Revisiting . . . License to Kill (1989)

When it comes to Bond, Timothy Dalton has found himself low down in the pecking order.

As the first actor to fulfil the male fantasies of a generation, Sean Connery will always be regarded as the true original. Roger Moore, whose eyebrow-raising quips were not for everyone, brought a dash a debonair to the character which saw him star in a record-equalling seven instalments […]

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Revisiting . . . Death Wish 2 (1982)

By 1982, British director Michael Winner was in desperate need of a hit.

Eight years prior he had immortalised western stalwart Charles Bronson by taking his John Wayne act to the streets of New York City. Although the original Death Wish tackled the growing problem of street crime in America, it was denounced by critics due to a vigilante theme that relished in the very violence it was supposed to be condemning […]

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Blind Fury (1989)

Rutger Hauer is a very unique talent.

Not only did he dazzle with his famous ad-libbed monologue as the queerly sympathetic Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, he scared the living crap out of us as the psychotic John Ryder in The Hitcher. A few years later he starred in Blind Fury, the kind of tongue-in-cheek action extravaganza most associated with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he did a mighty fine job of it too, slipping into the role with the kind of consummate ease […]

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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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This Month In . . . 1988 (March)

Storming the box office charts for March was Mike Nichols’ comedy-drama Biloxi Blues. Adapted from a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon, the movie would star Ferris Bueller’s Matthew Broderick as a young army recruit attending boot camp during the Second World War.

Broderick would create the role of Eugene on Broadway, a character with three goals in life: to become a writer, lose his virginity and fall in love. It would also explore bigotry and racial segregation […]

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Revisiting . . . ‘The Burbs (1989)

They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in my experience the opposite is true.

In reality people tend to fear the unfamiliar, and the more distant a person is the more they have to hide, at least in the minds of those who have been ignored. This is never truer than when a somewhat reclusive neighbour moves into an established community. Before long, suspicions begin to breed and spread, and every little detail becomes a reason for condemnation […]

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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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Revisiting . . . The Shining (1980)

There is a sense of inevitability about The Shining that grabs you by the throat and never lets go.

The movie is a grandiose exercise in terror which favours stark imagery and subliminal horror over traditional storytelling. It is an experience that possesses you from the very beginning, and from the seemingly innocuous overhead shots of Glacier National Park, Montana, you are saturated with a sense of inescapable doom […]

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Shocker (1989)

By 1989, the horror genre 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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