Saturday, 4 July 2015

In Conversation with Composer, Jonathan Snipes

Starry Eyes is the Faustian tale of an ambitious young actress whose encounter with a sinister production company propels her on a harrowing spiral into despair, madness and diabolism, as she attempts to make her dreams of fame a reality. At any cost…

Enhancing the ominous atmosphere is a throbbing electronic score courtesy of LA based composer Jonathan Snipes. An electro love letter to the likes of John Carpenter, Fabio Frizzi, and Goblin, Snipes’ music is the perfect accompaniment to the protagonist’s hellish transformation. According to one critic, “its importance to the film’s ability to disturb cannot be understated.”

With the recent release of the score on vinyl, courtesy of Waxwork Records, I thought it was high time we caught up with Jonathan, who very kindly agreed to an interview about his work on Starry Eyes. 

Head over to Paracinema to read the interview and sample some of the score. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Unhallowed Ground

2015
Dir. Russell England

During the 17th century, students of a prestigious school are spared a gruesome death by plague after they ritualistically murder four of their own in a Satanic pact.

In present times, the building is still used as a boarding school, and when it shuts down for midterm holidays, six students from the cadet corps must remain behind to patrol the grounds as part of an initiative in basic military training.

As the night progresses, personal conflicts become apparent within the group, and as they delve deeper into the history of the school, they are beset by increasingly odd occurrences...

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Can't Come Out to Play

2015
Dir. John McNaughton

A couple who attempt to keep their sick son in a completely secluded environment for the sake of his ailing health, find their rigidly controlled and isolated lives intruded upon by a recently orphaned young girl who moves into the house down the lane. What follows is a tale of domestic abuse, desperation and the exhumation of dark family secrets.

An intense domestic psychodrama featuring disarmingly powerful performances from Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon, Can’t Come Out to Play is director John McNaughton’s first feature film in over a decade. While certainly a much more subtle affair than previous offerings such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and the sublimely trashy thriller Wild Things, it’s no less provocative or compelling.

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Remembering Sir Christopher Lee

Rest in Peace, Sir Christopher Lee. The Silver Screen will flicker a little dimmer without your commanding presence, gravitas and dignity.


The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Dracula (1958)

The Mummy (1959)

Horror Hotel (1960)

Horror Hotel (1960)

The Whip & The Body (1963)

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

On set with director Terrence Fisher

The Devil Rides Out (1968)

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

House of Long Shadows (1983) also starred Vincent Price, Peter Cushing & John Carradine

Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

The Hobbit (2012-2014)

His most iconic role... Count Dracula

With dear friend and frequent co-star, Peter Cushing



Monday, 1 June 2015

RIP Betsy Palmer

Betsy Palmer, 1926-2015
Actress Betsy Palmer, best known for portraying Pamela Voorhees in Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part II, has passed away at the age of 88. Palmer died of natural causes at a hospice care centre in Connecticut on Friday 29th May. She is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

While Palmer will always be remembered for her role as Jason Voorhees’ tragic mother, she had a long and versatile career on stage - appearing in Broadway plays such as On Golden Pond, Cactus Flower and Same Time, Next Year - and television - starring in the likes of Knots Landing, As the World Turns and Murder, She Wrote. 

Palmer famously stated that she only took on the role of Mrs Voorhees because she needed a new car. Despite initially disowning the film, and its sequel, in which she had a cameo appearance, Palmer eventually embraced it, frequently appearing at horror conventions to meet with hordes of adoring fans.

In Peter M. Bracke’s 'Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th', she candidly revealed that she approached all her roles, including Mama Voorhees, with sincerity; she even created a back-story for the character. She also commented on the film’s legacy, its enduring appeal, and her place within horror cinema history. “I once told my daughter. “Tell me the truth, are you ashamed that your mother did Friday the 13th?” And she said, “Not at all - now I don’t have to tell my friends who you are anymore.” The funny thing is, I did poo-poo it for a long time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted anyone to know. But I’ve since accepted it. It’s actually become fun now. It’s like a badge of honour. I’m the Queen of the Slashers!” 

Betsy’s friend and Friday the 13th co-star Adrienne King said on Facebook: “Rest in Peace sweet Betsy. You will be so missed by so many. I am truly blessed to have known you. You were my dear friend, my bloody brilliant teacher, the consummate awe-inspiring actress & professional not to mention the kind of mother every child wishes they had ~ I am so happy you embraced your role as Mrs. Voorhees in the end & enjoyed the love & praise of your generations of fans from around the world. We will miss you Betsy Palmer!”

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Sleeping Room

2014
Dir. John Shackleton

A rather curious hybrid, John Shackleton’s Brighton-based The Sleeping Room is part psychological horror, part ghost story. It tells of Blue (Leila Mimmack), a young call-girl with a troubled past who strikes up an unlikely, and forbidden friendship with one of her clients, a young man restoring an old house by the seafront.

When she inadvertently discovers she has ties to the old house, which used to be a brothel, and a possible shared history with its devious and debauched tenants, she desperately attempts to reconcile herself with a dark family secret.

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Discopath

2013
Dir. Renaud Gauthier

Disco isn't dead, but you just might be!

With its admittedly ludicrous plot concerning the bloody exploits of a serial killer whose rampage is triggered when he hears disco music, Discopath unspools as a soiled love letter to grindhouse exploitation shockers such as Maniac, The New York Ripper, Pieces and Don’t Go in the House.

With its retro-sleaze appeal, trashy aesthetic, low budget charm, practical FX and vintage-sounding synth score, it perfectly emulates the creepy, gritty atmospheres of those psycho-on-the-loose flicks of yore, while also echoing exuberantly violent Eurohorrors such as the Italian giallo.

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Herd

2014
Dir. Melanie Light

The Herd is an unshirkingly brutal, vegan-minded short which serves as a chilling metaphor for the inhumane treatment of cattle at the hands of the dairy industry.

Hundreds of millions of these sentient creatures suffer and die every year as their bodies are treated like machines. Forcefully impregnated so they produce milk, they are pumped full of growth hormones to produce unnaturally large quantities of milk, and antibiotics to combat constant mastitis infections. When they are no longer able to lactate, they are destroyed.

The Herd substitutes women for cattle and subjects them to the same horrendous processes as the average dairy cow as it delves into the everyday horrors of the dairy industry…

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.