Halloween Retrospective #6: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

It’s time for another in our series of Halloween film reviews, freed at last from the 2018 vault which houses all of the recordings that Howard and Dan made in the run-up to the release of Halloween (2018).

For this episode, focusing on perhaps the most peculiar instalment of the franchise (which reportedly gave Christopher Lee his second opportunity to turn the series down), they’re joined by Halloween review veteran Spider-Dan and a new guest to the podcast, actor Luke Richards.

Relevant links and availability:

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (theatrical cut) is available on DVD and Blu-Ray or for rental streaming from Amazon or YouTube; the ‘producer’s cut’ is available on Blu-Ray

Spider-Dan’s podcast

Alien Theory’s Tribute to Ron Cobb on YouTube

Alzheimer’s Research UK on Lewy Body Dementia

The Beast Within: The Making of Alien on YouTube

Superior Firepower: The Making of Aliens on YouTube

Des on ITV Hub

The Quatermass Xperiment on Amazon Prime

Howard and Dan talking about The Quatermass Xperiment on YouTube

Quatermass 2 on Amazon Prime

Howard and Dan talking about Quatermass 2 on YouTube (at 01:35:40)

Shudder (a one-week free trial is still available if you’ve yet to watch Host)

And check out @BAFFTS_Horror on Twitter (Stella’s new venture – more details next week!)

All soundtrack clips are used for the purposes of criticism, in the spirit of Fair Dealing (UK law) and Fair Use (US law).  No copyright infringement is intended.

Grimmfest 2020 Preview #1

In a change to the promised episode, this week we offer the first of our previews of October’s Grimmfest digital horror film festival.  (The latest in our Halloween franchise reviews will come next week instead.)

We hope the diversity of the content will help you forgive the lower-than-usual Zoom-call sound quality.  Guest host Ian Winterton has been working hard interviewing a raft of filmmakers from the festival’s slate, and here he joins regular host Dan to give an overview of the films on offer over the 7th-11th October.  Ian’s been kind enough to invite Dan aboard some of the interviews, so here we present conversations with the people behind three of the upcoming films.

Writer-director Brea Grant discusses her hospital-set, gruesome comedy thriller 12 Hour Shift, co-directors John C Lyons and Dorota Swies talk about their social-realist fracking-themed horror Unearth, and director Cody Calahan and star Ari Millen discuss dark Canadian drama The Oak Room.

Relevant Links and Availability

To find out more information and purchase tickets for Grimmfest 2020, go here.

Des is currently showing on ITV1 in the UK and is available to stream at the ITV Hub.

The Black Hole is streaming on Disney+ (in all territories, we assume).

All soundtrack clips are used for the purposes of criticism, in the spirit of Fair Dealing (UK law) and Fair Use (US law).  No copyright infringement is intended.

Film Reviews: Frightfest 2020

This week, Stella and Dan talk about the films they saw at the recent digital Frightfest, including Logan Thomas’ road-movie-with-the-undead There’s No Such Thing As Vampires, the anthology-with-multiple-directors Dark Place, Jessie O’Brien’s outback splatter comedy Two Heads Creek, Adam Stovall’s spectral comedy romance A Ghost Waits and Dean Kapsalis’ doom-laden drama The Swerve.  Stella also gives special mention to Triggered and The Columnist.  Being on the festival circuit, these movies aren’t in general release yet, but keep an eye out for them!

Stella also discloses her heartbreak over the just-announced termination of The Walking Dead.

0.00 News/chat/The Walking Dead

18.58 There’s No Such Thing As Vampires

31.39 Triggered

32.56 The Columnist

35.27 Dark Place

55.43 Two Heads Creek

01.04.09 A Ghost Waits

01.11.50 The Swerve

Relevant links and availability

I See You is currently streaming on Netflix UK

John Carpenter’s Ghost of Mars is on the UK Horror Channel at 9pm on Saturday 12th September

The Earbud Theatre podcast is available from all good podcatchers

All soundtrack clips are used for the purposes of criticism, in the spirit of Fair Dealing (UK law) and Fair Use (US law).  No copyright infringement is intended.

Missed Classics #3: Il Gatto Nero/The Black Cat (1981)

For the first time ever on ANTPS, both Stella and Kirsty are absent this week, prioritising work duties as the UK’s educational system goes full steam ahead again.  However, the show must go on, and Dan is fortunate instead to have another Dan to keep him company – the illustrious Spider-Dan, from the podcast Spider-Dan and the Secret Bores.

Spider-Dan’s here to discuss one of his favourite films, and a cult horror classic that the other Dan has never seen before – Il Gatto Nero/The Black Cat (1981), an Italian horror film intended for international audience’s by that country’s ‘godfather of gore’, director Lucio Fulci.  Set in England, and inspired by a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, it’s an unusually restrained film in the Fulci fimography, but still memorably vicious.

From one feline to another, comic-book expert Spider-Dan also discusses the tragic early passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, who died last week aged 43.

Spoiler-free discussion of The Black Cat starts at 16.41 and spoilers begin at 49.00.

Relevant Links and Availability

The Black Cat is available for rental streaming on YouTube or Amazon in the UK, from Amazon in the US and is available on Blu-Ray or as part of the current streaming package from Arrow Video.

The Monster Club is available for rental streaming and is contained in Amazon Prime‘s current streaming package.

Darkman is available for streaming on Netflix in the UK.

Spider-Dan and the Secret Bores podcast

All soundtrack clips are used for the purposes of criticism, in the spirit of Fair Dealing (UK law) and Fair Use (US law).  No copyright infringement is intended.

Questions of Horror #1: Why Dark Endings?

In the first of an occasional series, Kirsty, Stella and Dan ponder some wide-ranging questions of the horror genre.  Dan’s been wondering why it is that so many horror films have dark endings of one kind or another, and why we spectators enjoy these endings, comparatively rare in other genres.

SPOILER WARNING – By the nature of the discussion we spoil the endings of a great many films.  So if you haven’t seen the following films and don’t want the endings ruined, don’t listen to this episode!  Although if the one you’ve missed is Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, don’t worry too much, as Dan has a senior moment and vastly misremembers the details of that film’s conclusion. At one point he also says the wonderful phrase “murder-kills” when he means “mercy-kills”.

Films spoiled: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971), Halloween (1978), The Thing (1982), the Scream franchise (1996-2011), The Descent (2005), The Mist (2007), The Woman in Black (2012), Get Out (2017).

Related Links

Our biggest news this week is a reminder that it’s the weekend of Frightfest’s Digital Edition.  If you live in the UK, Eire or the Channel Islands, you can still buy tickets to stream any of the films featured over the weekend by going to the Frightfest website.

What We Love About What We Do In The Shadows

A shamelessly indulgent episode, as Kirsty, Stella and Dan rabbit on at length about why and how much they love the 2014 horror mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, its current TV incarnation and other spin-offs.  It’s mostly spoiler-free, for the uninitiated (apart from a spoiler section beginning at 01:20:48), but it does contain some swearing.  Which is becoming a habit.

Related Links and Availability

What We Do In The Shadows (2019-2020 TV series) can be viewed on BBC iPlayer in the UK

What We Do In The Shadows (2014 film) can be viewed as part of the Amazon Prime subscription package in the UK

What We Do In The Shadows: Interviews With Some Vampires (2005 short film) can be viewed on YouTube

Wellington Paranormal is available to stream via www.tvnz.co.nz if you live in New Zealand or is available on DVD from the usual outlets in the rest of the world

Lovecraft Country is currently showing on Sky Atlantic in the UK

The Dead Don’t Die is available for streaming purchase via Amazon or YouTube

Carmilla – The Series is available to stream on YouTube

Monty Python and the Holy Grail can currently be streamed on Netflix in the UK

And if you’re wondering about the theme music to What We Do In The Shadows that we love so much, it’s ‘You’re Dead’ by Norma Tanega (1966)

Missed Classics #2: Paranormal Activity (2009)/Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

Kirsty’s off on a lovely Scottish holiday this week, so Stella and Dan are joined by film journalist and playwright Ian Winterton for a spoilery discussion of  a landmark horror that Dan’s never seen before, Oren Peli’s ‘found footage’ haunted house film, Paranormal Activity.  They also go into detail on its 2010 sequel by director Tod Williams (although not the rest of the franchise).

So, spoilers beware!  Also, apologies for the lower-than-usual audio quality this week, which is due to unexpected occurrences taking away our editing time and forcing us to use the Zoom call audio (and not have time to cut out the swearing).  Normal service should resume next week.

Relevant Links and Availability:

Paranormal Activity can be streamed for free in the UK via BBC iPlayer or by Amazon Prime subscribers.

Paranormal Activity 2 is available for rental streaming via Amazon or YouTube.

The Blair Witch Project is available for free streaming to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Hannibal for Dinner, the book of essays on Hannibal including an essay by Kirsty, can be pre-ordered from the McFarland website.

Dan’s essay about The Woman in Black (1989) can be read at The Digital Fix.

The Left Right Game Podcast

Ares can be streamed in the UK on Netflix.

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House can be streamed in the UK via Netflix.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter/February is available for rental screaming via Amazon or YouTube in the UK.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula can be streamed in the UK via Netflix.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can be streamed in the UK via Amazon Prime.

Diamanda Galas – This Is The Law of the Plague on YouTube

Director Rob Savage on Host (NON-SPOILER)

One week after its release on the streaming service Shudder, it’s already been called the horror film of the year and even, by Dread Central, the scariest film of the decade.  It’s Host, a British horror film written and produced entirely during lockdown and over Zoom.  We’ve been following its director, Rob Savage, since the start of our podcast, and now the man himself joins us for a spoiler-free discussion about what inspired the film and how it was made. 

Kirsty, Stella and Dan have all seen the film and, as you’ll hear, it’s at the top of their recommendations for this week as they discuss – again without spoilers – what they love about it.  In a few weeks we’ll be returning to Host, with Rob Savage in tow, for a full spoiler-centric review full of behind-the-scenes revelations.  But for now, if you haven’t done so already, head over to Shudder and take advantage of this terrifying treat.

The official trailer for Host

Relevant Links and Availability

Host, Horror Noire, and In Search of Darkness are available for streaming now on Shudder (new subscribers can take out a free one-week trial)

You can check out much of director Rob Savage’s other work at his website

Robin of Sherwood can be viewed at the ITV Hub (contrary to what Dan said last week, the series is currently being repeated on ITV4)

The Borrasca podcast 

The Ivy League Murders podcast

All soundtrack clips are used for the purposes of criticism, in the spirit of Fair Dealing (UK law) and Fair Use (US law).  No copyright infringement is intended.

Witchcraft and Paganism, Part 2

Following on from last week’s episode, in which Kirsty led Stella and Dan on a dive into witchcraft through history, reality and fiction, she’s now widening her scope to include other types of paganism.  If you only know paganism through what you’ve seen in horror films, there’ll be a lot to learn here – but this discussion also takes time to go in-depth on two of cinema’s most notable pagan horrors, Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2019) and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973).  It’s another bumper-length episode and, hopefully, a fascinating chat.

Relevant Links and Availability:

Midsommar is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, as part of the Amazon Prime package or for rental streaming via YouTube

The Wicker Man is available on DVD and Blu-Ray (in several different versions) and the ‘Final Cut’ is available for rental streaming via YouTube or Amazon

The Ritual (2017) is available on DVD and for rental streaming from Amazon

Darklands (1997) doesn’t appear to be available anywhere but you can read about it here

Apostle (2018) can be streamed on Netflix

Kill List (2011) is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, as part of the Amazon Prime package or for rental streaming via Amazon or YouTube

The Frightfest website has details of this year’s digital festival

The Woman in Black (1989) will be exclusively available on Blu-Ray from the Network website from 10th August

Hooded Man: Volumes 1 and 2 are available from 1st August from Miwk Publishing (and Seasons 1-3 of Robin of Sherwood are available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Network)

Host is available to stream now using an Amazon Prime subscription with a Shudder free trial

The BBC/NRK podcast Death in Ice Valley is available to download now

Witchcraft and Paganism, Part 1

Ever since 1922’s Haxan, depictions of pagan practices and witchcraft have been part of cinema, and particularly, of horror cinema.  But do such depictions have more to do with dominant impressions of witchcraft than with witchcraft itself?

In the first of a two-part exploration, Kirsty, who knows a thing or two about her subject, guides Stella and Dan on a journey into the history of the witch as a historical reality, as a cinematic fixture (with a spoiler-filled discussion of Robert Eggers’ The Witch, 2015, in particular) and as an often-misunderstood part of contemporary culture.

It’s a bumper-length episode and we hope you’ll find it satisfyingly in-depth.  Next time, we’re expanding the conversation to include more general portrayals of paganism in horror.

Relevant links and availability:

The Witch (2015) can be is available for rental streaming from Amazon or YouTube and is available on DVD

Suspiria (1978 and 2018 versions) are available on Amazon Prime or on DVD and Blu-Ray

Go to the Frightfest website to find details about this year’s digital festival

What We Do In The Shadows is available on YouTube (2005 short film), Amazon Prime (2014 feature film) and BBC iPlayer (TV series)

Good Bad Flicks’ episode about Galaxy of Terror can be found on YouTube (the film itself is on Netflix)

Slenderman is on Netflix and Marble Hornets is on YouTube

Channel Zero is available on Amazon Prime with a Starzplay free trial or subscription

Prevenge is available on Amazon Prime

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