Archive for April, 2013

Scream: The TV Series?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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So, the 1996 genre-defying slasher Scream franchise is now being pitched as a TV series? This rumor has been around for a while, however MTV have now confirmed that a pilot episode is going ahead. There is no confirmation on a writer or concept as of yet however it seems the project will be soon underway. As a die-hard fan of Scream 1-4 it comes as slightly disappointing news that the franchise can’t end on a high with 2011’s film (which in itself was arguably unneeded) and is being adapted for the small screen without any real thought to it. Wes Craven’s name is attached to the series, although at this point this is still a rumor, however judging by Scream 3 (2000) it proves that without Kevin Williamson’s witty, self-referential dialogue it will lack substance.

Williamson is busy working on his hit CW series The Vampire Diaries (2009-present) while there is currently no mention of Scream stalwarts Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprising their roles as Sidney, Gale and Dewey. MTV in recent years has been bombarded with trashy reality shows glamorizing teen pregnancy and featuring spoilt American brats e.g. My Super Sweet Sixteen, therefore it questions how a once, clever horror satire will fair next to this kind of line-up. Perhaps Ghost face will merge into these shows and kill off these self-indulgent idiots which in itself will be quite satisfying. A possibly commentary on the lack of quality in mainstream TV, critiquing popular culture is what Scream does at its best!

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Will Scream: The Series pick up where Scream 4 left off and deal with the aftermath of the latest Woodsboro killings? That said, will it even be set in Woodsboro? Will it include the original characters from the first film, re-cast and be a teen show? What about a prequel that shows original killers Billy and Stu’s involvement in Sidney’s Mother’s death?? Or maybe the series will incorporate a whole different approach featuring a psycho obsessed with the iconic horror franchise, killing their victims by replicating the grisly murders of the first four films in a meta-narrative format?? Oh wait, that’s already been done in a non-budget, Scream appreciation independent film, Scream: Generations, which I believe is still on youtube and I highly recommend, its created for the fans by the fans.

With much speculation ahead, time will only tell how this show develops, fingers crossed they won’t tarnish the original movies and come up with something decent. Can Scream work as a series, will it even have enough material to work with on an episodic format? Guess this will all be answered in 2014!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

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UK Preview Screening: The ABC’s Of Death (2012)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 25, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

On April 24th I attended the eagerly awaited special preview screening of The ABC’s of Death (2012) at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre (Home of the Abertoir Horror Festival). The ABC’s of Death is an ambitious project that combines 26 short films in the standard run-time of 124 minutes, all directed by various well-known names from the horror circuit. The challenge for each director was being allocated a letter of the alphabet and a word beginning with the chosen letter. Using this they faced the task of creating a short story that represents their word relating to the theme of DEATH. This concept makes ABC’s stand out above other anthology films of recent years due to the short space of time each director had to tell their story. Various styles can be seen within the film and most of them were conveyed in a very tongue-in-cheek manner! As expected some shorts stood out more than others and it must be noted, each director had a budget of $5,000 and faced no limitations when creating a tale around their subject matter. The constant use of red between each segment gave it that classic Horror edge and also added to the transitions of guessing what word the previous film represented which made the experience enjoyable. Without giving too much away I will briefly discuss each film and what I liked and disliked about them.

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A is for Apocalypse

Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo

Letter A kicked off the film to a blood-soaked start! An attempted poisoning gone wrong, a woman on the edge as well as the impending apocalypse lurking in the background. Obviously we aren’t aware of these characters history or why the apocalypse is on its way but the performances and gore makes the segment entertaining to watch and gives the audience exactly what they want to see from the horror genre. This is the type of style that personally stands out for me, domestic issues in the foreground with something much bigger than a relationship breakdown as a metaphor.

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B is for Bigfoot

Directed by: Adrian Garcia Bogliano

Letter B was also a great entry into the anthology. Bigfoot plays on the notion of urban legends and if you believe something enough it can actually happen. A young couple attempt to have sex but are disrupted by the male’s young cousin. They proceed to tell her a horror story in order to goad her into going to sleep. The segment uses the traditional horror convention relating sex to danger through  incorporating an amusing twist!

C is for Cycle

Directed by: Ernesto Diaz Espinoza

Letter C, Cycle was an average effort taking the concept of events spiraling out of control and repeating over and over, challenging notions of perception.

D is for Dogfight

Directed by: Marcel Sarmiento

Letter D cut close to the bone as it depicted a man fighting and being bitten by a dog. With recent tragedies involving dog attacks in Britain, the sequence was harrowing but not as cruel as initially expected.

E is for Exterminate

Directed by Angela Bettis

Letter E was directed by the first name I recognized, Angela Bettis (known for her roles in Lucky McGee’s May and The Woman as well as the 2002 remake of Carrie). Exterminate depicted arachnophobia which for many is a common fear, it was emphasized cleverly in this piece. A man is bitten by a poisonous spider and goes to great lengths to rid himself of the deadly insect, a satisfying twist came at the end.

F is for Fart

Directed by: Noboru Iguchi

As the title suggests, Letter F was an over the top yet humorous approach demonstrating the Japanese’s crazy sense of humor and unusual method of filmmaking. The short includes a school girl’s crush on her favorite female teacher and Yes, farts  can kill people!

G is for Gravity

Directed by: Andrew Traucki

Letter G was an experimental short using POV shots of a man surfboarding in the sea then being swept underwater. The location looked stunning however that was all I liked about this bizarre segment.

H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion

Directed by: Thomas Malling

Letter H was probably the more visually larger than life segment as it showed humans in animal costumes and depicted in-your-face Nazi symbolism. The use of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme was highly amusing. This will most likely be one of ABC’s more iconic images.

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I is for Ingrown

Directed by: Jorge Michel Grau

Letter I was about primal instincts and was a pretty standard  horror piece of a woman bound and gagged in a bathtub having been tortured by a man who’s presumed to be her husband. The woman scratching her skin causing it to bleed was uncomfortable viewing.

J is for Jidai-geki (Samurai Movie)

Directed by: Yûdai Yamaguchi

The visuals for Letter J were laugh-out-loud crazy, one of the funniest entries in the entire film about a man committing Seppuku (that translates to stomach cutting!).

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K is for Klutz

Directed by: Anders Morgenthaler

Letter K is a 2D animation about a woman struggling to shit in the toilet, not usually a fan of toilet humor but this unusual piece was executed well as the poor woman struggles to leave the bathroom due to being stalked by her own poo, silly but funny!

L is for Libido

Directed by: Timo Tjahjanto

I absolutely detested letter L, it was perverse and went too far on a disturbing level depicting how many stages men would go through when pushing the boundaries of their sexual urges. It hinted at pedophilia which is not clever or entertaining. Repulsive!

M is for Miscarriage

Directed by Ti West

It comes as no surprise that I also didn’t enjoy this segment and not just because it was directed by Ti West who contributed to my worst film of last year V/H/S and the tedious The InnkeepersLetter M was utterly pointless and sick for the sake of it. A woman can’t flush the toilet, she uses the plunger but sees there’s a pool of blood with a baby fetus down there, it added nothing to the film and was done in a lazy manner. My second worst film of ABC’s!!

N is for Nuptials

Directed by: Banjong Pisanthanakun

Letter N was brilliant. The segment focused on a man romantically proposing to his girlfriend by using his talking parrot, unconventional but sweet, that’s until he realizes his parrot has a bigger mouth than he expected! The performances were enjoyable to watch and this was one of the more inventive segments, definitely a favorite!

O is for Orgasm

Directed by Bruno Forzani & Héléne Cattet

Letter O came across once again as very experimental as it showed several provocative scenes of a woman moaning and being whipped, it had some interesting visuals rather then incorporating a narrative structure.

P is for Pressure

Directed by Simon Rumley

Letter P portrayed a woman prostituting herself in order to provide for her children, at first I found that it was interestingly shot as it didn’t incorporate any dialogue and focused on visuals to get the emotions across. That was until it showed a kitten being killed…too upsetting  for this cat-lover!

Q is for Quack

Directed by Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett

Letter Q was my absolute favorite part of the entire anthology and the most inventive. I enjoyed the meta-narrative aspect as the directors struggled to find a concept for the letter Q for The ABC’s of Death. They intend to kill a Duck which literally backfires on them! The comedic nature of this segment was very well done as well as the tongue in cheek performances!

R is for Removed

Directed by Srdjan Spasojevi

Letter R comes from the controversial director of A Serbian Film, its an uncomfortable body horror that sees a man attached to an IV having his skin removed by doctors and turned into 35mm film. A cleverly done piece of horror.

S is for Speed

Directed by Jake West

Letter S appeared to take influence from the Soska’s Dead Hooker in a Trunk and the cult classic Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! with its stylish female characters on the run from a hooded figure, but all is not what it seems. A thrill ride from start to finish with a compelling and unexpected twist, another top entry which echoed to the Exploitation sub-genre!

T is for Toilet

Directed by Lee Hardcastle

Letter T was again one of the most hilarious segments within the whole film. This claymation piece delivered British humor at its best and brilliant gore! A boy is afraid of using the toilet and has a nightmare about it transforming into a flesh-eating monster. Very entertaining and I admire it for taking a different approach with its style. Cartoon horror can be very imaginative.

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U is for Unearthed

Directed by Ben Wheatley

I have a lot of praise for Ben Wheatley following the excellent Sightseers however his short for ABC’s fell a little flat. The audience are placed in the POV of a man who is being brutally murdered by a group of people including a priest, an interesting way of shooting a death scene, however it didn’t bring in anything new.

V is for Vagitus

Directed by: Kaare Andrews

Letter V included a graphic scene involving a child decapitation under the premise of a futuristic world where women are infertile, cool CGI visuals but unimpressive with its content.

W is for WTF

Directed by: Jon Schnepp

Letter W also played around with the meta-narrative idea by showing a guy experimenting with several crazy ideas in order to come up with a concept for the letter W. Silly and fun, mixing animation with live action!

X is for XXL

Directed by Xavier Gens

Letter X probably delivered the most profound message and commentary on society’s obsession with outer appearance. An overweight woman is paranoid about the people around her being judgmental toward her size that she goes to extreme and gory measures to become thin, giving into media pressures! Very thought-provoking and effective. All I can say is Fuck the diet!!

Y is for Youngbuck

Directed by Jason Eisener

Letter Y was ugly and gratuitous, I didn’t get what it was trying to achieve!

Z is for Zetsumetsu

Directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura

…and Finally, to round off this experimental and versatile series of films comes some over the top Japanese splatter from the director of Tokyo Gore Police and Mutant Girl Squad!  With plenty of phallic symbolism, letter Z takes on board cultural issues including the Second World War and plays it in the vein of the Japanese’s wacky style!

The ABC’s of Death definitely had its moments of true entertaining horror however some pieces were difficult to watch and in instances the film relied too much on toilet humor in order to achieve laughs. In some cases the directors could have done something more with their budgets in favor of lazy and derived ideas. It was however nice to see a mix of narrative and imagery working together and separately. The film is worth watching and definitely has something for everyone! It also celebrates and appreciates how different cultures contribute so many unique styles to the horror genre as a whole.

 

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

Podcast Example

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Mine and Caitlyn’s first podcast is up! We recorded this back in January, its 15 minutes long and we discuss supernatural & found footage films! Spoiler heavy for James Watkins The Woman in Black, however I’m guessing most you horror enthusiasts have already seen it!

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Podcast Example

OK, so during January myself and Hayley (of Hayley’s Horror Reviews) sat down to have a conversation about our favourite subject – horror.  Now, due to my technical incompetence some of this has been lost, but as just a little example of the kind of stuff we did (and will be doing in the future) here is a link to a 15 minute clip from our recording session.

I apologise in advance for potentially dodgy edits and also be warned that it is pretty spoiler heavy for The Woman in Black (new version).  Hope you enjoy!  If you do, or don’t, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us know.

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