Horror-On-Sea is now in its fourth year with Paul Cotgrove at the helm. Paul has quite the track record in the film industry and is more than qualified to bring you this horrific weekend of spooky goings on, gore and some damn fine films.
The first part of the festival was set over three days in Southend-On-Sea, Essex and featured independent filmmakers, directors and actors. With plenty of feature films and shorts to keep the blood thirsty punters happy, Black Sunday has picked some of the best.
Over the weekend there were killer apes, bondage, crazy clowns, dogging in Essex, creepy tales and other bizarre themes. It covered it all but on a very early Saturday morning, we were faced with Terry and Brenda. Now Terry and Brenda starts off a bit like a Mike Leigh film, very real, makes you feel a little uncomfortable but you can’t help watching but little did you know that it would turn into quite the bizarre tale of sex and violence…I won’t say too much but what I will say is that Fred and Rose West? You got yourself some competition. Valley of the Sasquatch – now this was a film that reminded very much of the TV movies I watched as a kid and I quite enjoyed it, there was some blood, a solid plot and the right amount of hammy-ness to it that got a few giggles from the audience– it worked.
The House of VHS was an interesting film; the idea was a solid one but the execution was quite slow with the latter part of the film being the main attraction with plenty of gory action.
Having never been part of the “secret cinema” experience I was interested to see what would happen at the world premiere of the Pat Higgins film The House on the Witchpit, more of a psychological thriller with a dash of horror thrown in, it not only had its debut at Horror-On-The-Sea but that very film was destroyed at the end of the showing, never to be seen again.
Cleaver: Rise Of The Killer Clown was a homage to the classic slasher 80’s films, you know the type – creepy clown, kids getting kidnapped and lots of blood. A low budget film that certainly kept the fancy dress shops and Matchbox cars in business, it’s not a film to be missed.
Straight to Video felt like looking into the brain of a 14-year-old boy – moving from film to film, the main character would become the star and would endure the trials and tribulations that’s face him. Not a bad film.
Exploitation films are always a good watch and Blanche Dumas from B-Z was no exception in the humour department, following the life of an aging scream queen, it’s simple, funny and a bit ridiculous but it kind of works.
Blue Moon, a werewolf film that took the idea of a dog a little further than some of us are comfortable with. Yes, dogging in Essex was the main plot with a werewolf thrown in there, sounds utterly ridiculous but the film was quite a stroke of genius and it was confirmed it will be made into a feature and we can’t wait!
The Outer Darkness was excellent; I have to say that to start with. With its eerie main character who reminded me very much of Pinhead from Hellraiser, the plot unfolded very much like Tales From The Crypt, with a strong cast and even stronger plot it came together nicely and left you wanting more.
Cyme Styrung was quite a change in direction accompanied by The Man Who Walked Too Far (not directly linked but more about that later). Pulling themes of folk horror into the mix this creepy short explores what lies in our hedgerows, we hope to find out very soon.
And finally, my favourite of the weekend, The Man Who Walked Too Far, a tale of possession set in the countryside. A relaxing holiday turns into a nightmare when Jonathan Cunningham purchases a walking stick that leads to some very strange events leaving him to question his own sanity. Like Cyme Styrung it has certain elements of the folk horror genre – folklore, the supernatural all based on our spectred isles.
The horror continues this weekend at The White Bus Cinema where you can see some more nightmarish films to satisfy your craving for the weird and the macabre. Find out more about it right here.
Katie Doherty/Shane Boylan