‘Twice-Told Tales,’ directed by Sidney Salkow

Movie, 1963 Anthology of Nathaniel Hawthorne stories, all starring Vincent Price. As a collection, they hang together, or least sit together quite well – the best is the last, The House of the Seven Gables, while the silliest is Rappaccini’s Daughter. Lurid colour fits in well with the acting and a sense of daftness, intended or not, which is ramped up by a bizarre-looking killer … Continue reading ‘Twice-Told Tales,’ directed by Sidney Salkow

‘Diary of a Madman,’ directed by Reginald LeBorg

Movie, 1963 Vincent Price horror, in which possession by murderous spirits, the focus of the law and a scheming social climber all come together to reasonably good effect. This is a film where things are all fairly understated and the plotting are fairly simple, and while there’s nothing essential to see here, the plot zips along quite nicely and the various characters all play out … Continue reading ‘Diary of a Madman,’ directed by Reginald LeBorg

‘Catacombs,’ directed by Gordon Hessler

Movie, 1965 Reasonably effective ghostly psychological thriller, in which some great ideas and scenes are set up, though the pay off isn’t always on the mark. A case, I guess, of a film nearly hitting heights, but not quite delivering. While the marriage at the centre of the story and the individual characters of husband and wife are wonderfully hammed up, the quickly developing relationship … Continue reading ‘Catacombs,’ directed by Gordon Hessler

‘Come to Daddy,’ directed by Ant Timpson

Movie, 2019 Schlocky horror-thriller, featuring a father getting back in touch with his son, then for reasons never fully fleshed out, the son taking himself to the other end of the world to meet his long estranged father. While the film has a lively start, and the questions build a decent level of tension, there’s a subsequent slide into a more predictable patter and an … Continue reading ‘Come to Daddy,’ directed by Ant Timpson

‘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