Here is the transciption of Friday’s introduction to the great British 21st Century horror The Last Horror Movie from our regular Fright Club Host Darrell Buxton.
THE LAST HORROR MOVIE
Welcome once again to Fright Club, QUAD’s regular monthly shock film showcase. Tonight we were hoping to bring you a presentation by a guest speaker from Derby University, followed by a discussion about the post-modern themes and intricacies of Julian Richards’ THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, but due to a late cancellation you’re stuck with me, your usual presenter. Tonight’s offering, by the way, is not to be confused with the 1981 LAST HORROR FILM, starring Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell causing havoc at the Cannes Festival, nor with THE LAST MOVIE, Dennis Hopper’s brilliant and much underrated follow up to EASY RIDER…
Luckily for me, THE LAST HORROR MOVIE is to date my favourite British chiller of the 21st century. I first saw it in 2003 at the Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester, and had never quite experienced anything like it. A friend sitting alongside me turned round at the end and announced “well, after that, I never need to watch another film about a serial killer ever again!”, and I knew what he meant. The shell-shocked audience was left reeling by this terrific piece of work, which astonishingly actually managed to live up to its seemingly over-reaching title.
So what does this offer that the thousands of other psycho flicks don’t? For starters, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, all over in less than seventy minutes. And in that hour and a bit, it manages to pack in more savage murders than any competitor. So many that you won’t be able to keep count! I’d venture that this packs more kills per second into its brief running time than any of its slasher brethren. MJ Simpson, the Leicester-based writer and critic who has been documenting modern terror cinema via his blog The Great British Horror Revival, said of THE LAST HORROR MOVIE “it does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it brilliantly”, adding “rather than being terrified, you’ll be relieved that you’re in a position not to be terrified”! The film suffered somewhat due to bad timing on original release, since it relies heavily on the VHS video format for its impact, and of course VHS became outmoded, replaced by new fangled DVD, at almost exactly the point when THE LAST HORROR MOVIE was made. With some years distance, perhaps we can appreciate the film today as a period piece, restoring some of its effect.
The movie also gives us something rather rare in the annals of slasherdom. Namely, an absolutely riveting central performance by Kevin Howarth as ‘Max Parry’, who runs a wedding video company at weekends and who spends the rest of his time terrorising an unwitting London with a welter of mass slaughter, and getting away with it, to his own obvious glee. Howarth’s stunning turn here won him two highly deserved awards, best actor at the 2004 New York City Horror Film Festival and at the 2005 Rojo Sangre Film Festival in Buenos Aires. THE LAST HORROR MOVIE was also named Best Film at these events, as well as at the 2003 London Raindance festival, the aforementioned Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester, and received the Critics’ Award at Fantasporto in Portugal in 2004.
Director Julian Richards, also an award-winner for this production, had been making short amateur horror films since he was 13, but came to professional prominence with mid-90s movie DARKLANDS, a sort of Welsh WICKER MAN starring Craig Fairbrass and Jon Finch. DARKLANDS, released at a time when hardly anyone else was making horror in Britain, was decent enough but certainly didn’t prepare us for the surprises in store with THE LAST HORROR MOVIE. Julian has since gone on to direct the tv thriller SILENT CRY and the American psycho flick SHIVER, starring Danielle Harris from original HALLOWEEN franchise entries 4 and 5 plus Rob Zombie’s two HALLOWEEN rejigs, alongside Casper Van Dien, and WOLF CREEK’s John Jarratt. Most memorably, Julian also reteamed with tonight’s film’s star Kevin Howarth for SUMMER SCARS, a surprisingly subtle and very creepy story of a bunch of kids who encounter a control-freak nutter in the woods. Do check that one out if you like what you see here.
It’s particularly disappointing that we’re not getting our billed discussion and Q&A, since THE LAST HORROR MOVIE is a film which merits analysis and post-screening conversation more than most in the horror genre. I trust that the utterly terrifying, charismatic Max Parry will get under your skin – there are times in this picture when you get the impression he is speaking directly to you, worming his way right inside your head – and who knows, maybe we’ll have time for a chat about the film outside afterwards. And if this one shivers your spine, do check out Gerard Johnson’s excellent 2009 psycho shocker TONY: LONDON SERIAL KILLER, starring Peter Ferdinando, for further Capital-based chills and kills in similarly grim vein. But for now, ready yourselves for a journey into true terror, a story so plausible and believable that you’ll begin to wonder whether it might actually be happening somewhere, maybe even in your neighbourhood. Despite the film’s definitive title, we do plan to bring you further horror entertainment here at QUAD – although that all depends on whether Max gets us first. Enjoy this riveting movie, and after you’ve seen it, beware. Sometimes the scariest people are the quiet, ordinary, everyday types…
Next up from Fright Club is the excellent sexy Euro-Horror Fascination on Friday 20th February. See you there.