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.

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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.


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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
BLU-RAY? (Y/N): N
NETFLIX? (Y/N): N
WIDESCREEN? (Y/N) Y
IN THEATERS? (Y/N) Y
STREAMING DIGITAL/VOD? (Y/N) N

HOW TO WATCH:

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

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The Gourmet Horror Review: ‘Bad Acid’ (Short, 2015) – Be careful what you wish for.

The Gourmet Horror Review: ‘Bad Acid’ (Short, 2015) – Be careful what you wish for.

TAGLINE: “Fancy a trip?”

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Many a great horror story begins with a magician – as does Bad Acid. OK, hypnotist, technically:

Bad Acid is the debut short film from writer/director David Chaudoir. The story of a washed-up cabaret hypnotist, it blends hypnotic suggestion, hallucination and demonic apparition in a wry, tragically comedic dark fantasy, exploring the fleeting nature of fame. Marvin gets what he wished for, but not in the way that he wanted.

Bad Acid references the magical number three; three failed performances, three wishes and finally three deaths.

Bad Acid is the writer/director’s love letter to the films of Amicus Productions and Hammer Films from the 1970s.

Tristan Beint stars as Marvin Maskelyn, the hypnotist who drops a tab of acid he found, in lieu of a genie, inside a 17th century Babylonian lamp. In addition to taking Marvin on a revelatory trip – replete with visions of once again climbing to the top of his profession – the acid also awakens something… evil within the lamp. Something far removed from a compliant djinn conferring three wishes upon its owner.

BEST SCENE: After his acid trip, Marvin returns to the stage and launches into the same “genie in the lamp” hypnosis schtick he’s been peddling for years. But this time, his subject (played by Tiffany Haynes) is compelled to see not a genie, but a terrifying presence. Her unhinged reaction freaks out the audience – and rattles Marvin. Part of that rattling comes from recognizing the participant from his hallucinatory visions. It’s a cool scene, and Maddie Chaudoir really sells the absolute horror she’s experiencing.

 

BLUNDERS/GAFFS:

  • Not really a blunder or gaff, just a simple cultural disconnect. In the opening montage showing Marvin in old photos meeting various celebrities (Spice Girls, anyone?) and political heavyweights (including Tony Blair), many of these may be unfamiliar to American audiences.
  • Same goes for the thick English accents. I had to watch with headphones on to decipher certain passages.

EVALUATION: If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path of conventional horror, Bad Acid is highly recommended. Andrew Horner‘s cinematography is gorgeous, and Chaudoir’s direction is clear and focused, especially considering this is his debut short. But best of all, it tells an unexpected and unpredictable story, and tells it well. Special shout out to the sound design of the film. It really does feel like a bad trip – one you’ll be glad you took.

Four Knives


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

TITLEBad Acid
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2015
RUNNING TIME: 18:24
STREAMING DIGITAL/VOD? (Y/N) N (not yet)

CryptTV announces filmmaking Emerging Artist Award; first slated for Comicpalooza on June 18th

CryptTV announces filmmaking Emerging Artist Award; first slated for Comicpalooza on June 18th

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: CryptTV has experienced incredible growth this past year as the internet’s #1 source for original genre content. They also identify and elevate the best, most enthusiastic up-and-comers in the industry. Now, they will be presenting a filmmaker with an Emerging Artist Award – the first of its kind – for creative excellence in filmmaking. The award includes a distribution deal from CryptTV. It will be presented on Saturday, June 18th at Comicpalooza, the largest pop-cultural event in the state of Texas. Look for future Emerging Artist Awards being presented at prominent film festivals worldwide.


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.

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ABOUT COMICPALOOZA: Comicpalooza is back in 2016, offering the best multi-format pop culture con in the southwest. Featured will be J-Fashion, cosplay, film festival, literary conference, a code fest, maker space, Mars Rover rides, video and tabletop gaming, BMX stunt show, professional wrestling, roller derby bouts, and more.

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