Archive for Cat Sick Blues

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. 

Hayley’s Top 10 Horror Movies of 2016!

Posted in Anniversary Pieces, Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

With only a few days of 2016 remaining, it’s that time again to reflect on the genre movies that left a lasting impression this year. Horror-wise, 2016 was off to a slow start but once festival season hit as always a number of gore-tastic gems from all over the world proved that there is still innovative and captivating horror out there.


This has been a pretty difficult list to rank as the latter end of the year saw several sinisterly superb genre movies, all eerily excellent in their own ways, making them tough to choose between. Viewing the year as a whole, horror movies have sure been eclectic offering up something to satisfy everyone’s bloodthirst!

**Please Note that this list is a reflection of my own personal opinion and taste. If you agree or disagree with my picks, feel free to comment below, tweet me @hayleyr1989 or head over to my facebook page. Let me know your fang-tastic favourites of 2016.**

10. Cat Sick Blues (2015)

  • Directed By: Dave Jackson
  • Country: Australia
  • Australia Release Date: 21st September 2016
  • Seen at Celluloid Screams: 21st October 2016


Cat Sick Blues is the feature length version of the short film of the same name. Ted (Matthew C. Vauaghan) suffers a breakdown when he loses his beloved pet cat which sends him on a horrific killing spree in the search for nine lives in order to resurrect his precious feline friend. At the same time traumatized Claire (Shian Denovan) has also lost her internet sensation cat under disturbing circumstances. Their paths cross and events take an even more twisted turn. It’s like Pet Semetary goes warped and is not for the faint hearted. Cat Sick Blues pushes the boundaries in both violence and sexual violence, placing the audience in an uncomfortable position where it’s unsure whether to laugh or be horrified. The tone is strangely unbalanced but is what makes the film compelling. Unapologetically unpleasant, Cat Sick Blues has clawed it’s way onto this list for being an unforgettable viewing experience this year.

Check out our Ghostface Girls Video from Celluloid Screams 2016 discussing Cat Sick Blues:

9. Creepy (2016)

  • Directed By: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Country: Japan
  • UK Release Date: 25th November 2016
  • Seen at the Abertoir Horror Festival: 17th November 2016


Creepy is a slow burning, atmospheric chiller from Pulse director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. A former police detective, Takakura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is summoned by an ex-colleague to examine a case surrounding a missing family six years earlier. At the same time, him and his wife, Yasuko (Yuko Takeuchi) move to a new neighbourhood and get more than they bargained for when they come across their strange, enigmatic neighbour Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa). What is he hiding? Have the couple unwittingly found themselves in grave danger? Filled with mystery and an incredibly intense tone throughout, Creepy is a movie that kept audiences on the edge of their seats in 2016. It doesn’t rely on blood and guts but it has nail-biting tension that keeps the audience engrossed from beginning to end. With a two hour run time, Creepy focuses on strong character development while keeping us guessing where the narrative will head next. Teruyki Kagawa gives a terrific performance as the potentially crazy neighbour sharing an antagonistic chemistry with Hidetoshi Nishijima’s Takakura. Creepy is a polished thriller, layered in intrigue and a must-see of 2016.

Read my full review on

8. Train to Busan (2016)

  • Directed By Sang-ho Yeon
  • Country: South Korea
  • UK Release Date: 28th October 2016


If you thought the zombie sub-genre was tired by 2016 then this highly talked about South Korean flick without a doubt turned it around. Train to Busan is a character driven, action packed zom com that allows for plenty of humour as well as depth and emotion. It centres on a young girl Soo-an (Soo-an Kim) and her workaholic single father Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) who board the fast train to take them to their destination. They however become derailed when a zombie outbreak occurs, now it’s time for the passengers to band together in a fight for survival. Train to Busan shares a typical plot line with every single film of this kind out there but what makes it so entertaining and so moving is the character depiction. The group of unlikely survivors work well. Soo-an and Seok come across a bickering married couple who are expecting a child, Sung Gyeong (Yu-mi Jung) and her husband Sang Hwa (Dong-seok Ma). With a child and expectant mother involved the stakes are raised allowing for stomach churning moments however the female characters prove strong and resourceful despite their circumstances. It’s young Soo-an who steals the show with a heartbreaking performance. It gears up towards an unforgettable finale with gallons of emotional impact. Train to Busan proves why the zombie flick when placed in the right hands can still be an excellent staple of horror.

7. Night Of Something Strange

  • Directed By Jonathan Straiton
  • Country: USA/Canada
  • UK Release Date: 22nd November 2016
  • Frightfest Screening: 26th August 2016


Paying homage to all that 1980’s gory goodness Jonathan Straiton’s Night of Something Strange is a gross-out horror comedy that plays on the trope of why having sex in a horror movie is a really, really deadly idea! A group of unwitting teens become the victims of a sexually transmitted virus that runs rife transforming it’s victims into the living dead! It’s a love letter to 80s flicks and B-Movies such as Night of the Creeps (1986) and Evil Dead 2 (1987), it also features a typical slasher premise in the form of killer Cornelius (Wayne W. Johnson). Night Of Something Strange is a wild gore-fuelled ride from beginning to end. Expect all kinds of bodily fluids thrown at the screen, as this is a movie that certainly doesn’t hold back on the carnage. It’s a  movie made for gore enthusiasts and appreciators of 1980’s horror, Jonathan Straiton understands his target audiences and delivers exactly what they want. Night of Something Strange is the stand out comedy/horror of 2016.

For my full Frightfest Review on, visit:

For my interview with director Jonathan Straiton visit:

6. Dearest Sister (Nong Hak) (2016)

  • Directed By Mattie Do
  • Country: Laos
  • Seen at Celluloid Screams: 23rd October 2016
  • Seen at Abertoir Horror Festival: 17th November 2016


Dearest Sister is one of the films I have covered heavily this year and is not one to be missed. Dearest Sister is Mattie Do’s second feature horror film and the second to be produced in Laos as a whole. In an authentic and cultured genre film, Dearest Sister tells the story of a young Lao woman’s place within her family as she cares for her visually impaired cousin Ana (Vilouna Phetmany). It transpires that her cousin’s impairment triggers a unique ability to communicate with the dead in which Nok (Amphaiphun Phommapunya- Chanthaly (2013)) uses for her own gain. Fantastically acted, emotionally driven and beautifully shot, Dearest Sister is a different, one-of-a-kind piece of genre cinema.

Read my full review fresh from Celluloid Screams including a link to the Ghostface Girls interview with Mattie Do and the film’s producer Annick Mahnert:

Check out my piece on Dearest Sister from my Abertoir Horror Festival Coverage:

5. Trash Fire (2016)

  • Directed By: Richard Bates Jr.
  • Country: USA
  • Seen at Celluloid Screams: 23rd October 2016


Richard Bates Jr. (Excision, Suburban Gothic) served up his best film to date with the deliciously venomous Trash Fire. Centring on a young couple who share mutual resentment towards each other, the time has come to either make or break their relationship when they receive life changing news. In one last ditch effort at redemption, Owen (Adrian Grenier) must face his long lost family at the request of girlfriend Isabel (Angela Trimbur). With a witty, razor sharp script and detestable dialogue, Trash Fire is an unrelenting horror comedy about family and making amends. The core cast display compelling performances from the two leads to the ghastly grandmother played by Fionnula Flanagan and the timid, secretive, disfigured sister played by Annalynne McCord. Trash Fire has it all, it’s engaging from start to finish with brilliant performances and a gut wrenching finale you won’t see coming. If you liked Excision and Suburban Gothic then you’ll absolutely love Trash Fire.

For my full review fresh from Celluloid Screams visit:

Ghostface Girls talk Trash Fire here:


4. The Unseen (2016)

  • Directed By: Geoff Redknap
  • Country: Canada
  • Seen at Abertoir Horror Festival: 19th November 2016


As recently discussed in my Abertoir Horror Festival coverage, The Unseen was one of those unexpected gems where you enter a film with very little expectation and come out pleasantly surprised. This Canadian horror is very much a character driven piece with themes surrounding the importance of family and reconnecting before it’s too late. The Unseen featured some of the greatest visual effects in the genre this year as it literally depicts a man physically fading away. The Unseen centres on a father trying to make amends with his teenage daughter after abandoning her under mysterious circumstances several years previously. Aden Young and Julia Sarah Stone provide powerhouse performances, conveying authentic characters that the audience can get on board with. The Unseen isn’t outright horror and holds a more wide-scale appeal, it incorporates a fantastical subtext for it’s subject matter but at the heart of it it portrays an issue that many can identify with. Not one to be missed, The Unseen is a film that captures how we deal with extraordinary circumstances.

For my Abertoir Coverage and lengthier review of the Unseen, check out Love Horror: 

3. We Go On (2016)

  • Directed By: Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton
  • Country: USA
  • Seen at Celluloid Screams: 23rd October 2016


We Go On is hands down the most unsettling movie of 2016. It’s a film that challenges our innermost universal fear of death. The premise surrounds a troubled and extremely phobic man named Miles (Clark Freeman) who is willing to pay $30,000 if the existence of an afterlife can be proved much to the concern of his over protective mother Charlotte (Annette O’Toole). Again, We Go On proved to be very much character focused, with Miles being written complexly; he is too afraid to live in the moment without any guarantee of a certain outcome, that there’s something beyond his own mortality. It takes on a difficult subject matter and plays it out beautifully. We Go On is haunting and unnerving and featured one of the most creepy moments in a horror movie that got under the skin this year. We Go One resonates really well and leaves a lasting impression long after viewing. The performances are believable in this incredible, effective and chilling piece of modern supernatural horror.

For my full Celluloid Screams Review, visit:

2. The Devil’s Candy (2015)

  • Directed By: Sean Byrne
  • Country: USA
  • Seen at Celluloid Screams: 22nd October 2016


Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones) returned with a surprising second feature film that is far removed from his début, grizzly  Australian offering. The Devil’s Candy takes on a familiar premise centring on a family moving to a new house that isn’t what it seems. What sets The Devil’s Candy apart from similar movies is the strong characterization and excellent performances from it’s core cast. From the beginning the audience flawlessly become invested in the characters. There’s metalhead/artist dad Jesse (Ethan Embry), his hard working wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and chip off the old block daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco). The family dynamics are irresistible to watch and as the plot unfolds we learn what lengths they will go in order to protect each other. The Devil’s Candy showcases characters that are fans of dark material but come across as the most down to earth people imaginable, smiting against the stigma that anyone who gravitates away from the norm has endured. The film incorporates some stunning yet satanic art work and a rocking heavy metal soundtrack plus gallons of nail-biting tension. The Devil’s Candy is one of the most solid films this year that has mass appeal.

My Celluloid Screams Review:

Honourable Mentions: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016), The Neon Demon (2016), Monolith (2016), Let Her Out (2016), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). 

  1. Raw (2016)
  • Directed By: Julia Ducournau 
  • Country: France/ Belgium
  • Seen at Celluloid Screams: 23rd October 2016
  • Seen at Abertoir Horror Festival: 18th November 2016
  • To be released: March 2017


It was the movie that generated copious amounts of controversy but we will forget all that because Raw is a truly awesome film and deserves to be talked about. It’s Ginger Snaps meets French art house horror in a coming of age tale about taking your first bite! Naive, vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) begins her first semester at veterinary school but is soon seduced by the hardcore rebellious lifestyle of her peers including older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf). When she is pressured into consuming fresh meat for the first time her darker side begins to materialize to a jaw-dropping effect. Raw is tastefully shot, allowing for enough gore but leaving much to the imagination. Garance Marillier brings in the performance of the year making Justine a character that is equally likeable and detestable. It knowingly get’s under the skin while being surprisingly comedic in it’s own darkly twisted way. It embraces female sexuality in an empowering light which is refreshing to see from a genre piece. Raw is a gore-geously artistic film that contains a compelling narrative. It’s a shame the film has been plagued with unnecessary hype which clouds the fact that it is completely fantastic in what it does. I’ve been lucky to see Raw twice this year and I can’t wait for it’s official release in March so I can taste another pound of flesh!

Read my full review here: 

Abertoir Horror Festival Raw Coverage:

Thank you for reading. Comment below if you agree or disagree with my picks. Keep it subjective.

What a year it’s been for the genre, let’s look forward to what shocks and scares await us in 2017!

Thank you to all of you who support Hayley’s Horror Reviews and share the horror love along with me. Have a bloody, gory, fantastic happy new year!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Kitty is killing Down Under! An Interview With Dave Jackson (Cat Sick Blues).

Posted in Horror Festivals, Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Over in the UK, those of us who attended last year’s Celluloid Screams Horror Festival in Sheffield may recall a unique and twisted short film titled Cat Sick Blues from all the way in Australia. The concept primarily surrounds an ambiguous and disturbed individual stalking a random couple on their way home from the beach while disguised in a black cat mask. Cat Sick Blues puts the audience on the fence as whether to laugh or squirm at the bizarre events that unfold before our eyes. With being both humorous and dark, Cat Sick Blues is an innovative piece and was always intended to become a feature film. Now with our help this could become a reality. Director Dave Jackson and Producer Matthew C. Vaughan have set up a Kickstarter campaign to bring the killer kitty to the big screen. With big plans for locations, sets, a cast and practical effects, Cat Sick Blues is set to be an ambitious project. Hayley’s Horror Reviews was given the fantastic opportunity to speak with Dave Jackson about his vision for the project, making an existing horror trope into something sinister, the inspirations behind transforming the idea of a sweet and innocent cat into a fiendish feline and what backers can expect from donating to this cutting-edge new horror film.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews:  Congratulations on launching your Kickstarter campaign, how has the response been so far in regards to developing Cat Sick Blues from a short to a feature film?

Dave Jackson: Thanks, Hayley! I was pretty terrified about launching this Kickstarter. You tell yourself you’ve got nothing to lose, but you do: your dignity! The Kickstarter is something we’ve — we’ve being myself, Matt Vaughan (producer and Catman) and Andrew Gallacher (co-writer) — been discussing for a long time. It really seemed to be the only option to make the feature version of Cat Sick Blues, but the idea of asking friends, family and strangers for money and promoting ourselves like mad was quite a scary concept to three shy types like ourselves! I had a lot of nightmares leading up to the launch of seeing our project sit at zero dollars for thirty days then remain online for the rest of time!

But the response we’ve had has honestly been amazing. So many friends have come forward and dished out the most incredible amounts of money. It is really humbling. I actually cried a little bit when we had three massive pledges in a row. I’ve never experienced this sort of support for any project I’ve done in the past. Regardless of whether we make our target goal, I’m forever grateful to those who have already backed us.

I think we’re lucky that we’re working on the horror genre too. I think there’s an outdated idea of horror fans being mostly male basement dwellers who want nothing to do with anyone outside of murdering them. This is total bullshit, of course, but I still get this attitude even from close friends. In my experience both as a creator of horror and writer for a horror/exploitation themed site, horror fans are generally warm, interesting, and of both genders! I think that perhaps this stigma has led to the horror genre becoming a really supportive community. We’ve already started to feel this support for Cat Sick Blues, and we really appreciate it.


 HHR:  Was it always intended to be a feature with the short used simply as a teaser? Or were you inspired from the feedback the short received to develop the story further?

DJ: Andrew and I wrote Cat Sick Blues as a feature. The short that you watched at Celluloid Screams is actually the opening ten minutes of the film. We deliberately wrote the pre-title sequence as a standalone piece, so we could send it out as a short and see what kind of a reaction it garnered. The plan was to integrate it into the feature, but it looks like we’ll be reshooting a different opening — partly because we’re shooting the feature with a different camera, but mostly because there’s a lot of things that I’m not happy about with the short. The feedback we received was pretty fantastic though. Obviously the short is not for everyone, but it was exciting to read positive reviews from folks like yourself and to pick up an award at Freakmacine in Spain.


Cat Sick Blues - Title-Transparent

HHR: Cat Sick Blues is such a bizarre and innovative piece, how did you first come up with the idea?

DJ: It was a weird kind of amalgamation of lots of different things. I think it started when I watched the film Feast of Flesh (the Argentinian film by Emilio Vieyra, not the American film of the same name). It was the secondary feature in Something Weird’s release of Night of the Bloody Apes (a favourite of mine). In some ways,Feast of Flesh was a bad film, but it really got under my skin. The beach setting in the opening, the killer’s mask, the cheap but stark cinematography — I really dug it a lot. That was the spark for Cat Sick Blues I think. It got me wanting to step away from short films and television, and make a feature length horror film with a low budget.

I also really like the idea of turning something silly into something scary. I tried to think of something that was impossible to turn scary. Cats sprung to mind. Every film I’ve seen that tries to make cats scary fails — the scene in Inferno (my favourite Argento film, by the way) where Daria Nicolodi is being pummelled with cats, the hilarious Strays and Night of a Thousand Cats. I love those films, but they definitely do not succeed in making cats scary. Around this time I watched Jean Rollin’sThe Nude Vampire for the first time.  It’s not one of Rollin’s best, but there’s a fantastically creepy sequence featuring people wearing these disturbing animal heads. The two separate ideas — cats and mask wearing creeps — came together.

I have a close connection with cats. I’ve always had cats as pets.  It still upsets me when I think about my last cat that had to be put down, despite that being a decade ago. Losing a pet is similar to losing a family member in a way, but there’s something different about it. It’s almost like losing a part of yourself because a pet becomes a part of your every day existence. That’s how the idea of Ted formed — what happens when a mentally unstable lunatic loses his beloved pet? Ted loses part of himself. He loses what was left of his humanity. His sanity has been teetering on the edge of madness before the death of his cat, and this feline death becomes his breaking point.

After I formed the basic idea, I wrote a script, but I wasn’t happy with it. It didn’t feel any different from a typical masked killer slasher. So I passed the script along to my good friend Andrew Gallacher, a novelist responsible for the horrifying Snake Jaw, and told him to go nuts. He went really nuts. He put his own spin on the film entirely, basically writing a completely new story that kept the basic theme of grieving for a pet intact. From this point on, we worked together to develop the script into something cohesive and something I’m really excited about.


 HHR: Several Horror films disguise their killers in masks, what was it about a cat mask in particular that creates a sense of unease?

DJ: I think the cat mask we’re using reminds me of a similar lack of emotion and empathy of the Michael Myers mask. But I think the “cuteness” of it further adds to the sense of unease. Mixing cutesy elements with the macabre always creeps me out. Chucky from the Child’s Play movies, for example, gave me many a nightmare as a kid. My hope is that when you first see the Catman in action you laugh, but then, after a while, those blank, dead cat eyes start to get under your skin. I love the idea of a horror film being funny and scary at the same time. I don’t mean in a typical over the top horror-comedy kind of way, but something that makes you do a weird kind of laugh-scream the whole way through its running time. That’s how I felt watching Takashi Miike’s Gozu. I’ll never forget how uncomfortable that movie made me.


 HHR: The short was incredibly gory and it appears you’re going for the same style with the feature film which is awesome. Have you always had a particular enjoyment for gore films and what will the gore bring to Cat Sick Blues?

DJ: Throughout high school I was obsessed with Lucio Fulci and Euro horror in general. Seeing films like The Beyond blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that films were allowed to be that out of control. My descent into sleaze and horror was a sharp one. I was always on a mission to find the most violent, gory and generally upsetting films in the video store (living in Australia where censorship runs rampant, this was always difficult). I dug my way through countless Troma films, I was enamoured with Jörg Buttgereit’s stuff (with his work, it was more than just the disturbing violent stuff, I think Buttgereit has an incredible visual style), I rented every video in the horror section at least once with anything gore-drenched and 80s getting re-hired several times. The Evil Dead films definitely saw the most replaying. Evil Dead 2 remains one of my favourite films.

These days I’m not quite as enthused by gore. I definitely need more than just gore to hold my attention, though I still get very excited by a good exploding head, a John Woo-esque squibbing, a well executed dismemberment, and a needlessly explosive geyser of blood (I saw Lady Snowblood recently and I’m using the explosions of blood as a reference point for one of the deaths in Cat Sick Blues). The gore in Cat Sick Blues is essentially a gift to the teenage version of myself. Initially, I wrote some scenes that cut away from the violence, then I thought, “Wait! The teenage-me would be furious about that!” There is a lot more gore in the feature compared to the short — throat slits, decapitated heads, exploding cats, and maybe even a dismembered penis. Haha.

Cat Sick Blues - Promo 9 Lives


HHR: Cat Sick Blues looks set to be a recreation of old school horror with the practical effects your intending to use. Many independent filmmakers choose this method over digital effects, why is it more important to you to create something more organic looking over using modern technology?

DJ: To be blunt, I fucking hate CGI. I grew up watching films where the practical effects were like works of art. I like to know that a creature I’m seeing in a film, no matter how rubbery, exists in a physical form. I think a lot of independent filmmakers around my age, especially those working in horror, have the same opinion. I think there’s a lot of merit to CGI outside of the horror genre and I’m obviously not trying to suggest that CG animators aren’t artists in their own right. But CGI has no business in the horror genre. I mean just compare John Carpenter’s The Thing with that recent prequel they made. The effects in The Thing, the real Thing, are beautiful. They are nauseating, utterly horrifying. The recent prequel managed to go backwards in terms of its effects work with its computer generated effects. It just lost all its heart and soul. I didn’t think it was a terrible movie, but it completely lacks the raw, gooey power of John Carpenter’s original and a lot of that is because of its lack of “real” effects.


 HHR: There has been some amazing fan-made art work created for the film that echoes back to the days of VHS covers; do you think these help to promote what Cat Sick Blues is all about?

DJ: I hope so. We’re lucky to have a lot of friends who work as artists or designers, and these friends share my taste in movie posters. I love poster art, but I think, like practical effects, it’s becoming a lost art form with most modern posters being a bit slick and soulless. There’s a few great artists kicking around at the moment that make great posters — The Dude Designs and Jason Edmiston are amazing. I love their work.

Matthew Revert, who is both the music composer of Cat Sick Blues and the designer of a lot of the imagery on our Facebook page and Kickstarter project (he’s also a dear friend), has a style that I think reflects an old school look and also takes its influence from older Eastern European film posters. I think this nicely matches the style of the film and what we’re all about. This is a film with an old school touch but there’s a weirdness lurking beneath it all that I hope will give it a unique identity.


HHR: What is it about Ted’s story that will be compelling to viewers?

DJ: I’d imagine most people watching the film will have experienced the heartbreaking loss of a pet at some point in their life. Ted is the monster of the film, I suppose, but I struggle to see him purely as a villain. He’s a maniac, of course, but I’ve grown very attached to him while writing this script. I feel quite sorry for him. Andrew’s reworking of the script turned Ted from a one-note antagonist to a real person — at least that’s how I see it. I hope the emotional attachment I feel will be shared by our audience.

Cat Sick Blues - Promo


HHR: You already have a dedicated team on board and the role of Ted is being reprised by producer Matthew C. Vaughan, but who would be your dream cast for Cat Sick Blues?

DJ: Haha! Just yesterday Matt and I were joking about having Chris Hemsworth — or just any of the lesser Hemsworth brothers — as Ted the Catman. That would be so fantastically surreal and stupid to have a big muscled hunk as a murdering loon. Really though, the role was written with Matt in mind, so it’s difficult to picture anyone else in the role.

I think if the Catman was re-written as a Catlady, Tilda Swinton would make for an amazing feline-loving maniac. I saw her recently in Snowpiercer and thought she was incredible. I could also see Jeffrey Combs as an older Ted. I love Combs. If I could have any actor in something I was making, it would most definitely be him. I’d probably fill the rest of the cast out with my other favourite performers — Kathy Bates, Kenichi Endo, Karen Black (if she was still alive). Seems I like actors with first names beginning with “K”?


HHR: Tell us a little bit about what’s on offer for the backers that support bringing Cat Sick Blues- the feature to life?

DJ: We thought long and hard about what to offer backers. We looked back on crowdfunding projects we’ve supported and what made them work. I think the main thing we wanted to offer was the film itself. It’s important to us that everyone who backs over $15 gets a copy of the film — whether that be a digital download or DVD depending on the amount of the pledge. As mentioned earlier, we’ve been lucky enough to have several talented artists attached to Cat Sick Blues, helping us out with posters and original artwork. Backers can get their hands on four different posters, or a “ultimate pack” with all of them.

They can also get original painted artwork (although only one painting is left now). They can get hand-crafted props from the film (that includes fake dead cats and the Catman’s gloves — both crafted by the wonderful Deiter Barry Creations), a download of the score, t-shirts, a very limited VHS, and they can even get killed by the Catman on film. There’s also other fun and weird stuff like a photo shoot with the Catman. At the top end of the backer rewards is a chance to be credited as an associate or executive producer of the film.

Cat Sick Blues - Poster


HHR: Finally, once the film is in post-production, what’s the plan?

DJ: Post-production is probably my favourite part of the filmmaking process. I love the total madness of shooting a film — not sleeping, working yourself to near death (really I do) — but I find editing to be such a euphoric and intimate experience. There’s nothing better than being able to see everything come together,  even if it comes together in an entirely different way than planned, and even if you can see your plunders. So yes, I’m really looking forward to post-production even though it’s some months away.

Once the film is finished, we’ll be making it our priority to get the film out to the backers so they have the opportunity to see Cat Sick Blues before it plays at any festivals. We haven’t made any plans at this point for distribution. We know that Cat Sick Blues will probably spend a good year in festivals, but in terms of a release for home viewers, we’ll have to see what happens and what the response to the film is. Right now though, our focus is entirely on the Kickstarter, because if we don’t reach our target, there won’t be a film!
Thank you very much to Dave for taking part in this in depth interview, Hayley’s Horror Reviews wishes the team all the best with the campaign and hopefully we’ll see Ted clawing up nine helpless victims on the blood-drenched screen very soon!
Twitter: @CatSickBlues
Hayley Alice Roberts
Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Celluloid Screams 2013: The Top Short Films.

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews


Similarly to my previous list discussing the feature films that stood out the most at this year’s Celluloid Screams, this list compiles together the most interesting and innovative shorts that were on offer at Sheffield’s Horror Festival. These are the views of Hayley’s Horror Reviews and once again don’t reflect the general outcome of the winning short films. Head over to for more detailed reviews of Celluloid’s shorts.

6. Cat Sick Blues

  • Directed By Dave Jackson
  • Australia


Cat Sick Blues is one of those strange yet compelling shorts that’s a bit out of the box. It begins with a young couple having a dispute on the beach. They are subsequently distracted from their argument by the presence of a homeless man, donning a cat mask. The man displays typical cat mannerisms and begins following them home. Cat Sick Blues takes a gory direction, but doesn’t let on where it’s actually going to go, ramping up the suspense throughout its ten minute run time. If there’s a moral to this story: Don’t trust Kitty!

5.  Hell No

  • Directed By Joe Nicolosi
  • USA


Hell No is a humorous, crowd-pleasing critique of the codes and conventions of Horror Movies. The short film/ trailer spoofs what generations of fans have been screaming at cinema screens for years. It takes the concept of “What would happen in a Horror film if they featured smart characters who made sensible choices?” and explores it in a very quick-witted, entertaining way. Hell No satirizes the slasher and supernatural flicks.

4.  Invocation

  • Directed by Robert Morgan
  • UK


Invocation is a stop-motion animation crossed over with live action which already sets it apart and gives it its own uniqueness. A filmmaker unintentionally unleashes something nasty when attempting to create a film, focusing on a teddy bear. Very unnerving with an even gorier twist. Invocation offers something a little different.

3. The Root of the Problem

  • Directed By Ryan Spindell
  • USA


The Root of The Problem plays upon a very common fear for some, a visit to the Dentist. The short builds up tension very well and puts the viewer into the feeling of unease just like the female patient. There is a sense of apprehension throughout. A young housewife living in 1950’s Suburbia suspects there is something wrong with the local dentist, but is she simply paranoid? The Root of the Problem explores the tooth fairy mythology which hasn’t really had a decent on screen portrayal. With the makings of a supernatural thriller, The Root of the Problem has the potential to be developed into a feature.

2. The Body

  • Directed by Paul Davis
  • UK


Paul Davis new short The Body was eagerly-anticipated following the success of last year’s Him Indoors, surrounding the shenanigans of an agoraphobic serial killer. The Body is equally as twisted and well-crafted. It’s Halloween night and a Patrick Bateman-esque serial killer known as “The Man” uses Halloween Night to dispose of a body. Sounds straightforward enough? However on his way he meets a group of party-goers who delay his plans by admiring this “well made prop” he’s carrying around. Alfie Allen plays his murderer character straight while the other characters provide the comedy. Filled with irony, The Body is a high contender for the best horror short of 2013 with its comedic, yet dark humour and detailed set design and costumes.

1. Butterflies

  • Directed by Isabel Peppard
  • Australia


If you’ve seen mine and Caitlyn’s video coverage of the festival, you will know that we cannot emphasize enough on how much we adored Isabel Peppard’s Butterflies. Filled with artistic and beautiful stop-motion animation, Butterflies tells a poignant tale about how true talent and art can be under-appreciated in favour of a more commercial and repetitive world that we live in. A young artist struggles to make money selling her drawings to passers-by, she encounters a businessman who offers her a paying job, designing greeting cards. Soon, her and those around her’s talents become suppressed and the new role threatens to destroy all her imagination, will she escape before its too late? With a stunning, gothic setting and animation so detailed and expressive, Butterflies tells a relatable story that effects many in society. Butterflies is a film I cannot recommend enough.

**Special Mention**

Claymania: The Films of Lee Hardcastle.


Another feature of Celluloid Screams 2013 was the showcase of talented claymator Lee Hardcastle’s work. Without the restriction of live action filmic techniques Lee Hardcastle’s stop-motion claymation goes all out with plenty of quirky story-telling and imagery, gore and typical British humour that appeals to a wide audience. Visit his Youtube Channel:  to watch his latest short Ghost Burger, a sequel to T is for Toilet from the ABC’s of Death.

Hayley Alice Roberts.