Grimmfest 2013 – Friday 4th October – A Review

Grimmfest – Friday 4th October 2013

I was looking forward to Friday at Grimmfest 2013 as not only was I going to see Hellraiser 2 on the big screen for the first time but I was also going to interview two of the Cenobites (Barbie Wilde & Nicholas Vince) after the screening. Unfortunately I was unable to attend to fringe showings earlier in the day , but I arrived at 6.30pm for the full evenings entertainment.

Hellbound_hellraiser_ii_ver2Hellbound – Hellraiser 2 (1988)

Director – Tony Randel 97 minutes

Starring – Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Doug Bradley, Barbie Wilde, Simon Bamford, Nicholas Vince, Clare Higgins, Imogen Boorman.

Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again”.

Hellraiser was one of the most influential films in my youth. The first time I saw it something inside me stirred, I had not seen anything that visually so resonated with me before. I watched it again and again and then when Hellbound came out I was underwhelmed. It was disjointed , lacked the evil and horror of the original and while I still enjoyed it I also never really gave it another chance.

That is until about 8 years ago when I picked up a boxset and revisited Hellbound again. Since then I have watched it maybe five times and each time I now watch Hellbound I enjoy it more and more.

So I sat down to watch it on the big screen at The Dancehouse in Manchester in a pretty packed theatre and was blown away by how great it looked (and sounded).

Over the years I have come to understand the troubles that hit Hellbound during filming and editing , so it never really ended up looking or being the film it should have been. However what you have with Hellbound is a really fun horror film that has great FX , a stellar performance from Ashley Laurence and a story that albeit a little long (with a few too many chases through corridors) is a genuinely good watch.

The audience all seemed to have a really good time and I must admit that I sat through the entire film with a big beaming grin and just loved it. It is nice to sit and watch new genre films but an old classic in between does lighten the load so to speak, and I really thank Grimmfest for this !! 9/10

theguestThe Guest (2011)

Director – Bryan Ryan 15 minutes

Starring – Andre Bolourchi, Alyshia Ochse, Brandi Price, Robert Seay.

A lonely woman and a mysterious intruder get more than they bargained for when a quiet evening proves to be deadlier than either of them could have imagined”.

The Guest starts with Dana (Alyshia Ochse) watching the news which is explaining that a wanted man is loose in the area , he is dangerous and everyone should be vigilant. Next there is an intruder and Dana realises that he may be the man the police want. What happens next is a well constructed if not particularly original idea that plays out really well. The Guest is well acted , paced just right and all in is a very good short film. There is nothing spectacular but for direction, camera work and storyline this is way above the average genre short. Another foray into home invasion territory and The Guest is definitely one for the “to watch” list . 6/10

jugfaceJug Face (2013)

Director – Chad Crawford Kinkle 90 minutes

Starring – Sean Young, Larry Fessenden, Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Kaitlin Cullum.

Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit”.

Jug Face , now that’s a name for a film. This was one of my must see films as I not only love “backwoods” type films but I also really need to see anything that executive producer Lucky McKee has his hand in/on!

The story goes that a small backwoods community worship a small pit that is in the forest, every now and again a chosen local produces a clay jug with a face on it. Whomever resembles the image on the pot jug will then be sacrificed to the god of the pit.

Young Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) finds the jug in the outdoor kiln and realises that it is indeed her face on it, she then hides the jug in the forest causing major uproar in the community as the pit starts to take innocent lives in search of the chosen one.

You still with me? Yes ah good. So Jug Face is a lovely slow burning exploration into this bizarre community that is incestuous and backwards yet fervent in their religious beliefs , so much so that they are willing to slaughter their sons or daughters to appease their god.

Lauren Ashley Carter is superb as the doe-eyed Ada who is terrified at the realisation that she should be the next sacrifice, but yet she seems quite willing and able to stand by and watch innocent members of her community and even family succumb to a most vengeful god.

Jug Face is a film that on initial viewing may seem like a typical backwoods hicksploitation film, yet it is the one film that has really stayed with me since Grimmfest ended. I keep going back to think about the story and the various members of the community. It really was a quite dark, unpleasant and odd little movie. And the more I revisit it (in my head) the more I am liking and appreciating Chad Kinkle’s debut feature.

The dour, non-sensationalist attitude of Jug Face makes it all the more realistic and with wonderful performances throughout especially from Ada’s Mama played by the great Sean Young and of course from the aforementioned Ms Carter then it makes Jug Face stand head and shoulders above most genre films released this year.

This will definitely polarise viewers and is a very “marmite” films , but I liked it a lot and after a week now I love it and I can’t wait to see it again. Jug Face has wormed it’s dirty little way into brain and now won’t leave me be. An 8/10 and still rising !!

So that is how I spent my Friday at Grimmfest 2013. And I still had Saturday and Sunday to follow , so lots more to come soon …….

Grimmfest 2013 – Thursday 3rd October – A Review

Grimmfest 2013 – Thursday October 3rd

Well after a great start on Wednesday it was on to Grimmfest proper. This year there was a change as the Grimm team were using the Dancehouse again but during the day they were also having a “fringe” at nearby pub The Lass O’Gowrie.

So eager as ever I was at the Lass at just before 11am on Thursday morning looking forward to a long day of cinematic pleasure.

to-jennifer-212x300To Jennifer (2013)

Director – James Cullen Bressack 80 Minutes

Starring – Chuck Pappas, Jessica Cameron, Jody Barton, James Cullen Bressack.

Joey suspects his girlfriend of two years, Jennifer, is cheating on him. He is so convinced that he enlists the help of his cousin Steven to create a Video Diary of his attempt to catch her in the act as well as to document the heartbreak she is putting him through. In an attempt to make her feel guilty, he intends to give this tape to her after catching her in the act”.

James Cullen Bressack has earned quite a name for himself since his debut feature Hate Crime hit last year. And while not a fan of Hate Crime I was curious to see how Mr Bressack was evolving as a director.

To Jennifer starts with Joey who is convinced his girlfriend (Jennifer) is cheating on him. He decides to travel cross country with his cousin Steve and Steve’s friend Marty , so he can confront her and catch her in the act. The trio decide to film their journey so they can give it to Jennifer as a present after they arrive.

To Jennifer fails on many levels. It is in your face at 100 mph and full volume at all times, Joey is an uptight arsehole and with friends like Steve and Marty he does not need enemies. The whole cast are genuinely unlikeable and the whole film was just so very hard to watch. I could see from about 15 minutes in where it was headed and (well done me) I was right.

To be fair Bressack makes a slick looking film and to think this was just filmed on an Iphone 5 is really amazing. There is an obvious talent but subject matter , script and style left me feeling hollow and bereft. 3/10

gloamingThe Gloaming (2013)

Director – Sean Smith 7 minutes

Starring – Kevin McGahern, Tommy Sharkey, Kim McCafferty.

Ireland, 1849. The Great Famine. As a church bell tolls and the gloaming descends, a father and son working the land are forced to confront an ancient evil”.

A well shot short from Ireland where a father and son are working the land, they are cutting peat from a local marsh when dusk sets in and an ancient evil descends. Very reminiscent of Nosferatu , this was a good atmospheric little short that I enjoyed . 5/10

 

nextexitNext Exit (2012)

Director – Ben Goodger – 13 Minutes

Starring – Cloudia Swan, George Russo.

A young woman is given a lift home from a wedding by an apparently friendly stranger. But the mood quickly darkens leading her to a destination she could never have imagined”.

This was an odd one. Next Exit started pretty well with a quickly and well defined story. There were moments of unease and the tension was building nicely until the story takes a turn and what was left was another generic lost in the woods with a twist story that quite frankly left me feeling annoyed as the start showed real promise. 4/10 .

Home-Sweet-Home-KAHome Sweet Home (2013)

Director – David Morlet 85 Minutes

Starring – Megan Heffern, Adam MacDonald, Shane Benson.

A young married couple comes home from a date night to discover that they are imprisoned in their own house with a methodical killer inside”.

Directed by David Morlet , Home Sweet Home was a film I was looking forward to as I was very impressed by his feature debut 2009’s Mutants .

Home Sweet Home starts with a lengthy sequence of a man breaking into a home a carrying out various jobs like screwing the windows closed from the inside , and getting dressing in a creepy as hell mask and a scene of crime suit. He then settles himself down and waits. Later a couple come back from a night out and relax, he stays downstairs to enjoy a whisky and some vinyl tunes whilst his good lady retires upstairs to shower and then wait for her husband.

Home Sweet Home is a good modern take on the every so popular home invasion theme. It however differs from the majority of home invasion films as it is slow, superbly structured and wonderfully paced. The film is set in one location “the house” and this is put to great use .

Again this is another film that does struggle with originality and an ending that I saw from miles away , however I enjoyed the build-up and execution of the feature and found it a refreshing addition to a quickly saturated market of home invasion films. 6.5/10

the borderlandsThe Borderlands (2013)

Director – Elliot Goldner 90 Minutes

Starring – Aiden McArdle, Patrick Godfrey, Gordon Kennedy, Luke Neal, Robin Hill.

Follows a team of Vatican investigators sent to the British West Country to investigate reports of paranormal activity at a remote church”.

A small village in South-West England is home to an old church that has been taken over by Father Crellick a few years earlier. He has overseen some renovations but the congregation remain very thin on the ground. Recently however Father Crellick has been witnessing miracles and he has reported these to the church .

So the Roman Catholic church has sent in a team of special investigators to use all the modern equipment necessary to discover whether these are indeed miracles or perhaps something much more man-made.

That is really all I will say about The Borderlands as I don’t want to give anything away. But what I will say is this was indeed the highlight of Grimmfest for me , a superbly dark and highly original story that has moments of true terror interspersed with real humour.

When I heard this was another found footage film my heart sank as the genre in overun with FF films that lack any originality or talent, but The Borderlands just absolutely nails it and is about as highly recommended as possible. Add this to your watch list NOW – you will not be disappointed 9/10 .

crazyforyuoCrazy For You (2013)

Director – James Moran 10 Minutes

Starring – Hannah Tointon, Arthur Darvill.

It’s difficult to find love when you’re a serial killer – when Charlie meets the girl of his dreams, he has to keep that slight flaw a secret from her. Will true love win the day? Or will she become another of his unwitting victims? Crazy For You is a romantic-comedy-horror for everyone who has skeletons in their closet – metaphorical or otherwise… “.

I was looking forward to Crazy For You immensely as I am a big fan of writer James Moran (Severance, Cockneys vs Zombies, Tower Block) . Crazy For You is his directorial debut and was wonderful. Charlie (Arthur Darvill) is a serial killer who falls madly in love with Jessica (Hannah Tointon). The trouble is that Charlie completely loses it when he sees polka dots (ever since he saw his father murdered) , and this is making dating Jessica very difficult. Should he tell her, keep it a secret or will it all come out in time?

Crazy For You was what I expected and even more. It has James Moran’s wicked dark sense of humour along with a stunning bright and vivid style that just lit up the entire theatre. A really great short film that shows what a great director James Moran will one day become. 9/10 .

ON-AIR_MOVIE-POSTER-96dpi1On Air (2013)

Directors – Marco J. Riedl & Carsten Vauth 104 Minutes

Starring – Markus Knuffken, Charles Rettinghaus, Ronald Nitschke, Jasmin Lord.

Doc Rock is the host of a pirate radio station Nighthawk, operating in a city where a serial killer The Nightslasher is currently at large”.

On Air was right up my street as I love serial killer films. But in truth I really was so disappointed. The story was poor – A radio DJ has a serial killer phone up and has just 30 minutes to keep him on air or the woman with the killer will die unless DJ Doc Rock can convince the Nightslasher otherwise!

There are many other plot lines interweaving but each as predictable and boring as the last, I cared little for the characters or their situation. I found the whole package to be lacking any substance , style or indeed gravitas. Deeply disappointing and a feeling that seem to permeate through the audience .

At the end of On Air there wasn’t a ripple of applause , yet The Borderlands and Crazy For You were clapped loudly and I may even have heard the odd whoop (how very un-English). I think the silence at the end of On Air was deafening . 3/10

So all in all a mixed bag of films and shorts, but just for The Borderlands and Crazy For You I went home with a massive smile and a head buzzing full of genre magic. So a little sleep was needed until Friday – Hellraiser 2 day!!

Grimmfest 2013 – Wednesday Night – Stockport Plaza 2/10/2013

grimmfestofficialposterGrimmfest 2013

 

Wednesday 2nd October – Preview Night at The Stockport Plaza

 

So the start of Grimmfest and the preview night was set in my home town of Stockport. Now Stockport doesn’t really have much going for it. The football is crap, the centre is a 1960’s monstrosity of a shopping centre and the chav ratio is very high. However it does have lots of hidden gems one of which is not so much hidden but more only used in panto season and that is The Plaza Super Cinema (or just the Plaza to locals) . The Plaza is a beautiful 1930’s art deco building that in it’s later years was being used as a bingo hall and closed in 1998. In 2000 the building was taken over by the Stockport Plaza Trust after a £500,000 grant from the local council. Restoration was a huge project but with help from lots of local businesses (like all 600 seats were donated from the Palace Theatre in Manchester), an army of volunteers and funding from the lottery, North West Regional Development , Stockport Council and public generosity, then in 2009 The Stockport Plaza re-opened it’s doors and is an absolute joy to visit and enjoy cinema and live theatre in such atmospheric surroundings. Please take a moment to visit their website and if you get a chance to visit then do so – www.stockportplaza.co.uk .

 

So back to preview night and after a wonderful interview I had with Robin Hardy (director of The Wicker Man) in the local Hat Museum, I headed over the road to The Plaza.

 

hanselgrtelbakedHansel and Gretel Get Baked (2013)

Director – Duane Journey 87 Minutes

Starring – Molly C. Quinn, Michael Welch, Lara Flynn Boyle, Yancy Butler.

 

 

A brother and sister battle a witch who lures teenagers into her suburban home with her special blend of marijuana where she then proceeds to kill and eat them to maintain her youth and beauty”.

 

Hansel and Gretel Get Baked is a modern twist on the old Grimm tale. A sweet little old lady named Agnes (Flynn Boyle) is growing a unique and seemingly unbeatable type of Marijuana (named Black Forest) in the basement of her house. After Gretel’s boyfriend Ashton runs out of weed he gets the address of Agnes and visits her to score some more dope, unfortunately for him it turns out Agnes is in fact a witch that is feeding on the souls of the young to make herself young once again. And so begins a boring , monotonous and scare free 90 minutes that I will not get back. HAGGB is trying to be a horror comedy and fails in both departments. The highlight of the film was seeing Lara Flynn Boyle’s face after years of seemingly dodgy surgery, she is just 43 yet looks well over 60. She was gorgeous back in Twin Peaks and I still fail to understand the lure of surgery.

Anyway Get Baked was just an almost unbearable piece of crap. Hated it But it must have a market as some people leaving seemed to have enjoyed it?? 3/10 .

 

 

WICKERMAN_QUADThe Wicker Man (The Final Cut) (1973)

Director – Robin Hardy 90 Minutes

Starring – Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt.

 

A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there”.

 

Well this is what I was here for! The Wicker Man is one of my favourite films , it is just an almost perfect story with stellar performances and a sublime soundtrack. Now over the years there was the shorter version then there was the directors cut and now we have The Final Cut. This is the version that director Robin Hardy considers to be the closest to his original vision with writer Paul Shaffer.

 

I won’t go into details about The Wicker Man as you should have seen it , and if not then you must buy it ! The most obvious change is that the entire scene from the start of the film that is set in the mainland Police Station has been cut . This does lose the initial scene where Sgt. Howie receives the anonymous letter saying the young girl is missing on the island of Summerisle. So after the initial church scene we then go straight to Sgt. Howie flying over and landing at the harbour in Summerisle.

 

Just sitting watching Christopher Lee leading Edward Woodward a very merry dance around his pagan island and giving him all the clues he needs to solve the puzzle of the missing girl was just mesmeric.

 

The Plaza was the perfect setting for this screening and with Robin Hardy doing a Q&A session it was just a fantastic couple of hours and probably one of the best times I have had in a cinema ! 10/10 .

 

 

radiosilenceRadio Silence (2013)

Director – Mat Johns 25 Minutes

Starring – Tracy Sheals, Alan Peter Finch, Francesca Turton, Neil Ball.

 

Mat Johns has been making short films in and around Manchester for the last few years and I came across a couple of his films last year. Run is a 7 minute short that is in the top 5 shorts I have ever seen. It is a beautiful, haunting and ultimately incredible piece of cinema that has stayed with me ever since and I still find it incredibly hard to watch now. So when I found out that the World Premier of Mat’s new film was on the preview night I was made up.

 

So Radio Silence is the story of a woman named Elaine Barrett (Tracy Sheals) who is alone and barricaded in her house seemingly after a zombie apocalypse. Her days are ticked off on a calendar and each day she has the same routine – she rises at 6 then brushes her teeth, later she exercises and eats some canned food from a kitchen cupboard and at midday Elaine fires up an old CB Radio and broadcasts for an hour , in which she asks if there is anyone listening and gives her address and details. Then for the following 5 hours Elaine sits listening to the static of the CB receiver awaiting a reply! This is a routine that is repeated daily and as the days continue to be ticked off important dates like birthdays and anniversaries come and go and Elaine finds that her mental and physical strength is in decline. But one day she hears a voice ! Could this be salvation after months of Radio Silence?

 

Again Mat just hits the spot with another perfectly paced piece of cinema. Radio Silence is slow, unnerving and raw, an initial feeling of hope is slowly replaced by anxiety and claustrophobia.

Tracy Sheals is just wonderful , such a raw and powerful performance . The setting is a small, stark and bare house yet Tracy brings it all to life in a way very rarely witnessed.

 

I implore anyone and everyone to check out Mat Johns work as he is just an immense talent and someone that demands to be noticed.

 

Radio Silence is again up there with Mat’s best work and brings more to it’s 23 minutes than some directors bring to careers. 9/10 .

 

And watch Run by Mat Johns here – https://vimeo.com/52426876

 

So that is my take on a quite wonderful evening at The Stockport Plaza and a great opening night for Grimmfest 2013. I couldn’t stay to see Curse of Chucky (2013) but I will catch it very soon.

So I left completely elated and looking forward to the next 4 days of cinematic up & downs !!

 

More to come soon …..

Truth or Dare – Jessica Cameron’s directorial debut!!

TRUTH-OR-DARE

Jessica Cameron is well known for appearing in front of the camera in numerous genre films , including UKHS recent favourite The Sleeper. But now she is making her directorial debut in the forthcoming horror “Truth or Dare”.

Synopsis“Truth or Dare is about 6 college kids who find internet stardom when they make “Truth or Dare” videos with a violent twist. It is all fun and games until their number one fan decides he wants to play…”

Please see the red band trailer and casting details below!!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8J7qVONFmE]    

Dev HSDevanny Pinn is Courtney Steele, a promiscuous girl who flirts with everyone around her, male or female. She is from Houston, Texas and is known for her roles in such films as “The Black Dahlia Haunting,” as well as the award-winning “Vivid,” and the sci-fi thriller “Area 51 Confidential” (available now at Wal-Mart) which she also co-wrote.
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1922788
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/devannypinnonline
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DevannyPinn

Heather HSHeather Dorff is playing the role of Michelle Lucas, a small-town girl with a big heart who puts her friend’s needs in front of her own. She is a Chicago-based actress who got her start with the award winning movie “What They Say” which she starred in, narrated, produced, and wrote. She will next be seen in “Epitaph: Bread and Salt” as well as the Brian Troxell film “Intrusive Behavior” which she co-starred in with fellow actress Jessica Cameron.
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3940718
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/actressheatherdorff
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SerenityRising

Brandon HSBrandon Van Vliet is Tony Lockhart, a dim-witted party boy who’s only goal in life is to find the next free beer. He is from Minneapolis, Minnesota and known for such films as “Potpourri,” “In Harm’s Way” and the upcoming “Insectula!”
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3783827
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/RestrainingHollywood
Twitter: http://twitter.com/RestHollywood

Ryan HSRyan Kiser is Derik B. Smith, a passionate individual who is so far removed from society that he lives in his own state of delusion. He can be seen portraying Charles Manson in the film “Lie” as well as acting in “I’m Jesus Mommy” and “Potpourri” with fellow actors Brandon Van Vliet and Jessica Cameron.
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3067547
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kiser.ryan
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ryanmkiser

Shelby StehlinShelby Stehlin plays the role Ray Austin; former high school sports star that is still has a hot temper at times. Very business-minded and well educated.
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3130548/?ref_=tt_cl_t6
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shelby.stehlin

Jesse WilsonJesse Wilson plays the role of John Moore; the charming and quick-witted leader of the group.
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5550425
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swoop22

Grae DrakeGrae Drake plays the role of Bobbi Craig; a larger than life talk show host with very animated mannerisms.
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1024233
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/graedrake
Twitter: http://twitter.com/graedrake

Jess HSJessica Cameron is Jennifer Collins, a strong-willed and introverted girl who is highly educated. She is an actress from Owen Sound, Ontario and has appeared in over 70 projects ranging from feature films, television shows, and commercials. She is known for last year’s killer Santa slasher “Silent Night,” which was helmed by Steven C. Miller, the Roger Corman produced “Camel Spiders,” which is currently airing on the SyFy Network, and the ever popular “Mr. Hush” which is on Netflix instaview and can be found at numerous Redbox locations. She is also known for her role in season 2 of the TLC network’s hit show “Brides of Beverly Hills” which averaged between 1 and 2 million views per episode.

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2781723
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ActressJessicaCameron
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JessicaCameron_
Reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSGYKlmXboY

July is SLASHER Month at UKHS!

Slashers-michael-myers-6984671-500-441

July at UKHS is Slasher Month.

All our contributors will be picking Slashers to review , from favourite ones to seeing new Slashers and finding out where this much maligned genre is heading and is it in good shape?

Will we look at maybe the earliest Slasher – Thirteen Women ? Or maybe Peeping Tom , Psycho, Bay of Blood, Dementia 13 through to the golden years of Halloween, Friday 13th, My Bloody Valentine and Nightmare on Elm Street or even more up to date like Hatchet, The Hills Run Red or Boneboys??

There will be some interesting choices thrown up and maybe we will learn why after all these years is the Slasher still a staple of the horror community.

So please keep stopping by to see what our writers choose and whether you agree with their reviews.

Slashers-slashers-4128697-419-596

And if you want to write your own reviews then mail me – contact@ukhorrorscene.com and you can have your review on here soon !!

It will be a bloody 31 days !!

White Settlers – Pollyanna McIntosh & Lee Williams interview !

white settlers poster

White Settlers is an exciting up- coming British suspense/ thriller/horror film from director Simeon Halligan (who previously directed Splintered and also runs Grimm Up North – Manchester’s home of horror and cult films).

The screenplay is by Ian Fenton, this is Ian’s feature film debut as a writer.

White Settlers boasts an impressive cast , Pollyanna McIntosh from the brilliant cult film The Woman, also Burke and Hare and Exam. Alongside Pollyanna is Lee Williams who has been in many superb British TV programmes including Hotel Babylon, The Tudors and Teachers.

Pollyanna and Lee gave me the honour of answering my questions, so without further a do I will let them explain what White Settlers is all about and what has been involved in the filming of it.

Can you both tell us what we can expect from White Settlers, what’s it all about?

Lee – White Settlers is a thriller/horror about a London married couple who relocate to Scotland to renovate a farmhouse, and whilst there, external circumstances threaten their existence with chilling consequences. It becomes a race to survive; a cat and mouse game with the couple battling it out to the end.

Pollyanna – Tense suspense, some good frights, believable characters you can root for and a surprise ending!

It’s about a couple who move from city life in England to the country life on the borders of Scotland and are confronted by monsters on their first night in their new home.

DSC_6389

How about some insight into your characters?

Pollyanna – Sarah is a city girl who’s ready to have children and wants her husband to take the final step away from the job he hates to be self sufficient in the country where they plan to run a B&B for tourists. She’s quite fragile and fearful of bumps in the night but as the story progresses she surprises herself with her resilience.

Lee – I read Ed as a guy who has one foot still in London and the other with his wife in Scotland. He loves her very much and her desire to make a new life for themselves supersedes his desire to remain in the city. He is a bit of a lad, quick-witted, always ready with a sarcastic or jokey comment to defuse a heated situation. But when things take a turn for the worst, he becomes serious – his survival instincts kick in and he will do anything to protect his family.

White Settlers looks to me like a lot of outside filming. I presume you feel quite at home with that Pollyanna after the excellent film The Woman. How does filming White Settlers compare to that?

Pollyanna – Yeah, we’re often at the mercy of the weather!

Well, it’s similar in that its a tight schedule, small crew, low budget, all on location and packed with hardworking creatives. There’s also a fair amount of stunt work and outdoor filming. I’m also playing lead again so, yeah, there are a few similarities. My character is very different to that of The Woman though and of course this is a British film set in the country I come from, Scotland. In The Woman I spent the film getting progressively cleaner but in this I start off clean and get dirtier and dirtier!

Am I right in thinking Lee that this is your first foray into this genre of film? What attracted you to this role in White Settlers?

Lee – Unlike Polly, yes, this is my first experience of this genre and I’ve loved every blood soaked, gory moment! More please! I’d like to turn things on their head and maybe play the bad guy in another horror movie and show just how evil and dark I can truly be!

Can you tell us about your ‘on set’ experience so far, any favourite moment? Tricky elements you’ve had to deal with?

Pollyanna – For me the on set experience has been a mix of fun and banter with a lot of intense fearful psyched up scenes. With a great crew like this one there are plenty of laughs to be had. Most of the jokes are in-jokes so they’d probably land pretty flat on paper but I’d say my favorite moments are those end of night shoots at 4am when we’ve been down to the wire and have still managed to squeeze the juice out of the scenes.

As far as “tricky elements” to deal with we’ve got stunts, prosthetics, animals, forests at night, rain, hail and wind and the bloody cold so…yeah, we’re pretty much covered in that department!

Lee – The blood! The first few days were fun, but being caked in this sticky red stuff all day certainly lost its novelty by the end of filming! Both myself and Polly were covered in scratches and bruises by the end of it – always a good sign that we have put in a proper days work!

DSC_6512

How has it been working with director Simeon Halligan?

Pollyanna – Sim and our DOP have a great symbiotic relationship so it’s a pleasure to see them make it happen. He and I spoke early on about the film and as the first attached I’ve had the luxury of talking through story points with both him and the writer, Ian Fenton, as the script progressed. That’s a joy for me and I always feel lucky when directors and writers are open to that kind of collaboration.

Lee – Simeon was wonderful to work with – WORK being the operative word; very collaborative and open to discussion and ideas, loads of me and Poll’s ideas he used in the movie. I always felt my opinion was valid and enjoyed figuring out with him and Polly, how to make a scene the best it could be, working with such a short shooting schedule.

Do you have any bits of info you would be willing to leak to tease fans a little?

Lee – All I can say is that at one point, I get attacked by a character called Truffles, whose main objective is to eat whatever gets in her way! Ruthless!

Pollyanna – I think I’ve said enough…

One last question, (as we are www.ukhorrorscene.com). I remember the first horror film I watched at an early age was Evil Dead; I’ve had a love of horror since. Do you remember the first horror film you watched and the effect it had on you?

Lee –My first ever horror/thriller that I remember watching was on Betamax when I was about 8 years old called “When a stranger calls”, when the killer is in the house and keeps calling the babysitter asking, ‘Have you checked the children….”. Scared the absolute shit out of me! I also sneaked into the cinema to watch Nightmare on Elm Street. For me, as a kid, Freddy was the best boogeyman – very scary and extremely memorable. The remake sucked though! Please stop re-making classic horror movies!! Thank you and good night!

Pollyanna – The first experience I had of being scared out of my wits was Watership Down. Not a traditional “horror” perhaps but at 5 years old it was utterly horrific! I think that put me off for life! I’m a total wuss when it comes to watching horror. I avoid it at all costs!

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Many thanks to Pollyanna and Lee for their insightful answers, I am very excited about this project and look forward to the film.

White Settlers will be released early 2014, it may be through Grimm Entertainment but nothing yet has been confirmed, with such a prestigious cast in place they are getting increasing interest from much bigger distributors.

Please check out the website www.whitesettlers.com for more info and pictures, also follow on twitter @WhiteSettlers

Werewolves In Siberia – The Rising

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The Rising is a full length album released by Werewolves in Siberia , released on 12th March 2013 this is an electro synch soundtrack for the mind. The music is hugely reminiscent of 1970’s/80’s Slasher films whilst carrying the Euro dread of a late 60’s Giallo.
The Rising feels like a concept album with 7 tracks of varying length (from 1.48 – 5.25 minutes) and the tracks are neatly bookended by Track 1 – Introduction To A Nightmare and Track 7 – Return To The Nightmare , that gives the whole opus a start , middle and end that totally completes the album.
The joy of The Rising and what Werewolves do so well is you can relax , close your eyes and almost build the horror film mentally while the music plays, just imagine the horror, thriller or zombie epic unfurling alongside the waves of synthesiser that roll over.
Each track is different and brings with it fabulous textures of sound and all I can say is just track Werewolves in Siberia down and get everything you can . You will not be disappointed .

I recently caught up with Chris and he gave me this short intro into the history, present and future of the project –

Werewolves in Siberia is an electronic/horror-synth project that started sort of by accident. Chris Cavoretto is the man behind the project. After years of playing mostly metal and hardcore as well as running a small independent label, a break was needed.
After a few year absence from music, it was time for a new project. Upon starting a guitar and vocal solo project, the dabbling in recording began. With the dabbling in recording came the dabbling in synths.
This is where Werewolves in Siberia started. In two weeks time, “The Rising” EP was recorded.
Since then, a project covering John Carpenter’s Halloween Theme and The Misfits’ Halloween was done (with a cover of London Dungeon as a bonus) has been released as well as a four song split with fellow horror-synth lover Serengeti Yeti.
Remix mastermind, Ghastworks remixed two songs off of “The Rising” which was released for free download under the title “Double Feature (The Ghastworks Remixes)”.
Werewolves in Siberia takes the love of horror movies and especially the soundtracks to the fun 70’s and 80’s zombie and slasher films and has built an updated, yet very throwback sound. Every song has been written with a vision of a horror scene that could go along with it. What’s next? Maybe soundtracks…

Chris Cavoretto

My thanks to Chris for taking time out to chat and for the info.

I really recommend checking out Werewolves , this is a unique and audibly stunning project that is really welcome in the horror genre and I for one look forward with much anticipation to their future releases.

And here are a few links to their sites .

Www.werewolvesinsiberia.com

www.facebook.com/WerewolvesInSiberia

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Bradley Scott Sullivan Interview – Director I Didn’t Come Here To Die

 

idchtd-coverBradley Scott Sullivan Interview – Director I Didn’t Come Here To Die

At the start of Feb I received a copy of I Didn’t Come Here To Die courtesy of Second Sight Films. I had very little knowledge of the film and was totally blown away by a funny , bloody and very clever horror film. After my review (here) I was still fascinated by this wonderful , refreshing take on the Slasher genre , so I contacted the writer/directorBradley Scott Sullivan who kindly agreed to the following interview.

I Didn’t Come Here To Die is your first full length feature , you write and direct it (amongst others) so how did it all come about?

The idea for the movie really came about when I was in a volunteer organization very similar to the one in the film. There were a few more people on our team, and we probably weren’t quite as secluded, but a lot of elements are really close. We really did have one project where we were working on out in the middle of the woods in Vermont, building a summer camp, and working with power tools. In real life nobody died; just a couple of scrapes and bruises. But as someone who’s bit of a hypochondriac, the movie is kind of my overactive imagination playing out some the potential worst-case scenarios that could’ve happened while working on that project. I hope the film just plays more as a perverted “workplace hazards and safety” video, and doesn’t dissuade anyone from signing up for a volunteer program, because it was truly one of the best years of my life. Just be safe, and don’t play with chainsaws!

The cast of IDCHTD are for the main relatively unknown , what was the casting process and did you have people in mind beforehand?

The only person I had in mind beforehand was Travis Scott Newman, who plays the cop that bookends the film. I met him a few years prior when I was in film school. He was the lead and one of my friends shorts that I was the DOP on. I always jokingly referred to him as my low-rent Bruce Campbell, and had always had him in mind for whatever I was going to do as a feature. Everyone else was just through auditions that we held at a coffee shop in Austin. We just posted on a few different websites, and held auditions over the course of two days. We just really lucked out that Austin has such a wealth of great acting talent. 

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The whole vibe from IDCHTD is fun even though it is a bloody feast , was this the case on set and was it a good shoot?

I think it was probably a bit more fun for everyone other than myself. I mean, it was a tough shoot for everybody. We only had seven days to shoot, practically no money, and I had the brilliant idea that we would all actually campout in an attempt to emulate what the characters were going through (FYI: bad idea). I just felt a lot of extra pressure on top of it all, because I felt like this was my one shot to really do something. I thought that if this failed, I was never going to get to make another film. So the fact that everyone was inexperienced (myself included), trying to manage multiple positions on the film, all the gore effects, and only having seven days to shoot it all…it was a bit stressful.

How did you go about getting the funding to do a full length feature?

I had shot the behind-the-scenes footage for a Christmas movie that the producer, Kim Waltrip, was making earlier that year. She asked me to edit together some of my footage to show potential distributors for that movie. She liked what I did, and that turned into cutting a sizzle reel, and that turned into cutting a trailer and some other stuff for them. So by the time I got to the end of all my work on that project, she was asking about what I was up to next. I told her that when I got back to Austin (this was all in California) I was hoping to try to get a horror movie that I wrote off the ground. She asked how much I was thinking of making it for, and when I told her she laughed because it was so little. I thought she was just being polite when she asked me for a copy of the script, but she was sending me emails pretty much every 10 pages saying how much she enjoyed it. I think we were shooting only about a month or month and a half after she first asked for a copy of the script. It all came together really quickly, and I wanted to make sure we had it in the can before anyone could change their mind.

When I saw IDCHTD , I found a huge nod towards Evil Dead and also a lot of slashers from the 70′s & early 80′s . Is this a favourite time and genre of yours?

It’s kind of an in-between thing. While I do love the horror films of the 70′s and 80′s; the first horror films I was really exposed to growing up were 90′s slashers like “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, “Scream”, and “Urban Legend”. I didn’t have any friends that were really interested in horror, and my parents were super-strict about the movies I watched growing up. So I kind of came into the genre little bit later in life. When I was introduced to the “Evil Dead” series, I actually came into it backwards, starting with “Army of Darkness”, then “Evil Dead 2″, and lastly “The Evil Dead”. So the comedy element of them ended up really sticking with me, and the horror came later.

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As an avid fan of slashers , I hate camping. I just cannot sleep in a tent , every shadow makes me worried and I will lie awake all night . Is there anything from horror films that has had a real impact on you?

I’m totally fine with camping, and I’m generally not too worried about being hacked up by madmen, or having my dreams infiltrated by Freddy Krueger. The thing that really makes me turn away from the screen, is when people are cutting things out of themselves. There’s a scene in “The Ruins” where Lauren Ramsey’s character is trying to cut the vines out of her that I just find totally cringe-worthy. Heck, even the scene in the PG-13 rated “A Beautiful Mind”, where Russell Crowe thinks he’s digging a tracking device out of his arm, makes me grit my teeth.

If possible could you name your top 3 films of all time ?

Alien
Children Of Men
Jurassic Park

There is a wicked sense of humour in IDCHTD , but also some shocking moments . Was it difficult to try and find the right mixture of both?

As far as the dialogue went: I think that most people are pretty funny (or at least try to be), especially when around new people, or when thrust into awkward situations. I knew the horror beats that I was going to hit plot-wise, and I just wrote-in how I thought people would talk in between those beats. I don’t like walking out of a film feeling gross, or bad about myself. A movie can be gross, and have terrible things happen to the characters, but it can still be fun to watch. When I walked out of the theater after seeing “Drag Me to Hell”, I had a huge smile across my face. That’s really what I was trying to replicate here. Just a fun, fast horror film that left you with a smile.

As the horror genre develops where do you see it heading through the next decade or so?

It’s so hard to say, because it seems like the trends change every 3 to 4 years. It was the J-horror remake train for a while there, and now we’re on the found-footage kick hardcore. But the movies that inspired those trends, like “The Ring” and “Paranormal Activity” or “The Blair Witch Project” or “Scream” for the 90′s slashers, seem to come out of nowhere and surprise everyone.

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I saw your short Stasche recently and found it hilarious , do you have any plans to maybe expand on that for a full length feature (please) ?

We joked about turning it into a feature when we made it, but everything I could possibly want to do was already done to perfection in “Hot Fuzz”. I’ve got too many other horror ideas to even think about it at the moment, but if I get burnt-out on those, maybe I could always take a break to write a feature about the mustachioed hitman again.

What do you think the secret is of a good Stasche? If I grow one I look like a paedophile rather than a Tom Selleck..

Yeah, if I try to grow something I just look like a hobo or someone’s dad. If I had the answer I’d be doing it myself, but for those who have it, flaunt that beautiful lip spinach!

What are your plans for the future? Anything in the pipeline you can reveal?

Nothing is set up yet. It’s been a full-time thing shepherding this film for the last few years, but now that it’s finally coming out, I’m starting to be able to focus on other ideas. As I don’t have Hollywood banging down my door and throwing scripts my way, it looks like I’m going to have to continue writing for myself. That’s fine; I’m just the World’s slowest typer. So may be a little while, but I don’t have any lack of original ideas.

If you ever do a shoot in the UK can I be an extra?

Absolutely!

Outside of the horror genre are there any other genres you would like to have a go at?

I love science fiction just as much as I love horror, and nothing’s better than a crossover of the two. I still have yet to see a satisfying haunted spaceship movie. So that’s definitely something I’d love to try and tackle someday.

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What was your grounding in film? How and why did you get into it and what maybe would you like to get out of it?

I’ve known I wanted to work in movies since I was 10 or 11-years-old, when I got a book on the making of “Independence Day”, and learned that there were film jobs outside of just the actors on-screen. Nearly everything I learned about film was self-taught. I learned how films are made through behind-the-scenes featurettes on DVDs, and about the intention behind them through the commentary tracks. I taught myself how to shoot and edit by trying to replicate scenes from some of my favorite films. From there, I just tried to follow in the footsteps of what many of my heroes did, which happened to be making a small film on their own. It’s really the only world I know, and I’d just like to continue to deal with issues that interest me in a fun, exciting, and entertaining way.
Many thanks for your time and any last words?

I’m just really excited that people are getting a chance to see the film. I’m pretty sure the 16-year-old, wannabe-filmmaker version of myself would’ve loved this film. If you stay through the credits, you’ll see that there was a ridiculously small amount of people that worked on it. It’s essentially a movie made by a few schlubs in somebody’s backyard. So for it to be getting any kind of release at all is sort of a miracle, but I’m glad that it’s really connecting with some folks, and I hope that it’s inspiring to other low-budget filmmakers. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about it and spread the word!

-Brad

 

I Didn’t Come Here To Die is released on DVD by Second Sight Films in the UK  on 15th April 2013.