Has Found Footage Horror Entered a New Stage? 15 Years After ‘Blair Witch Project,’ ‘Afflicted’ Makes the Case

As seen on Indiewire.com.

Almost 15 years since “The Blair Witch Project” pretended to document an ill-fated journey into the woods, its impact is felt more deeply than ever.

Almost 15 years since “The Blair Witch Project” pretended to document an ill-fated journey into the woods, its impact is felt more deeply than ever. The found footage horror genre technically pre-dated the digital filmmaking boom by nearly two decades (with 1980’s “Cannibal Holocaust”) but the age of user-generated footage, when everyone with a smartphone has one trigger finger ready to hit record, has made the device too ubiquitous for its own good. The all-too-easy visceral jolt known as the jump scare populates countless tales of hapless protagonists making dumb decisions that usually culminate in their doom (and also crops up in countless YouTube pranks). At best, the economical storytelling device catches viewers off-guard by sneaking shock value into an innocuous storytelling device; at worst, it’s a lazy fallback used to rejuvenate formulaic narrative.

But “Afflicted” is moderately better than that. An uneven but effectively unnerving found footage horror entry opening this week about a pair of fun-loving vacationers who encounter dangerous, otherworldly forces, it illustrates the full cycle of evolution that the genre has endured since it first creeped us out.

Despite the breakout success of “Blair Witch,” it wasn’t until 2008 that found footage horror became fully co-opted by the mainstream. That year, the first “Paranormal Activity” movie screened at the Slamdance Film Festival and promptly secured a lucrative distribution deal with DreamWorks, immediately launching a franchise that has seen five instalments to date; the very same week that “Paranormal Activity” screened, Matt Reeves’ found footage monster movie “Cloverfield” dominated the box office. Both movies contained the usual blend of mockumentary ingredients with special effects that enhanced the dread predominantly because they looked so out of place in the shaky cam, homemade techniques.

Since then, the sequels to “Paranormal Activity” and the action-horror instalment “Chronicle” have continued to capitalize on the prospects of using CGI in the context of found footage. This has led to a noticeable shift from the “Blair Witch” tactic of leaving the darkest events up to our imaginations. Continue reading article here.

Toronto’s Blood in the Snow announces short film program

As seen on Fangoria.com.

The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival is proud to announce its lineup for its BITS Short Showcase program playing Friday November 28th at 9:30 p.m. The lineup includes premieres of seven short films of the best Canadian genre shorts to be made this year. Last year’s prime time program was a huge hit selling out and adding a second screening.

For descriptions and trailers click here.

The remaining four features and the eight short films that will open all the features will be announced November 1st at Toronto’s HORROR-RAMA convention, with presentations running November 1st and 2nd.

Early bird festival passes ($65) and select individual tickets ($11) are on sale now here. For more, visit Blood in the Snow on Facebook.

Seven Reasons Why Most Horror Directors Aren’t Reaching Crowdfunding Goals

As seen on Dread Central.

Even well known directors with high profile projects and fans who are loyal and generous are failing to meet their crowdfunding goals. Why? Jeff C. Stevenson offers up seven tips that all filmmakers should abide by before they consider crowdfunding their film.

Number 7:  Know the 30% rule. In crowdfunding, momentum is king—and key. That’s why you want to have your “base” behind you before you post the project. Stats show that if you launch and 30% of your goal is quickly pledged within the first week, you have a 90% chance of reaching your target. And this 30% comes from the contacts you’ve cultivated two months before your product was launched. So remember: Campaigns that obtain 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed.

What happens if you haven’t reached 30% of your goal in the first week? Do you continue on or pull the plug and start over? Stats show that depending on the platform used, it’s estimated that only 14% to 40% of crowdfunding efforts succeed in reaching their goals. So most fail, and if you do, you’re not alone. Try again—just be sure to follow the above seven guidelines, and you’ll have a much better chance at reaching your funding goals.

Read tips 1-6 here.

WYRMWOOD – Review By Greg Klymkiw – Canadian Premiere Toronto After Dark FF 2014

As seen on The Film Corner.

The new Australian living dead chiller-thrillerWyrmwood might, at first glance, look and feel like a derivative post-apocalyptic zombie picture, but there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about it. Constructed with solid craft, spewing globs of gallows humour, walloping your senses, well, uh, senseless with bowel-loosening jolts, inspiring cold-cocking scares that slide you to the edge of your seat and of course, offering up a kick-ass babe of the highest order, all adds up to a rollicking good time.

With plenty of loving homages to George Miller’s Mad Max pictures and George Romero, helmer Kiah Roache-Turner and his co-scribe Tristan Roache-Turner, serve up a white-knuckle roller coaster ride through the unyielding Australian bushland as a family man (who’s had to slaughter his family when they “turn” into zombies) and a ragtag group of tough guys, equip themselves with heavy-duty armour, armament and steely resolve to survive.

Blasting through hordes of flesh-eating slabs of viscous decay, they careen on a collision course with a group of Nazi-like government soldiers who are kidnapping both zombies and humans so a wing-nut scientist can perform brutal experiments upon them. The family man’s insanely well-built, athletic and gorgeous sister is nabbed by the fascist egghead which allows for a harrowing rescue attempt and a bevy of scenes involving our babe in lethal fighting mode.

The movie has two very cool variations on zombie lore – one, a way for humans to telepathically communicate with and subsequently control the zombies as well as the handy discovery that zombie blood can be used as petrol for their souped-up fighting truck.

Roache-Turner proves himself a formidable talent. He employs … read the full article here.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival: 2014 REVIEW: WYRMWOOD

As seen in Toronto Film Scene.

Wyrmwood isn’t your typical zombie film, and that’s putting it lightly. There are things here that you’ve never seen before, and probably never even thought of, and the end result is a teeth grinding masterpiece. Touches of Mad MaxDead Alive, and Evil Dead blend with a bloody road trip through this insane film.

Everything about this film, including the soundtrack, is madness. Things begin in a rather serious way, as we witness the outbreaks first victims, and it never slows down from there. The movie becomes increasingly crazy, with a pounding score and camera angles that leave you disoriented. There’s also a very dark sense of humour that begins to show up halfway through.

This is the kind of movie where you find yourself wanting to cheer every minute.

Read full review and watch trailer here.

Canadian Sorority Slasher Flick THE SCAREHOUSE Premieres Just In Time For Halloween

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Coming off rave reviews of its Sneak Peek at Montreal HorrorFest last month, THE SCAREHOUSE hosts its theatrical World Premiere in Windsor, ON October 5, 2014. Tickets at Eventbrite.

Look for THE SCAREHOUSE on VOD and iTunes in CAN/US on October 21, 2014.

In THE SCAREHOUSE, “two friends open a Halloween fun house on Devil’s Night, an elaborate party for their former sorority sisters. As these six sisters arrive one by one, they are confronted by a troublesome past. When their hosts’ true intentions are revealed, everyone inside the Scarehouse will find out that, indeed, revenge is a bitch.”

Check out the official trailer:

[youtube id=”dl44rG-wGxA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Last summer I asked lead actress Sarah Booth about the importance of the all-girl cast, what’s new for audiences in this film and all about the awesome kill scenes! Read the interview at http://bit.ly/tshinterview.

For immediate updates on THE SCAREHOUSE follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Official website at scarehousemovie.com