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Articles on this Page
- 06/30/17--13:20: _11 British horror f...
- 07/06/17--10:07: _40 unreleased Briti...
- 07/23/17--13:51: _The end of this web...
- 12/09/17--09:31: _Not quite the end o...
- 12/09/17--09:35: _The Unseen
- 12/16/17--03:15: _Coulrophobia
- 12/17/17--04:13: _Once Upon a Time at...
- 12/24/17--05:21: _ Braxton Butcher
- 12/30/17--12:27: _All the new British...
- 01/19/18--12:50: _Blaze of Gory
- 01/21/18--04:55: _Welcome to Essex
- 02/09/18--11:10: _Trash Arts Killers ...
- 02/10/18--11:28: _Dead and Awake
- 02/11/18--04:09: _Red Kiss
- 02/12/18--10:04: _The Holly Kane Expe...
- 02/25/18--09:37: _Industrial Animals
- 03/01/18--23:50: _The new Richard Dri...
- 03/02/18--14:14: _Grindhouse Nightmares
- 03/09/18--00:09: _Dark Beacon
- 03/18/18--03:07: _The Watcher Self
- 06/30/17--13:20: 11 British horror features at Frightfest 2017
- 07/06/17--10:07: 40 unreleased British horror films
- 07/23/17--13:51: The end of this website
- 12/09/17--09:31: Not quite the end of this website
- 12/09/17--09:35: The Unseen
- 12/16/17--03:15: Coulrophobia
- 12/17/17--04:13: Once Upon a Time at Christmas
- 12/24/17--05:21: Braxton Butcher
- 12/30/17--12:27: All the new British horror films released in 2017
- Abduct (d.Ilyas Kaduji)
- Abduction (d.Mol Smith)
- AntiHuman aka Post Human: An Event (d.Mark Robins, Luke Gietzen)
- Apocalypse (d.Tony Jopia)
- Apocalyptic Horror (d.Mike Tack)
- Aux (d.John Adams)
- B&B (d.Joe Ahearne)
- Bacchanalia aka The Winedancers(d.Gary Meyer)
- Baobhan Sith aka Bavanshee(d.David Hutchison)
- Beneath Still Water (d.Philip Kempson)
- Blaze of Gory (d.Various)
- Blood Money (d.Luke White)
- Blood on Satan’s Paw aka Scare Bear (d.Richard Mansfield)
- Braxton Butcher aka Braxton aka The Butchering (d.Leo McGuigan)
- Cabin 28 (d.Andrew Jones)
- Cage(d.Warren Dudley)
- Cain Hill (d.Gene Fallaize)
- Carnivore: Werewolf of London aka Carnivore (d.Simon Wells)
- The Chamber (d.Ben Parker)
- Clown Panic (d.Warren Speed)
- Coulrophobia aka All Clowns Must Die (d.Warren Speed)
- The Creature Below aka The Dark Below (d.Stewart Sparke)
- Crow (d.Wyndham Price)
- Cruel Summer (d.Phillip Escott, Craig Newman)
- Cute Little Buggers (d.Tony Jopia)
- Darkness Wakes aka Charlotte Wakes (d.Simon Richardson)
- A Dark Song (d.Liam Gavin)
- Definition of Fear (d.James Simpson)
- The Demonic Tapes (d.Richard Mansfield)
- Distorted (d.Darren Wharton)
- The Doll Master (d.Steven M Smith)
- Don’t Hang Up (d.Damien Mace, Alexis Wajsbrot)
- Don’t Knock Twice (d.Caradog James)
- Double Date (d.Benjamin Barfoot)
- Eat Locals aka Eat Local (d.Jason Flemyng)
- Egomaniac aka An Egomaniac(d.Kate Shenton)
- Ex from Hell (d.James Wilsher)
- Fanged Up (d.Christian James)
- Fight the Eternal Evil (d.Michael Munn)
- Freehold aka 2Pigeons (d.Dominic Bridges)
- The Gatehouse (d.Martin Gooch)
- Ghost Ship aka Curse of the Phoenix (d.Robert Young)
- Ghosts of Darkness aka Soulreaper aka House of Shadows (d.David Ryan Keith)
- The Ghoul (d.Gareth Tunley)
- Granny of the Dead aka OAZ: Nan from Hell aka Old Zombies (d.Craig T James)
- Grindsploitation 3: Video Nasty (d.various)
- Hallows Eve (d.Brad Watson)
- Harvest of the Dead aka The Devil’s Harvest (d.Peter Goddard)
- The Healer aka The White Room(d.James Erskine)
- Hellriser (d.Steve Lawson)
- Hex (d.George Popov)
- Hitman in Hertford – The Musical (Zombies in Hertford Episode IV) (d. Michael Curtis)
- The Holly Kane Experiment (d.Tom Sands)
- The House on Elm Lake (d.James Klass)
- The House on the Witchpit (d.Pat Higgins)
- The Howling (d.Steven M Smith)
- I am Cursed (d.Shiraz Khan)
- Ibiza Undead aka Zombie Spring Breakers (d.Andy Edwards)
- Inside the Dark Room aka The Photographer 2: Inside the Dark Room (d. Will and Maria Lee Metheringham)
- Jake Stagg (d.Paul TT Easter)
- Knights of the Damned (d.Simon Wells)
- The Left Hand Path (d.Michael Fenton Crenshaw)
- The Limehouse Golem (d.Juan Carlos Medina)
- Malady (d.Jack James)
- The Marker (d.Justin Edgar)
- Mother Krampus aka 12 Deaths of Christmas (d.James Klass)
- Necrophiliac and the Killer Gimps(d.Jason Impey, Kieran Johnstone)
- Necrophiliac: The Lustful Dead (d.Jason Impey, Wade Radford)
- Night Kaleidoscope aka Land of Sunshine (d. Grant McPhee)
- Once Upon a Time at Christmas(d.Paul Tanter)
- Paranormal Farm (d.Carl Medland)
- Prankz (d. Warren Dudley)
- Prevenge (d.Alice Lowe)
- Recovery (d.Heath Hetherington, Marcus Scott)
- Redwood (d.Tom Paton)
- Retribution aka Requiem (d.Christine Edwards)
- The Ritual (d.David Bruckner)
- The Rizen (d.Matt Mitchell, Taliesyn Mitchell)
- A Room to Die For aka Rancour (d.Dev Shanmugam)
- Scareycrows (d.Jamie Spear)
- The Secret Kiss (d.Richard Mansfield)
- Seizure (d.Jamie Cymbol, Ryan Simons)
- The Shadow of Bigfoot (d.Philip Mearns)
- Shadows of a Stranger (d.Chris Clark, Richard Dutton)
- Slasher House 2 (d.MJ Dixon)
- Slumber (d.Jonathan Hopkins)
- The Small Woman in Grey (d. Andrew Sean Eltham-Byers)
- The Snare (d.CA Cooper)
- The Sons of Jihad Part 1 (d.Brown Brothers)
- Spidarlings (d.Salem Kapsaski)
- Strangers Within (d.Liam Hooper)
- Synthetic Void (d.Paul TT Easter)
- The Toymaker aka Robert and the Toymaker (d.Andrew Jones)
- Transhuman (d.Nicholas Winter)
- Trip with the Devil (d.Richard Mansfield)
- UK18 (d.Andrew Tiernan)
- Unhinged (d.Dan Allen)
- Unholy aka The Unholy aka The Haunting of Eastwood Residence (d.Anthony M Winson)
- The Unseen (d.Gary Sinyor)
- Vampire Resurrection (d,Mark Morris)
- Viking Siege aka Attack of the Tree Beasts (d.Jack Burton)
- Werewolves of the Third Reich(d.Andrew Jones)
- Whispers (d.Tammi Sutton)
- Zombies Have Fallen aka Bad Blood (d.Sam Hampson)
- 47 Metres Downaka In The Deep(d.Johannes Roberts)
- 60 Seconds to Die (d.various)
- 01/19/18--12:50: Blaze of Gory
- 01/21/18--04:55: Welcome to Essex
- 02/09/18--11:10: Trash Arts Killers Volume 1
- 02/10/18--11:28: Dead and Awake
- 02/11/18--04:09: Red Kiss
- 02/12/18--10:04: The Holly Kane Experiment
- 02/25/18--09:37: Industrial Animals
- 03/01/18--23:50: The new Richard Driscoll film is here!
- 03/02/18--14:14: Grindhouse Nightmares
- 03/09/18--00:09: Dark Beacon
- 03/18/18--03:07: The Watcher Self
As usual, this year's Frighfest (24th-28th August) has a good selection of British films in the line-up:
After some bad news back at home, musician Josh and his girlfriend Beth head out to a secluded national park in search of some clarity on the situation they’ll face when they return. But the couple get more than they bargained for when they ignore the advice of Park Rangers and venture off the trail, coming face to face with The Redwood’s legendary wildlife. REDWOOD brings a fresh spin to a well-worn mythology to create an edge of your seat horror movie that will shred your nerves and have you thinking twice about going camping again.
Freehold (d.Dominic Bridges)
The feature debut from acclaimed commercials director Dom Bridges and written by Rae Brunton (the OUPOST franchise) is a dark urban morality tale with an underlying streak of jet black comedy. Hussein, a wide-boy estate agent, doesn't realise he's sharing his apartment with a forgotten stranger, a master of concealment... until his malicious campaign of deranged sweet revenge starts to really hit home. A roof above our heads is a basic human need so why are we all fighting each other over it? A genre riff on home invasion chillers and a searing comment on the cut-throat housing market.
Attack of the Adult Babies (d.Dominic Brunt)
From Dominic Brunt, director of BEFORE DAWN and BAIT, a satirical and sexy shocker unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. A home invasion forces two teenagers to break into a remote country manor and steal Top Secret documents. Little do they know the stately pile is also the venue where a group of high-powered middle-aged men go to take refuge from the stresses of daily life by dressing in nappies and indulging their every perverse nursery whim. Or that this grotesque assembly intends to refuel the world’s economy by very sinister, sick and monstrous means. Time for a change…
Meet innocent Jim, terrified of girls and on a reluctant quest to prove his manhood the night before he turns 30. He and his cocky friend Alex think they’ve hit the jackpot when they meet the beautiful sisters Kitty and Lulu, who seem up for anything on a wild party-fuelled night. They also have an incredible car. But little do they know that the feisty femmes fatales have their own shocking agenda in mind and have every intention of making Jim lose much more than just his virginity… Getting laid has never been so bloody difficult.
Orange is the new Dracula. Daniel O’Reilly, aka controversial comedy character Dapper Laughs, makes his feature film debut in a vampire comedy destined to make everyone Carry On Screaming. He plays a wrongfully arrested lovable rogue thrown into a high-security prison for the weekend when his blood group is revealed to be very rare. But once incarcerated in this horror penitentiary, there’s no way out as the warden is a top-level bloodsucker, the guards are his pet zombies and the inmates are their unwilling victims. Get ready for hi-jinks in clink, slammer shivers, big house laughs and jail house shocks.
Inspired by the action cinema of James Cameron and the minimalism of Nicolas Winding Refn, a fatal flu virus devastates Europe in an ice-cold thriller examining human behaviour in a time of crisis. City boy Jack takes refuge in the Alps but he’s ill-equipped to survive the harsh winter. Things only get worse when renegade Kara breaks into his house and commandeers his dwindling food supplies. His inept plan to get rid of her disintegrates when outsiders also invade, turning his captor into his only ally. As a siege ensues Jack must choose a side if he hopes to survive.
Afghanistan October 2014. Five British soldiers, trying to stay alive on the last night of the Afghan War, face not only the Taliban, but also supernatural powers more terrifying than anything they've encountered before. As the night unfolds and their mission is finally explained to them, they find themselves engulfed in a labyrinthine nightmare and time-shift forces seemingly from another realm and century. One of the most innovative and challenging British movies of the year, shot with 360 degree style immersion techniques using head-cams, director Louis Melville’s twisting and turning squaddie shocker is a genre ground breaker. [I ran the first ever images from this film exactly one year ago - MJS]
Six friends, bound together by a traumatic experience, travel up to the Scottish Lowlands for a relaxing reunion weekend. Soon a number of mysterious and horrifying events start to expose the cracks in their relationships. One by one they discover, through their tattoos, that trust runs but skin-deep and as day turns into night, not everyone will survive the ‘Game of Death’ they are forced to play.
Acclaimed actor Jason Flemying (DEEP RISING, HANNA, SOLOMON KANE, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), makes his directorial debut with a bloodsucker chiller featuring the cream of British talent. In a quiet countryside farmhouse, Britain's vampires gather together for their once-every-fifty-years meeting. Others will be joining them too; Sebastian Crockett, an unwitting Essex boy who thinks he's on a promise with sexy cougar Vanessa; and a detachment of Special Forces vampire killers who have bitten off more than they can chew. This is certainly going to be a night to remember... and for some of them it will be their last.
Canaries (d.Peter Stray)
CANARIES pits a group of friends at a New Year's Eve bash in the Valleys, hosted by Steve Denis, London's 53rd-most-listened-to DJ, a returning local boy made good against an invasion task force of creepy time travelling aliens. In this darkly funny Welsh based Sci-fi horror comedy, the new year’s resolution on everyone's lips is to stay alive.
Driven by a fantastic performance from headliner Oliver Towner, ACCOUNTABLE proves what can be achieved on a micro-budget with imagination, a great twisty script and a commitment to quality production values. Warren Matthews is an angry and directionless young man struggling to contain his formidable temper. But before long circumstances cause him to reluctantly enlist the services of a local psychiatrist to help him confront damaging past events fuelling his future angst. A score must be settled according to his fractured psyche, someone must be held accountable. Keep your eyes on director Matthew Heaven, he’s one to watch.
As far as I know, every one of these got as far as a screening. It might have been at a festival, or a local premiere, or just a cast and crew, but these were all completed enough to show to someone. On the other hand, as far as I know, none of these have actually had a legitimate release, whether theatrical, DVD or VOD. Please contact me if you know otherwise.
Some of these are still playing the festival circuit and/or have a distribution deal but no confirmed release details. Others have simply disappeared into limbo, but history tells us that films can suddenly reappear many years after they were last spotted. A second batch of 40 more unreleased British horror films will follow shortly.
Director: Tony Jopia. Screened January 2017. Zombie epic with segments filmed in different countries. Last Facebook update May 2017
Bacchanalia aka The WinedancersDirector: Gary Meyer. Screened January 2016 (Horror-on-Sea). “What seems like an innocent wine tasting weekend turns into a bizarre, wicked, sensually overheated debauchery, culminating in a murderous grand finale evening and the fateful morning after.” Last Facebook update January 2017
Director: Anthony M Winson. Screened April 2017. Woman inherits spooky house from her late sister. Remake of Winson’s 2014 feature The Haunting of Baylock Residence. Last Facebook update May 2017
BeastDirector: Chris Jupp. Screened October 2009. Escaped patient taken on as handyman at country club serving unusual meat. Based on original script for Michael J Murphy’s Skare. Last Facebook update March 2016
Director: Sean Wilkie. Screened March 2015. “Tense and emotional horror in the style of the slasher movies of the 70's and 80's with a modern twist and an eclectic young cast of Scottish talent, yet to be discovered.” Last Facebook update March 2015.
Beneath Still WaterDirector: Philip Kempson. Screened October 2016. “A group of young adults are out on the moor for a weekend of climbing, canoeing and walking etc. During their stay, they encountered strange events and strange stories from the local community about a mermaid who lures men to their deaths in Blake Mere pool.” Last Facebook update June 2017
Director: Damian Morter. Screened October 2011. A camping trip for four mates descends into horror when their drinks are spiked with LSD. Unlikely to be released as Morter is developing a remake. Read my review.
Black Lightning DreamDirector: Nici/Niki/Nicky Preston. Screened September 2014. A couple are visited by ghosts after drinking a strange type of moonshine.
BloodlinesDirector: Geoff Cockwill. Screened August 2003. “A newly-made young vampire tries to find his place in the world of the undead.”
Director: Gene Fallaize. Screened April 2017 “A group of documentary filmmakers are filming a TV special about the events which occurred at the famous and mysterious abandoned Cain Hill asylum many years earlier. The group soon learn that one of the inmates never left Cain Hill at all.” Last Facebook update May 2017
C.A.M.Directors: Steve Du Melo, Larry Downing. Screened January 2014. “A rare parasite has contaminated a local meat processing plant and tactical police are sent in, but all is not what it appears.”
Director: Jamie Patterson. Screened April 2017 (Fantasporto). “A journalist couple invite a man and woman into their idyllic village home, but what begins with an informal interview descends into a nightmarish fight for survival. ”
Christmas Hear KidsDirector: Chris Purnell. Screened September 2014. “A taxi driver finds out the woman in the back of his cab is out for revenge against the man that abused her as a child: him.”
Director: Iain Ross-McNamee. Screened January 2017. “Gothic vampire thriller set in present day Shropshire. Taking place in a large country house, it draws influences from classic British horror from the 1950’s and 1960's alongside modern Korean and Japanese psychological horror.” Last Twitter update June 2017
Cute Little BuggersDirector: Stu Jopia. Screened January 2017. “Comedy horror b-movie creature feature in the style of 80's classics like Critters, Ghoulies and Grabbers.” Last Facebook update May 2017
Director: Gary Love. Screened June 2017 “When London couple Louise and Clare book a boat trip to recover from personal tragedy, their trip of a lifetime through the Scottish Highlands soon descends into a hellish ordeal as they delve further into the wilds.”
Dead PerfectDirector: Jason Wilcox. Screened January 2017 (Horror-on-Sea) “During a break in the country, a young couple are haunted by the ghosts of their former partners.”
Directors: Tyler James, Catherine Carpenter. Screened March 2015. “A man encounters a deadly siren on a beach who will stop at nothing to feed.” Last Facebook update September 2015
The Devil’s IntervalDirectors: Anthony & Patrick Turner. Screened December 2011. “Late one night a Priest picks up a mysterious hitchhiker. On arrival in his local village the anonymous stranger disappears into the night. He has left behind a scroll of music. Intrigued by its mystery, the priest is compelled to play the music. He plays like a man possessed and upon hitting the last note a gateway is opened and the once small and quiet village is changed forever.” Last Facebook update January 2012
Drowning the DeadDirector: Jason Wilcox. Screened September 2011. “A young woman who has just broken up with her boyfriend is invited to stay at a chance acquaintance's villa. But someone else living there has got other ideas for her...”
The Dungeon Moor KillingsDirector: Jim Hickey. Screened June 2008. “Adam and Mark are determined to find evidence of the existence of big cats that have been reported over the years in remote areas of South West Scotland. As they set off across Dungeon Moor, it becomes clear that their lives are endangered by something more than roaming big cats.”
Director: Jorge Cuaik. Screened October 2013 (South Texas Underground Film Festival). “Ken an estate agent from London gets mysteriously locked in one of his company's properties at number eight Dwellings Close. Inside he meets Gem, an eccentric young woman who claims to be the property's new tenant, together they will try to find a way out.” Last Facebook post March 2015 (commenting on the last time I did a list like this!)
Dying LightDirector: David Newbigging. Screened May 2013. “When Eddie Bowen hooks up with the beautiful and sexually aggressive Suze Phillips he thinks his luck’s in. But it’s a trap! Suze imprisons them both within a specially-prepared room and before Eddie can react he’s drugged and blacks out. When he wakes he finds a symbol carved into his chest and Suze lying unconscious on the floor with a dagger in hand.” Last Facebook update June 2013
Facebook post August 2016.
Every PictureDirector: Tobias Tobbell. Screened February and May 2005. Couple are locked in a haunted school where a teacher once committed suicide.
Facebook update June 2017
First Bite aka First Bite is the DeepestDirector: Eileen Daly. Screened February 2016. A ghost hunting team go to rid the castle of Vampires. Last Facebook update February 2016.
The ForewarningDirector: Andy Robinson. Screened November 2011. “A heart transplant recipient begins to experience a series of life-threatening visions. He comes to believe that they have something to do with the new heart beating inside him - and that his survival depends on completing the unfinished business of his donor.” Last Facebook update March 2014.
Facebook update June 2017.
FracturedDirector: Jamie Patterson. Screened October 2016. “When a tyre blows on the way to a romantic countryside getaway, Rebecca and Michael sense someone is watching. The only people they encountered along the way were friendly strangers Freyr and Alva who gave them a lift. But their holiday home becomes a terrifying prison as they are tortured by something or someone outside.”
Facebook update May 2016.
The Girl with Two MasksDirector: Sam Casserly. Screened April 2015. Rep from pub chain sent to local boozer finds unquiet spirit of dead witch. Last Facebook update July 2016. Read my review.
Facebook update May 2016
GozoDirector: Miranda Bowen. Screened September 2016. “Lucille and Joe have a nice car, a steady income, a beautiful farmhouse with breathtaking views and a swimming pool. They seem to have it all. But when a young tourist goes missing on the island, Joe's disquieted conscience begins to get the better of him. As the buried horrors of Lucille and Joe's past resurface, the cracks begin to show in their homespun paradise.” Last Facebook update November 2016.
Hollywood BetrayedDirector: Eileen Daly. Screened February 2016. “Deep down in Normsville suburbia, England, lays a horrible secrets. Only one man alone knows what is going on in the hotel of horrors and has invited the ghost busting team to help rid the place of evil.” Last Facebook update February 2016.
Facebook update June 2017.
The House of Screaming DeathDirectors: Troy Dennison, Rebecca Harris-Smith, David Hastings, Alex Bourne, Kaush Patel. Screened June 2017. Gothic anthology. Last Facebook update June 2017
Facebook update September 2016
In Abigail’s PlaceDirector: Steven Hines. Screened July 2015. “The disturbing story of a young girl, Sarah, recovering from the untimely and mysterious death of her best friend by attending a school trip to a rural house. It is there that she uncovers truths that should have been kept hidden.” Last Facebook update August 2015.
In ExtremisDirector: Steve Stone. Screened June 2017. “A business executive returns home to his family for the weekend. Within hours a cataclysmic ‘event’ takes place and the world they inhabit becomes deserted and toxic. Slowly he begins to question the nature of this ‘event’; is it really out there or has it come from within?”
Stay tuned for Part 2...
As explained in more detail over on my main site, I am now ending both of these blogs in order to concentrate on books and scripts.
This site will stay live but won't be added to.
I will continue my British Horror Revival Twitter account so please follow @BritHorrorRev if you don't already do so.
A massive catalogue of all 21st century UK horror films is among the books I will be working on.
Thank you to everyone who has read this blog, commented or provided info/links.
When I closed this site back in July, my intention was that I would post my annual listing of the year's UK horror features each New Year's Eve and that would be it. Nothing else here, and no reviews on my main site.
Since July, freed of the need to watch films and write long, detailed reviews (which sometimes took a week to complete), I've actually watched a lot more movies, ploughing through my BHR masterlist (though making frustratingly little headway - they get released as fast as I watch 'em). Each film has elicited a 200-word review as I gradually build up an encylopedia of British horror 2000-2019 which I would very much like to publish in a few years, if I can find a willing publisher.
I'm still on some PR mailing lists, and still have film-making friends, so still get offers of screeners, which it would be unfair to accept without offering something in return. Having umm-ed and ah-ed for some time, it seems to me that the best solution is to write my 200-word capsule reviews for my mooted book, but to also post versions of them on here when the film is a new work which I have been sent.
Thus there is no extra work for me, but I can still offer film-makers and publicists a fair, honest review. So do please feel free to send me screeners (of new British horror features only) and I will post reviews here. Just a bit shorter than before. Starting with this one.
And do watch out for my annual round-up in three weeks' time.
Sinyor, whose previous features have all been comedies, makes a reasonably successful move into serious drama with this ambitious psycho-thriller that is surprisingly complex for a film with only three characters. Gemma and Will are a wealthy young couple; she’s a voice actor, we never find out what he does. When their young son dies in a tragic accident, they seek solace in a holiday cottage owned by slightly too helpful Paul. For most of the film it’s difficult to know where we’re going, with implications of haunting, religious consolation and even a momentary diversion into witchcraft. The film as a whole is too long because it’s too slow, frustratingly draining the expected tension from the triangular dynamic, while the denouement is swift, sudden and less than satisfying. Blurred POV shots when Gemma suffers panic attacks are effective but overused. The three leads are good and each elicits both sympathy for, and concern about, their character at various times. Though beautifully shot (in February 2017), it’s disappointing that more wasn’t made of the Lake District location.
d./w. Leo McGuigan; p. Leo McGuigan, Margaret McGoldrick; cast: Shaun Blaney, Jenna Byrne, Vicky Allen, Diona Doherty, Andrew Stanford, Ciaran McCourt, Joshua Colquhoun, Rachel Morton
This superior slasher starts out pretty generic, distinguished only by its Northern Ireland setting and accents, but perks up considerably in its third act. A bunch of teenagers who act like they’re in an American high school are knife-fodder for Tommy Miller, an off-the-peg psycho in a mask and parka. Ten years ago he slaughtered his schoolmates at a town hall dance, now he’s back. Or is it a copycat? The police procedural aspects are more enjoyable than the teen soap opera, though not helped by both detectives looking confusingly similar. A pair of nerds inject a soupcon of sub-Scream postmodernism into the proceedings which culminate at another town hall dance, attended by about nine extras. It’s a tad too long at 110 minutes but well made despite a largely neophyte cast and teenage director. Yes, it ticks boxes – but with some admirably impressive ticks. Shot in Belfast in 2014 as Braxton, it premiered in Kentucky in October 2015 and was retitled The Butchering for its US release.
This was the first year that the number of new British horror films passed 100. In fact there were 106 UK horror features in 2017, meaning an average of two a week. How many have you seen? How many have you heard of? (I've managed to catch 27 of these so far.)
As ever, I define a film as 'released in 2017' if this year saw the first chance for someone to watch the movie - whether in a cinema, on DVD, on demand or just posted on YouTube - without attending a special event. Some of these films played festivals or had other one-off screenings in 2016 or earlier years.)
Please let me know of anything I've missed, or any other corrections.
Stunningly confident and accomplished, this stylish, intriguing, gripping horror feature should be much, much better known. When her car (with dead husband in the boot) breaks down, a young woman finds herself among a group of criminals whose kidnap of a teenage girl has gone fatally wrong. They don’t trust each other and are all scared of unseen client ‘The Skincrawler’. Fodor’s script and direction never take the easy, safe or lazy option, creating an enigmatic film packed with fascinating, shadowy characters, twisted relationships, and a jigsaw narrative. Subplots of mind control and psychic powers mentioned in the synopsis are neither obvious nor necessary, to be honest. Gorgeous cinematography by Isaiah McAye and skilful editing by Fodor himself are topped by simply the best sound design I've encountered in a British horror film. Jaw-dropping work by Leonardo Stoppa: bravo, sir. Fodor’s only other features are an Azerbaijani drama and a 2007 version of Hamlet.
Largely plotless hardcore lesbian vampire fetish feature of principal interest as a rare directorial credit for Salvation Films head honcho Wingrove (Sacred Flesh). Two girls in PVC outfits meet in a nightclub then go to a room full of cobwebs for a 25-minute G/G session. One cuts her hand which awakens a vampire dominatrix downstairs. She takes the brunette off for some BDSM then does the same with blondie. Then she takes them back upstairs and watches them basically repeat the first scene. Finally she cuts her wrist and dribbles blood into their mouths (and on their tits) before a G/G/G session to round things off. An epilogue has the two girls waking up, thinking it was a dream, then sprouting fangs and lunging onto a passing bloke. Shot in one day in 2004. Wingrove’s attempts to be slightly arty are frankly wasted here. Music by Band of Pain and Bent USA. Not on IMDB. A bizarre third BDSM sequence halfway through features the blonde and a girl dressed entirely in bin liners and carrier bags. Released on DVD in the Netherlands and Germany in 2007.
d. Tom Sands; w. Mick Sands; p. Tom Sands, Phil Harris; cast: Kirsty Averton, Nicky Henson, James Rose, Lindsey Campbell, Carl Gower, Simon Hepworth
An unengaging and unsatisfying film with an unclear plot and unsympathetic characters, this mind control conspiracy thriller from the writing/directing team of Sands pere et fils is at least considerably better than the dire Nazi Vengeance. Holly Kane is a hypnotherapist whose research into… something involves a flotation tank and a cocktail of unspecified hallucinogens provided by a friend. Her work is unexpectedly bankrolled by a smooth but creepy old guy who covertly works for the Government and overtly wants to get into her pants (in scenes that are uncomfortably rapey). None of the unlikeable characters have a clear goal; we don’t know what they’re trying to do so don’t care whether they achieve it. The hokey scifi dialogue includes talk of ‘clinical trials’ but the film-makers don’t seem to know what that means. Shot in October 2015 in London and Brighton, with scenes in the Royal Pavilion and on a cross-Channel ferry.
Distributed by Troma but a long way from Tromaville, this disturbing, transgressive hour-long feature stands thematic comparison with Fluid Boy or The Hell Experiment. Director Ellis and cameraman Owens hire a prostitute for three days, interviewing her and filming Ellis partaking of her services, all for a putative documentary. She says they can do anything with her and go as far as they want, but how far is far enough, or too far? The film explores notions of abuse, power, vulnerability, dominance, submission, (mis)trust and misogyny, with both Bell and Howland going beyond the call of duty as actors. Ten minutes from the end, it takes an unexpected new direction which is at one and the same time more horrific and also more comforting – because it’s weirdly less transgressive. Mostly found footage, seen through Owens’ DSLR, although that is abandoned towards the end without detriment. Some of the less clear dialogue is subtitled, albeit with numerous typos. Entirely made by the three actors except for the score and impressive sound design.
...and I finally found a copy of his forgotten war film on VHS on Ebay!
Corrie Greenop; w. Lee Apsey, Corrie Greenop; p. Lee Apsey, Corrie Greenop, Tansi Inayat; cast: April Pearson, Lynne Anne Rodgers, Kendra Mei, Toby Osmond, Jon Campling, Jimmy Allen
Greenop’s second feature has much in common with his debut Wandering Rose (aka Demon Baby): limited cast, stunning locations, a studied avoidance of cliché, and an undeniable air of tension that builds throughout towards an explosive climax. Single mother Beth is raising her mute daughter Maya (a staggeringly mature performance by Mei) in an isolated lighthouse. Her former colleague and lover Amy tracks them down, seeking answers to Beth’s sudden disappearance. There’s a shadowy figure out on the rocks: is it Beth’s not-so-late husband, or his ghost, or some other threat, or something innocent? The script and direction are both subtle without being understated, gradually revealing the character’s relationships and back-stories. Cinematographer Haider Zafar gets full mileage out of the Jersey location, abetted by some gorgeous drone shots. Fan favourite Campling, usually surrounded by vampires or zombies, has a rare chance to demonstrate his naturalistic acting in a fine cameo as a doctor.