18 – 91mins – 1984
“Everybody’s got to dream, young lady.”
Inexcusably falling into the ‘genre classic I’ve somehow never seen’ category, I remedied my unintentional aversion to Wes Craven’s Elm Street franchise by picking up the 5-disc Blu-ray boxset recently, which neatly includes all 7 original entries and only skips on the 2010 remake (which, shamefully, is the only one I had previously seen).
… Keep Scuttling!
BBC Two – 22nd February 2017 – 10pm
Created and written by: Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith
Directed by: Guillem Morales
DIDDLING THE DIDLUM
It doesn’t feel like five minutes since I was sitting in the glow of the fairy lights, sipping on eggnog while watching festive special “The Devil of Christmas,” a Krampus-flavoured twist on rose-tinted TV nostalgia and dodgy DVD commentaries. It was a story I admired in concept more than I enjoyed its execution. Skip forward almost two months and Psychoville alumni Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith are back with a further five episodes of their hit comedy-horror anthology series set inside widely disparate locations with just the door number in common.
… Keep Scuttling!
18 – 89mins – 1985
“This is not a picnic!”
A team of teenage Rambo-wannabe war game champions, their girlfriends and Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) happen upon a lived-in but deserted farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and spontaneously decide to squat in the vacant space to spur on their sexy post-paintball celebrations, scarcely sparing a second thought for the absent owners, who are more than a little hacked off when they return…
“It’s not a game anymore!”
While the often snowy image on this recent Arrow Video 30th Anniversary remaster does almost as bad a job of disguising the age of the film print as the horrendous hairstyles, short shorts and cringeworthy political incorrectness (“faggots,” “raping Mother Nature,” “I’m crippled!”), cult director Nico Hired to Kill Mastorakis’ trashy action-horror is such a product of its time that the wear and tear (even on crisp blu-ray) actually aids the retro charm. If, indeed, you can label a film with torture and slaughter charming!
While the puffed up blurb on the back lauds The Zero Boys as “genre-bending”, I would go even further in christening it a treasure trove of trusty terror tropes. From yokel maniac stalkers chiefly shot in smoke-shrouded silhouette, to storm-stranded survivalists separated and strung up by their own stupidity, Mastorakis mashs it all into a relentless multitudinous scream-fest.
If The Evil Dead, Red Dawn and Last House on the Left were to have a threesome, this would be the ungainly bastard hybrid offspring. There is Zero originality or subtly in these Boys‘ stumbling struggle for survival against sadistic slashers, nevertheless, with its cocksure and outright ballsy 80’s attitude and smorgasboard of excess exploitation, this is still a riotous retro watch perfect for a Friday night beer and pizza marathon – laughable shoelace-scuppering silliness, dire-logue and all!
CR@B’s Claw Score: