Archive for Zombie Flesh Eaters

**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.

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Abertoir Horror Festival 2013: The Top Feature Films.

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Zombie-fied is one way of describing how I feel after attending six long yet enjoyable days at the Abertoir Horror Festival, located in my hometown of Aberystwyth last week. Abertoir celebrated its eighth successful year which saw regulars return as well as some welcome new faces. 2013 was a special year as the festival celebrated the centennial of the truly wonderful Peter Cushing and presented a broad showcase of his career and his contribution to the genre as a whole. This included a Hammer film The Mummy (1959), two poignant talks by Peter Hutchings, Madhouse (1974) in which he co-starred with horror icon Vincent Price and a television episode Silent Scream (#1.7) from The Hammer House of Horror series (1980).

The special guests in attendance this year were British actor Richard Johnson and Italian composer Fabio Frizzi, who both took part in individual and a joint Q&A on the Saturday evening which was a doubly exciting treat for fans. Mr Johnson and Mr Frizzi had both worked with Lucio Fulci on his 1979 cult, gore-fest Zombie Flesh Eaters, yet had never met in person until the festival which is something Abertoir can be very proud of. A screening of Robert Wise’s classic The Haunting (1963) followed, in celebration of its 50th anniversary. This demonstrates Abertoir’s versatility in reminding audiences why we love horror films in terms of going back to its roots as well as nurturing new and upcoming independent films. Abertoir also doesn’t just stop at the films, festival-goers are also treated to a pub-quiz,  a theatre performance and live music events.

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Another exciting aspect of Abertoir is getting the opportunity to see the latest and best in genre movies from all over the world. This year provided an eclectic selection which saw spine-chilling hauntings, sex-crazed vampires, intelligent science-fiction, misfit ghosts and supernatural cheerleaders to name a few. Abertoir screened Discopath, Chimeres, and Painless, three of my favorite offerings of 2013, however as they’re part of my recent Celluloid Screams coverage I won’t be including them in this list of top features.

Once again, these are my views and do not reflect the overall audience vote on what films won in the best features category.

6. All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

  • Directed By Lucky McGee and Chris Sivertson
  • USA

All Cheerleaders Die is a self-remake from directors Lucky McGee (May, The Woman) and Chris Sivertson (The Lost, I Know who Killed Me). Judging by the names involved, it certainly had a lot of promise. Originally McGee and Sivertson shot a non-budget movie of the same name back in 2001 therefore it could be argued that their 2013 remake is an example of improving on their own work following a more recognizable career path and a bigger budget. Their original All Cheerleaders Die is an incredibly hard find however the 2013 reboot will hopefully generate fan interest if nothing else.

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The film is a revenge flick and a teen movie with supernatural elements that come across as slightly surprising. All Cheerleaders Die incorporates an infectiously funny yet shocking opening sequence that goes right for the jugular, bringing in a great deal of promise in terms of setting up the events to come. That sequence is the main moment that wreaks of Lucky McGee’s brutal, indie style. If anything, the film is reminiscent of mid-to-late 90’s teen flicks such as The Craft (1996) and Jawbreaker (1999)  but also stands out in its own right.

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Maddy Killian (Caitlin Stasey) sets out to destroy the high school cheerleader squad and the Captain of the football team. Its fair to say that it shouldn’t be assumed what is going to happen as Maddy’s revenge takes a turn for the unexpected which spirals out of her control. A typical way of describing All Cheerleaders Die would be “The Craft meets Bring it on!” but then again its so much more than that. Its an interesting film however feels conflicted in terms of its tone, but that does seem intended. Its a blood-curdling, thrill ride that’s definitely worth-watching! It concludes just as it opens, with a huge, slap in the face of a surprise! Check it out for something different from Lucky McGee. ★★★

5. Kiss of the Damned (2012)

  • Directed By Xan Cassavetes
  • USA

Kiss of the Damned is a throwback to the euro-sleaze movies that emerged from the 1960’s and 70’s. With a lavish production design and plenty of melodrama thrown in, Kiss of the Damned is what vampire movies should be all about. With the right blend of comedy and goriness, the film proves an enjoyable watch.

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With the makings of a supernatural soap opera, the film tells the tale of a beautiful vampire named Djuna (Josephine de La Baume) who becomes attracted to a charming, young human screenwriter Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia). She attempts to resist his advances but soon they give into passion and Djuna turns Paolo into a creature of the night like herself. Living in undead bliss, a spanner is quickly thrown into the works when Djuna’s seductive, unhinged younger sister Mimi (Roxane Mesquida) arrives, threatening to sabotage Djuna and Paolo’s relationship as well as the entire vampire community.

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Once Mimi’s presence is made, it comes across as pretty obvious of what direction the film’s heading in but still plays out as thrilling and suspenseful. The characters are easy to engage with especially Djuna as she fights to stay strong for all she stands for within the vampire community. The dialogue and performances in general aren’t played straight, there’s plenty of entertaining and hammy one-liners which work well. On the whole, its beautifully shot and shows off its gothic locations. In the hands of a female director, the sex scenes are tastefully done without being exploitative, shot in a way that are appealing to both women and men. Another welcome element of the film was having the female turn the male into a vampire, subverting the usual vampire-human romance that’s been popular in mainstream, teenage-fiction in recent years. Campy, sexy, sleazy and bloody, Kiss of the Damned is a film worth taking a bite out of!  ★★★

4. The Machine (2013)

  • Directed By Caradog James
  • Wales

A visually intoxicating science-fiction/horror hybrid. The Machine is one of the main reasons Abertoir provides support for films with a Welsh connection. Much thought and care has been put into creating a film that really gets under the skin, questioning the future of humanity itself. Whereas the majority of science-fiction films focus on giant threats to the world as we know it, The Machine gives the genre a sense of intimacy. Its surprising to discover the film was made on a small-budget due to its mesmerizing visuals.

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Echoing back to the conflicts of the cold war, the UK and China are locked in a futuristic, technological battle. Scientist Vincent is in the process of creating machinery which will improve the UK’s weaponry. At the same time he is determined to discover a cure for his gravely ill daughter. His prayers seem to be answered when he begins to attempt to replicate the brain-patterns found in his lab-partner Ava’s mind leading to the two of them creating the first piece of sophisticated and self-aware artificial intelligence. But nothing remains straight-forward when the MOD get their hands on Vincent’s creation and begin to use it as a deadly weapon against their Chinese opponents.

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The Machine tells a compelling story of what would happen if we were able to create artificial versions of ourselves and what would that mean for our future. Inspired by the classic Blade-Runner (1982), The Machine evokes some interesting ideas and imagery, with strong performances. Its no surprise that its a Bafta, award-winning Welsh film. Profound, dark and occasionally funny, The Machine holds a lot of promise for the future of Welsh cinema. ★★★★

3. Chanthaly (2013)

  • Directed By Mattie Do
  • Laos

Chanthaly is a groundbreaking film for two reasons. Its the first Horror film ever made in the country Laos and also the first female directed film.As Laos is a communist country, director Mattie Do faced restrictions when making her first feature which meant she was unable to include any gore and on the whole had to be careful on how she approached the project. It was the first genre film approved by the Laotian government however her original cut faced several issues due to it featuring elements such as suicide and disrespect towards parental figures which are not accepted within their culture.

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Chanthaly is a haunting, ghost-story that focuses on a young woman who lives a sheltered life with her strict father. She suffers from a life-threatening heart condition that she monitors daily with pills. Chanthaly (Amphaiphun Phimmapunya) never knew her mother as she passed away during childbirth due to the same heart-condition. She soon begins to see the spirit of her deceased mother as well as memories of her from childhood. Dark secrets threaten to blow apart Chanthaly and her father’s already fragile family life as she searches for the truth surrounding her mother’s death.

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The film is a slow-burner, allowing the audience to really empathize with the characters. The performances are very naturalistic as they pull the viewer deep into the story. I respect Chanthaly a great deal for providing something different to a sub-genre in horror that is reliant on loud noises and frequent jump scares in order to frighten the audience. Chanthaly doesn’t do this, instead it brings in some subtle scares that get under the skin and are long-lasting in the mind. Mattie Do has created a beautiful, chilling ghost story as well as a character study and an examination of her culture which is a strong achievement. On the whole Chanthaly is Asian, supernatural horror at its best and I am eagerly anticipating seeing much more of Do’s work. ★★★★

2. Forgotten (Aka. Du Hast Es Versprochen)

  • Directed By Alex Schmidt
  • Germany

Du Hast Es Versprochen became an unexpected festival favorite that leaves the viewer astonished and thought-provoked. Part ghost story, part fairy tale, part psychological thriller, part drama and part mystery, Du Hast Es Versprochen is a chilling, genre-bending rollercoaster ride that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats until the credits roll.

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Du Hast Es Versprochen is a tale about childhood friendship and how the past can literally come back to haunt us. Reminiscent of Nicholas Roeg’s The Witches (1990) in tone and setting and sharing similarities with Ingmar Bergman’s skin-crawling Persona (1966), Du Hast Es Versprochen tells the dark story about regret, the innocence of children and a horrific tragedy. As children, Hanna and Clarissa were inseparable and spent every holiday together in a summer house on a small, isolated fishing island. By chance, they are re-connected in later life as adults, Hanna’s marriage is in trouble and Clarissa has also suffered a trauma of her own, the two set off on a journey down memory lane along with Hanna’s young daughter to the the place they shared happier times. They become reminded of a third friend named Maria which evokes unexpected terror and truths they did not wish to uncover.

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With the sense of no escape and a claustrophobic setting, the film pulls the audience in one direction and pushes them in another, it takes the concept of twist and turns to a whole different level. By the end its difficult to decipher which character to empathize with. Well-acted, directed and shot, Mina Tander as Hanna has a startling screen-presence, while Laura De Boer’s Clarissa is reminiscent of a young Winona Ryder. The child actors in the film are phenomenal in terms of bringing in the creep factor. With some startling scares, Du Hast Es Versprochen is one of the best psychological/supernatural thrillers to emerge in a long time. ★★★★★

1. Ghost Graduation

  • Directed By Javier Ruiz Caldera
  • Spain

Ghost Graduation is one of those unexpected gems that ended up being the ultimate festival film of Abertoir 2013, and rightly deserved. Ghost Graduation is the kind of genre film that holds a commercial appeal outside of Horror audiences. It could be fair to argue that it isn’t strictly a horror film but more of a heart-warming comedy that happens to feature supernatural elements. The film opens with a perfectly choreographed dance sequence at a high school prom to non other than Whigfield’s huge 90’s hit Saturday Night, on that alone I think the audience was sold! Changing to the slower number of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, we meet our protagonist Modesto (Raul Arevalo) who is treated as a misfit due to his ability to communicate with ghosts, which paints him as a bit crazy to us normal folk! Fast forward to the present day and Modesto struggles to hold down a teaching job due to his special gift.

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Modesto’s luck changes when he is offered a position at a failing, prestigious school by harassed headteacher Tina  (Alexandra Jimenez) who has the school board constantly on her back. When he accidentally stumbles on an old abandoned library, he meets five spirits of former high school students who were tragically killed in a fire in  1986. With unfinished business on earth, Modesto makes it his incentive to help the teens cross over by helping them finally graduate! There’s also an entertaining sub-plot where Modesto frequently visits a hapless psychiatrist who is under the watch of his disappointed father creating plenty of comedy.

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It’s so easy to misjudge this film based on its marketing which makes it appear like a standard American Pie-style sequel and won’t initially come across as the most conventional choice for a horror audience as it doesn’t have a scary bone in it’s skeletal body! Ghost Graduation is filled with John Hughes shaped nostalgia and pop-culture references. It’s endearing, funny and is guaranteed to place a massive smile on your face. The ultimate feel-good semi-horror movie. ★★★★★

So that’s Abertoir done for another year and what a fantastic festival it proved to be once again. A huge thank you to Gaz Bailey, Nia Edwards-Behi, Rhys Fowler and Rebekah Smith for programming a brilliant selection of films for genre fans to enjoy. Caitlyn Downs and I have been working on video coverage which can be found here with more on the way! .

Visit: http://abertoir.co.uk/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Abertoir Horror Festival News

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The Abertoir Horror Festival returns to the Aberystwyth Arts Centre for its Eighth successful year, this November. Located deep in the heart of Wales, the festival delivers an eclectic selection of films, bringing both classic and the latest in horror to the big screen.

The unveil of the wonderful festival poster by the talented Peter Stevenson.

The unveil of the wonderful festival poster by the talented Peter Stevenson.

2013 will prove to be a very special year for Abertoir as the festival will be celebrating the centennial of horror icon Peter Cushing. Not only that, this year will also mark the 50th anniversary of Robert Wise’s classic spine-chiller ‘The Haunting’, in honor of this, actor Richard Johnson will play a huge part in the festival’s opening night by joining us as this year’s special guest, providing a Q&A at the end of the screening. Another special guest comes in the form of composer Fabio Frizzi, a long time collaborator of Lucio Fulci; along with a screening of one of the notorious ‘video nasties’, ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’. It wouldn’t be Abertoir without a live music event, this year organizers and fans will be pleased to welcome back Zombina and the Skeletones and the Laze who will be putting together a special and sure-to-be memorable collaboration under the name White Blackula. The rest of the line-up has yet to be announced, however I’m sure there will be plenty of unique, new offers from the genre to satisfy us  dedicated festival-goers.

Early bird passes have recently gone on sale at the generous price of £49.50, with only 40 available and selling fast, the price will slightly increase to the usual cost of £58. Call 01970 623232 (Arts Centre Box Office) or visit http://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/ to reserve yours now!

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On October 19th, in partnership with the BFI’s ‘gothic season’, the Arts Centre will be screening two classic Cushing films, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’, alongside the UK premiere of Chris Crow’s ‘The Darkest Day’ followed by a Q&A, keeping in the essential Welsh connection. This night will be the perfect taster before the main event!

I am pleased to announce that along with my co-reviewer Caitlyn Downs of ‘Scared Sheepless’ we will be providing daily video updates of all the gory going’s-on which will be available on Youtube. We are currently discussing our plans for this year’s coverage. Please feel free to check out our efforts from last year. .

If you’ve never attended Abertoir before, I assure you are in for a treat. Prepare for a six day spook-tacular thrill ride of movies, special guests and much, much more.

Previous Posts:

Abertoir 2011

Abertoir 2012

Hayley Alice Roberts.