Tuesday, 19 June 2018

For the Love of Shorts: The Jester (2016)

What sets this one aside is the sound design, for sure. 

Brimming with story, Director, Colin Krawchuk brings to life an extremely creepy character, without word. Aided by protagonist, Colin Krawchuk, and extremely creepy Michael Scheffield, you have a very quiet, very scary, ten minutes. 


This one is terrifying. 

But wait.

There's more.

Friday, 15 June 2018

The Gateway (2015)


A burnt-out ex-nurse in search of a new life moves into a new apartment, but a strange portal in her bathroom wall threatens to destroy any sense of normality.


I consider myself something of an indie movie aficionado, but writer/director Jaron Henrie-McCrea (Pervertigo) has created something almost astounding. The plot revolves around Danni, burnt out young and retired, who moves into an unfathomly small apartment. The previous tennant had killed himself in the bathroom, and the building super says he was mad. Shortly thereafter weird things begin to happen.

The concept is interesting, even intriguing, and the execution solid. But it is a very strange film. If you don't want any spoilers, skip over to the Second Spoiler Shower.


So after Danni - played by Danni Smith in her only credited film appearance - moves in, she starts to furnish the tiny space, which includes putting up a shower curtain. She then gets drunk (this happens a lot) and falls asleep. When she awakens, the shower curtain is gone, the doors all locked from the inside. Very odd. But never mind, she must be losing it - she buys another shower curtain. Rinse and repeat.

On the third time, she used her cell and records what happens when the door to the bathroom is closed. The next day, sans shower curtain, she watches the video. I shit you not, there is a portal in the wall of the shower that eats the shower curtain.

And the film gets weirder from there.

After enlisting the help of friend Tim (Tim Lueke), and writing her cell phone number on the shower curtain, they manage to track down the other end of the portal to some woodland, with the assistance of multiple personality suffering Willie (Gregory Konow - Gotham). Of course, none of this helps and upon returning home Danni is attacked by three men who make her promise not to put up any more shower curtains.

I hope this is making sense.

She and Tim do however continue with their shower curtain shenanigans, leading Danni to be in the woodland, and Tim at her apartment so that she can witness the curtain re-appear. The men from earlier attack her, but as they do, the shower curtain appears, and with it a small, big toothed demon as well. Which they kill.

Then Tim enacts plan b, which involves soy sauce. But I'll leave that one down to those who want to see the film.


Danni Smith and Tim Lueke do a really good job in the film. The direction is excellent from Jaron Henrie-McCrea, and he, and co-writer Carys Edwards have put together something that sounds bonkers - but you can't take your eyes from.

The horror elements are also pretty spot on - prosthetics are flawless, the direction lends to it. The comedy is well timed, and it's certainly different.

Being "up my alley", so to speak, I look forward to seeing what Jaron Henrie-McCrea marks as his next feature.

Good stuff.

*The Gateway has also been released under the title: CURTAIN

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Peephole (2018)

Starring Tim Lueke, Peephole is a fine example of writer/director Jaron Henrie-McCrea's intriguing style of horror, splashed with comedy.

Stay to the end for this one.

And this weeks Friday review is another collaboration between Lueke and Henrie-McCrea - shower curtain shenanigans - horror feature: The Gateway.

Friday, 8 June 2018

The Invitation (2015)


While attending a dinner party at his former home, a man thinks his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.


Creepy from the outset, The Invitation asks you what you would do in a situation that was wrong from the beginning.

Will and Kira arrive at Will's past home, and home of his ex for a party. A get together after the breakdown of their relationship following the death of their son - the whole gang is present. And it's as uncomfortable as it sounds.

Will's ex, Eden, and her new partner David tell the assembled cast about a group that they belong to call "The Invitation". They have a house guest, Sadie, and a new friend Pruitt, both of whom enjoy the evening with the group of friends. They tell everyone how calming and great The Invitation is. It appears that they are going to ask everyone to join. I hope you're not thinking the word "cult" at this point. Sadie acts as if she is extremely promiscuous. Pruitt is a heavy. And Will starts to panic about the well being of him and his friends.

But is it all in his mind?

The Invitation flew under the radar of a lot of viewers on release, and gained more notoriety after its appearance on Netflix in 2017. Even though it post dates it considerably, many have held it up as a nod to Get Out. While there are some stylistic similarities, and resembling themes, the two films are very different. But both very good.

Not only is The Invitation a wild ride of a thriller, the tension that Director Karyn Kusama (XX) creates is astonishing. It's a slow film. But so taut that the pace punishes you into submission. You cannot take your eyes from the screen.

Captivating the audience are leads, Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) as the tortured Will, and partner Kira, played by Emayatzy Corinealdi (Addicted). Their on screen chemistry is spot on and they portray a young couple believably. Tammy Blanchard (Into The Woods) plays the conniving Eden, and John Carroll Lynch (The Founder) terrifies as Pruitt. The supporting cast are also all truly spot on.

But as with any movie like this, the sell is in the writing. Phil Hay (├ćon Flux) and Matt Manfredi (Clash of the Titans) have worked in partnership many times, and their smooth dialogue and deft exposition show what a great team they are. The writing is on point. The clues are smartly dealt.

It's one hell of a film, and must be seen by both aficionados of film and those that love horror and dark thrillers. It grips to the end, which is darkly satisfying, and will have you on the edge of your seat.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Don't Stare (2017)

From Writer/Director Evan Sparks comes a neat little horror. Jarod (Rashaad Martin) is being haunted by a black eyed girl. He channels Daniel Kaluuya completely, as a gift from his grandma brings more than he expected...

For fans of Get Out, for sure:  DON'T STARE.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

New Horror Flick "Automata" Needs You


Dr. Brendan Cole is summoned to the sinister Blackhall Mansion to authenticate what might be the historic find of the century.

Brendan is a world-renowned expert on 'automata' the intricate clockwork creations which astonished audiences in the Royal Courts of Europe centuries ago. Among them, none was more famous or feared than the notorious 'Infernal Princess.' Yet, it has never been found, and, like most historians, Brendan dismisses The Infernal Princess as nothing but a legend, a fairytale. He doesn't believe that an automaton so advanced could possibly have been created at the time.

So, when Brendan receives a mysterious call from a man claiming to have discovered The Infernal Princess in the cellar of a historic mansion, he is naturally sceptical, dismissive even... but also, undeniably intrigued.

Brendan travels to the desolate house, along with his stepdaughter Rose. As he investigates further into the doll's cursed history, its dark legacy comes to life around them, and the terrifying secrets of the infamous automaton are finally revealed.

'Automata' Stretch Campaign Offers Backers Chance To Star In Film's Epic Battle Scene

After a hugely successful initial Kickstarter campaign, securing the funds needed to complete the Gothic horror, the filmmakers have launched a follow-up drive to add a brand new supernatural battle to the feature.

The team at Hex Studios are looking for £5000 ($6700) to shoot the nightmarish scene, featuring phantom horsemen and soldiers in a ghostly chase, to be shot in their native Scotland.

The film tells the story of antiques expert Brendan Cole who is sent to authenticate a 300-year-old clockwork doll with a notorious history, known as 'The Infernal Princess'. In the remote Scottish mansion where it has been discovered, Brendan soon finds himself the victim of the automaton's legendary curse.

Backers of the stretch campaign have the opportunity to serve as soldiers in an 18th century-set battle sequence by pledging for the Private, Flag Bearer or Officer rank rewards. Also on offer are Collector's Edition copies of the film, T-Shirts, posters, books, and even a limited edition Owlman plush toy. So, if you missed their campaign the first time round, now's your chance to get in on the action!

Director Lawrie Brewster says: “We were absolutely blown away by the success of our original campaign. The support for the project from horror fans has been incredible, and it didn't stop when the campaign ended. We were inundated with messages from fans who still wanted to pledge, so we launched this stretch campaign, which gives folk another chance to grab the rewards on offer, and gives us the opportunity to add extra scenes to the film, making it even more epic!”

'Automata' is an international co-production between Hex Studios and partners Dark Dunes Productions, in association with Needle's Eye Productions and 7 Toes Productions, and Executive Producers Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki, Charles Stiefel, Nick Ford, Greg Orsi, Bill Eikost and Richard Pate. The film is slated for release in December 2018.

Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2KGvXcj

Friday, 1 June 2018

Krull (1983)


From the sky will come the Black Fortress. From the Fortress will come the Slayers to devour the planet of Krull. Then shall a girl of ancient name become queen...she shall choose a king...and together they shall rule the planet. And their son shall rule the galaxy.


Yes, the synopsis is very vague. And no, little of that happens in the film. It's more along the lines of Slayers kidnap princess, not-the-cast-from-Lord-of-the-Rings save her. Glaive. Yeah. I think that's right. There's also no son. Sequel bait in the synopsis? That's new.

Anyhow. Krull is one of many, many, early eighties Star Wars-type sword and sorcery affairs. Its plot is simple, but asserts itself to try and achieve "epic" with a run time to match too, rolling in at nearly two hours. Largely what sets it aside from other films is the sense of grandiose that the makers have achieved. The only thing that puts me off praising the film more highly is that upon researching it, its budget was far in excess of Return of the Jedi, coming out in the same year.

Obviously, you can see where the money went.

And yes, that is Liam Neeson in the back there (not in Star Wars, not yet). 

One of the shining lights of the film is the cast. Lead, Ken Marshall, went on to do little else - not much more than some TV - but the rest of the cast is made up of a bizarre rag-tag of actors. Yes, Liam Neeson is a player. But also Bernard Bresslaw (pictured above as the cyclops) who was the star of many Brit sex farce comedies, the Carry On films. Todd Carty from EastEnders, Alun Armstrong from New Tricks, Freddie Jones (Emmerdale), Lysette Anthony (Hollyoaks), and the list goes on. It's actually pretty weird that most of the cast went on to be soap actors on Brit TV.

But it all works rather well. With the direction of Peter Yates (Mother, Jugs & Speed) the running time goes by pretty quickly. It's an enjoyable romp.

Just don't expect too much of the over-hyped sweet, sweet, glaive. He's not allowed to used it until the time is right. You know, the climax. Or the hyped female lead, Lysette Anthony, who rolls no more than twenty minutes of screen time.

With impressive effects, good direction, and a solid cast, the film works well. An over bloated budget makes you want for more, but without that knowledge, you really don't expect anything above what you're given.

The answer of whether it is it good is therefore left to the ravages of time. Casting is good. F/X is good. Acting, good. But overall a little... uninspiring.

But not unworthy of a couple of hours from someone who likes a little dated fantasy.