Delve Deeper

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kickstarter - Spook Train

 Spook Train is an attempt as a feature length, Claymation, horror film. Three kids discover the remains of the legendary Spook Train, they're about to experience why it was shut down by a moral panic. It's a dark ride with an even darker sense of humor.

Being shot in 4k and 3D, this is going to look sharper than any claymation nightmares that have come before (I'm looking at you King Tut Goes to McDonalds). Check out the trailer for this dark bit of work, and gaze upon the kickstarter rewards that are available. With a £40,000 financing goal, this project has a ways to go, but it could be quite spectacular.

Check it out!

Review - The Shunned House (2003) (R) - Bob Brinkman

This is it, the holy grail of Lovecraftian adaptations, a good film. The Shunned House is an Italian film that is actually comprised of three stories; The Music of Eric Zann, Dreams in the Witch House, and The Shunned House. Unlike other anthology films, The Shunned House does not tell the stories one at a time, instead allowing them all to unfold together with the house as a major character in its own right. While this can make things a bit confusing from time to time, overall the tactic works quite well.

Another plus is that the film is visually stunning, capturing mood and evoking that darkness that Lovecraft is so famed for. Certainly these are not literal

translations of Lovecraft's stories to film, but the additions made are eerie and continue to call on the darkness that the filmmaker has conjured forth.

Yes, there are things that seem a bit out of place, and there is one scene in particular that seems to have been heavily influenced by The Blair Witch Project, but none of this matters. This is a great film. My only concerns are raised by a few technical hiccups in the DVD. As mine was new and fresh out of the wrap I can not help but wonder if these imperfections are found in all copies of the film, or merely mine. In any case they were easy to overlook and caused no severe problems.

Another odd note is that the DVD does not have scene selection from the menu, though it does contain a trailer for The Shunned House (and about a dozen other low budget, crappy, indie films that are very forgettable).

review © Bob Brinkman 2004

Review - The Shunned House (2003) (R) - Christian Matzke

The Shunned House is an anthology film set in the same house during the 1930's, 40's and the present. The film combines three Lovecraft stories: The Shunned House, the Music of Erich Zann, and Dreams in the Witch House. The film is directed by Ivan Zuccon, the director of The Unknown Beyond and the Darkness Beyond. Zuccon has the best of both worlds, setting his story in the present but flashing back and forth between a number of periods in this house's past. A restrained use of CGI allows for some wonderful transitions between these time periods as well.

This film does a pretty great job of combining the three stories. I'm especially happy with it's handling of Dreams in the Witch House. The concept of interdimensional travel from that story really becomes the keystone for the whole film. The house is a major character (ala The Shinning, or HPL's The Street), and my god, what an incredible location. This rivals the old house in The Shuttered Room for potential, but here that potential is fully realised.

The acting is pretty good all around. While Lucio Fulci's influence is clear, I would say there's some David Lynch in there too, along with Mario Bava and Michele Soavi. There's some brief nudity and some extensive blood letting, but nothing too gratuitous (well, okay maybe a little but it's fun!).
I am very excited that this film will soon be available in the U.S. and I highly recommend it to folks looking for a good Italian horror styled Lovecraft adaptation.

review © Christian Matzke 2003

Review - The Ancients (Le Peuple ancien) (2001) Unrated

Reviewing this one is a bit tough, because the film is in French and has no subtitles. Fortunately as this is an adaptation of Lovecraft's the "Very Old Folk", the story is fairly easy to follow.

The film begins at an Archaeological site with the discovery of a Roman era manuscript. From there we go back to the time of the manuscripts writing and follow a group of Roman Legionnaires. From there we drop into the actual Lovecraft tale.

The locations used for this film are

wonderful. The scenic vistas that the Romans travel through are wholly unlike anything in an American Lovecraft film, and the film succeeds, in part, because of that. The acting, while in a language I do not speak, was solid and believable. If you want to know if someone is a good actor? See if they can convey emotion through the language barrier...

The film doesn't need much in the way of effects, as the story itself deals with strange cultists in the hills as opposed to monsters of otherworldly terror. Even so, the film take a very minimalist approach to the cultists, keeping them in shadow when seen. This heightens the overall effect and makes them even more creepy.


Review © Bob Brinkman 2005


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Breaking - Horror on the Orient Express

Have you ever watched a Lovecraftian film and wished you could be *IN* it? Last year, with the help of Chaosium games, a group of lucky people got to do that. They lived out the classic campaign, Horror on the Orient Express. Costumed characters, amazing props, thrilling effects, as well as some fine dining. People came from (literally) all over the world for a chance to play out this live adventure.

A Kickstarter is up and running to make an expanded version available for play this year. Putting it together is a daunting task but, having been a part of last year's cast, I can tell you that it is worth it. Check out the Kickstarter at

Horror on the Orient Express