DVD Movie Review of
by Pamela Torres
Written and directed by Alex Chandon and released on DVD in 2001, this British shot-on-video anthology is a black metal blood feast guaranteed to satisfy every occultist's desire for the terminally sick! Kemper (David McEwan RIP), a crazed child murderer and Satanic hypnotist, is imprisoned within the concrete walls of Fenham Asylum. Despite this, he calls upon his own son and follower, "The Man" (fanged caterwauler Dani Filth), to wreck havoc on society by painting the streets with blood and death. "The Man," by the way, is sort of like "The Crow" except he has supernatural powers and an insatiable lust for killing. Meanwhile, an embittered Detective Neilson (Edmund Dehn) is forced to investigate the crimes. As each twisted tale unfolds, Neilson becomes hellbent on destroying Kemper by any means necessary.
Story #1: Melanie (Emily Bouffante) is a sexy Goth chick who meets "The Man" in a rave club. Anticipating a hot night of passion and drugs, Mel gets more than she bargains for as her partner gives her a nefarious one-night stand (shown through a rather impressive stroble light effect). The very next day, after seeing several mind-stretching dream images of demons lurking around every street corner, she dies of a nightmare pregnancy as a grossly deformed child with spider legs bursts out of her stomach!
Story #2: Sophie (Rebecca Eden) and Emma (Emma Rice) are a pair of tough street girls who try to rob a rundown apartment. After finding a huge sum of cash under the bed, the two are suddenly attacked by a deaf old man (Al Stokes). Together, the terrified Sophie and Emma bludgeon him with a candlestick and stab him in the face with a knife. Then, in a last ditch attempt to cover up her deed, Sophie murders her best friend and snatches the money all for herself. As you horror freaks might have guessed, both Emma and the Old Man return to life as zombies and give poor Sophie an eyeful of their wrath!
Story #3: Nick (Louise Brownsell) is a rich and greedy businessman who lost one of his legs in a car accident (undoubtedly because he and his lover Natalie (Eileen Daly) snorted cocaine behind the wheel). Determined to be a whole man again (especially under the sheets), he sinks to new lows by shooting his former partner Thomas (Neil Keenan) in cold blood. Then Nick carves off one of Thomas's legs and forces a doctor to perform the surgery. At first, all seems to be going well in Nick's physical therapy. However, as he and Natalie get in their fancy car and go out on a drug-infused joyride, Nick's new appendage takes on a life of its own.
Story #4: Detective Neilson's own son Richard (Stuart Lang) is an office employee who develops a dangerous addiction to Internet snuff and porn. Knowing this was his weakness, "The Man" entices Richard with The Sick Room, an interactive website where members can torture and kill random victims with just a few clicks of a button. After losing both his job and his home to this perverse obsession, Richard searches for the site only to be led down a trail of madness... and his execution is ready to be broadcast.
With cannibalism, dismemberment, and Devil imagery at every turn, CRADLE OF FEAR is quite campy at some moments, although the movie overall was intended to be serious. Viewers will definitely laugh at the scene where Dani Filth stabs a pussycat and swallows its mutilated organs in one gulp! Yes, it's THAT over-the-top! Now although I want to kiss and hug Mr. Chandon for having the guts and the balls to create a dark and brutal homage to the gory glory days of video nasties and the eerie atmospheric tales of Amicus, I regret to say that CRADLE OF FEAR isn't perfect. The acting talents vary among the cast members and the script has dialogue more suited for a graphic novel. As for Dani Filth and David McEwan, they don't get to speak any lines until the final 10 minutes of the film during the grisly climax in Kemper's cell. In addition, some of the low-tech CGI effects were embarrassingly out of place with the rest of the live-action sequences. Still, these flaws do not bother me too much. Actually, the best element of CRADLE OF FEAR is the CD soundtrack. Featuring only two Cradle of Filth songs (LORD ABORTION and a dance macabre remix of SAFFRON'S CURSE), the album surprisingly doesn't have alot of heavy metal music. Instead, obscure UK artists like Lungworm, The Dark Poets, Quicksilver and Jezebel (fronted by Eileen Daly) assault the cranium with a percussive plethora of tech-house beats, blunt hammer punk and coldwave instrumentals.
Calyx - FALLOUT (D.O.P.E remix)/Quicksilver - THE BEAST WITHIN (D.O.P.E remix)
7.The Dark Poets - IT DOESN'T MATTE
8.Cradle of Filth - SAFFRON'S CURSE (DANCE MACABRE remix)
9.Slacker - PSYCHOUT (O.S.T remix)
12.Cradle of Filth - LORD ABORTION
13.D.O.P.E - SHOES
"Cheers, Sophie! Where's my share?!"