Entries by Sean McLaughlin

Rewind review

Some of my favorite things imported from Ireland include Guinness, Jack Russell terriers and Irish soda bread. You can now add ambitious indie flick Rewind to that list. While not a blood-and-guts movie normally associated with this site, Rewind is a suspense thriller that will make you wonder when the pace will pick up…..and soon afterwards when it will end. Superb acting, coupled with an excellent screenplay, made sure I was not regretting the decision to stray from the horror genre and spread my cinematic wings. read more read more

Vile review

It has been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery….but can a film also match the quality or success of a movie lineage it is attempting to duplicate? This is a question that “Vile”, the new film from Insider Pictures, attempts to answer. The result, however, is absolutely not. Not to say that “Vile” is a complete waste of time, or that it’s just another horror-porn clone; it does, however, contain a premise that has been tackled numerous times by the “Saw” movies. Sharing a storyline so closely with such a successful franchise will naturally lead to comparisons, unfair or otherwise. In the case of “Vile”, perhaps they should’ve gone in a completely different direction. read more read more

Tied In Blood review

Just the other day, I was walking around the neighborhood mumbling to myself as worried onlookers cleared a quick path. Among other things, one question was prevalent in my psychotic contemplations: What if the BBC developed a horror pilot, complete with overly-dramatic thespians, but decided to shrink it 90 minutes and release it on DVD. Well, imagine my surprise (and paranoia) when I was tasked with reviewing Chemical Burn Entertainment’s British ghost offering “Tied In Blood”, which pretty much nails my meditation to a tee. Tied In Blood is more dialogue than demonology, more substance than suspense……and unfortunately, it’s little more than a psychological thriller with a ghost story backdrop. read more read more

Monster Brawl review

Ever wonder what an all-monster version of Celebrity Deathmatch would look like? Wonder no further, as the folks at Foresight Features bring you “Monster Brawl”, a ghoulishly creepy battle for horror supremacy. Zombies battle vampires, werewolves battle Cyclops….all for an unclear title that I guess translates into bragging rights in all the bars in downtown Hades. The plot is non-existent, but the entertainment value is off the charts…..at least by the end. read more

The Disco Exorcist interview with Sarah Nicklin

When swingin’ giggolo Rex Romanski has a one-night stand with vindictive witch Rita Marie, it could be the end for this loverboy. Now he must fight to save himself and the new love of his live, Amoreena Jones, from paying the ultimate price as Rita sets out to prove the old saying true….”hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” HNN staff member, Sean McLaughlin caught up with sexy starlet Sarah Nicklin to talk about the retro feel of The Disco Exorcist, ’70s grindouse, and of course…whether the porn industry has been knocking down her door.


Horror News Network: In The Disco Exorcist, you play porn star vixen Amoreena Jones. Any hesitation on taking on a role with such a swinging backstory?

Sarah Nicklin: Surprisingly no. Not only was it a team that I had worked with before on several other features, so I really trusted them, but also reading through the script, even though the character was a porn star, there were only really two scenes that involved any sort of “porn”. One being a scene from a film that is playing at a movie theater and then another scene which is showing the “making of” one of the films. Other than that, the focus is more on her relationship with Rex and how they deal with the curse that has been placed on them.


Horror News Network: Your character is such a strong presence for Rex Romanski, up until the demonic possession forces her to turn on him. What are your thoughts on the role of gender reversal in this film, with the men seemingly at the mercy of the women in their lives?

Sarah Nicklin: Wow, that’s a really interesting take on it – I had never thought of it in that way. Aren’t all men at the mercy of women? haha 🙂 I do think that is something that is heavily influenced by the time period – since the film is set in the 70s, women may have been more “submissive” durning that time, but nowdays, I find most women (including myself) to be pretty strong and more of the “take control” and get shit done type where we are certainly not at the mercy of men. For the film, I don’t think it really would have worked if it was the other way around. A man taking advantage of a women, even if he’s possesed, is still a man taking advantage of a woman, whereas when it’s a woman taking advantage of a man, then it’s sexy and erotic…. I’m not quite sure why that is.

But I really like that there are such strong women in this film, Rita (played by Ruth Sullivan) is especially strong (granted to the point of being crazy), but none the less, I really like that the women in the film aren’t push-overs – if someone screws them, they will screw them right back. It makes me like the characters more that they aren’t just “damsels in distress” but rather will fight for what they want and what they believe in. I think it makes it much more interesting and also makes those moments when they are vulnerable much more compelling.

Especially when it comes to horror, if you look at the “scream queens” or well known women of horror – they’re all pretty strong women. They’re carving out a place for themselves based not only on looks and talent, but also on being smart. They are exploiting their subjectification and using it to their advantage to further their careers and I really like that….hmmm…am I starting to sound like a feminist? This question is making me think about all sorts of things…. maybe I am a feminist…. ?


Horror News Network: Being a child of the 90s, you may or may not be familiar with the ‘grindhouse’� style of filmmaking that The Disco Exorcist emulates. What do you think of it?

Sarah Nicklin: Very true, it is a bit of a foreign style to me, but I think it’s a lot of fun. It took me a second to really “get it” since it has a specific tone and style that films I had been used to don’t, but Richard Griffin, the director, is a big fan of 70s films (as you can probably tell), so he has exposed me to a lot of them over the years and I have definitley gained an appriciation for them thanks to him.


Horror News Network: What is your favorite 70s horror film?

Sarah Nicklin: Susperia. That is a 70s film right? I’m not good with remembering exact dates. It’s not grindhouse, but I’m pretty sure it’s from the same time period. Its not the best story, but I just absolutely love the art direction and lighting in that film. Everything about it is so beautiful.


Horror News Network: The cast you worked with on this movie did a great job of portraying innocent humor, bumbling heroism and devilish lunacy. How were they to work with?

Sarah Nicklin: They were absolutely fantastic! I really love working with this crew. Everyone is so easy going and fun to be around and know what they’re doing. They are one of the most efficient film crews I’ve worked with breezing through 8-10 pages sometimes in one day while laughing and joking all the time. Richard really does his homework and knows exactly all of the shots and set ups he wants before coming in that day and also visualizes the most efficient way to get it. Since he also edits all his own films, he “shoots to edit”, meaning that while shooting, he’s editing the scenes together in his head, so he only needs to shoot what he needs or if he thinks he needs an inset of something to make the scene work, he’ll quickly pick that us as well. It’s really wonderful to watch him work.

Especially with a film like this, since there is so much humor in it, it’s hard to keep from laughing on set. The only times when things could have gotten awkward was during the nudity bits, but Richard does such a great job of keeping the mood lights that you never have time to feel awkward or self conscious. As he puts it, his job is to be everyone’s biggest cheerleader on set.


Horror News Network: Any offers from legitimate porn studios stemming from your believable portrayal of a porno goddess?

Sarah Nicklin: Haha! Not to my knowledge! That would be pretty hillarious though, I’d like to see what an offer like that would sound like.


Horror News Network: You and I both hail from wonderful Fairfield County, CT. Have you ever seen the Lady in White (a popular folktale in the Bridgeport area)?

Sarah Nicklin: Sadly no, I haven’t. I’m familiar with the story though. I’m super into all of that ghost/ metaphysical stuff, so I did lost of research on Dudley Town all though I was too scared to even go there (looking back now, I wish that I had), and also places like the adandoned Fairfield Hills Asylum ect. I used to like to spend time in old cemetaries since there are alot of them dating back to the 1800s around here, but never really saw anything.


Horror News Network: You have a TON of upcoming projects in the pipeline (9 by my count). Which one are you most excited about?

Sarah Nicklin: A bunch of those are in post-production at the moment, so there are only really 3 that are in pre-production at the moment, and I’m really excited about all of them:

A Case of PMS – which is a scooby-doo-esque comedic web-series about ghost hunters (did I mention that I like ghost hunting!)

Chupacabra Territory – A feature horror about a group of friends who go into the woods in search of the chupacabra.

Normal – The next Richard Griffin film about a serial killer and the days leading up to his next kill.


Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about you?

Sarah Nicklin: I have a website where I post any new casting news or interviews or photos and such, and that is: sarahnicklin.com

Or you can also friend/ follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks so much for the interview!!





Thanks for your time, Sarah. I thoroughly enjoyed your performance in The Disco Exorcist, and look forward to checking out your next film. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.

Some Guy Who Kills People review

Filled with familiar faces, the unfortunately-titled film festival sweetheart “Some Guy Who Kills People” will leave you feeling as schizo as its main character. Though the flow of the film seems a bit uneven, there are enough moments of suspense, violence, and, believe it or not, touching wholesomeness to keep you entertained. It’s a revenge story with a twist, sandwiched around a sweet father-daughter reunion subplot that could force you to reexamine what’s truly important in your own life. You know….everything you could ask for in a horror movie. read more read more

The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol interview with Aramis Sartorio

Both funny and sick at the same time, The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol follows the tale of frustratingly-lovable loser Tommy Pistol (Aramis Sartorio), an actor that risks his friends and family for his shot at stardom. When he daydreams about his failures, both personally and professionally, Tommy awakes to find that what he really yearns for is another shot at redemption. Unfortunately, his revelation may come too late as he learns that nobody is guaranteed a second chance.

HNN staff member, Sean McLaughlin, caught up with writer, director and star Aramis Sartorio to talk about the inspiration for “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol”, possible backlash from Hollywood royalty, and the film’s creative use of ordinary kitchen gadgets.

Horror News Network: First things first……where the hell did the concept for the infamous “cheese grater” scene come from?

Aramis Sartorio: The cheese grater scene went down like this. How the hell am I going to top everything that’s been done. What the hell would be the best possible unexpected and affordable weapon I can use to kill some one. I started through the kitchen and decided between the cheese grader and slap chop. And yes I tested them both on my hand!


Horror News Network: We know that this movie has been a labor of love for you, taking a long time to complete and find distribution. Now that Breaking Glass Pictures has released it on DVD, how great does it feel knowing that your work will be available to the entire public?

Aramis Sartorio: I found out from other film makers taking four years to make a film is actually a reasonable time frame. Surprise to me. I thought I wasn’t going to finish at times and for the record this being my first film I have to admit I kinda fudged how much I actually spent on it, it’s been bothering me not being honest about that. In the beginning I said $50 grand. HA HA, I wish. It was actually $7 grand. I said a high number with the fear that if anyone invested in my next one they would want it for cheap. And I’d be like “no.” The goal isn’t to make low budget movies like this forever. I want to make movies and have fun, in a timely manner but most of all I want everyone who works on it to get paid. And myself. It’s only fair. I know in the beginning you ask friends/family for favors and making this movie became emotionally hard because I put so much faith in everybody. And they stuck by me the whole way. To me, I’m in for ever debt to Karen my wife and Caleb Emerson. She helped me the whole way and always had the best advice. And Caleb did such an amazing job editing. He never gave me attitude and always helped. So back to the question am I stoked now the movie is out there for the public to see, with distribution? FUCK YEAH! Not just for me, but for everyone that worked on it. And doing it with a small budget from start to end makes this such a personal victory in my life. I’m extremely proud.


Horror News Network: “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol” follows several different paths, and switches from comedy to the surreal in the blink of an eye. When you began working on the script, did you set out to have such a roller-coaster feel to the story or was that a by-product of your awesome screenplay-writing skills?

Aramis Sartorio: My writing skills are awesome:)! Thank you for noticing. Yes my goal from the beginning was to make a insane comedy/horror and the best advice I was ever given about writing. Write what you know. The benefit to taking so long to make this movie was time. I had so much time to add and erase scenes. I had a script written but on those days when people would show up, wait for their scene, then when it comes up say I need to leave in an hour, I had to shoot something, something had to happen. Some day’s I only had access to a DP and camera man for a few hours so I had to take it and re-write on the fly. Honestly I think some of the best scenes in the movie came out because my back was against the wall and we had to make it work, like now!


Horror News Network: Since the film’s title references your real-life alter ego, how close to the real “Tommy Pistol” does this movie come? Are the internal struggles and conflicting family life situations issues that you find yourself dealing with a lot?

Aramis Sartorio: This movie is extremely close to my heart. This movie relates to anybody who works or wants to follow their dreams. Because when married, there comes that day when you have to ask your self “am I still going to persue this” And not just your dreams but any job. Is this job actually making me enough money to live on and take of your family. Or am I being selfish. This was a huge question I struggled with I think only people with family really relate to.


Horror News Network: Of the three sequences in the movie that portray different sides of your character, which do you think is the most accurate?

Aramis Sartorio: I think the first story Snuff Said I relate to the most. Not that I ever killed anybody in a snuff film but at how naive I could be at the situation going on at the moment some times. I can be stubborn and hard headed some time when I don’t get my way.


Horror News Network: Have you heard any feedback from a certain ex-action star (and former governor of California) for your hilarious sendup of him in the film?

Aramis Sartorio: None sadly. It would mean the world to me to know Arnold watched it and wanted to fire back insults at me. That would mean it’s gotten in the right hands and landing on the desk of important people to.


Horror News Network: Your film is certainly gory, but it has a comedic vibe to it similar to the Troma films. Were you fan of that studio’s work, such as The Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD?

Aramis Sartorio: I loved the Toxic Avenger. I watched it so many times. Troma has that unique style that screams JUST FINISH IT. No matter what the budget is, or the problem. You started it now finish it. Anything done on a certain budget looks like a Troma movie. Because that’s what we relate it to. I love TROMA and their movies are a huge inspiration to me.


Horror News Network: This marks your first stab at a mainstream vehicle. Any plans to continue in this arena, or will you be sticking with porn going forward?

Aramis Sartorio: I’m full steam ahead in making mainstream movies. I’m pitching my screenplay “It Ate His Face” to possible producers right now. Synopsis: After setting out to research an unknown section of the great lakes in Michigan, four adventurous students find themselves battling crazed rednecks, and something lurking in the water the hasn’t’t evolved in over 250 million years. This pre-historic parasitic monster has turned the once quintessential eco-system in this small town flat on it’s back and all living creatures are soon finding themselves prey to it. Initially distracted by the good time they are having and the loss of their friend’s brother in a sick and twisted unexplained accident only a month before they find themselves trapped in a gruesome situation as old as time itself- will they kill or be killed? They will discover that this evolution phenomenon is as deep and wide and dark as the great lake they came to research- if they survive.


Horror News Network: You’ve starred in porn spoofs of several classic horror films, including The Exorcist and Re-Animator. Any plans to parody more movies in that genre?

Aramis Sartorio: Evil Head coming soon! For real this time.


Horror News Network: Can you ever look at a cheese grater the same way again?

Aramis Sartorio: Not with out Mia Tyler’s face for a second. LOL!

Horror News Network: Breaking Glass Pictures released “The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol” on DVD back on March 27th. It is available at most major retail outlets online, including Amazon and DVDEmpire.com. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.

Huff interview with Paul Morell


While the re-envisioning of a childhood fable is not new territory, adding a horror twist is certainly a step in the right direction. Following the premise of The Three Little Pigs, Windchaser Pictures’ slasher flick Huff puts a reality-based spin on the longtime kids favorite. Three sisters (Marie Bollinger, Jenna Stone and Elly Stefanko) run away to escape the drug-fueled rage of their stepfather, played by Charlie O’Connell in a not-so-typical role. As they are hunted down, each finds herself in a hideout-specific predicament where their surroundings could be their saving grace..or their downfall. HNN staff member Sean McLaughlin caught up with Huff’s director, Paul Morell, to talk about the film’s unique premise, and what it was like working with the unique cast.


Horror News Network: Did you have any reservations about putting such a hardcore spin on a beloved childrens tale such as “The Three Little Pigs”?

Paul Morell: No reservations….  The original story is pretty hardcore anyway, a wolf devouring it’s prey…. It’s the perfect scenario for a bloody thrill.  It was fun, challenging, and I think you will agree, completely worth the effort!


Horror News Network: How was the cast to work with?

Paul Morell: Cast was completely professional. Everyone brought something to their roles…  We got super lucky this go round and didn’t have trouble getting solid performances out of anyone.  


Horror News Network: Charlie O’Connell really deviates from his usual care-free role in this film. Was it difficult to direct him into such unfamiliar territory?

Paul Morell: Believe it or not….  Mr Nice Guy played this role very naturally…  Charlie did a fantastic job researching and prepping for his character.  When we were casting, I knew who Charlie was, but wasn’t familiar with his body of work at all.  He came in and read for the part and I was hooked.  He had this sense of terror about him that was laced with humor.  It was something that I didn’t know I was looking for till I saw it…. and then I was convinced I needed it.   Due to his reputation as a comedic actor, the production team wasn’t completely behind it at first. It was a risk no doubt, but a risk that has entirely paid off.   What Charlie brought to this role far exceeded anything that was written on the pages of the script.   I am tickled pink with the result. (yes, I said tickled pink)


Horror News Network: Would you say that “Huff” is more of a psychological thriller

Paul Morell: Yes!  I looked for every opportunity to turn the ship toward a thriller and away from traditional horror.  Even the kills were more in the vein of a thriller.  Now, don’t misunderstand – this is still very much a horror, just not a splatter fest…. I like to call it a “bloody thriller”.   A solid mix of blood AND story.


Horror News Network: This film explores the topics of an abusive step-parent and the role that drugs can play in destroying the family dynamic. What was it like dealing with such sensitive subject matter?

Paul Morell: This is perhaps the most disturbing part of the film….    Sexual abuse is never a pretty subject, but from a family member and involving children definitely adds an extra level of discomfort….  When on set, everyone knew the subject matter and some were more upset than others.   Charlie was a superstar at keeping the mood light between takes, but unfortunately it got tense and there really wasn’t anything we could do about it.    Not that I wanted to….   It felt real.   It was beyond distrubing….  and absolutely phenomenal to watch and bring to life at the same time!  Does that make me demented????  lol.


Horror News Network: What can the audience expect in terms of blood and guts with “Huff”?

Paul Morell: Well, there is enough blood to get us an R rating….  As I said before, it is a “bloody thriller”, but not a splatter fest.   We went more for disturbing story.  I think letting the imagination build the visuals is way more scary than just splattering blood on the lens.


Horror News Network: How cool is it to work with Clint Howard?

Paul Morell: Clint is a rockstar.   I have heard horror stories before of working with established actors….  that they will come onto your set and tell you how the scene is to play out.  Clint was NOT like this at all.  I got the pleasure of spending a day with Clint before we shot doing character development and rehearsing his scene.  Clint took solid direction and adds depth to the film no one else could have.  It was an honor to work with him!


Horror News Network: Do you have your next project all lined up? What’s on deck?

Paul Morell: Yes I do!  I have another thriller that is expected to go into production this winter.  And I just optioned Stefne Miller’s book COLLISION – a romantic drama set against the grit of Uganda.   It is a complete mold break for me and I am ecstatic about the project!


Horror News Network: Any word on the DVD release of Huff?

Paul Morell: We have had several distribution offers and we are trying to decide now which way to go…   We will keep you posted 🙂

Thanks for the time, Paul. I know that HNN’s readers are excited about Huff, and can’t wait for the official release on DVD. For more details on Huff, currently playing at movie festivals around the country, check out www.huffmovie.com. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.

The Disco Exorcist review

We’ve all had that experience when an ex will turn all-Dangerous Liaisons on you and try to ruin your newly-won freedom. Now place that life lesson in the 1970s, add some coke and porn, and sprinkle in Carrie-inspired horror hijinks and the result would be The Disco Exorcist, the new DVD offering from Scorpio Film Releasing. Directed by Richard Griffin (2009’s Nun of That), The Disco Exorcist combines many different retro elements to give the film an authentic vintage feel. Complete with Grindhouse-like opening and closing segments, this movie harkens back to the days of the drive-in slasher flicks that we all fondly remember but at the same time offers up a hint of humor that will grow on you by the final scenes. While it took a while for the plot to get stirring, once in motion The Disco Exorcist has the feel of an authentic slice of vintage slasher and retro horror goodness, with some hearty laughs sprinkled in. It forces you to remember that the 1970s were a good era for cinema. read more read more

In The Devils Courthouse review

The tagline for Brain Juice Productions’ first feature-length film In the Devil’s Courthouse is “Pray You’re Not Judged…..” It may seem as much a self-reflective warning as a clever phrase. This film has all the makings of a no-budget, zero-production independent bore-fest……except that it isn’t. In this case, you shouldn’t judge a DVD by its cover because, although campy and predictable, Courthouse has a certain endearing quality that makes it not only tolerable, but downright fun. After all….isn’t that the point? read more read more