Thursday, 15 September 2016

Blair Witch (2016) Review



It seems like an eternity since I wrote a review. Life has been hectic to say the least and my blog has been on the back burner, so to speak. So, here's my first review since October 2015!

I've been to see Blair Witch tonight. It seems like this movie has just sprung out of nowhere with very little press and promotion, especially considering how big The Blair Witch Project was! Now, talking of the first film (I rewatched it last night), I didn't think a great deal of the first film, although I did like a couple of parts and thought the ending was good. However, I do appreciate how important the film was to the horror genre looking back. And, yes, I did like Book of Shadows!

This sequel is directed Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. There's films so far have been a bit hit and miss for me. I didn't like You're Next, but i really enjoyed The Guest.

Blair Witch sees James (James Allen McCune) going on the trail for his sister Heather who disappeared in the first film. Being lazy, if you didn't know, here's the synopsis from IMDB...

"After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling."

That's all the info you really need to know as regards the storyline.

Look, I made this for you. Try not to snap it...

There's no point going into more characters, names etc. etc. There will be a couple of spoilers in this review, but nothing that will ruin it for you. OK, my thoughts, not good I'm afraid. It's pretty much a rehash of the first film, but with a few extra characters thrown in. There's more going on, a lot quicker this time, and less subtle which I feel was a good point in The Blair Witch Project. It's got more tech like head cams, a helicopter drone video thing, walkie talkies, GPS gadgets and updated video equipment in general, so yes it's a found footage flick. But the whole thing felt like the rest of most modern sequels where everything is ramped up and supposedly bigger and better. Quite frankly it's filled with cheap jump scares that started to grate on me to be honest. Loud noises, even louder noise and more cheap thrills that one could shake a stick at!

A couple of spoilers here...

They all end up at the house at the end of the first film, which you see on the trailer anyway. A lot more time is spent in the house. You see the witch! Yes, all the things that you'd expect in what seems like this modern era of horror we're heading towards of watered down shit for kids who have too many feelings. There's nothing original, nothing scary, nothing worthy of any note about this film. Actually, I'm lying, I did like the thunder, lighting and rain sound effects. There, that's the only thing I found enjoyable. But then, I like the sound of thunder, lighting and rain anyway.

Her acting at this point was so bad she even scared herself!

It actually became laughable towards the end, mainly due to the poor acting from the hysterical Lisa (Callie Hernandez) who blubbers more than Heather did, but at least that was believable. I don't know what more to say. Honestly, it seems like in this new era of political correctness, social justice warriors ruining everything for everyone, and the generation of movie goers (yes, the latest edition of fucking teenagers!) being all to too touchy feely, our once beautiful genre of horror is becoming (and has been for a few years now) more and more watered down as to not offend anyone. Plus, it's more apparent that the studios just want bums in seats to keep the profits as high as possible instead of making something note worthy. Seriously, there's only a handful of horror films out this year that I've actually enjoyed and 3 of those I saw at a horror film festival last year.

I stood looking at the huge Blair Witch poster in the cinema lobby after watching the film. Reading what other critics/reviewers had said about...

"One of the scariest movies ever made"
"A new beginning for Horror films"
"Chilling and intense, a truly terrifying cinematic experience"

NO! Don't believe the hype. Or maybe I'm just that much of a seasoned horror fan and/or too old (nearly 40) that it takes something seriously special to impress me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Lights Out, it was fun. But there's been nothing for years that has genuinely frightened me or really disturbed me. Anyway, here's the official part...

BLAIR WITCH IS MODERN HORROR FOR MODERN FANS IN AN ERA OF DUMBED DOWN, CHEAP SCARES & NOTHING NEW FILM MAKING

 Blair Witch gets a big fat 1 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Mayhem Film Festival 2016 Short Film Showcase Announcement



Mayhem Film Festival have announced this year's short films for their Short Film Showcase which is held on the Saturday. Here's the line up...

A Father's Day
Directed by Mat Johns
Unexpectedly reunited with his daughter amongst the ruins of the world as they knew it, a father is determined to make this day special, even if they are already dead.

Sandman
Directed by Liam Banks
When Sandy is woken from a strange dream nothing could have prepared her for the nightmare she finds herself in now she's awake.

White Lily
Directed by Tristan Ofield
A tense ship captain and co-pilot set out to investigate a comet, when a technical fault cuts to the core of their relationships problem…

Strangers in the Night
Directed by Conor McMahon
Two lonely people find the love they were searching for. Well, one lonely person and one banshee!ate a comet, when a technical fault cuts to the core of their relationships problem…

Dawn of the Deaf
Directed by Rob Savage
When a strange sound wipes out the hearing population, a small group of Deaf people must band together to survive.

Nasty
Directed by Prano Baily-Bond
It's 1982. Twelve-year-old Doug is drawn into the lurid world of VHS horror as he explores the mysterious disappearance of his father.

The Home
Directed by L. Gustavo Cooper
Set in Ireland at a 19th century home for pregnant women out of wedlock, THE HOME tells the story of a young pregnant woman fighting for her sanity (and her unborn child) as an ancient evil descends on the convent.

The Stylist
Directed by Jill Gevargizian
Claire is a lonely hairstylist with an unnerving desire to escape her disappointing reality. When her final client of the evening arrives with the request to look perfect, Claire has plans of her own.

The Procedure
Directed by Calvin Lee Reeder
A man is kidnapped and forced to endure a strange experiment. Frank Mosley (UPSTREAM COLOR) makes a surprising, brutal cameo.

Quenottes (Pearlies)
Directed by Pascal Thiebaux & Gil Pinheiro
In everybody's mind, the little mouse (or Tooth Fairy) is a benevolent and generous character... What if it isn't ? What if it is actually a neurotic psychopath obsessing about its collection of dental trophies? If a tooth is missing, it must be replaced. By any means necessary...


Mayhem Film Festival (Horror, Scifi & Cult Cinema) is held in Nottingham at the Broadway Cinema from 13th to 16th October. Check out the Mayhem website HERE to find out more info on films, tickets and more.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Fright Meter Awards 2016 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, 2015 and November 30th, 2016 and be available for the Fright Meter Awards Committee to view.

Now in its ninth 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 www.frightmeterawards.com for more information about the organisation.

Michael “Mad Mike” Nagy - Senior Committee Member
naggerz69@hotmail.co.uk

Troy Escamilla - President
troy@frightmeterawards.com

Fright Meter Awards Organisation

Mayhem Film Festival 2016 Full Line Up

 
Autumn is nearly upon us! My favorite month October brings 3 awesome things, in this order of time... 1- My birthday. 2- Mayhem Horror Film Festival. 3- Halloween.

The annoucement came in today, via the magic of the internet, of the line up for this year's Mayhem Film Festival which is held at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham.
 
The full line up and schedule for Mayhem 2016...
 
THURSDAY 13 OCTOBER
7.00PM THE DUKE ST WORKSHOP Live feat. Laurence R. Harvey
Presented in association with Kino Klubb
8.30PM RAW
Dir. Julia Ducournau, 2016 (FRA) with Rabah Nait Oufella and Garance Marillier
10.30PM HEADSHOT – UK PREMIERE
Dirs. Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto, 2016 (Indonesia) with Iko Uwais and Julie Estelle

FRIDAY 14 OCTOBER
4.00PM WE ARE THE FLESH
Dir. Emiliano Rocha Minter, 2016 (MEX) with Maria Evoli and Diego Gamaliel
6.00PM THE REZORT + Special Guest Steve Barker
Dir. Steve Barker, 2015 (UK/SPA/BEL) with Dougray Scott and Jessica De Gouw
9.00PM THE GREASY STRANGLER
Dir. Jim Hosking, 2016 (UK/USA) with Sky Elobar and Michael St. Michaels
11.00PM PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES
Restored and remastered under the supervision of Nicolas Winding Refn
Dir. Mario Bava, 1965 (ITA) with Barry Sullivan and Norma Bengell

SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER
12.00PM THEY CALL ME JEEG ROBOT
Dir. Gabriele Mainetti, 2016 (ITA) with Claudio Santamaria and Luca Marnielli
2.30PM PET
Dir. Carles Torrens, 2016 (USA) with Dominic Monaghan and Ksenia Solo
4.15PM THE GHOUL + Special Guest Gareth Tunley
Dir. Gareth Tunley, 2016 (UK) with Alice Lowe and Tom Meeten
7.00PM SHORT FILM SHOWCASE (The full Short Film line-up will be announced soon)
Dirs. Various, 2016 (International)
9.30PM THE DEVIL'S CANDY
Dir. Sean Byrne, 2015 (USA) with Ethan Embry and Shiri Appleby
11.30PM BLOOD FEAST, preceded by GWILLIAM
Dir. H.G. Lewis, 1963 (USA) with Connie Mason and William Kerwin
GWILLIAM is the new outrageous short film from Brian "Crow Hand!!!" Lonano

SUNDAY 16 OCTOBER
12.00PM DON'T KILL IT
Dir. Mike Mendez, 2016 (USA) with Dolph Lundgren and Kristina Klebe
2.00PM CREEPY
Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2015 (JAP) with Hidetoshi Nishijima and Yuko Takeuchi
5.00PM I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER + Special Guest Billy O' Brien
Dir. Billy O' Brien, 2015 (USA) with Christopher Lloyd and Max Records
7.30PM The Flinterrogation
8.30PM THE VOID + Special guests Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski and Casey Walker
Dirs. Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski, 2016 (CAN) with Art Hindle and Aaron Poole

Mayhem Film Festival was founded in 2005 by filmmakers Steven Sheil and Chris Cooke. They screen the best in contemporary horror, science-fiction and cult cinema and television from around the world. Featuring premieres, previews, masterclasses, international special guest filmmakers, and unique live cinema events, the festival has developed a reputation as one of the strongest and most innovative genre festivals in the country.

To book EARLY BIRD PASSES - phone Broadway Box Office (0115 9526611. General tickets on sale next week!

                http://www.broadway.org.uk

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...

BLOODY, EROTIC, HILARIOUS. NINA FOREVER IS EASILY ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR

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... www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem

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

Thursday October 15th

7.00PM EMELIE
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).


11.30PM RABID DOGS
Dir. Eric Hannezo, 2015 (FRA/CAN) with Lambert Wilson and Laurent Lucas.


Friday October 15th

4.15PM CRUMBS
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.

11.30PM STUNG
Dir. Benni Diez, 2015 (GER/USA) with Jessica Cook and Matt O’Leary.

Saturday October 17th

12.00PM PARASYTE: PART 1
Dir. Takashi Yamazaki, 2014 (JAP) with Shoia Sometani and Eri Fukatsu.

2.15PM HE NEVER DIED
Dir. Jason Krawczyk, 2015 (USA) with Henry Rollins and Jordon Todesey.

4.15PM SCARY SHORTS
Dir. Various, 2015 (International).

7.30PM THE UNQUENCHABLE THIRST OF DRACULA – LIVE with Jonathan Rigby

10.30PM SOCIETY
Dir. Brian Yuzna, 1989 (USA) with Billy Walrock and Connie Danese.

Sunday October 18th

12.00PM DEATHGASM
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).

4.15PM THE WITCH
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.

9.30PM THE INVITATION
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
http://www.broadway.org.uk/groups/mayhem_film_festival

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...