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Mr. Jonathon T. Beckett "vampire lover" (Dracula's Crypt)

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Chamber of Horrors & Brides of Fu Manchu [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Chamber of Horrors & Brides of Fu Manchu [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by tunesonline
Price: £7.94

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Killer Hook, 22 Dec. 2011

Prolific serial killer Jason Cravatte(Patrick O'Neal) has just reached a new low in his career, marrying the corpse of one of his victims. However, Cravatte's haughty Aunt Ewing(Jeanette Nolan) wanting her nephews' nefarious activities stopped asks amateur sleuths and owners of the local waxworks, Anthony Draco(Cesar Danova) and Harold Blount(Wilfred Hyde-White), to locate Jason's whereabouts and stop him once and for all. Cravatte is indeed arrested, hiding out at the boudour of Madame Corona. However, on the way to prison, Cravatte escapes by jumping off a train, and severing his own hand to avoid drowning. Soon, an even crazier Cravatte is back in Baltimore, seeking vengeance on those who were foolish enough to judge him guilty, his allies a young woman called Marie Champlain(Laura Devon) abnd a metal hook in place of his missing hand...
The Fear Flasher and The Horror Horn may sound like characters from a horror/porn crossover, but they are in fact gimmicks employed in this highly enjoyable period horror to warn the audience of a coming horrific attraction. In fact, Chamber Of Horrors is a bloodless affair, and although it is now nearly fifty years old, it seems to belong to a type of horror film made even earlier than that. Despite the gimmicks, it is very straight laced, with an involving story. It is also lavishly mounted and handsome.
Despite it being Patrick O'Neal's film, terrific as Cravatte, his adversaries Drago and Blount are also well cast, Danova and Hyde-White very likeable in their respective roles. The rest of the cast also impress, especially Tun Tun as Drago and Blounts' dwarf assistant Pepe, and also watch out for an uncredited cameo by Tony Curtis, playing a customer at the brothel.
The scenes where Cravatte hunts down and punishes those he regards as responsible for his incarceration are memorable, as is the finale in the wax museum, where Drago and Cravatte duel amongst the exhibits until Cravatte is literally hoisted by his own petard.
Once a regular on late night British television, Chamber Of Horrors seems strangely forgotten, and although available here only as a double bill, if I have whetted your appetite enough, it is available on a Spanish Region 2 release by Warner Bros and Impulso. 5 out of 5 for the film anyway, as it's a cruelly neglected little gem, one that deserves far better recognition.

Chemical Wedding [DVD] [2008]
Chemical Wedding [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Simon Callow
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £2.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beast = mc2, 15 Dec. 2011
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When shy, stammering Classics teacher Oliver Haddo(Simon Callow) enters a virtual reality programme at Cambridge University in order to delve into the dark secrets of the occult, programmed into the computer by fellow obsessive Victor Nuberg(Jud Charlton), little does he know that there is a real beast in the machine. The Great Beast in fact, as the spirit of Aleister Crowley is hovering on another astral plane, awaiting the chance to be reincarnated in human form in order to fulfil a devilish prophecy.....
Imagine a cross between Inspector Morse and The Devils and you might start to imagine the feel of this highly enjoyable science fiction/horror hybrid. After a slightly uncertain start, a prologue set in 1947 as Aleister Crowley's life seemingly comes to an end, it soon settles down and transforms into a really ripping yarn set in the present day. It is quite staggering in places, but it is to the director and the screenwriters credit that towards the end, 'Chemical Wedding' actually manages to achieve a real sense of wonder.
Simon Callow is always going to be an acquired taste, but I thought he was perfect in the Jekyll and Hyde roles of Haddo and Crowley. Of the supporting cast, I greatly enjoyed Jud Charlton as occult obsessive and Born Again Crowley acolyte Victor Nuberg, and Paul McDowell delivers a nicely understated turn as Symonds, an old associate of Crowley's. It is in fact the newly free Crowley's inability to resist a boast or two that turns the character of Symonds into a pivotal role.
The climatic scenes are worthy of Hammer at its finest as Crowley attempts to perform an ancient ritual of rebirth. This is merged sucessfully with the age of technology, as computer programmer Joshua Mathers attempts to battle the beast using his own program.
I loved every minute of this, and I hope you will too. Just go into this film with an open and broad mind and enjoy. There are extras galore on this dvd release, the highlight being a highly entertaining 'making of' feaurette. 5 out of 5.

Panic Button [DVD]
Panic Button [DVD]
Dvd ~ Scarlett Alice Johnson
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £2.45

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Eye In The Sky, 8 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Panic Button [DVD] (DVD)
Four prize winning members of the social networking site board a plane that is supposed to take them on an all expenses flight to New York. The four winners, Jo, Max, Dave and Gwen are also told that they will be partaking in a little inflight entertainment during their journey. However, it soon becomes apparent that all is not well, as the questions they are asked start to become very personal and it seems that the four poassengers are not exactly whiter than white. Then comes a little game of Do or die.....
This low budget British psychological horror cleverly taps into the current fears of privacy and social networking, and also the predaliction for viewing extreme online video clips. Quite a menacing atmosphere is built up as the unwilling contestants squirm as their unseen tormentor reveals secrets about them they would much rather remain buried.
It all works remarkably well for the first hour or so, then things do get a bit overblown, although I did like the denouement. The film is probably best described as an airborne 'My Little Eye' with a bit of Agatha Christie's 'Then There Were None' thrown into the mix. The performances were okay, Michael Jibson probably coming off best as outwardly cocky Dave, hiding a host of insecurities.
I enjoyed the film anyway, a hardly original but interesting variation on recurring horror themes. Lots of extras on the disc. 4 out of 5.

They Came From Beyond Space [DVD]
They Came From Beyond Space [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Hutton

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Beyond The Farm, 8 Dec. 2011
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When a meteorite shower falls at the Roberts Farm, space expert Dr. Curtis Temple(Robert Hutton) is desperate to travel to the site to investigate, but is under Doctor's orders to take it easy. His assistant/lover Lee Mason(Jennifer Jayne) goes in his place. However, after losing contact with Mason, Dr. Temple travels down to the farm to find out why a cloak of secrecy has enveloped the investigations. He is met with open hostility, and becomes concerned when a security agent he teams up with is killed by a strange plague. Someone or something is determined that whatever is going down at the Roberts Farm should remain a secret. Then, Temple witnesses a rocket being launched from a pad on the farm, its destination - the Moon!....
One Day there might be a release of this low budget British Science Fiction film that has a decent picture quality. Unfortunately, this is not that day, as the Elstree Hill release is both ropey in picture and sound. It didn't ruin the film for me, but it did hinder my enjoyment a bit.
As for the film, for the first half of its running time it seems to be building up a nicely paranoid atmosphere, very much reminding one of the second Quatermass film. Temple is very much alone in a village where it seems he can trust no one. Then there is a very dull middle section where Temple finds himself trapped in the alien base and takes an eternity to escape. Finally, the film takes an enjoyable trip to the Moon, encountering the laboratory of overacting, run by Michael Gough.
The alien technology both on Earth and the Moon is well realised, although the aliens themselves are basically just blobs of light. Hutton, quite a regular in low budget British horror and sci-fi, gives his all, and is well supported by Jayne, Bernard Kay and an enthusiastic Zia Mohyeddin who probably gives the best performance. The rousing music score tries to move things along, but seems a little out of place with the stately pace of the on screen action.
Still, this film is enjoyable enough if one watches it with expectations not too high. It was a nice discovery for me, as I had never seen this offering from Amicus before.
So, I'm going to give this release 4 out of 5, certainly not for the washed out picture and muffled sound, but for the entertaining film. No extras on the release, unsuprisingly.

The Eclipse [DVD]
The Eclipse [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ciarán Hinds
Offered by Springwood Media
Price: £2.85

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Writing, 26 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Eclipse [DVD] (DVD)
There is a literary festival taking place in a village on the Irish coast. Michael Farr(Ciarán Hinds) has volunteered to chauffeur various luminaries to and from the event. As well as pompous author Nicholas Holden(Aiden Quinn), Michael also picks up ghost story writer Lena Morrell(Iben Hjejle), with whom he strikes up a tentative friendship. Providential as well perhaps, as Michael has started to experience horrifying visions of his dead father in law, the only problem being that he is alive and well in a Nursing Home. Can Lena save Michael from the ghosts from his own past?
Although I have seen this film marketed as from the horror genre, it is more a meditation on grief, loss and forgiveness. The superb performance of Ciarán Hinds is the emotional core to the film and he especially sparkles in the scenes with Iben Hjejle. As the majority of the film consists of long, elegaic passages the occasional scary scenes carry quite a punch, no more so than in a truly terrifying car journey at night. I'm just not sure they entirely work within the context of this film, as they do seem to have been lifted from another film. On the other hand, the chills could be great examples of the unusual encroaching on the ordinary.
A couple of other questions do arise. Who exactly is looking after Farr's children whilst he whisks these authors round the countryside, and would you put your father in law in a Home where they haven't paid the electric bill, but these are minor quibbles, as 'The Eclipse' is very different, and should be celebrated for that if nothing else. Superb music score too.
Excellent picture and sound quality, no real extras to be found on this release. 4 out of 5 for the excellent film, as I just felt it was lacking that special finishing touch.


5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Personal Haunting, 26 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: [DVD] (DVD)

When Bryan Becket(Tim Daly) hears that his Aunt has died, he is not exactly grief stricken. Not being particularily close to her, his first thoughts fixate on her large house and its contents. Becket leaves his troubled marriage and moves into the property awaiting good news from her will. A shock announcement, that his rational Aunt has left her estate to an institute that investigates the paranormal, leads Becket to question his own stubborn scepticism, as the dark secrets hidden within the walls of the house start to reveal themselves to him. Is Becket being haunted, or is he losing his mind?
This is superb, old fashioned ghost story, the sort you thought they didn't make any more, but sure are glad they still do. Recalling subtle chillers from the past such as 'The Innocents' and 'The Haunting' that raised as many questions as they gave answers, 'The Sceptic', also known as 'The Haunting Of Bryan Becket', treats its audience with great respect, never resorting to ridiculous red herrings or senseless plot twists. The last scene in the film is both maddingly ambiguous and also the perfect ending, leaving entirely up to the audiences own imagination as to whether Becket has imagined the whole haunting or not.
The cast also serves the film well. Tom Arnold is excellent as Becket's best friend and confidant Sully, Robert Prosky in his final film is also very good as Father Wymond, and there is great support from Zoe Saldana as Cassie and Edward Herrmann as Becket's old Child Psychiatrist Dr. Shepard.
Whilst some of the jumpiest moments turn out to be rational events or tricks in Becket's mind, 'The Sceptic' still remains a great horror/psychological study with several subtle chills and little frights to be found within its running time. It also tells a very human story about a very fragile human being, and perhaps it is this that really makes the film.
This Czech release has excellent picture/sound quality but no extras, which is a bit of a shame as this is one film that would have benfited from a directors commentary. 5 out of 5 for the main attraction anyway.

The Hidden [DVD]
The Hidden [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Nouri

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illegal Alien, 24 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Hidden [DVD] (DVD)
When Jack DeVries, a previously model citizen suddenly embarks on a spree of bank robberies and murders, the police hunt him down and after a long car chase he is badly burned when his car blows up. Even close to death, DeVries seems of special interest to F.B.I Agent Lloyd Gallagher(Kyle MacLachlan), who joins the cop Harry Beck(Michael Nouri) who is covering the case. When DeVries dies in the hospital, Gallagher's interest shifts to a terminal patient Jonathan Miller, who has seemingly just sat up and walked out of his deathbed.
Beck has no idea what on earth is going on. Nothing on earth in fact, as an alien is using human bodies as temporary hosts, for a spot of unique social climbing.....
This a great hidden treasure from that great cinematic decade, the 1980's. The film's success is partly due to the great sense of fun it engenders, partly due to the great cast assembled and partly because it just tells a cracking good story.
Nouri and MacLachlan certainly work very well together as the odd couple cops, with Beck's no nonsense approach rubbing up against Gallagher's analytical methodology.
The concept of the alien is so funny, because it's so human. It likes loud rock music, fast cars and hot women and sulks when it doesn't get it's own way. The actual true alien form is only briefly seen, but is very effective.
The film transcends its B-Movie roots with lovely little touches such as quite an emotional closing sequence and the witty, literate script. There's quite a supporting cast to be found here too, ably supporting Nouri and MacLachlan. How about Ed O'Ross, Clu Gulager and William Boyett for starters.
An excellent film, at last getting the recognition it deserves. The main attraction amongast the extras on the dvd is an informative commentary by the director Jack Sholder. 5 out of 5.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 8, 2013 12:08 AM BST

Unhappy Birthday [DVD]
Unhappy Birthday [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Paisley
Price: £4.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood Ties, 23 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Unhappy Birthday [DVD] (DVD)
Couple Rick(David Paisley) and Sadie(Christina De Vallee), along with their friend Jonny(Jonathan Keane), travel to the island of Amen to celebrate Sadie's birthday. Rick is keeping a big secret from Sadie, a suprise he hopes will really make her day. There are other secrets between the three, that some would rather remain that way.
At high tide, the island of Amen is cut off from the mainland and all three friends find themselves trapped in a place where nothing is as it seems, and the islanders harbour a dark, hidden agenda.
First of all, this film should be judged on whether or not it succeeds as a horror film. The gay interest angle is irrelevant for me at least, I thought horror films were made for horror film fans not a gay or straight audience.
The film builds up an impressive gloomy atmosphere. However, the much anticipated pay off, when we discover the real purpose of the islanders is a bit of a let down. I expected a slightly more horrifying climax. There is much to enjoy along the way though, as we watch our three protagonists get trapped deeper and deeper in the spider's web.
Although David Paisley is the most recognisable face to be seen here, I was more impressed to be honest, with the performances of De Vallee and Keane. There's also nice support from Jill Riddiford in the pivotal role of Corinne. It's also a nice suprise to see horror legend David McGillivray in a cameo as a pub landlord. Another big plus is the excellent cinematography, really adding to overall feeling of mounting dread.
One very annoying error for me can be found during the 'making of' featurette. Co-director Mark Harriot proclaims that McGillivray is a great friend then states that McGillivray directed many horror films in the 1960's and 70's. Okay, McGillivray might have been a seminal writer of groundbreaking horror films, such as the ones directed by Pete Walker, but he's never directed one!
Still, Unhappy Birthday is an interesting little film, made on an extremely low budget, but looking a lot glossier than that. Although the ending left a little to be desired, I enjoyed the general tone and I felt a real feeling of unease as the characters carry on unaware of the horrors ahead of them. I enjoyed it anyway. 4 out of 5.

Night of the big Heat (uncut) english audio
Night of the big Heat (uncut) english audio
Dvd ~ Ronald Liles
Offered by dvd-uncut
Price: £7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pub Roast, 17 Nov. 2011

On the remote island of Farah, it's getting a wee bit hot. As the night closes in, the temperature keeps rising, and that's especially the case for the mix of people holed up in Jeff Callum's guest house. Along with Jeff(Patrick Allen) and his wife Frankie(Sarah Lawson), there's sultry secetary with a hidden agenda Angela(Jane Merrow), secretive scientist Godfrey Hansen(Christopher Lee) who likes to experiment, and other assorted understandably sweaty locals. It turns out that Farah is the landing point for a race of aliens who like it rather warm. Will anyone make it through the night of the big heat?.....
Terence Fisher may be rightly remembered as a great horror director, but he also made a handful of interesting, low budget science fiction films with a pinch of horror, in the 1960's. Notable example include Island Of Terror, The Earth Dies Screaming and this little gem.
Having the aliens as an invisible menace for the majoroty of the film, allows Night Of The Big Heat to be a mainly character driven film. Lee is superb in a rare heroic role, Peter Cushing although in quite a few scenes seems strangely relegated to bit part role, although he does have a memorable death scene, and other excellent character actors such as Percy Herbert are also a bit wasted.
At the centre of the film is a steamy love triangle involving Jeff, his wife and sultry Angela. Jane Merrow's role seems to be walking around with as few clothes as possible, attempting to seduce shaken not stirred' Allen who is of course impeccably smooth.
The most interesting aspect of the film is the fates of the respective characters. Whilst Angela's behaviour may suggest the tag of 'character least likely to make it to the end of a film' she does in fact survive, whilst brave Hanson doesn't even get to die in heroic posture, rather just screaming impotently.
As for the aliens themselves, I have seen them described rather unkindly as fried eggs. They're surely more poached than fried, but I found the pulsating orbs to be an effective menace.
The Night Of The Big Heat is a highly enjoyable film, very exciting, full of interesting characters and with an intriguing story. This German dvd has a wonderful picture and sound quality, and does the film justice despite the lack of extras. Hot Stuff! 5 out of 5.

Atrocious [DVD]
Atrocious [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jose Masegosa
Offered by Springwood Media
Price: £6.35

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not atrocious, just a bit dull and misleading, 17 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Atrocious [DVD] (DVD)

Brother and sister Cristian and July, who film a web-cam paranormal show from the comfort of their house, see a great oppurtunity to investigate the mystery of a girl called Melinda who haunts the woods nearby the family's summer house. They are accompanied by mum and dad and younger brother Jose.
Once there, the pair set up their expensive camera equipment to film any potential bumps in the night. However, their plans certainly don't involve getting lost in a wooded labyrinth in the middle of the night....
Whether or not one finds Atrocious a wholly enjoyable entry to the found-footage genre will probably depend on your expectations. I guess that, being a sucker for a good supernatural horror, I was disappointed to say the least with the direction the film took in the last few minutes. More than that, I think that the film is disingeniously marketed and plotted along the lines of a film such as Paranormal Activity, so the giant red herring flung the audiences way was more of a jumping shark for me. Why for example did July have contacts in during the night vision filming to make her look possessed if it had nothing to do with the story.
There are compensations. Cristian Valencia and Clara Moraleda are both very good in their roles, coming across as very natural as a typical brother and sister. The lengthy sequence where the pair follow their mother into the maze in the woods only to get lost themselves, was very spooky, capturing well what it must feel like to be feeling totally helpless and alone.
Probably a film to be enjoyed as part of a festival crowd in a beer soaked cinema rather than in the comfort ogf one's own home, Atrocious failed for me on many levels, but there is a good film in there trying to get out, and for such a low budget film it did look rather good. A generous 3 out of 5.

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