Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Dr. Quinn: She-wolf of the SS

I was buying some DVDs at deepdiscount.com the other day and I was having a look at some of the films by late, great, Italian schlockmeister Bruno Mattei.

At the page for the charming film SS Girls (description: "Female Nazi prostitutes engage in rough S&M practices") what do you think it recommended as a similar title?

Apparently there is a significant crossover between fans of preachy TV dramas and fans of Nazi-themed exploitation films. Who knew?

Friday, 14 December 2007

Hatchet (2006)

This film is a love letter to 80's horror, with all of the good/bad traits that implies. There's nothing original in it, but it's very good at what it does.

The film takes place in (pre-Katrina) New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and our hero Ben (Joel Moore) has broken up with his girlfriend and is in a depressive funk that no amount of boob flashing and wanton debauchery can remedy. To try and take his mind off things, he convinces his friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) to join him on a spooky swamp tour. On the tour he is joined by a couple of middle-aged tourists, two bickering, bubblehead actors (accompanied by a sleazy filmmaker) and a beautiful, mysterious woman who knows more than she's letting on. As luck would have it, the inexperienced tour guide manages to sink their vessel right next to the stomping ground of local legend Victor Crowley, a deformed freak who was taunted by local children before being (supposedly) tragically killed in a Halloween prank gone wrong. If any of this sounds familiar, I'm not surprised.

It takes a while for the villain to appear, but once he does it's a blast. Victor Crowley is played with animal ferocity by hulking behemoth Kane Hodder, who also played Jason in most of the Friday the 13th films. Like Jason, Crowley is superhumanly fast and strong and has a habit of appearing just out of frame where he should be easily spotted by the victims. The gore effects are well done and absurdly exaggerated (which always gets my tick of approval) and it's all accomplished with nary a pixel of CG in sight. Just good, old-fashioned stage blood and rubbery viscera, as it should be. In true 80s horror fashion, the victims frequently act like idiots, knocking Victor down and then running away rather than chopping his damn head off.

The film also features guest spots from 80's horror icons such as Tony Todd and Robert Englund.

As a throwback to 80's horror it succeeds admirably. Now let's hope it doesn't outstay it's welcome with a string of lousy sequels.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Sega Mega Drive, it isn't a spectator sport!!

Now, I never had much experience with the Sega Mega Drive growing up - I was more of a Nintendo kid - but if I'd known they came with promotional comics like this (not to mention that the Mega Drive was a new dimension in space and time), things may have turned out a lot different.

I love the last panel with the man sweating in his easy chair, obviously regretting dropping all that acid in the 70s. You might think that a man having his arm torn off and being attacked by an axe-wielding robotic demon might be a bit extreme in a comic aimed at kids, but this kind of totally rad, in-your-face extremeness was Sega's stock in trade back in the early 90s.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Guy N. Smith Book Review - Crabs' Moon

I think it's only fair to start with a review of the book from which the title of this blog is derived. If you haven't heard of Guy N. Smith, he is a pulp horror writer with roughly fifteen billion books to his name. To say his books move quickly is a bit of an understatement. Characters are routinely introduced and dispatched within the space of a chapter. The whole book is over within a couple of hundred pages and about half of that is spent ineptly describing sex scenes and gory deaths (usually occurring within a few minutes of each other). Obviously, I love them.

Crabs' Moon is actually the fifth in the series. The first book was Night of the Crabs, in which giant crabs march their way up and down the Welsh coast, eating hapless tourists. Crabs' Moon actually tells a story parallel to this one, describing the events occurring at neighbouring Shell Island (i.e. crabs eating more hapless tourists). I wasn't aware until reading the first book later, but Crabs' Moon actually poaches several chapters from Night of the Crabs. One of those chapters is a giant crab attacking a tank (and subsequently hurling it over a cliff), so at least they reused the top shelf material.

I could go into detail about the characters, but they are really just crab-fodder, and none of them are as interesting as pipe-smoking series regular Cliff Davenport, who barely makes an appearance. The plot is standard monsters-on-the-rampage fare and would probably blow away in a stiff breeze. However, if you are a fan of gory, crab-based dismemberment (and who isn't?) then you should check these books out.