Sunday, 22 September 2013

My story ‘Nearby’ is being featured on Creepypasta today. If you haven’t read it check it out, and if you have, votes and comments would be appreciated. It helps more people see my work. Thanks everyone! 

~ Mike

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Insidious Video Review

Here is my review of James Wan's 'Insidious'. Any of you thinking of seeing this? Or have you? What did you think? 

Asian Horror Films

So I have been delving into Asian horror films over the past week or so and I have to say, the ones I have watched have been pretty incredible. So far I've watched 'Shutter', 'Juon: The Curse', 'Juon: The Curse 2' and 'Noroi'. Out of these I found 'Shutter' the most impressive. 


The film follows a young couple who accidentally hit a woman crossing a road in their car. Out of fear, they decide to leave the woman. Soon after, the couple begin to see the woman turn up in photos they have taken, a long with a number of other spooky goings on. The film plays out as they attempt to discover who the woman is and what she wants. While the film may at first appear to be another 'vengeful female ghost' picture from Asia ala 'Ringu' and 'Juon', it is in fact one of the scariest films I have seen in a long time. Definitely not for the faint of heart. It has a conclusion that I think may be devisive; some will find it really creepy, others might find it funny. I found it creepy.

' Juon:The Curse' ( not to be mistaken for 'Juon: The Grudge';the third film in the series) follows the numerous residents who have lived in a house stained by a great tragedy. 


This 'curse' passes from person to person with many coming to a sticky end. I found this film incredibly interesting. First of all it is really low budget, it is shot on pretty low grade video, but the tension and direction really make this one shine. 'Juon: The Curse 2' isn't as interesting, but stall has some good creepy moments as we learn more about the history of the curse. What I really enjoyed was that the films used a non-linear narrative that wove all the characters together well. A great example of making an impact on a low budget. 

The last film I watched was 'Noroi'. 


This is a documentary horror in the same vein as 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'REC'. It's a mixed bag. In some ways it's the most effective documentary horror I've seen,and in other ways it doesn't hold up. The film is once again set in Japan where a paranormal investigator is followed by his trusty cameraman wherever he goes. Don't expect this to be like other 'camcorder' horrors; it's not. 

'Noroi' takes place in many different locations, mostly in full sunlight, and uses a variety of sources such as TV shows, CCTV, and of course the investigator's footage. It is very slow ( deliberately so) and plays out more like a procedural detective story than a horror at times. Make no mistake there are some VERY creepy moments, and the story is quite compelling, but it does have some problems. It's probably more for a patient audience, but I still really enjoyed it. I thought it had gotten past the problem of logic that most documentary horrors are plagued with ( WHY ARE YOU STILL HOLDING THAT CAMERA? RUN, GET HELP, etc.) but unfortunately, right at the end, it undid that good work with a scene that, while creepy, had no logic as to why a character was holding a camera and not helping someone. 

So far, I've really enjoyed this foray into Asian Horror, does anyone have a suggestion of a good one to watch?

Anthology Horror

Father's Day
Good evening Ghouls and gals, my favourite horror sub-genre has to be anthology horror.Anthology horror is in itself a sub-genre of the portmanteau film, a ‘film within a film’. It has its own format which normally involves a wrap-around story which contains several short stories within itself. An example would be George A. Romero’s ‘Creepshow’ where a kid (played by Stephen King’s son), forbidden by his father secretly pours over his old EC inspired comic books as we, the audience, see the stories he reads play out in front of us. Another wonderful example of the wrap-around would be from the classic Amicus film, ‘Torture Garden’ where all of the stories are told to customers of a fair ground attraction.
Evil Doll Woman
While the wrap-around is more common place, there are notable exceptions within the anthology horror genre where it is not used. ‘Trilogy of Terror’ ( and it’s sequel) has three separate stories where the lead part is played by the same actress. This had already been pioneered by the two excellent Vincent Price films ‘Tales of Terror’, and ‘ Twice Told Tales’. Both films share the characteristic that they are both adapted from an authors work with the latter being based on the writings of Nigel Hawthorne, and the former based on those of Edgar Allan Poe. This can also be seen in the Lovecraft inspired ‘Necronomicon’ and the fabulous ‘Two Evil Eyes’, a modern update of two Poe short stories, helmed by Dario Argento and Romero once more.
Twilight Zone thing
There are some Anthology horror films that can be argued ( not by me) to be something entirely different. Some would argue that without a wrap-around story, that these films are simply collections of disconnected short films that do not conform to the conventions of the genre. There are admittedly entries in the genre that are perhaps less anthology horror and more plain anthology. The notoriously controversial ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ contains non-horror based stories ( but also some of the best horror based ones, especially the fantastically creepy opening), while Richard Matheson’s ‘Dead of Night’(1977) contains a science fiction tale which is ‘spookily’ similar to ‘Back to the Future’.
Ant fun
There are a great many GOOD anthology horror films, and a few duds, but there are also some that are amongst the best horror films ever made; Mario Bava’s ‘Black Sabbath’ and Kobayashi’s ‘Kwaidan’ are fit for any top ten list ( Kwaidan happens to be one of the most moving and beautiful films I have ever seen). The genre has also been used sparingly as social commentary in films such as ‘Grim Prairie Tales’ and ‘Tales From the Hood’, hell even my favourite director, John Carpenter, had a great stab at one in ‘Body Bags’.
It’s difficult to work out what makes this genre so great in my mind. You could claim that it’s the wide range of talent used per film, or the fact that even the worst anthology films often have at least one story really worth watching, but I think it is mostly to do with the short story. Many short stories have been adapted for the big screen, but the problem is that most are brilliant for 20 minutes and no more. The Anthology Horror genre allows filmmakers to bring those stories to the screen in a concise and enjoyable way without having to pad a script ( something a great many filmmakers are guilty of).
If you enjoy a great short story, you’ll love this genre…
I’ve ran a website and Youtube channel (which I won’t promote here*cough* Menu *cough*) where I’ve written and recorded a bunch of horror reviews over the years. I am currently working on a long term project, ‘The Anthology of Anthology Horror’ where I’ll be reviewing every Anthology Horror film in existence. This will include all of the classics, but also the forgotten gems like ‘Screamtime’, ‘Nitemares’, ‘Tales that Witness Madness’ and ‘Dr Terror’s House of Horrors’.
Some of these films are unfortunately lost, but I have amassed somewhere from 40-60 films in my collection and would love YOU to discuss the ones you love, tear apart the ones you don’t, and perhaps put me on to a film or two I haven’t seen.
So what’s your favourite?