Saturday, 30 April 2011

New review: Ink

A couple of thousand words on the independent fantasy film Ink. Sorry to report that I really didn't like it.


"Watching Ink is like looking at a really terrible website full of different fonts and colours with endless flash animations and rows of dancing hamsters. This is chuck-it-all-in-because-we-can film-making which completely obscures the simple story at its heart."

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Mark Hamill narrates Conor Timmis' new documentary

Conor Timmis has been working for some time now on a very personal documentary about the Korean War, entitled Finnigan's War. And he just dropped me a line to say that the narration has been recorded by the voice-legend that is Mark Hamill. You can watch a three-minute behind-the-scenes bit about the recording on YouTube.

How to Stop Being a Loser

How to Stop Being a Loser is a new comedy from the folks behind Dead Cert, Devil's Playground, Jack Says/Said/Falls, The Last Seven, Cut, The Scar Crow - quite the all-star collaboration.

Jonathan Sothcott, Billy Murray, Simon Phillips, Patricia Rybarczyk and director Dominic Burns are the producers, and the cast includes Billy Murray, Simon Phillips, Colin Salmon, Richard E Grant, Gemma Atkinson, Adele Silva, Craig Conway, Martin Kemp etc etc.

There's a trailer now on YouTube.

New interview: Frankie Krainz

New on my site is an interview with screenwriter Frankie Krainz, about the two films he wrote for Steve Balderson - Stuck! and The Casserole Club - plus their forthcoming third collaboration, Culture Shock.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Dark and Stormy Frankenstein

4Digital Media has two very different horror films lined up for May

Dark and Stormy Night is a spot-on pastiche of 1930s 'old dark house' movies, directed by Larry Blamire (The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra) and with a cast that includes Mark Redfield. That's out on 9th May. Here's the trailer.

One week later comes The Frankenstein Experiment (US title: The Frankenstein Syndrome), a powerful and effective modern take on the Mary Shelley classic, starring and produced by the marvellous Tiffany Shepis. There's a trailer for that too.

Watch out for reviews of both of these soon.

Jack and Zomblies triumph at LIFF

Jack Falls, the concluding part of the Jack Says trilogy, has won Best Action Feature at the London Independent Film Festival. Writer/director Paul Tanter picked up the award.

And Zomblies took home two LIFF awards: for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Feature and Best Editing (a thoroughly deserved award to Eve Hazelton).

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Review: Harold's Going Stiff

I've just posted a 2,000 word review of Harold's Going Stiff, the brand new zombie comedy from Keith Wright, the director of Take Me to Your Leader.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Fantasy action epic Journey to Promethea

Journey to Promethea is released in the UK on 2nd May by 4Digital Media. Here's the synopsis:

"Action and fantasy collide in this epic tale of a corrupt and all-powerful King who reigns over his kingdom with an iron fist, but there is hope. A prophecy foretold long ago states that a boy will rise up against the oppressive regime and lead his people to the promised land of Promethea. This is the action-packed journey of one boy that sparks a rebellion that ignites a vicious clash of wills between King and commoner, where only one group can emerge alive and victorious."


Written and directed by Dan Garcia (Speed Demons, Flesh Wounds), the film stars Billy Zane (I Woke Up Early the Day I Died, Surviving Evil).



Monday, 11 April 2011

Waiting for Gorgo: four festival dates

Waiting for Gorgo has four more festivals lined up, including its North American premiere. It will screen at:




Star-studded British horror The Reverend now shooting

Perhaps I should qualify what I mean by "star-studded". You won't find Hollywood A-listers like Keira Knightley or Jude Law in Burn Hand Films' latest British indie horror The Reverend. Instead you'll find seriously cool people like Emily Booth (Doghouse, Evil Aliens), Doug Bradley (Hellraiser and sequels, Pumpkinhead 3), Tamar Hassan (The Ferryman, Jack Falls), Simon Phillips (Jack Says and sequels, Jesus vs the Messiah), Giovanni Lombardo Radice (A Day of Violence, Cannibal Apocalypse), Mads Koudal (Footsteps, Merantau Warrior)...

The film is written and directed by Neil Jones, fresh from the success of his boxing drama Risen, and has make-up effects by Paul Hyett (The Descent, Mutant Chronicles).

Synopsis: Fresh from seminary school a new Reverend embarks on his first parish. A small, low maintenance Chapel based in the quiet idyllic setting of a quiet country village. While on the surface the village seems to be a peaceful parish, with perfect residents, soon it becomes apparent that something more sinister lurks beneath the fa├žade of a local businessman. On a wet, cold night a mysterious girl visits The Reverend at the chapel. Cold and upset she is welcomed in warmly, soon it becomes apparent that her visit is not for sanctuary but to deliver a message, a message in the form of a deep, bloody bite... Awoken with an unknown, uncontrollable thirst a confused Reverend can find no evidence of the girl from the night before, with nothing but the thirst and memory of the bite, The Reverend embarks on his mandate, to clean up the village and the neighbouring estate, by preaching or feasting.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Interview: Jon Niccum


Newly posted on the main site - an interview with Jon Niccum, writer of Time's Up, Eve and occasional associate of Steve Balderson.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Prowl, Last Lovecraft, Lost Skeleton 2

Three titles hit UK DVD this week (day before yesterday, to be exact):

Prowl

After its success at the AFTER DARK ORIGINAL: HORRORFEST at the beginning of March, Prowl now comes to DVD & Blu-ray 4 April.

Starring Ruta Gedmintas (Lip Service), Bruce Payne (Passenger 57) and Courtney Hope (CSI:Miami), Prowl is a vampire film with real bite from Norwegian director Patrik Syversen.

Synopsis:
Amber dreams of escaping her small town existence and persuades her friends to accompany her to find an apartment in the big city. When their transportation breaks down, she and her friends gratefully accept a ride in the back of a semi. But when the driver refuses to stop and they discover the cargo is hundreds of cartons of blood, they panic. Their panic turns to terror when the truck disgorges them into a dark, abandoned warehouse where blood-thirsty creatures learn to hunt human prey, which, the friends realize, is what they now are...

The Last Lovecraft

With director Guillermo del Toro just going into pre-production on the James Cameron produced At the Mountains of Madness, it looks as if we are about to see the rising of an H.P. Lovecraft renaissance!

Kick-starting the revival will be The Last Lovecraft, Starring Kyle Davis (Friday the 13th), Devin McGinn (Bones), Barak Hardley, and Martin Starr (Adventureland).

This hilarious and affectionate love-letter to Lovecraft tells the tale of Jeff (Davis), an ordinary guy, stuck in a dead end job, who discovers he is the last living relative of the famous horror novelist.

What he doesn’t know is that Lovecraft’s monsters are real and will soon threaten the very existence of mankind. Jeff and his best friend Charlie (McGinn) are forced to embark on a perilous adventure and they enlist the help of high school acquaintance Paul (Hardley), a self proclaimed Lovecraft specialist. Together the three unlikely heroes must protect an alien relic and prevent the release of an ancient evil, known as Cthulhu.

The Lost Skeleton Returns Again

Jerranium 90: a little rock that made all the papers. What didn't make the papers is that the main source of this newly-discovered element is buried deep within the Amazon and everybody wants it, including evil scientist Dr. Ellamy Royne and a host of equally disreputable characters. So when federal agent Reet Pappin is sent on a mission, vital to national security, to find Dr. Paul Armstrong--now a bitter alcoholic disenchanted with science--he may have his work cut out for him! Especially when joined by Armstrong’s loyal wife Betty and the mind control-susceptible twin brother of the late Dr. Roger Fleming, who is carrying a familiar sinister skull belonging to none other than the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra himself!

As the parties converge on the dreaded Valley of the Monsters, other familiar faces begin to pop up, as well as a variety of monsters and an ancient race known as the Cantaloupe People, led by their haughty queen, Chinfa. Who will get what they want? And who will not get it? Larry Blamire brings his own hysterical brand of adventure to life in this sequel to the mega-cult hit The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra! The Lost Skeleton Returns Again is a perfect tongue-in-cheek celebration of the adventure/horror serials of yesteryear presented in the majesty of SuperSkeletoRama!

Jack Falls - animated short

Not only has Jack Says been followed by two sequels - Jack Said and the newly released Jack Falls - there's even a spin-off five-minute animation, Sid's Story, which you can watch on YouTube.

Written and directed by Paul Tanter, who wrote the trilogy and directed the third feature, the shot was animated by Tim Sagar who is working on his own animated feature, All Day Breakfast.

Ron Ford planning werewolf western

Ron Ford is raising some funds to make a werewolf western...

MAN WITHOUT A SADDLE is based on Kipling's classic story, Mark of the Beast, transferred from colonial India to the American west of 1870. Three ex-Army regulars, Strickland, Fleete and Barton, are hired to convince a Shoshone shaman to move on to the reservation. The shaman, Tanupah, guards a stone petroglyph, sacred to his people. Fleete, in a drunken fit, urinates on the petroglyph and dishonors its spirit. In retaliation, he is cursed by Tanupah, turning him into a raging creature, half man, half wolf. After subduing the creature (an act which very nearly costs them their lives), Strickland and Barton torture Tanupah until he removes the curse. However, in so doing they all feel deep shame, and forced to examine their belief systems. This is especially true of Strickland, a deeply religious man, who finds his foundation (his "saddle") rocked to the core.

You can chip in to support Ron's movie at Indiegogo

Sara Dee reports on Kill List and looks ahead to '15'

Sara Dee dropped me a line with the latest news on what she and Martin Pavey are up to:

"Martin, who did the sound design and post production on Hell's Ground and then on Down Terrace (Both produced by Andrew Starke, connected to Boum productions) has been highly praised again for his sound design work on 'The Kill List' that premiered in the US at the weekend.

"'The Kill List' was directed by Ben Wheatley, as was Down Terrace, and Andy Starke produced both too. 'The Kill List' reaped funding from Film Four after the success of Down Terrace.

"You may remember that I did a radio voice recording for Down Terrace although I wasn't credited on the film itself (only on IMDB)  well I did more radio voices for The Kill List and you will see me on the credit roller this time. . . a lovely bonus for keeping the troops happy with refreshments when working with Martin in his studio - The 'MPMP Power Loft.'  This studio name was created by Ben and Andy during their visits and it looks set to remain.

"'The Kill List' US rights might already have been sold but Martin is still busy with the sound deliverables, working on the M&E tracks.  Who has and is doing the Foleys? . . . . Ms Dee of course!  Sliding off tables wrapped in polythene, choreographing blood drips perfectly, playing with shopping bags and sipping the odd drink is all in a days work on this one. 

"Just Google The Kill List and you'll be hit by a swarm of information."

And here's an additional exclusive from Sara, featuring an old mate of mine:

"Next on the agenda from MPMP and SD Productions is a dark chilling little number that Martin Pavey is directing.  Like the well received 'Flash Back' before it, '15' was penned by writer Andy Davie and will have exceptional production qualities in a noire style.  Sara Dee stars along side the notorious Frank Scantori that was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in New York for his comic role in the nasty 'Room 36' last year.  His unique lecherous, comic and blood lust style will be highly evident in this new role too as Sara, known for nice-with-hidden-agenda-nastyness roles, often clad in PVC, won't disappoint her audience either.
'15' should be post produced and finished before the autumn 2011."

First post - new news blog

This is going to be the new home of the news I post on my site. A sort of spin-off from MJSimpson.co.uk.

I've been very remiss at posting news recently, saving it up into big chunks, because logging on and posting it and saving it and uploading it and logging off is just so much hassle. So from now on, reviews and interviews on the main website, news on here.

And I'll post on here when something new goes on the main site