Child’s Play 2 (1990)

“Sorry, Jack! Chucky’s back!”

For those of you who remember, this was the acerbic proclamation that announced the return of a very different breed of antihero, and unless you were on the receiving end of a plethora of sadistic doll-related murders back in 1990, it was a return that was very much welcome. If you don’t remember, take a quick look at this trailer for the much-anticipated Child’s Play 2, the inevitable follow up to Tom Holland’s cult sleeper hit, and a movie that would spawn a decades-long franchise of rare endurance […]

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Lurking on the Periphery: the Anomalous Friday the 13th Part 2

When you think of anomalous franchise entries, Friday the 13th Part 2 is not a movie that immediately springs to mind.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Halloween III: Season of the Witch can both be considered anomalous for obvious reasons, and when it comes to Jason Voorhees specifically, you would probably have to look to body-swapping ‘Hidden’ clone Jason Goes to Hell or the space-bound Jason X. In fact, every instalment but part 2 can be considered anomalous in a superficial sense due to […]

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976-Evil (1988)

After mainstream success as the fritter-faced Fred Krueger, Robert Englund swapped his razor-fingered glove for the camera, making his directorial bow with supernatural horror 976-Evil. Thankfully, Englund’s was a short-lived career.

That’s not to say the movie is terrible. It is adequate. Unspectacular. Banished to mediocrity by cheap sets and bad special effects. But the main problem is the total lack of scares on offer. For all the gore and the violence, this never really feels like a horror movie. There is nobody to care about, nobody to root for, and, most importantly, nobody to fear […]

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Intruder (1989)

By the turn of the 90s, the censorship boards at the BBFC and MPAA had all but slayed the slasher movie.

Back in the early 1980s, the ‘video nasties’ scandal would trigger a moral outrage, a diet of shock politics and tabloid sensationalism striking fear into the population, leading to the once explicit sub-genre’s descent into mediocrity. Many tricks and gimmicks would succeed in stretching its lifespan, and no more so than in the Friday the 13th series, which would rely on 3-D, false promises, impostor killers, Carrie clones, and iconic (if barely seen) locations to keep the lolly rolling in, all of it tied to a new tongue-in-cheek meta approach that would somehow make a protagonist out of the inimitable masked killer […]

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Scream and Scream Again: A Brief History of Video Nasties.

The rape of our children’s minds.

I thought that might get your attention, and although that headline may sound like unrestrained hyperbole from a writer of little restraint, it is actually a snippet from a carefully constructed media campaign designed to criminalise independent filmmakers. I’m talking, of course, about the ‘Video Nasty’ scandal of the 1980’s, a political manoeuvre that would scare working class voters into the Draconian arms of Conservative Thatcherism […]

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Absurd (1981)

Joe D’Amato’s Absurd is anything other than its title suggests.

Gaining notoriety as one of the 72 ‘video nasties’ deemed unfit for public consumption, it is a transparent derivative of John Carpenter’s seminal slasher Halloween, leeching off its popularity without quite figuring out what made it so effective in the first place. Far from the agonizingly-paced slice of subtlety it aspires to emulate, the movie is […]

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The House by the Cemetery (1981)

As a director, Lucio Fulci will always be synonymous with one word: gore.

So convincing was he in the blood department that he was once hauled into court on suspicion of animal cruelty due to some disturbingly convincing mutilation effects, while three of the 72 movies banned as ‘video nasties’ by the British Board of Film Classification belonged to him. In 1985, subsequent slasher The New York Ripper […]

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Shocker (1989)

By 1989 horror movies had become rather tepid.

Thanks to the chastening whip of the MPAA and BBFC during the mid-1980s, the genre would descend into cartoonery as a way to reach a broader audience. Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn would lead the way in that respect, and some movies were able to pass explicit gore based on absurdity, while others, such as Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, added depth as a way to counterbalance the meaningless nihilism that would outrage a generation […]

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Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Happy Birthday to Me is a unique entry in an infamously uninventive sub-genre.

Then Canada’s highest grossing movie to date, many of its positives are purposeful, others not so much, but even its patchy moments are unique in their own right, making this one of the superior efforts in the slasher cannon. Made before the genre slipped into the kind of post-certificate self-parody that has no use for genuine acting, the movie stars Little House in the Prairie’s Melissa Sue Anderson, her angelic image proving quite the juxtapose, while legendary […]

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Christmas Evil (1980)

Someone had to do it.

After the unmitigated seasonal success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, it was inevitable that Kris Kringle would get the the psycho treatment. After all, what better gimmick to guarantees success? Transgressive cult director John Waters went on record as saying that Lewis Jackson’s Christmas Evil is ‘the greatest Christmas movie ever made’. So how highly does this pre-certificate slasher rank in relative terms? […]

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