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

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The Devil's Daughter [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
The Devil's Daughter [DVD] [2007] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Jonathan Frid

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old Nick really gets around you know!, 14 Oct 2014
Little known and under seen, this is an efficient "Devil's Spawn" movie that admittedly features stars working for food. Shelley Winters, Joseph Cotten and Diane Ladd head the cast list as a young woman comes to realise that her guardians are devil worshipping nutters!

It's all a bit "Rosemary's Baby" lite, but there's a splendid array of off-kilter characters and bizarro abodes. Director Jeannot Szwarc (Jaws 2) is clever enough to use canted angles to enhance the trippy black arts undercurrents, while Winters is having a grand old time of it. The big telegraph pole pointing the way to the finale is hard to miss, but surprisingly the denouement still packs a worthwhile punch.

You would be very angry if you based your Halloween night around this viewing, but as TV Satan Worship movies go, it's not half bad. 6/10

The Brain [VHS]
The Brain [VHS]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Instrument of Terror!, 14 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Brain [VHS] (VHS Tape)
An adaptation of film noir legend Curt Siodmak's novel, Donovan's Brain, The Brain offers up a murder mystery narrative to go with the mad science angle. It's not particularly thrilling but it does tick along nicely and director Freddie Francis has a keen eye for scene staging. Cast features Peter Van Eyck, Anne Heywood, Cecil Parker and Bernard Lee, and they all do what is required to make the material work. Stand out moments involve some delightfully monstrous paintings, a lie detector scene and all the sequences where Van Eyck is possessed by the brain of the powerful industrialist who was murdered by person or persons unknown. Good and safe "B" schlocky fare for the so inclined. 6/10

Mother's Day [DVD]
Mother's Day [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rebecca De Mornay
Offered by rsdvd
Price: £4.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm proud of my boys, they never forget their momma., 13 Oct 2014
This review is from: Mother's Day [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent remake of Troma's schlocky 80s original. Story has three criminal brothers on the run from a bank robbery gone wrong and they plan to hide out in their childhood home. Unfortunately it's not their home anymore, so they take the couple living there and their party guests hostage and violence becomes the order of the day; especially with the arrival of the boys' psychotic mother...

It's bloody and bloody intense as director Darren Lynn Bousman updates the original to modern times. Featuring torture and humiliation, it's not what you would call a comfortable date movie experience, but the makers manage to blend the trashy exploitation of the source with today's terrifying home invasion themes with considerable success. The narrative is not perfect, with leaps of faith required for some twists and credulity is stretched to breaking point, but with Rebecca De Mornay on fire as the mad matriarch, the flaws are easily forgiven. 8/10

Vampires [DVD] [1999]
Vampires [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ James Woods
Offered by streetsahead
Price: £5.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I killed my own father, padre. I got no trouble killing you., 13 Oct 2014
This review is from: Vampires [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Not half as bad as some reviews in 1998 made it out to be, Vampires is worth taking a peek at these days. Without the heavy weight of expectation for a return to form for John Carpenter, it proves to be a schlocky and bloody good time.

James Woods stars as a Vatican backed vampire slayer, something he does with considerable relish. But now he is up against an uber vampire in Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), a leader with powers unbound. Daniel Baldwin and Sheryl Lee are along for the gore laden ride.

Woods is cool, with a quip on the tongue and a deadly weapon to hand, his by-play with Tim Guinee's priest provides much of the film's humour. The photography, choreography, editing and tension building are all high in quality, and while the story is weak and there's a whiff of misogyny in the mix, for a horror popcorner there's a good time to be had here. 7/10

Boo [DVD]
Boo [DVD]
Dvd ~ Trish Coren
Offered by SweetBuzzards
Price: £5.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like Boo..., 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: Boo [DVD] (DVD)
Bunch of pretty teens convene at an old abandoned mental hospital for Halloween. Things go awry.

Written and directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, Boo is either a loving homage to all things involving "haunted house" cinema? Or one of the laziest horror movies made in 2005?

Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at the audience for this one, with the sound mix turned up to the max for, erm, max impact. The fear of this, the fear of that, what's real? What's not? And let there be blood! There will be blood!

Acting is ordinary, as is the writing, but scene setting and location filming is not half bad. In a nutshell, it's a horror film that you show to your pre-teen family members to prep them for far better horror pleasures in their up coming adult life. 4/10

The Lost Souls
The Lost Souls

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Grief., 10 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Lost Souls (VHS Tape)

Patrick Bergin plays a bereaved father racked by guilt who begins to see spooky things. He seeks the help of Vanessa Redgrave's medium and the meditation of grief and the will indeed will out!

Bergin is so much better than this, why he never graduated to the bigger league is probably explained in a film like this. Where he literally is reduced to smell the fart acting, half heartedly hitting walls when his wife chastise's him for carrying such burdens on his shoulders. Redgrave literally is going through the motions, probably prompted by somebody off screen waving the cheque she is earning for this nonsense.

It looks like it was filmed 20 years earlier, but not in a good way, it's devoid of scares, suspense or even intelligence (no the Lost Soul angle doesn't compensate for anything), while the dialogue is as cheese laden as the misty lenses director John Korty thinks passes for atmosphere. UGH! 2/10

The Flesh And Blood Show [1972] [DVD]
The Flesh And Blood Show [1972] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jenny Hanley
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boobs, Butts and Blood - All Suffering Pier Pressure!, 10 Oct 2014
Pete Walker brings us a proto-slasher that's now as cornball as can be. Is it worthy of respect in the pantheon of horror? Yes, maybe.

This is a coastal town that they forgot to close down.

A group of actors and actresses have mysteriously been lured to an end of pier theatre to star in a play. Pretty soon they start being bumped off one by one.

So it be! There's plenty of nudity, actors siting around musing on the "biz" and its perils, while the matter of fact attitude to the disappearances is almost as ludicrous as someone opening the door in the middle of the night stark naked...

It's good fun in truth, especially for British film fans like me to see the likes of Robin Askwith and Jenny Hanley in this. The run down theatre setting is a good one, while the play they are rehearsing makes no sense and is quite surreal! 5/10

Crawlspace [Blu-ray]
Crawlspace [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Peta Sergeant
Offered by hunting_for_a_bargain
Price: £29.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Eve and God Complex's., 9 Oct 2014
This review is from: Crawlspace [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
A team of elite commandos are sent into a top secret military base with instructions to rescue the scientists who are apparently under attack from escaped prisoners. What they find is something very strange and different...

Australia has produced some high quality horror in recent times, this sadly - in spite of some sterling efforts - isn't one of them.

Justin Dix's (director/co-producer/co-writer) film is guilty of lifting from a whole bunch of other sci-fi/horror films to the point where the smart ideas in the narrative are practically squashed. Everything from Aliens and Scanners to Event Horizon are greased in to maintain a viable interest factor, a shame because the low budget is never an issue as the debut director shows a keen eye for atmosphere setting.

The facility that the characters find themselves in, as they fight for survival, is splendidly awash with a futuristic metallic sheen. While claustrophobia, as the title suggests, is one of the key character's of the piece. Acting is fine, no ham or cheese here, and in spite of the leanings from elsewhere, pic is never dull. It's not one for genre fans to base their evening in by the fire with, but it's just above average and shows Dix to have some potential behind the camera. 6/10

Intruders [DVD]
Intruders [DVD]
Dvd ~ Clive Owen
Price: £3.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hollow Face - Big Heart?, 9 Oct 2014
This review is from: Intruders [DVD] (DVD)
Two children, one in Spain, the other in England, are experiencing terrifying visits by the same demon who wants to possess them. The only viable link is that both children are writing a story...

A joint Spanish/English language production, Intruders is the sort of frustrating picture that has big and bold ideas on the page, but sadly on the screen in unfolds laboriously as it bites off more than it can chew. It came as no surprise to myself to find that upon opening internet sites frequented by horror fans, Intruders has greatly disappointed them. It's rarely frightening, sags desperately in the middle section, the pay off is weak, and ultimately it only skirts the boundaries of being a "horror" film.

So, the lack of shocks and suspense in bona fide horror terms needs to be tempered with genre expectation levels, this is more a family drama with fantastical horror elements lurking around the edges of the frame. This of course doesn't help anyone, like myself, who has bought into plot synopsis and the marketing strategy that accompanied the picture, but if able to see past the faceless demon that appears occasionally and promises something else? There's a decent and honest adult film pulsing away here.

Clive Owen plays the troubled father of the piece and he once again, as he did in Trust, shows that given this type of material he can deliver a performance of emotional substance. He's backed up by a very strong turn from young Ella Purnell as his daughter, and with the tech credits high - most notably Roque Baños' superb musical score - there is much to enjoy here. But as thoughtful as it is, and as solid as the film makers credentials are, it's reputation is unlikely to be enhanced anytime soon. 6.5/10

Christine [DVD] [1983] [2005]
Christine [DVD] [1983] [2005]
Dvd ~ Keith Gordon
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £21.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Strawberry Girl, She’s Plymouth Fury. CQB 241., 6 Oct 2014
Christine is directed by John Carpenter and adapted to screenplay by Bill Phillips from the novel of the same name written by Stephen King. It stars Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul, Robert Prosky and Harry Dean Stanton. Music is by Carpenter and Alan Howarth and cinematography is by Donald M. Morgan.

How Do You Kill Something That Can’t Possibly Be Alive?

1983 was a busy year for Stephen King adaptations to the screen, along with Christine there was also Cujo and The Dead Zone, so for fans of the legendary author there was plenty to chew on. Christine tells the story of a possessed car that takes over the life of the school nerd, with devastating consequences. As a story that’s pretty much all there is to it, the beauty of the pic is how Carpenter ensures the car really does have a malevolent life of its own. The theme at work such as automobile obsession and the bonkers love story at the narrative heart, are not sacrificed for cheap shocks and gimmickry, but Carpenter rightly made the car the star and she doesn’t disappoint.

Christine’s move from being a knackered old banger to super shiny speedster runs concurrent with Arnie Cunningham’s (Gordon) transformation. Where once was the misfit being bullied, is now a supremely confident dude, he even dates one of the school babes. But with Christine’s love and protection comes great danger, and this lets Carpenter craft some super scenes. From self healing to fiery vengeance, the director brings his lensing skills to the party. Music, unsurprisingly for Carpenter, plays a key part as well. A ream of 50s Rock “n” Roll tunes play out of Christine’s radio to align with what is unfolding on screen, while the score is distinctly Carpenteresque.

Cast are very good in their efforts, though more of the wonderful H. D. Stanton should have been a requisite. Unfortunately the screenplay doesn’t afford many character instances to run smoothly, it sometimes feels like the studio demanded that Carpenter hurry up to the next Christine is evil scene instead of building the character bridges! However, it’s a film that may be undeniably 80s in tone of film making, but it has aged surprisingly well. Suspenseful, exciting and devilishly playful, this is another Carpenter movie worthy of re-evaluation. 8/10

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