Horror short ‘The Cleansing Hour’ slated for HollyShorts Film Fest showing tomorrow

Horror short ‘The Cleansing Hour’ slated for HollyShorts Film Fest showing tomorrow

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Check out this trailer for Damien LeVeck‘s horror short The Cleansing Hour, starring Sam Jaeger (Parenthood, American Sniper), Heather Morris (Glee, Spring Breakers), and Neil Grayston (Daredevil, Eureka). The short will be featured at the 2016 HollyShorts Film Festival, which kicks off with a closed filmmaker red carpet and press event at 6pm this evening (Thursday, August 11th). The festival is being held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood. The Cleansing Hour will screen on Friday, August 12th, at 10pm as part of the Horror Program, presented by Eli Roth’s Crypt TV. Tickets can be purchased online at the festival’s website (see link above). Additionally, for the first time ever, the film will be available for viewing via the streaming service bitpix for the duration of the festival, which concludes Friday, August 19th.

The Cleansing Hour follows Lance (Jaeger) and Drew (Grayston), who run a popular webcast that streams exorcisms staged to look real. When Lance, who plays a priest, unknowingly hires an actress who is actually possessed (Morris), he is forced to reckon with his online charade in front of 20 million viewers worldwide.

“I’m honored that our film is competing in HollyShorts, and I’m excited that we finally get to show off the culmination of over a year’s worth of work,” said LeVeck, who has focused his directing career on telling unique and compelling stories with a message in the horror genre. “The Cleansing Hour is a fresh take on the exorcism genre that is sure to scare and thrill everyone who’s brave enough to watch,” LeVeck said. 

The Cleansing Hour was written by Aaron Horwitz (Roommate Wanted) and also features YouTube star Teala Dunn (Enchanted, Expelled), John Griffin (Priest, Jersey Boys), and Catherine Marin (The Tequila Sisters, Chimera) in supporting roles. Jesse M. Feldman (American Crime Story, Veep) is the director of photography and Marylou Lim (Godzilla, Looper) is the costume designer.

Shirit Bradley, who worked on last year’s summer blockbuster Godzilla and the comedy-horror film Krampus, produced The Cleansing Hour alongside entertainment attorney Natalie LeVeck. “From the moment Damien pitched this project to me, I was in. He has such a fun and clear vision and I was thrilled to be a part of his team and produce something that has a larger message,” Bradley said.

LeVeck raised over $30,000, the majority of The Cleansing Hour’s production budget, via a successful Kickstarter campaign.


Heather Morris
Sam Jaeger
Neil Grayston
Experience this terrifying scene from ‘Stranger Things’ in 360-degree virtual reality

Experience this terrifying scene from ‘Stranger Things’ in 360-degree virtual reality

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Genre fans got an unexpectedly lovely gift this summer when Netflix debuted its 10-part original series, Stranger Things, an homage to the 1980s sci-fi/horror of Spielberg and King. Now the producers have introduced a new wrinkle: virtual reality.

If you happen to have Google Cardboard, be sure to use it to watch the video above. And then, just for yuks, you can watch the cast of Stranger Things strap on a VR headset and experience truly immersive horror in the video below.

Stranger Things is billed as “a love letter to the supernatural classics of the 80’s.” It’s the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family, and local police search for answers, they’re drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces – and one very strange little girl.

Stranger Things stars Winona RyderDavid HarbourFinn WolfhardMillie Bobby BrownGaten MatarazzoCaleb McLaughlinNoah SchnappNatalia DyerCara BuonoCharlie Heaton, and Matthew Modine.

Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines, Hidden) serve as writer, directors and co-showrunners of the series, and are executive producers along with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen via their 21 Laps entertainment banner (The Spectacular Now, Night At The Museum, Real Steel, Date Night). Levy also served as director for two of the episodes.



Syrian filmmaker wins CryptTV’s inaugural Emerging Artist Award for intense short ‘Hallway’

Syrian filmmaker wins CryptTV’s inaugural Emerging Artist Award for intense short ‘Hallway’

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Back on June 11th, we ran a story about CryptTV’s very first Emerging Artist Award, to be presented at Texas’ Comicpalooza a week later. 22-year-old Syrian writer/director Issam Rayess won for his harrowing four-minute short Hallway – which you can now enjoy below. Besides bragging rights and elevated visibility in the genre community, the award also brings an exclusive CryptTV distribution deal.

According to Joshua Millican’s article in Horror Freak News,

Rayess, a Syrian national, is currently pursuing his BA at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He created HALLWAY as part of a multi-media project; the University provided him with the hardware, and the short was filmed in an actual abandoned building without permits. For props and incidentals, Rayess spent about $50. The end result, though, is nothing short of spectacular; a chilling creeper that can go toe-to-toe with anything produced in Hollywood with big bucks.

Congratulations to Rayess, the first of what we expect will be a long line of CryptTV Emerging Artist Award recipients. Now let’s watch what he created:

ABOUT CRYPTTV: Co-founded by Eli Roth, CryptTV creates original genre content guided by its motto #WeirdIsGood. Together we create and share the dark, edgy and different stories that bind us. Follow CryptTV and join the #CryptFamily to be a part of the movement that celebrates who you are.


Aging pinup displays appetite for destruction in ‘Model Hunger,’ out on DVD/digital July 12th

Aging pinup displays appetite for destruction in ‘Model Hunger,’ out on DVD/digital July 12th

TAGLINE: “Revenge is a dish.”

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Genre veteran Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High, Phobia, The Theater Bizarre, and several hundred others) moves behind the camera for her directorial debut, Model Hunger. Here’s the official synopsis:

Former pinup model Ginny (Lynn Lowry – Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People) had been cast aside by the heartless and exploitative modeling industry.  Ginny didn’t take rejection well and grew into a revenge-seeking, bloodthirsty, broken woman. When her new neighbors Debbie (Tiffany Shepis – Tales of Halloween, The Violent Kind, Sharknado 2) and Sal (Carmine Capobianco – Galactic Gigolo) move in, Debbie begins to notice strange things going on. Sal believes she is mentally unstable, but Debbie becomes determined to figure out what secret life Ginny is leading. Her new nosy neighbor throws a damper on Ginny’s private life: her cannibalistic addictions and ever-growing body count. Both women become determined to put an end to the other’s obsession.

Model Hunger was written by James Morgart, shot by Wolfgang Meyer, and features a score by Harry Manfredini, who has worked as composer for the Friday the 13th franchise. It comes out in both DVD and Digital HD formats on July 12th. You can get a… um, taste of the film, in all its lurid glory, in the trailer and gallery below.


Director Debbie Rochon
The Gourmet Horror Review: Short ‘Brentwood Strangler’ (2016) works by sticking to basics

The Gourmet Horror Review: Short ‘Brentwood Strangler’ (2016) works by sticking to basics

TAGLINE: “It’s a blind date. Keep an open mind.”

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Finding that special someone can be challenging, even under the best of circumstances. But throw a serial killer into the mix, and all bets are off. From John Fitzpatrick, the writer/director of hit horror short Skypemare and the Scary Endings horror anthology series, comes something a little different: an old-fashioned cat-and-mouse thriller in the vein of Hitchcock or Wilder. No gratuitous stingers or jump scares here – Fitzpatrick plays it straight and simple while delivering a stylish, satirical dissection of the modern LA dating scene.

Here’s the synopsis:

It’s the holiday season in Los Angeles and women are being strangled to death in the Westwood area: Maggie (Jordan LaddDeath Proof, the original 2002 Cabin Fever, Grace), a lonely woman goes on a blind date unbeknownst to her that her date is an active and notorious serial killer, the “Brentwood Strangler” (played by frequent Fitzpatrick collaborator/co-producer Adam J. YeendSkypemare, Liz & Dick). Is love in the air? Or is Maggie in for the worst (and last) date of her life?

BEST SCENE: The climactic sex/murder scene is wonderfully weird and twisted, with an outcome that is both unexpected and completely logical.

BLUNDERS/GAFFS: It’s difficult to swallow that this attractive, seemingly self-possessed woman wouldn’t pick up on the many warning signs that Richard is most certainly not who – or what – he claims to be. Also, the newscaster “Sasha Greene,” who appears on the TV in the restaurant to announce another victim of the strangler, moves her head in an odd and far too theatrical fashion for a professional journalist. It comes across as mannered and actor-ly. And in the aforementioned sex/murder scene, the foam around “Richard”‘s mouth magically disappears and then reappears. And this is a tiny quibble, but if this film was intended to hearken back to the Hitchcock era, it should probably have been titled The Brentwood Strangler. They really liked their leading prepositions back then.

EVALUATION: Brentwood Strangler is beautifully framed and shot, with a cool underlying LA holiday vibe reinforced by the mostly eidetic sounds of Christmas music throughout. The two leads generate some real chemistry, and their breezy, back-and-forth banter is one of the best things about the film. The manner in which serial killer Floyd Garrison assumes the identity of Richard Chase just in time to embark on a blind date with Ladd’s Maggie is inventive and clever. And the closing lines are hilarious. Try and catch this on the festival circuit – it’s a great looking film, worth seeing on the big screen.

Four Knives

EFFECTS (1-5): 3
SCORE (1-5): 5
OVERALL (1-5): 4

TITLEBrentwood Strangler
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2016 (though it played some festivals in 2015)
STUDIO: Strangler Films/Where is the Rockhammer/Far From Everything Films
MPAA RATING: NR (probably R, for strong language, violence, profanity)
LENGTH: 18 mins.
DVD? (Y/N): N


  • Motor City Nightmares (Detroit) – September 16-18, 2016 (exact date TBA – will feature Q&A session with star Jordan Ladd)
  • Additional festival appearances TBA