As you may or may not already be aware, the Horror Channel has quite recently made the transition from subscription only services, directly onto your freeview box. This opens up a world of possibilities for the recommendations section of our podcast! To give you a flavour of the kinds of movies we might be pushing on you, here’s a selection of five of their best over the next few days:
Tuesday 17th March 2015, 21.00 – eXistenZ
David Cronenberg’s meta-psychological sci-fi thriller eXistenZ – with its wobbly translucent organic squirming control pad game-pods that characters can plug themselves into via bio-ports in order to play a virtual reality game – is probably the best film they’re showing all week. The fact he has created something so hideous both in design and concept that it can still be recalled with disgust
days, weeks, probably months and years after you first see it is testament to his skill and legend as the master of body-horror. Having a strange and unnerving atmosphere spawning from a strong script is one thing, but the imagery that is incorporated into this espionage-come-sexually-invasive thriller is what gives it an edge. It’s not just a clever film about what life is, about the creation and destruction of life, and particularly in its relation to religion and environmental issues; it’s also a visual feast. Some fantastic designs only add to the entertaining and complex plot.
Thursday 19th March 2015, 21.00 – DeadHeads
Zom-coms seem to have a genre all to themselves. Sometimes they are painfully funny (the go-to example is Shaun of the Dead), and other times… not so much. Whilst DeadHeads is some way off the quality of Edgar Wright’s British zomedy, it still has enough going for it to make it worth your time if you are a horror aficionado. The concept is perhaps not completely original, but it’s a nice twist on the genre to show the movie from the perspective of two geeky loser zombies who happen to be able to talk just like regular guys. They just also happen to be dead. It’s simply a road trip movie where the main characters are zombies and their pursuers are zombie hunting government enforcer types, but it does have a couple of laughs scattered throughout.
Friday 20th March 2015, 00.40 (Saturday morning then I guess, technically) – Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever
Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Eli Roth’s first Cabin Fever from 2002 as much as the next sane (insane?) horror film fan did. I’m basically recommending this sequel from 2010 blind, purely based on the fact that it has Ti West’s name attached to it – even if he did publicly disown the project. This time, the flesh-eating virus has spread to a high school prom, which leads to a Not-Another-Teen-Movie-meets-Roger-Corman bonanza. Described elsewhere as “joyfully gross“, it’s a film you will either love or hate (apparently). But it’s a good example of the kind of gem that turns up on the horror channel from time to time, just when you’re in the mood to watch a properly naff but gory horror film.
Saturday 21st March 2015, 21.00 – Grave Encounters
Low budget. Found footage. Jump scares. These are all phrases that will either put you off the Viscous Brothers insane asylum documentary-gone-wrong horror, or, if you’re like me, sound irresistible. I first watched it late at night, in bed, with all the lights out, and I’m not ashamed to admit that it creeped me the fuck out at times. There are some original twists in the story; it’s a lot more than just a bunch of idiots sneaking around an old building being scared of creaking doors. There’s a few layers to the horror, starting out quite mild and eventually building to bigger and more ambitious things. If you can forgive the fact that the characters all make unrealistic or silly choices at times (which you really should in a film of this ilk) then you will probably find Grave Encounters best watched from behind a cushion.
Sunday 22nd March 2015, 22.45 – The Vault of Horror
A classic British anthology horror from the 70’s, featuring the likes of Terry Thomas and Tom Baker, which has endlessly been parodied. Perhaps by no-one more brilliantly than Steve Coogan in his under-appreciated ode to Hammer Horror TV series, Dr Terrible’s House of Horrible. As always in this sort of film, some of the stories are a bit hit and miss (mostly miss), but when it’s on form (such as in Tom Baker’s segment, Drawn and Quartered) then it is really bloody good. And who doesn’t love classic British horror films? Exactly.
The horror channel is now available on Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freeview 70, Freesat 138 and TalkTalk 487.