THE THING THAT ATE THE BIRDS – Short

On the North Yorkshire Moors, Abel, Head Gamekeeper, discovers the thing that is eating his grouse.

 

The Thing That Ate the Birds is a creepy metaphoric horror short, with some really cool creature effects!

 

THE THING THAT ATE THE BIRDS - Short

 

Director: Dan Gitsham, Sophie Mair
Writer: Dan Gitsham, Sophie Mair
Country & year: UK, 2021
Actors: Eoin Slattery, Rebecca Palmer, Lewis Mackinnon, James Swanton
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt12442558/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Prayer (2013)

A team of investigators, consisting of Deacon (a religious brother who is some i kind of skeptic – however that makes sense) Gray (an englishman who is both a layman and a technology expert) and Father Mark (who is, of course, sent by the Vatican to team up with these guys in order to investigate reports of supernatural activity in an old thirteenth century church. The guys arrive at the old church, where they set up their recording equipment and stuff, Ghost Adventures-style. The local priest believes that the things happening inside the church is a miracle, until he later starts questioning what is happening as being something completely different – and leaps to his death from the bell tower. After this, the inhabitants in the village become hostile towards the investigators…

 

Final Prayer, also known as The Borderlands, is a found-footage horror movie from 2013, directed by Elliot Goldner. While it may look like a very standard supernatural found footage flick, it twists around to something that is more akin to cosmic horror with some obvious lovecraftian vibes. An old decrepit church situated on top of a hill, a village with hostile and weird inhabitants…yeah, if you’ve ever read some of Lovecraft’s works like “Shadow over Innsmouth” and “Rats in the Walls“, you’ll easily spot the resemblances here.

 

The movie starts a little slow, where the characters (who differs greatly in personalities) try to get along while conducting their investigations. While many found footage horror movies have their characters portrayed with bland or shallow personalities, Final Prayer spends some time with its character development. And that is not a bad thing. It’s overall spooky and creepy enough, with an atmospheric setting and a gradual build-up of suspense. It’s treading customary paths for a while where you easily find yourself thinking this is a run-of-the-mill ghost/demon film…but as strange things keep happening you realize that this is not exactly what you expected. And so do the characters…

 

Now, what makes this movie stand out a bit from other fount-footage horror movies, is the rather unexpected WTF ending, which does come as a bit of surprise despite that you’ve been getting more than a few hints and reveals as the story progresses which tells us that this is no ordinary “haunting”. There are some scenes during the ending that are shot in some really narrow caves, which actually shows some real fear in the actor’s expressions, as they suffered from those claustrophobic confines. I’m not going to spoil any more, but it was definitely unexpected and kind of weird.

 

Overall, Final Prayer aka The Borderlands (with the working title “The Devil Lies Beneath“, which is, perhaps, the most fitting title of all) may appear at first glance to be one of those found footage movies that offers nothing more than the usual and over-used tropes…but this does change, and makes this British horror movie well worth a watch.

 

Final Prayer

 

Writer and director: Elliot Goldner
Also know as: The Borderlands
Country & year: UK, 2013
Actors: Gordon Kennedy, Robin Hill, Aidan McArdle, Sarah Annis, Lee Arnold, Drew Casson, Peter Charlton, Marcus Cunningham, Patrick Godfrey, Kevin Johnson, Luke Neal
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt2781832/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEDTIME STORY – Horror Short

Two young brothers, who, after hearing their Mother’s haunting bedtime story, are terrorized when it comes to life.

 

Bedtime Story (El Cuento) is an unsettling and creepy horror short!

 

BEDTIME STORY - Horror Short

 

Director: Lucas Paulino, Ángel Torres
Country & year: Spain, 2019
Actors: Nerea Barros, Ismael Palacios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Silence (2007)

Dead Silence (2007)

Jamie and Lisa are a married couple that one day receive a gift from an anonymous person: a box that includes a ventriloquist doll that is called Billy. When Jamie is out getting some take-away food, his pregnant wife is attacked by an entity that not only causes her to have a miscarriage, but literally rips her tongue out as well. Jamie is immediately suspected for having something to do with his wife’s gruesome murder, but he is soon released from custody due to lack of evidence. When he comes home, he inspects the mysterious gift and sees a message about some called “Mary Shaw”: a ventriloquist that lived in Raven’s Fair, Jamie’s hometown. He decides to visit the old town where he grew up, which is now looking dilapidated and forlorn. He visits his estranged wheelchair-bound father, who has now remarried to a much younger woman. When trying to find out more about Mary Shaw, the doll Billy, and the secrets of Raven’s Fair, Jamie ends up realizing that there are times when it’s best to keep your lips tightly sealed…

 

Before James Wan got renowned in the world of horror due to the Insidious and Conjuring franchise, he had previously made another (completely different) type of horror movie: “Saw“. Saw is of course a completely different beast, where that franchise pretty much turned into what could probably be considered (soft) torture porn. However: what few people seem to be aware of, is that Insidious (2010) and Conjuring (2013) were not Wan’s first entries into the supernatural horror genre. Predating them both, Dead Silence was released in 2007. Unfortunately it was a box office failure upon release (some believing it was ahead of its time, as creepy atmospheric ghost horror movies had a higher popularity some years later) but it has later been somewhat re-discovered. While not on par with some of James Wan’s later achievements, it is now considered a solid entry into the supernatural/ghost horror genre.

 

In the film, you can easily spot James Wan’s distinctiveness all over the place, where you can see the early hints of what to come as he’s now exploring the realm of spirits and creepy, atmospheric settings, while also having a little bit of the Saw-grittyness in it which includes some fairly nasty death scenes. Nothing over-the-top, but enough to blend in with the the rest. There’s a lot to appreciate when it comes to eerie scenery, there’s even an old theatre partly submerged by water from the nearby lake. It’s spooky and gothic, maybe a little cheesy here and there but with enough creepy atmosphere to keep the chills coming.

 

And, let’s not forget the villain of the movie, the undead ventriloquist Mary Shaw, played by Judith Roberts. As the nursery rhyme from the movie goes: Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children, only dolls. If you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream or she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam (and let’s be honest: if you saw someone like her, it would probably be hard not to scream…). She is somewhat reminiscent of “The Bride In Black” from the Insidious franchise, so you could say that Mary Shaw was a prototype of other ghostly villains to come.

 

Overall, Dead Silence is a horror movie that still holds up well after 15 years, and can easily be seen as a nice prelude to Jame’s Wan’s later films into the supernatural horror genre.

 

Fun fact: there is actually a little easter-egg during the climax of the movie: among Mary Shaw’s collection of dolls, you can see Jigsaw’s doll (from the “Saw” movies) among them.

 

Dead Silence

 

Director: James Wan
Writers: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Country & year: USA, 2007
Actors: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Bob Gunton, Laura Regan, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Judith Roberts, Keir Gilchrist, Steven Taylor, Steve Adams
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0455760/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRACKISH – Horror Short Film

A menacing spirit lurks in the mangroves waiting for an unsuspecting victim. She is the Brackish Undertaker, cursed by the crown she wears.

 

Brackish is a creepy and pretty horror short that takes us into fairytale-land…

 

BRACKISH - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Christa Boarini
Writer: Christa Boarini
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Lauren Crandall, Michelle Hardy, Laura Palacio
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt14720184/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun Returns (2018)

13 years has gone by since the the last Lep with Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood, and a thing or two have obviously changed since then. Trimark was shut down in 2003, only three movies after Back 2 tha Hood, while Warvick Davis had moved over to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and recently shot the first season of the upcoming Willow series. And yeah, there’s a film called Leprechaun: Origins from 2008, an amateurish nothingburger which has zero to do with the franchise in any shape or form. So we have to jump further in time to 2013 where Leprechaun finally returned, in a direct-sequel to the original, directed by Steven Kostanski.

 

The plot goes as follows: the teengirl Lila Jenkins is on her way to an old house in North Dakota, where she’s going to spend the summer vacation with a group of college friends (body counts). As she gets a ride with Ozzie, the clumsy redneck from the first film, she tells him that her mom Tori (the protagonist from the first film) had died of cancer the same year. Rest in peace. After putting off Lila by the house, Ozzie suddenly gets some green liquid sprayed on him from the well which Lep fell into 25 years ago. The liquid somehow impregnates Ozzie, which leads to a gory rebirth where Lep punches and kicks his way out of Ozzie’s stomach like a toddler with a tantrum. He then gives a quick return monologue just to ensure us that he, after being trapped in a well for 25 years, is still a witty goofball who hasn’t forgot how to rhyme: “There once was a lad they thought DIED, his flesh had melted off his whole HIDE, but he escaped from the WELL, alive and quite SWELL. And now he’ll be killing in stride!” And he’s excited as a kid on Christmas morning to finally catch up with the killings.

 

The B-movie insanity that increased all up to eleven and blew out of all proportions in space, are toned-down and back to the roots with the farmland-setting, woods and overall back the 90s horror campyness. As the eight film in a horror franchise like this, it’s pretty remarkable how more polished and, if not, more professional (for lack of better word) Lep Returns look. Director Steven Kostanski was also co-director on the modern cult-film The Void two years earlier, so there’s clearly some talent behind the camera. There also seemed to finally be some competent special effects artists on set to give Lep some decent kill scenes, and there’s no exaggeration in saying that this is the goriest film in the franchise. Lep eagerly uses some modern technology to slice someone’s throat with drone blades, a whole body gets sliced in two, a fun little nod to Phantasm (I assume) with a mouth getting impaled by a sprinkler faucet. And there’s a … pillow fight.

 

This being said and all the positives, the film itself is pretty mediocre with the same old cliché slasher characters which you couldn’t give a toss about, and a standard mediocre slasher you’d forgotten about if it wasn’t for the – drumroll – Leprechaun. As they got the same guy who played Ozzie in the first one to reprise his role, they for one last time, also tried to get Jennifer Aniston back. But nah. So, the only curiosity is on Lep, and why he looks more like as if Mortiis had a child. This time he is played by the relative unknown Linden Porco since Warwick Davis had his whatever reasons to pass. As low to non-existent expectations I had, he was quite a surprise and did a good job by mimicking the demeanor of Davis while investing some of his own personal flavor to it. And the most important of all, he seemed to have a fun time. So, my life wouldn’t get absolutely ruined if he signs on any future Lep films.

 

Lerprechaun Returns Lerprechaun Returns

 

Director: Steven Kostanski
Writers: Suzanne Keilly
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Taylor Spreitler, Pepi Sonuga, Sai Bennett, Emily Reid, Ben McGregor, Oliver Llewellyn Jenkins, Mark Holton, Linden Porco, Heather McDonald, Pete Spiros, Leon Clingman
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt8155182/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE FOUND OUT THERE – Horror Short

Two friends find a dead man’s video tapes in the woods and enlist the help of another friend’s expertise to find out what’s on them, but nothing could have prepared any of them for what horrors they found out there.

 

What We Found Out There is a creepy horror short about two men finding something in the woods that ultimately seals their fate…

 

WHAT WE FOUND OUT THERE - Horror Short

 

Director: Karl Kimmel
Writer: Karl Kimmel
Country & year: Canada, 2021
Actors: Dayleigh Nelson, Sean Collins, Zachary Loewen, Pascal Belanger, Tara Gothreau
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt13508834/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)

We’re at some shithole in Los Angeles where Mack Daddy (Ice-T) with a big 70’s afro, and some other dude, discovers a room with Lep’s statue and his pot of gold. Holy shit! You midget Midas mothafuckah, Daddy says before he grabs a mysterious flute from the pot of gold. We later learn that Mr. Daddy is a rap-music producer and the flute has the magic powers to set the listeners in some euphoric trance and some shit. Lep (Warwick Davis) comes to life, kills the other dude with a comb and goes for Mr. Daddy as he steals his gold. After Daddy gets empty for weapons that were hidden in his big afro, everything from a knife to a baseball bat, just to ensure us that we’re still in Looney Tunes land, he manages to trap Lep with the medallion and turns him back to stone. Got yo ass!

 

We then meet our protagonists Butch, Postmaster P, and Stray Bullet, a group of young struggling rap artists. They get in touch with Mack Daddy who sees some potential in them. The only problem is that their rap songs are too positive and family-friendly, and that shit is whack“, yells Mr. Daddy. After they refuse to follow Daddy’s advice to make their lyrics more R-rated, he tells them to fuck off. They then take revenge by breaking into his office, stealing the golden flute and the medallion from a certain stone figure which finally (again) awakens Lep, and … well, it’s yet another Lep movie, made for shits n’ giggles for the video market with the production value of a well-used Lada.

 

First Lep took Vegas, then space and now the Hood. So what’s new here? Crack-smoking, rapping, some vulgar gangsta talk (of course), more crack-smoking, more rapping, dopey effects where Lep shoots green lazer into someones eyes, gun fights and just overall incomprehensible buffoonery all across the board. Lep smokes so much crack to the point he wants a cross-dresser to give him a blowjob. Oof! Warwick Davis really needed the money this time, didn’t he. And I almost forgot to mention the three-second cameo of none other than Coolio himself. And just to put the cherry on top, and let Lep embrace his inner gangsta, he finally grabs the mic and performs his own rap song, Lep In The Hood, I’m so Bad I’m Good”, which alone tells it all.

 

And last, but not least, here’s the drinking game: take a shot for each time someone says mothafuckah”.

 

Leprechaun in the Hood Leprechaun in the Hood

 

Director: Rob Spera
Writers: William Wells, Alan Reynolds, Rob Spera, Doug Hall, Jon Huffman
Country & year: USA, 2000
Actors: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Red Grant, Dan Martin, Lobo Sebastian, Ivory Ocean, Jack Ong, Barima McKnight, Bebe Drake, Donna M. Perkins
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0209095/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LOOKOUT – Horror Short Film

When a fire lookout gets a strange call for help over the radio, she ventures into the forest to investigate.

 

The Lookout is a simple yet effectively creepy horror short!

 

THE LOOKOUT - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Katherine Oostman
Writer: Katherine Oostman
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Lizzie McDowell
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt17023894/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1996)

In known Trimark fashion, they had no clue what to do with Lep or which setting to put him next in the fourth installment of the franchise. And after the success Leprechaun 3 did on the home video market, there was no time to waste. It wasn’t until an executive at Trimark saw the promo art for Apollo 13 (1995) and replaced Tom Hank’s face with Lep’s when the genius idea came to fruition. That pitch-meeting must’ve been amusing to witness, to say the least.

 

The year is 2096 and a group of space marines are on their way to Planet Leprechaun where their mission is to search for Lep (Warwick Davis) after he, during the past six months, has disrupted the galactic mining operations. And the order is clear as a gamma-ray: Kill The Bastard! The timing couldn’t be worse as Lep is about to propose to the alien princess Zarina (Rebecca Carlton) so he can become king for some planet that never gets mentioned. The marines storm his low-budget-looking cave where Lep gets blown to pieces by a grenade after a quick gun-fight. The princess survives and gets taken back to the shuttle before they take Lep’s precious gold. Movie over, then? Ha-ha.

 

The marine who threw the grenade takes a piss one Lep’s remains just to boast his victory like a high school bully. The plot seems pretty normal so far, but just hear this: As he urinates on him, Lep’s spirit travels through his stream of piss and into his dick like a bolt of lightning. We later get the most unmemorable and lazy kill count where Lep gets resurrected by jumping out of his dick and pants, implied more than shown, since there was no one in the effect-department who had a clue how to pull it off. No gore – nothing. Boooo!

 

We also get introduced to film’s second villain, Dr. Mittenhand (Guy Siner). He’s the commander of the marines and is a bald-headed cyborg with only his upper torso remaining after a failed experiment. He’s a bizarroman version of Dr. Evil the James Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who tries to look evil with the effect of a mouse trying to be as big as an elephant, and speaks like a deranged Hanna-Barbera cartoon character on amphetamine. His plan is to use Zarina’s regenerative DNA to recreate his own body and … good luck with that.

 

Leprechaun 4: In Space

 

The effects are worse and more primitive than ever, and I think that director Brian Trenchard-Smith sums it up best by saying that he was disappointed by the final quality of the special effects, calling them “below Playstation”. Lep in Space falls off the tracks really fast where the plot, script, talent and all braincells just seemed to get sucked away in a black hole. And what we have left is a demented, bizarre, ultracheap-looking, completely out of control schlockfest with zero direction, and one-note cartoon characters only trying to over-act each other. It’s basically Looney Tunes in a mental asylum in space with a riot. And Lep? Don’t worry, he’s here, still portrayed by Warwick Davis who seems to have fun as usual and goes with the flow the best as he can. But the award for best-worst actress of the decade goes to Rebecca Carlton as princess Zarina who has acting abilities like a broken Hello Kitty toaster. 

 

The one and only legitimate positive thing to mention, is a certain spider-monster creature which (dare I even say it) gave me some Dead Space vibes. And talking about video games, here’s a fun, little trivia: The sound of the doors opening and closing are taken from the original Doom, where it was the sound of the elevators.

 

And I can’t allow myself to not mention a trailer that popped up on my YouTube recommendations recently for an obscure family film, called A Very Unlucky Leprechaun, which came two years after Lep in Space. And guess who plays the unlucky one. There’s little to no info to find, but the only post on its trivia section on IMDb can at least inform us that “Warwick Davis also plays another Leprechaun which is a serial killer.” Huh…

 

Leprechaun 4: In Space Leprechaun 4: In Space Leprechaun 4: In Space

 

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Writer: Dennis Pratt
Country & year: USA, 1996
Actors: Warwick Davis, Brent Jasmer, Jessica Collins, Guy Siner, Gary Grossman, Rebecca Carlton, Tim Colceri, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Debbe Dunning, Mike Cannizzo, Rick Peters, Geoff Meed
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0116861/

 

Related posts: Leprechaun (1993) | Leprechaun 2 (1994) | Leprechaun 3 (1995) | Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) | Leprechaun returns (2018)

 

 

Tom Ghoul