Over at Horrornews.net, I take a look at The Predator.
Archives For Film
Over at Screen Realm, I review Aussie thriller Pimped.
Over at FilmInk, I interview Jessica Leski about her documentary, I Used to Be Normal.
What do a clown, a hacksaw, a brutally murdered journalist and a reference to Silence of the Lambs have in common? Well, they all play a part in Damien Leone’s Terrifier, a brutally violent slasher that plants both its feet firmly in the aesthetic of the 80s.
After an opening that gives more than a discreet nod to Nightmare on Elm Street, the film sees two college students being stalked by the maniacal Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton), a monochrome killer whose creepiest affectation is the distinct lack of noise he makes. Even when screaming in a violent rage, barely a peep comes out.
Based on Leone’s short film of the same name, which ended up playing a large part in the anthology All Hallow’s Eve, Terrifier is aimed squarely at those people who found Hostel to be too plot heavy. From the minute Art catches sight of his two victims, Tara (Jenna Kannell) and Dawn (Catherine Corcoran), the film becomes nothing more than a long chase sequence loaded with gore. The only real plot development is the arrival of Tara’s sister, Vicky (Samantha Scaffidi), and several disposable men. Not that that is a bad thing. Terrifier’s raw simplicity is actually one of its strengths. You just may want to look elsewhere if you’re after anything with a bit more meat on the bones. Speaking of meat, Leone is clearly a man who delights in making his audience squirm with scenes of vulgarity that make good work of the film’s limited budget.
So, sure, if this sounds like your cup of tea, then drink up. However, before diving in it seems fair to point out that at times Terrifier relies too strongly on the torture porn tropes we all assumed had died after the straight to DVD effort that was Hostel 3. Case in point: a centrepiece of the film sees someone being split down the middle in an excruciatingly blunt manner. It’s uncomfortable and not in the way you’re expecting. It’s hard to say why, in a film that sees a clown running people over whilst listening to freestyle jazz, scenes like this unsettle the most. Perhaps it’s in Leone’s execution (pun not intended) which walks a thin line between the depraved and the titillating. This critic is no prude, but sometimes you just have to say, ‘nope’.
If you can overlook these moments, then you’ll certainly get a kick out of Terrifier. Particularly Thornton’s performance as the mute Art. Terrifying? Maybe not. Uncomfortable? For sure. It’s certainly one of the bleaker films streaming on Netflix right now.
Dorian Gray (2009)
So, how do you turn a novella which is mostly exposition and suggestion into a ‘summer’ movie? Well, if you’re director Oliver Parker (St Trinian’s), you add a load of nudity, some wooden acting, and finish it off in the 1910s just so you can have a car chase…
Any subtlety of the first hour is lost in a sea of floating CGI nonsense in the final act. You’re left wondering what the point of it all is? That said, it’s not as bad as that abomination, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Jurassic Shark (2012)
Another entry in the ‘Big Shark is Bigger Than is Expected! Ooh Scary!’ genre is Jurassic Shark. Reminiscent of Roger Corman’s school of filming – take a heist script and stick a monster in it – the film sees a group of ker-razy kids getting caught up in the playful shenanigans of a bunch of art thieves. Oh, and a Shark from the Jurassic period, because history.
After losing their booty in the middle of a Jurassic Shark infested lake, the group of art thieves try to formulate plans to get it back. Nearly 90% of these involve wading into the water and being killed instantly. You may not be surprised by this,but there are much better Giant Shark movies to be found.
100 Ghost Street: The Return of Richard Speck (2012)
Following on from the exploitative nature of 8213 Gacy House, the Asylum crew build their latest cheapovision horror around the legend of real life serial rapist and murderer, Richard Speck. People run through dark corridors, then walk, then run some more, then shout, ‘What, what the eff was that?!’ whilst running. It’s all very tedious and reaches the pinnacle of vulgarity when we, the viewing public, are treated to a two-minute sexual assault scene by Richard’s Ghost. 100 Ghost Street plays like a bingo card for all other found footage horrors, showing a lack of originality I haven’t seen since Exorcismus. Avoid like the plague!