Tag Archive | horror film

Be Afraid, be very afraid: Jarv looks at the Censorship of Horror

This week’s topic is The Censorship of Horror, as opposed to the horror of censorship. I looked at violence last time, and came to the conclusion that there was a clear distinction to be drawn between violence in non-Horror movies and horror as a genre. As such, Horror is probably the most heavily censored genre outside of porn, and there are a number of reasons for this. Now, I personally love horror movies from the great to the downright awful, and think that in many cases it is simply unjustifiable to take the knife to them. However, by the same score, I can quite often see the reason behind the Censor’s cuts or bans, as in several cases the makers of the film have intentionally set their stall out to be as inflammatory as possible. The only real problem that I can see is that the film usually thus receives a level of notoriety that it wouldn’t otherwise merit, and usually does not deserve.

Read More…

Made in Britain: The Children (2008)

Kids, eh? Who’d have them?

Children are a fairly common feature of horror movies. There’s a long and fairly mixed tradition of creepy and homicidal kid films out there. From the 1970’s overlooked gem Who Could Kill a Child, through to modern day efforts such as, er, Orphan (midget homicidal Russian hooker FOR THE FAIL), the spooky child has long been a mainstay of the genre. That’s before I even get on to mentioning supernatural kids in films such as The Exorcist and The Omen. Anyhow, the horror film with child as antagonist hasn’t really been exploited too heavily in this country, as the hit rate is strikingly low. Eventually, the problem of killer child films will always arise: adults and teenagers are physically vastly superior to kids. Therefore, at some point, it’s going to become fairly easy to bitch slap the little bastards rather than getting stabbed with whatever implement they may be wielding. Some films try to come up with a pseudo supernatural way round this (such as Children of the Damned), but the only viable alternative is to couch an ethical dilemma in the film, and the one that formed the title of the Spanish movie mentioned above- could you kill a child even to protect yourself?

Contains murderous brats and spoilers

Read More…

Made in Britain: Kill List (2011)

Well, this is a turn up for the books: a British Horror movie released in the 21st Century starring nobody famous, made by nobody famous that’s actually good. No, scratch that, Kill List, TV director Ben Wheatley’s second feature length film is brilliant: a raw, visceral and thoroughly savage film that is, quite simply, the finest film I’ve seen this year. Read More…

Made in Britain: Spirit Trap

If there’s one thing that I wish the British Film industry would stop doing then this is it: half-baked horror films starring someone from TV aimed purely at the UK market, hoping to break even on the back of the “star”. For the most part, they’re absolutely terrible, and the parochial thinking behind it is annoying and really winds me up. As a nation, we’re really, really good at Horror films, so, why not play to our strengths? Why churn out this sub-par hapless rubbish that is so locally aimed that it doesn’t even appeal to its target market.  Read More…

Jarv’s Birthday Series: The Cave (2005)

2005 was a funny old year. I was working freelance, and Me and Mrs. Jarv were just married. 7 fucking years. Christ. All those bastards that bet that we would be divorced in a year, well, if you read this: Pay up. Not joking, I’m skint- I need the money.

In the meantime, the film industry for some reason, probably pure coincidence decided to release two horror films based around underground shenanigans on the same summer. The Descent, which turned out to be one of the finest films of the decade, was released on July 8th in the UK (d’oh) and promptly posted disastrous numbers for its first few weekends in the UK (it did eventually make 5 times its original production budget back worldwide in the cinema). However, that’s (sadly) not the film that I get to review. Instead,on 26th August, The Cave slithered out from under a rock to annoy me intensely by being deeply crap and not a patch on Marshall’s spelunking nightmare.

The question remains, did the world need two cave and creature based horror films? Read More…

Jarv’s Birthday Series: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Welcome back to The Birthday Series. After the unintentional horror of Xanadu, I gleefully unwrap my next present and am ecstatic to see John Landis’ seminal intentional horror American Werewolf in London pop out. As with Life of Brian, this is rightly regarded as a stone-cold classic and as such there are reams and reams of proper reviews by enlightened scribes out there, so I haven’t got a huge amount to add that hasn’t already been written. Nevertheless, I’ll give it my best.

Read More…

Post Millennial Trauma: Pontypool (2009)

This sounds like a strange thing to be writing, but I do believe that this is the first of these Post-2000 horror films that I’ve done that features that mainstay of horror: The Zombie. Zombies are one of the most abused monsters out there- hacks like Snyder and Anderson fundamentally don’t understand what makes zombies effective, and so insist on having them run, climb buildings etc, while arguably the father of the genre, George Romero, also has them doing astonishingly stupid things (using tools) in the name of “social commentary” that’s about as subtle as a brick. Basically, zombies are scary for two reasons: they’re relentless, brainless killing machines solely driven by the need to feed, and that there’s usually a horde of them. One zombie by himself isn’t frightening particularly given that they shamble, are hugely clumsy, and any old mug can get away from them. Even the kind of mug that appears in a Romero film. Nevertheless, the 21st century has produced a couple of first-rate zombie films- just not America. Britain turned out horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, France popped up with The Horde, and Spain produced the magnificent Rec films. However, easily able to stand and be counted with those heavyweights is Canada’s 2009 effort: the unfairly overlooked Pontypool. Read More…

Post Millennial Trauma: Let the Right One In (2008)

I’ve been putting off this series for a while, as I desperately wanted to do something that isn’t called Let the Right One In for 2008, because I wanted to save it for the Vampire series. Unfortunately for me, looking through the thoroughly underwhelming list of 2008 horror films (there are some good ones in there, Splinter for example, but nothing that I really wanted to do) there was one film that stood out- Sweden’s imperious Let the Right One In. Let me preface this with that I don’t want to talk about the remake at all- this is really more me reminiscing back to seeing this one in the cinema, and the reaction that it left me with. I do hate to go all Knowlesian in a review, but there’s nothing really more to be said about this film critically, and so I’m going to attempt to enunciate what I believe made it so damned successful. Read More…

The Underrated: Peeping Tom.

Again, this is a funny choice for an Underrated review, seeing as it clearly isn’t really underrated any more. Sure, no bugger has seen it, but that’s more to do with the fact that it was made in 1959. Interestingly, up until 1980, this really was a lost classic. It took Martin Scorsese himself to save it, restoring one of the few surviving UK prints, and we should all be grateful that he did.
Read More…

Post Millennial Trauma: Behind the Mask- The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Now I’ve escaped from the more fallow years of the 21st Century, it’s time to look at some of the better horror films of the last decade. To start of this nice easy run in to the present day, I’ve got an absolutely cracking little film, and one that very nearly counts as an undiscovered gem. I give you Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Read More…