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By midlandsmovies, Feb 16 2018 07:21PM

Midlands horror film screening during Fright Club at Derby Quad Cinema

Fright Club is Derby QUAD's mix of brand new terrors from home and abroad as well as their pick from the archives and promises to drag audiences kicking and screaming towards the midnight hour wih a combination of dread and gore!

Derby’s independent cinema QUAD has been running their Fright Club every month with cult film historian Darrell Buxton introducing some of the best scary films around for Midlands horror audiences.

Their next two screenings include not just well known horror sequel Nekromantik 2 but also a showing of Midlands-made film The Slayers followed by a question and answer session from its director John Williams.

The Slayers will be shown on Friday 23 February and this 104-minute film follows cult members Nigel and Job who decide to spend their final two weeks on Earth cruising the mountains of Scotland in search of girls, alcohol and skydiving.

All is well until they come across a strange man who claims to be a vampire hunter. Determined to secure their place in Heaven once the world ends, they decide to team up and destroy a head vampire.

Following on from that screening, on March 18th QUAD are pleased to announce they are showing a fully uncut version of Nekromantik 2 with another Q & A - this time with director Jörg Buttgereit, who is visiting from Germany.

Nekromantik 2 continues the belief that “love never dies” by picking up where the original left off as we follow Monika who still cares for the corpse of her dead lover Rob alongside her job as a nurse. Not for the faint of heart, this underground classic needs to be seen to be believed!

More info and to buy tickets for The Slayers screening please click here: https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/film/fright-club---the-slayers--director-q-and-a.aspx

And for Nekromantik 2 you can find additional details here: https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/film/fright-club---nekromantik-2--director-q-and-a--18--s.aspx

For more information on Fright Club screenings and future Derby QUAD events check out the cinema’s official website at www.derbyquad.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Feb 10 2018 09:50AM

The Ritual (2018) Dir. David Bruckner

After their close friend is murdered during an attack in an off-licence, four guys honour his memory by heading into the woods in this new film from David Bruckner, who attempts to tackle redemption and regret during a frightful trip to the forest.

Predictably the four males get into the usual trouble – twisted ankles, bad weather and splitting up – which harms the film from the outset. Sadly, like Scream did with slasher movies, the incidents presented here were so brilliantly sent-up by Cabin in the Woods you cannot help but guffaw at the clichés when they arrive. After a night spent in a cursed shelter, the men begin to experience nightmarish visions but the horror tropes continue to pile up with the men losing their way and mobile phones not working. Obvs.

In its positive column is the fantastic Rafe Spall as the protagonist who was present during his friend’s death and whose lack of action in defending and protecting his pal weighs heavy on his mind. But a selection of rounded characters and some minimal drama cannot overcome its familiarity. In and of itself, wandering aimlessly around the woods does not a drama make, no matter how many slow intentional zooms are presented in an attempt to create tension. And I wasn’t a fan of the original Blair Witch for precisely the same reason.

A repeated motif is a shot of densley populated trees used as a visual metaphor where plants encompass the frame and between the trees the audience are challenged to identify a vague moving shape along with the characters. Although it’s good to build a sense of dread with filmmakers hiding their “beastie" at the start, after a good hour I was longing for some clarity of the terror stalking them.

As a character comically runs into a tree and with endless dream sequences – I mean how many times can you wake from a nightmare – it’s vying with Batman vs. Superman for the most flashback visions in a movie. For me, and in contrast to some reviews I’ve read, the final third is actually the more entertaining. The movie’s ending kicks up a gear but with huge swathes of nothingness, the film had mostly lost me before we glimpse the (impressively designed however) creature itself. The film attempts to veer towards original Wicker Man territory but ends up feeling much more like Nicolas Cage’s humour-filled version.

The director’s previous work includes the Amateur Night segment in anthology fright flick V/H/S and although this film could have made a great short, the 94 minutes feels far longer. But in the end. its poor attempts to present a masculinity-in-crisis theme is undermined by a lack of engagement and, frankly, a lack of entertainment.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jan 11 2018 07:09PM

Birmingham horror festival scares up international movie showcase

A macabre menu of dark delights from around the world will be served up on 28 January, when the Birmingham Horror Group hosts its second annual 'Mini-Movie Marathon'.

The event, in aid of the charity Diabetes UK, is being held at the Victoria pub on John Bright Street and has already attracted spinechilling submissions from film-makers as far afield as India, Brazil, Australia and the Russian Federation -- plus a "fear few" from the West Midlands!

"The horror genre embraces everything from psychological thrillers and bizarre monsters to supernatural terror and twisted comedy," said festival organiser Steve Green, "and we plan to reflect that full range in those films we'll be screening."

The event launches at 6pm and tickets are £3.00, bookable online via Eventbrite by clicking here.

Further details of the event are available via the group's website www.birmingham-horror.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Dec 5 2017 08:17PM

Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

From the director of The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos follows up that fantastical film with an allegorical journey plumbed from the depths of a Greek tragedy. A seemingly perfect American family (played by Irish, Australian & British actors and beginning the film’s unsettling traits) is headed by Colin Farrell’s surgeon whose life is interrupted regularly by an odd young boy called Martin, played by a fantastically freaky Barry Keoghan.

The boy hangs around the hospital and a local cafe where his presence haunts the surgeon on a near daily basis. Their unexplained relationship keeps the film’s strangeness at the forefront and with a stupendous set of orchestral songs from J.S Bach, Franz Schubert and Gyorgy Ligeti, there is a sense of classical Kubrick unease throughout. Slow tracking shots through long corridors and God-like aerial sequences capture the mythological tragedy and the presence of the “hands of the heavens” whilst again harking back to Kubrick-style mannerisms in tone.

The actors’ dialogue is in a stilted but poetic style which may grate on some audiences but here it felt perfect to focus on the discomforting feeling that haunts every moment. The director wrong-foots us time and again as characters are awkwardly, but purposely, filmed from low angles and sometimes placed at the far reaches of the frame. The story unfolds with the young boy’s presence causing a string of mysterious ailments to Farrell’s family. Is the boy possessed? A devil? A harbinger of doom? Fate itself? The film goes nowhere near answering this conundrum but focuses on the various natures of revenge, punishment and retribution.

With one of the best casts of the year, it is rounded out with Nicole Kidman who plays the idiosyncratic mother she’s so adept at (The Others and Stoker), Raffey Cassidy as the blossoming daughter and Sunny Suljic as the couple’s youngest and most innocent son. Maybe not for a passing cinema-goer, the film will find its fans in those willing to go to the darkest and most gruesome places and uses an antiquated literary device to help provide its metaphorical narrative.

Unlike Aronofsky’s mother! this film feels that it exists beyond its ancient allegory and with perfect performances, the movie will hopefully gain interest for its artistry alone but in fact leaves an audience with so much more to contemplate.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Nov 29 2017 12:01PM

Amityville: The Awakening (2017) Dir. Franck Khalfoun

Filmed in 2014 let me give you the real reason why this movie took so long to come out in this comprehensive cliché list:

✓Teenage goth

✓Young blonde girl

✓New house

✓Sick sibling

✓Single Mum


✓Dog barking

✓Windows open


✓Creaky staircase


✓Medical professional


✓Jump scare

✓Bloody bed sheets

✓Waking from nightmare

✓Pigs head

✓Teenage angst

✓Power cut



✓Urban legend



✓Insect swarm


✓Bible passage

✓Lakeside pier

✓ "This house is evil"

✓Crawling albino

✓Unstable mother

✓Bones cracking

✓More dreams

✓Violin screeches

✓Yadda yadda yadda

All the ingredients for one of the worst films of the year which has all the charm of a passing fart and includes the un-ironic dialogue "remakes totally blow". The one thing we can agree on.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Nov 26 2017 09:16PM

Grindhouse Planet Film Festival 2017

Still a young pretender on the Midlands circuit, the Grindhouse Planet Film Festival may have started small but has grown into a successful alternative to the mainstream regional showcases with its focus on the bloody and gruesome. Midlands Movies Mike heads to the home of horror for the second time for another dose of sleazy celluloid.

Now in its second year, the festival ran on 26th November with over 50 films being chosen to screen at Leicester city’s The Shed venue. With a cosy and friendly atmosphere the films comprised shorts and features from the local to the international whilst all the while maintaining its grass roots grime.

With a 48-hour film challenge and a question and answer session from filmmaker Steve Lawson, the event had a varying array of talented filmmakers and fans eager to see the nasty gems on offer.

The festival was spread over 10 hours and included such fan favourites as West Midlands zombie comedy Still, web-series sci-fi shocker The Rockman and dark drama All Bad Things.

Blood, guts, nudity, violence and laughs were all covered across the films and although Quentin Tarantino drew attention to the genre with his 2007 homage to the 70s double-features of his youth, it was great to see local filmmakers show their love for the exploitation movie tropes of the past as well.

Around the halfway mark, The Shed held host to a Q & A with Leicester filmmaker Steve Lawson of Creativ Studios. Having recently completed Hellriser (our coverage here) and a co-directing stint on short Time, and Again (review) the writer-director was happy to share his current experience with the passionate audience.

“Jumping from making my first film to working with distribution companies I realised very quickly you have to compromise a lot and change a lot of things but you cannot make films without producers”, explained Steve.

“After doing the low-budget Essex Heist which wasn’t a mega-seller but was distributed into Asda and other major retailers, other companies began taking my calls,” he joked. He went on to say: “My new film though is for Hereford Films (We Still Kill the Old Way) who are based in London. It’s a serious horror slightly away from the grindhouse style”.

Steve is a firm believer in filming efficiently which he says zero-budget filmmakers should have an understanding of - as whether you are making a £10,000 film or a £10 million film, filmmakers should prioritise the important business side of things. And with his career in full swing Steve gave some exclusive nuggets about his upcoming film.

“This new movie stars Shane Taylor from Band of Brothers as the lead and support comes from Rula Lenska who hasn’t made a film since Queen Kong. Actually I don’t know what I’m doing here as I start tomorrow at 9am and should be prepping!”

As well as Steve, we heard from Kelly McCormack who is heavily involved in the film-making scene in Leicester and beyond, and was down at The Shed supporting The Rockman (as associate producer) as well as Christmas based short The N0ughty List as a make-up artist.

“How did I jump from one to the other?” asks Kelly. “Well, they needed someone to put lots of fake blood on Santa and I had lots of fake blood”. Encapsulating the grindhouse spirit and community, Kelly feels the support from fans and filmmakers often help get these zero-budget films off the ground.

“I’ve been here most of the day and loved Charismata but the 48 hour film challenge was so good to watch to see what local people can do in a short time. Once you get a team that’s fully on board you know that it’s going to go mostly right with these mini-projects. Regarding the festival itself I was here last year but The Shed has had a refurbishment and the filmmaking community has had an even better atmosphere over the last 12 months so it’s made this year even more special”.

She adds that the spirit of genre film fans helps inspire others too. “There’s also a lot of networking going on and this is the type of festival where you can see people achieve whatever they set out to do. And we shouldn’t forget that big thanks should go to the organiser Marc Hamill as it’s been a really great day".

Another attendee was actor, filmmaker and grindhouse fan Ryan Flamson who starred as the main character for one of the entrants in the 48 hour film challenge.

“Well I starred as Coke-head the Clown [laughs] and it was a lot of fun and the short got a great crowd reaction. The turnout has been really good and the local talent is far better than people realise”.

Ryan adds, “People don’t always get the opportunity to showcase these types of films but Grindhouse Planet helps this and the quality of production is getting better and better. Especially with the budget limitations we all have”.

“Another thing is that people can come here to learn", says Ryan. "Steve Lawson gave a great Q & A about distribution and you can hear lots of feedback and get involved in networking too. I really loved The Killer Must Kill At Christmas from the 48-hour film challenge so recommend people go check that out”.

Check Ryan's recommendation below

With another successful year completed, the fans of saws, gore and more once again demonstrated their appreciation of all the talent on show and were buzzing to hear more about a third festival in 2018. Lets hope Marc and the team can grind out another successful full house of fright flicks next year. I'm almost certain he will.

Check out the official website here: http://www.grindhouseplanet.com

Check out The N0ughty List which is being shown before our own Batman Returns Christmas screening at Firebug in Leicester https://www.facebook.com/events/349772655487985/

By midlandsmovies, Oct 7 2017 03:00PM


Directed by Sean Brown & Luke Gosling

Bearing 305 Productions. In association with Dark Rift films

After sci-fi short Athena, Leicester’s Bearing 305 Productions return with a full feature as filmmakers Sean Brown and Luke Gosling turn their gaze to the horror genre in their brand new release Blood Myth.

With the film now accepted into the Sacramento Horror Film Festival and the Spooky Empire Film Festival in Orlando, the two filmmakers made their movie on a very low budget whilst it also features a voice cameo from actor Toby Kebbell (Kong Skull Island, Dead Man's Shoes).

The film begins with a night time point-of-view journey into the darkness as a dog barks and we stumble across a man covered in blood. With this spooky set up we cut to the main story where a journalist (Jonathan McClean as James Lincoln) investigates the urban legends of missing people and the emergence of stories about the occult.

As James interviews a number of people, we soon cut to his home life and pregnant girlfriend (Anna Dawson as Harriet Jones) whom he is planning to get away with for their anniversary. A voiceover fills in some background information and the filmmakers begin with a great selection of varied local locations from a car park roof to a barbershop which subsequently becomes important later. Other regional low-budget filmmakers take note – this can hugely assist with production values as the film (mostly) avoids suburban interiors that are often all-too-common in local productions and which helps set this film apart from the crowd.

The film hints upon a clandestine workplace affair from the past which causes friction and it should be noted that the technical side of the film certainly has a professional sheen. From the superb lighting (it moves from brightly lit locales to the ominous darkness of the countryside) to the sound mix, the filmmakers have no trouble handling a multitude of disciplines.

Also, the film appears to give nods to similar horror fare with some Psycho-esque animal taxidermy shots, a “creepy Victorian doll” and red lighting denoting upcoming bloodshed which ensures it wears its influences on its sleeves. When Harriet goes missing one night, her disappearance then leads to the police being called in but any astute viewer would suspect all is not what it seems.

One area of improvement however would be the slightly awkward script. Whether it was an intentional decision by the filmmakers or a nod to the gothic horrors of the past, the dialogue often comes across as if the actors are reading from a novel. Lines such as “until I find evidence of nefarious deeds”, “I suspect foul play” and “I think the findings justify my actions” come across as if the actors are reciting old prose. And unfortunately at times, their performances suffer as a result. It’s going to be difficult to deliver archaic words in what is set up as a realistic modern day setting and so it ends up sounding unnatural.

Nevertheless, as the story progresses into the exploration of the mysterious phenomenon, James’ room gets trashed and he is led to Hannah Chalmers as Alexandra Priest who explains more about the dark rumours circulating as he finds photos of himself on a digital camera.

The filmmakers mix up the pacing throughout which is great but a few trims could have been used in the ‘search’ scenes. An extended sequence where James slowly walks around farm buildings didn’t seem the narrative answer to the disappearance set up. Expecting the protagonist to rush around with a concern for the loss of his loved one, the film instead has him leisurely wandering in a drawn-out set of shots. This subsequently lowers the tension and without any immediacy there is less intrigue and concern for his (and her) plight.

Although a long time coming, as we enter the final scenes we are provided some nasty answers and the film surprises the viewer with some shocking revelations.

With unsettling vibes that hark to rural chillers like The Wicker Man and Kill List, Blood Myth mixes the urban and countryside settings successfully, and adds a splattering of blood and nastiness in its conclusion too. The addition of a few more dramatic scenes during the search would have lifted the slightly saggy middle section but when all is said and done, Blood Myth tackles the familiar but chilling idea of an eerie vanishing. As an intriguing mystery, the film takes a level-headed approach to familiar horror tropes and mixes in its own themes on the inherent unreliability of rumour, gossip and language.

Find out more about Blood Myth at the official site here: www.bloodmyth.com

Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Sep 28 2017 09:00AM

The Devil’s Candy (2017) Dir. Sean Byrne

Dark horror The Devil’s Candy tells the story of troubled artist Jesse (played Ethan Embry) who moves to a remote country house with his wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco).

As with all these things, once they unpack Jesse begins to hear voices whilst he frantically paints Francis Bacon-esque demonic pictures that have an eerie premonition-like reality to them. As well as haunting sounds, an awkward loner called Ray arrives at the house insisting he used to live there but is aggressively refused entry by the father.

As a second painting begins to form, the horrific scared faces of burning children are lost on Jesse who uses the mental anguish to return to an art world that shunned him. The film uses broad brush strokes from the genre but adds some metal-music infused excitement to the usual round of killings and disturbed slaughter.

A red Flying-V guitar, which plays a part in the story’s development, resonates with weighty devil-like rock and the constant Black Sabbath-style power-chord strumming is deafening and traumatizing in its repetition. As a fan of that genre of music it was refreshing to see this traditional family entrenched in some good heavy metal – especially as it wasn’t Rob Zombie for a change.

The colour red is prevalent throughout – an obvious trope that plays like some kind of alternative American Beauty – which symbolises future bloodshed, but the film is well shot and the actors believable in their off-kilter family roles.

The film could have done without an even more blatant slide into religious ‘Jesus’ imagery towards a flaming finale but the thrills and intense pleasures come from a genre film well executed with a ‘killer’ soundtrack.


Midlands Movies Mike

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