Showing posts with label film4 frightfest 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film4 frightfest 2013. Show all posts

2 September 2013

FF2013 Review - No One Lives

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Release Date:
24th August 2013 (FF) 23rd September 2013 (UK DVD)
Ryuhei Kitamura
Luke Evans, Gary Grubbs, Adelaide Clemens
No One Lives [DVD]

Ryuhei Kitamura’s second American film (his first was the Vinnie Jones starrer The Midnight Meat Train), No One Lives harks back to his early work – the Super 8 short Down to Hell and his most famous flick Versus – putting strangers together in a pitched battle against a common enemy.

The film starts out very much along the typical backwoods/hillbilly slant, as a gang of robbers screw up their latest mansion heist and, to make up for their loses, kidnap a couple in a car instead. It looks as though we’re seemingly headed down the torture route, with our villains set to get the information they need from the couple by any means necessary. However Kitamura flips the script and what the robbers, and the audience, don’t realise is that driver is not exactly the shy retiring type – he’s actually a complete psychopath having, months earlier, killed fourteen students and kidnapped another, his victim locked up in the trunk of the very car the robbers have stolen! What comes next is a taut, gore-laden game of cat-and-mouse as psycho takes on psycho(s)…

No One Lives definitely marks a return to form for Ryuhei Kitamura. Right from the get-go there’s a strange air about the film, an edge if you will, that is at the same time both unsettling and intriguing. It’s this atmosphere which hooks the audience in – that is until a stunning scene in which Evans’ psycho climbs out from inside the body of one of the gang. From then on you know this is not going to be anything but a complete bloodbath and the film jumps from intriguing to balls-to-the-wall exciting!

If Kitamura is a director on form, then Evans is most certainly an actor on form. Having only seen Evans in good-guy roles in films such as The Three Musketeers, Immortals and Clash of the Titans, it was a revelation to see him channel his dark side as the quiet and unassuming serial killer. Evans is in fact key to the films success, foregoing your typical “crazed psycho” OTT performance for a restrained characterisation that reminded me a lot of the quiet mania Anthony Perkins brought to his role as Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Besides Evans, it’s America Olivio – probably best remembered by horror fans as the dick snapping killer of Neighbor – who shines, bringing a strength to her character that’s more typically found in the heroic final girl of horror, not a “villain” (though given Evans’ character no one in the film can really be called hero or villain – Kitamura self-assuredly paints this film with many shades of grey).

Blurring the line between action film and horror, No One Lives is very much of the B-movie mold, blending elements of exploitation movie and action film to perfection (and I do mean perfection). It is also that very rare breed of horror film, in so much as it successfully captures all that is great about the genre in a fast-moving, well-paced films that reminds me of the great works of Eric Red – in particular his classic The Hitcher, with Evans’ unnamed psycho very much in the mold of Rutger Hauer’s; and his dark, twisted relationship with his victim Emma (Clemens) recalling that between Hauer and C. Thomas Howell. And I don’t think there’s any greater praise I can give Kitamura’s film than that.


Review by Phil Wheat of

FF2013 Review - 100 Bloody Acres

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Release Date:
23rd August 2013 (FF)
Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson, Anna McGahan

Australia and New Zealand have a fine tradition of mixing comedy and horror to superb effect. Be it the early work of Peter Jackson such as Bad Taste and Brain Dead, or more recent efforts such as Primal and The Loved Ones, horror from down under always seems to walk a very fine line be laughs and scares, and 100 Bloody Acres is no different.

The Morgan Brothers’ “Blood and Bone” fertiliser has been a huge boon to their business but there’s a catch to its production – they’ve been using dead car crash victims in the mix! However it’s been months since their last find and an important new customer is waiting on a delivery. When Reg Morgan, the junior partner in the business, comes across three young people stranded on a remote country road, he sees a radical solution to their supply problems, and a way of finally gaining the respect of his bossy big brother, Lindsay. But things don’t quite go to plan when Reg starts forming an attachment with one of their captives, Sophie. Reg must now make a decision: go through with the plan and finally win Lindsay’s approval, or save the kids and destroy everything the brothers have worked for.

The debut feature from the Cairnes brothers, 100 Bloody Acres is a strange film. Filled with oddball characters and off-kilter comedy, the film manages to evoke similarities to the backwoods hillbilly horror seen in the 70s and early 80s US cinema, most noticeably The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (with which it shares the idea of humans as “meat). But at the same time the film also shares the streak of black humour found in the work of the Cohen brothers – especially the likes of Blood Simple and Fargo. So why is the film so damn dull?

It’s not hard to put a finger on why 100 Bloody Acres doesn’t work. The cast are uniformally excellent – the two “villains” of the piece are particular standouts. Damon Herriman, as the younger of the two Morgan Brothers, gives a manic performance, walking a fine line between complete lunatic and complete idiot. Meanwhile Angus Sampson, as older brother Lindsay Morgan, is one of the scariest “straight” men in horror, showing zero emotion, in the total psychopath sense! The pair bounce well off each other and the script gives them plenty of witty one-liners – in fact the script is filled with some truly black humor, be it the banter between the brothers or the outburst between their captives. However there are huge gaps of where nothing much happens – chases scenes, walks around the farm, phone calls etc. This slows the pace of the movie right down. And that’s where the problem lies…

With some tighter editing and an increased pace 100 Bloody Acres could have been yet another neo-classic from down under; as it stands now it more of an also-ran. If you want to see black humor at work in a great Aussie horror, check out The Loved Ones instead.


This film was reviewed by Phil Wheat of

FF2013 - The Dead 2: India Review

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Release Date:
22nd August 2013 (FF)
Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford
Joseph Millson, Meenu Mishra, Anand Krishna Goyal

Frightfest 2013 opened on Thursday evening with Howard and John Ford’s The Dead 2: India, a sequel to their previous Africa-set zombie flick. To be honest, it wasn’t the most auspicious start to the weekend. A zombie epidemic reaches the Asian subcontinent and American engineer Nicholas (Joseph Millson) attempts to cross the country to reunite with his Indian girlfriend Ishani (Meenu Mishra), aided only by plucky orphan boy Javed (Anand Gopal). I didn’t catch The Dead, so the novelty of watching a Zombie film set anywhere other than Middle America (or Crouch End) was not lost on me.

The various locations around rural India are occasionally used rather well. Nicolas’s introductory scene is a slow pull out from extreme close up to a panoramic shot of him dangling from a wind turbine, which works really well and there several nicely implemented vistas. Much of the film takes place during the daytime, which is a pleasing exception from the accepted norm. The incidental music was also atmospheric. Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to say of note about The Dead 2. The film is the same zombie feature you’ve seen dozens of times before with nothing new brought to the table other than location. The acting is somewhat subpar and the script is nothing special. A call-back to an Indian legend at the film’s conclusion attempts to wrap things up pithily but feels half-hearted. Still, as the opening film, it seemed to ride something of a wave of goodwill but I imagine if it was shown in the middle of the day on a smaller screen, it would have made little impression on anyone.

This is a review by Jack Kirby of

28 August 2013

FF 2013 Review - V/H/S 2

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Release Date:
23rd August 2013 (Frightfest) 14th October 2013 (UK DVD)
Simon Barrett, Greg Hale, Gareth Evans, Adam Wingard, Timo Tjahjanto, Jason Eisener
Lawrence Michael Levine, Kelsy Abbott, Adam Wingard
Pre-order/Buy V/H/S 2:

The horror anthology has received a fair bit of new blood lately with two high-profile effort V/H/S and The ABCs of Death both arriving on a huge wave of hype in horror circles but ended up raining a shower of disappointing poop over us instead. Both indulged in the worst of what this genre’s filmmakers seem to think fans want, splashes of misogyny, gore purely for gore’s sake and the same old story repeated ad infinitum with the same old scares played the same old ways. The insanely quick turnaround of V/H/S 2 (or as its original brilliant title had it, S-V/H/S) was cause for concern but with filmmakers more exciting than those involved in the first instalment, there was cause for hope. This is something which is thankfully proven to be the case with V/H/S 2 improving on the first anthology in virtually every single way and in moments pushes your expectations of what a horror film can do .

Simon Barrett’s wraparound segment, Tape 49, is wholly more satisfying than the original films equivalent showing two private detectives breaking into a house to retrieve a woman’s son and finding a bunch of tapes. Unlike many wraparound segments in horror anthologies, this has a beginning, middle and end, it’s a story in itself with its own little horrors working as a stand-alone but also giving us the inkling of mythology, alluding to certain events in the first film but not feeling beholden to them and weaving elements of both J-horror and body horror to crunchy effect.

Adam Wingard, director of the next hotly buzzed horror film coming down the road, You’re Next, brings us the first uninterrupted short Clinical Trials, which is the least effective of the whole film, relying on jump scares which feel very tired, but the first person perspective manages to remain effective and at least a gratuitous sex scene, one of only two in the whole film, in itself a refreshing change, comes off as funny and not leering.

Better than this is Eduardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale’s A Ride In The Park, a zombie tale with a USP of being told from the zombies perspective. Suffering from tonal inconsistency with a vein of humour uncomfortably meshing with somewhat sadder, darker content, this still hits home thanks to its at-times ferocious paciness, it by far feels the shortest of the bunch, the directing team wisely understanding that this is a one-note story and thus can only be played for a limited time to remain effective. This pace also feeds into some rather crazy “how did they do that?” moments of directional sleight of hand which are huge fun to behold.

This is just an appetiser for the main course that is Gareth Evans’ and Timo Tjahjanto’s Safe Haven, the longest film in the anthology and one which is absolutely breathtaking. The first film of either V/H/S to be centred in another country, already bringing a sense of otherness, this tale of a documentary crew entering a cult’s sanctuary manages to pull off the brilliant and highly skillful trick of being both incredibly disturbing while also being an awful lot of fun with mixture of body horror and cult rituals which builds up with superb intensity but ends on a quiet but rather chilling note. This one feels like a love letters horror fans which evolves from the pathetic “fratboy” nature of so many horrors today and instead offers the cliched but true “thrills and chills”. A mature and harrowing effort, it is the finest piece of horror cinema I’ve seen in quite some time.

After Safe Haven virtually anything would be a bit of a come down and Jason Eisner’s Alien Abduction Slumber Party is indeed that, though it’s got a lot of merit to it also. Focusing on a bunch of kids having rather dirty fun and getting caught in a house invasion from unfriendly aliens, this works through a sheer sense of blind panic. When the alien strike it’s visually and audibly overwhelming, hitting that primal nerve of “what the hell is going on” with the camera being tossed around all over the place before finding the characters in perilous situations. The intensity recalls the final segment of the first film but is a meaner beast than that especially with the last shot which is a little too cruel for my blood takes away from the enterprise somewhat.

This and other relatively minor quibbles peppered in spots aside, V/H/S 2 is a wholly more impressive and satisfying collection of horror shorts than last year’s film, resulting in the best horror of 2013 up to this point. Daring, shocking, fun and managing to regain my sense of hope that there is still horror of great worth out there, the whole experience is hugely refreshing and it’s delightful to say so.


Review By Phil Wheat at

25 August 2013

FF 2013 - Hatchet III Review

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Release Date: 23rd August 2013 (Frightfest)
Director:BJ McDonnell
Cast: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Derek Mears

The final(?) film in the trilogy, Hatchet III loses the series’ director, Adam Green, replacing him with BJ McDonnell, who has previously carved out a career as cam/steadicam operator on a ton of movies – including one of my all-time favourite flicks, How to Rob a Bank. However all is not lost as Green is still on board as the films guiding light and scriptwriter for this tale which picks up immediately where the second film left off.

In Hatchet III our heroine Marybeth (Harris) has finally “killed” Victor Crowley (Hodder) – or so she thinks. When she shows up at the police station covered in blood the sheriff (Galligan) doesn’t believe her story and locks her up while he sends a search and recovery team out to the haunted swamp to find out what has gone on and to pick up the pieces left behind after Crowley’s previous massacre. Meanwhile Marybeth finally learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Victor Crowley haunting and terrorizing Honey Island Swamp for decades.

When I originally heard the news that Adam Green was stepping down from the directors chair for this third film in the series, I questioned the sanity of letting someone new helm what was to be the last outing for Victor Crowley. However, knowing BJ McDonnell worked on the first two Hatchet movie’s and having seen his filmography and watched the finished film I know exactly why McDonnell was given the reigns for this movie – he has an eye for action, and Hatchet III is filled to the brim with huge action set pieces as the trilogy goes big for its epic finale, out-doing all that has come before in terms of violence, gore and body count.

Third films can be tricky, especially when it comes to horror franchises. Some get it right revitalising a worn seires, like Nightmare on Elm Street 3 but many get it wrong. If I’m truly honest Hatchet III sits somewhere in between, mainly because it sacrifices scares for spectacle. But what spectacle… There are some truly outrageous gore scenes, going even further than the previous film, easily surpassing even the ridiculous chainsaw death that marked the end of Hatchet II – a scene which is actually repeated in the opening of this flick.

But, and this is a big but, where Hatchet III does rise above the former films is in it’s story. Adam Green has crafted a script that offers twists and turns, wraps up plot threads that have proliferated the series from the very first film, makes nods to other movies AND is also a love letter to fans of the franchise – a thank you note if you will to all those that love the series and have been there since the beginning.

Yet what is noticeable when comparing this film to its predecessor’s is the quality of some of the practical effects (yes Green and co. still keep all the effects CGI-free thankfully). Whether the “rubbery-ness” is due to budgetary constraints I don’t know, however the cheesy FX work plays well into the idea that the Hatchet series harkens back to the heyday of the 80s slasher movies, a lot of which were shot on a shoe-string budget and had to make the most of the effects they could afford. Speaking of FX, Victor Crowley himself has had a makeover in this flick, allowing horror icon Kane Hodder to emote much more this time round (well as much as the monstrous Crowley can).

Of course besides the returning Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley and Danielle Harris as Marybeth, Hatchet III features a ton of familiar faces including Gremlins’ Zach Galligan as the Sheriff; former Jason Vorhees Derek Mears; Sean Whalen (Special Unit 2); Parry Shen, who’s played three different characters in all three Hatchet movies; The FP’s Jason Trost; and, best of all, Stretch from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2! Aka actress Caroline Williams. This really is a veritable who’s-who of genre flicks, with some surprise cameos and roles I’m not going to spoil in this review, but I will say it all adds an extra layer of fun for both horror fans and fans of the Hatchet series.

In the end Hatchet III is a fantastic end to the franchise, filled with all the hallmarks of the series – laughs, violence, action and gore – whilst being a fitting swansong for Victor Crowley and co. Not as stunning as the previous film but still a great “old-school American horror”.


Review by Phil Wheat at

23 August 2013

FF2013 Review: The Dyatlov Pass Incident

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UK Release Date:
23rd August 2013 (Frightfest) 26th August 2013 (DVD Release)
Renny Harlin
Richard Reid, Gemma Atkinson, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Holly Goss
Buy The Dyatlov Pass Incident:
[Blu-ray] / [DVD]

In February, 1959, nine Russians hikers ventured into the Ural Mountains on a trip that should have been manageable for a group with their vast experience. Two weeks later, all nine were discovered dead. A search party found the hikers’ tents ripped open from the inside and all seemed to have died from hypothermia. Aside from a few fractures and broken bones, there appeared to be indication of foul play. With no compelling evidence or witnesses to account for the puzzling night, the case quickly fell into legendary infamy. Many have theorized that a small avalanche caught them off guard, forced them to cut through their tents and make an escape into their snowy surroundings where they froze. The riddle has baffled investigators, researchers and authorities ever since.

Now director Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight) heads back behind the camera for his first feature film in two years, mixing fact with fiction in a tale that sees five young filmmakers retrace the steps of the doomed hikers in pursuit of the unsolvable mystery…

The Dyatlov Pass Incident is a part of Russian history that still remains shrouded in mystery, with many different conspiracies about just what happened on that barren mountainside – some say it was a simple as the nine trying to escape an avalanche, others say it was aliens, some say it was a strange government experiment that the climbers stumbled upon. It’s a story that is ripe for filmic exploration and it’s surprising that we haven’t seen more takes on this mystery…

The Dyatlov Pass Incident, which is shot in a POV, found-footage style yet forgoes the typical stylings of the genre (there’s more steadicam footage here than in a million other Blair Witch Project knock-offs for one), sits clearly in the conspiracy theory camp, positing that the deaths were connected to a huge cover-up that is some how connected to the USS Eldridge, the Philadelphia experiment, and a possible explanation for the existence of the Moth Man, the Yeti – in fact every monstrous “urban legend” that has ever existed!

Feeling very much like an extended version of The X-Files – sans Scully and Mulder – The Dyatlov Pass Incident shares a hell of a lot in common with the aforementioned Blair Witch Project, with many of that films key plot points relocated and recreated on the snowy Ural Mountains instead of the backwoods of America – which means Harlin’s film feels much more derivative than it should. Don’t get me wrong, there is a decent horror story here just bubbling beneath the surface of the film, and the conspiracies posited make for a great plot – it’s just a shame that Harlin’s insistence on shooting this found-footage style (although I can clearly see why the decision was made to shoot this way) detracts from what could have been a much more effective terror tale.

A decent found-footage flick ruined by its final third (when Harlin and co. resort to the cliched, oh-so-typical night vision shaky-cam), The Dyatlov Pass Incident is yet another straight to market horror that not even one-time action movie darling Renny Harlin can make memorable enough to stay out of the bargain bins 6 months after its release.


Review By Phil Wheat

6 August 2013

FF2013 -They Are Amongst Us, They Know Who You Are, Watch The Conspiracy UK Trailer

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Come off the fantastic reviews and buzz from the likes of Fantastic Fest, their now coming to the UK to take us over, who are they? Watch the UK trailer For The Conspiracy.

Conspiracy theory films are that can of worms we love filmmakers to open, sadly not enough as the world of possibilities is endless. If your looking for the darker more sinister theory film  The Conspiracy might just deliver what your looking for. The buzz from the film's early festival reviews  have been nothing but fantastic and it been a  'found footage' film makes it even more intriguing making wonder if there;s still life left in the old dog?

The film follows a couple of young  documentary film makers(Aaron Poole & James Gilbert) who track down,a seemingly mad  conspiracy  theorist Terrence(Alan C.Peterson)  suddenly disappears.The pair begin to uncover some unnerving truths  in Terrence's patterns and as they retrace his work, which leads them into the depths of a terrifyingly powerful secret society known as the  The Tarsus Club.

Will The Conspiracy deliver the answer to all those theories who desire to be answered? Is Elivs  alive? The Freemasons? Who killed Kennedy? September 11th who is responsible? Who are the Illuminati ?Hopefully one theory maybe revealed the one of who are The Taurus Club?

The Conspiracy will be released in UK cinemas 11th October then on DVD, Blu-ray 14th October but if your heading to Film4 Frightfest this month you can catch the film's UK premier Sunday 25th August (6.45pm)



When two young filmmakers select a crazed conspiracy theorist as the subject of their new work the task seems simple enough: Befriend him, gain his trust, and let the madness speak for itself. But things prove more complicated than that. Despite his street preaching their subject proves to be an articulate and intelligent man. One prone to seeing patterns others do not, yes, but hardly the expected lunatic. Listen long enough and his arguments even start to make an unnerving sort of sense. It’s enough to make them wonder if maybe, somehow, there’s some basis to what he’s saying...

And then he simply disappears. No word. No trace. Just gone.

While one of the filmmaking pair is prepared to walk away the other becomes obsessed. This shouldn’t be possible. People do not just disappear…. unless someone wants them to. What if he was correct? What if he was on the verge of exposing some greater scheme? And what if he was taken? So begins an obsessive effort to reconstruct his work, an effort that points the duo to a high-powered retreat and networking organization for the political and business elite.

Inspired by real conspiracy theories and secret organisations, THE CONSPIRACY is more than just entertainment. It is a sharp, topical commentary of a world in which the most important question is not “What happened?” but “Who is telling us?”

26 July 2013

Film4 FrightFest 2013 announces guest line-up Ben Wheatley, Don McKay, Adam Green All Confirmed

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This year’s Film4 FrightFest guest list brings together over 100 talented filmmakers, performers, writers and producers – a mix of familiar FrightFest faces and up-and-coming talent who will soon be staples on the horror fantasy scene across the world.

As individual tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday 27 July), the guest list boasts 34 directors from around the world including: Don Mancini (CURSE OF CHUCKY), Suri Krishnamma (DARK TOURIST), one of America’s best loved funny men Bobcat Goldthwait (WILLOW CREEK) and FrightFest soul-male and HATCHET III producer Adam Green (HOLLISTON). Also joining us is Gareth Evans, straight from the completion of principal photography of THE RAID 2 and FrightFest pant-dropper Jason Eisener, both here for V/H/S/2. We also welcome CHEAP THRILLS director Evan L. Katz, Steven R. Monroe for the world premiere of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2, director Blair Erickson, on hand to launch BANSHEE CHAPTER, plus Anthony DiBlasi (MISSIONARY), Jeremy Lovering (IN FEAR), Kit
Ryan (DEMENTEMANIA) and Christopher McBride for THE CONSPIRACY. The Ford Brothers are here for opening night film THE DEAD 2: INDIA), as are co-directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado for closing night film BIG BAD WOLVES.

The stars of the films are out in force (with more to be confirmed). Michael Cudlitz, one of American television’s most acclaimed stars and the headliner of the independent discovery of the year DARK TOURIST, will be making his FrightFest debut. As will I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 stars Jemma Dallander and Joe Absolom. Also joining us are Gemma Aitkinson and Holly Goss, who will present THE DYATOLOV PASS INCIDENT and Twilight Zone star Charlie Bewley, who will join us for HAMMER OF THE GODS, as will actors Sam Robertson, Vincent Regan and Holly Weston for DEMENTAMANIA. Then we have FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY star Alexander Mercury, plus Game of Throne’s Alfie Allen and Hannah Tointon (‘The Inbetweeners’) for the short film THE BODY.

.The star of our opening night film THE DEAD 2: INDIA, Joseph Millson, currently attracting plaudits as Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, will be attending, alongside his Indian co-stars Meenu, Anand Goyal &Sandip Datta Gupta. And from Israel we have the exceptional cast from our closing night film, - Tzahi Grad, Rotem Keinan & Dov Glickman, so far confirmed.

Film4 FrightFest’s Variety Award was inaugurated last year with the movie trade bible giving that honour to special effects genius Greg Nicotero. Their 2013 tribute goes to Ben Wheatley, the most distinctive and unique talent to burst on the British scene in years Ben will receive his award after an onstage interview about his career conducted by journalist Damon Wise.

He said today: “Attending FrightFest is like being plugged into the brain of Genre cinema. A true group experience. Over a thousand serious fans praying at the altar of Horror then spilling out into the Foyer to digest what they have just seen before diving back for more…it’s great”.

The Discovery strand of FrightFest is proving very popular and fans will be able a whole host of directors including STALLED director Christian James, THE DESERT director Christoph Behl, SADIK 2 director Robin Entreinger and cast members Alexandra Bialy and Chloe Gallen, DAYLIGHT director David McCracken, FOR ELISA director Juanra Fernandez, CONTRACTED producer J.D. Lifshitz, ON TENDER HOOKS director Kate Shenton, THE DEMON’S ROOK producer Katarina Gligorijevic, CANNON FODDER director Eitan Gafni, producer/star Yafit Shalev and cinematographer Tom Goldwasser, plus the director, Kevin Gates, and cast of THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL.

From our short film selection in association with The Horror Channel, we welcome directors Paul Davis (THE BODY), Will Gilbey (TURNCOAT), James Moran (CRAZY FOR YOU), Dominic Brunt (SHELLSHOCKED), Mike Mort (CHUCK STEEL), Nick Gillespie (SAMUEL AND EMILY VS. THE WORLD), Toby Meakins (BREATHE) and The Hassall Brothers (IF I HAD A HEART).

Plus there’s the ever-popular ‘Quiz From Hell’ hosted by our KICK-ASS 2 star compere Andy Nyman. And ZOMBIE FLESHEATERS/Lucio Fulci composer Fabio Frizzi will be making a special appearance.

Film4 FrightFest 2013 is on from Thurs 22 August to Monday 26 at the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Square. Tickets for Individual films are on sale from 27 July.

Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or

22 July 2013

FrightFest and Horror Channel announce nine world premieres for short film programme

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FrightFest in association with Horror Channel, will be screening nine specially selected short films, all World Premieres, at this year’s August event at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Sq. From James Moran’s sickly slick serial killer tale and Dominic Brunt’s ghastly vision of war time Hell, to Will Gilbey’s hard-boiled noir cop thriller and Mike Mort’s even harder puppet cop hero Chuck Steel, the line-up represents a rich tapestry of talent, with casts that include Hannah Tointon, Neil Maskell, Ed Speleers, Alfie Allen & Jack Gordon.

Paul McEvoy, Co-director of FrightFest &Horror Channel programme co-ordinater said today: “This year’s brilliant and insane mix of shorts includes outstanding World Premieres from some FrightFest favourites and some exciting new cinematic blood. Behold and enjoy!

Friday August 23rd

16:15 CRAZY FOR YOU (World Premiere)
Director: James Moran. Cast: Arthur Darvill, Hannah Tointon. UK. 2013. 10 mins
It's difficult to find love when you're a serial killer - when Charlie meets the girl of his dreams, he has to keep that slight flaw a secret from her. Will true love win the day? Or will she become another of his unwitting victims?

Saturday August 24th

13:15 TURNCOAT (World Premiere)
Director: Will Gilbey. Cast: Neil Maskell, Stephen McCole, Ed Speleers. UK. 2013. 14min
Two cops break into a criminal's home, drag him out of bed and start conducting an illegal search of the premises. Cuffed to a chair, and seemingly helpless, the criminal's only chance is to play the two cops off against each other.

Written, directed and voiced by Mike Mort. UK 2013 13min
It’s 1986, and maverick cop Chuck Steel has his work cut out when the city’s most influential banker is kidnapped by a group of escaped convicts. With the aid of his sex obsessed robot partner, Chuck must fight a desperate battle against overwhelming odds to save the hostage.

Monday August 26th

15.35 THE BODY (World Premiere)
Director: Paul Davis. Cast: Alfie Allen, Hannah Tointon, Christian Brassington, Jack Gordon. UK. 2013. 18min
The tale of a murderer who uses the cover of Halloween night to causally transport his latest victim from the scene of the crime to his final resting place.

Friday August 23rd

18:00 IF I HAD A HEART (World Premiere)
Director’s The Halsall Brothers. Cast: Min-Joong Kim UK. 2013. 12 min
A neon-noir set in the underbelly of Seoul. Sam IL is a street fighter who was abandoned at birth by his Mother in a coin locker. His life has been one of extreme violence and isolation.

Saturday August 24th

15:15 SHELL SHOCKED (World Premiere)
Director: Dominic Brunt. Cast: Geoffrey Newland, Anthony Streeter UK. 2013. 12 min
Two soldiers from opposing sides seek temporary salvation from the battle field. A tense, life or death stand off at gun point ensues with a growing realisation...they were safer where they were...

18:15 SAMUEL AND EMILY VS. THE WORLD (World Premiere)
Director: Nick Gillespie Cast: Steve Garry, Phoebe Jones & Alex Rose March. UK. 2013. 9 min
An eerie and gruesome tale about a couple who have found a new way to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Sunday August 25th

12:50 THE GUEST (World Premiere)
Director: Jovanka Vuckovic Cast: Tara Elliot, Jordan Gray & Isabella Vuckovic Canada 2013. 4 min
A man must face his personal demons as a consequence of a mysterious bargain he has made.

15:15 BREATHE (World Premiere)
Directed by Toby Meakins Cast: Jack North, Josef Altin & Orion Ben. UK. 2013. 5 min
A ghost story about a girl who only appears when you hold your breath.

DISCOVERY SCREEN 2 (Repeat showings)









TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 |

Film4 FrightFest 2013 runs from Thurs 22 August to Monday 26 August at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square.

Tickets for individual films go on sale from 27th July. Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or

19 July 2013

EIFF 2013 - Frankenstein's Army Review

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Release Date(UK):
28 June 2013 (EIFF)
24 August 2013 (Frightfest)
30 September 2013 (DVD)
Richard Raaphorst
Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym
Buy: [DVD]

Over the past few years there’s been a real peak in the impact of fan-boy fantasy on cinema, especially horror. We’ve seen some truly nutty visions being realised on the big screen and, for better or worse, that trend shows no signs of stopping. The recent sub-genre of Nazi zombie films is creatively tackled in first time feature director Richard Raaphorst’s endearingly titled, handheld camera shot, B-movie extraordinaire Frankenstein’s Army.

How, may you ask, is a film set during WW2 shot on hand-held camera? By the genius of a specially selected film student chosen to tag along with a Russian platoon to film some propaganda. This surmises the bonkers logic to most of Frankenstein’s Army. A good section of the film is spent getting to understand the characters and what the Russian involvement in the war was and before we get anywhere near the fateful dwelling of Baron Frankenstein there’s a breadcrumb trail of bizarre carcases to herald that the good doctor has extended his research to animalistic steampunk zombie monstrosities.

There’s a charming sort of referential stupidity involved in how unperturbed most of the Russians seem about finding these creatures. But that’s a key part of the film; it doesn’t take itself too seriously and by doing that makes itself far more effective as a horror film. By slotting the ridiculous alongside the drab hopelessness of the incredible sets and creatures, there’s room for some genuinely horrible moments of tense action and fear. Like the end of Blair Witch meets Silent Hill via Stuart Gordon. Camera handling dwindles sometimes during panic driven moments of fight and flight to unfortunately leave some sections of film messy and nonsensical, which is a shame when such care has been taken to make the visuals so striking.

Even if the film is operating on a budget it appears not to be too hindered, sets have been carefully selected and then dressed up to fit the period and aesthetic, creatures have been formed with a mind to dodging the traditional concept of zombie. This time, Frankenstein’s monsters are exactly the kind of industrial horrors you’d expect from a post WW1 corpse tinker: hulking metal and robotics, grey flesh and black leather, ridiculous appendages for the decimation of allied forces. And Karel Roden’s (Hellboy, Rocknrolla) fantastic turn as a madcap even more oblivious Dr. Frankenstein is nothing short of a hoot to watch.

Everything about this film is pretty endearing.  Once you pull yourself past the student project feel and settle into its carnival of horrors feel, you start to enjoy it for what it is; a Nazi-zombie flick. There’s no pretence here, no whimsical story, just a good old-fashioned monster film with some well-deserved scares, a great effects and set-design department and above all a good eye for humour. Frankenstein’s Army is cult classic material.


Scott Clark

28 June 2013

Film4 Frighfest Announces Its Biggest Ever Line Up For 2013 Festival

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Film4 FrightFest 2013 announces full line up; record 51 films, new FrightFest Xtra strand and films from five continents marks biggest genre global invasion ever.

Are you ready for a spine-chilling global avalanche of Indian zombies, Israeli oldboys, vengeance-crazed Vikings, Swedish mesmerists, Irish telekinesis, Argentine undead, Aussie bone-crushers, murderous Mormons and Chilean assassins?

Film4 FrightFest 2013, returning for its 4teenth year, is delighted to unveil its biggest line-up in history. From Thurs 22 August to Monday 26 August, the UK’s leading event for genre fans will be at the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Square to present 51 films on three screens. Empire 1 will house the main event while the Discovery strands will play in Empires 2 & 4. The new FrightFest Xtra strand, also in Screen 2, will allow fans to catch up with sold-out performances of the most popular attractions.

This year there are eleven countries representing five continents with a record-breaking thirty-three UK or European premieres and ten world premieres.

The world premieres include our opening night attraction THE DEAD 2: INDIA from the Ford Brothers, BANSHEE CHAPTER, produced by Star Trek’s Zachary Quinto, Kit Ryan’s startling DEMENTAMANIA , the epidemic shocker ANTISOCIAL the Argentinean post World War Z drama THE DESERT and the retro Spanish chiller FOR ELISA. European premieres include Don Mancini’s CURSE OF CHUCKY, Anthony Di Blasi’s MISSIONARYand Steven R. Monroe’s I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2.

The UK premieres feature our closing night film, the most want-to-see 2013 title BIG BAD WOLVES, Jim Mickle’s appetising WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, Vincenzo Natali’s HAUNTER, Ryuhei Kitamura’s NO ONE LIVES, Lasse Hallstrom’s THE HYPNOTIST, the Pastor Brothers’ THE LAST DAYS, the VHS documentary REWIND THIS!, Bobcat Goldthwait’s horror-comedy WILLOW CREEK, producer Adam Green’s HATCHET III, acclaimed anthology V/H/S/2, the fantasy thriller ODD THOMAS, rural horror romp 100 BLOODY ACRES, compulsive chiller THE CONSPIRACY, Renny Harlin’s mystery thriller THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT & Marina De Van’s high-voltage shocker DARK TOUCH.

The Brits are once again proving that the genre is in fine form. Aside from the aforementioned THE DEAD 2: INDIA and DEMENTAMANIA, there is Christian James’ toilet-humoured STALLED, Jeremy Lovering’s white-knuckle ride IN FEAR, Farren Blackburn’s axe-murderous HAMMER OF THE GODS, Kate Shenton’s human suspension doc ON TENDER HOOKS, THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL, from the Zombie Diaries duo, Michael Bartlett & Kevin Gates, Kieran Parker’s latest in the zombie action franchise OUTPOST: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ and THE BORDERLANDS., a paranormal chiller from Elliot Goldner.

Keynote previews include THE GRIEF TOURIST starring Michael Cudlitz and Melanie Griffith, and Carlos Medina’s award-winning PAINLESS.

Crowd-pleasers have always been at the heart of the FrightFest experience, so audiences can sit back and thrill to the roof-raising YOU’RE NEXT, the incredible CHEAP THRILLS, the mutant-tastic FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY and a Special Preview of the Hollywood blockbuster R.I.P.D. starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. And we have included two of our February FrightFest Glasgow draws – the fabulously trashy grindhouser BRING ME THE HEAD OF THE MACHINE GUN WOMAN.and Michael Stephenson’s hugely entertaining doc THE AMERICAN SCREAM.

Expanding the Discovery Strand means there are double the treats to sample this year, including the nerve-shredding SNAP, the smart horror-fantasy HANSEL &GRETEL &THE 4:20 WITCH, Sonny Laguna’s ferocious WITHER, Israeli war fantasy CANNON FODDER, Scream-styled homage SADIK 2, James Sizemore ‘s demonic THE DEMON’S ROCK, David McCracken’s story of small-town child abuse DAYLIGHT & sex-disease horror CONTRACTED. There is also a first-time screening of three episodes of Adam Green and Joe Lynch’s TV series HOLLISTON.

Plus, there’s a chance to discover an eclectic mix of Premiere screening restorations : Ozploitation classic - WAKE IN FRIGHT, a tribute to Hammer Horror icon Peter Cushing – CORRUPTION, the first Roger Corman Edgar Allan Poe masterpiece – THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, and the genre landmark that is F. W. Murnau’s NOSFERATU.

With Andy Nyman’s ever-popular ‘Quiz From Hell’ now in its 4th year, the announcement of the ‘666 Short Cuts To Hell’ competition winners, in association with Horror Channel and Movie Mogul, the ‘Turn Off Your Bloody Phone!’ entries and the usual bloody red carpet gathering of stars, directors and surprise guests, Film4 FrightFest 14 looks set to raise the roof. Let the screaming begin!

Alan Jones, Festival co-director, said today: Fourteen years down the line from our seminal start in 2000, the ambitions of the Film4 FrightFest remain exactly the same: to promote horror and fantasy in all its rich and varied ways, to foster the latest in world genre cinema, to highlight our vibrant home-grown independent sector and to invite an international array of directors, actors and filmmakers to discuss their work. For that reason we have remained at the vanguard of the genre”.

Julia Wrigley, Head of Film4 Channel4, added: '“We are thrilled to return for the 7th year in a row as the headline sponsors of Film4 FrightFest. Once again, the line-up includes a great range of British films, including the relentlessly terrifying Film4 Production In Fear. Our FrightFest fortnight on Film4 is packed with channel premieres, festival favourites and some classics from the crypt”.

The guest line-up and 2013 Short Film Selections will announced shortly.

Festival &day passes go on sale from 29 June. Tickets for Individual films are on sale from 27 July.

Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or

14 June 2013

Film 4 Frightfest 2013 Announce Opening And Closing Films

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Big Bad Wolves from Israel and Indian Zombies signal global horror invasion at this year’s FrightFest. This year’s festival opens with the world premiere of The Ford Brothers THE DEAD 2: INDIA - the first-ever International production of a zombie film shot in India.

Howard and Jon Ford, the British director, writer and producer team behind the acclaimed African-set zombie road movie 'The Dead’ said today: “It's truly an honour to be the opening film – mind-blowing! Being at FrightFest for ‘The Dead’ was such an incredible experience for us and one of the highlights of our whole journey with the film. It's an awesome event with a brilliant crowd and we both sincerely cannot wait to see you all there!”.

The film follows the story of India-based American engineer Nicholas Burton (JOSEPH MILLSON) in a race against time to reach his pregnant girlfriend Ishani Sharma (MEENU). Burton enlists the help of an orphan street kid Javed (ANAND GOYAL) and together they make a perilous 300 mile journey across deadly landscapes as a zombie apocalypse threatens to engulf the entire nation.

Film4 FrightFest will close with the UK premiere of directors Aharon Keshales &Navot Papushado’s extraordinary revenge thriller BIG BAD WOLVES. Soaked in twisted tension, fairytale myth and seat-edged suspense, the film follows the lives of three men on a collision course: following a series of brutal murders: the father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a

vigilante police detective operating outside the law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.

Aharon and Navot said today: “We always dreamt of having a film which would be good enough to be shown at FrightFest, but not even in our wildest dreams did we think that an Hebrew speaking revenge thriller would get us there. FrightFest is really making history here. As a token of our appreciation we promise to give everyone there a night they won't easily forget”.

All the directors and some cast members will be attending the festival.

Film4 FrightFest Co-director Alan Jones commented: “Film4 FrightFest is delighted with our Opening and Closing Film choices. Both THE DEAD 2: INDIA and BIG BAD WOLVES represent everything FrightFest is about; the discovery, nurturing and celebration of vital new voices in the genre. FrightFest launched the Ford Brothers' THE DEAD to worldwide acclaim in 2010 and Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's RABIES in 2011 became the only movie in our entire 14-year history to warrant successive extra screenings based on overwhelming want-to-see demand. So to welcome both duos back with their stunning new movies, both exploring unusual cultural aspects within a remarkable genre framework is an absolute thrill. These films bookend Film4 FrightFest perfectly and hint at what we are trying to achieve this year - the best platform to deliver our broadest, most diverse and most surprising event ever”.

Film4 FrightFest, the UK’s biggest genre film festival, runs from Thursday 22 August to Monday 26 August at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square. The full line up will be announced on Fri 28 June. Festival & day passes go on sale from 29 June. Tickets for Individual films are on sale from 27 July.

Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or