Archive for June, 2013

Ascension: The Interviews #4

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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I can now present the final interview taken from my upcoming documentary, Ascension: Behind The Screams. I speak with Laurence Saunders about his character Tom in this in depth interview. In six days time I will be traveling to Birmingham to attend the first ever screening of the film exclusively for cast members and crew. Ascension will be the first premiere I have ever been invited to and I’m very proud to have contributed toward the film’s promotion as well as honored that they will be screening my efforts alongside the zombie mini-movie. I’m also looking forward to catching up with everybody, this time in warmer weather! Expect a review soon and details of the event.

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Get ready for 12 hours of Hell! A Review of The Purge (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 24, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS**

Ethan Hawke has once again made a wise choice to star in yet another well-crafted Horror film. 2012 saw Hawke take on the lead role in supernatural thriller Sinister, which proved surprisingly scary. This year sees him play the patriarchal role in the recent home invasion flick The Purge.

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The Purge, directed by James DeMonaco offers a refreshing take on the well-known sub-genre. The film’s premise is slightly unconventional in comparison to other films of this kind. Set in the not too distant future in 2022, the United States has undergone a “rebirth” where crime statistics are at an all time-low and unemployment rates have decreased to a mere 1%. Sounds ideal, this is however not the case as for one night per year, the government have instilled a programme known as “The Purge”, where anybody is entitled to carry out extreme acts of violence during a 12-hour period, this disturbingly includes murder!

The film’s protagonist is of course Hawke’s character James Sandin. A wealthy, upper-class and successful businessman, Sandin has created and sold-out state of the art security systems which has created a slight animosity amongst the neighbors. The main setting is Sandin’s luxurious home which he shares with his wife Mary (Lena Headey), teenage daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and young son Charlie (Max Burkholder).

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The first few moments of the film establishes the family well and their relationships with each other. They could be described as archetypal as they embody the usual family issues of maintaining communication which is established through the run-of-the-mill dinner scene where Sandin probes each member on their day in an organized fashion. However, it is clear there is an equality between the husband and wife characters which is evident later on once the carnage is at its height. These key scenes allow the audience to become involved with the characters very quickly and end up rooting for them.

The film plays on some thought-provoking themes. If you had the opportunity to commit violent crimes without consequence, would you? How far would you go to save your own skin and those you care about for the life of another? The way the film depicts these ideas comes across in a psychologically disturbing manner and gives a profound analysis of the corruption in the US government.

The action kicks off when Charlie, who is played with a sense of innocence and naivety as well as intelligence disarms the security system to allow an unknown African-American (Edwin Hodge) into the Sandin’s home. Soon, a group of well-educated, middle-class thugs appear at the door demanding the “bloody stranger” for themselves with a sophisticated yet extremely psychotic leader (Rhys Wakefield). The thugs donne unnerving masks which adds a sense of creepy imagery to the piece. The previously non-violent Sandin’s are now placed in the position of sacrificing another life for their own safety. This aspect of the film is portrayed with much complexity, bringing in the notion of unpredictability for the audience.

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Plenty of twists and turns and shocks and scares are in store as well as some unexpected moments among the standard conventions of the home invasion film. The Purge displays a sense of psychological brutality with a truly terrifying idea that suggests its acceptable to kill. You will remain on the edge of the seat and won’t want to turn away from the screen. Issues of prejudice relating to poverty and more subtly race are also questioned, demonstrating the so-called power of white supremacy. The majority of the film is shot in darkness and has the family separated all over the house which ramps up the tension as its unclear who will be around the corner!

The Purge is a clever concept. Its well acted, directed and shot. Its themes are handled well on top of it being very suspenseful. Even as the credits roll, it reveals how twisted and disturbing the law really is, you will find it a difficult film to shake off. Although its not overly original, it most definitely provides a different and interesting angle on its sub-genre. I’d go as far as saying its my favorite genre film so far, this year.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Ascension: The Interviews #3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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Interview #3 is here! With just under a fortnight to go the apocalypse is coming in the form of the Ascension premiere. In this interview derived from my upcoming Behind-the-Screams featurette I speak with Mark Rathbone (Eddie in Ascension, Ron in Inbred) about his role and why he thinks Ascension stands out as a new addition in the Zombie sub-genre.

I have also received the fangtastic news that my Making Of documentary will be screened following Ascension in Birmingham’s Electric Cinema on June 30th.

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

Its the Witchcraft in the Basement!! A Review of Evil Dead (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS**

Its common knowledge to any hardcore horror fan that Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (1981) was one of the most notorious video nasties of the 80’s. At the time, controversy surrounding the film was high due to its themes of demonic possession and no holding back on the gore factor. The film remains to be a horror classic, making lead actor Bruce Campbell and his character Ash an icon within the genre. I adore The Evil Dead for several reasons, mainly due to the fact it pushed the boundaries for its time and comes across as a fun, campy, edge-of-the-seat horror. I love the jaunty fast paced, camera angles that bound through the film’s woodland setting and of course Campbell’s performance is fantastic to watch along with Raimi’s direction. The sequels Evil Dead 2 (1987) and Army of Darkness  (1992) are even more unbelievable and outrageous, leaving a trilogy of cult classics that are to be enjoyed. Its a fair assumption to make that perhaps in the 80’s the film was misunderstood as the video nasties moral panics swept society. Fast forward to 2013 and there really isn’t anything to be offended by.

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Its a known fact that horror has lost its way in recent years and Hollywood is out of fresh ideas. All mainstream horror seems to offer is REMAKE, REMAKE, REMAKE! The majority of them become glossed up, full of torture porn and mostly miss the point of their originals with the exception of Maniac (2012). Therefore, like every other remake that have emerged in the past decade, Evil Dead (2013) surely didn’t warrant one. Its actually taken me a lot of debating on whether to actually give this one a chance. Following much positivity about the re-boot, I decided, why not?. So, could I have lived without seeing The Evil Dead remake? The answer is yes. Understandably times have changed and filmmakers can go as far as they want and this film certainly brought in buckets of blood and gore but that didn’t differentiate from the original and they even used practical effects over CGI which actually didn’t come across that well. Instead of incorporating a seedy, grotesque 80’s feel, the effects just replicated those of the modern horror film.

An exhilarating read!!

An exhilarating read!!

Remakes have a tendency for creating in-depth back stories for our beloved films that don’t warrant them. I’m all for keeping up the enigma and don’t need to question these films too deeply. What you don’t know is a much scarier concept. I don’t need to know that Michael Myers had a tough upbringing and I certainly don’t need a reason for the characters in Evil Dead to end up at the infamous cabin. Director Fede Alvarez clearly had the intention of re-creating the film as scary and bringing in a serious note. However it becomes problematic when in 2013, most of us are desensitized to what the genre offers meaning the film doesn’t shock like the original did. What I will praise it on is the fact it wasn’t a carbon copy of the 1981 version, it was a smart move not to include the Ash character as replicating Bruce Campbell’s unique performance would be difficult, it also means the film can stand on its own. The tone remains bleak through the use of white, black and grey coloring and the way its shot captures an isolated environment, it literally feels like the trees provide no escape.

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Alvarez has left the idea open as to whether its a sequel to the original or not and developed a theory that the cabin was bought by a family years after the events of the first movie, ultimately this works as a fan fiction idea. A brother and sister along with friends plan a getaway to the demonic location in order to help Mia, the sister character go cold turkey with her drug habit but soon that pesky Naturom Demonto, the book of the dead wreaks its havoc . The narrative was set up well and had potential but could have worked better without being The Evil Dead, it felt like the film’s carnage overshadowed the initial plot and became predictable from then on. Granted, this remake wasn’t terrible and certainly not the worst I’ve ever seen, I’ll give that to I Spit on your Grave but its just another pointless remake to add to the rest of them.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Acscension, The Interviews #2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

ascension2The second interview from my forthcoming documentary Ascension: Behind The Screams. I interview Jacky Fellows the lead female actress who plays the character of Annie. Jacky discusses her role in the film and how she became involved in the project. The first screening of Ascension is to take place on 30th June 2013 at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham. The video features website and twitter information for my own work and for Venomous Little Man Productions.

Interviews with Mark Rathbone (Eddie) and Laurence Saunders (Tom) are on the way!

Stay tuned my bloodthirsty followers and thank you once more for all your support.

 

ascension1Hayley Alice Roberts.

“Love is a many Splattered thing” a few thoughts on Love Sick (Polluted Pictures)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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Last year I had the fantastic opportunity of interviewing Todd E. Freeman of Polluted Pictures on his Cronenberg-esque body horror Cell Count. While being visually engaging and suspenseful, Cell Count proved to be a very personal film for its director as the heart of the story came from one of his own experiences with disease and illness. Since viewing the film I had been craving to see more of Todd’s work and his latest offer Love Sick sounds equally as intriguing. The bloody, beating heart of Love Sick’s narrative is also derived from Todd’s own personal experiences.

“This is a very personal project that is based in a very real time in my life when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be with the woman that I loved until the day I died. On one hand this is very much an examination of love and the physical/emotional pain that comes from it. On the other bigger hand… well… it’s a badass gore filled monster movie.”  (Todd E. Freeman). 

The clever balance of real life authenticity along side using the genre as a metaphor definitely suggests that the film will be a compelling watch.

Due to begin production in the Autumn, Love Sick centers on a couple who after a long period together, decide to separate. With this, the film will explore ideas about the psychological and physical feelings of love and the strain of being apart from each other, providing the metaphor of “love hurts”. The movie will again display characteristics of the body horror sub-genre as it delves into notions about the mind and body connection. It will be interesting to see how these ideas will be represented on a visual level through the cinematography and what styles will be intended. The art work on the poster above looks stunning, the blood-splattered heart brings about a sense of violence and gore, suggesting the emotions within the film are going to get messy!

Two exciting names have been officially attached to the project firstly, horror icon Bill Oberst Jr who said ” Todd has invited me to be a part of a project that I am passionate about. I love body-horror and Todd has a remarkable talent for writing intelligently about it. I am eager to get Love Sick!”

Secondly, Producer Christian Burgess who is also a programmer and communications manager for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Burgess said of the project “I’m extremely honoured and ecstatic to be apart of the Love Sick production team. Todd had been teasing me for several months with concept for the film and recently, I had the privilege of reading the first act of the script and I was immediately sold on it. Todd has this incredible knack for establishing characters that feel familiar and real, within a world that’ll become increasing uncomfortable and bizarre as events unravel for them.” With this amount of enthusiasm on board, Love Sick is sure to be a well-thought out, psychological horror that appears to offer a new angle on this kind of film.

Love Sick will be one of the most eagerly anticipated body horror genre films of the year.

Click here for my previous interview with Todd: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-interview-with-todd-e-freeman-writer-and-director-of-cell-count/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Ascension: The Interviews #1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

ascension2In the run up to Ascension’s premiere on June 30th I have decided to unveil a series of interviews taken from my upcoming Making Of Documentary. Here, I interview Derek Melling who plays the lead character Joe. Thank you to everyone at Venomous Little Man Productions for all your support. I am hoping to post an interview every other day so keep your eyeballs peeled!

The music in the video is called Ascension Song and is composed by horror enthusiast and fan Flo Schwingshandl which will be heard more in the behind-the-scenes featurette.

**Note: Apologies for the spelling mistake at the beginning of the video**

ascension1Hayley Alice Roberts