Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Indie Horror - 'Untitled Horror Film' - Upcoming UK horror movie

As you guys know, I am passionate about all things horror, but I have a particular affinity for UK horror, and the movie I'm talking about today is Untitled Horror Film, a movie which was shot in the UK in just 5 days! Here I give you the synopsis and some exclusive new stills of the movie.

Written and directed by J.P. Bankes-Mercer (, the film tells the story of Heidi Slater, a woman desperate for her big break in journalism, as she tries to expose a celebrated psychic, Tobias Danzig. She takes him and a documentary crew into an all-but-forgotten building - Netherwood House, and from there on in, the horror kicks in! As the documentary crew begin to capture strange phenomena inside the once infamous building, their cameraman J.P. starts to shoot his own type of horror movie....

From the intriguing synopsis and the first stills of Untitled Horror Film, which look laden with atmosphere, it looks like we're in for a good slice of indie horror this year. I'm excited for this movie. I think it sounds like a creepy, interesting and different take on the abandoned location horror film, and has tones of Grave Encounters, Session 9 and even Behind The Mask. It should be fun!

I will keep you updated with news of this project, as I feel like it is a film with the potential to give all horror fans a treat.

Support indie horror! Check back here often for updates on Untitled Horror Film.

Follow this film and its director on Twitter:

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Movie #5 - Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (2013) - Review

Texas Chainsaw 3D Poster

First off, let me assure you I won’t post any spoilers in here, so you can read without learning anything you wouldn’t get from the trailer.

This is being marketed as a ‘direct sequel’ to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film, indeed we are treated to a couple of minutes of recap footage, in 3D of course, then it starts off just minutes after that film ends.

The film opens with a group of vigilantes burning down the Sawyer house, then discovering a baby in the wreckage. A couple of them take the baby for their own. The cut to years later, and we are with said baby, Heather, now all grown up. She embarks on a trip to find her inheritance from a Grandmother she never knew she had.

I’ll say now; I enjoyed this movie. It was pretty well made and had a strong storyline. That is not to say, however, that it was anything like a perfect movie. It certainly wasn’t. I’ll start with what bugged me about this film.

Firstly, it did not need 3D. It was utterly pointless and had no place in the film. It didn’t even look like it was in 3D for most of the film, except for a couple of blood splatters and a few times where an object was thrown at the screen. There were also the obligatory shots of the lead girls, which were eye-rollingly obvious and mildly exploitative, but all I got from the 3D was a headache. There’s no reason whatsoever for seeing this movie in 3D. The casting was also hit and miss; while Alexandra Daddario did particularly well in her lead role, her supporting cast of friends didn’t do as much. Apparently Tremaine Neverson is a singer, and while I’ve never heard of him, here’s a nice cliche to go with his acting - stick to the day job. There were some really nice cameos, and the older cast produced some good quality stuff.
The typical slasher side-storylines were boring and added nothing whatsoever to the overall movie, aside from a nice nod to Tobe Hooper when the gang pick up a hitchhiker along the way.

Another glaring problem for me is this; if the timings are correct, Heather should be roughly 38 years old. In real life, Alexandra Daddario is 26 and could easily pass for younger. If you’re going to go with this particular storyline, don’t just ignore the age your characters are supposed to be in order to get a more conventionally ‘attractive’ and marketable cast. That’s selling out.

However, the film was not all bad. Yes, the points mentioned above irked me, but overall I enjoyed the film. There were some great moments that were big bonuses for fans of the original; little easter eggs that people who haven’t seen it wouldn’t get, and I won’t spoil it for you by going into detail here, just keep your eyes peeled and you’ll get a few little retro treats. 

The main storyline was good, well presented and interesting, and there were a few good jump scares in there too. 

The gore for the most part was well done, a little too CGI for my tastes maybe, but it’s  a 3D film so I wasn’t expecting anything else. It didn’t shy away from much of the gore or killings, which I appreciated, and throughout a lot of the film there was a nice sinister atmosphere and some good tension build ups. One thing that made the original scary, and made Leatherface an icon, was not just his horrendously creepy look, but also the fact that we hardly saw him in the film. In this version, we saw him a lot. There was just too much screen time for him, which made him less scary each and every time. Add to that the fact that the new incarnation of his mask is nothing like as scary as the first, and we come away with a film that does not hold the creep factor anywhere near as well as its predecessor. It does well though, for a sequel, and even forces the audience to illicit a new feeling for Leatherface; sympathy.

I really loved the ending, I think that was where the film stood out, although I hear there is a remake in the works and that is one of the worst things they could do. It ended strongly, just leave it at that and don’t try to cash in on it. Let it have some integrity, and leave knowing you made a pretty decent film.

All in all, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a decent film. It is not perfect, and it doesn’t live up to the original in any way, but I really wasn’t expecting it to, so I’m not disappointed by that. The acting is mostly good, and the new take and twist on the storyline impressed me. I’d recommend you go and see this film, but not in 3D. It is not worth any extra money, and even if it’s the same price you won’t gain a single thing from it. My rating is a solid 6/10. You won’t miss anything if you wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray or DVD, but seeing it in theatres was a good experience.


The Good: The storyline, Daddario's acting & the 'easter-eggs' for fans of the original
The Bad: The 3D, supporting cast acting and too much Leatherface
I'd recommend this for:
Any fans of the original, as it's a nice twist on what happens after the camera stopped rolling in '74. 

Final verdict: 
A decent enough entry into the franchise, although one wasn't really needed. See it but there's no rush

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Movie #4 - Sleepaway Camp (1983) - Review

It is no secret that I have a huge huge passion for 80’s slashers - blood, gore, a cheesy storyline, I love it all. If you throw in some inventive kills it’s almost guaranteed that I’m going to adore it, and all of those ingredients, blended together with humour, a cracking storyline and a side order of fun 80’s fashion produce this movie. Sleepaway Camp is one of the best horror movies the 80’s produced, and one of my very favourite camp slashers of all time.

From the opening scene, with it’s incredibly dramatic, completely camp shock-thriller score, we are given the backstory of Angela, our protagonist, and we see that as a child she is witness to an horrific accident involving her twin and father. Fast forward a few years and Angela is being shipped off to Camp Arawak for a lovely summer of fun, by her Aunt, who is fantastically creepy, one of the creepiest, shudder-inducing characters I have ever come across in a movie like this. From here on in, standard slasher characters abound; you have the jock, the bitch, the tarty girl and the camp staff - the lecherous cook, laid back counsellors and over the top manager. But what helps make Sleepaway Camp a stand-out camp slasher is the fact that these characters aren’t just vacuous airheads there for the sole purpose of being fodder for our killer, they are deeper, well thought out characters, each of whom adds another dimension to the movie. This richness of cast and character also provides the intrigue needed to build suspense in a film like this - we don’t know who the killer is, and you don’t find out until the unforgettable last scene in the movie. Quick warning here - if you haven’t read any spoilers about this film then PLEASE DON’T! I won’t give any here, and trust me, you want to go into this without having it spoiled for you - that way it stands a chance of becoming one of your favourite 80’s horrors too. Angela and her cousin are also not the standard protagonists you expect in a camp killer movie, and it is these small but significant changes that elevate Sleepaway Camp above most other films in the same category as it.

It’s not long until people start to die, and here we come to one of the greatest things about the entire film; the kills. Unusual, creative kills are just about my favourite thing about films like Sleepaway Camp - give me over-the-top, blood-drenched, hilarious, improbable deaths any day over a shotgun blast or a stabbing, they are a fun, guilty pleasure of many horror fans and Sleepaway Camp provides that fun in absolute bucketloads. The kills are beautifully inventive, not many films either before or after this have come close to capturing the bizarre, ridiculously entertaining deaths that occur here. Featuring some of my favourite kills of all-time, I’m sure you’ll find a new gem to add to your list too.

This movie is an utter delight from start to finish.

Every minute spent at Camp Arawak provides more delight than the last, leading up to that glorious final scene which is by far one of the most memorable of any 80’s flick I’ve ever seen.  

If you love slashers, in particular cheesy, 80’s camp-fests then you’re in for the biggest treat. Granted if you’re looking for a serious genre flick, you will hate this. It hasn’t got a serious bone in its body, but if you want to have a bucket load of fun then you really cannot go wrong.


The Good: The glorious kills, fab 80's atmosphere and that ending!

The Bad: It is very cheesy, not a bad thing for me but maybe for some!

I'd recommend this for: Any fan of 80's slashers, or anyone wanting a super fun movie

Overall verdict: Must see, everyone that loves horror has to see this one

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Movie #3 - La Chiesa/The Church (1989) - Review

I went into watching this film because I was on an Argento kick and was trying to devour as much of his work as possible. After watching this, myself and a friend of mine decided we weren't classing this as Argento anymore. It is directed by Michele Soavi, who directed Dellamorte Dellamore, a film I love and so I figured that the combination of two great directors would produce something special. It didn't work for me.

Watching this in the middle of my Argento-a-thon, it just didn't fit. Far from the Giallo style Argento is so amazing at, this is tale of a big Gothic cathedral, built over a mass gravesite, which is developing powers to trap people inside it. It's a fairly bizarre concept and filmed in such a way that I just couldn't get in to it. For starters the pacing was all off; it would cut from action scenes to bizarre, seemingly unrelated scenes for quite some time, then back in for some more of the people trapped in a church. It was jarring and felt confused, and I just didn't take to it at all.

The location of the cathedral and the architecture were brilliant and really lent an added depth to the film, likewise the cinematography and score were both good. The acting was hit and miss and the overall storyline left a lot to be desired, for me. 

It all boils down to personal taste really, and I tend to prefer a more real threat in my movies - a homicidal maniac, a black-gloved killer or a chainsaw-wielding nut are much more up my street than demons are, and so it takes something a little more special than The Church to get me to really love a demon-based horror. 

It's not a terrible movie, but it's really nothing special, and having seen it, I wouldn't bother to watch it again.

The Good: The setting and cinematography were well done

The Bad: It didn't flow right and the storyline didn't captivate me

I'd recommend this for: Anyone who likes demon/spirits in their horror movies and is prepared to wade through some slightly surreal stuff for it

Overall verdict: This one was not for me. In a Giallo or a movie with a more 'traditional' killer, I embrace the surreal - you have to, if Argento is your favourite director. But the concept behind this did nothing for me, and the surrealism and pacing lost me in the end. See it, but I wouldn't rush.


Movie #2 - Tenebrae (1982) - Review

 photo Tenebre_zps8152731c.jpg

Year of Horror - Movie 2


YEAR: 1982

Sub-Genre: Giallo

Director: Dario Argento

Main Cast: Anthony Franciosa (as Peter Neal), Giuliano Gemma (as Detective Germani), John Saxon (as Bullmer),  Christian Borromeo (as Gianni)

Dario Argento is probably my favourite director of all time. His films are like a glorious treat for your eyes, and his storylines are often complicated but always intriguing. In Tenebre, Argento tells the story of Peter Neal, a writer who has come to Rome only to have someone use his novels as motivation for murder. This is one of Argento's most linear and coherent movies, but don't let that fool you - there is plenty going on here, the kills are spectacular and the utter brilliance of the storyline, with perfect pacing thrusting you into the glorious, unexpected, wonderful ending creates a film which is nigh on perfect.

Tenebre, along with Opera, is my favourite Argento film. I cannot recommend this highly enough, everyone who likes horror, hell, anyone who just likes films in general, needs to watch this.

Later in the year I will be doing a collaborative review on Tenebre, which will be very detailed and in-depth. I hope you will read that, but for now, do yourself a favour and watch this film!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Why it's wrong to ask: "Should I see the original first?"

Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Carrie, The Evil Dead. All amazing films, and all being remade. I’m looking forward to all of them, and I’m certain they will all be big box-office hits. But one thing that is troubling me about the remakes coming out this year is this; the amount of people who’ve asked me, or just asked in general, if they should see the original first.

Of course, a film can be enjoyed without knowing anything about it. But if you’re asking this question, you KNOW there is an original. You KNOW this film had a predecessor. And what you’re essentially asking is if it’s okay to skip a piece of work that was so good, memorable or otherwise genius that it spawned one or more remakes/sequels, because you can’t be bothered to watch something that’s more than a couple of years old. It’s the same as writing a book report but deciding to see the film instead. You get the general gist of what’s going on, but you won’t develop a love for the material, and you certainly won’t capture the feeling that was so lovingly crafted for the piece.

You might not HAVE to see the original Texas Chain Saw to understand what’s going on in the 2013 version. You don’t need to have watched with delight Ash’s 1980’s shenanigans to enjoy the remake. But to not do so is indicative of a lot of the problems facing the movie industry, particularly horror, today. It typifies the audiences who go crazy over Paranormal Activity 72 but ignore completely anything original or indie, until some ‘trendy’ blogger declares it ‘Must-See!’

You should always see the original first. Without the original, the new version would not exist. Without seeing the original, you can’t possibly get a sense of what the director was trying to achieve with the film, what it meant or the point it was trying to make.

I know some people will disagree with this article, and say that all movies can be enjoyed without context, and I guess at a base level that is true. But what we’re talking about here is laziness, dumbing down and a general disinterest in anything that isn’t ‘now’ or current. Newsflash - some pretty epic things happened before you were born! Just because a film is 30 years old, or it’s in black & white, or it’s foreign doesn’t mean it isn’t worth seeing! In a lot of cases, you will find a film that is so much better than 90% of the films that will be released this year.

Don’t just see things because everyone else is doing it, or they are the new ‘big thing’, forgotten by next year. See movies that are genuinely good, that will make you think, that will frighten you for real and not just give you a cheap jump thrill. Do me a favour and watch the original first. They are classics for a reason.


I've just got back from an amazing holiday in Florida, which is the reason for the lack of updates in the past week. I had an unbelievably fantastic time, and now that I'm back I have A LOT of catching up to do with my films!

So far in 2013 I've seen 5 horror movies:

Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Tenebrae (1982)
La Chiesa (1989)
Sleepaway Camp (1982)
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

The reviews for the rest of these films will be up this week, along with the other films I'm planning on watching before next week.

By the end of next week everything will be all updated! And remember to check my twitter - for current updates on what I'm watching



Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Movie #1 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) - Review

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Year of Horror - Movie 1
 photo TCM_zpscc8b5b22.jpg


Sub-Genre: Slasher

Director: Tobe Hooper

Main Cast: Gunnar Hansen (as Leatherface), Marilyn Burns (as Sally Hardesty), Allen Danziger (as Jerry)

I wanted the first film I watched as part of my Year of Horror campaign to be a classic, and it doesn't come much more classic than Tobe Hooper's 1974 masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The plot is simple; five friends, driving through Texas, happen upon a deranged family, equipped with deep psychosis and chainsaws. What ensues is a desperate fight for survival, one which epitomises horror and provides some truly memorable scares.

The isolation of the setting provides the basis for the chill of terror the audience is going to feel during this movie. We sympathise with Sally; in the middle of nowhere, far away from home and slowly losing her only anchor to the outside world, her friends, she becomes a character we grow to care about and root for.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when Leatherface is chasing Sally through the fields outside the house. As sally runs toward you, the fear is palpable; Leatherface is behind her, closing in and all you can do is watch as she becomes closer and closer to her tormentor. The tension reaches fever pitch and know what? You'll have to watch it to find out what happens next! If you've seen this film then you'll know that the ending is just glorious. An amazing, haunting ending that you'll never forget.

With the Texas Chainsaw remake looking like it will be huge, I think this is an opportunity for people who have never seen this movie to turn off the lights, settle down and prepare be terrified. Or at least revel in the utter fear-drenched delight of this film. I'd hate for someone's first experience of Chainsaw to be a remake, good or bad, when, if experienced properly, the 1974 piece of art can become one of your all time favourite horror experiences. If you have seen it before, relive it. Even when you know what's coming, the film is a captivating, enthralling experience.

A truly fantastic film, I'd recommend it to everyone.