Tag Archives: Euro-horror

Pant-Soiling Scenes #16: 28 DAYS LATER…

Is it a zombie film? Is it not a zombie film? I’d say it’s a zombie film but without zombies. Per se.

Regardless of how you look at it, it’s still shit scary. Well…was – it’s been duped to death now, the whole man-wakes-up-after-the-event thing. The Walking Dead just started practically the same.

Anyway, 28 Days Later‘s pant-soiling-scene comes when our recently-awoken hero Jim looks for help and hope at the nearest church but instead finds a pile of bodies and a couple of The Infected, who were peacefully dozing until he hollered, thus resulting in a super-eerie moment when what looks to Jim like other people is evidently anything but…

Although why Mr Infected has a sheet tucked into his collar like some massive napkin is a mystery… Dining in?

Whaling and impaling


3 Stars  2009/18/84m

“Hunting humans in the cold Icelandic waters.”

Director: Julius Kemp / Writers: Sjon & Torsten Metalstein Hvas / Cast: Pihla Viltada, Nae Yuuki, Miranda Hennessy, Terence Anderson, Helgi Bjornsson, Guorun Gisladottir, Stefan Jonsson, Aymen Hamdouchi, Gunnar Hansen.

Body Count: 12-15

Dire-logue: “I might be disgusting to you, but this fag here is the only hope your tight Bible-belt ripped Church-going ass has of getting out of this alive!”

Iceland. Bjork, bankruptcy and that volcano-ash crisis that you don’t hear much about now… Despite being responsible for great Eurovision entries the past three years, they’ve not really made themselves synonymous with the international horror scene – until now…

Julius Kemp’s Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, pre-fixed with Harpoon for the lazy semi-literate audiences of yonder, is therefore an interesting movie for this reason alone, as well as being a mix of shameless bloodletting, amusing (if stereotyped) characters, post-rape Bjork sing-song and ‘the strange’…

German tourist Annett wants to see the whales. Her travel pal Hannah is more interested in getting laid and so Annett goes along on the trip herself alongside two American singles, a trio of grumpy middleaged women, a drunken Frenchman and a Japanese couple and their assistant.

Perhaps they should all take heed of the fact that the boat’s captain is Leatherface himself…albeit 35 years older and now posing as a harmless whale tour operator.


Things gradually deteriorate for poor Annett: after leaping from the dock to the departing ship she bangs up her knee, which is patched up by the handsome deckhand who then tries to rape her. While this is going on, the drunk French guy climbs the mast and stumbles, accidentally skewering El Capitano – who, we can now assume, will not brandish a chainsaw and kill everybody.

As the tourists panic and the deckhand flees in the tender, Annett stumbles onto the bridge and decides to serenade everyone with her rendition of Bjork’s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, just what I’d do in the same situation. Although I’d most likely opt for ‘Army of Me’.


With Captain Petur dead and nobody else around to take them to safety, the group are happy to be picked up by a local who takes them back to the whaler he inhabits with his mother and brother, who like nothing more than hacking up Greenpeace activists and friends of the whales.

No sooner do the outsiders come aboard, the killing begins and they flee in every possible direction: one guy dons a lifejacket and attempts to swim away but is shot with the harpoon and hauled back and poor Annett is captured for the second time by pervy little bro Siggi who strips her and pours paint and innards all over her body for reasons the film mercifully did not go into.


With the killers busy hunting the tourists, we begin to learn a bit more about the characters: the Americans stick together while the Japanese couple’s assistant proves that she is not one to be fucked with as she loads up one of her employers with explosives and convinces her to be a human kamikaze before escaping in the tender, leaving the others to save themselves.

Harpoon becomes something of a grisly comedy midway through. The American characters remain serious while the killers casually go about their business, taking them out with hammers, spears and knives, ill-prepared for the fact that their captives will retaliate with fire and emergency flares.


What makes things interesting is picking who will die and how: Annett is not a kick-ass final girl by any means, staggering about and being lucky enough to simply not die so far, while beareaved American Marie-Ann appears to fit the bill but gradually transforms into a selfish bitch who will gladly kill a whale to ensure her own survival. And there’s a nominal black and gay hero (!) who pretty much does all of the legwork and is responsible for that excellent piece of Dire-logue.

So we’ve got the original Leatherface, suicide bombers, merciless Japanese survivalists, a demented Nazi psychopath family and plenty of grue: what’s not to enjoy? Perhaps only the absence of any whales beyond the depressing stock footage that adorns the opening credits and that of the killer whale that decides the survivors haven’t quite been through enough at the climax. Europe’s where it’s at!

Return to sender


1.5 Stars  2004/86m

“Back from the grave to redeem his soul.”

Directors: Lloyd A. Simandl & Jonas Quastel / Writers: Evan Taylor, Jonas Quastel, John Sheppard & Pat Bermel / Cast: Erin Karpluk, Nicholas Irons, Richard Bremmer, Mhairi Steenbock, Jane Peachey, Daniel Coonan, Colin Lawrence, Myfanwy Waring, Andrew Miltner.

Body Count: 6

My BFF Grace auditioned for a role of “black girl with attitude” in this movie. “Cool!! Ripper‘s a really good little film!” I cawed. She didn’t get it. We were sad. Sometime later, sadness blossomed into a joy of relief. And there was no sign of “black girl with attitude” anyway.

The 2001 Anglo-Canadianian original was a neat little knock-off of Urban Legend with a confusing ending that sort of nodded in the direction of a possible sequel, which resulted in this dismal British feature, the quality of which is alluded to by virtue of the fact it’s never been released in the UK in any way, shape or form to date.

This hackneyed marriage of ideas from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and the left over jetsam from the previous film sees Molly Keller (now played by Karpluk) in an institution following the intangible twist ending(s) from the first round. Her shrink recommends her for a trip to a specialist clinic near Prague where Egor-like doc Bremmer carries out questionable treatments on a group of troubled youths by exploring their subconscious while they sleep – how or why he does this is something we’re apparently not meant to ask about.

Molly’s schizoid brain transmits a cloaked fiend – possibly Jack the Ripper, who we’re told is an ancestor of hers – into the groups’ collective dozing and he begins doing away with them one after the other while they roam about in their fantasies / nightmares.

Even with two directors and four scribes, the creative team fail to even muster the most basic of chills given the gothic castle setting and while away the running time with endless ‘dream’ sequences, including some sexual deviant ambling around a fetish club, serving no purpose other than to visualise soft-core lesbianism and an excess of tits.

Otherwise, criminally undeveloped sub-characters are blandly killed off before Molly confronts the dream stalker (though not before aping Jennifer Love Hewitt’s “what are you waiting for?” moment from I Know What You Did Last Summer) and the film ends as confusingly as the first one did, with absolutely no confirmation of who did what or if any of it happened at all to a group of people who might not have even existed.

Nothing but a mass of empty shells and no gun powder, Ripper 2 is the equivalent of Root Canal Surgery: The Musical, starring Justin Beiber.

Blurb-of-interest: Lloyd Simandl had already directed the even worse Possession: Until Death Do You Part back in 1987; Erin Karpluk later had a role in the TV series Slasher.

Jigsaw has a lot to answer for

steeltrapSTEEL TRAP

2 Stars  2007/18/89m

“Surviving each floor is the name of the game.”

Director: Luis Cámara / Writers: Luis Cámera & Gabrielle Galanter / Cast: Georgia MacKenzie, Mark Wilson, Julia Ballard, Pascal Langdale, Joanna Bobin, Adam Rayner, Annabelle Wallis, Frank Maier.

Body Count: 7

Dire-logue: “Living well’s pretty good but I’d say killing people is the best revenge, really.”

At a New Year’s Eve party for media types in a skyscraper, several people receive a text message inviting them down for the “real party” on a lower floor. They attend and find insulting place names that call them loser, two-faced, pig, heartless etc and clues that send them off on a scavenger hunt.

Amongst the group are a TV chef, a failing rock star, a sycophantic agent and a bitching couple and they begin to fall victim to a shiny-masked killer who slices, hangs, axes and stabs them one by one.

Much of the content of this German production is lifted right out of the Saw franchise with TV monitors galore, cryptic clues left by the killer and would-be ‘sensational’ twist ending, which becomes more and more predictable as the cast is shrunk down to the last few stragglers, most of whom begin to suspect each other – is one of them in on it, or is it all part of some bigger game?

Well, the Dire-logue should clue you in on the motives of the villain when things finally unravel – it’s all a big revenge scheme for an ex-nerd who is offing all the people who made their life a misery before they found success. To be fair to it, I quite enjoyed the exposition, ridiculous though it was and the actual ending is something you don’t see all over the place.

Steel Trap is let down by uneven performances from a chiefly British cast affecting American accents, unlikeable characters and some really stupid dialogue. At one point, a guy attempts to dial out on his cell phone to find that the signal is blocked: “Signal is blocked! What does that mean!?” to which his whiny girlfriend replies – in all seriousness, you understand – “it means he blocked the signal!” And it’s this kind of idiocy which sums things up perfectly.

The Hills Have Glam Metal, Big Hair & Swedish Accents


1.5 Stars  1985/18/85m

“The mountains echoed with the screams of terror.”

Director: Mike Jackson [Mats Helge] / Writers: Mike Jackson & Anna Wolf / Cast: Jeff Harding, Naomi Keneda, Michael Fitzpatrick, Brad Powell, Harriet Tobinson, Peter Merrill, Tina Shaw, Frances Kelly, Karina Lee, Helena Jacks.

Body Count: 18

Dire-logue: “Look at their women – evil! They deserve to die.”

I love 80s nostalgia. Even though I can’t remember much before 1987, I always look back and smile, while listening to We Built This City. However, all rose-tinted hindsight is usually just a front for some black clouds, for us: Thatcher, yuppie-culture, the Sinclair C5 and Spandau Ballet. The legions of straight to video horror films that also belong in this category can also include this dismal Swedish affair, Blood Tracks, which uses one of the lowest form of horror cliches – thrash metal – as the centrepiece for a Hills Have Eyes-rip set in the mountains.

Solid Gold, a bad marriage of Kiss and Aerosmith on a bad hair day, are to shoot their new promo video in the snowy mountains of your stock small town where, forty years earlier, a woman stuck a knife in the back of her abusive husband and fled to the hills with her sons.

These socially-starved freaks, naturally now deformed and homicidal, aren’t too impressed by sheer amount of trespassing hair – likely causing a solar eclipse – and set about doing away with Solid Gold and their entourage, including their airhead dancers/girlfriends after they are stranded by an avalanche, which fails to stop the female cast members prancing around nude.

Why are there no remotely interesting horror movies about heavy metal bands and death? Seriously, none of them are any good. To make things worse, the film has been developed with such a low exposition that it’s near impossible to see what’s happening nor tell any of the characters apart. The band all look the same, as do the dancers and everyone else dies so early on it makes no difference.

Badly dubbed into English, I later read that Solid Gold were, in reality, a real life band called Easy Action! I wonder if even they still possess a copy of this turkey.

I can forgive Sweden for this faux pas; they gave us Volvo’s, ABBA, Roxette and decent Eurovision entries most years. I expect multiple copies of Blood Tracks are stacked up in a sauna somewhere…

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