Archive for Frightfest

Rabid (2019) Review

Posted in Horror Blog, Horror Festivals, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2019 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**Warning: Contains Some Spoilers**

Laura Vandervoort (Smallville) stars as Rose, an underappreciated fashion designer who becomes the victim of a dreadful accident in the Soska Sisters (American Mary-2012) inventive reimagining of David Cronenberg’s cult classic, Rabid (1977). After becoming horrifically scarred and finding her career hanging from a thread, Rose decides to seek the assistance of a private surgeon, Dr. William Burroughs (Ted Atherton) and undergoes radical stem cell surgery. Despite him restoring her outer image back to normal with Rose gaining new-found confidence, this is where her nightmare truly begins…

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While unfamiliar with Cronenberg’s original, Rabid (2019) feels unique to the Soska’s flair for stylish visuals, sharp dialogue, their ability to write strong female characters and their love for the horror genre. Nothing is held back as the film presents outstanding grizzly FX, not for the faint of heart. When Rose’s facial trauma is initially revealed it’s gasp-worthily gruesome anchored by Vandervoort’s tremendous performance as the poor, unassuming woman who has experienced an unjustified misfortune. Vandervoort effortlessly allows us to connect and empathize with Rose, showcasing her vulnerability even prior to her life-altering accident as she encounters peer pressure from those around her from her ruthless boss, Gunter (Mackenzie Gray) to her well-meaning but flawed best friend, Chelsea (Hanneke Talbot).

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The gore is ramped up as the film unfolds offering up imaginatively grotesque set-pieces which will instantaneously satisfy horror lovers with a penchant for all things blood and guts. Along with this the film features mezmerizing and surreal imagery and a versatile soundtrack that adds to the overall edgy tone that the film projects. At its core, there is strong and layered storytelling developing throughout as Rose navigates the changes she has undergone while re-adapting to her environment and the toxic people around her.

The Soska Sisters boldly confront damaging attitudes towards women and body image head-on. With themes of body horror, this is the ideal platform to explore issues that plague women within the entertainment industry through a genre lens. By setting Rabid with the fashion world as a backdrop, it allows an opportunity to highlight harmful viewpoints on weight and food which effectively transcends into a horror context. For example, in the beginning, Rose is seen tucking into a bland salad but as the film progresses she finds herself with a lust for blood, depicting the notion of food discipline resulting in her gauging and metaphorically relapsing.

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Rabid incorporates several layers to it, its body horror fused with tropes from the zombie sub-genre, with an ever-advancing virus outbreak, a snowball effect resulting from Rose’s surgery. Rabid plays on the classic trope where one incident can spark off a deadly chain of events concluding in sheer mayhem and bloodshed. At the same time, it is an engaging character-driven story allowing the audience to truly care about what’s happening to the protagonist, as the plot is carefully built-up in stages, taking its time to develop rather than going straight for the jugular. The ending is absolutely startling and will remain with the audience long after the credits roll.

 

Rabid is another genre cinematic accomplishment for the Soska’s. They have incorporated a few subtle nods to American Mary which simply callsback to their most iconic film without coming across as overblown or shoehorned in.  There are some brilliant cameos which will delight fans, including Tristan Risk, Lynn Lowry, Stephen McHattie and the Twisted Twins themselves. All thats left now is to eagerly anticipate the next project from these two, innovative directors who know how to deliver dynamic and captivating horror.

The film premiered at Frightfest back in August 2019 but you can now take a bite out of Rabid as its available on  Blu-Ray courtesy of 101 Films.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Twitter: WelshDemoness 

 

September 2016: Horror Catch Up

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Halloween Month, Horror Festivals, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hello Horror Hounds!

I know it’s been an age since I’ve updated this blog but I can assure you that I haven’t stopped working on all things Horror these past few months.

The main bulk of my reviewing will now be on LoveHorror.co.uk; however I will provide regular links on here to all my recent work. This blog will be active for articles such as personal top 10 lists, Halloween month etc. I’d really love to bring Halloween Month back this October so if you have any requests or suggestions for films you’d like me to talk about, drop me a comment below.

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I was unable to attend this year’s Horror Channel’s FrightFest due to work commitments however I have reviewed a few films that were shown at the festival. So far, stylish body horror Let Her Out is available to check out on the site. If you haven’t seen this one I highly recommend it, it has a gore-geous visual style accompanied by an intriguing premise. You can read my full thoughts here: http://lovehorror.co.uk/horror-reviews/let-2016-review/

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I watched/reviewed Night of Something Strange today so be sure to check out my review of that when it’s available on the site. It’s a real blast and if you love parodies, horror/comedy and gross out humour then it’s certainly worth checking out. Also coming up will be reviews of the independent short films of Mark McFarlane and Jimmi Johnson and Welsh language thriller The Library Suicides

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I finally saw The Neon Demon this week at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Cinema. I went into the film with mixed expectations but was incredibly impressed. It’s such a stunning, messed up film and even though the pacing is rather slow in places I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and needed to know what was going to happen.

Ghostface Girls are back! Following our trip to Horror Con UK back in July, Caitlyn and I have recorded and uploaded another podcast where we discuss Horror on TV. With the new season of American Horror Story coming out soon and Stranger Things currently being one of the most popular genre shows on Netflix and in general we had a lot to talk about. Accompanying the podcast we interviewed author and interviewer Tony Earnshaw on his book Fantastique which has incorporated interviews from the world’s most iconic filmmakers from Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy:

Read our Fantastique interview here: https://creators.co/@ghostfacegirls/4034542

Our latest interview was published this week where we spoke to Russell Hillman of Freaktown Comics on his Kickstarer project and graphic novel, Slashermania. His campaign ends on September 13th so if you’d like to show some support click the link below:

Read our interview with Russell Here: https://creators.co/@ghostfacegirls/4070488

In other Ghostface Girls news, we will be heading to Celluloid Screams from the 21st-23rd October then Wales Comic Con on the 5th and 6th November. As always you will find us at the Abertoir Horror Festival from the 15th-20th November. There’s a lot of exciting things coming up.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

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!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.   So what’s next? Have you got any more genre related projects lined up?
We shot two shorts last year (After Three and Grace’s Story in post-production) which we’re very proud of and we’re in pre-prouction with our next feature which will be an ultra-violent revenge drama.
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Keep your eyes peeled for a Before Dawn DVD release this February!
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Interviewer: Hayley Alice Roberts
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