Archive for October, 2018

Image result for halloween 2018 posterWarning Spoilers.

40 years since Laurie Strode survived an attack from killer Michael Myers, he manages to escape while being transferred. When the masked man returns to Haddonfield Laurie must protect her daughter and granddaughter and execute a plan decades in the making.

Oozing with atmosphere and suspense director David Gordon Green brings Halloween (2018) back to its roots giving us a well-deserved horror follow up to the 1978 original. There’s plenty of graphic creative kills, not limited to the multiple impalements, stabbings, neck snapping and foot stomping head breaking. While all this plays out Green even manages to tidy up the mythology. The humour (thankfully limited) is done just right, notable the scene with Julian (natural Jibrail Nantambu) being babysat by (the excellent Virginia Gardner) Vicky and stoned boyfriend Dave (memorable Miles Robbins).

If your new to Halloween and enjoy a good slasher film this will no doubt entertain. I personally enjoyed the many of sequels, especially Donald Pleasence’s performance in the 2nd, 4th, 5th. Writers Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley’s Halloween largely wipes the slate clean and echoes some of the story beats and setups in previous outings, the gas station, the escape, a ghost bed sheet etc. Thankfully at face value it disregards but doesn’t totally rule out the elaborate supernatural mythology.

While the pacing and editing is a little bumpy at times it’s respectful to the original while standing on its own two feet and shot off fingers. There are jump scares in places, but it isn’t necessarily scary, it’s more frightening due to Michael’s strength, non-discriminatorily violence that he inflicts and its damaging results. It’s a R/18-rated faithful sequel with an icing on the cake score by Carpenter (almost a stamp of approval of this follow up).

Pleasence’s Loomis is sorely missed but actor Haluk Bilginer’s Dr. Sartain Loomis protege fills the gap with a twist. Will Patton as Officer Hawkins is notable and offers weight to the film in his meaty small role. Jamie Lee Curtis gives a haunted powerhouse performance. Nick Castle, James Jude Courtney, and Tony Moran as Michael Myers / The Shape make Myers terrifying. Judy Greer as Laurie’s daughter Karen Nelson is rounded. Andi Matichak’s granddaughter Allyson Nelson is solid but her character build-up slightly fades. It’s not on the nose explored, but there’s a lot simmering underneath the traumatized Laurie, troubled Karen and damaged Michael throughout.

Highly recommended.

Hands of the Ripper (1971)The daughter of Jack the Ripper who is seemingly possessed by the spirit of her late father while in a trance continues his murderous killing spree.

Director by Peter Sasdy offers a handful of taboos, an eerie atmosphere, a series of surprisingly bloody murders, touching on mental health, abuse, grooming and prostitution. Subjectively it’s knowingly or unknowingly one of Hammers most thought provoking controversial films.

Writer L. W. Davidson from a story by Edward Spencer Shew perfectly skirt around the Jack the Ripper element. Thankfully its not on the nose, alternatively focusing on the sympathetic psychiatrist Dr. John Pritchard excellently played by Eric Porter and his relationship with the tragic murderer Anna (Angharad Rees). It’s a mature piece especially notable are the graphic stabbing of Long Liz and the housemaid. The sets, costumes and effects are successful creating that desire Gothic horror atmosphere.

Overall, even though frustrating at times it’s one of classic Hammers most daring tales, worth watching for Porters performance alone.

Image result for satanic rite of draculaCount Dracula takes up residence in 1973 London to develop a new strain of bubonic plague, with the evil intention of annihilating all life on Earth.

Part horror, science fiction and spy thriller Alan Gibson directs The Satanic Rites of Dracula. Produced by Hammer Films, notably it is the third to unite Peter Cushing as Van Helsing and Christopher Lee as Dracula.

Gibson’s effort is a vast improvement on the weaker Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) with an interesting new world order plot, double cross, plenty of action scenes and meaty word play from Cushing, courteous of writer Don Houghton.

Editing falters slightly within the closing act, where in the midst of a fire, with Dracula tossing tables and plague infectious minions, VanHelsing escapes through a window. Faults aside, all is forgiven when Helsing excellently and aptly takes care of Dracula, in what is Lee and Cushion’s last vampire and slayer showdown on screen.

In the wake of the spy craze the non gothic ‘modern’ London period setting and serious tone elevates this outing, the casting of older gentlemen and ladies give it a 70’s je ne sais quoi. Notably, there’s a claustrophobic eerie scene where Helsing’s granddaughter (Joanna Lumley) is cornered in a cellar by group of female vampires including Pauline Peart.

Rites befits from a more censor free affair with blood, boobs and violence on display. But the main draw is that 1970s vibe that is difficult to recreate today, with sheepskin body warmers, goons on motor bikes who incendently kidnap women for Dracula in turn to feast on.

Overall, interesting, a more graphic Dracula Hammer Horror and great for 70s nostalgia if nothing else.