Monday, 28 February 2011

Top heavy lovely in mooted plane flick

It may be sexist to comment on them, but good grief woman, how do you stop yourself from toppling forward? At least you've got something soft to land on! Anyway, being a sensitive type and not 15, I don't watch Hollyoaks, and until I typed her name into Google for a photo to accompany this piece, I had no idea who Gemma Atkinson was (honest, mum). Took quite a while to decide which pic to use, too (ahem).
Anyway, here she is, in her considerable glory. And no, I'm not resorting to the "bung an enormous pair of gazongas on" approach which has, to be fair, served quite well to improve traffic to the site in the past.
No! There is a reason for this picture, however spurious. And you'll be pleased to know it's all due to that BHF favourite... (drum roll)... Jonathan Sothcott!
For Jonathan is currently promoting his as-yet-unmade plane-based Brit horror Airborne, which will star the pneumatic Ms Atkinson. Here's the boobs, I mean details:

Gemma Atkinson (Hollyoaks, 13 Hrs, Julian Glover (Quatermass, Empire Strikes Back) and Alan Ford (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) lead the cast in supernatural horror thriller Airborne, which is currently shooting on locations in Surrey, England.
Airborne tells the story of a disparate group of air travellers stalked by an ancient evil aboard an in-flight jumbo jet.
Leading British indie Black and Blue Films have has joined forces with Simon Phillips’ Press On Features to co-produce and Dominic Burns is director.
Black and Blue Films’ Jonathan Sothcott said today “I was attracted by the idea of making what is basically a feature length version of the Terror At 20,00 Feet segment of Twilight Zone The Movie.”

Borderline? Feels like I'm going to lose my mind

I saw a film the other night which featured wince-making scenes of children having their eyes gouged out. It began with brutal torture, treated us to people being set on fire in the street, and for an hors d’euvre had a woman pursued by relentless killers through a railway station. When they got her they dragged her into the back of a car and slashed her face with a knife. It was British, it was all filmed in shaky, grainy digital video, people were raped, shot and beaten in an ever increasing catalogue of atrocity. Now, you might well be reading this, British horror fan, thinking “Ooh, sounds like Chris has turned up yet another obscure Brit horror classic. I wonder what it’s called and where I can get hold of it?”

Well, wonder no more, gentle reader. The film is widely available even as I type this. You might even have heard of it. It’s called Slumdog Millionaire.
Yes, that’s right – the Oscar winning “feel good” movie that everyone was talking about but no-one you know went to see apart from your mum, because she’d seen that nice Mister Boyle grinning like a loon and waving around his gold statue on the BBC news. Quite what everyone saw in it is beyond me – horror elements aside, it’s a generic romantic thriller with a vaguely pointless inclusion of a popular television quiz show. And as for “feel good” – well, it just made me feel a bit empty and depressed about the human condition.
But it does raise an interesting (and pertinent) point about a strange section of the British horror genre – that of the “borderline” film. Britain is rightly famous for its horror output – these islands were home to iconic companies like Hammer and Amicus, we produced timeless classics like The Wicker Man and Dead Of Night, and it was British talent that created An American Werewolf In London and The Shining. Yet Brit horror fans are always looking for more. It seems unlikely that anywhere else in the world would fans seek to blur the genres quite so much, but blur ‘em we do. Books and websites about British horror films (mine included) will often suggest that science fiction, thrillers and even children’s films should be included in that all-encompassing pantheon of chills we call “The British Horror Film”. Perhaps it’s part of the charm of those genuine films that we want to add more, to expand on people’s enjoyment of a late night showing of Tales From The Crypt by suggesting that they might check out the same company’s Mind Of Mister Soames for more early 70s frivolity.
I’m not suggesting for one minute that Slumdog Millionaire is a horror film. But what of Boyle’s other offerings? 28 Days Later obviously is, but what about Trainspotting, with its nightmarish visions of drug abuse, or Shallow Grave, with its psycho-in-the-attic and multiple killings? It’s a fine line.

It’s all down to perception, really – one man’s horror film is another man’s thriller. Recent cinematic offerings Like Eden Lake and Donkey Punch are really thrillers, but by using certain horror movie clich├ęs (nice people attacked for no reason, nasty torture scenes, shock jumps, outboard motors used as weapons etc) they could be, and are, classed as horror. According to my handy reference thingy, a horror film is described as “a genre of motion picture intended to thrill viewers by provoking fear or revulsion through the portrayal of grotesque, violent, or supernatural events.” That covers a massive area – including, possibly, certain scenes in Slumdog Millionaire. Other recent examples might include The Last King Of Scotland (nasty torture), Enduring Love (psycho stalks unwitting lust object), Hot Fuzz (townsfolk exact bloody revenge on anyone breaking the law) and St Trinians (audience suckered into cinema by promise of naughty schoolgirls, realises mistake five minutes in, assaulted by poor script and lame performances for next 90 minutes, ho ho).

The argument rages on. For my part, the British Horror Films website is run as a totalitarian state – if I think it’s a horror film (or even vaguely British, as it happens) it goes in. Here’s a few examples of “classic” borderline films – and if you’ve got any examples of your own, why not add ‘em in the handy space below?

The Mind Of Mister Soames – the inclusion of this got a few people raging on the BHF forum, but I stand by it. Terence Stamp comes out of a lifelong coma as a baby in a man’s body. Shady Doctor Napoleon Solo acts like a modern day Frankenstein, attempting to bend the baby-man to his own ends. Baby-man revolts and runs away, film ends tragically in classic Hammer territory, an old barn. And it’s made by 60s and 70s horror factory Amicus.

Doctor Who And The Daleks / Daleks Invasion Earth 2105AD – two more Amicus films that always appear on horror film lists. The first is a standard sci fi tale of earth people arriving on a strange planet, but does star horror god Peter Cushing. The second has slightly more horror-acity (is that a word?) as it is set in post-apocalypse London, and anything set in a post-apocalypse London is horror by default.

Don’t Look Now – deeply unsettling psycho thriller which follows couple who move to Venice to attempt to get over the death of their daughter. The woman (Julie Christie) becomes convinced her daughter is haunting her. The man (Donald Sutherland) gets more than he bargains for when he thinks he’s caught the ghost. The whole film is steeped in dread and spooky premonition, but is it horror?

The Amazing Mister Blunden – delightful children’s time travel / ghost story starring a plethora of Brit horror talent and with a few creepy moments, ending with a conflagatory climax that’ll put a lump in your throat.

Straw Dogs – Sam Peckinpah brings the wild west to the land of pasties and cream teas (Cornwall), as Susan George gets the local men all hot under the collar and her wimpish husband (Dustin Hoffman) is forced to extreme violence to defend her and their home. Banned for years because of a particularly nasty rape scene, it seems it was the ban which gave it a horror reputation it doesn’t really deserve – although there are a number of horror elements (the unwelcome outsider etc).

The Offence - Moustachioed detective Sean Connery loses his rag when interrogating a suspect in a particularly nasty child murder case. A grim little film which Connery was allowed to make as long as he also did the bigger budgeted Diamonds Are Forever, well worth checking out and a top-notch little horror/thriller with a lovely early 70s look.

Live And Let Die - Yes, the Bond film. But a Bond film with a difference - it’s scary. Voodoo, zombies, an unkillable witch doctor… terrifying stuff. And while we’re on the subject, what about You Only Live Twice, with it’s piranha pool?

So, do you have any examples of British films that weren’t horror but managed to raise a chill? Us fans are always looking for “borderline” stuff… who knows, you might even get an honourable mention on the British horror films website if you unearth a previously undiscovered classic!

(A truncated version of this post appeared on the Sci Fi Channel website bloody ages ago, and no bugger read it, so I thought I'd give it another airing)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

UK Horror Channel goes Alien crazy

The UK's Horror Channel, which, bless 'em, is pretty much the only place you can watch regular doses of Brit horror for free (they often show An American Werewolf In London along with a host of variable low budget BHFs) are going alien crazy during March. Doesn't say here whether they'll be showing Jake West's Evil Aliens (pictured), but my bet is it'll crop up at some point, seeing as how they've shown it before and it stars Horror Channel presenter Emily Booth. Anyhoo, here's the guff on the (non BHF) films they say they are showing...

Aliens invade the Horror Channel

Move over Simon Pegg…

Prepared to be spaced out as the bug-eyed, the slimy and the downright creepy take over our TV screens in March courtesy of The Horror Channel.

The invasion begins on Friday 5 March with ALIEN FURY: COUNTDOWN TO INVASION (2000), directed by Rob Hedden (writer, director of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan). This sci-fi drama pits aliens against a covert US defence agency and a surveillance satellite retrofitted with a nuclear warhead. Starring Dale Midkiff (Pet Sematary), Dondre Whitfield (Ghost Whisperer) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Deadwood, Glee).

Next up is INTRUDERS. Directed in 1992 by the original Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, this alien abduction mini-series features our very own Stephen Berkoff, alongside Richard Crenna (Colonel Trautman in the Rambo movies) and award-winning actress Mare Winningham. Centering on two cases, where both women have experienced similar nightmares involving aliens, a psychiatrist decides to investigate. This will be split into two parts, with Part 1 on Sat 12 March and Part 2 on Sunday 13 March

THE INVADERS (1995), which will broadcast on Saturday 19th March and Sunday 20th March, was originally a television series created by Larry Cohen in 1967. This welcome reprise stars Scott Bakula (of Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise fame) as Nolan Wood, who discovers an alien conspiracy and tries to stop an invasion of the earth by aliens disguised as humans. Roy Thinnes reprises his role of David Vincent, now an old man handing the burden over to Wood.

In ROSWELL: THE ALIENS ATTACK (1999) a cheesy slice of sci-fi on Sat 26 March, two aliens intend on blowing us all to smithereens. John, a male alien and Eve a female alien escape from Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 with intentions to blow up the earth. Eve finds she enjoys sex and likes to seduce soldiers. However, John falls in love with an Earthling and decides to stop Eve from setting off a nuclear weapon the two had developed.

Finally, on Sunday 27 March, the channel brings you ALIEN TERMINATOR (1995). Five miles below the Earth's surface, a group of scientists is working in self-imposed isolation, perfecting a series of DNA experiments that could literally change the world. But when one of those experiments goes awry, it unleashes a nearly immortal organism - one capable of instant regeneration, and with an insatiable appetite for living flesh. Soon, nothing can contain the creature and the scientists grimly prepare for their final battle. Directed by Dave (Reeker) Payne.

Attack the Block - sci fi horror comedy coming your way

Anticipation is high for this 'un, a tale of alien invasion being quelled by a bunch of chavs on pushbikes. The reason? Well, it's the directorial debut of one Joe Cornish. "Who he?" I hear you ask in hushed tones, as if you feel you should know. Well, you should - he's the Joe half of Adam and Joe, you fool! So the reasoning is that this film cannot possibly fail on any level.
You can find out more on their Facebook page, or alternatively on the Twitter thingy.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

RIP Brigadier... 5 rounds rapid!

For people of a certain age, this guy was as much part of Doctor Who as the Doctor himself... this is a lovely little tribute to Nicholas Courtney, AKA Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who passed away this week.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Chris Lee to voice new animated tribute to Tim Burton

Tim, Burton, that tragic old Cure fan and gothic nonsense creator, is to be tributed in a new stop motion animation, providing the makers can scrape together the funds via interested people on t'internet. Interested in parting with your cash? Thought not.
Of more interest than Burton and his Hammeresque filmings is that Chris Lee will be lending his chocolatey tones to proceedings. That man just never stops, does he?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Dead Island trailer - pretty bloody good!

I'm not ashamed of it - I spent much of my late 20s playing Resident Evil, then Resident Evil 2. And, erm, Resident Evil 3. And I would have played them a lot earlier in my life in the Playstartion had been invented in the 80s. I bloody loved those games, but these days there seems to be too much to do to spend my time shotgunning zombies and magnuming those green lizardy buggers that appeared when you thought the game had ended. However, this looks very interesting indeed - it's a trailer for a NEW survival horror zombie game, and it's effing lovely.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Drummond Will

This looks rather awesome, actually - anything that makes me chuckle through the trailer has got to be worth a look... if you like your comedies dark and involving a will, a-la What A Carve Up!, then this could be just the thing...

Shot on the Red One in black and white, the winner of 5 international awards, ‘The Drummond Will’ is a collision between old and new. A black comedy set in decaying rural England. It marks director Alan Butterworth’s first feature film, who is currently best known for winning the BFI 24-hour SHORT film challenge for ‘Not So Perfect World‘. Alan is writing his second feature film and lives in London with his dog Dave.

The film stars two up and coming actors, Philip James (Danny) and Mark Oosterveen (Marcus). ‘The Drummond Will’ is Phillip’s second feature film as lead. His previous feature, ‘Lovelorn’ was shown this year at the Cannes Independent Film Festival and for his starring role in it he has received numerous Best Actor Awards, including ones from the LA Reel Film Festival and the New York International Independent Film Festival.

For Mark Oosterveen this marks his first feature film, he is best known for his work on the London Stage, receiving glowing reviews at the Edinburgh Festival in 2009 for his performance in the UK debut of ‘Pythonesque’. He also featured in Alan’s award winning short ‘Not So Perfect World‘.

Crabtree Films are proud and excited to have this cracking British independent film on their distribution label and will soon be announcing their distribution plans, along with a release date.

“…it is a fantastic film!” – The Huffington Post

“…flaunting an agreeable Ealing-meets-Farrelly feel…” - Variety


“Howard Drummond has passed away. On checking out his decrepit estate, his sons, Marcus and Danny find one of their dad's ancient friends hiding in a closet with a bag full of money. Whilst they decide what to do, the pensioner is left to suffocate to death in the closet, thus leaving them with a much bigger problem to deal with; tell the police, or take the body and leave it in his own home and pretend nothing has happened (keeping the money for themselves in the process, of course!)?

This opens their world up to a series of bizarre incidents resulting in the village's quirky population gently decreasing during their short stay. The brothers soon realise they’ll need to rely on each other if they are to survive and it quickly becomes clear that inevitably, nothing is what it seems…”

Waste Disposal - new UK short

Unfortunately the laptop I'm currently working on doesn't like YouTube for some reason, so I'm posting this blind, but here's a recently released UK horror short which you may enjoy, or not. Let me know if it's any good! It looked okay from the first two minutes, which was the point at which my laptop stuck two fingers up at me and waltzed off to the pub for a pint.

Vampire Vixens Of The Wehrmacht - come on, what's not to like?

I've given Wasted magazine a wide berth, as it always looked like the kind of tedious pro-drugs nonsense that just makes you want to stick forks in your eyes. However, tonight I chanced on this, which is a promo for a new comic strip within said magazine, and the artwork is so astonishing I wanted to share it with you. The little video, too, is an great piece of design. And Mr Alex Ronald, I salute you sir, you're an amazing artist.

VixenVert from Nicola Blackmore on Vimeo.

Now, someone make a film of this, so I can report on it with a clear conscience!
You can find out more about Wasted here:

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Friday night is black and fright night

Just noticed in my TV guide that this coming Friday evening (that's the 18th, fact fans) there are not one but two dusty old black and white Brit horrors on the UK box. They're both on pretty late, mind, so you might want to set the old recording facility for 'em. Luckily they're both worth watching. First up is The Damned, or to give it it's full title, These Are The Damned, a great little Hammer sci fi thriller featuring a teddy boy Ollie Reed. Then later on there's Seance On A Wet Afternoon, a slightly more sedate affair but still great, which features Richard Attenborough giving it some beans as a cuckolded buffoon forced to kidnap a young girl by his batty psychic missus. It's a bit like a 60s version of Yvette Fielding's private life, if she had ever kidnapped a young child and was psychic. In fact, it's nothing like Yvette Fielding's private life. Not too sure why I wrote that. Anyway, enjoy the films. I won't be (I've already got 'em both on DVD).

The Dead - will it be dead good or dead in the water? You'll get the chance to find out soon...

UK produced Afro-zombiethon The Dead will get a cinema release later this year... that's the news I've got here in an email they have literally sent me today. For the past couple of months I've been getting regular bulletins from the makers on the hardships they've had to endure making the thing - that's REAL cannibals(?), gangsters of the scary, machine gun wielding kind you usually see in films like The Wild Geese, not to mention dysentery and malaria. Personally I think they're just showing off to make themselves look hard. Whether all that mither will have helped them make something worth watching is anyone's guess. But let's hope so...

Global Cinema Distribution and Starz Anchor Bay have acquired North American and UK theatrical rights to the Ford Brother's “THE DEAD” distributing throughout cinemas beginning with the US theatrical release summer of 2011.

Anchor Bay Starz UK Managing Director Rod Smith who snapped up all UK rights and will be releasing the film in cinemas in England followed by DVD by Halloween 2011.

All other rights for North America have been purchased by Anchor Bay Starz, who will release the film on DVD later in the year.

Shot on locations across Burkina Faso and Ghana, West Africa on 35mm including many never before committed to celluloid locations, THE DEAD is unlike anything horror audiences have ever experienced. Centered around the journey of an American mercenary, the sole survivor of a plane crash, who has to run the gauntlet across the terrains of Africa, battling against the living dead. Along his journey he finds an ally in a local military man who is desperately searching for his son amongst the chaos. They must band together to make their way through this brand new horrific world of the dead. The film stars Rob Freeman (“Saving Private Ryan”), and African up and coming star Prince David Osei, making his US Theatrical debut.

The making of THE DEAD turned out to be an incredible journey on its own. As producer/director Howard J. Ford revealed:

“We encountered real death on a daily basis and were also held up at gun point several times, encountered real cannibals, arrested, endured dysentery and the lead actor Rob Freeman very nearly died after contracting Malaria in the middle of filming”..

TriCoast Worldwide negotiated all sales for the producers of THE DEAD and are subsequently closing deals in many other territories.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Resident trailer - Hammer's latest

In every city, lots of women live alone, apparently. Well fuck me, when did that happen? Sorry, I'm in a weird mood this afternoon. Here for your delectation is the trailer for the latest film by those doyens of the despicable, those pedlars of something beginning with "p", Hammer. It's not particularly British, but it does say Hammer at the beginning and has a spectacularly be-wigged Christopher Lee in it, so it probably counts for this website. One warning, don't watch it if you have any intention of watching the film, as it appears to show most of the shock moments. It also appears to show a rather by-the-numbers stalk n' slash movie, which, to be honest, is neither my cup of tea or the kind of thing I hoped a revitalised Hammer would be doing. Bring on The Woman In Black, I say. Hammer should be doing Gothic horror, and balls to anyone who says otherwise!

Jaime Winstone is after them poor cannibals again

Ah, Jaime Winstone. What's not to like? Apart from that oddly-spelled name, which I never really know how to say out loud. One assume's it's "Jamie" as in "overrated chef", but I always read it as "Jaim" as in "posh way of saying jam".

Anyway, the luscious young Winstone (careful now Chris, her dad will batter you) is due to star in a new Brit cannibal flick (what is it with this country and cannibals?) called Elfie Hopkins, which starts shooting on March 8. Which means that for a change, I'm ahead of the game. Well fuck me, that hardly ever happens.

And said dad is in it too, to lend some shouty East End gravitas. I for one am sold.

Jaime Winstone (pictured) is to star alongside her father, Ray Winstone, in ELFIE HOPKINS – a twisted tale of cannibalism set in a British rural hunting village, which begins principle photography on March 8 in locations around Cardiff. This is the first time both actors have worked together.

Jaime plays the title role, a quirky “wanna-be” detective whose appetite for a real-life case is matched by the appetites of a new family (The Gammons) who move into the village. Ray Winstone plays the local butcher and meat is definitely on the menu….

Jaime said today: Elfie Hopkins has been an alter ego of mine for a while now and I can't wait for the world to meet her. She’ll kick ass!. For me, Elfie's a dream role to play and I feel there is a gap in the British film industry which we will more then fill! I can’t wait to work with Ryan Andrews - he is a young and exciting director with a vision that can match my imagination”.

Producer Jonathan Sothcott added:"We're delighted to be bringing Jaime and Ray Winstone together in a movie for the first time. They are both utterly compelling screen actors and we have a script worthy of their combined talents. I know Jaime will make Elfie an instant cult icon and in Ryan Andrews I have a director I think will be seen as a British Tim Burton"

ELFIE HOPKINS is made by Black and Blue Films in association with Ray Winstone & Michael Wiggs’ company Size 9 Productions, The film also stars Aneurin Barnard (Spring Awakening, Ironclad) and Kimberley Nixon (Cherrybomb)

The film is directed by Ryan Andrews, who also wrote the screenplay and acts as co-producer. Billy Murray and Ray Winstone exec produce.

Lurkio! (or whatever it is they shout all the time) Fancy some Potter on Blu Ray?

Scorchio? Takethatio? Spotify? Bollocksiarmus? Ah, it's been years since I read the books and I gave up on the films a long time ago. But I believe they are still popular amongst the young 'uns, whatever it is the young wizards say when they're blasting each other with special effects. Anyhoo, the second-to-lastest Potterathon is coming to Blu Ray soon, so you can watch them Twatify each other in glorious high definition. And if you're hip enough to join them on Facebook (or, let's face it, gullible enough to believe that Daniel Radcliffe is now your friend if you become friends with the film page) you can be in with the chance to get said disc for free. That's right, free! God help you.

To celebrate the 60-day countdown to the Blu-ray and DVD release of the blockbuster film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1,” Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, announced yesterday that 100 Limited Edition Blu-rays will be given away via the Harry Potter UK page on Facebook. The specially created Limited Editions will only be available to fans entering the promotion through the Harry Potter UK page on Facebook.

The official Harry Potter UK page on Facebook currently has 928,325 fans, breaking all previously held records for a UK Facebook film page.

In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s power – the Horcruxes. On their own and on the run, the three must rely on one another more than ever…but Dark Forces threaten to tear them apart. Part 2 in this epic finale to the Harry Potter film series will be in cinemas from July 15th 2011.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is directed by David Yates, who also helmed the blockbusters “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” David Heyman, the producer of all of the Harry Potter films, produced the film, together with David Barron. Screenwriter Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the book by J.K. Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer.

Heading the cast, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, Bill Nighy, Miranda Richardson, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on 11th April .