Thursday, 22 October 2015

Mayhem Horror Film Festival 2015 (Part 1): Day 1

Now in it's 11th year, Mayhem Horror Film Festival had a slight change in date (you can blame the release date of Spectre for that!). But that didn't matter as the line-up and guests are always impressive and the atmosphere is always welcoming. Here's what happened on Thursday night...

Day 1: Thursday 15th October 

The film that kicked off the festival was Emelie...

After their regular babysitter can't make it, the Thompson family turn to the highly recommended Anna to supervise the children while they go out to celebrate their anniversary.

Sound simple enough? Well, it wasn't. Fuck my ass, what a way suitably fucked up way to start the proceedings!
Sarah Bolger stars as Anna, or is it Emelie?! She gives a outstandingly creepy, yet subtle, performance as the babysitter from, erm, well, somewhere very strange and messed up. The trio of child actors, Carly Adams (Sally), Joshua Rush (Jacob) and Thomas Bair (Christopher) are fantastic in their roles baring in mind how young they all are.

Both direction and script are strong and what that delivers on the screen is disturbing and unsettling in absolute bucket loads!

Emelie gsts 4 Stars
Check out the trailer below...

Up next was the documentary Future Shock - The Story of 2000AD... "
A long overdue documentary that tells the story of 2000AD, the unsung cult hero of the comics industry" with special guests Paul Goodwin, producer Sean Hogan and 2000AD writer and artist D’Israeli (Matt Brooker)...

I for one was looking forward to this as 2000AD was the only comic I ever really read as a kid. The documentary itself was well made. Learning how the comic came about and is still going strong today despite all the ups and downs over the years from various people that have worked and still work on the comic was extremely interesting. The interviews are very frank, open and honest. I highly recommend this to fans of 2000AD! A link to pre-order the DVD can be found further down the page.

Here's D’Israeli and I after he signed my copy of Leviathan.


The DVD is now available to pre-order on Amazon HERE. Check out the trailer...

The last film of the evening was a French remake of Mario Bava's Rabid Dogs...

"After a bank job goes badly wrong, three desperate criminals take a young woman and a father and child hostage, which is the beginning of a frantic and violent road trip that not all of them will survive."

Éric Hannezo makes his directional debut with this tense and violent thriller with a twist.

Solid acting from all the cast and a great script gives this French film the edge over a lot of modern English language thrillers.

Standout performances come by way of Guillaume Gouix and Lambert Wilson.

Rabid Dogs gets 4 Stars

Check out the trailer below...

It was an absolutely perfect way to start Mayhem! Look out for Part 2 soon...

Nina Forever (2015) Review

Showing at Mayhem Horror Film Festival, Nina Forever was the second film of day 2. I missed the first film due to work and not being able to finish early, but that really didn't matter, as this film delivered in spades.

This "fucked up fairy tale" follows Rob (Cian Barry) shortly after he attempts to commit suicide on his motorbike due to loosing his girlfriend in a car crash. Working in a dead end job, he meets fellow co-worker Holly (Abigail Hardingham), who has a huge crush on Rob.

Rob deals with the loss of Nina by visiting Nina's parents once a week. In the meantime, Rob and Holly start dating and fall head over heals for one another and on the first night they sleep together, something extremely strange happens.

While in the throws of passion, a spot of blood starts to seep through the bed sheets. Of course, neither of the young lovers notice at first, but as they are gripped in sexual heat the blood spot soon becomes a pool, drenching the bed. Out of the blood grows hands, arms, legs. When these hands of the body rising out of the blood pool starts to get involved in the couples sexual exploits, Holly and Rob notice and, to say the least, are shocked! 

Rob's ex-girlfriend Nina (Fiona O'Shaughnessy) is now lying on the bed next to them in full naked glory, covered in blood with all the wounds she received during her fatal car crash. As if this isn't bad enough, Nina is in full blown conversation with both Rob and Holly.

The new couple find themselves trying to deal with what happened. Holly actually deals with this better than Rob does. They try having sex again and sure enough, Nina makes a grand appearance, but this time Rob and Holly try to get Nina involved with the bedroom antics. However, this doesn't last and Holly finds herself being pestered by Nina outside of the sexual activity causing Rob and Holly to split up and go there separate ways. Holly soon realises that this hasn't solved anything...

The first thing I'll say about about this film is this... These types of films are why I attend horror film festivals. Once again, we're treated to a fantastic British horror at Mayhem. In 2013 they had The Borderlands and last year Mayhem showed the Irish film The Canal. Both brilliant movies.

The first thing about Nina Forever that stood out was the cinematography which features some very British scenery that captured the rather bleak but beautiful essence of the surrounding area where the film is set. This bleak beauty was also present within the entire feel of the film.

With solid support from David Troughton (Dan) and Elizabeth Elvin (Sally) as Nina's bereaving parents, both Abigail Hardingham as Holly and Cian Barry as Rob were fantastic in their roles. Both so very natural in what was sometimes a very awkward relationship in the film. Both faultless in their performances. But, it was Fiona O'Shaughnessy portrayal of the living dead girl Nina, that stood ever so slightly above all others. If, like me, you watched Channel 4's Utopia (the only British show I've ever watched religiously!), then you're familiar with how great Fiona is. Her performance as Nina can only be described as weird and wonderful. Possibly the hardest role in the movie, looked executed with ease.

Chris Blain, Mad Mike, Cassandra Sigsgaard, Ben Blain
During the Q&A after the screening, directors Ben Blaine and Chris Blaine revealed that O'Shaughnessy had no interest in doing the film after reading the script and it was a friend that got sick of hearing about "this film" from Fiona who told her that she obviously thought the script was good as Fiona never shut up about it! So thankfully Fiona O'Shaughnessy took the part and in my humble opinion turned out to be perfect for it.

Written and directed by Chris and Ben Blain, besides a TV movie and a handful of shorts, this is their first feature. However, this is not noticed in any way shape or form. After watching the film you'd think they've been doing this for years. It simply is that damn good. The script, while diving into darker issues of dealing with death, personal loss and how that affects those around you, was absolutely hilarious in some places with some extremely British humour. With flawless directing from such a bold script, the film crosses the boundary of multiply genres. The attention to the creaking and twisting of Nina's blooded up and broken body was horror perfection. Some of the sex scenes were extremely erotic and sensual, but cultivated with taste. The humour, quick-witted and brazen. As if all of that wasn't good enough, we're given a very cool soundtrack too.

In fact, the whole film is so fucking cool, that I'm even contemplating getting a Nina Forever tattoo. That how much I loved this movie! Anyway, as normal, I digress...


Nina Forever gets 5 Stars

Check out the trailer below...


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Mayhem Horror Film Festival 2015

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you'll know I'm always banging on about Mayhem Horror Film Fesltival in Nottingham. Why, I hear you asking? Because it's awesome! I first went in 2012 for just the one film, the Soska sister's American Mary. 2013, I managed one whole day. 2014, I attended the whole weekend. This year, I booked my weekend pass nice and early.

Besides the fact it's only about 14 miles away from where I live, the film choice is always good, there's always special guests and the atmosphere is fantastic. Check out my blog posts from last year's event...
Day 1 & 2. Day 3. Day 4. 10 Years of Mayhem.

There's just over a week now to Mayhem, but there's still tickets left. This year's event will run from Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th (October). Hit up the click for more info and tickets...

The full line-up and schedule for Mayhem 2015 is available below:

Thursday October 15th

Dir. Michael Thelin, 2015 (USA) with Sarah Bolger and Robert Bozek.

8.45PM FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD + special guests Paul Goodwin, producer Sean Hogan and 2000AD writer and artist D’Israeli.
Dir. Paul Goodwin, 2015 (UK).

Dir. Eric Hannezo, 2015 (FRA/CAN) with Lambert Wilson and Laurent Lucas.

Friday October 15th

Dir. Miguel Llanso, 2015 (ETH/SPA), with Daniel Tadesse and Selam Testayie

6.30PM NINA FOREVER + special guests Ben and Chris Blaine and producer Cassandra Sigsgaard.
Dirs. Ben Blaine & Chris Blaine, 2015 (UK) with Fiona O’Shaunghnessy and Cian Barry

9.00PM HOWL + MAKING MONSTERS masterclass with Paul Hyett.
Dir. Paul Hyett, 2015 (UK) with Sean Pertwee and Ed Speleers.

Dir. Benni Diez, 2015 (GER/USA) with Jessica Cook and Matt O’Leary.

Saturday October 17th

Dir. Takashi Yamazaki, 2014 (JAP) with Shoia Sometani and Eri Fukatsu.

Dir. Jason Krawczyk, 2015 (USA) with Henry Rollins and Jordon Todesey.

Dir. Various, 2015 (International).


Dir. Brian Yuzna, 1989 (USA) with Billy Walrock and Connie Danese.

Sunday October 18th

Dir. Jason Hei Howden, 2015 (NZ) with Milo Cawthorne and James Blake.

1.45PM GERMAN ANGST + special guest Michal Kosakowski.
Dirs. Michal Kosakowski, Jorg Buttgereit and Andreas Marschall 2015 (GER).

Dir. Robert Eggers, 2015 (USA) with Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie.

6.45PM AAAAAAAAH! + special guest Steve Oram.
Dir. Steve Oram, 2015 (UK) with Toyah Wilcox and Julian Rhind‐Tutt.

Dir. Karyn Kusama, 2015 (USA) with Logan Marshall-­‐Green and Tammy Blanchard.

Full Festival passes, day passes and individual tickets for Mayhem Film Festival 2015 are also available from

The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula is made possible thanks to Hammer Films, CATH (Cinema and Television Research Centre) and the De Montfort University.

Mayhem Film Festival takes place on 15-­‐18 October at Broadway, Nottingham with the support of the BFI Film Festival Fund, awarding funds from The National Lottery.

Check out the trailer for the event below...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fright Meter Awards Short Horror Film Press Release

It's that time of year again! Part of my responsibilities as a senior committee member of the Fright Meter Awards is to find short horror films for the "Short Film" category. So, any film makers out there got a short horror film? Read on for the details...

From the Press Release:

The Fright Meter Awards Organisation is seeking submissions to be considered for the “Best Short Film” award.  To be eligible, the short film must be submitted to a film festival or available on social media outlets such as YouTube, Vimeo etc. between December 1st, 2014 and November 30th, 2015 and be available for the Fright Meter Awards Committee to view.

Now in its eighth year, The Fright Meter Awards are presented annually by the Fright Meter Awards Organisation, dedicated solely to honouring and recognising excellence within the horror genre. The nominations and winners are determined by members of the Fright Meter Awards Committee.  Past winners of the Fright Meter Award include John Cusack, Chloe Grace Moretz, Rutger Hauer, and Marcia Gay Harden.

The Fright Meter Award Committee consists of horror fans, bloggers, actors, producers, directors, and others involved in the industry. The aim is to select and nominate worthy films regardless of budget, means of release, or popularity. The Fright Meter Awards Organisation intends to make the Fright Meter Award one of the most prestigious horror awards given.

If you are interested in having your short film considered, please contact us.
Individuals can visit for more information about the organisation.

Michael “Mad Mike” Nagy - Senior Committee Member

Troy Escamilla - President

Fright Meter Awards Organisation

Monday, 31 August 2015

Banjo (2015) Review

This year's trip to Film4 FrightFest, once again, revolved around one film for me. British Indie Horror Comedy BANJO, which made it's world premier today.

I always try my best to support indie horror, especially if it's British. Having known the director, Liam Regan, for a while on Facbook now and then meeting him at HorrorConUK earlier this year, (where the trailer screened and a Q&A was held with the some of the cast and crew), I was a little nervous as to what the film was going to turn out like. As some of the regular readers know, I can be brutally honest when I want or need to be.

A couple of minutes into the film and those nerves disappeared and by the end of it, it exceeded my expectations.

Banjo follows the story of Peltzer Arbuckle (James Hamer-Morton). As a mild mannered and meek individual, Peltzer gets it in the neck from all sides of life.

A bitch of a girlfriend, Deetz (Dani Thompson), a complete arsehole of a boss, Mr. Sawyer (Vito Trigo), and everyone else he works with seem to do nothing more than take the piss out of him!

The only person that's nice to him is Clyde (Laurence R. Harvey) and his ex-girlfriend Melissa (Serena Chloe Gardner). Although, she now has a new boyfriend, company big shot Stiles Rembrandt (Clay von Carlowitz) who's pretty much as bad as Mr. Sawyer.

With constant belittlement and physical abuse from Deetz, which is more than enough for you to feel sorry for Peltzer's character, and verbal abuse from his boss, Peltzer's confidence spirals down and down. During sex one evening with the his girlfriend, things get a little too vigorous and Deetz more or less ends up raping Peltzer, which leads to his "banjo string" snapping (if you're unfamiliar with that term, then I suggest you google it)!!

As it happens, it's not the only thing to snap. His mind snaps too and sees a childhood imaginary friend make a reappearance. With all the abuse and stress in Peltzer's life, his mind has finally had enough and now it's time for his old pal Ronnie (Damian Morter) to mix things up a bit and give Peltzer a little push in the right direction. Bloody mayhem ensues!

There's no surprises after watching this film where Liam Regan's influences came from. I would describe Banjo as a love letter to Troma. With over the top characters and gore, the film is absolutely hilarious. This is testament to an excellent script (that Regan also wrote) and great comedy timing from the cast.

The film is also very dark in places. Hamer-Morton's Peltzer, goes through, which can only be described as, domestic violence at the hands of his girlfriend. You can't help but have empathy for Clyde as he's asulted in the workplace. And at certain points, Ronnie's face is one of pure terror.

Dani Thompson played the bitchy eye candy character Deetz well, despite the performance being a little weak compared to the rest of the main cast. Of course, Laurence R. Harvey is perfect in his role as the feeble mama's boy. The leading man, James Hamer-Morton, gives a solid performance, keeping the audience feeling sorry for him and at the same time rooting for him. Vito Trigo plays the perfect over the top bastard of a boss. Clay von Carlowitz' suave yet cuntish Stiles was on point and Serena Chloe Gardner played the nice girl to a tee. But the stand out performance for me was the imaginary friend Ronnie. Played by Damian Morter (who was also director of photography on the movie), he gave a fantastic performance being both dark and sadistic and as funny as a stand up comedian. It was also great to see Mr. Troma himself, Lloyd Kaufman, make an appearance.

Regan's direction, baring in mind that this film is his feature length debut (based on his own short film), was exceptional. The timing of gore, brutality and laughs were so good that it looked like he'd been doing this years. This is what happens when a lover of horror makes a horror movie. You can see the passion practically jumping out of the screen. My only issue was the pacing at the beginning of the third act, but that was soon overcome with the sick hilarity that followed. That sick hilarity, throughout the film, is what made the movie so damn good and if the movie didn't have such big laughs throughout, I think it would've been a very different film that just wouldn't have worked. The FX, all practical, suited the feel of the film being dirty and grimy and had me squirming a couple of times. Over the top of all the fun and blood was a very playful score which was in perfect unison with every scene.

The cast & crew of Banjo

Banjo is a "no budget" horror flick and goes to show, when done right, you don't need big budgets to make a clever and entertaining film. Banjo is Indie horror done right and there's a hell of a lot of film makers out there that can learn a lot from this movie.

Overall... OK, it's not a perfect film, but that didn't stop me enjoying it any less than what I did nor did any issues I had with it. I'm giving Banjo the amount of stars I am, taking into account the first time effort in directing, the limited experience of the cast, and the budget of the flick. As I said before, it exceeded my expectations and I haven't laughed this hard for a long time, not even at an actual comedy! The more I think about, I absolutely fucking loved it! And I honestly can't put it any better than that. I can't wait for it to hit DVD.


Banjo gets 5 Stars

Check out the trailer below...

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Mayhem Horror Film Festival 2015 Announces First Guest & Closing Film

From the Press Release:

Mayhem Film Festival are thrilled to announce Steve Oram’s Aaaaaaaah! and Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation as the first two films from this year’s line-up.

Taking place on 15-18 October, Mayhem Film Festival will close its 11th edition with Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation. Hailed as Kusama’s strongest work by Variety, The Invitation is a deeply disturbing, slow burn horror thriller from the director of Jennifer’s Body.

This year, the festival will also welcome back Steve Oram (Sightseers) with his directorial debut Aaaaaaaah! produced by Andrew Starke and executive produced by Ben Wheatley (Rook Films). The film, which contains no traditional dialogue, is an insane and hilarious collision of Romeo and Juliet and The Planet of the Apes in suburbia. Steve Oram will make the trip to present the film and take part in a post-screening Q&A.

 "We're really pleased to be screening both Aaaaaaaah! and The Invitation - two great films which really reflect the diversity of our programme, ranging from surreal dark comedy to atmospheric, unsettling tension, explains Mayhem’s Co-Director’s Steven Sheil. We're also really excited to be welcoming Steve Oram back to Mayhem, after Sightseers - his collaboration with Ben Wheatley and Alice Lowe - proved such a hit with our audience in 2012."

Mayhem Film Festival will take place at Broadway, Nottingham on 15-18 October. Early Bird Passes for the festival are available at the discounted price of £55. For more information and to book your passes, please visit


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Mania Teaser Trailer Press Release

Jessica Cameron Unleashes the First Footage of MANIA

When Jessica first told me about the project, she had me at "FUCKED UP" and "LESBIAN!"
Now her latest project Mania has a teaser trailer...

From the Press Release:

Director/Scream Queen Jessica Cameron has shared the first bit of footage from her sophomore directorial vehicle, titled MANIA. The teaser trailer can be viewed by clicking on the LINK RIGHT HERE.
The plot of the film revolves around two lesbian lovers who flee their home and travel cross country after a brutal murder. The movie stars Ellie Church (Time to Kill, Headless) in the lead role of Mel.
Mania is scheduled to start the festival circuit later this year. Fans are encouraged to ask for it at their favourite festival.
MANIA was one of three features that were filmed simultaneously while travelling across the United States in an RV. Desolation was the other narrative feature, which is a modern hitch hiker tale in which Cameron stars along side Carlo Mendez (The Bay, The Second Coming of Christ). Kill the PA will be the feature length documentary that chronicles the making of both movies, giving the fans an eye opening, honest look into how indie films are made.
Cameron launched her directing career with the multi-award winning film Truth or Dare which went on to win 33 awards across the globe at various film festivals including the Twin Cities Film Festival, FrightFest London, and Monster Fest in Australia, amongst others. She re-teamed with Truth or Dare cohorts Mem Ferda (The Devil’s Double, Hyena) and Jonathan Scott Higgins (Utero). Ferda produced, with Higgins and Cameron executive producing from a script by Higgins.
Here is what Cameron had to say about the teaser:

“I’m so excited to share this fun little tease from my feature MANIA. This is one of the sexiest films that I have seen in long time, and I know fans are going to love it as much as I do. This film is as naughty as Truth Or Dare is dirty.”

Tristan Risk & Jessica Cameron

For additional information regarding the MANIA, please see the links below: