Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Interview with Howard & Jon Ford ahead of UK TV release of THE DEAD 2 and OFFENSIVE

Ahead of Horror Channel’s UK TV premieres of THE DEAD 2 and OFFENSIVE, (part of the FrightFest season), brothers Howard and Jon Ford discuss the trials and tribulations of filmmaking, healing wounds and why THE DEAD 3 won’t be happening any time soon…

Horror Channel will be launching their massive 13-night FrightFest Season with the UK TV premiere of THE DEAD 2. Excited?

Howard: Well it’s a surprise, but a lovely one! Until I was asked to do this interview, I had no clue The Dead 2 had even been picked up by Horror Channel! But yes, I’m very excited.

Jon: I hope the viewers enjoy the film. We went through much pain and effort  to make this film, in tough parts of India. We were on a very modest budget and didn't go to the usual tourist places.  It made me laugh when I saw a review stating "they obviously had a lot more money", I take that as a compliment.

And Jon, the season ends with the first ever TV showing of your debut solo directorial debut, OFFENSIVE. What are you hoping the viewers will take from the film?

I hope viewers will appreciate a true revenge film for a change. I hope they enjoy that rare gasp of fresh air that only a truly independent film dare give. And notice the messages about modern technology and today's society.

OFFENSIVE is an award-winning film that has wowed festival audiences around the world since its World Premiere at FrightFest in 2016. What’s the latest news on release dates? 

Jon: Thanks yes, it has won many awards including "Best Film", Jury and audience awards, which is apparently a first. So I'm very proud of it. Of all the things I've filmed in my career it's the one I like the best. I think because I remained pure to the original idea. We're still in negotiations at this very moment so stand by on release dates.

Howard, you have quite a meaty acting role in OFFENSIVE. How did you convince Jon to cast you?

Howard: I think what first appealed to Jon was how cheap I was going to be! Ha. Also I owed him one, on-screen as he came out to Morocco and Spain for Never Let Go and I had him run over by a truck (an in-gag from the Dead 1) and he had to lay in the road covered in blood so now it was my turn to get bloody! I loved shooting those scenes in Offensive, who doesn’t want to Axe up a few Nazi’s?! I just wish I had done more, but the experience and the fact I got away with it did give me a bit of a taste for that acting thing!

Did the global success of THE DEAD put a lot of pressure on you both to keep working together and come up with a sequel?

Howard: I’ve got to be honest with you, we did The Dead 2 so we could get paid some of the profit from The Dead 1! We saw all these millions of dollars in revenue on the statements for The Dead 1 in the US, but, some clever wording in the distribution contract meant we were going to see almost nothing of it. We knew we had the remake rights as we felt there was potential for a sequel. We originally planned to continue from where we left off but it was such a traumatic shoot in Africa we decided to do a stand-alone movie in India. The great thing is, it means you don’t have to see The Dead 1 to watch The Dead 2. It’s a different journey with new characters across zombie infested India!

There’s a lot of hope amongst your fans that they’ll be a third THE DEAD film. Can you give us an update?

Howard: We just had a chat about this and we decided that we will do it when we get the rights back to both films. Right now, we get precisely zero from all those amazing fans who buy the movie.

Jon: When you've gone through the hell we went through to make both The Dead movies and see those bank statements with millions of dollars going to other people, it's a bitter pill to swallow. We want to make a Dead trilogy but as Howard mentioned, we'll probably have to wait a good few years to get the rights back.

Having gone on to pursue solo careers, do you think it will harder or easier to co-direct again?

Howard/Jon: There was a lot of tension on those shoots and frustration from every angle trying to bring audiences something different by shooting them in far flung inaccessible locations, but we have a lot of hindsight now and some of the wounds have healed a bit, so I think we’d actually be able to collaborate a lot easier now. We’ve also scratched a lot of our own itches!

Howard, you’ve just released ADVENTURE BOYZ, a big departure from your genre roots. Tell us a bit about the film and what inspired you to make it.

Howard: Adventure Boyz is always going to be the film I love the most. It’ll be that one I’ll be hitting replay to as I crack open my third bottle of wine and cry into it while watching my little boys come and rescue their dad from a jail cell (That’s in the plot by the way, I hope to stay out of jail in real life!). I made the film to inspire my two young sons, who also star in the movie, and remind them that there is more to life than staring into a device or spending time on social media. Adventure Boyz is about re connecting us to the things that matter. It’s also very Goonies meets Home Alone, so I hope our horror fans who have kids can show them this movie as no one swears or gets their head cut off and it has lots of positive messages!

Jon, what’s next for you?

Jon: I'm going to be directing a feature film adaptation of Don Quixote. So will be shooting in August this year. It's a crazy film about a scarecrow that's struck by lightning and comes to life in the form of Don Quixote.

I'm also going to be directing and writing a Medieval thriller, set during the Black death. It's uncanny how close to "Zombies" the plague victims became. they became crazed, dripping blood from every orifice, and would attack people, infecting them in seconds. It's a bit 28 days later so maybe I'll satisfy my running zombie itch in a way after all?! We'll be shooting that in 2020. 

And Howard, is there anything you can tell us about your next film? 

Howard: I am due to direct The Ledge soon for GFM films which is very taught, tight, thriller/horror, you might say a female cliff-hanger about one girl, a witness to a heinous crime, who is being pursued up a mountain by five guys who cannot let her leave alive. I'm also developing my own projects, one being a ghostly affair!

Finally, is there anything in the FrightFest season that you’ll be watching?

Howard: Jon: We both loved Wolf Creek so would love to check out the sequel!

THE DEAD 2 has its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel, Fri Aug 18, 9pm.
OFFENSIVE has its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel, Sun Aug 25, 9pm.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest announces 2019 Short Film Programme

From unseen forces to dangerous desires, from the remorseful living to the remorseless dead, from under the earth to creepy closed doors, Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 continues the festival’s fine tradition of showcasing the best in global genre short filmmaking.

This year’s five continent selection unleashes the newest creations from both upcoming and established filmmakers and embraces a record fifteen UK films, seven spotlighted selections from Canada and a breakthrough entry from The United Arab Emirates.


Homegrown talent continues to energise the UK film industry, as reflected in this year’s entries. There’s Folk Horror (WITHER, MARIANNE) and Body Horror (THIS LITTLE DEATH, THE HISTORY OF NIPPLES), whilst lethal women lurk around every corner in SLEEP TIGHT, UNDER THE PARASOL and DOG SKIN. Katie Bonham returns with ticking terror thriller MIDNIGHT and Josefa Celestin is back with the darkly apocalyptic TOMORROW MIGHT BE THE DAY.  Another fearsome futuristic tale is OLD BEGINNINGS, while unseen danger lurks in THE GAME OF THE CLOCK and THE DEAD ONES starring Vinette Robinson. There’s also danger of the male predatory kind in PATRON, starring Far From The Madding Crowd’s Jamie Lee-Hill, and in THE CUNNING MAN (starring Games of Thrones’ Simon Armstrong and actor/magician Ali Cook), magic takes on a macabre  animalistic twist. And in the sinister SERVICE, you don’t always get what you’re trying to pay for…

Canada is a spotlight country this year, with seven stellar entries. Watch in horror as a scientific experiment test a couple’s relationship with food in FIVE COURSE MEAL, while two young women have a strange addiction and hobby in GLITTER’S WILD WOMEN. Isolation can bring out strange creatures in HUNTING SEASON but too many friends can The Dead Ones bring trouble in ONE IN TWO PEOPLE. Some people take big risks to make a living in RE-POSSESSED HOMES, and the elderly find themselves at inadvertent risk in TORCHING THE DUSTIES. And you’ve never seen advertising quite like THE VIDEO STORE COMMERCIAL.

The Dead Ones

From other corners of the world, dangerous people roam the Australian highway in THE HITCHIKER, babysitting has its creepy drawbacks in Japanese entry HANA; from Finland comes ‘grave’ dangers in ABYSSUS and from the United Arab Emirates, a con artist picks the wrong house to conduct an exorcism in MAKR.

The US provides four gripping tales: Jill Gevargizian is back with ONE LAST MEAL, starring Matt Mercer, Izzy Lee directs THE OBLITERATION OF THE CHICKENS, hunger can get you into big trouble in TOE and psychopathic animal behaviour reaches a violent conclusion in PIG.

Programmer Shelagh Rowan-Legg said today, "I never cease to be amazed at the range and quality of short films we are fortunate to screen at Arrow Video FrightFest. The fantastic genres allow filmmakers to let their imaginations soar, and in our shorts programmes, you will see films that will delight and amaze, films that will make you laugh, a few that will make you cry, and several that will have you cowering in fear."

Full line-up

From 13:00

Wither (World Premiere)

Director: Ethan Evans. Cast: Lamissah La-Shontae, Phillipa Howard. UK 2019. 4 min.

A young girl finds herself vulnerable to a sinister mythological farmer after failing to contribute to the annual tradition.

Hana (London Premiere)

Director: Mai Nakanishi. Cast: Hee-jin Jeon, Do Eun Kim, Jeongbi Lee. Japan 2018. 13 min.

Not all babysitting jobs are alike, as college student Sujin is about to discover when she is left in charge of a strange young girl.

Marianne (World Premiere)

Director: Matthew Losasso. Cast: Mae Losasso. UK 2019. 7 min.

A distinguished investigator is called to the grounds of an isolated rectory in a remote English hamlet to observe an enigmatic young tenant.

The Hitchhiker (European Premiere)

Director: Adele Vuko. Cast: Liv Hewson, Brooke Satchwell. Australia 2018. 13 min.

Jade and her friends are on their way to a music festival when they pick up a strange hitchhiker, who makes Jade an offer she might not be able to refuse.

The Dead Ones (European Premiere)

Director: Stefan Georgiou. Cast: Olivia Hallinan, Sebastian Armesto, Vinette Robinson. UK 2019. 19 min.

In this world, those whose lives are cut short by violence do not disappear; they live to haunt the person who killed them.

Abyssus (UK Premiere)

Director: Kim Westerlund. Cast: Sampo Sarkola. Finland 2019. 9 min.

A man regains consciousness as he is being buried alive. Overwhelmed by panic, he tries to force his way out of the box.

Glitter’s Wild Women (UK Premiere)

Director: Roney. Cast: Grace Glowicki, Cotey Pope. Canada 2018. 13 min.

In the Canadian backwoods, sisters harvest and smoke glitter that gives them super strength.

The Video Store Commercial (UK Premiere)

Director: Cody Kennedy. Cast: Joshua Lenner, Kevin Martin, Jesse Nash. Canada 2019. 4 min.

A desperate video store owner hires a crew to shoot a commercial in his shop. But when they accidentally destroy a cursed VHS, suddenly, all their lives are in danger.

The Cunning Man (World Premiere)

Director: Zoë Dobson. Cast: Simon Armstrong, Ali Cook, Ian Kelly. UK 2019. 13 min.

An old farmer must resort to extreme measures to clean up his dead cattle or face a hefty fine from the Inspector.

The History of Nipples (World Premiere)

Director: Bailey Tom Bailey. Cast: Joseph Macnab, Lily Wood. UK 2019. 10 min.

'What are my nipples for?' With this question Ron falls into an existential crisis which seems to have only one solution.

From 15:45

Service (London Premiere)

Director: Theo Watkins. Cast: Paul Clayton, Alison Lintott. UK 2019. 8 min.

Ted is just trying to pay for his shopping, but the shoddy self-service till and eerily elusive shop workers have other, more sinister ideas.

One in Two People (European Premiere)

Director: Ali Mashayekhi. Cast: Katie Strain, Jade Hassoune, Ashley Leggat. Canada 2019. 8 min.

Emily’s friends are getting a bit tired of her insistence that someone in her room is trying to kill her. But maybe they should listen more closely.

Old Beginnings (London Premiere)

Director: Suni Khan. Cast: Hannah Arterton, Lewis Reeves. UK 2019. 16 min.

A young couple trying to rid themselves of the past use an unorthodox and bizarre ritual as they rekindle their love.

Tomorrow Might Be the Day (London Premiere)

Director: Josefa Celestin. Cast: Jocelyn Brassington, Tim Barrow. UK 2018. 20 min.

A fanatical believer sets into motion a chain of dark events that he believes will spare his rebellious niece from the impending apocalyptic doom.

Five Course Meal (London Premiere)

Director: James Cadden. Cast: Melissa Kwasek, Murray Farnell. Canada 2018. 6 min.

Mark and Jenny agree to take part in a mysterious experiment for money. Things get exceptionally messy.

Under the Parasol (London Premiere)

Director: Stanislava Buevich. Cast: Sarine Sofair, Joe Wredden. UK 2018. 6 min.

Marie comes to the beach to catch some sun. The only problem is that it's nighttime...

Makr (UK Premiere)

Director: Hana Kazim. Cast: Mansoor Alfeeli, Mohammed Ahmed, Madiya Humaid. United Arab Emirates, 2018. 15 min.

A fake exorcist visits the home of a man who thinks his wife is possessed by a Djinn, only to find out that things are not as they seem.

Patron (World Premiere)

Directors: Emily Haigh, Alon Young, Cast: Mhairi Calvey, Jamie Lee-Hill. UK 2019. 11 min.

Vickie has her employment sights set high, but the questions from her faceless male interviewers soon become predatory.

The Obliteration of the Chickens (European Premiere)

Director: Izzy Lee. Cast: Bracken MacLeod. USA 2019. 3 min.

The universe does not care. The abyss is stupid. Existence is banal.

Torching the Dusties (International Premiere)

Directors: Marlene Goldman, Philip McKee. Cast: Clare Coulter, Eric Peterson. Canada 2019. 14 min.

Frank and Wilma are finding that retirement life is more trouble than they had imagined, as protestors appear outside making some very serious demands.

From 13:00

Pig (European Premiere)

Director: Evan Powers. Cast: Aaron LaPlante, Lindsey Rose Naves, C.J. Vana. USA 2019. 8 min.

A self-conscious psychopath struggles with his body image while terrorizing a group of unsuspecting campers.

One Last Meal (European Premiere)

Director: Jill Gevargizian. Cast: Matt Mercer, Jake Martin, Tim Marks. USA 2019. 11 min.

A prison guard is forced to fulfil an unusual request from a violent criminal on death row.

Dog Skin (World Premiere)

Director: Tiago Teixeira. Cast: Maxwell Cavenham, Laura Obiols. UK 2019. 13 min.

A man in a self-imposed exile is haunted by a mysterious dog, who transforms into an elusive woman every night.

Re-Possessed Homes (UK Premiere)

Director: Matthew Evans Landry. Cast: Natalie Lisinksa, Jordan Gavaris. Canada 2018. 15 min.

Shirley Parker is a real-estate godsend who has discovered a niche market. However, it might put her family in some danger.

Hunting Season (European Premiere)

Director: Shannon Kohli. Cast: Hannah Levien, Luke Camilleri. Canada 2018. 11 min.

It’s a creepy evening when gas station attendant and recovering alcoholic Callie must deal with a wild beast roaming the area, and the men who are determined to hunt it down.

This Little Death (London Premiere)

Director: Alex Hardy. Cast: Sarah Bauer, Jay Simpson. UK 2018. 19 min.

Young chef Zoe who falls for Mortimer the poet. The beginning is filled with love, lust and laughter, but as the months pass, they realise they have very different ideas of happiness.

Toe (European Premiere)

Directors: Neal O'Bryan, Chad Thurman. Cast: Cassie Carey. USA 2019. 7 min.

A starving boy eats a toe he finds sticking out of the ground. Later that night, something ghastly comes to his bedroom wanting it back.

Midnight (World Premiere)

Director: Katie Bonham. Cast Eleanor Crosswell, Ian Recordon. UK 2019. 8 min.

A ticking clock. Hurried footsteps. A woman struggling. Who are the ghosts that come haunting your apartment at the stroke of twelve?

The Game of the Clock (UK Premiere)

Director: Michele Olivieri. Cast: Simone Mumford. UK 2018. 7 min.

A young woman innocently comes to a friend’s home, only to find herself stalked by menacing creature, and time is running out fast.

Sleep Tight (World Premiere)

Director: Lewis Taylor. Cast: Mark Field, Joseph Richard Thomas, Péline Liberty. UK 2019. 8 min.

A wheelchair-bound teen complains about lack of personal space to his overly attached father. But maybe he shouldn’t complain when the lights go out.

Arrow Video FrightFest runs from 22nd-26th August 2019 at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema.

Single tickets ae now on sale and, alongside the few remaining Festival and day passes, are available to buy online: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Horror Channel celebrates FrightFest 2019 with bumper season

To celebrate FrightFest 2019, taking place in London during the August Bank Holiday, Horror Channel is dedicating thirteen nights to past festival hits. Amongst the twenty-six fearsome favourites, the channel will kick off the season with the UK TV premiere of Howard J. Ford & Jonathan Ford’s India-based zombie road movie THE DEAD 2, the follow-up to their hugely popular African zombie adventure THE DEAD. There is also a UK TV premiere for Jonathan Ford’s OFFENSIVE. Produced by brother Howard, this is a dark, violent tale of generational rage and revenge set in rural France.

There are also channel premieres for Julian Gilbey’s harrowing British survival shocker, A LONELY PLACE TO DIE, starring Melissa George and Ed Speelers; Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s wickedly ghoulish subversion of the sex comedy high school movie, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE; and the Goetz Brothers’ powerful 2015 version of Pascal Laugier’s Sadean masterpiece, MARTYRS.

The diabolical double bills are on every night from August 16th – 28th, starting from 9pm, and feature such FrightFest crowd-pleasing classics as Eli Roth’s notorious post-modern celebration of the Italian cannibal genre, THE GREEN INFERNO; Christopher Smith’s hilariously shocking SEVERANCE, starring Danny Dyer and Andy Nyman; and Ti West’s The Shining slacker-style indie sensation, THE INNKEEPERS. There’s also Dominic Brunt’s outrageous and hilarious satire ATTACK OF THE ADULT BABIES, starring a whole host of TV favourites including Kate Coogan, Charlie Chuck and Sally Dexter; Adam Green’s slasher spoof favourite HATCHET, starring horror icons Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and Tony Todd; and everyone’s favourite bserial-killer doll is reaping more murder and mayhem in Don Mancini’s CURSE OF CHUCKY.

Fri 16 Aug @ 21:00 – THE DEAD 2 (2013) *UK TV Premiere
Fri 16 Aug @ 22:55 – ATTACK OF THE ADULT BABIES (2017)
Sat 17 Aug @ 21.00 – A LONELY PLACE TO DIE (2011) *Channel Premiere
Sat 17 Aug @ 23:00 - OUTPOST III (2013)
Sun 18 Aug @ 21:00 – BLACK WATER (2007)
Sun 18 Aug @ 22:50 - THE GREEN INFERNO (2014)
Mon 19 Aug @ 21:00 - SEVERANCE (2006)
Mon 19 Aug @ 22:55 – DEMONIC (2015)
Tues 20 Aug @ 21:00 – THE REMAINING (2014)
Tues 20 Aug @ 22:50 – TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL (2010)
Wed 21 Aug @ 21:00 – CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013)
Wed 21 Aug @ 22:55 – EMELIE (2015)
Thurs 22 Aug @ 21:00 – THE INNKEEPERS (2011)
Thurs 22 Aug @ 23:00 – IBIZA UNDEAD (2016)
Fri 23 Aug @ 21:00 – ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2013) *Channel Premiere
Fri 23 Aug @ 22:50 – WOLF CREEK 2 (2013)
Sat 24 Aug @ 21:00 – LET HER OUT (2016)
Sat 24 Aug @ 22:45 - MARTYRS (2015) * Channel Premiere
Sun 25 Aug @ 21:00 – OFFENSIVE (2016) *UK TV Premiere
Sun 25 Aug @ 23:10 – BLOODSUCKING BOSSES (2015)
Mon 26 Aug @ 21:00 – HATCHET (2006)
Mon 26 Aug @ 22:40 - GINGER SNAPS (2000)
Tues 27 Aug @ 21:00 – CREEP (2014)
Tues 27 Aug @ 22:40 - 100 BLOODY ACRES (2012)
Wed 28 Aug @ 21:00 – THE SAND (2015)
Wed 29 Aug @ 22:45 - ROAD GAMES (2015)

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138
Website: http://www.horrorchannel.co.uk

Monday, 22 July 2019

Competition: Win The House That Dripped Blood & Asylum - Limited Edition [Blu-ray]

Asylum - Limited Edition [Blu-ray] and The House That Dripped Blood - Limited Edition [Blu-ray] are both released on 29 July 2019

And to celebrate we have a great competition and a copy of each on Blu-ray to give away.

Synopsis - The House That Dripped Blood
The House That Dripped Blood from Peter Duffell in his directorial debut and written by renowned screenwriter Robert Bloch (Psycho), is set for one of Second Sight’s renowned must-have Limited Edition Blu-ray releases this Summer.

This star-studded anthology features Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt and is presented in a stunning box set featuring original artwork from Graham Humphreys alongside a whole host of fantastic new special features including new essays from horror aficionados and a 40-page booklet and is available from 29 July 2019.

Scotland Yard’s Inspector Holloway (John Bennett – Watership Down, The Fifth Element) investigates a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants in these four tales of terror…

Synopsis - Asylum 
From writer Robert Bloch and directed by Roy Ward Baker (A Night to Remember), iconic 1972 Amicus horror anthology Asylum is set for the Limited Edition Blu-ray treatment from Second Sight.

This hugely anticipated release starring a stellar cast will be presented in stunning rigid slipcase packaging featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys, and a 40-page booklet with new essays by Allan Bryce, Jon Towlson and Kat Ellinger, not to mention a whole host of special features including director commentaries and featurettes, it will available from 29 July 2019.

When Doctor Martin (Robert Powell – The Italian Job, The Thirty Nine Steps) arrives for a job interview at a secluded asylum for the incurably insane, he must prove himself by listening to the macabre tales of four inmates to determine which is the former head of the asylum who experienced a breakdown. We join him on the investigation with these hair-raising horrors…

The all-star cast includes Barbara Parkins, Peter Cushing, Charlotte Rampling, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom and Patrick Magee.

Click here to buy The House That Dripped Blood from Amazon (Opens in a new window)
Click here to buy Asylum from Amazon (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win both just answer the question below.

Can you name the 2 directors that directed these films?

Send you name, address and of course the answer to competition@mastersofhorror.co.uk

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 05-08-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Interview with Chris Miller - By David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing?

I think the first time was when I was in the neighborhood of 10 years old. I’d already become enamored with storytelling well before that. I loved books, movies, my parents or grandparents (or anyone, really) telling me a story. But I always wanted to “fix” the story they were telling, add my own twists, have it turn out the way I wanted it to. So the bug was formed already, but when I was ten or so, I’d just read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and actually had no idea at the time that it was a whole series of books already. So I thought I’d write a sequel to it! I only got around ten pages or so done, and it was pretty awful, but I realized just how much I really enjoyed to tell a story, even if I wasn’t very good at it yet. I never stopped. I started writing things out, in English and Reading classes in school there were times we had to write essays or stories or keep a journal, all of which I turned into fiction, and even way back then it was always dark, and sometimes darkly humorous. I also realized I was getting better at it too, the more I did it. By the time I was 18, I had decided I wanted to write books or movies or both. Star in them too, though that really was a pipe-dream, lol. In any case, that was the birth of it, and though I’ve strayed from it here and there in my earlier years, I always came back with more stories to tell. For a time, the only thing I wrote was music and lyrics, but even those lyrics were always telling a story. I got serious about writing in 2014, and started pulling out my old short stories and unfinished novels and began reworking them, as well as penning some all-new stuff. I was off to the races then.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

I think the first real horror movie I ever watched was PSYCHO II. My parents never allowed me to watch anything over PG until I was well into my teens, and even then it was rare. So, I’d catch what I could at friends’s houses and such. But PSYCHO (the original) was older, black and white, and with little to no actual gore, so when my grandmother called—who lived just 100 yards up the black top from us—and wanted to know if I could come watch PSYCHO with her, they allowed it. I walked down there in the dark, through the woods, and we fired up the movie.

It wasn’t until it started that she realized it was the sequel to the Hitchcock (and Bloch) classic, and was significantly more violent and gory than the original. But she decided we’d watch it anyway. I loved it! However, upon leaving to go back home through the dark woods, there were roughly ten-thousand Norman Bates’s and other ghouls lurking out there, ready to dine on my spleen, and I got scared out of my wits running home from all the phantoms. When I got home and my parents saw the state I was in, I told them about the mistake in which movie we’d watched. They called and chastised my grandmother—sigh—and allowed me to sleep on the floor in their room since I was so freaked out.

Of course, Norman Bates was also under their bed, so I protected myself by only showing him my backside, which no self-respecting lunatic would ever attack. Still, I didn’t sleep well that night. From then on, I was fascinated with horror and the fantastique, but it was some years before I got the chance to watch another horror picture. When I did, it was actually two horror movies which I watched with some friends at a birthday party sleep-over at my pals house. The movies were TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT and HELLRAISER. I was blown away by both, but especially HELLRAISER, and I think it was there that my fascination with horror and the supernatural was solidified. You should have seen my parents’s reactions when they found out what I’d watched—even though I was in 7th grade, they didn’t think it was appropriate at all. I laugh now, especially as an author of the same kinds of things, but I got into an obscene amount of trouble.

Tell us about your first publisher.

My first publisher was me, actually. Well, sort of. You see, when I finally got my first novel finished, I had put three OLD (see ancient) short stories on Amazon as Kindle books. They sold about 4 copies between them all, and they were poorly done stories. I just wanted something to be out there. I didn’t know any other writers at the time and had zero knowledge of the publishing world. So when I stumbled across a publisher online that offered to professionally publish my book for a fee (all new authors RUN from these types of places!!!) I decided to go for it. I spent a TON of money and while I DID get a professionally manufactured book out of it in the end, I learned a lot about what not to do. Like using a vanity press. I paid them a lot of money, they didn’t deliver on most of what they offered (aside from a book that did look great), and they harassed me for a long time, always calling with offers to get my book on the NY Times list and all these other things for another fee. I declined them all and re-released my book in a different trim with a new cover and formatting as a self-published title. By then I’d met a lot of folks in the industry and figured out how to get covers made that really caught the eye and met formatters and such. It wasn’t until November of 2018 that I got picked up by a small press, Deadman’s Tome, for my first novella. Since then, I’ve worked with them and two other presses, each one bigger than the last, and I’ve actually been made an offer by a really significant press, but that fell through. Still, things continue to snowball bigger and bigger, which I’m really excited about.

How would you classify the genre you write?

I consider myself a “suspense” author. Everything I write is a suspense story. Sometimes that’s been a thriller, other times its been horror. I’ve even written some comedies, though even those are extremely suspenseful. I feel like for any story in any genre, the thing that sets a book apart as a ‘must read’ title is suspense. It’s necessary for virtually ANY kind of tale to really work and really pull the reader in. Conflict is always necessary as we all know, but I think suspense is no less important. However, the bulk of my work would most easily fall into “horror” or “thriller”. All but two of my short stories are horror. Sometimes it’s supernatural, sometimes it’s cosmic, sometimes it’s real-world. I’ve even done some extreme horror short stories. My first novel is a revenge thriller which takes on a supernatural horror element in the latter half, my second novel is a dark crime/noir story with a small element of psychological horror, and my novella is a straight, real-world thriller with a horrifying situation. My new novel, THE DAMNED PLACE, is through and through a horror story, but it’s also got cosmic horror elements and it’s a coming of age story set in 1990 East Texas. Nearly all of my unpublished work falls into the horror realm, but every single thing I write is forged in suspense.

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

We like to be scared. That’s the long and short of it. Human beings enjoy the feeling of fear, of holding our breath to see what’s about to happen next, to feel our hackles rise. So long as we know it’s all make-believe, that is. Something about fear just resonates with us, and I think maybe it’s because we all like to think we have some great courage deep within us that would help us rise to the occasion should we ever find ourselves in a horrifying situation. We also like to see others rise to the occasion, because then we get to live out those heroics vicariously through someone else without ever putting ourselves in harm’s way and there’s never any real danger to us. It’s the moments just after something terrifying happens, or at the end of a story when we finally start breathing again, panting like dog, our heart rates slowly diminishing when it really hits us and we look around and go, “Hell yeah! That was awesome!” It was awesome because we were scared out of our wits and we made it. We, of course, always knew we would, because fiction is ultimately safe, but we were pulled in so much that we forget that for a little while. That’s why thrills connect so well with us. At least, that’s what I think.

What inspires your stories?

Oh, you name it. I’ve been inspired by events in my own life, the ‘what if?’ questions that arise from that, I’ve been inspired by things on the news. I’ve also been inspired by other literary works (I think all writers have) or movies or TV shows. Something will hit me, really connect with me, and then I start mulling over how things COULD HAVE gone, or how I might have told the story differently. In the case of the late, great Jack Ketchum, it was almost always based on something that happened in real life, something that horrified or pissed him off, and then he’d write about that. I’ve done some of that myself, but more often, I’m inspired by other storytellers of all kinds out there, and then my gears get turning and before I know it, I’ve got my own story to tell.

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?

I’m not sure I’m the best judge of this, but I’ll take a shot. I’ve read and watched a LOT more American horror than I have British, mainly because I’m from Texas here in the USA and so it’s more prevalent here. But I’ve watched plenty of foreign films from Britain and elsewhere (I especially like gritty British crime movies) and read a good many horror stories written by and set in the UK. I think the main thing I might could put my finger on—though this is by no means a comprehensive or nuanced answer—is that in America, we seem to have a good deal more retreading of old material. Zombie stories are a perfect example. I can’t think of a single genre or sub-genre that has been more overdone than Zombies. And don’t get me wrong, I like a good Zombie story. I’m a huge fan of Romero, and I loved THE RISING and CITY OF THE DEAD by Brian Keene, as well as a few other titles from lesser known authors. But by and large, if a story is about zombies, it’s hard to pull me in. You have to catch my eye with a really fantastic cover or a blurb that shows me this particular zombie story is something different and special in some way before I’ll consider reading it. Same with zombie movies. It needs to be something different, some way to tell this tired old tale in a way that’s not only unlike what I’ve seen already a thousand times, but that is ALSO interesting. A story about zombies who don’t like to eat brains and would rather drink tea would do nothing for me.

So, in the USA, I see a lot of the same kind of thing hashed out over and over again. While my experience with British horror is far more limited than that of American, I must say I’ve seen less of that problem with our brothers and sisters in the UK. When I read a British horror book or watch a British film, I’m usually in for something a little more unique, which I appreciate. It doesn’t always work, but good examples are movies like 28 Days Later. It takes all the basic, familiar elements of the zombie apocalypse story, but it adds a unique twist to it. It also is filmed in such a way that it really makes you feel like you’re there. And most importantly, it brings in the human element to the story, namely, the human villains, which are far more scary than any of the monsters. While none of this really covers the board all the way across, that’s the main thing I’ve seen. We have plenty of terrific horror novelists and filmmakers over here in the US, but the UK seems to have a larger offering of truly original material.

What are your favorite horror books?

Best I can do here is give a list, which like my answer in the previous question, will not be comprehensive. There’s so much out there I enjoy. But if I had to just pick a few, I’d go with The Shining and IT by Stephen King, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Psycho by Robert Bloch, Off Season by Jack Ketchum, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay, Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz, Live Girls and The New Neighbor by Ray Garton, YOU and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft, and Ghoul by Brian Keene. There are many, MANY more, but that’s a snapshot into some of my favorites. And they all connect with me for different reasons. Some are visceral, some are subtle and in the shadows. Others are sweeping in their scope and some are tightly focused and claustrophobic. Some are even humorous, such as both the titles I mentioned by Ms. Kepnes. But they ALL unnerved me in some way or another, and they ALL had characters who came to life on the page and I fell in love with. That’s the foundation and cornerstone of ANY good story, horror or otherwise, in my opinion.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

THE THING (1982) by John Carpenter is ALWAYS at or near the very top of my list. Fantastic piece of filmmaking. Others would be Halloween (1978), Psycho (1960), Event Horizon (I love sci-fi and cosmic horror, and this one is way underrated), The Exorcist, Slither, Evil Dead (specifically Evil Dead 2, but I like them all), Re-Animator, From Beyond, Alien, Aliens, The Fly (Cronenberg), The Brood, Videodrome, The Shining (Kubrick), Hellraiser, Lord of Illusions, Dawn of the Dead (remake), 28 Days Later, and about 30,000 others. Like with the books, these all connected with me for different reasons, but they are all movies I come back to time and again and keep in my collection at home.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

just getting published by a small press is a huge thing. A lot of people never even make it that far. But my newest novel, THE DAMNED PLACE, is my greatest literary achievement, I think. It’s much longer, has much more character development, has lots of history and has birthed an entire mythos around it with a pair of overlapping trilogies (all of which are in the pipeline). It’s like I broke through a wall and discovered this entire universe to play in. My previous work I’m very fond of, but this one takes it to a whole new level, and I’m extremely proud of it.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

I’ll rob a line from King here: “read a lot and write a lot”. That’s the main thing. Also, sit your butt in the seat and write as often as you can, no matter how many words you’re able to get down. I don’t get to write every day, so I don’t hammer on folks for that, but make it a priority in your life and carve out as much time for it as you can. Sit down and write. Don’t second guess yourself in the process, just get it out, and once you’ve finished your story, ALWAYS go back over it several times and add, cut, expand, whatever. Fill it in where there isn’t enough, yank out the crap or redundant nonsense. You can always edit a poorly written page, but there isn’t much you can do with a blank one.

What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

I think it’s great in a lot of ways. It’s allowed a lot of new authors—myself being one of them—to get there work out to the market who might never have gotten the chance otherwise. However, there’s a caveat: it has ALSO allowed a LOT of garbage to flood that same market. Many authors either don’t understand or don’t care about polishing their work. They want it out yesterday, so they don’t spend much time revising what they’ve written or they don’t use a professional editor (always, always, always use a professional editor!!!), and the end product shows all of this. There are some gems out there to be sure in the self-published world, and I’m very thankful that the option to self-publish is there. But now we have to sift through a lot of crap to find some decent books in the midst of all of that, and it sort of casts a poor light on the more serious authors who self-publish. Jeff Strand self-publishes much of his work, but he takes it seriously and doesn’t cut any corners. Then you have myriad authors who don’t and for every well-produced self-published book out there, you have about a hundred works of crap. They aren’t art, they aren’t just “not for me”, they’re crap. And that’s unfortunate. All that being said, I’m very thankful that option is out there, though. It’s a foot in the door for many worthy authors who would otherwise go completely unknown without it.

What are your current projects?

I’m finalizing the edits on my follow up novel to THE DAMNED PLACE—which is titled THE DAMNED ONES—as we speak, but the book is written and has had some editing done. My hope is to sell this one to Black Bed Sheet Books, who published THE DAMNED PLACE, when I’ve gone through and approved all the edits and addressed all the suggestions. I’m about to start revisions on a secret novel that will come out next year, though I’m not at liberty to discuss anything else about that one right now. I also recently completed a cosmic horror novella, which I’ll begin revisions on as soon as I finish them on this secret novel, and I plan to start the third Damned book, THE DAMNED TOWN, this fall when all of that is wrapped up. The story is already laid out in my head and has been gestating for a while now, some I’m eager to get it down on paper. It will be my biggest, most sweeping work to date. I’m also working on a couple of short story ideas, though my focus is on all of this other work I just mentioned at the moment.

Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work.

So, as you already know, my name is Chris Miller and I’m a suspense/horror/thriller/comedy….hell, I’m an author. My third novel released on July 6th from Black Bed Sheet Books (THE DAMNED PLACE), and I’ve got short stories in 5 anthologies so far, with a few more coming soon that haven’t been released yet. By day I manage the service department for our family-owned water well drilling and service company in East Texas, and I live in the quaint little town of Winnsboro with my slap-your-mamma-she’s-so-damn-beautiful wife Aliana, and our three kids Joanna, Jack, and Sloane. My work has been praised by critics and fans alike, some even giving me the title “master of suspense”, which is both an honor and humbling.

You can find me online at my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Patreon, if you’re so inclined. You can also send me a friend request to my personal account on Facebook if you like, and so long as you’re not a complete weirdo or stalker, I’ll add you and am happy to interact. 😊


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 announces more guests, special events & shortlist for Screen Genre Rising Star Award

Ahead of single tickets going on sale from Sat 21st July, Arrow Video FrightFest announces their current slate of guests, more details on some special events and the short list for the Screen Genre Rising Star Award.

As previously revealed, genre icon Dario Argento and The Soska Sisters will be attending and other returning alumni include Abner Pastoll, here with the closing night film A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND, alongside many of the cast, producer/director Ant Timpson for opener COME TO DADDY, BLISS director Joe Begos, joined by stars Dora Madison and Graham Skipper, DANIEL ISN'T REAL helmer Adam Egypt Mortimer and Paidraig Reynolds, director of DARK LIGHT, accompanied by his cast including Jessica Madsen (Leatherface). Plus, Jordan Barker returns with WITCHES IN THE WOODS, with lead actress Hannah Kasulka, Dan Bush with THE DARK RED, accompanied by lead actress April Billingsley and the Pierce Brothers are back with THE WRETCHED.

This year's International talent making their FrightFest debut include KNIVES AND SKIN director Jennifer Reeder, DRIVEN writer/lead actress Casey Dillard, alongside co-star Glenn Payne, EAT BRAINS LOVE director Rodman Flelder, ROCK PAPER AND SCISSORS co-director Martin Bousson, accompanied by Argentinian leading ladies Valeria Giorcelli and Agustina Cervino, Henry Jacobsen, marking his directorial debut with Blumhouse production BLOODLINE and  Ireland is represented by Paddy Murphy, who is also making his directorial debut with THE PERISHED. Plus we have Eric Pennycroft, director of SADISTIC INTENTIONS, with actress Taylor Zaudtke (who also features in FrightFest entry FINGERS), I TRAPPED THE DEVIL lead actor & producer Scott Poythress, Brandon Croft for TRUE FICTION. THE DEEPER YOU DIG co-directors John Adams and Toby Poser (who also stars in the movie), VOILITION director Tony Dean Smith, alongside star John Cassini, (who also stars in TRUE FICTION), FINGERS director Juan Ortiz, THE FURIES director Tony D'Aquino and Jason Axinn, here with TO YOUR LAST DEATH.

Homegrown talent will be present in abundance this year. CRAWL star Kaya Scodelario is in the house, alongside cast and crew from MADNESS IN THE METHOD, including Busted singer/songwriter and actor Matt Willis. TALES FROM THE LODGE director Abigail Blackmore is joining us with her all-star cast, including Mackenzie Crook and Laura Fraser. Plus, Lawrie Brewster returns with anthology FOR WE ARE MANY, accompanied by crew and cast including Nicholas Vince. Tom Paton is also back with STAIRS, along with HERE COMES HELL director Jack McHenry and Andrew Desmond, director of THE SONATA.

Staying with UK talent, the FIRST BLOOD strand goes from strength to strength and all the helmers will be around, supported by their cast and crews: So let's welcome DEATH OF A VLOGGER director Graham Hughes, A SERIAL KILLER'S GUIDE TO LIFE director Staten Cousns-Roe, CRIMINAL AUDITION  director Samuel Gridley, DARK SENSE director Magnus Wake and Fredi Nwaka, director of ARE WE DEAD YET?

Established in 2016 to celebrate the work of emerging UK genre talent, FrightFest is proud to team up for the fourth year running with Screen International to present the 'Screen Genre Rising Star Award'. This year's short list salutes the work of Abigail Blackmore, director of twisty, terrifying black comedy horror TALES FROM THE LODGE, Staten Cousins-Roe for his highly original and compelling debut feature A SERIAL KILLER'S GUIDE TO LIFE, actress Rebecca Rogers for her stunning lead performance in STALKED, Jack McHenry for his exuberant genre cocktail of caviar and carnage HERE COMES HELL and director/actor Fredi Nwaka for his devilishly clever feature ARE WE DEAD YET?. The winner will be revealed on Monday 26 Aug, 6,30pm at the Cineworld Leicester Sq.

Other events this year include the UK launch of Dario Argento's autobiography 'Fear'. The genre icon and giallo legend will take to the stage to talk about the book and life at the top during Rome's Golden Horror Era. Argento's life-long friend and FrightFest co-director Alan Jones, who adapted, edited, annotated and illustrated the FAB Press publication, will be the master of ceremonies at this must-attend event followed by a signing session.

The discovery of new voices in the world of genre filmmaking is close to FrightFest's darkly beating heart and the festival has teamed up with UK distribution outfit Blue Finch Films and short film funding company Genera, to launch a new initiative to help finance genre short films that are in the latter stages of development.  With a £1000 fund on offer, the finalists will pitch their films to an industry panel and the winning film will be announced at the end of the festival. Hosted by FrightFest's Short Film programmer Shelagh Rowan-Legg, the panel will  include filmmaker actress Joanne Mitchell and Blue Finch Films' Mike Chapman.

Rosie Fletcher, editor of Den Of Geek, will host FROM PAGE TO SCREAM, featuring top horror authors whose work has been adapted or optioned for the screen. They'll talk about the processes and pitfalls of getting a novel turned into a show or film, what it's like seeing their creations come to life and about how the landscape of horror is changing in books, film and TV.

There's no party like a film party and to celebrate FrightFest's 20th year the Duke Mitchell team have once again scoured the Earth to find the weirdest pieces of film & cinema ever to have flashed into our eyeballs. Add to the mix some very SPECIAL guests, endless giveaways and brilliant trailers and it means the 'DUKE MITCHELL FILM PARTY' is the only place to be on a late night Saturday at FrightFest!

Arrow Video FrightFest runs from 22nd-26th August 2019 at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema.

Single tickets go on sale Sat 20th July at noon and, alongside the few remaining Festival and day pass sales, are available to buy online: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

Friday, 5 July 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 announces 20th year record-breaking line-up

The UK’s biggest and boldest horror and fantasy film festival is celebrating its 20th bloody year. Since 2000 it has made its indelible mark, not only on the ever-burgeoning horror community but also on the UK genre landscape as a whole. The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre, its reinvention and its growing importance in the cultural landscape and this year is no exception.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from Aug 22 - Aug 26. Hosting a record-breaking seventy-eight films, embracing fourteen countries and spanning six continents, this year’s five-day fear-a-thon includes 20 World, 20 International / European and 28 UK Premieres.

As previously announced, this year’s festivities begin with the UK premiere of Ant Timpson’s deviously edgy stunner COME TO DADDY, starring Elijah Wood and reaches its bloody conclusion with the World premiere of Abner Pastoll’s superbly crafted crime story, A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND. Other main screen international attractions include producer Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal’s SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, producer Sam Raimi and director Alexandre Aja’s gruesome ‘gator yarn CRAWL, the Radio Silence gang’s lethal thriller READY OR NOT, director Kiah Roache-Turner’s futuristic Ozploitation classic NEKROTRONIC, Pedro C. Alonso’s startling captive chiller FEEDBACK, with a career-defining performance from Eddie Marsan, Kirill Sokolov’s splatterpunk action comedy WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! and Jason Mewes’ insanely brilliant MADNESS IN THE METHOD, starring Mewes, Vinnie Jones, Kevin Smith, Teri Hatcher, Dean Cain and with a final on-screen appearance from Stan Lee.

Making their second, very welcome appearance at the festival will be The Soska Sisters, attending for the World Premiere of RABID, their eagerly anticipated re-imagining of the Cronenberg classic. The sisters will also introduce a special retrospective screening of the original. Also attending is the legendary Dario Argento, here for a special screening of his giallo masterpiece TENEBRAE. He’ll also be in conversation with Festival co-director Alan Jones and signing copies of his autobiography, ‘Fear’, which Jones has adapted and edited. More attending guests will be announced later this month.

FrightFest’s 20th year sees the return of directorial alumni like Adam Egypt Mortimer with his provocative psychological horror DANIEL ISN’T REAL, Christian Alvart with his twisted blockbuster CUT-OFF, Lucky McKee with the startling KINDRED SPIRITS, starring Thora Birch, Joe Begos with his terror trip BLISS, Larry Fessenden with DEPRAVED, a post-modern take on the Frankenstein legend, Padraig Reynolds with belligerent creature feature DARK LIGHT, producer Eli Roth with the grindhouse-inspired HAUNT, The Pierce Brothers’ bring us their chiller THE WRETCHED, Dan Bush is back with seat-edge shocker THE DARK RED, Jordan ‘Zombeavers’ Rubin teases us with tongue-in-chic horror comedy THE DRONE and ‘Level 16’ director Danishka Esterhazy gives us her fun-packed body-counter THE BANANA SPLITS. There is also the UK premiere of GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR, the directorial debut from returning producer Travis Stevens and DARLIN’, the directorial debut of past FrightFest ‘darling’ Pollyanna McIntosh  Plus, those fur balls with teeth are back. CRITTERS ATTACK!, with original star Dee Wallace, will enjoy its European Premiere.

FrightFest continues to present the films that are currently shaking up the genre scene and allowing it to transform and continually excite. Like Michael Goi’s MARY starring Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer, the inventive EAT BRAINS LOVE from Rodman Flender, Seann William Scott’s stunning serial killer turn in BLOODLINE, Chelsea Stardust’s hilarious SATANIC PANIC, the unforgettable coming-of-ager KNIVES AND SKIN, THE BLACK STRING, marking the comeback of Frankie Muniz, Kelola Racela’s lustfully demonic  PORNO, the incredible animation attraction TO YOUR LAST DEATH, Emma Tammi’s critically acclaimed THE WIND, Fernando Alle’s Troma-inspired MUTANT BLAST. and the two craziest Midnight Movies you will ever see – Valeri Milev’s fabulously inventive BULLETS OF JUSTICE and Fabricio Bittar’s Brazilian gorefest GHOST KILLERS VS. BLOODY MARY.

The genre scene in the UK continues to innovate and thrive, reflected in this year’s FIRST BLOOD strand. Life coaches become dead coaches in Staten Cousins-Poe’s gem of a feature debut A SERIAL KILLER’S GUIDE TO LIFE and Graham Hughes’ viral mockumentary DEATH OF A VLOGGER, gives the found footage format a much-needed shot in the arm. Then there’s Samuel Gridley’s darkly funny CRIMINAL AUDITION, Magnus Wake’s cleverly plotted and heart-pounding DARK SENSE and making up the fearsome five is Fredi Nwaka’s ARE WE DEAD YET, a cleverly crafted supernatural comedy-crime thriller.

Other home-grown selections include the European premiere of TALES FROM THE LODGE Abigail Blackmore’s portmanteau shocker, starring Mackenzie Crook and Johnny Vegas, Carl Strathe’s disturbing DARK ENCOUNTER, starring Laura Fraser and Alice Lowe, and the world premiere of Charlie Steeds’ flesh-eating horror THE BARGE PEOPLE. There are also world premieres for Justin Edgar’s nail-biting suspense thriller STALKED (AKA ‘Unseen’), Tom Paton’s heightened horror STAIRS and producer/director Lawrie Brewster’s FOR WE ARE MANY, in which directors from around the world unleash a legion of demons.  And let’s not forget director Jack McHenry, who makes a welcome return with his crowd-pleasing HERE COMES HELL, which made huge waves at our Glasgow edition earlier this year.

Over the years FrightFest has showcased the best genre films Canada has to offer and this year a special strand has been created – ‘Canadian Chills’ – to highlight an exceptional bumper crop, which, apart from RABID, embraces the International premiere of Colin Minihan and director Kurtis David Harder’s smart chiller SPIRAL and the UK premieres of Tony Dean Smith’s sci-fi mind-bender VOLITION, Ray Xue’s entertainingly nasty EXTRACURRICULAR, starring Luke Goss, Chad Archibald’s deadly thriller I'LL TAKE YOUR DEAD, Cameron Macgowan’s dark comedy chiller RED LETTER DAY and Jordan Barker’s unrelenting assault of pure terror, WITCHES IN THE WOODS. Then there are World premieres for Jay Dahl’s malevolent HALLOWEEN PARTY and Braden Croft’s compelling TRUE FICTION, Completing the line-up are Zack Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s FrightFest Glasgow hit FREAKS, the International premiere of Rob Grant’s sick, sea-faring adventure HARPOON and the UK premiere of the sinister and challenging HAPPY FACE, this year’s Duke Mitchell presentation.

Another country with a fine FrightFest pedigree is Argentina and this year is no exception; with the World Premiere of producer Javier Diment’s chilling chamber piece ROCK, PAPER AND SCISSORS, plus the European premiere of Herman Finding’s IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES and the UK premiere of Pablo Pares’ apocalyptic powerhouse I AM TOXIC.

The global cabinet of fear holds more…Tunisia is represented for the first time with the UK premiere of DACHRA, an intense folk horror that has broken box office records in North Africa and Japan offers up a forgotten musical cult gem from 1985 - THE LEGEND OF THE STARDUST BROTHERS. Ireland’s entry is Paddy Murphy’s THE PERISHED. Mixing horror and pertinent social issues, the film marks the debut of a new Irish genre voice.

Further indie discoveries on the monstrous menu are: Australian chase chiller THE FURIES, the elegantly scary THE SONATA, social media shocker DEADCON, DRIVEN, a smart, meter-running battle against evil, Eric Pennycroft’s brooding SADISTIC INTENTIONS, with Larry Fessenden, the horrifying Christmas cracker I TRAPPED THE DEVIL, the quirky, cutting FINGERS and THE DEEPER YOU DIG, a Coen-Brothers-esque story of grief and survival  from Toby Poser and John Adams.

Documentary lovers will enjoy Dima Ballin’s THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION OF MICHAEL REEVES, charting the life and early death of the man who gave us WITCHFINDER GENERAL and two documentaries from director David Gregory, MASTER OF DARK SHADOWS , an in-depth look at the talents of Dan Curtis, the ‘King of TV horror’ and SICK! SAVAGE! SENSUAL! THE REEL LIFE AND GHASTLY DEATH OF AL ADAMSON, which tells the bizarre and grim demise of one of Hollywood’s exploitation bad boys.

In a first for FrightFest, there will be a special preview of MAN OF MEDAN, the first game in The Dark Pictures anthology. This will be followed by a Q&A session with the key development talent behind the game. The much anticipated interactive narrative horror adventure, developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe, brings supernatural horror on board a ghost-ship adrift in the South Pacific. It is set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Aug 30, 2019.

Festival co-director Alan Jones, said today: “Over the last two decades we have tirelessly introduced our committed audiences to every trend, every new talent and every innovation that has put horror back in the collective cinephile conscious. Even after 20 years. FrightFest’s August event remains a key destination to see the latest genre movies in the manner for which they were made - on the Big Screen surrounded by fellow fear-mongers. Remember, it’s our party and we’ll scream if we want to!”

This year’s guest list, special events and the Short Film Showcase entries will all be announced in the coming weeks.

Festival passes will go on sale Sat 6 July at noon and will only be available to buy online:  http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

Single tickets will go on sale on Sat 20 July from 9am.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Interview with Richard Alan Scott by David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing? 

I have been writing since I learned to do it, at six years old. I wrote a story on our old typewriter called The Zany Zoo-lion. I even did Richard Alan Scott for the byline. That story became the film Madagascar. No, it didn't, and my Mom is the only person who ever read it. But the lion ran away from the zoo and joined the circus. I had a lot of comments on my writing down through the years, and I've talked all about them in a blog on my website. At 20, one of my stories was held for a long long time by Twilight Zone Magazine, but eventually rejected. That was Rod Serling's wife Carol running that. My blog is about how many times I was encouraged but didn't believe it, so we come to age 49 and my resolve to take the business seriously.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

As a kid I was just in love with The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. I was the baby and had three older brothers. My brothers and I all loved horror and science fiction, and read everything we could. We passed along most of the books in Paperbacks from Hell. Once when I was about seven, my Mom walked into the living room and I was sitting there looking at Playboy. My brothers were a lot older and one of them left it out by accident. I was actually reading a short story by Ian Fleming in there. I had no clue about the naked ladies, hahaha. But she went berserk.

My first book I can remember reading was a Burroughs. We couldn't get enough of that stuff.

Tell us about your first publisher. 

I got a story into Ireland's premiere magazine for Horror, SciFi and Fantasy, called Albedo One. One of the editors, Frank Laidlaw, sent me a very long letter about how my submission had woken him from a numbness looking at all the regular submissions. That sent me reeling. There was a stringent set of rules they followed to accept a submission, and one of them was that it had to go through 3 editors and get the okay. My story was called "Stoker's Benefactor" and was about Bram Stoker, who worked as the manager of a theater, having the real Count Dracula coming in to donate money because of his being enchanted with one of their actresses. Well, one of the editors I had to go through was a Stoker expert, and it took me quite a while to make enough changes to get his approval. Of course it then appeared about a year later and I was stoked, stokered I guess, to get my name on the cover. That was about ten years ago. I thought writing is going to be great, and always like this. I've only had about 4 acceptances since then, ugh.

How would you classify the genre you write?

There are so many labels I can't keep up with them. My stories start in a place of complete reality and I work hard to get that right and believable. Then they go off into magical realism or fantasy while trying to stay within the boundaries I set up. I've heard that called slipstream but I am not sure if that's correct. I really have always shot for writing a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode as a story. I always have an ending, which I'm sure drives editors crazy, since they all seem to be in love with ambiguity. But I write so that people like me will like it, the sort of working class guy or gal, and no one I know likes that cryptic or ambiguous stuff except other writers. I'm not writing to get their approval. I want the regular schmoe to read my stories or novels and say, "Man that was good. And what a great ending."

Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

I think with the baby boomers like me passing on this stuff, it is even more popular. My daughter is a reader and she is not opposed to some paranormal or supernatural elements sneaking in to anything she reads. The main reason it's always been around and will never go away is that we are all fascinated with the unknown part of death. That taps in to the universe and what exactly is out there, the constantly progressing idea of multi-verses, what happens when you die, our unknowns. I started this quest to get closer to the reality of death, and to my surprise, I ended up becoming an Atheist. My search for all of it led me to see that there really is none of it. But it didn't change my enjoyment for the subject. If anything it got stronger. I love shit that takes me all over the place in the human experience.

What inspires your stories?

It's that "what if" which drives, I guess you could say speculative literature. What if Bram Stoker met the real Dracula, and was forced to deal with him. What if Mercy Brown (a Rhode Island legend) was really a vampire and H.P. Lovecraft had to fight her whole family? What if a demon that thrives on tears was born out of the muck during the crucifixion and still haunts Palestine? What if Innsmouth was real and your car broke down there?  What if a banshee was real and a man fell in love with her? What if a particular strain of lepers were really visitors from the future to the time of Christ? And so on. If any of your readers find these questions interesting, know that I get very very close but the editors who hold sway ultimately stop you from seeing my work. It's that simple.

What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?

We come to an interesting conundrum here. Three of my six sales, and I do mean sales, as in, we give you money, not "placed" at a "for the love" market, happened in the UK. I believe that the people over there are "old school." They grow up with a respect for the classics, the gothic and folklore. It's ingrained in them. They just seem to "get me" and my work more. I believe they respect the writer more, and understand the skills. They don't mind vampires and werewolves and they enjoy your spin on them, they enjoy a great old tale by the fire.

In the USA, everything is a microcosm of the Hollywood ideal. It is a huge popularity contest. It is a party and you are not one of the "cool kids" invited. This could be a national release or something even in your local region. Once you've made it into the cool kids, send whatever you want. They're thrilled to add your name to the same list everyone else has. Oh, I know Josh Malerman, I hang out with him" He's made it to Netflix, you see. Granted there are people who are old school and try to respect your effort, like Ellen Datlow and Tom Monteleone.

They are constantly showcasing new writers. In the trenches there are a lot of very nice people who are editing, but they can't resist it. They have to get those same names in there, and you're out. You can come and set up chairs but you aren't invited to the party. And now with the political correctness off the rails, many people have a say, that should have nothing to do with writing. Writing is raw and comes from inside you. You can't change every other word to suit the
tender sensibilities.

I may very well go down as a name in England before anyone here will publish me. and as a reader I am more interested in the next Stephen Volk or Tim Lebbon, to be honest.

What are your favorite horror books?

Well Salem's Lot and Ghost Story had a huge effect on me, especially since I was a kid when I read them. Then the Exorcist came along and blew me out of the water as they say. We were Catholic and we were believers so nothing since has scared the shit out of me like those three. Also, I've read and seen everything horror. When everyone goes gaga over someone's book, I always feel like, were these readers just born? It's the same old same old. It always comes back to who do they want to be seen to drool over. I am in the search for a book that will please me to no end. And it's why I write, to please myself. If I had to name someone now, it would be Michael Faber and Lynda E. Rucker. They hit me on a certain level I can't get. These anthologies people put out are a dime a dozen. Do they get bought and read outside of the circle of friends? Who knows?

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

The Exorcist, Halloween, Jaws. I like things A-24 has been doing like A Ghost Story, Ex Machina. Under the Skin has been my favorite genre fair in years. I'm a Universal and Hammer kid, through and through. I like Danny Boyle and Alex Garland's Sunshine.  I love The Wicker Man and Kill List. I thought The Witch was the most perfect film since The Shining.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

For now, it just has to be that I have not given up on my dream to appear in the top magazines and to have my novel traditionally published by one of the big publishers. I do not share table space with the cool kids at conventions yet.

Also, just finishing a novel with the size and scope I wanted for myself. That encouraged me.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

I've often said I would never, because I am just some regular schmoe who grew up in a project and right outside that project. Personally I don't subscribe to much in the way of advice, because I break it all anyway. Jack Haringa and Nick Mamatas were my initial guardian angels.

"...the idea that giving away stories (i.e. for the love and non-paying markets) to websites in exchange for exposure will actually help one's career. Those who neither write well nor publish well are...staples of ...online forums and the shadowy fringes of many writers' conventions, and their advice ...is useless." Jack Haringa, Writers Workshop of Horror, 2009 Woodland Press, ed. Michael Knost, article, The Agnotology of Horror. or Lies the Internet Told You

"What do these days off matter...If the novel sells and is well-received, taking days off is, by definition, a successful strategy for writing a novel." Nick Mamatas, Starve Better: Surviving the Endless Horror of the Writing Life, 2011 Apex Publications

I know two women here in New England, one who has at least 40 credits in her Bio, which appears on her book. I checked them. They are all non-paying but for one which proffered her $5 to $10. To me, that is a fraudulent Bio that gives the appearance of professional success, when it is precisely the opposite.  Another lady of my acquaintance once boasted, "Nominated for a Pushcart Prize." She had hoped we'd forgotten that the nominating entity was a website run by her best friend, for which she had also done work.

This is fraud, and it is a reflection on your integrity, and hurts other serious, professionally paid writers.

What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

In accordance with all I've stated above, RUBBISH, which gluts the market for those with serious ambitions and skills. And if your "Independent Publisher" is your best friend, well, you are not far from self-published.

What are your current projects?

A literary novel for which I may swallow my pride and seek out an independent who doesn't know me from Adam, because I consider it a side project.

And a huge trilogy about psychics and Russians and a down and out family with some inconvenient gifts.

Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work. 

I have about twenty short stories and one novel, meticulously researched and written, waiting for homes that will care for them. I had a thirty year career in the professional theater and I am a member of the Actors Equity Association.

I am 62 years old and I started writing seriously at about 49. I think I am cool, though I have a bad heart and diabetes and every allergy you can imagine.  I have very little stamina. When my wife says "Let's go upstairs and make love," I have to reply, "It's either one or the other."
Nevertheless my mind is all there, lol. I think I can write up there with anyone half my age.

I described my work above and my ambitions for it. I really don't begrudge anyone for whatever they want to do with their work, it just isn't for me. So don't be upset, I'd say the same if we were talking one-on-one.

I love movies and books and music, though it's tough to find good cinema amidst the absolute dredge of remakes and sequels. There is very little original work in Hollywood. That's why I wait for Christopher Nolan and Refn and Von Trier and Lynch and the like, and some newbies like Villeneuve and Robert Eggers.

I challenge my fellow writers to aim for the public arena, with real pro editors and publishers, and top paying markets. If I die having never been discovered, I'll know I reached for the top.

Check out Richard's site at https://richardalanscott.com

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

UK premieres provide summer chills on Horror Channel in July

Saturday nights on Horror Channel in July sees the UK TV premieres of Casey La Scala’s disaster shocker THE REMAINING, based on the Book of Revelations; Mark Young’s contagious chiller FERAL; Robbie Pickering’s comedy horror FREAKS OF NATURE and Nils Taylor’s fearsome female thriller QUARRIES.

Full film details:

Sat 6 Feb @ 21:00 – THE REMAINING (2014) *UK TV Premiere
A group of close friends gathers for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by apocalyptic biblical prophecies. The survivors face a horrifying, uncertain future as they scramble for safety, but as their world collapses around them in chaos and terror, will they choose real life through faith, or just try to survive?

Sat 13 July @ 21:00 – FERAL (2017) – *UK TV Premiere
A wild animal attacks six medical students on a weekend hike in the woods. One by one, they become infected with a “feral disease”, turning them into rabid, bloodthirsty creatures, and the vacation becomes a nightmare as they fight to survive each other.

Sat 20 July @ 21:00 – FREAKS OF NATURE (2015) * Channel Premiere
Welcome to Dillford, where, three days ago, everything was peaceful and business as usual: the vampires were at the top of the social order, the zombies were at the bottom, and the humans were getting along in the middle.  But this delicate balance is ripped apart when the alien apocalypse arrives. Now it's humans vs. vampires vs. zombies in all-out, blood-sucking, brain-eating, vamp-staking mortal combat

Sat 27 July @ 21:00 – QUARRIES (2016) *UK TV Premiere
In order to escape her abusive boyfriend, Kat joins a wilderness expedition with a group of women, all of whom are struggling against the uncertainty of life. But what was supposed to be an opportunity for personal discovery quickly becomes a fight for survival when they are viciously stalked by a pack of predators.  They are forced to uncover the strength even they didn’t know they possessed

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138
Website: http://www.horrorchannel.co.uk/

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

FrightFest wants fresh blood!

Arrow Video FrightFest, in conjunction with UK distribution outfit Blue Finch Films and short film funding company Genera, has launched a new initiative to help finance genre short films

Called ‘Fresh Blood’, the partners will look to help finance short form projects in the latter stages of development in the bid to discover new voices in the world of genre filmmaking.

Submissions for the fund will start on the 5th June 2019 and filmmakers can apply at www.generafilms.com. The closing date is 31st July and the shortlisted finalists will be announced on 14th August.

Shortlisted finalists will then have the opportunity to pitch their project in front of an industry panel during the festival, who will then decide the winning film.

This year will be the festival’s 20th edition, with their full line-up to be announced on Thurs 4th July.

Genera’s CEO, Christian Parton commented: “Short films are notoriously hard to fund. Partnering and creating exciting opportunities to support short filmmakers is paramount to Genera. We are incredibly excited to be partnering with FrightFest and Blue Finch Films in launching this round to encourage the financing of more genre films”

Ian Rattray, FrightFest co-director, added: “We’re thrilled to join forces with these two dynamic companies to help continue the festival’s tradition of seeking out and supporting fresh talent”.