Author: Steven West

BAD CANDY * USA 2020 Dir: Scott B Hansen, Desiree Connell. 103 mins Another month, another lame, obnoxious horror anthology. This one is framed by a series of tales based on local myths and legends, as spun by irritating DJs Chilly Billy (Corey Taylor) and Paul (Zach Galligan). They exchange cheap jokes and banter in between a sequence of interwoven individual stories that collide with the wraparound in the final act. It’s clearly (and optimistically) aping TRICK ‘R TREAT, which remains one of the strongest genre portmanteau of the last 20 years or so. With public-domain evergreen NIGHT OF THE…

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THE UNTOLD STORY *** Hong Kong 1993 Dir: Danny Lee, Herman Yau. 95 mins A peculiar combination of broad comedy, SWEENEY TODD-derived black humour, gruelling violence and brutal prison drama, this notorious Cat III movie pivots around a terrifyingly committed performance by Anthony Wong. The deeply chauvinistic police department – where all the guys perve over their boss’ busty girlfriend – are baffled by an assortment of body parts washing ashore. We know it’s the work of bespectacled restaurateur Wong, who possesses an alarming stillness even when committing the most despicable acts. His “barbecue pork buns” are fashioned from the…

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THE GUEST **** USA / UK 2014 Dir: Adam Wingard. 99 mins Director Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s follow-up to knowing latter-day slasher YOU’RE NEXT was this clever, 80s-hued thriller, defined by its filmmaker as an inverted HALLOWEEN filtered through THE TERMINATOR. Hunky Dan Stevens turns up at the family home of Leland Orser and Sheila Kelley, convincing them that he served with their (recently deceased) son in combat and, following discharge, wants to pay his respects. They let this well-mannered young man stay in their son’s old room, while he proves popular with their much-bulled younger son and hormonal…

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HOUSE MONSTER **** USA 2020 Dir: David Axe. 70 mins Co-writer (with Bradley J. Petit) / director / editor / cinematographer David Axe is building a filmography of technically modest but thematically rich and timely horror films. HOUSE MONSTER follows THE THETA GIRL, SHED and LECTION and, like a handful of other significant recent genre films, was shot during the 2020 spell of our world-changing pandemic – in this case, largely without a conventional crew. The title and opening p.o.v. shots of said “monster” invading the “house” suggest a movie that doesn’t transpire. In sunny Columbia, South Carolina, unemployed stage…

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SACRED FLESH Original Soundtrack by Band Of Pain Nigel Wingrove’s SACRED FLESH is now over two decades old and, as with most things of this kind of vintage, it’s tough to comprehend the controversy it courted in an age where any of us can obtain terrorist beheading videos or footage of a woman being anally penetrated by a giraffe on our phones within a few seconds. Wingrove fought tirelessly for years, saddled with £40,000 of legal fees and losing his flat in the process, against the BBFC ban on his earlier picture VISIONS OF ECSTASY (1989), which fell foul of…

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