Cradle Of Fear (2001)

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Ranked #5,346
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A gruesome homage to the cult Amicus anthology Asylum, Cradle of Fear unfolds four screamplays all linked by the unspeakable need of an incarcerated child killer to wreak vengeance on those responsible for his imprisonment. Helped by deranged angel Dani Filth, who leaves a trail of charnel house death in his crimson wake, the cannibal convict forces two Goth vamps to endure a one night stand from hell, two tough female robbers to see through each other, an obscenely rich coke-head to chop up more than a few lines and an internet surfer to descend into madness when he uncovers the ultimate web depravity. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: April 13, 2007
I remember picking this little gem up a couple of weeks after it was released on the advice of a friend, but I have to admit that I didn't have very high hopes for it at the time. After all, whenever a film is centered around someone who is famous for something other than acting, well... do the American Idol or Mariah Carey movies ring a bell? Now, I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of Cradle of Filth, but I have seen a couple of their music videos (at least one of which was also directed by Alex Chandon) and I fully realized that Dani has at least a little more talent than Mrs. Carey and Mr. Guarini when it comes to acting and creativity... but could he carry an entire movie?

Thankfully, we didn't have to find out the hard way that the answer was probably "no" thanks to the fact that the film consists of four short stories that kinda-sorta interconnect towards the end. Our rock star leading man doesn't do a whole lot aside from murdering people and looking spooky, so there's never really a chance for him to hurt the final product with his acting "skills." The storyline finds a serial killer named Kemper (David McEwen) who has been locked away in an asylum after murdering hundreds of people via hypnosis, and he's now controlling - this is their name, not mine - "The Man" (Dani Filth) and forcing him to murder the people who were responsible for sending him to this dingy dungeon. Each of the victims is a separate story in terms of the plot, and it's up to Detective Neilson (Edmund Dehn) to put an end to this murderous rampage before more people are murdered at the hands of this black metal superstar.

First things first: Cradle of Fear is not so much a horror movie as it is a feature-length music video. If you're contemplating this purchase with the idea that you're going to get a two-hour story full of scares and ingenious plot devices, you're going to be quite disappointed when the credits begin to roll. The wraparound story is never fully developed and with a lone exception, the four mini-stories feature extremely simple plots: a woman gets some bad drugs and pays the price, a pair of ladies rob an old man and wind up dead as a result, and a one-legged man "steals" a leg from his former friend only to find that he isn't in full control of the limb. The vast majority of the film features background music from the likes of Cradle of Filth (surprise!) and similar bands, so if you've seen one of Mr. Filth's music videos, you've got a pretty good idea of how you're going to be spending those two hours in front of the tube.

Now, with that said, I have to admit that I enjoyed the hell out of this film. It's readily apparent that Alex Chandon never set out to make a serious horror film, and what we wind up with instead is a huge smorgasbord of over-the-top gore, sex, graphic violence, T&A, and a hearty helping of mindfuck imagery. This movie probably won't turn your stomach if you're familiar with the Asian "snuff movies" such as Guinea Pig, but you'll definitely be in for a treat if your definition of "extreme gore" is something along the lines of the latest Saw sequel. Stomachs are torn open to reveal bizarre spiders with baby heads, limbs are severed, heads are crushed, numerous people are stabbed to death, gruesome murders courtesy of a gun are in ample supply, and there's even a literal bloodbath to be witnessed... and save for a (very) few scenes featuring spotty CGI, the effects are damned good. Imagine if Peter Jackson and David Lynch collaborated on the next Hostel sequel and you'll probably have a good idea as to how Cradle of Fear plays out.

The first three stories contained within this film are fairly forgettable at their core; there's plenty of neat scenes to be found and there's some damned good kills to be witnessed, but if you look at the actual stories that drive these things along, you're not going to find much in the way of brilliant scriptwriting. The final story, however, deserves a mention. Telling the tale of a man obsessed with the seedier side of Internet pornography (here's a hint: pedophilia, bestiality, and necrophilia are timid in his eyes), we get to witness what happens when one man's obsession overcomes him and forces him to do very bad things. I won't say too much about about the plot as it's better to be surprised, but this turned out to be an excellent story that could have easily stood on its own as a feature-length movie.

To judge this movie, one only needs to figure out what they want out of a horror film. If you're looking for suspense, genuine scares, and intriguing storylines, you probably won't get much out of it aside from the final story. If, however, you're simply looking for some brutal kills and extreme violence, you've come to the right place: Cradle of Fear will deliver all of that and then some. 9/10.
limited on death #1: limited on death - added 04/13/2007, 10:05 PM
I came across this when I was looking for Cradle of Filth stuff, so I thought I'd give it a look. It wasn't the best movie I've seen, but as you said, it delivered on the blood and gore side.
Ashley #2: Ashley - added 09/17/2007, 06:21 PM
I don't even remember how I learned about this movie, but it took me forever to get my hands on it. It definitely lacks a decent plot, but like you said, I didn't expect a whole lot. It was worth watching Dani Filth for two hours.
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