Archive for horror

“We All Float Down Here” A Review of IT (2017)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS EXTREMELY MILD SPOILERS + CLOWNS**

IT (2017) is currently the most universally talked about horror movie. There is no escaping it’s presence on television and social media; horror fan or not it is unavoidable. Opening on the 8th of September here in the UK, it has already proven itself to be one of the fastest grossing films of 2017. This latest adaptation of the 1986 mammoth Stephen King novel has been highly anticipated and boy, did it deliver the shocks and scares.

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IT centers on a group of misfit teenagers, referred to as “The Losers Club” who are terrorized by an ambiguous evil entity that takes the shape of a sinister clown named Pennywise.

Directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama) (2013); the well-received fright flick altered the original setting of the 1950’s in favour of the recent past; the late 1980’s. The updated timeline provides the film with a more modern outlook and shares a parallel tone with the popular Netflix series Stranger Things (2016-) which is also based in the affectionately remembered decade. The 80’s setting integrates elements of familiarity that holds appeal for the target audience. There are clear Spielberg influences in place in the sense of it being an extraordinary coming-of-age story however this is of course also derived directly from King’s source material too.

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Unlike the iconic 1990 mini-series which starred Tim Curry as the titular character, the 2017 version focuses solely on the main players during their youth and their initial acquaintance with the feared force of evil. The aforementioned 90’s film applied flashback scenes and flitted between the past and present depicting them as traumatized adults as well as assertive children. The film states that this is the first chapter with a confirmed continuation in the works. Containing the story to one timeline allows stronger audience investment and detail within the plot.

Muschietti has achieved the right tonal balance, capturing unsettling horror, an unrelenting sense of dread but also enough humor to bring in slight relief and comfort. Surprisingly, the film is a lot more brutal than expected especially in the depicted gore and violence against young children and the violence committed by the children. It’s a brave yet daring move, utilizing its R rating (15 in the UK) to maximum effect. In fact, it opens with a bang and doesn’t let up once during its lengthy run time.

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IT operates as a strong ensemble piece. There are no weak links among the young but immensely talented cast. The characterization is thoroughly developed, each character embodying their own individual personalities and layered dimensions. Jaeden Lieberher plays protagonist Bill Denbrough with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Stranger Things favorite Finn Wolfhard provides Ritchie Tozier with equal amounts of forthright boldness and likeable charm. Jack Dylan Grazer captures his hypochondriac character Eddie Kaspbrak with vulnerability and fearfulness. Sophia Lillis gives a stunning performance as Beverley Marsh, the headstrong tomboy harbouring a tumultuous home life and Jackson Robert Scott is heartbreaking as poor, innocent Georgie. The child actors are at the forefront with the parental influence and protection exceptionally thin on the ground leaving them exposed to Pennywise’s terror and their own growing pains. The audience experiences the tale through the eyes of the troubled teens giving leeway for an abundance of imaginative horrific moments.

Bill Skarsgård is a revelation as Pennywise. Any reservations the fans have had about his rendition of the character will soon be dispelled. He is quite frankly terrifying. His first appearance in the sewers sets the tone for the kind of character he is going to be. Skarsgård portrays the chilling clown as outright frightening and grotesque as he salivates over his prey but at the same time sustains a whimsical air about him. There’s an initial softness in his manner as he lures the children to their impending doom before opening his razor-sharp jaws. It goes without saying he is a contender for one of the scariest villains of all time.

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IT is highly compelling, emotion driven and a genuine slice of pure horror. The film features effective CGI, unsettling set pieces and a nostalgic soundtrack. New Kids on the Block anyone? The film has even been Stephen King approved. The prolific horror author even had his own expectations defied. Undeniably, Muschietti and his crew have well and truly pulled off a potential horror classic that manages to outshine the original adaptation. Hopefully, the second installment will live up to the strength and quality of this one but only time will tell.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

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“Run, Rabbit, Run” Get Out (2017) Review

Posted in Horror Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Meeting the parents is a nerve-wracking experience for most but it certainly is the case for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), an African-American man who accompanies his Caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) on a weekend trip away to her family home in the suburbs.

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Due to his race, Chris immediately experiences understandable fears about his acceptance within the family and his position as Rose’s boyfriend, however she reassures him that her parents have zero issues.

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What follows is an emotionally intense, psychological chain of events which questions whether Chris will ‘get out’ of the unorthodox situation he’s found himself embroiled in.

From the chilling opening to the nail biting finale, Get Out is one of the must-see movies of 2017 and absolutely deserves the immense amount of praise it has been receiving. Horror has waited a long time for a film of this kind which tackles an important subject matter head on. This film marks a genre shift for it’s director and writer Jordan Peele who is renowned for his work prominently within comedy. As his horror debut he has created an accomplished film which out-rightly satires and highlights issues of racism within society and extreme white views which is both interesting and horrendous to watch.

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Get Out has been described as a “dark comedy” however it doesn’t explicitly fit into that category. For the most part it is extremely tense but it occasionally veers off with some light relief in order to break things up, namely the character of Chris’s best friend and confidant Rod (Lil Rel Howery). Speaking of his character, he is proof of how the film challenges typical horror tropes and even allows the “comedy relief” character to have more significance and importance to the story than is first expected.

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Daniel Kaluuya is captivating throughout the film and has the audience in the palm of his hand as he goes through plenty of twisted torment. His performance is gripping from the outset as he portrays Chris as a young man who isn’t afraid to display vulnerability. In horror it’s rare to see African American characters portrayed in a positive light. Take a look at the majority of slasher films where they are inexcusably bumped off for the sake of showcasing that the killer means business. Scream 2 (1997) cleverly critiqued this convention whereas Candyman (1992) also brought the horror of racial tension to the forefront. It is therefore refreshing to see an African American male shown to be strong and resourceful when he needs to be and isn’t afraid to stand up for his morals when it comes to the crunch. Chris is completely and utterly a well rounded, unforgettable character. Women in horror have also been underrepresented in the past but it is now a consistently growing movement. The genre has seen plenty of interesting and well written females in recent modern films so it does make a welcome change to see a male in the protagonist role.

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Without revealing too much, Allison Williams plays an incredible part as the sympathetic girlfriend as she struggles with her family’s conflict. Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Betty GabrielLakeith Stanfield and Caleb Landry Jones all encompass striking screen presences. It’s never quite clear what their initial motivations are which adds to the overall suspense. They are all characters to watch out for making Get Out essentially an ensemble piece.

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The opening of the film packs a punch with the eerie tune of “Run, Rabbit, Run” playing diegetically from a car creating an instantly visceral immersion into it. From then on the film gradually builds itself up crafting a clever script layered with racial overtones that creates a sense of unease from the get go. Nothing feels wasted at all as it all gears towards where it needs to be. The reveals are fantastically disturbing and well worth the wait.

The score composed by Michael Abels echoes a haunting atmosphere with it’s distinctive black musical influence as instructed by Peele when he was deciding on the direction he wanted the score to go in. Violin strings and vocal chants enhances the film’s anxious tone to a heart-rendering effect.

Get Out incorporates dream like visuals that are beautifully shot and equally trippy. 

There are so many layers to the film and so much political and social symbolism to look out for. 

Jaw-dropping, highly engaging and intelligently woven, Get Out is both impactful and an important horror film that has been much-needed.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 

 

**Fifth Anniversary Review** Hayley’s Top 10 Favourite Horror Death Scenes Of All Time

Posted in Anniversary Pieces, Ghostface Girls, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Five years ago I was a film and television student in my first year at University. I decided to start a blog as a side project separate from my studies. It began as a way to express my views on recent films both independent and mainstream that I’d seen from all genres. Naturally, the first review I ever wrote was of Scream 4 (2011) then eventually I made the site completely horror specific and Hayley’s Horror Reviews is what it is today. Several great opportunities have come my way since beginning the blog, including the chance to get to know and review the work of a number of talented filmmakers. I am now very lucky to be writing for the Horror Movie review site LoveHorror.co.uk and working alongside Caitlyn Downs (from Scared Sheepless) on our collaborative project Ghostface Girls where we provide festival video coverage and record podcasts. Our next event will be the UK’s Horror Con in July 2016!

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In previous years my anniversary reviews have covered My Top 10 Horror Films of all time (since 2011 it has more than likely altered!), Urban Legends on screen and behind the scenes, why we watch Horror Films and last year my favorite underrated slashers. This year I’m taking on a countdown of a subject I’m surprised I haven’t covered by now. It’s all about the visual effects as I reveal my personal favorite horror movie death scenes. Death scenes are at the core of horror movies, even if a film might be particularly badly executed sometimes the saving grace can be some good old splatter. On the opposite end of the spectrum sometimes it’s what you don’t see and what’s implied that can really get under the skin. There’s also nothing more heart-breaking for a horror fan than when one of your favorite characters is hacked to pieces leading to emotional trauma!

Here are my top Horror Movie death scenes of all time! Remember folks, as always its subjective.

There will be spoilers, so get that TV on if you haven’t seen any or some of these films and come back to this article.

**WARNING** This Article will include blood, guts, gore and strong language. Not for the faint-hearted! 

Comment below if you agree or disagree with my choices or tweet me on @Hayleyr1989.

10. Final Destination (2000): Terry Chaney is splattered by a bus!

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To kick things off is a death scene so quick and unexpected it’s pure brilliance! This moment marked the beginning of the darkly twisted sense of humour in the Final Destination franchise. Up until this point Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) and his friends have survived a harrowing plane crash and are grieving over the apparent “suicide” of best friend Tod (Chad Donella) whose brother died on Flight 180. Both scenes deliver a suspenseful build up with gruesome results. This moment however takes place in the middle of the day, Alex and love interest Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) are trying to figure out death’s design. Enter rival Carter (Kerr Smith) and girlfriend Terry (Amanda Detmer). Carter is convinced that Alex is to blame for the deaths of the plane victims as well as Tod but he soon gets more than he bargained for! While antagonizing Alex, his long-suffering girlfriend finally snaps. In an ironic speech, Terry speaks about never wasting another second of her life and states Carter should have better things to do than fight with Alex. She then utters the immortal lines of “you can just drop fucking dead!”. Backing into the road Terry is hit by an incoming bus and the remaining survivors recoil in horror as her blood splatters on their faces. It’s the twisted irony of this scene that makes it surprising and thrilling letting the audience know that anyone can go at any time by any means.

9. Zombie Flesh Eaters (AKA. Zombi 2) (1979): Eye Splinter Scene

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Even without context the eye splinter scene from Lucio Fulci’s notorious ‘video nasty’ Zombie Flesh Eaters is an iconic cinematic moment in horror. The scene is so sqiurmworthy as you (literally!) see it coming a mile off but it doesn’t let up on the suspense. Paola, the wife of Richard Johnson’s character Dr. David Menard is alone in the house when a zombie breaks in. Actress Olga Karlatos displays a genuine look of horror as her vulnerable character attempts to bombard the Zombie from entering the house. Unluckily for her she is dragged through the door and impaled right through the eye with a piece of splintered wood. Her eye is pierced right through in a masterful visual effect, we see the eye squelched and the object penetrate right through her skull!  The moment sets the tone for the carnage to come making it one of Italian Horror’s nastiest kills.

8. I Spit on Your Grave (1978): Blood Bath

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The second video nasty on this list. I Spit on Your Grave is unapologetically exploitative cinema centering on the brutal, unrelenting rape of a young woman. Aspiring writer Jennifer (Camille Keating) retreats to the backwoods as she works on her novel, but she is horrifically brutalized and gang-raped by a group of local men. However, it wouldn’t be a rape-revenge film without a nasty dose of payback! After some time has passed Jennifer is back tougher and stronger than ever as she sets about to seek vengeance on her attackers. In one of the film’s most gruesome scenes Jennifer lures ring leader Johnny (Eron Tabor) into her car, inviting him around for some wet, and bubbly fun…or so he thinks! Jennifer hides a knife under the bath mat and as she begins to seduce Johnny when he least expects it she takes a knife to his most sensitive area!! It takes him a few moments to comprehend what’s happening while Jennifer leaves him there to bleed to death. She proceeds to lock him in the bath room and makes her way downstairs while Johnny yells that he can’t stop the bleeding. She drowns his screams out with a nice bit of classical music. The scene is particularly disturbing as Jennifer allows herself to be in a sexual situation with her rapist. Johnny completely goes along with it showing what a horrendous character he really is. It’s so well executed and unsettling, making ‘blood bath’ from I Spit on Your Grave one of cinemas best revenge death scenes of all time.

7. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987): Welcome to Prime Time Bitch!

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There are many inventive death scenes in the most highly regarded Elm Street Sequel Dream Warriors but this one had to be selected as it captures Freddy Krueger’s (Robert Englund) darkly menacing, twisted sense of humor. While the Puppet Master moment and Needle fingers sequence are exceptionally creative and unique death scenes it’s difficult to overlook fame-seeking Jennifer’s (Penelope Sudrow) TV demise. This moment is fourth wall breaking and surreal as Freddy possesses the television, manifesting himself onto a late night talk show. The television turns static encouraging Jennifer to approach it. In a crazy visual effect mechanical arms emerge from the sides of the television, clutching Jennifer. Freddy materializes from the top of the television set sprouting antennas. He then smashes her skull through the television set uttering the iconic line “Welcome to prime time, bitch!”. The Elm Street franchise is known for its elaborate and creative death scenes that are more entertaining than a man in a mask just slashing with a knife. This scene is a solid example of how the franchise utilizes its special effects accompanied with quirky dialogue enhancing that when it comes down to Freddy Krueger anything is literally possible!

6. The Burning (1981): We’ve found our canoe!

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The Burning appeared on my list last year as one of my favorite underrated slasher films. It centers on a scorned caretaker who seeks revenge on the inhabitants of a summer camp where he suffered a horrific accident several years previous. It’s under the radar due to the success of Friday the 13th (1980) but then became infamous in the UK once it appeared on the Video Nasties list, and this death scene is the reason why! Tom Savini’s sensational gory FX during this scene cemented The Burning as being one of the first to receive it’s ‘video nasty’ reputation. A few of the camper’s head down the lake on a makeshift raft in order to fetch their canoe back. The typical teenagers argue while rowing but become excitable as they get nearer to the abandoned canoe. The scene is set up well using a sense of dread as they become closer and closer. No matter how many times you watch it and are aware what lies ahead it’s still shocking as the killer Cropsy (Lou David) appears from the canoe with his shears and the bloody massacre commences! This moment of the film features the image that appeared on the iconic cover art of Cropsy’s silhouette holding up the shears. It’s pretty harrowing as unlike the majority of slasher films the teenagers cast in the film genuinely look their age rather than having 25-year-old’s playing a 16-year-old’s. The fact that it takes place in broad daylight in an idyllic location makes this deadly moment even more horrific.

5. Hellraiser (1987): Jesus Wept

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This scene is one of my earliest, goriest cinematic memories and has made the list for being downright gruesome. At a young age this was one of the coolest death scenes in horror that I’d ever seen. It’s time for Uncle Frank (Sean Chapman) to get his just desserts at the hands of the Cenobites. Wearing the meat suit of his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) he attempts to kill niece Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) in the attic but thankfully (as thankful as it gets in a horror movie situation!) Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his demons appear ready to drag Frank’s damaged soul directly back to hell. Pinhead promised he had “such sights to show” us and this unrelentingly proved what the Cenobites were capable of. There’s an otherworldly presence to the scene with the bell chime ringing and the mist surrounding the attic. Hellraiser was famed for its dynamic make up effects, with Pinhead’s appearance making him an intriguing horror villain; but it’s Frank’s demise that is as grizzly and gory as it gets. As he raises a blade to Kirsty he is stopped in his tracks with a hook through the hand, chaining him to the Cenobites world forever. Hooks pierce his skin, tearing his face. As Kirsty recoils in sheer disgust Frank says “Jesus Wept” before being ripped apart, with blood and guts galore!

4. Inbred (2011): Dwight’s Dirrrrty Death!

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Over the past five years Inbred has become one of my favorite horror films. One of the several reasons is due to its creatively nasty death scenes. It stands out in what it does, with strong character development allowing the audience to empathize with its protagonists, as well as a twisted sense of tongue in cheek humor that equally puts us on the side of the villains. It’s somewhat of a black comedy but goes right for the jugular with a set of cruel and mean spirited methods of bumping off its victims. The warped villagers of Mortlake attend a show put on by local landlord Jim (Seamus O’Neill). Having already killed off one of the young lads involving vegetables and a horse, this time the Inbred’s capture Dwight (Chris Waller), the remaining protector of the group. Sacrificing himself for the safety of his care worker and fellow youth offenders, Dwight is subjected to a rather dirrrrrrty demise! Tied to a chair and forced to wear a wig, he is cruelly tormented by a man resembling a droog from A Clockwork Orange (1971) who proceeds to empty a hosepipe of shit down Dwight’s throat until he explodes all over the unusual members of the audience! It needs to be seen to be believed but commended for its use of old school FX over CGI giving us an old school backwoods bloodbath!

3. Der Fan (AKA. Trance) (1982): Killer Obsession

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Der Fan is a film I’ve mentioned a bunch of times on the site. An undiscovered gem that screened at Celluloid Screams in 2013, Der Fan enters unexpected territory with an unforgettable and bizarrely crafted death scene. A German Exploitation film, it pushed the boundaries with its female lead being played by a 16-year-old. Household name Desiree Nobuch of Radio Luxenburg fame played psycho fan Simone and did full frontal nudity in the film as well as acted out a scene of murder and cannibalism which certainly would not be done in cinema today! Simone sleeps with R (Bodo Steiger), a Gary Numan inspired pop star who she’s absolutely obsessed with. When reality bites and Simone becomes another used fan girl to R what happens next is completely out of the left field. In my original review I described it as one of the most “chilling and extreme” deaths in cinema. It’s lengthy, horrific, controversial and unsettling leaving the viewer feeling grubby once the credits roll, making it feel like a completely different film from the one that started. This is one I won’t spoil for you however if you’ve already had the experience of watching this underrated exploitation check out my original review.

2.Scream 2 (1997): Randy Meeks Death Scene

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Master team Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson taught us no one was safe in their iconic slasher-revival Scream. When Drew Barrymoore is killed off in the opening moments of a film it’s guaranteed that anything can happen! Scream 2 is the strongest sequel in the franchise as it raised the stakes. There are so many excellent set pieces in the entire film from the cinema slashing’s at the beginning to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s brutal demise being stabbed in the back and thrown out of a window; however, the death that really cuts close to the bone is that of Jamie Kennedy’s popular character Randy Meeks. Self-confessed “movie buff” Randy survived Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher’s (Matthew Lillard) reign of terror in the first installment closely following the horror movie survival rules. But even he knows that he could be disposable as a new Ghostface stalks the campus of Windsor College. Randy’s death scene is well executed and unexpected. The most shocking aspect is that unlike the previous deaths this one takes place in broad daylight. He is pulled into Gale’s (Courtney Cox) news van and stabbed repeatedly. It’s horrific as it goes unnoticed by crowds of people on the campus. The camera focuses on the van’s wing mirror as Randy is brutally killed, a group of students unknowingly walk by with a boom box drowning out his screams of pain! His bloodied face is then revealed. It’s tragic and heart-breaking as he never does get the girl and is a missing presence from the dynamics of the core characters. It’s certain that it’s Mrs Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) who murders Randy as she viciously attacks him for speaking “poorly” of her delightful son Billy in an act of revenge. The most ironic element of Randy’s death is because he knows the rules of a horror movie inside and out the killer cleverly catches him at the most unexpected moment and doesn’t wait until dark. Craven and Williamson kept the franchise fresh with surprises like this!

  1. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997): Death of the Beauty Queen 

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What sets I Know What You Did Last Summer apart from its slasher counterparts is the well written and well-acted main characters. Sarah Michelle Gellar gives a tragic performance as Helen Shivers, the former Beauty Queen who loses her future after being involved in a hit and run and an ill thought out cover-up. After she witnesses the murder of her boyfriend Barry (Ryan Phillippe) at the hands of the psychotic fisherman; the police do next to nothing to help her. Helen’s death scene is harrowing as she almost makes it to safety. There’s a slow-paced build-up of tension from escaping a crashed police car to running for her life and hiding out in her sister’s store; Helen fights for survival. Her death isn’t shown explicitly but is incredibly effective and atmospheric set to a chilling score composed by John Debney. Helen falls from the stores window but then finds an alleyway leading to the 4th July Summer parade. Fireworks blast into the air and there’s a sense of relief; albeit momentarily, Helen then approaches the parade but becomes distracted and looks behind her. She is then face to face with the evil fisherman and slashed with his sharp hook amongst a stack of tires. There’s quick cuts, flashing lights and the sound of screams but one thing is certain, the true heroine of the film has met her demise. Helen’s body is later discovered by traumatized best friend Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) on the fisherman’s boat officially confirming there is no return for her within future films in the series. It’s Gellar’s helpless performance as the doomed young woman that hits hard with emotional impact. As sad as the scene is it’s essential to the progression of the film as many fans agree if Julie had been the one to meet her maker it wouldn’t have achieved the same upsetting impact. Helen’s death goes to show that you don’t need to go gory to execute an effective and gut-wrenching death scene.

As always thank you for reading and supporting Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

….

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Halloween Returns

Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Michael Myers is set to return in a brand new reboot of the Halloween franchise according to concequenceofsound.net. The iconic mad man is back in what sounds like a very intriguing plot line for hardcore fans of the series. Halloween Returns sees Michael attempt to stalk n’ slash a whole host of new victims including the child of one of his past casualties (potentially a character we’ve seen before?). Returns will also feature a cop who is so obsessed with the Myers case he even neglects his own daughter in the process; a role created reference to the beloved Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) perhaps?

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Weirdly enough after being left unimpressed by the Zombie remake and losing interest in the franchise, Halloween Returns could be the fresh blood the series needs in order to shake things up. According to the article, the film will see Myers on death row for his crimes which seems an unexpected direction to go in when dealing with one of horror’s most prolific slashers; but is interesting all the same. Of course being the unstoppable force that he is, Myers escapes placing two friends with their own personal vendetta against him in great peril.

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In some ways resurrecting the franchise seems a little redundant however in the right hands, Halloween could possibly be safe and redeemed. Its been discussed that Marcus Dunstan of The Collector and SAW films is to direct and will also write along with fellow SAW collaborator Patrick Melton; not a bad choice, Dunstan did a great job with The Collection (2012) with some inventive ideas and visuals and the two are no strangers to the concept of franchise. The fans are owed an apology for Halloween: Resurrection (2002) and on a lesser scale the Zombie re-imagining. Personally I’d like a retcon where Laurie is still alive and Resurrection doesn’t exist however Myers return would therefore be problematic seeing as Strode killed him at the end of Halloween: H20 (1998)!

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As the article says, Halloween’s mythology is so messed up its hard to work out the chronology as to whether Halloween Returns will be a standalone film or a sequel to either adaptation. The premise is promising and maybe Halloween Returns will provide the ultimate closure the series needs; much like how Curse of Chucky (2013) revived Child’s Play (however due to its success has spawned an upcoming sequel). Stylistically I hope Halloween Returns doesn’t attempt to replicate the grizzly, gory horror that’s prominent in modern movies and goes back to the roots of less is more, suspense and as little blood as possible. Its reported that Dimension films will be distributing the film which is again familiar for its horror/slasher brand.

What do you guys think? Should there be another Halloween film and what would you like to see from it?

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

DVD Review: The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Posted in Ghostface Girls with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS**

As it is every year, us horror fanatics don’t always get to see all the genre movies we’d like therefore the new year is the perfect time to catch up. I’m not exactly sure how The Purge: Anarchy slipped me by, it made its way onto my list of most anticipated horror of 2014 and played an integral role in  mine and Caitlyn Downs home invasion podcast episode and article as we debated whether the film would begin a whole new horror franchise. Up until viewing I attempted to avoid any sort of spoilers surrounding the crimes/deaths in the film, however when I glimpsed at some of the reviews and imdb forums it appeared that The Purge: Anarchy hadn’t made the expected impact. It even made its way onto some of the worst films of 2014 lists which wasn’t reassuring.

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The Purge: Anarchy is set in a dystopian near future, it uses exactly the same concept from the 2013 James DeMonaco original. The new founding father’s created The Purge, one night of the year where all crime is legal including murder. The Purge is essential to the survival of American society meaning that throughout the year crime, poverty and unemployment statistics are amazingly low. Unlike the 2013 film where the focus is on one middle class suburban family with a home invasion plot, this sequel diverts from that taking the concept in a whole different direction, depicting the wider impact of The Purge on several members of society and also provides a deeper insight into issues of race and class.

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There’s some powerful imagery that suggests a power struggle between upper and lower class, particularly with the masked thug who has ‘GOD’ written on his forehead. As seen in the original film there was prejudice and tension relating to the poor African American male that sought refuge in the Sandin family’s home, this time round the masked thugs are in fact African American, but rather than kill they capture anyone and everyone who are on the streets in exchange for money. An African American protester named Carmelo (Michael Kenneth Williamsis also at the forefront of the chaos, bravely speaking out against the new founding father’s and is joined by Dwayne (Edwin Hodge) the bloody stranger previously mentioned from part one. For everyone involved its all about survival. The sick and twisted ideologies of the upper class is exposed which is most startling with the image of a group of wealthy aristocrats ready to slice up a poor, ill man they have bidded on with a machete in order for him to leave some money behind for his struggling family. The scene is simply implied with no blood or gore in sight but is enough to evoke fear, demonstrating how the purge is designed for the rich to take the upper hand especially with the use of the flashback meaning that his family are too late to save him.

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If you’re a fan of the first, The Purge: Anarchy is unlikely to disappoint. The characters are well written and on the whole likeable which is not always the case with mainstream horror. Its about a group of strangers from different walks of life with different agendas that come together and are forced to trust each other in the ultimate fight for survival.

There’s mother and daughter Eva (Carmen Ejogoand Cali ( Zoë Soulwho are brutally forced out of their home. As an audience we experience the fear along with them as the two are almost brutalized based on their race and status. Carmen Ejogo and Zoë Soul are electrifying as terrified women who keep away from the carnage every year only to be thrown into it to realize their full potential and strength when it counts.

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Frank Grillo plays the mysterious sergeant Leo Barnes, the anti-hero with an ambiguous agenda. He risks it all in order to protect others but what is his dark secret and what was he doing on the streets during the night of the purge?! Grillo’s performance is intense, everyone’s lives are in his hands and it leaves us to question, can this man really be trusted?

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Finally there’s unfortunate couple Liz (Kiele Sanchez) and Shane (Zach Gilford) who’s car breaks down minutes before The Purge commences. The couple face a difficult stage in their relationship however after being caught up in the chaos of the night, will they make it out alive or will their problems cause distraction? While being the least favourite characters within the film, Liz and Shane are harmless enough and certainly don’t deserve the devastation and panic endured by their unlucky situation.

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Acceptably The Purge: Anarchy won’t hold appeal to everyone especially those not sold by the first one. For me, its still a slick thrill ride of suspense, action and danger with some disturbing yet interesting ideas at play. Its far more explosive than the original and is bold in what it does by not sticking to a repetitive formula. The hybrid of genres with it being a horror, action and thriller makes it all the more gripping. While I wasn’t sold on the idea of any more sequels, The Purge 3 will be hitting cinema screens this summer on the 1st July. DeMonaco is at the helm once again as director therefore it’ll be interesting to see how he refreshes the concept for a third instalment. Admirably the consistency so far of DeMonaco’s vision strengthens the films as a franchise. They are far more intelligent than the churned out Paranormal Activity sequels for sure. The Purge: Anarchy is certainly worth a watch as it once again demonstrates how dangerous a human being can turn if given the ultimate permission to kill!

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Interview with Halloweenerrific.

Posted in Halloween Month, Love Horror with tags , , , , on October 10, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Usually I’m the one asking the questions therefore I’m honoured to have recently done an interview with Halloween themed site http://halloweenerrific.co.uk about my interest in horror, what makes a good horror film for me and what I’m getting up to this Halloween season.

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You can check out the interview here.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

It’s dinner time! A Review of Evil Feed (2013)

Posted in Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

My latest Love Horror Review is one you’ll need a big appetite for, Kimani Ray Smith’s Evil Feed (2013) is a gory delight to feast your eyes on. Its worth noting how similar this film is marketed to You’re Next (2011) judging by its poster,  with the blood splattered, eye catching title and use of masks (the villain is even positioned the same, clutching onto a weapon). The only similarity these two share is in fact the use of masks, however in Evil Feed, the pig mask isn’t one of its most prominent features. Looks like we have another case of misleading marketing, check out Caitlyn Downs’s discussion of that over on ScaredSheeplessSeriously, who is producing these unimaginative covers, for a film like Evil Feed, packed with outrageous imagery there would definitely be more room for creativity.

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imagesHayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.