Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Did you write the film as a vehicle for Casper Van Dien or did you simply realize, looking back, that he was the best man for the job?
We looked for a celebrity actor who would play himself and have fun doing it. That takes a special kind of actor who can push his own ego aside and just go along for the ride. Casper was perfect for that because he’s such a talented, fun, and incredibly nice human being which is important on a low budget set where the creature comforts are very limited compared to those you might find on larger productions.
Do you recall how and where you pitched Casper the movie?
I like to meet and socialize with my “name” actors before I cast them to see I how it will be working with them, especially since with "Darkness" we would be in a closed, haunted, old hotel with no air-conditioning, in Missouri, in the middle of August. So, our casting director set up a meeting at a restaurant with Casper and his fiancé Jennifer Wenger, my wife and producing partner Linara Washington, and myself. And we all really hit it off, like we’d known each other for years. I knew right then that Jennifer, who is well known in the horror genre, was perfect for the role of Rebecca Long, the movie star. And I knew Casper would have a great attitude and sense of humor about playing himself. And in fact, that friendship has continued now nearly two years later and I can't wait to work with them both again.
Did Casper struggle with anything on it? Did he make any suggestions to improve scenes?
Casper is not only an actor, but an accomplished director, so he knew what I was dealing with and did everything he could to make my job easier and keep things light and fun. He is the consummate cheerleader on set and makes the entire crew feel good.
Is he the type of actor that tends to stay in character between takes? Which, in this case, means he simply stayed… himself?
Casper was playing a slightly surrealistic version of himself, or as we joke - an “asshole” version, which he had a lot of fun with. He’s been acting a very long time and has the ability to slip in and out of character with no problem, whatsoever. He is a lot of fun on set.
Do you click on and off easily after shooting a film? How did you personally wind down after shooting?
There is very little “wind down” time for me on my movies because I go right into post. I give myself maybe a week to unwind but then, honestly I can’t wait to start editing because that's when the real work starts.
Tell us how many hats you wear in this movie. A lot, right?
I have worked in film and TV for over thirty years now, and I started my career doing special effects – puppets, makeup effect, miniatures etc. So, with my films I do wear a lot of hats; writer, producer, director, editor, sound designer, sometimes I score - but not on this one, and I help out with a lot of the makeup effects.
What’s the best thing about being a producer on your own movie? I imagine it means you get more say at the table?
As my own producer I have no push-back. I have no one telling me "no." I do surround myself with other producers who I bounce things off of, and who once we’re in production, allow me to just be creative and thankfully they take on the headaches.
And finally, just how haunted was the place you shot the movie in? Even if it isn’t, I imagine nobody will be willing to step one-foot into it now!
One of the really uncanny things about making this film was that there were many things that happened in the script that also ended up happening in real life. Even Casper at one point said, “be careful what you write, you’re really powerful.” The script originally was written to be in a hospital, but we couldn’t find one that worked, and then we found an old hotel that was closed, so it was an easy re-write to set it there.
It turned out the hotel was, in fact, thought to be haunted and many people who used to work there had all kinds of experiences, many of which were similar to things that had already been written into the script. As these things kept revealing themselves, the crew was getting increasingly nervous since there we were making a horror movie about a film crew making a horror movie in a haunted location – and everyone dies. I had written a running gag about Casper’s flight getting messed up and guess what? His flight was horribly messed up the night before he was to begin working and it was a miracle he made it to location. There was a long list of “coincidences” that were unnerving to say the least.
Wednesday, 4 July 2018
After the success of last year's inaugural 'New Blood' search for new writers in the horror genre, the hunt is on for another batch of scribes to cook up a potent cauldron of original ideas and devilish tales. And the search starts today!
New Blood 2 finds FrightFest once again teamed with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures, which aims to find new writers and nurture their project from script to screen.
One of last year's entries, thriller BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION, is now in pre-production, and is one of Queensbury Pictures' first titles out of the traps. Written by Phil Drinkwater and Tim Woodall, it will be directed by Jacob Gentry (The Signal, Syncronicity).
Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures said: "2017's edition of New Blood threw up a slew of vibrant, bold and riotously diverse pitches. But the hunt for great material doesn't pause for breath. Projects that strive to enthral critically, perform commercially and that will entice a global audience hungry for thrilling new voices in the realm of fiercely entertaining genre cinema: that's the hallmark of Queensbury Pictures and of New Blood."
Ian Rattray, co-director of FrightFest commented: "The fact that Queensbury Pictures have taken last year's winning entry to the stage where it is about to go into production vindicates our decision to partner up with them again. It's not only an exciting venture but also an important one to help discover and nurture new talent"
Greg Day, co-director of FrightFest added: "What's so exciting about this initiative is that it allows talented UK-based writers to interface with a US-based production company and get invaluable feedback and encouragement, knowing that it comes with a state-side commercial sensibility which is complimentary to the further development of their scripts."
The successful shortlisted applicants will workshop their ideas in a group setting under the guidance of top industry professionals and genre experts which this year includes BAFTA-nominated UK producer Jack Tarling (God's Own Country; Await Further Instructions) who is joined again by horror icon Barbara Crampton, director (The Ranger) and producer (Psychopaths) Jenn Wexlerand Queensbury Pictures' Giles Edwards.
The New Blood networking and workshop event will be held at on Thursday 23rd August, the opening day of this year's festival, in a Central London venue
Applications are open from Wed 4 July with potential participants asked to submit a 200 word proposal through Film Freeway. The deadline is Thurs 2 August. All successful applicants will be notified by Mon 9 August. All participants are expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation.
For full application requirements and to apply: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/newblood.html
Ouija Séance : Origin of Evil filmmaker Andrea Mugnaini explains that she’s always been fascinated with the world of the paranormal.
How long have you been on the film for now, Andrea?
I was 19 when I was attending the first year of “science of communication” at the University of Florence. In the café of the University there was an advertising poster of a local film school that often caught my attention. I decided to go and take a look, a few months later I shot my first short film and now that I’m 36 I’m still shooting.
Was it an idea you came up with?
Yes, I’ve always been very fascinated by the world of paranormal since I was a child.
Once, at a dinner party, I had the opportunity to chat with a girl who had personally experienced a Ouija session that had gone wrong. She was really shocked by the incident and her story struck me deeply. I few days later I started writing the script.
Where did you get inspiration from?
After the first chat with the girl at the dinner party I interview many other people. I wanted to speak with different people to observe as many points of view as possible regarding this phenomenon. So, during the first year of researches, I spoke with people of different nationalities, ages, religion, culture, and social status. The amazing thing is that their stories were all very similar despite the big differences of the interviewees.
Did you have to do any research into the world of Ouija boards and communicating with the afterlife?
To get a more scientific opinion on this phenomenon I also wanted to talk with a couple of psychologists. I was very happy to find out that one of them had a direct experience with a Ouija board. It was not easy to convince him to talk about his personal experience but in the end the information I gathered was very important for the development of the script.
What were your initial plans for it? To sell it to a studio or did you always intend of doing it independently?
I always intended to do it independently, from the beginning of the project, in order to maintain control over the film artistically and productively.
Any hiccups along the way?
When you shoot an indie movie it’s very normal to get some hiccups along the way I guess. In any phase of production we encountered some problems, sometimes bigger sometimes smaller but I must say I got an incredible crew for this project and all together we have solved all the issues. In particular I’m very grateful to Monica Sperandio, the executive producer, without her this project would have hardly seen the light… she always found the right syrup for each type of hiccups.
How did you go about getting distribution?
After the long phase of postproduction I went to “Le Marché du film” during the Cannes Film Festival. Was my first time there cause “Ouija Séance” was my first movie produced for an international distribution and everything was a new discovery for me. So I filled my backpack with an hard disk containing the movie, a PDF of the project and a lot of hope. This is when I met Galen Christy, the founder of High Octane Pictures. We were in tune from the beginning and I loved his enthusiasm and his ideas about the distribution of OUIJA SÉANCE . I’m very happy to have chosen High Octane Pictures and very proud to have been chosen by them.
Some beautiful locations there. Which city was it shot in?
The movie is set in Italy, my wonderful Country, and more precisely in Florence and Vallombrosa, an amazing ancient forest not too far from the town. Vallombrosa translated means literally shady valley and it’s a place with an unique atmosphere. It’s an area rich of legends and folklore so it was the perfect location to set my movie. Despite the difficulties to shoot in a place with practically no streets, no electric energy, no hotels or restaurants within many miles, I really wanted to capture that atmosphere with my camera.
Also, the Villa where it takes place a big part of the movie it’s been the witness of a brutal murder back in the 80’s and I could breath some kind of energy there.. hard to explain, but definitely that was the perfect location for my movie.
If you were going to watch Ouija Séance : The Final Game in a double feature with another film, what would you consider be a perfect second film?
The perfect second film would be “Profondo Rosso” by Dario Argento, probably the best Italian horror film director. “Profondo rosso” means “deep red” and despite the fact that it’s been released more than 40 years ago it’s still very modern in its language. I think that this movie deeply influenced me and increased my passion for horror genre. The use he does of music it’s incredible and I think that it’s a must see for all the horror fans.
Thursday, 28 June 2018
Remaining in the heart of London’s West End for its 19th edition, the world renowned horror and fantasy film festival turbo-charges into the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from Aug 23 - Aug 27 2018. Hosting a record-breaking seventy films, embracing eighteen countries and spanning six continents, this year’s line-up is a true celebration of the genre’s global popularity. The five-day fear-a-thon includes 20 World, 17 European and 22 UK Premieres.
The opening night attraction is the UK premiere of THE RANGER. Jenn Wexler’s impressive directorial debut feature is an explosive, post-modern slasher, with a kick-ass punk soundtrack and a knock-out lead performance from Chloe Levin (The Transfiguration). Wexler, the first female director to open FrightFest, will be attending.
She said today: “We are honored and thrilled to be selected as this year’s opening night film. I made THE RANGER because I love punk rock and ‘80s horror. We can’t wait to share it with fans in the city where punk has its roots, at one of the world’s best genre festivals."
Bringing the festival to a fitting conclusion is the UK premiere of Gaspar Noé’s CLIMAX, courtesy of our headline sponsors Arrow Video, which finds the incorrigible Irreversible wild child at the peak of his confrontational and hypnotically mesmerising powers. Based on true events, this throbbing whirling dervish is Noé’s Disco Inferno via Dante’s.
Over the years FrightFest has discovered and nurtured a host of talented directors and many are returning this year including Martyrs maestro Pascal Laugier with the UK premiere of his latest in the French Extreme annals INCIDENT IN A GHOST LAND, Paul Hyett with the World premiere of his medieval harrower HERETIKS, Colin Minihan with the UK premiere of romantic shocker WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE. Padraig Reynolds with the World premiere of his neo-slasher OPEN 24 HOURS and the fully-charged Turbo Kid trio François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell bring us the European premiere of serial killer thriller SUMMER OF 84. Then there are World premieres for the Paz brothers scorching new take on the fable THE GOLEM, Tom Paton’s cosmic horror BLACK SITE, and Jon Knautz’s THE CLEANING LADY, starring his Goddess of Love muse Alexis Kendra.
Plus, the line-up sees Saw maven Darren Lynn Bousman return with the European premiere of nunsploitation ST AGATHA, Insidious creator Leigh Whannell gifts us with a special preview of his super sci-fi thriller UPGRADE, Johnny Kervorkian appears with the European premiere of his Cronenbergian chiller AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS, Rock video genius Joseph Kahn in back in the spotlight with the UK premiere of his extraordinary battle rap BODIED, director-turned-producer Lucky McKee with director Robert D. Krzykowski’s presents the European premiere of the superb THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT, with Hollywood veteran Sam Elliott giving an award-winning performance.
This year there are a record number of films, embracing zombie horror comedies, redemption thrillers, supernatural twisters, musicals, creature features, biographical dramas, reinvented slashers, gross animation and paranormal freakery. FrightFest has aimed to reflect that rich diversity with films such as Jerome Pikwane’s supernatural horror TOLKOLOSHE, the first festival entry from South Africa, which receives its World Premiere, John McPhail’s exuberant zombie musical ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE, the UK premiere of Mike Mort’s gory animated shocker CHUCK STEEL: NIGHT OF THE TRAMPIRES. Caye Casas and Albert Pintó’s end of the world eye-opener KILLING GOD, Paul Raschid’s post-Brexit thriller WHITE CHAMBER, starring Shauna Macdonald and. Takeshi Sone’s LGBTQ stunner GHOST MASK: SCAR.
Then there is Matthew Holness’ much anticipated POSSUM, Jérémie Guez’s blazing A BLUEBIRD IN MY HEART, Andy Mitton’s unusual THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW, Linus de Paoli’s gut-wrenching A YOUNG MAN WITH HIGH POTENTIAL, Chris Sun’s Oz creature feature BOAR, Justin P. Lange’s intensely moving THE DARK, Evan Cecil’s splatterific LASSO, Owen Egerton’s bloody cheeky BLOOD FEST, Anthony Scott Burn’s sinister OUR HOUSE, Dominique Rocher’s galvanizing THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD, Adam Marcus’ slay ride SECRET SANTA, Dean Devlin’s grueling BAD SAMARITAN, starring David Tennant, Trevor Stevens’ slyly futuristic ROCK STEADY ROW, Justin McConnell’s remarkable shape-shifting LIFECHANGER, Owen Long’s dark fantasy SEEDS, Nicolas Pesce’s Italian soundtack-tastic PIERCING and Franck Ribière’s stylish Grand Guignol recreation THE MOST ASSASSINATED WOMAN IN THE WORLD.
The cabinet of fear holds more…be prepared for Orson Oblowitz’s splatter revenge saga HELL IS WHERE THE HOME IS, starring Faruza Balk, Quinn, Lasher’s nightmarish HE’S OUT THERE, starring The Handmaid’s Tale’s Yvonne Strahovski, Tim van Dammen’s dimensionally hilarious MEGA TIME SQUAD, David Barker’s De Palma-esque PIMPED, Shin'ichirô Ueda’s one-take wonder ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, Giordano Giulivi’s black-and-white marvel THE LAPLACE’S DEMON, Abiel Bruhn and John Rocco’s three mothers saga THE NIGHT SITTER, Matt Mercer and Mike Testin’s unstable DEMENTIA PART II, Stewart Sparke’s action-packed BOOK OF MONSTERS, Sam Ashurst’s experimental 200-anniversary celebration FRANKENSTEIN’S CREATURE, Kristian A. Söderström’s tribute to VHS collectors everywhere VIDEOMAN, Marcus Hearn’s beautifully informative documentary HAMMER HORROR: THE WARNER BROS YEARS, Andre Gower’s look at The Monster Squad cult phenomenon, WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS. Ante Novakovic’s Halloween-set crowd-pleaser actually titled FRIGHT FEST and there’s murder on the dance floor in Bernhard Pucher’s nightclubbed RAVERS, starring Georgia Hirst from Vikings.
The popular raw talent strand ‘First Blood’ returns with four stellar titles: Kevin Chicken’s outstanding body modification shocker PERFECT SKIN, Aislinn Clark’s THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY, a terrifying depiction of devil possession, Harry Lindley’s computer virus techno thriller CTRL and Ben Kent’s F.U.B.A.R, which sees a stag party descend on a Zombie Apocalypse paintball weekend. What could go wrong? Here’s where you’ll find tomorrow’s names today, so good talent-spotting.
Another of FrightFest’s popular discovery strands is our spotlight on South American fantasy and this year highlights the scream of the crop. The one title that is currently scaring up a storm is Demian Rugna’s TERRIFIED, (you will be!). Then there’s the European premiere of Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano’s homage to Dario Argento, CRYSTAL EYES, the UK premiere of Gonzalo Calzada’s Argentine hit LUCIFERINA and the UK premiere of Gustavo Leonel Mendoza’s CULT OF TERROR, an engaging documentary look at all the Latin American and Spanish-speaking fantasy festivals.
In 2008 FrightFest world-premiered Kerry Anne Mullaney’s The Dead Outside and since then have consistently championed female directors. This year is no exception. Apart from Jenn Wexler’s THE RANGER and Anouk Whissell’s involvement with SUMMER OF 84, we also showcase the European premiere of Mitzi Peirone’s visually dazzling BRAID, the European premiere of Aislinn Clark’s THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY (one of our ‘First Blood’ entries) and, by popular demand, a second screening of Issa López’s stunning Mexican fairytale TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID. Nor must we forget Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe and Agnieszka Smoczynska’s wonderful contributions to the Euro-fable anthology THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL, which receives its UK premiere.
No FrightFest would be complete without a couple of shockers starring our First Lady of Fright, the incomparable Barbara Crampton. This year, everyone’s favourite genre icon is represented by the European premiere of Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund’s fabulous reboot PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH and the UK premiere of Brad Baruh’s weird, wild and blood-soaked DEAD NIGHT.
Casting a truth-searing spotlight on FrightFest itself is Chris Collier’s documentary FRIGHTFEST: BENEATH THE DARK HEART OF CINEMA, which will receive its World premiere. Assembling a vast range of footage from every single past event and putting together dozens of interviews, the result is a warts-and-all look at the people behind FrightFest and what makes the UK’s best genre festival tick.
For many seasoned movie-lovers the much-missed Scala Cinema in London’s King’s Cross area was the repertory Mecca for the weirdest double-bills and electric audience atmospheres. It was also where Shock Around The Clock began, the origins of FrightFest Now fans can relive those golden days with a double-bill of classic exploitation chosen by the veteran programmer of the establishment herself, Jane Giles. Her book on the venue will be published in September by FAB Press and to celebrate FrightFest and Jane Giles will present Jeff Lieberman’s pulp science fiction BLUE SUNSHINE and Julien Temple’s Sex Pistols documdrama THE GREAT ROCK’N’ROLL SWINDLE, both to be shown in 35mm.
For your ears only! In a first for FrightFest, director Roxanne Benjamin (XX, Southbound) presents an exclusive screening of FINAL STOP, a must-hear horror short produced by Sennheiser and starring Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals). Shot entirely on smartphone, and recorded in full binaural audio using the AMBEO Smart Headset, the film is designed to be watched with headphones (which will be supplied), so audiences can immerse themselves in the story and its terrifying 3D soundscape.
There will also be a special screening of GHOST STORIES where co-writers/co-directors Jeremy Dyson and star Andy Nyman will host a live commentary and The Duke Mitchell Film Club is back with a hosted presentation of Sam Jones’ documentary LIFE AFTER FLASH. This is followed by the now notoriously popular DUKE MITCHELL PARTY, where the audience and invited special guests can expect all manner of madness guaranteed to kick off your Saturday late night in style.
Alan Jones, co-director of FrightFest, said today: “We have celebrated the astonishing vibrancy of this truly independent genre for nineteen years now, and our audience knows that over five joyous days with us they will experience being jolted, shocked, saddened, terrified, provoked, transported, challenged and even transformed. So come and join us on another fabulous voyage of discovery into places many except the bravest FrightFester won’t go”.
He added: “A lot has happened over the past twelve months in the world of horror fantasy. Fueled by a number of head-line grabbing, Oscar-winning, box-office hits, the mainstream thinks it has ‘discovered’ horror in a big way. But the ever-expanding FrightFest community have always known that Horror fantasy has forever been slap-bang centre-stage, and is finally getting the recognition the consistently money-making genre deserves”.
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 30 June 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 21 July from 9am.
Linara Washington plays Vanessa, the special effects and makeup artist working on the film within the film in Darkness Reigns, on VOD July 10. In this exclusive interview Washington explains how she got into acting, how her character becomes the moral compass of her new movie and how it was working with Andrew P.Jones.
1. First off, how'd you get into acting?
I’ve always loved the arts. My parents putt my sisters and me in dance classes and had us playing instruments—I started the violin when I was five—at every turn. My first play was TO BE YOUNG GIFTED AND BLACK when I was four years old. I was fascinated with tv and films from a very young age and took to putting on whole shows in my bedroom with my stuffed animals. I always knew I wanted to act.
I was, however, also very good at math and science, and despite my parents openness to having me take all sorts of artsy classes they had no desire to have me pursue acting. It took the summer after my third year of college to finally have the courage to do something about this passion I had. So I took the money my father gave me for my MCATs and I bought headshots. Come graduation day, I had to tell him that I had not applied to any medical schools, and that I’d taken his money and purchased headshots. Needless to say, he wasn’t very happy.
It took a minute, but he finally came around and is my biggest supporter. I haven’t looked back since.
2. Tell us about your character in DARKNESS REIGNS?
Vanessa is the makeup and special effects artist for the film. She is a quiet, mind her own business kind of girl. She enjoys a challenge and prefers to work on her own whenever possible. It allows her to be around a lot of people without having to interact with a whole lot of people all the time. Being in the limelight or the center of attention is really uncomfortable for her. But as the film progresses she rises to the occasion and finds an inner strength that I don’t think she knew she had. In many ways she becomes the moral compass of the movie as it reaches it’s end.
3. The movie is full of great effects How is it acting/working with something that has to be inserted later in post-production?
I find it really exciting when I have to do something that presents an unusual challenge for me as an actor. Some of the best work comes in those moments when I have to actually imagine what the terrifying thing is instead of outright seeing it. It’s a little tricky because it takes a level of trust between the director and the actors that neither one is going to let the other one down. I can react as big or as small as is needed, but it’s the directors job is to make sure my reactions match with what will finally be put in once the effects are done. I think these moments also allowed me to stretch my imagination, which is obviously not as necessary when you get to see what the terrifying thing is in the moment.
4. It also has a lot of action in it. How demanding is a role like this because things can get pretty physical at times?
I’m an actor who loves action and being put in awkward and crazy positions. I would LOVE to do a movie that requires me to learn to do my own stunts. DARKNESS had a fair amount of running up and down stairs and hallways, and because of the way we were filming there were few—if any opportunities to mess up without having to start all over again. We definitely got our workout in, and the sweltering heat certainly added to challenge.
If I had to speak to what was most demanding about this role for me, it would be playing producer at the same time. There’d be times when I was in the makeup chair learning lines, while also sending a PA out on an errand, and trying to make sure that each of the departments had enough petty cash to get through the day. This set kept me on my toes! Oh, did I mention that my child, who was still nursing, was also on set from time to time? Yeah! Crazy, busy times for Linara.
5. Tell us about working with Andrew, on a professional level?
Andrew and I work very well together. As producing partners we have a really nice balance. I like doing the math, crunching numbers and money stuff while he, in addition to the writing, gets to work on putting together all the creative teams and scouting needs. Once we’re on set he directs and I act. He’s a good director in that he knows what he wants and can convey to his actors what he needs pretty succinctly. He works quickly because as an editor he already knows what the final shot is going to look like, which can be a real plus when you’re on a tight schedule and budget.
I am an actor who takes direction really well. I enjoy bringing another person’s vision to life. I also enjoy playing, and taking risks. Andrew, as a director allows for both. It’s a pretty nice setup, really.
6. You've gotten a lot of positive attention with the film. Has that helped your career too?
I’ve been really lucky to be involved in a number of well-received projects. Every little bit helps and it certainly doesn’t hurt that a lot of the attention has been positive.
7. What's up next for you? Next movie to be released?
My goal is to book my first series regular role on a TV show. I’ve been getting close, so it’s just a matter of more hard work, time, and opportunity. Aside from that, Andrew and I are working on a couple of films, and I have a pilot that’s been swimming around in my head for forever that I would like to write.
8. Do you have time for any hobbies?
I have a number of hobbies, but if anything takes away from getting to indulge in them it’s being a full-time mommy. I love my kid and want to give her the world.
So, when I do have time I love to dance and hike. I enjoy going to the library and bookstores. I’ve been really out of practice when it comes to writing, but that is a hobby I’d like to recultivate. I have so many ideas and it would be a shame to just let them live in my head.
9. Do you do conventions/comic-cons?
I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to do conventions and comic-con one day. Who do I talk with to make that happen?!
10. Where can we find you online?
Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Nature gets nasty on Horror Channel in July with ANIMAL ATTACK SEASON, a beastly collection of movies including the UK premiere of teeth-clenching croc thriller BLACK WATER and the network premiere of CUJI, Stephen King’s macabre tale of a rabid St. Bernard dog, starring Scream Queen Dee Wallace. The prime-time Saturday night savagery continues throughout the month with Carlos Brooks’ wonderful ‘Tiger in a House’ nerve-jangler BURNING BRIGHT and David Hackl’s killer bear actioner INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE, starring James Marsden, Thomas Jane, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Full film details in transmission order:
Sat 7 July @ 21:00 – CUJO (1983) *Network Premiere
When sweet St. Bernard dog Cujo is bitten by a bat, he morphs into a dangerous beast and goes on a rampage in a small town. Stay-at-home mom Donna (Dee Wallace) gets caught in Cujo's crosshairs on a fateful errand with her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro). Stuck in their car, Donna and Tad have a frightening showdown with the crazed animal.
Sat 14 July @ 21:00 – BURNING BRIGHT (2010)
Johnny Gavenau’s latest get-quick-rich scheme is to turn his Florida ranch into a Safari Park. As the main attraction he buys a dangerous Bengal tiger from an unscrupulous circus trader. But the ravenous beast gets loose, its’ only refuge the ranch house interior where stepdaughter Kelly and her autistic little brother Tom reside...
Sat 21 July @ 21:00 – BLACK WATER (2007) *UK TV
A terrifying tale of survival in the mangrove swamps of Northern Australia. Grace, her boyfriend Adam and younger sister Lee are on holiday and decide to take a river tour. When their boat capsizes, in the ensuing panic, their amateur guide disappears into the murky depths. Based on a true story, the sudden reptilian attacks, and desperate attempts to get back to their submerged boat raise potent apprehension and imaginatively stretch the suspense to nail-biting levels
Sat 28 July @ 21:00 – INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE (2007)
James Marsden, Thomas Jane, and Billy Bob Thornton star in this action-packed adventure set in the Alaskan wilderness. After a relentless grizzly starts to wreak havoc on a small town, the sheriff heads into the forest to find his ecologist wife but instead crosses paths with his estranged, ex-con brother. They soon find themselves on the run from the massive killer bear. The hunted become the hunter in this edge-of-your seat thriller about the power of nature
There are also UK TV Premieres for Dylan K Narang’s gruelling survival chiller WAKE IN FEAR and the supernatural shocker BOOGEYMAN 2, starring ‘Saw’ man Tobin Bell.
Fri 13 July @ 22:45 – BOOGEYMAN 2 (2007) *UK TV Premiere
Having witnessed the bloody death of her parents as a child, Laura Porter (Station 19’s Danielle Savre) attempts to cure her phobia of the boogeyman by checking herself into a mental health facility. However, she slowly begins to realise, as her therapy group are killed off one by one, that she is now helplessly trapped with her own greatest fear. Also stars Tobin Bell.
Fri 27 July @ 21:00 – WAKE IN FEAR (2016) * UK TV Premiere
This feature debut from writer-director Dylan K. Narang sees an imprisoned young woman (Fear, Inc.’s Caitlin Stasey) unexpectedly cross paths with a desperate man (Markus Taylor of Deadheads) in the den of a mysterious killer.
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138
Thursday, 14 June 2018
Graham Humphreys’ beautiful artwork for Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 pays homage to 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 has revealed Graham Humphreys’ stunning artwork for this year’s annual Bank Holiday event, the UK’s largest celebration of genre cinema, taking place at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema between Thurs Aug 23 & Mon Aug 27, 2018.
For Graham, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' seemed too important to ignore:
“In the same way that Frankenstein gave life to his monster, horror films stimulate our imagination and give form to ideas that otherwise dare not leave the shadows”, he commented. “The painting shows our familiar host enjoying a fresh jolt...as do we - the audience - each year at FrightFest. In the background, a new entity emerges through the doorway... a new sponsor... Arrow Video!”
It’s time to crank up the Wimshurst generator, unleash the primal forces, see what's on the slab and do the Monster Mash…
www.frightfest.co.uk | FB: /FrightFestreal | Twitter: @frightfest | IG: @frightfestUK
www.arrowfilms.com | FB: /ArrowVideo | Twitter: @ArrowFilmsVideo | IG: @ArrowVideo
Monday, 11 June 2018
Part E.T., part Alien, British horror classic Xtro is one of the strangest, most shocking exploitation flicks to land on earth during the video nasty heyday. A film that narrowly avoided inclusion and prosecution on the original nasties list, threw in buckets of blood and gore and some of the most outlandish plot twists of the VHS era to create a truly memorable horror classic. Now it makes its arrival for the first time on Blu-ray courtesy of Second Sight Films as Xtro: Limited Edition Box Set.
Loved by horror fans, reviled by highbrow critics on its original release and one of the most notorious homegrown films of its time, Xtro lands on 18 June 2018 in a newly restored version complete with a raft of new extras, including an hour-long documentary charting the film’s history and its impact, alongside its original alternate ending too, full info attached.
Father Sam Phillips is playing with his family in the back garden of his idyllic English home when a bright light appears and seemingly abducts him. Three years later, the light returns and dumps a half human half alien creature. After slaughtering a couple who inadvertently stumble on it in a country road, the creature impregnates a woman who gives birth – in one of cinemas most outrageous scenes – to a fully formed Sam. He heads to London, seeking out his family and developing a strange bond with his son. And then things start to get really weird…
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Thursday, 7 June 2018
The agreement means that the CBS Studios International and AMC Networks International – UK owned channel continues its long-standing relationship with the festival, which dates back to 2005, and includes a two-year tenure as headline sponsor from 2016-2017.
As part of the deal, the channel will devote thirteen nights in August to a FrightFest Season, broadcasting twenty-six films from past festivals, which will include five UK TV premieres. Details of the line-up will be announced soon.
Stewart Bridle, Channel Manager, Horror Channel said today: "We are thrilled to continue to be part of FrightFest – the event that brings together the genre community over the Summer bank holiday, year after year. Horror Channel will have its presence felt during the event, and it will celebrate the festival with a g(l)orious FrightFest season on the channel in August."
FrightFest co-director Greg Day added: "FrightFest wouldn't be the same without Horror Channel's participation and diehard support. Aside from the immense passion and know-how they bring to the event, the Horror Channel team add colour (mostly red), tremendous energy and help make sure all the fans have a bloody good time!"
This year, the annual 5-day August Bank Holiday event, which Guillermo Del Toro calls "The Woodstock of Gore", will host over sixty films to an international audience at the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from Aug 23 - Aug 27. Programme details to follow.
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
From horrific hauntings and supernatural sorcery to alien invasions and blood-sucking battles, Saturday nights on Horror Channel at 9pm in June will be devoted to John Carpenter, one of the true Masters of Horror.
The celebratory season is highlighted by the network premieres of Carpenter’s classic car-rage chiller CHRISTINE, with the superb Harry Dean Stanton, and JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES, a horror Western starring James Woods, as a vengeful, stake-wielding bloodsucker hunter. It also includes iconic favourite THE FOG, the high-kicking fantasy thriller BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and his timely sci-fi political thriller THEY LIVE.
Full film details of season in transmission order:
Sat 2 June @ 21:00 – THE FOG (1980)
A Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over an old leper colony, is the target for revenge by a killer fog containing zombie-like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths. John Carpenter’s first horror thriller following Halloween, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and the great man himself.
Sat 9 June @ 21:00 – CHRISTINE (1983) *Network Premiere
High school geek Arnie Cunningham falls in love with "Christine", a bright red 1958 Plymouth Fury which has seen much better days. Setting himself the task of restoring the car to its original condition, Arnie has become consumed with passion for the sleek, rounded, chrome-laden car. His friends are horrified but it’s too late - anyone seeking to come between them becomes the victim of Christine's horrifying wrath.
Sat 16 June @ 21:00 – BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (2007)
Hard-boiled truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) gets caught in a bizarre conflict in San Francisco's Chinatown when an ancient Chinese prince and Chinatown crime lord kidnaps a beautiful green-eyed woman Miao Yin (Suzee Pai). Miao is the fiancée of Jack's best friend and Jack must help rescue the girl before the evil Lo Pan uses her to break the ancient curse that keeps him a fleshless and immortal spirit.
Sat 23 June @ 21:00 – THEY LIVE (2001)
John Carpenter wrote and directed this science fiction thriller about a group of aliens who try to take over the world by disguising themselves as Young Republicans. Wrestler Roddy Piper stars as John Nada, a drifter who makes his way into an immense encampment for the homeless. There he stumbles upon a conspiracy concerning aliens who have hypnotised the populace through subliminal messages transmitted through the media…
Sat 30 June @ 21:00 – JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES (1998) *Network Premiere
James Woods is Jack Crow, leader of a team of vampire hunters hired by the Vatican. After wiping out a vampire nest in rural New Mexico, "Team Crow" is savagely ambushed by the unholy Valek (Thomas Ian Griffith), a vicious 600-year-old vampire. Valek is nearing the end of a long search for the elusive Berziers Cross, the ritual implement that can give him and all vampires omnipotent power to walk in the daylight. Crow pursues Valek through the high deserts, culminating in a fateful and final confrontation.
There are five other prime-time network premieres this month, headed by Timo Vuorensola’s barnstorming surreal sci-fier IRON SKY (Fri 8 June, 9pm) and James Wan’s supernatural stunner INSIDIOUS (Fri 15 June, 9pm), the first in the popular franchise. Plus, there’s killer crocs aplenty in LAKE PLACID 3 (Fri I June, 9pm), Emily Blunt fighting off a horde of menacing apparitions in WIND CHILL (Fri 22 June, 9pm) and THIR13TEEN GHOSTS (Fri 29 June, 9pm), the ultimate house of horror.
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
How does one sell their film to a big-time distributor? Christopher A. Micklos and Jay Sapiro, directors of The Nursery, let us in on some of the moves we’ll find in their playbook.
How would you describe the film? What was your pitch to, say, Uncork’d Entertainment?
SAPIRO: As far as the style goes, we wanted The Nursery to look, sound, and feel like an old‐school, circa 1980 horror classic—the babysitter in peril!—while reflecting and leveraging the technological and cultural realities of 2017. More directly, this is, more or less, how we typically describe the film: When college freshman Ranae agrees to babysit for a family with a tragic past, her run-of-the-mill Saturday night quickly turns into a confrontation with unspeakable horror. Stalked by a sinister presence and haunted by ghosts from her own past, Ranae and her friends must confront an angry, evil spirit determined to hunt them down one-by-one on a deliberate march toward its ultimate prey in The Nursery.
MICKLOS: As Jay said, we have always thought of and described The Nursery as a cinematic throwback to the dark, stripped-down horror films of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that we grew up on, while channeling some of the concepts and thematic innovations of the subsequent decades. From low budget classics like John Carpenter’s Halloween and Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm to modern indie gems like House of the Devil, the films that have inspired me, personally, the most prioritize suspense over gore, maintain a consistent but escalating sense of desperation and dread, and situate a supernatural narrative in a very real, very recognizable suburban environment. That said, if I recall, our official pitch to Uncork’d was something more like: please, please, please, please distribute our movie!
Is it fair to say that it’s not the traditional, flashy teen horror flick?
SAPIRO: That's absolutely correct. While we drew inspiration from some of the best classic horror pictures, we definitely added character depth and a few spins where you wouldn't expect it. That said, the film doesn't try to be something it's not. We didn't try to be too clever or overreach relative to the story or the promise of the genre. If you like fun, classic horror films that have great jump scares and unexpected plot twists, then I think you'll enjoy The Nursery.
MICKLOS: If it’s not traditional, it’s mainly because of the throwback nature of the film and because the aesthetics that inspired us are necessarily those that are considered so run-of-the-mill today. That said, we certainly are aiming for a younger audience in their teens and twenties, which is a pretty fertile audience for a film like this and one that has been essential to support the horror genre over the years! I think, though, that what sets us apart a bit from the standard low-budget, indie horror fare aimed at this audience is a few things. One, we aren’t exploitive at all in our approach to the material or the cast. There is some blood, yes, but we didn’t set out to make a gore fest…and while our cast is primarily female, we didn’t find any excuse possible to get them out of their shirts and bras. So that’s different, right there. Second, we didn’t want The Nursery to be winking at the audience or to constantly be wanting to show the audience how smart we were or how much we think we’re better than the genre, which is a trap that I think a lot of horror movies fall into these days. I love horror. I don’t need to be better than the horror genre! As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anything that IS better than the horror genre. So our movie is very straight-forward. We respect the genre, we respect the audience, and we simply set out to make a fun, engaging horror film that we thought we would enjoy ourselves!
Are either of you parents? Is that what motivated this narrative?
MICKLOS: All of us, actually, are parents: Jay and I, and then our third partner, Glenn Chung, who was instrumental to The Nursery every step of the way. Of the three of us, I’m the newest father: my little girl was about two years old when we started the movie, whereas Jay’s and Glenn’s kids are much older. So, I’d say that while my experiences having a baby at home certainly inspired some of the creative ideas and images that ended up in the film, the story really originated from the idea that we wanted to make that old school, 1980-ish feeling horror movie…and some of the most effective movies of that era were the babysitter-in-peril movies, as I mentioned earlier. So, that was probably the bigger influence on the direction of the narrative than any personal experiences I or any of us had as parents. We started with the babysitter-in-peril thing, and we also knew that we wanted to weave in technology as much as we could. So, when you watch the movie, you have all of the action and activity with devices—phones, iPads, computers, etc.—throughout the film. And then we hammered out the story!
SAPIRO: I think that all of us being parents definitely helped us as we developed the concept, but that wasn't really our starting point. Glenn, Chris and I have been talking about making a feature length film for years. We had a couple of starts on other movies, but nothing really materialized. So, at one point a couple of years ago, we simply agreed that it was time to make it happen. For my part, I would sit at my place and think about what we could produce on a micro-budget that would have the same impact as a feature film with deeper pockets. I have large windows where I live, so I’d grab an erasable marker and just write idea after idea all over my windows. I’d then take those ideas to Glenn and Chris. We’d kick my concepts around along with all the ones that they brought to the table. In that crazy collaborative process, the idea for The Nursery was born.
How easy is it to co-direct a movie? C’mon, be honest!
SAPIRO: For us, it was second nature. Anyone who knows us will tell you that Chris and I share a brain. We think alike, work extremely well together, and balance each other out when it comes to this type of work. So directing together was really an easy and obvious choice.
MICKLOS: Yeah, I hate to be boring, but it really wasn’t that hard. And, in fact, in our case it made for a better movie. Jay and I have been working together for twenty years, and we were close friends even before that. So, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, we both know exactly what the other one is thinking, we can anticipate how the other one is going to respond to an issue that comes up or a challenge that we’d have to face, and we can communicate about as well as any two people you could ever name. So, in many ways, co-directing was a natural fit for the two of us. That said, there are certainly times when you don’t see a scene the same way, when you have a different idea of how a shot sequence should play out, and so on and so forth. So, when that happened, if we had time, we’d shoot it both ways and then revisit it in post-production, where we pretty much always agreed on which approach ultimately worked best. Or we’d simply, walk over into a corner or another room and talk through our differing ideas…and then come back talk to the cast and crew with one voice.
What do you believe your individual strengths are?
SAPIRO: Well, I can bend a spoon with my mind! Oh, that's not what you meant. Joking aside, I honestly think we're the perfect team. Chris has an amazing ability to take a concept and flesh it out to a fantastic script, I have a knack for producing media, and Glenn is incredible with design and special effects. Some of our strengths do overlap, and we crossover now and then; however; when it comes to filmmaking, we try to focus on what each of us does best.
MICKLOS: That’s a great question…and one that’s hard to answer without sounding like an arrogant ass! So, they only thing that I’ll really say on my own behalf is that, as a lifelong horror fan, I think I bring a lot of knowledge to the table of the genre, its history, its philosophy and psychology…and also audience expectations and so on. And all that plays into the decisions you make at every stage in the process of making a horror film.
Tell us about the production company. Got a lot on your slate? When did you create it?
SAPIRO: Well, we have two. One, Visuality, has been around for more than 20 years. We produce ads and video, place media online and with traditional outlets, create websites, consult, etc. Our other firm, Three Tortured Minds, was formed when we made the leap into the feature film universe. The Nursery is our first film under the Three Tortured Minds banner. We have another movie in the early stages of development, and that one—as well as all of our future film-related projects—will be a Three Tortured Minds endeavour.
MICKLOS: Not much I can add to that! So fade to black…
Monday, 21 May 2018
Ahead of Horror Channel’s UK TV premiere screening of RADIUS, directors Steeve Leonard and Caroline Labreche talk last minute casting, corpses and making the FrightFest audience cry…
Horror Channel is broadcasting the UK TV premiere of RADIUS. Are you a fan of the channel?
Steeve: We unfortunately don’t have Horror Channel in Quebec, but from what I’ve seen from you guys, it looks awesome. I would’ve loved growing up with that on my TV!
The film has a highly original premise. Where did the inspiration come from?
Steeve: It was a long process, 4 years I think… At first we wanted to do something like Oldboy, with a man and a woman who realize they share a dark past; that’s where the serial killer aspect came to mind. We didn’t write much based on that alone. Then later, when the radius of death idea came to us, we decided to merge these two ideas and see if we could intertwine them together.
The film carries us into deep emotional waters as well as being a cleverly-spun Sci-fi thriller. What is the underlying message you want people to take from the film?
Caroline: We always wanted people to exit the movie and start asking themselves: “if your memory is erased, are you still guilty for your past crimes, can you be convicted if you truly don’t remember”? And we, as the writers, still don’t have a clear answer for this. Liam’s redemption (or at the very least, his punishment) was always something along the lines of what we have now. Our idea was that upon learning and absorbing the fact that he used to be utter scum, the good half of Liam would turn out to be stronger, and it would make him do the right thing. But again, does he truly deserve to die, now that his good half is aware and repentant? Hmm…discuss!
What were the biggest challenges you faced making the film?
Steeve: As with any film, big or small, the answer is: time and money. I’m sure Ryan Johnson (Star Wars) would say the same thing.
Is it true that the lead actor, Diego Klattenhoff, was only cast four days before shooting started?
Caroline: Yep! So was Charlotte Sullivan (Jane). Sometimes casting just happens that way. Getting the right actors on board is a combination of timing, budget, schedule, personality, marketability, etc… And sometimes getting all of these things to click takes a while. We got our leads late in the process, but we got exactly what we needed: talented actors who took the material and made it their own. We love the work they did.
There’s a funny production story about you trying to make a corpse out of a sack of potatoes. We’d like to know more!
Steeve: There’s a scene in the movie where (SPOILERS Diego has to dump a wrapped up body in a pond, and, we didn’t have the necessary dummy to wrap up. Anyway, the props department had to work fast, so they told us they’d make a dummy out of 50 pound sacks of potatoes. We said okay, and they built the thing — wrapped it up in a tarp and everything, and it looked like a human body. So… on the day, we get Diego on the boat and the crew hands him this wobbly, 200 pound body, and then we get the camera ready — we had a drone above him, too, and we were pretty excited about that.
So anyway, we get ready and then we tell him to drop this thing in the water on the count of three, and we were gonna do this thing where, as soon as the body starts to sink, we’d fly the drone upwards really fast, creating this cool dizzying shot. So we countdown: 1…2…3… he dumps it in and… It. Does. Not. Sink. And then it hits all of us at the same time: oh… yeah… potatoes float. I felt my soul step outside my body and slap me in the back of the head for being such a moron. Anyway, we tried to punch holes in the tarp to make it sink. We tried it again but it never really worked. So we had to move on without that shot. I made it work in the edit, but that cool dizzying shot never got made.
When the film received its European Premiere at FrightFest last year it got a tremendous reception from both critics and the audience. What are your abiding memories of the event?
Steeve: Obviously, the UK showings were a great treat for us. Everybody was nice and very supportive of the film. But I think the two major moments Caro and I will take away are, firstly, the moment we walked into the theatre and saw the Imax-sized screen the film was going to be shown on. At that moment, we felt very small, very undeserving, very nervous. It was like: “oh crap, how will the film look and feel on such a huge screen”? But when it started, it was also very cool, very epic to see. The second moment was at the end of the movie, when Liam pulls the trigger: I turned around and looked at the audience, and I saw a bunch of guys wiping the corners of their eyes. I turned to Caro and said: “I can’t believe it, we made English people cry! This is working!” It was a good feeling!
How did you start your filmmaking career together?
Steeve: Caro and I have been making films ever since we enrolled in film school. We’ve always worked together. Caro has done some side projects without me — she’s actually shooting another movie this fall. One day I fear that she’ll finally realize that I serve no purpose whatsoever in our directing duo, hahaha!
How would you describe the chemistry / working relationship between you?
Steeve: On set, Caro usually deals with the technical side of things, while I go and talk to the actors. Then we meet up and discuss everything, make some adjustments, and that’s about it. We do a take or two, then try some variants that either me or her have in mind.
Caroline: we also like to be extra prepared. We discuss and over-analyse everything in advance, we storyboard as much as possible — we always have a shot list on hand. When we get on set, we usually have an answer for every situation.
Steeve: and we never argue on set. We keep that for home, hahaha!
Finally, what’s next?
Caroline: We’re currently working on another sci-fi thriller, this time with horror undertones. We can’t say much right now, as we’re getting ready to shop the script all over town. We also have a robot sci-fi film and a slasher film with a neat twist in the works.
Radius is broadcast on Fri 25 May, 9.00pm, Horror Channel
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Jim Hickcox's feature debut tells of two graffiti artists that break into an abandoned, reportedly haunted research facility in hopes of creating an art installation, but stumble upon a team of demented researchers who are in the process of resurrecting an ancient sea creature - who they now must fight in order to not become their next experiment.
How would you describe the movie, sir?
I'd call it a "party horror" – it's the kind of horror movie that's going to be more fun with a crowd.
Is it fair to say that audiences will be surprised by what's on offer here?
I'm going to answer this with a direct quote from a review of Soft Matter by Bad Movie
Night: "I don't know how you could expect this movie."
Who or what were your influences on the film?
Stuart Gordon, the color pink, slimy trash, a fear of death.
And in terms of your directing choices, any shots inspired by other filmmakers?
A lot of the framing choices were pretty heavily influenced by A Walk to Remember, starring Mandy Moore, but the lensing was more referential to the original Taking of Pelham 123.
How tough a shoot was it?
The day before we started, the city cut all the utilities to the building, which was a huge hurdle, and on day one it started pouring and half the building flooded. We also, because the building was condemned and "haunted", had to deal with mildew, ghosts, and occasionally discovering containers of human waste.
What's one thing you learnt on this movie that you will or won't apply to the next one you do?
We shot this in eleven days with almost no money, so I made a lot of choices very fast. I think that kind of pacing and scale is a thing I'll continue to work with. There's one moment that I wish I had one more shot of coverage of, so that's a lesson for me, and a few things we didn't have time to adequately test out in preproduction, which I'd like to take more time for in the future.
Is there a moment in the film that you're particularly proud of?
The real standout in the film is obviously Mister Sacks, so that's a big joy for me, because I've loved him since the writing phase. I also have a lot of fondness for "Jaws 3".
What's next for you?
I have several plates in the air - I'm starting a small production company (demonjanx.com) with a couple of friends, and we're halfway done shooting our second feature, a werewolf movie co-production. We also have scripts written for a few more projects in the $30k-$200k range, and we're hoping to start pulling together resources to start work on one of them soon.
Monday, 30 April 2018
LONDON – Mon 30 April 2018.
Leading UK independent distributor Signature Entertainment and FrightFest, the UK’s premiere horror fantasy film festival, have entered into an exclusive partnership that will see Signature release FrightFest curated films under the festival’s thriving label ‘FrightFest Presents’.
In a move that sees the label set to expand following its two year tenure with Icon Film Distribution, selected FrightFest endorsed films will be made available across physical, digital and TV/SVOD platforms in the UK and Ireland, via Signature’s established network of partners. Each release will have the collective backing of Signature and FrightFest across marketing, PR and social channels.
Paul McEvoy, Co-Director of FrightFest commented, “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Signature, who have always passionately supported FrightFest and understood our mission to open up new audiences to horror and fantasy, a genre which already has a clear, devoted and dedicated fan base. With Signature as our new partner, we very much look forward to releasing the cutting edge of next generation genre releases”.
Jon Bourdillon, Signature’s COO, added: “We are truly thrilled to be partnering with FrightFest. The combination of their expert knowledge and contacts in the genre and our outstanding commercial relationships makes this a winning partnership. With horror fans increasingly flocking to the FrightFest brand, together we can make it easier than ever to consume the FrightFest endorsed movies at home”.
Acquired titles will be announced soon.
Dubbed “the Woodstock of Gore” by director Guillermo Del Toro, FrightFest, set up 19 years ago, has grown in size and stature since its cult roots at the Prince Charles Cinema and today is internationally renowned for discovering exciting and original horror fantasy genre films and for supporting the talent behind them. Over the years the festival directors, Greg Day, Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy and Ian Rattray, have developed FrightFest into a brand leader for horror film, expanding its footprint in the UK by hosting special events throughout the year and joining forces with the Glasgow Film Festival, where they run an established three-day event. It has helped launch the careers of directors such as Simon Rumley, Christopher Smith, Eli Roth, Neil Marshall and Simon Hunter and recently teamed by with FAB Press to publish a series of ‘The FrightFest Guide To…” books.
About Signature Entertainment
Launched in 2011, Signature Entertainment is the UK’s number 1 independent film distribution company. The team combines a wealth of film expertise with a fresh commercial outlook, delivering diverse quality entertainment to a broad audience in cinemas and at home. Signature has released over 700 titles into the UK market since inception, leading the way with innovative, bold ways of releasing and quality productions. Signature’s recent releases include Beyond Skyline starring Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais, Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe and The Titan starring Sam Worthington with an upcoming theatrical slate including David Tennant’s Bad Samaritan, Steve Coogan’s Ideal Home and Jon Hamm’s Beirut.
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Channel 4’s new show TRUE HORROR begins on 19 April, for 3 episodes - with the final of 4 eps going out at Halloween.
From the BAFTA nominated producers of The Enfield Haunting, this dramatised documentary series will take you into the heart of four terrifying true horror stories.
Ep. 1 Hellfire Farm – 19th April
This dramatised documentary tells a terrifying true horror story: An artist, his new wife and their young children find a rural idyll in a Farmhouse in the Welsh hills. But it becomes a nightmarish crucible of demonic activity which drives the family apart
Liz and her partner, artist Bill Rich move into a dream home - a farm house nestling in the hills of the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Two children arrive in quick succession. Liz collects a menagerie of rescued farm animals. Bill at last has a proper studio space.
But almost immediately, things start to go sour in their perfect home: Things move around the house inexplicably; Bill’s artwork stops selling; animals begin to die. Their precarious finances are hit by insanely high electricity bills – which no-one can explain.
Bill retreats into his painting, which gets darker and darker, fuelled by the weird visions the farm conjours. Liz, meanwhile, is absolutely petrified and turns to the local priest for help. As the marriage crumbles, the haunting reaches a terrifying climax.
Ep. 2 Ghost In The Wall – 26th April
This dramatised documentary tells a terrifying true horror story: A young mother fears that her dead father-in-law has returned, with a horrific plan: to steal her children.
Jason and Sam are teenage sweethearts. Jason’s dad, Jimmy doesn’t approve of the relationship. Jimmy is desperate for grandchildren. Before Sam can make her peace with Jimmy, he dies suddenly of a heart-attack. Meanwhile, Jason’s dreams are plagued by visions of demonic figures.
Sam and Jason are joyous when they finally have children – just sorry that Jimmy isn’t around to see them. Or is he? For Sam, Jimmy’s desire for grandkids takes on an apparently sinister turn. When one of her children is seriously ill in hospital, Sam becomes convinced that Jimmy has come to take her children. As Jimmy intrudes on their lives in more and more sinister ways, Sam realises she will have to fight to protect her children from the ghost of their grandfather.
Ep. 3 Terror In The Woods – 3rd May
This dramatised documentary tells a terrifying true horror story: Two prank-obsessed teenagers escape suburban boredom into their fertile imaginations. When they dare one another to spend the night in some haunted woods, they experience terror beyond their wildest imaginings.
Stephen is always trying to persuade Todd to go camping with him in the woods outside their small home town of Horsham. The forest has a reputation for being haunted, and are some say they are home to mass graves. Todd thinks Stephen might be setting him up for a prank, especially when they end up pitching their tents near the haunted church in the middle of the woods but he goes along for the ride.
Late that night, their torches and phones stop working and they are surrounded by all kinds of terrifying noises and apparitions. As the night goes on and the activity becomes more and more disturbing, both of them are left shaken and traumatised - breathing a sigh of relief when dawn comes and they can return to the safety of their suburban homes.
But a week later, Stephen - still pale and not eating - has the uncanny feeling that something has followed him home. He calls in paranormal investigators, which leads to the boys’ most horrifying experience of all.
Ep. 4 The Witches’ Prison – October, Halloween special
This dramatised documentary tells a terrifying true horror story: A single mother’s battle to protect herself and her defenceless baby boy from a haunted house with a tormented past.
Successful saleswoman Vanessa Mitchell buys a house which is rumoured to be a former Witches’ prison in St. Osyth, Essex, the village she grew up in. ‘The Cage’ is a cute Tudor cottage but as soon as Vanessa and flatmate Nicole move in, they witness increasingly strange events. Flying objects, mysterious pools of blood and an invisible entity that rattles doors and pushes people downstairs are enough to spook anyone.
As friends and housemates are gradually scared away, Vanessa is left virtually alone. Before she finds that, to her astonishment, she is five and a half months pregnant.
Increasingly isolated and oppressed as a working, single-mother in a house besieged by paranormal activity, Vanessa vows to let nothing hurt her new-born child. But can either of them survive the increasingly viscious attacks they endure?
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
The gates of Hell are well and truly opened on Horror Channel in May, as the UK’s most popular TV destination for genre fans plays host to chilling Chinese legends, sinister sorcery, deadly zombies and a rampaging Arnold Schwarzenegger.
There are four prime-time UK TV premieres this month, headed by Caroline Labrèche & Steeve Léonard’s unusual and compelling sci-fi thriller RADIUS (TX: Fri 25 May, 9pm)
Premiered at FrightFest in 2017, it weaves an ingenious plot from the moment Liam (Diego Klattenhoff) wakes from a car crash with no memory of who he is. As he makes his way into town to look for help, he finds only dead bodies, all with strange pale eyes. Liam's first assessment is that a virus is present in the air. However, he soon discovers the terrible truth: that anyone who comes within a 50-foot radius of him dies instantly. Then he meets Jane (Charlotte Sullivan) with whom he seems to have some sort of bizarre connection. However neither is prepared for the terrifying and appalling truth that binds them together…
Also receiving their first outings on British television are The Blair Witch Project co-director/writer Eduardo Sánchez’s SEVENTH MOON - a devilish spell-binder starring Amy Smart, (TX: Sat 5 May, 9pm), Matt Eskandari’s tense, underground adventure THE GAUNTLET (TX: Fri 11 May. 9pm) and post-apocalyptic zombie actioner EXTINCTION, directed by Inside helmer Miguel Ángel Vivas. (TX: Sat 12 May, 9pm)
Fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger will welcome the clone-seeker’s top-notch performance in THE 6TH DAY, which receives its prime-time Network premiere on Fri 4 May, 9pm, along with John Ottman’s smart slasher sequel URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT (Fri 18 May, 9pm) and Damiano Damiani’s diabolical prequel to The Amityville Horror - AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION (Sat 19 May, 9pm).
Thursday, 29 March 2018
When did you first become interested in writing?
Truth is stranger than fiction…so I’ve heard. I’m a believer in that adage, because it happened to me and it has changed my life! This is how my recently published novel, Antitheus, and my debut novel, Trisomy XXI, came into being. Antitheus, which was released October 16, 2017, is a dark, supernatural tale of horror that takes Good versus Evil to a whole new level. The way in which Antitheus and Trisomy XXI came into being is even more surreal than their storylines. Let me start from the beginning. A few years ago, I was rear-ended by a speeding, drunk driver, who totaled my car and landed me in the hospital emergency room with a closed-head injury. As a result of this devastating accident, I was left with memory loss and aphasia, resulting in problems with expressing my speech and communicating with others.
After numerous visits to a neurologist and months of taking medication used by patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, my injured brain slowly began to mend itself. But when the damage to my brain finally healed, I noticed something very different in my thought patterns. Now, I had this overwhelming urge, this compulsive desire to put on paper a fascinating story that my mind had mysteriously created. I can’t explain it, but my thoughts were now primarily focused on writing this tale of horror. That’s how Trisomy XXI was born. One could only surmise that the damaged neurons in my frontal cortex had rearranged themselves into a different pattern, thereby enhancing the creative elements in my brain. God only knows…stranger things have happened! I didn’t choose to be an author…it chose me. Weirdly enough, it was a car accident that was responsible for my newfound passion for creative writing (a true story, even though it sounds like something conjured up from the twisted mind of Stephen King).
The definition of a savant is “a person who does not have normal intelligence but who has very unusual mental abilities that other people do not have.” Savant syndrome “is a condition in which a person with a mental disability, such as an autism spectrum disorder, demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal.” I do know that I don’t have savant syndrome, because I am not autistic, and my IQ has been measured at 161. Another form of savantism, known as acquired savant syndrome, is attributed to “a person who acquires prodigious capabilities or skills following dementia, a head injury or severe blow to the head, or other disturbance.” According to medical studies, acquired savant syndrome is an extremely rare condition, affecting very few people in the world. This is apparently what happened to me. I now regard my bizarre mishap as a gift, even though at the time I certainly didn’t, having concerns that I would be left with a permanent neurological deficit for the rest of my life. As long as I can retain this newfound ability, I will continue to write—especially since I do have a passion for it!
How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?
From my earliest recollections as a young child, I’ve always loved the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, so that’s probably where Antitheus and Trisomy XXI were spawned—from the deepest reaches of my inner mind. As a result of my savant-like experience, I am now able to pen novels in a freestyle fashion, almost in a stream of consciousness, relying on no outlines, formats, or templates for any assistance. Fortunately, the narrative is able to flow freely from my vivid imagination, ending up with a thrilling storyline that contains an ordered sequence of events for my readers.
Tell us about your publisher.
Both Trisomy XXI and Antitheus were published by World Castle Publishing, a traditional publishing press. I chose to traditionally publish my novels because I believe that a royalty-paying publisher is willing to invest their money in a book that is not only well-written, but also has an interesting storyline that will catch the attention of those readers willing to purchase it. A traditional publisher is in business to make a profit, so I felt that my book had the best chance of attaining success through the help of a publisher via their professional editing, financial backing, and marketing support. I’ve read horror stories (no pun intended) about authors dealing with their publishing companies, so I am very fortunate to have selected World Castle Publishing as my publisher. So far, my journey into the world of book publication is going smoothly and has been very enjoyable. All things considered, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer experience! Karen Fuller, award-winning author, book publisher, and owner of World Castle Publishing used her special artistic skills (along with some magic) to create the amazing covers for both Trisomy XXI and Antitheus.
How would you classify the genre you write?
First and foremost, I would consider myself a horror and science fiction writer, with my tales of terror containing anything of a dark nature. My novels are a combination/blend of genres that also contain elements of mystery, thriller, suspense, and the supernatural. Trisomy XXI is a sci-fi/horror/mystery/thriller story, whereas Antitheus is a supernatural horror/mystery/suspense novel.
Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?
Horror and fantasy books will always be popular with readers because they elicit emotions and feelings related to fear, horror, shock, surprise, and mystery. They also stir up a sense of wonder, awe, and interest in the reader by stimulating the imagination. Good horror stories tend to have one thing in common—fear—especially fear of the unknown. As H.P. Lovecraft, the master of the horror tale in the twentieth century once said, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Horror is defined as an intense feeling of fear, great shock, disgust, and/or worry caused by something extremely unpleasant. A unique genre of fiction, horror has the capacity to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers or viewers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.
The components of a good horror/fantasy story usually include fear, surprise, suspense, mystery, foreshadowing, and imagination. Fear is paramount to any horror story. Scaring the reader with fears they may or may not have (fear of the unknown) is key to writing a spooky tale. A strong emotion of fear sets horror apart from the other genres, and expanding on that fear can contribute to surprise. If an author is unable to elicit the feeling of fear in the reader, then the story probably shouldn’t fall into the horror genre.
What inspires your stories?
Prior to my accident, I had neither the desire nor the ability to write anything of a creative nature. It was only after my brain had healed from the closed head injury I sustained that a number of dark tales spontaneously erupted from my newly-acquired neuronal network. It’s hard to put into words, but these story visions came to me from out of the blue, much like an epiphany, or something spawned de novo in my mind. I’ve now amassed a long list of new concepts for tales of the macabre…I only hope that I’ll have the time to write them all! Antitheus, like many of my other ideas for stories, appeared to me while writing Trisomy XXI. As soon as I finished penning Trisomy XXI, I immediately started composing my second novel, Antitheus. Like Trisomy XXI, Antitheus was written in a stream of consciousness-like manner, taking me around three months to finish. I don’t use any outlines or notes, and my writing inexplicably flows in a freestyle fashion, starting with chapter one and ending upon completion of the novel. Coincidentally, when I finished writing Trisomy XXI, it ended up having 21 chapters…while the evil Antitheus has 13!
What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?
There are some exceptions (i.e., Clive Barker), but it appears that British horror hasn’t quite yet reached the level of violence, sexual content, gore, and sadism that American horror has attained, all things considered. British horror also seems to be based more on British culture, as compared to American horror, which includes folklore, superstition, and myths from all over the world. Presently, I think that the innate differences between the British and American cultures tend to drive their variances in horror, but in time, this will probably change as the two countries become more connected.
What are your favorite horror books?
They are too numerous to list, but generally any works by Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, Michael Crichton, Mary Shelley, Jack Ketchum, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, plus a host of other great authors.
What are some of your favorite horror movies?
From my earliest recollections as a young child, I have always loved the genres of horror and science fiction. I’ve seen so many amazing Sci-fi and Horror movies over the years that it’s hard to remember them all. Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Dracula, War of the Worlds, Psycho, Night of the Living Dead, Mysterious Island, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, From Dusk Till Dawn, Alien(s) series, The Exorcist, Halloween, The Thing, Hellraiser, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Silence of the Lambs, Jaws, Planet of the Apes, The Shining, RoboCop, The Fifth Element, Blade Runner, The Matrix, Terminator, Predator, IT, along with so many other great tales of horror are only just a few of the great movies that have left a long-lasting impression on me.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?
I am humbled that both Trisomy XXI and Antitheus have garnered several prestigious book awards and have been well-received by their readers and reviewers. I would also consider it a great accomplishment if I am fortunate enough to have Trisomy XXI made into a feature film…please keep your fingers crossed for me! If readers derive as much enjoyment out of reading Trisomy XXI and Antitheus as I had in writing them—and I truly believe they will—then I have accomplished my goal as a writer. Just being able to put your thoughts down on paper, creating an entertaining story that can both be shared and enjoyed by others, will give you an adrenaline rush that no amusement park ride can even come close to. For me, it’s all about pleasing the reader!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
In my humble opinion, there are three important things needed in order for a writer to become successful: writing talent, discipline, and creativity (a little luck along the way never hurts, either)! Language is how we communicate. If you don’t pick the right words to use in a sentence, then you risk not being able to connect with the reader. Words to an author are like colors to a painter—you have to choose the most effective ones in order to create a masterpiece that will be enjoyed and appreciated by its observer. Read, read, and then read some more—it’s all about learning and fine-tuning your craft. Select any pertinent information about writing on the web, in book form, or through a workshop that you think will be beneficial for you, and would help make you a better writer. In order to hone your craft, read as many books by different authors as you can.
Novice authors looking to get their work published by a reputable book publisher need to first write a great story, then compose a compelling cover letter and synopsis to catch the eye of the submission editor. If you truly have a love for writing, don’t allow yourself to get discouraged—and most importantly, never give up! Since the publishing industry is very competitive and constantly changing, it is extremely important that authors do their homework. Be sure to research any publishing companies or small presses that you are considering submitting your work to. Check to make sure they are reputable and that they will remain in business. Unfortunately, there are publishers and literary agents out there who are just lying in wait, ready to scam the unsuspecting author at the drop of a hat. Don’t ever forget the old adage, “a fool and his money are soon parted!” Approach all book dealings/contracts carefully, along with a healthy pinch of paranoia.
You’re probably never going to get rich as an author, so write because you love to. Authors, like all artists, should perform their craft because they have a passion for it, and not just for the money or fame. Like some other famous writers, Edgar Allan Poe wasn’t recognized as a great poet and horror author until after his death. Unfortunately, he died homeless and destitute, the exact cause of his death still unknown to this day.
What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?
Nowadays, it is very difficult to get your novel accepted for publication by a traditional publisher, especially considering the fierce competition involved. All authors have experienced their fair share of rejections by publishers, a reason why many choose to self-publish their own books. There are definite pros and cons involved with traditional vs. self-publishing, so learn as much as you can about each one before making your decision. One of the problems that I have with self-published works is that the formatting and editing of the text may not have been done properly or professionally.
Anyone can self-publish their work, whereas traditionally published stories are usually held to a higher standard of review. There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, (unless a reader is familiar with an author’s work), one who buys a self-published book has no idea whether or not it has been professionally edited. I totally understand the reasons why some authors choose to self-publish their work, but if you are a novice author, I would encourage you to initially seek out a reputable, royalty-paying publisher to submit your work to for consideration. If you are unable to traditionally publish or don’t wish to go that route, then by all means self-publish your books—just make sure that you have your work professionally edited. Some writers (both novice and established authors) are now choosing a “hybrid” approach by both traditionally and self-publishing their books.
What are your current projects?
I’m a horror/sci-fi author who has published two novels thus far (World Castle Publishing). My debut novel, Trisomy XXI, was published on June 6, 2016, and my second horror novel, Antitheus, was released on October 16, 2017. I’ve recently completed the screenplay for Trisomy XXI, and am presently working with a movie producer to turn it into a feature film. Currently, I’m busy at work writing my next novel, a story of the macabre with some bizarre plot twists that should both mesmerize and horrify its unsuspecting reader. One of my trademarks is that my novels contain an O. Henry or Rod Serling surprise ending—hopefully intended to baffle even the most astute of mystery readers! I have several other dark stories in mind, so hopefully I will be able to find the time to put them all down on paper…if only I could write faster!
Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
I write because it gives me the freedom to openly express my creativity—a way to transcribe my thoughts and allow my imagination to go into overdrive. I love the sense of fulfilment received while penning a story down on paper. Writing has allowed me to connect with others through my novels, hopefully stirring up those emotions that will bring excitement and entertainment to all of my readers. Writing also gives me peace of mind, a sense of accomplishment, and teaches me patience—a necessity for any author who wishes to write well. Just being able to put your thoughts down on paper, creating an entertaining story that can both be shared and enjoyed by others, will give you an adrenaline rush that no amusement park ride can even come close to. To me, that is what’s great about being a writer!
Quotes by G.A. Minton:
“Words give you power, so use them wisely.”
“Fear of the unknown is a horror writer’s best friend.”
“Try to live your life in the present and not in the past.”
G.A. Minton Biography
From his early childhood, G.A. Minton has always been a diehard fan of science fiction and horror. Whenever a scary movie was playing down at the local theater, he was there in attendance with his friends, loudly screaming in terror alongside them. G.A. enjoys many hobbies, but the game of golf is one of his favorites, having lettered on his high school golf team. Besides writing, he also enjoys reading, traveling, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, working out, listening to hard rock music, and watching great movies—especially those genres that encompass horror, science fiction, mystery, and comedy.
Strangely enough, it was only after G.A. was rear-ended by a drunk driver and suffered a closed-head injury that he developed a newfound passion for writing (even though this story has the makings for a bizarre Stephen King horror novel, it is nonetheless true). After numerous visits to a neurologist and months of taking medication used by patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease, his injured brain slowly began to mend itself. When the damage to his brain finally healed, G.A. noticed something very different in his thought patterns. Now, there was an overwhelming urge, a compulsive drive to put on paper fascinating stories that had formed de novo in his mind. That’s how Trisomy XXI, his first novel and recipient of multiple awards, was born. One could surmise that the damaged neurons in G.A.’s frontal cortex had rearranged themselves into a different pattern, thereby enhancing the creative elements in his brain (a rare medical condition, known as “acquired savant syndrome”). God only knows… stranger things have happened! G.A. is now referred to as “the savant horror writer” by many of his friends.
G.A. has recently completed his second novel, Antitheus, a dark supernatural tale of horror that takes Good vs. Evil to a whole new level. Currently, his brain is busy at work, meticulously processing the text for another story of the macabre that will both entertain and horrify its unsuspecting reader. One of G.A.’s trademarks is that his stories contain an O. Henry or Rod Serling surprise ending that would baffle even the likes of the great Sherlock Holmes! G.A. lives in Texas with his wife, a son and daughter, and two Bengal cats named Phinneas and Shamus.
You can find out more information about G.A. Minton and his books at:
G.A. Minton Author Website: https://www.gaminton.com
G.A. Minton Author Webpage at World Castle Publishing Website: http://www.worldcastlepublishing.com/author_g_a_minton.html
Goodreads author page for G.A. Minton: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15065482.G_A_Minton
ANTITHEUS by G.A. Minton on Amazon: www.amzn.com/B0744XJ11K (Kindle), www.amzn.com/1629897620 (Paperback), or www.amzn.com/1629897647 (Hardcover).
TRISOMY XXI by G.A. Minton on Amazon: www.amzn.com/1629894443 (Paperback), or www.amzn.com/B01D3OSZ38 (Kindle).
G.A. Minton Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/TRISOMYXXI and
G.A. Minton Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/horrornovelist
Barnes & Noble link for ANTITHEUS:
Barnes & Noble link for TRISOMY XXI:
ANTITHEUS Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/71HtB1dHyZY
TRISOMY XXI Book Trailer: