DVD Round-up: Horror
- Henry Northmore
- 2 October 2009
The films that want to make you scream
We’ll start our trawl though the best (and worst) of recent horror DVD releases with the only movie in our countdown to get a (limited) theatrical release. Wolf Creek was one of the most savage horror movies of the last few years and Greg MacLean is back with more terror in the outback with rampaging crocodile flick Rogue (Icon) ●●● It’s your standard Jaws affair stripped of the brutality of MacLean’s debut, but entertaining nonetheless.
Now for a double bill of the undead. I Sell the Dead (Anchor Bay) ●●● never quite lives up to its promise as Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden rob graves, battling vampires and zombies along the way, in this kooky Hammer Horror homage. Zombie comedy Wasting Away (Kaleidoscope) ●●● has its moments but fails as much as it succeeds.
Next we go searching for ghosts. Brittany Murphy and Thora Birch star in Deadline (Metrodome) ●●● as a writer moves to an isolated retreat that (surprise, surprise) turns out to be haunted. The Books of Blood (Lionsgate) ●●● is another haunted house story, this time set in Edinburgh and based on the short story by Clive Barker. It starts strong but can’t quite capture the dark perversity of Barker’s writing. Death of a Ghost Hunter (Brain Damage) ●●● manages some genuine scares on a micro budget but is the only film we can recommend from Brain Damage’s new budget horror range (other titles include Prey for the Beast and Torture Me No More at £2.99 each) with a clear conscience.
Finally it’s time for some slice and dice action. If you love the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, Smash Cut (Lionsgate) is the perfect homage to his early splatter movies. There are far better Texas Chainsaw Massacre-rip offs than Cameron (son of George A) Romero’s Staunton Hill (Anchor Bay) ●● who doesn’t seem to have inherited any of his father’s skill, but at least when the action kicks in it’s suitably gruesome.
Dr Chopper (MVM) ● is a cheap slasher with a mad doctor trying to carve up a group of teens for his bizarre experiments. Mr Halloween (MVM) ● is even more painful as a serial killer uses real body parts as props in his Halloween haunted house attraction.
But we’ll end on a high note: imagine if Pedro Almodóvar remade Scream you might end up with something like Sexy Killer (Momentum) ●●●●, a smart and sassy Spanish slasher movie that has Marcarena Gómez carving up her college classmates before throwing a whole heap of zombies into the mix in the final reel. Funny, clever and gloriously self-aware.