Monday, 6 June 2016

Cleaver: Rise of the Killer Clown (2016)


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)

(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!