The mocumentary movie double feature

In honour of The Last Exorcism, which is released this weekend let us take a quick look at the noble art of keeping your costs down by shaking the camera around a bit.

I’ll be honest though, I’m a sucker for a found footage film. It is a great way to make a film more frightening or suck the audience in.

First off is an obscure Japanese movie Noroi: The Curse (2005).

A film that features some random acting, including one of the worst examples of somebody playing a person with special needs I have ever seen. However there are some great weird imagery here too, including a bizarre final 20 minutes which goes way beyond the usual creepy kid theme that typified J horror at the time.

It’s the usual cursed child with ESP story line, which you would expect, which is probably why nobody has picked the film up in this country. But it’s a great deal of fun too.

On to the trailers and let us go for one of the most notable video nasties ever made and certainly not a film I would get you to invite your friends around to see so let us keep it to just the teaser, it’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980). (NSFW)

Not a very nice film so let us move on to something a little different before everybody walks out. A comedy to lighten the mood before we jump back in to horror. It’s the greatest mockumentary about music ever (and a reminder that this genre isn’t just about scaring you) It’s Spinal Tap (1984)

On to our final film and it’s another obscure movie, a British film called Resurrecting the Street Walker (2009)

It tells the story of a filmmaker  called James who finds the remnants of lost video nasty and decides to try and finish the film. But, as things start to go wrong and there realisation that the effects in the movie might be too real.

It’s very low budget, but it does play to the strengths of the genre and there is a great ominous tone, perfect for people who want something a little different to the Blair Witch Project.

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The 3D movie double feature

Ahhhh, the 3D movie.  Awesome in the cinema but terrible at home. I’m still saying terrible because at the time of going to press there are still barely any out and none of which are any good for the new flicky glasses machines. However, in homage to Piranha 3D, Avatar – longer rip off edition and whatever shite is out when you read this I present a dream double bill of 3D movies back from the days when it wasn’t just a gimmick (it was always just a gimmick).

First off, and keep in mind it’s an Andy Warholl factory film before you turn your nose up, is Flesh For Frankenstein.

Criminally banned in the UK for years it is now available in boring 2D DVD.  However, imaine the line “To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life… in the gall bladder!” said with a serious face by Udo Kier. Imagine bats attached to pieces of string flying around you. imagine a liver thrust into the screen in glorious 3D, yes Flesh For Frankenstein is shite, but what glorious shite it is.

On to a section of trailers between our two features and I, suppose, I’d better show that somebody other than James Cameron knew what he was talking about with the whole 3D thing, a great film no matter what, it’s Dial M For Murder.

Randomly history seems to forget that some films were aimed at the 3D market, this classic schlock 3D film, surprisingly close to Piranha 3D, is never really thought of as a gimmick film any more

Our final film makes the cut for one of the most expolitative bits of 3D ever commited to screen, House Of Wax (1953).

In an attempt to get the attention of the audience after the intermission, director André De Toth got a bat and ball scene facing the audience in there. It bares no relation to the bog standard Vincent Price vehicle, but it does grab the attention. A great moment is a cheesy 50’s horror.

And here it is for those with red/blue 3D glasses and no fear for their eyes.

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Sci-fi Movie Double Bill

It’s a broad genre I’m working with here. I could have included anything from Quatermass to Doctor Who via Star Wars and Battle Of The Planets here and they could all fit. Instead I’ve gone for a more intelligent couple of movies for the double bill here and also films that are quiet recent. No doubt, in a few months, I’ll do a wobbly set-fest but you’ll have to wait for that.

First off we are going slow and brooding. Moon, directed by Duncan Jones it features an incredible central performance by Sam Rockwell.

It tells the story of a caretaker who is isolated on the moon overseeing a mining operation. His three years are coming to an end and he’s about to go home. But something is wrong and with thing going wrong it isn’t clear whether he is going to make it back.

Effectively a story about isolation and identity it’s a lovely little movie about the world’s worst long distance relationship.

On to our trailers between the features and we are going for some old classics you might not have seen.

Outland is still brilliant and was a heavy influence on Moon. But what’s really brilliant is John Carpenter’s Dark Star. A space movie with a dry sense of humour.

On to our next  film and after all that slowness I decided to go for something with plenty of action after all this slow pondering in space. It’s a monster movie, but one with plenty to say, District 9.

The sleeper hit of 2009 the movie tells the story of a colony of aliens who have been ghettoised after their space craft crash-landed in South Africa. It’s partly a political allegory about racial intolerance  and partly a great action movie.

After a lot of slowness and thought it is also the, much needed, kick up the backside this double bill needs.

If you enjoy that film then hold out for Monsters which is coming soon too. Trailer below.

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The haunted house movie double bill

People love a good ghost story, they have done for generations. It’s in its best form when it’s believeable and right at your own door. So, spooky goings on always make for a great night in. Wait until it’s late and there is a storm at your door and snuggle up with some things that go bump in the night.

First off, let’s have one of the best haunted house movies. The Haunting (1963) is a wonderful example of the classic rickety old house story as Dr John Markway leads a group of wannabe supernatural researchers to a, potentially, demonic house.

A slow burn of a movie, it set the best template for the genre as Director Robert Wise allows the house to slowly close in on its victim. There is little need for gore as the shocks all come from banging doors and groaning furniture. It’s a real textbook way to create an air of evil with tone. Don’t watch the 1999 remake, though, it’s terrible.

On to the trailers between our two features and first off lets have a little bit of Vincent Price cheese

Talking of a bit of over-the-top acting here is Ollie Reed and Bette Davis hamming it up to high heaven

If you’re talking haunted house movies you’ve got to have this classic, as a trailer at least,

On to our seond feature and to keep it a little different we’ll have a slightly different classic which actually bares some similairites to The Haunting but done in a different way. The Stone Tape is a TV drama broadcast in 1972.

Written by Nigel Kneale and starring Michael Bryant and Jane Asher it tells the story of a group of scientists who decide to investigate a haunted room in a castle they are working in. As time goes on they discover that there is an ancient evil at work here and they discover, too late, that they should leave well alone.

Using a mix of scientific jargon and classic ghost story, it’s a cult classic. Fans of old BBC sci-fi effects will also get a kick out of the work done here to bring the experiments, and the ghost, to life. Spooky, weird and unusual, it’s well worth a look. Here’s a clip of one of their experiements – it’s best played loud.

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The break-up movie double bill

You’re alone. Your girlfriend / wife / boyfriend / dog / husband / husband’s dog has left you. It’s time to begin the recovery process. So, what better way than heading in to a double bill built to help you through this tough time. Also remember, they were a nightmare anyway and you’re better off without them.

First off we need to cleanse you of all the depression with a bit of misery. Nothing too close to home though, just something soul-soul-destroyingly awful with plenty of distance to it. Movies actually about cheating spouses and suicide are probably left well alone, to be honest.

Grave Of The Fireflies is an utterly harrowing animated film from Studio Ghibli,who also brought the world the much softer fayre of Spirited Away and the recent Ponyo. Yes, the anti-war story of two orphaned children abandoned to the elements during the Second World War is utterly miserable but hey, at least you’ll be able to say that: “Yes I am now single, but no I’ve never had to cremate my own younger sister and carry their ashes around in a sweet tin while waiting for my own death.” Think of  the film like Watership Down with more of a punch and better symbolism and you won’t be far off.

On to the trailers inbetween our features and lets keep it simple and try and raise a smile after that. Perhaps something that reminds you that there’s somebody for everybody, even though we’re all just fuck-ups.

On a similar theme a classic about journalism and hating other people.

On to the end of our break-up list and we’re bringing out the big guns. This film is, effectively, final proof that you can make things work with everybody. while being funny, intelligent, and featuring Bill Murray in full-on charm mode. It’s Groundhog Day

The reasons for this choice should be pretty obvious.
A) It address the fact of responsibility for our actions and the world around us.
B) It admits we all make mistakes.
C) It’s genuinely heart-warming.

The film is, effectively, a Bill Murray vehicle where he is forced to relive the same day again and again. It starts coldly cynical as he hates his job as weatherman while trapped in a small town. But, as the same day, literally, begins again and again he slow manages to change his life and earn the love of Andie MacDowell.

These days there would have to be some bullshit excuse as to why it was happening. As if the set-up was as important as the story. Some Lost-style mystery which adds nothing. But this really a foil for some jokes, a little romance and an uplifting ending in the traditionof 1950s Hollywood.

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The British horror film double bill

Mention British horror films and most people will instantly think of Hammer with its bonk-eyed villagers, studio-based forests and heaving busoms. They have a certain charm to them but we’re going to skip them for this.

Instead we’re going for something a little retro, but also a bit more adult. First off we’re going for silly Brit remake The Cat and The Canary (1978). This is a classic set-up for a horror; a stormy night, a will reading, a cash incentive and trouble afoot.

It starts off simple enough as a gang of distant relatives arrives together to find out who will get the inheritance but things spice up when Edward Fox arrives and starts hamming it up about a madman on the loose.

Queue secret corridors, bodies turning up and massive plotholes. I would seriously recommend turning your brain off and having fun with this one.

I don’t have the trailer so here’a clip (skip to a minute in)

On to the trailers and we’re going really scrungy here. On the fringes of British film-making Pete Walker was making exploitation which was causing a stir. Nasty, obscure and deeply weird I present Frightmare

and House Of Whipcord (NSFW)

One more before we move on, Peeping Tom. It destroyed director Michael Powell career because it was deemed too nasty but it’s a stone cold classic.

Before John Carpenter created Halloween and before Margot Kidder was chased by a maniac in Black Christmas Susan George played a babysitter who was stalked by a psycho in Fright.

Released in 1971 this low-key horror set a lot of the groundwork for the slasher genre. It’s clunky and slow but remains distinctive. At the very least you can marvel at a film which features Dennis Waterman, Honor Blackman and George Cole.

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The midnight movie double bill

The midnight movie was a wonderful phenomenon were people would go out to the pictures to go and see a film which was improved by being off your face.

The actual run of films that fit the genre and did well, i.e, played for months in the same flea pits is actually quite small. People imagine they are common, but it takes a certain kind of barking mad to work. Running through the 70s and into the 80s the thing that bound them was a sense of event. People knew what was coming and would go every weekend of weeks on end to join in the fun and cause a little trouble.

So, I recommend if you’re going to use this mixtape you follow their lead. Get some booze, wait until late and watch some films right into the next morning.

To start with I’m picking a film that is actually good on its owns terms. Yes I could include a film like Pink Flamingos (a cult midnight movie and a half) but it’s hard going to watch, in truth. Plus. I’m not convinced your friends will enjoy you bringing them around to watch a film that’s quite so in awe of its own disgustingness.

So, to start, we’ve got George A Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead. A film ignored originally on its release in the States back in 1968 this black and white B Movie started to get some notoriety when French critics picked up on it. Slowly the ball started to roll and the story of a group of people stuck in an abandoned farmhouse for the night, while being attacked by zombie,s grew into far more than just a cult classic.

A big reason it works so well for a midnight movie is that its story covers over one evening. You feel locked in that home with the those people and its claustrophobia. It also helps that you learn little of the reason for the sudden influx of undead. This means that you’re right at the heart of the action as it grows.

Add to that the documentary feel that Romero gives the footage and some great effects work done on the cheap and you have a film that fills a very good role for the witching hour. Much has been written about the film on an intellectual level, with its bravery of having a black lead actor, but it’s easy to forget that it’s also just a great DVD to bang on late on a Saturday night.

On to the middle trailers and to show just how nuts some of the films from this genre are we’ll throw in El Topo. Incidentally, this trailer actually makes it look tamer than it is.

Second up we’ll go all out and throw in a trailer for the awesomeness of Eraserhead, It’s a great film, but hard to watch with a gang of mates with the benefit of serious medication so we’re just going for the trailer


Assuming that you’re all a little drunk now we’ll jump to one of the best party movies ever made for our second feature, Rocky Horror Picture Show.

A mix of good time music, dressing up and bizarre homage to American horror films this entire thing is filled with (accidental) call and response moments. It also benefits from the fact it’s surprisingly easy to watch while leathered on booze and affords itself well to being laughed at and with.

It’s also a classic midnight movie creating a phenomenon as people would queue up for hours on end week after week to enjoy it. More than 35 years on it still manages to generate huge amounts of devotion.

It’s good to see that the genre isn’t dead yet either. Over in LA showings of the utterly terrible melodrama The Room feature similar kinds of barmy devotion. Plastic spoons are thrown at the screen and people play American Football in the aisles. It doesn’t make the cut because it’s more of a so-bad-its-good type of affair, but that doesn’t stop it carrying the spirit of this communal party/riot viewing experience on. You just don’t get sports played in your local multiplex enough.

Take a quick look here

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