Saturday, 4 June 2011

Let's scare Mummy and Daddy to death

THE DEVIL’S ROCK has earned itself the official insignia of adulthood, by being awarded an 18 certificate for its UK release.

Not everyone in the movie world would be pleased to receive news of this sort. In the good old sleazy days of the X certificate, it was almost a badge of honour to be told that your product was suitable for adults only. In later years, with the movie-going demographic changing and mega-bucks often at stake, many studio execs were less keen to receive this mark of notoriety as it had the potential to reduce the size of their audiences.

However, when it comes to horror movies, it’s still without doubt a good sign if you have a nice, big, fat ‘18’ against your name. If you make horror movies in order to scare the viewing public to death (which is certainly my motivation), it would hardly be a ringing endorsement if the chaps at the BBFC gave you a ‘15’ or, even worse, a ‘12’.

So … no worries of that sort for us. We are strictly for ‘adults only’.

On the subject of ringing endorsements, I’ve had my attention drawn to the website CINEMA SCREAM and in particular to an assessment of THE DEVIL’S ROCK by a reviewer who actually hails from the Channel Islands.

In short, he likes it an awful lot, and that touches me. It wouldn’t be true to say that the Islanders are the people this movie was made for – it was made for everyone (who’s over 18, of course, heh heh heh) – but they are the folk on whose blood-soaked soil this story was built, so if they like it I have to take that as a very good omen.

Anyway, enough of my inane gabble. Here, for your delectation, are some choice chunks from the review in question:

Based during World War II on a small island just off the coast of Nazi-occupied Guernsey, THE DEVIL’S ROCK defies its low budget genre roots to deliver an old fashioned dose of horror with shades of both Nigel Kneale and fireside stories from much further back.

The real achievement of THE DEVIL’S ROCK is that it defies all expectations. What we have, essentially, is a four-hander based in a series of concrete rooms and corridors, the premise of which seems like it was ripped from the more sensational end of the History Channel’s main obsessions. Director Paul Campion and fellow writers Paul Finch and Brett Ihaka have taken these ingredients and delivered a movie that looks and sounds fantastic. The comparison with Nigel Kneale might seem a bit overblown but, with its evil down in the deep and ancient powers that far outstrip any dream of a thousand year Reich, THE DEVIL’S ROCK is, thankfully, less a collection of jumps and bumps and more an old fashioned, thought provoking horror.

Guernsey has a long tradition of nightmares, both traditional and uncomfortably recent. Hundreds of years ago witches were burnt by the good people of the island, more recently Nazi forces worked and beat slave workers to death then buried them in the foundations of the numerous bunkers and watch towers that surround our coastline. These installations still stand today. The cultural commentator Jonathan Meades likened them to concrete fists but mostly they are scars. That Campion, Finch and Ihaka have rolled all of this together into one precise movie is something to be admired.

PS: Many apologies to anyone who tuned in on Friday morning expecting to find my lastest installment of THE POWER OF THREE. It's the same excuse as last time - I'm just too danged busy at present. The next bulletin will hopefully be on time next week, though at present my work cup is literally overflowing.

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