Film

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

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Review - The Conspiracy

Review - The Conspiracy

Probably the highest compliment I can pay THE CONSPIRACY, writer/director Christopher MacBride’s horror/thriller mockumentary which delves into the shady and paranoid world of conspiracy theories, is that it could (almost) pass as a legitimate documentary. If that sounds disingenuous, it’s not – it’s a bloody difficult trick to pull off. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (again, mostly) manages it, as do John Erick Dowdle’s criminally underrated THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAP…

Published on Monday, September 23, 2013

Review - No One Lives

Review - No One Lives

It’s possible to enjoy some horror films despite their flaws. And they don’t come much more flawed than Japanese director Ryûhei Kitamura’s gory psycho thriller NO ONE LIVES. A Jack of all trades, Kitamura varies his output between the Japanese and American markets, and between animation and live action. His last English language offering was 2008’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, based on Clive Barker’s short story. Stylish and brutal, if somewhat lacking in substan…

Published on Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review - Alien Uprising

Review - Alien Uprising

Like 99.9% of the people who have watched or are intending to watch Dominic Burns’ low-budget British sci-fi invasion chiller ALIEN UPRISING, I did so because of the prospect of seeing pretentious mulleted Belgian beefcake Jean-Claude Van Damme square off against rampaging extraterrestrials. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting ALIENS. I wasn’t even expecting INDEPENDENCE DAY. But I was expecting more than ten minutes’ worth of JCVD, and at least a coupl…

Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review - Gallowwalkers

Review - Gallowwalkers

Genre franchises are currently the biggest money-spinners in the global entertainment business. And they don’t come much bigger than comic book movies, those money-making juggernauts that have risen to unprecedented dominance over the last fifteen years. It’s strange to think that the first truly great example of the current crop of comic book adaptations wasn’t a family-friendly sci-fi/action romp, but a brutal R-rated horror. Guillermo del Toro’s BLADE I…

Published on Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review - Nazi Zombie Death Tales

Review - Nazi Zombie Death Tales

Despite their lurid and sensationalist trappings, I’m not averse to Nazi zombies. Superior Brit chiller OUTPOST and its equally satisfying sequel, BLACK SUN, use them to stylish effect, and outré German horror/comedy DEAD SNOW finds in them an unexpected vein of puerile humour. There’s no denying the balls-to-the-wall bonkers fun of the Asylum’s NAZIS AT THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH, or the power of their uncanny iconography to shock and disturb (especially in …

Published on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review - Evidence

Review - Evidence

And the award for stupidest whodunit of the year goes to...

Published on Monday, September 9, 2013

Review - You Can't Kill Stephen King

Review - You Can't Kill Stephen King

If you’re going to invoke the name of one of the most significant ambassadors of the horror genre not only of the last fifty years but of all time, you’d better have a damn good reason. YOU CAN’T KILL STEPHEN KING isn’t a damn good reason. It’s not even a mediocre reason. It sometimes feels like almost everything King has written in his long and genre-defining career has been ‘immortalised’ in celluloid, and the results have been decidedly mixed. On the on…

Published on Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review - Exorcist Chronicles

Review - Exorcist Chronicles

They say it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, only a moment to destroy it. There was a time, unlikely as it may seem, when both the found footage and torture porn subgenres had sterling reputations. BLAIR WITCH and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY demonstrated that the former could be both commercially successful and critically acclaimed, and HOSTEL proved that the latter could, at the very least, make a lot of money and launch a director’s career. Those heady da…

Published on Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review - Frankenstein's Army

Review - Frankenstein's Army

Just when you thought found footage had nothing left to offer, FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY comes along. That FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY is found footage isn’t just ambitious, it’s insane. But that’s an adjective that could be applied to pretty much every aspect of the film. Set in the dying days of World War II, it tells the story of a group of Russian soldiers who venture into a secret Nazi laboratory on what they believe is a rescue mission. One of their number records…

Published on Monday, September 2, 2013

Review - The Purge

Review - The Purge

Horror and high concept have never been natural bedfellows. Horror tends to be grim and gritty, lowest common denominator stuff, emotionally- rather than conceptually-led. But there’s clearly an appetite for more cerebral horror material, as the response to writer/director James DeMonaco’s horror/thriller THE PURGE proved. The film has so far grossed over $80m worldwide, from a budget of only $3m, and the sequel has already been announced. It helps that th…

Published on Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review - Ghost Shark

Review - Ghost Shark

It’s hard not to feel just a little bit sorry for actor/director Griff Furst, who helmed last Thursday’s GHOST SHARK, the most recent of Syfy’s increasingly preposterous series of original horror/sci-fi movies. No one could have predicted that its de facto predecessor, SHARKNADO, would have become such a breakout hit, generating an instant cult following and qualifying as a genuine cross-cultural phenomenon (albeit one, we suspect, that won’t stand the tes…

Published on Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review - The Colony

Review - The Colony

I like a good genre mashup as much as the next horror fan, but I’ve never understood why comedy seems to be the default choice. The market is saturated with lame carbon copy horror/comedies, most of which are all but unwatchable. It seems to me that sci-fi is a much better fit. Maybe it’s the ever-pervasive influence of Ridley Scott’s terrifying 1979 classic ALIEN, which, almost thirty five years later, is still the best at what it does. The sequels, altho…

Published on Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review - Jug Face

Review - Jug Face

Backwoods rural communities, and all the strangeness they entail, are well known to horror fans. Traditionally they’re depicted as insular, backwards dens of depravity, lawless hellholes populated by buck-toothed cannibals and other moonshine-swilling reprobates. God help any unlucky outsider who happens to stumble into their environs; they’re likely to be raped, tortured and eaten, and not necessarily in that order. There are directors who make a virtue o…

Published on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review - Saturday Morning Mystery

Review - Saturday Morning Mystery

More than once on this site I’ve described an outlandish plot development or an unsophisticated reveal as being a SCOOBY DOO moment. It’s certainly not a compliment, and it’s not a comparison I would expect a horror film to actively seek out, but that’s the case with SATURDAY MORNING MYSTERY, director Spencer Parsons’ new horror/comedy/spoof. As its title suggests, the film is an affectionate pastiche of the kind of mystery-based cartoons typified by the a…

Published on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review - Beneath

Review - Beneath

What do you get if you cross Steven Spielberg’s all-time classic JAWS, THE RAFT segment of King/Romero/Michael Gornick’s superior 1987 anthology CREEPSHOW 2, and Mark A.Z. Dippé’s underrated tongue-in-cheek aquatic chiller FRANKENFISH? I’ll tell you what you should get – a hokey, gory creature feature with an emphasis on fun. But as any chef worth their salt will tell you, there’s more to a great dish than simply following a recipe. Director Larry Fessende…

Published on Tuesday, August 13, 2013