Friday, 27 February 2015


One of 2012’s finest horror flicks was Scott Schirmer’s low-budget, indie effort, Found. A hauntingly personal film about a teenager who suspects his older brother is a serial killer, it went to some seriously dark places, many of which were featured in the fake film within a film, Headless.
A grim and gruesome homage to the sadistic Grindhouse slashers of the late Seventies, Headless felt all too real... so real, in fact, that fans started to clamour for a real world version of the film.
Well, Schirmer and Found’s special effects guru Arthur Cullipher listened and — following a successful crowdfunding campaign — Headless was produced and will make its world premiere this weekend… but you don’t need to wait until then to hear all about it.
Read on…


Dir: Arthur Cullipher
Starring: Shane Beasley, Kelsey Carlisle, Ellie Church, Dave Parker, Kaden Miller, Matt Keeley, Emily Solt McGee, Jessica Schroeder, Olivia Arnold, Brian Williams

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

Shane Beasley reprises his role as the unnamed Killer, a demonic deviant obsessed with brutal murder, cannibalism and necrophilia. He is guided in his bloody 1978 rampage by a spooky, imaginary child, Skull Boy (Miller), who appears to him in visions. We are also given glimpses into his terrible childhood as the film progresses with both Miller and Keeley playing the Killer during his younger years. We witness the killer’s abusive mother (Solt McGee) and older sister (played as a child by Arnold and as a teen by Schroeder) heap a host of torments on the boy. 
Meanwhile, back in 1978 Jess (Carlisle) is a girl who has her share of problems. She loves her boyfriend Pete (Parker) but as a budding musician with not much in the way of prospects, she inevitably ends up supporting him while he and his bandmates smoke weed and fritter their lives away. She has a good friend and confidante Betsy (Church) at the rollerdisco where she works, but her sleazy boss Vic (Williams) makes her job as unpleasant as possible. 
But these problems will soon pale into insignificance when she comes to the Killer‘s attention…

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): I imagine not one review of Headless will fail to mention how seriously hardcore the movie it is.
Seriously, this is one of the bloodiest, goriest splatter flicks I have ever seen. The acts of depraved violence in this film will cause even the most jaded of horror fans to gasp. Furthermore, this veritable volcano of viscera is realised purely through good, old-fashioned practical effects and it feels all the more dirtily realistic for it.
I don't want to spoil the shocking scenes awaiting audiences, but we have decapitation, eyeball eating, dismemberment, violent neck-stump sex and decomposition for starters, with even worse in store. Looking to emulate the most mean-spirited and vile Grindhouse slasher movies from the video nasty era of the late 70s, Headless surpasses itself when it comes to acts of truly horrifying horror. If you want a genre film that will hit you hard and shock you, one that will cause the gorehounds to howl with happiness, THIS is the one for you.
It isn't just in the blood and guts that Headless captures the feel of cinema from the period — the attention to detail, the small things, the very look of the film all make this feel like a genuine long-lost slasher from '78. It contains plenty of nods to those flicks, such as the seminal Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Last House On The Left, but brings its own original, yet eerily familiar horrors.
This is due in no small part to Leya Taylor's top notch cinematography, giving the filmstock a suitably battered and worn feel while still giving the flick a unique and disturbing style. Nathan Erdel's writing also perfectly suits the films of the era, spinning a deceptively simple (albeit intense) tale despite the non-linear flashback and hallucination sequences. This is helped no-end by the performances of the cast.
Many of the actors in this film seem to be willingly and deliberately channeling the slightly awkward delivery of late 70s films. Most of the characters aren't particularly well-rounded (which I believe is through design to maintain authenticity) but very few of the cast feel like they are hindering the characterisation of their role.
Of the cast there are a couple of real standout performances, most notably the likeable Carlisle, who imbues her character with enough personality to ensure that you can't help but root for her. With her cute looks and more than capable acting talents, she's definitely one to watch in the future.
I also really enjoyed Williams' turn as dirtbag 'Slick' Vic. He's clearly having a whale of a time in his role as a thoroughly repulsive character and his enthusiasm really shines through.  I particularly enjoyed his interaction with the sassy and charismatic Church, a great actress who very nearly steals every scene she's in.
An even more reprehensible character played with equal aplomb was the lovely Schroeder's Big Sister. She's clearly relishing the chance to play a thoroughly vile individual and her sterling performance oozes with sadistic glee.
Compliments should also go to Beasley who is an awesome screen monster. When out of the skull mask he bears a not-inconsiderable resemblance to Bill Moseley's Otis a la The Devil's Rejects and, despite his intense brooding features and intimidating frame, is actually able to provoke sympathy, occasionally howling like a wounded animal and breaking down into a sobbing wreck as he ponders his life and actions until this point. It is a committed and accomplished performance from a surprisingly good actor. And once the mask goes on Beasley transforms, making this practically a double role. The Skullfaced Killer is a terrifying, diabolical individual, practically skipping with demented joy as he stalks and tortures his prey before bathing in their blood and violating their remains. If the unmasked killer is slow, reluctant and haunted, the masked killer is the other side of this coin, not just remorseless but revelling in his depravity.
Speaking of duel roles, arguably my favourite performance was that of young Kaden Miller. Normally child actors cause me to worry about a dip in acting quality when they appear on screen but Miller blew away any fears about his performance within seconds.
As the younger killer he was superb, eliciting plenty of sympathy, coming across as scared, confused and sad in equal measure, without ever overplaying the role. He was truly brilliant as the victim who would become a victimiser, but it was his other role that really stuck with me.
While in character as Skull Boy (this is the name I've seen given to the spectral vision child in the information surrounding the movie, thankfully nobody actually calls him that) Kaden Miller has little to do, but my word he makes it count.
A silent role (aside from the very rare moan and some truly unsettling clicks and clacks from his jawbone), Miller still makes the character shit-your-pants frightening. Using creepy body language from insistent pointing to innocent, childlike frolicking the effect, when combined with the AWESOME skull make-up effects is truly unsettling.
As I mentioned elsewhere, the practical effects work (from Beasley, Cullipher and a team of very talented individuals) is jaw-dropping, especially during some of the later kills and the nightmarish climax. Credit must go to Cullipher's pacing, he opens the film with a bang, then steadily ratchets up the horror until a terrible conclusion that will haunt you for days. This is assured filmmaking at its best, especially when it would have been all too easy to let the brutal excesses of the movie run away with it. Kudos, sir.

Finally, THAT trailer. Please make this film.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): I'm not going to beat around the bush —  Headless will not be to everybody’s taste. The acts of extreme violence, sexual depravity, intensity and general filth will be too much for some. Headless isn't some limp, 15 or PG13 Cert teen horror date flick — this is a throwback to the darkest, dirtiest days of the genre. If your stomach isn't strong enough, walk away now because this will kick your ass into the middle of next week. Hell, the copious amounts of ruptured eyeball goo were almost enough to turn my pretty hardened guts. You have been warned.
I also think it's worthwhile taking the time to warn fans of Found that this IS NOT a sequel to that film. If you saw the Headless scenes in Found, that is what you are getting. This doesn't have the same rich depth and moral and emotional dilemmas of Schirmer's movie, but then it never set out to. This is a deliberate attempt to recreate the excessive Grindhouse horror experience of a foregone era, NOT a follow-up to a very modern and complex indie film. Set your expectations accordingly.
With that in mind, the flaws of those films are inherent in this. I mentioned a relatively simple plotline earlier (one with its fair share of holes to boot) plus some slightly awkward performances and clunky dialogue. Trust me when I say, it really does have these in more than ample supply.
Honestly, I believe these are all intentional to better match the feel of movies made during the late Seventies and early Eighties (and compared to some of the genuine pictures from that era these are FAR superior), so it actually heightened my enjoyment of the film, but it may be a little off-putting to fans of more polished, modern horror who are unfamiliar with the down and dirty efforts of yesteryear. In a way, Headless is above such criticism as it willingly embraces these 'faults', but if this sort of thing grates, you may have a problem with them here. Just be prepared.

THE VERDICT: Honestly, I LOVED Headless. Not just in a nostalgic, throwback way but as a legitimate horror film in its own right. It totally hits all the right notes to feel like a gritty, gory long-lost slasher, yet deftly avoids the descent into pastiche, remaining its own film throughout. 
It is dark, disturbing, frightening and features a great cast, brilliant pacing and some of the very best splatter effects I've seen in a very, very, very long time. Headless won't be for everybody, but the hardcore fans WILL take this to their black and ghoulish hearts. I definitely recommend it.

The film gets its World Premiere at Cultureshock in Indianapolis on Saturday 28th February. Visit the official Headless Facebook page to find out where you can catch the movie in the weeks ahead. While you’re there, give the page a Like to show some support too. This was made for the fans, so show them some love!

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.

Thursday, 26 February 2015


Some of my more regular readers may have noticed I’ve got a lot of love for John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Hell, I recently called it the greatest remake EVER!
So I love when other people show their love for this legitimate masterpiece by mashing it up with other flicks. I got a massive kick out of seeing Pingu Meets The Thing a couple of weeks ago, but this work (by genius animator Lee Hardcastle once again) takes it one step further, combining the icy, snowy isolation and horror of The Thing (more specifically, the blood testing scene) with the icy, snowy isolation and toe-tapping catchy music numbers of Frozen.

Yes, the Disney, ‘Let it go’, Olaf the snowman one.


Check it out and be sure to hit up the very talented Mr Hardcastle‘s official web site immediately.

Anybody out there got anything similar for me? Send it my way!

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.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


With the incredible-looking Sky Sharks on the way, the success of The Woman In Black 2 and the recent news that Hayden Christensen has joined the cast of upcoming WWII horror movie Untöt, it seems the current and pretty damn great trend for mashing horror and war films together is still going strong. 
So, with a wealth of weird Wartime horrors out there, which are worth your time?
Read on…

Michael J Bassett, 2002

I’ll be honest, this isn’t a great film, mainly down to the script. The story, following a group of British soldiers in the First World War who attack a german trench only to find the occupants already slaughtered, sounds good, but unfortunately is let down in execution. However, what it does have is a gritty, grimy and frighteningly realistic take on the trenches during the most catastrophic loss of human life in modern history. You can practically taste the mud and dirt plastered over everything and the smell the bitter blood in the air. 
Propelled along by an eclectic (but also electric) cast, including Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell and motion-capture monster master Andy Serkis, the movie enthrals through the manner in which it makes the horrors of war frighteningly real. Serkis is a frightening real maniac, but even he fails to terrify as much as the grimly realistic trenches themselves. Well worth your time.

Steve Barker, 2007

This British film has inspired a budding franchise, with two well-received sequels already released.
Steve Barker’s original flick follows a group of mercenaries as they embark on a mission for a wealthy businessman to a fabled Nazi bunker in search of a mysterious artefact that the SS used as a part of bizarre occult rituals.
A low-fi, low-budget grim and grimy straight-faced horror flick, this works precisely because its otherworldly, malevolent and undead antagonists are genuinely scary. With a small cast, steady assured direction and a focused, intense storyline, this one does the job. It isn’t spectacular but it is imaginative and, most importantly, disturbing.

Richard Raaphorst, 2013

Sometimes a film comes along that totally flies in the face of expectation and succeeds all the more because of it. Frankenstein's Army treats the subject of Russian troops invading a Nazi base and recording it for propaganda purposes as a crazy, creature feature thrill ride and it totally works.
The creature design work is amazing and as the film hits its most outlandish moments the whole movie feels a lot like a live action take on a first person video game a la Doom or Quake. With that it becomes one of the coolest found footage flicks of the last decade.
The design work on these nightmarish creatures is totally jaw-dropping (the effects work to bring them to life is pretty damn fantastic too) and the script manages to accommodate these monsters without it ever feeling forced. A top film and one that is more than a little deserving of a sequel.

Su-Chang Kong, 2004

I’ve long been a fan of Asian horror, and R-Point offers something different to the seemingly endless stream of long-haired vengeful female spirits that have come to define Far Eastern cinema. This Korean horror film is set during the Vietnam war and focuses on a small piece of land with significant tactical value to various military forces through the ages. However, the land has seemingly become cursed, with numerous armed forces entering and disappearing. After a number of radio transmissions emanate from the area from seemingly lost soldiers, a battalion is sent in to investigate.
This is a fantastically atmospheric film, combining the almost otherworldly jungle of Apocalypse Now with the decidedly otherworldly dreamlike woodland of The Blair Witch Project. The film is legitimately creepy and beautifully shot by Kong. It is quite rightly held in very high esteem by critics and I completely echo that view. If you haven’t seen R-Point, you really should do so. It is fantastic.

Tommy Wirkola, 2009

Never before have I been struck with a similarity to the classic horror-comedy hit of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead as strongly as I was when I watched the sheer awesome that is Dead Snow. I’ve heard amazing things about the sequel (which I’ve yet to see), but this Norwegian splatter flick knocked my socks off. 
Taking the ridiculous premise of medical students on a ski holiday who accidentally awaken undead Nazis frozen in the frost and running with it, Tommy Wirkola’s kickass grossout gore comedy is a tour de force of blood, guts and gags. It is worth the price of admission purely for the intestine abseiling scene!
This a real must-see horror-comedy hybrid, up there with Evil Dead 2, Peter Jackson’s Braindead/Deadalive and Edgar Wright’s Shawn of the Dead.

Michael Mann, 1983

Michael Mann directs a Lovecraftian Nazi horror movie starring Gabriel Byrne, Scott Glenn, Jürgen Prochnow and Ian McKellan.

Read that sentence again.

How can this film be anything BUT a massive winner? I’ve heard complaints that the sound mix has become a barrier to enjoyment for some as Tangerine Dream’s (admittedly over-loud) soundtrack can stifle some scenes but the plot (based on a novel by F. Paul Wilson) , some sterling performances by a world-class cast and Mann’s trademark icy cool, intense direction make this an all-time classic.
It is NOTORIOUSLY difficult to track down to watch (mainly due to the fact that it hasn't had a DVD release yet!) but can be watched streaming from Amazon. Do it, immediately.

Monday, 23 February 2015


So this is a horror movie about a group who decide to get away from it all in an idyllic cabin in the middle of the woods.
Sound familiar? 
This time it really isn’t. Trust me.


Dir: Steve Kopera
Starring: Mike Kopera, Bo Keister, Angela Relucio, Melissa Mars, Luce Rains, Mark Rademacher, Jackson Thompson, Alice Sherman, Richard Riehle

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

Uptight Todd (Kopera) and slacker Bruce (Keister) are a pair of aspiring screenwriters who show little promise and even less in the way of inspiration. Despite near universal condemnation for their latest work, they are thrown a lifeline when Todd’s wealthy uncle, Sarge (Riehle) offers to bankroll their movie IF they can come up with a compelling script.
With the rent due and their imaginations floundering, the pair decide to head to Shangri-La, a remote retreat for artists deep in the woods.
Upon their arrival the pair are acquainted with the proprietor, Monroe (Rademacher), his assistant Lacey (Sherman), flamboyant french mademoiselle Celeste (Mars), earnest writer Mindy (Relucio), pretentious musician Larson (Thompson) and creepy oddball Jasper (Rains).
When tragedy strikes and members of the group start to die in a series of suspicious accidents, Bruce encourages Todd to stay at the the cabin to draw some grim inspiration — and also on the off-chance that the pair might get laid.
What is happening in the cabin? Are the deaths really accidents? And will Todd ever finish his epic screenplay — The Cabining?

THE BEST BITS (minor spoiler warning): Right off the bat, let me stress that The Cabining is a horror-comedy, not a traditional horror flick. And, unlike a lot of genre hybrids, this one actually remembers to be funny!
The dialogue between the two leads is excellent and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud hilarious oneliners zinging back and forth. The meta premise of guys in a cabin in the woods writing a film about guys in a cabin in the woods could come across as unbearably smug and self-aware, but instead the balance has been found between referencing the genre and in-jokes and telling a new, unique story. The film often draws close to parody before a well-placed plot-twist or line of dialogue reins it back in. Great work, Mr Kopera!
A lot of the humour is derived from the superb characterisation and, not least, sometimes fraught relationship between Todd and Bruce. Thankfully, Kopera and Keister are charismatic and capable enough to help bounce that relationship along. Keister will undoubtedly get a lot of the plaudits, his character is the flashier, the louder, the most in-your-face. He is great as man-child Bruce, delivering his funniest lines with gusto and also showing a real flare for physical comedy. However, the reason Bruce works so well on screen is because of his straightman, Kopera’s Todd. Todd is the more sensible, the more sympathetic and a lot of the laughs come from the numerous ways that Bruce finds to get under his skin and cause his control to slip, even if it’s only temporarily. Both men understand this and both absolutely nail their performances.
However, they aren’t the cast members to hit the spot. Both of our leading ladies, Mars and Relucio are great (and undoubtedly pretty easy on the eye!), Mars oozing sophistication and sexiness while the cute and likeable Relucio makes for a wonderful love interest. 
Rounding out the top cast are the more cartoonish characters as brought to life by Rademacher and Rains. Monroe is a camp caricature and Rademacher recognises this, bringing his key character traits to the fore without ever really overplaying them, while Rains is awesome in his comparatively small (but very important) screen time as the spooky, suspicious Jasper, suddenly appearing whenever you least expect it with a fine demented air.
Furthermore, during the movie there was actually one very clever bit of story-telling trickery that completely wrong-footed me. This doesn’t happen too often, so I have to raise my hat to the filmmakers here.
So yes, there's plenty of wit and great character work, plus a very smart script, but what may surprise you is that the film has some fantastic gore effects. The movie is clearly low-budget, but that doesn’t get in the way and a couple of the gore scenes give so-called ‘serious’ horror flicks a run for their money. This is genuinely great work from Troy Holbrook and Krisz Drouillard.
Finally, I want to praise the look of the movie. Low-budget movies often have a grimier feel, but this is surprisingly polished. The cabin and its leafy surrounds are shot in a professional way and never seem poorly lit (a constant bane to indie horror) and the cinematography by Jeffrey T Schultzis assured and well-controlled. 

THE WORST BITS (minor spoiler warning): Perhaps the biggest problem with The Cabining is that, for a film about horror, it isn’t actually very scary. I understand that wasn’t the tone the filmmakers were going for — instead focusing on the humour and smarter storytelling than screams and stabbings —but aside from some gross-out gore gags, there was little in the way of legitimate horror on display in a movie that seems to be marketed as horror-comedy more than a simple comedy. I didn’t much mind this, because the humour was so very well executed and the story pretty compelling, but if you like your flick high on frights and splatter and low on laffs, it’s best you go in warned.
Also, while I praised the majority of the cast, a couple of those involved were a little less polished in their performances. Everybody involved was enthusiastic as could be, so it certainly wasn‘t down to a lack of effort, just the odd line here or there clunked. I suppose this is only to be expected in a lower budget flick and the fact that there are so many good performances compared with the odd misfire is really quite an achievement. 
Another minor gripe I had with the film was that it felt like it took a little while to get going. Don’t get me wrong, from the point that our hapless heroes hit Shangri-La, the movie was all gold, but it did feel like they took a little while longer than was strictly necessary actually getting there. As funny as the yoga and screenwriting class scenes were, either one could have been excised quite easily. Perhaps a little longer in the editing room could have fixed this, giving us more time to get to know the characters in the cabin before they start to meet their sticky ends?

THE VERDICT: I really enjoyed The Cabining and totally recommend it to you all. It‘s funny, smart and has a pair of great, likeable leads that I’d love to see more of in future screenwriting misadventures. It gives the audience a wonderful insight into the thankless work of the horror movie writer, plus presents us with a great whodunnit with plenty of clever twists and turns along the way, all with some groovy gruesome gore thrown in for good measure.
The film is available on DVD now, so head over to its official web site to order yours. While you’re at it check out the movie’s Facebook page and give it a Like to show some 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! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

THE WEEK’S HORROR HEADLINES (16th-23rd February)

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!


Amazing casting news from V2 Pictures’ unofficial Night of the Living Dead sequel, NotLD: Genesis, Matt Cloude is bringing back star of the classic original movie, Judith O’Dea as Barbara.
I love Romero‘s original trilogy and news doesn’t get much more exciting for me. What do you think, stunt casting or cool homage?
Read Bloody Disgusting's story here.

20th Century Fox has reached a deal with Neill Blomkamp to bring his Alien film to the big screen! It will be developed separately to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel and is a sci-fi fan’s dream. 
Blomkamp had Sigourney Weaver onboard when he first touted the idea of this project, so it will be interesting to see if she is still set to star.
Great news!


Video on demand service Stan is developing a six-part web series based on Aussie horror flick Wolf Creek!
Star of Wolf Creek and its sequel, John Jarratt is expected to return as movie madman Mick Taylor in the Screentime and Emu Creek Pictures production.
I dug both Wolf Creek movies, so if this brings the extreme down and dirty nature of those to small screen, I am DOWN with this. 
‘Welcome to Australia, cocksucker!’


Do you like Chucky? Want to see more of the world’s favourite Good Guy gone bad?
Of course you do!
With that in mind, I think you may well like what series maestro Don Mancini had to say on his twitter feed recently…


Honestly, I’m not making this up. Marctropolis’ upcoming Sky Sharks is poised to make Sharknado look a bit tame. The official synopsis follows:

A team of Arctic geologists stumble across an abandoned laboratory in which the Nazis developed an incredible and brutal secret weapon during the final months of WW2 .
Deep in the ice, they accidentally awake a deadly army of flying zombie sharks ridden by genetically mutated, undead super-humans, who are unleashed into the skies, wreaking their bloodthirsty revenge on any aircraft that takes to the air.
An elite task force is assembled to take on this deadly threat and stop the Sky Sharks from conquering the air, but as time runs out, the task force realises they will have to fight fire with fire, and the stage is set for the greatest flying super-mutant zombie shark air battle the world has ever seen....


This week sees the UK cinema release of what is set to be the biggest horror film of the year, It Follows.
Read my review here, then be sure to check it out this weekend.

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.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Early word of mouth suggests that It Follows is poised to be the biggest and best horror film of the year. It has drawn a significant amount of praise and, with its release date looming in just over a week‘s time, anticipation levels are skyhigh.
I was lucky enough to be able to catch a preview screening of the movie with director David Robert Mitchell and stars Maika Monroe and Daniel Zovatto in attendance at London‘s BFI Southbank cinema. Could the reality possibly match the overwhelming hype?
Read on…


Dir: David Robert Mitchell
Starring: Maika Monroe, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Lili Sepe, Olivia Luccardi

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

Jay (Monroe) is a pretty, fancy-free girl in her late teens who lives with her cute and fun sister (Kelly) and rarely present mother. She has a new young man in her life, Hugh (Weary) who, despite an odd outburst on a date at the cinema, is handsome, sweet and everything she is looking for in a boy.
After finally sleeping together one evening, Jay's life is turned upside down when Hugh suddenly drugs her and takes her to abandoned building, ties her to a wheelchair and explains the truth behind his bizarre behaviour — he has become desperate to escape a relentless supernatural entity. He has been pursued by a merciless killing machine, invisible to all but those who have been cursed by the being that stalks its prey at a slow, steady walking pace but never rests, never gives up and never ever shows any mercy. And now, by sleeping with Jay, he has passed the curse on to her.
At first she doesn't believe his outlandish tale, but after witnessing the entity in the shape of a naked, bloodied woman stalking inexorably towards them, her nerves are shaken.
After Hugh dumps her in the street outside her home, Jay's friends rush to her side — including funny bookish Yara (Luccardi), handsome rogue Greg (Zovatto) and Paul (Gilchrist), who has clearly carried a torch for Jay for some time.
What follows is a constant game of cat and mouse as Jay and her friends try to stay one step ahead of the murderous being as it takes a number of forms, some familiar to Jay, some just otherworldly and terrifying.
What is It and can it be defeated? And if not, will Jay pass on the curse to save herself?

THE BEST BITS: One of It Follows' biggest strengths is easily the wonderfully original premise. First we had STIs, now it seems we have our first STC — sexually transmitted curse.
The slow, relentless stalking shapeshifter is a very creepy antagonist, which (combined with the nature in which the curse is passed on) makes It Follows one of the most unique and fresh feeling horror films in some years.
The story, written by director Mitchell, was based on a recurring bad dream he had during his childhood, and that best sums up the mood of the movie — it feels like a waking nightmare. This is heightened by the bizarre world in which the film takes place. It is written as if it is not of any particular era, with clunky analogue TVs showing nothing but old black and white movies and cars from years gone by, yet the characters have mobile phones and Yara uses an e-reader that doesn't even exist yet. It makes the world seem familiar, yet strange enough that it keeps the audience wrong-footed throughout.
The fantastic writing is continued through the characterisation — these are a group of realistic and, for the most-part, likeable youngsters and they respond to the danger in which Jay finds herself in ways that (unlike the vast majority of horror flicks) won't have you smacking your forehead and screaming at the screen. It's nice to see that the group are quick to get Jay's back and form a protective circle around her. In a film in which very few adults are shown (and even fewer are much help) Jay's friends fill the void.
The characterisation is aided immensely by the talented young cast. Sepe and Luccardi are both adorable, making their's characters you can't help but root for, while Zovatto walks the fine-line between cocky and charming like a pro. He's going to go a long way.
Gilchrist is given plenty to do, at times breaking the unbearable tension with some fine comic delivery, at others provoking real sympathy for his unrequited love. At first seeming dorkish, when the shit really hits the fan he is able to transform Paul into a real heroic character. Excellent work.
Of course the star here is the wonderful Monroe. Pretty and charismatic, she is also a wonderful actress, she is able to convey so much in just a look or gesture. There are points in the film where whole internal monologues play out on her face, her internal struggle and thought process readable through the subtle shifts in her expression. That's not to say that her line-delivery isn't perfect too, because she is never anything less than believable and engaging. With this role and the one in Adam Wingard's The Guest, Miss Monroe has built a hell of a lot of credibility with genre fans. 
I mentioned Gilchrist's character's humour breaking the tension and that mounting feeling of dread throughout the movie is something that needs further discussion. Much like the monstrous Follower, the oppressive and paranoid atmosphere is unrelenting from the point that the Jay contracts the STC.
This is due in no small part to the fantastic vision of Mitchell and his director of photography Michael Gioulakis. They use a significant number of wide shots, leaving vast expanses of open space around our characters which grants us the ability to see The Follower loom into view in the background, stalking ever closer to potential victims. It's a clever technique in which to keep the audience permanently on edge. This also allows us to see lots of the Detroit setting, whether it be the leafy, mundane and safe suburbs or the run-down, dangerous city itself, giving the film even more character. Mitchell's direction and vision is wonderful, the wide shots cranking up the feeling of isolation, yet there are some close shots that have drawn well-deserved comparisons to John Carpenter. The use of blocking in some scenes is amazing, really heightening the claustrophobia of the scenes in which characters find themselves trapped indoors. These include one pant-fillingly terrifying scene in Jay's bedroom, matched only by the heart-stopping Cat People-esque swimming pool scene. 
Finally, the Carpenter likenesses continue in Disasterpeace's awesome and distinctive electronic score. This is a proper horror score that is able to escalate from cool and melodic into overwhelmingly discordant and disturbing. There are scenes on this movie that are turned into the stuff of nightmares due to the awesomely creepy soundtrack. This is a score that will become an undoubted genre classic, I guarantee it.

THE WORST BITS: Okay, this is a tough one to criticise, but I did have a couple of minor qualms. First, while I praised the soundtrack (quite rightly) for its awesome Carpenter vibe, there were a couple of occasions during the film when it actually felt a little intrusive. They were few and far between, but there was a couple of scenes in which the intensity of the music seemed to escalate quicker than the events onscreen, leading to an almost melodramatic feel. I'm sure plenty of other viewers will disagree with me but to me it was a bit much at times.
Second, while I loved the originality of the plot, I did feel that Mitchell et al could have explored the mythos a little more. I don't need (nor do I want) a full and detailed explanation for everything in the movie — far from it, I prefer some mystery to my horror — but it feels that more could have been done with the haunting premise. Perhaps some ideas have been kept in reserve for a potential sequel, as Mitchell has said he has more ideas for this story, whether it be with these characters or a new group. It certainly doesn't ruin the movie as its singular focus on a relatively straight forward plot line and comparatively small core of characters only makes it a more focused and intense scary experience. I think it says a lot about how much I dug this world that I wanted more of it!
Finally the ending. I cannot, nor will I spoil the film and discuss this in depth, as quite frankly I don't think that's fair. However I will acknowledge that I think some people will express frustration at the conclusion of It Follows. I disagree, quite strongly with this stance — some of you may wish to stop reading here, but I feel that given everything we are shown and told about the nature of the curse, plus the strong focus on character and relationships, this is probably the only ending we could have. There is resolution, yes, just not necessarily the resolution that many of you may expect. I praise Mitchell for his storytelling and for delivering a truly memorable and logical conclusion. 

VERDICT: It Follows has probably been a little damaged by the insane levels of hype it has received. I was expecting a brand new genre classic, the likes of Rosemary's Baby, The Haunting or Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It doesn't quite hit those frankly unrealistic levels of expectation, but it is still a quite excellent horror movie. It feels fantastically unique, like some kind of strange genre mashup in which the characters from a John Hughes-style Breakfast Club-esque coming of age dramedy find themselves cursed a la Takashi Shimizu's Ju On by way of John Carpenter's grimy early classics. Awesomely shot and acted, with a kickass story and soundtrack, this is an easy recommendation, if only to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!
The film hits UK screens on 27th February, so while you wait, check out the film’s official Facebook page and give it a Like. Support our genre's big hitters, it's a surefire way to ensure that we will get more imaginative and interesting horror efforts in the days ahead.

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, 16 February 2015


I’m going to try something new here, a theatre review.
I know, a few of you may find this an odd thing to discover here at Hickey’s House of Horrors, but those in the know are aware of a number of chilling stage plays out there. Obviously the long-running Woman In Black is showing no signs of ever running out of steam, but last night I had the pleasure to visit The Arts Theatre, London to watch the critically acclaimed Ghost Stories.
In its final month before closing, could the show that promises to mix ‘the very best of theatre with the buzz of a thrill ride’ possibly live up to that level of hype?

GHOST STORIES (originally presented 2010, performed February 2015)

Dir: Jeremy Dyson, Sean Holmes & Andy Nyman
Starring: Paul Kemp, Simon Holmes, Paul Kendrick, Tristan Beint, Alexander Nicolau

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: It is vital that I don’t spoil any of the show's big secrets, so I’m going to keep this pretty vague.

The show takes the form of a talk on parapsychology delivered from one Professor Goodman. As he speaks on the nature of ghost stories and belief in the supernatural, we are presented with key examples of these stories from his research — including the tales of down-to-earth night watchman Tony Matthews, skittish young student Simon Rifkind and boorish banker Mike Priddle.

VERDICT: I have long been a fan of the works of both writers: Jeremy Dyson (especially the amazing League of Gentlemen) and Andy Nyman (he was awesome in both Dead Set and Severance and I like his creative work with Derren Brown, such as Seance), so I went in with pretty high expectations.
Ghost Stories blew them away.
The story is compelling, terrifying, clever, terrifying and, at times, very, very funny (but mainly terrifying). Dyson and Nyman are undoubtedly horror connoisseurs and the play is packed with subtle nods to some of the greatest genre tales. 
There is a fine seam of humour running throughout the script, it is used as a fine tension breaker at times, coming in the form of reactions and even jokes delivered by characters but also in certain character traits (I know I will be unable to resist putting my mobile phone in my pocket in a distinctive manner from now on). The characterisation is wonderful (undoubtedly helped by the fantastic cast who were uniformly absolutely brilliant — there was a standing ovation from plenty of audience members at the end, myself included, and it was completely deserved) with Professor Goodman, our lead, a likeable and engaging speaker and host for the proceedings.
I cannot say too much about those proceedings themselves (nor would I even dream of spoiling them) but suffice to say the shocks and scares are so pulse-poundingly chilling that I was physically shaking when I stepped out into the night air of Great Newport Street.
With some truly wonderful set design work from Jon Bausor accompanied with nightmarish sound design by Nick Manning and heart-stopping special effect work by Scott Penrose, the play is an all-out hardcore fear assault on the senses. 
I LOVED it. This run is scheduled to end on 15th March 2015, so there's still time to check it out. Head over to the show's official web site here to get tickets.
Still unsure? Don't be.
If you have half an interest in horror, be it classic genre literature such as the works of Algernon Blackwood, Ramsey Campbell or M R James, or cinematic spinetinglers such as Dead of Night, The Haunting or Rosemary's Baby, you NEED to see Ghost Stories.
If you have half an interest in well-produced theatre, you NEED to see Ghost Stories.
If you have half an interest in rich, beautifully told storytelling realised by a top notch cast, you NEED to see Ghost Stories.
And finally, if you want to experience a truly frightening live action work that shames most so-called horror cinema, YOU NEED TO SEE GHOST STORIES.
Just prepare yourself for sleepless nights to follow.
You have indeed been warned.

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.


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!


There's FINALLY a new Halloween movie on the way!
It‘s being described as a 'recalibration' rather than a remake or reboot (I’ve no idea what that means, either), but most exciting, it's being written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston, the creative team behind several of the Saw movies and The Collector/Collection!
Read Bloody Disgusting’s story here


Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo have been cast to co-star with horror legend Bruce Campbell in Starz’s Ash vs Evil Dead. It seems that the showrunners are adding some younger eye-candy to work with Campbell, but, as long as they‘re 'Groovy’, I’m down with that!
Read Fangoria’s story here


Capcom have announced that the new Resident Evil HD Remaster is the fastest selling digital download in the company’s history in both Europe and North America. 
I’ve not polayed the game yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about the latest (oldest?) outing from the king of Survival Horror.
Seems there’s still life in the undead after all. Now how about an RE2 Remaster?


Neill Blomkamp, director of District 9 and Elysium, may get the chance to make his dream Alien movie after all! After sharing a tonne of concept art earlier this year (most of it very, very cool indeed!), it seems Fox are keen to sit down and listen to his ideas. Whether this would come to fruition after Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel, remains to be discovered, but Blomkamp has already shown real sci-fi vision, so this is one to watch out for!
Read Collider’s story here

Ryan Murphy (he of American Horror Story and Glee fame) has released the teaser trailer for his new series, Scream Queens, a horror-comedy starring none other than slasher movie icon Jamie Lee Curtis and AHS and Scream 4’s Emma Roberts.
Watch it below!


If there‘s only one film to check out this week, it’s the long-awaited home release of The Babadook. You can read my review of the film right here, and you can pick up your copy from Amazon right here.

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.