Simon Alderwick watches and shares his thoughts on the gruesome pick and mix of horror movies available on Shudder and beyond. This week he looks at Kronos: Vampire Hunter, The Power, The Wicker Man, The McPherson Tape and The Banishing
Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) is a swashbuckling vampire hunting tale set in 16th century England. I was drawn to this Hammer Horror production after enjoying The Mummy a few weeks ago. I dug the old time vibes and the sense of fun and adventure. I wish there were more films like this – mixing adventure and horror but keeping things fun. Apparently this film was meant to be the first in a string of such films from Hammer, but unfortunately the studio ran into financial troubles. It’s a shame as more of today’s horror movies should allow themselves to have this much fun. It’s entertainment, after all.
The Power (2021) is set in London in 1974 and sees a trainee nurse working a night shift in a creepy AF hospital ward.
Atmospheric from the get go, oozing 70s horror auras and East London edginess, I loved how I was drawn in like an old friend. It’s a very British film, very real, and director Corinna Faith does a brilliant job of mixing the familiar and the sinister, creating a world that feels both real and unnerving. I felt I was in safe hands and in for something special, so just sat back and watched the horror unfold. I urge you to do the same.
After obsessing over Midsommar last week, I thought I would check out The Wicker Man (1973). I’d heard some Midsommar detractors say the film had taken a lot of cues from this cult classic, but I couldn’t see so many similarities. Almost 50 years separate the two movies and they tell completely different stories. Both are centred around mayfair rituals but The Wicker Man is more of a crime thriller that turns into horror, playing on the prudish detective’s own christian faith and virtue, whereas Midsommar is a fairytale inspired sensual overload that’s ambivalent about what’s right and wrong. But anyway, I really enjoyed The Wicker Man – it’s of its time but stands up well at almost 50 years old and is definitely a must see.
The McPherson Tape (1989) is a quirky lo-fi found footage alien movie. A film from simpler times, when making movies was a DIY affair and when the truth was most definitely out there. Not in any way remotely scary but still a fun if goofy waste of an hour.
After a gruesome introduction, The Banishing (2021) starts out as a seemingly typical haunted house flick, but has more twists and turns than you can shake a crucifix at. This is an engrossing supernatural thriller that keeps the audience as well as the characters second guessing every word, thought and creaking floorboard.
Simon Alderwick is a poet and songwriter from the UK. His work is featured or forthcoming in Whatever Keeps The Light On, Re-side and the Squiffy Gnu anthology, among others. Follow him on Twitter @SimonAlderwick.