A near-future fascistic USA is focused on an annual cross-continent murderous road race. Scattershot but sprightly, this exploitation effort (a Rollerball mockbuster) juggles media satire, cartoony splatter, 1984 riff, and car-chase comedy. Full of ideas, though, and hugely influential. A remake – spawning several DTV sequels – followed.
A detective investigates a missing film star, leading him to enquire into a house’s tragic history. Brisk Amicusanthology horror based on Robert Bloch short stories (with one standout yarn) – four twisty tales plus a wraparound story – delivering value for money and some genre-friendly faces.
A young stepmother-to-be is isolated one Christmas with her partner’s children. Well-sustained psychological horror, strong on atmosphere. Kinda goes where you’d expect, and there’s some clunky exposition initially, but gets credit for pushing its core idea to an agreeably nasty limit.
A recently widowed woman starts to believe her house is haunted by her dead husband. Effective ghost story with some terrific scare moments and lingering unease. The payoff is a little tricksy, but this is well worth your focus nevertheless, not least for Rebecca Hall’s immaculate central performance.
Twin boys begin to suspect that their mother is not who she claims to be. Muted and perhaps over-respectful English-language remake of the 2014 Austrian original. The performances are uniformly good, mind, even if the reveals aren’t strong: Naomi Watts delivers another variant on her mum (or not…) under pressure specialism.
1921 London: a debunker of fake mediums is asked to investigate a haunting at a boys’ school. Autumnal and good-looking psychological thriller: it takes a hard left turn late on that requires a huge leap of faith, but there’s plenty in the first hour especially to please subgenre fans. No relation to the 1980 flick of the same name.
A small snowbound town comes under attack: a siege develops. Sprightly comedy-horror with a whodunnit element. A strong cast of comic performers helps, as does a deft script. Based on a video game: maybe the best adaptation of a game yet.
An industrialist leading a nuclear power initiative believes that there are satanic forces supporting his plan. Gleeful The Omen ripoff, complete with a rich cast of second-string familiar faces, Kirk Douglas naked, fun though variable effects work, a Morricone score, and no shame at all.
The now-adult Thorn is targeted for assassination. Muted conclusion to the trilogy (a reboot for TV was later attempted), with lots of pulpy elements (a massacre of the innocents, a monk hit-squad, the second coming) not really coming together. Some sly moments, though, and it’s well shot.
The now-adolescent Damien Thorn discovers who he is: and so do others. The others, inevitably, die. More of the same, though with conspiracy and related angles added, if not altogether cohesively integrated. Still, there’s a death every few minutes, and a great Jerry Goldsmith score. The Final Conflict soon followed.