Snowflake, or titled in German Schneeflockchen, is one of the best films I have seen over the last two years. At the heart of it, it is a passion project driven by a group of talented minds that took a long, long time to finally come together. As I watched it for the first at the 2017 Ithaca Fantastik film festival, it was clear this film is a pure happenstance of beauty and insanity. It is also a film that may be one of the most difficult projects to review. For that, like the film, I am going to go a different route to shed some personal light on Snowflake.
Author Archive for: Jay Kay
About Jay Kay
Jay Kay is a Horror News Network Contributor and Host of the Rondo Award nominated Horror Happens Radio Show. You can follow him on Twitter @JayKayHorror
Entries by Jay Kay
In a sea of genre releases each year, even a well cast feature with a story that has a hint of originality and is frightening can be overlooked. Monster Party, now on VOD, DVD, and Blu-Ray is a film that may fall under the radar but is a ride worth your time. Starring a pretty talented and balanced cast including Robin Tunney (The Craft), Lance Reddick (John Wick), Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), Virginia Gardner (Starfish), Erin Moriarty (True Detective) among others. Monster Party’s focus on a dinner party that is celebrating a milestone for a group of rich, twenty somethings that have rehabbed their lives from a dark addiction. Hosted by the rich Dawson family including Tunney, McMahon, Moriarty, their son Elliott played by Kian Lawley and their mentor Milo (Reddick), all is not what it seems to be. Dealing with issues and secrets of their own, the party is infiltrated by a trio of talented thieves who act as the dinner party help for the Dawson’s lead by Gardner as Iris, her boyfriend Dodge (Brandon Micheal Hall), and Casper (Sam Strike). This trio has a plan of stealing thousands of dollars while the gathered guests celebrate the milestone. As the home’s security is triggered, all bets are off for the trio who must survive not only the Dawson family and Milo but those who are regressing back to the blood lust they thought they were passed. read more read more
Whether film, television, and/or music, holiday programming is a staple of the season. The range of timeless media has spanned from festive to joyful to just plain bizarre between the poles. Musical acts like Bob Rivers, claymation like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as well as the darker side of the holiday spectrum with features like Krampus, Scrooged, Black Christmas, and Better Watch Out have their roots in horror storytelling. Each year, more holiday entries enter the horror landscape for the fans of the macabre to yell and scream Ho Ho Holy crap! read more read more
The idea of journalism has evolved over the last decade. Voices can now be seen, heard, and experienced from anywhere in the world. Platforms like YouTube can launch careers from voices not allowed to tell their stories before. In the genre thriller Little Horror Movie, the idea of found footage investigation balanced with classic horror troupes against the backdrop of the mythical city of Casablanca creates a unique storytelling. Focusing on a team of three investigators Helen (Rebecca Ramon), Mark (Cody Heuer), and Einar (Einar Kuusk) who have decided to head out on this journey to escape their past. As tension mounts and pressure surrounds them, each member must face an ancient horror underneath the legendary city that will also confront the darkness within themselves. Visually stunning and reflecting an effective found footage style, Little Horror Movie is one of the more unique genre films this year. Directed by French storyteller Jerome Cohen-Olivar, Little Horror Movie is a journey that focus on the essence and darkness of humanity infused with the horror we have come to love. In promotion of the film, Cohen-Olivar took some time to speak with Jay Kay from the Horror New Network about chemistry on set, the use of found footage, and what horror offers as a filmmaker? read more read more
Sleep paralysis is just frightening. Happening to people around the world and from all walks of life, you are fully aware that something is going on, but you cannot move at all. Some feel a presence, some see a presence, but all are powerless to do anything about it. In the film Mara, Director Clive Tonge tells the story of this startling condition through the lens of a murder investigation. Starring Olga Kurylenko (Hitman) as the criminal psychologist, Kate must deal with her beliefs and come to grips with the truth that goes beyond anything she has faced before. Slowly falling victim to an entity named ‘Mara,’ Kate must solve the case before more are murdered as mysterious as the man she is investigating. read more read more
I remember watching a clip from Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut film Play Misty for Me as a part of Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments. In a key scene, we see Eastwood laying there on his bed. His eyes are closed, he is facing up, and he is vulnerable. As he opens his eyes, he sees a crazed and betrayed Evelyn (Jessica Walter) standing over him. She is making the ultimate commitment why Clint’s character of Dave is wondering what is driving her to these actions. Evelyn thrusts a knife manically down into a pillow barely missing him. As a viewer, we understand why she is doing this to Dave but really do we understand her mindset to do this? Just like any of the great antagonists, we work hard to find out what their motives and mindset are. In the end as we look deep, we realize they are self-reflective pushed to these unspeakable actions. Following his acclaimed storytelling perspective on the undead sub-genre of horror with It Stains the Sands Red, comes the latest feature from talented filmmaker Colin Miniham with What Keeps You Alive now in theaters and on VOD through IFC Midnight. Again, taking a page out of the legacy of damaged and dangerous antagonists, Miniham, crew, and the talented pair performers Hannah Emily Jackson (Jackie) and Brittany Allen (Jules) create an uber tense tale of predator and prey. read more read more
In the overall world of horror, obsession is truly frightening. Obsession can take on many forms in fandom. Fans become obsessed with their favorite genre films, characters, scenes, creators or in this case, commentary on a film. Written by Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller) and directed by Adam Rifkin (Chillerama), Director’s Cut is one of the year’s darkest, and most uncomfortable genre films. Released by Epic Pictures, Director’s Cut stars Jillette, Missi Pyle (Pandemic), Harry Hamlin (Clash of the Titans), and Hayes MacArthur (Super Troopers 2). The film focuses on the character Herbert (Jillette) who opens the film by giving us his directors commentary for the action, buddy cop feature which Pyle, Hamlin, and MacArthur are currently filming. As we listen to Herbert give his thoughts, reactions, film lingo, and criticism about the film, you realize that something does not seem to be right with Herbert observations and his access to the set, talent, and footage. With each scene and each day of production that goes by on the film, we learn that Herbert is not what he seems and may not be the director he claims. read more read more
From the visually powerful mind of acclaimed filmmaker and producer Rebekah Fieschi (Mauvaises Têtes and Monster Soup) comes a fantastical perspective of loneness, empowerment and fantasy in Sylphvania Grove. Focusing on a young girl named Mycena (Maxine Wanderer), Sylphvania Grove is a departure from the horror stylings of Fieschi and more into the fable/horror hybrid that tells a complete story of a coming of age.
Mycena sits in her room, ready for bed while waiting for her parents to get home. Trying to make Mycena’s bedtime more peaceful and easier, her nanny, Kim (Charlie Gillette) picks up the storybook entitled Sylphvania Grove and begins to read it to her, hoping that her parent’s absence will be forgotten. As Mycena begins to settle in, Kim puts down the book to let her rest for the night. Mycena can’t shake the weighing of the emotion that her parents are absent again to tuck her in, talk to her or even be there as she deals with emotions no child should have to bare. As Kim leaves Mycena to sleep, the storybook comes to life and becomes her guide to a world just outside her window and into the woods. Adding on to the what she already knows of Sylphvania Grove, she ventures into the woods following the storybooks prompts brought to shining life right off the page. read more read more
In the tradition of isolation thrillers focused on beautiful people being sniped out including Phonebooth, Roadside, Carnage Park, ATM (sort of) and one of the first to create this type of horror in Targets, comes the latest from talented genre filmmaker Ryûhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train and Godzilla: Final Wars) with Downrange. Currently playing on the horror streaming platform of Shudder and its World Premiere as part of the 2017 Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival, Kitamura returns with a film that does not reinvent the wheel but finds its voice in this very tense sub-genre. Downrange begins with very little exposition. Propped and blended into a tree, a sniper (most likely a military) waits for any vehicle to become deadly target practice on an open stretch of road. Horror happens for a group of twenty somethings traveling along the road when their tire is blown out. The gunman waits for them to settle as they repair the tire. Dealing with the time going by, the group begins to feel that things are not right. Without much warning, the gunman begins to pick off the group one by one. Beginning with the strongest of the group, members start to fall as they are sniped or pinned down in a deadly game of target practice for no reason what so ever. As the group takes cover, they must get past the emotional horror and find it in themselves to survive until help comes. read more read more
We all have struggles in our life, money, relationships, failures of the past, family and more. The idea that things can change within a moment and we could be shoved into a choice or situation that is unthinkable. How elemental sins like greed, trust and deception become focal points. One of the joys in attending a genre film festival is the wealth of choices you have to watch, review and experience. While in Ohio last October, I attended the Nightmares Film Festival. I was lucky enough to catch the tense thriller by the Ramsey brothers called the Midnighters. Written by first-time screenwriter Alston Ramsey and directed by Julius Ramsey (The Walking Dead and Flashforward), the Midnighters is a streamlined conflict that is clever, emotional and connects the viewer to situational horror that challenges you throughout. read more read more