The Sideling Hill

The Sideling Hill

Murder Made Easy

Murder Made Easy



What you sow, you shall reap...


The Black Gloves (2017)

Title: The Black Gloves
Director: Lawrie Brewster
Writer(s): Sarah Daly
Cast: Macarena Gómez, Jamie Scott Gordon, Alexandra Nicole Hulme
Genre(s): Psychological Horror
Release Date: Q4 2017

The terrific duo of Director Lawrie Brewster, and writer Sarah Daly return to the realm of Moloch in their second entry to the Owlmans vast collection of tales. The original film (the phenomenal Lord of Tears, my review, here ) crypt from the void in 2013, and now, five years later, has returned. What is this film though? A sequel? Prequel? Neither? Most importantly, is it deserving of its predecessor?


The film is set much before the events of Lord of Tears, however, it’s not, in essence, a true prequel. Nothing in this film leads to the events of its predecessor. Instead, this is it’s own tale, it’s own personally crafted story. Hence the totally new title. Instead of some generic ‘Lord of Tears 2’ or ‘Lord of Tears: The Beginning’ we are presented with ‘The Black Gloves’. Which is your first warning, do NOT expect your typical horror sequel. This film is watchable without even knowing of the originals existence.

The films prologue will treat keen eyed horror fans to none other than Nicholas Vince, if his name rings a bell, which it should to a genre enthusiast, it’s because he twice played the role of fan favoured Cenobite Chatterer. His role is brief, but the scene helps set up our protagonists motives. Dr Finn Galloway, played by Jamie Scott Gordon, of which this is his third outing with Brewster at the helm, plays a grief stricken doctor whom is conflicted with himself with the loss of a young patient. A young girl, who was plagued by an owl like figure. So when Dr Galloway is made aware of a woman, a once famed ballerina, who has encountered a strikingly similar hysteria, he is propelled to redeem his failed patient, by saving another.


The films style is breathtakingly beautiful. Shot completely in black and white, the contrasting of light and dark is remarkable. There are brilliant nods to the filming styles of old noir, as well as classic horror. One absolutely striking resemblance is to the amazing 1931’s Dracula, and in more ways than one. The films strong gothic tone, within the walls of the ever brilliant Baldurrock Estate. However more strikingly is the repeated use of Swan Lake; which is the only music heard during the 1931 film. Things don’t stop there, though, large parts of the film remain scoreless. Long drawn out scenes, with eerie sound effects, the wailing winds, the cracking of Baldurrocks floors, again all present in the scoreless Dracula. I have no idea if this is intentional, but it’s hard to miss. And it works brilliantly. It gives the film a dense atmosphere, and while being new, there’s enough old here to please fans of the bygone era of classics. There is another striking similarity with our fanged figure, but I’ll touch on that later.


The cast is built of primarily a three piece, the aforementioned Gordon, Lord of Tears’ beautiful Alexandra Nicole Hulme, and on her debut Brewster film, the absolutely fantastic Macarena Gómez. Our protagonist is introduced, firstly to Gómez, in the role of  Lorena Velasco. A once brilliant ballerina, turned teacher due to a leg destroying accident. She is the soul carer, and instructor for whom Dr. Galloway is seeking. I can not state enough how truly powerful Gómez is. She pulls from being beautiful, touching and loving, to fierce and madly frightening at the turn of a dime. She delivers the films best performance, which is saying something, as both Gordon and Hulme have  came a long way since the 2013 picture.


Once being granted with the privilege of staying in the Estate by Velasco, Dr. Galloway is introduced to fallen ballerina, Elisa Grey. Brought to life by the ever talented Hulme. Her role in this is the exact opposite to her former in the previous film. Here she more often than not is merely a shell. Brought to life only when perfecting her one person rehearsal of Swan Lake. Her voidless gaze and unfaltering expression only broken for small moments. Terrified by what menace has its talons deep beneath the grounds of Baldurrock’s Estate.



Dr. Galloway notices a less than healthy relationship between the student, and the teacher. One that at a glance appears maternal. Though the longer he watches the more twisted it becomes. Their relationship, and overall setting should pull on horror fans strings of familiarity again. A ballerina, with a harsh teacher who demands perfection. Situated within a large gothic building. Susperia. This films hits so many notes, while being it’s own creation, it will also have genre fans sitting back and seeing subtle references to films we all love, it’s almost Tarantino in that sense, but it’s never enough to take you out of the picture itself.


The picture isn’t perfect though, and surprisingly it’s biggest flaw, in my opinion, is the fan favourite entity The Owlman himself. I think we see less of him here than in the original, which is not a bad thing. As this is a creature that excels when used sparingly. My biggest complaint is one I never saw coming. Something that made him so memorable originally. David Schofields voice, but not only is Schofield absent, the being as zero dialogue at all. As to why this was done I’ve no idea. Owlmans monologues and twisted phrases spun out sinisterly were a big highlight of the film. They clarified that he was in control. That he was the string puller and all else were his playthings. His etiquette and poise put him on a new level of sophistication, not seen in an interesting dreadful character since the early versions of Pinhead. Stripping him of that aspect takes a layer off the character, having him more of a mute brute, whose sophisticated elegance lost, which is a shame, and unfortunately helps stop the film from being something truly remarkable. Which brings me to my other aforementioned Dracula similarity. However this time from Hammer Horror’s second Dracula venture, 1966’s Prince of Darkness, in which Lee’s Dracula, is entirely speechless. So here we have two films. Both second entries, both with previously speaking antagonists, now mute. I couldn’t help but noticing this coupled with the similarities with the 1931 picture as well.

The films climax is compelling, and I absolutely loved the similarities with the previous entry. It again is something new, while still being old, and once again astonishingly done. We are brought to a once again grim and harrowing implication during the films  final shot; especially if you’re aware of Molochs preferred sacrifices. Never forget, in the shrine, a head must sit.


The film sits beautifully in the world constructed by LoT, I do hope if there are more stories to be told, Hulme at this point seems essential to the world, her along with Baldurrock Estate seem to be paper weights in this grim tale, Gordon has also appeared in both Owlman films, and also giving the amazing performance by Gómez, I wouldn’t be surprised if she too, became a go-to for Lawrie and crew. And lets hope Schofield can one day return to deliver some truly memorable speeches. The film blends its influences expertly with it’s own ideas and is executed perfectly. Small details like even the closing credits displayed in the same style as something from the 1930’s gives classic genre fans a smile.  Overall this film sits comfortably with Lord of Tears, while not achieving its still unrivalled greatness, it certainly is very worthy of sitting in its world. I do look forward to a few repeated viewings, now knowing what to expect, if they at all alter my opinion I’ll be sure to edit accordingly.



As stands.. 8 out of 10 sacrifices to Moloch



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