May 2004

I. Zombi

I. Zombie Under the stage name of I. Zombi, Hayden Milligan hosts Kentucky based cable horror show, The Witching Hour.

I. Zombi, the film, is a celebration of the man behind the make up.

As a child, he was caught in a house fire and severely burned and he still bears the scars of this today. But, with the support of his friends and family, he has overcome the hardships dealt to him to not only achieve his ambitions but to also seek out new ones.

Today, as part of the Horror Host Underground, he is striving to resurrect the TV genre of hosted horror shows – a genre that in recent years has lost out to the much cheaper alternative of “informercials.”

As well as being a celebration of the man, I. Zombi is also a celebration of the horror host tradition – the men and women who combine outrageous and often silly gimmicks with a genuine love of horror films both past and present.

As with any small community – even one that is as geographically diverse as this – the Horror Host Underground provides a great deal of support and friendship amongst those that count themselves as members. This comes across very clearly in the footage of - and stories from - the various members of the community and provides the film with some genuinely touching moments.

Ultimately, through the use of footage from The Witching Hour and interviews with Milligan himself, I. Zombie provides a platform that allows this remarkable man to speak for himself.

Not only does the film show how he has triumphed over tragedy, but it also shows how he and his fellow hosts are trying to keep a quirky part of their culture alive in an increasingly homogenised world.

A quick search on Google seems to indicate that this film is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit. If you get the chance to see it, do so. You won’t regret it.

Van Helsing

Van Helsing
19th Century Catholic monster hunter, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is sent on his most dangerous assignment yet - to kill Dracula before he can kill the last surviving member of the Valerious family, Anna (Kate Beckinsale).

Van Helsing is a big dumb action movie. And, like most - if not all - big dumb action movies, it suffers from an over emphasis on action, poor plotting - there are holes in the films plot that you could drive a truck through - and a lack of space for the actors to do anything - like acting - that might slow down the pace of the film.

But its also a lot of fun.

David Wenham, as Carl the Q-alike inventive brother, holds his own against the overwhelming onslaught of CGI and manages to create an entertaining character in his own right. Kudos, also, to Shuler Hensley who manages to invest an emotional depth to Frankensteins Monster thats lacking elsewhere in the film.

The special effects are, of course (this being a Stephen Sommers film), both overwhelming and spectacular. It would be easy to knock this as nothing more than a pile of CGI, but to do so would miss the point of Van Helsing.

Its an effects heavy, plot light visual spectacle and, on a Friday evening after a long week, this is as much as I want to see.