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Articles on this Page
- 12/23/15--09:59: _10 great British ho...
- 12/27/15--03:08: _Tammi Sutton's Whis...
- 12/27/15--04:40: _Films that sneaked ...
- 12/28/15--02:33: _Films that sneaked ...
- 12/28/15--09:54: _Lions Gate to relea...
- 12/31/15--01:09: _83 British horror f...
- 12/31/15--03:11: _83 British horror f...
- 12/31/15--03:12: _Checklist of 2015 B...
- 12/31/15--05:14: _12 terrific new Bri...
- 01/08/16--13:05: _Three British horro...
- 01/11/16--10:04: _Holy crap! After ei...
- 01/14/16--10:02: _Two-for-one premier...
- 01/15/16--00:19: _Richard Driscoll ri...
- 01/15/16--10:31: _Can’t wait to see… ...
- 01/18/16--13:01: _Two new vampire com...
- 01/19/16--12:13: _Looking forward to....
- 01/22/16--00:25: _Freema Agyeman anno...
- 01/24/16--01:14: _Wandering Rose aka ...
- 01/27/16--14:04: _The Devil Complex b...
- 01/29/16--00:06: _Another new title f...
- My review: "An absolutely storming achievement by GFC and all his colleagues on both sides of the camera."
- My review: "As an example of bedroom creativity above and beyond the call of duty, Darkest Day is unprecedented."
- My review: "Bleak, highly artistic, challenging and only ‘erotic’ if you have very specialised, unconventional tastes."
- My review: "It is ridiculously over-ambitious and yet somehow manages to just about achieve those ambitions."
- My review: "Richard Mansfield continues to redefine the limits of contemporary British horror ... a unique viewing experience."
- My review: "Dunford does a fine job of racking up the horrors, hinting at the reality behind them without ever departing from his central idea."
- My review: "This is what modern horror anthologies should be like: creepy and fun and gory and clever and nasty."
- My review: "Combines a fine, taut script with a trio of superb performances and strong, confident direction to create a powerful, gripping story,"
- My review: "This is an impressively made, well acted and well photographed British zombie feature and comes thoroughly recommended."
- 12/27/15--03:08: Tammi Sutton's Whispers is finished and has had its world premiere
- 12/27/15--04:40: Films that sneaked out when no-one was looking: Within
- 12/28/15--02:33: Films that sneaked out when no-one was looking: It Never Sleeps
- 12/28/15--09:54: Lions Gate to release Somerset crocodile movie The Hatching in March
- 12/31/15--01:09: 83 British horror films released in 2015, Part I
- 12/31/15--03:11: 83 British horror films released in 2015, Part II
- 12/31/15--03:12: Checklist of 2015 British horror releases
- Aaaaaaaah!(d.Steve Oram)
- Afterdeath (d.Robin Schmidt, Gez Medinger)
- All Above Board(d.David Simpson)
- Amityville Legacy– see Amityville Playhouse
- Amityville Playhouse aka Amityville Theatre aka Amityville Legacy (d.John R Walker)
- Amityville Theatre– see Amityville Playhouse
- Asylum – see Psychotic
- Awaiting (d.Mark Murphy)
- Aylesbury Dead(d.William Axtell)
- Backtrack– see Nazi Vengeance
- Backtrack: Nazi Regression– see Nazi Vengeance
- Bait aka The Taking (d.Dominic Brunt)
- The Beast of Xmoor– see X Moor
- Blood and Carpet (d.Graham Fletcher-Cook)
- Bloodless – see Vampires
- Bloodlust – see Vampires
- Blood Moon(d.Jeremy Wooding)
- Breakdown – see Eden Lodge
- Bunker - see The Hoarder
- Camera Trap(d.Alex Verner)
- Christmas Slay(d.Steve Davis)
- Conjuring the Dead - see Valley of the Witch
- Containment (d.Neil Mcenery-West)
- The Coven(d.John Mackie)
- Crying Wolf(dir. Tony Jopia)
- Curse of the Witching Tree aka The Witching Tree (d.James Crow)
- The Cutting Room (d.Warren Dudley)
- Darkest Day(d.Dan Rickard)
- Dark Night(d.Daniel Grant)
- Dark Vision(d.Darren Flaxstone)
- Dartmoor Killing (d.Peter Nicholson)
- A Date with Ghosts (d.Jason MJ Brown)
- Dead End (d.Rich Davis)
- Demon (d.Mark Duffield)
- Demon Baby - see Wandering Rose
- The Doomsditch Demon (d.David Gunstone)
- Dragonfly(d.Andrew Tiernan)
- Drink Me(d.Richard Mansfield)
- Eden Lodge aka Breakdown (d.Andreas Prodromou)
- Ellie Rose– see The Haunting of Ellie Rose
- Estranged (d.Adam Levins)
- Exorcism (d.Lance Patrick)
- The Expedition– see Extinction: Jurassic Predators
- Extinction – see Extinction: Jurassic Predators
- Extinction: Jurassic Predators aka Extinction aka The Expedition (d.Adam Spinks)
- Fallen Soldiers(d.Bill Thomas)
- The Falling (d.Carol Morley)
- The Final Haunting (d.Flaminia Graziadei)
- Friday Download: The Movie – see Up All Night
- A Girl (d.Simon Black)
- Ghost of Myself (d.The Aquinas)
- The Hallow aka The Woods (d.Corin Hardy)
- Haunting at the Rectory (d.Andrew Jones)
- The Haunting of Ellie Rose aka Ellie Rose aka Not Alone (d.Tristan Versluis)
- The Hoarder aka Bunker (d.Matt Winn)
- Howl (d.Paul Hyett)
- Hungerford (d.Drew Casson)
- Impurity (d.Andy Remic)
- It Never Sleeps (d.Matt Mitchell)
- Judas Ghost(d.Simon Pearce)
- Kick (d.Marcus Warren)
- A Killer Conversation(d.David VG Davies)
- KillerSaurus (d.Steve Lawson)
- The Last House on Cemetery Lane (d.Andrew Jones)
- Let Us Prey (d. Brian O’Malley)
- Lucifer’s Night(d.Scott Jeffrey, Henry W Smith)
- The Messenger(d.David Blair)
- Monitor (d.David VG Davies)
- Monsters: Dark Continent (d.Tom Green)
- The Mothman Curse aka Who is Coming (d.Richard Mansfield)
- Nazi Vengeanceaka Backtrack aka Backtrack: Nazi Regression (d.Tom Sands)
- Nightmare Hunters – see Young Hunters: The Beast of Bevendean
- Nina Forever(d.Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine)
- Nocturnal Activity (d.Georg E Lewis)
- Not Alone– see The Haunting of Ellie Rose
- Poltergeist Activity(d.Andrew Jones)
- Pounce – see Silverhide
- P.O.V.(d.Richard Anthony Dunford)
- Psychotic aka Psychotic Asylum aka Asylum aka Shadows of Bedlam (d.Johnny Johnson)
- Psychotic Asylum– see Psychotic
- The Redwood Massacre (d.David Ryan Keith)
- Robert aka Robert the Doll (d.Andrew Jones)
- Robert the Doll– see Robert
- Save Our Skinsaka SOS: Save Our Skins (d.Kent Sobey)
- Scopia – see The Scopia Effect
- The Scopia Effect aka Scopia (d.Chris Butler)
- Seven Cases(d.Sean J Vincent)
- Shadows of Bedlam– see Psychotic
- Silverhide aka Pounce (d.Keith R Robinson)
- The Singing Bird Will Come (d.Iain Ross McNamee)
- Snuff Reel (d.Will Metheringham)
- Soldiers of the Damned (d.Mark Nuttall)
- SOS: Save Our Skins– see Save Our Skins
- Stag Hunt(d.James Shanks)
- Survivors (d.Adam Spinks)
- The Taking– see Bait
- Three’s a Shroud (d.David VG Davies, Dan Brownlie, Andy Edwards)
- Tiger House (d.Thomas Daley)
- Unhallowed Ground (d.Russell England)
- Up All Night aka Friday Download: The Movie (d.John Henderson)
- Valley of the Witch aka Conjuring the Dead (d.Andrew Jones)
- Vampire Dawn(d.David Gunstone)
- Vampires aka Bloodlust aka Bloodless (d.Richard Johnstone)
- Wandering Roseaka Demon Baby (d.Corrie Greenop)
- Wasteland (d.Tom Wadlow)
- Who is Coming - see The Mothman Curse
- The Witching Tree – see Curse of the Witching Tree
- The Woman in Black: Angel of Death (d.Tom Harper)
- The Woods– see The Hallow
- World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen (d.Bart Ruspoli, Freddie Hutton-Mills)
- X Moor aka The Beast of Xmoor (d.Luke Hyams)
- Young Hunters: The Beast of Bevendean aka Nightmare Hunters (d.Ewan Gorman)
- Zombies in Hertford (d.Michael Curtis)
- 12/31/15--05:14: 12 terrific new British horror films scheduled for release in 2016
The Carrier (dir. Anthony Woodley) UK DVD, Altitude, 25th January
Eight people commandeer a plane to escape a global pandemic - but one of them is infected.
The Blood Harvest (dir. George Clarke) UK DVD, Left Film, 25th January
Suspended cop investigates ritualistic serial killing and finds more than he expected.
Serial Kaller (dir. Dan Brownlie) US DVD, Wild Eye, 26th January
Psycho stalks 'babes TV' models. With Dani Thompson, Suzi Lorraine and the wonderful Debbie Rochon.
Survival Instinct (dir. Steve Lawson) UK theatrical, Film Volt, 1st February
Wrong place, wrong time: resourceful young woman vs determined hunter.
Evil Souls (dir. Roberto and Maurizio del Piccolo) UK DVD, Lace, 1st February
Anglo-Italian Satanic torture porn.
Cryptic (dir. Bart Ruspoli and Freddie Hutton-Mills) UK DVD, Spirit Entertainment, 1st February
Eight gangsters guarding a coffin which may or may not have a vampire inside.
House of Afflictions (dir. Anthony S Winson) US DVD, Wild Eye, 23rd February
Crime author mourning the loss of her child moves into a new home.
The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund (dir. Andrew Jones) UK DVD, 4Front, 7th March
A priest and a Vatican investigator take a possessed housewife to a convent to perform an exorcism.
Fluid Boy (dir. Jason Impey) US DVD, Live Wire, 8th March
Actress auditioning for a zombie film is tortured by an insane psycho.
The Unfolding (dir. Eugene McGing) VOD, Frighfest Presents, 14th March
Found footage movie: ghost-hunters investigate haunted house.
The Hatching (dir. Michael Anderson) US DVD, Lions Gate, 15th March
Andrew-Lee Potts investigates a killer crocodile loose in Somerset.
Dark Signal (dir. Ed Evers-Swindell) UK DVD, Kaleidoscope, 23rd May
Spirit of murdered girl communicates via radio. Executive produced by Neil Marshall.
- 01/08/16--13:05: Three British horrors in German four-pack
- 01/11/16--10:04: Holy crap! After eight years, The Demon Within finally gets released
- 01/14/16--10:02: Two-for-one premiere of new Eileen Daly films
- 01/15/16--10:31: Can’t wait to see… The Slayers
- 01/18/16--13:01: Two new vampire comedies on the way
- 01/19/16--12:13: Looking forward to... The Ghost Writer
- 01/22/16--00:25: Freema Agyeman announced for Eat Local
- 01/24/16--01:14: Wandering Rose aka Demon Baby gets another inappropriate title
- “If you look at the poster, you expect a demonic baby to pop out of that swollen belly. Just like in "Alien". Right ? But sorry. No baby. No demon.”
- “Maybe her boyfriend was the devil and he passed something evil onto her? If anyone knows the answer, maybe you can clarify...”
- “For Pete's sake,change the title of the movie and the cover graphics. Completely misleading.”
- 01/27/16--14:04: The Devil Complex becomes The Devil Within
- 01/29/16--00:06: Another new title for Richard Driscoll's Eldorado
More than 70 new British horror features were released in 2015. Next month I'll post a complete run-down. But for now here's my top ten. How many have you seen? How many were you even aware of?
dir. Graham Fletcher-Cook
Visually stunning monochrome drama set in a perfectly recreated 1960s East End which trips you up at the end when you realise you’ve been watching a horror film all along and didn’t realise it. Released to Vimeo on Demand in February.
dir. Dan Rickard
Shot in Brighton over several years, this micro-budget labour-of-love zombie-fest combines incredible special effects with genuinely gripping action. A limited theatrical release in May was followed by a DVD through Left Films.
dir. Simon Black
Extraordinary psychological fetish-horror chronicling a young woman’s descent into sexual madness, Released by Redemption in January as part of their new wave of Satanic Sluts titles.
dir. Steve Lawson
Cheap’n’cheerful genetically recreated dino romp. Imagine Jurassic Park shot on a Loughborough industrial estate. Bonkers fun. Released by 88 Films in July; it’s been their second biggest seller this year!
The Mothman Curse
dir. Richard Mansfield
Shot ‘blind’ on a ten pound CCTV camera, the grainy monochrome photography only adds to the spookiness of this loosely MR James-ian tale filmed in London’s Cinema Museum. Wild Eye Releasing gave it a DVD/VOD release in the States in April.
dir. Richard Anthony Dunford
Shot entirely through the main character’s eyes, like a horror version of Peep Show, this is a ‘found footage’ film for people who don’t like found footage films. With a shocking ending that will leave your jaw agape. VOD release through TheHorrorShow.TV in April.
dir. James Shanks
Four friends spending a weekend on the moors run afoul of something very large and dangerous in this gripping horror-thriller laced with just enough black humour. Popped up on Amazon Prime in May.
Three’s a Shroud
dir. David VG Davies, Dan Brownlie and Andy Edwards
Cracking anthology with a great cast of fan favourites (Emily Booth! Eleanor James! Dani Thompson! Suzi Lorraine!). Wild Eye Releasing put it onto DVD and VOD in September.
dir. Corrie Greenop
Powerful and creepy ghost tale shot amid beautiful Scottish scenery. Don’t let the crappy sleeve and retitle fool you (it was made as Wandering Rose). American VOD/DVD from Entertainment One in June.
dir. Tom Wadlow
Bleak and brilliant zombie film that stands out from a crowded pack, not least through an amazing lead performance. US DVD through Midnight Releasing in September.
Hell Asylum, Dead and Rotting, The Dead Hate the Living and Killjoy 2 – which she directed.
She has four other feature director credits on her CV: Sutures, Secrets of Life, Isle of Dogs and Whispers. The last two of these are actually British productions.
Isle of Dogs, which was written by Sean Hogan (Little Deaths, The Devil’s Business) had a VOD release in 2014. It’s a violent crime thriller but it’s horrific enough to have played Frightfest and Shriekfest. But Whispers has been on my MIA list since it was shot way back in June/July 2011 and I had almost given up hope.
Well, it seems that Sutton shot (or re-shot) more footage for Whispers last year, to judge by the dates of various tweets:
I have just discovered that Whispers had its world premiere at the RIP Horror Film Festival in LA in October along with another new British horror, Granny of the Dead. (I know this ‘news’ is three months late, but hey, at least I investigate things on this blog instead of just slavishly reproducing press releases like most horror websites.)
Whispers stars lads’ mag model turned actress Keeley Hazell, Barbara Nedeljakova from Hostel and Strippers vs Werewolves (who also starred in Isle of Dogs), Craig Rees (who was also in Sutures plus episodes of The X-Files and Angel, although he’s British), Diane Ayala Goldner (Halloween II, Hatchet III) and Lynn Lowry (Shivers, Cat People). Here are some stills that Sutton posted onto Facebook:
Everything turns up eventually but sometimes it can take a long time to discover this. Within is a British horror feature that was shot in Prague a decade ago, trade screened at the Cannes Market in May 2005. Then it disappeared and for ten years it has been on my MIA list. Yesterday, while browsing around the web, I discovered to my amazement that Within had actually been released on DVD in Italy in November 2012. Or possibly March 2010.
Urban Terrors had I known. Maybe one day I’ll do an expanded and revised version.
The film was jointly directed by Merlin Ward (Out of Bounds/Dead in the Water– another title that could be added to the second edition if it ever happens) and American producer John A Curtis (Xtro II, Laserhawk). The IMB lists it as a UK/Canada/Italy/Czech co-production but it looks British to me.
Here’s the synopsis: Brad, Christina, T.K. and Kelly are on a post-graduation trip to Europe. Unfortunately, what starts out as a dream quickly spirals into a nightmare. Upon entering a 14th century castle, the friends find themselves trapped in a horrifying alternate realm where violent hallucinations overtake them. A stranger emerges, shocking them with the reality of their terrifying fate; one must stay behind - alone forever within the torturous stone walls, in order for the rest of the group to escape. As time runs out, hope and reason disappear, anarchy takes over and extreme violence erupts. Will it be male strength or female guile that will ultimately determine who will bear the terrible fate?
You can pre-order it now on Amazon.
I wrote about the film, which stars Andrew-Lee Potts, Laura Aikman and Thomas Turgoose, just over a year ago when it premiered at the Bath Film Festival.
I'm not convinced that the image on the DVD sleeve is an actual still from the film. Not too many places on the Somerset Levels have water that deep and clear...
For the past few years, my January Devil’s Porridge blog over on the Hemlock Books site has been a round-up of the previous year’s British horror releases. Now that Devil’s Porridge has come to a natural end, it makes sense for me to continue the tradition on my British Horror Revival blog. 2015 was a busy year. In fact so busy that I probably couldn’t have fitted it into my Hemlock word limit anyway…
The list I’m about to present to you (in two parts) tallies no fewer than 83(!) feature-length British horror films given their first commercial release - through a range of distribution channels - in 2015. (Just to be clear: festivals and other one-off screenings don't count as a 'release', by my criteria.)
This is the biggest annual round-up I have ever compiled, easily topping last year’s 69-er. More to the point, each year normally has about 10-15 additional titles which only come to light after the annual round-up is published (e.g. the 2014 master-list now stands at 81). So it’s not unreasonable to assume that somewhere around 90-95 British horror features actually made their debut in 2015.
Without further ado, let’s kick off – as indeed the year kicked off – with the Harry Potter-free The Woman in Black: Angel of Death which hit UK theatres on New Year’s Day. Directed by Tom Harper (The Borrowers, Demons), this only underscored how much of the first film’s success was down to stunt casting. Forgettable, but of historical note to Hammerphiles as the company’s first sequel since 1974.
Lance Patrick’s feature debut Exorcism was released on UK DVD in January, the first of (too) many found footage films this year. Darren Flaxstone’s Dark Vision was somewhat better, mixing POV shots from a supposed live TV broadcast with more conventional direction. The story doesn’t quite hang together and the film’s unsure when to end, but it’s watchable and kind of fun.
One-man film factory Andrew Jones makes the first of an incredible five appearances in this list with Valley of the Witch, retitled Conjuring the Dead for its January US disc (and subsequent VOD through TheHorrorShow.TV). It’s a fairly standard ‘revenge of executed 17th century witch’ tale but good performances and taut storytelling make it worth a watch. There were Stateside releases this month too for Jason MJ Brown’s chaotic killer-spook-monks debut A Date with Ghosts and Kent Sobey’s SOS: Save Our Skins which plays like a comedy version of I am Legend.
February brought VOD releases for two black and white films directed by actors. Graham Fletcher-Cook’s brilliant Blood and Carpet, set in a perfectly recreated 1960s East End, pulled a rug out from viewers with a twist ending and featured a cracking Mod soundtrack. Andrew Tiernan’s dark thriller Dragonfly was contemporary but also very effective.
Tom Sands’ Backtrack was released as Nazi Vengeance in the UK in February and as Backtrack: Nazi Regression in the States in May. Julian Glover is the name value in this tale of a young man recalling a past life as a WW2 German soldier on a secret mission in southern England. And Andrew Jones was back again with The Last House on Cemetery Lane (on US disc and VOD), in which a screenwriter moves into a haunted house with predictable results.
World War Dead: Rise of the Fallen, which hit UK DVD in March, is a zombie film from Bart Ruspoli and Freddie Hutton-Mills who previously brought us Devil’s Playground. A documentary crew visiting the site of the Somme 100 years on unleashes an army of undead soldiers. The war/horror crossover schtick is almost as generic and dull as the found footage format.
John Mackie’s The Coven is – guess what? – another freaking found footage picture. Not only that, it was written by his wife and stars his three kids, making it effectively a self-indulgent home video that people are expected to pay £5.99 to watch. Seriously, unless your surname is Barrymore, cast your movie from further afield than your own living room. This is some rubbish about teenage wannabe witches which doesn’t actually rip off The Craft quite as much as the sleeve implies.
Filmed as The Expedition but retitled for its UK disc, Extinction: Jurassic Predators is a Lost World-lite dinosaur picture which inclu– Jesus fucking Christ, it’s another found footage movie! Found footage zombie soldiers, found footage teen witches, and a found footage T rex, all released in one month! What is wrong with you people? Stop it. Stop it now. It was a bad idea when it started and it has just got worse. From now on, any found footage film in this list gets the title and the phrase “more found footage crap” and nothing else, okay? Because I have had it with you lot, I really have.
Fucking fuckshit crap bollocks shitty found footage arsewank shitballs…
Gangsters, Guns and Zombies) hasn't been released on either side of the (North) Atlantic but did appear on DVD in South Africa in March. The protagonist of this one has to deal with the double whammy of a psychopath and the ghosts of previous victims.
Two belters to end with this month, both of which come laden with festival awards. The Blaine Brothers’ ‘fucked-up fairy tale’ Nina Forever is a comedy about a man haunted by his dead ex-girlfriend. Limited theatrical releases in the USA (March) and UK (October) for that one. And March saw the DVD debut (in Germany) of Brian O’Malley’s Let Us Prey. Pollyana McIntosh and Liam Cunningham star in this gripping and clever tale of a Scottish backwater falling under the evil influence of a mysterious stranger.
Sc-fi/fantasy novelist Andy Remic wrote and directed Impurity, a torture porn tale of three killers locked up in a cellar; self-released on DVD in April and on VOD two months later. Simon Pearce’s Judas Ghost, released in the States on DVD/VOD, was also written by a sci-fi novelist - in this case, Simon R Green, whom I used to know back in my SFX days. Initially conceived as a stage play, Judas Ghost is five ghost hunters with some video equipment in a haunted village hall but – pay attention, film-makers – it’s not found footage. That alone is enough to recommend it.
I’d like to recommend Hungerford, if only because this VOD release was directed by talented teenager Drew Casson, but by my own self-imposed rules all I can do is tell you it’s more found footage crap. On the other hand, I can recommend Richard Anthony Dunford’s P.O.V., which hit VOD through TheHorrorShow.TV in April. It could be lumped in with found footage but it’s not really because no-one runs around with a camera. Instead this tale of drug-induced demonic possession is seen through the eyes of the main character, an original conceit which works so much better than any amount of who-actually-edited-this? Go-Pro footage.
Chris Butler’s The Scopia Effect (on VOD in April, DVD coming soon) is a stylish and powerful descent into madness caused by hypnotic regression unlocking past lives which should really have stayed locked. On the other hand Keith R Robinson’s Silverhide (filmed as Pounce, released on UK DVD) is utter tosh about teenage journalists investigating military development of an invisible wolf-monster. Just awful.
Because nothing is ever simple, Amityville Legacy, Amityville Theatre and Amityville Playhouse are all the same film. And it’s British even though the IMDB lists it as Canadian. Filmed as Legacy, this had a limited UK theatrical release as Theatre in April before hitting DVD as Playhouse (here) and Theater (across the Pond). Director John R Walker is a busy film extra with hundreds of (non-)credits and a day job on the fish counter in the Dudley branch of Tesco!
Finally this month, two simultaneous titles from Richard Mansfield, one of the most fascinating film-makers currently working in Britain. Originally titled Who is Coming, The Mothman Curse is a tale of spooky dread among the shelves and filing cabinets of London’s Cinema Museum. Shot on a ten-pound CCTV camera, the grainy monochrome image is as disturbing as the MR James subtext. On the other hand, Drink Me (on US disc) is a seriously sexy gay vampire feature that gives David DeCoteau a run for his money.
Stag Hunt, the long-awaited second feature from James Shanks(The Devil’s Harvest): four friends spend a weekend on the moors where they encounter something big and fierce (but real – it’s not a werewolf). A great mixture of horror, action and darkly comic characterisation, this comes heartily recommended. As does Dan Rickard’s zombie epic Darkest Day, shot for tuppence ha’penny over several years. Incredible special effects and masterful use of digital composition create a film that looks a million times what it cost. That had a limited UK theatrical release in May just ahead of the DVD from Left Films.
James Crow’s Curse of the Witching Tree hit UK shelves this month. There’s a tree. It was cursed by a witch. Sounds a tad generic but it’s actually rather good and worth tracking down. After several false starts, Monsters: Dark Continent finally hit UK theatres in May. Like the first film it’s really sci-fi but it received enough interest from the horror press to tip it over the borderline (in my view). And the other – somewhat unlikely – British horror film playing cinemas this month was Up All Night, a spin-off from CBBC entertainment series Friday Download, about some kids staging a pop concert to save a haunted mansion from developers.
That was the first five months of 2015. Join me later today for the second half of the year and an alphabetical checklist of all 83 movies,
[Also see Part 2 for addenda.]
Welcome back to my run-through of every one of the 83 British horror films released in 2015. Yesterday I covered the first five months and the first 37 movies. So what came our way in June?
Unhallowed Ground, a tale of six teenagers staying overnight in a posh school as part of their Army Cadet training, on the 350th anniversary of something awful happening. Directed by Russell England and written by teenager Paul Raschid (who also starred), this had a UK theatrical release in June then hit VOD, then DVD. Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment not only put a stock shot of a creepy cemetery on the front of the sleeve, they stuck some text on the back about friends seeking shelter from a storm in an abandoned building on the “wild and uninhabited moors.” Seriously, WT absolute F?
After several years in limbo, Mark Duffield’s gorgeous-looking Victorian horror Demon finally turned up on DVD in June, a rare example of Gothic in modern British horror. Aylesbury Dead is a self-released zombie picture which I only found out about as I was writing this, Set in the eponymous Buckinghamshire town, director William Axtell based it on his own self-published comics. There was a US release for 7 Cases, a crime/torture-porn mash-up from Sean J Vincent (The Addicted) starring Steven Berkoff, Samantha Fox and the lead singer of Republica; and also a US disc of Snuff Reel, the latest zero-budget sex'n'violence romp from Will Metheringham (The Photographer). But, by my own self-imposed rules (see yesterday’s post), all I can tell you about the UK disc of Warren Dudley’s The Cutting Room is that it’s more found footage crap.
Soldiers of the Damned had a squad of WW2 German soldiers exploring a Romanian forest for a mystical artefact. Lots of spooky things happen in the script by Nigel Horne (MD of distributor Safecracker Pictures) but none of them make any sense and the film suffers from careless anachronisms like a map that shows the Czech Republic. Bill Thomas’ historical zombie/war film Fallen Soldiers (filmed as Grist for the Mill) is set on the eve of Waterloo bit fails to do anything with its original premise. There are precious few zombies on show and the film isn’t helped by washed out cinematography that renders scarlet tunics a dull red.
Dark Night, an Evil Dead knock-off directed by Daniel Grant, had been stuck on the shelf even longer than Demon, unseen since 2006. In July 2015 Grant dug it out and Dark Night became the first British horror film distributed through BitTorrent! Ewan Gorman’s kidflick adventure Young Hunters: The Beast of Bevendean (filmed as Nightmare Hunters) had a VOD release and 88 Films put out a DVD of Steve Lawson’s old school dino romp KillerSaurus.
Nocturnal Activity, a sexy ghost flick which Steve Lawson produced for ‘Georg E Lewis’. Check out the quote from me on this sleeve: "Plenty of nudity"! Andrew Jones was back yet again in August with his creepy doll movie Robert (filmed as Robert the Doll). Camera Trap, filmed on location in Nepal by nature documentarian Alex Verner, is probably really good, but when I make a rule I stick by it so I can only list its UK DVD release as more found footage crap. (See how unfair this is? You only have yourselves to blame.)
Neil McEnery-West’s Containment has a London tower block sealed off by mysterious figures in hazmat suits. Andreas Prodromou’s Eden Lodge doesn’t have any connection with Eden Lake except a copycat DVD sleeve; it has a young couple plus baby staying at a remote B&B when their car breaks down, and finding themselves surrounded by bloody murder. Both those titles had UK DVD releases in August, as did Thomas Daley's generic home invasion thriller Tiger House (set in Surrey but filmed in South Africa). And there was a very swift VOD release for All Above Board, a séance comedy directed by David Simpson (no relation) which was made, edited and released in 13 days!
Moving on to September, there were four British horror films released on US DVD. The Yanks got Luke Hyams’ X Moor - retitled as The Beast of Xmoor - a decently gripping tale of creature-hunters exploring Exmoor (filmed in Ireland) which scores points for not being yet more found footage crap. They also got Tom Wadlow’s terrific zombie feature Wasteland, plus Jeremy Wooding’s werewolf western Blood Moon (a UK disc followed in October) and a belated release for Three’s a Shroud, a fun anthology variously directed by David VG Davies, Dan Brownlie and Andy Edwards with a cast that includes genre faves Emily Booth, Dani Thompson and Suzi Lorraine.
Over here, we had our own moorland horror with a theatrical release for Peter Nicholson’s Dartmoor Killing, in which two female hikers have to deal with a charming psychopath. A limited cinema run too for David Blair’s psychic chiller The Messenger. And there was a British disc of Mark Murphy’s impressive Awaiting, in which a loon and his daughter take in a car crash victim and then don’t let him leave.
Nine films made their debut in October which is traditionally the busiest month, what with Halloween and all. The two high profile releases, which both played UK cinemas, were Paul Hyett’s disappointingly pedestrian Howl, which was touted as ‘werewolves on a train’ but made nothing of either the monsters or the setting. And Steve Oram’s unique, bizarre Aaaaaaah! in which humans act like apes. I saw Aaaaaaaah! at Leicester Phoenix and won a T-shirt!
Richard Johnstone’s vampire epic, filmed back in 2010, was variously called Bloodlust or Bloodless during production but eventually appeared on disc as… Vampires. Great work, DVD PR guys! There was also a UK DVD release for Adams Spinks’ zombie picture Survivors, while Bath-based film-maker David Gunstone self-released two micro-budget features, Vampire Dawn and The Doomsditch Demon. Matt Winn's The Hoarder, about a young woman stalked by a killer in an underground storage facility, had a German DVD release as Bunker. And there were three British titles in the first batch of Frightfest Presents VOD releases: Adam Levins’ Estranged (car crash victim returns to family and home she can’t remember), Robin Schmidt and Gez Medinger’s Afterdeath (five people wake up dead on a beach in Hell) and the aforementioned Aaaaaaaah!
Way back in 2009, my mate Tristan Versluis (who has done prosthetic effects for some of the best British horror of recent years) directed a chiller called Not Alone. In November 2015 this finally appeared on UK DVD as The Haunting of Ellie Rose, but I’m not sure this is the version Tris wanted. There was a theatrical release for Corin Hardy’s Anglo-Irish The Hallow (originally shot as The Woods) in which a conservationist and his family have to deal with ‘zombie fungus’ (it’s better than it sounds!). Flaminia Grazidei's psychological chiller The Final Haunting popped up on VOD this month. And David VG Davies, making his third appearance this year, finally released his psychotic take on the WIP genre Monitor, with Dani Thompson and Suzi Lorraine among the prison staff.
And so we come, at long last, to December – traditionally a quiet month. Dominic Brunt (off of Emmerdale) followed his zombie film Before Dawn with a gripping horror-thriller The Taking, which was retitled Bait by the time it hit UK DVD. (I’ve got a T-shirt of this too!) There was an American disc of Tony Jopia’s lycanthropic comedy Crying Wolf with a nice cameo by genre legend Dame Caroline Munro. Jopia previously brought us rock'n'roll horror Deadtime and is still hard at work on the Critters-esque Cute Little Buggers.
And to round off the year in a festive way, there was a VOD release for Steve Davis’ Santa-slasher romp Christmas Slay. Ho ho and indeed ho.
Eighty three feature films released in one year - crikey. Some in cinemas, some on DVDs you can buy in shops, some on foreign DVDs, some on DVDs you can only buy from the film-maker, some on VOD and at least one on BitTorrent. This is why keeping track of the British Horror Revival is such a massive job. But I do my best. If you're interested in British horror films, follow me on Twitter @BritHorrorRev for news and updates.
Here's a complete alphabetical checklist of all 83 movies. Let me know in the comments of anything you think I've missed.
[Addendum 1: Well, that was predictable. No sooner do I post this than I discover a January 2015 German DVD relwase for Marcus Warren's horror/football mash-up Kick. Make that 84.]
[Addendum 2: Zombies in Hertford, an amateur feature directed by Michael Curtis, uploaded to YouTube in July. That makes 85.]
For more details of films and releases see Part 1: Jan-May and Part 2: Jun-Dec
New Year's Eve is a time for looking back and looking forward.
In 2015 there were 83 new British horror films. Who knows how many there will be in 2016. Here's the first dozen confirmed titles, presented in chronological order of currently scheduled release date. I'm looking forward to seeing the ones I haven't seen yet.
Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming, or Sawney: Flesh of Man - you can hang on till March and pick them up as three-quarters of a German four-film, two-disc multipack. (The other film is something American called Machined: Reborn, whatever that is.)
The set has the unsubtle title Bloody Splatter Party and will set you back 15 euros from Amazon.de when it is released on 4th March this year.
Other recent/forthcoming German releases include Unhallowed Ground, Lesbian Vampire Killers, Panic Button and Curio (under its US title of Mother's Day Evil).
Harold Gasnier sent me a copy of his feature The Demon Within (on VHS!) and I wrote up my usual detailed review. So far as I can tell, no-one else has ever seen the film. It has sat, these eight years gone by, on my list of unreleased British horrors. I thought it was gone forever.
Today I spotted a new film called 666: A Demon Withinon Amazon.com and something about it rang a bell in my head. So I checked and, damn me, it's Harold's film, finally available for people to watch. Everything comes around if you wait long enough. It's being put out by Bayview Entertainment on 8th March. Good for them, and well done Mr G on hanging on in there.
Synopsis: When their car breaks down on the way to their honeymoon destination, newlyweds Debbie and Tom are taken in by Lincoln, a mysterious stranger with sinister intentions. That evening, Lincoln reveals himself to be a demon and seduces Debbie into brutally murdering her husband. Now she faces a series of carnal and violent challenges in order to join him and become immortal. She must seduce a business man, tempt a young innocent woman at a nightclub and slaughter her way through innocent strangers to become one of Satan's chosen few. Starring Sophie Austin (Hollyoaks) and Mitch Powell (Saint Dracula 3D).
Harold Gasnier has acted in numerous British horrors including A Day of Violence, Bordello Death Tales, The Witches Hammer, Hellbreeder, Darkhunters and Sanitarium (which he executive produced). He also has assorted behind-the-camera credits on pictures such as Forest of the Damned and Bane. The Demon Within is one of two features he directed in the late noughties, the other being a thriller called Web of Deceit.
Eileen Daly, Grand Dame of Independent British Horror, is organising an all-day shindig in London to premiere two new films that she not only stars in but has also written and directed. These are two thirds of her recent trilogy of horror-comedies about a ghostbusting team, co-starring Sam Cullingworth and Justin G Gibson. Jason Impey handled camera and editing on them.
The event, which is called 'Eileen Daly Presents: Scream Queens', is on Saturday 13th February at the Roxy Bar and Screen in London. It kicks off at 1.00pm and as well as the films there's music and cabaret and dancing and all sorts of stuff till way past any decent person's bedtime. Tickets are 20 quid a pop. You can find all the details here.
First Bite (aka First Bite is the Deepest)
Love is in town for the ghost team’s presenter Miss Eileen Daly, when the team turn up to solve a mystery in an enchanted castle. Will they solve it and leave with there 8 pints of blood still in there body’s? Or does love conquer all? Find out in this amazingly funny and blood curdling movie.
Deep down in Normsville suburbia, England, lays a horrible secrets. Only one man alone knows what is going on in the hotel of horrors and has invited the ghost busting team to help rid the place of evil. Is the evil in the hotel or is it in his head?…find out in this true adventure film. DO GHOST REALLY EXIST?!
Aaaaand… he’s back. Richard Driscoll’s latest completely original idea is ... Star Warriors (aka Star Warriors: Knights of the Fallen Empire). It is a “sci-fi/Horror film similar in style to Star Wars& Game of Thrones”. So it’s got swords in it, then.
As we can see, he remains blithely unconcerned about major studio copyright. Death Star, check. Boba Fett, check. Who's that in the middle? Is it Kylo Ren?
And it has “original cast from Star Wars”. Which could mean almost anybody. There are hundreds of British bit-part actors who’ve been in one or more Star Wars films. Even Driscoll himself claims to have been an X-wing pilot in Return of the Jedi.
Right now there only seems to be this Twitter account which no doubt he will soon banish me from in the naïve belief that I won’t then be able to see everything he posts there. I’m not yet aware of a website, Facebook page or Indiegogo page.
It seems that Driscoll has teamed up for this (and Blade Hunter and something called Death Valley) with an American firm called Indie SMS (Social Media Solutions). This is based in Wisconsin and run by an ex-pat Mancunian named Stuart Tanner. Tanner handled publicity for Landmine Goes Click, one of the big hits of last year’s Frightfest and set up his own company in November to handle social media for indie music and film. The question is: does he know Richard Driscoll’s background?
I for one am really excited about this and can’t wait to see Star Warriors. Seriously.
Who doesn’t love a good vampire comedy? The Slayers, currently in post and expected some time this year, looks great.
It’s the second feature from John Williams who previously made the zombies-in-Stoke epic The Mothertown. The film stars Darren McAree (who has been in several horror shorts), Matthew Sandland and George Newton (Dead Man’s Shoes, Book of the Dead, Inbred, Molly Crows). Special effects by Graham Taylor (The Entity, The Herd, Inbred).
Synopsis: The Ghost Writer is the story of pulp novelist Gilliger Graham, who's about to be let go by his publisher unless he can deliver a bestseller - his last three titles have bombed. Gilliger reluctantly follows the advice of his agent and retreats to a remote cottage in the woods he inherited from his critically acclaimed novelist father, who died under mysterious circumstances at the cottage 10 years before. It's there that Gilliger makes a fresh and shocking discovery, one that will force him to confront not only his own demons but those of his father as well.
The film, which is party funded by an Indian production company, stars Luke Mably (28 Days Later, Spirit Trap, Exam) with Brendan Patricks (Downton Abbey), Andrea Deck (The Devil’s Violinist), Robert Portal (Eat Local, The Rectory) and Matthew Jure (God’s Acre). Not to be confused with the Roman Polanski movie of the same title from a few years back.
Find out more on the film's Facebook page.
All the other cult movie websites are excited about Charlie Cox, who apparently stars in the Daredevil TV series. But I don’t have Netflix and, with all respect to Mr Cox, he was never the absolute hottest companion that Doctor Who ever had. Cox was also in Stardust and the A for Andromeda remake.
Also in the cast are Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Office, The Gathering), Dexter Fletcher (Cockneys vs Zombies, Dead Cert), Eve Myles (Torchwood), Ruth Jones (Gavin and Stacey, Little Britain), Annette Crosbie (One Foot in the Grave, Dad’s Army film), Vincent Regan (Dementamania, The Holding) and, according to the IMDB, Johnny Palmiero (uwantme2killhim?) and Robert Portal (Hogfather, The Ghost Writer). The lead role is played by Billy Cook.
Neil Jones (The Feral Generation, The Reverend) is producing with Sothcott through their Hereford Films company, as well as Rod Smith from Evolution Pictures.
Ah, Freema Agyeman. Sigh…
I pointed out that the new title and artwork for Coz Greenop’s atmospheric ghost story Wandering Rose were both completely inappropriate, On account of there is no demon baby and the main character is only just pregnant, not about to drop.
A quick look at the User Reviews on Amazon shows what a bad idea this was, as it has left a lot of punters expecting something like Rosemary’s Baby.
“WTH, WTF!? The movie is over!? And where's the Demon Baby.. ?!? OK, I was expecting some possession at some time .. but there was nothing .. !!! They've changed the title to "Wandering Rose" .. but at the time I was watching it the name of the movie was "Demon Baby" with a demon baby moving in the stomach of the mother on the cover .. !!!
“At least at the end of the movie I would have expected a Demon Baby .. !!! But NOTHING .. !!! Where's the f####!n DEMON BABY, damned .. ?!? Are you kidding me .. ?!? The Ghost of a woman (or a demon!?) appeared throughout the movie following Rose but never really did something .. so she could as well just have been imagining it ..
“Boredome throughout the movie .. I was expecting something to happen but NOTHING HAPPENED .. !!! ARGHH .. !!! Promising and not delivering .. not even trying to deliver .. !!!”
So now I spot an impending UK release. New Horizon Films will release Coz’s movie on 20 June, and thank the Lord they haven’t called it Demon Baby like everywhere else.
Nope, they’re calling it Little Devil.
What is wrong with these people? Do they not actually watch the films they distribute? There is not the tiniest hint of demon or devil in this film. It is precisely as demonic as Four Weddings and a Funeral, no more devilish than When Harry Met Sally and contains exactly as much Satanism as Wall-E. It is not a film about demons or demonic things. It is a GHOST STORY.
A ghost story? You know? Like, um, well, Ghost Story for example.
There is no sleeve image available yet for the UK DVD but whether they use stupid ‘horned baby face’ (available in some versions with extra veins!) or something else, the fact is that New Horizon are setting out to piss off their customers (many of whom will blame Corrie Greenop, out of whose hands this whole thing now is).
Please spread the word, share this post and let horror fans know this is a ghost story. So people who want to watch a ghost story will find it and people who want Rosemary's Baby redux won't get pissed of.
[Update. Coz has now sent me the UK sleeve image. If anything, it's even worse. Remember, this is a ghost film about a couple who have just found out that the wife is pregnant. Oh Christ - I've just noticed the building blocks. Seriously? - MJS]
It is being released in the UK on 9th May by Point Blank, retitled The Devil Within. I’d wager a penny to a pound that the sleeve image bears no relation whatsoever to anything actually in the film.
The film is the directorial debut of Mark Evans who produced Gangsters, Guns and Zombies and the unreleased Forest of the Damned 2. The cast includes Tom Bonnington (A Haunting at the Rectory, Le Fear II, The Wrong Floor) and Bill Hutchens (Human Centipede 2 and 3).
Synopsis: In November 2012 Rachel Kusza and her team of film makers travelled to Transylvania to document the Baciu forest; a forest with a dark history of strange occurrences, ghost sightings and countless cases of missing people. The film crew were never heard from again…
After searching for them for two years, Howard Redman, Rachel's teacher, found their camera buried in the snow. Before taking own his life in February 2014, Redman uploaded the footage to the internet. It shows the crew's dark and horrific journey into the woods and why the locals refuse to enter. They say that if you enter the forest with evil in your heart, or dark secrets in your past, the forest will expose you and show you who you really are, before punishing you.
There’s no sign of an actual release yet but he has set up a Twitter account and a Facebook page for the movie as A Bad Night in Death Valley. Which, you know, isn’t a bad title as these things go.
The absence of David Carradine or Brigitte Nielsen from the credit block indicates that this is the 90-minute Highway to Hell version. Or possibly he’s re-edited it yet again. Who knows?