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By midlandsmovies, Apr 18 2019 09:32AM



Midlands Spotlight - Paracinema Horror Weekend 2019


Friday 3 - Monday 6 May 2019


Venue: QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby, DE1 3AS


Anything goes! This is the motto of Paracinema, a festival dedicated to films and genres outside the mainstream. Expect a steady diet of horror, sci-fi and fantasy but in addition we want to explore other genres and sub-genres that don't get the opportunity to play on the big screen.


Taking place in Derby next month, the horror weekend will be showcasing the local, national and international in all genres of horror.


A Paracinema weekend pass costs £50 and enables entry to all events across all four days of the event.


Alternatively, a Paracinema Day pass costs £20 and allows entry to all events on a single day of the event.


For the full programme please see the film screenings and event list below including gaming, Q & As, a quiz and so much more. Click the links at the bottom for tickets and mroe more information.


Friday 3rd May

Paracinema Shorts 1 & 2 12:00pm


Zeroes 3:30pm (Also screening on: Monday 6th May)


Gaming : Paracinema Arcade 5:00pm (Also screening on: Saturday 4th May, Sunday 5th May, Monday 6th May)


F*** You All – The Uwe Boll Story 6:15pm


Knife + Heart 8:15pm (Also screening on: Sunday 5th May)


Mega Time Squad 10:30pm


Saturday 4 May 2019

Paracinema Shorts 1 10:45am


House Of Blue Shadows 12:30pm


In Conversation: Emily Booth In Conversation with Director Jake West 2:30pm


Inner Ghosts + Director Q+A 4:00pm


The Dead Center 6:05pm


Diamantino 8:00pm


Slasher In A Knife Factory! – A Nightmare On Elm Street 8:30pm


The Next Kill 10:00pm (Also screening on: Monday 6th May)


Sunday 5 May 2019

Paracinema Shorts 2 11:15am


Far From The Apple Tree 1:20pm


Special Event : Drag Me To Hell – Representations of Drag & Transvestism in Horror Film & Television 3:00pm


Bearkittens + Director Q+A 3:30pm


Fornacis + Director Q+A 5:20pm


Luz 7:20pm


Quiz: The Legendary Paracinema Quiz! 8:30pm


Film Screening Shorts Programme

Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Film Challenge – Entrants Screening 8:30pm


Knife + Heart 8:50pm (Also screening on: Friday 3rd May)


Monday 6 May 2019

Ghost Story 12:00pm


Ghost Stories: The Curious Tales Of The Making Of Ghost Story

2:00pm


VIPCO – The Untold Story – Premiere + Director Q+A 4:00pm


Scopophilia 6:30pm


Book Of Monsters 6:45pm


Zeroes 8:30pm (Also screening on: Friday 3rd May)


The Next Kill 8:45pm (Also screening on: Saturday 4th May)


More information:


https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/whats-on/cinema/paracinema-film-festival-weekend-pass


https://www.facebook.com/ParacinemaDerby/


https://twitter.com/ParacinemaDerby



By midlandsmovies, Apr 15 2019 04:03PM



The Wind (2019) Dir. Emma Tammi


Emma Tammi’s directorial debut is a western horror and although the title sounds like a sub-Blumhouse video on demand chiller (or an unwanted Shyamalan The Happening spin-off) the sombre tome makes this a scary trip to the West worth checking out.


Horror westerns are a small sub-genre – from direct-to-video sequels From Dusk Til Dawn 3 and Tremors 4 all the way to S. Craig Zahler’s excellent Bone Tomahawk via the slightly less-excellent Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966). John Carpenter’s Vampires also mixed the genres but here though, the film ditches any b-movie stylings and feels more in tune with the Coens’ Buster Scruggs.


The film stars Caitlin Gerard as Lizzy, a resourceful woman in a remote cabin on the American plains. She lives with just her husband, Ashley Zukerman as Isaac before being joined by Julia Goldani Telles as Emma Harper and Dylan McTee as Gideon Harper. With just 4 people, the women toil the crops as the men leave them for long stretches hunting and gathering.


Opening on a horrific scene of a pregnancy gone wrong, we know we’re not going to be in for an easy ride. The structure of the film flashes back and forth from the present, where Lizzy is surviving on her own, to the 4 people trying to settle in this harsh environment back in the past. The two intertwining narratives was a fantastic device to create mystery and leave questions unanswered. For some though, the lack of clarity between where we are in time could infuriate. And I have to admit myself, there were times of head-scratching to work out where we were in the story.


As Emma Harper gets pregnant, she begins to have visions and feelings of another presence in the area. Initially dismissive herself, Lizzy takes little notice of these until later when the wind – and whatever forces it is hiding – comes to her own door.


The dialogue is minimal but effective from scriptwriter Teresa Sutherland and Caitlin Gerard is great as the lonely woman battling supernatural entities and possibly her own sanity. The film is also beautifully shot and slowly allows the story to build before we get a shock scare or two.


With intrigue and violence, the film is ambitious yet doesn’t always hit its mark. The slow editing makes its 90 minutes seem longer, but in many ways the film is too short and the ending is a little rushed and offers little in the way of explanation. Although I suspect that was the point.


In conclusion, The Wind is an impressive and sporadically frightening first film which takes the large scale and uncharted American wild West and places its foreign nature into the cabin - and the mind - of a female pioneer. With heady themes of religion, redemption and the unfamiliar, you will be rewarded as you roam into this undiscovered and menacing windy wilderness.


★★★ ½


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Mar 17 2019 10:21AM



Midlands Spotlight - Leicester Horror Con


With stalls, guests, talks, screenings, cosplay and more, a new event heads to Leicester this summer covering all things strange, spooky and scary in the form of Leicester Horror Con 2019.


Taking place on Saturday 22nd June from 11am to 5pm the event will be held at the suitably historical and ghostly Guildhall in Leicester.


With five reported ghosts, the Guildhall is reputedly Leicester's most haunted building and has appeared on the television show Most Haunted.


One of the highlights of the convention is their "Dark Market". Here, the UK’s best horror traders will be in attendance selling artwork, posters, toys, comics, books, DVDs/Blu-Rays and more.


In addition, there will be guests, screenings and an evening event and the day will be a chance for attendees to meet fellow horror fans, buy merchandise from vendors and learn more about the genre everyone loves.


Leicester Horror Con is being organised by horror film fan Nathan Leverton who has run a number of events in Leicester which includes Leicester Comic Con in the city’s Silver Arcade and a Challenge Charity Boxing at the Morningside Arena.


A slight warning - it is likely material on display will not be suitable for minors and whilst Under 10s can go free, they must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.


For everyone else, the tickets re limited but provide attendees with a wristband that gains them entry to the "Dark Market" at The Guildhall, as well as screenings, talks and discounts at participating venues. Please note, it does not include entry to any evening shows at venues after the convention ends at 5pm.


Tickets are a suitably priced £6.66 and an be bought at Eventbrite here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-horror-con-2019-tickets-57705160689


For more information - and with updates on traders, timings and further guests then please check out the event's social media pages on the links below:


www.instagram.com/leicesterhorrorcon

www.facebook.com/LeicesterHorrorCon




By midlandsmovies, Mar 7 2019 01:10PM



The Hole in the Ground (2019) Dir. Lee Cronin


From The Shining-style opening where we see a God-shot of a car driving through a forest landscape, new horror-thriller The Hole in the Ground has plenty of classic genre references but does it add enough to the mix to set it apart amongst a whole host of other fear-filled films?


Well, the clichés begin as we get a mum and child (a trope becoming as common as teens in the woods) moving to a new home where they uncover a humungous crater in the woods. Mum (an excellent Seána Kerslake as Sarah) warns her son to not go near it but after noticing some very strange traits from her offspring, she begins to suspect something isn’t quite right.


The disturbing behaviour continues with his monotone speech and upsetting behaviour, before Sarah crosses paths with an excellent James Cosmo as local man Des Brady whose wife recently died after claiming her son was no longer the same boy as well. With some ideas akin to Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling, we begin to question Sarah’s sanity and the film focuses much more on dread and tension than it does jump scares.


Director Cronin uses great cinematography to add gravitas to the low-key film, from beautiful wide shots of nature to the torch-lit point-of-view shots which includes the film’s first scares. The visuals are complimented by a beautiful, but eerie, piano score and as the questions of possession continue we get a claustrophobic conclusion reminiscent of The Descent where a metaphorical haunted house (cave) holds the spooky secrets to the mystery.


A solid story, well-shot and delivered in a very matter-of-fact style, The Hole in the Ground goes beyond its b-movie title to provide an interesting film mixing the satisfying themes of psychological paranoia and the paranormal.


★★★½


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Mar 6 2019 09:40AM

Scarecrow (2018)


Directed by Lee Charlish


Korky Films and Jam-AV Productions


Coventry filmmaker Lee Charlish of Korky films takes a leap from his dark animation films into a terrifying drama of a lost couple on the road in new chiller Scarecrow.


A nagging couple (Adrian Annis as Thomas and Georgina Mellor as Natalie) find themselves stranded after running out of petrol in a country lane.


As they argue over where they are and what to do, they blame each other as to the reason why the car has broken down but soon decide to go and search for help. However, in the wooded backroads, they have little luck in finding any assistance.


They soon stumble upon a clearing where an ominous looking Scarecrow is placed with a sign warning them – DO NOT TOUCH. As Natalie is entranced by its seemingly strange power, the film starts to dip a toe into more supernatural fare.


The bickering between the couple is one of the short’s highlights. The two leads trade barbs in well-written dialogue as well as unspoken looks and menacing stares between each other.


The quirky tweed suit and horn-rimmed glasses of Thomas, as well as Natlaie’s tree-green dress add class to the film’s costume design and it’s little touches like these that truly add flavour to local shorts looking to stand out.


A few touches of humour give it the dark comedy vibe of The League of Gentlemen and the hot sunny day contrasts nicely with the eerie horror score – again, making it rise above more traditional takes and clichés.


Director Charlish has taken a few horror tropes but wisely twists them to provide something new and the excellent production design, score and certainly the two leads help this film rise above the familiar genre beats.


Creepy and inventive and with plenty of 50’s infused jazz style, Scarecrow is as good as they come in the local film arena and with excellent work from all involved, it is a fashionably cool and suave horror that stands out in the crowd. Or should that be field. A stupendous short.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Feb 21 2019 01:37PM

Overlord (2018) Dir. Julius Avery


Son of a Gun director Julies Avery returns with a mid-budget horror-tale where a platoon of soldiers are dropped into Nazi-occupied World War 2 France to destroy a radio tower to help the D-Day landings.


Opening with a character-building scene on an American bomber plane, the movie allows a little space to build up some empathy in Predator-style conversations using solider ‘bantz’ and some broody dialogue.


Here we are introduced to paratrooper Ed Boyce (Jovan Adepo) who was underperforming during training and whose fellow soldiers sure let him know it throughout. As the plane is shot down in an exciting and explosive sequence, only 5 soldiers survive the parachute drop including Wyatt Russell as Corporal Ford who only has the mission on his mind.


The small group seek refuge in the home of a French woman (Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe) as Nazi patrols roam the village. The group barely survives in the attic but there are hints throughout of disfigured villagers, and when an SS Officer (a fantastically brutal and evil Pilou Asbæk) attempts to rape their host, the American soldiers are forced to reveal themselves.


Dealing with the complications arising from their decision to save the locals or complete their mission, Boyce ends up in a secret laboratory where the Nazis are conducting sinister body-altering experiments. As a slice of b-movie action, the film excels with enough character development, some simple linear story-telling, a nasty villain and some tongue-in-cheek gore. A severed head pleading for help is a particular nasty but thoroughly effective visual spine-chiller.


Using such a dramatic historical situation, the film takes itself seriously enough for you to care, but allows the film to develop into a more monster-driven experience in its second half. But it has certainly earnt that right.


The body-horror is suitably nasty, the character choices are well established and the gun fights and violence will keep most action and fright audiences entertained. As the men discuss their mission, the film delivers a great sense of urgency to keep up a fast pace and overall, Overlord entertains with a delicious mix of dark horror and depraved history.


★★★★


Mike Sales

By midlandsmovies, Feb 18 2019 09:43PM


We have two unique takes on The House that Jack Built with Mike Sales and Marek Turner going head to head on Lars Von Trier's latest. Do they agree? Read on to find out...


The House that Jack Built (2018) Dir. Lars von Trier


The latest film from Danish director Lars von Trier (Dogville; Antichrist; Nymphomaniac) was never going to be one for the masses but once again through the casting of well known mainstream names, in this case Matt Dillon - in his best performance for over a decade - and Uma Thurman amongst others, he ensures a a healthy amount of interest and cinematic distribution.


Laughed at and lauded in equal measure when it debuted at Cannes in 2018 the film follows the seemingly hapless Jack as he descends not only into madness but also hell over a period of twelve years and multiple homicides.


Now although this sounds relatively straight forward, due to having such a duration to cover the film is split into non linear segments taken throughout the years, each representing a pivotal moment in Jack’s life and which is narrated over by the figure of Virgil (Bruno Ganz), in a nod to Dante’s Inferno to which this film is heavily indebted in terms or concept. Through these segments we delve deeper into the mind of Jack and his alter-ego, both of which manifest themselves through the films varying tone and visual appearance.


Arguably playing as a dark comedy for the majority of its time, with a touch of social criticism, it is in these tonal shifts that the audience will either be won over or lost but for those that go along for the ride they will discover a lot more under the surface in this tale of violence, satisfaction and repentance. With that final point being taken by some as a form of atonement by the frequently ostracised director and through the use of his own back catalogue and past behaviour it is certainly easy to see why.


Harking back to a period where every artistic decision, depiction or mise en scène was symbolic von Trier knows his craft well enough to show us the material to interpret the meaning ourselves. Undoubtably The House That Jack Built is self-indulgent and arguably pretentious sometimes but it is also well-written, entertaining and with layered deeper meaning. Dare we even say it is sophisticated. but here it is up to us to interpret in the main.


Working on several levels this film is one for those who like to spend the time digging a little deeper but whether it is ultimately worth it only you will know.


★★★★


Marek Turner


And another! Midlands Movies Mike Sales writes...


Polarising director Lars von Trier returns with another controversial film that follows a serial murderer’s 12-year killing spree with all the subtlety the filmmaker is known for.


It begins with middle-aged Jack killing a woman whose car has broken down and taking her body to be hidden in a freezer. He later pretends to be an insurance salesman in a leafy suburb to enter another woman’s home whom he awkwardly strangles. This time Jack is unable to flee the scene owing to his obsessive cleaning but soon manages to escape. More incidents pile up with the murder of a family on a hunting expedition, a woman whom he confesses to and lining up a group of kidnapped victims to kill them with one bullet.


Jack is played excellently by a dark, and sometimes darkly comic, Matt Dillon and the expected pretentiousness begins with auteur chapter headings – yawn. However, at times the film is far more conventional for large portions of its runtime, although this being von Trier, he intersperses the splatter gore with his own essay on the nature of man and violence.


Provocative von Trier doesn’t hold back with scenes of child murders, female mutilation and ruthless attacks yet he “justifies” these sickening incidents with a voiceover throughout (Bruno Ganz as ‘Verge’).


This "conscience" pontificates on a number of quasi-religious themes and primal fears in essay form. Does this literary motif bring von Trier’s work up to the status of art? Not really. The gruesome deaths could be from any b-movie horror but for me it was Dillon’s mesmerising performance that sees this one through.


As the film conclusion rolls around, von Trier dives off the deep end as we enter a literal Dante’s Inferno. Far too long and with a kind of hollow-seriousness, the mixture of dark subject matter, visceral filmmaking and attempts to say something about human nature are all typical fare for the director.


That said, there’s enough here to maintain interest (just) but clear a bit of time - it's 155 minutes long - as well as headspace, for all the horrific ideas von Trier throws at the wall. Although ugly, these will mostly stick in your mind as the director delivers his trademark nihilistic world view using grotesque visuals.


★★★


Mike Sales

By midlandsmovies, Feb 18 2019 09:32PM



Possum (2018) Dir. Matthew Holness


As a huge fan of the director’s comedy alter-ego Garth Marenghi, an inspired riff on Stephen King mixed with Alan Partridge of sorts, the humorous Holness has moved away from horror laughs into darker territory with his debut film Possum.


Expanded from his own short story published in horror anthology The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease (which sounds hugely like a Garth Marenghi compendium novel itself), Holness delivers a dark tale of psychological trauma. Sean Harris plays a puppeteer who returns to the home he grew up in and is forced to confront repressed memories from his childhood.


The film’s visual style was apparently inspired by British public information films and the opening is a spot-on homage to the matter-of-fact grimness of those short adverts – which scared children and adults alike. As the story starts with the man facing his stepfather and their unsaid secrets, Harris’ character Phillip is haunted by a spider-like marionette called Possum and his mental stability is tested throughout as he deals with its constant presence.


Early on it’s easy to guess what the puppet represents, and the arrival of Alun Armstrong’s disgustingly good stepfather will almost certainly confirm these suspicions for most audiences. Holness however has also said he was influenced by the tone of silent horrors, but with the film’s snail-pace , it could really do with a big shot of dialogue.


Despite the over-reliance of mood over speech, the score is fantastic though, with an experimental soundtrack provided by The Radiophonic Workshop. It’s most effective during a sequence in a disused building where the eight-legged entity stalks our protagonist, yet the film was crying out for more scenes like this one.


Having played with horror clichés and genre tropes/structure with his Marenghi character, Holness ditches them all in Possum but unfortunately this has the effect of creating somewhat of a form-less mess. So serious and surreal as to be unengaging this is one for fans of unconventional horror but would be too sparse for many audiences.


It’s weird how a film with great actors (Harris & Armstrong are superb but almost the only characters), superbly unsettling score, a horrific monster and a great design aesthetic are all undone with an incredibly slow, and ultimately unfulfilling pace. Possum has all the right ingredients but simply undercooks the whole thing. It’s like putting eggs, flour and milk in a bowl and shoving them in the toaster for 6 hours hoping to get a tasty cake.


Holness himself has said the film should “force the audience to reflect upon the experience afterward” but the experience here is such an arduous and mostly unenjoyable one you’ll probably won’t want to recall much of it again at all. Bring on Skipper the Eye-Child 2 please.


★★


Mike Sales


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