Digital Review: The Dark Tapes (2017)

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Distributor: Epic Pictures (US)/Thunder Road Inc. (UK)

Directors: Michael McQuown & Vincent J. Guastini

Starring: Emilia Ares Zoryan, Danielle Baez, Katelyn Bailey, David Banks, Jonathan Biver, Layne Castro, Sara Castro, Heather Compton, Michael Cotter, Sherry Dargahi, Trey Everett, Denise Faro, Brittany Fisheli, Jo Galloway, Mary Rachel Gardner

The latest entry into the found footage game, The Dark Tapes, was written by Michael McQuown and directed by McQuown and Vincent J. Guastini and the one unique thing this movie has going for it is that it is also an anthology. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of found footage and anthology movies so this ticks two of my favorites boxes. Wraparound stories can be essential to the movie and can be funny like in Body Bags or of a more serious nature like in Continue reading

Digital Review: Beyond The Gates (2016)

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Beyond The Gates PosterDistributor: Precision Pictures

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Jackson Stewart

Starring: Graham Skipper, Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Barbara Crampton, Matt Mercer, Justin Welborn

Authentic retro-style filmmaking is difficult to achieve but when you can find the sweet spot it pays off dividends for the audience. Well-executed examples include House of the Devil, Lost After Dark and the Netflix original series Stranger Things. Beyond the Gates starts out on the retro note but is this just some opening notes or can we add this film as another example of a retro film done well?

Beyond the Gates was directed by Jackson Stewart, co-written by Stewart and Stephen Scarlata and stars the lovely Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator/From Beyond) and Brea Grant (Halloween II), along with Graham Skipper (The Mind’s Eye) and Chase Williamson (The Guest). It got Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Baron Blood (1972)

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Baron Blood BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 18

Director: Mario Bava

Starring: Joseph Cotten, Elke Sommer, Massimo Girotti, Antonio Cantafora, Rada Rassimov

Baron Blood was originally released in 1972 and saw Italian horror maestro Mario Bava return to the atmospheric Gothic style that he had pioneered in 1960 with Black Sunday. The dozen years in between the two films had seen horror movies move from the stately grandeur of Bava’s creative vision and the equally enticing Gothic terror of Hammer Studio’s output to a more contemporary styling that notable films such as Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby and Night of the Living Dead would come to represent. In doing so, horror films had gotten gorier, sexier and were appealing to a younger audience who weren’t concerned with Victorian monsters or sci-fi aliens, and Baron Blood was Bava’s attempt to revamp his tried and tested formula in a modern setting.

Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) returns to his ancestral hometown in Austria and visits the castle that belonged to his distant ancestor Baron Otto Von Kleist (Joseph Cotten – Citizen Kane), otherwise known as Baron Blood. The Baron had been something of a tyrant in his time and used to torture and hang his victims from the castle’s tower for the whole village to see. A curse had been placed on the Baron by Continue reading

DVD Review: The Quiet Ones (2014)

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The Quiet Ones DVD CoverDistributor: Lionsgate

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: John Pogue

Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Olivia Cooke, Laurie Calvert

If, like me, you are of a certain age and your body is advancing in years way ahead of your mental state, there is a certain joy in seeing the Hammer logo flashing across the screen in blood-red letters before the start of a film. Whilst not always a guarantee of a great film per se it is at least a brand name that you can trust to entertain you, a name that tells you before the opening credits roll that this is a film that is going to give you certain things – creepy Gothic settings, supernatural monsters, swashbuckling heroes, buxom wenches and so on – and since the Hammer name was resurrected during the last Continue reading

DVD Review: My Amityville Horror (2013)

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My Amityville Horror DVD CoverDistributor: IFC Films

MPAA Classification: Not Rated

Director: Eric Walter

Starring: Daniel Lutz, Susan Bartell, Laura DiDio, Lorraine Warren, Peter Jordan

In 1977 author Jay Anson wrote a book called The Amityville Horror: A True Story and somewhere around 1978-79 I picked the book up and to this day this has been the only book to scare the shit out of me. Maybe it was my age at the time, or maybe it was the tag line of ‘A True Story’ I am not sure but I know it took me years to get over this tale.

In December 1975 the Lutz family purchased a house on 112 Ocean Ave in Amityville, NY, and 28 days later they fled the house claiming that evil spirits physically and emotionally abused them. This tale has spawned books, websites, a movie in 1979 and, of course, the Continue reading