Repulsion – UK, 1965

Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological horror feature film directed by Roman Polanski based on a screenplay co-written with by Gérard Brach. It was Polanski’s first English language film, and was filmed in London for Tony Tenser’s Compton Films (The Black Torment, The Projected Man).

The movie stars Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark and Yvonne Furneaux.

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

When Helen leaves on a holiday to Italy with her married boyfriend, Michael (Ian Hendry), Carol appears distracted at work, refuses to leave her apartment, leaves a raw, skinned rabbit out to rot, and sees hallucinations, first of the walls cracking, then hands reaching out to grab and attack her, and repeated nightmares or hallucinations of a man breaking into her bedroom and carnally abusing her.

When Colin (John Fraser), a would-be suitor whom she has rejected, breaks into the flat, she bludgeons him to death with a candlestick and dumps the body into the overflowing bath.

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Later, the landlord (Patrick Wymark) arrives for the late rent. Carol pays him and at first just sits on the sofa, staring into space, as he remarks on the state of the apartment and gives her water to drink. But when he tries to force himself on her, she slashes him to death with a straight razor.

Reviews:

“Deneueve transfixes with her dead-eyed stare. A woman constantly harassed by men who withdraws into an almost catatonic state. As her mania grows, her ability to differentiate between reality and imagination diminishes. Repulsion is a masterpiece of cinema, a powerful work of feminism and a chilling psychological horror.” Rob Aldam, Backstreet Mafia

Repulsion, like so many other Polanski movies, is about a person alone, surrounded by oppressive forces. Whatever that says about his personal demons can never excuse the fact that he became one of those forces himself.” David Bax, Battleship Pretension

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Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com

Repulsion is a surprisingly witty, smartly written film. It blends elements of suspense and mystery along with drama, horror and erotica in a very unique way. It is also a carefully photographed film, encouraging the viewer to pay close attention to even the tiniest of details. ” Dr. Svet Atanasov, Blu-ray.com

“You get the idea at 45 minutes in and then there’s 45 minutes, at steadily increasing intensity, left to go. Nevertheless, there are several good effects and creepy moments. Polanski keeps things tense and knows how to frame a shot and edit the things to keep the tone unsettling. Yay.” Cinema de Merde

Repulsion synthesizes elegant visions from Cocteau fantasy and Val Lewton horror to chart Carole’s headlong fall into the pit. By the time the film resorts to overt Guignol, we’re locked in a horror landscape with rotting corpses and murders by straight razor. Polanski avoids horror clichés while revealing his personal visual obsessions.” Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant

Repulsion is a stylistic tour-de-force, made at the time when Polanski was at the height of his powers, brilliant, innovative, provocative, and witty […] But there’s still a nagging sense that in the end Repulsion doesn’t really add up to very much. ” Ian Johnston, Not Coming to a Theater Near You

“The film has an unsettling vibe to it and while you can see where maybe it borrows a bit from Hitchcock’s Psycho, a film that blew the doors off of the box office four years prior, Polanski definitely carves out his own niche here thanks in no small part to Gil Taylor’s outstandingly atmospheric camerawork that is as startling as it is claustrophobic at times.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!

“The idea that straight-laced, outwardly normal people harboured deep rooted, horrific traumas was a liberal riposte to Nixonian ideals […] Nevertheless, Repulsion stands up as a landmark, hugely influential horror movie. ” Andrew Pragasam, The Spinning Image

“Polanski makes it work and the movie is all the more frightening by the scarcity of dialogue, the visions, and Carol’s cold, detached actions. Functioning as pure horror, a drama, and a character study, Repulsion is top-notch and definitely needs to be seen.” The Terror Trap

Cast and characters:

  • Catherine Deneuve … Carol
  • Ian Hendry … Michael
  • John Fraser … Colin
  • Yvonne Furneaux … Helen
  • Patrick Wymark … Landlord
  • Renee Houston … Miss Balch
  • Valerie Taylor … Madame Denise
  • James Villiers … John
  • Helen Fraser … Bridget
  • Hugh Futcher … Reggie
  • Monica Merlin … Mrs. Rendlesham
  • Imogen Graham … Manicurist
  • Mike Pratt … Workman

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Catherine Deneuve Repulsion 1965

REPULSION
British blue-tinged quad poster for 1974 re-release.

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Fear in the Night – UK, 1972

fear in the night hammer

Fear in the Night is a 1972 British psychological horror thriller feature film produced and directed by Jimmy Sangster from a screenplay co-written withMichael Syston. The Hammer Film Production stars Judy Geeson (10 Rillington Place, Inseminoid), Joan Collins (Tales from the Crypt), Ralph Bates and Peter Cushing.

In the United States, it was released on a double-bill with Demons of the Mind

Fear in the Night was the last of three features directed by Hammer screenwriter/producer Jimmy Sangster, following The Horror of Frankenstein and Lust for a Vampire, both in 1970.

On 30 October 2017, Studiocanal reissued the film in the UK remastered on Blu-ray + DVD. The release includes a featurette, End of Term: Inside Fear in the Night and the trailer.

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

fear in night 2

Plot:

A young woman recovering from a nervous breakdown moves with her husband to a boys’ school, but finds herself being terrorised by a mysterious one-armed man – and nobody believes her…

fear 5

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“Geeson is impressive in a role which requires her to show weakness and mental fragility yet still keep viewers identifying with her. The plot is pleasingly twisted and the climax suitably dramatic, if a little drawn out. Though there’s not much to make the film stand out…” Jennie Kermode. Eye for Film

“The acting is quite good from everyone here; Judy Geeson and Joan Collins do fine, fourth-billed Peter Cushing is excellent as usual, and Ralph Bates gives the best performance of his that I’ve seen so far. Unfortunately, it’s at the service of one of the most predictable scripts I’ve encountered in some time…” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“A relatively by the numbers rift on Les Diaboliques (1955), director Sangster compensates for the minimalist script by wringing every last possible drop of atmosphere out of prowling through the deserted classrooms, dormitories and across the windswept school grounds after woman-in-terror Peggy. ” Paul Worts, Fleapits and Picture Palaces

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Fear in the Night is a good, if somewhat slow-moving film. The quality of production, the acting and the twisty climax make the film worth watching throughout. While certainly not one of Hammer’s best, or most remembered works, it should still please Hammer fans and all those looking for an unfolding and dramatic film.” Rhett Millar, Horror Digital

“One can pull the coincidences in Fear in the Night apart but it does work. It works particularly from the director’s chair where Jimmy Sangster demonstrates a slick ability in telling an economically constructed film. All the twists work effectively. Sangster constructs some nice shocks…” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Quite simply it becomes far fetched and whilst maybe that worked back in 1972 it certainly struggles now some 40 plus years later.” Andy Webb, The Movie Scene

“Excellent performances from each of the four primary cast members, good secluded schoolhouse atmospherics from Hammer, packs some nice plot surprises.” The Terror Trap

Choice dialogue:

Robert Heller (Ralph Bates) referring to Peggy Heller (Joan Collins): “Hmm, she can be a terrible bitch.”

Cast and characters:

  • Judy Geeson … Peggy Heller
  • Joan Collins … Molly Carmichael
  • Ralph Bates … Robert Heller
  • Peter Cushing … The Headmaster – Michael Carmichael
  • James Cossins … The Doctor
  • Gillian Lind … Mrs. Beamish
  • Brian Grellis … 2nd Policeman
  • John Bown … 1st Policeman
  • Jimmy Gardner … Psychiatrist [uncredited]

Trivia:

The working title was The Claw.

Tom Chantrell artwork for original poster design

The movie was later retitled Dynasty of Fear for American VHS release to exploit Joan Collins’ fame in the TV soap opera Dynasty.

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fear in the night portrait

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ten years

Buy Ten Years of Terror: Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

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#FollowMe – UK, 2018

‘Vanity can be a cruel mistress’

#FollowMe is a 2018 British horror thriller feature film written, scored, produced and directed by Sam Hardy. The Samurai Films production stars Kara Kingsward-Hughes, Scarlett Davies, Maria Louis and Tyler Gallant.

Plot:

Three young British women from London, consisting of a YouTuber and her two friends, go missing from a motel in California while travelling from Los Angeles to San Francisco after posting on social media using the the hashtag #followme

Cast and characters:

  • Kara Kingsward-Hughes … Sophie – 8ight Limbs short
  • Scarlett Davies … Jessica
  • Maria Louis … Lisa
  • Tyler Gallant … Brandon – Alpha Wolf; Rootwood; Death by VHS
  • Connor Garelick … Cody – Alpha WolfAbattoir (uncredited)
  • Sam Hardy … Jake
  • Ike Catcher … Ike
  • Chance Harlem Jr. … Car Rental Guy
  • Devon Rafferty … Jason

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The Eye of Satan – UK, 1988

The Eye of Satan is a 1988 British supernatural crime-horror feature film directed by David Kent-Watson (Into the Darkness; G.B.H.) from a screenplay by Cliff Twemlow [as Mike Sullivan] (Moonstalker – aka Predator: The Quietus; The Pike project) who also stars. The movie also features Ginette Gray, Max Beesley Snr and Brett Sinclair.

Plot:

In Manchester, Northern England, a hit-man is assigned to protect the daughter of a local gangster after her life is threatened by a rival organisation. When the hit-man is double-crossed by his employers he wreaks a violent supernatural revenge…

Cast and characters:

  • Cliff Twemlow … Kane [as Mike Sullivan]
  • Ginette Gray … Christine Stringer
  • Max Beesley Snr. … Chief Inspector Pete Chase [as Maxton G. Beesley]
  • Brett Sinclair … Sgt. Peters [as Brett Paul]
  • Paul Flanagan … Bronstein [as Paul Hamilton]
  • John Saint Ryan … Camille Muhamed
  • David Roth … Father Galan [as David Rankin]
  • Heather Alexander … Mary Chase
  • Steve Powell … Daniel Hunter
  • Liam Leslie … Steve Stringer
  • Leo Atkin … Ed Stringer
  • Terry Cundall … Mr. Big
  • Stan Finni … The Demonologist
  • Jeremy Philips … Pathologist

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The Awakening – UK, 2011

The Awakening is a 2011 British supernatural horror feature film directed Nick Murphy (The Mist TV series; Dracula TV series) from a screenplay co-written with Stephen Volk (The Guardian; The Kiss; Gothic). The movie stars Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton and Isaac Hempstead-Wright.

Plot:

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the ‘missing’ begin to show themselves…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“Cinematographer Eduard Grau maintains a healthy, overcast atmosphere throughout, even when things go indoors, helping give the ghosts, in all their forms, an expectedly welcome place to manifest themselves within.  Everything feels like a nice British chamber Guignol, mildly stodgy and claustrophobic…” Kyle Saubert, Allusions of Grandeur

” … a ghost story with a nice kick and deeply felt emotions. The surface details suggest a banal return to a formulaic haunting, yet The Awakening, while imperfect, captures an intensity of gradually eroding conviction that carries the iffy material all the way to the intriguing head-scratcher of an ending.” Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

The Awakening unfolds in a purposely calculated manner that matches the supernatural literature of its setting’s post-Victorian era. Some call that boring; I call it a slow ratcheting of suspense, and the lovely, headstrong Hall serves as a terrific guide through the good ol’ ghost story.” Rod Lott, Flick Attack

“I found the final, colossal revelation to be contrived, but there are some nicely creepy moments, and director and co-writer Nick Murphy interestingly dramatises some of the neuroses feeding the appetite for ghostly phenomena…” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Some of the creepiest stuff actually happens outside of the ghost hunting and what you don’t see.  It’s not a scare-fest, but it’s intense and well-written. It’s absolutely stunning to look at in that gloomy, foggy, muted colors way you want your British ghost stories to be.” Horror Honeys

” …the film has a strong and well-written series of themes that run throughout about fear, loneliness and the guilts of the past. Perhaps the least satisfying section of the film is when it feels the need to have to throw in a M. Night Shyamalan-esque conceptual spin…” Richard Scheib, Moria

“The trouble was, there was a very decent ghost story that could have been drawn from this groundwork, it’s just that the filmmakers chose to plump for sensation (loud music courtesy of Daniel Pemberton overemphasising every fright) over a nice, creepy atmosphere.” Graeme Clark, The Spinning Image

“Rarely does a horror film make the back of your neck tingle with the calibre of its performances as well as its jumps and jolts – but The Awakening, a beautifully mounted ghost story in the style of The Turn of the Screw, provides chills of both kinds.” Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

” …familiar goings-on featuring the requisite dank shadowy halls and dead children mouthing CGI-stretched Edvard Munch screams. Nick Murphy’s big screen directorial debut has good atmospherics that only go so far to prop up a mystery whose overdue explanation is convoluted and underwhelming.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

Cast and characters:

  • Rebecca Hall … Florence Cathcart
  • Dominic West … Robert Mallory
  • Imelda Staunton … Maud Hill
  • Isaac Hempstead Wright … Tom Hill
  • Shaun Dooley … Malcolm McNair
  • Joseph Mawle … Edward Judd
  • Diana Kent … Harriet Cathcart
  • Richard Durden … Alexander Cathcart
  • John Shrapnel … Reverend Hugh Purslow
  • Cal MacAninch … Freddie Strickland
  • Lucy Cohu … Constance Strickland
  • Anastasia Hille … Dorothy Vandermeer
  • Andrew Havill … George Vandermeer
  • Tilly Vosburgh … Vera Flood
  • Ian Hanmore … Albert Flood
  • Steven Cree … Sergeant Evans
  • Alfie Field … Victor Parry
  • Felix Soper … Julian Dowden
  • Sidney Johnston … John Franklin

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Crucible of the Vampire – UK, 2017

‘An ancient blood curse finds a new beginning’

Crucible of the Vampire is a 2017 British supernatural horror film directed by Iain Ross-McNamee (I Saw Black CloudsThe Singing Bird Will Come) from a screenplay co-written with Darren Lake and John Wolskel (I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle). The movie stars Neil Morrissey, Katie Goldfinch, Brian Croucher, Florence Cady and Larry Rew.

Plot:

An ancient, cursed artefact draws a young, university researcher (Katie Goldfinch) to an old house which holds a dark and terrible secret. The young woman discovers the truth within the grim, foreboding walls of the house, but once in the clutches of its malevolent occupants, will she be able to leave with her life?

Reviews:

“Florence Cady, as Scarlet Scott-Morton, exudes the same kind of dangerous female sexuality that made Linda Hayden’s performances in Blood on Satan’s Claw and Exposé so compelling. Meanwhile Katie Goldfinch embodies that same, strong-willed heroine that you see in films like Suspiria and Rosemary’s Baby – women trying their damnedest to fight against the rising tide of evil…” Phil Wheat, Nerdly

“Taking elements of classics such as The Wicker Man and the spirit of M. R. James, it’s a film that is very easy to like, despite the occasional beats that don’t quite hit. The tone is pitch-perfect, and will certainly appeal to fans of parlour horror stories and moody old dark house flicks.” Martin Unsworth, Starburst

Screenbound Pictures is releasing Crucible of the Vampire in the UK on HD DVD on 4 February 2019.

Cast and characters:

  • Neil Morrissey … Robert – I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle
  • Brian Croucher … Ezekiel
  • Aaron Jeffcoate … Tom
  • Charles O’Neill … Jeremiah
  • Katie Goldfinch … Isabelle
  • Babette Barat … Evelyn
  • Larry Rew … Karl
  • Florence Cady … Scarlet
  • Lisa Martin … Lydia
  • Richard Oliver … Taxi Driver
  • Phil Hemming … Professor Edwards
  • John Stirling … Stearne
  • Angela Carter … Veronica
  • Peter Rowlinson … Soldier
  • Jeremy Taylor … Soldier
  • Darren Lake … Hooded Figure
  • Michael Molcher … The Captain
  • Graham Langhorne … Soldier
  • David Rowlinson … Soldier

 

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Nefarious – UK, 2019

Nefarious is a 2019 British home invasion horror thriller feature film directed by Richard Rowntree (Dogged) from a screenplay co-written with Matthew Davies. The Ash Mountain Films production stars Buck Braithwaite, Nadia Lamin, Abbey Gillett, Omari Lake-Pottinger, Gregory A. Smith and Toby Wynn-Davies.

The makers of  folk horror feature Dogged have just completed a sixteen-day shoot on location and in the studio. Nefarious is now going into post-production with an anticipated completion date set for Spring 2019.

Plot:

“Sometimes, you have to turn to crime. Sometimes, it turns on you…  Darren, Lou, Jo, and Mas live a meagre existence on the fringes of poverty. Indebted to the criminal kingpin of their social housing development, they routinely fear for their lives.

On the other side of town, the already wealthy Marcus and his mentally handicapped brother Clive receive a windfall in the form of a winning lottery ticket. When their worlds collide following a botched robbery, the would-be criminals get more than they bargained for, and will be tested to their limits in a desperate attempt to survive a predator of monstrous proportions…”

Cast and characters:

  • Buck Braithwaite … Darren
  • Nadia Lamin … Lou
  • Abbey Gillett … Jo
  • Omari Lake-Pottinger … Mas
  • Toby Wynn-Davies … Marcus
  • Gregory A. Smith … Clive
  • Dave Gadsby … The Boss
  • Jon Vangdal Aamaas … Arick
  • Matt Wignall … Jack

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Coulrophobia – UK, 2014

‘All the Fear of the Fair’

Coulrophobia is a 2014 British horror feature film directed by Warren Speed (Zombie Women of Satan) who also stars. The movie  also headlines Pete Bennett, Daniella D’Ville, Roxy Bordeaux, Leela Thompson, Ana Udroiu, Makenna Guyler, Chris Harrison, and Steve Haze.

Plot:

An on-the-run twisted family of circus performers live in the remote Scottish highlands, miles away from civilisation. When a team of female Roller Derby players go camping just a bit too close to them all hell breaks loose…

Reviews:

” …the bizarre costumes and characters ameliorating what would otherwise have been tedious brutality. The victims are a roller derby team but, despite some skating shots topping and tailing the main story, that’s completely irrelevant, sadly negating the ‘Circus freaks vs roller girls’ high concept tag-line. British horror regular Bennett steals the show as a crazed jester.” MJ Simpson, British Horror Revival

…Coulrophobia almost seems like a film Rob Zombie might have made before he lost his way and started churning out trash like 31. Comparisons to House of 1000 Corpses are inevitable, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. This is one of the most entertaining killer clown films in quite some time.” David Gelmini, Dread Central

” …this British indie film is for those who have a sense of humour and won’t take it too seriously. Those wanting to see gore will get enough to fill their roller skates here. Nudity level is reasonable with plenty of bosoms to make a nun blush.” Peter Hopkins, Horrorscreams Videovault

” …the switch here is that the clowns aren’t the killers, with one exception. It’s the victims that are dressed as clowns before being subjected to abuse. Thankfully, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a messed up, over the top nightmare and it knows it. The cast, most of whom have only this film to their name, know it too and have fun with the material.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Release:

Released on DVD on November 13, 2017 via LunaRock Distribution.

Trivia:

Shot June/July 2014, the film was temporarily retitled All Clowns Must Die during post-production.

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Astral – UK, 2018

‘Evil never dies’

Astral is a 2018 British paranormal horror feature film produced and directed by Chris Mul (shorts: Two Line Terrors) from a screenplay co-written with Michael Mul. The movie stars Vanessa Grasse, Frank Dillane, Catherine Steadman and Trevor White.

Plot:

Coming to terms with the explanation of his mother’s untimely death, Alex (Frank Dillane) turns to spiritual contact after the relationship with his father breaks down. As a student of metaphysics, Alex learns of the “scientific” premise of astral projection – the ability to project your spirit into an unseen spatial dimension.

While attempting to astral project, Alex becomes plagued by shadow spirits – malevolent entities vying to enter his body to access our world. Alex soon learns that he is not the only member of his family to have been besieged by such beings, as his mother’s dark past is brought to his attention…

Vertical Entertainment is releasing Astral theatrically and on VOD on November 23, 2018.

Cast and characters:

  • Vanessa Grasse … Alyssa Hodge – Leatherface
  • Frank Dillane … Alex Harmann – Fear the Walking Dead
  • Catherine Steadman … Claire Harmann – Outpost: Black Sun
  • Trevor White … Gareth Powell
  • Damson Idris … Jordan Knight
  • Darwin Shaw … Joel Harmann
  • Ned Porteous … Ben Lawrence
  • Mark Aiken … Dr. James Lefler
  • Juliet Howland … Michelle Collins
  • Jennifer Brooke … Karina Richardson

Filming locations:

Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, England
Wimbledon, London, England

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Dead of the Nite – UK, 2013

‘Death follows those who seek it’

Dead of the Nite is a 2013 British horror feature film written, edited and directed by S.J. Evans. The movie stars Tony Todd, Joseph Millson, Cicely Tennant, and Gary Mavers.

Plot:

“When a group of ghost hunters investigate the infamous Jericho Manor, they soon realise it’s not just ghosts that go bump in the night! As people get murdered, the survivors need to discover who or what’s killing them before it’s too late….”

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

” …its experiment of dabbling in multiple formats never fully succeeds in creating an enveloping experience.  The whodunit mystery is so-so and the final third lingers nearly to a standstill while the momentum does the same.  With respectable acting and respectable value for the budget, “Dead of the Nite” is above average, but unremarkable.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

” …a mundane piece […] The eventual revelation of the killer’s identity comes with a reasonable surprise […] Todd is clearly playing into his latter day role as horror icon and hams it up, giving the part the full force of his mellifluous basso voice.” Richard Scheib, Moria

” …a tight story with decent cameo and cheesy acting does not a film make overall. Dead of the Nite is flat out boring and uneventful – even the death scenes are pretty bland. There are some things done right with this hooded/masked figure, but ultimately I’m not impressed.” The Other View

” …with a £20,000 budget it was really well shot, with great use of sound especially in regard to the whispers and understated noises that came from the house. The cast are all solid in their roles and although Tony Todd has only a cameo, he does tend to give the film a certain authority…” Dave Wain, The Schlock Pit

” …the film is creepy in all the right spots, features plenty of shocks, tension and suspense scenes, and keeps the audience guessing about the goings-on until the very end, when the killer isn’t pulled out of a hat though but presented with a proper motive and all. Plus, the movie’s very nicely acted by all involved.” Mike Haberfelner, Search My Trash

“Whilst there aren’t any true gore scenes and the mystery is easy to figure out, Dead of the Nite has enough in its briefcase to at least deliver the odd moment that is worthy of praise. I wasn’t expecting much, but I enjoyed the few jolts and the attempt to make the stalking sequences as scary as possible.” Luisito Joaquin Gonzalez, A Slash Above… 

Cast and characters:

  • Tony Todd … Ruber
  • Joseph Millson … Detective Anderson
  • Cicely Tennant … Amanda
  • Gary Mavers … Detective Jenkins
  • Claudio Pacifico … Killer
  • Paul Fox … Paul
  • Simon Bamford … Gary
  • Suzi Lorraine … Crystal
  • Simone Kaye … Anne-Marie
  • Stuart Boother … Jason
  • Rachel Littlemac … Sheila
  • Anna Carteret … Mrs. Matthews
  • Sousila Pillay … Newsreader
  • Johnathon Farrell … Police Officer

Filming locations:

Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales
Craig-y-Nos Castle, Pen-y-cae, Powys, Wales
Fonmon Castle, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
Wimbledon Common, Wimbledon, London, England, UK

Budget:

£20,000 – estimated

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