Sunday, 29 April 2012

Film 99: The Summer of the Massacre

Ah, my eyes! Ah, my brain! What have I just sat through?

From Bryn Hammond, editor of Gorezone, comes possibly the worst film in the book. 70 minutes of some people running away from the most rubbish serial killer in history, bookended by long, illiterate captions. All shot on a domestic camcorder.

I had heard it was bad but I had no idea...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Film 98: The Ghosts of Crowley Hall

Rubbish 'found footage' documentary which is absolutely adamant that it's real but which even the most gullible supernatural-believer can see is just bad actors and a dodgy script. Barely worth a mention but it has to go in the book for the sake of completeness.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Film 97: From the Grave

Has anybody else ever seen this? Aka Until Death aka Cat Flap (no, honestly: Cat Flap). Released on US DVD in 2003. That sleeve image isn't from this film!

A young woman's dead husband comes back to scare her, but he only does this about 20 minutes from the end so for most of this well-made but forgettable film it's just a relationship drama about how the couple, and the guy she should have married, all grew up together in the idyllic English countryside.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Film 96: Lycanthropy

Kevin McDonagh's non-werewolf werewolf picture provides a rational explanation for its titular condition and consequently spends most of its overlong running time being a standard police procedural.

Well-made with some good performances, it's just not particularly gripping. Most of the action centres around a fetish club which is supposed to be a den of licentiousness but, to be honest, looks less threatening than the average school disco.

An Aussie DVD in 2007 is the only release to date.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

'Rising Tide' released to VOD

Rising Tide looks good; very good, considering the cast and crew were all aged between 16 and 19. It had a one-off cinema screening last year and is released today on some sort of download thing called Vodo.

A sinister coming-of-age horror, Rising Tide is a story of friendship, loss and revenge. Exams over, it was one last chance to celebrate with close friends before going separate ways. Toasting ‘friendship’ and making plans for a final camping adventure together, Izzy, the new girl in the closely knit group, is hiding a dark and devastating past. Izzy’s secret follows the friends to the remote, mythical tidal island of Lindisfarne, where her skeletons take revenge on the trapped terror-stricken teens. You will never feel safe in a tent again.

Apparently this Vodo thing is all cutting edge and the future of distribution but I couldn't make head or tail of it. Still, I'm sure the young people know what it all means. The directors are Dawn Furness and Philip Shotton

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Trailer for new indie anthology 'The Forbidden Four'

My mate Thomas Lee Rutter, auteur of such defiantly trash epics as Full Moon Massacre, Mr Blades and Feast for the Beast - and the man who coined the term 'britsploitation' - has cobbled together four of his very, very strange shorts, has shot a framing story and has created an anthology feature called The Forbidden Four. Here's the trailer:

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Film 95: Puritan

I didn't know anything about Hadi Hajaig's gothic London noir so it was a real joy to watch it and discover what a stylish and enjoyable little gem of a movie this is.

I love the way that it maintains a clear 'horror atmosphere' throughout even though there are no actual supernatural elements until the very end, and I also love the ambiguity over whether the main character, a psychic medium, has real powers or not.

Film 94: The Vanguard

Matthew Hope's 2008 zombie feature has its heart in the right place with all sorts of socio-political ideas in the mix that could have made it a terrific film.

But none of these ideas are actually explored - or even explained - in the vague script so it ends up as 90 minutes of people we neither know nor care about running around in a wood.

I'm sure Hope knew what was going on and had his characters and story all worked out but he completely fails to convey, well, pretty much anything at all. Dull and disappointing.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review: The Harsh Light of Day

Over on my main site I have added a review of the new British vampire film The Harsh Light of Day, which I was very impressed by. This will be released to cinemas by Left Films on 8th June and then hits DVD on 16th July.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The 'Carmilla' that never was

This very expensive-looking promo was shot in 2003 for a proposed feature film version of Carmilla. The director was Paul Wiffen, a sound designer who started off working on the soundtrack to Blade Runner.

The cast of the trailer included Tara-Louise Kaye, Samantha Golton, Lia Alu (featured extra in various Harry Potters), Karl Ude-Martinez (The Last Horror Movie) and Magda Rodriguez (whose many BHR credentials include Skare, The Witches Hammer, Man Who Sold the World, Seven Crosses and SNUB). Rodriguez has a bunch of stills and behind-the-scenes shots on her website.

This was enough to attach The Cottage's Jennifer Ellison (who plugged the film in a TV interview), Simone Kaye (filming Dead of the Nite even as we speak) and Rik Mayall (who we all know will appear in any old shite). The film was still being touted around as a going concern as recently as last year, despite an extraordinary claim in 2009 that the makers of Lesbian Vampire Killers had stolen his ideas, and furthermore that no-one would invest in his film because LVK was so awful. This is described in detail in this report on Den of Geek. Well, LVK is rubbish, there's no denying that, but it's not exactly based on the work of JS Le Fanu.

More recently, Paul Wiffen has been concentrating on politics, standing as a candidate for UKIP, who initially threw him out the party when he responded to accusations of racism on a discussion forum by posting an astonishingly racist and bigoted rant, but then let him back in when he said sorry.

Can't wait to see: 'Heretic'

Written and directed by Peter Handford, this was shot in August/September last year. Handford and producer Bethany Clift are Northern Film School graduates and call themselves Mod Scientists.

After he refuses to accept responsibility for the death of a teenage girl a Catholic Priest is trapped and terrorised in a house haunted by those he should have saved.

Father James Pallister is a troubled Catholic priest who finds his faith crushed when a young girl he promises to protect commits suicide (Claire).

Months after Claire’s death, James is forced to return to his old parish and to the scene of her suicide, a derelict mansion house. Trapped in the house overnight, James is tormented by demons from his past - those that he has failed to care for in his role as an ambassador of God. With the house itself possessed, James becomes convinced that two dark figures haunting him are the ghosts of Claire and her dead Stepfather Tom, risen from the grave to seek a blood retribution for the awful tragedy that James allowed to take place…

With others now at risk, James must find the strength to confront the demons outside and inside before sunrise, and prevent the death of another young girl who needs his help. Or be damned forever…

This is the first teaser trailer and it looks terrific.

'One Hour to Die' trailer

This is the 'new' film from the prolific (if largely unknown) Philip Gardiner. Or rather 'a' new film as he's made several others since.

What would you do if you only had One Hour to Die?
The new film, coming early 2012, by award-winning filmmaker, Philip Gardiner, will explore this question in a shocking and dark movie.

Chemical Burn Entertainment handle all of Gardiner's stuff. They have posted this trailer on YouTube and will release the film soon.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

'Unwelcome' release for 'Aggressive Behavior'

Stefan Smith's violent horror-thriller Unwelcome is released on US DVD this week, retitled Aggressive Behaviour.

Four friends travel to rural France to restore a farmhouse, soak up the weather and party. On the ferry crossing they encounter Chris and his girlfriend, Gill. Later, the uninvited couple arrives at the farmhouse. The partying continues until a drunken conversation starts to erupt and the true nature of the two visitors is revealed. Unwilling to leave, the guests turn the party into a mayhem of violence, kidnapping, and murder.

The film, which was shot on location in France in September 2009, stars two of British horror's busiest and best actresses: Marysia Kay (Blood + Roses, The Scar Crow) and Eleanor James (Dead Cert, Harold's Going Stiff). Plus Martin Hobbs (The Vanguard), Helen Holman (Jacob's Hammer, Harmony's Requiem) and Emily Eaves (Backslasher).

Nuneaton film-maker Smith was previously 1st AD on Darren Ward's A Day of Violence. As far as I can tell, apart from a trade screening in Cannes, this US disc from Celebrity Home Entertainment is the movie's debut. Smith is now developing a military horror set in Afghanistan called The Bavarian.

Here's the absolutely awesome-looking trailer.

Cinemas showing Elfie Hopkins from Friday

Elfie Hopkins opens this Friday (20th April). Here's the cinemas where you can watch it. As usual with indie British horror films the movie is studiously avoiding Leicester, which is a shame because I'm really keen to see this. Guess I'll have to wait for the DVD...

'Shadow' and 'Season' to premiere in Portsmouth next month

Gav Chuckie Steel's slasher comedy The Shadow of Death receives its premiere on Saturday 12th May at the Brit Flick Film Festival at the Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth.

Set in an English woodland countryside, Debra and her best friends Jamie and Nancy pick up Dan, Nancy's ex, to go out to the woods to score some weed. Unknown to them a killer who resembles death is cleansing the countryside. With a wannabe policeman and an assortment of the public out for some fresh air, the woods are no place to go down today.

Not to be confused with another recent British indie called The Shadow of Death, a thriller from Scottish Christian film outfit Noble Brothers Productions.

According to the poster below (which seems to be as far as the festiival's publicity reaches, so far) the other film screening that evening is Season of the Witch, which is presumably the long-delayed premiere of Peter Goddard's feature which I blogged about in February. I can't find any details of what shorts are screening. There are two more features on Sunday: The Wasters is about hedonistic lifestyles and I can't find out anything about The Fix.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Can't wait to see: Till Sunset

Till Sunset is a new horror feature from director David Woods which looks great and is just starting out on the festival circuit.

Sean, Kerry and Beth are three strangers whose only common goal is to work out exactly why they have been isolated in a mysterious woodland, beside a shallow grave. With no memory of how they got there and increasing levels of paranoia, the trio become entwined in a nightmarish experience which will ultimately lead to a terrifying sacrifice. But who or what is behind it all and do the answers lie closer to home than they think?

Till Sunset features ghosts, shadowy apparitions and "the hooded figure from Sean’s nightmare, known only as The Woodsman."

The film stars Shane Sweeney, Heather Darcy (Grave Tales) and Gemma Woods with British horror regulars Giles Alderson (Night Junkies, Harsh Light of Day) and Eleanor James (Bordello Death Tales, Hellbride). Woods' previous shorts include Elemental Storage, The Chase and The Five Murders of John Dawley.
David has kindly sent me a screener of Till Sunset and I hope to have a full review on my main website soon. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures:

Wicker double-bill at PCC to promote DVD

The Wicker Tree is released on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK on 30th April. Five days earlier (25th) there will be a special promotional event at the Prince Charles Cinema in London.

The PCC will screen both the original Wicker Man and the new Wicker Tree - plus a Q&A session with director of both films, Robin Hardy.

This is a one-time-only event and not to be missed by Wicker Fans. Get yer tickets here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Trailer for Johannes Roberts' Storage 24

If, like me, you were hugely impressed by Johannes Roberts' last feature F.

And if, like me, you're a fan of Noel Clarke's work.

Then you're going to love Storage 24, which hits cinemas on 29th June. Written and produced by Clarke, directed by Jo, starring Clarke (Doghouse), Geoff Bell (Botched, Tormented), Jamie Thomas King (Vampire Diary, Tower Block), Ned Dennehy (Reign of Fire, Dead Meat) and Ruth Gemmell (F).

Here's the band new trailer...

Film 93: Witch House: The Legend of Petronel Haxley

I know you've never seen this one! Witch House is one of two films in the book which played theatrically but have never had a home format release (the other is The Eliminator). This played for one week at one cinema in 2008 and is now mired in a legal situation.

It's a shame because this tale of a 17th century witch exacting supernatural revenge on a group of young people is actually pretty good. Subtle, well-deployed scares, good acting and believable characters with credible reactions to the horrors they witness.

You can find out more when the book is published!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Film 92: Severance

I'm on a bit of a roll over Easter, and this was a real treat. Man, I love Severance - a superb blend of horror and comedy. Great script by James Moran, great direction by Chris Smith, terrific cast with great on-screen chemistry. And the rocket-launcher gag is just the funniest thing ever.

If I didn't have a book to finish, I'd watch this all over again. Quite possibly my favourite film in the whole book.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Film 91: When Evil Calls

Johannes Roberts directed (or co-directed) five films in this book. When Evil Calls is the last and, though it's narratively simple, it's structurally bizarre because it was originally made to be watched on mobile phones. So it's 20 two-minute vignettes, each one a variant on 'The Monkey's Paw', linked by a rambling monologue from Sean Pertwee.

Not unenjoyable if you know what you're getting. And with a great comic turn by Chris Barrie.

Film 90: Doomsday

Strictly speaking, this is a sci-fi/action movie but it was very much marketed at the horror audience and certainly had enough violence and gore to please them. Unfortunately, what it sorely lacked was interesting, believable, rounded characters and a gripping plot, the two things which had made Neil Marshall's first two films so acclaimed and successful.

As a sci-fi cheesefest, Doomsday is okay, and it's technically impressive. But it's corny, clichéed and in parts utterly stupid. So not a bad film as such, but a crushing disappointment after Dog Soldiers and The Descent.

I've not seen Marshall's fourth film, Centurion. I don't think it actually played round here.