Posts

Showing posts from June, 2013

The Watch

Image
2008
Dir. Jim Donovan

In a bid to finish her thesis, psych student Cassie accepts a job at an isolated fire watch tower. The solitude and stress of finishing her thesis – on post-traumatic stress, no less – take their toll on poor Cassie, who begins to suspect the area may be haunted… Could she be suffering from a nervous breakdown? Or is she really being targeted by a tragic spectre? Or, is something equally sinister but much less supernatural afoot? So many possibilities.

As mentioned in the previous review, I enjoy catching random horror films on late night TV. If said random horror flick features Clea Duvall, even better. Boasting a rather similar story to Deadline, The Watch also tells of a troubled young woman attempting to get her life back on track after a traumatic incident in her past. What better way to do that than head out into the middle of fucking nowhere to finish your thesis on childhood psychology and have a few ghostly encounters that push you to the brink of your …

Deadline

Image
2011
Dir. Sean McConville

When a screenwriter travels to a house in the middle of nowhere to finish her latest project, sinister occurrences ensue. Given that said screenwriter is recovering from a recent nervous breakdown, staying alone in a big old house in the middle of nowhere probably wasn’t the greatest idea ever. However it means that director McConville can play that old ‘is she really seeing ghosts or just losing her mind again’ card.

I enjoy catching random horror films on late night TV. Sometimes you’re rewarded for idly flicking through the channels until something catches your eye – favourite films I’ve discovered this way include Cat People, Halloween, The Pit and the Pendulum and Dawn of the Dead. When you see that a horror film starring Brittany Murphy as a nervous writer staying alone in a creepy house has just started – you just have to watch it. Deadline seemed to me to have a lot of potential; a nice (if not wholly original) idea, a pace and tone that initially su…

Paracinema 20 Now Available to Pre-Order

Image
Back in 2007, an independently produced magazine focusing on all things ‘genre cinema’ tentatively, nay, modestly made its way onto the shelves of various indie retailers across New York City. Six years later and said independently produced magazine is still going strong and, more importantly, has still managed to retain its unique perspective.

Each lushly produced issue of Paracinema mines the depths of genre cinema by way of a series of essays and features written by admirers of niche cinema, examining, celebrating and promoting films all too often relegated to the sidelines. Films deemed difficult, dangerous or just plain dire by more mainstream publications, are lovingly dissected and discussed without prejudice or delusion.

Issue 20 (!) of Paracinema is now available to pre-order and includes the likes of:

A Serbian Film: Transgressive Horror in the Internet Age by Thomas Duke

Juice Dogs & Erotic Trauma: An Exploration into Stephen Sayadian’s Nightdreams and Dr. Caligari by He…

Stigma

Image
1977
Dir. Lawrence Gordon Clark

The removal of an ancient menhir from a family’s back garden unleashes a blood curse upon an unwitting housewife.

This was the seventh and last instalment of A Ghost Story for Christmas to be directed by Gordon Clare, and the first to feature an original story – not an MR James adaptation – in a then contemporary setting. Written specially for television by Clive Exton, Stigma is much more graphic than any of the other Ghost Story for Christmas films and features a bleak and doomful tone that, while perfectly in keeping with the sombre tone of the earlier James adaptations, also echoes Exton’s prior work such as Doomwatch (1972) and Survivors (1975–1977).

That the horror plays out within the cosy home of a middle class family enhances the impact. Like all good horror stories it features very ordinary people, mundane even, caught up in an incomprehensibly extraordinary situation. The blending of the ancient (the standing stones) with the then contempora…

Audiodrome #17: The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh

Image
When you think of Italian horror cinema, chances are you envision beautiful women screaming for their lives while being slashed to ribbons by a psycho in black leather gloves. Barbara Steele, Daria Nicolodi and Edwige Fenech are but several distinct female faces that spring to mind when contemplating Italian genre films. Moving behind the camera though, women are much less represented; in fact their presence is downright scant. There are however a few notable individuals who have proved they’re just as able to create cinematic shocks as the boys. One such woman is composer Nora Orlandi.

Ms Orlandi’s jazz-infused score for Sergio Martino’s dazzling giallo The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, enhances the decadent, kinky story, and mirrors the dark sensuality pulsing at the heart of it.

Head over to Paracinema to read my review.

While you’re there, why not pick up issue 19 of Paracinema Magazine. Inside you’ll find the likes of Aural Enigmas: Sound Design in Ti West’s The Innkeepers by Todd …

Byzantium

Image
2013
Dir. Neil Jordan

Byzantium sees Neil Jordan return to vampire territory for the first time since Interview with a Vampire; echoes of which abound throughout this compelling story of a mother and daughter whose dependency upon human blood, and each other, threatens to become their undoing. Adapted for screen by Moira Buffini, and based on her play, A Vampire Story, the film follows bawdy Clara (Gemma Arterton) and introverted Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) as they seek sanctuary in a rundown guesthouse in a quiet English seaside resort.

Not your typical vampire film, its character driven narrative dispels many of the usual traits associated with cinematic bloodsuckers. Dreamily filmed, Jordan’s careful direction beckons us into the story and immerses us within it. Odd and wonderful things are done in the reconstruction of vampire lore - there are no fangs, only thumbnails that become taloned - and while a few conventions remain – blood dependence, immortality, needing to be invited acros…