Horror Channel FrightFest has unleashed Graham Humphrey’s spooktacular new artwork for this year’s annual Bank Holiday event taking place at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from 24 to 28 August 2017.
Drawing on the revivals of genre icons Chucky, Victor Crowley and Leatherface and paying homage to the annual event’s return to the Empire (aka Cineworld Leicester Square), Graham has created the FrightFest Phantom…
‘My image is an attempt to amalgamate the Gothic roots of horror with the 70s Monster revival that saturated the US and UK, inspiring generations of filmmakers that created some of the most successful film franchises and oddities of the last 40 years,’ says Humphreys. ‘Universal monsters meets 70s bubble gum pop. I also thought it would be fun to play with the idea of a FrightFest Phantom, the face behind the best in horror and added the scratches and dirt to make it look like old damaged film stock.’
Festival Passes and day tickets for Friday and Monday are still available.
The nightmare is about to begin!
Lobotomised patients, a cheeky dwarf, a pair of vicious biker boys, and a prowling monster keep Robin Askwith awake at night in this outrageous 1973 horror spoof. Imagine Confessions of a Pop Performer meets Blood Feast by way of Carry on Screaming.
Michael Gough (Konga, Horrors of the Black Museum) chews the scenery as never before playing the mad Pavlovian scientist, Dr Storm, who is hell bent on creating on an army of obediant slave through experimental brain surgery. And it’s Askwith’s burnt-out singer pop singer and dolly bird Judy (Vanessa Shaw) who are next in line for his scapel…
Featuring bloody decapitations (via a luxury Rolls), gratuitous nudity and a melty monster getting it on with a cripple, this horror oddity from arthouse movie distributor turned director Antony Balch combines exploitation and parody to great effect, while the characters are an outrageous treat. None more so than Gough, who plays Storm as a cross between Bela Lugosi in The Devil Bat and Colin Clive in Frankenstein. And the fact he plays it straight (he didn’t know it was a spoof) only makes his performance one to relish.
Dennis Price (Theatre of Blood) puts in a boozy cameo as a leering old queen, Ellen Pollack gets some great lines as Dr Storm’s Dominatrix-attired assistant, while Skip Martin (Masque of the Red Death) is a comic riot as Frederick the dwarf. His cries of ‘Shish Kebab!’, despite his speech impediment, is LOL.
Shot over 22 days on a tiny £22,000 budget, Horror Hospital was shot on location at Knebworth House (for the exteriors) and the former Battersea Park Town Hall (for the interiors). It was released in the UK with an ad campaign comparing it to Coma.
THE UK RELEASE
The OEG Classic Movies Blu-ray/DVD print has been transferred in HD from the original 35mm camera negative, and includes the following special features:
• Audio commentary with producer Richard Gordon (this is from the 2010 US release)
• Robin Askwith is Admitted to Horror Hospital (The hash cookie story is a highlight).
• Operating Out of Battersea: The Making of Horror Hospital (lots of talking heads discussing how the filmmakers actually got something in the can despite the budget).
• Trailer (when it was on a double bill with The Corpse Grinders)
• New artwork by Graham Humphreys
DID YOU KNOW?
Director Antony Balch, whose only other feature was Secrets of Sex (1970), was responsible for releasing the sound version of Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 documentary Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages with a commentary by William S Burroughs, whom he’d collaborated with on a series of film shorts.
The fiendish folks over at FrightFest HQ have revealed this year’s festival poster artwork, by British graphic artist Graham Humphreys. Here’s what Graham had to say about his spook-tacular new design:
‘While I was looking for a theme for this year’s poster, I ran with the idea of magic. At a recent visit to the incredible Cinema Museum in Kennington (one of my favourite haunts) I was admiring their extensive collection, among which I noticed a number of Victorian Magic Lanterns. This formed the basis of my concept, the idea of magical projection through one of these exotic devices. Running with the theme, I took the application of Aleister Crowley’s Magik rituals and placed our regular FrightFest monster posed in the distinctive manner of one of the best known photographs of The Beast. Using the projection device, a legion of demons is unleashed, surround by magical symbols. They – just as we will – are enjoying the shared spectacle generated by the satanic lamp.’
Film4 FrightFest 2015 takes place at the Vue Cinema, Leicester Square (Thursday 27 August-Monday 31 August). The festival will be using six screens at the VUE, West End, one more than last year. Expect to see north of 80 films and events in the programme. A festival pass this year will cost £185. Day passes are Thursday – £30, Friday and Saturday £60, Sunday and Monday £50. Single tickets this year will be £13.25.
Festival and day pass sales will commence on July 4 at 10 AM and will only be available online. Single tickets will go on sale on July 18 through the VUE website, call centre and at the cinema for personal callers.
Blood and Black Lace (1964) | Mario Bava’s sumptuous, spellbinding essay in sexual perversity is simply fabulous in HD
A fashion house of glamorous models becomes a terror house of blood!
When model Isabella is strangled, she leaves behind a diary containing the dark secrets of her fellow models and colleagues, and evidence that a Rome haute couture salon, owned by Contessa Cristina Como (Eva Bartok) and her lover Max (Cameron Mitchell), is a front for drug smuggling and blackmail. When the diary disappears, a masked killer begins picking off the models in brutal fashion. But is the fiend really only after the diary, or is it ‘mere female beauty’ that’s making him kill and kill again?
Guaranteed! The 8 greatest shocks ever filmed!
Having established a template for the Italian thriller (giallo) genre with 1963’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much, visionary director Mario Bava introduced a box of new cinematic tricks (including colour) for his highly-stylised Blood and Black Lace in 1964. Excessive, eccentric, experimental and elaborate in its cinematic style and language, this Grand Guignol murder mystery is one of cinema’s most influential offerings, and a real showcase for Bava’s inventive visual trickery.
It’s hard to imagine today, but this glamorous shocker, originally titled Sei Donne per l’Assassino (Six Women for the Murderer), wasn’t that well received on its original release. But its cult status flourished and is now regarded as the foremost example of 1960s Italian horror cinema and a landmark film that spearheaded the giallo genre. Without it, Dario Argento’s psycho-thrillers most certainly would never have happened, nor the giallo-fused psychedelia of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Amer and The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears) and their ilk.
But Bava’s beautifully photographed, ahead-of-its-time, gore murder thriller is also genuinely disturbing; ‘confronting us with a sado-voyeuristic delirium that simultaneously fascinates and repels’.* In his faceless mask, the killer carries out his sadistic attacks in a most violent fashion: misogynistic it most certainly is. But in the haunted world of Mario Bava, violence, eroticism and horror is always carried out with impeccable taste and a dark sensuality that’s hard to resist. And with Blood and Black Lace, you also get a swinging bossa nova soundtrack and a sumptuous setting (the real life Vialla Sciarra park in Rome) to entice you back, again and again…
THE ARROW VIDEO RELEASE
Blood and Black Lace has been exclusively restored in 2k resolution for Arrow Films with the participation of Bava biographer Tim Lucas, and features audio restoration on both Italian and English tracks, but keeps some of the loose audio synch (owing to it being recorded in post-production – hence why the legendary Paul Frees gets to dub pratically all of the male characters) as per the original theatrical release.
Arrow has certainly done itself proud with this HD release, which is presented in dual format (Blu-ray/DVD), as well as in a limited edition SteelBook (Arrow Store exclusive), and features new artwork by Graham Humphreys. Just look at what else you get for your buck?
• Tim Lucas audio commentary (fascinating and informative, as you’d expect).
• Psycho Analysis: Documentary featuring interviews with Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and crime novelist Carlo Lucarelli.
• Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani discuss their love of the genre (love these guys).
• Yellow (2013): Writer/director Ryan Haysom’s loving-crafted 2013 crowd-funded cine-experimental short about an old man on the hunt for a vicious serial killer in neon-lit Berlin.
• Trailer: This restored trailer revels in the film’s graphic violence and eroticism.
• Gender and Giallo: Michael Mackenzie’s visual essay on giallo’s relationship with social upheavals in the 1960s and 1970s.
• Blood and Bava: 2014 Courmayeur Noir Film Festival panel discussion with Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Steve Della Casa.
• The Sinister Image: David Del Valle’s two-part 1986 interview with Cameron Mitchell, in its entirety.
• US Opening: Excellent, evocative mannequin filled alternate Filmation credit sequence sourced from Joe Dante’s private print of the film. In HD.
• The collector’s booklet contains articles on the film’s cinematic artistry and the actors playing the murder suspects (including George Clooney’s uncle and Italy’s Peter Lorre), one on Joe Dante reflecting on Bava’s work and an interview with Cameron Mitchell, plus a review on the 2013 short, Yellow, and notes on the restoration.
* Phil Hardy. Encyclopedia of Horror Movies
Fans of the hilarious New Zealand vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows will not want to miss Silver Bow Art Gallery‘s special afternoon screening this coming Saturday at the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leciester Square, as all attendees who purchase a ticket will received a copy of this limited edition movie print signed and numbered by renowned British graphic artist Graham Humphreys.
To purchase your ticket now, follow the link: http://www.silverbowgallery.com/collections/frontpage/products/launch-2015
The Washing Machine (1993) | Ruggero Deodato’s twisted sisters Euro thriller is more Almodóvar than Argento
A DEADLY SPIN…
Following the report of a man’s mangled body being discovered inside a washing machine in a Budapest apartment, homicide detective Inspector Alexander Stacey (Philippe Caroit) arrives on the scene only to discover the corpse, belonging to jewel thief Yuri (Yorgo Voyagis), has disappeared.
Questioning Yuri’s lover Vida (Katarzyna Figura), and her bewitching sisters, Ludmilla (Barbara Ricci) and Sissy (Ilaria Borrelli), Stacey gradually finds himself drawn into a web of lies, deceit and treachery as each sister seduces him while spinning different versions of events. But if Yuri was murdered, who did it and why?
PLUMBING NEW DEPTHS OF DECEIT
This 1993 erotic Euro thriller from Italian director Ruggero Deodato is a twisted oddity indeed. While the whodunit plot doesn’t bare close scrutiny and the film’s more surreal elements throws logic out the window, the atmospheric cinematography, Claudio Simonetti’s moody score and the engaging performances all draw you into its trashy web.
Deodato is best known for the exploitation cult hit Cannibal Holocaust, and practically invented the found footage technique as a result. For this sexy giallo however he’s less inventive and much more restrained. But while there’s a lack gore (there’s really only one grisly scene – a bloodied torso gets repeatedly hacked at) and sex (there’s lots of heavy panting but the girls keep their knickers on), Deodato dresses his giallo with elements of high camp, while also making effective use (a la Argento) of the creaky old Art Nouveau Budapest apartment in which the twisted sisters reside.
And talking of camp, the look and feel of the film is reminiscent of Pedro Almodóvar, no more so than in Katarzyna Figura, Barbara Ricci and Ilaria Borrelli. All three of their characters are bold, brassy, sexy and eccentric – just like the women in Almodóvar’s films, and Deodato’s script verges on the hysterical. Philippe Caroit meanwhile makes for some delicious man meat for our predatory heroines. With his piercing blue eyes and rugged features, he comes off like a young James Franciscus, who, incidentally, starred in Dario Argento’s 1970s giallo The Cat ‘O Nine Tails.
If anything’s missing in Deodato’s sleazy Euro thriller, which was originally called Vortice mortale, it’s some more big death scenes involving the washing machine. But as you’ll discover in the ‘shocking’ double twist ending, its a bit of red herring. But then, that’s what whodunit’s are made of.
THE UK DVD RELEASE
The Washing Machine is now revived in an exclusive Shameless Screen Entertainment Limited Edition DVD, presented in a yellow metal box with transparent window designed by UK artist Graham Humphreys.
Basket Case – The Trilogy | Schlock king Frank Henenlotter’s gross-out cult slashers get the Second Sight treatment
From Second Sight Films comes the midnight movie favourite, Basket Case, remastered on Blu-ray using the original 16mm master. If you still own the old VHS or have a dodgy TV recording on DVD, then now is the time to chuck it.
Schlock director Frank Henenlotter‘s madcap 1982 horror parody follows vengeful Siamese twins Duane and Belial as they set out to kill the doctors who separated them as children. While Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) is a normal-looking teen, his brother is a hideously-deformed monster. Featuring a host of zany characters, hilarious death scenes and the longest screen scream ever, this is one film that deserves its cult status.
The two sequels, made eight years after the original, finds fugitives Duane and Belial hiding out with Granny Ruth (played by reknowned jazz singer Annie Ross) at her home for deformed individuals and doing battle with tabloid journalists and corrupt police officials who want to cash in on their infamy at the Times Square Freak Brothers. While the sequels are a much more slapstick comic affair, possessing an Addams Family air, with a creature menagerie that look right out of The Monster Club, its great to have Henenlotter’s warped trilogy together in one box-set. Mind you, watching Belial having sex with a fellow freak is still a bit of a gross-out.
The extras on the Second Sight Films box-set trilogy include a making of featurette with the director and stars; outtakes; trailers; a photo gallery; and an interview with illustrator Graham Humphreys who did the ghoulish artwork for the box-set.
Enough Is Never Enough
After some weird goo erupts from the Earth, a couple of miners discover it tastes so good they decide to market it. The American public laps up the new dessert known as The Stuff but, unfortunately, it has a life of its own and the not-so-friendly bacteria starts turning people into Stuff-craving zombies. Having seen the yucky yoghurt crawling around the fridge one night, young Jason (Scott Bloom) teams up with wisecracking industrial saboteur Mo (Michael Moriarty) and advertising executive Nicole (Andrea Marcovvici) to put a stop to The Stuff and the organisation behind its distribution…
Are you eatin’ it…or is it eatin’ you?
In these days of rising obesity, you can’t switch the TV on without witnessing yet another programme about food-related health issues or hearing disturbing reports about what’s really going into our food. This just makes 1985’s The Stuff, from horror auteur Larry Cohen, just as relevant today for behind its Blob-style B-movie façade is a fun social satire on consumerist culture, with Cohen aiming his vile-but-delicious goo at the big soulless corporations who value profit over our health.
Cohen’s favourite leading man, Michael Moriarty (who’d go on to work on five of Cohen’s projects) is in top form as anti-hero Mo, improvising much of his dialogue (‘I’m called Mo because I always want Mo’), which only adds to the film’s chaotic nature. He’s accompanied by Scott Bloom (Who’s the Boss?) as the young boy who, like the kid in Invasion from Mars (another B-movie nod here), nobody believes that The Stuff is alive, and Andrea Marcovicci (Trapper John, MD) as Nicole, the advertising executive whose campaign made the Stuff such a huge hit with consumers in the first place.
From TV’s The Invaders (Cold War paranoia) to It’s Alive (genetic mutations) and Q: The Winged Serpent (corporate greed), Cohen’s terror tales always contain a strong political or social comment beneath their hokey horror veneer. In the documentary accompanying this release, Cohen says he was inspired to make The Stuff because he wanted to highlight how big corporations use advertising to lure people into taking up cigarettes, alcohol and medication without really understanding the addictive and damaging side effects.
In The Stuff, he intersperses the story with a number of slick TV commercial parodies, featuring colourful packaging and a really annoying jingle, which may look retro today but were the mainstay of TV advertising in the 1980s. And just as those commercials set out to manipulate, so to does The Stuff – which turns people (and dogs) into Stuff-craving addicts who can’t get enough of its ‘nutritional value’ before sucking their insides dry. The idea that a food stuff can literally eat you from the inside is a great concept and Cohen runs with this by making his Stuff, Earth’s way of striking back at mankind for polluting the planet’s natural resources. It’s certainly food for thought.
Fun, quirky, heaped with great dollops of gooey social satire, totally unpredictable and featuring some great VHS-era special effects, this is a hugely enjoyable slice of 1980s comedy horror from a true maverick. Get your spoons at the ready!
THE ARROW VIDEO RELEASE
Arrow Video’s UK dual format release (and a UK first for the Blu-ray) features a high definition restoration of the film from a new 2k scans of the original negative, with original stereo 2.0 audio and optional subtitles.
The bonus features include Can’t Get Enough of The Stuff: Making Larry Cohen’s Classic Creature Feature, a 52-minute documentary featuring director Larry Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actress Andrea Marcovicci, Steve Neill (mechanical makeup effects) and Kim Newman. Plus, there’s a Trailers From Hell intro from self-confessed fan, Saw II and III director, Darren Bousman, and a collector’s booklet. The deluxe edition features packaging showcasing Gary Pullin’s fantastically gloopy artwork and a reversible sleeve adorned with the original UK VHS art by Graham Humphreys.
WHAT’S IN THE STUFF
To make The Stuff, Cohen and his special effects team used buckets of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, various yoghurts and whipped cream as well as shaving cream and gallons of vile-smelling fire retardant foam, plus early CGI effects featuring stop-motion animation by SFX legends David Allen and Jim Danforth.
With its lurid title and promises of putrefied corpses coming back to life with worms oozing out of eye sockets, this was one Romero rip-off that was a must-see during the video nasty 1980s. But to see Lucio Fulci‘s Zombie Flesh-Eaters in all its uncut gory was only for European audiences until the film was finally passed uncut in 1999. Even so, the VHS and DVD print quality has always been terrible. Thankfully, the 2012 restoration from Arrow Video is the best gift fans of the film can ask for.
THE DEAD ARE AMONG US
With the help of a vacationing couple, scientist’s daughter Anne (Tisa Farrow – yep, it’s Mia’s sister) and reporter Peter (Ian McCulloch) head to the picturesque Caribbean island of Matoul where Richard Johnson‘s Professor Menard is conducting experiments on the dead. But when the powers of voodoo cause re-animated corpses to overrun the island, our heroes find themselves holed up in a make-shift hospital with nowhere to run…
A FEAST OF FLESH
Flesh fiends can gorge themselves on a host of special features that accompany the lush 2k HD restoration – which looks ace and breathes new life into Fabio Frizzi and Giorgio Tucci’s collectable soundtrack. There’s optional English/Italian sequences and audio; new subtitles; audio commentaries; collector’s booklet; and artwork by Graham Humphreys; while five featurettes, spanning two discs, showcase the film’s special effects, music and the history of the Italian zombie genre.
KING OF THE VIDEO NASTIES
With its high gore content and relentless violence, Zombie Flesh-Eaters is without doubt the king of the video nasties, and its the sheer realism of Gianetto de Rossi’s sfx that steal the show. Arrow’s restoration gives Rossi’s gruesome artistry and Fulci’s horrific set pieces a whole new dimension, allowing fans (both old and new fans alike) to finally fully appreciate this bona fide cult classc.
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook through Arrow Video
Zombie Flesh Eaters also screens on The Horror Channel (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freesat 138)