The Ghosts of Borley Rectory
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
3y ago
d. Steven M Smith; w. Steven M Smith, Christopher Jolley; p. Steven M Smith, Louisa Warren, Paul G Andrews; cast: Toby Wynn-Davies, Reece Putinas, Leila Kotori, Louisa Warren, Lee Hancock, Colin Baker, Julian Sands, Christopher Ellison, Toyah Willcox The Haunting of Borley Rectory was one of the most successful DTV features of the 2010s so it was only natural that Steven M Smith would return to ‘the most haunted house in England’ for this unrelated prequel. The bigger budget is evident in a tighter script, less rushed production and name cast including Baker and Toyah (who have several Br ..read more
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A bumper Richard Driscoll update!
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
3y ago
I don’t know what’s going on with Richard Driscoll. Nothing new there. But this time things have got really weird. My thanks to Paul Tanter who spotted this in The Film Catalogue and thought it smelled a little like a Driscoll joint. And he’s right No-one else makes films ‘starring’ Michael Madsen, Tom Sizemore, Bai Ling, Robin Askwith and Colin Baker. That’s Driscoll’s stock (footage) company. But it’s directed by ‘Ross Fall’. Is that a pseudonym for Richard Driscoll? Interestingly, the credit block on the poster doesn’t mention a director, but does list Ross Fall as producer (and DP) and Ch ..read more
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Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
3y ago
d./w./p. Steve Lawson; cast: Mark Topping, Charlie Bond, Tom Hendryk, Joe Street, Helen Crevel The latest feature from Lawson’s Leicester-based Creativ Studios (funded and distributed by High Fliers) is based on Dracula, or at least the part of Dracula after the Demeter arrives but before the Harkers return from Budapest. Reigning British horror princess Bond has a ball as the ailing Lucy who goes from simpering coquette to full-on monster. Topping is subtle and restrained in the title role, dealing with Lucy’s illness and the jealousy between fiancée Arthur and spurned John (there’s no Quinc ..read more
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Broken Spirits
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
3y ago
d. Steven Hines; w./p. Geoff Harrison; cast: Amy Littler, Ryan Leadbetter, Alec Walters, Graham Bridges, Steven Hines, Alex Labelle, Ashley Riley, Paul Wilkes, Paul Malone Produced by staff and students at Cowley International College, St Helens (30 years after it served as a location for Chariots of Fire) this amateur feature does a surprisingly good job of maintaining its central mystery. A trouble-making student clashes with a strong-willed teacher but when things get out of hand, he swears he has actually backed off and blames the ghost of a former pupil. Unknown to all but a few colleagu ..read more
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The Nights Before Christmas
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
4y ago
d. Paul Tanter; w. Simon Phillips, Paul Tanter; p. Simon Phillips, Paul Tanter, Ken Bressers; cast: Simon Phillips, Sayla de Goede, Kate Schroeder, Marc Gammal, Keegan Chambers, Shannon Cotter This sequel (with prequel flashbacks) to Once Upon a Time at Christmas functions as a stand-alone film. One reason why that enjoyable 2017 slasher stood out from the crowded psycho-in-a-Santa-suit subgenre is because it was structured as a police procedural, and the same trick works here. Schroeder is terrific as the FBI agent searching for a link between the new victims (which turn out to be not quite ..read more
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Saint Maud
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
4y ago
d./w. Rose Glass; p. Oliver Kassman, Andrea Cornwell; cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight, Lily Frazer A rare theatrical release during lockdown, Saint Maud consequently received a level of promotion – and hence hype – that it doesn’t really warrant and cannot possibly live up to. It’s a well-crafted psychological horror with powerful religious motifs and a superb lead performance by Clark. But it’s not the great white hope of British horror and certainly not the scariest film of the year. Maud/Katie is a home carer employed by an agency apparently unaware that she lost her nursin ..read more
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Eve
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
4y ago
d. Rory Kindersley; w. Rory Kindersley, Drew Sherring-Hill; p. Matthew Cook, Tony Cook, Drew Sherring-Hill; cast: Rachel Warren, Christine Marzano, Andrew Lee Potts, Jonathan Forbes, Elizabeth Healey This stylish horror-thriller benefits from terrific photography by ace DP Douglas Milsome (Full Metal Jacket) and an extraordinary principal location. Alex is a successful actress living with her glamour photographer boyfriend (the always bankable Potts) in an ultra-stylish, split-level luxury apartment. It has a bathroom bigger than your living room and a slide between floors! But an AirBnB gues ..read more
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Grim
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
4y ago
d./w. Paul Matthews; w. Liz Matthews; cast: Emmanuel Xuereb, Kadamba Simmons, Jack Chancer, Michael Fitzpatrick, Tres Hanley, Jules de Jongh, Nesba Crenshaw, Nadia DeLemeny, Louise Hickson, Peter Tregloan Confused and generic, Grim deserves props for being produced in 1995, the absolute doldrums of British genre cinema. PeakViewing Transatlantic, a Cheltenham-based, sibling-run construction firm turned production company, was a big fish in this small pond from the mid-nineties to the mid-naughties. Investigating subsistence under an allegedly American but obviously British housing estate, sev ..read more
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Rising Tide
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
4y ago
d./p. Dawn Furness, Philip Shotton; w. Dawn Furness; cast: Ileana Cardy, Anna Greenwood, Leif Halverson, Lewis Jobson, Joe MacCabe, Harriet Perkins, Casey Railton, Isolde Roxby, Jodee Temple, Jack Traynor, Peter Furey Unavailable for some time now, this is a smart little film with a pleasingly ambiguous narrative. To celebrate their A-level results, ten Geordie friends head for a music festival, get booted off the coach for rowdiness, walk to the coast and end up trapped on a causeway-accessible island. They tell spooky stories around a campfire but, in commendable defiance of tradition, don ..read more
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Conjuring: (The) Book of the Dead
British Horror Revival
by MJ Simpson
4y ago
d./w./p. Richard Driscoll; cast: ‘Steven Craine’, Bai Ling, Michael Madsen, Tom Sizemore, Lysette Anthony, Sylvester McCoy Unsure of its own title, this latest Driscoll film is (mostly) the one he shot in 2006 as The Raven Part 2 which he has been trying to edit together ever since. Over the years variously aka The Devil’s Disciple, Back2Hell, When the Devil Rides Out and even Blade Hunter, it’s a prequel to EvilCalls, in which author George Carney comes up with the main story of that film. Hence stock footage of Eileen Daly (credited top and tail), Jason Donovan (in end credits only) an ..read more
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