Jeffrey's Hell

Jeffrey’s Hell (2024)

Jeffrey’s Hell seen at Panic Fest 2024  “So, the Mars story,” says filmmaker Aaron Irons at the beginning of Jeffrey’s Hell, in a monochrome to-camera piece that a caption reveals was recorded in 17th Sept, 2020. The Mars story dates back to a decade earlier than that, when Irons, fresh out of college, submitted an…

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…

10 Autumnal Horror Films

Ghostwatch (1992)

Ghostwatch first published by Little White Lies, as entry 163 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Viewed in its original setting and context, Lesley Manning’s Ghostwatch was an extraordinary, ground-breaking experiment. Aired by the BBC from 9.25pm on the 31st October, 1992, it professed to be a live paranormal investigation of “the most haunted house in…

Going Nowhere

Going Nowhere (2022)

Most things starts with a seed. Going Nowhere starts with a film called Seed – the labour of love of writer/director Izzy Shill (played by writer/director Isabel Shill, whose 2020 short Face to Face Time played SXSW). Izzy has been toiling for the last decade on the script and storyboards for this “intimate neo-noir working…

The Once and Future Smash

The Once and Future Smash + End Zone 2 (2022)

The Once and Future Smash + End Zone 2  had their world première at FrightFest 2022 This is a diptych of films: first the sequel End Zone 2 (1970), a proto-slasher which, though now mostly obscured by time and with its final half hour unwatched, forgotten and apparently forever lost, has obviously and directly inspired…

A Cloud So High

A Cloud So High (2022)

A Cloud So High had its world première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2022 A Cloud So High opens with a classic establishing shot: a road sign for Schooner, California that situates the viewer in a highly particularised place. It then shows local ex-cop and realtor Gene ‘Sackler’ Sarling (John Savage, The Deer Hunter) listening to…

Marathon

Marathon (2021)

According to legend, in 490 B.C.E. a messenger ran without stopping from Marathon to Athens to report as quickly as possible the improbable victory of the Athenian army against the overwhelming numbers of an invading Persian force, and dropped dead after giving the news to the Assembly. This 26-and-a-half-mile dash would become the model for…

Antrum

Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2019)

The allegory of the cave in Plato’s Republic figures the unenlightened as prisoners locked away in a dark subterranean chamber who imagine that the shadows they see artificially projected on the wall before them are reality, while in fact the only reality is in the sunlit world outside and beyond their perception. Unsurprisingly, this philosophical…

Knot

Top Knot Detective (2017)

Top Knot Detective first published by SciFiNow Do you remember Shazaam, starring comedian Sinbad (aka David Adkins) as a wish-granting genie? It is a film so quintessentially Nineties, so evocative of that decade’s DTV zeitgeist – and so similar to 1996’s Kazaam, starring Shaquille O’Neal – that even those who haven’t seen it feel as though…

Clanker

Clanker Man (2017)

“I’m not a miracle worker,” declares Terry (Eli Silverman) at the start of Clanker Man, a mockumentary short (which Silverman co-wrote) from Ben Steiner (The Stomach). Maybe not quite as good at his job as he imagines himself to be, but making up in dedication for what he lacks in competence, this urban field worker…

The Atticus Institute

The Atticus Institute (2015)

The Atticus Institute first published by TwitchFilm Straddling the grey area between found footage and faux documentary, The Atticus Institute purports to investigate the events leading to the sudden closure of an underfunded centre for parapsychological research in 1976, and the disappearance, maybe even demise, of its founder Dr Henry West (William Mapother). Present-day interviews with West’s former…