Maria Lee Metheringham

Horror-On-Sea Film Festival 2020: Bite Night

Horror-On-Sea Film Festival 2020: Bite Night

Bite Night is a fantasy horror film written and directed by Maria Lee Metheringham. It stars Dani Thompson, Mj Dixon, Anna Dixon, Rachel Brownstein, Marcella Edgecombe-Craig, Martha Niklas, Will Metheringham, and Maria Lee Metheringham. Things are not what they appear to be when a group of contest winners spends the night with a trio of sexy, seductive band members.

This was a strange, yet very intriguing film. It was a tad difficult to follow at times, and the sound levels aren’t of the best quality, however, it’s brimming with potential and there are some seriously memorable moments. There’s a truly disturbing dinner scene involving a severed head that’s worth the price of admission, not to mention some talented acting, graceful gore, and catchy tunes.

Bite Night, aka Party of Valice has all the fixings for an entertaining evening full of debauchery and desires. The film starts out going one way and ends up in a completely different tailspin by the time it’s over. The costumes could’ve used some attention, along with the storyline and character development. More meaningful characters provide a stronger bond with the audience. It has that drive-in movie appeal and is definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.

Posted by Donovan Smith in Categories, EVENTS, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, VAMPIRES, 0 comments

10 feature films you should be watching at Horror-on-Sea 2020

Horror-on-Sea will be returning to Southend once again in 2020 with its biggest blood-soaked line up of independent film as they celebrate their 8th Year. It remains one of the UK’s biggest independent film festivals and was originally formed to promote independent horror films, which are not normally given an opportunity to be played on the big screen.

Hosted at The Park Inn Palace Hotel (Southend-on-Sea) the festival will be running over two weekends from Friday 10th January to Sunday 12th January and Friday 17th January to Sunday 19th January. Screening over 36 Features and 62 shorts, with many of these being introduced by the filmmakers themselves.

Here is my list of 10 feature films you should be watching at Horror-on-Sea 2020

Nefarious – Friday 10th January 20:00

Director: Richard Rowntree

Writers: Matthew Davies, Richard Rowntree

Starring: Aaron Thomas Ward, Richard Rowntree, Jon Vangdal Aamaas, Tony Sands, Nadia Lamin

Darren (Buck Braithwaite), Lou (Nadia Lamin), and Jo (Abbey Gillett) are barely living each day unable to escape the fringes of poverty, and with a mounting debt owed to the local criminal organization, they live each day in fear of retribution. On the other side of town, the already wealthy Marcus and his disabled brother Clive receive a windfall in the form of a winning lottery scratch card. The two very different worlds collide with disastrous results when an attempted burglary goes wrong. The would-be criminals get more than they bargained for and will be tested to their limits in a desperate attempt to survive a predator of monstrous proportions.

Nefarious is the second feature film from co-writer and director Richard Rowntree, who follows up his folk horror Dogged with a unique take on the home invasion sub-genre. Having already won several awards on the festival favourite, this highly original, intelligent and thought-provoking horror has already become a favourite amongst the horror fans.

She Never Died – Saturday 11th January 17:30

Director: Audrey Cummings

Writers: Jason Krawczyk

Starring: Olunike Adeliyi, Peter MacNeill, Kiana Madeira, Michelle Nolden, Noah Dalton Danby

Lacey (Olunike Adeliyi), a socially detached loner is cursed with immortality and a never-ending tedium of existence. In her attempts to keep her compulsions in check, she seeks out the darkest souls humanity has to offer. Lacey must now face her own inner demons while simultaneously finding her next meal. 

I was impressed with Audrey Cummings previous sci-fi horror Darken (2017) which played at Horror-on-Sea in 2018, so my expectations were high when I heard she was directing a standalone sequel to the underrated cult horror He Never Died. Delivering a with a more fulfilling story than its predecessor and an emotive powerhouse performance from Olunike Adeliyi, She Never Died is one of the rare occasions where a sequel surpasses the original.

Exit (World Premiere) – Saturday 11th January 20:00

Director: Michael Fausti

Writers: Mathew Bayliss

Starring: Tony Denham, Michael Fausti, Billy James Machin, Leonarda Sahani, Robert Alexander

A seemingly innocent double-booking forces two couples from different backgrounds to share a London apartment for the evening. A night of drink, drugs, sex and new experiences follows. However, as morning comes, events take a sinister turn. Everything has a price and not all debts are paid for with money. What would you do to survive? Leaving; it’s harder that you think.

Michael Fausti has already proven himself as a director to watch out for with his critically acclaimed shorts The Ingress Tapes and Dead Celebrities, so naturally expectations are already high for his Brexit inspired feature debut Exit. Despite giving very little away very few details leading up to the premiere, there has been a growing interest for the film and I believe it could be one of the unexpected hits of the festival.

Day of the Stranger (World Premiere) – Saturday 11th January 22:30

Director: Thomas Lee Rutter

Writers: Thomas Lee Rutter, Mark Twain (based on the original short story by)

Starring: Gary Shail, Gary Baxter, Shelley Krasnowski, James Taylor, Richard Rowbotham

Caine Farrowood (Dale Sheppard) is a bounty hunter who works under the control of ruthless kingpin Loomweather (Gary Shail). One day a bounty retrieval goes awry, and Caine is left for dead. Just when he thinks his life is over, he mysteriously awakens back home to the comforts of his wife Christina (Maryam Forouhandeh). Baffled and confused by how he got home Caine insists on finding answers, but before long he is enlisted in the retrieval of another bounty. This one is huge and may cost Caine not his life, but his sanity when he finds himself pitted against somebody who may very well be the fallen angel himself.

A film which has been plagued by problems and 6 years in the making Day of the Stranger can be described as both a labour of love and film making nightmare. However as this is already credited as the UK’s first ever Guerrilla Acid Western, this a must see for fans of independent cinema and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen.

I Scream on the Beach! (World Premiere) – Sunday 12th January 20:00

Director: Alexander Churchyard, Michael Holiday

Writers: Alexander Churchyard, Max Davenport (original story), Michael Holiday

Starring: Hannah Paterson, Dani Thompson, Reis Daniel, Jamie Evans, Lloyd Kaufmanm

In the small seaside town of Mellow Coast, Emily (Hannah Paterson) is trying to discover what has happened to her father, but as she searches for answers her friends start getting picked off one-by-one by an unknown killer.

Following the release of the trailer I Scream on the Beach! has continued to gain interest amongst the horror community, with tickets for the premiere almost sold out before the festival begins. A self-aware nostalgic tribute to some of straight to home video horrors of the 80’s, I Scream on the Beach! incorporates a mixture of bloody horror and brilliant humour. And based on the early feedback from critics it is is already shaping up to be a cult classic in the making.

The Psychics – Friday 17th January 12:30

Director: Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen

Writers: Tomas Sem Løkke-Sørensen

Starring: Lovas, Frank Thomas Holen Andersen, Oddrun Valestrand, Hannah Karine Giske, Jennie Sofie Lie Pickl

A documentary film maker has to fight against evil forces when she starts to investigate a criminal mystery as a part of her movie project.

I can understand why people may get sceptical when it comes to another found footage film, with the ongoing trend in recent years following the success of Paranormal Activity. Whilst many follow a familiar formula  with the sub genre seen as a cheap way to make a film, The Psychics is one which breaks the mould. Norway’s second found footage horror (the first one being The Troll Hunter) is a paranormal mystery-thriller which has been shot as a documentary. Building the tension around a brilliant script, engaging performances and some original twists this is easily one of the most original and entertaining found footage films I have seen in a long time.

UK Haunters – Friday 17th January 20:00

Director: Dan Brownlie

UK Haunters is the first feature length documentary to cover the Uk haunt and scare attraction scene.

Already proven to be a hit on the festival circuit UK Haunters is a unique vlog style documentary that takes a look behind the scenes of the scare attractions and looks to uncover some of the tricks of the trade. Inspired by the found footage genre the documentary the film takes on it own as a unique visual style, and in the end begins to replicate the industry it was initially looking to uncover.


Bite Night (World Premiere) – Saturday 18th January 17:30

Director: Maria Lee Metheringham

Writer: Maria Lee Metheringham, Will Metheringham

Starring: Dani Thompson, Maria Lee Metheringham, Mj Dixon, Rachel Brownstein, Marcella Edgecombe-Craig

‘Haunted Honeymoon’ meets ‘My Best Friend is a Vampire’ meets ‘Clue’. When three beautiful ladies manage to grab the attention of a group of punks with their enchanting voices. They become the lucky guests or rather victims of the house of Valice. However, the tables turn quite suddenly when the ladies realize they are in fact the unfortunate victims of the madness which they themselves created.

The multifaceted Maria Metheringham returns to Horror-on-Sea, with her latest film Bite Night. A 90’s style mystery thriller which looks very different to her previous film, the 80’s slashers Pumpkins. Not taking itself too seriously, Bite Night looks to put the fun back into the horror genre and from what we have seen so far it looks like it could succeed.

PandaMonium (World Premiere) – Saturday 18th January 20:00

Director: Mj Dixon

Writer: Mj Dixon

Starring: David Hon Ma Chu, Oriana Charles, Dani Thompson, Will Jones, James Hamer-Morton

The guys on Level 6 like to work hard and party harder, and that means the best booze, the finest drugs and hottest women money can buy. Unfortunately for them, the strippers they’ve just hired have come with an unwanted guest. Jacob Jakushi, the infamous ‘Stripper Ripper,’ with an oversized panda mask and a taste for exotic dancers has these girls in his sights and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. It’s now Strippers vs PandaHeaded Serial Killer as they fight to survive the office party from hell. The 9th feature from Mycho Entertainment Group and prequel to SLASHER HOUSE 2 and its infamous Panda-headed Killer.

Writer-director M J Dixon and Producer Anna Dixon have become regular fixtures at Horror-on-Sea and have become a cult favourites with horror fans thanks to their unique visual style and interconnecting stories in the MychoVerse. PandaMonium is their 9th Feature and once again delivers something different to the series. Whilst the film remains rooted in the slasher genre, it also delivers consistently throughout with some brilliant laugh out loid comedy which you wouldn’t normally expect to see. Mycho fans however will not be disappointed as it still delivers with the kills that you would expect, but once the screaming starts on the screen, so will the laughter in the aisles.


The Barge People – Sunday 19th January 20:00

Director: Charlie Steeds

Writer: Christopher Lombard

Starring: Kate Davies-Speak, Mark McKirdy, Makenna Guyler, Natalie Martins, Matt Swales

Set on the canals amid the glorious British countryside, two sisters and their boyfriends head off for a relaxing weekend away on a barge, unaware of the flesh-eating fish mutants lurking in the water, ready and waiting to feed.

Another film which has proven to be a festival favourite on the festival circuit and already gained a cult following is  The Barge People which will be playing on the final day of the festival.  An bloody old school horror which director Charlie Steeds has described as a “Deformed fishy mutant mayhem on the canal, in a retro B-movie throwback to the days where the best horror was found in tattered VHS boxes on the dusty top shelves of video rental shops”. It is not one for the squeamish, but definitely one for the horror fans.

You can find the full festival listing the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and purchase tickets for the event here

Posted by Philip Rogers in Categories, 0 comments
Monster Interviews: MJ Dixon – Mycho Entertainment

Monster Interviews: MJ Dixon – Mycho Entertainment

Monster: When did you realize you wanted to be a filmmaker? Was there any defining moment when things just clicked and you knew it was something you wanted to do? 

MJ: I think it was when I was quite young. I always wanted to be involved in Filmmaking and Writing since I could remember and by the time I was 15 I had kind of come to terms with the fact that I wanted to be a Writer, a Horror Writer more specifically. It wasn’t until I left school and started helping out on a local short film that I realized that being a screenwriter was the quickest way to get what I actually wanted and that was seeing my own work on film.

I started off just trying to make stuff, which was difficult in the mid to late 90’s, as video equipment wasn’t widely available to working class families like it is now and any practice I could get was borrowing the Colleges old tv camera for an hour every Wednesday morning. I didn’t really get to start making my own stuff until 1999 when I was given the go ahead to book the camera over night. 

Instead I would borrow my friends old 8mm Camcorder and just practice with that. Filmmaking really didn’t come naturally to me and so it was an uphill struggle to figure out things like composition, lighting and narrative intent. My first films were garbage, but I just refused to quit. 

I saved my lunch money for 3 months and bought the cheapest DV Camcorder I could afford in 2002 and that led to several years of me just making as many films as I could, back then no-one cared about anything shot on Digital so if you were making shorts films, for the most part they were just for you. So I just kept making stuff and every so often would pull everything I had learned for one of University pieces. Two dozen terrible movies later I sat down and said “Right, why do these films suck?” 

It was in 2008 at that moment that I felt ready and I really knew “this is what I need to do with my life”.

Monster: Why do you make horror films? And more specifically, why slasher films? How do you continue to create such original and unique killers? 

MJ: I always loved horror films the most when I was younger. The thing with horror was that, even if it was bad, it was still good (mostly), but the horror section of the video store was the most magical and intriguing thing in world. I always gravitated toward the covers and the ideas hinted at by them and would sit and imagine just how scary these films could be. Of course, eventually I would be disappointed by some of them, but the fun was in the anticipation.

With that said, I always loved all kind of movies and I decided early on that I wanted to tackle every genre as a filmmaker at some point. I just realized that horror was the best genre to do that in, it’s a genre that you can marry with almost any other type of film. 

Slasher films, to me, are the perfection of the horror formula. The distillation of why we enjoy them and I noticed quickly that there were a great many interesting things you could do and stories you could tell by using Slasher movies as a short hand. Everyone knows them, they are the horror equivalent of a Romantic Comedy, you know the story already, so you can understand when we start fucking with the idea of that. 

Coming up with our own Slashers I always found quite easy. As I said the Horror genre, and the Slasher sub genre especially, has a wonderful short hand and so creating characters to fill that world really leans into that. Because there are so many Slasher movies, that means so many slasher villains and that leaves so many archetypes to draw from. 

Thorn is based on Hulking monsters like Jason and Myers, whilst Cleaver and Prankster are treated more like Freddy Krueger, but there are other nuances to the genre to take inspiration from like Nathan (Hollower), the reluctant psychopath or Corben (Slasher House 1 & 2) the intellectual killer and many MANY others. Strangely we also draw on other genres for our monsters and Jacob from PandaMonium takes a lot cues from James Bond, he’s smart, cool, collected and great at his job and I really liked making a slick, ‘professional’ slasher like that, that’s closer to a hitman than a disturbed individual with mummy issues or whatever.

Monster: Who are some of the filmmakers that inspire you to do what you do? Do you have any favorite indie horror directors or non-genre directors? 

MJ: In my early years I was really inspired by maverick Directors like Sam Raimi, Lloyd Kaufman, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez and basically any filmmaker who just went out and did it. I took a lot of inspiration from Kevin Smith and the way his films interconnected, I loved comic books (as he obviously does) and it didn’t take long for me to conceive that Slasher movies being interconnected would be a great idea and it had worked before with the Classic Monsters, to me it felt like a no brainer.

These days I find myself inspired by almost every filmmaker that I encounter, at any level. I think you can learn a lot from bad films, good films and even mediocre films. One of my favorite things is working on other sets, and you get to watch people make mistakes that you definitely would have made yourself and you get to learn from that mistake before you even make it. More importantly though. You get to see what people are doing RIGHT and if you can recognize that and take it home with you, then that’s a very useful thing to realize. 

It’s hard to say who my favorites are. I love anything John Carpenter (Obviously) and I’m a big fan of Kevin Smith (as I said), but I’m inspired by so many filmmakers that I find it very hard to chose even a couple. 

I hugely admire so many indie filmmakers though and learn so much from them, I really enjoy working with people like Maria Lee Metheringham, Jason Impey, Eilleen Daly, Keiran Johnson to name a few and I love what filmmakers like Andrew Jones, Dominic Brunt and Ben Manning/Pablo Raybould are doing, really adding cool new stuff to the genre here in the UK.

Monster: You currently own and operate the company, Mycho Entertainment. Where did the name Mycho originate from, and what’s its significance to you? What does the company represent and where do you see it headed in the future? 

MJ: Haha people often ask me this and mispronounce it, but its pronounced “My” “Co”. I spent the summer of 2004 coming up with a name for a new production label that would give me a clear cut off from what I’d be doing before. I liked that ‘Troma’ was a word that they just made up and so I decided that I’d try and do the same kind of thing.

My first name is Mike and one of my all time favorite films is Psycho and so ‘Mycho’ was born and people really seemed to dig it, so it stuck. 

Also, The whole point of the new name and branding was that it was to represent a fresh start for me as a filmmaker. I had spent years trying to get projects of the ground and being told “it just won’t work” or “its just can’t happen” or “its just too stupid” and I wanted to just make stuff MY way and learn for myself. So the MY in that suddenly felt like it took on a new meaning for me, it was like saying these films are My Choices and it felt like a powerful name to carry that and it has. Mycho represents just getting up, going out and doing YOUR shit. YOUR way. It’s also somewhat satisfying to see that at the front of every movie we make, knowing that it was born from people telling me “I couldn’t do it”. 

I think into the future, it’s simply a case of making sure that we carry that ethos. Life throws all sorts of things at us and the first thing to die, usually, are our dreams and we aim to make sure that the people who want to keep their dreams alive, can. We have loads of stories left to tell and we equally want to be able to help others tell their stories whenever possible.

Monster: You’re recently coming off your most successful film campaign to date. After nearly doubling the funding, what can we expect from Slasher House 3; a movie boasting 25 Slashers – something that’s never been done before in the genre. 

MJ: Slasher House 3 is our tenth Mycho feature and so we really wanted to do something BIG and special for it, out of that Slasher House 3 was born. The idea to do 25 Slashers was newer than the concept itself. Early on I knew Slasher House (2012) would be a trilogy (because I’m a big Star Wars geek so everything is always trilogies with me) and that we’d start in the middle, but the details of part 3 really came together in 2010 on set when we joked about various ‘comedy’ endings for the film.

One of them, That is unfortunately now a spoiler so I can’t say what it was, was so daft that I really start to think “What if that was the actual ending” and whilst on set I started to figure out the logistics of how that could work as a serious story and I started designing a whole host of Slashers from there, some of which ended up in Slasher House 2 (2016) and some ended up in this, but for the most part, with one change the main Slashers have been prepped and ready to go for almost 10 years. 

Ultimately that led to needing 25 Slashers for the story to work and it kind of just went from there. There was a point when it almost become 30 and I realized that perhaps that was too many. 

The things about the film is that its so full of twists that its hard to say what its about with out spoiling a lot of the surprise and as well as balancing 30+ characters, your also trying to finish a story that you’ve been telling over 3 films in a way that answers questions and keeps people surprised, I think it does that in a unique way, but I’m sure ultimately the audience will let me know if it does or not.

Monster: You’ve invented your own movie universe, aka the Mychoverse, similar to what Stephen King and Kevin Smith have done. How did the idea of your own horror universe come to fruition and do you have any special plans for the Mychoverse down the road? 

MJ: Yeah, Smith especially was a HUGE inspiration to how all this started, I always like how comic books crossed over. Guest starring IronMan or Hulk vs The X-Men, stuff like that was a big draw for me as a kid, But I felt like movies just weren’t doing that and my adolescent brain just couldn’t understand why. The thing that really cemented it for me was “What If Michael Myers visited the Amityville house?” Like would they exist in the same world? Could Jason just wander into Haddonfield? It was just pure fanboy fantasy, but Obviously I didn’t have the rights to make those movies and Fan films always seemed like A LOT of work for something that you couldn’t do much with.

I liked the idea of building a world where all those Slasher movies that you watched in the 80’s all happened and what would our modern world look like now? It was fun and suddenly I found myself charged with making up a dozen or so serial killers and monsters of my own and it was just great fun. 

From the early 2000’s I started working on a plan what I called at the time the ‘Bottom Shelf Universe” the idea was to make low budget horror stuff that would be found on the bottom shelf of Blockbuster stores, the kind of stuff that you’d pick up with your big budget rentals because they had a cool cover, and quietly we’d be building it to a crossover movie that was eventually called The Slasher House, where they’d all meet and fight it out. Hollower, Thorn and even Corben all had their own movies planned with the ending being Slasher House

I wrote treatments for all of them out and Slasher House become the idea I was most excited about. I remember sitting one night in 2005 and just plowing through the first draft of it with a bottle of vodka next to me. I spent the next 4 years refining it with the plan to start with other movies first and adjusting it every time those ideas developed more. 

In 2009 I heard that two similar sounding projects were planned to go into production, they weren’t the same thing, but they featured upfront the element that was my twist ending. I panicked and said “Ok nows the time, if we’re quick we can get this done before those other guys”. Of course, being the first proper feature film I ever made, it took almost 2 and a half years, But, luckily. those other guys never even made it to production so we made it first and then those films never followed. 

Whilst writing Slasher House I started to plot out the larger world and suddenly it became part of a bigger idea, I connected the dots to a HUGE project I’d been working on since I was a teenager and before I knew it I had a whole world of movies planned. I think it was initially 12 films but as it developed and we added Cleavers story and a couple of others its now a 16 film storyline that ends everything we’ve worked on so far. I really can’t wait for people to see how it all pans out.

Monster: Out of all the characters you’ve ever created, do you have any personal favorites and why? And who is your favorite slasher or horror villain, outside of the Mychoverse?

MJ: Thorn has always been my favorite. I created him long before the Mychoverse even had a name. I have, hands down, spent the most time developing him out any of our characters and I just love everything about him and the world that he lives in and comes from. The movies have literally only scratched the very surface of whats going on there and If I ONLY got to make Thorn movies for the rest of my life I’d be a happy man.

Outside of our stuff, it’s gotta be Michael Myers. He was the first Horror villain that I really remember watching and he scared the crap out of me as a kid. I love the Halloween movies and Myers is the reason. I try and pour my love for those movies into everything I do. 

Monster: Do you have any upcoming releases fans should be on the lookout for, and where can they follow you and stay up to date with all that Mycho has going on at the moment? 

MJ: Our previous films CleaverS and Mask of Thorn just landed on wide DVD, which has been exciting, because it means so many more people can get hold of them. Our latest two PandaMonium and Bannister Dollhouse land in 2020 and I’m really excited to see how they are received, I think they represent our best work so far.

Pandamonium has its World Premiere at Horror-On-Sea Film Festival in January and we’re really excited for that and I can’t wait to see the cast and crew again. 

From there we have so much stuff planned. SH3 is just one of the movies we plan to make in 2020 and we really like to surprise our friends, fans and followers with what we’re gonna do next, but it’s a different direction for us again. 

Plus we’ll continue to make Patreon EXCLUSIVE shorts from http://patreon.com/mycho and course a few other surprises up our sleeves.

Posted by Donovan Smith in EXCLUSIVE, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, INTERVIEWS, Monster Interviews, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments