Category Archives: Foreign Horror Films
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Written by Tommy Wirkola and Stig Frode Henriksen
My wife has suggested to me for years that we should take some time off and go camping. Although it sounds like fun I still find myself coming up with all sorts of reasons not to go. So far I’ve come up with Bigfoot, the Wendigo, werewolves, vampires and the Blair Witch just to name a few. Needless to say, she’s not buying my bullshit. But now I can add a reason to the list that I know she can’t say no to: Nazi Zombies. All I have to do is show her “Dead Snow” and let her see what happens to a group of medical students who take a holiday in a remote cabin and are beset upon by a blitzkrieg of the undead. “Dead Snow” gives a pretty half-ass reason for the existence of this walking dead gestapo, but to be honest that doesn’t really matter. “Dead Snow” has helped me to realize that it doesn’t matter how the zombies were created. What does matter is how much blood, guts and gore can be spilled and how inventive it can be done. Axes, chainsaws, scythes, hammers, shotguns and machine guns all play a major role in this movie; not to mention a snowmobile that doubles as a zombie Cuisinart. “Dead Snow” is bloody fun from beginning to end. Just remember one thing: it’s all fun and games until the Nazi Zombies show up.
Originally it was going to be called “Rød Snø” (or Red Snow in English), as an homage to the Swedish/Norwegian mini-series with the same name.
This film’s main trailer shows black-and-white World War II archive footage including battleships, parachuting and a command room featuring Adolf Hitler but this material is not seen in the actual movie.
The Nazi zombies in this film are a combination of typical zombies in popular culture and ancient Norse mythical beings known as draug. A draug is a undead being who would (like a vampire) inhabit graves. They would often out of jealously live in the graves of important men as they often had treasures in them and protect these treasures as if they were their own.
- Let’s Get This Party Started (unicornmeadowmuffins.wordpress.com)
- Movie Goodness: The Horror List-Zombies (dawningcreates.com)
- Seven of the Deadliest Zombie Hordes (dreadcentral.com)
- Zombie Author J.R. Angelella Talks Body Parts, Neckties, His Own Zombie Code, and More! (dreadcentral.com)
- Bloodstorm DVD Review (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Shaun of the Dead (2004) (sweatpantsandpopcorn.com)
- Dead Snow (2009): Norwegian Nazi-Zombie Fun (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Get Ginnifer Goodwin’s Pure-as-Snow Makeup Look (bellasugar.com)
- Viral Media: Hackers, Nazi Zombies RUN! (zombielaw.wordpress.com)
- Norwegian Ninja (2010) (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- Troll Hunter (simontrail.wordpress.com)
- Eunice does Nature of the Beast (mutantreviewers.wordpress.com)
- Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (tammysalyer.wordpress.com)
Written and Directed by Pascal Laugier
At the beginning of “Martyrs” a young girl, clad only in a t-shirt and underpants and covered with welts and bruises is seen running from a building and down the street. Her name is Lucie and she has been held captive for a long period of time. We do not know why, nor do we know by whom. Lucie goes to live at an orphanage where she becomes friends with Anna (Morjana Alaoui, “Special Forces“). It is while Lucie is in the orphanage that we discover that she believes she is being tortured by an emaciated woman with cuts and scars all over her body.
15 years pass and Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï, “Hereafter” ) invades the home of the couple she believes is responsible for the torture that she endured during her period of captivity. She murders everyone in the house, including the teenage son and daughter. She calls Anna and tells her what she has done and Anna arrives at the house. At first she believes that Lucie may have murdered the wrong people; but Lucie is insistent that the man and woman are the ones who hurt her. Later, Anna discovers that the woman is still alive and tries to help her, but Lucie catches her and bludgeons the woman to death. Lucie is then again attacked by the emaciated woman. She cuts Lucie’s arms and slams her head violently into the wall. Anna only sees Lucie hurting herself and realizes that the woman is a figment of Lucie’s imagination. Lucie runs through the glass door and into the pouring rain. Before Anna can stop her, she cuts her throat, committing suicide.
Later, after Anna has brought Lucie inside and prepared her for burial, she finds an area underneath the house that is exactly how Lucie described her place of captivity. She finds a girl, chained and blindfolded. The girl is murdered before Anna can do much to help her. Anna is then captured and the cycle begins again. A mysterious woman (Catherine Bégin, “The Uncanny“) explains to her that she belongs to a society that is hoping for the discovery of the afterlife through the creation of martyrs. Anna is chained and left in darkness. Every day she is beaten mercilessly and treated with absolute violence until she finally breaks.
The one thing that I usually don’t do in regards to reviewing a film is to give a long descriptive narrative concerning the plot. Halfway through watching “Martyrs”, I realized that there was going to be no other way to get my point across about the film. You need to feel for these girls the same way that I did. You need to understand their pain. “Martyrs” is one of the single most disturbing films I have ever witnessed. At times I found myself checking the clock, hoping that it would be over soon. But then to my dismay I found that I could not tear my eyes away from what was happening onscreen. “Martyrs” is not a film that you can think you know from reading the plot. “Martyrs” is a film that you must discover for yourself. I must give you fair warning; for better or for worse, it will change you.
In Pascal Laugier’s previous film House of Voices, the main character is called Anna Jurin. In Martyrs, Anna is one of the female leads’ character names, whilst Lucie Jurin is the other.
- Bantayog Martyrs: Between Vatican II and Martial Law (edicio.wordpress.com)
- Martyrs (2008) Horror Movie Review (oldgamereviewer.com)
- THE TALL MAN Official Trailer Is Even Scarier (geektyrant.com)
- Watch Jessica Biel in Action in this New Clip from THE TALL MAN (collider.com)
- The Tall Man comes up short on terror (guardian.co.uk)
- RIP Arvind Kejriwal (fakeindianjournalist.wordpress.com)
- Man wanted for Miami shooting spree caught in Port St. Lucie backyard (miamiherald.com)
- Indian troops martyr 13 Kashmiris in May (nation.com.pk)
- Birth anniversary of martyr Sukraraj marked (thehimalayantimes.com)
- St. María Goretti, a child martyred for defending her virginity | ROME REPORTS TV News Agency (amhec.wordpress.com)
- Three more bodies recovered from Gayari avalanche site (nation.com.pk)
- The story of Sitra’s martyrs (bahraincoordinatingcommittee.org)
- ‘The Tall Man’ International Trailer: ‘Martyrs’ Director Puts Jessica Biel Through a Different Horror (slashfilm.com)
- Birthday of Gayari martyr celebrated (nation.com.pk)
- Report proposes martyrs’ categorisation (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Movie Discussion: Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs (2008) (girlmeetsfreak.com)
- Lucy Hall falls back to fifth in cycling at triathlon (itv.com)
- Indie Horror: The Tall Man Trailer (theartsyfilmblog.com)
- “The Secret” Trailer: Where Are the Children? (news.softpedia.com)
- London 2012 Olympics: Day Eight morning sessionLive – BBC Sport (bbc.co.uk)
- First Clip from The Tall Man Chases Down Jessica Biel (dreadcentral.com)
- Unsettling International Trailer for THE TALL MAN with Jessica Biel (geektyrant.com)
- The French Trailer For Pascal Laguier’s THE TALL MAN (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- THE TALL MAN International Trailer and Poster (collider.com)
- Fantasia Faceoff: The Tall Man vs. Headshot (bloodyunderrated.net)
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN-United Kingdom-1957
Directed by Terence Fisher
Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster
Based on the novel by Mary Shelley
Although it was not their first movie together; that would be Lawrence Olivier‘s “Hamlet” in 1948, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee begin with “The Curse of Frankenstein” what would be a pairing that is yet to be matched in the horror genre. Cushing is Victor Frankenstein; a man obsessed with the creation of human life and who will stop at nothing to achieve that goal. Lee is his hideous creation, a creature so foul that the faint of heart would be very wise not to see this film.
Well, maybe I should say the faint of heart in the year 1957, the time of the film’s release. Hammer Films retelling of the Frankenstein could actually be considered quite a gory affair for its day. One scene in particular has blood pouring from the creature’s eye as he shot by rifle at close range. Even more shocking than the gore is Cushing’s portrayal of Victor Frankenstein. Colin Clive’s rendition in the 1931 “Frankenstein” was one that elicited sympathy for his character as he was torn by his desire to create life and his guilt over his monstrous achievement. Here, Cushing portrays Victor as uncaring, lecherous and capable of cold-blooded murder. The creature is merely a hideous reflection of his creator.
This is literally my first time seeing “The Curse of Frankenstein.” It is a film that for one reason or another has eluded me for all these years. I found it to be an incredible addition to the Frankenstein saga and was more than pleased at the pairing of Lee and Cushing in the key roles. Each actor brings strength to their role that comes from years of honing their craft to the level of masters. If you’re looking for an old fashioned film to watch late at night with the lights out and a bowl of popcorn on your lap then you need look no further than “The Curse of Frankenstein.”
For many years this held the distinction of being the most profitable film to be produced in England by a British studio.
The idea originated with Milton Subotsky, who went on to co-found Amicus Films, Hammer’s main rival during the 1960s and early 1970s. The script was revised several times to avoid repeating any elements from the Universal Frankenstein series. As part of this effort, new monster make-up had to be devised especially for this film.
The original concept for this film was a black-and-white feature with Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster. Universal threatened a lawsuit if Hammer copied any elements from the classic Universal version. Hammer had Jimmy Sangster completely redo the script and had Jack Asher shoot it in Eastmancolour.
- Ales Hemsky played in the world roller hockey championships (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
- Hammer Glamour And Sartorial Chic by Simon Pritchard (retrochick.co.uk)
- National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (atheahusted.wordpress.com)
- Dr. Frankenstein’s Europe, No Easy Greece Exit, Bank Runs (sgtreport.com)
- Christopher Lee 90th Birthday: 90 Reasons The Horror Icon is Awesome (news.moviefone.com)
- ‘The Horror of Frankenstein’: Rare behind-the-scenes footage from 1970 (dangerousminds.net)
- 5 secrets hidden in Google’s tribute to the first drive-in theater (csmonitor.com)
- Quatermass and the X (moviemorlocks.com)
- What might have been (moviemorlocks.com)
- Dracula, a tribute (onceuponascreen.wordpress.com)
- Returning from a two-month break (milestobake.wordpress.com)
- ArtsBeat: ‘Frankenstein’ Comes Alive in the App Store (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Looking at the Mad Scientist: Frankenstein Online (anniecardi.com)
- Frankenstein (integrated4.wordpress.com)
- Cloud Rhapsody (throughthehealinglens.com)
- The Curse of the Werewolf (jmountswritteninblood.com)
- ‘Prometheus’ unbound in theaters, both the ‘Alien’ and the stitched-together-from-dead-bodies-by-a-mad-scientist-where-lightning-and-neck-bolts-may-or-may-not-be-involved kind (timesunion.com)
Directed by André Øvredal
Written by André Øvredal and Håvard S. Johansen
Leave it to the Norwegians to make a mockumentary about a trio of college students who follow a guy around while he hunts and kills trolls. Here in America we get Bigfoot and the Blair Witch. Well, I guess Norway had to compete with us somehow or another. I’m not being racist or xenophobic here; I’m just saying that nobody does troll hunting like some big bearded Norwegian named Hans. I’m serious as a heart attack here. Just follow the guy around and you will learn all kinds of troll information. For instance, did you know that trolls eat Christians? There is a scene in this very movie where Hans plays ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus‘ on the loudspeaker and this big freaking troll gets all sex nuts and retard strong and starts chasing him. Another poor Christian fella gets eaten alive! I am not kidding and I am not making fun of Christians; I’m just stating the stone cold Gospel according to trolls.
Do you know why they put up those big metal towers with the super-duper high voltage power lines? It sure as hell isn’t to keep your curling iron running. It’s to keep trolls out of populated areas. Also did you know that are two classes of Trolls? There are Mountain trolls and there are woodland trolls. But after that there are several sub-classes within the two classes. Did you know that when you kill a troll it either turns to stone or explodes, depending on its age? You didn’t know that? What in the hell would you people do without me? Oh wait, don’t answer that. You’d just watch Trollhunter and find out all this info.
Anyway, I’m having fun with this review because I get the odd feeling that the filmmakers had a lot of fun making Trollhunter. The film plants its tongue so deeply into its cheek that it grows roots. There’s even a ‘we found this footage, but we didn’t find the people who shot it’ type of disclaimer at the beginning and the end of the film. Plus, if you’re up on your entire childhood fairy tales there’s a fantastic homage to one involving three billy goats.
I don’t have a lot to gripe about with Trollhunter. My only problem with the film is that it’s too long and tends to drag a little at the end. Other than that, it’s a pretty damn good little movie. Now if you will excuse me I need to do some troll research on Wikipedia.
Summit Entertainment bought the rights to produce an American remake before this film’s initial release.
The HDDs used by the students are LaCie Rugged portable drives.
- This is what happens when you mix the Troll Snot with the Mummy Dust . . . (kendrakandlestar.wordpress.com)
- Review: Troll Hunter (2010) (thefilmoracle.wordpress.com)
- Film Review No.103: The Troll Hunter (Trolljegeren) (filmdump.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts on Andre Ovredal’s Troll Hunter (hkauteur.wordpress.com)
- Trailer Talk: Thale (2012) (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- Troll (poemsforkush.com)
- Troll Hunter – Film Review (dimorphism.wordpress.com)
- Scandi ‘Phenomena’ goes to Giddings (variety.com)
- Never trust a beautiful woman with a cow’s tail [Trailer Frenzy] (io9.com)
- Durotar Rares (bubblesofmischief.com)
- Rider Strong: The Resistable Rise of the Mockumentary (news.moviefone.com)
- Troll Hunter: Childhood Nightmares Become Missed Eco-Tourism Opportunities (alexoxborough.wordpress.com)
- Trolls (mommasmoneymatters.wordpress.com)
- Re: Paul Krugman — world champion troll (bitcointalk.org)
- Norway: Breivik And The Death Of Multiculturalism – OpEd (eurasiareview.com)
- Places with single-letter names (including seven places in Norway called Å) (boingboing.net)
- Supernatural Horror Film Thale Taps Norse Myth (wired.com)
- Anders Breivik trial: Bomb went off with ‘a huge roar’ in Norway capital (theprovince.com)
- Georgia dash cam Bigfoot video (markosun.wordpress.com)
- Competition: Win Headhunters Goddies! (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- These ‘Vampires’ Don’t Sparkle (Review) (popmatters.com)
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- Film Review No.118: The Avengers (filmdump.com)
Directed by Nick Cohen
Written by Mark Anthony Galluzo and Chris Baker
The Reeds is the kind of movie that you watch because you want to see what happens next. It’s not that you’re interested, it’s just that since you’ve watched this much you may as well go a bit further. The film tells of a group of young Londoners who charter a boat christened the Corsair Star through the reeds of the Norfolk Broads. Now, seeing as this is a horror movie, we very well can’t have them make it safely through so they can go home and live happily ever after. No, we need frights. So, let’s throw in an enigmatic gang of youths that they encounter at different points in the film. How about the hooded figure carrying a shotgun? Or the skeletal remains in cages below the surface of the water. But wait, there’s also a twist of an ending that you see coming a mile away, or not.
There’s really not a whole lot that can be said about this film and therein lies the trouble with it. The cast is credible, but they really don’t generate any air of excitement among them. No character stands out and no scene stands out. As for any scary scenes they are telegraphed long before they occur.
It’s quite interesting that a film like this should be set on water. Simply put, it’s stagnant.
No trivia for this film
Written and Directed by Pal Oie
At the beginning of Hidden, a hand emerges from the ground of a forest floor. It is a young boy and he is running away from something or someone. But his running causes a tragic accident that affects the life of another young boy. Years later, the boy from the ground returns home to say his goodbyes to his dead mother and the house she kept him a prisoner in for many years of his young life. But he discovers that sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone.
Hidden is the type of ghost story that is loaded with the scares that you know are going to happen, but you still find yourself jumping in spite of yourself. It even pays tribute, or maybe it just rips off, the George C. Scott ghost story The Changeling. In any event, Hidden is a very well told thriller despite it’s been there, done that feel. Another fault of the film is that it asks way too many questions yet provides far too little answers. I don’t know if the Norwegians are as sequel hungry as we Americans are, but it sure feels that that is what they are doing.
Kristoffer Joner is decent as Kai Koss, the boy who emerges from the forest floor and is now a grown man nineteen years later. The big problem with his performance is that he relies on facial expressions a bit too much. You can only carry a film so long with a dumb look on your face. Cecilie Mosli is better as Sara, the cop who is all too familiar with Kai’s past.
Hidden is one of those films that you watch as a substitute when you can’t watch what you really want to. It’s okay, though. It’s not a bad film, it just looks like one.
Sorry, no trivia for this film.
Written and Directed by Greg Mclean
Michael Vartan as Pete McKell
Sam Worthington as Neil Kelly
John Jarratt as Russell
Mia Wasikowska as Sherry
In the history of the cinema there really haven’t been that many good giant crocodile movies. In fact, there have probably only been two. The first of course was Alligator (1980), directed by Lewis Teague and written by John Sayles and Frank Perilli. The second would of course be 2007′s Rogue.
A group of tourists are on a river cruise in Kakadu National Park, located in the Northern Territory of Australia. The tour guide, Kate, sees a flare go up and by law is required to investigate. The tour boat suffers damage to it’s hull and must be run ashore onto a small island until help can arrive. Good idea, bad location. The group is stranded in the lair of a very large and very aggressive crocodile that soon makes them regret such a snappy decision. The crocodile makes quick work of one tourist and then proceeds to have its way with two more later on in the film. It’s up to Kate and the few remaining survivors to figure a way out of this mess before they too become Crocodile Kibble.
Rogue is Director Greg Mcleans’ followup to his 2005 independent horror hit Wolf Creek. He doesn’t knock this one out of the park like he did with the previous film, but he does make a definite home-run. There were just a few moments in the film where it seemed to bog down. All in all, though, Mclean should be commended for an excellent story and excellent direction. The cast led by Radha Mitchell and also starring Wolf Creek alumnae John Jarratt as well as future Avatar and Alice in Wonderland stars Sam Worthington and Mia Wasikowska make for an excellent ensemble.
Rogue, like Wolf Creek before it, is based on a true story. In Australia in the 1970′s there was a giant crocodile that was attacking boats. It was even given a nickname.
Oh, by the way, Alligator wasn’t really a giant crocodile film. But who’s keeping score?
Directed by Neil Marshall
Written by Neil Marshall
Sean Pertwee as Sgt. Harry G. Wells
Kevin McKidd as Pvt. Cooper
Emma Cleasby as Megan
Liam Cunningham as Capt. Ryan
Thomas Lockyer as Cpl. Bruce Campbell
Before there was The Descent, there was Dog Soldiers; Neil Marshalls’ 2002 debut film about a British Squad of soldiers on a training mission in the Highlands of Scotland who encounter and do fierce battle with a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves. With this film Marshall put himself solidly on the list of horror directors to keep a close eye on.
Dog Soldiers is a film that combines the best (read as most exciting) elements of Aliens, Predator and the werewolf genre in general to make a horror film that is every bit as fun as it is scary and intense. It is a thrill a minute joy ride through the world of the werewolf. By the way, these are not your Twilight werewolves that you can take a rolled up newspaper to. These are the werewolves that would have made Little Red Riding Hood piss her pants and crap her drawers. They are big, mean, terrifying brutes with no remorse and plenty of appetite. They are the bastard children of Peter Stumpf and The Howling rolled into one.
There is not one moment in this film where you feel that it is safe to take a breath. Every time you try, you are once again assaulted by a wave of action and horror. This film, like The Descent in 2005, does something that not too many horror films are capable of nowadays and that is that it scares the living piss out of you.
If you haven’t seen this film yet, all I can say is this:
What the hell are you waiting for?
Directed by Neil Marshall
Written by Neil Marshall
Shauna Macdonald as Sarah
Natalie Jackson Mendoza as Juno
Alex Reid as Beth
Saskia Mulder as Rebecca
MyAnna Buring as Sam
Nora-Jane Noone as Holly
The Descent is one of the most harrowing and nerve-wracking horror films of the last twenty years. It is a claustrophobia-inducing nightmare of a motion picture that will leave you feeling breathless, nervous and downright terrified of the things that go bump in the dark. After seeing this film for the first time in theaters in 2005, I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye for a week or more. That is a testament to just how powerful the direction is in this film. In fact, from the writing to the direction and everything in between there is not a weak moment in this film.
Six women, all friends, travel to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina for a caving expedition. At first thinking that they are inside a fully explored cave, the women are eventually told by one of their members that she has led them to an unexplored cave system. Within the confines of the cave they are attacked by a strange group of creatures. What was once a struggle to make it out of the cave now becomes a struggle to make it out alive.
What impressed me the most about this film is that each woman in the group has her own personality. None of them are interchangeable. They each have their own thoughts, fears and different ways of handling a terrifying situation. Writer-director Neil Marshall has crafted a horror film with a heart and a brain. There is not one illogical moment in this film that I can see. It is as well-made a horror film as Jaws, The Exorcist or Alien.
Of course no horror film is complete without monsters. The Descent delivers some of the most fear-inducing monsters in recent memory. The creatures put me in mind of a legendary character known as Sawney Beane. He was the head of a clan of 48 incestually bred children who lived in the coastal cave off Bannane Head near what is now South Ayrshire in Scotland. Before being captured and executed, it is believed that they were responsible for the cannibalistic deaths of over 1,000 people. The film also puts me in mind of the novel ‘Off Season’ by Jack Ketchum. The novel is also about a family of in-breds who prey on unsuspecting travelers for the purpose of cannibalisation.
Finally, the best thing about The Descent is that it manages to do what a majority of the horror films of recent years has failed to do. Scare the living sh*t out of you.
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur
Cecile De France as Marie
Maiwenn Le Besco as Alexia
Philippe Nahon as Le tueur
You know how you know that you’re watching a movie that is pretty much going to make you go “what the f**k”? It’s when you see a beat-up pick-up truck parked on a farm road with what appears to be a male driver receiving fellatio from what appears to be a dark-haired female passenger. Then the camera cuts to outside the truck on the driver side. The drivers arm reaches out and in it he has a severed female head. A dark-haired severed female head. The same one he was just getting fellatio from just moments ago. You may now go “what the f**k?”
That’s just part of the insanity that is High Tension, the breakout film from Alexandre Aja that pretty much gave him a career here in the United States. It is the story of two girls, Marie and Alex, who travel to Alex’s parents farm for a weekend visit. They are settled in for the night when the doorbell rings. Alex’s father answers the door and is slashed in the face and then decapitated in a most unconventional way by the madman. Marie hides and is witness to Alex’s mother having her throat brutally slashed. Alex is kidnapped by the killer after her brother is the last person murdered by the psychopath. Marie gives pursuit in a desperate attempt to save her friend.
Ok, I’ll be stopping right there. If I tell you any more about the film it will just give away the entire ending. There is a huge twist in the film that on one hand is pretty damn amazing and on the other hand just a big damn plot hole. Personally, I thought it was a little bit of both. The performances in the film are good. Cecile De France and Philippe Nahon give outstanding performances as Marie and Le tueur (The Killer). The film is a little short on story sometimes, but it makes up for quite well by amping up the gore to a mind-numbing level.
The film was one of the first in the resurgence of French horror films. There have been better since then (Frontier(s) and Inside), but this one, despite it’s flaws, is still a nice little addition to the list.