Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Suffer the Little Children (2015)

(Online screener version)

Directed by Corey Norman

Written by Haley Norman

Stars: Anne Bobby, Andrew Lyndaker, Dan Domingues, Beth Sommerville

Many thanks to director Corey Norman for asking me to check out his new horror short Suffer the Little Children which is based on the short story by Stephen King (available as part of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes anthology). 

This is a short that will stick with you for some time (if you have a soul) and I have to confess that while I found it brilliantly realised by Corey and Haley Norman, there were moments I wanted to look away! 

This is a difficult one to review in the sense I don't want to give anything away for those who are unfamiliar with the short story and so I will leave it at a brief summary.  Anne Bobby who starred in the fantastic Nightbreed from the macabre Clive Barker plays a stressed school teacher who suspects something is horribly wrong with the children in her class. After a horrifying encounter with one of her pupils - a brilliantly eerie performance by Andrew Lyndaker - Anne's character Miss Sidley ends up on sick leave. When she returns however she has a dark plan to end the evils she is certain have taken hold of the school. 

What happens next is jaw dropping - the climax of this short is horrible yes but also extremely well executed and acted. The main question that soon remains is what is really going on at this school? 

There is a nice streak of ambiguity in Suffer the Little Children but do not let that put you off - I think it only adds to an effective film which really makes you think and reassess what you have just watched. Hats off to the Normans for an excellent and unsettling horror short which deserves to be seen by a wider audience. 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Bloody Island (2016)

(Online screener copy)

Written and directed by: Joseph P. Kelly

Stars: Christopher Woods Marlin, William 'Wildbear' Meyer, Stephen Cena, Jamie Morgan, 
Yolanda Evans, Joseph P. Kelly, Denys Ramos Jr, Mike Jones, Rhys Lyons, Todd Forkell, Erica Lorenzetti, Liza Pabon, Amelia Favata, Casey Litzenberger.

A few years back in 2012 I was lucky to get the chance to preview offbeat slasher movie Community Service (Review) and now I have had the opportunity to check out its insane sequel Bloody Island.

With a nice fast and frenzied recap of the original movie, Bloody Island  kicks off and one thing that struck me immediately was a vast improvement in the cinematography from the first film. I'm not sure if the budget for the film is any higher than Community Service  but it sure looks like it.

Another thing is continuity - I really like how various family members etc of the victims of Community Service  share their views on the bloodbath that killer Billy caused the first time around. It doesn't feel like exposition overkill in the slightest just a decent and creative way of bridging the gap between the movies and ensures audiences are confident that events from the original haven't been discarded in order to 'change things up' for the sequel.

So what horrors are in store in  Bloody Island?  Bob Butterfield is back following previous events and carries a lot of guilt for his part in Billy's childhood psychosis (which became ten times worse as an adult!).  Bob is a good guy but he makes some monumentally insane decisions - no less this time around when he agrees to escort another bunch of juvenile delinquents to a secluded island in order to supervise their punishment. Still, no bad decision = no horror movie so stay with it! This time around the island is home to an abandoned theme park (bar a few wonderfully odd carnies who have remained behind|) which really adds to the creepy atmosphere.

Killer Billy is still after Bob with an absolute vengeance...I recall having a slight moan about a mother/child scene in Community Service and another similar scene occurs in the opening act to this movie. In hindsight, this does reflect how detestable a man Billy is and its clear that all he honestly cares about is ending the life of the man he blames for all of his problems - no one is safe!

And this horrible scene is just the start of a sickening killing spree which will make you choke on your popcorn. Characters are spared no pain and I wont go into any spoilers on this but just be sure to keep your eyes open for some cruel theme park based executions.. Props to Joseph for not softening the blow and giving Bloody Island a real streak of the nasty!

I very much recommend Bloody Island and to grab a copy when its made available to the unsuspecting public. Its brutal and nasty but a hell of a lot of fun and follows on perfectly from the original film. Read more about it over here on Facebook!

Community Service - The Movie (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Joseph Kelly

Written by Joseph Lewis and David Berry

Stars: Christopher Woods, William Meyer, Joseph Kelly, Iliana Garcia, Caitlyn Kenyon, Hope Tomaselli, Renell Edwards, Marissa Mynter, Daniel Trinh, Tristan MacAvery, Joseph Thomson, Christopher Mele, Amy Downs.

Big thank you to film maker Joe Kelly for being kind enough to share his indie slasher flick Community Service with me! I am loving the recent spate (Raymond Did It anyone?) of indie horrors which appear to pay direct homage to some of the more obscure revenge slashers of the 80s such as Offerings and for me, Community Service does a great job in achieving this.

The plot of the film kicks off in the past where a young lonely boy, Billy, is accosted by a pair of mean kids who have been making his life a misery at school. The young lads go a step too far when they attempt to destroy something very close to Billy's heart causing him to snap and lose his temper. In a fit of rage Billy attacks and kills one of the bullies much to the horror of a number of onlookers.

20 years later Billy is in the nut house and not showing any sign of improvement on his anger issues, meanwhile the surviving bully, Bob, has become a local police officer. 'Officer Bob' has the thankless task of running a community service programme at a nearby camp ground which very unfortunately is situated close to the psychiatric ward that has become Billy's home.

Being a slasher flick, it goes without saying that Officer Bob and his young charges, all on the programme for various petty crimes, are in big trouble. Billy has made his escape following learning of Bobs position and whereabouts and he wants to finish what he started 20 years ago...no matter who else he has to kill along the way.

I really enjoyed this short but sweet slasher. It has all your required ingredients to make a successful body count movie: incident from the past rearing its ugly head, psychotic child growing up to be an even more psychotic adult, a motely group of teenagers with differing personalities and traits, and a number of good kills. My only real complaint about the movie was a scene involving a mother and child which I just found to be a bit unnecessary.

I also think the film turned out some fine performances. Most of the teens did a good job particularly Iliana Garcia and Caitlyn Kenyon and I also enjoyed Christopher Woods portrayal of Officer Bob.

I think Joe Kelly hit the nail on the head with Community Service its obvious he knows he slasher fare and used his knowledge to create a fun, well paced, often funny, at many times gory, horror film. I am extremely interested to know what Joe might be working on next and I will also be first in line to check it out. Head on over to the official Community Service: The Movie website to find out more about the film and show your support by grabbing a copy as soon as its released!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Dismembering Christmas (2015)

(Online Screener Copy)

Written by Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield

Directed by Austin Bosley

Stars: Nina Kova, Johnathon Krautkramer, Leah Wiseman, Baker Chase Powell, Danielle Doetsch, Austin Bosley, Jennifer Lenius, Shannon McInnis, Marla Van Lanen and Scott Seagren

It really doesn't seem long ago that I was gearing up to watch the first feature from Slasher Studios Don't go to the Reunion but as we all know, time really does fly and I have now just finished the fantastic follow up; Dismembering Christmas. Another love letter to an era truly embraced by Slasher Studios, the 80s slice and dice, this film takes a hacksaw to the much loved yuletide holiday with gleeful abandon.

The film features a group of young friends celebrating at a lakeside cabin during a very snowy winter, while someone watches from afar, planning to take them out one by bloody one... so nothing overly new in the slasher plot side of things but really who cares? Any movie that plays homage to the body count films of the 1980s will always pique my interest! Dismembering Christmas is fun, creative and features a great ending sequence. It also boats numerous impressive performances- notably Nina Kova as lead girl Sam, Leah Wiseman and Danielle Doetsch as the warring Emma and Katie, Marla Van Lanen as Joan the odd ball neighbor and Baker Chase Powell as Mark.

Another important point to note is how GREAT this film looks. The cinematography is stellar, the direction by Austin Bosley is on point,even quirky at times and the snow just gives Dismembering Christmas the perfect winter chill.

Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield have written a great, twisted script with laughs and frights and they are not afraid to kill off characters regardless of how nice and likable some of them are. Its a strange one as they have written two features now, both of which I would love to see sequels to (I'm a sequel guy) but at same time I want to see what new film they might pen next. who knows maybe one day they will have 8 horror features under their belts AND numerous sequels!

I whole  wholeheartedly recommend Dismembering Christmas and encourage you to check out is official Facebook and get a preorder in for the DVD in now!

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

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. 


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.....