[Review] Close Calls (New York City Horror Film Festival, 2017) – by Doc Rotten

Close Calls (2017) from writer-director Richard Stringham lands on the Gruesome Magazine desk via the New York City Horror Film Festival. The movie is part of the festival’s opening night, October 27, 2017. Doc Rotten joins Paul Cardullo with a review of the film, citing its heavy Eighties feel and approach as one of the film’s stronger qualities. The film has fun with its gore and story, planting its tongue firmly in its cheek but steering clear of outright parody. The film succeeds in this approach. But, what it is more notable in is the potential star-making  turn with its lead actress Jordan Phipps. Check out the review to hear more.

Close Calls (2017) 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)


“Experience the terror in Morgan’s head. Pray she doesn’t pick up the phone … and end up dead.”

Close Calls  features a troubled young girl (Morgan) who is forced to stay home and tend to her crazy grandma after being grounded by her father. But when daddy leaves for a dinner date, Morgan’s paranoia heightens as she starts receiving a series of disturbing phone calls while dealing with grandma. Between all the phone calls, the drugs she has taken, and surprise visits from some unexpected guests, Morgan now believes everyone around her is out to kill her. And to make matters worse … she keeps forgetting to give granny her meds.

This upcoming horror film from S & Drive Cinema was produced, written and directed by S & Drive’s founder, Richard Stringham, who started the indie production company in Sherwood, Arkansas. Vowing to make a retro horror piece that tipped its hat to genre heroes like Bava, Argento, Romero, Craven, Kubrick, and Lynch … Stringham self-funded the project, and assembled a local team of Arkansans to force  Close Calls  into existence, which included a few talented art department members from Jeff Nichols’ rural drama, “Mud”. The film, which is currently swimming around in the festival pool, will feature an original synth-driven score by Grammy winner, Rocky Gray (formerly of Evanescence, composer for “The Barn”), and special makeup effects by visual FX artist, Les Galusha (“Contracted”).

Close Calls  stars a talented actor by the name of Greg Fallon (“LBJ”, “11.22.63”) as “Barry Cone”, and also introduces  us to a lovely leading lady named Jordan Phipps, who plays the tough, young heroine, “Morgan”. Phipps is an up-and-coming scream queen in the making. After seeing just her face in the ad campaigns and her strong performance in the “Close Calls  trailer, several producers have contacted her for roles in other upcoming genre films, such as “10/31” and “Safe Place”.

Doc Rotten
Editor-In-Chief / Founder / Podcast Producer at Horror News Radio
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior.

Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.