Monday 21 October 2013

The Ballad of Skinless Pete (2013)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Dustin Wayde Mills

Written by Brandon Salkil & Dustin Wayde Mills

Stars: Brandon Salkil, Erin R. Ryan, Allison Egan, Dave Parker

The new film from Dustin Wayde Mills (Puppet Monster Massacre, Night of the Tentacles, Easter Casket) is a witty, stylish and ultimately stomach churning body-horror nightmare which I wholeheartedly recommend. I saw so much promise in Dustin's work after watching Night of the Tentacles, a hilarious and creatively gruesome film influenced by the best of 1980's that I knew his films would just continue to get better and better. The Ballad of Skinless Pete backs that theory up perfectly.

Featuring co writer Brandon Salkil as the titular Pete, a scientist with high hopes of creating a cure for cancer. Said cure happens to come from the stomach of a little known parasite (which he happens to have gotten hold of) and after having the ill thought out notion of being his own test subject, Pete's life is thrown into utter, not to mention horrific, chaos.

Brandon Salkil who also stole the show as lead character 'Dave' in Night of the Tentacles steps up his game even further here as the most unfortunate 'Pete'. It cannot be easy to play a character who is intended to horrify and terrify audiences as well as provoke genuine sympathy but Brandon manages this masterfully. A well written and well acted character who makes this film stand out even more in addition to its creative plot.

Its more than a little impressive how Dustin manages to make indie movie magic with such a low budget. His films just look GREAT and he has a keen eye for how to make the best of practical FX regardless of financial limitation. There are two scenes in this movie that are just jaw dropping in terms of gore, I was both glued to the screen and desperate to look away at the same time so hats off to Dustin for those! There are other fantastic moments throughout the film such as a severely altered dog on the attack and the dissection of the aforementioned exotic parasite. Its safe to say gore hounds will not be upset by this film.

However, one thing even more interesting than all the blood shed is the emotional punch The Ballad of Skinless Pete packs. The ending of this film is nothing short of heartbreaking and this is where both Brandon Salkil and co star Erin R. Ryan, as Pete's friend and fellow scientist Alice, really nail their characters and the awful predicament they are in. Great work by two actors to keep your eyes on.

All in all The Ballad of Skinless Pete is one heck of an inventive, squirm inducing and emotionally distressing body horror film that deserves attention. Head on over to Facebook to find out more about the film and also buy your very own DVD copy!

Wednesday 16 October 2013

EXCLUSIVE: From The Folks Behind Gravestone Entertainment!

I have just received an exclusive scoop from director Jason Hawkins of Gravestone Entertainment ( 15: Inside The Mind of a Serial Killer and The Devil Knows His Own)  regarding the latest film from he and partner Dara Davey which could well be their biggest, boldest film to date! Featuring the mob, crime, revenge and much more this sounds like it has the potential to attract a large audience with its multi-genre plot. 

Read on for the official press release and promo art!

The 9th Templar - a new feature film by Edenfall Entertainment to shoot in Portland in January 2014

October 18, 2013

The 9th Templar is a new crime-thriller feature film by Jason Hawkins & Dara Davey; the team behind Gravestone Entertainment and the feature films 'The Innocent', '15', and 'The Devil Knows His Own'.

The 9th Templar sees Jason Hawkins & Dara Davey departing from their horror film roots to dive into a crime story filled with lies, deception and betrayals. Violent, bloody, and unrepentant, the film follows hitman Jake 'The Kid' Ripone as he returns to the criminal empire that raised him, seeking answers to the hit that was ordered on his family. Faced with the reality that his own brother has staged a bloody coupe within the family, Jake finds himself on the run and fighting for his life against those he trusted most. Wounded, alone, and targeted for death, Jake is befriended by an old homeless man who holds the key to his future. But first Jake must make a choice; he can only have one: Revenge... or redemption?

The 9th Templar moved into pre-production in early October, and will be shooting in and around the Portland, OR., area in January 2014. This is the 5th feature film project for the NW based team. Their previous films include (under the Gravestone Entertainment label) the award winning anti-bullying drama 'The Innocent', the critically acclaimed horror film '15: inside the mind of a serial killer', the supernatural thriller 'The Devil Knows His Own', and the (Edenfall Entertainment produced) sci-fi thriller 'Finding Oblivion'.

I will be posting any new information about the film as I get it so stay tuned people, based on Jason and Dara's previous work,you will not want to miss this one!

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Play Dead Grandpa (2013)

(Online Screener)

Directed by Stefan Fernandez

Written by Stefan Fernandez

Stars: Martin Pfefferkorn and Jeannie Kempa

This nifty little short film from Stefan Fernandez shows that too many sick practical jokes can really sour a marriage.

Featuring Martin Pfefferkorn as Albert, a man who enjoys nothing more than setting up constant stunts to make his loving wife Martha (Jeannie Kempa) believe he is dead, this short soon takes a macabre turn. Like some of the best Tales From Crypt episodes, this film has a neat and satisfyingly dark ending as things go terribly wrong for Albert and funnily enough there is no help in sight. Think the boy who cried wolf with a geriatric twist. 

I think Stefan has done a grand job with Play Dead Grandpa (shameless pun, sorry!) and displays a wonderfully mean but playful sense of humor. I loved the montage of scenes depicting the ways in which Albert has terrorised his wife in the past and I think he has managed to pack a great story into the 8 minute running time. 

The short is professionally shot and has some nice, almost surreal, shots particularly those showing the couple laughing together. This and the fact the film was entertaining with an awesome sting in the tale makes me look forward very much to more work from Stefan. Find out more about Play Dead Grandpa over at its official Facebook page and see it as soon as you can!

Sunday 13 October 2013

Snow Owl Slaughter (2013)

(Online Screener)

Directed by Thomy Kessler

Written by Thomy Kessler

Stars: Martin Kloss, Sandra Quadflieg, Michelle Yao-Hua, Swaantje Becker, Bastian Thumulka, Claudia Reimer, Marie Luise Lux.

Snow Owl Slaughter is most certainly the biggest surprise I have had so far this year in independent horror film. The title may make you think it's a standard slasher movie or even worse; owls getting dispatched left right and centre (!) but let me tell you; this film is a heady, creepy, bizarrely funny trip and I loved every second of it. With shades of The Evil Dead and Twin Peaks but very much with its own original identity, Snow Owl Slaughter will hopefully impress horror fans looking for something scary and fresh. 

The plot concerns Andrew and Nina, a couple who have an uncomfortable experience in a Chinese restaurant after being disrepresctful to their waitress. Turns out it's not a good idea to take more than one fortune cookie and Andrew isn't keen to abide by the rules. After this altercation the pair are offered one more fortune cookie from another bowl on their way out and again Andrew proves himself to be an arsehole by taking a handful while Nina takes one with a careless laugh. It is this event that propels the madness and claustrophobia which is to follow. 

Andrew is off to an old house in the middle of snowy nowhere with a group of Nina's friends with the intention that Nina will join then shortly after. However viewers are shown that something bad may have happened to Nina on her initial trip to the house to drop food off for the gang. A scene where Nina calls Andrew and says nothing is the first sign of how unsettling things are going to get and in all honesty at this point I felt slightly unnerved. 

The rest of the gang arrive at the snowbound home wondering where their food is, with Andrew acting worried about Nina's well being having not heard from her again. Soon, to pass the time, they each open one of the fortune cookies Andrew had taken on the way out of the Chinese restaurant previously. Creepy messages signalling their deaths make the group uncomfortable and it's from this point things start to get bloody as paranoia kicks in and Andrew starts to really question whether his actions has caused a macabre curse upon them all. 

First and foremost I have to say hats off to director/writer Thomy Kessler for the sheer atmosphere he manages to create with shots of the snow covered house from the outside. There's just something here that works so well in its favour and truly made me, as a viewer, feel nervous for those inside the house. Also props inside the house such as the scary clown in the corner of the kitchen add so much to the films sense of creeping dread. In fact I was happy the clown was subsequently used later in one of the films bloodier moments - albeit not in a silly way but in an ominous and eerie sense. In addition all the gore was well done and practical and in places hand-over-the-mouth-horrific. I won't say anything further on that other than electric whisk...

The film also has a running time - just over an hour - that works brilliantly in its favour. It's long enough to pull you straight into its web but not too long to involve any kind of filler scenes. 

Add to this some really good performances with Martin Kloss really shining as Andrew. He plays the jerk character really well and also demonstrates some great comedic timing with both his facial expressions and his delivery of lines. I also liked Michelle Yao-Hua as the the waitress with a taste for vengeance and Swaantje Becker as the sweet but slightly hapless Margit. 

As I said previously, a huge and welcomed suprise for me for 2013 and wonderfully close to halloween to boot. I hope Snow Owl Slaughter finds its audience because this reviewer found it to be scary and gruesome but more importantly clever, offbeat and original. Given what I have seen here and what I have read about Thomy's previous film The Preening Swan you can call me a huge fan of his craft. Check out the films official Facebook for more information and I hope you guys get to check this out soon! 


Friday 11 October 2013

Jack Attack (2013) (Short)

(Online Screener)

Directed by Bryan Norton & Antonio Padovan

Written by Antonio Padovan & Bryan Norton

Stars: Helen Rogers, Tyler Rossell, Steve Anderson Jr. 

Big thanks you to Antonio Padovan for providing me with an online screener link to Halloween horror short Jack Attack. 

Two things are immediately striking about this 8 minute film and first and foremost it is how well shot it is. Forgetting the length of the film this is shot like a professional feature and just looks incredible. Secondly the films aesthetics in relation to autumn and Halloween are spot on. Streets are littered with fallen leaves and pumpkins, characters are wrapped up warm and houses are adorned with scary apparel. There is an impressive attention to detail here that shouldn't be ignored; I thought it was most impressive.

Jack Attack features young Jack (Tyler Rossell) and his babysitter Elizabeth (Helen Rogers) settling down on Halloween Night awaiting the arrival of Elizabeth’s boyfriend (Steve Anderson Jr).  Elizabeth is showing Jack how to carve a pumpkin not realising how much horror this is about to cause them. To say much more than that would honestly be unfair – just know that once the characters eat a few of the pumpkins seeds, things get freaky, bloody and stomach turning!!  The ending is creepy and made me want to see what further horrors might come from the events of the film had it been a feature length.

The cast were great, both leads played their parts excellently and I wasn't at all surprised to learn that Helen Rogers already has several films under her belt,  including the role of ‘Emily’ in V/H/S.

A really really well made short, with so much promise for both Antonio Padovan and  Bryan Norton and I am hoping that they have more up their sleeves!

Tuesday 8 October 2013

The Short Films of Jeremiah Kipp

I wanted to give a huge shout out to film maker Jeremiah Kipp who has waited far too long and far too patiently for me to do a piece covering his short films. I really enjoyed the shorts and how varied they are in tone and delivery. I will review each one in turn so read on......


Directed by Jeremiah Kipp

Written by Russ Penning

Stars: Deneen Melody


Crestfallen is a 6 minute haunting short with a beautiful and harrowing performance by indie horror starlet Deneen Melody.  It’s actually a wonderfully original reflection of suicide and desperation as we watch events from Deneen’s characters life after she cuts her wrists open and begins to edge toward death.
Since the film does not feature any dialogue there needs to be other elements to make it interesting in order for it to both stand out and retain viewer interest. In Crestfallen it’s all about the atmosphere helped along nicely by a haunting score (courtesy of the one and only Harry Manfredini!).
This is one of those films where you watch the plight of another human being and despite knowing its fictional, you want to jump on in there and rescue them, and that is one mean feat to achieve from a 6 minute film so that’s high praise to Jeremiah Kipp!

I recommend this short as its both haunting and original and boasts a bit of a tear jerking performance from Deneen Melody. It’s also signal of great things to come from its director Jeremiah Kipp.


Directed by Jeremiah Kipp

Stars: Laura Lona, Brian Uhrich

Now here is a journey into the outright surreal. Drool, a highly experimental short basically depicts two people rolling around together in what looks like slime! Its an odd and unsettling experience to watch if I am honest and made me a feel a bit uneasy, perhaps it is slightly too experimental for me? That said the direction is strange and stylish and the fact that it is shot in black and white really works for it.

There's something bizarre, voyeuristic and creepy about this short that you will have to watch yourself to see what I mean. Some definite points for giving David Lynch a bit of a shove out of the way.


Directed by Jeremiah Kipp

Stars:  Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Robb Leigh Davis, Alan Rowe Kelly, Katherine O' Sullivan.

contact - zoe-2.jpg

Here is a short that if there is any justice, should make you scream no to drugs! Stylishly shot in black and white, Contact tells the tale of a young woman (Zoe Daelman Chlanda) and her other half who end up on a very very bad trip after taking some drugs they have just bought from a shady dealer.

Contact takes you on a horrific journey as we follow the after effects of this consummation of what was supposed to be a bit of fun. Be prepared for surreal imagery, nudity and grue as things go from bad to much worse.  To say much more would be a disservice so I will just say catch this short film NOW and expect something truly shocking and jaw dropping.

The film also boasts the most fantastic of indie horror casts, you have Alan Rowe Kelly (I’ll Bury you Tomorrow, The Blood Shed, Tales of Poe and Gallery of Fear), Zoe Daelman Chlanda (I’ll Bury you Tomorrow, By Her Hand She Draws You Down, Gallery of Fear, Psycho Street, The Blood Shed) Katherine O’Sullivan (The Blood Shed, I’ll Bury you Tomorrow, Gallery of Fear) Ruby LaRocca (Porkchop, Bleeding Through, Witch’s Brew, Zombie Babies, Presidents Day)  and Bart Mastronardi (Director of Vindication and Producer of Gallery of Fear and Tales of Poe) – quite the amazing bunch of loyal horror talent!

Here’s hoping we get a feature from Mr Kipp soon in the future as he certainly has the ability, the passion and the directorial style to give fans something exciting and new!

Find out more about Jeremiah and his work right HERE!