The Last Horror Movie

The Last Horror Movie


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Killing people can be fun. "That's the advantage of being a psychopath," Max (Kevin Howarth) says. "You don't have to take any shit from anyone."

Julian Richards's movie, from a script by James Handell, owes a great deal to the Belgian shocker Man Bites Dog, in which a film crew follows a serial killer around, as if shooting a documentary.

Max has a gormless cameraman (Mark Stevenson) in attendance, who becomes one of the characters in the story. The audience is also essential, as Max constantly talks to it, explaining what he's up to ("We're trying to make an intelligent movie about murder"), except he can't take anything seriously, which is part of his charm.

Howarth has the ability to move up close to a camera and make it feel like he's one-to-one with your head. Max is not a nice person, which is part of the problem. His unctuous self regard becomes a turn off, even more than his appetite for torture and death. "You think this is an art house film looking like a home movie," he says. It isn't. It's an ego trip.

Max uses his camera as a confessional. He doesn't quite know why he murders strangers and has himself filmed doing it, but it seems that power has a part to play, the knowledge that he is capable of tieing someone up and beating their brains out, because it's more entertaining than going round for drinks with his mates and discussing Quentin Tarantino.

The concept starts to flag after a while, as Max's smooth chat palls before repeated atrocities. There seems nowhere else to go except to the same place with a different victim and Max remains as he started, a confident, narcissistic, shallow charmer.

As a black comedy, The Last Horror Movie has only one joke. As a British film that takes risks with a subject as gruesome as violent death, it deserves respect. If Max hadn't been such a self-satisfied showoff and it was possible to like him, just a little, the sour taste in the mouth might have seemed more sweet.

Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2003
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Confessions of a childish, middle-class, self-confident, English serial killer.
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Gator MacReady **

Director: Julian Richards

Writer: James Handell

Starring: Kevin Howarth, Mark Stevenson, Antonia Beamish, Christabel Muir, Jonathan Coote

Year: 2003

Runtime: 79 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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