Wednesday 4 January 2017

Mayhem Horror Film Festival 2016 (Part 3): Day 3

Day 3 kicked off with an Italian superhero type thriller called They Call Me Jeeg Robot.

Directed by Gabriele Mainetti, written Menotti and Nicola Guaglianone, all three have made their full feature debut with this film. Part Sci-Fi, part Fantasy, part Thriller, the story follows Enzo (Claudio Santamaria), a lonely and misanthropic small time crook, uses the superpowers gained after falling in the Tiber river to chase down a crazy gangster called "The gypsy" (Stefano Ambrogi).

The lead cast are absolutely fantastic and delivery memorable performances, but standout performance for me was from supporting actress Ilenia Pastorelli as the adorable, yet slightly crazy Alessi.

There's plenty of action, but there's also a lot of emotional content too, which put together makes for a highly entertaining film. If you like foreign films then this should be high on your watch list! I loved it and thought it was a great start to the day.

On to the second film of the day...

Pet, comes from the director of Apartment 143 Carles Torrens, and  Jeremy Slater, the writer of The Lazarus Effect and The Exorcist TV show. Now, I liked The Lazarus Effect and Apartment 143, but by the end of this film, I ended up hating the story and how it turned out. As per IMDB...

"A psychological thriller about a man who bumps into an old flame and subsequently becomes obsessed with her, leading him to hold her captive underneath the animal shelter where he works. But what will the victim have in store for her assailant?"

OK, let me say this first, I thought both leads, Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl) as Holly and Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings) as Seth were excellent in their roles.

Right, there's gonna be a small spoilers here so scroll past if you wish...

The main character Seth ends up being manipulated by Holly in only a way a man can be, which I hated. Why? Because I hate those kind of weak ass men and hate the woman that try to do that. Just a personal thing. Anyway, Holly ends up being a complete nut job and Seth is pretty much a fucking wetbag momma's boy. So my thoughts are along the line of, what exactly are we meant to feel about the characters? Much the same as Fede Alvarez' Don't Breathe, I ended up feeling neither sorry nor rooting for either character, but instead thinking they were both idiots and pretty much deserved what they both got. I felt a bit cheating by the ending I guess.

The next film was from British actor/writer/director and comedian Gareth Tunley (Kill List).

"A homicide detective goes undercover as a patient to investigate a psychotherapist he believes is linked to a strange double murder. As his therapy sessions continue the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur."

Had a bit of a gripe with this one too. It started off really strong, very dark and depressing, but the longer it went on it seemed to go off on a tangent that really didn't make much sense in the end and I feel it didn't quite accomplish what it set out to be. I'd put that down to the writing to be honest.

What kept my attention throughout though was the excellent lead performance from Tom Meeten who's actually best known for his comedy work. 

I would like to see what Gareth Tunley has in store next to see if his writing improves, because on the plus side I did enjoy his direction of the film.

Following The Ghoul was Mayhem's regular Saturday afternoon slot, the short film showcase...

What I'm going to do here is mention the shorts that stood out the most for me, but you can check out the full list by CLICKING HERE.

Directed by Liam Banks.
Duration: 5'30. Country: UK.
When Sandy is woken from a strange dream nothing could have prepared her for the nightmare she finds herself in now she's awake.

This reminded me a little of last year's Lights Out (now turned into a full feature this year) which was simple yet effective. However, Nottingham local Liam Bank's short  is a lot more creepy and plays with the Sandman and the bedtime/fear of the dark ideas very well. It has some rather nice visuals and made use of some good misdirection.

Strangers in the Night
Directed by Conor McMahon.
Duration: 12'00. Country: Ireland.
Two lonely people find the love they were searching for. Well, one lonely person and one banshee!

This was a rather memorable cute little tale that had some fun moments.

Directed by Prano Baily-Bond.
Duration: 15'09. Country: UK.
It's 1982. Twelve-year-old Doug is drawn into the lurid world of VHS horror as he explores the mysterious disappearance of his father.

A tribute to the video nasties of the 80s. Pure enjoyment. That's all I need to say!

The Home
Directed by L. Gustavo Cooper.
Duration: 7'02. Country: US.
Set in Ireland at a 19th century home for pregnant women out of wedlock, THE HOME tells the story of a young pregnant woman fighting for her sanity (and her unborn child) as an ancient evil descends on the convent.

Quenottes (Pearlies)
Directed by Pascal Thiebaux & Gil Pinheiro.
Duration: 12'35. Country: France.
In every body's mind, the little mouse (or Tooth Fairy) is a benevolent and generous character... What if it isn't ? What if it is actually a neurotic psychopath obsessing about its collection of dental trophies? If a tooth is missing, it must be replaced. By any means necessary...

The Stylist
Directed by Jill Gevargizian
Duration: 15'00. Country: USA
Claire is a lonely hairstylist with an unnerving desire to escape her disappointing reality. When her final client of the evening arrives with the request to look perfect, Claire has plans of her own.

This stylish, slick and stunning looking short is very well made and is a nice little twist to, what otherwise wouldn't interest me, hairdressing. In fact, this was in my Top 5 short horror films of 2016.

It was back to the features after the Short Film Showcase with what would be the best film of the festival so far, The Devil's Candy...

From the director of Australian flick, The Loved Ones, Sean Byrne brings something different compared his first and very well received debut feature. Something even better! Heavy fucking metal (you should all know by now that I'm a metalhead)! Mayhem 2015 gave it's audience a treat with the New Zealand horror Deathgasm, which was so much fun. This time though we were in for something serious and frightening.

The film follows struggling artist Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry) and his family, wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) and daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco) as they move to a rural Texas farmhouse that has a barn for Jesse to get creative in. But when he starts to paint, his mind becomes disturbed with satanic images and this over spills on to the canvas. The house's sinister past soon catches up with the family though as former tenant, the mentally disturbed Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince) pays them a visit.

This movie is beautifully shot with some fantastic imagery, well written, brilliantly directed, and Byrne puts his stamp on the, stale of late, haunted house / possession sub-genre with impressive style. The thrashing soundtrack brings an impact to an already intense film. Embry plays and looks the part perfectly. Both Appleby and Glasco bring something different to the table within the movie and as for Pruitt Taylor Vince, well, he's his usual creepy as fuck self!

I missed the last film of the day, the late H.G. Lewis' 1963 Blood Feast as I had to leave, but The Devil's Candy was a perfect end to the day.

Check out Part 1 of Mayhem 2016   HERE and part 2 HERE.

Mayhem Film Festival was founded in 2005 by filmmakers Steven Sheil and Chris Cooke. They screen the best in contemporary horror, science-fiction and cult cinema and television from around the world. Featuring premieres, previews, masterclasses, international special guest filmmakers, and unique live cinema events, the festival has developed a reputation as one of the strongest and most innovative genre festivals in the country. They are based at Broadway in Nottingham, one of the UK's leading independent cinemas and creative hubs.

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