Author: Steven West

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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CANDYMAN **** USA 2021 Dir: Nia DaCosta. 91 mins In two lazy sequels to Bernard Rose’s iconic 1992 CANDYMAN, Tony Todd’s extraordinary presence was wasted, the concept cheapened by lame jump scares in FAREWELL TO THE FLESH and taken into slapdash slasher territory for DAY OF THE DEAD. Todd and Clive Barker’s original short story “The Forbidden” now have a truly worthy 21st century successor in the form of co-writer / director Nia DaCosta’s 2021 CANDYMAN. With the creative input of producer Jordan Peele, DaCosta sets the tone by introducing a rather different “Candyman” than the one we might be…

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THE MONSTER (aka I Don’t Want To Be Born) *** UK 1975 Dir: Peter Sasdy. 90 mins Memorably titled SHARON’S BABY in the U.S. (there’s no one called Sharon in the movie) alongside THE DEVIL WITHIN HER, this bonkers British entry in THE EXORCIST possession movie cycle throws in parts of IT’S ALIVE and DON’T LOOK NOW for good measure. Plus the most insulting movie use of a dwarf this side of THE SINFUL DWARF. Joan Collins is a former stripper whose future offspring was cursed years ago by Hercules the Dwarf when she spurned his sweaty advances. She gives…

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DEAD AND BURIED **** USA 1981 Dir: Gary Sherman. 94 mins Like Royston Vasey in the BBC’s later THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN TV series, Potter’s Bluff is a place where the prospects are grim for anyone who isn’t local. This eerily beautiful coastal town provides a startling backdrop for a disturbing prologue in which a visiting photographer is seduced by a comely local lass (Lisa Blount) before a swiftly gathering mob bludgeon him with spades, tie him to a tree and cover him in gasoline. Local Sheriff James Farentino is back to his small-town roots after some time in the…

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