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D. Dent "David Dent" (West Dulwich, London)
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The Spanish Chainsaw Massacre
The Spanish Chainsaw Massacre
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Budget: 3000 Euros. Guess what it's like?, 2 Oct 2014
54 minutes long and I was bored at the 10 minute mark - actually it finishes at 45 mins in to leave room for nearly 10 mins of outtakes and credits. You get: people farting (a lot, yeah cos it was funny the first time); terrible gore as in an early Peter Jackson film; more farting. Best thing is the subtitles, which are either totally ironic or written by someone with a poorer grasp of English than I have of Spanish. Do not, repeat DO NOT bother.


Across the River
Across the River
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Springwatch with spooks!, 1 Sep 2014
This review is from: Across the River (DVD)
This is the slowest, most drawn out 'horror' film I have ever seen (and I've seen a lot). It's like 'Springwatch' with ghosts, as we watch a conservationist spend hours tracking beasts of the forest and getting a bit upset when he bumps into what look like a couple of lost Ewoks. Of interest for people wanting to know more about the techniques of tagging wildlife, but for everyone else, not so much.


The Ghost Hunters
The Ghost Hunters
by Neil Spring
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Spirit is decidedly weak..., 27 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ghost Hunters (Paperback)
As a ghost obsessed child growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, the names of Borley Rectory and Harry Price were very familiar to my young self, who couldn’t get enough of tales of hauntings and spectres. Despite both having respectively burnt down and died way before my time, their notoriety lived on in the books I would devour – I also remember the 1970s BBC documentary on Borley - featuring Peter Underwood - being particularly chilling, and helping to keep the history of the house and church alive.

Chilling is the last word I’d use to describe this overlong and meandering book though. Neil Spring may know his stuff (and he competently interweaves history with fiction to tell his story) but the fictional elements on their own are episodic and confusing. As a previous reviewer has pointed out, as well as the idiomatic errors there are a number of spelling mistakes which a good editor would have resolved. All very distracting.

The somewhat Mills and Boon approach to the relationship between Price and his secretary is rather baffling and completely uninvolving. I wasn’t even convinced that the first person narrator was a woman (at one point I thought that might have been the book’s big reveal) and her attraction to the older Price, with his bad teeth and reek of tobacco, lacks any feeling of the obsession presumably required to overcome these shortcomings.

But the other main problem is that the book is not remotely scary or atmospheric. This is partly because supposed poltergeist activity is difficult to write about without sounding technical (and a phantom nun who strolls around the grounds with alarming frequency becomes overfamiliar and loses her potency), and also there's also far too much racing around, dispelling much of the sense of menace.

I would agree that in the last 100 pages or so the novel does find a stronger voice (tellingly this is largely when most of the supernatural stuff is out of the way) but it’s too little too late. I was very disappointed with ‘The Ghost Hunters’ – maybe the story just doesn’t have any potency any more, or maybe in other hands it could have been more creepy and engaging.


No Title Available

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 20th century classic, 7 Feb 2013
I've been wearing this since I was 18 - thirty three years ago - and hopefully will in thirty three years time too. I'm a bloke and definitely think this can be worn by men and women. Gorgeous...the cologne, not me.


Corman's World [Blu-ray]
Corman's World [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Robert De Niro
Price: £8.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars And it's very much the world according to Corman, 19 Dec 2012
This review is from: Corman's World [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As another reviewer has suggested, the Corman story on the written page is fascinating and inspiring. In front of camera, Roger Corman isn't particularly articulate and also doesn't have the winning presence to compel you to watch. The documentary had a bit of a THIS IS YOUR LIFE quality, full of endearing testimonials (and rather too much of Uncle Jack for my liking) but very little about the films themselves.

And why of why with the file capacity of Blu ray did they not add at least one of Corman's films as an extra, instead of slightly longer eulogies from the assembled acolytes?

A bit underwhelmed to be honest. Still, a terrific filmmaker though.


A Night in the Woods [DVD]
A Night in the Woods [DVD]
Dvd ~ Scoot McNairy
Price: £3.90

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Hills are Asleep, 20 Sep 2012
This review is from: A Night in the Woods [DVD] (DVD)
A few tips for budding 'found footage' film makers:

1. By the very nature of what you're doing you're ripping off THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. It isn't necessary to set up bits of your movie that directly copy scenes from the original films. Try to avoid ripped tents (also tents messed about by 'unseen' forces), and senseless screaming (both from your main characters and the 'disembodied screams in the night' variety)

2. Your cast are filming on camcorders. Do not therefore actually film on much better equipment as it spoils the illusion (unless you can disguise the professional camerawork to look like cheap camcorder footage).

3. Never forget who's doing the filming. If there's a scene where all three central characters are being filmed (ie the only ones supposed to be in the movie) and no-one has a camera in their hands, then someone else is filming. This is not good. Same advice applies in the 'action' scenes.

4. To paraphrase Steve Martin in TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES, have a bloody point to what you're doing. It makes it so much more interesting for the audience.

5. Not a great idea to have lots of different music over the end credits for a 'found footage' movie. The ending's bound to be a bummer. Let silence do the work for you.

Thanks.


The Innkeepers [DVD]
The Innkeepers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sara Paxton
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £5.26

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a (n Inn) keeper!, 16 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Innkeepers [DVD] (DVD)
Ti West is rapidly emerging as a Director who's keen to put the stillness (or slowburn) back into the American horror film and to move away from the two or three basic plot devices that drive 99% of horror movies produced in the 21st century.

That also makes West a frustrating filmmaker for a lot of filmgoers, who will expect the other 99%. In his previous movie, THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, a subtle build up in the first hour wasn't really matched by the events in the last thirty minutes, creepy though they were. In THE INNKEEPERS the build up is even slower and the `payoff' weaker. But maybe we're all missing the point expecting West's films to be a thrill ride. I think he's doing something far subtler, and deconstructing our expectations about what we think we should be getting from a horror film.

THE INNKEEPERS jumping off points are, in no particular order, the slacker drivel of the films of Kevin Smith, the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY series (who make up the rest of the 1% of US horror referred to above), THE SHINING and also to some extent the Peter Jackson movie THE FRIGHTENERS. West has abandoned the retro fuzzy VHS look of his last film for a generally bright, clear set which offers few haunted house clichés (and therefore doesn't make it traditionally scary). Yep, there's the inevitable lights out trip to the basement but the scares are well signposted. West doesn't make us jump, but he may well want us to feel like jumping.

I don't agree that this was badly acted - I thought it was annoyingly acted by characters who in a standard movie would be bumped off in five minutes - here they carry the whole film. The supporting cast aren't all linked to the events and West probably wants us to think they may not exist at all (the sight of a `mature' Kelly McGillis is surely the biggest jump in the whole film).

I think West is a Director to watch - it remains to be seen where these are sophomore efforts or the indication of a subversive talent yet to discover his true potential. A cautious thumbs up then.


The Other Side of the Underneath (Blu-Ray) [1972] [Region Free]
The Other Side of the Underneath (Blu-Ray) [1972] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jane Arden
Offered by SourceMediaUK
Price: £12.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sisters are doing it to themselves..., 30 July 2012
It's 1972. Men rule the world. Women beat themselves up over it, emotionally and, occasionally, physically. It gets filmed, and the results ain't pretty.

The late Jane Arden's 'free' adaptation of her own play, itself a devised piece, positively reeks of pot, kaftans and feminist theory. It's by no means an easy watch (in an interview on the disc it's revealed that the actresses were all out of their collective gourds on acid during the central group therapy scenes and believe me it shows) and Arden herself was apparently Brahms and Liszt throughout the seemingly rather unhappy shoot. It's pretty exploitative stuff - think a hippy female version of Lars von Trier.

Admittedly at a rather gruelling and unstructured 1 hour and 46 mins it won't be everyone's cup of tea but if head shops, RD Laing and the Incredible String Band make you wake up and pay attention, this could be for you, man. Or more correctly, woman.


Hell Train
Hell Train
by Christopher Fowler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Horror Express, 1 April 2012
This review is from: Hell Train (Paperback)
Not Mr Fowler's best work by a long way. I gave up on reading contemporary horror fiction many years ago and only came to this through a) a love of the British horror film and b) the Bryant and May novels, which are all marvellous. This is a reminder that I was right to leave this genre of fiction alone. On the plus side it's fast paced, and good to spot all of the genre references (Horror Express, anyone?). But the framing device doesn't work, it moves from one set piece to another with little regard for cohesion, and just all felt a bit pointless. Great shame as Fowler's a very talented writer, but he's missed the mark here.


Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past
Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past
by Simon Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Retro - fit! (ouch), 22 Feb 2012
I came to this book after hearing a lot of criticism that in it Reynolds was making the argument that there's nothing new in music and that we're just eating our own past. After finishing the book I can't believe how wrong those critics are. Yes, Reynolds does point out the unique position of western music culture at this point in history, but he accounts for it with a certain amount of inevitability in that we are now so exposed to our musical past via YT, the overabundance of reissues etc that we can't help looking back - he also suggests that looking back is endemic to the human condition. RETROMANIA also makes a great case for how the past has been used to stimulate genuinely innovative contemporary musical creations, and that it is our technological advancements (which might not be the same ones us fiftysomethings were encouraged to believe via episodes of THE JETSONS) which have made this possible.

There are many moments in this book which made me nod my head in agreement - I found the passages on BOARDS OF CANADA's triggering of potentially fake memories particularly interesting - and being a fan of the 'hauntology' movement it was good to see its recognition in the musical canon.

Only 4 stars because like others I was distracted by the author's occasional digressions, and also while I loved the book I couldn't help thinking how much relevance a 20 year old would find in it.


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