penny dread­ful

What’s hap­pen­ing in the world of hor­ror movies this month…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

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…”

Pede off

“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.

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