Jason X – Day 30 – 31 Days of Halloween

Jason X – Day 30 – 31 Days of Halloween

Jason in Space. 

And it works beautifully. Tongue firmly in cheeck but with awesome kills (check out the liquid nitrogen death). Theres also the small bugs that help things to heal super quick, Uber Jason, the female android, the cameo by David Cronenberg… Lots to like.


Friday fans seem to hate this film. They’re the same as the Halloween fans who hate Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. Idiots basically. I’m so glad I’m right about such things 🙂

4 out of 5

The Forest (1982) – Day 21 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Forest (1982) – Day 21 – 31 Days of Halloween

I first saw this when I lived in Sydney, Australia. There was a great video store there called Dr What. Instead of replacing old titles with newer movies they just add to their collection. This is more like a movie archive than a video shop.

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And so I saw this entertaining, offbeat and lurid horror movie when it had long become out of print.

Dr Whats

A group of four city folk decide to go camping in them there woods. They quickly realise that things aren’t as they should be. A killer is hunting them for food (isn’t KFC just easier?) and the ghosts of firstly his dead children appear to the campers to warn them (you can tell theres something strange about them as their voices sound like they’re speaking in an echo chamber) and then the ghost of his dead wife.

The idea of these apparitions appearing to guide the living and warn them of the killers presence is a novel idea and very effective. ‘Where is he know?!’ asks one of the campers. ‘Right behind you!’ replies the children with relish. And they’re right!


It appears that the killer bumped off his wife after catching her in the sack with another man. The flashback fight scene between these two men has to be seen to be believed. Kinetic and deranged are two words that just don’t do it justice.


The fact that Killer Dad explains this backstory to two of the campers is reminiscent of an early Scooby Doo episode. But with actual ghosts rather than a janitor wearing a rubber mask resplendent with flourescent paint. Oh, and if there were throat slashings.


And add to that a doom laden 80s score which includes a few unintentionally funny pop ditties and you have the recipe for a great movie.

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Off kilter, quirky and full of character. Check it out. 3 out 0f 5

Death Line (1972) – Day 20 – 31 Days of Halloween

Death Line (1972) – Day 20 – 31 Days of Halloween

A film set in London Underground. A cannibal is the last of a generation of cannibals who live in the tunnels of Russell Square tube station. He hunts for food ie passengers as the late night trains are running.

Death Line was renamed ‘Raw Meat’ in America

This film is obviously based on the supposedly true story of Sawney Beane and his family- a cannibal who lived in a cave in 19th century Glasgow.


This film depicts 70s London beautifully. Theres a gorgeous opening sequence of a supposedly respectable gentleman frequenting the swinging seedy strip shows of Soho.

The setting of the underground of London is also very evocative. I know all too well how scary a deserted underground station can be when waiting for the last tube home. Thank God for the 24 hour tube.

Donald Pleasence stars as a hard bitten police detective. But hes too lovable to be truly nasty. Hes like a more affable version of Jack Regan from The Sweeney.

Jack Regan Lite

The character of the cannibal actually evokes a great deal of sympathy from the audience. Yes he hunts people for food but you get the feeling hes just trying to survive like everyone else in the Big Smoke. He can’t speak except for the words ‘Mind The Doors.’ Oh, bless.

This is a quirky 70s British horror gem that captures a time in London history which makes it an amazing time capsule. Its story needed fleshing out a bit more though (pun not intended).

3 out of 5

The Omen (1976) – Day 18 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Omen (1976) – Day 18 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Omen aka Donald Trump: The Childhood Years

An American diplomat adopts an orphaned child whose mother died at birth unbeknowst to his wife who has just given birth to their (supposedly) stillborn son. Their new child however is the Antichrist. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding.


This film is perfect in many ways. Direction, cast, cinematography, music, screenplay. If ever it feels like the movie could curdle into camp it then reins itself in. The scariest horror movies deal with the huge conflict between good and evil. Us mere mortals are in no position to scoff or deride such things. This is one of the many reasons why this movie is so bonechilling.

Whilst I could name all of the performances I love in this film I would just be reciting the entire cast list. My favourite performance? Damian himself. He says very little but his performance is flawless. And watch for his facial expression at the very end of the movie when hes looking directly at the audience. 


The Antichrist is adopted into the world of politics. Makes you think doesn’t it?
4 out of 5 

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) -Day 17 – 31 Days of Halloween

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) -Day 17 – 31 Days of Halloween

One of the few Dario Argento films I haven’t seen. Until now that is.

And what a treat! A rock drummer notices that hes being watched by a mysterious stranger. He confronts this person in an abandoned opera house and after disarming him of a knife accidentally stabs him. This is all witnessed a photographed by an onlooker who wears a very unsettling dolls mask.


Cue many twists, turns and red herrings.

Even by giallos standards this is an amazing film- gorgeous locations, imaginative cinematography, brilliant quirky characters and last but not least, Bud Spencer is in this film. Bud Fucking Spencer! Whats not to like?


Another thing I love about this is that one of the characters is gay, camp and proud of it. Not once is he depicted as subhuman, deviant or somehow inferior. That means a lot- especially to a gay film critic. If Argento could imbue gay characters with some kind of dignity in 1971, why couldn’t Martin Scorsese recently in Wolf of Wall Street? Dario- loving your work.

I watched this on Shameless Entertainment’s Bluray release. Highly recommended- it does the film a real justice.

4.5 out of 5

The Evil Dead (1981) – Day 16 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Evil Dead (1981) – Day 16 – 31 Days of Halloween

This movie is just as infamous for the furore surrounding the film as it is for the actual content.

I grew up in the midst of the Videos Nasties storm in a teacup in which the Tory government led by Herr Thatcher thought that the commoners who watched certain horror movies would grab a chainsaw and start the Tring Chain Saw Massacre.

This movie was dubbed Video Nasty Number 1 by Christian busybody and all round philistine Mary Whitehouse (even though she admitted she hadn’t seen the film from start to finish) and referred to it as if Satan himself had made a low budget horror movie and released it on video. The film would be placed on the infamous DPP list and banned.

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Herr Thatcher’s equivalent of book-burning

Was it as bad as this- a horror film to end all horror films? A film that can corrupt a nations viewers and instigate a countrywide bloodbath?

The answer is- of course not. But it is a brilliantly inventive horror which oozes intelligence, charisma and knowledge of film in general.

There are horrific sequences within the film to prove the points made by the country’s self appointed moral guardians. One such is the forest rape scene. This sequence feels like something from a really perverted Japanese horror movie. Its horrific, repellent and surreal all in equal measures. Apparently Raimi feels that this scene now sticks like a sore thumb and would never have shot it with hindsight.

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The precursor to the infamous forest rape scene

But theres a lot more to this complex movie. Its reference points are far reaching and reach beyond just the horror genre.

The film starts out innocently enough- a trip to a cabin in the woods by a group of unremarkable teenagers. But then things start to go awry and with the forest rape and the game of ‘Guess The Card’ things go completely insane. In this respect the film is like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre- a well worn storyline is suddenly massively subverted. In fact the scene in which Scott sees all of the animal bones hanging from the cabins rafters on entering the property was a direct reference to this movie. Another point of reference is that like TCM the hero is left battered, bruised and bloodied at the end of the film.

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Ash- battered, bruised and bloodied. Notice the clock motif behind him

There is also a torn Hills Have Eyes poster in the cellar- this was a reference to the torn Jaws poster in the Winnebago in Hills. The Evil Dead is also watched by Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street also.

Theres a real sense of disorientation in this film for the characters and the audience. Any sense of time or space in the ordinary world is jettisoned. The clocks stopping, running backwards or the sounds they make being exaggerated is one sign of this.

In fact, sound is exaggerated and altered within the film as a whole. The overhead scene in which the camera pans across the rafters of the cabin whilst Ash prowls around below is a great example of this. Where there should be silence and logic there is instead the nonsensical and bizarre.

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Logic is jettison to be replaced by the illogical and bizarre

Another aspect of the film’s sound is that it must be one of the loudest films I’ve ever seen. Just as the violence and horror is graphic, exaggerated and cartoon like then so is the sound. Screams and sound effects are turned up to 11. I once watched the film in a cinema after it had been released in THX. The volume for the screening had been cranked up to such a degree that audience members were covering their ears at some points. One such scene was where the possessed Shelly is stabbed in the back with the kandarian dagger- the level of the screeching is something to experience especially in a cinema.

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Shelly is stabbed in the back- literally. Are my ears bleeding?

However, whilst Mary Whitehouse would have Daily Mail readers believe that this film is evil incarnate, Raimi’s tongue was firmly in cheek when he made this. The violence is slapstick and colourful (its not just blood that is emitted but what looks like milk, paint and green bile) in nature, like a cross between a Tex Avery cartoon and an E.C. Comic. Your average filmgoer will realise this, your genre fan will lap it up with a spoon. The filmmakers are trying to gross out their audience but whilst they are also carried along with the film’s slapstick sensibility. A pipe rupturing and pouring out shitloads of blood into Ash’s face is the film’s equivalent to a custard pie in the mush. Maybe if Mary Whitehouse had watched the entire film she might have surmised this. But then again she seemed to hate other people’s pleasure so she would probably still have been outraged.

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Got milk?

The film’s camerawork is also noteworthy. The first person use of the camera to convey the evil presence lurking in the woods is genius and brilliantly effective. The film is full of examples of camera trickery to take the audience on a disorienting ride that feels groundbreaking and never showy. This film’s strength lies in the inventiveness of the filmmakers. Take note Hollywood- innovation and ideas are always better then throwing a huge budget at a project to make a mediocre piece of shit.

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The Evil Dead is now firmly ensconced on lists of critic’s lists of the best horror films ever made. And it deserves it. It continues to influence filmmakers today and is forever being referenced.

Now if only Sam Raimi would release Within The Woods karma would be complete for us Deadheads.

The film was eventually legalised in the UK. Mary Whitehouse died. Karmas a bitch.

5 out of 5