The Grinn (2017)

  • Director: Matthew KalamaneThe-Grinn-2017-movie-Matthew-Kalamane
  • Writer: Matthew Kalamane
  • Main Cast: John Carroll, Sarah Leight, Michka Hawkins

‘It’s my house, I can do whatever I want with it’

Vance wakes up in a house, seemingly trapped, with no memory of how he got there. There is something horrible lurking outside, while an unknown voice on the phone is trying to guide him out of his amnesia.

I wasn’t overly enthused for the first 10 – 15 minutes of this film, but it is definitely worth sticking with it. The acting is rather weak across the board, but the story itself is interesting, unusual and smart. It’s a bleak, unsettling and somewhat upsetting supernatural take on real-life horror. The final act hits you with twist upon twist, and is pay off for the viewer’s patience.

Original VS Remake: My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine (1981)BloodyValentine1981

  • Director: George Mihalka
  • Writer: Stephen A. Miller, John Beaird
  • Main Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck

‘From the heart comes a warning, filled with bloody good cheer, remember what happened as the 14th draws near!’

The town of Valentine Bluffs is excitingly preparing for a Valentine’s Day Dance, but some of the older townsfolk are wary; twenty years’ earlier, a miner – Harry Warden – committed a series of cannibalistic murders after going insane when trapped for weeks by a cave in, and threatened to return if a Valentine’s Dance were ever to be held again.

BloodyValentine2009My Bloody Valentine (2009)

  • Director: Patrick Lussier
  • Writer: Todd Farmer, Zane Smith
  • Main Cast: Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith, Jaime King

‘Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.’

A miner with a screw loose – Harry Warden – is trapped by a cave in, and kills all the other survivors to save himself. He is eventually rescued, badly hurt and comatose, only to wake up and continue his killing spree. He is finally brought down by the police, but ten years later the town is once again beset with gruesome killings. Is Harry Warden back for revenge?

What more appropriate way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, than with a review of the two installments of My Bloody Valentine?!

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True Blood (2008 – 2014)

  • Main Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgardtrue blood 1

‘I’m so over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name!’

In an alternate America, where all kinds of supernatural beasties are real and vampires have ‘come out of the coffin’, Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse tries to grapple with her ability to read the minds of everyone around her, and her love for the mysterious vampire Bill Compton.

Bear with me here – I know True Blood is old news, but I’ve only just finished the series. After nine years of my life trying to grapple with this show, it felt worthy of a blog post!

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Starry Eyes (2014)

  • Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyerstarryeyes
  • Writer: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
  • Cast: Alex Essoe, Fabianne Therese, Maria Olsen

‘Ambition – the blackest of human desires.’

Sarah Walker is a wannabe starlet, stuck in a dead end job and surrounded by back-stabbing friends. When an opportunity for a gateway role with a big production company comes along, she’ll stop at nothing to get the part.

One could say that this film takes on a particular resonance at the moment, against the recent headlines of Hollywood power abuses. The influence of The Producer in the film is overpowering, and it is clear that a number of actresses have been manipulated and entrapped by him in the past, just like Sarah.

Alex Essoe’s main character Sarah is very well performed, with the character somehow managing to be both fragile and ruthlessly ambitious all at once. Essoe does a great job of portraying Sarah’s descent into desperation, and I found myself disliking her but rooting for her nonetheless.

This is an enjoyable – albeit perhaps uncomfortable – film, with occult themes and some well-constructed body horror, portraying desperation and depravity in Hollywood.

‘Undead Uprising’ Book Launch

Undead-CoverIn an unusual overlap of my real life and my horror-blogging self, a good friend of mine recently hosted a Q&A with author John Cussans about his book Undead Uprising: Haiti, Horror and the Zombie Complex at Nottingham Contemporary. I seized the opportunity to attend and find out a little more about the book.

Undead Uprising addresses the racist and xenophobic portrayals of Haiti in film and literature, specifically through the concept of the zombie. Cussans investigates the truth behind such depictions, and how representations of this kind have contributed to the image of Haiti as a ‘place of primitive superstition’.

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Killing Ground (2016)

  • Director: Damian PowerMV5BMjI0MjE4MDI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDkwOTc3MjI@._V1_
  • Writer: Damian Power
  • Cast: Harriet Dyer, Aaron Pedersen, Aaron Glenane

‘You’ve gotta make the most of your opportunities!’

A likeable couple, on a New Year’s Eve camping trip, set up their tent just down the beach from what turns out to be an abandoned campsite – a discovery that sets off a chain of horrific events which will see the couple fighting for their lives.

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Movie Marathon: The Bad Ben Trilogy

Bad Ben (2016)badben

  • Director: Nigel Bach
  • Writer: Nigel Bach
  • Main Cast: Nigel Bach

Tom Riley buys a house at a Sheriff’s sale for a great deal, but as soon as he moves in things start to get weird: furniture moving by itself, unexplainable noises and shadows. The extensive surveillance system in the house captures it all, and Tom realises that he’s definitely got more than he bargained for.

Steelmanville Road (2017)steelmanvilleroad

  • Director: Nigel Bach
  • Writer: Nigel Bach
  • Main Cast: Jessica Partridge, Christopher Partridge

A prequel to Bad Ben, this film explains what happened to the previous owners and who…or what…lurks in the house on Steelmanville Road.

Badder Ben: The Final Chapter (2017)badderben

  • Director: Nigel Bach
  • Writer: Nigel Bach
  • Main Cast: Nigel Bach, Jacquie Baker, Matthew Schmid

A documentary crew – complete with a psychic – return to Steelmanville Road after Tom Riley’s disappearance to investigate the mysteries of the property.

‘Who is going to want to watch a 50 year old bald, fat guy walking around his house, getting the crap kicked out of him by malevolent spirits?’

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