Hayley’s Top 5 Feature Films of Celluloid Screams 2017

Posted in Horror Blog, Horror Festivals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Celluloid Screams 2017 presented festival attendees with one of their strongest line-ups to date. With classic anniversary screenings of Suspiria (1977) and Hellreaiser (1987) and an Inside No. 9 showcase with both its creators, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith present, the ninth edition of the festival proved fantastic. As well as familiar films for fans to rediscover on the big screen, Celluloid Screams also programmed a diverse selection of feature films from all over the world. The common thread between them all was that most of them contained a tongue-in-cheek flair to them, allowing the audience to experience laughs and scares and an equal amount of tension.

celluloid screams 2017

This list has sure been a tough one to compile as each film managed to bring its own identity to the table however these were the movies that struck a chord with me. So, without further ado, here are my top five feature films of Celluloid Screams 2017.

5. The Endless (2017)

  • Directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson
  • USA

the endless

Celluloid Screams 2017 launched on a high note, which therefore set the tone for the remainder of the festival. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are staples of Celluloid having screened both their previous feature films, Resolution in 2012 and Spring in 2014, respectively. They have hit a hat-trick with their latest flick, The Endless. Moorhead and Benson not only write and direct but this time around they both star in the film. Their unique flair for filmmaking is present yet again as they stray away from convention bringing something surreal and intriguing to the table. In The Endless, Aaron and Justin play two brothers who happen to be former cult members. After ten years and undergoing deprogramming, the two are invited to revisit their old way of life when a mysterious videotape arrives on their doorstep. What follows is a mind-bending journey of intrigue that leads the viewer into unknown territory. Established fans will already know to expect the unexpected with their instantaneously captivating style of storytelling. The film looks beautiful which is aided by the picturesque cinematography, the open outdoors setting signifies the vastness of how the plot is essentially bigger than what is initially thought. Moorhead and Benson continue to grow within their craft, creating films that are not pigeonholed to one specific genre. The Endless is a mesmerizing film experience that is best going into without knowing too much. It will be exciting to see what these multi-talented filmmakers come up with next.

4. Creep 2 (2017)

  • Directed by Patrick Brice
  • USA

creep 2

Creep 2 is the highly anticipated sequel from director Patrick Brice. Mark Duplass makes a delicious return to his role as the batshit insane, serial killer that he made popular in the first one. This time around, he lures ambitious journalist, Sara (Desiree Akhavan) into his lair (home!). Disillusioned with his life as he approaches 40, he puts out an online ad for a videographer which draws in the disenfranchised young woman who is struggling to make a success of her obscure web series. Following an initial meeting with Aaron, the bizarre encounter provides her with enough scope for her next video. Feeling galvanized by the experience, will Sara bite off more than she can chew or will she hold her own against the unpredictable psychopath? Creep 2 is equally as superb as its predecessor, but manages to venture into even darker territory. It is nerve shredding from the outset while containing an unnerving sense of humour. Erratic and unpredictable just like its core antagonist; Creep 2 is a nail-biting, unique cinematic experience that works excellently among a festival audience. It is gasp-inducing madness and proves to be one of the most effective found footage entries within the genre right now. Between them, Brice and Duplass have created an exhilarating sequel which remains consistent to the original while challenging audience expectations which is highly ingenious to see.

3. M.F.A (2017)

  • Directed By Natalia Leite
  • USA

MFA

M.F.A is certainly a revelation in light of the recent Hollywood sexual assault scandal. This film is both timely and imperative as it fearlessly tackles a subject that still faces a taboo outlook surrounding it. Introverted art student, Noelle begins to embrace college life when she is invited to a party by a pretentious yet charming classmate named Luke. The party takes a harrowing turn when Luke shockingly rapes Noelle and plays it down in the aftermath. Traumatized and violated, Noelle reports her ordeal to the appropriate channels to no avail. She then decides to take matters into her own hands, heading down a dark route of revenge which heartbreakingly is all she has left. M.F.A is astonishingly brave as it highlights the ignorance and hypocrisy surrounding reported rape and the many women who face suffering in silence. The approach the film takes is bold without being exploitative or highly controversial but strongly gets its message across. Francesca Eastwood gives the performance of the year in a transformative role with layers of character development and a realistic arc, from her vulnerable beginnings to the astounding journey she takes. M.F.A is a prime example of the dynamicity of the genre and how it can successfully display a very real but disturbing issue and glare a light on that. It is wholly frustrating but will hopefully spark a conversation that society absolutely needs to have. Uncompromising, confrontational and powerful in its execution, M.F.A needs to be seen and spoken about.

2. 68 Kill (2017)

  • Directed By Trent Haaga
  • USA

68 Kill

Annalynne McCord stars as the baddest bitch of them all in this fast-paced, high octane, comedic thriller. Soaked in exploitation, 68 Kill delivers the “perfect midnight movie” and then some. Perfectly placed in the 12am slot on the first night of the festival, 68 Kill fought any festival jet lag away as its thrilling nature keeps the audience engrossed from start to finish. Featuring a slew of reprehensible characters that will kill, maim and mangle to get their hands on cold hard cash, 68 Kill ensures edge of the seat action until those end credits roll. The cast gel exceptionally well together, with Matthew Gray Gubler’s sweet-natured Chip finding himself in a bizarre, unexpected situation, torn between two crazed beauties with more outrageousness to come. A surprise performance is delivered from Sheila Vand, from the mid-way point as a ruthless, gothic store clerk. 68 Kill is a movie Tarantino could be proud of and thematically it has all the ingredients in place to homage his brand of filmmaking. Tasteless, indulgent, unapologetically trashy and completely in your face, 68 Kill is one of 2017’s and Celluloid Screams most exciting offerings.

1. Better Watch Out (2017)

  • Directed by Chris Peckover
  • USA/Australia 

Better Watch out

Christmas has come early with this fantastic, festive fright flick. Better Watch Out encompasses all the components of the killer Christmas movie while embodying its own unique capability. This is a home invasion like no other that supplies nerve-shredding suspense with darkly thought out humour. The plot centers on hormonally-charged twelve-year-old Luke (Levi Miller), a regular Suburban kid who anticipates an evening alone with his babysitter, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). Having already established a comfortable rapport with each other, Luke’s chances of finally confessing his feelings don’t go quite to plan when they are targeted by an unknown assailant, subsequently becoming embroiled in a twisted cat and mouse game with shocking consequences. Better Watch Out incorporates delightful twists and turns that will supply shocks and surprises for its audience. It is advisable to enter this film totally blind to experience the punch it packs! The bright, festive aesthetic the film displays provides a welcome contrast to the more darker themes. It’s a crowd-pleaser from start to finish with exceptional performances from its young cast. Much like Andrew Muschetti’s IT (2017), kid-cast led horror films are proving to be a hit right now and this is no exception. If you enjoyed Netflix favourite, The Babysitter (2017) then you’re going to love, Better Watch Out.

Well, there we have it, my top five personal outstanding feature films of Celluloid Screams 2017. Comment below if you agree or disagree with my choices and let me know which films hit the right note with you at the sensational Sheffield festival.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

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Sights to Behold: Celluloid Screams 2017

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On Friday the 20th October, the ninth edition of Sheffield Horror festival Celluloid Screams will commence, promising eager festival attendees that they have such sights to show us. The popular festival has one epic schedule planned featuring a range of classic horror, brand new releases and special events to keep bloodthirsty fans satisfied over the two and a half days.

celluloid screams 2017

I have consecutively attended the festival since 2011 and I’m beyond excited to see what 2017 has in store. Alongside my local horror festival Abertoir, Celluloid Screams is an event that I look forward to each year as it delivers a brilliantly arranged programme that is accessible for fans of a range of sub-genres. The welcoming, community atmosphere also plays a key role in why this festival remains one of the highlights of my year.

This year, the festival programmers led by Robert Nevitt have excelled themselves by providing us with so many exceptional films to look forward to. The proceedings kick off with festival favorites Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s, cult-focused thriller, The Endless, followed by the eagerly anticipated British haunt-fest, Borley Rectory featuring a Q&A with the film’s director Ashley Thorpe. Other highlights to look forward to over the spooktacular weekend include closing film, Better Watch Out, a festive Christmas chiller, the trope-defying Tragedy Girls, the long awaited sequel, Creep 2 and of course the mysterious secret film.

tragedy girls

The main attraction however will be a special showcase of the popular BBC anthology series, Inside No. 9. Both creators and stars, the immensely talented Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith will be in attendance to hand pick their favorite episodes and indulge their fans in a Q&A following the screening. With the impending revival of their warped, cult comedy, The League of Gentleman returning to television screens in the foreseeable, this event will prove to be a must-see.

inside-no-nine-main

suspiria

Celluloid Screams will be screening not just one but two iconic classics on the big screen. We will feast our eyeballs on the stunning 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s exquisite masterpiece, Suspiria (1977) as well as a special 30th anniversary screening of Clive Barker’s incredible, Hellraiser (1987) with actor Nicholas Vince (famed for playing the role of the Chatterer) and special effects supervisor, Geoff Portass in attendance, partaking in a Q&A session following the film.

hellraiser-chattering

With an array of films from all over the world, innovative short film screenings and a euro-horror celebrated art exhibition, it is fair to say that we are in for one hell of a weekend!

Keep up to date via my Facebook page, Hayley’s Horror Reviews and twitter account @WelshDemoness throughout the festival for plenty of updates.

http://celluloidscreams.co.uk/

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.  

“We All Float Down Here” A Review of IT (2017)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS EXTREMELY MILD SPOILERS + CLOWNS**

IT (2017) is currently the most universally talked about horror movie. There is no escaping it’s presence on television and social media; horror fan or not it is unavoidable. Opening on the 8th of September here in the UK, it has already proven itself to be one of the fastest grossing films of 2017. This latest adaptation of the 1986 mammoth Stephen King novel has been highly anticipated and boy, did it deliver the shocks and scares.

IT

IT centers on a group of misfit teenagers, referred to as “The Losers Club” who are terrorized by an ambiguous evil entity that takes the shape of a sinister clown named Pennywise.

Directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama) (2013); the well-received fright flick altered the original setting of the 1950’s in favour of the recent past; the late 1980’s. The updated timeline provides the film with a more modern outlook and shares a parallel tone with the popular Netflix series Stranger Things (2016-) which is also based in the affectionately remembered decade. The 80’s setting integrates elements of familiarity that holds appeal for the target audience. There are clear Spielberg influences in place in the sense of it being an extraordinary coming-of-age story however this is of course also derived directly from King’s source material too.

it_film_2017

Unlike the iconic 1990 mini-series which starred Tim Curry as the titular character, the 2017 version focuses solely on the main players during their youth and their initial acquaintance with the feared force of evil. The aforementioned 90’s film applied flashback scenes and flitted between the past and present depicting them as traumatized adults as well as assertive children. The film states that this is the first chapter with a confirmed continuation in the works. Containing the story to one timeline allows stronger audience investment and detail within the plot.

Muschietti has achieved the right tonal balance, capturing unsettling horror, an unrelenting sense of dread but also enough humor to bring in slight relief and comfort. Surprisingly, the film is a lot more brutal than expected especially in the depicted gore and violence against young children and the violence committed by the children. It’s a brave yet daring move, utilizing its R rating (15 in the UK) to maximum effect. In fact, it opens with a bang and doesn’t let up once during its lengthy run time.

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IT operates as a strong ensemble piece. There are no weak links among the young but immensely talented cast. The characterization is thoroughly developed, each character embodying their own individual personalities and layered dimensions. Jaeden Lieberher plays protagonist Bill Denbrough with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Stranger Things favorite Finn Wolfhard provides Ritchie Tozier with equal amounts of forthright boldness and likeable charm. Jack Dylan Grazer captures his hypochondriac character Eddie Kaspbrak with vulnerability and fearfulness. Sophia Lillis gives a stunning performance as Beverley Marsh, the headstrong tomboy harbouring a tumultuous home life and Jackson Robert Scott is heartbreaking as poor, innocent Georgie. The child actors are at the forefront with the parental influence and protection exceptionally thin on the ground leaving them exposed to Pennywise’s terror and their own growing pains. The audience experiences the tale through the eyes of the troubled teens giving leeway for an abundance of imaginative horrific moments.

Bill Skarsgård is a revelation as Pennywise. Any reservations the fans have had about his rendition of the character will soon be dispelled. He is quite frankly terrifying. His first appearance in the sewers sets the tone for the kind of character he is going to be. Skarsgård portrays the chilling clown as outright frightening and grotesque as he salivates over his prey but at the same time sustains a whimsical air about him. There’s an initial softness in his manner as he lures the children to their impending doom before opening his razor-sharp jaws. It goes without saying he is a contender for one of the scariest villains of all time.

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IT is highly compelling, emotion driven and a genuine slice of pure horror. The film features effective CGI, unsettling set pieces and a nostalgic soundtrack. New Kids on the Block anyone? The film has even been Stephen King approved. The prolific horror author even had his own expectations defied. Undeniably, Muschietti and his crew have well and truly pulled off a potential horror classic that manages to outshine the original adaptation. Hopefully, the second installment will live up to the strength and quality of this one but only time will tell.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Stark Raving Quackers: A Review of ‘The Quacky Slasher (2017)’.

Posted in Short Scares with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS**

TQS2

Ever since its marketing debut at Birmingham Horror Con back in February, The Quacky Slasher has been a hotly anticipated short film on the indie genre circuit. Directed by Peter Mckeirnon (Dead Town, Swings and Roundabouts), The Quacky Slasher is an affectionate, all out parody of the golden era of slasher movies in the schlocky sense.

Following a traumatic childhood experience in which he saw his father mauled to death by ducks, Michael Quackers (Andrew Butterworth) is on the rampage, stabbing and slashing several unwitting yet disreputable victims who are unlucky enough to cross his path.

TQS1

Made on a shoe-string budget, The Quacky Slasher utilizes the resources it’s equipped with which adds to the overall charm. It’s tongue-in-cheek from the outset with the humour coming across as naturally funny rather than forced. Do not go in expecting a high quality, polished film but rather take it for what it is. The editing is choppy in places with the transitions between scenes abruptly starting and ending rather than transitioning smoothly or in a slick fashion but again that may have been intentional.

The cast and crew have clearly put in a lot of dedication and have created a film which lovingly satires the likes of Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), and Pieces (1982). Much like the cult classics that preceded it, The Quacky Slasher plays with the familiar trope of childhood trauma affecting the killer’s future actions and inevitably quenching their bloodthirst! There’s some fan-worthy nods in there especially to legendary screen killers Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. In an early scene, Michael lurks down the aisles of a novelty shop and of course selects the duck mask rather than the masks of his famous counterparts, making the statement that this demented duck is coming into his own.

The QS

The film is also a self-confessed homage to iconic, British cult series, The League of Gentlemen (1999-2002). Mckeirnon has employed the idea of the ordinary, small British town where a dark underbelly lurks underneath the surface and the quirky characters who inhabit it. Three intertwining sub-plots run through the 35-minute-long short, there’s the dodgy dealings of the corrupt criminals, the ‘slow on the uptake’ police officers and of course Michael’s quackers killing spree. Mckerinon places a refreshing spin on the conventional inept police detectives by casting two females in the roles, conveying that gender in horror can be flip-sided to suit all kids of stock characters.

The sinister synth score which plays at pivotal moments aids the 80’s tone that the film possesses. In fact, there isn’t really a ‘modern’ feel to it at all, Michael’s backstory reveal is told the old-fashioned way and technology barely plays a role, staying authentic to the era of genre it’s paying homage to. It depicts its more bloody moments wisely and does contain some great set pieces of gore. The mask itself is pretty striking, allowing Michael Quackers to make his unforgettable mark.

The Quacky Slasher has a niche appeal about it. It’s a film created for fans of low budget exploitation, horror/comedy as well as traditional slashers. It’s wholly exaggerated, campy and completely played for laughs.

This is one slashtastic spoof that is absolutely quackers! Whatever you do ‘Don’t F**k with the Duck’!!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

Shocktastic Shudder Shorts

Posted in Short Scares, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Since it’s launch in October 2016, the horror equivalent to Netflix and streaming service, Shudder UK has provided fans with accessible access to genre movies with a click of a button. Featuring a comprehensive selection of movies, separated into creepy collections, the eclectic mix ensures that the service offers up something for everyone whether it be Giallo’s, American Slashers, Monster Movies or Ghostly Going’s-On.

ShudderUK

While, Shudder is excellent for supplying old favorite movies and popular Arrow Video titles, to name a few, since using the service from last Autumn, Shudder’s standout aspect is it’s assortment of  featured ‘exclusives’. Shudder imparts a platform for lesser known, underground short films and brings the work of underrated indie filmmakers to the forefront. The service gives the opportunity for viewers to experience films that would otherwise fade into obscurity as far as the mass public are concerned.

In this review, I am going to discuss some of the most well-crafted, interesting pieces of short films currently included on the channel.

The Puppet Man (2016)

  • Directed by Jaqueline Castel

puppet man

The Puppet Man is a intensely lit, stylish throwback to the 1980’s heyday of horror. John Carpenter’s influence is monumental especially as he features in an ironic cameo and the synth-charged, irresistible score is acquired from his debut studio album, ‘John Carpenter’s Lost Themes’. The plot itself is a little thin on the ground but, The Puppet Man works as a stylish spectacle playing on internal fears and hysteria. The aesthetic construction of the titular character is reminiscent of the iconic Freddy Kruger as he stalks and scares a young woman and her friends in a sleazy, neon-drenched deserted bar. When horror is reflected on as a genre to this day, the noteworthy figures that come to mind are of course the stalking slasher’s of ‘the golden era’ e.g. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees who have never gone out of style. The Puppet Man includes seductive visuals and a booming soundtrack. Celebratory of it’s past influences, The Puppet Man expresses this within it’s whole core.

I Want You Inside Me (2016)

  • Directed by Alice Shindelar 

IWYIM

When viewing this short it’s difficult not to draw comparisons with 2014’s surprise hit, It Follows. The two share an identical subject matter acting as a metaphor for the dark side of becoming sexually awakened. I Want You Inside Me is a slow burner that joins up elements of body horror with a coming of age story, which of course was done extra successfully with 2016’s RAW. CJ (Abigail Wahl) decides to lose her virginity but when her first sexual encounter enigmatically disappears, even though unnerved she cuts her losses and moves onto the next one. In one sense this short breaks the “stigma” of expressive female sexuality being portrayed negatively, i.e. just because a woman is comfortable and provocative with her sexuality does not mean she should be labelled with derogatory connotations. However at the same time this short could be deemed as ‘overly feminist’ when it’s revealed that her male conquests don’t exactly fare well. I Want You Inside Me is an uncomfortable watch and quietly grotesque. It’s conspicuous title is literal and leaves the viewer feeling abruptly cold by the end. This film certainly had a great deal to convey but isn’t strongly executed. There’s no denying that it’s well made and beautifully shot but it comes across as mystifying in terms of what it sets out to achieve. As an audience are we intended to root for CJ and view her behavior as “powerful” and “liberating”? I Want You Inside Me is a perplexing watch, the characters aren’t particularly likable and it tries too hard at combining it’s oddness with a taboo subject matter.

He Took His Skin Off For Me (2014)

  • Directed by Ben Aston

hthsofm

Out of the narrative-driven, fictional shorts, He Took His Skin Off For Me is the one that struck a chord. It would be easy to presume that this film is affecting primarily based on the physicality of the skin removal alone. However, it’s the underlying emotionally-charged subtext that makes this film haunting and long lasting in the mind. Told via voice-over, He Took His Skin Off For Me centers on a couple in a domestic setting. Events take a twisted and bizarre turn when the male takes his skin off at the request of his girlfriend, but it soon transpires that the act of flesh removal wasn’t the best idea! Cue, a lot of iciness involved and strands of normality such as cleaning won’t be the same again. The tone vergers on peculiar, sometimes even funny but its ultimately melancholic. It has been a while since I’ve experienced something so absorbing and unusual. Director Ben Aston, accomplishes the contrast between every day domesticity and pure body horror to an exceptional degree. That alone, makes this film so mesmerizing. He Took His Skin Off For Me is visceral horror at it’s best, while stating that you should never change yourself for anyone underneath the foregrounded horror. Even if a layer is removed the problems and issues will still exist and are worsened which this film takes to the absolute extreme. The make up effects are astonishing with a realistic edge. Aston’s vision and use of metaphor is unforgettable with this piece and is Shudder content that I can’t recommend enough.

Primal Screen (2017)

  • Directed by Rodney Ascher

primal screen

Primal Screen has been making an impression on social media as of late. Teased to become a series, and like with all good suspense, Shudder are keeping us in anticipation. Primal Screen is a horror shaped gift and due to the incredible quality of it, viewers are dying for more! Rodney Ascher (Room 237, The Nightmare) directs this fascinating visual documentary which taps into primal childhood fears and questions how uncanny imagery can make us truly afraid and furthermore how surprising components can lead us to overcome these fears later in life. As someone who grew up feeling unnerved by creepy dolls which partly led me to become besotted by horror films and seek out more and more dark material, this documentary is highly relate-able. Primal Screen is not your average, paint by numbers, talking heads documentary. Ascher is an innovative visual storyteller who contextualizes the imagery used in order to get his vision across. There’s a beginning, middle and end that sees where the fear materialized, how it effectively spiraled before reaching a content resolution, told over five intertwining segments. Primal Screen is powerful filmmaking, the horror genre rinses and repeats itself so many times so it’s therefore refreshing to see a more inventive take on familiar material. Ascher delves into deep psychological concepts such as the rational vs the irrational, and the uncanny valley. The final result is well a structured and thought provoking documentary offering. Primal Screen is one to look out for as Shudder continues to develop it’s brand and introduces more original content to satisfy horror hungry audiences.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Evil Selfie (2016): Short Film Review

Posted in Horror Festivals, Short Scares with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Eros Bosi directs and stars in his debut short film, Evil Selfie. This Italian supernatural short takes society’s fixation with the worldwide ‘phenomena’ of the ‘selfie’ to extraordinary heights.

A ghostly presence stalks a ‘selfie mad’ couple who venture off to a picturesque woodland area in their car, as you do in horror movies! Evil Selfie is a black comedy that blends exaggerated scenarios with elements of spookiness. It’s evident that the project is a labor of love for it’s director, paying homage to familiar genre tropes while making a statement on an influential component of recent pop culture.

Featuring striking visuals and crisp cinematography, Evil Selfie is a slick, fast paced effort. The FX  courtesy of Pasquale Miele and make up effects by Amanda Rosi are well done and of a professional standard, providing the ghostly presence with a disturbing appearance. A commendable aspect about the film is that instead of going down the route of appearing dark and dank to achieve atmosphere, the bulk of the film is set outdoors in broad daylight which aids a more unsuspecting vibe for when something sinister is likely to strike.

 

As a new filmmaker, Bosi has collaborated with more experienced industry figures within the Italian horror circuit. Luca Alessandro who co-wrote and co-directed 2013’s The Pyramid and Alex Visani who produced the aforementioned episodic movie were both on board to lend a hand to Bosi throughout the process of creating his debut short film; with a creditable end result.

Evil Selfie is very much an audience film and would play well at frightening film festivals with the potential to initiate both laughs and scares from it’s prospective viewers. It cleverly conveys it’s concept without taking itself too seriously and has fun with what it does.

Evil Selfie was shot in Bosi’s hometown of Terni, utilizing it’s stunning locations greatly. The film premiered at Narnia Terror Night in November 2016, a festival devoted to supporting independent, Italian cinema.

Check out Bosi’s John Carpenter influenced trailer below. It comes as  no surprise that the subject of the ‘selfie’ will grow more prevalent in contemporary horror with Evil Selfie imaginatively echoing back to Carpenter’s cult classic, They Live (1988) in it’s themes. The link between society’s indulgent obsession of social media and horror is an interesting subject to explore, reinforcing the notion that we are in danger of losing sight of what’s around us while we are glued to our devices.

Bosi has cemented himself as a talented director and has a promising career ahead of him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFh2PzWg2go

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

Creepy Disney Conspiracy Theories

Posted in Horror Attractions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

For the majority of us, Disney is one of the earliest forms of media we are exposed to. From the dynamic and colourful films to a range of spectacular theme parks all around the world, Disney is universal and has tapped into our subconscious from an early age. A subject that completely fascinates me is the notion that Disney has a dark side. There’s a creepy aspect to a medium that on the surface is associated with happiness and positivity but possesses a sinister underbelly and speculated subliminal messages. Unclear of where these myths and urban legends began, they have certainly grown in interest due to the power of the internet and the frequency of the creation of YouTube videos, Buzzfeed Articles etc. that explore these chilling tales from the Land of the Mouse and bring them to the forefront.

Mickey Mouse

In this article, I am going to discuss what I consider some of the weirdest, creepiest Disney conspiracy theories that have resonated with me. These include both Disney movies and spooky occurrences from the parks themselves. Please bear in mind that these theories may or may not be true or are somewhat based in truth.

Creepy Disney Princesses

**Disclaimer Warning** There will be discussion of unsettling subjects such as death and suicide so please do not continue reading if this is triggering in any way. This article is created to shed light on these fascinating conspiracies and to share opinions on them.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts. In the comments below tell me which Disney conspiracy theories have gotten under your skin to an unsettling effect.

So… Let’s get down to it, wish upon a star and discover why Disney really is the place where nightmares come true!

The Small World Supposed ‘Suicide’

‘It’s a Small World’ is Disney’s most infectious ride. Built originally in its Californian theme park back in the 1960’s, the ride consists of a gazillion audio-animatronic dolls representing nationalities from all over the world while the rider is directed through the scenery in a small boat. The ride is situated in Fantasyland and exhibits a positive and uniting message of the whole world standing together as one.

small world

The supposed urban legend allegedly occurred back in 1999. A guest at the park was riding the ‘Small World’, when suddenly the ride had to be evacuated under unknown circumstances. As the guest was vacating the ride she decided to use up the last of the film on her camera and unintentionally captured a very disturbing image.

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Allegedly, a small child can be seen hanging from the ceiling as passengers make their way to the exit. The image itself is fairly blurred however there does appear to be a human-like figure dangling from the ceiling. Disney of course never confirmed the incident; hopefully it is just a misunderstanding and a trick of the camera. This mysterious myth is deeply chilling as well as shudder-inducing and is not a pleasant thought to associate with the wonderful world of Disney! On a less serious note but creepy in a whole other light, cast members have claimed that late at night, the pesky dolls come alive on their own accord and switch places with each other, this myth is totally horror movie plot worthy!

The Tragic Death of Debbie Stone

This next Disneyland ‘myth’ is deeply disturbing and tragically true. That said the second part of this legend, which involves a ‘ghost story’, is disrespectful to the family and the memory of the deceased as it is based purely in the fantastical. The unfortunate fact is that this incident quickly became fodder for elaborate urban legends and remains one of Disney’s most infamous tragedies.

America-Sings

In 1974, a high school graduate, named Debbie Stone bagged her dream job at Disneyland for the summer in order to save up for college that same year. She was assigned to work on a brand new, musical extravaganza attraction called ‘America Sings’. The attraction involved rotating stages that showcased a selection of sequences depicting the evolution of American musical history. ‘America Sings’ featured expertly, uncanny animated audio-animatronic animals throughout the show.

Debbie’s role was the ‘hostess’, she was to stand at the side of the stage while the attraction was in progress and greet guests at the beginning and wave them goodbye once the show had finished. It was like any normal shift for Debbie when the most tragic and unfortunate accident occurred.

According to an article on Buzzle.com, “The only glitch was that in the previous ride ‘Carousel of Progress’, the theaters moved around the nucleus in a clockwise direction. This meant that the walls on the left-hand side of the stage moved away from each other. But in ‘America Sings’, the rotation was reversed, which meant that the walls moved towards each other on the left-hand side of the stage and closed in place to separate each theater from the other.”

Disturbing fake footage has been created ‘depicting’ Debbie’s shocking death and is available on YouTube. The audience members were said to have heard a blood-curdling scream which has been chillingly re-created in this video that I wouldn’t recommend watching. What happened to Debbie is exceptionally frightening.

debbie stone

The poor young woman had been crushed between the revolving walls and the worst aspect is no one fully knows how it could even have happened. It would be in poor taste to speculate when the matter of fact is that a young woman with her whole life ahead of her was tragically killed in a freak accident that no one could foresee happening. Unnervingly, ‘America Sings’ closed for a mere two days and then re-opened to the public with new staff safety measures in place until it’s closure in 1988. Returning to the ‘ghost story’ rumor, cast members have alleged that the voice of Debbie Stone can be heard near the site, heeding the warning of ‘be careful’ to those who approach the area.

The story of Debbie Stone is one of the most haunting and grim incidents to come out of ‘the happiest place on earth’ and what is most terrifying is the unexplained nature of her death.

Subliminal Messages in Disney Films

Subliminal Messages in Disney films has been a hot topic of discussion for eons. Are Disney really adding in sexual symbolism into their movies as part of a sinister plot by the Illuminati? or are animators just joking around? Could we as an audience be reading too much into it and believing what we want to believe?

Aladdin Subliminal

In an article conducted by the Huffington Post, former Disney animator Tom Sito debunked the myths, from the priest in The Little Mermaid’s supposed ‘erection’ to the word ‘SEX’ on full display in the sky during ‘The Lion King’. What is noticeable is when comparing the remastered Disney DVD’s to the original VHS versions, the subliminal messages have been removed.

After being made aware of the ‘inappropriate proposition” Aladdin makes in the 1992 film when he is seen sneaking up to Princess Jasmine’s balcony on the magic carpet, I dug out my original VHS tape out of curiosity to see if there was any truth to the rumor. As Aladdin is confronted by Raja the tiger he is heard uttering the dialogue “good children, take off your clothes”. The suggestive language could be heard plain as day on the UK 90’s VHS tape I owned. Both myself and my best friend heard the same thing yet when I eventually bought the film on DVD in the 2000’s, the weird whispers were no longer included during the scene.

Disney clearly encompasses an awareness of the conspiracies that have been drawn from their films so instead of simply debunking them and leaving the ‘faux-messages’ in they have edited them out as if they’re naughty school children who have been caught out being up to no good! It’s no secret that Disney is conscious about it’s family friendly image and will go to any lengths to ensure that remains intact. The thought of the company deliberately trying to sexualize children through subliminal messaging is creepy as hell but it’s more curious as to why they would make it look as if it never happened by erasing the bizarre messages from the remastered versions of their classic films.

Suicide Mouse

Mickey Mouse Hell

‘suicidemouse.avi’ is a creepypasta, the internet phenomenon that is the modern day equivalent of  traditional ‘campfire tales’. Evidently, this urban legend is just exactly that, an eerie story created for the internet generation in order to freak out it’s conspiracy hungry readers. This one centers on a ‘lost cartoon’ from the 1930’s featuring Mickey Mouse. Created in black and white, the cartoon begins as standard fare, it shows Mickey walking through the city streets on a loop. He appears distressed which is where this story takes a dark turn. Allegedly the cartoon was very short and nothing much was thought of it. Then a Disney employee named Leonard Maltin accidentally stumbled across the cartoon and discovered a longer version. Mickey Mouse was depicted in hell and sinister events followed, including Mickey’s eyeballs falling out of his face, unsettling piano music, distorted sounds and colour schemes that wouldn’t have been made available to the technology of it’s time. The terrifying tale ends with Maltin uttering the words “real suffering is not known” before taking his own life. This creepypasta is an example of an effective urban legend, subverting something familiar into something grotesque and nightmarish. The full CreepyPasta can be read here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Suicide_mouse

Haunted Disneyland

Disney Haunting

There is a rumor circulating the internet that Disneyland guests have sneakily scattered their loved ones ashes throughout the park namely on Disney’s flagship rides, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.  These acts of grief have caused rumors of ghostly sightings and eerie incidents at Disneyland. At the end of The Haunted Mansion ride, cries of a little boy can be heard, the same little boy is said to also haunt Pirates after his mother scattered his ashes on the site without Disney’s permission. There’s a mystery passenger known as ‘Mr One Way‘ who rides Space Mountain then vanishes into thin air. Mr One Way always joins the ride next to a passenger who is in a vehicle, alone. An unexplained entity was caught on CCTV late at night at the park, drifting through main street and a former worker named George is said to haunt Pirates of the Carribbean and if employees don’t wish him a good morning or good night then the ride will malfunction throughout the day. It’s fair to say that imaginations can run wild and while these stories are goosebumps-inducing and heart stoppingly scary, there’s no real evidence to back them up. Disney however sure could capitalize on it. Taking the portrayal of some of their villains into account and bold, audacious 80’s movies such as Return to Oz and The Watcher in the Woods, Disney can do scary and do it well. A film focusing on a haunted theme park with a family friendly twist could be a promising idea.

Thank you for reading and check out my Social Media links for more of that Horror good stuff-
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Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews