With a bloody-faced Santa going around delivering his own special treats for a small town’s naughty boys and girls, this modern remake of 1984’s dubious ‘classic’ Silent Night, Deadly Night offers pretty standard shocks as the town’s sinful residents are bumped off, one by one.
My Bloody Valentine 3D’s Jaime King plays a plucky sheriff’s deputy well enough, though the obvious star of the show is the ever-reliable Malcolm McDowell, whose gruff presence, alongside some entertaining butchery and refreshingly mean-spirited sentiment from a series of bad Santas, saves the day.
Less enjoyable is the DVD release of Jamie Luk Kin-ming’s 1991 Hong Kong sci-fi thriller Robotrix. Taking its cues from cyberpunk fiction and the martial arts cinema the director’s homeland is famous for, this is a drab blend of sub-Bladerunner melodrama, softcore porn and the odd gory death. An affecting synth score along the lines of Vangelis aside, this boring, clichéd movie would have been best left in the nineties.
A much better film released a couple of years earlier is Sandor Stern’s quirky 1989 Canadian cult favourite, Pin. Featuring an early appearance from Stargate and Cube star David Hewlett as a troubled teen who develops an unhealthy obsession with his father’s medical anatomy dummy after his death, this oddity has an air of the backwoods storytelling of Stephen King.
As our antihero and his childhood friend Pin plot to remove any threat to their insular existence, Hewlett is convincingly Norman Bates about things as the bodies pile up. Dispelling any threatened cutesiness through some dark pop-psychology, Pin is a memorable entry in the Canadian horror canon.
Finishing off, we have the latest in Danny Trejo’s strange recent trend of playing monster-fighting Mexican priests, The Cloth. Infinitely better than last month’s horrible Zombie Hunter, The Cloth is nonetheless still riddled with predictability and sub-Matrix posturing.
Written and directed by Justin Price, who also plays our lead demon, this tale of a young rebel (Kyler Willett) who becomes the reluctant champion of good versus evil has been told ad infinitum. With standard B-movie cameos from the aforementioned Trejo and Eric ‘Sharktopus’ Roberts plus some decent effects, this might satisfy the particularly undemanding section of the grindhouse cinema audience.
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