Star – Blair Erikson
Genre – Horror
Run Time – 87 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 1 Nomination
Amazon – £9.98 DVD £15.28 Blue Ray
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Americans are hot on conspiracy theories and there is a reason for that - the government does some serious wrongs with their own people from time to time. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald and aliens probably haven’t been here but the US government DID deliberately infect black Americans with syphilis to see what happened to them. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama. They also rigged taxis to seep low levels of radiation into Brooklyn to see what effect it had on that mostly immigrant population. It seems America has a history of doing medical experiments on its unsuspecting public, the subject of this low budget horror from talented director Blair Erikson. Those Polio and Tetanus drugs first had illegal secret trials in Africa to see if they had side effects before white people used them.
Some say they went one step further in volunteer medical trails by giving people LSD in the 1960s, to see the effect on the subconscious. Some say that drug opens up untapped areas of the brain and even ‘other dimensions’. All atoms are joined together and there are no rules in quantum physics. It’s proven the same atom can exists in different places in the universe at the same time. Either way it’s a fiendish topic for a Sci-Fi horror.
• Ted Levine as Thomas Blackburn
• Katia Winter as Anne Roland
• Michael McMillian as James Hirsch
• Monique Candelaria as Patient 14
• Chad Brummett as Dr. Kessle
• Jenny Gabrielle as Callie
• Alex Gianopoulos as Renny Seegan
• David Midthunder as Raoul
• Vivian Nesbitt as Olivia Kmiec
• Cyd Schulte as Laura Henrik
• William Sterchi as Henry Cale
Post MIT Grad James Hirsch (Michael McMillian) is investigating Project MKUltra, another one of these shady government experiments. With a buddy filming him, James takes the drug used in the experiments, dimethyltryptamine-19 (DMT-19). Pretty soon, bizarre music and voices begin to broadcast from a nearby radio and James becomes extremely anxious and unpredictable, announcing that something terrifying is coming towards the house and that it wants to "wear them". A shadowy figure rushes past the window and the fond footage cuts in and out, ending with a shot of James with all-black eyes and a disfigured face.
We meet Anne (Katia Winter), a pretty reporter who attended college with James. She is stressed over his disappearance. James's friend also mysteriously disappeared a few days after he was questioned by the police. Investigating James's house, Anne discovers a VHS cassette that contains footage of the MKUltra experiments as well as a book of notes about the project.
She is curious about some of the stuff found in the house, especially the information about radio waves. Anne tracks down a local expert and discovers that the bizarre radio broadcast heard by James is a phantom radio station that others have heard which can only be tuned into in the desert, at a certain time of night. Anne, rather boldly, decides to drive out into the desert after dark and is indeed able to pick up the broadcast, but flees in panic when a monstrous form – only briefly - appears from the darkness, sending her racing back to safety.
Back at her office Anne discovers a connection to counter-culture writer Thomas Blackburn (Ted Levine), a Hunter S. Thompson-esque figure, known for his drug use and unpredictable behavior with guns, girls and just about everything else. He is not that keen on journalists and doesn’t want to talk about Project MKUltra to some chick so she plots a way to meet him. It appears to work and she is soon in his cabin talking about all sorts and even taking the drug for research reasons. His friend Callie (Jenny Gabrielle) is also up for it and the hallucinations begin. It’s not long before they think there is something in the house and Anne’s eyes are blackened. Whatever is going on this drug is doing something dark and unknown and hallucination or not she will have to get to the bottom of this as its very big and mysterious.
The older ones reading this will know all about the numbers stations we heard as kids when you came across them tuning the radio in when looking for Radio Luxembourg or listening into police radio or taxi callers etc. Even today there are still some operating where a list of numbers are read out over and over again for unknown reasons on SW radio. Some say its spy agencies but you would think there are easier ways to do that in the digital age. Either way it’s all rather odd and certainly an enigmatic and interesting subject for a movie. Problem is this movie doesn’t really dig intelligently into that and it just becomes another conspiracy element added to many in this mash up of a film. We do the medical experiment thing and then the numbers thing and then humans in altered states thing and you don’t know where you are. Because of this it looses its edge and not the movie you want it to be.
I did enjoy it enough, mainly because you don’t know what sort of film its going to be, but once you get into it and it starts to lose any intellect on its chosen intriguing subjects it becomes an above average but run-of-the-mill Sci-fi horror. It’s OK, don’t get me wrong, but could have been so much more. Christopher Nolan was attached to this at one point and what a movie that would have been.
The acting is good fun and the writing so-so and so all down to the thrills and scares. There are one or two ‘why would you do that’ moments around the female character that don’t fit right and the horror make you jump moments, when they come, are not that creepy. It’s very much for a younger audience. It’s not particular bloody or gruesome either and much more Sci-Fi than horror. The music adds atmosphere but a better movie on the cutting room floor for me. It’s not for kids though.
Its low budget so you should give it a chance and I’m sure Blair Erikson will come up with something better with more money. He has proved himself he can make a decent creepy indie for not much money, the real test of a good director. Most great Sci-Fi directors start somewhere. I would give it a go if it pops up on TV or a movie channel as it’s a dam site more ambitious than most American movies in the genre.
Imdb.com – 5.5/10.0 (6,824votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 75% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 61% critic’s approval
Quite a few.
The Toronto Film Festival gave them some red carpet action.
The Mail –‘The Banshee Chapter can't seem to decide if it wants to be a found-footage horror movie, or a more traditional one. To its detriment, it splits the difference’.
What the Flick –‘Not scary. And you can't have the non-found-footage part be as wobbly as the found-footage parts’.
Eye for Film –‘Although no single strand within it can be called original, Banshee Chapter blends them flawlessly, delivering the most convincing piece of otherworldly horror for years’..
Film.com –‘’A moody horror film from an immensely talented new director’.
Slant Magazine –‘Director Blair Erickson surely has style to burn, even if he oftentimes betrays his atmospheric shorthand and gets cold feet at the most inopportune moments’.
The Horror Show –‘A smart, clever, and diverting little mash-up of numerous sci-fi and horror tropes’.
Contactmusic.com –‘More unsettling than actually scary, this slow-burning horror movie is directed and acted with style even though the script feels rather under-developed’.
MAYBE the arena has improved since my visit. I had heard horror stories of heavy handed stewards and the arena not tolerating too much in the way of frivolity and general public jollity .
There wasn't a great atmosphere, not just because we were seated to far away from the band in question, but the stage is just too far away from 'audience' participation, and it seems like they're performing to people who are almost indifferent to their performance anyway.
No chance, had our friend Kurt Cobain still been around, of his surfing any echo arena crowd, the stewards would probably have either beaten him or else some of the front seat fans, specially if they had the gall to stand!
I have always enjoyed bands' performances close up and in pubs, so maybe I'm a little biased, but the arena for me lacks something and isn't worth the ticket price you pay.
The building itself looks good, the location is of course virtually next to the river and tones in well with the rest of the mersey scene.
After the concert had finished one lady was a little 'lost' outside and complained to us that she was not allowed back into the building after being separated from her husband! maybe she had had one too many in the way of 'lemonades' but I do think this was a little unfair on her.
All in all, I didn't really enjoy my visit to the echo arena and much prefer the smaller venues.
The tickets are overpriced, as is the alcoholic content inside.
Three weeks ago , I went to the Liverpool Echo Arena to see Leona Lewis in concert. I had never visited the arena before and neither had I seen Leona Lewis live before and so it was all a new experience for me. The arena first opened in 2008 and so is fairly new. The arena is situated on the Liverpool Docks , and holds many events including concerts and sport events. The venue can seat over 10,000 people.
We drove by car to the arena , and will admit that we did find getting to the arena quite difficult. We had been given instructions to follow the Liverpool 'brown tourist signs' , although I don't know if we had taken a wrong turning or what , but we were lost , and so we drove around for a while , until eventually we had to ask someone , who told us that we were going in the wrong direction. Although in the end we did finally get there ; there was a car park available , which we didn't know at the time , but we parked in the 'John Lewis' inside car park. From the car park , we had a walk of about ten minutes ,which did involve having to cross one or two busy roads. The walk to the arena was very pleasant , even if it did seem a long way from the road to actually getting inside the arena ; but I found it to be a nice walk , as the sun was shining and we were walking by the water. When we got to the arena , there were stewards shouting out instructions which was helpful.
When we got inside the venue (the foyer area) , there were a few stalls selling 'Leona things' , as well a few food stalls. We were hungry as we hadn't had anything to eat , and were pleased to see that the food available looked very appealing. Such food was kind of like the food you get in cinemas ; popcorn , sweets , hot dogs and burgers , you could also buy small bottles of wine. I chose a hot dog , popcorn and a pepsi. We also bought another pepsi and tea and all in all , I think this came to about £14 , although the hotdog , which was served in a soft yet crispy baguette was very very tasty ; quite a generous portion too!
The staff were very friendly ; from the stewards to the guy who served us our food. They were all so welcoming and made an effort to help everyone , and for example at the food counter , even though it was very very busy , the staff still had time for everyone and didn't rush you.
Accessing the actual arena was quite easy , as different seat areas were clearly sign posted , and there were stewards there to greet you and help you find your seat. The arena was quite big and reminded me of a large shed. We were sat at the back ; we had nice seats , and were right on the end and so we didn't really have to sit by other people. We could see the stage and 'little Leona' , but although we weren't that far away from the stage we couldn't see that well , and despite having big screens for those at the back to see , you had to look in a complete oposite direction to see them , and they were really tiny too. I remember going to see Steps in a concert when I was younger, and the screens were absolutely massive , but the screens here were too small! At £42 , despite being n excellent show , we did feel that it was quite a rip off considering we didn't have that good of a view!
One thing which I was 'worried' about was whether I would be allowed to take photographs or not. I remember when I went to see Steps about nine years ago , no one was allowed to take photos and if you had a camera they would take it off you , and so this time I really wanted to take photos , but didn't want to risk getting my camera confiscated as I am going on holiday in a few days and want it for then. We rang the arena before going there and they said you could take a camera in , but when we got to the arena there were signs everywhere saying no cameras , but luckily I got to take a few photos (as so many other people were doing) and this wasn't a problem , and none of the stewards said anything!
There were many toilets available which were clean and tidy. Although we had to queue , it wasn't for long. The arena was very very clean too! Although the arena was full , it didn't feel that crowded which was good , although on the way out there was a lot of people and so it was easy to get lost!
I really enjoyed my experience at the Liverpool Echo Arena, and would definately consider it for another concert type event , providing I had seats which were closer to the stage!
Thanks for reading!
June 24th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)
I was lucky enough to be taken to the Liverpool Echo Arena last night as a suprise birthday present. We went to see Cirque Du Soleil who were superb.
I had never been in the Arena before but I have watched it being built as well as the development of the surrounding area, on what was the car park for the Albert Dock.
That area now looks wonderful with the exception of the new multi storey carpark which is an eyesore compared to the other buildings. I hope it looks more in keeping when it's finished!
I mention the new car park because it couldn't be more convenient for the arena. It's about a two minute walk from your car to the doors of the Echo Arena. I think parking for the evening came to £5.00, a bit on the steep side but still, it is very handy.
The Arena, holding 11,000, was built in 2008 and was part of the development made to mark Liverpool's City of Culture year. It is designed to make the least possible impact on the environment, and is quite a striking design visually. I was quite taken with the idea of using collected rainwater for flushing loos and the turbines on the Mersey to provide power for the complex of buildings. I would have liked to see some more information about these innovations inside the venue. Perhaps there is and I missed it.
Queues to enter were dealt with speedily and humorously(which is fairly normal in Liverpool). There must be a ban on bringing drinks into the Arena because I heard one doorman tell a woman to "Zip your bag up girl, so I can't see those drinks there!" She did. Hmmm!
As we walked in my impression was of space and light, the entrance was pleasant, with fairly neutral concrete type colours and a fair few information posters and displays. We went straight down into our seats quite close to the stage. The seats were not very comfortable but there was a decent amount of space between the rows so they didn't feel too cramped. The concert hall felt like an aircraft hangar to me. It was minimalist and a bit daunting. During the performance it became clear why it was called the 'Echo' Arena, the acoustics where we were seated were not good at all. There was a distinct echo which blurred the music and made it harder to tell what the artistes were saying or singing!
(Just to be clear, it is really named for the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool's daily newspaper.)
The venue was only half full so when I went to the loo in the break I found myself wondering how the place would cope if it were really full. The Ladies' toilets were a bit cramped and none too fragrant. (perhaps we have smelly rainwater!)
I then went to join my husband who had gone to the bar for our drinks. He had been served quickly and the lager tasted refreshing even though it was served in a depressing plastic cup. We decided to go outside for some fresh air, a smoke (me) and to look at the impressive Liverpool Wheel, a huge ferris wheel situated very close to the arena. That is where our troubles began!
I was absolutely stunned to be told that I couldn't go outside because I wouldn't be allowed in again. I said I could just show my ticket at the door. The doorman said we couldn't go out. I explained why we wanted to go out, he pointed at a sign that repeated what he had just said. I asked why we couldn't go out. He said it was a no smoking area and we weren't allowed out. I said "Okay, no smoking, I still want to go out!" He said "You aren't allowed out."
This went on for a while with no-one able or willing to explain why we were effectively locked in. I could get no explanation, just a reiteration of the fact that if we went out we couldn't come back in again. I was told that I could have lied and said I had left something in the car, then I would be allowed to go and get it. I am a grown woman. I don't expect to have to make excuses or lie in order to be allowed to walk freely in and out of anywhere, let alone a place I payed to be in!
We had paid £50.00 each (+£13.00 booking fee and postage!) to be subjected to what was essentially false imprisonment and we were made to feel like children who couldn't be trusted. I am still angry. For a place that is designed to be careful of ecological and environmental impact it seems curiously careless of the impact it's rules have on it's patrons. "We'll make your environment better but we won't allow you your freedom to enjoy it." A curious contradiction if you ask me.
The emergengy doors were all fastened with tape. I imagine it was designed to break under pressure but I don't believe it's presence wouldn't slow down exit in an emergency. It didn't make me feel comfortable to see all the emergency exits taped up.
It is a beautiful space.
It is well staffed with efficient, polite and humorous doormen and women who can't or won't answer a straight question about why the doors are locked.
The seats are not very comfortable, presumably this is to do with them needing to be movable. The rows felt spacious to me.
The bar is pleasant enough but some seating in that area would make the place more user friendly.
The toilets are clean, a little cramped and a bit whiffy. (I'm glad I didn't have to visit the Gent's!)
The acoustics are poor but might be adequate or even good for a full rock concert. The amount of people in a place can make a big difference.
Parking and public transport is good.
The Arena is fully wheelchair accessible.
It's a very versatile venue and the space inside can be adapted to a variety of shows and events.
Even though it has a floor space of 3,400 metres square it was warm enough. I don't know what it would be like in winter.
It falls down badly on the policy of not allowing customers free access during the breaks and not being able to explain why that policy is in place. I suspect it is simply because it is too much hassle for them to check tickets and they might have to employ a few exra staff.
Until this policy is changed I won't be going again. I won't be boosting the profits of an organisation that treats it's patrons like criminals.
They can turn a blind eye to alcohol being brought in but think it is okay to 'lock' it's patrons in. Not good!
With the musical history that Liverpool as a city has (when I tell people from around the world that I'm from Liverpool, the first thing they mention are The Beatles) it was almost criminal that the city didn't have a music venue in place to attract the biggest stars. The Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, whilst it produces excellent sound quality and great service (review coming soon) the limited capacity was never going to attract music's most popular stars, so at least now with The Echo Arena Liverpool has a platform to host music's biggest acts, but also a variety of other events for the people of Liverpool and further.
To start with, the layout of the Arena is excellent, as is the location of Liverpool town centre overlooking the famous river Mersey. The bars and restaurants nearby, both located in the dock and the newly built shopping centre 'Liverpool One' will cater for people of all ages and tastes and the service inside the Arena is also good. Inside the Arena is very presentable and modern, well signposted and whilst you may queue for drinks and food for some time, prices are no more expensive than inside other music venues around the country (although they are more than you would expect to pay in your local pub/bar/club).
The sound quality inside is good, although the further back you go the quieter the music gets (it is still loud, but upper tiers will be much easier on the ears, good or bad point depends on your preferences) and in my numerous visits to the Arena I haven't bought a ticket which left me disappointed with the view.
The few downsides I must note will be firstly, the men's toilets. A number of times they have overflowed and they are extremely busy, and I have been informed the ladies toilets are not all that pleasant either. When the arena first opened I also thought the capacity was, at 11,000 too small to attract the biggest stars, but I have since seen Bob Dylan, Oasis and Paul Weller (amongst others) perform there, and I'm sure there are plenty more good acts to come.
This brand new arena, completed in 2008 for the European Capital of Culture is, in my opinion one of the best in the country (and not just because I'm a biased scouser!)
I've been to this arena 3 times (once to see Pink, once to see Gloria Estefan and once to reluctantly watch the darts) each time was a totally different experience.
When I went to see Pink I was seated in the upper tier not that it was much of a problem we had a great view because the arena only seats 10,000 (much much smaller than MEN or 02) so you never feel as though you're 'up in the Gods' It was a sell out with a great atmosphere and you're never too far away from the stage.
During Gloria Estefan we were in the front row of the lower tier and the arena wasn't full so it really had the feeling of an intimate gig and the sound was perfect.
It's a very easy arena to find and is never overcrowded when you are coming in/going out. Also I've never experienced the dreaded two hour multistory car park queue when leaving.
Perhaps it has been better thought out but I would definitely recommend coming here particularly if you're stuck between a few arenas. This one is the best!
The Echo Arena, in my hometown of Liverpool has been long awaited in the City. The Arena, which houses 10,000 seats for gigs, and a seperate conference centre, sits on the banks of the River Mersey and next to the Albert Dock with its many bars, shops and restaurants.
The Arena is bright, vibrant and has already hosted the likes of Pink, Queen & Paul Rodgers, Elton John and the MTV awards to name but a few. I had the pleasure of going to the Queen & Paul Rodgers gig and will see Muse in November.
Prior to this arena, Liverpool had a yearly Summer Pops which was hosted in giant Marquees along the Dock Road. Although the Arena doesn't hold as many people as the M.E.N. in Manchester, it has an amazing ambience. The lighting outside of an evening gives the feeling of a village community and scattered around the arena are a number of bars and restaurants, all designed to give visitors and locals a good day out.
A number of snack points lie within the entrances and visitors can take their bottles and snacks to their seats (bottles are plastic). So sit down, enjoy the music, comedy, family shows and relax in a good atmosphere with some of the worlds greatest stars.
The Arena has a space age look and the venue has added to the vibrancy of this special city. A multi storey car park has been built next to the venue so you don't have to walk for miles once parked up. Getting out of the car park is not too bad as they have marshalls to speed it up.
This year, 2008, Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture. So having this arena open on the 12th of January was a major coup for this special year. I was at this event and have been to many others since then. I have also been to many other arenas and stadia all over the country so was keen to see how this one would stand up.
It is a welcome addition to Liverpool's skyline, and very modern and minimalist, but attractive looking in its design. The views from around it are great, sitting by the river Mersey on a summer's evening is highly recommended and there are hotels, bars and restaurants nearby for both before and after the show.
It was also great to have somewhere to go to see shows other than the Philharmonic Hall (as much as I love that place). Most big shows we had to go to either the MEN or Manchester or the NEC in Birmingham which was a trek and tedious as well as meaning it priced some people out of going at all as they had to factor in the extra costs of travel and possibly accommodation. In the summer, our annual Summer Pops events were held at the same location, but in a marquee; this is more secure and comfortable for everyone. It is also providing jobs and income for local people which is great.
I shall now outline the customer experience on an average show.
When you get to the door, tickets are checked manually although I think they should get scanners like they have at most other venues as there are often problems of fraud with big, popular or expensive shows like Coldplay who are on later this year. Bags are sometimes checked and the stewards are friendly and professional.
The concourse itself is on one level and it goes around in a circle. There are no cashpoints and they do not take cards so remember to get cash out before you go!! There are merchandise stalls, toilets and both kiosks and vending machines for food and drink. The disabled toilets do not operate a RADAR scheme though meaning anyone and everyone can and does use these toilets.
There are also no seats on the concourse so if you need or want to sit down you will need to go into the arena bowl itself and go to your seats. The stewards are good at directing you, and during the show they are proactive without being in the way.
The sound quality is good although I think the 02 Arena is better in terms of acoustics because they have special padding on the seats to help with this. The seats themselves are comfy and there is lots of legroom. The lighting is well done as well and I have enjoyed every show I have been to.
Leaving the arena it is very hard to get a taxi so you either need to ring one or walk into town for one. There is traffic for at least 1/2 an hour after the show but I guess that is normal. There is a bus station over the road though so it is easy to get to and you should be fine to catch the last bus home from there too.
Echo Arena Liverpool is a state of the art 10,000 plus seater arena. A versatile space that is the perfect venue for concerts, comedy, family entertainment and sport.