Friday, 22 March 2013

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

When I was in school I hated 'Pride and Prejudice.' To me it was 'chick-lit' and no matter how long ago or how well it was written, that did not change. Truth be told, I still don't much care for it now.

How would I have felt, however, if Austen had added some shuffling, flesh-munching corpses to the mix? Thankfully, Seth Grahame-Smith answers that age old question with 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.'

The answer is that it certainly makes it more fun and more silly, even if the joke wears a little thin as Grahame-Smith pushes too far at times.

Any schoolboy or girl with little interest of Austen's work forced to sit in English Lit classes (of which there are many I'm sure) will wish this had made the syllabus.

The idea is sometimes too far, but simplified it could be easily and joyously adapted for the screen and if rumours of Natalie Portman's involvement prove to be true, all the better. Hopefully, Portman will be involved in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes and could give some real quality to the Bennet role.

Should the film ever reach the cinema, the tagline is surely already written... "The Good Lord saw fit to close the gates of Hell and doom the dead to walk among us."

Witching and Bitching!

Occasionally, in the dark and grisly world of horror, something catches my eye. Amid the generic nonsense, pointless remakes or unwanted sequels, something fresh and original grabs you like the boogeyman under your bed and won't let you go.

Sometimes it's a trailer, sometimes artwork, sometimes a mere concept or tagline is enough. For me, these films are often from mainland Europe. With that in mind, I present to you 'Witching and Bitching.' A film that appears to be as frantically, crazy as the title suggests.

The latest film from Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia, who is fast creating a reputation for himself in his homeland with his unique black comedies. If the trailer is anything to go by, this film will only serve to enhance it.

The trailer is one crazy image after the next, from Jesus with a shotgun to hands reaching from the toilet via flashing nuns. Delightfully madcap and deliciously shot, Las brujas de Zugarramurdi (Literally translated as 'The Witches of Zugarramurdi') tells the tale of a crew desperate man who steal 25,000 gold rings. Antonio (whose wife lets them down dramatically) and Jose, with his son in tow. When things go awry the group run make a break from the police only to run into a horde of crazed women with a taste for flesh. 
If the film is half as brilliant as the trailer suggests then it is rocketing toward the top of my "must watch" list.

Thank God for Spanish horror films. Viva Espana!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Top 6: Irish Based Horror

With March well under way St Patrick's Day is almost upon. We'll all raise a Guinness or two to Paddy and the Emerald Isle despite most of us being as close to Irish as we are to being the next Pope.

However, with the snake banishing patron saint in mind here is my list of Top 6: Irish Based Horror films.

Dorothy Mills
Not one for the lovers of action packed slashers or gore whores, Dorothy Mills is a very slow burning tale. The titular Dorothy has violently abused a child and psychiatrist Carice von Houten is sent to to investigate. Cue ghosts, rape, murder, mad priests and Irishmen playing the "you ain't from around here, are ya boy?" role. The film lacks polish, loses direction and could have been much better, but Jenn Murray excels as the multi personalitied Mills and, if you completely ignore the comparisons to The Exorcist (It really is nothing like it in the slightest), you might just enjoy it if you give it a chance.

The Ten Steps (short)
A cracking (or should that be craicing) little atmospheric short from Brendan Muldowney. Never has walking downstairs been so terrifying. I won't spoil anything for you, just watch the video below.

A film not set in Ireland, not filmed in Ireland and containing very few Irish actors. So, what makes it so Irish? The wee Irish fella running around killing people to protect his gold and chasing a young Jennifer Aniston in her first feature. The film is silly and ridiculous but genuinely quite fun, it's certainly better than some other films Aniston made (I'm looking at you 'The Bounty Hunter.')

Ps. Fuck you, Lucky Charms!

An underrated stoner horror flick, shrooms is based around a couples retreat with a difference, they are going to go high. At least, that's the plan until Tara chows down on a "Death's Head" mushroom. People start dying, but is it just Tara hallucinations or something more sinister? Cue talking cows, a dogging death scene and a pretty nifty twist ending and you've got a pretty decent horror film.

Wake Wood
I'm sure no horror fans was disappointed when it was announced Hammer would start making horror films again. Many did approach with trepidation, however. Rightly so, Hammer's reputation was a big one to live up to, Wake Wood doesn't let Hammer down though. An ominous and atmospheric tale of resurrection (in direct comparison to the fate of Hammer themselves). Timothy Spall's chilling turn is excellent in a taut chilling horror with a shocking end.

Killer cows? A comedy horror right? I mean how scary can cows be? Well plenty fucking scary in Billy O'Brien's Isolation. A tale of caution for genetic engineering, Isolation is gripped by an ever increasing, ever present, somber atmosphere that draws you in and never let's you go. The rural location gives you the claustrophobic setting the title suggests and allows for some excellently original scenes (including one with a slurry pit). A great film, not short of a death or two. Barnstorming (sorry, I couldn't resist).

That's my Top 6 Irish Based Horror films, thanks for reading and la fhéIke Pádraig shona daoibh.