LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Asylum - Blu-ray review
By James Whittington, Saturday 13th July 2019 Asylum Second Sight Films Certificate 15
When you read that a film has the writer Robert Bloch (Psycho) and been directed by Roy Ward Baker your interest will be pricked. When you also learn it's from Amicus the you know it's a "must have" purchase. This is exactly what Asylum is, a cracker of an anthology movie which has been given the special HD treatment thanks to those lovely people at Second Sight Films.
Asylum boasts an all-star cast including Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom, Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, Barry Morse and Charlotte Rampling each who play this bizarre but entertaining movie perfectly straight. This was the fifth portmanteau film from Amicus and is a fine and beautifully polished piece of macabre moviemaking.
Doctor Martin (Powell) arrives for a job interview at a secluded asylum and must prove himself by listening to the macabre tales of some of the inmates and determine which is the former head of the asylum who has experienced a breakdown. Frozen Fear stars Barbara Parkins as Bonnie, who recounts her plot to murder her lover's wife, whose talent for voodoo results in horrific repercussions. The Weird Tailor stars Peter Cushing who requests that a suit be made from a mysterious fabric designed to reanimate his son. Next, Charlotte Rampling and Britt Ekland star in Lucy Comes to Stay as the ebullient Barbara, a frequent Asylum patient, and her mischievous friend Lucy whose visit upsets the fragile equilibrium in her mind. It all comes to a head in Mannikins of Horror as Dr Byron (Herbert Lom) transfers his soul into an automaton and is determined to kill Dr Rutherford (Patrick Magee)... but who is really in danger?
OK, I know what you're thinking and yes this is a totally mad concept (no pun intended) but it works so well thanks to a very tight script and confident direction. Each story has something to offer and unlike some anthology movies, there isn't a dud amongst them. If I had to choose one though then it's the Weird Taylor. Here, Cushing gives a subtle portrayal of a man named Smith who is rich in cash and mystery. Every line he delivers has meaning, depth and is just wonderful to watch. Special mention needs to go to Robert Powell who holds the whole piece together with his chiselled good looks and piercing stare.
The stories are short in length so the whole piece is over within 90 minutes, but the memory of the movie will last with you much longer.
The transfer here is quite wonderful, filled with bold colours that hold onto detail very well and considering this was made way back in 1972 it's a credit to whoever oversaw this transfer. There is some grain in places and a bit motion blur, but this is to be expected from a movie almost 50 years old. The soundtrack is very clear, slightly shrill in places but the enthusiastic score blasts through at every opportunity.
The large array of special features includes; Audio Commentary with Director Roy Ward Baker and Camera Operator Neil Binney, Two's a Company: 1972 On-set BBC report featuring interviews with Producer Milton Subotsky, Director Roy Ward Baker, Actors Charlotte Rampling, James Villiers, Megs Jenkins, Art Director Tony Curtis and Production Manager Teresa Bolland Screenwriter David J. Schow on Writer Robert Bloch, Fiona Subotsky Remembers Milton Subotsky, Inside the Fear Factory Featurette with Directors Roy Ward Baker, Freddie Francis and Producer Max J. Rosenberg, Theatrical Trailer and reversible sleeve featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys and original artwork.
Asylum is a classic British horror, filled with censor worrying violence and very dark humour and though its effects are dated it has much to offer viewers new to 70s cinema.
Related show tags: 4 STARS MORE REVIEWS The House that Dripped Blood - Blu-ray review
Posted on Saturday 13th July 2019 The House that Dripped Blood Second Sight Films Certificate 15
Amicus was famous for its anthology movies, and The House that Dripped Blood was one of their most famous ones. It contains a few good scares, as well as more than its fair share of in-jokes and homages to horror cinema's past. Written by Psycho author Robert Block and directed by newcomer Peter Duffell, the film boasts the usual Amicus star line-up coupled with some great set designs and an over enthusiastic score. Oh, a spoiler here, there's no blood!
Scotland Yard's Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) investigates a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants in four tales...SHARE: READ MORE Black Moon Rising - Blu-ray review
Posted on Monday 22nd April 2019 Black Moon Rising Arrow Video Cetificate 15
Most Sci-Fi thrillers from the 80s often suffered from lack of budget and lack of imagination as they tried to bring visions of tomorrow to an audience weaned on a diet of Star Wars and other such fodder. Black Moon Rising was different, it kept its hopes high but kept itself in the here and now and viewing some thirty plus years after its initial release only fashion and the odd dodgy piece of SFX lets its age be known.
Tommy Lee Jones stars as Sam Quint, a master thief working for the government who hides a computer disc loaded with evidence of corporate crime in a prototype supercar, the Black Moon...SHARE: READ MORE Scared Stiff - Blu-ray review
Posted on Thursday 11th April 2019 Scared Stiff Arrow Video Certificate TBA
Arrow Video continue to trawl the vaults of 80 horror fodder and have dug up a title that's taken too long to come to Blu-ray, Richard Friedman's Scared Stiff. Starring Mary Page Keller and Andrew Stevens the movie follows the classic 80s formula of slow-burn, some gore, more slow-burn and cracking final reel, it's a classic well worth getting re-acquainted with.
Keller plays Kate Christopher, a singer who moves into an old colonial mansion with her son and psychologist boyfriend David (Stevens). But when they make a strange and gruesome discovery in the boarded-up attic, it soon becomes clear that the mansion carries wi...SHARE: READ MORE The Green Inferno: AKA Cannibal Holocaust 2
Posted on Monday 8th April 2019 The Green Inferno: AKA Cannibal Holocaust 2 88 Films Cetificate 15
Cannibal Holocaust is probably one of the most debated horror movies of all time. A blend of exploitation, extreme gut-munching and violence (and some real animal torture) its notoriety is still talked about. It was inevitable a sequel is some shape or form, official or not, would follow and did so but not in the way fans thought it would. In The Green Inferno: AKA Cannibal Holocaust 2, gone are the hardcore splatter and sensationalist shocks, instead we have a movie that almost satirises what has gone before, seemingly in a ...SHARE: READ MORE Vault of Horror: The Italian Connection Vol.2
Posted on Monday 8th April 2019 Vault of Horror: The Italian Connection Vol.2 Demon Records
Here we go again with another slice of superb sounds with an Italian flavour from Demon Records and let's just say its just as strong as the movies they're culled from.
Starting off with the hazy chill of Savana from Savana Violenta (The Violent World) by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, we get the chance to experience some of the most wonderful pieces without the graphic images that accompanied them. Make Love on the Wing from Zombie Holocaust is as 70s Euro lounge as you can get, and both these tracks create images of sunsets and calm waters.
It's not long before Fabio Frizzi turns up with the disco...SHARE: READ MORE The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot - Film review
Posted on Wednesday 27th March 2019 The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot Epic Pictures Certificate TBA
At FrightFest 2018 there was one movie that many of us really wanted to catch, mainly because it starred Sam Elliott and had the best title, ever! The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot stars Sam Elliott and Aidan Turner and is a film that defies categorisation and is sublime as it is diverting.
Decades after serving in WWII and assassinating Adolf Hitler, Calvin Barr (Elliott/Turner) is enlisted as the only man for the job: to hunt down the fabled Bigfoot. Living a peaceful life in New England reflecting on his lost love Maxine (Caitlin FitzGerald), the war...SHARE: READ MORE Possum - Blur-ray review
Posted on Tuesday 12th March 2019 Possum Certificate 15 Bulldog Film Distribution
Attending FrightFest as part of the Horror Channel team is a blast, getting to mingle with the regulars, the whole Horror Channel team, the guests, the FrightFest crew etc but the downside is that sometimes you miss a movie you've been dying to catch. This was the case for Possum, the debut feature film from writer/director Matthew Holness. I had heard so much about this and the creepy poster gave little away so when my review copy came through the post I immediately sat down to watch. What I saw made my jaw drop, my skin creep and my mind race.
The story follows disgraced children's puppeteer Philip (Sean Harris)...SHARE: READ MORE Halloween (2018) - 4K HD Review
Posted on Monday 25th February 2019 Halloween 4K HD review Universal
Probably one of the most anticipated movies of 2018, Halloween had a lot to live up to. The early signs were good; Jamie Lee Curtis was back as Laurie Strode, John Carpenter was around as Creative Consultant and composer and more importantly it would be set 40 years after the very first movie ended. Yes folks, gone are the memories of Hospital murders, psychic nieces and awful reality TV events! This would be a true sequel and fans loved the idea.
Forty years after the events of 1978's Halloween, Laurie Strode (Curtis) now lives in a heavily guarded home on the edge of Haddonfield, where she's spent decades preparing for ...SHARE: READ MORE One Cut of the Dead - Blu-ray review
Posted on Sunday 24th February 2019 One Cut of the Dead Certificate 15 Third Window Films
One of the finest movies that I've ever seen at FrightFest, One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na!) is a film which takes the "meta movie" idea and pushes it right up to 11. With a budget said to have been around $27,000 it has raked in far more across the globe and taken its rightful place in countless "greatest film" lists from the last 12 months.
Believe me, you need to believe the hype.
The movie opens in a run-down, abandoned warehouse where a film crew are making a zombie film... Yet, this is no ordinary warehouse. It's been said that it's the site of where military experiments took place... O...SHARE: READ MORE The Best of 80s Scream Queens - Blu-ray review
Posted on Saturday 2nd February 2019
The Best of 80s Scream Queens 88 Films Certificate 18
For those of us of a certain age, the 1980s was a time of the video cassettes and computer games and whilst our adoration of pixels may have diminished our love for 80s horror/thrillers remains. This triple-bill from the good folks at 88 Films is a reminder of the golden age of direct-to-video releases and the scantly clad ladies who helped make them such a rental hit as well as the notorious director behind them all, David DeCoteau.
Now, DeCoteau was behind the classics Creepozoids, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge but these t...SHARE: READ MORE Halloween (2018) Original Soundtrack review
Posted on Thursday 18th October 2018
For most horror fans out there 2018 has been a golden year with the genre regularly topping box-offices around the globe. But, as they say, the best is usually last and this year it's a real biggie, Halloween is back, and this time John Carpenter is attached to the project. Not only is he one of the Executive Producers but he's also composed the score alongside his son Cody and Daniel A. Davies.
Let's get things straight, I love the Halloween series of movies (yes, even the sequels) and having Carpenter connected in such a way is pure horror fan bliss and I didn't want my admiration for both to cloud my judgement but this is a classy score packed with invention, new interpretations of a class...SHARE: READ MORE Frightmare - Blu-ray review
Posted on Thursday 27th September 2018
Another lost shocker from the early 80s gets a tasty release from 88 Films and this one from 1983 is pretty obscure. Frightmare (or The Horror Star as its known on this print) is one of the movies that is really of its time. Shot at the height of home video fever the film, when viewed now is tame with an incredibly camp turn from Ferdy Mayne as the Vincent Price/Christopher Lee wannabe actor Conrad Razkoff.
This slasher tells of a celebration for a late, great horror star... only the actor in question might not be entirely dead and soon the participants at his supposed party are being picked off one by ...SHARE: READ MORE Reviews Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 PICK OF THE WEEK
Saturday 31st August
Tuesday 27th August
Tuesday 3rd September