Sunday 30 December 2012

50 British horror films we’re still waiting for (Part 3)


After a string of impressive shorts, Martin Gooch shot this Robert Rankin-esque gothic fantasy in early 2011 and it has been playing festivals since May 2012. No sign of a release yet though. Cast includes Emily Booth and Leslie Philips, both of whom have worked previously with the director. I really want to see this.

“Following the death of their Dad, four brothers and sisters return to the family home after many years to face each other, face facts and face the future. But what do they know of the past? Frankenstein meets The Others. An indy film for lovers of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amelie, Truly Madly Deeply and lovers of all that is Gothic.”


The latest feature from Neil (The Reverend) Jones was shot in Spain in late summer 2011. Craig Fairbrass heads the cast.

“Four girls go on a bachelorette party weekend to a country house, in rurla Spain. Little did they know what someone had planned for them. The real party begins when the host is mysteriously attacked and, one by one, the guests find themselves in mortal danger. The race is on to uncover the killer’s identity and they must fight back or be brutally murdered.”

The Dying Seconds 

Directed by Kris Rennie and Morgan Black, this micro-budget zombie feature was apparently planned as a series of webisodes. The first (prelude) episode was filmed in Aberdeenshire in October 2011, a trailer appeared the following month and there has been no news since then.

“When the world as we know it has come to an end, the dying seconds of life is all we have left.”


Dervla Kirwan stars in this feature which was shot by Steve Stone in February 2011 and played several festivals in October 2012. Word of mouth is good - just waiting for news of a release. 

“1998: Thirty four unidentified bodies were found in shallow graves in a remote Siberian forest. Despite subsequent police investigations no official explanation was ever offered by the Russian authorities for these deaths. The case was closed three years later. 2010: A small English TV crew set out for the remote Russian forest. The Darkest Secrets TV programme revisits the sites of unsolved mysteries both ancient and modern. They employ the gifts of a psychic whose extraordinary powers may shed new light on this old secret. The last communication to their production office in London stated that they were approaching the Siberian region where the bodies were found. Nothing was heard from them again.”

The Eschatrilogy 

Damian Morter’s impressive and enjoyable zombie anthology was shot in 2011 and recently started doing the rounds of festivals. A release announcement surely can’t be too far away; in fact we may well see this before Morter’s first feature, Bicycle Day. Read my review here.

"The population is now scarce...a young man called Matthew now seeks refuge and solitude in the hill tops and mountains, spending his days repetitively picking up the starving dead by the roadside and burning them on his fire. One day he encounters Cal, a mysterious stranger who passes out in his camp. Matthew takes him in, and upon inspecting Cal's possesions, he comes across a journel, which documents three stories of horror Cal has experienced upon his search for 'the Storyteller' an ancient demon who has caused the death and chaos which now surrounds them...but as Cal sleeps and Matthew reads on, something approaches from the forests around them and soon. they will no longer be alone..."

Saturday 29 December 2012

50 British horror films we’re still waiting for (Part 2)


A young man from Birmingham named Noveed ‘Veeder’ Zubair has been posting regular blogs and videos while making this zero-budget psychological horror film for the past couple of years. (His first film was a half-hour, black-and-white, silent Friday the 13th homage filmed in Adis Ababa!) This is clearly a labour of love and I really hope he gets it finished.


Filmed in August 2011 as Final Project, Jason Ford’s hoodie horror premiered at Frightfest 2012 and is now playing other festivals. Worldwide rights were picked up by High Point Films in January 2012 (who called it “somewhere between The Wicker Man and Kidulthood”) so expect a release sometime in late 2013. [Update: Community is scheduled for a UK DVD release in February.]

"The Drayman Estate has become an urban legend. Amongst the sinister stories of strange locals and brutal violence, people have gone missing there. Two student fiilm-makers visit the estate in the hope their documentary will land them a lucrative film career. Within minutes they are introduced to a pregnant child and a skinned dog in a shallow grave. They quickly discover that behind the awkward smiles, the adults appear to be on drugs whilst the children roam wildly, further proof that the estate is a breeding ground for the darker side of society. A society which is about to present the students with material of unimaginable horror, turning their final project into their darkest nightmare."

A Date with Ghosts 

After several shorts, Jason Brown started work on his debut feature in 2010. Originally announced for 2011, then 2012, hopefully we’ll finally see it in 2013. He has cut together two trailers so far.

"The story of a group of friends that get trapped in a haunted abbey with no easy way of escaping."

The Dead Inside 

Andrew Gilbert’s zombie feature was shot during the summer of 2010 and the spring of 2011. There was a cast and crew screening in November 2012. Not to be confused with the identically titled American zombie musical.

"A crap night out just got a fair bit worse: It's the end of the world! The undead are out in force, roaming the streets and devouring all who get in their way. Shot in a realistic style, The Dead Inside looks at a very human reaction to a barely human enemy. A group of soldiers, civilians and (holy crap!) teenagers hole up in a local school for protection from the undead hordes outside. Food is running low, morale doubly so. Tensions are high and things are looking bad when a stranger arrives outside the gate... then they get a whole lot worse. Blood sweat and tears - and that was just the post-production! The Dead Inside aims to tell the tale of the impending Zombie Apocalypse in a realistic and very British manner."

Dead of the Nite 

Shot at the start of 2011, the main selling point of SJ Evans’ eagerly anticipated film is the casting coup of Tony Todd. The post-production should be finished any day now.

"When a group of Internet sensation ghost hunters investigate the infamous Jericho Manor, they soon realise it's not just ghosts that go bump in the night! As each member of the team gets slaughtered one by one, the remaining survivors need to discover who...or what is killing them before it's too late. But be warned, if you thinks it's just another 'Blair Witch'...think again!"

Friday 28 December 2012

50 British horror films we’re still waiting for (Part 1)

The Addicted 

Shot in September 2011, Sean J Vincent’s second feature had a cast and crew screening in November 2012.

"In 1987, David is a resident at ‘The Manor’ Drug Rehab Unit. Whilst there he is being kept addicted to heroin by a Clinical Director Chris Hunter whilst he has an affair with David’s wife. Chris eventually poisons David with contaminated heroin leaving him with horrendous facial disfigurement and chronic pain. David soon hangs himself.  25 years later and we follow Chris’s daughter Nicole as she tries to break into TV journalism. Her boyfriend (Adam) suggests they spend a night filming with friends in the now derelict Drug Rehab unit. There have been recent reports of paranormal goings-on and they plan to try and film them. It soon becomes clear however that they are very much not alone…"

Any Minute Now 

Shot in Dorset, between March and August 2011, the second feature from Peter (Season of the Witch*) Goddard appears to have run into funding problems. Starring the bloke who played Zammo in Grange Hill! (*Also awaiting release.)

"When her parents decide to separate, sixteen year old Anna Brooks is sent to spend the summer in a small coastal town with her old fashioned aunt and uncle, Jennifer and David Collingwood. Anna is narcoleptic and suffers traumatic hallucinations as side effects to her medication. Whilst living in small town suburbia several bizarre incidents take place which lead Anna to question her own sanity. Is it really all in her head or is something more sinister going on in the small sleepy town?"

Argon Green 

Probably the only horror film about diabetes - apart from Derby University lecturer Tom Craig’s previous short Sugar Drop. Shot in stages over 2011 and 2012, this seems to be awaiting further funds.

"For acclaimed artist and Diabetes sufferer Daniel Corrigan, the end of his career is clearly signalled when successive treatments for Diabetic retinopathy begin to rob his world of both colour and depth. Believing that it is only a matter of time before his sight is permanently lost, Daniel throws himself into his work in a desperate attempt to create his final masterpiece. As Daniel retreats further and further into his own private world, his wife realises that drastic action must be taken to save both her husband, and perhaps herself, from madness."

Arkham Sanitarium 

Shot in May 2011, Andrew Morgan’s Lovecraft anthology is another film stuck in post-production limbo, awaiting completion funds.

"Arkham Sanitarium is an anthology of three short stories faithfully adapted from the works of HP Lovecraft: ‘The Haunter of the Dark’, ‘The Shunned House’ and ‘The Thing on the Doorstep’. Each of the three stories is set in 1930s New England (specifically Providence, Rhode Island and the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts). The stories are connected by an original ‘wraparound’ story. In this story – set in the 1950s – Alice Crow investigates the strange stories surrounding the infamous Arkham Sanitarium."

 Art House Massacre 

Steve Laurence’s film (originally titled Art House) was shot in 2011 and premiered at the British Horror Film Festival in August 2012 (see my review here). but there is no sign yet of a release.

"Liz is a nurse who had to quit her job as she struggles to cope with the emotional stress of having lost a baby. With the debts piling up and her and her husband Ben at emotional and financial breaking point, she takes a modelling job to help make ends meet. Arriving at the shoot, Liz meets Philip, an intense and successful young photographer and she feels flattered by his interest. But all is not what it seems in this remote middle class area... and while Liz poses for her new friend Philip, she has no idea of the horror that is lurking in the shadow... until... Liz finds a body, panic stricken she knows they have to escape, she tries her only hope... Ben. Will there strained relationship hold up long enough for him to believe her and save her? As the body count rises will she make it out alive? Or will the sinister game of cat and mouse end in a bloody masterpiece. Life Imitates Art... Art Imitates Death."

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Werewolf movie shooting in Leicester next year

I don't have much info yet on Lunatic, except that it's a werewolf movie which is aiming to shoot next year in my home town of Leicester. Written by Stephen Batchelor (of whom I know nothing) and produced by Leicester's own martial arts master Kwoklyn Wan, hulking older brother of fashion guru Gok!

"At first, a small town murder looks to be the work of wild dogs. Unfortunately, wild dogs don't walk on two legs. This town has a secret, but how many will have to die before the truth comes out?"

The only horror feature previously shot in Leicester was Rhys Davies' Zombie Undead. Apparently Lunatic is casting for extras now. Could this be another chance for me and young TF Simpson to boost our resum├ęs?

Find out more on the movie's Facebook page.

Monday 24 December 2012

First review: Starburst gives Urban Terrors 7/10

A happy Christmas to Martin Unsworth who has reviewed Urban Terrors over on the website of Starburst magazine. This is the book's first review and it's a solid 7/10.

"It is practically a boom time for BHF, as we see more and more no-budget films being made, and surprisingly, some are actually good. This book serves as an interesting overview of what was really the start of the BHF renaissance and, while some of the time Simpson is just quoting other reviewers and sources, the wealth of information and the namechecking of some overlooked gems makes it well worth a read."

Wednesday 19 December 2012

'Unofficial trailer'(?) for Peter Callow's The Circle

What is an unofficial trailer? How does it differ from an ordinary trailer? Or a teaser? Has this been edited and posted onto YouTube without the director’s knowledge or permission? Is it some sort of weird bootleg marketing?

Who knows? Anyway, this is our first look at The Circle, directed by Peter Callow, which was filmed in Essex and Cambridgeshire in September. The cast includes Emily Yarrow, Eva-Marie Kung and Sesselia Olafs, who posted the trailer.

“A University professor takes four archaeology students on a field trip to a remote Scottish island. With tensions already present in the group, they unearth clues to an ancient mystery that will threaten their lives.”

Sunday 16 December 2012

Before Dawn hits cinemas, DVD in February

I've got a review of Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell's superb zombie feature Before Dawn waiting to go live when I get round to it. In the meantime, the film has been scheduled for a UK DVD release on 25th February, with a limited theatrical release a few days earlier.

"Alex and Meg's marriage is hanging by a thread. The solution seems simple - a romantic holiday to an idyllic cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. This is the chance both of them need to find themselves, and rediscover their love for one another. But the Yorkshire Dales aren't romantic, and the idyllic cottage isn't too peaceful! The weekend that starts out as an opportunity for love and affection, takes an unexpected turn - into a fierce fight for survival as it becomes clear that they’re not alone in this rural haven."

Dark Nature comes to UK DVD on New Year's Eve

Marc De Maunay's Dark Nature finally makes it to UK DVD on 31st December. The film was released in the States by Troma back in 2010, although don't let that deceive you - it's a long way from being a 'Tromatic film'.

"Dark Nature is a dark, tense eco-thriller in which a young woman fights to protect her family when they come under attack while on holiday at a remote location in the Scottish Highlands.

"Imogen Toner (Love Bite) and Vanya Eadie play Chloe and Jane, a daughter and mother whose already tense relationship is put under considerable stress when they go on holiday to a remote location. Like lambs to the slaughter, an escalating series of shocking incidents leads Chloe and Jane into a violent and unexpected situation they could never have anticipated."

Dark Nature was written by Eddie Harrison. Cast also includes Niall Greig Fulton and James Bryce (both in Cry for Bobo).

The DVD from Matchbox includes Making Of, trailer and two short films: The Last Noel (directed by De Launay, written by Brian Robinson) and Contorted Hazel (written by De Launay, directed by John Gorman).

Derby officially declared centre of fantasy/sci-fi/horror film universe

For some time now, Derby - and in particular Derby Quad - has been building a reputation as something of an epicentre for all things F/SF/H, with screening and seasons and a remarkable amount of production too, most recent Dominic Burns' UFO and Owen Tooth's Devil's Tower.

Now Quad has teamed up with Reel Solutions, the agency/consultancy set up by Tony Earnshaw (formerly of the National Media Museum in Bradford) for Fantastiq, a three-day film/TV festival which will debut over 9th-11th August 2013. The first Fantastiq will feature themed programmed based around Doctor Who and Peter Cushing.

Quad programmer Adam Marsh and Tony will mainly schedule a range of archive material but also plan to include one or two new features. Weekend and Day passes are on sale now. There is a Facebook thing too.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Exclusive: first teaser for 'Boots on the Ground'

Back in June, I posted about Boots on the Ground, a found-footage supernatural chiller about British squaddies in Afghanistan.

Here is the first teaser trailer for the project, which was shot last month with actress Sally Day. The feature will shoot next year in Malta, directed by Louis Meville (Man Who Sold the World).

Tuesday 11 December 2012

'Stalled' trailer looks absolutely brilliant

The trailer for Stalled, the new feature from the guys who made Freak Out. This looks absolutely awesome. If this isn't one of the absolutely best movies of all time I shall be severely disappointed. I absolutely cannot wait.

My one caveat is that the trailer says 'Think outside the stall' and it would be funnier if it said 'Think outside the bogs.' Other than that: fantastic stuff.

Thursday 6 December 2012

'UFO' screening for a week in Derby

Dominic Burns' epic sci-fi-horror-actioner UFO plays a full week at Derby Quad this month. You can catch the locally-shot film every night from 15th to 20th December at various times. And if you go to the Saturday 15th screening, Burns will be there will some of the cast to introduce the film and do a Q&A.

Not to be confused with the old TV series or indeed the Roy 'Chubby' Brown SF comedy of the same name, UFO is about five friends attempting to navigate their way to survival amidst deteriorating chaos as the world descends into terror and anarchy during an alien invasion and interstellar war.

Burns previously directed real-time horror Cut and in-flight horror Airborne under his occasional nom-de-screen of Alexander Williams. As an actor, you may have caught him in Cockneys vs Zombies, Strippers vs Werewolves, Kill Keith and The Reverend. He is also producing Owen Tooth's feature Devil's Tower.

UFO's awesome cast includes Sean Brosnan, San Pertwee, Julian Glover and Jean Claude Van Damme!