Friday 29 June 2012

12 British horror features confirmed for Frightfest

Here are the British movies playing at Frightfest over 23rd-27th August. I won’t be there (it’s simply way too expensive for me) but I’d like to catch most of these at some point.
  • The Seasoning House - world premiere 
  • Cockneys vs Zombies - world premiere 
  • Grabbers - preview (UK/Ireland - not sure how 'British' this is) 
  • Outpost II: Black Sun - UK premiere 
  • Berberian Sound Studio - preview (never even heard of this one!)
  • Tower Block - world premiere 
  • Guinea Pigs - preview 
  • Sawney: Flesh of Man - world premiere 
  • May I Kill U? - UK premiere 
  • Before Dawn - world premiere 
  • Community - world premiere 
  • Inbred - with live commentary 
For completists, they’re also screening The Thompsons which is a US movie shot in Britain. Short films haven’t yet been announced.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Want to buy a 'film studio'?

And so it comes to this: Richard Driscoll's 'film studio' House of Fear is up for sale. If you have 350,000 quid to spare and a hankering to live in the middle of nowhere, you could buy this charming, llama-shit-covered desres near Redruth. Of great historical interest, this was the home of such major productions as El Dorado, the pick-ups on Evil Calls, the pick-ups on Back2Hell and, um, the pick-ups on El Dorado.

Sic transit gloria mundi. But if anyone thinks this is the end of Mr D, they're wrong. He will be back in a new location with a new company name and a new slate of shit films in a few years, have no doubt.

Exclusive: new military horror Boots on the Ground

My old mate Louis Melville has been in touch to tell me about his long-awaited follow-up to Man Who Sold the World. Boots on the Ground is a supernatural military horror set to shoot in Malta later this year.

With just a few days left before the final British withdrawal from Afghanistan, five British sold find themselves cut off and under attack from something considerably more mysterious and deadly than Terry Taliban.

The cast consists of Thomas Turgoose (This is England, Eden Lake), Ron Mustafaa (Skins), Ian Virgo (Rise of the Footsoldier, Dead Cert, Monk3ys), Gwilym Lee (Isle of Dogs) and Sally Day (The Forewarning).

Boots on the Ground is being produced by Louis and his Ukrainian business partner Daria Malich through their company Sidebar Films. Louis and Daria have ambitious and exciting plans for the project which I’m not currently at liberty to reveal but will be able to report in due course...

Saturday 23 June 2012

"With a foreword by Sean Pertwee"

As the end of the British Horror Revival book hoves in sight, I am delighted to announce that Sean Pertwee has very kindly agreed to write a foreword for the book.

If there's a recurring face in the BHR it's Pertwee. Best known for Dog Soldiers of course but he's also in Botched, Mutant Chronicles, Wilderness, Doomsday and When Evil Calls, as well as other British horror titles outside of the book's dates. And yes, he dies in most of them.

Also, the book has had a slight title change. It's now called Urban Gothic: The British Horror Film 1998-2008. After bandying various options back and forth, this was the one that both I and my publisher were happy with.

Thursday 21 June 2012

House and Tower top and tail Frightfest

Frightfest have announced their opening and closing films for this year's bash. It will kick off on 23rd August with The Seasoning House and close on 27th August with Tower Block. The full programme will be announced on 29th June.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Film 109: Wilderness - the end is in sight!

I haven't written up three films in one day. It's just that I've been so busy racing towards the end of the book that I've neglected adding these to the blog.

I must admit that I had assumed, from the artwork, that Wilderness was a werewolf picture (of course there was a TV mini-series of that title in 1996 which actually was about werewolves). It turns out to be an early example of British survivalist horror with a well-trained psycho (and his alsatians) picking off a group of young offenders and their wardens on a remote Scottish isle.

The second film from Michael J Bassett, this is a big improvement on Deathwatch. I wasn't really bothered when I slipped the disc in but found myself surprisingly gripped.

I now have just four films to go, all released in 2008. I wonder if anyone can work out what they are. For the record, here are the 2008 films so far, in alphabetical order:

Antisocial-Behaviour, Botched, Chemical Wedding, The Children, The Cottage, Credo, Daddy’s Girl, The Devil’s Chair, Doomsday, Eden Lake, Evil Calls, The Ghosts of Crowley Hall, Home Made, Mutant Chronicles, Nature Morte, Outpost, The Sick House, Small Town Folk, StagKnight, Vampire Diary, The Vanguard, The Veil, WAZ, Witch House: The Legend of Petronel Haxley

Imagine having to sit through that little lot. What do you reckon I'm missing?

Film 108: Antisocial-Behaviour

The most interesting thing about this domestic revenge thriller is the inconsistency of the hyphen. I'm going with the version used on (most of) the film's website, even though that is plainly wrong.

Shot in Swindon for less than a hundred grand (considerably less, by the look of it), this is a cheapo, amateur-ish production for completists only. But it did get a US release through Image.

Film 107: The Children

An effective chiller from Tom Shankland, who also directed Waz, from a script by Paul Andrew Williams, who made The Cottage.

This is a nicely gripping film with a simple but sound premise and, commendably, no attempt to explain precisely why these things are happening. A good cast playing well-rounded characters, with a quartet of good child actors. My only quibble is that fast-paced editing on most of the shocks makes it actually quite difficult to see what happens.

Nevertheless I enjoyed this one.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Film 106: Messages

Then again, there is still the capacity to dig up some forgotten crap...

I had never heard of this until a week or so ago. But I dutifully tracked down a copy and watched it. 'Dull' doesn't begin to describe this soporific serial killer/ghost tale starring Jeff Fahey. It's the sort of film where you forget what it's about even while you're watching it.

Messages was written by Hammer expert Wayne Kinsey but honestly, the only comparison anywhere in the Hammer Films catalogue is that this film is as painfully unwatchable as Creatures the World Forgot.

Film 105: Outpost

Heading towards the finish of the book, my researches still uncover gems.

I had heard good things about Nazi-zombie feature Outpost, although one of those was that it featured Nazi zombies when in fact these are ghosts. Either way, you wouldn't want to be trapped in an Eastern European bunker facing them.

Great characterisation, terrific direction, tense scenes and action-packed battles. Outpost has everything you could want from a war-horror movie. So good that they have made two sequels.

Film 104: The Zombie Diaries

'Found footage' films are ten-a-penny nowadays but back in 2006 the idea of a zombie outbreak seen through the lens of someone's video camera was something original and new. Of course, by the time that Kevin Gates' and Michael Bartlett's film was released, there was also George Romero's Diary of the Dead. And the Spanish film [rec].

Nevertheless, Zombie Diaries is an impressive and enjoyable movie featuring some interesting ideas, strong characters,  a clever three-part structure and some terrific zombie make-up.