Monday, 28 March 2011

The Diary Is Closed: To Be Continued...

Ladies and gents, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the temporary end of Diary of a Genre Addict. The site has become something very special indeed to me since I started it, and has provided me with a fantastic space within which I can riff on bad movies, good movies, comics and more to my heart's content.

I hope that somebody out there enjoys the place (I follow where the visitors are from, but I never know if anyone actually enjoys what they read here), and that they will keep DOAGA in their bookmarks and readers until it returns in the not-too-distant future.

Why is the place shutting up shop for a while? I have a great deal on my plate at the moment, with running a business, writing for a national magazine, a huge comic art project for a famous UK museum, several book projects and working on pitching my novels to agents and publishers. Oh, and sleep here and there too.

The thing is, I've struggled to keep up with the regular posts here at Diary of a Genre Addict of late, and while I love the site dearly, I need to step back and think about where to take it next.

I have watched about twenty movies of late that I want to talk to you about, but I need to find the time to do so properly. I don't want to offer you substandard content. That's not how I work.

Thus for the time being the Diary will be closed, but my adventures will continue, fuelling my demented desires to share obscure movies and tales of the life of a movie geek with you.

So what lies ahead for the future of Diary Of A Genre Addict? I'll officially announce now that an addition to the site (and elsewhere) will be a Diary Of A Genre Addict Podcast! This will go into production and distribution once the site returns to action. What else? There will be more personal pieces about the lifestyle, the thoughts and fears of an ageing horror/SF fan, and how being a Genre Addict has shaped me and the life I lead. Oh, and of course there will still be reviews, trailers and more.

Thank you for joining me here, and please DO get in touch with any thoughts or suggestions. You can easily send a DM or @ reply via my Twitter account, or in the comments here. It would be amazing to hear from my readers.

This is not the end. Just the awkward quiet period before the next episode. Think of this as the cliffhanger.

Coming soon.

Monday, 21 March 2011

TRAILER TREASURES: REANIMATOR 2 (aka Bride of Reanimator)

I love the Reanimator movies. Even the ultra cheesy third movie is a thing of beauty. They harken back to the vlassic b-movies of the 50s with their mix of science fiction and horror, and are melodramatic, over-the-top works of demented art that should be in everyone's collection. The first sequel was a marvellously silly retooling of the tried-and-tested Bride of Frankenstein concept, and was a gory explosion of daftness that still makes me grin today. Here's the UK trailer, with its UK title.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Mutations (aka The Freakmaker) (1974)

Opening with a sombre and quite beautiful sequence of time-lapse photography of various plants and flowers growing and blooming, this seventies curio is an odd beast indeed. Starring the likes of Donald Pleasance and Tom Baker alongside genuine sideshow freaks and some ludicrous special effects makeup, it's an often shockingly brutal horror film that also carries a very strange atmosphere of creepy camp. The soundtrack is a work of trippy, demented genius, and heightens the feeling of unease that permeates the film.

Half sci-fi B movie, half grotesque horror film, The Mutations has moments of unintentional hilarity due to a mad script and some delicious ham in the acting, but it also boasts many moments that are deeply uncomfortable to watch. Partially inspired by (and nicking a bunch of scenes and ideas directly from) Tod Browning's infamous Freaks (1930), The Mutations features a number of real 'freaks' and sideshow performers amidst its cast.
In this age of politically correct film and depictions of disability and physical deformity, a viewing of this film now feels even more exploitative than it was seemingly intended to be. The pre-Doctor Who Tom Baker, as the Elephant-man styled Lynch character, is at once frightening and sympathetic, driven by demented urges and the desire to be 'normal', a feat which Pleasance's character (Dr. Nolter) has promised him in return for new subjects to experiment on.
The cast of 'normal' characters are unconvincing, bland and rather stupid, giving the inhabitants of the freak show (and indeed the hideous monstrosities created by Dr Nolter) kinda come across as the good guys in all of this. The film features some shocking scenes of violence and some memorable effects jobs, but it's hard to figure out if they're memorable because they're good or memorable because they're ridiculous.

The ending is a little sudden, but the build-up to it is paid off well with gore, screaming and mad plant-people. There are some great ideas during the film (such as the shot where Dr. Nolter cuts into a branch on one of his hybrid plants, which then bleeds as he implants a cutting from elsewhere), but it's an uneven piece that never quite settles on one direction or ambience. It's entertaining, uneasy viewing that carries all the hallmarks of the sort of obscure gem sad old nerds like me crave.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Devonsville Terror (1983)

I came across this in a local charity shop that appears to have had a sizeable big-box-VHS- horror collection donated to it. I asked if they had any more in the back room, but there was no real answer and thus I am limited to visiting them regularly to pick up the delights they allow out onto their video section. This 1983 shocker was directed by Ulli Lommel (the man behind the video-nasty era version of The Bogeyman), and stars Suzanna Love and Robert Walker Jr alongside a marvellously hammy performance from Donald Pleasence in all of his sinister, quietly spoken glory.

The film tells the story of Devonsville, a town carrying a curse after three women are killed after accusations of Witchcraft. When three young women come to the town in the present day (after a disturbed man kills his wife and activates the curse), the locals are convinced the three witches are back. However, only one of them is a reincarnation of a witch, and sets about taking her revenge upon the townsfolk, without really knowing who she is carrying within her. All of which is utter tosh, but it's entertaining tosh.
The paper the script was printed on would have made a better actor than anyone in the cast aside from Donald Pleasence, but the film is worth watching, while never striving for great heights. The opening sequence of the witch trials is the best part of the movie, and features certain imagery that is quite shocking (the witch tied to a wheel, set on fire and rolled down a hill sequence is particularly horrific).

The second act drags a little, the plot seemingly going in circles, but once the third act kicks in, there's some prime-time schlock to savour, with blood, gore and exploding heads flinging nastiness at your screen before the credits roll. A fun little supernatural horror film with an entertaining take on the old 'resurrected witch' trope.

Aside from the film, the big-box it is packed in is a thing of beauty, released by VTC, and features some delightfully awful trailers (Superstition and Spasm, both ludicrous). I'm most pleased with this addition to the towers of trash cinema I own, and am eager to find more.