Gary Hindley

About Gary Hindley

Hi there, my name is Gary Hindley. I live in the North East of Scotland where it nearly always rains, and I am a lover, of all things horror, and literally all aspects of the horror genre. Some would call it an obsession. I love the writing of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P Lovecraft. My favourite horror genres are slashers, paranormal and Sci-fi, with 'Nightmare On Elm Street', 'Friday The 13th', 'Evil Dead' and the 'Alien' franchises being amongst my favourites. On the TV, I'm a fan of 'American Horror Story', and 'Ash vs. Evil Dead'.

Pet (2016) Review

rsz_petPET (2016)

Directed By: Carles Torrens
Written By: Jeremy Slater
Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy
Score: 8/10

Introduction
‘Pet’, is an independent, psychological horror/thriller, that is being compared to the likes of ‘Hard Candy’, due to its claustrophobic nature. An announcement was made that the film would make its world premier in March 2016, at the SXSW Festival, and was very well received. ‘Pet’ was released theatrically on December 2nd, 2016 and will be available on VOD and DVD on December 27th, 2016.

Synopsis:
Seth (Dominic Monaghan), is a down on his luck young man, who works at an animal shelter. One day on his way home from work, a girl who he has not seen for years, but had crushed on in school, gets on the bus. She is a beautiful, young woman, called Holly (Ksenia Solo). He starts to stalk Holly, firstly, online on her tinder profile, and then moving on to following her around at nights in the dark, and repeatedly going to see her at work where she is waitress.  Lacking the confidence to ask her out, he decides he has had enough, and kidnaps Holly, and puts her in a cage in the basement of the animal shelter where he works. In this tale full of twists and turns, is Holly who he thinks she is and who will end up the real victim?

rsz_1pet2Review:
This is a full on roller coaster of a film that will have you gripped from start to finish. The further into the film you get, you find out about more about the characters disturbing secrets, and of Seth and Holly’s night time activities. The character development is absolutely superb, and the performances from the films two main characters is brilliant, and both play their parts incredibly well. Their back stories aren’t thrown at you in one big lump, but are more drip fed to you, leaving you locked on, craving more information about the pair, and wanting to know what depths each are prepared to go to, to satisfy their own personal lusts and desires. As more of this awesome story unfolds, the twists are brilliant and well thought out. As you venture into the awesome finale, you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation, of how this power struggle, between the two will ultimately play out.

Dominic Monaghan, who portrays the character ‘Seth’, is presented as a loner and a nobody who is invisible to the world. We see his boundaries completely disappear, as his lust for Holly turns to infatuation and his is mind descends further into madness and obscurity. He meticulously plans the kidnapping and incarceration of Holly, as he works towards what is his ultimate goal of having this girl as his pet, someone he can have power over, and control. You get the sense from him that there may be no limits of what he is capable of. His intentions are not of a sexual nature and he keeps repeating to Holly that he wants to help her. He seems to want to systematically break her down psychologically. But the more he thinks he is succeeding with his plan he is actually playing straight into Holly’s hands, who has got plans of her own.

rsz_pet4Ksenia Solo, who portrays Holly, is the girl that Seth becomes completely obsessed with. From the day she first met Seth on a bus ride home from work, she becomes more and more conscious of the fact, that Seth is popping up everywhere she goes. She finds herself constantly looking over her shoulder and develops a huge sense of paranoia. Once kidnapped, and as each day goes by, we find out more about Seth’s prisoner, and Holly is definitely not what she first appears to be. Seth is presented with some major problems that he could never have anticipated, turning the film completely on its head and presenting the unusual situation which sees the hostage take complete control from the confines of her cage.

The pacing of each scene is brilliant. You’re not left lingering and waiting for something to happen ,in saying that after what are some pretty heated conversations between the two, you have the time to digest the mind games being played and prepare yourself for whatever is coming next.
The scenes filmed in the basement between Seth, and Holly are so intense and enticing and what compliments this greatly is the dialogue, it’s simply brilliant. The exchanges between the pair intensify with each visit, and with this, we see the balance of power shift back and forth between the hostage and her keeper. After they’re through talking for the day, each of them are left with some food for thought, and sit rehearsing how they’re going to play out their next move in this most dangerous game of cat and mouse.

rsz_pet3Final Thoughts:
Although this film was the lowest grossing film of any theatrical release in 2016, taking in a measly $70, I’m struggling to come to terms with how such a good film can slump so badly in the theatres. It may be a lack of publicity, or just a sign of the times, with films being so readily available online… or simply that the film was released at a time, where it was swamped by bigger box office films. This really is one of the best psychological films that has come out in quite some time. Its extremely clever, brilliantly written, and fantastically performed. I expect that this film will do much better when released on VOD and will be one that i’m sure will be appreciated for the fine film that it is.

8/10

Alien Covenant Trailer – An Examination

Aalien-covenant-1280lien Covenant Trailer

Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Michael Green, John Logan, Jack Paglen
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce

Introduction:
Alien: Covenant, will slot into the Alien franchise, as the sequel to ‘Prometheus’, released in 2012, and the 2nd prequel to ‘Alien’, which was released in 1979, with all three films being directed by Ridley Scott. The original film was a meteoric success. It’s one of those films, that is up there as one of the best films of its generation, and even today, the fear inducing, claustrophobic nature of the film, makes it timeless classic, and one to be treasured.

alien-covenant-teaser-trailer-020Synopsis:
The crew of the colony ship ‘Covenant’, are headed for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy. En route, they discover what they believe to be an uninhabited planet full of wonderment and possibilities. They soon find out, that they are not alone. And where they have landed, is in fact a hostile, dark, and volatile world, full of danger at every turn. The Covenant crew members, to their misfortune, soon discover something they could never have imagined… even in their worst nightmares. Somehow, someway, they must make their escape.

What Do We Know?
Before the trailer for Alien: Covenant was released, there was some delightfully dark artwork released. Below, you will see what has got us Alien fans salivating. Will we see the return of the Xenomorph? Or at least start to learn of their origins? Is this a new breed of Alien?

fotorcreatedFrom the start of production, Ridley Scott made it clear that this movie would be going in a direction similar to the first Alien film. He also said that there will creatures bursting out of bodies, and lots of blood and violence. For fans of this franchise (myself included), this all sounds like great news, but can it be delivered? Its no secret that due to studio involvement on Prometheus, the studio wanted to have a franchise, and milk the Alien cash cow for every penny they could get. So instead of getting the direct prequel to Alien, (like most fans thought) we got a film, that had absolutely nothing to do with Alien.

When a sequel was announced, the big question was always going to be about the direction of the sequel. Would it continue on the Prometheus route, and remain removed from the Alien story line? Or would we finally get a film that will link up to Alien? From the look of the trailer, we’re moving in the right direction for sure. One thing we know for sure, is that the Alien creatures that featured in Prometheus, will not be returning. Only the engineers, and the black goo will feature.

fotorcreated1The Trailer:
The start of the trailer, is very reminiscent of the intro to the first Alien film, showing us long, narrow corridors and walkways. It brings back that familiar claustrophobic feeling. In the below screen shots taken directly from the trailer, we can see one of the walkways, with bloodied footprints, and they’re not from a human.

Very early in the trailer, we’re hit with a bombshell. We see a male, in the midst of a seizure, and then his back starts to burst open. It would seem then, that this is first sign of a new breed of Alien.

Interestingly, Michael Fassbender, (who portrayed the android character, ‘David’ in ‘Prometheus’)  in an interview with BBC Radio 2, let slip that the new type of Aliens that we will see, are called ‘Neomorphs’ or more simply, ‘Back Busters’.

fotorcreated2The next question has to be, ‘How do this new breed of Alien, come to be’? With information sourced from AvP Galaxy, i’ll go ahead and tell you in my own words.

Remember the black goo we saw in Prometheus? The planet, that the crew of the Covenant have travelled to, is covered in this goo, and it has mutated the local ecosystems. Large patches of black pods have formed on the ground, and on trees. As pictured above, if these pods are disturbed, or stepped on, they release spores, which enter the human body through the ear or the nose.
screenshot-2016-12-30-at-16-25-12The alien then grows within the infected human host, and when its time, bursts out through either the back or throat. The Neomorph shares some similarities to the ‘Deacon’ alien we saw at the end of ‘Prometheus. When it breaks out of its human host, it used its pointed head and two dorsal spines, to break free of its embryonic sack. When born, the Neomorphs are white in colour, and at first, they will walk on four legs, and when fully grown, stand up and walk on their two back legs.

This all sounds very exciting then. But… there is more. The crew uncover a huge patch of eggs. And bursting out of them, are the face-hugger. That’s right, they’re back. And I can imagine that can mean only one thing? The return/rebirth of the Xenomorph. There are still a lot of unanswered questions then, which is exactly what a trailer should be leaving you with. I honestly cant wait to see what comes next with this film, and really hope it can live up to all the early hype its receiving.

John Dies At The End (2012) Review

mv5bmtuynziynzc0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwotm5odg1oa-_v1_John Dies At The End (2012)

Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Written by: David Wong (Author) and Don Coscarelli (Screen Adaption)
Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti. Arnie Blondestone, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman
Release Date: 22 March 2013
Score: 9/10

Introduction
‘John Dies At The End’, is a horror/comedy/fantasy film, which stretched my mind to lengths I never thought possible. Not only is this film extremely clever, its absolutely hilarious, and terrifying at the same time.
You’d be forgiven, for thinking that the title of the film, perhaps ruins the ending, and things don’t really end to well for John, but you’ll soon come to find out, that things are not quite as clear cut as they may seem.

Synopsis:
There’s a drug called ‘Soy Sauce’. The sauce for short. The people that use it, or come into contact with it, develop the ability to travel through time and space, to different dimensions. When they come back, sometimes, they’re no longer human, and bring back with them, all manor of demonic creatures, and worst of all, an evil entity, that goes by the name of Kurok, intent on wiping out humanity. The fate of the world, is in the hands of John and Dave. Two college drop out, lay about’s, who’s day job revolves around being demon spiritualist/exorcists, kicking the ass out of anything evil coming over to their plane. The pair are about to embark on a make or break journey to face evil, and save the world.

john-dies-at-the-end_10Review:
From the director of the hilarious horror/comedy ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’, comes ‘John Dies At The End’.
The way the film begins, does not ease you in gently, and this is a good thing. The energy needs to be up to make something like this work, and it does, to great effect. This is one of those films that will immediately encapsulate you. It’s not a film to watch on a Friday night with a beer and a group of friends, who are going to talk through the integral parts of the formation of the plot, and then 10 minutes later, say this film is confusing, and they don’t know whats going on.

The first few lines of dialogue, are both confusing but utterly intriguing and leave you wanting to know more about what this guy is babbling on about. As the story is further introduced to you, in what I can only describe, as some of the most insane, and best delivered dialogue, my ears have had the privilege of hearing, you begin to understand more of how this man known as David Wong, has come to be who he is, and form an appreciation for what he does, what he has been through, and what he is going to go through.

Lets set the scene. David Wong, sits down for an interview with a journalist called Arnie. He wants to make public, the adventures that he and John have been through, Therefore, you can probably guess that the plot centres around a flash back, were David recounts his story, of a series of fascinating, and utterly terrifying events. It revolve’s around he and his friend John, how they came into contact with ‘The Soy Sauce’, and how their lives dramatically changed from that very moment.

john-dies-at-the-end-soy-sauce-550x229The soy sauce, which is also referred to as ‘The Sauce’ is a horrible looking black goop in a syringe, its alive. It will literally grow spores, turn into a small fly and find its way into your body. If you come into contact with it, you’re whole world is going to change, and you’re life is never going to be the same again.  The sauce isn’t evil, and doesn’t use a person as a host. It heightens every sense, and opens up many gateways. Your brain will work faster than any computer, you can communicate telepathically, you can pass between dimensional planes, and scariest of all, you can see the evil creatures that are hidden just out of sight, that are all around us. The kind that you only see in the corner of your eye, if you concentrate hard enough, and you’re unlucky enough to see it. The grease trap of the universe is in your line of sight, and you can fight or die, or, be consumed by evil, and used as a host to serve its will, and then die. Either way, you’re gonna need to get your pistol, and get ready.

In every good film, next to the lead characters, there’s always the person in the supporting role, that just ties it all together nicely. In this film, its the detective. His dialogue is brilliant. Like all the dialogue in the film. not only is it clever, but it has wit, and humour.
One seen in particular, at ‘Robert Marley’s’ trailer, the detective comes into his own, and the film goes up another level from this point.

maxresdefaultThe evil creatures Dave and John are fighting against, and the way the evil trying to consume the earth, always needs a host, to fulfil its will, they all have a feeling of the creature(s) in John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. They’re gross, hideous looking things, and the poor souls that become the hosts to these things, once they’re no longer of any use, they meet a truly brutal, and vicious end to their existence.

Make no mistake about it… As wonderful as the fantasy element is in this film, and how funny it is, and how witty, and clever the dialogue is… the horror element is brutal. There is one scene especially, when they pass to another dimension, that sees something you could only attribute to the nazi’s. Human beings are thrown into a mass grave while still alive, and then the rest of that scene becomes animated, like something akin to Tarantino’s Kill Bill… I will say that the violence is not human on human, but there is lots of blood, dismemberment and decapitation. ‘Groovy’.

2016 saw the revival of scary clowns, both in film and popular culture. In this film, there is no clowns, ghosts, or zombies. But if spiders, snakes, and creatures so disgusting, your mind couldn’t even begin to comprehend them, make you squeamish, then you’ll be watching this film through your fingers.

But never fear, because alongside David and John, is their boss, and all round bad ass, ‘Marconi’. The superb ‘Clancy Brown’ portrays this living god superbly. He is a mentalist/spiritualist/exorcist and everything else all in one. With a single thought, or the mere muttering of a single word, he can make a demon literally explode. If our two hero’s find themselves literally up to their necks in it, enter ‘Marconi’ with the solution.

john-dies-review-3Since first seeing this film, it’s one of those that I have always gone back to, and will regularly recommend to anyone looking for a decent film. When I speak about it to people, and they have no clue what i’m talking about, it shouldn’t, but it astounds me that this film never got more coverage than it did. It has a cult following sure, and maybe its better that way. The majority of the better films are. The film isn’t just solid, it isn’t just funny, dark, and outlandish… its completely brilliant and enlightening, and a film that everyone should see at least once in their life.

9/10

Birmingham Horror Con Feb 4th 2017 – A Preview

bcc
Horror Con is coming to Birmingham in 2017, on February 4th, at Edgbaston stadium, with a truly fantastic line up.
All across the UK, those of you, who like us, are in love with everything horror, this convention is your chance to get up close, and meet the stars of your favourite horror films. There will also be a chance to meet many established, and award winning authors, graphic novelists, special effects, prosthetic wizards, and make up artists, who have worked on many feature films, and other exciting projects. You will have the chance to see some of their awesome talents on display, in any or all of the workshops, and live demonstrations happening throughout the day.

There will be a number of exciting exhibits to visit, as well as there being some amazing merchandise for sale, at the many traders tables at the convention, with some unusual, but completely amazing purchases available, made right in front of you, by people with an unholy amount of talent. Where else would you find, this level of awesomeness, all together, under one roof?
Birmingham Horror Con 2017, is surely not one to be missed.

Get Your Tickets Here 

Guests
One of the most anticipated parts of any horror convention, is the guests. It allows fans to get up close and be star struck by their favourite movie heroes, and authors. There are guests appearing, that are stars of  fan favourites. Films such as Nightmare On Elm Street, Halloween, Sinister, Wrong Turn, The Human Centipede 2, Dead End, and a Scream Queen of the classic, British, Hammer Horror films. The authors that are attending, have all worked on major horror projects, and the majority are award winning authors, who have seen their work be optioned by major Hollywood producers to make film adaptations of their writing. Below, are just a few of the exciting guests, you can meet at the convention. For a full preview of the guests attending Birmingham Horror Con, Click Here.

kensagoes

Ken Sagoes IMDb
February 2017, will see the 30th anniversary of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors‘. To celebrate this landmark, Ken Sagoes, who portrayed the no nonsense tough guy ‘Kincade’ will be making his very first appearance in the UK. He will be signing autographs and is very much looking forward to meeting all his fans. He’ll be discussing his time working on Dream Warriors, and interestingly, how he was the first ever African-American actor, to survive a horror film and return for a sequel, in ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master’. He will also be talking about his upcoming movie ‘Gorenos’, portraying the character ‘Haywood’. The film will be released in April 2017.

jsugarciaJsu Garcia

Jsu Garcia IMDb
Jsu portrayed the part of bad boy ‘Rod Lane’, in the nightmare inducing, cinematic masterpiece, that is the Wes Craven directed ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’. The 1984 release, would be the first time, that the world would be introduced, to possibly the most iconic villain in horror film history, in Freddy Krueger. On the advice of his agent, Jsu gave himself a stage name. In the credits sequence at the start of Nightmare, he is listed under the name Nick Corrie. He is looking forward to coming back to the UK, and especially to Birmingham, being a huge fan of the British crime/drama ‘Peaky Blinders’.

tonymoranTony Moran

Tony Moran IMDb
In 1978, John Carpenter gave us ‘Halloween’. And with it, would give us one of horrors most terrifying, and most recognisable movie villains of all time, in Michael Myers. The character, in the credits roll, quite hauntingly, is known quite simply, as ‘The Shape’. It would Tony Moran who would have the honour of portraying the indestructible antagonist.

After doing Halloween, Tony took a long hiatus from acting, but has recently made a return to our screens, starring in the recently released ‘American Poltergeist’, and will also star in 2017’s horror blockbuster ‘Death House’, where he will portray the part of Miguel. 2017 will also see Tony being active in many more projects, as he continues his return. Check out his IMDb, for a look at what he’s up to in 2017.

nickkingNick King

Nick King IMDb
Nick starred as the villain Bughuul, in the chilling, nightmare inducing Sinister films. His portrayal of Mr Boogie, is one that easily makes this character, one of the most terrifying villains to come to our screens in some time. Nick has spent the majority of his career being a stuntman. He has featured in such horror films as Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 3, as well as the massive Marvel comic film adaptations of Thor, and The Green Hornet. He also starred in ‘The Last Stand’, where he featured with screen legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Knoxville.

nickpNick Percival

www.nickpercival.com
Nick is an award-winning Graphic Novelist, who specialises in high-detail comic book artwork and concept designs for Film, videogames and Television. He has worked with all the heavy weights in the entertainment business, having had such clients as Sony, EA, Marvel Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios, MTV, Warner Bros, Activision, director John Carpenter and Author Clive Barker, just to name a few. Nick created exclusive artwork for the ‘Hellraiser’ comic book series, and designed the new female ‘Pinhead’ character. He also created the original artwork for the ‘Asylum’ horror comic book series. His recent work, has included developing his own projects, including writing and directing short horror films.

davidmoodyDavid Moody

www.davidmoody.net
David has written a number of horror novels, including AUTUMN. The book was a major success, and has been downloaded more than half a million times since being published in 2001. The success of this novel, led to many, equally successful sequels, and a movie starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine. Also, renowned film director, Guillermo del Toro, bought the rights to his novel, HATER. He is currently writing new HATER novels and working on the long-gestating movie adaptation.

Spotlight

The spotlight and exhibits section of the convention, details the cosplayers, industry professionals and businesses, that are putting on workshops, and live demonstrations of their talents in special effects, make-Up, prosthetic’s, photography, mould making and much more. Below, we will take a look at some of the best bits you can see throughout the day. To see a full preview of all the cosplayers that will be attending, as well as all the workshops, live demonstrations, and exhibits that will be at the convention, Click Here.

mccMonster Charity Project

The Monster Charity Project Facebook Page

Birmingham Horror Con, has recently announced their new partnership, and show of support for the Monster Charity Project. At the convention, you’ll be able to meet the people behind this wonderful charity, and find out some more information about their activities and the work they do.
After a very successful Biker Scout Helmet Project, a new, very exciting venture is underway, that will see 25, of the top special effects artists from across the country, coming together to customise 25 monster Busts.
These items will then be auctioned off in October 2017, with all proceeds go to Make A Wish UK.
If you wish to find more information about this wonderful charity, click on the Facebook link above.

wohPascal Frank

Pascal Franck Facebook Page
1,2, Freddy’s Comin’ For You…
Meet Pascal Franck. The man who is also known, as ‘The Belgian Freddy Krueger’.
On February 4th, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’, the man of your dreams will be jumping out of dream land, and straight into Birmingham Horror Con, in full Freddy make up, and will be equipped with all his Freddy props for you to pose with, for your photographic joy. Everybody in attendance, should ‘5,6 get Your Crucifix’ and ‘Get Ready for Freddy’.

horrme1Horrify Me

http://www.horrify.me.uk/
Horrify Me is a truly amazing, and unique experience, and at Birmingham Horror Con, you lucky people will have the amazing opportunity, to see them at work! This award winning studio, specialises in photography, special effects, make up, props, and are geared solely towards everything horror. Do not make the mistake, of thinking that this is just some kind of upmarket fancy dress. Through utter wizardry, and an outlandish amount of talent, they can literally transform you into any your favourite horror film characters. There is literally no limit to what they can do. The end results are mind blowing, movie-quality images,
It’s messy, gory fun having a full horror makeover, and then being instructed into several poses, and being covered in lots of blood. You’ll be snarling, biting, dribbling blood, and trying to look as horrible as possible.
Horrify Me offers an amazing, unforgettable experience that you will simply love! Check out the website for all the available options and associated prices.

wpLive Special Effects / Prosthetic’s Demonstration – Rogue Creations SFX

http://www.roguecreationssfx.com/
Rogue Creations SFX specialise in a huge range of special effects for film, television and theatre.
At the convention, they will be putting on live demonstrations featuring prosthetic’s, special effects, and make up.
Having worked on such films as The Descent, Harry Potter 5, The Zombie Diaries 1 & 2, Knight of the Dead, Predator:Dark Ages, Unhallowed Ground and Shed of the Dead, their services include sculptures, mould-making, special effects, make up, prosthetic’s, and much, much more. For information on Rogue Creations, visit their website.

Merchandise
We all love purchasing wonderful horror merchandise. Whether it be a t-shirt, poster, something that’s a limited edition item for your favourite film or character, or even a personalised item, everyone loves a memento from the occasion. The 2017 convention will see some truly inspired merch for sale. Here is a selection of the traders tables you should look out for. For a full preview of all the traders that will be at Birmingham Horror Con, Click Here.

rsz_bgscbk-1024x1024Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide

Website: http://www.rocknrollsuicide.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/rocknrollsuicideuk
Rock n Roll Suicide sell a huge range of horror related products for sale. They sell a large selection of products by Kreepsville 666. These products include bags by Elvira, jewellery by Alchemy and Kreepsville 666, patches, clothing, pin badges and even coffin shaped beach towels. They also sell classic horror patches, from films such as Chucky, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Dracula, Evil Dead, Frankenstein, Friday The 13th, Hellraiser, It, Lost Boys, Nosferatu, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and much more

ccCharlotte Clark

http://www.charlotteclarkdesignermaker.co.uk
Charlotte Clark Designer Maker, creates delightfully dark designer ceramics to complement your home. Her range covers dinnerware, cushions, and ornaments. All the items she sells are all decorated by hand on bone china, and are kiln fired at her workshop, and are suitable for use in microwaves and are dishwasher safe. Have a look at her full range on her website.

rhThe Mini Replica Hut

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheMiniReplicaHut
Tony Owen a.k.a Stumpy is a specialist in custom made, stainless steel sculptures, that are based around movies, games, comic books and more. Tony will be bringing a wide range of his unique, hand made sculptures to Horror con, which will be available for purchase. He will also be taking orders, for sculptures to be made to your own specifications. Check out the website for a deeper look into the work carried out by The Mini Replica Hut. These sculptures are truly beautiful, and unique, and would make an amazing, one of a kind souvenir.

Birmingham Horror Con then, is one of the first conventions of the year, and an event on the horror calendar you are not going to want to miss. Be sure to Get Your Tickets Here, and we’ll look forward to you on February 4th, 2017.

Blessed Are The Children (2016) Review

batc1Blessed Are The Children (2016)

Directed By: Chris Moore
Written By: Chris Moore and Chris Wesley
Cast: Kaley Ball, Keni Bounds, Arian Thigpen
Release Date: November 5th, 2016 (USA)

Introduction:
Blessed Are The Children, is an independent horror/thriller film, set in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. The story follows a young woman, who has accidentally fallen pregnant, and needs an abortion. Due to controversial comments made by business tycoon, and the now President-Elect, of the United States of America, ‘Donald Trump’, there has been much talk and debate about the subject of abortion. He has made it clear in many speeches, that all lives matter, and he wants to put a law in place, to ban abortion. This has of course, sparked outrage. Needless to say then, this film has certainly come around at the right time, when the subject is high on the list of discussion in all levels of society, all round the world.

Synopsis:
After a recent break up from her physically abusive ex-fiancé, Traci Patterson, portrayed by Kaley Ball, accidentally falls pregnant, and is unsure as to who the father is. Her house-mates Mandy and Erin, portrayed by Keni Bounds, and Arian Thigpen, help her in deciding, that it would be best to get an abortion. Upon having the procedure and leaving the clinic, she is stalked relentlessly by anti-abortion fanatics, who were protesting at the clinic. They’re ringing her mobile phone, and leaving threatening messages and wherever she goes, they’re breathing down her neck. They’re the rattle in bushes, the whistle in the wind. Is this sub-conscious guilt, or are Traci and her friends about to find out, that there are things that go bump in the night?

Review:

batc2Blessed Are The Children, is a major throwback to the grindhouse era of horror. It has a major 70’s, B-movie feel to it, which whether intentional or not, works very well. There was very low budget, and the cast of actors and actresses, were complete novices . In the case of the lead actress, and her two house mates, this was their first ever film. In the most part I found this feature a little frustrating, and this is mainly to do with the pacing of the film. There are instances, where scenes that are not of huge importance to the film, drag on a little longer than they should. I didn’t get the impression that the film knew what it was, or what direction it wanted to go in. For the majority of the film, it was a drama, about a girl coming of age, then it got to being a stalker-slasher horror, and the quality of the film improved dramatically. When the two antagonists come into the film, and start being used to proper effect, the fear factor cranks up to 11. There are genuinely scary moments, that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

From the moment that the stalking properly starts, the fright factor escalates dramatically, and you get a proper feel for what direction the film should have been going in from the beginning. The lead up to these mad men getting to their victims is really creepy. Its not just murder, its the fear they put into their victims whilst they’re stalking them, and hunting them down. It all starts off with following her around, and letting her know, that no matter where she goes, they can get to her, and they are watching. Next comes the chilling, and then more threatening phone calls. Then, they start leaving baby dolls round her house, with pre-recorded messages inside them. They now know, that these mad men can get into their home. No matter what they do, or where they go, they are incredibly vulnerable.

When they arrive, the killing scenes are completely brutal and nothing is left on the table. A straight razor is the weapon of choice, and it is used to devastating effect, and plenty of imagination. This is where the 70’s grind house element really shows itself, in full on gory fashion. In this era of film making in the horror genre, I completely understand that each writer and each director, wants to strive for originality, and to present fresh and innovative ideas, that will provide big interesting twists, that will put their stamp on a film. Sometimes, taking such a bold approach really works.

The idea that has been attempted here, I respect for trying to be original, and for trying to do something different. The thing is, it left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I didn’t know where the film could have gone from this point. A pretty major event with the main character occurs and it really did leave me in a weird space. It was good in the sense that it was something I’d never really experienced before, but at the same time, it felt as if someone had slammed the breaks on, stepped out of the vehicle, and left the engine running.

batc3The story does move on from this event, and does pick up again to approach its conclusion. With the final act, the director has gone for home invasion, and the stalking method that has been used to good effect through the film, is used again here, with a pretty brutal, and blood soaked ending.

4/10

Hell House LLC (2015) Review

hh1Hell House LLC  (2015)

Directed By: Stephen Cognetti
Written By: Stephen Cognetti
Produced By: Joe Bandelli
Release Date: November 23rd, 2016
Starring: Gore Abrams, Adam Schneider, Danny Bellini, Jared Hacker, Ryan Jennifer, Lauren A. Kennedy, Phil Hess, Miranda Robbins

Synopsis
The long since abandoned ‘Abbadon Hotel’, is converted into the ultimate Halloween haunted attraction, called ‘Hell House’. On the highly anticipated opening night of the attraction, there was an unexplained malfunction, that resulted in the fatality of fifteen staff and tour goers. Five years later, a documentary team is contacted by one of the surviving staff members of the Hell House opening night. She has come forward with real time footage of the massacre, which was never handed into the police. With the new footage in tow, we will travel back to the scene of the tragedy, to once and for all find out what really happened.

Review:
This found footage feature, is one of the best constructed, written, directed, and genuinely scary films I’ve seen all year. By looking at the synopsis, you would be forgiven for thinking that this film is the same, tired, haunted house story, that has been done a million times, and follows the same formula that made Grave Encounters a cult favourite.
It gives me great joy to tell you, that this independent horror movie, has a director with the power of free thought. This allows the story to follow his intended path, and have its own story, and make its own rules, with the only restriction being his imagination and his budget. Believe me when I say, that veering off the found footage- beaten path, and being bold, has paid off immensely.

hh3Prior to ‘Hell House LLC’, writer/director Stephen Cognetti, had only made 3 short films, that were low-budget, cop/crime comedies. This is Cognetti’s first feature film and first step into the world of horror. Coupled with a young, enthusiastic cast, the film gives a breath of fresh air, to a format, and sub-genre, that can often be tiresome and repetitive. The pacing throughout the film really works. The way that it eases you in, allows for you to come to grips with the characters, and to get a proper feel for, and digest all the important information being given to you, that builds the scene for the film you’re about to watch.

Throughout, the build up of tension and suspense is exquisite. Whatever evil is lurking, wants to drag the group of friends, kicking and literally screaming, to that point where absolute terror, turns into complete insanity. We see their reality spin clean off of its axis, as the group struggle to keep their heads, in what will become a fight for their lives. You’ll be sat on the edge of your seat, and driven into a nail biting frenzy. The atmosphere of suspense in the film, is reminiscent of techniques used to perfection, by the likes of John Carpenter. That kind of filmmaking is something that can’t be taught. It’s instinct.

hh4The film begins with a happy feeling, as our five protagonists, Paul, Alex, Tony, Andrew, and Sara, get ready to begin their new venture, in turning an abandoned hotel, into a leading haunted house attraction in time for Halloween. Shortly after getting there, they learn of a previous owner from decades before, who had hung himself in the dining room of the hotel. He practised the black arts and saw himself as a vessel for the word of Satan. He was using the basement for occult meetings, and much of the paraphernalia used, was still laying around, as well as satanic artwork and pentagrams drawn on the walls.
After the first few weeks, the original team of five, are joined by two new staff, in male actor Joey, and female actor Melissa. Over a few drinks, they all sit and discuss their plans for the further building of the attraction. This kind of social interaction further adds to the character development, and helps ease Joey and Melissa into the film. At this point, it creates the standpoint of high morale and camaraderie in the group.

hh2In the days and weeks that follow, there is activity of a bizarre, and hard to explain nature. Suddenly, we see the atmosphere amongst the friends start to change for the worst. The cracks in the walls and leaky roof, start to seep in to the once strong friendships within the group. This allows for further character development, to be integrated effortlessly into the film. Only this time, they’re different, more emotional, and temperamental sides of the characters.
That old building that once seemed so big, is becoming very claustrophobic.

Further unexplainable, and now frightening activity, is causing tensions to run high. Friendships have fully splintered, as nasty thoughts sink in, that someone, or something, is being so cruel and vulgar, as to take joy in feeding on their fears, and deliberately making them feel vulnerable. This is of course, until they catch something happening on camera, that could not have been done by anyone in the group. They find themselves arriving at the horrible realisation, that they’re not alone. For the now tired and weary ‘unhappy campers’, feelings of doubt about opening the doors to the public start to niggle, as Hell House starts living up to its name. The walls are starting to close in on the unlucky group.

There is an impending feeling of doom that you can’t shake off. You’ll find yourself, genuinely fearing for the group, and what on earth could possibly happen next to these poor souls. You know you’re about to find out very shortly, and as much as you want to watch, you can’t bare to see them come to harm.

hh6The opening night arrives, and seeing the actual events in full, from the viewpoint of the staff, does not disappoint. There is no anti-climax. For the staff of Hell House, the aeroplane, is about to crash into the mountain, with devastating effects. This is the point where I will discuss the use of practical effects. Quite simply put, they’re brilliant. Being a found footage film, it would be such a school boy error to have gone down the route of CGI. The film has been outstanding up to this point, so it would have such a cheap blow, to have seen something so ridiculous.
The main event features blood, screaming, clowns, druids with big swords, and lots of death. They’re all uninvited, but they’re bad ass perpetrators, and make their presence known when they come to crash the party.

It looks, sounds and feels like hell, and everything in it, is literally breaking loose. Nobody can do anything to stop it. Trying to fight this would be like trying to fight fire with a chocolate axe. In narrow, cramped, maze of hallways in Hell House, the only thing to do, is run, as fast as possible, and hope that the massive crowd of people in front of you, has the same idea. What is unfolding, is a scene of carnage, terror and mayhem.

hh5The staff of Hell House can’t be staff anymore and worry about the lives of everyone in the building. Self preservation is key. They too are under siege, and you the viewer, can feel their full fear through the screen. If you’re easily frightened or of weak stomach, you’re going to want to hide behind a pillow, or find yourself facing many sleepless nights. (You have been warned).

The film will cut back to the safety of the documentary team, and tentatively, you’ll put your cushion down, and attempt to draw breath. This would be a mistake. If you think you’ve seen the ending, and you can rest until the credits, you’re wrong. Like every great horror film, ever made, the villain/evil entity always has one last scare, and/or a big, juicy twist.

The surviving staff member telling the story, brings the found footage element, showing the arrival at hell house, through to the opening night massacre, with cuts to interview questions from the documentary team. Added to that, there are the ‘Real Life’ interviews, with viewpoints of journalists/investigative reporters, police/fire crew, and on site photographers. This really adds to the film and makes it more of a spectacle. As silly as this may sound, it adds a proper feel of realism.

hh7For a novice director and cast, this film throughout, is incredibly well made and acted. I have to say, that I was genuinely… happily surprised. In saying that, if it was a seasoned director and cast, I’d say exactly the same thing. There is a lot of talent being showcased in this film, and they should all be very proud of what they’ve made.

I’ll be sure to be following the future work of this director, to see what he comes up with next. Hopefully another horror. Hell House 2 perhaps? We should be so lucky.

9/10 

Abattoir (2016) A Preview

abattoir1Abattoir (2016) A Preview

Directed By Darren Lynn Bousman

Written By Christopher Monfette

Starring Lin Shaye, Dayton Collie, Joe Anderson, & Jessica Lowndes.

Released on December 9th, 2016, on VOD and In Selected Theatres.

Abattoir, is the next feature film release, from Darren Lynn Bousman. He is the director of such films as Repo: The Genetic Opera, and Saw franchise films 2, 3 & 4. The film, described by Bousman, as a ‘Haunted House Hybrid’, is an adaptation of the comic book mini-series of the same name. The first viewings of the film, took place at the the Los Angeles Film Festival, on June 7th, 2016.

abattoir2Julia Talben (Jessica Lowndes) is an investigative reporter, and is working on the peculiar story, of why a man is buying properties, that are associated with brutal murders, and then removing from the very foundations, the exact rooms in which the deaths had taken place.

For Julia, the investigation takes a big turn and becomes personal. Not knowing what lays in front of her, she enlists the help of former lover and Detective, Declan Grady (Joe Anderson). Together, they must go in search of answers, and to the man at the centre of the investigation, Jebediah Crone (Dayton Callie).

abattoir3He is the owner of the Abattoir. A mansion of endless rooms, stitched together, that have all seen unimaginable pain and suffering. Do each of the rooms still contain the souls of those unfortunate enough to have died in them? A sort of, haunted house on steroids? If so, is the intentional collecting of these trapped souls, to serve as some kind of offering towards a darker purpose?

On December 9th, we’ll find out for sure what unthinkable horrors Julia and Grady have to face up to, in finding out the full truth, about the Jebediah Crone, and the Abattoir.