365horror

Tag: Wickerman

Milestones 4. Werewolf & Wickerman – Cheese on toast, waiting for my bro.

by on Feb.29, 2012, under Milestones

Did I mention my brother? Well, he’s 5 years older than me: I’m the youngest of 5 kids which my parents have. When I was around 12, my brother used to head off to the city for drinks with friends while I sat at home, usually alone watching late night TV (4 channels at he time). He’d get home around midnight after catching the last bus, just in time for the late night horror flick, care of Hammer. I’ve got such great fond memories of this time, he’d get home, make tea and cheese on toast, tell me about his evening, while we sat watching the amazing films from the 60’s and 70’s. At the time I knew nothing about Hammer: it was all fresh and new, exciting. 

Two key films from this time still stick in my mind. I can still remember the feeling I had watching, riveted and amazed by the outrageous plots, tortuous scenes and the idea that some films just aren’t meant to have a happy ending. At the time, my regular viewing was a staple diet of Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy, A-Team, Buck Rogers and Dukes of Hazard, so just think how much of a crazy contrast The Wickerman was and the kind of outrageous effect it had on my youthful mind. I’d seen nothing else like it; even by today’s standards, The Wickerman still stands out as a shockingly stunning grim tale, beautifully crafted and filmed. I included it as part of 365 project so go check out my words on the matter. 

The other stand out memory is that of Terence Fisher’s finest moment, The Curse of the Werewolf. Goodness. Captivating and enthralling taking a standard idea of he wolfman and working it to a masterpiece, one which hasn’t been bettered in its field. What we have is a real story of life and the trauma that can occur and the human suffering. The basic story starts with a beggar who stumbles into a king’s (or Lord) manor asking for help and food. He is humiliated and laughed at, a scene which I still wake up at night thinking about: relentless! Soon after, thrown into the basement and fed bread and water by a mute girl. He kinda transforms into a beast over the years and at some point, he gets hold of the girl. Shockingness happens, before she can escape to safety then on Christmas day, she dies in childbirth. Enter Oliver Reed. ( well, not quite) The kid grows up as a wolf child, killing goats in the night, but this is due to the evil and trauma of his creation and nothing to do with any other law of the werewolf. Soon, we have Reed in a white shirt, hairy chest and a hairy head, running across rooftops torn by emotion of the moon and he girl that he loves. There is nothing else like this one. Absolute gem of a film, still seldom shown on TV, never credited for its addition to the genre or the werewolf culture. 

For me, this one showed the character of what lies behind the beast, the human behind the mask, the magic of romance and the horror that can be created from a single act of selfish unkindliness. 

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Plague Town

by on Apr.15, 2010, under Daily Review

This film will certainly do wonders for the Irish Country tourism board.

An American family attempt to build bridges in their relationships as they holiday in the beautiful Irish countryside. On a day trip, to a remote part of the area, they miss the last bus home and discover the locals have a dark secret.

This is as spooky and wicked as they come. I’m shocked at how creepy this film is. It’s visually stunning but the tension and eeriness which Director, Dave Gregory has created is outstanding.  A strong feeling of dread looms over the film from the initial scene and grows by the minute. The gore is savage and deeply rooted in the natural and rural. Twigs in the neck, whippings with branches, choking with leaves and vines through eye sockets. Hideous stuff and would you be more shocked if I was to mention the evil doings are performed by children, skipping and smiling in their dark activity. There is also a stunning decapitation of the most casual i’ve ever seen: a glorious effect. The film is beautifully shot, superb cinematography making full use of the landscape and surrounding woods.

This is Wickerman meets Calvaire, meets Children of the Damned, meets Night of the Living Dead. Huge praise and plenty of material to work with and salute as the film stamps its creepy mark on the history of the horror genre. This is a real cult classic, I’m surprised I’ve not heard of this prior. Marvellous cinema.

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