Phobia and His Name Was Jason release on DVD
Horror DVD round-up
For this issue’s delve into the world of summer horror we’re taking a trip around the globe. Starting in the US with one for real horror aficionados, His Name Was Jason (Stax) ●●●● is an exhaustive look at the history of everyone’s favourite hockey-masked serial killer, Jason Voorhees, and his life through 12 Friday the 13th films. They manage to track down and interview everyone who has ever played Jason as well as a host of victims, directors and celebrity fans. Spiral (Universal) ●●● is actually a dark thriller being marketed as a horror (well it is from director Adam Green who gave us Hatchet and Frozen). It does drag in places but builds up a decent level of suspense as loner Joel Moore befriends Amber Tamblyn. Stag Night (Kaleidoscope) ●● is a fairly generic slasher as stag party revellers are chased through subway tunnels by a group of near Neanderthal madmen while The Graves (Anchor Bay) ●● pretty much typifies straight-to-DVD horror: kinda watchable, kinda crappy, too much CGI blood, wooden acting and a vaguely passable, slightly unintelligible plot about a haunted ghost town.
Over the Pacific to Asia, where the title Samurai Zombie (MVM) ●●● pretty much sums up the plot, as undead Japanese warriors slice and dice a family, some crooks and a few cops in rural Japan. Blood (MVM) ●● is an adequate vampire movie with a dash of added kung fu. The Grudge keeps on giving in Ju-On: White Ghost & Black Ghost (4 Digital Media), ●● which is actually two one-hour films on one disc. White Ghost is almost laughably bad as ghosts pop up every five minutes to less and less scary effect, but Black Ghost almost redeems things with a few creepy moments. However, Thai anthology Phobia (Icon) ●●●● is far more entertaining, featuring four sharp, fun, fast-paced ghost stories that all pack a wicked twist.
Back in Europe we have Iceland’s first ever exploitation film, Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (E1) ●●● as eco-tourists are carved up by seafaring rednecks. Classic Italian zombie action from the deranged mind of Lucio Fulci with City of the Living Dead (Arrow) ●●● (also available on Blu-ray). Then there’s the Spanish/Italian co-production of Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (Optimum) ●●●● as the undead chase hippies across the Lake District in this wonderfully vibrant 70s exploitation movie. Which brings us home to the UK, where we end with Resurrecting the Street Walker (Kaleidoscope), ●●●● a nicely balanced, scarily believable mockumentary about a budding filmmaker and his fanatical attempt to complete a lost horror film he finds in a production company’s basement.