Penny Dread­ful

Demons in Iran, twins in Aus­tria and a mur­derer doused in kitchen grease...

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

March mad­ness

Seems like March is the new Jan­uary ( which is of course the poor man’s Oc­to­ber) when it comes to hor­ror. The dawn of spring ar­rives with a whole raft of cinema re­leases through­out the month. Good­night Mommy is an Aus­trian film where twin boys in the coun­try­side fear their mother is an im­pos­tor, post- cos­metic surgery, but is it her or them that’s the real threat? It screened to great re­views in Venice, get­ting com­par­isons to The

Or­phan­age and Funny Games, so def­i­nitely one to watch. Then there’s The Boy, which sees a nanny ter­rorised by a cou­ple’s life- size doll that may be alive. Will it ter­rify? My pre­dic­tion: prob­a­bly not. Sci- fi hor­ror is go­ing big with sneaky se­quel 10 Cloverfield Lane land­ing ( oh JJ, you cun­ning devil!), and also not so big with por­tal- to- the- un­der­world chiller The Other

Side Of The Door, from F di­rec­tor Jo­hannes Roberts. And don’t miss Ja­cobean wicked­ness un­bound in The Witch.

In­die gold

An­other Sun­dance has set, and with it a hand­ful of weird in­die hor­rors that ev­ery­one’s go­ing to be talk­ing about in around a year when they fi­nally come out. My vampire- bat ears are twitch­ing for three. 1) Ira­nian chiller Un­der

The Shadow, set in Tehran in the late ’ 80s at the height of the Iran- Iraq war, is about a re­luc­tant stay- at- home mother car­ing for her daugh­ter who be­comes haunted by demons af­ter her hus­band goes into mil­i­tary ser­vice. Fem­i­nist and fright­en­ing, it’s be­ing called “this year’s Babadook”. 2) Trash Fire: This is from Richard Bates Jr, who made bril­liant freak show Ex­ci­sion and in­ven­tive but not quite as good Sub­ur­ban Gothic. Trash Fire is a sort of black rom­com about a cou­ple who hate each other, and a ma­niac granny, end­ing in a blood­bath. Grimy in­die mum­ble­gore. 3) The

Greasy Stran­gler: No­to­ri­ous al­ready for how ut­terly dis­gust­ing, re­lent­less, puerile and ugly it is, de­but di­rec­tor Jim Hosk­ing’s tale con­cerns a father and son who do disco walk­ing tours in Los An­ge­les and who be­come love ri­vals over a woman on the tour. In his spare time the dad car­ries out killings naked and slathered in cook­ing fat. Sounds amaz­ing!

That’ s not a knife!

The lat­est hor­ror TV spin- off is Wolf Creek, com­ing to screen­ing ser­vice Stan later this year. Di­rec­tor of the orig­i­nal Greg McLean is on board and Aussie out­back nut­ter Mick Tay­lor ( John Jar­ratt) is also lurk­ing in the back­ground, though it looks from the first teaser that the fo­cus will be on new char­ac­ter Eve, sole sur­vivor of one of Mick’s at­tacks, who’s out for re­venge. Wolf Creek is one of my favourite hor­rors, not for “head on a stick” or the hor­rific cru­ci­fix­ion, but for the hor­ror of man­ners – the girls are out of their depth, they know that Mick’s a weirdo, but since he’s not ac­tu­ally done any­thing wrong at first they don’t hit him with a stick and run away. Be­cause that would be rude. I would be the same. “You’ve hacked my arm off? Oh dear, sorry, it was my fault for get­ting in the way of your knife.” It’s the Bri­tish way. Eve ( Lucy Fry) is an Amer­i­can tourist, so she’ll no doubt be a ripped weapons- ex­pert who can sur­vive days in the out­back on a thim­ble of spit and a Her­shey bar. The hor­ror of em­bar­rass­ment: now that’s truly ter­ri­fy­ing.

Heroof hor­ror

A fond good­bye to a hor­ror stal­wart, as Fe­bru­ary saw the pass­ing of Richard Glad­man, aka @ cy­ber­schizoid – pub­lisher and editor of Space Mon­sters mag­a­zine, founder of Frighten Brighton hor­ror fes­ti­val and of the Clas­sic Hor­ror Cam­paign which pe­ti­tioned to bring back hor­ror dou­ble- bills to the BBC. I didn’t know him well but the few times we met he was hi­lar­i­ous, gre­gar­i­ous, gen­er­ous and just re­ally pas­sion­ate about the genre. And he got things done. He’ll be missed.

Two rea­sons in pink to see The Greasy Stran­gler ! Cos­metic surgery ter­ror in Good­night Mommy. More ob­scured faces in Trash Fire.

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