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Horror Month 5/31 – The Wicker Man – ♥♥♥♥

Burning Man or Burned Bridges?


Its a bit strange going into watching a film for the first time, 46 years after it was made, fully knowing what the ending was, but finally tonight, thanks to Horror Month, I got around to watching The Wicker Man.

Having been told to stay clear of the Nicolas Cage remake with a passion, I went straight to the original Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland movie.

What a film.

Woodward is a man of God and also a police officer. He turns up on an island investigating a missing girl, but soon realises that the Island is not all it’s cracked up to be. He can’t get off the island as he flew there with Thomas Cook (just kidding), and gets trapped when his plane won’t get going.

On the island, it’s clear the locals are a little odd. They idolise sexual imagery and have kids dancing around naked to folk music, they are singing odd little ditties in the bars at all hours and just generally acting strange. Woodward discovers they are pagan with a whole host of strange beliefs and customs.

Its when he meets Christopher Lee’s head guy that things start to take a turn for the worse, all building up to the climactic ending, which many people will already know about.

The shock of the ending is somewhat removed when you know its coming, but it doesn’t make it any less nasty. The whole film has zero gore or blood, but the knowledge of what is happening is bad enough.

A great film that I am annoyed I have taken this long to actually see.

Cheers Horror Month!

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Horror Month 4/31 – The Rage – ♥&1/2

Infected, or cured?


“A Mega dose of pure terror” claims the poster. Well it was a mega dose of something that is for sure…mixed with a ridiculous amount of noise.

After having a fairly noisy and hectic day in real life, deciding to sit down and watch Rage wasn’t the brightest of ideas.

Around 60% of this film is people screaming, infected being groaning or birds squawking (we will get to that).

A mad scientist is infecting people with a rage virus, which obviously goes wrong and the infected escape before terrorising people, which would be all well and good if that was the story, but it isn’t…as one of the infected gets killed, and vultures eat him….then the vultures are infected and start to attack people, which again would have been alright if that had been the story, but then we go back to it being an infected person story again.

Its a little all over the place, but one thing I really like is the practical special effects in the film that are done really well. Andrew Divoff (last time I saw him was in The Wishmaster) is great in one of the main roles as the psychotic doctor conducting the experiments.

If the film had been dialled down a little bit and more invested in the story, it might have been worth more than I gave it, but unfortunately it doesn’t get any better than this.

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Joker – ♥♥♥♥♥

Psychotic Brilliance, or Asylum worthy?


When you watch a film which is as brilliant as Joker is, its hard to put into words and truly convey your feelings.

Let me start by saying that the Joker has always been a fantastic character. Arguably the best DC Comics character of them all. I’ve never read the comics, but purely based on the films alone, from Cesar Romero, through Jack Nicholson, Heath Slater and Jared Leto we arrive at Joaquin Phoenix in what will be a career defining role for him, that much is guaranteed. The Joker’s level of crazy has gone through somewhat of a change over the years. Romero’s cartoonish madman in the original Batman TV series and 1966 film was outlandish in a very child friendly way. Nicholson’s clown was always my Joker. The one I grew up with and loved. Very much a product of Tim Burton, he was madcap but dark in equal measures. Things really stepped up however in the Dark Knight when the late Heath Ledger but in the performance of his entire career before his unfortunate death. Jared Leto easily the weakest of them all with only a short amount of screentime in the unsatisfactory Suicide Squad (but lets face it, most of the focus on that film was about Harley Quinn).

So where does Joaquin’s Joker stack up? Well for me, he goes right in at the top level. The best of the five in a film which can only be described as a psychological evaluation of a lunatic building towards all out anarchic tendancies. It’s no coincidence that the whole film is almost bookended with Joker being evaluated by a professional at differing times of his journey.

Because we’re following his devolution into insanity, the film is rather slow paced in the opening 90 minutes, before hitting a crescendo of crazy in the last 30 minutes that pays off everything absolutely beautifully. For this film to work on the level it does, it needs that slow build and the expectation of the snap happening at any point…and when it does come, it comes in style.

Go see this in the cinema, get the full effect of it. Marvel at Phoenix’s performance and get ready to enjoy the film of 2019 for me.

Is that Oscar calling?

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Judy – ♥♥♥1/2

Over the rainbow, or the bottom of a pill bottle?


I will start this review of the new Renee Zellweger film biopic by saying that I literally knew very little of the life of Judy Garland before going into this film, so my entire knowledge now consists of the events of this film alone, which I am sure some will agree is not the best way to talk about any subject, so I will stay away from any “facts” I have now picked up.

Judy picks up on the life of Judy Garland in the latter stages. She is struggling to find a place in life, with work drying up and the only way to make enough to continue to be able to see her kids is to head off to England and perform at Talk Of The Town, knowing there’s an English audience for her singing.

When she does come over however, things don’t quite go as planned, with her struggles with her demons (some of which are shown through flashbacks to her being on the set of Wizard Of Oz back in thee day) and alcohol problems. Things soon turn against her and her strife continues.

I thought that Zellweger absolutely nailed the performance. Whether she was like the real Judy Garland is a matter I will leave to others to discuss, but her portrayal in this is absolutely spot on. The pain and anguish in her eyes is always there, except in one scene with two fans she meets after a show.

The film isn’t played for laughs, but there are a few in it sporadically. But with a wonderful performance by the lead, with her actually singing the songs, and an end act which moved me to floods of tears, Judy is well worth a watch.

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Horror Month 3/31 – Jurassic Shark ◊

When is a shark not a shark? When it’s a terrible CGI Monstrosity that’s when!


£3 this cost me at my local ASDA. Luckily I get 10% discount because that 30p I saved is about the amount of budget that went into making what can only be described as one of the worst films I have ever witnessed in my life.

I rated this film a ◊ instead of a ♥ because it’s not even worth a single point of love.

Laughable is truly the only way to describe this.

There’s the loosest of plots that revolves around an oil company whose drilling has released a Megolodon (massive prehistoric shark) into the waters around an island, on which are trapped three girls (who incidentally manage to take their clothes on and off from a state of half-dressed to bikini-clad on way too many occassions), and three of the worst thieves you have seen since Home Alone. Their story is that they have a painting worth a lot of money that drops into the water where the shark is roaming and after capturing the girls, sends the girls into the water to retrieve it.

If you thought the plot was low on actual content, the number of actually well delivered lines of dialogue is even lower.

You have a guy who was literally cast because he looks like a meatier version of Vin Diesel (he throws sticks of dynamite like a fucking legend though), a latino stereotype  who keeps fist-bumping people’s shoulders (yeah I have no idea why either) and a woman who looks like she got lost on the way to a budget fetish party.

Then there’s the CGI which looks like it was knocked up on a Commodore 64…and the type of continuity that makes you laugh. One of the girls literally gets shot, going on about losing loads of blood when there’s not a hint of claret in sight, which conveniently gets forgotten about ten minutes later.

If you really have nothing to do and this is your last resort, you need to reevaluate your life.


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Horror Month 2/31 – The Descent ♥♥♥♥

Anyone for caving? Yeah, me neither!


As if the fear of squeezing through tight tunnels wasn’t enough, here is a film that takes that fear, throws you into it immersively, then ramps up the fear factor as far as it can push.

A distinctly British film, Neil Marshall’s The Descent starts off innocently enough (after a Final Destination-eqsue opening scene) with a traumatised girl being taken away with her friends on a caving holiday in the Appalachian mountains. What could possibly go wrong? Well everything as it seems.

Once underground, with one of the girls taking them into a different cave system to the tourist attraction one they thought they were going to in order to spice it up, the girls have to work together to get out to safety…. But falling rocks and unknown systems is the worst of their worries when they encounter strange man-bat-like creatures that live in the caves, unable to see, but able to hear the girls every move… Which they figure out pretty quick, and then proceed to make all manner of loud noises in the most annoying of places…Lets just be quiet when we need to be eh girls?

There’s nods to films like Apocalypse now, and to an extent Nosferatu in there too.

A good horror has to be a good mix of the great death scenes as well as good suspense and this genuinely had it all. Apparently there’s a second one too….does that make the list?

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