NOOOOOOOOOOO– I mean, yes, it’s the latest episode of the Failed Critics podcast with Callum ‘bright eyes’ Petch and Dr Andrew Brookerzaius joining hosts Steve ‘chimpan A’ Norman and Owen ‘chimpan Z’ Hughes as they get their stinkin’ paws on The Dawn of the War Beneath the Battle for the Planet of the Living Dead Apes, or whatever it’s called.
This week, the ghoulish Owen HuooooOOOoooOOooooOOoooooooooooghes picks the most gruesome and pant-wettingly terrifying horror films on TV, alongside the most pant, er, dryingly films in this Halloween special.
What to watch: Final Destination, Channel 5, 10.55pm – A group of kids trying to outrun Death himself opens itself up to some of the most creative character-deaths in the genre. Despite being 13 years old, it has aged surprisingly well. The story is inventive and darkly comic; like watching a supernatural movie version of an episode of Casualty. That’s meant to be a positive comment, by the way.
What not to watch: House of Wax, ITV2, 11pm – Unfortunately this isn’t the 3D House of Wax from the 1950’s featuring the all time great Vincent Price. Instead, this is the Jaume Collet-Serra remake (I use that term loosely) from a few years ago. Instead of featuring of the most iconic actors of the horror genre, it has the utterly terrible Paris Hilton. Do not watch this if you’re looking for some late night scares. You won’t find them here.
Tuesday 29 October
What to watch: The Last Exorcism, Film4, 1.05am (Wednesday morning) – Found footage horrors aren’t for everybody (as our dear leader James will testify) but this combines the best of both found footage and possesion films to give us something particualrly frightening. It might not be the most original or groundbreaking 90 minutes of celluloid you’ll ever see, but you could do far worse this week.
What not to watch: Jeepers Creepers, 5*, 9pm – May be slightly harsh to say not to watch this early noughties supernatural tale of a demon hunting down some road tripping college kids, as the first half of Jeepers Creepers is fairly enjoyable. However, from the one and only time I’ve seen it (back in 2001 in the cinema) I remember laughing at how much it fell to pieces in the second half. From not-bad to utterly-terrible in the same amount of time it takes you to say “be eating you”.
Wednesday 30 October
What to watch: Drag Me To Hell, 5*, 9pm – It’s something of a mixed week for 5*. Each evening they will be showing a horror at 9pm, some worth watching, some not worth watching, and some I’ve not even bothered watching. On Wednesday though is Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi‘s return to the twisted and the gory with what is both hilarious and sickening all at the same time and such a welcome relief after the travesty that was Spider-Man 3. More of these please, Mr Raimi!
What not to watch: ??? – Between End of Days on Film4, and Hannibal on ITV2, I’m not sure I can pick a terrible film for you tonight as I’ve not seen either of them. It’s a pretty baron evening for horror on Wednesday. Just stick with Drag Me To Hell is my advice. Or get a DVD. Or Netflix. Or… anything really. It’s only one more day ’til Halloween, Silver Shamrock.
Thursday 31 October – HALLOWEEN!
What to watch: Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages, Film4, 1.10am – I’d love to tell you why you should also be as excited as I am about the screening of this Danish silent movie from 1922, but without having seen it myself yet, it would be somewhat hypocritical of me. What you should know is that this early mockumentary into the relationship between mental illness and witch hunts is very well regarded. I, for one, have been waiting to watch this for a long time and am very excited by it.
What not to watch: Halloween II, 5*, 9pm – You know, there actually isn’t an awful lot wrong with this sequel to the game-changing slasher John Carpenter original, but on a night where the dead will rise from their graves and the ghosts all come out to play, it’s not worth spending your time on this unless you really, really like the original. Like, really like it.
Friday 1 November
What to watch: Kill List, Film4, 00.30am (Sat) – Ben Wheatley’s British film about two contract killers (Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley) and some very peculiar jobs they take is perhaps best described as “not for everybody”. The cult elements that are very reminiscent of The Wicker Man make it something of an acquired taste but if you ask me, it’s one of the best British horror films for a long time.
What not to watch: Halloween: Resurrection, BBC1, 11.50pm – Why shouldn’t you watch this? Well, let me explain the synopsis to you. Busta Rhymes has an internet reality TV show where he invites people to stay in the childhood home of notorious serial killer, Michael Myers. I’m pretty sure you can guess the rest. And yes, it really is that bad.
Saturday 2 November
What to watch: Death Becomes Her, ITV3, 12.50pm – As the standard of horror films over the weekend diminishes somewhat, I thought it would be a good idea to show that not all films you can watch at Halloween have to make you jump or shit yourself. Some can just be downright amusing but with a supernatural element to them. Such as this Robert Zemeckis 90’s comedy featuring Bruce Willis as the husband caught in a feud between two women played by Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn who discover a magic elixir that promises them youth and beauty forever. It’s just a fun way to spend an afternoon, with a great comic turn by hard-man Willis.
What not to watch: Sabrina the Teenage Witch, 5*, 4pm – Like most kids growing up in the 90’s who had access to Nickelodeon, I also enjoyed the TV series featuring Melissa Joan Hart as a young girl living with her crazy witch aunts and their talking cat. But even as a kid, I knew that by making a film, they had taken it too far. Do. Not. Watch. This. Not even for nostalgic value. Spare yourself.
Sunday 3 November
What to watch: Ghostbusters, Channel 5, 1pm – It’s hardly Halloween without watching one of the best comedies ever made. Thank you Channel 5 for saving us the hassle of having to write to Points of View to complain. I suppose it can be argued that it’s actually the best movie on TV all week and I’m pretty sure you won’t see any complaints from the rest of the Failed Critics team about that.
What not to watch: Hocus Pocus, Film4, 4.45pm – OK, maybe it’s me, but I just don’t like this film. I never really enjoyed it as a kid, and when I’ve tried to watch it again now I’m older, it still doesn’t do anything for me. It’s very dated and not all that funny either. It’s also the only other supernatural film I could find on TV on Sunday and it’s nowhere near as good as Ghostbusters. It kind of “won” by default.
The best films on TV this week, as chosen by that weird brummie fellow off of the podcast, Owen Hughes.
One of the top 10 films of all time according to the Sight & Sound poll, John Ford‘s classic western starring John Wayne is one of the most influential movies of all time. Whilst arguably slightly dated, it still looks absolutely brilliant, just as you would expect from a Ford film. It’s worth watching at least once in your life, if only to see what all the fuss is about! (Also, if you miss it, it’s repeated all week on various channels, including TCM and BBC4.)
Tuesday 2nd July – The Running Man (Film4 23.35)
It’s the year 2017, the world is under the rule of a totalitarian state, and the only thing the people have to look forward to is a gameshow where criminals are pitted against gladiators in a battle to the death. You can keep your Hunger Games films, this 80s Arnie actioner is what I love! Ultraviolent, snappy one liners and cheese levels set to maximum; well worth staying up late on a school night for!
Wednesday 3rd July – Rope (More4 11.45)
Hitchcock is at his best when his films were set on a small scale. Dial M For Murder, Rear Window, and of course Rope. Telling the story of one 2 students trying to get away with the perfect crime in the middle of a dinner party they are hosting, all set in one apartment, filmed in four cuts, it is one of the greatest director’s greatest films.
Thursday 4th July – Kill List (Film4 23.05)
Get ready for Friday’s huge event, the release of A Field In England on DVD, cinemas and Film4 all at the same time, with Ben Wheatley‘s cult horror on Thursday. A dark tale of two hitmen who get involved in a job way over their heads, Kill List has an unnerving and ominous atmosphere throughout. Complete with good performances (particularly Neil Maskell (aka Andy from Utopia)) it made Ben Wheatley a director to watch.
Friday 5th July – A Field In England (Film4 22.45)
Finally! It’s arrived! Starring Wheatley regular Michael Smiley (Kill List, Outpost), Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Psychoville) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh, Nathan Barley), directed by Ben Wheatley, this is one of the most anticipated events of the year. ” ..released simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, free TV and video-on-demand” (The Hollywood Reporter) only adds to the excitement surrounding this black and white tale of two soldiers deserting the English Civil War. Not to be missed!
Saturday 6th July – Scott Pilgrim vs The world (Channel 4, 10pm)
Perhaps the ultimate hipster movie. Adapted from a relatively obscure Canadian comic you probably haven’t even read (I have, obviously) starring Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, a bass player who has to fight off his would-be girlfriends seven evil exes, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is a fantasy-action-adventure like no other. Want another reason to watch it? It’s directed by Edgar Wright. Still not enough? Beck wrote the soundtrack to this film. Still haven’t been convinced? Well you’re just wrong.
Sunday 7th July – The Iron Giant (Film4, 2.50pm)
More well known for being the director of The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird made his film debut with this beautiful animated film about a boy who discovers a giant alien robot. The Iron Giant does what all good kids films do, it handles a serious topic (i.e. loss and loneliness) very sensitively whilst still being a fun adventure film.