Re-Animator

Some of the greatest names in B-movie horror combined to make this, undoubtedly one of the greatest B-movie horrors of the 80’s. From 1985, Re-Animator, produced by Brian Yuzna (director of the excellent Society and surprisingly good The Dentist), starred Jeffrey Combs (the underrated The Frighteners), was based on supreme horror writer of days-gone-by’s work, H.P. Lovecraft, and was helmed by Stuart Gordon (the very worthwhile Dagon and King of the Ants). “One of the greatest horror movies ever made,” says Entertainment Weekly on the box for this Anchor Bay special edition. Certainly it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Despite being his first feature and gaining recognition for his other works, Gordon did such a great job in his debut that he has forever been labelled Stuart “Re-Animator” Gordon, so synonymous with the genre that he earned himself a place of the recent Masters of Horror series’.

Based on Lovecraft’s story Herbert West, Re-Animator, Gordon co-wrote the screenplay that would give new life to the stubborn eccentricities of the titular Doctor. Fresh from his work with Swiss Doctor Gruber, West (Combs in perfect high-strung form) is back on American soil at Miskatonic University, keen to continue, at any costs, Dr. Gruber’s study of re-animation. However, this is not going to be easy under the eye of “grant machine” Dr. Hill (a hammily menacing David Gale), with whom West clashes on the subject of brain death, and that's not to mention the suspicions of fellow medical student and flatmate Dan Cain’s (Bruce Abbott) girlfriend Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton). Yes, the course of West’s madcap antics doesn’t run smoothly, and enlisting the help of mild mannered Dr. Cain does nothing to avert this. With more than one love triangle, heads will roll, but West is still intent on more mayhem with his life-giving luminous serum.

Re-Animator’s one of those infamous titles from horror’s golden age that you grew up with or, if you didn’t, like me you’d wish you had. As Gordon goes straight for the eyeball horror in the intro and the bright title sequence floats and flashes to the sound of Richard Band’s Psycho-like strains, you know you’re in for a treat. And what a treat this is as you bear witness to one of the most inventive and successful comedy horrors. Much as Russ Meyer did with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Stuart Gordon instructed that the film to be played straight rather than comic, giving the deadpan humour that endures today. There’s plenty of gore on offer and, whilst not actually scary, the horror if perfectly silly and pre-empts films like Peter Jackson’s 1992 film Braindead with the whole wonderful over-the-top-ness of it all. I’m one for whom the movie is the meat, but this special edition is packed with extras and I thoroughly recommend the 70-minute featurette, Re-Animator: Resurrectus. It will really confirm your love of the film as you get e peek at the low-budget, old-school effects and feel the genuine love that went into this project. Horror as horror should be.

Quite simply a classic, spot-on, comedy horror. If you’ve missed it, you’ve missed out, so be sure to catch up 9/10


Cello Review

A music professor and former cellist lives an ordered life with her husband, 2 daughters, and her sister until this status begins to unravel in Korean horror/chiller Cello. Hong Mi-ju (Seong Hyeon-ah) has a nice house, loving family, and enviable career, but cracks start to appear when she's threatened by a former pupil over a failed exam. Sinister texts, a dead bird and a near-miss in a car park are all worrying signs for Mi-ju, but these tangible proceedings are only the beginning of the increasingly bizarre events which befall her. Could the pupil be behind the goings on? Or Maybe the creepy housekeeper? Find out in this surprisingly decent film from writer/director Lee Woo-chul. 

Korea is increasingly becoming a nation of horror producers on a par with Japan for the ever-popular Asian Horror market. Films like A Tale of Two Sisters and names like Park Chan-wook have upped the Korean bid to be forthright in the market dominated by Japanese Ringu-type scares. Recent Japanese horrors like Ju-On: The Grudge 2 have milked the now tiresomely familiar frights dry, with the narrative taking a backseat as a fluff filler for the effects. Cello, though, thankfully does the opposite as an engaging, story-driven horror where minimal scare effects function to enhance the story, rather than the other way around. 

Woo-chul's film works for the most part by an ascending feeling of off-key, rather than blatant shock tactics. Paranoia and suspicion fuel the general feeling of unrest, while the few but well-placed frights elevate the horror elements. As less of an effects-laden film, the odd well-framed shot inputs a creepy atmosphere, with the house itself taking on an especially noticeable characteristic of the very subtly surreal. Weirdness personified by the housekeeper and Mi-ju's silent, autistic child keep you guessing, as does her former pupil in a superb turn of effectively creepy bimbo-ness. What begins as a complex weave of plot devices culminates in a traditional ghost-story ending, with the odd inclusion of the Asian-type scares we've become accustomed to. There is a slightly arthouse feel to the film at times, which aids the off-key atmosphere and the initial complexities of the plot make you think rather than just absorb the chills. The subtly creepy atmosphere only heightens the effect of the shocks, none more so than the genuinely brutal realism of Mi-ju's unintentionally horrific act towards the end. You get the feeling that this film wasn't intended to be a cinematic great, but rather an above average and quietly individual chiller, and as such it succeeds.

If long black hair as a scare tactic has worn a little thin with you, then this engaging, story-driven horror could be what you need to perk the Asian horror genre up 7/10

CelloCelloCelloCelloCelloCello


 Trailer for Davi de Oliveira Pinheiro's Brazilian post-apocalyptic horror Porto dos Mortos.

In a devastated post-apocalyptic world where the rules of reality are transformed by magic and madness, a vengeful police officer searches for a possessed serial killer in a battle of the not-so-good versus absolute evil. (IMDB)

www.beyondthegravemovie.com


The Eye - remake

Poster for the US remake of  Oxide and Danny Pang's 2002 jump horror The Eye (Gin Gwai)

Synopsis: Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) is an accomplished, independent, Los Angeles-based concert violinist. She is also blind, and has been so since a childhood tragedy. As our story opens, Sydney undergoes a double corneal transplant, a surgery she has waited her whole life to have, and her sight is restored. After the surgery, neural ophthalmologist Dr. Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola) helps Sydney with the difficult adjustment, and with the support of her older sister Helen (Parker Posey), Sydney learns to see again.

But Sydney's happiness is short-lived as unexplainable shadowy and frightening images start to haunt her. Are they a passing aftermath of her surgery, Sydney's mind adjusting to sight, a product of her imagination, or something horrifyingly real? As Sydney's family and friends begin to doubt her sanity, Sydney is soon convinced that her anonymous eye donor has somehow opened the door to a terrifying world only she can now see.

The Eye is a bone-chilling supernatural thriller that tests the boundaries of perception and reality.  Directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, the team who directed the suspenseful international hit Them (Ils), The Eye stars Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola and Parker Posey. Produced by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner with Mike Elliott, Don Granger and Michelle Manning serving as executive producers.

View the trailer 

Official Website 


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