OK guys, I've decided I need to take a break from
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Life has got kinda hectic these last few months and I've had a lot of family related stuff to deal with during December, and keeping this place updated was again starting to feel like a second full time job.
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rest for a while. Just so I can get stuff sorted and to allow myself time to indulge in some other interests.
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An old 1980s video rental store is the setting for indie horror VIDEOSHOP TALES OF TERROR, which is currently doing the rounds on the festival circuit in the UK.
Described as a “Loving homage to the Amicus horror anthologies of the 60s and 70s”, the basic plot centres around the shop's creepy old Proprietor (played by a heavily made up Martin W Payne), who takes on new employee Clara (Hannah Paterson), as she has racked up a load of late fees and has reluctantly agreed to work there to pay them off.
What follows is a series of blood curdling, and downright hilarious scenes, showing how the Proprietor deals with rude customers and people who don't bother rewinding their tapes. With each one forming the introduction to 6 short films.
The first of these, “Egghead” by MJ Dixon (Cleaver's : Killer Clowns) involves a disgraced plastic surgeon, Eggbert Humphries (or Egghead to his friends), who is forced to visit one of his rivals, hoping to change his appearance, so he can take on a new identity. But unfortunately, his rival has other plans...
Having been hideously deformed, he subsequently breaks free from his shackles, grabs an oversized prop spoon and goes on the rampage, turning the clinic into a bloodbath as he exacts (eggsacts?) his revenge. Boasting some hilariously gory scenes and a deluge of egg related puns.
Next up was "The Red Lipped Moon" by Sam Mason Bell (VHS violence) which was a touch darker and a bit more serious in tone. Filmed in Black and White in the style of a Film Noir thriller, a private detective is trying to track down the person who killed one of his informants, only to find that he may be looking for a vampire.
"Fleurs De Mal" by Andrew Elias (Tales from the Great War) was a Gothic horror, with a tongue in cheek twist. A woman, who claims to be from the future, is being cared for by the nuns at a convent, who believe she is insane. But when the patient in question appears to be horror actress Paula Valentine (Dani Thompson, in one of her several roles in the film), could there be something in her claims?
Then it was onto the fourth short film, "Mary Whitehouse You're a C***", by Alex Churchyard (Mosaic, I Scream on the Beach), who also directed the Videoshop wraparound feature. This was easily my favourite of all the short films, in which a couple of horror fans, watching old movies out in their garden shed, inadvertently resurrect the spirit of the long dead morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse, in the form of a Demon, who proceeds to go on a hilarious “Evil Dead” style killing spree.
"These Burnt Children" by Thomas Lee Rutter (Day of the Stranger) is a dark comedy, about a failed film director, who blames his problems on the last producer he worked with. But after getting some decidedly dodgy advice from a psychic medium, decides to exact a bloody revenge on his former associate and his ex-wife.
The final short film, "Vergessen" by Michael Fausti (Exit), was the most serious and indeed the most interesting of all the segments, in what appears to be a nod to the old nazi-sploitation films. Set in occupied Europe during WW2, an enterprising club owner tries extorting senior ranking German officials who frequent his business, by drugging them and filming their exploits with the young ladies at his establishment, but goes too far after trying to blackmail the wrong officer...
Produced by Singh Lall, who is one of the organisers of the Horror on Sea festival, the film features a whole host of indie horror stars, including Martin W Payne, who has worked with several of the directors before. But most notably Dani Thompson, who makes several appearances in the film, both as herself, and as various characters throughout each segment.
Horror actor Laurence Harvey, who's probably best known for his roles in The Human Centipede series of films also makes a number of appearances, one of which comes to regret swearing at the aforementioned Proprietor.
Regular visitors to my website will remember that I actually visited the Videoshop film set in December 2021 and made a short feature about the production. So maybe my review is slightly coloured by my time spent on set, but I really enjoyed this. It's clearly been made by horror fans for horror fans, and I had a lot of fun spotting the numerous references to other horror films (indeed, the proprietor is highly reminiscent of the shopkeeper played by Peter Cushing in "From Beyond the Grave").
The film had it's premier at this years Horror on Sea festival, where it went down an absolute storm and is due to be screened at this months Romford Horror Festival, as part of it's festival tour.
If you love independent horror films, then this is an absolute blast. If you get chance, I would wholeheartedly recommend seeing this at a festival, as nothing beats watching these films with a group of like minded horror fans.
If all this wasn't enough, work is already well underway for a sequel. So be sure to stay tuned for that one.