Friday, 11 April 2014

Review - Stage Fright (2014)


Stage Fright is a horror-musical hybrid, which gives us a new interpretation of the slasher sub-genre. 

Featuring a brief cameo by Minnie Driver and a very decent performance from Meatloaf, this unpretentious take on a camp-based horror is entertaining, funny and gory, and never pretends to be anything it's not.

A lot of slasher films nowadays try to be ironic, slick and relevant; by dealing with a group of "theatre geeks" and by making the central storyline revolve around the theatre, 'Stage Fright' thankfully tends to avoid those pitfalls, and doesn't try to be too edgy or clever.

I enjoy musical theatre; an odd choice to compliment my love of horror? Well, maybe. Even so, the shoutouts to famous musicals in this are fun and certainly raise a smile, and I think any horror fan who appreciates humour alongside their gore won't feel out of place with this. There are also some throwbacks to a couple of classic horror movies which I always enjoy. 

It featured a few inventive set-piece kills (being light on the gore for the first act or so, they ramp it up quite a bit for the finale), which, along with the humour definitely reminded me a bit of Sleepaway Camp, which is a big compliment in my opinion. The songs themselves were amusing and quite catchy, and the atmosphere lent it that glorious atmosphere of the good old times of cheesy 80's horror. The acting ranged from decent to just okay, but that's not why we watch these movies. And the reveal was surprisingly satisfying, concluding in a neat little package which will certainly have me returning for a re-watch. 

Oh, and it also has a killer 80's-throwback poster.
I had fun with it. Of course it's not the next greatest thing in horror, and if you're looking for genuine suspense or a serious horror movie, go try another aisle (Spanish horror might hold a lot for you). But as a fun Friday night flick, it delivers. It made me laugh more than once, I didn't forsee the reveal, and it actually made me jump (okay, only once, but I love when that happens). I say check it out, and let me know what you think. 


My rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, 13 March 2014

New Direction

Hi guys,

I know it's been a fallow few months on here of late, I've been working like a fool and trying to do my degree too, so it's left little tie for horror watching, let alone blogging!

But I'm in a place now where I can watch more horror, and hopefully write about more horror, and for a while at least this blog is going to be more focussed on up-and-coming horror movies/directors/actors etc. I'm going to try to review an indie horror movie or project per week, and then if I get chance throw some other more mainstream horror reviews out too.

There's loads of new blood in horror at the moment, and I'm hoping to splatter some around here in a delightfully gory manner

Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you check out some of the really cool work that's going on in the indie horror scene.

Oh yeah, and I'll be writing some reviews/articles over at moviepilot.com soon too

Stay horrific my beauties ;)

Cheers
HQ x

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope you've all enjoyed the holidays, and perhaps even got a few horror related gifts to enjoy the new year with!

2013 brought me a lot in terms of horror movie goodness and improving my knowledge about the genre I love. I completed my 365 challenge with a good handful of films to spare - in total I watched 400 horror movies, some were unbelievably good, a lot more were average and some were plain terrible. 

This week I'll bring you two lists - one being the best films I have seen all year, from any year and country, as long as they were first watches for me in 2013. Hopefully this will give you a couple of obscure gems that I would recommend anyone check out. 

The second will be the best horror movies released in 2013. It was a pretty prolific year, and some of the films I saw were truly brilliant. I may even add in a bonus few films that were so bad they need mentioning, even if only to save others from having to endure them (Osombie, I'm looking at you o_o) 

As for next year, I will be aiming to complete another 365 horror challenge, along with using this blog to promote or review more indie projects - there is a lot of quality out there in the indie horror market right now and I'm really excited to start talking about some of these right here.

Thanks to all who read this blog, I'm hoping to be much more active here in 2014 and here's to a happy horror loving 2014 for us all!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Hiatus Apologies

Just a message in a bottle to say that I have not fallen off the face of the earth! I am back with my horror beauties now after a completely insane couple of months of 'real life' work (boo!)

Thanks to you all for sticking with me, I have a couple of reviews lined up and a new way of doing things as we begin the final stretch of the year - I'm hoping to hit the horror hard and have some reviews of recent things up very soon.

If you've sent me something to review recently, don't fear, I have a schedule and your review will be up ASAP.

My friends, I will be back amongst you very soon. I miss you you crazies xxx

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 (http://www.jpbankesmercer.com), 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:
twitter.com/shootingiswar
twitter.com/jpbankesmercer

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.



6/10

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.



8/10


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