[31 Days Of Horror ’21] Mini Reviews: Censor (2021) and Blood Rage (1987)

Mini Review
Day 11: From 2021
Censor (2021)

The next film for this 31 Days Of Horror journey is one from this year, the prompt since last year has been to include a film from the year of the event and as it is now 2021, the film is a recent one. I have decided to go with Censor (2021), the film has received some very positive talk and the basic plot caught my attention. Generally it can take me some time to see new released horror films and 31 Days is a good chance to fit at least one in and serve as a reminder to do better and see more as this film is very much deserving of the praise.

Taking place during the 80’s in the UK, when the rise of Home Video was taking off and every sort of sleazy and bloody film was being made and put on to VHS and in England during this time these sorts of films that were meant to horror loving adults were dubbed ‘Video Nasties’ and received major cuts or out right banned. The story focuses on Enid (Niamh Algar) works as a film censor, watching all sorts of movies every day and marking which scenes should be cut or whether the movie should be banned. She takes her job very seriously and believes she is doing something worthwhile and saving lives. Her job is her focus and seemingly all is going well until her parents announced that they are legally declaring her sister dead after being missing for many many years, the news shakes up Enid who hasn’t lost hope her sister will be found. After this she is tasked to watch a film called ‘Don’t Go Into The Church’ and the events in the film hit too close to home and have similarities to her own childhood and loss of her sister. The journey she begins in wanting to find out more about her sister and this film will lead to her down a path dark questioning reality.

Censor marks the debut feature for director Prano Bailey-Bond who also co-wrote the script (preceded by Prano’s short film Nasty (2015)) and what a splash to make with a debut feature. This slow burn film relies on its main character of Enid, her journey is the focus and being set in this world of ‘Video Nasties’ really highlights the ludicrousness of it all whilst psychologically unraveling Enid. There are elements of the film that felt reminiscent of Mandy (2018) but in the good mind mending way and perhaps the two films would make for an intriguing double feature. The visuals are used very well, having some muted tones at times, overly coloured at others and a dream or nightmare like aesthetic thrown in for good measure. The performances are quite good with Niamh Algar really shining as Enid and showing many layers beneath the surface. Whilst Censor may not be everyone’s cup of tea it is certainly a worthwhile watch and Prano Bailey-Bond is a name I do believe we will see more great things from.

Rating:

Mini Review
Day 12: ‘Blood’
Blood Rage (1987)

Day 12 sees 31 Days Of Horror head back to the 80’s with the prompt ‘blood’ and I decided to pick a film with blood in the title and Blood Rage (1987) struck out at me and it made the list. As someone who does love 80’s horror, I absolutely will take the chance to see an 80’s horror film I haven’t seen and I am glad I did pick this film. This is the kind of film that wanted to be the Thanksgiving holiday’s version of Silent Night Deadly Night (1984) but wound up being so hilariously bad it’s more like Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 (1987), yet the film was shot in 1983 and not released until 1987, wowza!

The story begins in the 70’s where twins Terry and Todd have been carted along in the backseat to the drive-in with their mother Maddy (Louise Lasser) and her date, thinking the boys are asleep Maddy and her date get it on. The boys don’t like this and sneak out, as they do they witness teens having sex in a car and one of the boys commits murder with the other in shock. One is sent off to an institution and the other goes free, the story then moves forward 10 years where the now grown up twins (played by Mark Soper) are going to reunite again as Todd who was sent to the institution has broken out and murders begin to happen around Terry.

Blood Rage is a film that cannot be taken seriously, it actually feels like it was played completely serious unaware of the humour that was right there. Every decision made just makes the film more laughable and there isn’t a second wasted, the film is just so enjoyable and fun. It gets insanely over the top with every passing minute, Louise Lasser’s performance is incredible, no clue as to whether she thought this was an award winning performance but she was all in and it’s glorious to witness especially in the second half of the time. Credit to Mark Soper as the twins, they actually do feel like two different people due to the acting and the camera work does a good job of disguising that the twins are just one actor. His performance is over the top and by the end it’s pure insanity but it really just adds to the experience of Blood Rage, as do the others in the film who are not good by any means but it just works for the hilariously good time.

On a level I want to rate Blood Rage a solid 5 just purely for being as entertaining as it is, realistically though it isn’t a good film and has some truly terrible elements, the good and the bad combined make it what it is and this needs to become a bigger name in the ‘Bad Movie’ world because Blood Rage is Troll 2 levels of awesome.

Rating:

Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea

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