How bad is The Wicker Tree? I love The Wicker Man and have been very tempted by this but can’t imagine it getting anywhere close to the magic of the first one…
this film is feeling more and more influential these days. two recent big horror films have remarkably similar plots/outcomes. someone made the point on twitter but i’ll avoid linking to in case it spoils. worth a watch.
I had to give it a go when I found it for 50p in cex. It starts off in Texas with a born again country singer planning to go over to Scotland to educate the heathens in the way of the lord. Man, I was really hoping to see her and her cowboyfriend burn. It’s awful, annoying, lame and disappointing to the max. Don’t bother.
Thanks for the warning, sounds awful…
Finished The Haunting Of Hill House last night, and agree with the comments above about the ending being a bit disappointing. That aside, enjoyed it very much overall. Obviously the scares and general creepiness are superb throughout, and there is technical wizardry all over the place, but it’s the characters and their inter-relationships that make it. Everyone (with the exception of modern day dad, which is surprising as Timothy Hutton is usually good in stuff) is great, but special shout out to the child actors who nail it. If anyone was planning on checking out any of Mike Flanagan’s other stuff, Elizabeth Reaser, Carla Gugino and Kate Siegel have all had lead roles in his recent films. That said, and I’ve banged on about it lots on here, I’d start with Absentia - it’s a kickstarter funded production and must be the best $70k spent on screen. Hush, Oculus and Gerald’s Game all good too.
Just to show that it’s not all about the scares, here’s an article about all of the nice bits in the series:
Watched last night: The Stalls of Barchester. This is the first official entry in the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas series, coming a few years after their adaptation of Whistle and I’ll Come To You, which is seen as a precursor to the main series. I loved Whistle… and this isn’t far behind in terms of quality and general spookiness. Unlike Whistle, this was shot in colour, which seems like it could have potentially made it less atmospheric. Fortunately, that’s not the case at all, with much of the nocturnal action taking place by candlelight and with some lovely location shooting that adds a suitably gloomy pall to proceedings. As with Whistle, there’s a pleasingly subtle sense of humour on display here, but when things need to get scary, they do. It’s perhaps not quite as effective as Whistle overall, but that might have more to do with the source material rather than the adaptation itself. Nevertheless, this shows the BBC at its early 70s best; I’d never seen this before, but it already feels like something I’ve known and loved for much of my life – highly recommended.
Watched last night: Santa Sangre. Oooh, this was really good. I’d been working my way up to watching this as the result of reading an article about Jodorowsky that compared this to the circus horror films of Tod Browning, The Unknown and Freaks, both of which are well worth checking out if you haven’t seen them. I’d only seen El Topo before this, which I pretty much slept through at a midnight screening many years ago (more the fault of my tiredness than any problems with the film itself). This is pretty much completely captivating from the moment it begins to the final credits. The film is very much a thing of 2 halves: in the first part we witness various primal moments in the life of Fenix, a young circus performer; the second half sees how these play out later in life. That’s the briefest of summaries and does no justice at all to the wonderfully bizarre nature of this film. Everything works well here: the performances, the music, the cinematography. It gets a little too hysterical at times and could maybe be slightly shorter, but that’s really just me nitpicking. One of the best reviews I read of this compared it to Dario Argento remaking Psycho as scripted by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and that’s a pretty apt description. In no way a conventional horror film, this is recommended viewing for anyone looking to broaden their genre horizons. Loved it!
I started watching this but the BFI player is awful so had to give it up, will try find it elsewhere
Definitely worth your time.
Something here for all you Christmas horror fans: the 2018 Creepy Christmas Film Festival. Looks like they’re posting a different short film every day leading up to Christmas. First up, some stop-motion weirdness. This looks like it could be a lot of fun:
I saw this last month and it’s the creepiest film I’ve seen this year for sure. Even had an actual nightmare inspired by it a few nights ago!!
What Keeps You Alive
this film had something about it but, my god, just offensively, hair-tearingly stupid plot-wise. i hate filmmakers sometimes, i really do.
That song is really good though
Watched on Saturday night, The Gorilla (1939). This came on one of those cheap and cheerful DVDs with a bunch of movies crammed onto them and it’s not nearly as bad as its 4.9 rating on IMDb might suggest. It’s definitely no masterpiece, but if you’ve got a taste for ‘old dark house’ movies like The Cat and the Canary and, ahem, The Old Dark House, this might do it for you. The plot is ridiculously convoluted but basically involves a murderer, known as the Gorilla, targeting Lionel Atwill’s character. Atwill hires the Ritz brothers to work out what’s going on. I’d never heard of these 3 knock-off Marx brothers before this and if this is the only film of theirs I ever see, I’ll be fine with that. They’re far from terrible in it, but the script really doesn’t give them much to do (apparently they were at the end of their contract with Fox, who were in no hurry to further their career with Universal). Shenanigans ensue and Bela Lugosi puts in an appearance as Atwill’s butler. There are definitely better films out there, but you know what? I love this stuff and at 66 minutes, it doesn’t outstay its welcome… Not sure I’d go so far as to recommend this, but if you’re in the mood, it’s on YouTube…
Bit of a fan of that film. The Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein film is also a good one that mines similar territory.
I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never seen A & C meet Frankenstein, although I’ve heard it’s pretty much the creme de la creme of vintage horror-comedies. My son and I are very gradually working our way through all the old Universal monster movies so hopefully we’ll get to it one day…
Binging The Haunting of Hill House atm
The best way to watch
In other Hill House news, how cool is it to name your kid after your Hill House character…