Archive for Inbred

**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.

Top 5 Celluloid Screams Moments (So Far!)

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

September 10th marks an exciting date for horror fans as passes for Sheffield’s Horror Festival Celluloid Screams are set to go on sale. Not only that, Rob Nevitt and his team will announce the line-up of what’s in store for 2015!

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This will be my fifth year attending Celluloid, which takes place at The Showroom Cinema. Not only does the festival put together a phenomenal programme each year with an eclectic selection of films that define the genre in different ways; and brings in a number of special guests that have made an impact on the genre as a whole. Through the festival I’ve established some great friendships and made connections with genre fans and filmmakers alike.

So as we wait to uncover the mystery of what shocks and scares we will be encountering on October 23rd-25th, here’s a list of my top 5 moments that the Sheffield Festival has offered up so far.

  1. Inbred (2011)

Inbred was the first film that I ever saw at Celluloid Screams and it ended up becoming one of my favorite horror films of all time. Certainly a cult classic in the making, Inbred was accompanied with a Q&A from a number of cast members including Seamus O’Neill, Dominic Brunt and Jo Hartley. Thanks to Celluloid and the discovery of Inbred I then went on to work with some of the cast members on a short zombie film called Ascension and led a Q&A with director Alex Chandon at my local horror festival Aberoir.

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Review & Q&A Videos of Inbred.

Alex Chandon Q&A Videos

2. Sping & Resolution (Aaron and Justin Q&A’s). (2012 & 2014)

Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson have been two of Celluloid’s most memorable special guests. Thanks to the festival I was introduced to two of their groundbreaking feature films that takes horror in a whole different direction, Resolution in 2012 and Spring in 2014. On both appearances the directorial duo have given some quirky, engaging and entertaining Q&A’s and always take their time to talk to their fans during the festival.

Resolution Review.

Spring Review.

3. Night Breed: The Cabal Cut (2012)

Since I was a young horror fan, Clive Barker’s NightBreed was always a film I desperately wanted to see. Packed with unusual imagery, the tale of creatures living underground in a whole undiscovered world from our own was something that greatly appealed. I’m glad my first experience of Night Breed was on the big screen with the restoration making it the film that Clive Barker had always intended rather than the slasher-style version the studios cut it down to on its original release. Switching between the grainy unused footage and the polished existing footage was an interesting cinematic experience. Through Celluloid and Night Breed I met the lovely Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford (also of Hellraiser fame), Hugh Ross and Russell Cherrington, the restoration director and still keep up to date with all their upcoming projects.

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NightBreed Review & Q&A Videos.

4. The Editor and Astron 6! (2014)

Again, if it wasn’t for Celluloid I never would have discovered the Canadian Collective that is Astron-6. Last year’s festival was literally an Astron-6  takeover as we were treated to a screening of The Editor, a bizarre and hilarious homage to the giallo sub-genre as well as a showcase of their exceptionally cool short films, Cool Guys, Bio-Cop and Breaking Santa being personal highlights! Adam Brooks, Connor Sweeney and Matthew Kennedy were special guests and gave us an insight into their weird and wonderful career so far.

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Short Review of The Editor

5. Der Fan (2013)

Without Celluloid Screams I would never have discovered this little gem. Der Fan is an obscure 80s German film that prior to the screening, Caitlyn and I thought it was going to be a recent film! Der Fan is one of those films where you won’t believe what you’re watching! It begins innocently enough as badly-dubbed exploitation film then it turns into completely something else! Der Fan has to be remembered for the longest sex scene in horror cinema history! We still hold out hope that Der Fan with its timeless theme of obsessive fandom would be ideal for the remake treatment!

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Celluloid Screams Review of Der Fan.

Women in Horror Month: Der Fan.

So that’s it for now, my highlights of the festival so far! So fellow Celluloid Screamers, what have been your favorite moments from over the years? Comment, facebook or tweet to @HayleyR1989 with #CelluloidScreamsMoments.

Bring on 2015!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Bait (AKA. The Taking) (2015) Review.

Posted in Horror Festivals, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The struggles of post-recession Britain is the subject matter for Dominic Brunt’s brand new hard-hitting feature, Bait (AKA. The Taking). Bait is the second full-length genre film from collaborative husband and wife team Mitchell-Brunt Films following 2012’s zombie drama Before Dawn. Much like Before Dawn, Bait is a bleak, gritty and powerful piece of British cinema however packs an even harder punch with its all too realistic subject matter and no holds barred violence.

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Adapted from a story by Writer/Actress/Producer Joanne Mitchell; Paul Roundell’s screenplay is intensely compelling as it focuses on two close friends who endure a terrifying ordeal at the hands of a dangerous loan shark in a sleepy Yorkshire village. Bex (Victoria Smurfit) and Dawn (Mitchell) attempt to make their dream of running their own café a reality after years of hard yet unrewarding work selling cakes at their local market hall. Their luck seemingly begins to change once they meet the charming and charismatic Jeremy (Jonathan Slinger); an independent businessman who is more than willing to help them get their new business up and running. But is there more to Jeremy than meets the eye? Have Bex and Dawn got more than they ever bargained for?

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Bait proves to be a gripping edge of the seat horror/thriller, with plenty of twists and turns around every corner. The characters are layered, dynamic and flawed which brings in a sense of realism that the situation at hand could happen to anyone; they reflect everyday people in everyday life. Bait’s main strength is its strong performances from the entire cast. Mitchell and Smurfit are flawless as the two friends, determined to improve their lives. Both actresses work extremely well together, with believable chemistry. Smurfit brings a certain feistiness to Bex while Mitchell plays Dawn with a timid nature. The two characters opposing traits complement each other, allowing the audience to empathize with both and get a sense of their individual motivations.

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Jonathan Slinger is outstanding as the menacing Jeremy in an unforgettable performance. His ability to frighten and intimidate is a horrifying watch. He makes it incredibly easy to root for our heroines once the stakes are raised. The film also stars Rula Lenska (Coronation Street) and film and television actor Adam Fogerty, both bring in strong screen presences playing characters with vital roles within the story.

Bait is interesting in what it does. It’s an exceptionally difficult film to watch in several ways containing both disturbing and some upsetting moments. It’s highly intense throughout and unrelenting. However a sense of humour is not completely obliterated from the film as Brunt throws in some light relief amongst the tension. Fans of Inbred will get a kick out of a cameo from everyone’s favourite ferret fondler Mark Rathbone!

The use of sound is incredibly effective allowing the audience to get a sense of what the characters are experiencing. The bleak cinematography captures a chilling tone with lingering shots that create extreme dread in the more distressing moments.

Bait not only operates as a disturbing thriller, it highlights important issues within British society. The focal point is of course financial struggle in our desolate economic climate; and the vulnerability of the elderly, the very young and autism is also explored through this. Bait also looks at the flaws within the system, the failings of the authorities and sexual abuse.

An intelligent, well-acted thriller with an all too very realistic theme, it’s a story of survival, endurance and friendship in the hardest of times.

Bait premiers at this year’s London’s Film4FrightFest on August 29th and will be released on DVD in the UK on September 7th.

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Leeds Horror Film Festival, 26th April 2015!

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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Next Sunday, Hayley’s Horror Reviews will be heading to West Yorkshire to attend the first Leeds Horror Film Festival (formerly The Leeds Zombie Film Festival). Run by Emmerdale Actors Dominic Brunt (Before Dawn, Inbred) and Mark Charnock (AKA. Paddy and Marlon), the festival will be showcasing six bloodthirsty films, celebrating classic movie monsters from the past and present. Even more amazing is the festival is a charity event, admission is £15 (cash only on the door) which will go towards World Animal Protection.

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The monstrous line-up consists of Night of the Demon (1957), followed by Lamberto Bava’s cult classic Demons (1985), iconic controversial chiller, The Exorcist (1973) and last year’s festival crowd pleaser Dead Snow 2 (2014).

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We are then being treated to the UK premiere of  Australian horror Charlie’s Farm (2014) starring Friday the 13th favourite Kane Hodder. To close things off will be a screening of my all time favourite horror film, An American Werewolf in London (1981), a chance to re-live the bad moon rising all over again!

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Leeds Bleeds takes place at the Cottage Road Cinema, beginning at 12pm and concluding at 12am! With this being my first visit to the festival, I’m looking forward to a goretastic time of watching some of the genre’s best offerings with like-minded horror fans.

For more information check out the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/67724484578/?fref=ts

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Celluloid Screams 2014: Housebound Review.

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

From writer and director Richard Johnstone comes the spine-tingling horror/comedy Housebound. This frightening feature from New Zealand has just the right balance of shocks and scares and laugh out loud dark humour that it’s proved to be one of the most entertaining horror films of 2014. If movies such as An American Werewolf in London and Inbred appeal to your terrifying tastes then Housebound is the film that wholeheartedly compliments them in tone just with a supernatural twist. It features gripping storytelling; layered and well developed characters and an abundance of suspense to keep the audience compelled. Housebound is a film that’s not purely exclusive to just genre fans as it displays enough commercial appeal to widen out to a broader audience. Who doesn’t love a bit of ghosts and blood?!

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Twenty-something tearaway Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is placed under house arrest following an illegal botched job gone wrong. Returning under the guidance of her domineering mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) and timid Step-Father Graeme (Ross Harper), Kylie is not pleased in the slightest about the re-location to her former family home. Kylie displays an aversion toward the house she grew up in but dismisses her mother’s claims of some sort of paranormal activity going on. It’s not until Kylie experiences some strange occurrences herself that she begins to realize her mother’s claims may not be as crazy as she first imagined.

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Housebound’s strongest point is the dynamic between Kylie and Miriam. A strained relationship between the pair is portrayed that comes across as incredibly naturalistic, which is down to the chemistry between the two actresses. The supernatural element is in place as a mask that represents the anxieties of mother and daughter reconnecting after a turbulent relationship and years of distance. Immediately it’s believable that these two have experienced a long and difficult history when we first meet them, a credit to Johnstone’s well-crafted and in-depth script.

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Kylie is an interesting leading horror female. She’s obnoxious yet endearing which makes us root for her as she displays a strong sense of determination in solving the problems she’s faced with and isn’t afraid to break the rules a little bit. It’s a bit risky having such a sarcastic, moody character as the lead however Johnstone’s writing and Morgana O’Reilly’s performance manages to keep us engaged with her and keep firmly on her side when she’s faced with danger. In comparison to Excision (2012), a film that contains a highly unlikeable main character with no redeeming features, Housebound gets it right in terms of depicting Kylie as a frustrated young woman who acts out against those who are trying to help her but underneath she has several likeable qualities, making her an ambitious woman of horror in terms of her construction.

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Housebound is a modern-day paranoid horror that cleverly keeps us guessing until the very end with its brilliant blend of supernatural scares and charming comedy. Is the house inhabited by a spooky presence or is it all a reflection of Kylie’s overactive imagination or is she acting out of boredom due to being on house lock-up, or possibly something else entirely?  There are other interesting elements at work such as the temperamental television and computer, cutting them off from technology and acting as a metaphor for this family to sit down, communicate and address their problems.

The setting gives off plenty of creepy vibes with the old, creaky, isolated house that provides an uneasy feeling. Jump scares are carried out effectively and take us by surprise in comparison to the predictability of a lot of Hollywood haunting films. Supporting characters such as Miriam bring light relief to the tense moments. Glen-Paul Waru also adds to the light-heartedness as the loyal friend Amos, a quirky ‘paranormal expert’ who is incredibly well-meaning in aiding Kylie and Miriam. Cameron Rhodes is the bumbling psychologist who Kylie treats as more of a hindrance than a help, which again supplies the film with more intense antagonism as Kylie struggles to trust anyone.

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Housebound is a must-see, it’s a genre-bending balance of scares and laughs that contains twists and turns and plenty of mystery making it an especially worthwhile watch. Housebound will be screening at the Abertoir Horror Festival on Thursday 13th November at 1pm. Passes are £58 to see a selection of diverse films like Housebound plus talks, a theatre performance, a train ride and an 80’s disco. Abertoir 2014 will be discussed in more depth in the upcoming seventh episode of the Ghostface Girls podcast.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Ghostface Girls Podcast: Episode One, Women in Horror Recognition Month.

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

As I have mentioned a fair bit recently I have been working on a new collaborative project with Caitlyn Downs (scaredsheepless.com) for a fantastic film site called moviepilot.com. Our first contribution to the site has already been uploaded in the shape of our first podcast which is also another contribution for Women in Horror Recognition Month. We have much, much more on the way and will be keeping our podcast’s as a regular feature. Click here to listen to our first entry where we talk in detail about our new project and what Ghostface Girls is all about. Thanks to Caitlyn for editing this piece, overall I can say I’m very pleased with the outcome.

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‘Like’ our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ghostfacegirls

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reveiws.

Women In Horror Month: Final Girls and Psychotic Women. (6-4)

Posted in Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Welcome to part four of my continuation of coverage for Women in Horror Recognition Month. Additionally to this countdown there is plenty more awesome Women in Horror goodness on the way as Caitlyn and I have recorded a podcast focusing on the topic as a whole and it’s importance in terms of raising awareness surrounding the cause. The podcast is part of our new collaboration, Ghostface Girls, which you can read more about here.

Now at number six, I am close to revealing who will be the top feisty female from the genre. The final girl or psychotic woman in question will be a character that I have been able to identify with for a number of reasons and has the repeated watch-ability factor, if she’s a villainous vixen it will be down to the lengths she will go to in order to successfully carry out her motives. But until then here’s some more wonderfully, wicked women that are worthy of the title “Women of Horror”.

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Once again, here is the obligatory **SPOILER WARNING**, I encourage you to check out the films discussed before reading any further.

6. Kate, Inbred (2011)

  • Played By Jo Hartley
  • Directed By Alex Chandon
  • Written By Alex Chandon and Paul Shrimpton

kate inbred From growing cult classic in-the-making Inbred, Kate (Jo Hartley) is one of the toughest women you’ll encounter in British horror cinema. As part of a character-building weekend, care-worker Kate embarks on a trip to the fictional, backwoods Yorkshire village of Mortlake with a group of young offenders and her socially awkward co-worker Jeff (James Doherty). After crossing paths with the deranged locals, events take a brutal and sinister turn as the group must band together in the ultimate fight for survival. One by one they are captured, tormented and tortured through some strange and twisted methods that accumulates in one of the goriest shows you’ll ever see, reminiscent of the grand-guignol with a 70’s nostalgic edge. Kate is strong and feisty, she does what it takes to get out of Mortlake alive while protecting the young teenagers left in her care. She is the maternal figure of the group and despite displaying her down-to-earth personality she doesn’t take any grief off anyone and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself.  In comparison to Jeff who enforces strict discipline she is able to handle the teenagers through engaging on they’re level, with a fun but firm approach. Eventually she influences Jeff to work with them in a similar manner. With the shock and panic that follows the carnage and as the group are killed off one by one, Kate remains determined and holds her own against the endearingly insane landlord Jim (Seamus O’Neill) and the rest of the inbreds! Kate also displays a more human side in one of the film’s most dramatic scenes; while trapped in an isolated cottage, she has an emotional break down as events begin to get to her, which strongly reflects Jo Hartley’s acting range. A fighter until the bitter end, Kate has qualities of a final girl, she keeps on running for as long as she can and is extremely handy with a shot gun. Well-written, brave and fiery, Kate is the ideal modern horror heroine.

5. Carrie White, Carrie (1976)

  • Played By Sissy Spacek
  • Directed By Brian DePalma
  • Written By Stephen King (novel) and Lawrence D. Cohen (Screenplay)

carrie  Stephen King’s groundbreaking, teen novel Carrie has been adapted for the big and small screen on more than one occasion. However this review will focus on the most iconic adaptation of the telekinetic, terrifying teenager portrayed by Sissy Spacek in Brian DePalma’s 1976 classic film. Abused, humiliated and tormented, Spacek’s Carrie generated an undeniable wave of empathy for the character as she plays a naive, young girl unaware of the depths of the power she possesses. Carrie represents teenage insecurities that are present in all of us, it’s the difficult age where we’re all settling into our own skin. Adding onto these troubling years is the extreme bullying Carrie endures at the hands of her more self-aware, pop-cultured peers. Carrie also suffers mental and physical abuse by her mentally ill and fanatical religious mother Margaret (Piper Laurie), a woman so fearful she shields her daughter from the reality of the outside world. Considering all this, it’s a surprise that Carrie didn’t snap before prom night however the development of her powers is in place as a metaphor to reflect her coming-of-age and descendent into puberty. Ostracized for being “different”, Carrie is the subject of public humiliation and cruelty as she experiences her first period unaware of what’s happening to her. Led by the bitchy Chris Hargansen (Nancy Allen), the group of viscous girls maliciously throw tampons at her and make cruel jibes. The only one on her side is her gym teacher Miss Collins (Betty Buckley) who is compassionate and encourages Carrie’s sense of self-worth. She punishes the girls with good intentions, denying them access to prom unless they attend daily detention but ironically it acts as the beginning of Carrie’s downfall when Chris refuses to comply and has an even nastier trick up her sleeve.

Carrie’s home life is no better. Her mother treats her first period as immoral, “first comes the blood, then comes the boys”. She frequently locks her in the closet, forcing her to pray for her “sins”. Another character that encompasses any kind of empathy for Carrie is her former tormenter Sue Snell (Amy Irving), racked with guilt, Sue comes up with a peace offering. By sacrificing her own dreams of prom, she insists her boyfriend Tommy (William Katt) take Carrie in her place in a bid to bring her out of her shell and experience one night of high school normality. Sabotaging her plans is the bitter Chris who decides to pull the ultimate prank. Armed with a bucket of pigs blood, Chris orchestrates Carrie and Tommy to win the titles of Prom King and Queen, ensuring they’ll be center stage. At the pivotal moment, Chris and boyfriend Billy (John Travolta) pull the chord, unleashing blood all over poor Carrie. One humiliation too far and proving her mother’s fears right, Carrie gives her high school a night of terror to remember. With her powers in full swing, Carrie traps her peers and teachers in the gym, killing them in a series of brutal attacks following a vision of each and every one of them mocking and laughing at her. It doesn’t stop there, when she returns home she wreaks revenge on her mother, literally crucifying her in a symbolic and fitting killing. The house then falls down around them and Carrie meets her bloody demise.

A tragic figure. Carrie’s external influences are the reasons behind her frustration and anger. Had she not been treated like an outsider in all aspects of her life Carrie may have used her powers for positive means. She is a character many can relate to and when I first watched the film aged thirteen it proved a cathartic experience. Despite her destructive end, Carrie proves that bullies need to be stood up to with the homicidal element in place as a metaphor. She is a girl we’ve all been at one point or another trying to find our way in the world amongst the brutality of high school in which she offers a fantastical outlet for.

4. Nancy Thompson, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

  • Played By Heather Langenkamp
  • Written and Directed By Wes Craven

heather-1  Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) is arguably one of the most memorable final girls of 1980’s horror movies from one of it’s famous franchises. Nancy was the first final girl to take on the frightening Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund) and proves that the original is superior. A Nightmare on Elm Street was groundbreaking for its time. It reflected 80’s American culture and fears present within society as many films of that era were said to do so at the time. As a horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street blurred the gap between reality and fantasy or ‘secure’ and ‘paranoid’ horror, a theory developed by Andrew Tudor. This then allowed the character of Nancy to be more of an ‘active’ final girl, instead of waiting for the monster to come and terrorize her, she brings him out herself ready to fight.

Nancy’s character demonstrates a change in how slasher movie heroine’s were written. This was arguably a turning point in the genre and hinting at a more post-modern approach that was on its way, in which Craven experimented with further in the mid-90’s. Resourceful and productive, Nancy is one step ahead of her oblivious parents and ignorant authority figures, as her friends are murdered by the knife-fingered, badly-burned psychopath, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. Nancy must rectify the mistakes of her parents and the adults in the town by restoring the balance of normality. As stated, the film was a reflection of the breakdown of the family unit which was on the increase during this period. Nancy’s role is to literally pick up the pieces and put Kruger to rest once and for all. In comparison to her mother, who is an alcoholic and displays weakness, Nancy is self-reliant and is aware of what she needs to do to survive. That said, she comes up against several hurdles in order to defeat Kruger. The insomnia she develops leads to the assumption that Nancy is physically losing her mind. As she descends further into a state of insanity it becomes questionable as to whether she will come out alive.

We’re all aware that Nancy is in fact successful, drawing Kruger into her environment instead of allowing herself to be killed in his version of reality. In the end she turns her back on him, demonstrating she is no longer afraid, ultimately destroying him. We meet Nancy again in the third installment, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). Now working as a dream researcher at the Westin Hills Asylum, she returns to help the last children of Elm Street battle Kruger once and for all, drawing on her own experiences. Sadly Kruger does kill her second time round, however her legacy lives on in horror history. Nancy is a well-remembered woman of horror, determined, independent and is one of the first of a new breed of the horror heroine.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews