Livide (2011)

LivideThe teenage girl Lucie (Chloé Coulloud) lives in a small sleepy seaside town where she has her first day as a care-worker, assisted by Catherine. One of the posts is in an old, overgrown mansion owned by the ghoulish-looking old lady, Jessel (Béatrice Dalle), who rots in her bed while breathing through a ventilator in a coma. We learn that she was once a sadistic ballet instructor, but most importantly, she has a key around her neck that is rumored to open a treasure hidden somewhere in the house. And Lucie is keen to get her hands on the treasure so that she and her boyfriend can look forward to a better future. She also lives at home with her father after her mother committed suicide, and their relationship is tense.


It also happens to be Halloween and what could be more appropriate than spending the night treasure hunting in a big old house? Lucie, along with her boyfriend and another guy, enters the house from a basement window and sneaks into the bedroom to get the key, and… well, it doesn’t go so smooth from here on, as they get trapped inside the house like a survival-horror game after they encounter the “treasure” which isn’t exactly what they expected.


So this is the follow-up to Inside by the french duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. If you expect another rerun with non-stop violence in the purest New French Extremity ways, you might get mildly disappointed. Livide relies more on dim atmosphere surrounded by an old Victorian mansion filled with dust, cobwebs, probably a strong odor of mold, and some obscure history from a dark, twisted fairy tale. And I would recommend wearing shoes with some strong soles as the basement is filled with trash, clutter and whatnot from floor to ceiling, which makes Ed Gein look like a compulsive cleaner.


And  with Inside, Livide and The Deep House, it’s fair to say that the duo is at their right element when it comes to haunted house scenarios. While their scripts aren’t always their strongest side, they surely know how to create a creepy, eerie, and sometimes claustrophobic atmosphere. Livide works mostly as a visual treat where the inspirations from Italian horror filmmakers Argento and Bava shines through as it slides further into a deep, vivid gothic nightmare. It’s gloomy, melancholic and poetic with an experimental third act, to say the least, and the ending is always open for interpretation. And yes, there’s gore. And it tastes delicious. Just be a little patient.


Livide Livide Livide


Writers and directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Country & year: France, 2011
Actors: Chloé Coulloud, Félix Moati, Jérémy Kapone, Catherine Jacob, Béatrice Dalle, Chloé Marcq, Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Loïc Berthézène, Joël Cudennec



Tom Ghoul













Burnt Offerings (1976)

Don't Be Afraid of the DarkBen Rolf and his wife Marian and their 12 year old son Davey travels to a remote mansion because they’d like to rent it for the summer. Greeted by the home’s owners, the elderly siblings Arnold and Rosalyn Allardyce, they quickly realize that these old geezers are more than just a little eccentric, bordering on being outright cuckoo with a weirdly strong attachment to their home. Which makes it kind of strange that they’d like to rent it out in the first place. And the price is quite the bargain too: $900 for the entire summer. It comes with one odd requirement though: there’s an old lady in the upstairs room, which the family must promise to deliver meals to during their stay for the summer. They’re told that this old lady wants privacy and most likely won’t be seen, and that they should just leave the meals outside her locked bedroom. Nothing fishy about that, right? While having a few second thoughts, the family still decides to rent the wonderful house, and along with them they bring Ben’s elderly aunt Elizabeth. When they arrive back at the house, the siblings have already left the place, having left a note at the door. And while all seems like the setup for a wonderful time, the house appears to make some of them behave rather oddly. Marian becomes obsessed with cleaning and caring for the house, and making sure that the elderly woman upstairs is being fed. Despite never actually seeing her, or even hearing a word from her. She distances herself more and more from the family, while Ben starts being haunted by the visions of the creepy hearse driver he once saw at his mother’s funeral when he was a child. And he starts behaving aggressive, especially towards his own son. What was first thought to be a wonderful summer holiday at a beautiful house, soon turns out to be a nightmare…


Burnt Offerings is a horror film from 1976, directed by Dan Curtis and based on the book by the same name which was written by Robert Marasco. The filming took place in 1975, in the historic Dunsmuir House in Oakland, California. This film was the first to be shot at this location, and many horror fans will probably recognize the house as it was used in the horror film Phantasm some years later. Several movies have been filmed there, and the latest being Delirium from 2018. Dan Curtis mentioned that there were no sets built for this film, and everything was filmed entirely on location. Something that feels oddly refreshing to watch these days…


The film is a typical old-fashioned haunted house movie, with a very slow build-up and devoid of jumpscares. You feel something is off from the very start without having anything specific to pin it on, there are no obvious ghosts or ghoulies which terrorize the family, so you’re not really sure what is happening to them. The film is very much about mood and atmosphere, with a beautiful old-fashioned home providing the perfect environment for such a setting. Despite being your typical slowburner, it constantly throws things at you which keeps you constantly on edge and wondering what’s going to happen next. Especially unsettling is watching how Marian keeps distancing herself entirely from her own family, only caring for the house and becomes obsessed with keeping it clean and in order, and staying outside the old lady’s room upstairs while watching an array of old photographs and playing the melancholic tune of the music box on the table there.


The family characters, although somewhat generic, fits their role pretty well as the ordinary middle-class family, and the siblings we meet at the start of the movie (played by Burgess Meredith and Eileen Heckart) were perfectly eerie-kooky. While the film portrays a somewhat strained relationship between the wife Marian (Karen Black) and the elderly aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis), it’s worth noting that there may have been more than just acting between those two. According to Bette Davis, these two had conflicts during the shoot and she thought Karen’s behaviour was disrespectful and unprofessional. However, Bette also expressed a disdain for Oliver Reed (who played Ben), and referred to him as “possibly one of the most loathesome human beings I have ever had the misfortune of meeting”. I’m going to suppose the atmosphere in that house wasn’t all chipper in real life either…


This movie isn’t particularly well known, despite horror authors Stephen King and Bentley Little having both acknowledged that it influenced their writing, and Stephen King was apparently inspired by both the book and the movie when writing The Shining. I’m also thinking that he probably let his son Joe Hill (Joseph Hillstrom King) watch the movie as well, considering how the creepy hearse driver in the movie gives off real Charles Manx-vibes (NOS4A2). This character was not included in the original novel, actually, but was based on an actual childhood experience of Dan Curtis, where he recalled as a young child being at his mother’s funeral and seeing a chauffeur laughing outside of the funeral parlor, something he found disturbing and which then stuck with him ever since. There are some other scenes in this movie as well which makes me wonder if several other horror films have taken inspiration from it, including a certain scene which will ring a bell or two for those who have seen Evil Dead.


Overall, Burnt Offerings is an interesting addition to the haunted house genre, and derives a bit from the ordinary spookhouse story. Some may find the ending a little cheesy, but it’s kind of what makes it a bit exceptional and also make the title fit very well with what’s actually going on.


Burnt Offerings Burnt Offerings


Director: Dan Curtis
Writers: William F. Nolan, Dan Curtis
Country & year: US, 1976
Actors: Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis, Eileen Heckart, Lee Montgomery, Dub Taylor, Joseph Riley, Todd Turquand, Orin Cannon, Jim Myers, Anthony James



Vanja Ghoul








Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

Don't Be Afraid of the DarkLord Emerson Blackwood is a renowned 19th century wildlife painter, who lives in a huge manor called Blackwood Manor. One day, he bludgeons his housekeeper to death in the basement, and afterwards he removes her teeth. Not only that, he also removes his own teeth…and offers them as some kind of sacrifice to a bunch of mysterious creatures living inside the old fireplace, who has kidnapped his son. The creatures reject his offer, and tell him that they only want the teeth of children. And then, just like his son, he also gets dragged in by the creatures. Fast forward to present day, we meet 8-year old Sally who moves into Blackwood Manor with her father Alex and his girlfriend Kim. They want to restore the old manor for a client, to have it put on the market for sale. Very soon Sally gets to hear and see glimpses of the teeth-craving creatures, who are eager to finally get some of those children’s teeth they want…


Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a supernatural horror film from 2010, directed by Troy Nixey as his feature directorial debut, and written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins. It is a remake of the 1973 ABC made-for-TV film of the same name. In the original Sally was the wife of Alex, not his daughter, but this change kind of fits well for the more apparent fantasy-theme this remake has been given. And yes: obviously, it has Guillermo del Toro’s fingerprints all over it.


With the movie’s opening there isn’t much of a mystery plot going on, as we already know that there are some creatures living in the house which craves for human teeth, or specifically those from children. Thus, we already know the mansion is infested with ghoulish tooth fairies. We do find out a little bit more about them as the mansion reveals some of Lord Emerson’s secrets, which includes some of this paintings. Despite a lack of actual mystery, the atmosphere is one of the focal points in the film, blending the gothic mansion interior and exterior with the fantasy aspects and making it spookily fun. As for the monsters themselves, they’re…well, not exactly very impressive. They’re the standard CGI fantasy creature, fitting in a fantasy plot more than a horror one I guess.


Now, the original from 1973 is by many deemed a classic, and it appears to have given lots of kids the willies when they saw the movie sometime in the 70’s, and according to del Toro it also gave him quite a fright when he watched it as a child. A remake is bound to not have the same effect, especially when also changing the perspective from a grown woman to that of a child. It works pretty well, but it does of course change the tone of the story quite much. And since Guillermo del Toro was involved in this, I guess that there were also some people expecting a new Pan’s Labyrinth or something, which it is definitely not. It’s a typical movie that plays primarily on childhood fears, mixing in some bits from the world of mythology and turns it into something sinister, but not as dark as what can be seen in the aforementioned film. Overall, I still think it’s a well made gothic fantasy-horror movie, with enough spooky atmosphere to be enjoyable.


Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Don't Be Afraid of the Dark


Director: Troy Nixey
Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins
Country & year: US, 2010
Actors: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Bruce Gleeson, Eddie Ritchard, Garry McDonald, Carolyn Shakespeare-Allen, Jack Thompson, Julia Blake, David Tocci, Lance Drisdale



Vanja Ghoul








Seytan (1974)

Seytan The Turkish ExorcistThere was actually a time when films like this were called plagiarism. Today we call them remakes. And call this specimen of celluloid what you will, Pazuzu, however, has already left the building and dived straight back to hell to suck Saddam Hussein’s big hairy toes rather than being near this eyesoaring madhouse.


There’s little to zero trivia info to find about this Turkish obscurity other than it’s more or less a shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist – a movie from 1973 you may have heard of. The film was apparently shot on a low budget, resulting in a grainy and poor image quality. You don’t say. To call the image quality grainy and poor is the biggest understatement since the beginning of human existence. I would first assume the film was shot on used toilet paper with a dirty lens covered in fresh urine and projected straight out of Belphegor’s asshole.


And you couldn’t ask for a more honest plot summary to add on the backside of the DVD cover:


After the worldwide success of William Friedkin’s 1973 classic film The Exorcist, those wacky Turks decided that maybe they should steal the script and make their own homegrown version of the film. The result is Seytan, a one of a kind viewing experience. If you’ve seen the 1973 original you’ll feel you’re experiencing déjà Vu as this version is almost an identical scene by scene remake of The Exorcist, albeit with a Turkish soundtrack, music recorded directly off a record player, editing most likely done by a blind monkey and special effects more fitting for an elementary school play. Combine this with really grainy film stock, some out of work (possibly homeless) unknown Turkish actors, horrible direction and a budget of about $1.95 and you’ve got yourself an instant classic.


There are some story changes here though. Instead of Father Damien Karras, we have the young author Tugrul Bilge, who’s just written a book about black magic titled Seytan. And one of the readers of that book is the twelve-year-old girl Gül, while she also plays with a spirit board. And instead of Captain Howdy we have Captain… Lersen. Gül gets possessed by Lersen and her mother contacts Bilge after she discovers his book. Although Bilge is a non-believer (u-oh), he gets invited to have a look at Gül as she’s bedridden and wearing some cheap make-up, a big Tina Turner wig and mumbles with a comical demon voice that sounds more like a drunk, old Japanese samurai. And yes, of course, The Exorcist himself, an old gentleman with a white-trimmed santa beard, eventually pops up to conjure holy forces in the big climax.


The funny thing is that both Gül and Tugrul sound like some sinister stage names from a black metal band, while Lersen sounds more like a regular Joe.


And forget about any obscene cussing like “your mother sucks cocks in hell” and  “let Jesus fuck you!” The most edgy written piece of dialogue we get is “I will kill you”. In other words: I highly doubt that anyone who saw this back in 1974 in the Turkish cinemas went out of the movie shaking with trauma, and had problems sleeping the following night. The masturbation scene is still here though, in its own unique way, along with the head spinning sequences, the possessed furniture, the medical examinationsKarra’s Bilge’s sideplot with his mommy issues – but with the momentum like a quick fart in the wind, and the emotional depth as deep as a puddle on the sidewalk. It’s amateur-hour all the way and like a piss-drunk karaoke version of something very familiar performed by Eilert Pilarm with the tunes from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells constantly on repeat throughout the first half of the movie, ripped from a tired cassette tape, to remind us that this is… The Turkish Exorcist. Burp.


The acting is as laughable as you’d expect, but I have to give the girl who plays the Turkish Regan some cred as she tries her best and seemed to have a jolly fun time during the making of this looney tune. She also got the pleasure of spitting some green-something in the old man’s face.


Seytan never got any official physical release, or not that I know of, other than a DVD bootleg in 2007 by Substance, ripped from a VHS added with subtitles which even Google seemed to struggle to translate. Fun shit. It’s of course also on YouTube with a more cleaned up image quality but without the subtitles.


Seytan The Turkish Exorcist





Director: Metin Erksan
Writer: Yilmaz Tümtürk
Also known as: Seytan – The Turkish Exorcist
Country & year: Turkey, 1974
Actors: Canan Perver, Cihan Ünal, Meral Taygun, Agah Hün, Erol Amaç, Ismail Hakki Sen, Ekrem Gökkaya



Tom Ghoul













Making Contact (1985)

Making ContactTake a bunch of obscure deleted scenes from E.T., Poltergeist, and some unreleased haunted house movie made by Disney TV, stitch them randomly together with little to no context – and then you have Making Contact, written and directed by Roland Emmerich. Yes, the master of disaster himself who gave us Independence Day.


And no, Making Contact, which Emmerich made eight years before his global breakthrough with Stargate, has nothing to do with making contact with space or aliens. I don’t exactly know what the movie is trying to make contact with… A cohesive plot it is certainly not, and I don’t even think that a young, struggling Roland Emmerich knew. He just wanted to make an entertaining movie, according to the film’s wiki page. And entertaining it is, but mostly for the wrong reasons. And that’s always something I can appreciate.


The film centers around the young kid, Joey, who’s just had his dad buried. Why, what or how, we never get to know. The same night, while he’s in his room, the house gets haunted by… something. All the toys start to move and a red-glowing toy phone in his closet starts ringing. On the other end is his dad, or that is what we’re supposed to believe. We’re only some minutes in when I can already picture this as one of the many unofficial sequels that got spewed out of Italy during the 1980s. And if that was the case here, this would be released as Poltergeist 2, without any questions.


Joey and his mother also happen to live next door to the same house from the Psycho films. Here it’s condemned and ready to be demolished. One day, Joey goes for an exploration in its cobwebbed basement, where he finds a ventriloquist dummy. The dummy’s name is not Norman Bates but Fletcher, and we soon learn that he’s possessed by a demon or something which should rather be locked up in a blessed cage in the occult museum of Ed and Lorraine Warren.


Weird, supernatural shit also occurs at school where an egg rolls by itself over a ruler from one table to another. Some girls’ pigtails start to float just out of the blue… and when I thought I’d seen it all: instead of a bunch of chairs stacked up on each other in the kitchen, we have some sharp knives stuck in the kitchen cupboard.


Making Contact is a weird mesmerizing mess that can never decide what direction it wants to go with a tone that bounces all over the place. There’s a side-plot with the demon possessed-whatever doll that never gets explained. The other kids in Joey’s class set up a plan to kill him because…because. Joey suddenly has telekinetic powers. Scientists set up a lab at Joey’s house. Kids are running around in Norman Bate’s huge underground basement where a big hamburger-shaped monster pops up, and some other ghoulish creatures for a quick moment. The top of a big maze can be seen in the distance and I wonder if there’s a shrine in there as well. The visual effects look like scraps from Mr. Boogedy.


Almost the entire cast is of non-actors who’s only appeared in this film, most of which are Germans while the shooting took place in Germany, Virginia Beach and at the backlot of Universal Studios in California where the exterior of the Psycho house is located. The film got English dubbing for its DVD release with a new musical score which sounds very familiar to a certain John Williams. And now I’m almost tempted to claim that Steven Spielberg actually ghost directed the film in some bizarre alternative universe while he snorted lines with Tobe Hooper. Because the more I think of this film the more confused I get.


Making Contact is obscure for a reason, but the weird and goofy nature of it, and if not considering who’s directed it, makes it more of a morbid curiosity and something to at least have some fun with. Emmerich followed up with the horror comedy Ghost Chase, aka Hollywood Monster, in 1987 which is even more nuttier.


Making Contact Making Contact Making Contact



Director: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Roland Emmerich, Hans J. Haller, Thomas Lechner
Original title: Joey
Country & year: West Germany, US, 1985
Actors: Joshua Morrell, Eva Kryll, Tammy Shields, Jan Zierold, Barbara Klein, Matthias Kraus, Jerry L. Hall Jr., Sean Johnson, Christine Goebbels, Ray Kaselonis



Tom Ghoul













Hobgoblins (1988)

HobgoblinsWriter, producer, editor and director Rick Sloane is a true independent auteur, no one can at least take that away from him. He’s made 16 movies over the course of the decades since the early 80’s, and we all should know about his Vice Academy films, a spoof of Police Academy which spawned five whole sequels. Yet he’s known for one movie and one movie only: Hobgoblins – one of the most, if not the most, sour fart-smelling and cringe-inducing cheese fests from the 1980s that got its place on the Worst Films Ever Made list and became a cult-classic of so-bad-it’s-good-movies.


The film starts in some old movie studio where the young nightguard, Dennis, have been strictly told by his older co-worker McCreedy to stay far away from the vault. Of course he won’t. And when he enters it, he’s suddenly on a stage in his own fantasy land where he’s a rock star. Shortly after he grabs the mike and does some silly movements, and ends up getting killed, off screen. A new young guy gets hired with the same warnings to stay away from the vault. Pffft, yeah right. One night when he opens it, a group of fluffy Mogwai/Critter hybrid creatures escape from the vault and drive away in a golf cart.


To quote the back of the Blu-ray; as bodycounts starts to rise, Kevin, with help of his friends, decide to track down the deadly creatures before they wreak havok on the city.


There’s only one (yes 1) bodycount in the entire film though, and that’s the guy we saw in the beginning, and the film is as tame as a newborn kitten. We learn that the creatures came from space in the 1950s in a small shuttle that crashlanded near the movie studio where McCreedy was a nightguard. He has since then kept them trapped in the vault, since anyone who encounters them will have their fantasy wishes come true, only until they get killed by the creatures. And guess what: they also get attracted to very bright lights. Rick Sloane claims that he wrote the script for Hobgoblins several years before Gremlins, by the way, so don’t you even dare to think otherwise.


There’s no more plot to break down from here ’cause there isn’t any. We have a string of nonsensical scenes where our group of protagonists keeps bullshitting around Kevin’s house. We have some rivalry between Mike and some Rambo wannabe who fights with rakes, because…just because. Later that night, they have a party where the creatures finally stop by to get the plot going forward. We eventually end up in some sleazy nightclub where it just gets more crazy and weird.




Hobgoblins is a real stink bomb in every aspect with the production value of an episode of ALF. The direction, the acting, the story (if there is any), the characters, the pacing, the effects, everything falls completely on its face. The attempt to be a comedy is like … I can’t even put a word on it. It’s something else. Holy moly macaroni. Even though the actors are a group of young and fresh graduates from the prestigious Troll 2 School of Acting, Troll 2 is Citizen Kane compared to this one, and you have to lower your bar to the lowest to sit through Hobgoblins.


There are no effects here. No blood, nothing. The only kill we get happens offscreen because its budget of $15,000 obviously couldn’t afford a single effect artist. What we have left is actors who do an impossible job to make us believe they are in danger while they wiggle around with lifeless puppets in the purest Ed Wood style. Picture Bela Lugosi with the octopus and there you have it. When we see the puppets moving around, they’re being operated by a woman who has just been released from a mental hospital. No shame in that. Sometimes crazy people need a job too.


The film is also sprinkled with goofs, but the one who caught my eye was the sequence with the car during where a hand visibly rocks the stationary car, and you can see it as clear as day. Then we have the grenades of the Rambo-wannabe-dude which he throws around the nightclub that does zero damage. A grenade gets thrown in one direction but explodes in a completely different direction. Like Ed Wood famously said: Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.


Some trivia: The film was shot without permits and in a single week. The film studio was in a parking lot that was deserted at night, next to a crackhouse. McCreedy’s gun was actually a cap pistol, purchased from a toy store for five dollars. Only the eyes for the hobgoblins were going to be seen in an earlier draft of the script. A pit bull’s growl was used for the voice of the hobgoblins. Rick Sloane initially planned on making a sequel in 1990 and had even written a screenplay for it, but it wasn’t made until 2009 as Hobgoblins 2.


Hobgoblins was also mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000, an episode which Rick Sloane got shocked by when he himself was mercilessly mocked over the film’s end credits. In an interview with Dead Central in 2009, he was asked about the movie’s position on the IMDb Bottom 100. He said he was “surprised it slipped down to #25 as it at sometime was the 2nd spot, right behind Gigli. As for now, it’s on #35. It’s also on a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from Vinegar Syndrome.


Hobgoblins Hobgoblins Hobgoblins


Writer and director: Rick Sloane
Country & year: US, 1988
Actors: Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, Steven Boggs, Kelley Palmer, Billy Frank, Tamara Clatterbuck, Duane Whitaker, James R. Sweeney, Kevin Kildow, Daran Norris, James Mayberry



Tom Ghoul













Lifeforce (1985)

Lifeforce A space crew is on a mission to explore the coma of Haley’s Comet, a comet that’s visible from Earth and to the naked eye every 75 years. Something else that’s naked are three humanoid creatures in suspended animation within coffin-shaped glass containers, which the captain Tom Carlsen (Steve Railsback) and his crew find as soon as they float onto the comet. Two of them being young males and a young brunette (credited as Space Girl in the 18 year old flesh of Mathilda May). They bring the containers back to the spaceship and head back to Earth. But something goes wrong as they enter the atmosphere. The crew gets burned alive and the only sign of life when the ship lands on Earth are the three humanoids, still sleeping in their coffins. An inventive little nod to the sailing ship Demeter, if you will.


We’re now in London where the containers with the space humanoids are transported to the European Space Research Centre, and the fun is about to begin. The naked Space Girl suddenly opens her eyes as she lies ready for her autopsy, stands up buck naked and sucks the life out of him (yes, from the mouth, sorry to say). She escapes as she just wanders out of the facility like a catwalk model while she flashes her tits and buttcheeks. We then learn from one of the doctors who also had an episode with the Space Girl that she’s able to seduce her victims with intense supernatural powers and french-kisses them completely empty of lifeforce, and … how can anyone say this with a straight and dry face: they then infect the victims with a virus that transforms them to rabid zombie vampires. It’s time to call Dr. Peter Cushing Van Helsing. Ha-ha, had it only been that easy…


A traumatized Dr. Carlsen, the only survivor of the space crew we saw earlier, heads over to London from Texas to join forces with the agent SAS agent Colin Caine (Peter Firth) to track down the space creature.


Lifeforce was supposed to be Tobe Hooper’s next big step after the mega success of the Steven Spielberg production Poltergeist (1982), which still asks the question who really directed that film. What the hell really happened to Tobe Hooper is also a good question. But what we know is that his destructive and downward spiral of drug use didn’t do any favors to the continuous fall of his career. He was fired from several film projects during the 1980s until he was picked up by Cannon Films which he signed a three-movie deal with: Lifeforce, Invaders from Mars and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.


Even though Lifeforce was doomed from the beginning by starting the shooting with an unfinished script, the film has its many moments. The set-design of the comet is pretty inventive with an entrance that looks like a giant butthole. The effects are as 80’s as they can get which goes from being pretty spectacular to crispy cheese dinner. Then we have eye-rolling dialogues mixed with a hysteric over-the top performance by Steve Railsback. When he’s not overacting to the Razzie Award, he sits with a blank stare and just says his lines, while the rest tries to take this as seriously as they can. An enthusiastic Patrick Stewart has a short screentime where he got the great honor to mouth kiss Railsback in one of the more absurd scenes.


The rubber animatronics are comical, cartoonish and just delightfully cheesy that would fit far more in a film like The Return of the Living Dead. Dan O’Bannon co-wrote the script so that maybe explains a thing or two. There was no complete script of Lifeforce, as mentioned, and it shows, especially after the second half which slides further into a weird unfocused epic mess. Miniature buildings of London burn up in flames, there’s big explosions in the street and full pandemonium of rabid zombie vampires running around. Only thing missing is cats and dogs living together and we’d had double mass hysteria!


The studio also cut out 20 minutes for its theatrical release and the film was set up to be a blockbuster in the summer of 1985, but instead became the biggest flop of the year, barely earning half of its budget back. It was mocked and panned by most of the critics and Colin Wilson, the author of the novel The Space Vampires, which the film is based on, wasn’t much impressed either. Gene Siskel, on the other hand, gave it 3 out of 4 stars and called the film a guilty pleasure. And it’s not hard to agree on that. Lifeforce is available on a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from Scream Factory.


Lifeforce Lifeforce Lifeforce



Director: Tobe Hooper
Writers: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby
Also known as: Space Vampires
Country & year: UK, 1985
Actors: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard, Nicholas Ball, Aubrey Morris, Nancy Paul, John Hallam, John Keegan



Tom Ghoul













10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Castle FreakMichelle has had an argument with her fiancè Ben, and she’s packed a suitcase, left behind a diamond ring and ends up driving through rural Louisiana in the middle of the night. While Ben keeps calling her, begging for her to return, she’s getting news reports about several blackouts in major cities. Suddenly her car is struck by something, which causes it to flip off the road. For Michelle, everything then turns black. When she wakes up, she notices she’s gotten a leg injury, but that’s not the worst part…she is also chained to a wall in a concrete room. A man named Howard then unchains her and tells her that there’s been some kind of attack, maybe by the Russians or Martians, he’s not sure. He found her by the car wreck and saved her by bringing her to his shelter: an underground bunker. To top it all, he also tells her they cannot leave the place for at least a few years, because the air outside has become poisonous and everyone who goes outside now will end up dead. Is Howard just an insane madman who decided to kidnap her, or is there any truth to his stories?


10 Cloverfield Lane is a science fiction horror thriller from 2016, directed by Dan Trachtenberg in his directorial debut. It was also produced by J. J. Abrams and Lindsey Weber, and written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, and Damien Chazelle. It belongs to the Cloverfield franchise, and it’s the second film. That was not the original plan for the movie’s script, however, as it was originally called “The Cellar” and had absolutely nothing to do with the franchise, but when Paramount Pictures bought the script and commenced further development under Bad Robot Productions, it ended up being a spiritual successor to the 2018 found-footage film Cloverfield.


Watching this movie while knowing it’s part of the Cloverfield franchise might make it a somewhat confusing experience, as it doesn’t appear to be tied to it in any way. Understandably, of course, since the original script wasn’t supposed to have any ties to the “Cloverfield Universe” at all. I still think that going into the experience of this film while knowing as little as possible, other than a certain relationship to the first film in some way, is the best way to watch this one. It will get you engaged by the series of strange events and the several red flags which may later prove to simply be red herrings, and sometimes even both. Arguably it is a movie that could have worked perfectly fine on its own, without the Cloverfield setting.


The cast here is pretty good, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead having a solid lead role, and John Goodman doing a perfect portrayal of the eccentric and slightly indecipherable Howard. So overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thrilling and intriguing mystery horror film, which manages to be quite suspenseful throughout. There are twists and turns throughout, constantly keeping you guessing as to what the situation here really is.


10 Cloverfield Lane


Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writers: Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Country & year: US, 2016
Actors: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.,Douglas M. Griffin, Suzanne Cryer, Bradley Cooper,  Sumalee Montano, Frank Mottek



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Lovely Molly (2011)

Lovely MollyMolly and Tim have gotten married, and they move into Molly’s childhood home. There, strange things start happening in the house, which becomes quite a bother for the newlyweds. Not to mention that Molly is a recovering heroin addict, which doesn’t exactly make anything easier. Soon, Tim has to leave town for a few days, leaving her in the house all alone. As you can imagine, upon Tim’s return he doesn’t exactly find her in the best of states. And things keep getting worse. Molly starts hearing the traditional folk song “Lovely Molly” sung by a man in the house, a man that she cannot see. Is Molly just experiencing the backlash of painful memories arising to the surface upon moving into her childhood home, or is it something other than memories haunting her?


Lovely Molly is a supernatural horror film from 2011, directed by Eduardo Sánchez, who was also one of the directors behind The Blair Witch Project (co-directed with Daniel Myrick). Unlike the aforementioned film, this one is mixing the found footage style with a traditional narrative, and starts off with a scene that gives us a little bit of an idea of what might actually happen to Molly. We see her filming herself, very clearly in a state of terror which we do not yet know the extent of. It starts the movie off with certain expectations.


The spooky happenings are nothing out of the ordinary, there are the usual alarms going off in the middle of the night, footsteps which can be heard without anyone else being present, songs sung by an unseen entity, and stuff like that. And of course, the husband has a job (in this case, he’s a truck driver) which causes him to be away from home for lengths of time, giving the little wifey enough time alone to go gradually bonkers due to what is happening around her. Yep, it’s a formula we’ve seen before, of course. Throw in a little bit of drug abuse and a scarred childhood filled with trauma, and there you have the perfect “is this really happening, or is it all in her head” scenario. The film still use this formula effectively by mixing the narrative with some found footage scenes, which consists of several POV style scenes but also some security footage which eventually leaves you wondering if there really is something there, outside of Molly’s own mind. The soundtrack also adds a bit of different flavour with the post-rock band Tortoise having recorded the score for the film.


Lovely Molly isn’t especially original but it’s a decent supernatural horror film with some creepy scenes and an eerie vibe, although it will leave the viewers a little befuddled as to what the hell was really going on.


Lovely Molly


Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Writers: Jamie Nash, Eduardo Sánchez
Also known as: The Possession
Country & year: US, 2011
Actors: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden, Field Blauvelt, Ken Arnold, Tara Garwood, Camilla Zaidee Bennett, Kevin Murray, Doug Roberts, Dan Manning, Daniel Ross



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Castle Freak (2020)

Castle FreakRebecca “Becca” Riley is a young woman who was blinded in a car accident. The accident happened due to her boyfriend driving under the influence, and naturally their relationship has become quite strained. One day, Becca is contacted by an estate agent in Albania, telling her that she’s inherited a castle from her biological mother Lavinia Whateley. Becca, of course, is very exited about having inherited a castle, and while her boyfriend wants her to quickly sell the castle, Becca wants to learn more about her biological mother once she’s visiting the place. Upon arriving there, she starts hearing strange sounds and has visions, and her relationship with her boyfriend becomes even more strained when he just decided to invite four of his friends to come along without asking her about it first. One of these “friends” being a woman he’s been flirting with, as if the a-hole alert wasn’t already strong enough with this character. Among the group is also The Professor, who has been studying the occult and is the only person to actually believe Becca when she tells him about her experiences. Since she has had no contact with her mother and knows nothing about her or the castle she’s just inherited, she is of course also oblivious to what happens to live there…


Castle Freak is a 2020 American horror film directed by Tate Steinsiek, and is some kind of remake/reboot of the 1995 Stuart Gordon film by the same name, which are both loose adaptions of the Lovecraft story The Outsider. With emphasis on the word “loose”. While the first movie barely has anything to do with the Lovecraft story, this movie has a lot of references to all kinds of Lovecraftian stuff. As for the similarities, both are pure B-shlock entertainment, but the first one focused more on atmosphere and had a certain modest 90’s horror romp charm, while this remake adds more gore, tits and Lovecraft references. We get to know that one of the elder gods, Yog-Sothoth, is supposed to be summoned, something that was never any part at all of the original movie.


This remake of Castle Freak is a very different freak than the first movie, in many ways. I wouldn’t really recommend it just because of the Lovecraft references, as they honestly feel somewhat forced…one of the elder gods is supposed to be summoned, there’s a character which has attended the Miskatonic Universtity, the Necronomicon suddenly pops into their hands, Becca’s mother was named Lavinia…yeesh, those Lovecraftian tentacles are all over the place. Those who liked the original from 1995 will find that this one is very different, and this will likely be off-putting for some. Still, the movie offers some decent cinematography, locations and production design. Gorehounds may also enjoy the additional gore added compared to the first. So overall, it can be considered a primitively entertaining B-horror flick, just don’t expect any masterpiece. It’s shlock and sleaze, pure and simple.


Castle Freak Castle Freak Castle Freak


Director: Tate Steinsiek
Writers: Kathy Charles, H.P. Lovecraft
Country & year: US, 2020
Actors: Clair Catherine, Jake Horowitz, Kika Magalhães, Chris Galust, Emily Sweet, Omar Shariff Brunson Jr., Elisha Pratt, Genti Kame, Klodian Hoxha, Klodjana Keco, Josif Sina, Enkel Gurakuqi, Genc Fuga



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