Showtime

Are you ready…for absolute MAYHEM? The Mayhem Film Festival descends upon Nottingham, UK, at the Broadway Cinema, October 11 – 14, 2018. Featuring some of the best of horror, sci-fi, and cult classic features and shorts, there’s going to be a wide variety of cinematic genre offerings that should keep everyone happy.

Quite a few of the menu items have been making the rounds at many of the festivals, with some of them even winning awards. You’ll find a few that have been reviewed here and some that are about to be in the very near future, including:

Mayhem Film Festival: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)Anna and the Apocalypse : A Scottish high-school Christmas zombie musical, this one’s been getting a lot of buzz lately, and MAYHEM will also feature a Q&A with Anna and the Apocalypse’s director John McPhail.

Mayhem Film Festival: The Witch in the Window (2018)The Witch in the Window: Canadian filmmaker Andy Mitton’s follow-up to Yellowbrickroad and We Go On, this supernatural chiller is primed to bring a lot of unhappy relationships together. For those families where someone loves horror movies but hates the PG-13 ones and has yet another finicky watcher who loves horror but ONLY if it’s PG-13, The Witch in the Window is that happy medium where everyone gets what they want. With a minimum of reliance on tired horror tropes and no gore whatsoever, The Witch in the Window specializes more in classic creeps, using the slow-burn technique to come to a heart-warming, yet also heart-breaking finish.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich continues to advance the beloved cult Full Moon Features franchise, with both fan favorites Udo Kier and Barbara Crampton on board.

Mayhem Film Festival: One Cut of the Dead (2017)One Cut of the Dead: Asian filmmakers have had their American brethren hanging their heads in shame (or they should be) with the way they’ve been managing to freshen up the tired zombie genre, with Korea’s outstanding Train to Busan and the quirky Chinese gut-muncher Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Now it’s Japanese co-writer/director Shin’ichiro Ueda’s turn, and if the other two are any indication of what kind of surprises to expect, you probably want to get your tickets to this one ASAP.

Mayhem Film Festival: What Keeps You Alive (2018)What Keeps You Alive: Even if you’re not familiar with Colin Minihan’s name, you’ve probably seen one or both of the films in the Grave Encounters franchise that he launched, or maybe his zombie-apocalypse-hits-Sin-City thriller It Stains the Sands Red. Based on his past work alone, his latest, a remote, woodsy horror drama sounds like another ‘must-see’ to add to your list.

Mayhem Film Festival: Nightmare Cinema (2018)Besides these films, there are also some debuts and other goodies worth noting. Nightmare Cinema is the much-anticipated horror omnibus from genre icon Mick Garris, who gave us the unforgettable Showtime shock-stravaganza Masters of Horror. Directors on-board this time around include Garris himself, Joe Dante, David Slade, and Ryuhei Kitamura (No One Lives, Versus, Midnight Meat Train).

Mayhem Film Festival: Mandy (2018)Mandy, the plenty-talked-about horror-on-acid freakshow starring – appropriately enough – Nicolas Cage – will infiltrate the Festival as well, and hopefully have tongues wagging just as much about its writer/director Panos Cosmatos, who also created the equally trippy Beyond the Black Rainbow.

And if One Cut of the Dead leaves you ravenous for more Japanese horror-goodness, you’re in luck. Making its UK premiere will be Shinsuke Sato’s live-action adaptation of the popular manga Inuyashiki.

And if this wasn’t mind-blowing enough, there’s also going to be a screening of the Lamberto Bava/Dario Argento collaboration from 1985, the crowd-pleasing Demons, and from Finland, The White Reindeer, a rarely-seen supernatural adaptation of a Finnish folk tale, made in 1952 by director Erik Blomberg.

More information about dates, times, the features and shorts, and where to get tickets, can be found at www.mayhemfilmfestival.com.

The MAYHEM FILM FESTIVAL Brings Scares Aplenty To The UK

The MAYHEM FILM FESTIVAL Brings Scares Aplenty To The UK

Are you ready…for absolute MAYHEM? The Mayhem Film Festival descends upon Nottingham, UK, at the Broadway Cinema, October 11 – 14, 2018. Featuring some of the best of horror, sci-fi, and cult classic features and shorts, there’s going to be a wide variety of cinematic genre offerings that should keep everyone happy.

Quite a few of the menu items have been making the rounds at many of the festivals, with some of them even winning awards. You’ll find a few that have been reviewed here and some that are about to be in the very near future, including:

Mayhem Film Festival: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)Anna and the Apocalypse : A Scottish high-school Christmas zombie musical, this one’s been getting a lot of buzz lately, and MAYHEM will also feature a Q&A with Anna and the Apocalypse’s director John McPhail.

Mayhem Film Festival: The Witch in the Window (2018)The Witch in the Window: Canadian filmmaker Andy Mitton’s follow-up to Yellowbrickroad and We Go On, this supernatural chiller is primed to bring a lot of unhappy relationships together. For those families where someone loves horror movies but hates the PG-13 ones and has yet another finicky watcher who loves horror but ONLY if it’s PG-13, The Witch in the Window is that happy medium where everyone gets what they want. With a minimum of reliance on tired horror tropes and no gore whatsoever, The Witch in the Window specializes more in classic creeps, using the slow-burn technique to come to a heart-warming, yet also heart-breaking finish.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich continues to advance the beloved cult Full Moon Features franchise, with both fan favorites Udo Kier and Barbara Crampton on board.

Mayhem Film Festival: One Cut of the Dead (2017)One Cut of the Dead: Asian filmmakers have had their American brethren hanging their heads in shame (or they should be) with the way they’ve been managing to freshen up the tired zombie genre, with Korea’s outstanding Train to Busan and the quirky Chinese gut-muncher Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Now it’s Japanese co-writer/director Shin’ichiro Ueda’s turn, and if the other two are any indication of what kind of surprises to expect, you probably want to get your tickets to this one ASAP.

Mayhem Film Festival: What Keeps You Alive (2018)What Keeps You Alive: Even if you’re not familiar with Colin Minihan’s name, you’ve probably seen one or both of the films in the Grave Encounters franchise that he launched, or maybe his zombie-apocalypse-hits-Sin-City thriller It Stains the Sands Red. Based on his past work alone, his latest, a remote, woodsy horror drama sounds like another ‘must-see’ to add to your list.

Mayhem Film Festival: Nightmare Cinema (2018)Besides these films, there are also some debuts and other goodies worth noting. Nightmare Cinema is the much-anticipated horror omnibus from genre icon Mick Garris, who gave us the unforgettable Showtime shock-stravaganza Masters of Horror. Directors on-board this time around include Garris himself, Joe Dante, David Slade, and Ryuhei Kitamura (No One Lives, Versus, Midnight Meat Train).

Mayhem Film Festival: Mandy (2018)Mandy, the plenty-talked-about horror-on-acid freakshow starring – appropriately enough – Nicolas Cage – will infiltrate the Festival as well, and hopefully have tongues wagging just as much about its writer/director Panos Cosmatos, who also created the equally trippy Beyond the Black Rainbow.

And if One Cut of the Dead leaves you ravenous for more Japanese horror-goodness, you’re in luck. Making its UK premiere will be Shinsuke Sato’s live-action adaptation of the popular manga Inuyashiki.

And if this wasn’t mind-blowing enough, there’s also going to be a screening of the Lamberto Bava/Dario Argento collaboration from 1985, the crowd-pleasing Demons, and from Finland, The White Reindeer, a rarely-seen supernatural adaptation of a Finnish folk tale, made in 1952 by director Erik Blomberg.

More information about dates, times, the features and shorts, and where to get tickets, can be found at www.mayhemfilmfestival.com.


Posted by Samuel Glass in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
Goodbye, Penny Dreadful

Goodbye, Penny Dreadful

Goodbye, Penny Dreadful

By Dixielord

Spoiler Warning

Fans of Penny Dreadful, including me, were shocked at the end of episode nine with the revelation that this was the end. The Showtime series starring Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, and Timothy Dalton, was in its third season. According to series creator John Logan, there was no pressure to cancel from Showtime. The show had simply ran its course, and with the end of the Vanessa Ives story line, it was time to say goodbye.

Goodbye John Clare and Goodbye Penny Dreadful

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 7)

The decision was apparently made during season two. It was also decided to keep the show's fate a secret, so as not to risk spoiling the ending to the show's loyal fans. It does feel like this was a deliberate attempt to go out while the series was in its prime. I'm sad that Penny Dreadful is no more, but I don't feel cheated. So many shows have died too soon, and just as many have gone on to become a pale shadow of what they were. How different would the legacy of Dexter have been if it had ended a few seasons earlier?

The Wolf of God in Penny Dreadful

Ethan wolfs out

Penny Dreadful was first and foremost the story of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green). True fans got to know and love those around her, her loves, and enemies, and even casual acquaintances, but this was Vanessa's story. Her struggle ended, at the hands of her love Ethan, and so Penny Dreadful ended.

What of the other characters? Ethan Chandler (Talbot), Sir Malcolm, Frankenstein and his monster, and Lilly? Their stories will most likely never be known to us. Call me a sucker, but I hold out faint hope that we might see some continuation of the characters in a special or mini series, but I know that's just wishful thinking. This was Vanessa's story. The other stories will forever be unknown to us. It's heartbreaking, but it's for the best.

So goodbye Ethan, Dorian, Dr. Seward, John Clare, and the rest, and most of all goodbye Ms. Ives. Thank you for three seasons of wonderful Victorian monster fun. Thank you for reinventing the creatures we knew too well, and for doing it in an imaginative and respectful way. And thank you Showtimeand John Logan, for having the strength and knowledge to end the show where it needed to end. Thank you for saying, “it's time to end” even while your fans are screaming “no”. I leave Penny Dreadful with no bad memories. It's been a fun ride, a beautiful experience, but like Vanessa said, “let it end”. Goodbye, Penny Dreadful.

Posted by Allen Alberson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
SERIES REVIEW: Penny Dreadful

SERIES REVIEW: Penny Dreadful

By Dixielord

Penny Dreadful is a term that harkens back to the beginnings of popular horror. Originally, a Penny Dreadful was a cheap, gaudy, sensationalist paperback that cost, you guessed it, a penny. They became popular in a post industrialization England and introduced the working class to characters such as Varney the Vampire and Sweeney Todd. Now, however, the term also applies to a Showtime series set in Victorian Europe and featuring characters that should be familiar to all horror fans.

Eva Green possessed in Penny Dreadful

Eva Green possessed in Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful is in its third season on Showtime. It stars, among others Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, and Eva Green. So far it has introduced quite a few characters from classic horror literature and film, such as Dr. Victor Frankenstein (and his monsters), Dorian Grey, Malcolm and Mina Murray (from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula), Lawrence Talbot (The Wolfman), Dr. Van Helsing, and, as of season three, Dracula himself. The series plays around with the stories we are all familiar with, aka Lawrence Talbot (Josh Hartnett) is an American cowboy, Dr. Seward is a female, and Dr. Van Helsing and Mina both meet their ends early on. The series also introduces a new character in Vanessa Ives played by Eva Green.

The first season of Penny Dreadful introduced the main cast of characters. The central storyline revolved around the kidnapping of Mina Murray by an ancient evil force. Subplots involved Dr. Frankenstein reuniting with his original creation and Vanessa becoming possessed by a demonic force, that might just be the devil himself. While it does play around with familiar themes, it doesn’t change them enough to make them wholly unrecognizable. The vampires who kidnap Mina have connections to Egyptian mythology, and the head vamp in charge isn't Dracula. At least he doesn’t get involved and show himself in the first season. But with the changes, the vamps still have fangs, glowing red eyes, suck blood, and - most importantly - not a fucking sparkle in sight.

One of my favorite scenes in season one is the seance. In attempting to find out what they are up against, the group of would be heroes contact Madame Kali, a medium, to dig into the supernatural happenings. During the seance, Vanessa becomes possessed and tortures Sir Malcolm with his son's death. Watching Dalton's face you can almost feel the pain yourself through the television. It's a disturbing and moving scene expertly acted by Green and Dalton, and it's just one of many great scenes in Penny Dreadful.

Timothy Dalton as Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful

Timothy Dalton as Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful

Season two finds Vanessa being hunted by a coven of witches called the Nightcomers, secretly lead by Madame Kali from season one. We also dig deeper into Vanessa's past, and Ethan, aka Lawrence Talbot, faces the repercussions of his moonlight snacking. It all culminates in a nighttime raid on the witche's coven to save Malcolm Murray. The final battle sees blood shed on both sides and we say goodbye to a supporting character. Aside from the main storyline, we also witness Dr. Frankenstein trying to make a love connection for his first creation. Like pretty much every experiment, it doesn’t go as he planned. He doesn’t manage to make a mate, but does succeed in making another monster, played by Billie Piper (Doctor Who).

Billie Piper as Brona Croft aka Lilly Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful

Billie Piper as Brona Croft aka Lilly Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful

Which brings us to season three, which is only a handful of episodes in. This season we have already been introduced to two new classified characters, Dr. Henry Jekyll and the big baddie of the vampire kingdom, Dracula himself. Fans of Dexter should note that Dracula is played by none other than the Ice Truck Killer/Brian Moser actor Christian Camargo. Things are still developing this season, but so far we have seen Dracula stalking and attempting to seduce Vanessa. Meanwhile, Ethan/Lawrence Talbot has been taken prisoner and hauled back to America. He has escaped from the Marshals and bounty hunters (sent by his father) and has formed somewhat of an alliance with Hecate, the last of the witch coven from season two. They are being tracked by Sir Malcolm and an old Apache warrior, Kaetenay, plated by Wes Studi. Meanwhile Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) has sought out his old college friend, Henry Jekyll (Shazad Latif), to help him stop Lilly Frankenstein's evil plan.

Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful

Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful

Now if you think this is just a cheap attempt to create a monster mash, you are thinking wrong. Penny Dreadful is a well thought out, well written, and expertly acted series. It takes the characters we are all familiar with and twists them in new ways, without destroying our memories of them. Then it tosses in new characters, like Vanessa Ives and Kaetenay and gives them intriguing stories. It's not for the kids either, it has its share of gore and horror moments as well as copious amounts of nudity (but not near the Game of Thrones level) and sex. If you are a horror fan you would be doing yourself a favor to check out Penny Dreadful. It's playing on Showtime, and past seasons can't be found on DVD/Blu Ray or available from Amazon Demand. You might even be able to snag a free month of Showtime which would give you plenty of time to decide if the series is worth subscribing.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES, 0 comments