Tuesday 7 November 2017

Mask of Thorn (2018)

Image result for mask of thorn MJ DixonOnline Screener

Directed by MJ Dixon 

Written by MJ Dixon

Stars: Eve Kathryn Oliver, Sophie Bryant, Maria Lee Metheringham, Atticus Machiavellian, George Horn, Lydia Cashman, Michael Batty, Clarke Tribe , Martin W. Payne, Tracey Chatterley, William Marshall

British horror icon Thorn gets another outing in the newest film from MYCHO entertainment. Yep its prequel time for the dreaded super villain and MJ Dixon takes us back to the glorious 80s in both setting and tone.

Going back to Thorns reign of terror pre Slasher House, and the action-horror big event that was Legacy of Thorn. seems like the next logical step. As per the official synopsis:

Bethany Lovell has struggled to fit in her whole life. Between over bearing parents and her odd behaviour she has always felt like she was on the outside. That is until Avondale's popular click kidnap her for a surprise birthday party to celebrate her sweet sixteen.
What they don't realise is that Bethany is now the target of the urban legend known as 'Thorn' and tonight he has returned for her and nothing will stand in his way, as the Bloodletting Behemoth cuts his way through the small town in search of his latest victim and only one person can stop him.

Opening with a gruesome hospital set prologue the film sets the tone with an eerie soundtrack and MJs trademark use of lighting to great effect. Then we move from the 70s to the 80s where young Bethany Lovell (Eve Kathryn Oliver) is living a fairly unhappy life with her anxious mother (Tracey Chatterley) and overbearing and strict father (Martin W. Payne). Bethany is subject to firm rules and her father hating her best friend Olivia (Sophie Bryant) really doesn't help her social life.

Bethany's problems get so much worse when a group of kids led by Olivia, take her from her home in order to throw her a surprise birthday party. However its more of a shock than a surprise when Thorn shows up. Once Thorn emerges from the shadows dispatching a nearby workman, the film kicks into full on slasher mode as we know Thorn is making a beeline for the teenagers party and intends to kill them one by one....

The film does a clever job of delivering a slasher movie but with other elements such as conspiracy and ritual murder which I really appreciated. There were some standout performers my personal favorites being Lydia Cashman as the acid tongued bitch from hell Janet and also Tracey Chatterley as Joyce Lovell, Bethany's strange mother.

I am really loving when MJ Dixon and MYCHO are bringing to the UK horror scene - MJ always has his own unique vision to go along with his horror influences and should be applauded for that. I would urge people to check out and purchase the MYCHO films released to date - you have insane killers, a creepy clown, an evil spirit - what more could you want!? Please check out the official MYCHO website HERE: http://mycho.weebly.com/

As far as I am concerned Thorn is welcome back into my film collection anytime, he's brutal and mysterious and scarily relentless.  Great job to all, thoroughly entertained. 

Thursday 28 September 2017

The Blair Witch Legacy (2017)

(Online screener)

Written and directed by Jason Hawkins

Stars: Samantha Marie Cook, Cody Epling and Jason Reynolds 

Described as a feature length fan film set in the Blair Witch Universe, The Blair Witch Legacy really celebrates just what a phenomenon The Blair Witch Project was back in 1999, both in its marketing strategy and eventual release. Its a complete love letter to those days, weeks, months everyone was talking about that 'film with the shaky cam' and speculating whether it was it real etc. 

I'm very much a fan of The Blair Witch Project. I saw it at age 15 and remember deciding immediately with my friend that it was disappointing and not scary....until I walked home in the dark and then sat alone in my house for the next few hours. That's when it really hit me how scary the film actually was and I suddenly felt a bit afraid to be alone. I think a film that messes with you like that can only be described as a triumph for a horror story. I also really enjoyed the sequel and while I can appreciate why it annoyed some people who possibly wanted some kind of resolution to the events of the previous film or maybe have some more focus on the legendary witch, I still felt it had a great creepy atmosphere and an unsettling climax. While I did not completely love 2016's Blair Witch  there were some great moments in it, a couple of decent shocks and the climax was both eerie and horribly claustrophobic.

It was really exciting to hear that Jason Hawkins had made a feature length fan film related to the world of the Blair Witch. Jason's previous films which I have seen and reviewed so far have been great. 15: Inside the Mind of a Serial killer  a dark and disturbing descent into madness and The Devil Knows His Own, a twisted and scary ghost story.

I am pleased to feed back that The Blair Witch Legacy delivers a solid film which as mentioned plays out as a brilliant homage to where it all began back in 1999 and then puts a new spin on it.

Cody Epling and Jason Reynolds as 'Cody and Jason'

Samantha, Cody and Jason are off to Burkitsville, Maryland to shoot a documentary about the making of the original film. Samantha is a driven young women who intends to make something that will propel her career - and in one of many clever homages to the BWP, she notes how she wants to make a serious/non-cheesy film (just as Heather Donahue did nearly 20 years ago).  As the trio navigate the town attempting to secure interviews with the locals it is clear that the woods might not be the only thing to worry about here.  A weird mystery is unfolding concerning the children of Burkitsvsille and these eager filmmakers have found themselves right in the middle of it, as well as incurring the wrath of a several of the townsfolk.  Maybe even more so than Heather, Samantha is intensly determined to make her movie and shows some disturbing traits in this respect. The action does eventually move to the woods for a manhunt after a child the filmmakers spoke to earlier has vanished. Things then get very nightmarish for the group and to say much more specifically on the plot would be far too spoiler heavy. What I will say is that there are a few genuine scares in the climax and things also end in a totally unexpected way with some reveals which chilled my spine.  The movie leaves you with questions just as the BWP did but they are questions which really make you think. There is also scope for expansion on this story and the world of the Blair Witch in general which I really hope happens.

Samantha Marie Cook as 'Samantha' 

The main actors all did great jobs, Samantha Marie Cook really impressed me with the range that she showed across the film and both Cody Epling and Jason Reynolds really got their teeth stuck into their roles when events turn scary. I could really feel their frustration and panic. I also really enjoyed the scene where the group chat to a group of modern day wiccans. I am told it was improvised and it just plays out really well. The lady playing the 'first' witch  Diannah (Hannah Marie) is really excellent - she has some incredible facial expressions and her dry delivery of her lines supplements this really well.  She also looks cool AF. 

Hannah Marie as 'Diannah' 

Treating the BWP as the fictional film that it was but investigating the very scary possibility that this was 'all a lie' and that the footage/disappearances were real makes for a great way to create new story. I am really pleased Jason went out and made this unofficial entry into what has always been a very creepy little world.  I am both happy Jason trusted me to check the film out and that I enjoyed it as much as I did. I hope the guys behind the original film enjoy it too!

Please check the Official Facebook where you can find out about upcoming screenings of which some may occur here in the UK!

Saturday 16 September 2017

The Garlock Incident (2012)

Written and Directed by: Evan J. Cholfin

Starring Ana Lily Amirpour, Sean Muramatsu, Adam Chambers, Casey Ruggieri, Christina Joy Howard, Larissa Wise, Sean Durrie, Alycen Malone 

Released on VOD 15 September 2017 (Amazon, Googleplay, Itunes) 

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Kicked off several years ago with an interactive campaign, The Garlock Incident is a found footage movie made back in 2012 and one I have been keen to catch for a while. The campaign itself served as an introduction to the film and allowed eager viewers to become embroiled in the mystery that the movie starts to unlock as it moves along.

Telling the story of eight young people travelling to Las Vegas to shoot a movie and stopping off at an old ghost town on route, this film plays on genuine fears and exposes what some people may be capable of in the most extreme of situations. 

I wont give away any of the shocks and surprises that occur as the group begin to fall apart after they find themselves stranded in the ghost town of Garlock, however I will say that there was a lot that I did not see coming. I have a watched a lot of found footage movies, some great and some very disappointing - sometimes its what you don't see which is scary and sometimes you just want to see a bit more. The Garlock Incident strikes a decent balance in this area. Not all questions are answered but you see and hear enough to really make you question your trust in others. 

As the movie progresses, the usual panic sets in and arguments ensue as the group try to ascertain the best course of action but of course this only ends up igniting an already tense situation. Alliances are both formed and broken as things get more desperate and this is all depicted very well on screen. 

The actors all do a fine job and there was much to be impressed with here. Leads Ana Lily Amirpour and Sean Muramatsu are especially good as Lily and Sean. Lily is the director of the planned movie and Sean an actor and both shine in roles which required some emotionally challenging scenes. Towards the end both actors do a terrific job of keeping the tension mounting and from watching this film I really hope to see more of their work. One role which was really gripping and one which I discussed with the lovely director/writer Evan was Adam Chambers as fellow fictional actor 'Adam'. Adam really shines in this film and displays such a range of emotions which was fascinating to watch. Adam is really impacted by the events of the film and the situation the group has found themselves in and this presents the opportunity for the actor to really let fly. I sympathised with Adam, felt horrified at him at other points and truly felt his fear at other times. I really do hope to see Adam Chambers in more roles because he did an incredible job here. 

The setting worked very well. As someone who has visited a ghost town on route to Las Vegas I can safely say that if I found myself stranded in one I would be..concerned...to say the very least. It can be really eerie out there in the desert and therefore this worked really well for the film. 

The Garlock Incident is by no means perfect but what is? Its probably not going to appeal to those that are not keen on found footage style films, particularly if the build up to the end usually frustrates you. However what I would say is that this films offers something different, has great acting and as previously mentioned really makes you think about those around you and how they may react to a frightening situation. There is also another shock in store which will really make you think back through the entire film. I loved and appreciated this the most.

You can rent or buy the movie right NOW on various VOD outlets such as Amazon, Googleplay and ITunes. I highly recommend this film and really look forward to more from Evan and Ana Lily! Also check out the official social media for the film below where you can view the trailer and find out more about the initial interactive campaign. A pleasure to watch and review. 


Friday 4 August 2017

Malady (2015)


Online screener 

Written and directed by: Jack James

Stars: Roxy Bugler, Kemal Yildirim, Jill Connick 

Official Trailer

I was really pleased to hear from Jack James regarding his evocative psychological thriller Malady with the chance to check it out/review. 

Roxy Bugler stars as Holly in an uncompromisingly morose and brittle role - Holly is broken by the death of her mother and deeply lonely. Its this vulnerable state of being that leads her to the enigmatic Matthew (Kemal Yildirim) a fellow solitary soul  which leads the two to enter into a passionate and unsettling relationship. When Matthews mother Lorelei (a terrifying Jill Connick) falls seriously ill he and Holly travel to her home to care for her during what will be her final days.  Its safe to add that Lorelei is by no means a nice person, in actual fact shes spiteful and cold and has somewhat of a twisted hold on Matthew.

The plot unfolds slowly and eerily and to Jacks absolute credit, Malady is by no means an 'easy' film. There aren't any jump scenes, fake-out scares or the like but it is nonetheless a captivating journey into a true family nightmare. The film is also lacking in dialogue, not that this need be a bad thing. As a film that  does not offer everything on a plate,viewers need to work with it in order to go along for the ride.

As mentioned Roxy Bugler nails the role of Holly but both other actors Kemal Yildirim and Jill Connick are also outstanding. The character of Lorelei is impossible to love but easily the most fascinating of all. Jill Connick really gives a direct, glaring performance of a character who could have easily been of the mustache twiddling variety in different hands.  Kemal Yildirim plays probably the most complicated of characters with the audience never quite sure what to make of him and does an excellent job of maintaining the mystery which surrounds Matthew.

Its a wonderfully made film using  beguiling colours and distorted shots to creepy effect. Malady shows amazing promise for Jack James' future in film, I hope he stays aligned with the thriller/horror genre as I would expect he has many more tricks up his crafty sleeve. 

Malady  was released on VOD  on the 11th July and is available in both the US, UK and more.  The film can be purchased/rented via the usual outlets such as Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, VUDU so whats stopping you? 

Thursday 22 June 2017

3 (2017)

Online screener review 

Written and directed by Lou Simon

Stars: Todd Bruno, Aniela McGuinness, Mike Stanley and Katie Carpenter.

Thanks to Lou Simon for reaching out to ask me to review another film in her growing catalogue of horror and thriller films. I have enjoyed them immensely so far particularly Hazmat and Agoraphobia. This time Lou has gone the psychological thriller route with a small cast, claustrophobic setting and a lot of tension. 3 is impressive in many ways but particularly in how Lou manages to tell a successfully dark and twisting tale with very little.

The core cast comprises of Todd Bruno and Aniela McGuinness as 'He' and 'She' a couple who take Mike Stanley (as 'It') hostage in order to make him confess to a rape he is believed to have committed. Said confession -by the way - will be extracted via any means necessary.

There isn't a chance in hell I am going to say any more on the plot and the details of the suspected offence other to say as things go along it really will surprise you and make you think back over the entire movie. I certainly did. This is always a great thing. There are some similarities to another movie which you may pick up on and which I wont mention but in actuality 3 is very very different. The final scene is also a knockout - nicely done.

The couple as mentioned are not afraid to do whatever it takes to get a confession and He leads the show in this sense. There are a few scenes where he really goes for the jugular, providing some shocking and wince inducing moments.

The cast are really great. Aniela plays She with a creepy, cool calm as well as sad vulnerability while Todd Bruno veers from softly spoken and caring to raging and murderous with skillful ease. Mike Stanley is extremely impressive and plays the 'did he or did he not do it' role to the hilt. I was unsure for a while whether I felt scared and sorry for the guy or was disgusted by him and his possible ability to keep lying through his teeth...testament to a great actor.

A taut and twisty thriller with a shocking conclusion not to mention an excellent example of what can be achieved with a well written script and a small and able cast . In addition the film explores some themes, although horrible and dark,that are  not addressed enough on TV or film. Check 3 out as soon as you can.

Be sure to check out https://www.whitelotusmovies.com/ for more on Lou's work.

Hillbilly Horror Show (2014)

Directed By Sharif Salama

Written by Blu De Golyer

With Bo Keister, Scott Geiter, Rachel Faulkner as your Hillbilly Horror Show Hosts! 

I was so pleased to hear that Scott Geiter (well known in the horror community as The Voice of Horror 'Gruesome Hertzogg' a passionate and dedicated reviewer and actor) would be hosting a new online horror series and here is the first fruits of this labor: Episode 1 of The Hillbilly Horror Show....

Along with Friends Bo (Bo Keister),  Lulu ( Rachel Faulkner) Scott plays Cephus, rounding out our hosts for an hour of horror shorts from a mixture of established and newcomers to horror film making.

This first episode features the following shorts and I will give a little summary of for each:

Franky and the Ant

Directed by Billy Hayes
Written by Billy Hayes

Franky and the Ant features two friends (perhaps in a loose sense of the word) kidnapping a young woman from her home, taking her out to a freshly dug grave...so likely not to end well. Being ten minutes long you know this film is going to get to the point pretty quickly, which it does and we soon learn that things are not all they seem. I loved the films about turn and was nervous about how it might end based on the rather horrifying predicament of one of the three characters. Safe to say the film ended in the way I was praying it wouldn't, leaving a bad taste in the mouth and jaw slightly agape. Props to Billy Hayes for creating a dark and bleak psychological horror film in just ten minutes which I enjoyed but also felt a bit queasy watching!!


Directed by Drew Daywalt
Written by Drew Daywalt

I can't say too much about this film except that it's refreshingly different to any other horror short I have seen recently. Featuring some amazing stop motion effects, we are witness to the meeting of two skeletons wandering around a desolate and eerie landscape. Even those looking for something far more straightforward in their horror should be transfixed by this film as I was. Recommended for something new and very interesting. 

Directed by Cuyle Carvin
Written by Cuyle Carvin 

Amused, I am not ashamed to admit, gave me the massive creeps. There is something so terrifying about the thought of being chased around an isolate area by a complete lunatic and that is the awful fate that befalls our main character in this short. The travelling woman finds herself witness to a savage killing, the perpetrator of which is a giggling wide eyed maniac who quickly gives chase. It's down to the woman to find her killer instinct in order to fight back and survive. A great short horror film which easily tapped into one of my true fears and even though I did see the ending coming, it still worked extremely well. 

The Nest
Directed by Tim Zwica
Written by Tim Zwica

The longest of the four shortsThe Nest  is a brilliant and inventive film with some cool effects and a claustrophobic atmosphere. Although you may roll your eyes at the fact that the core element of this story is giant bees, I can gaurentee you haven't seen them used in this way before. In fact the true villian of this film is probably the creepy lady who runs the diner featured in the film, using a macabre method of keeping her honey a coming.  There is a scene with two young girls who upset the diner owner which had me cringing in horror. Their fates are NOT nice let me tell you.  That said there is a perfectly executed scene of justice towards the end which should have audiences cheering out loud so it's not all doom and gloom. A VERY highly recommended film to horror lovers out there. As well as a great story, the special effects are also very credible and makes me wonder what Tim Zwica would be capable of with a big budget...amazing things I predict. 

The Hillbilly Horror Show is a lot of fun, bottom line. Its clear that this is what these guys wanted it to be and that really shines through.The hosts are great fun, Scott along with horror actor Bo Kesiter and model/actress Rachel Faulkner all bounce off each other hillariously as they go about their business and watch the shorts. I hope they can keep this momentum up for the next episodes as I think it will be a must see for horror fans.

Head on over to the website and see what its all about AND you can rent the first episode for next to nothing....so GO DO IT.

Peelers (2016)

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Friday 24 March 2017

Stripped to the Bone: Here Comes PEELERS!

Image result for peelers the movie amazon

I am beyond happy to share exciting distribution news of upcoming horror film Peelers written & produced by Lisa DeVita and directed & co written by Sevé Schelenz, the man behind the ultra creepy Skew. Being a huge fan of the latter(shameless review plug HERE)  I have been eagerly anticipating Peelers for some time and going by the trailer and promo materials, this film is going to be fun - of the bloodied and broken boned type! Read on for all the deets and get ready for some gory stripper action!!


Contact: Sevé Schelenz     Tel: 604.889.4805         sleepapneaprods@hotmail.com
March 17, 2017 – Independent Horror Feature Film PEELERS to have CANADIAN THEATRICAL SNEAK PEEK on March 20, 2017 & U.S. VOD on March 28, 2017.
The makers of the Independent Cult Horror feature film SKEW (2011) bring you their balls-to-the-wall action/horror follow-up flick PEELERS.
PEELERS - What starts out as the last hurrah on the closing night of an infamous small-town strip club, quickly turns into a night of bloodshed when a crew of coal miners shows up and with them, a deadly contaminant.  Former baseball player and current club owner, Blue Jean Douglas has decided to hand over her bar to a new owner and leave town for good. But Blue Jean’s plans are thwarted when she discovers the magnitude of the epidemic that has been unleashed. With victims piling up, Blue Jean must step up to the plate to protect her family, her friends, and her bar before it's too late and she loses everything she holds dear.
PEELERS destroys the cliché stripper horror sub-genre by giving us a story packed with exciting twists, baseball, strippers of unusual talents and a strong female lead.  PEELERS has quickly become 2016’s horror festival darling, premiering in 65 festivals worldwide while carving up 54 nominations and 31 wins.  What’s being described as “Rodriguez meets Tarantino” and “… a pretty damn fun trip” (Dread Central) that “any horror fan is going to love from start to finish” (HEAVY Magazine) has Director / Producer Sevé Schelenz hoping to give genre fans the indie horror cult hit of 2017.
PEELERS CANADIAN SNEAK PEEK – March 20, 2017 (from TWMedia Events)
PEELERS U.S. VOD – March 28, 2017 (from Uncork’d Entertainment)
Not bloody enough for you?  Here’s more:

Sunday 22 January 2017

Out of my Mind (2016)


 (Online Screener)

Written by John Cosper, Neil Kellen, Cindy Maples

Directed by Cindy Maples

Stars: Rusty James and Mina Fedora

Huge thanks to the extremely talented and always lovely Cindy Maples for reaching out to me to review her horror short Out of my Mind. Its really exciting for me to see Cindy branching out into directing after following her acting career for some time.  Showing a keen eye for  interesting colours and offbeat camera angles, Out of my Mind looks professional, quirky and more importantly an all too promising sign of things to come for Ms Maples.

The story is eerie, interesting and expertly carried by Maples real life husband Rusty James who has done some excellent work in the indie field also. In its short running time we follow James as an author named Carter who spots an attractive young woman (Mina Fedora) in a blue dress at a writers celebration.  Carters disappointment is all too evident when the woman's date suddenly appears signalling that his chances are definitely out of the window.

From here on out we witness Carters creative juices mixing with the hard liquor as he starts to write back at home, picturing his eerie story as he does so and yes it involves the beautiful lady in blue. Things begin to get very strange for Carter after he calls it a night and the film effectively toys with our expectations as to what is really unfolding.  The film ends with the morning after the night before being more horrific than Carter could ever have imagined as shocking news comes a knocking.

In addition to Rusty I must also add that Mina Fedora does a superb job in her very mysterious role. The character veers from unassuming to seductive to horribly crazed and vengeful and Mina really pulls it off in impressive fashion.

In short Out of my Mind is an intriguing, well made, well acted journey into psychological terror.  I cannot wait to see what Cindy does next, I truly hope that a feature film is in the works. Check out the films creepy trailer right HERE and make sure to see it when you get the chance!