Saturday, 3 November 2018

Bannister DollHouse (2019)



Image may contain: 1 person, text



Written and directed by Mj Dixon

Stars: Tiana Rogers, Susan Lee Burton, Emmeline Kellie, Grant Kempster, Chloe Badham, 

Online screener copy

MYCHO productions have not one but TWO upcoming horror features - Cleavers a gory trip to hell  and this- a more psychologically geared suspense thriller which plays on the fear of (shudder) dolls:

After the death of their eldest sister the girls of Bannister family begin to feel that something is very wrong, but how is it connected to them and how will they survive the nightmare that is the Bannister DollHouse.

This film takes it cue from some of the more dread building, atmospheric horror films of the 70s rather than an in your face gore fest and I think it works very well.

The featured doll arrives within the Bannister family home under mysterious circumstances (in a wonderfully creepy home video opening scene)  and slowly a web of horror envelopes the Bannister family leaving no one untouched.

From the official synopsis you will note that a terrible tragedy strikes the family and it is after this that the cloud of despair really falls over the remaining members parents Mary and Kenneth and daughters Dotty and Molly. The haunting memories of Sherry Bannister's death and the disturbing behaviour of Molly  - who incidentally has become dangerously attached to the doll - will either bring them back together or destroy them all for good.

It is this family focused battle against evil which harks back to some of the creepier 70s horror films such as Burnt Offerings which gives the film its heart. Unlike a slasher movie where there are usually some extremely kill-able characters, Bannister Doll House has you rooting for the remaining family to escape the terror that has them under its spell. Whether they succeed or succumb is for you to find out as I don't want to spoil anything else about the fate of the main characters.

The actors playing the family all do a good job especially Emmeline Kellie who plays middle sister  Dotty. Tiana Rogers also turns in a creepy as hell performance as youngest daughter Molly, the recipient of the doll that seems to be tearing her family apart.

An eerie story with some genuine moments of suspense, Bannister DollHouse is bound to appeal to those who like a good old fashioned haunted house film or enjoy the intrigue of a supposedly inanimate object which might just not really be. There were many moments I anticipated a jump scare which reminded me of my first time watching Childs Play - anxiously awaiting the moment the damn doll would actually prove himself to be alive/possessed to those other than Andy...

The film premieres at the Horror on Sea film festival in Southend on 20th January 2019 which I am sure the MYCHO goes would be delighted to see you at.  For more on MYCHO please visit their website where you can find out about them, read about their work and purchase lots of great stuff!


Friday, 2 November 2018

Cleavers (2019)



 Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, text and outdoor



Online screener version

Written and directed by MJ Dixon

Stars:Georgie Smibert, Gemma Louise Troughton, Paul Rogers,  Jessica Michelle Smith, Holly-Anne Dodkins, Kimberly Lasi, Matthew Baunsgard, Derek Nelson, Olivia Krys, Jimi James, Ben Manning

Its always a pleasure to hear from the talented folks over at MYCHO who have been making independent horror features in the UK for many years now. 2016 slasher thriller Cleaver: Rise of the Killer Clown explored the back story of the titular maniacal clown first seen in the claustrophobic fright fest Slasher House (2012).

In Cleavers the bloody nightmare expands to include a new set of victims, an important returning character from the previous film and even more terrifying clown action. From the official synopsis:

Jody Ann Howells, a survivor of the Still Rivers Massacre now working in Bail Enforcement, is on the trail of her latest perp, a young woman who is on the run after being found on the scene of a horrific murder, a young woman who may be connected to her past.

As Howells closes in on her she discovers that the killer she faced all those years ago may still be alive and kicking and he has his sights on a family making a cross country road trip, only this time he's not alone.


One thing that MJ Dixon does incredibly well and continues to do so in this film is feature different narrative strands that eventually come together. While returning actress Georgie Smibert as Jody-Ann Howells investigates a gruesome murder, a bickering and highly dysfunctional family are driving straight towards their worst nightmare. These characters on are course for collision, not just with each other but with the dreaded Cleaver and others.....

Cleavers gives a more action orientated angle to the original stalk and slash film (all though there is plenty of that still). Inspired by horror road trip movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, this movie gets the gore to go as blood is shed and alliances are tested on a horrifying journey. Much like the films that influence it only the strongest will survive and its not just the physical trials they are put through, there are some truly traumatic things that some of the characters are exposed to and it would be fascinating to see how their lives may have changed in a future film.

The creepy clown imagery present in Cleaver is cranked up a notch here which is great to see - if you hated clowns before this film will sadly not help you with that. There are some other grotesque surprises as well which gave me the creeps as the film barrels towards its conclusion. A job well done on the horror imagery! Of course with a movie titled as this is you can expect some nasty grue and gore and the special effects in this film are fun and practical.

I would also add that although not essential, its a good idea to watch Cleaver first as the back story of Carlton Layton (Cleaver) important and gives the viewer some insight into his relationships, particularly with one character which I don't want to spoil in any detail. Suffice to say murderous tendencies really do run in the family.

MYCHO always do a bang up job with their presentation - everything from their internet campaigns to the finished product are detailed labours of love. This is ever present here and for fans who have followed the Indiegogo for this, or any of the previous films, you are treated to an interactive experience where characters are unlocked over the course of the campaigns, the production company keep fans well informed and the movie always comes to fruition no matter what the obstacles. They really do deserve a heck of a lot of credit for what they do and its been amazing for me to interact with the guys behind MYCHO over the years.

Finally can I just add that I truly love the MYCHO universe that MJ Dixon has built up over the past decade. He has put so much hard work and passion for the genre in creating a series of despicable killers, haunted heroes/heroines and twisted timelines which gives the opportunity to tell so many stories. There is also the potential for so many new stories within this dark and dangerous world. Having no idea where MJ and co may go next and with which character(s) is just part of the fun.

The film premieres at the Horror on Sea film Festival in Southend on Saturday 12th January 2019. Go and see it and support great indie horror! For more on MYCHO  and how to buys their movies also check out their official website.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Dead by Midnight -11pm Central (2018)
















Directed by Torey Haas,  Eric Davis, Jay Holloway, Anissa Matlock, Tony Reames

Written by Davi Crimmins, Greg Garrison, Torey Haas, Jay Holloway, Anissa Matlock, Melissa Oulton-Haas,Tony Reames

Stars: Erin Brown, Hannah Fierman, Ronny Mathew, Davi Crimmins, Avri Bartolozzi, Joesph Lavender, Andrew Pluckett, Emma Greene, Dajour  Ashwood, Melissa Oulton-Haas, Jillian-Van Blair, Jenni McCarthy, Anissa Matlock, Maxton Jones, Kate Biddle, Micheal Aaron Milligan, Dayna Beilenson 

(Online screener)


Huge thanks to the guys behind Dead by Midnight -11pm Central  for sending me a link to review what I found to be an extremely fun horror anthology.

The film follows the usual format of several standalone segments tied together with a wraparound plot. However the wonderfully refreshing spin that Dead by Midnight puts on their overarching story and its effects on the other short films is what makes it an inventive standout.


I wont go into any kind of spoiler territory other than to outline the wraparound and briefly describe/rate the short stories.

Wraparound/Dead Air: 

A TV station on Halloween Night runs into some real trouble when the always incredible Erin Brown comes on board as horror movie marathon host 'Mistress of Midnight'. It seems that the films she is screening is starting to be populated by members of the TV station staff and this leaves Line Prodcuer Candice Spelling (Hannah Fierman) to investigate just what the hell is going on...more on this later, lets get onto the five tales of terror first:

Jersey Devil:

Jersey Devil is a gooey. gory love letter to the 80s, telling the tale of  young girl  named Emma (Avri Bartolozzi) who has the misfortune of being hunted by the legendary pine barren demon. This all comes about after Emmas sister lets a roughed up Dani (Davi Crimmins) into their home. The acting is pretty fantastic here and Avri and Davi in particular really shine. The mythical creature known as the Jersey Devil looks amazing and far more evil and menacing than I imagined it might look like (should it really exist....). Super fun and gross in equal measure.



Creepy Dolls:

Who doesn't love a horror story about dolls? Well Pediophobics probably...but most horror fans love a good story about eerie inanimate objects who may well have something dangerous lurking inside them. Creepy Dolls is, I kid not, FULL of dolls. Clown dolls, baby dolls, rag dolls you name it they are in this story. The three hapless investigators who have the misfortune of entering the home of these devilish playthings are in for a true night of terror. Another great short which absolutely lives up it title.

Lost Laundry:

So Lost Laundry....what a wonderfully odd little story. Two warring roommates (one is a nice,. sensible person, the other a total bitch) are further pitted against one another when Aprils (Melissa Oulton) clothes keep vanishing and she suspects snarky Amy (Jillian-Van Blair). Things just get stranger and stranger until the bat shit bonkers finale. With great performances by both leads and an insane climax this was one of the more silly and fun segments on offer.

Day Three: 

With a fine performance by Anissa Matlock as 'Ellie' Day Three is a thrilling, race against the clock piece where a young women is desperate to rid herself of the 'thing' growing inside her. Following a harrowing abduction Ellie has been rescued but is insistent that her recently discovered pregnancy be terminated. Forced into house arrest after a violent altercation with her doctor, Ellie knows she must pull out all the stops to rid herself of what is coming...in three days...or else... This is another great short film with some awesome effects and a true body horror vibe like you would find in the 80s (think From Beyond, Street Trash, Body Melt).

Blind Side:

This segment plays out as an eerie mystery featuring Jenni McCarthy (not that one) as Rebecca - a young women who is both madly in love with her beau Evan (Maxton Jones) and blind as a bat without her glasses. You may wonder whats one got to do with the other well....lets just say they do during the run time of this short film.

Rebecca is staying at her boyfriends home while he is away on business - the night takes a terrifying turn when she wakes up unable to find her glasses and realises she is not alone. Things just get worse for Rebecca from there on, leading to her stumbling across a horrifying secret that may just make her wish she had stayed single forever.

The ending of Blind Side was bleak and upsetting and made me feel the same type of despair as the grotesque ending to the amazing horror short Terrifer . Jenni McCarthy nailed this role and the feeling of hopelessness this short left me with as as much down to her as it is the macabre script.

I really loved this story and although its in no way 'fun' its a brilliant horror piece.

*********************************************************************************

I really enjoyed Dead By Midnight every short has something to recocomend it and the wrapsround is awesome. It even features the wonderful Hannah Fierman (V/H/S, Siren) in the lead role and it is great to see her play a different character to THAT terrifying winged creature. The whole cast are great though and you can tell they had a blast making this film. Its full of grizzly practical effects, stop motion and nods to all things 80s - so basically a great great horror anthology. I cant wait to see more from these guys honestly.

Please do head over to the official Facebook page and show the guys some love: https://www.facebook.com/DeadByMidnightMovie/ 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Terrifier (2017)

Image result for terrifier
(Online Screener)
Written and directed by Damian Leone
Stars:  Jenna Kanell, Samantha Scaffidi, Katie Maguire, Catherine Corcoran and David Howard Thornton as 'Art the Clown'

Theatrical Previews 3/15 with a VOD release to follow on the 3/27 - courtesy of Epic Pictures.


Many thanks indeed to Epic Pictures for letting me check out what must be my most anticipated horror film in a long time. 

I haven't been so horrified and freaked out by a horror movie villain in recent years more so than I was when I watched 2013 anthology, All Hallows Eve. Said movie featured a terrifying Art the Clown throughout the film in small appearances and then he gets his own full on segment at the end. That particular segment is one hell of a 20 minute ride as Art pursues a young girl who soon finds it impossible to get rid of this malevolent menace. The short film had horrific gore, jumps, great acting and one humongous kick to the balls ending. I don't want to give away any spoilers but do implore you to check out All Hallows Eve and witness just how easily Damien Leone turns what could be a very simple splatterfest into SO much more.

Anyway onto the feature length at hand which has been adapted from that short TERRIFIER . In this movie Art terrorises a pair of female friends after a night out and its safe to say this violent attack extends to anyone who dares get in his wayWhen it comes to scary, Art the Clown is in a league of his very own. Seriously. I would rather have lunch with Pennywise any day than the misfortune of running into this grotesque horror. He's sick, sadistic and  violently insane, laughing  with a disturbingly silent fervor as he mutilates, stabs and  much worse. 

Acting wise this is a solid film all round. Katie Maguire who also starred in the All Hallows Eve wraparound is incredible here. She gets to the play a completely different type of character than in the previously mentioned film and she does it extremely well. Although her screen time is limited, Katie manages to pull off perhaps the performance of the film aside from the guy playing Art. Onto Art, David Howard Thornton as brilliant. Insanely good. He is not the same actor who played Art previously but he is equally as good at playing such a fearsome psychopath. He should be proud of striking fear into the hearts of horror fans for years to come. Jenna Kanell, Samantha Scaffidi, Catherine Corcoran who play the lead three characters all do a great job as the unwitting victms of Arts bloodlust. Samantha in particular who arrives a bit late to the 'party' becomes quite the determined fighter although to say much more would be far too spoilery.

The film is exceptionally well scored. It is reminiscent of the original Halloween in some respects but also jolting and very original in others. It definitely serves the film perfectly. I cannot wait to see what Damien Leone does next as this film is an indicator as to what an excellent horror writer and director he is.

This is a horror movie fans worst nightmare and dream come true all rolled into one. Exciting, scary as hell and with a cruel streak a mile long. But you love it anyway. Would I like to see a TERRIFIER 2? Hell yes!  Would I want to see a origin story...NO...Art is far more terryifing knowing nothing about him and him just...being there.

This is a MUST see. 

Check out:

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arQCAfqSw7w&feature=youtu.be

https://epic-pictures.com

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Mask of Thorn (2018)

Image result for mask of thorn MJ DixonOnline Screener

Directed by MJ Dixon 

Written by MJ Dixon

Stars: Eve Kathryn Oliver, Sophie Bryant, Maria Lee Metheringham, Atticus Machiavellian, George Horn, Lydia Cashman, Michael Batty, Clarke Tribe , Martin W. Payne, Tracey Chatterley, William Marshall






British horror icon Thorn gets another outing in the newest film from MYCHO entertainment. Yep its prequel time for the dreaded super villain and MJ Dixon takes us back to the glorious 80s in both setting and tone.

Going back to Thorns reign of terror pre Slasher House, and the action-horror big event that was Legacy of Thorn. seems like the next logical step. As per the official synopsis:

Bethany Lovell has struggled to fit in her whole life. Between over bearing parents and her odd behaviour she has always felt like she was on the outside. That is until Avondale's popular click kidnap her for a surprise birthday party to celebrate her sweet sixteen.
What they don't realise is that Bethany is now the target of the urban legend known as 'Thorn' and tonight he has returned for her and nothing will stand in his way, as the Bloodletting Behemoth cuts his way through the small town in search of his latest victim and only one person can stop him.



















Opening with a gruesome hospital set prologue the film sets the tone with an eerie soundtrack and MJs trademark use of lighting to great effect. Then we move from the 70s to the 80s where young Bethany Lovell (Eve Kathryn Oliver) is living a fairly unhappy life with her anxious mother (Tracey Chatterley) and overbearing and strict father (Martin W. Payne). Bethany is subject to firm rules and her father hating her best friend Olivia (Sophie Bryant) really doesn't help her social life.

Bethany's problems get so much worse when a group of kids led by Olivia, take her from her home in order to throw her a surprise birthday party. However its more of a shock than a surprise when Thorn shows up. Once Thorn emerges from the shadows dispatching a nearby workman, the film kicks into full on slasher mode as we know Thorn is making a beeline for the teenagers party and intends to kill them one by one....



The film does a clever job of delivering a slasher movie but with other elements such as conspiracy and ritual murder which I really appreciated. There were some standout performers my personal favorites being Lydia Cashman as the acid tongued bitch from hell Janet and also Tracey Chatterley as Joyce Lovell, Bethany's strange mother.

I am really loving when MJ Dixon and MYCHO are bringing to the UK horror scene - MJ always has his own unique vision to go along with his horror influences and should be applauded for that. I would urge people to check out and purchase the MYCHO films released to date - you have insane killers, a creepy clown, an evil spirit - what more could you want!? Please check out the official MYCHO website HERE: http://mycho.weebly.com/

As far as I am concerned Thorn is welcome back into my film collection anytime, he's brutal and mysterious and scarily relentless.  Great job to all, thoroughly entertained. 






Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Blair Witch Legacy (2017)





(Online screener)

Written and directed by Jason Hawkins

Stars: Samantha Marie Cook, Cody Epling and Jason Reynolds 



Described as a feature length fan film set in the Blair Witch Universe, The Blair Witch Legacy really celebrates just what a phenomenon The Blair Witch Project was back in 1999, both in its marketing strategy and eventual release. Its a complete love letter to those days, weeks, months everyone was talking about that 'film with the shaky cam' and speculating whether it was it real etc. 

I'm very much a fan of The Blair Witch Project. I saw it at age 15 and remember deciding immediately with my friend that it was disappointing and not scary....until I walked home in the dark and then sat alone in my house for the next few hours. That's when it really hit me how scary the film actually was and I suddenly felt a bit afraid to be alone. I think a film that messes with you like that can only be described as a triumph for a horror story. I also really enjoyed the sequel and while I can appreciate why it annoyed some people who possibly wanted some kind of resolution to the events of the previous film or maybe have some more focus on the legendary witch, I still felt it had a great creepy atmosphere and an unsettling climax. While I did not completely love 2016's Blair Witch  there were some great moments in it, a couple of decent shocks and the climax was both eerie and horribly claustrophobic.



It was really exciting to hear that Jason Hawkins had made a feature length fan film related to the world of the Blair Witch. Jason's previous films which I have seen and reviewed so far have been great. 15: Inside the Mind of a Serial killer  a dark and disturbing descent into madness and The Devil Knows His Own, a twisted and scary ghost story.

I am pleased to feed back that The Blair Witch Legacy delivers a solid film which as mentioned plays out as a brilliant homage to where it all began back in 1999 and then puts a new spin on it.


Cody Epling and Jason Reynolds as 'Cody and Jason'

Samantha, Cody and Jason are off to Burkitsville, Maryland to shoot a documentary about the making of the original film. Samantha is a driven young women who intends to make something that will propel her career - and in one of many clever homages to the BWP, she notes how she wants to make a serious/non-cheesy film (just as Heather Donahue did nearly 20 years ago).  As the trio navigate the town attempting to secure interviews with the locals it is clear that the woods might not be the only thing to worry about here.  A weird mystery is unfolding concerning the children of Burkitsvsille and these eager filmmakers have found themselves right in the middle of it, as well as incurring the wrath of a several of the townsfolk.  Maybe even more so than Heather, Samantha is intensly determined to make her movie and shows some disturbing traits in this respect. The action does eventually move to the woods for a manhunt after a child the filmmakers spoke to earlier has vanished. Things then get very nightmarish for the group and to say much more specifically on the plot would be far too spoiler heavy. What I will say is that there are a few genuine scares in the climax and things also end in a totally unexpected way with some reveals which chilled my spine.  The movie leaves you with questions just as the BWP did but they are questions which really make you think. There is also scope for expansion on this story and the world of the Blair Witch in general which I really hope happens.



Samantha Marie Cook as 'Samantha' 

The main actors all did great jobs, Samantha Marie Cook really impressed me with the range that she showed across the film and both Cody Epling and Jason Reynolds really got their teeth stuck into their roles when events turn scary. I could really feel their frustration and panic. I also really enjoyed the scene where the group chat to a group of modern day wiccans. I am told it was improvised and it just plays out really well. The lady playing the 'first' witch  Diannah (Hannah Marie) is really excellent - she has some incredible facial expressions and her dry delivery of her lines supplements this really well.  She also looks cool AF. 



Hannah Marie as 'Diannah' 

Treating the BWP as the fictional film that it was but investigating the very scary possibility that this was 'all a lie' and that the footage/disappearances were real makes for a great way to create new story. I am really pleased Jason went out and made this unofficial entry into what has always been a very creepy little world.  I am both happy Jason trusted me to check the film out and that I enjoyed it as much as I did. I hope the guys behind the original film enjoy it too!

Please check the Official Facebook where you can find out about upcoming screenings of which some may occur here in the UK!






Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Garlock Incident (2012)


Written and Directed by: Evan J. Cholfin


Starring Ana Lily Amirpour, Sean Muramatsu, Adam Chambers, Casey Ruggieri, Christina Joy Howard, Larissa Wise, Sean Durrie, Alycen Malone 

Released on VOD 15 September 2017 (Amazon, Googleplay, Itunes) 

No automatic alt text available.


Kicked off several years ago with an interactive campaign, The Garlock Incident is a found footage movie made back in 2012 and one I have been keen to catch for a while. The campaign itself served as an introduction to the film and allowed eager viewers to become embroiled in the mystery that the movie starts to unlock as it moves along.

Telling the story of eight young people travelling to Las Vegas to shoot a movie and stopping off at an old ghost town on route, this film plays on genuine fears and exposes what some people may be capable of in the most extreme of situations. 

I wont give away any of the shocks and surprises that occur as the group begin to fall apart after they find themselves stranded in the ghost town of Garlock, however I will say that there was a lot that I did not see coming. I have a watched a lot of found footage movies, some great and some very disappointing - sometimes its what you don't see which is scary and sometimes you just want to see a bit more. The Garlock Incident strikes a decent balance in this area. Not all questions are answered but you see and hear enough to really make you question your trust in others. 

As the movie progresses, the usual panic sets in and arguments ensue as the group try to ascertain the best course of action but of course this only ends up igniting an already tense situation. Alliances are both formed and broken as things get more desperate and this is all depicted very well on screen. 

The actors all do a fine job and there was much to be impressed with here. Leads Ana Lily Amirpour and Sean Muramatsu are especially good as Lily and Sean. Lily is the director of the planned movie and Sean an actor and both shine in roles which required some emotionally challenging scenes. Towards the end both actors do a terrific job of keeping the tension mounting and from watching this film I really hope to see more of their work. One role which was really gripping and one which I discussed with the lovely director/writer Evan was Adam Chambers as fellow fictional actor 'Adam'. Adam really shines in this film and displays such a range of emotions which was fascinating to watch. Adam is really impacted by the events of the film and the situation the group has found themselves in and this presents the opportunity for the actor to really let fly. I sympathised with Adam, felt horrified at him at other points and truly felt his fear at other times. I really do hope to see Adam Chambers in more roles because he did an incredible job here. 

The setting worked very well. As someone who has visited a ghost town on route to Las Vegas I can safely say that if I found myself stranded in one I would be..concerned...to say the very least. It can be really eerie out there in the desert and therefore this worked really well for the film. 

The Garlock Incident is by no means perfect but what is? Its probably not going to appeal to those that are not keen on found footage style films, particularly if the build up to the end usually frustrates you. However what I would say is that this films offers something different, has great acting and as previously mentioned really makes you think about those around you and how they may react to a frightening situation. There is also another shock in store which will really make you think back through the entire film. I loved and appreciated this the most.

You can rent or buy the movie right NOW on various VOD outlets such as Amazon, Googleplay and ITunes. I highly recommend this film and really look forward to more from Evan and Ana Lily! Also check out the official social media for the film below where you can view the trailer and find out more about the initial interactive campaign. A pleasure to watch and review. 



http://facebook.com/thegarlockincident
http://facebook.com/familiesinsearch
http://familiesinsearch.com
@garlockincident
@famsinsearch