Monday 29 December 2014

Dark Signal marks the return of Ed Evers-Swindell

Way back in 2005, Ed Evers-Swindell directed one of the first British zombie features, Infestation. This had a UK DVD release in December 2007 which I only found out about after Urban Terrors was published.

There was also an Italian release, possibly a Japanese one too. The disc pops up occasionally on eBay and it's on my list of films I really should watch at some point.

The UK cover boasted the quote "Awesome!", ascribed to Neil Marshall (Ed is credited with "additional crawler sound effects" on The Descent).

Now EES is back, ten years on, with his second feature, a ghost story called Dark Signal, which wrapped in September and is currently in post. This stars former Torchwood agent (and sometime Doctor Watson) Gareth David-Lloyd, plus Eleanor Gecks (Talitha in Young Dracula) and James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont in Game of Thrones). The make-up is by Nikki Pope who also did make-up for my film Waiting for Gorgo!

Neil Marshall is executive-producing Dark Signal, which should hopefully be available to view next year. You can find out more at

And, although he's not credited as an actor on the IMDB, Neil can be spotted in the trailer for Infestation toting an M-16 and saying "Nice plan."! [Except it turn out it's not him - MJS]

Sunday 28 December 2014

2015 first quarter shopping list

Here are all the new British horror films that and have available for pre-order. Release dates are of course liable to change:

UK releases

  • Exorcism 12/1/15
  • Scar Tissue 12/1/15
  • Book of the Dead 2/2/15 (aka The Eschatrilogy)
  • Bloodlust 9/2/15
  • The Rendlesham UFO Incident 9/2/15
  • Blackwood 23/2/15
  • World War Dead: The Rise of the Fallen 2/3/15
  • The Coven 16/3/15
  • Zombie Resurrection 23/3/15
  • The Last House on Cemetery Lane 23/3/15
  • Lord of Tears 20/4/15
USA releases

  • Valley of the Witch 13/1/15
  • Horror Freak Fest 13/1/15 (60-film box set includes Idol of Evil, Tales of the Dead and Tuck Bushman and the Legend of Piddledown Dale)
  • A Date with Ghosts 20/1/15
  • Torture Factory: Depraved Female Hostages 20/1/15 (includes Scream Queen Killer, House of Sin + 1 non-British film)
  • Dead Walkers: Rise of the 4th Reich 10/2/15
  • The Casebook of Eddie Brewer 17/2/15
  • A Killer Conversation 17/2/15
  • Altar 17/2/15 (aka The Haunting of Radcliffe House)
  • Final Prayer 24/2/15 (aka The Borderlands)

Friday 28 November 2014

Vampire feature Bloodlust set for UK DVD release in February

Way back in 2010, Richard Johnstone directed a vampire feature variously called Bloodless or Bloodlust which had its first screening in March this year. Now it has finally appeared on Amazon UK, set for a release in February from 101 Films.

Bloodlust is a vampire feature which adds another British Horror Revival credit to the CV of Victoria Hopkins, who was Erika Spawn in The Devil's Music. You may also have seen her in Zombie Women of Satan and Doghouse and she is also in the recently completed Le Fear II: Le Sequel. Also in the cast are Bill Fellows (Wolfblood, Blood and Carpet) and Lucas Hansen (Soldiers of the Damned, Human Centipede II)

Northern England. Present day. A bus drives 5 young couples to an old castle in an unknown location. They have responded to an advert looking for people to take part in a 30-day medical trial. The COMPANY running the experiment, led by the CO-ORDINATOR, explains there will be no contact with the outside world. The group are free to leave at any time, but if they do, they will forfeit their fee: £20,000 per couple.

Mysterious, unexplained events occur around the castle and strange noises are heard in the middle of the night. At first the group are skeptical – they think the COMPANY is creating the illusion of a “haunting” to test their reactions, until it is revealed there is something more sinister involved.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Why is an Italian film ripping off the poster for The Borderlands?

Am I missing something here? This is the poster for Elliot Goldner's acclaimed British horror feature The Borderlands:
Here's the same design on the German DVD:
And the Italian DVD:
And here's exactly the same design on the British DVD sleeve for an Italian horror film called Back from Hell. Right down to the 'Evil has a new form' tag-line.
Meanwhile the British DVD of The Borderlands uses this instead:

Tuesday 18 November 2014

First screening next week for 'Somerset Crocodile' movie The Hatching

The Hatching is a new British horror film I picked up on a while back about crocodiles in the Somerset levels. Shot at the tail-end of last year, it's now ready to screen and will have its premiere next week as part of the Bath Film Festival.

The cast is top-lined by British genre star Andrew-Lee Potts (Primeval, Strange, Freakdog, The Bunker) and Laura Aikman (Casualty, Keith Lemon) with Thomas Turgoose (Eden Lake), Jack McMullen (Grange Hill, Brookie) and Georgia Henshaw (In the Dark Half), Plus, for some reason, 'comedian' Justin Lee Collins.

Tim returns to his childhood home to bury his father and take over the family business, with his girlfriend Lucy. However, Tim carries an old burden; a friend of his was killed by a crocodile during a kids’ prank at a local zoo and when locals mysteriously start vanishing, Tim realizes the crocodile eggs he stole as a child have now hatched and are loose on the Somerset Levels. As people disappear and gruesome body parts mount, the horrific truth emerges and for Tim it’s a race against time, to put right what went so horribly wrong.

The Hatching is helmed by experienced director Michael Anderson who started out as clapper-loader on stuff like An American Werewolf in London and has made stacks of corporates, commercials etc. (But he's not this guy.) He describes the film as a comedy horror, a cross between Hot Fuzz and Jaws. Top prosthetic house Animated Extras created the crocodile.

You can find out more at or

The Hatching screens at the Little Theatre Cinema in Bath on 22nd November, with the director and producer in attendance. There is also a screening on 28th November at The Seed Factory in Aller, a village near Bridgwater where prodco Ebenezer Films are based.

Monday 10 November 2014

Can’t wait to see… Boris in the Forest

Here’s an in-production short I came across by chance which sounds great. Boris in the Forest is a forthcoming short film from Robert Hackett: “A black comedy about a Californian nerd in search of his horror hero Boris Karloff.”

It stars Mac McDonald from Red Dwarf, George Georgiou (Mamma Mia!), Darren Kent (Community), Joyce Henderson (Burke and Hare) and, as William Henry Pratt, British horror regular Jonathan Hansler (Axed, The Devil’s Business). Mark Towns (Gnaw, The Borderlands) is editing the film even as we speak.

You can find out more on the picture’s Facebook page.

Huge fan of Karloff here. Can’t wait to see this.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

The Fallow Field novel available for Kindle

Leigh Dovey, writer-director of the brilliant The Fallow Field, has now turned the story into a novel which is available as an eBook from Amazon.

If you've seen the film, you know the basic story, but in case you haven't here's the synopsis:

Amnesiac Matt Sadler  awakes alone in the middle of a wilderness with no recollection of the past seven days. As disturbing slithers of memory gradually return he retraces his steps to a remote farm owned by loner Calham. The farmer is suspicious of Matt but instantly sparks a dark sense of déjà vu. Calham turns on Matt, imprisoning and interrogating him, before forcing him on a terrible journey of abduction and slaughter to show the amnesiac the twisted games they used to play together. As Matt s fogged memory slowly begins to clear and he learns the two men share a violent history, the horrors of their past come skipping out of the darkness to greet them….

You can find out more about Leigh's forthcoming work at his new website.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Press release: 28 Days Later named best British horror film of the 21st century

Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later has been named the best British horror movie of the 21st century (so far) in a survey of film-makers and fans. The 2002 film, which stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris and Christopher Eccleston, narrowly beat Neil Marshall’s 2005 chiller The Descent, about a group of female cavers battling deadly underground creatures, and Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright’s 2004 ‘rom-zom-com’ starring Simon Pegg.

In the past 15 years, a combination of cheap equipment and online distribution has caused a huge increase in the number of feature films produced in the UK, especially in the ever-popular horror genre. This month, the total number of British horror films released since January 2000 reached 500 – as many as were made during the whole of the 20th century.

The survey was organised by film critic MJ Simpson, author of Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema and an acknowledged expert on the ‘British Horror Revival’. One hundred directors, screenwriters, producers, actors and effects artists each submitted their own top ten films, along with film critics, academics and horror fans. More than 130 movies received votes, reflecting the wide range of high quality horrors produced in the UK in recent years.

The other titles in the top ten were, in order: Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004), Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008), Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall, 2002), Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011), The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012), Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010) and Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011).

“People may be surprised to hear that there have been 500 British horror films made in 15 years,” admits Simpson. “That’s because the media only acknowledge the tiny percentage of movies that play cinemas and ignore the vast body of great work being done by independent film-makers taking advantage of new technology to make and release their own films through DVD and VOD. For horror fans who take the trouble to look beyond the multiplex, this is truly a golden age.”

While Hollywood blockbusters routinely cost hundreds of millions of dollars, British horror films show that budget isn’t necessarily related to quality. Three of the top ten – Dead Man’s Shoes, Kill List and Monsters – each cost well under a million pounds and many of the other films cost a fraction of that. Steven Shiel’s Mum and Dad (34th) cost just £100,000 to make, Julian Richards’ The Last Horror Movie (38th) cost just £50,000, and the zombie film Colin, voted the 19th best British horror film of the past 15 years, had a total budget of just £45!

Marc Price, director of Colin, commented: “At a time where mainstream cinema is offering nothing but comic-book movies, remakes or literary adaptations, British horror appears to be one of the few genres offering original story through the medium of film.”

Of all the movies nominated, only eight were historical stories, of which only one (The Woman in Black) was a traditional ‘gothic horror’. All the other films were set in the present day, emphasising how the new wave of British film-makers use horror themes to address contemporary issues such as disenfranchised youth (Eden Lake, Cherry Tree Lane), society’s treatment of the elderly (The Living and the Dead, Harold’s Going Stiff), the power of social media (Backslasher, Panic Button), global corporate responsibility (Severance) and Scottish devolution (White Settlers).

Dr Johnny Walker, Lecturer in Media at Northumbria University and author of the forthcoming book Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society, commented: “For many people, British horror died when the old Hammer ceased making feature films in the late 1970s. The list revealed here points to an entirely different story. Not only does it demonstrate how British horror has broadly managed to outstep Hammer's 'period gothic' model with films that deal with a host of contemporary issues, it also testifies to the variety that recent British horror cinema has offered its audiences, whether the films were made for £5 million or 50p.”

MJ Simpson offered the following recommendations for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of modern British horror films:
  • If you want to be… scared: try Before Dawn, in which a couple on the edge of separation are threatened by zombies.
  • If you want to be… disturbed: try Mum and Dad, in which a young woman is forced to become part of her colleague’s dysfunctional family.
  • If you want to be… questioned: try The Last Horror Movie, in which a serial killer videos his work and asks why people might want to watch it.
  • If you want to be… entertained: try Stalled, in which a zombie outbreak leaves a man trapped in a toilet cubicle.

Modern British Horror Survey, continued (films 21-40, and the rest)

It's a measure of the overall quality of modern British horror films that so many great titles couldn't make it into the top 20, on account of there only being 20 places available. So here are the next 20...

21. The Hole (Nick Hamm, 2001)
22. The Awakening (Nick Murphy, 2011)
23. Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)
24. Mum and Dad (Steven Sheil, 2008)
25. A Field in England (Ben Wheatley, 2013)
26. Tony (Gerard Johnson, 2010)
27. Stalled (Christian James, 2013)
28. The Last Horror Movie (Julian Richards, 2004)
29. The Seasoning House (Paul Hyett, 2013)
30. My Little Eye (Mark Evans, 2002)
31. Outpost (Steve Barker, 2008)
32. Doghouse (Jake West, 2009)
33. Black Death (Christopher Smith, 2010)
34. The Living and the Dead (Simon Rumley, 2007)
35. A Lonely Place to Die (Julian Gilbey, 2011)
36. F (Johannes Roberts, 2010)
37. Cradle of Fear (Alex Chandon, 2002)
38. Before Dawn (Dominic Brunt, 2013)
39. 28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007)
40. Heartless (Philip Ridley, 2010)

(Films 21, 24. 28, 30, 31, 34 and 37 are covered in detail in my book Urban Terrors, as are all the films marked with an asterisk in the list below.)

The following films also received votes:
Aggressive Behaviour, Anazapta*, Any Minute Now
Backslasher, Bane, Battlefield Death Tales, The Big Finish*, Blood + Roses, Book of Blood, Bordello Death Tales, The Bunker*
Chemical Wedding*, Cherry Tree Lane, Citadel, The Cottage*, Cut
A Day of Violence, The Dead, Dead Creatures*, Dead End, Dead of the Nite, Dead Wood, Deathwatch*, The Descent Part Two, The Devil’s Bargain, Devil’s Bridge, The Devil’s Business, The Devil’s Chair*, The Devil’s Music, The Disappeared, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Doomsday*
The Eschatrilogy, Evil Aliens*, Exhibit A, Exorcism
Fall of the Louse of Usher*, The Fallow Field, Footsteps*, Forest of the Damned*, Freak Out*
The Glass Man, Gnaw
Harold’s Going Stiff, The Harsh Light of Day, Hush
Inbred, In Fear
The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse*, Lesbian Vampire Killers, Lie Still*, London Voodoo*
Night Junkies*
Panic Button. The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill, Penetration Angst*
The Quiet Ones
Red Mist, Red White and Blue, The Reeds, The Resident, Resurrecting ‘The Street Walker’
The Scar Crow, Season of the Witch, The Secret Path, Small Town Folk*, Soul Searcher*, Stalker, Summer Scars
Theatre of Fear, Tormented, Tortured, Tower Block, The Toybox*, Truth or Dare
Under the Skin
Vampire Diary*, Venus Drowning
Wake Wood, Wandering Rose, WAZ*, When Evil Calls*, When the Lights Went Out, White Settlers, Wilderness*, Wishbaby, The Witches Hammer*, World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2
The Zombie Diaries*
13hrs, The 7th Dimension

And since no-one at all is wondering, here's my personal top ten (at the time I voted):

  1. The Descent
  2. The Dead
  3. The Last Horror Movie
  4. Mum and Dad
  5. Dead Man's Shoes
  6. Resurrecting 'The Street Walker'
  7. The Seasoning House
  8. Triangle
  9. Wishbaby
  10. 28 Days Later

Modern British Horror Survey - the top twenty

Over the past month I have been finding the best British horror films of the 21st century (so far) by soliciting top tens from directors, screenwriters, producers, actors, designers, FX artists, critics, academics and fans. Now the votes are in, and I can reveal the top 20, as voted for by you:

  1. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 201) Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris evade rage-infected sort-of-zombies. With a side order of Christopher Eccleston
  2. The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005) Six friends go caving, get lost, get trapped - and then find they're not alone...
  3. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and pals stumble through a zombie apocalypse and eventually reach the pub.
  4. Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004) Ex-soldier Paddy Considine takes terrifying revenge on the small-town gangsters who bullied his mentally impaired brother.
  5. Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008) Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender are terrorised by out-of-control children in the idyllic countryside.
  6. Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall, 2002) It's squaddies vs werewolves in a classic siege scenario, under the command of British horror favourite Sgt Sean Pertwee.
  7. Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011) Two hitmen take on a mysterious job which leads them into conflict with a Pagan cult.
  8. The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012) Daniel Radcliffe makes his post-Potter debut in a traditional gothic ghost story from the reborn Hammer Films.
  9. Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010) A young couple travel across a depopulated zone inhabited by giant mysterious aliens.
  10. Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011) Teenage muggers turn the tables on invading extraterrestrials.
  11. Creep (Christopher Smith, 2005) Franka Potente is trapped in the Tube overnight with a mysterious, deadly killer.
  12. Severance (Christopher Smith, 2007) A corporate team-building exercise in Eastern Europe with Andy Nyman and Danny Dyer goes oh so very wrong
  13. Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010) Young boy meets not-as-young-as-she-looks girl in Hammer remake of creepy Swedish vampire tale.
  14. The Children (Tom Shankland, 2008) Mysterious illness turns little tykes into emotionless, deadly killers.
  15. Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012) Psychological terror for Toby Jones at the mixing desk as he works on the soundtrack of an Italian horror movie.
  16. The Borderlands (Elliot Goldner, 2014) Vatican-backed paranormal investigators find more than they bargained for when they look underneath an old English church.
  17. Triangle (Christopher Smith, 2009) Multiple realities and time-travel on board a mysterious, deserted ocean liner.
  18. Byzantium (Neil Jordan, 2013) Vampire sisters on the run in a little coastal town.
  19. Colin (Marc Price, 2009) One zombie’s journey through the apocalypse.
  20. Cockneys vs Zombies (Matthias Hoene, 2012) The living dead interfere with a bank robbery and attack an old people’s home.
Some statistics:
  • Three films directed by Christopher Smith (Black Death came 33rd)
  • Two films directed by Neil Marshall (Doomsday also got a few votes)
  • Two films directed by James Watkins
  • Five films feature make-up effects by Paul Hyett (2, 5, 6, 8, 9 - Paul's own film The Seasoning House came 29th)
  • Two films written by James Moran (12, 20 - Tower Block also got a few votes)
  • Two films with music by Dave Julyan (2, 5)
  • Two films starring Nick Frost (3, 10)
  • Two films starring MyAnna Buring (2, 7)
  • Most expensive film: The Woman in Black (£17 million)
  • Least expensive film: Colin (45 quid!)
  • Although 28 Days Later scored slightly higher overall than The Descent, more people voted The Descent as their no.1 film
  • Films 1-6, 11, 12, 14 are featured in depth in my book Urban Terrors
Now take a look at films 21-40 and the rest of the nominees.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Just three - now one! - days left to submit your top ten to the modern British horror survey

It's Tuesday 21st October, which means you've got just three days to get your votes in for the survey to find the best British horror films of the 21st century (so far). A walloping 500 British horror features have been released since January 2000, of which a welcome 105 have so far received at least one vote.

Please take a look at my original list of 100 suggestions (of which about two thirds have actually received votes so far). Have a think about other movies you've seen. Put together your ten favourites and let me know by midnight on Friday 24th.

You can post a comment on this blog, or you can email me directly, or if you want to win a bundle of British horror DVDs, cast your vote on the Facebook page of

Next week I will publish a list of the top 20. I think it might contain a few surprises...

Sunday 19 October 2014

Can't wait to see... Tom Rutter's acid horror-western adaptation of Mark Twain!

Thomas Lee Rutter, the Brummie indie film maverick who coined the term 'Britsploitation' (and directed some of my early on-screen appearances) is shooting an intense, horror-laced British western influenced by the likes of El Topo!

Tom's previous features have included such zero-budget gems as Full Moon Massacre, Mr Blades, Feast for the Beast and The Forbidden Four. But Stranger, loosely based on Twain's The Mysterious Stranger, promises to be a step up, not least because he has a couple of name cast in Gary Shail (Quadrophenia, Shock Treatment) and punk legend Gypsy Lee Pistolero. My absence from the cast also bodes well...

Caine Farrowood is a bounty hunter who works under the control of shady kingpin Loomweather. One day a bounty retrieval goes awry and Caine is left for dead. Just when he thinks his life is over he mysteriously awakens back home to the comforts of his wife Christina. Baffled and confused by how he got home Caine insists on finding answers, but before long he is enlisted in the retrieval of another bounty. This one is huge and may cost Caine not his life, but his sanity when he finds himself pitted against somebody who may very well be the fallen angel himself...

Monday 13 October 2014

Zombie King UK premiere in Manchester

It's three years now since Aidan Belizaire shot The Zombie King in Shepton Mallet, with imported star names Edward Furlong and Corey Feldman. The film debuted on German DVD in April 2013 and is also available in the Netherlands and Japan. But not here in Blighty.

But we do now finally have a chance to see the film (imports notwithstanding). The picture will have its UK premiere at the Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester over 31st October-2nd November, hopefully with some of the cast and crew in attendance.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

British Horror Survey - vote via Facebook

Because I'm an old fart, I'm not on Facebook. But the hip young things at the awesome website that is are on Facebook and they have very, very kindly joined in with my survey to find the best British horror film released since 2000.

If you post your top ten on their Facebook page they will enter you into a draw to win ten British horror DVDs!

Here's a reminder of the criteria for 'what is a British horror film' and here is a list of 100 films that you might want to choose from, but I have already received votes for another 11 titles - and there's nearly 400 more you could vote for.

NB. Votes for Richard Driscoll films won't be counted because anyone who does that is obviously taking the mick...

Sunday 5 October 2014

One hundred significant British horror films released since January 2000

This is not the top 100. This is a sample list of 100 impressive, successful, acclaimed or otherwise notable British horror films from the 500 or so released since 1st January 2000. This is just intended as an aide-memoire for kind folks helping me to compile a list of the top 20 modern British horror films. (Dates given are first commercial release.)
  1. Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011)
  2. The Awakening (Nick Murphy, 2011)
  3. Axed aka Deadly Departed (Ryan L Driscoll, 2012)
  4. Bane (James Eaves, 2009)
  5. Before Dawn (Dominic Brunt, 2013)
  6. Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)
  7. Black Death (Christopher Smith, 2010)
  8. Blood + Roses (Simon Aitken, 2011)
  9. Bordello Death Tales (Pat Higgins, Al Ronald & James Eaves, 2012)
  10. The Borderlands (Elliot Goldner, 2014)
  11. Broken (Adam Mason & Simon Boyes, 2007)
  12. The Bunker (Rob Green, 2002)
  13. Byzantium (Neil Jordan, 2013)
  14. The Captive aka Armistice aka Warhouse (Luke Massey, 2014)
  15. Chemical Wedding aka Crowley (Julian Doyle, 2008)
  16. Cherry Tree Lane (Paul Andrew Williams, 2010)
  17. The Children (Tom Shankland, 2008)
  18. Cockneys vs Zombies (Matthias Hoene, 2012)
  19. Colin (Marc Price, 2009)
  20. Community aka Final Project (Jason Ford, 2013)
  21. The Cottage (Paul Andrew Williams, 2008)
  22. Cradle of Fear (Alex Chandon, 2002)
  23. Creep (Christopher Smith, 2005)
  24. Cut (Dominic Burns, 2010)
  25. A Day of Violence (Darren Ward, 2010)
  26. The Dead (Howard J Ford & Jonathan Ford, 2011)
  27. Dead Creatures (Andrew Parkinson, 2001)
  28. Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004)
  29. The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
  30. The Devil’s Business (Sean Hogan, 2012)
  31. The Devil’s Chair (Adam Mason, 2008)
  32. The Devil’s Music (Pat Higgins, 2010)
  33. The Disappeared (Johnny Kevorkian, 2009)
  34. Doghouse (Jake West, 2009)
  35. Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall, 2002)
  36. Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008)
  37. Evil Aliens (Jake West, 2006)
  38. F aka The Expelled (Johannes Roberts, 2010)
  39. The Fallow Field (Leigh Dovey, 2013)
  40. A Field in England (Ben Wheatley, 2013)
  41. Freak Out (Christian James, 2006)
  42. Gangsters, Guns and Zombies (Matt Mitchell, 2012)
  43. Harold’s Going Stiff (Keith Wright, 2012)
  44. The Harsh Light of Day (Oliver S Milburn, 2012)
  45. Heartless (Philip Ridley, 2010)
  46. HellBride (Pat Higgins, 2009)
  47. Heretic (Peter Handford, 2013)
  48. The Hole (Nick Hamm, 2001)
  49. Inbred (Alex Chandon, 2012)
  50. In Fear (Jeremy Lovering, 2013)
  51. KillerKiller (Pat Higgins, 2007)
  52. Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011)
  53. The Last Great Wilderness (David Mackenzie, 2003)
  54. The Last Horror Movie (Julian Richards, 2004)
  55. The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse (Steve Bendelack, 2005)
  56. Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010)
  57. Lie Still aka The Haunting of #24 (Sean Hogan, 2007)
  58. Lighthouse aka Dead of Night (Simon Hunter, 2000)
  59. Little Deaths (Simon Rumley, Andrew Parkinson & Sean Hogan, 2011)
  60. The Living and the Dead (Simon Rumley, 2007)
  61. London Voodoo (Robert Pratten, 2004)
  62. A Lonely Place to Die aka The Long Weekend (Julian Gilbey, 2011)
  63. Mindflesh (Robert Pratten, 2008)
  64. Monsters (Gareth Edwards, 2010)
  65. Mum and Dad (Steven Sheil, 2008)
  66. My Little Eye (Mark Evans, 2002)
  67. Nature Morte (Paul  Burrows, 2008)
  68. Nazi Zombie Death Tales aka Battlefield Death Tales aka Angry Nazi Zombies (James Eaves, Al Ronald & Pat Higgins, 2012)
  69. Night Junkies (Lawrence Pearce, 2007)
  70. Outpost (Steve Barker, 2008)
  71. Penetration Angst aka Angst (Wolfgang Buld, 2003)
  72. Red Kingdom Rising (Navin Dev, 2014)
  73. The Resident (Antti Jokinen, 2011)
  74. Resurrecting ‘The Street Walker’ (Ozgur Uyanik, 2010)
  75. Retreat (Carl Ribbets, 2011)
  76. Salvage (Lawrence Gough, 2010)
  77. Sawney: Flesh of Man aka Lord of Darkness (Ricky Wood Jnr, 2013)
  78. The Seasoning House (Paul Hyett, 2013)
  79. Severance (Christopher Smith, 2007)
  80. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
  81. Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)
  82. Soul Searcher (Neil Oseman, 2006)
  83. Stalled (Christian James, 2013)
  84. Summer Scars (Julian Richards, 2008)
  85. Tony (Gerard Johnson, 2010)
  86. Tormented (Jon Wright, 2009)
  87. Tower Block (James Nunn, Ronnie Thompson, 2012)
  88. Triangle (Christopher Smith, 2009)
  89. Truth or Dare aka Truth or Die (Robert Heath, 2012)
  90. UFO aka Alien Uprising (Dominic Burns, 2012)
  91. Vampire Diary (Mark James & Phil O’Shea, 2008)
  92. Wake Wood (David Keating, 2011)
  93. WAZ aka The Killing Gene (Tom Shankland, 2008)
  94. White Settlers (Simeon Halligan, 2014)
  95. Wilderness (Michael J Bassett, 2006)
  96. Wishbaby (Stephen W Parsons, 2009)
  97. The Witches Hammer (James Eaves, 2006)
  98. The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012)
  99. The Zombie Diaries (Michael Bartlett & Kevin Gates, 2007)
  100. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)

Help identify the best British horror films of the 21st century

As you may know, I have spent the past few years documenting the ‘British Horror Revival’, the unprecedented boom in horror feature production in the UK in the 21st century: in my book Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema, in the annual British horror round-up on my Devil’s Porridge blog, and in the reviews of new British horror films on my main website.

In the next few weeks, the number of British horror films released since January 2000 will hit 500 – and that seems a good time for a survey/poll. So I am inviting everyone I know who is involved in the British horror scene – directors, producers, writers, actors, FX/make-up artists, designers, journalists and fans – to send me their list of the ten best British horror films of the past 15 years. I will compile the results and put out a definitive top 20 for Halloween.

It’s an open poll, but to prompt your memory here is a list of 100 notable films. I would expect the final top 20 titles to be on that list but please don’t feel constrained. I had a hard time hacking the list down to 100 and many terrific films have been omitted simply because they are quite obscure. But if you saw ‘em, vote for ‘em!

Criteria for inclusion:
  • British: International co-productions are included if they have significant UK involvement and either ‘feel British’ or were marketed as British.
  • Horror: Borderline sci-fi/fantasy/thriller films are included if they were marketed as horror (eg. coverage in horror mags or screenings at horror festivals).
  • Film: Feature-length generally means at least 70 minutes. The first commercial release (theatrical, DVD or VOD in any territory – not including festivals) was after 1st January 2000.
Points to note:
  • You can vote for your own film, or a film you helped to make.
  • Feel free to disseminate this to others, but please don't solicit votes for your own film(s) as this makes the whole thing a popularity contest.
  • If you want to add brief comments about your choices which I can cite when presenting the results, go ahead.
  • As an aside, I would be interested to know how many of these hundred titles you have seen. Not a list, just the number. (I’ve seen 75.)
Please send your top ten films to by midnight on Friday 24th October. I look forward to hearing from you. A chronological list of the almost 500 titles on my main checklist is available on request.

Update: Thanks to the fantastic folks at, you can now vote by Facebook. What's more, posting your top ten on their Facebook page will enter you into a draw to win ten British horror DVDs!

Saturday 13 September 2014

Tons of new British horror on Viewster

A site called Viewster currently has a shedload of BHR titles currently available to watch online for free - and the fact that some of these films are promoting Viewster on their own Facebook pages suggests it's all legit.

So if you haven't caught up with these titles yet, here's your chance to watch Amityville Asylum, Bane*, Bloodmyth, Deadtime, Deranged, Exhibit A, Greetings, Hellbride, Heretic, High Stakes, Home Made*, Night Junkies*, NOTLD: Resurrection, Red Canopy, Sawney: Flesh of Man, Sick Bastard*, Silent Night Bloody Night: The Homecoming, The Slayers: Portrait of a Dismembered Family, Stalker and Time of Her Life*.

There are stacks of British shorts as well - too many to list here.

* Films marked with an asterisk are featured in my book.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Free test screening of new Mark Murphy feature in York on Tuesday

Fancy a chance to see a brand new British horror before everyone else (even me)? Mark Murphy, director of The Crypt (aka The Convent) which premiered at Fantasporto, has a new feature ready to be seen - and it looks great.

Awaiting stars Tony Curran (Vincent Van Gogh in that Doctor Who episode!), Peter Woodward (Shame the Devil), Adrian Bouchet (The Seasoning House, Idol of Evil), Rupert Hill (Entity, Corrie) and Sophie Lovell Anderson (Candy in Stag Night of the Dead!). Here's the synopsis:

"Morris is a recluse with psychotic tendencies, whose life changes when his innocent daughter Lauren rescues one of his victims and befriends him. Jake, an ordinary businessman, soon realises that he is stranded and his presence in the house gradually reveals unexpected and dark mysteries from the past."

If you're anywhere near the University of York this Tuesday, 16th September, you can see the film at a free test screening. Full details over on Eventbrite. Meanwhile, here's the terrific looking trailer.

Awaiting Trailer (2015) from Solar Productions on Vimeo.

Monday 8 September 2014

Indie auteur Paul TT Easter selling up

I've never actually watched one of Paul TT Easter's movies - and now it looks like I might not get the chance, because Easter is apparently jacking it all in and selling his entire Side Effect Films business - on eBay!

The package includes the rights to at least six, possibly up to nine of Easter's films, plus two HD cameras, a stills camera and a Mercedes. Bidding starts at £5,000. Auction closes on 18th September.

The IMDB lists 15 directing credits for Easter, mostly gangster/action films but also including Black Shuck, Thumb N It and Lone Walker, all of which are horror. U Mugs might also be horror too as it's pitched as 'Jackass meets Blair Witch'. Or it might just be a found footage movie about knobheads hurting themselves...

The reviews on Amazon suggest that Easter's films are somewhat basic in their execution, but he has released several through Amazon Prime including the four titles mentioned above - and that makes him a representative of the British Horror Revival as far as I'm concerned.

You can see Paul's Mercedes at the start of this trailer for Lone Walker:

Monday 1 September 2014

Exclusive - first look at 'Nocturnal Activity'

Here is the first trailer for Nocturnal Activity, the next feature from Rites of Passage director Steve Lawson. The film stars Raven Lee, June Bladon (Bicycle Day), Jonathan Hansler (The Devil's Business, Axed, Call of the Hunter, Patrol Men, After Death), Steve Dolton (Devil's Tower, Zombie Undead). I expect a screener for this to turn up very soon...

Thursday 28 August 2014

Looking forward to... The Unfolding

The Unfolding, from writer-director Eugene McGing, is a brand new feature which should be finished in post next month, fingers crossed. Here's the synopsis and some photos.

England, October 2017…a fearful world stands on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Tam Burke, a paranormal investigator, and girlfriend Rose Ellis, travel to the wilds of Dartmoor to see the ancient and mysterious 'Hound Tor'. As they stand and admire the incredible rock formation, they are enveloped by a strange mist, and see a spectral apparition that seems to watch them from the summit. Slightly shaken after their experience, they continue on their way to Hopton House, a rambling old building, its history dating back to the 15th century. Strange and paranormal events have been documented there, and Tam hopes that the interviews he has arranged with the caretaker and his wife will be of great importance in proving the existence of the supernatural.

Tam is crestfallen to find his interviewees fleeing the old building in dread. Despite his protests, they insist on departing, but do leave him the keys to the house. Together with Rose, he grasps the opportunity to stay alone there, hoping to salvage a little research from the trip. After their first night as guests, the young couple become convinced that they are not alone. Despite his high hopes, Tam is unable to record any solid evidence of ghostly activity. They decide to leave after two nights. They are then surprised by the arrival of Harvey Waller, Tam’s sceptical university buddy, who has come to lend a hand with the research, and is looking forward to having some fun at his friend’s expense. Harvey soon finds his amusement turn to trepidation, as even he is forced to admit that there is indeed something inexplicable happening around them.

Monday 11 August 2014

Actors vs zombies in Opening Night of the Living Dead

Here's one that slipped entirely under my radar. Opening Night of the Living Dead is the first feature directed by actor Joshua Dickinson, adapted from his own stage play which was a hit in Edinburgh back in 2009. In a nutshell, an amdram group are performing Romeo and Juliet when a zombie outbreak happens - and the show must go on.

Sounds and looks great. Although the 60-minute film isn't on IMDB yet there's a Facebook page which says the cast includes Amy Bellwood (Branagh's Cinderella), Joe Leat, Roger Parkins and Callum Hale, as well as Dickinson himself.

ONotLD was filmed at the Quay Theatre, Sudbury (in Suffolk) last summer with £4,000 of funds from Kickstarter and is scheduled to premiere in that very same venue this Sunday, 17th August. A handful of tickets are still available at £7/£5 - grab 'em while you can. If you can't make it, the film  is also lined up to play Ipswich and Colchester later this year.

I only discovered the existence of Opening Night because I was researching Joshua Dickinson's background for my review of Ed Boase's The Mirror which plays Frightfest the following week, giving Dickinson two premieres in the space of eight days!

Not to be confused with Opening Night of the Living Dead, a zombie short directed by Shalena Oxley in 2008, or Opening Night of the Living Dead, a zombie short directed by Jonathan McDevott in 2010, or Opening Night of the Living Dead, an unreleased zombie feature directed by Brian Bazala and Jay Lavley in 2011, Those are all American. Joshua's film is solidly British, and all the better for it.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Legend of the 5ive fina11y 6etting re1eas3d

Back when people thought it was cool to randomly replace letters with numbers, James P Weatherall made a film called The Legend of the 5ive. Shot in 2009/10 and first screened in October 2011, the film has sat on the shelf for a few years (apart from a screening at Horror-on-Sea in January 2013) during which time the basic premise - a found footage movie about a ghost-hunting show - has become something of a cliche in low-budget horror cinema (see Dark Vision for one of the most recent examples). Which may be unfortunate, or may be why a distributor has now picked it up.

Fenix films will release The Legend of the 5ive on DVD in the States on 9th September; it's up on Amazon now. No idea what it's like.

All Hallows Eve – the perfect night for your first ghost hunt, to find that irrefutable proof of live after death, at least that’s what sceptical documentary film‐maker Julia Marsh was told when she joined Greg Connell and his team ‘Paranormal Investigations Inc’ for their live Halloween special.
   Their location: a remote farm in deepest, darkest England. Their mission: to uncover the truth behind the legend of the ‘Screaming Spectres of Emerson farm’ known locally as ‘The 5ive’.The legend of the 5ive
Rumour has it, three hundred years ago, five mysterious strangers were found butchered on the land. Their bodies placed in such a way to form the points of a giant pentagram, their deaths said to be so violent, so hideous, that you can still see their screaming forms running from whoever or whatever killed them.
   The Live show begins and the World Wide Web watches as the team quickly records evidence of paranormal activity. Unexplainable images, unearthly sounds, poltergeist activity and the revelation of the name Anne Foster; the name you call upon three times to reveal the fate of the five. Spotting a rare ratings opportunity Greg Connell leads the team in an impromptu midnight séance, calling Anne Fosters name from the points of the pentagram, as the witching hour strikes.
   At exactly 12.15am their live webcast inexplicitly dies and Julia and the team find themselves thrust into a horrific fight for survival. The evil they called forth will deliver the terrifying truth.
   This horror feature is the debut from director James P Weatherall and takes the reality of TV’s Most Haunted, the cold horror of the Blair witch and mixes them together with an equal measure of subtle dark humour to create a disturbing but ultimately entertaining movie.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Trailers for 'Daly Does the Dead' Trilogy

Milton Keynes maverick Jason Impey has posted the trailers for three new comedy horror features which he is making with the Grande Dame of modern British horror, Eileen Daly. Daly Does the Dead is a series of features in which Eileen, Dam Cullingworth (The Eschatrilogy, Molly Crows) and Justin G Gibson play a team of paranormal investigators.

They encounter ghosts in Mr Crispin (previously announced as Mr Crispin at Your Cervix!) and Hollywood Betrayed, and vampires in First Bite is the Deepest. Jason variously contributed as DP, editor and executive producer of the three films which are being made under Eileen's Gyspsyphilia Productions banner. No news yet on distribution.

Friday 8 August 2014

Graph of British horror films since 2000

This is kind of fun. A graphical representation of my master list of British horror features released since 1st January 2000. Can you see a trend?

Saturday 2 August 2014

Whatever happened to... Room?

An anonymous commenter over on this post from last December has alerted me to a finished but unreleased British horror feature simply called Room.

Here's the synopsis, from an archive of the movie's website:

‘Isolation can be healthy’
Writer/Director Lee Russell’s first feature,  ROOM promises first class thrilling occurrences with pinnacle suspense.  Produced to a low budget, ROOM takes you through the brain winding journey of a budding police cadet as he unknowingly becomes part of a plot, isolated within the confines of a morbid 12th floor apartment.

There was a screening at Cineworld, Chichester in 2009, which my commenter says he attended, but the film has now completely disappeared. All we're left with is this two-minute trailer and this poster:

Unfortunately that credit block is too small to make out, but here's some info from the website on the people who made Room:

’Epitome-Chi’ are a collaborative team of young, talented filmmakers - all with individual spirit and dedication which when combined makes the most creative, innovative work force in Southern Britain.

‘ROOM’ being their first feature film; the team have pulled together, and produced what could be 2008’s best debuting micro-budget movie, costing a total of £2,500.

Since 2003, many of the team have spent their youth time with a camera and a cutting room, making and experimenting with demo adverts, music videos, corporate videos and short’s.  When the Script for ROOM came about in late 2005, the group slowly but surely formed.  The rest is classed as history...

WRITER/DIRECTOR/editor: Lee Russell
Production designer: Lewis Simons
2nd ad: Claire Stibbon
3rd ad: Shinji Ishigaki
sound/boom operator: Simon John Bowles
Set decorator/ assistant grip: Chris Faiers
Grip: Carl Fenn

From various sources I have ascertained that the cast included Heather Darcy (Grave Tales, Till Sunset, Attack of the Zombie Vampires, In Search of the Great Beast 666), Kate Walsh (currently playing a villager in The Hobbit Part III!), Trevor Byfield (The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Beyond the Rave), Laura Stevely, Samantha Ramm and Bob Chambers.

Here's a longer synopsis from CastingCallPro:

This chilling psychoanalytical thriller brings a whole new meaning to confinement, both physically and mentally.

Continuing his search for a new place to live, police cadet Tom O'Leary finds himself locating flat 358, what the local newspaper has lead him to believe is a 'luxury apartment'. After managing to find the location, he stumbles across a young lady by the name of Rachel. A very pleasant girl, Rachel introduces herself and they begin to chat, before Tom eventually decides to take a look at the flat. Tom becomes baffled and slightly concerned after discovering the door to 358 to be open. 'Poor' would be an understatement to the condition he discovers the apartment to be in. As fate takes its course and Tom discovers more and more about the room, he increasingly wishes he hadn't taken an interest to the advert in the paper. Becoming delusional, he enters a world he has never been before. After becoming trapped in the confines of the apartment, Tom not only has to work to find a way out, but also finds himself having to work in order to come to terms with family related guilt and self inflicted illness which will slowly but surely bring him to his knees. After living in the room for nearly a day with no medication to subside his condition, Tom begins to realise that he shouldn't be concerned as to who has locked him there, but instead, 'why' have they locked him there.

So what has happened to Room? It's not on IMDB. It's not on YouTube, it's not listed on IMDB and the last post on Lee Russell's Facebook page was two years ago.

Monday 28 July 2014

A Vault of Victims coming to DVD in September

A new British horror anthology from Will Metheringham and friends is lined up for a US release in September through WorldWide MultiMedia. Metheringham, director of The Photographer: Inside the Mind of a Psycho, has teamed up with his missus, Maria Lee Metheringham, and their mate Anthony Brems for the three segments of A Vault of Victims.

Death, Murder, Love Triangles, Evil Teddy Bears and Sex Galore. Three wickedly sexy tales in this terrifying anthology that are sure to make your blood curdle while fulfilling your deepest fantasies. In Sweet Mirror: A timid girl finds an escape from her sexual repression in a mysterious old mirror. Her new confidence allows her to confront her inner demons. In Terror the Bear: An evil teddy bear plots the demise of a group of self-absorbed students. In Hidden Camera: Steve's secret recordings are found by his girlfriend Lyndsey and her plan for revenge is death. Horrifying, deadly and dangerous consequences abound behind this Vault of Victims.

Here's the Facebook page and here's the trailer. Astute BHR fans will spot that the middle story, Terror the Bear, ploughs a similar furrow to Karl Holt's award-winning 2006 short Eddie Loves You. That's alright - there can never be too many films about psychotic cuddly toys!

Metheringham is apparently finishing off a feature called Snuff Reel and also prepping a sequel to his debut - The Photographer 2: Inside the Dark Room.

Sunday 27 July 2014

Can't wait to see: C Thomas Howell in Siren Song

Here is the trailer for Siren Song, the first feature from Benedict Mart. Shot in Cornwall earlier this year - during all those really bad storms - this tale of cannibal psychos on a creepy island is the first British horror title on the CV of B-movie legend C Thomas Howell, a man more commonly to be found in the output of Fred Olen Ray or The Asylum. And those who know me will understand that this is far from  a criticism - quite the opposite!

Siren Song focuses on two friends, one of whom pursues a relationship with a mysterious woman who part owns a guest house and who he has been dating online. Problems occur when guests at the isolated guest house begin to disappear and the guys discover the truth about the woman and her monstrous sisters and how they must escape from a mysterious island if they want to survive beyond dawn.

Ben tells me: "I had the idea a couple of years ago and commissioned a friend Lisa Edwards to write the story retelling the Siren myth with their song sung though the web. Also with the outbreak of the horse burgers scandal, what are we eating? Both ideas intertwined so well together.

"We had a fantastic team from the camera department headed by Tobias Marshall who with the help of  the gaffer, Martryn Culpan, lite up Polperro Harbour during one of the smaller storms. The production designer Heather Dunn did a fantastic job in set dressing the siren 'hotel'; many of the rooms got a complete face-lift to fit our narrative. Also our editor Tom Kemplen fine-tuned the narrative of the film and post house team Onlinepp gave their outstanding commitment to the project, which we are very grateful for."

Friday 25 July 2014

25 British Horror Revival titles available on

Online horror source continues to be a good place to find some of the best new British horror. Their current list includes a full 25 BHR titles, as detailed below - with links to my reviews where they exist. (NB. The site does fall down somewhat on its tagging,m so their 'British horror' tag omits a lot of these and includes a couple of decidedly non-British films.)

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Watch 'Benny Loves Killing' free for the next week and a half

Ben Woodiwiss' feature Benny Loves Killing is free to view online between 1st and 10th July courtesy of the fine folks at Cinema Zero, a fantastic bunch of guys who are commendably working to break the mould of old-fashioned distribution models. Their manifesto is pretty much everything I tried to get people to understand in Urban Terrors. Cinemas are dead, long live cinema.

Benny Loves Killing "follows the struggles of a student making a horror film, only for her life to fall apart".
It is "a tense, claustrophobic love letter to cinema". Woodiwiss previously wrote Blood + Roses. The film stars Pauline Cousty and Canelle Hoppe (London Voodoo, Hellbreeder).

Once you've watched the film, you can watch it again because there's also a commentary version on the site with Ben and producer Nick Jones discussing the making of the film.

Saturday 28 June 2014

The Addicted becomes Rehab becomes The Clinic

Sean J Vincent's The Addicted, which is now available on DVD and VOD in the States, is onto its third title here in the UK. Safecracker DVD originally announced the UK release as Rehab but this has now changed again to The Clinic. There was an American film a couple of years ago called Rehab, but then there was one called The Clinic too.

The UK release date is sheduled for 28th July. Expect a review over on my main site this weekend.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Scar Tissue coming to cinemas next month

Scott Michell's Scar Tissue, which was shot back in 2011, gets a long-awaited release in a few weeks, with a limited theatrical from 25th July and then VOD/DVD on 4th August. Here's the press release blurb:

Detective Sam Cross (Charity Wakefield – Sense & Sensibility, Mockingbird Lane, The Raven) never got the chance for revenge. Twenty years ago, her sister became the last victim of serial child killer Edward Jansen, moments before he was shot dead by a police SWAT team. 

But now, decades later, he's back… 

Luke Denham (Danny Horn - Dr Who) is a normal guy living a normal life until he wakes up one morning to find a mutilated corpse in his bathroom. When the police find Jansen’s DNA all over the crime scene, Luke and Sam are thrown together on a mission to uncover the truth and stop the long-dead psychopath who stalks and taunts them. SCAR TISSUE is a shocking, gripping and stylish thriller from the producer of The Seasoning House that reminds us how the past can be impossible to escape – evil leaves its mark.

A Sterling Pictures production, the film also stars Shaun Dingwall (Dr Who, Rock & Chips), Helen George (Call The Midwife), Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner, Plebs) and screen legend Kenneth Colley (most famous for playing Admiral Piett in the original Star Wars trilogy and Jesus in Monty Python’s Life of Brian). Original music for SCAR TISSUE is composed by Mark Ayres, famous for his work on Dr Who in classic era of the 80s, and more recently as part of the reformed BBC Radiophonic Workshop. 

Scar Tissue is produced by Michael Riley (Vampire Diary, The Seasoning House) and co-produced by Tim Dennison (Evil Aliens, Room 36) and either of those names is good enough for me. Music by Mark Ayres is the icing on the cake. Oh, and make-up effects by Paul Hyett, of course...