Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh (2014)












Written and Directed by Jakob Bilinski

Stars: Bill Gobin, Jim Dougherty, Kayla Crance, Angela Steele, Rosalind Rubin, Scott Ganyo 







Congratulations to Jakob Bilinski for creating a slasher movie with a nice giallo feel, but that still very much has its own identity. I am sure the man himself will tell you I have had my beady eye on this for sometime and I do hope I didn't raise my interest to stalker levels, although I will say how pleased I was to get to see and review it.

Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh starts out with a gruesome murder which sets the tone and plot for the remainder of the film - a film that it dark, bleak, unapologetic but ultimately entertaining throughout. That can be a hard task for any film maker, for a 80-90 minute movie but this movie runs for over 2 hours! I am so glad to say that's not at all a criticism and like I say, this film is entertaining for its run time. Back to the plot, Bill Gobin plays  hard arsed Dominic, angry and haunted man who is forced to return to his home town following the gruesome death of his niece. Taking his unhappy teenage daughter Kendall (Kayla Crance) with him Dominic is forced to face the family and townsfolk he left behind - and find his nieces killer before it literally kills him.

What transpires from here is a dark journey which exposes a town shrouded in mystery - its hard to tell who is good, bad or in between as Dominic pulls out all the stops to bring a killer down. A killer who is just getting started... not to mention all of the other strange happenings occurring all around the town.

I can honestly say I haven't seen a film quite like this one. Its got a number of elements which together make for an intriguing murder mystery (and far more going on than just that) with colorful and quirky characters and a real sense of 'oh shit did that just happen??'.

Speaking of the characters - Dominic is bad bad bad man for the way he curses to and in front of his teenage daughter - its arguably abuse! That said, Bill Gobin does an excellent job in his role as a truly tormented man whose pain could be increased ten fold by the time his journey is done. Kayla Crance is equally as good as Dominic's daughter Kendall - she has clearly learnt her language from dear old pa and is feisty and fun along with it. Rosalind Rubin in her role as the mysterious Kacie is also one to watch.

Finally I want to point out how well made this film is - it may be an independent picture sure but its shot and filmed perfectly. It looks fresh and new and full of vibrant colors which only help to compliment  its giallo feel. I am already a huge fan of Jakobs work from his short films so now I can see what he is capable of with two whole hours I am real excited.

Check out Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh on Facebook and I hope to be able to give you news on an official DVD release real soon.

On a final note....the ending of this film.... sweet hell.......


Monday, 15 June 2015

Tales of Poe (2014)








Directed by Bart Mastronardi and Alan Rowe Kelly

Written by Alan Rowe Kelly, Bart Mastronardi and Michael Varrati

Stars: Alan Rowe Kelly, Debbie Rochon, Caroline Williams, Adrienne King, Amy Steel, Desiree Gould, Lesleh Donaldson, Randy Jones, Michael Varrati, David Marancik, Susan Adriensen, Amy Lynn Best, Zoe Daelman Chlanda    (WHAT A CAST ANYONE??)










I have been eagerly anticipating Tales of Poe since viewing one of the shorts some time ago and also being familiar with Bart Mastronardi and Alan Rowe Kelly's great contributions to the horror genre. Tales of Poe is a wonderful anthology film, interpreting two of Poe's original stories  and a poem- giving audiences a mixture of terror, beauty, fantastic storytelling and amazing performances. I will take the short films one at a time but can easily say this is a must own off the bat:



The Tell Tale Heart 





The Tell Tale Heart is a truly wonderful short horror film, acting as writer/director, Bart Mastronardi’s interpretation of the classic Poe story. The film stars Debbie Rochon as a newly admitted mental institute patient, who finds herself recounting the events leading to her incarceration to the acidic Evelyn (Happy Birthday to Me’s ill-fated Lesleh Donaldson) and the squirmy, chuckling Fritz (David Marancik – Gallery of Fear). What follows is an amazingly shot, intriguing, mysterious, insight to Rochon’s time spent working as nurse for ageing former movie star Peggy Lamarr (Alan Rowe Kelly in fine form as the VERY faded star). It is here, within Lamarr’s oppressively large home, that we begin to see Rochon’s nurse succumb to, possibly madness, possibly something far more sinister, as she begins to become disturbingly obsessed with the gruesomely afflicted eye of her charge.

I would hate to give anything more away as this short should really be seen fresh, the way I was lucky enough to view it. All I will say is that things get bloody very soon and Debbie Rochon gives the performance of her career towards the climax of the film. The ending back at the mental hospital is both shocking and awe inspiring at the same time and I was 100% on the edge of my seat by this
point.





All performances were brilliant though I have to say. Lesleh Donaldson played the unlikable Evelyn to the hilt, delivering a solid character you really wanted to see come unstuck, while David Marancik played the crazed ‘Fritz’ with genuine ease – I really believed I was watching an insane man, so a job well done. Alan Rowe Kelly as the formidable looking Peggy Lamarr was both a joy and a horror to watch, I would not want to be stuck in a house with this woman that’s for damn sure. It was also fantastic to see Desiree (Sleepaway Camp) Gould back on screen as the hard as nails Nurse Malliard. Just as she did back in the horror heyday, Gould plays the authoritarian figure with skill and ease, except this time, gone are the wide eyes, creepy false smiles, and cheery tone, replaced by a piercing stare, vicious snarl and a Rottweiler of a bark.


Bart Mastronardi has written and directed something very special to the horror genre, just like his previous feature length movie Vindication, he has made a horror movie that is both beautiful and horrifying. Most people would disagree that it’s appropriate to use the word beautiful in conjunction with a horror movie….those people just haven’t seen The Tell-Tale Heart yet.



The Cask





The Cask is an uncomfortable, riveting watch complete with sinister plans, treachery, backstabbing and danger. 

A short by the amazing Alan Rowe Kelly who also plays the lead role, commences with the wedding party of Furtonato Montresor (Randy Jones) and his deceptive wife Gogo where we are also treated to lots of indie horror movie cameos (Amy Lynn Best and Mike Watt of Happy Cloud Pictures woot!) and a nice turn by Susan Adriensen as the bonkers housekeeper. 

From here on out its ghoulish twists and turns as Gogo's horrifying plans play out and viewers are left on their seats edge as events go from bad to worse. 

I had the most fun with The Cask - its like a very classy episode of Tales From the Crypt in regards to its violent revenge theme. It had me biting my nails as to whether Gogo's plans would succeed and then cowering slightly when things got gruesome. It also packs a fantastic finale which brings everything that came before nicely together with a macabre final shot. 



There is a dreamy quality to the filming which gives the film a slightly surreal edge along its dark and creepy journey - I cant imagine anyone not being swept away by this short film and then jolted in terror as it wraps up! Great, great work. 


Dreams




Furthering the surreal edge of The Cask, this final story takes that crown and runs off with it into another dimension. It  features an amazing bevvy of horror movie greats -  Lesleh Donaldson again, Adrienne King (Friday 13th) Amy Steel (Friday 13th part 2) AND Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) with an amazing lead in newcomer Bette Cassat.

Directed by Bart Mastronardi and written by Michael Varrati this particular short is unique in that its based on a poem rather than a fleshed out story and the final product couldn't be any more befitting of the title.

Its hard to describe Dreams other than it features insanely amazing imagery both beautiful and alluring and terrifying and grotesque. It really is a one of a kind experience which some viewers may find a bit jarring after the previous shorts but personally I think it wrapped things up on an outstanding and highly artistic level.






Check out the official website  I hope you will all get the chance to see this fantastic movie as soon as possible.  It hasn't won a staggering amount of awards for nothing! 

Sometimes I get to review films that are a complete pleasure from start to finish and this is indeed one of those. 


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Cutting Room (2015)










Witten and Directed by Warren Dudley

Produced by Warren Dudley and TJ Herbert

Stars: Parry Glasspool, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Lydia Orange and TJ Herbet

Release: UK DVD 1 June 2015




It’s always nice to see a new UK horror movie, particularly one as hair raising and twisted as The Cutting Room. Warren Dudley directs a great cast, including Parry Glasspool, (currently stirring up some nice drama in Hollyoaks) and has produced a brilliantly twisted script that literally had me biting the ends of my fingers off.

Featuring three college students, Raz (Parry Glasspool) Charlie (Lucy-Jane Quinlan) and Jess (Lydia Orange) the film explores the important issue of cyber bullying, or trolling which leads them to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two girls. The three students start out on a dangerous path as they explore some old army barracks on a quest to get to the truth. However someone doesn’t want them to get to the truth and as they document their horrifying journey on camera, audiences are slowly let in on the awful truth. 

The Cutting Room is shot found footage style which may put some off, I have always quite enjoyed them (when good) and this one was gripping, tense and I would recommend to give it a shot regardless. You may even enjoy the hilarious Blair Witch parody....

All three main cast members do a great job, Parry Glasspool plays Raz the college clown and apparent womanizer as a natural. He could easily be a character that audiences hate, but I actually think he came across as more cheeky and amusing as opposed to some of the names his girlfriend Charlie calls him during the movie.  That says poor Charlie has to date the guy and he says a lot to try her patience. I think Lucy-Jane Quinlan played Charlie with a great mixture of feisty and frightened and as the film progressed I started to feel genuinely nervous for her character as all signs started to point at an insidious plan for her. The character of Jess was fun and interesting and Lydia Orange shows some great acting chops toward the end of the film where she finds herself in a baffling and horrifying position. I wish we would have seen a little more of Jess but what we did see was great. TJ Herbert, who co produced the film, also plays a small but significant role as a potential suspect in the disappearances and this is suitably creepy and unsettling. But just how much does his character has to do with the events on screen?

I cant and wont go into any spoilers but a couple of things I will say is the beginning of the movie is excellently executed. A grisly scene plays out to an insanely cheerful song and it just works so well in drawing you in. The ending...well....just PAY ATTENTION. That's all I will say. Very well done and a jaw dropper for sure.

I cant wait to see what Warren Dudley and co have to offer next, The Cutting Room is a well executed nightmare with believable performances and a frightening plot, not to mention yet again a killer ending. Find out more about the film at its official site  HERE  or its Facebook page - also please go grab a copy and support indie horror! 
 





Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Black Tape (2014)


(DVD Screener)

Written and Directed by Ramone Menon

Stars: Elina Madison, Allen Marsh, Melanie Thompson, Parker Coppins, Viktoria Paje Oto, Brezina Bryan, Mordechai Jackson and Cassi Ellis.




Here is a found (or rather delivered) footage horror film which I enjoyed aside from one issue. On the plus side it's creepy as heck, has a nice air of mystery running throughout and delivers a spine chilling end. Not even the usual jump scare, camera falls to the floor kind of end, no this film is too smart for that. It has several creepy scenes all the way through and some scenes of startling horror so it would have been a huge shame for it to end on a predictable note. In this film we get the answer to a question which plagues you from the start - a pre-credit scene truly made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I kind of wanted to look away! Not gory, not gratuitous...just plain scary.

The majority of The Black Tape is made up of a family, stalked by an unknown predator, filming their every move. This very unfortunate family have no idea that they are the stars of a self made murder film where they have been cast as the victims. 

The film takes several really impressive turns and rather than have a bit of set up and then BAM maniac makes their move... the terror is spread over a surprisingly long time. A plot point leads the family to believe all is behind them but sadly no, everything that happened before was just one part of a truly sickening plan.

There were some really good performance particularly from Elina Madison and Melanie Thompson as mother and daughter Alana and Stephanie. Melanie does a fine job of a potential victim in waiting, going about her teenage dramas in believable fashion. Elina plays the terrorized mother to perfection with equal parts fear and fight - not to mention a worrying dark side which is only discovered due to the stalkers voyeurism.

An intriguing and often scary horror film with a kicker of an ending. My only criticism being I felt some character fates felt too left up in the air - there is definite sequel scope and I hope you would agree with me when you watch. Find out more about the film HERE and remember to check every nook and cranny of your home before turning out the lights.....

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Volumes of Blood (2015)

Volumes of Blood posterDirectors: 
Jakob Bilinski 
PJ Starks 
Lee  Vervoort 
Nathan Thomas Milliner 
John Kenneth Muir 

Writers:

Todd Martin
PJ Starks 
Nathan Thomas Milliner 


Stars: Jason Crowe, Roni Jonah, Alexandria Hendrick, Garret Smith, Louisa Torres, Jim O'Rear, Todd Reynolds, Jordan Phillips, Elissa Grant, Louisa Torres, Kristine Renee Farley, Kevin Roach



Volumes of Blood is a collaborative effort from some of independent horror films greats and one I have been looking forward to since director and writer P.J Starks let me know about it. Not only is the film a great, involving anthology, it also provides an original spin on the format, particularly in its final act.

I think the best way to share my thoughts on VoB is to go through each segment in turn but to give some idea of the films overall structure, we essentially follow a group of college kids discussing the invention of new and original urban legends via their own individual horror stories. Each segment takes place in the same library in which the group are sharing their tales which I think is a nice touch indeed.

Segment one, A Little Pick Me Up is a wicked little short with a jaw dropping end. Alexandria Hendrick plays an overtired student desperately trying to complete her work late at night in the library. When she is approached by a mysterious salesman (Jim O'Rear) to sample a new energy drink, its pretty clear that there are sinister intentions at play. Things go from bad to worse at a rapid rate and the short ends in spectacular style. Great opening segment! Written by Todd Martin. Directed by John Kenneth Muir.

Segment two, Ghastly Written and directed by PJ Starks is a spooky ghost story which features a librarian haunted by a mysterious force. I loved the black and white used in this classic tale, a very nice touch. This short also boasts some impressive ghost effects, the horribly contorted face of the librarians tormentor looking like something out of your worst nightmares. I have a very minor complaint with this short and that is purely that I wish it was longer. I have loved (and feared) the idea of a haunted library ever since that damn opening scene to Ghostbusters and I would love PJ to consider a feature length movie along these lines in the future. Like I say, I fully appreciate that this is anthology and therefore you cant have two much of each story - this is just an expression of interest ;)

Segment three, 13 After Midnight  Written by PJ Starks. Directed by Jacob Bilinski has a nice creature feature spin to it and there is an effective and creepy element of 'fear whats in the shadows' to it. Expect this segment to twist and turn a bit also with one hell of a downbeat finale.

Segment four, The encyclopedia Satanica  Written by Nathan Thomas Milliner and Todd Martin. Directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner is a cool and creepy tale of spells and demons. Kristine Renee Farley who has done some amazing work with Big Biting Pig Productions as well as the incredible Bloody Hooker Bang Bang: A Love Story really brings her A game here once again. I have now seen Kristine play several challenging, not to mention different roles and her turn her as guilt ridden turned tormented Paige only furthers my belief that she deserves a most amazing career. This short gives some brilliant bloody effects as with the others, this time with a darker and more ominous feel.

The final segment Thats a Wrap turns everything else on its head in a GREAT way. I wont give any spoilers on this front but be assured, you need to stick with the film right through to the credits as Volumes of Blood ends with a most satisfying, carnage filled denouement.  Written by P.J Starks. Directed by Lee Vervoort.

Highly recommended from this reviewer, Volumes of Blood brings laughs, blood, grue, scares and an overall sense of fun - something that horror anthologies used to do so well but has been somewhat lacking in recent years.  I would love this dream team to come together for a follow up anthology, I couldn't imagine what gory delights they may have up their sleeves for a part 2. Please head on over to the movies official Website and Facebook page for more details and show this film some real support!


Monday, 30 March 2015

POV (2014)









Written and Directed by Richard Anthony Dunford


Stars: Tom Clear, Karl Kennedy-Williams, Tuula Costelloe, Lewis Saunderson, Jamie Langlands, Sarah Harkins










Many thanks to Richard Anthony Dunford for sharing his creepy new horror movie POV with me. I am always excited to see a good British horror film especially those that are low budget but made with a true love to the genre. POV is one such film and unique in the sense that you follow the action through the eyes of main character Zack (Tom Clear) a down on his luck guy following a painful break up.

When Zacks brother (Karl Kennedy-Williams) and his best mates Mackenzie and Vickers (Lewis Saunderson and Jamie Langlands) drag him to a weekend long house party to cheer him up it is clear that something is going to come along and ruin the fun..

A creepy tale of demonic possession and death in the houses history, spun by Mackenzie, raises a few laughs and retorts as the party goers are far more interested in booze and music to truly believe such a story. However Zack soon starts to experience disturbing sightings  which soon make the viewer question what is really happening - are the demons real, is Zack going mad, or something else...? Suffice to say the shit hits the fan real hard and real fast.

I really enjoyed POV, it has a unique way of telling its story, it has some great characters and actors and there are some genuine scares. In fact one scene where Mackenzie scares Zack made me jump out of my fucking skin. I think I was expecting something else to happen or something, I'm not sure, all I know is that i swore very loudly.....  I also liked the fact that the film took some nice twists and turns in its final 10 minutes and kudos to Richard for not giving viewers all the easy answers on a plate.  For its low-no budget I also think the film is presented really well and I really liked the practical effects on display.

All main actors were great, Lewis Saunderson were both very funny in the roles of the best friends trying to do a nice thing for their mate. Lots of piss taking and barbs are exchanged which is totally realistic of a group of male friends. Karl Kennedy- Williams was a real stand out as the protective brother Sam, he comes across as equal parts good guy and total knobhead, and he has the mouth to match. A great and entertaining character! I felt nothing but pity for poor Zack as played by Tom Clear. He is having the worst time ever and then finds himself in the middle of a far far worse situation. I was rooting for him to get out it in one piece but to say anymore would be too spoilerish. Oh and Tuula Costelloe as party girl Lizzy was a massive hoot!.

Please check out the official website for POV and show your love for  British indie horror. I hope you guys will get to see the film for yourselves real soon.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Sodomaniac (2015)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Anthony Catanese

Written by Anthony Catanese, Steve Ravesz

Stars: Craig Kelly, Allan Sconza, Kirk Ponton, Dale Gordon, Josh Rocco, Nicole Hamilton, Amanda Stauss, Greg Kline










Thanks so much to the guys behind this crazy little flick for letting me check it out for review.
A friend out in the reviewing field tipped me off to Sodomaniac, a film that actually hadn't come across my radar til then. I am glad I got to hear about it as the film is a certifiable blast - it has some amazingly loyal 80s slasher tropes (atmosphere, soundtrack, foreboding music, obnoxious and unlikable cannon fodder) all mixed up with something new, gross and unusual. So many points already huh?

So the plot goes a little something like this; a group of arsehole men (aside from Derrick played by Allan Sconza) fancy themselves as the ultimate of alpha males and spend their time talking shit, drinking, doing drugs and umm....date raping young women. Obviously this shocking crossing of the line and outright criminal behavior needs to be addressed and this being a horror film at heart, there is someone out there watching and waiting to take a painful revenge.  In fact said revenge is going to hit these guys right where it hurts - for all their jokes and comments about gay sex and anal sex, the killer is intent on making the punishment fit the crime.  Decked out in a mask which is basically a big arse (yep- see picture above!) the vengeful madman sets about putting their own visceral spin on sodomy, taking the rapist men out one by one...in the bum....

Although the subject matter is undoubtedly dark, rest assured that Sodomaniac is an effectively funny horror comedy. The dialogue works well as it helps to ensure you are in no way rooting for the victims to be but also gets the intended laughs along the way.

The story is well drawn and clips along at a decent pace which is great as there is a lot going on throughout and all the while you are getting closer to the truth regarding the killers identity. On that note I was extremely impressed by the red herrings and hints dropped all the way along. I LOVE whodunnit plots whether it be in a movie, soap opera, TV series and I always enjoy the scenes that are basically telling you 'yep this guy/girl could be doing because...'. I think Sodomaniac did a great job at keeping you guessing and changing your mind as the film heads to its climax. One part of the final reveal I did get right (but I did second guess myself at one point on this also!)

I have to recommend this movie 100%, its funny, crude, rude, gross and hilarious with a good story and a great dose of mystery chucked in as well. The main cast all play their parts well and there is definite promise from director/writer Anthony Catanese to deliver some more excellent horror and/or comedy in the future. Please check this flick out over on Facebook and hopefully release details will be forthcoming soon.

Watch your ass folks!