Archive for Bonfire Films

Damnationland 2016: White Drift Review

Posted in Bonfire Films, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Bonfire Films, led by husband and wife team Corey and Haley Norman have established themselves as quality horror filmmakers in recent years. Known for ghostly feature The Hanover House, 80’s inspired, urban legend Tickle and more recently for adapting Stephen King’s short story Suffer The Little Children to the screen, the award-winning Maine based duo offer up a different kind of beast for this year’s Damnationland Festival with White Drift.

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White Drift centres on Peter (Sean Carmichael) an ex-army recruit passing through a small town in Maine to seek out an old friend and fellow soldier. The locals immediately notice something isn’t quite right with the ambiguous drifter as he experiences strange withdrawal symptoms. Intrigued by the mysterious Peter is waitress Abby (Kristi Ray- Pieces of Talent) who offers him her kindness and appears genuinely concerned. Unbeknown to her Peter harbours a dark secret and faces a moral dilemma that inevitably will result in devastating consequences.

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There’s always a fascinating aspect to the werewolf as a monster in the moral sense and the concept is executed well in this short. With heightened sound effects, Norman establishes a sense of what Peter is experiencing and how the physical changes are affecting him. It’s a real build up of slow burning tension before the wolf is unleashed on the audience, allowing a sense of gut-wrenching dread.

A melancholic tone is presented throughout, aided by grey visuals within the cinematography. It’s certainly a brave move portraying the werewolf concept as a metaphor for PTSD after army life especially as it’s such a raw subject that holds such relevance in our society. However, the subject matter does work creating a powerful and dramatic narrative.

Both Sean Carmichael and Kristi Ray are impressive in their roles. We’re only experiencing their story for a short time but they manage to draw us in with their naturalistic performances. Carmichael portrays Peter as troubled, confused and frightened as he searches for the only person in the world who can help him. Kristi Ray plays Abby as sympathetic and genuine but also curious as to what’s wrong with the mysterious stranger.

Funds for the special effects were achieved through Bonfire Films IndieGoGo Campaign which allowed the team to animate a ferocious looking werewolf for the pinnacle moment in the movie. The appearance of the Wolf brings in an 80’s B-Movie vibe to it and is more impressive that some werewolf guises that have been created on a bigger budget. White Drift is an example of a crowd-funding movie that is of a high standard and exceptional quality.

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Bonfire Films Writer and Director Haley and Corey Norman.

White Drift will be screening at Damnationland 2016 this October. Damnationland takes place annually in Portland, Maine and supports local filmmakers in the Horror and Thriller genres. Check out their website for more information and all that cool stuff! http://www.damnationland.com/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

Bonfire Films: Suffer the Little Children (2015): A Short Film Review

Posted in Bonfire Films, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Maine-based production company Bonfire Films are a rising name on the indie genre scene and there’s no one better than them to take on the works of the great Stephen King. Suffer the Little Children is the latest crowd-funded film from Husband and Wife team Corey (Director) and Haley Norman (Writer) and an adaptation of the short story of the same name from King’s 1993 anthology Nightmares and Dreamscapes. Suffer the Little Children provides Bonfire Films with another solid short film that’s both darkly twisted and entertaining.

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Having previously starred in Norman’s feature film The Hanover House, Anne Bobby of Nightbreed fame makes another return to the horror genre taking on the role of the paranoid Ms. Sidley; an ageing primary school teacher who has suspicions that something’s not quite right with her young pupils!

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Bobby steals the show as the flustered, lonely teacher with a morally questionable agenda. Ms Sidley is a complex character in which Bobby portrays spectacularly. The film translates over from the source material incredibly well; whereas with a written story we’re provided with description and a deeper understanding of what a character is thinking, in film its down to the visuals and Suffer the Little Children is reliant on Bobby’s performance. In twenty-two minutes, she does a tremendous job by bringing this emotive character to life who we can empathize with on some level but also leaves us wondering if she’s unhinged or paranoid?

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The second stand-out performance comes from Andrew Lyndaker, who previously starred in Norman’s short Tickle (2014). Lyndaker is a promising young actor and does an effective job at playing the “creepy child” archetype in this. “Tomorrow, something bad will happen” his school-boy character Robert warns Ms. Sidley convincinly, creating unsettling tension.

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Norman is a fan of old-school horror which is evident in the previously mentioned Tickle and his 2013 offering NatalSuffer the Little Children most certainly has a 80s vibe about it and echoes back to King’s 1984 classic Children of the Corn in tone and is slightly reminiscent of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with the idea of something shadowy lurking in the school hallway. For a film with a chilling subject matter, Suffer the Little Children is vibrant in its lighting and cinematography, with the brightly lit class room signifying innocence which makes it all the more creepy as the film unfolds. As with Norman’s previous films, Suffer the Little Children is expertly-shot and highly professional.

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Its an ambiguous film that raises moralistic questions. While its a little gory in places, the real horror lies in the psychological aspects. Its no surprise that Suffer the Little Children has already won TWO well-deserved awards at this year’s HorrorHound Weekend all the way in Indianapolis for Best Short Film and Best Actress for Anne Bobby, which was tweeted by her former director, genre legend, Clive Barker.

With another successful film in the bag, I can’t wait to see what Bonfire Films have in store for Horror fans next!

http://bonfirefilmsonline.com/


Reviews:

Tickle: damnationland-2014-tickle-bonfire-films

Natal: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/damnationland-2013-natal/

The Hanover House: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/the-house-thats-always-been-waiting-for-you-a-review-of-the-hanover-house-2013/

Interview with Corey Norman: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/horror-hauntings-the-hanover-house-an-interview-with-director-corey-norman/


Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Stephen King’s ‘Suffer the Little Children’ to be adapted by Bonfire Films.

Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Maine based collaborative team Corey and Haley Norman of Bonfire Films are set to bring Stephen King’s short story Suffer the Little Children to life with their latest film. Hardcore King fans will be familiar with the tale from his 1993 collection; Nightmares and Dreamscapes despite being initially published in 1972. Suffer the Little Children centres on a third grade teacher who starts to become suspicious that her young pupils are possessed. According to The Great Stephen King Universe, the tale has been described as an “effective chiller” as there is certainly nothing more terrifying that the destruction of innocence. Nightbreed actress Anne Bobby who has previously worked on Bonfire Films previous feature will star in Suffer the Little Children as lead character Ms. Sidley. Bobby ensures us that the movie is guaranteed to “scare the crap out of you” as it did her reading it.

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The Hanover House filmmakers need our support to make this dreamscape a reality! The Norman’s require the help of the fans to achieve this fantastic project. Over on indiegogo they have set up a campaign with some must have perks on offer from signed posters to a copy of their short film Tickle to a name in the credits; there’s even opportunities to make a cameo in the film as a teacher (no dialogue role) and attend its eventual premiere. Other than donating, you can raise awareness by sharing the campaign page over various social media. Being given the rights to adapt the works of King comes full circle for the writing/directing team who originate from Portland, Maine just like the iconic author. There is no doubt that this is where some of the best American horror comes from.

Bonfire Films have achieved various awards for their work so far at horror festivals across the US including best short film, best feature film and best director.

http://bonfirefilmsonline.com/awards/

Find out more about how you can help Suffer the Little Children:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/suffer-the-little-children–3/x/8060452#/story

Check out my reviews for their previous work here:

The Hanover House (Feature)

Tickle (Short)

Natal (Short)

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Damnationland 2014: Tickle (Bonfire Films).

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On October 17th, the Damnationland Horror Festival located in Maine returns for its fifth fright-tastic year showcasing a selection of innovative and unusual short films. Screening at the State Theatre in Portland, Damnationland’s fifth year will present festival-goers with six shocking shorts on offer. One of those short film’s titled Tickle,comes from awesome, independent genre company Bonfire Films, led by filmmaker Corey Norman. Corey and his team launched a Kickstarter campaign back in August in order to raise funds to make this project possible which was successfully achieved. After viewing several films directed by Corey Norman including ambitious, supernatural feature The Hanover House, I truly believe in this company and admire their ability to create horror movies for true genre fans reminding us what we adore about horror.

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Written by Haley Norman, Tickle is a pure, classic throwback to one of the most exciting times in the genre, the 1980’s; when horror got gorier and anxieties in society were much more prominent. Horror movies used our every day fears as a metaphorical entity to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, Tickle brings this notion back. Part monster movie, part urban legend, Tickle is sure to supply the Damnationland audience with equal amounts of laughs and scares. Haley’s script captures a piece of nostalgia as the tale of the babysitter, a young boy and a scary bedtime story unfolds on screen. Casey Turner (Shannon in The Hanover House) takes on a fun role as Trudy, the semi-responsible babysitter who doesn’t let Charlie (Andrew Lyndaker) stay up and watch scary movies but allows his imagination to run wild with a chilling story about TicTac the Tickle Monster! Turner relishes in a charismatic performance while young Lyndaker is excellent for a young performer and proves he has heaps of potential as an actor. The energetic pop-style score provides the film with a feel for the time period its set in.

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Tickle begins with a light-hearted tone, its tongue is placed firmly in its cheek which creates a well-paced build up for the dark shift in approach the short later takes. Without giving away too much, the make-up and visual effects are done exceptionally well. Its skilfully shot with flawless cinematography that captures the essence of its Halloween night setting.

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Tickle has fun with the codes and conventions of a traditional 80’s slasher and knows exactly what its going for. Its self-referential, look out for the nod to last year’s Damnationland entry, Natal (2013). Damnationland’s slogan indicates that this is the way life should bleed but this year its all about the way life should Tickle!

For more information on Damnationland’s schedule and general info visit: http://www.damnationland.com/films/

Check out the official festival trailer here:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

Damnationland 2014: Tickle, a Kickstarter campaign from Bonfire Films.

Posted in Horror Festivals, Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Just wanted to share this awesome Kickstarter  campaign with my followers. Corey Norman of independent production company Bonfire Films (The Hanover House (feature), Natal (short)) is planning to shoot an all new short film titled Tickle. Written by Haley Norman, Tickle intends to be the embodiment of 80’s gore horror, echoing back to a well-loved era of the genre which saw a slew of dynamic films from Basket Case to An American Werewolf in London to The Evil Dead as well as the decade where the classic slasher really took off. The team are hoping to raise a total of $1, 200 in order to contribute towards the cost of practical effects (a critical aesthetic of 80’s horror cinema), costume, props, food for everyone on set and lens rental.

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Maine-based Bonfire Films are responsible for creating gripping, well-crafted horror films that fans can truly appreciate. There’s no doubt that Tickle won’t be completely awesome. Their 2013 short Natal premièred at the Damnationland Festival, which specifically showcases local movies within the Maine area, so let’s ensure that Tickle will be just as successful. The aim is to have the short screened at Damnationland’s fifth festival year later in 2014. Their recent feature, The Hanover House had its world premiere this year at the Dead at the Drive-in festival. There is an option via the Kickstarter page if you’d like to make a donation, however feel free to simply share the campaign info around. Let’s make Tickle happen!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

‘The House That’s always been waiting for you!’ A Review of The Hanover House (2013).

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The Hanover House (2013) is the debut feature film from Bonfire Films and director, editor and co-writer, Corey Norman. Since 2009, Norman and his independent production company have produced several genre shorts of a high standard including the recent, Natal (2013). Now with The Hanover House; the team can demonstrate their talents with an extended run-time compared to their previous work.

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A disturbing, psychological and supernatural horror/ thriller, The Hanover House is focused on the grief process and how a man must come to terms with the death of his father while placed in an extraordinary situation. Robert Foster (Brian Chamberlain) is recently married with a baby on the way. Following the devastating news of his father’s death, he and his wife Shannon (Casey Turner) return to Hanover to attend the funeral. Following a difficult encounter with his estranged mother Martha (Anne Bobby) and her lover Fred (David Shaffer), who is also Robert’s uncle, Robert and Shannon set off home. During the car journey they are involved in a freak accident which sees Robert run down a young girl. In a desperate search for help, the couple are separated and Robert stumbles on an old, gothic house which unbeknown to him has always been waiting for him. Corey and Haley Norman, the writers of the film deliver a strong script to accommodate the suspenseful and enigmatic plot.

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Shot on a haunted location in Maine, where Bonfire Films are based, The Hanover House is a genuinely creepy ghost story that works on several levels. It deals with family conflict and painful memories that can be evoked through grief which creates high drama. Tonally it is very interesting as the majority of the first act comes across as a social realist film but it soon descends into the paranormal and unknown, from then on plenty of surreal moments are captured.
Echoing classic haunted house films such as The Amityville Horror (1979) in terms of its aesthetics, and taking inspiration from Maine’s most famous genre author Stephen King with references to The Shining (1980), The Hanover House delivers some genuine, thought-provoking scares. The performances from Brian Chamberlain as Robert and Casey Turner as Shannon make powerful viewing as they deal with their individual demons within the house and leave the audience wondering if they’ll overcome them. Flashbacks are used to bring in more depth to the characterizations while eliminating exposition, keeping the blend of supernatural and drama consistent.

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Corey Norman’s editing techniques are one of the most impressive factors within the film. With fast paced cuts consisting of disturbing imagery in place to ramp up the tension during the more frightening sequences. Shot during a blizzard, the wintery setting works in the films favor capturing the coldness of Robert’s character and the darkness surrounding his past.
One of the most significant aspects of The Hanover House is that it marks Anne Bobby’s return to the horror genre. Known for her role as Lori in Night Breed (1990) which recently received restoration treatment and has circulated several film festivals all over the world, her character in The Hanover House, Martha is a far cry from what horror enthusiasts have previously seen her in, demonstrating her versatility as an actress. Martha is Robert’s self-indulgent mother, whom he has had a difficult relationship with. She is the film’s loose cannon and representative of Robert’s unhappy childhood, providing a sense of complexity and impacting on his relationship with Shannon.

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The farmhouse used as the film’s main setting allegedly holds a few real spooks of its own. The crew reported seeing the figure of an old man lurking around as well as shadow people. This certainly would have created an atmosphere on set and incorporates a lot more unease when viewing the film.

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The effects provided by set designer Eric Matheson are of a high quality. They complement the slow-burning pace of the film and come in at unexpected moments, heightening the suspenseful nature of what’s on the screen as well as the creepy style of the house itself. Beginning subtly, the special effects build up gradually becoming more impressive as they go on. There’s even some gory elements in place which is done satisfyingly without going overboard, in order to leave the viewer with an uncomfortable queasiness as the film goes into extremely dark territory.
With the makings of a classic haunted house flick with added emotional depth, The Hanover House will pull you in and keep you in its clutches from beginning till end.

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The Hanover House will be receiving its world premiere on May 9th at the Dead at the Drive-In Horror Festival 2014. If you’re around the Saco drive-in in Portland between the 9th and 10th of May I highly recommend attending the screening.

Visit the official website for more details: http://www.thehanoverhousefilm.com/

For my interview with Corey Norman regarding the behind-the-scenes of The Hanover House, click here.

Hayley Alice Roberts.