Tag Archives: Euro-horror

A lorra lorra confusion

blind date 1984

BLIND DATE

2.5 Stars. 1984/18/106m

“The ultimate hi-tech thriller.”

Director/Writer: Nico Mastorakis / Writer: Fred Perry / Cast: Joseph Bottoms, Kirstie Alley, Keir Dullea, Lana Clarkson, James Daughton, Charles Nicklin.

Body Count: 5


Greek exploitation director Nico Mastorakis turned in this good looking techno giallo, which doesn’t make a whoooole lotta sense.

The ever-amusingly named Joseph Bottoms is an American working in Athens, who is still not over the death of his model ex-girlfriend, but is going out with Kirstie Alley’s …whatever Kirstie Alley is in this movie.

Meanwhile, a shadowy taxi driver is picking up young women, drugging and drawing lines on their nude bodies, and then going at them with a scalpel. Well, supposedly, there’s barely a shaving cut’s amount of blood to be seen. Interestingly, the sole male victim is the only one we see offed.

blind date marina sirtis 1984

One night, Joseph is spying on a lookalike of the dead ex while she’s making out with a guy in a car. They see him, the man gives chase, and Joseph runs into a branch and knocks himself out, waking up blind. The doctors, however, cannot find anything wrong with him and suggest it’s a trauma-induced psychological thing.

Keir Dullea implants a device that will convert signals to Joseph’s nervous system via headphones and Walkman or something, and he sees outlines of everything like an Etch-a-Sketch on dark mode. His stalking with the lookalike brings him to witnessing the murder of another poor soul; the killer sees and gives chase. Joseph decides to later find the killer and manages to steal a car and drive it through the city, despite seeing a bunch of lines like a low-rent version of A-Ha’s Take on Me video.

blind date 1984

Blind Date is a strange one: The police are nowhere to be seen, meaning most of the murders seem surplus to requirements, the victims mostly given no lines whatsoever, just seen topless and pathetic – including Deanna Troi actress Marina Sirtis as a hooker; elsewhere there are gay (?) showtune singing muggers, cerebral Pong, driving around with headphones on, the promise of a sequel that never was at the end of the credits, but also some nice visuals, a sexy cast and all the usual silly coincidences that pepper this subgenre.

Blurbs-of-interest: Bottoms was later in Open House; Keir Dullea was in the original Black Christmas. Mastorakis directed the opening scenes of Darkroom.

Sé lo que hiciste el verano pasado

killer book club 2023

KILLER BOOK CLUB

3 Stars  2023/89m

A.k.a. El Club de Los Lectores Criminales

Director: Carlos Alonso Ojea / Writer: Carlos Garcia Miranda / Cast: Veki Velilla, Álvaro Mel, Priscilla Delgado, Iván Pellicer, Hamza Zaidi, María Cerezuela, Ane Rot, Carlos Alcaide, Daniel Grao.

Body Count: 8


Six years after a girl burns her mother to death in a pile of torn up books, eight teens who form a college book club engage in a revenge prank against a skeezy professor. After assaulting shy writer Angela in his office, her friends decide a little payback is in order and, having just finished a bool about coulrophobia – fear of clowns – purchase seven identical costumes and scare the crap out of the guy.

Of course, teen pranks never end well, and one of the masked clowns slashes his face, causing him to tumble over a balustrade and become impaled on the university’s statue of Don Quixote. In true Southport style, they swear secrecy, burn the costumes, and become depressed.

killer book club

Soon after, each of the group receive invitations to read an unfolding new novel on a fan fiction, detailing the clown’s revenge on them, casting each in a standard horror role, and publishing a new chapter to coincide with each murder: The clown comes equipped with a blade-ended hammer doodad, which he uses to slash and impale his quarry.

For a script about creating literature, there is literally nothing unexpected in this Netflix original, which owes a truckload of gratitude to the recent Scream movies, all the while stapling them to the standard Prom Night I Know What You Did Last Summer Sorority Row secrets-never-stay-secret opus, and occurring on Urban Legend‘s campus.

killer book club 2023

There are, however, several good chase sequences, the best being around the botanical gardens, culminating with Angela hammering against the doors while one of her friends is stuck on the other side, loon approaching.

Everything else balances precariously on coincidence: A horror themed book fair where dozens of attendees wear the same clown costume, characters deciding to pack up and leave campus in the middle of the night and go wait at a secluded bus stop, others falling for clearly bogus texts that lure them into weird inescapable places.

killer book club 2023

Killer Book Club is colourful though (sans Angela’s heinous green sweater/dungarees combo), with nice sets and the always-refreshing alt-perspective of its European setting, adequately bloody, and while a significant part of the revelation was entirely obvious, there was a part that I genuinely didn’t see coming, so extra points for that, even though it made sense in hindsight.

Go in with your expectations in the basement and you’ll get some mileage out of this loveletter to 90s teen horror.

Blurb-of-interest: Daniel Grao was in Julia’s Eyes.

Celtic Chants, Glowing Scarecrows, Haddonfield…

the curse of halloween jack 2019THE CURSE OF HALLOWEEN JACK

2 Stars  2019/15/78m

“He returns… and this time, no one is safe.”

Director/Writer: Andrew Jones / Cast: Derek Nelson, Patrick O’Donnell, Peter Cosgrove, Tiffany Ceri, Jason Medani, David Link, Alastair Armstrong, Phillip Roy, Jessica Michelle Smith.

Body Count: 18+


I only discovered while writing this up that this is actually a sequel to the previous year’s Legend of Halloween Jack, which I guess addresses some of the question marks floating above some of the lore and dialogue you see in this one.

So it goes, two years after a murder spree in the small British town on Dunwich (neighbouring settlement: Haddonfield), a group of face-painted cult members succeed in resurrecting the murderous scarecrow from where his body was buried by randomly American local detective Earl Rockwell. They’re then all shot dead by some cops.

The town has banned Halloween on the back of the tragedy, so some kids, including the mayor’s daughter Danielle, throw their own rager, which is crashed by the smiling scarecrow, who then hunts Danielle to the police station, kills some people there, before being lured to a house by an eye-patched seer-of-doom. Something about Celtic mythology bloodlines, must be killed by member of his own bloodline with a sacred dagger blah blah blah.

curse of halloween jack 2019

The constraints of the budget clearly affect the end product, from some terrible reaction-to-horror acting, apparent death by having an iPhone pushed about two inches into the mouth, and a killer who looks like a plush Halloween toy, but it’s not so bad. The Fog-pretender score is pretty good and it has an endearing cheapness about it which should be encouraged rather than pulverised.

And Jason Medani is very easy on the eye.

Sail into danger

sneekweek 2016

SNEEKWEEK

3 Stars  2016/113m

A.k.a. Summer Party Massacre; Scream Week

Director: Martijn Heijne / Writer: Alex van Galen / Cast: Carolien Spoor, Jelle de Jong, Jord Knotter, Holly Brood, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing, Sanne Langelaar, David Lucieer, Jonas De Vuyst, Ferry Doedens, Frank Lammers, Kimberly Klaver, Diederik Ebbinge.

Body Count: 11


So, Sneekweek is actually a real thing: Held in the Netherlands and billed as Europe’s biggest sailing festival, it becomes the rather unlikely backdrop for this Dutch slasher, which was released in two versions during its theatrical run – one of which was edited to attract a younger audience.

Despite a scene in which characters watch Scream on TV (and complaining it has been dubbed), this has more common ground with I Know What You Did Last Summer. Five college kids are hazing a group of young men for a room in their much sought-after house by keeping them in a tub, dumping ice in and seeing who can last the longest with the least amount of genital shrinkage. Down to two guys, the girls’ favourite, Eric, loses consciousness and dies. Anxious for their futures, they cover it up, bribe the surviving pledge, Peter, with an offer of the room if he stays quiet, and call an ambulance once it’s too late and they’ve papered over the evidence.

sneekweek 2016

Two years later, the six roomies hit Sneekweek, which appears more to resemble Spring Break, with lots of EDM-screaming club nights, fairground rides, sexy young folks posing, and a police commissioner clucking around ordering his minimal force to break up fights and keep the peace.

Boarding in an arty, secluded lakeside house, the first sign that something’s off is that none of them own up to being the one who found the rental. Nominal heroine Merel is first to see a figure in a shiny silver mask, but the others think she’s off her face and continue to bed-hop until one of them is attacked outside a club and Peter is arrested when he finds her. The next morning, Merel finds him hanging from the boat’s mast in an apparent suicide. The local cops are keen to flex their investigative muscle, but are sidelined by their boss, and the remaining teens ordered to stick around until the attacker is caught.

sneekweek 2016

Nasty ringleader Boris insists the party go on, so blasts into town with two of the other, leaving Merel and her friend to find the body of a missing girl in the boatshed. Despite commenting on Scream, the girls have learned nothing and decide to split up – one to go to the cops, the other to find their friends.

Another murder occurs and the police arrest Eric’s unhinged mother, who cut and run from her clinic’s day release. They also place the remaining kids on an available yacht for the night in an effort to keep them safe, but ultimately just leave them in a barrel ready to be picked off by the powertool-favouring killer, who leaves a spinning powerdrill in the back of one and engineers another to be sucked into the propellers.

sneekweek 2016 carolien spoor

Sneekweek fudges cloaking the identity of the killer effectively enough, giving a little too much away too early on, just leaving a question over who they’ll be to the late Eric that drove them to get power-saw themed vengeance. It also doesn’t deliver much in the way of gruesome demises, with the nastiest character we’ve been waiting to see cark it allocated a rather dull kill scene, although there’s a reason for that revealed during the exposition scene.

A decent enough film with high end production gloss that should set it apart from most of its ilk, despite suffering from predictability and a reliance on some dumb character behaviour (at one point Merel runs away from the safety of the house and into a cornfield). Very similar to Austrian flick Party Hard, Die Young that came along two years later.

sneekweek 2016 ferry doedens holly brood

Syndromeo & Eww-liet

nobody sleeps in the woods tonight ii

NOBODY SLEEPS IN THE WOODS TONIGHT II

1.5 Stars  2021/18/97m

Director/Writer: Bartosz M. Kowalski / Writer: Mirella Zaradkiewicz / Cast: Mateusz Wieclawek, Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Zofia Wichlacz, Andrzej Grabowski, Lech Dyblik, Sebastian Stankiewicz, Robert Wabich, Izabela Dabrowska, Wojciech Mecwaldowski.

Body Count: 12


A timely follow up to the 2020 Polish summer camp slasher, part two begins with the twin monsters and sole survivor Zosia holed up in cells at the local cop shop.

Optimistic rookie officer Adam pedals into work as his superior escorts Zosia back to the house to get her perspective and leaves her handcuffed to a bed above a section of the meteor, which soon does its thing, infects her, and turns her into one of the mutants.

Adam and fellow cop Wanessa eventually grow concerned and find themselves thrust into the horror, along with two survivalist types, the camp manager, and a hooker. Monster-Zosia makes mincemeat out of most of them and converts Adam into a fellow mutant. They kill a dog-abusing vendor, hook up in a rather confronting sex scene, and return to the police station to liberate their family members.

The gross-out comedy facets are pushed to the fore in this grotesque combo of any Wrong Turn sequel you like, with parts of Hatchet thrown in. There are some funny moments, but it just doesn’t commit itself and seems to drag on forever the longer it continues.

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