Archive for Abertoir Horror Festival

Horror Blog Update

Posted in Horror Blog, Horror Festivals, Love Horror, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2018 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hey Horror Hounds, it’s been a long time since I have posted on my main reviewing blog; so just to update you, I’m going to post the relevant links to all my latest pieces of work.


Image Credit: Fan Octo

On Love Horror; my current mainstay for reviews, I have covered giallo mania and more with the Abertoir Horror Festival 2017, explored female status in the genre for Women in Horror Month 2018, interviewed Dave Jackson (Dir. Cat Sick Blues) of Phantasmes Video on his latest project, Gacha, Gacha and most recently reviewed the gore-drenched, killer clown slasher, Terrifier. All my recent written work is available via this link:


I’m also building a small Youtube Channel featuring all kinds of #horror content from festival/convention vlogs to reviews of cult genre movies. You can see all of that through this link, sure to subscribe.

Youtube Screenshot


Back in November 2017, I made my acting debut in a spooky short film, directed by Independent Welsh filmmaker, Tom Hughes, entitled, Widower, the movie can be viewed here:


Image Credit: Tom Hughes

You can also find regular updates on:

As always, thank you for all your support.

Stay Scary.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 

Celluloid Screams 2016: Dearest Sister Review

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Dearest Sister (Nong Hak) is the second feature film from Lao Director Mattie Do following on from 2013’s Chanthaly. Mattie’s work is groundbreaking for several reasons; firstly Laos has a very small film production with only 13 films to this date being produced in the country. Secondly, Mattie is the only female director to have made horror movies in Laos and faced creative restrictions in how much graphic imagery she could visualize on screen which include both gore and scenes of intimacy between actors. With a strong crowd funding campaign behind her courtesy of Indie Go Go, Dearest Sister proved to be a passionate project and has resulted in a potential trilogy of films focusing on the characterization of women in Laos.

Dearest Sister 2.png

Starring Amphaiphun Phommapunya in her third on screen role, her debut being ChanthalyDearest Sister centers on Nok, a young village girl who travels to Laos capital city Vientiane to care for her visually impaired cousin Ana (Vilouna Phetmany). Ana faces vulnerability and confusion as her sight begins to fail her. She then develops a paranormal ability to communicate with the dead which Nok uses to her own advantage.
Dearest Sister 1.png
Dearest Sister is an intriguing character study of female hierarchy and the place of women within their own society and culture. It depicts Ana, the wealthy housewife who’s status was achieved through marriage to an Estonian man. Her role is complex due to being looked down on by her peers and detested by her servants. Nok is portrayed as coming from a poor village however through her familial association with Ana she is again met with resentment from the maids. Instructed by Ana’s strict husband Jakob, Nok is to care for Ana but is permitted from partaking in domestic housework. The dynamics shift throughout the film which adds to the compelling drama. Amphaiphun Phommapunya who previously played a more empathetic part in Chanthaly is given a edgier role this time around, she’s an untrustworthy protagonist. Nok isn’t necessarily bad however her poor upbringing and experience of a higher class in her cousin’s home motivates her to look out for herself financially which results in her using Ana’s “gift” for her own gain. The film’s underbelly is layered with the ghostly subtext and Mattie presents the idea of a spiritual world with subtly. The idea of fear and an otherworldly presence is created through the atmosphere coming across as genuinely spine chilling rather than using the obvious jump scares tactics.
 The film offers up something different in comparison to any genre film on the circuit this year as well as any female fronted horror film that has emerged during 2016. You won’t find Lottery ghosts anywhere else! Dearest Sister is an authentic portrayal of Lao culture amidst a horror subtext. It’s cinematography is beautifully composed, the characters are compelling to watch aided by strong performances by the cast, namely Amphaiphun Phommapunya and Vilouna Phetmany in the leading roles, there’s a naturalistic quality about them. Mattie Do is setting the standard for Lao horror and Lao filmmaking and is a director to look out for.
The Ghostface Girls interviewed Mattie Do and Producer Annick Mahnert at Celluloid Screams here.
Dearest Sister will screen at the Abertoir Horror Festival in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre  on Thursday the 17th November at 12:00pm.
Hayley Alice Roberts
Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

September 2016: Horror Catch Up

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Halloween Month, Horror Festivals, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hello Horror Hounds!

I know it’s been an age since I’ve updated this blog but I can assure you that I haven’t stopped working on all things Horror these past few months.

The main bulk of my reviewing will now be on; however I will provide regular links on here to all my recent work. This blog will be active for articles such as personal top 10 lists, Halloween month etc. I’d really love to bring Halloween Month back this October so if you have any requests or suggestions for films you’d like me to talk about, drop me a comment below.


I was unable to attend this year’s Horror Channel’s FrightFest due to work commitments however I have reviewed a few films that were shown at the festival. So far, stylish body horror Let Her Out is available to check out on the site. If you haven’t seen this one I highly recommend it, it has a gore-geous visual style accompanied by an intriguing premise. You can read my full thoughts here:


I watched/reviewed Night of Something Strange today so be sure to check out my review of that when it’s available on the site. It’s a real blast and if you love parodies, horror/comedy and gross out humour then it’s certainly worth checking out. Also coming up will be reviews of the independent short films of Mark McFarlane and Jimmi Johnson and Welsh language thriller The Library Suicides

neon demon

I finally saw The Neon Demon this week at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Cinema. I went into the film with mixed expectations but was incredibly impressed. It’s such a stunning, messed up film and even though the pacing is rather slow in places I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and needed to know what was going to happen.

Ghostface Girls are back! Following our trip to Horror Con UK back in July, Caitlyn and I have recorded and uploaded another podcast where we discuss Horror on TV. With the new season of American Horror Story coming out soon and Stranger Things currently being one of the most popular genre shows on Netflix and in general we had a lot to talk about. Accompanying the podcast we interviewed author and interviewer Tony Earnshaw on his book Fantastique which has incorporated interviews from the world’s most iconic filmmakers from Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy:

Read our Fantastique interview here:

Our latest interview was published this week where we spoke to Russell Hillman of Freaktown Comics on his Kickstarer project and graphic novel, Slashermania. His campaign ends on September 13th so if you’d like to show some support click the link below:

Read our interview with Russell Here:

In other Ghostface Girls news, we will be heading to Celluloid Screams from the 21st-23rd October then Wales Comic Con on the 5th and 6th November. As always you will find us at the Abertoir Horror Festival from the 15th-20th November. There’s a lot of exciting things coming up.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.


Hayley’s Horror Reviews Update

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , on May 9, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hello gorehounds! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new on here. April was a busy month. Throughout I’ve been writing reviews for Love Horror from the FrightFest Presents releases. The first being Night of the Living Deb (2015), a low budget zom-rom-com from Portland, Maine. Check out the review over on their site:

night of the living deb

Love Horror have had a re-vamp with a new site layout which is looking awesome so please head over there and take a look at all the fangtastic reviews and interviews on offer. Keep your eyeballs peeled for my review of Some Kind of Hate (2015) coming soon…

love horror logo

As part of my collaborative project Ghostface GirlsI completed editing a series of videos from our Abertoir Horror Festival collection. You can enjoy our thoughts on the career of Vincent Price, the artwork of Graham Humphreys and Gilles Vrankx, The Descent ten years on and our reactions to groundbreaking new offerings from the genre including The Invitation, Bone Tomahawk plus many more!


Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews 




Abertoir Horror Festival Passes to go on Sale this Wednesday!

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , on August 23, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

That’s right you bloodthirsty freaks, festival passes for Abertoir’s biggest and best year yet will be available to purchase on Wednesday 26th August from 10:10am. 2015 is a significant and special year for Wales’s darkest film festival as it marks the tenth anniversary of blood, guts and gore!


Festival Organisers Gaz Bailey and Nia Edwards-Behi have put together an incredible selection of events to celebrate the special occasion including Fabio Frizzi in concert and the return of the wonderful Victoria Price who will be looking at her father’s UK connections alongside Peter Fuller.



Following last year’s successful Horror Express event, the icing on the cake this year will be the collaboration with The Silver Mountain Experience in Ponterwyd where festival attendee’s will be taken into the depths of terror down the dark Welsh mine followed by a 10 year anniversary screening of acclaimed British Horror, The Descent at the cave’s entrance. Keep your eyeballs peeled for more announcements along the way in the run up to November.


Abertoir will run from the 10th-15th November at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

A limited number of early bird passes will be available from £49 then will increase to £58 then will be available to purchase at the final price of £65. Give the Arts Centre Box Office a call on 01970 623232, don’t miss out!

Visit the links below for more information and updates:

Tweet @AbertoirFest

While we wait in excitement for more announcements, here’s a look back at 2014’s Ghostface Girls coverage, which saw Abertoir flashback to the 1980’s complete with a video nasty theme!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Thoughts on Unfriended (2014)

Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Welcome to the new trend in horror! Living in a technology obsessed world its no surprise that this brand new cyber found footage movie will be hitting cinema screens this year. Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended is marketed as and looks set to be this generation’s Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project taking the found footage format to the next level, through the eyes of social media. In this case Skype and video sharing. While the trailer appears to give far too much away, the basic plot centres on a group of friends who are stalked online by ‘someone’ or ‘something’ using the account of their dead friend.



The trailer does reveal some disturbing moments and will play out as a metaphor for us living our lives through the internet. Online we can be whoever we want to be, we construct our social media profiles to give a certain perception of how we want others to view us. We also expose ourselves to verbal abuse (aka. trolling) and stalking (although that’s what the block button is for!); these themes are ideal for the modern horror movie but its dependent on whether filmmakers will use these ideas and do them well. The last cyber-horror movie I reviewed, Antisocial was a disappointment and Unfriended has already been compared to a 2013 film titled The Den in the sense of their very similar, so its potentially lacking any originality. However a phenomenal, Argentinian short film was screed at the Abertoir Horror Festival in 2014, titled Alexia which used the social media horror concept incredibly well, balancing the suspense and scares while making a profound comment on the subject matter. This is also where I’m on the fence as while I’ve seen cyber-horror be the perfect subject for a short, can it translate well to a feature without becoming repetitive and obvious? On the plus side at least its moving the found footage sub-genre away from lazy shaky cam nonsense.

The problem I’m having with the concept of Unfriended is that it could be somewhat predictable, its already revealed that its a potential haunting film (the original title was Cybernatural– so its pretty much a given), it also shows some of the character deaths, so unless there’s some amazing twist in store I highly doubt my attention will be held. Another problematic aspect is it claiming to be ‘frightening and real’, if its entering the supernatural route then its just an extension of reality therefore its slightly odd to claim that the events could realistically happen. I do feel sort of bad writing off a movie like this but undoubtedly I’ll be giving it a chance and hopefully it will defy expectations. The The 7.1 IMDB rating looks pretty hopeful. For my UK followers, Unfriended will be skyping its way onto cinema screens on May 1st!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Abertoir 2014 Review: The Canal (2014)

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

In a sub-genre that’s been mostly dominated with jump scares and found footage, a truly spine-chilling ghost story has been hard to come by these past few years. Ivan Kavanagh’s The Canal is a breath of fresh air, returning to the old school style of haunting films where less is more. The Irish independent production that deals with themes of family breakdown, paranoid horror and dark secrets manages to get it right. It’s the scariest film that screened during this year’s Abertoir line-up and a standout amongst the films that incorporated a serious tone.



**Note** This poster does not do the film justice, its too generic and doesn’t capture the essence of what The Canal is.


The Canal centralizes on married film archivist and father David (Rupert Evans). After living peacefully in his nice house with his young family for the past five years, David’s world is turned upside down when his colleague Claire (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) presents him with some unsettling film reel that reveals a murder took place in his house around 1902. To add to his woes, David is suspicious of his wife Alice’s (Hannah Hoekstra) behaviour. Whatever she’s hiding is the catalyst that sets off a series of horrendous events that alters David’s life forever. In this psychological drama, David must protect his adorable young son Billy (Callum Heath) and come to terms with his own personal demons. Is there a malevolent spirit lurking in David’s house? Or is it something even darker?


It’s difficult not to reveal too much regarding the film’s plot as each surprise that unfolds on screen provides a jaw-dropping experience. The Canal is a slow burner, which works well as it takes its time to develop David as a strong and layered character and his relationships with those around him, his son, colleague, wife and the babysitter. As an audience we garner plenty of empathy for him and care about him as the protagonist so that when ominous and enigmatic events take place we’re on board with him for the entire time.


Rupert Evans’s performance is striking. He portrays David with both likeability and vulnerability making his story especially compelling.  The relationship between him and his five year old son Billy comes across as naturalistic, enabling us to invest in them. Callum Heath is one of the sweetest child actors in any horror film, his delivery is believable and he’s perfectly cast as the innocent child unaware of the chaos surrounding him, allowing some truly heart-breaking moments.


A highlight performance comes from Steve Oram (Sightseers) in the small role of police detective McNamara. Oram attended a funny and insightful Q&A at the festival explaining that the back to basics style of horror attracted him to being part of the film. His character is deadpan and highly suspicious acting as a foil for David.


Steve Oram chats with Abertoir Festival Director Gaz Bailey about his involvement in The Canal.

Steve Oram chats with Abertoir Festival Director Gaz Bailey about his involvement in The Canal.

What works in The Canal’s favour is its genuinely creepy, the tension is constantly high and the frightening moments come in unexpectedly. As stated it doesn’t rely on loud noises and jump scares to generate fear in its audience, it remains suspenseful by gradually revealing the twists and turns to a satisfying effect. In some respects its reminiscent of the classic ghost story The Innocents (1961)  in the sense that it easily gets under the skin or an Irish version of  Sinsiter (2012) (as me and Caitlyn discussed in our Ghostface Girls Video, see below) but done slightly better. It’s atmospheric, beautifully shot, with intense lighting that echoes the giallo sub-genre. The old film reels used to signify David’s discovery of the previous horrors that occurred at his home look authentic adding to the macabre tone of the film.

Kavanagh has created a disturbing, memorable and traditional ghost story with plenty of twists to keep up interest. If you’re going to watch one haunting film this year make it The Canal, it is guaranteed to linger in the mind for a long time and make you sleep with the light on!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews