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The Wright Stuff: A Northerner’s Perspective

April 11th, 2014 by John Wright Comments

Okay, I’m gonna take a break from ranting-on this week and give you a few ideas for horror-comedy movie gems that you may have forgotten about or have never even seen. If you don’t have much planned for the weekend, go and track these down, get a bowl of popcorn/m&ms/snack of choice and enjoy! 


One of my all-time favourite movies, Tremors was a nod to the old B-movies and creature features of old and gave it the Hollywood treatment. Everything about this movie just fits perfectly and it holds up very well to this day. Perfection, a tiny town in Nevada with a small population, is invaded by underground monsters, and it’s a battle of wits and survival for its eclectic bunch of residents to escape to safety. Part of the fun of the movie is how the story develops, so I won’t venture into spoiler territory for those of you who haven’t seen it.

Needless to say, its full of gore, horror and humour, all perfectly balanced and led by a great bunch of actors, including Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and the iconic, scene stealing Michael Gross as paranoid survivalist Burt Gummer. This character is a work of genius believe me, no wonder the subsequent sequels and short-lived tv series focused on him. You more experienced Nerds out there will spot many a recognisable, supporting face, including Country & Western star Reba McEntire, Victor Wong (Big Trouble in Little China), Bibi Besch (the original Dr. Carol Marcus) and even a young, pre-Jurassic park Ariana Richards.

Relying on practical effects and beautiful on location sets, Tremors became a huge cult hit upon its video release, and it spawned three direct-to-dvd sequels and a tv series which was cancelled after one season. If you are in the mood for this type of thing, I hugely recommend you watch the first sequel too, Tremors 2: Aftershocks, which is a hugely enjoyable movie despite its low budget.

Dog Soldiers

2002’s British horror comedy was another of those cult favourites that garnered a big following on its DVD release. It was the first big directorial feature for Neil Marshall who also wrote it. Neil would of course go on to write and direct horror classics The Descent (1 & 2), Doomsday, Centurion, as well as key episodes of Game of Thrones and is currently shooting the pilot for the new Constantine TV series.

Starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham, Dog Soldiers follows a squad of British Army soldiers on a routine training exercise in the Scottish Highlands. Events soon turn sinister when they are pursued by a pack of hungry creatures, forcing them to take refuge in an isolated house in the forest.

Like Tremors, Dog Soldiers elevates the creature feature into a polished, clever and hugely entertaining flick. The cast of predominantly northern actors play seamlessly off each other, led by Sean Pertwee who delivers an awesome performance, full of razor-sharp one-liners that will have you cheering at the screen. This a definitely a boys-orientated movie I’m afraid girls, even though there is a female character, there is no room for romance here. It’s violence, gore, bad language and fantastically dark humour. Neil Marshall makes the most out of a limited budget and it is never noticeable, with outstanding makeup and practical effects (you know how I love those), this is one movie begging for a sequel, but I’m really kind of glad there isn’t one.

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Originally forged in the steelworks of Teesside (imagine the reverse of the end of Terminator 2), John is a self-confessed 80s child and movie geek and he indulges his passions for movies by occasionally appearing in them. When he is not doing that, he is investigating the paranormal with either his West Midlands or Berkshire buddies, or planning another Due South fan convention in Canada. John will depart our UK shores in 2014 to live in Australia and wrestle crocs (the shoes, not the animal), but he aims to contribute to FTN as much as he can...

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