Sunday 22 November 2015

Connections #1

With Apocalypse Later firmly a film review site, I've long struggled to find a place where I can talk about films outside of reviews. Apocalypse Later Now! was always intended to be that place but I'm only now getting round to actually fleshing out some of the variety I'd like to see here.

I don't plan on turning Apocalypse Later Now! into yet another press release site, but I would like to be able to share news and thoughts about films that I've reviewed at Apocalypse Later or by the people who made them.

Help Falls

One of the great joys of reviewing short films is that I get to see the work of young filmmakers, often students, before the world realises what they can do and they go on to fame and fortune. One who is clearly on that path is an Aussie who relocated to Tempe to attend the University of Advancing Technology.

He's Jordan Wippell and the first film I saw by him was a stunning black and white drama called Rain Dog, which played the Phoenix Film Festival a few years ago. It would have been praised had it been made by an established filmmaker but for some kid student from down under it was utterly amazing. The magic I felt watching that short for the first time is why I'm a critic.

Here's my review of Rain Dog at Apocalypse Later.

Wippell is keeping busy on a number of projects but one of them, Help Falls, is trying to raise money on Indiegogo. It's an odd project, calling itself 'An Interactive Horror Experience', and I'm all for people trying to do something different with film. The campaign has ten days to go and it's in need of your help. I'd recap it here but wouldn't be able to do it justice. Suffice it to say that it'll involve short films in a number of horror subgenres tied together in interesting ways. You really ought to head over to Indiegogo and read about it there.

Here's the Indiegogo page for Help Falls.

The House That Jack Built

I really need to get round to reviewing The House That Jack Built, a superb drama that won Best Picture and Best Director at the Phoenix Film Festival in 2014. It also won Best Screenplay, even though Joe Vasquez, the scriptwriter, had died almost twenty years earlier. Talk about development Hell!

However, I have reviewed Henry Barrial's previous film, Pig, which won Best Sci-Fi Feature at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in 2012. In fact, an updated version of that review can be found in my new book, The International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival: The Transition Years, which was published last week.

Here's my review of Pig at Apocalypse Later.

The reason I mention The House That Jack Built is that it's finally obtained a full release. On 6th November it opened in select cities and on demand. I highly recommend it.

Here are the film's website and iTunes page.

Halloween Hell

Nipples & Palm Trees came out of the blue for me, courtesy of director Dylan Reynolds sending me a copy for review. Beyond merely enjoying the oddly titled but fascinating relationship drama, I found that it stayed with me and I was happy to help bring it to the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival last year.

Here's my review of Nipples & Palm Trees at Apocalypse Later.

Through All Channel Films, Dylan is now helping to distribute a horror feature called Halloween Hell, which I haven't seen but was written and directed by Ed Hunt, who performed the same roles on 1981's wild cult hit Bloody Birthday. He isn't prolific but he is interesting.

This film, his first since 1988, traps the contestants of a reality TV show on set with 'a deadly Devil Doll from Hell'. The show's host believes he's Dracula and is played by Eric Roberts.

It's available on VOD and at Amazon Prime. Here's the trailer.

Hillbilly Horror Show

Another welcome blind submission to Apocalypse Later was House of Good and Evil, sent to me by writer Blu de Golyer. This is one of those features that highlight how different the festival audience, who raved about it, from the commercial one, which really didn't. I can only assume that marketing didn't get it in front of the right eyeballs.

He also got me a screener for a very different movie called The Cabining, on which he served as a consulting producer.

Here's my review of House of Good and Evil at Apocalypse Later.

Here's my review of The Cabining at Apocalypse Later.

Since then, he's been busy on a compilation series called Hillbilly Horror Show, which I (mostly) haven't seen yet but which looks agreeably diverse. Each volume combines a number of short horror films and I've reviewed two of these outside this framework.

Volume 4 includes Jason Tostevin's 'Til Death, which was a favourite of mine at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival last year. Volume 1 includes Rose White, which I reviewed along with a few other Deneen Melody films a couple of years ago. I recommend both of these highly, which suggests that these compilations ought to be pretty good.

Here's my review of 'Til Death at Apocalypse Later.

Here's my review of Rose White at Apocalypse Later.

The first three volumes of Hillbilly Horror Show are available to buy on DVD and the fourth is on Amazon Prime.

Here are the website and Amazon Prime page for Hillbilly Horror Show.

Batkid Begins

One of the best films I've seen on the festival circuit is Kurt Kuenne's Shuffle. I saw it first at the Phoenix Film Festival, then again at Phoenix Comicon, with Kuenne giving a Q&A both times. It's a dramatic feature, told in an unconventional style, but with great impact.

Here's my review of Shuffle at Apocalypse Later.

Since then I've watched his almost unbearable but utterly stunning Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father and the fascinating Drive-In Memories. These are documentaries, which Kuenne also wrote and directed. I highly recommend them both, though be warned: Dear Zachary will haunt you.

His new film, Batkid Begins, is another documentary, which he co-wrote with director Dana Nachman and which is now available everywhere. If it's not amazing, I'll be surprised.

Here's the film's Amazon Prime page.

Here's Kurt Kuenne's page on Indieflix, where you can see all three of the older films mentioned above.

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