Category Archives: Uncategorized

Review: Children of Sorrow (dir. Jourdan McClure, 2012)

Children of Sorrow

Children of Sorrow
UK, 2015
Director: Jourdan McClure
Writers: Ryan Finnerty and Jourdan McClure

Review by N Emmett.

Out in the Texas desert, Father Simon Leach (Bill Oberst Jr.) maintains a reclusive religious community. He regards his youthful followers as his children, and promises them a happy, wholesome life and a ticket to Heaven.

What at first seems like a clean, earthy lifestyle turns out to have a much darker edge. Father Simon has placed himself in a position of total authority over his flock, and begins exacting harsh punishments on those who step out of line. And God forbid any of them try to escape…

Praise the Lord, Children of Sorrow is one of those rare miracles: a found footage horror film that has managed to escape from the shadow of The Blair Witch Project. The camera is passed between multiple members of the cult, including Father Simon himself, in a joint effort to chronicle day-to-day life on the religious compound; the end result is closer to a mockumentary than the typical lost-in-the-woods fare.

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Review: Chastity Bites (dir. John V. Knowles, 2013)

Chastity Bites

Chastity Bites
USA, 2013
Director: John V. Knowles
Writer: Lotti Pharriss Knowles

Review by N Emmett.

Leah Ratliffe (Allison Scagliotti), a reporter for a high-school paper, is frustrated both by a lack of newsworthy stories and by the reactionary politics of her local community, which she describes as “teabagger heaven”. She is spurred into action by the arrival of Liz Batho (Louise Griffiths), a pro-abstinence pundit who sets up a school organisation called the Virginity Action Group (V.A.G.)

Leah’s research leads her to discover that Liz Batho is the legendary vampiress Elizabeth Bathory, whose determination to procure virgins is most certainly not rooted in old-time Christianity. And when Leah’s best friend Katherine (Francia Raisa) develops a crush on Batho, it is up to the plucky teenage reporter to thwart the evil schemes of the Blood Countess.

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Robin Redbreast (scr. John Bowen; 1970)

Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
UK (BBC1), 1970
Writer: John Bowen
Director: James MacTaggart

Review by N Emmett.

Written by novelist John Bowen, Robin Redbreast was originally broadcast on 10 December 1970 as part of the BBC’s Play for Today strand. It was repeated once the following year before retreating into the memories of early seventies viewers. For decades it languished in obscurity, the original colour print lost and an archived black and whtie telerecording being all that survived – until now. To tie in with the BFI’s gothic season, the drama has been treated to a DVD release and is at long last available for the public to watch once again.

The drama reuses the main character from Bowen’s 1964 novel The Birdcage: Norah Palmer (Anna Cropper), a 35-year-old woman who works in television and has just broken off an eight-year relationship. She decides to get away from her troubles by moving to a small cottage in a rural West Country village, where she meets some eccentric new neighbours. There is Mrs Vigo (Freda Bamford), her cleaner, who seems to know every single thing that is going on in Norah’s life; Fisher (Bernard Hepton), an aloof amateur archaeologist; and Rob (Andrew Bradford), a strapping young gamekeeper whom she first encounters in the woods, practicing karate in his underwear.

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