Ouch. What a Halloween. Hope yours was just as fear inducing as mine. Yeah, the other fear. So while your head is still pounding as hard as your black heart, lets delve into the final days of the countdown.
OCTOBER 25TH - NINA FOREVER
The fact that the poster refuses to sugarcoat might give some impression of how full on this strange, specific little oddity is. A young woman falls for a grieving guy whose girlfriend died in an accident, seemingly being the grief itself she initially finds attractive. This obviously perfectly balanced couple hit a bump in the night road as whenever they have sex, the bloodied, twisted body of the literally ex-girlfriend emerges from the bed in a pool of gore to join them. Eh, passion killer! As these things must or else there'd be no film, the two lunatics go at it regularly, continually visited by the ex who may be passed over but is far from over it. The concept for this one is so far out it's almost circled the world and standing behind you but it undeniably puts the gross in engrossing. Ireland's own Fiona O'Shaughnessy manages to be witty and strangely sexy as ex-y despite being covered in blood, flopping around on the bed with a broken body. But maybe that's a 'me' thing. Although at times it seems aimless and is let down by a poorly thought out, opaque, ending, it's consistently interesting and well performed. Definitely worth a look even if only for sheer curio value.
OCTOBER 26TH - THE HALLOW
Oh how refreshing to be able to say we finally have a genuinely good Irish horror film. By me shillelagh we have had some Paddy's day parade of stinkers over the years, more like the muck of the Irish. The Hallow thankfully (hardy) bucks the trend. Now it's not amazing and it's pretty one note but at least it's fecking competent. A British conservationist surveying land for a construction project ignores warnings from fairy fearing locals and moves with his wife and child into an isolated farmhouse in the heart of the forest. Dope. The non-mythological mythological creatures pay the family back for their trespassing. Truly creepy, icky occurrences abound as zombie fungus, changelings and long limbed beasties creep out of the shadows for our delectation. It's a slight but fun creature feature wrapped in a beautiful, glossy package. So while it may not be in the upper tiers of horror as a whole, Holy Lantern Jayzis it's the King of the Hill of Tara as far as Eire's concerned. Shop local this winter.
OCTOBER 27TH - THE GREEN INFERNO
Eli Roth is the most juvenile, least talented and overpraised writer director working in modern horror. Insanely once lauded as the future of fear, his 'films', or idiot rants, have never broken above the level of abysmal, never mind average. Well the ignorant, racist, xenophobic series of dreck continues with this toilet of a film populated by his usual array of hateful arseholes. That should be the collective term actually - A Roth of arseholes. So, a Roth of arsehole activists barge into the Amazon supposedly to do good and then get captured and eaten by the cannibal tribe they were fighting to protect. More of a penis fromage than an homage to Cannibal Holocaust, this starts at rock bottom and begins to dig. Unable to create a full film about the horror of being eaten alive, Eli tries to cover up by including explosive diarrhea, cannibals getting the munchies after being tricked into inhaling weed, prisoners masturbating to stay focused and a tarantula crawling near an exposed urinating male member. Eli Roth is 43. And it's not even that gory. Most damning of all is that it's the best thing he's ever done. So in his honour and as a reflection of his mentality, at your Halloween party this year get all your guests to say 'Bottom's up!' to Eli. And fart at him.
OCTOBER 28TH - THE WITCH
As much as I love disgusting, splatter filled ho...rror comedies and rollercoaster style gorefests, in general I like my horrors like I like my coffee - bleak, disturbing and serious as the grave. For those unpleasant reasons I bleeding adored every tortured, grueling second of The Witch. Already divisive due to its considered, measured pace, you'll either fall under its wicked spell or put a hex on it. A family of Puritan New England settlers are cast out from their community and attempt to go it alone at the edge of a deep dark forest. Their devout faith and familial bonds are torn asunder as they believe themselves to have come afoul of a witch who dwells amongst the trees. It's brain exploding that this is Robert Eggars' first film when you see the gank that your man mentioned above is excreting out. It's visually amaaaazing, with a solidly realised sense of time, character and setting complemented by outstanding performances across the board, especially by the child actors. While it may be created with all the focus and attention of a highbrow dramatic historical piece it never for a moment pretends to be anything less than a full on horror. Disturbing and violent events heartlessly run their course, leaving the viewer either drained or exhilarated. We rarely get films this special, so fans of true horror cinema should be proud that this masterpiece has in turn proudly joined the genre. Fantastic.
OCTOBER 29TH - JERUZALEM
Found footage may have gone hi tech in Jeruzalem with the introduction of Google Glass instead of a wonky camera, but when you stick those goofy goggles on the head of an idiot who constantly looks the wrong way, you might as well have asked Helen Keller to take your photo. Two Jewish American girls with impeccable timing visit Israel just in time for the gates of hell to open and spew out its demons. Or at least I think it does as the dozy cow that's wearing the glasses to record the trip just cries, hides, skypes her father and uses face recognition to look up boys' Facebook profiles. Once we've seen her having a nice relaxing fun holiday, getting lucky, meeting some cool people, all perfectly visible and well shot, the actual siege of the city begins and suddenly her head is on a spring. She looks away as the winged demons attack, glimpses minutely at some gigantic Cloverfield sized beast about 50 streets away, and drops the glasses as monsters swarm, hiding from the viewer, you know, all the things you actually want to see in a horror film rather than the view of the hostel from her hammock. She looks at walls and floors and bicycle tires so much as she flees it's a wonder she didn't run smack into a pole. Which is what you'll feel happened to you due to motion sickness. These bizarre decisions by the film makers coupled with an idiot of a heroine make this another frustrating addition to a frustrating sub genre. Turn off your cameras and enjoy the world, people!, he said as he typed on his laptop.
OCTOBER 30TH - TALES OF HALLOWEEN
Considering it's black Christmas for scare fans, it's surprising how few good films there are which try to cash in by being set during Halloween. There's the John Carpenter classic and the decreasing in value series which followed of course, and there's the insanely undercelebrated fantastic Trick R Treat amongst them but considering how many are set around Christmas, it's puzzling. Oh this one is crap by the way. Ten supposed masters of horror each direct a short film all set in a small town on Halloween night. There are two good enough ones, The Ransom Of Rusty Rex and The Night Billy Raised Hell, both containing literal monster children, one which had potential but throws away the ending, The Grim Grinning Ghost, about a girl followed home from a party by an urban legend, but the others are, hand on hollow where heart used to be, tripe. The only thing that's actually shocking is the brass neck some of these film makers had to hand in these stinkers! Neil Marshall, creator of undeniable all time classics Dog Soldiers and The Descent disappoints the most with Bad Seed, about a man eating pumpkin. Lads. While it's a shame genre legends such as Adrienne Barbeau, John Landis and Lin Shaye got roped in, at least they're in the good segments. There's also a frankly bizarre cameo from the first winner of America's Next Top Model, Adrienne Curry which should give you an idea of quality control. Overall a disaster, another wasted opportunity to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year by people who just must have been wasted. Heed the warning, stranger.
OCTOBER 31ST - THE HOUSES THAT OCTOBER BUILT
'Haunts' are those walk through haunted houses/farms/barns that spring up every October where people pay good money to be chased and screamed at, mostly by actors with fake chainsaws. I love them so much it's ridiculous. At a recent one, myself, my sisters and brothers basically paid for the privilege of being abused - at one point, as I lay on a bed with a pillowcase over my head, an actress apologised for her 'heavy flow' and then pulled up the pillowcase and stuck a supposed dirty tampon in my mouth! At least I hope it was fake. After we all went through one by one and reunited with our friends and partners who'd had absolutely no intention of going in with us, after we'd all washed whatever gunk we could off our faces at a garden faucet and stunk up two respective cars on the way home and continually complained about how disgusting it was and how we couldn't believe we'd done what had been ordered of us inside the filthy building, we were asked if we were sorry we'd gone in. 'Eh, no', we scoffed, now truly disgusted, like the family of sickos we are. Which is to describe how I would have more patience for this movie than most. A group of friends travel across America making a documentary about haunts while at the same time searching for a notorious urban legend most extreme haunt of all. It's yet another bloody found footage film where all the filming and scenes can't be explained by the cameras supposedly being used. Even despite breaking rules left right and centre, the film's climax still actually involves a minute long shot of a glowstick while people scream in the background. Huh? It actually doesn't hold up logically or structurally as a film at all. BUT I still got a kick out of it as it contains a mixture of staged and actual interviews with haunt staff, a little history of them as well as live filming of several actual haunts. So, haunt hungry as I am, I enjoyed it. But you more than likely really, really, won't. Unless you love haunts too, in which case come round to mine and pay me 26 quid to turn off the lights and stick a soggy hankie in your mouth. Bargain,
So as we wrap up this final week of October, there was really only one film for me and what a film it was - The Witch, a hugely original, dark shot of poison. The Hallow is also worth a shot while The Green Inferno is worth shooting. With that, we wrap up the countdown for another year. Hopefully it's inspired you to check out some great films, or even some crap films. Once they're horror. So happy Halloween hangovers to all, may your dreams become nightmares and may your nightmares come true. Boo indeed.