Friday 31 August 2018

The Bad Nun

d./w. Scott Jeffrey; p. Scott Jeffrey, Rebecca J Matthews; cast: Becca Hirani, Thomas Mailand, Tiffany-Ellen Robinson, Mika Hockman, Cassandra French, Patsy Prince, Lucy Chappell

Passable slasher from Proportion Productions with an original, if unconvincing, plot held up by a brace of strong performances. Aesha (Hirani, aka producer Matthews, formerly Becky Fletcher) is sent by her mum to stay in an isolated B&B run by cheery Dan. He goes out for the night, leaving Aesha in charge of an unseen poorly daughter. Later, a nun comes knocking at the door but Aesha is sensibly reluctant to let a stranger into a house that’s not hers. The nun’s identity is screamingly obvious from the start (well, not the very start – there’s a 12-minute splash panel prologue) and since she evidently has access to the house, it’s unclear why she spends so long asking to be let in. Nevertheless, these scenes of Aesha talking through the front door are the tense, uncomfortable heart of the film. The distinctly wobbly story (and some frustrating continuity errors) are ameliorated by good photography and sound and Lee Olivier-Hall’s tense score. Originally announced as Knock Knock, it was filmed in March 2018 as The Watcher.

Wednesday 29 August 2018


d./w. Christian Edwards; p. Tom Richards; cast: Mark Grinham, Julie Gilmour, Steve Garry, Lauren Pressdee, Victoria Hopkins, Nick Stoppani, Les Richards, Marysia Kay, Christian Edwards, Amelia Tyler, Penny Bond, Jason Impey, Alexander Bakshaev

Shot in June 2008 with a bundle of recognisable names and faces, Edwards’ only film nevertheless managed to remain in complete obscurity for a decade before coming to accidental light. Hopkins is half of an Anglo-Aussie couple whose relationship is in trouble. Her philandering hubby is preyed on by a vampire whore and her human pimp but escapes, though not without taking a bite and suffering the effects. The film’s biggest problem is that it’s never clear which is the main story: the breaking-up couple or the tragic vampire (Gilmour) who has some good dialogue on the loneliness of immortality. Kay is a nurse tending to the guy’s ill father; Impey and Bakshaev have cameos as earlier victims. Music by Preteneratural helmer Gav Chuckie Steel. Shot in black and white and (bizarrely) what appears to be Academy ratio, this was released on YouTube in July 2011 as a seven-episode serial.

Sunday 26 August 2018

The Vampire Controller

d./w./p. Simon Black; cast: Mark Blackwell, Martin Daniels, Vera Bremerton, Tasha Wilton, Simon Boswell, Johnny No, Sophia Disgrace, Thomas Williamson, Suzy Wong, Katerina Samoilis

Not listed on IMDB, barely even findable on Google, never reviewed anywhere and only released in a limited run of 100 DVDs sold through eBay, this 54-minute sub-feature – the bastard stepchild of Jean Rollin and Cradle of Filth – is arguably the most obscure British vampire film ever released. A Lugosi-esque black magician (Daniels, also credited with the original idea) orders two female acolytes (singer Bremerton and performer Wilton) – who we only know are vampires because we’ve read the sleeve – to seduce, kidnap and abuse a priest (Blackwell). That’s about it as far as plot goes, with director Black (A Girl) more interested in imagery and sound. Artsy and gothic, this manages to be both impressionist and expressionist and would probably function better as a video installation in a gallery or nightclub rather than as a narrative feature. Composer Boswell (Lord of Illusions, Dust Devil) plays a Monseigneur in occasional cutaways, with model/performer Disgrace (Spidarlings) as his cleaning lady. The discordant soundtrack features cuts from Noise Collector, Salapakappa Sound System, Serpentina, Silencide and others.

Saturday 25 August 2018

Killer Gimps

d./w./p. Jason Impey, Kieran Johnstone; cast: Jason Impey, Kieran Johnstone, Martin W Payne, Mathis Vogel, Amber Lee, Sammie Lei, Murdo Yule, Max Todd, Katie Johnson , Kaz B

Shared flatpack anthology with each director helping the other in various capacities on both sides of the camera. Kieran’s segments are Underworld: The Dark Web (mockdoc of policeman investigating body parts smuggling), Disorder (newly pregnant policeman’s wife raped and murdered by man in gimp costume), Boxing Day (Yuletide found footage), Nightman (gasmask-wearing killer murders policemen, with Slasher House director MJ Dixon as an additional victim) and two brief vignettes. Jason contributes Two Tales of Terror (brace of faux silent movies, incorporating footage from Sick Bastard), Lust (woman fucks skeleton then gives herself home abortion in the bath), Inner Voice (bulimia) and Gimp. This last, in which Impey plays himself (he says he’s working on Troubled), has an undead gimp take revenge on a sleazy film distributor who has dressed as a Nazi officer to entrap a dominatrix(!). Repeated use of actors and locations (mostly the director’s homes) give this an almost Twilight Zone weirdness. First released on limited VHS in September 2017 (minus Inner Voice) as Necrophiliac and the Killer Gimps, it popped up - retitled and expanded - on DVD the following March.

Wednesday 8 August 2018


d./w. Steve Lawson; p. Jonathon Sothcott, Richard Watts-Joyce; cast: Shane Taylor, Janine Nerissa Sothcott, Rula Lenska, Denise Moreno, Jay Sutherland, Steven Dolton

Mitch and Diane, an Anglo-American couple with a baby on the way, move into a house inherited from Mitch’s creepy uncle, despite the disapproval of his fundamentalist Christian mother. Old ‘Kirlian’ photographs inspire Mitch to rescue his long-incarcerated sister from an asylum. The actual ‘aura’ schtick is somewhat underused and largely incidental to what is, rather, a commendably solid tale of demonic possession – bolstered by a great turn from Lenska as a psychic trying to dispel the evil presence. For the first product from his Hereford Horror label, Sothcott offered capable microbudget helmer Lawson (Hellriser, Killersaurus – but not Dead Cert) a step up the budget ladder. Lawson still uses his restrictions well, with limited cast and locations, but better actors and an actual crew (and a set that isn’t a Loughborough lock-up!) allow him to concentrate on fluid camera-work and smooth performances. Moreno is particularly creepy as the sister. Lawson regular Dolton plays the uncle in a prologue. Shot in the USA in December 2017. Sothcott and Lawson swiftly reteamed for Pentagram.

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Apocalyptic Horror

d./w./p. Mike Tack; cast: Keith Eyles, Darren Steer, Richard Nock, Clive Ashenden, Kyle Parke, Neil Martin, Louise Tack, Geoff Brotherton, Ryan Parke, Adam Rabbit, Sam Hall, Darran Duglan

Don’t expect zombies in this impressive flatpack anthology – the title references Tack’s production company, Apocalyptic Conservatory Studios. The first of seven shorts is the weakest: eight minutes of torture porn with a weak gag pay-off. Then a customer takes violent revenge on a dodgy car salesman; a Government minister is a literal demon; and a scarecrow avenges an old man, killed on his allotment. Story 5 is an impressive expansion of no.2, revising our sympathies and featuring some startling gangster violence. This is followed by an honest-to-goodness werewolf western (partly shot on a Colorado dude ranch) and finally a documentary about a horror cosplayer. Each short has full credits; copyrights range 2013-2016 and running times 4-16 minutes. Production values are remarkably high, especially in the western tale which features steam trains and horses, and Tack’s rep company are all solidly capable. But it’s Tim Richards’ top-notch gore effects which really stand out, giving this an enjoyably nasty 1980s vibe at times.