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Clownface

Reviewed by Killer Kelly

Well, I really don’t know what to say about this one. I’m trying to think of some positives to weigh against the negatives. You know – try and balance it out. I gotta admit though, I’m struggling. I mean the artwork looks great! There’s a lot of nice colours in it. That tagline is pretty sweet too. However, one thing Clownface didn’t do was put a smile on my face.

Synopsis

A deranged young man, donned in a clown mask made of human flesh, terrorizes a small town with a series of abductions and murders. Neighbors Jenna (Hannah Douglas) and Owen (Richard Buck) search for their missing friend Zoe (Dani Tonks), who may be the latest victim of this local urban legend known as Clownface.  The movie is directed by Alex Bourne.

Well, the synopsis sounds great. Check out the trailer below, that looks great too! But the movie itself… it just wasn’t.

Clownface

Okay, maybe I was a little too harsh with my initial statement. The movie does have some positives. It’s just a shame that the negatives far outweigh them. Lets start with Clownface himself. That guy is creepy as hell and if the movie had been executed better he could well have had the potential to be even more terrifying.

Unfortunately, the acting is mediocre at best and cringeworthy at its worst. We’ve mentioned a few times that whilst low budget filmmaking can suffer from a number of hurdles, poor acting doesn’t have to be one of them. It’s not all doom and gloom, with Hannah Douglas’ performance keeping the movie going. But, overall the acting is pretty substandard.

There’s more…

If this was the only issue, the movie wouldn’t have been so bad. But, the editing left a lot to be desired. There were audio issues throughout, problems with scene fluidity and some blatant errors concerning the SFX. However, the makeup department did a great job with a certain scene involving the removal of a face. There were also some good death scenes but others failed to hit the mark.

The best thing about Clownface would have to be the soundtrack. Gothic Punk band, Lesbian Bed Death, deliver the hard rock in droves. With a small cameo in the movie, the band certainly give the failing flick a boost.

Have a look at the trailer and see what you think.

Clownface is available on demand and DVD now.

What do you think of the movie? Like the sound of it? Seen it already? Let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram or in the comments below!

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Dog Soldiers and Dog Houses review

I know a lot of our readers, and certainly all of us at Erebus Horror, would regard themselves as knowledgeable when it comes to horror movies. Yet, if someone asked you to name the British horror flicks released in the last 20 years, how would you get on? Sure, you’ll probably start with the most popular ones; 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Dog Soldiers etc. But how many could you name before you get stuck? 10? 20? Maybe 50 for the more devoted of fans? The truth is, try as we might, we will all fail in comparison to MJ Simpson – author of Dog Soldiers and Dog Houses. Simpson truly is a pioneer and expert in the field of British horror films and this book proves why.

The work is a truly insightful encyclopedia, reviewing hundreds of British horror movies, many never before documented. Being UK-based and particularly interested in British horror flicks, we all thought we had a comprehensive knowledge of movies from the motherland – Oh, how wrong we were!

MJ Simpson, doyen of British horror film writers, has seen them. The good, the bad and the extraordinary. For 20 years he has been scouring the web for these films. He has then reviewed them on his blog British Horror Revival and in his previous book Urban Terrors.

Between January 2000 and December 2019, an incredible one thousand feature-length horror films were produced and released in the UK. Dog Soldiers and Doghouses is the first in a unique series of books cataloguing this amazingly prolific and largely undocumented corner of cinema.

Covering a 12-year period from 2000 to 2011, this book reviews 316 British horror movies. Cast and crew details, critical analysis, production history and release data are all wrapped up in an entertaining and informative half-page review, accompanied by a colour image.

From big screen blockbusters to backyard obscurities, from cinema screens to YouTube, with budgets ranging from £20 million to 45 quid (or less…), British horror cinema has never been so diverse. This book and its forthcoming companions are a guide to the true, hidden ‘British film industry’ which remains almost entirely ignored by the mainstream film press.

About the author

MJ Simpson is, apparently, the world’s foremost authority on 21st century British horror films and these books are the culmination of two decades of passionate research. He is the author of Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema 1997-2008 (Hemlock Books, 2012), which covers about a third of these films in more detail and context. He also wrote a couple of books about Douglas Adams.

Part of the original editorial team which launched SFX, Simpson has written for Fangoria, The Dark Side, Video Watchdog, Psychotronic Video, Shivers, Scream, DeathRay, Infinity, MonsterScene, SciFi Now, Starburst, TV Zone, Cult TV, Film Review, Neo, Doctor Who Magazine, Total Film, New Scientist, the British Medical Journal, the Funday Times and the Singaporean version of Elle.

He works by day in the Communications Office at the University of Leicester and sang the 1980s classic ‘Africa’ on what many people consider to be the worst TV show ever made.

About the book

21st Century British Horror Films, Volume 1: Dog Soldiers and Doghouses is a limited edition publication available exclusively online at https://mjsimpson.bigcartel.com for £20 plus postage*. It is 176 pages, A4, softback, and full colour throughout, with a foreword by horror expert Dr Johnny Walker.

* In an unprecedented offer, postage is free for anyone who wrote, directed, produced or starred in any film in the book!

Take it from us, it doesn’t matter if you’re a filmmaker, working within the movie industry or even if you’re British, this book is a valuable resource for any horror movie buff. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Did you enjoy the Dog Soldiers and Dog Houses review? Check out what we think of more literature here

The Candy Witch

There’s something about urban legends that tends to resonate with the masses. Whether this be the mystery, intrigue or the peril they usually portray, many of these chilling tales of folklore have been around for generations. Some have regional variations, whilst others are a mosaic of legends; bits and pieces of different stories brought together to show a terrifying new image. The Candy Witch seems to fall into this category.

With a tagline of ‘Sweet dreams… forever!’ The synopsis states;

Two ghost hunters are called upon by a distressed family who claim they are being tormented by an evil spirit known in their local town as The Candy Witch. But as the mystery of her curse is uncovered, surprising and sinister turns are discovered around The Candy Witch’s identity. Their hardest case yet, can they solve this evil curse before more people are killed by the demonic spirit?

The Candy Witch

Now before we go into the review let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, there are a number of similarities with Candyman, the biggest being the Candy Witch’s hook-like weapon of choice; a sharpened candy cane (ingenious right?) And also a few other themes from popular culture (turning lights on/off which conceals/reveals the spirit for example) However, as mentioned previously, some of the best urban legends are a mishmash of horror tales. Whilst The Candy Witch adopts a number of these traits, it doesn’t lose its individuality in terms of storyline, location and unique delivery.

The movie itself starts out strongly. There’s a brief introduction to the turmoil of the O’Neil family, followed by a bit of a prelude which introduces ghost hunters Reece (Jon Callaway) and Kat (Abi Casson Thompson). The prelude in particular provides us with some great visual effects which sets the standard for the rest of the movie.

Liar

In terms of acting, The Candy Witch is comprised of a stellar cast who all bring a unique aspect to the movie. Admittedly, there are a few shaky performances here and there, but overall it was very good. Whilst Callaway plays a decent part he doesn’t really dominate the screen in a lead role, but he is supported by a convincing performance from Thompson. However, the accolade for acting performance has to go to The Candy Witch herself (Kate Lush). Whilst there isn’t a great deal of speech on her part, Lush brings the character to life through expression, mannerisms and good old fashioned jump scares (helped tremendously by the amazing cinematography)

The only critique I have is the number of Americanisms adopted throughout the movie. I get that the director is trying to appeal to the US market, but it feels to have sacrificed a level of authenticity in doing so, with the majority of the movie being set in Surrey, England. If some of these were dropped (as well as the questionable American accents that popped up every now and then…) I feel the movie would sell just as good, if not better. However, saying that, I completely understand the reasoning behind the ‘Candy’ Witch as the ‘Sweet’ Witch (as most Brits would call it) doesn’t have the same effect!

The Candy Witch

Overall though The Candy Witch is a fun, compelling splatterfest filled with inventive confectionary-related kills. I thought it was a great film and a great premise for an antagonist. I feel if there was extra work done to give the Candy Witch more of an initial, impactive scare, it could easily pave the way for a new horror icon.

From writer-director Rebecca J.Matthews (Pet Graveyard), and starring Kate Lush, Abi Casson Thompson, Heather Jackson and Richard D Myers, The Candy Witch serves up sweet death June 9 on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment. Check out the trailer below!

You can check out the IMDB link here

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When you think of British horror films, what’s the first that comes to mind? 28 Days Later? An American Werewolf in London? As far back as The Wicker Man, maybe? As any discerning horror fan will know, the movie industry is centred around Hollywood with its seemingly endless cycle of remakes and adaptations. So when I heard about The Droving, a British folk-horror flick available on Amazon Prime, I was understandably excited. Something new! Something different! Something that wasn’t tarnished with Hollywood’s ‘perfect movie’ formula. My expectations were high.

Directed by George Popov, the synopsis states; A man returns from the military in search for his lost sister, who mysteriously went missing around the time of a strange traditional festival called ‘The Droving’. Sounds like a good plot. Within minutes the haunting soundtrack during the opening credits sets a precedent for the entire movie. Playing alongside scenes of the breath-taking British countryside, the atmospheric score puts the movie on a high pedestal. And I’m pleased to say it meets every expectation from thereon.

The movie itself has an air of nostalgia about it. Almost like watching The Wickerman for the first time again. Yet, Popov manages to steer ‘The Droving’ down its own path, taking us on a unique voyage of mystery, suspense and folklore. Filmed in Cumbria, featuring the rolling hills and stunning landscape of the Lake District, ‘The Droving’ features an enthralling storyline that slowly unravels keeping us guessing all the way.

Daniel Oldroyd stars as the lead character, Martin; a tormented soldier whose complex characteristics are brilliantly portrayed. Martin initially comes across as a friendly, down-to-earth guy, albeit sometimes blunt and straightforward. Yet, as the movie progresses the complexities of his character start to surface, with a driven, focused and sometimes callous demeanour replacing his previous niceties. Oldroyd’s portrayal of his character’s oscillating mental state was perfectly executed and kept the movie flowing from beginning to end.

Overall, ‘The Droving’ was a breath of fresh air in an industry that often feels stagnant with the same, tired methodology. The combined efforts of Popov and Jonathan Russell seem to be able to draw on the influences of British classics, yet give them a unique identity of their own. With stories that resonate with an audience eager for something new, there’s no telling what heights their next venture can take them.

If you’re an Amazon Prime customer you can watch The Droving there right now. Let us know what you think!

The Droving IMDB link

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