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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Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

What makes a great horror villain?

A good backstory helps, perhaps an incident in a monster’s life that made them a monster, that motivates them to keep on killing year after year, sequel after sequel. Jason Voorhees, for example, was left to drown by negligent camp councillors before magically resurfacing and wreaking bloody vengeance on generations of teens at the infamous Camp Crystal Lake. Other contributing factors are a villain’s appearance (Michael Myers’ iconic mask); an interesting gimmick […]

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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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The Gate (1987)

Back in the late 1980’s, the ‘kids in peril’ concept was the template for theatrical success.

Steven Spielberg would set the ball rolling with E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, a movie whose impact would send a thematic tremor throughout the entire industry. E.T. saw a group of kids take matters into their own hands, championing the importance of family and togetherness as the best recourse for overcoming an oppressive evil. Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist would follow a year later, a film that possessed more than a dash of Spielberg’s DNA, while Joe Dante’s Gremlins and […]

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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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Night Of The Creeps (1986)

How my childhood would have fared without Fred Dekker-penned genre classics such as Night of The Creeps is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as colourful.

Night of The Creeps starts in a spaceship and detours to 1950’s America where an axe-wielding killer is terrorising rock ‘n’ roll kids. Subsequently, the viewer is hurtled, via an alien parasite and monochrome axe murder, to the bad pop eighties of a college campus full of frat packers, where shortly after a pledge prank gone awry weird stuff begins to happen and folks begin to die […]

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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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It’s Happening Again! The Story of the Horror Movie Sequel Part One

During preview screenings for James Whale’s Frankenstein, Universal Pictures began to consider the possibility of a follow-up. Such was the clamour to see the studio’s new monster, it seemed reasonable to suggest that maybe more could be done with the story.

The trouble was, at that time, Frankenstein culminated with the death of Henry Frankenstein and, without him, Universal didn’t see a way forward. So, thinking ahead, they had Whale re-shoot the end, allowing for Frankenstein’s survival, and thus, the possibility of a sequel […]

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Guess Who’s Back: The Greatest Horror Movie Franchise Trailers

What do you miss most about the good old days of home video?

Cover art is something that stands out – it made that oh so joyous experience of choosing your rental all the more joyous. Choice is the second thing that springs to mind. Sometimes you would arrive home on a Saturday evening and be thoroughly disappointed with a movie that promised so much and delivered so little. But that was part of the fun, particularly when you unearthed the kind of gem that you couldn’t wait to rent again […]

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Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

Back in 1987, Fred Krueger took his first steps in becoming the horror genre’s first bona fide rock star.

With Wes Craven back on board to beef up the characterisation, Chuck Russel’s The Dream Warriors salvaged a waning franchise following the debacle of Freddy’s Revenge, catapulting Krueger to commercial superstardom. Still the scourge of nightmares, the character would shed his darker dispositions to become the ethereal circus master of a marketing campaign that exceeded all expectation, resulting in the kind of unlikely merchandising never before achieved […]

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