SHORT: ‘Girls Night’ (2017) Halloween finds three girlfriends at a party gone wrong

SHORT: ‘Girls Night’ (2017) Halloween finds three girlfriends at a party gone wrong

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Filmmaker David Teixeira wrote, directed, shot, and edited this modest short, which is in French but offers English subtitles. Here’s the official synopsis:

Girls Night is a short horror film that takes place in Halloween. Three girlfriends stay home for a slumber party that goes bloody wrong. Literally.”

It’s a variation on the venerable “Bloody Mary” legend. You’d think most folks would know better by now.

Teixeira leaned in to the inherent constraints of a shoestring budget, and came up with a mostly good-looking film that underdelivers in the scares department. There are some lingering shots that could be tightened up a bit. But the score is effective, the three main characters are colorful and engaging, and the central antagonist, in creepy mask and blonde wig, has an eerie menacing quality that makes this short worth a look.

So how can you take such a look at Girls Night? Currently, you can’t – but that will soon change. We touched base with Teixeira on the subject:

“It’s been submitted to 15 film festivals internationally. It will be online soon, still waiting to see how it goes with the film festivals and then I’ll put it online. Maybe in April.”

Stay tuned.


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SHORT: Check out ambitious new episode of ‘Scary Endings’ anthology: ‘The Water Rises’

SHORT: Check out ambitious new episode of ‘Scary Endings’ anthology: ‘The Water Rises’

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Online horror anthology series Scary Endings kicks off the new year with what may be its most ambitious episode yet, The Water Rises. Writer/director John Fitzpatrick (Skypemare) and the usual gang of suspects have put together an intense, nasty piece of work set aboard a cruise ship. Two newlyweds find themselves trapped in one of the ship’s elevators when disaster strikes. As the water rises, so does the tension… and the terror.

From a technical standpoint, this was clearly a challenging shoot, as evidenced by the “Behind the Scenes” video below. The Scary Endings team’s efforts really pay off, giving us a claustrophobic, heartbreaking entry in what has grown to become one of our favorite horror anthology series.

The Water Rises co-stars Empire‘s Kaitlin Doubleday and co-producer (and frequent Scary Endings actor) Adam J. Yeend. It also features voice-only cameos from horror veteran Cerina Vincent (Cabin Fever, Skypemare) and co-producer Ryan Dillon.


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“Behind the Scenes” look at the making of The Water Rises, featuring the cast and crew:

SHORT: Horror anthology ‘Scary Endings’ S2E02 gets seasonal with ‘Santa Claus is a Vampire’

SHORT: Horror anthology ‘Scary Endings’ S2E02 gets seasonal with ‘Santa Claus is a Vampire’

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Addictive online horror anthology series Scary Endings has released the second epsiode of its sophomore season – and it’s a holiday special! Santa Claus Is a Vampire strikes a tone midway between comedy and horror, with a liberal dash of holiday spice. Writer/director John Fitzpatrick (Skypemare) and his team tell a tale of a less-than-jolly St. Nick wrestling with a thirst that just cannot be quenched. Here’s the official synopsis:

Happily married couple Sharon (Hannah Marshall) and Cody (Ryan Dillon) are returning home with this year’s Christmas tree when an unexpected encounter with Vampire Santa Claus (Casey Kooyman) leaves Sharon sole defender of her home where no one is safe, not her son, the babysitter Holly (Charlotte Chimes) or even herself. Can she stop Santa from coming down that chimney? Traditional vampire rules apply…

It’s good to see Scary Endings return from hiatus. Look for a new short from them each month – they’re worth waiting for.


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“REDRUM!” TCM to present ‘The Shining’ (1980) in select US theaters October 23rd and 26th

“REDRUM!” TCM to present ‘The Shining’ (1980) in select US theaters October 23rd and 26th

TAGLINE: “The Horror is driving him crazy.”

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: 36 years ago, one of cinema’s greatest directors tried his hand at a horror film. Based on a best-selling novel by horror master Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining stands as one of the towering examples of the genre. Even judged solely as a film, free of genre compartmentalization, it is a masterpiece. (Though Gourmet Horror has not yet posted a review of this classic, rest assured it will be a 5-knife one when it eventually is.) Many of us – myself included – have never had the opportunity to see it on the big screen.

Well, now is our chance. Here’s the official announcement:

Heeeere’s Johnny… back on the big screen! Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Warner Bros. Entertainment invite you to relive Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of modern horror, The Shining (1980), when it returns to select cinemas nationwide for a special two-day event on Sunday, October 23 and Wednesday, October 26.

From a script he co-adapted from the Stephen King novel, director Stanley Kubrick melds vivid performances, menacing settings, dreamlike tracking shots and shock after shock into a milestone macabre. In a signature role, Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, who’s come to the elegant, isolated Overlook Hotel, as the off-season caretaker with his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd). Torrance has never been there before – or has he? The answer lies in a ghostly time warp of madness and murder.

This is no small-scale release. The Shining will play in no less than 2,076 theaters nationwide! Chances are very good it will be shown at a venue near you (and you can find out for sure here). The presenters promise the film will be presented uncut, and in its original United States theatrical aspect ratio (which I assume will be 1.85:1, about which there is much controversy and discussion, some of which is related here). Showings will be preceded by a specially-produced introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

Who else wants to watch The Shining as the horror gods intended – in the dark, with strangers, on a huge screen? I know I’ll be there. Shall I save you a seat?

Pre-sale tickets are available now.

Jack uttering one of horror's immortal lines

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Vengeance thriller ‘Tonight She Comes’ to make festival debut October 9th at UK’s GRIMMFEST

Vengeance thriller ‘Tonight She Comes’ to make festival debut October 9th at UK’s GRIMMFEST

TAGLINE: “Yesterday… she was chosen. At midnight… she was sacrificed. This morning… she was buried. But tonight… Tonight She Comes. Everyone else will die.

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: I really love the bold colors and stark lines of this poster, created especially for the Manchester, UK horror festival GrimmFest (AKA Grimm Up North), where this film debuts early next month. And the stylish, synth-drenched teaser trailer (see below) reveals very little, but sure looks cool as hell.

Here’s the official synopsis:

After a girl goes missing, two of her friends and a mysterious set of strangers find themselves drawn to the cabin in the woods where she disappeared. They will laugh, they will drink, they will kiss, they will make love, and THEY MUST ALL DIE.

Tonight She Comes was written, directed, and edited by Matt Stuertz. He previously directed the feature horror / sci-fi film RWD, created the Sixty Second Slashers anthology series, and directed Mindless, part of Bloody Disgusting’s World of Death horror short film curation.

The film features a pulse pounding synth score composed by Wojciech Golczewski (We Are Still Here, Beyond the Gates, Late Phases) and intense, hard hitting sound design by Shawn Duffy (Darling, Carnage Park). The special festival poster shown above was crreated by Marie Bergeron.

The cast includes Nathan Eswine, Larissa White, Jenna McDonald, Brock Russell, Cameisha Cotton, Dal Nicole, Adam Hartley, and Frankie Ray. Theatrical, DVD, and VOD release dates have not yet been announced.


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The Gourmet Horror Review: ‘Don’t Breathe’ (2016) Master class in white-knuckle, claustrophobic terror

TAGLINE: “This house looked like an easy target. Until they found what was inside.”

WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Director Fede Alvarez reunites with his Evil Dead star Jane Levy for a taut, tense exercise in claustrophobic locked-house terror. The premise couldn’t be simpler: A trio of young thieves (Levy as Rocky, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) break and enter the house of a blind veteran, seeking a rumored fortune he received as a settlement for a devastating loss. It seems like an easy target, virtually risk free. Of course, they couldn’t be more wrong. The house’s location in a derelict neighborhood in Detroit originally seemed like a plus, but once the tables are turned, its remoteness becomes a terrifying liability.

BLUNDERS/GAFFS (caution – spoilers):

  • Money uses his pistol to shoot a padlock off a door, but man, it sure looked like all he needed was a screwdriver. The lockset was screwed down on the outside of the door.
  • Rocky’s pants are slit open by The Blind Man, yet that tear is mysteriously gone when she gets to the car.
  • It’s a neat trick to get an audience to care about a group of young home invaders, especially when one of their targets is a old blind man bearing scars both real and psychological. Alvarez and his co-writer Rodo Sayagues mostly succeed, with the notable exception of Zovatto’s character, Money. He’s repellent in every way, to the point where it has to have been intentional. Sometimes characters in a horror film can’t get killed off fast enough. Money is one of them.
  • I had a hard time figuring out where the outside light that backlights the windows was coming from. From the exterior, the house and neighborhood looked very dark.
  • At one point, Rocky talks about the ladybug tattoo she got on her arm the day before, yet there is no redness or swelling. She must be a very fast healer.
  • Why would you break and enter a house while its owner was home? Even if he was a seemingly harmless blind man, that seems an unnecessary risk.
  • Levy’s character Rocky draws a little too deeply from the “Final Girl” well. It’s executed well enough that I didn’t mind, but there it is.
  • Another trope: Characters suffer traumatic injuries that should by all rights kill or incapacitate them. Yet somehow they just keep going, Energizer Bunny-style.

EVALUATIONDon’t Breathe hits the ground running, with an economical setup, and wastes no time getting to the good parts. It clocks in at a lean, taut 88 minutes, and Alvarez makes every second count.

Levy is excellent. Her part calls for a lot of wild-eyed but silent terror, and she does it as well as anyone. But it is Stephen Lang as The Blind Man who elevates Don’t Breathe to something special. He’s well above your cookie-cutter, garden-variety villain. He’s given a compelling backstory, and even though he makes horrible choices and performs despicable acts, he is still recognizably human – and relatable. He’s damaged goods, a wounded warrior (very different from his Colonel Quaritch in Avatar) whose past compels him to evil doings.

You won’t find a horror film that makes better use of the complete absence of sound. Agonizing stretches play out in complete silence. It compels the viewer to watch in silence, as well, and you really do hesitate to even breathe. The jump scares are well-executed and mostly earned, all the more devastating as they emerge from deathly quiet.

Any review of Don’t Breathe would be remiss without a word on Pedro Luque‘s cinematography. Most of the film takes place in a blind man’s house, much of the time in partial to total darkness. This presents special challenges. How many films have you squinted at, trying to make out details obscured by shadows and dimness? Nothing of the sort here. It’s gorgeously framed and shot throughout, and everything is clear (when it needs to be). You always have a strong sense of the geography of the set. The layout of the house is honored at all times, across all three floors. That’s no easy feat. And when there is gunfire – and there is plenty of gunfire – the muzzle flash and deafening report hit like fists.

It’s a locked-door thriller that tightens the screws relentlessly. The only one who wants out of that godforsaken house more than the three thieves? Us. The viewers. It’s almost unbearably tense and claustrophobic. In short, this is one for the ages. It’s not perfect, but it is perfectly entertaining, and a must-see for any red-blooded genre fan. Catch it in theaters while you still can.


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

TITLEDon’t Breathe
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2016
STUDIO: Ghost House Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing (US)
MPAA RATING: R
LENGTH: 88 mins.
DVD? (Y/N): N
BLU-RAY? (Y/N): N
NETFLIX? (Y/N): Not yet
WIDESCREEN? (Y/N) Y
IN THEATERS? (Y/N) Y
STREAMING DIGITAL/VOD? (Y/N) N