One of the girls goes missing in broad daylight. The other must find her. But who can be trusted?
Despite the fact that it takes place in broad sunny daylight, with not a hockey mask or chainsaw in sight, the film delivers a wonderful level of suspense. It is a great example of the slasher genre in the pre- Halloween era.
This is a remake of the original little-known classic. The setting has been updated from rural France to rural Argentina - being south of the Brandt line makes it seem more remote, although the characters manage to get a signal on their mobile phones at all times, even when literally in the middle of nowhere.
It is hard to see why someone felt it necessary to remake the original. One excuse is that audiences like to see new actors in a story. When this movie was released, the biggest star was Karl Urban ( Dredd 3-D ), although he is merely a supporting character as a man whose girlfriend disappeared under similar circumstances. Heard was best known for slasher genre thriller All The Boys Love Mandy Lane , but here she is just another Final Girl.
The original was a masterpiece of suspense. As a whodunnit it works because we never find out who the serial killer is until the very end. The new version is about a sex-trafficking ring, and gives a lot away throughout the story.
A manic is wandering around England, murdering random people. The only detective who seems to be investigating is Colonel Bill Carson (Cameron Mitchell - Space Mutiny ), a psychic who is hired by a kidnapped girl's father. His storyline does not pay off in the expected way.
In-between random victims, the killer stalks a blonde woman and her brunette flatmate. As we get to the third act, one of them turns out to be the Final Girl.
The young woman has a history of mental problems. She believes she is being stalked by a black-gloved Giallo-type killer. Is she imagining it? Is there a real killer after her? Or is this an extended homage to a classic suspense thriller?
The climactic twist is a well-executed take on a classic Vincent Price movie.
A group of out-of-work actors rehearse for a stage-play in a disused theatre on an out-of-use seaside pier. They are ordered to turn up, start improvising a play ... and wait to be contacted. Four men, three women - the fourth woman is nowhere to be found. Are they the victims of a practical joker ... or a predatory homeless man ... or is a far more sinister mind at work?
This is a product of a more enlightened age, allowing female toplessness and even some male nudity (full frontal). It also lacks the tropes and cliches that modern slashers have. In fact, it seems more like a whodunnit at times. One standard horror movie trope is isolation, but here the characters interact with the local townsfolk. Instead of teenagers, the characters are all adults.
The heroes suspect that mysterious lady-of-the-manor Amanda Donohoe has something to so with missing persons cases.
The virgin sacrifice is a theme in this film.
Eventually the survivors deduce that, thanks to clues like the distant howling and the full moon, they are besieged by one or more werewolves. Then they get picked off one at a time.
The passengers and crew are a pretty stereotypical bunch. The nearest thing to a protagonist is the trainee train conductor. Elliot Cowan ( Frankenstein Chronicles ) is a cowardly businessman, while Shauna McDonald is a somewhat feisty businesswoman. There is also an elderly gentleman who recalls hearing of a similar incident in 1963. The government hushed up the details, but there were always rumours.
This is basic female-in-jeopardy stuff. Luckily she has her boyfriend along - Sam Elliot ( Roadhouse ). He deals with the action-adventure stuff, including taking a crossbow to a gunfight. Luckily the other guy thinks that a shotgun can be used as a sniper rifle.
After the car crash, Pelham discovers that someone has assumed his identity. Has he got two personalities that exist independently of one another, or is there a sinister impersonator gaslighting him? Well, since he appears to be in two places at the same time it cannot be the latter. However, to pad the story out from Twilight Zone episode length to full feature-film status he sees a psychiatrist (Freddie Jones - Krull ).
The main thrust of the storyline is that Pelham has a supernatural doppelganger, a repressed personality that has manifested itself as a physically identical, but physically seperate, alter-ego. Basically Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde , but without any kind of scientific explanation.
This was made a couple of years before Moore was selected for the role of James Bond. At the time he was a television actor, not the world-famous super-star he was later to become. As such this is a small-scale film with only a few scenes of imaginative cinematography, far better suited in both scale and duration to the small screen. However, Moore adequately acquits himself as a man going gradually insane.
One thing that stands out to a modern audience is the gender roles. The woman stays at home, where she looks after the children and the servants. Meanwhile, at work Moore is the youngest member of the board. The others are stale, male and pale - but they are probably all veterans of the Royal Navy in the Second World War. On the surface of it this film should not even come close to passing the Bechdel test, although there is a scene where two named women talk about winnings in a casino.
The film is about Mark, a professional movie cameraman who also takes his cine camera everywhere. Not unlike characters in modern Found Footage movies, who seem to have their video cameras with them all the time! Mark targets women he works with - movie stand-ins, nudie models and so on. But he starts to develop feelings for the girl in the apartment downstairs, who works in a local library ...
This was written by Leo Marks, whose wartime experience as the SOE cryptographer would have familiarised him with exotic weaponry such as the device used by the killer. It was directed by Michael Powell , a former collaborator of Alfred Hitchcock . This may be stylistically influenced by Vertigo , and may in turn have influenced the promotional strategy of Psycho .
One of the lesbians is a man-hating cliche, played by an English actress who has many many supporting credits on UK TV shows. The other one is a Canadian who has done a few soft-core movies. When the movie has its compulsory soft-core sex scenes, it is easy to guess which one will do the full-frontal nudity.
To call this movie cheap is an understatement. It was shot in ten days with a handheld camera, centred around a single building in a forest. There are only half a dozen speaking parts, and everyone except the police officers wore their own clothes. It makes you wonder why relatively successful (if small-time) actors agreed to work in this slasher/softcore porn effort. It certainly was not for the money!
The Final Girl is a young English woman, portrayed by Mia Farrow . Not only is she physically un-imposing, she is also blind. This seems somewhat excessive in terms of making the character vulnerable, but it does illustrate how a male character could conceivably be portrayed as vulnerable without seeming unsympathetic because of it.
The first half of the film is about the protagonist living at a big mansion in the English countryside. She may be blind, but she is an enthusiastic horse-rider and she manages to get herself a rich boyfriend.
The second half of the film is stalk-and-slash, as our heroine is chased by a mysterious killer. We are not shown his face, but instead of showing us a distictive face-mask the director instead focuses on the killer's fancy cowboy boots. The heroine runs into a friendly Gypsy (Michael Elphick - ), but can he be trusted? And the boyfriend does not bother to call the police but instead picks up a shotgun and gathers a posse of horse-riders to chase the Gypsies down.
A naive young woman ( Rita Tushingham ) goes to London at the end of the Swinging Sixties. After a failed romance with James Bolam (The Likely LadsPeter Pan quote for the title. The resulting film is reminiscent of Twisted Nerve , Peeping Tom and Brighton Rock. The one twist being that the final reveal is a voice recording rather than a cine film.
A young Glynis Barber attends the movie premiere, which introduces the main characters. The movie's producer is the direct descendant of the man responsible for burning the witch. Soon a slasher is on the loose, stabbing the female cast members in descending order of attractiveness.
The film is a bit of a mixed bag. The suspense scenes are reminiscent of a classic Italian giallo (slasher movie) of the time. However, there is a strong supernatural element to the later killings. So the question is, are the murders committed by a ghost or a slasher?
This was written by Leo Marks (the SOE cryptographer) and directed by Michael Powell . Their previous collaboration was Peeping Tom , now regarded as a classic of the genre. This effort, perhaps due to the implied link between Downs Syndrome and homicidal mania, is rarely seen and difficult to find.
Sophie Ward provides some eye-catching nudity, which is quite an impressive statement about a woman over the age of forty.
A mature student helps a group of Undergrads with their psychology experiments. First, they interview classmates about their greatest fears. Then, the sick SOB in charge takes it to the next level ...
Joey ( Terry Farrell ) is a wannabe reporter working for a late-night TV news channel. She is roughly the equivalent of the Gyllenhall character in Nightcrawler (2015) , eager to get bloody footage so her audience can savour the suffering of others. In order to get herself a big story, she follows up on a mysterious medical case of a man injured by magical chains.
The trail leads back to a nightclub. The owner is a sleazy young man, JP Monroe, who enjoys one-night stands with bimbos. This leads to the kind of misaligned expectations that can ruin careers in the MeToo era. Basically, he is the Barney to Joey's Robin Scherbatsky. Unfortunately he turns out to be a villain when he reluctantly makes a deal with Pinhead (Doug Bradley - ).
Joey is haunted by dreams of her father's death in the Vietnam war. She is contacted by the ghost of Pinhead's host, who provides the exposition necessary to stop the demon. The plan is to use the box and bring Pinhead to Earth, where he can be properly defeated.
Pinhead does indeed come back to Earth. Since his old cenobites are gone, he creates some new minions. Any victim who has a speaking role is likely to get brought back as one.
In order to impress gallery owner Brooke Shields the protagonist turns photo-journalist, investigating the disappearance. His girlfriend ( Leslie Bibb ) gets worried about him, but in this kind of film there is only one role for women - damsel in distress! Likewise, the hero's wisecracking best buddy is likewise set up for a limited life expectancy.
Our hero discovers that Vinnie Jones ( Swordfish ) has something to do with the disappearances.