Zombi

Zombi Child (2019)

Zombi Child first published by VODzilla.co Long-distance relationships are at the heart of Bertrand Bonello‘s Zombi Child. There is Fanny (Louise Labeque), teenaged pupil at an élite Parisian boarding school for girls, who expresses her love and longing for absent boyfriend Pablo (Sayyid El Alami) through erotic text messages whose words regularly punctuate the film…

Gehenna

Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016)

Gehenna: Where Death Lives first published by SciFiNow Opening both with a Biblical quote (Matthew 18:9) in which the place name ‘Gehenna’ is used to denote a cursed hell, and with a horrific sequence set in 1670 Saipan, the plot of Gehenna: Where Death Lives is overdetermined by both theological and historical concerns. It unfolds…

Nightingale

The Nightingale (2018)

Rape-revenge is a powerful mythic structure. Through its apparently elegant binary simplicity any number of messy polarities (although most typically those of gender inequality) can be both framed and complicated. Part of what muddies these waters is the viewer’s awareness of the twinned, if not quite symmetrical, wrongness of both sides of the equation: rape…

Express

Horror Express (Pánico en el Transiberiano) (1972)

Horror Express first publsihed by Little White Lies, as the part 75 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column The novella Who Goes There?, published in 1934 by John W. Campbell Jr. under his pen name Don A. Stewart, has left a considerable mark on cinema. First there was Christian Nyby’s loose adaptation The Thing From Another…

Ferox

Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Cannibal Ferox first published by Little White Lies, as the 63rd entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Once upon a time, in the Seventies and Eighties, there was a boom in cannibal films. These were mostly cheap Italian productions, although they sometimes boasted international casts, and were often shot in Asia or South America. Born…

Housemaid

The Housemaid (Cô Hâu Gái) (2016)

The Housemaid (Cô Hâu Gái) first published by VODzilla.co Derek Nguyen’s feature debut The Housemaid (Cô Hâu Gái) is set in 1953, one year before the First Indochina War would end with rural insurgents, backed by the Chinese military, driving the French out of Vietnam. After finding her French master, Captain Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud),…

Killing

Killing Ground (2016)

Killing Ground first published by SciFiNow “Salvation, 11 letters? Second letter, e”, asks Sam (Harriet Dyer), doing the crossword in the car as her boyfriend Ian (Ian Meadows) drives through the Australian bush. They are en route to spend New Year’s Eve at Gungilee Falls Creek, a secluded, idyllic spot where Ian had camped as a…

Wekufe

Wekufe (2016)

Wekufe opens first with a bearded interviewee discussing the corporate exploitation and cultural pauperisation of Chile’s indigenous population. This is followed by text (cited from Alonso de Ovelle, a 17th century Jesuit chronicler of Chile) about ‘wekufe’, or ‘evil’, as a concept introduced to the Mapuche by Spanish Christians. All of which is to say…

Wind

Wind Walkers (2015)

First published by TheHorrorShow “They invaded our home and brought us viruses that we could not survive. That took the spirit of the people. And now we are doing the same thing in other lands to other people. Our own young men have forgotten the stories. They fight, they kill, in places where they don’t…

Toomelah (2011)

Review first published by EyeforFilm Whenever 10-year-old Daniel (Daniel Connors) is asked, “Where you been?” or “Where you going?”, his response is always the same: “Nowhere.” This question-and-answer mantra, frequently repeated in Ivan Sen’s film, comes to resemble a catechism of community nihilism and despair. The community, as the title suggests, is Toomelah, in the…