Sunday, 22 January 2017

Out of my Mind (2016)

                                              


 (Online Screener)

Written by John Cosper, Neil Kellen, Cindy Maples

Directed by Cindy Maples

Stars: Rusty James and Mina Fedora








Huge thanks to the extremely talented and always lovely Cindy Maples for reaching out to me to review her horror short Out of my Mind. Its really exciting for me to see Cindy branching out into directing after following her acting career for some time.  Showing a keen eye for  interesting colours and offbeat camera angles, Out of my Mind looks professional, quirky and more importantly an all too promising sign of things to come for Ms Maples.

The story is eerie, interesting and expertly carried by Maples real life husband Rusty James who has done some excellent work in the indie field also. In its short running time we follow James as an author named Carter who spots an attractive young woman (Mina Fedora) in a blue dress at a writers celebration.  Carters disappointment is all too evident when the woman's date suddenly appears signalling that his chances are definitely out of the window.

From here on out we witness Carters creative juices mixing with the hard liquor as he starts to write back at home, picturing his eerie story as he does so and yes it involves the beautiful lady in blue. Things begin to get very strange for Carter after he calls it a night and the film effectively toys with our expectations as to what is really unfolding.  The film ends with the morning after the night before being more horrific than Carter could ever have imagined as shocking news comes a knocking.

In addition to Rusty I must also add that Mina Fedora does a superb job in her very mysterious role. The character veers from unassuming to seductive to horribly crazed and vengeful and Mina really pulls it off in impressive fashion.

In short Out of my Mind is an intriguing, well made, well acted journey into psychological terror.  I cannot wait to see what Cindy does next, I truly hope that a feature film is in the works. Check out the films creepy trailer right HERE and make sure to see it when you get the chance!


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (2016)




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Many thanks to P.J. Starks (Producer among many other things on VoB: Horror Stories) for asking if I would be interested in reviewing the sequel to the excellent Volumes of Blood - it was an easy answer of course. The follow up is even better and without giving away any spoilers this review will give an overview and thoughts on each segment:


Murder Death Killer
Written & directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner
Stars: Barbie Clark, Warren Ray, Thomas Dunbar, Aric Stanish 

Murder Death Killer centres around a con gone horribly wrong and also introduces an iconic killer who doesn't hold back on the stabbing, slashing and worse!  An exciting segment which builds on the legend of a supposedly murdered warehouse employee named Atticus Crow... soon those greedy few who don't heed the warnings find themselves stalked by their very worst nightmare.  I loved the concept of the killer and he is one mean bastard for sure, Atticus Crow is welcome back on my screen anytime!


Haters
Written by Nathan Thomas Milliner
Directed by P.J. Starks
Stars: Nathan Thomas Milliner, Kevin Roach, Gerrimy Keiffer, Mark Sheetz, Grady Cooper, Brad Reinhardt, Eric Huskisson, 

Cleverly leading on from Murder Death KillerHaters is a fun and funny short which also acts as the lead in to the main movie credits. In fact it would be a good point now to advise viewers to pay careful attention to this movie as a whole. There are clever links between the shorts all the way through and not just via the main wrap around (which incidentally hasn't even started yet by this point...don't get confused just do as I say PAY attention!)

Anyway back to Haters an expletive filled piece where a couple of hardened horror fans are kicked out of the cinema and return home to kick back and talk horror films, remakes and sequels. The dialogue is great fun with lots of funny opinions on both the follow ups to classic horror films and the many recent remakes. Add to this a nice nasty sting in the tail proving that your actions can very much come back to haunt (or maim) you!

Trick or Treat
Written by P.J Starks & Sean Blevins
Directed by Sean Blevins
Stars: Shelby Taylor Mullins, Chad Benefield, Chad Ray

Post credits comes Trick or Treat.  Shelby Taylor Mullins is a young woman named Mallory alone on Halloween night after her security guard boyfriend is called into work. Work just so happens to be the same library where the first films bloody massacre occurred and it also just so happens that the bodies of the victims have just been discovered. Cue a chilling news report warning that the killer is still on the loose and Mallory starts to get very scared, particularly since she has already had an unsettling encounter with a trick of treater... 

One definite thing to say about Trick or Treat is that it contains the most gut wrenching gore scene in the whole movie and I defy anyone not to recoil in horror at it!  I loved this part and really loved how it connects to everything else.

A Killer House
Witten by P.J. Starks
Directed by James Treakle
Stars:Jacob Ewers, Erin Troutman, Christopher Bower

So here is the core wraparound as such and features Jacob Ewers and Erin Troutman as a young couple being shown around a house for sale. The realtor played by Christopher Bower is sinister to say the least and its very clear that some...unsavoury....things have occurred within the walls of the house. Which then introduces us to the following four segments before unleashing a very grand finale:


Feeding Time
Written by P.J. Starks & Jason Turner
Directed by John Williams Holt
Stars: Caleb Shore, Shelby Taylor Mullins, TJ Clark, Jim O'Rear

Feeding time is a classic wrong time wrong place tale featuring Caleb Shore as a salesman who happens upon a distraught young woman (Shelby Taylor Mullins) who claims that she is being tormented by a monster who lives under her bed. Here is another clever link to a previous story with Shelby Taylor Mullins playing the character of Mallory once more...to say anymore would be giving too much away.  An enjoyable story with decent build up and a great end.

Blood Bath
Written by P.J. Starks
Directed by Jon Maynard
Stars: Kevin Arnold, Bridgette Michelle Hoover, Moses J. Moseley

Kevin Arnold and Bridgette Michelle Hoover play a young married couple who move into their new home...they of course did not expect a dangerous evil to be living in their bathroom of all places! I enjoyed Blood Bath its a short and nasty segment with some cool grue and gore and a very creepy villain.

Fear, For Sinners Here
Written & directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner
Stars: Jessica Schroeder, Julie Streble, Troy Davis, Connor Starks

Set on Christmas eve,  Fear, For Sinners Here plays out as a sort of home invasion/revenge horror story which is both shocking and gory. Jessica Schroeder plays a young mother who is on someones (a great crazed performance by Julie Streble) naughty list. Why is to be revealed and its a great reveal at that - its  also a true testament to how crazy the holidays and present buying makes some people. The ending is almost as horrific as aforementioned Trick or Treat scene and excellently  done - silent night indeed!

The Deathday Party 
Written by P.J. Starks 
Directed by Justin Seaman
Stars: Eric Huskisson, Anne Welsh, Jay Woolston, Cindy Maples, Alyssa Evelyn Rhoads

The Deathday Party is an ace horror short which could have been ripped straight from the bloodstained pages of Tales From The Crypt.  I love Cindy Maples and I don't care who knows it. I have enjoyed all of her roles and she is also a sweet, passionate actress who was kind enough to interview with me a few years ago. In this short she plays possibly my favourite character yet, a sweet homely wife to her loving husband (Jay Woolston in an equally excellent role) with some truly disturbing skeletons in the closet. Cindy shows an incredible range in such a short amount of time and proves what a pro she really is - the selfie scene is stellar. 

This story is insanely bloody, hilarious (the dialogue and facial expressions during THAT haemorrhoids conversation) and tense in equal measure and may just be my favourite of the bunch.  


On the whole Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories does what every sequel should do, surpass the original in every way and has ended my 2016 brilliantly.  So what if its not perfect - perfection is dull.  

Find out more here -this one is 100% by the fans, for the fans and not to be missed.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Slasher House II (2016)









(Online Screener)


Written & Directed by MJ Dixon

Stars: Francesca Louise White, Luna Wolf , Sophie Portman, Sam Cullingworth , David Hon Ma Chu, Wellington Grosvenor , Tiana Rogers. 














I love sequels, I love Slasher House and I was beyond excited at the prospect of a follow up.. I really admire the work of MJ Dixon and his production company Mycho - they do a heck of a lot with very little and while they do have their battles with the many challenges of low budget filmaking, they never make a big deal of it - they move on and still manage to create a great film.

In keeping with previous effort Legacy of Thorn, Slasher House II goes into crazy action horror mode. Whereas the original movie played out as a creepy, claustrophobic mystery, the follow up is more balls to wall while still retaining the intrigue.

Red, now played by the very capable Francesca Louise White, is no longer suffering from amnesia as she was when she was stumbling around the danger filled Slasher House. Therefore she knows who she is, she knows what she is and she knows what she must do. What she is trying to get to the bottom of is why there is such interest in these creepy killers from another corrupt group of people! What the end game is is a mystery to  the audience and without adding anymore, the rug is suitably pulled out from under you in the final minutes - hats off though as I enjoyed this twist a heck of a lot.

The new killers are very cool indeed, there is maniac in a panda mask who enjoys nothing more than slicing and dicing nubile strippers, as well as killer dolls and a nightmarish skeleton who happens upon a group of hapless teens- so a nice supernatural angle to spice things up. As well as this I loved the fact that the teens were credited as the slasher type cliches they were intended to be (the good girl, the slut, the stoner etc etc).

As always MJ's colouring is absolutely striking and this time not only is there the vivacious red of Reds hair to behold there is the cartoonish yellow of co-star Luna Wolfs stripper wig. It just looks so impressive on screen - bringing characters and situations to life in such a way  really is something that MJ Dixon and his team excel at. In addition to that a huge thumbs up for the fantastic score, a perfect fitting for the movie for both the suspense and the action sequences.

All in all this is a very worthy follow up to Slasher House and brings new things to the table. Its far more ambitious than its predecessor and I  truly commend the Mycho team for always working hard to up their game. Its also always wonderful to see what true fans of the horror genre come up with via their own twisted minds - and that is quite honestly said with love.

You can see Slasher House II  in its gory glory on 22nd January 2017 at the  Horror-On-Sea festival in Southend . In addition you can pre-order the DVD right here,  although this is currently a limited run so get shopping!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

All Through the House (2015)




Online Screener copy

Written and Directed By Todd Nunes

Stars: Ashley Mary Nunes, Jessica Cameron, Melynda Kiring, Natalie Montera, Lito Velasco, Jason Ray Schumacher, Johanna Ray, Matt Poeschl, Cathy Garrett, Kelsey Carlstedt, Danica Riner, Jennifer Wenger, Tamra Garrett, Justice Lee. 













This is a holiday horror film to die for - I absolutely bloody LOVED IT.  Thanks very much to Todd Nunes for kindly hooking me up with a screener of his film. I have seen and heard lots about it for a while and was eager as a kid at Christmas to see it . It really did not disappoint in anyway, it takes the psycho in a Santa suit scenario to a whole new grisly level..and its FUN.







Rachel Kimmel (Ashley Mary Nunes) returns to her hometown for the holidays just as a crazed killer starts hacking away at the local population. The film offers a decent balance of suspense, humour, interesting characters and eye popping gore.  Along for the ride is an enticing mystery which slowly unfolds as Rachel and her best pals go to the feared home of Mrs Garrett (a great offbeat performance by Melynda Kiring) to help her for the holidays, as the body count ramps up it seems all roads lead to the Garrett house....but why? And who has decided to wipe out all the naughty people with garden shears and other such sharp objects??

The film boasts a great array of characters - I loved Danica Riner as the naughty Sarah, a fun and feisty character who has some killer scenes later on in the film.  Cathy Garrett plays Abby, a character I am sure has already garnered much attention and is awesome as the foul mouthed, wheelchair bound grandmother of Rachel. Abby is great fun  to watch and as she effs and blinds her way around you can also tell she is fiercely protective of her granddaughter which rounds her out brilliantly. Ashley Mary Nunes plays Rachel brilliantly, a great 'final' girl with heart and fire - the character also takes some interesting turns so stay tuned. Also look out for Jessica Cameron's cameo as 'Sheila' in a fun but nasty little scene..






Many people will wonder about the kills and all I can tell you is that this movie delivers and then some. Who knew there were so may creative things you can do with one murder weapon? Seriously, nasty and bloody stuff here. There are also a couple of scenes that will literally kill male viewers - be warned. Not that Santa only sticks to garden shears there are plenty other surprises in store too. 

The film is also beautifully shot and its aesthetics are wonderful. Some horror themed Christmas films throw in a Christmas tree and bauble and hope that this will be enough to sell it as such. All Through the House has a near perfect attention to detail on the holiday front and it just looks fantastic for it. 

What more can I say, All Through the House is a fun, funny, blood soaked ride just begging for a bigger, bloodier sequel.








Follow the film on its Official Facebook Page 


Its out NOW in the US:  Order DVD and to the UK soon after: Preorder DVD 



Monday, 6 June 2016

Cleaver: Rise of the Killer Clown (2016)


CleaverDVD



Written by MJ Dixon,  Jason Harlow

Directed by MJ Dixon 

Stars:  Andrew M Greenwood, Stephanie Price, Vicki Glover, Jimi James, Georgie Smibert
Holly Anne Dodkins, Kylie Slevin, Lewis Cooper, Joe Hughes. Gary Baxter,  Dean Sills, Tiana Louise Rogers,  Emma Wilde,  Cy Henty,  Maria Barr, Darran Holliman








Cleaver – the killer clown from Slasher House (2012) is given an opportunity to shine in a film that effectively explores his macabre back story.

Opening in the dark Oklahoma Autumn of 1995 Cleaver gives slasher fans exactly what they want; creepy title credits, eerie shots of the man himself applying his costume and a spooky, Black Christmas-esque score.   Viewers are then treated to a cat and mouse stalking sequence which I personally felt worked amazingly well. I felt that rather than seeing things from the killers POV,  the tease of knowing he was somewhere in the house but not where was the real hook. With a creepy clown garden feature also causing a fright, the build up to the eventual attack by the killer was just solid. 

The rest of the film is primarily concerned with young Carley (Stephanie Price) a college student who is asked to babysit a young couple’s daughter on Halloween night.  Needing the money and also having a very personal connection to the parents, Carley agrees to sit for young Mary-Beth (Holly Anne Dodkins).  As news of a recent murder/disappearance makes its way round town, Carley is starting to get the distinct feeling that someone is creeping around outside. In parallel to this story we are also privy to Sheriff Hatcher (Jimi James) and Deputy Howells (Georgie  Smibert) investigation into the recent murder and disappearance– this allows us to go even further back in time as the Sheriff explains the events of five years previous that actually led Carlton Layton from successful  family man to jobbing children’s entertainer and eventually to crazed killer. It seems his murderous antics over the past five years has led him from the site of his first killings to this very town…but why?

As the bodies start to pile up, Carley will eventually be forced to fight for her life and that of a young child – but can she outsmart such a devious and sadistic man?  All I will say is check out that final pre credits shot – I was floored. Again MJ Dixon has crafted a twisted and well thought out tale. There are a couple of great twists along the way and I also urge you to stick around when the credits start to roll for yet another jaw dropping reveal!
   

Andrew M. Greenwood gives another terrifying performance as Cleaver and also as the man behind the face paint, Carlton Layton. I have no sympathy for the character and his reasons for snapping do not justify his future actions – which kind of just makes him scarier.  I also thought both Stephanie Price as Carley and Holly Anne Dodkins as Mary Beth did great jobs as the girls in peril. 

Coming to VOD and DVD August 29, Cleaver is the perfect film for those looking for a new Halloween tradition: PREORDER.  Both the DVD and HD Download come at a great price so get shopping!

As for whats next for MYCHO - I hear Slasher House 2 is on its way and I for one am very excited for this sequel.

Hollower (2015)


HollowerUKBox
(Digital Screener) 

Written by MJ Dixon

Directed by MJ Dixon 

Stars: Adam Williams, Nicholas Vince, Becca Talulah, Joe Hughes with Mike Halstead and James Ford
















Thanks so much to the great guys over at MYCHO Entertainment (Slasher House, Legacy of Thorn) for sharing with me two of their latest films Hollower and Cleaver.

In Hollower , the Slasher House character of Nathan Robbins (played again by Adam Williams) takes on a full movie that digs into how he came to be involved in such a dark situation later on. Not that you need to have seen Slasher House to enjoy this, you don’t at all but I personally feel it will enhance your viewing experience.

The film is spliced between the present and the recent past with Nathan being interrogated by Detective James Miller (Nicholas Vince) over initially mysterious events (i.e not spoon-fed to you, so stay with it).  In between these scenes we witness a painfully agoraphobic Nathan struggling to get by, all the while attracting the attentions of new neighbor Isabelle Carter (Becca Talulah).
As the movie progresses things take a creepier turn and it seems that things may not end well for Nathan and those directly associated with him.

Hollower please note is a psychological thriller with a definite horror streak. It may not be for everyone- depending on personal taste-  but if you want something more than a high body count and lots of grue and gore, I do think this will intrigue you from start to finish.  I would say Nathan is hands down the character that fans of Slasher House found most interesting, for reasons I can’t/won’t spoil here. to see a more elaborate version of Nathans life prior is essential viewing. 


The three core cast members all did a good job  and Adam Williams is great again as Nathan Robbins. He gets to play such a complex and multifaceted character and does so very well.  Becca Tululah and Nicholas Vince both provide strong support to Adam in what is largely a three man/woman show, Becca Tululah shines in her finals scenes and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future. 

Again MJ Dixon shows a deft hand with his direction and writing. MJ is a really excellent story teller and I don't think that this is something that has been applauded enough to date. His movies intersect in a clever way and his attention to detail in this aspect shines through - no annoying plot holes which cannot be tied back to the film where we first saw some of these main characters. He also plots out his films in a way that hooks the viewers, doesn't necessarily give easy answers at first and then hits you with a great finale.  The coloring of Hollower is also on point, especially the dark and grey interrogation scenes. 

The really great news is that you can see it VERY soon - coming to VOD and DVD August 29, Hollower  is yours for pre-ordering.  Please please support UK independent film and head over to the official MYCHO website: PREORDER

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Crazy Lake (2016)

Image may contain: night, sky, tree, outdoor and water

(Digital Screener)

Written by Jason Henne, Christopher Leto

Directed by Jason Henne

Stars: Skyler Joy, Marco DelVecchio, Diana Riley, Matt Valena, Libby Blanton, Graham Hunt, Keily Fernandez, Marvin Laviolette, with Rob Mello, Allis Bodziak, Caulin Donaldson, Leyla Lawrence, Ashley Allen






A killer trailer, as we all know, does not necessarily mean a killer movie - I still could not help but have high expectations for Crazy Lake because the trailer really is that good. Amazing cinematography, a beautiful cast and the promise of a different spin to the usual teens in peril slasher movie.

I am pleased to say that my expectations were well rewarded and that Crazy Lake lives up to its name in a great way.  Rather than spoil in detail the main story of the film I will just say that the lake where our hapless friends are staying has a macabre history and that drug testing plays a large part in it. However as in many a horror movie, those are just stories right? There isn't really anything out there to be afraid of... is there?

The core group are invited by alpha male Mark (Marco DelVecchio) to his uncles lake house and include his girlfriend Julia (Skyler Joy) outsider Corey (Matt Velena)  joker Tim (Graham Hunt) feisty Kim (Keily Fernandez) and her boyfriend Johnny (Marvin Laviolette) and finally rounded out with bookish Kristen (Diana Riley) and bubbly Megan (Libby Blanton).

The writers did a great job of keeping its core cast alive and kicking for a large part of the running time, allowing you to care about them. Too many recent slasher throwbacks get kill happy too fast, leaving a frustrating amount of time left for the final girl/guy (s)  to outwit the killer. Sometimes it works and sometimes it makes for a real bore. That isn't to say that nothing exciting happens before these teens realise they are screwed - far from it, but you will have to see for yourselves.

I enjoyed the characters, particularly Tim who could easily be unlikable but I think Graham Hunt plays him with a twinkle is the eye that makes him funny rather than a total ass. I loved Libby Blanton as Megan, a gorgeous but horribly insecure (thanks to Tim!) redhead who just brings her character to life with ease. To be honest everyone plays their parts well and there are certainly not bad performances, particularly from the main cast.

There are some nasty death scenes and some cool gore gags which all well executed practically and
as previously mentioned the film itself looks incredible. I cant comment on the budget of the film but its the most professional looking, well shot independent movies I have seen in a long time and actually have seen far worse in mainstream cinema.

I cant recommend Crazy Lake enough  and I sincerely hope you get to see it soon. Please check out the films official Facebook page to find out more and hopefully release details are upcoming!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

KILD TV (2016)

(Online screener copy)

Directed by William Collins

Written by Channing Whitaker 

Stars: D.C Douglas, Astrea Campbell-Cobb, Dan Braverman, Jared Doreck, Heather Williams, Aleeah Rogers and Grace Johnston 










KILD TV

The crew of a local horror movie showcase is used to broadcasting creepy stories of heinous

killers, but tonight they are the story, trapped with a real killer among them. Fans are tuning in to

the late night show as their favorite horror host, Dr. Perseco, weaves a macabre tale of suspense

and gore, but soon the horror becomes real and Dr. Perseco breaks character pleading for someone

to send help. Will the audience respond or pop more popcorn?!



Thank you to Channing Whitaker for reaching out and hooking me up with KILD TV  a film I had heard about and was keen to check out! Pleased to say that the film is smartly paced slasher movie backed up with an excellent variety of characters.

AS mentioned in the official synopsis, viewers become witness to the very real plight of a TV studio crew become trapped by a murderous stranger who may or may not be closer to home than they realise.

Several victims later the remaining crew members band together to try to survive the night but this may be much harder than they can comprehend!

I liked the way KILD TV didn't  make the usual mistake in killing off decent characters too early and allowed the actors to grow into their characters. I am not saying that nothing interesting happens in the first two thirds of the movie, there is plenty going on to secure viewer interest and it sets the stage brilliantly for a bloody finale.









This leads nicely to my next point; toward the end the film pulls off an excellently staged killer reveal which  really took me by surprise.

The cast did a great job - D.C Douglas as Milton/horror host 'Dr Perseco'  is great fun to watch especially while in character as Dr Perseco. He churns out the horror movie host cheese to great effect. Heather Williams as the spunky Geneva really impresses and I would love to see more of her work in the future, shes a bit kick ass! Astrea Campbell-Cobb is alluring as studio newbie Adel while Grace Johnston, Aleeah Rogers and Jared Doreck provide strong support.  As mentioned before its great that the characters are well written and given time to evolve and its something I really did appreciate.





A fun and engaging slasher mystery with a very successful whodunit element. Highly recommended!

The even better news is that you can grab a copy of the film right NOW at http://www.kildmovie.com/