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Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.)

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Deranged [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]
Deranged [Dual Format Blu-ray + DVD]
Dvd ~ Roberts Blossom
Price: £6.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mama? Mama?, 10 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Deranged is brought to us by Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen. It's a telling of the Ed Gein story, the Plainfield Ghoul who in the 1950s shocked small town Americana to its very core.

The names have been changed to, protect, well no that's not true, it's a product of its time is why, but this is an Ed Gein film, and it's a troubling and worthy piece of art in equal measure.

Certain instances have been spruced up for poetic licence, but the core essence of Gein and his madness exists wholesale. Roberts Blossom plays Gein (as Ezra Cobb), a man so tied to his mama's apron strings that when she leaves the mortal coil he refuses to acknowledge said fact. Cue grave robbing, morbid scenario settings and murder.

Operating on a low budget, Gillen and Ormsby do a sterling job of not letting their film come off as cheap exploitation. Tom Savini's effects work is a little crude when viewed now (he would become a legend in his field soon afterwards), but this unfurls in stylish and professional manner. With great acting by Blossoms, nifty camera work, a dark sense of humour and a chilling underplaying of key scenes leading the way, this is a fine entry in the serial killer movie pantheon. 7/10

Nessuno Mi Credera'
Nessuno Mi Credera'
Dvd ~ Susan Hayward

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touched by the hand of God/Satan., 10 Nov 2014
This review is from: Nessuno Mi Credera' (DVD)
They Won't Believe Me is directed by Irving Pichel and adapted to screenplay by Jonathan Latimer from a story by Gordon McDonell. It stars Robert Young, Susan Hayward, Jane Greer and Rita Johnson. Music is by Roy Webb and cinematography by Harry J. Wild.

Larry Ballentine (Young) is on trial for murder and he tells his story in flashback. Three dames and fate does not a good mix make.

"She looked like a very special kind of dynamite, neatly wrapped in nylon and silk. Only I wasn't having any. I'd been too close to one explosion already. I was powder shy".

A splendid slice of noir drama is put together by a group of film makers who knew how to make the noir style of film making work. The story has all the requisite ingredients to lure the interested viewers in, twists and turns, vipers and snipers, dialogue so sharp you could cut a steak with it, and a love rat protagonist (Young splendid in a break from his normal roles) being toyed with by Old Noir Nick and his friend The Fate.

In true noir tradition the plot is a little "out there", the middle section drags at times, while Harry Wild's cinematography doesn't kick in till a good hour into the play (worth the wait though!). But this is a little noir treasure waiting to be seen by more people. It's not unknown, the cast list ensures that is not the case, but in film noir circles it doesn't often crop up for discussion. It should, for it's tricky and devilish and pays off with a finale straight out of noirville. 8/10

Michael [DVD]
Michael [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Fuith
Price: £5.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tough to recommend, but very much a quality piece of work., 7 Nov 2014
This review is from: Michael [DVD] (DVD)
The subject of paedophilia is naturally never going to be a topic that has people rushing out to theatres. It is what it is and it rightly induces horror and repulsion in straight thinking adults. Yet to simply stick our heads in the sand and ignore the issue is never the way to go, thankfully some directors are prepared to take up the hot baton and produce pictures to trouble and provoke thought in equal measure. Austrian film maker Markus Schleinzer has produced one such film, which is incredibly bold for his debut feature.

Story explores the relationship between a middle aged paedophile played by Michael Fuith and the young boy he keeps locked in a secret basement room at his home, the youngster played by David Rauchenberger. The youngster is not held in some dark and damp room with no light, he is not chained up, Michael has in his own mind provided a loving and healthy home for his captive. He clearly loves the boy, watches TV with him, cooks him meals that they then eat together as if a "normal" couple. It's this banality that is so chilling, where coupled with how we see Michael functioning as a normal hard working man by day, really gnaws away at the senses.

Thankfully, and rightly, the sexual abuse side of things is not shown, nobody wants to see that. The horror comes in the implications, or the aftermath and preludes to what our mind's eye is being prompted to create. There are extended periods of silence throughout the picture, often dialogue is clipped and kept to minimum to urge the viewers to piece together what is going through Michael's mind. This is the strength of Schleinzer's movie, he's not judging or sermonising, he's presenting a scenario that on the surface to the people outside of Michael's basement secret, is normality, and it's that that is harrowing. Monsters live and move amongst us, fact! But how come we never notice them? It's this that Schleinzer so subtlety has his film prod us with.

A bunk bed construction scene has never been so chilling as it is here, and you may - like me - never be able to listen to Boney M again without your mind wandering elsewhere. It's a tough film, it has to be, but it's expertly crafted without exploitation tendencies by the director and performed with skill by the two principles. To simply call it sick and disgusting is a cop out, the makers deserve a bit more credit than that. It's intelligent and balanced and does a fine job of provoking reaction from the audience. 8/10

Chloe [DVD]
Chloe [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julianne Moore
Price: £6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When Nathalie became Chloe., 7 Nov 2014
This review is from: Chloe [DVD] (DVD)
A remake of 2003 French film Nathalie, Chloe is directed by Atom Egoyan and it stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried and Max Thieriot. Story has Moore as a successful doctor who suspects her husband is being unfaithful with his younger students. Hiring a prostitute to pose as a student and catch him in the act, it sets in wheels the motions of untapped passions and deadly emotions.

It's a bit Hitchcock lite in truth, but the strength of the cast list always keeps the story interesting. The key turns in the plot are to be taken with a pinch of salt, but Egoyan and his team keep things ethereal as the tech credits are splendidly mounted. A safe and solid erotic thriller, even if it's more low-rent than high-grade. 6/10

Shallow Hal [2002] [DVD]
Shallow Hal [2002] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gwyneth Paltrow|Jack Black|Jason Alexander|Libby Langdon
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Hal wants a gal., 7 Nov 2014
This review is from: Shallow Hal [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Hal Larsen (Jack Black) only ever dates beautiful trophy women on account of advice he received on his death bed from his father. However, a chance meeting with a self-help guru helps him to see inner beauty first and foremost. Soon after, he falls in love with his boss' severely overweight daughter, which as it raises eyebrows everywhere the couple go, Hal is oblivious as to what everyone else is on about.

Tender, sweet and subtle are not words one readily attributes to the Farrelly Brothers, but in Shallow Hal they have managed to blend all three with their penchant for close to the knuckle humour.

Gwyneth Paltrow in the dual role dons the fat-suit and once again showcases her unheralded comic timing, while Jack Black proves ebullient and engaging in a role that calls for him to shut out what he is actually meant to be seeing. In support Jason Alexander gets the weasel best friend comedy sidekick role, and is wonderfully abhorrent and good at keeping the cards close to his chest.

It's never uproariously funny, but it doesn't need to be, it tickles where it needs to, and it prods the emotional psyche with requisite impact. In a world that has become obsessed with the girth and weight of a person, especially with women - and as it happens is led by Hollywood, Shallow Hal is refreshing entertainment. 7/10

Unrest [2006] [DVD]
Unrest [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Corri English
Price: £6.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think there's something wrong with my corpse., 5 Nov 2014
This review is from: Unrest [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Could it be that the spirit of a dead cadaver is killing off all those who have medical dealings with her body?

Judging by the unfairly low rating it has on the main internet movie sites, it's very likely that the slow pace and lack of gore has counted against Unrest, which is a big shame. Jason Todd Ipson (director) draws on his real life experiences as a Boston general surgery employee to produce a film of skin itching substance. The premise is nifty and the real location shooting really adds weight to this mortality gone awry tinged horror.

There's a freshness to the film that leaps out, finding a film maker not merely content to pander to the formulaic hordes to win plaudits. Having an impossibly gorgeous female lead (Corri English) as the main protagonist would lend one to think that is not the case, but there's a rawness to English's acting that suits the character perfectly. There's a splendid realism factor to the picture, the blend of the real and the smart effects work nestling nicely together on the mortuary slab.

Atmosphere is a word that has always been key in non blood letting horror parlance, and Unrest has it in abundance. It would have been easy for Ipson to rely on boo-jump shocks, but he doesn't, he uses his knowledge of setting and subject matter to craft a tight and tense thriller that manages to gnaw away at the senses, even ensuring that the cadaver, as dead as she apparently is, is a full and rich character holding court as the body count starts to tot up.

The musical score (Michael Cohen) is a bit intrusive at times, a romantic sub-plot a little pointless, while the finale doesn't quite hit great heights given what has led up to it, but this is a smart dark mood accentuated piece and it is well worth checking out. 7.5/10

Truth Or Dare [DVD]
Truth Or Dare [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Oakes
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £25.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Or would you rather?, 3 Nov 2014
This review is from: Truth Or Dare [DVD] (DVD)
After a student is publicly humiliated during a truth or dare party game, the assembled tormentors are surprised to be invited to his country retreat for a party...

Yep! We are in familiar territory here, a bunch of annoying teenagers go out in the woods today and head for a big surprise. In fact the story twists quite early on and has great potential, landing the narrative in a sort of torture porn revenger universe, but the makers then rely far too heavily on this aspect and the dialogue is only matched in banality quotient by the plot holes.

Even the brutality factor quickly gets boring, it's like covering for inadequacies elsewhere by thrusting the violence to the front to try and save the movie. However, it's not a total washout. There's a trio of jumping-bean performances that remain entertaining throughout their respective stays, and a flip-flop device has some worth even if we have absolutely no affinity for any of these people at all.

A tough film to recommend to anyone but the staunchest torture porn/revenger fan, because ultimately it's failings elsewhere are hurtful to the audience's viewing experience. 4/10

The Bay [DVD]
The Bay [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kristen Connolly
Price: £5.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cymothoa exigua., 3 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Bay [DVD] (DVD)
As someone who has always struggled to get much from “found footage” movies, I entered Barry Levinson’s The Bay with some trepidation. Levinson’s standing as a director prompted me to take a look. And I’m glad I did.

Chesapeake Bay was home to a toxic led catastrophe that created horrors unbound – but the government covered it up…

Levinson brings considerable class to the camcorder horror phase by having his film unfold in multi stranded documentary style. Using many of the electrical appliances that people use in everyday life, Levinson and co-writer Michael Wallach piece together a horrifying tale of parasite infestation and society meltdown, all in one day! The editing (Aaron Yanes) ensures the number of stories that are running concurrent never disrupt momentum of pic, the parasite scares and illness scenes are superbly constructed, while dashes of humour sit alongside the very plausible and reality warnings of such an occurrence. 8/10

Halloween III: Season of the Witch [DVD]
Halloween III: Season of the Witch [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Atkins
Price: £4.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Conglomerate Carnage., 3 Nov 2014
A different animal to the Halloween films that preceded and followed it, Season of the Witch is slowly but surely gaining an appreciation as a standalone horror film. Gone is Michael Myers' indestructible killing machine, in his place is the nefarious Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), the owner of the Silver Shamrock corporation that specialises in Halloween masks. Cochran has a sinister plan this year - and it's deadly - Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) are caught in the middle of the vile plot and may just be the only salvation to Americana.

With Nigel Kneale involved in the writing process Season of the Witch is delightfully fiendish. There's definite barbs being stung here about the commercialisation of holiday occasions, that capitalism kills, Cochran is intent on restoring Halloween to the true meaning of its origins, creating a Silver Shamrock world order in the process. Kneale would take his name off the credits when the studio tampered with his vision, a shame because his core essence remains - even if Cochran as a Warlock Wicker Man type could well have been genius.

With John Carpenter and Debrah Hill over seeing things from their production chairs, the picture had supervision of some standing. Tommy Lee Wallace maybe directing but it feels like a Carpenter movie, from Dean Cundey's photography - Carpenter's foreboding synth musical score - and the sharpness of the gruey horror scenes (which are excellent), it's not hard to see the "non Michael Myers" Halloween series that Carpenter had envisaged after part 2 had been and gone.

Boosted by an irritatingly potent advertisement jingle (a Silver Shamrock variation on London Bridge is Falling Down) that counts down the days to Halloween and the day of carnage, Season of the Witch is consistently gnawing away at the senses. Having Atkins and O'Herlihy propping up the acting helps, both are reliable performers for this material, while the race against time finale has edge of the seat credentials.

It doesn't all work of course, there's some drag and the narrative feels schizophrenic at times, while if it wasn't for Cundey's camera work then Wallace's inept direction of the non horror scenes would be over exposed. Yet as it asks Halloween franchise fans some forgiveness for not actually being part of the franchise, it delivers a smart sci-fi horror hybrid that's not without shock and awe as well. 7/10

April Fools Day [DVD]
April Fools Day [DVD]
Dvd ~ Deborah Foreman
Offered by moo V man
Price: £12.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Muffy the ham-pie slayer!, 2 Nov 2014
This review is from: April Fools Day [DVD] (DVD)
A group of college buddies convene at a friends isolated abode and get killed off one by one...

Great fun, Fred Walton, Frank Mancuso Jr. and Danilo Bach tap cheekily into the 1980s obsession with slasher films and produce a self aware horror movie of mighty dark comedy proportions. Quite often when film makers try to laugh as they bite the hand that feeds them they fall flat on their faces, not so here. OK! It's hardly genius film making but the makers instill their picture with interesting killings, twists and turns, and even an audacious narrative that would only be appreciated some years later. Horror movie conventions are adhered to with tongue stuck in bloody cheek, none more so than with an ending that will infuriate some, but conversely will bring on the chortles in others. 7/10

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