What’s happening in the world of horror movies this month…
Your monthly helping of horror.
I’m having a cynical month. Blame Jurassic World for being too mean, The Human Centipede for failing to shock, and all the Megathis and Saurus- that cash- ins that will not abate. Talking of, um, bait, sharks are going to be the next BIG thing. And if you think that’s good news, be careful what you wish for. The last thing we need is a “bigger boat…”
“I know someone who thought The Human Centipede and A Serbian Film were good and even they thought Human Centipede III was terrible!” This warning from a friend of mine, who clearly doesn’t realise that I too think First Sequence and A Serbian Film are four- star movies. Low and behold, I didn’t hate HC3. It’s a fitting finale to a series of films which are nothing but concept over substance. The first was inspired by Tom Six’s assertion that paedophiles should have their mouth sewn onto the anus of “a fat truck driver” ( what Six has against truck drivers, I don’t know). The second film came about because the press kept asking “What if some maniac copies your idea?” and the third? “People said ‘ Now we want a huge human centipede!’”. And hey presto! We’re in Texas with Dieter Laser bellowing insanely, Bree Olson tottering annoyingly and Laurence Harvey failing at an American accent. It’s exuberant, it’s “XXL”! ( which is what Six is after), but it’s not shocking, even though Six desperately wants to recreate the furore which turned the concept into a cultural meme. No, it turns out you’re working with diminishing returns when it comes to sewing people to other people’s bottoms.
World of Pain
And so it is we are in a place where Jurassic World is far more harrowing than The Human Centipede III and yet I’d give HC3 a higher star rating. I’m referring specifically to the sequence in JW where apparent career whore and evil perversion of motherhood Zara ( Katie McGrath), who’s done nothing worse than answer her mobile a couple of times, is horribly tortured on screen by different dinos in a sequence which reminded me more than anything of that incredibly disturbing true- life footage of a killer whale repeatedly dragging its trainer underwater and almost drowning him in orca doc Blackfish. Zara is Claire’s ( Bryce Dallas Howard) PA, and neither she, nor the two horrible little brats who watch Zara get tortured and killed, ever mention it again.
Two To Watch
Perhaps Lake Placid Vs Anaconda ( straight to DVD on 7 September) will turn out to be a stone cold masterpiece? Maybe KillerSaurus ( straight to DVD, out now) will be the true spiritual sequel to Jurassic Park that we deserve? As ever, the numbers are stacked against us when it comes to the sheer volume of horror releases, but two for your preorder radar are The Falling ( out 24 August) and The Canal ( out 14 September). The Falling is set in a British girls’ school in the ’ 60s where, after the death of a star pupil, a fainting epidemic begins. Strange and atmospheric, with Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams in the lead, it’s intoxicating and ambiguous like Picnic At Hanging Rock, and steeped in sex. Then The Canal, which also trades on atmosphere, as a film archivist becomes obsessed with a century-
old murder. An Irish haunted houser with J- horror sensibilities, it may not be wildly original but it makes up for it with tension and chills. Or there’s always
Volcanosaur ( out 24 August)…
Five of The Fest
FrightFest is coming – the full slate ( 76 films!) has now been announced for the annual horror bacchanal. This year, there are five screens, 18 countries represented and 26 UK premieres over the August bank holiday weekend in London’s Leicester Square. The 16th FrightFest will be celebrating its grassroots with a renewed focus on indies – good stuff ! Of course, I haven’t yet seen these films, but with a mixture of insight, instinct, guess work, Google work and a bit of old chat with the FrightFest boys, here are my five ( spurious) picks. 1)
The Hallow – effective monster movie which made a big splash at Sundance. 2) Aaaaaaaah! – completely nuts horror entirely in a made- up language featuring pedigree Brit cast. 3) Nina Forever – existentialist sexual zombie movie about a human/ zombie threesome. Because why not? 4) Scherzo Diabolico – Mexican strangeness from the guy who made impressive werewolf movie Late Phases, Adrian Garcia Bogliano. 5) Inner Demon – feral serial killer shocker which makes the list because, like my favourite of last year, The Babadook, it’s from an Australian female firsttime director.
Mega Shark Vs Other Mega Shark
Two fishy frighteners are threatening to go gill to gill. Eli Roth has signed on to direct
Meg for Warner Bros, a film about a 60- foot megladon, while Jaume
Collet- Serra, who made Orphan and the House Of Wax remake, is
threatening to make In The Deep for Sony. In The Deep, or Open
Water: Buoys Against Girls as I will be calling it, is about a surfer who gets stranded on a buoy because a massive Great White won’t leave her be. Looks like sharks could be the new dinosaurs. I’m as upset as you are about this, but someone’s got to call it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they rebooted Jaws.
“Convincing” FX ahoy in Lake Placid Vs Anaconda…
The insanity continues in The Human Centipede III.
Flaming heck! It’s Sundance hit The Hallow.