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The list doesn't include films that have been released on DVD in other regions or DVDs that have now gone OOP. However, I may make exceptions for Non-English language releases.
If a film has been announced I will note it next to the release and remove it once it is actually out, in case something goes wrong in the process.
Suggestions or corrections are more than welcome.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989)
A Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES is a cut above the rest.
Horror franchises branching out into gaming may not sound like the best idea and only a handful have actually tried this and when they have they are either too difficult (Friday the 13th NES) or too underwhelming (Halloween for Atari). The Nightmare on Elm Street game is a special game for fans of the franchise and it's neither too difficult nor underwhelming, it's a fun and addictive game that even has a multi-player mode! Story 4/10 The story is very linear; you (and others if you're playing multi-player) are trying to take down Freddy by collecting his bones which are hidden in various areas in Springwood. The game isn't exactly about plot it's more about the gameplay aspects.
Gameplay 8/10 Your character must travel to different locations (the opening of each location depends on randomisation) to collect Freddy's bones but along the way you have to avoid or attack a variety of obstacles which are mainly bats and rats. At the end of each location there is boss to defeat which not exactly too taxing if you know the pattern of the boss, this may not sound all too special if anything it sounds far too basic but that's because I haven't talked about the use of the sleep meter yet.
The sleep meter depletes if you stand still too long or get hurt by the obstacles (you can regain it by collecting coffee or whilst in the dream world find a radio) when it depletes all the way you are taken to the dream world, which is the same world but with a higher difficulty, but instead of just expecting you to deal with the harder obstacles you have dream warrior abilities these are; Necromancer, Acrobat and the Shadow Warrior. Your default ability is the acrobat but if you collect certain items you can access the other abilities, this makes the gameplay a whole lot more fun by a mile.
The use of alternating worlds make for fun gameplay but it does get a little too tedious when you're travelling from one location to the other.
Graphics 7/10 The graphics are your usual NES graphics and not especially worthy of noting suffice to say they don't distract from the addictive gameplay aspect although sometimes when an enemy approach you there is a moment where you question what exactly it's supposed to be.
Sound/Music 7/10 The music and sounds after a while may drive you a little crazy but for the most part it's enjoyable and there is a variety of music used that will keep fans of older game music amused.
Longevity/Replayability 7.5/10 If played cautiously the game is relatively short and definitely a game you'll want to replay especially if you own a multi-tap and want to play with friends.
Conclusion 8.3/10 A Nightmare on Elm Street for the Nintendo Entertainment System is a fun little game albeit not for impatient gamers.
A film that will awaken your senses.
This movie resides in a little genre I like to call Horror Conspiracy where the lead character uncovers mysteries and then tries to solve them and everyone close to him/her disbelieves the theorising that is occurring: the rule of thumb is that the mystery is usually something to do with Aliens or the Occult, this movie deals with the latter, more specifically the film deals with witches. When you mix with formula with Dario Argento you get a strange blend of surrealist atmosphere, extreme violence and a chilling and memorable score. Suspiria lives outside of reality that is the best way to describe this, logic and physics are suspended here and if you are the type of person who can't end handle the surrealist nature of Alice in Wonderland you stand no chance here.
The movie follows a newcomer Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) to a higher class ballet academy and she discovers that the staff are a coven of witches that are hell-bent on chaos and destruction. The plot is silly at best but this is a film where the plot does not matter it there just to give the film so feel of structure.
I don't where to begin with this movie, it is so insanely fantastically extraordinary that it deserves to be celebrated by all, horror fans and cinephiles alike.
I shall start with the atmosphere because it is integral to the movie it is unrelentingly creepy and eerie, in my books it beats every single J- Horror hands down which is an honour because I have always said the atmosphere in a J-Horror could beat any movie from the USA and Europe, it looks like I am eating my words now because here we have terror in its purest form. The next integral part of this movie is the use of colour and not just any colour deep primary colours, to portray the tone. This is nothing short of amazing and I don't use that word lightly, on first viewing the colour just becomes a part of the movie but it works on an innate and subconscious level, our innate subconscious is readily aware that the colour red is danger, this is a device that I wish was used more in modern cinema and when I say used I mean used in the correct way to achieve what Argento has here and not only does the colour add to the atmosphere it adds to the bizarre and hallucinogenic feeling the movie seems to have. The cinematography works to the movie's advantage and makes a perfect partnership between the colour and it. Even the main theme is so incredibly beautiful on so many levels it manages to capture the mood of the movie and is so memorable and fantastic and it does far surpass any other horror film theme and that is probably due to it's avant garde nature the incomprehensible shouting and moaning just adds to Argento's irrational vision.
Of course the film has a few winks and nudges to other classics but that is because unlike most others the film has succeeded in what it set out to do scare but not only scare it has become a work out art and therefore deserves to reference classics because it is in that league. It references Psycho, Rosemary's Baby, Night of the Living Dead and The Exorcist and why shouldn't it have fun doing so but to be honest these might be best left until the second viewing because on the first viewing you will be so stunned with the set design and cinematography and colour you will not have enough time to spot them, your senses will be so stunned by the end of the film that you really won't know what hit you.
Naturally there are two things that Argento will get stick for here: one being graphic violence towards women. Argento has been accused many time for being sexist but he is adamant he is not "A woman in peril is emotionally affecting. A man simply isn't". It's hard to disagree with his logic here and anywhere in horror cinema so here' s quick note for those who accuse him of such things, do your damn research before casting stones! The other thing people might have a hard time accepting is the use of extremely graphic violence itself but, it is not gratuitous it has a purpose it is to exploit the use of the colour. The colour of blood is another fundamental feature of this movie without it I am highly doubtful that it would have worked without it especially considering the most abundant colour in this film is a garish red. Surely this is a perfect movie because there is not one single feature you could tweak to make it better in any way and if you could do let me know I would be very intrigued.
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The film is mesmerising, entrancing, terrifying and it has the most spectacular display of everything I have ever seen in a film. You won't easily forget it. This is a masterpiece that will never be forgotten and if you haven't seen it think Rosemary's Baby with an immense infusion of acid and then ask yourself if you can handle that first.
Black Christmas (2006)
Try the Cookies.... They're Delicious..
Try the cookies... They're delicious...
This is a shameless remake that once again sacrifices substance for gratuitous violence and once again it fails miserably in artistic value the original contains next to no blood to achieve the shocks and most of all its point. What is it with remakes? Only occasionally do they get it right and this is definitely not one of those cases. There seems to be no point to the remake, no reason to why it should have come to be. Substance is a key in movies; this is just a shameless remake of an effective exploitation/slasher movie, without a hint of anything and I mean anything decent to save it.
The scares are boring and ineffective and definitely unremarkable and the violence is laughable and there is a definite air of laziness surrounding the effects team. Not even a death scene stands out, I for one wanted this to be good, an updated version of the original would be great for this day and age in horror exploiting the innocence of Christmas all over again, or even using it as a anti-religion statement but I'm afraid I was disappointed when it came down to it. The girls are the run of the mill kind that you find in most horror movies, not one in remarkable in any way and the acting makes you wish someone like Jamie Lee Curtis and give them all lessons on how to do it the right way. The acting could be construed as a love letter to 70s and 80s horror movies but I don't think the director was that intelligent.
I don't know if it is supposed to be intentionally funny but it definitely comes off that way. If viewed as a B-Movie this is a masterpiece of bad dialogue and awful effects but unfortunately so it looks like the film is taking itself seriously. Not even satire appears in this remake, how hard could it be to write a little satire? There is no analysis to be done with a film with such a lack of substance and not lack of substance in a fun and corny way, lack of substance in the worst way possible.
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Unremarkable in every way.
The Broken (2008)
Lena Heady Vs. Lena Heady
This was one of the 8 films to die for at the Afterdark Horrorfest III, directed and written by little know Sean Ellis who previously worked on Cashback, which is also worth a look, in which he proved his artistic flair, he happens to be a dying breed in the film world a director and writer combined. Broken is a strange creature it genre jumps throughout the film, it's not quite a horror and not quite a thriller and not quite a mystery. So what the hell is it? Well the answer to that is that it is a intriguing piece of British cinema, which in itself is a dying breed. Lena Heady, TV's Sarah Connor, plays Gina McVey a radiologist who lives a relatively normal and simplistic life, don't they all?, who sees herself driving a car and being a normal person decides to follow herself (?) to her (?) apartment and finds a picture of her and her father (!), on the way back from this investigation obviously quite shocked by the discovery she crashes in a spectacular car crash scene that is remarkably beautiful after this accident she looses parts of her memory, she then starts to think her boyfriend Stefan, played by Melvil Poupaud, is someone else entirely and decides to investigate unravelling a very dark and disturbing reality. Heady gives a spectacular performance, which I fear may be ignored by many, as a woman whose reality is slowly falling apart, she portrays the character wonderfully real and does not let the complex material phase her portrayal of Gina's emotional decline. The supporting cast also gives believable performances, which again will most likely be ignored due to the material of the film itself, and the scripting of the characters has been done very well but a little too well as the film seems to rely on this which is all good but it makes the jumps and horror of the script feel undermined. The slow pace will not suit everyone some people will find themselves being bored about 20-30 minutes in but those who stick around will either be satisfied or highly confused and by default decide they hate it in fear of being seen inferior intellectually. The use of colour is another strong point of the film, the fantastic use of good/evil imagery was nothing short of brilliant and it conjures Gothic imagery akin to Edgar Allen Poe, who is quoted at the beginning.
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It's not an amazingly spectacular psychological film nor is it an awful film, it's a good portrayal of a woman's struggle to come to terms with her new reality. Poe would have been proud.