Sunday, June 30, 2013

Horror Short: 15.05.08 (2013)

Directed by Nikki Chatwin
Written by Nikki Chatwin & Jason Chatwin
Staring Scarlett Sibson, Fern Chatwin, & Tim Wilson
Camera Operators Nikki Chatwin & Jason Chatwin

A police recovered video tape reveals the final moments of four young people who's curious spying on the neighbors house brings a chilling terror into their home. The short film is a compilation of modern horror concepts, most familiarly the home video camera and always unsettling plastic masked killer, that will best appeal to those who enjoy home invasion thrillers. The sixteen minute run is pallid with blood but replete with suspense, the latter holding the chill of the film. The likely killer that will turn off most is the idea isn't all that original with minor characters that you never really get to meet. With saying that though the execution is done well and while its an additive to the ever growing found footage film collections its a really good one at that.

With exceptions the found footage genre is best done when no money is provided to you, in that the scares feel more authentic. 15.05.08 has this asset best to its viewing as the natural chemistry of the cast (likely all friends and family) with the shaky cam makes it feel like a real youtube video, and I don't mean that offensively. Though its noted that despite an overall average sub-genre use of the camera there are a few unique and creative shots that I quite liked seeing. There's no exception here in questionable character motives but its a facet of horror that I just accept. The script may not be all that original but it's really the production and the direction here that make the film a pleasant viewing. 15.05.08 is a chilling little short film that will appease those who love the genre type and is an overall good late night watch.

You can watch 15.05.08 for free on youtube. If you have a short film your interested in having reviewed you may send it to me at

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fractional (2011)

Mental patient David Crowe is about to reveal a dark secret of his former psychiatrist's John Hatchet's past. A secret that has stayed so hidden John will do anything not to reveal it. As Crowe subjects John to five days of mental and physical torture inside an abandon warehouse John's facade fractures and the truth begins to come out. The more honest John becomes the more tragic the events unfold. And as Crowe gets his way his mental incapacity becomes all the more apparent. With John running out of time he must find a way to survive to not only protect his past but also the ones he loves.

Initially I didn't understand Fractional or where it was intending to lead. My initial impression, as the film opens to a similar torture porn construct, was exactly that, another torture porn. The sub-genre often surprises though and as Fractional unraveled the body may be meant for the genre but the soul of the film is entirely psychological. Its about the unabridged horrors that the human mind is exhausted through, may that be loss or insanity, etc and in how that torture drives us. The story structure is a bit jagged, moving swiftly between hours and days, and comes off oddly paced. There's minimal gore as despite a quite lovely display of harmful instruments most of the torture is the extent which is done on to the mind. The general setting of the film takes place in one room, the dark warehouse that John is trapped in, but flashes to past moments to give us a pleasant change of scenery. Yet nothing escapes the grim tone of the rather dreary subject matter in the film.

John's character is a fair counter to the mind game of Crowe, his darker past and professional insight useful weapons as the victim. Desmond Daly is decent as the lead and responds well off Peter O'Toole. Crowe's character takes precedence as the far more interesting character though, as he's a variety of psycho that would get along well in a ward with the big league monsters. O'Toole has acquired depth to his role and with director Malcolm Deegan creates a disturbing but mastered villain. There's a particular moment in the film where Crowe has an honest confessional of what he's responsible for in John's past that is played out like a conductor instructing an orchestra, the acting with the choice of music makes the moment both lovely and chilling. Other choices such as leaving the camera on Crowe for an uncomfortable amount of time give him a sinister advantage or by using the echos off the wall give his voice an otherworldly feel.

The film's photography was to my liking, with the lighting and camera angles satisfying to the eye. There's a basis of mystery here beneath the horror plot as the angles are constantly at change. The mystery surrounding John's previous wife's death and his patient relationship with Crowe taunt the viewer with that simple question of who the real monster really is. Fractional was an interesting watch that didn't go where I expected, I thoroughly liked the psychological horror of the film and the dialogue between the two leads. Fractional is available to rent on the films website, and I'd recommend it as a good watch.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

TDHorror Retro Review

"Karlof is effortless as Baron Von Leppe, although playing the enigmatic, strange man who keeps to himself in a lush Gothic castle is likely the equivalent to slipping on a tailor made glove for the actor. Not necessarily one of his late roles but no doubt towards the last years of his life he still manages to bring trepidation to the screen. This is an early Jack Nicholson film, where most of his effort is simply just showing up to work everyday. His acting is a putative choice of boredom or maybe just disregard for the entire project, but is also backed by a character and script that is neither lucrative or developed. The film's sets are leftovers from the much more successful The Raven, but are still useful in creating a dark, somewhat Gothic tone"

I haven't posted a Retro Review in two months so it was overdue. Unfortunately I wish it was with a more charismatic review for a film that was more of a film and less of filming Jack Nicholson pretending to be a soldier. If that makes any sense. The summary for the review is awful but in my defense there wasn't much to work with. Please read, comment, or ignore if you choose, whichever it is though you may read the rest here.

Also my The Purge Contest - Raise Your Hand for a Creepy Mask, is still going and you have until this Sunday to enter. So far there has only been one entry so you have fairly good chances of winning.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Purge Contest - Raise Your Hand for a Creepy Mask

Universal's The Purge will open nationwide in theaters tomorrow and in order to prepare you for the twelve hours of terror I'm hosting a contest. I was supplied with a giveaway package from Universal, via PartnersHub, to give away to one of my readers.

The contest is fairly simple and requires two parts:

1) Click on the Survive the Night app below and take the quiz to find out if you'd make it on Purge night, then share the results with me in the comment section.

2) Also in the comment section name the scariest home invasion scene you believe to exist in cinema. Leave the film name, a small description of the scene, and a small explanation as to why it's scary.

What do you stand to win? A tee-shirt and a your own mask for Purge night.

Rules, Guidelines, Comments:

- By home I don't mean its limited to a physical house. Scenes involving campers, hotel rooms, etc are all welcome.

- By small I mean one to three sentences, I'm not looking for an essay.

- While I am hosting for I am not an affiliate of Universal so while naming a scene from the film The Purge is allowed it does not guarantee you a win.

-  Repeats are inevitable and you may list a film someone has already mentioned.

- Winner is decided by me based on how well you've backed your pick and if you've included all the requirements.

- Contest deadline: Sunday, June 16th. Winner will be announced the following day.

Good luck!