Phil Stevens

FlowersIn Phil Stevens’ Flowers, we are introduced to a beautifully surreal and intensely disturbed film revolving around six dead women who wake up in a crawl space under their killer’s house. With this film, Stevens has developed a unique style bent on haunting the viewer from beginning to end. Interestingly, there is no dialogue, the film’s story is delivered primarily through visuals and the haunting music that accompanies the various atrocities being committed. In a sense, what I could gather from the film was that these women were forced to confront what happened to them so that they could move on.

The women are each referred to as flowers while the killer is known as The Exile and we get to relive the atrocities that they were put through in an extremely surreal way. In truth, the film tells the entire story in a very abstract and what some might say is an unconventional method, but I think that’s what makes this film so successful in being so disturbing. Anyone can tell a fucked up story with dialogue because the dialogue adds to the intensity and can build plot. The lack of dialogue is completely made up for with the amount of emotion seen in each of the flower’s faces, not to mention the different reactions they have to where they ultimately find themselves.

FlowersNow, reviewing it based on what I see is rather lackluster and honestly not a very successful approach. What I will say is Flowers has taken the grotesque, the disturbed, and especially the blood and gore of intense violence and it has created a work of art. Watching the film, one can see how methodical Stevens was with every single shot in getting his work across. From the scenes of shit-covered walls, floors, and ceilings to the moments when a flower begins to undo the sutures across her chest, every image is beautiful in its grotesquery. That is largely why I have not attempted to state much of what happens in the film, it’s not a film of words but of pictures brought together to create one large work of art.

FlowersIf you have a strong stomach, I cannot recommend this film enough, Stevens’ artistic style is something that will make you watch Flowers again and again. Not to mention the fantastic acting and you have a work of art that will never go stale. Flowers is available through Unearthed Films in DVD or through their new streaming service on Vimeo. In addition, Phil Stevens is raising funds right now for Flowers 2, and I cannot encourage everyone who loves horror enough to contribute.Flowers

Hey, Souls, check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02, and then click the link below to donate! You’ll be glad you did.

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

FlowersIn Phil Stevens’ Flowers, we are introduced to a beautifully surreal and intensely disturbed film revolving around six dead women who wake up in a crawl space under their killer’s house. With this film, Stevens has developed a unique style bent on haunting the viewer from beginning to end. Interestingly, there is no dialogue, the film’s story is delivered primarily through visuals and the haunting music that accompanies the various atrocities being committed. In a sense, what I could gather from the film was that these women were forced to confront what happened to them so that they could move on.

The women are each referred to as flowers while the killer is known as The Exile and we get to relive the atrocities that they were put through in an extremely surreal way. In truth, the film tells the entire story in a very abstract and what some might say is an unconventional method, but I think that’s what makes this film so successful in being so disturbing. Anyone can tell a fucked up story with dialogue because the dialogue adds to the intensity and can build plot. The lack of dialogue is completely made up for with the amount of emotion seen in each of the flower’s faces, not to mention the different reactions they have to where they ultimately find themselves.

FlowersNow, reviewing it based on what I see is rather lackluster and honestly not a very successful approach. What I will say is Flowers has taken the grotesque, the disturbed, and especially the blood and gore of intense violence and it has created a work of art. Watching the film, one can see how methodical Stevens was with every single shot in getting his work across. From the scenes of shit-covered walls, floors, and ceilings to the moments when a flower begins to undo the sutures across her chest, every image is beautiful in its grotesquery. That is largely why I have not attempted to state much of what happens in the film, it’s not a film of words but of pictures brought together to create one large work of art.

FlowersIf you have a strong stomach, I cannot recommend this film enough, Stevens’ artistic style is something that will make you watch Flowers again and again. Not to mention the fantastic acting and you have a work of art that will never go stale. Flowers is available through Unearthed Films in DVD or through their new streaming service on Vimeo. In addition, Phil Stevens is raising funds right now for Flowers 2, and I cannot encourage everyone who loves horror enough to contribute.Flowers

Hey, Souls, check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02, and then click the link below to donate! You’ll be glad you did.




Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) posterI recently had the pleasure of seeing Flowers by Phil Stevens. It was such an amazing and beautiful film that I decided to reach out to the director and tell him how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, Phil Stevens turned out to be one of the nicest, coolest, down to earth guys. I was delighted to learn of his plans to make a sequel to Flowers, simply called Flowers 02. He also graciously agreed to do this interview and give us an exclusive look at his new project.

Phil Stevens Interview

House of Tortured Souls: First off, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Flowers and really excited to talk to you about your latest project. What type of film can we expect? Do you think it will be more extreme or more artistic than the last?
Phil Stevens: Extreme is too broad a category, I mean of course yes it will be extreme but it’s more of a survival horror where everyone is being attacked by something. I actually didn’t think I was making an extreme film when I made Flowers. I thought the complete opposite. When Flowers came out, I thought people were going to be like, “Here’s this guy with his artsy movie called Flowers“. It turned out to be this surreal horror that people seemed to really enjoy. The last word I ever expected to read describing my film was “beautiful”, but it seems to come up in every single review about the movie.
PS: In Flowers, the house itself was the enemy almost. But in Flowers 02, not only is it the house, but there are entities in all the rooms –sometimes more than one. It’s all leading to this grand finale involving the killer and all his misdeeds. We’ll get a backstory and more of a look at his life. There will be new rooms with new themes and sort of a past, present, and future look at the killer. My favorite movie of all time is Day of the Dead, and I always wanted to make a zombie film, but I wanted to do it in my own way. Finally, in this we get to do that, and it’s so fun.

HoTS: That all sounds awesome! Why did you choose Indie and underground filmmaking rather than mainstream?
PS: I spent most of my life drawing and painting. I started drawing my own comics, and then I discovered the Beta-max camera and started making films for myself. Drawing is my first love, I don’t want a career in filmmaking; I see it as a hobby, a really expensive hobby. I’m a fan of Indie films myself and knew that it was only natural that I would go that route. I think that everyone who makes movies would like to think that one day they’ll go to Hollywood and make a big epic movie with a budget. That’s the real dream having a budget.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) title card

HoTS: I understand that for an Indie director, getting funding is always an issue. You’ve started a crowdfunding campaign, correct? Maybe you could tell our readers a bit about that and how they can contribute.
PS: Crowdfunding is a big deal because you’re giving us the means to make a movie that we otherwise would not be able to make. It’s been tougher to get funding in the last few years because either fans don’t know about it or they’ve been screwed over in the past by other directors.
PS: My job is making and selling art. I’m actually on disability from an accident that happened when I was 10. I fell out of a tree, and now I have soft neurological brain damage so I can’t have a regular 9-5 job. I spend a lot of time drawing and painting and doing commissions. I grew up with severe agoraphobia, crowds give me severe anxiety, which is another reason making movies is so important to me because it gives me a chance to work in a group environment while doing something I love.
PS: Here is the link to the Flowers 02 crowdfunding campaign. Even a 5$ contribution will get you some really cool exclusive swag!
HoTS: So how does one get a piece of your artwork?
PS: My Facebook page Manomatul Art or my website Insomnia Collectibles, and I’m also on deviant art.
HoTS: All of the actors/actresses in Flowers were amazing. Will we see any familiar faces in the sequel?
PS: Yes! You actually will see some returning Flowers in a subplot of Flowers 02. Absolutely. You’re going to see some of them, but I can’t reveal who yet.
HoTS: It’s my understanding you used your home in the first film… what was that like?
PS: Using my own home to make Flowers was a blessing and an absolute nightmare. We scouted a lot of warehouses, and they were all in really bad neighborhoods. We just didn’t feel safe having our equipment there. We decided the next best thing and the safest thing was our house. I hated it, there was so much debris and equipment everywhere. My wife (Colette Kenny Mckenna) and I lived an entire summer in that. I actually spent my 30th birthday inside the dining room set, it was surreal. Some of my friends I hadn’t seen in a while would come over and a say, “This is absolutely insane. What are you doing?” My wife and I both ended up with really bad respiratory infections from the room with all the gouged out drywall. We were constantly breathing it in for three months, and we got really sick.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) writing on the wall

HoTS: Do you do your own practical fx?
PS: Yes, I used to more but with Flowers, it was an all hands on deck kind of thing and my wife and I did months of fx testing. We found some great local talent. My wife, Krystle Fitch, and Anastasia Blue did the fx and also acted in the movie.
HoTS: Do you have a dream location if money were no object?
PS: Actually yeah, I don’t know where that location is but I know what it looks like. The whole reason I wanted to make Flowers 02 was it’s supposed to fund my next film, Paradise, which is the serial killer’s hell kind of. I want it to involve a lot of ocean and beach sequences, stuff you don’t tend to see in an underground film. I’ve been working on it for three years, and it’s probably going to be my swan song film. The first film is purgatory, the next is hell, and the last one is paradise. That will be the last movie I do, and Flowers 02 is the way to get there.
HoTS: Do you have any directors who inspire you?
PS: I’m inspired by Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man). I’m a huge, huge fan of Asian cinema in general, so Takashi Miike (Audition) obviously and Kim Ki-duk (The Isle). What inspires me about Kim Ki-duk is that he doesn’t use many words, and his main characters don’t talk but everyone around them always does. I love all things artistic, I loved Andrey Iskanovs’ Nails so much. I also like Akira Kurosawa, his movies are beautiful; the cinematography is incredible and his movies top movies that are made to this day. A lot of my inspiration comes from Asian cinema.
HoTS: I just want to take this opportunity again to thank you and say what a fun time I’ve had talking with you today. I wish you the best of luck with Flowers 02 and can’t wait to see it.
PS: Thank you. I had fun today, too!

Flowers 02 Crowdfunding on the Web

Check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02. Then click the link below to donate!

Phil Stevens on the Web

Posted by Candace Stone in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

Lung II by Phil Stevens was one of the weirdest little indie films I’ve ever seen with a Lynch/Cronenberg vibe throughout. I really enjoyed it.

A follow up to Flowers, Lung II was a continuation of the same theme. Phil Stevens said that “after the trauma of making Flowers, it was something he needed to do for therapeutic reasons”. The film is in black and white (I’m hoping a color version exists somewhere in the underground) and like Flowers has no dialogue. It’s also a dreamy artistic vision except for a lot more bizarre. Flowers was a cathartic pilgrimage through purgatory for the female murder victims of a serial killer and Lung II was the killer’s slow journey into insanity.

Throughout the film, we follow a serial killer (played by Stevens himself) as he slowly awakens and comes to realize what he’s done through flashbacks and the discovery of a body trail. During his travels, he comes across no shortage of corpses and weird Freudian Lynch monsters.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Lung II works its way backward going from body to body. It starts out in what appears to be a psych ward with a naked dude (Phil Stevens) on the floor. If you’ve ever had the urge to see Phil Stevens naked here’s your chance ladies and gentlemen! He sort of fumbles out into the woods where he comes across his future self, disposing of bodies. He continues to stumble along from gory crime scene to crime scene sometimes finding bodies sometimes finding these bizarre blobby sex monsters. My personal favorite is the half dick half vag monster that he finger-bangs until it sprays blood. In a few scenes, he pulls glass out of various cuts and you might be thinking what’s the deal with the glass? Don’t worry; all will become clear soon. I found the part where he was pulling glass out of his foot particularly uncomfortable, but I kind of have an anti-foot fetish and can’t stand foot injuries.

After a hard day of self-realization, the last stop or last flashback is at his own home. He arrives home after a long day at work (presumably) to find his wife in bed with another woman, he loses his shit and kills them both with a baseball bat before he has a chance to consider consequences. Something in him snaps while he’s sitting there sniffing their panties. He tries to commit suicide by dropping a tv on his head (this is where the glass comes from!) but fails and from this point on he loses his humanity piece by piece.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

By Travis Love

Flowers

Directed by Phil Stevens and released on October 27, 2015, by Unearthed Films, Flowers is an Arthouse horror film that delves into the grim tale of six women who awaken disoriented and unaware of how they've arrived in this state of surreal, dream-esque purgatory, until they discover they've all suffered the same grisly fate at the hands of the same demented aggressor. Abandon all hope ye who awaken under a porch surrounded by body filled Glad trash bags.

Watching Flowers and trying to convey to someone what it is, is the equivalent of trying to explain how Pornhub works to a blind man. He really doesn't understand what you mean because he's never experienced it before for himself (unfortunately braille Pornhub never caught on...sorry Stevie Wonder). The film is as dark and depressing as it is morbidly fascinating and eerily beautiful, with equal aspects macabre and performance art combing to create one of the most truly genuinely unique cinema experiences you could ever hope for.

The fact that there is no dialog in the film allows you to immerse yourself fully in the imagery, taking in every minute detail of the scenery. The scenes piece together almost like Dante Alighieri's Inferno, with each character feeling like they're in their own circle of hell. Each character transitions to a different person and tale as they crawl from underneath the porch, to under the house, to the bathroom through a hole in the floor and so on. Past events with the victims are tied to Polaroids that they either awaken with, or discover during their venturing through the house. Each picture triggers a memory for each character that holds some barring on their life before and their personal encounter with the antagonist.

As far as gore goes, Flowers even delivers artistically in that regard as well, with scenes that run the gamut of twisted and perverted (fondling the intestines of a disemboweled victim before warming up her dead body like a gas station burrito necrophilia style) to ethereal and metaphorical (a victim discovering she's hollow on the inside and begins stuffing what she believes are her internal organs inside the open cavity, but to the outside perspective she's only stuffing her gaping hole with earth and worms). Morbid imagery has never looked so enthralling and engaging.

In conclusion, Flowers achieves what so many films set out to do, it establishes its originality and individuality proudly in leaps and bounds and sets a precedent that films can be artistically beautiful and engaging while at the same time brooding and aberrant. Do yourself a favor and let Flowers put something hauntingly beautiful inside you...and possibly some fingers as well.

Rating: 8/10

-Travis

Posted by Travis Love in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments