Showing posts from August, 2010

The Final

2010 Dir. Joey Stewart Tired of being bullied by the high school jocks and their girlfriends, a group of awkward students plot bloody revenge for the years of humiliation they’ve been subjected to. Driven by their deadly vendetta and suicidal tendencies, they gather their tormentors in an isolated barn, under the guise of a highly exclusive party, and begin a long night of retribution… The Final , the debut feature from director Joey Stewart, is at times an uneven and ambiguously centred film that can’t quite decide if it’s a righteous-revenge fantasy or the latest ‘torture-porn’ flick. Since the Columbine High School massacre, a number of films - including  Elephant, Zero Day and The Class  - have attempted to tackle the subject of deadly high school shootings with varying degrees of depth. The Final is the latest to broach this volatile subject, and it attempts to set itself apart from its peers by filtering its already grim subject matter through a cruelly sadistic ‘tortur

The Haunting of Marsten Manor

2007 Dir. Dave Sapp Jill, a young blind woman struggling with her faith, unexpectedly inherits an old mansion from her estranged aunt. When she arrives at the house, she experiences a number of unnerving events and begins to suspect the place is haunted. She soon discovers a secret tragedy about her aunt that will force her to face her greatest fears, changing her forever… The Haunting of Marsten Manor is a quiet melodrama that could have benefited from an injection of suspense. A mild spook-fest, it is perfect afternoon viewing for fans of gentle TV mystery dramas such as Murder, She Wrote – it certainly exhibits the look and feel of a TV movie. Beginning as many haunted house movies begin, someone inherits an old dark house with a shady past. When they move into it, they're plagued by spooky occurrences. In this instance, it's Jill (Brianne Davis) who learns that she’s been left an old dark house by a dead relative she never actually met. Jill is struggling to come

'It's Coming For Me Through The Trees': Kate Bush & Gothic Horror

There are few other creative figures of a more distinct, visionary and idiosyncratic nature to have emerged from the music industry in the twentieth century, than that of Kate Bush. Not only is she an artist who has accomplished the rare feat of combining musical innovation with commercial success, but she is one who also managed to do so on her own terms, whilst maintaining complete creative control of her work. Bush, in the words of one critic, ‘got all the madwomen down from the attic and into the charts.’ She is heavily inspired by the world of art, philosophy, literature and indeed cinema, drawing upon an almost encyclopaedic array of influences. When one takes a closer look at her work, it becomes apparent that Bush is something of a horror aficionado, drawing on a number of sources to lend her compositions rich, blood-dark depth. Out on the wiley, windy moors. ‘Wuthering Heights’ was a Gothic novel by Emily Brontë in which the conventions of the Gothic novel were refl

Interview with 2001 Maniacs director Tim Sullivan

Writer and director Tim Sullivan splattered onto the scene in 2005 with 2001 Maniacs , his satirical remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s drive-in splatter classic, Two Thousand Maniacs!  (1964). His follow up,  Driftwood (2006), was about a traumatised teenager sent to a summer camp for troubled young people after he claims his dead brother is haunting him. The filmmaker will soon be seen venturing in front of cameras to portray murderous cross-dressing nun, Sister Mary Chopper, in the forthcoming Bloody Bloody Bible Camp .  Tim very kindly took some time out from pre-production on his dream project, the vampire horror Brothers of the Blood , to chat to me about his latest film - the gruesome sequel 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams , which has just been unleashed on DVD - as well as his fondness for 'splatstick' comedy-horror, and the importance of gay representation in horror films...   What ingredients did Two Thousand Maniacs! possess that made it so ripe for a modern make-ove

Seeing Heaven

2010 Dir. Ian Powell While searching for his twin brother, young escort Paul embarks on a dark and dangerous odyssey through the lurid netherworld of male prostitution and the gay porn movie industry. All the while he experiences bizarre nightmares and orgasmic visions – shared by his clients when they have sex with him – of a mysterious masked stranger… Can Paul find his long lost twin and unlock the riddle of his perplexing visions before it’s too late? Ian Powell’s atmospheric and provocative gay art-house horror unfolds as an increasingly nightmarish mystery filtered through the candy-coloured lens of Mario Bava. High-brow allusions to the likes of Narcissus and various other helplessly self-destructive figures of mythology pepper the narrative, not only in the arresting images, but in the story itself. Figures such as Dorian Grey, the doppelganger and Jekyll and Hyde are referred to as Powell works through a series of complex personal ideas about identity, fate and trag