Friday 25 November 2016

North Bank Entertainment, the Welsh house of horror

With 13 feature films produced over the past five years, Andrew Jones’s North Bank Entertainment is the most prolific and consistent ‘horror house’ in the UK. All but three of those were written, directed and produced by Andrew. Though few viewers will recognise North Bank Entertainment as a brand, Andrew has been quietly building up a reputation with distributors for solid DTV horror product delivered on time, on budget.

Before founding North Bank Entertainment, Andrew Jones made two social dramas, Teenage Wasteland and The Feral Generation. Produced by Stuart Brennan and Neil Jones, The Feral Generation was never released but my review is here.

Here are North Bank Entertainment’s 13 films to date, in production order. Synopses from Amazon. You can keep track of future work on Facebook.

Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection

The deceased have risen from their graves with only one instinct, to feed on the living. As academics speculate on the scientific cause of the phenomena, theologians point to the Armageddon foretold in the Book of Revelation. As the cities are over run and civilization crumbles, a family take refuge from the un-dead army in an isolated farmhouse in West Wales. But the greatest threat is already among them.

Homage to George Romero’s PD classic. Directed and co-written by James Plumb. Cast includes Sule Rimi, Lee Bane, Kathy Saxondale, SJ Evans, Sabrina Dickens, Richard Goss, Sarah Louise Madison. Shot September 2011. UK cinemas, November 2012; US DVD, April 2013; UK DVD, May 2013; German DVD, August 2013

Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming

The abandoned home of Wilfred Butler, a wealthy but troubled man who committed suicide in 1987, has been willed to his grandson, Jeffrey. The house has sat in disarray since Wilfred's death, standing in the way of developers who want to turn the property into residential homes. Just before Christmas 2012, many years after Wilfred's death, Jeffrey and his lawyer appear in town to negotiate the sale of the property. But an axe wielding maniac has set up residence in the house, and he doesn't take kindly to strangers.

Remake of a 1972 American film. Directed and co-written by James Plumb. Cast includes Adrienne King, Sabrina Dickens, Lee Bane, Sule Rimi, Richard Goss. Shot April-May 2012. UK DVD, October 2013 (originally announced for March 2013); US DVD, February 2014; German DVD, November 2014

The Amityville Asylum

Lisa Templeton begins a new job as a cleaner at High Hopes Hospital, a mental institution in Amityville, Long Island. Initially delighted to get the job, Lisa soon realises that all is not as it seems. Intimidated by staff and the psychotic ramblings of the patients, she is further unnerved by apparent supernatural occurrences on the night shift. To preserve her sanity, Lisa must uncover the mysterious history of the institution and its inmates. But the truth is far more terrifying than she could ever imagine.

Nominally connected to the original 1979 The Amityville Horror. Cast includes Eileen Daly, Lee Bane, Paul Kelleher, Sophia Del Pizzo, Kenton Hall, Sarah Louise Madison, Judith Haley. Shot January 2013. UK cinemas, June 2013; German DVD, Sep 2013 (as The Nesting 2: Amityville Asylum); Australian DVD, October 2013; US DVD, January 2014; UK DVD, February 2014

Theatre of Fear

Prepare for a unique concoction of murder and mayhem as we take to the stage with the Moreau Family, a band of twisted misfits who travel around the UK performing a sinister variety act for unsuspecting audiences. Leave your inhibitions at the door and open your mind to an experience unlike any other as you witness one of the most bizarre crime sprees in the annals of British history. As the twisted family unleash their surreal brand of carnage, vengeful hit man Duke Enright is hot on their trail, determined to bring their show to a close. Dare you enter the Theatre of Fear? You'll PAY to enter but you'll PRAY to leave.

Cast includes Jared Morgan, Nathan Head, Lee Bane, Sarah Louise Madison, Shireen Ashton, Sam Harding, Kenton Hall, Tiffany Ceri. Shot October 2013 (as The Midnight Horror Show). UK DVD, September 2014; US DVD, March 2015; German DVD, June 2016. Also released in The Ultimate Horror Collection (UK) and Die Grosse Horror-Clowns Deluxe Mega-Box (Germany)

Conjuring the Dead

Kristen Matthews moves from London to a small Welsh village after inheriting a house left to her by a recently deceased relative. Kristen settles into her new surroundings, makes friends with her neighbours and all appears well. But a series of unexplained suicides occur in the village, leaving the local police baffled. Kristen begins to experience vivid nightmares and the local priest falls victim to supernatural attacks. Dormant spirits have been reawakened. Can anyone stop the manifestation of ancient evil or is Kristen fated to pay for her new home's dark history?

Cast includes Rachel Howells, Lee Bane, Jared Morgan, Alison Lenihan, Kenton Hall, Ross Owen Williams, Shot November 2013 (as Valley of the Witch). US DVD, January 2015; UK DVD, August 2015

The Last House on Cemetery Lane

Screenwriter John Davies has grown tired of living in London and moves to an old manor house in a sleepy West Wales village to get out of the rat race. At first he enjoys himself, embracing the quieter pace of life and starting a relationship with his beautiful neighbour Cassie Konrad. But strange, unexplained occurrences begin to occur in the manor house. John discovers he is surrounded by a supernatural presence and begins to research the house's past, discovering secrets more terrible than he ever imagined. It is now up to John to right the injustices of the past and finally lay to rest the spirits which haunt the Last House on Cemetery Lane.

Cast includes Lee Bane, Vivien Bridson, Georgina Blackledge, Tessa Wood, Shot April-May 2014. US DVD, February 2015; UK DVD, March 2015; German DVD, May 2016

Poltergeist Activity

After the death of his wife, David Prescott moves to a secluded farmhouse in a quiet village with teenage daughter Katherine. A stressful, upsetting time is soon made all the worse when they encounter unexplainable occurrences and frightening visions in their new home. Desperate for answers, David turns to retired paranormal investigator Hans Voltz who must rediscover all of his skill and spiritual strength to defeat the spectral menace.

Cast includes Lee Bane, Jared Morgan, Natalie Martins, Sam Harding, Dean Sills, Judith Haley. Shot September 2014. UK DVD, June 2015; US DVD, August 2015; German DVD, May 2016

Haunting at the Rectory

Based on chilling real life events, this story charts one couple's terrifying real life encounter with the dark forces of the supernatural. In 1930, Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife Marianne move into the Borley Rectory when Reverend Foyster is named rector of the parish. The couple's peaceful existence is soon shattered by a series of unexplained occurrences, which quickly escalate into a heart-stopping nightmare. Now Reverend Foyster and Marianne must discover the deadly secrets of the Rectory to avoid becoming another tragic footnote in the dark history of The Most Haunted House In England.

Cast includes Lee Bane, Suzie Frances Garton, Tom Bonington, Sarah-Louise Tyler. Shot November 2014 (as A Haunting at the Rectory). UK DVD, June 2015


After Paul and Jenny part company with their sinister housekeeper Agatha, the disgruntled former employee gives a vintage doll called Robert to their son Gene. Soon after Agatha's departure, strange events begin plaguing the household. Furniture is vandalised, objects are thrown around and maniacal giggles echo through the house in the middle of the night. But nobody believes Gene when he claims Robert is to blame for the disturbances. Paul and Jenny consider the possibility that a supernatural force has taken over their home. But as the occurrences escalate they discover that it's not the house that's haunted... it's the doll.

Cast includes Suzie Frances Garton, Lee Bane, Flynn Allen, Judith Haley, Megan Lockhurst. Shot February 2015 (as Robert the Doll). UK DVD: August 2015; German DVD, May 2016

Kill Kane

In an explosive story of urban violence, family man Ray Brookes seeks revenge when his wife and children are murdered by infamous gangsters. Unable to place his faith in the justice system and with nothing left to lose, he turns vigilante and stalks the streets, on the hunt for those who robbed him of a future.

Directed by Adam Stephen Kelly, co-written by Kelly, Jones and Christian Sellers. This crime thriller is North Bank Entertainment’s only non-horror title and the only film with an obviously marketable name in the cast - Vinnie Jones. Cast also includes Nicole Faraday, Sebastian Street, Sean Cronin, Lee Bane, Jared Morgan. Shot April 2015. UK DVD, January 2016; US DVD, March 2016

The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund

In this terrifying true story, something beyond comprehension is happening to wife and mother Anna Ecklund. Once a mild mannered churchgoer, she is now prone to bouts of violent rage with a particular anger toward religious imagery. Desperate to find a cure for Anna's disturbing behaviour, her family call on doctors and psychiatrists to provide a diagnosis. But when no rational explanation can be found, local priest Father Riesinger teams up with Vatican investigator Father Lamont to evaluate the case. Realising that Anna is inhabited by a malevolent entity, the priests take her to a nearby Convent to perform an Exorcism. But all hell breaks loose and a brutal battle between good and evil begins.

Cast includes Lee Bane, Tiffany Ceri, Jeff Raggett, Judith Haley. Shot June 2015; UK DVD: March 2016

The Curse of Robert

Emily Barker is a cash strapped student trying to make money as a cleaner, working nights at the East Falls Museum. But her peaceful graveyard shift turns into a time of terror when she is plagued by the sound of footsteps in empty corridors and mysterious vandalism throughout the building. Emily suspects that one of the exhibits, a creepy vintage doll named Robert, is alive and wreaking havoc after hours. Her reports to the head of security and the museum owner go unheeded, but when members of the night staff turn up dead in sinister circumstances, Emily knows the doll is responsible for the bloodshed. But a local police detective points the finger of suspicion at Emily and she finds herself the prime suspect in the investigation. Can she convince everyone of the truth behind the murders and clear her name? Or will she too fall victim to the Curse of Robert the Doll?

North Bank Entertainment’s first sequel to one of its own films. Cast includes Nigel Barber, Lee Bane, Tiffany Ceri, Chris Bell, Suzie Frances Garton. Shot January 2016 (as The Curse of Robert the Doll). UK DVD, September 2016; US DVD, November 2016

The Toymaker

In Nazi Germany, 1941, fearsome Colonel Ludolf Von Alvensleben acquires a legendary Occult book which holds the secret to bringing inanimate objects to life. Stolen by rogue Nazi officer Benjamin Hoffman, the mysterious book ends up in the hands of Toymaker Amos Blackwood after Benjamin is tracked down and murdered by SS officers in the town of Rosenheim. As the Nazis terrorize the locals while searching for the book, the Toymaker experiments with the ancient tome and gives life to his collection of vintage dolls and handmade toys. After betrayal from one of his employees the SS raid the Toymaker's shop, stealing the book and kidnapping Amos. But the animated dolls and toys don't take kindly to the loss of their master. So begins a mission to rescue the Toymaker from the clutches of the evil Colonel and exact a brutal and bloody revenge on the Nazis.

Cast includes Lee Bane, Nathan Head, Jo Weil, Erick Hayden. Shot November 2016. Currently in post-production.

Still to come (possibly): Death House Dolls, Cabin 28, The Last House on Sorority Row, Alice, The Reborn, Ed Gein: American Psycho, The Haunting of Amelia Rose, Frankenstein vs Dracula, Primeval Predators, The Filthy Thirteen

Monday 7 November 2016

Press release: new animated Brtish horror short ‘Nothing To Declare’

Film Debut for Comic Book Artist Frank Quitely 
Bafta-nominated Director, Oscar-winning artist and former Mogwai musician on team of ‘Nothing To Declare’

Comic book artist Frank Quitely - best known for his work on New X-Men, We3, and All-Star Superman with Grant Morrison, and titles such as The Authority and Jupiter's Legacy with Mark Miller - marks a move into animation with Nothing To Declare, an animated horror short.

The film is directed by multi-BAFTA-nominated animator Will Adams and produced by Mal Young, with artwork by Fraser McLean and Tom Bryant. It is based on a short story by Frank Quitely in which a well-meaning 19-year-old returns home at Christmas from backpacking in South America, only to discover he has unintentionally triggered a catastrophic chain of events.  The team expect the film to appeal to comic book readers, as well as fans of animation and horror.

For Quitely, it is not only his first foray into film - it is also his first time in the role of writer. He says:
“I’ve always loved the horror genre. I had written a bunch of short stories, and this one, I felt, particularly lent itself to animation. This is the first time i've written a story and handed it over to other artists to work on. It's my first venture in film, and the team I'm working with are exceptionally talented and have created a brilliantly crafted animation. I'm really excited at the prospect of seeing it finished.”

The film is a co-production between Scottish animation studios Once Were Farmers and Interface Pattern, marking the first collaboration between the multi-award-winning studios. It is enhanced by an original score by John Cummings, formerly of the band Mogwai, who left the band on amicable terms in 2015 to pursue other musical avenues.

Will Adams, Director, says:
"This will be the first home-grown short I've directed since 2009, so it's a rare treat to work on a project where we have real creative freedom. Having been a fan of Frank Quitely's work since I read his comics at school, it's been brilliant having the opportunity to collaborate so closely with him."
The team are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise the funds that they need to complete the film. The campaign launched on Halloween, and raised 25% of its target within the first few days.

The campaign is a rare opportunity for fans to acquire original artwork by Frank Quitely and Fraser McLean, including unseen sketches from Quitely’s sketchbook, unique, signed frames from the film, and your own portrait as a Nothing To Declare character drawn by Fraser McLean.

The campaign runs until 10th December on Indiegogo. Please visit for more information and to support the project.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Strong showing for British horror in the BIFA nominations

If you ever wanted evidence of a British Horror Revival, here it is. The nominations have been announced for the 2016 British Independent Film Awards. There are 5 nominations in 13 categories (not including the one for documentaries, shorts and international films). So 65 nominations and a whopping 14 of those are for horror films.

Under the Shadow has seven nominations with the others shared between five other British horror films, as follows:

Under the Shadow
Best British Independent Film, Best Director (Babak Anvari), Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Narges Rashidi), Best Supporting Actress (Avin Manshadi), Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director (Babak Anvari), Breakthrough Producer (Camille Gatin)

The Girl with All the Gifts
Best Supporting Actress (Gemma Arterton), Most Promising Newcomer (Sennia Nanua), Outstanding Achievement in Craft (Seb Barker)

Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director (Alice Lowe)

The Ghoul
The Discovery Award

The Discovery Award

Yr Ymadawiad (aka The Passing)
Debut Screenwriter (Ed Talfan)

Congratulations to all the nominees. Winners will be announced on 4th December.