The Ceremony Is About To Begin

The Ceremony Is About To Begin (2024)

The Ceremony Is About To Begin seen at Panic Fest 2024 Director/co-writer Sean Nichols Lynch’s The Ceremony Is About To Begin opens with a series of monochrome interviews, each captioned with both the subject’s forename and, in scare quotes, the adopted name of an Egyptian god. For these are all ex-members of the Osiris Collective, a…

Punk Samurai

Punk Samurai (Pankiu-zamurai, kirarete sôrô) (2018)

Punk Samurai (Pankiu-zamurai, kirarete sôrô) first published by Little White Lies, as entry 172 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Punks are that bit of rough on the edges of clean society – the disruptors and agitators who, like the ancient Cynics, flout rules, defy convention and wave their arses  in the face of respectability. Perhaps their…

I Am A Channel

I Am A Channel (2024)

Brian Wiebe’s debut feature I Am A Channel concerns the rise and transformation of an influencer, played by its co-writer Christine Vrem-Ydstie. The influencer is both a relatively new phenomenon (given that they mostly peddle their mesmeric imprint online), and a figure of contradictions, unquestionably, indeed definitionally popular yet also often deeply despised. Like moving selfies,…

Trauma Therapy Psychosis

Trauma Therapy: Psychosis (2023)

The opening sequence of Trauma Therapy: Psychosis shows a mannequin bound to a wheelchair in a giallo-lit basement room whose walls are graffitied with swastikas. A man enters and smashes the dummy’s head off with a baseball bat – only for real blood to be revealed pouring from the body. It is an apt introduction…

Eldritch USA

Eldritch, USA (2023)

Eldritch, USA had its international première on Sat 28th Oct at the Halloween FrightFest “Dude, this is not a horror film,” Geoff Brewer (Graham Weldin) insists some way into Eldritch, USA – yet his best friend Colin Fischer (Cameron Perry), a nerd who knows the tropes of horror films inside out, remains unconvinced, discerning, in…

LFF Cult 2022

Primal scenes and personal perspectives: LFF Cult 2022

Primal scenes and personal perspectives: LFF Cult 2022 first published by BFI Includes capsules of: You Won’t Be Alone, The Origin (retitled Out of Darkness), Attachment, The Kingdom Exodus, New Normal, Linoleum A film’s cult status is normally defined by a peculiar kind of audience reception (repeat viewings, fanatical audiences) that has been acquired over…

Malum

Malum (2023)

Malum opens with a diptych of horrific sequences from 2022. In the first, police-seized footage shows four abducted young women being terrorised in the barn of a pig farm by the members of a Manson-esque cult whose leader John Michael Malum (an understated Chaney Morrow) evidently causes the video to blur and distort by his…

Here For Blood

Here For Blood (2022)

Here For Blood had its international première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2023. Here For Blood begins with young student Elise (Holly Jade Balmer) jogging to her suburban home, only to discover her girlfriend bleeding out in the shower, and a masked man waiting nearby who stabs her multiple times in the chest. This bloody prologue,…

#chadgetstheaxe

#chadgetstheaxe (2023)

#chadgetstheaxe had its international première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2023. The title of Travis Bible’s #chadgetstheaxe both pinpoints and ambiguates what we are about to see. On the one hand, its lower-case, space-free hashtag formatting promises a film set in the online world of social media, YouTube influencers and vlogging – and sure enough, this…

Amulet

Amulet (2020)

Amulet first published by Sight and Sound, March 2022 Review: As a soldier digs a latrine in the woods near his remote border post in an unnamed, war-torn Balkan country, he unearths a small statuette of a pagan mother goddess – the titular ‘amulet’. This prologue to actress Romola Garai’s feature debut as writer/director introduces…

Waking Karma

Waking Karma (2023)

Waking Karma opens with two text quotes that set out its stall. The first is from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, a tragedy of incest and parenticide, and of fate that cannot be avoided no matter how hard it is resisted. The second cites the instructions given by Charles Manson to his cultish hippie ‘family’ as they…