Grimmfest Reveals First Look at 2018 Programme

GENRE FILM FESTIVAL GRIMMFEST REVEALS FIRST LOOK AT 2018 PROGRAMME AND AWARDS PRIZES

Image: Nightmare Cinema, courtesy of Fortitude International

Manchester-based genre film festival GRIMMFEST is delighted to announce the first 3 of many UK premieres lined up for this year’s 10th anniversary edition. The festival can also now reveal details of some very special awards prizes on offer for films in the official selection.

Simeon Halligan, festival director and founder of Grimmfest, says “2018 is a very special year for us and to celebrate this we are proud to welcome back a number of talented filmmakers and actors who’ve shared their work with us over the past decade. We’re also pleased to introduce plenty of new talent to the festival, who we hope to see more work from in the years to come!”

The full festival programme is due to be unleashed on Monday 3rd September 2018, but Grimmfest is whetting audiences’ appetites with an early sneak preview of 3 of this year’s titles.

Grimmfest is thrilled to be hosting the UK Premiere of the much-anticipated NIGHTMARE CINEMA, a weird, wild and most welcome throwback to the classic EC-comics-inspired horror anthologies of the 1970s, from genre giants Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryûhei Kitamura and David Slade. Fresh from its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival, the film stars Mickey Rourke, Elizabeth Reaser, Richard Chamberlain and Annabeth Gish.

Alive

Director Rob Grant (FAKE BLOOD, MON AMI) will be making a welcome return to the festival with the UK Premiere of Canadian shocker ALIVE. Tense, creepy, darkly funny, and quite spectacularly gory in places, with a truly baroque performance from Angus Macfadyen (BRAVEHEART, SAW III/IV), this offbeat gem cements Rob Grant’s reputation of one of genre cinema’s true mavericks of morbid mischief.

Finally, Grimmfest is proud to announce the UK Premiere of the hilariously twisted Australian comedy BROTHERS’ NEST, courtesy of Signature Entertainment. Written and directed by Clayton Jacobson, who also stars in the film along with his brother Shane, this SXSW hit is an emotionally-charged pitch-black farce of squabbling siblings, filial ingratitude, thwarted ambition, broken dreams and brutal murder.

Brother’s Nest

These and all other selected films are in the running for the previously announced GRIMMFEST AWARDS, which will be judged by a fantastic all-female jury consisting of some of the brightest lights in contemporary Genre cinema.

Grimmfest can also now reveal that it is partnering with film financing group BCL to offer special prizes for the winners of the BEST FILM and BEST DIRECTOR awards categories. The winning films will each be awarded £40,000 worth of post-production services, which can be used against a future film.

Festival Co-Director Rachel Richardson-Jones says, “Our hope is that these awards will really help to boost productivity within the independent genre film sector, as well as demonstrating our commitment as a festival to supporting rising film talent. We intend to expand these awards further still in 2019.”

Michael Laundon, Managing Partner at BCL, adds “All of us at BCL are delighted to be one of the prize sponsors for Grimmfest 2018, especially in their 10th anniversary year. BCL was established with a quest to truly help independent movies to not only get made but to be finished. We hope to continue our support of Grimmfest in the years to come.”

Grimmfest previously announced actress and producer Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND) as the recipient of their 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Horror Channel. Barbara will be attending the festival in person to receive the award, where she will also present a special screening of 80’s horror classic RE-ANIMATOR.

Grimmfest’s 10th edition will take place from the 4th to the 7th October at the ODEON Manchester Great Northern, UK.

Full festival passes are on sale now from grimmfest.com. Day passes and individual film tickets will be released on 3rd September 2018, along with the full festival programme.

 

Chopping Mall (1986) Review

rsz_cm1CHOPPING MALL (1986) – AKA Kilbots / R.O.B.O.T

Dir: Jim Wynorski

Stars: Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, Russell Todd, Barbara Crampton

Jim Wynorski (AKA Sam Pepperman, AKA Rip Masters, AKA Jay Andrews, AKA Harold Blueberry, etc, etc) has been writing, directing and producing (mainly B) movies since the early 80s. His varied career has seen him involved with projects like family films (A Doggone Christmas), mainstream comedies (Screwballs), bizarre creature features (Cobragator, Piranhaconda, The Return of Swamp Thing), softcore titilation (Busty Cops, The Hills Have Thighs, The Bare Wench Project), out-and-out porn (The Breastford Wives) and some more conventional horror (976 Evil 2, Ghoulies 4, Cheerleader Massacre, Sorrority House Massacre 2).

His second movie as a director is an example of Wynorski’s forays into straight horror; 1986’s Chopping Mall. The premise is straightforward – a group of teenage shopping mall workers decide to stay in the mall after closing one night, in order to have a party. The only problem is the mall’s new security system – an armour-plated lockdown, making escape impossible, and three heavily armed security droids which have turned rogue killers……

rsz_1cm2Although perhaps not Wynorski’s best known (or well budgeted) film, Chopping Mall is arguably his most successful in terms of what it sets out to do. The basic set-up and the clever use of venue create a thrilling environment which immediately involves the viewer and captures their imagination. In terms of efficient simplicity, it is not unreasonable to compare Chopping Mall with Halloween or Dawn of the Dead, although it is perhaps not quite in that league in terms of overall quality.

There are some familiar faces in the cast, Barbara Crampton and Friday 13th Part 2’s Russell Todd are amongst the “teenage” party goers and there are amusing cameos from Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov and Dick Miller. The script and the performances aren’t brilliant, but they don’t need to be and the cast enter into the swing of things with silly gusto as they are chased about the three levels of the mall by the killer robots.

There is an overriding sense of fun to the whole movie; every time the caterpillar-tracked driods despatch a victim, they say, in clipped, robotic tones , “thank you, have a nice day!” During the final credits, each cast member’s face is shown next to their name, except Suzee Slater, whose portrait is that of an exploding head – watch the movie to find out why.

rsz_cm3Even in 1986, Chopping Mall didn’t exactly break any new ground; there were already enough “teens in peril” slasher movies that every character in the movie was already a stereotype and we get the usual jump scares and gratuitous topless scenes. However, the setting and execution make Chopping Mall an effective and fun horror movie and the killer robots are a welcome change from the ubiquitous masked psycho. If you ever had the run of a large empty building as a kid, then you will understand the feeling of adventure and excitement that Chopping Mall conveys. A minor footnote in 80s horror and definitely worthy of your attention.

8/10

Beyond The Gates (2016) Review

rsz_1rsz_btg1Beyond the Gates (2016)

Director: Jackson Stewart

Starring: Graham Skipper, Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Barbara Crampton

Out now on UK DVD

“Most of this junk just blends together”

Estranged brothers Gordon (Skipper) and John (Williamson) reunite when they have to close up their father’s video rental store because their father has been missing for seven months. In the back office they find a VCR board game called Beyond the Gates. Gordon takes it back to his father’s house where he’s staying and along with his fiancé Margot (Grant) and John, they decide to play the game. Surprise, surprise, Beyond the Gates has them trapped in a deadly game. The stakes, no less than their lives.

A lot of movies, and a lot of horror movies in particular, set out with the premise of “a deadly game that must be played to completion”. It’s not exactly an original concept, and it has been done better in other films. Beyond the Gates has a few charms but they can’t make up for slow pacing a mediocre script and modest acting. The film rides high on the recent wave of nostalgia that is sweeping films and horror right now. This is the third or fourth attempt at an 80s throwback I’ve seen and it’s not the strongest entry. Beyond leans a little heavily on viewers fondly remembering the days of video rental stores and knowing what a VCR game is. The film then has to explain what a VCR game is because even if you grew up with a VCR, the games where a niche market. Maybe not the strongest premise for a movie, when it has to be explained even to people as old as I am.

rsz_beyond_the_gates_1Premise aside Beyond the Gates is a mixed bag. The pace is slow. The board game is played out over days instead of forcing the characters to play through all at once. The game itself is overly easy, the clues dull. A lot of time is wasted in conversation as the characters flip back and forth, alternately trying to quit the game and progress. The film feels a lot longer than its lean run time of 84 minutes. The build up to actually playing the game is long as well. First we have to meet Gordon and John, then Gordon’s fiancé Margot, then John’s gross redneck friend Hank (Justin Welborn), THEN we have to establish the relationships and antagonisms between all of these characters. THEN they start the game. THEN people start dying.

What the film was actually good at, was not the horror aspects, or the VCR game shtick. It was actually an interesting film about estranged brothers with a troubled past and uneasy relationship mending fences. I actually felt the same way watching Beyond the Gates as I did watching The Innkeepers, which was a great romantic comedy and a terrible horror movie. Beyond the Gates was a good family drama about reconciliation and a pretty mediocre horror film.

But, the horror wasn’t all bad. There were a lot of practical effects used for gruesome death scenes that were pretty entertaining. However that’s about the best that can be said for the horror side of things. Unfortunately amusing death scenes don’t make up for the slow pace.

rsz_beyond_the_gates_2Kudos for: Gordon’s nerdy hipster vibe

Lesson learned: It takes more than a synth soundtrack to cash in on nostalgia.

6/10

Road Games (2015) DVD Review

Road Games (1)ROAD GAMES (2015)

Director/Writer: Abner Pastoll

Cast: Andrew Simpson, Josephine de La Baume, Frederic Pierrot, Barbara Crampton

Running Time: 95 mins

UK DVD Release: 29th August 2016 from Icon & Frightfest Presents

A killer is on the loose in the French countryside. Jack (Simpson) and Veronique (de La Baume) are two hitchhikers who come across one another after Veronique’s lift goes badly wrong. A friendship is forged as they figure safety in numbers is better than travelling solo and then they meet Grizard (Pierrot). He agrees to give them a lift and provide hospitality at his country mansion but on arrival and after meeting his wife, Mary (Crampton), all is not quite as it appears.

Not to be mistaken as a remake of the Australian 1981 thriller, Road Games is a British-French co-production, executive produced by Crampton and directed by Pastoll who has previously directed short films and the thriller Shooting Shona (2004). The script is a mixture of French and English so subsequently subtitles are frequent and at times Jack’s lack of French vocabulary is used to moderately suspenseful effect. The cinematography by Eben Bolton follows the general rules of the horror genre with dusty, dimly-lit rooms littered with creepy art pieces plus several aerial shots early on in the story help convey just how isolated the characters are from seeking help when events take a darker aspect in the finale.

Road Games (2)Pastoll’s feature is competently made but sadly it suffers from a complete lack of any real tension. We have a lot of scenes of Jack and Veronique wandering around country lanes attempting to hitch lifts early on and very little actually happens until the final half-hour. Once the narrative moves location to the mansion, even then Pastoll fails to ignite any real sense of dread. For example, a mildly unsettling dinner scene where Crampton acts increasingly unhinged is neutered by an extremely odd tone and very sad to report, some rather bad acting.

Also, a scene involving a local farmer, whom may or may not have something to do with the murders, hints at a homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre but the film never runs with it and instead the viewer is left recalling a far scarier film. Daniel Elms’ music direction also needs mentioning as frequently it does not match the tone of the narrative and as such becomes very overbearing during sinister moments when perhaps silence may have better served the scene.

Road Games (3)Pastoll has stated his feature owes much to And Soon The Darkness (1970), another thriller which is similarly set in the French countryside but is about the disappearance of a young female cyclist. It also reminded this reviewer of Haute Tension (2003) but only very briefly and any recollections of that film were instantly quashed by an unintentionally comedic scene involving a hay bale. It is evident why Frightfest have championed this film considering its cast and storyline but after the excellent We Are Still Here (2015), it is sad to report that it is a minor misstep for Crampton and one which might be best forgotten by her legion of fans. Similarly, Pierrot has done better work on TV (Les Revenants) and Simpson fared better in last year’s, The Survivalist.

Road Games is not a film worth thumbing a lift for.

Rated: 4/10

A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special

A Life In Blood – Tales of A Horror Queen by Genoveva Rossi #5 – A Death House Special

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gendh5Shock and sadness ran threw the horror community in November 2015 when Gunnar Hansen died of pancreatic cancer. Horror fans all over the world mourned the passing of Leatherface, but Hansen was able to leave loyal fans with a parting gift: Death House.

What is Death House? It is an incredibly ambitious horror film written by Gunnar Hansen and director Harrison Smith. This film has been called “The Expendables of Horror” due to it’s spectacular casting choices: Adrienne Barbeau, Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Michael Berryman, Tony Todd, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace, Tom Savini, Bill Oberst Jr and more. Directed by Harrison Smith.

gendh1I am truly honored to have a cameo among such a talented cast and crew. It was great to spend some time on set with horror icon Kane Hodder. We have both been guests at the same cons a few times, but Death House is our first film together. While on set, Hodder said, “It is truly an honor to be in Death House. This is an amazing film.”

Michael Berryman and I previously worked together on a Sci-Fi thriller called Apocalypse Kiss and it was great to be in a film with him again.

“I was very proud to be a part of this film. Gunner was a good friend and the story is solid with a cast that includes many friends and the best actors in our genre. Harrison is a keen director with an editor’s eye as the scenes are composed. I know that this film will be well received.” -Michael Berryman

gendh3“Harrison Smith is an actor’s director with affection for our genre’s past and a real vision for its future. Gunnar Hansen would be very, very proud of what Harrison has done with DEATH HOUSE, and speaking as a life-long fan of classic horror, so am I.”
-Bill Oberst Jr.

A big thank you to “Scary” Sheri Fairchild and her husband Frank Nicosia. I have worked with both actors on a few film projects in the Buffalo area and Sheri reached out to tell me Death House was looking for more actors.

gendh4I was going through my own spiritual upheaval at the time. I had found my poor mother passed away of a sudden heart attack on Easter Sunday. That huge loss had left me shaken, but not beaten. My mother always said, “My daughter is tough” and lately I have been challenged to continue to prove her words right no matter the obstacle; even losing her so tragically. But God only gives us what he knows we can bear.

So I got in touch with the casting director of Death House and ended up on set in Philadelphia at the beautifully grotesque and haunting Holmesburg Prison. I had the good fortune of being in a scene with screen legends Barbara Crampton and Dee Wallace.

gendh2While on the set of Death House I was able to sit down and talk with producer Rick Finkelstein. He explained, “This film was started by Gunnar Hansen. It has really come together better than we ever imagined. We have the best locations, best cast, horror icons, and an amazing script.”

Even the location was perfect, Holmesburg Prison, which is part of the Philadelphia prison system. It’s history already sounds like a horror movie. For thirty years chemical companies tested on inmates with sometimes horrific results. Also the prison warden and assistant were murdered mere steps from where we conducted our interview.

gendh6Watch for Death House for it’s amazing cast, horrific special effects, and to see Gunnar Hansen’s last blood splattering performance. This film was Leatherface’s baby, it was Gunnar’s dying wish that Death House be finished, and made into a huge success in the genre. Horror fans are sure to enjoy this truly epic film. Finkelstein promises, “When you leave this film you will be questioning your own thought processes and concepts of good and evil.”

gendh7This article is dedicated to the memory of Gunnar Hansen and my mother.

Sun Choke (2015) Review

sunchoke1Sun Choke (USA, 2015)

Dir: Ben Cresciman

Starring: Sarah Hagan, Barbara Crampton, Sara Malakul Lane

Plot: Janie (Hagan) is a troubled girl under the supervision of Irma (Crampton). Janie is being treated in her home and in recovery for a violent past. When her treatment seems to be going well, Janie is permitted to have time out in the rest of the world. However when Janie starts using this time to stalk Savannah (Lane), a girl she has become infatuated with, it becomes questionable how much good her treatment is or how much harm it’s causing.

Sun Choke is the kind of horrific mystery story that I find myself loving more and more as years go on. It’s the kind of film that makes you connect dots and gives out clues sparingly. The film begins with little introductions, starting with Irma testing Janie, a test that is aimed at children. The nature of their relationship is unclear, Irma may be Janie’s doctor, therapist, carer, her mother, or something else entirely. Whatever their relationship is, it appears to be a caring one. The nature of Janie’s problems or specifically the event that got her put in Irma’s care is left to the thoughts of the audience except for a couple of glances at traumatic events.

sunchoke2Gradually the film becomes darker as Janie is let loose on the world and first spots Savannah. Savannah is everything that Janie wants to be (or at least that’s how I interpreted it, Sun Choke is not the kind of film who’s characters actual say how they feel) and Janie becomes more and more invasive as she becomes more obsessed. Watching soon is not enough as Janie lets herself into Savannah’s home or gets close to her boyfriend.

Irma’s behaviour also becomes more troubling, punishing Janie in more and more severe ways. It’s the way the film starts to embody the theme of abuse, specifically growing up in an abusive environment and how it effects behaviour and perpetuates further abuse. Janie’s obsession with Savannah is an extension of this theme, it’s her attempt to escape her abuse through the life of someone else.

The cast of Sun Choke is amazing, focusing on the relationship between these three women. Hagan gives Janie an odd balance between childlike naivety and brutally vicious. Crampton’s Irma also has a similar duality, her caring side warring with her abusive side, making her abuse emotional as well as physical. Lane rounds it off as the innocent victim, the collateral damage in this cycle of abuse.

This is definitely a thinker of a film, I find myself comparing it to Under The Skin, another film I really enjoy but recognise that it’s not a film for everyone. It’s requires patience and thought, and it rewards you with a rich story and beautiful visuals.

sunchoke3During the Q&A with the director and Barbara Crampton, it was asked if this film potentially demonises mental illness. I don’t think that it does, Janie might be suffering from a mental illness but it’s the result of the abuse that she’s endured and the violence that results when that’s all you know.

Sun Choke was one of my favourites from this year’s Fright Fest. It’s an original story that’s dark and intimate and let’s you discover it rather than telling you it blatantly. It’s a film I can’t help but recommend highly.

9/10

We Are Still Here (2015) Review

wash1WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)

Director: Ted Geoghegan

Stars: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larrey Fessenden, Monte Markham, Susan Gibney, Michael Patrick, Kelsea Dakota

UK release: 19th October from Studio Canal

Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) are grieving after losing their college student son Bobby. The pair leaves their home in the city (and the painful memories it holds) behind and relocate to a small New England town. However, upon moving in Anne becomes certain that Bobby’s spirit has followed them.

As if that wasn’t creepy enough, neighbour Dave McCabe (Monte Markham) recounts the grisly history of their new house and the maligned Dagmar family that dwelled there. Fearing for his wife’s emotional wellbeing, Paul invites their friends, psychic May (Lisa Marie) and stoner Jacob Lewis (Fessenden), to visit.

However, the group soon realises that this small town is not so welcoming to outsiders…

wash2We Are Still Here is a homage to the works of horror maestro Lucio Fulci — specifically his ‘Gates of Hell’ trilogy. As such it contains plenty of elements similar to those in Fulci’s films. This means slow-burn suspense scenes as we are drip-fed a simple plot, interspersed with moments of graphic gore and nutty supernatural shenanigans.

The earlier scenes give you plenty of barely glimpsed hints of otherworldly goings-on, much like a Seventies supernatural horror film — but this is a trick, lulling the viewer into a false sense of security before springing the trap with graphic depictions of the entities in the cellar and their shocking attacks. This shows some tremendous filmmaking talent from director Ted Geoghegan — combining restrained pacing with spectacular visuals. The film is set in 1979 and feels very much of the era, from the costumes down to the set dressing. The cinematography by Karim Hussain also evokes a throwback feel that heightens the comparison to classic horror films — from The Changeling, by way of The Fog to both The Evil Dead and Rosemary’s Baby. However, the chief sources of inspiration are the works of Fulci — especially The House By The Cemetery — and HP Lovecraft.

wash3The script (written by director Geoghegan from a concept by Richard Griffin) wears this inspiration for all to see with the characters taking their names from the characters and the cast and crew of Fulci’s 1981 movie. Of course, it takes more than slick visuals and nods to genre classics to create a decent horror film, it also needs characters you can root for. Casting such talented actors as Crampton and Sensenig certainly helps here. Crampton is a scream queen from a list of genre classics, including Re-Animator and From Beyond. Here, as always, she’s excellent.

Opposite Crampton, Sensenig is also brilliant. A veteran actor with over a decade’s experience, he makes a perfect foil, while in the supporting roles the standouts are character actor Fessenden and Tim Burton regular Marie, plus the gravitas-laden Markham. With a strong cast and well-crafted scares, it might seem unlikely that We Are Still Here would deliver on the splatter front, however, from the make up on the undead Dagmars to their bloody revenge, the film features plenty of impressive gore.

Alas, the main problem with We Are Still Here comes from the manner in which it so faithfully follows the structure of Fulci’s films. Fulci was more of a visceral filmmaker than a storyteller. His plots were often simple, with random WTF elements introduced sporadically for flavour.

wash4We Are Still Here isn’t as gonzo as some of Fulci’s works, but late on the plot threatens to collapse under its own weight. Luckily, it keeps its head above water, never cheating as the various elements click into place. If nothing else, Geoghegan deserves credit for following his vision through to its barmy conclusion.

That barminess is just one reason that We Are Still Here was such a surprise. From its throwback feel to its incredible cast, visuals and gore effects, it screams quality. I love that this could inspire today’s fans to read some Lovecraft or check out Fulci. Geoghegan has crafted a fantastic genre film that stands on its own — that it references classic films as it does so is just the icing on the cake.

9/10

The Evil Clergyman (1987) Short Film Review

CLERGY-001THE EVIL CLERGYMAN (1987)
Dir. Charles Band                 29 mins
88 Films / Full Moon Features
UK Release: 15th July 2013 (as part of the Castle Freak blu-ray)

Pulse Pounders. Two words that will prick up the ears of any self-respecting Full Moon fanatic. For the uninitiated, Empire Pictures was Charles Band’s film company during most of the 1980s, churning out such classics as Zone Troopers, Troll and Terrorvision. By 1987, Band had the idea to make an episodic film to provide semi-sequels to three of Empire’s biggest hits. He chose Trancers, Dungeonmaster (aka Ragewar) and Re-Animator – except with the latter he decided upon a different H.P Lovecraft adaptation – The Evil Clergyman, as opposed to a direct sequel to the Stuart Gordon smash. It still retained direct links to Re-Animator however, with returning cast members Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton and David Gale while adding the notable talents of cult favourite David Warner.

After the three shorts were shot, the original 35mm negatives went AWOL somewhere around Rome, and with Empire Pictures falling into financial difficulties by late 88/89 the project was shelved indefinitely. Fast forward 25 years later and a VHS cassette of all three half hour segments is located, and Charlie states he intends to polish them up and master them as best as possible. Here is the very first one of them – The Evil Clergyman. Based on a letter written by H.P Lovecraft that set about describing a dream he had had, it was published in 1939, just after his death, as a short story in an issue of Weird Tales.

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The film adaptation is written by Lovecraft adaptor extraordinaire Dennis Paoli (From Beyond / Dagon / The Black Cat) and it begins with the lush orchestral score that Charlie’s brother Richard recorded especially for this restoration. Barbara Crampton plays Said Brady who arrives at a castle and is led up the steep internal staircase by the housekeeper (Una Brandon-Jones). We discover that her lover, Jonathan (Jeffrey Combs) has recently hung himself, and Said is there to collect the remainder of her belongings. Once the housekeeper has left her alone, we see Jonathan appear before her. They embrace, but can Jonathan really be alive? After a moment of intimacy Said is left alone naked on the bed as Jonathan has disappeared. In his place however is a Bishop from Canterbury (David Warner) as well as a creature he refers to as ‘the beast with a human face’ – a disgusting rat like human hybrid that has eyes for Said.

The Bishop’s message is clear and he states simply that “he wants your soul” while referring to Jonathan. He says that he was left beaten to death by him and that he leaves a trail of carnage in his wake. “You must save yourself, he is a sorcerer” cries the Bishop in his short yet pivotal scene which soon makes way for the re-emergence of the Jeffrey Combs character.

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This is an excellent 30 minute segment of Lovecraftian brilliance. The setting of the purpose built castle interior is just great, and the re-uniting of Combs and Crampton equates to a brilliant partnership that works extremely well together. David Warner’s appearance as the Bishop is particularly chilling, not to mention the repulsiveness of the beast with a human face which features first class make-up from the uber-talented John Carl Buechler.

Some might question the picture quality, as irrespective of ‘digital re-mastering’ it still looks like a VHS transfer. I for one though care not as just having the chance to see this fabled work more than compensates for any slight picture issue. For once, this is a legendary lost movie that lives up to the hype. Now we just need Charlie to crack on with Trancers 1.5 and Dungeonmaster 2, and we’ll have completed the restoration of a cult classic that many thought would never see the light of day.

8.5 out of 10

From Beyond (1986) BluRay Review

 

frombeyondFrom Beyond 1986

Dir. Stuart Gordon – Prod. Brian Yuzna  – 86 Minutes  – 18 Cert  –  Region 2

From Beyond is the 1986 release Directed by Stuart Gordon and Produced by Brian Yuzna. Based on the short story by H P Lovecraft it stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton who are re-united from Gordon’s previous film , another Lovecraft adaptation Re-Animator.

The story is that Dr Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) , who is a sexual deviant and a genius is attempting to discover the secrets of the pineal gland (or third eye). He creates a resonator and opens a world of horror which initially kills him and leaves his student Crawford Tillinghast (Combs) incarcerated in a metal institution .

Dr Katherine McMichaels (Crampton) is a pioneering psychiatrist and decides to return Tillinghast to the scene of the experiment so she can study him as he re-creates the experiment. And then all hell breaks loose in a wonderful adaptation.

This is now being released in the UK courtesy of Second Sight Films in a wonderful BluRay presentation. The colours are stark and vivid and look really fresh here and wonderfully lavish.

But what makes this release so fantastic are the stunning extras featured here. It is chock full of interviews with Gordon , Crampton and Dennis Paoli (screenplay). Also full commentary from Gordon, Yuzna & Combs as well as a great FX piece and much more.

 

frombeyond2BONUS FEATURES:
Stuart Gordon on From Beyond
Gothic Adaptation – an interview with writer Dennis Paoli
The Doctor is in – an interview with Barbara Crampton
Monsters & Slime – the FX of From Beyond
Director’s perspective
The Editing Room – Lost and Found
Interview with composer
Commentary with Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs
Photo montage
Storyboard to film comparison

Includes English subtitles for hard of hearing.

A fantastic release and really if you have any interest in From Beyond then buy this and you will not be disappointed. Second Sight are putting many classic releases out this year and are definitely a company that are dedicated in putting out quality releases.

The BluRay is released on February 25th from all good stockists.

You can also visit Second Sight Films at http://www.secondsightfilms.co.uk or at their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SecondSightFilmssecond sight