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!

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.

(read more...)

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...)

Review: House (1977)

House 1977 poster

One of the great things about horror films is the constant evolution of the genre; just when you think you've seen every possible take on a premise, somebody will come along with a new twist on an old favorite. The bare bones of the plot of House (a group of teenage girls, trapped in a creepy old mansion, being murdered one by one) may sound very familiar. However, in the hands of a first-time director with a background in both art and advertising, it becomes a chaotic and experimental piece of work that, aside from being baffling, bloody, and disturbing, is a great example of the theory of Pure Cinema. (read more...)

Ingrid Pitt (1937 - 2010)

Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid Pitt, best remembered to horror fans for her bloodthirsty and sexually charged roles in The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, and The House that Dripped Blood has died at the age of 73. The BBC are reporting that she passed away in a London hospital after collapsing several days ago. (read more...)

TCSM vs. the BBFC

Texas Chain Saw Massacre quad

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Month. Many films have clashed with British censors over the years but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre does have its own unique place in the weird and wonderful history of censorship in the UK, having been present at several significant points in that story over the last four decades. In 1974, the Secretary of the British Board of Film Classification James Ferman condemned TCSM as "...the pornography of terror," but his plans to keep it completely out of UK cinemas were foiled on its initial release. Then, despite the best efforts of the BBFC to keep the film off the small screen, it went on to be a black market video nasty hit in the '80s, before the powers-that-be threw in the towel in the '90s, and granted it a legitimate, uncut release. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a perfect example of a film that undermines their whole method of, and approach to, censorship as well as showing the extent to which the process is arbitrary, driven by political and media pressure, and riddled with class prejudice.

(read more...)

Review: Street Trash (1987)

Street Trash poster

Murder, rape, necrophilia, police brutality, booze, racism, melting flesh and a dismembered penis - Street Trash certainly packs a lot into 90 minutes. While it's easy to criticize the tasteless treatment of the subject matter, especially the relentlessly negative portrayal of homeless people, such an attitude misses the whole point of a film like this. Whether it's the Sex Pistols singing "Belsen was a Gas" or comedians like Lenny Bruce doing routines about race and religion, there will always be artists who gleefully trample over society's boundaries about what is acceptable material, and Street Trash definitely belongs in this category. A more valid criticism of the film is that it fails to exploit a great opportunity to go beyond the nihilism.(read more...)

Review: Freaks (1932)

Freaks poster

Freaks, Tod Browning's peek behind the curtains of a circus sideshow, was greeted with disgust and outrage on its initial release due to its unflinching portrayal of disability, as well as its gruesome ending, (and was not helped by the lurid title and marketing campaign – "Can a full grown woman truly love a MIDGET?"). MGM quickly disowned the film, letting it sink into semi-mythical obscurity, but the last 40 years or so have seen a massive upswing in both the popularity and reputation of Freaks. If you can look past its notoriety, it paints a largely compassionate picture of the title characters, and has an amazing and inflammatory message of the downtrodden and mocked violently getting one up over the beautiful people.(read more...)

Search