LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Death Line - Blu-ray review
By James Whittington, Sunday 23rd September 2018
The 1970s, a time of wood-chip wallpaper, the faded dreams of flower power and industrial change. Britain was experiencing three-day weeks, power shortages and general misery. Cinema reflected this depressing time and none more so than Death Line. This gritty, grimy, gory piece is rightly regarded as a classic and Network have given it a transfer that gives it a new lease of life.
When a philandering politician goes missing on the London Underground, the subsequent police investigation uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden since the 1800s. Who - or what - is turning the Underground tunnels into a Death Line..? Released as Raw Meat in America, Death Line is the sort of movie Hammer should have tried making as its film business production ground to a halt. Its atmospheric, has an idiosyncratic tone throughout and delivers on the violence. The movie captures the seedy side of London at the start of the 70s, the way it lacked definition resembling a cheap, dilapidated version of New York in desperate need of a revamp. Its all neon with peeling paint and bland colour schemes, a place where bowler hatted gentlemen get their questionable kicks and those above the law only need an OBE after their name.
First time director Gary Sherman shows great confidence, slowly building up the tension with long tracking shots and solid character development. He also handles acting legends Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee perfectly, allowing their two-dimensional characters to fully develop. Adding to this one of the sleaziest scores ever to accompany a horror movie and you've got an almost perfect mix.
The supporting cast are a tad flat and some of the dialogue is a bit dated, but the film is saved by a tight running time and some cracking set-pieces which, for their time were considered very strong. The sequences in the underground tunnels are huge fun, look out the infamous "spade in the head" shot! By the way, the film retains its "Certificate X" card from the BBFC at the start which for some reason sent a bit of retro chill down my spine.
The transfer is superb, for a film shot in 1972. Taken from original film elements it looks as if it could have been made yesterday. It has a deep range of shades that retain plenty of detail in the many darker sequences. The soundtrack is fine though some of the dialogue is a bit shrill, but I think this is due to how it was recorded rather than anything else.
Extras include Mind the Doors!: an interview with Hugh Armstrong, limited edition collectible booklet written by Laura Mayne, Theatrical Trailer, Image Gallery and PDF Material.
Death Line is an important film as it brought a much-needed rawness to British horror cinema, thus breathing life into a dying genre.
Related show tags: 4 STARS MORE REVIEWS Asylum - Blu-ray review
Posted on 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 beaut...SHARE: READ MORE 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 Reviews Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 PICK OF THE WEEK
Saturday 31st August
Wednesday 21st August
Friday 30th August