Showing posts from July, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Paul Solet - writer/director of GRACE

Paul Solet’s debut feature film Grace is currently causing quite a stir at various festival screenings, generating shock and acclaim in equal measure. Solet has crafted a genuinely moving, deeply unsettling film. Grace is the troubling story of Madeline (Jordan Ladd), who after losing her unborn child in a horrific accident, still decides to carry the baby to term. Following the traumatic delivery the child miraculously returns to life, but with disturbing consequences. Madeline stops at nothing to ensure her new-born's insatiable appetite for blood is catered for, no matter what. Grace is a thought provoking and character driven film, and one that audiences are not likely to forget in a hurry. I thought it was high time to have a chat with Paul to discuss Grace , the horror genre and the highs and lows of making an independent film. Where did the idea for Grace come from? I was having a conversation with someone and it came up that its actual medical science that if you’re

The Gravedancers

2006 Dir. Mike Mendez When their friend dies in a car accident, Harris (Dominic Purcell), Kira (Josie Maran) and Sid (Marcus Thomas), three old college friends, reunite at his funeral. They decide to catch up and give their friend a fitting send off; so after the funeral they head back to the cemetery with lots of wine, good intentions and high spirits. When they discover a strange poem on an anonymous sympathy card, urging them to celebrate life and dance on the graves of the dead, they do so. A few days later the three are terrorised by the ghosts of the people whose graves they danced upon. Desperate, the trio turn to a paranormal investigator to help them break the curse and save their souls… Director Mike Mendez moves away from the zany comedic aspects of his earlier shocker The Convent , to craft a genuinely dark and thrilling film. After a spectacularly intense and nerve-rattling opening in which a young woman is brutally murdered by an unseen force (recalling the grisly


2008 Dir. Alexandre Aja When he is suspended from duty after accidentally shooting his partner, former NYPD detective Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) gets a job as a security guard at a deserted department store. Determined to put his life back on track, kick his alcoholism and rejoin his estranged family, Ben soon becomes obsessed with the mirrors in the building and the strange visions they seemingly reflect. With no one to believe his wild stories, he sets out to solve the mystery of what lurks within the mirrors before his mind unravels completely… After kaleidoscopic opening credits and a rather unsettling and menacing scene set in the underground, what could have been a supremely creepy and subtly chilling film, soon descends into cheap jumps, cardboard characters and some really quite lazy writing that explains everything, because, you know, we’re just too dumb to be able to follow the story or piece together some information. Director Aja doesn’t display anything that

Random Creepy Scene # 51: Black Sabbath

Mario Bava’s anthology Black Sabbath consists of three quite different tales of horror. The Telephone - the story of a woman who may or may not be receiving sinister phone calls from an escaped lunatic; The Wurdalak – a creepy yarn involving vampirism, a doomed family and the recent return of their undead patriarch – played with diabolical glee by Boris Karloff; and finally, The Drop of Water – the supremely unsettling story of a nurse who steals a ring from the deathbed of a medium, only to suffer the ghastly consequences in the privacy of her own home. Each segment of Black Sabbath has its own unique tone and look, from the kitsch glamour of The Telephone to the high gothic atmospherics of The Wurdalak and the opulently stylised The Drop of Water . As a whole, the film is rather satisfactory and none of the segments outstay their welcome. What makes it all even more appealing is the introduction by none other than Boris Karloff himself, waxing lyrical on the mechanics of fe

Colour From the Dark

2008 Dir. Ivan Zuccon Whilst drawing water from the well on their farm one day, Pietro (Michael Segal) and his mute sister-in-law Alice (Marysia Kay) unearth something strange: an eerie, putrid glow that seems to infect the surrounding landscape, draining it of life. The family eventually succumb to the sinister effects of the strange colour and are driven out of their minds with dark dreams, vivid hallucinations and violent, blood-drenched deaths… Italian director Ivan Zuccon is no stranger to the cosmic terrors of H.P. Lovecraft, having already adapted various narratives for the screen in his anthology The Shunned House (2003). Indeed some of the director’s other work such as The Darkness Beyond and Nympha are indelibly imbued with a distinct Lovecraftian influence. Whilst The Colour From Space was adapted before (as Die Monster, Die! ), Zuccon’s take on the short story really hits the mark and effortlessly transfers Lovecraft’s tale of insanity and other-worldly intrusi

The Curse of the Crying Woman

1961 Dir. Rafael Baledon Amelia (Rosa Arenas – The Witch’s Mirror ) and her husband Jaime are invited to stay with Amelia’s estranged Aunt Selma (Rita Macedo). The mansion Selma resides in has a creepy reputation amongst the locals and a number of grisly murders in the area enhance their suspicions of Selma’s dubious practices. Amelia eventually unveils dark secrets about her lineage, and even more disturbingly, the sinister intentions her Aunt harbours. Selma informs Amelia of their family’s turbulent past: Selma's mother was the Crying Woman, a witch who fraternised with the devil to obtain immortality. After a string of brutal murders, she was found guilty by the townspeople and killed. Amelia is the last descendant of the Crying Woman and Selma intends to resurrect the spirit of her mother so she can possess Amelia and continue her reign of terror. The figure of La Llorona (The Crying Woman) has a rich and significant presence in Spanish folklore. Amongst her many titles