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By Emily Booth, Tuesday 24th October 2017
This week I talk about an unusual UK TV premiere on Horror Channel; a film that plays more like a nightmarish experience than a traditional horror movie. The anthology horror as most of us know has a solid history in the genre popularised back in the '60s and '70s by Amicus Productions with such titles as Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Vault of Horror (1973). Creepshow and The Twilight Zone took up the reins in the '80s, but the style went out of fashion until recently when it was brought back in vogue in the cyclical way that pop culture does, with the indie gem and surprise hit V/H/S (2012).
Tonight's terror comes from the same film makers as V/H/S and definitely, dare I say it, improves on the medium. Keeping the same tradition of interweaving 5 short stories, but steering away from a narrator or wrap-around element, all the characters here are somehow escaping from or chasing death as they make their way across the desert highway; all trying to get somewhere, but going nowhere, chased by guilt and inner demons. We open on two men, covered in blood and racing down the highway pursued by ominous black demons of death, but what they've done and why they're running isn't made clear until the film comes full circle in the final segment.
Flowing beautifully into the next story, an all-girl band on a road trip get a flat tire and hitch a ride with a sickly sweet couple who, it turns out, are serving up some very dubious meatloaf and have one hell of a plan up their sleeve! The third segment - and possibly my favourite - begins with a man accidentally hitting a girl in the road and then trying in vain to save her, assisted only by a mysterious 'emergency helpline' which directs him to a deserted hospital and insists he operate on her. Things don't go too well for her, to say the least...
The stories and characters bleed into one another, toying with themes of death, guilt, regret and loss. The film doesn't actually give too much away, and flirts with ambiguity allowing a certain rare interpretation from the audience at home. It does all come to a satisfying reveal at the end, but I don't hold out much hope for the characters on this never-ending loop of hellish existence.
Southbound receives its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel this Sunday at 9.00pm.
A heads up also to all you Stephen King fans out there, for this weekend also sees the climax of our Stephen King Season with the network premiere of Children of the Corn at 9.00pm on Saturday.
Related show tags: CHILDREN OF THE CORN, SOUTHBOUND MORE ARTICLES Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
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