The 80s was a decade of low budget horror, most long forgotten and ready to stay that way. But every so often, a film returns to the modern world, ready to be re-evaluated, and maybe even re-appreciated. With the gratuitous cover art of a chainsaw-wielding anthropomorphise pig, I was expecting 1980’s horror-comedy Motel Hell to be another disappointment for the fire. But there is a god, and Motel Hell actually lives up to its evocative advertising.
In the 80s a new flavour of action flick ran rampant through our cinemas. By the 90s the movement had lost its gusto: storylines were beyond belief, action bordered on the generic and the bad guys came out as cardboard copies. We’d been there, done that and no longer found the thrill in a good ass-kicking, the cheer in a villain’s gruesome death, the humour in snappy one-liners. Until now…
Is there any name better known than that of Wes Craven? It’s pretty hard to forget the man responsible for unleashing the fiendish Freddy Krueger and effectively making sleep an impossibility. The man takes his place as a legend of the slasher flick genre, every era spawning another attempt to scare the bejeesus out of people. A directing career that started in the XXX industry (not surprisingly really seeing as sex and violence usually go hand in hand) led to such horror classics as the The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes and most recently the Scream franchise. With his popularity never waning, Shout! Factory has taken it upon themselves to scrounge up one of his earlier works and release it for the first time as a Collector’s Edition on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Don’t let the cheesy title fool you – Susanne Bier’s new film is a gentle, poignant tale that steers clear of the romcom tropes. Starring Trine Dyrholm as a cancer survivor coping with her husband’s infidelity, and Pierce Brosnan as a brusque, anti-social widower, Love Is All You Need might initially strike you as a simplistic make-the-lonely-older-ladies-feel-better affair, but with its moments of sharp humour, tinges of tragedy, and likeable performances from everyone involved, Bier’s film stealthily transcends the norms of its genre.
Look, we’ve read the news – we know all about Run For Your Wife only taking £602 on its opening weekend, and about Danny Dyer (probably) threatening to cut the faces off everyone at the distribution company in retribution, apples’n’pears, blah. But when we finally made it to a screening, we were amazed. Forget your preconceptions – the only reason Run For Your Wife has bombed is because YOU PEOPLE AREN’T READY FOR IT.
Guillermo del Toro, the creative genius who brought you Pan’s Labyrinth, presents Mama; a chilling horror centred on the abandonment of two young children and the haunting consequences of their years alone in the wild. In comparison to other child-horror films, Mama packs a compelling storyline that keeps the film from sinking into a terrible cliché, turning Mama from a classic ghost story into a bizarre (and suitably del Toro) concoction of manic special effects and gripping cinema.
Claustrofobia is a Dutch horror debut from director Bobby Boermans, starring Carolien Spoor as a veterinary student who finds herself chained to a bed in the basement of one of her neighbours with no idea how she got there. The film explores some aspects of the condition of its title, but not nearly as deeply or darkly as you’d expect.
Returning with another crash course in revisionist history, Quentin Tarantino invites us to buckle up and cast our minds back to pre-Civil War America for a trip through the South’s slave circuit. Bold, bloody, and arriving after what must have been a very short stay in the editing room, the ‘Southern’ epic Django Unchained is finally here.
After an award-laden 45 years in front of the camera, Hollywood heavyweight Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut right here in Blighty with this eager-to-please septuagenarian backstage comedy. And as if that wasn’t excitement enough, Quartet features an illustrious cast of British acting royalty, including one Dame, two Sirs, and enough C-, O- and MBEs to make you feel like you should probably go home and have a wash. And Billy Connolly. What could possibly go wrong?