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Articles on this Page
- 01/08/15--10:40: _Can't wait to see.....
- 01/09/15--11:17: _Recent, unreleased ...
- 01/10/15--12:59: _Terrific ghost stor...
- 01/11/15--00:40: _Gallery of horrors:...
- 01/11/15--09:49: _Satanic house film ...
- 01/11/15--12:34: _Recent, unreleased ...
- 01/13/15--13:11: _Recent, unreleased ...
- 01/14/15--12:08: _British horror feat...
- 01/14/15--14:59: _Stoke-on-Trent zomb...
- 01/17/15--01:11: _The mystery of the ...
- 01/18/15--07:36: _Recent, unreleased ...
- 01/18/15--08:52: _Dead End, microbudg...
- 01/23/15--10:39: _British horror film...
- 01/24/15--02:31: _Recent, unreleased ...
- 01/25/15--09:43: _Full list of my Bri...
- 01/29/15--10:14: _Looking forward to:...
- 01/29/15--10:34: _Nazi Vengeance (for...
- 02/07/15--16:24: _Redemption planning...
- 02/11/15--13:06: _Watch Pat Higgins' ...
- 02/21/15--13:48: _Japanese sleeves of...
- 01/08/15--10:40: Can't wait to see... Lead Me to the Dark
- 01/09/15--11:17: Recent, unreleased British horror films Part 6
- 01/11/15--09:49: Satanic house film release funds killer mermaid film
- 01/11/15--12:34: Recent, unreleased British horror films Part 7
- 01/13/15--13:11: Recent, unreleased British horror films Part 8
- 01/14/15--14:59: Stoke-on-Trent zombie feature raising funds for animal sanctuary
- 01/17/15--01:11: The mystery of the new Dead Wood
- 01/18/15--07:36: Recent, unreleased British horror films Part 9
- 01/18/15--08:52: Dead End, microbudget zombie feature, now on VOD
- 01/23/15--10:39: British horror film releases 2000-2014
- 01/24/15--02:31: Recent, unreleased British horror films Part 10
- 01/25/15--09:43: Full list of my British horror reviews
- The Addicted
- Alone in the Dark
- Angry Nazi Zombies
- Any Minute Now
- The Apostate: Call of the Revenant
- Art House Massacre
- Art of Darkness
- Battlefield Death Tales
- Beast in the Basement
- Before Dawn
- Benny Loves Killing
- Bicycle Day
- Blood + Roses
- Book of the Dead
- Bordello Death Tales
- Call Me a Psycho
- Call of the Hunter
- The Clinic
- Cradle of Fear
- Dark Nature
- Dark Vision
- Dark Watchers: The Women in Black
- A Date with Ghosts
- A Day of Violence
- Dead Cert
- Dead Wood
- Demon Baby
- The Demon Within
- The Devil's Music
- Devil's Playground
- The Devil's Vice
- Elfie Hopkins
- The Eschatrilogy
- Evil Aliens
- Evil Calls
- The Expelled
- The Fallow Field
- Le Fear 2: Le Sequel
- Feast for the Beast
- The Forbidden Four
- For One Night Only
- Freak Out
- Full Moon Massacre
- Gangsters, Guns and Zombies
- Ghost Machine
- Hacked Off
- Harold's Going Stiff
- The Harsh Light of Day
- The Haunting of Baylock Residence
- The Haunting of Radcliffe House
- High Stakes
- The Horror of the Dolls
- Internal Evil
- The Invisible Atomic Monsters from Mars
- Kill Keith
- Kill List
- The Last Horror Movie
- Legacy of Thorn
- The Legend of Harrow Woods
- Liberty Bleeds
- The Library
- Little Deaths
- Lock In
- London Voodoo
- Man Who Sold the World
- The Mirror
- Mr Blades
- My Little Eye
- Nature Morte
- Nazi Zombie Death Tales
- Nightscape: Dark Reign of Thanatos
- Nocturnal Activity
- The Notebooks of Cornelius Crow
- Ouija Board
- Panic Button
- Penetration Angst
- The Porcelain Man
- Project Assassin
- The Raven: Evil Calls
- Razor Blade Smile
- Red Kingdom Rising
- Red Mist
- Resurrecting 'The Street Walker'
- The Reverend
- Rites of Passage
- Sacred Flesh
- The Scar Crow
- The Seasoning House
- The Season of the Witch
- The Secret Path
- Sentinels of Darkness
- Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming
- Slasher House
- The Slayers: Portrait of a Dismembered Family
- Spirits of the Fall
- Stag Hunt
- Stag Night of the Dead
- The Stone: No Soul Unturned
- Strippers vs Werewolves
- Summer Scars
- Surviving Evil
- Three's a Shroud
- Tuck Bushman and the Legend of Piddledown Dale
- Umbrage: The First Vampire
- Unhappy Birthday
- Vampire Diary
- A Vampire's Tale
- Venus Drowning
- Wandering Rose
- The Witches Hammer
- The Zombie Diaries
- Zombie Hood
- The Zombie King
- Zombies from Ireland
- Zombie Undead
- 01/29/15--10:14: Looking forward to: Camera Trap
- 01/29/15--10:34: Nazi Vengeance (formerly Backtrack) on DVD next month
- 02/07/15--16:24: Redemption planning new Poe and Frankenstein features
- 02/11/15--13:06: Watch Pat Higgins' brilliant A-Z of How Not to Make a Horror Movie
- 02/21/15--13:48: Japanese sleeves of British horror films, part 1
Lead Me to the Dark, which was shot for £3,000, stars Joanna Pickering (City of Tales, Svengali), Philip Scott-Shurety and James Bryhan (The Apostate: Call of the Revenant) plus - add another name to the 'Pop Stars in British Horror Films' ;ist - Terry Coldwell, who used to be in East 17.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team, who have worked tirelessly and with unwavering passion to help me make this film,” says James. “Without these incredible people, my dream of making my first feature film simply would not have been possible.”
Jagoda (directed by Lex Pokane-Hefner)
This one’s a bit of a mystery. There’s a trailer on the website of prodco Fighting Badgers and about five minutes of clips on the website of composer Aaron Narayan-Taylor. It was shot in 2013 as The One and, according to my records there was a screening of some sort in April 2014 but I can’t find any details. The director (variously aka Lek Pokane and Lex Hefner) also shot an unreleased feature that same year called The Kill aka Female Serial Killer.
Judas Ghost (directed by Simon Pearce)
From a script by sci-fi novelist Simon R Green (another old oppo from my SFX days), this was shot in February/March 2012. The world premiere was at Shriekfest in LA in October 2013 and the UK premiere was at the Novacon 43 SF con in Nottingham the following month. Since then Judas Ghost has played a stack of festivals across the globe. A DVD/VOD release is apparently lined up for April 2015. More at www.judasghostmovie.com
Kerb Crawlers (directed by James Plumb)
“Hired to make a depraved snuff movie, five men abduct a young woman to be their plaything for the night. However once the cameras start rolling so do heads as they discover their victim belongs to another... something living inside of her... something monstrous. The tables now turned, the men will receive a lesson on true pain and torture as they become the ‘stars’ of the film.”
The latest feature from James Plumb (Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming, Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection) was filmed in March 2014 and premiered at SCARdiff in October. There doesn’t appear to be a website or Facebook page.
Let Us Prey (d. Brian O’Malley)
Liam Cunningham from Dog Soldiers and Pollyanna McIntosh from White Settlers lead the cast of this feature which was shot in 2013. It premiered at Brussels in April 2014 with a UK premiere at Edinburgh in June and several subsequent festival screeninmgs. More at www.letuspreymovie.com
Coz Greenop's Wandering Rose is a beautiful, intriguing, ultimately gripping horror-thriller about a couple holidaying in the Cairngorms before the birth of their first child. In my review last October I praised the "fine, taut script ... superb performances and strong, confident direction." I said it had a "steadily growing sense of dread, some genuine effective scares and a satisfyingly bleak and enigmatic resolution." In fact I called it an almost perfect horror film.
Stu Smith over on UKHorrorScene evidently agrees with me; he picked Wandering Rose as one of his top ten films of 2014.
The good news is that Wandering Rose has been picked up for North American distribution by Entertainment One, with a penciled-in release date of April/May. The less good news is that, as is sadly almost traditional for a US release, the title has been changed to something awful and it has been saddled with a sleeve that bears absolutely no relation whatsoever to the film. I mean look at this.
There is no demon baby in Coz's film. There's no demon at all, or anything even vaguely demonic. It's a freaking ghost story for Christ's sake.
Nor is there a baby, as such. The lead female character is still in her first trimester and there is no sign of any sort of baby bump. But someone at Entertainment One has decided that what would really sell this film is a stock photo of a heavily pregnant woman that has been photoshopped to add the image of a satanic baby.
It's difficult to see what possible benefit can be gained from this. As always, it means people who buy/rent the film will be disappointed at the complete absence of babies and demons and will probably just be bored by the well-written characters and the gorgeous Scottish scenery. While those who would really appreciate a subtle and thought-provoking borderline psychological/supernatural ghost story against a background of lochs and mountains will assume this is exploitative trash and pass this one by.
I just don't get it. I mean, if they really want to change the title (and maybe Wandering Rose is a tad vague) why not call it... Phantom Pregnancy? Sums up the film. And, incredibly, the IMDB doesn't list a single movie or TV episode with that title ever.
To keep up to date with news, check the movie's Facebook page. To see how it should be marketed, take a look at the website.
Inspired by the ridiculous retitling of enigmatic ghost story Wandering Rose as Demon Baby(!), here are some more examples of modern British horror films which have been mauled by brainless American distributors.
Simon Hunter was so annoyed when his debut feature Lighthouse was renamed Dead of Night (with a truly terrible sleeve) that he actually wrote to Fangoria to apologise to US horror fans.
Wolfgang Büld’s jaw-dropping Penetration Angst could only get an American release by dropping the word ‘penetration’. It’s not like the whole film is about a woman with a fear of sex, or anything…
Octane, in which hack Marcus Adams destroyed Stephen Volk’s script, was rechristened Pulse in the USA but it’s bollocks under any title
Johannes Roberts’ Forest of the Damned became Demonic in the States. The creatures look like vampires but are supposed to be fallen angels, which I suppose is sort of like demons.
Tom Shankland’s brutal WAZ - which was really supposed to be called W-delta-Z - was marketed as The Killing Gene over there. And you can sort of understand why.
DJ Evans’ Daddy’s Girl, a study of a disturbed teenager with an obsessive thirst for blood, turned into Cravings. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if they hadn’t slapped some stupid vampire fangs on the cover.
Julian Doyle’s uproariously bonkers Crowleysploitation picture Chemical Wedding was prosaically rebranded as just… Crowley
Tony Harman actually preferred the US title of The Devil’s Curse over her original title of Credo. Under either name, it’s an awful film.
Phil Claydon’s Lesbian Vampire Killers famously became just Vampire Killers in the States where presumably no-one is interested in films about lesbians. Interestingly, Amazon has this sleeve design but with the full UK title. Notice how Mathew Horne has been positioned to try and disguise the fact that one of the heroes is a fat bloke. Presumably those positions will be reversed now that James Corden is a big film/TV star over there.
The twist in Jonathan Glendening’s enjoyable 13hrs is that the threat turns out to be sort of a bit like a werewolf. But definitely not an actual werewolf. The US distributor said “Ah, fuck it.”
Some years after Forest of the Damned, Jo Roberts finally broke through with F, which was always going to be a problematic title (though there have been other one-letter films). The Expelled isn’t a bad title, although that’s not an image from the film.
When the remake of Mother’s Day was released in 2012, someone in the States looked for any other film with a mother character and picked on Steven Nesbit’s powerful horror-thriller of parental anguish Curio. Oh dear.
American distributors hate difficult words that not everyone will know so Drew Cullingham’s Umbrage: The First Vampire was doomed from the start. A Vampire’s Tale isn’t bad as retitlings go, and the sleeve does at least feature a cowboy vampire, although it’s not the one in the film, which isn’t actually set in the old west.
I liked Elfie Hopkins and the Gammons as a title. Ryan Andrews’ film was released in the UK as just Elfie Hopkins, which is okay. The US distributor took the Night Wolf approach of making sure the big plot twist was made entirely clear from the start. Note also how the sleeve designer has splashed more blood on Jaime Winstone and got rid of Aneurin Barnard. Who wants to see films about geeks with glasses?
The 1991 Madonna documentary Truth or Dare was retitled In Bed with Madonna in the UK because ‘truth or dare’ is an American phrase, meaningless over here (except in the context of US teen movies). So why did Robert Heath’s Truth or Dare, which was actually about kids playing ‘truth or dare’, transform into the ungrammatical Truth or Die in the States? Maybe they were worried about people confusing it with the Madonna film.
Where to begin? Battlefield Death Tales was a brilliant title. In the UK it was retitled Nazi Zombie Death Tales. In the States it was re-retitled Angry Nazi Zombies. Total number of actual Nazi zombies (angry or otherwise) in the film = nil.
“Hey, I know what would be better than a fantastic, evocative title and a grab-‘em-by-the-balls sleeve design.” “Yeah, what would be better?” “A title and sleeve that are both generic as fuck.” Ricky Wood’s film is as good as the thing on the left promises, not as shit as the thing on the right suggests.
Luke Massey’s Warhouse was released as The Captive in the UK and as Armistice in the States where somebody evidently didn’t get that memo about no difficult words.
Elliot Goldner’s acclaimed The Borderlands became Final Prayer across the pond but at least they got a sleeve based on the original poster. The UK release went with a different twisted church image, the original design turning up instead on some obscure Italian film.
Sean J Vincent’s The Addicted is an instance of the US distributor going with the original title and artwork, and the UK picking a different title (it was going to be Rehab at one stage) and an unrelated sleeve design. Whatever you call it, it’s still barely watchable crap.
And yet, despite all the above, the US had no problems at all with a film called Tuck Bushman and the Legend of Piddledown Dale…
Seven years ago, a man convinced Lucifer was within him brutally murdered his wife and child. Now, Eric and Hayley move into the same house after years of being left unsold on the market. They think they got a good deal with the house, a bargain in fact. But what they don't know is that evil still lurks within the house and is awaiting more souls to take.
A young man falls in love with a seductive, sultry young woman he meets on the beach. The more he falls for her, the more he will learn the dangers of falling in love with a siren.
Indiegogo campaign for distribution of Deadly Waters. The Proportion Prods team are looking to raise funds to hire a screening venue (in March), press some screener discs and submit to some festivals. One of the perks on offer is a disc of the previous film. And presumably if this works then DVDs of the killer mermaid film will be made available as part of a support package for their next picture, an erotic thriller called 50 Shades of Elise.
I don't normally plug crowdfunding campaigns on this blog because there's just far too many of them, but this is (a) innovative and (b) technically a 2015 DVD release for Lucifer's Night.
Find out more at www.facebook.com/LucifersNight and www.facebook.com/darkwaterfilm
Still yet more British horror films not yet generally available...
Nightmare Hunters (directed by Ewan Gorman)
While it’s not marketed as a horror flick per se, this kids monster movie with sci-fi conspiracy elements qualifies as part of the British Horror Revival until proven otherwise. There was a screening in Brighton in August 2013, one in London in February 2014, and another in Brighton in January 2015. More at www.nightmarehuntersmovie.com
Nowhere (directed by Tez Palmer)
The debut feature from Terry Palmer, senior special effects supervisor on Game of Thrones. The cast includes Kelly Eastwood who was in my short film Waiting for Gorgo! There was a cast and crew screening sometimes in 2013. That’s all I know. More at www.hivehousefilms.com
Opening Night of the Living Dead (directed by Joshua Dickinson)
I covered the August premiere of this at the time. It was held in the same Suffolk theatre that the actual film was made in. The film is lined up for Horror-on-Sea later this month. More info on Facebook.
Pounce (directed by Keith R Robinson)
Filmed in Wales in April 2012, this finally premiered at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Orlando in November 2014. 101 Films have the rights and are planning a release sometime in 2015, apparently. More at www.facebook.com/pouncemovie
The Redwood Massacre (directed by David Ryan Keith)
Return of the Ghost (directed by Jason Wilcox)
Survival Instinct (directed by Steve Lawson)
Scrawl (directed by Peter Hearn)
Horror-on-Sea returns to Southend a week on Friday for not one but two weekends of top-flight scare cinema, much of it British. And, as usual, little things like a day-job and a family keep me away. One day I’ll get there…
Here is a full run-down of the UK features and shorts screening at HoS 2015, some of which I have seen and reviewed and some of which I would like to see one day.
There are also films from around the world including two terrific features which I have reviewed on my main blog: imaginative and stylish ‘creepy family’ feature Exhumedfrom the States, and knock-out Irish giallo The Three Sisters.
Plus, not to be missed: How Not to Make a Horror Movie, the latest presentation by the legendary Pat Higgins.
Legacy of Thorn (dir.MJ Dixon)
“Four years ago, on February 29th, Jessica was a pretty, popular, high school girl with everything going for her when, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, she and her friends faced a deadly nightmare when the local urban legend known only as Thorn became a terrifying reality.” Stylish prequel to Slasher House.
Nekros (dir.Michael J Murphy)
“The end of the tourist season on the beautiful island of Nekros turns into a nightmare for tour rep Ellie after a series of gruesome murders. Realising she can't trust anyone she begins to doubt her own sanity. Is she losing her mind or is she somehow involved in the bizarre world she now finds herself in?” The latest offering from British horror legend Murphy, who has been knocking them out since the 1980s.
Opening Night of the Living Dead (dir.Joshua Dickinson)
“During an amateur dramatics production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the dead start attacking the living and causing more problems than just actors forgetting their lines. Despite the horrors backstage, with true theatrical zeal, the cast and crew decide the show must go on!” The director of this was one of the stars of The Mirror.
The Room in the Tower (dir.Jason Wilcox)
“A young couple, Roland and Mia, book a holiday in the country, which Mia hopes will break a cycle of recurring nightmarish dreams which Roland is having. However, Roland warns her that the tower they are staying in is identical to the location in his dreams, and it is not long before they begin to spill over into reality, with disastrous consequences.” The latest offering from prolific indie film-maker Wilcox, director of Return of the Ghost.
“The girls of Babealicious TV are the girls of men's dreams but when a viewers obsession turns to anger and hate the girls might just begin to wish they were plain Janes.” Starring Suzi Lorraine, Stuart Brennan and Debbie Rochon!
The Slayers: Portrait of a Dismembered Family (dir.Alex Poray)
“The Slayer Family made scandalous national press headlines when Patrick, son of The Rt. Hon Stanley Slayer claimed his father killed a young woman during a satanic ritual and was forced to film the murder. Stanley says Patrick wanted to make a horror movie. So with help from family, friends and bucket loads of fake blood they did.”
Tales of the Supernatural (dir.Steven M Smith, Daniel Johnson)
“The Demon is a fallen angel, banished to our earth in search of 666 souls before lucifer will let him leave. He moves through us in search of keepsakes where he can extract the souls of the damned. Are you next? Six bone-chilling, blood-curdling, nightmare-inducing short films that link together to reveal a shocking truth...” Anthology from the director of Time of Her Life. Cast includes BHR regular Giles Alderson.
“Accused of a brutal murder by the people in their village, Oliver Isaacs and James Dean-Hughes set out to prove their innocence and catch the ferocious beast they claim is responsible for the death of Oliver's fiancé.”
Attack of the Mutant Radioactive Snowmen (dir.Molly Brown)
“Trailer for a (non-existent) 1950s sci-fi horror blockbuster.”
Bernard (dir.Robert Howells)
“Growing up can be tough when you've got a lazy dad and a domineering mother. When Bernard decides to roll up his sleeves and put food on the table himself, it leaves his parents disagreeing on the path their son should take in life.”
The Brethren (dir.Shane Wheeler)
“A young man awakens from a vivid dream, compelled to dig into his garden lawn. Two feet down, exactly where the dream told him it would be, he finds a small wooden box. That night he experiences horrific visions of the past, a past he may even be connected to.”
“Nancy has passed out in a dying Halloween house party. In a mass of bloody, violent mayhem, Steve and his social miscreant buddy Shinbone endeavour to save Nancy from the worst of the party's occupants"
Eye See You (dir.John Foxen)
“A couple on the tube get the shock of their lives when they see who they’ve left behind on the platform.”
Eyes Wide Open (dir.Stephen Norrington)
“From an innocent begin to a gruesome end we see the demise of the victim through her own eyes.”
Flat (dir.Geoff Cockwill)
“Lisa is on her way to a night out when she is diverted down a country road and suddenly gets a flat tyre. Stuck on her own, with no one to help, she soon discovers someone or something is watching her and she has gotten a flat in the worst place possible...”
Hell is… (dir.Paul Laight)
“Holed up in a 'safe-house' a career criminal's sanity is questioned and tested by the behaviour of the couple upstairs. Unable to act he begins to unravel mentally culminating in violence.”
“After the accident, Rebecca discovers herself in a very different world than she remembers. Plagued by her patchy memory and self-doubt she fends for herself. She encounters Gary who tells her a terrifying story of his escape from the local jail. Can Rebecca trust Gary? Can she cope with what she learns? Can she survive in the world of the ‘Infected’?” Half-hour short from the director of the Resident Evil 6 game.
The Journey (dir.Andy Ward)
“A post-apocalyptic thriller set in a future where humankind has either been evacuated or wiped out from a mysterious virus that has plagued the world.”
Jump (dir.John Foxen)
“An unsuspecting commuter is driven to extremes by demonic influences in the London underground.”
The Last One (dir.Richard Elson)
“The last man alive lives in fear of an unseen invader.”
The Mystery of the Missing Armadillo (dir.Molly Brown)
“1952: An armadillo goes missing on its way to London Zoo. But what REALLY happened to the missing armadillo? And is the truth far more sinister than anything you might imagine?”
“Charlie is in for a rude shock when he discovers his toilet can talk.”
Protein (dir.Tony Burke)
“A traumatised gym-obsessed ex-soldier can’t afford the protein he needs to lift the weights he wants to lift, so decides to kill and eat someone who can.”
Re: Your Brains (dir.Molly Brown)
“An animated music video for Jonathan Coulton's zombie anthem, Re: Your Brains."
Skulligan (dir.Louis Segal)
“At a Funfair, Billy ventures inside a curiosity-booth and finds a broken time-machine. The machine malfunctions and transports the boy to the 'Undead-West' where he encounters infamous outlaw Conrad Skulligan.. Suddenly, the machine takes them both back to the Funfair at night - a place where Count Dracula lives, a futuristic Frankenstein-Monster stalks and an Alligator-werewolf salivates.”
The Stomach (dir.Ben Steiner)
“Frank's had enough. A spirit medium whose unique and grotesque method of channeling the dead is putting his own life at risk, he wants out. But others, in this world and the next, have plans of their own.”
2 Careful Owners (dir.Mike Tack)
“Discover more about the death of Chris Lee's wife Barbara and the conspiracy which lands Chris at the mercy of the criminal underworld.”
Waiting (dir.Richard Elson)
“A mysterious woman spends her days waiting for a train that never comes, a couple fall out of love as they get lost in an eerie wood, and a pair of brattish sisters uncover a terrifying secret underneath a chained oak tree.”
The Widow (dir.Paul Rodriguez)
“Micky and Darrel blag their way into the house of a lonely Widow with the intention of robbing and more. Violence is a game for them and their attacks have been escalating. Will the chance arrival of policeman Jack Pearson on his rounds put an end to their campaign or will they manage to escape once again?”
There was a screening of the film at the Queen's Theatre, Burslem last month. (Trivia point 2: I interviewed Bill Hicks backstage at the Queen's Theatre in 1993.) There was a second screening a few days ago, and Williams is flogging self-produced DVDs - at the screenings and also standing around in car parks. I think you have to contact him through Facebook or something if you want one by post.
What's really great is that all the money raised from the screenings and DVDs goes to the Gentleshaw Wildlife Sanctuary. Look - baby kestrels...
And zombies on the streets of Stoke.
There is a film listed on Amazon.co.uk for release next month called Dead Wood. There’s no mention of cast or crew, just this synopsis:
“The story follows a group of friends on a weekend camping trip to a forest. Despite rumours that the area was the location of a set of gruesome murders, the friends ultimately decide to stay and enjoy their weekend. When strange things begin to happen to them, however, they realise it is too late to leave. One of the standout horror films of 2015.”
The disc attracted my attention because I wondered whether it might be Paul Knight’s British horror feature Dead Wood which was shot a couple of years ago. But that’s a zombie picture, so doesn’t fit the synopsis.
So I googled the synopsis and found it has been cut and pasted from the Wikipedia page for Shaun Troke’s Anglo-Polish feature Sparrow. That has (allegedly) already had a UK release, last August, under the new title Deep Rooted Evil.
Could it be a re-release of David Bryant’s rural supernatural shocker Dead Wood, originally released back in 2009? The synopsis sort of fits. The image doesn’t – no creepy cottages in that film – buyt we know that’s not necessarily a clue.
The mystery film is listed as running 72 minutes, but the 2009 feature runs 82 minutes and Sparrow is 77 minutes. Interestingly, the BBFC has only one record for a film called Dead Wood, and that’s Bryant's. Even more interestingly, there is no BBFC listing for Sparrow (apart from the Zeffirelli film and something from Hong Kong) or for Deep Rooted Evil. The Amazon pages for Deep Rooted Evil and the 2015 Dead Wood both list Three Wolves Ltd as the distributor; their other releases include Martin Gooch’s Death and an anniversary edition of Hardware.
Who knows what this new Dead Wood is? Perhaps it’s a re-edit/re-re-title of Sparrow? Whatever it is, it hasn’t been certificated yet. May not even be British at all, although the IMDB only lists two films called Dead Wood: Bryant’s and Knight’s.
Continuing our round-up of completed, screened but unreleased British horror films from 2013/14:
7 Cases (directed by Sean J Vincent)
Shot over the second half of 2013, this torture porn movie from the director of The Addicted premiered at the St Albans Film Festival in May 2014, following which one of the scenes was reshot in September. An eclectic cast includes Steven Berkoff, Samantha Fox and Saffron out of Republica. Vincent is now prepping a time travel feature called Hindsight. More at www.seanjvincent.com
Shadows of a Stranger (directed by Chris Clark, Richard Dutton)
Clark and Dutton spent five years making their debut feature on a budget of somewhere under £20,000, with principal photography wrapping in January 2012. The premiere was held at the Lincoln Odeon in September 2014. The cast includes Ian Cullen (Hellbreeder, Le Fear II, Family Affairs), CBeebies icon Sarah Jane Honeywell (now a BHR regular in films like The Herd and Book of the Dead), Colin McFarlane (Dr Muhahaha from Hounded) and former Tardis resident Colin Baker. More at www.shadowsofastranger.co.uk
The Singing Bird Will Come (directed by Iain Ross McNamee)
Filmed in Stafford between March and July 2014. The premiere was held in Stafford in November 2014 with preview screenings this month in Stafford, Shrewsbury and that London. More at www.thesingingbirdwillcome.com
Sleep (directed by John Aldridge)
Don't know much about this one. It premiered at the Woolton Picture House, Liverpool in September 2013. No news since then. The Facebook page only goes up to March 2012 so that’s no use.
About two weeks ago, I included Rich Davis' microbudget zombie feature Dead End in my post headed Recent, unreleased British horror films Part 2.
Lo and behold, Dead End is now available to rent or buy, for a trifling amount, through the magic of IndieReign In fact, here it is.
I haven't watched it myself yet, but it's on my list.
I just made this graph for my mate Pat Higgins to use in his talk at Horror-on-Sea this weekend. This is how many British horror films have been released each year of the 21st century. Is it any wonder that I can't keep up?
Still they come. Films which have been completed and screened (as far as I know) but not yet made commercially available.
Soldiers of the Damned (directed by Mark Nuttall)
Filmed in April/May 2013, a not-quite finished version of this was trade-screened at the AFM in November 2014. From the director of CBBC’s Prank Patrol! More at www.facebook.com/SOTDfilm
This Changed Earth (directed by Ross Bradley, David Hinds)
“The earth has changed, but not for those who still stand upon it. A masked figure stalks a graveyard searching for remnants. Moths and butterflies trapped in the light. A lizard nailed to a tree. A man imprisoned by his own tired vices. A rabbit in a pantry. Seeds in a small wooden box. All these things will collide, fuse and split…and all will be born again, upon this changed earth.”
This was made in 2011 in Nottinghamshire. My notes say there was a screening in November 2013 but I can’t find any details. There’s no help to be had on the production company’s website, devilswax.com, where the most recent update is an August 2014 announcement that a second feature The House on Cuckoo Lane, is allegedly on its way to festivals.
Vampire Guitar (directed by Richard Pawelko)
This Welsh-shot horror-comedy premiered at the Bram Stoker Film Festival in October 2013 where it won Best Screenplay but it hasn’t been heard from since. There’s an e-book novelisation on Amazon! The title alone puts this on my must-see list. More at vampireguitarfilm.co.uk
Wandering Rose (directed by Corrie Greenop)
This wonderful ghost story, which I reviewed last October, screened in London in August 2014. And over here I expressed my dismay at the US retitling and sleeve design (set for May 2015 release but not yet on Amazon). More at www.wanderingrosemovie.com
I have finally completed the project to move all my British horror reviews from the old, defunct site to this one. Here is a full list of the 133 British horror features I have reviewed to date: those that came across from the old site and the ones I have written in the past two years (there's more than 131 items here because of alternative titles). There are of course a whole load more films that are reviewed in my book Urban Terrors (plus a few titles covered both in print and online).
How many of these have you seen? Please feel free to leave a comment under any review you agree or disagree with...
Alex Verner, who also does motorsport docs (including TT3D; Closer to the Edge), wrote and directed Camera Trap, which was produced by Jason Newmark (Triangle, Severance, Creep) and Steve Christian (The Disappearance of Alice Creed). The film was shot in Nepal and on the Isle of Man in January and February 2013.
The cast includes Mark Bonnar (X Moor, Psychoville), Ross Marquand (who was in four episodes of The Walking Dead!), Paul Thornley and Ana Ularu (Anaconda 4, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us). Nick Rideout (The Woman in Black 2, The Descent) supervised the effects.
Synopsis 1: A natural history documentary style horror-thriller about a British wildlife film unit set in the depths of central Asia. Using the latest in camera trap technology, four filmmakers go out in search of the rare Amur Snow Leopard. What they discover is something far more terrifying than they could ever have expected.
Synopsis 2: Following a British wildlife film crew armed with the latest camera technology as they pursue local sightings of a rare wildcat in Central Asia, Camera Trap is atmospheric, visually stunning and terrifyingly real. Filmed as documentary with an unprecedented level of authenticity, Camera Trap catches the crew both 'on' and 'off' camera as they track down their prey. The film is a mix between Frozen Planet and The Blair Witch Project.
Here's the trailer (via The Film Catalogue):
There is also some footage on the website of composer Barnaby Taylor. And here are a few stills:
Julian Glover is the name value in the cast which also includes Mark Drake (Wasteland). Chloe Edwards (Scopia, Cryptic) provided the make-up effects.
Synopsis: Ralph is a 26 year-old regional journalist who’s been having recurring nightmares in German. To help him understand his troubling dreams, his friend Claudia, a 22 year-old hippie, uses her undeveloped psychic powers to give him a profound past-life regression, which floods his mind with memories of being a Nazi commando on a mission in and around the South Downs in 1940.
When his visions of that past existence begin to take shape in his current reality, Ralph starts to investigate. In the hope of piecing together his previous life, he goes on a camping trip to the locations he saw in his regression. He is accompanied by Claudia and their respective partners, Andrea and Lucas, who are much more interested in each other than reincarnation.
What none of them realise is that the past Ralph is trying to find is now stalking them, and plans to exact a terrible revenge on all four campers for crimes committed nearly seventy years ago.
Backtrack is an intelligent and exciting psychological horror film that explores the dark side of reincarnation and karma. What sins did we commit in our past lives and will we pay for them in this one?
Looks good. The British Horror/War Revival continues! More at www.backtrackfilm.com
Where the original three Satanic Sluts vids were basically collections of performance vignettes which, with the best will in the world, can't really be considered 'films', Satanic Sluts version 2.0 is a series of actual feature-length narrative productions. Nigel sent me a screener for one of the first, an avant garde feature called A Girl (review coming soon, if you'll pardon the expression).
I think A Girl can just about be considered a horror film in its depiction of a descent into madness. Some of the others lined up clearly aren't horror, but some titles do sound very promising indeed. Nigel currently has four projects on IndieGoGo including these two little gems:
WHAT IS 'I WAS A FRANKENSTEIN NYMPHOMANIAC GIRL' ABOUT?
A mad scientist obsessed with creating a living human from the remains of dead bodies creates a female monster but there is one problem, she lacks a brain! Then the scientist's ghastly assistant accidentally knocks over a drunk woman and brings her body to the scientist's laboratory. Unknown to the doctor is that this woman had a pathological condition and suffered from nymphomania, an uncontrollable and excessive sexual desire. Once the new brain is implanted in the monster the scientist realises his terrible mistake...
Or, if you fancy something a little less jolly:
WHAT IS 'THE BLACK HOUSE' ABOUT?
A bleak expressionist re-imagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s Fall of The House of Usher, featuring “The Evil Twins" from Tean SYNister.
Pat Higgins (he of Hellbride, The Devil's Music etc) which this year was entitled How Not to Make a Horror Movie. It's on Vimeo now.
Pat's 80-minute talk is liberally scattered with awesome behind-the-scenes footage plus video insert contributions from some of the best indie horror makers around including Jonathan Glendening (13Hrs), MJ Dixon (Legacy of Thorn), Dani Thompson (Serial Kaller), Jason Impey (Zombie Lover), Keith Wright (Harold's Going Stiff), Al Ronald (Jesus vs the Messiah) and Jim Eaves (Bane). There's even a brief mention of me near the end as Pat shows people a bar chart I did demonstrating the rise in British horror film production.
For anyone with an interest in contemporary British horror, this is essential viewing.
But when is Pat going to actually make another feature?
Everyone loves Japanese movie marketing. The posters and sleeves which come out of the Land of the Rising Sun are often completely different to those found in the rest of the world, and indeed sometimes completely different to anything in the film in question.
To celebrate the UK release of Zombie Resurrection (reviewed here) which comes about 18 months after it hit shelves in Japan, here's a selection of Japanese DVD sleeves for other British Horror Revival titles:
James Eaves' vaguely Cube-esque Bane.