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    As it’s Women in Horror Month, I thought I’d take a look through my master list of 21st century British horror features and see how many were directed by women. Here’s the full list, in alphabetical order:

    1. Anna: Scream Queen Killer aka Scream Queen Killer (d.Melanie Denholme/The Aquinas) – Wannabe horror actress gets humiliated, abused and raped by director until she flips.
    2. Another Me (d.Isabel Coixet) – Schoolgirl haunted by ghost of dead twin.
    3. Credo aka The Devil’s Curse (d.Toni Harman) – Students in spooky old house battle demons.
    4. The Dead Outside (d.Kerry Anne Mullaney) – Three survivors of zombie apocalypse, one of whom might have a cure.
    5. A Dying Breed (d.Katharine Collins) – Six survivors of apocalypse trapped in a house.
    6. For One Night Only (d.Belinda Greensmith) – Teenagers hold séance in abandoned asylum.
    7. Expiry Date (d.Karen Bird) – Cursed credit card. I’m still desperate to see this!
    8. The Falling (d.Carol Morley) – Fainting sickness in 1960s girls’ school.
    9. The Final Haunting (d.Flaminia Graziadei) – Babysitter accepts job in spooky house.
    10. Jelly Dolly (d.Susannah Gent) – Woman finds ringpull in belly button.
    11. The Hitchhiker’s Project (d.Madeline McQueen) – Three young people go hiking and disappear.
    12. The Holding (d.Susan Jacobson) – Sinister visitor helps out on a farm.
    13. Isle of Dogs (d.Tammi Sutton) – Violent gangland thriller.
    14. Merry Z-Day (d.Ben Steele, Lily Jenkins) – Zombie comedy set at Christmas.
    15. Patient 17 (d.Tuyet Le) – Medical interns investigating patient uncover conspiracy.
    16. Rising Tide (d.Dawn Furness, Philip Shotton) – Students stuck on island, stalked by maniac.
    17. Soulmate (d.Axelle Carolyn) – After unsuccessful suicide bid, woman stays in haunted cottage.
    18. Temptation (d.Catherine Taylor) – Rape victim offered chance of immortality by vampire.
    19. A Vault of Victims (d. Anthony Brems, Maria Lee Metheringham and Will Metheringham) – Anthology: lesbians kill man; woman becomes obsessed with mirror; murderous teddy bear
    That’s yer lot. Out of 628 British horror films released since 2000, I could only find 19 directed by women (four of which were shared directorial credits). I found another five which have been screened but not released:
    • Black Lightning Dream (d. Nici Preston)
    • Deadly Waters (d.Tyler James, Catherine Carpenter)
    • Jagoda aka The One (d.Lex Pokane-Hefner)
    • The Lesson (d.Ruth Platt)
    • Whispers (d.Tammi Sutton)
    Some of the above 24 movies are fantastic, some are terrible, some are okay, some I haven’t seen. Which is as you would expect. What this means and whether it matters I leave to others to debate (observations/opinions welcome in the comments section). And obviously please let me know if I've missed any.

    But for anyone looking for the cold, hard stats about how many horror films in this country are directed by women, the answer is...

    Three per cent.

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    Justin Carter's mockdoc TORN: a SHOCK YOUmentary is now available to watch for free on YouTube. Shot in 2013, the film premiered in Portsmouth in 2014 and played at last year's Horror-on-Sea. Here's Carter's latest post on the film's Facebook page:

    FREEBIE : FEATURE FILM
    If Rhianna can do it, so can we. We're giving it away.
    Here it is, our NO BUDGET movie, "TORN: a SHOCK YOUmentary".
    This was a little experiment to see how far we could get making a feature with consumer grade equipment, in NO TIME (just a few days), with NO CREW (just 2 of us on most of the shoot) and with NO MONEY (just a little more than what was spent on food and travel). Despite the enormous pressures of trying to achieve such a task, we managed to get good reviews and have a successful festival run. We've all gone on to critical acclaim and award wins on other projects since we produced this but the fact we managed to pull this off at all will remain one of the most satisfying experiences of my broadcasting/filmmaking life. TORN got offered a number of distribution deals but I figured, seeing as none of us got paid to make it, why should anyone pay to see it? So...
    Enjoy.
    JC

    Synopsis: If you go down to the woods today.... Has a supernatural evil come to terrorise the rural Devon village of Orchardlea? Or is the escalating body count and sense of impending doom actually the self fulfilling prophecy of two hoaxsters accused of a brutal murder?This SHOCK YOUmentary tells the story of a group of friends and siblings who join forces to protect the population of Orchardlea from a terrifying beast. TORN is a genuine, powerful and intelligent thriller from award winning filmmaker Justin Carter that is every bit as thoughtful as it is creepy.

    The cast includes Lewis Saunderson (POV), Julian Seager (The Scopia Effect, Scareycrows) and Simon Burbage (Zombie Resurrection, Survivors).

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    Between 2000 and 2007, Adam Mason was a stalwart of the British Horror Revival, directing four films of varying quality but consistent interest level. There was The 13th Sign (bloody awful), Dust (not great), Broken (very good but nasty) and The Devil’s Chair. Some folks don’t rate that last one but in my opinion (and that of my good friend and fellow British Horror enthusiast Dr Johnny Walker) it’s an absolute belter of a movie with a fascinating meta angle. You'll need to pick up a copy of Urban Terrors to read more about this.

    Adam then went to the USA where he made four more films: Blood River, Lustre, Pig and Junkie. Plus, apparently, a documentary about American education. But his latest film, which was released yesterday, is once again British.

    Hangman is a found footage home invasion horror, starring Jeremy Sisto from Law and Order and Kate Ashfield (When the Lights Went Out, Byzantium). It was co-written with Adam’s regular collaborator Simon Boyes and premiered at SXSW last March. You can buy it now on Amazon.

    Synopsis: Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But little do they know the nightmare has just begun.



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    Take a look at this DVD sleeve. I don’t know if it’s real, but it’s very odd.



    There are a lot of films out there about Nazi zombies. This looks like it might be the Pat Higgins/Jim Eaves/Al Ronald anthology filmed as Battlefield Death Tales, which was released in the UK as Nazi Zombie Death Tales and in the States as Angry Nazi Zombies. This artwork was used by the German distributor who called the film Nazi Zombie Battleground. (Although it's not the artwork used on Amazon.de, which resembles the UK sleeve.)


    However, exactly the same artwork was used in the UK for an American film originally titled Maplewoods which was released over there as Operation: Nazi Zombies and over here as just Nazi Zombies. Adding to the confusion is that Zombis Nazis is the Spanish title for the Norwegian film Dead Snow. All the text here is in Spanish but the back of the sleeve promises subtitles in Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Danish.

    The synopsis on the back of the sleeve is for Nazi Zombies – but two of the small pictures are from Nazi Zombie Death Tales! Neither of those films has been released in Spain. I don’t know what this is or where it’s from or whether it’s real, but I think it more likely relates to the movie formerly known as Maplewoods than the movie formerly known as Battlefield Death Tales.

    And because life’s not complicated enough, Nazi Zombies and Nazi Zombie Battleground were released together last year in a German four-pack called Nazi Zombie Invasion which also included Nazi Sky (a retitling of The Asylum’s Iron Sky rip-off Nazis at the Center of the Earth) and Scottish comedy Attack of the Herbals (known over there as Attack of the Nazi Herbals).

    Boy, those Germans sure love their Nazis, don’t they? Wait – what?

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    Over the years I have written for many illustrious horror/SF publications but I've never before had my name in The Dark Side. Well, issue 173 is now on sale and it includes my epic, nine-page account of Richard Driscoll's career. I can only recommend that you rush out and buy a copy.

    This is the first ever detailed article in print about Driscoll and covers everything from his early life in Cardiff (such as we know of) to the crowdfunding campaign for Blade Hunter. Because I delivered this in January there's nothing about Star Warriors but that's not really significant. Even if you have read some of my previous online stuff about Driscoll, there's things in here you won't know.

    I'd be lying if I said it was heavily illustrated - finding usable images relating to Driscoll was tough - but it is pleasingly unedited. Allan Bryce doesn't give a monkey's about upsetting or offending people - especially quantifiable knob-ends like Driscoll - so what you see is what I wrote.

    Brycey is very complimentary about the piece in his editorial (as indeed he was previously about Urban Terrors) and calls it "one of the best we have ever run in our hallowed pages", which is a terrific honour because of course The Dark Side has been going for a very long time. I had been promising Allan this article for a couple of years now; over Christmas I finally got my finger out and knocked it together. It was fun to write and hopefully will be fun to read.

    Whether you have seen some, all or none of Driscoll's films, I urge you to rush out and buy the new Dark Side when it goes on sale later this week. You won't regret it. Richard Driscoll might, but you won't.

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    Jacob’s Hammer was on my list of films I really wasn’t sure would ever get released. It was shot in February 2011 and a trailer appeared on YouTube in September 2012. And that was it. Since then there's been no sign of the film.

    But now here it is on Amazon.com, lined up for a DVD release through SGL Entertainment in July. (Let’s just hope they sort out that rogue apostrophe before then.)

    Synopsis: No one sees Jacob. It's not allowed. Sadie keeps him hidden. It's best that way. She's always done that. Ever since.....well....ever since. She loves him very much. Maybe she loves him too much, because Jacob's not like other little boys. There is something wrong with Jacob. Something, sometimes, only a mother can see. Sadie would do anything for Jacob. She will always protect him no matter what. After all, he's only a child her child. He should be protected. Sadie needs to protect him. Always. Until. The night sweats and dreams she could deal with. Even the nightmarish apparitions she could live with. But when friends and family are ripped from life, ripped from her life, Sadie must confront the truth. Jacob is out of control. The ultimate evil is in her son. Perhaps, the ultimate evil IS her son. Jacob's Hammer, when a mother's love is no defense.

    Directed by Angie Bojtler, the movie stars Helen Holman (Aggressive Behaviour), George McCluskey (The Zombie King), Thomas Sean Hughes, Diane Rimmer and Luis James Farouk as the evil child Jacob (he must be in his late teens by now).




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    Tower Block, the cracking James Moran-scripted horror-thriller directed by Ronnie Thompson and James Nunn, was on Channel 5 this week. Here's a selection of the film's DVD artwork from around the world:

    The original UK release from 2013 and the Italian DVD which used the same artwork.

    The US disc and the German disc have the same basic artwork and photo of Russell Tovey. Apparently Sheridan Smith and Jack O'Connell aren't big enough in Deutschland to get their own close-ups.

    Greece, Portugal and Russia all followed the German design.

    Australia and Spain both opted for a slightly more colourful image.

    Unique artwork for the Canadian release and the Dutch disc, both concentrating on the killer rather than the victims.

    Japan always has to be different. This was the first DVD released. On the right is the second UK disc from 2015, by which time O'Connell was a big, marketable star.

    Christ knows what this is. Might be Slovakian.


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    Press release: Northern Irish slasher film Braxton will receive its hometown premiere at this year’s Belfast Film Festival. The film is expected to play at 8pm on Sunday 17th April at the Movie House on Dublin Road, as part of the fest’s “NI Independent” category.

    Written and directed by 21 year-old Belfast filmmaker Leo McGuigan, the film is described as “a fun throwback to the popular slasher films of the 80s and 90s, such as Scream, Halloween and My Bloody Valentine”.

    It was shot throughout Northern Ireland in the summer of 2014 by a then 19 year old McGuigan. The film had its US premiere in October of 2015, where it won the “Best Foreign Slasher Feature” prize at the Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, one of America’s biggest horror festivals.

    “We’re really pleased with the reception the film has received so far,” McGuigan, who co-produced the film alongside Margaret McGoldrick (RTE’s Farr) remarked, “and the idea of unveiling it to a homegrown audience is exciting and terrifying at the same time. The film was genuinely a labour of love in every respect, and that’ll hopefully come through on the screen!”

    The film features an ensemble cast of Northern Irish talent including Shaun Blaney (RTE’s Farr, Halo: Nightfall, The Frankenstein Chronicles) and Diona Doherty (Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model) and tells the story of a serial killer, Tommy Miller, who returns to a small town on the anniversary of his initial spree, forcing the original survivor, now police officer, (Blaney) to seek him out before it’s too late.


    [Find out more about Braxton at www.facebook.com/BraxtonMovie, and here's the trailer. It looks great! - MJS]


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  • 03/28/16--11:19: Remembering Tony Luke
  • I don't normally write 'in memoriam' pieces of obituaries. Those of you who used to read my Devil's Porridge blog know that I only did a couple of posthumous tributes - to people I knew personally whose passing would otherwise go largely unnoticed.

    I discovered today that Tony Luke passed away last month after a long battle with cancer. There have been a number of tributes on comics sites so his death has not gone unnoticed - except by me. I feel bad for not knowing until six weeks later. I feel bad for having lost contact with Tony in recent years. I feel bad generally: we were about the same age and we went back a long way, Hell, I knew Tony before he dyed his hair black.

    In the early/mid 1980s I was a very active member of ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation Society. Tony was a member too and I would often see him at meetings, parties and conventions. ZZ9 attracted some interesting people in those days. (Dave Julyan, composer of scores for films including Memento and The Descent, was newsletter editor at one point.)

    When I started working on SFX in 1995, one of the most exciting things was the opportunity to interview people I already knew who I felt deserved more credit for their work. Tony was one of those and I did a big sit-down interview with him in 1996. You can now read the full transcript here.

    Tony invited me down to Brighton where he was shooting a short for the nascent UK SciFi Channel called Archangel Thunderbird, starring Eileen Daly and Doug Bradley. He had a nightmare dealing with some fetish guy whose job it was to tie Eileen up and who spent hours doing special types of knots. It also didn't help that the various gun props had to be smuggled into the location without being seen by the heavy police presence in town for the Labour Party Conference. I think in the end Tony reshot the whole thing.

    Later, he contacted me about a pop video he was making for the indie band Urusei Yasura. I travelled to a Star Trek-themed bar in London where I got to play a nerdy sci-fi geek who spills a Klingon's pint and thereby somehow turns everyone into cartoons. I vividly recall phoning Tony from a payphone at Bath bus station (mobile phones were rare things in those days) to learn that the video was going to be number one on the ITV Chart Show Indie Chart that Saturday.


    I don't know when my last contact with Tony was. It was some time ago and in fact I kept wondering where he had disappeared to. He was evidently still working, producing illustrations whenever his illness allowed. I guess we just tended to move in different circles. I'm not a comics fan and have no interest in anime or manga; people who do evidently knew Tony and still saw him sometimes,

    In 2003 I interviewed Tony for a second time, by email, about his CGI animated feature Dominator. For that innovative film (and Archangel Thunderbird), Tony must be considered a significant name in the British Horror Revival. His work won't be forgotten, and neither will he.

    Tony never became a household name or a big star. But he did what he wanted to do, his way, without compromise. He had integrity, which meant that he had fallings-out. He never considered that a problem. He was also a bloody good laugh. And I'm sad that he's gone.

    If you haven't spoken to someone for a long time, get back in contact while you can. One day it will be too late.

    Rest in peace, Tony Luke.

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    Some time ago I wrote a draft of a script that Benedict Mart was developing called The Wicked Mr Danior. Later, Ben asked me to write the screenplay for a project called Siren. I wrote a cracking treatment but didn’t pursue it, principally because the producers were insistent that the film – about a man lured to his doom by a mysterious woman on an isolated island – must be not only filmed on the Isle of Wight but actually set there.

    Sorry, but half a million holiday-makers a year travel to the Isle of Wight via three regular scheduled ferry services. It’s not an isolated island where someone could be lured. I wished Ben well and recommended that the title be changed, perhaps to Siren Song, as there had recently been another British horror film called Siren.

    Sometime later I heard from Ben that the film had finally been made, with no less than DTV king C Thomas Howell in the lead role. It wasn’t set on the Isle of Wight and the title had changed to Siren Song.

    And so we come to 2016 when the film has popped up on Amazon.com, set for release on 3 May via Inception Media Group. It’s now called Blood Lust. Here’s the synopsis:

    When Daniel is lured to an isolated island guesthouse by his new on-line girlfriend Kelly, his hopes for a romantic weekend get-away are quickly shattered. As other guests around the estate begin to disappear, he suspects that she or her monstrous sisters may have a gruesome menu planned for their dinner. Now he and a friend race to escape this wicked trap hoping to survive beyond the dawn.

    Lisa Edwards, Fletcher N Brown and Brigitte Allen are credited with the script.

    The Wicked Mr Danior remains in development hell. And if anyone would like to see my treatment that I wrote for Siren, which is very different to what eventually got made, just drop me an email.

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    Abduct is a 2016 UK produced Mystery, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller from director Ilyas Kaduji. Starring Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil), William B. Davis (The X-Files Cigarette Smoking Man), Jack O'Halloran (Superman), Mark Arnold (Teen Wolf), Mhairi Calvey (Braveheart), Art Bell (Coast to Coast). The film is set in a remote town called Fate in Texas, US. The plot follows a radio paranormal talk show host as he tries to help a young woman who is being hunted by sinister, dark forces.

    The film is part of the Official selection of the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival 2016 and will have its UK Premiere at the Stratford PictureHouse 1st of May at 7pm and 4th of May 1pm.

    SYNOPSIS
    In the minds of some paranormal groups, the fate of Humanity lies in the hands of a few open minded and dedicated individuals who investigate the occult connections to many of the unexplained phenomenon like UFO's, alien abductions, Demon possessions, the real Men in Black, The Shadow People, sleep paralysis and Ancient Aliens. These mysterious and dark phenomena have plagued thousands of people across the world. However, in the eyes of charismatic, paranormal radio host Ridley Kay, these topics are his passion as well as all fun and games... until a strange young woman called Crystal comes literally crashing into his life. Crystal is a Texan orphan with a horrible and tragic past. Her parents ritually abused her. One night, strange lights and sounds appeared outside her home. Crystal blacked out and later awakened to find them brutally murdered.

    Years pass. Now a young adult, a paranoid Crystal flees her orphanage believing that otherworldly forces are after her. When Crystal arrives at a remote ranch in Texas, the adventurous Ridley Kay is forced to protect her but welcomes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study a real-life paranormal phenomenon first hand. The legendary real life radio host Art Bell also calls into Ridley’s show to help unravel some of the challenging mysteries that Ridley and his fellow investigator friends have to face. However, the strange lights and sounds follow Crystal wherever she goes. People get hurt and mysterious government agents seek to take Crystal into custody. No matter how far the young woman flees, they’re always fast on her heels; a sinister Woman and Man in Black named... Angelica Dark and Alistair Cruel are never far behind…

    ABOUT THE FILM
    The film was shot in Texas - USA, London and Tintagel Farm - Wokingham in Berkshire.

    The original edit of the film was 2h.40m long before being cut down to just under 2 hours leaving more than enough deleted scenes for the DVD extras and directors’ cut fans. The film was highly supported by its entire crew and cast that worked intensively and restless to bring the project to life. Post-Production was very demanding involving some pick up shots and lasted for several months.

    Abduct was inspired by Ilyas Kaduji’s childhood fascination with space, aliens, ghosts and UFOs, as well as  classic Sci-Fi films of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T and Star Wars. He was also inspired by a magazine entitled The Unexplained: Mysteries of Mind, Space, & Time that quickly became a popular magazine published in the U.K. between 1980 and 1983 by Orbis Publishing. Then ten years later in 1993 a new TV phenomenon was born - The X-Files - and it had everything Ilyas could have wished for aliens, UFOs, cover-ups, action, adventure with a touch of romance.

    William B. Davis, the X-Files Cigarette Smoking Man stars as Zane MacAlister in Abduct. His character, actually mentions the cult series in one of the scenes of the film.

    Resident Evil star Sienna Guillory plays 3 different characters in Abduct.

    Known for his role in Superman, Jack O'Halloran plays a sinister government agent who keeps stalking and tormenting the young woman who is haunted by strange events played by actress Mhairi Calvey who played young Mel Gibson’s love interest, Murron’s Mhairi in the film Braveheart.

    Mark Arnold, known as Michael J. Fox’s antagonist Mick in the film Teen Wolf, plays the paranormal entertainer radio show host inspired by and based on the real life legendary Art Bell and his hit show that dealt with topics related to the paranormal, UFO’s and conspiracy theories.

    Art Bell is an American broadcaster and author known as one of the founders and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM. The show started back in 1984 in the US and Canada achieving audiences of between 10 to 15 million listeners per week. Art Bell plays himself in the film Abduct and helps Ridley to unravel some of the challenging mysteries that Ridley and his friends have to face. Interesting fact to note is that Art Bell did have the creator of  The X-Files, Chris Carter, on his show.

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    (Please note, as one of the world’s least musical people, I’m going to make no attempt to describe any of this music.)


    Vince Clarke

    The guy from Erasure, Yazoo and early Depeche Mode provided the soundtrack for Blood, directed by Charly Cantor in 2000. A stunning ‘inverse vampire’ tale of a genetically created woman with addictive, narcotic blood, the film has frustratingly never been released uncut (except in France, where it was dubbed).


    Tracy Thorn

    Fifty percent of Everything But the Girl, Thorn composed the score for Carol Morley’s terrific 2015 feature The Falling, in which Maisie Williams is at the epicentre of a fainting sickness outbreak in a 1960s girls’ school.





    Guy Fletcher
    As well as playing keyboards in Dire Straits and on Mark Knopfler’s subsequent solo projects, Fletcher composed several film soundtracks including one for the awful 2005 movie Spirit Trap. (The cast included Billie Piper when she was still primarily known for her records and also Russian Eurovision singer Alsou.)




    Robert Fripp

    Steve Oram’s bonkers 2015 humans-act-like-apes feature Aaaaaaaah! includes among its cast former 1980s pop star Toyah Willcox. When her husband, King Crimson rocker Fripp, heard about the movie he offered Oram a collection of unreleased tracks from which to collate a soundtrack.




    Graham Coxon

    Steven Nesbitt’s 2010 film Curio, a sort of Misery/Psycho mash-up (with ghosts) features a soundtrack from Coxon, lead guitarist with Britpoppers Blur. The film was released in the States as Mother’s Day Evil.






    Steven Severin

    Former bassist for Siouxsie and the Banshees, Severin has provided the soundtracks for two British horror films: Robert Pratten’s atmospheric 2004 feature London Voodoo and Paul Burrow’s 2006 anglo-giallo Nature Morte. (He has also composed a score to accompany silent classic Vampyr.)

    Orbital

    The only vaguely good thing about Octane, a terrible horror/road movie directed by Marcus Adams in 2003 (released as Pulse in the States), was the soundtrack by dance duo Orbital. Every single other aspect of the film was really, really bad.





    Matt Johnson
    In 2009, when Gerard Johnson needed music for his brilliantly bleak character study Tony, about a socially awkward psychopath, he turned to his brother Matt. Music fans know him better as the main guy behind alternative band The The.


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    Here's a press release and some stills from Louis Melville's new war/horror found footage picture:

    PRESS RELEASE:
    New genre-centric British Horror and Sci Fi production company Last Bullet Films established in 2015 by Louis Melville (Last Horror Movie) and Louis Savy, creator of the Sci-Fi-London film festival, kicks off its production slate on June 1st with the start of principal photography on their ground breaking Afghan War-set Horror BOOTS ON THE GROUND. War ends at midnight, all five British soldiers have to do is stay alive till then.

    BOOTS ON THE GROUND which stars Tom Ainsley (Versailles), Ryan McParland (The Survivalist), Valmike Rampersad (Bazodee), Ian Virgo (Before the Fall) and Sally Day (Ashes to Ashes) breaks new ground and creates film history by becoming the first British horror film to be shot entirely by its actors all wearing specially adapted 4K head cams; this fully immersive five person POV style of storytelling straddles the worlds of video games and conventional film narrative in a new and till now unseen way.

    It has taken three years of planning to fine tune the technology and to devise new techniques of shooting that allows the actors to truly work in a full 360 environment.

    BOOTS ON THE GROUND was inspired by combat footage filmed by British soldiers in Afghanistan and other modern war zones using their own head cams, then uploaded to social media.

    The project is written and directed by Louis Melville and produced by Alex Francis (Moon), Louis Savy (The Search for Simon) and Louis Melville with VFX created by Academy Award winner Ben Kent.

    Last Bullet Films aims for BOOTS ON THE GROUND to be ready for market early 2017.





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    Frightfest have announced their 2016 line-up and there are 12 British features on offer (not including a documentary about exorcisms and an Anglo-French film that looks mostly French). The short films have not been announced yet.

    Discovery Screen 2 on Saturday is a British all-dayer, showing Cruel Summer, House of Salem, The Creature Below, The Unkindness of Ravens and Hallows Eve,

    Full schedule, tickets etc at www.frightfest.co.uk

    FRIDAY 26TH - WORLD PREMIERE – THE CHAMBER
    Director: Ben Parker. Cast: Charlotte Salt, Johannes Kuhnke, Christian Hillborg, Elliot Levey, James McArdle. UK 2016. 88 mins.
    The impressive feature debut from rising British star Ben Parker, director of the acclaimed short SHIFTER. A special ops unit commandeer a commercial research vessel and it’s submersible, The Aurora, under the command of Captain Mats (FORCE MAJEURE star Johannes Kuhnke) to locate a mysterious item at the bottom of the Yellow Sea off the dangerous shores of the Korean Peninusla. When an explosion causes the sub to overturn and take on water, the four-man crew enter a pressure cooker situation. And when the stark horror dawns that not all of them will escape, a desperate fight for survival ensues.

    FRIDAY 26TH - WORLD PREMIERE – IBIZA UNDEAD
    Director: Andy Edwards. Cast: Emily Atack, Cara Theobold, Matt King, Jordan Coulson, Ed Kear. UK 2016. 95 mins
    Three best friends - Alex, Az and Jim - head to Ibiza for their first lad's holiday. Unfortunately, tagging along is Alex's unimpressed ex-girlfriend Ellie. Arriving on the island, the lads dump Ellie with Alex's sister Liz, and her friend Zara, and head to San Antonio to start their week of sun, sea and debauchery. Soon they end up in a club, run by local gangster Karl, where the attractions aren't all alive - they're zombies! Due to Jim's drunken antics the zombies escape, and soon all hell breaks loose and no one on the party island is safe.

    SATURDAY 27TH - ENGLISH PREMIERE – THE REZORT
    Director: Steve Barker. Cast: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Bentley Kalu, Jass Ahluwalia. Spain/UK 2016. 93 mins.
    ‘The Walking Dead’ meets JURASSIC WORLD in a fast-paced, gory horror from OUTPOST franchise director Steve Barker. In the aftermath of an apocalyptic zombie outbreak, rich holidaymakers can visit a luxury theme park where every paying guest has a license to kill the captive undead in organised Zombie Safaris. Such Zafaris are the ultimate blood sport experience and for many much-needed therapeutic revenge for suffering horrendous family losses. When the security system crashes at The ReZort, unleashing hordes of bloodthirsty Zee’s on the unprepared holiday makers, it’s up to enigmatic, former zombie hunter Archer (square-jawed Dougray Scott) to save the day.

    SATURDAY 27TH - WORLD PREMIERE – OFFENSIVE
    Director: Jon Ford. Cast: Russell Floyd, Lisa Eichhorn, Fred Adenis, Angela Dixon, Timothy Morand. UK 2016. 105 mins.
    Retired Bernard and Helen Martin inherit a house in rural France where Bernard’s father liberated locals from Nazis during World War II in a raging killing spree. But this peaceful couple quickly become the target of a cruel gang of street kids. Plugged into their devices, devoid of empathy they are a new breed of technological psychopath. Soon Bernard and Helen's lives become a living hell as they are harassed, tormented and pushed beyond breaking point. Right or wrong no longer matters, survival is everything! Can Bernard live up to his father’s legend? It’s the old generation vs. the new!

    SATURDAY 27TH - WORLD PREMIERE - CRUEL SUMMER
    Directors: Phillip Escott, Craig Newman. Cast: Danny Miller, Reece Douglas, Richard Pawulski, Natalie Martins, Grace Dixon. UK 2016. 80 mins.
    Danny, a teenager with autism, escapes the inner city for the beautiful countryside as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Little does he know, that bitter Nicholas is hunting him, stemming from a lie created by the enamoured and envious Julia and Calvin. As the three close in on Danny, Nicholas' behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and violent, and Julia and Calvin must decide whether to go through with Nicholas' deadly plan to see him suffer. An exploration into the harrowing consequences and impact one tragic act of seemingly random violence can have on society at large.

    SATURDAY 27TH - WORLD PREMIERE – HOUSE OF SALEM
    Director: James Crow. Cast: Jessica Arterton, Jack Brett Anderson, Liam Kelly, Robert Lowe, Les Mills. UK 2016. 105 mins.
    A group of kidnappers become a child's unlikely protectors, after finding out that they have been unwittingly set up to take part in a deadly game of human sacrifice. Piece by piece they begin to uncover the truth about their supposedly safe house. Finding themselves trapped, they must square up to the demonic forces within the walls and uncover the terrifying truth of over 100 years of murder in the name of the Devil.

    SATURDAY 27TH - WORLD PREMIERE – THE CREATURE BELOW
    Director: Stewart Sparke. Cast: Anna Dawson, Michaela Longden, Daniel S. Thrace, Johnny Vivash, Zach Lee, David Shackleton, Libby Wattis. UK 2016. 83 mins.
    During a traumatic accident on a deep-sea dive, Olive, a gifted, young marine biologist discovers an unearthly creature. Losing her dream job, Olive smuggles the creature home, intent on studying it in secret, unbeknownst to her devoted boyfriend Matt and estranged sister Ellie.  Plagued by gruesome nightmares, her fractured memories of what happened during the accident in the depths of the ocean begin to unravel, revealing her symbiotic bond with an eldritch horror far older and malevolent than she could imagine, one which drives her to carry out its sinister will, with deadly results for those around her.

    SATURDAY 27TH - WORLD PREMIERE – THE UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS
    Director: Lawrie Brewster. Cast: Jamie Scott-Gordon, Amanda Gilliland, Dougie Clark, Daniel Casey. UK 2016. 86 mins.
    Andrew Alburn, a homeless veteran suffering from PTSD, is plagued by flashbacks of a traumatic event he witnessed while serving in the armed forces. He retreats to the remote Scottish Highlands hoping to overcome his fear of Ravens, the dark creatures that populate his visions, but, in this bleak wilderness, his nightmares manifest into an enemy more powerful than he could ever have imagined. He must battle these monstrous entities as well as his inner demons to keep his life, and reclaim his sanity.

    SATURDAY 27TH - WORLD PREMIERE – HALLOWS EVE
    Director: Brad Watson. Cast: Sarah Akokhia, Ethan Taylor, Lenox Kanbaba. UK 2016. 88 mins.
    The Hallows Estate is on alert as strange graffiti tags with messages declaring the streets will be taken over on Halloween begin to appear on walls around the place, along with sightings of strange figures lurking in the shadows. One of the gangs responsible for the serious anti-social behaviour that gives the estate a bad name decides to take these threats head on and ignore the curfew on Halloween night. But whoever this new threat is, they seem to have the very night on their side as they make good on their promise of claiming the streets by frightening and violent means.

    SUNDAY 28TH - WORLD PREMIERE – BROKEN (aka The Myth of Hopelessness)
    Director: Shaun Robert Smith. Cast: Morjana Alaoui, Mel Raido, Craig Conway, Patrick Toomey, Stephanie Thomas. UK 2016. 98 mins.
    A stunning tour-de-force by director Shaun Robert Smith featuring brilliantly fearless performances, especially from MARTYRS star Morjana Alaoui this unique thriller is a 2016 highlight. In England to make a fresh start after a harrowing childhood, Evie takes a job as an agency carer and is quickly placed with tetraplegic patient John. But looking after the bitter former rock star and his excessive demands is emotionally and physically draining. Forced to go beyond the call of duty and tormented by her past shame, an explosive clash of personalities ensues and it’s only a matter of time before someone terrifyingly snaps.

    SUNDAY 28TH - WORLD PREMIERE – EGOMANIAC
    Director: Kate Shenton. Cast: Nic Lamont, Adam Rhys-Davies, Laurence R. Harvey, Dan Palmer, Mark Logan. UK 2016. 75 mins.
    Rising UK filmmaker Kate Shenton, whose eye-watering documentary ON TENDER HOOKS looked at extreme body modification, now turns her sharply observant eye on the horror film world. Director Claire Sweeney is determined to make her zom-rom-com. But everyone keeps telling her to put a talking dog in the script if she wants success. Desperate for funding, Catherine does whatever it takes to get her passion project made in a wry and sly satire dancing between fact and fiction, focusing on the treatment of women in the film industry and how far an artist will go to get their work made.

    SUNDAY 28TH - WORLD PREMIERE – CROW
    Director: Wyndham Price. Cast: Tom Rhys Harries, Nick Moran, Andrew Howard, Elen Rhys, Terence Stamp. UK 2016. 107 mins.
    Crow is protector of the sacred wood. He's lived there since ruthless developer Tucker brutally scattered his tribe from the nearby farmstead. Now Tucker wants the wood too, intent on building a mansion – an ego extension of his dynastic power raging for him and his trophy wife. But Crow will defend his ancient home with his life. The battle begins, only Tucker doesn’t realise he’s contending with a boy who has the power of nature behind him. And before the day is done, Tucker will learn the real meaning of terror and see the true cost of his ambitions.

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    Press release:

    STUDIOCANAL today confirmed their acquisition of underwater thriller THE CHAMBER following Friday’s World Premiere announcement within the FrightFest programme.

    THE CHAMBER stars Swedish actor Johannes Bah Kuhnke in his first film role since his international breakthrough performance in family drama Force Majeure and is written and directed by Ben Parker, his feature debut, having previously made the short Shifter, which played at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.

    THE CHAMBER revolves around a special ops unit, who commandeer a commercial research vessel and it’s submersible to locate a mysterious item at the bottom of the Yellow Sea. When an explosion causes the sub to overturn and take on water, the crew begins to understand that not all of them will escape and a fight for survival ensues.

    THE CHAMBER also stars Charlotte Salt (The Musketeers), James McArdle (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Elliot Levey (The Lady In The Van). Producers are Jen Handorf and Paul Higgins. Executive producer is Hugh Spearing. Production financing for the film comes from Fields Park Media Partners, Ffilm Cymru Wales and Great Point Media.

    UK Release plans and additional festival plans to be announced.

    (More info at www.facebook.com/TheChamberMovie)

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    The Rezort is the new feature from Steve Barker (Outpost), billed as a sort of zombie version of Jurassic Park.

    Synopsis: The Walking Dead meets Westworld in this fast-paced, colourful horror from director Steve Barker (Outpost and Outpost: Black Sun). It’s the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse and the remaining “Zee’s” are offered up as blood sport in a hideous Zombie Safari – a “Zafari” - where holidaymakers pay to shoot the undead. When the inevitable, bloody uprising happens it’s up to enigmatic, former zombie hunter Archer (Dougray Scott), to save the day.

    Written by Paul Gerstenberger (House of Anubis), the film screened in Edinburgh last month and is scheduled for Frightfest in August. However, if you can't wait to see it and have a few euros in your pocket, you can buy the Spanish DVD from next week. The title is a version of the film's working title Generation Z.

    According to the Inaccurate Movie Database there was a limited Spanish theatrical release back in April and some Asian releases last month. A German DVD is scheduled for September (no artwork yet). No news on the UK release so far...

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    I’ll say one thing for Richard Driscoll. He never ceases to surprise.

    Last week he relaunched the Indiegogo campaign for his long-in-development Blade Runner rip-off Blade Hunter. You will recall that the previous attempt at crowdfunding raised a magnificent $87.

    What makes this new campaign different? Driscoll is now claiming that his crappy idea for a film was actually partly written by Philip K Dick.

    Watch the video on the front page of the bhmovie.club website and tell me it’s not the funniest thing you’ve seen all week.

    Tricky Dicky now reckons that he has teamed up with PKD’s widow Tessa B Dick to write a whole new novel, Do Androids Dream of Murder? - “a book PKD wanted to write but never did”! And he is claiming that the book actually includes “contributions from Philip K Dick.” (What, like full stops and commas?)

    My absolute favourite part of this ridiculous video is about 30 seconds in when there is a quote from PKD, partly because it isn’t on screen long enough to read properly, but mostly because when you freeze-frame the video – well, see for yourself…



    Magnificent work. I wonder whether Philipe K Dick s is some relative of that other famous author Edgar Allen Poe.

    Clicking on the spoof pulp paperback cover on the BH website takes you to a page where Driscoll explains all this in more detail – and then presents us, for no obvious reason, with an entire cut-and-paste of PKD’s Wikipedia entry (he does acknowledge the source).

    You may also enjoy checking out the perks supposedly available on the Indiegogo page. Driscoll is a huge movie fan and a wealthy man (as well as being a convicted fraudster and arguably the worst British film-maker of all time) so it is quite possible that he does own the various movie props he’s offering. Or perhaps he’s just blowing smoke. Since no-one believes a single word he says, it’s impossible to tell.

    At time of writing, three backers have together pledged a magnificent $81 to the campaign, just six dollars less than last time, and just $59,919 short of Driscoll’s ambitious target.

    If you’re thinking of chipping in, even for just a laugh, please bear these facts in mind. The decision is yours but caveat emptor.

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    So last night I watched, as part of my ongoing research for the next book, Ian Powell's gay horror feature Seeing Heaven which was well-made but overlong and under-interesting. Checking on Powell's CV I find it's sparse but interesting. Twenty years ago he directed the wrap-around story for Elisar Cabrera's seminal anthology Virtual Terror. Then there's a 14-year gap to Seeing Heaven.

    Turns out his third film is out in October (in the States) - it's called Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper. About bloody time we had a new British Jack the Ripper film! This one sounds... interesting.

    Synopsis
    While attending an intensive writing workshop held in a crumbing Victorian building, young writer Ruth Walker is challenged to write the ultimate horror movie by enigmatic screenwriting guru, Professor Richard Wise. But what are his motives? What secrets are hidden inside the ancient building? And are the knives Ruth has discovered really those used by notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper? Ruth was told that the box of knives must never be opened, but the box goes missing and the killings begin. As the ghost of a young Victorian girl haunts Ruth and her fellow screenwriters, the Ripper of legend rises to renew his murderous spree. As bodies begin to pile up, it appears that everyone trapped in the building has a connection to the original mystery!



    The cast includes Kelby Keenan, Andrew Shire, Vincent De Paul, Thomas Thoroe and Josh Myers (Psychosis, Zombie Diaries 2, Death Do Us Apart). Shot in June 2014 as just Razors the film will be released by Breaking Glass Pictures on 18th October. According to the film's website, it will hit the UK next year and is lined up for Brazilian and Pakistani release too. You can pre-order the US disc on Amazon. Here's the trailer:


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    Fox Trap is a new British horror film which will make slashers fans’ eyes light up with glee. All the elements are there: a group of attractive young people, an isolated house, collective and individual secrets, festering revenge, a masked killer, assorted methods of murder. All present and correct.

    Making his directorial feature debut, helmer Jamie Weston has made a bunch of interesting shorts over the past few years including the zombie film Tales from the Apocalypse: Silent Dawn. Scripter Jeffrey Cohen already has a couple of BHR feature credits as producer on Lucifer’s Night and Deadly Waters, both of which starred this film’s lead Becky Fletcher (who produces here under her alternative name of Rebecca Matthews).

    The fine cast also includes Aussie Kate Greer, Julia Erringer (who played Amy Winehouse in a TV biopic), Klariza Clayton (whom you might recognise as either Sam from Dani’s House or Joy from House of Anubis), Scott Chambers (uwantme2killhim?), Alex Sawyer (Alfie from House of Anubis), Therica Wilson-Read and Richard Summers-Calvert. Cinematography by Beatriz Delgado Mena (Sauna the Dead, Rancour). Visual effects and make-up by Zoey Olechnowicz.

    The film is currently in post having the last few nips and and tucks done to the sound mix and colour grading. 4DigitalMedia have the rights and are planning a release early next year. Keep up to date at www.facebook.com/FoxTrapFilm


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    No matter how much of a horror fan you are, you have never seen the British slasher Evil Elvis. It was made back in 1999 by Fearnort, the movie side of 2000AD publisher/games company Rebellion, whose other foray into horror was cheesy oil rig film Parasite aka Hell’s Mouth. That film’s director, Andrew Prendergast, also wrote and directed Evil Elvis.

    To date, no actual evidence of the film has emerged, beyond a minimal IMDB page that doesn’t even have a cast list (but see below). No stills, no poster, no clips, no trailer. We all know that some things listed on the IMDB were wishful thinking but Evil Elvis was definitely filmed – and finished – because in November 2011 it was passed as a ‘15’ by the BBFC. Since then this tantalising movie has been top of my Whatever Happened To list. There is also a page on the Festival Focus website which has this basic synopsis: “A convicted murderer with a penchant for The King brakes [sic] free whilst being transported to another prison facility. He goes on a new killing spree but there's one girl who can stand up to him.”

    So you can imagine how excited I was to discover that a couple of weeks ago someone named Lee Mason posted the trailer onto YouTube. I don’t know who he is or whether he has any connection with the film, but thanks dude!


    Obviously you can’t tell from the trailer whether the movie is any good. It’s a slasher about a maniac in an Elvis mask, and the areas where slashers tend to disappoint – plot and characterisation – aren’t things that come across in trailers.

    Still, it’s a fun 67 seconds and raises the hope that one day the remaining 74 minutes might emerge somewhere. The Presley estate are notoriously litigious so I have always assumed that the film’s disappearance was some sort of copyright/trademark thing, but that’s just a guess.

    Although the BBFC doesn’t list the cast, the BBFC website does so I can tell you that the film stars Rebecca Vaughan, Jonathan Monks, Phil Davies, Richard Stacey and Robert East (presumably the guy who played Prince Harry in the first series of Blackadder). Interestingly, in her bio Rebecca Vaughan refers to the film by an alternative title, Grace’s Land.




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