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    It's three years now since Aidan Belizaire shot The Zombie King in Shepton Mallet, with imported star names Edward Furlong and Corey Feldman. The film debuted on German DVD in April 2013 and is also available in the Netherlands and Japan. But not here in Blighty.

    But we do now finally have a chance to see the film (imports notwithstanding). The picture will have its UK premiere at the Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester over 31st October-2nd November, hopefully with some of the cast and crew in attendance.

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    Thomas Lee Rutter, the Brummie indie film maverick who coined the term 'Britsploitation' (and directed some of my early on-screen appearances) is shooting an intense, horror-laced British western influenced by the likes of El Topo!


    Tom's previous features have included such zero-budget gems as Full Moon Massacre, Mr Blades, Feast for the Beast and The Forbidden Four. But Stranger, loosely based on Twain's The Mysterious Stranger, promises to be a step up, not least because he has a couple of name cast in Gary Shail (Quadrophenia, Shock Treatment) and punk legend Gypsy Lee Pistolero. My absence from the cast also bodes well...

    Synopsis:
    Caine Farrowood is a bounty hunter who works under the control of shady kingpin Loomweather. One day a bounty retrieval goes awry and Caine is left for dead. Just when he thinks his life is over he mysteriously awakens back home to the comforts of his wife Christina. Baffled and confused by how he got home Caine insists on finding answers, but before long he is enlisted in the retrieval of another bounty. This one is huge and may cost Caine not his life, but his sanity when he finds himself pitted against somebody who may very well be the fallen angel himself...


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    It's Tuesday 21st October, which means you've got just three days to get your votes in for the survey to find the best British horror films of the 21st century (so far). A walloping 500 British horror features have been released since January 2000, of which a welcome 105 have so far received at least one vote.

    Please take a look at my original list of 100 suggestions (of which about two thirds have actually received votes so far). Have a think about other movies you've seen. Put together your ten favourites and let me know by midnight on Friday 24th.

    You can post a comment on this blog, or you can email me directly mjs2000@ntlworld.com, or if you want to win a bundle of British horror DVDs, cast your vote on the Facebook page of TheHorrorShow.tv

    Next week I will publish a list of the top 20. I think it might contain a few surprises...

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    Over the past month I have been finding the best British horror films of the 21st century (so far) by soliciting top tens from directors, screenwriters, producers, actors, designers, FX artists, critics, academics and fans. Now the votes are in, and I can reveal the top 20, as voted for by you:

    1. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 201) Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris evade rage-infected sort-of-zombies. With a side order of Christopher Eccleston
    2. The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005) Six friends go caving, get lost, get trapped - and then find they're not alone...
    3. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and pals stumble through a zombie apocalypse and eventually reach the pub.
    4. Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004) Ex-soldier Paddy Considine takes terrifying revenge on the small-town gangsters who bullied his mentally impaired brother.
    5. Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008) Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender are terrorised by out-of-control children in the idyllic countryside.
    6. Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall, 2002) It's squaddies vs werewolves in a classic siege scenario, under the command of British horror favourite Sgt Sean Pertwee.
    7. Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011) Two hitmen take on a mysterious job which leads them into conflict with a Pagan cult.
    8. The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012) Daniel Radcliffe makes his post-Potter debut in a traditional gothic ghost story from the reborn Hammer Films.
    9. Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010) A young couple travel across a depopulated zone inhabited by giant mysterious aliens.
    10. Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011) Teenage muggers turn the tables on invading extraterrestrials.
    11. Creep (Christopher Smith, 2005) Franka Potente is trapped in the Tube overnight with a mysterious, deadly killer.
    12. Severance (Christopher Smith, 2007) A corporate team-building exercise in Eastern Europe with Andy Nyman and Danny Dyer goes oh so very wrong
    13. Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010) Young boy mets not-as-young-as-she-looks girl in Hammer remake of creepy Swedish vampire tale.
    14. The Children (Tom Shankland, 2008) Mysterious illness turns little tykes into emotionless, deadly killers.
    15. Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012) Psychological terror for Toby Jones at the mixing desk as he works on the soundtrack of an Italian horror movie.
    16. The Borderlands (Elliot Goldner, 2014) Vatican-backed paranormal investigators find m ore than they bargained for when they look underneath an old English church.
    17. Triangle (Christopher Smith, 2009) Multiple realities and time-travel onboard a mysterious, deserted ocean liner.
    18. Byzantium (Neil Jordan, 2013) Vampire sisters on the run in a little coastal town.
    19. Colin(Marc Price, 2009) One zombie’s journey through the apocalypse.
    20. Cockneys vs Zombies (Matthias Hoene, 2012) The living dead interfere with a bank robbery and attack an old people’s home.
    Some statistics:
    • Three films directed by Christopher Smith (Black Death came 33rd)
    • Two films directed by Neil Marshall (Doomsday also got a few votes)
    • Two films directed by James Watkins
    • Five films feature make-up effects by Paul Hyett (2, 5, 6, 8, 9 - Paul's own film The Seasoning House came 29th)
    • Two films written by James Moran (12, 20 - Tower Block also got a few votes)
    • Two films with music by Dave Julyan (2, 5)
    • Two films starring Nick Frost (3, 10)
    • Two films starring MyAnna Buring (2, 7)
    • Most expensive film: The Woman in Black (£17 million)
    • Least expensive film: Colin (45 quid!)
    • Although 28 Days Later scored slightly higher overall than The Descent, more people voted The Descent as their no.1 film
    • Films 1-6, 11, 12, 14 are featured in depth in my book Urban Terrors
    Now take a look at films 21-40 and the rest of the nominees.

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    It's a measure of the overall quality of modern British horror films that so many great titles couldn't make it into the top 20, on account of there only being 20 places available. So here are the next 20...

    21.The Hole (Nick Hamm, 2001)
    22.The Awakening (Nick Murphy, 2011)
    23.Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)
    24.Mum and Dad (Steven Sheil, 2008)
    25.A Field in England (Ben Wheatley, 2013)
    26.Tony (Gerard Johnson, 2010)
    27.Stalled (Christian James, 2013)
    28.The Last Horror Movie (Julian Richards, 2004)
    29.The Seasoning House (Paul Hyett, 2013)
    30.My Little Eye (Mark Evans, 2002)
    31.Outpost (Steve Barker, 2008)
    32.Doghouse (Jake West, 2009)
    33.Black Death (Christopher Smith, 2010)
    34.The Living and the Dead (Simon Rumley, 2007)
    35.A Lonely Place to Die (Julian Gilbey, 2011)
    36.F (Johannes Roberts, 2010)
    37.Cradle of Fear (Alex Chandon, 2002)
    38.Before Dawn (Dominic Brunt, 2013)
    39.28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007)
    40.Heartless (Philip Ridley, 2010)

    (Films 21, 24. 28, 30, 31, 34 and 37 are covered in detail in my book Urban Terrors, as are all the films marked with an asterisk in the list below.)

    The following films also received votes:
    Aggressive Behaviour, Anazapta*, Any Minute Now
    Backslasher, Bane, Battlefield Death Tales, The Big Finish*, Blood + Roses, Book of Blood, Bordello Death Tales, The Bunker*
    Chemical Wedding*, Cherry Tree Lane, Citadel, The Cottage*, Cut
    A Day of Violence, The Dead, Dead Creatures*, Dead End, Dead of the Nite, Dead Wood, Deathwatch*, The Descent Part Two, The Devil’s Bargain, Devil’s Bridge, The Devil’s Business, The Devil’s Chair*, The Devil’s Music, The Disappeared, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Doomsday*
    The Eschatrilogy, Evil Aliens*, Exhibit A, Exorcism
    Fall of the Louse of Usher*, The Fallow Field, Footsteps*, Forest of the Damned*, Freak Out*
    The Glass Man, Gnaw
    Harold’s Going Stiff, The Harsh Light of Day, Hush
    Inbred, In Fear
    KillerKiller*
    The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse*, Lesbian Vampire Killers, Lie Still*, London Voodoo*
    Mindflesh*
    Night Junkies*
    Panic Button. The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill, Penetration Angst*
    The Quiet Ones
    Red Mist, Red White and Blue, The Reeds, The Resident, Resurrecting ‘The Street Walker’
    The Scar Crow, Season of the Witch, The Secret Path, Small Town Folk*, Soul Searcher*, Stalker, Summer Scars
    Theatre of Fear, Tormented, Tortured, Tower Block, The Toybox*, Truth or Dare
    Under the Skin
    Vampire Diary*, Venus Drowning
    Wake Wood, Wandering Rose, WAZ*, When Evil Calls*, When the Lights Went Out, White Settlers, Wilderness*, Wishbaby, The Witches Hammer*, World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2
    The Zombie Diaries*
    13hrs, The 7th Dimension


    And since no-one at all is wondering, here's my personal top ten (at the time I voted):

    1. The Descent
    2. The Dead
    3. The Last Horror Movie
    4. Mum and Dad
    5. Dead Man's Shoes
    6. Resurrecting 'The Street Walker'
    7. The Seasoning House
    8. Triangle
    9. Wishbaby
    10. 28 Days Later

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    Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later has been named the best British horror movie of the 21st century (so far) in a survey of film-makers and fans. The 2002 film, which stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris and Christopher Eccleston, narrowly beat Neil Marshall’s 2005 chiller The Descent, about a group of female cavers battling deadly underground creatures, and Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright’s 2004 ‘rom-zom-com’ starring Simon Pegg.

    In the past 15 years, a combination of cheap equipment and online distribution has caused a huge increase in the number of feature films produced in the UK, especially in the ever-popular horror genre. This month, the total number of British horror films released since January 2000 reached 500 – as many as were made during the whole of the 20th century.

    The survey was organised by film critic MJ Simpson, author of Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema and an acknowledged expert on the ‘British Horror Revival’. One hundred directors, screenwriters, producers, actors and effects artists each submitted their own top ten films, along with film critics, academics and horror fans. More than 130 movies received votes, reflecting the wide range of high quality horrors produced in the UK in recent years.

    The other titles in the top ten were, in order: Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004), Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008), Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall, 2002), Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011), The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012), Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010) and Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011).

    “People may be surprised to hear that there have been 500 British horror films made in 15 years,” admits Simpson. “That’s because the media only acknowledge the tiny percentage of movies that play cinemas and ignore the vast body of great work being done by independent film-makers taking advantage of new technology to make and release their own films through DVD and VOD. For horror fans who take the trouble to look beyond the multiplex, this is truly a golden age.”

    While Hollywood blockbusters routinely cost hundreds of millions of dollars, British horror films show that budget isn’t necessarily related to quality. Three of the top ten – Dead Man’s Shoes, Kill List and Monsters – each cost well under a million pounds and many of the other films cost a fraction of that. Steven Shiel’s Mum and Dad (34th) cost just £100,000 to make, Julian Richards’ The Last Horror Movie (38th) cost just £50,000, and the zombie film Colin, voted the 19th best British horror film of the past 15 years, had a total budget of just £45!

    Marc Price, director of Colin, commented: “At a time where mainstream cinema is offering nothing but comic-book movies, remakes or literary adaptations, British horror appears to be one of the few genres offering original story through the medium of film.”

    Of all the movies nominated, only eight were historical stories, of which only one (The Woman in Black) was a traditional ‘gothic horror’. All the other films were set in the present day, emphasising how the new wave of British film-makers use horror themes to address contemporary issues such as disenfranchised youth (Eden Lake, Cherry Tree Lane), society’s treatment of the elderly (The Living and the Dead, Harold’s Going Stiff), the power of social media (Backslasher, Panic Button), global corporate responsibility (Severance) and Scottish devolution (White Settlers).

    Dr Johnny Walker, Lecturer in Media at Northumbria University and author of the forthcoming book Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society, commented: “For many people, British horror died when the old Hammer ceased making feature films in the late 1970s. The list revealed here points to an entirely different story. Not only does it demonstrate how British horror has broadly managed to outstep Hammer's 'period gothic' model with films that deal with a host of contemporary issues, it also testifies to the variety that recent British horror cinema has offered its audiences, whether the films were made for £5 million or 50p.”

    MJ Simpson offered the following recommendations for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of modern British horror films:

    • If you want to be… scared: try Before Dawn, in which a couple on the edge of separation are threatened by zombies.
    • If you want to be… disturbed: try Mum and Dad, in which a young woman is forced to become part of her colleague’s dysfunctional family.
    • If you want to be… questioned: try The Last Horror Movie, in which a serial killer videos his work and asks why people might want to watch it.
    • If you want to be… entertained: try Stalled, in which a zombie outbreak leaves a man trapped in a toilet cubicle.

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    Leigh Dovey, writer-director of the brilliant The Fallow Field, has now turned the story into a novel which is available as an eBook from Amazon.

    If you've seen the film, you know the basic story, but in case you haven't here's the synopsis:

    Amnesiac Matt Sadler  awakes alone in the middle of a wilderness with no recollection of the past seven days. As disturbing slithers of memory gradually return he retraces his steps to a remote farm owned by loner Calham. The farmer is suspicious of Matt but instantly sparks a dark sense of déjà vu. Calham turns on Matt, imprisoning and interrogating him, before forcing him on a terrible journey of abduction and slaughter to show the amnesiac the twisted games they used to play together. As Matt s fogged memory slowly begins to clear and he learns the two men share a violent history, the horrors of their past come skipping out of the darkness to greet them….

    You can find out more about Leigh's forthcoming work at his new website.

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    Here’s an in-production short I came across by chance which sounds great. Boris in the Forest is a forthcoming short film from Robert Hackett: “A black comedy about a Californian nerd in search of his horror hero Boris Karloff.”

    It stars Mac McDonald from Red Dwarf, George Georgiou (Mamma Mia!), Darren Kent (Community), Joyce Henderson (Burke and Hare) and, as William Henry Pratt, British horror regular Jonathan Hansler (Axed, The Devil’s Business). Mark Towns (Gnaw, The Borderlands) is editing the film even as we speak.

    You can find out more on the picture’s Facebook page.

    Huge fan of Karloff here. Can’t wait to see this.


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    The Hatching is a new British horror film I picked up on a while back about crocodiles in the Somerset levels. Shot at the tail-end of last year, it's now ready to screen and will have its premiere next week as part of the Bath Film Festival.

    The cast is top-lined by British genre star Andrew-Lee Potts (Primeval, Strange, Freakdog, The Bunker) and Laura Aikman (Casualty, Keith Lemon) with Thomas Turgoose (Eden Lake), Jack McMullen (Grange Hill, Brookie) and Georgia Henshaw (In the Dark Half), Plus, for some reason, 'comedian' Justin Lee Collins.

    Synopsis:
    Tim returns to his childhood home to bury his father and take over the family business, with his girlfriend Lucy. However, Tim carries an old burden; a friend of his was killed by a crocodile during a kids’ prank at a local zoo and when locals mysteriously start vanishing, Tim realizes the crocodile eggs he stole as a child have now hatched and are loose on the Somerset Levels. As people disappear and gruesome body parts mount, the horrific truth emerges and for Tim it’s a race against time, to put right what went so horribly wrong.

    The Hatching is helmed by experienced director Michael Anderson who started out as clapper-loader on stuff like An American Werewolf in London and has made stacks of corporates, commercials etc. (But he's not this guy.) He describes the film as a comedy horror, a cross between Hot Fuzz and Jaws. Top prosthetic house Animated Extras created the crocodile.

    You can find out more at www.hatchingthemovie.com or www.facebook.com/hatchingthemovie

    The Hatchingscreens at the Little Theatre Cinema in Bath on 22nd November, with the director and producer in attendance. There is also a screening on 28th November at The Seed Factory in Aller, a village near Bridgwater where prodco Ebenezer Films are based.


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    Am I missing something here? This is the poster for Elliot Goldner's acclaimed British horror feature The Borderlands:

    Here's the same design on the German DVD:
    And the Italian DVD:
    And here's exactly the same design on the British DVD sleeve for an Italian horror film called Back from Hell. Right down to the 'Evil has a new form' tag-line.
    Meanwhile the British DVD of The Borderlands uses this instead:


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    Way back in 2010, Richard Johnstone directed a vampire feature variously called Bloodless or Bloodlust which had its first screening in March this year. Now it has finally appeared on Amazon UK, set for a release in February from 101 Films.

    Bloodlust is a vampire feature which adds another British Horror Revival credit to the CV of Victoria Hopkins, who was Erika Spawn in The Devil's Music. You may also have seen her in Zombie Women of Satan and Doghouse and she is also in the recently completed Le Fear II: Le Sequel. Also in the cast are Bill Fellows (Wolfblood, Blood and Carpet) and Lucas Hansen (Soldiers of the Damned, Human Centipede II)

    Synopsis
    Northern England. Present day. A bus drives 5 young couples to an old castle in an unknown location. They have responded to an advert looking for people to take part in a 30-day medical trial. The COMPANY running the experiment, led by the CO-ORDINATOR, explains there will be no contact with the outside world. The group are free to leave at any time, but if they do, they will forfeit their fee: £20,000 per couple.

    Mysterious, unexplained events occur around the castle and strange noises are heard in the middle of the night. At first the group are skeptical – they think the COMPANY is creating the illusion of a “haunting” to test their reactions, until it is revealed there is something more sinister involved.



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    Here are all the new British horror films that Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk have available for pre-order. Release dates are of course liable to change:

    UK releases

    • Exorcism 12/1/15
    • Scar Tissue 12/1/15
    • Book of the Dead 2/2/15 (aka The Eschatrilogy)
    • Bloodlust 9/2/15
    • The Rendlesham UFO Incident 9/2/15
    • Blackwood 23/2/15
    • World War Dead: The Rise of the Fallen 2/3/15
    • The Coven 16/3/15
    • Zombie Resurrection 23/3/15
    • The Last House on Cemetery Lane 23/3/15
    • Lord of Tears 20/4/15
    USA releases

    • Valley of the Witch 13/1/15
    • Horror Freak Fest 13/1/15 (60-film box set includes Idol of Evil, Tales of the Dead and Tuck Bushman and the Legend of Piddledown Dale)
    • A Date with Ghosts 20/1/15
    • Torture Factory: Depraved Female Hostages 20/1/15 (includes Scream Queen Killer, House of Sin + 1 non-British film)
    • Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich 10/2/15
    • The Casebook of Eddie Brewer 17/2/15
    • A Killer Conversation 17/2/15
    • Altar 17/2/15 (aka The Haunting of Radcliffe House)
    • Final Prayer 24/2/15 (aka The Borderlands)

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    Way back in 2005, Ed Evers-Swindell directed one of the first British zombie features, Infestation. This had a UK DVD release in December 2007 which I only found out about after Urban Terrors was published.

    There was also an Italian release, possibly a Japanese one too. The disc pops up occasionally on eBay and it's on my list of films I really should watch at some point.

    The UK cover boasted the quote "Awesome!", ascribed to Neil Marshall (Ed is credited with "additional crawler sound effects" on The Descent).

    Now EES is back, ten years on, with his second feature, a ghost story called Dark Signal, which wrapped in September and is currently in post. This stars former Torchwood agent (and sometime Doctor Watson) Gareth David-Lloyd, plus Eleanor Gecks (Talitha in Young Dracula) and James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont in Game of Thrones). The make-up is by Nikki Pope who also did make-up for my film Waiting for Gorgo!

    Neil Marshall is executive-producing Dark Signal, which should hopefully be available to view next year. You can find out more at www.facebook.com/darksignalmovie

    And, although he's not credited as an actor on the IMDB, Neil can be spotted in the trailer for Infestation toting an M-16 and saying "Nice plan."!


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    I've got a list of 42 British horror films which premiered during 2013 or 2014 but have not yet been released. The alphabetical run-through starts here.

    The Apostate: Call of the Revenant (directed by Andy Dodd)


    The Apostate is an original feature length psychological thriller with elements of horror that will leave audiences on the edge of their seat. It tells the story of a man who is found crawling around, covered in his own blood, in a disused underground car park. But he's not alone. Four dead bodies are found in the same place. Through a series of flashbacks and interviews, we slowly piece together the events that took place that led to his incarceration and the grisly discoveries.”

    The trailer was posted on YouTube in August 2014 and there was a screening at the Telford Odeon the following month. Since then the film’s Facebook page and Twitter account have both disappeared, although there is still a website at www.calloftherevenant.com

    Blood and Carpet (directed by Graham Fletcher-Cook)


    “Ruby and Lyle have a problem. A dead body in the bathroom. Who it is, why it's there and for what reason we do not know. Their immediate issue is to deal with the matter in hand. Disposal. And to keep any visitors from discovering the evidence. A simple premise, but there is so much that can go wrong. And it probably will in this tale of deception, intrigue, hedonism and suet pudding.”

    Shot in 2013 for under £3,000, this stylish, black and white 1960s-set comedy-horror-thriller premiered at the Marbella Film Festival in October 2014. There may be a few tickets still available for a brace of screenings at the Arthouse Crouch End in February. More at www.bloodandcarpet.com

    Blood Moon (directed by Jeremy Wooding)


    “A stagecoach full of passengers and an enigmatic gunslinger are held hostage by two outlaws on the run from the law but events take an unexpected turn when the travelers are stalked by a mythical beast that only appears on the night of a blood red moon.”

    This werewolf western premiered at Frighfest in August 2014 and has also played Ravenna and the Bram Stoker fest. Jinga Films sold North American rights to Uncork’d Entertainment (who also have Stalledand Reverb) at the AFM. There was a website at www.bloodmoonthemovie.com but that’s now gone and there’s no trailer on the Jinga site (although I found a copy on Shock Till You Drop. NB. There are numerous other films called Blood Moon out there including a superficially similar American werewolf western from 2010.

    CAM (directed by Steve Du Melo, Larry Downing)


    “This film is believed to contain real footage of a training operation using military and police personnel. But it wasn't training... These ops happened all around the world and this film was made by one of the police camera crews. This footage was leaked out and the film shows what was to be a routine operation to evacuate the workers after a parasite has contaminated food at a local meat processing plant. But what has happened at this meat factory could have disastrous repercussions to all life on earth. For this parasite can lead to irrational violent behavior in humans and it's spreading.”

    This found-footage zombie film played at Horror-on-Sea in 2014 but has remained otherwise unseen. More at bloodyhorrornews.blogspot.co.uk

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    I've just discovered that Mark Murphy's impressive-looking Crypt has been released on DVD - in France. First International Production (FIP) released the film, which was shot as The Convent, on 4th December as The Convent : la crypte du diable.

    It's dubbed into French and apparently doesn't have an English language option, but if you're sufficiently fluent and keen you can buy it from Amazon.fr for 15 euros (or 20 for the blu-ray).

    The poster on the Solar Productions website calls the film The Crypt 3D but the French release is flat. The movie premiered last March at Fantasporto.

    You can find out more at www.facebook.com/Cryptmovie

    (FIP also have on their catalogue London Underworld which is the French release of Dead Cert.)

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    Continuing our run through all the British horror films which premiered during 2013 or 2014 but have not yet been released.

    Crying Wolf (directed by Tony Jopia)


    Crying Wolf starts its tale in the small village of Deddington where prankster Andy is bitten by a werewolf that kills his friend Charlotte. Andy tries to warn his friends, but winds up turning them into a pack of werewolves. Enter a pair of hapless journalists doomed to a grizzly end, then add a pair of hard boiled vigilantes hot on the heels of the werewolf pack and before you know it, everyone’s ‘Crying Wolf!’”

    Caroline Munro and Joe Egan lends name value to this comedy horror, shot in the Oxfordshire village of Deddington in July 2012 and screened to locals in June 2014. Director Tony Jopia, who previously made rock’n’roll horror feature Deadtime and also has Cute Little Buggers in post, describes Crying Wolf as “a very wacky, crazy comedy very much in the style of Hammer Horror, Benny Hill and the old Ealing comedies.” More at www.facebook.com/cryingwolfthemovie

    In the meantime, there's lots of footage, including monster shots, in this video for the theme tune, a terrific blues-y number performed by an old mate of mine from the SFX days, voice legend Gary Martin.



    Dark Vision (directed by Darren Flaxstone)


    “Mind-full host Spencer Knights puts his crew in peril whilst trying to win his own series as part of the paranormal competition Dark Vision. Find out what manifestations lay in wait for his team inside Baylock's Folly - a place with a dark history and possibly a darker present. Who is it's mysterious caretaker Clem and what are the twisted motivations of the producers at the ‘Dark Vision Hub’? Step into the darkness and find the answers in this new wave gothic horror from Stray Spark productions."

    Shot in 2013, Dark Vision had a preview screening in Bristol in October that year ahead of its official premiere at the Coventry Film Festival in June 2014, the same month that I reviewed it on my main site. Since then it has played several more festivals. More at www.darkvision-movie.com

    Dead End (directed by Rich Davis)


    “The world is dead. A year has passed since the first victims died, and came back.  The cause unknown but the effect felt worldwide. Within a few months it was clear, that no one would be safe again. Six survivors, their numbers reduced over time, continue looking for that place which could be the sanctuary they so desire. One of the group decides to document the lives of his new family hoping that if they don't survive then maybe someone, somewhere will know they existed. After all, surely everyone can't be dead.”

    Filmed in stops and starts around Yorkshire over 2010-2012, on a budget of about £1,500. this found-footage zombie feature (yes, yet another one) had a cast and crew screening at the Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds in July 2013. More at www.deadendfilm.co.uk (Not to be confused with Nicholas David Lean’s film Dead End aka Hard Shoulder, released in 2013.)

    Death Do Us Apart (directed by Shaub Miah)


    “When a group of friends decide to take their sheltered friends Jake out to a strip club for a night he would always remember, they find themselves having a night that none of them would be able to forget. As the alcohol and money begins to flow quickly the boys begin to realise that they're about to get more than they paid for - and not in the good way. Funny, sexy and gory, Death Do Us Apart is a zombie movie unlike any you have seen before.”

    All you need to know about this horror comedy is that the sole screening so far - at the Empire, Leicester Square in July 2014 - was sponsored by noted journal of record the Daily Sport and followed by a party at classy gentleman’s establishment Platinum Lace. More at www.facebook.com/sweetmateproductions

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    More British films which premiered in 2013/2014 but have not yet been released commercially.

    Dwellings Close (directed by Jorge Cuaik)


    “Ken an estate agent from London is mysteriously locked in one of his employer’s properties at number eight Dwellings Close. Inside he meets Gem, an eccentric young woman who claims to be the property's new tenant, together they will try to find a way out.”

    Shot for less than five grand in London in 2012, this “tiny fantasy adventure film” has so far only screened at the South Texas Underground Film Festival in October 2013. The last Facebook post, in May 2014, promised “a couple of exciting announcements coming up soon.” Based on the director’s nationality, the IMDB lists this as a UK-Mexican co-production! More at dwellingsclose.com

    Dying Light (directed by David Newbigging)


    “When Eddie Bowen hooks up with the beautiful and sexually aggressive Suze Phillips he thinks his luck’s in. But it’s a trap! Suze imprisons them both within a specially-prepared room and before Eddie can react he’s drugged and blacks out. When he wakes he finds a symbol carved into his chest and Suze lying unconscious on the floor with a dagger in hand. While Eddie desperately attempts to break through the room’s stone walls and securely-locked door he tries to get some answers from the seemingly psychotic Suze. What has she done to him? What the hell’s going on?! The true horror of his situation gradually emerges: despite how crazy it sounds, the room is growing darker and darker and there’s something in the shadows... something that’s coming to get him. Can Eddie escape in time? Or will the darkness claim him?”

    Funded with £50,000 of Lottery money, this ‘psychological thriller’ was made by unemployed young people in Greenock as part of a social enterprise project in 2012. James Cosmo from Game of Thrones provided a voice - and hence some name value – to this two-hander. There was a single screening at a local cinema in May 2013 then everything went quiet, although a second trailer posted in October suggests we may yet still see this. More at www.dyinglightfilm.com

    Eden Lodge (directed by Andreas Prodromou)


    “A young couple with their newborn child embark on a deadly weekend in the English countryside when their car narrowly avoids hitting an apparent body in the dark. Finding nothing on the road but a pool of blood and unable to re-start their car they seek refuge at the isolated Eden Lodge B&B run by an elderly, Bible thumping, matriarch. The couple’s fragile relationship and strained nerves are tested to breaking point by the tense surroundings and a strange assortment of characters including a seductive beauty and an intimidating handyman whose repairs to their car seem never ending. But when one by one those around them are savagely butchered by an unknown hand, the couple find themselves trapped in a deadly nightmare all too real as together they must contemplate the unthinkable in order to protect their baby.”

    Shot in Enfield between October 2012 and January 2013, this was briefly retitled Breakdown before reverting to its original title. The film was trade screened at Cannes in May 2013 and there was a single UK screening (presumably also in Enfield) in September. The last item on the Facebook page was a request for a sound editor in January 2014. Since then everything has been very quiet.

    Eva’s Diamond (directed by Ice Neal)

    “When devout religious teenager Diamond Boaz Phillips is accused of murdering an expert in the occult and sent to prison due to credible evidence, his mother Miss Phillips, has no choice but to take matters into her own hands with no clue her quest to prove his innocence will lead her into a world of black magic and time traveling spirits.”

    The director, who also stars in the film, calls this “a rich, complex and compelling mystery drama thriller which deals with christianity, dark magic, justice and motherly love.” Following a screening at the San Diego Black Film Festival in February 2013, the movie received its UK premiere at the Stratford Picture House in April 2014. There was also a screening in London in September as part of the British Urban Film Festival. More at www.evasdiamondmovie.com

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    More films which are as yet unseen outside of the festival circuit.

    Evil Bread (directed by Andy Ward)


    “A film crew awakens an ancient evil, dormant for millennia and eager for souls.”

    After a London premiere in July 2013, this horror-comedy screened to great acclaim at Horror-on-Sea in January 2014 and then at Horror-on-Sea East in November. It also played a festival in Salt Lake City in October. You can keep up to date with future developments on Facebook.

    Extinction (directed by Adam Spinks)


    “A research team led by a renowned and respected Professor who embark on an Expedition deep within the Amazon to study vulnerable and endangered species. However after a series of strange events, the superstitious guides abandon the team, who, faced with a tough decision, decide to remain deep in the jungle in an attempt to complete their study… but as night falls they begin to realize that all really is not as it seems and that they are in the hunting ground of an apex predator… Something they never could have imagined.”

    Filmed as The Expedition, this found-footage dinosaur movie premiered at Frighfest in August 2014 and was trade-screened at the AFM in November. Adam Spinks followed this with as-yet-unseen zombie feature Survivors. More at www.facebook.com/ExtinctionTheMovie

    The Final Haunting (d.Flaminia Graziadei)


    “The plot consists of two parallel storylines which cleverly intermingle, revealing tantalising elements of the characters back stories.  The drama builds, driving the levels of suspense to a fever pitch with lots of fast cutaways and a discordant nursery rhyme theme used to accentuate the tension, thrill and suspense. The story centres on twenty two year old Lily Reynolds who hides a terrible secret that bursts back to her memory when she accepts a baby sitting job for unhappily married Tim and Samantha Thompson at their home, Grosvenor Grange. Echoes of Lily’s past will trigger off an horrific journey deep down into her subconscious, while we watch her struggling to protect the baby in her charge from an ever increasing danger, but is it real or imaginary?”

    Shot in March 2014 in North Wales, this premiered in December at the Mumbai Women International Film Festival. More at www.thefinalhaunting.com

    The Forgotten (directed by Oliver Frampton)


    “When a father and son are forced to squat in an empty London council estate scheduled for demolition, 14 year old Tommy starts to hear strange noises coming from the boarded-up flat next door…”

    Shot back in October/November 2011, this feature debut from a former script editor for The Bill premiered at the 2014 Frightfest. Subsequent festival screenings have included Grimm Up North and Norway in October, then South Africa, Argentina and Abertoir in November. More at www.facebook.com/TheForgottenFilm

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    Every year so many horror films get released at Halloween that it's easy to miss some. I've just discovered that The House of Him, a slasher which premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in February 2014 was released into Vimeo On Demand at the end of October.

    Written and directed by Robert Florence, writer of BBC Scotland sitcom Burnistoun (can't say I'm familiar with it), this distinctly non-comedy horror feature uses several of that series' cast and crew. It was shot for about £800 which included buying the killer's mask - a cheap paintball mask bought off Amazon.

    Synopsis: A misogynistic masked killer prepares for the routine slaying of his 27th victim, Anna, in the comfort of his own home. As Anna struggles to break out of the role the killer has chosen for her, the dead women in the walls and floors play a last desperate card.

    The film is available to rent or buy, with 10% of all income going to women's aid charities.

    NB. The website at www.thehouseofhim.com is no more but you can keep up to date with screening and other developments at www.facebook.com/thehouseofhim

    This brings the total number of British horror features released in 2014, which was 69 when I wrote this month's Devil's Porridge blog, up to 74.

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    Continuing our round-up of films you have almost certainly not had a chance to watch yet.

    The Hatching (directed by Michael Anderson)


    “Tim returns to his childhood home to bury his father and take over the family business, with his girlfriend Lucy. However, Tim carries an old burden; a friend of his was killed by a crocodile during a kids’ prank at a local zoo and when locals mysteriously start vanishing, Tim realizes the crocodile eggs he stole as a child have now hatched and are loose on the Somerset Levels. As people disappear and gruesome body parts mount, the horrific truth emerges and for Tim it’s a race against time, to put right what went so horribly wrong.”

    Shot in Somerset in November/December 2013, this “dark comedy/horror that does for the Somerset moors what Jaws did for beaches” stars Thomas Turgoose from Eden Lake and Andrew-Lee Potts from Primeval. I covered this last November when the film premiered at the Bath Film Festival, followed by a screening near Bridgewater. More at www.facebook.com/hatchingthemovie

    Hungerford (d.Drew Casson)


    “Cowen Rosewell lives with a small group of old friends in a scruffy flat in a small English town. Like many teens leaving school in 2014, there are few prospects or opportunities for people like Cowen and he has enrolled on a BTEC media course as a way of passing the time. His first assignment is to record everything in a week of his life. At first Cowen dismisses the random acts of violence he witnesses as the business as usual in a small English town. However, when one of his best friends is savagely attacked by a stranger, and in defending her they kill her assailant, the inexplicably serious nature of the dead assailant’s injuries alert them to a more disturbing reality. As events escalate, Cowen and his friends discover that the town has come under a mysterious malign influence which is somehow controlling organised gangs who are rounding people up and taking them to a nearby factory. The friends hide, hoping to escape, but their sanctuary is discovered and over run. Finally Cowen must make his way alone to the factory in search of his loved ones. The evil force that awaits him there has implications not just for Cowen, but for the entire world.”

    Directed in 2013 by 19-year-old Drew Casson with £20,000 funding from Wildseed Studios, this alien invasion picture premiered at Sci-Fi London in May 2014. It also screened at Shriekfest in LA in October and has just been accepted into Fantasporto. I reviewed a screener in June. Originally titled Hunger Ford, I wasn’t the only reviewer to suggest that a further title change might help.

    I am Cursed (directed by Shiraz Khan)


    “The Story is set in a News office.  Lisa is a frustrated News writer/reporter waiting for her big break. Much to her annoyance all the bigger stories are given to other writers including Dan who has better family connections. Then Lisa's biggest story walks into the office in the form of Jay. He is incredibly introvert and mysterious. He finds it difficult to interact socially and to make friends for good reasons as Jay brings with him a deadly secret! Lisa befriends Jay and they share adventurous assignments together. Dan's jealousy takes over and Jay soon becomes a target of his gang. It is not long before mysterious killings start taking place within the office. Lisa investigates and makes a startling discovery about Jay. Lisa’s further investigation leads her into Jay's deadly secret and the connection to his Supernatural truth is revealed. Will Lisa be the next Victim? Who is the real Jay? A victim or a misguided soul?”

    Filmed around Windsor in the summer of 2011, there was a single screening in London in June 2014 but no news since then. More at www.iamcursed.co.uk

    Impurity (directed by Andy Remic)


    “Shotgun Jimmy is a nasty piece of work. Ripping off drug dealers, killing policemen, he'd decapitate his own grandmother for a sack full of loot. Schizophrenic, psychopathic, his only friend is Mary the Shotgun - his trusty, reliable pump-action. But during a violent road-rage incident, something goes horribly wrong and Jimmy finds himself chained in shackles in a dark, grimy dungeon where he ponders over a deeply buried secret past… Tomas Sorescu's been a bad man. He likes his whiskey. And brandy. Vodka, rum or gin? Hell, he'll drink petrol if it isn't nailed down. Only now he's done a rather silly thing. He's crashed his car - and killed his wife and little girl in the process. Tomas feels pretty bad about the situation. So bad, in fact, he needs another drink. But then it gets worse as a tall, powerful, gas-mask wearing figure pulls Tomas from the wreckage and introduces him to a special place… Sophie Scott is a successful career journalist in the sleepy village of Ramsbottom. Happy and confident, she now hides a secret… For a few weeks earlier, she killed her husband. Stabbed him in the guts and buried his body in the woods. Now, his restless spirit haunts her, and she hears his mockery at every street corner. Sophie starts to believe she's going mad. Then, whilst following up a murder story in the woods, she visits an old witch called Alice - and within minutes, meets the gas-masked figure known as Chemical Man. Meets him, and ends up in the boot of his car. All three characters awake, chained and shackled in a cellar dungeon. At first they squabble like children, but soon realise their abductor is far from sane. However, Chemical Man doesn't want to kill them. Not yet. First, he wants to purify them. He sees their souls as stained by the impurity of their dark deeds… and this cleansing process promises to be a lot more painful…”

    Shot in Lincolnshire in May 2013, this debut feature from horror author Andy Remic had a cast and crew screening in December of that year (at the famous Kinema in the Woods) but has otherwise remained unseen. Frazer Hines, who was Jamie in Doctor Who a thousand years ago, lends name value. Remic, who calls this “a dark, brooding, powerful feature film in the tradition of Saw, Hostel, Dead Man’s Shoes and Shallow Grave” is now prepping a second feature, The Mask Within. More at www.impuritythemovie.com

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