Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Interview with Stars of cannibal horror romance "Tear Me Apart" - Alfie Stewart, Jennie Eggleton and Frazer Alexander

As this year’s meatiest post-apocalyptic cannibal horror romance TEAR ME APART gears up for its UK Theatrical Premiere and worldwide VOD release, we spoke to the three young leads, Alfie Stewart, Jennie Eggleton and Frazer Alexander to discuss their roles.

Q: For all of you this is your first lead role in a feature film. Describe your feelings when you were told you’d won the role.
Alfie: I was quite surprised because my audition was one of those ones where you can’t really gauge how well you’ve done. I wasn’t expecting to get the part, which made it even sweeter! I was ecstatic when I got the news. I couldn’t wait to bring the story to life.

Jennie: Overwhelming joy and excitement - and shock! At the final recall everyone was so good that I was certain I hadn’t got the role so when I got the call from my agent I was speechless! As well as being my first lead it was also one of my first professional jobs so I was thrilled to be given the chance to be part of such an amazing project.

Frazer: This was not just my first lead role, it was my first professional audition, and saying I was surprised would be a complete understatement. Completely over the moon and mildly/embarrassingly emotional would probably be the best way to describe it.

Q: The film deals with some pretty (forgive the pun) ‘meaty’ issues. How did you process the challenges presented?
Alfie: With a vivid imagination. I really tried to immerse myself in the character and the world, exploring the depths of his psyche and his place within the story. I think that once I understood the character, the ‘meaty issues’ were processed easily because they are necessary to the story. I think challenges are fun - they keep you on your toes!
Jennie: Whilst the film deals with issues that I hope we will never have to deal with, at its core there are issues that are pretty universal and relevant to us now - love, sex, growing up, the need to survive. I found that there was a lot of myself in Molly so when dealing with the difficult issues there were already routes that I could use to approach the character and what she has to deal with.  She can change between being innocent and manipulative very quickly, and will do almost anything to survive.  I find that complexity in such a young character fascinating.
Frazer: I highly doubt that I will ever get to play a character I like everything about, but it’s important as an actor to never judge the character’s flaws and their behaviour, it is part of who they are and therefore part of me whilst I am in front of the camera.  Dealing with the ‘meaty’ issue was really as simple as that, plus my character is not as open to the cannibalism side of things anyway so I’m sure this was probably slightly more of a challenge for Alfie than myself.

Q: The film really depends on the chemistry between the three of you, which is pretty electric. Tell us what it was like to work with each other.
Alife: I feel very lucky to have worked with such talented and easy-going co-stars. We had an amazing time, on and off set. There were points where it felt like Frazer was actually my brother, we bonded brilliantly. The crew were equally as amazing, and the experience of making this film was very special.

Jennie: Well, it is very rare that you are on set with the same people day in day out for a month, living together in tiny rooms, without getting on each other’s nerves, but the boys were so supportive, kind and funny that the whole process was a dream.  They both have a wicked sense of humour so I never stopped laughing. I’m glad that a fraction of our relationship has been captured on screen and that we get to share it with audiences, as it’s pretty special.

Frazer: It was a complete dream.  The chemistry was exactly the same off set as well.  I learned a massive amount about the industry from Alfie, as he has worked on a vast array of projects. Jennie is elegant by nature and the most beautiful actress. She sees things others don’t and has a wonderful grasp of the language, two traits that I would happily have worn off on me.

Q: Alfie, your character, although only 16 years-old, carries a highly complex mix of instincts and emotions. How much of an acting challenge was this, particularly the cannibalism scenes?
Alfie: It was a challenge upon which I thrived. The character fascinates me, his animalistic and boyish nature allowed for a lot of freedom and expression. Delving into the complexity of his mind was intriguing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't actually like the meat they used in place of human flesh though. I remember spitting it out quite repulsed after each take. I think it was Parma ham from M&S. The art department were slightly annoyed that I didn't like it because it was relatively expensive! 

Q: Jennie, you play a young woman who could be the last female on the planet.  Daunting or what? Did you bring any personal feelings about such an extreme situation to the role?

Jennie: HA - yeah, no pressure there!  That was one of the themes that attracted me about the script early on.  She is dealing with the weight of that, what she has seen done to other women in her past, how men treat her, and also how her sexuality can be powerful.  It’s an incredibly complex situation to be in. I’m a feminist and I definitely brought my own feelings on equality and the treatment of women to Molly. 

Q.  Frazer, as the older brother you carry the darkest, most violent threat in the film.  Yet you are also perhaps the most vulnerable of the three.  Was this a difficult balance to achieve?
Frazer: Yeah, it was difficult during the initial stages of the rehearsal process.  It was important to remember that the character had not actually been brought up in a normal family, he survived solely on his own intuition and a naïve one at that.  The character does have some awful flaws, but that being said, I hope the audience manage to relate to him and realise that he is not all bad. He does have his brother’s best interests at heart.

Q: What do you hope audiences will take from the film?
Alfie: First and foremost I hope that the audience is entertained. I also hope that the story captures their imaginations and makes them think about some of the themes. My character has been brought up in a world extremely different from the one we currently live in and has therefore grown into a more primitive, instinctive and animalistic being. Constantly inundated with comforts, we often forget that we are animals, we are PART OF nature and not separate from it. It is an interesting thing to ponder. I hope the film inspires creativity and impresses people.

Jennie: I hope as well as enjoying the amazing landscapes and Ern’s beautiful shots, they take away a story of three young people growing up.  I think the undercurrent of this film is a touching coming-of-age story, exploring how they negotiate their way through growing up under pretty dire circumstances!

Frazer: I hope the audiences enjoy the film as much as we all enjoyed making it.  I hope people argue over which characters they preferred and who was right and wrong in their actions, I really hope some of them side with the older brother as well!

Q: Although not strictly a horror film, genre fans will embrace its dark themes and execution. Are you horror film fans? Do you have a favourite horror film?
Alfie: I think that horror films can sometimes be overwrought with clichés, and quite predictable. However, when an original idea is executed well and the film isn't tainted by cheese they can be thoroughly entertaining and unsettling. I appreciate the darkness. ‘The Babadook’ is an excellent horror film, definitely one of my favourites.

Jennie: I have to say I generally don’t watch many horror films.  Whenever I do I end up lying in bed replaying the whole film in my head and imagining shadows are people! ‘The Shining’ is my sort of scary movie - the one that plays with your mind.

Frazer: I love ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, Anthony Hopkins’ performance is nothing short of impeccable and the relationship between Hannibal Lector and Clarice Stirling was encapsulating to watch.

Q: Finally, what are all you up to next?
Alfie: Playing my guitar religiously, waiting for the phone to ring. Aside from that I’ve filmed an episode of Channel 5’s ‘Suspects’, which will air later this year.  
Jennie: I’m currently auditioning - so watch this space!
Frazer: I’ve recently signed with Cole Kitchenn and I’m excited about the future and what it holds in store.
TEAR ME APART is released online on June 17, 2016, following its UK theatrical premiere at The Genesis, Whitechapel, on June 16.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Competition: Win Freshwater DVD

Freshwater is out on DVD on 6th June! and to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies to win.

Lake Charles in Louisiana is the idyllic spot to catch some sun and enjoy the tranquil miles of freshwater. When a group of 20-somethings meet up at their island lake house for a weekend of partying, one of the friends never shows up.

As more lake visitors are yanked underwater by what seems to be some giant alligators, the screams bring the group out of the lake house. Frantically discovering their boat has drifted away, they have to watch helplessly as more of their friends are pulled under the water. Will anyone get off the island alive, in one piece? Something more sinister seems to be at play…

Win This:
Freshwater [DVD]

To enter all you have to do is answer this easy question...

Competition Closed

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.

Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Film News (UK): Cannibal romantic horror TEAR ME APART gets VOD release

A post-apocalyptic dish of murder, meat and mysticism is served up in Alex Lightman's brightly fused British debut feature TEAR ME APART, which is released online on June 17, 2016, following its UK theatrical premiere at The Genesis, Whitechapel, on June 16.
It will be available to buy or rent from $4.99 exclusively from; www.tearmeapartmovie.com
Other packages and platforms will be announced soon

New Trailer

Living in a cave in a barren part of the Cornish landscape, two brothers turn to cannibalism to survive. Although the eldest (played by Frazer Alexander) clings to the notion that their father will reappear, bringing with him the return of the 'old world', the younger brother (Alfie Stewart) has no such moral compass and relishes the meat he can get from the bodies of nomadic wanderers who stray into his sights. Then one day, a different kind of prey appears, in the form of a beautiful teenager (played by Jennie Eggleton). She is possibly the last girl alive and her powerful presence ignites a sexual maelstrom. A dangerous game is about to be played. Animalism versus humanity.  Love versus survival. Love. Kill. Eat.

Director Alex Lightman reveals: "When the idea of a post-apocalyptic world devoid of women emerged, we were adamant that the film should not explain what happened. It is essentially about three young people trying to figure out not just how to survive, but if survival is what matters most to them."

TEAR ME APART is directed by Alex Lightman, written by Tom Kerevan and produced by Alex Lightman, Tom Kerevan & Ern Herrmann, It stars Alfie Stewart, Jennie Eggleton and Frazer Alexander. all making their lead feature film debuts. Receiving its World Premiere at Austin Film Festival 2016, the film is the first project from Cannibal Films, who are already in development with their second feature, a psychological thriller, which they intend to shoot  next year.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Horror Channel and FrightFest agree three-year partnership deal

London, 23 May 2016. Horror Channel and FrightFest have agreed a three-year partnership deal, which sees the CBS Studios International / AMC Networks International – UK owned channel become headline sponsor for the UK's biggest and most popular genre film festival.

Chris Sharp, Chief Programming Officer, AMC Networks International – UK, said today: "Horror is coming home. We were FrightFest's banner sponsor in 2005 and 2006 and have maintained a very close partnership with the organisers and fans ever since. We're thrilled to further cement that 'bloody bond' and look forward to celebrating the festival with a frighteningly good season of FrightFest favourites on the channel in August."

FrightFest co-director Alan Jones said added: "FrightFest is thrilled to welcome Horror Channel on board as their new headline sponsor. Horror Channel has been a vital part of the FrightFest machinery for many years, so our on-going relationship is already built on solid foundations. Together we recognised the further potential in each other to celebrate the horror fantasy genre on an even wider canvas than before, something followers of both of our brands can appreciate".

As recently announced, Horror Channel FrightFest will relocate to the Vue Shepherd's Bush for its annual 5-day August Bank Holiday event, taking over all twelve screens between Aug 25 – 29, 2016. Under a 2 year deal with Vue Entertainment, it has the option to return to the Vue Leicester Square in 2017.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Interview with Catherine Cavendish By David Kempf

Catherine Cavendish is a Welsh writer who writes Gothic horror. Her book The Devil's Serenade is getting serious attention and she continues to write tales that make the reader's blood run cold.

When did you first become interested in writing?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child I would make up stories for my dolls to act out, and adapt books I had read into stage plays. I saved up and bought my first typewriter (yes, I’m that ancient!) when I was ten years old. 

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

This goes back to a childhood reading Dennis Wheatley, Sheridan le Fanu and other authors of the genre. At school, I remember the deliciously scared feeling I experienced when we read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs. The amazing thing about that story is that nothing gory actually happens, but when that knock at the door sounds... Oh, the shivers! I loved reading horror and stories that gave me goosebumps so I suppose it was only natural that I would gravitate to writing what I enjoyed the most.

How did you go about finding a suitable publisher?

It’s been a long, hard slog. Firstly I tried repeatedly over a number of years to get an agent. Then I became part of an online writing community called Litopia where more established writers were so helpful in sharing their advice and experiences. As a result, I decided to forget trying to get an agent – certainly for the time being – and concentrated my efforts on carefully targeting potential publishers. I found websites such as Preditors and Editors and Absolute Write invaluable in helping me weed out the chaff and find reputable publishers. I had a couple of publishers before I landed at Samhain Publishing where I was privileged to be edited by the great Don d’Auria. Sadly, Samhain is closing so I’m on the search for my next publishing adventure

Tell us about The Devil’s Serenade. 

I live close to a river and regularly walk along the banks. There is a willow tree there which seems to have been struck by lightning at some stage in its history. Willows are not inclined to give up easily and it now grows in a most odd fashion, trailing its branches along the ground, twisting around itself – a sort of arboreal octopus. I nicknamed it ‘the tentacle tree’ – which was actually the working title of The Devil’s Serenade until I found another book with the same title! Sitting on one of its low branches one day, I suddenly felt a shuddering underneath me. There was no wind but the branch had shifted slightly and created a kind of ripple effect. It felt alive. An idea was born. Here’s the blurb:

Maddie had forgotten that cursed summer. Now she’s about to remember…
“Madeleine Chambers of Hargest House” has a certain grandeur to it. But as Maddie enters the Gothic mansion she inherited from her aunt, she wonders if its walls remember what she’s blocked out of the summer she turned sixteen.

She’s barely settled in before a series of bizarre events drive her to question her sanity. Aunt Charlotte’s favorite song shouldn’t echo down the halls. The roots of a faraway willow shouldn’t reach into the cellar. And there definitely shouldn’t be a child skipping from room to room.  
As the barriers in her mind begin to crumble, Maddie recalls the long-ago summer she looked into the face of evil. Now, she faces something worse. The mansion’s long-dead builder, who has unfinished business—and a demon that hungers for her very soul.

What do you see as the primary difference between British and American horror?

I think there is possibly more of a tradition of gothic ghost stories which persists to this day in the UK. I tend to find more ‘in your face’ goriness in a lot of American horror, but by no means all of it. British writers such as Ramsey Campbell and Susan Hill write dark and scary stories without a lot of splatter. This is something I strive to achieve as well. Having said that, one of the greatest haunted house/ghost stories of all time was written by an American – Shirley Jackson. The Haunting of Hill House is a classic. So maybe we’re not all that different. I think horror travels well both ways across the Atlantic.

Tell us why you think you were selected for the first Samhain Horror Anthology competition. 

The brief was to write precisely the sort of story I love – ghostly, Gothic and haunted. The anthology was called What Waits in the Shadows. Within a day or so of reading the brief, a story had formed in my mind and I went with it. I wrote the first draft quickly, then rewrote, edited and edited again. I got a second opinion from a fellow horror writer who also happens to be an excellent editor herself – Julia Kavan I then acted on her suggestions. There is no magic formula, but keeping strictly to the brief and producing the best work you possibly can always helps.

What are your favorite horror books?

How long have you got? There are so many! I have already mentioned Shirley Jackson and I can’t single out individual titles from my favourites such as Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, James Herbert and Susan Hill. There is also a healthy crop of newer horror authors out there, writing books that keep me glued to the page. Authors such as Hunter Shea, Russell James, JG Faherty, Sephera Giron, Elena Hearty, Brian Kirk… the list is endless.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

The original film version of The Haunting of Hill House (called simply The Haunting), Rosemary’s Baby, The Others, The Fog, Wakewood, Cherry Tree, The Woman in Black. Again, I could go on and on!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

To be able to entertain readers

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Firstly, develop the hide of a rhinoceros – you’ll need it. Never argue online – especially with someone who has given you a less than flattering review. You never win those battles and I have seen some writers’ reputations permanently ruined. The main thing though is to produce the best work of which you are capable. The words ‘that’ll do’ should be eliminated from your vocabulary. Be prepared to be ruthless with your own work. If that paragraph doesn’t move the story on or serve some other useful purpose, out it goes. Never, ever give up.
What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

A mixed blessing. There are some excellent self-pubbed books, but those are the ones where the writer is truly talented and has taken the time and trouble to edit their work – and probably have it professionally edited as well. That can be a pretty expensive exercise, but necessary, as you are too close to your own work to be truly objective. Sadly, there is a lot of substandard stuff out there as well and it’s really hard for the good ones to stand out.

What are your current projects?

I have a novel currently looking for a new home now that Samhain won’t be able to publish it. Wrath of the Ancients is largely set in Vienna and features an Egyptian curse and an archaeologist obsessed with a long dead Queen. I have also just completed a novella called The Darkest Veil. This one centres around five young women who share a house in 1972. It is an apparently normal building in a working class neighbourhood, but 4 Yarborough Drive is anything but normal – as they will discover.

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

I live with my long-suffering husband in a haunted 18th century building in North Wales. Fortunately for all concerned, the ghost is friendly and contents herself (she's definitely female) with switching on lights, and attempting to discover how the TV and washing machine work (it's a long story!).  Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, I am now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. In addition to my latest, The Devil’s Serenade and the previously mentioned Linden Manor, my work for Samhain has included The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine and Dark Avenging Angel. My daily walks have so far provided the inspiration for two short stories, a novel and a novella – from twisted trees to… well, it’s amazing what you see down by the river, as it flows through a sleepy rural community. Those with delicate constitutions are advised not to ask! 

You can connect with me here:

You can find and buy The Devil’s Serenade here:

And other online retailers

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Modern Master Of Horror: The Rise Of James Wan

A Malaysian-born, Australian film director, James Wan is most known for his impact on the horror genre since debuting his short film Saw in 2003. Honing his unique style from a young age, the director won Best Guerilla Film at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival for his first film Stygian, before breaking fresh ground with the gore-filled Saw. Wan then became known as the dominating force in quality horror films with the likes of critically-acclaimed and box office hits Insidious and The Conjuring – the latter of which remains the highest grossing original horror movie of all time, second only to The Exorcist.

The director’s next project sees him returning to the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring 2 (in cinemas June 13). Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as the creepy couple, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations yet, travel to Enfield, London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

Watch the trailer here

Ahead of the release of The Conjuring 2, we take a look at James Wan’s impressive run of horror films in the 13 years since he made Saw; showing how scares can still be an art-form when they come from this modern master of horror.

Saw (2004)
Demonstrating genius early on, after James Wan initially struggled to get the script for Saw produced he decided to shoot one of the scenes from the screenplay as a short film with the same title to attract attention. This worked and the film was green lit with a small budget and shot for 18 days. Telling the dark story of two men who wake to find themselves chained in a decrepit bathroom at the mercy of a sadistic mad man’s horrifying game, 6pm is the deadline for one man to escape and the other to save his family by killing him before he does. Although critical responses were mixed, the film gained a cult following and grossed $100 million worldwide – making it the most profitable horror film since Scream.

Insidious (2011)
With the extraordinary success of Saw, James Wan felt pressure from studios to create another gory horror and therefore made Insidious independently to ensure that he had creative control. Determined to show how restraint and silence could also be used to build scares, Wan stated that he enjoyed making “a film with lots of creepy, bizarre moments that a studio might not 'get.'” The story follows a family who try to prevent evil spirits from trapping their son in a creepy realm called The Further after a mysterious incident in their attic. The film’s twisted plot and slow build of suspense was lauded by critics and attracted cinema audiences in their droves, ensuring that a sequel would be in the works soon enough.

The Conjuring (2013)
James Wan was drawn to stories of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, a couple who have been linked to every major ghost story to hit mainstream news, including what is now known as The Amityville Horror and The Haunting In Connecticut. The Conjuring focuses on one of their most chilling cases, that of the Perron family, who become terrorized by satanic forces at their home on a remote farm. The film received positive reviews from critics and smashed the box office, grossing over 15 times its production budget and making a profit of roughly $161 million.

The Conjuring 2 (2016)
James Wan returned to make The Conjuring 2 after becoming excited at the prospect of continuing the saga of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Bringing the original cast back to scare cinema audiences once again, this time the Warrens cross the pond to investigate the notorious Enfield Poltergeist. Following the chilling case that gripped the nation back in 1977 involving the alleged haunting of two young girls in a suburban council house, the film is set to be truly terrifying.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Interview with Jeremy Saulnier – Director of Green Room

Director Jeremy Saulnier has followed up 2013’s hugely acclaimed revenge thriller Blue Ruin with Green Room, a tense, gruesome chiller starring Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots, about a punk band who find themselves at the mercy of a gang of neo-Nazi skinheads led by Patrick Stewart.

How did you get Patrick Stewart to play a neo-Nazi psychopath?

He’s up for an adventure – he was looking for something like this, something dark and unsettling. He really responded to the opportunity to step into a role that would require a downplayed, quiet authority, to be part of an ensemble, in contrast with this very young cast… just, I think, to take a break from studio franchises or TV shows and get his hands dirty on an independent film… it didn’t take much to convince him actually.

Did you have him in mind for the role?

I’m not that presumptuous… I certainly just wrote for authenticity for characters based on research or from my youth. A lot of the band is referring to real life friends I had growing up that were in the punk rock hardcore scene, but I definitely didn’t envision someone of Sir Patrick Stewart’s stature stooping so low as to be in our movie! So I was delighted and he had a really good time playing someone so nasty.

Was it all ‘Sir’ Patrick and bowing when he turned up? 

He was like anyone else, he just showed up on set, did his work, came prepared, asked all the right questions. Very much on the same page. I vet all my cast by enthusiasm too – I just want to make sure that everyone on set wants to be there because that creates this wonderful energy, that’s just supportive. You know, we’re all very vulnerable making movies and oftentimes it’s just exhausting, so when you’re surrounded by people who actually want to be there you feed off that collective energy – it’s great. And Patrick Stewart was one of the ensemble, and also at the same time commanded so much respect it translated to his character, and all his skinhead underlings were really sort of impacted by his presence in a perfect way - which achieved the dynamic I was looking for.

After Blue Ruin’s tremendous critical acclaim did you have actors queuing up to be in your next film?

It certainly helped having Blue Ruin as a reference, as actors can see how much I care about performance, how much weight I put on their shoulders. Blue Ruin is very bare bones, it’s so much based on Macon Blair’s central performance. They say there is a certain amount of loving care that goes into the movies I make… and you can’t do that having a toxic relationship with an actor. I guess you can but I don’t want to do that. Blue Ruin also served a very important purpose for Green Room, which is a tonal reference – because if you read Green Room on the page and you don’t quite get what I’m going for, this could be discarded as a typical horror/slasher movie. But having Blue Ruin really helped actors understand what I was going for. They felt a lot safer going in.

What was the thinking making your heroes a punk band – it’s not a typical thing is it?

For me it is – I was in a hardcore band in my youth, I was around a lot of punk music, heavy metal… so these are the kids I knew growing up. The key was to not get too bogged down in punk ideology and what have you, but to pull from experiences. They’re scavengers, like kids out of a Mad Max movie – the busted van, trying to siphon gas from parking lots. It has nice on-the-road, almost Road Warrior feel to it, of course downscaled into the real world - but I thought aesthetically it would be perfect. And I wanted to archive the music, for me and my buddies growing up.

By the end of the film you feel like you’ve been put through the mill – but was it one of those films that it was great fun to make?

The cast and crew had a blast. I think it was exhausting for the cast because of the physical nature of the performances, but as soon as we called cut and wrapped our days it was a lot of fun. Everyone loved each other. Having to do twenty days of non stop crying and mayhem and action – but we all genuinely liked each other, which is very rare, from what I hear… we benefitted from having a tough shoot but with very like-minded, invested individuals who made it more an insulated comfort zone.

You’ve got Blue Ruin, Green Room… is this going to be your Three Colours trilogy?

It is not. I’ve got no more colours in me right now.

So what is next for you?

I’m waiting to hear on a project that will be an amazing step up for me, visually and tonally. It’s in the process of casting, which will trigger off the money. I’m flying to LA tomorrow to have a meeting about a studio movie, and eventually I’ll write something for myself. I think it’s good to keep writing because I need a insurance policy to have my own script that I control. Because for so many reasons films fall through at any step in the process.

Do you have any particular films you watch before you start a project to inspire you?

I certainly watch movies before I start writing movies… because it’s hard, I have three kids and a busy life and I’m always doing so many things, and it’s had to get back into that headspace where your brain and your creative juices are aligned and it’s quiet enough to actually write. I’ll definitely binge on a few movies, more to get excited about cinema, to remember why I make films, to get these feelings back circulating in my system. For Green Room I watched Straw Dogs and Robocop. I watched a bunch of cool Seventies and Eighties movies that had a lot of texture and grit to them. Some Coen brothers movies. For the next one I write, it might not start for two years, who knows… It’ll be more of an adventure movie I think.

Both your films seem very unique – often reviews just say ‘it’s this film meets this film meets this film’ – and with your films it’s not so easy to do that.

The intention is certainly not to just mash a bunch of films together. When I write there’s no intentional references – other than the atmosphere and feeling some of my favourite films create. It’s never trying to do this typical Hollywood pitch: X movie meets Y movie.

Have you got a favourite punk movie?

Ahh man – Repo Man. Because it doesn’t try too hard to be punk. It’s just in there. It’s really cool and it’s bizarre and irreverent and lovely.

By the way, the bit with the box cutter in Green Room is one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen, in a film.

[Laughs] Well, you’re welcome.

Green Room is released in UK and Irish cinemas on Friday 13th May

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Interview with Lady Hellbat by David Kempf

Lady Hellbat is a Canadian internet horror host and a longtime contributor to Rue Morgue Magazine. She is a talented writer with great insights into all things horror and controversial opinions on some of the idols of the genre. In just a short time she brings great promise for being a bold new critic.

Tell us how you became involved in all things horror?

I went to school for sociology and after a while it started to inform the way I looked at all major media, but especially movies. I came to realize that the reason I gravitated towards horror was because it tickled my brain, and once I was finished with school I got into horror journalism and pod-casting. I certainly never thought horror would take over my life the way it did!

How many film horror films have you seen?

394. Or maybe it’s 439; sometimes I lose count. Seriously though, I have no idea. I’ve seen a ton of movies for my own pleasure and another ton I’ve had to see for Rue Morgue or The Faculty of Horror... plus, I had a brain injury several years ago, so I’m sure there are several movies I’ve seen and completely forgotten!

Tell us about how you came up with the name and persona Lady Hellbat.

Well, I played roller derby for about 4 years, and “hellbat” was my derby name. The first time I was featured on the Rue Morgue podcast, the host mentioned it a lot, so I decided to carry it along into my other creative projects. Plus, it’s a lot easier to spell than “Subissati”. Everyone instinctively doubles the ‘t’ at the end. I get it, but there’s just one ‘t’. 

Please tell us about your favorite horror books and films when you were younger? 

Before there was Goosebumps, RL Stine used to write a YA series called Fear Street. They were pretty tame for horror books - mostly high school drama with a bit of murder here and there – but they were my gateway into Stephen King’s bibliography, which I devoured voraciously. As for movies, I watched all the classic slashers when I was a teenager, but the ones that really stuck with me were the brainier fare; movies like The Exorcist, The Omen, The Thing, etc.

Who do you think is cooler Batman or Dracula?

There’s an interesting question. I’ll go with Batman! One of the things that always drew me to Batman was his duality; millionaire playboy by day and costumed crime-fighter by night. Nowadays, I’m working full-time at Rue Morgue so I no longer feel like my love of horror is my dirty little secret that I reserve for after-hours, but for a long time I was the academic sociologist by day and the bartending horror freak at night. 

What is your most guilty pleasure in terms of watching a movie that is so bad it’s “good?”

I want to say Purple Rain but I feel like I should answer with a horror movie. Does David Lynch’s Dune count? I love that film but I can see why the rest of the world thinks it’s terrible. 

Tell us about all things Lady Hellbat.

Let’s see. I work at Rue Morgue Magazine, where I’m essentially an administrative fire-fighter in addition to copy editing and contributing writing. After work, I’m either working on my podcast, The Faculty of Horror, or my YouTube channel, The Batcave! 

How do you celebrate Halloween?

Sadly, Halloween has become a bit of an ordeal for me. For many years as a bartender, I’d always have to work Halloween parties and serve up drinks to people dressed up like Tiger Woods and kitty cats. Now, I have to work Rue Morgue’s Halloween parties… at least the costumes are better! Honestly though, when you work in horror, Halloween starts to feel like amateur hour. I guess it’s like what St Patrick’s day is to habitual alcoholics.

Name some of your favorite horror books.

I don’t have much time for leisurely reading anymore, but the last book I got really excited about was The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film. The Shining is one of my all-time favorites, and this book contains everything I ever wanted to know about what went on behind the scenes. Plus, I got to write a feature on it for Rue Morgue and interview the author, Danel Olson! He’s a lovely fellow.

What are your latest projects?

My YouTube channel is still new to me, and I’m working on ironing out the kinks. It’s such a unique medium – it takes a long time to learn its culture and norms and then settle into your own space within it. I held off on joining the YouTube community for years for fear of being in front of a camera, but it’s not so bad. It’s a really personal way to interact with other horror fans, and the community has been very welcoming and supportive.

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

Are they popular? My world is so steeped in horror that I tend to lose perspective on how the rest of the world sees it. Part of horror’s tremendous staying power has to do with its ability to incorporate cultural fears and anxieties into its content. There’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to things we’re scared of, and when the right filmmakers tap into the right anxieties, the resulting films are especially enduring. 

What do you think is the best way to utilize Facebook?

As ubiquitous as Facebook has become, it’s important to remember that the site really gives you a lot of power to curate the kind of content that appears on your feed. I try to post daily content that’s fun and personal so that it feels like your old pal Lady Hellbat is just saying hi. 

Please write a paragraph describing you and your work. 

I’m a sociologist, journalist and podcaster. I earned my moniker playing roller derby for Toronto’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls. In 2010, my Masters thesis on the social impact of zombie cinema was published under the title When There’s No More Room In Hell: The Sociology of the Living Dead. Since then, I’ve been published in The Undead and Theology (2012) and The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (2015). I joined the staff of Rue Morgue magazine in 2014, to which she is a frequent contributor.

In addition to writing, I’ve made guest appearances on the Rue Morgue Podcast and Pseudopod, and the TV horror documentary Why Horror? (2014).  I am co-host and producer of The Faculty of Horror podcast with writer Alexandra West, as well as co-curator of the Toronto-based horror lecture series The Black Museum, which I founded with Paul Corupe. In 2015, I launched the horror YouTube channel THE BATCAVE.

I stalk the streets of Toronto, Ontario, and can be found in my natural habitat, hunched over my laptop, and plotting my next coup. 


The Faculty of Horror Podcast: http://www.facultyofhorror.com/
The Black Museum lecture series: http://theblackmuseum.com/