Wednesday 30 May 2012

Doll Boy (2010) (Short)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Billy 'Bloody Bill' Pon

Written by Billy 'Bloody Bill' Pon, Lee Ankrum

Stars: Jed Duesler, Venus Monique, Dominic Lopez, Heather Francell, Raul Gonzalez, Adrienne Martinez, Shawn Black, Ryan Clapp and Sergio Gracida

So I got my Doll Boy screener for review just a few days after speaking to Director 'Bloody Bill' about it. Bear in mind that's from Texas to the UK! Also it wasn't just a screener, it was a professionally made DVD with...a Doll Boy colouring pad and crayons! Love it - I wouldn't give it to one of my young nieces or nephews to use BUT it's still very awesome of Billy.

So - the movie. Doll Boy is a 26 minute short horror film with the CREEPIEST looking of villains at its centre. Easily tops Dave Parkers (admittedly very entertaining) The Hills Run Red. The plot involves eight Texans who find themselves bound and gagged in the back of a van at the hands of a crazed clown. Acting as a delivery man, said clown leaves our eight unsuspectings in a deserted old warehouse and from there on out things get..messy. It turns out that this derelict old building is home to a terrifying maniac who hides his face with a baby face mask and yeh...he wants these people very much dead. Using a massive sledgehammer as his weapon of choice, Doll Boy begins bashing and smashing the hysterical eight into itty bitty pieces.

Where Doll Boy really excels is with its unsettling imagery throughout. Be it Doll Boys mask, bodies littered throughout the warehouse, a young boy running amok, along with many many other horrors this film is absolutely brimming with creepy ideas. One of the more horrifying aspects of this film was the clown himself. At the start a little girl is also captured in his van of horrors (complete with box of very questionable items) and for some (thankfully I think) unknown reason he drives off with her still in it. It honestly made me shudder.

Doll Boy is an excellently shot, decently acted, not to mention unflinching piece of Texan cinema. Highly recommended - show your support and check out the official movie Facebook HERE!

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Popularity Killer (2011) (Short)

Directed by Steve Goltz

Written by Kevin Sommerfield

Stars: Courtney Ellen Bay, Matty Dorschner, Jennifer Frey, Mike Goltz, Hannah Herdt, Jamie Jo Roen, Kevin Sommerfield, Dana Terpinas

Release: self distributed DVD available here !

Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield of Slasher Studios follow up brutal body count short Teddy with the lengthier teen horror Popularity Killer.

The film begins with Payton Highs most popular (and super bitchy) student 'Kaitlyn' (Dana Terpinas), meeting her maker at the hands of a killer sporting a freakishly glassy looking mask. The mask is really great and is kind of in the vein of the one used in 'Alice Sweet Alice' so this really impressed. Kaitlyn suffers a really rather nasty felling at the hands of her attacker so its clear this maniac has a real axe to grind!

After speculating on who might have commited this horrible act, fellow high schooler 'Courtney' (Hannah Herdt) gathers a few friends - and a few unwelcome guests - at her house to hang out and watch movies. Soon however, Kaitlyns killer makes a return appearance to wipe out the group for reasons unknown. Who is killing off Payton Highs most popular kids? Why? Will any of them survive?

Firstly I have to say it was great to see a longer film from these guys. Teddy was a great little film, not at all hindered by its running time but with a double length, Popularity Killer is able to introduce more characters and a killer with a stronger connection to their victims. I liked the characters in this short and with my usual favouring (I don't know why) of the bratty materialistic types; I really enjoyed Jennifer Frey's performance as 'Paige'. Paige is the kind of friend you can only take in small doses and is likely to complain about everything but she really amused me so good job! Mike Goltz reprises a very similar role to the one he played in Teddy, a mean, meat head with zero respect for anyone and zero redeeming qualities. This of course is a huge compliment to Mike who plays 'Nick' extremely well - the beer-can-opening-in-face scene was brilliant and came across as completely unstaged!

So, another well made short from Slasher Studios which shows a great love and respect for the genre. I urge people to follow these guys and see what they have coming up. Follow the link at the top of the page to buy DVD copies of their films and to find out more about them!

Saturday 26 May 2012

Teddy (2011) (Short)

Directed by Steve Goltz

Written by Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield

Stars: Keegan Bergan, Kirk Gilbert, Mike Goltz, Kevin Sommerfield, Dana Terpinas, Nikita Vora

Release: Self distributed DVD available here !

Slasher Studios (Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield) present a well crafted 11 minute horror film which manages to cram inventive deaths, an iconic killer and one truly unlikeable character in its short running time!

Set in 1996, Teddy actually has all the characteristics of an 80s slasher movie from the horny teens, campfire setting and that all consuming thorn in the side- covered up death.

Yep it seems these kids don't have a moral bone in their bodies when they hit an old guy with their car and choose not to report it. Sadly for them there was a witness - 'Teddy' a mute man child who wields, you got it, a teddy bear. Donning a really creepy looking ski mask, Teddy sets about righting some wrongs and these four reckless teens are about to get wasted..permanently.

Some great death sequences and effective stalking shots really make Teddy a great watch. A tossed axe and hot-dog-on-a-stick stabbing really stand out and the tiki torch impalement may just make you wince! As for that unlikeable character,the dude driving the car in the first place Clay (Mike Goltz) - here is one of the biggest arseholes witnessed in a horror movies. Great acting here though on Mikes behalf...I am sure he is a nice person in real life! The film is also particularly well shot, no low budget trappings to be seen or heard here, and also has a perfect score.

For 11 minutes of viewing, Slasher Studios have managed to create an excellent slasher short which promises bigger and better things to come. I for one cannot wait to see more!

Friday 25 May 2012

Friend Request (2012) (Short)

(Screener Copy)

 Directed by Danny McShane

Written by Drew Jarvis and Danny McShane

Stars: Daniel Frawley, Caitlyn Paterson, Charlotte Chimes, Tyson Hargreaves, Josh Nasato, Jeremiah Kane, Tamara McLaughlin, Holly Chetcuti, Aleisha Groth

Cheers to Danny McShane for letting me check out his clever slasher short Friend Request. Directed by Danny and co written with Drew Jarvis, here is an exemplary way to entertain and satiate horror fans in just 25 minutes.

Friend Request tells the story of young high schooler David, a rather shy horror enthusiast who has the hugest of crushes on gal pal Ella. Ella seems to be torn before her feelings for Dave and her meathead boyfriend Cliff - who really doesn't like Dave! Fast forward to that evening and Dave is having a movie night with his pals, Anna and Pete which he also hopes Ella will turn up to. While he is waiting anxiously he gets the suprise of his life when he gets a Facebook Friend request from 'Jeremiah Kane'. Jeremiah Kane recently uploaded footage from his 'horror film' on Facebook, making Dave an instant fan. Accepting Jeremiah's friend request however, could well cost Dave and his friends their lives as Jeremiah isn't who he claims to be and is in fact a sadistic maniac who uses Facebook to stalk and slash victims - usually filming the acts.

After Ella and Cliff show up to the party it's time for the body count to rise as Jeremiah Kane starts taking out the teenagers one by bloody one. Can Dave survive the night? Will he finally get his girl? And will he stop accepting friend requests from total strangers?

Friend Request  is a 25 minute short horror film which excels in terms of horror and comedy. The commentary on all of the annoying features of Facebook are hillariously woven into the narrative - you have pokes, alerts, gifts, you name it. I also really loved the horror movie references which run constantly throughout. In particular the movie posters in Daves room and the Freddys Revenge jokes. I had literally just rewatched the rather dire sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street recently after years of ignoring and it just reminded me of the sheer gay subtext throughout it. These guys really do a marvelous job of making fun of this aspect. On top of this the film looks fantastic - its shot so well it could be a big feature film, I kid you not. The acting is also brilliant and the leads were obviously well chosen as both Daniel Frawley (Dave) and Caitlyn Paterson (Ella) both show a great deal of talent. The slasher scenes are also cool, the best one being an unfortunate girls throat slashing and Jeremiah Kane himself looks all kinds of creepy!

With my only real complaint being that this should be a feaure film (hopefully in the future) I would surmise by saying I cant wait to see what Danny and Drew come up with next. Whether its a 90 minute horror-thon or another inventive short such as this its bound to be one to watch out for!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Necronos: Tower of Doom (2010)

(screener copy)

Directed by Marc Rohnstock

Written by Marc Rohnstock

Stars: Timo Fuchs, Mnaoush, Mario Zimmerschitt, Thomas Kercmar, Tanja Karius, Franz Zimerschitt, Patrick Bender, Alaxander Andreszka, Sandra Fleckenstein, Toni Reckert, Saskia Neumueller, Denissa Schmidt, Kim Sønderholm, Chris Vasquez

Courtesy of Infernal Films

Third horror flick from the nefarious Infernal Films is a gutsy and gory ride from start to finish - something you may have come to expect if you have seen their previous films! Thanks again to Lars Rohnstock to agreeing to send me a screener copy of Necronos: Tower of Doom - very pleased to check it out!

So the story goes like this - Necronos is a henchman of the devil and a downright nasty one at that. After a previously failed attempt, he has invaded Earth to create his own army of the undead and his mission to achieve this begs for some despicable acts of murder and sacrifice. It seems, however, that the devil thinks Necronos needs a little help in this department and so sends him two further incarnates of evil to aid him. This pair are two people you would never wish to cross paths with - 'Goran', a blood demon and 'The Mighty Witch' (played by indie horror mistress Manoush).  As it goes a virgin witch is required to make this terrible trios plans a reality and a no holds barred assault of torture and murder is wrought about scores of innocents.    

I think this film amps the gore quota right up compared to the already splatterific Graveyard of the Living Dead. There are several full on look-away-now sequences in this film which I would say is true hardcore gore. The pole pentration scene is suitably nasty and the murder of the pregnant lady is gut wrenching and disturbing. The double decapitstion on the other hand is really cool and exremely eye popping!

I enjoyed this nasty little indie flick. Its relentlessly gory, a bit campy and doesnt give a damn what people might think. Its also well made, fairly well acted and  although its running time was a bit too long for me, it certainly keeps your attention throughout. Hats off also to the amazing artwork for this film! Just look at that incredible satan image, its fantastic! I was sent a number of movie postcards for the film alonng with my screener (as well as posters) and I was quite honestly blown away at the the professionalism and sheer awesomness (technical term) of the art.

Find out more about the movie and the good people of Infernal Films right here !

Monday 21 May 2012

Graveyard Of The Living Dead (2008)

(screener copy)

Directed by Marc Rohnstock

Written by Marc Rohnstock

Stars: Karin Burkard, Ramon Kaltenbach, Sarah Open and Alexander Reckert, Mark Rohnstock, Lars Rohnstock, Stefan Rudel, Martin Rudel and Timo Rose

Courtesy of Infernal Films

Well here is a film that promises something - and delivers. Thanks muchly to Lars Rohnstock (Infernal Films) for providing me with a screener copy of Graveyard of the Dead - which I believe to be the company's second feature! So the promise? Oh yes - 'Blood and gore' & 'Splatter and more'. Two statements on the DVD cover I received which couldn't be more true if they tried. GOTLD goes right for the jugular in terms of the splatter goods and anyone who enjoys a film chock full of blood shed may just find a good time to be had here.

The story itself kicks off in laboratory in Germany where an experiment gone horribly wrong results in the creation of a member of the undead! Oh dear! This only being the introduction of a zombie movie tells you the horror doesn't stop there, and soon the blood from our newly deceased friend infects a local graveyard. This is horrible news for a bunch of partying teen goths who soon find themselves under attack from a whole class of recently killed (bus accident) school kids!!! From here on its a grue filled battle to the death and viewers are presented with a plethora of flying heads, disembowelments, torn limbs - you get the picture.

While you can easily spot the low budget Writer and Director Marc Rohnstocks film was made with it doesn't deter from the fun to be had at all. The acting is just fine, the gore is all practical and you can see a true love for the genre on display. Bear in mind also that the film is in German language  with English subs  - that said there isnt a whole lot of talking going on what with all the crazy carnage!

I recommend Graveyard of the Dead for a fun night in with some beer and pizza - check out more about the movie and Infernal Films here and support indie cinema!

Sunday 20 May 2012

Gut (2012)

(screener copy)

Directed by Elias

Written by Elias

Stars: Jason Vail, Nicholas Wilder, Sarah Schoofs, Kirstianna Mueller, Kaitlyn Mueller, Angie Bullaro.

Gut  a psychological thriller with a most intriguing set up is the new film from Writer, Director (as well as Producer, Editor, Actor and more!) Elias. I was really pleased to be given the chance to check this one out.

Opening with a scene of violence where only the apparent perpetrator is visible, Gut  soon switches gear, allowing viewers a glimpse into the mundane life of Tom. Tom isn't at all happy with his lot - his job is killing him, his marriage is missing some much needed va va voom and his annoying child hood best friend Dan just won't leave him alone.

The main plot of the film takes off after the creepy and geeky Dan shows Tom a film that mysteriously turned up in his mailbox. The DVD, which appears to be very much snuff in nature, depicts a young lady being cut open by an unseen person who proceeds to place their hand inside her body. Naturally Tom reacts very badly to his friends poor taste and storms out - unfortunately the images of the film haunt him long after.

Following this point the film heads into dark and complex territory as both friends strive to make changes in their lives for the better. Sadly there was a reason why the movie ended up anonymously in Dans mailbox and this determines that happiness just isn't in these peoples grasps. It's as bleak and unsettling as it sounds folks so don't expect to come out of this one uplifted! I will leave out any further plot details however I will see that the movie continues at a slow burn pace throughout and will leave you thinking afterwards rather than present you with a nice tied up plot with an easy answer.

Moving away from the plot itself, I was really impressed by both the presentation and the script of this film.The movies dialogue is particularly excellent - conversations, particularly those between Tom and Dan really draw you in. The film is extremely well shot and avoids many low budget trappings such as choppy editing and horrible sound issues. The score is also suitably depressing and serves to magnify the dissatisfaction projected by Tom throughout the film. The acting in Gut  is absolutely fantastic across the board, I was really impressed. Most notable is Nicholas Wilder as the immature, profanity spouting and seemingly disturbed Dan.

An official selection of three 2012 Film Festivals,including the Fright Night Horror Weekend should get Gut  the recognition it deserves and hopefully soon out to a wider audience. I strongly urge you to check this one out when you get the chance but in the mean time take a look at the films official movie site!

Saturday 19 May 2012

Killing Brooke (2012)

(screener copy)

Directed by David Zagorski

Written by David Zagorski

Stars:  Alex Fandel, Colin Allen, Kt Baldassaro, Ray Hryb, Dina Baker, Chris Shanahan, Johnny Donaldson, Rick Martin

Many thanks to Director and Writer Dave Zagorski for letting me check out Mad Z Productions first feature length film Killing Brooke.

The film centres around titular character Brooke Porter (Alex Fandel) who finds herself in a horrifying situation just one day after marrying her partner Chloe (Dina Baker). I have to say that getting married seemed to me like a slightly odd choice for the character of Brooke. She is portrayed as a really rather free spirited girl particularly in comparison to her more reserved girlfriend. Brooke's fun seeking nature is further displayed following her and Chloe's chance encounter on their wedding night with Vance, a charming drifter who sleeps with young ladies only to brutally slay them after. Too much drink leads Brooke and Chloe to a inebriated threesome which they will both live to regret (or not) in equal measure.

I was really pleased with what happened next in this movie. The aforementioned plot could have been the long and short of it all. However Vance showing his true colours to Brooke and Chloe is only the start of a blood soaked nightmare as an escape attempt leads Brooke to the home of the Spade family. It is here, in this unassuming looking home, that the real nightmare begins.

In terms of characters I must highlight Kt Baldassaro. She really unnerved me as the initially sweet acting but 100% ill meaning lunatic, 'Darla Spade'. There is just something, and it might be wrong to say, about a young female being so utterly cruel and unsympathetic. That's good work to Kt though as she played her character extremely well. Alex Fandel and Colin Allen both played their opposing characters Brooke and Vance brilliantly too. I kind of felt like I disliked Brooke at first, she seemed quite flaky and non committed to the..well commitment she just made - but then I realised she is just young and human with flaws like anyone else. Her 'relationship' with Vance is horribly complex and the forcing of this pair together makes for a disturbing new twist on this type of horror movie and goes to places I for one haven't witnessed before. The only character I really couldn't take to at all was Chloe - she was the sensible one in her and Brooke's relationship which was good but she was very annoying with it. I think she was supposed to be though....

All in all Killing Brooke was a good watch. It is very professionally shot, the audio is clear and it is well edited. The plot was also interesting and as mentioned did put a rather clever new spin on the survival horror genre and this is something Mad Z Productions promise in their promotion of the movie. There is some ineffective acting from some of the supporting characters but this was also generally good particularly by the central players.

You can find out more about Mad Z Productions and Killing Brooke here so please do check it out and catch this film when you can!

Friday 18 May 2012

A Chance In Hell (2011) (Short)

(screener copy)

Directed by Tony Wash

Written by Johnny 5 & Tony Wash

Stars: Kevin Zaideman, Kendyl Lynch, Chad Meyer, Adam Stephenson, Steven James Price, Doug Heiar, Tony Lee Gratz, James Barbee, Kyle Anthony Silviera

After the demon/slasher/gore epic that was It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To (review forthcoming), I was thrilled at the chance of checking out Tony Wash's next effort; the horror short A Chance In Hell. 

The story goes like this; it's winter, 1944 and a group of American soldiers are closing in on a Nazi facility where experiments are being conducted on concentration camp victims. The end goal of these experiments, headed up by the evil Dr Bucher (Chad Meyer) is to create a new type of 'super soldier' for combat. During a last ditch attempt to make this plan a reality, the Nazis end up unleashing a snarling, blood thirty monster in the form of a previously helpless young girl. It's safe to say that when the Americans descend they get a whole lot more than they bargained for as the recently zombiefied Nazis close ranks...and they are hungry.

A Chance in Hell  has a lot of great things going for it. Its astoundingly well shot for one - it looks like it could easily be shown in your local cinema this weekend; crisp clear and professional. I also want to praise the claustrophobic atmosphere of the movie - the Nazi facility is very eerie and isolated and the winter setting especially night really reinforces this. The gore in the film is incredible; you have face ripping, gut munching and bodies torn in half. In actual fact the film is pretty fierce, furious and frenetic from the moment  the young girl goes feral all the way to the end, so gore hounds will have a great time with this films 32 minute running time.

I strongly urge people to check this film out if they can, it gives a authentically dark spin on the zombie genre and effectively merges this with the depressing horrors of war. Its also very well made, excellently acted and packs an amazing punch in such a short amount of time.

Tony's company Scotchworthy Productions are also currently working on a new film, The Storm, a roller derby/alien hybrid promising 'a sexy, ass kicking, genre melding horror bonanza '. Please help support independent cinema by checking out the films Kickstarter page out and donating if you are able to - it really will help these guys make the best movie they can.

Sunday 13 May 2012


It was an absolute pleasure talking with P.J Starks about his previous and future independent horror projects. He clearly has a true passion for the genre and also great taste in horror movies! Not to mention the fact that he was 'subjected' to horrifying movies at an early age as was I.... so major points! Please read on for a great interview with the man himself and keep your eyes open and ears to the ground for more news on his upcoming work!

Hacked in the Head: Hi PJ! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I have been interested in seeing your indie horror film 'Hallows Eve - Slaughter on 2nd Street' for some time now. I think it looks great and as indicated by some other reviewers, bears similarities to a Scooby Doo episode albeit with some much needed grue and gore! Could you tell me about the movie and how it all came about?

P.J. Starks: HALLOWS EVE is a lot of things. It's a splatter film. It's a mystery with a body count. It's a supernatural thriller and yes, it's a more adult version of a favorite childhood cartoon of mine. As a matter of fact I watched the first three seasons of the original cartoon and took notes to make sure all the elements and nuances would be near perfect. The whole project came about in 2007 when I got tired of being known for a project that I wrote/directed in 2005. I started feeling stale, that I needed to do something current. I paired up with a friend and we pulled all the resources and connections we could to pull off HE. It was a perfect storm of opportunities and elements that ultimately fell into place. After shooting for 5 days a week for 2 months in the summer of 2008 we had a film that was ready to premiere on Halloween night of that same year. It was a frustrating, exhilerating, and surreal ride. I'm very proud of the film and greatful to the cast and crew for all the hard work, passion and sweat they put into the production.

HitH: I believe at some point there was a self distributed run of Hallows Eve DVDs - is this something you might plan to put out again or are you possibly seeking a distributor to get the movie out there?

P.J: The film released onto dvd Halloween weekend of '09. We had a huge DVD release party at our local FYE where 5 bands from the original soundtrack played live sets. There were cast interviews and giveaways, it was an absolute blast. The film was self distributed and sold at FYE here in Owensboro through a deal we worked out with them. There was only a limited amount of copies replicated. I'm down to my last box of 30. Once they go, they're gone forever. That was in no way a shameless ploy to get rid of my remaining copies by the way. We never sough distribution for the film, we received offers though. There was even a company out of Germany that was interested in the film. Nevertheless, it was never a deal that we felt would work out in our favor so we passed. There are no current plans of a dvd re-release, however, I do have ideas for two sequels and the inevitable big budget remake. All pipe dreams I'm sure.

HitH: That sounds great - lets hope those ideas get realised! As well as Directing and Co Writing Hallows Eve you also recently produced Three Tears On Bloodstained Flesh - could you tell us a bit more about the movie? I'm really looking forward to seeing it due to its reported Argento influences.

P.J: I was one of several Producers on the project. Most of my duties fell to the pre and post production phases. However I was on a set a couple of times and I can tell you that it's going to be a badass ride. Jakob Bilinski (SHADE OF GREY, OBSOLESENCE) is a really good friend of mine and a fantastic filmmaker. I have no doubt that the film will melt peoples faces with "awesomesauce". That's Jake's word! The teaser trailer recently dropped and looks great. It's gotten tons of hits and some really good feedback. He's got a good visual sense about making movies and knows how to tell a story. I haven't seen the finished film, but I did read the script. Genre fans, especially those of giallo's, are going to be in for a damn bloody treat.

HitH: Sounds fantastic, I will be keeping my ear to the ground for that one! So your new movie which is in the works My Horror Project - great name by the way - looks set to put a new spin on the cinema verite type of film. Can you tell me a bit more about the movie and your future plans for it?

P.J: Thanks so much, I've become very fond of it myself. Right now I'm still in the pre-production phase and getting all the kinks worked out. The film is a joint venture between my production company Verite Cinema and Jake's company Cinephreak Pictures. It's also the first film I've ever co-written with someone, so that makes it new territory for me. The film takes the typically haunted house mythos and turns it inside out. I wanted to make a film that was very self aware about the type of film and genre that it is. I decided to use the supernatural sub-genre, it just seemed ripe for the picking. Ghost movies have recently become like zombie films, everyone including their grandmother is trying to make out. So I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon, but instead of going the route of a bunch of ghost hunters in a house. I decided to make it a reality themed project where a very skeptical indie filmmaker wants to show how ghosts are crap and on the other side of the fence his Producers are hoping to cash in on the next Paranormal Activity-esque franchise. I wanted to make something that was satirical, scary and inf your face. I knew that the best man for the job would be Jake, so I pitched him the concept and he really dug it. We hashed a bunch of details and two weeks later had a final draft for MY HORROR PROJECT. As you can imagine though most scripts are never entirely complete. I'm still making some changes here and there and a few alterations. Once the film is completed I plan to submit to every horror convention and festival I can. The more awareness you create for a project the better it does.

HitH: I cant wait to see it and I hope all goes great in production. On that note, are you able to talk about any particular challenges you may have faced while making your movies? I know it can be all kinds of tough out there in the independent film industry.

P.J: Lack of funding, resources and support are the most frustrating obstacles. But it wouldn't truly be indie filmmaking without at least one of those staring you down. I suppose that I've been luckier than most in my immediate area by getting opportunities to work with Hollywood alum and get as far as I have within the independent arena. I know how tough it can be and that's why I've worked so hard to not only create awareness in my community about what we're doing, but do my damnedest to support other local/regional filmmakers when I can. That's the main reason I created a local program in conjunction with an area college called The Indie Film Series and co-created a local film festival, which is now going into year two. I'm hoping that the more people are exposed to our world, it gives them a chance open their minds to what I and so many others are trying to accomplish. I want Owensboro to be as progressive as it can be, which has proven to be a constant uphill battle in some ways and opened up doors to opporunities in others.

HitH: How about your casting methods. How do you usually go about this? Any memorable performances you want to share from along the way?

P.J: With HALLOWS EVE I enlisted the help of Todd Reynolds, a local actor and man about town. He also played the role of Buck Masters in the film. Todd was an amazing resource into the types of talent that my hometown has to offer. Utilizing his contacts we were able to effectively cast the film over the course of a 4 day open audition. With my short film A MIND BESIDE ITSELF I received help from Lori Rosas who runs a talent agency out of Evansville, IN. Lori helped set up auditions for the female lead, ultimately though I convinced her to audition for me and she knocked it outta the park. Lori went on to play the female lead in AMBI and did a great job, she's now a friend as well as a wealth of connections to other artists in the Evansville area. Most memorable actors I'd have to say was Eric Sax from A MIND BESIDE ITSELF. I was holding auditions for a shelved project called HOLY SPIRITS and Eric showed up for some other meeting. He had no clue what we were doing. He walked in with this Jared Leto hair style and tight v-neck t-shirt. He looked lost almost. I started talking to him and he didn't even know what we were doing or what was happening. I gave him the sides he needed to audition and remember thinking, "not only does this guy not look the part, but he's totally clueless. His audition will be a disaster." I brought him in about ten minutes later just to get him in and out so we could move on. Eric walked in without the script and I asked him where it was. He said that he didn't need it and internally I laughed. This was going to be interesting. I was right and I was wrong. Eric blew me the fuck away with his audition. He had memorized two pages of dialogue in less than twenty minutes. I was mesmerized and couldn't get the smile off my face. While we never got to making the film, I jumped at the chance to work with him when AMBI came around. I didn't even make him audition. I just cast him in the role and prayed that he said yes. Because I call him my Ryan Reynolds everyone says that I've got a non-sexual man crush on him, but I don't see it. Eric looks great on screen and he's a fantastic talent. I felt very lucky that he stumbled into my audition, A MIND BESIDE ITSELF was a far superior film because of his involvement.

MY HORROR PROJECT was cast much differently. I wanted to do something locally that would really excite the actors. Something that they don't ever get a chance to do, play themselves. In tow with the reality element, most all the actors in the film are not taking on the roles of characters. They get to be thrust into different and incredible situations and now ask themselves,"what would I do in thie scenario? How would I react to a malevolent spirit?" I think that opens up a whole new arena for them and so far the actors have all loved the script. I've been really humbled by their reactions and their enthusiasm makes me VERY excited about this project.

HitH:  Thats fantastic, I love that idea and should bring a more interesting dimension to the movie.

Are you a horror fan in general P.J? Im guessing yes but you never know! What are some of your all time favourites and why?

P.J: Yeah, I'm a pretty big fan of the horror genre. I've been watching scary movies since I can remember. My grandfather, who would ultimately set me on the path of loving filmmaking, took me to the theater to see JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. I was seven. I know that sounds terrible, but it's just one of many important memories I have about horror. I can remember being about ten and sitting on the floor watching DAWN OF THE DEAD while eating spaghetti. I was enthralled and mortified at the same time. A lot of people don't give the genre the respect it deserves, it's the one of the few times in a film where you can laugh, be scared, laugh again, get sad and then be scared again. I just love it. Some of my favorite horror films are FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE, THE PROWLER, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, HALLOWEEN, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, FRIDAY THE 13th. The list goes on and on. I'm a big fan of 80's slashers and zombie films in particular. I know it's not really horror but I have to give a shout out to GHOSTBUSTERS, it's the film that started my love for the horror genre.

HitH: Haha, no thats brilliant - I remember my Dad letting me watch A Nightmare on Elm Street and Witch Story on the same weekend when I was about Mum went nuts when she found out!!  Some awesome horror movies there in your list of favourites.

Finally is there anything further you want to share with fans about you work both previous and upcoming?

P.J: My first real serious effort was HALLOWS EVE. I learned a lot from that production. We got a lot of great reviews and a few bad ones. It's funny how the bad ones stick with you. They were the ones that pushed me to make my next project, a psychological drama called A MIND BESIDE ITSELF. I set out to prove myself and feel pretty successful about it as it won some awards. Now I'm back where I belong, deep into the blood and grue. I think the new film has some great characters and some great moments. It has everything a genre fan loves. Jake and I tried to make sure it ran the gamat. I recently told an interviewer that I just wanted to make a movie where some says a cuss word before they die and I meant it. MY HORROR PROJECT may not break any new ground, but I hope it does for the supernatural sub-genre what SCREAM did for slashers; bring a fresh perspective. Hopefully audiences will agree.

HitH: I hope so too! Thanks again for a great inteview and I look forward to hearing more about My Horror Project soon!

Tuesday 8 May 2012


Probably one of the busiest and hard working independent film companies going; Big Biting Pig Productions are gearing up to premiere their latest horror/thriller Spirit Stalkers! The movie will play at the Byrnes Auditoirum in Madisonville, Kentucky, on Saturday June 16. If you are lucky enough to be able to go you can grab a ticket for the unbeatable price of $10 per ticket, this includes a FREE DVD of the film….can this offer really be beaten!?

I was lucky enough to get to talk to Steve Hudgins, founding member of Big Biting Pig Productions who has kindly shared some insight into the company, the films, the future, and some on screen lip locking!

Please see what Mr Hudgins, also Writer and Director of Spirit Stalkers, has to say below and then read on for a full Spirit Stalkers press release including the chance to preview the first trailer!


Hacked in the Head: Hi Steve! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Your film company Big Biting Pig Productions has racked up an amazing fan base in the last few years which is great for an indie horror fan like me to see. Could you tell me a bit about how you started it all? It's clear yourself and PJ Woodside make an incredible team.

STEVE: Thanks Mark! We're thrilled about the rapid growth of our fan base. Our goal has always been to bring an original spin to the horror genre, and it's pretty obvious that horror fans everywhere appreciate something new & fresh.
It all started when I wrote a movie called The 3rd Floor & co-directed it with Tom Dolan and Adam Gilliam. PJ Woodside was the editor for that movie. The other guys were a bit burned out after that but I wanted to keep going, so I branched off and created Big Biting Pig Productions and was able to get PJ Woodside to come on board with me. We've been going strong ever since!

HitH: I concur completely on that, strength to strength I would say! Now you seem to alternate writing/directing duties with PJ with each film which I feel gives fans a great sense of variety as your approaches are very different. Do you think this is part of the reason it all works so well?

STEVE: It works out great from every aspect. As you mentioned it gives the fans something a little different, since she & I have different styles. And we're both full of story ideas, so it gives us a chance to translate those ideas into a script. The other benefit is that it allows us to release movies on a regular basis. So many production companies are only able to release movies every few years or so, whereas with us, our fans can count on at least one new movie release from us each year, and they are able to follow us through the entire process, so there's always something new going on with Big Biting Pig Productions. I think that's another reason why we've gained so many fans, so quickly. And don't worry everyone, we have no plans of slowing down anytime soon! We're already in pre-production on our next movie "LUCID" which PJ wrote and will be directing. We'll be shooting that over the summer and I'm already outlining the script for the movie we'll be doing next year!

HitH: If certainly satiates horror fans like me who like something fresh and originalon a regular basis and it's great to hear you have no intention of slowing down! Next could you tell me a bit more about the inspirations behind your movies? You have touched on a lot of the genre faves, the slasher movie, the zombie flick, creature feature....

STEVE: I'm just a horror fan. I always have been and like all kinds, so my ideas tend to reflect that. One of the things that I enjoy doing is taking old ideas that have become rather formula and putting some kind of a new twist on that basic design.

HitH: I also wanted to ask you a bit about your method of distribution. Self distribution is GREAT for fans as they can obviously pick up the movie as soon as you are ready to release it - it also means you don't have to go through the often painful process of securing distribution. What exactly made you decide to go down this route?

STEVE: Distribution is something that we're constantly experimenting with. It seems that most traditional distribution deals for lower budget movies don't turn out to be overly advantageous for the filmmakers. While we're always looking for ways to reach as many people as possible, the ability to be able to self distribute our movies, is always there for us to do until something better comes along. But in the meantime, it's not difficult to get any of our movies. Anybody interested in obtaining any of our movies can easily do so straight from our website:

HitH: Its that easy folks! Head over there and pick these movies up! Ok Steve, can you talk a bit about Spirit Stalkers your latest film? What can fans expect from your latest offering? The screen shots are looking great and I'm very sad to not make the premiere on the 16th June!

STEVE: I keep telling people, if you are a fan of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures or shows of that nature you're going to love this movie! At the same time, if you're a fan of the classic Ghost Stories you're going to love this movie! It's kind of a combo of both. With the popularity of the aforementioned paranormal shows, there has been an explosion of related movies in recent years and it seems that most of them have taken the "Found Footage" approach with their films, so taking on this basic idea in more of a traditional way, is actually a new approach, right there, but rather than just doing a one note story about paranormal investigators, we parallel that story with more of a classic ghost story about a woman who has moved into a large old house with her daughter and begins experiencing strange things. The stories eventually cross paths. . . or should I say, collide head on! I think what we've been able to come up with here is something for everyone who is a fan of paranormal/ghost movies and shows everywhere! 

HitH: It sounds awesome and I cant wait to see it myself, the trailer looks extremely creepy. I also understand it's all go for Lucid your next film! Fast work! Are you able to share any early details of this...I suspect it's far too early at this point!

STEVE: Yes, we'll be filming most of the summer on LUCID! I can't reveal too much just yet, but the movie revolves around a woman whose nightmares seem to be spilling over into her real life.

HitH: Brilliant, I look forward to further details later on in the year maybe! Now- shameless UK plug - have you considered submitting your films to any UK horror film festivals? Not that there are many out there but there are certainly two or three a year that are great and I think it would amazing to see some BBP films up there!

STEVE: We'd love to get our movies out to more horror film festivals in the UK! I'll tell you what, give me a list of some of the ones you think we should definitely submit to and I'll see what we can do about getting them in!

HitH: I will absolutely do that Steve, not a problem! Finally.... I have to ask since it comes up many female cast members do you get to kiss in Spirit Stalkers? Haha!

STEVE: I'm afraid I strike out in this one

HitH: Oh well, maybe next time Steve! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me and I am hereby strongly encouraging fans to check out the official Spirit Stalkers press release below where you can visit the official Big Biting Productions website to view the original 
 trailer as well as the super scary new second trailer!!!!


SPIRIT STALKERS - Trailer & Press Release

The Award Winning Big Biting Pig Productions is pleased to announce the release of their latest film SPIRIT STALKERS, on June 16th 2012.

Following up on the success of their previous movies HELL IS FULL & THE CREEPY DOLL,  Big Biting Pig Productions is releasing a movie for Ghost Story Enthusiasts everywhere!
If you are a fan of shows like Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures, you will love SPIRIT STALKERS!
If you are a fan of good old fashioned Ghost Stories, you will love SPIRIT STALKERS!

SPIRIT STALKERS writer & director Steve Hudgins describes the movie as “a mix between the modern popularity of paranormal investigative shows and the classic ghost stories that so many of us grew up with.”

The World Premiere of SPIRIT STALKERS will take place on June 16th, 2012 at Byrnes Auditorium in Madisonville, KY. Doors open at 5:30pm, The Movie starts at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10 each and the price of admission includes a FREE Spirit Stalkers DVD!  The World Wide DVD release will be announced shortly after the Premiere.

More information about the World Premiere of Spirit Stalkers & Big Biting Pig Productions can be found at their website:

Schism (2008)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Derek Purtell 

Written by Lynn Lowry, Derek Purtell and Erika Purtell

Stars: Lynn Lowry, Robert Youngren and Tracy Janet Keijser

Thanks to Director Derek Purtell for sending me a copy of his low budget horror thriller Schism to check out. I have to start by saying I really love the cover art for this movie - it reminds me of some semi-gory Sharon Stone type of thriller from the 80's such as Scissors, Sliver and of course Basic Instinct.

The premise itself  is also very intriguing and quite original. The always watchable Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People) plays talk show host Linda for 'In Touch With Insanity'. The show involves Linda speaking with mentally ill people to try to help them, although has its own unique selling point in that Linda herself has a severe mental health issue. Living with four personalities has taken its toll on Linda and any one of these can rear their head at any time, including seductive show off Lola and acerbic and angry Jackie. Referring her callers to the shady doctor who is helping her appears to be a bad move as the gruesome murders soon begin. On that note I must also add that the opening of the movie was really quite nasty and gruesome and definitely captures your attention and there are several other decent moments of gore to follow.

The movie then went off in a different direction than I maybe expected. Viewers begin to die but not at the hands of a mystery assailant like I assumed. Lets just say some of the people calling into Lindas show really are crazy and dangerously so! But is there even more to it than that? You will just have to watch and find out....... I will add that I enjoyed the very end of the film a lot where it kind of finishes and then does an about turn.

Acting wise there were weak performances by some of the supporting actors and actresses however there are also a few notable ones. Lynn plays her character(s) extremely well and bear in mind she is four different personalities, but Janet Tracey Keijser stole the show for me as the horribly damaged 'Anna'. Anna is a character I really cared for immediately and is the type of person who is either ultimately doomed or will do an about turn and fight for her survival in order to come out the other side. I won't give away which camp Anna falls into but will say Janet was really excellent in this role.

I felt that this was an interesting movie with a great idea although the story may have been a bit ambitious. I definitely applaud Derek and Erika Purtell and Lynn Lowry for writing something more elaborate than just another mystery whodunnit but maybe if the story was a bit more simplified it would have made more of an impact. That said, I would recommend Schism which you can check out via the films rather nifty website

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Maniac On The Loose (2008)

Directed by Steve Hudgins

Written by Steve Hudgins

Stars: Nick Faust, Steve Hudgins, Randy Hardesty and Jessica Cook

Release – USA- 1 May 2008 (Big Biting Pig Productions)

Most readers will know from my previous reviews of  Hell is Full and The Creepy Doll that I am a huge fan of independent film company Big Biting Pig Productions. They always manage to take a small budget and make an extremely entertaining and usually intricately plotted film and I am always excited to see what might be coming next. BBP are also very good to their fans, they are always working on a new movie and for the past 4-5 years have released at least one movie each year - both premièring locally and released on DVD. When you consider all of the unfortunate delays a lot of indie film makers hit while making a movie you really have to take your hat off to these guys - self distribution also very much seems to be the way forward.

So I thought it was time to take a look back at 2008, BBP's second feature length: Maniac on the Loose! I remember reading some amazing reviews of this film before I received it, so I was really excited to see what was in store. One thing I probably didn't expect was just how inventively would be woven that you were not quite sure what was happening when, who was the bad guy, who was going to die, etc etc etc. That was my first taste of the kind of writer that Steve Hudgins is and that it a total compliment. By the time the movie hit its big conclusion I was very much like 'whoa!' and 'ohhhhhhhh got it'. Its a great film with a great story and really does suck you in as you try to figure out what in hell is happening.

Maniac on the Loose features Jessica Cook as 'Melissa' - a young lady who is off on an apparent date following an internet hook up. Melissa goes directly to the home of her date 'Alex' (Randy Hardesty), where to her suprise she meets 'Max' (Steve Hudgins). Melissa soon starts to get anxious when Alex is still nowhere to be seen and Max starts acting very menacingly. Meanwhile 'Dr Franklin Grimm' (Nick Faust) is in an incredibly tricky situation in the hospital he works at as an extremely dangerous patient has just escaped and he needs to track him down - or else.

How these stories come together and how all of the characters link into the main story need to be seen first hand to be enjoyed. I wouldn't dream of going all spoilery on you but do highly recommend you picking up a copy from the BBP website. The DVD is at a very low cost and there all kind of bundle deals on offer if you wanted to grab their other movies!

Anyway back to the film - as mentioned the movie is brilliantly written but there are also some great performances. Nick Faust is spot on as the slippery Dr Franklin - remind me never to book an appointment with this guy! Steve Hudgins goes all wild eyed and terrifying as the sadistic Max and co-producer PJ Woodside pops up in some great scenes as the luckless 'Dr Lewis'. I also really enjoyed Jessica Cook and Randy Hardesty in their respective roles but to say any more on that front would be veering to close to spoilers.....

I hope even bigger and better things are on the horizon for this impressive film company, I really do. Please check out all the links provided and get on the bandwagon - you can also check out the official BBP Facebook! Also check back here over the summer for a review of the BRAND NEW movie Spirit Stalkers from these guysafter it has been released. The film looks set to be a very scary haunted house tale bound to have many twists and turns along the way.........