Blending horror, dark comedy and gangsters, genre-busting festival hit "Polterheist" gets an early DVD release for Halloween before the general release in 2019.
In this “creepy and hilarious” British crime tale, two hapless small time criminals kidnap a psychic medium, forcing her to contact the gangster they murdered to find his buried cash. Racing against the clock with fear of reprisal from a psychotic gang boss, they accidentally unleash a demon hell bent on revenge.
Blending gangsters, supernatural horror and laced with dark humour, Polterheist is already generating rave reviews as one of the most original British movies of the year.
The film is co-written and directed by David Gilbank and features a talented up-and-coming cast including Jamie Cymbal, Sid Akbar Ali, Jo Mousely and Pushpinder Chani.
The producers of a zombie film encounter problems on set when a werewolf proceeds to run amok, in the nearby village in Pablo Raybould's feature film directorial debut The Snarling which is out is Disc this month, ahead of its forthcoming Digital release.
A group of bar-flys in a village pub get roped in to being extras on a low budget zombie film that's shooting nearby. But unfortunately for them, someone, or something, has been going round bumping off members of the cast and crew as well as preying on some of the locals.
Matters are not helped when the lead actor, Greg Lupeen (Laurence Saunders - The Seasoning House) is hospitalised, following an unfortunate incident with a sausage wrapped in tin foil. But nothing is going to stop the director finishing his movie, even of he has to rope one of the extras in to stand in for him (Saunders again).
When the bungling cops (one of which played by the director) investigating the spate of bizarre deaths notice a pattern of similar deaths whenever the films lead actor was appearing in a film during a full moon, they suspect they may have a werewolf on their hands, but have they got the right man?
Aping "American Werewolf in London" and other old Werwolf films, this was really more of a campy comedy than a horror, and was actually bloody good fun. Was surprised to see Chris Simmonds (who played Mickey Webb in TV's THE BILL) in this, along with TV presenter Julie Peasgood, who has a minor role (Albert Moses who had a brief role in American Werewolf also makes a cameo appearance).
If you like horror comedies, I'd say The Snarling is definitely worth 90mins of your time!
The film is out on UK DVD from October 29th and will be available Digitally from November 5th from Left films.
Fright-Rags continues its Month of Myers with new and classic apparel from Halloween (1978) and its first five sequels: Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4: The Return of the Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.
John Carpenter's Halloween collection features eight new shirts, six reprinted shirts, three pairs of socks, and a 40th anniversary enamel pin. The Halloween II collection includes a T-shirt reprint and a Nurse Jill motion enamel pin. The Halloween III: Season of the Witch collection has new baseball tees featuring the Silver Shamrock masks, plus two classic designs.
The Halloween 4: The Return of the Michael Myers collection contains four T-shirts, a pair of socks, and four enamel pins. The Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers collection offers three T-shirts and two enamel pins. Fright-Rags' first foray into Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers consists of two T-shirts, a pair of Thorn socks, and three enamel pins.
Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III, Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and Halloween 6 merchandise is available now at Fright-Rags.com, where you can also find official Halloween (2018) apparel.
Fright-Rags' Month of Myers culminates on Halloween, October 31, with a Haddonfield varsity hoodie and two Halloween baseball hats.
Hammer Classics Season to premiere on Horror Channel
From November 3, Horror Channel celebrates vintage 1950s home-grown fantasy and horror with a HAMMER CLASSICS SEASON, The primetime Saturday night season, consisting of four network premieres, which star the iconic Peter Cushing, kicks off with Val Guest’s atmospheric masterpiece, THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, The other three, all directed by Terence Fisher, are the highly successful adaptations of the classic Universal monster movies: the brilliantly lurid THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), the hypnotically sensual and gory DRACULA (1958), which launched Cushing and Christopher Lee into global stardom, and THE MUMMY (1959), perhaps the most critically well-received Hammer movie of all time.
Full film details of season in transmission order:
Sat 3 Nov @ 21:00 – THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (1957) – *Network Premiere
An adaptation of a drama by Nigel Kneale, creator of the Quatermass series, this horror fantasy stars Peter Cushing as scientist John Rollason, who, ignoring his wife's objections, joins an expedition lead by brash American Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker). They are searching for the legendary yeti in the high Himalayas - a quest with deadly consequences.
Sat 10 Nov @ 21:00 – THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) * Network Premiere
Scientist Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) will stop at nothing in his quest to reanimate a deceased body and assembles a hideous creature (Christopher Lee) out of dead body parts. He succeeds in bringing it to life, but the monster is not as obedient or docile as Frankenstein expected…
Sat 17 Nov @ 21:00 – DRACULA (1958) *Network Premiere
On a search for his missing friend, Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is led to Count Dracula's (Christopher Lee) castle, where he finds an undead Harker in Dracula's crypt and discovers that the count's next target is Harker's ailing fiancée, Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh). With the help of her brother, Arthur (Michael Gough), Van Helsing is determined to protect Lucy and put an end to Count Dracula's parasitic reign of terror.
Sat 24 Nov @ 21:00 – THE MUMMY (1959) *Network Premiere
When a family of British archaeologists (Peter Cushing, Felix Aylmer and Raymond Huntley) discover the ancient tomb of an Egyptian High Princess, Kharis (Christopher Lee), a mummy of a high priest who has been buried alive, comes to life to seek retribution against the trespassers of the tomb.
There are also Friday night network premieres for darkly gripping sci-fi thriller SPLICE, John Carpenter’s brilliant body-mangling monster horror THE THING, starring Kurt Russell, Aussie shark schlockfest BAIT, the 2008 US remake of THE EYE, starring Jessica Alba and psychological thriller HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET, starring Jennifer Lawrence.
Plus, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE returns for the network premiere of Season 3, from Friday 2 November at 8pm.
Matt Smith (TVs Dr Who) tries to save humanity from a world full of blood thirsty killers, following a global pandemic, in PATIENT ZERO which is out now on UK DVD from Sony.
A Rabies like pandemic has swept the globe, turning people into crazed maniacs. What's left of humanity and the military are holed up in underground bunkers, whilst scientists search for a cure, or at the very least an innoculation against the disease.
Scientist Morgan (Matt Smith) has found that not only is he immune to the virus, but can communicate with the infected. And the other scientists are using him in the hope that they can discover where the outbreak first occured, in the hopes of tracking down the first infected person and maybe find a cure.
But problems occur when he meets a super intelligent infected, calling himself "The Proffessor" (Stanley Tucci - Captain America, The Hunger Games) and finds that they have their own Patient Zero they have been searching for...
Also starring Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), this was a very good action thriller, with some interesting ideas. Despite being somewhat derivative of 28 Days Later and Day of the Dead (complete with an unhinged military commander). Which makes the most of the underground complex location its set in.
There's some good action scenes towards the end and a few nice gore scenes, though it did kind of feel like an episode for a TV series. But don't let that put you off. If you enjoy zombie/infection type films, give it a go!
Strap in for the ride of your life and death this November! For a terrifying tribute and modern twist on classic bloody slasher fun.
Every year, thousands follow Hell Fest to experience fear at the ghoulish carnival of nightmares. But for one visitor, Hell Fest is not the attraction – it is a hunting ground. An opportunity to slay in plain view of a gawking audience, too caught up in the terrifyingly fun atmosphere to recognise the horrific reality playing out before their eyes.
As the body count and frenzied excitement of the crowds continue to rise, he turns his masked gaze to Natalie, Brooke, Taylor and their boyfriends who will fight to survive the night.
Paying homage to our favourite slasher films of the ‘80s, Hell Fest is an exhilarating fever pitch of bloody chaos, played out across a lush neon playground where danger, and the next gruesome (and surprisingly inventive) kill, waits around every corner. If you still have some screams in your system after this Halloween, there’s no season pass required for entry into Hell Fest, which is sure to leave a twisted smile on your face!
Hell Fest is the perfect treat for anyone who doesn’t want Halloween to end.
Christmas dinner turns bloody in this ferociously brilliant, gore-soaked horror comedy from the creators of Jason Goes To Hell and Texas Chainsaw 3D.
A Christmas Eve gathering takes an unexpected turn after a family guest spikes the punch with a military grade version of truth serum sodium pentothal. The already dysfunctional group comes unstuck in a blizzard of drug-induced, painfully candid outbursts, and upset soon turns to carnage after the head of the family runs amok with a fork, triggering festering loathings and savage reprisals.
The second film to be released under the FrightFest Presents label, the new venture from leading independent distributor Signature Entertainment and leading genre festival FrightFest, SECRET SANTA debuted at this year’s prestigious FrightFest Glasgow, and is the perfect stocking-stuffer for horror fans suffering Halloween withdrawals and in need of a fix of gore and giggles.
Packed with wickedly dark humour, and outrageous gore effects, this is a fast-paced, relentless Christmas slay ride, written and directed by Adam Marcus, whose debut film was the fan favourite Friday 13th entry Jason Goes To Hell, and co-scripted by Debra Sullivan, who wrote 2013 horror hit Texas Chainsaw 3D.
A special school for troubled girls turns out to be harbouring a dark secret in "Down a Dark Hall", which comes to UK DVD and Digital outlets this month from Lionsgate.
Tearaway teenager Kit Gordy (AnnaSophia Robb - TVs Mercy Street) is facing expulsion from school for a number of incidents. With her mother and stepfather at their wits end with what to do with her, they enlist her in a private boarding school which specialises in straightening out delinquents.
Run by the enigmatic Madame Duret (Uma Thurman - Kill Bill) Kit is surpised to find that despite the schools size, there are only 4 other students beside herself residing there. But stranger still, after only a couple of weeks, they all start to exhibit extraordinary abilities they previously didn't have.
One of them suddenly becomes a genius at maths, another finds she can paint like a seasoned artist whilst Kit suddenly discovers she can play the piano and even compose full concertos.
But when the girls also experience strange shadowy figures prowling the corridors at night and theres more to the staff's eccentric teaching methods than meets the eye, they realise supernatural elements are at work and the staff don't have the girls best interests at heart...
Quite enjoyed this, was rather reminiscent of Suspiria in many ways. Uma Thurman was very good as the strange Madame Duret and the young cast put in a decent enough performance as the troubled teens.
The DVD is a bare bones release, with just basic menus and chapter selection pages, and does not contain any supplemental features aside from a couple of trailers for other Lionsgate horror films that play during start up.
Down a Dark Hall is released to UK DVD and Digital outlets October 22nd.
"Paranormal Activity" Creator, Oren Peli, and Imprezario Entertainment resurrect one of the most notorious urban legends in NIGHT TERRORS: BLOODY MARY an augmented reality horror mobile experience, which will be available on both Android and iOS on October 12th.
“Night Terrors” pioneers state-of-the-art technology to immerse users into a survival horror game. The player’s environment is filled with terrifying creatures – demons, souls and other petrifying entities. The phone’s camera, LED light, 360 audio, and other system features create customized scares by using unique AR captured content in order to truly immerse players in an experience unlike anything else.
“Throughout my career, I’ve prided myself on storytelling and exploring innovative perspectives to deliver some of the most electrifying moments in film. ‘Night Terrors: Bloody Mary’ is enabling me to work with a new creative medium that will bring the narrative to users in their own homes, this time through their mobile device. I can think of nothing more horrifying, so I could not be more thrilled to be at the forefront of this emerging entertainment technology,” said Oren Peli, Executive Producer.
"Night Terrors: Bloody Mary" will be the first of two new AR app experiences developed by Imprezario Entertainment over the next several months, and we plan to continue increasing our AR gaming presence each year moving forward,” said Bryce Katz, Imprezario co-founder. “Our goal is to create a vast array of new adventures in a variety of genres incorporating high quality characters and immersive storylines for all ages.” The new “Night Terrors” experience brings to life the urban legend of Bloody Mary and the terrible fate she inflicts on those foolish enough to summon her.
The horrifying tale has been shared for hundreds of years. Unwanted at birth, Mary Tudor was the daughter of the notorious King Henry VIII, who beheaded any queen that failed to give him a male heir.
Sustained by her vanity and the mirror that was never far from her side, she rose above all rivals to become England’s first reigning queen. Answering to no man, she ruled alone and the tyranny of Queen Mary’s reign matched her father’s as did her obsessions which lead to hundreds dead by her command.
It was this bloodshed that earned her the moniker that would last forever - Bloody Mary.
Rakuten TV is bringing horror to your home, direct to your smart TV, this October.
You can join Toni Collette in her gripping case of twisted family drama in the critically acclaimed Hereditary now. From the 26th October you’ll be able to crawl into the world of Possum starring Sean Harris and if those aren’t enough to make sleep a distant memory, you can pick from the fantastically frightful selection of horror films on Rakuten TV including: A Quiet Place, IT, The First Purge(from 29th Oct) and The Strangers: Prey at Night.
Rakuten TV – “Your cinema at home” - is one of the leading Video-On-Demand platforms in Europe providing the latest movie releases with the latest technology in a true cinematic experience available on Smart TVs. Rakuten TV is currently distributed in 12 countries and it is part of the Internet and e-commerce Japanese giant Rakuten, now sponsor of FC Barcelona, The Golden State Warriors and Shakira’s El Dorado Tour.
Ahead of the World premiere screening of REBORN at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, Julian Richards discusses the torturerous challenges of DADDY’S GIRL, why he wishes every actress was like Barbara Crampton and future plans, including directing the English language remake of RABIES.
Q: After six years away from directing, you have two films, REBORN and DADDY’S GIRL poised for distribution. Why these two very different films now?
My previous film SHIVER was completed in 2012 and it took longer for me to get back into the directing saddle because of commitments I had to my sales company Jinga Films. The company was growing quickly and needed more of my time and energy. We had grown from handling three films a year to handling ten films a year and our titles were getting stronger. At the same time my wife and I decided to have a family and in 2016 we became parents to twins. I think we both underestimated how demanding parenthood would be, and understandably, I lost momentum with the directing projects that i was developing.
But I had no intention of giving up on directing and was always on the lookout for new opportunities. The first, DADDY’S GIRL came from an unexpected source; an Indian broadcaster Zee Studios, based in Dubai who approached me to help them put together a slate of three horror films that they planned to shoot in Eastern Europe. I sent them three scripts from which they chose DADDY’S GIRL for me to direct and OPEN 24 HOURS for Padraig Reynolds to direct. My sales company Jinga Films represents two of Padraig’s earlier films RITES OF SPRING and WORRY DOLLS, so I was happy to share this opportunity with him.
The next opportunity came during Cannes when I was asked by John Penney and Brian Yuzna to recommend directors for REBORN, a feature they were planning to produce in Los Angeles. I recommended myself, gave feedback on the screenplay and was quickly hired for the project. Of course, the idea of directing two feature films in 12 months whilst raising twins was daunting, but I had lost time to make up for, and with the support of my wife, Rosana, I (we) somehow managed to do it.
Q: DADDY’S GIRL is a contentious, challenging film, to say the least. Did you have reservations about the storyline, given the way the film industry is shifting morally and sexually?
The screenplay for DADDY’S GIRL that went into production is different from the original screenplay. The original had a Haute Tension-esque twist whereby several characters in the story turn out to be the same character, the protagonist, with many events taking place inside her mind. It was this deeply psychological context that attracted me to the script, but the producers didn’t like it and so it was removed. Without this twist, and with the torture scenes actually happening rather than being the machinations of a deranged mind, the project was in danger of becoming just another torture porn film, and being a sales agent as well as a director, I was acutely aware of the problems this might cause, particularly post #metoo. So, I introduced a new theme to the story, making both the killer and the cop Iraq war veterans and linking the torture to Abu Ghraib, turning the film into a metaphor for the anxieties of post Iraq war America. When I directed the torture scenes, I panned away or cut away from anything too extreme or degrading, focusing instead on the protagonist as she watches. Re-action is stronger than action, and horror is more effective when left to the imagination. The producers did question my direction, they wanted less clothes and more torture, but I did not want to make an exploitation film and personally I felt uncomfortable taking the material in this direction. Ultimately DADDY’S GIRL is not a film about a bad guy torturing women, it is a film about a captive women staving off the desire to commit suicide and choosing to survive instead.
Q: Jemma Dallender puts in a brave, compelling performance. What she your first choice for the role?
Actually, we first cast Jemma as the vigilante, but when two of the actresses cast to play Zoe pulled out we had to re-shuffle our cast and offered Jemma the lead. She jumped at the opportunity because she had never played a character like that before.
Q: You extract an equally commanding performance from Barbara Crampton in REBORN. What was it like working with such a genre legend?
When I read the script for REBORN, Barbara was the first actress I thought about for the part of Lena, so I was really pleased when she agreed to board the project. Actually another actress was already attached to the project but had to leave just before we started shooting, so when Barbara arrived she only had a couple of days to prepare. It was a fraught start to the production but she was like the cavalry coming to the rescue.
Barbara gives commanding performances in all her films, so all a director has to do is cast her and provide her with a good script with good dialogue. Occasionally I would step in and ask for a little less or a little more, but generally speaking, you just roll the camera on Barbara and often you get what you need in one or two takes. Working with Barbara is therefore a director’s dream. She comes fully prepared and is willing to go above the call of duty to get the best result for the film. I wish every actress were like Barbara...
Q: Even though REBORN is a violent supernatural thriller, at heart it’s a moving story of a young woman’s search and reunion with her birth mother. How did you find balancing the emotional narrative with the brutal tone of its visual effects?
It was the mother, daughter reunion aspect of the story that attracted me to REBORN. The script had a strong, dramatic, emotional through-line which reminded me of Frankenstein. Most horror scripts don’t have such a strong dramatic ingredient, so I knew that this was something special. However, the script was lacking in strong horror beats, so I did a directors pass, ramping up the kill scenes in which Tess uses her electro-kinetic power. The Omen franchise became an influence here, dramatic family scenes intercut with inventive murder set pieces. Of course, Carrie was also an influence, as was The Fury and Scanners. The film has a strong sense of nostalgia for the genre, so I introduced a meta-horror ending to give it a contemporary twist.
Q: Juggling a career as a film director with that of running an established sales and distribution company (Jinga) must be a constant challenge. How do you do it? Do both give you equal satisfaction?
I moved into sales after making THE LAST HORROR MOVIE. I put a lot of my own money into that film and needed to make sure that I got it back. I also wanted to learn more about the business side of films and sales seemed to be the most immediate and accessible way to do that. I never intended to switch career, but I did need to do something that would provide me with a more reliable income. Jinga went from strength to strength and by the time we released A SERBIAN FILM in 2012, we had established ourselves as one of the key genre companies in the World. It was, and still is, an incredible learning curve and it compliments my film-making in many ways.
I think the opportunity to direct DADDY’S GIRL and REBORN came because of my experience in sales, so although Jinga initially diverted me away from directing, it ultimately provided opportunities that I might not have got going through the conventional employment channels such as agents and managers.
Q: You made a massive impact with THE LAST HORROR MOVIE and many people are still hankering for a sequel. Is this on the cards?
I did toy with the idea, about doing something with Max on Facebook and Twitter etc., but technology and social habits are evolving so quickly that I was concerned that any script that we came up with would be dated by the time it got made. Also, the market has changed. There is not much of an appetite for found footage, and crime films are less popular than supernatural. If somebody out there has a viable idea and wants to write a sequel to THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, I would certainly consider making it.
Q: When you look at the Jinga library, are there any films you would have liked to have made?
Well, A SERBIAN FILM does spring to mind, but actually no, I don’t think I’m capable of that level of transgression. The three films I would choose are STILL/BORN, OUR EVIL and THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME. All have a strong family drama at their core which gives them a greater sense of reality, despite the supernatural events wreaking havoc elsewhere in their stories.
Q: You come from Wales but your last film shot there was the BAFTA Cymru award-winning SUMMER SCARS. Do you plan to return to your homeland to make more movies?
The first opportunity I got to direct a feature came from Wales, when I received lottery finance from Film Agency Wales to make DARKLANDS, which is arguably the first Welsh horror movie and which has been credited as kickstarting a new wave of UK genre production which continues to this day. Film Agency Wales also supported SUMMER SCARS, and without this support I may not have been able to achieve the level of success that I have obtained, so I owe them and Wales a huge debt of gratitude. I would love to make more films in Wales, particularly films that focus on Welsh history, myth and folklore. If any writers out there have a script that I could shoot in Wales, please send it my way and I would be happy to read it.
Q: Finally, what’s next for Julian Richards?
I am in talks with Israeli production company UCM to co-produce and direct the English language re-make of RABIES and I am also developing an action thriller based on the terrorist attack on British holiday makers in Tunisia. I am also involved as a co-producer with the English language re-make of THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME which is currently in development at Good Fear.
REBORN has its World Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, Cineworld, Leicester Square on 8 Nov, 10.40am.
First they brought you THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS WARDH and then ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK. Now, Shameless proudly presents giallo’s own royalty, the iconic Fenech-Hilton dream team, in their third sensuous outing: THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS.
After two beautiful women are murdered in an apartment block, Jennifer (Edwige Fenech) and Marilyn (Paola Quattrini) move into the flat of one of the slaughtered girls. But before long, the unknown predatory pervert soon turns his salacious attentions to the gorgeous Jennifer. The list of suspects includes a woman and her deformed son, a crazy lesbian and even Jennifer’ s own lover.
Serenaded with Bruno Nicolai's enrapturing score and featuring lush cinematography from Stelvio Massi, this long-sought-after 70s sleaze gem, directed by Giuliano Carnimeo (RATMAN), is now available for your delectation. You are invited you to solve THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS, on Shameless Blu-ray in this 2K restored special edition for the first time ever.
• A new candid chat with the amazing George Hilton
• A new scintillating chat with star Paola Quattrini
Shameless presents THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS on Blu-ray & DVD 19 November 2018
POSSUM is the debut feature film from writer/director Matthew Holness, co-creator and writer/star of the cult TV series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.
The story follows disgraced children’s puppeteer PHILIP (Sean Harris), returning to his childhood home of Fallmarsh, Norfolk, intent on destroying Possum, a hideous puppet he keeps hidden inside a brown leather bag. When his attempts fail, Philip is forced to confront his sinister stepfather MAURICE (Alun Armstrong) in an effort to escape the dark horrors of his past.
Harris (Mission: Impossible, Southcliffe) and Alun Armstrong (Frontier,
Get Carter), POSSUM is a distinctive psychological thriller which pays
homage to the British horror films of the 70s. The film’s unique and
stylish exploration of a man’s isolation and abandonment is accompanied
by a compelling soundtrack from the legendary electronic BBC music
studio The Radiophonic Workshop.
successful World Premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
and Irish Premiere at the Galway Film Festival, POSSUM screened at
Frightfest in August and will be released in UK cinemas on 26 October.
Sunday was the fourth and final day of Mayhem, a sad day, but then all good things must come to an end.
The day got off to a cracking start with the UK premiere of Shinsuke Satoh's absolutely bonkers Japanese action/superhero film "Inuyashiki". In which a downtrodden middle-aged buisiness man, Inuyashiki Ichirou, who is berated by everyone, including his family and co-workers, becomes an unlikely superhero, after being abducted by aliens, who give him an "upgrade".
After being dumped back on earth he finds he's no longer the man he used to be, having been transformed into some sort of android. And now possess all manner of high tech gadgetry and weaponry hidden under his skin. But whilst he choses to use his powers for good, it seems someone else who was also taken and transformed on that same night, seeks only to use his powers for his own ends and when the police try and stop him a series of violent battles ensue and only Inuyashiki seems to be the one who can stop him.
Based on the popular Japanese comics of the same name, this was a wonderfully wacky film, and is typical of the sort of movie only the Japanese can get away with. There were some great action scenes and wonderfully dark humour (wouldn't everyone like the ability to take out internet trolls?). This was definetely one of the best films of the day and a great way to start the festival.
The next movie of the day, "The Field Guide to Evil", sadly proved to be my least favourite film of the day. This was one of those anthology films, produced by the people behind "The ABC's of Death" and featured a series of 8 short tales based on various mythologies from around the world, each by a different director.
Now I can't remember where each one was set exactly, 6 of the tales were from Europe, one was from the US and another from India. Which all seemed to be about various unfortunate folk falling foul of some strange supernatural being from that countries folklore. Whose reason for being there is never explained and the ending to pretty much all the segments ended rather ambiguously, with the viewer left to make his own mind up as to what really happened.
Myself and many other festival goers that day just seemed bemused and distinctly underwhelmed by it all. As the segments just seemed to lack any real point.
The 8 short segments were as follows.
"The Sinful Women of Höllfall" (Austria) “Al Karisi” (Turkey) "The Kindler and The Virgin" (Poland) "The Melon Heads" (USA) "What Ever Happened to Panagas the Pagan?" Greece) "Palace of Horrors" (India) "A Nocturnal Breath" (Germany) "The Cobblers Lot" (Hungary)
Personally, I think the title of the last segment summed up the film as a whole, because I thought it was just a "load of old cobblers". But that's just my opinion of course.
Third film of the day proved to be another one of my favourites, director Andy Mitton's chiller The Witch in the Window, which sees a handyman having his estranged son stay with him for the weekend whilst he fixes up an old house. Only to discover there's a reason he picked it up so cheaply.
The longer they stay there the more they begin to realise that something is definitely not right and there's a reason the building has been vacant for so long and the locals don't go near the place, as it seems the house's previous occupant may not have actually left....
A genuinely creepy haunted house film, with a few modern day twists. This was another festival crowd pleaser, which boasted a number of scenes that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
I believe this one is being screened on Shudder UK later this month, so if you're a subscriber. be sure to check it out.
Following this, it was time for the Mayhem Festivals annual quiz "The Flinterogation" in the cafe bar, hosted by David Flint (our team failed to win). Then it was back to the films.
An interesting horror film from Brazil, in which a nightshift worker at the local morgue is able to communicate with the dead bodies that pass through his autopsy room and pass messages onto their loved ones. Which keeps him rather busy, given the high levels of gang violence in the city.
But when he discovers his wife is having an affair with a guy who runs the local cafe, he uses information from the various gang members he's autopsied to frame the cafe owner for the death of a local gang leader. But it seems you should be careful what you do with the secrets of the dead and a veangeful spirit is now after him and his family.
Directed by Denison Romalho, whilst I liked the idea of being able to communicate with the dead, and using the info they give to your advantage. I wasn't so keen on how the film shifts direction, following the botched gang hit, and essentially becomes a rehash of "Drag Me to hell". It would have been much better if the film continued to focus on him using the info he got from the dead to play people off against each other.
So whilst I enjoyed this, I felt it wasn't as good as it could have been.
The final film of the festival, Colin Minahan's "What Keeps You Alive" was a film I had mixed feelings about. The plot basically revolves around a young female couple, who go away to a remote woodland cabin to celebrate their anniversary.
But it seems one of the girl's isn't all she appears, and once it becomes clear to her partner the REAL reason she wanted them to go to this cabin in the middle of nowehere, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues.
An interesting idea, but starts off way to slowly. It then takes an interesting twist, when we see a different side to one of the characters and the pace quickens. But then things slow down again and the plot quickly began to feel "padded".
Plus there were a lot of very stupid plot holes, which just seemed to make no sense, although the film did somewhat redeem itself with the very final twist right at the very end.
And that concluded the Mayhem Film Festival for another year.
I must say a huge thanks to Chris Cooke and Steve Sheil for organising this, and Melissa Gueneau for sorting out my press pass and of course the entire staff of the Broadway Cinema Nottingham for hosting this.
The Mayhem festival runs each October, at the Broadway Cinema - Nottingham.
As always, Saturday’s programme at the mayhem Festival contained the annual “Scary Shorts” section.
This years collection consisted of 13 titles, plus there was an addition short film which was shown later on in the evening, which I've reviewed here.
Dick and Stewart : I Spy with My Little Eye.
Done in the style of a 70s children's cartoon, schoolboy Dick and his friend Stewart (who is basically a disembodied eye) seem quite happy living in their walled up town, until they are approached by a strange man who asks them to spy on their parents.
But when Dick refuses, strange things happen at the hands of the government.
Director Richard Littler was clearly having a dig at the dangers of modern Goverment surveilance with his 12min cartoon, though was done in such an abstract manner the point may have been lost on some.
A couple stranded in a remote forest, find themselves being stalked by strange neanderthal like people in director Owen Tooth's 5min short. Which echoed the likes of "Hills Have Eyes" and "Wrong Turn", but set somewhere (presumably) in England
Visually very impressive, which plunges you straight into the action with some real "Ouch" moments, this appeared to have been filmed like an intro for a much larger feature.
As we had no idea who these characters were, where the were, or what they were doing there. Only that they were on the run and the fate that befalls them.
Would be interesting to see this developed into a much larger feature.
Set in some sort of Dysotopian society, not everyone is as they seem, as we see a mother and her young daughter being hunted by sinister government forces. But after the mother is captured her daughter battles to stay one step ahead of them.
Director Ashlea wessel's 13min short film seems to borrow a few ideas from "Underworld Awakening", in which the Government appear to be looking for Vampires hiding amongst them,
It had some interesting ideas but it was like watching a scene in the middle of a film, so it took a little while to figure out what was going on.
A young office worker, struggling to climb the corporate ladder, does away with her overbearing boss so she can be the one to give an important presentation, in the hopes of impressing the other company executives.
But when she starts getting flashbacks about the murder, her presentation starts to go awry and comically dark antics ensue.
Loosely based on the old Edgar Allen Poe story "The Tell Tale Heart", Director Kevin Sluder's 12min feature was quite an amusing story, with some interesting gore. Though if you weren't familiar with the original tale you may be left wondering why she acted this way.
A young mother, played by Alice Lowe (Sightseers) is forced to battle demonic apparitions which have over run her house. Their only defense being to encircle the demons with a ring of salt, which traps them inside.
But although the salt works, when she and her daughter attempt to flee outside, the weather may not be their friend
Director Rob Savages feature was not only the shortest of all the short films, clocking in at a mere 2mins, but actually proved to be the best of the bunch in my view. Which packed a hell of a lot of action inside its extremely short run time, with some very good effects.
Definitely the most bizarre film in the short film section (and that's saying something), Lorenz Wunderle's 9min feature was a very weird, trippy cartoon about a Coyote who is mortally wounded by a pack of wolves, but then encounters a demonic buffallo, who brings him back to life.
He then takes on more human characteristics, gets drunk at a bar and starts a fight with a group of bikers, who appear to be the same wolves from earlier.
Really didn't know what to make of this, very pschedelic. Not sure what meds the director was on, but perhaps he should reduce the dosage?
A father is unable to sleep as his baby son continually wakes up screaming throughout the night, only to settle down once he enters the room. But then resumes minutes later once he's left again.
Unable to rest, he eventually turns off the baby monitor, thinking his son will eventually settle down by himself. Which is when we discover the REAL reason the child was screaming hysterically everytime his father left the room....
Dan Gitsham's 8min feature was most definitely the darkest in the short films section and as a result was my least favourite. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just I didn't like it. Impressive effects though.
A creepy guy trawls the streets at night in his BMW, flashing at young ladies (and I don't mean his headlights).
But it seems he's picked the wrong girls to expose himself to, as they promptly show up at his door and he finds that he wasn't the only one out hunting that night.
Not sure if director Kate Dolan was trying to say that the female of the species is deadlier than the male, or simply that BMW drivers are w***ers, in this 8min short. But it was an interesting film, none-the-less.
A Japanese buisinessman gets a major shock, when his wife finally gets sick of his philandering following a string of affairs, and proceeds to beat the living daylights out of him and his current mistress in Reiki Tsuno's 14minute feature.
The audience loved the cartoonish use of gushing blood and there was some real "ouch" moments in this exceptionally violent and darkly comic tale which proves "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".
A young lad gets up in the night to get a glass of milk, only to find his mother is also up and about the house. But if this is his mother he's talking to in the next room, who is that calling out to him from her bedroom?
Director Santiago Menghini's 14min short was a bit of an odd one. From a technical viewpoint it was well made, but it didn't really come to any conclusion and the ending was just wierd.
However, I have read that James Wan (Saw) is looking at adapting this into a full length feature, which might be interesting.
One of the funnier short films, a couple of high school losers perform a satanic ritual. Hoping the spell will make them cool. Instead they end up summoning a demon, who proves to be just as bad as the high school jocks they seek to engraciate themselves with.
Featuring plenty of slapstick humour and buckets of blood. Chris McKinroy's 6min short proved to be a crowd pleaser and the perfect film to end the short film showcase on.
This one was screened later on in the evening, prior to the showing of Demons, but decided to review it here with the other short films.
4 Cowboys sit around the campfire bemoaning the cold and lack of food. Unless they can find something to eat soon, they may have to consider resorting to cannibalism. Plus there's a whole sub plot about Santa Claus actually being an evil person who you probably wouln't want to meet on Xmas eve.
If this all sounds very bizarre, that's because it's by the notorious Canadian film crew Astron-6 (the guys who gave us The Editor), and is just as weird and wacky as their other short films.
Needless to say, the audience loved it. This has been touted as being their final film. I certainly hope it isn't.