Brooklyn Horror Film Festival 2019 is upon us!

The 4th edition of Brooklyn Horror Film Festival officially opened last night. Clearly, I want to tell you to go see all the films but as it is highly unlikely you are a Timelord I’ve made some suggestions. Narrowing down 5 films to see at this festival is insanely difficult. BHFF is a unique fest that brings genre filmmaking from around the world to fans who love horror and have an appreciation for the art and passion that goes into getting indie films made and seen! Without further ado, here are a handful of treats you can catch this starting tomorrow!


FESSENDEN’S DEPRAVED: MAKING FRANKENSTEIN IN A BROOKLYN LOFT

World Premiere
USA | 2019 | 75 Min | Dir. Larry Fessenden

With the release of Larry Fessenden’s DEPRAVED, horror fans have finally seen a new film from one of New York City’s, let alone that of the horror genre as a whole, most influential indie filmmaking legends, his first since 2013’s BENEATH. But for Fessenden himself, the journey to get his audacious and Brooklyn-set modernization of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN made has taken much longer and proven the values of both dedication and determination. In this feature-length documentary, Fessenden offers an intimate look at bringing his most ambitious passion project yet to life. It’s an all-access dive into one of 2019’s best horror films, and BHFF will have Fessenden himself on hand to break DEPRAVED’s production story down even further. Frankly, it doesn’t get more authentically “Brooklyn Horror” than this. —Matt Barone

Director Larry Fessenden in attendance.

DEPRAVED was nuts awesome and you can read my full review here! To hear straight from our local hero’s mouth about making this will be some true epicness.


THE SHED

North American Premiere
USA | 2019 | 99 Min | Dir. Frank Sabatella

Stan, Roxy and Dommer are lifelong friends whose bond is being tested by the ever-taxing rigors of high school. For Stan and Dommer, in particular, the daily bullying they encounter comes in second only to watching Roxy’s popularity grow, and, in turn, her closeness to them dissipate. But there’s an unexpected possible solution to their problems in Stan’s backyard: a nondescript-looking toolshed, which houses something inhuman. Centered around the unlikeliest of villains, Frank Sabatella’s THE SHED takes what could have been a gore-drenched monster movie romp and layers it with potent coming-of-age anxiety and youth-in-crisis urgency. Don’t worry, though: There’s still carnage aplenty. —Matt Barone

Director Frank Sabatella in attendance.

The buzz surrounding this film is legit. BHFF added a second screening because the first SOLD OUT in minutes. Then that one sold out, too! If you’re lucky enough to get a seat this weekend, virtual high five. If you didn’t score big, fear not, the film is coming to theaters in November!


GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR

New York Premiere
USA | 2019 | 93 Min | Dir. Travis Stevens

For married man Don Koch (Philip “CM Punk” Brooks), remodeling his new home gives him the chance to start anew while trying to overcome legal troubles and fidelity struggles. Once inside the fixer-upper, Don is helpless against the house’s goo-dripping walls, sordid history and inner demons, the latter hideously exposing those of its new owner. Utilizing the expertise acquired from producing several critically acclaimed indie horror films, including STARRY EYES and WE ARE STILL HERE, Travis Stevens makes his directorial debut with a slick and wildly entertaining haunted house movie that’s truly like no other. —Matt Barone

Director Travis Stevens and lead actor Phil “CM Punk” Brooks in attendance.

I cannot have a discussion about horror lately without hearing about this film. People are dying to see this. If Travis Stevens picked up an ounce of energy from Ted Geoghegan producing WE ARE STILL HERE, then run to the theater. Do yourself a solid and grab tickets before they sell out!


A NIGHT OF HORROR: NIGHTMARE RADIO

North American Premiere
Argentina, New Zealand | 2019 | 100 Min | Dir. Luciano and Nicolás Onetti, Sergio Morcillo, Joshua Long, Jason Bognacki, Adam O´Brien, Matt Richards, A.J. Briones, Pablo S. Pastor and Oliver Park.

As the host of a popular horror-themed radio show, disc jockey Rod shares tales of terror with his eager listeners, and although this particular night is no different, there’s also the unexpected wrinkles of alarming calls from a scared-to-death child. How that all ties together is part of the magic behind A NIGHT OF HORROR: NIGHTMARE RADIO, an anthology constructed by Argentinian duo Nicolas and Luciano Onetti, who’ve assembled an impressive lineup of recent festival-touring horror shorts to deliver a refreshingly unique new kind of omnibus. —Matt Barone

Something about an anthology gets me. It forces you to be alert because the narrative is constantly challenging you. Having been exposed to a solid array of shorts this season, I’m incredibly eager to see what Nicolas and Luciano Onetti have curated.


SWALLOW

USA | 2019 | 94 Min | Dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis

Pregnant housewife Hunter (Haley Bennett) suddenly develops a case of pica—a psychological disorder involving the desire to consume inedible objects. The more her husband and his family try to stop her compulsions, the gruesomely deeper she falls into this harmful obsession until her perfect home becomes a patriarchal prison. Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ metaphorically rich feature debut is a body horror film that feels utterly essential from its timely commentary down to Bennett’s jaw-dropping lead performance. —Joseph Hernandez

Director Carlo Mirabella-Davis in attendance

After winning Best Actress award at Tribeca this year, Haley Bennett has been a name on everyone’s lips. As a mother, pica is something you hear about and think, “What in the actual f*ck?” You have enough going on literally making a human being but add this horror and you’ve got one hell of a script.


You can find out more about Brooklyn Horror Film Festival here. 

A badass genre film festival taking place in Brooklyn, NY October 17-24, 2019

Review: ‘Satanic Panic’ reaches (oc)cult classic status.

presents

SATANIC PANIC

SYNOPSIS:

Sam’s first day as a pizza delivery driver is not going according to plan. At the end of a long day and not enough tips, her last delivery turns out to be for a group of Satanists looking for someone to sacrifice. Now in a fight for her life, Sam must fend off witches, evil spells and demonic creatures, all while trying to keep her body – and soul – intact.

Poor Satanists, just trying to sacrifice a virgin to bring a hell beast to walk the earth. But that darn virgin keeps getting away! Satanic Panic has practical effects that are an awesome combination of mildly silly and completely, on-point disgusting. The sets and costumes absolutely rock. But, it’s the performances and writing that kick major ass. Rebecca Romijn is goddamn spectacular. Her commitment to physical comedy is pure genius and her timelessly gorgeous face is a delight to watch on-screen. Ruby Modine gets the best, rapid-fire dialogue in the film. She’s so nonchalant you’ll be fully immersed into the wacky plot- which actually has this unexpected emotionally redemptive element involved. It is classic occult set up at its finest with extra surprising moments sprinkles in. Haley Griffith as our ingenue Sam is refreshingly innocent. She is the representation of loyalty and street smarts. Seamlessly mixed into entertaining genre goodness, the film also takes aim at generational headbutting and classism. Director Chelsea Stardust guides Satanic Panic into the cult genre with humor and a bit of magic storytelling from Grady Hendrix and Ted Geoghegan.

RLJE Films will release the horror film SATANIC PANIC in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on September 6, 2019.

SATANIC PANIC stars Hayley Griffith (“The Loudest Voice”, “The Mysteries of Laura”), Ruby Modine (“Shameless”, Happy Death Day franchise), Rebecca Romijn (X-Men franchise, “Star Trek: Discovery”), Arden Myrin (“Insatiable”, “Shameless”) and Jerry O’Connell (Stand By Me, “Billions”). The film was written by popular horror author Grady Hendrix (“We Sold Our Souls,”  “My Best Friend’s Exorcism”) and directed by up-and-coming director Chelsea Stardust (“Into The Dark”, Seeing Green).

World Premiere at the 2019 Overlook Film Festival 

Official Selection of 2019 Fantasia Film Festival 

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Podcast Interview: Jeremy Gardner, Christian Stella, and Brea Grant share all the gory and gorgeous details of ‘Something Else’.

Something Else Podcast

Something Else was one of the most unique selections in this year’s festival. Both a monster movie and a love story, the film’s deliberate structure is a standout all on its own. The writing is fresh and funny and the use of light makes it a joy to watch. There are brilliantly theatrical moments. I believe this film would actually translate incredibly well onstage! When you see it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a complete compliment. I sat down with co-directors Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner (who also stars and wrote the script) and star Brea Grant to chat all things Something Else. How did the script come about? What in the world were they thinking with certain choices? What did Brea think the first time she read the script?  We talk favorite movie monsters, and how the filmmakers of one of my favorite films The Endless, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, got on board. You can read my full review of Something Else here, but give a listen to the awesome time we all had together. Be warned, when I walked into the room, Christian, Jeremy, and Brea had all been in the super cool bathroom of our interview room at The Roxy Hotel taking a photo, and I’m disappointed in myself for not getting in on the selfie action on my way out the door. Also, when you hear us refer/talk to “Ted”, we’re actually talking to We Are Still Here and Mohawk filmmaker Ted Geoghegan who just so happened to be in our presence. No big deal. Anyhow, without further ado, here is our podcast talking all things Tribeca, monsters, and Something Else.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR(S)

Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella are the filmmakers behind the indie zombie film The Battery and survival comedy Tex Montana Will Survive! Lifelong friends, both directors were born and raised in Florida.

FILM INFO
  • Section:
    Midnight
  • Year:
    2019
  • Length:
    83 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
    World
  • Connect:
CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella
  • Producer:
    David Lawson Jr., Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Arvind Harinath
  • Screenwriter:
    Jeremy Gardner
  • Cinematographer:
    Christian Stella
  • Editor:
    Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner
  • Executive Producer:
    Venu Kunnappilly
  • Cast:
    Jeremy Gardner. Brea Grant, Henry Zebrowski, Justin Benson, Ashley Song, Nicola Masciotra

Fantasia International Film Festival review: ‘THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW’ takes its place among the classics.

The Witch in the Window has a classic ghost story feel. Anchored by a local legend, the film’s uniqueness is amped up by the fact that the locals can also see the ghost in question. With all of the usual tropes in place, The Witch in the Window uses humor to keep the peace in a genuine way between father and son until the subtle scares become huge ones… in broad daylight. That’s the key to this film. Much like Ted Geoghegan‘s We Are Still Here, it’s the daylight scares that make The Witch in the Window so powerful. While Geoghagan’s makeup FX are beyond compare, this film’s in your face close-ups are what grab you. I literally shouted, “OH!” as I was not expecting to be yelled at from the screen. You absolutely feel like you are in that house. Alex Draper and Charlie Tacker are outstanding together onscreen. Their father/son chemistry is extraordinary. Writer/Director/Composer/Editor (and clearly all around badass) Andy Mitton‘s storyline may also be taking a page from David Robert Mitchell’s IT FOLLOWS. To say much more would take away from the viewer’s experience. It is a solid film that should garner its rightful place in ghost story cult catalog. 

Check out the awesome trailer below.

Fantasia International Film Festival closes tonight, but we will keep you updated on all of the release dates for films that screened at the fest!

Divorced dad Simon (Alex Draper) brings his 12-year-old son, Finn (Charlie Tacker) out to Vermont to help him renovate an old house he recently purchased. Used to the speed of New York City, Finn has an impossible time slowing down to a smalltown pace, and he’s disappointed before even getting there. So is Simon (“I guess I was hoping I would catch you on the 12 side of 12, instead of the 13 side of 12”). Afflicted with a rare medical condition in which there’s a literal hole in his heart, Simon, ever resourceful, does what he can to make things good as he and his son attempt to repair what’s broken. Soon, a series of nonsensically terrifying happenings occur, nightmarish and incomprehensible. It becomes clear that they aren’t alone in the house. That there is more work to be done than either could be capable of grasping. That death is a partially living state. And that they are in a very special kind of danger.

Review: ‘SUN CHOKE’, is a mind melding thriller. In Theaters and on VOD.

SC-Poster-04Nothing makes me happier while watching a film than thinking I’m watching one story and then getting hit with a proverbial 2×4 in plot. It’s a ballsy move that either pays off or loses the audience. In Ben Cresciman‘s sophomore feature as both writer and director, a young woman’s health and sanity are in serious question. With the watchful eye from her lifelong caretaker, can she conquer what lies deep down. Welcome to the oddity that is SUN CHOKE.

Sarah Hagan as Janie in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Sarah Hagan as Janie in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

This is was truly unexpected and shocking thriller. As the story unravels, we are privy to piecemeal information. Margo has a past, but what it entails is shrouded in mystery. It is PTSD? Why is she under house arrest? Irma is her 24hr watcher, mental health guidance, using extreme tactics to cleanse her body and soul of whatever is haunting Margo. When she is allowed to exit the house after a year, things get weird as Margo attaches herself to  a stranger. Will this woman be Margo’s saving grace or is there something else driving the fascination?

(L-R) Sarah Hagan as Janie and Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

(L-R) Sarah Hagan as Janie and Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

This script takes a sharp left turn and to Crescimun’s credit as a writer, it is pretty out there. While the film has left me with more questions than answers, that is precisely why I enjoyed it so immensely. It bares zero resemblance to anything I’ve seen before. With a crisp, almost sterile, and yet angelic look from Mathew Rudenberg’s cinematography, combined with the chilling original score from Boom Bip, to the  off kilter sound design by Michael Solano, SUN CHOKE will make your skin crawl.

Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Sarah Hagan, you I know best from her time of Freaks and Geeks, and the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is a beautiful mixture of helpless and frightening.  With a pretty face and a soft demeanor, her actions throughout the film throw your head into a tailspin. And let’s talk about horror goddess, Barbara Crampton, as Irma. Similar to the character of Margo, the audience is unsure of her intentions. Her timeless elegance and style make her a scene-stealer with what seems like very little effort. I cannot express how wonderful she is in this role. If you want to see the pure acting ability and witness her chops as an actor and chameleon, check her out in one of my favorite films from last year, We Are Still Here, from our friend Ted Geoghegan. I am convinced she is a Time Lord or something akin to a magical creature.

 SUN CHOKE
IN THEATERS: August 5, 2016
AVAILABLE ON VOD and iTUNES: August 2, 2016
DIRECTOR: Ben Cresciman
WRITER:  Ben Cresciman
CAST: Sarah Hagan, Sara Malakul Lane and Barbara Crampton
SYNOPSIS: As Janie recovers from a violent psychotic break, she’s subjected each day to a bizarre holistic health and wellness regimen designed, and enforced, by her lifelong nanny and caretaker. But when she develops an obsession with a stranger, Janie’s buried demons begin to surface.

 

Review: A ghost story that won’t let the past die in ‘We Are Still Here’

We Are Still Here posterIn the new haunted house horror We Are Still Here, Anne and Paul Sacchetti move to a small New England town to make a fresh start following the death of son Bobby.  Anne believes that Bobby’s spirit is in the house reassuring her that everything is hunky dory. After she and Paul enlist their new age friends Jacob and May to visit and ease their minds, they realize something much older is lurking and poised to rear it’s ugly head. The past does not want to stay in the past.We Are Still Here house stillRight off the bat, the camera work displays an “I’m not alone” feeling with handheld, over the shoulder and around the corner shots that set the tone for the entirety of the film. Establishing shots of each room and the snow covered acres surrounding the property itself, give you a definitely isolated sense. 10 minutes in, our first real set up moment, an object from the past and a blink-and-you-miss-it jump scare of classic proportion. Not bad, not bad at all. Writer/Director Ted Geoghegan, clearly with a crush on the classics good and bad, knows his stuff. The story moves along at lightening pace, laying out a small town’s history mired with sadness, rumors, and evil. We Are Still Here pays homage to films like Amityville and Poltergeist. Films with an unshakable past that seem to be well known by the locals and end up terrorizing the newbies. The practical effects are gold and vomit inducing for sure, but the use of the seamless CG takes the film to another level. We Are Still Here still Lisa and LarryFlawlessly held together with a stellar cast of genre greats, We Are Still Here is an instant classic. Barbara Crampton‘s Anne is grounded, loving, and searching for comfort. Andrew Sensenig‘s portrayal of Paul is as masculine and protective as you can get, without losing that caring husband edge. Larry Fessenden as Jacob is funny and vivacious. Lisa Marie plays May with an airy realness of someone who is actually a sensitive. The four leads work so well with one another, I cannot imagine a different cast. Fun Fact: Both Barbara and Larry recently appeared in the 2011 horror/thriller You’re Next (Another film I would recommend). The music is quiet and looming like that of a small wind chime, and truly adds the the eerie factor. The color scheme of the surrounding dank New England winter (one I grew up with myself) makes the eventual appearance of bright red blood all the more visually impactful. The set dressing is top notch. The house appears untouched since the film’s set 1979 date. Old houses creek, we all know this to be true, but the timing of the sound editing ramps up the natural inclination that maybe you shouldn’t hang out long in a dusty old basement. We Are Still Here Barbara CramptonA few obvious takeaways from this movie: 1. Don’t trust your creepy neighbors, 2. Shit starts flying off the walls you should just assume the worst, and 3. Don’t ever, ever mess with the dead. There are 1000 more things I could praise about this film, thing is, I really  just want you to go see it for yourselves! We Are Still Here arrives in theaters and on VOD today, June 5th. Go get your spooky on.

Check out the hauntingly cool poster for ‘We Are Still Here’ in Theaters & VOD June 5th

Poster.WASHTheatricalHot off the heels of a hugely successful festival run, Dark Sky Films is proud to announce the theatrical and VOD release of Ted Geoghegan’s directorial debut, WE ARE STILL HERE.  Featuring a dream cast of genre film veterans, WE ARE STILL HERE hits theaters and VOD on June 5, 2015.

After the death of their college age son, Anne and Paul Sacchetti (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) relocate to the snowswept New England hamlet of Aylesbury, a sleepy village where all is most certainly not as it seems. When strange sounds and eerie feelings convince Anne that her son’s spirit is still with them, they invite an eccentric, New Age couple (Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie) to help them get to the bottom of the mystery.

They discover that not only are the house’s first residents, the vengeful Dagmar family, still there – but so is an ancient power. A primal darkness slumbers under the old home, waking up every thirty years and demanding the fresh blood of a new family.

An altogether new take on the haunted house genre that deftly mixes human drama and comedy, WE ARE STILL HERE is a couple’s terrifying journey through darkness and loss set against the freezing New England winter.

WE ARE STILL HERE 
Directed by Ted Geoghegan

Produced by Travis Stevens, Greg Newman, Malik B. Ali, Badie Ali, Hamza Ali 

Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, 

Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham   

TRT: 84 minutes
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Horror
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING… 
“genre fans with a sense of history should make this entertaining chiller a sought-after item for midnight slots” – VARIETY

 “The spirit of horror maestro Lucio Fulci is alive and well in Ted Geoghegan’s wildly entertaining haunted house thriller..” – INDIEWIRE

 “Geoghegan establishes what seems to be a simple haunted house set-up but adds complications which make the outcome less predictable.” – SCREEN INTERNATIONAL 

“We Are Still Here works on multiple levels; new horror fans will enjoy the thrills and chills, while experienced horror nuts will delight in the clever twists on an old formula. It doesn’t shy away from more extreme imagery, but its true intention is to unsettle and surprise, which it does quite well.” – FANDANGO

“A Refreshing Yet Disturbing Thriller” – TWITCH FILM