Halloween 3 (1982) My Halloween Tradition by Stuart Smith


DIR: Tommy Lee Wallace

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacy Nelkin, Dan O’ Herlihy

98 Min.


Halloween is a funny time of year for horror fans. It may be a month long celebration of all things mad, gothic and macabre, but ultimately we spend all year round celebrating these kinds of things and watching these kinds of movies anyway. We don’t need a specific holiday or tradition to give us a reason to wander down the dark alleys and into the gothic castles. Halloween is, however a fun time of the year when the rest of the populace catch up with us and dive into the mists and the grave yards to see what all the fuss is about. There is a certain ‘feel’ to October that is undeniable; a strange combination of the Autumnal air and the spirit of Samhain, it is a unique and undervalued time of the year.

With this in mind, I am going to use it as an excuse to celebrate an under- appreciated gem of a film that manages to capture both the imagination and the spirit of the season. Whenever Halloween comes around, and I start seeing the pumpkins, masks and other novelties in the shops, I find myself thinking about the Silver Shamrock mask company and humming there infectious but deadly tune! Halloween III is a strange beast, and is often resigned to being the unwanted step child of the beloved Halloween franchise. The truth is us horror fans are a difficult bunch. We are notoriously precious about our icons and the films they inhabit; challenge our preconceptions, and dare to do something too different and we cry ‘murder!’ But in the very same breath we complain about a lack of originality and the refusal to push the envelope. Basically, as Rob Zombie found out with his Halloween movies, film -makers can’t win. As Bart Simpson would say “You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

Halloween III had a tough task to start with. Following John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece, and Rick Rosenthal’s solid 1980 sequel it needed to be something special. Those films had set up a mythology that had struck a chord with viewers, and catapulted Michael Myers into horror folklore. What Halloween III was, was something completely different. Turning its back on Haddonfield and Michael Myers it tells the story of a Doctor (Atkins) who becomes embroiled in the sinister goings on at the Silver Shamrock mask factory. With the daughter of a murdered man along for the ride he soon begins to uncover a sinister plot involving the mass murder of thousands of people, druidic rites, and twisted sciences. It is such a dramatic shift that it turned a lot of fans away, disgruntled that their beloved Michael Myers and his very own Van Helsing: Dr Loomis, were absent from proceedings.

H3aTo be fair, the very first time I saw this I found it rather confusing. Not so much the plot or its goings on, but I didn’t understand why there was no Michael Myers. I had gone into the film knowing nothing about it as I was going through my ‘Horror Education’ at the time and was constantly discovering new films and franchises on video and television. I had become obsessed with characters like Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger(who remains my all time anti-hero to this day!) so to see a film in a franchise bereft of its main character just struck me as odd and frustrating. But there was something compelling about the film, and its idea of Halloween masks that would essentially kill the wearer on Halloween night was, and still is rather terrifying. So over the years I have returned to it on many occasions and grown very fond of it.

It mixes its horror with science fiction and has the feel of a feature length Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode, rather than the stalk and slash dynamics of its predecessors. Similar to the Universal horrors such as Frankenstein(1931) and The Invisible Man(1933) it tries to give its monsters a scientific reasoning, and Dan O’Herlihy’s Cochran certainly has the air of a mad scientist about him. But the movie throws in ancient Halloween beliefs and occult philosophies making it a rather bizarre and unique film that stands alone, and may have been better served had it not carried the Halloween name.

It does however share some very important core elements with its brethren that are often overlooked. Director Tommy Lee Wallace clearly learned his craft around the master himself, as this looks and feels like a John Carpenter film. Making the absolute most of its widescreen locations, the camera creeps down hospital corridors, and takes in the vast desolate expanses of The Silver Shamrock factory, finding tension and fear in the most innocuous of places. The science fiction elements shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise either, as Carpenter(who is the Producer here) has often shown an interest in such things. Films like Dark Star(1974) and The Thing(1982) both indicate his love for the field, and he would later return to it all with Films like They Live(1988), and the horror/sci-fi hybrid Prince of Darkness(1987). Carpenter too scores the film, so it has that wonderful synth all the way through it. It isn’t as memorable as the original Halloween score but adds a wonderful sense of rising tension, and offers an aesthetic link to what came before.

H3bSo for all the criticism it received for not really being a Halloween film I say this: Go back and look again because it is far better than any film that followed it bearing the Halloween name. Michael Myers may have returned to the franchise but it was to vastly diminishing returns, and the mythology was irredeemably damaged by many of the instalments.

Halloween III is much like our beloved genre itself: the dirty family secret that some people wish would just go away. But like our beloved genre it has refused to lie down and die and still sparks discussion and debate. It belongs to a rare group of films that capture the spirit of Halloween and October. It feels like Halloween and I defy anyone after watching it not to find themselves singing “three more days to Halloween, Halloween…Silver Shamrock.”

Grimmfest 2013 – Sunday 6th October – A Review

Grimmfest – Sunday 6th October – A Review


After a really good nights sleep I awoke refreshed and invigorated for a full final day at Grimmfest 2013. First I had to take my youngest son to his football game where his team won 5-2 putting them top of the league, so as I arrived at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester a smile was already on my face. I missed the only film at the fringe today which was the almost unpronounceable and at times almost unwatchable Thanatomorphose , which I had already seen and reviewed here on UKHS – check out my review HERE.


butterflyroomThe Butterfly Room (2012)

Director – Johnathan Zarantonello. 87 minutes

Starring – Barbara Steele, Ray Wise, Erica Leerhsen, Heather Langenkamp.


Ann, a reclusive elegant lady, with an obsession for butterflies, is surprisingly befriended by the eerily beautiful young Alice. Using her seductive innocence, Alice establishes a disturbing mother daughter relationship with Ann. Lured into her twisted world, Ann soon discovers that she is not the only recipient of the girl’s affections”.


Barbara Steele gives a quite wonderful performance as Ann, an elderley lady who has an obsession for butterflies. She lives in an apartment block where she has an entire room dedicated to all different species of pinned and mounted Lepidoptera. She looks after the young girl (Julie) in the next apartment who is regularly left home alone by her mother , she teaches Julie all about butterflies and even gives her a beautiful book on them . Ann is also having visits from Alice who is another young girl that Ann met in a local shopping mall, Ann starts to coach Alice in French and even gives the girl a regular allowance which keeps Alice visiting.


The Butterfly Room is a fantastically dark thriller that has a wonderful giallo feel , in fact you could be watching a late 60’s Eurochiller. Barbara Steele is amazing as Ann , she just brings the whole film to life and is one of THE performances I have seen this year. Also the more horror geeky amongst us may notice a few names that seem familiar in the cast listing. In fact there is a plethora of genre names here – Heather Langenkamp (Nightmare on Elm Street), Erica Leerhsen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Adrienne King (Friday 13th), Camille Keaton (I Spit on Your Grave), P.J. Soles (Halloween), James Karen (Return of The Living Dead), Now that is a stellar cast!!


I really enjoyed The Butterfly Room, it was visually very appealing and a story that was not unique but not far from it. I am not sure who it will appeal to (outside genre and giallo fans) , but this deserves to be seen and is a really good , enjoyable watch. 7/10




stalledStalled (2013)

Director – Christain James 80 minutes

Starring – Dan Palmer, Antonia Bernath, Tamaryn Payne.


A janitor gets trapped in a women’s restroom and encounters an all-out attack by a hoard of zombies”.


During an office Christmas Party, a caretaker gets trapped in the female toilets. He is hiding in one of the cubicles when a pair of female office workers enter and start chatting and drunkenly making out with each other. One of the females has a small bite which she explains was from an over amorous colleague , but soon she is feeling unwell and then she suddenly attacks her friend eating her alive.

Poor old maintenance man W.C. (geddit) is now trapped in a women’s toilet while all around him is a zombie apocalypse. However 2 stalls down W.C. Finds that there is a female survivor and the two strike up a conversation . Can they escape the restroom of doom and see if there is any hope outside?

Stalled is a genuinely interesting idea and is shot and acted really well. Comedy horror is a very difficult genre to pull off and Stalled does it very nicely. The trouble however is that I really didn’t like the (sorry) toilet humour and gross out moments, maybe I am just a miserable old git but I just didn’t enjoy Stalled although I did love the concept and ideas within the film.

Judging from the crowds reactions and applause afterwards I would deem Stalled a great success but unfortunately just not for me 5/10 .



The-body-posterThe Body (2013)

Director – Paul Davies 15 minutes

Starring – Alfie Allen, Hannah Tointon, Christian Bassington, Jack Gordon.


The tale of a murderer (Allen) who uses the cover of Halloween night to causally transport his latest victim from the scene of the crime to his final resting place. Wrapping the body in tarpaulin and dragging it through the busy streets of London as a bloody Halloween prop, all goes to plan until an old school mate (Brassington) recognises the murderer and drags him along to a swanky Halloween party nearby, where a chance meeting with a beautiful girl (Tointon) takes his evening on an even bigger turn for the bizarre! “.


I remember at Grimmfest 2012 one of the stand-out shorts was the utterly brilliant Him Indoors, a lovely story of an agoraphobic serial killer played by Reece Shearsmith, so when I saw that ther writer of Him Indoors (Paul Davies) had now written and directed a short , it was something that I couldn’t miss.


The Body is a brilliant story (read above). It is very funny , very dark and very British. Alfie Allen and Hannah Tointon work wonderfully together and I just can’t wait to see Paul get to make a feature film. He is hugely talented and will be one of THE stars of UK genre film-making very soon. A must see 9/10 .




Shellshocked-poster-2Shellshocked (2013)

Director – Dominic Brunt 12 minutes

Starring – Geoffrey Newland, Anthony Mark Streeter.


Two soldiers from opposing sides seek temporary salvation from the battlefield. A tense, life or death stand off at gun point ensues with a growing realisation…they were safer where they were… “.


Another huge success from Grimmfest was Before Dawn . A gritty, nihilistic zombie film made by Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell, so again when I saw Shellshocked was directed by Dominic and written by Joanne then Shellshocked was another must see for me.


Shellshocked is a very claustrophobic short, the entire 12 minutes are shot is a small underground space where two soldiers from opposing sides sit with guns drawn having some respite from the horror above. But the horror above may be preferable to what could be down below with them.


Gloomy , dirty and claustrophobic – Shellshocked is a great little short and with quite wonderful sounds booming from above and dirt and soil falling from the tunnels , Shellshocked certainly is as atmospheric as it gets. Great stuff 7/10 .




THE-MACHINEThe Machine (2013)

Director – Caradog W. James 90 minutes

Starring – Toby Stephens, Caity Lotz, Denis Lawson.


Two computer programmers fall in love as they create the first ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence, which is designed to help humanity. But things go wrong when the MoD steal their breakthrough and teach it to become a robotic weapon”.


So onto the final film of Grimmfest 2013. The Machine is a simply stunning looking film, it’s visuals and the complete set design is something that I have rarely seen in a film. The time, effort and cost must have been substantial but it is well worth it as The Machine just stands head and shoulders above anything I have seen in a long while.


So you can have all the visuals you want and make your film look as good as possible, but you still need a couple of things to make your film work. Firstly the script was just appalling at times, it was clunky and poorly paced. And secondly the cast just didn’t work together, lines were delivered in an almost read from script manner with no feeling or characterisation whatsoever.


It is such a shame as all the work that went into making The Machine is really just lost as all that will happen is this will fade into obscurity and the majority of people will never hear of it let alone see it. The Machine could (and should) have been a triumph but instead falls well short , which is truly a shame as I so wanted to like this . 5/10





Well that is that. Grimmfest is over for another year and we all troop out tired from our five day marathon but also envigorated by having seen some of the very best of new genre films and shorts from across the globe.

Grimmfest is something very special and I am so pleased to have been part of the event through UKHorrorScene.

Grimmfest is a film festival run by film fans FOR film fans. The Grimm team work incredibly hard behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and I must thank them all for all their hard work.

I will be at all the Grimm Up North screenings that will run monthly and I am already looking forward to Grimmfest 2014.

A huge thanks to everyone I met over the five days and everyone who takes the time to read my musings . And finally thanks to all the Grimm team for their help and for running a superb film festival , and onwards to 2014.


Andy Deen !!

Grimmfest 2013 – Saturday 5th October – A Review

Grimmfest 2013 – Saturday 5th October – A Review


Another day another Grimmfest, now onto day 4 where I was only able to attend until around 6pm due to “real life” . But onwards to the screenings, but also just to mention that the short films Out There and Sleepworking were moved from the fringe site up to the Dancehouse where they were to be shown on the big screen, and this was a great idea as both films looked so much better for it.




OutTherePoster_HB-212x300Out There (2012)

Director – Randal Plunkett 15 minutes

Starring – Conor Marren, Emma Eliza Regan.


When a man wakes up in the woods with no memory of how he got there, and blood dripping from his head, he wanders in search of help and an explanation – only to find more questions”.



Out There was one of the very first films I reviewed back in the early days of UKHS , I contacted director Randal Plunkett who sent a screener and we have stayed in touch ever since . So not only was it great to catch Randal at Grimmfest but also it was wonderful to see Out There on a big screen.


Out There starts with Robert (Conor Marren) waking in some woods , he has a cut to the head and no memory of how or why he is there. As Robert sets off to find help we are treated to a series of flashbacks showing Robert and his girlfriend/fiance Jane (Emma Eliza Regan) enjoying happy times together and even Jane saying she is pregnant.


Robert continues on his way through a deserted farmyard and a very creepy cottage, but will he find out why he is there and what has happened to Jane ?


Director Randal Plunkett works wonders in telling a convincing story and having great character development in a film that lasts just 15 minutes. From the complete disorientation of Robert at the start to the harrowing and climactic finale , Randall keeps you glued to the screen and on the edge of one’s seat . A masterclass in horror short film making. 8/10




sleepworking-quadSleepworking (2012)

Director – Gavin Williams 16 minutes

Starring – Catherine MacCabe, Stephen Gregory, Jacqueline Phillips.


In the near future a young woman becomes a sleepworker: her body is programmed to do menial labour while she is asleep. However, she starts to suffer disturbing side effects and embarks upon a dangerous journey to uncover what sleepworkers are really being made to do while unconscious”.


I saw the trailer of Sleepworking around 2 weeks before Grimmfest and was stunned by how it looked . I could have been looking at the trailer for a hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, but instead I was assured this was a small budget UK short.


Sleepworking starts with an advert for a company that uses your body for menial jobs whilst you are asleep. The advert is very much like the type you may see on daytime TV (inbetween episodes of Jeremy Kyle and What Crap is in Your Attic?) for payday loan companies and the like.


So next we see a room set up like a dormitory where Alice (Catherine MacCabe) is helping a new sleepworker Henry (Stephen Gregory) settle in . But when Alice starts to suffer from side effects she becomes involved in a dangerous journey to ultimately discover what is happening to her body while she is sleeping.


Sleepworking just blew me away, I just stared at the screen after it had finished not quite sure if I had just seen what I had seen. Hang on this was a 16 minute short right? Then how the hell did writer/director Gavin Williams fit all this in just 16 minutes ? You have a full plot and great character development. But what makes Sleepworking stand out from the genre crowd is it’s aesthetics. It just is a stunning looking film, it has such wonderful colours throughout and if you think that Gavin did this for around £9000 then I think he has worked miracles.


I truly believe that Sleepworking could and should be made into a full length feature. There is so much more that could be explored in the storylines and with the country suffering from political and financial oppression then Sleepworking is more than relevant in today’s climate.


I did catch up with Gavin after the screening for an interview for UKHS so please check it out when I (eventually) get it transcribed . A stunning film that must be seen if you get the chance 9/10 .




human_race_xlgThe Human Race (2013)

Director – Paul Hough 87 minutes

Starring – Paul McCarthy-Boylington, Eddie McGee, Trista Robinson.


Veronica suddenly finds herself in a surreal and horrifying marathon race. The rules are simple: If you are lapped, you die. If you step off the path, you die. Many will start but only one may cross the finish line alive”.


The Human Race is a full paced action thriller , where 80 people have suddenly been transported from a block in America into some sort of compound. They are all hearing a voice (their own) in their head which explains the rules to them and as each person dies the voice counts down from 80.


Where are they? How did they all get there? And who will be the last survivor and ultimately the winner?


I suppose there is an immediate comparison to Battle Royale , and yes I can see that but Human Race does have a wider character pool . Everything does tick along nicely and you can see just where The Human Race is headed, but things are not what they seem and through some very good and brave writing and a brilliant ending we see The Human Race rise above a typical “winner kill all” thriller into an intelligent genre film that I really enjoyed.


Please excuse me not delving too deeply into the synopsis or review but please watch The Human Race and enjoy all the twists and turns of a great race 7/10.




foundFound (2012)

Director – Scott Schirmer 103 minutes

Starring – Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck, Phyllis Munroe, Louie Lawless.


A horror-obsessed boy discovers his older brother is a serial killer”.


Found was another on my “must see” list. I have been reading about this for the last couple of years and I just had enough time to fit this in.


I have always had an interest in serial killers (as well as horror) , so I suppose I was always going to be drawn to a film about a young boy who is obsessed with horror films who finds a head in his brothers bowling bag and decides that he must be a serial killer.


Found is an odd film , it starts very light-hearted with some nice almost gentle humour but as the film progresses it gets darker, much darker and you end with a really grim, sad and upsetting film that is far removed from the opening 30 minutes.


Found is probably 15-20 minutes too long , but that is one of the only real faults I could find. But saying that it still didn’t engage me as a viewer and while I enjoyed Found and would definitely watch it again , it didn’t resonate with me the way I hoped it would. But still highly recommended 7/10 .





So that was my end to Saturday at Grimmfest (and still with 3 films to show). But everything I saw on Saturday was of the highest standard and a real pleasure just to sit back and enjoy. A quite brilliant day’s viewing. And just one day left – Super Sunday !! More soon ……






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!!


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!!


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
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
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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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


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 .