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Special features pouring love onto long lost classic film.

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R.A.D.’s Friday 13th Event Report

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Grimmfest is Manchester’s home of horror and cult films is entering its seventh year. The festival has hosted many World, UK and Regional premieres and over the years the guest list has included Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman), Steve Oram (Sightseers), Dominic Brunt (Before Dawn), Ross Noble (Stitches), James Moran and Alan Ford (Cockneys vs. Zombies). Over the past few months R.A.D. (Retro And Dangerous) Film Screenings, an extension of Grimmfest, has been hosting special screenings of cult classics that extend to include other genres.

Last Halloween they screened a genius double bill of Kenny Ortega‘s witching comedy Hocus Pocus and Tim Burton‘s gothically twisted hit Beetlejuice. Just before Christmas, R.A.D. Film Screenings held a special presentation of the Chevy Chase festive classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation before launching into Turbo Time with Jingle all the Way. I was invited along to represent Cinema Chords at R.A.D’s latest event, a double bill of two classic 1980 slasher films that have defined the horror genre, Sean S. Cunningham‘s Friday the 13th and Paul Lynch‘s high school horror Prom Night.

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The event was hosted by Gorilla, a trendy bar/restaurant/club complex found in the arches under the Oxford Road train station. The screenings were held in the darkened club area and and was supported by a large screen an incredible sound system which made the experience that much more enjoyable. There was a stall selling a cracking selection of DVD’s, Blu Rays and T-shirts which were all on sale at only £3.00 each. This said, my only gripe with the establishment is that the drink prices at Gorilla are incredibly steep. I paid £4.00 for a coke and beers started from the same price for bottles and cans.

Nonetheless, tickets for the event were priced at a reasonable £8.00 which is an incredible price considering those lucky enough to attend the packed screening were getting the opportunity to watch two amazing films on the big screen. I had a fantastic time and was impressed by the enthusiasm of the crowd and nothing beats watching both iconic slasher titles on the big screen. Personally, I give R.A.D. Film Screenings two massive thumbs up and will most certainly be attending more screenings as time goes on. I guess I’m even a bit jealous that the folks of Manchester have events like this right on their doorstep.

I would like to thank the event organiser Greg Walker and his team of volunteers for putting on a fantastic night. So if you would like to experience what it’s like to attend a R.A.D. Film Screening then you’re in luck as the team have some amazing screenings on their way. David Fincher‘s epic Fight Club will be shown Thursday 26th March at the Manchester Central Library. Following that on 2nd of April, Mary Harron‘s American Psycho will be shown and both screenings are only £5.00 each. Mark your diaries now.

FightClubFor more information about the screening of Fight Club click here.

American PsychoFor more information about the screening of American Psycho click here.

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Cult Cinema

Looking Back at The Loved Ones [2009]

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Loved Ones - Lola Walking Down Street

I seem to be setting a trend with reviewing horror films that feature proms. Is this some childhood trauma subconsciously emerging? Prom anyone? Anyway back to The Loved Ones

Brent is a depressed dope smoking teen, who after the death of his father is trying to smoke away his troubles. Brent’s year is about to get a whole lot worse when he rejects the offer of a prom date from Lola. Unfortunately for Brent no one ever says no to Lola and gets away with it. Lola’s dad will not let her precious night be ruined and makes sure she has the perfect makeshift prom at home, and with a chair bound Brent, the party really begins. A mirrored glitter ball dances above their heads, as a pink satined Lola and her parents invite Brent to have dinner with them. Lola and her father proceed to take revenge on Brent by systematic torturing him. Be prepared for some real gut wretching scenes.

The film begins at a high school and follows the trials and tribulations of our teenage characters, from peer pressure, sexuality and drug abuse. The gritty style of filming, level of violence and the psychotic characters transport this film into a depth of gore and horror which is completely unexpected. The violence, although in abundance, is never pushed to the side of absurdity, the tension that all three characters create on screen allows for each scene to be a nail biting experience. Many critics have regarded this film as ‘Torture Porn’, but the dark humour and relationships created drives the film and does not offer violence for violence sake. Also the sub plot of boy and goth girl, who actually make it to the prom, well for ten minutes at least, gives the audience sporadic relief from the horrors happening at the ‘princess’ household. The Loved Ones is a personal favourite of mine and only adds to the awesome horror films produced by Australia including Snowtown, Wolf Creek, Primal, and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Life Lessons: Never get between a girl and her dad, and when the kettle boils run.

“Am I pretty enough?” – Only when you’re wielding that electric drill.

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Cult CinemaFeaturesKiller Chords

Grimmfest 2014: Part One

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This past weekend saw the return of Manchester’s premiere horror film festival as Grimmfest returned for its sixth year. Taking place at The Dancehouse theatre the the festival saw twenty-five features and eleven short films play over four day period.

The line up last year was fantastic and included films such as The Borderlands, Jug Face, Antisocial, The Human Race, Big Bad Wolves and Stalled. Guests attending the festival included Robin Hardy (The Wicker Man), Elliot Goldner (The Borderlands), Paul Davis (The Body), Christian James (Stalled) and James Moran (Crazy for You).

As for this year, Steve Balshaw, Simeon Halligan, Rachel Richardson Jones, Greg Walker and the rest of the team behind Grimmfest delivered festival goers an incredible line-up and it was obvious from the outset that it was going to be yet another incredible year and we are delighted to bring you our own coverage of the entire weekend.

THURSDAY 2ND OCTOBER

Ahead of the Opening Night Gala the first stream of films to be shown as part of the Grimmfest Fringe screenings were held at Manchester’s Gorilla, a quaint bar situated just around the corner from The Dancehouse. The theme for today’s Fringe events was titled WOMEN IN HORROR SHOWCASE and featured films from some of the best women in horror.

SHEThe afternoon’s films began with a screening of Alejandro Hidalgo’s THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME. This was shortly followed by Jessica Cameron‘s brutally extreme TRUTH OR DARE which was supported by Chelsey Burdon and Mark Fessey’s notoriously shocking short film SHE. Barely having time to recover after the brutality, those wanting more were treated to exclusive screenings of Matthew A. Brown‘s JULIA and Thomas S. Hammock‘s THE WELL.

By 7:00pm it was time to kick-off the Grimmfest Gala Opening which was opened by the World Premiere of the ‘Vegan Feminist’ short film THE HERD. Starring Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman) and Charlotte Hunter (Emmerdale), The Herd is written by Ed Pope and Directed by Melanie Light and stunned the entire audience and even its attending cast members into silence.

A deeply shocking short that is not easily forgotten, The Herd sees a bunch of women imprisoned against their will who are enslaved, Inseminated and abused for one reason only – their milk. As a whole, Light’s short is very powerful. It is gritty, harrowing and will certainly stay with you long after watching it.

LETUSPREYUp next was was the English Premiere of Brian O’Malley‘s Irish horror LET US PREY. Starring Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) and Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman), the film follows rookie policewoman Rachel (McIntosh) who is about to begin her first shift at a neglected police station in an isolated Scottish town. After making her first arrest something sinister is going on and it’s not long before mysterious a mysterious figure (Cunningham) arrives causing all hell to break loose.

I rather enjoyed this film and so did everyone else around me. Not only did it effectively balance action and horror but Pollyanna McIntosh proves that she has what it takes to carry a film and do it superbly so. After the film Director Brian O’Malley and his cast Pollyanna McIntosh, Liam Cunningham and Hanna Stanbridge took the stage to take part in an exclusive Q&A.

SUBURBANGOTHICBringing the evening to a close was the UK Premiere of Richard Bates Jr‘s SUBURBAN GOTHIC which stars Matthew Gray Gubler (500 Days of Summer), Kat Dennings (Thor), Ray Wise (Robocop) and Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator). After graduating from College, Raymond (Gubler) is forced to move back in with his parents to discover a vengeful ghost is terrorising the small town. In an effort to save the day he recruits Becca (Dennings), a local bartender to solve the mystery of the spirit. Regrettably I had to leave the festival before the screening but speaking with other festival goers the film played well and remained a firm favourite amongst the crowd.

FRIDAY 3RD OCTOBER

As day two dawned on Grimmfest 2014 the Fringe strand moved from Gorilla to Odeon Printworks for a morning of lesser known genre titles. Let’s have a look at what was shown.

DEVILSMILEUp first was the UK Premiere of Joseph O’Brien‘s supernatural horror DEVIL’S MILE. Hailed as The Getaway meets Lost Highway, The film tells the story of a trio of kidnappers who take an detour en route to deliver their hostages but somehow manage to accidently kill one of their hostages. As if that wasn’t bad enough the trio and surviving hostage find themselves trapped by hellish forces haunting the road forcing the captors and captive to work together to survive.

Up next at the Printworks was the Northern Premiere of Antonio Tublen‘s dark comedy LFOPatrik Karlson stars in the film as Robert, a man who realises that he can hypnotise with sound and doesn’t waste time on experimenting with his neighbours. After giving into temptation he begins to abuse his power which has severe consequences for the rest of the world.

RECONSTRUCTIONFollowing LFO was the UK Premiere of Dan Bush‘s RECONSRUCTION OF WILLIAM ZERO. Echoing such films as Another Earth and Melancholia, the film tells the story of a geneticist who wakes up from an accident with only fragments of his memory. Forced to relearn who he is via his brother he begins to suspect that he isn’t who he thought he was at all.

Bringing the fringe to a close was the UK Premiere of SORORAL. Directed by Sam Barrett and Australia’s first Giallo film, Amanda Woodhams stars as Cassie, a woman plagued by visions of murder only to be told that they are real murders. Determined to put a stop to the killings when those close to her fall at the hands of the murderer, Cassie is thrown together with a former lover and uncover a shocking evelation that will change everything.

SUSPERIAAs afternoon turned into the evening, the festival was buzzing with excitement for the events ahead as the Italian 70′s progressive rock legends CLAUDIO SIMONETTI’S GOBLIN were going to appear at the festival to perform a live score to Dario Argento‘s horror classic SUSPERIA. Following their performance the evening was brought to a close with Dario Argento’s cut of the George A. Romero classic DAWN OF THE DEAD.Sadly I was unable to obtain a ticket to the show and I could hardly contain my jealousy over the fact that I couldn’t be there as all Day Passes had sold out.

So after two days in my favourite films of the festival so far was Brian O’Malley‘s Let Us Prey and Melanie Light‘s The Herd. It was a shame that I was unable to attend the Goblin event but I am thrilled that those lucky enough to attend had a fantastic time.

Bring on days three and four!

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Cult Cinema

Looking Back at 1997’s Mimic

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Deciding to watch a film from 1997 for the first time in 2014 can go two ways. Either it turns out to be a god-awful idea; the effects are bad and the story is out-dated, having been replicated many times. Or, the film can be a charming reminder of times gone by, a classic.

With Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic I was surprised to see that the film is actually quite good considering its age. A classic, though? Maybe. It is definitely a great film that sits comfortably in the science-fiction horror category. It is difficult to think of another that does what Mimic does so well; how many great films have focused on the horror of insects, lately? Not too many. For that reason alone, Mimic is special and certainly worthy of an audience, even after 17 years.

Mimic follows entomologist, insect-studier, Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) who genetically creates an insect to kill cockroaches infected with a deadly disease. Fast-forward three years and these insects have failed to die out, despite being sterile. Now, they are out to get the predators who created them: humans! The concept alone has the 1990s written all over it. Many horrors from this time decided to pit people against insects; Tremors, Starship Troopers, Ticks and Mosquito are just a few. Today, the only insect-centred film we’re going to get will go straight to DVD as a poor B-movie and mainstream audiences will never opt to see them. Have a look at the recent releases of mainstream horror films and you’ll notice they are supernatural and not natural; films that are about possession, hauntings, ghosts and ghoulies that go bump in the night. The insect horror movie has had its day; it’s not scary and audiences are just not interested in it.

Despite an out-dated storyline, Mimic is a strong horror film that plays on fears of infection, infestation and claustrophobia. Being trapped in an underground sewer with creatures evolving to look like people is terrifying. Guillermo del Toro’s direction cannot be missed and his signature colours of red and blue are all over Mimic like a rash. There is a fantastical feel surrounding the film, especially in the underground lair of the insects. The contrasting look between their world and ours is striking yet subtle as shadows, blue lights and smoke dominate their damp habitat. Underground, the insects are in charge and the humans are the invaders.

There is plenty of gory moments, including Dr. Tyler urging her fellow prisoners to cover themselves with the insides of dead bugs to cover their human scent. It’s rather grim and definitely not for the easily squeamish. There is a lot of genuine scares in Mimic; long silences followed by loud noises will always catch you out and the disturbing sounds made by the creatures will have your skin crawling. This is definitely no Alien, but Mimic’s atmosphere is covered in a similar amount of dread and uncertainty, thanks to its careful direction and credible performances.

Mimic is a fantastic creature feature. It’s creepy, gruesome and frightening fun, a definite must for those desiring a dash of killer bugs this Shocktober.

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Cult Cinema

Looking Back at 1976’s Carrie

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A timid high school girl struggles with the physical and mental abuse of not only her peers, but her obsessive religious mother. Gifted in telekinesis, which is triggered during great stress, she tries to overcome her shyness and just fit in with all the ‘cool’ kids. With a prom date secured and a virginal white dress has her wish come true? Cue a crowning that she will never forget, a little spilt blood, and one hell of a vengeance party. This is a prom you will never forget.

The opening scenes bring every girl’s worst nightmare to life – shower, period, and the nasty ‘popular’ girls making fun. This scene is more horrendous due to Carrie having no idea what is happening to her body. Her overbearing mother denies Carrie any basic menstrual information. Blood, the most visceral part of horror, becomes a stain of adolescence and sexuality that will haunt Carrie White. The infamous ‘plug it’ chant would whisper through locker room’s forever.

Carrie is a cult classic horror film which transfers universally by the high school experience of cruel and bullish peers. The oppression of sexual awakening and the prudish sensibility of religion creates the tension and drive for the epic final 20 minutes. Carrie’s character is beautifully executed as we witness Sissy Spacek‘s frail and innocent demeanour. As dignity dies, possession consumes her identity until all that remains is channelled rage. Yet despite this, our fondness for her and the sense of unjust cruelty echos our own experiences of the pack like teens, who always have the ability to hunt down the weakest in the class. Carrie was not only Stephen King‘s first novel to be published, but was also his first novel to be adapted into a film. Director De Palma also plays a sly homage to Hitchcock in the name of Carrie‘s school: Bates High School.

Carrie is a must watch for any horror fan, or for anyone looking to find a cult classic to watch during the witching month of October. It is a dramatic and erotic horror film set on the background of teenage angst and the pressures of growing up as an outsider.

Life lesson: Know your exits, and don’t throw tampons.

‘There all going to laugh at you!’ – but then they screamed.

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Astron-6 to open Celluloid Screams 2014

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Yorkshire’s best horror movie film festival Celluloid Screams will return for its sixth year to the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield between Friday 24th to Sunday 26th October 2014. Serving up a weekend of blood, chills and scares, this years festival will feature a weekend packed full of premieres, previews, special guests and more.

The festival line up last year was fantastic and included such films as Almost Human, The Battery, Big Bad Wolves, Motivational Growth, Basket Case, Jug Face and Discopathe. Guests that attended last years festival included Don Thacker (Motivational Growth), Lee Hadcastle (ABCs of Death), Lauren Ashley Carter (The Woman), Oliver Beguin (Chimeres), Dominic Brunt (Before Dawn) and Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case).

As for this years festival we are excited to share the news that THE EDITOR, the hotly anticipated film from Candadian filmmaking collective Astron-6, will be opening this years festival on Friday 24th October. Offering a unique take on the Italian giallo, The Editor stars icon Udo Kier, Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede 2) and Tristan Risk (American Mary). Furthermore, It has also been confirmed that Adam Brooks, Matt Kennedy and Conor Sweeney, the co-founders of Astron-6 will be attending the festival as special guests to participate in a Q&A after the screening.

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(The members of Astron-6: Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski)

This year’s short film retrospective will consist of a specially curated screening of short films from the Astron-6 archives. So if you’re a fan of Father’s Day and Manborg you’re in for a real treat as Astron-6 have made some incredibly amazing short films including Breaking Santa and my personal favourite Bio-Cop.

In addition. last year saw the debut of the Celluloid Screams Allnighter which featured Frankenhooker (with an introduction by Frank Henenlotter), Return of the Living Dead, The Beyond and Demons (which replaced Braindead). The event proved so popular that the festival will host its second allnighter which will take place on Saturday 25th October with a sci-fi horror theme.

Full details of this and the rest of the 2014 programme will be announced on Friday 5th September, when festival weekend passes and tickets go on sale. In the meantime, you can check out the trailer for THE EDITOR below.

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Cult Cinema

Guilty Treasures: Revisiting 1976’s Carrie

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If you walk out of your latest cinema, tune into telly or even dotted around your street, you will see adverts for the latest horror movie Carrie. Starring Chloe Mortez and Julianne Moore, it is a movie about a teenage outcast who is bullied by her mother and fellow pupils at school. That is until she discovers she has telekinetic powers that might boil into a raging attack on them all. Omissible from the tirade of promotion there is the tagline “You Will Know Her Name.” Innocuous at best due to her name being the whole damn title of the movie, people should already know her name from the brilliant original movie of the Stephen King adaptation.

Made in 1976, Carrie was a delightful horror story that is still fresh in some people’s minds. Launching the career of Sissy Spacek, Brian De Palma (of Scarface fame) it was a great and terrifying piece of cinema in its own right. Award nominated and critically acclaimed, the original is still as captivating and haunting with today’s audiences. De Palma did a stunning tribute to the book, creating a movie that digs under the skin.

Why? Because De Palma presented different elements of the Carrie character. Carrie is a girl hounded by everyone. Sweet, innocent and naïve, She is also likeable and foolish. All her life she has lived on the outskirts of real human connection. Her mother Margaret, played impeccably by Piper Laurie, is a religious tyrant who punishes Carrie for her own sins. The girl is so abused simply for being alive that you can’t help yearn for her to find acceptance somewhere.

The reason Carrie is a classic movie is because there is no fear of her from the beginning. It is more the fear of what people around her are pushing her to do. Carrie is tarnished from the beginning because no one has loved or cared for her. She is pushed away from all of society because they deem her as either filthy, evil or weird when she is simply growing. De Palma translates these themes effectively on screen, creating a humanistic horror story about supernatural powers. The wide eyed act from Spacek drags you into a world where you want her to flourish. She isn’t the monster here and by no means should be treated as one.

Much of Carrie’s frightening descent into murder comes through the criticism of people around her. Although brutal in revenge, there is always the nagging feeling that none of this would have happened if Carrie had been left to grow and develop as this young women. When the pig’s blood descends on her head, before she succumbs to her rage, you are shocked. And De Palma stages the act as an empty and embarrassing prank. Those who try to help Carrie are equally shunned and it is more the tirade against her than the powers we fear. Because most of us have either suffered or perpetrated bullying it is a comment on the evil people do and how they can break something fragile. It is an astonishing piece of work.

When the remake was announced, opinion was split in two. On one side, the impressive female cast and directing (Kimberley Peirce who is renowned for Boys Don’t Cry) is an instant draw. In particular, Moretz is a hotly tipped actress who has all the traits to become an infamous Carrie. On the other hand, after seeing initial trailers, it seems that the remake misses the point and chooses to rely on the horrific finale rather than develop the iconic lead character. It will be disappointing if Peirce relies too heavily on the telekinesis because it isn’t the main focus of the story.

So the release tomorrow could well be an earnest adaptation but the main stumbling block here is that with the old film a near masterpiece in horror, the whole affair seems highly unnecessary.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below…

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Cult Cinema

Before & After: Critters. They Bite!

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It has been 27 years since Critters, a cult horror science fiction film starring Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush and Scott Grimes was released.

Directed by Stephen Herek, the film was believed to be inspired by Joe Dante’s 1984 film Gremlins despite Herek’s claims that it was written long before Gremlins went into production.

The film tells the story of the Brown family who live peacefully on their farm in Kansas when meteor crashes nearby. Unaware that the meteor was really an alien spaceship carrying a very dangerous breed of flesh eating creatures until it is too late it is upto the youngest member of the Brown family and his friend Charlie to team up with a pair of intergalactic bounty hunters to save the day.

To celebrate this fantastic slice of 80s horror we have trawled the internet to find out what the cast have been upto since its release.

Dee Wallace, Helen Brown

DEE WALLACE FINAL

Dee Wallace was born on 14th December 1948 and first broke into TV and film in the mid 70s. Most known for her role as the sympathetic mother to Elliot in Stephen Speilberg’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982), she is no stranger to the horror genre after appearing in The Hills Have Eye (1977), The Howling (1981) and Cujo (1983).  Since appearing as Helen Brown in Critters (1986) she has had a very impressive acting career featuring in over 90 feature films to date and was recently seen in Rob Zombie’s latest horror movie The Lords of Salem.

Billy Green Bush, Jay Brown

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Born in 1935, Billy Green Bush was often cast in authoritative roles thanks to his height and build. He appeared in plenty of films and tv shows throughout the 70s including M*A*S*H (1972), Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974) and Starsky and Hutch (1978). In the 1980s he appeared in The Hitcher (1986) and played the father figure in Critters (1986). Since then Billy appeared in Matlock (1986), Elvis and Me (1988) and Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993). In May 2001 Bush retired from acting and enjoys spending time with his family.

Nadine Van der Velde, April Brown

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Born on 14th May 1962, Nadine Van der Velde began her acting career in the 80s and appeared in comedy Private School (1983). Since appearing as April Brown in Critters (1986) she has appeared in Shadow Dancing (1988), The Wizard (1986) and TV show JAG (1995). Since then she has gone on to build a successful career as a writer for children’s television programs and has won two daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the Rolie Polie Olie (1998) animated TV series.

Scott Grimes, Brad Brown

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Born on 9th July 1971, Scott Grimes began his career by appearing in TV movies during the early 80s. Since playing Brad Brown in Critters (1986) Scott appeared in TV series including Who’s the Boss? (1986) and Together We Stand (1987) before reprising his role in Critters 2 (1988). Since then he has built a steady career as a television actor appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989), 21 Jump Street (1990), Wings (1992), Party of Five (2000), Band of Brothers (2001) and he played Dr. Archie Morris in ER (2003-2009). Recently, Scott has played characters in the hit animation TV series American Dad (2005-2013) and Family Guy (2011-2012).

Terrance Mann, Ug

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Terrance Mann was born on 1st July 1951 and graduated with honours from the North Carolina School for the Arts. He appeared on several stage productions through the 70s including “A Christmas Carol”, “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo & Juliet”. After moving to New York he was cast in “Barnum” before auditioning for the role of Rum Tum Tugger in “Cats”. In the rest of the 80s, Terry appeared in Chorus Line before playing the intergalactic bounty hunter Ug in Critters (1986). Now, Terry is married to his second wife Charlotte d’Amboise and has since switched his focus to directing.

Billy Zane, Steve Elliot

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Billy Zane made his feature debut was in Back to the Future (1985) before he played played Steve Elliot, the boyfriend of April Brown in Critters (1986). After the movie he went on to appear in several TV shows including Heart of the City (1986), Matlock 91987), Murder, She Wrote (1988) before appearing in Dead Calm (1989) and Back to the Future Part II (1989). He has continued his acting career and is currently filmingZombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard where he will appear alongside his Critters co-star Dee Wallace. The film is due for release in 2014.

Don Keith Opper, Charlie

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Don Keith Opper was born in 1949 and played Charlie McFadden in Critters (1986). Since appearing in the film and its sequels, Opper has appeared in such TV shows including Miami Vice (1988), Quantum Leap (1989), L.A. Law (1989), 21 Jump Street (1990) and Roseanne (1992). Sadly there is no further information available as to what he has been up to recently.

This is a must watch if you haven’t seen it, but don’t just take our word for it, hear what everyone else thought about it in the video below:

ARVE Error: no id set


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Cult Cinema

Guilty Treasures Halloween Special: Halloween H20

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It has been 35 years since the first Halloween came out. A fantastic slasher movie that birthed a villainous iconic psychopath, Halloween made us very afraid of the boogie man as the ruthless Michael Myers stalked babysitters on this spooky holiday. The franchise has carried on through the decades, passing on the fear of those stone cold eyes and it certainly completed those horror movie tropes of the “Virginal Final Girl” and proved if you have sex, you are going to die. Yes, even after all this time, Halloween is still as fresh and scary as it was back in 1978.

Unfortunately, the original Halloween isn’t the movie we are talking about today. Instead, we are looking at the spawn of the franchise; the twentieth anniversary sequel Halloween H20.

Halloween H20 follows Laurie Strode who is now a teacher at a high security boarding school after faking her own death. With most of the students gone for the fall break, Laurie and her son are the ones that have stayed behind, locked behind the gates of the school. However, her manic serial killer brother, Michael Myers, who murdered her friends and a whole sleuth of people in spin-offs, has tracked her down. And he is going to make sure that she is finally dead and buried.


coollogo_com-26852340It is more and more of the same boring antics we have seen before. There are a bunch of gruesome murders, suspenseful music, candles and teenagers who like to get in some dessert of the sexual kind before getting their just desserts. You know from the word dot who is going to survive and who is going to be sliced and diced. It follows the rules, the tropes and it is all so tiresome. And how ridiculous is Myers now? Immortal and resurrected, the villain has lost all kinds of fear, he once had. You’ll be forgiven if you are sick of his face. Halloween has become gone deeply dippy and this is the final nail in the coffin (you know, after Resurrection and the remake.) 

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Because it forgets about some of the more “out there” sequels. Bringing back the incredible Jamie Lee Curtis was a smart move because, even years on, she manages to embody all the fear she had in the first outing. Her eyes sparkle with the remnants of an innocence that she lost and seeing her try to fight for her life again is a brilliant reminder that this franchise actually had some seriously scary parentage. And there are honestly jumpy moments with a slice of black comedy that an accident prone robot Myers can induce. It’s a great sequel.

Halloween H20 is the second highest grossing movie in the franchise, only beaten by the original. This goes to show that there are a lot more people on this wavelength. H20 may fit the tiresome blueprint that we have seen countless amount of times, but it’s certainly a better attempt at frights and the story than others, even outside the whole Halloween movie series So if you are looking for something this bewitching night that is both fun and enjoyable, pop in this guilty pleasure.

Fun drinking game: drink every time someone screams…


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Guilty Treasures: The Wicker Man

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An effective horror movie comes from learning that it isn’t just the excessive blood that makes people squirm. It is the atmosphere. Sure, galleons of gore, pus and body parts cause weak stomachs to churn accompanied by that terrifying feeling when watching organs that are supposed to be kept inside your body, spill out so prolifically on screen.

However, what effectively makes a riot of a horror movie become chilling is the suspense and tension Director Robin Hardy creates  so seamlessly with The Wicker Man that, alongside other 1970’s classics (The Omen and The Exorcist), has haunted cinema ever since.

The Wicker Man is set on the Island of Summerisle, off the coast of Scotland. Mainland Inspector and devout Christian Howie is called to the island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Robin. However, after arriving, he finds that the locals are more than just a tighty knit community and the more he conducts his investigation the more the people fight against him. When no one professes to know who Robin is and unearthing their following of Celtic Paganism, Howie finds himself further down the rabbit-hole and deeper within a shocking plot.

The Wicker Man has been dubbed “the Citizen Kane” of horror movies and interestingly, doesn’t use cheap tricks or horror tropes to incur fright from the audience. Instead, it is the blind journey that Howie has taken and the increasing danger that strips us of our safety. Hardy does this fantastic job of getting the tale told and letting it crawl across your skin. It is tense, filled with all these characters that are leading Howie through a maze and the more Howie gets frustrated, the more terrified we become. ‘

If you have seen The Wicker Man, you will know that there are iconic scenes that will stand up in memories, a Wicker shadow on a bleak sunset. The ending, for example, is truly disturbing, as Howie is burnt alive with the cultists dancing around them. It really levels the problem that wrongly entrusting religion could destroy all you know. Whether it is Howie and his devout Christianity or the Islanders’ insistence that murdering this virtuous man will bring them foods, there are clear connotations that mob rule or extreme faith can be damaging. You only have to see a man screaming prayers as he is burnt to death or a Celtic song sung so jollily as a man dying, for this message to come through.

Towering above this is some incredible acting. Edward Woodward is terrific as a man who is pushed to the edge and his constant determination for what is right and to save a girl is earnest and near painful to watch. And complimenting him (or, to use a better term, contradicting him) is Christopher Lee. In one of his most powerful villainous role as Lord Summerisle, Lee is calm and intelligent who, almost snake like, sneaks his murderous plan in. He perpetuates this brainwashed community and leads them against the norm.

What Hardy has created is a movie that is more horrific than ever. Instead of creating a supernatural beast or a slasher movie, it is an exploration into human will, faith and the lengths we will go to to protect all we know. It is haunting because it has echoed across the decades. Its message is this: true fear is that people will do anything to protect their beliefs.

And the dread is that it speaks louder today than it ever did.

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Cult Cinema

Guilty Treasures: 1969’s Easy Rider

Easy-Rider
Road movies are certainly the most simplistic of movies. Generally appealing to a certain type of film lover, movies with long stretches of road with fast racing vehicles have never been overly complex. Many just enjoy the view, the sentiment and those obsessed with anything with an engine can appreciate the love of cruising around countries.

Easy Rider, despite its box office success and influence, will always be considered a cult classic because it took this effortless plot, threw in copious amounts of drugs and set it loose on a journey of freedom and ideals.

Directed by and starring Dennis Hopper, alongside Peter Fonda, Easy Rider was filmed back in 1969. It follows the adventures of Billy and “Captain America” as they chug from Los Angeles across the back roads of the U.S.A. Along the way, they ingest copious amounts of alcohol and illegal drugs, meet a whole host of friendly characters, encounter hostile ones and ultimately enjoy their freedom. Supported with a great soundtrack from Steppenwolf (because Born to the Wild is one of the most iconic songs here) to Bob Dylan and a wavering hippy ideology, Easy Rider has become a send up of everything the late sixties embodied.

Easy Rider boasts some terrific performances and directing. Despite the fact that director and star Hopper was out of his mind for most of the shoot, he still elicits some seriously provoking moments. One particular moment, in a church in St. Louis is a head trip. High on whatever drugs they can find, Billy and Captain find prostitutes and run amok on the sacred ground. If you have seen any movie with drugs, you’ll know that what follows is essentially a series of crazy but haunting images in a graveyard. But this is cut with an on-point Fonda as high Captain speaking to a statue as if it were his mother. It is one of the many improvised moments that Hopper induced, making Fonda speak to his real-life mother who had committed suicide. Hopper, as temperamental and drugged as he may have been, still managed to craft an impacting movie that sent up and tore down the ideals of a free America.

easy-rider-shotMany will remember Easy Rider for launching star Jack Nicholson into his career. Sure, you follow a loose story about drinking, friendship, campfire chats and awesome bikes. But when they meet Nicholson’s George Hanson, the film begins to ooze with charisma. Nicholson’s engaging personality as the alcoholic Hanson pushes a movie that could easily have become tiresome and boring. And, despite his short screen time, Nicholson is the one that audiences remember the most.

Easy Rider is ironic in the fact that as much as it is about the freedom of the Sixties “hippy culture,” it set about the downfall or certainly, the discouragement of that era. Hopper’s piece is formulated well though and although he was tyrant to his crew and harboured designs for a three hour long epic, those who survived managed to salvage the movie into the status it is now. It transitions through the drug-addled scenes with cutting and choppy realism whilst panning on the driving scenes; using cinematography to capture realism. It stretches, winds, stalls and speeds.

Easy Rider remains the classic and iconic road movie.

ARVE Error: no id set


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