Archive for The ABC’s of Death 2

Hayley’s Top 10 Genre Films of 2014.

Posted in Ghostface Girls, Horror Festivals, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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It’s that time of year again to reflect on which films struck a chord and made a lasting impression. For me the genre has continued to impress throughout 2014 offering up a variety of different contenders to select from. There’s been psychological scares and strange shocks making 2014 a real interesting year for horror. The films this year have dared to be more experimental taking our beloved genre in whole new directions and there have been some impressive performances all round. You may notice that there’s been a bit of a Australian and Canadian invasion this year as both countries have taken the genre by storm. The choices on this list will evidently be subjective so please comment if you agree or disagree with my picks. Without further ado, here is my highly recommended horror of 2014:

 10. The ABC’s of Death 2 (2014)

Directed By Various

Country: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Japan.

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The ABC’s of Death 2 surprisingly defied expectations, greatly improving on the 2013 original anthology. With a clearer direction this time around, the chosen 26 directors each created compelling and strong segments that went from being creative to grotesque to darkly humoured. The ABC’s of Death 2 is guaranteed to have something to please horror fans. Stand out segments include Julian Barratt’s comical B is for Badger, Larry Fesenden’s Halloween-esque N is for Nexus, Juan Martinez draw-dropping S is for Split and Jerome Stable’s brutal V is for Vacation. The ABC’s of Death 2 is one of the strongest anthology films of recent years.

Read my full review here. 

9. Stage Fright (2014)

Directed By Jerome Stable.

Country: Canada

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Stage Fright cleverly combines the slasher film with the musical movie in this twisted homage that screams Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Friday the 13th. After the brutal death of her Broadway star mother ten years ago, Camilla Swanson auditions for the role she made famous in the revival of the summer camp production of The Haunting of the Opera. Whether the curtain will rise on opening night is another matter as a masked maniac takes to the blade bumping off the cheerfully camp cast and crew one by one. Stage Fright has the makings of a cult musical with its genre hybridity and its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. Allie MacDonald gives a star performance alongside Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver. There’s some catchy and well crafted musical numbers from a range of genres as well as an Iron Maiden-esque killer! Stage Fright is a lot of fun while incorporating a dark tone and supplying plenty of gore!

Read my full review here.

8. Perfect Sisters (2014)

Directed By Stanley M. Brooks

Country: Canada

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Abigail Breslin gives the performance of the year in Stanley M. Brooks’s true crime thriller surrounding teenage sisters who callously murdered their alcoholic, deadbeat mother in the bathtub in 2003. Based on the case known as ‘The murder of Linda Anderesen’Perfect Sisters draws the audience into a dark and depressing place that carefully depicts how two young girls are driven to murder and their downward spiral in the aftermath. Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley are two actresses to keep an eye out for as they deliver powerhouse performances and depict a convincing sisterly bond when playing the notorious Andersen sisters. Perfect Sisters provides an insight into the early days of the internet and the dark side of being able to find anything online. Exceedingly grim in tone and utterly compelling, Perfect Sisters will leave you captivated until the devastating end.

Read my full review here.

7. Pieces of Talent (2014)

Directed By Joe Shauffer

Country: USA

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Pieces of Talent came as one of the most exceptional genre indie flicks of the year. In concept it’s something us hardened horror fans have seen all before but it needs to be commended for how it takes a traditional psycho killer storyline and does something completely experimental with it which works especially well. Pieces of Talent doesn’t hold back on the brutality as it tells the tale of an aspiring actress named Charlotte played by Kristi Ray who’s down on her luck. Stuck in a dead end job with far greater dreams, things appear to turn around for her when she develops a wonderful friendship with amateur filmmaker David (played by Writer David Long). David is one deranged director who offers Charlotte an opportunity to star in his latest independent film. David expects his actors to take method acting to a whole other level leaving Charlotte with more than she ever bargained for. Horrific and arty Pieces of Talent is one unusual meta film that deserves to be seen by everyone who likes their horror brutal and bloody made by filmmakers who are willing to take risks, offering up something much more diverse.

You can now see the movie for free on the official website: http://piecesoftalent.com/amissingpiece/

Read my full review from Love Horror.

6. Tusk (2014)

Directed By Kevin Smith

Country: USA. 

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Tusk is a movie that’s difficult to forget once viewed. It creates an unexplainable strange feeling that leaves a lasting impression. A podcast host named Wallace (played by Justin Long) visits Canada to interview the latest internet sensation the Kill Bill Kid. Upon his arrival he finds himself at the funeral of his interview opportunity, but little does he know something far more sinister and extraordinary awaits him. Answering an ambiguous letter he spots at a convenience store, Wallace embarks on a journey that leads him to an isolated mansion inhabited by the elderly Howard Howe (Michael Parks). After being drugged, the maniacal Howe plans to perform some amateur surgery on Wallace in order to transform him into a Walrus! Tusk is probably one of the more bizarre films seen this year particularly from a big name director mostly known for his successful comedies. Tusk combines dark humour with twisted set pieces and a surprising emotional impact creating a disturbing cinematic experience where you won’t know whether to laugh or be horrified.

Read my full review here.

5. The Canal

Directed By Ivan Kavanagh 

Country: Ireland

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Forget mainstream haunting films such as Insidious or The Conjuring; look no further than this Irish independent chiller. The Canal delivers a classic old school ghost story that creeps under the skin. Thought-provoking and incredibly terrifying The Canal depicts the harrowing ordeal of a single father following the mysterious murder of his adulterous wife. Traumatized film archivist David played powerfully by Rupert Evans, keeps the audience with him for the entire time as he comes to terms with all consuming grief while suspecting that he’s being haunted by the former sinister inhabitants in his house. There’s a fantastic supporting role from Steve Oram as the suspicious police detective and Callum Heath who plays David’s young son Billy is the most adorable child actor in any horror film. The relationship between father and son and naturalistic chemistry guarantees we become invested as the film plays out. The Canal keeps up intrigue making the plot twists even more gut-wrenching as they unfold. Ivan Kavanagh achieves a great deal on a low budget that it’s hard to believe the film wasn’t made with a lot more money than it was. The Canal is an unforgettable atmospheric piece.

Read my full review here.

4. Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla (2013)

Directed By Stuart Simpson

Country: Australia

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There’s something about ice cream and horror that fits together nicely from the Cornetto trilogy to 2011’s Some Guy Who Kills People, and this Australian offering is no exception. Stuart Simpson’s compelling, unconventional feature is a strong character study of an introverted ice cream van driver who develops an intense and unhealthy obsession with a cheesy Australian soap actress. Warren Thompson, played by the phenomenal Glenn Maynard is a man on the edge. He faces daily abuse from the local thug and struggles to come to terms with the accidental death of his pet cat.  His only solace comes in the form of soap opera Round the Block which he watches religiously but how long will it take before poor Warren snaps?! Maynard whole heartedly carries the film in a heartbreaking and unforgettable performance. Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla provides an insight into the real horror of humanity and blurs the lines between reality and fantasy coming in as one of the year’s most captivating films.

Read my full review here.

3. The Babadook

Directed By Jennifer Kent

Country: Australia

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The Babadook is arguably the most hyped up film of 2014 and it absolutely deserves the praise it receives. It isn’t quite what it seems which is completely why everybody can’t stop talking about it. Its title of ‘Scariest Movie of the Year’ is absolutely justified as while initially it may not have a significant impact, its after viewing when you sit and think about it, it crawls under the skin and infiltrates the darkest corner of your mind. It’s an effective psychological horror film that keeps up a sense of dread as it focuses on a widowed single mother unable to cope with the premature death of her husband and struggling to raise her increasingly difficult young son born on the night of the fateful accident that claimed her husband’s life. One evening Amelia (played by the outstanding Essie Davis) reads an ambiguous bedtime story to son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) called Mister Babadook. The book’s origins are unknown but what follows is a series of nightmare fuel as a dark fantasy turns into reality…or does it? Cleverly The Babadook allows for interpretation as it acts as a metaphor for mental illness and bereavement. Essie Davis delivers one of the best performances witnessed all year while young Noah Wiseman proves to be a dynamic young actor as troubled Samuel. Beyond disturbing, The Babadook is a must-see for 2014. Jennifer Kent’s feature debut is no doubt a future classic and really breaks the barriers in horror cinema for female filmmakers to come.

Keep telling yourself: There’s no such thing as The Babadook…dook…dook!

Read my full review here.

2. The Editor

Directed By Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy

Country: Canada

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The Editor was one of the most popular films that toured the festival circuit this year. The latest film from Canadian film-collective Astron-6, makers of crazy, 80’s action throwback Manborg is an affectionate homage to the Italian giallo sub-genre. The Editor doesn’t require its audience to have an extensive knowledge of giallo in order to get something out of it as it maintains to be downright entertaining throughout. Its hands down this year’s most visually stylish film with its deep, intense lighting and perfectly framed shots of classic giallo iconography. The Editor tells the tale of famed editor Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) who becomes embroiled in a number of violent murders. What follows is a series of crazy events that’ll blow your mind! Its an appreciation of an era of horror that reigned from the 1960’s-1980’s and goes all out to capture the tone of those types of films particularly with its Goblin inspired soundtrack. Along the way we meet an aray of colourful characters performed outstandingly by the likes of Paz de la Huerta, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, Laurence R. Harvey, Udo Kier and Tristan Risk. The Editor isn’t afraid to push the boundaries and has fun with what it does, it’s rip-roaringly funny with its intentional dubbing and hilarious one liners. Astron-6 share a unique sense of humour and there is no one out there quite like them. The Editor is one film I could most certainly watch over and over again, preferably joined by a glass of Italian red to fully get into the spirit!

1. Spring (2014)

Directed By Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson

Country: USA

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Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s second feature, Spring proves how impressive this directorial duo have become. Following the success of 2012’s Resolution, Moorhead and Benson continue to explore in-depth human relationships in this romantic monster movie that incorporates its own mythology. When Evan tragically loses his mother to cancer he makes a life altering decision and travels to Italy for some much needed soul searching. However he gets more than he bargained for when he is captivated by a beautiful and enigmatic woman named Louise. The two embark on a passionate relationship that at the same time enthrals and frightens them both. Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker have an undeniable on-screen chemistry as their characters experience the mysterious early stages of a new relationship. What’s wonderful about Spring is that it takes its time to develop its two leading characters allowing us to get invested in them. It’s never clear cut which direction the film will take which keeps us mesmerized and unable to take our eyes off the screen, a credit to Benson’s screenplay. Moorhead’s cinematography is breath-taking and really makes use of the spectacular locations. These two are some of the most interesting filmmakers of recent years as they don’t play by the rules and create something totally unique, placing their individual mark on the genre. They do something different and do it exceptionally well. Spring is my top pick of 2014 as it’s the most well written, thought-provoking and beautiful film that’s emerged from the genre this year.

Read my full review here.

Honourable Mentions: Housebound (2014), New Zealand, What We Do In The Shadows (2014), New Zealand, The Sacrament (2013), USA and The Guest (2014), USA. 

Head over here for podcasts and articles from my collaborative project Ghostface Girls and check out our joint top 5 genre films of the year video:

Thank you for reading. I’d like to wish my fangtastic readers a spooktacular Christmas and New Year. Let’s hope 2015 has such sights to show us after a phenomenal 2014!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

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Celluloid Screams 2014: The ABC’s of Death 2 Review.

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Following a mixed bag of toilet humour, taboo subjects and in some cases unimaginative segments in the first anthology, The ABC’s of Death 2 held low expectations for me. The light at the end of the tunnel was the exception of seeing shorts by some talented directors including Jen and Sylvia Soska, Aharon Keshales and Dennison Ramalho to name a few. Its a collaborative piece that allows variations of different filmic styles and horror ideas that made the first film so successful therefore opening up the void for a sequel to see what else could be done with the concept. In a surprising turn of events, ABC’s 2 is actually pretty solid with a consistent number of creative and appealing segments that are guaranteed to engross diverse horror fans who want a bit of everything from gore to psychological terror. This time round there’s 26 new directors who offer up a number of grizzly and gruesome ways to die!

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The opening credit sequence is simply stunning. It features stop-motion animation of skeletal schoolchildren being murdered by their teachers within a storybook, the sequence is accompanied by haunting theme music of the classic childlike ‘la, la, la’s’ resulting in a chilling effect. The creepy tone is therefore set as a selection of various horror shorts from all over the world unfold on screen.

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E.L. Katz kicks things off with A is for Amateur, a gut-punching, action-packed and well shot sequence that depicted a hitman who’s assigned job goes horribly wrong.

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Julian Barratt, a British comedian best-known for The Mighty Boosh delivers plenty of laughs in the satirical B is for Badger, documenting an agitated wildlife television presenter who get’s more than he bargained for when he and his crew encounter a not so cuddly badger!

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Julien Gilbey is up next with a harrowing and realist look at lynch mob behaviour in C is for Capital Punishment. A young girl goes missing and a local man is accused by an emotive bunch within his village who are out for blood. Without revealing too much, the letter C cuts close to the bone, providing a disturbing take on what humans are prepared to do based on assumption!

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D is for Deloused by Robert Morgan had to be one of the most visually creative contenders within the anthology. With gore-tastic stop-motion animation, there’s plenty to feast your eyes on. The short tells the tale of a giant bug that assists a executed man to exact revenge on those who killed him. D displays a sense of uniqueness about it.

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Next up was a twisted but comedic segment from Alejandro Brugues titled E is for Equilibrium. Two castaways who appear to be stranded on a tropical island following a stag party have their world turned upside down after a beautiful woman enters their life. Will friendship win out in the end or will the two men be blinded by infatuation for the same woman?

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The next entry directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado was eagerly anticipated following the gut-wrenching, phenomenal thriller Big Bad Wolves from last year. Keshales explores similar thematics to his successful 2013 feature, the tension between the Israeli’s and the Palestinian’s. A young military woman is stranded up a tree where her parachute has landed and is discovered by a Palestinian boy who displays hostility toward her. F is for Falling demonstrates an intense power struggle that ends spectacularly.

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Where to start with this one? G is for Grandad is one of the more obscure entries this time round. A generational clash between a long-haired Grandfather and Grandson takes a turn for the strange! This is one that has to be seen to be believed, there’s lashes of dark and twisted humour galore. From British director Jim Hosking, the letter G is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the dependent of the youth on the old while striving for their own independence.

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H is for Head Games is a surrealist offering depicting a power struggle between a hand drawn man and woman. It’s difficult to quite ‘get’ what this one is trying to do however its inventive in its own right as the only segment in the anthology to take this filmic approach.

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Letter I, which stands for Invincible was one of the highlights from the ABC’s sequel. Directed by Filipino filmmaker Erik Matti, I is for Invinvible’s concept takes a satirical look at a group of siblings determined to get their hands on the inheritance from their Grandmother who just won’t die! Echoing The Evil Dead in style, I is a very comical segment, representing themes and ideas of greed and entitlement.

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Dennison Ramalho presents a poignant short; J is for Jesus. Taking on a brave subject matter, J is for Jesus comes across as heartbreaking and purely devastating as a man is martyred for being a homosexual. With striking visuals, J is for Jesus tells an uncomfortable story that reminds us there is unfortunately still prejudices in this world when it comes down to religious views.

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K is for Knell is an interesting entry directed by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper in which a woman comes across some insidious black liquid that has the ability to transform people into killers.

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L is for Legacy is an African-themed segment that depicts a ritual sacrifice that has dire consequences for the inhabitants of the village.

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Now for the winner of ‘The Search for the 26th Director Competition’; that in my personal opinion was a rather underwhelming choice. M is for Masticate is played for laughs as a zombie-like man runs down the street in slow-motion. Robert Boocheck’s winning entry suggests that there could be something supernatural going on with this character however the end twist shows otherwise! While most definitely selected for its humour, there were so many more shorts that had much more interesting premises that were more deserving.

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Larry Fessenden’s N is for Nexus is the perfect segment to put you into the seasonal spirit ready for Halloween. With a specific aesthetic filled with pumpkins, costumes (including  a reference to You’re Next) and trick or treaters, Nexus focuses on a couple donning a Frankenstein’s Monster and Bride of Frankenstein costumes. The male sets out to meet his monstrous bride and rushes as fast as he can but something happens along the way which puts a downer on the whole holiday. Beautifully shot and captivating, N is for Nexus is one of the strongest contenders incorporated in ABC’s 2.

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The next segment came in the shape of Japanese director Hajime Ohata’s O is for Ochlorcracy (translated to Mob Rule). A woman is tried in court and sentenced to death by none other than a group of zombies. O is for Ocholoracy is a gripping short that comments on the possible apathetic state of the judicial system. O is sure an interesting one.

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P-P-P-P Scary is another obscure little entry as well as incredibly stylish with homage paid toward black and white comedy films of the past. Filled with strangeness and oddball effects, the Letter P is incredibly enjoyable to watch. Todd Rohal creates a segment that stands out from the rest as it captures that 1930’s, Three-Stooges style comedy mixed in with what would have been considered controversial horror at the time especially for its in-your-face imagery. P-P-P-P Scary is unexpected in what direction it will take next!

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Q is one of the more cleverly-crafted entries that brings  a sense of paranoid horror and the compelling thriller into the mix. Q is for Questionnaire uncomfortably gets under the skin as it depicts a man answering flawlessly on an intelligence test. The scenes intercut with those of lab experiments foreshadowing the purpose of said test, its jaw-dropping! Directed by Rodney Ascher.

 

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Marven Kren’s R is for Roulette is reminiscent of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds (2009). It’s a suspenseful entry that sees two men and a woman playing a game of roulette to the death, but which one of them will actually pull the trigger? R has a consistent flow of intensity throughout that will leave the audience on the edge of their seat.

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Spanish genre filmmaker Juan Martinez Moreno’s continues the intense tone in the next segment S is for Split. With the quite literal use of a split screen, S shows a husband working away on “business” on the phone to his wife who is isolated in their enormous house. There’s an intruder at the door that rockets this segment into a cat and mouse game as the husband traumatically listens to his tormented wife, fearing that she is about to be brutally murdered by her attacker. This is a must-see as it takes the home invasion concept up a level. It’s frightening and shocking at the same time.

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The Soska Sisters team up once again with American Mary breakout actress Tristan Risk in T is for Torture Porn where they take on the M of all evils, misogyny! Playing an actress at an audition, Miss Risk’s character is appallingly treated by the director played Astron-6 favourite Conor Sweeny who has other ideas for his upcoming star. When he forces the seemingly vulnerable young woman to strip, he and his film crew get more than they bargained for as Jen and Sylvia provide us with a highly entertaining spectacle of a segment conveying the crazy side of horror alongside a smart commentary on the treatment of women within the industry.

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U is for Utopia comes from Cube and Splice director Vincenzo Natali. This segment displays a profound message surrounding the world’s obsession with vanity. With emphasis on appearance, a man who’s considered ‘unattractive’ is singled out in the middle of a mall by those who are deemed attractive, he is subsequently executed making U is for Utopia a truly haunting segment.

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Another highlight, V is for Vacation takes advantage of our endless methods of communication through technology and the dangers it potentially possesses. While on holiday a young man is face-timing his girlfriend (essentially the point of view of the audience). When his unsavoury friend emerges and decides to taunt her about her boyfriend not being entirely faithful she is horrified to discover that he has slept with a prostitute but the worst is yet to come. Jerome Stable’s V works well as it supplies the shock factor to disturbing effect as both the girlfriend and us the audience are placed in a position of powerlessness.

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Steven Kostanski of Astron-6 delivers W is for Wish with the collective’s signature 80’s aesthetic. Remember those old toy commercials that made the toys actually look better than what they were? Well W is for Wish is the embodiment of a child’s imagination and the fantasy of where that imagination takes them. Events however take a turn for the worst when the children are captured by the evil villain from the fantasy world they have entered. There’s also a short but awesome cameo from the Soska’s who look right at home in the zany world Kostanski has created.

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The tone shifts considerably with the next segment from Inside directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, X is for Xylophone. This French short has disturbing undertones as it features a traditional woman in charge of babysitting a young child who is happily playing her xylophone. There is shock and horror on the horizon for when the parents return home!

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Heading towards the end of the anthology, Y is for Youth is significantly memorable as it uses frightening and quirky visuals to convey a young girl’s frustrations toward her parent’s neglect of her.

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The ABC’s of Death 2 closes with Z is for Zygote, an imaginative body horror from the perspective of an expecting mother who literally won’t give birth until her husband returns home. Its unusual and unique in its own way and an extreme closure to what’s been a rollercoaster ride of inventive, gore-tastic visuals and dark humour.

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As a full film, The ABC’s of Death 2 is a great improvement on the original with each segment standing out in their own right. Its a must-see this Halloween as there is something to satisfy every aspect of our horror-fuelled cravings!

Check out my review of the original here, written back in April 2013.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Shocktastic Scares at Sheffield: What’s going on in Celluloid Screams 2014!

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals, Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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The eagerly anticipated line-up was announced today for Sheffield’s scariest film festival, Celluloid Screams. One again Rob Nevitt and team didn’t disappoint with a selection of sinisterly intriguing features and shorts. Already announced was the opening gala film, The Editor with special guests Astron-6 in attendance. The Editor looks set to be a throwback to the giallo sub-genre with a retro feel, setting the perfect tone for the festival’s beginning. Astron-6 are the centre of Celluloid’s annual, “The Short Film’s Of…”, which showcases an insight into the work of a particular filmmaker. Astron-6 will no doubt bring some crazy horror to Celluloid’s blood splattered screen!

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Producer and Director Brian Yuzna was also announced as Celluloid’s main special guest this year. Known for Bride of Re-Animator (1989), Beyond Re-Animator (2003),  and The Dentist (1996) plus several others, Yuzna is a frequent collaborator with director Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator 1985) and will be partaking in a Q&A about is contribution to the horror genre and helping bring H.P Lovecraft’s work to life. He will also be presenting special screenings of Dagon (2001) which looks the most appealing, Bride Of Re-Animator (included in the all-nighter) and Society (1989) giving us a sense of his interesting career in the genre.

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While not every film I was particularly hoping for is in the line-up (there’s always the secret film!); there is plenty in store to satisfy all our gore-hungry appetites! What We Do in the Shadows, a New Zealand vampire mockumentary has tongue-in-cheek written over it, coming across as a laugh-out-loud horror comedy.

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Starry Eyes, is one of the most intriguing films on offer with a sense of pure darkness surrounding it, there seems to be an Argento-type familiarity at play as it tells the story of a young, aspiring actress who falls prey to the lure of fame and fortune.

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Suburban Gothic is the second feature from Excision director Richard Bates Jr, while his first film was a mixed bag of mesmerizing visuals up against a strongly unlikeable protagonist, Suburban Gothic feels a lot more watch-able. Raymond (Matthew Gray Gubler) is forced to move back in with his domineering parents, following being kicked out of his apartment. Raymond has always inhabited a special gift of communicating with the paranormal,  and is soon put to the test when a vengeful spirit starts terrorizing his small town. Its Tim Burton meets John Waters (who makes a cameo in the trailer!).

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Celluloid are also welcoming back Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson following their fantastic participation at the 2012 festival with their feature Resolution. Their next offering is Spring a darkly fascinating piece focused on a young man who flees to Italy and subsequently begins a romance with a mysterious woman. Spring is described as “Beauty and the Beast by way of Linklater and early Cronenberg”making it sound all the more enthralling.

For those of you who are hardcore, you get a chance to enjoy and endure the All-Nighter, featuring screenings from cross-over Sci-Fi movies including Maximum Overdrive, Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Night of the Creeps. 

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One of the most exciting addition’s is the screening of The ABC’s of Death 2, showcasing 26 new directors with 26 new ways to die, judging by the trailer it looks like this sequel has certainly upped its game with plenty of crazy gore for us to feast our eyes on. We look forward to seeing segments from Jen and Sylvia Soska, Aharon Keshales, E.L Katz, Dennison Ramalho plus many more.

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead gives the impression of an absolute crowd-pleaser and will certainly close the festival on a high what more could we want other than a bloody, zombie comedy!

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Ghostface Girls (myself and Caitlyn Downs) will be attending, my fourth festival and her second. Look out for plenty of coverage videos around late October-early November. Plus a new video coming soon!

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All that’s left to say is bring on the blood, guts, gore, vampires and nazi zombies!

Celluloid Screams 2014 potentially could be the best yet!

24th-26th October.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

The Most Eagerly-Anticipated Horror Movies of 2014 (so far!)

Posted in Horror Festivals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

2014 has some thrilling genre titles on the way, already establishing that the year ahead is shaping up to be one of horror’s most exhilarating and bloodiest yet! Here are my top picks so far on the movies that are likely to appeal to my tastes. In no particular order:

Truth Or Dare

  • Directed By Jessica Cameron.

truth or dare posterTechnically a 2013 film, Truth or Dare has circulated genre festivals in the USA and Belgium. It’s Hollywood premiere is taking place on January 10th at the Shockfest Film Festival. There’s been a huge internet buzz surrounding the film which has picked my interest since I first heard about it. The premise sounds deadly and brutal, a group of friends have become an internet sensation through their popular “truth or dare” videos. Things soon take a sinister turn when their biggest fan decides he wants in on the action however he starts to play by his own rules! With the ever-growing internet phenomenon, the film appears to make a dark commentary on something so prominent in people’s day to day lives and there’s nothing scarier than that! Hopefully a UK release date will be on the cards or some festival screenings this coming year. Although Truth or Dare is Jessica Cameron’s directorial debut, she has already proven she’s a rising cult star in the making by starring in over 30 horror, thriller and sci-fi projects over the passed couple of years including To Jennifer (2013) and The Black Dahila Haunting (2012). Cameron has collaborated with Jonathan Scott Higgins on the screenplay to create a disturbing and gory feature which is already getting fans talking while putting a high quality of indie horror on the map.

The ABC’s Of Death 2

  • Directed By Various

abcs 2Anthology horror is becoming an increasing trend within the genre, thanks to film’s like last year’s success, The ABC’s of Death. There’s bound to be something for everyone on offer with such an eclectic range from gross-out gore, to humor to downright psychological terror. ABC’s is an impressive piece as it showcases what directors can come up with when given a limited run time. There’s no surprise that ABC’s warranted a sequel, bringing in more directors from all over the world. Following the search for the 26th director which saw many competitors battling it out for a segment in the film, the winning entry is officially Robert Boocheck’s M is for Masticate. I can see why it was chosen for its balance of humor and stomach-churning effects however it wouldn’t have been my personal winner. Joining Boocheck are a number of talented filmmakers  who will hopefully produce some diverse and interesting segments including Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), Aharon Keshales (Big Bad Wolves), Dennison Ramalho (short film director) and E.L Katz (Cheap Thrills) which are the ones I’m most looking forward to seeing.

See No Evil 2

  • Directed By Jen Soska & Sylvia Soska

see no evil 2Being two of the most successful female directors currently in the genre with a hugely supportive fan base, the majority of us gore freaks are anticipating what the Twisted Twins will do next following their beautifully dark, body modification movie, American Mary. Collaborating with WWE studios, many were surprised that Mary’s follow-up would be a sequel to an average slasher flick from 2006. However there’s no doubt that the Soska’s will bring in their own unique style to the piece and transform Kane into one of the most talked horror movie villains of the decade. See No Evil 2 allegedly picks up where the first film left off. Killer Jacob Goodnight, played by the wrestler Kane wakes up in the morgue ready to terrorize a group of medical students. The Soska’s have expressed that since Mary became successful they have been encouraged by the studios to continue to use the same types of trends within their future projects and have come across scripts that are basically American Mary. As disheartening as that it is it appears they have reached a compromise by including the medical angle in See No Evil 2, making it the one aesthetic it shares with Mary as well as providing a trademark for them as directors. Katharine Isabelle is set to star in her second film with the Twisted Twins and will be joined by iconic Scream Queen Danielle Harris. This is one movie that is sure to celebrate the rising status of women in horror and will have enough packed in to appeal to the horror and wrestling communities alike.

Wolf Creek 2

  • Directed By Greg McLean

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Eight years after its initial release, Australian ordeal shocker, Wolf Creek is getting a sequel. Loosely based on true events, Greg Mclean’s 2005 outback carnage saw a group of tourists terrorized by menacing serial killer Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). Literally getting away with murder, the film was left open ended meaning evil Mick Taylor still remains a deadly threat to all that cross his path. The upcoming sequel has been in development for a while although finally has a February release date in Australia so hopefully mad Mick will be making his way over to the UK very soon. There hasn’t been much information as of yet surrounding the plot therefore its unknown if it deals with the aftermath of the first film or whether its a prequel. Two tie-in novels have been penned by Mclean himself, detailing Mick Taylor’s bloody origins, Wolf Creek: Origin and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game. It’s uncertain whether a sequel is really warranted to what could be considered a modern classic, however if there’s more story to tell then it could be a very interesting film.

The Purge 2

  • Directed By James DeMonaco

The Purge 2 Movie

The Purge was one of my favourite genre offerings of last year. It upped the ante on the home invasion sub-genre by bringing in a well-crafted concept that made it a little less conventional than the standard fare. A sequel has recently been announced and it will certainly be intriguing to see if it manages to hold up as well as it’s predecessor through replicating the formula or whether this is an attempt to place The Purge in the same league as the SAW and Paranormal Activity franchises. A plot has not been revealed as of yet however some cast members have been confirmed. The film will star Zach Gilford, Michael K. Williams, Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez and Carmen Ejogo. With an all new cast of characters, it will be interesting to see if any rules have changed since the previous instalment. With the same director on board it gives it a promising start meaning the vision from the first film will be in place. The home invasion sub-genre has proved popular in 2013, but will it continue? Time will tell when The Purge 2 hits our screens in June.

XX

  • Directed By Various

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The second anthology film I’m anticipating in this list. XX is set to be a female led horror anthology, featuring segments from the most innovative female directors in the genre and promises to incorporate a lead female character in each. Women in Horror is bigger than ever and far more celebrated than it may have been in the past. Its been argued for a long time that women have been under-represented in the genre and now finally a surge of successful female filmmakers are given the opportunity to showcase their dark visions for the big screen. Its been said that there will be some animated, stop-motion sequences in place to transition between each segment created by Sofia Carrillo who’ll also be in charge of the title sequence. Joining her will be Jennifer Lynch (Chained, Boxing Helena), Mary Harron (American Psycho), Jovanka Vuckovic (The Guest, The Captured Bird), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) and of course the Twisted Twins Jen and Sylvia who are making an impact in horror this year through their involvement in various projects. Many films have been directed by women over the years however it isn’t until recent times that they are been given a prominent voice. It’s about time more films were shot in a way that women can identify with rather than feel objectified, not that its always the case. XX is sure to be inventive, ground-breaking, stylish and brutally gore-geous!

Horns

  • Directed By Alexandre Aja

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Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Mirrors) adapts Joe Hill’s novel of the same name in what looks like a dark, quirky thriller about a young man who mysteriously develops a set of horns following the brutal rape and murder of his girlfriend which he is accused of. Daniel Radcliffe marks his return to the genre following his lead role in 2012’s gothic, hammer horror The Woman in Black, in a role that’s far cry from his Harry Potter days. Radcliffe described his part in the film as both “emotional” and “outrageous” to play as his character experiences deep turmoil when using his new, unusual abilities to track down the real culprit! With the names attached it will be interesting to see how they approach the project, Aja as director and Radcliffe as an actor. Deep, harrowing, compelling and enigmatic, Horns will be one to look out for as its due for an upcoming theatrical release.

There we have it, some of the most exciting titles in Horror for 2014. I’m sure they’ll be many more to join them in the near future but for now, let me know which genre movies you can’t wait to sink your teeth into this year! Feel free to comment below or tweet me on @hayleyr1989.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

ABC’s of Death 2: The Search for the 26th Director.

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

Following the success of the 2012 film, anthology movie The ABC’s Of Death is getting a sequel promising 26 new directors and 26 new ways to die. I for one had mixed feelings about the first offering, but there were glimpses of some well-made horror pieces amongst those that didn’t quite cut it. Hopefully second time round will bring in some more talented directors with an eye for innovative horror, capturing moments of fear within a short run-time. A huge appeal for the second instalment will be seeing what the awesome Jen and Sylvia Soska will have to offer as well as Marcus Dunstan who directed The Collection, a film that I surprisingly enjoyed this year.

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But what’s currently dominating interest in this film is discovering who will win the competition to become ABC’s 26th Director. The winner of the competition will be down to horror fans themselves as they decide between a high standard of entries through an online voting system, closing on Halloween night. More information about that can be found here. In order to help you decide your winner, I’m going to discuss a couple of entries that you should consider from some of my favourite independent genre directors.

M is for Macho. Directed by Jose Pedro Lopes.

If you like a bit of zombies in your horror then look no further. M is for Macho is set on a basketball court where the only thing stopping the lead male and female character reaching the net are a group of braindead zombies! Fearlessly, the female character reaches the net, dodging them in the process but when the male attempts to he is not so successful! M is for Macho is a critique of gender roles using the zombie sub-genre as a backdrop, subverting the idea that “being macho” is associated only with males. To a degree its a feminist piece that challenges ideas of masculinity while not taking itself too seriously. Macho provides sharp cinematography with a lot of attention to detail in every frame, along with a heavy rock soundtrack that suggests competitiveness and aggression. The sunny, outdoor setting really contrasts the horror, however demonstrates that horror doesn’t need to be done in complete darkness in order to create tension. The zombie make up is awesome and the performances are just right, these are some of the best zombies I’ve seen in recent films from the sub-genre. With dark humour and light gore, M is for Macho is an entertaining piece and a strong contender for the competition. This is definitely one that I’d like to see within an anthology film.

M is for Mother. Directed by Corey Norman.

This was an entry I was initially apprehensive about watching due to its dark subject matter as involving children in peril is always going to be difficult viewing. M is for Mother focuses on an every day situation where a mother reads her little girl a bedtime story. The film has a minimalistic setting, the little girl’s pink bedroom which is used effectively while giving a sense of claustrophobia. The entirety of the film feels tense as its not your typical horror fare, it is uncertain of what kind of direction it could go in which leaves the viewer on edge. The mother recites a fairy-tale style story to her adorable daughter about a King and Queen and their Little Princess. As the mother delves deeper into the story about a witch who tore their family apart and stole the King romantically from the Queen, it soon transpires that the story is a mask for the breakdown of the traditional family, something more common within today’s society. With no blood or gore, M is for Mother is frightening on a whole different level. Not one for those who don’t have a strong stomach, I understand Corey Norman’s intentions of representing something that could be considered real life horror and with that in mind there is nothing more unnerving. Effective, tense and long-lasting in the mind I would recommend taking M is for Mother into consideration for its way of creating fear with performance, setting and direction alone.

M is for Marriage. Directed by Todd E. Freeman.

Potentially, this could be my favourite entry. M is for Marriage is a very powerful piece that focuses on the depths of strong emotions including love and hate.  M is for Marriage has been made as a teaser for Freeman’s upcoming feature film Love Sick. If this is the kind of high, dramatic horror that’s in store then Love Sick will be one of the most anticipated modern horror films. Staying true to his style of body horror as seen in Cell Count, Freeman doesn’t disappoint as he uses the concept as a metaphor for the emotions of a relationship. The plot focuses on an experienced therapist Doctor Christian who specialises in the controversial method of Bio-Medical psychotherapy. He is working with a husband and wife who seek help to move forward and overcome past mistakes. The main portion of the film focuses on the wife character who is encouraged to display her anger and hate towards her husband’s infidelity. Her performance is powerful and moving as the film depicts the emotions of hate, love and anger as well as how they look physically which makes a compelling and interesting viewing. I’m completely blown away by this fascinating piece as it depicts something we can all relate to and goes into depth about what it really is to be human. The Doctor provides the insight that we are all connected, there’s an amazing shot that demonstrates this where the head’s of the two characters fade into each other, centrally in the frame. There’s an unexpected twist ending that comes across as satisfying and acts as the crescendo for the intense build-up that came before it. I highly recommend viewing this one for being able to get right under the skin with its subject matter and its attention to creating as much intensity as possible before a satisfying climax.

Definitely check out these unique horror entries that provide a sense of versatility to the genre, its definitely going to be a tough choice as there’s so many interesting and diverse films entered into the competition. If you get a chance to watch these or any other ABC’s of Death 2 entries then feel free to comment below. Would love to hear your thoughts on which film YOU think is deserving of the 26th Director crown!

Hayley Alice Roberts.