Showing posts with label film4 frightfest 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film4 frightfest 2012. Show all posts

21 November 2012

She's Coming! American Mary Gets UK Release

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The Soska Sisters (aka The Twisted Twins), co-creators of the award winning, cult indie smash hit Dead Hooker In A Trunk make an awe-inspiring return with their second feature AMERICAN MARY, a stylish, sexy, disturbing and darkly comic “body-mod” horror-thriller that many critics are hailing as the best and most genuinely original horror movie of the year.

Co-written and co-directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker In A Trunk) and featuring an outstanding, career-best lead performance by Katharine Isabelle (Being Human; Freddie vs. Jason; Ginger Snaps) in the title role, AMERICAN MARY has been wowing audiences at international film festivals (including London’s Film4 Frightfest) throughout 2012 and has been receiving 4/5 star reviews from critics, websites worldwide making American Mary a film Horror Fans should be checking out.

A provocative and thought-provoking combination of the horrors of a feminist “Frankenstein” with a fetishist twist and the visceral thrills of the “female revenge” genre, the film boasts a strikingly original script, laced throughout with a wicked sense of humour and a darkly erotic charge, that admirably takes the horror genre in a fresh and new direction. Simultaneously beautiful, repulsive, shocking and endearing, AMERICAN MARY is an unmissable experience that firmly establishes the Soska Sisters as two of the hottest new talents working in cinema today

Struggling to make financial ends meet while studying to be a surgeon, talented medical student Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) finds herself reduced to applying for work at a local strip joint in order to pay off her mounting debts. During her interview, she is unexpectedly called upon to perform some illegal emergency surgery on one of the club’s clients and is instantly rewarded with a significant cash payment.

Word of Mary’s scalpel-work soon reaches one of the club’s dancers, Beatress Johnson (Tristan Risk), who approaches her offering to pay handsomely for some off-the-books, extreme body-modification work on a friend. The ensuing surgery is a huge success and Mary’s skills soon attract the attention of an underground network of high-paying clientele, all looking for someone to administer procedures and body-mod work unavailable through the usual legal channels.

However, the allure of the easy money and the increasingly bizarre work she is commissioned to perform begins to leave a mark on Mary, and when an incident involving the established surgeons she once idolized leaves her traumatised, “Bloody Mary”, as she has come to be known, responds in the only way she knows how.

We will hopefully bring you a review nearer the time and when is that time? American Mary will be released in UK&Ireland on DVD and Blu-Ray 21st January 2013.

Pre-Order/Buy American Mary: DVD / Blu-ray








9 October 2012

The Thompsons DVD Review

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In a cinematic landscape where the vampire sub-genre is populated with constant reworking and, more specifically, buggered half to death by Twilight, The Thompsons, the sequel to 2006’s The Hamiltons, is a rough but charming pick-me-up.

The Thompsons picks up the brutal family’s story as they escape the US, after a bloodbath puts them on the wanted list, to hide out in the UK.  Desperate for some kind of protection in this new country, they set out to find a shadowy group rumored to be sympathetic to vampires.

The scope of The Butcher Brothers’ latest effort is one of the things that marks it out from your average vampire film, dotting from the US to UK and a peek at two family members’ exploits in France helps make the film feel bigger than it actually is. It’s a road movie after a squalid one-set affair, just like Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, the epic follow-up to House of a Thousand Corpses.   The narrative style of jumping back to fill in the blanks and show us how Francis Hamilton (Cory Knauf) ends up captured is, at first, intriguing but eventually lends a disorganized flow to the plot. If you really consider it, aspects of the film (excluding the existence of vampires obviously) strain believability; parts of the plot seem to rely on not looking too deep into the characters. For careful viewers this film may anger, for die-hard vamp fans, who can abandon critical viewing, this is a nice slice of brutal fun, since the one thing the film isn’t is boring.

At a run-time of one hour seventeen minutes there’s little time to doddle around so the pace reconciles by keeping the characters on the go. The action is quirky and the gore can be gruesome, but the dialogue is the major weakness of the piece: lacing an otherwise enjoyable affair with so much cliché and cheese you‘d think it’s funny.  But that encapsulates the film, some good scenes mirrored by woeful one’s: Francis’ arrival at the pub is pretty tense, then there’s a bizarre barn dance where nobody seems to know why they are there.

An earlier sequence showing two of the British vampires hunting alludes to a more sinister and unnerving aspect that, in its haste, the film neglects.  Which is a shame when you’re watching a horrormovie. Even when the film gathers a bit of momentum and throws itself at a climax well-setup, the end fight throws a wobbly, looking jittery and anti-climactic. Fluid camera work and careful editing keep previous scraps visceral so the end seems a lazy mistake. After a bloody finale, the film very quickly swaps rails and goes back to being poignant and open, leaving the story not-quite-finished.

Parts of the film are unrealized  others have the right idea, but a generally woeful dialogue drags down an otherwise well-conceived film. The Thompsons is a faulted but brutally enjoyable vampire flick that has its eyes set somewhere beyond your run-of-the-mill sex and death extravaganza.

Scott Clark 

★★★☆☆

Rating:18
UK DVD/BD Release Date: 15th October 2012
Directed by: Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores
Cast:Mackenzie Firgens, Cory Knauf, Ryan Hartwig, Samuel Child, Daniel O'Meara, Selina Giles
 Buy The Thompsons On DVD

28 August 2012

Frightfest 2012: Tulpa 3D Review

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Tul-pa (from the Tibetan): meaning a magically produced illusion or creation. The concept of a being or object which is created through sheer discipline alone. It is a materialized thought that has taken physical form.

Italian rock star turned director Federico Zampaglione made a splash in 2009 when his first film Shadow played to a packed audience at London’s Frightfest. Returning some three years later and after teasing the film at Frightfest Glasgow earlier this year, Zampaglione unleashed Tulpa on an eager and willing audience. Word of mouth had built the film up to be one of the must-see films of Saturday, and I for one wasn’t disappointed.

The film tells the story of businesswoman Lisa Boeri: she has a good job, she’s well respected and at the top of her career but she keeps a secret. By night she goes to a seedy club named Tulpa, owned by a guru who teaches her his bizarre esoteric philosophy on finding spiritual and psychological freedom by having anonymous sex with complete strangers.However Lisa finds out her sex club partners are all being murdered in horrible ways one-by-one by a black-gloved killer who seems out to destroy her life. But Lisa can’t talk to the police for fear of revealing her secret and ruining her career, so she has to unmask the anonymous assassin herself…

Taking the tropes of 70s giallo and updating them for a modern audience, Tulpa is an odd, yet fun, mix of the familiar and the new. Adding copious amounts of sex (much more than many of the giallo of the Italian cinema heyday) and not holding back on the violence, Zampaglione throws in a little supernatural edge in the form of Tibetan mysticism to create a neo-giallo that would make even Dario Argento jealous.

Packed with some of the countries biggest stars, including Claudia Gerini in the lead role, Tulpa marks the return of the giallo to the forefront of the Italy’s cinematic output. And from the gloved maniac’s first kill to the final reveal Tulpa is both a nostalgic look back at a now much-maligned genre and a bold statement on its future. All writ large on the screen by a director who has an obvious love for the genre and the talent to see it through.

This was a review by Phil at Blogomatic3000
Rating: 18
UK Release date: 26th August 2012 (Frightfest)
Directed by: Federico Zampaglione
Cast:: Nuot Arquint, Laurence Belgrave, Michela Cescon, Michele Placido

Frightfest 2012: V/H/S Review

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★★★★1/2


Found footage horror, V/H/S has completely revitalised a played-out, repetitive style of filmmaking with six chilling anthology tales. Ti West (House of The Devil), Glenn McQuaid ((I Sell The Dead) and Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way To Die) are just three of the directors to contribute to this chilling anthology.

V/H/S opens with a group of criminals assaulting young women and vandalising property. They are hired by an anonymous client to break into an abandoned house and obtain a mysterious video tape. The group begin to work their way through a series of terrifying tapes, each revealing a different short film.

V/H/S manages to fuse so many horror sub-genres together in an innovative and chilling manner, capturing all that fans love in the genre. However, this is not clear from the shaky onset, where teenagers victimise young women, whilst filmed on a handheld camera - it was a struggle to engage with this. As these young men break into the abandoned house and the horror starts, director, Adam Wingard completely pulls it together. This over-arching story is just as tense and disturbing as any of the segments that it flawlessly seems together.

The first segment from David Bruckner (The Signal) entitled Amateur Night follows three college freshmen with video recording spy glasses, hoping to pick up some easy girls and make a sex tape. However, one of the girls who has been brought back's behaviour is a little troubling. This chilling short film is thoroughly well developed, with some completely unexpected and unsettling gory twists.

This is followed by Ti West's Second Honeymoon, a tale of a loving couple staying at an isolated Texas motel whilst on vacation. However, when a creepy young woman starts banging on the door things take a shocking turn. West's short tackles the idea of home invasion, with the intruder filming the sleeping victims on their own handheld camera, showcasing a disturbing twist on handheld camera norms.

The third short, Glenn McQuaid's Tuesday The 17th follows four teens venturing into the woods, where gruesome murders previously took place. This may read like the traditional Friday The 13th teens in the wood style slasher, but McQuaid's killer is created with a completely innovative twist.

Joe Swanberg's The Strange Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger proves to well-crafted, suspenseful ride. Swanberg's tale follows the Skype conversations of a couple, terrorised by ghosts. As a viewer we are thrust into dark, grainy rooms left to scan for the source of terror.

My personal favourite segment, 10/31/98 by collaborative group called Radio Silence proves to be a spectacularly crafted and completely unsettling piece of filmmaking. It follows four men looking for a Halloween party - they end up at a creaky old house with some macabre practices going on in the attic. Radio Silence allow the house to completely come alive, with walls moving and doors disappearing - it is a true visual feast of terror, fusing elements of The Amityville Horror with Rosemary's Baby.

V/H/S is a sure fire treat for horror fans, bringing a much needed spark of energy to the handheld camera style of filmmaking. Each segment is flawlessly crafted and diverse enough to maintain your interest for the near two hour run time. I would go as far to say that it is the strongest horror film of 2012.

Andrew McArthur

Stars: Calvin Reeder, Joe Swanberg ,Jas Sams  
Directors: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg , Radio Silence Release: 25th August 2012 (Frightfest)

27 August 2012

Frightfest 2012 – Nightmare Factory Review

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In 1989 Greg Nicotero quit medical school and headed for Hollywood to pursue a dream of making monsters. Together with splatter maestros Howard Berger and Robert Kurtzman, Nicotero created the KNB EFX Group. Nightmare Factory is the story of KNB and in particular Greg Nicotero – from humble beginnings, to the rockstar excesses of their fame in the 80s, to today where they known and respected as one of the most prolific make-up effects studios in the world.

From the humourous, yet affectionate, look at Troll 2 with Best Worst Movie, to the decade spanning, in-depth story of the Nightmare on Elm Street series with Never Sleep Again, the horror documentary, a small but growing sub-genre that is steadily becoming one of the most interesting aspects of both the documentary and horror genres. Nightmare Factory is the latest to come along, detailing the story of Greg Nicotero and KNB EFX, from the early days of films such as Intruder and Evil Dead 2 to today, where they provide body after body for AMC’s The Walking Dead – and everything (dodgy mullets included) in between.

Primarily a set of talking head pieces with some of the genres biggest, and most respected names – including George A Romero, Quentin Tarantino, Frank Darabont and Robert Rodriguez – Nightmare Factory is a fascinating look at not only KNB, but also at the ever-changing world of special effects – from early prosthetics and model work, to the CGI-laden FX of today. It also goes into great detail about how KNB’s remit has changed. No longer are they just the go-to guys for gore-strewn horror movies, they now provide make-up effects for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Despite offering an insight into the SFX process and the creation of KNB, you can’t help thinking that Nightmare Factory is little more than a promotional puff-piece, a show-reel for those not aware of KNB rather than a detailed look at one of the most respected effects companies in the world… Still it’s a welcome addition to the genre and is a great watch for fans (myself included) of monster and gore effects.

This was a review by Phil of Blogomatic 3000 

Rating:N/C
UK Release Date: 25th August 2012 (Frightfest)
Directed By: Donna Davies
Cast: Gabriel Bartalos, Howard Berger , Steve Biodrowski, Frank Darabont, John Carpenter

Berberian Sound Studio Review

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★★★1/2

Director, Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga) presents us with the truly unsettling look at the power of sound in his latest feature, the Toby Jones lead, Berberian Sound Studio – which makes its world premiere at this years’ Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Set in the 1970s, Berberian Sound Studio follows British sound technician, Gilderoy, as he works in Italy on a gruesome horror film. Soon Gilderoy’s work on this dark feature slowly begins to bleed into his everyday life.

Berberian Sound Studio is certainly not a horror film, instead more of a psychological thriller reminiscent of Hammer Films “Mini-Hitchcocks”. This completely absorbing and brooding drama manages to be unsettling, rather than scary. Strickland’s direction immediately emphasises a sense of foreboding, with the distinctive use of the sounds created in the studio capturing Gilderoy’s troubling mental state.

The vibrant and unsettling power of the sound is so strong, that we never see any of the imagery linked to this gruesome horror film (apart from its blood red opening titles) it is simply talked about, yet seeing these sounds created still has a sinister impact. Who knew hacking a watermelon or smashing some courgettes on ground could have such a chilling impact.

Berberian Sound Studio is at its best when capturing the changing mental state of Gilderoy – most notably one frantic, dream-like sequence where the technician’s life blurs with the Italian horror film as he believes there is an intruder in his apartment. Jones performance is terrifically understated, managing to capture both his initial coyness to his more extreme infuriation whilst working on the project. For an actor, that is traditionally cast in supporting roles, Jones proves to be equally impressive in a leading role.

Unfortunately, a utterly confusing and unnecessary twist ending spoils the foreboding and impact so carefully established throughout Berberian Sound Studio. This extreme twist is not given the build-up that it deserves only working as a method of shocking the viewer, but lacking any clear explanation or clarity. It marks a disappointing end to an otherwise well-crafted piece of cinema.

For the most part, Berberian Sound Studio is a unsettling, brooding psychological horror, boasting a magnificent turn from Toby Jones. The well-crafted narrative and powerful sound use are unfortunately spoilt by an over-ambitious twist ending.

Andrew McArthur

Stars: Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou , Cosimo Fusco
Director: Peter Strickland
Release: 26th August 2012 (Frightfest) August 31st, 2012 (UK)

Frightfest 2012 – The Arrival Of Wang Review

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Written and directed by the Manetti Bros., The Arrival of Wang follows Chinese-language interpreter Gaia who is called out of the blue by a former client with an offer from a mysterious person or persons who will pay Gaia handsomely is she would she carry out an extremely urgent and confidential translation assignment? Intrigued by the urgency and the money on offer Gaia accepts the job only to find herself whisked away to a secret location in Rome where she meets is ushered into a pitch-black room where she is asked to interpret the harsh interrogation of the eponymous “Mr Wang”. Disturbed by the way the interrogation is going and intrigued to find out more about Mr. Wang, Gaia demands that the lights are switched on, lest she continue with her translations. However when the lights come on Gaia realises why the job has come with so much mystery and subterfuge. And that she may be in way over her head…

The Arrival of Wang is that rare beast in modern genre cinema – a film which works on multiple levels and is more than just the sum of its parts. On the surface the film is a science fiction fantasy about the discovery of alien life on earth. However scratch beneath that surface and you have a superbly made psychological drama that speaks to the war on terror, the use of torture in times of war, the role of government in protecting its citizens and most of all prejudice.

The success of The Arrival of Wang comes down to three key things: a cracking script from Antonio Manetti and Marco Manetti, a fantastic cast – especially legendary Italian actor Ennio Fantastichini as the stern government agent in charge of the interrogation, and superb direction from Antonio Manetti and Marco Manetti, who imbue the film with a real sense of urgency and claustrophobia that only heightens the tension of the interrogation scenes and the film as a whole.

Feeling very much like a modern interpretation of Rod Serling’s classic The Twilight Zone, The Arrival of Wang twists and turns it’s way through the story, never revealing who is right or who is wrong or what the real story is behind the motivations of both the government agents AND the mysterious Mr. Wang. Plus, unlike a lot of Hollywood’s jingoistic sci-fi output, the Manetti Bros. don’t spoon-feed the audience with massive amounts of exposition that tells you how and what you should feel, instead the film asks a lot of questions of the audience – how they feel about the use of torture in times of “war”, the treatment of prisoners etc. It’s powerful stuff.

I had the distinct honour and pleasure of chatting with the Manetti Bros. the day before the screening of The Arrival of Wang at the Glasgow Frightfest back in February and it was great to find that the duo are fellow film geeks who are working towards keeping the Italian genre movie flag flying. And judging by this, their latest genre effort, Italian cinema couldn’t be in more safer and worthy hands. In fact between the brothers Manetti and singer-come-director Federico Zampaglioni, Italian cinema could finally see the resurgence that fans have been clamouring for.

If you like your fantasy and sci-fi to come with a social and political edge then The Arrival of Wang (aka L’Arrivo di Wang) is essential viewing.

This was a Review By Phil At Blogomatic3000

Rating: 18
UK Release Date: 25th August 2012 (Frightfest) 8th October 2012 (UK DVD  Release)
Directed By: Antonio Manetti, Marco Manetti
Cast: Ennio Fantastichini, Francesca Cuttica , Juliet Esey Joseph 

Frightfest 2012: The Inside Review

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Opening with a man pawning a ring for 75 euros and a camcorder, all accompanied by the voiceover of a radio DJ talking about three girls going missing of the streets of Dublin, The Inside soon transforms into yet another found-footage film as the man discovers the camcorder still has a tape in it and plays it back. However what he sees isn’t merely footage of a group of girls on a night out, but footage of the girls descent into madness and the very depths of hell. I absolutely hated (and I really mean hated) The Inside for the first 35 minutes of its running time. Shot in a first person perspective, the film started out with a group of obnoxious girls on a night out. It then descended into a series of jump-cut scenes of three psychos attacking and raping the girls in an abandoned warehouse (a stupid place for the girls to party in the first place). Between the ridiculous shaky-cam footage and the annoying screams of the girls I was ready to call it a day on the film. But then something happened. Mid-rape one of the three psychos is suddenly torn off the girl he is molesting, followed swiftly by the girl disappearing too! From then on the film takes a turn for the bizarre as it turns out the girls and the psychos are (possibly) not alone… To be brutally honest The Inside is not my type of genre film. By now, given the fact I mention it every time I’m lumbered with reviewing one, you all know I hate found-footage films. Nine times out of ten the filmmakers behind them get it wrong – both in terms of what makes a successful found-footage flick, but also what makes a really bad one. More often than not the choices behind making such a film err on the side of bad. The Inside however sits somewhere in the mid-ground. Yes, the film makes a lot of stylistic errors, none more so than too much shaky-cam, too much incessant screaming and not enough plot. But it does – at times – feature some particularly creepy imagery, akin to that of Perry Teo’s Necromentia or John Michael Elfers’ Finale (which also screened at Frightfest back in 2010) and to some extent Guillermo Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth. And whilst it can’t compare to those films, what The Inside does do is offer up some interesting questions about what is worse: man or monster? And where do you draw the line? For that the film has to be commended. It’s just a shame that such a fantastic idea had to be wrapped up in such an annoying movie. If the main crux of the film had been as good as the films central theme, and its creepy final moments, then perhaps writer/director Eoin Macken (who also stars in the movie as the man in the pawn shop who obtains the tape) would have been on to a winner with The Inside. As it is now he gets an “A for effort” and a commendation for trying to bring a more philosophical question to a much-maligned genre. Was a review by Phil From Blogomatic3000 Rating: 18 Release Date: 26th August 2012 (world premier, Frightfest), 2013 (UK DVD) Directed By:Eoin Macken Cast:Karl Argue, Kellie Blaise, Siobhan Cullen, Brian Fortune,

Frightfest 2012:Maniac Review

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After helming remakes of The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha, the gang behind the “trapped in a parking lot with a psycho” film P2 reunite for yet another remake of a 70s horror movie, this time the notorious video nasty starring Joe Spinell and directed by William Lustig - Maniac. Only this time it’s Frodo’s turn to go on a homicidal trip! Yes, everyone’s favourite hobbit Elijah Wood steps into the shoes of Joe Spinell as the deranged Frank, owner of a quasi-abandoned mannequin store and all-round creepy dude who, to the outside world, seems like a typical loner. However Frank has issues, lots of them – migraines, hallucinations, strange OCD-like compulsions – this is a man who is for all intents and purposes completely deranged. Stepping into Franks world is Anna (Arnezeder) a French photographer who wants to use Frank’s restored mannequins as part of her fine arts exhibit… As sleazy as the film that inspired it, this iteration of Maniac takes the story and key set pieces from the original (minus the stunning shotgun death) and re-locates the action to Los Angeles, with the cities seedy back alleys and unkept streets as a backdrop for Frank’s exploits. And whilst the core idea of Frank scalping his victims remains the same and is just as graphic as William Lustig film, director Franck Khalfoun adds a first person perspective to the action which is not only a bold choice and a superb technical achievement, but it’s also one that makes this version of Maniac much much troubling than the original. Whereas 1980′s Maniac had a chubby, pot-marked, sleazeball as a lead, this version has Elijah Wood who makes for a much more convincing “love interest” for Anna. However the real star of the film is the audience. By shooting the film from Frank’s POV and only showing the character in reflections, Khalfoun makes the audience identify with Frank and make them complicit in his crimes. Which is bound to disturb some, and (wrongly) excite others; and unlike many modern horrors, the film lingers on the violence a la Fulci’s The New York Ripper – hence the rumoured four minutes of cuts to the film for the official UK release. However despite the technical innovation and the stylish Drive-like soundtrack, Maniac still feels very much like it’s treading the same water as the original, offering nothing new beyond the POV format and in the end left me feeling nothing but ambivalence towards it… This was a review by Phil From Blogomatic 3000 Rating:18 Release Date: 26th August 2012 (Frightfest) Directed by:Franck Khalfoun Cast:Elijah Wood, Nora Arnezeder, Liane Balaban, America Olivo

25 August 2012

Frightfest 2012 - The Seasoning House

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Brutal, harrowing, unflinching and relentless. Just some of the words that will no doubt be used to describe the debut feature of SFX artist turned director Paul Hyett; and they’d be right, The Seasoning House is all those things. But it is also a a damning indictment of the inhumantiy of man and price some pay for war; a true reflection on the horrors of war and of man.

The film follows Angel (Day), a deaf mute sold into slavery by soldiers who forcibly remove her from her home and kill her mother. Scarred by a birth mark on her face Angel is too ugly to be used for prostitution, instead Viktor, the vicious pimp that runs the seasoning house, takes her under his wing, using her to drug and make-up the girls pre-coitus and then clean them up afterwards… However unbeknownst to her captors, Angel crawls the walls of the house, fighting her own battle – the hollow walls of the seasoning house are her trenches, those outside the walls – the men who would have their way with the drug-addled girls – the enemy.

Based on case studies of true events that have happened across the globe in many war-torn countries, The Seasoning House is a film that walks a fine line between realism and exploitation. Director Hyett has obviously come out all guns blazing with this film, this is a man who has studied his subject matter and his craft. There are subtleties to the film that will no doubt be missed by many at first glance -none more so than the fact that, despite all the excesses of the film, this is not a brutal as the true stories of the exploitation of women during wartime. Stories which go untold in the mainstream media. Hyett also wears his influences on his sleeve – the way in which Angel moves about the walls screams Wes Craven’s People Under the Stairs, however her mannerisms as she crawls forth from the vents echoes the movements and motions of Sadako from Hideo Nakata’s Ringu; and like Jaume Balaguero’s Sleep Tight, The Seasoning House is reminiscent of the early work of Roman Polanski – only with a modern nihilistic edge!

If Hyett is a man on top form, then so are his cast. I have nothing but praise for actress Rosie Day, her portrayal of Angel is one of fragility and strength, a mix of femininity and ferality that is astonishingly accomplished for someone so young – especially given that Angel is a deaf-mute. Day manages to convey the full gamut of emotions without saying one word, and come films conclusion amongst the pipework of a boiler, the look upon her face says more than words ever could. And Kevin Howarth, as Viktor, the owner of the titular seasoning house, manages (partly in thanks to the great script) to make his character both likeable and abhorrent at the same time and as an audience you can never really tell whether he loves Angel or is just protecting his greatest asset.

Possibly too harrowing for some, The Seasoning House is a challenging debut film from Paul Hyett. One that many will praise for its unflinching representation of a real-life situation, but one that many may say also glamourises it. The latter would of course be wrong. The Seasoning House is a film that both entertains and has a message; and I hope the wider audience realise that too.

This was a review by Phil From Blogomatic3000

Rating: 18
UK Release date: August 23rd 2012 (Frightfest)
Directed By: Paul Hyett,
Cast: Sean Pertwee, Sean Cronin , Anna Walton, Rosie Day

Frightfest 2012 - Wrong Turn 4 Bloody Beginnings Review

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It’s 1974 and deep in the West Virginia wilderness, a family of inbred hillbilly cannibals are being held in an isolated asylum for the violent and mentally ill.  The asylum soon becomes deserted when the inbred family escape and take sadistic and gratuitous revenge on their captors…. Decades later, a group of college students take a wrong turn and seek refuge in the now-abandoned asylum after a blizzard derails their plans for a weekend winter break. But when the students encounter the medical ward’s most frightening former patients, now fiendishly famished residents, their only choice is to fight back…or die trying.

I loved 2003′s Wrong Turn, helped in part by the appearance of Buffy co-star Eliza Dushku in the lead role. However I loved Wrong Turn 2: Dead End even more. A fact which I credit whole-heartedly to director Joe Lynch who brought a tongue-in-cheek angle to the sequel which made the sequel heaps more fun than its predecessor. It didn’t hurt that Henry Rollins was fantastic in the flick, relishing his role as ex-military officer turned reality TV presenter Dale Murphy. However I skipped the third film in the franchise having heard only bad things about it, so when I heard they were bringing back that films director Declan O’Brien for Wrong Turn 4 I didn’t have high hopes. I’m glad to say I was wrong.

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings sets its stall out early. From the gory prologue featuring the inbred family tearing apart (literally) the doctors and nurses who work at the asylum to the completely gratuitous couples sex scene, complete with lesbianism, copious amounts of nudity, and post-coitus douche-baggery (yes, that is a word). And what follows doesn’t really change that formula. Gore, nudity, sex, gore – it’s a viscious and bloody circle.

Complete with stupefyingly gory dismemberments, disembowelings and discombobulation, Wrong Turn 4 replaces any semblance of plot or story with gory set-pieces, much like the slasher movies of the 80s in fact. And its those slashers, and their desire to out-do one another in terms of OTT effects, that are the direct influence on this film – perhaps, if I’m not reading too much into it, there’s also a nod to the 80s in the appearance of a giant drill as one of the weapons of choice for the hillbillies. It instantly reminded me of the Slumber Party Massacre movies – movies which mixed sex and gore in much the same way as this film does.
Possibly one of the goriest films I’ve seen recently, Wrong Turn 4 relishes in the glory of gore – nowhere more than in the scene in which, and I quote, they made a “fucked up fondue” of one of the characters, slicing him up piece by piece and frying the flesh in a pan of oil before chomping down in a cannibalistic feast. Much like a lot of the derivative slashers that came before it there’s really no reason for the film to exist beyond the gore. – and I’m not saying that like its a bad thing!

That’s not to say they’re aren’t problems with the film, even for a cheesy slasher movie. After all, how the hell would hillbillies who’ve been trapped in an asylum since the 70s know how to ride snowmobiles? Then, of course, there’s the usual genre conceit of going back to find/help your friends – but that occurs in plenty of genre flick so that is a given these days. What did surprise about Wrong Turn 4 was the occasional flashes of “they are us” themes which, if they had been followed through more, would have raised the film above a lot of its peers. As it is, the film has a lot to say about the stupidity of people – in fact its stupidity that costs the lives of the films characters in some instances.

Despite being completely derivative, the film is also fun. A lot of fun. Whether its the gorehound in me or whether I was just in the right mood for the flick, I enjoyed the fourth film in the franchise a lot. A heck of a lot.

Filled with buckets, and I mean buckets, of blood, Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (it really lives up its name, believe me) shows at this years Frightfest the 13th in the Discovery Screen on Saturday 25th August at 11.35pm – a great midnight movie film in a great midnight movie slot – before being released on DVD on Monday August 27th courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

This was a Review by Phil at Blogomatic3000

Rating: 18
UK Release Date: 25th August 2012 (Frightfest) 27th August (DVD/BD)
Directed By: Declan O'Brien
Cast: Sean Skene, Blane Cypurda , Dan Skene,

Frightfest 2012: Guinea Pigs Review

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★★★☆☆

Ian Clark's much anticipated first feature, Guinea Pigs received its debut at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival. Despite delivering some sharp moments of tension and a realistic style, Guinea Pigs unfortunately lacks in lasting impact.

Eight volunteers are sent to a remote medical facility to begin clinical trials on a new drug, tentatively titled Pro-9. It soon becomes apparent that this is no ordinary drug as extreme side affects begin to appear - you know, like turning into a raging psychopath.

Although the subject of clinical trials has been tackled in the horror genre before, it still remains a chilling concept. Ian Clark furthers these chills by instilling a strong sense of realism throughout Guinea Pigs, most notably through his almost documentary style direction. From the onset, descriptions appear on screen, mixed with unfocussed close ups and establishing shots of the eerie clinical settings which gives Clark's film an unsettling familiarity.

After a rather long but well crafted build up, we get a strong sense of the foreboding horror that is expected to ensue. This is followed by several well executed moments of tension, which fortunately never unveil too much, normally a good tactic in the genre, leaving the viewers' imagination to the work. Unfortunately these tense build up gets wasted with Guinea Pigs lacking in a real scares, jumps or chilling imagery.

Most of the characters are interesting and reasonably well developed, despite all fitting into traditional archetypal genre roles. Leading character, Adam (Aneurin Barnard) although well acted, proves too nice for his own good by making some dodgy decisions - like not leaving the compound when he has the chance. A scene stealing turn from Looking For Eric's Steve Evets, as a clinical test "veteran" adds some wry humour to the proceedings. Other small joys include Chris Larkin's appearance as a wise-cracking Doctor in charge of the proceedings.

Guinea Pigs is a reasonably entertaining watch, with director Ian Clark creating a solid, realistic atmosphere and strong sense of tension, as well as some welcome moments of humour. Unfortunately, Guinea Pigs is lacking in any genuine scares and ultimately proves a bit unmemorable.

Andrew McArthur

Rating:15
Stars: Aneurin Barnard, Alex Reid, Oliver Coleman
Director: Ian Clark
Release: 27th August 2012 (Frightfest 2012)

24 August 2012

Frightfest 2012 – Meet The Thompsons aka The Hamiltons,World Premiere This Sunday

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The premier European horror film festival Film4 Frightfest is well under way today and over the weekend here and at our other site Cinehouse.co.uk we will be bringing you our coverage. This Sunday will see the return of  Horror’s favourite dysfunctional vampire family The Hamiltons now with a new name The Thompsons.  Set and filmed mostly here in the UK, horror movie The Thompsons is receiving its World Premiere this Sunday at FrightFest in Empire Leicester Square at 10.30am. There will also be a cast and crew Q&A before the screening at 10am.
The Hamiliton siblings were a dysfunctional, orphaned family living in sunny suburbia. On the outside, they appear normal enough but they harbour a very dark secret…the need to drink blood in order to survive. A bloodbath at a local gas station means the family has to go on the run, eventually seeing them resurface in the U.K. with a new identity as The Thompsons. Desperate for protection in this unfamiliar country, the deadly family seeks out the help of a shadowy underground group rumoured to be sympathetic to vampires.
THE THOMPSONS is a new release from acclaimed horror writers and directors The Butcher Brothers and is being screened at FrightFest on the 26th August 2012. On October 15th You will be able to own The Thompsons on DVD, stay tuned for review and possible competition nearer the release date.

Frightfest 2012 - [Rec]3 Genesis review

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★★★★


The first thing to remember when you sit down to watch [Rec] Genesis is that it is a very different film to its predecessors. Rec (2007) and Rec 2 (2009) have already garnered more than their fair share of cult following and critical acclaim, Rec 2 often being cited as one of the best horror sequels since Dawn of the Dead, and for this the expectations for a third entry were mixed.

The film follows the story of Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera) who’s wedding reception is turned into a nightmare when their guests begin to tear each other apart. The newlyweds are split up in the commotion and take shelter with other survivors while the infected pick off family and friends. With a mansion filled with blood-hungry psychopaths between them, the two set out to find one another on what could be the last day of their lives.

The first two films are very close in composition and narrative with a controlled escalation of both mythology and action ensuring all bases are covered. The third film, in order to hold its own, instead ups the ante on action and scope, while changing the basic feel of the piece. After the first twenty minutes I’msurprised to see the handheld camera destroyed and the film switching to a polished omniscience as it captures the demise of the shattered camcorder. We get the message: this isn’t Rec one or two, this is three and the rules are different. It’s a big “screw you” to the doubting Thomas’s who saw this ending in tears. Knowing that Paco Plaza, co-writer/director of the previous two films, was on board should have been a tell-tale sign that all would be well.

Dolera and Martin make a lovable amateur kick-ass duo, and it’s their brilliant performances that give the film a heart to build on.Dolera in particular is fantastic, going from doe-eyed lover to sizzling heroin with the helpful inclusion of a chainsaw. Plaza has boldly made attempts to create iconic images from reworked horror iconography and it’s that admirable understanding of genre that helps give his film more bite.

The third Rec is a direct product of the first two in many ways. There’s a good piece of entertainment for newbies to the series and a rewarding escapade for the more seasoned fans. The little details are in abundance and they help layer the film up and link it back to the first two: when an uncle explains how he got bit by a dog at the vet, alarm bells ring, similarly when someone says “switch to night vision” you can’t help but shiver. On the subject of scares the film’s black comedy element does outweigh its capacity to scare us shitless. Where in Rec we spent the last ten minutes whispering “What the fuck is that?” and Rec 2 had us whispering “Where the fuck did it go!” Genesis sports dubious moments of “Really?” The black comedy can be too much considering the series origins, especially when the groom gets all Don Quixote, complete with shivering Sancho Panza. Nothing in this film comes close to the horror of the Medeiros girl in Rec’s one and two.

Plaza gets ample opportunity to show off what he can do on a solo mission; steering some impressive set-pieces without letting the mood slip. One particular sequence when the shit first hits the fan and the entire wedding reception goes from family fun to bloodbath in twenty seconds, shows an inspired understanding of chaos which sets the mood for the rest of the film. One can’t help but feel Plaza has been dying to orchestrate Hell on this scale since day one.

Racing down the OTT path shamelessly and aiming for laughs en route will alienate a lot of fans, as will the polished glitzy look in comparison to the thus-far gritty and grim feel of the films, but needs must for the survival of the idea and you can’t fault its concept or watchability. The result is this, a near-perfect showcase of gory glory with heart, and brains, and everything else in between.

Scott Clark

Rating:18
UK Release Date : 24th August 2012 (Frightfest) September 3rd 2012 (DVD/BD)
Directed By: Paco Plaza
Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martín , Javier Botet

23 August 2012

Frightfest 2012: Watch Teaser For UK Neo Giallo Yellow

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There's seems to be a resurgence within Horror fans for all things Giallo probably thanks to the Frightfest team especially here in UK introducing classic as well as fresh new films to the British horror fans. Ironic been Frightfest As Ryan Haysom's Neo Giallo Yellow is about to make its debut at this years Film4 Frightfest 13th.

True Indie films is where things move and Yellow should go down a storm with frightfesters and Horror fans alike, for now check out this new teaser trailer.


YELLOW teaser trailer #1 from Ryan Haysom on Vimeo.
source:Twitch

20 August 2012

Frightfest 2012:The Inside which has its World Premiere at FRIGHTFEST

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You’ve seen him as Sir Gwaine in the BBC’s TV series Merlin, now Eoin Macken steps behind the camera to direct The Inside, featuring Czech starlet Tereza Srbova (Sirens, Eastern Promises) alongside the cream of Irish acting talent that includes Emmett J. Scanlan (fan favourite Brendan Brady in Hollyoaks, Charlie Casanova), Sean Stewart (Occi, Coward), Natalia Kostrzewa (The Clinic) & Brian Fortune (Game of Thrones).  The WORLD PREMIERE takes place at the 13th Frightfest, Empire Cinema, Leicester Square on the Discovery Screen, Sunday 26th August 12.45PM (Also screening on Monday 27th 6.30PM).

Eoin Macken, Emmett J. Scanlan, Tereza Srbova & Brian Fortune will all be in attendance.


While in a pawnshop a young man comes into possession of a second hand video camera; discovering a tape still inside he plays back the footage and witnesses a horrific series of events involving a group of teens in an undisclosed location. Using the footage as a guide he retraces the steps to where the events seemingly occurred. Deciding to investigate he discovers to his horror not only the truth of the events on the tape but comes face to face with a supernatural terror from which he may not escape....

The Inside is a hard, violent, visceral psychological horror, which gets into your belly, and leaves an unnerving disturbed feeling after watching it.  Shot mostly in alarming 1st person perspective this evocatively realistic story of five girls breaking into an abandoned warehouse for excitement -  then finding themselves subject to a terrifying human attack before succumbing to a supernatural terror -  will leave you shaking with fear!  The film shows the worst side of humanity and contrasts it with the horror of the supernatural, which has no compunction between good and evil.  But what is worse - the fear of the unknown, or the known fear of man?  Shot and directed by Eoin C Macken, with additional cinematography by David Laird, and also featuring Eoin Macken, with sound by Greg French of Irish band The Brilliant Things and a chilling score from Kevin Whyms of Whymsonics, The Inside will re-invigorate the Irish horror genre.

For further details see:
Website http://www.theinsidemovie.co.uk (Coming soon)

Monster Pictures will release The Inside on DVD in the UK, Eire & Australia in early 2013, this is  typical Frightfest film and the Frightfesters will love it.


20 July 2012

Horror Channel UK announces FrightFest Short Film Showcase line-up

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Maniacs, monsters, demons, creepy kids, apocalyptic visions, phobias, heavy metal meltdown and snails… Welcome to this year’s wild and eclectic mix of cutting edge short films from the global arena of the fantasy and 
horror genre. The ninety-minute film extravaganza is a tasty selection box of Sunday afternoon treats, sponsored once again by Horror Channel.  It will kick-off at 1pm on Sunday 26th August at the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Sq.

Chello Zone's Chief Programming Officer Chris Sharp said today: “It’s another fantastic line-up we’re proud to be sponsoring at FrightFest.  Supporting new talent is key to Horror Channel’s success. With most directors starting their careers with a short film, we’ll be keeping a beady-eye on this year’s showcase.  Our very own Emily Booth and team will be there capturing all the mayhem and interviewing the top talent for our viewers and website visitors.  We’ll also be broadcasting from the festival to our Horror Channel viewers in Italy and are especially impressed by the calibre of Italian film-makers attending this year.  Get your autograph books ready!”

Horror Channel, part of the CBS Chello Zone portfolio of channels, has been involved with FrightFest for the past eleven years and in August will be screening FrightFest Director's Nights Season, where the team behind FrightFest pick their favourites from the festival's past 13 years.

PROGRAMME – SUNDAY 26 AUGUST, 1pm onwards

THE HALLOWEEN KID UK Dir. Axelle Carolyn 7.20
8-year-old Henry, a lonely and imaginative child, can only finds happiness on Halloween...Narrated by Derek Jacobi and starring Anna Walton, Julian Glover, Dave Legeno and Leo Donnelly

ALEXIS Spain Dir.
Alberto Evangelio 9.45
Nine year old Alexis has killed his parents, but can concerned officials uncover the supernatural truth?

GARGOLS! (SNAILS!) Spain Dir
Geoffrey Cowper 16.57
Three friends are partying in a park, when suddenly, Joey sees his first girlfriend, Eva. Joey decides to go talk to her, and when he finally tells her that he's still in love with her, a king-kong size snail appear to ruin his night.

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER (OR HOW I LEARNED TO SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE) UK Dir. Jen Moss 5.51
Holed up at the end of the world with her well-meaning but dim-witted brother Jo Alex Esmail), Jess (April Pearson) isn’t sure what will destroy her will to live first: the zombies or Jo’s incessant optimism.

LOT 254 UK Dir.
Toby Meakin 13.00
A Collector discovers that a vintage cine camera bought at auction is broken. Repairing it unlocks the hidden terror of LOT 254.

UN JOUR SANG France Dir.
Steven Pravong 14.00
She's not free. He will destroy her, ruin her, profane her...This story is not new. Let's tell it differently...

METAL CREEPERS Spain Dir
J Oskura Najera and Adrian Cardona 11.00
A popular glam metal band is in the recording studio putting together their next record. Their producer hands them some strange scores that supposedly have magic powers.

TOKOPHOBIA UK Dir,
Evrim Ersoy, James Pearcey and Russell Would 6.25
A young woman, alone in her house on a sunny afternoon, discovers she is pregnant and in her mind there can only be one course of action.

THE CAPTURED BIRD Canada Dir.
Jovanka Vuckovic 10.00
In this dark fable, a little girl is drawn to a mysterious mansion where she witnesses the birth of five horrifying apparitions


TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138


Film4 FrightFest The 13th runs from Thurs 23 August to Monday 27 August at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square.

Tickets for individual films go on sale from 28th July. Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk