For true connoisseurs of the cinema comes The Masters of Cinema‘s latest fantastic find, Phantom, from director FW Murnau (the man behind Nosferatu and The Last Laugh). Long thought lost, this surreal silent epic from 1922 is a brilliant surviving example of German Expressionism and a precursor to Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
Told in flashback, this dream-like masterpiece tells the story of aspiring poet and store clerk Lorenz, who becomes obsessed by a woman called Veronika after she runs him over while driving two white horses. Totally consumed by this apparition, Lorenz loses his job, his mother’s health declines, and when he realises he will never possess Veronika, he falls for her lookalike.
The Masters of Cinema 2-disc set includes the original German-language intertitles with newly translated optional English-language subtitles, and a booklet containing a new essay. Plus, there’s an extra film, Murnau’s Die Finanzen des Großherzogs, a 1925 comedy about a Duke who discovers his tiny duchy may contain a fortune in valuable sulphur deposits. Watch out for an appearance by Max Schreck, aka Count Orlok in Nosferatu.
For a highbrow Halloween treat, you can’t afford to miss this atmospheric oldie. But you must watch this on a very big screen.
When it comes to dysfunctional families, the horror genre is just overflowing with crazed clans from Spider Baby‘s Merrye family, to Leatherface and his cannibalistic clan in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and American Gothic‘s ghoulish Pa and Ma? Now there’s a new family to fear in Staunton Hill, a brutal indie shocker from Cameron Romero – son of zombie-meister George A Romero.
In the backwoods of Virginia in 1969, five friends are hitchhiking their way to Washington DC when the truck they’re riding in breaks down. With a storm approaching, the truck’s driver Quintin suggests they all take refuge in a barn on a nearby farm, which looks deserted.
But it isn’t… as the group discover when wheelchair-bound grandma Geraldine, the larger-than-life Louise (a brilliant turn from Kathy Lamkin) and her mentally challenged son Buddy turn up the next day.
Before you can say ‘Let’s eat some vittles’, the group quickly become caught up in the crazy family’s gruesome sideline in supplying body parts for some unseen medical experiments. Cue blood, guts, and some pretty nasty skinning.
Staunton Hill may not raise the bar in horror, its plot is predictable and the pay off rather weak, but it’s an energetic B-grade movie that doesn’t hold back on the gore, the good-looking victims or the tongue-in-cheek performances. Def one for that Halloween gathering.
Just in time for Halloween, Brain Damage Film releases a new batch of ultra low budget indie horrors on DVD, featuring a delicious brew of bloodsuckers, cannibals, werewolves, vampires and demons. Here’s our look at these six shockers…
AWAKEN THE DEAD
A tattooed priest and a whiny young woman battle the undead inside a zombie-proofed house. Actually not that bad – plus, the fit priest Christopher and cute Morman are pretty cool. The music also kind of rocks.
FIST OF THE VAMPIRE
This Fight Club-inspired zombie crime horror involves a detective fighting his way through an underground world of sex, drugs and violence. Def one for fight fans.
BACHELOR PARTY IN THE BUNGALOW OF THE DAMNED
Remember that not-so great Grace Jones flick Vamp? Well here’s the cut-rate version, with a dash of Porky’s thrown in for good measure. The Hamptons never looked so bad.
TASTE OF FLESH
A sadist targets co-eds to satisfy the desires of a stalker called the Hunter. This wants to be Butch and Sundance for the cannibal generation, but it’s just a bunch of girls screaming. The gore is nil and the rave is the worst I’ve ever seen.
CURSE OF THE WOLF
From the director of Fist of the Vampire comes this discount version of Ginger Snaps, in which were-girl Dakota wants a normal life but she just can’t shake off her hairy past.
HELL HOUSE – THE BOOK OF SAMIEL
More like an episode of Charmed, this has a group of girls trying to stop some demons from re-entering Earth. Actually it’s just lots of screaming. Really dull.