Friday, 22 June 2012


Thought I'd go a bit topical this week and tie it in with the DVD release of Hammer's adaptation of the FANTASTIC Susan Hill novel.

For most people who saw this far more faithful ITV adaptation more than 20 years ago, this review should reawaken some chills...


Dir: Herbert Wise (Written by Nigel Kneale and Susan Hill)
Starring: Adrian Rawlins, Bernard Hepton, David Daker, Pauline Moran

SUMMARY: Within just a few moments of this TV movie starting, it becomes all too clear that this is OLD SCHOOL. And in a pretty charming way. Nice. We cut to Arthur Kidd (renamed from Arthur Kipps in the book) as he heads into work at a law firm. A quick reference to the latest Charlie Chaplin film from some MASSIVELY UNPROFESSIONAL law clerks helps bludgen us to death with provide us with a good dating reference. By this I mean it tells us that the story is taking place in the 1920s, not that it tells girls we might be interested in that we're witty, hung like donkeys and ALWAYS put the toilet seat down after a wee.
Arthur is then summoned to his boss' office. Immediately we see that Mr Sweetman is a KNOB. Everything he says in this scene seems to be based along the following lines: 'You're a useless excuse for a solicitor, you will undoubtedly shame this office and nobody thinks you can do anything... however, I want you to travel up north on your own to deal with the estate with a longtime client of this firm with no help because I'm sure you can handle it. Oh, by the way, I hate your face.'
Clearly fired up to impress a boss he'd be better off telling to FUCK OFF, Arthur heads off to his wife, young son, baby daughter and nurse to do ALL THE WORK for them. Their's is a happy home. We can tell this because Arthur gives his son a kazoo.

A kazoo.


It's not exactly a Nintendo DS, Dad...

Anyway, Arthur heads off to catch the train to the marvellously named Crythin Gifford. It is MILES away. We can tell this because he meets a nosy man who talks to him on the train (DEFINITELY not in London anymore).
Sam (that's his name) has a good gruff accent and no-nonsense demeanour, although he gets a little more cagey when talking about Arthur's destination Eel Marsh House (SOUNDS DELIGHTFUL!) and Mrs Drablow, the woman whose death has sent Arthur on his merry way. At the other end Arthur reveals his Cityness by looking a bit surprised to see there are no cabs at a station which is in the arse end of NOWHERE. Luckily Sam (who is clearly a Ron Burgundy-esque BIG DEAL around here) offers him a lift to the Gifford Arms.
There are more gruff, no-nonsense common people here. Arthur seems a little unsure of how to speak to them. I'm amazed he's even trying through these accents.
The inn isn't exactly 5 star but it seems nice enough. The next day sees Arthur going to see a local solicitor, Mr Pepperell. If Big Sammy Flashybollocks wasn't quite elusive enough about Eel Marsh House, Pepperell is here to take up the slack. He practically crosses himself when they mention the place!
The two lawyers wander through Crythin Gifford on a busy market day and we get some good period details. By this I mean the town looks right and displays a nice amount of character for the time in which it's set, not that it discusses the heaviness of flow during its monthly cycle.
And from the bustling town we go to THE BLEAKEST CHURCHYARD EVER. A horsedrawn carriage carrying Mrs Drablows remains arrives, with a fine array of behatted Pallbearers.

No, not him...

Inside the church, Arthur and Pepperell are the only mourners... until a WOMAN IN BLACK arrives. 
I'm sure she's not important to this story...
She stands at the back being eerie. A fine talent, that.
Out in the churchyard the not-very-popular Mrs Drablow is interred. Once again TWIB (Galaxy defender!) appears, watching from a safe distance. As Arthur and Pepperell head off they see a load of children by the churchyard wall, watching the proceedings (it's grim up North, they have to make their own entertainment!)
After basically filling his pants when Arthur asks about TWIB (She won't let you remember!), Pepperell chases the kids away. Arthur realises that this bloke is clearly a 'nana and takes him back to his office.
Artie proves to be a little slow on the uptake and asks Pepperell if he'd care to join him at Eel Marsh House. You can practically smell the faeces in the air during Pepperell's garbled no thanks. From here he ushers Arthur out of the office, informing him that a local man, Keckwick, will take him over the treacherous causeway to the house.

An aside: All of this subtle but uncomfortable shit going down so far is called ATMOSPHERE. I would like the current generation of horror film makers to worry less about casting whichever rapper is currently a bit cool and more on this, please.

Outside we see amusing commoners doing things badly for our entertainment. Oh look there are gypsies! OH LOOK THEY'RE STEALING! HOW VERY SURPRISING AND ENTIRELY UNEXPECTED!
As a little gypsy girl attempts to run (probably to fetch a whole clan of family to steal EVEN MORE) a cart carrying logs spills its load (HMMMMPH!) and she ends up pinned beneath a log as more threaten to fall. Everybody kind of looks on until Arthur dashes into the middle of the Big Fat Gypsy Log-Squash and pulls her to safely. Big Sam sees this and suggests they hit the inn and get wankered, settle Arthur's nerves.
Sam here does something brilliant. He asks one of the most ridiculous questions in history: 'How was the funeral?'


'Yeah, it was fuckin' bangin', bruv, we were 'avin it!'

Anyway, Sam has some showing off and strutting in front of the less successful people to do, so he sits Arthur down for lunch in the middle of some locals in town for market day. Yes, they are gruff and outspoken. No, that is no surprise. One of them is kind enough to inform Arthur that his trip is a waste of time because NOBODY would buy that house. At this point I notice they are eating thick chunks of meat, fresh bread and a MASSIVE jar of pickled onions. The Gifford Arms has just reached Michelin Star status in my eyes.
And finally to Eel Marsh House. Keckwick arrives and he's that bloke who smokes all the time in Heartbeat! YAY! But now he isn't smoking. Lame.
When it comes to gruff, no-nonsense outspokeness, Keckwick makes the other locals look like Tony Blair. He pauses just long enough for Arthur to climb aboard and then they head out across Nine Lives Causeway (SCARY!) 
We get to see the quick moving, thick sea mists in action and realise that Causeway is bloody lethal if you don't know what you're doing. 
The house itself is quite nice actually and very roomy.

Upon letting them in, Keckwick takes Arthur on the WORST TOUR IN HISTORY.
The following ACTUALLY HAPPENS — Keckwick walks into a room: 'Her room.' Points at the chair: 'Her chair.'
Um, thanks?

Arthur nearly pisses his pants to discover that the house has ELECTRIC LIGHT! Powered by its own generator in an outhouse, no less! Keckwick then fucks off and says he'll be back before the tides come in. Yep, during high tide you're isolated in Eel Marsh House.

It'll be a doddle to sell this place.

Despite his deadline, Arthur decides to mooch about and explore the land around the house (Maybe Mr Sweetman the KNOB had a point earlier...) He soon discovers weatherworn gravestones and the remains of an old chapel... AND TWIB (dressed in black, remember that!) appears. This time Artie gets a better look, only to be greeted by the most malevolent PMT face in history! (we're back to a period drama joke here, aren't we?)
Fortunately Artie is a complete sissy ladyboy and he runs away in the girliest manner possible. After flouncing into the house, he locks the door, catches his breath and starts to explore the house. This consists in him opening loads of doors and switching on the new-fangled KICKASS ELECTRIC LIGHT, until he comes across a locked one he cannot open. Oooooooh.
So he goes into Mrs Drablow's study and promptly pours himself a massive drink. Arthur likes the sauce, seriously, I don't think he's been to a single place without hitting the whisky or brandy yet. In this room he finds the death certificates of two people who died on the same day, plus a photo of somebody who looks not unlike TWIB (walk in shadow! Move in silence! Guard against extraterrestrial violence!) He also discovers a phonograph and some wicked old wax cylinder recordings. Man, these things are AWESOME for creepiness. 


He listens to the recordings to hear Mrs Drablow recounting some pretty disturbing shenanigans involving an as yet undisclosed 'she'. So, Arthur decides to neck a few more shots. (He drinks a whisky drink, he drinks a vodka drink, he drinks a lager drink, he drinks a cider drink...) then promptly strolls out onto NINE LIVES CAUSEWAY TO WALK BACK. Is he fucking pissed?????
Suddenly the sea mists roll in and Arthur realises something we did as soon as he started walking — this idea was FUCKING STUPID. Luckily he hears the horse and trap approaching in the murk. But suddenly he hears the trap run afoul of the marsh. He hears the trap sinking beneath the surface while a woman and a young boy scream.
This sound effect is GENUINELY chilling. The voice actors nail it and you totally understand Arthur's distress as he flees back towards the house... but then Keckwick arrives and there's no sign or mention of any trap lost in the mist. HMMMM.

Back on the mainland Arthur walks through the churchyard, only to see that loads of the headstones are for children. One is for Big Sammy Flashybollocks' son. Just to make sure we notice this, Arthur reads it aloud for us. I'm amazed he can read, he must be bladdered.
After this he decides to visit Sammy and we see that he is indeed Flashybollocks as his house is MASSIVE. He has dinner with Sam and his wife and the table is HUGE for three people. You could play football on that thing! After yet more booze (TEQUILA, IT MAKES ME HAPPY!) Arthur and Sam retire to the drawing room where finally Artie opens up about what's going on. 
I'm not surprised, I'm amazed he hasn't got an arm around Sam while saying "I fuckin' love you like a fuckin' bruvvah, y'know, y'my besht fuckin' mate, Sham...' Sam tries to convince Arthur not to go back to Eel Marsh House, but when that doesn't work he gives him a dog instead. 


Spider (the dog) is awesome by the way.
From here Artie decides that he and Spider will stay at Eel Marsh House until he's able to conclude his business. The locals at the inn do NOT agree with this idea one bit.
Still, back we go to NINE LIVES CAUSEWAY (the location really is wicked here, it's so atmospheric and cool) and soon Artie is back inside the house, this time with Spider as well as the FRICKIN' SWEET ELECTRIC LIGHTING and booze.
After a little explore (that door's still locked) Arthur hears the noises of the accident again. It's just as nasty this time. So, shitting himself, Arthur decides it's SONOGRAPH TIME! BOOYAH! He hears even more disturbing things from Mrs Drablow's recordings. That night he is woken by an odd noise. It's a thumping noise coming from behind the locked door.


Arthur talks to Spider a little much here, then performs the feeblest attempt to barge down a door ever. After this fails (SHOCK!) he goes to fetch an axe ('It's a trick, get an axe!') Arthur walks inside and switches on the light... at which point a ball bounces out!
Arthur just about shits a brick and in the greatest reaction shot by a jack russell in history, Spider TOTALLY judges him for it.
Arthur is now in the spookiest nursery ever. Who the FUCK would put their child in this room?????
Just to make it creepier, Arthur hears a child's voice talking to him. While frantically glancing about he discovers a little lead soldier in his pocket.

And then the lights go out, accompanied by THE STRINGS OF FEAR on the soundtrack.

Arthur RUNS to the generator (I don't blame him) and quickly restores power to the house. Then just as things start to calm down again, an eerie whistling can be heard from out on the marshes.
And Spider runs off towards it! 


He disappears into the darkness and after a half-arsed attempt to follow, Arthur heads back indoors... but not before he hears the sound of the creepy accident on the marsh again.
OK, shit has just got real. Arthur heads back in and dives straight back into the sonograph recordings. This is brilliant, because as Arthur is driven more and more mental by his ordeal, his hair is getting bigger and bigger. By the end he's going to look like Tina Turner! Finally the truth about TWIB is revealed (turns out she's not just your first, last and only line of defence against the worst scum of the universe!)
For spoilers, see the section below.
Then Arthur discovers the toy soldier among his things and REALLY starts to lose his shit... especially when he hears the sound of a pony and trap.


Here we have EXPOSITION CORNER, where Sam and Arthur reveal ALL of the backstory that we have undoubtedly put together ourselves by now. Arthur goes to show Sam the nursery, but upon entering it sees that the whole place has been trashed. OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOHHHHHH!
That's the last straw, Arthur keels over. He is taken back to the Inn, clearly in shock and feverish. Upon being taken to his bed, we build towards the BIG SCARE.
I won't ruin it, but if you've seen this, you KNOW what it is. If you haven't... prepare for nightmares.
After his fever passes and the bad shit is gone, Arthur is visited by Sam who explains that Eel Marsh House, ahem, 'mysteriously', nudge-nudge, burnt down. There is no more need for Arthur to be here and as soon as he is fit, he should head home to be with his wife and family.
But just what affect has his nightmarish experience had on Arthur's state of mind?
And is The Woman In Black's (uh-huh, yeah!) curse finally over?

Now, I'll leave what happens from here to you lot to discover, but suffice it to say that if you've read the book and know the ending, this IS different, but still maintains that horribly bleak spirit. In fact, apart from some rather silly changes here and there, this is a far more faithful adaptation of the book than the recent Hammer film. It's also a tremendous piece of television, it looks amazing and the cast are all strong. Combined with the fantastic traditional ghost story feel, it's a winner.
If you haven't seen this adaptation, you NEED to find a way. 
Or I'll have to see my noisy cricket get wicked on ya.

HEY, I KNOW YOU: There's a very cool coincidence here. Adrian Rawlins, who plays the lead role of Arthur, has had a few roles in UK TV shows over the years (such as in Dalziel and Pascoe; Inspector Lynley; Casualty; Holby City and the AWESOME C4 superhero comedy-drama Misfits) however, the biggest title on his CV is EASILY the Harry Potter series of films. In these he plays the role of James Potter, Harry's dad. And WHO played Arthur in the recent remake? BRILLIANT!
Bernard Hepton also has a whole host of UK TV roles to his name, notably in The Charmer; I, Claudius; Bergerac and mini-series including Bleak House; Mansfield Park; Smiley's People and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He also had a role in Gandhi and did some voice work for the heartbreaking animated film Plague Dogs.
David Daker is even more prolific and has turned up in just about EVERY naff UK drama you can think of. Casualty (and Holby); The Bill; Midsomer Murders; Ruth Rendell Mysteries; Dangerfield; Heartbeat; the works. He's probably best known for his recurring role as Harry Crawford in Boon.
In a pattern that should be all too familiar now, William Simons (who plays Keckwick) is also famous for his TV work, most notably Heartbeat.
The Kidd's nurse, Bessie is played by Robin Weaver. As well as The Muppet Christmas Carol, she has also appeared in The Inbetweeners as Simon's mum!
Pauline Moran's most famous gig would probably be her role as Miss Lemon opposite David Suchet in Poirot. She was also the bass player in an all-female band called The She Trinity back in the 60s. Heh, cool. 
Most surprisingly, Steven Mackintosh, one of the no-name law clerks has had a pretty decent career. As well as the usual TV dross (Poirot again; Van der Valk; A Touch of Frost and Inspector Morse amongst others) he has some pretty decent film roles including a part in Memphis Belle, the role of Fred (Scrooge's nephew) in The Muppet Christmas Carol (AGAIN! YES!!!!!!); Winston in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; and roles in a couple of the Underworld sequels and The Jacket. Good work, fella. 

THE DEAD ARE NOT QUIET HERE: The villain in this piece is the titular Woman In Black. Jennet Goss in life (changed from Jennet Humfrye in the novel) was a single mother in a time when this was completely NOT COOL and she was subsequently forced to give up her son to her sister, Mrs Alice Drablow and her husband. Unable to cope with the loss of her son, Jennet attempted to steal him away via horse and trap across Nine Lives Causeway which connects Drablow's home Eel Marsh House with the neighbouring town of Crythin Gifford. The pony and trap became lost in the coastal mists and sank into the marshes, killing all onboard. Now Jennet's spirit, mad with rage and grief at having her child taken, has become a curse to the seaside town. Each time she is seen it signals the oncoming death of a child.

Quite what her powers are remain unexplained. She is able to affect the perception of those she comes in contact with, summoning sights and sounds to terrify them. She can travel some distance to fulfil her curse (as shown at the end). She is one seriously spooky bird.

BODY COUNT: 4 onscreen, TONNES more off.

CREATIVE CARNAGE: In terms of murder, the grim as all hell ending. In terms of terror, that bed haunting. It caused untold nightmares back then, it'll cause them now too.


MR SWEETMAN THE KNOB: 'Sir, you must learn to take yourself seriously!'
MR SWEETMAN THE KNOB: 'You must cultivate authority.'
BIG SAMMY FLASHYBOLLOCKS: 'I had no cause to visit her... and if I had...'
ARTHUR: 'There was a woman. She was a mourner, dressed all in black.'
KECKWICK: 'They call it Nine Lives Causeway. Like what a cat's got. That's what you need out here.'
MRS DRABLOW'S RECORDING: 'Last night she did not come until 4 in the morning. Then it was a bad night. A bad night.'
BIG SAMMY FLASHYBOLLOCKS: 'Do you believe in ghosts?' ARTHUR: 'Never have.'
ARTHUR: 'She wasn't just looking... she was hating.'
MRS DRABLOW'S RECORDING: 'She has become wicked... and worse.'

10 WORD WRAP UP: Forget Radcliffe, ITV adapts this classic ghost story just right

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Friday, 15 June 2012



Dir: Gustavo Hernández
Starring: Florencia Colucci, Abel Tripaldi, Gustavo Alonso, María Salaza

The recent remake of Silent House arrived to plenty of hype but hasn’t been reviewed too favourably. I got my eager mitts on the original Uruguayan film to see where this film came from.
How’s that for a change of pace — a foreign language, modern horror film? Just call me Mr Versatility!
One last thing, the film has received plenty of attention due to the fact that people claim it was shot in one continuous take. That’s some achievement, but does the rest of the film manage to impress as much? 

So we start off with subtitles and an onscreen message reading thatg the film is based on real events. I'm going to call bullshit right here. Oh and for those of you who saw the word subtitles and tutted, best give up now. The dialogue in this film is Spanish, so you have to read AND watch at the same time. If you're one of those 'I watch films and read books, I don't combine that shit, bro' types, click off and read one of my other ace reviews. Or wait until next week. I'll be doing Hellraiser next, that'll sort you right out.
Anyway, the actual film starts and we have a girl (later revealed to be called Laura) standing in long grass in a field. Don't worry, the film gets scarier.
She walks through the long grass owards an older man. Even if it wasn't for the subtitles earlier, these two look SO foreign. I'm amazed they aren't smoking. Oh wait, I think he is. Foreigners have fucking cast iron cancer proof lungs or something.
Anyway they continue to trek through the long grass, up a hill and through some trees, then through a fence. The camera tracks them the whole way and I am already impressed by that shot. Seriously impressive.
Unlike this hike, which judging by Laura's face is duller than an intimate time with Tulisa. Allegedly.
As they walk we get some jingly atmospheric piano. This is A GOOD THING.
When they get through the trees we see an old farmhouse. This place is RAMSHACKLE. For those who don't know, that word means a bit untidy and neglected, not a prop used in S and M.
Laura and the older dude sit down to wait for 'him'. The older gent turns out to be Laura's dad and is called Wilson.
Not Carlos or Raul or Pedro? Wilson? Are you fucking sure?????
Anyway after a wee while, Laura goes for an explore after her dad says they'll start to clear the place from the back and work their way forward. The doors are locked so she walks around the outside of the place. The ramshackle first impression is not eased at all by the exploration. As she strolls around we see the windows are all boarded up. A more cynical mind would think we're being shown this to explain that it would be difficult to escape from this house should SHIT GO DOWN. But what are the odds of that, eh?
After Wilson cheaply makes us all jump by sneaking up on Laura (Fuck you, WIlson! I hope you end up brutally mutilated later in this film!) a car horn sounds and father and daughter stroll back to the front of the house. Here's another guy, Nestor (that's MORE bloody like it!). We find out this mucky old place is his, he rarely visits it anymore and is now planning on selling it but wants to get it cleaned out and in decent shape before putting it on the market. Sound business strategy Nestor, my man.
Wilson and Laura have been recruited for this purpose. He gives Wilson the keys, wishes them both good luck and nips off to get more supplies. So he's late AND he hasn't got all the shit they need? Nestor is not the most organised dude.
And inside the house we go. Hang on, it was just pitch black for a second. Are we sure there wasn't a cut there? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM...
Laura grabs a lamp and walks about the interior of the house, lighting candles and looking at all the junk in the room.
My god, Nestor is Leatherface or something, his house is full of all the creepiest junk known to man. It's like the cellar in Cabin in the Woods!!!!
Oh look, there's a phone there! That shit better get used when it all hits the fan later or I'm writing BOLLOCKS in the largest font available on this blog.
Wilson returnsto the living room and turns on a little radio. PARTAY!
Laura wanders off (via more creepy junk) and discovers the bathroom. SHE STARTS TO STRIP!
Oh she just took her vest off to put it back on again. Must be Uruguayan thing.
She walks back to the living room and Party Animal Wilson is asleep on a chair with a blanket.
Laura decides to do likewise and turns off the radio and snuggles up under a blanket.
Which is when we hear the thump upstairs. Shit.
She panics a bit and wakes her dad. He gives her a look which says 'Shut it, you loopy bint', then goes back to sleep.
Noise again. The nicely sustained atmosphere of creepy has just been ratcheted up a couple of notches here.
This time upon being woken, Wilson agrees to go have a look, provided Laura goes to sleep while he does. Is he mental? It's a creepy rural hellhouse and there are weird noises coming from upstairs!!!! NOBODY could sleep there!
We hear Wilson walk up the stairs, the camera tracing his footsteps across the ceiling... until he suddenly cries out and we hear the thumps of a body hitting the floor.
Laura completely panics and starts running around trying windows and doors. They're locked.
She starts rummaging about for the keys, and as she alternates between searching for keys and an exit, we get another moment of darkness. This film lied about the one take thing, didn't it?
While this is going on, we spot a figure behind her. BRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Finally Laura goes to their bag of cleaning stuff and supplies... and pulls out a big, cruel sickle!!! A SICKLE!!!
Do NOT fuck with Uruguayan cleaners, they are TOOLED UP!
Finally she goes to the door to the stairs, unlocks it, picks up her lamp.. and Wilson tumbles out of the darkness onto her.
AAAAAAAAAAAARGH! That was one last pants-filling jump-scare, Wilson, you old dog.
Laura's grief as she tends to her fallen father here is touching. That's an excellent acting job by Florencia Colucci.
In time Laura realises she needs to get out of the house before whatever got her dad gets her. She rummages through his pockets for the missing keys. He doesn't have them. She should have invested in one of those keyrings where you whistle and it plays a little alert. Hindsight, eh?
So the keys aren't on her dad or in the room. As she looks for them again, she sees the phone! And tries it!!!!! Needless to say, it doesn't work.
BOLLO... oh, wait, that's ok.
Laura explores some more, looking for another way out. We see a little more of the house now. It is equally creepy here. The one thing it's difficult to do iwith a synopsis is explain how suspenseful this film has become. The tension building execution here is superb.
Jesus christ, I nearly filled my boxers then. Needless to say, Laura just about has a fit and goes running back to the living room... where her father's body is now back in his chair.
And then music starts to play from upstairs.
For some reason Laura chooses to block the exit of the house with a heavy dresser/cupboard (um, okaaaaaaaaaaaaay), then steels herself.
At this point EVERYBODY watching this film shouts 'NO!' at the telly.
However Laura is Uruguayan and does not understand our silly English 'No' and proceeds up the stairs with her lamp and cleaning sickle. She heads into one of the rooms where furniture is piled higgledy-piggledy and sees the radio. The camera here does something BRILLIANT and pans just enough to show Laura's reflection in one of the mirrors on the furniture as she switches off the radio. Having done this, Laura startes to explore the room. She sees an old polaroid camera on the shelf... right before she hears another scary noise. OH SHIT. The lamp gets switched off and Laura scrambles under a stray cupboard into a hidey hole. From beside her in this little nook we see a pair of feet walk into the room. Whoever this mystery assailant is, they have a weapon.
Yeah, the tension is pretty fucking high round about now.
Finally the unknown scary person leaves. Laura scuttles out from the hiding place... AND FINDS THE KEYS!
Laura immediately makes a break for it, sprinting down the stairs, unlocking the door and dashing out into the woods. She is in a sheer panic, stumbling over stumps and brambles, splashing through a stream... and the whole time the camera man is keeping up! Wow, that's seriously impressive, even with the possible cuts earlier. Finally she reaches a road. The camera pans around her... and we see a glowing little girl!
While we're reeling from that we get a sudden loud car horn as Nestor nearly hits Laura and a significant increase in the number of skidmarks in our undergarments.
Laura is damn relieved to see Nestor and dives into his car. Oh sweet relief... until he says he's going back to the house to investigate.
Nestor, seriously, you're a fucking mong. Phone the police from somewhere far, far away.
So they drive back, despite Laura's protests and then, in a moment of jawdropping stupidity even by Nestor's standards, he says he's going to take Laura back into the house because it's not safe out here'. Yeah, best get her back into Murder Manor then.
Back inside and things have now moved. The furniture has shifted and once again, there is no sign of Wilson's body.
Best go back upstairs then. At this point I feel a need to share the fact that everytime I have written Uruguay tonight I have heard the voice of Homer Simpson in my head ('Heheheh, U R GAY')
Anyway as we head back to Nestor's nest, he and Laura split up. WHA.....? Needless to say, we soon hear a scream and thump from Nestor's direction. Laura heads in that direction (I'm amazed she's able to ove considering how heavy her pants must be with all the shit she's filled them with) and discovers a weird creepy doll. Because this place wasn't weird or creepy enough yet. We head back into the upstairs room from earlier and suddenly the door is slammed shut from the otherside. BRILLIANT jump-scare, made all the scarier by the fact that Laura drops her lamp in shock. It's pitch black again. Sigh, no cuts, really?Luckily Laura isn't stuck in this darkness though, she has the polaroid camera from earlier and its flash. This means she sits in the dark whimpering, before occasionally lighting up the scene for a second with the flash, before charging the camera again for the next shot.
Seriously. I knew what was coming. You know what's coming. We all know what's coming... but when it does it is still terrifying.
In fact, if I wasn't a rock-hard, supercool, warrior god with icewater in my veins I might have made a silly 'Woooooa-oooh-oooooaaaaah!' noise at the screen.
But fortunately I didn't. Oh no.
After this heart-attack inducing little moment, Laura flees the room. And this is when she starts to make some really unsettling discoveries...
I won't spoil this any further here (but do below, so be careful) but the film soon reaches its chilling conclusion. However it does it via a ludicrous twist ending that EVERYBODY knows. This is a real shame, because up until the last 10 minutes or so, the tension and suspense cultivatred through the slowly building dread in the film are incredible. Even the climactic scenes are excellent and genuinely unsettlling, it's just the route we take to get to them that causes the problem. The achievement from a technical standpoint (telling the story in realtime over the length of the film) is astounding. The acting is never less than decent. The look and feel of the film are fantastic. But ffs, way to piss all over your own bonfire with that twist, guys.
The house may be silent, but when the film's over and the audience have thought about it a little, there won't be any silence over the end credits, just a resounding chorus of 'Huh?'s.

HEY, I KNOW YOU: Although in this case, I REALLY don't. I’m afraid my knowledge of Uruguayan cinema is pretty slim (what a philistine).
I can tell you that the cast all perform admirably though.

EVIL ON TWO LEGS: Okay, I will obviously get into the realm of major spoilers here. If you don’t want to ruin the film, you should probably skim on to the next section. That’s body count, which is also kind of spoilery, but well, what do you expect, you know how these work...
Still here? Fair enough.
The film is built around the mysterious assailants harming the people around Laura and the unsettling visions she encounters throughout. Most prominent among these visions is a creepy ghostly girl.

Now the twist in this story is all too obvious, even if the details are a little wonky.
The killer is, of course, Laura. We are led to believe that Nestor and Wilson have both contributed to Laura losing her daughter (whether aborted or murdered after she was born). We are also led to believe that Nestor was the father, although it is implied that he and WIlson would regularly abuse young girls (or possibly just hook up with single women). Laura herself could well have been a victim. Whatever finally led to her breakdown, the fact is Laura is fucking nuts and offed the pair of them, cutting out their tongues as she did.

As she’s mental, EVERYTHING depicted in the film is suspect, so the case could be something as simple as Nestor was with Laura and he and WIlson persuaded her to give her daughter up for adoption and now everybody is suffering, ranging through infanticide theories all the way up to Nestor and WIlson abduct and regularly abuse young girls — including Laura — and killed her daughter. Either way, the film does not end happily...


CREATIVE CARNAGE: A first person victim point of view from somebody having their tongue hacked off with a sickle!!!!

DIALOL: Now, my spanish really isn't so hot, so these are from the subtitles, ok...
WILSON: 'It's so neglected here.'
NESTOR: 'I always come back - memories, you know what I mean?'
LAURA: 'I don't want to go there. DON'T GO!'
NESTOR: 'Why did you go up?'
LAURA: 'What did they do to you?'
LAURA: 'Do you miss her? Do you love me?'

10 WORD WRAP UP: Impressive real time feat, shame about the silly twist ending
If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


In the film Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, the title character Leslie is ecstatic to learn that he has an ‘Ahab’. That is, an obsessed nemesis, a do-gooder who cannot rest until he has ended his villainous quarry’s reign of terror.

There are plenty of these scattered throughout horror history: Jason Voorhees has Tommy Jarvis; Chucky has Andy Barclay; and Freddy Krueger has Nancy Thompson.

In Leslie’s case, he has the man behind Freddy himself, Robert Englund, in the guise of Dr Halloran.

But Halloran’s attire should be all too familiar to fans of horror. Halloran is dressed in the same manner as the DEFINITIVE Ahab — Dr Sam Loomis.

Played to perfection by the late great Donald Pleasance, Loomis was the doctor assigned to Halloween’s Michael Myers after he was committed to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium as a boy. Pleasance NAILED it. Veering dangerously close to camp, his Loomis was terrified by what he’d seen inside the boy he tried to reach and realised that it must be stopped at all costs.

As well as the fact that Pleasance was a heavy-hitting, serious actor, the thing that really leaps out when looking at his performance is the steady stream of melodramatic bad-ass lines he cranks out throughout the Halloween series.

Both terrifyingly threatening and hilarious in one go, these lines are ALL GOLD.

So let’s celebrate this amazing character with a look at his greatest dialogue moments. After all, everyone’s entitled to one good scare...

LOOMIS: ‘I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.’

LOOMIS: ‘I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall — looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.’

LOOMIS: ‘He’s gone! He’s gone from here! The evil is gone!’ 

Sheriff Brackett [referring to a half eaten dog]: ‘A man wouldn’t do that.’ 

LOOMIS: ‘This isn’t a man.’

LOOMIS: ‘You’ve got to believe me, Officer, he is coming to Haddonfield... Because I know him! I’m his doctor! You must be ready for him... If you don’t, it’s your funeral!’

Laurie: ‘It WAS the boogeyman.’
LOOMIS: ‘As a matter of fact, it was.’

Neighbour: ‘What's going on out here?’ 
LOOMIS: ‘Call the police! Tell the sheriff I shot him!’ 
Neighbour: ‘Who?’ 
LOOMIS: ‘Tell him, he’s still on the loose!’ 
Neighbour: ‘Is this some kind of joke? I’ve been trick-or-treated to death tonight.’
LOOMIS: ‘You don’t know what death is!’

LOOMIS: ‘He was my patient for fifteen years. He became an obsession with me until I realised there was neither reason nor conscience or anything about him that was even remotely human. An hour ago I stood up and fired six shots into him and he just got up and walked away. I am talking about the real possibility that he is STILL OUT THERE!’   

LOOMIS: ‘I shot him 6 times! I shot him in the heart, but... HE'S NOT HUMAN!’

LOOMIS: ‘In order to appease the gods, the Druid priests held fire rituals. Prisoners of war, criminals, the insane, animals were burned alive in baskets. By observing the way they died, the Druids believed they could see omens of the future. Two thousand years later, we’ve come no further. Samhain isn’t evil spirits. It isn’t goblins, ghosts or witches. It’s the unconscious mind. We’re all afraid of the dark inside ourselves.’

LOOMIS: ‘It’s time, Michael.’

LOOMIS: ‘You’re talking about him as if he were a human being. That part of him died years ago.’

Sheriff Ben Meeker: ‘How could a man do this, Loomis? Tell me.’
LOOMIS: ‘This isn’t a man.’
Sheriff Ben Meeker: ‘Then what is he? Tell me! What the hell are we dealing with here?’
LOOMIS: ‘Evil.’

Sheriff Ben Meeker: ‘This is starting to spook me here, doctor.’
LOOMIS: ‘At least I’m not alone.’

LOOMIS: ‘Six bodies, Sheriff, that’s what I have seen! Between here and Ridgemont. An entire filling station in flames! I’m telling you Michael Myers is here, in this town! He’s here to kill that little girl and anybody who gets in his way!

We’re not talking about any ordinary prisoner, Hoffman! We are talking about evil on two legs.’

LOOMIS: ‘Michael? Why now? You’ve waited 10 years. Why come back now? I knew this day would come. Don’t go to Haddonfield. If you want another victim, take me. But leave those people in peace. Please, Michael? 

Goddamn you.’ [Shoots at Michael]

LOOMIS:Michael? It will destroy you too, one day, Michael! This rage which drives you. You think if you kill them all it will go away? It won’t! You have to fight it, in the place where it’s strongest! WHERE IT ALL BEGAN! If you want to get rid of this rage, Michael, go home, GO HOME! Go to your house! I shall be there waiting for you! You will find HER, waiting for you!’

LOOMIS: ‘I prayed that he would burn in hell. But in my heart, I knew that hell would not have him.’

LOOMIS: ‘You must help me. Your tears will do you no good. He must be stopped!’ 

LOOMIS: ‘After my stroke six years ago they practically had to hold a pistol to my head to get me to retire. But things are different now — I’m different. I’ve buried the ghosts, I’ve buried them in this manuscript. I don't want to practise medicine anymore.’ 

LOOMIS:I’ve wanted to believe it. But I’ve felt Michael's presence, behind these walls, just like all those years ago. Plotting, staring, Staring. Waiting for some signal. I can’t go through this again, not alone. Please, as my colleague, as my friend. Help me.’

LOOMIS:Dr. Wynn, you know it is not wise to play Halloween pranks.’


One from the man who played Loomis in the remake, Malcolm McDowell...

Loomis: ‘The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to move silently among us.’

So there you go, a perfect celebration of the ULTIMATE ‘Ahab’.

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.