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First Trailer for Saudi Horror Film He Belongs To Us released from Director Gigi Hozimah!

rsz_hbtu1First Trailer for Saudi Horror Film He Belongs To Us released from Director Gigi Hozimah

Saudi Arabian Filmmaker Gigi Hozimah has just released the trailer to her first feature film He Belongs To Us. To coincide with the release of the trailer , the official poster illustrated by Sam Wolfe Connelly has also been released.

He Belongs To Us is a psychological horror drama about Remy an isolated young man haunted by vivid nightmares about his Mother’s death, his neglected childhood and his spiralling depression. These same nightmares however begin seeping into his waking moments taking a sinister hold over the shattered remains of his life.

A Saudi/US co-production , this is the first feature directed by Saudi independent filmmaker Gigi Hozimah , and is the first film of it’s kind to come from Saudi Arabia. He Belongs To Us is an existential horror founded on nightmares and surrealism.

Gigi was born in Makkah, Saudi Arabia and was never aware that her cinematic vison would one day find it’s way on to the global stage. Coming from a nation that has held back the progress of women she refused to accept her traditionalist surrounding and when 19 she left for England and has as yet never returned.

He Belongs To Us is currently being entered into film festivals worldwide!!

Ghosthunters (2016) Review

rsz_gh1Ghosthunters (2016) Review

Director: Pearry Reginald Teo

Starring: Francesca Santoro, Stephen Manley, David O’Donnell, Liz Fenning, Crystal Web.

Out now on UK DVD from High Fliers Films

“Ghost DNA.”

After Henry’s wife and daughter are murdered in an abandoned house used by a serial killer, he and his group of ghosthunters go back in to extract their souls. Henry (Stephen Manly) and his friends have been working on a machine to find and preserve ectoplasm. They were testing the machine at the site of the murders when everything went wrong. Now Henry and his cohorts face the angry victims of the serial killer. A serial killer who may not be done.

Well, it sounds okay in theory. And it’s certainly not the worst movie ever. It’s an Asylum film. So that right there should tell you a lot about Ghosthunters. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed. Ghosthunters manages to be a mediocre supernatural thriller. It has some fun special effects and creepy ghosts. The jump scares aren’t terribly effective, they pop up right about where expected, negating their effectiveness.

There is also a delightful amount of techno-babble the likes of which haven’t been heard since Star Trek went off the air. The techno-babble actually makes for a pretty hilarious scene of really terrible exposition about the ghost hunting machine. It’s basically a ghost trap from Ghostbusters. Don’t give it too much thought.

rsz_gh2Aside from the mediocre plot there is also plenty of mediocre characters performed by so-so actors. The good news is that no one is stand-out terrible. The problem is they are also stuck with a pretty ridiculous script. The most weighty role is given to Manly who does pretty good as the grief stricken Henry but could have brought a lot more personality to the role. Especially since one of the major twists hangs on his. David O’Donnell plays Henry’s friend and confidant Neal who built the ghost trapping machine. Neal also brings along his reporter girlfriend Amy played by Francesca Santoro, who is arguably the main character, but nothing in the movie indicates that fact. Then there is computer programmer Jessica played by Liz Fenning. Crystal Web plays the sadly under-utilized psychic Devon. No one has much character development and nothing more is known about the characters at the end of the film as was known in the beginning.

There are a lot of wasted opportunities in Ghosthunters too. Devon brings a knowledge of the occult to the “science” of paranormal investigating, and in a good scene that goes nowhere, she tries to trap the ghosts in the house using salt. The combination of the occult and science would have been a really interesting development. But the script slogs along with paint-by-number predictably.

The best thing about the film are possibly the props. The best prop in the entire movie is a pair of steampunk styled ghost spotting goggles. Second runner-up is a steampunk styled plague doctor mask worn by the killer. Sadly the ghost trapping machine itself is a bland jumble of spare parts that look like they could be anything. The rest of the special effects are okay, but not great. There is some CGI enhancement of the ghosts, but it looks like most of the effects were achieved practically. It’s not a special effect heavy film, probably due to budget constraints, and it manages with what it has. Over all Ghosthunters is pretty skippable.

gh3Kudos for: The organ music.

Lesson Learned: Say ghost DNA often enough and it just sounds silly.

5/10

An Interview with Emma Dark by Gary Hindley

rsz_ed5Hi there, I’m Gary Hindley, Writer for UK Horror Scene.

Thank you very much for agreeing to speak with me, I hope all is well with you.

I want say congratulations on your success, with the award winning ‘Seize the Night’. It’s a fantastic piece of film, and thoroughly enjoyed. The writing and directing of film, is something you look to be thriving in, and each project you take on shows more ambition and your drive to try new, exciting things.

Q: What were the influences that got you interested in the horror genre?

I’ve always liked horror, from a very early age. My Dad was a butcher, and as a small child I used to go into his walk in fridge in the butchers shop to see the animals. Not in a particularly grim way, I wanted to see if any of the animals still had heads on and stroke them. Thankfully I actually didn’t turn out to be a serial killer, in fact I’m not even a big fan of slasher movies to be honest. The first horror film I saw was Albert Pyun’s “The Sword and the Sorcerer”. Strictly speaking it’s probably classed as a dark fantasy, but the horror elements are very strong, even as an adult viewer it’s pretty horrific in places. As a BBFC 18 rated film, I don’t know how I managed to convince my Dad it was a kids movie in a video store in the 80’s but somehow I did!

rsz_ed2Q: You’re a celebrated alternative model, and multi award winning director, writer, actress and producer. After being so successful with your modelling career, what was it that attracted you to film making?

With the modelling, the end results are great, frankly who wouldn’t want fantastic photos of themselves, however it’s not your art, not really, it’s the photographers. I’m not saying I don’t like modelling, I still do it from time to time, but I certainly wouldn’t devote all of my free time to it again the way I do with the filmmaking, although of course I’m very grateful for the amazing portfolio I’ve built up over the years.

Filmmaking gives you full creative control over telling a story. I guess I could have written a book or started doing more of my own photography (it would have been significantly cheaper), but I love film, I love using my mind to problem solve, and I love a challenge. Producing/Directing (and in my case also editing, marketing and all the rest) presents me with many challenges.

As far as the acting goes I’d really like to be offered a few more interesting serious parts. I do get offered roles fairly frequently but I have the problem of generally being earmarked what I’d call more of the ‘bimbo’ style of Scream Queen roles (being a model looking type I guess), which surprises me really as the character I play in my own film “Seize the Night” is so very far removed from this. I’ve just had the pleasure of acting in Comedy/Horror short film “Frankula” (available on Amazon Prime), co-starring with Hammer’s Caroline Munro and Judy Matheson, TV’s David Barry, “Carry On Screaming” star Fenella Fielding, and newcomer Martin Rudman, so interesting roles are out there. Many thanks to Stuart Morriss of Misty Moon and Jason Read of Robo Films for casting me in that. I’d actually really like to play a serious, smart, take no BS kind of heroine role in a high production value film, think Ripley in “Alien”. Wouldn’t we all, but if it’s out there that’s the ideal kind role for me in all honesty.

rsz_ed1Q: Seize the Night, saw you gain critical acclaim internationally, from some of the biggest horror magazines, and television channels. What has life been like since its release?

It did! It’s been a pretty amazing journey. It’s been covered at various stages of production by the likes of the Horror Channel, Dread Central, Starburst, Digital FilmMaker Magazine etc. It’s had some great reviews, including one from UK Horror Scene (which I actually quoted on the DVD cover). I can’t say I’ve suddenly been propelled into superstardom from one short film (who would be), but I am being taken more seriously as a mind and not just as a face now, I hope. I have signed as an official guest at lots of horror and sci-fi conventions across the UK, including MCM, which I think is pretty unheard of for an indie filmmaker/actor so I must be doing something right! The film’s also just been nominated for a prestigious iHorror award, so we’ll have to see what happens with that. Of course you have to take the good with the bad and the success does garner a certain level of negativity at times, especially (rather frustratingly) from industry peers I’m sad to say. I did let that bother me at one point but there are so many lovely genuine people out there who are extremely supportive that the others aren’t really worth worrying about in the grand scheme of things.

Q: Your next short film is ‘Salient Minus Ten’, is currently in post production. What can you tell us about your new venture?

It is, I’m finishing the edit now as we speak actually. I can tell you it looks absolutely amazing! I was lucky enough to have world renowned Director of Photography and DSLR guru Philip Bloom join my ‘Salient Minus Ten’ team as DoP. Philip is extremely talented and passionate about what he does, and like me is a bit of a perfectionist, so as you can imagine the shots looks amazing. The fact that Philip was requested to work on George Lucas’ feature film “Red Tails” should tell you everything you need to know about his beautiful cinematography style.

rsz_ed3Then there’s the star of my film, the amazing Alan Austen. Alan is perhaps best known for playing one of the Stormtroopers responsible for placing Han Solo in the carbon-freezing chamber in “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”, although his acting career actually spans almost 40 years and he’s had a variety of film and television parts. I’d originally cast another actor in the role (although I won’t go into that here, details are public on my Indiegogo campaign for those who need to know), when it came to recasting and I auditioned Alan I knew that he was the one to play the lead character of Adam Harper. Alan’s performance really blew me away, he’s absolutely fantastic, he really is, and I hope he goes on to win an award for his acting in my film.

I was also very lucky to have onboard named Special Effects artist Mike Peel of Rogue Creations. Mike has worked on a number of high profile films including “The Zombie Diaries”, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, “V for Vendetta” and Jake West’s “Evil Aliens”.

The next stage in the post production process is to now finalise the edit and record the ADR for the film with my Sound Recordist and Designer Chris Collier of 24 Foot Square. I really want the sound design to be very creative and present, as beautiful as the cinematography really, so Chris has a very prominent role on the film.

You can find out more about the rest of my cast and crew (many of whom are ‘Seize the Night’ alumni) on the film’s IMDb page.

As far as the story goes I guess I’ve kept that fairly secretive. It’s a short film after all so I don’t really want to give away the entire plot. My brief storyline reads “Adam Harper is an average man. And on an average day he suddenly finds himself catapulted into the strangest, reality changing game… A game of time and chance, where the stakes are a matter of life and death.” I’ve written a very dark Sci-Fi essentially with horror elements. It’s cerebral, classy and somewhat abstract. I don’t really believe short films have to be any less than features in terms of quality of content, so expect something beautiful with depth.

Q: When can we expect to see the release of ‘Salient Minus Ten’?

A public release won’t be for some time. First it has to do the festival run, which gives it the greatest chance of being seen by those in the industry, and hopefully it will pick up a few well deserved awards along the way. I do hope fans can make it along to festival screenings.

rsz_ed4Q: You are an advocate of ‘Women In Horror’. Were you involved in WiHm 2017?

Yes absolutely, I sat on Jonathan Hughes ‘Women in Horror’ panel at his London based ‘United in Blood’ event talking about a range of film and industry related subjects, and how they affect/what they mean for women in film. You can find video coverage of the panel here http://bit.ly/2mjKwdG. Also MorbidlyBeautiful.com interviewed me as part of Women in Horror Month here http://morbidlybeautiful.com/inspiration-women-horror-3/.

In Autumn last year I wrote a seven page article on ‘Women in Film’ published in issue 39 of Digital FilmMaker Magazine, which talks about my own perspective and the experiences of other prominent UK based female filmmakers. It’s well worth checking out, as an issue of great importance it made the headline article with a dedicated front cover.

Not entirely part of Women in Horror Month but the MMBF Trust have also just opened submissions for the Emma Dark Horror Award. It’s the second year running after a successful 2016 and aims to support all aspiring filmmakers.

Q: What projects do you have planned after ‘Salient Minus Ten’? What are your plans for the future?

I do have another self Produced/Directed short film planned for later this year which has a famous name attached, but if I told you about that I might have to kill you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us!

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5889089
Website – http://www.emmadark.com
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Twitter – https://twitter.com/EmDarkOfficial
YouTube – http://bit.ly/1O5w3aV