08th Feb2018

Horror-on-Sea 2018: Weekend Two Report

by Philip Rogers

The Horror-on- Sea Festival is Southend’s annual horror event, which showcases the talents of Independent filmmakers, through shorts and features over two weekends. This is the 6th year it has been running and this is my review of the festivals second weekend

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Day 1: Friday 26th January – Double Feature

19:00pm

Feature – Mortuary Massacre
When Detective Giger (Todd Brown) attends a mortuary regarding several mysterious deaths which occurred on Halloween night, the local Mortician (Carl Crew) describes the backstory of three of the victims. Christopher James Miller delivers an experimental horror film which has some surreal visual shots to get into the psyche of the characters. Utilising his experience in special effects, this is one for the gore hounds, with plenty of visual gore, which is delivered with plenty of tongue and cheek humour.

Short – Unto Death
In this powerful and moving gothic drama in which a priest begins to question his own faith when something happens to his partner.

Short – The Gardener
Beautifully shot in black and white and narrated with a poem, which tells how a gardener maintains his beautiful garden which holds a very dark secret.

21:00pm

Feature – Charismata
A dark psychological crime thriller which follows police detective Rebecca Faraway (Sarah Beck Mather) as she tries to uncover a series of occult related murders. More of a crime drama than a straight forward horror, but the surreal elements as Rebecca begins to question what is reality
creates something brilliantly original. Jamie Satterthwaite as Michael Sweet and Andonis Anthony as Eli Smith but Sarah Beck Mather delivers a strong but vulnerable performance as Rebecca Faraway whose performance reminded me of Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs (1991).

Day 2: Saturday 27th January

11:00am – Horror Shorts

Short – Bride of Frankie
A very stylish, funny and unique take on the classic horror the Bride of Frankenstein

Short – Beyond Macabre
A surreal dream like horror which plays on the unnerving fear of clowns and sense of madness

Short – Maelstrom
Karl spins the teaspoon from his coffee. Something spins even faster inside Tony’s head. A film which will resonate with anyone who suffers from misophonia

Short – Fright Corner
When a group of filmmakers decide to film a horror movie in the most haunted place in Britain, thing’s become eerie in this atmospheric horror.

12:00pm

Short – Lost Face
A brilliant adaption of a Jack London story. A thief has to think fast when he is faced with the painful torture and death at the hands of a native tribe which he helped to enslave

Feature – The Girl with Two Faces
After spending a night with a young surgeon, a young woman Clarisse wakes up as a prisoner and her face replaced with that of his deceased wife. But just because he can change a face can he force her to change her personality. The story unfolds slowly, in this brooding but beautifully filmed French drama, which keeps you engaged by the tense performances and some very realistic scenes of surgery.

14:30pm

Short – Lucky Shrooms
A horror comedy which leaves three friends lost and frightened in the woods after. Not everything is as it may seem when you’ve had your lucky shrooms.

Feature – No Solicitors
Having read the book which was also written by the film writer and director John Callas, I had an idea of what to expect, but seeing it come to life on the screen is even funnier. The horror comedy goes to the extreme with some incredibly graphic gore and hilarious dark humour. Lewis Cutterman (Eric Roberts) a well-respected brain surgeon and his family run a side business where they earn money farming body organs to needy patients, whilst also giving themselves an ongoing supply of fresh meat.

17:00pm

Short – The Zoo
A surreal animation which depicts an unusual day at the zoo in this motion short

Feature – The Child Remains
The fact the events are based on true events of the infamous Butterbox Babies, really adds to the story in this supernatural thriller, which gradually builds on the atmosphere rather than relying on jump scares. An expectant couple’s weekend retreat turns to a nightmare when they discover the secluded country inn is in fact a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and mothers were brutally murdered.

19:30pm

Short – The Foodies
What would happen if cannibalistic zombies where able to think and live like a normal family? This bizzare off the wall horror comedy tries to give an indication of what could happen with hilarious results.

Feature – Bonejangles
There are plenty of horror comedies, but it is always difficult to get the right balance between the two. Combining an immortal serial killer, a town full of zombies and a succubus witch, Bonejangles is not short of ideas and follows in the footsteps of the Hatchet series, by creating a mix of ridiculous laugh out comedy and enough bloody gore to keep most horror fans entertained. One of the many highlights of Bonejangles is a memorable cameo from Phantasm actor Reggie Bannister as the notorious serial killer Edgar Sr. and Bonejangles overbearing father. Full Bonejangles review here.

22:00pm

Feature – Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair
The late-night features are films which are going to divide the audience and Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair is no exception. With some saying it’s the funniest film ever, others walking out in disgust and some just confused, one thing for sure it’s certainly unlike anything you have seen before.

Day 3: Sunday 28th January

11:00am – Horror Shorts

Short – Low Rise
A simple but effective low budget horror as a young woman’s big city dreams are brought to an end by eldritch visitors in the night.

Short – Cambio
It was once a perfect holiday spot, however now that they have returned they realise they have changed. But when they suddenly see a familiar figure, things take a darker twist.

Short – I See You
Inspired by the ‘Killer Clown Phase’ in 2016 and the horror film it to create a twisted horror which builds on both the suspense and the story.

12:00pm

Short – Taste
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a given a dark and extremely gruesome twist in this adult adaptation which deals with the dangers of internet dating.

Feature – Empire of the Sharks
With 98% of the world underwater and the remaining survivors are controlled by a war lord who has the power to manipulate the sharks. Empire of the Sharks is an entertaining action film which is a cross between Waterworld (1995) and Mad Max (1997). The perfect film to be played at the coastal film festival Horror-on-Sea, which you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

14:30pm

Short – The Ingress Tapes
The simplicity of the film forces you to really listen to the recordings which stay with you after the film, but are they the ramblings of a violent fantasist? Or the taped confession of a multiple murderer who was never caught?

17:00pm

Short – Clanker Man
Ever wondered about those weird noises or why a mattress has suddenly appeared in the street? It’s the Clanker Man who works round the clock to keep things as they are in this oddly funny mockumentary.

Short – Goodnight Gracie
After seeing her mother get hacked to pieces, a devout Christian child can only pray that the same doesn’t happen to her in this hard hitting short.

Feature – Where the Skin Lies
Six people who suffered a traumatic event decide to take a trip to celebrate the end of their therapy, but when mysterious and horrifying events start to tear them apart, it soon becomes a battle for survival. Where the Skin Lies creates a claustrophobic feel, which takes an emotional look at the characters and how people change when it comes to saving yourself. The tense atmosphere is built by the amazing cast, including Nathan Wright as Mike Anderson and Georgia Winters as Beth Lee

19:30pm

Short – Long Drive Home
It’s late as David, a cantankerous insurance salesman is driving home. But when he starts to see visions he starts to wonder if they are real or just hallucinations created by his sleep deprived mind in this slow building horror.

Short – Head
A wife waits for her inattentive husband to return home. But when he returns late, it takes him a while to realise something isn’t quite right.

Feature – AUX
When a World War II secret military bunker is accidently opened, something which has been locked inside is accidently unleashed and so the murders begin. The true story which inspired AUX is as brutal as the film, which delivers a dramatic horror with some clever humour and an unusual twist.

22:00pm

Feature – Secret Santa
Following the stress of hectic exams, a group of college student decide to throw a party with a Secret Santa exchange thrown into a mix. But there is a killer in town who has a special present for all the good (and bad) girls and boys. Secret Santa was the perfect late-night film to end the film festival. A brilliantly creative throwback to the classic slasher horror of the 80’s, which is delivered with a mixture of bloody violence, satirical humour and an inventive use of weaponry. This is a Christmas themed horror which is fun all year round.

Check out the gallery of images from the second weekend of 2018′s Horror-On-Sea below, courtesy of J. Douglas Imagery:

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