Happy New Year!

If you're reading this message - and even if you're not reading this message but have visited my blog in the past - thanks so much! Your support means a lot. It means that I can carry on knowing that I'm being read! Feel free to submit any comments, good or bad about anything at all - what you want to see, what you don't want to see, what you don't really care if you see or not - anything.

However, I must warn you that this message represents a sort of farewell. For no longer will I be a short fat bald 38 year old Scottish person living in London. From tomorrow I am going to write in character. From tomorrow my home is an igloo in the barren wastes of some godforsaken arctic (or antarctic) tundra. From tomorrow I am. The Igloo Keeper!


How much you enjoy Son of Dracula depends on how willing you are to accept Lon Chaney in the role of the blood-sucking Count. I’m willing.

A common criticism of Chaney’s performance is that he’s a little too heavy for the role, which I think is a bit harsh. He’s a big man, but he’s not out of shape and his bulk gives Dracula another dimension of menace. So now, not only can he hypnotize you and bite your neck, he can also punch your lights out as well. See the scene where he throws the hapless Frank through a set of thick double doors for proof. Yes, I’m a fan of Chaney's performance in this film and am more than willing to overlook the fact that he doesn’t even try to put an accent on.

The film is set somewhere in The South. Swamp country. In the Bayou, whatever that means. A rich American woman invites the strange Count Alucard over from his homeland in Europe and before any of her friends and family can say “Internet relationships never last” she marries him! You see, she knows that he’s Dracula, and is more than happy to accept a quick bite in exchange for eternal life. In a noir-ish twist however, once bitten (don’t worry I won’t make a ‘twice shy’ pun) she double-crosses Dracula and calls on her ex-boyfriend to ‘Whack Drac’ and stake a claim for her heart (sorry). She needs him to ‘take Dracula out’. Into the sunlight, preferably.

Highlights include Alucard’s sly little look into the camera – right at the audience!!! – before he makes his entrance. And you will also have the pleasure of experiencing one of the eeriest scenes in cinematic history - the first glimpse of the newly undead Louise Albritton, resplendent with a supernatural glow and the merest trace of an unholy smile… it’s a brilliantly acted and directed set-piece. Unforgettable.

You’ll also spot the lovely Evelyn Ankers, who was Larry’s love interest in The Wolf Man.

Here, she plays the good sister, as opposed to her naughty ‘morbid’ sister.

I’ll leave you with one final thought. Is Count Alucard the son of Dracula? Or is it Dracula himself? That, dear reader, would be telling... myoohahaha! Myoohahaahahahaaaa! Myoo...cough!


DEAD SET (2008)

Dead Set was a 5-part TV special here in the UK earlier this year. That’s right – a zombie TV series! It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. Very good in fact. As it’s the season of goodwill I’m going to be nice to it.

Dead Set revolves around the UK version of reality TV show Big Brother. We’ve had Horror movies based around fictional reality TV shows before (My Little Eye, Wrong Turn 2) but this is a real reality one. If you get my drift. And it’s very well observed indeed. The highlight has surely got to be real-life presenter Davina McCall getting killed. Twice. First as a human, then as a zombie. Very satisfying indeed. To be fair to her, she’s a very good zombie. Still a pain in the arse presenter though.

We follow the inhabitants of the Big Brother house as they attempt to survive a class 4 zombie outbreak, and get their heads around the fact that they’re not on TV anymore. The witty script provides lots of laughs throughout, and the zombie make-up - the most important feature of any zombie film in my not so humble opinion - is pretty damn fine.

Weaknesses? Well, there are no real surprises. No twists or turns. Just a fairly linear plot with the usual zombie cliches i.e. the trip for supplies, the heroic journey to find the loved one... all done in a sub-28 Days Later style, with camera-work so jerky that it makes Paul Greengrass look like a paraplegic. And washed-out colour has its place, but I got a colour TV for a reason, ok?

Oh, and one day someone’s going to have the guts to tell Ray Winstone’s daughter that she can’t really act.

Not me though.

But enough with the negative waves, Moriarty! Dead Set is a worthy addition to the zombie genre. And certainly the finest UK Zombie TV series this year. Put it on your list. If you don't have a list, get one.



A great film. Dammit, this SHOULD have been the first in a series of raunchy Captain Kronos escapades!

But it wasn't. That was the plan, but poor box office returns - and the demise of Hammer - put paid to it. So while we have a sequel to the likes of 'The Whole Nine Yards' and 'Miss Congeniality', we only have one Captain Kronos to enjoy. And only one season of 'Firefly', which is another travesty - but back to Kronos...

Captain Kronos himself, played by Horst Janson, is gorgeous. Think James Hunt crossed with a James Hunt lookalike:

If I was female, or just a little bit gayer, I'd shack up with CK at the drop of a hat, and roam around the country with him and his hunchback sidekick Grost. This is exactly what the frankly stunning Caroline Munro does in her role as Carla...

... even though it turns out that Captain Kronos is a bit rough on the shagging front. The memory of having to kill his wife and child when they turned into vampires has made him cold and distant. But let's push such bedtime foibles aside and get down to the business of vampire hunting!

A mysterious shadowy figure is stalking the pretty young girls of some typical Hammer countryside. These innocent young maidens end up drained, wizened and haggard looking. Old, ugly and scary! Time and time again we're shocked as a seemingly lovely young damsel turns to face us and YE GODS! She's turned into a scary old hag! I say 'hats off' to the actresses whose job it is to play these old hags actually. Can't be easy for them, because no doubt some of them were lookers back in the day. Then one fine morning, the call from their agent comes in, saying something like, "So then the audience sees the back of this attractive young maiden, who turns round and - bloody hell, it's horrible! It's you! Everyone screams and shits themselves, it's a great part!"

Back to the story. Kronos and co. arrive to team up with Dr. Marcus, an old friend of Kronos. I say team up, they actually end up killing him when he turns into a vampire. Despite being professional vampire hunters it's quite an inept killing as they stake him, then hang him, then try and set fire to him, before he ends it himself with a crucifix. He obviously got bored of them messing about.

Eventually we're led to the local castle...

Hammer Horror Rule #129: Any murders or supernatural goings on will always be down to the residents of the largest house in the locality.

... where a brother and sister and their haggard old mother come under suspicion. What's more, this family have been seen hanging around the grave of their dear departed father. An expert swordsman. As is Kronos. Wouldn't it be great if we get a swordsman showdown finale?

And we do. It ends with Kronos victorious, and dumping Carla (the swine) with the words, "I'm off to fight evil, wherever it may lurk!". As an aside, I once tried splitting up with an old girlfriend using that exact line and still have a 'J' shaped scar on my chin from where she threw a 'Police Academy 5: Assignement: Miami Beach' video at me. But obviously Kronos has much more style than me, and so he gallops of with Grost, into the distance and onto another great adventure. But not another film, unfortunately. Humbug!



Ah.... Vault of Horror. As comfortable as a favourite pair of slippers. As welcome as a scotch on the rocks from the good lady wife when you return from a hard day at the office. As faithful as an...erm, a faithful dog...

... for this is one of those wonderful Amicus British Horror anthologies from the 70's. Great British actors present include Tom Baker, Terry-Thomas and Denholm Elliot. Denholm Elliot is a fantastic actor and always plays exactly the same part - a shifty guy who has double-crossed someone and is now a nervous wreck, in mortal fear of his life. And who then dies. Brilliant.

It all starts with 5 strangers in a lift. The lift doesn't stop at the ground floor (it would be a rubbish film if it did) but goes onto the sub-basement and traps them in a vault. Handily furnished with comfy chairs and alcohol. The 5 pass the time be swapping stories of recent nightmares... nightmares... nightmares... nightmares...

No spoilers ahead - don't worry, something deep inside me, some ancient law of horror prevents me from even thinking about revealing the ending to these delicious little tales of terror. A brief summary of each then:

Midnight Mess
A most enjoyable opener. The terrific Daniel Massey (very posh. moustache. you'll recognise him) visits a small, deserted town to do away with his sister, the swine! But where are the inhabitants of the town? And what about that charming little restaurant? What is on the menu?

A Neat Job
Wonderful! This one has stayed with me ever since I first saw it aged 8 or 9 back in the day. Terry-Thomas is a stickler for tidiness. Will his wife be able to keep the house tidy enough to meet his expectations? Or will... I've said too much already.

This Trick'll Kill You
A pretty poor third installment. A magician searches for a new trick in India. Why, he's desperate enough to kill for it. And there are no repercussions for him whatsoever...
Only joking. Obviously there are some repercussions.

Bargain in Death
Poor. notable only for the Horror writer's "There's no money in horror!" line and the fact that we see him reading a novelisation of a previous Amicus horror anthology Tales From the Crypt! The plot? He plans an insurance scam that involves him being buried alive. Unwise, as it turns out.

Drawn and Quartered
A classic finale. Tom Baker is the wronged artist who wreaks revenge on his wrongers (try saying that after seven Christmas egg-nogs) with the help of some nifty voodoo that allows him to trash his paintings with horrifying consequences for the person in the drawing. One of the wrongers is Denholm Elliott, who plays a shifty guy who has double-crossed someone and is now a nervous wreck, in mortal fear of his life. And who then dies. He always does.

The tales end and we're back in the vault. The lift door lights up. Time for one final twist, perhaps?



An appalingly obvious choice of film perhaps but don't worry - I'm not hanging around. I wasn't impressed with this so-called classic. The pacing was a bit frustrating, the ending was unsatisfying and... well I just couldn't be arsed with it. That last sentence is quite a good example of why I'm not a film critic. Anyway, as a festive homage to the 3 wise men and 3 shepherds, here's my 3 word review of Black Christmas:

Check. The. Attic!

Merry Christmas everyone!



Gremlins is the perfect Christmas Horror Movie, because it doesn't try too hard to be a Christmas Horror Movie. Santa Claus isn't the psycho, there are no killer snowmen. No - Christmas is just the time of the year in which the sheer bloody HORROR of Gremlins happens to take place.

Does anyone in this day and age need a review of Gremlins? If they do, then to be quite frank they're not the type of person I want reading this blog. So rather than write a review I've done a Top 5. Top 5's are more fun than reviews. Less thinking involved, so expect more from me in the future.


1. GIZMO - Nasty gremlins against a cute little furry thing? 9 times out of 10 I'd surely be on the gremlins side. Except Gizmo turns out to be more than a two dimensional cute character. He's a stand up guy. He's got attitude. He can handle himself despite being drop dead cute. A bit like a furry Robert Downey Jnr...

2. DICK MILLER - Dick Miller makes any film okay.

3. PHOEBE CATES - From personal experience, there are 2 types of women in the world - there are those who laugh in your face and walk off when you ask them out, and there are the ones who say "I'm really sorry, Igloo Keeper but I'm doing something else that night. And every other night." Phoebe is one of the latter. In fact, she'd probably even give me a sympathetic kiss on the cheek. Before she left me forever.

4. THE STAIR-LIFT SCENE - In all honesty this should be number 1 but I'm a bit too embarassed about how hilarious I still find it, God I'm not 14 years old anymore. When my son is old enough to watch this with me I'm going to try an tut disapprovingly all the way through.

5. KATE'S SANTA STORY - Every Comedy Horror needs a hint of genuine darkness. And here it is; "The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus."


Here's a mad Polish poster to enjoy:


I recommend watching this as a double bill with 'Young Frankenstein'. Son of Frankenstein MUST SURELY have been the one Mel Brooks had in mind most when creating his hilarious horror homage - so there are lots of lovely matching moments to look out for; secret compartments, mad assistants, portraits of dead dads, locals with pitchforks, a wooden-armed policeman... to name but a few.

Not to mention some huge, impressive knockers!

Rathbone's turn as Wolf Frankenstein is terrific. Manic, over the top and bloody funny. Watch it and you'll begin to realise that Gene Wilder's performance in Young Frankenstein wasn't all that far-fetched.

And then there's Karloff and Lugosi...

Horror Tip #753: Never hire an assistant called Ygor, Igor or a derivative thereof. It'll end in trouble.

Lugosi has rarely been better in this role as Ygor, the devious, cunning, horrible, smelly (probably) assistant that has an uncanny hold over the monster. It's all in the pipes, you see.

Son of Frankenstein may not top the original 'Frankenstein' or 'Bride', but throw me into a pit of sulphur and call me Ygor if it isn't still great fun. Rathbone is a joy to watch as his deperation takes hold and things descend to something resembling high farce, what with him bolting around his castle with a one-armed policeman hot on his trail. Terrific stuff. Added to the sense of farce is the fact that when Wolf's wife is shouting his name, it sounds like she's shouting "Woof!". Well, it made me laugh anyway...

And it's done in a wonderful setting. The castle looks stunning, all deep shadows and crazy angles. Why, there's not a straight line in the place! Enough to drive anyone mad.

Finally, there's a cheering crowd at the train station, and a happy ending to enjoy - until the train pulls out the station and you think, "Hang on, why aren't they arresting him?". Best not to worry too much about it though. Just sit back enjoy Son of Frankenstein - and those impressive knockers!


DUEL (1971)

Where did it all go wrong Mr. Spielberg? Duel was the last decent film that this little-known Director made before sliding into sentimental mediocrity. You may occasionally catch one of his snooze-fests pop up on a dreary afternoon, but he remains largely forgotten.

The plot is a simple one. Truck chases car.

The guy in the car being chased - the chasee - is Dennis Weaver, looking very 70's indeed (as he does in all the films I've seen him. All 70's films now that I recall, so perhaps not that surprising actually. Forget this bit in brackets).

But why is he being chased? And who's in the truck?

Rather refreshingly, this being the 70's, there are no obvious answers. This was a decade where film-makers didn't find the need to spoon-feed you every ending as if you were brainless idiots. You could argue that there were less brainless idiots about in the 70s I guess, but that's another debate, to be dealt with in another film (my as yet unfinished screenplay of 'Dracula in Space').

Horror rule #754: If the meaning of a horror film is unclear you can always get away with calling it a post 9/11 allegory

In my opinion, Duel is an incredibly prescient post 9/11 allegory. Dennis Weaver is the everyman American, happily and innocently going about his business when all hell is unleashed by a faceless, relentless enemy that just keeps coming and coming...

But maybe I'm reading too much into it (?) Maybe the point of Duel is just to enjoy the ride. Enjoy the scares, the screeches the thrills and the suspense. THE SUSPENSE! This film has buckets of it. And then, as the credits roll I suggest you go "Woah, cool!" in a slightly stoned voice and immediately forget all about it. Because the alternative means thinking about a question that there's no answer to. Which could lead to you spending most of your fruitless life posting ill-thought out missives like "Maybe he's dead!", "Maybe the truck doesn't exist!", "Maybe the truck represents fear itself!", on places like IMDB and other chatrooms and blogs. And what kind of idiot does that?



Calvaire ('The Ordeal' in English) is a French Horror with elements of black comedy that are so black you won't find them funny. Oh, you'll laugh - but just won't know why. This isn't meant to be a criticism, because I think I might just have witnessed a mini-masterpiece...

... unfortunately the interview with the Director on the DVD extras made me even more confused than I was beforehand. He basically talks at 100 miles an hour in a thick French accent about God knows what. So if you think you may just have grasped the meaning of the film, DO NOT be tempted to listen to this interview!

The premise of The Ordeal is this - imagine if you're James Caan's character in Misery. And you've just been 'hobbled' by Cathy Bates. Then imagine that she's not going to be the worst person that you meet that week-end...

... scary thought. But that's the kind of predicament that young Marc finds himself in. It's a standard horror movie opening. His van breaks down. There's a decrepit looking hotel. He stays the night. But will he ever be allowed to leave?

Sounds like a fairly typical start to a fairly typical horror movie. But the Director has other ideas, and takes us on a macabre journey that merges stunning cinematography, imaginative directing, surreal imagery and some disturbed characters. Doing disturbed things.

You might not want to watch The Ordeal more than once, but nevertheless, parts of it will stay with you... I'm never going to forget the song-and-dance scene in the pub (the worst pub in the world, surely) It's horrifying, mystifying and deeply hilarious. And here it is:

Some sort of warped genius could well be at play here. And the acting is terrific. Especially Laurent Lucas who plays the unlucky Marc - he looks like he must have had quite an ordeal* playing the part. If you're ever knocked unconscious, and come round to discover you're wearing a dress and having your hair hacked off by someone who is calling you 'Gloria' (the name of his ex-wife), then you know you're in trouble...

* Sorry, couldn't help myself.



Watch Hellboy 2 and it's almost immediately apparent that it has been made with love, talent and respect by an artist - possibly a genius. The result is a great film that looks amazing.

There you go Hollywood. That’s all it takes – THAT’S ALL! So please, no more Hancocks. Or Van Helsings. Or Daredevils. Or My Super Ex-Girlfriends. Or League of Extraordinary Gentlemens. Or Van Helsings.

I realise I said Van Helsing twice there but I REALLY hate that fecking thing!

Hellboy 2 is great though. Why, I feel giddy with excitement having just watched it. I want to shout it from the roof-tops like the name of my first love! And, unlike my first love, I know that Hellboy 2 will never leave me for the school football captain and tell everyone I have a small penis.

Tell us about the film, pencil-dick! I hear you cry. Fair enough then. Hellboy 2 looks stunning. Jaw-droppingly stunning. The fights are bone-crunchingly spectacular. The humour – and there’s lots of it – is rib-ticklingly funny. The emotional scenes are eye-wateringly sad. Unfortunately, Luke Goss is mind-numbingly awful…

Only joking Luke! Actually, Luke’s fine. However, he’ll always be Luke from Bros to most of us British viewers of a certain age.

So there you have it. Best movie of the year. Hellboy would beat The Dark Knight in a fight easy-peasy. Roll on Hellboy 3.



Peeping Tom has quite a history, of course. Famously reviled upon its release, it became almost impossible for its legendary director Michael Powell (Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death) to ever work 'pon these shores again. Yep, people really disliked it.

Now of course, its rightly hailed as a classic by the like of Scorsese. And me. For Peeping Tom is a complex, nasty little piece of work that really does get under your skin. This is in no small part due to Karlheinz Bohm's portrayal of Mark, The Peeping Tom of the title, who has serious issues. Like the fact that his father used to manipulate his levels of fright and fear and film them for posterity. This is not the kind of thing you'll ever read about in good parenting manuals. And with good reason, because it certainly didn't helped Mark become a fully rounded adult.

In fact, he's far from fully rounded. Think Frank Spencer crossed with Norman Bates. With a German accent. Doesn't get much frightening than that does it?

"Muzzer! Blood! Blood!"

Throughout Peeping Tom we, the audience, are permitted to follow Mark on his murderous excursions, which are filmed first hand for his 'masterpiece'. By doing so, the movie asks questions about screen violence and the audience role as voyeur, that seem to be more pertinent now (with beheadings free to download for all) than ever before.

Peeping Tom was promptly branded as 'sick' and 'vile' upon its release, and shelved after a limited run. And it wasn't until almost 20 years later that it was rescued by a new wave of film-makers, Scorsese included. Unfortunately, a lot of previously cut material is now lost forever. Yet Patch Adams remains available in its entirety. go figure.



Unfortunately Zombie Strippers slips over into the realms of good taste a couple of times - but apart from that, it's a riot!

Zombies and strippers - my two favourite things, and since a court order currently prohibits me from being within 150 yards of either, I was looking forward to this movie more than well, someone looking forward to something that they're really looking forward to. And I loved it. My 14-year old self would have loved it even more, but there's not a lot I can do about that.

Zombie Strippers stars Jenna Jameson. Never heard of her. Who is she? I don't watch porn. Who mentioned porn? She's fine in this, and certainly gives it her all - as she does in her many porn films. Erm, I would imagine...

We also have everyone's favourite modern horror stalwart Robert Englund, doing a marvellously camp turn as the strip club owner...

...and generally, everyone is seen to be having a lot of fun with a script that contains some genuine wit and occasionally, intelligence. Yep, seriously! This film isn't as bad or as stupid as it would have you believe, and occasionally it reveals itself (little pun on the stripper motif there )with some rather poetic dialogue. And even some pretty successful attempts at political satire...

...but if you don't care for the sound of all that nonsense, fear not. It won't be long until the scene of Jenna Jameson firing pool balls out of her, her YOU KNOW, and killing a hapless punter. Now that's what I paid to see!

The trailer:


More photos of Letchmore Heath - Village of the Damned!

Just thought I'd let you know that I have managed to dig out more photos of my village to Letchmore Heath - the filming location for the 1960 classic 'Village of the Damned', and have added them to my original post which you can find here. If you're interested. Enjoy!



Some Americans travelling in Europe are forced to spend the night with some locals. This results in them being drugged, assaulted and kidnapped for the benefit of an elite club. The movie ends with someone being skinned alive for our viewing pleasure.

Yes, that’s right gentle reader – more than 80 years before ‘Hostel’ appeared, ‘The Black Cat’ was titillating and horrifying audiences with what can only be described as Torture Porn. So it turns that Eli Roth may not be responsible for the decay of western civilisation’s morals after all – who would have thunk it?

The Black Cat is a horrifying, terrificaly twisted little Poe tale where we’re treated to Karloff and Lugosi squaring off against each other, without monster make-up for a change(although Karloff does appear to have been a bit heavy handed with the mascara brush).

Lugosi brings real depth to a complex character bent on revenge, struggling to maintain his sanity, but also fundamentally a good man. Karloff’s character, on the other had, is a complete bastard.

The scene where they play chess for the right of the innocent heroine, as her newly-wed hubby watches blissfully unaware, is loaded with tension. The dynamite hidden under the foundations of the house is loaded with tension too…

We then proceed to some devil-worshipping shenanigans, where Karloff gets all diabolical on an altar in front of a crowd of ardent followers (where did they come from?)...

At the risk of spoiling the ending, I'll just say that the hero and heroine manage to escape certain doom and are last seen on a train, speeding to safety (another similarity with 'Hostel', of course). And in case you hadn't guessed, the reference to loads of dynamite being buried under the house has an impact.

Horror Rule #465: All great Horror movies end with an exploding or burning house.



Bruce Campbell saves the world. There, what more do you want?

If you DO want something else well, chances are, you won’t find it in Alien Apocalypse. It’s not so much a ‘B’ movie as a ‘Z’ movie (made for the Sci-Fi TV Channel). There isn’t much evidence of a budget on display anywhere, from the laughable false beards to the crappy special effects to the badly dubbed Bulgarian extras…

But bugger me, it’s a lot of fun. Of course it is – it has Bruce Campbell. Saving the world! Get into the right frame of mind (turn it off) and there are a lot of laughs to be had here, including some great lines from Bruce, delivered in his own inimitable style – which leads to one of the funniest summary executions I’ve ever seen on film.

The story starts in a PlanetoftheApesstyle, with Bruce and his crew returning to earth to find it in ruins, and humanity (i.e. about 12 Bulgarian extras) enslaved. Turns out that some wood-loving (no sexual pun involved) aliens have invaded, and put humanity at work in saw-mills, so that they can transport their precious wood (which is worth it’s weight in diamonds or something) back to their planet.

All of which makes perfect sense to me. Bruce doesn’t take to being enslaved and escapes, goes off on a merry quest to find the president, and returns to wreak some vengeance upon the aliens, which results in an epic, EPIC battle (over 14 extras involved). It’s truly inspiring stuff.

So to summarise then, this film is rubbish and it’s great. It’s awful and it’s marvellous. If you hate it you’re right. And if you love it you’re not wrong. At the end of the day, if the sight of false beard in movies makes your day, as it does mine, then this might very well be the film for you.

PS Here’s a list of goofs from IMDB… shame on them for only listing 5! What the hell are they playing at over there?

Factual errors: With fires and torches burning in the underground holding cell all the time, the people being held there should have suffocated.

Continuity: When the escape hole is begun, it's dug into the wall so that one would have to step up into it, Later on, it’s at floor level.

Revealing mistakes: Obviously fake beards on most of the extras.

Plot holes: The aliens invaded twenty years ago, yet simple gestures such as handshakes have been completely forgotten. Even though much of the cast had to have been alive before the invasion.

Continuity: When the free humans raid the alien camps, the first shot of the humans breaking into the slave camp through a fence is re-used, even though not all of the camps have fences.


THE MUMMY (1932)

The Mummy is like the White Album. As a youngster, I found it too old, too strange and out of touch with MY world (The Omen, Lost Boys, American Werewolf, Phantasm, Grifter Bikes, Jet Set Willy) to really get into it, to really understand it's beauty. But over time, as I became more mature (maybe not mature - older then) I learned to truly love and appreciate it. I still wish they hadn't let Ringo sing that song about being in a car crash and losing all his hair though. That last sentence applies to The White Album only.

The Mummy is a haunting, romantic classic from a bygone world that we can only catch glimpses of through monochromatic ghosts - feel the breath of the dying silent-movie era on its shoulder as it weaves its hypnotic spell.

Not sure where that last sentence came from. Anyway, The Mummy, as I've said, is a romantic story - with many, many plot similarities to Universal's Dracula movie of the previous year. In both, we have a romantic undead anti-hero trying to get his undead hands on a beautiful heroine. The beautiful heroine's proper human beau (not undead) pursues his undead love rival with help of a talisman, and a wise old expert. In Dracula, it's Van Helsing, in The Mummy, it's Dr. Muller. In both, it's the legendary actor Edward Van Sloan playing the part.

Karloff dominates. His make-up (courtesy of Jack Pierce of course) is magnificent, both as 'The Mummy', and minus the bandages as the sinister but apparently human Ardath Bey. The make-up on the latter is beautifully understated, subtle and spot-on. Somehow he looks like a guy who's been stuck in the sand for thousands of years. And he's bloody scary looking. The POV shot of him 'working his mojo'(or the Ancient Egyptian equivalent) is an iconic image...

... and you won't find many of them in the 1999 'version'.

What more is there to be said? If your last memory of 'The Mummy' involves Brendan Fraser battling 'The Rock' then you know what you need to do. Relax, sit yourself down and take a step back in time... to one of those that they just don't make any more.



I could have saved this film by introducing a couple of werewolves onto the boat at some stage. Or perhaps have the Zombie Nazi crew of a ghost U-Boat attack the hapless party people. But no. My calls went unanswered and so Donkey Punch remains a massive disappointment.

Donkey Punch isn’t horrific enough to be a horror or thrilling enough to be a thriller. And the rubbish sex scenes in it aren’t even rubbish enough to be soft porn. Good soundtrack though.

Donkey Punch is a stupid movie about stupid people doing stupid things and then making ever more stupider decisions. But here’s the twist - on a boat.

And that’s about it. If anyone tries telling me there’s a lot more to it than that, that it’s about the battle of sexes, or the perils of hedonism, why I’ll give them a donkey punch myself!

I’ve just realised that I’d have to be having sex with them to give them a donkey punch so okay then, maybe not a donkey punch. A slap across the back of the head then.

There’s still time for a run-down of the ‘plot’. So, 3 game northern lasses go to Marbella and meet 3 lads who happen to have the run of a yacht. They go back to the yacht to party. Drugs and sex games follow. Sex game goes wrong (that’s where we get the godawful title of the film from) someone dies...

Horror rule #422 – Any character doing drugs will become either the killer or the killer’s victim.

...everyone goes crazy ape-shit bonkers and runs around in the dark for an hour or so, grabbing weapons, using weapons, over-acting and yelling. To an admittedly bangin’ soundtrack...

RIP Uncle Forry

Thanks for the memories Uncle Forry.

Final Farewells on the Classic Horror Film Board...



Pre-revolutionary Russia. The peasant landlord of a country tavern is nursing his terribly ill wife. Enter Rasputin!

He promptly heals the landlords wife, takes advantage of the landlord’s hospitality to get riotously drunk, has a fight, has a dance, ravages a wench, cuts someones hand off, jumps through a roof onto a waiting horse, shouts “Hurrah!” and gallops away.

Rasputin, as played by Christopher Lee, is basically a Lord Flashheart for the grunge generation. In this historically inaccurate (I assume. I hope!) Hammer offering, we see him cut a swathe through pre-revolutionary Russian society, shagging, drinking, fighting and shouting in an incredibly deep voice as he goes.

Christopher Lee is nothing short of perfect in this role. Tall,loud, athletic, with mad staring eyes and a huge false beard - exactly the kind of guy that you'd make a point of avoiding in bus stops (not that there were any bus stops in pre-revolutionary Russia of course. Which I suspect may have been one of the underlying causes of the revolution. But that's another post).

The film has a fine supporting cast, including everyone’s favourite MILF Barbara Shelley, who falls under Rasputin’s spell and hops into bed with him at any given opportunity, before he casts her aside in the cruellest fashion.

Rasputin gets his comeuppance of course. It’s not easy to take him down though, the hard-as-nails bastard that he is, but goodness prevails, and the Mad, Bad monk is last seen lying twisted and broken on the snow...

... having fallen out of a second story window. After being drugged. And beaten up. And poisoned. And stabbed. And fed loads of chocolates of the poisoned variety.

Personally, I would have added a final scene where Rasputin jumps back up, straightens his beard, swigs a bottle of vodka, jumps on his horse, shouts "Hurrah!" and gallops off. But you can’t have everything I suppose…



There are about 50 Hammer Frankenstein movies, each with almost the same title save for one word, so we have ‘The Evil of Frankenstein’, ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’, ‘The Revenge of Frankenstein', 'The Horror of Frankenstein' etc. etc. You get the picture. In the end they stopped the series, not because of the demise of Hammer, but because they had run out of words to put in the title. The last film ‘The Ambivalence of Frankenstein’, was deemed to be nowhere near scary enough, so production for the ill-fated ‘The Apathy of Frankenstein’ was halted.

All of which is only almost true. So here we have ‘The Revenge of Frankenstein’, where the baron, cunningly disguised by having no disguise, and calling himself ‘Dr. Stein’ is running a successful practice for the wretched, the unwashed and down & outs. It’s not too long until his disguise (or lack of it) is spotted by an eager wannabe assistant, and before long (and with hardly any persuasion) he’s up to his old tricks again. And who's going to complain if a few arms and legs belonging to the down & outs go missing?

For a change, the baron has got hold of a fine looking specimen (played by Michael Gwynn) for his experiment. Surely, then nothing can go wrong this time? The good Baron has even done a test on a chimp prior to his work on the human form. And that test was fine... OH! Except for the chimp turning into a cannibal and eating his wife.

That last sentence bears repeating because it's quite an important one - the chimp turned into a cannibal and ate his wife! This rather alarming fact would surely have been a red flag to most scientists, and SHOULD have been a cause for concern to Baron Frankenstein – especially as every other experiment of his has ended in murderous carnage – but no, he laughs it off. Unwisely as it turns out, because his new creation wanders off and (you're ahead of me here, aren't you?) causes murderous carnage.

Surely the Baron will pay for his crimes THIS time???
Don’t you bet on it - remember, this series has another 15 years to run...