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