The Ghosts of Monday
A prime slice of way over the top EuroTrash to delight the most obsessive of fans (that will be me, then), GHOSTS OF MONDAY is the biggest surprise of this year's Frightfest. A TV crew arrives at a Cyprus hotel to film a documentary about the 100 people who were poisoned to death there years ago, while hopefully spotting a few ghosts at the same time. They're led by an alcoholic has-been presenter (Julian Sands at his most Julian Sands) and the rest of the team are Attractive Young Things. Scarcely has the story got underway than one of the girls is slashed to death in a glass elevator while her friends converse in the foyer below. It's a scene that's representative of the kind of cinema GHOSTS OF MONDAY actively revels in - it's frankly ludicrous but who cares when it looks this great and is this much fun? And just when you think that the film is presumably a giallo it turns out there's some kind of serpent monster thing living in the basement. Or is there? "You don't understand anything," says a character who is discovered suddenly and inexplicably mummified in some sort of temple under the hotel near the end. By that stage I was nodding at the same time as I was applauding. GHOSTS OF MONDAY is like if Norman J Warren and Jess Franco had a baby. In Cyprus. I loved it. And hopefully now you know if you want to watch it too.
World War II drama from writer-director Ben Parker (THE CHAMBER). In 1991 Harriet Walter surprises a home invader and, when it turns out he's a neo-nazi, chains him to the radiator in order to tell him a story about her exploits in 1945. In flashback she's Charlotte Vega (THE LODGERS, the latest WRONG TURN), part of a squad charged at the end of the war with transporting a large human-sized wooden crate that has to be buried at night. The Germans are after the crate and what it contains and are prepared to torture and kill to get it.
BURIAL is a Ffilm Cymru production and is beautifully shot. The scenes of armed combat filmed in lush forest exteriors is reminiscent of John Coquillon's full-blooded photography for WITCHFINDER GENERAL and the RIO BRAVO-style final showdown in a church - Molotov cocktails and all, will remind some of a certain Lucio Fulci zombie picture. The actors do a decent job of fleshing out their roles although Vega does seem to be overstretching herself here, delivering every line with the identical degree of urgency. But BURIAL's not bad at all and on the strength of this and THE CHAMBER Ben Parker's next project should be worth watching as well.
Ben Parker's BURIAL is out on digital from 101 Films on 12 September 2022 (selected platforms) and 26th September 2022 generally
Unable to post review due to embargo restrictions imposed by Disney
Successful films are often the result of a simple concept done well, and FALL deals with the concept of two girls trapped on a 3 foot by 2 foot square 2000 feet up in the air very well indeed. The two in question are Becky (Grace Fulton) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner), experienced climbers who plan to climb a television mast in the desert, firstly to scatter the ashes of Becky's husband who fell to his death a year ago when the three of them were climbing together, and also to get Becky out of the depression into which she plummeted after. All goes well on the ascent, but when they try to come down the rusting ladder collapses, leaving the two girls stranded and having to rely on their wits both to survive and to work out how to get back down. Director Scott Mann wrings the maximum amount of tension out of the situation, the two leads are charismatic and have a great rapport and for maximum vertigo-inducing effect FALL is a must-see at the cinema. What a great way to end the festival.
Signature Entertainment are releasing FALL exclusively in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd September 2022