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By midlandsmovies, Jun 14 2018 12:58PM



New film You Are My Sunshine, which will be filmed and produced in and around the Midlands this summer, is launching a new crowd-funding campaign for their upcoming LGBTQ drama.


Written and directed by award winning filmmaker Dave Hastings, and produced by award winners Troy Dennison and Kaush Patel, You Are My Sunshine promises to be a heartfelt look at two extraordinary lives wanting nothing more than to be together against hostility and prejudice.


Set across two decades, Sunshine tells the story of Tom and Joe, who first meet in the 1970s, a time when homosexuality is still deemed immoral and wrong. As the two youngsters try and navigate their way through an uncompromising time in history, their modern day counterparts also have to deal with the repercussions of their early lives when events take a turn and families collide once more.


Looking for help to tell their stories, their filmmakers’ campaign launches with an aim to raise funding for locations, make up effects, transport as well as other considerations such as food and insurance.


Much of the cast have already been secured including Steve Salt who will be playing the younger version of Tom, while Jack Knight will be the younger version of Joe, Martin’s son. Both are from the Midlands and studying drama in London and they are joined by Charlie Clarke, Charles O’Neill and Rosemary Manjunath.


Director Dave Hastings comments, "This is an important story to tell now more than ever. Especially when we are again seeing a rise in homophobic crimes around the world, which in itself is sickening. Sunshine shows that while in the face of tough adversity, whatever your sexual preference, there is never anything wrong with falling in love with someone of the same gender”.


Producer Troy Dennison elaborates; "while the film presents hope, it never shies away from showing the ugly side of these discussions, with the script showing how in the 1970s, even when we had the first Pride in the UK, attitudes were still very difficult, and were strong enough to rip whole families apart, an event that could take decades to heal, while in other cases, not even being repaired at all, leaving some members of the LGBTQ community vulnerable and separated by their families forever".


The filmmakers first feature collaboration was Checking In” (see MM review here) which told five stories all set over the course of a 24hr day in a hotel. The film was screened in London, was featured on BBC Midlands News, and eventually went on to WIN BEST BRITISH FILM at the 2014 London Film Awards. The film was made on a budget of £2,000.


And their Hammer horror inspired second film entitled The House of Screaming Death won Best Feature at the 2018 Midlands Movie Awards.


“We are very passionate about filmmaking and doing the absolute best we can with what limited resources we have. But we believe this just makes us more creative on set and how we develop not only ourselves but the movies we make”.


To make a pledge please check out the Indiegogo Campaign by clicking here


For more info please head over to their official website: www.lightbeamproductions.co.uk



By midlandsmovies, May 21 2017 08:34AM



The House of Screaming Death (2017) Pat the Bull Films & Lightbeam Productions

Directed by: Troy Dennison, Rebecca Harris-Smith, David Hastings, Alex Bourne


A collaborative group of fright-filmmakers have pulled together and created a new Midlands made horror anthology – The House of Screaming Death – and, in a Midlands Movies first, we review this local horror feature with two (!) of our writers in conversation.


Taking a slightly longer format than before, Editor Mike Sales speaks to site feature writer Marek Zacharkiw about these multiple tales of terror in a collaborative format akin to the film itself.


To set the scene, The House of Screaming Death utilises the horror staple of an anthology film set around the same location, in this case it’s another recognisable feature of the genre – that of a spooky location – which is a great concept (not to mention realistic in terms of scope and budget for an indie production - Marek). Here it allows this group of filmmakers to display their individual talents while linking the tales together using themes of time, personal journeys and tackling the ‘ghosts’ of the past. Each of the 5 directors (4 tales plus the director of the wraparound sequence) brings their horror-tinged stories to screen using new occupants as well as both the familiar and the unknown.


The film opens with a suitably gothic red ghoulish font reminiscent of classic Hammer Horror and we are then introduced to Ian McNeice (Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) as the Architect. He’s the perfect foil to deliver an eerie performance as he introduces each segment. There’s also a great score from Matthew Calvert which mixes a dash of the recent Stranger Things with urgent strings to create a pumping tension at the beginning. And with that, Marek and I got stuck into the film…


MAREK: I have to say the idea of the film really appeals to me and I think this is in part because the film makers have presented it in a way reminiscent of the older Amicus and Hammer horror anthologies which I am a fan of. The opening and casting of Ian McNiece as The Architect, also lends the film a certain air of gravitas in regards to the professionalism of the picture, by which I mean you do not often get such recognisable faces in these smaller productions. Although the actual story introductions were somewhat lacking I felt.

MIKE: Absolutely. Without putting a downer on so early in the proceedings, the first story was “The Lady in Grey” from Troy Dennison but it was hard to work out any of the story names as McNeice doesn’t give the audience the titles. There’s only a date – in this case 1943 – so I thought a name card could help.

MAREK: I fully agree here simply because it primes us as a viewer and to be honest I feel it helps audiences get into the mindset or world of the unfolding story. “The Lady in Grey” to me came across almost as an attempt to visualise an Edgar Allen Poe story but unfortunately fell short for me as the script and pacing just did not have enough to hold my attention throughout. However I did feel that the concept fit perfectly into the location and credit must be applied for how the crew brought that time period to life.

MIKE: Yeah, the tale had great costumes and the rooms of the house had great set/prop design with suitably old fashioned sets for the varying time periods.

MAREK: As we see across all genres, the choice of an interesting location, and particularly in this case its incorporation into the story, can really help the filmmaker make the most of limited production budgets but in this opening segment I feel that it was a missed opportunity. .

MIKE: Agreed. The story is straightforward and the lighting was good. I was a bit unsure of starting the film with a monologue sequence and tension was only created by the music and not particularly the pacing or editing.

MAREK: I think that explains the issues perfectly, it was difficult to get into as a starting point (for the whole anthology) due to the narrative choice which relied too much on a script that while functional was not simply not engaging enough to hold my sole attention.

MIKE: Multiple speeds of pacing keep interest up but the one-note speed in this segment didn’t reflect the drama being described.


MIKE: The second tale was Rebecca Harris-Smith’s ‘The Witch in the Mirror’ set in 1934 and then 1974. As I mentioned, it was now 18 minutes before any dialogue had been delivered which made me think the order of tales could be reversed.

MAREK: After quite an intriguing start I found this one a little confusing in terms of tone although the opening aesthetics, in particular the costumes, did grab my attention.

MIKE: I loved the steampunk-esque plague masks of the necromancers. The main couple’s real-life argument in another room heard by the guests was a great parallel twist on hearing ghostly sounds through the walls.

MAREK: Exactly and it is in this manner that I hoped the story and style would develop. Although I felt the pacing was a bit disjointed and while, again, the script was functional that every time it built up momentum it became bogged down in the minutiae of everyday conversation.

MIKE: A well-lit dinner meal used creepy candles as we see a couple spend a night in the inherited house. I enjoyed the nods to ‘typically’ horror set ups, again harking back to their retro influences.

MAREK: See for me this was one of the areas that missed where the real interest of the story lay, rather than uninteresting bickering of some confusing characters, confusing in the sense of motivation, I wanted to discover more about the supernatural.

MIKE: I found the structure a little strange as we flash-forward at the story’s start and then at the table hear a story from the past. I kept wondering, as the film switches time periods anyway, which date are we on now? But the reversal (mirrored, if you will) ending nicely linked up the two time periods which clarified the crossover.



MIKE: So we move on to the third story titled ‘The Vampyre’ from Dave Hastings set in 1888.

MAREK: For me this was the highlight of the anthology, a strong concept that was well delivered and engaging throughout.

MIKE: This segment had my favourite characters for me. The vicar delivered a good performance and enjoyed the stereotypically burly locals nonplussed by the city outsider and the central villain of the segment as well.

MAREK: I fully agree, it knew what it wanted to achieve and set the characters out to deliver that with a few nods to the past.

MIKE: A pub scene was notably quiet with no background “hum” and also no score. It was like the audio was missing rather than a stylistic choice. The silence was unnatural but not in a supernatural way.

MAREK: Sadly this appears to have been a theme that frequently reoccurred, to a greater or lesser extent, throughout and did make a difference taking you out of the created world although thankfully this segment was strong enough for me to manage to survive.

MIKE: There were a few scenes in the forest that were really dark and possibly under-lit but it certainly kept it realistic for the time period it was set in.

MAREK: Now I think that final part you mentioned is key but we also need to remember that this story utilised the outdoors a lot more as well as shadows to perhaps hold the mystery a little longer in regards to our villain and I felt this was handled very well in what must have been some difficult shooting conditions regarding lighting.


MAREK: For the final, we are whisked to 2017 (by way of 2015) for the ‘The Diabolique’ by Alex Bourne.

MIKE: Here, we have a lady investigating the disappearance of her brother which leads her to the house.

MAREK: Like the previous segment I thought this was a strong, engaging concept and serves the additional purpose to bring us back to present day.

MIKE: Again, classic horror tropes like a ‘haunted’ doll and cult like images help cement the anthology’s love of the past and this tale wears it’s influences on its sleeve which will attract the fans of the that genre to it all the more.

MAREK: Although everyone deserves credit, perhaps this segment is the best acted out of them all and it helps bring it together.

MIKE: Agreed. It had the best pacing of the sequences for me too and the set of shorts ended on a high note as the tempo had really sped up by now.


MIKE: So in conclusion, what were your favourite parts of the film and which did you think needed improving?

MAREK: I felt the final two stories were undoubtedly the strongest, with ‘The Vampyre’ being my favourite. However I have to say that I do worry that the overall story order is wrong and certain viewers will not stick with it.

MIKE: For me, and I think I’ve mentioned it in so many reviews now that both independents and mainstream blockbusters have a current trend to make everything 2 hours plus, no matter what the content.

MAREK: Exactly and while this film at around two hours might seem like it would break down into four 30 minute episodes it does not play out that way in terms of an even split, and perhaps was overly ambitious based on the resources.

MIKE: Yeah, I sadly feel it’s also magnified by a lower budget. If resources like locations, money and some technical aspects are limited then it makes sense to me that these limitations could be extended to the length. A short, punchy, tightly-edited film often has more impact. In comparison, the recent mainstream release XX had 4 stories coming in at 80 minutes.

MAREK: Sometimes less is more but perhaps with a little tighter editing and post-production many of these qualms can be answered and all of a sudden it becomes a much more enjoyable film.

MIKE: Maybe a re-ordering of the tales would have helped so as to draw the viewer into the exciting beginning of tale 2 before the more mournful reflective narration of Story 1.

MAREK: Exactly, and I think this is perhaps where I am doing a disservice to the opening story but to me it does not set the anthology off on an engaging note and its sparse, bleak tone then permeates to the viewer making for a dry and unfortunately slow start.

MIKE: There’s definitely much more to recommend it than the few areas of improvement we’ve discussed and the anthology format works well for tales of camp-fire horror.

MAREK: Certainly and I think it is just a few minor tweaks required which will perhaps even come as the experienced directors continue their edits. There are of course plenty of positives to take from this and enjoyment to be had, particularly from the last two stories.


So ultimately House of Screaming Death is a retro-infused horror collection that it is more Inside No.9 than Amicus/Hammer but there is a lot of promise and clear genre knowledge behind the camera. One area which anthology films often get wrong but was perfect in this, was the wraparound story which worked exceptionally well and deserves credit. And with 4 exciting directors honing their craft both of us are looking forward to the next terrific tell-tale terrors they have to offer.


Midlands Movies Mike & Marek


Find out more about the film and its release at the Official Website: http://onabeamoflight.wixsite.com/screamingdeath/the-stories





By midlandsmovies, Mar 30 2017 10:16AM

Post-production has completed on Kaush Patel and Dave Hastings’ horror anthology ‘The House of Screaming Death’ and Midlands Movies Mike sees what’s next for this scary chiller from the region.


Featuring a chilling quartet of tales, ‘The House of Screaming Death’ features classic British actor Ian McNeice as a mysterious character known as The Architect – a storyteller who has a few demons to share of his own.


After a viral campaign ended with the release of the film’s trailer, the team behind the film have worked on adding the final touches including the completion of editing by Sam Woodhall who also oversaw the film’s visual effects.


Reuniting with local composer Matthew Calvert from the team’s previous award winning film ‘Checking In’, the musician has added a dark and macabre score influence by the likes of James Bernard – a staple of many Hammer Horror productions – as well as Christopher Young (Hellraiser).


“We all have jobs around the project, so we didn’t want to rush this at all”, says co-producer Kaush Patel. “People have been asking us for months about when the film will be finished, and we’ve always said, when it is as perfect as it can be within our limited resources as independent filmmakers. It has taken us four years to make this film a reality, so we are very protective of it as well as proud of all the cast and crew”, continues Patel.


Producer Dave Hastings adds “(the cast and crew) are all wonderful, and spending the last year seeing all their hard work, both in front of and behind the camera in the edit suite has been an absolute pleasure. It has just been an absolutely wonderful experience seeing all these components come together like they do here. As an independent filmmaker and for a film that has cost £4,000 to make overall, the dedication, passion and the love that has gone into this project has been overwhelming”.




Costing £4,000 to make, Patel wants encourage people to see what has been achieved on a small budget, especially within the struggling confines of the UK film industry.


The film is now entering the film festival circuit around the globe and will soon be receiving its local press screening at the amazing Manor House in West Bromwich. The film was in fact filmed around the location which doubled as the fictional and sinister Bray Manor, home of The Architect.


It will also also be receiving its first ever Birmingham premiere at the upcoming Fear-fest on Sunday May 28th (more info here: www.birmingham-fearfest.co.uk) which is organised by horror writer and journalist Steve Green


Before that, a cast and crew premiere is soon to be announced where everyone involved in the film will get first chance to see the scary fruits of their labour.


Aiming for a mid-late 2017 release, it truly is a Midlands-centric production with locations used in Walsall, Sandwell and Staffordshire areas with huge support from local councils. You can keep up to date on all the latest news by following the film on Twitter @screamin_death or by visiting the official website www.screamingdeath.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, Nov 9 2016 10:56AM



Midlands horror film The House of Screaming Death launches a new online clip for their upcoming shocker.


With the exciting inclusion of respected actor Ian McNeice (Bridget Jones, Ace Ventura), Lightbeam productions have used the Halloween period to release a brand new clip about their forthcoming feature.


Producers Dave Hastings & Kaushy Patel explain to Midlands Movies that the film is deep in post production and are looking for a great reaction to their new publicity push which features an interview with the esteemed actor.


In the clip, Ian discusses how he got involved whilst on location last February and adds a few details on his secretive character, as well as why people should be excited for the film. And within the interview itself there's also a brand new never-before-seen exclusive clip from the film featuring Ian in action


From the award winning team who brought you 'Checking In' (Winner Best British Film 2014 - London Film Awards) the film has its roots firmly in the world of classic Hammer horror anthology movies. The feature revolves around the sinister & mysterious storyteller, known as The Architect (played by McNeice) who is preparing to share four chilling tales with his invited audience.


The House of Screaming Death was filmed around the Midlands in late 2015 and early 2016, including Staffordshire, Sandwell and Walsall areas, and ushers a welcome return to the gothic horror of a bygone era.


The film is due for release in Easter 2017 release with scoring well underway as well as Visual FX on vampires and witches being finalised you can follow further updates on the film here: http://onabeamoflight.wixsite.com/screamingdeath

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