Creepshow (1982) Reviewed

Thirty years after it’s original release, George Romero‘s ‘Creepshow‘ is still a deliciously dark anthology full of macabre tales and comic dark humour. With a new Blu-Ray release thanks to Second Sight, the feature is as bright and bold as ever, with its comic book style aesthetics perfectly captured on screen.


Written by Stephen King and starring a whole host of familiar names and faces from across cinema and genre film, ‘Creepshow‘ is one of those special films that transcends all ages. Whilst there are some rather dark moments, the film is essentially for both kids and adults, with the slapstick comedy and childlike escaping-reality-for-fantasy comic stories coming to like being the appeal for youngsters. Adults will no doubt like the, sometimes, very comedic touches that come out of the darkest parts of the stories. Revenge, monsters, murder, bad dancing (yes Ed Harris, you are most definitely guilty of this), it’s all there, with literally something for everyone in the form of fears, terror, phobias and characters like the excessive drunk, manipulative colleague, jilted lover and oppressive family members.


If you’ve never seen the feature, or want to upgrade your DVD to high definition format, now is the time. The transfer looks positively stunning. Not only is the picture quality terrific but it enhances the entire experience. The colours of the comic style that the films homages are once again bright and sickly with Tom Savini‘s special effects looking devilishly beautiful. Whether it be your first time or a revisit, alone or with company, ‘Creepshow‘ is the way to go. They just don’t make anthology films like it anymore.


Creepshow is out from Second Sight on 28th October, just in time for Hallowe’en, pre-order it here


Gregg Araki’s ‘Nowhere’ (1997)

The third in director Gregg Araki’s ‘Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy’, 1997 release Nowhere makes its way to DVD thanks to Second Sight. Self-described by Araki as ‘an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 on acid’, Nowhere won’t be to everyone’s taste but it a great watch none the less. WIth its lack of straight narrative, Araki explores a day in the lives of a bunch of teenagers; sexually promiscuous, lingo-savvy, drug taking school skippers who seem to know a lot about alienation and the dread of impending adulthood.


At times, it’s a lot to take in, especially the cast with its principal players (James Duval, Rachel True and Nathan Bexton amongst a heap of others) and some great cameos (Shannen Doherty, Traci Lords, John Ritter, Beverly D’Angelo to name a few). That said, it all works well, and you get a real feel for who are friends and the nature in which you only know some people by who they’re sleeping with or the name of your mutual drug dealer (or maybe it just reminds me too much of experiences in my own bitchy all-girl high school…).


Ultimately, it feels more about the teen angst struggle of how life isn’t fair, whether that’s being sold cut drugs, being seriously assaulted or having to share your bisexual girlfriend with someone else even though you have bisexual urges too. Nihilistic, fast-moving, lonely and, at times, embarrassingly funny, Nowhere is an enjoyable ride and a reminder of how special your teenage years can really be. There’s something in there for most people, even the alien subplot which surprisingly feels totally not out-of-place. Oh, and there’s the kick ass soundtrack. A solid four out of five.

Jean Jacques Annaud’s ‘Quest For Fire’

Quest For Fire truly is an astonishing film to behold. An ambitious picture that takes a snap shot of what Paleolithic Europe might have been like to create a basic story that encompasses a journey across continents and the evolution of man. overwhelmingly beautiful to behold, the feature has received its Bu-ray debut thanks to Second Sight.


The narrative is quite simple, a literal quest for survival. The feature follows a tribe 80,000 years ago whose most valued possession is fire. Desperately guarded over at all times, no one knows how to create it. An attack from a neighbouring tribe means the loss of their flame and so three tribe members are sent on  mission to source a new flame and ensure the survival of their clansmen. The quest isn’t easy, and won’t be without struggle, but its importance will keep the trio determined.

What makes the film so engaging are the performances from its cast. Quest For Fire is dialogue free bar a made up primitive language that is non-sensical if not for the body movement and interpretation by the actors. Terrifically done, every notion of distress, anger, worry, desire, loss and intrigue is all conveyed by a group of actors whose technical ability to act with the most miniscule of body and facial expressions is wonderful to watch. Three of the four leads in particular are delightful; Everett McGill (Twin Peaks), Ron Pearlman (Hellboy) and Rae Dawn Chong (Commando), who each manage to craft unique and identifiable personalities despite saying nothing.


The blu-ray transfer is a stunning watch. Shot in environmentally protected areas of Kenya, Scotland and Canada, the landscape of Quest is nothing short of breathtaking, with the transfer also bringing out the production design. The scope of location really is a joy to watch, with the film taking in as much as it can; mountains, marshes, caverns, bogs, savannahs. The costume and make up design are also wonderful, with one featurette on the release package (The Making of Quest For Fire) showing just how much research and attention went into the exploration of tribal markings and identifiable symbols. Even the design of prehistoric animals (sabretooth cats and wooly mammoths) is commendable, with all effects and stunts done physically, adding to the organic tone of the entire production.

That’s not to say that Quest For Fire is for everyone. Some will find the pacing very slow and trying, others will find the lack of understandable dialogue to be an instant turn off, but for the most part Quest really is a film worth watching and sticking through. Whilst there are one or two moments that border on ripe for parody, the feature really is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, nor can I overly recall anything that its similar to. Simply Quest is a film that you have to watch at least once in your life, even if to behold the ambitious beauty and simple ways in which storytelling can be told.

Ashtray Dirt 6(66)

Up first is the new trailer for Israeli release Big Bad Wolves, which was announced last week as the closing film for this years Film4 Frightfest festival. Directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papusahdo, the revenge-thriller looks intriguing, brutal and brilliantly shot and will no doubt be a hit at the festival in August…

Arrow have announced their latest limited edition steelbook release, Lucio Fulci’s classic The Beyond, which is exclusive to Zavvi and available to pre-oder now…

Another psychedelic trailer has dropped for Ben Wheatley’s new picture A Field In England. The film is released across all platforms next Friday, July 5th…

Director David Lynch is reportedly collaborating with Trent Reznor on the next Nine Inch Nails release, Come Back Haunted. Lynch will apparently direct the music video for the new single, the first time the pair have worked together since the soundtrack to Lost Highway


Actor James Gandolfini sadly passed away this week from a suspected heart attack. The star who was most notable for his lead role in television series The Sopranos, also played a string of supporting characters in films as diverse as True Romance, Zero Dark Thirty, Where The Wild Things Are and The Man Who Wasn’t There…

Birmingham’s Shock and Gore festival have announced their line up for this summers series of events. Running from the 19th to the 15th July, events include screenings of films both new and old from an Evil Dead double bill to recent offering John Dies At The End. The full lineup can be found on the website

More new pictures are emerging from the set of the new Godzilla remake. An underground bunker and a giant crater tease the presence of the titular creature in Gareth Edwards feature slated for release next year…



Second Sight have revealed the sleeve artwork for their next Blu-ray release, Possession, which is released on July 29th…


MGM have released an official press release this week confirming many of the rumours surrounding the new Poltergeist remake. The film will be directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House), produced by Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert and will be adapted from a screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz: The Great and Powerful). According to the press release, the plot will revolve around ‘a family struggling to make ends meet relocates to an outdated suburban home and is confronted by an angry spirit who kidnaps their youngest daughter and challenges them to band together to rescue her from the clutches of evil’

A set of new images have been released for the next James Wan feature The Conjuring, a creepy tale of paranormal investigators helping out a family living in a haunted house…





Lastly, author and screenwriter Richard Matheson passed away this week aged 87. Prolific in the horror and science-fiction genres, Matheson wrote the novels I Am Legend, A Stir of Echoes and Hell House, the screenplays for The Devil Rides Out, The Legend of Hell House and The Incredible Shrinking Man and numerous teleplays…