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Celluloid Screams 2014: Reviews, Pics and More!

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Celluloid Screams 2014

Celluloid Screams 2014: Reviews, Pics and More!Just over a week ago we spent three days within the comforts of Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema for what turned out to be one of the most consistently solid weekends of any genre festival to hit the UK this year: Celluloid Screams.

Hosted by festival organiser Robert Nevitt and his team, Celluloid Screams dished out a weekend packed full of unmissable horror fare, punctuated with appearances by some very special guests including Astron-6’s Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy and Conor Sweeney, who were joined on stage by The Editor and The Human Centipede 2‘s Laurence R. Harvey for a few rollicking Q&A sessions.

Guest of honour Brian Yuzna proved an enthusiastic and energetic individual as he presented a 35mm screening of his classic film Society and kicked off the annual all-nighter with Bride of Re-Animator (which was followed by a perfect sequence of Maximum Overdrive, Night of the Creeps and Killer Klowns From Outer Space in a night themed on ’80s Sci-Fi/Horror). Hanging around to sign posters and chat with fans, Yuzna and the Astron-6 crew made sure that a spirit of camaraderie and appreciation was kept alive at all times. There’s no diva business or rushing off to green rooms at Celluloid Screams, horror fans!

Kings of the Q&A, though, were Spring directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, whose post-screening session evolved into a multi-act stand-up show which saw the duo take to the crowd, hopping back and forth from the stage and engaging in regularly hilarious interaction with the punters. A class act through and through, you’ll want to catch these guys wherever they pop up – and they’re no slouches when it comes to the filmmaking, either.

Other highlights included a surprise appearance via Skype by Twisted Twins Jen and Sylvia Soska following ABCs of Death 2 as they drank Screwdrivers and engaged in lively, side-splitting conversation with Astron-6 and Harvey. Watching Laurence run, arms open, towards giant projected cleavage was like seeing someone’s wildest dreams come true. Highly entertaining stuff and indicative of the feel-good atmosphere of the fest.

This year’s award winners are:

BEST FEATURE FILMWhat We Do in the Shadows
BEST SHORT FILMThe Stomach
2014 JURY PRIZECanis
SPECIAL MENTIONTimothy

Special mention goes to the Celluloid Screams staff and assistants, who were constantly on-hand to deal with enquiries and keep audiences entertained in between films. The standout moment there was an impromptu Flash Gordon-themed poster giveaway (put your hand in the hole and see what come out… it might be shit, or it might be great!) while problems with the screen were resolved prior to the showing of Asmodexia (this year’s Secret Film). Bravo, guys.

The annual art gallery was also in full swing, with genre-themed art on show throughout the lobby areas and available for purchase. You can see some of the pieces in our Celluloid Screams 2014 photo gallery.

Moving on to the films, here’s a list of reviews for those which hit the main screen alongside Stuart Gordon’s fantastic Lovecraftian ditty Dagon,and Cool Guys: The Short Films of Astron-6:

Pretty much all killer, no filler, then!

A range of short films were also screened before a number of the main features, and while we didn’t manage to catch them all, here’s the lowdown on what you should be keeping an eye out for:

Timothy – Directed by Marc Martínez Jordán | Spain | 2013 | 9.5 minutes

Timothy

When Simon’s babysitter, Sonia, interrupts his enthusiastic viewing of his favourite TV show, ‘The Timothy Show,’ the boy retires to his room – only to be visited by the giant, giggling rabbit-headed mascot. That turns out to be bad news for Sonia, as it seems that Timothy gets his kicks through rather brutal means.

Jordán’s short is quick, bloody and rather predictable in the end – but it’s filled with enough energy and enthusiasm, mixed with dread and discomfort, to make it worthwhile. It looks excellent, with a twisted sense of humour that bodes well for future features from him.

3 1/2 out of 5

The Gas Man – Directed by Matt Palmer | United Kingdom | 2014 | 14 minutes
A woman living alone answers the door to a man claiming to be from the gas company and needing to check her boiler. Disturbed by his odd, lingering behaviour, she soon confronts him and he leaves. But later that night, events force her to consider whether he actually left the house at all…

Palmer’s The Gas Man is a highly atmospheric piece of work, ably playing with the sense of isolation and defencelessness that surrounds a lone woman in a big house at night. The dread is palpable, and there’s a sting in the tail that proves fittingly chilling and uncomfortable. On the downside, his lead character is difficult to connect with, seeming somewhat stuck up and privileged and there’s occasional trouble striking the balance between pacing and tension – but overall, it’s a fine piece of work.

3 1/2 out of 5

Dead Hearts – Directed by Stephen W. Martin | Canada | 2014 | 17 minutes
Milton Mulberry is a young mortician – a very odd little fellow who spends much of his childhood at the mercy of bullies… until Lola Littleton steps in and kicks their asses. After his death in later life, he rises from the grave to discover that his heart is missing… and heads off to find that certain special someone who now has it.

Dead Hearts has a very Wes Anderson meets Tim Burton feel to it, with the proceedings driven by its saccharine-voiced narrator. Saccharine, too, is the overall feeling of the story, which tells of undying love and the search for that emotional connection that makes us whole. Generally, it’s superbly shot, but the martial arts sequences are clumsy in comparison to what surrounds them.

It appears to have been an audience favourite at Celluloid Screams, but I simply found it much too twee and self-satisfied. Then again, I’m a grumpy, cynical bastard, so make of that what you will.

2 1/2 out of 5

Mr. Dentonn – Directed by Ivan Villamel | Spain | 2014 | 9 minutes

Mr. Dentonn

It’s bedtime, and Laura is reading her brother the story of Mr. Dentonn – an entity that makes its way into homes through the mirrors to steal the souls of children. Almost immediately after finishing her tale, Mr. Dentonn arrives to seek the young boy, and the battle to save him begins.

Villamel’s short suffers from jumping straight into the action – the brief overview of the titular entity that we get simply doesn’t feel like enough before he’s wreaking havoc in the home. On the other hand, the production design and atmosphere here are absolutely fantastic. Shrouded in shadows, Mr. Dentonn sweeps across the home’s mirrors and glides down hallways, almost always out of focus, like a cross between the eponymous antagonists of Mama and The Babadook.

When the ending comes around, it’s fittingly bleak, but Villamel’s film just can’t manage to get around the feeling of a greater mythology behind it all, and thus it feels unfairly truncated and lacking punch. It’s a big idea struggling to fit into a small space, but here’s hoping it does its job as a calling card – there’s more than enough evidence here that he has the chops for a feature.

2 1/2 out of 5

Ghost Train – Directed by Lee Cronin | Ireland/Finland | 2013 | 17 minutes

Ghost Train

Two friends reunite on their annual trip to an abandoned rural fairground to commemorate the disappearance of one of their childhood buddies in Lee Cronin’s short, Ghost Train. This year, however, one of the friends reveals a secret behind what happened… and the revelation leads them straight down a road of horror when the ghost train spits out what it took.

Ghost Train is one of the most impressive shorts in quite a while. Using its time wisely to reveal and build on character relationships, it tells a gripping story in both the modern day and the past, using a cast without a single weak link. Production design is top notch, especially the giant ghost train ride of the title, which is a hugely impressive, and ominous, piece of work as it quite literally seems to come alive as the ride powers up.

Magnificent stuff, full of classical dread, sympathetic characters and a horrific payoff.

5 out of 5

The Jigsaw – Directed by Basil Al-Safar, Rashad Al-Safar | United Kingdom/Portugal | 2014 | 9 minutes

The Jigsaw

There’s a mix of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft in Basil and Rashad Al-Safar’s The Jigsaw, in which an old man visits an antique store looking for a new puzzle. There, he discovers a jigsaw stored in an unmarked box and, refusing to heed the warnings of the shop’s owner, purchases it.

Taking it home on a dark and stormy night, he begins to put it together… soon revealing an image of sheer terror.

Directing duo Basil and Rashad have a strong handle on pacing and tension, here, though the initial build-up is marred somewhat by a too-theatrical performance by Daragh O’Malley as the store vendor. Moving on, though, The Jigsaw manages to effortlessly keep you gripped, desperate to see just what the puzzle will reveal.

When it does dish up the goods in the final moments, it’s a bone-chilling moment that does exactly what it needs to.

4 out of 5

Ink – Directed by Andy Stewart | United Kingdom | 2014 | 20 minutes

Ink

A particularly disturbed individual follows people on the street and relieves them of their body art, sewing the pieces onto himself in gruesome fashion to satisfy his apparent complete obsession with tattoos, but lack of money (one assumes, given the squalor in which he lives) to get his own.

Narratively, Ink is a rather weak effort – there isn’t much time given to character study or attempting to understand just why this individual is as twisted as he is – but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in sheer disgust.

The physical effects here are excellent, and utterly, horrendously stomach-churning. I don’t think I’ve seen anything as convincingly, painfully repulsive since Hisayasu Satō’s Naked Blood. Eyes will be diverted from the screen – you can believe that.

3 1/2 out of 5

Emptied – Directed by David Ferino | USA | 2014 | 6 minutes
Seeking to make amends for his infidelity, a man makes an after-hours appointment with his dentist ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately for him, she doesn’t want to hear any of it – and his flippant dismissal of his actions lead her to take a particularly heinous form of revenge while he’s subdued in her chair.

Based on a real-life occurrence, Emptied is a quick and simple short that hopes to ride high on the back of just what happens to the cock-sure fella at the centre of it. Regrettably, it’s all presented too clinically, failing to use its own craft to push buttons or really extend into the realm of truly toe-curling mouth-torture that Brian Yuzna’s The Dentist set the bar for (almost 20 years ago!)

It all boils down to very little in the end. Capably shot and well lit as it is, it unfortunately never manages to make much of an impact.

2 out of 5

Canis – Directed by Marc Riba, Anna Solanas | Spain | 2013 | 17 minutes

Canis

In what appears to be some kind of post-apocalyptic landscape, a young boy lives with his father and canine companion in a house constantly besieged by ravenous stray dogs. When an innocent mistake sees the family’s chickens fly the coop and the father brutally consumed by the dogs outside, the boy discovers a strange girl living amongst the animals, clad in the skins of dead dogs and walking on all fours – seemingly feral in nature.

Soon, he develops a relationship with the girl – one that will soon be marred by the ferocious world that surrounds them.

Directors Riba and Solanas forge a strange, hideous universe from what appears to be clay. In animating the characters, the clay must be kept wet to avoid it cracking and splitting, and thus almost everything appears covered in a weird, slimy sheen that brings a severely uncomfortable visual element to the story. Running without dialogue, they deftly manage to build a believable relationship between the boy and his dog and, in turn, the boy and the feral girl – leading to some anguished decisions and gray-area morality. It’s a striking piece of short work that centres on survival, instinct and necessity in a grim world with a style that is most assuredly all its own. A beacon of hope shines at the close, lest the relentless gloominess overwhelm.

4 out of 5

And so that’s it for another, highly impressive year at Celluloid Screams in Sheffield. We’ll hopefully be back next year (and you should go, too!) – but for now, take a look at our photo gallery and continue wishing that you could buy that fantastic Killer Klowns From Outer Space art piece.

Celluloid Screams 2014

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Amazon Developing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower TV Series

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The Dark TowerIt’s been a while since we brought you guys an update on the planned TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower book series.

But today it looks like we have confirmation via Deadline that, “Amazon… is developing a slew of high-profile titles, including The Dark Tower…”

The series is being developed by Amazon as part of their bid to move into bigger budgeted spectacles ala their recent acquisition of the rights to The Lord of the Rings.

No further info is available at this time but we will keep you up to date as we hear word on Amazon’s “The Dark Tower.”

Are you excited about this series? Let us know below!

Synopsis:

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Rutger Hauer Says There Was No Love and No Soul in Blade Runner 2049

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I don’t know about you, but I dug the hell out of last summer’s Blade Runner 2049. I found the film to be a tonally perfect addition to the Blade Runner universe and appreciated how it built on the story established in the original film.

That said, there are some out there that aren’t fans of the sequel – most of all, it seems, is the original film’s baddie, Rutger Hauer.

Recently, Hauer spoke with THR and didn’t hold back on his dislike of the new film.

“I sniff and scratch at it,” Hauer says. “It looks great, but I struggle to see why that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don’t lean with one elbow on the success that was earned over 30 years in the underground.”

He continues: “In many ways Blade Runner wasn’t about the replicants; it was about what does it mean to be human? It’s like E.T. But I’m not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It’s not a character-driven movie and there’s no humor, there’s no love, there’s no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that’s not enough to me. I knew that wasn’t going to work. But I think it’s not important what I think.”

Wow, don’t hold back, Hauer. Tell us how you really feel!

I’m kidding. And while I don’t agree with Hauer on this particular issue, the man has more than earned the right to think it IS “important what [he] thinks.

Do you agree with Rutger Hauer on Blade Runner 2049? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

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Ash vs Evil Dead Set Visit Part 2: Learning About Kelly, Pablo, and Brandy

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If you haven’t read through the first part of my set visit for the third season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, make sure to do so here.

After walking through the halls of Brandy’s high school, the sperm bank clinic that has been seen in the trailer, Brock’s house, and the streets of Elk Grove (all through the magic of set designs), it was time to sit down with stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, who told me about their characters Kelly and Pablo through this season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”! Oh, and there’s also a lot from Arielle Carver-O’Neill about her character Brandy as well, because who can resist hearing from Ash’s daughter?

After finding out that Dana, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, our interview nearly ended. After all, your boy is a Wolverine, through and through, and anyone who knows sports rivalries knows that Buckeyes and Wolverines don’t get along. That being said, we managed to put aside our differences so that I could learn a bit about Kelly and what she’ll be going through this season.

I really loved Kelly’s journey in season one and two. It was very exciting to play because, in a way, it mirrored my own as an actor coming into a franchise like this. Just like Kelly was dragged into this fight against evil and was caught completely off guard, it was very similar to the actor struggling for 10 years. I was living in Los Angeles working at a bar when I got this job. All of a sudden I’m being thrown into this with this incredible franchise, with the amazing producers of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, where a franchise that’s built upon one man, a lone wolf as we’ve said, who is the star of this show and now he’s going to have sidekicks, that was terrifying as well! But it was really cool because I feel like I got to grow with Kelly and every time Kelly did something new, it was me doing something new,” DeLorenzo explains.

Expanding on that, DeLorenzo starts telling me more about Kelly and how she specifically changes through the upcoming season, saying, “At the end of season two, there’s the parade. And if you look, you can see that Kelly isn’t happy. Kelly is the smart one of that trifecta, the ghostbeaters. She knows that evil is not gone for good, which brings us to season three. Now that she’s tasted blood, she’s constantly chasing that high. So, at the start of season three, Kelly is a warrior without a war. She wants to stay on her game for when evil comes back. Her journey for season three…evil paints Kelly in a bloody corner and sets up her to fail where she can’t do what she does best, which is kick evil’s ass. She’s put in these catch-22 situations that she can’t fight her way out of without someone she cares about getting hurt. I think fans will be shocked at her transformation [this season].”

The theme of family running throughout this season of the show is not lost on DeLorenzo, who recognizes that Kelly’s ultimate purpose throughout this series is called into question through events that she wasn’t able to elaborate upon. However, she did tell me, “It was always about protecting and staying by the side of Ash and Pablo because they are not her family by blood but they are her family by bloodshed.

When describing the ghostbeaters, she calls Ash the “brawn”, Pablo the “heart”, and Kelly the “brains”. Later, as I sat with Arielle Carver-O’Neill, I asked what Brandy represents, to which she stated, “the hope”. “They all become very protective of Brandy and are very supportive of her journey,” Carver-O’Neill explains.

I asked her to envision a world where a fourth season is confirmed and how she’d like to see Brandy’s role expanded. Pondering this for a couple of moments, she then told me, “I’d like to see her find herself a bit more. I think just because she’s a teenager, you go through that journey at that age where you are figuring out who you are and your parents, either consciously or unconsciously, play a large role in that. For her, she only had her mum and then she found parts of herself in her dad. But she’s got a lot of growing up to do and I think that’d be really fun to explore how she goes about that.

For Santiago, the character and evolution of Pablo throughout the series has a very personal meaning for him. “As a kid, I grew up watching horror films and I always wanted to be the hero saving people from the monster and I always wanted to be the person chased by the monster. I think, in this show, I have the opportunity do that every day as Pablo and I’m one step closer to becoming the superhero I wanted to be as a kid,” he states.

As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. “We’ve seen Pablo go from this naive guy [in the first season] that’s pushed through the ringer to last season and…the Necronomicon and Pablo have an undeniable relationship that will never end. As we move into this third season, Pablo sees things differently. He’s not just tormented by his visions of darkness, we see that he may not be just a sidekick but also psychic! We’re going back to his family and we callback to his roots. Perhaps it wasn’t just a coincidence that he met Ash and that he himself was always destined to be somewhat of a Jefé. I think season three is where we see all that coming to fruition. He’s not just along for the ride, he’s become an integral part of the team.

Part III of our set visit coming soon!

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