Hayley’s Horror Highlights of 2013!

After discussing the horror movies that stood out most this year, this article will take a look at the more personal achievements for Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 2013 on the whole has been a big year which has seen me develop new skills in filmmaking and gaining more confidence in the genre that’s very close to me. Over this passed year I’ve met and worked with some wonderful people on some fantastic projects and made more contacts from all over the globe who are equally as passionate about Horror as I am. Here’s an overview of some of my best horror memories of 2013 in a diary-style/picture format.

January 2013: American Mary trip to Sheffield (Fright Fest).

When I heard Twisted Twins Jen and Sylvia Soska were taking their uniquely dark, hit film American Mary on a UK tour, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to see my favorite film of 2012 on the big screen once more; as well attend a Q&A featuring three of my female role models in Horror. I rallied up some of my close friends together including my co-reviewer Caitlyn Downs (of Scared Sheepless), Sally Jones, Ross Hunt, Martin Lakin and Nia Edwards-Behi (co-director of Abertoir) as we took an awesome road trip down to Sheffield for the night to attend the screening. Following a very entertaining Q&A, I had the opportunity to finally meet the Soska’s as our communication up to that point had only been via email. They were amazing as expected and incredibly friendly. Katherine Isabelle was also in attendance and it was equally as awesome to meet the actress behind Mary and the iconic Ginger from Ginger Snaps (2000) in the flesh. After an eventful evening, we enjoyed a few drinks in the hotel and caught up with Rob Nevitt (director of Celluloid Screams) and a few of the Sheffield festival regulars. The American Mary trip kicked off a great start to the year.

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January 2013: The Ascension Shoot. My first professional filmmaking experience.

Later in the month I took a trip to Redditch after being asked to create a making of  documentary showcasing the short film Ascension. In the previous Summer I had interviewed Writer Dave Jeffrey and Director James Hart about the project that tells the story of a small English community, devastated by the zombie apocalypse while coming together in the hope for survival. I was incredibly grateful to be offered the opportunity to work on such a creative project as well as gain an insight into the behind-the-scenes side of filmmaking. Despite horrendous weather conditions of heavy snow, the cast and crew did an amazing job to bring the film together and achieved it especially well. My role was primarily to provide some exposure of life on set as well as interview the main cast which included Derek Melling and Mark Rathbone (who both starred in my favorite recent horror movie, Inbred), Laurence Saunders (The Seasoning House, Deadtime) and Jacky Fellows (of Fizzog Productions), who are all very talented actors. I shot the documentary on my SD80 Panasonic camera and despite a few sound issues due to the wind, the quality turned out pretty well. Venomous Little Man, the company behind Ascension have recently produced some limited edition DVD’s that includes the behind-the-scenes featurette which I am extremely proud of, to have my film released on DVD. VLM are working on some new projects for 2014 which sound equally exciting and I’m sure their future offerings will grow from strength to strength.

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June 2013: The Ascension Premiere. Screening Ascension:Behind The Screams!

I was invited to Birmingham in June along with my cinematographer/co-editor Ross Hunt to attend the premiere of Ascension. Screening at the Electric Cinema, the premiere was a great opportunity to catch up with the cast and crew in warmer weather conditions as well as get some feedback on the Making Of documentary we had created. Along with the film itself and VLM entry into the 666 Shortcuts to Hell competition, the behind-the-scenes featurette was screened to the audience and achieved positive feedback. For many in attendance it was nostalgic, looking back at all the hard work that went into making Ascension.  It was wonderful to see everything finally come together, following a problematic time during the editing process where a lot of technical issues arose but we eventually overcame. Following the premiere, we attended what could be described as an epic night out to celebrate all our achievements. Even though there is plenty that could be improved with the documentary, it was my first professional filming experience and I feel I took a lot away from it which has helped build my confidence. Working with VLM and gaining an insight into the behind-the-scenes aspect of a film has been inspiring.

All the hard work most definitely paid off as James Hart won the best director award at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival in October. Massive Congratulations and well-deserved.

For my full coverage of the premiere, Click Here.

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July 2013: Graduated University.

Out of everything that’s happened this year my proudest accomplishment has to be graduating from Aberystwyth University with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in Film and Television Studies. I was nearing the end of my first year when I begin this site as a side project which helped me improve my writing skills and critical thinking. Graduation luckily fell on a beautiful summer’s day, it was a relief that all the hard work paid off and I managed to obtain the mark I always aimed for. During my time on the film course, my favorite aspects had to be studying the horror genre (of course), screenwriting, children and the media and writing my most challenging piece yet, my dissertation on the representation of the teenage girl using US television shows to illustrate my argument. I would like to thank all my family, friends and followers for supporting me during my time on the course which has helped adapt my knowledge of film.

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October and November 2013: Celluloid Screams & Abertoir Horror Festival Coverage.

For anyone who works within the genre, these months are usually the busiest! This year I had a fantastic time working with Caitlyn on the two festivals I have been regularly attending for a number of years. Please check out our videos below which developed our presenting skills further as well as my editing skills as I got to grips with using Sony Vegas. We thoroughly enjoy providing reviews and festival coverage each year and aim to support the latest in indie cinema. Expect more from us in 2014!

December 2013: Wrote my first Screenplay!

The final goal I reached in 2013 was finishing the first draft of my feature film screenplay. Currently going through re-writes, I’ve kept the script I’ve been working on for the passed year very secretive until now. Thanks to my university scriptwriting course I began developing the film I’ve had in mind for the passed two years and continued the writing process following graduation. I managed to make the changes I wanted to suit the audience I’m writing for rather than just for the purpose of the course. I’ve had a lot of support from some friends within the industry that have read my work and see its potential, so fingers crossed that I will one day get to make it.

A brief overview of the plot: Following a traumatic experience from her past, Katie vows to make a new life for herself at university. Soon, she meets Jason, an enigmatic and appealing young man who pursues her. When things finally begin to take a turn for the better, Katie stumbles on a dark, horrific secret that could threaten everything she holds dear. The screenplay is a twisted tale of romance, horror and misogyny that combines a series of genres that have been influential on me as a writer.

Happy Horror New Year and keep your eyeballs peeled for more from the site in 2014!

Stay Safe and Don’t go into the woods!!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

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