In this prequel to the previous films PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (which we will call P.A 3 from now on) follows Katie and Kristi in their childhood days in 1988 and their first experiences with the demon which caused the havoc in the previous two films. What follows, much like the other films, is a series of days and nights of ghostly goings on which leads to a violent end. Horrah i hear you scream after loving the first two films and watching the trailers of P.A 3 with much anticipation but hidden among this film is a disappointing set of final scenes which ruined the film and overall made me feel like i was mislead.
To start if you have been avoiding the trailers so it does not ruin your viewing pleasure then go watch them, as none of the trailer is in the film. Some bits are redone but I found myself waiting with happy glee only to go “oh....where was that scene and that scene”. Some people may think that it is a clever marketing idea, in which in a way yes I agree, but in my own opinion I felt robbed and that was only the start of the disappointment. Now I am not saying the whole film was bad as up to a point was really enjoying it (apart from the awful teenage filled crowd but hey that will teach me to never see a horror film with a 15 age rating during the half term holidays) but we get to the closing scenes at grandma’s house and the whole film turns goes to pot.
When we get to grandma’s house, after the mother of the girls realises ‘Oh wait our house is haunted’, we expect the film to be going back to the family home and for the fire at the house which was mentioned all the way back in the first film (Remember the picture of young Katie in the attic?) but we are not taken back in any form. Instead Dennis, the kind of step dad who is behind the camera for most of the film, and Julie , the mother of the two girls, are awoke by cars pulling up out side. Julie heads out to investigate which leads to Dennis following out 10/15 minutes later in search of his missing girlfriend. Finding the house empty and the girls not in bed he heads downstairs and finds wicca/demon wirshiping symbols have been hidden behind cameras. So we are now running around the house and finally bump into a group of old witches. Yes you guessed it the film creators have taken THAT route. So we find out that Grandma is evil, Julie has been killed by demon ghost Toby and Dennis gets broken in half more or less (which to be fair looked really cool). And on that note the film just ends, no house fire no explanation nothing.
Now i know there will be some of you out there who will be thinking “well you are wrong! It all makes perfect sense you are talking crap!!!” and to you I say that this is my personal view on all this and to me the Wicca aspect just turned P.A 3 into a cheap Blair Witch rip off in the final moments which ruined to film for me and left me pretty angry in the same way THE LAST EXORCISM is hated but a lot of people.
But here are the plus points; if you can ignore the awful ending the film has some creepy and well shot scenes. I loved the death of Dennis and the creepy re casted Bloody Mary scene and I also have a lot of respect for the ghost under the sheet scene, even though the ghost should have been taller. The film was well directed it was the final closing part of the film which annoyed me so much i left the cinema in a seriously foul mood. Is this better than the last two? I will be honest, no it is not. I still have a lot of love for the first film and I will always class it as my second favourite Found Footage horror next to REC but it is still worth a watch even if you hate the ending.
I’m going to make this review a little different from the reviews I normally post; even though rare for me to do but this film deserves all my attention. In late 2010 during my time at Waterstone’s our horror buyer told me the fantastic news that the special edition novel of THE WOMAN by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee was going to be sold over at the Horror Mall. Even though I was very excited I knew that I would not be able to afford this as $175 for a book is something I just can’t do. However in the same conversation I was told that this book would be coinciding with a film, which always means that the book will be later released in an affordable paperback edition.
Why is he telling me all this? I hear you ask, I’m sure only a handful of you out there will know that THE WOMAN is the third part of a series of Jack Ketchum novels, OFF SEASON and OFFSPRING which was released as a film a few years back. I never really enjoyed OFFSPRING as a film, the first two books being my favourite books of all time. This is why I was so very excited to be able to watch THE WOMAN at this year’s Film4 Frightfest (2011) where I also met the film’s director Lucky McKee (and managed to get a free poster and very cool t-shirt).
I am not easily impressed when it comes to adaptations but THE WOMAN without a shadow of a doubt is one of the best horror films I have ever seen. Named as my number one film of FrightFest 2011 nothing at the festival came anywhere near the shear greatness of the film.
Now yes this film has been called CONTROVERSIAL and at times it could be uncomfortable to an unsuspecting audience but place against another Jack Ketchum adaptation (and my favourite book of all time) THE GIRL NEXT DOOR this is actually pretty tame. Pollyanna McIntosh, who is reprising her role of The Woman from OFFSPRING, delivers one of the best examples of acting in a film that I have seen in a very long time and the direction from McKee, especially during the scenes where The Woman is being raped by the son, is very delicately done to the point where even though we do not see the act being performed we are left cold with the realisation of what is going on.
THE WOMAN will without a doubt be in my top 3 films of the year and I would seriously recommend that all horror fans watch this film and also go out and read the first two books. Jack Ketchum is one of the best horror writers alive today and I hope that more of his books are given this much care
Special features: The Making of ‘The Woman’, Deleted Scenes, Short Film – ‘Mi Burro’, Meet The Makers, Music track ‘Distracted’ by Sean Spillane and 5 Exclusive Limited Edition Art Cards (HMV only).
The UK Blu-ray release also features an exclusive extra ‘The Film4 FrightFest Total Film panel with Lucky McKee, Andrew van den Houten, Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Ti West and Larry Fessenden.
Release date: OUT NOW
Format: Blu-Ray & DVD
Loosely based on the real life confessions of notorious serial Henry Lee Lucas HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, follows the shocking and violent killings of a sadistic psychopath in this Docu-drama from director John McNaughton.
Henry is a man scared by a past of child abuse, watching his mother has sex with strangers and being forced to watch and join in. Now as an adult Henry has taken his past horrors and turned them into a more sadistic game. Henry arrives in Chicago to move in with an ex-con called Otis (TOM TOWLES). Also joining them is Otis’ sister Becky, who moves in with the two after she falls out with her parents. Together they go on a Murder Spree as Henry and Otis teach her the ways of being a serial killer. But with an anger building inside Henry decides to take it further.
One of many films from the 80’s that were banned in several countries HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER has gone down in history as one of the most sadistic and realistic films of all time. With a cult following it is not hard to see why this film has been given this Blu-Ray release. The film, even with its High Def restoration, the film does feel dated however it is still as shocking as it was back in the days when it was originally released. This was the first feature film from director John McNaughton, whose career includes several documentaries and the film WILD THINGS which starred a young Neve Campbell.
HENRY may look a little dated but this is a key title in Horror history. If you are a fan of serial killer films then this is a great Blu-Ray addition to your collection and includes an insightful documentary of the real life case of Henry Lee Lucas. Decent film, good buy.
Special Features: Portrait: The Making of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer / The Serial Killers: Henry Lee Lucas / Interview with Director John McNaughton / John McNaughton in conversation with Nigel Floyd / Censorship History / Deleted Scenes and Outtakes with commentary by John McNaughton / Stills Gallery / Original storyboards / Trailer
Release date: October 24th
RRP Price: (BLU-RAY) £19.99
The city streets are no longer safe. Innocent people are being murdered by a man wearing a Police Uniform, killed in cold blood. Accused of murder, and with his only alibi being a police woman who he is having an affair with, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell – EVIL DEAD) and Veteran Cop Frank McCrae face a race against time to unravel the identity of the Killer Cop before more people face this killers psychotic style of justice.
With violence which doesn’t take the gore to far, MANIAC COP was a delight to watch. During my younger years I always wanted to see this film; however I never picked it up when I saw it. Watching this now in my mid 20’s I am glad I waited as I don’t think I would have appreciated the greatness of the film. This is a perfect example of 80’s slasher horror with one of the most iconic chins in horror Bruce Campbell.
The acting is very 80’s not the greatest but not the worst in the world but it is the direction and the screenplay which makes this film a masterpiece. We have a Killer who, during the time when his face is concealed, is pretty creepy and it is a shame that the film isn’t as well renowned as the other Slasher films of this era because he could have been classed in the same field as the horror villains we all know and love. What I also liked about this film is the lack of sexual content, it is refreshing to have a film just purely thrills and scares instead of kill, sex, kill, sex.
For fans of the horrors of the 80’s MANIAC COP is one of them films you must have on your shelf. Released on Blu-Ray you also get to see the film in higher quality and you will be treated to some cool special features all listed below this review.
Brand new High Definition transfer of film presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio; exclusive UK introduction to the film by star Tom Atkins; Doomed Detective: Tom Atkins on Maniac Cop; Lady Of The Night: Laurene Landon remembers Maniac Cop; Scripting A New Slasher Super-Villain: Larry Cohen on Matt Cordell; trailer; collectors’ booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author Troy Howarth and “The Original Maniac: An interview with William Lustig”, adapted from Calum Waddell's book “Taboo Breakers”; reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork; double-sided fold out artwork poster.
Release date: October 31st
RRP Price: (BLU-RAY) £27.99
Whilst celebrating her husband Daniel’s (Frank Grillo - WARRIOR, MY SOUL TO TAKE) Birthday Beth (Jaime King – SIN CITY, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D) and her friends gather around in the basement of their new home ready to party the night away.
Above them three Bank robbers, who used to live in Beth’s home, enter the house, one of them shot during a failed robbery, to find their family gone. Angry, confused and seeing no other way out of their current situation the brother take the party goers hostage. Needing a way out of the trouble they are in the Izaak (Patrick John Flueger – BROTHERS, FOOTLOOSE remake ), the eldest of the three robbers, makes a phone call to their mother, a woman who knows a thing or two about life as a criminal. With Her Youngest Daughter Lydia (Deborah Ann Woll – TRUE BLOOD) the Mother (Rebbeca De Mornay – THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, WEDDING CRASHERS), a normal everyday looking woman arrives and automatically takes control of the chaotic situation. Masterminding a plan of escape Mother finds out that money was sent to the house and that either Beth or her Husband is hiding it. Needing more money Mother sends Beth with Izaak to withdraw money from hers and her friends’ bank accounts whilst the others stay behind. This leads to a night of terror and violence for the unlucky party guests as one by one their escapes are met with pain and suffering.
FINALLY a home invasion horror that can be placed up there with the likes of the awesome French horror THEM and THE STRANGERS. MOTHER’S DAY is full to the brim with psychologicval terror and a good level of strong violence to keep any horror fan happy. The story line for this film was perfect, a family of criminals who rely on Mother to help them, and trust me when I say this mother is one sick puppy. The violence was done very well, we have a scene early on where we find Izaak and Addley breaking Daniel’s knuckles with a Pool Ball which looks very painful (obviously doing the right job unlike alot of horror films lately).
When you see Mother, who is played by the great Rebecca De Mornay, who starred in the classic THE HAND THAT ROCKED THE CRADLE, you know that under her soft tone and her motherly clothes that there is a psychopath lurking beneath and that is hard to find. Jaime King gave a so so performance and is over shadowed, in my opinion, by her co-stars. It was great to see one of my favourite up and coming Horror actress, Briana Evigan (SORORITY ROW, BURNING BRIGHT) but party of me wishes she was more the lead character with Jaime King in a lesser role.
Overall the acting was good, the film was well directed and written and is about damn time that we get a Home Invasion Horror that doesn’t fall flat i.e the snore fest CHERRY TREE LANE and the sad excuse for a film KIDNAPPED. A must see.
SPECIAL FEATURES: interviews with stars Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Patrick Flueger, Warren Kole, Briana Evigan, Matt O’Leary, Shawn Ashmore and Lyriq Bent, producer Richard Saperstein, executive producers Lloyd Kaufman and Charles Kaufman and stunt coordinator Bobby King; B roll footage; trailer
Release date: October 24th
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray
RRP Price: (DVD) £15.99 (BLU-RAY) £19.99
Alex (David Hess – THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT), A rapist and a psychopath, and his friend Ricky (Giovanni L. Radice) a simple and easily led man who also works with Alex, are hoping to hit the town to cause mayhem when they are stopped by a young couple with car troubles. Helping them fix their car Alex and Ricky invite themselves along to the party in which the couple where heading. When they arrive at the upscale house party they are ridiculed by their young upper class hosts. Alex decides that he and his straight edged razor deserve some fun. Together the two streetwise punks bring the unprepared partygoers a night of Violence and Rape that will change their lives forever.
I’m not easily shocked by a film, especially after watching SERBIAN FILM, but on watching HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK I was left a little cold. I’m not one to criticise an edgy horror as most are done pretty well, for example Hess’ previous role in THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, but I just found this film an excuse to show scenes of sexual violence for the sake of it.
Directed by Controversial director Ruggero Deodato the man who brought us the cult classic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK was one of the many Video Nasties which were banned not only by the BBFC in the UK but in several different countries around the world and I see why to a point. I am not saying this film should be banned by any means, this will always be a cult classic for fans of the more extreme video Nasties, but I will throw caution to newcomers to the films of this era.
Away from the sexual violence the acting wasn’t up to par with only David Hess giving a good performance in my honest opinion. If you are not easily offended and you are looking to expand your collection of Video Nasties then this will suit your needs but if you are just looking for a well acted film which won’t leave you wanting to turn it off then give this a miss.
Release date: October 31st
Running Time: 88 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £15.99
When her husband Jim, a man who was banished from his former Amish religion for marrying outside of the Amish, is killed, city girl Martha is forced to live alone in their farm home for ever being watched by the watchful eyes of the Amish family of her late husband. When her friends Lana (A very young Sharon Stone in her second ever film role) and Vicky arrive to help Martha get back on track she begins to thing she can move on with the everyday running of her life and the farm. Things begin to grow strange when the body of a young Amish boy is found in Martha’s barn and her friend Lana begins to have odd dreams on a gray man visiting her at night. They slowly discover that a killer is stalking them as more people end up dead.
Wes Craven in my eyes can’t do any wrong when it comes to his films (aside from RED EYE and CURSED that were both awful). DEADLY BLESSING is a classic example of one of the best decades for horror, with a plot that was original and tense for the time. Another great thing about this film is that we have yet another big Hollywood actor who started on in horror in the form of Sharon Stone, who I must say looks absolutely stunning is this film.
We have some great scenes in the film, one of the more memorable being the snake in the bath scene which Craven obviously used later as an influence for the bath scene in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The final reveal wasn’t what I was expecting and took me totally by surprised reminding me a little of the reveal and the end of the book THE WASP FACTORY. The whole film was a serious treat and it even give you an insight into the world of Amish life which you don’t seem much of in modern cinema.
Acting wise it is everything you would expect from your run of the mill 80’s horror, you know some of the acting isn’t Oscar winning but you get a fantastic thrill ride nether the less. DEADLY BLESSING is a must have for any horror fan or even someone looking to get into the genre. The film isn’t full of gore either which is always a good change from a lot of the films of the 90’s and naughties.
Introduction by star Michael Berryman; “Craven Images: The Horror Hits of Michael Berryman” – an interview with Deadly Blessing’s iconic star; “Deadly Desires” – an interview with screenwriter Glenn M. Benest; original trailer; Easter eggs; reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Rue Morgue art director Gary Pullin; double-sided fold-out artwork poster; collectors’ booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author and critic Kim Newman; original 1.78:1 anamorphic aspect ratio presentation; original mono 1.0 audio.
Release date: November 14th
Running Time: 98 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £15.99
This well known Hammer Horror classic is heading into stores on Blu-Ray double play this October but can you tell the difference? QUATERMASS & THE PIT is the third film in the Quatermass Trilogy of films based on Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass series.
During excavations in London’s Hobbs End Underground a large object, which is first thought to be a German bomb, is unearthed. With a small force of British soldiers, professor Bernard Quartermass ( Andrew Keir – DRACULA:PRINCE OF DARKNESS) and the head of the excavation Dr. Matthew Roney (James Donald – THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI) discover quickly that the so-called bomb is something far more sinister. The capsule, and the area surrounding it, holds the remains of alien life forms who came to earth during the prehistoric area to conduct experiments on early man. Now, after disturbing the once dormant vessel, these life forms are back to bring a terrifying force upon the human race.
More science fiction than horror, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT has always been classed as one of the top Hammer Horrors to be released. Originally release in the 60’s the film still holds strong compared to other films of this era. I missed this film back in my early days of horror watching, I was brought up more in the slasher era of the late 80’s and early 90’s, so I was at first very excited to watch this piece of horror gold.
The cast of good British actors are slightly let down by the alien design in the film. The bug like aliens that are freed from the vessel look very outdated but you would expect this from a film from the 60’s, but I didn’t feel any kind of terror in it I am to be brutally honest with you. The film also has a slow build to it even with the early reveal of the skulls in the clay but as the film progresses, and the public getting drawn into the mystery of the whole thing the film’s general slow film picks up. Overall I am not sure if this film being in Blu-Ray format actually does much difference to the film which, after seeing so many great Blu-Ray restorations over the past few months, is a bit of a shame in the long run. On saying that, it is nice to see classic horror being brought back into the public eye for horror fans of old and hopefully new to relive again.
A lot of fans of Hammer Horror will disagree with me but personally I didn’t feel it. Even though the film is well acted, compared to the science fiction of modern times I wouldn’t go and pick this up again but fans of classic science fiction will love this.
Blu-ray only extras: New UK exclusive interviews with Julian Glover, Mark Gatiss, Judith Kerr, Kim Newman, Joe Dante and Marcus Hearne / Audio commentary with Nigel Kneale and Roy Ward Baker / World of Hammer – Sci-Fi Episode / UK and US trailers
Release date: 10th October 2011
RRP Blu-ray Double Play: £22.99
Running Time: 98 mins
Below are two of the interviews, the first with Joe Dante and the second with Judith Kerr which can be found on the Blu-Ray.
To celebrate her 21st birthday, Miriam and her friends Leo, Cassy, Mark and Tanya head out on a road trip out of Manhattan to stay her Aunt Gail’s house which is situated in the middle of nowhere. Armed with a video camera the group pack up the car and head on out but before long they start being harassed by a strange van that follows them to a small reststop. Losing the man the group carry on with their trip and arrive safely. This leads to a cat and mouse game inside the house as the man track down the group at the house.
Basic ‘Found Footage’ film here yet again. I am getting bored of this sub-genre, we never seem to get much along the same lines as REC and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (and if you haven’t already check out my review for the awful film THE TAPES. EVIL THINGS however wasn’t a bad idea, we don’t have spooky ghosts or zombies or even evil cults, instead EVIL THINGS decides to head in the psychopath route which is a little different and at first I was hoping that this would be a well needed change to a slowly annoying sub-genre. As the films builds we have a few tense moments when the group are being followed and in the woods where they think they are being watched but as per usual with a lot of horror films the ending seems to go in a different direction and ruins it.
The films has good ideas with it, I like the fact the killer is also filming the kids, giving us two views on the action but it all seems to just stop. We never find out what happens to Leo and then we are thrown into a totally confusing ending where the killer is stalking a group of college film makers which AGAIN doesn’t go anywhere.
I was let down by a film which had so much promise and actually had a real feel to it. The acting was good and the feel was creepy but I am afraid I can’t forgive the ending which I expected so much more from.
When Lara (Stephanie Champman-Baker – THE GARDEN), his sister Monica (Valene Kane – THE FADING LIGHT) and their friends head out into the woods for a weekend of playing war games, a fake team game where two teams loaded with pellet guns and protective gear play a British bull dog style game, the last thing the was expecting was the game to turn real.
Also in the woods, three former soldiers are keeping animals in cages for sickening assassinations for their enjoyment. But the dogs are getting boring for these evil individuals. Heading into the woods they go in search for a more exciting prey. Unaware that they are being watched the group continue to play the game, but when the game is finished they realise Monica is nowhere to be seen. Last seen in the woods the group split up to look for Monica. Meeting up again the group come under attack from the mad men and they soon realise the rules of the game have changed. One by one the soldiers pick of them off using the skills they learnt in the field leading to a vicious show down at the climax of the film.
We see a lot of war games style films come and go, PAINTBALL is a recent example, and alot of the time they never seen to pack much of a punch. Going into WAR GAMES I had very low expectations and I was expecting an okay film with a terrible ending (as with a hell of a lot of horror films i have seen as of late). But from the kick off you know that this is a different kind of Horror Thriller as we see some brutal warfare from our, very evil looking, foes as they plant mines in the dirt to catch their prey off guard, and this happens to our first unlucky young actor as he loses a leg. The film progress with more and more brutal killings, which is of course what we are looking for in this kind of horror film, until we reach the final showdown between our leading girl Lara and the three men who have kidnapped her sister. The acting was great but I am still not sure if this is meant to be an American film or a British film as it has a mix of American and British actors.
The direction by Cosimo Alema was faultless for his first feature film and the script was imaginative with FINALLY a really good ending. WAR GAMES comes to us through Universal Pictures UK’s, IndiVISION which focuses more on Arthouse, Cult Horror and World Cinema among other things and we are seeing a lot of good films coming out via them including THE CLINIC which we will be reviewing later this week.
Given the choice between Blu-Ray and DVD I would without a doubt go for the Blu-Ray as the film looks very good with a high quality picture but either way you should this film.
Release date: 3rd October 2011
RRP DVD: £12.99
RRP Blu-ray: £17.99
Running Time: 1hr 34 mins approx