Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.


Date: October 2023

Someone remind me to pay and file my income tax tomorrow, please and thank you #aside

###

Film review — When Evil Lurks

Set in an alternative Argentina where religious faith has been rendered futile by a plague of literal demonic possession, a pair of brothers have to fight the evil of the demons themselves and the banal evil of a society that’s refused to accept responsibility for the crisis, with the most grim results imaginable. A true modern feel-bad classic that works both without and because of its allegories to the contemporary world’s ills, and a film I will never watch again so help me god. More…

###

Film review — The Hidden

Jack Sholder’s follow-up to Freddy’s Revenge is another possession story but one that’s mis-sold as a horror movie when it’s really 90% squib-heavy shoot-’em-up action thriller, with some breathtaking stunt work to boot. Kyle MacLachlan’s also great as the oddball sidekick to Michael Nouri’s gruff detective in an alien-human buddy-cop pairing that beat Alien Nation to cinemas by about a year. More…

###

Film review — Dark Harvest

The hunter-becomes-the-hunted angle is a novelty, but there’s too much about this retro-styled teen horror (you know it’s for teens as its subtext is rendered as explicit text with all the subtlety of an axe to the face) that makes zero sense, so much it distracts from any tension it tries to build or any shocks it elicits from its CGI bodily violence. More…

###

Anyone I know have a hook-up for late ’80s horror flick Cameron’s Closet? It’s not available to watch where I live #aside

###

Film review — Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Watched Arrow’s commentary version with Kim Newman and the film’s publicist Stephen Jones, which is mostly “ah so-and-so, what a lovely person” ad infinitum but I don’t mean that in a bad way. The film itself, well… It’s certainly a tour de force for Doug Bradley. The less said about the Cenobites 2.0 and the horribly dated budget morphing effects, the better. More…

###

It’s been more than a year and a half since digital mobile ticketing was launched with the TFI Go app and Bus Éireann drivers still look at me like I’ve just arrived from outer space #aside

###

Sometimes the world is an awful place, and sometimes a dude in Romania sends you a 40-year-old record by a forgotten but brilliant band on the Minutemen’s label #aside

###

Forgot to put the bins out last night so got up early to do it this morning. Just before the heavy rain, too. Adulting… #aside

###

Film review — Night of the Living Dead

Dumped on by reviewers of its time who had no idea what would come in the remake-mania of the 2000s and beyond, and unfairly so. Taken in the broader context, Tom Savini makes a decent stab of it, changing just enough to make the enterprise worthwhile (the racial politics are dialled down somewhat for a Ripley-inspired feminist angle). But that horrid synth-preset soundtrack is inexcusable. More…

###

Film review — Dr. Giggles

Larry Drake isn’t bad as the villainous fake physician, but his copious one-liners don’t land like they should; the tone isn’t quite right. It also takes far too long to get going with the kills and spills, and when it does most of the protagonists suffer from a severe case of the stupids. More…

###

Film review — Gegege no Kitaro Yokai Kiden Mateki Elohim Essaim

There’s a moment in the middle of this children’s (?) movie when it turns into a sex comedy and then I was really like ‘What the hell am I watching?!’ Still, I do also have to acknowledge the detailed production design which would look so much more impressive if it hadn’t been shot on video. More…

###

Film review — Spooky Kitaro: The Great Yokai War

A little boy with one of the Residents in his hair teams up with his friends and a bunch of fellow monsters from Japanese folklore to fend off an invading force of “Western yokai” comprising a Dracula, a Frankenstein, a Wolf Man, a witch and a random floating eye thing. It’s classed as a feature but it’s only 40 minutes long so I have no idea how or when this would have been shown. More…

###

Film review — Love God

Essentially a ’90s Troma flick with a veneer of respectability (it was produced and released on the same slate as Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm by the company that would become Focus Features). Would be easily mistaken for Henenlotter’s New York scuzz if not for the frantic quick-cut editing and constant era-specific alt-rock soundtrack, replete with some recognisable bands (though ironically enough not the Butthole Surfers, even though more than one reviewer has suggested this looks like how a Butthole Surfers album sounds). Would I prefer to hear Blind Idiot God’s “747” in a better film? Yes, yes I would. More…

###

Film review — Freak Out

Not good. While I’ll give this made-by-gorehounds horror “comedy” is produced with some technical and compositional flair despite its pocket-money budget, the leads are written like children less out of the potential for comedic incongruity than as a way to disavow the constant casual homophobia and misogyny. More…

###

Film review — Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh

This is when I dropped out of the 24-Hour Horror Movie Mind Melter for the evening; like Bee says, it’s not Phantasmagoria without Roberta Williams, and this sequel in name only (or rather the cut scenes thereof) swaps much of the gory horror for softcore titillation that makes the terrible acting even harder to look past. More…

###

Film review — M

A hyper-stylised Hitchcockian psychodrama that apparently killed its director’s career in his native South Korea because, well, it’s a bit too self-indulgent, innit? A writer lamenting how hard it is to be a writer is never that interesting. It also came out a solid decade before Korean cinema became de rigueur in the West (Oldboy notwithstanding) so one can imagine what might have been. More…

###

Film review — Hell Has No Boundary

A Hong Kong vice cop on a camping trip gets possessed by a demon and all hell breaks loose as she Freddy Kruegers everyone who stands in her way. It’s got the expected Category 3 grossness and much of it looks like it was shot on video (albeit really high quality video for 1982). But it’s also got some remarkably stylish shots and inventive set pieces (the swinging, flaming spike balls are an especially nice touch). More…

###

Film review — Monster Heaven

Look, just don’t mess with monsters, OK? Moreover, if you murder your adulterous wife and bestie, definitely don’t let your sun-dried kappa get wet. Because then a cosmonaut will kill his colleague on the moon with a possessed sword. More…

###

Film review — The Ghostly Rental

This 1965 French adaptation of the Henry James ghost story was apparently made for TV but looks about as good as anything cinematic of its era. It’s slow but steadily builds a mood until its mysteries are revealed. (And no, the sudden appearance of a black-and-white minstrel is not one of them. Though that might be the most disturbing thing I’ll see tonight.) More…

###

Film review — Battle Royale High School

A short and wild anime feature to start the Important Cinema Club 24-Hour Horror Movie Mind Melter, with fighting and demons and a time-police astronaut and oodles of gore. And I’ll tell you one thing Japanese appropriation of Irish folklore gets very right: fairies are assholes. More…

###

Fellow movie weirdos: it’s less than 24 hours till Important Cinema Club’s 24-Hour Horror Movie Mind Melter! Tune in tomorrow from 3pm UTC at twitch.tv/importantcinemaclub #aside

###

Was about to head out to the shops, before I checked the weather app and finally heard the rain splashing on the skylight above me. I’ll get wet tomorrow… #aside

###

I work in the “Information & Communication” sector and I can only wish I made this much! > @CSOIreland #aside

###

Found an olive green frog as big as my palm in the back garden this evening. Wish I’d had my camera with me #aside

###

There’s a rookery in the row of trees opposite our house and they are being especially noisy this morning #aside

###

Film review — V/H/S/85

The second one of these I’ve really enjoyed. See? Horror can be good without being mean-spirited! Mike P Nelson’s two-parter is especially effective, and is probably about as long as it needs to be. More…

###

When Ursula von der Leyen is on her way back from meeting Bibi, she might as well stop to leave flowers on Slobodan Milošević’s grave #aside

###

LP reissue of Up on the Sun arrived today and it sounds great to these ears. Easily one of my top 10, maybe top five favourite albums (this is my fourth physical copy of it, too) #music #aside

###

19 degrees my arse; it’s cold and foggy up here this evening. Weather app says 13km visibility but I can’t see more than 100 metres up the road #aside

###

Reader, I pre-ordered them anyway (well, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, at least) > @MacDara #aside

###

Film review — Meg 2: The Trench

There’s a lot of CGI BS in this propaganda pic masquerading as a creature feature (but aren’t they all?) yet also a handful of genuinely brilliant bits that’ll make you go, “Ah yes, this is indeed a Ben Wheatley film.” More…

###

Only one purchase for me this #BandcampFriday: Palm’s (RIP) Rock Island on milky clear vinyl #music #aside

###

Those new Metallica LP reissues look nice, but not €40 nice #aside

###

Yesterday’s post had the Fear of Music LP I wanted, and it would be mint too…if not for the staple the seller accidentally put through the outer and inner sleeves when packing it > @MacDara #aside

###

Film review — The Exterminator

‘The poster is a lie’ notwithstanding, this would have been a far, far better movie if Steve James were the one doing the exterminating, instead of spending most of his scenes wrapped head to toe in bandages till Robert Ginty literally pulls his plug. More…

###