- Cradle of Fear
Cradle of Fear
DVD Cover For Cradle of Fear
Directed by Alex Chandon Produced by Alex Chandon Written by Alex Chandon Starring Dani Filth
Music by Cradle of Filth / Various Distributed by Pragmatic Pictures Release date(s) United Kingdom:
Running time 120 mins Language English
Cradle of Fear is a 2001 horror film directed by Alex Chandon. Taking inspiration from the portmanteau films produced by Amicus in the 1970s it features three separate half-hour segments, linked by a fourth story. The main narrative involves imprisoned serial-killer Kemper wreaking vengeance on those responsible for his capture. This he does through his son: Dani Filth playing an unnamed character referred to in the credits as "The Man". Shot on video and on a very low budget, the film received a lukewarm reception in the horror press, and is chiefly of interest to Cradle of Filth fans, as it features the entire lineup (principally Dani, but the rest crop up in cameo roles) from the band's Midian era. Chandon's association with Cradle of Filth began with the promo video for From the Cradle to Enslave, and he went on to direct the clips for "No Time to Cry" and "Her Ghost in the Fog", plus some DVD documentaries. Kemper is played by David McEwen, who also appeared in the video for "Her Ghost In the Fog", miming to Doug Bradley's narration.
In Alphabetical order:
- Emily Booth as Melissa
- Sean Boru as The Coroner
- Louie Brownsell as Nick
- Eileen Daly as Natalie
- Edmund Dehn as Detective Neilson
- Rebecca Eden as Sophie
- Willie Evans as The Short Man
- Dani Filth as The Man
- Melissa Forti as Nikki
- Tony Hickson as Skinny man
- Angela Kay as Nurse McAllister
- Neil Keenan as Thomas
- Stuart Laing as Richard Neilson
- Barry Lee-Thomas as Chief Inspector Roper
- David McEwen as Kemper
- Mark Rathbone as Pringle
- Emma Rice as Emma
- Gian Sessarego as Zombie
- Al Stokes as The Old Man
- Tony Taras as Policeman
The film begins with "The Man" (Dani Filth) walking on a street on a foggy night. He passes by a tramp and somehow makes him throw up. Two men see that The Man is alone and start following him. One of them throws a cigarette at him and starts to brutally hit him with a chunk of wood. The other joins in and punches The Man with his fists. Just when they think he is knocked out, the first offender checks The Man body for cash. Then The Man suddenly grabs him by the throat and begins ripping it with his armour rings. While the 2nd thug stands frozen watching, The Man pulls out the 1st thug's windpipe (possibly the trachea). He then tears the 2nd thug's head apart from the top and stomps on his brains. Then the title credits start.
The next scene shows two dead bodies being photographed, one of a girl lying on a bed and one of another girl on the floor. The girl on the bed has her stomach ripped open. Then, detective Neilson (Edmund Dehn) enters the room to inspect. He then grabs one of the girl's breast to see if she's alive. The movie continues showing how it all came to this and how the girls died. Melissa (Emily Bouffante) and Nikki (Melissa Forte)[who are the two girls] are in a goth club looking for a man to take home and to sleep with. Melissa spots The Man. Nikki agrees that The Man is the perfect guy so Melissa takes him home. At her place Melissa starts to strip in front of The Man. Then instead of having sex as Melissa would have expected, The Man gets on her and evolves into some monstrosity. What he does exactly is not clear since the room is flashing with light. The next day, Melissa, scared and confused, goes to Nikki's house. On her way there, she sees people on the street with obscured demonic faces. Afraid to sleep alone now, she stays at Nikki's house for the night. However she feels pounding in her stomach, as if something was trying to get out. Then, some spikes rip out of her stomach. Terrified, Melissa stabs herself with some scissors until she kills herself. Nikki, literally bathing in Melissa's blood, watches in horror as some spider like creature with a baby's face rips through the corpse's stomach. It jumps on her and brutally kills her, spraying blood all over the walls.
At the police station, detective Neilson is sent to his boss' office (John Roper played by Barry Lee-Thomas) , who has some questions for him. Kemper (David McEwen), a madman imprisoned at Fenham Asylum, is then shown in his cell with a list of those who helped catch him and gives it to his ally and son (which is only revealed at the end), Dani. Melissa was probably 1st on this list.
Sophie (Rebecca Eden) and Emma (Emma Rice) try to break into a house. They start looking for a box with money. When Emma finally finds the box under a bed a bony old man (Al Stokes) pops up from the bedcovers. He grabs Emma and starts yelling. Sophie, not knowing what to do, takes a candleholder and whacks the old man on the head. The girls check for his pulse but he has none. Bizarrely, the old man jumps up one again and attacks Sophie. Emma takes a knife and stabs the old man first in the cheek, then in the shoulder. Still alive, once again he gets up. Sophie then takes a huge hammer and smashes the old man's face. Confident that he is now dead, the two girls take a bath to remove their bloodstains. Emma tells Sophie that she told her sister that they were going to do this robbery. Angered at Emma, Sophie hits Emma with the same huge hammer and kills her. She stuffs the money in her pockets and makes for the exit of the house, but she trips on the stairs and hits her head on the wall. This knocks her out and she wakes up in the morning. When she checks to see where the corpses of her friend and the old man were, she finds an empty room. She then goes back to her apartment. There she is attacked by the zombies of Emma (who is demanding for her share of the stolen money) and the old man (who is seeking revenge). The old man holds her while Emma stabs Sophie in the eye with a broken bottle and kills her.
At the police station, Neilson is told by a police officer the names of the people killed so far. Neilson recognises them as they helped him catch Kemper. That night Neilson has a nightmare. He sees Kemper enter his bedroom. Kemper forces Neilson to keep his mouth open and breaks his front row of teeth using a hammer and nail. Neilson is woken up by his phone. When he answers it he hears a strange voice, Dani's. Dani is at Sophie's apartment and places a coin with a goat head insignia on Sophie's corpse. The Man is then shown performing some sort of ritual. He stabs a cat until its organs fall out on a plate and then eats them.
After the police investigate the corpses at Emily's apartment, Neilson's boss John wants another word with him. Suspecting that Kemper somehow murdered the girls and the old man, John orders Neilson to tell him everything he knows about Kemper. Neilson tells John that Kemper in the beginning was a 'magician' who could hypnotize people. He performed at public shows and hypnotized unsuspecting children. At night the children would walk to him and he would use them in sick depraved rituals. He would also eat them. He supposedly did this to emulate his father, satanist Anthony Crowley. Now almost sure that Kemper was guilty, John orders Kemper to be moved to a new cell so his current one can be investigated.
Next on the killing list is Nick Holland (Louie Brownsell). Nick drives home with his girlfriend Natalie (Eileen Daily) where he refuses to make love to her. He does this because he feels bad that he only has one leg (the other one was lost in an unknown accident). Nick's doctor says that if Nick brings him a leg, it is possible to stitch it to Nick's body. So, Nick goes to an old friend of his, (a man named Thomas) and shoots him in the head. He then cuts Thomas' leg off with a knife and puts it in a suitcase. He brings the leg to the doctor and the doctor sends a nurse over to Nick's house to stitch the leg on. That night Nick has a nightmare. He sees Thomas murdering Natalie and then stabbing him with a knife. He wakes up and finds Natalie safe next to him. The couple decides to go for a drive. Nick is the driver, but some unknown force twists his legs and makes him hold the gas panel down. Not able to break, he keeps speeding until a truck crashes into the car. Nick doesn't die after the crash, but he sees that Natalie had been ripped out of the car and had crashed on a pole. Nick, unable to bear Natalie's death, stabs himself in the leg and under the head with a knife. A couple of cops come and call in reinforcements. That's when Dani shows up. He walks in front of the 1st cop and stabs him through the eyes with his metal finger armours. He then approaches the 2nd cop (who is throwing up from the sight of Nick killing himself) and attacks him. After looking through Kemper's old cell some doctors find the list of victims Kemper had. John is informed and calls Neilson. He tells him there are two people left on the list. Richard Neilson (Stuart Lang) (Neilson's son), and Neilson himself.
Richard Neilson is a reporter who is for some reason spoiled by the internet. He is slightly attracted to killing and murder. He recently finds a website that lets members choose how they want to have someone killed and see it live on the 'SickCam'. The victims are killed in a room called the 'Sick Room'. Richard likes this website and is blinded by his blood thirst. He sees a sample video on the SickCam and decides he wants to try this. So, he writes the URL of the website down and tricks his girlfriend into coming to his house and assaults her violently. This isn't shown but is obvious, as his girlfriend's face is later shown completely bruised and stitched. The next day Richard tries to enter the site through his laptop but the URL doesn't work. He falls asleep for the rest of the day and tries to enter the site again the next day at work. He tries different URLs until he gets the right one, but just when he enters the site and completes the site membership form, his computer shuts off. Richard's boss fires him for everything bad he's done. Richard tries to get into the site again at home from is laptop. The URL fails to work once more so he tries other possibilities. After days of fruitless effort he finally succeeds. The site says: 'Thank You. If you have found us then you deserve to be here. Please enjoy full membership privilege while we process your account'. Under this text is the goat head insignia, the same on the coin that The Man had left on Sophie's corpse. Richard enjoys commanding how to have a man tortured and killed online while watching it happen on the Sick Cam [Tony Hickson]. But then, Richard's Internet connection is terminated. He forgot all about his Internet bills all these days as well as his rent. He is kicked out of his house, so the first place he goes to is the Internet cafe. He tries entering the Sick Room website there but with no luck, so he posts an online sign asking for info on the sick room. The next day he gets a reply: 'The Cottage. Elm Drive, Harrow. The man there can tell you more. Please don't try to trace this. A friend'. Richard goes to the cottage in the address and meets a short man (Willie Evans). The man tricks Richard into actually entering the sick room, where Richard is hit with hammers and cut up with razors. The user who is ordering these commands online is then shown to be The Man.
Neilson is told that his son is dead. Thinking it was Kemper, he decides to kill him. He goes into Kemper's cell and shoots Kemper in the leg and arm. Then a doctor calls in some backup. Some soldiers come, but Dani comes too, disguised as one of the soldiers. Dani, holding a machete, slits a female doctor's throat, stabs the 1st reinforcement guard in the face, and eventually kills everyone except Neilson. Neilson shoots The Man in the face, blowing half his head off. Then he shoots Kemper in the heart, but as he is checking if Kemper is still alive, a spider-like creature comes out of The Man's half-head as he cries out "Evil has just begun." Then there are screams and the movie ends.
Cradle of Fear has a chequered release history. Aside from the festival and convention circuit the film never saw a cinema screen, and was released straight to video. The UK distributors initially made it available as a mail order VHS title, on the grounds that this would allow the release of an uncut and unrated version, posted out from Europe and circumventing the BBFC (the assumption being that the BBFC would not pass the film without significant alterations). After long delays these tapes were finally sent out but, much to the producers' embarrassment, the film was passed completely uncut by the BBFC barely a month later, and picked up for exclusive distribution on DVD by the Blockbuster chain, who from the off sold it at a fraction of the price of the mail order tapes. In 2006 the HMV chain signed an agreement with Pragmatic Pictures for UK distribution of the DVD version, which subsequently entered HMV's DVD Top 10 chart. The film is now widely available on DVD, uncut and at a budget price.
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