31 Days of Halloween – Day 2 – Victor Frankenstein (2015)

It’s not THAT bad, despite the reviews. Paul McGuigan’s take on the gothic classic is watchable thanks to the strong lead performances of James McAvoy as Doctor Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor. Despite a weak start with Igor stuck in a circus, things hot up after he’s rescued by Frankenstein and the ghastly experiments start. McAvoy is energetic, Radcliffe working well with him, but Andrew Scott’s turn as police inspector Roderick Turpin is hammy.

Despite the lack of any gore or scares – you get some manky, blinking eyes and a crazy monkey creation – it makes an atmospheric, ghoulish watch in time for Halloween. The gothic end piece is really quite stunning.






Watch it for: Act III – it really is wonderful

Watch out for: The eyes have it 

Review: Crimson Peak (2015)

Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a thing of beauty, a gothic ‘thriller’ but not quite the chiller that you may have thought was coming from the pre-film press.

It’s a rather confused affair with ghosts that lack bite; a cert 15, there’s no real horror here except some rather nasty violence early on in the film, a bit of Tom Hiddleston bum cheek baring (hooray!) and some sweaty goings on that our protagonist Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) stumbles upon.

Its gothic delivery cannot be criticised – we have a chilling mansion where the walls ooze with blood red gunk (red clay, honest), late night wandering of old, dark corridors with candlebras, haunting piano music, and things that go bump in the night. The costumes are TO DIE FOR, seriously impressive, and there’s one scene where Jessica Chastain’s Lucille takes flight down the stairs, with her gown billowing behind her. It’s stunning.

The actual ghosts in the mansion of the strange Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille are pretty much superfluous to the story. This movie isn’t about the ghosts. It actually works by itself as a thriller, with Edith falling for the eerie charms of Thomas and moving from America – in grief about her recently deceased father – to be with him in his big ol’ mansion in Cumberland, England. Sir Thomas and his sister have a very curious relationship indeed, which unfolds as we find out the true story behind them and their abode.

Del Toro created the nightmare that is the Pale Man, so we expected more scares from the restless souls of Crimson Peak. That may have put some audiences off, but take it for what it is and it’s a film that deserves to be enjoyed by anyone who loves the aesethics of true filmmaking. Lap it up.





Watch it for: The look. It’s beautiful

Watch out for: Sink edges. Ouch

Recommended: Hemlock Grove

A Netflix Original, Hemlock Grove has the horror kudos of Eli Roth behind it as executive producer. Based on Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name, it’s an intriguing play on ‘gothic’ with a little bit of Italian horror thrown in. Opening with the brutal murder of a cheerleader by an unknown person (or is it?), the series follows the strange characters of the fictional Pennsylvanian town including the mysterious and brooding Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård – son of Stellan and brother of True Blood’s Alexander) and the rather hairy Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron), as well as leads by The Faculty’s Famke Janssen and Scottish actor Dougray Scott.

Teen angst meets psychic abilities, angels and transformations at full moon – it’s an absorbing series with two seasons currently available.