Archive for September, 2011

“Carry On Wayward Son’s”- A Look back at some classic “Supernatural”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

With the seventh season premiere fast approaching; here’s a look at some classic episodes of a dark, sexy, scary, gory show known as “Supernatural”.

“Provenance” (#1.19)

  •  Directed By: Philip Sgriccia
  • Written By: David Ehrman
  • Original Air Date: 13th April 2006

Who is she?

“Provenance” is very atmospheric and conforms to the horror genre well. The plot of the episode centres on Sam and Dean investigating the latest in a series of murders in upstate New York. During the first season the hunter brothers relied on their father’s journal to guide them from case to case and this was exactly the character motivation that led them into this latest scenario. The creep factor was conveyed superbly and genuinely gave out a few scares. Personally, from a young age I have always been unnerved by old paintings; “Provenance” realised these fears as its hard not to be superstitious in thinking the eyes are moving and watching! The atmosphere creates heightened tension throughout; pulling the audience into safe and scary places from one moment to the next; from gory murders to the usual Winchester banter. “Provenance” concludes in an unexpected twist, insinuating the message of “things aren’t always what they seem”; the climax is intense and effective cutting back from scenes of Sam and Sara battling the evil force and Dean’s attempts to defeat it. Another element that appeals in this episode is seeing some brief character development from Sam and playing with the possibility of another love interest other than Jess. Sara suits his character well as they bond over their separate tragedies. This romance is something I’ve always hoped the writers would re-visit as he just didn’t meet her at the right time. I like seeing old school Sam and his more sensitive side pre-Lucifer, Ruby, Demon Blood and no soul along with Dean’s complete disbelief that an attractive woman would be interested in his “geeky, younger brother” over him. “Provenance” demonstrates an equal balance of horror, humour and has some nice moments thrown in. In terms of season one as a whole its one of the stronger episodes as its not as predictable as earlier instalments such as “Bloody Mary” (#1.5) or “Hook Man” (#1.7) which of course are based on well-known urban legends. At this point the show was still establishing itself so the formulaic horror premise’s can be forgiven.

“What is and should never be” (#2.20)

  • Directed By Eric Kripke
  • Written By Raelle Tucker
  • Original Air Date: 3rd May 2007

The ideal family image.

Regular readers will be aware that I’m a great fan of “alternate reality” concepts in my favourite shows. “What is and should never be” is thought-provoking and deeply emotional. Jensen Ackles is presented with the opportunity of performing incredibly gritty material as he portrays Dean’s conflicts between his reality and the alternative life. What if he never lost his mother? What if he and Sam were living in normality?  For fans; the episode is an intriguing insight into what the protagonists may have become if the “Supernatural” universe had not become part of their lives. The tone for the majority of the episode feels contrasting in comparison to usual “Supernatural” instalments. The horror conventions are limited until the conclusion. The “normal family” scenario plays out as a soap opera among the tensions and issues between the Winchester Brothers. The episode therefore uses the post-modern ideology of a generic hybrid. Scenes featuring Dean’s excitement over the chance to participate in normal activities such as mowing the lawn and flicking through television channels are both endearing and bittersweet. Dean’s typical bravado is stripped away and he appears childlike in certain moments. He enjoys his idyllic alternative world. The episode depicts this through its mise-en-scene featuring stereotypical imagery of the perfect family home; a white picket fence and a freshly mown lawn. His speech by John’s grave when conflicted of whether he should give up playing the hero and embrace his true happiness is powerful and emotional. The notion of a romantic relationship for Dean is toyed with. Carmen is an example of Dean’s ideal woman, we later discover as he admires her image in a beer advert in a magazine. Possibly unintentional foreshadowing is occurring but in terms of appearance Carmen is similar to Lisa Braden. Both characters represent Dean’s ideals of the type of woman he can see himself having a future with, of course under normal circumstances. The distance between Dean and Sam is compelling viewing and gives a taste of what’s to come during season 4 and 5. The concept of the Winchesters leading separate lives that exclude each other feels depressing. Sam’s character feels unfamiliar and more uptight than usual; it’s interesting to see how different he would have become without being a hunter and exposed to Dean’s influence. His trait of wanting to take control however still remains. The core of the episode focuses on Dean growing as a character, displaying true strength when making the tough decision to sacrifice his wishes for the greater good. I also enjoy the references to “The Wizard of Oz” and the nods to earlier episodes e.g. “Phantom Traveler” (#1.4) and “Playthings” (#2.11). Dean’s powerful and emotional journey and strong character development is the reason this episode is one of my favourites.

“Changing Channels” (#5.8)

  • Directed By Charles Beeson
  • Written By Jeremy Carver
  • Original Air Date: 5th November 2009

Supernatural The Sitcom?

“Changing Channels” delivers “Supernatural’s” humorous side at its best. The episode is vital as it enlightens viewers regarding the Winchester’s up and coming roles in the impending apocalypse. An important character development is also revealed as the audience discover the Trickster’s true being. Typical conventions are challenged as on the surface, “Changing Channels” appears as a “filler” episode.  This “filler” is soaked in humour, and acts as escapism for viewers from the darker storylines in the show. However, the episode holds more significance than what is usually expected. The episode was also important as it makes an interesting comment on American Television; taking satires of medical shows e.g. “Grey’s Anatomy” and Police orientated programmes such as “CSI”. Dean makes a valid point when he states that there are far too many cop shows on television these days and they are all the same. The concept of intertextuality is used in a tongue in cheek manner throughout. Surrealism is a key theme. Scenes that depict this notion well include viewing Sam and Dean in a sitcom scenario; it’s almost as if they are caricatures of themselves; these scenes overall are hilarious. They also support “Supernatural’s” consistent methods of self-awareness and referencing; used previously in “The Monster at the end of the book” (#4.18) and in the following episode “The Real Ghostbusters” (#5.9).  Another example is where Dean describes “Doctor Sexy” as compelling viewing due to the fact it includes ghosts. Even though to an extent the characters are taken out of context; they still remain in sync with the usual flow of “Supernatural”. Sam still behaves awkwardly especially in the “Herpexia” commercial scene, providing laugh out loud material. During the hospital sequence where Sam keeps being referred to as a “brilliant coward” by another “doctor”; it appears metaphorical in relation to the fact he broke the final seal and must let Lucifer’s form into him. The Trickster is a fascinating character; personally the episodes his has featured in have to be some of my favourites. His character takes an unexpected and refreshing turn as it is revealed he is much more powerful that initially assumed. He is given a higher purpose in order to fit in with the show’s angel mythology and I only wished he would have stuck around a little longer. The hybrid of humour, horror, drama and darkness is strongly conveyed which is why “Changing Channels” is one of the most popular episodes. It is also groundbreaking as a statement on modern television.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

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“You have the wrong girl!”-An Analysis of “Ringer” (2011)

Posted in Old Non Horror Reviews with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

WARNING: SPOILERS INCLUDED

As a major fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” of course I was interested in checking out “Ringer” the new CW pilot starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Welsh Actor Ioan Gruffudd. From the get-go the premise is intriguing; focused on a young woman on the run from the mob who  poses as her rich twin sister in order to evade them only to later discover her sister also has a price to pay. “Ringer” appears to hold the possibilities of interesting character development as Sarah Michelle Gellar takes on the challenge of playing two roles; she is however more than capable of this after delivering a fantastic performance in the “Buffy” episode “Who Are You” (#4.16) as a very convincing Faith (normally played by Eliza Dushku). The concept of the “secret identity” holds out much prospect for a titillating thriller. So much is at stake and rides on the pilot episode of any television show so let’s look at what “Ringer” has to offer as well as how the episode is constructed.

The episode opens on a tracking shot of some hideous gargoyle-type figures overlooking a lit-up city; establishing a modern day busy setting. As an audience we are then pulled into the eyes of a young woman who appears both terrified and vulnerable; already we are aware who’s point of view the show is going to be from. Her character is embroiled in a cat and mouse game as she is being chased by a man draped in black; instantly the show throws the audience into the middle of the action resulting in intrigue as to who this woman is? and why is she in this predicament? At this point there is more to discover and I was already engrossed. The use of the song “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline slotted in nicely throughout the opening sequence emphasising the protagonist’s fear and vulnerability in the situation; with my inner “Buffy” fangirl coming out here I’d also like to add that the same song was used in the episode “Prophecy Girl” (#1.12)! Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character in an attempt to fend off her attacker insists he’s got the wrong person and at this moment we are taken into the story of how this young woman ended up there.

Within the first few minutes of the episode we learn a lot about Bridget Cafferty who we meet in a support group setting; she has many layers which makes her an engaging character; this is later vital as she takes on the role of someone else. As an audience we discover that she is battling addiction but has remained sober for six months, has had short-lived relationships, and has a sister. The impression is given that she is damaged but recovering. She also seems to posses a flirtatious quality demonstrated by the attraction between her and her sponsor (Played by Mike Colter). The next piece of character information provided is that Bridget is a witness to a crime and will have to appear in court in order to testify against an unsavoury character from her past. Along with her minder and FBI Agent Victor Machado (Played by Nestor Carbonell) she goes into a protection zone at a seedy looking motel, the atmosphere feels unsafe then adding to this notion is finding out the man she must testify against is involved in the adult industry. As previously stated Bridget’s character has many layers; she proves more than capable of looking after herself by turning the tables on the man following her.

Bridget’s identical twin sister Siobhan is introduced. Immediately there is a contrast between the two with Siobhan coming across as wealthy and sophisticated. The sisters have been estranged but still maintain a sense of closeness as they hug; but that is as far as it goes. Siobhan is evidently reserved towards her twin admitting her husband (played by Ioan Gruffudd) has no knowledge of her existence. There was a clever shot of the characters framed next to the mirror with a direct line between them, demonstrating their contrasting lifestyles and discussion of forgiveness. The drama really kicks in once Siobhan does a disappearing act; assumed she has taken her own life Bridget makes the rash decision to take over it! This is where the enigma really begins.

Bridget now embarks on a thrill ride of a journey as she unearths secrets and lies revolving around her sister. Following Bridget’s journey is fascinating leaving the audience wondering if she’ll adjust to her new life or whether she’ll unravel after she makes the transition from her harsh reality to a superficial world of wealth. The deeper and more enthralled she becomes in her sister’s life the more disturbing things become. She faces an over-critical, distant husband, and an affair with her best friend’s husband; making her realise she is so far away from her sister’s life. It is indicated that the possibility for Siobhan’s suicide was due to loneliness taking all these factors into consideration and the mystery surrounding a little boy called Sean. With the authorities and the mob believing Bridget to be on the run an intense moment occurs when she is faced with Victor; this scene was the most suspenseful emphasised by a close up focused on Bridget/”Siobhan”‘s face, dramatic music and a fade out; in placr to heighten the tension leaving the audience question will Victor be fooled by her pretence? I loved how Bridget got into character so coolly in that scene. Another clever “red-herring” used was a newspaper article regarding a body washed up on the shore. By the conclusion of the episode there are so many unanswered questions in order to lure the audience to keep watching; in which I won’t reveal!

 “Ringer” definitely holds out a lot of potential. Granted its not the most original idea however it is carried by a very interesting protagonist and displays a sense of edginess. A lot of information is provided in the pilot but there is still so much more to unravel. I’m unsure if “Ringer” will work successfully as a long running series and with its cinematic quality it possibly could be suited more to a two hour film or mini-series. I definitely enjoyed it more than another recent series with a similar premise ABC’s “The Lying Game” (2011) as its aimed at an adult audience and is maturer in comparison. So far; with plenty of twists, turns, secrets and lies my interest is held and I’m looking forward to seeing what else the show has in store.

“Ringer” is shown on the CW network on Tuesday Nights 9/8c.

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

Abertoir Presents: “Atrocious” (2010)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 16, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS

With the Abertoir Horror Festival not too far away fans were treated to a special screening of the UK premiere of Spanish Horror “Atrocious” (2010).

While not an original concept; “Atrocious” still delivered in terms of the scare factor. The film falls into the same sub-horror genre of the “mocumentary” or “lost footage” styles similarly to “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) and more recently “Paranormal Activity” (2007); however it is definitely much scarier and more chilling than those two films put together. The continuous point of view shots are extremely effective and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the thrilling seventy five minutes of terror. The actual concept is incredibly creepy as the young protagonists; filmmakers Cristian (Played by Cristian Valencia) and July (Played By Clara Moraleda) are chasing the myth or urban legend surrounding a lost little girl dressed in red who “shows you the way” if you find yourself isolated in the woods. The film builds up the ideas very well and keeps a steady pace; as an audience expectations become incredibly intense in the fear of this little girl actually popping out at them. I was slightly disappointed with the climax of the film as it kept losing direction and throwing too much red herrings at the audience at once; although I thought it was clever how it placed the audience in a false sense of expectation indicating the ending would be in the woods then luring us back to the house setting. Overall “Atrocious” was an enjoyable horror film with brilliant jump scares and an intense tone and pace throughout.

On September 30th Abertoir will be screening yet another pre-festival film with the UK premiere of “The Woman” (2011). The screening will take place at 10pm at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Cinema; for regular festival goers and horror fans out there this is a must-see event!

Still from "The Woman" (2011)

For more information visit: http://www.abertoir.co.uk/

Like this Page: http://www.facebook.com/abertoir

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Follow @AbertoirFest

https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/abertoir-horror-festival-bring-it-on/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

“I’ve Had the time of my life”- A tribute to Patrick Swayze.

Posted in Old Non Horror Reviews with tags , on September 14, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of the incredibly talented Patrick Swayze (18th August 1952-14th September 2009). He is one of my inspirations and role models therefore I thought it would be fitting to write a tribute on his life and his most famous film which is one of my all time favourites “Dirty Dancing” (1987).

Note: I am not going to be writing a biography on Patrick Swayze in this review as that information is available through many online sources; I want to discuss why I admire him and his impact on my life personally.

Patrick Wayne Swayze (1952-2009)

Patrick was an incredible dancer and displayed so much energy; he also made dance seem completely flawless. This was however not the case; through reading his autobiography “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” in which he co-wrote with his wife Lisa Niemi I discovered that Patrick suffered from a severe knee injury which occurred during his football days. For something that could have destroyed his career as a dancer Patrick never gave up and continued to fight through the pain in order to pursue his dreams; his determined quality is something I really admire. Patrick Swayze and my love for the film “Dirty Dancing” has been partly responsible for inspiring me to pursue dancing again; as a child I danced for nine years in the fields of Ballet and Modern dance however gave it all up when I was  fourteen years old in order to focus on my studies; for the past three months I have been regularly attending Zumba classes; I constantly make sure I push myself as hard as I can just like Patrick did. The message he put forward was to always work hard in order to achieve the best possible success which I think is completely inspiring.

For those of you who are regular readers you will be aware that I’m not a great fan of romantic films or the sub-genre “chick flicks” therefore I find it difficult to put my finger on it regarding how much I love “Dirty Dancing”. The film has faced a lot of criticism over the years and wasn’t initially successful on its release however gradually a cult following has built up and I’d say for me its definitely a guilty pleasure. I feel some people do overrate “Dirty Dancing”; its not a perfect film, the characters are stereotypical and the plot is predictable but what keeps me engaged is the creative dance sequences; I never phase to be impressed during the lift in the lake scene and of course the climax. I think the film conveys a positive message indicating themes of self expression and standing up for what you believe. The feel-good factor is a definite pull for me; the film captures the 1960’s well and the soundtrack is a character in its own right as it pushes the plot along. Patrick Swayze’s character Johnny is one of my favourite leading men in cinema history; he is very appealing as he oozes confidence and also holds the bad boy image to an extent; Johnny’s character is also on a deeper level as he displays a vulnerable side and appears withdrawn when he is out of his own social circle. I still get goosebumps when he recites the iconic line “Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner”.

“I’ve had the time of my life”- My favourite scene from the film.

I am incredibly saddened by Patrick’s death as its so unfortunate for someone so talented to suffer from a terrible illness in the prime of their lives; his legacy will always live on however his death is a great loss to the dance and performance industry.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Comedy Weekend (Double Bill) “Bridesmaids” (2011) and “The Inbetweeners Movie” (2011)

Posted in Old Non Horror Reviews with tags on September 5, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS INCLUDED.

This weekend I have attended the cinema twice; firstly the Aberystwyth Arts Centre to see another screening of “Bridesmaids” on Saturday and on the Sunday I finally saw the phenomenon that is “The Inbetweeners Movie” at the Commodore Cinema. Initially I had only planned to review the latter however after re-watching “Bridesmaids” I possibly enjoyed it even more second time around therefore made the decision to treat you all to a double bill review in which I am going to discuss what I enjoyed about these films and what I think makes them so successful along with the portrayal’s of groups of men and women in modern-day-comedy.

“Bridesmaids” (2011)

 When the marketing for this film began in all honesty I was very sceptical; like many I assumed the film was just going to be a “The Hangover” (2009) knock-off; however I did take into consideration that Judd Apatow’s team were behind the movie and I think that films such as “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin” (2005) and “Knocked Up” (2007) are some of the funniest, recent comedies out there; therefore I decided to place my scepticism aside and give the film a chance. To a certain extent it appears like the production team behind “Bridesmaids” are challenging the production team behind “The Hangover” to say “yeah, we can do this concept better!”.

“Bridesmaids” is stereotypical to an extent however it does hold a certain level of accuracy in terms of how modern day women behave who are in very different places in their lives; as much as we dislike to admit women are generally never satisfied with what they have and can possesses bitchiness and jealousy towards each other; “Bridesmaids” conveys these aspects well. “Bridesmaids” provided the audience with well-written characters that were strongly developed and crafted; Kristen Wiig co-wrote the film as well as starring as the protagonist Annie, this factor enabled her to have the best possible understanding of the character and made her feel real; Kristen created an empathetic relationship  between Annie and the audience; in terms of cinematography a lot of close-up shots and the shallow focus technique were used in order to emphasise this and bring a sense of intimacy between the audience and her character. I think Annie is a very relate-able character as she is simply human, she makes mistakes like everyone else but she learns from that and her character has grown by the end of the film in a positive light; I think its a very endearing quality.

I felt the pace of the film was a lot slower than “The Hangover” resulting in the comedic timing taking a much subtler tone; the comedy wasn’t as “in-your-face” as “The Hangover” but still kept in with the spirit of the sub-genre of “Gross-out-humour”. In certain aspects I did feel that the “gross” scene’s were in place to make a statement that women can be just as equally disgusting as men and admittedly this did feel slightly forced especially the fact that the food poisoning dress fitting scene took place early on in the film; what I’m trying to reach at is “gross-out-moments” in modern comedy aren’t a necessity in terms of trying to be genuinely funny and does result in a predictable formula. As much as I am reluctant to admit; I personally think men achieve this particular comedy style better than women.

I had a slight issue with the editing at the beginning of the film; scenes didn’t transition well into each other and I spotted a couple of jump-cuts that made it feel slightly rushed; however despite that overall the film was timed well and flowed. I thought “Bridesmaids” featured a natural flow of dialogue and displayed a sense of realism within the narrative in comparison to other recent comedies; I thought it held a strong balance of realism and surrealism e.g. the over-the-top wedding shower. The tone of the film felt consistent throughout and even in the serious, dramatic moments e.g. the wedding shower scene; light relief was still provided in order to remind us the film is still a comedy and to keep the tone on the same level.

For me; the film conformed but also went against the stereotypical conventions of the “chick flick” genre e.g. this was demonstrated in the scene in which Annie attempts to make things up with her love interest Officer Rhodes (Played by Chris O-Dowd) by baking him a carrot cake; in stereotypical “chick flicks” it would be expected that the conflict would find resolution in this scene but its not the case; Officer Rhodes ignores the cake, leaving it on his doorstep for wild animals to consume!

As an audience we are teased into thinking that the film is going to take the same route as “The Hangover” especially when the characters board a plane for a bacherlorette party to Las Vegas; this scene was possibly in place as a homage but it also challenges expectations as the scene goes in a completely different direction; another nod to “The Hangover” was having the character of Megan (Played by Melissa McCarthy) as the sister to the groom similarly to Zach Galifianakis’s character Alan being the brides brother. My favourite scene in the whole film had to be the plane scene which was largely due to the hilarious performances by Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy.

“Bridesmaids” challenges formulaic expectations overall and the majority of conflicts within the film were resolved at the end; the ending didn’t feel overly cheesy or sappy; I’d describe it as fitting. Helen’s (Played by Rose Byrne) situation of constant loneliness more than likely remained the same, Rita (Played by Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Becca (Played by Ellie Kemper) characters were more or less dropped mid-way through the film therefore it is unknown how they dealt with their issues. The ending provided the audience with the hoped romantic finish with Annie and Rhodes evidently getting together; however his character still appears reserved towards her and the only hope left for the audience was to assume the characters would have their happy ending.

On the whole I really enjoyed “Bridesmaids” surprisingly as I am not a great fan of “chick flicks”; I liked how this film challenged the genre the natural flow of the narrative presented and the believable characters. I have to confess I personally prefer it to “The Hangover” for those reasons.

“The Inbetweeners Movie” (2011)

 “The Inbetweeners Movie” (2011) to an extent is an update of “Kevin and Perry Go Large” (2001) in the context of two popular comedy television series going out with a bang through treating the fans to a feature length film as well as using the “lad’s holiday” setting; however that is where the similarities between the two finish. For me “The Inbetweeners Movie” delivered on so many levels and kept me laughing from beginning to end.

As the film began it was a nice surprise to see a cameo role off Anthony Head as Will’s Dad; I thought it was a brilliant touch and a great introduction to the character.

The film was jam-packed with gross-out humour and constant hilarity throughout; it met expectations and for fans of the series its pretty much “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”.

In a sense I think the film portrayed women as stronger and more self-assured in comparison to the male characters; our protagonists behaviour never comes across as suave or cool and is played for comedy value; confirming the belief that female’s mature quicker than males; the male characters behave overly chauvinistic which never works in their favour; their view of understanding women is also very naive which leads me to question is the film marketed at young females also and is it creating a cynical view of of the modern-day-man for us? It was also a semi-accurate depiction of the behaviour of British youth and the drinking and clubbing culture of the modern day, how it was presented is embarrassingly close to the truth; I liked the fact there was a Johnny Vegas reference which was possibly an unintentional nod to fellow British sitcom “Benidorm” (2007-Present).

The film used its location well with some stunning establishing and panning shots of Malia’s beaches which helped the scenes transition into each other nicely and effectively (I’ll note that I am aware the shots were actually filmed in Majorca but I’m referencing the location they were depicting). As well as being completely funny; “The Inbetweeners” is a touching “coming-of-age” story about four boys entering adulthood and marking the occasion in style; its about growing up and changing, so it does reach out on a deeper level than just four misfits getting drunk and attempting to get laid!! The scene that mostly highlighted this was the discussion between Jay and Simon regarding Simon leaving for university. Out of the group I think Jay (Played by James Buckley) developed the most over the course of the film in terms of his shallow attitude façade being tossed aside and falling for someone he wouldn’t consider conventionally attractive. Simon (Played by Joe Thomas) is also developed well; I did find his Carly (Played by Emily Head) obsession really grating and overdone but it was worth it in the end to see him reject her in favour of Lucy (Played by Tamla Kari); these developments were most definitely refreshing to see. Will (Played by Simon Bird) and Neil (Played by Blake Harrison) were at their hilarious best and the dance sequence for me had to be one of the funniest moments. Each of the leads performances were on top form!

Tim Robey reviewed the film in “The Telegraph” describing it as “Mamma Mia! for the Hangover demographic”, a statement I most definitely agree with. For American audiences the film could be viewed as a “British Hangover” with its similar plot; as I said in the previous review on “Bridesmaids”, “The Inbetweeners” has a more realistic feel about it in comparison to the over the top, in-your-face nature of “The Hangover”. “The Inbetweeners” does hold a certain charm about it and for me is the best recent film of the genre. I think its really popular because its a feel-good movie; it makes people laugh and plays the shock value well; the characters are relateable (particularly for the awkward teenage boy market!) and the audience genuinely cares about them as they have entertained us for the past three years; its very well written and the writers and lead actors are comedy geniuses in my opinion! I’d also like to add that I really respect them for ending on a high and not carrying out the series any further which could result in its appeal becoming lost. What more can I say? Listen to the reviews, go see it, you won’t be disappointed “and remember to take your wellies cause you’ll be knee deep in clunge!”

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Abertoir Horror Festival- Bring It On!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Clear your diaries this November as Abertoir is back! For those of you who are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about; Abertoir is a horror festival that takes place in my home town of Aberystwyth every November and this year it will be running from the 8th until the 13th; this is an exciting prospect as the festival organisers have treated us fans by adding on an extra day.

Abertoir 2011's Poster- The Best One Yet!

The festival is now entering into its sixth year and its popularity continues to grow. I first came across Abertoir back in 2006 while attending a screening of one of my favourite horror films “The Wicker Man” (1973) followed by a Q&A session with director Robin Hardy which was very exciting and new for me at the time; However I did not purchase the full pass until 2009. The festival pass gives us gore-hungry fans unlimited access to every feature the festival has to offer; from an awesome range of films, both independent and mainstream as well as classic screenings; there is a short film competition which also allows film-makers to enter in their work and festival-goers to rate them. The festival also features live music; in the past we have seen fantastic performances from “Zombina and the Skeletones” and “The Damned” while this year we will be treated to music from “Devilish Presley”, “Ghostfire” and “The Laze” that is all included within the pass.

I think the festival is an awesome opportunity for all horror fans; the atmosphere is very friendly and there is a sense of community among everyone. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to see some of my favourite horror films on the big screen that were released before my time including “An American Werewolf In London” (1981) and as previously mentioned “The Wicker Man” (1973). One of my favourite experiences was meeting the Godfather of Gore Herschell Gordon Lewis and participating in a “test screening” for his latest film at the time “The Uh Oh Show” (2009) as well as meeting Doug Bradley (Pinhead-in “Hellraiser” (1987).

With Herschell Gordon Lewis

As I am studying film at university the festival is educational for me as well as fun; last year I attended a screen writing master class with Nicholas David Lean which I found incredibly beneficial in terms of understanding the film industry resulting in taking some important advice away with me. Other past highlights for me would include the opportunity of watching silent cinema on the big screen accompanied by a live piano; the mystery grind house films- nothing better than plenty of blood and guts to end the evening! Also the live theatre production of the “Grand-Guignol” which was both entertaining and intense; and how can I forget the inventive “horror-themed” cocktails provided at the bar!

Vampire Kiss Cocktails!

Vincent Price is the festival’s unofficial Patron Saint; this year we will be celebrating his centennial with a screening of “The Masque of the Red Death” (1964) followed by a special visit and Q&A session with his daughter Victoria Price- which I’m really looking forward to. The line-up of short films this year also look wicked!

Vincent Price

During Abertoir 2011 I am planning to provide coverage on a day to day basis of the going’s on’s at the festival. As I have stated I just think the festival is an awesome opportunity for all horror fans; through Abertoir I have personally gained a better insight into the horror genre and have been lucky to see the films provided as well as the master classes and all the festival has to offer. I would definitely recommend attending this festival to anyone with an interest in film; “Early Bird” passes have gone on sale today for £49.00 and this will be continuing until October; after that the price will increase to £55.00. The pass is worth purchasing and is a great money saver in comparison to paying for the events as you go.

Bring on Abertoir 2011! Its gonna be the best year yet!

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Hayley Alice Roberts.