Tag Archives: Rule Brittania!

Pant-Soiling Scenes #25: The Conjuring 2

While a maniac with a blade scares me not, I’m still - in my late 30s – easily creeped out by the supernatural. A creaky floorboard here, a door that opens itself there… Goosebump central.

So when I went to see The Conjuring 2 last night with my buddy Kevin, my expectations of a watered-down sequel were kicked in the balls by some really quite frightening scenes.

The 70s London setting was relative, a memory of childhood growing up around similar patterns, colours, attitudes, dreary weather, school uniforms, crap appliances, and everybody in the country with the slightest interest in the spooky knows the Enfield Poltergeist story (see also Ghostwatch).

The nun was horrible, but the old man spectre was far eerier, as he purred “this is my house,” or appeared in TV set reflections in the middle of the day.

the-conjuring-2-official-trailer

Why though, didn’t they just burn that skanky ass chair? The freakin’ bloke died in it!!!

Pant-Soiling Scenes #24: The Woman in Black

The 1989 one, not the ten-jump-scares-a-minute Daniel Radcliffe-is-a-father!? remake.

Anyway, back in ’89, The Woman only appeared maybe three or four times throughout the whole film, just for a few seconds each.

This is the eeriest of her appearances, when our hero feels a pain in his shoulder and makes an about turn and sees…

the-woman-in-black-original

*shudder*

The simplicity of it out-creeps both the 2012 film and its sequel combined. But still can’t touch the stage play, which I can’t recommend enough, even if you, like me, ‘don’t do theater’.

The 100 Worst Slasher Films: #20-1

worst-stripMy belated Christmas-slash-New Year’s gift to you is the entire countdown of IMDb’s worst ranked slasher films from the 673 I’ve enjoyed/endured.

It saddens me to think of the days spent watching some of these dreadful, dreadful films. If nothing more, I hope this list provides you with a warning of what the avoid next time you’re in the mood for a stack of dead teenagers…

Regardé:

See full commentary for #100-81

100. Fatal Pulse (1988)
99. Blood Cult (1985)
98. Small Town Folk (2007)
97. Axe Giant (2012)
96. Study Hell (2004)
95. StagKnight (2007)
94. Slaughtered (2009)
93. Scar (2005)
92. The Prey (1980)
91. The Jackhammer Massacre (2003)

90. Heebie Jeebies (2004)
89. Hayride (2012)
88. Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain (2005)
87. Dark Walker (2003)
86. Cut (2010)
85. A Crack in the Floor (2000)
84. Cheerleader Massacre (2003)
83. Blood Reaper (2004)
82. Silent Bloodnight (2006)
81. Shadows Run Black (1981)

Commentary for #80-61

80. The Masque of the Red Death (1989)
79. BreadCrumbs (2011)
78. Adam & Evil (2004)
77. Kill Keith (2011)
76. The Choke (2005)
75. The Graveyard (2006)
74. The Pumpkin Karver (2006)
73. Knock Knock (2006)
72. Goodnight, God Bless (1987)
71. Camp Blood 2 (2000)

70. Drive In (2000)
69. Hatchetman (2003)
68. Switch Killer (2005)
67. A Night to Dismember (1983)
66. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
65. Horror 102: Endgame (2004)
64. Scared (2001)
63. Terror at Tenkiller (1987)
62. Motorhome Massacre (2006)
61. Deranged (2012)

Commentary for #60-41

60. Bikini Girls on Ice (2009)
59. Dead Above Ground (2002)
58. Camp Blood (1999)
57. The Catcher (1997)
56. The Curse of El Charro (2005)
55. Scarecrow Gone Wild (2004)
54. Paranoid (2000)
53. The Watermen (2011)
52. Blood Sisters (1985)
51. Detention (2010)

50. Seed (2007)
49. Hollow Gate (1988)
48. Splatter University (1984)
47. Devon’s Ghost: Legend of the Bloody Boy (2005)
46. Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (2001)
45. Final Examination (2003)
44. Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove (2005)
43. Snapped (2005)
42. The Retreat (2005)
41. Memorial Day (1999)

Commentary for #40-21

40. Beyond Remedy (2009)
39. Bloody Murder (1999)
38. Dr Chopper (2005)
37. Bunnyman (2010)
36. Drive In Massacre (1976)
35. The Greenskeeper (2003)
34. Dark Harvest (2004)
33. The Last Slumber Party (1988)
32. Scream (1981)
31. Zombie Island Massacre (1984)

30. Jack-O (1995)
29. Mr Ice Cream Man (1991)
28. Hazard Jack (2013)
27. Stupid Teenagers Must Die! (2007)
26. Roadside Massacre (2012)
25. The Bagman (2002)
24. Carnage Road (2000)
23. Hollywood’s New Blood (1988)
22. The Fear: Resurrection (1999)
21. Night of the Dribbler (1990)

Leaving us with the twenty worst received slasher films I’ve seen according to public opinion.

Wait no longer, fresh in at #20…

20. Blood Lake (1987)

IMDb rating: 2.6
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Three teen couples (actually one couple are like 13) vacation at a shack by a lake, where a Dom DeLuise-a-like killer lays some of them to waste. Two of them to be exact. And maybe two or three other victims? I can’t remember, but this video-made film has poverty row stamped all over it.

19. Killjoy (2000)

IMDb rating: 2.5
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

killjoyUrban/ghetto slasher films feature heavily up this end of the worst list. An undercurrent of racism? Possibly, but none of the films are objectively any good. In this one, a sub-Beetlejuice vengeance demon is summoned by a dork who is repeatedly beaten up by the nasty local crew. At only 72 minutes, at least it’s over pretty quick.

18. Appointment with Fear (1986)

IMDb rating: 2.5
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

A man who has sold his soul to some Egyptian tree god kills his wife and goes after his infant son, who has been left in the care of the autistic neighbour, Heather, who has a band of purple make-up around her eyes and pretends she lives inside a jar. At a house in the desert, teens are dispatched until the evil-eyed final girl can rescue the bub and defeat the killer. Debisue Voorhees from Friday V pops in for her usual topless scene, and there’s decent use of one of those handheld satellite-hearing-from-afar thingies, but everything else blows.

17. Movie House Massacre (1984)

IMDb rating: 2.5
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

mhm1Teens working at a rundown old cinema where a fire killed loads of people years before are stalked and knifed by the ghost of a geriatric usher, who had murdered the ticket girl the night of the fire. Demented in every possible way, if it’s supposed to be a comedy it ain’t funny. Mary Woronov has a small role (despite top billing) as the bitchy manager’s assistant. Look out for a girl who dies from sliding down a wall!?

16. Spiker (2007)

IMDb rating: 2.4
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

A mute, Albino serial killer who stabs his victims with railroad spikes escapes custody and returns to his old haunt where three teen couples are having themselves a party. All usual tropes are checked off the list.

15. Scarecrow Slayer (2003)

IMDb rating: 2.4
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

The second outing of the shoddy Scarecrow series sees Tony Todd as a paranoid farmer who accidentally shoots a teenager, whose soul is transferred into the scarecrow and goes on a killing spree. By far the worst of the ‘series’, topped off with WWE wrestling between two scarecrows. One good line: “You know, you have a real small penis for a guy who’s a real big dick!”

14. Nine Lives (2002)

IMDb rating: 2.3
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

ninelivesParis Hilton is the first to die in this rubbish flick set in a Scottish manor house where a English-hating ghost kills off nine ex-public school friends. But Paris is American. Uh? A final boy emerges as he’s Scottish and immune to it. Painful from start to finish.

13. Dark Fields (2003)

IMDb rating: 2.3
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Five teens on their way to a concert get car trouble and end up stuck in the house of a madman. Zero thrills in this cheap video project from the folks who later doubled the misery with Study Hell.

12. The Slaughterhouse Massacre (2005)

IMDb rating: 2.3
VeVo rating: 0.5 Stars

Two annoying couples explore an old abattoir where a man blah blah killed blah was lynched blah… Of course the loon’s name is Marty Sickle. This is the very worst – outstaying its welcome by forever, pandering to girl-on-girl filler because it’s so fucking empty.

11. Zombie Nightmare (1987)

IMDb rating: 2.2
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

zn5Adam West and Tia Carrere star in this demented voodoo revenge slasher, in which a be-mulleted jock is killed by a group of reckless teens in a hit and run, resurrected by the local Haitian priestess, and sets about evening the score. A bad movie dream, with totally different actors playing the zombie in various scenes, cringey acting, but a sense of inoffensive 80s stupidity.

10. Sweet Insanity (2006)

IMDb rating: 2.2
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Girl’s parents go away for the weekend. Girl has friends over. Friends get stabbed. Cheapo Haute Tension-esque climax is confusing and the audio track is so bad it’s nearly impossible to comprehend what’s going on anyway. Retitled Stranger: A Soul Mate of Chucky for the UK, with a doll on the cover, even though there is no killer doll, no spooky doll, and no mention of dolls in the entire film.

9. Deadtime (2012)

IMDb rating: 2.2
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

dt2Another rock band stalked by another killer whilst making a video for their big comeback. The only distinguishable thing about this one is that it’s British, but this helps none, as it traipses through a bog of bad production unities and a ridiculously annoying killer.

8. Grim Weekend (2003)

IMDb rating: 2.2
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

City folk go to a cabin in the woods, picking up a sexy hitchhiker on the way, where they are tormented by a clown with an axe. Horrible production values and obnoxious characters abound.

7. Cutthroat Alley (2003)

IMDb rating: 2.1
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

The ‘black guy dies first’ cliché is flipped in this urban LA slasher: Most of the cast are black but the white guy gets the blade first. Members of a street gang are being targeted by the masked psycho just as one ex-member is about to go to college after successfully turning his life around. Can he work out who it is before he’s next? A bit more surface polish than the other ‘ghetto’ slasher films make it more bearable and not so deserving of its place here.

6. Skeleton Man (2004)

IMDb rating: 2.0
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

A bizarre fusion of 80s action tropes and supernatural slashings as a Delta force team are sent to South America to put a stop to the skeleton-faced figure who is killing everyone. The body count almost reaches 40, a helicopter is shot down with a bow and arrow, Michael Rooker and Casper Van Dien are in it… An unbelievable film experience.

5. Alice in Murderland (2010)

IMDb rating: 2.0
VeVo rating: 0.5 Stars

alice1Sub-cheap rubbish with sorority girls throwing a birthday party in an old abandoned something or other… Alice is 21. Her mother died exactly twenty years ago that night, aged 21. They theme the party Alice in Wonderland. The killer dresses up as one of the characters from the book. An 86-minute endurance test.

4. Dead End Road (2004)

IMDb rating: 1.9
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

A killer who bases his murders on the works of Edgar Allan Poe does in various unfortunates in this cheap, but not awful film. There’s a good twist on The Tell-Tale Heart at the beginning, a pitchfork in the face, a decapitated head churned out of the bowling ball conveyer-return thingy. It’s low end for sure, but there’s worse.

3. Voyeur.com (2000)

IMDb rating: 1.6
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

College girls are invited to live in a house and be filmed 24/7 by sleazy low-end producers. Their plans for fame are thwarted by a masked killer who does everyone in. All the usual sex, bi-curiousity, pot-smoking stuff occurs and the killer turns out to be the shy girl heroine.

2. Urban Massacre (2002)

IMDb rating: 1.6
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

The entourage of growing rap quintet The Supernatchrals are being offed by another clown masked killer. What it is with urban slasher movies and clowns I do not know… but this one isn’t so bad until the end where the group have the killer cornered, lean in to unmask him and then stop, look at the camera and tell us we have to wait for the sequel. What. The. Fuck.

1: THE WORST RATED SLASHER FILM ON IMDb

Ax ‘Em (1992)

IMDb rating: 1.2
VeVo rating: 0.5 Stars

ax-emAn unsurprising victor, Ax ‘Em is quite deserving of its worst-of-the-worst title. Made by a talentless crew, what you can pick up about the story is a group of friends go to a house in the woods where a killer is at work, using strange metal spring things to kill folks with. Again, it tries to reverse the race suppositions by killing off the while characters and leaving about a dozen black people running around between the trees. Only a few of them die, others just vanish from the film altogether. This is less than camcorder made-a-film-on-vacation quality, it’s head-scratchingly strange, with absolutely no apparent knowledge of filmmaking on show. As someones own private film they made with friends, fine, it will give them a laugh at their ten year reunion, but to give it any kind of home video release…? Unfathomably awful, there are not enough sublatives in our language to justify how bad it is.

*

So there we have it… The 100 Worst. Of course, there are hordes of titles with mysteriously favourable rankings that didn’t make the list, and some that are frankly better than they may seem. Karma.

And the best, you caw, well they’re right here!

 

The 100 Worst Slasher Films: #100-81

Following the almighty undertaking that was The 100 Greatest Slasher Films, a few people asked if there would be a list of the 100 Worst films.

I was reluctant to do this for a couple of reasons. Mainly, no matter how awful any film, somebody somewhere has put their all into it, and seeing it declared the worst thing ever wouldn’t be nice for them to read. That said, if I’ve already reviewed it and given in one star, what’s the difference, right?

Also, deciding if Drive-In Massacre is worse than Ax ‘Em is no easy task either. One film can be well made but exponentially boring, whereas the cheapest Nokia-filmed crap can at least be fun to revel in.

So, I decided to go about it differently, and take all the films I’ve seen, cross-reference them with their IMDb ratings and present the 100 Worst films according to the great unwashed.

As we will see, some things in life are unfair, while others are just destined… Hold on.

100. Fatal Pulse (1988)

IMDb rating: 3.4 out of 10
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Sorority bimbos are being stalked by a shadowy psycho, who has the ability to cut throats with vinyl records! Bra’s are commonly slashed open first, of course. And nobody thinks to move out of the fucking house when the girl in the next room was murdered the previous night! Pure shite.

99. Blood Cult (1985)

IMDb rating: 3.4
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

BloodCult1Sorority bimbos are being stalked by a shadowy psycho – are we seeing a theme already!? Blood Cult is one of several films that claimed to be the first made-for-video-on-purpose. Like, who cares? It’s still total crap no matter the intentions. If you’d made a decent film, boast away… Severed fingers in a salad bowl is the ‘high’ point.

98. Small Town Folk (2007)

IMDb rating: 3.4
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

1.5 actually seems generous from my memory of this wretched British production. A 3-minute cameo by Leprechaun Warwick Davis cannot rescue the other 84 minutes, which is comprised of some of the most nauseating “FX” work I’ve ever seen.

97. Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2012)

IMDb rating: 3.4
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

ag1aWayward teens on one of those back-to-nature punishment weekends meander into the territory of an axe-toting giant who, uh, axes them. A SyFy-esque production, death by horrendous CGI effects is to blame. But the film does start off okay, with a few laughs to be had before the killing even begins.

96. Study Hell (2004)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

A strange Canadian slasher take on The Breakfast Club, with five archetypes on Saturday detention tormented by their PTSD-suffering teacher, who decides to kill them all. Cheap production qualities from the same home as Dark Fields, which we will see a little later.

95. StagKnight (2007)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 3 Stars

stagknight2The first one to mourn the inclusion of, StagKnight pits a group of bachelor party guys against a resurrected Templar Knight during paintball in the British countryside. Anglo-humour probably sinks this for international audiences. With a bigger budget this could have been on par with Shaun of the Dead. Boo you, IMDb voters!

94. Slaughtered (2009)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

From Britain we go down under to Australia for #94, where a pub lock-in locks in a group of patrons with a psycho killer. With a budget likely no more than a round of beers and a script scribbled on the back of a beer mat, Slaughtered has very little to entice, but could be okay if you made a drinking game out of it…

93. Scar (2005)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

A film so boring I can remember nothing about it beyond Dee Wallace Stone being in it. Notes tell me it’s about the ghost of a rape victim who appears and axes horny woodsmen, while two teens look for clues about the death of their friend a year earlier. I’m also reminded of how bored I was at the time i might just fall asleep at the keybocsrsthajlgvma

92. The Prey (1980)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

prey1Our first loss from the golden era, this basic campers-in-peril flick has the guy who played Lurch in The Addams Family offing the usual bunch of over-aged teens during a hike into the woods. I didn’t find it so bad, but then I never watched it again either…

91. The Jackhammer Massacre (2003)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Bloke does drugs, bloke goes mad, bloke attacks various people with a jackhammer. Bloke is conveniently named Jack.

90. Heebie Jeebies (2004)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Not to be confused with Jeepers Creepers, this is actually an anthology with a slasher opus built around it to join up each story. A girl who can dream the future has bad premonitions about her highschool friends so does the only logical thing – invites them to a shoddy old house in the middle of nowhere. Groan.

89. Hayride (2012)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

HAY1An average effort about an Alabama Halloween Haunted Hayride attraction crashed by an escaped lunatic who stabs his way through the actors on the big night. Low-end production values aren’t great, but there’s far worse around that this doesn’t really deserve to be in the 100 Worst.

88. Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain (2003)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 3 Stars

Another one not deserving of its place here, in spite of production problems throughout its shoot, the first half of Samhain carries pleasant echoes of Friday the 13th-era shenanigans, but begins to fall to pieces once the meat of the story, concerning Descent-like creatures eating tourists in Ireland, is underway. It’s also decked out with big name porno actors.

87. Dark Walker (2003)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

Another Halloween attraction becomes a slaughterhouse when it’s built atop a patch of cursed ground. Like many other bad decisions, the teens employed to work at the place refuse to leave after several murders, citing that they need the cash, evidently more than they need their own head.

86. Cut (2010)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

cut1aAs the likes of Blood Cult pride themselves on being the first made-for-video film, Cut is proud to be the first film shot entirely in one continuous take. Trivia informs us it took 36 takes to get it right, which, when you think about it would be super annoying if someone screwed up at the last second… Anyway, people in a house are tormented by clown-faced loons and Gremlins‘ Zach Galligan is in it.

85. A Crack in the Floor (2001)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 2 Stars

Three teen couples go camping in the wrong part of the woods and disturb a Jason-like hermit who lives beneath the floor of a cabin. Playing like a tribute to Friday the 13th Part III in particular, it’s innocuous stuff with that muscle guy from Saved By the Bell and Gary Busey as a deranged- Gary Busey playing himself.

84. The Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 2.5 Stars

Posing at Slumber Party Massacre IV and directed by Jim Wynorski, this features genre-fixture Brinke Stevens as the grown-up victim from the 1982 film, apparently not dead after all, and a group of cheerleaders who take shelter from a snowstorm at a cabin… By now I’m sure y’all can guess the rest.

83. Blood Reaper (2004)

IMDb rating: 3.3
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

It’s Brinke again! Though even she looks bored in this seen-it-all-before tale of campers going where they shouldn’t. 80 minutes of people meandering slowly through trees and little else. Points almost awarded for electing the plus-size girl as the final girl, but then they go and ruin that too.

82. Silent Bloodnight (2006)

IMDb rating: 3.2
VeVo rating: 1.5 Stars

silent3aIn bad-movie terms, Silent Bloodnight is a goldmine of laughter. An Austrian film where the actors (attempt to) speak English opens things up to some hilarious dialogue: “Something unexplained has happened!” wails the frightened heroine at one point. The laidback European approach means there’s full frontal nudity for BOTH genders.

81. Shadows Run Black (1981)

IMDb rating: 3.2
VeVo rating: 1 Stars

Kevin Costner’s secret shame. He only has a small red herring role in this piss poor Halloween wannabe that features a ski-masked killer doing in naked chicks who’ve dared to dabble in drugs. Misogynistic garbage. Costner’s name is suspiciously absent from the credits, which appear to be real-time typed as the credits roll.

Showin’ out – VeVo chats to Phil Hawkins

Vegan Voorhees ventured a little bit outside of its comfort zone this week by using that NCTJ qualification and conducting an actual interview!

The subject of my horror-inquisition was Phil Hawkins, director of about-to-drop Robert Englund-starring Brit horror The Last Showing, which enjoys it’s European premiere on August 22nd at FrightFest, and features that unsung head-bands and cannibals Craven-shamer, The Hills Have Eyes Part II. My life’s mission to up its rep from ‘absolute shite’ to ‘mediocre’ was on.

Read, and be excited…

VeVo: Hey Phil, how’s it going?

PH: I’m very good thanks.

VeVo: For the benefit of anybody who doesn’t know, can you give a summary of what The Last Showing is about from your perspective?

PH: It’s about a life-long projectionist (Englund) who is made redundant at a multiplex that he’s given his life to and decides to exact his revenge on a generation that seems to no longer require his skills. Because we know everything’s gone digital in multiplexes now, and it’s a shame all these very talented projectionists have effectively become extinct. A lot have given their lives to the craft, in some cases it’s been a skill handed down through generations, so that was the inspiration behind that character of Stuart, but given a nice psychological horror twist.

VeVo: What caught my eye when I was scanning the FrightFest line-up was the inclusion in the film of The Hills Have Eyes Part II, which is a film I am genuinely quite fond of, despite it’s ornate naffness…

PH: [Laughs] Wow! One of few I imagine… I think even Wes Craven disowned it.

VeVo tries – and fails – to justify strange love for awful movie: What are your thoughts on it?

PH: I have to say I’m probably not in the same camp as you, though I’ve obviously watched it a number of times. The thinking behind it was that as The Last Showing is a sort of meta-horror, so it’s allowed me a kind of canvas to sort of air my frustrations on what modern day horror has become. You’ll see a lot in the film of Robert Englund’s character ranting about the modern day movies, and that’s effectively my voice really. What I wanted to do was highlight the difference between horror on film and the “real horror” of what the couple is about to go through. So I wanted the most ridiculous, over the top horror movie that could be found. Given our budget we couldn’t have had the pick of anything, and also because it’s Wes Craven, and he’s a legend of horror, and we’re able to reference him in the movie, which is fun because of the connection between him and Robert. I hadn’t actually seen it beforehand, I’d heard of it because of what you hear about it, but it made me smile.

My favourite horror movies are things like Rosemary’s Baby, Carrie, The Exorcist, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, films with a bit more of a psychological slant on horror. Any film that affects your perception of reality or your own mind, that’s ultimately scarier than torture porn for me. So The Hills Have Eyes Part II was useful to show the sort of slapstick of horror, and contrast that with the couple watching it. I also like that Allie (played by Emily Berrington) is the one who is the horror nut and convinces Martin (Finn Jones) to attend a midnight screening. It does exactly what we needed it to.

VeVo: What do you hope The Last Showing will be able to bring to horror that’s kind of absent from recent output?

PH: Hopefully just that people enjoy it as a movie, but it gave me the opportunity to kind of comment on horror as a whole. I could take the tick-boxes that horror audiences enjoy and slightly twist them, because we have Robert Englund as a movie maker creating his own horror, so we’re almost able to have those cliched moments with the film-within-a-film aspect.

[We take a couple of minutes to correctly sing the praises of The Orphanage]

It’s certainly not to say that all modern horror is awful, because that’s not the case, but for my personal tastes I wanted to air a few frustrations through hopefully what is a fun and entertaining horror thriller. I wrote the kind of film I would want to see, and it’s good that it’s been embraced by horror fans and got it’s slot at FrightFest.

VeVo:  I’m sure you’re sick of being asked, but considering his legendary status, how was it working with Robert Englund?

PH: The thought of it was more nerve-wracking than the practice, but he read the script very quickly and we had a two hour phone conversation talking about the script and his character, and he had so many ideas about it and he responded so well to it. He has this encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema, he got all the little references I’d written in. It’s also a whole arc for his character, he’s not just a cameo, and he saw the fun in it. I never thought we’d get him in a million years. He has an amazing commitment and dedication on set, because he genuinely cared about the project, so it was a pleasure working with him. He has a real respect for the fans and the genre.

VeVo: So, comparably, how did the young actors (Berrington and Jones) cope as the protagonists, with the weight of acting against Robert Englund?

PH: Both are rising stars in their own rights, Finn was in Game of Thrones and Emily in The White Queen, 24, and The Inbetweeners 2, so it was an amazing crop of talent with a horror legend and the ‘fresh blood’, as it were. They brought so many ideas and different ways of approaching a scene that you might not have thought of, which is always fascinating for me as a director. The amazing energy of someone like Finn against the old-school energy of Robert creates a really interesting dynamic in their scenes together.

VeVo: I saw Finn in Wrong Turn 5 a couple of years ago.

PH: I’ve not seen that one, but I think Finn probably had some fun with that. He has a speech in The Last Showing about Hollywood photocopying something over and over against with diminishing quality, so it kind of ties in nicely. If they do so many wrong turns, do they eventually make it back around to the beginning?

VeVo: Well, Wrong Turn 6 is playing at FrightFest, so there’s a chance…

We talk for a bit about production quality (95% of The Last Showing was shot via a crane to avoid the handheld shakiness the plagues British cinema), the ‘up north’ cinema where it was shot, and return to my love of The Hills Have Eyes Part II. Phil is still not convinced.

VeVo: What’s next for you?

PH: I run a production company, so we have a slate of film we’re producing. A film called Baptism, shot on the London Underground with a slightly bigger budget than we had here. It’s a really exciting time at the moment and hopefully the horror fans at FrightFest and beyond will enjoy the film.

Phil Hawkins (centre) with the cast of The Last Showing

There we have it, British non-zombie horror is far from DOA after all. Catch The Last Showing at FrightFest on August 22nd, where Phil – and Robert Englund – will be taking some Q&A and then on DVD from the 25th.

Then return here where it will totally be reviewed in the near future… possibly as part of a double bill with HHE II. Which I still think is awesome.

Thanks to Paul Bradshaw for the tips.

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