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Cover reveal – Anno Dracula 1999 Daikaiju

Cover reveal – Anno Dracula 1999 Daikaiju

Design by Martin Stiff of Amazing 15.  Published in October.

On the web

  • My notes on The Box. (more…)
  • My notes on Bitten (2008) (more…)
  • My notes on A Serious Man. (more…)
  • My notes on the remake of The Stepfather. (more…)
  • My notes on Where the Wild Things Are (2009). (more…)
  • My notes on The Lovely Bones. (more…)
  • My notes on Species The Awakening (more…)
  • My notes on the 2009 version of The Day of the Triffids. (more…)
  • My notes on the TV series Revelations. (more…)
  • My notes on Train (2009). 'Pain can be fun, you know? Same nerves as pleasure.' This evidently started out as a remake of Terror Train, but turned into an ‘original’ – though it’s basically Turistas on a Train (and a lot less traintastic than Transiberian – which it parallels a little). In that version of Eastern Europe seen in Hostel, a team of mixed-sex American college wrestlers – plus their coach – miss their connection, and unwisely get on a train whose staff are running some sort of sicko scam involving organ harvesting. Early ominous elements involve the kids having their passports taken away and tossed into a stove and the horny coach (Todd Jensen) being vamped by a red-dressed Ilsa type (Koyna Ruseva) who turns out to be the evil doctor in the gang (‘we help people, sick people, people who without us would die’), which also features a thuggish conductor (Valentin Ganev) and at least three gurning, tattooed goons in stripey t-shirts who leer all the time. Alex (Thora Birch) is the ‘final girl’, as signalled early on when all the other characters are put out of action – though most don’t die immediately as they get hung up on meathooks, have their spines broken with a chisel, being punched senseless and then pissed on, having eyes pulled out or penises cut off, nipple rings yanked, being gaffed through the chin with a hook and dragged along the train top, being taken off at a whistle-stop and fed to some militia thugs’ dogs (or gang-raped, it’s not clear), etc. Why are there so many injured, disfigured or desperate looking folks on the train, and are the other passengers all in on it? Alex survives, and disguises herself with a headscarf and a downcast look, getting off at a hospital where the ripped-out organs are used in quickie transplants. Alex finds Willy (Gideon Emery), the other survivor, and helps him out of the hospital – after a brief, wordless encounter with the mother of the kid who now has her boyfriend’s blue eyes which almost counts as a fresh idea – into the woods, but as with several other attempted rescues of injured folks just gives up and leaves him to his fate. She eventually gets back on the train, with revenge in mind and takes out the gang single-handedly with sledgehammer, kerosene, axe and the wrestling moves her dead boyfriend taught her. The punchline has the girl tie the hulk to the tracks, so the next train cuts off his hands and feet, then appearing in a coda where an American flag unsubtly sets up her presumably triumphant return to the wrestling mat. Of the several recent films to use organ-harvesting as a premise, this pays the least attention to medical plausibility: eviscerations and amputations involve eyes and penises (which can’t as yet be transplanted) and are done with rusty implements, grubby bare hands and the like – with not even a cool-box on hand to preserve the red ruins on ice (the gore effects are convincing, but nothing else is). Birch has done a run of cheap horrors lately (Dark Corners, Deadline); she’s a decent lead, and does manage to sell the tiny-twist-becomes-killing-machine bit, but seriously she ought to getting better gigs after Ghost World, American Beauty and The Hole. Written and directed by Gideon Raff, whose The Killing Floor showed some promise – which isn’t fulfilled in this cynical, derivative, unpleasant waste of time.
  • The Horror Channel in the UK is airing a classic monsters marathon next weekend.  Here's a piece I wrote about the films.
  • J’ai Perdu mon Corps (I Lost My Body) (more…)
  • I'm grateful to the voters who've given me the 2019 Slaughter Award for Lifetime Achievement (Male).  Here's the statuette, representing the great British horror icon Tod Slaughter.
  • My Sight & Sound review of Little Monsters is online.
  • My notes on Akinjeon (The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil) (more…)
  • My notes on The Report (The Torture Report) (more…)
  • My notes on Ford v Ferrari (Le Mans ’66) (more…)
  • Here's my Sight & Sound review of Upgrade, which is out on UK BluRay November 18. (more…)
  • My notes on The Amazing Johnathan Documentary (more…)
  • My notes on Season One of Pennyworth. NB: spoilery. (more…)
  • My Sight & Sound review of Doctor Sleep is online.
  • My notes on Uncanny Annie, which played at the Halloween FrightFest. (more…)
  • My notes on We Summon the Darkness (more…)
  • My notes on Scare Package (more…)
  • My notes on Swallow (more…)
  • My Empire Video Dungeon review of Karyn Kusama's The Invitation, out on UK BluRay from Second Sight on November 4. (more…)
  • My notes on Z (2019), which screened at the Ramaskrik Film Festival. (more…)
  • My notes on Countdown (2019) (more…)
  • Terminator Dark Fate (more…)
  • My notes on Girl on the Third Floor, which played at the Ramaskrik Film Festival. (more…)
  • My notes on Achoura La Nuit des Enfants, which screened at the Ramaskrik Film Festival. (more…)
  • My notes on Extra Ordinary, which I saw at the Ramaskrik Film Festival.  It opens in the UK this Friday. (more…)
  • My notes on De dødes tjern (Lake of the Dead) (2019), which I saw at the Ramaskrik Film Festival. (more…)
  • I have done a listicle about my favourite monsters for The Short List.
  • My notes on Trick, out in the US on October 18 and screening in the UK at the FrightFest Halloween event. (more…)
  • My notes on Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist (more…)
  • My notes on Gemini Man. (more…)
  • My notes on Joker (more…)
  • My notes on The Curse of Buckout Road, which is out in the US on September 27. (more…)
  • My notes on Isabelle (2018), released on demand in the UK September 30. (more…)
  • I'm delighted to announce that I'm an executive producer on writer-director Prano Bailey-Bond's debut feature Censor, which has started shooting. (more…)
  • My notes on Candy Corn, which is out on digital platforms in the US. (more…)
  • My notes on Judy (more…)
  • My notes on Ad Astra (more…)
  • My notes on Rambo: Last Blood (more…)
  • My Sight & Sound review of Mariano Llinas's 808 minute film La Flor is online.  Yes, it's a mummy movie.
  • My notes on Hustlers (more…)
  • My notes on Haunt, which played at FrightFest and opens in the US September 13. (more…)
  • Here are some of the reference images I used for the new Anno Dracula novel, Anno Dracula 1999 Daikaiju - out now! Details here. (more…)
  • My (slightly spoilery) notes on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (more…)