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Non-Review Review: Dracula – Prince of Darkness

It’s interesting that Hammer chose to package Dracula: Prince of Darkness in the “best of” collection I picked up for my gran over Christmas. It isn’t that it’s hardly the strongest entry in Hammer’s canon, but it’s also not the strongest instalment in their Dracula franchise. It’s the third release in the series chronologically (and, arguably, in terms of quality), following The Horror of Dracula and The Brides of Dracula). It’s not a bad film, if you’re a fan of these sorts of sixties gothic horrors, but it’s not necessarily a good one either. It’s functional, if not efficient, and never really finds anything particularly compelling about any of its characters or its set up.

You can Count on me!

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Non-Review Review: The Resident

While I was watching The Resident, I couldn’t help but think of Pacific Heights. Maybe it was the fact that I had just watched Jackie Brown and Michael Keaton was fresh in my head, but I really couldn’t get the comparison out of my head. Both movies have a rather fascinating central premise, and a fertile ground for horror – the notion that we know next-to-nothing about the people we finding ourselves living with – but both also fail to follow through on some truly great potential. There are moments when The Resident seems to be working, but they’re all too briefly brushed aside in a movie that doesn’t seem willing to build or develop its unsettling undertones.

This relationship is suffocating her...

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Non-Review Review: Wake Wood

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Even though I never lived through their “golden age” of schlock horror films, I still feel a sympathetic affinity for Hammer’s House of Horror. Watching movies late into the night with my gran and grandfather was one of those treats my younger self enjoyed on returning from abroad for Summer or Christmas holidays. As such, it’s nice to see Hammer producing movies again. Let Me In was a fairly major success for the company, remarking the already-classic vampire film Let the Right One In, but it didn’t feel as deeply rooted in Hammer’s horror traditions as the Irish horror the Wake Wood does. For better or worse, the Wake Wood is pure Hammer Horror.

The truth always comes to light...

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Swanky Lady: Spare a Thought for Hilary Swank…

I feel sorry for Hilary Swank right now, but also a little hurt and confused. Swank should be a respected character actor at the very least, and I’d argue that she has the potential for a distinguished and competent leading lady. After all, the woman has two Oscars on her shelves and she’s not even forty (for Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry). That’s some kind of spectacular acting accomplishment right there. We should be looking at the next Meryl Streep, a woman who can grow old with dignity and remain a well-respected and admired performer. So, I am quite surprised to find that Swank is starring in a direct-to-video Hammer horror film, The Resident.

And I’m trying to understand how that can happen.

I thought an Oscar was supposed to open doors...

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Non-Review Review: The Man With Two Brains

Remember when Steve Martin was funny? I know, it was a long time ago, but think really hard. Remember when he was churning out consistently entertaining and amusing comedies which skirted the line of brilliance? Before he became the straight man to Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated? The Man With Two Brains is a such a comedy. I’m not sure it’s consistent enough to justify the description ‘classic’, but ‘vintage’ fits it best. A vintage Steve Martin comedy.

And brains to spare...

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Non-Review Review: Lesbian Vampire Killers

I like to think that I can appreciate a movie for what it is. I was even able to find something positive to say about The Land of the Lost, for crying out loud! Still, this doesn’t stop Lesbian Vampire Killers from being one of the worst films I’ve seen in quite some time (The Reader and Deception are the only other two movie that stick out so strongly in my mind). Paul McGann is literally the only thing that is anyway half-decent in the film, and – much like his lead role in Doctor Who – he is sucked into the mindless vacuum of crap which surrounds him. Who the hell thought this was a good idea? Really?

Look, Paul McGann, if your religious relics couldn't keep you from getting tied up in this mess, they're probably not going hold off that rampaging sexually-liberated blood-sucker...

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