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  Last Horror Movie, The Just when you thought it was safe to go back into Blockbuster...
Year: 2003
Director: Julian Richards
Stars: Kevin Howarth, Mark Stevenson, Antonia Beamish
Genre: Horror, DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 6 votes)
Review: It’s after hours in a small town American diner. As the late-shift waitress busies herself with the tidying, a deadly killer lurks in the shadows. He pounces…

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve all been here before.

You’ve never met anyone like Max Parry previously, however.

Unbelievably, The Last Horror Movie almost lives up to the impossible demands of its title. The brainchild of Darklands director Richards, this instant classic takes the psycho film to its very limits and emerges as arguably the most incisive externalisation of a murderer’s thought processes ever to be depicted in a British film - and no, I haven’t forgotten Peeping Tom or Frenzy, it’s better than either of those, honestly. The set-up reveals that a wedding photographer has taped his own documentary over the rented copy of a generic U.S. teen slasher flick, taking the opportunity to confess to committing dozens of brutal murders in and around London, many of which he has filmed (with the help of an itinerant assistant) and now excerpts here for our viewing discomfort. Though slightly outdated since DVD usurped videotape as the preferred home entertainment medium of most, The Last Horror Movie still works as a biting interactive experience, making the unsuspecting punter a captive, appalled character in Parry’s scheme - imagine suddenly finding yourself actively taking part in Cronenberg’s Videodrome, or Ray Brady’s controversial Boy Meets Girl, for an idea of the horrors in store.

This is a British shocker which seriously rivals Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer as a picture of urban atrocity, and which borrows from that Austrian study of social mayhem Funny Games and, oddly, the BBC t.v. series Marion And Geoff in its inspired use of direct-to-camera narration. Kevin Howarth is spellbinding as philosophical psycho-killer Parry, giving the best central performance in a British chiller for decades, and the ingeniously clever screenplay manages to pick out all potential flaws in its own logic and has Parry address these almost at the very moment they pop into your head! Wouldn't anyone viewing this confessional tape simply complain to the video store or take the offending evidence to the police? Well no they wouldn't, and Max explains why in convincingly erudite terms. As for the moment where our cultured maniac confronts a young schoolboy left alone after class, words fail me - this is audience manipulation at its most masterly, a scene that not even Alfred Hitchcock might have pulled off quite so deftly.

Utterly magnificent, a vast improvement on the Wicker Man-lite of Darklands and a film that may well consign the likes of Dog Soldiers and 28 Days Later... to dim and distant memory. Do not miss this one - in fact, kill to see it.


Reviewer: Darrell Buxton

 

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