Tuesday, 21 May 2013

DALEKS' INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. (1966) - A review by Paul Worts

Directed by Gordon Flemyng, Starring: Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbens, Roberta Tovey, Jill Curzon. Science Fiction, UK, 1966, approx 84mins, cert U.

Released in UK on DVD & Blu-ray by Studiocanal on the 27th May 2013.

Following hot on the heels of the financial success of its predecessor, DALEKS’ INVASION EARTH 2150 A.D. landed in 1966. Directing responsibilities once more fell to Gordon Flemyng, who was reunited with Peter Cushing reprising the role of the Doctor and Roberta Tovey as his younger granddaughter Susan. Neither Roy Castle nor Jennie Linden were available so Bernard Cribbins (Tom Campbell) and Jill Curzon (Louise) were brought in as replacements.

DR. WHO & THE DALEKS (1965) - A review by Paul Worts

Directed by Gordon Flemyng, Starring: Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden, Roberta Tovey. Science Fiction, UK, 1965, approx 82mins, cert U.
Released in UK on DVD & Blu-ray by Studiocanal on the 27th May 2013

Back in the mid-60’s, when the world was in the grip of Beatlemania, Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg of Amicus Productions invested in a different ‘mania’ that was sweeping the UK. Acquiring the rights to bringing Terry Nation’s creations to the big screen, they freed the Daleks from black and white TV’s and unleashed them in glorious full-colour techniscope.

At home on the telly, the first Doctor was being played by the wispy white-haired William Hartnell. Even though he could time-travel, Messrs Subotsky and Rosenberg didn’t feel Hartnell could cross the pond and brought in the venerable Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing who was better known to US audiences.

In adapting the character for the big screen the Doctor is stripped of his alien status and is merely an eccentric inventor and kindly grandfather whose surname happens to be ‘Who’. We are introduced to his granddaughters in a nicely staged domestic scene where the camera pans from the younger granddaughter Susan (Roberta Tovey), across to older sister Barbara (Jennie Linden) – both reading scientific manuals – before settling on Cushing who is engrossed in a comic. Enter Barbara’s nervous and clumsy boyfriend Ian (Roy Castle) who is invited by the Doctor to step out into the garden to see his latest invention: a time-travelling police box known as T.A.R.D.I.S. Before you know it, Ian and the Who family are flung into futuristic space and end up on the planet Skaro. Here they encounter a peaceful race called the Thals who live in the shadow of nuclear attack from the planet’s other residents – the Daleks.

The film suffers from being studio-bound and watching it today it has the feel of a big budget widescreen episode of original series STAR TREK. The forest set is at least effectively lit with bold swathes of colour, although the mutated swamp creatures hinted at sadly never materialise. As for the titled baddies themselves, their metallic dialogue is delivered with hilariously over emphasised E-NUN-CI-A-TION. Originally the Daleks were supposed to shoot fire but this was deemed too scary for children so instead they shoot (somewhat ironically) CO2 fire extinguishers.
Acting honours go to the young Roberta Tovey who is convincing and delivers possibly the least annoying child performance of all time. Cushing is as reliable as ever and an honourable mention must also go to Barrie Ingham (Alydon - the leader of the Thals), who manages to retain his dignity despite being asked to wear ridiculous false eyelashes and a blond wig.

It all moves along at a fair clip, and never outstays its welcome. For a modern audience raised on a diet of Tennant and Smith breathlessly dashing from one state of the art effects set-piece to another the film provides quite a culture shock. But it’s a charming diversion on a wet Sunday afternoon for both Dr Who completists and casual viewers alike.

The re-mastered Blu-ray image is pin-sharp and colour-rich, highlighting every detail on display (including the obvious matte work). The techniscope film grain is of course present throughout, but this, coupled with the decision not to upgrade the original mono soundtrack, adds an authentically nostalgic feel to the viewing experience. 
Extras: an audio commentary with Roberta Tovey and Jenny Linden; Dalekmania documentary; a short feature on the film’s restoration; an interview with Gareth Owen; stills gallery and trailer.          

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

SLICE & DICE: THE SLASHER FILM FOREVER (2012) - A review by Paul Worts

Directed by Calum Waddell, Starring: Corey Feldman, Tobe Hooper, Mick Garris, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, Patrick Lussier, Felissa Rose, Adam Green.                   
Documentary, UK, 2012, approx 75mins, cert 18. Released in UK on DVD by 88 Films on the 13th May 2013
“Lots of gore, lots of nudity: that’s a slasher film”. (Corey Feldman)
Back in 2010, Calum Waddell and Naomi Holwill were working on a 20 minute featurette entitled: “How to survive a slasher film” for Arrow Films’ Blu ray release of PIECES. Having reviewed the material they’d assembled they realised what they had could potentially be expanded into a full-length documentary. With no budget whatsoever to speak of, they combined existing material already shot with additional interviews conducted in the UK and at The Sitges Film Festival over a two year period. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

COME OUT AND PLAY (2012) - A review by Paul Worts

Directed by Makinov, Starring: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw, Daniel Giménez   Horror, Mexico, 2012, 86mins, cert 18.
Released in UK on DVD by Metrodome on the 6th May 2013

In Mexico during fiesta season, Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and his pregnant wife Beth (Vinessa Shaw) are grabbing their last chance for a holiday before their baby is born. After persuading a local fisherman to lend them his small boat the couple cast off from the harbour and sail off in search of a remote island named Punta Hueca. Disembarking on the island they are greeted on the dock solely by children.
If you’ve seen Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s WHO CAN KILL A CHILD (1976), then you’ll more or less know exactly what this couple are about to witness and the ordeal they are about to be exposed to. If on the other hand, you’re approaching director Makinov’s slick, sick and disturbing remake fresh – and providing you crank your suspension of disbelief dial up to maximum setting – you’ll find yourself rewarded with a film which gradually pulls you in and will linger with you long after the end credits have rolled. (cont'd.