Friday, 30 January 2015

Interview with Mort Castle By David Kempf

Mort Castle
Born 1946 (age 68–69)
Novelist, short story writer, comic book writer

Mort Castle (born 1946) is an American horror author and writing teacher, with more than 350 short stories and a dozen books to his credit, including Cursed Be the Child (Leisure Books, 1994) and The Strangers. Castle's first novel was published in 1967. Since then he has had pieces published in all sorts of places ranging from traditional literary magazines to more off-the-wall or risqué markets. He has been nominated four times for the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction.

A dedicated writing teacher, Castle has been a working musician, a standup comic, a stage hypnotist, a high school English teacher (for 11 years), and a magazine and comic book editor. He is currently writer-in-residence for three high schools, and teaching "Researching and Writing Historical Fiction" and "Story In Graphic Form" at Columbia College Chicago. He is a frequent keynote speaker at writing conferences, and has given over 800 presentations to writers, would-be writers, and teachers of writing. His latest book, Writing Horror, for which he served as editor, has become the "bible" for aspiring horror authors. It also includes interviews with some of horror's top stars, such as Stephen King. Castle is also the Executive Editor of Thorby Comics, and currently fiction editor for Doorways Magazine.

Castle has been a regular contributor to Eureka Productions' Graphic Classics series since 2006, with work in Graphic Classics: Jack London, (second edition), Graphic Classics: Ambrose Bierce (second edition), Graphic Classics: Bram Stoker (second edition), Graphic Classics: Robert Louis Stevenson (second edition), Graphic Classics: O. Henry, and Graphic Classics: Halloween Classics.

In August 2013 it was announced that Castle will be scripting the Red Giant Entertainment comic book Darchon, an ongoing feature of their Giant-Size Comics line of free print comic book titles set to debut on May 3, 2014, as part of Free Comic Book Day. Darchon will appear monthly in Giant-Size Thrills, their horror-focused title.

Interview with Mort Castle By David Kempf

Tell us how you became interested in writing.

Long before I became interested in writing, or knew anything about it, or found out that there were such beings as writers, I loved story. I was read to regularly, particularly by my mother (loved her renditions of The Color Kittens from the Little Golden Books series) and my great-grandfather, who taught himself to read English when he was 60 and frequently shared with me the heavily Yiddish-accented presentation of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Pay-Tur.

Remember sitting in kindergarten and making up stories. Remember loving the "Oooh, what happens next?" feeling that came from television shows. (I was one of the first of the TV-addicted generation; we got our set in 1949.) I was hooked on the serial adventures of the daily Howdy Doody Show and the Hopalong Cassidy westerns, the less than stellar fare that made up early TV but helped shape this storyteller.

Then came school. I lived in a good time for learning to write. Sure, we were taught the basics, but mainly we were set loose to write all kinds of stuff, without the educational experts mandating rigid and rote "learning goals" for the curriculum of any particular grade level.

Which leads me right to your next question ...

Why the interest in horror fiction?

In third grade, I discovered Mr. Edgar Allen Poe, who taught me words. The story was "The Tell Tale Heart," which is pretty grim stuff. Murder without rational reason. Dismemberment. Madness. Obsession. And conscience which must disguise itself.

Yeah, third grade. Thank you, Mrs. Curlin, my teacher. She brought in the latest high tech educational media long playing phonograph record and we eight year olds sat and listened and were horrified.

Play that today and you'd have 23 school psychologists and a platoon of lawyers on the scene. These traumatized kids will be wetting the bed for decades ...

Well, amigo, I was enthralled and not traumatized because horror pushed the right buttons in my psyche and soul.

It scares so good!

I mean, my answer to "Why do you write horror" is ...

I like it.

And, somehow, that leads to the question ...

"But why do you like it?"

The answer is, "I don't know."

My friend F. Paul Wilson, a fine writer of thrillers, mysteries, science-fiction and horror, has said he's convinced the liking for horror is hard-wired in a person. It's a matter of DNA.

Just like the roller coaster aficionado is what he is and what he is cannot be explained to the person who gets vertigo on the first step of a foot high step stool.

I mean, Paul ought to know. He's also a medical doctor.

For me, as far back as I can remember, I not only loved stories, I was always drawn to the horrific, the terrifying, the dark and the scary and I've learned that most horror writers say the same.

All kids have nightmares (just like adults).

I was one of those kids who had 'em and liked 'em. When I was seven and a half, I had a dream that I remember to this day, a dream which in its own fictionally altered way, has informed ever so much of my writing.

I was the kid apprentice to the secret village poisoner. It was my job to grind up a yellow poison with the mortar and pestle and sneak into peoples' houses and dose their food and drink with the poison. Nobody suspected the village poisoner or his apprentice.

I know. I was a kid. Must have been something wrong with me. I should have been dreaming about fluffy bunnies and wax lips and happy sunshine songs.

I wasn't.

I had nightmares and I loved them.

I loved scary movies. They weren't as all enveloping as nightmares, but you could turn them off with one button. Thank you Chicago's Shock Theatre, hosted by a beatnik style, sardonic guy named Marvin. Shock Theater introduced me to Frankenstein's Monster and even as a kid I sensed there was something sad as well as bad about that monster.

Shock Theater introduced me to King Kong ...

I could relate to that one. You know the scene in which Kong grabs the elevated train car? Well, I rode the Chicago elevated train, "the L," regularly, and it didn't take much for me to imagine a big furry finger  an apely digit!—smashing through the L train's window during a metal on metal screeching turn ...

Dracula scared me. Not the Lugosi Dracula in the first filmed version but the Dracula he portrayed in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I mean, if Abbot and Costello weren't safe, these guys who were on the Colgate Comedy Hour, then nobody was safe. When Dracula turned into a bat, thanks to simple animation back in those pre-CGI days, that got to me.

Anyway, by third grade, I knew I could write. I mean, I could even write cursive. (Not very well, which is why I learned to type in the fourth grade ...)

I could write ... stories!

I could write stories that scared me. We all begin as our own first audience.

But I was a munificent child.

It would have been selfish to keep my stories to myself. I wanted to share them and scare others.

I started off writing about a guy who was transformed into a spider. I forget why that was. I know it was "for his evil deeds." I had a strong moral sense even then as do many horror writers.

Spiders ... I don't want to hear about how interesting they are. Or how they're man's best friend because they take care of flies.

Spiders are scary.

I started off with spiders and I've been finding other stuff that scares me and I hope my readers, ever since.

Do you prefer teaching or writing?

I teach, I write. I'm a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. A writer, if he's a writer of more than fluff-nothing, is a teacher. A teacher, if he's worth anything, has the organization and narrative skills of a writer, whether he's actually slapping words on the page or not.

I don't try to separate the two. That's why one of the people I consider a mentor, the late Lucien Stryk, a fine poet and professor, and a guy who never said to me, "I'll teach you something now," is also something of a role model. Writer, teacher? He was a Zen man. He was who he was. Most of all, he was aware.

And maybe that's why another hero of mine is none other than Popeye the Sailor Man. I've borrowed his mantra: "I yam what I yam and 'at's all what I yam."

What do you consider your greatest achievement as an artist so far?

You know, I could pile on the artistic bullshitskya here and say, "I am still seeking the ever advancing goal of blah-blah-bullshit ..."

But of the hundreds of short stories I've published, "Altenmoor, Where the Dogs Dance," has made people weep. It's a story that a mother kept reading to her adult son as he lay in a coma for some months, and when he came out of it, one of his first questions was "Where is that Altenmoor?" It's not been out of print since its first publication in 1982. It's been translated into a dozen languages. It's been filmed twice, once in Serbia--in Serbian, a language in which I am as fluent as I am in Vernacular Sanskrit. It's part of a forthcoming audio book and will appear in February as a comics story in the IDW published series Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury.

I've created a memorable story. A lasting story. I'll put money on it being a story that is still talking to people long after I've become ashes.

"Altenmoor Where the Dogs Dance" is my shot at immortality.

But I have to add the prose anthology Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, that I edited with Sam Weller. Tell you, when we went into that project, I did not realize I'd be gaining a brother in my co-editor. I love the guy.

The book, unlike many anthologies, does not have a clunker in it.

Most important, the book is a heartfelt love letter and thank you to Mr. Ray Douglas Bradbury from writers who were taught, inspired, and encouraged by him.

The contributors: Neil Gaiman, Dan Chaon, Harlan Ellison, Audrey Niffenegger, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Dave Eggers ...

"Altenmoor" is my shot at immortality, but Shadow Show is our contribution for Ray, our spark to the Eternal Flame of Ray Bradbury who is doing just what Mr. Electrico at the carnival bade him do so many years ago: "Live Forever!"

What do you think of the electronic and self-publishing trend?

We're gonna separate 'em, but first we're gonna recall Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.

Self-publishing has always adhered to that law, people "publishing" strictly for vanity's sake, usually their singular talent being vanity.

So you had those books of diabetic-dialectic sing-song poetry and "Simple Wisdom from a Simple Mind for Simpletons," and the nutcase diatribes, The Real Protocols of the Younger Elders of Zion, and Garden Slugs: Man's Best Friend, and those horseshit novels Son of On the Road and Love's Tormenting Rash typed (not written) by folks who had no intention of wasting time learning to write or who perhaps had neither the little bit of talent and greater degree of ambition necessary to become a writer.

But at least, back in the day (Listen up, sonny, 'cause I'm a geezer!), if you self-published, it cost you something. Subsidy publishers made a good buck off your vanity. Even if you tried to do it all alone, you still paid for printing, binding, shipping. You had to invest a real buck or two or 12 and that was the cover charge that kept out many of the dabblers and dilettantes.

Today, 90% of all self-published stuff maybe even 96% is crap, that hasn't changed ... But because it no longer costs anything to be an ebook or a website or a telepathic-radiating microchip in a dog's ear or what the hell, we have tons and tons and tons of crap out there.

And the four percent, the good stuff well, it's harder than ever for it to get noticed. You don't quite see the sparkling diamond in a flood of sewage.

Okay, there might have been a short-lived "bubble of success" for the new model of "You too can self-publish," but now, well, just read about the revolt of Amazon self-publishing authors--who are indeed for the most part revolting, although they are hardly authors in the way I use the word.

True, self-publishing has been fine for a selected few: Established authors with backlists, new authors with talent and ambition and a good sense of timing because they were among the first to find a temporarily successful gimmick, and of course, writers with more luck than brains: 50 Shades of Gray, mediocre porn at best (you'll find sexier spanking on TNA Impact Wrestling).

But for nearly everyone else, self-publishing is a frequently well deserved walk on the old treadmill to Oblivion.

As for the electronic aspect–well, it might be "just another way to publish," just as POD was "just another way to publish," but it is certainly a new and ridiculously cheap (free!) means for helping the self-deluded stay that way.

Have your political or philosophical views shaped your art in some way?

Sure. But the art I've studied has helped shape my political and philosophical views, so I guess it works out. The Brothers Karamazov, The Grapes of Wrath, and Goya's "Colossus" and Eisenstein's Ten Days That Shook the World, and Charles Ives's Appalachian Spring, and ever so many others inform my work because they contributed to my being ... I Yam what I Yam!

And that's the Yam you get on the page. (Let's break out the puns now!)

Which writers (whom you have worked with) have inspired you the most?

Lucien Stryk, as I mentioned above. Harlan Ellison ... I told him in the 1970s that he was the guy who taught me to work close to the horns of the bull. Robert Weinberg: He taught and teaches me to work, work, work. The marvelous Margaret Atwood, who gives the lie to everything you ever heard about slowing down with age and who sings pretty well, too, with a decent folk and country repertoire--even sings the word "about" right, unlike most Canadians. And Alice Hoffman, who never just phones it in but finds the wonder in life and helps you do likewise.

So many, so plenty of 'em. I mean, I don't know if "inspire" is the word I want, but I'm so glad this guy's posse includes Sam Weller, and Jeff Jacobson, and John Everson and Rick McCammon and Bonnie Jo Campbell, and ... I love being in the "lit'ry life" and the "pop fiction life" and "academia" and being part of the "lit mob ..." There's just a whole lot less quiet desperation when you hang with people who create and affirm your right and ability to do so.

What are your interest outside of teaching and writing?

I really like living. Love travel, particularly to France, where my wife, Jane, is a fluent French speaking guide and where she has relatives we've grown so close to. A year from now is Poland. I have Polish readers ... Well, I made a Newsweek Top Ten in "Best of the Year: Thrillers" and I've not quite done that in the USA.

I love eating outlandish amounts of really good food and drinking good booze.

Music, music, music, the listening, the making thereof Had my ventures into showbiz via music been more successful—you sometimes find the 1965 album we cut when I was a member of THE INNSIDERS, a folk trio, on Ebay going for $250 to $1,500!—and I'm focusing more these days on blues harmonica than guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, etc. And of course, nice weather, I like to sit outside with Jane and meditate, contemplate, and often fall asleep!

What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

Simple: Learn to write. Worry less about "platforms" and "social media" and "emerging technology" and ... You've got to have a product before you can sell it.

Truth: I cannot believe there's so much bad stuff out there ... But that's because now we get to see the bad, proudly displayed on websites, in bad electronic magazines edited by editors who can't edit, featuring stories by people who can't write, aimed at aspiring bad writers who want to write for bad electronic magazines, and get self-published on Kindle, Swindle, Shnook, Hobo, Yoyo, and Hoohah ...

Writing is a craft and a craft can be learned and a craft can be taught.

Name some of your favorite horror books.

Two by Dan Simmons: The Song of Kali and The Terror. King's absolute masterpiece Pet Sematary and near masterpiece, The Dead Zone. Ted Klein The Ceremonies. The now almost forgotten genius book Slob by Rex Miller. And the best book of Jerry Williamson, my dear friend and the leading horror writer of the 1980s: The Banished.

And of course ... Dracula! And you haven't really read that one until you've annotated it!

Name some of your favorite horror movies. 

Classics: The standard issue Universal monster movies. The 1940s—The Beast with Five Fingers. The 1950s: The Black Sleep.

Little known: 1959's Face of Fire with a now mostly forgotten James Whitmore.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Hills Have Eyes. And stay light years away from any of the unhorrifying remakes, reboots, and repos.

Not a whole lot since, though The Babadook has some moments.

What are your current projects?

With Sam Weller, I'm wrapping up the comics series based on Shadow Show for IDW, and Darchon, a supernatural comics series from Red Giant Entertainment, that's set to launch in April.

Have two or perhaps three hush-hush / cannot talk TV and film projects, but can say that, using "the biz" lingo, there are serious names attached.

Have been asked for stories for three anthologies (I'd prefer they stay hush-hush for now), and to put together a non-fiction book proposal, but ...

Like I said before, harmonica. Tell you, there's so much to be learn on the little instrument you can keep in your pocket. Of course, you do keep it there, you're likely to swallow some pocket lint when you hit that low "C."

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

Mort Castle? Not a bad guy. A polished presenter of the world's dirtiest joke about Wyatt Earp. Mort Castle? Trying to gain another 40 pounds so he can be in contention as Japan's first kosher Sumo champion. Castle—seriously? He's a wordworker, has been for a long time, hopes to continue to be for a long time. And on some days, he almost gets it right.

Check out Mort's Website

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Rabid (1977) - Press Release


Arrow Video is thrilled to announce the release of David Cronenberg’s much lauded horror classic Rabid (1977) which will be available on dual format Blu-ray & DVD both as an amaray and Steelbook from 16th February 2015. This new edition will mark the Blu-ray world premiere for Rabid, which served as the follow up picture to Cronenberg’s debut 1975 feature Shivers, continuing to explore the themes of viral diseases, yet upping the ante, the scale, the gore levels and the threat by unleashing the venereal terror on the whole of downtown Montreal.

This fresh release will include a host of exciting extra features including audio commentaries with both director David Cronenberg and William Beard, author of The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg. This disc will also feature brand new interviews, most notably with famed director (and Rabid executive producer) Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Twins) and his co-producer Don Carmody.

Other extras include the featurette Make-up Memories in which make-up artist Joe Blasco recalls how the film’s various gruesome effects were achieved and Raw, Rough and Rabid: The Lacerating Legacy of Cinépix - a featurette which looks back at the early years of the celebrated Canadian production company.

Alongside this, the disc will also include the David Cronenberg episode of The Directors, a 1999 documentary on the filmmaker, containing interviews with Cronenberg, Marilyn Chambers, Deborah Harry, Michael Ironside, Peter Weller and others.

The reversible sleeve will feature both original artwork and a newly commissioned cover art by Nat Marsh. The collector’s booklet features new writing on the film by Kier-La Janisse, reprinted excerpts of Cronenberg on Cronenberg and more, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

First come the Shivers… then, you turn RABID! Celebrated Canadian cult auteur David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrome) followed up his startling debut feature length proper Shivers with this tense and gory thriller which expands upon the venereal disease theme of that film, this time unleashing it on the whole of downtown Montreal – with terrifying consequences.

When beautiful Rose (adult film star Marilyn Chambers) is badly injured in a motorcycle crash, Dr. Keloid, who is in the process of developing a revolutionary new type of skin-graft, seizes the opportunity to test out his as yet unproven methods. The surgery appears successful and Rose seems restored to full health. But all is not as it should be – Rose has been transformed into a contagious blood-sucker, endowed with a bizarre, needle-like protrusion in her armpit with which she drains the blood from those unfortunate enough to be in her vicinity.

An important landmark in the early career of Cronenberg, Rabid sees the director returning to the viral theme of his earlier work but on a much larger (and more assured) scale – where the infection has shifted from the confines of a single apartment block to the expansive shopping centres and motorways of Canada’s second largest city.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

FrightFest unveils Glasgow Film Festival line-up

FILM NEWS (UK): Film4 FrightFest celebrates 10th year at Glasgow Film Festival with three World, two European and six UK premiere attractions

Kicking off with a special screening on Thurs 26 Feb and hosting eleven films on Fri Feb 27 and Sat 28 Feb, the UK’s favourite horror fantasy festival celebrates ten ‘gore-ious’ years at its second home at the Glasgow Film Festival with an all-exclusive slate of the freshest new horror films around.

The shocktacular line-up starts on Thurs 26 Feb in sumptuous Hammer-style with the UK premiere of the Edgar Allan Poe based ELIZA GRAVES featuring an all-star Hollywood cast, including Kate Beckinsale, Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess and Michael Caine.

Friday’s fearsome line-up kicks off with the European premiere of THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, the paranormal activity shockumentary of the year, written and directed by  Chris Sparling, who wrote ‘Buried’. This is followed by the World Premiere of THE HOARDER, starring an on-form Mischa Barton who uncovers the worst horrors in the dank depths of a storage unit facility. Next up is the riotous WYRMWOOD, the zombie black comedy full of catastrophic carnage and over-the-top splatter. From Australian brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner, it’s the deadpan bloodbath everybody is talking about. The 9pm slot goes to 88, a glorious, gory and fast-paced homage to cult exploitation revenge thrillers. This is the World Premiere for April Mullen’s most graphic film to date, starring American Mary herself, Katharine Isabelle. Rounding off the evening in terrifying style is the European Premiere of THE ASYLUM (BACKMASK) – in which Marcus Nispel, director of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Friday The 13th’ remakes. takes us through a rampant landscape of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll possession.

Getting the Saturday programme off to a nerve-jangling start is the UK premiere of the much anticipated and very disturbing CLOWN, produced by Eli Roth.  This is followed by FrightFest’s popular retrospective slot which this year is Mario Bava’s BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, one of the most influential genre movies of all time. Next up is the World Premiere of THE WOODS MOVIE – a behind-the-scenes exclusive reveal to everything you ever needed to know about how ‘The Blair Witch Project’ was produced, shot and marketed to become a groundbreaking blockbusting classic. This has been directed, edited and scripted by Russell Gomm, who is a long-serving member of the FrightFest TV crew.

Saturday evening unfolds in gut-wrenching style. Mo Hayder is one of Britain’s most acclaimed crime authors, but it took the Flemish Film Industry to turn her bestseller THE TREATMENT into a smash Euro success and FrightFest is pleased to present the UK Premiere of this harrowing serial killer thriller. This is followed by a real treat…FrightFest unleashed the Spanish sensation [REC] onto unsuspecting audiences in Glasgow 2008 and  the organisers are delighted to host the UK Premiere of Jaume Balagueró’s [REC]: APOCALYPSE, the shattering visceral conclusion to the global horror phenomenon. And to end the FrightFest carnival of carnage is the UK premiere of the creepy, brain-freezing THERE ARE MONSTERS, an instant cult classic and one of the scariest ‘under the radar’ movies of the year.

Alan Jones, co-director, said today: It’s been a decade of the decayed. The Glasgow Film Festival has been an instrumental part of FrightFest’s ever-increasing success story in becoming the UK’s leading horror fantasy brand and we wanted to do something extra special to celebrate our prestigious tenth milestone. So it was important to us to showcase a whole range of brand new titles, many of which will not have entered the genre conscious yet, and have never been seen on UK shores before. Because our Scottish audiences have always admired FrightFest for its cutting edge quirkiness, and our 2015 line-up reflects that approach to the horror hilt". 

With special guests, surprises on screen and off, new short films showcase surprises and the festival’s unique community feeling, FrightFest at GFF has now become a must-attend occasion on the horror fantasy fan's calendar.
The festival’s guest line-up will be announced shortly.

To book tickets:
Please note that FrightFest passes go on sale Thurs 22 from 10am. Price: £70. This covers all films on 27 & 28 Feb only.

Tickets for ‘Eliza Graves’ and the Fri/Sat films will go on sale Mon 26 Jan from 10am. Prices: £9, £7 (concession)

Programme details

THURS 26 FEB – GFT Screen 2
21:00 ELIZA GRAVES (UK Premiere)
Synopsis: When young Doctor Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) arrives at Stonehearst Asylum in search of an apprenticeship he is warmly welcomed by superintendent Doctor Lamb (Ben Kingsley). At first, intrigued by Lamb’s modern methods of treating the insane, a series of events and warnings from the stunningly beautiful Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale) lead him to make a shocking discovery. It’s a revelation that exposes Lamb’s medical utopia and pushes Edward to the limits of his conscience. Nobody is who or what they appear to be. Based on the Edgar Allan Poe story ‘The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether’.

Director: Brad Anderson  Screenwriter: Joe Gangemi 112 mins USA 2014

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine

FRI 27 FEB – GFT Screen 1

13:00: THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE (European Premiere)
Synopsis: Dr. Henry West (William Mapother) founded The Atticus Institute in the 1970s to study telekinesis, clairvoyance E.S.P. and other unexplained psi-related phenomena. Thousands of subjects were tested using scientific methods many of whom showed abilities defying explanation by known physical laws. But just after West published the promising results of their research work, the small facility was mysteriously shut down in November 1976 by a concerned US Government. The reason? They met Judith Winstead (Rya Kihlstedt) whose supernatural abilities tested far beyond anything ever before witnessed.
Director: Chris Sparling Writer: Chris Sparling 92 mins  USA 2015
Cast: William Mapother, Rya Kihlstedt, Rob Kerkovich

16:00 THE HOARDER (World Premiere)
Synopsis: When Ella (Mischa Barton) discovers her Wall Street banker boyfriend is renting a secret storage unit, she suspects he’s using it to hide an affair. Enlisting the help of her best friend Molly (Emily Atack) she breaks into the facility only to discover something more terrifying instead. Now trapped in a darkened building with a group of neurotic strangers who start disappearing one by one, Ella soon uncovers even worse horror in the dank depths. Her life or death battle to escape eternal enslavement is about to begin….

Director: Matt Winn  Screenwriters: James Handel, Matt Winn, Chris Denne  84 mins  UK 2015
Cast: Mischa Barton, Robert Knepper, Charlotte Salt

18:30 WYRMWOOD  (UK Premiere)
Synopsis: A post-apocalyptic zombie invasion, caused by a wayward comet, turns personal for Barry, an Oz mechanic (Jay Gallagher) when his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradey) is abducted by a sinister team of gas-masked soldiers for flesh-eating experiments by a mad scientist. Sporting MAD MAX-style designs, a glorious sense of humour, energetic execution, new and outrageous zombie lore and KC and the Sunshine Band, this super-fresh spin on a favourite genre is a raucous riot of black comedy, catastrophic carnage and over-the-top splatter.

Director: Kiah Roache-Turner  Screenwriters: Kiah Roache-Turner, Tristan Roache-Turner
98 mins  Australia 2014

Cast: Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill

21:00 88 (World Premiere)
Synopsis: Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) arrives disheveled at a mysterious roadside diner. But who is she really because she has no idea where she is or how she got there in such an anguished state. Split between two timelines, Gwen gets taken on a violence-fuelled journey into death and destruction and becomes the most wanted woman in Tennessee seeking out the person responsible for her lover's murder.

Director: April Mullen  Screenwriters: Tom Doiron, April Mullen 88 mins  Canada 2015
Cast: Katharine Isabelle, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside

23:15 THE ASYLUM (BACKMASK) (European Premiere)
Synopsis: Six teens throw a party in a rundown building and find a vintage record. Talk turns to ‘backmasking’ - subliminal messages recorded onto a music groove heard only when the track is played backwards – and they play the vinyl for a giggle. Soon a seemingly malevolent entity has infiltrated the group, wreaking havoc. However the spirit is actually trying to convey a message and the real source of horror is something - or someone - much closer to home.
Director: Marcus Nispel  Screenwriters, Marcus Nispel, Kirsten Elms 90 mins  USA 2015
Cast: Stephen Lang, Brett Dier, Brittany Curran

SAT 28 FEB – GFT Screen 1

11.00 CLOWN (UK Premiere)
Synopsis: When the entertainer hired for his son’s sixth birthday party is a no-show, doting father Kent dons a clown outfit himself. But after the festivities, he finds he can’t take it off – the bulbous nose is stuck to his face, the frizzy wig glued to his hair and the make-up permanently etched on his features. Too late he learns the costume is the skin of an ancient demon and his family must race to break the curse before the transformation into a homicidal killer with outsize shoes is complete.
Director: John Watts Screenwriters: Christopher D. Ford, John Watts 102 mins  USA / Canada 2014

Cast: Peter Stormare, Eli Roth, Laura Allen

13:30 BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (Retrospective Premiere)
Synopsis: Six models at Contessa Cristina Como’s chic Rome fashion house are tortured and violently murdered by a ghost-like masked psychopath for a telltale diary containing incriminating scandal. A chiller way ahead of its time and considered the main evolutionary starting point for the entire giallo genre that would inspire Dario Argento, this key masterpiece of menace is presented here in all its restored glory.
Director: Mario Bava  Screenwriters: Mario Bava, Giuseppe Barilla, Marcello Fondato 88 mins  Italy 1964 (Subtitled)

Cast: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Lea Lander

16:00 THE WOODS MOVIE  (World Premiere)
Synopsis: In October 1997, a group of filmmakers ventured into the Maryland woods to produce a low budget independent horror movie. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT would become a global phenomenon and began the ‘found footage’ genre that remains a potent force today. Now for the first time you can see how that record-breaking groundbreaker came into being.

From never-before-seen recordings of pre-production meetings, audition tapes and test footage to the actual shooting, first preview screenings and marketing at the Sundance Film Festival, all the key personnel guide you through the discussions and decisions that minted a shock sensation classic.

Director: Russell Gomm  Screenwriter: Russell Gomm  84 mins  USA 2015
Cast: Edward Sanchez, Daniel Myrick, Gregg Hale

Synopsis: Nordic Noir turns frighteningly Flemish in Belgium’s top-grossing film of 2014 based on the serial-killer chiller by acclaimed British author Mo Hayder. Inspector Nick Cafmeyer (Geert Van Rampelberg) is haunted by the unsolved disappearance of his younger brother. A known sex offender was questioned but quickly released who now takes fiendish pleasure in tormenting Nick. Now another similar case comes to disturbing light involving a missing juvenile and Nick’s real nightmare begins…

Director: Hans Herbots  Screenwriters: Mo Hayder, Carl Joos 125 mins  Belgium 2014 (Subtitled)

Cast: Geert Van Rampelberg, Ina Geerts, Johan van Assche

21:30 [REC]: APOCALYPSE (UK Premiere)
Synopsis: Picking up the intense action immediately after [REC] 2 - expanding on the mythos from all three predecessors, plus referencing cult genre classics - TV reporter Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) is extracted from the cursed apartment building and taken to a high-security quarantine facility aboard an oil tanker. There, in the bowels of the dark and desolate ship, Dr. Ricarte (Héctor Colomé) is experimenting with the infectious virus to find a cure before another living dead outbreak occurs.

Director: Jaume Balagueró  Screenwriters: Jaume Balagueró and Manu Diez  Spain 2014  96 mins

Cast: Manuela Velasco, Paco Manzenado, Héctor Colomé

23:30 THERE ARE MONSTERS (UK Premiere)
Synopsis: Monsters are taking over the world, slowly, quietly and efficiently, but you won’t see them coming until it’s far too late! Four film students embark on a road trip to obtain promotional interviews for their college. However en route they witness a series of odd events, strange behaviour, shocking actions and what seems to be surplus of twins. Their well-ordered universe literally changes before their camera lenses uncovering a terrifying secret lurking just under the seemingly calm urban landscape.

Director: Jay Dahl  Screenwriter: Jay Dahl  Canada 2014  96 mins
Cast: Matthew Amyotte, Jason Daley, Michael Ray Fox

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Film News: Horror Channel to screen ‘Mad Science’ Season

Plus, Harpoon: Reykjavik Whale Massacre gets UK TV Premiere

Head exploders, deadly serums, deviant doctors, radioactive dope…Horror Channel presents a MAD SCIENCE SEASON, an 80’s tinged collection of cult scientific shockers featuring the Network premieres of David Cronenberg’s SCANNERS and Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR. Also guaranteed to get the horror sparks flying are BASKET CASE and CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH.

The season jolts into action from Friday 6 Feb @ 22.50 with the Network Premiere of David Cronenberg’s hugely influential sci-fi horror SCANNERS (1981).

Synopsis: The product of an experimental tranquilizer given to them during their mother’s pregnancies, a group of people have telekinetic powers that not only allows them to read minds but gives them the ability to destroy others.  The ‘scanners’ are now adults and have become outcasts from society.  Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside) wants to create an army of scanners to take over the world and the only person who can stop him is his brother Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack), himself a powerful scanner.  Now seen as a top 50 horror classic of all time, the film also stars Jennifer O’Neill and Patrick McGoohan.

Bringing the season to an electrifying conclusion on Friday 27 Feb @ 22:50 is the Network 
Premiere of Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR (1985)

Synopsis: Herbert West (Jeffery Combs) is a mad scientist with an extreme messiah complex focused on cheating the gods of death. He has discovered a serum which when injects in the brain of the recently deceased makes the dead stand up and walk. Realising Herbert's potential, his professor Dr. Hill (David Gile) is determined to get his hands on Herbert's discovery and steal credit for his work. While forcefully trying to convince Herbert to turnover his findings, Hill's head is viciously separated from his body. Herbert than decides that now is the time for the final test of his magical elixir and re-animates Hill's head and body – with hilariously shocking consequences…

Also in the season….
Fri 13 Feb @ 22:50 – BASKET CASE (1982) Directed by Frank Henenlotter
Fri 20 Feb @ 22:50 – CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (1986) Directed by Richard W. Haines

A group of tourists embark on a sightseeing trip aboard a whaling vessel with none other than Captain Gunnar (Leatherface) Hansen himself. When the ship breaks down the day-trippers come under attack from a crew of deranged Fishbillies hell-bent on mayhem and slaughter. Let the bloody sea battle begin in director Julius Kemp’s horror comedy with a strong surreal flavour, the first exploitation film made by the Icelandic Film Industry.

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 |

Monday, 12 January 2015

Enter the Dangerous Mind - Trailer

Enter the mind of Jim (Jake Hoffman)—a socially awkward EDM musician with a traumatic past, a tenuous grip on reality, and voices in his head. When he meets Wendy (Nikki Reed), he thinks he might finally have a shot at happiness. But as long-buried memories begin to stir, and his crush turns into obsession, Jim finds himself looking into a violent abyss… and he won’t be going alone. Pulsating with raw energy and an intense electronic soundtrack, Enter the Dangerous Mind is a pitch-black psychological thriller that doesn’t let off the gas for a second as it twists to its shocking conclusion.

A Movie directed by Youssef Delara & Victor Teran
Cast : Jake Hoffman, Nikki Reed, Thomas Dekker, Jason Priestly, Scott Bakula, Gina Rodriguez
Release Date : In Theaters & on Itunes February 6th, 2015
Genre: Horror, Thriller


Zombies invade the Australian Outback in this brain-splattered, Mad Max-meets-the-undead thrill ride. When an apocalyptic event turns everyone around him-including his wife and daughter-into marauding zombies, everyman mechanic Barry arms himself to the teeth, soups up his car, and hits the road in order to rescue his sister from a deranged, disco-dancing mad doctor. Bursting with high-octane car chases, crazy-cool homemade weaponry, and enough blood-and-guts gore to satisfy hardcore horror fans, WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD takes the zombie flick to bone-crunchingly berserk new heights.

A Movie directed by Kiah Roache-Turner
Cast : Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey, Leon Burchill, Luke McKenzie, Yure Covich, Catherine Terracini, Keith Agius, Meganne West
Release Date : In Select Theaters on February 13th