Tag Archives: Housebound

Failed Critics Podcast: Awe Steve That Stinks

scouts guide

Everybody, raise your right hand and say it with me:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to Owen and to Steve,
To help other people
And to keep the Failed Critics Podcast on my iTunes subscription list at all times.

You may lower your hand so that you can press play now and listen to your hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes, with their special guest Brian Plank, play a game of 20 Questions around the camp fire, stay up late talking about movies (such as He Named Me Malala, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Kill Your Friends) and scare Brian by telling him ghost stories.

Well, Steve tells a ghost story of sorts with a review of Housebound, a horror film from New Zealand (not Australia). Owen finds possibly the worst Bruce Willis movie ever made in Hudson Hawk, whilst Brian – still recovering from the shock – talks about indie documentary King of Kong.

There’s time before all of that for the group to sing a rendition of Kumbaya – but unfortunately the mic wasn’t plugged in. So instead of doing seven versus in full again, they decide instead to take a look at why the Chinese market get a different Star Wars trailer and what’s wrong with Warcraft. We pay a small tribute to horror icon Gunnar Hanson who passed away this week, as well as casting our beady eyes over the BIFA nominations.

Join us again next week where we’re inviting you lot to send in your listener questions! We’ll answer them, whatever they may be about, during the podcast.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

DIRECT LINK

Advertisements

Celluloid Screams 2014: Sheffield Horror Film Festival Preview

by Mike Shawcross (@Shawky1969)

Celluloid Screams plays a terrific line up from Friday 24th to Sunday the 26th of October at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield. Boasting a strong mix of new and old films, there is also an all-night line up starting at midnight on the Saturday for all those hard core horror fans, who just can’t get enough of the genre. This is extreme cinema to say the least, in all 17 feature films and 17 short films. If that wasn’t enough there is also a collection of shorts from Astron-6, a truly exhaustive schedule and a real test of stamina!

celluloid screams posterIt all starts at 7pm on the Friday with The Editor, a film by Astron-6 who are in attendance for a Q & A and will be at the festival all weekend by the looks of things. Their film is a comedy horror in the vein of the Italian Giallo films, with intentionally bad dubbing and lots of gore; sounds like a crazy film to open the festival. Rey Cisco (Adam Brooks) is editing a schlock crime thriller, when somebody starts killing the cast and crew from the film. While everyone acts suspiciously in true Giallo fashion, the evidence points to Rey and detective Porfiry (Matthew Kennedy) is convinced Cisco is the killer. The short film Timothy will play after The Editor.

The second film of the night is Housebound, directed by Gerard Johnstone. This Australian horror comedy has been getting great feedback from its previous festival showings at FrightFest and Grimm Up North. Starring Morgana O’Reilly (from of course Aussie Soap Neighbours) as Kylie, she is placed on home detention by the courts. Her crazy mother is convinced the house is haunted and soon Kylie starts to believe her mother isn’t that crazy. Followed by The Muck (Short).

The final film is at midnight and is another horror comedy, Creep. A videographer answers an advert for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, yet his client isn’t what he seems. Patrick Brice directs a story he co-wrote with Mark Duplass, with both of them also starring in the film.

And if that wasn’t enough for the opening evening, the last film is followed by two more shorts; The Gas Man and Dead Hearts.

11am on Saturday and Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla is a black comedy to start the day off with. Directed by Stuart Simpson and starring Glen Maynard and Kyrie Capri. Warren Thompson (Maynard) a lonely ice-cream van driver is obsessed with daytime soap star Katey George (Capri); how far will is obsession take him. Split (short) plays after this film.

Starry Eyes tells of a young actress, Sarah, who is struggling to get her break in Hollywood until she takes a casting call for a new film; how desperate is she to get the part? What will she exchange to join the elite of Hollywood? Alex Essoe who gives a solid performance as Sarah in a film directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer. (I won’t be seeing this one again. Whilst I thought it was good, it’s not one I want to sit through again so soon.) Two shorts will be shown after Starry Eyes; The Stomach and Tuck Me In.

What We Do in the Shadows is next. Another feature and another comedy with a strong reputation from previous festivals. Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, who both wrote the screenplay and both star in the film as well. This mockumentary follows 3 flat mates as they try to overcome the common obstacles of sharing a flat, wardrobe failures and of course paying the rent… and of course being vampires. Two shorts follow this; Mr Denton and Ghost Train.

Spring is directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, who also wrote the screenplay. It’s a film which had a very good showing at the London Film Festival recently and sounds like a must see film. A young man with troubles flees America to Italy where he falls for a woman; yet she has a dark secret. The Jigsaw (short) is next, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead from Spring are in attendance for a Q&A.

Brian Yuzna is the special guest of the festival and a number of films he has been involved with will be playing. He will be on hand for a Q&A after his first film Society, directed by Yuzna, starring Billy Warlock and Devin DeVasquez. This was Yuzna’s first film and many still consider this his best one. A film with a strong social commentary and a very warped sense of humour and horror. Ink is the short that will play with Society.

the editor

The all-nighter starts at midnight with Bride of Re-Animator, another of Yuzna’s directed films. Starring Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West who alongside Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) discover how to create human life, now they just want to make the perfect woman. Baskin (short) plays after.

Maximum Overdrive, taken from the short story “Trucks” by Stephen King and directed by King himself, is the second film of the all night line-up. Starring Emilio Estevev and Pat Hingle as they fight to stay alive when all the machinery comes to life and threatens to kill them all. Two shorts, Nightsatan and The Loops of Doom are next.

Night of the Creeps, directed and written by Fred Dekker is next. The population is turning into zombies infected by an alien parasite; a group of teenagers fight back. Starring Jason Lively, Tom Atkins and Steve Marshall. With the two shorts Rotor and Flesh Computer.

The final film of the all-nighter is Killer Klowns From Outer Space directed by Stephen Chiodo. Aliens in the guise of clowns terrorize a small town in America. Only the young town members can see the danger and they soon fight back. With Dedalo (short).

11am and the Sunday schedule starts with Suburban Gothic and the shorts Emptied and Canis. Suburban Gothic, from the director of Excision, Richard Bates Jr., is a complete departure from his first film. With a superb script and a fantastic performance from Matthew Gray Gubler (Life After Beth), also starring Kat Dennings and the brilliant Ray Wise. A must see film.

Dagon is a Brian Yuzna produced film, based on the H.P. Lovecraft short stories “Dagon” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” with a screenplay by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon is on directing duties. Paul and Barbara end up in a small Spanish fishing village after a boating accident. However, the village harbours a dark secret which Paul slowly uncovers as people start to disappear. Yuzna will give a Q&A after the short Autumn Harvest has played.
A short showcase from Astron-6 is next on the schedule.

Into the final evening and there is The ABC’s of Death 2, directed by 26 directors including Aharon Keshales, the Soska Twins and Julian Gilbey to name a few. Having just seen the first one I’m not sure where they will go or what this new bunch of directors will throw at us.

The secret film is next! Speculation is rife, Rec 4, It Follows and Tusk to name a few.

The closing film is Dead Snow 2. Director Tommy Wirkola continues from where the original story ended in Dead Snow. Martin’s day just keeps getting worse, after the events of the night, he thinks he’s escaped the Zombie Nazis; but it’s not over yet. Now Herzog has a new mission and Martin must find a way to end this nightmare for good. The sequel is bigger, bolder and I thought much funnier than the first. I’m really looking forward to seeing this again; this was one of my favourite films from this year’s FrightFest.

If that wasn’t enough – and you can still stand – there is an after festival party!

This is a fun line up with a lot of emphasis on FUN; and I have to say I’m really looking forward to attending the festival. There are a number of films I’ve not seen like Night of the Creeps, Spring, ABC’s of Death 2, The Editor and Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Whilst there’s also some I’ve not seen since the decade they were released; Maximum Overdrive, Society and Bride of Re-Animator. One thing’s for sure, it will be a laugh and a test of my film watching stamina as I said this is extreme cinema! God knows what state I will be in on Monday!

FrightFest 2014 Diary – Part 2: What was seen and worth seeing

By Mike Shawcross (@Shawky1969)

Cast and Crew of The CanelFor me, this was a quality year. However, I get the impression I actually missed the poorer films either by good discovery screen choices, buying extra main screen tickets or by doing something else; like interviewing Jessica Cameron and Ryan Kiser for their film Truth or Dare [keep an eye out for that interview and review on the site soon]. Or you could just get caught up with talking all things Sinister and its sequel with the writer of the film, C. Robert Cargill. In past years for me it was always about the films. This year, I really wasn’t bothered if I missed the odd one here and there. I even skipped Sin City: A Dame to Kill For to go and see The Congress at Cineworld as it wasn’t showing in Manchester; and after seeing Sin City 2 last night, I was glad I did!

I’m not glazing over the films here – and we do intend to post more detailed reviews over the coming days – there are just far too many films to cover and do them and the festival justice.

The Guest was a superb opening film, one I thoroughly enjoyed. Possibly one of the best opening films I’ve seen. The closing film, The Signal, was one I wasn’t really feeling and instead went to the Phoenix bar for the party. General consensus was while it was a good film, it shouldn’t have closed the festival.

I do like a good horror comedy as they usually work very well with this audience: Zombeavers, WolfCop, Dead Snow 2 and Life After Beth. Both Zombeavers and WolfCop had their share of funny moments, but I felt both were just not funny enough. In fact, I was really quite disappointed with WolfCop in the end. Dead Snow 2 however was the funniest thing I saw. Packed with laugh out moments, this was when the festival vibe got me. The Arrow screen audience responded superbly to the film with big laughs, cheers and applause; that’s the Frightfest way! This was my 2nd favourite film of the weekend. Life After Beth had a superb cast was extremely well written and very funny at times, another festival favourite of mine.

Werewolves seemed to be one of the themes this year, with Late Phases, WolfCop and Blood Moon. I missed Blood Moon and never really heard too much about it, while Late Phases I saw and really enjoyed this. A blind vet takes on a werewolf to revenge the death of his dog – brilliant fun!

Honeymoon was a decent start to Friday. Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway carried the film quite well. Julia was a rape/revenge film taking its inspiration from Asian revenge films with overtones of Drive thrown in as well. Great soundtrack for this one, and one I liked very much. The Canal, another strong film, follows Rupert Evans as his character’s life and mind start to fall apart after his wife goes missing. Calum Heath, who plays Evan’s son, was superb.

Another disappoint for me was The Babadook. While Essie Davis gives possibly the finest female performance of the festival, the film wasn’t what I was expecting. I didn’t get “this year’s Sinister“, which is what it’s marketed like; actually it’s much more like The Canal. I really need to see it again.

Films I would have liked to have seen but ended up missing were Digging up the Marrow, Housebound, Deadly Virtues, Blood Moon, and The Drownsman, though I’ve not seen or heard anyone talk about that one. There was also R100 (which is actually repeated on Film4 on the 3rd September), Exists and Bad Milo. I know it sounds wrong to some but many people really enjoyed the musical Stage Fright; I do like musicals!

Truth or Dare was the nastiest piece of work I saw and I fully enjoyed it for that reason. Jessica Cameron is one sick woman! However, she popped my interview cherry and I thank her for that; a superb guest all weekend; so full of energy and all things horror! I get the impression she really enjoyed FrightFest!

Starry Eyes felt like a disappointment after it ended but it’s gotten better the more I think about it – not much, but it was good. The Harvest had a tremendous cast in Shannon, Morton and Fonda, Morton was brilliant, another of my favourites. Among the Living was one I was looking forward to and one which didn’t disappoint me. It had touches of Spielberg and King but with a French horror twist and a decent score.

Open Windows and Faults were big surprises for me, especially Faults. A dark comedy with Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in top form , as Orser tries to save Winstead from the cult ‘Faults’ which has her in its grip, another strong film. Open Windows, whilst a lot of fun, possibly may not hold up to repeat viewings. But Elijah Wood continues to make interesting film choices and Sasha Grey does a decent job in this one.

Now before my number 1 film, another that I had high hopes for was V/H/S: Viral. While better than V/H/S, it wasn’t as good as the sequel. My main problem was the wrap around story which didn’t seem to link the main films or have any connection with them at all. Plus, it was near enough impossible to work out was going on. The 3 main segments I did like, but in the end it could have just been a Creepshow film. I should have just seen the short film Showcase instead!

My favourite film of the weekend was The House at the End of Time, a horror film from Venezuela – the first one – and wow! What a film; and one of the jumpiest films at the festival! From the cast, which includes Ruddy Rodriguez (a former Miss Venezuela) to the kids who were both very good, to the sound design (which was incredible) and the very well told, very clever story. Outstanding!

The Duke Mitchell film club brought along a film, Coherence, which many people really enjoyed and one I will be looking out for. They also did a Film Party after it, where many of the guest directors, producers and even actors brought a little something to share with the crowd. For 90 minutes we got terrible music videos, trailers, shorts and party games. It was superb, very funny and a great break from all the films. They hope to repeat it next year and I for one will be going.

One last mention has to go the fans. They are brilliant. Some keep themselves to themselves but you could just start talking to anyone and you could end up in a conversation for hours. I’d often go for the drinks and they would have to come and find me, because I got talking to someone at the bar, sometimes I didn’t even make the bar!

The after festival party was at the phoenix where the plan was to leave at 3am it was 5.05 am when we eventually walked home, maybe a little drunk; but still on a high having experienced my favourite FrightFest in 8 years! I will be back next year!

Coming up next at some point this week will be our interview with Truth or Dare director Jessica Cameron and star Ryan Kiser. We’ll also take a more in depth look at some of our favourite films from FrightFest. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, All Cheerleaders Die and The Den reviews are already live on the site!

Frightfest 2014 Preview Part 1: Change and sleepy queues

FrightfestBy Mike Shawcross (@shawky1969)

Frightfest, now in its 15th year will go through its most radical change yet; moving from the Empire to the Vue in Leicester Square has meant more change than just a venue! At the Empire; Frightfest has been able to grow, not just in ticket sales but also in size by offering many more films by having multiple screens. These were called the Discovery Screens and last year they even managed to have three of them.  While the Empire boasts an impressive 1300 plus seats in screen 1; this was the home to the main programme for the festival. The Vue’s biggest screen is 413 seats; this alone would not accommodate the weekend passes and herein lies the biggest challenge for the festivals organisers.

Their answer was to show the main programme over three screens; giving each screen its own sponsor name and rotating the films at staggered times in a day and evening session. Screen 5 (413) is the Film 4 screen; 6 (264) is the Arrow screen and 7 (411) is the Horror screen.  Then there are two discovery screens which will play a film in this same period; if you want to watch a discovery film you will only miss your screen’s film in that time slot.  Unlike the previous years the discovery films will only play once; this means that some planning is actually required to give you the optimum set of films you would want to see in the discovery and main screen.  Within my group of friends we ended up debating this for a good few hours; a good way to pass the time in the sleepy queue. We were leaning towards the Horror screen, when under further discussion we came round to the Film 4 screen. Once at the till and needing 3 isle seats we actually ended up back in the Horror screen!

Talking of the sleepy queue, this has become as famous as the festival itself, usually starting on the Friday; this year the first person was in the queue at midnight on the Thursday! At the end of the day people camp out for tickets or for a place at the front of a stage all the time, so I don’t really see it being that ridiculous. However passersby enquiring what we are queuing for had a slightly different view to me! Over the last 2 years I’ve joined the queue around 6.30 am on the Saturday; being in the same place both years about 100 people from the front. This year after a couple of films, a hearty meal and some late night coffee we joined at 2am; about 40th in the line. With chairs, no rain and a good sense of humour it’s actually a great night!

The Vue cleared the longest sleepy Q in record time, just over an hour, however it soon fell apart. The online booking system crashed in spectacular fashion and frustration and anger was vented at both the Frightfest organisers and the Vue cinema on social media. While not really the fault of Alan, Ian and Paul they were involved in organising the recovery of the booking system with Vue. Lessons will be learned from this year’s event, there will be hick ups and issues, there always are. Both the London and Glasgow film festivals suffer online problems every year; the internet is good, it’s just not that good!

On the Friday at 2pm the films are announced and this year I have to admit the line up is rather strong; opening the festival is the British film The Guest, starring Dan Stevens. The closing film is the Brenton Thwaites (Oculus), Lawrence Fishburne-starring sci-fi thriller The Signal.  These two films will play in all three screens at the same time!

Two more films play on the Thursday evening after The Guest. Housebound from New Zealand, directed by Gerard Johnstone and billed along the lines of if you liked The Loved Ones this is for you. I really enjoyed The Loved Ones. Ending the first night is the crazy sounding Zombeavers, directed by Jordan Rubin at a brief 80 minutes I can see this being fun late night movie, hopefully!

Friday; the main screen’s day films are Shockwave Darkside 3D, Green Inferno and Late PhasesShockwave Darkside is directed by Jay Weisman in his first feature and from the producers of The Banshee Chapter which wasn’t too bad. Personally I will be looking at a discovery film for this one. Green Inferno is Eli Roth’s first film as Director in 6 years, some may argue that’s not a bad thing, I don’t mind his films, though hearing feedback on Inferno I’ll be trying for a discovery film! There seem to be a few werewolf films in the line up and here’s the first one; Late Phases directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Cold Sweat/Here comes the Devil). Neither of these I have seen, boasting a decent cast I would not be too unhappy if I ended up in this; though the discovery films look better.

The opening two discovery screen films are Honeymoon (D1) and Wolf Creek 2 (D2), I saw Wolf Creek 2 at the Glasgow Frightfest and can see why they’ve brought it down to the main event; it’s great fun. Honeymoon stars Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway and my choice for this slot. Directed by Leigh Janiak in her first feature, the film has gained some critical acclaim while playing the festival circuit.

Next in the discovery screens are Preservation directed by actor Christopher Denham in his 2nd full feature; his first was Home Movie which I haven’t seen. Hunting trip goes wrong, they become the hunted by local hunters with extra relationship issues thrown in as well; sounds a well worn path. Though with Wrong Turn 6; really? This is in Discovery 2 I might end up back in Inferno here. Having seen all 5 and wondering how they got 4 and 5 even made I’ll be steering clear of this one.

The last two discovery films are Julia directed by Matthew A. Brown, his first feature film. Starring Ashley C. Williams from The Human Centipede, this is one I do fancy with its neon-noir label and what looks like a brutal revenge thriller. While R100 sounds like a typical off the scale Asian film, which is a draw to me as I’m a big fan of Asian cinema.

The evening session on Friday boasts Dead Snow 2, The Last Showing and a T.B.C. film. Dead Snow 2; Directed by Tommy Wirkola (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) and by all accounts better than the original sounds a blast, with Russian zombies fighting Nazi zombies, but it plays against 2 films I’d really like to see in the Discovery screens (oh the decisions!).  Robert Englund has a film at the festival (well two actually as Elm Street 1 is playing), in The Last Showing directed by Phil Hawkins; sounds like a found footage with a difference. A UK production also starring Keith Allen this would be a draw if Englund is on the guest list.

Over in the discovery screen The Forgotton is a UK film directed by Oliver Frampton and from the producers of the Boederlands comes this tensely plotted, gritty urban supernatural horror.  In discovery 2 Exists is showing. Another found footage film, which will not be high on my agenda. (Not a fan of FF films) From the director of The Blair Witch Project; Eduardo Sanchez comes a “in the woods” survival film against a fearsome female creature, sounds far too much shaky cam for me!

Then in the Discovery screens are The Canal and The Den. The Canal is an Irish film from director Ivan Kavanagh and stars Rupert Evans (Hellboy) and Steve Oram (Sightseers), along the lines of Don’t Look Now and Suspiria this ghost story is dark and disturbing. A midnight hit at the Tribeca festival it may be worth a visit. The Den directed by Zachary Donohue is his first feature. A modern day Rear Window using the computer as the window; sounds an interesting idea, but one I might catch another time.

Finally comes 2 discovery films that will draw a lot of attention. WolfCop and The Drownsman and I’m torn which one to see; as well as them being up against Dead Snow 2! Wolf Cop sounds the mad sort of film which Frightfest late night viewers will lap up. With strong sales at cannes, WolfCop has already secured a sequel; I can see this being one hot ticket on Friday night! While The Drownsman also looks a pretty strong film; directed by Chad Archibald (Kill / Neverlost) neither I have seen. But I like the idea of this film; as Madison (Michelle Mylett) has hydrophobia her friends try to break her fear but only unleash The Drownsman!

The rest of the line up will appear in part 2.