- THE TUNNEL is a P.O.V. horror flick about an Australian television crew that goes into the sewers and finds…Something Alive Down There. I like found footage movies and don’t care that they’re not hip with the kids no more. The Hugh Jackman-accented dude who shouts “TANGLES????!!!” a thousand times gets annoying, but this is a creepy little flick. Most of the press it got was due to a crowd funding attempt that only got about a quarter of the amount the filmmakers wanted, but as it is the movie looks perfectly professional; if the lower budget meant cuts they don’t show in the finished product. POV/found footage horror gets a bum rap, mostly deserved by the cheap, dull junk made by no-budget moviemakers. When done well, as it is here, it is effective, spooky and fun.
- RAW MEAT contains my favorite Donald Pleasance performance. Not that I’m a huge Pleasance fan, his inspector here has a lightness, as if finding a killer is just his job, and he’s not going to get all bug-eyed and sweaty about it like Mickey Rourke in YEAR OF THE DRAGON, the sweatiest of the Cop Who Cares Too Much cliche. Pleasance is investigating a series of murders and disappearances in the London tube (or is that plural? I dunno). It turns out there’s a cannibal on a food run, killing British businessmen and straggling ne’er do wells in the subway. The origin of the cannibal shows how horror flicks can make social commentary without stopping for a speech or belaboring the point. A wacky main theme. Cinematographer Alex Thompson later filmed EXCALIBUR and a bunch of garbage, but this is an interesting companion to his work on ALIEN 3, with multiple scenes in decaying tunnels. Christopher Lee shows up, but I’m convinced he just went to the wrong set one day, and they figured they’d keep it in.
- KONTROLL A thriller-comedy-horrorish story of subway ticket inspectors. Before you rush off to Netflix, know that this is an odd, dark flick that’s not for everybody. I seem to write that a lot. This Hungarian mind-tickle follows Bulcsi, a young ticket inspector on the Budapest Metro, checking scofflaws for their tix and tossing them off or making them pay. One of the fun ways Bulcsi and his friends pass the time is by running on the tracks from one stop to the next before the next train comes along, which explains why there hasn’t been an American remake–the “Idiot Copies Movie In Deadly Subway Accident” headlines are already typed and waiting to be pasted. Spending so much time underground works on our hero, who really needs to get out into the light (Get IT?) and live. There are a number of interesting subplots, the main one being about a hooded figure who may or may not be pushing people in front of trains. KONTROLL is refreshingly focused on characterization, taking its time with Bulcsi and his dark (under)world.