Dark Cove (2016) Review

rsz_dc1DARK COVE (2016)

Starring Rob Willey, Cameron Crosby and Rob Abbate

Directed by Rob Willey

Written by Dennis Willey and Rob Willey

Five friends go camping on the rugged coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. Things start to go seriously wrong while they party with two Australian surfers

There’s an argument in scriptwriting circles that you don’t necessarily need likeable characters in a film. Screw the save the cat moment, or even being relatable. Hell, most quality TV series now revolve around antihero’s. Because no matter whether the characters are likeable or relatable, there’s always two things the writers never forget to do: make them BELIEVABLE and INTERESTING. But what if you don’t make your characters likeable, relatable, believable or interesting? Well, you end up with something like Dark Cove.

rsz_dc2Five friends head out to the coast for some fun, including the Bromantic Bro Triangle of Joey (Rob Abbate), Donnie (Cameron Crosby) and Quinn (writer, director and editor Rob Willey), and friends Lacey (Jules Cotton) and Jen (Montanna McNalley). They expect a night of shrooms, beers and existential bro chats. And for about half the film, that’s what they get. Until they invite over a pair of Aussie and a Brit with the most bizarre accent I’ve heard in a very long time and a plot begins happening.

I wanted all of these characters to die. I was waiting patiently for a masked psycho or squealing inbred to wipe these fuckers out…but they never turned up. They just let this bunch come out with more inane, juvenile dialogue and play footy, play the guitar and talk about life and shit round a campfire.

Once the dark stuff starts happening, the unbelievable behaviour simply becomes inexplicable. I won’t go into detail and spoil it for you but it’s pretty hilarious, as everyone’s acting kicks into overdrive and completely at odds with normal behaviour. It’s actually enjoyable for all the wrong reasons.

rsz_dc3Technically the film is pretty slick. Willey has an eye and cuts the film well, and aside from the most ridiculous axe attack sound effect, the sound is very professional.

Look, this is an admirably assembled bad film, but I can’t deny, it’s entertaining in a The Room kind of way. Its mercifully short and with a better script this cast and crew will make something great. As it stands, it’s campy schlock.

5/10

Cruel Summer (2016) Triple Six Festival Review

rsz_cruel_summer_posterCruel Summer (2016)

Screened at The Triple Six Horror Film Festival , Manchester 28th May 2017

Directors/Writers: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman

Stars: Danny Miller, Reece Douglas, Richard Pawulski

Out Now on UK DVD & On Demand

Shot over what must have been ten of the most intense shooting days in cinema production history, Cruel Summer has proved to be an incredibly divisive film. In its screenings at Frightfest and Manchester’s recent Triple 6 Horror festival, audiences have been sharply divided and Q&A sessions with directors and writers Phillip Escott and Craig Newman have escalated from relaxed talking shops into heated debates.

Small wonder considering the tough subject matter on display. The story follows autistic teenager Danny (Richard Pawulski) who is camping on his own for the first time to gain his Duke of Edinburgh award. Meanwhile, bitter, violent local youth, Nicholas (Emmerdale’s Danny Miller) who egged on by a lie over an affair from jealous friend Julia (Natalie Martins), hunts down and tortures Danny along with a third friend Calvin (Waterloo Road’s Reece Douglas).

It is, without question, one of the toughest films I have ever had to watch and do not want to watch again anytime soon. This is not a knock against the film though. Escott and Newman have delivered one of the most important and brilliant pieces of British filmmaking in years. The subject matter can be, at best, described as thoroughly harrowing. My emotions were entirely drained by the end and I was left with a seething, boiling anger over the events I had just witnessed. So much so that I had to head outside and decompress afterwards.

rsz_cs1Comparisons I heard were to Cannibal Holocaust and Last House on the Left, those comparisons do this film a disservice as it has far more in common with the works of Shane Meadows, Mike Leigh and Ben Wheatley, presenting a gritty realism but is not cheap, gross or exploitative. Much of the brutality is actually unseen, down to superb directing and editing. It is the oppressive intensity. The hopelessness of the situation. The grim, pointless mess of it all that works you over.

Escott and Newman based the story on a number of different cases that have happened in Britain in recent years and the subject matter is treated with great care and sensitivity.

The performances from the four lead actors are incredible. Miller, not shy of getting to grips with meaty storylines is excellent as the psychotic, hateful slimeball Nicholas. Just thinking about the character is enough to raise my hackles again. Puwulski also pulls off an astonishing performance as Danny, avoiding using tropes that so often inadvertently mock those with mental disabilities. A word on Natalie Martins too, who produces a more restrained but equally outstanding performance as the jealous Julia. Clearly in love with Danny but jealous over his infatuation to the point of egging him into committing a heinous and besotted with him to the point where she goes along with it to the end.

rsz_cs2Cruel Summer will not entertain in any traditional sense but it educates, informs and elicits the necessary feelings of disgust, dismay and anger from the audience. In a time where hate crimes have spiked, tacitly encouraged by a vile and mean-spirited government keen to target the most vulnerable in society, Cruel Summer is an important film about hate crimes and the mindless violence of a lost generation of underclass youth.

Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette #19 – The Fields (2011)

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

rsz_1the_fields_posterTitle: The Fields

Year: 2011

Director: Tom Mattera and David Mazzoni

Starring: Tara Reid, Cloris Leachman, Joshua Ormand, Brian Anthony Wilson

Netflix Rating: 2.5 stars

Seen it before: No

First Impressions: OK according to the description an evil presence lurks in the cornfields of a young boy’s grandparents farm… So we’ll find out. But, full disclosure- I love me a haunted farmhouse. OK, I’m a sucker for anything haunted. It says ‘based on true events’ which means it will either be decent or awful. There doesn’t seem to be much in between when it comes to ‘true happenings’ films. And the rating doesn’t bode well…

The Verdict: Well it turned out to be exactly what I didn’t want it to be. A mish-mash of genres, thriller, coming of age, and general WTFery. The fact that it’s disconcerting in the least can be chalked up to some music and an inbred clan of hillbillies living in their mother’s basement (who literally occupy ONE scene- the one uncanniest scene in the entire movie). Otherwise it’s a big fat lot of absolutely nothing happening.

rsz_the_fields_1And no. There is no haunting. Nothing ghostly, and the ‘evil presence’ is a big fat over sell, it’s really just a crazy local and some drifter hippies, and all the action takes place off screen anyway, so you never really find out for sure what’s happening. Why anyone thought this would be a good basis for a movie I have no idea. The problem with films like The Field, is false advertising. Well, that and it’s just not very good. But still- just be honest. Don’t get our hopes up for one thing and deliver something else. This is NOT a horror film. It’s not even really trying to be a horror film. It’s more of an ill-conceived drama.

In 1973 young Steven (Ormand), is sent to live with his grandparents for a time while his mother (Tara Reid) tries to work out her combative relationship with Steven’s father. The grandparents are played by Cloris Leachman and Tom McCarthy. They provide much of the comic relief in the film as they bicker and cuss each other out. There sort of needs to be an entire film of nothing but Cloris Leachman yelling obscenities off-screen. Steven, meanwhile, grows obsessed with grandpa’s cornfields and the Manson Family Murders. Coverage of the murder trial is running constantly on the TV, and Steven keeps asking uncomfortable questions about Charles Manson that his grandparents struggle to answer.

The setting of 1973 is used very well, and provides a milieu of evil hippies, social turbulence and pop-culture references. The sets and costumes are fantastically done and The Fields looks and feels like it was made in the 70s, right down to the film grain. It’s perhaps the films greatest achievement.

rsz_the_fields_2The acting deserves some mention. Not because the performances are terrible, but because they are decent for a B-movie. No one is absolutely terrible, not even Tara Reid. Sadly though, the actors just don’t have much to do aside from walk from place to place looking serious.

The few plusses it offers up can’t disguise the fact that there is very little plot and almost no attempt to craft a story that invests viewers.

Rating: 4/10

Dark Web: Steven Hickey’s Essential Guide To Creepypasta – Part 41: Normal Porn For Normal People

creepypastaDARK WEB: STEVEN HICKEY’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA – PART 41: NORMAL PORN FOR NORMAL PEOPLE

Hey Dark Web readers, sorry for the lengthy delay between features, but I’m glad to be back with a look at one of the most disturbingly believable web horror stories out there.  This story is Normal Porn For Normal People.

The story was first published on 7 June 2011 by DeviantArtist CosbyDaf, the same creator who gave Creepypasta fans NES Godzilla, as featured here at Dark Web before (http://www.ukhorrorscene.com/dark-web-steven-hickeys-essential-guide-to-creepypasta-part-36-nes-godzilla/).

For those unfamiliar with the story, it takes the form of a first-hand account of a casual web-browser who receives a strange unsolicited email. The email contains a simple message:

Hi there found this site

is very nice thought u might like

normalpornfornormalpeople.com

pass it on, for the good of mankind

rsz_npfnp1 Acting despite his better judgement, the narrator clicks on link and finds himself at a rather shoddy and decidedly basic web site. The page consists of a large block of text, headed by rather strange tagline (Normal Porn for Normal People, A Website Dedicated To The Eradication of Abnormal Sexuality) a rambling rant that at first seems a dead end.

However, on closer inspection each separate word of this text is revealed to be a hyperlink, each leading to a video. At first these appear to be bizarre but harmless, but as the storyteller and other web visitors begin to explore the site in more depth, these videos become increasingly unnerving, leading to a final shocking scene…

You can read the full story here: http://cosbydaf.deviantart.com/art/Normal-Porn-For-Normal-People-212168120

As most of you are reading this feature on the internet, I think it’s safe to say that you are pretty tech-savvy. Also, as web-browsers, I’m pretty sure that plenty of you will have previously disappeared down the rabbit warren of clicking on questionable links, following ‘click-baity’ heads until you inadvertently click on that one last link that takes you to a dark corner of the web that you really wish you could unsee.

I’m not just talking the more stomach-churning internet phenomena such as ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’ or goatse.cx, or even the more unsavoury gross-out sites. No, as it’s title might suggest, Normal Porn For Normal People brings to mind the more disturbing and extreme erotica sites out there. Arguably the biggest strength and greatest aspect of the internet is that it is free, easy to access and barely policed, allowing people to share art and ideas quickly and without fear of persecution. However, this comparative lawlessness is also the most dangerous aspect of the World Wide Web.

It’s no secret that a vast amount of illicit, illegal and immoral material is shared via the internet. From sites spewing bigoted and hateful rhetoric to terrorist guides on how to create explosives to the sickening images recorded by paedophile rings, it’s a sad fact that, as well as being a tremendous source of information, the internet also houses the very worst of humanity.

With this in mind, the site described by CosbyDaf in his story is chillingly realistic, and as such the tale itself becomes more believable. I’ve written about how much more frightening a story becomes when you are given reason to believe that it might be true, and that you might also find yourself falling victim to the horrors described within. Normal Porn For Normal People cleverly combines the bizarre and the grotesque, qualities that ‘extreme web surfers’ will be all too familiar with.

The imagery described in the videos is unsettling, moving from almost comically surreal to utterly repulsive with a slow and steady escalation of tension.
What’s more, CosbyDaf cleverly refrains from robbing the story of its mystery, of neatly explaining each and every part. Instead the creator of the site, its purpose and the mysterious forces that seem to be intent on keeping it hidden are never explored, never revealed. The author encourages the reader to use their imagination, a storytelling trick which has always proven to be one of the strongest tools available to horror writers.

NPFP3It doesn’t matter how great a writer is at describing and detailing atrocities — the reader will always imagine something far more upsetting, far scarier, because they will tailor the story to match (and manipulate) their own worst fears. In short, Normal Porn For Normal People is an exceptional creepypasta that is wonderfully written and works on multiple levels.

Fans have flocked to the story, and with good reason.

As Redditor TatchM wrote in a post about why Normal Porn For Normal People is so scary: It relies on less common tropes than a lot of other creepypastas and the ones it does use are done relatively subtly. It makes it seem less formulaic and thus more believable. What really makes the writing clever is that it does not leave clear answers. It provides a lot of evidence of what is going on with the site, but it does not draw conclusions because the narrator has limited perspective. This allows the reader’s imagination to try and fill in the blanks. The subtext might be lost on some people, but for others it will cause their minds to race and they start putting the pieces in place. I know I spent 10 or so minutes doing as much.

As an example of one way the subtext can be interpreted for those who may not have picked up on it: Let’s start with the title. Normal Porn for Normal People. The first thought when reading that is to assume “normal” means “common.” However, if you interpret “normal” as a group (normies if you will), like gay or trap is for gay porn and trap porn, then the title takes on a different meaning. It then implies that the site is a fetish and the filmier(s) are sharing their home movies as a cry for help. It basically can be seen as a collection of home fetish movies.

dianna.avi implies that the filmer or an associate of his gets off on the interviews. Stumps.avi implies that the filmier enjoys watching people do mundane or repetitive tasks. It puts peanuts.avi, and tonguetied.avi into perspective. privacy.avi, lickedclean.avi, and useless.avi also shows an interest in voyeuristic behaviour. Of course, the tagline “Normal porn for normal people, A Website Dedicated To The Eradication of Abnormal Sexuality” could be seen as a cry for help. The creator of the site uploaded it and sent a bunch of emails stating “pass it on, for the good of mankind” as a confession; a hope that he/they would be found and caught. The “eradication of abnormal sexuality” might mean their incarceration before they could hurt more people as is shown in useless.avi and implied in jimbo.avi and stumps.avi.

Well, that’s at least one interpretation of the subtext. Even if they do not pick up on the subtext, there are still enough off-putting events to creep people out. It’s a good balance.

This smart plotting and skilled writing saw the story’s popularity soar. In October 2011 it was posted at the very highly regarded Creepypasta Wiki (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Normal_Porn_for_Normal_People), where it undoubtedly found thousands more readers. Following that it spread to Reddit, first appearing at r/WTF (https://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/oryk2/this_is_most_wtflike_story_youll_ever_read_its/?st=1Z141Z3&sh=81a033a5 ) on 22 January 2012. It subsequently appeared on the more traditional horror fiction/Creepypasta subreddits, including r/NoSleep on 19 March 2012 (https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/r36yf/normal_porn_for_normal_people/?st=1Z141Z3&sh=81a033a5) and r/Creepypasta on 15 April of that same year (https://www.reddit.com/r/creepypasta/comments/sawr0/normal_porn_for_normal_people/?st=1Z141Z3&sh=81a033a5).
A sure sign that a pasta has hit the big time, the ubiquitous Mr Creepypasta reading was posted on YouTube on 22 April (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTucWL05zV0). It’s a particularly good one too.

rsz_npfnp2Bizarrely, on the very same day that the story was posted on r/WTF, the domain normalpornfornormalpeople.com was registered. The site has since gone live and very closely resembles that in the story. It is run by one ‘Dr Richard Van Buren’, who claims to be a part of ‘The Need for Normalcy Project’. ‘Van Buren’ claims to be the true creator of the site, claiming that the pasta is in fact a fictional/exaggerated account of his own true work. There has been quite a mystery about this ‘work’, revealing the site to actually be part of an ARG — an ARG that rather rudely piggybacks on the story created by CosbyDaf.

In many ways this is the ultimate compliment — Normal Porn For Normal People has become such a huge cultural phenomenon that people have become inspired to write and present their own version of the mythos.

But let us never forget where this story originated — CosbyDaf, the creator who has given creepypasta fandom two of its most enduring stories.

CosbyDaf was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to speak with UK Horror Scene about the phenomenon that is Normal Porn For Normal People. Our interview follows below.

UK HORROR SCENE: First, in your own words, can you tell my readers a little about Normal Porn For Normal People?
COSBYDAF: A url is sent to a guy by mistake, and he looks at a bunch of videos that he really shouldn’t have.

UKHS: What served as your inspiration for the story?
COSBYDAF: It used to be fairly common (and still is to an extent but more regarding the deep web) of clicking suspicious links and seeing something that the person really wishes they hadn’t seen. I liked the idea of it starting out non-criminal, yet unsettling at first, and then the content escalates.

UKHS: Are you a fan of Creepypasta? If so, what are some of your favourites?
COSBYDAF: Yes, though lately I’ve gained more of a fondness for listening to stories about people’s (supposedly) real experiences with incidents of high strangeness. Tied into that subject is my new favorite Creepypasta. Get some popcorn, it’s a long one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhkgXOUDetc

UKHS: Why do you think Creepypasta, and especially Normal Porn For No People, is so popular with readers?
COSBYDAF: Normal Porn, unlike NGC, is fairly close to something people can experience in real life. I’ve definitely had experiences where I clicked a link to watch something, only to wish later that I could unsee it. Unfortunately, you can’t delete events from your memory like you can with an internet browser. As I mentioned before, there’s a concern about stumbling into hidden evil on the internet.

Also I saw this mentioned a while afterwards, people would ask if the website was real on places like Yahoo Answers, only for their question to be deleted. The actual reason being because it’s pertaining to a porn site, but this happened to coincide with how the story ends, and this led to a lot of people thinking it was a real thing. I can’t take credit for this, it was completely unintentional, but it gave me a good laugh when I heard about it.

UKHS: The fans are very passionate about the story. Are there any examples of fan art, such as images, films or readings, in particular that have impressed you?
COSBYDAF: Not really, I hadn’t been searching around for fan content as much. I might be missing out.

UKHS: While doing my research on your story I discovered the ‘real’ NPFNP site. I can see it was opened significantly after the publishing of your story. Can I please get your thoughts on the site?
COSBYDAF: I’m not a fan of it. Nobody asked my permission to make the site. And from looking it over, it seems to be some mad scientist roleplay thing that discounts the original story as an “inaccurate telling”. Meh.

UKHS: And finally, will you ever return to the story in the future?
COSBYDAF: I did have ideas for a sequel, particularly another disturbing ending video. Though I kept thinking that it would be uninspired to write basically the same thing over again, and the “I’ve seen disturbing videos” type story has gotten a bit stale since the original came out. And I’m sure the majority of the audience would prefer that I put the effort into completing Godzilla: Replay, rather than starting something else!

Of course Normal Porn For Normal People isn’t the only pasta to inspire readers to adapt and embellish on the story in their own way. If anything, this ‘communal’ quality is one of the best qualities that the scene has, it means that these stories belong to each of us, especially when dealing with older pastas where the original author might be unknown or no longer active.

Come back next time when I’ll be looking at another creepypasta that has provoked much thought and adaptation from artists — one which is widely regarded as one of the greatest pastas ever written.

Don’t Hang Up gets UK DVD & Digital Release

rsz_dhu1DON’T HANG UP – STARRING GREGG SULKIN AND GARRETT CLAYTON

UK DVD & Digital Release from Solo Media & Matchbox Films

Early DVD Release Date: 12th June 2017 Digital Release Date: 26th June 2017

Following a long tradition of cocky teenage boys with too much time on their hands, Brady, Sam and Mosley like to amuse themselves by making prank calls. However, their cellular diversions are intensified by the extreme nature of the pranks they put their unsuspecting victims through, and the delight and encouragement they receive when they post videos of their hijinks online for maximum humiliation. Having pushed the wrong person too far, they find themselves on the other side of a call, and an evening intended for normal high school revelry turns increasingly bloody as their unknown assailant ramps up a prank of his own.

Written by Joe Johnson | Directed by Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot | Starring Gregg Sulkin (Pretty Little Liars, Faking It, Anti-Social), Garrett Clayton (King Cobra, Teen Beach Movie), Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil: Retribution, Love Actually) and Bella Dayne (Humans, Plebs)

 

White Raven (2015) Review

rsz_wr1White Raven (2015)

Directed by: Andrew Moxham.
Written by: Andrew Moxham.
Starring: Steve Bradley, Aaron Brooks, Andrew Dunbar and Shane Twerdun.

For release information check http://www.whitebuffalofilms.com/

Four men head into the remote woods on an annual camping trip. As one of them gradually loses his mind, the weekend of fun takes a turn for the worse and the other three must fight for their lives.”

Given a choice, there are lots of things I would do rather than go camping. I’ve never seen the appeal of holidaying somewhere cold, unhygienic and lacking the most of basic of facilities. I’ve never found myself thinking, “This seems like an appropriate spot in the wilderness where I could spend my vulnerable sleeping hours, protected from cruel nature and the harsh elements by only a flimsy sheet of polyurethane canvas with a 75 denier.”

Of course, this reluctance to be exposed to the great outdoors means that I’d never receive an invite to join the four camping buddies at the centre of White Raven: but I don’t see that as a bad thing.

rsz_wr3Each of the four characters at the heart of White Raven has a grim and bleak existence. Jake (Aaron Brooks: Bad City, Alien Trespass, Naked) is an alcoholic with a nagging wife and the results of a failed drugs test stamped across his (now revoked) pilot’s licence. Dan (Shane Twerdun: She Who Must Burn, Black Mountain Side, Two Married People) has just been told that the young waitress he’s banging has missed her period. Kev (Andrew Dunbar: When Calls the Heart, Leprechaun Origins, Christmas Icetastrophe) has a wife, coming home in the early hours and lying about where she’s been. And, when we first meet Pete (Steve Bradley: She Who Must Burn, Black Mountain Side, Hastings Street), he’s sucking on the barrel of his own handgun and trying to pluck up the courage to squeeze the trigger.

Each of them is living the sort of grim and bleak existence that makes a camping weekend with drunken losers seem like the epitome of fun. Not that I’m saying these party animals don’t have some fun. They wrestle one another with ‘five second fights’. They toast ‘chicks’ they have known. And they competitively shotgun beers. In amongst all the macho showboating, Jake confidently dismisses Dan’s worries about his current relationship by explaining, “There’s no such thing as too young.”

And, when the serious conversation threatens to become too much for the more light-hearted members of the group, Kev tactfully explains that he doesn’t want arguments and serious conversation and says, “I came here to drink beer and jerk off in tents.” I don’t know about anyone else but I’m thinking of using that as the signature for every one of my future Trip Advisor reviews.

rsz_wr2The film takes its title from a native American legend about a white raven stealing light and giving it to the world. Pete explains, “When you see a white raven, you’re in a part of the world where the light doesn’t reach.” And, it seems fair to say that this camping weekend is taking place in a pretty dark place. The acting, writing and direction in this one were strong, although I think the film did suffer a couple of devastating flaws. It didn’t help that Jake, Dan and Pete all have a similar build, similar colouring and, in the early stages of the film, are difficult to differentiate. The opening of the film was fairly slow as we were introduced to the backstory on each of these not-so-happy campers and the bleak lives they currently suffer. However, once it did get going, White Raven proved to be a darkly fun excursion into the wilderness.

If nothing else, White Raven is a good reminder why, if anyone invites you on a camping holiday, you should always say, “NO.”

7/10

Streamer (2017) Review

rsz_posterStreamer (2017)

Directors: Jared Bratt and Vincent Pun
Writers: Jared Bratt and Vincent Pun
Stars: Jared Bratt, Tanya Lee and Brennan Pedde
Runtime: 78min

Synopsis (from IMDb): “When a misguided loner learns that a webcam girl lives in his building, he struggles to build a sincere relationship with both her onscreen and offscreen personas.”

Streamer is a depressing snapshot of contemporary suburban life; a life where we are as connected as we’ve ever been with social media and the internet. Yet we are more lonely than we have ever been. This is the narrative of Streamer, please don’t be worried for my mental health. The film follows Jared (Jared Bratt). He opens by uploading an exposé of his inner most thoughts to YouTube. A frustrated, regrettable decision as some family members ring to see is he alright, adding to both his emotional turmoil and sexual tension.

Jared has found a girl on a webcam (Tanya Lee), this isn’t one of those innocent cam shows either people, this man is frustrated. By pure chance one day, he see’s this girl while doing some laundry in his building. He stays up just waiting and waiting for her to come back online, to watch her silently. From here, Jared’s angst builds to a frenzy as we cannot separate fact from fiction within his mind and growing fantasy.

The social commentary is obvious yet makes for an entertaining watch. Bratt’s performance as (I assume) his fictional self is fantastic, he really drives home the persona of an awkward “nice guy” frustrated at women for giving him no attention yet having zero introspection.

rsz_tanya_frame_captureIn terms of story; I was unsure what direction it was going to take at times, for better or for worse, it did keep me on my toes. Technically speaking this was produced really well, the camera work, considering Bratt was both directing and starring, he knew exactly what he wanted and executed it perfectly. The sense of frustration and claustrophobia came across very well. The whole film was shot in cramped rooms and corridors. This minimalism and repetition of locations added to the overall feel of despair, like being trapped in the Twilight Zone.

Overall if you’re looking for some compelling independent cinema, Streamer might be a film you should check out. Strong performances and an engaging story made for an enjoyable watch.

Verdict: Worth the Stream
7.5/10

Official Site: http://www.streamerfilm.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/streamerfilm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/streamerfilm

Offensive (2016) Triple Six Festival Review

rsz_offensiveposterOffensive (2016)

Reviewed at the Triple Six Horror Festival Manchester Sunday May 28th 2017

Director: Jonathan Ford

Writer: Jonathan Ford

Stars: Russell Floyd, Lisa Eichhorn, Fred Adenis

Release TBC

Seeing Offensive at Manchester’s Triple 6 festival was an odd experience. We were being treated to the final viewing of the film in its full, uncut glory before director Jonathan Ford pulled it and cut out some of the gore for future release.

After sitting through all 100 minutes of it, you do wonder why the hell Ford has decided to cut some of the gore out? Without it, the film is a pretty poor, by-the-numbers revenge thriller.

The story follows an elderly American couple (Russell Floyd & Lisa Eichhorn) who move to the French countryside and are terrorised by a group of local youths who may caused the death of their uncle, and decide to exact brutal vigilante justice.

rsz_offensivefloydIts hard to gauge where Ford wants this film to sit in the long and bloody history of the revenge movie, ranging from the grindhouse of Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave to the likes of Death Wish and the genre’s high point in Shane Meadows’ Dead Man’s Shoes.

Without the violence Offensive looks an awful lot like a made-for-tv film aired before 5pm on Hallmark. The setting of the French Countryside looks rather artificial, the characters are one-dimensional and the dialogue can be best described as “ropey.” At times it’s hard to tell whether the moments I laughed at were meant to be funny or things had just become so staggeringly silly it lapsed into self-parody.

The dialogue is made more bananas by the somewhat suspect acting. Eichhorn in particular is so incredibly wooden you could furnish an entire house with IKEA flat pack furnishings out of her acting. A scene with the couple discussing the morals of taking revenge against the youths is like an entire petrified forest in an American National Park.

Offensive really fell quite flat in comparison to several far more impressive films at the Triple 6 festival. However, against all five Pirates of the Caribbean films in a weekend festival of bad films, Offensive, particularly without the gore, still wouldn’t fare too well.

Crimson (1976) Review

crimsonCrimson (The Man with the Severed Head) 1976

Las ratas no duermen de noche (original title)

Director: Juan Fortuny

Starring: Paul Naschy, Silvia Solar, Olivier Mathot, Gilda Arancio, Claude Boissen, Carlos Otero

Out NOW on UK DVD from Black House Films

“Otherwise…understand.”

A gang of four criminals lead by Henry (Mathot) is attempting to rob a jewelry store when it all goes hilariously wrong. One of Henry’s flunkies (I don’t know which- the one with glasses) steals a pearl necklace, setting off the alarm. The robbers flee and end up in a shootout with police during which their safe cracker Surnett (Naschy) is shot in the head. Unable to take him to a hospital the thieves call on a local drunk ex-doctor who makes his living patching up the local criminals. Dr Ritter (Otero)doesn’t have the skills to operate so he suggests that his old friend a mad scientist can patch up Surnett. Well to fix Surnett all the mad scientist needs is- another brain! And whose brain do they get? Another gangster by the name of The Sadist. Well that sounds like a recipe for fun. After installing part of the Sadist’s brain in Surnett, he turns into a mad rapist what rapes three women.

rsz_crimson_2I’m not even sure where to start with Crimson. The jaunty 1970’s jazz flute that plays over the rape for titillation scenes? The fact that it has not one but FOUR rape for titillation scenes. The ridiculously incompetent criminals? The utter lack of even an attempt at science? The fact that apparently, Crimson is originally in Spanish but dubbed in French? Decisions, decisions…

Let’s start with the science and that word, in the context of this film requires sarcastic air quotes. First of all Surnett barely looks injured, as though the bullet only grazed his skull, or as if the film didn’t have money for fake blood. SECONDLY how on earth is a brain transplant EASIER than brain surgery to remove a bullet? THIRDLY the Mad Scientist says, after examining an x-ray, that the bullet didn’t penetrate the brain. SO WHY ARE WE DOING A BRAIN TRANSPLANT?! And why do I care? Believe me, I tried to let it go. But there is only so much suspension of disbelief one can take. Even films like The Brain that Wouldn’t Die make a vague stab in the general direction of science, but not Crimson, NO, it couldn’t be bothered with such pettiness as logic or even watching an episode of say M*A*S*H.

rsz_crimson_3Incompetent criminals. Stealing a necklace during a safe robbery and tripping a secondary alarm system is only the beginning for Henry’s boys. The real hilarity comes when they trap and kill The Sadist. They have been ordered to bring back The Sadist’s head. And they take that mission both seriously and literally. After attempt one at decapitation fails they try plan B which works. Hint– it involves a train. When The Sadist’s gang finds out their boss is dead they go on a rampage of poorly organized vengeance.

And finally, the rape. OK, this is a film from the 70s. This is a film from France (possibly Spain). I knew what I was in for. What was surprising was the amount of boobage and the amount of rape for titillation. Like wow…insert slow clap here. Not one female character escapes the film un-raped with the possible exception of The Sadist’s evil girlfriend Barabara (Evelyn Scott) who is molested by Surnett post brain transplant when he is basically half-Sadist and she seems to have feelings for him. Anyway, there aren’t just breasts on display there is full frontal female nudity, which is present in such quantity that it is an actual “Plot Keyword” on IMDb. There are also the mysterious disappearing-reappearing clothing. Because who want to spend valuable rape time getting women’s clothing off when you can just cut to full nudity. This also applies to getting clothing back on. Don’t think it’s just lady buttocks that appear. There are at least two flabby man-asses the audience is treated to.

rsz_crimson_1So, what actual language is this film in? Was it dubbed from Spanish into French? Was it just a Spanish production filmed in France? I don’t know. It was subtitled in English which was good enough for me.

Crimson pure 70s sleaze and cheeze. It’s easy to riff on and laugh at and impossible to take seriously. But watch with caution. Because, you know, rape.

Kudos for: Professor Teets

Lesson learned: It’s not brain surgery.

6/10

The Call of Charlie (2016) Short Film Review

rsz_cog1The Call of Charlie (Short 2016)

Director: Nick Spooner
Writers: Guy Benoit, John Simpson
Starring: Evan Arnold, Bradley Bundlie and Sven Holmberg
Runtime: 13min
Synopsis (from IMDb): “A trendy Los Angeles couple fixes up an Ancient Evil Deity From Beneath The Sea on a blind date.”

The Call of Charlie (TCoC) is an ambitious horror-comedy, namely because horror-comedies usually never seem to get the balance right. As a result I believe anybody attempting this is being ambitious from the outset. So before we go any further into the depths of TCoC don’t be alarmed, this tight rope has been walked across perfectly.

This suburban couple are awaiting their dinner guest Charlie (Sven Holmberg), sporting fantastic makeup effects. Charlie arrives and his striking physical features seem all but ignored by his hosts. Some old friends stumble on by and some awkward situational, visual humour ensues. More than just a one hit visual gag, the escalation of the antics is well paced and thought out, considering this very brief runtime, all the bases were covered. This made for a refreshing, light hearted yet still dark reimagining of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu. With a tight runtime, every gag is gracefully executed leading to a satisfying conclusion which leaves us itching for more.

rsz_cog3For a short film and horror debut for Spooner, this production oozes style, substance and quality. This combination is a rare feat for a short film, not to mention for a horror-comedy. I would hope the feedback for this project would encourage Spooner to continue down the path and we will all put our hands together and pray this wasn’t a one hit wonder. At 13min there is no excuse not to watch this if you’re even half curious about horror.

Verdict: A call worth answering

9.5/10

Listen to my chat with Nick Spooner about The Call of Charlie and lots more on The Bazaar Cast:
https://soundcloud.com/thefearmerchant/e012-nick-spooner