Lawrie Brewster (director of the critically acclaimed Lord of Tears and the Owlman prank videos) is back with a fresh tale of terror: a homeless army veteran besieged by a horde of demonic ravens in the highlands of Scotland. It’s gritty, it’s weird and it’s deeply disturbing, brutal, gory and emotionally intense film that the film makers describe as ‘kinda crossing Apocalypse Now with The Evil Dead’. The film seeks to explore the effect of the horrors of war on the human mind through the media of beautiful poetry and brutal violence. How great does this sound?
Sarah Daly once again pens the screenplay to bring a poetic, and unique language to the script. This is her second feature screenplay and collaboration with Lawrie Brewster.
Jamie Scott-Gordon plays the films protagonist in the dual role of Andrew and his deranged doppelganger – a challenging and demanding requirement which i’m sure, Lawrie has pushed the fresh talent to the brink. He can also be see in US comedy Bonejangles and UK drama Good Intentions later this year.
Within the current industry, it is sometimes difficult for these independent studios and visionaries to get feature films off the ground. Lawrie Brewster and Hex Media/Dark Dunes Productions have excelled themselves on the back of the outstanding Lord of Tears, to follow up with this, their next offering, The Unkindness of Ravens, but further finance is required for post production, score and marketing. You can support this feature by clicking here and pledging towards the films Kickstarter campaign.
The Unkindness of Ravens has support from Brian O’Malley, director of ‘Let us Prey’. ‘What this guy can do with almost no money is quite astonishing…’ Also Alec Gillis of the Academy Award-winning special effects team ADI (Aliens, Predator, Starship Troopers) has endorsed the Kickstarter campaign.
I’ll personally be following The Unkindness of Ravens and will look forward to the final print and further productions from Lawrie Brewster and Hex. I’ll be posting updates and and when i hear from the teams progress, so be sure to check back, but you can follow all the action on their official Facebook page, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube. The Unkindness of Ravens should be complete and ready for release in the summer of 2016.
Very saddened to hear that today we have lost yet another horror legend. Gunnar Hansen, who made his impact on the world of cinema back in 1974 in his role as Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Originally from Reykjavik, Iceland, his family moved to the USA when he was just aged 5. The Hansen family settled in Maine before moving to Texas aged 11. Whilst in collage, he auditioned for the role of Leatherface and the rest is history. You can read all about my gushing thoughts on TCM here, which I believe is probably the most important film (both mainstream and genre) ever made.
Gunnar was a big character; friendly, creative, and a talented writer as well as having incredible screen presence. He will always be remembered for his role as Leatherface, the crazy, retarded, human face wearing, chainsaw wielding, maniac who was loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein. Although he only played the role in the original 1974 version, and declined a revisit to the role in the (very good) reimagining of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003 due to feeling insulted that the original required a remake, he took up the chainsaw as a weapon in various other films throughout his career, notably Fred Olen Ray’s 1988’s Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
2015 is turning out to be a sad year for the genre. First Wes Craven back in August and now Gunnar Hanson, aged on 68, died due to pancreatic cancer. Rest in Peace Gunnar, you’ll always be my number one horror monster legend.
My deepest condolences are with Gunnar’s close friends and family at this time.
One month to go folks! TV this autumn is looking hot, with AHS:Hotel, Walking Dead, Fear, Ash Vs Evil Dead and Scream Queens. Anything else i should be looking out for?
Who doesn’t love Evil Dead? Thought so… so here’s something a little special for all you fan boys (and girls) out there. An epic documentary, a feature length film about Special FX Artist Tom Sullivan who cut his teeth on Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD. Featuring great interviews, never before seen, from the stars of the film, Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Ted Raimi and more.
This chapter is one of oddity, for the singular reason of friendship. As I’m sure many of you have experienced as you have lived your lives, friends come and fiends go. But where do they come from and why? One such friend of mine was a young guy by the name of Pratt. (here, referred to by his chosen surname and not by socially issued, insult. Also, as it was the first year of secondary school, everyone surrendered their first name as recognition of progression and maturity).
I don’t remember where this guy came from and why we became finds. I already had more friends than I needed, but Pratt was a new addition. He was in our new school, same age and year, but not in the same class. (myself being in the higher academic regions, with Pratt in what was usually referred to as The Beach Ball class) He had a totally different upbringing than I was used to. He had a father on the rigs which he saw very seldom. A very friendly mother who had fostered a whole house of kids. Crazy really, but honourable. I remember seeing one of the bedrooms on he top floor, like a military dorm. I digress.
So this was back in 81. We had video breaking all sorts of boundaries in society and technology. The rental shop was the new way to view films, and as such, all sorts of Euro crap was rebranded, renamed, rebadged and released for our consumption. I must add, all without the approval of Jim Ferman et al at the BBFC. One of Pratt’s foster brothers was an early adoptee of this new tech and spent his days in front of the TV watching poor quality films. This particular day, it was roasting hot, sun beaming, classic childhood summertime, I remember being drawn towards the living room, the TV and he Horror which Pratt’s brother had rented. It was an American teen slasher. (but remember, this was the dawn of the slasher in relative terms. The gloves were off for dominance amongst the Jason’s and Michael’s)
Hell Night. …. Thats right… Hell Night. It’s not on anyone’s radar. It’s not recognised. It’s not credited. It’s basically been forgotten with a lot of the other trash of the day. But for me, it’s buried deep inside my mind. It was hot, sunny, think Chopper’s and hot pants, melting Tarmac, epidemic of flying ants too. (summers are not like this any more) In Pratt’s living room, the curtains were drawn, the huge sofa occupied by the extended foster family of maybe 12ish kids, all under the respectable viewing age, and the movie was creepy as hell.
The film is of simple premise. College kids wanting acceptance into their Delta Zeta Omega residence need to spend the night in a spooky old house, historically, one that a family was massacred in a few years earlier. Unbeknown to the teens, one family member remains. ‘Seth’ is a towering beast of a man. Strong, monstrous looking and demented in the brain. He stalks the kids, keeps them locked inside and plays the game of cat n mouse, picking them off one by one. This is a tried and tested formula, even back in ’81, but Hell Night still deserves a bit more than being forgotten. It’s a damn sight better than most, even some which spawned a whole host of sequels. It’s director Tom DeSimone was an old veteran of cheap film, and had a whole host of semi erotic glitzy sleaze boxed up for people’s renting pleasure. Hell Night was his dabbling into the horror genre and what an entry was made. The film has a real unease about it. Tension, wariness, and something which other slashers steer away from which is ‘common sense’. Here the victims kind of stick together rather than splitting up, exploring the house, looking in the basement. It’s this realism of character which makes this film stand out and allows Seth to grow into a real threat of a villain. He’s everywhere, strong, physical, fast, vicious, dominating, silent with a damaged brain. Do we have some clues here? Frankenstein once again anyone?
I was ten years old watching this. Terrified the living daylight out of me. I can still remember walking home in the sunlight, traumatised, mind in darkness. This was a true milestone for me, one which I often recall. I remember mentioning this film to various people a few years later when my love for horror really began to bloom, only to find it was dismissed as American trash. By that time, my palate was maturing to the finer euro delights and as such, I often dismissed our US offerings. Shallow was I to turn my back on this one.
Although it has been said that Linda Blair was the selling point of this film, it’s a financiers trick. The film has a lot to offer. I’m also very surprised this little gem hasn’t been pinpointed as a Hollywood remake. It has dollars written all over it.
As for Pratt, for some reason once again unknown, we went our separate ways at the end of that summer…. and he was never seen again.
Another odd event this. Deadly Friend is of a time and place and if you are willing to go back there, its quite a good place to be. Films are not really made like this any more. For the most part, it’s a situation teen drama, with some comedy and quirkiness, but there are some dark undercurrents, reinforced with some very good performances.
New kid on the block, Paul (Matthew Laborteaux), is a compute and bionic wiz. He has a pet robot and teaches brain surgery at college. Not bad for a young lad who should have still been at school. After a brief romance with the cute chick from next door, she’s attacked by her crazy abusive father and ends up brain-dead. Paul steps in, to turn Samantha (Kristy Swanson) into an android with deadly results.
I think Wes Craven was looking at moving into a more mainstream market after his early success in the horror genre, he probably struggled to find funding in a time when ‘Horror’ was not really the popular. As always, Craven looks for a new direction to experiment with cross genre fields with a young cast, once again, Swanson takes the favourable lead female, girl next door role which Craven champions. Swanson is a great choice from the John Hughes stable; she later took the lead as the original Buffy in the movie (prior to Sarah Michelle Gellar). Its great to see Craven working as always with a cast of semi unknowns and getting great results. Swanson and Laborteaux carry the film with brilliant performances, supported with some great veteran actors: Richard Marcus and Anne Ramsey. The film is a success for what it is, as I say, it’s from a time and place which needs to be respected. The film also carries with it some great dream sequences (or should I say, Nightmare sequences as many are terrifying) and many scenes which look dreamy, obviously something working subliminal for later creative input.
When the gore comes, it’s pretty damn impressive too. The famous basketball scene is the highlight, which stands up against Scanners in its execution.
This film will certainly do wonders for the Irish Country tourism board.
An American family attempt to build bridges in their relationships as they holiday in the beautiful Irish countryside. On a day trip, to a remote part of the area, they miss the last bus home and discover the locals have a dark secret.
This is as spooky and wicked as they come. I’m shocked at how creepy this film is. It’s visually stunning but the tension and eeriness which Director, Dave Gregory has created is outstanding. A strong feeling of dread looms over the film from the initial scene and grows by the minute. The gore is savage and deeply rooted in the natural and rural. Twigs in the neck, whippings with branches, choking with leaves and vines through eye sockets. Hideous stuff and would you be more shocked if I was to mention the evil doings are performed by children, skipping and smiling in their dark activity. There is also a stunning decapitation of the most casual i’ve ever seen: a glorious effect. The film is beautifully shot, superb cinematography making full use of the landscape and surrounding woods.
This is Wickerman meets Calvaire, meets Children of the Damned, meets Night of the Living Dead. Huge praise and plenty of material to work with and salute as the film stamps its creepy mark on the history of the horror genre. This is a real cult classic, I’m surprised I’ve not heard of this prior. Marvellous cinema.
This is Christopher Smith’s feature début and what an impact he has. The film is simple and basic in form. An easy and precise way to break into the genre. Set in the London underground and surrounding sewerage system of pipes and tunnels, a crazy freak dwells, hunting those working in the tunnels, or in this case, locked in for the night. This is Alien. Hills Have Eyes. Friday 13th. But this is the London underground and it’s never looked so grim.
Its as I say. Simple cat n mouse as always. Simple formula but with a new setting and mainly British actors which offers a new incite with fresh eyes and creativity. The film is tense, spooky, creepy and hideously gory in places which are select and not used as a selling point. It’s the atmosphere that Smith creates so well with brilliant visionary camerawork and enthusiastic actors who have totally bought into the roles.
It’s no wonder Smith has become one of the most exciting directors in the genre today. He’s an inspiration and has grown from strength to strength with his last three films. (Severance and Triangle)
The film is not perfect though. Don’t be surprised to question characters reasons for actions. ‘Why are you climbing into a small manhole? You should be asking at one point I the film. ‘Why don’t you run and get the hell out of there’ at others and most importantly, which I repeated several times ‘hit him again and finish the creep off!’
Franka Potente is brilliant as our protagonist Kate, and well supported by Vas Blackwood, Paul Rattray and Kelly Scott. Sean Harris is amazing as Craig the creep.