Recap

Terror Tuesday is ONE YEAR OLD!

one year

It is officially one year (well Tuesday to Tuesday) since Terror Tuesday emerged from the primordial ooze that is my brain. Fifty three (52 weeks plus a Halloween special) later Terror Tuesday is going from strength to strength. Over the past year I’ve moved countries three times, graduated and started two new jobs and I am very pleased that I have managed to never miss a week in all that time! There were a couple of weeks (such as when I didn’t have the internet at my new flat) that I thought I wouldn’t make it but with the help of my wonderful guest reviewer, Jenny Mugridge (www.jennymugridge.com) it hasn’t failed!

There is no new review this week but a low-down of my favourite films from each decade.

1920s Häxan: Witchcraft through the ages (1922) This film is unique in the films I’ve reviewed so far in that it is a documentary rather than fiction. Häxan is split into seven chapters and recounts the history of witchcraft from ancient times through to the 1920s. The film consists of conventional documentary chapters complete with voiceover and pointy stick and short fictionalised stories.

Honourable mention: The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920)

1930s White Zombie (1932) Starring Bela Lugosi as a voodoo master on a Caribbean island who has the ability to enslave people to his will creating an army of zombies. Lugosi’s talent is used by Beaumont, a wealthy plantation owner for nefarious reasons. One of the stars of White Zombie is undoubtedly Lugosi’s eyebrows.

Honourable mention: Vampyr (1932)

1940s N/A I haven’t reviewed any films from the 1940s – this is very remiss of me and I hope to rectify it soon!

1950s The Bat (1959) This is a quintessential 1950s murder mystery that takes place in a large mansion. The Bat has a bit of everything, a masked serial killer, a hidden fortune and a cast of suspicious characters. The film has a great cast including Vincent Price, who does an extremely good job as Doctor Malcolm Wells. The Bat keeps you guessing as to the identity of the killer until the very end and unlike several films from the same era gives the female characters backstories, brains and backbones.

Honourable mention: The Mole People (1956)

1960s 13 Ghosts (1960) One half of a double review looking at the original 1960’s version of 13 Ghosts and the 2001 remake (which is barely recognisable as the based on the same film).  It is directed by William Castle and contains one of his trademark publicity stunts, the use of Illusion-O glasses to view the ghosts. These work using either a red or blue filter to block or amplify the ghosts, an effect I replicated using old-style 3D glasses.

Honourable mention: The Witches (1966)

1970s The Exorcist (1973) The 1970s was a decade with a lot of great horror films (and also a lot of awful ones) so it was a hard choice to pick just one. In the end I had to go with possibly the most famous horror film of them all, The Exorcist. It tells the story of Regan, an unfortunate twelve year old girl who gets possessed and the attempts of two priests to expel the demon.

Honourable mentions: Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) and Carrie (1976)

1980s An American Werewolf In London (1981) An American Werewolf in London is one of the best werewolf films made and one of the most well-known horror films from the eighties. An American tourist named David is comatose after being attacked by a werewolf. Upon waking in a London hospital, David is plagued by terrifying nightmares before undergoing an incredibly well realised transformation into a werewolf. The special effects in An American Werewolf in London are incredible especially for an era before CGI.

Honourable mention: Dead Kids aka Strange Behaviour (1981)

1990s Interview with the Vampire (1994) Another tough choice between Interview with the Vampire and Scream but I had to go with my personal preference. Whilst Scream arguably reinvigorated the horror industry, the opulence and prevailing despair throughout Interview coupled with the fact it is my favourite novel won the day. Interview with the Vampire does exactly what the title says, it is an interview with the vampire Louis who tells the tale of his life as a vampire from 18th century New Orleans through to modern day San Francisco.

Honourable mention: Scream (1996)

2000s Martyrs (2008) Martyrs is one of the most brutal films I’ve watched and one of the most gripping. Two young women seek break into a family home and slaughter the family in a seemingly misguided revenge attempt. It soon becomes clear that there is much more to this than first seen and the pair become embroiled in an attempt to understand martyrdom and what lies beyond life.

Honourable mention: Battle Royale (2000)

2010sThe Babadook (2014) The latest decade seems to be full of remakes and sequels and The Babadook is the only film featured on Terror Tuesday from this decade that has received a rating of 5/5. It was a guest post by Jenny Mugridge and I haven’t actually seen the film myself but she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Honourable mention: V/H/S (2012)

Hopefully Terror Tuesday will continue for another year! Next on my plan is a film from the pre-1950s (especially the 1940s – I have to fill that gap!) and hopefully some more guest reviews. I would love to include more non-English language films next year but sourcing them is harder (although living in Sweden should mean better access to Scandinavian films!)

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20th Post special!

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I can’t believe it’s been twenty blog posts already, I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to keep it up every week despite travelling thousands of miles, graduating and moving house. Something a little different this week, I’m introducing a new film rating system out of five blood drops (a bit of a cliché for a horror blog but let’s go with it!). So this week I’m going to do a quick overview of the twenty two films I’ve reviewed so far and give them the new rating system.

  1. Boy Eats Girl (2005) – A zombie romantic comedy or ‘zom-rom-com’ starring 00s pop starlet Samantha Mumba. Boy Eats Girl contains everything a low budget horror film including spurious plot points and naïve special effects. Not a ‘serious’ horror film in either substance or execution but a lively romp through the comedy horror genre. Rating: 4/5
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  2. Maniac (2012) – Elijah Wood removes all traces of the hobbit Frodo Baggins in this French-American serial killer flick in which he stars as the eponymous maniac, Frank Zito. Shot from Zito’s point of view the viewer gains an insight into the warped mind of the killer and his outlook on life and women. Unlike many serial killer films, Maniac is gore light, relying on psychological fear. The plot is a well-known one but the unusual shooting style makes it an interesting watch. Rating: 3/5
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  3. The Sender (1982) – After an amnesiac John Doe is institutionalised after a failed suicide attempt. Soon after his arrival at the mental institution the staff begun to notice strange things occurring. I found The Sender to be predictable (I guessed the twist after half an hour) and lacking scares. Rating 1/5
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  4. The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920) – This is a fine example of 1920s German Expressionism directed by Paul Wegener, who also portrays the Golem, a large man-like clay creature. In five chapters, it is set in the Jewish community in medieval Prague. It features all the hallmarks of Expressionism with unusually shaped and expressive set designs and the use of colour filters. I really enjoyed this film and anyone should watch it. Rating 5/5
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  5. Apartment 143 (2012) – Originally titled Emergo, Apartment 143 follows a team of ghost hunters investigating the haunted White family. The film is a good example of the use of handheld cameras to produce scares and keeps them coming, making use of almost all the techniques employed in similar films. The main downside of the film is the use of pseudo-scientific language and pop psychology used to link the set pieces.This is the first film by director Carles Torrens but it leaves me looking forwards to what he does next. Rating: 4/5
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  6. 13 Ghosts (1960 and 2001) – My first double review! The two versions turned out to be completely different except for the presence of 13 ghosts. The plot to both films is pretty weak, a haunted house inherited from a deceased eccentric uncle but both have innovative gimmicks. In the original, director William Castle makes use of blue and red filters and glasses to remove and highlight the ghosts making it fun to watch. The 2001 remake however has the most incredible house which is more of a machine containing the ghosts. Rating: 3/5 (1960) and 2/5 (2001)
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  7. Shikoku (1999) – Meaning ‘four providences’ or when altered slightly ‘the land of the dead’ this film focusses on the dual nature of the title. Shikoku follows Hinako on return to her small rural childhood town where she learns of the death of her friend along with a few home truths. Shikoku is slow to get started, but sucks you in, treating the viewer as intelligent enough to grasps facts without being spoon fed. Rating: 4/5
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  8. World War Z (2013) – A huge block buster here featuring Brad Pitt with a huge budget to match. A plague of zombies is released into the world from which only Gerry Lane (Pitt) can save us from. World War Z features many large set pieces with hundreds of zombies with shocks and gore from start to end. A great watch for all action lovers out there. Rating: 4/5
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  9. Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974) – One of the last films produced by Hammer Horror in the 70s it is set in ‘Ye Olde Times’ along with every single cliché that goes along with that. Kronos himself is a swashbuckling travelling ex-army officer turned vampire hunter who is called to help with a vampire problem in a small village. With its dark fairy tale like qualities but predictable and clichéd plot, it is an average film. Rating: 3/5
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  10. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) – The fifth instalment in the Paranormal Activity franchise there is little to recommend watching if you have seen any of the others. The Marked ones adds very little background to the Paranormal Activity plot and showcases few new scares. As is often the case in these things, stick to the original film. Rating: 1/5
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  11. Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) – The final part in Dario Argento’s Animal trilogy this is a fine example of the Giallo genre in which an accidental murder is caught on camera and used to blackmail the unfortunate Roberto Tobias. There are twists and turns aplenty in this 1970s thriller but a number of bizarre out of place scenes serve to keep the film getting too bogged down. Rating: 4/5
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  12. Suicide Club (2001) – Starting with a brutal scene with the suicide of 50+ schoolgirls, Suicide Club is more a commentary on 21st century life than a typical horror film, ending with no real resolution. The film starts normally enough but about halfway through takes a turn for the weird with a glam rock inspired psychopath and hidden conspiracies. I think Suicide Club would be equally entertaining on multiple viewings, if no less confusing. Rating: 3/5
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  13. The Deadly Bees (1966) – A film that does what it says in the title, it is about a swarm of deadly man-made bees. There is not a great deal to recommend this film except to marvel at the awful special effects used for the swarms of bees, including plastic flies. Rating: 1/5
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  14. Dead Kids aka Strange Behaviour (1981) – A short film that focusses on the local Chief of police as he tries to solve a rash of murders committed by different people, all of whom turn out to be under the control of the presumed dead Dr LeSange. The finale is surprisingly tense and the film is characterised by a lack of morality, making it stand out from the crowd. A great film for any evening, it has blood, intrigue and tension aplenty. Rating: 5/5
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  15. Häxan: Witchcraft through the ages (1922) – An early 20th century documentary on the history of witchcraft, it is split into seven chapters covering topics from how the world was perceived in ancient times to medieval witch trials (including several short fictional films) and comparisons to contemporary beliefs. Häxan is an undeniably brave and incredibly interesting film. Rating 5/5
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  16. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) – One of the most traumatic films I’ve watched and one of the most controversial, Cannibal Holocaust revolves around four young documentary makers who come a cropper with a cannibalistic Amazonian tribe. This film features scenes of genocide, rape and castration alongside cannibalism and isn’t for the faint hearted, however underlying the gore the viewer is lead to question if the cannibals are the real heathens. Watch with caution Rating: 4/5
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  17. Black Sheep (2006) – A kiwi comedy horror about killer sheep this film features great special effects from the team behind The Lord of the Rings and the demonic sheep are the undeniable stars of the film. Black Sheep strikes the right balance of gore, laughs and plot and is a satisfying romp around the New Zealand countryside. Rating: 5/5
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  18. I Spit on your Grave aka Day of the Woman (1978) – Another controversial film featuring one of the longest rape scenes on film. The dialogue is stilted and there is very little plot. Unlike the equally shocking Cannibal Holocaust, there seems to be little reason for the traumatic violence beyond shocking the viewer and the film left me with an unclean feeling after watching. Rating: 1/5
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  19. Carrie (1976, 2002 and 2013) – The second multiple film post! Here all three films are pretty similar sharing some scenes word for word. All films have good points and are stronger in some places than others, the 1976 film generally being my favourite but lacking the full impact of the disaster on the town best realised in the 2013 version. The 2002 film is a TV movie which shows in the abysmal CG but has an interesting take and great acting (especially for a TV movie!). Ratings: 4/5 (1976), 3/5(2002) and 2/5 (2013)
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Phew! When you look at all the films like that it makes me realise how much I’ve done! I hope this has given you a chance to catch up with any posts you may have missed and I look forwards to the next twenty reviews.