Horror has to be one of the most prolific genres, particularly on the direct to DVD market, so as per usual there’s plenty to get through this issue. For the true aficionado Mother of Tears (Optimum) ••• (pictured) is the sequel you’ve been waiting 28 years for, the final part of Dario Argento’s ‘Three Mothers’ triptych that started with 1977’s sublime Suspiria (a true marriage of art, cinema and violence) and 1980’s Inferno. Argento’s daughter Asia takes the starring role as the heroine battling the final witch, the Mother of Tears, who unleashes death and destruction across Rome. It could never quite live up to its legacy and feels dated, but it’s by no means an embarrassing conclusion to the trilogy with Argento still demonstrating a keen eye for cinematic violence.
Commendable distribution company Shameless continue their trawl through cinema’s dark underbelly with rape-revenge thriller Night Train Murders (Shameless) ••• getting it’s first uncut UK release. It’s fairly uncomfortable viewing: think an Italian Last House on the Left, but its ambiguous ending and commentary on social class runs deeper than at first glance. Ratman (Shameless) •• has the immortal tagline: ‘He’s the critter from the shitter’ emblazoned across the cover. Predictably an experiment crossbreeding rats and apes goes awry with the mutant hybrid heading off on a murderous rampage. Not the greatest film but you have to admire Shameless’ dedication in unearthing obscure titles like this.
Thanks to the last decade’s J-horror explosion we’ve become immune to the charms of the Asian market so lets just travel a few more miles round the globe for a double bill of Antipodean horror. Storm Warning (Optimum) ••• is a surprisingly brutal and effective Aussie chiller, which focuses on a city couple who stumble upon a farmhouse of psychopaths while The Ferryman (Revolver) •• starts promisingly as three couples set off on a sailing holiday only to encounter an evil spirit that can jump from body to body with the use of a sacred knife, but quickly chucks it all away becoming increasingly ham-fisted and over the top.
Finally, we just have time for Snoop Dogg taking on Tales From the Crypt in anthology Hood of Horror (DNC) •• and Brit psychological horror The Living and the Dead (DNC) •, which, despite some great acting is tedious, pretentious and amateur.