Monday, 29 December 2014


It’s not just upcoming or brand new films that suddenly pop up on my radar as worthy of reviewing — there are a huge wealth of indie horror films that remain overlooked, not quite reaching the wider audiences that they deserve and all-to-often remaining undiscovered.
Rabid Child Films’ Swamphead is one such film.
With a premise so loopy I knew I needed to track down this film that was actually made way back in 2011 but finally distributed in the summer of last year. After a quick Facebook conversation with the guys behind the film, I was set up to review it.
Was the delay a reflection of the film’s quality or yet another sign that some people in the movie business really don’t know quality when they see it? Read on…


Dir: Dustin Drover, Justin Propp
Starring: Josh Harmon, Andrea Smith, Theodore Koepke, Shaena Friedman, Damion Drover, Ryan Smietanski, Andrew Swant, Paul Peterson

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here, but read on at your own risk.

The rather preposterous plot to this 1980s style VHS horror movie, based in the wild woods of Wisconsin, follows a local legend of an ancient warrior by the name of Robert Gross who was beheaded by native American tribesmen. Gross’s severed head was then hurled into a nearby bog.
After a snorkeler discovers the blade used to kill Gross in a lake and removes it, the decomposing head rises from the water and goes on a murderous rampage. 
Soon some local teens on a camping trip, including Steve Chesternut (Harmon), his podgy and hilariously wigged best buddy Marty Silo (Koepke) and Steve's sweet love interest Megan (Smith), find themselves fighting for their lives as the undead head becomes a devastating blur of teeth and unconvincing practical effects work...

THE BEST BITS: The rude, crude, un-PC sense of humour rubbing throughout Swamphead is easily its biggest selling-point. The film is packed with dick, fart and pooh jokes. There's even a mentally handicapped character by the name of Haun who constantly craps his pants, pretty much entirely to keep up the steady stream of turd gags. 
The laughs are the sort that you know you shouldn't find hilarious yet still guiltily guffaw at. It reminded me a lot of a long lost episode of South Park from the show's heyday. As a big South Park fan, this really is quite glowing praise!
From sharp one-liners to gross-out gags (including some really quite off-putting moobs) the humour comes thick and fast.
It is accompanied by some great gore effects too. Each Swamphead attack features veritable geysers of blood and gore and some decidedly nasty-looking, fleshy wounds as the zombified head tears into its victims with its teeth.
Seriously, the aftermath of the first attack is tremendous — a sloppy, messy explosion of offal that will make you gasp, laugh and possibly dry-heave all at once! Drover and Propp actually worked on the visual effects, so clearly these guys have a talent for creating the grotesque.
The cast are either amazing or awful — they are so terrible I really think that they are playing the role in the same daft, tongue in cheek fashion that the story is told. I especially enjoyed the performances of Harmon and Koepke, both of whom added a lot of heart of to the belly-laughs their characters provided. I also want to praise the work of Damian Drover as the macho as hell, tough guy Rick Rubbington. And while we're doling out plaudits, that name deserves its fair share too!
With this in mind, it may come as a surprise to hear that the final, lengthy stalking sequence as Steve looks to take down Swamphead once and for all actually becomes quite tense and suspenseful. How a film that features a close-up of a ’death-turd’ in a hot-tub manages that, I’ll never know, but kudos guys!
Finally, Drover and Propp really do have an eye for film (Propp also acted as cinematographer) with lots of the camerawork looking fantastic. The creepy and beautiful way in which the woodland is shot really adds to the atmosphere, making the Swamphead tale feel like a real-life local legend brought to life. The brilliant synth score just adds to the 80s VHS throwback feel, plus there's even a little live music interlude by the hard rocking and downright bizarre Machine Gun Joe, which feels EXACTLY like the sort of stupid crap that 80s filmmakers seemed to think would make their flick more hip. Excellent!

THE WORST BITS: This film is almost criticism proof on account of the fact that it deliberately and wilfully flies in the face of normal filming conventions. How can you possibly lay into a film that deliberately models itself on some of the most gloriously inept examples of home entertainment?
Much like Astron 6’s topnotch Manborg, this film is deliberately awful — which is why I imagine most people will love it!
Still, if it must be critiqued, I suppose it depends very much on taste and is most certainly aimed at a niche audience. The dark and disgusting humour may well cause offence to some, so be warned — if the sight of a mentally handicapped young man shitting his pants before an obese teen proceeds to vigorously masturbate in silhouette seems like it may cause upset, Swamphead is most certainly NOT for you!
The film is also very cheap — Drover and Propp got this movie out there by not paying anybody and, at times, you can tell. The Swamphead effects are (at times) laughable and some of the actors seem decidedly amateur, so if that is the sort of thing that ruins a film for you, well, steer clear. Personally, I thought the rough around the edges, bargain basement moments REALLY added to the film’s charm. As a fan of the the sort of classics you’d find in an enormous and overly elaborate box in the darkest corner of your local Blockbuster, this brought back some fuzzy, warm memories that left me grinning.
Finally, the atmospheric shots of the Wisconsin woodland may have added a fair bit to the film, but every now and then they felt a little overused. Still, I’d rather too much atmosphere than a soulless, cynical glossy studio flick that can’t be bothered to do anything to stand out from the crowd!

THE VERDICT: I’ll be honest, Swamphead is sloppily presented, the story makes no sense, it is morally reprehensible, crude to the point of offensive, insanely violent and, at times, ridiculous. I COMPLETELY recommend it! 
This movie is not quality filmmaking. It won’t receive any Oscar nominations. Nobody will write a detailed thesis on Swamphead… but it will build a cult audience and, more than anything, it WILL entertain you. It’s hilarious and feels like the most loving of homages to those old-school, video store doozies that we all ridiculed but loved with equal measure. You really should check it out and I for one cannot wait to sit down with Hole In The Wall to see what else these marvellous maniacs have in their bag of tricks!

Brilliantly, it has actually been released on VHS, so if you can get your hands on a copy that seems like THE ideal way to watch this bad boy. In the meantime, check out the movie’s Facebook page. Be sure to Like it while  you’re there too, these guys deserve our support!

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to!
Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


So the year is finally drawing to a close and here at the House, it’s been a big one.

A massive upturn in productivity, some great friends made and even jumping on board the social media train! In case you hadn’t noticed, I do love a Facebook like or a Twitter follow…
As if that wasn’t enough, this week, we broke the 10,000 hits mark!

So, to celebrate, here are the six most popular posts of the year.

The very British (and very good) Judas Ghost picked up plenty of awards at festivals this year and that word of mouth has clearly attracted plenty of attention. At the time I said: ‘Judas Ghost is one of the best horror films I’ve seen this year from either side of the Atlantic.’
And as popular as the film was, the review drew some hits too.


At the time, I called Rickey Bird Jr's Naked Zombie Girl: ‘a rip-roaring grindhouse throwback with blood, guts and heart’. Clearly you guys agreed judging by the number of hits the review had.
And I’m sure it had nothing to do with a certain Ms Chadeayne in a state of undress. Oh no!


Well OF COURSE a Bill Oberst Jr flick was going to show up on this list! And it was his performance and the direction of Gregory Blair that I praised in a film I rather bizarrely described as: ‘a little like a nightmarish variation of Murder She Wrote directed by David Lynch’.
Heh, not my finest writing moment, but that didn’t stop you guys from flooding to this review in your droves.


Certainly the longest title of a review this year, Tommy Faircloth’s ace slasher throwback was a film I had lots of love for. I wrote: ‘It is smart, funny, creepy and just goes to show that the era of the slasher is far from over.’ Judging from the hordes of you that checked out the review, that seems as true as ever.


A fantastic film that worked on so many levels, I was blown away by Gavin Michael Booth’s The Scarehouse. In the review I wrote: ‘Great filmmaking + great performances + great direction = one great horror movie!’
The review had a huge number of hits and Booth was even kind enough to discuss it with me at length over Facebook! The Scarehouse proved a huge hit — both with reviewers and my readers.


I had quite the wait until I was able to sit down with the supremely talented Audrey Cummings’ Berkshire County, but by golly it was worth it! In the review I wrote: ‘The clever story-telling, artful direction, cracking performances and some serious scares make Berkshire County a late contender for horror film of the year.’ And I stand by that statement. Judging by the number of hits the review has had, I reckon a few of you might agree with me!

So that’s your lot. Thank you all, each and every one of you, for propelling Hickey’s House of Horrors to the heights it has reached this year. I promise I’ll keep up the work with plenty of great reviews coming up in 2015. Merry Christmas to one and all, and a very, very Happy New Year.

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Monday, 22 December 2014

THE WEEK’S HORROR HEADLINES (15th-22nd December)

Not got time to trawl the web for all the top horror news of the last week? Well allow me to give you a bite-size breakdown of the all biggest nightmarish news!


Sad news as actress Billie Whitelaw, perhaps best known to horror fans for her fantastic performance in the role of Mrs Baylock in The Omen, passed away aged 82.
Our sincerest condolences go out to her friends and family.


Legendary Pictures’ new King Kong film has added some heavy-weight acting talent with the announcement that J,K. Simmons will be joining The Avengers’ Tom Hiddlestone on the cast. Talent’s of that calibre working on a creature feature by the same studio that made the recent Godzilla and Pacific Rim can only be a good thing. Count me in!
Read Deadline’s article on the story here.


The much anticipated horror film, It Follows has released a suitably creepy poster for its upcoming release. The movie has had rave early reviews and the buzz surrounding this pic is gathering significant Buzz. I’ll keep my eyes peeled and as soon as I can give you guys a scoop, you'll get it!


Michael Pitt will not be returning as Mason Verger in season 3 of NBC’s Hannibal. Instead Joe Anderson will take over the role. Anderson may be familiar to you from his roles in The Divide and The River. I‘m a little down on this as I loved Pitt‘s fruitloop performance in the second season of Hannibal, but let’s give the very talented Anderson some credit and wait and see shall we. In the meantime, check out that make-up job above!
Read TVLIne’s exclusive story here.


Dean Baldwin and the folks over at Abhorred Monster films need our help to get their film, The Cavern Dwellers made. Set in and based on the host of creepy legend surrounding Crank Caverns in St Helens and drawing some top acting talent from the United Kingdom.
Baldwin says: ‘The script is very much in the vain of a true British horror and we have drawn inspiration in films such as The Descent and mixed it with a little bit of the Evil Dead and thrown in a lot of black comic humour to make it as enjoyable as a modern day horror film can be. Although we are only asking for a modest budget we will not be satisfied if this film is nottop quality so we will work hard to produce this spectacular film.’
COME ON PEOPLE! Let’s do this. We’ve seen our friends across the pond succeed with the likes of Muck and Gutter Balls 2, so get over to the film’s Kickstarter page HERE and donate whatever you can. Why not get a ticket to a screening with the cast and crew for just £12?
SERIOUSLY, that's a steal! DO IT.
Also, follow the film on Twitter (The Cavern Dwellers @dwellersfilm), check out their Facebook page and give them a good old LIKE to spread the word. They need support and it is the time of year for that sort of thing!
Here’s the teaser to whet your appetite!


Boxing day sees the dvd and blu-ray release of this year’s As Above, So Below.  I’ve not seen it but word of mouth was pretty hot, so it’s worth a look! Get over to Amazon to grab it.

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.


No, not THAT one. The Ti West film is called The Sacrament and was released some time ago. This indie effort is new, playing to film festivals and picking up some good reviews.
Coming from Shawn Ewert, director of Jack's Bad Day and Property Lines and featuring The Texas Chain Saw Massacre veteran the late Marilyn Burns, Sacrament's trailer hinted at a film with a message and gleefully black sense of humour. 
Was this really the case? Read on...


Dir: Shawn Ewert
Starring: Troy Ford, Avery Pfeiffer, Brittany Badali, Cassandra Hierholzer, Wesley Kimenyi, Amanda Rebholz, Hugo Martinez, Henry Pao, Marilyn Burns, Ed Guinn, Richard Houghton, Joshua Cole Simmons, Cory Ahre, Larry Jack Dotson

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here, but read on at your own risk.

The film follows a couple of separate storylines as a group of friends, including couple Lee (Ford) and Blake (Pfeiffer) head out on a cross country trip for a holiday. When a storm-warning details their plans, the youngsters find themselves stranded in a small town by the name of Middle Spring which is just about to have an annual celebration. 
The small town folks are kind, softly-spoken and devoutly Christian — but they have a way of dealing with those who don't share their ideals and principles. We witness this first hand when dropout Jason (Ahre) is abducted while attempting to do a good deed. As Jason's situation grows more desperate and he is put through the wringer in his attempts to escape, we are given more insight into the townsfolk's plans... And the delicious barbecue they serve.

BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning):
The thing I most want praise Sacrament for is the mature way in which it treats its lead characters. The genre is not too well known for depicting minorities, especially gays in the best light. Stereotypes are all too common, but in Lee and Blake we are given a natural depiction of homosexuality. It is refreshing see two well-rounded characters whose role is not simply defined by the fact that they are attracted to men.
This was definitely helped the performances of Ford and Pfeiffer, who each brought their characters to life. Along with Pao's fun-loving but lonely Alex and the town's sinister sheriff (Dotson), these guys showed some real talent. 
The film made some fascinating points, giving us a clear and strong message about the dangers of religious intolerance, yet it kept it fun with some serious splatter and gruesome effects work. Despite the clearly limited budget with which Sacrament was produced, it manages to hit the spot with its gore shots, so more power to Hobbes LeCompte and Matthew Ash who worked on them.
These gore effects were highly evident in the subplot featuring Jason's escape from his pursuers. As he gets put through trial after trial, it all too easy to root for him, even if you're secretly eager to see what Ewert and co have in store for him next. It adds an element of unpredictable black humour to the proceedings that really enlivens the film.
Ewert is clearly a talented filmmaker. Sacrament is a story told in an assured manner and shot fantastically.
Furthermore, the film kind of acts as a Texas Chain Saw Massacre reunion by casting both Burns and Guinn. Awesome!
Finally, I want to praise the fantastic opening credits sequence. Using an old hymn over unsettling religious practices, it really set the scene for the madness to follow. Great work guys!

WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
There's no escaping it — Sacrament is a very low budget effort. With that comes certain restrictions. The film doesn't look as glossy as the big studio efforts and is decidedly rough around the edges in places. Not so much that it affects your enjoyment of the movie, but if you're a relative indie virgin and used to the polished likes of The Conjuring or Insidious, you should be prepared.
Also while some of the cast are very good, some others don't quite match up to their standards. Most are capable to very good, but there are a couple that come across as decidedly amateur at times. As with the look of the film, this is probably inevitable in a lower budget indie horror and thankfully, never becomes such a serious problem that it ruins the film. Besides, in a film where we have a bonafide horror icon like Burns, it seems a little mean to complain about any of the cast!
On a similar note, the characters aren't all as well fleshed out as Lee and Blake, with a couple of their friends and especially the Middle Spring townsfolk feeling rather one-note. Oh well, unfortunately there's only so much screentime and not every character can have a detailed and lengthy arc. I felt a little disappointed that Burns didn't have more to do, but a little goes a long way in this case!
Finally, it felt a little like the ending ran away with itself and lost a little focus. A lot of plotpoints come to a head at once, so this is understandable, especially when there seems to be a suggestion that a sequel could be on the way. The ending is still satisfying, but if you want the entire story wrapped up in a neat bow, this may leave you looking for a little more.

VERDICT: Low-budget but great fun, Sacrament is a rare thing — a splatter flick with a message. It is both tremendously entertaining and extremely witty. It combines gore, social commentary and even some twisted laughs to tremendous effect. The indie horror scene has churned out a steady stream of gems this year and I'm delighted to say that Shawn Ewert's Sacrament is another strong recommendation from me. Do check it out.
It is currently touring the festival circuit, including the UK's upcoming Horror-on-Sea Festival so get yourselves along. If you can’t make that, you can find out where else you can catch it at the film's official website or check its Facebook page. Be sure to Like it while you're there to help spread the word.

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to!
Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Friday, 19 December 2014


There really are some fantastically talented people working on horror shorts right now. Quite rightly, this new wave of extremely talented filmmakers (able to do more with less money when it comes to camerawork, editing and effects due to improvements in technology) is drawing more and more attention to what used to be a sadly overlooked medium.
With the increasing numbers of short film enthusiasts out there, it is becoming easier to find the best among them due the larger amount of reliable word of mouth.
One such short that has received an extremely favourable reputation is Red Sneakers Media’s The Last Halloween.
Based on a comicbook by Mark Thibodeau and directed by the man behind another critically acclaimed short film, Remote, this was one that I knew I had to watch.
One short Facebook conversation later and I was hooked up and all set to go. 
Was the word of mouth right? Read on


Dir: Marc Roussel

Starring: Ron Basch, Emily Alatalo, Julian Richings, Angela Besharah, Brendan Heard, Drew Davis, Jake Goodman, Zoe Fraser, Kritty Uranowski, Adrian Griffiths, Alastair Forbes, Ali Adatia

SUMMARY: This is a short, so I’ll try not to spoil too much, but read on at your own risk.

The film follows four young trick or treaters — dressed as a ghost, a witch, the devil and the grim reaper — as they roam from door to door.

It doesn’t take long to realise that there is something very wrong with the people the children visit... or is it the world that they inhabit?
Canned goods, whispers of deafening booms, signposts that point out the edge of evacuation zones — this is a world that is dying, gasping its last few breaths as the children visit house after house, asking the traditional question: ‘Trick or treat?’
In time the children come to a barricaded home, one that houses a couple as haunted by the events of the past as by the mysterious world outside. The man wants the children gone, his wife wants to ensure that the trick or treaters are safe... but who is in the more dire peril here... and why?

WHY IT WORKS: Roussel has shot this short film sumptuously. It positively exudes Halloween atmosphere, with a beautifully creepy autumnal feel. It actually reminded me of Michael Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat in terms of look and ambiance. This is very much a good thing in my book.

The world created seems to fit into both the fantasy horror and post-apocalyptic sub-genres, spinning away into new and interesting directions just as you think you’re getting to grips with it. The sets feel lived in, like real and familiar places that, thankfully, cannot truly exist because of the horrific events that have so clearly ravaged them. This is a world to which the genre we love can call home.
The story is a little out there, not quite giving us all the pieces but giving us enough to form our own opinions and theories. By reading both the comic (which is free to read over at the film's official site) and watching the film I have an idea about the plot that I love and I’m sure you will all be able to do the same.
As well as Roussel's fantastic direction and a compelling story, The Last Halloween also boasts some great performances. Genre character actor Julian Richings adds some extra class with his extended cameo as a motor-mouthed maniac, while Alatalo and Basch provide some much-needed emotional weight to their characters, giving us a reason to care for their plight after a comparatively short amount of screen time. The children (Fraser, Heard, Goodman and Davis) are also all very capable — thankfully there are no monotone shouters or stage school over-anunciators here.
All in all, this is a marvellous little film. It is atmospheric, creepy and smart enough to get you to do some of the work. If, like myself, you have a ritual viewing list for each Halloween (mine is Trick 'r Treat, Halloween and the Psychoville Halloween Special) this fits in perfectly, a great appetiser for the main courses ahead. It comes highly recommended, not just for the witching season but for the months beyond as well.

SO WHERE'S IT AT? Well the lazy among you can watch it right here!

Alternatively, head over to the film’s official site for a link to watch it for free! The site also offers the aforementioned comic, more info on the film and a host of other wonderful treats (minus the tricks, thankfully!)
As well as the official web site, check out The Last Halloween’s Facebook page. You know the score by now — give these guys a big old Like for sharing their cool film with us!

10 WORD WRAP-UP: Fantasy meets the future in this spooky, atmospheric seasonal short

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to!
Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


The lists of the critics' choices for horror movie of the year are coming thick and fast now. Along with The Babadook, Starry Eyes, Housebound and Late Phases (none of which I've actually seen, embarrassingly) I've noticed another omnipresent title: Pieces of Talent.
With a tiny budget and very little in the way of recognisable names attached, I found myself intrigued as to how it could compete with the other big hitters.
After a quick Facebook conversation with the filmmakers, I was made aware of the fact that this highly acclaimed film is available to watch FREE on its official site. MIND BLOWN.
Needless to say I wasted very little time before sitting down to take a look at it.
Would Pieces of Talent take a place on The House's best of 2014 list? Read on...


Dir: Joe Stauffer
Starring: Kristi Ray, David Long, Taylor Kowalski, Barbara Weetman, Jon Stafford, Nate Panning, Shaun O'Rourke, Joy Merrow

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here, but read on at your own risk.

Feeling a lot like a mumblecore indie romantic comedy in places, Pieces of Talent follows aspiring actress Charlotte (Ray) as she looks to escape her dead-end life, working as a waitress in a rundown strip club and sharing a home with her hard-drinking mother (Weetman).
One day she witnessed a man taking a harsh beating from a bouncer outside her place of work and steps in. After she gets him away from the angry doorman, the man introduces himself as David Long (played by, um, David Long).
Long is a hippy filmmaker, looking to create a true piece of art and together the pair of them think they may have found the perfect partner for their aspirations.
The problem is David is a serial killer, recording each murder in an effort to create his true masterpiece — and Charlotte is the muse he has been looking for.

BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
More than anything, Pieces of Talent is an intelligent film. A genre defying twisted romance and witty deconstruction of the creative process in Hollywood, with art house sensibilities, this film is proof that there are intellectual, creative artists working in our beloved genre. When next you face a sneering naysayer who decries horror as 'large breasted teens making stupid decisions and getting slaughtered by masked maniacs in unconvincing gouts of gore', show them this film.
The intelligence carries over into the writing, the film never contradicts itself or stretches credulity — it progresses naturally towards points that make sense, a sturdy, assured plot path driven by well-realised characters and dressed in the fancy aesthetics of indie cinema.
Throughout the film we are shown Long's short films, each a wonderful piece of visual poetry in its own right but sensibly providing further comment on the actions on screen, offering us clues to what lies ahead and further insight into our characters, particularly the twisted David himself.
Long is a revelation in the role. Like  the twisted love child of Harry Knowles, Bill Bailey, The Big Lebowski's Dude and Elijah Wood's Frank in Maniac. He veers from likeable, goofy stoner to sadistic psychopath with disconcerting ease. He is a unique and terrifying movie monster, one whose fanatical vision to create real, pure art would be applauded if it didn't involve the brutal decapitation of his collaborators.
Of equal note is the wonderful Kristi Ray as Charlotte. It is impossible to not fall for her, a sweet and naive girl who so desperately seeks to escape the hand she has been dealt. Cute and kind, it is easy to understand how Long could find himself drawn to her and even easier to fear for her well-being as he gets nearer and nearer.
It isn't just the work of those in front of the camera that hits the spot — Stauffer's direction deserves serious credit. Some shots are breathtakingly beautiful, even when at times the film sinks to some very ugly places. As a hilarious jab at the more morally bankrupt sectors of the film making business (particularly with Kowalski's preening diva actor and Stafford's arrogant, obnoxious producer, the film is the blackest of comedies) but the blossoming relationship between Long and Kristi really carries the film and the mouth-watering camerawork in their scenes together really is a joy to behold.
Finally, the murder scenes. Both grittily realistic and visceral, yet at times grimly humorous, like the character of Long they are a schizophrenic monster that will leave you unsteady and on edge — which is exactly how it should be. Bravo, Mr Strauffer!

WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
It seems almost churlish to look for flaws in a film such as this one, but that is what I am here for. However, do let me stress that these faults are very minor and will most likely come down to personal taste.
With that in mind, let's start with the first and most obvious — the unique and artistic feel of this film will be offputting to some. If you want to put your brain in neutral and sit down with some splatter, come back to Pieces of Talent when you're prepared to give it some proper thought. It isn't a beer and pizza film (please don't take this as an attack on those films, I love them as much as the next man!), it is one that deserves peace, quiet and your undivided attention. Some may find this a bit much, in which case, go in peace.
Also, while the film was beautifully shot and the leads were superb, some people may find its low budget presents some barriers. It is undoubtedly a little rough around the edges at times but I found that just contributed to the film's charm, providing a striking contrast to the moments of beauty. 
Also not every member of the cast hit Long and Ray's (admittedly pretty lofty) standard. Some of the supporting players slipped occasionally, but thankfully these moments were few and far between.
Finally (and I'm loathe to discuss this) the ending. I hate to reveal this  so if you are sensitive to that kind of thing, do not read on. SPOILER***** The ending features a 'To Be Continued' notice. Some people may feel a little gipped by the ending, but this is one place where I'm totally going to step up and bat for Stauffer et al. The character of Charlotte sought fame as a means to find escape from the life in which she had become trapped — Long, while fulfilling his own warped needs, gave her one without the other. In many ways this ending which at first can seem anticlimactic is THE perfect ending for the story. As such, I loved it *****SPOILERS END

VERDICT: Earlier in this review I mentioned Franck Khalfoun's Maniac and Pieces of Talent feels like a sister film to that modern day masterpiece. Both films carry a deeply disturbing darkness, a gritty and almost sordid realism, yet they are presented which such artfulness that they captivate and spellbind the viewer.
I am not overstating it when I say that Pieces of Talent is a film all fans of our genre should watch. It may be more cerebral and esoteric than most other horror films, but it is for precisely this reason that I believe it deserves to reach a wider audience.
Sumptuously filmed, fantastically acted and witty, bleak yet sweetly personal, this film is a genuine must-see. Find it, NOW, and watch it. I have something beautiful I want you to see.

Amazingly, this film is online and free to watch via the film's official website. As if that was not enough (and really bloody well is), the site also offers a cool trailer and a short but brilliant Meet David video in which we are introduced to the maniacal character of Long. Finally, the film's fabulous soundtrack is also available on the site to listen to — also for free. Schauffer and his wonderful team have done this to raise money for his proposed sequel A Missing Piece. If you do watch the film, don't be tight now. Make a donation so we can all be treated to more of this brutally lovely story. And why not visit the official Facebook page while you're at it? Give it a like and help spread the word. This really is a word that deserves spreading.

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to!
Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.