Archive for Alex Chandon

Top 5 Celluloid Screams Moments (So Far!)

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

September 10th marks an exciting date for horror fans as passes for Sheffield’s Horror Festival Celluloid Screams are set to go on sale. Not only that, Rob Nevitt and his team will announce the line-up of what’s in store for 2015!

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This will be my fifth year attending Celluloid, which takes place at The Showroom Cinema. Not only does the festival put together a phenomenal programme each year with an eclectic selection of films that define the genre in different ways; and brings in a number of special guests that have made an impact on the genre as a whole. Through the festival I’ve established some great friendships and made connections with genre fans and filmmakers alike.

So as we wait to uncover the mystery of what shocks and scares we will be encountering on October 23rd-25th, here’s a list of my top 5 moments that the Sheffield Festival has offered up so far.

  1. Inbred (2011)

Inbred was the first film that I ever saw at Celluloid Screams and it ended up becoming one of my favorite horror films of all time. Certainly a cult classic in the making, Inbred was accompanied with a Q&A from a number of cast members including Seamus O’Neill, Dominic Brunt and Jo Hartley. Thanks to Celluloid and the discovery of Inbred I then went on to work with some of the cast members on a short zombie film called Ascension and led a Q&A with director Alex Chandon at my local horror festival Aberoir.

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Review & Q&A Videos of Inbred.

Alex Chandon Q&A Videos

2. Sping & Resolution (Aaron and Justin Q&A’s). (2012 & 2014)

Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson have been two of Celluloid’s most memorable special guests. Thanks to the festival I was introduced to two of their groundbreaking feature films that takes horror in a whole different direction, Resolution in 2012 and Spring in 2014. On both appearances the directorial duo have given some quirky, engaging and entertaining Q&A’s and always take their time to talk to their fans during the festival.

Resolution Review.

Spring Review.

3. Night Breed: The Cabal Cut (2012)

Since I was a young horror fan, Clive Barker’s NightBreed was always a film I desperately wanted to see. Packed with unusual imagery, the tale of creatures living underground in a whole undiscovered world from our own was something that greatly appealed. I’m glad my first experience of Night Breed was on the big screen with the restoration making it the film that Clive Barker had always intended rather than the slasher-style version the studios cut it down to on its original release. Switching between the grainy unused footage and the polished existing footage was an interesting cinematic experience. Through Celluloid and Night Breed I met the lovely Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford (also of Hellraiser fame), Hugh Ross and Russell Cherrington, the restoration director and still keep up to date with all their upcoming projects.

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NightBreed Review & Q&A Videos.

4. The Editor and Astron 6! (2014)

Again, if it wasn’t for Celluloid I never would have discovered the Canadian Collective that is Astron-6. Last year’s festival was literally an Astron-6  takeover as we were treated to a screening of The Editor, a bizarre and hilarious homage to the giallo sub-genre as well as a showcase of their exceptionally cool short films, Cool Guys, Bio-Cop and Breaking Santa being personal highlights! Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney and Matthew Kennedy were special guests and gave us an insight into their weird and wonderful career so far.

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Short Review of The Editor

5. Der Fan (2013)

Without Celluloid Screams I would never have discovered this little gem. Der Fan is an obscure 80s German film that prior to the screening, Caitlyn and I thought it was going to be a recent film! Der Fan is one of those films where you won’t believe what you’re watching! It begins innocently enough as badly-dubbed exploitation film then it turns into completely something else! Der Fan has to be remembered for the longest sex scene in horror cinema history! We still hold out hope that Der Fan with its timeless theme of obsessive fandom would be ideal for the remake treatment!

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Celluloid Screams Review of Der Fan.

Women in Horror Month: Der Fan.

So that’s it for now, my highlights of the festival so far! So fellow Celluloid Screamers, what have been your favorite moments from over the years? Comment, facebook or tweet to @HayleyR1989 with #CelluloidScreamsMoments.

Bring on 2015!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Women In Horror Month: Final Girls and Psychotic Women. (6-4)

Posted in Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Welcome to part four of my continuation of coverage for Women in Horror Recognition Month. Additionally to this countdown there is plenty more awesome Women in Horror goodness on the way as Caitlyn and I have recorded a podcast focusing on the topic as a whole and it’s importance in terms of raising awareness surrounding the cause. The podcast is part of our new collaboration, Ghostface Girls, which you can read more about here.

Now at number six, I am close to revealing who will be the top feisty female from the genre. The final girl or psychotic woman in question will be a character that I have been able to identify with for a number of reasons and has the repeated watch-ability factor, if she’s a villainous vixen it will be down to the lengths she will go to in order to successfully carry out her motives. But until then here’s some more wonderfully, wicked women that are worthy of the title “Women of Horror”.

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Once again, here is the obligatory **SPOILER WARNING**, I encourage you to check out the films discussed before reading any further.

6. Kate, Inbred (2011)

  • Played By Jo Hartley
  • Directed By Alex Chandon
  • Written By Alex Chandon and Paul Shrimpton

kate inbred From growing cult classic in-the-making Inbred, Kate (Jo Hartley) is one of the toughest women you’ll encounter in British horror cinema. As part of a character-building weekend, care-worker Kate embarks on a trip to the fictional, backwoods Yorkshire village of Mortlake with a group of young offenders and her socially awkward co-worker Jeff (James Doherty). After crossing paths with the deranged locals, events take a brutal and sinister turn as the group must band together in the ultimate fight for survival. One by one they are captured, tormented and tortured through some strange and twisted methods that accumulates in one of the goriest shows you’ll ever see, reminiscent of the grand-guignol with a 70’s nostalgic edge. Kate is strong and feisty, she does what it takes to get out of Mortlake alive while protecting the young teenagers left in her care. She is the maternal figure of the group and despite displaying her down-to-earth personality she doesn’t take any grief off anyone and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself.  In comparison to Jeff who enforces strict discipline she is able to handle the teenagers through engaging on they’re level, with a fun but firm approach. Eventually she influences Jeff to work with them in a similar manner. With the shock and panic that follows the carnage and as the group are killed off one by one, Kate remains determined and holds her own against the endearingly insane landlord Jim (Seamus O’Neill) and the rest of the inbreds! Kate also displays a more human side in one of the film’s most dramatic scenes; while trapped in an isolated cottage, she has an emotional break down as events begin to get to her, which strongly reflects Jo Hartley’s acting range. A fighter until the bitter end, Kate has qualities of a final girl, she keeps on running for as long as she can and is extremely handy with a shot gun. Well-written, brave and fiery, Kate is the ideal modern horror heroine.

5. Carrie White, Carrie (1976)

  • Played By Sissy Spacek
  • Directed By Brian DePalma
  • Written By Stephen King (novel) and Lawrence D. Cohen (Screenplay)

carrie  Stephen King’s groundbreaking, teen novel Carrie has been adapted for the big and small screen on more than one occasion. However this review will focus on the most iconic adaptation of the telekinetic, terrifying teenager portrayed by Sissy Spacek in Brian DePalma’s 1976 classic film. Abused, humiliated and tormented, Spacek’s Carrie generated an undeniable wave of empathy for the character as she plays a naive, young girl unaware of the depths of the power she possesses. Carrie represents teenage insecurities that are present in all of us, it’s the difficult age where we’re all settling into our own skin. Adding onto these troubling years is the extreme bullying Carrie endures at the hands of her more self-aware, pop-cultured peers. Carrie also suffers mental and physical abuse by her mentally ill and fanatical religious mother Margaret (Piper Laurie), a woman so fearful she shields her daughter from the reality of the outside world. Considering all this, it’s a surprise that Carrie didn’t snap before prom night however the development of her powers is in place as a metaphor to reflect her coming-of-age and descendent into puberty. Ostracized for being “different”, Carrie is the subject of public humiliation and cruelty as she experiences her first period unaware of what’s happening to her. Led by the bitchy Chris Hargansen (Nancy Allen), the group of viscous girls maliciously throw tampons at her and make cruel jibes. The only one on her side is her gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) who is compassionate and encourages Carrie’s sense of self-worth. She punishes the girls with good intentions, denying them access to prom unless they attend daily detention but ironically it acts as the beginning of Carrie’s downfall when Chris refuses to comply and has an even nastier trick up her sleeve.

Carrie’s home life is no better. Her mother treats her first period as immoral, “first comes the blood, then comes the boys”. She frequently locks her in the closet, forcing her to pray for her “sins”. Another character that encompasses any kind of empathy for Carrie is her former tormenter Sue Snell (Amy Irving), racked with guilt, Sue comes up with a peace offering. By sacrificing her own dreams of prom, she insists her boyfriend Tommy (William Katt) take Carrie in her place in a bid to bring her out of her shell and experience one night of high school normality. Sabotaging her plans is the bitter Chris who decides to pull the ultimate prank. Armed with a bucket of pigs blood, Chris orchestrates Carrie and Tommy to win the titles of Prom King and Queen, ensuring they’ll be center stage. At the pivotal moment, Chris and boyfriend Billy (John Travolta) pull the chord, unleashing blood all over poor Carrie. One humiliation too far and proving her mother’s fears right, Carrie gives her high school a night of terror to remember. With her powers in full swing, Carrie traps her peers and teachers in the gym, killing them in a series of brutal attacks following a vision of each and every one of them mocking and laughing at her. It doesn’t stop there, when she returns home she wreaks revenge on her mother, literally crucifying her in a symbolic and fitting killing. The house then falls down around them and Carrie meets her bloody demise.

A tragic figure. Carrie’s external influences are the reasons behind her frustration and anger. Had she not been treated like an outsider in all aspects of her life Carrie may have used her powers for positive means. She is a character many can relate to and when I first watched the film aged thirteen it proved a cathartic experience. Despite her destructive end, Carrie proves that bullies need to be stood up to with the homicidal element in place as a metaphor. She is a girl we’ve all been at one point or another trying to find our way in the world amongst the brutality of high school in which she offers a fantastical outlet for.

4. Nancy Thompson, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

  • Played By Heather Langenkamp
  • Written and Directed By Wes Craven

heather-1  Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) is arguably one of the most memorable final girls of 1980’s horror movies from one of it’s famous franchises. Nancy was the first final girl to take on the frightening Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) and proves that the original is superior. A Nightmare on Elm Street was groundbreaking for its time. It reflected 80’s American culture and fears present within society as many films of that era were said to do so at the time. As a horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street blurred the gap between reality and fantasy or ‘secure’ and ‘paranoid’ horror, a theory developed by Andrew Tudor. This then allowed the character of Nancy to be more of an ‘active’ final girl, instead of waiting for the monster to come and terrorize her, she brings him out herself ready to fight.

Nancy’s character demonstrates a change in how slasher movie heroine’s were written. This was arguably a turning point in the genre and hinting at a more post-modern approach that was on its way, in which Craven experimented with further in the mid-90’s. Resourceful and productive, Nancy is one step ahead of her oblivious parents and ignorant authority figures, as her friends are murdered by the knife-fingered, badly-burned psychopath, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. Nancy must rectify the mistakes of her parents and the adults in the town by restoring the balance of normality. As stated, the film was a reflection of the breakdown of the family unit which was on the increase during this period. Nancy’s role is to literally pick up the pieces and put Kruger to rest once and for all. In comparison to her mother, who is an alcoholic and displays weakness, Nancy is self-reliant and is aware of what she needs to do to survive. That said, she comes up against several hurdles in order to defeat Kruger. The insomnia she develops leads to the assumption that Nancy is physically losing her mind. As she descends further into a state of insanity it becomes questionable as to whether she will come out alive.

We’re all aware that Nancy is in fact successful, drawing Kruger into her environment instead of allowing herself to be killed in his version of reality. In the end she turns her back on him, demonstrating she is no longer afraid, ultimately destroying him. We meet Nancy again in the third installment, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). Now working as a dream researcher at the Westin Hills Asylum, she returns to help the last children of Elm Street battle Kruger once and for all, drawing on her own experiences. Sadly Kruger does kill her second time round, however her legacy lives on in horror history. Nancy is a well-remembered woman of horror, determined, independent and is one of the first of a new breed of the horror heroine.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Zombies in the Countryside, An Interview with Dominic Brunt (Before Dawn)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Back in October I was fortunate enough to catch a screening and Q&A of Before Dawn, a refreshing take on the Zombie sub-genre at one of my favorite horror festivals Celluloid Screams  in Sheffield. Set in the picturesque Yorkshire countryside, Before Dawn focuses on the relationship breakdown of a married couple determined to solve their differences, the film uses the idea of zombies as a backdrop, giving the film a stronger sense of depth than your average splatter, zombie flick! In my top horror movies of 2012, Before Dawn ranked at a well-deserved #4 due to its well-written characters, its commentary on issues people face in our society today, the stunning cinematography and of course its scare-tastic zombie make-up! In this interview, director and leading man Dominic Brunt discusses the making of the film, the positive response the film has gained since its Frightfest debut, Emmerdale, future projects and of course I couldn’t resist asking him about that OTHER Yorkshire based horror film in which he has a very memorable, chainsaw wielding cameo!

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1. When did your interest in the horror genre begin?

My friend’s dad owned Accrington Video in the early eighties, before there was certification for home video hire. We used to watch loads of horror films at the weekend and spent our time laughing our arses off and cheering at the special effects and gore. This was pre-CGI and very often their efforts were better than todays more sterile attempts. I probably know every word of dialogue from Evil Dead and Dawn of the Dead. I’m not sure if all this affected my fragile young mind but I don’t think so.

2.  Who would you say are your main influences in the genre?

Romero without a doubt but I was lucky enough to have a small part in an Alex Chandon film (Inbred) which was a dream come true. I loved his earlier films, particularly “Cradle of Fear” and I think “Inbred” is a modern classic. I can’t wait to see what he does next. The man is a horror genius and one of the kindest, most supportive human beings you could wish to meet.

3.  Your new film Before Dawn had its world premiere at FrightFest last year, what inspired the ideas behind the film?
The ideas behind Before Dawn came from my wife’s dislike for the zombie films I watch. I do seem to get through quite a lot of them in preparation for The Leeds Zombie Film Festival and It annoyed her greatly that there was no characterisation for the most part. There were other elements which bugged her like guns being pulled out left, right and centre even in British zombie flicks and ropey actors wandering around in badly fitting army/police uniforms. She just expanded on a supposition of what would happen if an outbreak were to be experienced by a normal couple like ourselves with normal lives and problems of their own to deal with. This grew into a hypothetical story which we just kept adding to with more and more “ooohh what if’s”. It was important to make their story as intriguing as possible while we set up their characters. Then all hell breaks loose and we throw the undead at this very British couple who are struggling to keep their marriage and family together. All the gore and violence had to be up to scratch and as repulsive as we could make it so most of the budget was spent on the effects and the make up.
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4.   As well as directing Before Dawn, you also have the lead role, what challenges and what benefits did that present with combining the roles of actor and director?
Well I wouldn’t necessarily work in that way again because it was very time consuming and problematic at times. I would love to just direct next time but with Before Dawn I was Producer, Actor, Director and Editor which to be honest, has left me totally exhausted. I’m over the moon with the results and with where the film has gone and what we’ve achieved but It would be easier to get more hands involved with the next project and concentrate on directing and editing. I’ve learned so much but it’s taken time to get things right. The ideal situation would be to have a film out every two or three years providing the story and ideas are strong enough. We are a good, strong gang of film nerds now and we just want to make films.
5.  Your mostly well known to the public through your role of Paddy Kirk in the long-running soap Emmerdale, what would you say are the major differences transitioning between film and television?
My first love is Emmerdale and everything else work wise has to come second to my day job which I still love to pieces. I suppose the main differences are in the dialogue which there is less of in film and also in the framing and pacing and music of course. Working on Emmerdale has taught me that scheduling is so important and sticking to that schedule is even more important. Also, the best directors can keep the mood happy and vibrant on set and always know what’s happening one step ahead of everyone else. I tried to emulate the working conditions of a tv set and tried to stay focused under stress. We also planned the Before Dawn shoot to within an inch of its life.
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6. You star alongside your wife Joanne Mitchell in Before Dawn, did you feel casting yourselves in the lead roles created a sense of authenticity for the film rather than bringing in other actors to play the parts?

The characters have their differences as do we. We are total opposites and i think that is what attracted us to each other in the first place but those very differences can be conflicting, which we used. Casting ourselves meant more funds were available to put on the screen and I’d have been gutted to have given over the part of Alex to someone else. We rehearsed in the evenings and obviously we were both available at the same time in the same place. It was our project so we were always going to play the parts.

7. The response to Before Dawn at Frightfest was very positive, what was it like for yourself and the cast and crew when attending the screening?
I was too nervous to watch it through with a paying audience for the first time. It’s one thing showing it to friends and family who are only going to encourage you and another giving it over to cinema goers with no links to you or the film.  We were delighted with the response and it made it all worth while. The support which we received from the FrightFest team lead on to so many other fantastic opportunities for Before Dawn and ultimately a cinema and DVD release through Metrodome in February.
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8.   You also worked on another horror film recently, Alex Chandon’s INBRED, which is rapidly becoming a cult classic, tell us about your experience working on the film?
I would happily work for Alex any time he wanted me to. In fact I’d give an arm in exchange for a part in his next film. I was very lucky to be involved in such a great film. It’s absolutely insane and works brilliantly.
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9.  Would you say there are any similarities between INBRED and Before Dawn in terms of style and influence?

I would say they are very different films apart from both looking and feeling British and in fact wearing their Britishness on their sleeves. I suppose they are both violent but with different intentions behind them.

10.   So what’s next? Have you got any more genre related projects lined up?
We shot two shorts last year (After Three and Grace’s Story in post-production) which we’re very proud of and we’re in pre-prouction with our next feature which will be an ultra-violent revenge drama.
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Keep your eyes peeled for a Before Dawn DVD release this February!
Check out the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BeforeDawnMovie?ref=ts&fref=ts
Interviewer: Hayley Alice Roberts
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Alex Chandon’s Q&A at Abertoir Horror Festival

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 22, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Finally here is the long-awaited Q&A from The Abertoir Horror Festival with Alex Chandon promoting his gore-fest “INBRED” that’s a must see! Thanks to Rhys Fowler for taking part in the Q&A with me.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Abertoir Horror Festival 2011 Promo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Following months of hard work,  I can now present the promo for the Abertoir Horror Festival 2011. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped and contributed to making this video possible:

The Festival Organisers:

Gaz Bailey

Nia Edwards-Behi

Rhys Fowler

and

Rebekah Smith

…also to those who allowed us to film them:

Alex Chandon

Caitlyn Downs

Gavin Baddeley

Natalie Boyd Fields

Karolina Gruschka

Dan Edwards

and of course Devilish Presley for allowing us to use their awesome music!

Check out the video and come to Aberystwyth between the 6th-12th November for Abertoir 2012!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

INBRED TRAILER

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 22, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Congratulations to Alex Chandon and the cast and crew of “INBRED” on the launch of the eagerly-awaited trailer. Seeing it spurned great memories of viewing the film for the first time at Celluloid Screams in Sheffield back in October. One of the best horror films of 2011 with something for all genre fans to enjoy, INBRED is suspenseful, gory and downright funny! It is now in the hands of Darclight films so fingers crossed for a mainstream and DVD release soon!

http://twitchfilm.com/news/2012/02/exclusive-trailer-for-alex-chandons-inbred.php

 

Hayley Alice Roberts

My Top 10 Horror Movies of 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2011 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

With 2011 on its way out, here’s a look back on why it was the year for the horror film! 2011 saw a wide range of horror from all over the world which provided plenty of thrills, chills, suspense and all out gore. This countdown looks at the films that for me achieved all those aspects consisting of mainstream, foreign and independent titles.

10. “The Skin I Live In” (Original Title: “La piel que habito”)

  • Directed By Pedro Almodovar 
  • UK Release Date: 26th August 2011

 A unique piece of filmmaking, “The Skin I Live In” delves into the bizarre in a “Frankenstein”-type story with a dark and disturbing twist. It definitely places the audience into the uneasy as well as fills us with intriuge to quite literally get under the skin of surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) and the mysterious woman he keeps in isolation.  The cinematography and composition are well-crafted, adding to the surreal, dream-like state that the film’s tone presents us with. The plot serves as a Hitchcock-inspired psychological thriller. Advisable to go into the film completely blind and unknowing as complete shock and disbelief is guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

9. “Scream 4”

  • Directed by Wes Craven
  • UK Release Date: 15th April 2011

 The slasher revival that all genre fans had been waiting for and it certainly did not disappoint! Genius writer/director team Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven returned on top form to deliver a clever critique on the state of modern Hollywood horror as well as providing suspense, gore  and plenty of surprises along the way. Legendary teen-killer Ghostface (voiced by Roger Jackson)  was more vicious than ever threatening protagonist Sidney (Neve Campbell) with ” I’m gonna slit your eyelids in half so you don’t blink when I stab you in the face” resulting in a spine-chilling effect. Old faces made a welcome return with feisty reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox)  and the bumbling underdog Dewey Riley (David Arquette) now the police sheriff. Accompanying them was a trendy new cast of  talented young actors consisting of fan favourite Hayden Panettiere (playing Kirby) and Emma Roberts (playing Jill) as Woodsboro’s next generation. An eagerly anticipated addition to the popular 90’s franchise.

 

8. “Fright Night”

  • Directed by Craig Gillespie
  • UK Release Date: 2nd September 2011

 A fangtastic remake that provides the audience with new blood rather than being a dated replica of the original.  “Fright Night” is the anti-“Twilight” reminding us of the days of real vampires e.g. Dracula as it focuses on bloodthirst rather than bloodlust. The original 1985 film is brought into a modern context with vampire slayer Peter Vincent (David Tennant) portrayed as a flawed, Russell Brand-esque anti-hero.  Jerry the Vampire (Colin Farrell) is both seductive and scary and proves difficult not to relish in his screen presence. More funny than frightening this update gives remakes a refresh as well as an entertaining comment on recent, tired vampire lore.

 

 

 

 

7. “Panic Button”

  • Directed by Chris Crow
  • FrightFest World Premiere: 27th August 2011

 The scariest psychological thriller of the year, “Panic Button” highlights our unhealthy obsession with social networking and the dangers we remain ignorant to. Welsh director Chris Crow creates a heat-stopping thrill ride from beginning to end as four unsuspecting internet competition winners board a plane to New York. The setting is claustrophobic with the notion of no escape and only the survival of the fittest can prevail. There are no monsters or ghouls to be thwarted, it cautions us to take a long, hard look at ourselves of everything we do and watch online leaving a thought-provoking sensation. The most intense and terrifying film of the subject-matter.

 

 

 

 

6. “The Woman” 

  • Directed by Lucky McGee
  • UK Release Date: 30th September 2011

Welcome to the dark side of Suburbia! While not an original concept “The Woman” is a stylish and unique piece of the horror genre that makes for a very uncomfortable watch. The plot focuses on an “upstanding” citizen,husband and father who secretly captures a feral woman and plans to “civilise” her through is own twisted methods and ideals, if he’s not careful he may lose a finger! With respect the film avoids relying on the classic jump-scares in order to convey the shock factor. A twisted blend of dark humour and all out gruseomness makes it a must-see for any horror fan. The twist is unforgettable and definitely worth the wait. Its controversial, its brutal, its bloody disgusting but all in a good way! Not for the faint-hearted.

 

 

 

 

5. “Insidious”

  • Directed by James Wan
  • UK Release Date 29th April 2011

The creepiest mainstream horror/supernatural film of the year! “Insidious” ramps up the scare factor with spooky imagery that remains difficult to shrug out of the mind. The build-up is intense and creative once the unexpected explanation for the haunting is revealed. A sense of empathy is in place throughout as the characters are written well and could easily depict anyone in real life. Rose Byrne particularly gives an impressive performance as the gaunt, distressed mother Renai. The tone is gritty creating a realistic feel to the setting which is also emphasised with the use of grey-scale. Chilling, atmospheric, with plenty of menacing ghouls “Insidious” is an exception to mainstream horror taking traditional ghost story elements as well as providing something new to the genre.

 

 

 

4. “Some Guy Who Kills People”

  • Directed By Jack Perez
  • Celluloid Screams UK Premiere: 22nd October 2011

“Some Guy Who Kills People” even though it displays an explicit title it ignites intrigue in the viewer. Surprisingly, despite fitting into the horror genre it is actually one of the most heart-warming films of the year which demonstrates the adaptability and versatility of horror as a whole. Protagonist Ken Boyd (played by Kevin Corrigan) is an identifiable character as the audience enters a rollercoaster ride of emotions with him, from coming to terms with harrowing past events to connecting with the daughter he never knew. A surreal, quirky, semi-gory, stylistic film very much in the vein of John Landis along with Ryan Levin’s cleverly-crafted dialogue.

 

 

3. “We Need to Talk about Kevin”

  • Directed by Lynne Ramsay
  • UK Release Date: 21st October 2011

 The film adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel “We Need To Talk About Kevin” while not an obvious horror contender is a startling  tale of how love can go dead wrong and the consequences that follow. Watching “Kevin” feels voyeuristic however you can’t take your eyes off the screen. The audience is placed in a position of conflict with the character of Eva (Tilda Swinton) as she fails to form a strong bond with her only son Kevin (Ezra Miller). The film has been praised highly by many critics and with good reason, Tilda Swinton delivers an unforgettable and powerful performance making the viewer both love and hate her at the same time for creating this monster capable of destroying several lives. “Kevin” is edited out of sequence which adds to the dreaded tone as we are aware of what’s to come but its the dark journey embarked on leading to the tragic event that results in an unsettling effect. The mise-en-scene uses clever symbolism to convey the narrative including tomato soup representing blood. Compelling, unnerving, chilling and exceptional; “Kevin” really questions where does blame really lie?

 

 

2. “Harold’s Going Stiff”

  • Directed by Keith Wright
  • Celluloid Screams UK Premiere 23rd October 2011

A very Sheffield-based film that conveys the great humour of the area. “Harold’s Going Stiff” has a fitting blend of black comedy and a horror as a backdrop for the narrative’s metaphor. Its one of the most unique films of the year as it depicts a sense of realism demonstrated through its strong social message of the elderly in Britain and their care-workers while also acting as an unconventional “zombie” film. The characters are written as if they were people we could relate to in real life, Stan Rowe (Harold) and Sarah Spencer (Penny) have believable on screen chemistry that really carries the film. Its a surreal portrayal of society, told in a documentary-style fashion as well as being a tale of finding friendship in the most unexpected places.  Keith Wright needs to be congratulated on creating such a well-crafted, touching horror film that has something for everyone.

 

 

 

1. “Inbred”

  • Directed by Alex Chandon
  • UK Release Date: TBA

“They came in peace and left in pieces” quite literally! “Inbred” is most definitely the most inventive horror film of the year. Four young offenders and two of their care-workers embark on a character building weekend in a remote location, the fictional Yorkshire-based village of Mortlake. Soon they come across the bizarre and twisted traditions of the locals and get caught up in a bloodbath of terror and a heart-stopping fight for survival. Think “An American Werewolf in London” meets “The Hills Have Eyes” meets “The Wicker Man” which only partly sums it up! “Inbred” incorporates many elements which is what makes it so bloody brilliant! Its a comment on modern British society, it has the essence of the Grand-Guignol, the characters are larger than life and downright entertaining, it also isn’t afraid to push the boundaries in terms of blood, guts, goats and gore, satisfying fans of the genre everywhere! Its the performances that stick out the most, the victims create a sense of empathy with the audience which is a rarity in horror, while the “Inbreds” are hilarious to watch but brutal! Prepared to be shocked and entertained at the same time. “Inbred”  has got everything a horror film should have!

 

Hayley Alice Roberts.