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swimfan

SWIMFAN. 2002. DIRECTED BY JOHN POLSON. STARRING JESSE BRADFORD, ERIKA CHRISTENSEN AND SHIRI APPLEBY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

swimfan

SWIMFAN. 2002. DIRECTED BY JOHN POLSON. STARRING JESSE BRADFORD, ERIKA CHRISTENSEN AND SHIRI APPLEBY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I love this under-rated little horror/thriller. It’s basically a remake of FATAL ATTRACTION for horny teens, and to my mind, it’s an excellent addition to the canon of psycho-stalker-girlfriend films, a body of work which also includes the superb PLAY MISTY FOR ME from 1971.

What happens is this. Handsome high school student Ben Cronin has it all going for him. He’s the star of the school swim team, he has a pretty and devoted girlfriend called Amy and he’s popular at school. He has a part-time job with lots of responsibility at the hospital where his mom is a doctor, and he’s overcome a teenage drug problem to become the all-round good guy we see before us today. The world’s his oyster. He just has to reach out and take it.

Then along comes the beautiful and compelling Madison Bell to screw it all up for him… Madison is the new girl at school. From the off, she makes it ultra-clear that she is warm for Ben’s form, as they say. Despite the fact that he’s spoken for, Ben feels irresistibly drawn to the newcomer. They make love in the school swimming-pool one night, after which encounter Ben’s life is literally turned upside-down.

Madison is suddenly popping up everywhere. She sends him dozens of e-mails and a nude picture of herself. He comes home from school to find her sitting and chatting with his mother. She leaves flowers for him in his locker at school. When Ben tries to impress upon her that it’s his girlfriend Amy he loves and not Madison, she immediately begins to date his best friend, Josh.

Things take a turn for the worse when Ben, worn out and frazzled from all of Madison’s unwanted attentions, gives a patient the wrong medication at the hospital. Or was it Madison who switched around the old man’s meds…? Ben thinks so but he can’t prove it. He loses his job. Next, he loses his place on the swim team when his urine sample is found to have steroids in it on the day of a hugely important swim meet. Madison again…? Then Madison does the unthinkable. She tells Amy what happened between herself and Ben…

Needless to say, Amy gives a distraught Ben the old heave-ho. The shenanigans don’t stop there, however. After a row with Madison over Ben, Josh ends up in the school swimmimg-pool with a shattered skull and Ben’s prints are on the bat that killed him. Madison then takes Ben’s car and uses it to run Amy off the road.

Madison is eventually arrested after a sting involving her cousin Christopher Dante and Ben, but she escapes police custody. After bopping both Ben and his mother over the head, she kidnaps the bruised and battered Amy, who is recuperating in Ben’s house while her folks are out of town. The film ends in a showdown between Madison and Ben in the swimming-pool that was the scene of their love-making, the cause of all the hoo-ha in the first place.

Naturally, evil is not allowed to prevail. Madison gets her watery come-uppance and Ben and Amy are left alone to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. By rights, this is a film that should leave men everywhere afraid to cheat on their significant others in case they end up being stalked and persecuted by the woman with whom they cheat. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about guys, however, in my relatively short time on Earth, it’s that guys never learn…

It’s still a great little film, though. It’s not the film’s fault that guys are mostly… um, shall we say, dictated to by a lower power than the brains in their heads…? Watch it. Have fun. And stay the hell out of the water…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal.

She is addicted to buying books and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia, and would be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

THE BLOG RE-WRITTEN
single white female

SINGLE WHITE FEMALE. 1992. PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY BARBET SCHROEDER. STARRING BRIDGET FONDA, JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, STEVEN WEBER, STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY AND PETER FRIEDMAN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

single white female

single white female

This belting little horror/thriller is the kind of film that keeps your attention from the first scene to the last. If it’s not too clichéd to say it, it truly is nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat stuff. Based on the book by John Lutz, which I’ve read and enjoyed, it’s the story of young, stylish New Yorker, Allie Jones.

 Allie, who is ambitious and determined to make a go of her newly-established computer programming business, advertises for a flatmate to share her gorgeously spacious apartment after she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend.

Her new flatmate of choice is shy, mousy little Hedra Carlson, brilliantly played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Hedra, or Hedy for short, is thrilled skinny to be offered the flat-share. Right from the off, it’s as plain as the hideous ginger crop on Bridget Fonda’s head that Hedy thinks that Allie is the bee’s knees, the spider’s ankles and the cat’s pyjamas all rolled into one.

She starts to dress like Allie. She starts to walk and act like Allie, whose confidence and style she constantly claims to admire. When Allie gets back with her fiancé, Sam Rawson, Hedy is all over him like a rash, making Allie ponder the truth in the old maxim, two’s company, three’s a crowd…

There’s other weird doings a-transpiring, too. Hedy claims that her twin sister was stillborn, but Allie has seen with her own eyes a picture of the two girls together and knows that Hedra’s twin didn’t die until she was nine. Hedra, who works in a bookshop, goes alone to fetish clubs dressed as Allie and calling herself Allie.

She deletes Sam’s phone messages to Allie and withholds a letter Sam sent to Allie, pleading for her forgiveness after he slept with his ex-wife, Lisa. Hedy buys a puppy for herself and Allie to share and then kills the puppy and pins the blame on Sam in an attempt to create a rift between the couple.

Things get too weird for Allie and she asks Hedra to move out, ostensibly so that she and Sam can be alone in the apartment. Bad move. Big mistake. Hedy goes quietly crazy. She wallops Allie’s friend and upstairs neighbour, Graham Knox, over the head when he catches her dressed like Allie. She goes to Sam’s hotel room dressed as Allie, hideous ginger wig and all, and engages in a sex act with him.

Sam freaks out when he discovers that it’s not Allie but Hedra with whom he’s been playing… ahem… shall we say, an oral version of hide-the-salami. Things get ugly and Hedy kills Sam with a well-placed stiletto heel to the eye. Eeuw. That scene’s hard to watch if, like me, you don’t like seeing people get things in their eyes.

Hedy high-tails it back to the apartment then and essentially kidnaps the traumatised Allie, who’s just seen the news of Sam’s death on the television. Hedy transforms herself back into Hedy again and tells Allie that they’re going on the run together. In the showdown that follows, Allie’s sleazy ex-employer who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets shot to death by Hedy, who now has a gun. Hmmm. Crazy and armed.

Allie gets shot at and stabbed at, but not fatally, and Hedy finally meets a bloody end at the hands of Allie down in the deserted basement of their fabulous old apartment building. Allie’s going to have one hell of a lot of explaining to do when the dust settles…

This is a fantastic film. It’s one of my personal favourites. Jennifer Jason Leigh deserves all the Oscars for her performance as the quietly psychotic Hedra, known to her parents and doctors as Ellen Besch. The girls’ apartment is bloody gorgeous. I used to wonder why New Yorkers fought each other tooth and nail for living space. After seeing their to-die-for rent-controlled flat, I no longer wonder. Stephen Tobolowsky is superb as the oily sleazebag Mitchell Myerson, who sexually harasses Allie and, in so doing, incurs the wrath of the frighteningly vengeful Hedra.

The film is stylish to look at and beautifully-scripted. Also, if you like seeing young women who share a flat whipping off their tops or wandering around in the nip at the drop of a hat, then this is the film for you. I’d give it an unashamed ten out of ten. Give it a whirl yourself, why don’t you? You’ll soon see what I mean.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal.

She is addicted to buying books and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia, and would be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

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FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR… BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Originally posted on sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris:

fifty really random horror film reviews to die for...
A veritable lucky dip of horror movie reviews, covering everything from old favourites and iconic titles to obscure and forgotten horror films and cult classics. Do you dare dip YOUR hand into this mystery bag of evil, demonic possession and bone-chilling terror…? You do…? Then on your own head be it… MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…

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amityville horror

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. 1979. DIRECTED BY STUART ROSENBERG. PRODUCED BY SAMUEL Z. ARKOFF. STARRING JAMES BROLIN, MARGOT KIDDER, ROD STEIGER AND MURRAY HAMILTON. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

amityville horror

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. 1979. DIRECTED BY STUART ROSENBERG. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: SAMUEL Z. ARKOFF. STARRING JAMES BROLIN, MARGOT KIDDER, ROD STEIGER AND MURRAY HAMILTON. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Okay, so George and Kathy Lutz don’t exactly feel like they’ve found their dream house. I mean, they know it’s a murder house, right…? Sure they do. They know that their beautiful Long Island Colonial house, situated on the edge of a picturesque river and bought by them at a knockdown price, was recently home to some of the most gruesome murders the local community has ever seen.

Yep, only a year before, one of the previous occupants went doo-lally with a shotgun and killed his whole family. And what could possibly have possessed him to do such a thing? Maybe a little old thing like the house being built on top of an Indian burial ground, perhaps? Perhaps… The price is right, though, and the Lutzes move into the murder house with their three little rugrats and Harry the dog in the hopes that they can have some semblance of a good family life there.

The scares come pretty quickly in this super-atmospheric chiller. Father Delaney, the local cleric and a family friend to the Lutzes, has a horrible experience with flies in one of the bedrooms when he tries to bless the house. Kathy’s aunt, a nun, falls violently ill after entering the house and sensing the evil that lurks therein. A window falls on the hand of one of the kids and traps it. Little Amy, the Lutzes’ youngest child, has a new ‘imaginary’ friend called Jodie who wants Amy to stay in the house with her forever and ever and who encourages Amy to leave her babysitter trapped in the bedroom closet. Some friend, huh…?

The front door of the house is shattered to pieces when a supernatural force blows it outwards, much to the bafflement of the local constabulary. George Lutz, played by the handsome- and shaggy- James Brolin, is becoming weirder and edgier by the day. He’s become unhealthily attached to his wood-chopping axe and he’s starting to resemble the murderer more and more in his appearance, which freaks the bejeesus out of his wife, Kathy, when she works it out.

My favourite scenes are the ones involving Father Delaney’s abortive attempts to help the Lutz family. For one thing, the house won’t let him make contact with his parishioners to help them fight the evil that stalks their home. For another thing, the higher-ups in his church give him a right royal bollocking and tell him to put all this nonsense about Satan out of his mind because it’s bad for business.

Murray Hamilton of JAWS fame is one of these higher-ups. Whether it’s man-eating sharks or Old Nick and his minions, he wants it covered up, and covered up good. Brilliant. I love it. These scenes remind me of THE OMEN, in which a priest is once again fighting alone and frightened to stem the tide of evil.

The discovery of the location of the old Indian burial ground in the basement of the Lutz home is pretty much the last straw for the poor beleaguered family. On a dark and stormy night, they- barely-escape with their lives while the walls and stairs of the house ooze blood, the window-panes come crashing inwards and a dirty great black hole opens up in the basement. They never return to the house, not even to retrieve their belongings. I can’t say I blame them.

This is one of my favourite ‘haunted house’ films. It’s well-scripted, well-acted and the scares are plentiful and genuine. A chap who works in the store where I bought the DVD told me that he’d seen the outside of the house on a trip to the US. He said that the scariest thing about it was that it looked so ‘normal.’

Normal…? I personally think that it looks like the doorway to HELL, but whatever. I wouldn’t set foot in it for all the money in the world. I’d watch this film again, though, and you should too. If you want a good intelligent scare based on true events, then this is the film for you. Watch it alone. In the dark. In the middle of a thunderstorm. With all the doors and windows blown off. You’ll have great craic, as we say here in Ireland.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal.

She is addicted to buying books and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia, and would be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor