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    Here's the first trailer and stills from Lead Me to the Dark, a vampire feature shot last year by James Twyman in collaboration with Steven M Smith (Time of Her Life) who exec.produced the movie through his Greenway Entertainment company.

    Synopsis: Lead Me to the Dark is the story of Amy Cole, an investigative reporter whose life is turned upside down when her daughter Lily-Mae is struck with terminal cancer. Using every resource she has she desperately tries to find something that can save her child, be it an untested drug, a new therapy... even a miracle will do. As she searches she stumbles upon a dark and secret world that may hold the key to Lily-Mae's survival, but by the time she's done... she may wish she had let her daughter die.

    The creatures that inhabit this dark culture are vampires, and not the ones we are used to in books and films. These cold super predators control everything from politics to trafficking, cultivating mankind to think they are free, making them easier to use. They agree to turn Lily-Mae in return for the use of Amy's unique set of skills, a deal that takes Amy deeper in to the bloody, horrible and frightening world of the vampire.


    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.”

    Keep track of the film at www.facebook.com/leadmetothedark




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    Jagoda (directed by Lex Pokane-Hefner)


    “Set in London year 2021, not much has changed in the world except it has become a darker place to live where a person’s sanity is questioned and if found to have any form of mental illness they are sectioned under strict supervisions of their porters awaiting a Brain Transplant. A quick fix solution to the large numbers of Mental Illness, which Teenager Kirsty discover may be the only solution to keep away the vision that haunt her life OR is there something more sinister in her life then just Visions. We see Young Kirsty who lives with her over bearing, hyper religious sister Lauren. Lauren disapproves of the negative influences in Kirtsy Life in Particular her best friend Dana and Boyfriend Michael. Will Kirsty be able to figure out what or who is behind the haunted life she leads OR will it be to late.........”

    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)


    “The Carnacki Institute exists to do something about ghosts. When reports of the supernatural from an old village hall point to an apparently standard haunting, an elite team of Ghost Finders is dispatched to assess the situation. The team of four includes a cameraman and former Ghost Finder from the Carnacki Institute, who is there to document events as a training tool for new recruits. But things go from bad to worse when it becomes clear that they are facing something far more sinister than they first anticipated. The hall harbours a dark secret, and the team must use every trick they know to try and get out of there alive. Three men and one woman who think they’ve seen it all. That is, until they encounter the chilling Judas Ghost... Who will survive and what will be left of their souls?”

    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)


    “Rachel, a rookie cop, is about to begin her first nightshift in a neglected police station in a Scottish, backwater town. The kind of place where the tide has gone out and stranded a motley bunch of the aimless, the forgotten, the bitter-and-twisted who all think that, really, they deserve to be somewhere else. They all think they’re there by accident and that, with a little luck, life is going to get better. Wrong, on both counts. Six is about to arrive – and All Hell Will Break Loose!”

    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

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    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.

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    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


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    Now here's an interesting release strategy. Proportion Productions have completed two films so far:

    Lucifer's Night
    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.

    Deadly Waters
    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.

    Lucifer's Night had a one-off London screening in October 2014 and is now available on DVD, but only to those who support the 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

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    Still yet more British horror films not yet generally available...

    Nightmare Hunters (directed by Ewan Gorman)


    “When something kills Mr Harper’s dog and he’s found terrified near the wood, the blame is placed on an escaped big cat. Two eleven year old friends, Sam and Raffi, set out on a mission to capture it. But this is no ordinary beast and they are not the only hunters in the forest. What started as a bit of fun becomes a deadly game of hide and seek as they discover the true nature of the animal, and its links to the shadowy Bio-Corporation. The boys must now rely only on each other in a desperate struggle for survival.”

    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)


    “An unspeakable nightmare begins when a group of travelers are lost in the remote hills of the Scottish Highlands, with no hope of rescue. Seeking refuge in a creepy lodge for a night puts all of their lives in danger. The horror surges as they find themselves relentlessly pursued by a force of evil beyond their imagination! Featuring a hip ensemble of up-and-coming young stars, this blood-curdling epic is a shock-a-minute horror rush that will leave you screaming for more!”

    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)


    “It's opening night of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' and Lydia is desperate to get signed by an agent. Despite Lawrence, her over indulgent co-star and an underwhelming supporting cast, if she can just do her final speech she knows she'll have an opportunity to shine. Watching from the tech box, making sure the show runs smoothly is Joe, the put upon techie who has fallen for Lydia, but he's not even sure she knows his name. Such is the separation of actors and techies it seems that these star-crossed lovers will never meet. Only something truly extraordinary, truly unbelievable that could threaten the future of the world...and even the show...could possibly bring them together...”

    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)


    Pounce is a horror/thriller film about a group of conspiracy theorists that are secretly watching a Top Secret military base in the desolate Welsh mountains. They are looking for experimental and highly classified test aircraft to report about in a magazine, when they suddenly discover a Top Secret and highly lethal creature (secretly discovered in the 1920’s) which the military and Government are testing who’s fur has the ability to turn invisible in moon light. The film follows their plight as they are hunted both by the creature (which the Army has nick named ‘The Silverhide’ and the military who will stop at nothing to keep their classified specimen a secret…”

    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

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    Another quartet of features you can't see yet.

    The Redwood Massacre (directed by David Ryan Keith)


    “For five adventurous friends, visiting the legendary murder site of Redwood has all the hallmarks of being an exciting and thrilling camping weekend away. A popular site for revellers and party goers, each year on the exact date of the famous local family massacre, people from around the country head out to the site to have fun and scare each other. As the five campers head deeper into the woods they soon discover they’re not the only people in the mysterious location. The fun camping expedition soon turns into a bloody nightmare as they are sadistically stalked by a mysterious evil presence hell bent on viciously murdering his innocent victims one by one. Events take a bloody turn for the worse when the innocent campers discover the Redwood myth is in fact a horrible reality, which turns the unsuspecting victims into prey for a mysterious axe wielding maniac that has remained dormant for 20 years.”


    Shot near Aberdeen over the second half of 2013, this has played a number of international festivals since premiering at Chicago in September 2014. David Ryan Keith and chums previously brought us horror-comedy Attack of the Herbals. More at www.facebook.com/CheckItBloodyOut


    Return of the Ghost (directed by Jason Wilcox)


    “In a haunted mansion, a couple realise it isn’t only ‘occupied’ by the dead.”


    Jason Wilcox has been making amateur feature films, most of them horror, since 2005. This is one of the few to have received a festival screening – at Horror-on-Sea in January 2014. One year on, Wilcox’s The Room in the Tower is set to premiere at HoS 2015. There is very little information anywhere about Wilcox’s films but you can see some trailers on his Vimeochannel.

    Survival Instinct (directed by Steve Lawson)


    “Taking its cue from classic survival-thrillers such as Duel and Deliverance, Survival Instinct is a fast-paced edge-of-your seat thriller with a strong female lead and a plausible, morally-ambiguous villain. Stacey and Thom are in the middle of a road trip to a remote area of Derbyshire's Peak District when Thom's new car breaks down and Stacey is forced to go in search of water for the engine. Instead she encounters two locals, Weaver and his estranged son Rex. After a fatal accident occurs, all hell breaks loose as Weaver's determination that the authorities should not find out what has happened leads him to relentlessly pursue Stacey across the dangerous terrain of the Peak District, culminating in a deadly showdown.”


    I reviewed Steve’s film, then titled Rites of Passage, from the cast and crew screening in April 2014. More at www.rites-movie.co.uk


    Scrawl (directed by Peter Hearn)


    “What if two guys wrote a comic book to escape their reality? What if that comic book invaded their reality? What if the comic book foretold the death of many in their town? Simon Goodman is a 16 year boy living in a run down seaside town  With his best friend Joe Harper he creates a comic book called 'Scrawl' as a way to gain some notoriety and pick up girls.  It isn't long before they start to see situations in the comic book come to life.  At first it's great, girls start to become interested in them, and all seems fun.  But then they start to worry, because at page 25, they've written a huge bloody massacre, and not only that, but monsters start to show themselves.  How will it all end?”


    What if… you cast an unknown actress in your low-budget horror film and, while it was in post, she was given a lead role in the biggest Hollywood blockbuster of the year? Daisy Ridley’s casting in Star Wars VII can’t have hurt the distribution prospects for this film? There was a cast and crew screening in June 2014. More at www.facebook.com/scrawlmovie


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    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.

    British features


    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.

    Serial Kaller (dir.Dan Brownlie)
    “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.

    Torn: a SHOCK YOUmentary (dir.Justin Carter)
    “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.”

    British shorts


    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.”

    Dead Party (dir.Charlie Parsons)
    “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.”

    Infected (dir.Jason Wright)
    “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?”


    Potty Mouth (dir.Darren Langlands)
    “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?”

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    This is great. A bloke called John Williams (not the composer, not the guitarist...) has made a feature-length zombie epic in Stoke-on-Trent for about 500 quid. It's called The Mothertown and has two names in the cast: Pete Bennett (the Tourette's chap from Big Brother) and They Think It's All Over host Nick Hancock. (Trivia point 1: I first saw Nick Hancock, then half a double act with Niall Mullarkey, at a cabaret in Coventry in 1986.)

    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.


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    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.

    Also, I suspect it won't be "one of the standout horror films of 2015."

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    Continuing our round-up of completed, screened but unreleased British horror films from 2013/14:

    7 Cases (directed by Sean J Vincent) 


    “Two retired bank robbers take on one last job after meeting for the first time in 15 years... but their past comes back to haunt them. They spend the day trying to retrieve their money in one of the weirdest and scariest treasure hunts ever... They must decide between their friends and loved ones lives and their money... will anyone survive?”

    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)


    “David is a struggling private detective working in the city of Meridian, a bleak and lifeless place where people trudge along like ghosts. The investigator is soon to be haunted by more than just the shadows of his fragmented life. After he's approached by a reclusive actor, David takes on one last job, one that will either make his fortune or break everything. David must search within the darkest corners of his home city, a journey that takes him within the darkest corners of his own mind. But somewhere in the shadows the ghosts await him... Shadows of a Stranger is an original tale that re-samples Charles Dickens'A Christmas Carol in a dark melange of 'ghostly' visitations, psychic travelling, and the search for one's atrophied humanity. Re-imagined in a bleak, contemporary setting, the film also takes inspiration from Robert Rodriguez / Frank Miller's Sin City, and David Fincher's Se7en.”

    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)


    “A girl is forced to return to her hometown from London after her mother’s death and the break-up of her relationship. Taking a job as a night cleaner in a restaurant, she is troubled by the appearance of the ghost of a girl who disappeared years ago. A mystery unfolds around her, putting her in danger of meeting the same fate. The Singing Bird Will Come is a psychological horror thriller centering on the emotional restlessness of the lead character played by Gillian Harker. Supported by a strong cast from around the UK, this is a compelling and unnerving debut from Writer-Director Iain Ross McNamee. For fans of ghost horror films, The Singing Bird Will Come’s disturbing emotional air and atmospheric setting will have you drawn into the story and sitting on the edge of your seat.”

    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)


    “After the death of his fiance, Tom starts to see her in his dreams - living again. Every night he searches through his dreams for his fiance encountering elves and vampires along the way. Set against the backdrop of a dark, vampire infested dream scape Tom must decide whether he will stay in the dreams with his fiance, or return to the waking world where he can still lead a normal life.”

    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.

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    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.


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    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?



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    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)


    “It’s the Eastern Front, 1944. The Russians are pushing the German Army back through Romania. Major Kurt Fleischer, war-weary commander of an elite troop of German soldiers, is ordered to escort a female scientist into a mysterious forest behind enemy lines to retrieve an ancient relic. As his men begin to disappear in strange circumstances Fleischer realises that the scientist is part of Himmler’s occult department and there is something in the forest that is far more deadly than the Russians.”

    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)


    “The film is a black comedy. It follows the murderous progress of a killer guitar and its attendant roadie with whom it develops a Faustian pact. The roadie’s tragic relationship with the evil instrument forms the spine of the film. The marks left on the bodies of five victims baffle both the police and an eminent vampire hunter. The mysterious villain turns out to be a musical monster with an insatiable appetite for blood, usually that of the unfortunate musicians who acquire the six stringed menace. Set in a fictitious radio station the action is brought to cinematic life through the vivid imagination of an obsessive “listener” who conjures up most of the scenes in his head. The climax features an electrifying showdown between the forces of good and evil that can turn us into angels or devils.”

    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)


    "Rose and her fiance Theo, escape the city for a weekend away to the idyllic Scottish Highlands. Theo sees it as a last chance to have some romantic alone time with Rose before she gives birth to their first child. The couple's peace disintegrates as Rose is confronted with chilling memories of her secret past. The weekend descends into a living nightmare as Rose is forced to confront her demons. "

    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

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    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...


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      Here's an interesting British horror set for a September release on R2 DVD. Camera Trap is unusual in being a horror movie directed by a documentarian who normally shoots nature docs.

      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:


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      Tom Sands' film Backtrack, which was shot in 2013, is released on DVD in the UK on 16th February under the slightly more exploitational title Nazi Vengeance (to be fair, there is already an Australian film called Backtrack).

      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




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      Nigel Wingrove of Redemption Films is relaunching his evidently profitable 'Satanic Sluts' brand with a slate of low-budget features, some of which will certainly be more than just lesbian goth chicks masturbating.

      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.

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      If you can't get to Horror-on-Sea each year (as I can't) you can at least enjoy the talk by 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?

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      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:

      Jonathan Glendening's 13hrs gives away the monsters, but at least they're the monsters in this film, unlike on the US sleeve.

      If it wasn't for the credit block there would be no way to tell this is Adam Mason's awful debut The 13th Sign. Still, at least it's better than the UK sleeve...

      28 Days Later is basically the international design with a bit of yellow tape on it.

      There's a triangular angle to The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

      What's this? Another sequel to Cube? Nope, it's James Eaves' vaguely Cube-esque Bane.

      A cabbage wearing headphones? That can only be Berberian Sound Studio.

      Enjoyably daft crime-horror romp Botched played down the horror angle, using the 'victim in toppled chair' element but not the 'lift door' or 'severed head in pool of blood'.

      And finally for now: how freaking awesome is this?

      (More Japanese sleeves soon...)

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