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    Here are some more examples of remarkable DVD packaging created for modern British horror films when released in Japan.

    Monster is Andrew Goth's bonkers police/monster romp Cold and Dark, starring Luke Goss and Kevin Howarth.

    Michael J Bassett's Deathwatch uses a different photo of Jamie Bell which makes him look younger and more like Billy Elliot.

    I know it's a bit small but this is the only image I could find for the Japanese release of The Descent. Blame,

    I'm reasonably sure that Hitman vs Devil is Sean Hogan's The Devil's Business.

    Run of the Dead is generic zombie flick Devil's Playground, starring Danny Dyer and Craig Fairbrass. What do you mean, they should have called it Run of the Mill? That's a bit unkind.

    It's that man Dyer again in Jake West's hilarious Doghouse, looking less pensive than on the UK sleeve.

    A distinctly different approach for Neil Marshall's loopy post-apocalyptic epic Doomsday.

    More Japanese sleeves coming soon.

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    There is a preview screening of Unhallowed Ground, the debut feature from director Russell England, on 19th March. Tickets are free, but limited.

    The screening is at West Digital Post Production, London W12. Doors open 6.30pm, lights out 7.00pm, followed by a Q&A with some of the people behind the film.

    Book yourself a place here.
    Here's the teaser trailer:

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    More crazy marketing from the Pacific Rim:

    This is the film variously known as Doctor Sleep, Close Your Eyes and Hypnotic. It was never released in the UK.

    A very different photo of Kelly Reilly on the Eden Lake sleeve.

    Stuart Hazeldine's Exam: you can spot the English title faintly behind the Japanese text.

    That notorious, long-delayed, much re-edited Wesley Snipes horror western.

    The meat pie gives away the fact that this is Gregory Mandry's Gnaw. I love that the Japanese distributor retitled it Crazy's Kitchen!

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    Marc Hamill, writer-director of British horror-crime-action-comedy-trash-grindhouse epic The Wrong Floor - in which I am privileged to appear as mad scientist Dr Logan - was interviewed this week by Wayne Kelly of The Joined Up Writing Podcast ("a regular show for writers by writers").

    Marc talks about how he developed the Wrong Floor script and the importance of understanding a genre fully before working within it.

    The podcast is about 35 minutes long. If you just want to hear Marc's bit, that runs from about 6'10" to about 22'20".

    You can find out more about The Wrong Floor, which is now very close to wrapping principal photography, at

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    A lot of post-2000 British horror films are missing in action. I’ve got a list of more than 280 which at least entered production but which have never surfaced anywhere, not even a single screening. Of these, probably the oldest, and therefore the least likely to ever turn up, is Dead Room.

    Filmed in May 2001, this was a multi-director anthology before the subgenre became popular. Julian Boote and Ian David Diaz had recently made a fairly decent little low-budget DTV thriller called The Killing Zone (which I might even still have on VHS upstairs somewhere) and they put the money they made from that into Dead Room. The four segments were directed by Boote, Diaz, Gavin Boyd (1st AD on The Killing Zone) and Mark Bowden (an actor in The Killing Zone) with an additional little bit directed by Phil Lott.

    Now, to the best of my knowledge, Dead Room was never released and in fact I had great doubts whether it had ever been completed. Writing my review of Scar Tissue the other day I noted that cinematographer Alan Dunlop “also lit lost 2001 British horror anthology Dead Room” - and it got me wondering what trace there might be of the film on the web, 14 years on.

    The IMDB page noted a Greek title, To domatio tou tromou, which I at first thought might be just an old-fashioned IMDB cock-up as that was the Greek title of a 2009 US thriller called The Killing Room. But no, incredibly, I came across evidence that there was an actual Greek release of Dead Room, on VHS and DVD. And thus it moved from my list of lost films to my master list of released British Horror Revival movies.

    Dead Room was trade-screened at the AFM in Santa Monica in February 2002 which presumably is where someone from Greek video label Videosonic saw it and bought it. Although most sources list Dead Room as either a 2001 film or a 2003 film, the Greek release was in December 2002 so that’s what I’m counting as its date of first commercial release.

    Which means two things. First: there were two British horror anthologies released in Greece in 2002 which have never been released anywhere else: Dead Room and Sentinels of Darkness. Although, unlike Sentinels, Dead Room had no Greek involvement. (In fact I’ve seen it listed as UK/Canadian which isn’t accurate. The AFM screening was courtesy of a Canada-based international sales agent, Avriofilmworks, but it’s an entirely British production, unlike Boote and Diaz’s subsequent horror feature Fallen Angels, which was a Canadian production shot in the UK.)

    The one and only review of Dead Room ever published anywhere was on The Zone where Paul Higson watched a DVD-R sent him by Julian Boote. This does actually acknowledge that there may have been a Greek release but suggests that one of the stories was cut. I’m not sure about that as the Greek disc has a cited running time of 97 minutes, which is not much short of the 103 usually listed (the AFM screening was 94, although that would presumably have been a 16mm print).

    All the above notwithstanding, what are our chances of ever seeing Dead Room? Well, one might be lucky and track down a Greek tape or disc on eBay. But in the meantime, Julian Boote’s story is on YouTube!

    Running 26 minutes, ‘Need to Know’ is a very early example of ‘found footage’, being the video footage of an investigative TV journo who has been invited by a Government-sponsored hitman to watch him at work and blow the gaff on what the powers that be are up to.  The two move into a ground floor room in a house where gunman Jim (Giles Ward) sets up ready for his hit. Unfortunately for reporter Nigel (Richard Banks – not the actor of that name who appears in Muppets Most Wanted and Bill) Jim turns out to be a conspiracy theory nutjob convinced that the people he is hired to kill are aliens.

    It’s not a bad little short, truth be told, with very effective playing from both leads. For such an early BHR film, it looks remarkably well-produced and there’s precious little to date it apart from the size of a mobile phone. This online version carried a 2003 copyright date and includes an extra scene – of Jim torturing a female victim (Tiffany Freisberg) – which was filmed two years after the main shoot (so won’t be in the Greek version).

    The other three stories, which supposedly all take place in the same room, are listed on the IMDB as ‘Shrine’, ‘The Crows’ and ‘Séance’ and our only information on them comes from the official synopsis and Higson’s review. The synopsis reads: “A young and sensitive writer goaded beyond endurance by an old enemy, an actress who is the victim of a crazed, bomb-making Stalker, a late night seance which goes gruesomely wrong, and a dangerously insane assassin on a gleeful killing spree.”

    The ‘young and sensitive writer’ story, which I think is possibly ‘The Crows’ (since the other two involve a séance and a shrine) is called ‘City Living’ in Higson’s review and stars Esme Eliot as a young hackette ghostwriting a footballer’s autobiography. Eventually the combined pressure of her agent and her neighbours tips her over the edge with presumably nasty results.

    Melissa Simonetti and Alex Stephenson star in Gavin Boyd’s segment, ‘Shrine’, as a gangster’s daughter abducted by a stalker (Laura Carter) and the homeless guy who gets mixed up in the situation. Mark Bowden’s ‘Séance’ is apparently a darkly comic tale of a middle-class coven; this is the story that might possibly be cut from the Greek release.

    Many of the cast were also in The Killing Zone and/or Fallen Angels but few seem to have done anything since. One exception is Anthony Ofoegbu as the landlord who provides the link between all four stories. He has been in episodes of Casualty and Spooks and also did some BBC radio dramas. Elsewhere in the cast we find Lisa Renée who was the waitress in the prologue of The Last Horror Movie and is now busy in America; Paul Vates who recently did some Lidl adverts; Alex King, who apparently moved into props work a few years later and now co-ordinates vehicle for blockbusters like Captain America and The Man from UNCLE; and Barry Lee-Thomas who was a copper in Cradle of Fear.

    Bejhan Kalantar, the film’s sound recordist, is now a jobbing post-production co-ordinator/supervisor on gigs like Wolf Hall and Black Mirror. Editor Rob Neilson later worked on The Cabin in the Woods and Malibu Shark Attack(!) while his brother, composer Mike Neilson, subsequently scored a range of American DTV schlock including Stonehenge Apocalypse.

    Ian David Diaz went on to make a thriller called Bad Day but seems to have disappeared now. Julian Boote has concentrated on acting with roles in, among other pictures, May I Kill U, Deadtime and Evil Souls. Diaz, Boote and others were part of a group called the Seventh Twelfth Collective, which produced Dead Room.

    If I ever get my hands on one of those Greek discs, I’ll add a full review to my site. In the meantime, it’s good to finally strike this one off my ‘unreleased’ list: proof that everything turns up eventually…

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  • 03/05/15--12:50: Awesome stills from Howl!
  • Paul Hyett showed a couple of clips from Howl at Glasgow Frighfest last week, and also gave an interview to Screen International which you can read here.

    Accompanying the article are three terrific stills from the film. Here's Ed Speleers (A Lonely Place to Die, Love Bite) as Joe and Holly Weston (Splintered, Dementamania) as Ellen.

    Here's blood-spattered Amit Shah (The Facility) as Matthew:

    And because it wouldn't be a proper British horror film without him, here's Sir Sean Pertwee as Tony:

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    Never heard of this one, but it's premiering at SXSW next week ahead of a limited theatrical release Stateside. Nina Forever is the debut feature of the Blaine Brothers (Chris and Ben) who have received lots of acclaim for their shorts, commercials etc.

    Synopsis: Nina Forever is a darkly comic love story. Holly’s attempt at helping Rob through his grief is not aided by his dead girlfriend Nina coming back, bloody and broken, every time they make love.

    Holly has a crush. She's fallen for Rob, who carries a black cloud of death and despair with him wherever he goes. She is warned off by her friends - he is a walking tragedy ever since his girlfriend Nina died in a car crash a year and a half ago. However Holly, a trainee paramedic, is undeterred: she wants him, she can fix him, she can make him happy again.

    They start a relationship, and the first time they're in bed together, so is Nina. A bloody and tangled mess of broken limbs, she is dead, very much so, but still here, still talking, all too real. However Holly doesn't freak out and run - she can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it's what Rob needs, it's what she'll do…

    Fiona O'Shaughnessy (Outcast, Malice in Wonderland) stars as Nina; Abigail Hardingham (The Spartikle Mystery) is Hollyl; and Cian Barry is Rob. Dan Martin (Little Deaths, F) is the special effects co-ordinator.

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    After a short break, we're back to taking a look at Pacific Rim marketing of British horror movies:

    In a Dark Place, a lacklustre remake of The Innocents, at least gets a creepy sleeve.

    An interesting take on Alex Chandon's terrific Inbred, playing down the splatter angle

    Some dodgy photoshop on Kill List!

    You've got to look closely to spot the wolf on the Love Bite sleeve.

    I could only find a blu-ray of the awesome Monsters which is clearly going for a more urban feel.

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    KILLERSAURUS TEASER POSTERSteve Lawson, the creative force behind Survival Instinct/Rites of Passage and Nocturnal Activity, has a new film on the way - and it's got a deadly dinosaur in it! Killer/Saurus is in post, here's an exclusive first look at the poster and here's the synopsis:

    When a scientist runs short of funding for his life-saving medical Bio-Printing research, he accepts an offer of investment from a shadowy military organisation. In return, he is forced to use his technology to create the ultimate battlefield weapon - a full size Tyranosaurus rex.

    After a horrific accident in which the dinosaur massacres his research team, the scientist shuts down the project. However, his investors demand results and it can only be a matter of time before the deadly T rex is unleashed upon the world!

    The cast includes Helen Crevel who was terrific in Survival Instinct (and is also in another upcoming horror feature, David Easton's Ensnared), Steven Dolton (Nocturnal Activity, Devil's Tower, Zombie Undead), Kenton Hall (an Andrew Jones regular, who was in Amityville Asylum, Theatre of Fear and Valley of the Witch) and Julian Boote from Evil Souls, May I Kill U and recently unearthed 'lost' horror anthology Dead Room.

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    I just had to share this. I came across this image over on Horrorpedia, on a page which was kind enough to quote from the Eden Lake section of Urban Terrors.

    What's bizarre about this poster? Got it in one. There's no mention of Michael Fassbender!

    Fassbender wasn't anywhere near as big a star then of course, but he had been in plenty of films and TV and was making a name for himself so it's extraordinary to discover that there was some brief period after the film was out and reviewed (note the Empire quote) but before Fassbender was well known enough to put his name on the marketing.

    You might think that in MF's absence the other credit would go to Jack O'Connell (not least because there's a picture of him) but it's actually Finn Atkins. With all due respect to Miss Atkins, I can't even remember her character of 'Paige', But I guess she was deemed the second most marketable name at the time.

    How odd.

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    Hard-working film programmer/historian Tony Earnshaw has unveiled the line-up for this year's Fantastiq weekend at Derby Quad, including some new British horror content.

    Jake West will be the special guest on the Sunday (10th May), with a lengthy 'in conversation' session followed by his latest feature-length documentary Video Nasties: Draconian Days. You can also catch a rare big screen outing of Jake's film Doghouse on the Friday (8th May).

    Also on Friday is the world premiere of Steve Lawson's cracking horror-thriller Survival Instinct (which I reviewed from the cast and crew screening when it was titled Rites of Passage). Steve will be in attendance for a Q&A.

    Among the various retro/archive events over the weekend are a preview of David Gregory's documentary feature about Richard Stanley and The Island of Dr Moreau, and Darrell Buxton launching a new book he has edited about British horror films of the 1980s.

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  • 04/12/15--08:55: Sleeve Gallery: Sacred Flesh
  • Redemption's nunsploitationer from 2000 may not be the greatest movie in the world but it's had plenty of releases and plenty of attempts by sleeve designers to convey what it's, ahem, like.

    You can read my review here.

    The original UK release from 2000 and the first US release from 2005

    UK re-issues from 2007 and 2011

    Dutch and Norwegian releases.

    Finnish release similar to the Dutch one, and the very different German DVD.

    No details on these two. The one on the right may be an unused UK design.

    Sacred Flesh was also released as part of this box set: UK on left, Australia on right.

    Greek DVD, and the most recent release, as an extra on the UK disc of Nigel Wingrove's notorious short film Visions of Ecstacy.

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    Who doesn't love a good werewolf movie? Bad Moon Rising (formerly Bad Moon) is the second feature from Dani Thompson's production company Blood, Sweat and Glitter.

    Thompson has been in a string of British horror features over the past few years, none of which have yet had a commercial release for one reason or another. These include Forest of the Damned 2, Zombie Women of Satan 2, Three's a Shroud, Monitor, Rock Band vs Vampires, Christmas Slay, Convention of the Dead, Banjo, Cute Little Buggers and the first film from BSG Production, Serial Kaller.

    Bad Moon Rising, which shot over February/March this year and is now in post, is directed by Alasdair MacKay from a script by Dani. The film follows the exploits of three paranormal debunkers played by Dani T, Loren Peta (Rancour) and Angela Holmes (I am Cursed, The Crypt, Crying Wolf). The three previously worked on Rock Band vs Vampires, as did some of the other cast and crew.

    Synopsis: Scream Team is a successful structured reality TV show in which it's three stars, Lucy, Jordan and Pip go ghost hunting in various supposedly haunted locations. Structured is they key word here though, the girls don't really believe in the paranormal or supernatural, that is until they accept an invitation to investigate strange goings on in a small Bulgarian village.

    The cast also includes David Curtis (star of the 'Gabriel Cushing' films), Billy Chainsaw (Strippers vs Werewolves, The Sleeping Room) and lots of people credited as 'Werewolf cult member' which pretty much summarises the plot. Dave Darko is providing the all-important make-up effects.

    There are loads of behind-the-scenes photos on the movie's Facebook page, and the trailer should be ready any day now.

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    Yes, someone is making a horror film called Rancour. And if you try to tell me that your first reaction to this was anything except speculation about whether Jonathan Ross will ever discuss this film, then I call you a lying sod.

    Synopsis: When a broke young couple rent a room in an elderly couple’s London house, horror unfolds as no one appears to be who they really are.

    Marcus Crowe is a stand-up comedian who could have made it big, but blew his opportunity and now has to settle for low-key gigs in nasty London pubs. His girlfriend, Jill, is desperate for Mark to come to terms with reality and urges him to pursue a secure future. Forced to vacate their two bed flat, the couple immediately find a perfect room to rent in the centre of London, owned by an old couple, Henry and Josephine Baker.

    The old couple are seemingly very nice, taking an interest in the young couple’s lives. Marcus and Jill are shocked when told the old couple have a new born baby. Stuck in the house 24-7 and suffering writer’s block, Marcus spirals into paranoia shortly after, in what he believes is the old couple spying on them. One day, Mark finds the horrifying truth behind the baby and the old couple’s real reason for renting the room. Attempting to escape the house, he’s knocked unconscious by an unseen assailant and dragged into a basement…

    Rancour – A New Horror is a movie inspired by the psychological thriller of Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’, the extreme brutality of ‘Old Boy’, and the story motives of ‘I Saw the Devil’ creating an original psychological horror-thriller hybrid that will leave the audience shocked and entertained.

    Directed by Dev Shanmugan, who previously shot the crime/action picture Gangs of Tooting Broadway, Rancour began principal photography last Monday. The cast includes Jon Campling (The Zombie King, Tales of the Supernatural), Vas Blackwood (Creep), Loren Peta (Bad Moon Rising, Rock Band vs Vampires), Frederick Wolf (Witch, Allies).

    Find out more at and on the Facebook page.

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    Just browsing around British horror film websites and found this update, posted yesterday on the Facebook page for Ryan J Fleming's zombie feature Welcome to Essex:

    It's been ages since we gave you all an update, so here's where the film is at right now:
    We are currently doing all the foley work (which is adding sound effects, everything from gunshots to footsteps to doors opening). This will take quite a while, as the whole film needs to have foley added.
    We've had all the voice actors back in to re-record their audio so as to give it a crisp, professional feel.
    The actual filming is all complete, save for a reshoot planned to give it a different ending (we don't need zombies for this, before you ask!).
    All that's left to do, other than foley, is add some CGI and score it and then it's off to market.
    Welcome To Essex is still slated for release this year, although we'll have to pick our launch date carefully, given this year's excellent run of summer blockbusters.
    We'll try to keep you more regularly updated, so check back in from time to time.
    Oh, there's a new, final, trailer and an all-new website on the way soon too.

    Shot over the summer of 2013, Welcome to Essex stars Catherine Delaloye and Greg Burridge with special effects by Justin Becker and a money-shot of 1,500 zombies racing through Brentwood.

    Here's the synopsis:

    Overnight, the United Kingdom was consumed by an epidemic of terrifying proportions. 
    The majority of the population were killed in a matter of hours as millions of recently-killed people returned to life and began to attack and kill the living. The disaster spread so rapidly that the government had no time to control the situation.

    The order to evacuate England was given.

    But it was too late.

    Now, the following day, a small group of mismatched survivors find themselves trapped in the famous town of Brentwood, hunted by large hordes of fast-moving corpses. They must learn to work together and reach the last-known point of rescue, Southend-on-Sea, or face certain death. Or worse.

    And here's the existing trailer:

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    Low-budget British zombie feature Darkest Day gets a limited theatrical release next month. You've just missed a couple,of previews in Brighton (where it was shot), but you can still catch the film on the big screen if you live down south.

    The printed publicity material dates the theatrical release to 1st May but the premiere is actually on Mondat 11th May at The Gate, Notting Hill. Then you can see it at No6 Cinema, Portsmouth on Sunday 24th May; Duke's at Komedia, Brighton on 25th; and Stratford East Picture House on 26th. You can book tickets for all four screenings here.

    The rest of the UK can pick up the DVD when it is released by the always reliable Left Films on 25th May.

    Synopsis: Dan wakes up on a beach with no memory. He discovers the ruins of an empty city ravaged by a deadly virus. After being savagely attacked by a psychotic stranger he is taken in by a handful of survivors, but Dan's arrival starts to divide the group and arouse suspicion. It soon becomes clear that the army are hunting him down and the group are forced to evacuate the safety of their home, embarking on a dangerous journey to escape. As fragments of Dan's lost memories start to return, and with soldiers in close pursuit, he starts to realise they are in even more danger than first thought...

    Darkest Day is directed by Dan Rickard who knows a thing or two about zombies, having provided special effects on The Dead and its sequel.

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    Here's another selection of sleeves from Japan.

    My Little Eye used exactly the same artwork, but what a difference the Japanese script makes. You would assume this was a J-horror film.

    Octane (not to be confused with the Fast and Furious ripoff) looked much more exciting in Japan. Though I imagine Japanese audiences were just as disappointed with how shit it actually is.

    I couldn't find the first two Outpost films, but here's number three.

    Holy shit! Wolfgang Buld's Penetration Angst is a crazy enough film to start with, but look what the Japanese distributor did with it! And retitled Killer Pussy too!

    Finally for now, Eitan Arrusi's intense Reverb is made to look a lot more splattery than it actually is.

    More Japanese sleeves:

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    Steve Lawson has three new horror features lined up for DVD release in the space of four months. And just to confuse matters, they’re coming out in the opposite order to how they were made.

    First out of the starting blocks is Killer/Saurus, Steve’s brand new movie about a genetically engineered dinosaur, which 88 Films has lined up for a 6th July release in the UK.

    Over in the States, on 25th August, SGL Entertainment release Nocturnal Activity, the supernatural erotic thriller which Steve produced for reclusive director Georg E Lewis.

    Finally, on 21st September you can buy Steve’s rural horror-thriller Survival Instinct (formerly Rites of Passage) – again from 88 Films.

    All three films are now up for pre-order on Amazon:

    Before then, you can catch Survival Instinct on the big screen when it receives its festival premiere as part of the Fantastiq Festival at Derby Quad this Friday, 8th May. Steve and some of the cast will be in attendance for a Q&A.

    You can find out more about Steve's work at

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    How has this sneaked past me? Fallen Soldiers was shot back in 2013 but only came to my attention when I spotted the DVD release scheduled for 27 July from 101 Films.

    Fallen Soldiers is a Napoleonic zombie film, set just before the Battle of Waterloo (very topical for the bicentenary). “Think Sharpe with zombies” is how the film-makers are pitching it. I like the idea of “Sharpe with zombies”. I like it very much!

    The film is the work of Bill Thomas who directed a documentary (with dramatized seqences) that I caught on Yesterday just the other week, Berlin Wall: The Night The Iron Curtain Closed. Back in 2009 he made a 20-minute horror short, Butchers Blossom. But mostly he works as a prop/model guy on blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars Episode VII, The Dark Knight Rises and assorted Harry Potters.

    Synopsis: Europe 1815. War rages across the continent. A young noblewoman’s coach is hijacked and her husband is murdered by a desperate British soldier. At gunpoint, the soldier spins her an outlandish tale of plagues, conspiracies, and dead men returning from the grave. He begs for her help and, with time running out, she must decide: trust this madman, or kill him? It’s a decision that could save or damn thousands, and turn the tide of the war.

    There’s loads of background info on the movie’s website and Facebook page. It’s described as “an art-department-heavy period adventure with fully-realised sets, props, explosions, fights, and effects shot on a shoestring budget.” The cast is headed by Matthew Neal, Eve Pearson and Zachary Street. The make-up was designed by Ruth Pease who also worked on Axelle Carolyn’s Soulmate and Mel Light’s The Herd.

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    Andreas Prodromou’s Eden Lodge has unexpectedly popped up on Amazon, scheduled for a 31st August UK release through Signature Entertainment. Shot at the end of 2012, the film had a cast and crew screening in September 2013 then disappeared.

    Synopsis: A young family are stranded at the Eden Lodge. The people they meet are being killed one by one. They must fight to save their lives.

    This is the debut feature from Andreas Prodromou, whose horror short In the Red was made back in 2010. It stars Georgina Blackledge (The Last House on Cemetery Lane), Cyd Casados (Blood Feast 2), Ivy Corbin (Apocalypse Z), Ben Gardner Gray, Ellie Dickens, Aggy Kuk, Garry Mannion and James Killeen.

    At one stage Eden Lodge was briefly retitled Breakdown, but then reverted to its shooting title. And clearly somebody has decided that, although this is clearly a very different from Eden Lake– what the hell, they may as well shamelessly rip off that movie’s poster.

    And just in case you were trying to recall what the Eden Lake poster looked like...
    Not even remotely similar...

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