OK: so I know Hallowe’en is all over. It’s November.
And I also know that there are 31 days in October.
But I’ve still got a few short’n’sweet Horror movie reviews for you, which due to scheduling issues I haven’t had chance to write up till now. So here we go!
30 Days of Night (2007)
The Alaskan town of Barrow is a remote place, and about to become more isolated once the month long night commences. As the town readies itself, a number of bizarre occurrences foreshadow an unimaginable horror. For the town will be besieged by a group of blood thirsty vampires, allowed free reign due to the towns people’s disbelief and the ongoing dark.
This film hauls vampire folklore into the 21st century and breathes life into the (undead) corpse. The vampires are brutal, savage and powerful. Their leader, played chillingly by Danny Huston brings an unrelenting nightmare to the people of Barrow. This is how vampires are supposed to be – the portrayal of the undead in this film is like the re-imagining of the zombies in 28 Days Later. Suddenly, we are confronted by vampires who are genuinely threatening.
The human leads – Josh Hartnett and lovely Melissa George – also give sympathetic performances. The audience are presented with characters we can empathise with, and share their fear.
The bleak, snowy landscape creates a hopeless and claustrophobic atmosphere. The premise of 30 Days of Night is ingenious, and the film delivers admirably. Recommended viewing, if only to see how ancient vampire myth can be made relevant – and frightening – for today’s audience.
Carry On Screaming (1966)
Yes, it’s the Carry On gang in a homage of sorts to that other British film institution – Hammer. Although the plot manages to mix up elements of House of Wax, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and the Addams Family, it still manages to make some sense and entertain along the way.
Sid James is MIA, replaced in this film by Harry H. Corbett of Steptoe and Son fame. Corbett does an impeccable job as Detective Sergeant Sidney Bung. Also along are many of the usual faces, including Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Joan Simms and Charles Hawtrey.
The creepy show is stolen though by uber vamp Fenella Fielding as Valeria, in her tight red dress; who manages to smoulder like Lily Munster or (Carolyn Jones) Morticia. Utterly gorgeous!
It’s one of the better Carry On films in my opinion, and manages to get a few good gags in along with the usual double entendres. The monsters – Oddbod and Oddbod Junior – scared me to death when I was eight.
Carry On Screaming is great for a bit of light relief from other, truly scary films. And it manages to create a spooky Gothic vibe, too.
The Woman in Black (2012)
Hammer studios really got back in the game with this film. Starring Daniel Radcliffe (yes, Harry Potter) as a young lawyer sent to work in a remote old house, this film manages to inject some real frights.
Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) travels from London to his assignment in the North at spooky old Eel Marsh House. He’s there to examine papers of the deceased owner, but soon finds himself caught between the superstitious (and downright unfriendly) locals and whatever the presence is up at the house.
The Woman in Black was only certified as a 12 in the UK. Hammer (quite uncharacteristically) shed blood, gore, sex and violence and instead concentrate on a film that has an overdose of jumpy frights. The film is a classic ghost story, featuring a lonely haunted house that leaves the viewer truly unnerved. Brilliant!
And there we have it – the end of another Hallowe’en Horror Fest. Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read these reviews. I hope you had a chillingHalloween!