Order of the Ram (2013)

This short movie written and directed by Scott Lyus starts off quite innocent enough. We see Mary (May Kaspar) a college student going about her day as normal. However others seem to have taken an interest in Mary that she is not aware about. Whilst out photographing the wildlife, Mary is attacked and wakes up bound and in the presence of a cult. The cult, led by Mother (Danni Scott-White) are convinced that Mary is the chosen one that has the blood capable of bringing forth the Prince of Darkness, or Satan to you and me. To say any more would spoil it.

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Whenever someone asks me if I’d like the good news or the bad news first, I always opt for the bad. So let’s get the bad out of the way first here. The worst thing about this short is the actress who plays Mother, pictured above. The fact that the exposition must be delivered by her, and that the majority of the dialogue must be delivered by her is what cripples this short film. My advice to Danni Scott-White would be to seek another profession, if indeed acting is a full time thing. Her script delivery is toe curlingly bad. So much so that I was close to ending the film there and then. I didn’t find her character convincing or menacing. She almost kills the film dead in it’s tracks. The other bad thing, and it’s a small thing really, is the gore. I understand it’s a short and the budget is small, but surely the budget can stretch to some fake blood or corn syrup, and not what appears to be Tabasco sauce poured down someone’s neck?

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Now for the good. Firstly the cinematography by Sharad Patel is very good indeed. The camera work is just fabulous and captures the scenery very well. The script and direction by Scott Lyus is fabulous too. The film itself has a real ‘Wicker Man’ vibe about it. I do hope that this short leads to a feature film. However I would definitely consider recasting one or two people if it is made into a feature. Scott Lyus shows promise in his direction and I for one am eager to see what he has up his sleeve next.

3/5

JM

 

Angel Heart (1987)

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New York, 1955. Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired by a mysterious businessman named Louis Cypher (Robert De Niro) to find a man named Johnny Favourite who reneged on a deal that he had with Cypher. Apparently Johnny Favourite has been missing for quite some time and Mr. Cypher is eager to find him and collect on his payment.

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Angel’s investigation takes him to the deep south where Voodoo is rife. There he meets a young lady called Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), who was Johnny Favourite’s daughter. She too says she hasn’t seen Johnny in years. As Harry Angel digs deeper, things begin to turn a lot more sinister, as Johnny Favourite’s old associates want him dead, and some of them are turning up dead themselves. To say any more would spoil the story. The whole film has a sense of foreboding running throughout it, and you fear for how things will turn out.

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This film is directed by the brilliant Alan Parker, who also did Bugsy Malone and one of my favourites, The Commitments. He brings a wonderful outsiders view to the city of New York, and later on in the deep south. Everything is shot with saturated colour, with just the smallest glimmer of light shining through. The script is brilliant and everyone is on top form. De Niro as Louis Cypher (Lucifer, geddit?) is menacing, I mean…really. Rourke is great as Harry Angel and shows how good he can be when his heart is really in it.

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I have seen this film many times, and each time it still grips me. I remember reading that Bill Cosby lost his shit at Lisa Bonet when he saw this movie as she was doing The Cosby Show not long before. It really is worth a watch, I definitely recommend it.

5/5

JM

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The Car (1977)

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“What evil drives the car?” That’s the question posed by this brilliantly cult movie from 1977. Starring James Brolin (who is a dead ringer for Christian Bale) as a small town police officer having to deal with the jet black car that is cutting a swathe through his small town. That’s pretty much the plot too, to say any more would spoil it. The car’s origin is never really touched on, it just appears. Saying that there is a quote at the beginning from famous Satanist Anton LaVey, which I assumed hinted at the car’s origin. The car is a mean looking beast too. The roof is pressed down a third, no handles on the doors and the engine sounds like a thousand lions roaring. I had never heard of The Car until Arrow Films announced it’s upcoming release some months back. It really is the sort of perfect friday night popcorn shocker, and it’s not too violent should the younger folks decide to watch it.

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The picture transfer is immaculate, as is the sound. The display is crisp, given that this film is 36yrs old. The sound is amazing too, practically vibrating the TV any time the car is thundering along. The extras are quite good too. There is a commentary by director Elliot Silverstein which is moderated by Callum Waddell, an interview with SFX artist William Aldridge who recalls his time on the set and the building of the car. There’s an interview with actor John Rubenstein recalling becoming a victim of The Car, and an original trailer with commentary by John Landis. There’s also an easter egg which I wasn’t clever enough to find.

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I can say that The Car is well worth the watch. The acting is quite good for a film some may consider not James Brolin’s best work. Everyone seems to be giving it their all and there are some inventive stunts and death scenes.

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This copy of The Car was graciously provided by the fine folks over at www.facebook.com/ArrowVid. The Car is already available for purchase and you can pick up your very own copy over at www.arrowfilms.co.uk

4/5

JM

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