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The Void (2016) Review

rsz_void1THE VOID (Dirs- Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski, CANADA, 2016)

Starring- Aaron Poole, Kathleen Munroe, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Art Hindle

Out now on Demand + DVD & Blu-Ray from Signature Entertainment.

After making an impression at a series of festival screenings, THE VOID arrives on blu ray and digital download after a very (almost non-existent) cinema release, in what will be a format where it can find a more appreciative audience, as the film harks back to memories of VHS horror flicks and those sort of films you found in the local rental store that had garish hand drawn covers and as a kid you immediately wanted to rent out. The memory of the 80’s genre cinema and creature prosthetics and even the looming influence of John Carpenter, is further emphasised since some of the films influences can be found in his classics THE THING and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13.

rsz_void2Starting off with a bang the film opens with two people running from a farmhouse in terror one of whom is shot down and killed by two strangers who state that the other person “won’t get very far.” Said fleeing injured person runs out onto a road and encounters Sheriff Carter (Poole) who drives the guy to the nearest available hospital, which in turn is closing down after a fire gutted much of its basement and is surviving on a small skeleton crew of doctors and nurses including Carter’s wife Alison (Munroe) who has separated from him since the death of their child during birth. It’s not long before the hospital is under siege from mysterious hooded figures who are intent on not letting anyone escape from the hospital which comes under attack from all manner of messed up creatures. With tempers fraying between Carter and the two men from the start of the film who know more than the staff and become valuable allies, they soon start to realise that the hospital might be the basis for someone or something with a more darker purpose than they imagined.

rsz_void3Gillespie and Kostanski know how to kick off the film in the right way and they keep this energy up throughout the running time almost not letting go of the full throttle pace of the film. Managing to cram small bits of back story of the hospital and the characters, the film maintains its focus on the situation and is blessed with the perfect setting. PRECINCT 13 springs to mind in this aspect of the closing down hospital, a skeleton crew of mismatched individuals some of whom might be a threat, surrounded by a mostly silent enemy. However the extra level of tension is added in that what ever the hooded figures threatening the characters outside is also manifesting itself inside in a much more horrific way and its this concept that allows the true stars of the film to shine or rather spill its guts onto the screen, which is the effects. Both horrifying in an almost surrealist creation of disgust and innovative, the creature effects are superbly done and its a credit to the directors and the effects team to go along with the use of prosthetics. Its no surprise to know that the two directors have backgrounds in art and practical effects on some big budgeted films and that experience has allowed them to bring it to the full in their own picture.

rsz_void4Whilst there are a few cracks in the story and at times background detail seems to be missed, the film runs at a decent pace to almost allow you to forgive some minor plot holes as it’s main focus is on the action and some impressive set pieces. The cast handle the proceedings well, managing to portray convincing normal small town people trapped in an unbelievable situation, particularly Kenneth Welsh as Dr Powell whose brief part leads to a more significant and deciding character that changes and significantly influences the second half of the story. Cult film fans will also recognise Art Hindle star of the 70’s version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE BROOD in a small role.

rsz_void5THE VOID is going to go down well with hardcore horror fans and it’s damn enjoyable. Admittedly you can spot the genre references through and through from Carpenter’s aforementioned classics mentioned before to HELLRAISER, with a splattering of THE BEYOND especially in the films final sequence as well. But as genre films go you cannot fault its ambition and drive and the directors have a love and an appreciation of the horror film. It will have any self respecting genre fan loving it’s use of traditional prosthetic effects and watching it with a huge smile on their face, since it has the hallmarks of a cult classic in the making.

8.5/10

The UKHS Ecstasy & Agony Showcase #12 – Monster Brawl (2011) by Duane Hicks

The UKHS Ecstasy & Agony Showcase #12:
The Agony of MONSTER BRAWL (2011)

monsterbrawl1Duane Hicks is back, this time giving a half-nelson of hate to creature punch-up turkey Monster Brawl…

Cyclops vs. Witch Bitch. Mummy vs. Lady Vampire. Swamp Gut vs. Werewolf. Frankenstein vs. Zombie Man. They’re the kind of school yard wager match-ups a boy dreams of, not to mention the perfect subject matter for a film for monster fans.

Let’s go back to the summer of 2012 when, after months (nearly a year?) of anticipation after seeing the trailer on YouTube, I was thrilled to finally have a copy of Monster Brawl in my hands. An independent feature by Canadian filmmaker Jesse Thomas Cook promising a showdown of the world’s eight most legendary monsters at the Hillside Necropolis at midnight, I figured MONSTER BRAWL would be an instant, modern cult classic. How could it not?

I eagerly popped into the DVD player and sat at the edge of the sofa. I leant forward, eager to jump up and down and cheer for Frankenstein to crush some heads; for the wolfman to eviscerate his foes; for the cyclops to heroically swing his maul-like fists, and then miss his foes due to his lack of depth perception. So many questions too: If a zombie bites his opponent while giving him a headlock, will that other monster turn into an undead version of itself, and if so, how cool is that?! If the mummy uses his bandages to strangle an opponent, is it considered use of a foreign object? What will the physically weaker Witch Bitch do to best her opponents? Use black magic? Or sexy black magic? I had to know.

monsterbrawl2The disappointment was not immediate. I rather liked the way each monster was treated to a brief origin story, providing some promise, not unlike a first date wearing a warm smile, a lovely yet not too strong perfume and, if you’re lucky, showing a bit of cleavage. But it all quickly turned into a painful exercise in patience once the matches began.

Instead of a maelstrom of violence, Monster Brawl was like watching subpar professional wrestling match after subpar professional wrestling match after subpar professional wrestling match (and yes, I intentionally wrote that three times to convey the agonizing tedium of my viewing experience). Now our date is killing us slowly us with one-sided conversation about kitty cats, knitting, kitty cat sweaters, and knitting kitty cat sweaters. And urinary tract infections.

monsterbrawlAs our gruesome grapplers fumble around like they were in a very outdated video game, not even Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart, Dave Foley of “Kids in the Hall” fame, nor Lance Henriksen (or rather his voice doing a Mortal Kombat-like “Finish him” spiel) can rescue us from boredom. Our date has just confessed that she has a unique gynaecological condition called “vagina dentata” long thought to be folk lore or at the very least metaphorical but, no, it’s real. And she may be meowing mad due to something called Toxoplasma gondii, stemming from that litter box she never seems to get around to emptying. Too busy knitting, she says, as she starts chewing the skin off her hand.

And it’s really too bad, because Monster Brawl seemed like a no-brainer. Terrific premise, good monster makeup. And that’s why it is such a bitter disappointment. I’ve seen worse films, but had no expectations for them. But Monster Brawl could have—nay, should have—been something special.
Special like this ball of yarn and pair of dental forceps. Now where did I put that girl’s number …

*****

Read all the previous Ecstasy & Agony pieces by clicking them:

#1 Dead & Buried (1981) by Duane Hicks 

#2 The Happening (2008) by James Pemberton 

#3 Sleepstalker (1995) by Matty Budrewicz

#4 A Serbian Film (2010) by Oli Ryder

#5 A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Dead (1985) by Dave Wain

#6 Cabin In The Woods (2012) by Joey Keogh

#7 Battle Royale (2000) by Mark Pidgeon 

#8 Avia Vampire Hunter (2005) by Andy Deen

#9 La Jetee (1962) by Stuart Anderson

#10 The Shining (1980) by Stuart Smith

#11 The Thing (1982) by Dean Sills

The Brood – Candice Carveth 35 years on. The Cindy Hinds Interview.

The Brood – Candice Carveth 35 years on. The Cindy Hinds Interview.

 

brood2With Second Sight films releasing David Cronenberg’s classic The Brood on BluRay (see my review HERE), then I wanted to do something a little different here at UKHS . When I think of The Brood there are two images that stick in my mind , one is of Candice being led down the long desolate snow covered road and the second is Candice with her back against the door screaming in terror whilst “The Brood” are trying to break it down to get to her .

Now both images feature Candice (played by Cindy Hinds) and on the BluRay there is an interview with Cindy (and Art Hindle) where she describes some of her experiences on set. So I got it in my head to try and find Cindy and maybe ask for an interview!

Now what could be easier than trying to track down a child actor that has not worked in film or TV for nigh-on 30 years?

Well completely out of the blue (or as luck would have it) Cindy then actually got in touch with me, she wanted to scold me for my misspelling of her name in that recent Brood review. So tail between my legs I sheepishly asked Cindy for a quick interview and here is the result!

 

Hi Cindy and please can I firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me here at UKHorrorScene.com !!

 

How did you get into acting at such a young age? Andy, it’s truly my pleasure. What fun I have been having reminiscing about my childhood acting days and visiting with old friends. Thanks for being such a good sport about my name teasing. I got into acting when I was 4. My Mom, brother and I were shopping at The Bay, a well-known Canadian department store and it was local “Bay Days”. They had a guy dressed up as “Bay Man” and he approached my Mom about getting us in to acting and modelling. My Mom took him up on it, met up with an agent and the rest is history.

 

Your first film was the Brood , how did you ever get such a part? I was called in to audition. The role was quite serious. I know there was concern about a five year old being able to handle the part. I was eight but looked very young for my age so I think between my scream and looking a bit like David’s daughter, it all worked out rather well for me. It was my first movie roll and all very exciting for me.

brood1

David Cronenberg had previously released Shivers and Rabid. Were your parents aware of his work and was there any reservations about letting you work with him at such a young age? At the time, David was just coming into his own. My parents didn’t really know much about him at the time. My mom, whom I was living with, did do some research though to find out more about him and I guess since I did the movie, she was happy with what she discovered. I’m not sure any parent could have been sure what I was about to get into.

 

How was David as a director? David was absolutely wonderful! He was kind and thoughtful. My well being and safety were always his number one concern. He was always joking around with me. I have very fond memories of working with him and the entire crew.

 

You worked with some huge stars on The Brood especially Oliver Reed , do you have any memories or stories you would care to recollect and what was Oliver like to work with? He was a unique individual. He wasn’t one to hang around the set. The scene we had together was quite intense. He was great though. He made sure I wasn’t afraid. Between the gun and the blood is was quite gory. I do remember him getting upset because the shoot was going very late and he didn’t think it appropriate that a bunch of children should be working so late especially doing that scene. He definitely was pushing to get it done quickly so that all us kids could get some rest. I also remember him being quite the character at the rap party. He definitely liked to have a good time.

 

In the Brood you play Candice who is in a custody tug-of-war with her parents (played by Art Hindle & Samantha Eggar) , you had a lot of on-screen time with Art , but I believe you never actually had a scene with (your mother) Samantha Eggar. Did you even meet her on set and if so what was she like? I didn’t actually meet Samantha until the rap party. I remember meeting her and thinking how funny it was that I never met my mother. We chatted a bit but it was more pleasantries than anything.

brood3

How long did you film , and did you have to take time out of school? I believe I was out of school off and on for about 6 weeks. My teacher, Mr Graham, was awesome. I was a good student who did well, but I also had a wonderful teacher who supported me academically. My mom always made sure I did my school work. Doing well has always been important to me, even as a young child.

 

You had some really very intense scenes in The Brood, how on earth did you handle them? I don’t know how to answer that really. Now, as a grown woman, I think about that and ask myself that very question. I’m stong willed, I know that. I always have been. I’ve been through a lot in my life. My childhood wasn’t easy. I had a lot of things going on “behind the scenes” so to speak. (but that’s for Oprah) LOL. What I was experiencing in my acting was a breeze to what else I had going on so maybe that’s part of it. Truthfully, nothing I did in The Brood really ever fazed me. Not much did with any of the acting jobs I had.

 

The film was filmed in Toronto & Mississauga (I believe) , and looks very cold. Was it as cold on set as it looked ? It was colder! We filmed in a small community North of Toronto called Kleinburg as well. They had lots of blankets and hot chocolate for us. I got to wear that toasty snow suit so I wasn’t as cold as many.

brood4

After filming when was the first time you saw the film ? David held a private screening for me and a couple of the other kids so we could see it.

 

I believe you were around 8 at the time of filming , what did you tell your friends at school ? As I expect none of them could see the finished film for a few years 🙂 I didn’t say much. To be honest, I kept it as quiet as I could. I was ridiculed a lot in school and made fun of. A lot of school mates thought I was making it all up so I learned to just stop talking about it. That’s part of the reason I left the industry. I preferred people to not know about it. Even to this day, it’s only just recently that I have let people know about my past. I haven’t even shown my husband or kids any of my movies or shows. I know that sounds silly. The support and kindness of a handful of people recently are the only reason I’m even talking about it now. When I do tell people all that I did as a child actor, they are shocked. Initially they thought that I just did a couple shows and a movie. They didn’t realize that in the 70’s I was “in demand” as they say as a child actor. Especially when it came to the horror genre.

 

Please can you tell us all at UKHS what your lasting memories of the whole Brood experience ? I have so many fond memories. Many that have only recently come back because I have been talking about it so much lately. It was a true blessing in my life. I realize that now. I didn’t appreciate it then. I met and worked with incredible people. They all treated me incredibly well and for that I am forever grateful. I have had the incredible fortune of spending time with Art lately and I really hope to spend much more time with him. He is such a lovely man and so much fun to be around! I hope I get the chance to see David again too and any of the other incredible people I worked with on the set. It was an incredible experience.

 cindy1

(Cindy recently with her father from The Brood – Art Hindle)

The Brood wasn’t really well received on it’s initial release (Roger Ebert’s review was especially scathing) and also was victim to the censors scissors. However now almost 35 years on it is seen as a seminal work of psychological horror and often appears in “Top Horror Films” lists . Why do you think that is? You got me there. I would like to think it’s because people see the incredible depth and intelligence of David in this early work and appreciate what he was trying to do by going outside the box or what was considered “appropriate”. He truly was a pioneer with an incredible vision.

 

After your debut in The Brood you only appeared in a handful of other releases (including Cronenberg’s Dead Zone) then stopped. Was there a conscious decision to leave acting? As I mentioned, I did do a number of other things. I did a lot of television shows, commercials, modelling, radio, etc. I did do another horror movie called Deadline in ’79, Directed by Mario Azzopardi. I was hung in that one…a couple of times. That movie was much more intense and hard to do than the Brood. I also did a television mini series called Tales of the Haunted, in which I had the honour of working with Jack Palance. Dead Zone was actually the last acting job I did. I decided to step out for personal reasons and then never really had the opportunity to get back into it.

 

The majority of your roles were in the Horror genre. Why do think you were picked for these roles and do you yourself enjoy watching Horror films? I’ve gotten boring in my old age. Funny as this sounds, I’m not really a fan on the genre. I did love horror when I was younger, but grew away from it as I got older. My 12 year old daughter is forever trying to get me to watch the new horror movies that are out. I keep telling her that she needs to watch Freddy, Jason and Chucky from the ‘80’s if she wants a real good scare. Of course as she tells me, I have no idea what I’m talking about.

cindy2

(Cindy with her husband Luc )

You are now a successful realtor and have a family. Do you have any plans to one day return to acting as either a career or maybe a cameo? I have no current plans to return to acting as a career anytime soon. I have a busy family that I adore and who need me. I have a 12 year old daughter and a severely physically disabled 10 year son who, along with my husband and 2 teenage step sons, are my world. A busy career in real estate along with being in the initial steps of opening up my own restaurant and being very active in my community doesn’t leave much time for anything else at the moment. I have to admit though that this has definitely been an enjoyable few months and should the right project arise, I think I would be hard pressed to say no. I truly did love acting when I was a kid and have always continued to follow what’s been happening in the industry. Maybe someday.

 

And finally are there any last words to the readers of UKHS? Just THANKS! Thanks for supporting the launch of the BluRay and for allowing me to share with you some of the great moments I had. I hope you all enjoy it. Thanks to Chris Alexander of Fangoria for tracking me down and thank you Andy for being so kind with your review and having a great sense of humour!

 

Well that is it. Thank you so much for your time Cindy , it has been a pleasure and indeed an honour to speak to you. The Brood is one of my personal favourite films and your performance is THE outstanding one from the film alongside Oliver Reed . Thank you for the interview AND thank you for The Brood .

 

Andy Deen (UKHS)

 

Since the interview , myself and Cindy have corresponded and become (I hope) friends. She sent the more recent pictures and has told me about her plans to open a restaurant which she and her husband are building themselves. She has a wonderful family with strong support and a very busy life. I want to thank Cindy for the interview and being such a warm and generous person to deal with.

Since I began writing about my love of horror I have tried to contact many people. Most do not reply , some do and kindly offer to help and some go out of their way to help and take time out of their busy schedules . Cindy is definitely in the latter category and for that I will always be grateful , especially as I am such a huge fan of The Brood and her performance. Cheers Cindy !!

brood5

The Brood (1979) Second Sight Films BluRay Review

 

thebroodbluThe Brood (1979) BluRay Review

The Brood 1979  –  92 minutes

Dir. David Cronenberg

UK BluRay – Second Sight Films – released July 8th 2013

Starring – Oliver Reed , Art Hindle , Samantha Eggar, Cindy Hinds .

 

The Brood is a classic. There that’s the end of my review, watch it and on BluRay and then watch the extras . Then watch the film again.

This is a fantastic release from Second Sight Films , a beautiful clean crisp transfer and full of extras.

The Brood starts with Frank Carveth (Art Hindle – Black Christmas) whose wife Nola (Samantha Eggar – Exterminator) has checked herself into a psychiatric therapy centre run by Dr Raglan (Oliver Reed – The Devils) . Dr Raglan uses a technique called Psychoplasmics which may cause the patient to manifest their problems physically through growths etc.

Frank has custody of his daughter Candice but allows her to visit her mother , when Candice returns from a visit with bruises Frank decides to look into Psychoplasmics and Dr Raglan a little more.

What we get now is David Cronenberg’s look into the 1970’s obsession with therapy and also an almost autobiographical account of his own separation and child custody battle he had.

 

Oliver Reed is just immense as Dr Raglan , and the rest of the cast all put in superb performances including the great Cindy Hinds who played 5 year old Candice.

 

thebrood1That is about as much as I will say about The Brood , and rather than do a full review (as most people will/should have seen this) I thought I would do a brief review of each of the extras on the great release.

 

Producing the Brood

Producer Pierre David who has almost 150 films under his belt including Cronenberg favourites such as Scanners& Videodrome, talks about the production of The Brood and gives a lovely insight including tales of “Wildman” Oliver Reed.

 

The Look of Rage

Renowned Cinematographer Mark Irwin who has worked with David Cronenberg on many films including Dead Zone & The Fly , tells about the styling of The Brood and the works of David Cronenberg.

 

Meet The Carveths

Fangoria editor Chris Alexander interviews Art Hindle (Frank) and Cindy Hinds (Candice) and we get a wonderful discussion about The Brood and some rather insightful stories about Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar. This is a rare interview with Cindy Hinds who played little Candice , and her and Art return to the school where some of the scenes were shot.

 

thebrood2Character For Cronenberg

Actor Robert A Silverman star of many Cronenberg films , tells of his life and how he became a Cronenberg regular.

 

David Cronenberg – The Early Years

The great man himself talks about his early work . With some fabulous views on Shivers and Rabid and how he got into directing.

 

In conclusion this is a MUST for any horror fan , it is a look into and behind the scenes of a classic in 1970s horror. Second Sight have released a BluRay that is made for horror fans and fans of David Cronenberg. The film looks beautiful and the extras really makes this a top notch release.

 

A quite wonderful 9/10

second sightSecond Sight are releasing the DVD & BluRay in the UK on July 8th 2013.

 

Second Sight Films are releasing some classic films through 2013. Please check their website HERE .