Our editor-in-chief Nate Yapp is proud to have contributed to the new book Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks, edited by Aaron Christensen. Another contributors include Anthony Timpone, B.J. Colangelo, Dave Alexander, Classic-Horror.com's own Robert C. Ring and John W. Bowen. Pick up a copy today from Amazon.com!

Simon Powell

Simon Powell's picture
Staff Writer
I've been fascinated with horror films ever since I snuck off to a friend's house at the age of 12 to watch “Nightmare on Elm Street”. Shortly afterward, my parents bought a VCR and I began taping Hammer Horror and old Black & White films from the BBC and Channel 4 (as well as re-runs of the original Twilight Zone). I've since expanded my tastes to take in silent films, zombie films, “video nasties” (even if most of them are DULL DULL DULL), Asian gorefests, and cheap Turkish remakes of Hollywood Blockbusters. I now live in England, in the West Midlands (aka “The Birthplace of Heavy Metal”) with my wife and two black witches cats. I think the most pretentious piece of film writing I've ever read was somebody suggesting a shot of David Hemmings playing piano in Argento's “Deep Red” raised questions about Marxist theories of work and leisure. My only other claim to fame is that, apart from my long suffering spouse, I'm the only person I know to have sat through Guy Ritchie's “Swept Away”. Forget snuff films - THAT's a truly horrifying experience.
Posts by Simon Powell

Review: Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

Quatermass and the Pit (Five Million Years to Earth) poster

The late Nigel Kneale was a visionary and ground breaking writer whose 1950s BBC TV Quatermass serials were not only a massive influence on the likes of Doctor Who and The X-Files, and a big hit with the public, but also one of the first attempts to write dark and scary small screen sci-fi aimed purely at adults rather than children. These were all subsequently remade for the big screen by Hammer Studios, and with Optimum Releasing recently bringing out a freshly remastered Blu-ray disc of the third and final story, Quatermass and the Pit, the time is ripe for a fresh look at a film that has aged very well. Director Roy Ward Baker takes a highly imaginative, ideas-packed script and a strong, charismatic lead character and presents a chilling picture of mob mentality, racism, and mankind's violent tendencies.(read more...)

Review: Contamination (1980)

Contamination (1980) poster

Wherever there is a Hollywood sci-fi or horror movie blockbuster, there is usually at least one shameless low budget cash-in lurking somewhere in the wings. Nowadays we have the likes of the Asylum Studio and Transmorphers, but back in the 1970s and 80s, it was often an Italian film producer turning out some product or marketing campaign superficially similar to the latest hit and Contamination is a perfect example of this. It was sold as a clone of Alien, and although they both share some roots in 1950s sci-fi movies, unlike Ridley Scott's film, Contamination fails to expand much on the template, making for a bloody but boring viewing experience.

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Jimmy Sangster (1927 - 2011)

Curse of Frankenstein quad

Jimmy Sangster, whose scripts for The Curse of Frankenstein and Horror of Dracula helped seal the reputation of Hammer Studios as the home of British horror in the 1950s and 60s has passed away at the age of 83.

Born in Wales in 1927, Sangster started his movie career aged 16 as a clapper boy, working his way through various jobs, before ending up as assistant director on Hammer adaptations of BBC Radio serials.

Eventually landing the job of scripting the studio's adaption of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, he made one significant change to the source material, moving the emphasis in the story from the monster to the creator, consequently giving Peter Cushing his breakthrough starring role, and Hammer a hit movie, both in the UK and the US.(read more...)

Review: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13 poster

Assault on Precinct 13 was John Carpenter's first foray into professional filmmaking, and although today it is arguably remembered largely as an urban siege thriller and an homage to the westerns of Howard Hawks, there is also a nod to a classic horror film, as well some weird and ambiguous elements that point to the direction Carpenter was to take with his future work. (read more...)

Review: Mahakaal (1993)

Mahakaal poster

If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Wes Craven is presumably meant to take the chutzpah of Mahakaal as a compliment. A jaw-droppingly blatant rip-off of one of Craven's most famous films, A Nightmare on Elm Street, it is also a frustrating piece of work. Despite being, at times, genuinely creepy, and adding a few inventive touches of it's own, it ultimately fails, because the story changes leave it thematically weaker, and the directors are unwilling or unable to transcend the limitations and demands of the "Bollywood" commercial film-making formula(read more...)

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