Archive for Geoff Harmer

Hayley’s Horror Update March 2017

Posted in Horror Blog, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hello Horror Hounds! Hope you are having a gore-geously glorious week filled with some mega movie watching!

Hayley on Horror Couch

I haven’t updated this blog for quite a while so felt it was time for a long overdue update. For those of you who follow me on Facebook you will have already seen all my recent content but for those of you who keep updated via here, here are some links to what I’ve been up to on Love Horror lately.

Prevenge

Back in February I visited my regular haunt, The Showroom Cinema in Sheffield, home of Celluloid Screams: Horror Film Festival which I attend each October. I went to see the UK tour of Alice Lowe’s frightfully funny, pregnancy horror Prevenge (2016). 

So far, Prevenge is my standout film seen this year, although I am also eagerly anticipating, Get Out. If you’re in the US, Prevenge is stalking it’s way onto Shudder in two days time.

Check out my full review: http://lovehorror.co.uk/horror-reviews/prevenge-2017-review/

Dead Air

Earlier this month I interviewed award-winning Independent Filmmaker Geoff Harmer (Fraught Productions) regarding his recent Kickstarter campaign for his female-led, rock infused, 80’s inspired creature feature Dead Air. The campaign ended last week and the project is currently on hiatus but I highly recommend checking it out as well as our interview which talks low budget filmmaking and female status in horror movies.

http://lovehorror.co.uk/interview/interview-geoff-harmer-fraught-productions/

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Finally, I subjected myself to some Euro Sleaze courtesy of new cult film label Maison Rouge and got my first taste of some Jess Franco with his seedy, 70’s sexploitation, Female Vampire (AKA Bare Breasted Countess). 

The movie is not so heavy on the horror with more emphasis on awkward, relentless sex scenes, but hey, it was a film experience I am unlikely to forget! You can read more of my thoughts on Female Vampire here: http://lovehorror.co.uk/horror-reviews/female-vampire-1975-review/

I also have a review of Helga: She Wolf of Stilberg (1978) coming right up. If those were my thoughts on Female Vampire as you can imagine, Helga didn’t fare much better. I’m still figuring out which one I considered worse!

I have plenty of creepy content coming soon, so keep your eyeballs peeled and plenty of new ideas for the site and my career in horror reviewing.

Head to my Facebook page for more regular updates including a weekly ‘Scary Soundtrack’, Follow me on Twitter @WelshDemoness and check out my Instagram mshayleyr1989

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

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The Top 10 Short Films of Celluloid Screams 2015

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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Just as much as the features, viewing a selection of short films is a vital part of the festival experience. Celluloid Screams screened some mind-blowing shorts that demonstrate how filmmakers can achieve effective storytelling in a limited time frame. This year’s festival saw a versatile mix from laughs and gore to hard-hitting to the bonkers and the bizarre. Please note that these are my views and do not reflect the winning films selected by the short film jury panel. Please comment if you agree or disagree with my picks.

10. Remnant

  • Director Andy Stewart
  • Country: UK
  • Run Time: 15 Minutes

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Andy Stewart returned to Celluloid Screams with his brand new short Remnant. Best known for his grizzly visual effects in his body horror trilogy, Dysmorphia, Split and Ink (that screened at last year’s festival and July’s UK Horror Con); Stewart shifted direction for his latest short which could be described as a combination of A Nightmare on Elm Street meets Jekyll and Hyde. Remnant is more narrative led than his previous offerings, Claire Miller (Lucy Goldie) suffers with nightmares and finds herself waking up in places with no memory of how she got there. Goldie delivers a masterful performance as the tormented young woman who struggles with daily life and holding down her job. Hellraiser and Nightbreed icon Nicholas Vince makes an appearance as Claire’s somewhat sympathetic boss, Ian. For its short run time, the audience are able to empathize with Claire as the film rockets towards its worth-the-wait climax. Remnant is a dynamic and psychological piece.

9. Slut

  • Director: Chloe Okuno
  • Country: USA
  • Run Time: 21 Minutes

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Its the classic tale of the ugly duckling who transforms into a beautiful swan in Chloe Okuno’s Slut. This impressive entry is a graduate AFI thesis film, that is tremendously shot and inventive in what it does. Already, an award-winning short, Slut centers on a naive, young girl named Maddy (Molly McIntyre) who lives with her invalid grandmother in a small Texas town. Tired of being ridiculed, Maddy decides to reinvent herself to impress the boys and prove fierce competition for the established town “slut”. With a 1970’s flair, Slut is a visual throwback that takes an unexpected turn. Incredibly professional and well-made. Fans of exploitation and old school horror will relish in it.

8. There’s Something in the Attic

  • Director: Lee Hardcastle
  • Country: UK
  • Run Time: 2 Minutes

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With the shortest run time of all the short films screened at Celluloid, There’s Something in the Attic is from Lee Hardcastle, best known for his inventive and extremely funny stop motion animations (T is for Toilet, ABC’s of Death). Starring Sightseers’s Alice Lowe, There’s Something in the Attic centres on a woman who finds something terrifying living in her attic, however all is not what it seems. Hardcastle delivers an unexpected twist, while Lowe brings in an expressive performance. There’s Something in the Attic marks Hardcastle’s first non animated film but still supplies some fantastic special effects, in a heartwarming tale that teaches don’t judge a book by its cover. Incredibly short but increasingly effective.

7.  Crow Hand

  • Director: Brian Lonano
  • Country: USA
  • Run Time: 3 Minutes

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Crow Hand is a gore effects visual spectacle. A husband gets more than he bargained for when he dismisses his wife’s warning and picks up an enigmatic crow totem from the ground in a parking lot. Highly played for laughs, Crow Hand is the kind of gory, comedy that is essential to the horror festival experience. An audience crowd-pleaser, events get crazier and crazier. Crow Hand is splatterific!

6. The Chickening

  • Director: Davy Force and Nick DenBoer
  • Country: Canada
  • Run Time: 5 Minutes

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Keeping in with the absolutely bonkers theme, The Chickening is unlike anything you’ve seen before! This Canadian collaboration will change the way you view Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining forever! The Chickening needs to be seen to be believed. Its the perfect midnight madness though cleverly put together to re-create imagery from the famous film but with chickens! Quirky, strange but completely hilarious. This is a film that should be seen amongst a group of friends if not with a festival audience.

5. The Mill at Calder’s End

  • Director:  Kevin McTurk
  • Country: USA
  • Run Time: 14 Minutes

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The Mill at Calder’s End is a beautiful combination of stop motion animation and puppetry, standing out from the rest of the Celluloid shorts offerings. Kevin McTurk tells a traditional ghost story centring on family and a deep seated secret that threatens to spill with grim effects. There’s a dark sense of dread throughout as Nick Grimshaw (Jason Flemyng) returns to his childhood home to unearth the secret of the Mill and attempt to break the curse that’s impacted his family legacy. Dark, ethereal and gothic, The Mill at Calder’s End also features the voicing talents of Barbara Steele, Piotr Michael and John Alexander. An exceptional and well crafted piece, The Mill at Calder’s End delivers genuine, spooky horror. The stop-motion world created is both stunning and impressive.

4. Evil Mexican Child

  • Director: Michael Noonan
  • Country: Mexico
  • Run Time: 8 Minutes

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Appropriately screening before Emelie, Evil Mexican Child menacingly fits in with this year’s creepy kids trend. Never underestimate the power of a seemingly innocent child as the parents of a young boy are about to find out. Playing on conventional horror tropes, Evil Mexican child (Maximo de la Rosa) draws horrific pictures that foreshadows the grizzly fates of those closest to him. Played with a blend of black comedy, the mother (Xochitl Hernandez) soon realises she can use this to her advantage! Tongue in cheek, twisted and entertaining, Evil Mexican Child keeps up the surprise element until the very end.

3. Selfie

  • Director: Geoff Harmer
  • Country: UK
  • Run Time: 7 Minutes

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Geoff Harmer, director of indie psychological thriller Addict returns with a freaky short film that asks what if there was something else in the picture with you when taking a harmless selfie? Stacy Hart’s character is about to find out! Relaxing at home one evening, the young woman partakes in some text flirting. The person in question encourages her to take some selfies to send to him. An innocent bit of fun turns into something far more sinister when the woman’s admirer insists that she’s not alone in the image. Selfie is ghoulish fun acting as a commentary for young people’s obsession with self-image and the vain, inescapable phenomenon of the Selfie. This nightmarish short could come straight out of a creepypasta. You will never Instagram in the same way again!

2. Surgery

  • Director: George Clemens and Samuel Clemens
  • Country: UK
  • Run Time: 11 Minutes

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Surgery is a bittersweet entry in terms of its background. Originally stemmed from an idea by Brian Clemens; writer of the popular 1960s series The Avengers. Clemens sadly passed away earlier this year. His sons George and Samuel Clemens continued their father’s legacy bringing his grizzly tale of vengeance to life in the squirm-worthy Surgery. Shot from the point of view of a man on the operating table, Surgery is a terrifying ordeal which sees him tortured by a mysterious figure known as “The Crude Surgeon”, but there’s more than meets the eyeball than first imagined. Surgery layers on the suspense and is tremendously acted, allowing us to feel empathy for the man as he undergoes the unimaginable. Nicholas Ball steals the show playing both caring and menacing equally well. The Clemens brothers have done their father proud, creating genuine horror. Surgery has everything a horror film should, intrigue, suspense and squeamish imagery. Unforgettable.

1. The Herd

  • Director: Melanie Light
  • Country: UK
  • Run Time: 20 Minutes

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The Herd deservingly won the best short film of Celluloid Screams but prior to the announcement it was without a doubt my personal winning short film too. Devastating, effective and thought-provoking, Melanie Light’s personal, political and feminist film gets under the skin and is hard to shake off especially once the end credits roll. A bleak and honest look at the dairy industry, The Herd is played as a metaphor placing women in the position of defenceless animals in a grim, run down medical facility. They are kept permanently pregnant and used for milk. If a female gives birth to a boy they are instantly taken away from her but if she has a girl, the cruel process is repeated from generation to generation. The Herd is a difficult watch, especially for animal lovers. Light however informs the audience of the harsh realities leaving us all with something to think about. The Herd features a stellar cast including Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman), Seamus O’Neill (Inbred) and Andrew Shim (This is England). With all the fantastical horror films out there, The Herd is what should be described as true horror, it holds nothing back making it an exceptionally powerful and upsetting film.

**SPECIAL MENTIONS**

Invaders, Good Hands and Portal to Hell.

Scared Safe: Real Horror From the Public Information Films Archive.

Each year Celluloid Screams delivers a showcase focusing on the work of a particular director, previous years have seen Astron-6, Lee Hardcastle and Dennison Ramalho to name a few. This year the festival gave us a special treat by delving into the archives and seeking out the most strange public information films from the 1970’s and 80s. From the famous “Charlie Says…” to Protect and Survive, these films were in place to inform and protect the public however to a modern audience come across as rather amusing with their uptight British voice-overs, hammy acting and low production qualities.

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Never go with Strangers from 1971 proved a highlight reminding young children to never go off with someone they don’t know. It comes across as rather simplistic but also bizarre in its techniques. Remember kids, if there’s no donkey in that field it was all lies!

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Toning down the laughs but upping the horror was the notorious The Finishing Line, teaching kids not to play on the railway tracks. This oddly constructed film showed children in the context of a sports day event yet instead of having fun they are playing with danger. The most shocking moments come towards the end which sees a mass death of children in the tunnel, only for the adults to lay their bodies on the train tracks. It comes across as shocking today let alone how it was received back in the 1970s. Re-watching the public information films was a trip down memory lane with a fascinating insight into how these films attempted to scare and shock young people into keeping safe. They certainly were effective in their own way.

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Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Addict (2013) Review

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Addict (2013) is the feature-length debut from independent Director Geoff Harmer of Fraught Productions. Since circulating the festivals in 2013, Addict earned itself a few awards including a winning 4 star award at the British International Amateur Film Festival and a ‘Best Actor’ nomination for the film’s leading man Paul Anthony.  Addict has also achieved success across the globe winning the award of excellence at the Indie Fest in the USA and was also screened in Germany’s After Dark Horror Film Festival and at the Full Length Festival Kinoteatr Projekt in Poland.

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The film is a character study focusing on unhinged individual David Pettigrew (Paul Anthony). On the surface, David is a mild-mannered businessman working on a water filter pyramid scheme but he shields a sinister interior. Harbouring an unhealthy infatuation with his married colleague Kim (Stacy Hart), David turns to his addictions to cope with his unrequited crush. Smoking, drinking and prostitutes lead David down a dark route which soon turns murderous.

While the narrative could be something out of an Irvine Welsh novel and sounds quite straightforward it does incorporate some complex undertones that make’s the film extremely compelling viewing. The performances come across as naturalistic resulting in strong characterisation particularly from Paul Anthony as the tortured David and Jenny Mitchell as Sarah, a friendly young woman with an infatuation of her own as she covers for Kim’s maternity leave at David’s company.

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Aside from an intriguing plot, what really set’s Addict apart from many films that emerge from the independent scene is its creative visuals that greatly impacts the story. The cinematography by Carl Austin and Geoff Harmer is reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s style providing a bleakness that really gets under the viewer’s skin. Addict is shot entirely in black and white, this compliments its indie feel but at the same time is an incredibly stylistic choice. There’s a great use of shadows as well as the contrast between light and dark which brings out the film’s grim tone. The sound design is impressive and the score by Andy Bastow and Joe Crow gives a chilling effect.

Ultimately, Addict is uncomfortable viewing. David’s character’s descent into psychosis is both disturbing and awkward as we see him engage in despicable acts as he deals with his own incompetence. That said, Harmer and co-writer Mark Brennan inject in some suitable dark humour into the screenplay which works well. There’s also some experimentation with the found-footage trend, featuring video diaries conducted by David, giving insights into his warped mind, allowing us to fully engage with the character. Addict is a product of modern day society with references to the rescission, facebook and youtube which are all influential on David to a degree. Without revealing too much, the ending really packs a punch with a shocking twist that comes out of left field but is most satisfying.

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For a debut feature, Addict is impressive. Self-funded on a low-budget, Harmer and his company have achieved a well-crafted piece of independent cinema, demonstrating that a powerful and engaging film can be accomplished if you work hard and use the resources available to you which is very inspiring.

A dark, psychological thriller and art film with elements of horror, once Addict gets under the skin it’s a difficult one to shake off and is left to be comprehended. As one of the most dynamic genre films I’ve had the opportunity to see in a long while, I can highly recommend Addict. It’s guaranteed that this is what it title promises, addictive viewing.

Teaser Trailer:

For more on Fraught Productions and their other projects, I advise you to visit their website: http://www.fraught.net/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.