Sunday, 25 April 2010

You Don't Know Jack.. yet

Following on from my recent post about the indy short Bear Scary, one man band Dan Brownlie sent me info about his next production, called Don't Know Jack (trailer above).

Dan said:

Thanks for the positive review, glad everyone seems to be liking it.

Just finished the edit on another micro horror called 'Don't know jack' (view trailer here ) also starring Sophia Disgrace.

Bear Scary is available from my web site if anyone wants a copy.

Mirren moans about Brit typecasting, and Lee moans about someone dragging up Dracula again (probably)

Dame Helen Mirren has moaned about Brit actors being typecast as evildoers in Hollywood films in an interview on the Independent website. About 10 years too late to point that one out, love, but well done anyway.
Of more interest to us is the Indy's pinpointing of the exact moment when us Brits came to signify all that is evil in film. To whit:
Its consolidation, though, is likely to date from the maniacal laughs of Christopher Lee in the Hammer Horror films of the 1950s and 1960s. From then on, baddies have been almost uniformly Brits.

More recently, Christopher Lee portrayed the evil wizard Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though the action takes place in Middle Earth, the accent is unmistakeably Thames Estuary.
Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember Lee "laughing maniacally" in any films of the 50s and 60s. He was more prone to gurning disagreeably, or staring surreptitiously, surely?

Good excuse to use the above picture though, ain't it? I could have gone for a pic of her milfing it up in a pink bikini, or getting a good seeing-to in The Cook The Thief His Wife And Her Lover (review to come soon) but I'm better than that...

Four Lions update

I'm still not apologising for promoting this... it's not horror but it is British and I'm sure it's going to be great (and probably not without its harrowing moments). Four Lions is Chris Morris's latest work, and he's the man who brought us the comedy-horror of Jam, so there is a link...
Anyway, some more info about Four Lions...

The film, in cinemas 7th May, has launched its official website over at

And the blurb:

Chris Morris’ Four Lions is a funny, thrilling comedy that illuminates modern jihadism through the prism of farce. It understands jihadists as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous. What This Is Spinal Tap did for heavy metal and Dr Strangelove the Cold War, Four Lions does for the modern face of terrorism.

In a British city, four men have a secret plan. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is disillusioned about the treatment of Muslims around the world and is determined to become a soldier. This is the most exciting idea Waj (Kayvan Novak) has ever heard. Better still it’s a no brainer because Omar does his thinking for him. Opposed to Omar and everyone else on earth is the white Islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay). He’d

realise he joined the cell to channel his nihilism - if he had half the self knowledge of a duck. Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) is the odd man out. He can make a bomb – but he can’t blow himself up just now coz his sick dad has “started eating newspaper”. Instead he’s training crows to fly bombs through windows. This is what Omar has to deal with.

They must strike a decisive blow on their own turf but can any of them strike a match without punching himself in the face? Four Lions plunges us beyond seeing these young men as unfathomably alien. It undermines the folly of just wishing them away or, even worse, alienating the entire culture from which they emerge. The film is neither pro nor anti religious. The jokes fly out of the characters’ conflicts, excesses and mistakes. Crackling with wit and tension, Four Lions is the essential response to our failure to engage with reality and a high toast to the idea that laughter is better than killing.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Shrieking Sixties Book Launch imminent

The Shrieking Sixties, a new book about British horror films from, yes, the 1960s, which features some reviews by yours truly, gets its official launch next month at the Southend Film Festival.
There to welcome this publishing phenomenon onto the best seller list will be the saintly Ian Ogilvy, which is rather ace.
Editor Darrell Buxton writes to tell me:

We’re delighted to announce the publication of ‘The Shrieking Sixties’. This long-awaited study of British horror cinema 1960-69 will be unveiled at the Southend Film Festival, at a special gala event on Saturday May 1st.
Movie and television legend Ian Ogilvy will be present to mark the occasion, as well as chatting about his appearances in horror films of the era. The Michael Reeves classic, WITCHFINDER GENERAL (starring Mr. Ogilvy) will be screened at 6 pm.
Editor of ‘The Shrieking Sixties’ and noted authority on British horror, Darrell Buxton, will also attend on the day.
Copies of ‘The Shrieking Sixties’ will be available for sale at the venue, in a special ‘festival’ limited edition.

The show will take place at the Palace Theatre, 430 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex SS90 9LA
01702 351135

Tickets are a bargain £2.00

Also screened at the Palace Theatre/Dixon Studio on May 1st, three films which keep those British horror traditions alive into the 21st Century:




Dark Horse and Hammer team up for new comic venture

I understand that Hammer, yes that lot, who are shortly to charm us all I'm sure with a remake of Let The Right One In, have teamed up with Dark Horse comics to produce a graphic novel version of their remake of that very film... that's it, I know no more. Except it's coming out in October, apparently.

Sublime... now how about a region 2 release?

My favourite film in the history of the world ever is getting a lovely DVD release... sadly it'll only be available in the US for the time being.
Let's start a petition to get the thing released over here! What's that you say? Oops. The film I'm talking about is Horror Hospital, should've mentioned that, probably. Anyway, here's a nice clip, courtesy of the BHF Youtube channel...

And here's some info on the disc itself:

Released on June 15, the film is presented in uncut/uncensored form in a 16x9-enhanced widescreen transfer. It’ll be accompanied by a fresh audio commentary by producer Richard Gordon, moderated by Fangoria scribe Tom Weaver, and includes an extensive still/promo gallery including pics from Gordon’s personal collection and rare lobby cards from Germany.
Although frankly I couldn't give a shit about all that. Just WATCH THE FILM! It's grrreat.

Bray for the chop?

The Mirror, that esteemed organ of choice for the truly moronic, has a story today saying that Bray studios, Hammer's spiritual home, could be demolished to make way for housing. But considering the last Hammer film made there was the Mummy's Shroud way back in 66, can anyone really say they give a big brown steaming one?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Artwork preview

Yup, I'm still working on the hugely anticipated relaunch of the main BHF website...

Formulating a few ideas, chucking stuff up the flagpole, seeing what sticks to matron's bloomers - you know the score. Anyhoo, here's some doodles which may or may not make it to the finished article...

The above three are only really going to be background fodder, if anything at all. The below might find its way into somewhere more prominent... it's now full colour, although needs a lot more work before it's up to scratch...

DVD box set bonanza

Amazon, believe it or not, are having a sale on DVD box sets. Yes I know, it's incredible, isn't it? They hardly ever have sales on, do they? It's an absolute shocker. Wow. Astonishing. I'm amazed.
Aaaaanyway, I had a quick look and dug up a couple readers of this blog may be interested in... You know, everyone's busy putting DVDs in sales these days, aren't they? Anyone would think they were pretty much worthless in 2010. Can't think why.

First up, series one to four of the new Doctor Who. Get yourself re-acquainted with Messrs Ecclescake and Tagnut for just 50 English squid before Mr Smith makes you forget who they both were (that first episode was an absolute cracker, wasn't it?)

Then revel in the delights that were series two and three of the "adult" (or as I prefer to remember it, "even more childish") version of Doctor Who, Torchwood. And watch series one, if you fancy a laugh (god it was awful. Series two and three, though? Ace). Once more, just 50 poonds gets you this...

The Comedian talks Lee, Hammer and Swank (that's Hilary Swank)

The dude who played The Comedian in Watchmen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (yes, I thought it was Robert Downey Jr as well) has been talking about his role in the upcoming Hammer film, The Resident, which also stars (drum roll) the ubiquitous dude CHRISTOPHER LEE. Give it a rest, dude, that's two blog posts today you've featured in.

Jeff (as I call him) tells Fear Net:
"The Resident with Hilary Swank," he said, "It's Hammer Films' comeback. I don't know if you know Hammer Films, but they did all the Dracula's, the Christopher Lee movies back in the [day]. So in thirty years this will be the first movie back, and I play a really creepy dude in that movie. It's beyond creepy. I saw a rough cut of it a couple of months ago, and it's super creepy. Even for me to watch it, I was like, "Who is that guy, man? I do not want to hang out with that dude!"
He obviously likes the word "dude". Then again, so do I.

The Reeds

Another new British horror which may be worth a look is The Reeds. Sorry, can't think of any "reeds" puns. Erm...

Here's the synopsis:

A weekend boating trip through the Norfolk Broads becomes a terrifying, deadly ordeal for six 20-something year old friends.

Aboard the Corsair Star, a small cruiser rented from the local marina operator, the boating party loses its bearings and cuts through the vast reedy tidewater in search of the main channel. After the first casualty by a freak accident, the boat runs aground.

Every effort to preserve themselves and find a way out fails, as one by one the friends are terrorized by young punks and killed by a hooded man with a gun. There is no escaping this vast waterway, a place of endless return...
And here's the trailer:

From that it actually looks really good, sort of Eden Lake meets Donkey Punch with some supernatural overtones those two films were missing. Plus, it's got Jambo from Hollyoaks in it! It can't fail, surely?

Are we "reedy" for such a film? Christ, that was bad.

Heavy, mannnnn

Word has reached BHF Towers (or if you prefer, I read it on someone else's blog) that good old Christopher Lee will soon be appearing in yet another film. Does the old duffer not sleep? This one is a gangster-ish film called The Heavy, starring Gary Speed, the ex boxer who played the chief nutcase in Dead Man's Shoes, a superb borderline horror you may have heard of (if not, why not?).

The Heavy also stars Sadie Frost (argh), Vinnie Jones (aaaaargh) and Lee Ryan out of Blue (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh). So if nothing else, it should be good for a laugh.

Here's the trailer...

Monday, 5 April 2010

Goldman talks Black and Hammer

Just a short note to say that Jane Goldman (pictured), the scriptwriter behind Kick-Ass and Stardust, has been interviewed about writing the script for upcoming Hammer production The Woman In Black, where she talks about British horror films a bit.

She tells Fear Net:

I think growing up in England you couldn't help but be a fan of Hammer. It is what it is, Hammer. A lot of them, I think you remember fondly and then you go back and they're kind of cheesy. [Laughs.] But it's amazing that it was that strong a brand; it's a well-known phrase. People still say "Hammer Horror House", and I'm proud to be part of that. The TV series they used to make was on when I was a little kid and it was terrifying to me then. [Laughs.] It was the school equivalent of the water cooler – you'd be like, "Did you see Hammer House of Horror last night?" So that was exciting. But mostly I liked the project because it was such a strong story and the novel is based on something I'd always loved -- I saw that play about six times. [Laughs.] It was exciting.
"Hammer Horror House"? Now, I'm no pedant, so I won't comment on that. I saw the play too, it's bloody terrifying. She also says:

I think there's been some really interesting (recent British horror) films. Eden Lake, which is directed by James Watkins, who's gonna be doing The Woman in Black, is a really great intelligent piece of horror filmmaking. And there's been stuff recently like Severance, which is a lot of fun. But it just felt to me… It's in terms of the approach that's right for the story. Having said that, the British horror industry, when we do make films, is great and there's a lot to admire. But right now we don't have that strong an identity in terms of the style of British horror. I think there's room for all different approaches. 
So, good news, then. Well, I'm happy. And I didn't mention Jonathan Ross once. Oops.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Christ, make up your bloody minds

Apparently, the Horror Channel, or Zone Horror, or whatever the fuck it's called this days (this is the UK one, by the way) has rebranded again, and gone back to whatever it was called before it rebranded the last time. Why anyone would care what way round they have the words "horror" and "channel" escapes me.

But I am quite looking forward to the Flight Of The Conchords thingy...

Horror Channel brand brought back to life

Zone Horror, part of Chello Zone's UK channels portfolio, is returning to its former identity as the Horror Channel.

The network, jointly owned by multi-channel broadcaster Chello Zone and CBS Studios International following a partnership deal signed last October, was originally known as the Horror Channel until it was rebranded in 2006.

News of the name change came on the same day that Horror Channel announced the pick-up of five films from distributor Revolver Entertainment.

The feature films include New Zealand comedy horror Diagnosis Death, starring Bret McKenzie and Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords); UK horror flic Red Mist; The Grave Dancers; Mega Snake; and The Ferryman.

The Horror Channel has also added Paul McEvoy, who runs UK horror and fantasy festival FrightFest, to its programming team.

So there you go. You can read the full article here:

Ready teddy go...

Stuffed toys... they're pretty scary, right? Well the makers of this short film certainly hope you think so.
Apologies to Dan Brownlie, who got in touch with me AGES ago to tell me about his 24 minute epic, Bear Scary.

He said:

"It's 24 minutes long and was originally meant to showcase our talent and get us funding for a feature film (which it has). But everyone felt so good about it we decided it needed more exposure. The film's budget was £2000 which £1,500 went on equipment.

"It's the first official film from brand-B corporation and was filmed completly on location, which was an old care home (apart from the bathroom scene which was shot in my flat).

"We had 6 days to shoot it as the builders came in just after we left. We had 3 exploding lights, one near blindness, an actress who vanished on role call and we had to grab the nearest person we could find to fill in (spot which one) and a burglary while shooting.
"All the music was provided by bands I've been in or know, and everyone worked for the love of it."

The film is described as a camp/dark comedy in the vein of gremlins. All effects were practical and executed by the inhouse fx team Blood & Cookies so it has a very warm feel to it, that so far everyone we've screened it to enjoyed.
Lauren  turns up to babysit one of her regulars and decides to invite her friend round.
She gets into an argument with her mates tag along and ends up taking it out on the child by throwing his favourite teddy bear out of the window.
This is where it all starts to go wrong for Lauren and her companions as they soon find out how spiteful childs toys can be...

The link Dan supplied me with doesn't work any more (it's been that long) but if I find it I'll let you know... sounds (and looks) like a corker.