Devil's Advocates: The Blair Witch Project - Book Review
By James Whittington, Sunday 14th June 2015

The Blair Witch projectThe Blair Witch Project


Peter Turner




ISBN 9781906733841



Even though it was far from being the very first found footage movie, The Blair Witch Project from 1999 redefined this horror sub-genre so perfectly that the cast and crew have struggled to match its success and impact. This superb book from Peter Turner details this movie from conception to production to aftermath and tries to piece together exactly why it spoke to the horror loving public so much.

Born at a time of self-referential slashers such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch Project was released the same year as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and went to prove that you didn’t need to have a huge CGI budget to produce effective and unforgettable movies. The mockumentary took advantage of developing recording equipment and proved exactly what you could do and then it played its trump card; it used the power of the internet to help whoop up the publicity for itself.

The movie concerns three film students; director Heather, soundman Mike and cameraman Josh who go Burkittsville to explore an urban legend and somehow fall foul to some unseen presence. And that is basically it but it’s executed in such a way that you just can’t help yourself getting caught up in the mystery of it. The entire movie is “made up” from the footage found from their investigations meaning there are very few camera tricks here and sound and darkness are used to push the horrific happenings.

Author Peter Turner holds our hands all the way through the story of this low budget masterpiece, describing the history of the mockumentary and how the improvised and spontaneous camerawork help built up on the atmosphere and experience. This atmosphere was made even more credible as Turner details exactly what the actors went through all in the name of trying to achieve authenticity. He dissects the diegetic camera, where we can only see the point of view of the person holding it and how it increases the tension without really having to do anything. If scenes were edited together it would lose credibility and lose impact. The interplay between the cast and the secrecy that the director created between them helped build up the rawness of the film, something other found footage movies lack. The author also looks to where the movie sits within the cinema of post 9/11. Does it represent us all being lost in a forest or does it go deeper than that? The section on the viral marketing, something which is so common now, makes us realise just how many new levels this film tried in the name of authenticity.

The whole book is a very authoritative read and one that should be done in one setting just after re-watching the movie. Another “must buy” from the Devil’s Advocate range.

Friendly Beast - FrightFest review
Posted on Sunday 18th March 2018

Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow was a true showcase for world cinema. One of the stand out pieces came from Gabriela Amaral Almeida who wrote and directed Friendly Beast, a film so visceral yet beautiful at the same time, it left an indelible mark on this reviewer's mind.

It's nearly closing time at a struggling restaurant. Staff want to go home while the boss struggles with money troubles and a desire for more power in his life. Enter two robbers, the catalyst for a violent situation, which the boss is initially able to contain and gain the upper hand. Suddenly, the already dangerous and explosive situation turns deadly; sides are taken, and people turn to the most abhorrent behaviour in an instant.


Blood Harvest - Blu-ray review
Posted on Wednesday 7th March 2018

Blood Harvest

88 FIlms

18 Certificate

When this movie was originally submitted to the BBFC for home release in 1989 nearly 3 minutes of cuts were made to the piece. Now, thanks to 88 Films we can enjoy this overlooked slasher in all its uncut gory glory. In fact, the BBFC site tells you "All previous BBFC cuts waived and material originally pre-cut by company restored" so hurrah!

88 Films are also giving us the chance to view in a new HD transfer and restored from original materials. But the main selling point is that the legend that is (or more accurately was) Tiny Tim, he of "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips" fame playing Marvelous Mervo, a man who had suffered brain damag...

Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil - FrightFest review
Posted on Tuesday 6th March 2018

Ever wished that Terry Gilliam made more movies? The man who gave us Jabberwocky, The Fisher King and Brazil gave the world a new perspective and encouraged budding movie makers around the world to make their own visions and to stick by what they wanted to create.

Step forward Paul Urkijo whose demonic movie Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil just had its UK premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow. This film is the closest thing to anything Gilliam has made in the past but at the same time feels so original and fresh that it deserves multiple views just to appreciate the detail and love in every single frame.

Ten years after Civil War in Spain 1833, orphan Usue (Uma Bracaglia) seeks es...

Pyewacket - Frightfest Review
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018

You know the feeling you get when you see a film that you know nothing about, not even the title gives anything away and you view with an open mind and then it blows your proverbial socks off? Well this is exactly what happened to me with Pyewacket.

Confused and infuriated for being forced to move away from friends after the death of her father, Leah (Nicole Munoz) performs a blood incantation calling on an evil entity to punish her grieving mother (Laurie Holden). Immediately regretful, she realises she can't reverse the ritual curse and an unholy presence now stalks them both in their rural home.


Where do I start with such a movie? Well, let's begin with the sc...

Attack of the Bat Monsters - FrightFest Review
Posted on Saturday 3rd March 2018

For a movie that's had a longer gestation period than any project I've known of, Attack of the Bat Monsters looks as if it could have been made yesterday, or the 1950s where its set! More on this later, here's what the film is about:

The movie follows schlock impresario Francis Gordon as he and his intrepid crew attempt to shoot an impromptu monster movie in the three days left over from the film they've just wrapped. This is the 1950s Z-Grade movie industry as its never been seen before.

From the Saul Bass opening title homage (which is worth seeing by itself) the movie perfectly encapsulates the era of post-World War II guerrilla film-making. Attack of the Bat Monsters ha...

Cat in the Brain - Blur-ray review
Posted on Friday 23rd February 2018

Cat in the Brain

88 Films

18 Certificate

Lucio Fulci, a man who never resisted to cross the line in horror cinema went through a lean period in the late 80s. His work was suffering from ever reducing budgets and it seemed as if his inspiration was lacking. Cat in the Brain, also known as Nightmare Concert, I volti del terrore and Un gatto nel cervello is a patchwork piece, assembled from little pieces of other movies with Fulci playing the lead to save money. But this is a meta-movie that is ripe for reappraisal.

Lucio Fulci is Lucio Fulci, a filmmaker with a reputation for gruesome horror films. His body of work has started to plague his mental state, and he is haunted by the grotesque ...

Dogs - Blu-ray Review
Posted on Sunday 18th February 2018


88 Films

Certificate 15

The 1970s saw a rise in the "nature runs amok" genre of cinema. Thanks to movies such as Frogs and Night of the Lepus (both released in 1972) and obviously Jaws in 1975 the idea of animals turning against us was a nice idea though some movies had more impact than others.

Dogs, from 1976 is a rare gem of the genre. Starring our very own David McCallum, an actor who adds a lot of gravitas to the movie, the film is a bloody affair that's more downbeat than I recall.

Man's best friend has turned against its owner and has started to hunt in packs and chow down on human flesh - in the streets, in the corridors of a university and even in the shower... no o...

Tokyo Ghoul - Live action movie review
Posted on Saturday 10th February 2018

Tokyo Ghoul

Anime Ltd

Certificate 15

Although I'm not the biggest expert on Asian cinema, I'm even less of an expert when it comes to Anime. I do know what I like, though and Tokyo Ghoul is a damn fine piece of cinema.

Quiet and bookish, Ken Kaneki (Masataka Kubota) was all but dead to a world living in fear of "Ghouls": creatures who not only share our skin but crave its taste. When a nightmarish encounter leaves him a human-ghoul hybrid however, Ken finds himself taken under the wing of those he once considered monsters and fighting to protect them from a vengeful hunger that will leave him asking what it truly means to be inhuman.

OK, I am not going to...

Jigsaw - 4K Ultra HD Review
Posted on Monday 29th January 2018

Jigsaw - 4K UHD


Certificate 18

Just when you thought that good old John Kramer was dead and gone along comes another movie where the gruesome games are about to begin again.

Please note this review does contain spoilers, read with caution.

After a series of murders bearing all the markings of the Jigsaw killer, law enforcement finds themselves chasing the ghost of a man, dead for over a decade and embroiled in a new game that's only just begun. Is John Kramer back from the dead to remind the world to be grateful for the gift of life? Or is this a trap set by a killer with designs of their own?

Jigsaw (or Saw 8 to many people) doesn't exactly re...

Tales Of Halloween - DVD Review
Posted on Monday 31st October 2016

Tales Of Halloween DVD

Arrow Films

Certificate 18

Extras: Deleted Scene: Grim Grinning Ghost - directed by Axelle Carolyn, Behind-The-Scenes: Sweet Tooth - directed by Dave Parker, Anatomy of a Scene: Friday the 31st - directed by Mike Mendez, Fun Facts pop-on video commentary for selected segments (caption file), Photo Gallery, Behind-The-Scenes of Bad Seed, Storyboards for Ding Dong.

Halloween, a traditional time for sitting around and telling the most outrageous horror themed stories you can think of. Well, you don't have to make up your own anymore as some of the genres finest talent have done all the hard work for you!

Tales of Halloween has 10 (yes, 10!) interlocking stories th...

The Purge: Election Year - Film Review
Posted on Wednesday 24th August 2016

The Purge: Election Year - Film review



Certificate 15

The end of The Purge: Anarchy set up more political intrigue than we might have expected from the Blumhouse franchise, but it was a welcome addition. The Purge: Election Year follows up on the set up, taking us to a new Purge Night (for the uninitiated, a holiday in a not too distant future USA where all crime is legal for the night), where anti-Purge presidential hopeful Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is forced outside during the traumatic evening.

It was a smart move to bring back Frank Grillo from the las...

The Shallows - Film review
Posted on Tuesday 19th July 2016

The Shallows - Film review


Sony Pictures


Certificate 15

On a trip to a secret and mostly deserted Mexican beach, Nancy (Blake Lively) finds herself to be the prey of a very hungry shark. Trapped on a small rock, the tide threatening to throw her back into the water, Nancy has only her wits (she’s a med school dropout) and a seagull companion, she must figure out a way to get back to shore.


There’s a lot of fun to be had at this secret beach if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief (which as a fan of Horror, you should be). The premise of girl vs. shark is an easy one to go along with, and Lively offers up a...

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