The Plague of Halloween Horror Fest

Halloween may be over, but Platinum Al’s still got a couple of movie reviews for ya! Well, I didn’t get time to write ’em up before bed time on the 31st – so here they are!

The Plague of the Zombies (1966)

In a small, remote village in Cornwall, a series of deaths from a strange disease has baffled local doctor Peter Thompson (Brook Williams). He requests assistance from his mentor, Sir James Forbes (Andre Morell), who is accompanied on his journey by his daughter Sylvia (Diane Clare).

When exhuming the plague victims graves reveals a lack of bodies, the doctors are stumped even further. Adding further complication is the tragic and mysterious death of Peter’s wife, Alice (Jacqueline Pearce). Soon, it becomes clear that the local Squire Hamilton (John Carson) – and his band of hedonistic goons – are mixed up in proceedings; with a mixture of voodoo and black magic…

Fans of the Walking Dead, or other modern zombie movies, may find this Hammer production somewhat tame by today’s standards, but there’s a lot to enjoy. The Plague of the Zombies takes a more traditional path with its tale rooted in voodoo, with a clever script that veers away from the usual Gothic creatures employed by Hammer.

Neither Lee or Cushing make an appearance, sadly – but the acting is particularly good never the less, with Andre Morell shining. The Plague of the Zombies is successful entertainment and shows Hammer trying to be innovative with it’s output.

8/10

The Crow (1994)

Our final film for this year’s Halloween Horror Fest is a 1990s classic that made a massive impression on me, when I first viewed it in the cinema.

In a city overrun with crime, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are ruthlessly murdered by a criminal gang. One year later, Eric is revived through the spirit magic of a crow, to enact revenge on the killers. One by one, the perpetrators meet brutal ends, but the complicated web of crime continuously unravels, leading Eric to the gangster overlord, Top Dollar (Michael Wincott).

The Crow is a magnificently macabre, dark tale – a violent, action-packed revenge story with gothic supernatural elements. It may not be pure horror, but this twisted superhero drama is definitely pure Halloween. Brandon Lee is the soul of the movie, he’s both prefect and unforgettable in the role of Eric. Sadly, his accidental death during filming adds a haunting tone to the film. Even so, The Crow is a fine testament to Lee.

Visually stunning on the screen, the soundtrack is also fantastic: one of the greatest soundtrack albums ever compiled, it’s a classic of it’s time.

The Crow still has an incredible emotional impact. It’s a simple, moralistic fable wrapped up in a bloody revenge movie – with a sympathetic anti-hero and melancholic tone. Absolute class.

R.I.P. Brandon Lee

10/10

Hallowe’en Playlist

All these posts about horror movies, it’s about time there was a post devoted to music for Hallowe’en!

I have a couple of Hallowe’en compilation CDs, this playlist puts together various songs not on those collections.  Some of the choices are obvious horror themes (“The Number of the Beast”, “Nasty”); others are more tenuous (“Devil in Disguise”, “Hotter Than Hell”).  Other selections are related, directly or not, to great scary movies: you know where “Bad Moon Rising” is from, right?

Either way, there’s a variety of styles here – suitable for (most) Hallowe’en gatherings…

  1. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising”
  2. The Damned – “Nasty”
  3. Elvis Presley – “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise”
  4. Ramones – “Pet Semetary”
  5. Motorhead – “Hellraiser”
  6. Johnny Cash – “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”
  7. Iron Maiden – “The Number of the Beast”
  8. The Misfits – “Vampira”
  9. Kiss – “Hotter Than Hell”
  10. Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil”
  11. Zombina & The Skeletones – “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Dead)”
  12. Ozzy Osbourne – “Mr Crowley”
  13. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You”
  14. GBH – “Horror Story”
  15. Van Halen – “Runnin’ with the Devil”
  16. David Bowie – “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”
  17. The Cult – “The Witch”
  18. Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
  19. Alice Cooper – “I Love the Dead”