Sunday, 28 October 2018

Halloween on the Horizon

Here are a few suggestions for a safe and happy Halloween:

1. Plan a route in advance.

Map out a route before leaving home. Stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid getting lost.

2. Wear comfy shoes.

Make sure you and your children are in comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Girls in dresses should avoid heels, and all shoelaces should be double-tied to avoid tripping in the dark.

3. Stay well-lit.

Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume to ensure they are seen by drivers on the road. Also, carry a flashlight with you to keep your child’s path lit at all times.

4. Make sure all costumes are short.

Long costumes that drag on the ground can be dangerous, especially at night. After purchasing your child’s costume, make sure it’s an appropriate length, and hem anything that’s too long to avoid tripping.

5. Avoid masks.

Masks can make it difficult for your child to see or breathe. If possible, skip the mask altogether and use non-toxic make-up to complete the costume instead.

6. Use flexible props.

Try to avoid costumes that have weapons as accessories. But if your child’s costume won’t be complete without a weapon, make sure it is rubber or plastic. Choose a prop that won’t cause injury to your child or their friends.

7. Check your child’s candy.

When sorting through candy at the end of the night, be sure to throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper, or looks as though it has been opened.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Monday, 22 October 2018

The New Halloween Movie

As reported in USA Today, the 2018 version of Halloween grossed $77.5 million on its opening weekend: the highest for any of the movies in the franchise. It has also garnered an 80 per cent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the following consensus: "Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic--yet still effective--ingredients."

John Carpenter deserves much credit for making a low-budget film in 1978 that has inspired so many other horror movies, although not of equal quality and audience appeal. (The 1978 Halloween has a Rotten Tomatoes critical score of 93 per cent.) Wikipedia reports that the budget was so tight for the movie, that the crew had to make use of what was available locally: the iconic Michael Myers mask was created from a William Shatner mask that sold for  $1.98. The excellent acting of Jamie Lee Curtis--in her debut role--and Donald Pleasence also contributed to the original movie's appeal.

I was happy to see that Curtis plays a central role in the 2018 film. To listen to an interview with her on the new film, please click here.

To read a CNN Business article on the box office appeal of horror films, please click here.

And here are some movie trailers to whet your appetite.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Soul to Keep

Here's a press release on an independent horror film that recently aired at Shriekfest on October 6. The film sounds intriguing.

Occult Feature

Soul To Keep Announces

World Premiere at Shriekfest

*** First ever open-captioned film presented at the festival ***

(Hollywood, CA) – October 5th, 2018.The anticipated supernatural horror film Soul To Keep, co-directed by David Allensworth and Monière, [had] its world premiere at Shriekfest on Saturday October 6th in Hollywood. . . .

Soul To Keep tells the story of Beelzebub, a demon hell-bent on consuming and taking control of souls, who hunts down siblings and their lifelong friends at a rundown country house.


"Soul to Keep is a great possession horror film that uses a deaf character to uniquely tell the story,” says Shriekfest’s festival director Denise Gossett. “This is a film that horror fans are going to love and we are thrilled to be showing our first ever open captioned film!” she adds.

The introduction of a deaf lead character, Tara, played by deaf actress Sandra Mae Frank, allows the exploration of unique modalities in the narrative style, notably the use of sign language throughout the film. All the actors flawlessly learnt and incorporated the sign language into their performances to serve the purpose of the story. This inclusive aspect of the unrepresented Deaf Community makes the production accessible to hard-of-hearing audiences as well as creating a dialogue between the Deaf and Hearing populations.

“The Deaf element in this film came to me originally as something of a scare tactic, and it blossomed into an important statement about bringing communities together,” says director David Allensworth. “Our co-writer Eric Bram’s wife is partially deaf, as well as one of our producers, Matt Meyer, who has partial hearing loss.”

“I wanted to bring out the elements of a minority group - the deaf and hard of hearing - and showcase them as heroes. In addition, I wanted to tell a horror story with real proven metaphysical elements, not another horror-slasher film,” adds co-director Monière.

About Soul To Keep:

Soul To Keep showcases an ensemble cast composed of eight up-and-coming actors: Sandra Mae Frank (Tara), Aurora Heimbach (Erin), Kate Rose Reynolds (Grace), Tony Spitz (Josh), Craig Fogel (Freddy), Jordan Theodore (Brandon), Derek Long (Toby) and Jessie Jordan (Kimberly).

Soul To Keep is a Shady Tree Films and Cineque Pictures production. Directed by David Allensworth and Monière. Written by Eric Bram and David Allensworth. Produced by Patrick Kendall, p.g.a., Monière, David Allensworth, p.g.a., and Matt Meyer. Co-Produced by Bears Rebecca Fonté and Rachel Morgan. Cinematography by Eric Giovon. Sound Design by Angelo Panetta. Music Composed by Irv Johnson. Editing by Ray Chung. Production Design by Lisa Ramsey. Visual Effects by Carlos Aldana. The film is repped by sales agent Taylor & Dodge.

About the filmmakers:

David Allensworth, director, co-writer, producer

David Allensworth’s storytelling circles around how we connect to characters and stories resulting in positive changes, enlightenment and an opportunity to escape. From surprise plot twists, to secret character motives, to authentic situations turned upside down, he infuses his visionary “gotcha” style with every film, series, screenplay, and pitch he’s been involved in. Soul To Keep marks his first feature film, and it is a perfect reflection of that style. Though he maintains an office in Los Angeles for his production company Shady Tree Films, he makes New York City his home with his wife and three children. He finds New York to be a hotbed of culture and characters, all of which inspire his storytelling. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

Monière, director, producer

Monière’s storytelling is significantly influenced by his upbringing; born in Kandahar, Afghanistan and raised in Flatbush & Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He comes from a lineage of Sufis and healers, strong believers in metaphysics and the unknown. “If angels are real, why can’t demons be real,” Grace, Soul To Keep. Every project he attaches himself to must raise the collective consciousness of humanity as a whole, creating a morphic resonance. Monière formed his company in 1999 during grad film school. He merged the words Cinematically & Unique, to form his company name Cineque Pictures. He lives in Midtown Manhattan with his wife and baby son.

For more information and updates about Soul To Keep, please follow them on Instagram at @SoulToKeepMovie.

Other Links:

Official Website:

Facebook (Film):

Twitter (Directors): @DjAllensworth & @Monierism

Hashtag: #SoulToKeepMovie

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Faster Production's Upcoming Short Film, Goodnight Halloween

Luther Bhogal-Jones and Faster Productions have sent us news of their upcoming short film Goodnight, Halloween.

The storyline is summarized as follows:

Alternate Detroit 1986, a world where Halloween creatures have co-existed with mankind, following the Kreatures Act pushed through the senate by KRONA, a right wing religious group with their own agenda, all creatures can be exterminated on sight. Forced into hiding, these creatures have formed uneasy alliances with each [other] in an effort to evade the efforts of the KRONA death squads. Now a group of creatures has uncovered evidence which could discredit KRONA, if only they can survive long enough for it to be uploaded to the Netwerk. Forced into hiding after retrieving the evidence, they must now endure and survive the wait until the world can see KRONA for what it is really doing. Goodnight, Halloween will be released online in Autumn 2018. . . .  [The letter "c" has disappeared from the alphabet in this alternate world: hence the use of the letter "k"]

I'm interested in the political overtones of the film given the present anti-immigrant stance of Trump and the religious Right.

The scene setter for the short film can be found here.

If you'd like to read an earlier post on Luther Bhogal-Jones' Black Spot, please click here.

Watch Faster Productions online here:
Follow Faster Productions on Twitter
Read the Faster Productions blog here:

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse

Canadians can now rest easy in the event of a zombie apocalypse, according to a recent article in Narcity.

The Zombie Research Society (!) recently ranked countries with over 5 million in population to determine which ones would be most able to handle a zombie pandemic. According to the article: "They took into consideration several factors, including population density, climate, topography, gun-ownership rate, military capability, natural resources, and public infrastructure." Canada came in second with first place going to Australia.

For the full text of the article, please click here

Sunday, 9 September 2018

I Am Not a Witch

Judging from the 100 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes and the trailers I have seen, I Am Not a Witch looks like an amazing film. It is set in Zambia and is a fictional story based on an African reality: witch camps in which accused women are imprisoned, marked with white scars, and tethered to white ribbons so they will not fly. It is filmmaker Rungano Nyoni’s debut film and the UK entry in next year's Oscars for  best foreign language film.

The following is an excerpt from The Daily Beast which describes the film:

From th[e] opening salvo alone, it’s apparent that something is terribly amiss here, and that only becomes clearer when an unknown young girl (Maggie Mulubwa), wearing an out-of-place T-shirt emblazoned with the message “#bootycall,” is spotted by a woman carrying water, and promptly brought to authorities and accused of being a witch. The reason for this charge? As one adult tells the less-than-convinced female cop on duty, things haven’t been right in the area since she arrived. Then another man steps up and says that the girl chopped off his arm, only to confess that he just dreamed this took place (which is still proof, apparently!). No matter the silliness of such allegations, the girl’s refusal to admit or deny that she’s a black-magic woman—instead, she faces this madness with staunch silence—convinces regional government official Mr. Banda (Henry B.J. Phiri) that the 9-year-old is, in fact, a witch.

Thus the kid is sent to live at a camp, where one elder gives her the name “Shula,” which in Zambian means “uprooted.” No sooner has Shula been welcomed into the community and given customary tribal scars on her face—as well as informed that cutting her ribbon will turn her into a goat—then she’s whisked away by Banda to a municipal trial held at a dusty outdoor 'court.' There . . . Shula is asked to use her otherworldly powers to determine which of the suspects has committed theft. Given that ... she’s not actually a witch, she defers to her elders, who via cell phone give her loads of nonsensical advice. (Choose the nervous looking one! Or the one looking up! Or the one looking down! Or the one who’s darkest!) Yet when she randomly fingers one man, and he shortly thereafter turns out to be the culprit, her credentials are firmly established.

All is not well with Shula, however, as I Am Not a Witch movingly elucidates. A prisoner of a system that demonizes women, segregates them from the rest of the population, and then has them toil on gigantic farms—all when they’re not presiding over criminal trials or trying to bring much-needed rain to the arid countryside—Shula is an innocent victim. And an isolated one too, given that she’s decades younger than her compatriots. . . .


For the trailer, please click here.

Sunday, 2 September 2018


In the lead-up to Halloween, there are a number of new horror releases scheduled for September and October. There are horror comedies, vampires and alligators, re-makes and sequels, and even a horror musical. One of the films that seems to stand above the rest is Mandy, which earned excellent reviews at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has very high ratings in both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

The film is directed by Panos Cosmatos, an Italian-Canadian director and screenwriter. It stars Nicolas Cage, whom I haven't seen in a movie for quite a long time. Cage is a good actor-- although in my view he tends toward histrionics in many of his roles--but he's had the misfortune of being cast in a lot of unmemorable films. Apparently, however, his acting in this movie is getting rave reviews, one critic even calling it "the performance of a lifetime".

The film is set in the Pacific Northwest in 1983 where two loners, Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) have fallen deeply in love and now enjoy a quiet, peaceful existence together. Miller's life is destroyed when a band of "ravaging cultists and supernatural creatures" invades his home and kills Mandy. He now lives for one thing only: to hunt down this band and exact revenge.

I must admit that I'm not fond of revenge films, and this is a particularly bloody one. But if you're not squeamish, you might want to catch this movie, which may well become a cult classic.

To view the trailer, please click here.

The film is in theatres on September 14.