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A wide range of the best of various genres

Movie Lists

Under The Radar 70s and 80s Horror Films Worth Watching

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Freddy, Jason and Michael all ruled the roost back in the ’70s and ’80s, slashing everything and anything else that tried to break into the horror genre market in said era. Looking back, some thirty years later, and I can’t help but feel it’s my duty to introduce horror fans to some lesser known ’80s horror classics that still stick in my mind to this very day – horror fare that many of you may not be familiar with. The good news is that one of them has recently been re-released on Blu-ray with another set for the same treatment later on this year.


5.) SPECTERS (1987)

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Donald Pleasance had this amazing talent of being able to turn second rate garbage into something so much superior than it really was. Specters is a prime example of said talent.

The film follows a team of archaeologists who, during an excavation, accidentally releasing an evil force into the world via underground catacombs. What’s lacking in plot devices is more than made up for in one heck of a sinister atmosphere, thanks by and large to the sound design. It’s certainly worth rooting this one out if unnerving ‘80s horror floats your boat.


4.) THE DEVIL’S RAIN (1975)

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Despite the amazing ensemble cast involved, this little classic didn’t reach anywhere near as much of an audience as it deserved then and still deserves now. Bill Shatner and Tom Skerritt are brothers who find themselves battling it out against a Satanic cult led by Ernest Borgnine. Watch closely towards the end and you’ll even see a startlingly young John Travolta playing one of Borgnine’s proselytes.

The main protagonist in this film here is technical supervisor Anton LaVey. ‘80s horror movies served up some serious melt effects and The Devil’s Rain provided this in bucket loads of ooze. No sooner has the film started and we see the brothers’ father stagger in from a storm bubbling away and breaking into bits before ultimately turning into a puddle of sludge. The melt and slime goodness goes on for pretty much the entire duration of the film, culminating in a lengthy sequence with the cult members dissolving left right and centre.


3.) SLIME CITY (1988)

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Let’s keep melting and cults the central theme as we move on with the next film in the list, Slime City.

The film follows a young man, excited about moving into a new apartment. Little does he know is that said apartment is in a building owned by members a cult of ectoplasmic body possessors.

The building’s rather diverse dwellers trick him into becoming a vessel for Zachary, the cult’s original leader. He soon finds himself suddenly melting and the only way he can restore his natural beauty is not by popping slices of cucumber on his eyes but rather by giving in to his newly found homicidal cravings.

Prepare yourself from some pretty hilarious yet horrific effects (and acting, although it’s so terrible it’s actually laugh-out-loud enjoyable).

A sequel, Slime City Massacre, was released in 2010 but sadly just doesn’t live up the original’s sliminess, although the acting is pretty much on a par.


2.) DEMONS (1985)

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Plot holes aside I’m going to come out and just say Lamberto Bava’s Demons, or Demoni, is probably one of the most horrifying movies I’ve seen to date. Maybe that statement comes from the terrifying memories I have of experiencing this movie alone at a tender young age but I recently dared myself to watch the sequel and I have to admit it resuscitated some of the most frightening memories.

Whilst Bava certainly can’t be credited for having come up with an original plot or even a plot at all, he managed to create a film was packed full of so much tension and mayhem that that fact becomes totally immaterial. Considering the movie was shot on such a low budget, these ‘80s demons couldn’t look scarier and certainly scared me more than anything I’ve seen recently. To give you an idea, my nightmares are still haunted by the chap in the middle of the image above.

The monster effects combined with the terrifying setting  – an actual cinema – work a treat. I’m just so glad I never actually went to the cinema to see this or I don’t know if I would have been able to sit it out to the bitter end. Why set in a cinema you ask? Well the plot basically involves a group of people attending a midnight screening of a horror movie called Demons after receiving invitation flyers. As the audience sit down to enjoy the film, it appears that exactly what is happening in the movie they are watching starts to happen inside the movie theatre. If that wasn’t problematic enough, as soon as people start turning into Demons the remaining survivors discover all exits have astonishingly been bricked up.

Kudos to Bava for emphasizing everything audiences enjoy about horror films. You might find yourself laughing at first at the dodgy dubbing but once things start getting gnarly this film will have you thinking twice and thrice before heading to your local cinema to watch another horror movie.

Good news part one: This movie is slated to for a Synapse Films Blu-ray release on October 29th this year.


1.) STREET TRASH (1987)

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Describing the film, screenwriter Roy Frumkes said, “I wrote [Street Trash] to democratically offend every group on the planet.” If everyone on the planet had seen the film back then, I’m sure he couldn’t have been more right. It’s such as shame that wasn’t the case as this is one of THE strongest memories imprinted on my brain from the ’80s.

Pretty much everything about this film crosses boundaries for the sake of doing so but all the bad taste is executed with such good taste – beheadings, necrophilia, rape, vomit, and a see-it-to-believe it game of catch with a man’s severed penis as the poor chap runs around trying to recover what’s been taken away from him.

Without spoiling too much for those yet to see this masterpiece, the plot revolves around a crate of expired booze, called Viper, which is sold off at a local off-licence to tramps for a dollar. Little do the poor chaps know that as soon as they take a swig of the stuff they are in for a melt in your mouth and not in your hand surprise.

Whilst the previous melt movies mentioned here were pretty stunning for the time, it has to be said that Street Trash provides you with the most unique and grotesque effects ever put on film. Bodies melt, explode, and disintegrate with the most vibrant bursts of all the colours of the rainbow slime. At the same time it’s so clear that the makeup team behind all the gore had a whale of a time and the plasticine cartoony effects add so much more to the fun whilst never, never, never detracting from the sheer horror the film recreates.

Good news part two: Street Trash was released last month on Blu-ray by good old Synapse Films so get it while stocks last.

Obviously there are oodles of classic horror films from this era but these are five that really stood out for me during my teen years. If you have an avid penchant for ‘80s horror movies than these are certainly worth tracking down to give them the viewing they deserve.


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Box OfficeMovie Lists

Top Movies: July 2013

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Now You See Me – 3 July

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With Dynamo raising eyebrows since his apparition on the magic circuit us Brits are yearning for a healthy dose of abracadabra packed into an action-thriller-heist movie. Now You See Me certainly looks to pack all that into its running time. Under the adept direction of Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Unleashed), the film follows a quartet of magicians know as The Four Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco) who use their mastery of magic to perform their greatest performance to date, transferring a millionaires bank funds into the accounts of members of the audience.


The Bling Ring – 5 July

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Oscar-winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola is back directing, writing and producing somewhat of a genre change for her – the caper film, The Bling Ring, based on the Vanity Fair story “The Suspect Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales. Emma Watson has suddenly come of age and, as the trailer shows, we can expect to see her with different eyes as she plunders celebrity homes with her gang of crooks who come to be known as “The Hollywood Hills Burglars,” “The Burglar Bunch,” and “The Bling Ring,” all in the name of finding fame.

Despite the film being headed up by an ensemble cast of virtual unknowns, with the exception of the aforementioned Watson, The Bling Ring is sure to be one of our guilty summer season vices.


A Field In England – 5 July

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Since his 2009 debut, Down Terrace, Ben Wheatley has quickly clambered up the ladder of indie British filmmakers concocting a new wave pedigree of horror. If you thought Kill List and Sightseers reinvented the mould, the trailer for A Field in England promises an heftier doses of ingenuity as Wheatley forays into the English Civil War.

Many may be put off by the black-and-white decision but it certainly seems to be making a comeback as of late with Wheatley explained he took this route as the film in colour would have been “really distracting.”

Expect nothing to be done by the book and a film destined to achieve late-night cult screening status for years to come.


Monsters University – 12 July

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After thirteen films Pixar are picking up their backpacks and heading back to school with their first ever prequel, Monsters University. The film follows the antics of  Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James “Sulley” Sullivan (voice by John Goodman) relating their extremely shaky first encounter as monster fraternities battle it out in the annual Scare Games. Audiences can look forward to more than a few hat tips to cult ‘80s college movies so the film is sure to cater for kids and kidults alike.


Pacific Rim – 12 July

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Since the first footage of Guillermo’s Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim debuted at Comic-Con last year everyone has been waiting with bated breath see giant robots fight it out on the big screen against giant monsters (Kaiju). It certainly sounds like the perfect recipe for a generic summer blockbuster “a la Transformers”, but the promotional goodies haven’t turned sour yet and probably won’t as the release of the film is upon us. Not only that but with plotlines such as the robots being physically linked to the pilots, meaning they share memories, the simple premise becomes much more than brain switch off eye-candy.

To cut a story short the film relates how the Kaiju rise out of a dimensional portal in the ocean with the humans building massive robots, known as Jaegers, which require two pilots to fight in perfect synchronisation. If you want eye-candy that comes bundled with a plot that actually provides fodder to chew on this summer then Del Toro serves it up on a platter here.


Breathe In – 19 July

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Drake Doremus follows up Douchebag and Like Crazy with Breathe In, a drama which the director had in fact completed photography on before Like Crazy had even hit cinemas. Collaborating once again with the actress Felicity Jones the film also boasts the presence of the acting muscles that are Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan. Whilst Doremus has confirmed the implementation of his semi-improvised filming process used for previous projects, Breathe in is said to implement a more conventional, handheld-free aesthetic, which we can’t wait to experience.


The World’s End – 19 July

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Following the first two “Cornetto Trilogy” outings that were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz the word excited doesn’t even begin to describe how much expectation there is for the final entry, The World’s End. The film follows a group of old friends who decide the time has come to relive an epic pub-crawl from their youth which they do, only something apocalyptic gets in the way.

We can’t wait for Barmageddon. Enough said.


The Wolverine – 25 July

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Alongside Pacific Rim, this is the other biggest blockbuster coming out in the month of July. It’s also the film fans of the comics have been waiting for as this is the first time the series rummages into the character’s comic book roots in Japan.

The Wolverine finds Hugh Jackman back for a fifth time as Logan, this time doing battle with ninjas and the yakuza.

When Aronofsky pulled out of the project expectations faded but, given the film’s eventual director, James Mangold’s track record including the likes of, Walk The Line, Identity and 3:10 to Yuma the project has been nurtured in safe hands.

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Movie Lists

Top 5 Hitchcock Murder Scenes

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‘The more successful the villain, the more the successful the picture’.

Hitchcock certainly wasn’t lying when he said that, with some of the most infamous murder scenes in film history attributed to his movies. He was willing to dabble in waters that other directors were petrified to go anywhere near. He was willing to challenge censorship and push it to its very limits. He succeeded in changing film forever and will always be remembered for his ambitious cinematic techniques, art of suspense, and of course, murder. So, what better way to celebrate the celebrated filmmaker than with a look at five of his most memorable murder scenes, a tough challenge to whittle them down I can tell you…


Blackmail (1929)

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The first British ‘talkie’ and how else better to show off cinemas evolution to the audiences by giving them the screams and cries of murder! In this scene, Alice fends off a would-be-rapist, killing him in the process.

Watch the video.

Frenzy (1972)

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Hitchcock returned to Britain after a sixteen year absence to shoot Frenzy. In this scene, the necktie murder lures a woman into his flat. They enter and the camera slowly tracks back out of the building in a beautifully executed shot that leaves the audience fully aware of what is to happen.

Watch the video.

Rope (1948)

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How to open a movie? How about strangling somebody. Rope is one of the most, if not the most, ambitiously shot Hitchcock movies. In attempt to make the movie look like one entire shot – it’s actually three – Hitchcock composes a masterpiece of suspense infused with sickening behaviour – they throw the body in a chest, invite the family of the deceased over, and then dine off his resting place. Nasty.

Watch the video.

Dial M for Murder (1954)

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Hitchcock favourite Grace Kelly is back in the hot seat as she defends herself from her tennis-pro turned blackmailer and killer husband. As he listens on the phone, Kelly is fighting off a moustached murder. But, as Hitchcock loves, the heroine overcomes!

Watch the video.

Psycho (1960)

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Stab! Stab! Stab! Each cut, each sound, each movement perfectly executed to create one of the most iconic scenes in cinema, Psycho’s bathroom murder scene shocked audiences and Hollywood execs – especially when you kill off your lead girl half way through a movie!

Watch the video.

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