Cabin fever

What with helping set up a new bookstore and all that jazz I haven’t been to as many movies as usual recently. Well, I’m making up for it on this week off. Finally got round to catching Cabin Fever this afternoon. A horror movie from a first time director which, unusually for most modern horror films, is actually – gasp! -horrifying. Nothing like watching murderous hicks, sexed-up teens and the fleash falling off of them as the necrotising bacteria goes to work to cheer you up on a day off.

It takes a pretty cliched set-up – bunch of attractive college kids go for a break in the rural backwater full of rednecks and inbred freaks and something nasty in the dark woods – and delivers a scary film that managed to disturb even this old gorehound occasionally. It also featured some nods to classic horror movies of yesteryear. Most obviously it references Sam Raimi’s original The Evil Dead, what with the remote shack in the woods with something nasty lurking nearby. There are also little references to Friday 13th and Camp Crystal Lake, Deliverance, Southern Comfort, 28 Days, Romero’s zombie flicks and a whole score more, including a rather neat twist towards the end on the redneck stereotypes. Most enjoyable horror I’ve seen for a while and it has me in just the right mood to go and see the re-release of the cleaned-up and restored print of the original Alien movie this weekend.

Ridley has always been a favourite director of mine – although he’s not been so hot in the last decade – and I’ve always thought this was a classic piece of horror-SF. It’s basically a variation on the Old Dark House tale set in the equally confined setting of a commercial starship. Comrade Ken obviously enjoyed it judging by his recent blog, although I did have to point out to him that the Nostromo in Alien was not the first movie to show a starship as a run-down place of work – John Carpenter’s student flick, the fabulously 70s Dark Star, had an even more downbeat ship several years before (you have to love a film when the captain records in the ship’s log that a section self-destructed last week and destroyed the ship’s entire supply of toilet paper).