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House of Sin

UK 2011
produced by
Warren Croyle, John Symes, Nik Spencer, Philip Gardiner for Chemical Burn, Chalk Productions, Red Sky Productions
directed by Philip Gardiner
starring John Symes, Nik Spencer, Sarah Dunn, Andrew Aden, Hannah White, San Saintclare, Richard King, Michael Ellis, Kerrie Denning, Claudette Distant, Veronica Callaghan, Sarah Lucy Smith, Timothy Wain, Dap C, Becky G, Katie Wilson, Zoe Bullimore, Phil Ashmore, Katie Travis, Joe Bircumshaw, Charlotte Williamson, Kelly Theresa Marie Hyke, Abbie Charlotte Hallam
written by Philip Gardiner

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On first sight, the Mage (John Symes) is nothing more than the owner of a sex club, where the most normal and respectable citizens come to live out their secret (but utterly harmless) sexual kinks. But there's a certain aura to the Mage that puts him in a league all of his own, he shows an almost haunting understanding to those who come to him, gives them the feeling that what they are doing is right, and neither judges nor exploits his subjects.

Paul (Nik Spencer) is Mage's perfect sidekick: Sure, he's fascinated by Mage like all the others but doesn't worship him like his subjects tend to, he doesn't leech off the Mage like most others would - sure, he doesn't mind giving a hand (and more) at the Mage's sex parties, but wouldn't mind if they stopped the very next day. Furthermore, after too much time with the Mage and his kinky family, he always needs some time out, as he's not totally in tune with the Mage's world of kink. And yet, Paul doesn't mind to take a hit for the Mage, and has to do so repeatedly when jealous husbands find out about the Mage's place ...

One day, the husband of the Mage's most loyal subject (Sarah Dunn) shows up at the Mage's place when Paul is not around, and he stabs the Mage to death in a fit of jealousy, putting everything to a permanent halt.

Ironically, the Mage's death has left Paul better off than ever, because the Mage had left anything he had to Paul - and Paul decides to turn a new leaf: He sells the Mage's old house of sin, takes the money and buys a place for himself, where he wants to run a respectable business, with no funny stuff or anything ... but he soon has to find out that's impossible to him, because ht eMage's aura has followed him around, and before you know it, the kinky crowd has moved in with him, has started accepting him as their new mage, and Paul is throwing kinkier parties than the Mage ever has - and girls from all over the country have come to worship him. But believe it or not, this is not what Paul wanted, the Mage's shoes are a size or two too big for him to fit, and he knows it, and he isn't even too much into the sex that comes with the responsibility.

It all leads to tragedy when a girl Paul has rejected kills herself, and power over life and death of others is nothing he has ever wanted, so he takes the only way out he can think of - suicide ... assisted suicide because he doesn't feel strong enough to kill himself. But when letting someone help you kill yourself, isn't he really just supporting someone's kink yet again?


Very unusual expedition into the world of kink that treats its subject in a very unsensationalist way, instead offers insight from interesting points of view. The film's very subtle narrative approach to its subject matter is perfectly mirrored in its directorial effort: The camera never shies away from naked bodies of course, as they are an integral part of the plot, but doesn't linger and lose the actual narrative out of sight. The story itself is told in a commendably unexcited way, yet not without being exciting all the same, which gives the whole thing an atmospheric quality all of its own.

Recommended, actually.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD