Antichrist

Antichrist (2009)

Antichrist first published by Film4 Summary: Maverick Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier tells a traumatic tale of mental and marital breakdown in the deep, dark woods. Review: “There is nothing atypical about your grief”, declares an unnamed cognitive therapist (Willem Dafoe) to an unnamed patient (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who also happens to be his wife, and whose grief is,…

Awakening

The Awakening (2011)

The Awakening first published by Little White Lies “This is a time for ghosts,” states the text that opens Nick Murphy’s The Awakening. The time is 1921, shortly after war and influenza had killed many millions, and left survivors haunted. Yet the text is a citation (complete with authenticating bibliographical reference) from the book Seeing Through Ghosts…

Beast

Beast (2017)

Beast first published by RealCrime Magazine “You’ve got blood on your hands,” Moll (Jessie Buckley) tells Pascal (Johnny Flynn). They have just met, as he, toting a hunting rifle, has rescued her from being date-raped by a pickup from the nightclub. The blood, as Pascal points out, is from the rabbit that he just poached –…

Straight

Straight On Till Morning (1972)

Straight On Till Morning first published by Little White Lies, as the 50th entry in my Cinema Pyschotronicum column “You bloody maniac, what do you think you’re doing!”, yells a woman (Katya Wyeth) at Peter (Shane Briant) as he almost runs her down with his convertible in the streets of Earl’s Court. Only minutes earlier, Peter,…

Grave

Grave Encounters (2011)

Grave Encounters first published by VODzilla.co The lessons of the ultra-low-budget, extremely profitable The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Paranormal Activity (2007) were clear: by revitalising the ‘found footage’ format, with its uncannily self-authenticating ‘reality effects’, in this new age of light digital cameras, budding genre filmmakers could craft horror for very little money, and with…

Brooklyn

Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher Film (2016)

Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher Film first published by SciFiNow Like many a slasher, Psychotic! opens with an extended POV shot, as the killer first ogles Shannon (Rachel Laforest) through her window, and then enters the apartment with knife raised. Yet the would-be assailant is interrupted by the arrival of party guests, and reduced to hiding (like…

Initiation

The Initiation (1984)

The Initiation first published by VODzilla.co By 1984, the slasher was already entering the moribund stages of overrepresentation in the horror market – which is why the arrival of a certain, unusually talkative, Elm Street-based antagonist was as welcome as it was necessary for this subgenre’s renewal. Yet Freddy Krueger was not the only slasher that…

Tails

The Cat O’ Nine Tails (1971)

The Cat O’ Nine Tails first published by Little White Lies, as entry 49 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column The Cat O’ Nine Tails (Il Gatto a Nove Code) is director Dario Argento’s second feature, and the middle film in his so-called ‘Animal Trilogy’ (coming between 1970’s The Bird With The Crystal Plumage and 1971’s Four…

Blue

Blue My Mind (2017)

Blue My Mind first published by SciFiNow It opens with a little red-haired girl on a rocky beach looking out to sea. Later we see that same girl Mia (Luna Wedler), now a teenager, in the new apartment (still visibly under construction) where she has just moved with her parents. And we see her frequently on…

Made

American Made (2017)

American Made first published by RealCrime Magazine American Made claims to be “based on a true story”, but the life and death of Adler ‘Barry’ Seal are mired in all manner of controversy and conspiracy theory. According to the film, he was a cigar-smuggling TWA pilot recruited by the CIA in 1978 first to fly reconnaissance…

Live

Live By Night (2016)

Live By Night first published by RealCrime Magazine Boston, 1926. Irish-American Great War Veteran Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) is breaking bad: having determined never again to serve anyone but himself, he runs a small stick-up operation, to the horror of his policeman father (Brendan Gleeson). A romantic entanglement sees him caught in a turf war between…