Sunday, 24 January 2021

Seasons Releases New Music Single/Video for Killing Season - Music News

Seasons are a metalcore band who formed in 2017 with five musicians. They are influenced by Wage War and Attila and are said to be known for their 'in your face' stage presence. Their latest single is Killing Season and is to be featured on the soundtrack for upcoming fan film Friday the 13th: Vengeance 2 which is due to come out in Autumn 2021.

Killing Season is written from the perspective of Jason Voorhees and is full of references to different aspects of this character and events he has been through. For more details check out the Apple Music page here.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

WNUF Halloween Special (2013) - Comedy Horror Film Review

WNUF Halloween Special
is a found footage comedy horror co-directed and co-written by Chris LaMartina (What Happens Next Will Scare You, President's Day) that leans in hard to its premise with the film not once breaking the illusion of being the contents of a VHS tape. There is no typical intro blurb on a black screen, there are no end credits, instead this tries to give an authentic feeling of eighties TV exaggerated for comedic effect.

In 1987 WNUF TV put out a Halloween Special. News anchor Frank Stewart (Paul Fahrenkopf - President's Day) was reporting live from a house in which two parents were murdered by their child some twenty years previously. His intention was to explore the house, alongside a priest (Robert Long II - Malice: Origin) and two psychic investigators, Louis (Brian St. August - Zombie Doomsday) and Claire (Helenmary Ball - What Happens Next Will Scare You). Over eighty five minutes this investigation is shown, around plenty of ad breaks and news reports.

Due to sticking to the format of a pre-recorded broadcast this found footage is full of adverts, those coming here purely for the main storyline may be disappointed to find that only really constitutes about fifteen to twenty minutes of the whole piece. It's a good ten minutes before we are even first introduced to Frank Stewart. I think it may have been designed to be one of the soft humour ideas here but most of the horror that occurs takes place during ad breaks. On a few occasions it comes back to the house to reveal things had happened while we were stuck watching adverts. I appreciate sticking so rigidly to its authenticity but did lead to a stop and start approach to the main plot. Whenever things started to get moving they would then get railroaded with yet more adverts.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Midnight Releasing - January 2021 Film Releases

A few January releases from Midnight Releasing. The Spiritualist is out now on VOD from Midnight Releasing. A woman living at a family mansion comes to believe that she is being haunted by the spirit of her recently deceased mother, either that or she is going insane. Her friend hires a spiritualist to come to the property to hold a seance. I said in my 2017 review of this "There are some great parts of this movie, mainly in the double whammy of both Julie T. Wallace and Caroline Burns Cook". The best thing about this movie though is that it is directed by Carl Medland who would go on to make the entertaining and meta Paranormal Farm trilogy.
This is now out on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Xbox Video, Vimeo, Hoopla, TerrorTV, ShiverTV, Flix Fling, Tubi, and The Cult Movie Network.

Also out is Capture Kill Release. This is a found footage, but it is of the new breed, one which follows the perpetrators rather than the victims of a horrific act. A depraved couple plan to murder a stranger just for the fun of it. Back in 2017 in my review I said "I am surprised by how much I actually did enjoy Capture Kill Release". Check here for more details on that one.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Happy Times (2019) - Comedy Horror Film Review

The Michael Mayer directed and co-written horror comedy Happy Times takes the concept of a family gathering gone wrong and ramps everything up to eleven. It is funny, farcical, but also bloody with a feel of comedy slapstick with real world consequences.

A Jewish family are having a Shabbat dinner at the mansion of Sigal (Liraz Chamami) and her husband Yossi (Ido Mor - Iron Man) in the Hollywood Hills. It is a typical set-up of various family members all holding their own grudges and grievances with each other. Over the course of the meal things start to escalate until finally with the onset of violence the dysfunctional group implode and over the course of a few hours tear themselves apart.

Families having terrible gatherings has been done so many times in all manner of genre types over the years. Here the mix of humour and horror works well. This may be a comedy, and is indeed laugh out loud funny at times, but Happy Times doesn't shy away from showing some quite brutal looking scenes. An overall criticism I guess is that this is a one trick pony when it comes to the flow of the movie. Once this settles into a rhythm it stays there all the way to its inevitable conclusion. The moment to moment action though remained engaging throughout, seeing the various family members forming shaky alliances with each other and it never being exactly clear which character is going to end up as the next victim. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Bayview Entertainment - Latest Film Releases January 2021

Another month and film releases from Bayview Entertainment keep on coming, some of these sound pretty neat. Centipede! is about a man named David and his friends who go on an expedition deep within the dangerous Shankali Caverns in India. Not having the best of luck the friends manage to trap themselves in a breeding den of giant black centipedes. From the trailer this looks like it will be cheesy in a hopefully fun way.

Nobody is a movie that sounds more up my street as it involves time travel of a sort. An assassin kills his latest target but then finds himself under attack from an assailant who can predict his every move. Things get even stranger when he later discovers the man he definitely killed is somehow alive and well. This is just the start of time based madness which includes such moments as killing a man whose corpse he had discovered hours previously, chasing his own double, and discovering wounds he has received have vanished

Brain Dead is a zombie film and is about six characters trapped in a deserted fishing lodge under assault from alien-infected, mutant amoeba-controlled undead.
The Sleeper meanwhile is about a CIA group known as Sleepers. These are special agents who have the ability to enter people's dreams. A former Sleeper discovers a rogue operative is hunting down and killing all the original agents.

This films are all out on DVD and VOD, for DVD that's Amazon, Walmart, FYE, TCM Shop, Deep Discount,, Import CDs, Vintage Vinyl and more. For VOD that's Amazon Prime, Vimeo, iTunes, Tubi, Roku, and MX Player.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

A Saga of Sadness (2020) - Short Horror Film Review

A Saga of Sadness
is a short horror film from Jeff Payne and is made up of two different shorts he has created in his The Pale Faced Lady trilogy. To me he will be most fondly remembered for his part in the phenomenal short horror septeMber, and for his editing skills. This new short is made up of She Will Return and In Darkness I Wait, skipping out on the first film in the series. I can understand not including that one as it felt of a different style to the later entries.

This is split into two chapters. First chapter titled Sadness is the story of She Will Return. In this part a grieving father regrets his actions that led to his daughter (Rachel Taylor) killing herself quite violently with a sickle. Part two is titled Curse and follows the events of In Darkness I Wait in which the nephew of the father (Sam Love) arrives at the now abandoned house with his girlfriend (Hannah Swayze) in order to burn it down. Both these I had seen before so there is not much more to add other than Payne feels this is the most cohesive way to watch them.

Rather than simply pasting two different shorts together Payne reshot a few scenes, cleaned up the audio and made some adjustments to the overall film. This was done in such a way that I couldn't even tell there were reshot scenes. The best thing about A Saga of Sadness, and of the trilogy as a whole is Taylor as the ghostly lady. Ghosts are often inserted inconspicuously in the background of scenes and is just so darn effective. This figure is definitely creepy and the idea to have this person never ever move or change their expression was a genius one.

As for the combined larger short (clocking in at nearly thirty five minutes), I still found the In Darkness I Wait segment to be the most effective, and with flashbacks to the first chapter it still almost felt like that part wasn't needed. It's hard to get tired of the lovely editing and cinematography so at the least it's cool to get more of that. This ends on the same ending shot as the third short did, very thankful for that as it still remains one of my favourite endings to a short film I think I have ever seen.

If you have seen the original trilogy then maybe there isn't much call to rewatch what is essentially two films taped together. If you have yet to see them though this is the perfect way to do so. Stylistically and thematically the two shorts are very similar and so they fit together well. Check it out for yourself below.


Monday, 18 January 2021

The Medium - Horror Video Game News

A new live-action trailer has been released for upcoming psychological horror video game The Medium. The game is being made by Bloober Team whose previous work includes Blair Witch, The Observer and Layers of Fear. I have to admit I had never heard of this latest game, but each of their previous releases have had their strong points to them (The Observer in particular was actually quite excellent).

The Medium's atmosphere and artstyle is inspired by the paintings of Zdislaw Beksinski which can only be a good thing. The game has you as a medium exploring both the real world and the spirit world at the same time. You use your psychic powers to solve puzzles and survive encounters with the games antagonist - The Maw. Most interesting to me is that the soundtrack is co-composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski and the legendary Akira Yamaoka (the composer of Silent Hill).
The live-action trailer was directed by Pawel Maslona with Tomasz Baginski as writer and creative producer (he has previously directed cinematics for The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077).
The Medium is due for release on 28th January on XBox Series X/S, Epic Store and Steam.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Circle (2015) - Horror Film Review

has been on my Netflix queue for a while now so decided to check it out finally. It was co-directed and co-written by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione who both worked on TV series The Vault and both seem to share some common similarities. There have been plenty of horror films that feature just the one mysterious location, it was only a few months back I reviewed The Odds which has a similar set-up. It dawned on me as I began watching Circle that a movie in which not a single character moves from the spot they are standing in could make for something quite difficult to review.

Fifty strangers awake in a dark room, each of them standing on a red glowing circle on the floor. Before too long they figure out that they are stuck inside of some sort of game, every few minutes they are supposed to vote on someone to get killed. This results in electricity shooting out an orb in the centre of the room and zapping the loser instantly dead. They come to the realisation that at the end of the game it is likely there will only be one survivor...

To put Circle in the worst light you could just say it was Cube but with all the action and excitement sucked out of it. These characters don't know how they got to be there, but a lot of mystery is removed by these characters all being on board to the idea that they have been abducted by aliens. This is explained very early on by one of the characters who remembers being part of a mass panic to flee a city when he was abducted. Whether that is true or not doesn't matter, the characters believe this and so it isn't a question of who has captured them, but more about guessing the motivations of the captors. Nearly the whole film takes place in the dark room, the only visibility being the red lit structure and the characters bathed in light. This brings the focus squarely onto the characters but did mean everything looked a bit samey.

Friday, 15 January 2021

The Ninth Passenger (2018) - Horror Film Review

The Ninth Passenger
is a creature feature from the executive producer of It Follows - Corey Large in his debut directorial role, and who also co-wrote this as well as co-starred. The film suffers from a slow first act, an uninspiring story, and bland forgettable characters, but at least in the few milliseconds you get to see the creature it looked cool.

By a series of various misadventures a bunch of eight relative strangers all end up on a yacht out at sea together. These people include Marty (David Hennessey) whose business man father owns the boat, as well as his slimebag best friend Lance (Tom Maden - Scream: The TV Series). Also on board is Jess (Alexia Fast - Jack Reacher) and her best friend, Marty's ex, Christy (Veronica Dunne), the ship's cook, Malcolm (Large), his date, and a mysterious man who claims to be there to fix the engine (Brady, played by Jesse Metcalfe from Dead Rising: Watchtower). Anyway, while at sea the boat loses all power and so a bunch of the passengers decide to head to a nearby island to find a radio to call for help. Soon both those who remained on the boat and those on the island come under attack from some sort of deadly humanoid creature.

For a simple story it sure took a while to get going. The film is about eighty minutes long yet it is a whole forty five minutes into the film that anything remotely horror like begins to happen. The lengthy peril-free beginning is just used to establish how all these characters came to be stranded at sea, I really don't know why so much time was spent with this dull part of the film. When the horror does finally arrive it would be nice to say there was a sudden huge improvement, instead it is let down by lacklustre kills that mainly see characters suddenly whisked off camera to the sound of a loud distorted bass sound that previously I had only heard on 'dank meme' compilation videos on YouTube.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

ZCREW - Horror Video Game News

is a new top down horror shooter that was developed by Emotion Studio and Snail Games. This supports up to four players and includes both co-op play and a single-player campaign. In the game an alien virus has turned large populations of Earth into mad zombies. To battle these, genetically modified human clones are dispatched to not only defeat the undead, but also battle mutant insects and other creatures.

The Early Access release includes two environments (Ruined City and Lost Desert), 30 levels, 4 character classes and 5 weapons. These levels include day and night variations as well as various weather conditions. The developers plan to update the game throughout 2021 based on player feedback. ZCREW can be purchased on Steam for $9.99.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Sleepaway Camp (1983) - Horror Film Review

Sleepaway Camp
is such a cult film that despite never having seen it I was well aware of the twist ending reveal of who the killer was. Due to this it was really hard to put myself in the mindset of someone who had never heard of this twist. Even so, I was really interested to see how this character would be handled, and if the film in general was at all memorable outside of its notorious shock finish.

As a child, Angela (Felissa Rose - Camp Twilight) was involved in a terrible boating accident that saw her twin brother and her dad killed before her eyes. Now 13 she lives with her eccentric aunt and her protective cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten - Return to Sleepaway Camp). During summer, Ricky and Angela are sent away to a summer camp, with the shy and practically mute Angela getting bullied there. As the weeks pass people keep showing up severely injured or dead. At first it is thought to be down to accidents, but as the bodies pile up it starts to seem like there is a killer on the loose.

I will admit to not having seen a gigantic amount of 80s slashers but I'm pretty sure that usually it is older teens (typically played by adults) who are the victims of the killers wrath, here though the age range is on the whole a lot lower with the majority of the victims being young teenagers. While there was a large body count by the films conclusion this was slow to really get going. I think by the halfway point there had only been two attacks. I say attacks, as also different is that not all the victims of the killer die, just horrifically maimed! The Friday the 13th films have to have been an influence, at least with the location of a lake side camp mainly ran by young adults. I really don't rate that series at all, the lack of any kind of story in any of the entries really make them quite dull. It was nice that here there is more of a story with both Ricky and Angela getting character development. Angela in particular changed over the course of the film, initially she doesn't even speak but as she befriends Ricky's best friend she slowly comes out of her shell.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

The Dark (1980) by James Herbert - Horror Book Review

Despite loving horror films it was a long time coming before I started reading horror books, and it took me a while to realise who I liked to read and who I didn't. To my surprise I found Stephen King (so far) to be mainly very overrated. Thankfully there are some good horror writers out there. Obviously David Moody (the Autumn series) and Duncan P. Bradshaw (Cannibal Nuns from Outer Space!) have zombies and comedy horror covered, and for more broad horror you have authors like Sean E. Britten (Tik), hit and miss Dean Koontz (Intensity) and James Herbert ('48). The Dark is a 1980s horror novel from Herbert and continues the common trend I've noticed in his books of both being a good read, and featuring an enemy that uses some aspects of the zombie genre.

I read this over the course of about eight months and so my memory of the earlier parts may be a little fuzzy, unavoidable spoilers to follow. Basically, there is a house of evil that exists on a street in London. Years previously a crazed cult leader and his followers committed ritualistic suicide there and it's now said to be haunted. Chris Bishop is a debunker of supposed supernatural events and he has been hired to prove there is nothing wrong with the house. He also just so happens to be the man who discovered the aftermath of the cult suicides a year or so previously. He teams up with a psychic named Edith, as well as a blind paranormal expert, Jacob Kulek and his daughter Jessica. All along the street where the house resides people have been going insane and committing senseless crimes, after the investigation the decision is made to destroy the house, not realising that this releases an evil force known as 'The Dark' which slowly spreads its corrupting influence over the surrounding city.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Hacksaw - Horror Film News

Anthony Leone's Hacksaw arrived on streaming services and video-on-demand on 5th January from Midnight Releasing. This won the Best Slasher Film at the Monster of Horror Film Festival. In this 70 minute slasher a young couple on a road trip take a detour to the site where a notorious killer nicknamed Hacksaw was said said to have been killed. They soon discover this legend may not be as dead as had been assumed. Hacksaw stars Amy Cay, Brian Patrick Butler, Cortney Palm and Sadie Katz.