You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: 2014 Update

Recently we’ve been lucky enough to be spending more time making films than writing about them. Dave has made Woodfalls, Ben is a professional filmographer and I’m currently mid-way through shooting my next feature film Dead Unicorns

Dead Unicorns Ian Fielding 002

Our original plan was to offer film reviews from a fresh perspective. Discover a different angle about a film that would shed light on its mystery rather than simply serve up a straight good or bad review with a description of the plot. The blog has proved to be very successful, we are nearing 35 thousand views and are very grateful to all of you for sharing your time with us.

Film Ache Ian Fielding


You may well see more reviews here in the future as we take a breather between projects – but for now I’d like to mention a handful of films I’ve seen recently that have really struck a chord.

The first is Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty. Sincere film making about a rotten Rome and a man looking for a revelation.

Ian Fielding Film Ache Great Beauty  

Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin is an astonishing phantasm with creeping fingers.

Film Ache Ian Fielding Under the Skin

Blue is the Warmest Colour confronts the walloping emotions of love with immense snotty-nosed force.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adele) film still

From the vaults are Rossellini’s Rome, Open City. Currently on big screen re-release. He makes you fall in love with three characters and systematically kills them off. Simple, funny, moving, powerful.

Rome open city  Ian Fielding Film Ache

Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude is kooky and irresistible… with a shockingly powerful stab of emotion in an understated moment on a beach.harold and maude Ian_Fielding Film Ache

Look forward to seeing you in the future.


My name’s Ian. I’m a writer and Filmmaker from London currently shooting my second feature film – a detective thriller called Dead Unicorns

To see pics, a trailer and what’s currently happening with Dead Unicorns click here:


Ben Simpson On The Guinea Pig Film Series

I haven’t written a film review for a long time so I’ve punished myself by watching all six Guinea Pig films. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, much like a ‘gonzo’ porn film that gets rid of all the narrative and focuses solely on sex, The Guinea Pig films do just that with gore and torture.

The Devil’s Experiment (1985)
 is the most serious of the six and makes use of the found footage style we have all got used to over the years. The camera first focuses on a woman dangling from a tree in a bag. We cut to the woman in a room getting slapped around by a group of men. It only gets worse for her as the men grow tired and move on to more painful and degrading things. Pouring maggots all over her, forcing her to listen to unbearable high pitched screeching sounds and getting a bucket of organs in her face. Even with the short running time it outstays it’s welcome but the ‘money shot’ at the end involving a metal spike and an eye made me cringe so the film did what it was set out to do.

Flowers of Flesh and Blood (1985) follows a man in a samurai warrior hat as he stalks a woman on the streets then captures her and ties her to his bed. This installment goes way beyond the first in terms of gore, he chops off all of her limbs while quoting poetry. Full time killer, part time poet. You’ll also notice the strategically placed bed sheet that covers her naked torso. I find it astonishing the Japanese can show this much torture and gore but draw the line on vagina. This installment didn’t outstay its welcome but wasn’t as visceral as the first.

He Never Dies (1986) scraps the torture aspect and indulges in the humorous side of suicide. I didn’t have subtitles for this installment which is a shame because it was one of the more (I say this lightly) plot heavy of the six. From what I can make out a man is having a terrible time at the office and decides to kill himself. To his own amazement he can’t feel any pain as he hacks into his wrist and finds out he can’t die. Inviting the two people that drove him to suicide to his home he scares them by disemboweling himself and cutting his limbs off leaving the two terrified workers to clean up all the mess while his severed head mocks them. This is obviously a step in the opposite direction for the series but it is a welcomed one. There’s only so much you can do with torture before it gets boring.

Mermaid in a Manhole (1988) tells the story of an artist who is finding it hard to cope without his wife who passed on. He finds a mermaid to replace his loss while walking around in a manhole and brings her home to paint her. As he paints his new found love she begins to grow ill and develop boils all over her body. They slowly start to burst showering the room with multicoloured pusswhich the painter uses to finish his masterpiece just in time for the mermaid to die. The man is alone once again but not before we get a twist ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan happy.

Android of Notre Dame (1988) is the worst of the lot. At this point my marathon Guinea Pig watching was taking it’s toll and I was struggling to keep it going. This story went back to the ‘woman on a bed’ scenario but this time a scientist is experimenting on women to find a cure for his ill sister.

Devil Woman Doctor (1986) was filmed as the fourth but became the sixth and final film. Thankfully this took the same approach as the third film and played it for amusement rather than try and disgust it’s audience. We are introduced to our host; a transvestite underground doctor with no license called ‘Devil Woman Doctor’. The doctor shows us seven cases of deadly diseases and how to cure the helpless victims. The diseases are beyond ridiculous but it’s fun watching the patients demise. A family (baby included) has a disease that can’t allow them to get upset otherwise their heads will blow up. It leaves the doctor no option but to yell abuse at them through a megaphone and watch the aftermath. Other cases include ‘Doggy Dog Frog’ disease (a man with a grotesque face on his stomach) and ‘Bloody Face’ disease (a man who sweats blood) among other deranged sketches.

Watching all six films wasn’t easy going but luckily enough each film is around the 50 minute mark. That being said a lot of them could have been shorter. If this was the 80’s it would have made for a more intense viewing for sure but 25 years on and the shock value has almost evaporated. Flowers of Flesh and Blood might be too much for an average film viewer but we’ve seen much worse in films like Hostel. I would recommend He Never Dies and Devil Woman Doctor, as entertaining and at times funny but the others in the series have very little substance or replay value. Only a hardcore gore-hound could seek enjoyment out of the others.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

Follow FilmAche on Twitter

FrightFest Special: Ben Simpson on Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo (Rutger Hauer) has one dream in life, to buy a lawnmower and start up a new business. Unfortunately for him he’s homeless and lives in Scum Town. Riddled with every type of low life degenerate under the sun it isn’t exactly the ideal place to become a Gardner and when some masked men hold up a cashier at the ‘Pawn till Dawn’ Hobo has no choice but to part with his last $50, buy a shotgun and blast them all to hell. With a taste of justice Hobo’s hungry for more and starts cleaning the streets to the dismay of The Drake (Brian Downey) and his forever disenchanted sons who put a bounty on the Hobo’s head.

This is most akin to the cult films of the 80’s such as Street Trash on route through Tromaville without the hyper juvenile jokes that detract me away. The problem I have with Troma films are the characters are set to 11, they all have ADD constantly screaming at one another in hyper situations but there’s nothing going on around them. In Hobo with a Shotgun everything is turned to 11; environment, editing and the acting all working together to create a balance that never slows down until the end credits. The blood never stops flowing and there’s enough imaginative deaths to whet the appetite of the most hardcore gore fan. My favourite being ‘The Glory Hole’.

Seeing Rutger Hauer shooting the shit out of people, breaking down doors, eating broken glass bottles and a whole lot more is a sight to see in itself and at 67 he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the bizarre and trashy. He could very well be depicted as a Super Hero, the film has a comic book element to it, characters are black and white and Hobo even gets his own side-kick to fight crime with. A stunning looking prostitute (played by Molly Dunsworth) who together talk about the beauty of grizzly bears when they’re taking a rest from decapitating evil.

Watching Hobo with a Shotgun at Fright Fest was the closest I’ll ever get to the days of the midnight screenings on 42nd Street and I loved every minute of it. DIY effects, over the top lighting, great one liners and a montage that’s somewhere between Evil Dead 2 and Footloose. It’s what Grindhouse should have been and wanted to be. The Director (Jason Eisener) didn’t imitate a cult classic, he made one. In the Introduction Jason said, “We made this film without any rules, so you, the audience, should have no rules watching it. I like watching it without pants on.” and proceeded to take his pants off. That summed up the whole film in one action. Balls out horror.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

Follow FilmAche on Twitter

FrightFest Special: Ben Simpson on Little Deaths

Every year an English film plays FrightFest and the vast majority are a waste of time. So bad you fear your eyeballs will develop cancer (Dead Cert, Isle of Dogs and 13hrs just to name last year’s crop) and this doesn’t disappoint. Little Deaths is an Anthology piece with three stories that relate to the darker side of sex and death. The first major problem is that only one of these three directors can direct.

First up is House and Home, Sean Hogan’s (writer of Isle of Dogs) feeble attempt. A homeless girl is enticed into a couples’ home. She is bathed and fed and then at the dinner table, the couple poison her wine. The tramp wakes up tied to a bed and the sexual torment begins. The direction and narrative is so painfully dull and lazy that even a cum shot to the face and a golden shower fails to spark any repulsion or anger. Just when you think it can’t get any worse the twist comes a long. At least it can’t get any worse…

Andrew Parkinson’s Mutant Tool wasn’t much better, it manages to make a film about a caged Nazi monster with a huge cock that dribbles out semen into a bucket boring. Instead of focusing on this cum beast we get laborious scenes of what the scientists use the semen for. Hardly getting a peek at the monster feels like such a huge waste of effects. Plus you forget the story almost immediately after it finishes. Andrew Parkinson might as well of filmed the monster masturbating for 20 minutes.

Bitch is a breath of fresh air. Just by the first shot you can tell the director (Simon Rumley) is leagues above the two directors that play before him. A dark tale about domination and fear, Simon gets some powerful performances out of the actors while being both subtle in his storytelling and successful in creating a living environment for them to populate. Bitch has a completely different look to the DV-like quality of the first two films. It is raw and life-like and brings a dark, uncomfortable and cold tone to the film. Ultimately though it’s too late, after the atrocious segments before it nothing could save this car wreck of a film, which is a shame because Simon Rumley’s Red, White and Blue was one of my favorites of 2010. If it wasn’t for the third segment this would have played like a 1st year film students project. Go and watch Trick R’ Treat instead or if you really want to see a new-ish English anthology film go with Cradle of Fear. It’s not that good, but I’d watch it over Little Deaths anytime.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

Follow FilmAche on Twitter

Ben Simpson on Angst: Portrait of a Serial Failure

We follow a psychopath as he finishes his term in prison. He has no ambitions in life other than to commit murder and return to jail. He’s been planning this ever since he first went in, four years ago. After a failed and pathetic attempt to kill a taxi driver shortly after his release, our killer quickly exits the car and leaves his master plan behind. Stumbling across a rural mansion, things don’t get any easier as he breaks in and hides, waiting for potential victims. Four years wasn’t enough time for this master plan.

The killer (played by Erwin Leder) speaks his mind, not communicating with the outside world, but talking in voice-over, directly to the audience. This method works perfectly, transporting us into the mind of a deranged and desperate killer. It acts as a running commentary to the real-time flow of the film, adding a different dimension to the piece, heightening the images that plaster the screen.

When the victims return home (an elderly woman, her mentally-retarded wheel-chair bound son and a carer) they look doomed from the outset. They should be easy targets for the killer, but he soon loses any romanticized vision of his killings as he panics and struggles desperately for an empowerment and dominance over his victims that he never achieves. The violence is quick, painful and exhausting. The camera latches on to the characters, never giving in to the quick cuts of modern cinema. What fascinated me most was the victims never cry out for help, they never really look threatened for their lives, just puzzled and waiting for the killer to make his next move as he stacks up his failures. This is a character that has no redeeming qualities and who keeps on getting worse scene by scene.

In this sub genre, especially in Hollywood, the killer will have a certain amount of charisma about him. Erwin Leder looks as if he stumbled straight out of a mental hospital and onto a film set, his gollum like face and darting eyes only add to his frantic performance. A far cry away from the James Dean-esque Henry (Henry: Portrait of a serial killer). The killer in Angst can’t even kill properly.

The greatest achievement is the style. For a film so vile and repugnant thematically, technically it’s a work of art and true beauty. The camera work in this Austrian film is unlike anything I’ve seen from the 80′s. Techniques aren’t used for show but sparingly, creating a fluid pace flowing organically from one scene to the next, which must be credited to director (Gerald Kargl) and Cinematographer (Academy Award Winner Zbigniew Rybczynski). It’s akin to the works of early Darren Aronofsky and Gaspar Noé, pre-dating them by many years.

I find it unbelievable and very sad that this team didn’t go on to do another feature. Who knows what boundaries they could have pushed next if they got another break, it’s better to burn out that fade away I guess. All this with an eerie, brooding, and at times electro score (performed by Klaus Schulze who was briefly in Tangerine Dream who scored the highly underrated ‘Strange Behavior’) makes for essential viewing. Angst will grow in cult status year upon year.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

Follow FilmAche on Twitter

Ben Simpson: Top Films of 2010

1: House of the Devil

Ti West’s masterpiece.

2: Black Swan

Aronofsky finds it impossible to make a bad film (he might succeed with The Wolverine) and this may be his best yet. Chaotic while still grounded into reality.

3: Amer

Hypnotic. A great throw back to Giallo films of the 70’s (which I haven’t seen to many of).

4: The Social Network

A film about facebook, how could it have been bad?

5: Exit Through the Gift Shop

It was insightful seeing street artists at work and how far a lack of talent can get you

6: Red White & Blue

If Larry Clarke and Rob Zombie directed a film together it would probably turn out like this.

7: A Serbian Film

Punk cinema at it’s finest with some great cinematography thrown in.

8: Bedevilled

Heavy on drama with a brutal slasher twist.

9: Animal Kingdom

Subtle and subdued yet compelling. The police don’t take any shit and the mother is a complete bitch. Great performances with a shocking climax.

10: Shutter Island

Scorsese is still at the top of his game after all these years. The atmosphere and score is superb, It’d probably be higher on my list if I’d seen it more than once.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

Follow FilmAche on Twitter