Saturday 25 August 2012

World first review of The Eschatrilogy

This weekend, lots of people who write about horror movies on the web are down in London at Frightfest watching the premieres of great movies like The Seasoning House, Outpost II and Sawney: Flesh of Man.

Well, I'm too busy, too poor and too old to go to anything like that. So instead I've been watching a screener of a terrific new British zombie film called The Eschatrilogy, and here's what I believe is the first review anywhere.

Friday 24 August 2012

Richard Driscoll's Highway to Hell: hand me some lemon

Back in February, Richard Driscoll self-released his all-star 3D horror musical western (in 2D) Eldorado. Just a few months later, the DVD was deleted and the film became unavailable. Now you can buy it again, retitled Highway to Hell - but it's not the same film.

Whether I will ever have the patience to run down the differences in detail remains to be seen but the most obvious one is the running time. The original DVD claimed to run 158 minutes but actually ran 118m (the version seen by the BBFC was only 114m 39s - the discrepancy might be the advert for Scream magazine). This version's sleeve says 92 minutes and that's correct (not including the Scream ad).

The basic incoherent plot is still there, so what's been cut? Well, David Carradine for one. His stock footage is nowhere to be seen. Most of Daryl Hannah's stuff has gone as well: she just turns up once at the end to read the Poe poem.

And a lot of the music has been cut. Steve Guttenberg's song is gone, for example, and Brigitte Nielsen's incomprehensible scene has disappeared, meaning that she has, like the late Mr Carradine, disappeared from the credits entirely.

But what's truly extraordinary is that some of the songs, presumably in an effort to avoid copyright hassles, have been re-recorded - with different lyrics! The artists on screen weren't singing anyway (with the possible exception of Buster Bloodvessel), just miming to recordings by Cornish club singers. Which have been replaced by different recordings, with lyrics similar to the original. So Robert Lewellyn and his biker gang, instead of singing "Everybody needs somebody", now sing "If your body needs a body". To the same tune.

And if you recall that clip in the trailer of Jeff Fahey's reggae number where he sings "His Majesty Haile Selassie!" Well, that's no longer a reggae song and, to match Fahey's lip movements, the line is now "It's magic, see? Hand me some lemon!"

Interestingly, Highway to Hell does not have a separate BBFC certification so technically this release is illegal (notwithstanding whether Driscoll even owns the rights to the film, which is in some doubt). So buy it while you can, folks.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Can't wait to see: Blood and Bone China

Came across this right by chance: a gothic vampire feature shot in my old stomping ground of Stoke-on-Trent. Apparently inspired by a true story, Chris Stone's Blood and Bone China debuted as webisodes from March last year but was re-edited into a feature which premiered in Stoke in February (I think). Looks awesome!

The cast includes someone from Hollyoaks and David Lemberg who is also in The Seasoning House. Make-up effects by Kaz Preston who did hair and make-up on Room 36 and is now working on Kemal Yildirim's next feature, Silent Cradle.

Thursday 16 August 2012

When the Lights Went Out set to debut in Deutschland

I haven't heard anything yet of a UK release for Pat Holden's When the Lights Went Out but it's scheduled to hit blu-ray in Germany on November, in both English and German, with assorted extras.

Here's some info, for those who read German.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Zomblies and more in Ultimate Zombie Feast

Monster Pictures have released full details of their five-hour, two-disc Ultimate Zombie Feast (originally announced for release by Left Films. It includes David M Reynolds' superb Zomblies - with a quote from my review in the press pack!

If you've never seen Zomblies, you are missing out big time. The only thing stopping it from being the best British zombie feature ever is that it's only 47 minutes long. So including it in this collection of shorts and not-quite-features is a great movie.

Frankly, the line-up here is seven shades of awesome. This could and should be one of the biggest releases of the year and I'd really like to see more collections of shorts like this (not just zombie ones).

The other British films in the set are:

Plague (2008, 17 mins) dir. Joseph Avery and Matt Simpson (no relation)
Focusing on an isolated journey into the unknown, we follow Vilhelm, an illegal migrant and gun runner, who is trying to make a new beginning. When he arrives in London, The dead rise and consume the living. Can Vilhelm escape the bloodbath?

Bitten (2008, 6 mins) dir. Duncan Laing
A woman who has been bitten, arrives home and faces her terrifying transformation into one of the undead. As she tries to hold on to her last breaths of humanity, she is confronted with the horrors of what happened to her family.

Zombie Harvest (2003, 11 mins) dir. Sat Johal, Tony Jopia, John Payne
An alternative to Diary of the Dead, Zombie Harvest is a comedy/horror set in the English countryside. A scientist secretly working at the local American Army base is hunted by two soldiers after he flees the base. Little known to them the scientist has used himself as a human laboratory conducting tests with tragic consequences. Told through the eyes of one of the soldiers the story takes a dramatic turn when the chase enters a farmyard. A slick Zombie romp with nods to the Carry On... and Ealing Comedy films of the '50s and '60s with a touch of the Peter Jackson madness.

Dead Hungry (2009, 10 mins) dir. William Bridges
Dead Hungry is the debut fiction short film from director Will Bridges. Set in a classic 1970s American B-Movie the story centres around Jed who is starving, he hasn’t eaten for days. He’s lost and alone, wandering around a vast forest searching for the one thing that can satisfy his insatiable hunger… human brains. The problem is he can’t catch a thing. He is a loser, he was a loser in life and nothing seems to have changed now he is dead. But can the pity of recently dead/undead woman turn his luck?

Plus short zombie films from the USA, Canada, France, Spain Denmark and even India. Ultimate Zombie Feast has a rather weird RRP of £15.32, hits shelves on 8 October and is available for pre-order on Amazon for £11.20.

Oh, and there's a trailer:

Monday 13 August 2012

Ouija trailer

Here's the first trailer for Darren Lynch's Ouija. It looks well spooky! You can find out more at - and watch out for Darren as a terrorist in the forthcoming Bond film.

Friday 10 August 2012

Bigger and Badder trailer

Bigger and Badder is a werewolf short that I mentioned a while back. A few weeks ago they sent me a link to their trailer but it got missed because I was busy finishing the book. So here it is. There's a bunch of stuff about the film on Tumblr.

Thursday 9 August 2012

And this is what it will definitely look like (probably)

Here's the final version of the cover, with clearer fonts and a few other tweaks. I'm getting quite excited now. It's been much too long since I had a book out. Publication date still not confirmed. End of this year or start of next.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Two new British horror reviews

Just added to my main site is my review of Nazi Zombie Death Tales aka Battlefield Death Tales, which I wrote a few weeks back but was asked to hold off posting until the release, and my review of The Reverend, which I wrote last night.

Plenty more titles in the TBW pile which built up while I was writing the book...

Saturday 4 August 2012

And this is what it will (probably) look like...

Here is the cover of the book. Those of you who are authors will know that the cover is the publisher's responsibility, so although I've been kept in the loop I don't have any say in what it looks like.

Personally I quite like the montage (though it's a shame that, of all the Shaun of the Dead stills in existence, we're using this particular posed photo of Simon Pegg which has already been on the front of another book about 'modern' British horror films). I particularly like the 28 Days Later image at the bottom over the Union Flag. The source of the werewolf and crawler are obvious; the flaming man is a zombie from a 28 Days Later still and the big face is Eden Lake.

The designer is Paul Watts, who has also done work for various Doctor Who publications and Little Shoppe of Horrors (the Dr Phibes issue). Paul did several other variant montages using the same basic images and I think this is the best.

What I'm really not keen on is the hideous fonts used for the title, but the publisher likes them so they're staying. The observant amongst you will have spotted that the book has changed its title yet again. Hemlock wanted to call it Urban Gothic but then got worried that would infringe the copyright of the producers of the Channel 5 series (I don't think it would - plenty of other people have used the term - and anyway I know exec producer Steve Matthews and could have asked him) so now it's Urban Terrors. Whatever. As Isombard Kingdom Brunel said when asked what he planned to christen his giant ship, "You can call it Tom Thumb for all I care."

I've asked for the dates to change from '1998-2008' (as originally planned) to '1997-2008' which, I discovered on re-reading early chapters, slightly better reflects the content. Apparently the 'Foreword by Sean Pertwee' bit will be on the back cover.

Comments on this design are welcome but I don't think it's likely to change again.