Monday, 31 October 2011

Porcelain Man released?

Unlikely as it seems, The Porcelain Man - the cheapo-cheapo British film which was made in 2002, sent to me in 2004 and finally reviewed on this site in August 2011, is going to be released. A US label called Chemical Burn Entertainment, who also have Bane in their catalogue, list the film and it looks like it's scheduled for February 2012.

Harold wins award in Austin

Harold’s Going Stiff has won the 2011 Narrative Feature Competition at the prestigious Austin Film Festival (AFF), in Texas. You can catch it at Day of the Undead in Leicester on 19th November.

A couple of treats for Halloween

TF Simpson and I carved a pumpkin tonight, decorated the living room with lobby cards from crappy Jess Franco monster movies then settled down to watch a 50-minute cartoon of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde followed by Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

Anyway, here's a couple of links I've been sent to Halloween-themed shorts on Vimeo. Emiliano (Langliena) Ranzani pointed me to Treated, a slick two-minute gag on which he was camera operator. And Frank Sabatella, the man who brought us Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet, sent me a link to his hilarious 20-minute killer vegetable movie Night of the Pumpkin.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

New interview: Mike Matthews and Mark Harriott

The two chaps behind the rather impressive Unhappy Birthday have kindly answered a few e-mail questions for me.

Exclusive new review: Kill Keith

On Saturday I had the pleasure of watching a preview of Kill Keith at the British Horror Film Festival in London. And it is the funniest damn movie I have seen for ages. Heartily recommended. Opening in some venues on 11th November.

British Horror Film Festival 2011 Awards

Billy Murray - 'Stalker
Barbara Nedeljakova - 'The Hike'
John Zealey - 'Kill Keith'
Nic Lawson - 'The Holding'
Vincent Regan - 'The Holding'
Kierston Wareing - 'The Holding'
Tell Him Next Year
Dan Clifton - 'The Unseen'
Martin Kemp - 'Stalker'
(Given for achieving excellence with a low budget) 
Rise of the Appliances

All of the winners received beautiful crystal engraved awards and pictures will be up on the website soon!

The winner of Best Short Film also received a lighting package for their next short film shoot, courtesy of Panalux. 

Tris Versluis takes Berlin!

Great news - my mate Tristan Versluis is starting work on a new feature! (And with Melanie Light on board as prod.des.) Here's the full announcement:

UK Special Effects man, Tristan Versluis, (WWZ, Sweeney Todd, Hot Fuzz, Clive Barker's Book of Blood, Dead Man's Shoes, Fred Claus) is about to start shooting his second feature film in Berlin next month. Tristan is known for his dark, delicious flair with beautifully bloody prosthetics and painstaking CGI work in his shorts. 'Pixel', a short featuring 30 vfx shots of carefully detailed animated bugs, and 'I Love you' with some deeply horrific acts of passion. Tristan's first feature film 'Not Alone' features a 1950's American aesthetic and is currently in post-production.

Now comes Omni. The story of an abducted woman; Abbi - recently freed from a Berlin prison after being convicted of a crime despite pleading innocence. Seeing her daughter for the first time in 7 years she celebrates. That evening she is taken by an unidentified object within a bright light and subject to extreme experiments and surgical probing.

Abbi wakes to find herself in unknown and uncomfortable surroundings and roams by day
searching for answers, learning why she had been a chosen one. Each night she is haunted and taken, only to wake again in a new location. Abbi has to fight to her freedom whilst uncovering a menace which threatens the planet's existence.

Omni will be made by UK company Screaming Pictures and shot on-location in the UK, Europe and hopefully other parts of the World. Made in partnership with Ascension Productions, known for the production of The Gallows ' Grey Britain ' film and for music promos for such horror-esque bands as The Defiled.

Abbi is to be played by British actress Charlotte Hunter (Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness . Sci-Fi Short 'Shifter'). An up-and-coming actress with a strong feminine charm and a tough broad interior - perfect for this role.

Crew members that have already embraced Omni are:
  • Jonathan Edward Klahr, a trained Special Effects man from the days of Star Wars ep1, The Mummy and Harry Potter. He now has a strong focus on VFX compositing for companies such as Disney, Sony and Electronic Arts. He was also the man behind the millions of bugs in Versluis short 'Pixel'.
  • Director of Photography: Stuart Nicholas White. Having shot the majority of Versluis' shorts and his last feature 'Not Alone'. They share a great partnership in filmmaking. White uses his talent and enthusiasm for beautiful photography and composition to bring Versluis' visions to life.
  • Rachel Freire, Costume Designer , is hugely popular in the fashion world and has work featured on the front page of Italian Vogue magazine. Her work has an imaginative twist to the dark side and fetish with a futuristic natural form, perfect for Omni.
  • Production Designer, Melanie Light (Inbred, SKET, Kirill, Scar Crow) has a huge passion for Sci-Fi and Horror and thrives in the genre. Having worked with Versluis on many occasions, she understands his qualities and runs with it.

Omni will be fresh and exciting for the Sci-Fi / Horror genre - delving into new ways of exploring the experimentation by extraterrestrial beings. Oozing high class VFX and creativity in UK talent.

So follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and support new UK talent!

Harold's Going Stiff in Sheffield

Yorkshire zombie comedy Harold's Going Stiff will screen in Sheffield at Celluloid Screams, a horror film festival which has so far escaped my attention. Lead actors Sarah Spencer and Stan Rowe will be in attendance at the screening this Sunday, 23rd October, at 4pm at the Showroom Workstation.

A US premiere in Austin is also lined up.

Also screening this weekend in Sheffield is Alex Chandon's Inbred, Dust Devil, Vampyres, The Theatre Bizarre, Helldriver, Some Guy Who Kills People, Re-Animator and Halloween.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Poster and synopsis for Pat Higgins' Witchpit

Pat Higgins sent me an update on The Devil's Music and his next feature The House on the Witchpit, shooting next year. Before then we should see the Pat-scripted Strippers vs Werewolves and hopefully a release for Bordello Death Tales. Here's Pat, talking about himself in the third person, much like MJ Simpson often does:

Pat Higgins, the original creator and writer of the eagerly anticipated 'Strippers vs Werewolves' has announced his next feature 'The House on the Witchpit'. Higgins' company, Jinx Media, has released a teaser poster for the film and a few details of what to expect.
Pat Higgins describes 'The House on the Witchpit', as "a 3am panic attack" and adds "It's dark, strange and doesn't treat the audience like idiots. It's a trawl through the dark corners of my subconscious in an attempt to pull whatever shrieking, shaking things live there out into the light and pin them bleeding to the screen as best as we are able."
'The House on the Witchpit' tells the story of Rachel Morely, a beautiful young widow struggling to get over the sudden death of her husband. When an old college friend invites her to a notorious old building for the recording a very unusual horror TV show, she hopes that it might prove just the distraction she needs. By midnight, however, untold horrors have reawakened and not all of the blood spilling in the old house is reassuringly fake.
The film will be shooting in 2012, and the teaser artwork (designed by Paul Cousins) can be seen attached.
Higgins has also announced the release of his award-winning 2008 cult hit 'The Devil's Music' on groundbreaking new platform Distrify, which allows viewers to stream or download the film instantly and also allows fans to profit from the process by embedding the player on their websites.
Higgins says "As the physical formats die away, it's interesting to see the new forms of distribution breaking through. The Devil's Music has already had a successful release on both sides of the pond (if you're quick you can still pick up the US special edition DVD from Amazon, although it is now out of print) and now we've seized upon Distrify as a way of bringing it to a whole new audience. Distrify are tying independent film into social media in a way that I think is extremely exciting"
The film, which won the Best Independent Feature category at the UK's Festival of Fantastic Film, tells the tale of shock-rocker Erika Spawn and her obsession with a boy-band singer whom she becomes convinced is the Antichrist. It examines the way the media deals with violent entertainment and generated terrific word-of-mouth upon its original release.
A new version of the trailer, featuring Higgins talking about the film, can be seen at:

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Reverend, Kill Keith and more at British Horror Fest

The British Horror Film Festival 2011 runs at two venues simultaneously over 14th-15th October. You can either see the films at The Dance Pavilion in Bournemouth or the Empire, Leicester Square in That London.

Festival organiser Stuart Brennan has the world premiere of his eagerly awaited The Reverend lines up for the Friday night, which seems perfectly reasonable. Then on Saturday we have the brilliant (I hope!) Kill Keith, The Holding, Stalker and the UK premiere of The Hike. Plus a couple of hours of short films as follows:
Tell Him Next Year (13 mins) Directed by David MargolisSolving Problems  (16 mins) Directed by Filipe Maciel Merry Little Christmas (21 mins) Produced by Lolita PicturesRise of the Appliances (9mins) Directed by Rob Sprackling Le Miroir (15 mins) Directed by FervexEnvy The Dead (10 mins) Directed by Isa SwainFacing Ruper(11 mins) Directed by Gregory Erdstein 

Two new reviews: Kill List and Unhappy Birthday

I don't often review theatrically released films but Kill List annoyed me so much - and has been so overpraised by people blind to its flaws - that I had to get my thoughts into words.

If you want a much better film that owes a debt to The Wicker Man, check out Unhappy Birthday from Peccadillo Pictures. In fact you can catch the film on the big screen at the Greenwich Picturehouse on 31st October.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Harold and more at Day of the Undead

Phoenix Square and Terror4Fun have announced the line-up for this year's Day of the Undead, Leicester's annual celebration of all things zombie. There are two British features on the menu: Keith Wright's wrily comical Harold's Going Stiff (which I've seen) and the Ford Brothers' African-set The Dead (which I'm looking forward to seeing).

There are two UK premieres: Reese Eveneshan's Dead Genesis from Canada and, from the States, Thomas Newman's stoner comedy Bong of the Dead. If slacker comedies are more your thing, there's the Pierce Brothers' comedy Deadheads. All this and Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead too! Plus the usual make-up and authors and dealers and video games.

Day of the Undead is on Saturday 19th November, from midday to midnight. Day tickets are £25, individual films are £7/£5.40