30 November 2008

Bram Stoker's Dracula DVD Review


Necro Files horror film review DVD review bram stoker dracula


A stellar cast and a celebrated director team up with Keanu Reeves to bring this classic vampire tale to the silver screen the way Bram Stoker intended it. Well, so he intended it to be a book. As if people read anything that's not flashing at them like a bad acid trip.

Bram Stoker's Dracula film poster


The brave and fearless prince of Transylvania returns from a crusade to find his beloved deceased. Of course, the brave and fearless prince never flinched while impaling heathen scum, even if they were women and children, as long as their heads went on sticks. But matters of the heart are different, so the brave and fearless prince flinches.

He utters a string of petty blasphemies, reminiscent of Morbid Angel in their early days. This is enough to become excommunicated, which is a blessing in disguise, really. Since being excommunicated, the prince is demoted to a count, yet somehow manages to escape death and greatly increases his fortune. Moral of the story: the private sector is where the real opportunities are. You can slave away your whole life working for the government, and what do you get in return? A cubicle-sized house served by a modest motley crew of servants if you are lucky, flying lessons for your bride to be if you're not.

Being excommunicated also has other benefits, like an autonomous shadow and this thick accent which makes women swoon and commands beasts. Which, come to think of it, amounts to the same thing. The count ends up in the 19th century, which would explain why he dresses like Oscar Wilde without getting beaten to a pulp. Except if the movie played off in France, in which case you get smacked with gloves for not dressing like Oscar Wilde. Yet not beaten to a pulp, because the French are pansies.

The count devises a cunning plan to sweep Mina (Wynona Ryder) off her feet. There are only a few technicalities, namely that she's not really his Mina but the reincarnation of his Mina and currently the Mina of Keanu Reeves (does it really matter what character he plays? He's like Tom Cruize, he can only play himself with the kind of conviction that's either laudable or laughable). That, and sunlight is a burden. Oh, and he has to sleep in a coffin. On a bedding from a garden of his homeland. That will certainly get the neighbours talking, so the cunning plan involves seducing Mina's friend and keeping Mina sedated on vast quantities of absinthe. Hey, if the neighbours are going to talk anyway, you might as well make them talk a great deal.

Sadie Frost Dracula DVD review
Sadie Frost, who dresses like Robert Smith in this film. Everyone wants to bonk her, once they find out she's not really Robert Smith. Can't say I blame them.

Nothing says 'I love you' quite like sleeping with her best friend, keeping her intoxicated and dragging her off to the wildest parts of Europe where nobody can reach you without a coach driven by a ghoul, so naturally the plan works. Except that there are other suitors who want to sleep with Mina's best friend, keep Mina intoxicated and drag her off to other wild parts of Europe. Parts that could be reached more easily by crossing a channel, for instance. Except for France.


This film has some really impressive Victorian costumes. It is a period piece, but the designers managed to concoct a modern feel despite the hair pieces and the rusty medical equipment. There are also some great latex props, with CGI reserved for what it does best.

The DVD features a host of treats, from the theatrical trailer to a documentary on Dracula to a making of. The making of reveals just how brilliantly Francis Ford Coppola directed the cast. Actors were allowed to give their input after the entire cast sat reading the source, namely Bram Stoker's Dracula. This often leads to complications, as actors are often attention hungry and they spoil the craft with self-indulgence. Coppola manages to hold tight reins, while not making it appear so to the actors. This clever tactic does not stifle the creativity of the actors, while simultaneously allowing Coppola to orchestrate the entire affair to his liking. Truly one of my favourite films, especially thanks to the great directing and the sheer effort that went into preserving detail.

The unsettling score by Wojciech Kilar stands by itself as a horror film for the blind. He also did an excellent score for The Ninth Gate. Brooding, atmospheric and more intoxicating than that punch you virtually can't remember. At least that's your excuse.


Francis Ford Coppola.


Sadie Frost, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder.

14 November 2008

The Brain That Wouldn't Die DVD Review


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A horror film among horror films. It features everything a horror film needs to be great: from the paranoid and panicking violins to the sans-serif fonts. It even features buckets of blood, blonde strippers, brunette strippers, animated corpses and a few gratuitous boob shots. Well, as gratuitous as they came in the sixties. It even features suitable metaphors which provide social critique of the "chains we can believe in" society. The film is in black and white - like most of life, if you just do your homework and check your premises properly.


  • Jan Compton (Virginia Leith, who makes a delectable corpse) is decapitated in a car accident. Her husband to be, surgeon Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) was playing his Decapitated albums too loud and didn't pay attention to the road.

  • Dr Cortner is a mad scientist ala Lady Frankenstein who manages to keep Jan's head alive. I promise, no more Jan gave head in the car jokes.

  • Jan (or Jan in the pan, as she is affectionately known by fans of this film) goes through an existential crisis. I mean the poor girl thought she was going shopping and here she ends up without a body. I'm sure living without breasts she could cope with, but no nails to manicure? No wonder she starts hating Dr Cortner.

  • Dr Cortner decides to look for the body of the girl of his dreams for the girl of his dreams in the cat house. I'm sure it must've been a real catharsis for the poor guy, deciding to buy a body when he needed a body for Jan in the pan's sparkling personality. Besides, how is Jan in the pan going to stop him from having a night out with the boys? Well, Jan has her mysterious waves. Make that mysterious ways.

Brain That Wouldn't Die film poster Wikipedia top horror films reviewed reviews review


It is alarming how, for its time, this film capitalised on the fears of the general public for the medical profession. Remember that this film was produced before the first heart transplant was even performed, yet it deals with swapping bodies - or swapping heads, depending on which way you look at it. I guess your perspective depends on whose head it is.

Regardless, with the expected technological singularity, there are a few groups who are beginning to ponder the impact of such a radical change on our concepts of what it means to be human. They fall under the blanket term transhumanists. One of the transhumanist movements is the Extropy movement. Jan in the pan would do well to pay mind to some of their ideas.

The principles of Extropy

  • Perpetual Progress: seeking more intelligence, more efficiency, more wisdom, more than being content with a shoddy pad, a big screen TV and free basic health care. Growth in healthy directions as opposed to the decline of civilisation from nations paranoid of communism into nations paranoid of capitalism.

  • Self-Transformation: improving oneself, through technology if necessary. Being experimental and proactive in your evolution as a person.

  • Practical Optimism: sticking to rational approaches means you can be optimistic about the results.

  • Intelligent Technology: because ultimately the industrial revolution was about improving life. To transcend our reliance on nature is divine and technology enables us to do so. Intelligent technology more so. Imagine never having a car accident because cars are intelligent enough to drive you home safely.

  • Open Society: meaning supporting social orders which facilitate freedom. This means deregulation, decentralisation of power and free information flow. Hackers like Gary McKinnon will no longer be deported to stand trial in foreign countries for taking his constitutional right of access to information seriously.

  • Self-Direction: meaning you determine your own happiness and you do what makes you happy without being coerced into any dubious overseas wars.

  • Rational Thinking: meaning you approach any ism with the necessary questions, an ability to work with probabilities and that you focus on innovation of new ideas instead of on the implementation of old dogma.

Of course, this all seems like ponies and rainbows, and in fact it is. I do think for Jan's sake, she should have considered these options before buying into the ideology that she is the ultimate horror. Everyone agrees with Bobby from pointlessbanter that Glitter is the ultimate horror. However, I'm also thankful that Jan did not follow the road less travelled to this fountain of knowledge, because that would make a far more boring film.

One of my favourite horror films of all time and fortunately also one you can download free of charge! Yes, it is legal.

Joseph Green

Bruce Brighton, Jason Evers, Virginia Leith, Bonnie Sharie, Paula Maurice

10 November 2008

Top 10 Horror Films Made to Date

The formidable Vault of Horror requested a top 10 Horror film list from some goremeisters of the blogosphere. While I'm straight and homophobically so, Brian Solomon's smooth tenor voice eventually won me over so I present to you the Top 10 Horror Films Made to Date as determined by the caprice of the Necro Files.

By the way, the title does not refer to films you can actually date, although luring an unsuspecting member of the opposite sex to your lair to privately view one of these celluloid autopsies might help in your quest to sift the wheat from the Children of the Corn, as it were.

My Top 10 Horror Films Made to Date

  1. The Addiction

  2. Brain That Wouldn't Die

  3. Dagon

  4. Bram Stoker's Dracula

  5. Devil's Nightmare

  6. House on Haunted Hill

  7. Manhunter

  8. Plague of the Zombies

  9. Rabid

  10. Sleepless

I do realise that I skipped on a few stalwarts of the genre like the great Alfred Hitchcock and the bitterly satirical George A Romano, but you can find those on just about any horror list. Here follows a short description of my reasons for choosing each film:

The Addiction

Artsy fartsy director Abel Ferrara brings this black and white masterpiece to life. Whether you put stock in its allegorical references to drug addiction or not, this is a pleasure to watch. It's much deeper than an ingrown toenail, yet about twice as gruesome. One of my favourite films, of any genre.

Brain That Wouldn't Die

One of those classics that just gets better every time I watch it. Picture a movie about giving head. No, not in that way, I mean really giving head. Exit bowel movements and sensation of your lower limbs. Enter existential crisis. Mayhem ensues.


A patchwork of Lovecraft tales strung together with the sinews of a race of uncanny fish people. Lofty literary pretensions aside, it features a few gratuitous boob shots and buckets of blood.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

For a change, they did it by the book. With by the book I mean they did in fact base it on Bram Stoker's Dracula. This is not Bram Stoker's Dracula cut from the same cloth as Stephen King's Children of the Corn. Nay, nay, this is Dracula more or less as envisaged by Bram Stoker, complete with Hungarian expletives and the whores of Satan.

Devil's Nightmare

This delightful film tells the tale of a group of tourists who get stuck in a castle. A succubus visits the castle and manages to seduce all of them. Each tourist represents one of the seven deadly sins. Fucking tourists. They have no moral fibre.

House on Haunted Hill

No horror list would be complete without at least one Vincent Price film. I chose this one, but Shock or The Last Man on Earth would also suffice.


I have a morbid fascination with this film. It must be the shocking pastels of the synthetic materials they wore in the eighties. I also enjoy the fact that the film focuses on the eerie Tooth Fairy instead of on the eerie Hannibal Lecter.

Plague of the Zombies

No horror list would be complete without at least one Hammer film. Of course, the same goes for at least one Dracula film and at least one wolf man film. This is Hammer's only Zombie film, and one of the most influential Zombie films from the Voodoo inspired side of the genre. Still some of the hottest corpses I've seen. I can scarce believe that the actresses are English.


David Cronenberg cut his teeth on low budget happy accidents like this one. Featuring the delectable Marilyn Chambers, this film is gorno with suitable metaphor before there even was gorno devoid of metaphor.

Marilyn Chambers is a topless and bottomless (depending on the weather, I guess) waitress who turned into an adult film star. After that, she nearly broke into the mainstream by landing roles such as this one. Unfortunately, her past as an adult film star made film producers nervous and she was kept out of big mainstream films. It is unfortunate, because she's a fine scream queen and she does an amazing job in this film.


A brilliant addition to the giallo genre long after it had been declared dead and buried. You simply can't touch Dario Argento when it comes to stylish, sterile and meticulously planned murder scenes. While I am a huge fan of both Susperia and Deep Red, this film has all the trademarks of a resurrection. Unfortunately, the resurrection didn't go anywhere and giallo has been declared dead more times than Rasputin.

That's my current top 10 list. Of course I neglected to add a wolf man. If I did, I would've included Curse of the Devil. I also haven't included any of the excellent Korean horrors of recent years because I haven't delved into them yet. Comments, queries, black mail, lacy thongs and beer money are all welcome!

04 November 2008

Devildriver shows postponed due to Christian bigotry

Devildriver, those groove growlers from the embers of Coal Chamber, had a full tour booked to South Africa. In typical South African fashion, the entire framework was in place to ensure success. In typical South African fashion, some cretins just had to ruin it for everybody.

One of the gigs were scheduled to take place at Oppidam, a venue near Hartbeespoortdam. This scenic resort is ideally equipped for rock concerts and has hosted many of them in the past – including weekend long festivals.

Thornrose Productions is a rising productions company. In South Africa, production companies are few and far between. Like most industries in South Africa, there are a few monopolies who maintain a comfortable oligarchy. The event organising companies are usually in cahoots with abhorrent radio personalities from another epoch – or perhaps even another dimension. A new independent addition to the largely controlled events organisation market is thus certainly welcome.

Thornrose booked a Devildriver gig at Oppidam, only to have the local Christian community petition against the occurrence of such an event on the allegations that the band is Satanic. One would think that trivial bum fluff like this would go largely unnoticed, especially when there are less trivial matters like the reputation of Oppidam, the profits and the reputation of their client, Thornrose, at stake. Alas, Oppidam, in their oblivious wisdom, decided that they agreed with the local troglodytes and cancelled the Devildriver gig after Thornose already had a contract with dry ink. Apparently Christian money has a different value than secular money.

Now being a metalhead, I'm no Devildriver fan, but I'm no fan of censorship either. The fact that Devildriver isn't remotely a Satanic band is a huge factor in my low regard of them. Heavy metal is about the taboos in society. Traditionally, metal lyrical themes revolve around sex, violence and the occult. Tales of sobriety, abstinence and praise and worship are simply not good copy. Even the Bible is laced with tales of sodomy, incest, rape, genocide, debauchery and more vengeful gods than Lovecraft could concoct in three opium induced trances. This is no accident, as nobody would read a book that is ten commandments and a zombie Jew thick. No, it had to be even thicker than that.

Devildriver sings groovy songs about their maker's hand, that's how dark and Satanic they are. I feel that if you were really compelled to play in a death metal fanboy band, at least do it like Bloodbath or Death Metal All Stars do it. Nevertheless, for the slow readers out there, I concocted this highly scientific table of correspondence to move the subject closer to the light.

Deicide Megadeth Soft Cell Satan and Jesus on The Necro Files!

Don't you just love highly scientific presentations? They make it seem so official.

I do however realise that comprehension – even with the aid of illustration – might take a couple of repetitions. Usually, for the kind of troglodyte who spends most of his time finding Satan in the doings of others, only a couple of beatings can truly aid comprehension. To be frank, what kind of Christian can you possibly be if you can't find Jesus in the doings of others? How is it that you can find Satan under every rock, but you can't find Jesus there? Surely, being Christian means you should be obsessed with Jesus as opposed to being obsessed with the fun guy?

If, like me, you are utterly disgusted at the neglected tact on behalf of Oppidam, feel free to contact them and express your disgust:

You can contact Oppidam to complain about the gig getting cancelled by emailing them or by calling them.

This is their email address:

This is their phone number:
012 259 1585

Cthulhu Ftaghn!

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