Friday, July 3, 2015

Giving Anchor Bay the respect they deserve

The market for blu`s for horror, cult and underground films have never been so large. Its truly a great time to be a fan of these films. When fans discuss companies that are putting out such great stuff Anchor Bay seems to get trashed.

I think many fans feel betrayed by them and say they have sold out and indeed it would appear so, AB only does recent film releases and mostly not good ones at that. However paraphrasing the immortal Bard I come here not to bury Anchor Bay but to praise them. I`ve loved films since I could remember but everything would change when my father bought me an old VHS of "Little Shop of Horrors" not the remake but the Corman classic. Since that time I`ve been in love with horror films and when I was old enough to really discover films outside of the mainstream slashers i.e Friday the 13th series,Halloween etc it was Anchor Bay who was paramount in my finding such gems as "I Spit On Your Grave" "Demons 1&2" "Sleepaway Camp" "Alice Sweet Alice" and important films like "The Evil Dead" which was the very first thing I bought with the first job I ever had. And strange oddities like "The Stuff" "Pin" "Link" etc.

Cutting Edge: Anchor Bay also blazed a trail in how the presented the films. Mostly companies were putting out videos in a Pan and Scan but not AB who released most of there films in Widescreen and later Ana morophic widescreen. Not only are the films in proper format but they had THX sound. With the advent of DVD they company expanded there catalog and put out great films like "Prom Night" (An early DVD release) and strange films like "The Pit" and "Fade to Black" The picture and sound were upgraded as well and a new 5.1 mix was added instead of just a mono track. Many also had insightful commentaries interviews etc.

Packaging/Limited Releases:
I get really misty eyed when I think of some of the cool releases like the Halloween double VHS set complete snow globe or the Wicker Man in the wooden back (still a gem I need) Not to mention the bad ass tins for Beyond, Maniac, Halloween 4 and 5 etc. Big glitzy packaging is common place now but back when AB did it it was pretty much unheard of. Also there were the first to do limited edition videos back when everything was mass produced to death. It gave fans and collectors a rush when they got say "Army of Darkness" limited numbered edition. Now everyone does it but they did it first and in some cases better.

I wont deny that when the company joined with Starz they lost the edge that made them top of the mountain and lately they have not even tried to compete with Scream Factory (Shout Factory) who reminds me a lot of AB in there hay day. But lest we forget that Anchor Bay joined forces with SF to put out "Halloween the complete collection" which i`m sure took a small miracle to pull off.

I`m glad to see there are fans of the label out there and a market for OOP titles both common and rare. I`ve been out of touch in the market but titles like "Link" and "Fade to Black" "Road Games" and certain Hammer titles would fetch quiet a pretty penny.

The bigger picture is this: Countless fans and collectors were exposed to films they might not have without this label that blazed a trail for every single company releasing blu rays today.

So when your quick to point the finger at Anchor Bay remember how many great films they put out many of which are still only available through them. Certainly they were so important to my film education and without them I might not have enjoyed such favorites as "Wicker Man" or "Evil Dead" til much much later if at all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New Segment!!: Sticky Boxes: VHS oddities by Jules Brudek

I`m very happy to introduce a new writer to the asylum. Jules Brudek who is a very talented award winning writer. 

Sticky boxes

by Jules Brudek

A column about VHS cult and horror gems not yet available on DVD or Blu-ray

When I was a Video store clerk back in the late nineties, I had the opportunity of watching and enjoying all the horror movies that hell made and heaven would allow. From straight to video gore to shot-on-video splatter fests to soft porn infused midnight movies, I spent hours of my off time indulging in any video I could get my sticky hands on. During working hours, I re-alphabetized the VHS boxes neatly on the shelves, covers always facing outward, so the gore-ious artwork could be properly appreciated. Now, VHS in back in vogue and everyone has a story like this one about the unappreciated allure of VHS, so, I will keep my nostalgia brief.

One last anecdote, I named the column “Sticky Boxes” because that’s what I touched day in and day out working at the video store. Sweaty handed customers brought back their rental VHS tapes encased in gooey grime. Everyday, I would check them back in, wipe them off and re-stock. Humorous note: the bigger the babe’s boobs were on the box the stickier the VHS box was upon return.

Each month, I will examine a hidden treasure from the deserted island world of VHS. Tthere are still so many horror and cult rarities that have not been released on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s worth digging into my collection and reviewing some personal favorites.

Tonight’s Sticky Box:
The Haunted
1991/Made for TV movie
Starring Sally Kirkland
Available on PAL VHS in the UK
Not available on DVD or Blu-ray

*Note: Please don’t confuse The Haunted (1991) with the film of the same name from 1977 starring Aldo Ray about a desert town under attack by a woman using powerful witchcraft during the Civil War. 

“In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to be gone!”

I know you’ve seen it all; Poltergeist (1982), The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), The Conjuring (2013), The Amityville Horror (1979) and the remake in 2005, but have you ever seen a prudish father of four raped by a transgender demon?  I didn’t think so.
Set in the 1970s and based on real accounts about the Smurl family, this haunted house flick starring Sally Kirkland as Janet Smurl and Jeffery DeMunn as her husband, Jack Smurl, delivers the ghostly goods with cheesy moments and traumatic incidents that the whole family will enjoy.

The Haunted builds like a typical ghost story, introducing us to the normal Smurl family as they are moving into their lovely new home. As the family settles, the feeling of pre-pubescence coupled with Catholic restraint becomes apparent. Mrs. And Mr. Smurl have four daughters and a sexually benign marriage. Making matters worse, Mr. Smurl’s rigid parents, Grandpa and Grandma Smurl, live with them, making this a battleground for spirits to enter, as psychic Lorraine Warren will mention later. As strange occurrences start keeping them up at night, The Smurls decide to call for some help. Their church ignores their pleas. Enter The Warrens.

The Haunted could be a prequel to The Conjuring because it introduces us to the expertise and style of the most famous and prolific of all paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren.  In 1952, they founded the New England Society for Psychic Research and became world famous in the 70s after their real life investigations became the subject of the book, The Amityville Horror, written by Jay Anston and the film of the same name.  Ed and Lorraine Warren come off as a bunch of badasses in The Haunted and it’s really a wonder why the tag-team didn’t get invited to more haunted houses films like Poltergeist.  Using her prowess for the paranormal, Lorraine identifies four sprits in the Smurl home: a man who suffered terribly, an old confused woman, a little girl, and lastly, a nasty demon manipulating the other three to attack the family.

I have two favorite scenes, the aforementioned rape scene that has yet to be topped cinematically and a scene where Grandma Smurl tells her daughter in-law she was tortured by screaming profanities. Literally, I laughed out loud and that doesn’t happen often. In order to get your hands on the film, you will need to find it on AmazonUK and have a PAL compatible VCR. I did it and I don’t regret it. Another option, you can wait for it to air on the Sci-Fi channel. It shows up on occasion.

Rumor has it, The Haunted is Leigh Whannel’s (Hell yeah!) favorite horror movie and it inspired him to pen such modern horror classics as Saw (2004) and Insidious (2010). The cult following this film received in the United Kingdom was monumental, prompting twentieth century fox to release the VHS in the late 90s.

I give the VHS presentation of The Haunted: 3 sticky gloops out of five.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Asmodexia (2014) review by Vincent Daemon

Director: Marc Carrete
Starring: Irene Montala, Marina Duran
Review by: Vincent Daemon

Whilst galloping through Netflix the other night, I decided to run through my (rather long) “to be watched” list. I was looking for something decidedly different, when I happened across a film that I’ve been wanting to watch for some time now, but just haven’t had the chance. It’s subtitled, and as of late (due to an extenuating set of outlying circumstances) I just haven’t had the attention span for that. But this night, however, did indeed enable me that time.

The name of this film? ASMODEXIA, the 2014 debut of spanish filmmaker (and co-writer, along with Mike Hostench) Marc Carrete. And my opinion of this debut? Muchas gracias, Senior Carrete, for bringing something truly different to the international horror community.

Not entirely without some minor faults of vaguery that lay embedded deep within the storyline (some of which may in fact be intentional),  this is the best “possession” film I’ve seen since 2010’s unnerving found-footage film THE LAST EXORCISM, and 1995’s hysterically brilliant and horrific DAY OF THE BEAST, directed by (one of my personal favorites) Alex de la Iglesia, before that.

ASMODEXIA tells a strange and evermore startling tale of a Grandfather and his beautiful, late-teens/early-twenties granddaughter, who roam the various parched wastes of everywhere from Madrid to Barcelona and everywhere in between, conducting violent, mucousy, intense exorcisms, though of a strikingly vague nature. And in that way, it is a film that requires fully uninterrupted attention.

I’m not really going to dispel any of the plot, as that would be incredibly difficult to do within the span of this review, but I will say that all is not as it seems, and a bit of a prior knowledge about the belief systems and philosophies of Gnosticism, Thelema, Luciferianism, and general religion versus the occult wouldn’t hurt, either. Nor would being able to decipher a bit of Latin (which I also can, to a degree - - - enough to get the general gist of what exactly is being invoked). The film is incredibly deep, twisting, as there is to be a “Resurrection” of a god, though that Being is never named, lending a slight Lovecraftian tone to the proceedings that only increases in its own understatement as the film progresses, especially when certain cult and familial lineages are introduced and brought to fruition (I only say that as I guessed some things a few minutes in and happened to be correct). That’s is all I will say about the incredibly well thought, intelligent, and perfectly-confusingly structured plot of the film.

There are certain tropes “infectious,” even inherent, within the recently resuscitated Possession/Exorcist-genre of the horror film, some that one would think seemingly unavoidable, yet Carete & Hostench seem to have done so very well. This is NOT your typical God vs. Satan film. In fact, neither are even mentioned, not once (Lucifer & Jesus are, once and only once, but their fathers - - - never). Add to that the fact that this peculiar “Resurrection” is occurring on 12/21/12 (the long-past Mayan calendar date of Apocalypse, for those who’ve already forgotten), I found, only made the film that much more intriguing.

Visually speaking, the film is striking in all aspects. The angles, the lighting, the various sigils, background pieces, and scenery all bordering at times on some seriously IGLESIAS/JODOROWSKY territory, the surreal becoming completely real, and keeping one (at least myself) riveted to the couch. For all you gorehounds out there, there’s not a whole lot, but for an horrifically grotesque (both visually and psychologically) scene in the beginning, and some other surprises I won’t mention spattered here and there. However, there is a good bit of F/X work done on the possessed that looks fantastic, and is a rather different and particularly gruesome look for the demon-infected. Also, the CG seemed to be kept to a bare minimum, used more for enhancement than effect itself.

I highly recommend ASMODEXIA to fans of artful, thought-inducing, bizarro possession-genre flicks. For those who dislike subtitles, as it is in Spanish, get some patience and an attention span. This film is worth it. Currently, it’s streaming on Netflix, as noted in the initial paragraph of this review. Otherwise, seek this out somewhere, you shan’t be disappointed. Also, to finish on a sidenote, I must say pretty much every woman in this film is uniquely stunning, particularly IRENE MONTALA (who plays “Ona”- - - good god, heh.)

Thanks for reading, Peace 93,
Vincent Daemon

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blood Splattered Blu: Scarecrows

Title: Scarecrows
Director:William Wesley
Company: Scream Factory (Shout factory)
Written by: Mike "Gorehound"  Vaughn

The "killer scarecrows" horror sub genre is like a craigslist hook up. Most are awful but once and awhile you get something amazing. 1988's "Scarecrows" is a brilliant in the way it defies the slasher genre and blends action and black comedy. It also was the start of brilliant careers for the special effects artist Norman Cabera (whom went on to work on countless films with Rick Baker) and D.P Peter Deming (Cabin in the Woods,Oz the great and Powerful etc)The film makers were wise to play things dead serious and unlike other scarecrow movies doesn't go camp. Scream Factory has been doing an amazing job at pleasing fans with bringing OOP DVD's back from the dead and making them look better than ever in HD. But is this Scarecrow have heart?

Plot: A band of ex military criminals think they pulled off the perfect job, scoring a multi million dollar pay day hijacking a plane to Mexico. However a team member decides he doesn't want to split the money and para shoots out of the plane, loot in hand. They land in a deserted area with you guessed it a corn field. Now they are being "stalked" by something unseen and unfeeling.

Picture: The picture isn't perfect but it is certainly better than the previous OOP MGM dvd.  Due to the films being filmed mostly at night there are a few grain issues but overall its well done and helps keep this film from feeling dated. I doubt that you will find a better print anywhere else.

Sound: Audio has both a 2.0 and a new 5.1 mix. The new mix is great and makes use of the wonderful score by Terry Plumeri.

Special Features: Fans have come to expect a level of great features from SF and fear not, it "stalks" up to the rest. The big new features are not one but two feature length commentaries. Both are great. director William Wesley takes credit for making the first Killer scarecrow movie, I guess he never saw Dark Night of the Scarecrow 1981. Besides the commentaries they're are two interviews that are both informative and entertaining. Rounding out the features are original storyboards still gallery and of course a trailer. I`m a big commentary fan so these are the highlight for me and combined with the interviews fans like myself everything you'd ever want to know about this film.

Overall: Fans of this unique film cant go wrong with this. Not only is the picture much better than the previous MGM DVD but its stuffed full of extras.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kingdom of Shadows: The Rise of the Horror Film: Review by Vincent Deamon

KINGDOM OF SHADOWS: The Rise of the Horror Film
Director/Writer: Bret Wood
Narrated by: Rod Steiger
Year: 1998

Review by Vincent Deamon

This is a fascinating documentary on the conception, birth, and subsequent growth of the Horror genre in cinema, a good portion of the film devoted to the great German Expressionists, as well as the appearances of religion, and the silent-horror era’s fixations on “good vs. evil,” sexuality, science, and just what is exactly what.

However, the documentary seems to very quickly and loosely run through most of these fascinating topics, barely gleaming over them in some cases altogether. Information on the directors, actors, writers, and even the folkloric genesis of much of the content that inspired these films is hazy and limited Add to that the fact that Rod Steiger, of all people, is the narrator to this collection of wonderful pre-Hayes Commission footage, and one ends up coming away with a vague, terribly ordered (it tends to hop around a lot), but still amazing to view, 70 minutes of great clips from some lost, unknown, and hard to find silent classics, as well as those most all are familiar with.

It starts with the horrors of religion, as memories of the Spanish Inquisition and other similar atrocities were still rather fresh in peoples minds from the period. For instance, when going into the THE GOLEM (1920, Dir. by Paul Wegner & Carl Bocse), it is claimed as being an early version of FRANKENSTEIN. Perhaps in a general sense, but Golems are in fact strange creatures of Kabbalistic lore, clay statues with an invocation (soul?) placed into its chest by its creator. “The tools of Satan are often those of the Inquisitor” the card reads as we then get segmented flashes from FAUST, LEAVES FROM SATAN'S BOOK (a Denmark film directed by Carl Th. Dreyer - - - also director of VAMPYR and THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC - - - the idea for LEAVES . . . being inspired by the epic magnitude of D.W. Griffith’s INTOLERANCE; we get clips from all these films as well), and a host of others.

Most importantly, however, it goes into the 1922 classic HAXAN: WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES. Directed by Benjamin Christensen, it is indeed one of my favorite films. Filmed in 7 different parts, and a dizzying array of styles, with visions of darkness and hell being conjured into eerie celluloid life that had yet to be seen, it still packs more of a punch than most garbage released today. Even the effects work is phenomenal, considering the time period, still looking better than most CG crapola today. I wanted to learn more, but outside of that, and a heap-o-footage, nothing.

Now they bring in films like DR. JECKYLL & MR. HYDE (apparently filmed in 1908, 1909, 1911, twice in 1913, and twice in 1920), as Steiger uses a variety of odd and out of place voice affectations and fake accents, to let us know “The scientist of the new dawn in film faced a far more frightening prospect: That beneath the high society standards of the scientist lay the vile and depraved desires and lusts of the common beast.” No shit.
This now brings us to the ancient-as-we-are duality of the titillating and the horrific, bring us up to a straight-forward “the virginal female is always the victim” to the “lusts of the monster” - - - henceforth the damsel in distress has now been created, and a steady trope of the genre.

As was the “mad doctor,” as people outright feared doctors then (and with good reason), their archaic and bizarre medical devices resembling tools of torture from the inquisition, but used for “healing.” And the doctors of the period seemed to get an almost perverse zeal from the pain and terror of their healing methods. The Doctor had become the new commissary for the devil, so to speak. In fact, I'm not so sure they aren’t, heh. Two tropes in one: mad doctors AND “body horror.” Doctors Mirakle, X, and Gogol all get mention, as does (another one of my favorites), the inimitable Dr. Moreau. If that’s not a truly horrific and almost precognitive concept, I’m not sure what is.

Along with the growth and often horrific discoveries of the physical sciences, came fear of “Body Snatchers.” Usually degenerate, poverty-stricken neerdowells who would unearth the dead for shady doctors in the names of Science, God, and cheap whiskey. Another trope.

As the doctoral sciences progressed, the psychological sciences were in their infancy. HOUSE OF DARKNESS (Dir. D.W. Griffith, 1913) finally brings in that one last, great unknown of the human condition to light: the Mad Dr. and the human mind: psychology/psychiatry. This was the newest cornerstone trope for horror cinema. The ideas of Freud were growing in popularity, that delving into one of the last great unknowns, the unexplored mind. Unfortunately, many horrific moral indiscretions were all too real (as they still are, in my opinion) within the new and shady field of the psychologist. HOUSE OF DARKNESS, however, was the first film to bring a sense of sympathy to the mentally ill, yet at the same time exploits the fear of true madness and insanity run rampant.

From there? Hypnotherapy, something brand new and hideously misused in some real life scenarios, still so in today's climate, but with dangerous pharmaceuticals as opposed to old-school ECT, hot/cold therapies, etc. Either way, the victim of the hypnotist becomes then the parasomnia-ist. The sleepwalker. A state within which you have no control but for that of the Dr.’s heinous orders. The sleepwalker is trapped in the Shadow Kingdom.

Just as Jekyll cannot control Hyde in his own pharmaceutically enhanced states, the sleepwalker cannot control their mind while, well, essentially asleep, leaving it open to the potential abuse and will of the inducer of such ill intent, be it vampire, dr., or hypnotist. THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (Dir. by Robert Weine, 1920) is by far the best (and most well known) example of the mad hypnotist run amok for his own gain.

The strange and silent shuffle of the sleepwalker eventually became that of one of our long-time overused tropes: the (non-Romero) zombie. Taking on the same listless gait and mind-numbed susceptibility of many of the stunning virginal vixens that fell victim to the various horrors of the silent era, most all victims of celluloid hypnotic somnambulism were female. In retrospect, especially within the framework of our own current cultural climate, were these particular films perhaps a revelation of mans latent fear of strong women, the Suffragette Movement, a patriarchally fueled society knowing ever more but understanding ever less about “how women work,” so to speak? For men, was it perhaps the seemingly eternal phallic fear (of many males, at least, something that unfortunately permeates our culture through and through to this very day) of a woman's free will? For women, was it the entirely human fear of forced impulse over reason?

The sexual repression of the era, as well, often translated in odd, perverse, metaphorically graphic ways to the screen. Arthur Robinson’s 1923 film WARNING SHADOWS is an horrific portrayal of, gaslighting, sexual assault, and severe psychological abuse, almost a precursor to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

Overall, it’s a decent little doc (run time is only 70 minutes) that I’m glad I watched, but felt a little cheated as to the amount of genuine information presented. That said, for any true and dire film buff/historian, I would say this is a must see, if for no other reasons than the amazing footage, some actual decent information here and there, and Rod Steiger’s hilarious attempts at strange vocal affects of and accents.

Long review short: it’s about the development of classical and everlasting celluloid horror and its growth of tropes. Recommended.

Alternately, for one who just wants to veg with some sights and sounds that mix well together, you can just turn the sound down, find some decent goth to listen to, and just let the magick happen.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Separating the director from the film: Possible?

Piece of My Mind: Separating the director from the film, is it possible?

I use to belong to a Horror film forum on Facebook and a certain post got rather heated. The debate was sparked over "Clownhouse" and its status of OOP (out of print)

I`m sure a lot of you are aware but for those of you who are not here is the story behind Clownhouse and why it most likely will never be re-released -EVER.

The "Clownhouse" controversy: In 1988 during production Salvia the director was charged with sexually molesting the lead actor Nathan Forrest Winters. He was found guilty and served only 15 months of a three year sentence. It had a limited release from MGM in 2004 but quickly was pulled due to the scandal.

What Victor Salvia did was pure evil and anyone who says different has some serious issues that goes far beyond liking a film or not. The argument on the blog was some said it should be put out for people to see and others said its horrible what happened to the boy during the filming and based on that it should not be widely released. I watched it on Youtube and honestly its a terrible film, its slow paced and worst yet the film has ALOT of sexual over tones with the young boy and his brother (Sam Rockwell in his first film) In fact the first time we see Nathans character he is in his underwear and his brother makes a masturbation reference. Its skin crawling for all the wrong reasons. Fans were fiercely divided and if you look on Ebay people are paying up to 100.00 bucks for the OOP dvd.(Some of which are rip offs, and very good ones at that)

I honestly believe fans are wanting this movie so badly because its "rare" and as I stated above I highly doubt ANY company would dare release it and even if they did who would want to talk about it in interviews or commentaries. I think the bigger picture is this: A young boy was raped and had his childhood taken away during the filming of this Z-grade crap fest. It puzzles and bothers me that people who know this still are fans of the film.

Which leaves me to the question at hand. Can you separate the film maker from his work. In the case of Clownhouse I would say No way. Its horrible deeds are imprinted in every fiber of the film and it disturbs me to think that after they yelled cut this real life monster ripped this boys innocence away from him.  Obviously fans have "forgiven" him or out right ignored or were unaware because Jeepers Creepers (aptly titled as he is a creeper) and the sequel (which fixates on you guessed it young guys) were big hits.

Another case is Roman Polanski who as film buffs know got caught with an under age young woman. He still makes films and won an Oscar  for The Pianist (2002)

The question is can a film fan separate the actions of the directors and just enjoy the art they've created?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Films in the Attics: The Orphanage (2007)

Film: The Orphanage
Director:Juan Antonio Bayona
Year: 2007

The Orphanage came out at the height of Spanish horror but despite its impressive reviews and holding a 87% freshness on Rotten tomatoes it seemed to be a film that isn't talked about or given the kind of love that it deserves. It baffles me that many people even so called "film buffs" will not watch a film with sub titles, and how they are missing out on so many great works of cinema. However I would hope my readers are open and willing to watch any kind of film so with that in mind likes jump right into it.

Laura brings her family to childhood home, which just happens to guessed it an orphanage. Along with her husband Carlos she brings her adopted son Simon. Her goal to re open the place and keep a small number of special needs children, her son being one of them. Soon Simon starts playing with his new "friends" that only he can see. The parents of course just believe that its simply their sons over active imagination and its nothing to worry about. Things get odd when a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a social worker. Laura being a smart woman sees through the thinly veiled lie and tells her to leave. But the lady again appears this time creeping around the property late at night. Simon is seeing more of his "friends" and while at the opening party thrown at the orphanage he disappears. His mother must do everything in her power to get back her son before its to late. It may mean she needs to play "there" games.

Let me say first off i`m a huge fan of Spanish horror and J.A Bayona's film is simply amazing. It doesn't substitute story telling for blood and guts. Rather its about real people and real problems that get tangled in a web of the supernatural. It also manages to not only be genuinely scary but intriguing and touching. From the first frame to the twist ending its hard not to get totally sucked into the story. Bayona wisely uses the less is more approach and leaves a lot in shadows, allowing us the viewer use dare a say "our imagination" which is a concept which may be hard for some to grasp. I heard a remake is in the works and I highly doubt that this same method will be used, because lets face it Hollywood loves to dumb down its films for mass consumption.

Screenwriter Sergio G Sanchez weaves a tale that is very human and slowly lets the supernatural elements creep into the story. It also has a great mystery aspect which leaves the audience guessing at every strange twist and turn. In my description I left everything very vague because I didn't want to spoil anything. My one minor complaint is how the Father is written. He is never really allowed to show any emotional range unlike his wife. I`m sure he cares but it would have been better had they shown it.

The film is also wonderfully shot. Oscar Faura whose work includes the Oscar winning film "The Imitation Game" and the critically acclaimed "The Machinist" His camera work and angles are well crafted and really give the film a dark and poetic feeling. Even the way he photographs the orphanage is just masterful.

A strong cast of seasoned actors really helps sell this film. Belen Rueda whose credits include numerous films and tv really shines as the mother. I`m sure its not an easy role to really put yourself through the emotional aspects but she really pulls it off beautifully. However its new comer Roger Princep that steals the film, showing a lot of talent at such a young age.

Blood wise there is very little. If your looking for a graphic film, this is not for you- however there is a scene that gives even a jaded horror fan such as myself the chills in the gruesome department. Its also a moment that will make you jump.

I cant say enough great things about this film. It is equal parts scary touching and will leave you thinking about it days after viewing. A standard blu verison is fairly easy to find and cheap to. You seriously will enjoy this ghostly thriller.