Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Horror, by its very nature, can be extreme. To provoke a truly visceral response, it is sometimes necessary to disgust, to traumatise, every bit as much as you seek to scare the viewer.
These types of film can be truly powerful, although the depths to which they sink can shock and offend those less accustomed to such movies.
Doug Gerber and Caleb Pennypacker's Crazy Murder will shock. It will brutalise the viewer.
So, do you have the stomach to read on?


Dir: Doug Gerber, Caleb Pennypacker
Starring: Kevin Kenny, Mark Hunt, James Quall, Brandon Ropati, Jamie Greco, Samantha Bogach

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much but continue at your own risk.

After some onscreen text reveals the depressingly high instances of mental illness among New York's homeless community, we follow one such individual, The Killer (Kenny) for a year, with the movie split into four chapters, one for each season.
In each we follow the killer as he aimlessly wanders the streets of the City, bellowing nonsensically at anybody and everybody who comes near, eating whatever filth he can find, regularly shitting himself and smearing it all over himself and, on occasion, brutally and violently murdering innocent passers by.
There really isn't much more to it than that, but that really is more than enough.

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Crazy Murder is a gruelling experience. It isn't a feel-good film, it isn't a light-hearted jovial teen slasher with a few jump scares and a neat happy ending — this is a film filled with vile, often volcanic expulsions of bodily fluids and horrific senseless violence.
Gerber and Pennypacker shoot the film as if it were a documentary, the camera unflinching as it follows Kenny's Killer about the grimy, dirty streets of New York City. This terrible realism, both humdrum and understated, yet hideously repulsive, is an effective and powerful tool. This is the real world, but it is also hyperreal, a chilling movie representation of the filthy underbelly of society that we fear may be bubbling away, just out of sight.
Of course, some of the worst horror in this movie comes from the fact that this situation, this lunatic could all too easily be real, roaming the streets but ignored. How many times will city workers walk past a ranting, raving homeless man on a street corner? How many times will police gently shoo these men on? And who is to say that one of those is not disturbed enough to act out on haunting, nightmarish fantasies?
Gerber and Pennypacker have done an incredible job at getting the viewer to examine society and our role in caring for those who most need guidance and protection. It can be easy to look at Crazy Murder as a steady stream of blood, shit and puke, but that is to do the film an injustice. Yes, the film features an utterly vile amount of body functions, but it has a message. Underneath the stomach churning exterior there is a deadly serious question at the core: how long until this fiction becomes a reality?
Of course, the film and its message are only as believable as the central character and no review of this movie will be complete without examining and praising the incredible work done by Kenny. A real revelation, Kenny provides us with an utterly committed, dedicated performance. He is stunning, sad but without redeeming features, sometimes he's even funny, but most of the time he is utterly terrifying. This is an almost animalistic role, the frightening irrational unpredictability of a mind completely without reason. The audience has no way of knowing what The Killer will do next because it really feels like he has no idea himself. He could just as easily lay down to have a nap as start to slice at his own penis with a knife... or worse. The bravery with which Kenny throws himself into the role is admirable, his dedication brings this deeply disturbing cinematic creation to life.
There are other strong performances in the film but we should make no bones about it, this is Kenny's show.
However, that isn't to say that Kenny is the only memorable character in the movie — thanks to the cinematography and assured vision of Gerber and Pennypacker the city itself becomes not just a location, but a player itself in the events of the movie. Bringing the bustling, thriving, teeming streets of the Big Apple to the viewer, the camera transports you to the city's less savoury streets and alleys.
As visually striking as NYC is, it is the moments of depravity that will stick in the mind after viewing this film. It isn't entirely without humour, but these scenes can be extremely distressing. From multiple slashed throats, heads caved in with bricks, even infanticide, the parade of gruesomely, gory violence is pretty relentless and it is effectively presented. The effects work is often top notch, the bloody wounds frighteningly lifelike while the stomach-churning explosive diarrhoea that the Killer regularly sprays over his surroundings is horribly realistic.
It is this handful of disparate elements: a stunning central performance, a simple but haunting message, a dark and disturbing view of the world's most famous city and genuinely disgusting imagery that make Crazy Murder work.
It is an experiment in abject, senseless, poetic but starkly nihilistic horror. On that level, it is a resounding success.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Crazy Murder is the most extreme title I've reviewed here for this blog. It isn't an enjoyable film, in fact it's quite the struggle to keep watching at times. This will not be for everybody. In fact, I imagine there are scenes in this movie so vile that they are not for anybody. If you are squeamish, there's a very real chance that Crazy Murder will be too much for you to take. Only the most hardened and desensitised of horror viewers need apply.
I am actually quite impressed by the experimental nature of the narrative, foregoing a more traditional story structure, instead giving us a look at a deeply damaged existence with little to no meaning for this. I imagine this will irritate plenty of viewers, those who will see it as simply a series of horrifying images with no story. I can understanding that criticism but I think it could be argued that this is very much about the telling of the story, rather than the tale itself. It is about the journey, not the destination. I can take this, but I know some cannot. Be warned.
The one element of this 'experience-over-explanation' approach that did misfire with me was that, for a spell, the movie seemed to become a little repetitive and actually started to lose its ability to shock. However a sudden drastic escalation with the aforementioned infanticide and the Killer's transformation into a duct tape and blade 'superhero' soon ensures that jaws are once again dropping... and with a vengeance.
Finally, while Kenny is astonishing in the film, there are a couple of bit-part players here who are decidedly stilted and unconvincing. Obviously this is a micro-budgeted effort and that brings its own limitations. Sadly some of the acting appears to have been compromised as a result. Luckily very few roles have much screentime besides Kenny, so these don't form a serious barrier to 'enjoying' the film.

THE VERDICT: Crazy Murder is as difficult to review as it is to watch. I'm faced with quite the conundrum — should I recommend a movie that I know will shock and offend a large percentage of the audience? Furthermore, if a film's driving purpose is to shock and brutalise the senses of the viewer, should it be called a success for doing so?
I'm of the opinion that art should provoke an emotional, even a visceral response in the beholder. I think horror is a far more diverse genre than many naysayers give it credit for. There is room for lighthearted, silly as hell gory fun (just look at my glowing reviews for the likes of Zombeavers and Junk Bonds as evidence of that!). But there is also room for true horror, that which sets out to genuinely horrify. WIth that in mind, I'm going to recommend Crazy Murder, but with a caveat. This film will not be for everybody, but as a gutpunch of sickening cinema, a legitimately gruelling watch, this is a true 'experience'.
Want to test your mettle? Start here. You may not enjoy it, but you will never, ever forget it.

Should you feel brave enough, you can check out the Crazy Murder Facebook page for more info. Give it a Like too, show these guys that their efforts are appreciated. If you want to take the plunge, you can buy the movie here.

Also, 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.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


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!


Mimi Rogers is joining the cast of Starz's Ash vs The Evil Dead! She will feature alongside Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless in Sam Raimi's TV adaptation of his hit movie series.


Platinum Dunes' Brad Fuller gives us an update on the new Friday the 13th film — including that it WON'T be found footage after all! I don't hate the FF sub-genre yet, so that wouldn't have been a deal breaker, but I'm glad to hear that they are listening to fan feedback.


Robert Kirkman has shared some info on AMC'S Walking Dead spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead, including the series' place in the WD timeline. Prequel you say...


If The Walking Dead doesn't sate your appetite for shuffling undead on the tellybox, you'll be delighted to hear that Demarest is producing a TV adaption of Marvel's Empire of the Dead, penned by no-other than grandfather of the zombie genre George A Romero himself.


Last week I reported that David Lynch WOULD be returning with a new season of Twin Peaks... and now I'm happy to say that he's revealed the season order has been doubled from nine to EIGHTEEN episodes!!!! 
Wow, Bob, wow!


THE big release this week is the critically acclaimed, groundbreaking, Lovecraftian romantic horror — Spring. You need to watch this, so buy it Amazon here.

Also this week genre fans can look forward to the release of British zombie film, Darkest Day. Always good to support UK filmmakers, so buy it at Amazon here.

If that isn't enough End of the World entertainment for you, this week also sees Goodbye World hit the DVD shelves. Buy it at Amazon here.

And finally, we have the grim and macabre mystery of the ominous The House Across The Street, starring none other than Eric Roberts! Buy it at Amazon 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.


British Horror again, this time a found footage effort that will be released in just a week's time. 
I've seen some great Brit flicks recently and some that are decidedly less so.
With a wide-release and plenty of backing, I went in to this one with high hopes. So is this a film that cuts a dash? Or is there room for improvement?
Read on…


Dir: Warren Dudley
Starring: Parry Glasspool, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Lydia Orange, T.J. Herbert, Jason Rhodes, Mkaya Carrigan, Louisa Adams

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much here but continue at your own risk.

Media students, cocky and laddish Raz (Glasspool), sweet Jess (Orange) and the smart, no-nonsense Charlie (Quinlan) have to make a documentary, complete with behind the scenes footage for their course.
After taking some advice on the subject from their tutor, filmmaker Mark (Herbert), they choose the subject of cyber-bullying. However, soon their amateur investigatons lead them into the case of missing local girl Rosy Clarke.
When the three start to suspect that Rosy's creepy older boyfriend Seth (Rhodes) may be involved in not just this but the disappearance of another young woman, they realise they could be on to a dream project and dig a little deeper, determined to document the whole thing.
Will they discover the truth about the girls? Will their efforts bring them some unwanted attention? And have they got in over their heads? 

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): At its core The Cutting Room is an interesting horror/thriller hybrid. Giving us a believable and credible reason for its 'found-footage', the plot is advanced by the documentary part of the students' film while the characterisation is fleshed out in their interaction during the 'making of' scenes. It's a simple but clever idea, and should be applauded.
The mystery itself is pretty compelling, although the genuinely unnerving opening scene gives us a pretty good idea of what has befallen the missing girls. Equally, the characterisation is pretty strong with our main trio all well drawn and given enough screentime and dialogue to establish themselves and their personalities.
Hollyoaks' Glasspool is undoubtedly given the most, with plenty of amusing lines (most notably his on the nose impressions of Danny Dyer and a familiar scene from The Blair Witch Project). He's a pretty damn good actor and with his looks I'm sure he'll have plenty of female fans who'll be picking this up when it's released next week.Orange is likeable as 'the nice one' of the group and doesn't put a foot wrong throughout her performance. I expect we'll be seeing plenty more of her.
I was also very impressed with Quinlan. She plays the feistier, more emotional member of the group and was utterly believable in the role. She is quite the talent, handling some charged and challenging scenes with aplomb. She is definitely one to watch!
Rhodes is also very good, layering just enough menace on his character without turning him into a moustache-twirling pantomime villain. He doesn't have a huge amount of screentime, but he does an admirable job with what he has. So too does Herbert as the students' put-upon course tutor. Good work, gentlemen.
As I said earlier, The Cutting Room is a thriller/horror hybrid and as good as the thriller scenes are, it really goes up a gear at the point that the film moves into the horror section in the abandoned army barracks later on in proceedings. The sets and locations, from the dense woodland surrounding the barracks to the labyrinthine bunker system certainly add to this. They are tremendously atmospheric and very claustrophobic, which does a massive amount of the work for Dudley. That's not to say that Dudley isn't a skilled director — far from it. In the past I've discussed how making a found footage film in a believable way is a genuine skill, that crafting a film which doesn't seem too contrived and maintains the realism of the concept  that found footage is built upon requires significant talent.
Dudley has this talent in spades. He also has a superb knowledge of the mechanics of crafting a scare. The use of building tension, of timing, not just using what the camera shows but what it keeps hidden — lesser directors do not understand this and their movies fall flat. Dudley crafts his frights perfectly, making the climax of the film a legitimately creepy experience. Dudley also wrote the picture and his story is actually cleverer than you may expect. It's not just in the plotting that follows a perfectly logical narrative and never betrays its own internal logic, or even the twists in the tale. What struck me as very smart was the way that the very final scene, when pondered in more depth, gives the viewer plenty of reasons to re-examine and re-evaluate everything that has come before. It's more than just a nice mystery, it raises a lot of questions about filmmaking itself.
Finally, I adored the soundtrack to the film, in particular the use of Barrie Gledden and Kes Loy's In The Mood For Food. The quirky, 1920s style number is used to perfection during the opening scene of the film, it's light-hearted whimsy marvellously juxtaposed with the horrific events occurring onscreen. Much like the way Tiny Tim's Tiptoe Thru The Tulips uses an out-of-time eeriness an creepily childish innocent to make the scares of Insidious all the more haunting, In The Mood For Food is a fantastic complement to the scenes it accompanies. Kudos to whoever found and attached it to this movie.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Well, The Cutting Room is a found footage film. I know plenty of readers will see the dreaded 'Double F' and instantly dismiss the movie. If shaky cam and shadows appearing then disappearing from POV is something that guarantees you'll roll your eyes, there's not much here that will change your mind. In the movie's defence, the obligatory credulity-stretching 'why the Hell are they still filming?' section is kept short and most of the footage feels like a real student documentary, but be aware that the pitfalls that come with the subgenre are still present.
While I was a fan of the cast, I did feel that at points the characterisation was a little off. For example, Raz is involved in a romantic relationship with one of the young ladies but it wasn't very strongly presented at all. In fact, when he introduced his 'girlfriend' at one of the group's interviews I actually went 'Oh, really?' 
I can't help but feel that an extra five minutes of interaction between the couple could have helped flesh this out and added some extra emotional weight during the film's climax.
On a similar character note, I liked Raz's laddishness most of the time but on a couple of occasions he slipped into a cartoonish Inbetweeners place. There's a fine line between being a bit rude and just being a pervert and he veered perilously close to crossing it at times. In films such as this it's important that the audience sympathises with and likes the main characters, and Glasspool has to work very hard indeed to ensure that his character doesn't just come across as a sex pest.
Finally, the film has a nice twist in the tail but, unfortunately, I thought it was a little easy to see coming. Obviously I don't want to spoil it here, but I'd be interested to hear if any of my readers knew what was coming too. Do let me know!

THE VERDICT: I liked The Cutting Room and I can think of far worse ways to spend an evening than with this deliciously dark little effort. Warren Dudley manages a nice balancing act and combines an enthralling mystery with a genuinely disturbing horror flick. Fans of Glasspool will undoubtedly flock to this, and if you want a cool, clever Brit flick (and haven't yet been burnt out by Found Footage), this is well worth your time. 
If you're interested, be sure to check out The Cutting Room's Facebook page. Give it a like while you're there too, Dudley et al deserve it.
Alternatively, if this review has convinced you to take the plunge (and I very much hope it has), you can preorder your copy at Amazon here. Get clicking!

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.

Friday, 22 May 2015


I don't just watch a lot of horror here at the House — I read a hell of a lot of sinister fiction too.
While Stoker and Shelley are quite rightly hailed as writers of legitimate classic novels, to me there are three fathers of modern horror.
The first of these is HP Lovecraft, whose unique, otherworldly, SciFi-influenced writings spawned a whole new genre.
The second is M.R. James, the man whose works are quite simply among the very finest, most atmospheric supernatural tales from the Victorian era, a time in which the ghost story was an art form.
The final one is Edgar Allan Poe. THE master of psychological horror, Poe's Gothic stories of madness, obsession and the macabre are masterpieces.
Several of Poe's works have already been adapted for the big screen, with efforts as widely varied as Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum and the Cat From Hell segment of Tales From The Dark Side.
Now there's another movie to add to the list, and this one adapts not one, nor two, but three of Poe's most famous works. It is the aptly titled Tales of Poe.
A fine theme for an anthology indeed, but could directors Bart Mastronardi and Alan Rowe Kelly do the great man's work justice?
Read on...


Dir: Bart Mastronardi, Alan Rowe Kelly
Starring: Debbie Rochon, Lesleh Donaldson, David Marancik, Alan Rowe Kelly, Desiree Gould, Joe Quick, Michael Varrati, Andrew Glaszek, Randy Jones, Brewster McCall, Douglas Rowan, Amy Lynn Best, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Susan Adriensen, Jerry Murdock, Cartier Williams, Bette Cassatt, Caroline Williams, Adrienne King, Amy Steel

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much here but continue at your own risk.

Tales of Poe is split into three segments, the first of which is based on The Tell Tale Heart. Set in a mental asylum we follow a new inmate (played by Hickey's House of Horrors fave Rochon) as she is introduced to two fellow patients, the childlike Fritz (Marancik) and tough Evelyn (Donaldson). When pushed as to how she got there, Rochon's Narrator reveals that she was a nurse and was tasked with caring for an elderly star of yesteryear, a silent movie ingenue named Miss Lamarr (Kelly). However, it is just a matter of time before the intense loneliness of the work starts to take a toll on the nurse's sanity — with deadly consequences.

The second segment, The Cask, is based on Poe's The Cask of Amontillado. Wealthy wine mogul, Fortunato Montresor (former Village People musician Jones) is finally marrying his partner, Gogo (Kelly again). However, as the party are joined by an unexpected guest, old friend Marco (McCall), the ailing Fortunato is taken ill… and then the manipulative Gogo's true colours come to light.

The final segment, Dream, is based on Poe's poem of the same now. A far more experimental take on Poe's work, it is largely without dialogue (the only lines spoken are the poem itself) that follows a sick young woman, the Dreamer (Cassatt) who experiences a series of surreal visions as she lies between life and death. These visions feature a host of top actresses including Caroline Williams (who will be familiar to genre fans for her roles in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and 3, Leprechaun 3, Halloween 2 and Hatchet III); Amy Steel (Friday the 13th Part 2 and April Fool's Day) and Adrienne King (Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2, The Butterfly Room and Silent Night, Deadly Night: The Homecoming).


THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Well obviously one of the very best things about this anthology is the tremendous source material. Poe was a master at telling creepy, fucked up and haunting horror stories that could crawl inside your head and haunt you for days and writers Kelly, Mastronardi and Varrati run with that vibe. Each part of Tales of Poe tells a classic story, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. The writers and directors provide clever twists to these stories, giving them a fresh life while still showing a suitable degree of reverence to the source material. This is wonderfully executed and really helps to hook the audience.

Obviously, like any anthology some segments are stronger than others, but this is one particular film where I imagine there'll be quite a lot of debate as to which is the best or weakest segment. There's a huge amount of room for personal taste and, as each segment has such a different feel to the others, there's plenty to entertain the viewer in one part of the movie, even if they aren't particularly into one of the others.
But let's discuss these segments, shall we? The first, directed by Mastronardi, feels more like your classic old-fashioned horror movie, carried along by a pair of incredible performances and some stellar visuals. I've been a big fan of the the lovely Rochon for some time and I'm going to say this might well be my favourite of her roles yet. She brings boths scariness and sexiness to the role, exuding that trademark toughness she does so well but also hinting at a mental fragility that is ultimately destined to lay everybody low. I've raved more than enough about Rochon before, so let's just say that everything I've said about her in the past holds up here, but even more so. She's fantastic.
I didn't realise just how familiar I was with the supremely talented Alan Rowe Kelly's work prior to watching this movie, but the prolific filmmaker and actor has worked on several films that I'd seen and enjoyed. After seeing him once again in this film (both as Lamarr and Gogo) I shall be looking out for anything else with his name attached. 
One of the cleverest things that the crew did with this tale was to flip the gender roles, making the protagonist and victim female in this version of the tale. It added a whole new side to the story, especially the infamous closing scene of the Narrator's tale in which a nosy policeman investigates.
As well as a compelling take on the story and some awesome performances, this is a visually stunning piece of film. With Argento-esque lighting and cinematography, it looks sumptuous, each scene evoking the mood of damaged Narrator. Of the three tales, this may well have been my favourite, it's that good.
The second has a quirkier, more outlandish feel. With Kelly having a massive part both in front and behind the camera, this feels more showy, more theatrical, with an OTT campness and Grand Guignol feel that I absolutely loved. The story spins The Cask of Amontillado out into a shockingly horrifying melodrama — in the very best sense of the word! It had an air of seminal anthology flick, Creepshow about it and combined its flamboyant characters and some wonderful sound design (especially the way in which Fortunato's haunting whistle shifts from an object of annoyance to utter terror by the end of the segment) and again comes with some extremely strong acting to hold the segment together. McCall is a polished and capable actor and completely nails his role, while Jones' work was a real surprise to me. I'd not seen him act before and had concerns that this could be some wacky stunt casting, but my concerns were misplaced. He was excellent in the role, infusing his character with enough manic energy to keep him entertaining yet never overplaying the role and descending into caricature. It's a difficult balancing act but one that Mr Jones walks with ease. I may not have seen him act before, but after seeing his wonderful work I shall definitely be looking out to see more of him in the future.
Yet as great as McCall and Jones are, the MVP of this segment is the truly incredible Kelly. He was pretty damn good in first part of the film, in this he's an utter revelation. Cold, calculating, oozing with a smooth charm and cold hatefulness in equal measure, Kelly is just brilliant. Bravo!
The final segment, Dream, may prove to be the most divisive. Obviously the Allstar cast is impressive and each actor accounts for themselves to their usual incredible standard. Visually it is mesmerising, combining some quite beautiful locations and sets with quality, confident camerawork. It has an arthouse feel, a riot of colour and shade, rife with symbolism. 
I praised the cinematography earlier and it's worth reiterating that Azmi Mert Erdem, Bart Mastronardi and Dominick Sivilli hit a high standard in all three segments of this movie. This is not a particularly high budgeted film but this crew, along with Kelly's inspired production design, ensure that it always looks marvellous. Kudos.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): There has been a tidal wave of overwhelmingly positive reviews for Tales of Poe. While a lot of this praise is certainly due, I'm not sure that it's entirely deserving of the hype it has received. Perhaps this hype raised my expectations impossibly high, but the fact is that the film is not entirely without issues.
While the stars are all excellent, some of the supporting players are noticeably weaker than their more established colleagues. I suppose that's only to be expected when you manage to assemble a cast this talented.
Often anthology films feel overly long. I really do believe that horror works best in short sharp shocks building tension then springing its scares before the fear can wear off or fade. As many anthologies try to squeeze in five or more tales the runtime ends up padded. When I saw that Tales of Poe consisted of just three stories I breathed a sigh of relief, confident that the movie would be a punchy affair. Alas, despite this comparatively small number of stories, it still clocks in at close to two hours long.
This isn't necessarily an overly long runtime for a horror movie but it wasn't helped by the fact that it felt like each segment could easily have lost anywhere from 10-15 minutes without cutting anything too important.
Unfortunately I found this to be especially true of the Dream segment. While its brave attempt to deliver something a little different to the usual horror fare is certainly to be applauded, there were a couple of points at which it definitely felt like it was dragging rather than building towards any particular goal. I'm sure there will be plenty of viewers who will call Dream one of the greatest anthology segments they've ever seen (it is certainly one of the most imaginative), but alas it didn't quite tick every box for me.
But then that's the wonderful thing about true art — it provokes thought, discussion and debate. In this regard Dream, and Tales of Poe as a whole, is a resounding success.

THE VERDICT: Despite plenty of imagination, style and talent Tales of Poe is not the miracle that some reviews are painting it out to be. However, for precisely those reasons, it is a very, very good one. Thought-provoking and well-made, it is a feast for the eyes with a sterling cast and some real wit and imagination. If you're a fan of Poe (and what Horror fan isn't?), this is an easy recommendation. However, if you're unfamiliar with the great man's work you could do a hell of a lot worse to familiarise yourself than starting here. Either way, if you find yourself with the chance to watch Tales of Poe, you should do so — pronto.

To find out more about how you can catch the film, head to its official Facebook page. Give it a Like while you're there too, these guys deserve 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.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


I've reviewed some seriously smart and thought-provoking films here at the House. From the arthouse experience of Coyote to the stunningly poetic Pieces of Talent to the searingly insightful Julia — these are the sort of films that show horror can be as much about brains as blood.

Junk Bonds: The Return of Junk Bucket, sequel to 2008's micro-budget Junkbucket, is not this kind of film.

What it is, is the story of a penis-nosed, castrated psychopath, a group of strippers and their closet heterosexual driver, cannibals, recreational drug use and LOTS of severed dicks.

Ladies and gentlemen, Junk Bonds...


Dir: Stephen Lange
Starring: Erin Stewart, David Rollison, Graham Downing, Shane Regan, Ryan Miller, Kate Jaeger, Mike Christensen, Ryan Higgins, Brenda Joyner, Nick Edwards, Mandy Price, Shawna Weber, La Petite Mort, Sara Coates

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

One year after the slaughter at Lake Pakajanomo, the handful of survivors, including tough final girl Cassie (Stewart), earnest Erek (Rollison) and irredeemably selfish dandy Ben (Regan), who has been joined by his dim but sweet brother Matt (Downing) attend the reading of a will for one of their party who was less fortunate during the bloody rampage of Junk Bucket (Miller).

Unbeknownst to them, the bucket-headed and penisless serial killer has now found a family of equally mutilated cannibalistic outcasts — the savagely and protective Mama (Jaeger); hard-nosed Vietnam vet Otis (Christensen); sexual deviant Moseley (Higgins); and girlish psycho Shelby (Joyner). What's more, as 'Mr Buck Junket's' birthday draws near, the family have a very special present in store for him.
What's more, the family have laid on some entertainment for the party, Merle's Girls, a strip troupe driven around by alleged homosexual Merle (Edwards). The girls consist of delightfully dippy Terry (La Petite Mort); tough and curvy Melissa (Price); straight-talking and alternative Seage (Weber) and all-american new girl Jenny (Coates).
As all the parties end up converging on the same spot events turn to a bitter battle for survival?
Who will live? Who will die? And who will lose their junk?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Junk Bonds: The Return of Junkbucket; is batshit insane — and I LOVED that. Comedy-horror hybrids can be quite hit and miss, as can any comedy, but Junk Bonds (as grimly gory and un-P.C. as it is) had me in stitches. 
With South Park-style crudeness, this is a filthily funny movie. However, it isn't just a grossout comedy Junk Bonds is also a spot-on homage/satire of the seminal Texas Chain Saw Massacre series. From character names (Moseley!) to the final scenes, this is literally packed with references to Tobe Hooper's grindhouse classic and its sequels.
It isn't entirely necessary to be familiar with the exploits of Leatherface and the rest of the Sawyer family to enjoy Junk Bonds, but if you are you’ll definitely get a lot more from the movie.
It also manages to walk that fine line of spoofing the events of those films without ever feeling like it loses respect for the source material. Good work, guys.
One way in which it very effectively apes that series is in its shockingly visceral gore. This is a comparatively low budget film (although compared to its predecessor it's practically a Michael Bay Summer blockbuster!) but that does not hinder the sterling practical effects. In a film which promises a penis-severing mass murderer, you might be expecting this to be pretty splattery. You really have no idea. I thought we might get the odd insinuated cock and ball severance — nope, this is no-holds barred genital genocide. With body parts flying left, right and centre, Junk Bonds is wangtastic!
The effects work by Herbie M. Gandy, Alan Gandy, Marcel Banks, Jana Hutchison and Colleen Kelly is truly awesome. It just goes to show that vision and imagination can overcome budgetary constraints. This is also true of the way the movie looks, with Lange and his cinematographers Ellen Callaghan, Andrew Harrison and Seth Wessel-Estes ensuring that the visuals are always as polished as can be. This is clearly a labour of love and it's to be admired.
So it's got the blood and belly-laughs, but does the movie have any depth? I'd say so. Lange has a written a wonderfully surreal storyline and does a truly superb job of juggling a pretty sizeable cast of madcap characters.
This is certainly assisted by the engaging work of its inexperienced but eager cast.
The returning actors are all obviously comfortable in their roles, especially the impressive Stewart who makes for a believable and spirited final girl and the coolly sardonic Regan (whose work is undoubtedly helped by the fact that he gets a lot of the movie's best lines).
Miller is great in the titular role too, making his character both grimly murderous and childlike at the same time. He also manages to evoke some real pathos with his eyes while wearing a prosthetic penis on his face — an achievement in itself!
However the new cast members are equally impressive. The cute La Petite Mort is wonderfully likeable and Price is a hoot as the tough, no-nonsense member of Merle's Girls. I also really enjoyed Weber's work and think she could make for a superb scream queen if she sticks with the genre. Here's hoping!
The attractive Coates also has serious horror potential and is worthy of praise purely for delivering the most hilarious deliberately awkward 'erotic' dance ever.
It would be remiss to overlook the performance of Edwards. The character of Merle is legitimately funny, a man who fakes homosexuality (unconvincingly, I might add) to hang out with girls who take their clothes off for a living. He has some of the finest jokes in the script and he shows fantastic comedy timing throughout to ensure that every one of his scenes is a high point. Equally amusing is the very funny indeed Downing, whose screaming berserker charge into action in particular was a riot.
However, arguably the finest newcomers are Junkbucket's family. Higgins is a bristling ball of rat-like sordid energy, while the wonderful Joyner veers from sexy to girlishly childish to outright disturbing with alarming ease. I look forward to seeing more of her in the future!
Perhaps the two finest performances come from the truly brilliant pair of Christensen and Jaeger. Evoking R. Lee Ermey for his role, Christensen is a joy to watch (and had quite possibly my favourite line in the movie) while Jaeger is already collecting much-deserved award nominations for her stellar work. These two are fantastic.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): It's quite difficult to critique a movie like Junk Bonds: The Return of Junkbucket because it isn't taking itself too seriously. Most criticisms will simply wash over it because this movie isn't setting out to be the next The Shining or The Exorcist — this is a fun flick.

I suppose a lot of your enjoyment from the film will come from how much humour you can derive from dick jokes. Personally, I love schoolboy humour so I thought it was hilarious. However, if you take offence at member-mentioning, this is NOT the movie for you.
Equally, if you cross your legs whenever you see a sportsman inadvertently clocked in the meat and two veg, Junk Bonds, with its quite graphic dong destruction, may be a tough watch.
I know I praised the Texas Chain Saw Massacre references but maybe one or two were a little too on-the-nose. Perhaps a tiny twist here and there (as they managed with the wonderful Grandpa dinner table scene) could have made this an even funnier and cleverer take?
Finally, while the movie is undoubtedly a decent low-budget effort, it does suffer with some of the setbacks you find with those films. Most of the time it looks and sounds great, but every now and then quality does slip for a moment or two. I think it's a testimony to the efforts of everybody involved that these moments are very rare.
Equally, while the cast are clearly having a great time and working their arses off, there are a couple of awkward line deliveries now and then when inexperience shines through. Luckily, these don't ruin the film and I'd go so far as to say that the odd rough edge here and there only adds to the movie's low-fi charm!

THE VERDICT: My oh my, Junk Bonds: The Return of Junkbucket knocked me cockahoop! It may be nuts, but when it comes to gore and giggles, it really is the total package and offers balls-out fun along with some stand out performances by members of its cast. I can't wait to watch and review the original movie (keep your eyes peeled here for that) but in the meantime, if you get a chance to check out Junk Bonds, DO IT! Trust me, you can't go schlong wrong!

To find out how and when you can catch the movie, head over to its official Facebook page. Give it a Like while you're there too, it would be ri-dick-ulous not too!

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, 18 May 2015


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!


Praise the Lord! The Powers-That-Be have seen sense and made a deal with David Lynch to get the new series of Twin Peaks running again. Lynch himself confirmed this on his Twitter feed.


Wolf Creek star John Jarratt has confirmed that the third instalment in the Outback horror franchise should start shooting next year. I'm a big fan of the legitimately gruelling exploits of Mick Taylor, so this is welcome news indeed!
Also, Alex Garland, co-creator of 28 Days Later has revealed that he came up with a story for a sequel, 28 Months Later, which WILL be moving forward. Will it feature more Paris based carnage a la the end of 28 Weeks Later? Stay tuned!


Guillermo Del Toro Gothic haunted house movie. YES.


Sony has approached writer/director of the critically acclaimed Honeymoon, Leigh Janiak to reboot 1996's cult smash hit, The Craft. She will co-write with Phil Graziadei, who worked with Janiak on Honeymoon.


Take a look at the horror/comedy hybrid from the creators of Glee and American Horror Story...


First and foremost, this week sees the release of the very cool British horror flick Curse Of The Witching Tree. How cool? Read my review to find out!

If caped Transylvanian bloodsuckers are more your bag, this week you can also check out Dracula – Reborn.

There's also a long-awaited Edgar Allan Poe tale hitting the shops this week. Roger Corman's The Premature Burial gets a home release.

Also this week we have not one but two Redemption releases. The hard hitting exploitation masters give us The Living Dead Girl AND The Sinful Nuns Of Saint Valentine.
Buy them at Amazon here and here.

Finally, who fancies a massive killer crocodile movie? You do? Well, you're in luck as Black Water is released this week!
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.