‘Us,’ directed by Jordan Peele

Movie, 2019 Horror film with what feels like a social conscience, in which a family is attacked by a downtrodden, subterranean doppelganger family. The mixture of horror, psychology and social comment feels heavy-handed and confused in places, and the tension not necessarily as ramped up as it could have been. Otherwise, there are nods, here and there, or apparent nods to a load of different … Continue reading ‘Us,’ directed by Jordan Peele

“The Migration,” by Helen Marshall

Novel, 2019 Apocalyptic story anticipating the end but also the beginning of days, from the point of view of a young adult, changing and transitioning, from living in Canada to moving to the UK, from passing from childhood into adulthood, and in a life whose relationships and circumstances mirror the ecological turmoil around her. This is a story told crisply and one which refers back … Continue reading “The Migration,” by Helen Marshall

“The Curse of The Fly”, directed by Don Sharp

Movie, 1965 Cheap, schlocky addition to the black and white horror/sci-fi Fly movies of old. The mixture of mad science and the familial torment surrounding it, together with the teleportation and romantic, gothic motifs are well worn tropes, and the story plods with no hint of any major surprise up its sleeve. Still, the film’s gloominess – enhanced by a rock bottom budget and some … Continue reading “The Curse of The Fly”, directed by Don Sharp

“The Plague of the Zombies,” directed by John Gilling

Movie, 1966 A rather odd film, predating Romero’s Night of the Living Dead by a couple of years. This is very much in the Hammer tradition with tropes from other films, particularly Dracula. The zombies, however, have none of the attraction or lush appeal of the Count, even though the film’s set in Hammer time (the nineteenth century). The mystery and motivation for evil comes … Continue reading “The Plague of the Zombies,” directed by John Gilling

“The Platform,” directed by Galder Gaztelu-Ursutia

Movie, 2019 Allegorical, almost religious science-fiction about a man who essentially subjects himself to a cut-throat, authoritarian nightmare. Debauchery, gore, cannibalism and a very un-English regard for canines abound, though while they’re played for horror, scenes at the beginning of film are constrained and only introduce an element of gratuity when the full horror and madness become apparent. A hint of over-acting here and there … Continue reading “The Platform,” directed by Galder Gaztelu-Ursutia

“A Quiet Place”, directed by John Krasinski

Movie, 2018 Vaguely prescient alien film in which family threatening beasts from the cosmos track sounds and use them to hone in and prey on human beings. Some great ideas and great atmospheric build-up, with some wonderfully shot locations. The film is a little overdone here and there with a little too much ‘Alien’ influence and some plot holes I’d usually forgive; but seem a … Continue reading “A Quiet Place”, directed by John Krasinski

“The Terror of the Tongs”, directed by Anthony Bushell

Movie, 1961 A film which one could dismiss as daft and frivolous, were it not for some jaw dropping ‘of its time’ racism, preserved across the decades in the playing and portrayal of Chinese people. There are some fairly decent scenes here and there. A film in which life is cheap and ‘Orientals’ are pitched in cruel contrast and are shown as savagely inferior to … Continue reading “The Terror of the Tongs”, directed by Anthony Bushell

“Horrors of the Black Museum”, directed by Arthur Crabtree

Movie, 1959 Horror in glorious, gaudy colour, in which the plot and any suspense is demystified almost from the off, leaving space for some pretty sadistic, well directed gore, in which there’s a pleasing mix of cruelty, inevitability, melodrama and ghastly deeds which are every bit as unseen as they are visible. In a film of this vintage and manners, there are still a couple … Continue reading “Horrors of the Black Museum”, directed by Arthur Crabtree

“The House in Marsh Road”, directed by Montgomery Tully

Movie, 1960 B-movie and British chiller-thriller, and a story of a poltergeist, infidelity, drunkenness, revenge and tragedy. While tame by any standards, this is an enjoyable film with some good atmosphere generated by moody shots, gloomy interiors and pleasingly over-the-top music. Hardly a classic, but effective and entertaining into the bargain, with an engagingly quirky premise and an opening which portrays a culture of living … Continue reading “The House in Marsh Road”, directed by Montgomery Tully

“Night of the Big Heat,” directed Terence Fisher

Movie, 1967 British character actors struggle to create suspense, with limited props in a science-fiction horror set on a remote, over-heating island. A film which could be worse, though which could be a lot, lot better, with a miscast here, an impenetrable character there, not meshing as well as they do in similar genre pictures. Even the plot, which should be key, is lost under … Continue reading “Night of the Big Heat,” directed Terence Fisher