden days. Now the film I am looking at today is not one of Universals famed Monster Movies, but it is one of my favourites and considered and considered to be a classic. Amusingly H.G Well’s, the author of the novel “The Island of Dr Moreau” on which Island of Lost Souls is based, apparently loathed the film. It isn’t always difficult to see why though; the film differs a great deal from the book, not only in terms of plot but also in style. None the less as much as I am a fan of H.G Well’s I adore Island of Lost Souls. Stylish, slick and with a slight touch of sadism thrown in for good measure, it’s an excellent example of why no one should ignore this age of horror cinema.