In Flames

In Flames (2023)

In Flames had its UK première at the Glasgow Film Festival 2024 In Flames opens with both violence and exclusion, as ten-year-old girl Mariam (Leena Bagheri) peeks through the crack of a door at a muffled, impressionistic fracas within, before having the door brusquely closed on her to the accompaniment of a whistling sound.  “Some…

Hood Witch

Hood Witch (Rokya) (2023)

Hood Witch had its UK première on Saturday 28th Oct at the Halloween FrightFest The original French title of Saïd Belktibia’s feature debut is Rokya, which is the word for an officially sanctioned kind of Islamic spiritual healing and exorcism, while its English title is Hood Witch, which suggests TheHoodWitch.com,  a popuIar one-stop website catering…

Mid-Century

Mid-Century (2022)

Sonja O’Hara’s Mid-Century opens in the era of its title – 1963, to be precise –  with a montage of well-dressed housewives cleaning in their homes. The setting is the suburbia of (fictional) Mandarin, California, whose houses, designed by local architect Frederick Banner (Stephen Lang) in the late Fifties, are the aspirational envy of the…

Poundcake

Poundcake (2023)

Poundcake had its international première on Fri 25 Aug at FrightFest Someone is terrorising the streets of contemporary New York City. Like Jason Voorhees, (who notoriously visited Manhattan), Michael Myers, or Leatherface, this pattern killer comes with his own iconic headgear (a gimp mask) and weapon (chain). Still, far from slicing up young co-eds, or…

Daughter

Daughter (2022)

Daughter first published by SciFiNow “I want you to understand something. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want any harm to come to you at all – but if it comes to it, you will be harmed.” The speaker is Father (Casper Van Dien, in a career-best performance), and his immediate audience (Vivien…

Crazy Mama

Crazy Mama (1975)

Crazy Mama first published by Little White Lies, as entry 155 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “You ladies are dangerous. This is America.”  The speaker is landlord Mr Albertson (Jim Backus), surprised to see, as he evicts Melba Stokes (Cloris Leachman) and her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) for failing to meet rent on their hair…

The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future

The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future (2022)

Francisca Alegria’s feature debut The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future (La vaca que cantó una canción hacia el futuro) begins with both nature, and with its contradictions. To the accompaniment of a fly’s audible buzzing and birdsong, a dead rat is seen lying on a bed of fallen, browned leaves. Growing from…

Shadow in the Cloud

Shadow in the Cloud (2020)

Shadow in the Cloud first published by VODzilla.co Roseanne Liang’s Shadow in the Cloud begins with a wartime information cartoon. Snoozing and drinking when he should be doing maintenance work on a plane, an airman blames his carelessness – and the ensuing damage done to the plane – on a gremlin (visualised as a precursor…

Luz the Flower of Evil

Luz: The Flower of Evil (aka Luz) (2019)

Luz: The Flower of Evil first published by Little White Lies The prologue to writer/director Juan Diego Escobar Alzate’s Luz: The Flower of Evil (aka Luz, though not this one) is an impressionistic kaleidoscope of scenes from a woodland property. We see piles of timber by the foundations of a new house, a hecatomb of…

The Family

The Family (2021)

The Family has its European première at the Easter Grimmfest, 2022 “How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?”, goes the text that opens The Family. It is a quote from the section in Plato’s Republic on the Allegory of the Cave, advertising that what follows…

The Pink Cloud

The Pink Cloud (A Nuvem Rosa) (2021)

“This film was written in 2017 and shot in 2019,” reads the pink-on-black Portuguese text that opens writer/director Iuli Gerbase’s feature debut The Pink Cloud (A Nuvem Rosa). “Any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental.” No further elaboration is required to determine which actual events the film might be imagined to resemble – for…