Archive for Child’s Play

Silently Within Your Shadow (2015) Short Review

Posted in Short Scares with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

When it comes to horror movies, the ‘creepy doll’ is a staple and frequently revisited trope. There’s the menacing madness to the likes of Chucky and his subsidiary counterparts in Dolls (1987), PuppetMaster (1989), Dolly Dearest (1991) and Demonic Toys (1992). The concept made a spooky return in horror movies during the 2000’s as well as this decade in the form of Billy the Puppet from SAW (2004-2010), Annabelle from The Conjuring (2013) and of course Billy the ventriloquist dummy from James Wan’s Dead Silence (2007). In the latter mentioned films the position of the demonic doll is used as more of a scapegoat for a greater plot rather than being a central figure.

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The Ventriloquist Dummy has always played a vital part in unnerving psychological horror from childhood fiction in Goosebumps, Night of the Living Dummy (#1.10) (1996) to Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s season one episode, The Puppet Show (#1.9) (1997).

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Indie short film director Scott Lyus of Crossroad Pictures brings the concept back to the forefront in Silently Within Your Shadow, a fifteen minute piece that centers on a young couple driven apart by an ambiguous entity.

What’s always excellent about the idea of ‘the doll’ is it’s rationally nonthreatening presence is creepy enough to trigger irrational fears and heightened emotions. This is exactly what Lyus captures in this short.

Lucette (Sophie Tergeist)  is extremely obsessed with her ventriloquist dummy, Hugo (voiced by horror icon Bill Moseley) that it begins to put strain on her relationship with her irritated but moderately patient boyfriend Jace (Byron Fernandes). But Lyus leaves his audience curious to discover whether the doll is truly alive or an illogical fixation of Lucette’s mindset.

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From a social perspective, the doll is a symbol of Lucette’s conflict between domesticity with her boyfriend and the pull of her career on stage. It’s all consuming with deadly consequences but is presented as a genuinely creepy short, supplying plenty of chills and darkness.

The production quality is a polished effort and highly professional. The cinematography and editing is of a high standard with the film achieving exactly what it needs to in it’s brief time frame. We are in the age of the rise of low budget genre filmmaking and with crowdfunding platforms and accessible technology it proves that a great deal can be reached with limited and less expensive resources.

Lyus has great potential as a horror storyteller, therefore it would be interesting to see what he could bring to a feature film.

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Silently Within Your Shadow is the kind of film that keeps you looking over your shoulder and has an atmospheric tone from the get go. It features a cult icon and believable performances from it’s two leads while engulfing a familiar but fun genre concept. What’s not to love…?

Silently Within You Shadow is available to view on Amazon Prime as of the 26th May 2017 for some late night spooktacular scares.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 

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**Horror News, End of June**

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals, Love Horror, Press Release, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

As we approach the end of the month in the dark depths of the horror world, two pieces of news have emerged today on some upcoming projects that are sure to ignite discussion amongst the community.

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Firstly, Child’s Play creator Don Mancini has announced he will be working on his seventh instalment from the killer doll franchise. Teasing ideas surrounding the potential plot line, Mancini plans to continue taking Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) down his original horror roots rather than the comedy angle that was taken in 1998’s cult classic Bride of Chucky or 2004’s less successful offering Seed of Chucky.

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The slash-worthy, seventh sequel will kick off where last year’s surprise success Curse of Chucky (2013) left off, the iconic Chucky will return to torment his new nemesis Nica, meaning Fiona Dourif will be reprising her role once again. Proving to be a resourceful and determined ‘final girl type’, Nica’s return is a welcome one. Mancini was also questioned on whether Jennifer Tilly (Chucky’s Bride, Tiffany) or Alex Vincent (Andy Barclay from the original trilogy) will be included in the film, considering Curse’s ending featured a cameo and hints towards them both, however at this stage he claims its early days to discuss any further but left fans up in the air by announcing ‘Who Knows’?

The latest piece of genre info that emerged today isn’t one I’m particularly looking forward to. So, we’re due another remake of an unforgettable Japanese shocker? That’s right, Takashi Miike’s quietly brutal 1999 film Audition is getting a US make over. The Asia Extreme frightmare was one of the most suspenseful and gritty horror movies of the decade, but sources say that the remake is actually an adaptation of the 1997 Ryu Murakami  novel that Miike’s version was based upon. Australian director Richard Gray is on board and will be writing his own screenplay for the upcoming feature.

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According to The Guardian, the Hollywood remake will focus on a lonely man named Sam Davis who is encouraged by a filmmaker friend to hold auditions for a new wife following the death of his first, seven years prior. Sam meets an enigmatic ballerina with a past just as mysterious, but is she all she seems? Fans of Miike’s violent, spine-tingling chiller will be aware of the dark depths the plot takes. Audition, has never needed the remake treatment, being a clever yet disturbing film all on its own.  Whether it will be successful, who knows? I personally suggest, Get your own ideas Hollywood!

During my write-up of last year’s Abertoir Horror Festival, I discussed a cultural, game-changer from Laos. Mattie Do is the first female director from her country and not only that she created the first horror film there too. Chanthaly was a hauntingly beautiful, supernatural tale about a young woman coming to terms with her mother’s death during childhood, searching for answers to questions unanswered by her strict father.  Do faced restrictions within her culture regarding  imagery she could include within the film (Laos is a communist country), therefore no scenes of gore or intimacy of any kind.

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Following a fantastic response to the film, she is now planning her second, Nong Hak which translates to Dearest Sister, Do has campaigned via indie-go-go in order to raise the funds for the film which sounds like yet another innovative project. She also raised $15,000 of the funds locally and has reached her target from the help of dedicated supporters. There’s still a few days to donate if you can so check out this link (including Do’s humorous campaign video) : nong-hak-dearest-sister-a-lao-horror-film, share it around and spread the word. Nong Hak will be the 13th Laon film and the most ambitious, definitely an exciting time for the country’s cinema and something exciting to get involved in.

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Congratulations to indie, genre director Jessica Cameron, as London’s Film 4’s Fright Fest festival recently announced its line-up its emerged that Cameron’s eagerly-anticipated grisly Truth or Dare will be making its UK debut in August, marking the fesitval’s 14th year. This means the film may potentially screen around other UK festivals later in the year. Fingers Crossed.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews has a few things lined up for July, so keep your eyeballs peeled, plus more from my contributions at  Love Horror and Ghostface Girls on the way.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

 

 

Chucky’s Reign of Terror is far from over! Thoughts on a possible part 7!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVEN’T SEEN, CURSE OF CHUCKY.**

On December 2nd, Child’s Play creator Don Mancini, teased fans of the killer doll franchise with a possible sequel to 2013’s surprise success, Curse of Chucky. There’s no denying that Curse of Chucky defied skeptics including myself and proved to be a chillingly dark yet funny entry into the series, with well-rounded characters. It’s not only me saying this but it could easily be the best Chucky film yet, ending the pint-sized, cold-blooded killer’s evil reign of terror on a strong note. Mancini’s re-boot/sequel was just what the franchise needed and re-captured what made us fear this unlikely horror icon in the first place. For the first time in a long time we’ve seen a refreshing take on a well-known horror character and they thankfully didn’t need to go down the tired remake route!

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Therefore news of a continuation of Curse of Chucky is actually generating a lot of positivity from fans and internet media alike. Cleverly the sixth installment left the door open with a few unresolved plot points that have the potential to be explored further. I’m in two mind frames, on one hand, with the same crew behind it and with keeping to the same tone, it could work, there’s plenty of interesting ideas circulating currently. Mancini has teased that the sequel will elaborate on what happened to young Alice (Summer H. Howell) and there’s even rumors through the grapevine that Andy (Alex Vincent) might make a reappearance. Seeing an adult Andy face to face with Chucky (voiced consistently by Brad Dourif) again would definitely be worth seeing. Fiona Dourif’s Nica also survived the carnage in part six and there’s the possibility that she would be out to seek her own revenge and what about Chucky’s doll bride Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) ?

However there’s also the concern of, will another sequel be just as good? Will it meet the high expectations its predecessor has set for it? I firmly believe sometimes its preferable to leave something on a high rather than over-expose it.

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For now we shall have to sit tight and wait and see. The proposed Chucky film is not yet a studio announcement but a project Mancini himself is interested in creating. With the performing success of Curse of Chucky, who can really blame him?

Over to you, my blood-soaked followers, are you looking forward to a possible new Chucky movie? or do you think the series should be left as it is? Feel free to comment below or via my facebook page.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Halloween Month: Curse of Chucky (2013)

Posted in Halloween Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS**

Prior to its Fright Fest Premiere back in August, I discussed both my interest and excitement for the new installment from the Child’s Play franchise, Curse of Chucky (2013). With any horror sequel, especially one derived from a long-running series, there’s going to be plenty of skepticism. Does the film need to be made? Will it offer anything distinctive? Will it hold up well with fans? On some level, yes the film was a welcoming addition to the series and ends Chucky on a better note than the atrocious Seed of Chucky (2005) did. I wouldn’t say it offered anything particularly new but it does work well as a suspenseful and scary horror film that does exactly what it sets out to do and meets expectations. As stated, this film was owed to the fans due to the disappointment of the previous film and there is a lot there to enjoy.

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As Curse of Chucky is a new release I won’t give too much of the good stuff away but merely allude to why this is worth watching for Child’s Play and general horror fans alike.

So, Chucky’s back and meaner than ever! The tone of the film differed greatly from the cheesy,  horror comedy of the Bride/Seed of Chucky sequels in favor of a more sinister approach. Director Don Mancini  stated that his intention was to incorporate a different style in comparison to the previous film, and on the whole I can say he achieved this well. The prime setting is a dated, gothic mansion, complete with an old-fashioned elevator that looks eerily similar to the one that Frank-N-Furter makes his entrance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), creating a set up for plenty of scares!

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Nica (Fiona Dourif- Brad Dourif’s real life daughter) is confined to a wheel chair and has let life restrict her due to caring for her mentally ill mother Sarah (Chantal Qusenelle). We see glimpses of their strained relationship however its soon cut short by the mysterious arrival of Good Guy Doll Chucky (the vessel of serial killer Charles Lee Ray, who was gunned down in a toy store and transferred his soul into a doll- for those that didn’t know!). Nica discovers her dead mother and assumes it was suicide. We then meet the rest of the characters, her snobby sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti), she’s pretty much unlikable but there is an interesting twist to her character that challenges the stereotypical dominant career-woman/wife and mother who has a blatant identity crisis. There’s her adorable daughter Alice (Summer H. Howell) who does very well in the film for her age, especially acting innocently to Chucky’s crude manner. A favorite line had to be when she uttered “Chucky, I’m scared” during a storm sequence, his reply, “you f***ing should be!”, her reaction is priceless. There’s Barb’s put-upon husband Ian (Brennan Elliott) who may be more self-aware of his families issues than meets the eye, he also seems attracted to their Nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell) who is bizarrely being paid $400 an hour to take care of their daughter. Father Frank (A. Martinez), a reverend is also there to console the family but its doubtful that religion will go down too well with the murderous Chucky (Voiced by Brad Dourif).

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So what can push a dysfunctional family over the edge even further? Well throw in a killer doll of course, hell bent on revenge. Chucky has a score to settle, one that began twenty-five years ago with Nica’s family. This film is the missing piece of the puzzle, we get an insight into the backstory of Charles Lee Ray, before he terrorized innocent Andy Barclay all those years ago. The discovery gives him a bit more depth, even though it isn’t a particularly shocking twist. I’m assuming Mancini intended to provide a sense of empathy for him however it doesn’t translate too well as he is irredeemable by this point. That said, uncovering the mystery of what Chucky wants with the family throughout the film is pretty enjoyable viewing.

Tension is built up well however is slightly drawn out at times. The viewer is brought to the edge of their seats and are pushed that bit further, especially during the family dinner scene. During the tense moments, a lot of close ups are used, conveying a sense of uncomfortableness not knowing when Chucky will jump out around the corner or when a false alarm will occur. There are some genuine jump scare moments, which shows that Mancini has upped his game in terms of improving the series by using old skool techniques to create a sense of suspense and fear, a favorite would be the creepy elevator scene. The original film is echoed back to a great deal in this sense, visually, with Chucky menacingly running around, through using close ups of his feet and POV shots.

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Why is Curse of Chucky one to watch this Halloween, You ask? Its always fun to check out a new horror movie however this one obviously has the nostalgia factor. “The 80’s were awesome!” exclaims Ian as he recalls the popularity of the Good Guy Dolls, however I do wonder why it wasn’t discontinued after being associated with numerous murders! Fiona Dourif’s Nica is very likeable and is much stronger and resourceful than the rest of the characters, especially when it comes to taking matters into her own hands, she certainly holds her own when encountered with the evil doll. There’s some hilarious yet dark one-liners, Chucky is back on top form and his killings have got a bit more gruesome and with the perfect 18 certificate the gore goes all out! The ending is surprising with a twist that will be very appealing to its fans. Its also a very good introduction to Chucky for those unfamiliar with the previous installments as it shows him at his dark best and provides a clear backstory. With relief the series has also avoided the inevitable horror remake making a sequel of this kind more welcoming. I could go as far as saying this is my favorite film from the series but I have a lot of affection for Bride of Chucky as well as the original trilogy! For a fun, scary and suspenseful recent horror film, be sure to indulge in Curse of Chucky this season.

Hayley Alice Robers.

Some Thoughts on Curse of Chucky (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Its a doll, what’s the worst that can happen?- [Taken From Trailer].

The trailer for the sixth installment of the popular Child’s Play franchise hit the web today, showcasing Curse of Chucky (2013). Instead of re-booting the entire franchise, another sequel seems to be the better approach as the series is  without a doubt in dire need of redeeming  itself following the disaster that was Seed of Chucky (2004). The return of the murderous red-headed menace, possessed by the soul of a notorious serial killer  is being  brought back to us by original creator Don Mancini who’s written and directed the piece. This suggests the project is a labor of love for him, considering Chucky has been around for the past twenty-five-years.  Brad Dourif is also on board reprising his iconic voice-acting role as the demonic doll. Not only that his real-life actress daughter Fiona Dourif is taking him on as protagonist Nica, giving the project an even more personal touch and heightening the strong theme of family that the plot conveys.

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Drawing from the trailer, it appears Mancini is attempting to bring back the old school style of horror that was present in the earlier films of suspense and added humor. The story has returned to that of a more conventional narrative with a family being terrorized by the pint-size piece of evil rather than the over-the-top silliness that came with Bride of Chucky (1998) (which remains a personal guilty pleasure!) and the God-awful previously mentioned Seed of Chucky. The plot focuses on the conflict of two sisters following the death of their mother. When Nica’s young niece receives a mysterious package in the post its not long before dolly dearest commits a series of brutal murders which leads back to a score he failed to settle twenty-years earlier, and this time he is determined to see it through. This now means the timeline for the film relates back to 1993 following the events of Child’s Play 3 which saw Chucky terrorize a grown-up Andy for the third time in army camp.

My expectations for this film will hopefully be some cheesy references and self-awareness and plenty of brutal gore to compliment the tone of modern horror.

Granted, its not an original idea but Curse of Chucky is sure to please fans of the franchise as well as reminding us of what we love about the Horror and Slasher genres. Curse of Chucky may be a throwback to the late 80’s/early 90’s but there’s no denying that as a horror fan, its nice to see a familiar face returning to the screen. The film will be premiering at this year’s Film4 Fright Fest in August, following a DVD and Blu-Ray release on September 24th.

Bring on the bloodbath, Chucky’s Back!!