Saturday, 30 June 2012


The great thing about Ken Russell's FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER is that in the future when anybody prompts me to answer the killer question "What is the worst film you have ever seen" I will now be able to answer Ken Russell's FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER without hesitation.  It is, to put it is Biblical terms, an abomination. Not only is it an insult to Edgar Allan Poe it is far worse, it is Ken Russell pissing on his own talent. As I said in my piece when Ken passed away I was never an uncritical admirer of his cinema films, preferring his BBC work, but he had is moments. His increasingly silly films began to irritate me although I have a soft spot for LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM which works in a strange way all of its own. The film under discussion has little to do with the Poe story that inspires the pun of the title and seems to me to be the product of a sadly deranged mind - and I mean that quite seriously. Ken appears as mad Dr.Calahari (oh, yawn) and looks like he is a victim of the Red Death, although I was unsure if this was another reference to Poe or whether Ken was  suffering from some terrible skin affliction. Rating : 0

Friday, 29 June 2012


I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to silly horror movies (see previous reviews). Sometimes the plot flaws and the general incompetence are part of the fun. When a lot of money is spent on a movie and things are sloppy it is a different game altogether. I was recently enjoying THE AWAKENING which is a pretty intelligent (for the most part) haunted house film.....then as the film builds to its climax it throws a surprise twist into the plot. Nothing wrong with that except that the trick that the scriptwriters have been playing on the audience turns out to be the same trick used by another very famous ghost film. After that we are hit with a plot contrivance that is so far fetched and unlikely that the film lost credibility for me. I still like THE AWAKENING fo r its atmosphere, performances, photography etc. get my gripe.  DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is a remake of a dumb but enjoyable 1970's made-for-tv movie with Kim Darby.  People acted pretty stupidly in that movie. In the remake they take stupidity to a new level and the plot, which in its basics is an improvement on the original, has plot holes you could drive a bus through. It is technically very well made, looks great, has some terrifically nasty "fairies" and perfectly adequate performances....but, oh dear, the script!  Not written by hacks either as Guillermo del Torro and Matthew Robbins are the culprits.  A shame because this could have been a classic but instead it is just another very enjoyable dumb horror film....see I am forgiving. Director Troy Nixey may do something much better.  Guillermo del Torro is a worry. I've sort of liked all his films so far without becoming a fanboy.  I enjoyed the HELLBOY movies on a comic book level but his Spanish horror films (as both producer and director) while remaining a cut above the recent Hollywood fodder have all seemed to me to have two stories. I can see the point that they are trying to make - relating horror to war etc and applaud the attempt but for me the films remain a bit schizo as I don't think the stories gel together. He does, however, remain one of the more interesting genre artists around - especially now I've almost given up given up on Tim Burton. Rating ***