Grimmfest Saturday 3rd October 2015 – A Review
So after the many highs of Friday I was hugely excited about Saturday which is usually the busiest day of the weekend. But as I got to bed around 3.30am I of course overslept meaning I missed the first film Excess Flesh. Hopefully we have a review soon but speaking to fellow patrons it was probably the most divisive film with either ‘I loved it’ or ‘I hated it’ – I found no middle ground.
I arrived in time for the Short Film Showcase but I only managed to catch –
Director – Tom Marshall
Starring – Johnny Vegas, Perry Fitzpatrick, Cheryl Marie Dixon
Anything starring Johnny Vegas is going to be worth watching isn’t it? Hell yeah and Dark_Net is no exception. Johnny plays Alan , a man who has been dumped by his girlfriend who has now moved on to another fella. So Alan explains to his friend Tony that he has been on the ‘dark net’ and managed to procure a hitman named Iceman47 who he asks to take out his love rival so he can get back his girl. But Alan has given Iceman47 his bank details and upon going to a pub Alan finds his bank card won’t be accepted as he has no funds in it.
So has Alan been scammed or could there really be a hitman available to hire on the deep , dark net?
Running at just 13 minutes dark_net is a very funny, dark short film that is well scripted and uses Mr Vegas perfectly. Something that should be tracked down and seen 8/10
I then had to duck out of the Short Film Showcase as I was interviewing Howl’s director Paul Hyett and star Rosie Day. You will be able to read the interview very soon here on UKHS! And by the way they were both amazing.
The Nightmare (2015)
Director – Rodney Ascher
Starring – Siegfried Peters, Stephen Michael Joseph, Yatoya Toy.
I was really looking forward to The Nightmare as a friend of a friend said it was the scariest film he had seen this year and also director Ascher was the guy behind Room 237.
So The Nightmare is a documentary about people who suffer from sleep paralysis. The film focuses on a group of people who tell what happens when they suffer sleep paralysis. They are unable to move , are visited by shadowy figures who circle their beds but they are unable to do anything about it or even scream. They explain they feel electric pulses before it happens and their may be alien or paranormal forces at work.
The scenes are re-enacted by the sufferers with some downright creepy effects. So part documentary, part horror film The Nightmare just doesn’t work. It skims over the whole sleep paralysis syndrome and tends to focus on the paranormal/alien forces. There is no mention of mental illness or how perhaps sleep paralysis could be a waking nightmare where the sleeper becomes trapped in a waking dream?
I personally felt that Rodney Ascher chose the subjects because of their extreme stories but then never pressed them on why they are having them rather he just let them explain their frankly absurd theories, and didn’t question anything.
I have suffered sleep paralysis (but no figures or aliens) and when I was young extreme nightmares and sleepwalking, but this was down to stress and anxiety, over time it calmed down and stopped. What I didn’t do (as many seemed to do on this film) is go on Google , join forums to talk to other sufferers and make YouTube videos getting hundreds of thousands of hits. It felt like people at times enjoying the online fame that the sleep paralysis has bestowed on them, and that by going online it somehow fuelled it.
There were no experts on the subject interviewed in the film and at times it felt somewhat scripted. It was one way traffic and full of hyperbole.
I don’t want this to come across as I am some unfeeling bloke, or these people are not truly suffering (because they really DO believe) but it felt like there could be some serious mental health issues here and peoples fears and issues are being used to make a film yet not help them. There was someone on it who explained the paralysis stopped when Jesus’ name was said and the figures were actually demons! So all normal there then. I found it very uncomfortable to watch and also after 10 minutes very boring. There were no issues resolved and by the end I had stopped paying attention and caring .
Not for me at all , a real let down 2/10
Director – Paul Hyett
Starring – Ed Speleers, Holly Weston, Elliot Cowan, Rosie Day.
Next up was Howl, now I must admit I had already seen it before Grimmfest. So I nipped out of the screening and into the bar where I sat with director Paul Hyett and we talked for around an hour about our love of horror and genre cinema. I started on about Last House on The Left and Paul mentioned he loved the remake (which I have never seen) , so we chatted about remakes and found we both adored Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac (2012) which in my opinion is the best remake ever! But what a way to spend an hour! In the company of a hugely talented UK director ,a man who knows his horror and a damn nice fella!
But as for Howl just watch it as it is one of the best films of 2015, a claustrophobic creature feature that will make you laugh, wince and have a bloody good time. You can read UK Horror Scene writer Nick Trenchard’s fab review here – http://www.ukhorrorscene.com/howl-2015-dvd-review/ . And I totally concur – 8/10
Director – Jacob Gentry
Starring – Chad McKnight, AJ Bowen, Michael Ironside, Brianne Davis
Next up was one of my ‘unknowns’ (a film I intentionally shied away from any reviews etc). I knew virtually nothing about Synchronicity and not being a Sci-Fi aficionado I was interested to see if I could find a 2015 Sci-Fi feature that would wow me.
Synchronicity is complicated , but it is about time travel. And as we know time travel is complicated haha. Jim Beale (McKnight) believes he has invented a time machine but he only has enough money to open one end of the wormhole and needs to get billionaire investor Klaus Meisner (Ironside) on board so he can finish the project. But Meisner needs to see the machine running and working before he will confirm any investment. I hope this is right so far as going off a few notes and memory!!
Beale and his team send through a rare Dahlia and then they must find the identical match to prove their machine has worked. After the test Beale runs into the stunning Abby (Davies) and this is where things start to get complicated.
Synchronicity is set as Sci-Fi noir. It looks stunning and everything is subdued and low lighting is the name of the game. It is an ambitious film at the very least and in the whole works really well. There are a few timeframe issues and as there are so many threads running concurrently then it does lose momentum towards the end and some may find holes in the plot. But it is wonderful to have a director just go for it and it feels like Gentry had his hand in everything.
Synchronicity works and works well, it is visually stunning and keeps your attention until the end. You may need to rewatch , as I will as soon as it is released but I think it is worth it and it is great to see people are still pushing boundaries and making interesting and thoughtful sci-fi 7/10.
Director – Jason Lei Howden
Starring – Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman.
Oh my GOD! Deathgasm was THE film I wanted to see at Grimmfest. I must stand before you and profess my love for heavy metal (and all it’s subgenres) and my love for horror films (well I do run a horror website). But what I love more are the bastard hybrids when both collide. Think Trick or Treat (One of the best OST’s ever), Rock n Roll Nightmare (THOR), Black Roses, Rocktober Blood, Terror on Tour, SUCK, Phantom of the Paradise, The Gate, Hard Rock Zombies , ANOES 3 Dream Warriors (Dokken anyone?) etc etc.
BUT most are shit, and I want a new horror metal film to love and cherish.
Deathgasm starts like a fucking train , I was spellbound. It had the music, the imagery the feeling of being a kid at school, an outcast, someone who stood out and stood up for their love of metal!!
Then it gets better as the horror kicks in!!
Deathgasm is a metalhead’s wet dream, great music, superb visuals and MASSIVE in-jokes. Yeah we can sit there and chuckle to the jokes ‘normals’ don’t get. Anyway onto the film. Brodie (Cawthorne) moves in with his aunt, religious uncle and jock cousin , he is a metal head and finds it hard to settle in until at the local record store he meets Zakk!! So Brodie, Zakk along with nerds Dion & Giles form a band ‘Deathgasm’.
After a series of events , which I won’t mention as to stay as spoiler free as possible, the boys accidentally recant an ancient script and unleash something beyond even their dark imaginations could ever process.
Deathgasm is just a wonderful film, and you don’t need to be into metal to appreciate it. It is self referential in it’s humour which is something so fresh and just so perfect for the film. The blood and gore are way OTT so fit just fine. The bands video shoot was also something of pure genius , I was in stitches. And I will say the large crowd were loving it too, a real festival hit.
It is obvious Jason Lei Howden is a talent and knows what he is doing, but also the casting was spot on as was the script, scenery and FX. Almost every facet of Deathgasm works and works so fucking well.
Heavy metal goes with Horror and vice-versa, and Deathgasm nailed it and smashed it out of the park. If you are going to see a film this Halloween make it Deathgasm , it should be on countrywide but alas it isn’t. So track it down and if you can watch it on the big screen with like-minded fans and I promise you will have a blast!
I was expecting to like Deathgasm but I didn’t !! I fucking LOVED it! 9/10 \m/\m/
We Are Still Here (2015)
Director – Ted Geoghegan
Starring – Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie
Last of the night was Ted Geoghegan’s Lucio Fulci homage We Are Still Here. And as I had already seen it I decided to get home and get some much needed shut-eye.
I really enjoyed the look, feel and acting in We Are Still Here but felt it was a little light on substance and had a real lack of depth. Crampton was (as always) wonderful and the aesthetics are wonderful. I need to see this again and maybe I will enjoy it a little more.
I really should have waited and watched on the big screen but when the sandman calls!!
For a full review of We Are Still Here please read Steven Hickey’s excellent article, and Steven totally loved it so what do I know? Haha read it here – http://www.ukhorrorscene.com/we-are-still-here-2015-review/
So that was Saturday, a little less hectic with less films but still DEATHGASM!!! So the day was a triumph and the less said about The Nightmare the better. And please stay tuned for my next review for the last day of Grimmfest 2015 – coming soon!!