Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Panic Button - Pre-thoughts and trailer.

 PREVIEW
 An (almost) daily preview for each and every movie on the line-up for London's biggest, baddest horror festival, the Film 4 Frightfest

PANIC BUTTON

DIRECTOR:  Chris Crow 

STARRING:
Scarlett Alice Johnson – Jo
Michael Jibson – Dave
Jack Gordon – Max
Elen Rhys – Gwen
Joshua Richards – Alligator

They say:
"Push the button for THE SOCIAL NETWORK of shock, Four people win a trip of a lifetime to New York, courtesy of their favourite social-networking website – All2gethr.com. Boarding a private jet, they hand in their mobiles ready to take part in the in-flight entertainment – a new online gaming experience. But this is no ordinary game. Trapped at 30,000 feet, they must play for their lives and the lives of their loved ones by their invisible captor, who knows every intimate secret. This inventive twister explores the chilling consequences of posting too much information online and how in cyber-space no one can hear you scream."



We say:
'Who is the Alligator?' somebody screams in the PANIC BUTTON trailer (see it below).  Is it just me or is that line just kinda funny?  Regardless, the Alligator in question seems to be another one of these sadistic shadowy puppet master types that seem to lurk around every corner these days with ever-new ingenious ways of forcing people into bizarre and arbitrary moral decisions. This one has incorporated a private jet into his scheme and it looks as though most of the action takes place on board said plane.  That's not a bad concept actually - it plays on that strange feeling of disconnection you get when travelling by air, like the world below is not quite real anymore (or maybe you're the one who isn't...).  That said, I can't help but feel a little discouraged by the familiar-feeling   antagonist and rather well-trodden path of online psycho-games. Maybe it's just me but I'm a little bored with stories about these ideas.  I want to see something new - something genuinely intriguing or gripping or just unusual.  I'm not really sure if this will do that to be honest...

 This could easily swing either way in my opinion being either a taut and claustrophobic little thriller or a derivative bore.  Which do you think it'll be?  Leave a comment below! 




Excitement rating:  Mildly curious.


Playing:   Saturday 27th August  15:35 
Festival & day passes go on sale from 2nd July. Tickets for Individual films on sale from 1st August.


Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk
15:35

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Wicker Tree - Pre-thoughts and trailer

 PREVIEW
 An (almost) daily preview for each and every movie on the line-up for London's biggest, baddest horror festival, the Film 4 Frightfest

THE WICKER TREE

Director: Robin Hardy
Starring:
Brittania Nicol – Beth 
Henry Garrett - Steve
Graham McTavish – Sir Lachlan Morrison
Honeysuckle Weeks – Lolly
Christopher Lee – Old Man
They say:
"From the makers of the cult classic THE WICKER MAN, and based on director Robin Hardy's own novel ‘Cowboys for Christ’, a Texas gospel singer and her boyfriend, both devout evangelical Christians, are sent to Scotland on a mission to spread the word of God. After a concert in Glasgow Cathedral the pair are invited by Sir Lachlan Morrison to preach in his remote border village, but soon the horrifying reality dawns on the couple as they learn the true significance of the Celtic pagan rites. Reuniting Hardy with legendary actor Christopher Lee for a story in the style of the 1973 landmark fantasy comes the most eagerly anticipated horror movie of the year. "

We say:
Gotta admit, this one pretty much flew right under the radar for me and I don't know all that much about it.  On first sight however it certainly sets some pretty fucking big alarm bells ringing.  Images of Nick Cage dressed in a bear suit punching assorted women square in the face (in the Wicker Man remake of 2006) come to mind very quickly.  Whilst that ludicrously awful movie is actually something which gives me enormous amounts of pleasure to see (it even makes me chuckle inwardly to just think of it) it isn't exactly a good thing of itself.
This movie isn't a remake or exactly a sequel but seems to be somewhere between a companion piece and a re-imagining.  The blurb above mentions 'a story in the style of the 1973 landmark fantasy' which doesn't sound enormously encouraging.  It kind of brings to mind those trash horror novels which would be about giant crabs or snails eating people or something and printed across the cover in big letters would be something along the lines of 'in the style of James Herbert's The Rats' or slightly lower down the food chain, 'in the tradition of Shaun Hutson's SLUGS'.
That said, the teaser-trailer (below) manages to create a pretty solid and intimidatingly eerie atmosphere in very little time and with very little actual footage so maybe this will blow all reservations out of the water.

As usual, I'm hoping that it does. 




Excitement rating:  It's difficult to be excited about such a potentially disastrous project but it's fairly safe to say that it'll be worth watching either way.  Label us 'curious'. 




Playing:   Saturday 27th August  13:15 


Festival & day passes go on sale from 2nd July. Tickets for Individual films on sale from 1st August.







Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk


And....  Just 'cause it makes me laugh:

Monday, 18 July 2011

Troll Hunter Pre-thoughts

 PREVIEW
 An (almost) daily preview for each and every movie on the line-up for London's biggest, baddest horror festival, the Film 4 Frightfest

 TROLL HUNTER

Director: Andre Ovredal Norway 2010 

Starring:
Otto Jespersen – Hans the Troll Hunter 
Glenn Erland Tosterud – Thomas 
Johanna Morck – Johanna 
Tomas Alf Larsen – Kalle 
Hans Morten Hansen – Finn

They say:
"After successfully redefining the vampire and thriller genres with LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, the Scandinavians now turn their attention to the creature feature. The adorably weird result is the coolest monster movie import since THE HOST. This slyly compelling and dryly humorous hybrid details what happens when a group of documentary filmmakers attempt to expose an infamous bearskin poacher...who actually turns out to be Norway's only living troll hunter. A silly, scary and sincere balance of horror, adventure and mockumentary that both reinvents and pays homage to the creature classics of old."

We say:
The 'found footage' movie may be written off by some as just another fad or gimmick, to me it's still an exciting and interesting way of telling stories.  I think it enables filmmakers to make the movies that they want to on a budget which is realistically achievable.  In many cases the movies that result from this are something different to the effects-laden, shiny, bereft of soul media products that mainstream Hollywood insists on feeding us.  Surely that can only be a good thing right?

This bizarre Norwegian production certainly looks like it fits that argument in any case.  A serious documentary-style film about the existence of real trolls sounds pretty fantastic to me and the trailer really delivers on this concept.  Check it out below to see a glimpse of the trolls themselves in action.  Personally, I can't resist a good creature feature so this is pure brilliance to me - what do you think?







Excitement rating:  Massive trolls stomping around Norway causing trouble.  What's not to like? Seriously stoked to see this.

Playing:   Saturday 27th August  11:00 AM

Festival & day passes go on sale from 2nd July. Tickets for Individual films on sale from 1st August.




Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Vile Pre-thoughts

 PREVIEW
 An (almost) daily preview for each and every movie on the line-up for London's biggest, baddest horror festival, the Film 4 Frightfest


VILE

Director:  Taylor Sheridan

Starring:
Eric Jay Beck – Nick 
April Matson – Tayler 
Akeem Smith – Tony 
Greg Cipes – Sam 
Maya Hazen – Tara

They Say:
"Fifty years ago Yale University professor Stanley Milgram held a series of social experiments based on Nazi war criminals’ psychology. They were devised to answer a simple question; how far are people willing to go when instructed by authority? Nick, his girlfriend Tayler and their two best friends are about to find out. Abducted after a camping trip, they wake up in an unknown prison with two vials wired into the base of their skulls. Their task, set by a mysterious video figure, is to fill the vials with chemicals the brain produces under extreme pain… "

We say:

Hmmm... a mysterious puppet master type character, abductions, bizarre forced surgery, experiments in extreme pain.  It all sounds a bit last decade really doesn't it?  Isn't this a touch reminiscent of Jigsaw and the rest's somewhat anti-social shenanigans? Well, the psychological experiment angle certainly adds some interest and is relatively untapped territory so there's certainly some potential here.  Also, it's directed by Deputy Chief Hale from SONS OF ANARCHY or at least the guy who played him - Taylor Sheridan, so that gives it a whole shedload of good will right there.  Will that be enough though?


Excitement rating:  Hopeful but dubious.

Playing:   Friday 26th August  23:55 
Festival & day passes go on sale from 2nd July. Tickets for Individual films on sale from 1st August.

Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Chromeskull - The Total Bastard Database

The TBDB is the Net's biggest, best and most downright demented guide to horror cinema's worst villains, madmen, monsters, maniacs, cannibals, creeps, killers, beasts and, well... bastards.
AKA:
Nick Principe
Was a bastard in…
Laid to Rest (2009)
So who the hell is he?
Sporting a rather dapper black suit and driving a luxuriously expensive car, Chrome Skull cuts quite the elegant figure.
Well, he might do if it wasn't for the big shiny skull mask he insists on wearing at all times and the camcorder (which is laser guided for some reason) he has constantly fastened to his shoulder.  Perhaps he just really likes Predator.
Oh and his habit of brutally murdering everybody he meets doesn't do masses for his overall appeal either I suppose. In fact, ChromeSkull, as he is known (almost certainly due to his choice of face wear but hey, you can never be too sure), is an outright maniac to rival Michael, Freddy, Jason and all the other top dogs in the field.
Unlike those characters however, very little is known about this guy. He appears to be quite wealthy, if his flash car and quality weapons are anything to go by, with a clear skill for surgery. Maybe he is a doctor in his normal life? Maybe a surgeon? It doesn't really matter to be honest What matters is that he is a ruthless, sadistic bloodthirsty loon with a penchant for filming himself murdering and mutilating the corpses of a fairly lengthy succession of young women. Somehow (and I have no idea how - it would seem like a pretty tough sell really) he seems to have struck a deal with the owner of a local funeral home whose barn he uses to stash all his lifeless playmates in. The trouble is, his barn is starting to smell...

That’s not a knife…
Being a fan of all things shiny, Chrome Skull's weapons of choice are his two barbarically serrated hunting knives with knuckle grips and of course that pleasing shine he seems so fond of. They must be pretty sharp seeing as he is able to cut into at least two people's actual skulls with them. It's strange therefore that he has to saw away for several minutes to get through the altogether softer neck... Maybe all that head stabbing blunted them or something huh?
As with so many of his serial killer chums however ChromeSkull is quite happy to improvise when the situation calls for it, though I'm not entirely sure what sort of situation calls for sitcking the nozzle of a can of expanding tyre filler into somebody's ear and filling up their head until it pops like an over inflated ballon full of meat and eyeballs.

Why, for the love of God why?!!?!
Who knows? It's hard to say but then again, lots of things are hard to say if you're anything like the heroine of "Laid To Rest" who seems to be suffering from some sort of condition which not only has robbed her of her memory but also the ability to speak and think properly. This is why she says she is so scared of Chrome Skull coming to "make her dead" when she will be put into a "Death Box". Apparently, extreme stupidity of this magnitude is a side-effect of being cracked in the head by a baseball bat but I'm guessing she probably wasn't the brightest spark to begin with to be perfectly honest...
As for ChromeSkull, we are never really told why he does what he does. He just seems to really like it.

So what’s the damage?
He manages to rack up a pretty impressive number of kills in the short time we are with ChromeSkull but when we catch a glimpse of his hideout we see the true extent of his carnage. The place is full of coffins, most of which are occupied by corpses in varying degress of...erm completeness. Nice.
It's his kill sequences which make him truly memorable as a prime bastard however. Unhesitating and brutally efficient, he is an expert with his horribly painful looking knives which he delights in ramming through skulls, cutting off heads with and slitting other poor sap's stomachs open with. The trick is to do it so quick that they don't even notice...

It’s a million to one chance but it might just work…
Though he isn't of a supernatural nature ChromeSkull can certainly take some punishment. Over the course of the film he gets variously beaten, stabbed, eye-gouged and shot, all of which he shakes off with barely any ill effects (it's amazing how protective these chrome masks are you know, they really should be issued to the military with their amzing ability to stop bullets and also the idea of an entire army wearing chrome skull masks just plain kinda rocks).
Of course, if you really want to put him down the best thing to do is to somehow trick him into melting his own face off with superglue so powerful that it's stronger than most acids.
Yes, I know what you're thinking but that's what happens - what can I do? Take it up with Robert Hall - he wrote it!

Words of wisdom
As is to be expected with these masked killer types ol' Chromey isn't really given to a onversational attitude. He does, however seem a little more keen on text messaging which he does to make our intrepid heroine go and buy more mini-dv tapes for his camera. Which for some reason she actually does, but then I did tell you she was stupid.

Tucker & Dale Vs Evil Pre-thoughts and Trailer






TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL

Director: Eli Craig


Starring: 
Tyler Labine – Dale
Alan Tudyk – Tucker
Katrina Bowden – Allison
Jesse Moss – Chad
Philip Granger – Sheriff


THEY SAY:
"An endearingly cheeky tribute to a diverse array of suspense and slasher classics (everything from FARGO and FRIDAY THE 13th to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and WRONG TURN) this horror comedy finds best hillbilly buddies Tucker and Dale headed to their new vacation cabin in the West Virginia mountains. But when they have a nasty run-in with a group of college kids on a camping weekend a series of deranged misunderstandings begins that starts the body count setting in motion the bloodiest of shock deaths"

WE SAY:
It's great to see Alan Tudyk (SERENITY, FIREFLY) back on the screen again - he's got a really great presence and affability which looks like it's perfect for his role in this rather charmingly silly subversion of the traditional 'teens go camping and get murdered by psychopathic hick locals' formula. I love the concept of looking at the standard slasher plot from the killer's angle. It worked brilliantly to dramatic effect in BEHIND THE MASK though obviously this movie's take on it is a little more comedic. I'm not entirely sure if the joke can sustain a whole movie but definitely looking forward to finding out.












Excitement rating:  A big hell yeah.

Playing:   Friday 26th August  21: 55








Festival & day passes go on sale from 2nd July. Tickets for Individual films on sale from 1st August.

Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk





Monday, 11 July 2011

The Glass Man - Pre-thoughts and Trailer




 PREVIEW
 An (almost) daily preview for each and every movie on the line-up for London's biggest, baddest horror festival, the Film 4 Frightfest





THE GLASS MAN
Director: 






Cristian Solimeno



Starring: 


Andy Nyman – Martin Pyrite
James Cosmo – Pecco
Neve Campbell – Julie Pyrite
Cristian Solimeno – Toby Huxley
Don Warrington – Anton






THEY SAY:

"Martin Pyrite has lost his job. But instead of telling his wife he continues his work routine and gets into enormous monetary difficulties. Then late one night a sinister debt collector bangs on his door with an offer – if Martin helps him carry out an important task he’ll wipe the financial slate clean. In accepting, Martin goes on a journey through his own private hell where he’s forced to confront his worst dreads in a mesmerizing vortex of soul-destroying madness. Director Cristian Solimeno’s compact psychological horror chiller is the indie Brit discovery of the year."


WE SAY:






Another Brit film on the Frightfest bill has gotta be a good thing as far as I'm concerned but it's nice that this looks pretty damn promising too. Nice to see Andy Nyman (Creator of GHOST STORIES and star of DEAD SET and SEVERANCE amongst others) on the big screen again too and it looks like a role which should show off his considerable acting talent.  It's a neat little concept for a low budget movie too and there's loads of potential there but the trailer doesn't really give much away.  Watch it below and see what you think for yourselves.









Excitement rating:  Optimistic

Playing:   Friday 27th August  19:05



Festival & day passes go on sale from 2nd July. Tickets for Individual films on sale from 1st August.

Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk