Archive for Ascension

Hayley’s Horror Highlights of 2013!

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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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More on Ascension, the Premiere and Behind the Screams!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Following on from my review of the film, I am now going to document the premiere that took place on Sunday, the 30th of June at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham. I am also going to discuss the reception Ascension received at the event as well as the screening of my own Making of Documentary titled Behind The Screams. Firstly I would just like to say how impressed I was with the venue, I’d have to describe the Electric as the comfiest cinema I’ve ever been in. At the back of the room, leather sofas were reserved for the main cast and crew which made it feel like you were in your own living room. The standard seats further down provided plenty of leg room. The entire room seemed refurbished and modernized. Despite it being a small room, it created a more intimate atmosphere as cast, crew and their families sat down to enjoy the days events.

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Photo by Dave Jeffrey

Director James Hart, Writer Dave Jeffrey and Producer/Editor Richard O’Connor began the premiere by introducing themselves and their roles, then informed the audience of the day’s line-up. We were treated to a screening of Venomous Little Man’s entry into the 666 Shortcuts to Hell competition for the Horror Channel, Six Feet Under. This sick and twisted short was the perfect way to set the audience up for the main feature as it demonstrated the type of material Venomous Little Man produce. It also showcased Mark Rathbone’s acting talent and strong on-screen presence, which is also seen later on in Ascension.  Following another brief introduction from James, Dave and Richard where they thanked all who had been involved in the project, it was now time to view what we were all there for Ascension.

Cast Q&A

Having been fortunate enough to view the film prior to the premiere, I was interested in hearing first time viewers reactions to it, particularly the cast. After the credits rolled, the film received a massive round of applause and all involved seemed impressed by the outcome. Dave and James got the cast up on stage to answer a few questions, the one I particularly remember was if they enjoyed using the prop guns during the shoot! They all emphasized how cold it was on location and how they battled the weather conditions. Exciting news about the company’s future productions were then announced. A raffle was later included and prizes were a signed copy of the poster and a copy of Alt-Zombie.

Following a short break, I was then asked to go on stage to say a few brief words about how I became involved in Ascension and introduce my first film the behind-the-scenes documentary Ascension: Behind The Screams. This was a particularly nerve-wracking experience as I had fought sound issues and several problems during the editing process, however the outcome was better than expected. The film contains the actor interviews available on this blog and my youtube channel as well as the filming of key scenes. I did focus a lot on the gory, zombie eating scene to demonstrate the FX side of things and the direction. There’s a lot of humor within the Making Of, the audience were surprised to see how muddy the location was and the sound did help to highlight the fierce wind that was present throughout the shoot.  Everybody also enjoyed the cameo from the softest guard dog ever on the second location, a lovely wolfhound. As a filmmaker, its natural to be critical of your own work so I am going to potentially revise certain scenes and cut parts for length reasons, some of the transitions seemed a bit rough even though they had been rectified during the editing process. However, on the whole I received some really nice comments from the guests which has filled me with confidence for the future. To see my film up on the big screen did bring a lot of emotions and on the whole I am proud how its turned out. Through being on the set I learned a lot from the crew which I will take on board when I hopefully make my own feature film.  I think the main objective with a Making Of Documentary is to capture the reality of how the film was made and provide a naturalistic feel for the viewers to get a sense of what it was like. Overall I feel I achieved that.

To conclude, I feel very privileged to have been part of Ascension as I have been able to do something I greatly enjoy and have made many new friends.I would particularly like to thank Derek Melling, Dave Jeffrey and James Hart for giving me the opportunity and Ross Hunt for all his help and support in creating the Making Of. I would definitely like to work with these guys again and wish them all the best with the future.

http://www.venomouslittleman.co.uk/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

After Apocalypse: A Review of Ascension (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS**

“The human race has to adapt, Ascend”- Joe

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Ascension (2013) is a British short horror film and the directorial debut of James Hart. The screenplay has been adapted from a short story written by Dave Jeffrey from the anthology Alt-Zombie. Filmed in Redditch, during the cold winter of 2013, Ascension tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world where survivors are few and far between and puts forward strong ideas of community and a breakdown in modern society, echoing back to the Second World War, with everything on ration and people sticking together through hardship. The film opens with a series of news reel’s depicting the gradual stages of the apocalypse and the decline of humanity. With, fast-paced, slick cuts, these moments set the scene for what’s to come. It also must be noted that the opening is accompanied by a chilling score (composed by Liz Comley) that creates a melancholic tone, greatly adding to the film’s atmosphere.

We are then introduced to Ascension’s protagonists Joe (Derek Melling) and Annie (Jacky Fellows), two survivors who are determined to find others to bring back a sense of community spirit  (“The Blakewell Spirit”). In a time of crisis the characters still manage to maintain a sense of humor, which is seen throughout the film and is an example of the witty writing in Jeffrey’s script. Our protagonists are joined by Tom (Laurence Saunders) before setting off into the wilderness in the hope of finding others. The characters share a believable dynamic and its clear there is a strong bond and trust between them. On their search they come across brother and sister Alex (Debbie Nicholls), Carl (Sam Knight) and their leader Eddie (Mark Rathbone) who appears as the main antagonist. In a Western-style stand off the characters attempt to convince each other they can be trusted which keeps the audience on the edge-of-their-seats and allows for some intense and confrontational moments as well as ambiguity, nothing is clear cut in regards to who are the good guys and who are the bad? Without revealing anymore, the film concludes with a shocking and heart-wrenching twist that is sure to leave the audience satisfied.

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Ascension sets itself apart from other texts within the Zombie sub-genre in several ways. Its a very character-driven piece and develops each individual well, providing a lot of empathy for them. The actors are all brilliantly cast and put a lot of heart into the material. It gets the audience on a psychological level, questioning how we ourselves would react if in the same situation and allows an understanding of the motives involved. Another interesting aspect is the film isn’t overly gory and doesn’t feature many zombies which differentiates it in a major way, proving that horror can work well as a backdrop with high drama as the main focus. Isolation is a key theme and its represented well through the location. It could be said that Ascension is the coldest zombie film out there due to the weather conditions the cast and crew worked in! There is some stunning cinematography, particularly the aerial shots near the beginning. For a thirty minute film, Ascension manages to convey a lot but still leaves you wanting more which demonstrates that its done its job. To conclude, Ascension is an emotionally-charged, good humored horror story, with well written characters, strong actors, breathtaking cinematography and good direction. Venomous Little Man Productions should be proud of their efforts and hopefully have more wonderful work to come.

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.

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.

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

ASCENSION Teaser Trailer

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

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Here is a sneak peak from the Ascension film, in a brand new teaser trailer. I am currently working on some behind-the-scenes footage for the piece, so watch this space over the next few months!!

Until then…

Hayley Alice Roberts.