Anyone who knows me know I love movies about creepy or haunted dolls, having never really liked or trusted dolls ever since I was a kid. So of course I had to go see The Boy when it came out a few years back. I was suitably impressed. It had a good storyline and I have watched it several times since, which isn't common for me to do, I tend to only rewatch movies if they are really good (for my taste that is). So you can imagine how happy I was when I heard they were doing a sequel! What follows is my review of Brahms: The Boy II. It contains spoilers.
The story opens with a mother and her son. To cut a long story short, some guys break into their house and attack the mother, knocking her out while her terrified son, Judas, looks on. They steal some stuff and leave. Both mother and son are traumatised from all this, Judas goes mute from shock and his Dad suggests they go stay somewhere else for a while. So they do. And that is how Judas finds Brahms buried out in the woods; only his tiny porcelain hand sticking out of the dirt. The house they are staying at is in the grounds of the original house from the first movie. So it's nice that they film on the same location. Eventually in the film you get interior shots of the original house as well, though the original Brahms from the first movie (the man, not the doll) remains dead. Judas becomes obsessed with Brahms the doll, even eventually dressing like him (though I'm not sure where he gets the clothes from since Brahms is quite a bit smaller). Since Judas has gone temporarily mute, he writes everything in a notebook if he wishes to say something, so the viewer and his parents can read it. And what Brahms says to Judas is also written in the book as well, though Brahms' handwriting is much neater. The doll is clearly haunted.
When I found out they were making a sequel to the original "The Boy" film, I felt it would be best if they did an origin story for Brahms, or the family that included the grown up Brahms living in the walls. I was sure a sequel would suck. But this second movie actually redefines the first. In the first movie, the doll is nothing more than an inanimate object controlled by Brahms who lives in the walls of the house. But in the second movie we find out that the doll was actually controlling Brahms (even to the point of the same name?) and has controlled people throughout history ever since the doll was made (by who knows what malicious entity), consuming and possessing people and causing them to kill. The doll Brahms was the reason human Brahms killed the little girl when he was a kid. The doll told him to kill. So instead of the surprise I got in the first movie when I found out the doll was not actually haunted, now in the second movie they are following the usual tropes for haunted doll movies. But the thing is they do it well.
There are several genuinely disturbing and unnerving moments in the movie regarding the doll. The first one that freaked me out a bit was when Judas' mum went into her son's room one night while the kid slept, picked up the doll and put him on a chair to check his maker number, which through research on the net, she found out was printed on the doll's hand or foot. Shining her torch on him to see, she lifts his hand first, finds nothing, then checks his foot. And just out of focus in the half light caused by the torch, you see the doll's face in the background in a small grimace of a smirk. It makes you stare more at the screen. Are you seeing things? Similar to when you turn on the torch in your house at night, what lurks in those shadows? You have to do a double take because you see a figure. Yeah, it's like that. Props to the effects department for that. The other part which I loved was at the end of the movie, Brahms' inner face is revealed when the porcelain of his outer face is smashed. And what we see underneath is horrifying. Like he's all burnt up. But again they somehow manage to blur the focus a little, just to make you squint more at what he is. That is never explained. Forget Annabelle, Brahms tops my list of terrifying dolls. I feel there is plenty of scope to build on his story. It was never answered as to why he took over peoples' minds, who made him or why he was so bloody scary underneath! Too bad there most likely won't be a third movie. Chatting to the manager of my local cinema I found out the first Boy film didn't do that well, so as a result the second had a very limited release. My friends and I were really looking forward to seeing Brahms: The Boy II on the big screen, it was scary enough on the small screen! I really recommend this movie, especially if you enjoyed the first. Yeah it has some cliched parts as all haunted doll movies do, but it also has some pretty neat and creepy effects in it. -Lara Ryan
Possum is a 2018 psychological horror movie written by Matthew Holness and starring Sean Harris, who also starred in my all time favourite horror movie, Creep (2004), as well as See No Evil: The Moors Murders (2006), Deliver Us From Evil (2014), and a couple of the Mission Impossible movies, among others.
Matthew Holness previously worked on one of my other favourite endeavours, the TV show, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, so it was refreshing to see what he has to offer to the big screen. Sadly Possum was only a limited release but I would have loved to see it on the big screen.
This is a bizarre and atmospheric movie that kept me intrigued and guessing all the way through. Harris plays a disgraced and mentally unstable children’s puppeteer named Philip, who returns home to his step father and has to face his past trauma. He has with him, a creepy spider legged puppet whose face resembles that of Philip himself and that Philip has poured all his inner torture into, giving the eponymous “Possum” creature a life of its own. He keeps “Possum” in a bag but has constant visions and nightmares about it that haunt him on a psychological level.
This movie is dark, atmospheric and does indeed work as Holness intended; to leave you thinking about it afterwards. If you didn’t know the rough premise of the film, you wouldn’t really know what was going on either, which makes it to me, even better. That feeling of confusion and “what the hell?” makes this movie even more immersive. I went into it not knowing what to expect and my imagination went wild. Only afterwards did I read write ups on it and investigate the storyline. This is also a rarity in that I watched it on TV and it actually made me jump in one part near the end. Now, we all know if you watch a movie on TV, it doesn’t quite involve your mind as much as it does in the cinema but I was so immersed in this that I jumped!
No wonder that this movie really gets in your head and unnerves you, Holness based the visual style on those super disturbing public information films from back in the 70s and 80s. It’s sad that this movie is little known, since it is well thought out and although the cast is small, it is a very good, very creepy story for those of you who aren’t all about gore and want to be genuinely creeped out. It also has a very good and perhaps slightly shocking twist at the end that kinda leaves you speechless. I highly recommend this movie to any hardcore horror fans who like something well written and a bit different. Or anyone else who wants to feel a bit unnerved and enjoy a movie that keeps you guessing throughout. -Lara Ryan
2000's 'Convent' is a bloody enjoyable 1980's style romp that's basically 'Night of the Demons' (1988) set in a convent but with more humour to it, it's also a homage to other 80's OTT fun possession flicks such as 'The Evil Dead' (1981) and 'Demons' (1985) While not being as good as any of them it is however still an entertaining wild ride with much blood, action and hilarity to behold.
The film opens stylishly blaring 'Lesley Gore' 1964 classic "You Don't Own Me" as a sexy shades wearing motorcyclist enters a church, massacres and sets fire to priests and nuns alike!
Highlights would be:- the Demonic Nuns, that stylish savage opening, projectile vomiting, some nice splat-stick gags, the high pitched Goth satanist who claims to be Lucifer's son but works at Dairy Queen, the Anti-Christ that looks like 'The Unnamable' (1988) , cameos from horror legends Adrienne Barbeau and Bill Moseley plus a turn from rapper Coolio as a racist weed smoking cop!
The dialogue also gets a rise out of this here reviewer, when a Goth girl is to be sacrificed as Satan's bride, she states "I'm saving myself for Marilyn Manson". 'The Convent' is campy, low budget, silly but most importantly its pure fun. I give it 4/5 Burning Nuns! -Will Pryor
The Void is an absolute treat for 80's horror fans and lovers of crazy practical effect driven monsters. It is reminiscent of twisted genre classics such as Stuart Gordon’s "From Beyond", Clive Barker’s "Hellraiser" and John Carpenter films "Prince of Darkness" and "The Thing" with a little "Assault on Precinct 13" thrown in for good measure, plus an ending straight out of Lucio Fulci's "The Beyond" .
It's got grotesque creatures, eye gouging, flesh removal, buckets of slime and mucus, a robe wearing crazed cult and otherly dimension tom foolery mixed up with a great dark atmosphere, an almost Lovecraftian feel to it and a killer soundtrack to boot.
Canadian Director and writer team Jeremy Gillespie and Stephen Kostanski have a history in Make-up and SFX on Hollywood blockbusters such as Pacific Rim and Suicide Squad and their expertise clearly shows especially when viewing the impressive huge tentacled entities which are all physically created taking us back to the heyday of film monsters like "The Thing" which captivated audiences imaginations as much as it frightened the Hell out of them!
The biggest complaint I hear about this film is its lack of coherency and any real explanations; whilst I do agree to a certain point, I truly believe it's supposed to be a mind boggling experience - one to ponder long after viewing. Its purpose is to be enjoyed as an experience, at times a nonsensical bat-shit crazy one, but an experience nonetheless. This cosmic smorgasbord has been one of my favourite horror flicks of the last few years and I'm extremely excited to see what the directing duo pull out of their blood soaked slime dripping hats next, guaranteed it won't be a chick flick!👊🏿💀 -Will Pryor
Italian splatter kings Necrostorm scored a Cult hit with their first film “Adam Chaplin” (2011) a combination of Manga/Anime classic Fist of the North Star, The Crow and Das Komabrutale Duell. This their second feature “Taeter City” (2012) has a similar extreme splatter style but this time goes the way of the retro Sci-fi Horror sub-genre. Set in the future the world is controlled by a Governmental dictatorship known simply as "The Authority" who regularly remind the populace through public announcements "Respect the Authority and Laws and you'll be just fine".
Crime rate is nonexistent in Taeter City thanks to radio waves named the Zeed System that targets would be criminals and cause them to kill themselves in very nasty ways they then are processed at mega slaughter houses and have their flesh turned into food and blood into energy drinks which are then sold to law abiding citizens in Authority run McDonald-esq restaurants know as Taeter Burger. Eating and farming animals is totally outlawed punishable by... Well you get it! Everything is going peacefully in Taeter City until the radio waves have an abstract reaction on one fellow played by Director, FX guy and head of Necrostorm the awesome looking Giulio De Santi, instead of Suicidal he becomes Homicidal, develops super strength and can admit rays from his mouth that turns others into Homicidal/suicidal Super killers. When a scientist explains this he adds "Don't ask me why, it's fucking nonsense, it's all fucking nonsense" Yes Doc it most certainly is but all the better for it.
This film doesn't really play for laughs it is presented very seriously and is all the more hilarious and fun because of this. This film promises "An 80's Movies Vibe, insane technology, Manga style crazy action, Adrenaline, Violence, Blood, Blood and again Blood" and boy it delivers on all those fronts. Delivering some of the most brutal creative Splatter action ever caught on film it has to be seen to be believed these effects are achieved by combining Practical with CGI which works a treat. Gore lovers will squeal with delight at the many graphic head crushings and Chainsaw dismemberments!! 80’s vibe wise the soundtrack is spot on and the feel of the film as a whole as are the cool cheesy high-tech weaponry and gadgets used by the trio of special police Bikers set to capture our homicidal super killer. These Bikers have been chosen out of 100s for their special abilities, the two males are called Shock and amusingly Wank and are led by the more competent Razor (Monica Munoz) who is very attractive and feels it's her duty to uphold the rules of The Authority without question and apparently show her ample cleavage whenever possible, her ability is she that can produce lasers from her fingertips that slice through human bodies with the greatest of ease with lovingly disgusting results.
In between the OTT splat-stick gore and sci-fi action the film is littered with amusing infomercials reminding all citizens how the Authority is there for society's own good and the almost mouth watering Taeter Burger Commercials - Social Commentary Galore! This film is like George Orwell’s 1981, Soylent Green, escape from New York and minority reports being violently buggered to death by Lucio Fulci. My only real complaint with this outrageous flick is the dictator character on the infomercials who refers to himself as “Your Beloved Caronte” he gets pretty cringe worthy after a while. Many people might find the bad dubbing annoying but this reviewer found it only added to its cheesy nostalgic charm. In the end credits thanks are given to All Necrostorm movie fans, All lovers of science fiction-Splatter, All 80’s nostalgics, Peter Jackson, John Carpenter, Paul Verhoeven and Takasi Miike. 👊🏿💀 -Will Pryor
Since the day I saw Terrifier's antagonist the Creepy Sadistic Art the Clown in his previous outing the Anthology 'All Hallows Eve' 6 years ago, being the scariest Horror Movie Clown I had ever witnessed, I knew he would be perfect for a full length outing so last year when I heard that's what director Damien Leone had planned for us I was one very excited Gore-Geek and knew Art would find his rightful place amongst the greatest of Horror icons and I've never been so right.
Art played expertly with passion and relish by new comer David Howard Thornton is as hardcore and unstoppable as Haddenfield ghoul Michael Myers and has a wicked sense of humour that would make Freddy take notes, he's a mysterious entity with Supernatural abilities hinted at but wisely left for the inevitable sequels to fully explore. Art never says one word for the features duration which is a factor that definitely benefits the character relying on demented expressions, twisted body language and his signature silent mocking laugh. He is unnerving unpredictable vicious and remorseless with his trusty dustbin bag proudly swung over his shoulder full to the brim with a versatile set of both conventional weapons and hand crafted torture devices that could cause John Kramer to turn green with envy and with these he creates some of the most elaborate and gruesomely depraved murder set pieces seen since Ryan Nicholson's 'Gutterballs'.
The effects are all practical and look absolutely fantastic and as realistic as the highest budgeted torture porn outing you could imagine. Terrifier has a tone all of its own but in some ways has a dark feel and look similar to scummy 80's city slashers such as 'Maniac' and 'Driller Killer'. The 80's Slasher Throwback appeal is most definitely rife in this flick but it doesn't feel or look dated in the slightest in fact the picture is extremely crisp and beautiful to behold with a very suitable cool ambient Synth-wave sound track that feels exciting while giving a real sense of dread as well as some very bizarre non sync jazz horn music which Art seems to enjoy immensely as he does literally slicing people apart and boy we get to see a lot of that! As Mike the exterminator (the closest we get to a hero) played by Matt McAllister states he is "A total Fucking Maniac" and even that's an understatement!
The camera never shys away from the most disturbing of deaths and there is one without a doubt that would have been declared a notorious banned video nasty probably never to be decriminalised had it been released back in the day, I won't ruin it for you but you'll know instantly what I mean when you witness it! Guaranteed you won't forget it for a long long time to come - yes it is that extreme, take the nastiest scene in 'Bone Tomahawk' and multiple it by 10 and you might be somewhere close! The tagline from Tobe Hopper's notorious 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' springs to mind considering this movie "Who Will Survive & What Will Be Left of Them" but rather than the marketing ploy that was you can take those words literally with 'Terrifier' as absolutely every protagonist is fair game and everybody loses body parts along the way. This is a fully accomplished Horror film that balances the scary creep factor and unbelievable hardcore gore perfectly, bravo to all involved. -Will Pryor