Oh just fuckin’ kill me now. These are the hazards involved in being a horror fan. Occasionally you’ll sit through a film that’s so crud, it defies belief. I thought I had seen it all with The Task but now, I’m about to leave that behind and return to the woods for a film that plunges even deeper into the doldrums of horror.
Ah the woods. A fertile ground for horror and a road that is already very well trodden. Last week saw me review the enjoyable YellowBrickRoad, now it’s THIS.
The Legend of Harrow Woods, also known as Evil Calls: The Raven Part 1, is utter garbage. I don’t just say that to be nasty. I don’t do that. It’s genuinely awful. It’s a low-grade Shining clone, with smatterings of The Blair Witch Project thrown in for good measure..
Based on Edgar Allen Poe’s classic The Raven (quite how, I don’t really know, apart from the fact that The Narrator reads the poem frequently over several scenes), TLOHW is the story of horror writer (The Shining) George Carney. He and his family disappear while on a family holiday to a cabin in Harrow Woods, New England. Now, a group of students go to investigate, led by their lecturer, to discover the fate of the Carney Family. We soon find out that in October 1843, Harrow Woods was the area where local “witch” Lenore Selwyn was burnt at the stake, but not before cursing the woods and all that wander into them. That’s it. A possibly interesting premise, absolutely squandered by amateur execution.
To look at the cast, you might think that this film could be something interesting. We have Blackadder’s Lord Flashheart himself, Rik Mayall, briefly playing a sleazy butler type character (The Shining) with his usual zeal. We have antipodean heart-throb, singer and actor, Jason Donovan, playing a computer geek, complete with a dodgy American accent. We also have 1970′s titty movie star Robin Askwith, who even now, still manages to frolic with naked girls. Also, sadly British comedy legend Sir Norman Wisdom, in one of his last (and most pointless) roles. In THIS film?
And the icing on the cake truly has to be Christopher Walken as The Narrator, who recites Poe’s The Raven over proceedings, his distinctive voice bursts forth, ridiculously, bizarrely, no less than 11 TIMES over the 78 minute duration of this “film”. If you have seen The Dead Zone and heard Walken recite The Raven at the start, it might be clear where Driscoll lifted this from…
The rest of the cast are simply woeful. Seriously. I cannot get my head around it. Special mention has to go to Charlie Allen and Eileen Daly as medium Victoria Jordan, who are both just about unwatchable.
The Carney’s tale is recounted in sepia tinted flashback throughout this farce with writer/director Richard Driscoll (as Steven Craine) even managing to write in a scene for himself where he cavorts in a room full of naked girls as it floods with blood (The Shining).
On that note, there is quite a lot of full frontal female nudity in this film. Contextually pointless but at least Driscoll had fun and Askwith gets to do what he does best.
Gore wise, next to none until the last 6 minutes. Yeah, there’s the blood filled rooms but in the last few minutes we see beheadings, dismemberments, sickles in the face and some boobs punctured by antlers.
Granted, this is not my finest review. It’s weak and amateurish but so is The Legend of Harrow Woods. At least mine is intentional. I simply cannot get my head around how this film was ever made, let alone been releared in a relatively well polished package such as this. Its grainy, washed out and looks insanely cheap. Quite how Driscoll has managed to enlist the calibre of people he has is beyond me. It’s certainly not because he had a massive budget.
On the box, DVD Review are quoted as claiming that THIS dreck is “one of the scariest horror films to come out of the UK in years”… If that’s the case, I genuinely fear for the future of the UK horror film industry.
The biggest fucking laugh of all is that the DVD actually comes with an anaglyptic 3D copy and 2 sets of glasses. Why the hell you would watch this shit AT ALL, let alone in 3D, leaves me speechless.
Stick THAT quote on the box.