Tuesday 31 July 2012


I was delighted to get the chance to talk with filmaker Chris Morrissey. Hard at work on his next horror/thriller feature length Heavy Makeup, I have been extremely interested in his previous film Trick of the Witch for some time. Trick of the Witch sees a group of fashion models succumbing to a supernatural evil while holing up at a luxurious, yet dangerous mansion and Chris has kindly shared all about the movie, other projects and horror in general. Please read our interview below and be sure to check out the official facebook pages for both Trick of the Witch and Heavy Makeup! Also look for a future review of Trick of the Witch SOON!

Hacked in the Head: Hi Chris! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I am looking forward to watching your upcoming feature length horror film Trick of the Witch . Firstly can you elaborate a bit about the film?

Chris: Trick of the Witch came together out of the blue but seemed to very much have a fate of its own. The film came together very easily and almost on its own. . I had taken some time off after completing my last film "Fashion Murder Groove" I'm a control freak when it comes to my films and had financed the first three films I made myself. When it came time to edit Fashion Murder Groove the first cut of the film turned out to be 3 hours long. I needed to figure out a way to cut out a whole hour. There are so many fun/crazy characters in that film that it was torture to have to creatively cut away at all these fun scenes I shot just to make sure that the audience watching wasn't upset at having to sit through a 3 hour film. All of my films are geared towards a THEATER audience. I don't want any of my films going straight to DVD. I want people to experience them in a dark air conditioned movie theater. David Lynch put out "Inland Empire" which was 3 hours and that gave me the kick I needed to realize that you don't have to always follow the rules. 

I was able to put together a rough 2 hour 30 minute cut of Fashion Murder Groove and was ready to prep the theater release but then ran into music rights issues because the film is set in the late 70's and has a disco Donna Summer type soundtrack. All of the songs I wanted in it were thousands of dollars to license. I could have compromised my creative vision and used library music or mock 70's disco music from a musician friend but I felt that I would be compromising too much. I ended up putting Fashion Murder Groove on "hold" and  began to start writing out new film ideas until I could come up with a solution to release Fashion Murder Groove the way i want to. The film will finally see the light of day in 2013 after my new film Heavy Makeup comes out.

As for Trick of the Witch.... one day, out of the blue, Share Cherrie (an actress that has  been a part of all of my earlier films) approached me saying she wanted to get involved in the production end of making movies. She said "Let's make another movie! I want to produce and I have this amount of money to invest towards the budget! let's do this! I want to learn everything that takes place behind the scenes!" -- I had many ideas brewing at that point and I really wanted to make a suspense film. I said "ok! let's make a movie about witches!" -- she was game and the rest is history. I wrote the script over the course of a week and we jumped right into Production. We started filming within a month.

HitH: I love the Trick of the Witch trailer. It reminds me of some of the old 1980s horror films where a group of good looking people are stranded at the most lavish looking of locations...before the shit hits the fan of course. Can you tell us a bit more about the films location and setting?

Chris: The location we ended up film at was a total fluke! We originally locked down a tiny secluded house in the middle of the desert to film in. The owner of the house had health problems and was admitted into the hospital 2 weeks before filming and had to pull out. We found a similar house in the woods a few days later but then L.A. had a huge week long storm and flooded the 2nd house. We had to find a new location quick.  I called a bunch of friends to no avail but then out of the blue was given the chance to shoot at this amazing mansion in Whittier -- which is on the outskirts of L.A. -- it was meant to be. The script was written around the smaller houses but this mansion fit in perfectly. I didn't have to change a thing. The film and location came together on it's own. In a fated sort of way.  

Trick of the Witch still

HitH: I love it when a plan comes together, the location does indeed look perfect! Are you also able to talk about the budget for the film and any particular challenges you may have faced while making it?

Chris:The budget was low but I knew what we were working with as I wrote the script. If you know what you can play with ahead of time then you can make the most of it creatively. I think the results came out above and beyond of what we originally envisioned.

HitH:  How about the casting process for the film - how did you go about this? Are there any memorable performances you want to share with us?

Trick of the Witch still featuring 'anti-heroine' Krista (Share Cherrie)

Chris: When Share Cherrie came to me with the producing idea i knew she would be the star of the film from the get-go. The rest of the actors consisted of people we auditioned in L.A. and i brought in some actors i had worked with in the past on other films of mine -- Gia Franzia and Devon Todd were in Fashion Murder Groove so i knew right off the bat that I wanted to work with them again. Share Cherrie does an amazing job as Krista. The whole film centers around her character trying to pull herself and everything around her together. She's very much an anti-heroine. She goes through Hell but always tries to stay on top of the chaos that everything is going through.

HitH:  Finally on Trick of the Witch, I understand it has screened already...what are further screening plans for the film and are there any plans for a wider DVD release in place at this point?

Trick of the Witch still

Chris: The film made its debut at the NY Independent Film Festival and won two awards -- Best Horror Film and the Audience Choice Award. We opened and closed the festival and the screening was "standing room only" -- we had people sitting on the floor in the back of the full theater which was amazing to experience! The audience embraced the film and it had a very Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe to it because the audience interacted and yelled back to the screen to the characters during the whole film. It was amazing to experience as a director and fan of cult films.

HitH: That must have been a unique and rewarding experience for all involved I bet! I understand you are hard at work on your next horror/thriller feature Heavy Makeup. It sounds like a great film. Are you able to share any early plot details with us and also share how is the film coming along so far?

Chris: Heavy Makeup is a horror thriller -- very much a mystery with a bunch of twists. It's about a group of girls living in the Hollywood Hills try to uncover a serial killer stalking actresses in their neighborhood. None of the actors have read or been given a whole copy of the script. Everything is very secret. I am the only one that knows who the killer is and I am the only one that knows about all the twists and turns in the film. It's been a very fun way of filming a movie. I've only been giving out specific scenes to each actors a few days before we shoot their scenes. Very much like a soap opera. All will be revealed when the film premieres in 2013!

HitH:  Cannot wait to hear more and eventually see the flick, cant beat a good murder mystery! I also wondered if you are a horror fan in general? If so what are some of your all time favourites and why?

Chris: i LOVE horror films! I grew up on all genres of film! Foreign films, exploitation films, classic dramas, and of course, horror! My parents were divorced early on so after school, instead of babysitters, we had movie theaters....  my dad would take my sister and I to a different film each day -- and each day would be something different. I grew up in  Hollywood and spent many days at Graumans's Chinese Theater and then on the weekends the Drive-In's in the Valley. I saw anything and everything and loved it all!

HitH:  What kind of things to you absolutely hate in a horror film? For me personally its most entries in the horribly named 'torture porn' sub genre. I find it extremely hard to find viewing pleasure in some helpless person strapped to a chair being de-limbed!

Chris: The problem these days is that everything seems very predictable. Remakes disappoint me a lot. I liked the remake to Hills Have Eyes but most of the other remakes have been terrible... My Bloody Valentine's remake was awful... The Fog remake was terrible.... Don't Be Afraid of the Dark -- i fell asleep.... if you are going to do a remake at least keep the spirit of the original but add a thrilling new twist or something....

HitH: I couldnt agree more about the remakes you have mentioned. I actually fell asleep watching both The Fog AND Dont be Afraid of the Dark remakes! Moving on from films best left unmentioned,  what would Chris Morrissey be doing with himself if he wasn't making films? Is it something you have always wanted to do from a young age?

Chris: I grew up always wanting to act. My mother is an actress and did a lot of 60's television like Gidget and My Three Sons. I always focused on acting early on but as i grew older I really enjoyed all the behind the scenes and the creative aspects of making movies. So if i wasn't making movies i would act. I still act here and there actually. I just don't pursue it. If people ask me to be a part of their projects i jump in. But i love creating. I can't stop creating.

HitH: Finally Chris - is there anything else you would like to tell readers?

Chris: We are planning to do Trick of the Witch 2 which will focus on the aftermath of Trick of the Witch and explore more of the history of the witches. This could very much be a trilogy. In the meantime -- Heavy Makeup comes out March 2013 and we are shooting a film called Stateless which is an L.A. docudrama -- and also Hollywood Reject which is a comedy/reality type project that i'm really excited about. It's about an up and coming actress that is too lazy to follow through on all the opportunities coming her way..... keep an eye out! We have a lot of fun stuff in store!!!

HitH: That all sounds superb...I for one cannot wait! Thank you so much for your time Chris!

SNEAK PREVIEW still from upcoming NEW feature, Heavy Makeup

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Sister Mary Chopper & Bloody Bloody Bible Camp Slash Their Way To Horror Fans Friday July 27th

BLOODY BLOODY BIBLE CAMP Starring Reggie Bannister, Tim Sullivan & Ron Jeremy Releases Nationwide This Friday, July 27th on Cable VOD in the USA & Canada, iTunes, VUDU, and Amazon Instant Video.

Directed by Vito Trabucco

Produced by Chris Maltauro & Shelby McIntyre

Written by Shelby McIntyre & Vito Trabucco

“The movie is a wild throwback to some of our favorite horror films of the 1980s,” said writer/producer Shelby McIntyre. “It’s got grizzly gory killings, gratuitous nudity and a wonderful cast including Reggie Bannister, Tim Sullivan and Ron Jeremy as Jesus!”
Bloody Bloody Bible Camp will be available July 27th via Cable ONDEMAND in the U.S. and Canada and on digital VOD via iTunes, Vudu and Amazon. Following its VOD premiere, Bloody Bloody Bible Camp will be available on DVD throughout rental and retail locations across the U.S.

The Limited Edition Retro 80's VHS will release This October exclusively through www.CultMovieMania.com
For more information, visit the official movie website for Bloody Bloody Bible Camp at www.bloodybloodybiblecamp.com or download it directly from iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/bloody-bloody-bible-camp/id541320251

BLOODY BLOODY BIBLE CAMP had it's North American Premiere on May 5th at Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas and also screened at the Phoenix Comicon May 25th

Upcoming screenings include:

Kansas City - Czar Bar - Slaughter Movie House - Aug. 6th

San Antonio - Horrific Film Fest - Sept. 1st

Atlanta Horror Film Festival - Sept. 28 - 30th

Pittsburgh Horror Realm Convention - Sept. 21 -23rd

Miss Misery's Days Of Terror Sacramento Horror Convention - Sept. 28 - 29th

Flint Horror Con - Oct. 20th

...more screenings to be announced.

It's 1984 and a group of young, horny, out of control Christians led by Father Cummings (Reggie Bannister) are spending a fun filled weekend at the Happy Day Bible Camp. All ignore the warnings from the local folk of the grizzly murders that took place 7 years prior by a sadistic crazy nun. Is Sister Mary Chopper (Tim Sullivan) dead or is she just waiting for backsliding Christians to commit sins of the unholy, and will Jesus (Ron Jeremy) need to lend a hand to save the day?

iTunes Download:

BBBC Website:




Red Band Trailer


Friday 20 July 2012

Hate Crime (2012)

(Sneak preview online screener copy)

Directed by James Cullen Bressack

Written by James Cullen Bressack, Jarret Cohen

Stars: Jody Barton, Nicholas Clark, Greg Depetro, Debbie Diesel, Tim Moran. Ian Robert, Sloane Morgan Siegel, Maggie Wagner

Now this may stand as one of the most peculiar yet exciting reviews I have done so far. I was contacted just the other night by writer/director James Cullen Bressack with the offer of reviewing his feature length follow up to creepy serial killer thriller My Pure Joy (Review here). I was of course all for it...but there was a catch. I am not permitted in any way shape or form to share specific plot details with you, whether it be fates of characters, kill methods, any plot twists etc etc etc. Which is fine...because you WILL want to go into this one blind, and if you get the chance to see it at any of the upcoming festivals that its being submitted to I suggest you do!

What I can tell you is that the film concerns a family home invaded one night by a group of strangers. Thats it, that's your lot for now. So what did I make of the movie? Well first of all I want to go straight to its technical merit. I thought My Pure Joy was a really well made indie flick in its own right but Hate Crime shows a true progression in terms of direction. The events/plot of the film require a certain shooting method in order to make it effective and this is REALLY professionally done here. The acting as well is really rather good; there are scenes involving panic, mayhem and out and out chaos in this movie and therefore actors who can relay this without overacting are key. I believe all key characters delivered this realistically and really impressed me.

In terms of the plot (which I am telling you no more about) the film is heavy going, I wont lie. Its not something that you will watch and easily forget and its not a film you should consider watching if you require some 'light' and fluffy horror release....no PG-13 or 12 certificate nonsense happening here.Its a raw, noisy, uncompromising experience that you may find difficult to put behind you.
Stay tuned for information on how you can get to see this film, it does present a relevant message but no easy solutions, but then there never are for these things.............

Wednesday 18 July 2012

From Beneath (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by David Doucette

Written by David Doucette

Stars: Lauren Watson, Jamie Temple, Blake Retter, Nicole Smashnuk, Bella Hawkesboyd and Jasmine

Release: DVD (US) 23 October 2012, Courtesy of Midnight releasing

Forget Jaws, forget Piranha....why not take a dip and meet an underwater beastie which really gets under your skin? From Beneath is a tight, well paced little indie flick with brains and an extremely satisfying watch for this reviewer!

The film features Sam and Jason, a young city couple who head out to the sticks to pay a visit to Sams family who have recently relocated. Finding the house empty is only the beginning of the their troubles as a swim in a nearby lake exposes Jason to a perculiar, leech like organism which burrows into his leg. Following this incident both Jason and Sam are plagued with nightmarish incidents forcing them to attempt to work together to solve the disappearances of Sam's family and get to safety in one piece. However as Jasons actions get further out of control and Sams resolve begins to crumble, this fight may end up being one neither can win.

I thought From Beneath was exceptionally well made. Sure it was made on a low budget but its not painfully obvious as is the way with some films. Its professionally shot, edited and scored; true the score is minimilist but that suits the eerie and slow burning plot perfectly well. The acting from both Lauren Watson and Jamie Temple as Sam and Jason respectively was also excellent. I doubt viewers will have a hard time believing that these two are a couple as the chemistry is just right. Both also handle the heavier scenes involving outright grief and shock and pain superbly. I expect to see great things from these two in the future and will certainly be keeping my eye out.

Storywise I was also impressed. I like the whole 'unknown' creature angle and also that it resides in a lake in a creepy and deserted location. While you dont find out a great deal about exactly what it is, I think thats half the fun of the film. It could be anything and come from anywhere but scarily enough it exists and will cause harm to anyone who is luckless enough to come across it. That is the fear element right there.

Hats off to writer and director David Doucette as I am really excited for future films from this guy! As soon as you get the chance to pick this baby up on DVD in October, go right out and do so. In the meantime I strongly suggest paying a visit to the official movie website and also its Facebook page. I also advise checking the water you are about to submerge yourself in at all times.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Family Secret (2009)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Geno McGahee

Written by Geno McGahee

Stars: Forris Day Jr, LeeAnn Aubuchon, Brent Northrup, Logan Lopez, Jose Antonio Rivera, Martin DuPlessis, Samantha Doris Francis, Patrick French, Savanah Gauthier, Tonya Kassier, Jacob Moon, Tim Pieciak, Alex Pierpaoli, Ellen J. Pinch, Crazy Carl Robinson, Mark Scarborough, Devin Shea, Jamie Swimm, Josh Tienson, Jaki Velensi-Lauper

Release: DVD March 22 2011 (US) Courtesy of Tempe Video

Many thanks to Geno McGahee for sending me a copy of his micro budget slasher flick Family Secret for review. I was very interested in this film due to it featuring a killer in a granny mask (!), no less, bumping off family members following a funeral of...you got it... their wicked old relative. I loved the premise and so was keen to see what Geno and co had come up with.

So as mentioned, an extended family are gathering for the funeral for the evil old head of the clan who has left a lasting and negative impact on her 'loved ones'. Bitterness and conflict rises to the surface as family members reunite and as if that wasn't bad enough somebody, possibly one of their own, is intent on eradicating them all for good. As the murders escalate, Geno (Forris Day Jr) must investigate in order to catch the culprit and in doing so unveil a long kept 'family secret'.

As Family Secret  progresses it gets more and more enjoyable. I think my main complaint would be that there is some really awkward dialogue in the first 20 minutes or so and to be honest made me worry about the remainder of the film. That aside, once the killings ramp up and the mystery deepens, the film really successfully draws you in and this should be applauded. The reason I say this is I know how tough it is for indie film makers not to produce a feature length film which tells a good story but in doing so pads out a long running time with boring and meandering scenes. What is done so well in this film, despite it's 110 minute length, is not allow the viewer to get bored and actually get more interested about what is to come. In terms of gore there are several decent slashings and gory head wounds and a plethora of torn throats. The film may have benefited from one or two more creative or unsual death scenes but it really isnt the end of the world, the killers mask more than makes up for the standard slasher kills and most of them are well done.

After viewing Family Secret I am very interested in seeing what Geno comes up with next, I hear there are two new films on their way, a horror anthology, Scary Tales  and monster movie Sickle - sounds good to me!

All in all I recommend giving this little flick a chance. It has a nice mystery, some enjoyably unlikable characters and a surprise end which relates effectively to the family secret of the title. Check out the movies official Facebook and while you are there why not head over to Amazon and snag a copy!

Friday 13 July 2012

Zombiefied (2012)

Directed by Todd Jason Falcon Cook (Scream Time Films)

Written by Todd Jason Falcon Cook

Stars: Rebecca Torrellas, Mike Gebbie,  Tayvis Dunnahoe, Kathryn Rene' Ginzel, Todd Jason Cook, Lisa Whiteman, Sabrina Cook, Bill DeWild,  Megan Herrington, Joe Condeleo, Joe Grisaffi, Alexia Roy, Brad Roberson, Carli Mosier, Shella Roberts, Juliana Hall, Elsa Marquez, Brandon Hearnsberger, Dimitri Kouzas, David Sharp, Rob Blumenthal

Release: VOD 19 June 2012, DVD 26 June 2012 (US) courtesy of Celebrity Home Entertainment

After following the huge buzz Todd Jason Cooks Zombiefied has generated over the past couple of years I was very excited to finally get a chance to view it. The film boasts the original premise of a 'slasher/zombie hybrid which of course excited me greatly. I love slasher movies, I am a general fan of the zombie genre and I LOVE originality. So what is my verdict after finally checking out the film?

Well generally I would say this film was hugely enjoyable and kept my interest to the very end - sure it got a few things wrong, many in relation to some scenes featuring unrealistic or forced dialogue but in terms of entertainment, Zombiefied ticked a lot of boxes for me; good gore, an intriguing plot structured with a mystery angle and a few extremely creepy scenes (which I will come onto). I would never name names and truly believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion but I did read a review of this film recently which credited it with featuring a good opening ten minutes in terms of its slasher angle and then describing it as boring for the remainder of the film. Again people are totally entitled to their opinion but I feel it only fair to report back to say that I have to disagree. Something gooey, gory and messy happens almost every five minutes or so, its pretty much zombie carnage throughout the entire film with creepy slasher scenes scattered throughout. No offence at all to said reviewer but I just didn't get boring or uneventful from this film at all.

So, plot wise we have a rock concert becoming centre stage to a zombie epidemic after a song which should have been a long time destroyed, is played to a club full of party animals. Local band lead singer, Alana (Rebecca Torrellas), only just escapes the entrail laden venue with her life and finds herself in an increasingly horrible predicament.  Now Alana and pals must help to solve the mystery of the cursed song and also attempt to undo the damage caused with the aid of two others, Angel and Tommy, who both lived through a similar event in the past. Running parallel to the zombie disaster which is getting ever more desperate is a crazed killer, concealed by a Nixon mask who is luring victims to their deaths (usually with the aid of some extremely unsettling mannequins) and then using his own insidious methods of bringing them back as zombies. These abominations then begin to join the hoards of the infected/undead already tearing their way through the local community. Keeping up? No? That's OK as the plot doesn't come across as confusing while watching the film, in fact its one of its key strengths. I felt more involved with the movie waiting to find out the history of the cursed song, the events that occurred in Angel and Tommy's past and how/why the Nixon killer is involved. All of this is all intertwined and as the film progresses the different narrative threads begin to cross paths more and more closely - it definitely left me feeling satisfied by the films gruesome end, promising the high potential for a sequel.

So what worked well in Zombiefied? Firstly the Nixon killer for sure. The stalking and slashing scenes are expertly handled and includes some of the films scarier scenes. For example the young man who is lured along a dark path by a series of balloons, only to be confronted with what he believes is a young girl with her back to him. This sets up an excellent jump scare, a very creepy taunted-by-mannequin scene and finally a grisly and creative murder sequence. Loved this bit! That's not to say the zombie scenes were not also good. There is a fantastic house party massacre which was really high energy and also a creepier scene involving the slain girl from the opening scenes. The part where her friend returns home to find her friend wandering the kitchen, which she assumes to be due to drug use, is very eerie and keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for that ever coming jump scare. On a negative point I would say there is some patchy acting, mainly from supporting cast members, and there is some particularly weak/unrealistic dialogue in one of the car scenes where Alana and her fellow survivors are hatching a plan to solve the mystery around the zombie outbreak and the killers motives. However on a positive note to that I thought Rebecca Torrellas did a great job as the feisty and determined Alana, a brilliant lead girl quality was present in her delivery of lines and in the attack scenes so well done to Rebecca and also to Todd and co for some spot on casting.

All in all I highly recommend Zombiefied, its different, makes good use of both the slasher and zombie sub genres and includes some scary scenes as all well as out and out gore-laden action sequences. I really hope that the intended Zombiefied 2 (Z2) gets under way and the support of indie horror fans to Todd and his team is key in making this happen. Please check out the films official website and Facebook page for more information and get involved in the infection NOW! (AKA please buy a copy of the official Zombiefied DVD or I will be forced to have that aforementioned cursed song played at a venue near you soon....)

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Blood Rites (2012)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Dorothy Booraem

Written by Dorothy Booraem and Chad Haufschild

Stars: Karis Yanike, Shaun Vetick, Mark Dews, Christina Marie Leonard, Christopher Michael O'Neill, Jeanne Kern, Alison Scott, Eric Moyer, Robert- Kingston Green, Colby Coash, Walter J. McDowell III, Katrina Adams, Nicole Siegrist Britany Dailey

After enjoying Dorothy Booraems directorial debut Wake the Witch, I was really intrigued as to what she might come up with next. True, Wake the Witch confused me a bit and I wasnt 100% sure after viewing it if I was clear on the ending, but I remember being glued to the screen throughout and found some sequences really quite unsettling throughout. So..... fast forward to 2012 and I have been given the chance to review Blood Rites, the follow up film directed by Dorothy and and co written with Chad Haufschild.

Nikki (Karis Yanike) is involved in a drug deal which goes horribly horribly wrong leading her to become trapped in an abandoned warehouse with a group of others including crazed Axel (Mark Dews) and his three religious hostages. Also along for the ride is ex military enforcer Darrin (Shaun Vetick) and gunshot victim 'Diz' (Cristina Marie Leonard). Running parallel to this is the murder investigation into the ritualistic killings of three young girls, attacked while experimenting with witchcraft which further adds a level of intrigue as to what might be coming......

I am happy to start off with saying I thought Blood Rites was quite the blast. It had a slightly slow burning opening yet still managed to draw you into the various threads of the story, of which I had every faith would start linking up as the film progressed. I'm pleased to say that this happened and soon all characters are faced with a fight for survival...but against who? Or what? What I will say is not everything is how it seems and whats going on maybe isnt what you think. Its actually a very clever plot which takes its time to unfold and I found the final scene of the movie satisfying because I kind of thought "ok I wasnt expecting yet another twist and I wasnt expecting it to end like that in terms of a certain characters fate". Its great and it worked very very well.

Acting wise I thought Karis Yanike did a superb job as the in-it-up-to-her-neck Nikki. I really enjoyed this seemingly conflicted and desperate character firstly trying to make sense of her messed up scenario and secondly pulling out the stops to try to survive it. Watch this character very carefully.  Mark Dews was also excellent as the drugged out Brit criminal 'Axel', a guy who you do not want to get into the line of fire of...let's just say he really does shoot first and ask questions later. Further to this Shaun Vetick turns in a suitably creepy performance as the (strongly implied) sexually deviant Darrin. I also enjoyed the hostages and their roles in the movie, lots of odd and creepy things going on there that you will have to watch for yourself to know what I mean!

All in all I think Dorothy and Chad have written and produced a decent, twist filled horror/thriller with some effective murder scenes, an intriguing religious angle and some hugely unlikeable yet very watchable characters. I recommend getting your hands on this when you can and giving it a chance, I think it will surprise you! You can find out more about the film over at their official website - check it out!

Sunday 1 July 2012

The Shadow of Death (2012)


(Screener copy)

Written and Directed Gav Chuckie Steele (Deadbolt Films)

Stars: Jane West, Corinna Jane, Sophia Disgrace, Dan Bone, Charlie Bore, Daniel Carter-Hope, Stuart Dakers and John Brown


Today's the day the worms have their picnic.......

I was really pleased to get the chance to review The Shadow of Death, not just because it's totally my kind of horror movie, but also because it's a UK made effort. Communicating with writer and director Gav Chuckie Steele prior to watching the film gave me great insight into just how DIY this project was and also how much energy and passion went into it. So did it all pay off?

Well I am pleased to say I had a lot of fun watching The Shadow of Death. It plays out as a rather sly comedy slasher referencing a number of horror films including An American Werewolf in London, The Evil Dead and The Blair Witch Project.

The set up is ultra simple which is to be expected with this type of film, three girlfriends go out to the woods to score some weed and end up in the firing line of a vicious madman intent on wiping them off the face of the earth. Our luckless heroines, Deb (Corinna Jane) Jamie (Jane West) and Nancy (Sophia Disgrace) must band together to make it out of the woods in one piece, in order to escape the similar fate of a number of luckless locals. All the while this is transpiring we are follow the misadventures of a very, very odd young man who has decided that he is a policeman (he's not).

Firstly I have to say that I loved the dialogue between the main characters. All of the car journey conversations/arguments are well scripted and extremely well timed between the actors/actresses. There is a whole lot of comedy thrown in which effectively gives audiences buy-in to the characters despite two of them (Pot head 'Nancy' and rather douchey Dan played brilliantly by Daniel Carter-Hope) being fairly annoying! Further to this the acting from all of the cast was quite impressive. There was obviously a genuine level of passion from those involved in this project as it definitely comes across from the performances. Stand outs for me include aforementioned Dan, a complete tool but hilarious with it and Jane West as the geeky 'Jamie' who shows off some great acting chops, particularly when she is telling her story of the local murders haunting the area. Special mention must go to Dan Bone also who plays the deluded 'Super Special Officer Craven' a poor guy who truly believes he is a policeman, out to save the day. He has two of the best lines in the film "I found a head. Is it one of yours?" and "maybe even devil worshipping doggers" - overall he is just ridiculously fun to watch.

I also felt it important to highlight that the scene mentioned where Jamie relays her story to the others is creepy throughout. The story told by Deb beforehand, relating to a recurring nightmare, is really eerie and reminded me of all those urban legends people told you as a kid to scare the shit out of you (the killer upstairs while lonely girl babysits, Bloody Mary, etc etc). So while the film as a whole isnt scary, this section of it gave me a genuine chill.

The film itself is shot really well - there is nothing present in the fine editing and (fairly regular) off beat shots which scream 'LOW BUDGET!' I was really impressed throughout by the professional final product made on...well a LOW BUDGET!
Dan,Nancy,Jamie and Debra look on.jpg

There are some fantastic death scenes as already mentioned. An extremely limited budget can sometimes mean terrible practical effects such as weapons resembling butter knifes barely touching the victim to be and so on and so forth. Here there is no issue as the practical effects used are used to maximum effect, the second kill in is excellent and I have to say highly amusing. When the killings get a bit deeper in they become slightly more personal as by this point you have come to enjoy the key players so while the level of creativity is still there it...well...hurts that much more!

The Shadow of Death takes us right back to what made horror FUN in the 1980s. Wacky/offbeat characters, creative death sequences, amusing dialogue and a good pace which doesn't meander. Highly recommended - please support independent horror and check out the official web site here for further information.