Wednesday 28 November 2012

Bleeding Through (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

by Henrique Couto

Written by Henrique Couto

Stars: Sandy Behre, Ruby LaRocca, Josh Lively, Zane Crosby, Henrique Couto, Justin Channell, Jason Pollock, George Hrab, Andrew N. Shearer, Countess Samela, Adam Dunhoff.

Bleeding Through is the latest feature film from indie filmmaker, actor and musician Henrique Couto and I would like to extend my thanks to the man himself for allowing me to review it for Hacked in the Head.

The film serves as Henrique’s first real foray into serious horror and I am pleased to say it’s a damn fine foray indeed. Imagine if you will a sad but engrossing and emotional drama which morphs effectively into a blood splattered horror movie in its final act a la Carrie (1976).

The overall plot involves young college student Lindsey (Sandy Behre) a girl shattered by the deaths of her parents in a car accident and further tormented by life in the form of some local bullies, a condescending boss and her slightly unsympathetic brother (Henrique Couto). Lindsay’s luck changes for the better when she meets the free spirited and fun Katie (Ruby LaRocca) and their budding friendship acts as a pleasantly emotional turn around to a rather bleak existence. Still I did compare this movie to Carrie so therefore you may not be surprised to know that this friendship isn't made to last and a final betrayal acts as the final straw and prompts Lindsay to end the life she has grown to find so insufferable.

If those people partly responsible for the deep depression wrought upon Lindsay think they are out of the woods with her passing they are horribly mistaken as the final act makes way for Lindsay’s brutal search for revenge – beyond the grave.

I really loved the supernatural angle of the plot. Henrique could have gone down the route of young Lindsay simply snapping beyond all salvation and embarking on a bloody killing spree but instead, Lindsay’s suicide added a nice curveball to proceedings and I felt this added far more meat to the plot. 

For gore fans there is quite a bit to enjoy in the final part of the film. Dead Lindsay is not the meek couch potato that alive Lindsay was and when it comes to inflicting pain on those that hurt her..well…she isn't backwards in coming forwards let’s just put that out there.

The acting was a huge plus point in Bleeding Through. I would say all characters do a good job but both girls, Sandy Behre and particularly Ruby LaRocca absolutely nail their roles. Sandy goes from a shy, withdrawn, sad young woman to a vengeful angel of death with professional ease. In fact Sandy's acting is so good, particularly in the first hour or so of the film that you actually share the pain she appears to experience in communicating and interacting with others. Ruby LaRoccas Katie on the other hand is a perfectly acted, vivacious and fun wildchild who may not be all that a good friend after all.

The film is also really well written; the dialogue is bleak at the best of times, but absolutely engaging, drawing you deeper into the plot as it motors towards its grim climax. Its also really well shot and I felt incorporating elements of home videos featuring Sandy's parents when they were alive was an excellent way to make audiences more involved in the plot and Sandy's sad plight.

I really enjoyed Bleeding Through and it I think it puts Henrique Couto out there as someone to really keep your eye on in independent cinema. You can preorder your very own copy of the film, released early next year right HERE and I strongly recommend you doing so.

Monday 19 November 2012

The Dummy (1995)

Directed by Dante Falconi

Written by Dante Falconi

Stars: Todd Jason Cook, Lisa Cook, Sabrina Cook, Bill DeWild, Harley Graves, Anthony Jones, Katrina Judkins, Cindy Larsen, Jim Larsen, Jerry McGhee, Brian Truitt, Angela Watkins.

The Dummy is a 1995 SOV effort from Todd Jason Cook, director and writer of previous cheapo horror efforts Evil Night and Demon Dolls. I LOVE me a killer doll horror flick so of course the thought of a crazed ventriloquist dummy had me excited!

The plot involves a pair of newlyweds, Chris and Laura, who make the grave error of insulting a fortune teller. Said fortunate teller exacts her revenge using the titular dummy, instructing it to kill anyone who has the misfortune of coming into contact with Chris and Laura and eventually taking them out themselves! One pissed off lady then!

The film turns into a total bloodbath as our friendly resident dummy starts hacking his way through all manner of luckless victims in his mission to eliminate the newlyweds. There is lots of fun grue and gore as people are stabbed, slashed and a whole lot worse (look out for the knife to mouth scene...)

Bottom line is that The Dummy is an ultra cheap movie so you can't go in expecting stellar acting, amazing sets and top notch special effects. What you will get however is a fun and bloody low budget horror flick with a brilliant little antagonist and, I have to say, an awesome little final scene. Safe to say this Dummy will NOT be beaten easily..... On top of that the film has a nifty giallo-esque score! Check over HERE and HERE to find a copy for yourself! A new late night low budget favourite of mine to have fun with, with a few beers!!

You may also be interested to know that Todd Jason Cook has recently released his zombie slasher hybrid Zombiefied which is a must see and reflects the direction that Todd is now taking with his mobvies now the good ole SOV days are behind him. I strongly recommend giving Zombiefied your time and you can grab a copy HERE.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Laughter (2012)

Screener Copy

Directed by Adam Dunning

Written by Adam Dunning

Stars: Rocky Petroziello, Kris Marconi, Sam Rovin, Erin Rovin, Shauna Farhad, Rebecca Henning, Tim Merli, Jessica Lindgren, Ian Anderson, Madison Caudullo, Melissa Simoson, Marc Colby Sr, Robert Storm, Christopher Weite, John Murray and Gruesome Hertzogg.

Big thanks to film maker Adam Dunning for sending me a screener copy of his second horror feature Laughter. Laughter is a fun, low budget slasher movie with a great benefit in having a vindictive clown as its killer.

The story involves a deeply unhappy young man named Joey who suffers both at the hands of his abusive father and the mean kids at school. Joey also has a, lets say obsession, with clowns as they are something he associates with his deceased mother. Concocting a silly prank with his two friends to scare some of the other kids at a party is the start of a far bigger nightmare and as is always the case in these types of films - the past always comes back to haunt you.

So the prank clearly doesn't go off as planned and results in a death which the other kids foolishly cover up. Fast forward six months and the guilty teens are now living an existence far removed from those they had planned for themselves. I guess that kind of guilt and remorse will do that to you! But that's only the beginning of their troubles as a grotesque clown soon makes his appearance and starts taking them out one by one, by one... Ok so you may have heard this all before. Personally I can take a slasher movie with the standard cover up/revenge scenario any old day so I'm happy. One thing, to its credit, that Laughter tries to do a bit differently is to include a few original death scenes which I really appreciate. Further good points are the films score which is really effective and I would even say haunting and some of the characters were really interesting. On top of all of that the clown costume is SCARY!

There are some not so good points about Laughter and I feel these are important to highlight as viewers who are not so well versed in the more lower budgeted movie may struggle. Firstly, there is a running sound issue meaning you have to adjust your volume quite a bit. This can prove a bit distracting although its not something that bothered me too much and did seem to improve toward the end. There are also some weaker performances and some very repetitive and unnatural dialogue in various parts of the movie.

That said, on the performances, there are some impressive ones also. I thought Rocky Petroziello as Joey did a superb job and wish there could have been more him as he played the tormented soul very well. Both Kris Marconi and Sam Rovin did a good job also as Joeys mischievous friends, Chris and Brian; brought back to earth with a bang after the events of the party. I also really enjoyed Erin Rovins performance as Kate, a sweet but slightly edgy girl and thought she came across as the most natural actress in the film.

All in all Laughter is a good time, with admittedly its flaws, that I would recommend checking out. It has a good story, some good performances and interesting characters and a few cool death scenes. I really look forward to seeing what Adam Dunning comes up with next as he clearly has a sound working knowledge of the knows the horror genre. If you want to find out even more about the film please check out my interview with Adam HERE!

Die Laughing - an interview with Adam Dunning

Independent film maker Adam Dunning was kind enough, not only to send me a copy of his new film horror flick Laughter for review but also to take the time to talk to me extensively about the film. Please read on for our a great interview with Adam who shares his insights on the film and lots of other stuff.  With Adams permission I have also included production stills, the official movie poster and some pics from the recent Laughter premiere, held on the 28 October!

Hacked in the Head: Hi Adam! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I have just had the chance to watch and review your feature length horror film Laughter which is the second independent horror film you have written and directed. Firstly can you tell us a little bit about both films and any influences behind them? I haven't yet gotten to see The Infected, but thanks to your kindness, I have now had the chance to enjoy Laughter.

Adam: Mark, I want to thank you for taking your time and reviewing LAUGHTER! I will also get a copy of the inFected to you, so you can see the difference between both films. Well both films are two different horror genres. Laughter is about a killer clown, where the inFected is about a zombie infected town. Influences on the films is just the love of the horror genre. When we watch horror films today its remakes after remakes, and I know we are all getting tired of classics being ruined. The independent world of film maker is a huge influence on any film. The best part about it is your getting actors, producers, writers, directors, editors and so to work on something because they love the genre, or love the field of film making. If I was to choose influences on the films itself I would have to say this about the inFected. Since the film is based on zombies and its a huge subject today, Romero is a reason I got into Zombie flicks and why a lot of people are making them is because of that guy. Romero would definitely be the biggest influence in while i chose a zombie flick. Then LAUGHTER i was influenced by my father when I wanted to write another film I was trying to thing of something that people are scared of. My father looked over and said do a clown movie! So I then looked into my DVD collection and saw "IT" and "Killer Clowns from outer Space" and those are my two favorite clown flicks and gave me some inspiration on how to write LAUGHTER.

HitH: Awesome I look forward to checking out inFected! Now Laughter is a fun slasher film with the distinct selling point of a very creepy looking killer clown. Where on earth did that costume come from?? The mask makes for one of the most volatile looking clowns I have ever seen. It's lucky I'm not as scared of clowns as I was as a child (I ruined a kids birthday party with my hysterical screaming when I was very young....)

Adam: The clown was a challenge to come up with a look to make the clown scary. I went to our local costume shop "Taney's Costume Shop" I was looking at mask and could not find anything I liked that made the clown. So the owner said hold on and let me show you this foam latex mask that I just got in. So we talked about it and once he held it up to his face and showed me how it moves with you face structure, I said that is it. So that is where the mask came from and then I went home and painted up the face and then had to order a few more incase one tore in areas. The costume that he wears was another challenge! I had a blue and yellow costume that did not fit the part once we shot the teaser trailer. So My fiance and her Aunt Jan and myself took a drive to a local fabric shop and looked for an hour or two for something. I went down one way and they went another and I came across this fabric buried under others that was just black and red and torn and bloody looking. I was thinking to myself "This is it". So we went looking for more of it and then found the other half and bought it real cheap I think fifteen dollars for the entire costume to make. So that is how the look of the clown begin which was made by my Fiance Aunt Jan that did an awesome job on it.

HitH: Well it was a job well done, I love the costume! I don't want to spoil anything for readers but there were a few interesting death scenes in Laughter. Did you set out making the movie with the intention on 'raising the bar' with the kills? I'm sure you are aware of how much slasher fans love their creative kills!.

Adam: I tried to set a bar limit on this for the death scenes. Its hard when there are so many out there and trying to come up with something new. There are a lot of cool deaths, and some deaths that are just quick and easy like a neck snapping "Spoiler right there but not a huge one!" Some deaths were tough to do, because when I wrote them it was easy to turn around and come up with something. When you are creating them it is way different because now you have to figure how the hell do i make this. The ones who enjoy Independent horror films I do think that they will love the death scenes in this movie.

HitH: Are you also able to talk about the budget for the film and any particular challenges you may have faced while making it?

Adam: The budget I will come right out and say was very low! We did indie gogo to raise money, a pasta dinner, and then money right out of pocket and the total budget was $3,500.00 to make the film. That was used for the make-up, the build of the shack, food, the costume and props, and anything else needed. Equipment I already had so nothing had to go into that. Challenges we had a few, like i said time was taken with the death scenes, the crime scene outside we has no lights so we were going to call it for the day, but we all turned our cars on and put the heads on to give us the lighting we needed. Which the scene still came out dark, but hey we did it! There were never really any hard challenges in this film, Everyone was great and came and did what they had to do! So for that to happen everything went a lot smoother during production.

HitH: How about the casting process for the film? Are there any memorable performances you want to share? I particularly enjoyed Erin Rovin's performance as Kate, I thought she came off extremely well.

Adam: The casting process for the film was different because I have never held a casting call before. The inFected was just all family and friends that made that film. Since the inFected was all a project to complete so i could Graduate from College. The process for the casting was fun, we got to meet a lot of new people and see all the talent that was in the area. A lot ask that question about memorable performances and its hard to answer. During the casting call, the actors got a few minutes to look over everything so didn't know what was going to happen. Everyone did a great job when reading and going over everything. During the casting there were a lot of funny moments that went on. The production side of performances everyone was good and did a great job pulling their character together. Also everyone talked with each other and said why don't you try this to make it better, or look that way when you say your line. So you can't pick one, because everyone did great and also helped one another make their performances better.

HitH: Thats great, you certainly can tell that the cast were working hard to bring their characters to the fore. Now you recently had your premiere of the film on the 28 October - great stuff. How did it all go? Were you pleased with the turn out and reception of the movie?

Adam: The premiere went well and was shocked with the turn out for the film. We had over two theaters sold out, plus some that couldn't make it because of the storm that came up that weekend. We had our backdrop with the sponsors, and the clown standing there to take pictures with, DVDS and poster to be sold. Then the film began and now I was like well in the next few hours we will find out what everyone thought of the film. Well we found out and they enjoyed the film, they were pleased to see someone from the area doing something like this, the storyline went quick and didn't drag much. So we were all pleased on the turn out and how the entire event went that night.

HitH: What's the overall plan for general release? Can horror fans expect to see laughter officially out on DVD by the end of the year or the start of next year? Also for anyone reading interested in buying a copy, do you have any copies from the first run left and if so how do people go about grabbing one?

Adam: We are not sure about being released yet to other theaters and stuff. We are working on trying to get it picked up right now! If anyone was to buy a copy we have them and they are ready to be shipped out. They are $15.00 a copy and have the film, features with over 2 hours of stuff and the soundtrack. They can contact me at and then we will give them the information on how to get their copy.

HitH: Hear that folks? Get in touch with Adam now and grab a copy!

So I already know from a recent online interview that you are a horror fan Adam. Tell me a bit about your favourite horror films and also anything you don't particularly enjoy within the genre?

Adam: I don't like remakes in the horror genre because they away from the story and add in areas that ruin it more. Although there are areas of the remakes that I do like. My favorite horror film is the Halloween series, then texas chainsaw, freddy, jason and so on with the classics. I just like the story lines and the gore and acting that goes into making a horror film. To make a horror film is just fun and thats what all productions are for horror film makers. I just like all horror films and will keep on going to see them even if they are remakes.

HitH: Whats next for Adam Dunning? Could we see a Laughter sequel in the future or are you planning a different film for your next venture?

Adam: I am writing a sequel right now for LAUGHTER, I also wrote a sequel to the inFeceted, but not pleased with it so that got tossed aside. I am also talking with some one about a script, which I am not going to give a title away or who that person is, but it's a great story and if you were to read the script it puts you right into the story of it. So there are some areas of a sequel in the future and even other projects. Not sure on days or years that it will start production, but for now I am going to give LAUGHTER it's time to travel to the viewers who want to see it.

HitH: Sounds exciting and I cant wait to hear more in the future! Finally Adam - is there anything else you would like to tell readers or share with them?

Adam: Thank you to everyone that loves horror films! If not for you then we would not have a job or passion to make these films for you. Also any other film makers out there keep pushing to get yourself out there. I made a film with no big budget, and not big time equipment and made a successful film. So when anyone says you cant make it and can't do anything, thats not true you can do what you want and you can make that choice to succed. Hope you enjoy Laughter and hear back from you and your thoughts on it.

HitH: Adam thank you so much for talking to me and all the best with Laughter and your future work - stay in touch!

Thursday 15 November 2012


Doll Factory, an upcoming killer toy flick written and directed by Stephen Wolfe, commenced principal Photography back in February 2012 and is now knee deep in Post Production. Great news for us horror fans who I am sure will be chomping at the bit for some new murderous doll action! Please read on for some more info on the film, some stills AND an exclusive interview with the man behind the mayhem himself, Stephen Wolfe!

“Doll Factory” is the story of a small town besieged by possessed killer baby dolls and the group of teenagers fighting for the souls of the townspeople.
“We’re excited to see it come to life,” said Wolfe, going on to say, “this story is a twisted, over the top horror comedy about a group of teenagers that inadvertently brings killer baby dolls to life.” “After reading the script for Doll Factory, I knew it had to be our next film,” said Andy Palmer, Executive Producer/’Melvin’, “and it made the perfect follow-up after Midnight Abyss.”

“Doll Factory” is a co-production between Fan Fiction Cinema, LLC and Barton Ct. Productions. The movie stars Justin Herman (Barton Police), Nicole Elliott (Abel’s Field), Andy Palmer (Midnight Abyss), Patrick Sane (Czech Beautiful) and Deke Anderson (Green Lantern). Practical Special FX, Visual FX and the Yegor character design are all being created by DWN Productions. JBD Designs is responsible for creating the titular dolls.

Hacked in the Head: Hi Stephen! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I have been excited about your upcoming horror film 'Doll Factory' since I first learnt of it. I love me a killer toy horror film so I wondered firstly what can fans expect from it?

Stephen Wolfe: Doll Factory is definitely a throwback to the heyday of 1970's/80's horror but played more as a campy horror/comedy. It's a fun little ride packed with plenty of blood, gore and doll mayhem!

HitH: What do you think you might bring to the table that differs from other movies in the animated doll sub genre?

SW: Well I think what makes Doll Factory stand out amongst other killer doll movies is that it doesn't restrict itself to just one thing. It really does branch off into many different directions which I think helps set it apart. From the over-the-top death scenes to the crazy characters in it, I feel there are elements that makes Doll Factory a truly unique and entertaining experience! 

HitH; That's awesome, over the top death scenes and crazy characters are the making of many a decent horror movie. I would also love to hear how the idea for Doll Factory came about and your main influences for the film?

SW: The idea behind Doll Factory was actually conjured up playing a horror themed video game with some friends of mine. The game featured a level called the Doll Factory where these creepy dolls would walk around like zombies and explode if you touched them. Well that's where the initial idea came from. It really was nothing more than a inside joke for awhile until I started playing with idea of making a fake trailer for it. I wanted to do it very 1970's grind house style and make it over the top and campy. Eventually I got to do it for a film class in college and it actually turned out to be a hit! So after awhile, the decision was made to turn the concept into a feature film. Doll Factory is heavily influenced from popular franchises like Evil Dead, Gremlins, Puppet Master and Child's Play.

HitH: Fantastic...and I will be looking into that game, I have never heard of it!!! Could you tell us a bit about the Doll Factory cast and what kind if characters we can expect to see?

SW: As mentioned earlier, Doll Factory is filled with crazy and over the cop characters ranging from a really funny cop duo to a grumpy old man that has a Santa Claus beard glued to his face because of a Halloween costume malfunction! This film was a great experience because I got to work with such a talented cast that really brought these characters to life in ways I never could of imagined!

HitH: Finally: how's post production coming along? Although its early days what kind of release plans do you have in mind?

SW: Post-Production is coming along great! We have a locked cut of the film and are now in the early stages of visual effects. In about a week or so we should be locking down a music composer and a post sound mixer for the project. We are currently looking to finish the film sometime towards the end of January!

HitH: That sounds great, what a rewarding way to kick off 2013! I see you also have several other projects under your belt. Would you like to tell fans a bit about your Psychological horror film Midnight Abyss? Also how about the segment you directed in Evil Deeds 2 'The Hermit'?

SW: Midnight Abyss was a micro budget feature film I did back in 2010. It started out as a short film but ended up being turned into a feature later on. It's a psychological horror about a kid that watches a scary vampire movie and begins thinking that the vampire is real and out to get him. It plays on that primal fear of imagining there's something after you, when in reality it's just your mind making up things. However, in Midnight Abyss, we kind of blurs the lines of what's real and what's make believe!

Evil Deeds 2 was a anthology horror film I collaborated on with filmmaker Matt Spease back in 2009. I shot the wraparound segment which involves a creepy old hermit who finds this young couple camping out in the middle of the woods and begins telling them the different short stories. We shot it over one night with nothing more than a man made fire and a MiniDV camera. It was interesting to do because Matt lives in a different state so I only shot the inserts for the young couple and he shot the inserts with Hermit and then spliced them all together.

HitH: What do you love most about working working in the film industry Stephen and similarly what are some if the downfalls?

SW: The core of my passion in filmmaking is and will always be telling stories. Ever since I was kid, drawing in my notebooks or playing with my action figures, I was always making up really elaborate stories. The other aspect I really enjoy is the collaboration with a team of people that specialize in all different fields behind and in front of the camera. To watch all these different elements come together to bring a vision to life is just indescribable! Of course there are tons of hazards with filmmaking, I mean it's a big gamble to begin with and nothing ever goes exactly how you plan it.

HitH: Is there any advice you give anyone out there interested in getting into filmmaking? Particularly within the independent horror genre?

SW: I would say just don't give up on it, it takes a lot of dedication and time but if you stick with it and are really passionate about it, you will see results...eventually! Just be sure to involve yourself with as many projects as you can and always make sure to learn from your mistakes. Also, connections are essential so make sure to network your ass off!

HitH: I would also love to know about your all time favourite horror movies? Also any you particularly don't enjoy?

SW: My favourite horror movies have and will always be the classic Universal monster films. Those were the films that made me fall in love with the genre. The first horror film I ever watched was the classic Frankenstein and I remember just being mesmerized by it! I love all sorts of horror films though, from the popular slasher franchises like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street to really campy ones like Leprechaun. If I had to single out something that I don't really care for, it would be that wave of PG13 remakes that were really popular for awhile.

HitH: Ahem...'Prom Night' remake..ahem....Finally Stephen, is there anything further you want to share with fans about your work? And the very best of luck with Doll Factory!

SW: For anyone interested in keeping up to date with the progress of Doll Factory, be sure to add us on Facebook at I'm also currently involved with a new creative blog called FanboyFilmmaker that is producing original genre-based content imbedded in pop culture. You can find more about that at or our Facebook page

Thank you Stephen for a great interview! Keep an eye out for more news on Doll Factory as I get it!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Evil Night (1992)

Directed by Todd Jason Cook

Written by Todd Jason Cook

Stars: Todd Jason Cook, Holly Aeck, Joseph Fautinos, Spencer Trask, Penny Spellman, Scott Spellman, Lisa Cook, Cynthia Wilson, Mark Chavez, Rik Deskin, Alan Finney

Many thanks to filmmaker Todd Jason Cook (Zombiefied) for sending me copies of three of his older SOV horror flicks from the 90s for my watching and reviewing pleasure! I have always been interested in Todd's older films after hearing stuff about them in the past, old trailers and obviously from really enjoying Zombiefied!

Evil Night marks the earliest of the three efforts that Todd has shared with me and I had a heap of fun with it. It's extremely cheaply made (a main clue is SOV!) with some ropey acting and sometimes dodgy effects BUT its also a fun slasher movie with a sense of humour and an inventively cruel streak by way of some crazy kill scenes.

So the plot: Jimmy Fisher is the college nerd who is constantly subjected to the rich kids harassment. After a nasty prank results in Jimmy being injured he decides enough is enough and uses his expertise in science to create a telekinetic ability just perfect for killing his enemies in some of the more nasty but fun ways you can think of! (sounds far fetched? Yes? GOOD) Kills scenes wise we are talking exploding cigarettes and spiked hazing paddles here people! So it's kind of like Carrie on benefits but that's not a criticism - I love ultra cheap and ultra fun, it's precisely the reason I started this blog in the first place!

If you are looking for a trashy, gory and hilarious good time, you can't go far wrong with Evil Night. Check out the following link to see how you can grab your very own copy from Screamtime films and look out for my reviews of The Dummy and Demon Dolls coming very soon! If you know you dont have the patience for the lowest of low budget horror films then I advise staying away but...well its kinda your loss.
A true guilty pleasure.

Dead Mans Party (2011)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Markus Baldwin

Written by Markus Baldwin and Julie Mitchell

Stars: Markus Baldwin, Richard Beatty, Adam Grimes, Jeremy Guskin, Carissa Costa, Carl Lundstrom, Julie Mitchell, Shon Little, Tatum Adair

Dead Mans Party marks a first for Hacked in the Head, in that its not really a horror film. It has the set up of one and is structured throughout as one but it never actually (purposefully mind you) delivers the serious chills and spills. Instead, Dead Mans Party is a painfully funny satire, poking fun at all of your standard horror flick cliches and scenarios and it works exceptionally well for it. That said the opening is fairly horrorific (keep that window closed!)...just dont expect that particular tone to remain.

The plot involves four friends and one newbie who return to a beach house they used to visit together when a now deceased friend was still with them. Unfortunately for our motley group of  pals, said dead dude is now living in the beach house and he intends to scare them off. A series of strange occurrences begins to alert the friends that they are 'not alone' and they must work together to figure out who or what is trying to mess with them - with hilarious results. Plus all is not what it seems.....

Firstly I want to say that the characters in this film are excellent. The five youngsters who all come together are varying in personality; from the side splittingly ditzy Sara (a fun performance by Carissa Costa) to the acerbic Jill (one liners delivered with skill and ease by Julie Mitchell) and the self concious/neurotic Zach (possibly my favourite performance by Adam Grimes). Watching these five interact and start to try to deal with the haunting at the beach house provides constant entertainment throughout and I dare anyone not to be amused in the slightest. (If you arent I would check for a pulse!)

However great actors playing funny characters need good material so I also want to commend the writing. The funny one liners just keep coming; Sara: 'I'm Sara'....Jill:  'Good for you' or 'Goodnight Johnny!'.....'Asshole!'....and lets not forgot ''.  Markus Baldwin obviously knows his comedy and I cannot wait to see more his work both as a director and a writer.

The film is really well made also, you can tell its an indie BUT its really well shot, the sound is perfect and the casting was absoutely spot on. I recommend Dead Mans Party for those of you who want to get a break from some of the more serious horror films and even the over the top gory yet fun ones. You can find more out about the film right HERE and I urge you to check it out when you can!

Horror House (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Evan Marlowe

Written and produced by Kerry Marlowe

Horror House marks indie film-makers Sweet Home Films second foray into the genre. What we get is a fun, well paced, well acted horror anthology with each tale taking place at some point in the past at the titular home. The film, following the excellent zombie horror flick Blood Rush is a far more professional film, extremely well shot and incorporates some excellent directing techniques. I will give my thoughts on each segment in turn but would also like to mention that Troma's very own Lloyd Kaufman makes a fantastic appearance as the real estate agent 'Joe' who introduces each tale of terror...

Never Let Go 

Stars: Catherine Widell, Katelyn Hunter, Alyssa Hunter, John Wuchte.

The first tale acts as a creepy ghost story with a nice little murderous edge. Sarah is a suburban housewife and mother, apparently to a pair of twins, Leah and Abigail. She is also pregnant and recently kicked her husband out of the family home, so it's safe to say these are not quite happy times. Unfortunately for her also, one of her daughters has secretly come to hate her, only sharing her malicious feelings with her far nicer twin. After a couple of disturbing scenes involving Abigail's attempts to hurt her mother it becomes clear to audiences that all is not what it seems and there are far eerier things going on in this house than we thought. As Abigail's murderous feelings intensify the film reaches a decent climax with a chilling final scene. I really loved some of the directing techniques used in this short. The way certain scenes are shot to reflect Leah's   light to Abigail's dark are extremely impressive. Both  Katelyn and Alyssa Hunter do an excellent job in their roles with them both performing their contrasting personalities superbly. Catherine Widell also does a great job as the haunted mother who soon finds out that a decision made years ago, with all good intentions, is back to get her...with a vengeance. A great little ghost story with a wicked streak.

Be Careful What you wish for 

Stars: Kerry Marlowe, David Alan Graf, Lisa Goodman,

The second segment is a stylish, film noir, featuring a great performance by Kerry Marlowe as a wronged housewife out for revenge. The film begins with Marlowe’s character being informed by a detective that her husband has been killed and to say her reaction is less than sympathetic is an understatement. We are then treated via flashbacks to the events leading to the recent death and it becomes clear that there is far more going on than meets the eye. I wouldn't want to spoil anything so will say no more about the plot, but I will say that the ending provides a nice bit of moral justice just like you might find at the end of a Tales from the Crypt episode or something. Not in a gratuitous way though mind, but it was a satisfying end to the story. This tale is by far the most stylish of the bunch and you can see a lot of thought and hard work went into making the story, dialogue and costumes fit the period it is set in.

Hot Stuff 

Stars: Kaden Graves, Alex Sanborn, Helen Soraya

Hot Stuff is definitely my favourite of the stories thus far. The plot concerns an extremely unlike able bachelor (Kaden Graves) who treats woman like absolute dirt. Meeting (Helen Soraya) in a local bar,  proves to be his undoing when he sleeps with her and promptly humiliates her. Soon after this, he begins to experience a very uncomfortable body change which just gets worse and worse throughout the remainder of the tale. The ending serves as the films best scene so far and although its rather grim I dare you not to smile…just a little….. A FANTASTIC morality tale with some nice special effects and a gruesome end.   Kaden Graves does a great job of making you hate him and his fate is both funny, fitting and horrifying all at the same time. A great little horror short which I think fans will love.


Stars: Lauren Lakis, Elain Rineheart.

Lifelike is certainly the creepiest and most haunting tale in this collection. It shows just how damaging the effects of child abuse can be and although the ending seems to be macabre in a slightly tongue in cheek fashion, for me, it was ultimately disturbing. Lifelike tells the tale of Helen (Lauren Lakis) a young girl who has a most miserable childhood thanks to her mean spirited mother, a lady who would far rather spit venom at her daughter and bring home different men every night than embrace the one person who should mean everything to her. An eerie geisha doll which is given to Helen as a gift, gives the child the one thing she needs in her life which she is sorely missing - a friend to talk to. Unfortunately beyond the age of 8 this ‘friendship’ does not subside, and by the time Helen turns sixteen, the doll remains her only ally in a cruel existence. It is Helens transformation into an exact replica of her doll which highlights to audiences just how disturbed the child really is, and as her mother gets more and more fed up with her daughter’s withdrawal into herself, she takes a final chilling action to be rid of her once and for all. A very good story with a truly excellent performance from Lauren Lakis as Helen, almost matched by Elain Rineheart as the cruel and cold-hearted mother . The ending is, as mentioned, disturbing, dark and all round sad but the story comes highly recommended for its originality!

The Leapling

Stars: Zachary Haven, Abbey Anderson and Alex Sanborn

The film concludes with a classic monster in the closet tale which is fun but perhaps a little too short for my liking. Ella (Abbey Anderson) likes to torment her kid brother Ben (Zachary Haven) with tales of the Leapling, a monster who rears his ugly head every leap year, looking for children to eat. As Ben becomes ever more afraid of the monster, his family try to convince him that monsters are just not real. By the time Ben  comes to accept this to be true, he soon finds out that the Leapling may not be just another fairy tale. I loved the creatures make up effects in this short, it looks great and very creepy! I think if I saw a picture of this as a child I would have been terrified to go to sleep at night myself!!! I would love to see what these guys could do with a feature length creature movie, whether it be about the Leapling or something completely different.

A highly recommended horror anthology which I hope readers will get a chance to see very very soon. You can find out more about the movie right HERE