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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Deranged (1974) Arrow Video Blu Ray review.

There have been many movies based upon Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs and Psycho are probably the most famous. Deranged is a little seen gem that manages to combine both deeply disturbing moments of insanity with darkly humorous situations to create probably the greatest film based on the exploits of Gein. Let's not forget that Deranged also features effects work from a young Tom Savini (Deranged is his movie debut). What you have here is a film that really should be much bigger than it is.

Ezra Cobb looks after his bedridden mother. When she dies, Ezra's world slowly falls apart, and his insanity and unbearable hurt at his mother being taken away from him makes him dig up her corpse. Soon, his insanity develops, and he steals bodies to "repair" the corpse of his mother, and then later using them to decorate his house, making belly drums and other household items from them. Eventually, Ezra begins taking the life of local women, and one by one, the body count grows.

This movie is incredible. I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing it before, but my mother had constantly sung it's praises, as she went to the cinema when she was younger. Thank god for Arrow Video, who have produced a beautiful dual format BLU-RAY/DVD for all of us horror/exploitation fans to salivate over. Not only do you get the brilliant movie, restored and fully uncut for the first time ever anywhere in the world, there is a plethora of special features for us all to get our gore soaked teeth in to.

To say the humor in Deranged is dark is a grand understatement. Every situation in the movie is rammed with darkness, but it is Roberts Blossom's performance as Ezra that fills the audience with laughs a plenty. That isn't to say the film isn't disturbing. It is. Almost to the point of being sickening. Ezra's descent into madness is played incredibly well, and has to be one of the most believable breakdowns I have ever witnessed in a film.

The movie only has one problem in my opinion. It is narrated by a newspaper reporter, and the narration doesn't only consist of a voice over. The narrator pops up in scenes, explaining what is going on, and this just becomes plain annoying after a while, but it is but a small gripe in a movie that is filled with madness and a slow, helpless descent into insanity. This film will shock you into submission, and will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. It manages to get under your skin very easily, and this is a testament to great filmmaking.

The dual format BLU-RAY/DVD comes loaded with special features. There is a commentary with Tom Savini, an introduction to the film by Savini, three featurettes, the original trailer, a stills gallery, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh and a collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film by Stephen Thrower, an article from Rue Morgue on the legacy of Ed Gein, plus an archive interview with producer Bob Clark, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

Deranged is released from Arrow Video on August 19th 2013.

You can purchase Deranged from the Arrow Video website by clicking HERE.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Evil Dead (1981).

Born from a short named Within the Woods, which was directed by Sam Raimi, and starred both Ellen Sandweiss and Bruce Campbell (who would both appear in The Evil Dead), The Evil Dead is a flat out classic of horror cinema. It's slow burn atmosphere and it's completely insane final act adhere this masterpiece to the hearts of many genre fans.

Shot over a year (the original shoot was proposed to last only six weeks) with a cast and crew of thirteen people, The Evil Dead is arguably the greatest low budget film ever made. The talent on display behind the camera is breathtaking, while in front of the camera, only Bruce Campbell and Ellen Sandweiss shine, but more on that later.

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, and after playing a recording that contains an ancient incantation from the Naturan Demonto (The Book of the Dead), insane demons are released and possess the friends one by one. This really is all I can give as a synopsis. Fleshing it out anymore would surely result in me posting spoilers, which is something I refuse to do in my reviews.

The first thing that hits you about The Evil Dead is it's slow burn atmosphere. Almost nothing happens for 25 minutes, and thereafter the fear the movie creates is punctuated by moments of pure insanity and unrelenting splatter, as well as some incredibly off-kilter camera angles and sound effects. The violence, while sometimes shocking, is also incredibly over the top, almost to the point of being cartoon-like. It really is a horror fans dream.

The characters are incredibly underdeveloped, but it doesn't matter, as they are thrust into a situation that had never been seen before, and one that manages to make you jump, laugh, gross you out and basically manipulate every sense you have, and before long you forget about their acting talent as you are bombarded with demented voices, jump scares, weirdness, over the top violence and blood letting. The acting is also rather wooden, but again, it blends in with the demented goings on in the movie universe, and helps the performances of the possessed teens to come across as completely insane.

The Evil Dead is also an incredibly noisy film, drowning the viewer in audio insanity, and again this adds to the demented goings on. The sound design works to put the viewer on edge, suffocating the viewer with numerous screams, growls and taunts, and is almost as unrelenting as the over the top violence.

What seems to be lost on many genre fans is the sheer inventiveness and blatant personal style Sam Raimi brings to this movie. He showed so much individualism, creating camera shots that had never been seen before and taking great pleasure in putting the actors through great amounts of torture to gain the perfect performance from them.

Since The Evil Dead, no film has even come close to capturing the spirit of true horror, nor has any movie ever shown the inventiveness, insanity or downright disregard for their viewers. The Evil Dead stands today as a classic of American horror cinema, yet to be rivaled or toppled from it's throne.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Is it easier to hate things than it is to enjoy them?

I have noticed a growing trend amongst internet reviewers. It seems people love to hate on every single new movie that comes out. Whether this is to attempt to buck the trend of good reviews a film might be getting, or just a way to troll fans of certain films, the internet movie reviewing community is becoming a generic mess of people that wallow in hate and disappointment at every single movie release.
Now let me clear something up first of all. I am all for people being honest. In fact, that is a key point in all my reviews. But when every single sentence these people write consists of four letter expletives and them describing why they hit the fast forward button on their remote control, it really does become a little infuriating. How can anyone who skips forward on a movie give a constructive review. It certainly gives many reasons why these people include so many discrepancies if they can't even be bothered to sit through a film. Of course things aren't going to make sense if you are forwarding through parts of a movie.
At first, this hatred was restricted to remakes. When a remake was released, the internet would be set alight with reviews tearing the films apart. Sometimes, these reviews would even appear before the movie was released. But then these vitriolic reviews began appearing for new releases of every single film out there. Reviews so full of hate, you would think that the writer was making a rival film and wanted to destroy the reputation of the movie they were writing about. It happened to Evil Dead, World War Z and many more. Their reviews would be littered with obscene language, feature little to no constructive criticism and not even go into explaining why the writer thought the movie was so bad.
I feel this growing trend is down to our basic need to be a part of something. If something gets a lot of hate, more people are going to agree with the hater rather than stand up and disagree with the majority. Who wants to be the odd one out in a majority? If someone attacks something you love, the first thing anyone wants to do is to jump to it's defense. These reviewers then have a blast replying to the comments some brave people decide to post, at least until all of the haters join forces and make every little thing personal.
I also feel these people get some sort of satisfaction from placing themselves "above" the fans of certain movies. Far be it for me to tell people how to think, but a movie is about entertainment. If it doesn't entertain you, so be it. Find something that does. Just because you hold the opinion something is bad, doesn't mean that the majority (or at least those that aren't mindless sheep) agree with you. Nor does it mean your opinions are fact. Differences in opinion make us who we are.
It seems the majority of reviewers out there dismiss anyone whose views conflict with their own, which begs the question "Are our opinions really our own"? Does everyone agree with someone because of popularity? I am more than happy to read reviews which do not agree with my own feelings. All that I ask is they are constructive and intelligent. I don't want to read a review where everything is labelled as an expletive, where the actors are torn down because they are fresh faced, or the directors and cinematographers are blasted because they are not working with a big budget.
It is becoming more and more apparent that it is much easier to hate something than it is to enjoy it, and whether this is down to the state of cinema today, or just down to a new generation of movie reviewers who don't like anything they see, has yet to be explored. Nevertheless, it is sad that reviewing movies has become such a pessimistic pursuit. Something that should be subjective has become a competition to see just how much venom someone has towards a particular movie, and then others jump on the bandwagon and try to out-hate the previous review by using more venomous wording  or increasingly brutal ways of putting something down.

One thing I do know is that I myself, and a few other fellow bloggers/writers out there do give out valid opinions, and don't feel the need to belittle films, or fans of films because we feel they aren't up to scratch, or because they are independent, or a certain genre. The internet has given voice to anyone out there who wants to write about anything, and maybe that's why reviews have become saturated with people who like nothing better than to attempt to tear down every single thing they see. I really can't see any other explanation for it.

One last thing for all those people out there who spread continuous hatred.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Evil Dead (2013).


Seeing as Evil Dead finally comes to DVD/Blu Ray in the UK today, I thought I would finally get around to writing my review of the film. I managed to catch this in the cinema, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It is a solid horror film, but I really don't feel it deserves much of the hype it seems to be getting. It certainly has none of the gonzo craziness or gore of the films on which it was based, but seeing as this is a re-imagining, and not a remake, I suppose some leniency must be given. That isn't to say it isn't gory. It certainly is, but it honestly features nothing fans of horror haven't seen before. Evil Dead is the first feature length film to be directed by Fede Alvarez. I am sure everyone knows the story, but I will still give a short synopsis, just in case.

Five friends journey to a cabin in the woods, and come across the Necronomicon (The Book of the Dead). After reading passages from the book aloud, the friends unwittingly summon demons who manage to possess them one by one. So begins the friends fight for survival against the Evil Dead.

I enjoyed Evil Dead. I am a huge fan of the original movie, not so much Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness, but I do still enjoy both of those films on occasion. After watching Evil Dead, it certainly gave me that post film buzz. I'm not sure whether it was the film, or seeing Bruce Campbell after the end credits (kudos must be given to one of my friends, who sat through the entire end credits with his legs crossed, desperately needing the toilet, but not giving in to the urge just so he could catch the cameo of Bruce Campbell). Nevertheless, after stewing over the film for a few months, many things became apparent.

The violence in the film is much more realistic, which should make it more shocking. Instead, I felt it fell rather flat, with each possessed teen mutilating themselves with anything they can get their hands on. There were a couple of scenes that nearly turned my stomach, and again, props must be given to the filmmakers for sticking to mostly practical effects, but the violence and demonic attacks felt too restrained. The film had none of the viciousness I had come to expect with all the hype the film was getting.

Another thing that left me a little disappointed was the look of the Deadites. They were nothing more than people with contact lenses in. After the gruesome look of them in past film, I would have thought more attention to detail would have been given to the look of the Deadites, but alas, it seems that the filmmakers weren't bothered about how they looked, choosing to focus more on the way they mutilate themselves. Again, this never came to me when watching the movie. It is only after looking back on it, and not really being able to remember any specific details about the movie that it becomes apparent just how easily forgettable this film is.

The film takes very little time to get going, and because of that, very little character development is given. Amazingly, this doesn't hurt the film one bit, as we are thrust into a demonic nightmare which leaves very little time for the viewer to catch their breath. Admittedly, the demons are relentless in their pursuit of the teens, and this does add something to the film. The ending was surprising, but again, the "Big Bad" just looked like a regular human. Not monstrous at all, which again left me disappointed. The fact it could lift a car, and yet be stopped by a chainsaw, sort of made it a hell of a lot less scary.

There are many nods to fans of the original, such as the aforementioned cameo of Bruce "The Chin" Campbell, and Sam Raimi's "The Classic", which is a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 buried amongst the trees among others. These certainly did manage to bring a smile to my face, as I am a sucker for nostalgia.

All in all, Evil Dead is a forgettable but fun ride, and a nice return to the violent cinema that we were treated to in the late 70's/early 80's, and has been absent for a long time. While it may not offer anything memorable, any crazy looking deadites or any memorable scenes of carnage (apart from the end), while viewing it, I loved every second. It's just a shame that nothing in the movie stuck with me. I am sure I will pick it up on DVD eventually, as the special features alone are worth the price of purchase, but I don't think it will be a movie I will be returning to again and again like I do with the original.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Early Graves 'Red Horse' 2012 album review.

'Red Horse' marks Early Graves first release since the unfortunate death of their front man Makh Daniels in 2010. Believe me, when you hit 'play', this album will blow you away in every way. Nothing could prepare you for the sheer visceral hatred, anger and an urgency unheard of from bands that have been around a good deal longer.

Whereas on earlier albums Early Graves sounded like a Frankenstein's monster of different sounds stitched together, on 'Red Horse', they have found how to make their tracks more cohesive. That isn't to say they don't meander through many different styles on this album, it just shows how much they have matured as a band, both in sound and in songwriting.

The album opens with Skinwalker, which begins with a soft acoustic lead, before heading into the bludgeoning sound this band are known for. The brutality doesn't let up, each song hitting you like a brick to the face.  Every single track bleeds with a new found vitality that energizes the listener, as well as throwing them around the room with the velocity and sheer brutality of every single track.

Many genres are sped through on this album, and even doom rears it's ugly head, as well as the crust/thrash/death metal staples that the band have been plying for a while. It all works so well and leaves the listener breathless. Technicality comes second. Aggression and a sheer will to destroy the listener are what make this album such an incredible listen. The production is raw, and this helps amplify the bands aggression tenfold.

The vocals are so angry, so full of pain that they almost make the music look soft in comparison. A special mention must go to vocalist John Strachan, who had a lot to live up to, and believe me, he surpasses any doubts you would have within minutes. The guitarists do their jobs well, injecting melody where needed as well as thrashing like crazy. The drums are spectacular, and certainly make the listener bang their heads. The drummer sounds similar to ex Today is the Day/Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor, holding the bands monstrous riffs together with amazing ease, while driving the band forward.

This is one pissed off band, and they certainly make that apparent through every one of the eight tracks on offer here. If you are looking for a band to strip the flesh from your bones, then Early Graves very well might be that band. Unrelenting brutality is what this band offer, and they do it well. So well infact, that they are in a class of their own.Give 'Red Horse' a listen. It will leave you beat up, bruised and ready to go through it all over again.

Check out the official video for the track 'Red Horse' below.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Jack Frost (1996).

Not to be confused with the Michael Keaton family movie of the same name (which was released two years later), Jack Frost is a laugh a minute, entertaining low budget comedy horror movie that also boasts one of the first on-screen appearances from Shannon Elizabeth (Angela in The Night of the Demons remake). I agree that the plot seems incredibly stupid, but it is pulled off with such self awareness and twisted humor that it more often than not works incredibly well. It also helped that in the UK, the VHS was released with a lenticular cover that shown both a cute looking snowman, and a monstrous snowman with icicle teeth. I have to admit to being a little disappointed that the snowman in the movie didn't look anything like the one on the cover, but that is such a small problem with a film as crazy as this.

Jack Frost is a serial killer who has vowed a gruesome revenge on the small town cop who managed to finally capture him. On the way to Jack's execution in the middle of winter, the prison vehicle is involved in an accident, and Jack gets doused in a toxic chemical that turns him into a living snowman with the ability to melt at will. Jack returns to the small town to keep his promise of a gruesome and bloody revenge.

The film really is one that polarizes horror fans the world over. Many ignore it's charms, and write it off as another cheap film that has no watchable value whatsoever. I myself fall into the other camp of people, who think Jack Frost is a classic amongst horror comedies. The deaths in the movie are outrageous, and are sure to bring a smile to even the hardened horror fan. While the acting might not be that great, it certainly comes into it's own when Jack attacks, with fear being shown to great effect.

The special effects belie the movies low budget. When we see Jack covered in the toxic chemical, his body melts, and it easily looks as good, if not better than any of the melts in Street Trash (only a lot less colorful). There are a lot of close-ups of snow, which in reality is foam, but it still manages to work to great effect, showing the killers movement and managing to build up a little suspense within the movie.

Another thing that makes me love this movie, is that Jack seems only to be able to speak in one liners, and every one of them is fantastic. It is very apparent that the filmmakers made this film to tickle the funny bones of every horror fan out there. And amazingly, through the not so good acting and silly storyline, it manages to shine.

Jack Frost is hilarious, features some incredibly bizarre Christmas/snow-themed deaths and some of the greatest one liners since Army of Darkness. So what if the story is silly? This film works, and while it may not be Hollywood in any way,shape or form, no one can deny that Jack Frost is one hell of an entertaining movie.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Why do I love horror movies so much?

This is a question I get asked with great regularity. I think people expect me to say "It's because I love seeing people get murdered" or something along those lines, but the truth of the matter is rather more deep than anyone would imagine. I can rule out the "I enjoy being scared" factor, because only one movie, John Carpenter's Halloween, is still the only movie which has ever affected me in that way. No other movie has managed to scare me even in the slightest. That feeling of fear is something I have been chasing after since my first viewing of Carpenter's slasher classic.

I love horror because it is a part of who I am. At it's most basic, that is the reason I give when asked that question that anyone who doesn't have an interest in the genre. The conversation never usually gets much further than me saying that, and then being met with the retort "you're weird". Here, I will go a little deeper as to why I find the horror genre so fascinating.

My love (some would call it an obsession) with horror movies began as a young child. As King Kong fell from the Empire State building, I began crying, asking my parents why people were so nasty to a creature who only wanted to go home. My mother told me "Man always destroys what he doesn't understand". For some reason, this made me identify with the monsters in movies such as The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, along with characters in Doctor Who (of which I was a huge fan of when I was a child). I didn't mind that they were evil, and I was truly fascinated with the way they moved, the way they behaved. It was truly entrancing. I looked for movies that featured a monster on the video cover, and ended up seeing such films as Deathstalker, Imp, Puppet Master, Ghoulies, Critters, Munchies amongst others.

My fascination with monsters is only a part of my love for horror though. Watching these films acts as a type of escapism from me. That isn't to say regular life is boring, monotonous or anything of the sort, but retreating into the fantastical and letting loose of all the worries life brings is certainly a therapeutic process, and one that is sometimes much needed. Seeing people in inescapable situations where their life is in danger, makes the worries seem that much smaller, and helps me focus and not sweat the little things so much. It acts as a release, a way to relieve stresses and worries, but again, this isn't the only reason I watch horror.

There are some horror films I watch to test myself, such as what many people consider to be the sickest films of all time. They also act as entertainment, but in an entirely different way. It took me three sittings to get through August Underground's Mordum (the vomiting scene managed to turn my stomach so much that I found myself reaching for the off switch again and again). Men Behind the Sun is the latest in a long line of movies that have had a profound effect on me, making me see just how valuable and delicate life is, and also just how despicable a race humanity can be. The feeling of accomplishment after sitting through these tests of endurance is both thrilling and enlightening, and although they may only be films, they are also a reflection of humanity, and the monsters that exist within our race.

Horror is like a drug. Horror fans crave the feelings a horror movie brings, whether it is just entertainment, or if it goes much deeper, helping them confront fears in a safe environment they would never confront otherwise, we crave what these movies bring. Weather that be blood, gore, violence or a fog shrouded castle, horror is one of the only genre of films that manages to mix so many emotions together in one film. What other genre would you find comedy mixing with drama with bloodshed? Fear mixed with love? Friendship mixed with death? As an all encompassing genre, horror is certainly at the forefront, beating every other genre hands down.

There isn't a particular kind of horror movie I would rather watch over any other. My collection consists of everything from The Wicker Man (the original, of course) to Men Behind the Sun. I will watch anything that takes my fancy, no matter what reviewers or bloggers have to say about it. Horror has such a wide spectrum and I am sure everyone has their own definition of what horror actually is. It doesn't affect my enjoyment if a movie contains humor, or if it is deadly serious. I don't care if it breaks taboos, or steers well clear of them. They are entertainment, and if they manage to entertain at least one person in the world, then the filmmakers have done their jobs well.

Most of all though, above the reasons I have given previously, I watch horror films to be entertained. That is my main reason for watching, and I am sure that is the main reason films are made. For entertainment. Low or big budget, it doesn't matter. If a film is entertaining, it is a winner in my eyes.I am drawn to the dark side of everything, be it music, art or movies. I cannot explain why this is, but it is something that has been apparent since an early age. Horror films time and again manage to show a dark side in both a fantastical sense, and a very real sense, depending on the movie. This keeps me coming back again and again to see what emotions these movies will stir, to see if they will scare me, or thrill me, or make me laugh, and only horror is capable of doing all of these things, and so much more, within one movie.

As well as discussing why you like horror movies here, you can also go on over to xsmarkthespot, a film review and discussion blog that posed the very question that this post covers. To see why this question was asked on xsmarkthespot, click HERE.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Cattle Decapitation 'Forced Gender Reassignment' music video.

I was shocked to hear that Vimeo, a video hosting site that seems to host everything Youtube deems unacceptable, turned down the opportunity to host the new video from San Diego Death/Grind band Cattle Decapitation. Then I got the chance to see the video, and understood completely why they refused. Bloody have premiered the video, and I have to say it as every bit as brutal and twisted as the bands music. But don't let me ruin it for you. There is nothing like experiencing the video for yourself.

To view Cattle Decapitation's video for Forced Gender Reassignment, click HERE.

Don't say I didn't warn you. This is both the aural and visual epitome of horror, and believe me when I say, it works, and will take an awfully long time for anyone to top this.

Darkest regards......Dani.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Interview with British actor/director Dominic Brunt.

Dominic Brunt is rather a big name here in the UK, and with time, I am sure he will grow to be embraced universally, especially by the horror crowd. He plays the loveable Paddy Kirk in the British soap opera Emmerdale. Amazingly, he is also a huge horror film fan and a self confessed zombie addict, and along with his friend and fellow Emmerdale actor Mark Charnock (who plays Marlon Dingle in the British soap, and is also a self confessed zombie addict) they conduct the Leeds Zombie Festival, which began on 20th April 2008. This year saw the sixth Leeds Zombie Festival, which saw such great films as Argento's cut of 'Dawn of the Dead', Cuban horror comedy 'Juan of the Dead', and Dominic Brunt's directorial debut, the amazing 'Before  Dawn' (my review of this film can be found by clicking HERE). Dominic also played the part of the chainsaw wielding cross dresser 'Podge' in Alex Chandon's terrific splatter/horror film Inbred (my review of which can be found by clicking HERE).

Dominic was kind enough to give me a chance to ask about his directorial debut, and about the Leeds Zombie Festival amongst other things. What follows is the complete interview. Many thanks to Dominic Brunt for taking the time to answer the questions.

D.C:- First of all, could you please give my readers a little history lesson about your annual zombie festival and how it began?

D.B:- The festival came about after my trip to Romania with the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) to help raise funds and awareness about bears being captured and held for various reasons in rural zoos and restaurants. I wanted to repay them for the flight and hotel and also give towards the charity. Myself and my work partner/mate Mark Charnock watch too many horror films anyway so we thought we could combine our love of the genre with an event to raise money.

How did your interest in zombie movies, and horror in general, begin?

Like most horror fans of my age, I was bought up on what was known as "Video Nasties". There was no certification for home videos at the time so you could legally walk into a shop and hire anything. So we did.

Was it hard moving from acting to directing?

Not really. It should all be hard work and well planned but we were surrounded by professionals so we had an enormous amount of fun too. Plus the fact that the film we had been working towards for so long was finally being put together.

In Before Dawn, you managed to create an aura of fear unseen in zombie cinema since the days of Lucio Fulci. How did this come about?

Well that's very kind of you indeed. I don't know really. I think that's up to the individual viewer to experience and decide. We wanted the scenario to play out as if the situation were real and was happening to real people. I think the dialogue has a lot to do with that as it's normal, un-flowery and conversational and the characters react in a very normal and upsetting way without grandstanding or playing up to any style.

What do you look for when selecting a movie for your film fest?

We look for something that will entertain a cinema full of people for better or for worse. There is a certain element of quality control but some awful trash has gone down a storm, I can tell you. Plan 9 from Outer Space, Nights of Terror spring immediately to mind and I want to show Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead next year given half the chance.

How did you achieve the depressing nihilistic feel for Before Dawn?

Ha ha!! Well, I think all the death, violence, loss and regret mixed in with superb somber music and deadpan performances will do that. I honestly feel that ending is a glimmer of hope though. Maybe just me? It's that European cinema style we were aiming for though.

The zombies in Before Dawn were practically unstoppable, and the scene in the garage was incredibly tense. Was it difficult to get right?

It was an amazing amount of fun. Knackering but fun. The worse the violence is the funnier it was to shoot.

Before Dawn is an incredibly emotional movie, as well s being tense and scary. Are all of these elements important ingredients in a horror movie?

I think most horror films are scary for their own reasons. Some have a certain formula and become franchises but I tend to leave them alone. I am a horror fan for as many different reasons as there are films within the genre. I love being entertained by a "worse case scenario" which is what I think the best horror films are. Certainly this would be the case for our future projects.

What are some of your favorite zombie/horror movies, and why do you enjoy them so much?

Evil Dead, Sleep Tight, Midnight Express, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Demon, Colin, Inbred. I could fill so many pages. I don't enjoy the body horror side of things really as I'm not a fan of this spiteful need to show torture as entertainment without humor. I just love film and stories. I'm a massive comic book fan and I often feel the horror genre goes hand in hand with that obsession. For me anyhow.

Your portrayal of the lead character in Before Dawn was incredibly powerful. Was it difficult playing such a troubled character going through such a difficult time?

That's very kind of you. I'm an actor, and the script was a joy for me. Quite indulgent but that's food for actors. Also, I got to kill zombies in a feature film so I can now die happy.

Many thanks again to Dominic Brunt for answering these questions. His new short film 'Shell Shocked' will be shown at this years Film 4 Frightfest, which runs from 22nd to the 26th August 2013 at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, London.

You can visit the Leeds Zombie Fest official website by clicking HERE.

You can join the Leeds Zombie Festival Facebook group by clicking HERE.

You can 'Follow' the Leeds Zombie Fest on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Darkest regards......Dani.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Conjoined (2013).

Conjoined is the latest feature to be directed by Joe Grisaffi (Dead of Knight). The screenplay is written by Chuck and Tim Norfolk (The Haunted Trailer). This film is a laugh a minute ride, underpinned by a sexual current and some deep and emotional scenes and acting, not forgetting to mention some well done over the top splatter. Conjoined also works as a warning to all those planning to find their partner via internet dating. You never know who you may come across! This film has it all, and believe me, I don't say things like that on a whim (or for bribes, if any of you were wondering).

The film tells the story of Stanley (magnificently portrayed by Tom Long) who meets the woman of his dreams on the internet. When he finally gets to meet his dream woman Alina (played by Michelle Ellen Jones), he finds out that she has a Siamese twin, whose name is Alisa (brilliantly portrayed by Keefer Barlow) who has a problem. She seems to enjoy killing.. Could Stanley be in danger? How will he live a normal life with the woman of his dreams when a psycho is attached to her who is rather crazy?

The scenes at the start of the movie, where Stanley is chatting to Alina on webcam sets the scene perfectly. The couples performances burst with such chemistry that you can practically feel the love between the two characters bursting from the film. When Stanley finally gets to meet his future wife, we see that she is conjoined with her sister, and this really managed to shock me. I have no idea why, but it is certainly a testament to the writing and direction that from the start of the film, they didn't make this detail obvious, and even made me forget about it, so hypnotizing were the characters and their love for each other.

Alisa oozes malevolence and has rather a bad attitude, which is such a contrast to her sweet and innocent sister. This again works in the films favor, as we see the struggle these two ladies have, but also see their love for each other, as well as Alina's love for Stanley, and Alisa's nonchalance at her sisters situation. The scene where they attempt to set Alisa up with an internet lover, which ends up making any male viewer crossing their legs tightly, was a touch of genius. The stereotypes of males that were featured really cracked me up!

Stanley is a confused, shy individual who regularly takes advice from a woman who performs sex shows for money on the internet (played by Deidre Stephens). His inexperience in relationships shines through, as does his confidence in overcoming anything life will throw at him so he can find happiness with Alina, even if it means hiding a few bodies here and there.

The movie is an incredibly emotional piece of cinema. I don't think I have seen a film (especially a horror comedy)  with so much emotion running through it. The operating scene, where Stanley and his hilarious but distasteful friend Jerry (played by Jake Byrd) hope to separate the conjoined sisters, is full of not only laughs, but a heart wrenching anticipation that everything will go right, and that neither of the sisters will die. It is a tense and hilarious few minutes, capped off with the most ingenious cauterizing iron I have ever seen.

What Joe Grisaffi and the rest of the cast and crew have done here, is create a comedy horror film that brings in a deep emotion, has a strong sexual current running through it, and layered the film with jokes and amazingly realistic and deeply emotional performances. It is a testament to just how good indie cinema is. I urge you all to see this film, as there are so many adjectives I could use to describe this film, and all of them positive.

Conjoined is a film of contrasts, of difficulty and most of all, of love, and the struggles this emotion creates. Lets not forget a psychotic twin sister with a sexual appetite to match her bloodlust, and a friend who thinks nothing of indulging in a little necrophillia. This deserves to be seen by everyone, as it shows that indie cinema is nothing to be sniffed at, and shows a genuine love and talent from all involved.

To all involved with Conjoined. I salute you. Here's to many more great movies from you!!

Darkest regards......Dani.