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 […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →

This Month In . . . 1991 (May)

The month of May was packed full of high-grossing box office hits, but the opening week was most notable for a stylish low-key comedy with a big heart. Based on a crime novel by Chester Himes, Bill Duke’s Rage In Harlem is a touching tale about an ingenuous churchgoer named Jackson (Forest Whitaker), who wins the heart of a salacious female grifter (Robin Givens) after becoming a key component in her latest con […]

Read Article →

Cathy’s Curse (1977)

The film that puts the “uh??” back in Canuxploitation

Much like the titular character in Cathy’s Curse, the home that begot the film put its very soul at risk. The Canadian government, aiming to jumpstart the country’s fledgling cinema scene in the 1970’s, instituted an enormous tax credit for any production of a feature film in the country. While this paved the way for the likes of David Cronenberg, Ivan Reitman, and Bob Clark, it also opened the floodgates to the seediest of American producers and Hollywood outcasts looking to abuse the tax haven […]

Read Article →

Say Never Again: The Untold Story of Dalton’s Third Bond Outing

Timothy Dalton’s reign as James Bond was cruelly brief, but it was also extremely important for the series as a whole.

When Dalton was finally announced as the fourth James Bond (if you count David Niven’s camp entry in the original Casino Royale), fans were more than a little dubious about the Welshman’s credentials for the role, but this was 007, and historically that has always been the case […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →

Masters of the Universe: Star Wars and the Fall of Grayskull

During their B-movie pomp, Cannon Films were a modest distribution company who far exceeded expectations.

Originally formed by Dennis Friedland and Chris Dewey as a soft porn production company, the struggling duo were forced to sell to Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, an Israeli duo who would tap into the B-movie boom of the early 1980’s. Golan-Globus would achieve immediate success exploring the popular slasher and action genres, creating stars such as Michael Dudikoff (Avenging Force), and eventually attracting some of the industry’s top names thanks to a prolific output of low-budget movies that would turn a tidy profit […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →