The Reckoning

Grace with a gun

Contagion, hysteria, conspiracy and the patriarchy – you can’t accuse British horror film The Reckoning of not being on the money, even though it was shot in Hungary in 2019 while the Sars-Cov2 virus was still getting its boots on. Patriarchy is its biggest concern, though, or one 17th-century woman’s plucky fight against it. Charlotte Kirk both co-wrote and stars as Grace, the hot widow whose looks earn her the unwelcome attention of the local squire (Steven Waddington), who’s already dispatched her husband with plague-spiked ale and now – out of bitter spite at being sexually rebuffed – has accused her of being a witch. Visually and tonally we’re in the realm of the … Read more

Torture Porn, a Beginner’s Guide

Hostel II: how bloody do you want it?

Hostel II’s blood, gore and torture is generating column inches faster than a skillsaw can rip through warm flesh, but some people still don’t know what torture porn is. This is for them…   What is a splatter movie? Films like Hostel: Part II slot into the category known variously – depending on whether you’re a fan or a critic – as Shock Exploitation, Splatter, Gorno (that’s gore + porno), Torture Porn or, at the comedy end, Splatstick. They’re catagorised by lots of flesh (usually female), lots of innards (generally animal), a gleeful approach to the subject by their directors (almost always male) and an unnatural fixation with domestic power tools (drills, blowtorches etc). … Read more