Film

Lurid, gore-soaked and guaranteed to give you nightmares: new horror dissected by LaptopZombie...

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4 DEAD GIRLS: THE SOUL TAKER

4 DEAD GIRLS: THE SOUL TAKER

Let’s face it – if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in a horror film, chances are you’re pretty much fucked. But there are a few basic precautions you can take to increase your life expectancy. As well as the obvious (don’t take drugs, indulge in casual sex, or suggest splitting up to cover more ground), you’d be wise not to accept lifts from sinister strangers (or, conversely, to pick up sinister hitchhikers), take the shortcut through the woods…

Published on Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review - Embrace Of The Vampire

Review - Embrace Of The Vampire

While there have been a small number of successful horror remakes (2003’s TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, 2004’s DAWN OF THE DEAD, this year’s EVIL DEAD), most of them are at best mediocre, at worst abysmal. Gus Van Sant’s PSYCHO was pointless, Marcus Nispel’s FRIDAY THE 13TH was the definition of tedious, 2007’s THE HITCHER was torture porn garbage, 2006’s THE WICKER MAN took terrible to a whole new level... you get the point. It’s particularly galling when genr…

Published on Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review - The Texas Roadside Massacre

Review - The Texas Roadside Massacre

Like all forms of storytelling, filmmaking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a collaborative process that draws on not only cinema’s long and rich tradition, but centuries of narrative history. Which is a fancy way of saying that no one expects most films – and certainly not most horror films – to be entirely original. Writers and directors are influenced by their peers, and homages are commonplace. But there’s a big difference between an homage and a blata…

Published on Monday, November 4, 2013

Review - Hallow's Eve

Review - Hallow's Eve

There’s no doubting actress Danielle Harris’ commitment to the horror genre. From her youthful turn in HALLOWEENs 4 and 5 to her more recent straight-to-DVD output, her CV is dominated by horror. If her dedication isn’t in question, her quality control certainly is. They may not be very good, but at least the HATCHET films are positioned at the more respectable end of the genre spectrum; the same can’t be said of the likes of THE BLACK WATERS OF ECHO’S PON…

Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review - Nothing Left To Fear

Review - Nothing Left To Fear

The most frustrating thing about director Anthony Leonardi III’s small town supernatural chiller NOTHING LEFT TO FEAR isn’t everything it gets wrong, but the occasional hints of what could have been a really good horror film. Never less than competent, occasionally downright creepy, it’s a textbook example of a missed opportunity, and a very shaky start for Guns N’ Roses alumnus Slash’s nascent production company...

Published on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review - Dark Touch

Review - Dark Touch

Don’t be put off by the generic title and parochial setting – DARK TOUCH is an insightful and chilling supernatural psycho-thriller that comes close to achieving genuine profundity. Always dark, in places mesmerising, it boasts a remarkable debut performance from Missy Keating (daughter of Irish pop star Ronan), and a pitiless directorial turn from French auteur Marina de Van. Riddled with inconsistencies of attitude and stark fluctuations in tone, it’s al…

Published on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review - Curse Of Chucky

Review - Curse Of Chucky

Although it was part of the ‘80s and ‘90s heyday of franchise horror, CHILD’S PLAY never quite made it to the A-list. While Michael, Freddy, Jason and Leatherface became household names, spawning droves of (ever-more dismal) sequels and making the transition to television shows, novels, and every piece of tacky merchandise their marketing departments could concoct, Chucky struggled to compete. The only comparable franchise to earn less over its lifetime is…

Published on Monday, October 21, 2013

Review - Devoured

Review - Devoured

Horror is a balancing act. Go too far and you risk histrionics; be too restrained and you’re likely to alienate your thrill-seeking audience. It goes without saying that most horror tends towards the extreme. Serial killers, supernatural fiends and hideous monsters are the order of the day. It also goes without saying that in the face of such a bombastic assault, subtler and more insightful scares are welcome. DEVOURED, from screenwriter Marc Landau and di…

Published on Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review - Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

Review - Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the fact that SHARKNADO, Syfy’s recent media sensation/crime against humanity, has significantly raised the cable station’s profile. As well as securing record (for Syfy) viewing figures and an unprecedented (if limited) theatrical release, SHARKNADO has piqued the viewing public’s interest in the station’s infamous Original Movies. Infamous, as you’re no doubt aware, because they’re so bad. SHARKNADO may have precipi…

Published on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review - Fright Night 2

Review - Fright Night 2

We all know horror films are derivative; with FRIGHT NIGHT 2 they’ve finally crossed the line into auto-cannibalism. The original FRIGHT NIGHT, a mid-‘80s offering from writer/director Tom Holland (who went on to helm the underrated Stephen King adaptation THINNER), was a modest cult success from a time before vampires were vacuous, creatively-void tween pinups. A so-so sequel followed a few years later, which was itself followed by Craig Gillespie’s remak…

Published on Monday, October 14, 2013

Review - Solstice

Review - Solstice

The advantage of producing a terrifying work of subgenre-defining genius the first time you step behind a camera is obvious; as a filmmaker, you’ll probably never be out of work. The disadvantage is more esoteric, but no less significant; as a filmmaker, you’ll probably never better your first movie. Having produced a popular and critical smash like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, and almost singlehandedly ushered in the era of found footage, what do you do next?…

Published on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review - I Spit On Your Grave 2

Review - I Spit On Your Grave 2

Fans of xenophobic torture porn and gruelling rape scenes rejoice, it’s I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2. While I’m not sure Palestinian director Meir Zarchi’s 1978 original (also known as DAY OF THE WOMAN) could be described as a classic, time has been kind to the notorious exploitation thriller. Previously banned, it’s since enjoyed a new lease of life, and is viewed as one of the more significant of the ‘70s and ‘80s ‘video nasties’. It was only a matter of time …

Published on Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Review - Needle

Review - Needle

Continuing yesterday’s Australian motif, we turn to a more conventional (and rather less interesting) offering from Down Under, co-writer/director John V. Soto’s gory chiller NEEDLE. As with ROAD TRAIN, the flimsy plot is built around a fantastical contrivance, a macabre MacGuffin that catalyses the action and is responsible for the ensuing mayhem. Unlike ROAD TRAIN, where the titular demonically-possessed truck is just brash and grandiose enough to grind…

Published on Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review - Road Train

Review - Road Train

Australia may be one of the most beautiful and geographically diverse continents on the planet, but it’s also bloody dangerous. Consider the outlandishly outsized and fervently aggressive indigenous species (RAZORBACK, BLACK WATER); the deranged psychopaths and supernatural entities (THE LOVED ONES, LAKE MUNGO); the hyper-violent serial killers (CHOPPER, SNOWTOWN); the waterway-inhabiting inbred hillbillies (STORM WARNING); and the outback-dwelling loner p…

Published on Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review - Open Graves

Review - Open Graves

It’s no surprise that OPEN GRAVES, a gory supernatural chiller from Spanish director Álvaro de Armiñán, was released in 2009, at the height of the FINAL DESTINATION franchise’s global popularity. I’m not saying OPEN GRAVES is a carbon copy of the acclaimed horror/disaster series, but it bears more than a passing resemblance. That said, it also borrows liberally from Clive Barker’s original HELLRAISER, the hoary old legend of the monkey’s paw, and some of t…

Published on Wednesday, September 25, 2013