Archive for March, 2014

Mother’s Day Special: The Top 6 Psycho Mom’s!

Posted in Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome mum’s out there. In the horror film, mother’s have played an integral part in the makings of some of our beloved psycho killers. So, what better way to spend mother’s day than counting down some of my personal top five maniacal mother’s who have created carnage on our blood-splattered screens for several decades. These martriach’s would go to any warped lengths for their children and that’s why we love them! I’d like to dedicate this review to my own mother as a thank you for introducing me to the horror genre at a young age, attending some of the UK’s best festivals with me and for generally being awesome.

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6. Mrs Koffin, Mother’s Day (2010)

  • Played by Rebecca De Mornay

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In a performance uncannily similar to that in 90’s thriller, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992); Rebecca De Mornay yet again plays an unhinged woman with maternal instincts. This mother will do all she can to protect her sons, even kill! When a bank robbery goes wrong, the three Koffin brothers turn to their mother for assistance in occupying their old house while taking the new owners and their friends hostage. Initially Mrs Koffin acts friendly towards the frightened individuals, but once she questions them about supposed money her sons had sent her to that address and the group fail to comply in giving back what’s rightfully her’s, things get nasty! With a calm and collected exterior, Mrs Koffin soon shows she’s not to be messed with, permitting her sons to carry out unspeakable acts of violence on the innocent victims. Ambiguous and unsettling, this psychological thriller keeps the audience on edge unknowing what the mother will do next! Mother’s Day was originally a 1980’s exploitation, Troma film directed by Charles Kaufman that has since garnered a cult following, but in this case Darren Lyn Bousman created a glossy, loose re-telling to fit in with today’s Hollywood standard of remakes. That said, Rebecca De Mornay proved to be the perfect casting choice in an overall enjoyable film.

5. Beverly Sutphin, Serial Mom (1994)

  • Played By Kathleen Turner

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Kathleen Turner is superb as the crazed suburban housewife who gets her kicks out of murdering those who don’t comply by her rules! In John Waters warped social commentary on media violence and its effects on society, deranged Beverly Sutphin becomes somewhat of a serial killer celebrity gaining empathy and support from her adoring public. She is most defensive when it comes to her two teenage children Chip and Misty, she brutally runs over her son’s Maths teacher who claims he needs psychological help due to an “unhealthy obsession” with horror movies and graphically impales her daughter’s love interest when she spots him with another girl. Beverly isn’t the most subtle of serial killers, she doesn’t cover her tracks well and is pretty much suspected from the off. She gets her thrills from terrorizing her neighbor with obscene phone calls and isn’t afraid to be vocal about her distaste for others behavior. She is however a lot smarter than first assumed and manages to defend herself in court, getting the backs up of her antagonists and influencing the jury to set her free. In a extraordinary Waters style twist, Beverly’s husband and children are fiercely loyal to her, campaigning for her release while unashamedly basking in the fact their mother has murdered six people with some gruesome methods. In a film very much commenting on the changing society of the 90’s and media influence, Beverly is a glorified serial killer much to do with the fact she embodies what a lot of women could relate to, the fairly normal housewife and mother archetype who is not to be underestimated. The themes in this black comedy such as blame on media violence and the glamorization of murder trials still holds relevant. Beverly is one quirky killing mother not to be messed with. Remember, always recycle and rewind your video tapes!

 

4.  Mrs Bates, Psycho (1960)

  • Played By Anthony Perkins

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Arguably one of the most iconic mother’s in horror, Mrs Bates is integral to son Norman’s psychosis and despite being a rotting corpse she makes a prominent presence in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic adaptation. Driven by jealousy, in life Mrs Bates behaved in a controlling manner towards her only son, forbidding him any romantic involvement and claiming any woman with her as an exception were “whores”. Norman lived isolation with his mother for several years until she embarks on a relationship with Joe Constidine who encourages her to open the infamous Bates Motel. Feeling his mother slipping away from him following neglect, Norman cruelly poisons her and her husband to be in a staged suicide attempt. Unable to deal with his loss with guilt weighing heavy on his shoulders, Norman brings his mother back to life in a sense as she becomes a section of his personality, motivating his psychotic tendencies against women he develops an attraction for. Norman dresses in her clothes while maintaining her mummified corpse. By the film’s end Norman becomes institutionalized with his mother’s personality consuming him. She acts as a justification for his murderous ways. Mrs Bates was heavily influential on one of the suspense genre’s most well-remembered killers. When Hitchcock released Psycho he achieved a hair-raising effect on his audience especially with the reveal of this macabre mother’s decaying corpse and Norman Bates’s disturbed split personality. Her legacy lives on!

3. Mrs Loomis, Scream 2 (1997)

  • Played By Laurie Metcalf.

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In an unexpected twist, the second ghostface killer reveal in the highly anticipated Scream sequel was one menacing mother hellbent on revenge for the death of her equally psychotic son Billy Loomis. Mrs Loomis is extremely crafty in terms of how she goes about getting her vengeance. Following some plastic surgery, she creates a new identity for herself as Debbie Salt, the over eager news reporter who rubs Gale Weathers up the wrong way. Popping up at the crime scene following some of Windsor College’s gruesome murders she has the perfect cover, innocently “reporting” the incidents. Her plan is calculating as she intends to frame college student and partner in crime Mickey Altieri for all the murders while taking out Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers in the process for their part in the death of her son from the first installment. Channeling Mrs Voorhees from Friday the 13th (1980), she is purely motivated by grief and revenge. Billy became a murderer after she abandoned him following her husband’s affair with Sidney’s mother and she continues his legacy. She blames Sidney heavily for the breakdown of her family unit and won’t stop until she has her dead. Mrs Loomis is remembered for killing fan favorite and movie buff Randy Meeks who met his maker from speaking poorly of Billy. When re-watching Scream 2, its clear at which moments feature Mrs Loomis donning the ghostface attire as she is left handed when she takes to the blade. She does not succeed in her thirst for revenge as she is killed by Cotton Weary who was framed for killing Sidney’s mother in the original film. Sidney shoots her in the head one last time to make sure she’s well and truly gone. Mrs Loomis was the first female killer in the Scream franchise making her the original Ghostface Girl before myself and Caitlyn!

2. Margaret White, Carrie (1976)

  • Played by Piper Laurie

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You can’t create a list of Horror’s most psychotic mother’s without the inclusion of Margaret White. With origins in literature through Stephen King’s novel, Margaret White is the fanatical religious mother of telekinetic Prom Queen Carrie. The most memorable portrayal of this character comes in the shape of Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation. With an emphasis on anything to do with sex or the female body as a sin including Carrie experiencing a traumatic first period, Mrs White is the worst mother any teenager could possibly have. She raises Carrie with extreme restrictions, sheltering her from reality. When she becomes aware of Carrie’s abilities she behaves fearfully and deems her a “witch” frequently reading passages from the bible. She meets her demise following Carrie’s blood-soaked rampage at her prom. Carrie returns to her home broken and drained then Mrs White viciously stabs her, this causes Carrie to use her abilities to impale her mother in a symbolic killing mimicking a religious figure. Piper Laurie gives a somewhat hammy yet unsettling performance, this is due to her allegedly perceiving the script as a comedy but it does work well in creating an unhinged, mentally unstable character.  Due to her performance as Mrs White, Piper Laurie achieved some award nominations for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Playing this insane mother ultimately relaunched her career.

1. Mrs Voorhees, Friday the 13th (1980)

  • Played By Betsy Palmer

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Channeling Psycho’s Mrs Bates within the films aesthetics, the mother of the iconic, hockey masked wearing, machete wielding killer Jason Voorhees occupies the top spot. Mrs Voorhees is one of horror’s most unforgettable and unexpected twists. In a flip reverse of what Psycho achieved, Mrs Voorhees motivations stem from grief following the death of her son Jason at Camp Crystal Lake. She also has a split personality, bringing Jason through as she commits murder, slicing and dicing sexually charged youths. Like the majority of the mother’s on this list, Mrs Voorhees is overprotective and will do what it takes to shelter her child from harm. She was a teenage mother with a son born with  hydrocephalus (water on the brain), in order to protect him she shielded Jason from a regular childhood, denying him schooling. While working as a cook in Camp Crystal Lake in 1957, Jason was exposed to constant bullying and teasing. While unattended, Jason went swimming in the lake’s murky waters, unbeknown to the camp counselors who were busy with certain other matters. Jason subsequently drowned sending Mrs Voorhees on a murderous rampage seeking revenge on any teenager who sets foot in the aptly nicknamed “Camp Blood”. She reveals herself in 1979 following the camp’s re-opening and several other grisly murders. Final Girl Alice Hardy ultimately decapitates her ending her bloody reign of terror. Mrs Voorhees death is responsible for avenging Jason and beginning a franchise of  gory horror films with an emblematic serial killer at the helm. She has proven influential particularly in the construction of the previously discussed Mrs Loomis. Betsy Palmer initially dismissed the film not expecting anyone to watch it however she created a cult character and a highly memorable performance of a psychotic mother who certainly won’t let things lie when it comes to her only son. Click here for more on Friday the 13th (1980) from this site.

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Hope you enjoyed this countdown. Feel free to comment or tweet (@Hayleyr1989) on your favorite psycho mom’s! Also check out my latest debate with Caitlyn (Scared Sheepless) on Wolf Creek (2005) currently available on moviepilot.com.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

Addict (2013) Review

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Addict (2013) is the feature-length debut from independent Director Geoff Harmer of Fraught Productions. Since circulating the festivals in 2013, Addict earned itself a few awards including a winning 4 star award at the British International Amateur Film Festival and a ‘Best Actor’ nomination for the film’s leading man Paul Anthony.  Addict has also achieved success across the globe winning the award of excellence at the Indie Fest in the USA and was also screened in Germany’s After Dark Horror Film Festival and at the Full Length Festival Kinoteatr Projekt in Poland.

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The film is a character study focusing on unhinged individual David Pettigrew (Paul Anthony). On the surface, David is a mild-mannered businessman working on a water filter pyramid scheme but he shields a sinister interior. Harbouring an unhealthy infatuation with his married colleague Kim (Stacy Hart), David turns to his addictions to cope with his unrequited crush. Smoking, drinking and prostitutes lead David down a dark route which soon turns murderous.

While the narrative could be something out of an Irvine Welsh novel and sounds quite straightforward it does incorporate some complex undertones that make’s the film extremely compelling viewing. The performances come across as naturalistic resulting in strong characterisation particularly from Paul Anthony as the tortured David and Jenny Mitchell as Sarah, a friendly young woman with an infatuation of her own as she covers for Kim’s maternity leave at David’s company.

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Aside from an intriguing plot, what really set’s Addict apart from many films that emerge from the independent scene is its creative visuals that greatly impacts the story. The cinematography by Carl Austin and Geoff Harmer is reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s style providing a bleakness that really gets under the viewer’s skin. Addict is shot entirely in black and white, this compliments its indie feel but at the same time is an incredibly stylistic choice. There’s a great use of shadows as well as the contrast between light and dark which brings out the film’s grim tone. The sound design is impressive and the score by Andy Bastow and Joe Crow gives a chilling effect.

Ultimately, Addict is uncomfortable viewing. David’s character’s descent into psychosis is both disturbing and awkward as we see him engage in despicable acts as he deals with his own incompetence. That said, Harmer and co-writer Mark Brennan inject in some suitable dark humour into the screenplay which works well. There’s also some experimentation with the found-footage trend, featuring video diaries conducted by David, giving insights into his warped mind, allowing us to fully engage with the character. Addict is a product of modern day society with references to the rescission, facebook and youtube which are all influential on David to a degree. Without revealing too much, the ending really packs a punch with a shocking twist that comes out of left field but is most satisfying.

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For a debut feature, Addict is impressive. Self-funded on a low-budget, Harmer and his company have achieved a well-crafted piece of independent cinema, demonstrating that a powerful and engaging film can be accomplished if you work hard and use the resources available to you which is very inspiring.

A dark, psychological thriller and art film with elements of horror, once Addict gets under the skin it’s a difficult one to shake off and is left to be comprehended. As one of the most dynamic genre films I’ve had the opportunity to see in a long while, I can highly recommend Addict. It’s guaranteed that this is what it title promises, addictive viewing.

Teaser Trailer:

For more on Fraught Productions and their other projects, I advise you to visit their website: http://www.fraught.net/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Kerb Crawlers, Teaser Trailer.

Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , on March 5, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Here is some genre news from my home country. Welsh, independent filmmaker James Plumb along with his production team Mad Science Films LTD. unleash a new teaser trailer for their upcoming found footage offering, Kerb Crawlers. One of the most active horror film companies in Wales, Cardiff based Mad Science Films describe their third feature film as a mix of the popular found footage format with a retro exploitation style. With that combination Kerb Crawlers sounds very experimental, promising to deliver plenty of shocks and hopefully something different in comparison to what the majority of filmmakers do with the increasingly common found footage sub-genre. Below is a press release directly from James Plumb, with a link to the film’s teaser trailer, providing a short taster of what’s to come. With a dark tone and impressive looking cinematography, Kerb Crawlers looks like an all out gritty British horror that pulls no punches. Here at Hayley’s Horror Reviews I wish the team all the best with the feature and look forward to future developments with the project. #SupportWelshIndieHorror.

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Mad Science Films, the Cardiff-based production company behind NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: RESURRECTION and SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT: THE HOMECOMING, are pleased to unveil the very first teaser trailer for their found footage exploitation shocker, KERB CRAWLERS.

Produced by Louise Lynch, KERB CRAWLERS is the third feature film to be directed by James Plumb, who co-wrote the script with award-winning writer David Melkevik. Cinematography was handled by Victoria Rodway.

Director Plumb had the following to say on the release of the trailer, “After months tinkering away in the lab, we at Mad Science Films are very pleased to be finally unleashing the teaser trailer, poster art and some of the fantastic stills from our third feature film, “Kerb Crawlers”.

We’re releasing this teaser trailer online after running a series of successful secret screenings across the UK. The film itself is a lean, nasty 21st century exploitation film, which we hope will shock and delight viewers in equal measure”.

The synopsis is as follows,

Some footage should not be found… Commissioned to make a depraved snuff movie, five men abduct a young woman to be their plaything for the night. However, once the cameras start rolling, so do heads as they discover their victim belongs to another… something living inside of her… something monstrous. The tables now turned, the men will receive a lesson in true pain and torture as they become the “stars” of the film.

KERB CRAWLERS stars Matthew Batte, Martyn Stallard,Matthew Doman, Lee Bane and Daisy Dior as Ana.

Poster image designed by Needle Design. All stills courtesy of Tallboy Images.

The teaser trailer can be viewed at the below link,

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews