Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Mayhem Horror Film Festival 2016 (Part 2): Day 2

Day 2 of Mayhem started off with what I would call the weird and wonderful...

We Are the Flesh is a Mexican film written and directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter and is his first feature.

Straight from the Mayhem flyer:
"Wondering around a ruined city for years looking for food and shelter, two siblings discover an older man who promises to take care of them and, as they begin to create a womb like cave for him, a disturbing sexual relationship emerges."

More fantasy than horror, this distursing and shocking tale is extremely visceral. It's up front and in your face and never shies away. Besides the hard nature of the nudity (pun intended), the writing and acting stands out throughout the film and the very end is a rather nice touch to a film that seems too bleak to be real.

That said, the best way I could sum this up is what I said straight after watching the film...

"It was a load of nonsense, but very naughty. I quite liked it."

The following film was a complete change of pace. A UK feature called The Rezort.

British director Steve Barker (Outpost) returns to the Zombie genre with a script written by Paul Gerstenberger (Bad Meat).

Part Zombie film, part political statement, the film manages to stay fun throughout. The concept is a refreshing change and actually the best thing about the movie. Set ten years after the initial outbreak, The Rezort is an island off the coast of Africa which is inhabited by Zombies. You pay for five star treatment in a luxurious hotel and get to shoot the walking dead, all done under the watchful eye trained experts. As you can imagine, things go awry, people die and truths are discovered.

Wasn't overly impressed with it, but I did enjoy it. Definitely worth a watch if you like you're Zombie films with a little more depth than outright action.

Up next was The Greasy Strangler, which has been doing the rounds at a lot of festivals this year.

This is a horror comedy that's completely over the top, but also pushes the boundary of bad taste.

Big Ronnie and his son Brayden run a Disco walking tour. When a woman takes the tour, it creates competition between father and son for her love. Throw an oily, strangling, murderer in the mix and let the chaos ensue.

The was funny in parts, offensive and also irritating. For the most part, it felt a little bit Monty Python mixed with The League of Gentlemen and Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, but less funny and more annoying. Having said that, it's definitely worth a watch, but I feel it's nothing really original.

The last film of the day was a classic from 1965. Mario Bava's Planet of the Vampires.

It was first time seeing this movie and yet another reason why I love Mayhem so much. Getting to watch old movies, restored, remastered (under the supervision of Nicolas Winding Refn; Drive, The Neon Demon) and on the big screen is an absolute treat. And especially with this one as I love Mario Bava films.

After landing on a mysterious planet, a team of astronauts begin to turn on each other, swayed by the uncertain influence of the planet and its strange inhabitants.

This Sci-Fi Horror is super stylistic, super eerie and super campy. It looked beautiful on the big screen and I enjoyed it very much. The film is well known for influencing (I've also heard the term "ripped off" a few times) Ridley Scott's Alien (a favourite of mine also) and you can certainly tell it was heavily influenced by Bava's film.

So that rounded off day 2 nicely. Keep posted for day 3...

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. They are based at Broadway in Nottingham, one of the UK's leading independent cinemas and creative hubs.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Mayhem Horror Film Festival 2016 (Part 1): Day 1

As if October wasn't the best month anyway, my birthday and Halloween, it also marks the epic event that is Mayhem Film Festival which kicked off yesterday with the hypnotising live performance from The Duke St. Workshop.

Presented by Nottingham's own Kino Klubb, the live music performance was delivered by The Duke St. Workshop with Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede 2, The Editor, Banjo) reading from HP Lovercraft over the top of the music.

Whilst the music was being presented, hypnotic, translucent, neon images were projected on the screen. Along with Harvey's eerie yet inviting voice and a very John Carpenter Esq / 80s horror movie score, the visuals made for a rather trippy and mesmerising show. Something of which I remember for a very long time.

A truly one off experience, but you can get hold of the recording on vinyl and CD. They sold pretty quick last night, but I managed to get my hands on a beautiful purple LP.

The first film of the evening was the French cannibal film, Raw.

If you've read the reports about this film then you'll have read that audience members in Cannes film festival and Toronto International Film Festival had fainted etc. during it's showing.

I can safely say, as a long time horror, the film actually made me hungry! OK, not for human flesh of course. But all that aside, it was a very refreshing take on the cannibal sub-genre from writer / director Julia Ducournau.

The coming of age tale follows Justine (Garance Marillier) during her "rookie" week of veterinary school and her growing need to consume human flesh even though she's vegetarian. Along with the flesh eating, there's a couple of shocking moments, but there's also a few laughs along the way. Great acting and brilliantly written, Raw is definitely worth watching.

The final film of the evening was the UK premier of Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto's Indonesian action thriller Headshot.

Starring The Raid's Iko Uwais you know straight away you're in for some ass kickery goodness! This time though Uwais shows us a bit more of his acting skills. That's not to say there's less action. Far from it. With some absolutely brutal and bloody fight scenes and stunning camera work that puts you right in the middle of every fight comes a story redemption and revenge.

Definitely one for the serious martial arts film fan.

That's it for day 1 of Mayhem. Keep your eye out for day 2's post shortly.

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. They are based at Broadway in Nottingham, one of the UK's leading independent cinemas and creative hubs.

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 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.

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.

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

Troy Escamilla - President

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...
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
Dirs. Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto, 2016 (Indonesia) with Iko Uwais and Julie Estelle

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
Dir. Jim Hosking, 2016 (UK/USA) with Sky Elobar and Michael St. Michaels
Restored and remastered under the supervision of Nicolas Winding Refn
Dir. Mario Bava, 1965 (ITA) with Barry Sullivan and Norma Bengell

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)
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

Dir. Mike Mendez, 2016 (USA) with Dolph Lundgren and Kristina Klebe
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!


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...