Statement of ‘Oh don’t kill us, please, please don’t kill us!’
Seriously. we’re still young, (cough) still productive to society, (really rather nasty hacking cough…) and feel we have more to give. (Iron lung is wheeled in….do they still have iron lungs…?) Us eight reviewers, (ok, stop it with the coughing now! You’ve got an iron lung, what more do you want? !) writing in these few pages, don’t profess to know everything. To be honest whether we KNOW anything at all is debatable. These scribblings have developed from a love of the genre, and of the people within it both filmmaker and fan alike. We don’t set out to rubbish any film, anyone who’s ever tried to make anything knows that it’s a lot of work by a lot of people and no one knows if it’ll all work until the finished product is plonked before an audience.
But, by the same token poor, shoddy, and just plain bad films, need to be challenged. The fans deserve to know what they’re getting for their buck (or pound coin for us Brits). Horror fans are amongst the most dedicated in the world, we’ll fight and battle against the odds for films and filmmakers we love. Look how many genre films are being financed through crowdfunding sites. Look at how fans battle to keep films alive. The Scream Factory release of Nightbreed ( love it or hate it) was only possible because of us, the horror fans. Arrow Video, scream factory, Anchor Bay, Blue Underground have all been successful because they give the horror community what they crave. Quality transfers of quality movies, with as many extras as you can wave a stick at. Put that stick down John, it was meant to be metaphorical.
So, Mister and Miss Filmmaker. Make something great, make something that pushes boundaries, makes us laugh, and cry, scare us, thrill us, take us to other places, other worlds. But when you do it, have a vision, have a passion, and make the best damn movie you can. We want every movie to be as great as Trick R treat, or Sinister, or American Mary, or The Haunting ( no, not the ruddy remake!), but they won’t all be. But if you do make something bad…
We’ll be watching!
Lol! Wasn’t that dramatic?! No, it was a joke. Well, not entirely, but we weren’t going to sign off like that! No, we’ll end this statement as we started it.
If we do write something you don’t agree with remember these two things!
1) It’s only our opinion.
2) It’s only a movie
Oh, and I almost forgot…
Please don’t kill us! Please, please don’t kill us…I didn’t mean it…there was a flood, a terrible…
I am the writer/director of The Package and co-writer/director of The Tour which has gone on to play in various festivals throughout the world and won various nominations and awards including Best Director and Best Short.
My love affair with horror began when I was 7. It all started for me when my dad brought home a Betamax video player and the first films I saw were Jaws, Creepshow and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Not bad for before even making it to middle school. Admittedly Creepshow did scare me quite considerably and I ended up with nightmares and so a small recuperation gap ensued until I was 10 and watched The Thing. And absolutely loved it. Films such as Day of The Dead, Phenomena, Evil Dead 2 soon followed and the likes of Carpenter, Romero, Raimi and Argento were huge influences on me. There is no other genre like horror as it is so diverse, spanning all other genre types within it. This is what enables festivals to be made up of purely genre films. Horror ranges from pure escapism to deeply unsettling and affecting films. From despair to outright hilarity. How can you not love something that can deliver that and everything in between. And it has been a dream come true to actually have become part of the horror filmmaking community and I hope I live up to the diversity and never do the same film twice.
Previously I have written for FrightFest, Screenjabber and my own site The Film Fanatic. And now I can safely say I am proud to be part of the Real Reel Scares team.
My love for the genre developed at a very young age, roughly around 6 years old. My parents delight in telling me that it was the only thing that kept me quiet. It’s hard to recall what my first horror film was, but I’m pretty sure it was a Nightmare On Elm Street, considering I used to make believe I was Nancy, struggling to run up the stairs, flinging myself around as if Krueger had got me. I know this seems a bit weird, but playing with dolls just wasn’t cutting it for me. My parents always assured me what I was watching wasn’t real, which I believe allowed me to detach myself from it for the most part, but it never diminished my love for it. Growing up I wanted more and sought out films that covered every area of the genre – gorno, psychological, found footage, home invasion – the works. Now, in my mid thirties, I’m still as in love with horror as I’ve always been.
I first went to Fright Fest in 2010 and had the most incredible time. It was comforting to sit in the dark for 5 days with like minded folk, who had the same level of appreciation for horror as I did. Nine Fright Fests and 3 Celluloid Screams festivals later, I think I now hold enough experience to bring you my ranty views. You were warned.
A graphic designer from the steel city with a potty mouth. (Insert witty and mildly amusing comment here).
The first experience of something scary was as a young kid. I heard a tape of War of the Worlds, (I wish I could claim it was the Orson Welles version, but it was Jeff Waynes). I didn’t sleep or want to go upstairs for weeks.
I stumbled the first horror film I watched in my early teens while channel surfing late at night. I found a naked Britt Ekland (or her double…depends who you ask) writhing on a wall trying to seduce Edward Woodward. Like any horny teenager stumbling on a film showing boobs (4 channels & no internet kids!) I kept watching as he was slowly dragged to his death in a huge wicker man surrounded by farmyard animals. It still to this day holds a special place in my heart as the film that introduced me to the genre.
Attending Fright Fest since 2005, my love and appreciation has grown by seeing some of the best and worst the genre has to offer. Meeting the rest of the group by chance of seating preferences in the cavernous Empire screen 1 a few years back means that every year August is a blast of movies, discussion, no sleep and Weatherspoons breakfasts.
Favourite films of the genre include Ameriecan Werewolf in London, Trick R Treat, Behind the Mask and of course the aforementioned Wicker Man.
I can remember vividly the first time I watch a scary movie, I would have been about 7 or 8 years old and we had hired a VHS player from Rumbelows. We watched a shockingly bad movie called FIEND and then another one called RABID (I think!) followed by DEATH RACE 2000. And I hated them, I hated being scared, it gave me nightmares but as I grew up I began to appreciate the horror genre even more and as a teenager growing up with the latest NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movie was pretty cool and a great place to spend your Friday night staying at a friends house.
My film watching over the years has dipped in and out and it was probably around twelve years ago I started watching films again, spurred on by the purchase of a DVD player which meant all the old titles I rebought and the new technology encouraged me to go out and buy more recent films. Then getting a portable DVD player encouraged me to buy more as I could get my horror fix whenever and wherever I wanted which was superb.
In 2009 I attended my first Frightfest event and have been a regular every year since and from there I meet the other guys who work on R.R.S with me and we meet every year for a good bout of catching up and watching some great and not so great movies!
I personally love a good slasher movie, it’s the era I grew up with but I also like movies that creep you out and really get under your skin. I’m also partial to a good monster movie and anything that sits within the remit of ghosts and paranormal usually ticks my boxes too. My favourite horror character is Jason Vorhees and my favourite horror movies are THE ENTITY, [REC] and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. To be fair there will be more but trying to compile a list of what I enjoy watching would be difficult.
Mark logan is a life-long horror lover, who has recently taken the plunge and is currently student on the Raindance PostGraduate (although he’s never been a graduate!) MA in Independent Filmmaking. He has previously worked as an actor, theatre director, had his own theatre company and been one half of comedy double act, ‘Men With Bananas’ (technically he still is, but they are both resting… standing up is hard work…) he has written comedy material including sketches for the last several years. Mark’s Negotiated MA degree is focusing on him writing and directing his first feature horror/comedy, ‘Do Not Disturb’. Mark recently pitched his script to industry professionals including buyers and actor Michael Madsen, who said the idea, “sounds really cool.”
Mark’s love of all things horror can be traced back to his childhood, when like millions of others he would sit glued to the tv every Saturday night watching the BBC Horror double bills. The first he remembers seeing was Them! and The Incredible Shrinking Man in 1978, the first film Mark ever saw at the cinema was Orca, Killer Whale, in summer ’77 (The Spy Who Loved Me was supposed to be, but it was sold out, and the only other film on at the same time was Orca), I subsequently watched Jaws on rerelease and almost jumped out of my seat when Ben Gardner’s disembodied head fell out of the hole in the boat. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of sitting near him at FrightFest can attest that he still leaps, and squeals on a regular basis.
Amongst his favourite films sit the Universal horrors, Val Lewton’s RKO pictures, the Corman/Price Poe movies, anything with Cushing and Lee both in, the anthology films of Amicus, and the films of Tourneur, Wise, Bava, Romero, Hooper, Argento, Fulci, Carpenter, Raimi, Del Toro, Wan, and multitudes of others. His dislikes include home invasion movies, dire and often unwarranted remakes, and any horror movies that fail to create any unease, dread, terror, horror, or at very least, disgust. With a hundred years of horror movies to learn from it shouldn’t be hard for filmmakers to understand the genre far better than many do. Favourite films include, Frankenstein (1931), The Haunting (1963), Night Of The Demon (1957), Halloween (1978), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), and The Evil Dead (1981). His guilty pleasure is, The House In Nightmare Park (1973), with Frankie Howard, which continues to thrill him (and make him giggle incessantly!) more than far too many recent genre offerings.
Mark is aiming to film, finish, and release his debut feature in 2015. Fingers crossed.
Mike Shawcross is a cinephile, he is mad about film; to talk about it; to watch it and to listen to its music.
It all started a long, long time ago…. In the age of video during Mike’s College years, he would visit the local video store every couple of days taking in any new material on offer. But it wasn’t long before he had to visit other local stores to find films he hadn’t seen. With none of the store owners questioning his age he was able to watch any of the horror titles on offer, and so started his love of the genre film. Vampires emerged as Mike’s monster of choice, much to do with The Lost Boys and Near Dark; which are now two of his favourite vampire films.
Marriage and family slowed his film watching right down for a while. Then 8 years ago Mike got himself a Cineworld card and his passion for film was ignited again; add to that his visits to the Frightfest film festival and Mike was back in his element. Now you can most likely find him with friends or his kids at one of the 3 local Cineworlds as he takes in the latest release. Though he does have a habit of revisiting films again at the cinema and some a lot more than a few times.
He never had a magic defining moment with cinema; or at least can’t recall any one film changing his life or making him love film any more than he already did. Though Jaws, Convoy and Hooper are the only films he has vivid memories off seeing at an early age; but he can’t even recall seeing Star Wars!
Now he is just happy to watch everything and anything (well almost anything!), but horror still remains one of his favourite genres.
An avid collector of soundtracks and movie scores he is adament that songs or music can make or break a scene sometimes even a film. He holds no torch to actors, directors or composers allowing each new film to deliver on its own merits rather than past achievements of crew or cast. Not a fan of the words “classic” or “masterpiece” as he’ll be the judge of the film. Yet respects people’s views about films it’s their own opinion as it is his opinion; it’s not right or wrong, love or hate the film, it’s their thoughts and it’s his thoughts that’s all there is to it.
Unlike most of the other contributors to Real Reel Scares, my love of horror didn’t emerge during childhood! In fact, I was probably around 21 when I first started watching them with any level of real interest, and like most people do when exploring something new, I followed the mainstream until I knew what I liked, then started digging a little deeper. So while it was franchises like Saw and Paranormal Activity that were my starter in horror, I haven’t looked back since and love trying everything out, old and new.
Hello, I’m Sarah (recently people call me Apple); film fanatic and writer. I graduated from Kingston University last year with a First Class Honours degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies. I’m currently living back home in Poole but hoping to venture back to the capital next year to pursue the dream! I am a practicing film journalist and hoping to venture into this as a full time career in the near future. I write for several websites, have had internships at Empire and Total Film magazine, worked a runner on film sets and go to film festivals every year – namely Frightfest! I also write poetry and short fiction as well as film reviews and features and I love conducting interviews. I love people and will talk to anyone and everyone and I guess that’s why I have met so many amazing people at Frightfest, some of them who asked me to join this amazing website! I hope you enjoy the reviews!