St. Paddy’s Day Shockers: A Glimpse at Irish Horror

Well, we made it to March guys, and with that comes the anticipation for warmer weather and the gradual return towards normalcy; but we’re not quite there yet!

As the race to vaccinate continues we will be spending St Patrick’s Day in our own homes again this year. But never fear! Your man Stan is here to recommend some horror movies straight from the Emerald Isle. So, crack open a Guinness and shine those shamrocks as we take a look at some of the best in Irish horror!

  1. The Blood Harvest (2016); Directed by George Clarke; Yellow Fever Productions; Tubi

Let’s start off with a look at some indie Irish horror! The Blood Harvest is not a remake of the American 1987 slasher film of the same name, just to be clear. This is the story of Detective Chaplin who is on the case investigating a series of strange murders where victims are found eyeless, with their Achilles tendons severed and totally drained of blood. His supernatural theory about vampire killers leads to his dismissal from the force, but he continues to investigate anyway…

The budget was tight on this and it comes across in the camera work and cinematography but otherwise, the sound quality is great and the performances are on point! Plus, the lead actor Robert Render is definite bear crush material. Script-wise the story was a bit over simplified, meaning that you don’t come away feeling like you’ve earned the revelations. Major plot points are just explained by expository dialogue or not explained at all. Which is not to say this movie isn’t a good time. I was extremely impressed with what they did here. The gore effects were pretty good and most importantly, I was never bored!

I give this two out of four shamrocks.

  • Stitches (2012); Directed by Conor McMahon; MPI Media Group; Amazon Prime

This is the story of a kid’s birthday party clown that is accidentally killed by a group of ten year olds and then comes back from the dead years later to exact his revenge. It stars comedian Ross Noble as Stitches the clown.

Ok, so this is a killer clown story that is as brutally violent as it is silly. Stan’s personal tastes veer into the land of exploitation films so I loved this one. It’s a very easy watch. There’s even a gay character in this one called Bulger portrayed by Thommas Kane Byrne. He’s a big boy and although some jokes come at the expense of his size; I love that he is portrayed as a tough gay kid and that the characters accept him as that without making fun of his sexuality. You accept the size jokes because all the characters are made fun of since they are sixteen year olds. He is not singled out by any means.

The kills are inventive and the effects are cool. Its just a lot of fun. For me this is three out of four shamrocks.

  • Wake Wood (2009); Directed by David Keating; Hammer Film Productions; Amazon Prime

Wake Wood follows the story of a married couple who lose their daughter to a killer dog attack. They move to Wake Wood where Patrick, portrayed by Aiden Gillen, picks up his career as a veterinarian for the town. As he and his wife Louise (Eva Birthistle) struggle to cope with their loss; they are made an offer to have their daughter returned to them for three days by the townspeople by way of a necromantic pagan ritual. I’m sure you can predict things do not go exactly as planned.

I really enjoyed this movie. The acting is top notch and every decision made by every character is justified and understandable. There are no WTF did they do that moments. People often compare this to Pet Sematary due to the similarity in plot which is the reason I have to give this three out of four shamrocks. It could be a four but I found the references and similarities to themes and plot points found in The Wicker Man and Pet Sematary to be too heavy handed. It needed some more original ideas introduced into the story to make it stand apart. That being said, if my biggest complaint is that this movie is too much like two of the best horror movies ever made, then you know its worth a watch!

  • The Hallow (2015); Directed by Corin Hardy; Fantastic Films; Amazon Prime (for rent)

This film centers on the Hitchens family who move out to an unnamed remote Irish village surrounded by the forest. Adam (Joseph Mawle) is being sent there to study the trees and plant life in the area so it can be potentially developed. The villagers try to warn the family to leave the land alone since it belongs to banshees and fae people. Adam and his wife Claire dismiss the warnings, but sure enough strange occurrences begin happening. Is it the townspeople or the fae? And why are they so interested in their baby Finn? All will be revealed!

I did not know what to expect from this movie, but it really delivered for me. The first act is a touch slow as they build up the mythology and suspicion but once it gets going there is a prolonged period of action. There’s lots of good effect-work here, both practical and digital. The acting is solid and it’s a fun thrill ride. I also appreciate that it leans into ancient Irish folklore. This is a very enthusiastic three out of four shamrocks for me.

So until next time, let your Irish eyes be smilin’ and may Erin forever go bragh-less!

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Stan The Mechanic

Stan is a Mechanic for the Horror Community as well as being a TV Horror Host at @HereTV and soon other channels! He often stops by BearWorldMag.com to share some spooky content. Find out more at his website!