I genuinely feel we cover the entire spectrum of our beloved blood splattered genre at Horror Channel; I’ve often said we are equal parts high brow, low brow and sometimes even mono brow. This month’s offerings illustrate this to great effect with the highly controversial rape revenge remake I Spit on Your Grave at one end of the scale, balanced out at the other end with our decidedly more romantic horrors in our Hammer Double Feature Season for those who love a bit of gothic in their lives. But that’s not all folks as we delve into the deranged mind of one of my favourite directors David Cronenberg, with his original techno body – horror Videodrome. Long Live the New Flesh.
VIDEODROME NETWORK PREMIERE FRIDAY 6TH NOVEMBER 10.55PM
Cronenberg has long been fascinated and disturbed by the human relationship with technology, specifically the meshing of the body with technology; Not in a literal cyborgian way but rather a more surreal one, and the film that speaks volumes on this subject is Videodrome where Cronenberg comments on Society’s addiction to TV and the numbing effect it has on us, specifically with regards to sex and violence. “The Television screen is the retina of the minds eye, therefore the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain….” And so begins one mans journey into a brave new world. Starring a magnificent James Woods as a sleazy TV producer who comes across a sinister snuff show called videodrome where real sex and death are offered up to it’s desensitised viewers. However obsession soon turns to addiction and then the hallucinations begin! What is real and what is not? With TV screens literally becoming flesh, his stomach becoming an almost vagina like video player and his hand meshing with a gun to become a literal ‘handgun’ Cronenberg’s themes are played out to extreme in this slice of celluloid.
The film was perfect timing coming out in 1983; horror on home video was all the rage, of which the moral corruption on society’s young and impressionable making headline news and the UK’s Video Recordings Act coming just one year later in 84’ which saw an official ‘Video Nasty’ list of 39 banned movies. This film can be enjoyed on so many levels, it has social comment, marks a significant phase in film history and explores the psycho sexual within!
November really does have so much on offer so I’m giving you my personal highlights with full listings at the end, next up….
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2010) & I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (2013)
I remember when this controversial remake premiered at Frightfest 2010 and there was a lot of noise about this mainly because many fans liked the original video nasty so much, they thought – why remake what’s already a good movie? But then came the screening and pretty much every single viewer came out thinking not only was it brilliant, but possibly better than the original! Ouch – an unexpected U-turn ensued in the horror press! I’m sure you all know the story, a civilised city girl heads to dreaded Hicksville to write her novel but comes up against a gang of misogynistic brutes who slowly torment, humiliate and gang rape her. So grim. And its even worse in the remake, though I have to say it is (very importantly) not shot in a way that is titillating. The first half of the movie is brutal and difficult to watch but then justifies the second ‘revenge’ part of the film which is quite a joy to watch as she gets her own back in incredibly extreme and gruesome ways! It almost reaches ridiculous levels of inventive death scenarios not dissimilar to the SAW torture traps, and this is where the film allows a certain ‘lightness’ ironically after the grim and very real abuse scenes.
So how the hell can you do a sequel to this – surely one woman couldn’t be that unlucky twice?! Well after the somewhat surprising success of the first – director Steven R Monroe made ISOYG 2 a sequel of sorts although really it’s just a rehashing of the winning formula. This time the poor woman in question is trying to make it in the cut throat world of modelling but when she accepts an offer to have new photos taken, the ‘photographers’ abduct, abuse etc but she somehow survives the ordeal and hunts them down one by one to torture and kill getting justice and revenge. Both the movies are slick and polished and the performances of both the lead women are brilliantly bold.
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2010) UK TV PREMIERE FRIDAY 13th 10.50pm & I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 (2013) UK TV PREMIERE
FRIDAY 20th 10.55pm
Like I said we’re full of extremes this month and sometimes we need a respite from full on brutality so we give you a real treat in November with Hammer Double Feature Season! Remember when BBC 2 broadcast superb double bills every Saturday night between 1975 and 1983?! Perhaps not but I have actively been a campaigner of The Classic Horror Campaign started by my friend Richard Gladman to bring these vintage beauties back to the small screen – and here we are! Every Saturday night in November we are screening all new premieres of Hammer Horror’s finest in double bills just like the good old days.
Starting on Saturday 7th November at 9pm comes Curse of the Werewolf from 1961 starring British hellraiser Oliver Reed as the lycanthrope. Directed by Hammer favourite Terence Fisher this is bizarrely Hammer’s only foray into the werewolf creature when it appeared financial success was mainly achieved with the Dracula and Frankenstein movies. When a girl gives birth to an unwanted child on Christmas day it proves incredibly unlucky and herein lies the origin of the ‘cursed’ man…. With perfect casting don’t miss this hair raising classic!
Straight after comes another one off from Hammer The Gorgon taking it’s cue from Greek mythology the residents of a European village are being literally petrified by a certain someone but who is the woman with the stony stare?!
A brilliant double bill to start our Hammer Double Feature Season, here’s the full picture: All double bills are Saturday nights from 9: The Curse Of The Werewolf (premiere) & The Gorgon (premiere), The Revenge Of Frankenstein (premiere) & The Two Faces Of Dr. Jekyll (premiere), The Evil Of Frankenstein (premiere) & The Brides Of Dracula (premiere), Night Creatures (premiere) & The Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb.