IT (2017) Review

IT (Dir- Andy Muschietti, USA, 2017)

Starring- Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton

It’s ironic in the fact that the central terrifying killer clown of Pennywise comes round every 27 years to terrorise and feed on the souls of the children of Derry, Maine where IT is set, is somehow mirrored by how the last adaptation of Stephen King’s novel was also 27 years ago, in the form of a TV mini series. Whilst the TV adaptation suffered from obvious censorship regulations of the television network, some slightly hammy acting from the adult characters of the cast, it sill had a brilliant central performance from Tim Curry as Pennywise, the shape shifting entity who takes the form of the jovial circus clown to prey on children. The new version, which is also known as IT: CHAPTER ONE, has already gone through a couple of other directors, including TRUE DETECTIVE season one director Cary Fukunaga, and has now landed at the feet of MAMA director Andy Muschietti. So how does he fare in transferring King’s epic, if somewhat bloated (the original novel is over 1000 pages) tome to a new audience.

The film opens with a brilliant sequence where young Georgie Denbrough goes outside in the pouring rain to test out the boat his older brother, Bill (Lieberher), has constructed for him. The boat floats down a drain where Georgie encounters a clown, Pennywise (Skarsgard). Rather than be scared by the sinister figure is instead conversing with it in child like innocent wonder, only to be then viciously attacked and then dragged into the storm drain by the circus performer gone wrong. We then cut to the following summer of 1989 and Bill and his friends, who belong in the losers club which they nickname, are ready for the upcoming season, to try and avoid the towns sociopathic bully (Hamilton) and at the same time try and search for Bill’s younger brother who he still believes is alive. It’s only when they realise that all of them have been having the same unusual visions and terrifying attacks involving Pennywise that they soon start to figure out that the demonic clown has been in the town of Derry for a long time and could be behind the spate of missing children that seem to plague the area every 27 years.

Admittedly the first thing that will pop into your head from watching IT is the relocation of the period of this first part of the story, moving from King 50’s setting in the book and in the mini series, to 80’s with references to New Kids On The Block, LETHAL WEAPON 2 and BATMAN and other nostalgia that puts into mind the recent success of the Duffer Brother brilliant Netflix series STRANGER THINGS. A fact made more relevant as one of the members of the loser club is played by Finn Wolfhard, a star from that same series. Overall its this young cast that handle the roles superbly and bring about engaging characters for the audience to root for, as they experience the first signs of growing up and in a town where as well as the sadistic entity of Pennywise they also have to deal with the uselessness and often abusive tell tale signs of their grown up parents.

Particular example is Beverley (Marsh) the only female member of the group who has had dubious gossip spread about her around town, but in reality is clearly suffering from abuse by her leering father. Even the school bully is also prone to having a relationship forged on subjigation handed to him by his abusive father, who is the town sheriff, exemplified in one particular scene where he humiliates him in front of his fellow bullies. IT portrays a world in which the children are flawed but not by their own actions but rather from the parents, in some cases in the worst way possible and it’s only with them being together that they somehow show maturity and strength that the grown ups, who remain largely in brief supporting roles, will never have. The star of the show is Skarsgard in the role as Pennywise with a performance that is his own creating a terrifying entity that preys on the characters fears and is malevolent in his menace of them and in utilising and exploiting their flaws.

Whilst the performances are strong the film does seem to let itself down a bit in the number of choreographed jump scares that happen throughout. Its telling that the first few jump scares are well done but then you soon start to notice the pattern emerging of when you know the required shock you out of your seat moment comes. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with the use of classic horror jump moments, which is pretty standard in the current mainstream genre frame of mind, this does tend to become a tiresome after a while and in the long run will lessen the longevity of the film in years to come.

The film does have a few moments that expertly generate a sense of shock and unease that doesn’t need the residual boo-scare moment. Such as hypochondriac Eddie’s (Grazer) encounter with a leper made all the more creepier and disturbing as its set in broad daylight. Also the gangs initial viewing of a group of slides on a projector that goes out of control, when a family photo of Bill’s slowly unravels to reveal Pennywise’s gleaming evil smile instead of his mothers face is an expertly handled moment of that works surprisingly well.

Overall Muschetti is confident enough director and handles the proceedings of the film with expert skill managing to balance moments of terror with moments of levity with his portrayal of the group of kids bringing out some great performances from his young cast and also especially from Skarsgard. Whilst it does go over long on the running time (stretching at 135 mins) IT somehow regains enough pace to keep things on a roll throughout and admittedly despite the few flaws, the film still has enough quality in its setting and characters to remain an engaging genre work. One that seems to be a merge of 80’s nostalgia which is certainly popular at the moment and with the films of that period such as GOONIES, STAND BY ME (another King adaptation) along with the recent retro fest STRANGER THINGS which might go to explaining how well its done at the box office.

7/10

Dogged (2017) Review

Dogged (2017)

Director: Richard Rowntree
Writers: Matthew Davies (screenplay) Christina Rowntree (based on a short story by) and Richard Rowntree.
Starring: Debra Leigh-Taylor, Sam Saunders, Toby Wynne-Davies and Tony Manders.

When Sam returns home to the tidal island where he grew up to attend a funeral, he soon discovers that the seedy underbelly of this small community harbours more than just a few secrets.

Dogged begins by introducing us to Sam (Sam Saunders: Reversible Lines, #Selfie and Absent Friends). Sam is returning from university to the family home on Farthing Island, the tidal island where he grew up. Sam has been summoned home to attend the funeral of Megan Lancaster (Abigail Rylance-Sneddon). Straight away, Sam begins to suspect that something about Megan’s death is being concealed.

There are several reasons for his suspicions. First, and most important, the villagers all look as though they have recently relocated from The League of Gentlemen’s Royston Vasey. They study unfamiliar faces with untrusting curiosity and there’s something in the way they regard Sam that makes it clear there is a ‘them’ and ‘us’ mentality on Farthing Island.

Then there’s the not-very-convincing-story about how Megan died: she went to help an injured deer and fell off a cliff. This story is relayed by Farthing Island’s resident priest, Father David J Jones (Toby Wynne-Davies: Blackline and Escape from Cannibal Farm). Admittedly Sam adds to the creepiness in this scene by making googly eyes at his love interest Rachel (Aiysha Jebali: Locked In, Start Again and Call of Babylon), which seems a touch inappropriate during a eulogy.

And, without wishing to slip into the territory of spoilers, there’s a sinister island cult and their nefarious way of dealing with outsiders and recalcitrant locals. Admittedly, about halfway through the film I was echoing Sam’s exclamation when he asked Sparrow (Nadia Lamin: Viewpoint, Meadow Lane and Human), “Excuse me, but what the fuck is going on?” However, by the end of the film, the story had reached a satisfactory resolution.

Dogged works on a level of paranoia and suspicion that has invariably played out so well in many British horror films, such as The Village of the Damned (1960), The Wicker Man (1973), and even the hilarious Pegg/Frost vehicle Hot Fuzz (2007). Perhaps it’s because none of us trust unfamiliar villages and their residents and their insular little local ways.

On another level, it’s possible to see Dogged as a parable for the division in the UK caused by Brexit. There are factions of little islanders, all of them adamant that they know what’s best for the community, with so many of them convinced that outsiders are a diabolical influence, and none of them willing to compromise on a satisfactory resolution.

There are some genuinely creepy scenes within Dogged as main characters explore the eerie local scenery. The overall story is well-played and the effect of the animal-head masks used by the local cultists is wholly disconcerting. The use of colour cleverly conveys an intensity of emotion and the story has some vicious twists and turns. Father David J Jones steals every scene in which he appears with a criminally charismatic performance.

This is definitely one to watch, but not if you’re planning a holiday trip to any quiet, isolated village.

9/10

Mayhem Film Festival reveals full line-up for 13th edition – October 2017

Mayhem Film Festival reveals full line-up for 13th edition

Mayhem Film Festival is proud to announce the full line-up of its 2017 edition, which will take place at Broadway, Nottingham on 12-15 October. The festival showcases the best features and short films in horror, sci-fi and cult cinema, through premieres, previews, guested screenings and special events each year.

As previously announced, Benjamin Barfoot’s Double Date will open the festival on Thursday 12 October and will be followed by a Q&A with guests yet to be revealed. Director Simeon Halligan will present his film Habit and will be joined on stage by producer Rachel Richardson-Jones and lead actor Elliot Langridge. Dick Maas (Amsterdamned, Saint) will also attend the festival to present the UK Premiere of Prey, the ferociously funny tale of a man-eating lion terrorising Amsterdam. The cast for the live stage reading of unmade Hammer script, Zeppelin v Pterodactyls, the centrepiece of the festival’s last day, will be announced at a later stage.

Mayhem’s 13th edition also includes screenings of Top Knot Detective and Mayhem – both previously announced – as well as the UK Premiere of tragic Groundhog Daylike South Korean sci-fi thriller, A Day, and preview screenings of Natalia Leite’s revenge thriller M.F.A. starring Francesca Eastwood, riotous comedy-thriller 68 Kill which plays like a gender-reversed True Romance, Ana Asensio’s spellbinding and award-winning debut Most Beautiful Island, and the darkly comic zombie flick Dead Shack which will close the festival.

With a total of 17 screenings and events, the 2017 edition will also see a screening of Dario Argento’s Suspiria, in a glorious restoration on its 40th anniversary, as part of The CultFilms Tour of SUSPIRIA-4k. The short film programme and the fiendish Mayhem quiz, The Flinterrogation, hosted by author David Flint, will return to round up the festival’s line-up.

Early Bird passes will remain on sale at the discounted price of £65 until 10AM on Tuesday 12 September at which time individual tickets, day passes and full festival passes at the regular price of £75 will be made available. For more information, please visit www.mayhemfilmfestival.com

The live stage reading of Hammer Films Zeppelin v Pterodactyls is made possible with thanks to Hammer Films and CATH (Cinema and Television History) Research Centre at DeMontfort University.

Mayhem Film Festival takes place on 12-15 October 2017 at Broadway, Nottingham.

The full line-up and schedule for Mayhem 2017 is available below:

THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER

7.30PM DOUBLE DATE + Special Guests Dir. Benjamin Barfoot, 2017 (UK) with Danny Morgan & Michael Socha

10PM M.F.A. Dir. Natalia Leite, 2017 (US) with Francesca Eastwood & Clifton Collins Jr.

FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER

3.30PM BITCH Dir. Marianna Palka, 2017 (US) with Jaime King & Jason Ritter

5.30PM 68 KILL Dir. Trent Haaga, 2017 (US) with Matthew Gray Gubler & AnnaLynne McCord

7.30PM HABIT + Special Guests Simeon Halligan, Rachel Richardson-Jones & Elliot Langridge Dir. Simeon Halligan, 2017 (UK) with Elliot Langridge & Jessica Barden

10PM FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III: 3D Dir. Steve Miner, 1982 (US) with Dana Kimmell & Tracie Savage

SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER

12PM TAG Dir. Sion Sono, 2015 (JAP) with Reina Triendl & Mariko Shinoda

1.45PM A DAY – UK PREMIERE Dir. Sun-ho Cho, 2017 (ROK) with Myung-min Kim & Eun-hyung Jo

3.30PM MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND Dir. Ana Asensio, 2017 (US) with Ana Asensio & Natasha Romanova

6PM MAYHEM SHORT FILM SHOWCASE Dir. Various, 2017 (International)

8.30PM PREY + Special Guest Dick Maas Dir. Dick Maas, 2016 (NL) with Mark Frost & Sophie Van Winden

11PM SUSPIRIA The CultFilms Tour of SUSPIRIA-4k (shown in 2k) Dir. Dario Argento, 1977 (ITA) with Jessica Harper & Stefania Casini

SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER

12PM TOP KNOT DETECTIVE Dirs. Aaron McCann & Dominic Pearce, 2017 (AUS/JAP) with Toshi Okuzaki & Mayu Iwasaki

1.45PM RIFT Dir. Erlingur Thoroddsen, 2017 (ICE) with Björn Stefánsson & Sigurður Þór Óskarsson

4PM The Flinterrogation Hosted by author David Flint

5PM ZEPPELIN V PTERODACTYLS – A live stage reading of a legendary lost Hammer production

7.45PM MAYHEM Dir. Joe Lynch, 2017 (US) with Steven Yeun & Samara Weaving

9.30PM DEAD SHACK Dir. Peter Ricq, 2017 (CAN) with Lizzie Boys & Cameron Andres

Short Film ‘The Promised Land’ launches Indiegogo Page!  

Short Film ‘The Promised Land’ launches Indiegogo Page!

The Indiegogo page for new short film The Promised Land is up now from UKHS friend and filmmaker Scott Lyus, check the details below and check the Indiegogo page , plus if possible spread the word!!

The Promised Land is a short film from London Film School student Johan Eskew and Produced by UK Filmmaker Scott Lyus. Taking a deep look into the worlds past and current issues with race and class, The Promised Land is set in a nightmarish future and ask the question of how far will we go if we let hate consume us, within a drama/horror/scifi epic.

Living in an America scarred by a civil war, Ross a 23-year-old Afro-Latin woman, scavenges for food and supplies to take to her safe house, all while on the run from the Enforcers. Along the way Ross is discovered by a young 11-year-old Caucasian girl, Lina, who is simply trying to get back home.

Looking out for herself, Ross attempts to distance herself from the young girl as she presents an immediate danger by association. In this world, Race does not mix. But leaving the girl behind is not an option and Ross soon finds herself on a journey to help Lina find her way home, all while trying to stay out of reach of the Enforcers.

Check the Indiegogo here – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-promised-land-drama-horror-scifi-short-film#/

 

Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette #22 – Dream Home (2006)

Join Che as she plays Netflix Roulette and watches a randomly selected horror film. Will it be awesome? Will it be torture? What horrors await?? Find out every month with Netflix Roulette!

Title: Dream Home

Year: 2006

Director: Amir Valinia

Starring: Chantelle Win, Cory Stills, Mia X, Chris Fry

Netflix Rating: 2.4 stars

Seen it before: No

First Impressions: The rating doesn’t look promising, but the director has done music videos, so I’m hoping at least the visuals will be stylish. The description says it’s a haunted house film. At least it better be. I’ve been burned before, and when the description starts going on about Dream Home being a subversion of the American dream… well, a crappy psychological thriller can’t be far behind…

The Verdict: That was really painful to watch. Horrifically cheap production values are the only thing that stands out in this poor excuse for a film. The acting is terrible, the dialogue is bad and the cinematography laughable. Which is alarming considering the director has five credits as a cinematographer. The film is also shot on video. And not good video, like soap operas. Crappy video that is only a few steps up from say, a 15 year old video of a child hitting a man in the balls with a baseball but infinitely less entertaining.

The script is also imbalanced. It’s 90 percent domestic drama by way of a real estate ad. There is a good twenty to thirty minutes of discussions about the house and how beautiful it is, and how much work did they have to put in and even a riveting scene in a hardware store buying paint.

The ghosts are just “actors” (which gets sarcastic air quotes for their underperformance) with no special effects, no make-up, no anything to make them ghosts aside from video tricks to make them dissolve into thin air. And I know I mentioned the bad acting, but it’s so unilaterally brutal, everyone single one of them is bad. No one is an actual actor, and if they are, this is probably their first and last film. Unless they watched themselves in this and realized they need acting lessons. And back to the script for a second, the dialogue repeats, ad nauseam. The characters go over and over, the same dialogue, explaining to each other the same plot points in slightly different ways over and over for entire scenes.

And after all this I haven’t gotten to the plot. Well, there isn’t much of one. It’s a stock standard haunting with crap ghosts. Young newlyweds, Darrell and Faye (Stills and Win) buy a Southern charmer of a house and set about fixing it up. But strange things happen the longer they stay, mystery cats, creepy old guys, dreams and weird old ladies. And then the movie doesn’t so much end, as just stop. It honestly doesn’t matter and no one cares.

Dream Home is the sort of film that makes you angry you watched it because it’s an hour and a half of life you’ll never get back.

Rating: 2/10

A Life in Blood – Tales Of A Horror Queen Sept 2017

A Life in Blood – Tales Of A Horror Queen Sept 2017

Attack of the Killer Chickens had it’s only NYC screening at TromaDance! We celebrated this Horror Queen’s birthday in full b-rated style! This is a FREE event hosted by the king of B himself Lloyd Kaufman and located at The People’s Improv Theater in NYC. It was a huge honor to recently have my directorial debut, Attack of the Killer Chickens screen at TromaDance! It was really awesome to have my film open the film festival!

“Congrats Genoveva! Your film is a fowl masterpiece!” -Lloyd Kaufman

What is TromaDance? The TromaDance Film Festival is a free annual independent film festival organized by Troma Entertainment. Founded in 1999, TromaDance was originally held in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, operating concurrently alongside the Sundance Film Festival in order to showcase an independent alternative to Sundance’s perceived mainstream offerings. Between 2010 and 2013, the festival had been relocated to various locations throughout New Jersey. Since 2014, TromaDance has relocated to New York City. (from Wikipedia)

Attack of the Killer Chickens is a short film and my directorial debut. So far it has been accepted to 20 film festivals and been nominated for five awards including Best Visual Effects, Best Screenplay, Best Spoof, and Best Concept. I wrote this film, directed it, produced it, and acted in it.

I am incredibly thankful to an amazing cast and crew. But perhaps the real stars of the film are the chicken puppets created by Rocco George. Rocco and I are huge fans of Jim Henson and his puppet creations for the film pay homage to Henson’s vision.

Synopsis: It’s the dawn of a new age, a chicken age. Attack of the Killer Chickens! Running time: 6 minutes 30 seconds Director, writer, producer, and actress of Attack of the Killer Chickens: Genoveva Rossi. Starring: Genoveva Rossi, Edward X. Young, Rocco George, Nick Petito and with Pamela Martin as Jill. Music by James Hostomsky.

IMDb: http://m.imdb.com/title/tt4942096/?ref_=m_fn_al_1

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Attackofthekillerchickens/

How did I hatch the idea for this of the wall chicken film? It all started with me learning that there were actually more chickens in the world presently than humans. My NYC acting pal Pamela Martin asked me if I had any ideas for a short film and I told her of my chicken horror idea. I like to this of Attack of the Killer Chickens as the Citizen Kane of crazy chicken film.

What inspired me to create this film? The films that inspired me the most were Pink Flamingos, The Birds, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Planet of the Apes, Plan 9 From Outer Space, and Night of the Living Dead. For the first film I directed I wanted to go back to the beginning and explore some of the early low budget films that inspired me as a kid. Films so bad they’re good! So of course it was so fitting to have Attack of the Killer Chickens screen at a Troma event!

What are the future plans for Attack of the Killer Chickens? The short film will be continuing it’s epic run at more film festivals all over the world. Preproduction has begun on the feature film! If anyone is interested in getting involved or investing in the film they can email m at Genovevarossi@outlook.com.

From Troma and Lloyd Kaufman please check out:
Watch 250 free movies on Troma’s movies youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Tromamovies

 

                                                                                   Yours in screams,
Genoveva Rossi

Check out my website www.genovevarossi.com
Also follow me on Facebook: Genovevarossi810
Twitter: GenovevaRossi1
Instagram: Genoveva_Rossi
IMDb: http://www.imdb.me/genovevarossi

Check out Troma’s latest feature Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2 coming soon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3TRIFJw384