1990. Directed by Clive Barker 

Clive Barker delivers a film version of his fantasy horror novella 'Cabal' and does so with great flamboyant, inventive effect and some quite startling visuals. Barker came onto the scene and reinjected the whole shambling cinematic fiasco with a little extra something, here is such an example.

Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) is a young man who is being haunted by dreams of Midian, a city where the outcasts and unwanted are sent, a home for monsters of many shapes and many needs.  His girlfriend Lori Winston (Anne Bobby) is concerned and so sends him to see the shady Dr Phillip Decker (David Cronenberg), a man we discover is a serial killer and who is also interested in Midian,  Decker tricks Boone into thinking he is responsible for the recent murders. Boone ends up in hospital, meets a real crackpot known as Narcisse (Hugh Ross) who knows the whereabouts of the dream destination.  As matters unfold Boone finds himself in the midst of the misshapen and unwanted, Narcisse seems to be in his element. As we learn about the plight of the 'Nightbreed' and become transfixed by their perverse world, Decker is out to wipe out the entire underground hordes whilst assisted by the local police and a drunken priest named Ashberry (Malcolm Smith). The finale is action laden and neatly done with the outcome leaving us wondering if there will be a follow-up - very corned indeed.

With a 30 year gap between viewings the impressions are still the same, this is a decent film that has some stylishly designed monsters and others that are beautifully grotesque.  The pace is fluent and although the acting lacks a certain conviction and the script is a trifle 'banal' this is a film still easily breezed through.



1962. Directed by Jesus Franco. 

A truly favoured film of mine with the dubbed English version and black and white imagery combining to make a creeper to be absorbed in.  The staggering blind henchman is a frightening vision and gives the film a real warped aspect. 

Dr Orloff (Howard Vernon) is the quintessential madman whose facially disfigured daughter is the focus of his work.  Orloff plans to correct his daughters face by using the skin of other women.  Of course, to carry out his dastardly work he needs an assistant, this comes in the shape of the shambling sightless form of Morpho (Ricardo Valle) a man with a violent past and a willingness to do has he is requested.  As women go missing Inspector Tanner (Conrado San Martin), who is engaged to Wanda Bronsky (Diana Lorys), closes in on the killer with Bronsky soon falling foul of the maniac's desires.  A drunken lady by the name of Jeannot Rousseau (Venancio Muro) enters the fray, she gives the Inspector one last chance of dealing with matters and putting a stop to the murder spree.  The macabre and unhinged yarn reaches a climax in the expected way, there is nothing outrageous in store but there doesn't need to be from a tale with great atmosphere and visuals. 

A real treat this, a definite 'lights out' watch with some moments quite mesmerising and singular.  The lighting and general feel of the film help matters but the staggering Morpho is a real unsettling character and one that I shall be catching up with again real soon (only on celluloid though, anything more would be too much to take). 



1982. Directed by Tony Williams 

A very strange and creepy film with a somewhat BBC Ghost Story style and a slow brooding atmosphere.  Something very dark seems to lurk beneath the upper veneer and so holds the viewer’s attention throughout. 

The story revolves around a Linda Stevens (Jacki Kerin) who, after her mother's death, inherits an estate called Montclare that is used for housing elderly people.  A new boarder Mrs. Ryan (Bernadette Gibson) is dropped off by her son Kelvin (Robert Ratti) and from here a certain cinematic peculiarity is found.  A resident is found drowned in a bathtub, Linda uncovers some of her mother's diaries which suggest that she was being watched.  In the weave of the plot are a  Dr. Barton (Alex Scott) and Connie (Gerda Nicolson) who Linda believes are murdering residents.  Also in the mix is Linda's lover Barney (John Jarrett) and a few other dubious characters - what comes is a melting pot of suspicion, murder and family connections revealed with a certain looseness to the plot that confounds and frustrates.  The ending is rather weak and after what seemed to be a chiller with the potential to end on a thrilling zenith, we are left deflated at the last. 

This film has its own character and a certain subtle horror aspect but the pace is staggering at times, the acting not 100% convincing and the thread a little frayed.  It is a neatly delivered effort though and certainly has a troubling aspect but it is certainly not one to watch over and over again.



1988. Directed by Paul Golding 

A film about an aggressive form of electricity that attacks and terrorizes a couple and a young boy in the suburban Los Angeles - what could be more strange and ludicrous than that? 

A resident on a housing estate is seen to crack-up and smash up his home in the middle of the night.  After the house is vacated new residents arrive, namely Bill (Cliff De Young) and Ellen Rockland (Roxanne Hart) and Bill's son from a previous marriage, David (Joey Lawrence).  It isn't long before the Rocklands realise that all is not well within their home, with David almost immediately tuned in to the bizarre atmosphere and odd occurrences.  A TV plays up, a gas leak nearly kills David and when Ellen starts to believe something is amiss, she is trapped inside a shower and given a real scorching experience.  The slow build-up of the film is thrown aside as Bill and David are left to deal with the strange force, the finale is a little tame but rounds off a film that is surprisingly watchable. 

A slow tale that unfolds with good acting along the way, especially from Roxanne Hart who is highly convincing.  This is not an excitement-laden classic but is a film that I kinda enjoyed - rest assured though, it is not as the tagline suggests and 'the ultimate shocker'.



1979 . Directed by Arthur Hiller 

A strange film regarding a plague of vampire bats and the threat of an attack on a small Indian community in  New Mexico.  This is a labored film with some sketchy acting but matters progress well and one or two moments are worth the viewing session.  

Cattle are being mutilated, humans soon come under attack - all victims are drained of blood and local native deputy Youngman Duran (Nick Mancuso) is wondering if the claims of a bitter old man who died promising to end the world are actually coming true. Enter the fray Philip Payne (David Warner), an English scientist who is obsessed with finding and killing colonies of vampire bats.  Payne suspects the bats are responsible for the recent killings, they are infecting all in their path and need to be stopped, as per, this is another film that develops into a race against time with some good end scenes and incessant action.  In the weave is love interest Anne Dillon (Kathryn Harrold), a young medical student who runs a ramshackle clinic on the reservation and who has a thing for Youngman - it is all very predictable.  

Not a bad film, not a great film – at times things are pedestrian, at others the interest factor is heightened – it is what it is with one or tow highs for your pleasure.



1964.  Directed by Don Sharp

A slow-moving British horror film that was shot in just over two weeks and is a strict low budget offering that rises above the lack of financial input and comes across as a quite convincing tale – it is a shame that Lon Chaney has little to do.

A bitter rivalry between the Whitlock family and the Laniers is the main focus of this film, a state of affairs having arisen from the 17th century when the Lanier clan accused Vanessa Whitlock (Yvette Rees) of witchcraft and had her buried alive. Years later and to the present day and Amy Whitlock (Diane Clare) and Todd Lanier (David Weston) are in love but the rift between the families is as intense as ever and after Todd's business partner Bill Lanier (Jack Hedley) is accused of trashing the Whitlock Cemetery by Amy's uncle Morgan Whitlock (Lon Chaney Jr), things seemed beyond the reconciliation point.  From one of the damaged graves arises Vanessa, deaths ensue whilst Morgan and his small coven, who are still practicing the old ways, celebrate the witches return and continue their sinister rituals.  Matters speed along, Amy it seems is under a heavy influence, Morgan is a man obsessed and the 300-year old feud needs to be full stopped - enter the all-consuming flames.

This was a film I had long overlooked and it is one that came as a pleasant surprise.  A solid foundation, some good visuals and a smooth flowing story all make for a flick that is worthy of further scrutiny.  It is always nice to be surprised by an almost forgotten movie, I shall be replaying again sooner, rather than later.



. Directed by Peter Newbrook

The success of many horror films is that they have no fear of trespassing out of bounds and tackling the most outlandish and fantastical themes. Here we see men meddling in death and immortality once again, for a slow movie with a lack of high end action I remained enthralled throughout - I think I have a mental aberration.

Sir Hugo Cunningham (Robert Stephens) is operating for a parapsychology society and photographing people on the brink of death.  The photos reveal a strange smudge, Cunningham is intrigued and after a boating accident during an engagement party, that sees his son and fiancée both drown, further evidence is had and wild assumptions made.  Cunningham believes the smudge is not the soul leaving the body as he first thought, but a strange force known as an 'Asphyx' which comes to take life away. Cunningham continues to come up with his wild theories and with the help his ward Giles Cunningham (Robert Powell) duly captures an Asphyx and achieves immortal life.  Alas all is not a bed of roses and he insists his daughter and Ward both join him so as to atone in some way for the loss of his fiancée and son.  From great promise things go awry, death, faithful love and a final curse are neatly played out with the final scenes rounding off a tidily delivered package.

For a film with no real pace, no great blood-letting and a lack of explosive thrills this one gets by and does so with a certain conviction.  Again, the misdirected scientist has the best of intentions but falls foul at the hands of twisted fate, it is fascinating stuff.



1954. Directed by Richard Carlson

An intriguing sc-fi jaunt with very few highs, minimal special effects and a storyline that is far from remarkable or thrill laden.  The picture does work though and director and actor Carlson does a more than adequate job.

The premise of the film is to improve ones chances of entering space by building a rocket of certain metal alloys that are not prone to degradation in space’s harsh environment.  These alloys are found in a meteors outer shell and so, with Dr Donald Stanton (Herbert Marshall) in charge, the search is on to gather a group of superfit and intelligent spacemen to enter the outer realms and recover a meteorite for further examination.  From a search of thousands and after rigorous tests 4 men are chosen, one quits and so we are left with Stanton’s son Richard (William Lundigan), Dr Jerome Lockwood (Richard Carlson) and Walter Gordon (Robert Karnes) who accept the dangerous assignment and are sent into space in 3 separate rockets. All manner of danger follows, Dr. Jane Flynn (Martha Hyer) gets worked up as things get hairy and her love interest comes under threat and as the mission unfolds it is more than apparent all is not going to plan.

For a film that could be described as ‘lackluster’ I enjoyed this one and took it for was – slow-paced, low budget hokum executed well and neatly finalised. The formula is simple here – if the actors are looking like they believe it, then so does the viewer.



1979. Directed by Antonio Margheriti

Made on location in the city of Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one would think this would be a big budget horror-flick with good effects and plenty of savage attacks that are utterly convincing – not so, what we have is third rate bilge further marred by a duff script and some shocking acting – and yet I still enjoyed it.

A group of thieves led by Robert Lasky (Lee Majors) bag some priceless emeralds and under the orders of the brains behind the operation Paul Diller (James Franciscus), dump the gems in a local reservoir until the heat cools.  The reservoir is laden with a horde of deadly Piranha Fish, put there by Diller who hopes to keep the loot for himself.  Temptation leads to many watery deaths, mistrust and deception are the order of the day and as an aside a photo shoot is going on nearby in the jungle, with model Gabrielle (Margaux Hemingway), director Ann (Marisa Berenson) and  Ollie (Roy Brocksmith) thrown into the general mix amongst others (film fodder for the feeding fish perhaps?).  The film moves along, expectations are fulfilled (in a disappointing way) and come the end the hero wins the day, the baddies gets is and the viewer is left wondering why on earth these films are given time.

Entertaining trash, worth a one-off look and maybe a revisit when the senses have recovered.  A mix of genres and with several recognizable faces and some you hope to never see again – cripes.



1981. Directed by David Cronenberg

A fine sci-fi horror film that has some gory special effects, a good pace and a solid take on the themes of telepathy and telekinetics. 

Dr Paul Ruth (Patrick McGoohan) uses his companies (ConSec) private army to capture the gifted vagrant Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack).  Ruth informs Vale that he is one of 237 super-powered individuals known as ‘scanners’.  He teaches Vale to control his abilities after injecting him with the superdug known as ‘Ephemerol’.  Vale soon learns of Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside), a revolting ‘scanner’ who plans to kill all opposing scanners.  All matter of intrigue ensues, some great effects and a superb showdown after much weaving and some twists and turns.  This is a very solid film and with an iconic head explosion scene, one not to be forgotten anytime soon.

I think McGoohan plays a very convincing role in this and the whole premise is one that works well and keeps the viewer thinking.  The effects aren’t overdone and the flow is adequate – definitely a film to watch on an occasional basis and still be entertained by.


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