AFI Fest Review: Peter Strickland’s IN FABRIC Is A Nightmare Brought To Life

Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Kevin Murphy described David Lynch’s Eraserhead best in his book, A Year At The Movies. “David Lynch has managed to do what few other filmmakers can accomplish: To present on film a dream, or in this case a nightmare.” Much like Lynch, director Peter Strickland has managed to do the same with […]

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Dark Moon Rising – USA, 2015

‘Pray for the sunrise’

Dark Moon Rising is a 2015 American supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Justin Price (Alien: Reign of ManThe 13th FridayThe ElfForsaken). The Pikchure Zero Entertainment production stars Anastasia Antonia, Eric Roberts, Khu and Billy Blanks.


A group of shape-shifting werewolves appear in a small town in search of a mysterious girl who is re-born once every 2000 years. In order to save their kind from the brink of extinction, they must capture her before she becomes a fully-fledged Lycan and reclaim her place as the Alpha species.

Unknown to them, however, lurks yet another of her kind secretly living in the same small town. If they can capture both, then they would have the power to control a new species of werewolves and enslave the human race…


“There was way too much background noise and music that made the lines/dialog hard to hear. The acting is atrocious, the screenplay is a disaster zone, editing is terrible, werewolves were a dreadful mess, shots did not transition well, terrible music, horrendous CGI, and cheesy everything.” Florita A., Hell Horror

“It maintains a steady hold on those watching but can definitely loosen the grip a little to pave way for some quippy one-liners and covers all the bases of a werewolf franchise in the making. A good, solid story with quintessential special effects that add finishing touches to an otherwise pretty good movie. ” The Movie Sleuth

” …fatally, for all its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, Dark Moon Rising forgoes that vital quality that made all those classic werewolf films before it so memorable; namely, the human heart that beats beneath the bloody pelt of the beast. Not quite beware the moon, but Dark Moon Rising nonetheless stops just short of being something to truly howl about.” Benjamin Poole, The Movie Waffler

“Many of the character interactions are nonsense. Most of the time, it feels like the characters are reading from different scripts as more than half of the things they say to each other don’t seem related. The actors also have a bad habit of mumbling their lines, making the dialogue hard to hear. Complicating this problem is poor sound editing. Many times, the dialogue is drowned out by music or background noises.” Rachel Willis, Screen Relish

Buy DVD:

” …it features rather odd jumps in time, leaves out important passages, leaves things half-explained and also changes between its characters’ fantasy and their reality without warning. Oddly enough then, all of this hardly spoils the movie’s enjoyability, as the whole thing is very well structured and paced, features cool set-pieces aplenty, and is carried by interesting (and well-played) characters.” Mike Haberfelner, Search My Trash

“The film is rife with terrible CGI effects used for everything from fire, to blood, to x-ray vision (don’t ask- I can’t explain it). In fact the film opens with a CGI tanker truck on (CGI) fire followed by a CGI werewolf. The werewolves inexplicably all have super powers. One of them named Gecko (no I’m not kidding) has a poison breath attack…” Che Gilson, UK Horror Scene

Cast and characters:

  • Anastasia Antonia … Dawn [as Stasi Esper]
  • Eric Roberts … Henrick
  • Khu … Kaio
  • Billy Blanks … Sheriff Tom
  • Justin Price … Sin
  • Cameron White … Chace
  • Lisa May … Feighn
  • Matthew Simmons … Gecko
  • Timea Saghy … Danse
  • Jared Allman … James
  • Emily Bedford … Lisa (voice)
  • Deanna Grace Congo … Amy
  • Michele Gourdine … Lisa
  • Sasha Higgins … Dominique
  • Katie Lee Mayo … College Student [as Katie Mayo]


In the US, released on digital and DVD on August 4, 2015, by Uncork’d Entertainment.


Not to be confused with the 2009 werewolf movie of the same name.

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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.


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.


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,

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.


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?


“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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Blood Cult – USA, 1985

‘The first movie made for the home video market… Might just scare you to death!’

Blood Cult is a 1985 American slasher horror feature film directed by Christopher Lewis from a screenplay by Stuart Rosenthal, with additional dialogue by James Vance.

The movie stars Juli Andelman (The Silent Scream), Charles Ellis, James Vance, Bennie Lee McGowan, Peter Hart, David Stice, Fred Graves and Bob Duffield.

Director Christopher Lewis followed this shot-on-video production with The Ripper (starring Tom Savini) the same year, and then a sequel, the imaginatively-titled Revenge, in 1986.


A secret society gather to worship the god “Canis” and offer the occasional human sacrifice, but they are eventually challenged by a bookish heroine…


“Utilizing a nine day shooting schedule, director Christopher Lewis tells a by-the-number stalk and slash tale with requisite nods to Halloween and Psycho, but with some gore thrown in for good measure … he’s a bland if capable director who gets some reasonable mileage out of his slasher scenes, but pads out his running time interminably with scenes of characters sitting around and talking.” Doug Tilley, Daily Grindhouse

“To the film’s credit, there are a few atmospheric scenes, largely because Oklahoma is a naturally atmospheric state. But, for the most part, Blood Cult has a “Grandpa Picked Up a Video Camera And Made A Horror Film” look and feel to it.” Lisa Marie Bowman,

“The opening house sets were great – all lit up perfectly to give off a suburban horror mood … Cheap, but fun. From here onward the acting just takes a dive, and makes room for some of the ugliest people I have ever seen in a horror film. You can only scream so long before we start to realize that your ‘acting’ career starts and ends with Blood Cult.” Josh G, Oh, the Horror!

Blood Cult never really manages to find its groove, frankly because it doesn’t even seem to be trying to. It’s almost as if Lewis and company were more concerned with just getting the damn thing made and out there than actually producing something remotely worth watching.” Trash Film Guru

“For the bad sound, sucky plotline, crappy acting and misogyny, there’s some cheesy recompense: the killer uses the decapitated head of one victim to beat her roommate with; severed fingers are found in a salad, and they had the audacity to call the sorority house where the first murder occurs Chi Omega!” Vegan Voorhees

Filming locations:

Tahlequah and Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

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The Cat Creature – USA, 1973

The Cat Creature is a 1973 American supernatural horror feature film made for television and directed by Curtis Harrington (Ruby; The Dead Don’t Die; Night Tide; et al) from a screenplay by Robert Bloch, based on a story by producer Douglas S. Cramer and Wilford Lloyd Baumes. The TV movie stars Meredith Baxter, David Hedison and Gale Sondergaard.

Composer Leonard Rosenman also provided scores for RoboCop 2; Prophecy; The Car; The Possessed and Race with the Devil.


“At a brisk 75 minutes it’s over quite promptly, leaving me, at least, wanting more, from the plaster Egyptian ‘artifacts’ to the autumnal palette. Harrington ensures every frame is a-drip with classic horror fan / 70s childhood manna…” Acidemic

” …has some things going for it, including a reasonably good cast and a fairly interesting plot devised by writer Robert Bloch (of Psycho fame), which draws many parallels between mummies and vampires.” Justin McKinney,  The Bloody Pit of Horror

The Cat Creature is a relatively classy (albeit low-budget) affair until a high-camp climactic twist knocks it straight into the gonzosphere. Laughable ending notwithstanding, the film has enough going for it to warrant horror aficionados’ attention.” Ideological Content Analysis

“Harrington’s direction is ploddingly dull and fails to find anything in the way of atmosphere. Everything that happens is thuddingly obvious and is killed by a loud and overemphatic canned score. The script is a pedestrian detective story plot that schematically turns by the numbers and arrives at a desultory ending that barely lifts the show.” Richard Scheib, Moria

The Cat Creature is a by-the-numbers TV-movie, but it’s also extremely cosy, perfect for a lazy morning. The wonderful cast is inspired – especially Gale Sondergaard, the talented and colourful actress who became a victim for the McCarthy-fascism, who also got a little comeback here…” Fred Anderson, Ninja Dixon

“Who better to direct The Cat Creature with its homage to the past than Curtis Harrington? A fine old school director if there ever was one, Harrington clearly understood his source and had respect for the Val Lewton movies of the ’40s […] Cat is a hard to find film that is worth seeking out.” The Terror Trap

Choice dialogue:

Hester Black: “I’m Hester Black. Sounds like a witch, doesn’t it? But my customers seem to like it. Most of them are into witchcraft, black magic, satanism. ”

Lieutenant Marco: “Straight eh? (laughs). Why you could sleep on a corkscrew.”

Cast and credits:

  • Meredith Baxter … Rena Carter
  • David Hedison … Professor Roger Edmonds
  • Gale Sondergaard … Hester Black
  • John Carradine … The Hotel Clerk
  • Renne Jarrett … Sherry Hastings
  • Keye Luke … The Thief, Joe Sung
  • Kent Smith … Frank Lucas
  • Stuart Whitman … Lieutenant Marco
  • Milton Parsons … The Deputy Coroner
  • Peter Lorre Jr. … The Pawnbroker
  • John Abbott … Doctor Reinhart
  • Virgil Frye … Donovan
  • William Sims … Bert

Buy: | |

Running time:

72 minutes

Originally broadcast:

December 11, 1973, on the ABC network


Director Curtis Harrington’s plans to make the Hester Black character a lesbian were shot down by the network’s standards and practices department, which sent him a threatening letter stipulating that there could be no references to homosexuality in the film. Annoyed by the network’s closed-mindedness, Harrington retaliated by adding a midget prostitute character into the film.

Image credits: Acidemic

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I, Madman – USA, 1989

‘Spend the night with a madman.’

I, Madman – aka Hardcover – is a 1989 American horror feature film directed by Hungarian-born Tibor Takács (Spiders 3D; Ice Spiders; Mosquito ManThe Gate and The Gate II: Trespassers) from a screenplay by David Chaskin (The Curse; A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge). The movie stars Jenny Wright, Clayton Rohner and Randall William Cook.


Jenny Wright stars as Virginia, an aspiring actress who makes ends meet by working in a used bookstore. (I’m not sure how much money the typical used bookstore employee makes but I have to say that Virginia’s apartment is absolutely to die for.)


Virginia is also dating a police detective named Richard (Clayton Rohner), who is handsome and sweet and looks good in a suit. In fact, the only problem with Richard is that he thinks that Virginia spends too much time reading trashy horror novels. According to him, they give her nightmares and they cause her imagination to run wild!

Richard’s not going to be happy to discover that Virginia has a new favourite author. His name is Malcolm Brand and, despite the fact that Virginia says that he’s better than Stephen King, he’s a mysteriously obscure author. In fact, no one but Virginia seems to have ever heard of him. Virginia has just finished reading Brand’s first book, Much of Madness, More of Sin. Now, she simply has to find his second book, which was called I, Madman. (Now, Much of Madness, More of Sin is a brilliant title. I, Madman on the other hand is a little bland, as far as titles go.)

When Virginia finally tracks down a copy of the book, she discovers that it is all about this mad scientist who falls in love with an actress. Because the scientist is horribly disfigured, the actress rejects him. So, the scientist starts killing people and stealing pieces of their faces, all so he can patch together a new face for himself.

It’s while she’s reading the book the strange things start to happen in Virginia’s life. For instance, the people around her start dying. When she witnesses one of her neighbours being murdered, she swears that the murder was committed by a man who had no nose… just like in the book! Richard thinks that she’s letting her imagination run wild but Virginia soon comes to wonder if maybe she’s being stalked by the real Malcolm Brand…

I, Madman is an entertaining little horror film, one that sometimes comes across as being an extended episode of something such as Tales from the Crypt. From the minute the movie started with Virginia curled up on her couch in her underwear, reading a trashy novel with her oversized reading glasses on and a storm raging outside, it felt as if they had made a movie out of my life! And really, this is one of the reasons why I, Madman makes such a good impression.

As played by Jenny Wright, Virginia serves as a stand-in for every horror fan who has ever read a scary novel and immediately imagined themselves as either the protagonist or the victim. Both Jenny Wright and Clayton Rohner give likable and quirky performances in the lead role and they’re surrounded by capable of character actors.


The movie itself is a bit of an homage to the suspense classics of the past. It’s easy to compare Malcolm Brand’s novel to The Phantom of the Opera while a scene in which Virginia watches her neighbour play piano brings to mind Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

When Virginia imagines herself as a character in one of Brand’s stories, the film even manages to work in some stop-motion animation.

Lisa Marie Bowman, HORRORPEDIA – guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens


Buy Blu-ray:

Other reviews:

“It’s clear that the director had a clear idea of what exactly it was that he wanted, and he certainly achieves some visual greatness as it’s a very well-shot movie, but it’s just not a perfect formula. The make-up effects and the sped up dolly shot in the hallway revealing Cook’s character with a large syringe are still effective to this day, so it’s a low budget movie with some problems but with some very memorable aspects.” The Digital Bits

“The movie may have an underwritten first third, a lot of unanswered questions and some ridiculous/unbelievable moments, but my interest never at any point started to wane (though there were some close calls.) I guess I’m giving the movie a recommendation, though a mild one.” Keith Baily, The Unknown Movies

Cast and characters:

  • Jenny Wright … Virginia – The Lawnmower ManNear Dark
  • Clayton Rohner … Richard – Human Centipede III
  • Randall William Cook … Dr. Alan Kessler / Malcolm Brand
  • Stephanie Hodge … Mona
  • Michelle Jordan … Colette
  • Vance Valencia … Sgt. Navarro
  • Mary Baldwin … Librarian
  • Raf Nazario [as Rafael Nazario]… Lyle, Hotel Clerk
  • Bob Frank … Hotel Manager
  • Bruce Wagner … Pianist
  • Kevin Best … Black Actor
  • Steven Memel … Lenny
  • Vincent Lucchesi … Lt. Garber
  • Murray Rubin … Sidney Zeit
  • Tom Badal … Composite Artist

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Image credits: Wrong Side of the Art!

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Bloody Nun – USA, 2018

‘Confess your sins’

Bloody Nun is a 2018 American comedy horror feature film written, photographed, edited and directed by Will Collazo Jr. (Theater of Horror; short: DeadYard). The David Sterling production stars Mark C. Fullhardt, Jen Elyse Feldy and Angie Hansen. Shawn C. Phillips has a cameo role in a prologue.

Six paranormal ghost hunters are competing to stay in the most haunted house in New York , with the winner hoping to get one million dollars from the mysterious Mr. Shiva. Using a Ouija Board they conduct a seance. Little do they know they are being set up to be tortured and killed by a ghoulish soul – a bloody nun.


“Once I realized this was a comedy and not spectacularly bad I grinned quite a bit. Humor is a very subjective thing and this is a bit sillier than I like. However if films like House Shark or Camp Death III in 2D are your thing you should be happy with Bloody Nun.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

  • Mark C. Fullhardt … Mr. Shiva – The New York Butcher
  • Jen Elyse Feldy … Jenna G
  • Angie Hansen … Becky E
  • Matt Bruzzio … Logan
  • Jessica Collazo-Thomson … The Nun
  • Cayrem Landt … Rico Vega
  • Carl J Grasso … Hunk
  • Joe Schonbrun … Toby
  • Tim Thomson … Paranormal Tim
  • Shawn C. Phillips … Coolduder


The original title was The Occultist 2: Demons so this was intended as a sequel to The Occultist (2009).

For more violent images from Bloody Nun click here

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Axemas – short, USA, 2017

‘Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all are dead!’

Axemas is a 2017 American slasher horror short film written and directed by John Ward (Meathook Massacre 4). The Dark Park Films production stars Ashley Campbell, Dillon Weishuhn and Lindsey Cruz.


A sequel, Axemas 2: Blood Slay, is due out soon. Meanwhile, Axemas is one of the shorts in compilation movie Brutality and is available by itself on Amazon Prime in the USA and UK and Vimeo


An after hours Christmas party in a storage facility turns deadly when the guests are picked off one by one by an axe-wielding killer dressed like Santa Claus…


“There was practically no story and the little bit of plot that we did get to see only made me scratch my head further. The reveal, in my opinion, was not very well executed at all, the acting was pretty bad the cast seems to be very stiff and awkward when saying their lines.” Rebecca Kolodziej, Decay Mag

” …Axemas is filled with sex, blood and a diabolical killer Santa. What else could you ask for? A high body count, growing suspense, and a typical survivor girl? Axemas has all of that, too. Really, its strongest point is its location, the storage facility. It’s a great venue for a bloody smackdown, and the production team here used it to their full advantage.” Horror Society

“One of the most outstanding things about this short film is all the one-liners that Nick manages to dish out before he kills someone. You’ve seen this sort of thing in other films, but here it is relentless! The gore and blood effects were also very well done.” John Migliore, Indie Horror Online

Filming locations:

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Running time:

25 minutes


Ho, Ho, Horror! Christmas Festive Fright Films – article

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