7 VALENTINE HORROR FILMS FOR TONIGHT

St Valentine’s Day is upon us.  A time for red roses, chocolates, candlelight dinners and giant cards declaring your love for a special someone.

Ugh, enough already.  Ok, so I’m not a total humbug about today, but I don’t need card and confectionery companies telling me how and when I should be declaring my love for another person.co

Last year my boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful Valentine’s gift, which was really nice, but the best way he can express his love for me is by joining me in watching some beautiful horror.  You see, he hates horror, so I would firmly class this as the most romantic gesture he could make.

So as a tribute to all horror fans out there, I have compiled a list of the best valentine horror films to watch tonight, for all different types of relationships…

My Bloody Valentine

An old folk’s tale about a deranged murderer who kills anyone who celebrates Valentine’s Day turns out to be true when a group of teenagers throw a party and start being bumped off.

Don’t bother with My Bloody Valentine 3D, stick with this far superior original from 1981.  This film suits all relationships as it is the ultimate Valentine’s horror.  It has candy, kissing, a party and a lot of murder.  What else could you possibly need?

Valentine

A group of female friends find themselves being stalked by an unknown assailant in the lead up to Valentine’s Day.

Now I know a lot of people will groan about the fact that I’ve included this film but, honestly, I find it very entertaining.  This horror is best for those who are single so they can enjoy the abundant “totty”.

The Loved Ones

High school student, Brent, soon regrets turning down his classmate’s prom invitation when she concocts a brutal way to make him hers forever.

I love this film.  It has great characters, great acting, torture, an emotional underscore and a great take on the classic prom style horror.  If you have ever been jilted or are feeling angry about a recent break up, this is film should help satisfy your mood without you having to take the drill into your own hands…

Bride of Chucky

Chucky is back for a fourth outing and this time he’s got a little killer help from his girlfriend, Tiffany.

I love the Child’s Play films (we won’t mention Seed of Chucky) and I am eager to see the next installment.  Bride of Chucky is my favourite, as I love that our anti-hero gets a partner in crime to play with, and the havoc they wreak on those around them is gross, fun and features some very inventive kills.

If you’ve been with your partner for a while and you both enjoy sick comedy, this is the horror film for you.

Warm Bodies

This horror-comedy take on Romeo and Juliet, follows a zombie whose encounter with a human helps to restart his heart.

This is a very sweet horror comedy that will suit those couples who are in the early throes of a relationship.  Before your faults (cold skin and a diet of human brains) get in the way of the butterflies in the stomach feeling (or is that undigested brains?).

Candyman

Candyman, a murdering urban legend with a hook for a hand, is summoned to the real world by a sceptical grad student.

Candyman is one of those horror films that has always haunted me.  I love exploring urban legends and myths and Candyman is a truly terrifying one.  This film is perfect for sharing with your partner who is difficult to buy presents for.  If they’re anything like me, they’ll appreciate this scary tale much more than a box of chocolates.

Beetlejuice

A couple return from the dead to find their beloved house occupied.  They enlist the help of bio-exorcist, Beetlejuice to help them scare the family away with malevolent consequences.

Beetlejuice is a very accomplished horror comedy with great special effects, a fab cast and a great story.  This horror is perfect for couples who have been together for a long time, who find themselves still very much in love.

The central couple in this film have a very sweet and tender relationship that shines through amongst the gross horror and scary antics.  This is definitely a must see.

Written for the London Horror Society.

FRIGHTFEST GLASGOW: THE 5 FILMS I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE

Last year I got to accomplish my dream of attending FrightFest.  It was amazing.  Four days of meeting like-minded horror fans, enjoying film after film, glimpsing some of my idols and taking part in workshops.  It was everything I wanted it to be.  And more.

I am very happy to announce that this year I am taking my dream one step further and I am attending FrightFest Glasgow.  I was very lucky to get my hands on a ticket on Monday (get your hands on one here).  It’s an extra special event as it’s also an early birthday present to myself.

So today FrightFest announced the line up for the weekend.  And it is good.  Not that it wouldn’t be; they’ve never let us down before.  I have had a hunt through the films and have found 5 gems that I can’t wait to see:

SHIN GODZILLA/GODZILLA RESURGENCE

Godzilla is back for a reboot of Toho’s kaiju classic.  Present-day Japan, and an unexplained seismic event has occurred off the coast of Shinagawa, causing ripple effects all the way to the capital.  Ministers scramble to figure out what the audience already knows: Godzilla has returned.

“Godzilla, Gozilla, Godzilla…”.  Man oh man do I love this gorilla crossed with a whale (that’s what Wiki says Godzilla is anyway).  My favourite version is the one with Matthew Broderick (I know I’ve now lost readers for admitting that but I stand by my decision).  This film looks raw, imaginative and epic.  I can’t wait to see him/her/it stamping about and breathing hellish fire once again.  Bring it on.

CAGE DIVE

Three friends set out to film an audition tape for submission to an extreme reality game show.  They decide to travel to Australia and document themselves in a shark diving cage.  While on the dive, a catastrophic turn of events leaves them in baited water full of hungry Great White sharks…

This is my second “creature-feature” but I love sharks or, more importantly, I love horror films about sharks: Jaws, Jaws 2, The Shallows, Deep Blue Sea (that counts, right?) so I am eager to see what happens with this “found-footage” angle on killer Great Whites.  I have high hopes for this feature.  Let’s hope it doesn’t sink.

RAW

 

This film follows vegetarian Justine who, during a hazing at veterinary college, is forced to eat raw liver.  Her new unhealthy desire for meat drives her to commit acts of savagery, eventually leading to cannibalism.

This film has replaced the Patient Zero in the line-up but I am just as keen to see this film because of one word.  Cannibalism.  I realise this may make me seem a little unhinged but I think many of us have a certain fascination around this subject, after all there has been documented cannibalism globally so we can’t taste that bad.  There were reports of audience members passing out when this played at Toronto Film Festival.  Now this may have been a publicity stunt but I hope it’s true because any film that gross has got the thumbs up from me.

HOUNDS OF LOVE

Inspired by real-life crimes, this film follows Vicki Maloney who is randomly abducted by a disturbed serial killing couple in the mid-80’s.  She quickly realises she must drive a wedge between the couple if she is to survive.

Some of my favourite horror films involve serial killers; it’s my kitsch.  The premise of this one really interests me, especially considering it’s a real-life “this could happen to anyone” situation.  After watching the trailer, I’m pretty sure I’ll never trust a man with a moustache again.

THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN

At a New Year’s Eve party, naïve Nico sets out to lose his virginity.  His gaze crosses to a mature woman, Medea and he’s immediately whisked off to her filthy apartment where there are all sorts of sinister goings-on…

I recently got into Spanish horror after doing a contemporary horror film course so this film caught my eye immediately.  It looks sick, disgusting, gross, insane and utterly, utterly incredible.  I predict that this is going to be my favourite of the weekend.  And it’s last on the schedule.  Sweet dreams everyone.

(Image rights: Venice Film Festival)

My 5 horror festive favourites

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. A time for tinsel and mistletoe and carol singing and Santa Claus. A time of joy, festivity, and good wishes for all. For me, and many like me, it is a time to crack open the Christmas horror films that sit so well with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. There are some great horror films that sit amongst my regular favourites of Santa Clause the Movie, Elf and Fred Claus and this is the only time of year that I allow myself the privilege of sitting down to my five horror festive favourites:

Silent Night Deadly Night

This film tells the story of Billy who witnesses the violent death of his parents at the hands of a criminal dressed as Santa Claus. Subjected to more horror at the hands of a pretty mean Mother Superior, he grows up and manages to live a pretty normal life. That is, until Christmas rolls round. On Christmas Eve, he is forced to “play” Santa at a toy store and his violent childhood memories resurface. Billy transforms into a Santa-dressed murderer who must dole out punishment to all he encounters.

My brother introduced me to this annihilation of Santa Claus as a friendly, caring, present giver. And I’m so thankful to him for ruining this perception. A very poor remake (simply titled Silent Night) starring Jaime King was released in 2012 that I wasted one Christmas Eve watching. Stick to the original and get ready to have all of your illusions of Santa Claus bust wide open. Plus the “antler scene” with horror legend Linnea Quigley will stick in your mind long after the credits stop rolling.

Black Xmas

A young boy named Billy (a popular name in horror, huh?) witnesses his mother kill his father so she locks him in the attic while she starts a new family with her lover. Over the years Billy witnesses love cherished upon his sister until he finally snaps and kills his mother and her lover. In the present day, a group of sorority girls, living in Billy’s childhood home, start receiving intimidating phone calls during their winter break. One of the girls then disappears begging the question, has Billy returned? And if so, who will survive?

Now I love the original film Black Christmas. It’s a masterpiece in storytelling, is totes creepy and stars the wonderful Margot Kidder. I am a stickler for preferring originals to remakes but Black Xmas is just so mean. And gross. And bloody good fun. It sticks to the original story and characters but is brave enough to take a step further with the grossness of Billy and his mother’s relationship. Sometimes it is better to rely on atmosphere and your own imagination but sometimes I want to be shown something downright disturbing. And this film delivers that. I highly recommend you give it a go. But beware, it may put you off Christmas cookies for good!

Red Christmas

A typical Australian family are enjoying Christmas Day when a stranger knocks on their door. This stranger is very… well strange, wrapped in bandages and wearing a hooded cloak. His name is Cletus and believes that the mother of the family (the fabulous Dee Wallace) is also his mother. Not taking rejection well, Cletus sets about tearing the family apart (quite literally) on the most magical day of the year.

I was introduced to this new horrific Christmas tale at this year’s FrightFest; it was one of the films I couldn’t wait to see. And I really enjoyed it. The character of Cletus is not a villain we’ve seen before and the introduction of an abortion clinic storyline is new to the horror genre. I appreciate Craig Anderson trying some different with what could have been a run of the mill slasher film. For me, it takes a welcome place amongst my festive favourites, which I will enjoy year on year.

Krampus

A dysfunctional American family are forced together for the holidays and their disillusionment of the Christmas spirit deeply affects the youngest son Max, who unwittingly unleashes the wrath of Krampus; the demonic anti-Santa Claus, complete with hooves. Krampus and his band of evil minions lay siege to their home, forcing them to fight for each other in the hope of surviving the holiday.

I had very high expectations for this film as the original story of Krampus could be a really terrifying tale if told in the right hands. And I originally thought this film had failed. The film lent itself to a horror comedy rather than scaring the pants off me. But once I sat down and thought about it, I realised that the film thoroughly entertained me and the ending really was rather horrific. Also you can’t go wrong with a bit of Toni Collette and I am very happy to see her stretching her acting muscles in horror once again.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

This Finnish film follows a young boy and his friend who believe a secret mountain drilling project near where they live has uncovered the tomb of Santa Claus. However, this is not the jolly, red-cheeked Santa children know and love. And when his dad captures a wild old man in a wolf trap, we discover he may know the answer to the recent slaughter of reindeer and disappearance of local children…

In a similar vein to Krampus but much better, this film is brilliantly-executed with brilliant performances. This is a festive film I highly recommend you take the time to watch this December. But be warned, you will never think of Santa in the same way again.

What are your horror festive favourites?

TV HORROR SHOWDOWN: AHS V BATES MOTEL

As I touched upon in my recent review of The Exorcist TV programme, we horror fans are seemingly spoilt for choice when it comes to terrifyingly good TV horror.  So much choice in fact that there are many shows that I am yet to watch a single episode of, including Penny Dreadful, Fear the Walking Dead, The Strain and so on…

TV Horror - AHS

Two series I have managed to invest a lot of time in recently are American Horror Story and Bates Motel, for very different reasons.

AHS was a brand spanking new inject into horror TV, brought to us by the very capable Ryan Murphy (although I have never/will never watch Glee – shudder) with a great cast and great prospects.  BM promised an unflinching coming of age story of a true psycho with a wonderful cast of promising young talent and seasoned veterans.

I’ve decided to pit the two against each other in a series of categories to determine once and for all which TV horror series is better: American Horror Story or Bates Motel.

Written for the London Horror Society, read the full post at http://londonhorrorsociety.co.uk/tv-horror-showdown-ahs-v-bates-motel/.

First Look: The Exorcist TV Series – Chapter 1

TV is the new film. The birth of online channels such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have opened up new avenues for TV programmes, creating bigger, better shows and grabbing larger and more diverse audiences. This has been great news for horror fans as not only do we get brand-spanking new awesome shows such as Stranger Things, American Horror Story and the eagerly anticipated Lucifer, but there has also been a massive rise in horror films being adapted into TV shows, such as Sleepy Hollow, Hannibal and the brilliant Bates Motel. Now we are getting the ultimate, the daddy of all horror… The Exorcist TV Show.

The Exorcist TV Show

I watched The Exorcist film as a young girl with my parents and a friend. We giggled at the sexual references, fidgeted through the “boring talking bits” but were ultimately silenced by Regan’s transformation from young girl to demon. I couldn’t sleep that night. The film crept into my very soul and chilled me to the bone.

As a grown up I can now watch it alone and sleep like a baby but it hasn’t lost any of its power. It is terrifying, there has never been an equal and it is adamantly my dad’s all time favourite film (good taste runs in the family).

So I was luckily enough to get a sneak preview of The Exorcist TV show, Chapter 1 and let my cry come unto thee. I grabbed my boyfriend, turned off the lights and huddled down, waiting… and I was not disappointed.

Written for the London Horror Society, read the full post at http://londonhorrorsociety.co.uk/first-look-exorcist-tv/.

Film Review: Blair Witch

I was 14 when the buzz around a film called The Blair Witch Project began. My mate and I quickly became obsessed, reading everything we could find online, buying the film poster and scribbling odes to the “witch” in geography class – we were convinced it was real.

Incredibly I didn’t actually get to see it for over a year, until my best mate stole it from her sister and brought it to a sleepover. And I loved it. Yeah, it’s slow going, not a lot happens and there is a lot of snot, but that final scene… I tell you, it’s stayed with me…

A large part of the success of the film was down to its phenomenal marketing. So many of us thought it was a real witch and a real story (maybe it is?). It also cost less than £1M to make and grossed over £248M – utterly incredible! Now, director Adam Wingard has also pulled off an impressive publicity stunt with Blair Witch by masquerading it as The Woods before the big announcement at Comic Con. I was gobsmacked – what a brilliant surprise.

Written for the London Horror Society, read the full post at http://londonhorrorsociety.co.uk/film-review-blair-witch/.

Film Review: Video Killer

Video Killer is a 74 minute film, written and directed by Richard Mansfield.  It tells the story of Amy, who receives a VHS tape and soon after realises that she is being stalked by a masked figure.  We go on to learn that she must track down other victims in order to try and work out who is trying to kill them, and her.

The film itself follows the journey of five different characters who are only connected by the situation they find themselves in.  When they are filming themselves, trying to find “it”, you find yourself searching every inch of the frame for a glimpse of the masked figure.  Some of the characters’ journeys end quite unexpectedly and you soon realise that it is mainly Amy’s story that’s the focus.

Written for the London Horror Society, read the full post at http://londonhorrorsociety.co.uk/film-review-video-killer/.

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