Digital Review: The Void (2016)

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The Void PosterDistributor: Signature Entertainment

BBFC Classification: 18

Directors: Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski

Starring: Aaron Poole, Ellen Wong, Art Hindle, Kathleen Munroe, Kenneth Welsh, James Millington, Grace Munro, Stephanie Belding, Mik Byskov, Daniel Fathers

This morning I read an article written by movie director Harrison Smith (Camp Dread/The Fields/Death House) bemoaning the “dumbing down of horror” for moviegoing audiences. I agree with Smith’s assessment, particularly in that horror movies need to make you think; sure, popcorn movies are good but we also need movies that work on another level. If one subscribes to the premise that cinema is art, isn’t that art meant to invoke an emotional response that is unique to the viewer? If we believe this then horror movies should also do the same. By accident, fluke, serendipity or whatever Continue reading

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DVD Review: The Borderlands (2013)

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The Borderlands DVD CoverDistributor: Metrodome Distribution

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Elliot Goldner

Starring: Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Sarah Annis, Lee Arnold, Luke Neal

Oh good, more found footage nonsense set in the British countryside. We need more of them, don’t we? Well, no we don’t but what we do need are ones that actually have more in the way of content rather than the seemingly obligatory two-or-three-people-running-around-in-the-dark-with-a-night-vision-camera-screaming-at-nothing-for-90-minutes, so does The Borderlands offer anything different from what we’ve seen already? Sort of.

Technical engineer Gray (Robin Hill – Kill List) has accepted a job from the Vatican to help investigate a 12th century church in rural Devon. Joining him are world-weary Deacon (Gordon Kennedy – Hacks) and Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991)

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Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge BR CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: David DeCoteau

Starring: Guy Rolfe, Richard Lynch, Ian Abercrombie, Walter Gotell, Sarah Douglas, Aron Eisenberg

The tagline for Puppet Master III reads ‘When Good Puppets Go Bad’ which, if you were cynical, could be an indication of the quality level of the series, especially after the lacklustre second film. In time-honoured franchise tradition, Puppet Master III is a prequel to the first two films that concentrates on puppet maker Toulon and the events that lead up to his suicide which we saw at the beginning of the first film (although the date they established in that film is still different to what it is here).

In Berlin during World War II a scientist named Dr. Hess (Ian Abercrombie – Firewalker) witnesses a puppet show performed by Toulon (Guy Rolfe – Dolls), where the puppets seem to be moving without the aid of strings. Hess has been ordered by Gestapo leader Major Kraus (Richard Lynch – Halloween/Deathsport) to come up with a formula that will reanimate dead soldiers to use as living shields and Hess thinks he has found the answer. However, Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Puppet Master II (1990)

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Puppet Master II BR CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: David Allen

Starring: Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Greg Webb, Nita Talbot

Well, something must have gone right because in 1990 a sequel was released. Directed by special effects supremo David Allen (Ghostbusters II/Bride of Re-Animator), Puppet Master II sees the deadly dolls going to the grave of their master Toulon and reanimating his corpse with the last of the Egyptian magic potion. Skip forward a few months and a new group of parapsychologists ascend on the Bodega Bay Inn to investigate what happened to the Gallaghers, and before long they fall prey to Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman, Tunneler, Jester and new puppet Torch – armed with a flamethrower, of course – as they need human brains so Toulan (Steve Welles) can make more magic potion to keep them alive.

Pretty much a retread of Puppet Master, Puppet Master II is a little less complex on the plot details although it does expand on the Toulon mythology. One of the major differences is in the puppet effects, which are Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Puppet Master (1989)

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Puppet Master BR CoverDistributor: 88 Films

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: David Schmoeller

Starring: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Robin Frates, Barbara Crampton

In Puppet Master we are introduced to Andre Toulon (William Hickey – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), a puppeteer hiding from the Nazis in 1939. Toulon is an alchemist and uses Egyptian magic to bring his ghoulish puppets to life, and just as the Nazis burst in on him he hides his creations in the wall of his room and blows his brains out.

Fast forward 50 years and a group of psychics gather at a clifftop hotel where Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs), one of their colleagues, killed himself after apparently discovering Toulon’s secret of bringing inanimate objects to life. However, as they investigate their friend’s death the group are stalked by the merciless killer dolls who will stop at nothing to try and protect their master’s secrets.

Cheap and cheerful – which really was the idea behind Full Moon Features – Puppet Master was released just in time to catch Continue reading