indie cinema

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.In high school, I took a communications class. Growing up, my concept of what filmmaking was was almost an Orson Welles level of perfection, not accepting anything less. We were just teens in high school writing goofy scripts and shooting films with expensive cameras and editing tools. Believe me, I wish I knew back then what I know now. It wasn’t easy at times sitting in the editing room hearing and watching the same footage repeatedly, but it was all worth it and, honestly, it’s such an adrenaline rush. Believe me. Therefore, most directors go to the premieres or screenings incognito focusing on the reactions of the audience instead of the premiere. They see what works, what doesn’t work, and who laughed at what part.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I heard about an upcoming local film festival in my town called Creeper Film Fest. Working for House of Tortured Souls, I do my best to attend as many cons, expos, and film releases — even the local stuff — to get exclusive info, exclusive showings, or just meet some nice people. Recently, I talked to award-winning director Matthew Mark Hunter from MMH productions. We had a nice talk about his upcoming movie Nightmares Unleashed, and I explained that I’ll do my best to make it to the screening and review his movie. He was nice enough to send me a link to the movie, and I finally got time to watch it, so here’s my honest and fair review. After years of learning the craft and wearing others’ shoes, I learned to see their movie from their vision or their heart from their vision.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Nightmares Unleashed is a short film and runs just under 15 minutes. It doesn’t need a whole lot of time to get to the point, but it does a great job getting there. Some would say, “Oh, you used cheap FX and cheap tactics”, and, sure, you can say that if a film has a huge budget but cuts corners. Instead, Matthew uses some great practical and effective ways of getting shots and FX for his movie. The official plot is as follows:

A young girl loves watching horror films but always gets nightmares from them. She gets grabbed into the TV one night and must escape her worst nightmares through the movies.
As I stated before, Matthew didn’t have a big budget, doesn’t have movie stars, and doesn’t even have a huge crew. Nightmares Unleased is all guerilla filmmaking with a lot of heart from friends and family.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Another piece of info he was glad to share was that he tried to make the film as real as possible, so the worms from the worm zombie’s (Chris Wiggins) mouth, are real worms. That’s right. He had real worms put in his mouth. That’s hardcore! And that’s the level of dedication this movie gives to the audience.Matthew also revealed that all the tools on and around the workbench are real, so our corpse (John Polace) had real saws and knives hanging above him. Matthew further told me:

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.When the little actress (Autumn Johnson) first saw the Joseph makeup — she was always scared of — clowns, so when we did the scene of Joseph the Jester (Matthew Mark Hunter) jumping out of the closet the first time, she got really freaked out.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I didn’t see the movie as a cheap, low budget, amateur movie effort. Instead, I saw this as a film done by a director who’s going out and doing what he loves best: making movies. So, if you get a chance check out Nightmares Unleashed, do so. And check out other Indie films and filmmakers. Talk to them, and if they ever start a go fund me, donate. Believe it or not, even your favorite filmmakers were once like Matthew, out in his backyard and making a film with heart and soul and with friends and family.

Polace had real worms in his mouth. Worms. That’s hardcore and, honestly, that’s the level of dedication this movie gives to the audience!

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) – A Short Film with Lots of Talent

HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) – A Short Film with Lots of Talent

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.In high school, I took a communications class. Growing up, my concept of what filmmaking was was almost an Orson Welles level of perfection, not accepting anything less. We were just teens in high school writing goofy scripts and shooting films with expensive cameras and editing tools. Believe me, I wish I knew back then what I know now. It wasn’t easy at times sitting in the editing room hearing and watching the same footage repeatedly, but it was all worth it and, honestly, it’s such an adrenaline rush. Believe me. Therefore, most directors go to the premieres or screenings incognito focusing on the reactions of the audience instead of the premiere. They see what works, what doesn’t work, and who laughed at what part.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I heard about an upcoming local film festival in my town called Creeper Film Fest. Working for House of Tortured Souls, I do my best to attend as many cons, expos, and film releases — even the local stuff — to get exclusive info, exclusive showings, or just meet some nice people. Recently, I talked to award-winning director Matthew Mark Hunter from MMH productions. We had a nice talk about his upcoming movie Nightmares Unleashed, and I explained that I’ll do my best to make it to the screening and review his movie. He was nice enough to send me a link to the movie, and I finally got time to watch it, so here’s my honest and fair review. After years of learning the craft and wearing others’ shoes, I learned to see their movie from their vision or their heart from their vision.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Nightmares Unleashed is a short film and runs just under 15 minutes. It doesn’t need a whole lot of time to get to the point, but it does a great job getting there. Some would say, “Oh, you used cheap FX and cheap tactics”, and, sure, you can say that if a film has a huge budget but cuts corners. Instead, Matthew uses some great practical and effective ways of getting shots and FX for his movie. The official plot is as follows:

A young girl loves watching horror films but always gets nightmares from them. She gets grabbed into the TV one night and must escape her worst nightmares through the movies.
As I stated before, Matthew didn’t have a big budget, doesn’t have movie stars, and doesn’t even have a huge crew. Nightmares Unleased is all guerilla filmmaking with a lot of heart from friends and family.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Another piece of info he was glad to share was that he tried to make the film as real as possible, so the worms from the worm zombie’s (Chris Wiggins) mouth, are real worms. That’s right. He had real worms put in his mouth. That’s hardcore! And that’s the level of dedication this movie gives to the audience.Matthew also revealed that all the tools on and around the workbench are real, so our corpse (John Polace) had real saws and knives hanging above him. Matthew further told me:

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.When the little actress (Autumn Johnson) first saw the Joseph makeup — she was always scared of — clowns, so when we did the scene of Joseph the Jester (Matthew Mark Hunter) jumping out of the closet the first time, she got really freaked out.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I didn’t see the movie as a cheap, low budget, amateur movie effort. Instead, I saw this as a film done by a director who’s going out and doing what he loves best: making movies. So, if you get a chance check out Nightmares Unleashed, do so. And check out other Indie films and filmmakers. Talk to them, and if they ever start a go fund me, donate. Believe it or not, even your favorite filmmakers were once like Matthew, out in his backyard and making a film with heart and soul and with friends and family.

Polace had real worms in his mouth. Worms. That’s hardcore and, honestly, that’s the level of dedication this movie gives to the audience!

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.


Posted by Jai Alexis in HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
REVIEW: Safe 2018 (Short)

REVIEW: Safe 2018 (Short)

Safe (2018)

Directed By: Tim Earnheart

Written By: Tim Earnheart

Starring: Nadine Nagamatsu, S Joe Downing, Ayuba Audu, Reeve Barceloux, Corrie Fleming

I had the pleasure of reviewing the short film Conduit at last year’s Shreikfest. It was a nice mash-up of action and horror and on a limited time and budget managed to tell a cool little story. This year I was extremely lucky to get an early preview of Mr. Earnheart’s latest short film entitled Safe. A woman’s (Nadine Nagamatsu) home is broken into by three masked men. They promptly demand the contents of a safe but not without some deadly consequences. Similar to Conduit, Earnheart masterfully subverts genre expectations and fuses the horror/home invasion genre with action and sci-fi. That seems like a recipe for disaster however with some clever writing and less is more approach it works surprisingly well. Further elevating the material is some on-point editing that creates a nice action-packed pace that keeps you glued from start to finish. Also, Earnheart shows off a nice crisp visual flare and employs some interesting camera work giving everything a polished look on a budget. Shout out to a great cast headed up by Nadine Nagamatsu who was in Tim’s previous films including Conduit. She brings a nice range to the part and thankfully doesn’t ham things up. On the surface, Safe seems like a typical slice`em up home invasion but thankfully it’s not. Once again I was very pleased that Tim can take a well-worn horror sub-genre and totally flip it on its head while injecting some great visual effects and action. I would love to see Safe turned into a feature film because it has such a great story that could easily be expanded on. Once again I was totally impressed by this young and up-and-coming writer, director.

Check out his other works — Conduit (Short) (2017), Working with Damian (Short) (2016), and Chapter 2 (Short) (2016).

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: (S)AINT NICK (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: (S)AINT NICK (2016)

By John Roisland


(S)AINT NICK, written and directed by Jonathan Patrick Hughes, newcomer Hughes brings you his own dark vision of holiday cheer. Yes, Halloween (sadly) enough is over. It's time to take down all the fake spider webs and pack up the Styrofoam tombstones till next October. Christmas season, like it or not, is now upon us, and Hughes's vision of welcoming it, well, it's one that has to be seen.

The story focuses on Ashley and her younger brother Billy, siblings who now live with their stepfather Horace after an untimely car accident took their mother's life, and Matthew's wish to Santa on Christmas Eve. This is (S)AINT NICK, though, so his wish isn't for a new Xbox or a new iPhone but something much more personal. Little Billy wants Horace's head under the Christmas tree.Horace, the stepfather, is a drunken, dirty, disgusting, pig of a man who mentally, emotionally and possibly, though it's never actually mentioned, physically abuses his stepchildren. But I have got to give credit where credit due. The actor playing Horace, John Seese tops any actors portrayed I've seen in many years when it comes to portraying his role. When I watched his acting I honestly compared it to David Hess's character Krug Stillo from The Last House on the Left, a performance which was near stomach-turning on the screen. He's definitely the guy you love to hate. Dirty, scummy and perverted all makes for a jolly good time.

Upon first watching (S)AINT NICK, I noticed the quality of the film and was pleasantly surprised. It was evident even from the opening credits that this wasn't a normal, run-of-the mill handheld camera filmed in someone's basement with bad, echoing sound and credits that somebody threw together with a cheap program from their computer. What Hughes does bring you is a full-fledged film, great quality in both audio and video. The sound is crystal clear - not muffled and no echo. The acting is surprisingly good, and even the special effect makeup were pretty much on point. Hell, even the score (music) in (S)AINT NICK was good.BASIC TEXT BLOCK

Did I mention that Hughes crammed all of this and more into a 28 minute movie that doesn't leave you feeling like it was rushed? (S)AINT NICK is a short film that is going to be included in a Christmas horror anthology called 12 SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS which is being produced by Tony Newton and will be a VOD and DVD release.

If this is a sample of what the Christmas season has to bring us, well, being a horror fan, all I can say is bring it! Jonathan Patrick Hughes, you did well, sir. I would easily rank (S)AINT NICK as a classic in the Christmas horror subgenre!

What Hughes gives you is far from a newcomer's final product. Be proud, Mr. Hughes, (S)AINT NICK is a winner.

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments