Friday, 24 February 2012

Kill Keith DVD sleeve

Here's the DVD sleeve for Kill Keith, due out from Metrodome on 26th March. With a great big quote from me on the front!

And, although it's not a horror movie, I can't resist mentioning that porn mockumentary Hardcore: Bare Naked Talent is out the same day - also with a quote from me on the front!
(ETA: Safecracker Pictures' release of Hardcore has now been bumped to 16th April.)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Deadtime coming to UK DVD

4Digital Media release rock'n'roll slasher Deadtime on 14 May. Directed by Chilean-born Tony Jopia, who made a horror short last year called Cry Wolf, and written by Stephen Bishop, the film stars Leslie 'Dirty Den' Grantham and, bizarrely, Terry Christian (him off The Word)! Also in the cast are Joe Egan (Strippers vs Werewolves, Dead Cert), Julian Boote (The Killing Zone) and Laurence Saunders (The Seasoning House).

A Birmingham-based band are ordered by their unhappy record company to an old warehouse; the goal being to re-start their ailing careers with a kick-ass new promo video. Unfortunately the band and their entourage find themselves targets of a mysterious knife-wielding maniac, haunted by the voice of Satan, and out for revenge.

A Night in the Woods DVD on the way

On 25th June, Momentum release Richard Parry's A Night in the Woods, which played Frightfest last August. Parry previously directed the thriller South West 9, and this new horror feature stars Anna Skellern (The Descent Part 2, Siren), Andrew Hawley and Scoot McNairy (Monsters).

Brody, Kerry and their friend Leo go hiking in the ancient and haunted Wistman Woods of Dartmoor. That night jealousies, sexual tensions and strained relationships come to a head; leaving a peaceful camping trip descending into a night of terror. As the paranoia reaches fever pitch it becomes clear that there is a much darker force at work here. Who or what is after them – and can they survive a night in the woods!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Watch SoulSearcher online for free

Neil Oseman has posted his terrific 2005 demon-busting fantasy adventure SoulSearcher online. Well worth  watch if you've never seen it before (or even if you have). The same page has the Making Of available on Distrify - again well worth a look to see how Neil stretched his tiny budget to produce something hugely impressive.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Eldorado: first thoughts

My copy of Eldorado finally turned up from Amazon this morning and this evening I sat down to watch it. I'll need to rewatch it before writing a full review but my initial thought is that it is neither as incoherent nor as entertaining as Evil Calls. It is, nevertheless, utterly shit in almost every respect. Here are a few things worth noting:

  • Brigitte Nielsen, Caroline Munro and Sylvester McCoy all get their names spelled wrong in the credit block on the sleeve. Nielsen and McCoy also get misspelled in the end credits, but differently in both cases. Poor old ex-Mrs Stallone had her name spelled a third wrong way in the trailer - that's impressive.
  • Numerous other cast and crew members' names are also misspelled. I'll try and compile a full list.
  • Although the film contains an enormous amount of bad acting, Richard 'Steven Craine' Driscoll himself blows everyone else away, playing the only Chicago native with a Welsh accent.
  • Narrator Peter O'Toole, who looks like he has been freshly dug up, has clearly been given no previous look at the 'script' he is reading from.
  • Michael Barber, as the giggling, chainsaw-wielding psycho has way, way too much screen time. He sounds like Bluebottle, can't act for toffee and has brought to an end Joe (Stag Night of the Dead) Rainbow's short-lived reign as 'most irritating character in a British horror movie'. It's clear now why he had no lines in Ashes to Ashes.
  • Despite being ostensibly 'for horror fans' there is probably no more than five or six minutes of the film that would qualify as 'horror'. Still, that's more than would qualify as 'comedy'.
  • The disc has no extras, not even scene selection.
  • The sleeve says it's 158 minutes but it's actually 1 hour 58 minutes.
  • Daryl Hannah's 'character' is meaningless and she is clearly taking the money and running, as are most of the other name cast.
  • David Carradine's 'character' is even more meaningless and consists of stock footage from the 2008 TV movie Kung Fu Killer. Far from being 'his last film', he made at least 20 more films after that one.
  • Most of the theatre scenes were obviously done with the 'act' shot completely separately to the 'audience', a technique that looked awful in The Comic and looks just as awful here.
  • The 'audience' obviously consists of crew members and their half-hearted clapping and clicking of fingers is cringingly terrible.
  • The best actor in the film is probably Celina Jennings (seriously!). It says a lot about the movie that she has about three lines and was actually the camera operator.
  • Rik Mayall mimes to an operatic aria (in Italian) and has a pointless post-credits bit. With Evil Calls and Just for the Record, he has now been in three of the very worst British films ever made.
  • Apart from Mayall's aria, all the songs sound like what they are: mediocre cover versions by club singers.
  • The whole film shamelessly rips off everything about The Blues Brothers, including characters, songs etc. A legalese caption near the end about copyright doesn't look to me like it would actually deflect a law-suit if any of the rights owners could be arsed to sue.
  • The bits that don't rip off The Blues Bothers mostly rip off Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs.
  • The departure of Rebecca Linley midway through shooting has clearly caused a lot of problems with the story.
  • Despite being set in America, many of the cars are right-hand drive.
With half-term coming up it could be a while before I write a full review. I don't expect it to be 22,000 words again, but it will be detailed and accurate.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Steampunk Poe 'Mask' from Pratten and Sothcott!

The only thing better than really cool people working together is really cool people I know working together. So it's great news that my pal (everybody's pal) Jonathan Sothcott, busy finishing off Elfie Hopkins and Strippers vs Werewolves, has announced a sci-fi version of Mask of the Red Death, to be directed by my old mate Robert Pratten, the man who brought us London Voodoo and Mindflesh.

Press release
On the eve of the Berlin film market, prolific independent producer Jonathan Sothcott (Elfie Hopkins, Strippers Vs Werewolves) has announced ambitious plans for a post-apocalyptic, steampunk-styled adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's classic horror story The Mask of the Red Death, to be directed by acclaimed British film maker Robert Pratten (Mindflesh, London Voodoo).

"London. 2020 as the radioactive clouds begin to fade after a devastating nuclear war, the last dregs of humanity fight to survive – drought and famine cripple this cracked, broken world. Electricity is a thing of the past. Hideous mutants stalk the night, desperately searching for food and warmth. A cold planet.A dying planet. Superstition is rife. Evil rises. Through the husk of the once great metropolis stalks a lone figure, The Red Death: to some a God, to others a freedom fighter. To all a nightmare of agonising death.

From the shell of a once great building, all that remains of his empire, corrupt billionaire Marzo rules what is left of London. His kill squads murder, pillage and rape. His group of friends indulge in every excess. Yet neither money or power can save Marzo from the Red Death… and it is coming for him."

Mask of Red Death will be a transmedia project encompassing a feature film, mobile app, web videos and social media. All media and marketing for the project will be integrated with a new technology called Conducttr which allows audiences to take a participatory role in the storyworld. Although audiences can't affect the outcome of the movie - it plays like any other - they will be incentivised to collect items across the web and physical locations in order to have a heightened experience of the movie when it screens.

Sothcott, Head of Programming for the Horror Channel prior to his successful career as a film producer, said "I have been looking for a project to work on with Robert that was more than just a film. As a producer I am constantly looking for new ways to tell stories and transmedia represents a very exciting opportunity. This version of Poe's most famous story has everything the modern horror audience could want – its terrifying, sexy, action-packed and gory. As a film maker, Robert has a unique visual style that will make for an incredibly stylish film – this will be every bit as shocking as Mindflesh was and the post-apocalyptic setting allows us to give it a unique flavour – part steampunk, part cyber goth."

Pratten commented "When Jonathan mentioned the idea to me my mind first went to Tenpenny Tower in Fallout 3. It's not quite like that at all but it does give you the idea of a rich dude trying to protect himself from the inevitability of death after an apocalypse.

This is a great opportunity to show how society might look after a reboot from a damaged hard drive: there's a lot of what we recognize mashed up with medieval behavior we thought had been erased.In a world today in which many are predominantly hostile to spirituality, all they've done is replace faith in God with a faith in silicon chips and silicon breasts. In an post-apocalyptic Britain set in 2020, with life as we know irretrievably lost, new leaders will need to create myths in order to bring hope to the hopeless. And where there is no hope there'll be violence, drugs, superstition and lust driven by the fear of facing our own mortality."

The $1.5 million picture is scheduled to begin principal photography on June 1st 2012. No casting has been announced as yet.

Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Mask of the Red Death was first published in 1842 and has been filmed a number of times, most notably by Roger Corman in 1964 with a cast including Vincent Price and Hazel Court.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

review: Red Kingdom Rising

Red Kingdom Rising, newly reviewed on my main site, is a hugely impressive, visually poetic, British fantasy/horror feature from writer/director Navin Dev, whose previous shorts were Red Hood and Tree Man.

Inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll, Red Kingdom Rising tells of a young woman's return to her family home after her father's death and the secrets she discovers within herself. For much of the film there's an ambiguity - for both audience and protagonist - about what is or isn't a dream. Among the sequences that certainly are dreams are several quite gory nightmares with effects by Zombie Diaries' Mike Peel.

RKR had a preview last November, following which Navin was kind enough to send me a screener.

Stormhouse on DVD in the States

Stormhouse was released on US DVD/VOD yesterday by Lionsgate. Here's writer/exprod Dan Turner blogging about it.  The film was directed by Dan Turner (Experiment) and has played some festivals but there's no news on a UK release yet. Here's the trailer. Looks good.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Still waiting for: Season of the Witch

Not the Nic Cage feature, and not Halloween 3 either, this is a micro-budget British indie feature that has been sitting around doing nothing for at least three years now.

I don’t know much about Peter Goddard except that he’s about 26, lives near Salisbury and is currently finishing his second horror feature. Writer/director Goddard and producer Daniel Coffey set up the apostrophe-free Devils Avalanche Films and made Season of the Witch in 2008 for about a thousand quid,. Hollyoaks’ Beth Kingston was token name value leading a cast which included Steve McCarten (Harsh Light of Day) and Kevin Hallett (The Scar Crow, Kill Keith). The film was scheduled to screen at the Bourne to Die Festival in Christchurch in January 2009 but that event was cancelled and Season of the Witch seems to have completely disappeared.

Mary Blackwell travels back to her hometown of Maiden Hollow to clear out her recently deceased fathers house. She takes her two children Alice and Sam with her. Whilst there they discover a tiny village, which has been isolated from surrounding towns and in which the locals have developed their own way of life. The villagers are initially hostile towards the new family, but grow to accept them. Local priest Michael Howdy, however, takes an unhealthy interest in Marys daughter Alice. Villagers Harry Price, John Elliot and Tom Hopkins, notice this interest and keep a close watch on Michael.

After being involved in a car crash some years back, Michael has suffered head and brain injuries which spark off a series of surreal fantasies confusing Alice with his dead wife Isobel (who died in the car crash.) Whether or not Alice is connected with Isobel or that she merely has a resemblance to her is left deliberately ambiguous. Michaels illness invades his mind and his sanity leading to him finding himself in position he could never have intended. The villagers enact swift and callous retribution only realising the horror they have committed at the last moment when it is already too late....


Goddard is now finishing off his second feature, a ghost story called Any Minute Now, most of which was shot last year. That one stars Lee ‘Zammo from Grange Hill’ MacDonald, has a bigger budget and is nearly ready. In fact, Goddard completed his initial edit of the feature only last week.

Still no sign of Season of the Witch but you can check out his ten-minute horror spoof Wolf! Where? on the Devils Avalanche website.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

When the Lights Went Out: premiere, poster, trailer, synopsis

Pat Holden's retro poltergeist feature When the Lights Went Out had its world premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival yesterday. You can see a bunch of stills on the festival site. Here's the poster and, via Quiet Earth, the trailer.

1974, based on a true story. The Maynard Family move into their dream house, only to find a “presence” already living there. Based on true events, When the Lights Went Out is set in Yorkshire, 1974. Britain is in recession, the oil crisis and black outs loom large. The Maynard Family move into their dream house, only to find a “presence” already living there. Len (Steve Waddington), Jenny (Kate Ashfield) and their daughter Sally (Tasha Connor) must struggle to keep their already-fragile family together as they are attacked by poltergeists. Soon it becomes apparent that Sally is their main focus of attention. The house becomes a living nightmare. They must exorcise the evil spirits for them to survive.

Harsh Light of Day world premiere on 3rd March

Oliver Milburn's Harsh Light of Day will receive its world premiere at Cinequest in San Jose on 3rd March (with additional screenings on 6th and 9th). The film is pencilled in for a UK theatrical release in April.

After returning home from the launch of his book about the occult, Daniel Shergold's house is broken into by thugs, who beat his wife to death and leave him paralyzed. A depressed agoraphobic in his secluded country cottage, Daniel mourns the death of his wife while being cared for by home nurse, Fiona. He is unable to accept the lack of success the police have in finding his wife's killers. Daniel accepts a visit from a mysterious stranger who insists he can help him reap revenge. He agrees and is thrown into a strange and horrific transition into darkness. With renewed strength, Daniel sets out to avenge his wife's murder, but at what cost?

Deviation poster unveiled

Here's the one-sheet for JK Amalaou's two-handed Deviation, starring Anna Walton (Vampire Diary, Mutant Chronicles) and Danny Dyer (everything else). The film opens in selected cinemas on 24th February and hits DVD on 27th February. I haven't been invited to the special bloggers preview, but I think it's when I'm on holiday anyway. Plus I have a book to finish...