Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Killer Thriller season sends shock waves through June on Horror Channel

Summer kicks off on Horror Channel in suspenseful style with KILLER THRILLER SEASON - a selection of tense shockers including the channel premieres of Rod Lurie’s 2011 pulsating remake of STRAW DOGS, starring James Marsden and Kate Bosworth; the murder motel chiller VACANCY, starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson; and the 2009 remake of kin killer slasher THE STEPFATHER. The Saturday night primetime season also features psychological thriller HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET, starring Jennifer Lawrence, and Neil LaBute’s horrifying racial drama LAKEVIEW TERRACE, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson.

Full film details:

Sat 1 June @ 21:00 – STRAW DOGS (2011) *Channel Premiere

David and Amy Sumner (James Marsden and Kate Bosworth), a Hollywood screenwriter and his actress wife, return to her small hometown in the deep South to prepare the family home for sale after her father’s death. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, including Amy’s ex-boyfriend Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård), leading to a violent confrontation. 

Sat 8 June @ 21:00 – VACANCY (2007) *Channel Premiere

When David (Luke Wilson) and Amy (Kate Beckinsale) Fox's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, they are forced to spend the night at the only motel around, with only the TV to entertain them... Until they discover that the low-budget slasher movies they've been watching were all filmed in the very room they're sitting in. With hidden cameras now aimed at them and filming their every move, David and Amy must get out alive before whomever is watching them can finish their latest masterpiece.

Sat 15 June @ 21:00 – THE STEPFATHER (2009) *Channel Premiere

Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) returns home from military school to find his mother (Sela Ward) happily in love and living with her new boyfriend, David (Dylan Walsh). As the two men get to know each other, Michael becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand. Is he really the man of Michael’s mother’s dreams, or could David be hiding a dark side?

Sat 22 June @ 21:00 – HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (2012)

Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mother (Elizabeth Shue) move to a new town only to find that they are living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. Locals claim that the girl mysteriously vanished after the incident, but as Elissa becomes close to the girl’s brother, she learns that a dark and terrible secret still lurks within those walls and this sinister story of murder is far from over.

Sat 29 June @ 21:00 – LAKEVIEW TERRACE (2008)

A young couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) has just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbour, LAPD officer Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson). Turner has appointed himself the watchdog of the neighbourhood and disapproves of their interracial relationship. As he increasingly harasses the newlyweds, the angered couple decides to fight back.

There are also channel premieres for mutant monster gripper INANIMATE, (Fri 21 June, 9pm) starring Lance Henriksen; the twisty neo-noir thriller THE DISAPPEARENCE OF ALICE CREED (Fri 28 June, 10.45pm), starring Gemma Arterton and Eddie Marsan; and Phillippe Mora’s real-life rooted alien abduction drama COMMUNION (Sun 30 June, 9pm), starring Christopher Walken.

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

Friday, 17 May 2019

Interview with Andrea Dawn - By David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing?

 Before I could actually write! I taught myself to read when I was eighteen months old. From there, I would draw a stick-figure mouse character right into my books who would add his own story along with the story I was reading. Then I started making picture books. Once I learned how to write, I wrote stories quite a lot. I majored in English in college with an emphasis in literature and creative writing, and I have been a technical writer and editor my entire working life.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

I have always loved both fantasy and horror (and sci-fi) since I was a kid. So I went to a horror convention for the first time in 2016 where I met a local publisher. I offered my editing services, and things took off from there. I don’t work with that publisher anymore for various reasons, so I started Tell-Tale Press to offer publishing and editing services for writers and free online fiction for readers.

Is this a full time job?

No. I am also an at-home transcriptionist. I do work for a lot of different companies, including the UFC, SyFy Channel, government entities, and lots of Fortune 500s. Right now my focus is completely on Tell-Tale Press for our table at the Phoenix Fan Fusion pop culture convention, but transcription is an easy job (for me) that I’m very good at.

How would you classify the genre you write about?

I don’t write right now. I’m an editor and publisher. I publish horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery/crime. When I first started working in horror publishing, I was in extreme horror, and I still edit for extreme horror writers and publishers. I don’t publish extreme right now solely because I find it’s too niche—I like to provide a wide variety of stories to my readers. I may do so in the future, though.

When I do write, mostly my horror is psychological. I much prefer exploring personal demons through horror. I am drawn to that type of writing as well, in both books and films.

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

Escapism and societal truths. We all want to escape from the real world for a while, and fantasy and horror provide that escape. But we also get served really good themes that resonate in society right on a silver platter, in ways that are easy to swallow. I think fantasy, sci-fi and horror are the best ways to explore the real world in a package that’s manageable for the average reader/viewer.

Horror is also our way of dealing with death and taboo subjects. It wasn’t that long ago that we were close to death: lots of people would attend a public execution, families would dress and bury their dead themselves. Nowadays we shuffle dead bodies off to the funeral home for them to take care of it, and people want executions to take place in buildings far away from our towns and cities. Modern medicine makes us live longer these days, possibly longer than we should be living. We have created a lack of respect for death and a real fear for it. So horror helps us deal with our instincts about death, that death is a part of life and that we need to understand it. We still have base instincts that need to be addressed, and sometimes watching death onscreen, even though we know it’s fake, helps us deal with our ever-present primitive side.

Fantasy has always been a place of equality, for all sexes and races to get equal time and consideration, and even be superior to the typical social norms. Possibly it’s because so many who read and write fantasy see themselves as misfits, so they want to see their world represented in a safe environment.

What inspires your stories?

I am inspired to publish because I want readers to read good stories, and I want writers to have a chance to get their work out there. I believe that we are seeing a lot of stories out there that are either poorly executed or rehashes of stories that have already been told. I want to make sure that readers and writers get quality time and entertainment through my website.

Tell us about Tell Tale Press. You are obviously a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. 

Tell-Tale Press came about from the combination of a bad relationship with a business owner and an experience at an airport. I was looking around at people while waiting for my flight, and while there were a few of us with physical books, most people were looking at something electronic. I don’t know what they were reading—the news, a book, whatever—but I thought to myself all of these people here could be reading something I could produce.

When the business owner forced me to depart, I decided to do something that I presented but he never wanted to follow through on, and that is providing free online fiction for anyone to read. Tell-Tale Press has four “libraries” for each of the four genres we specialize in, and you can read the stories for free anywhere at any time from any electronic device. So if you have time between classes, at the doctor’s office, before a movie, you can get a quick story in to pass the time.

As for the name, I chose it of course because Poe is my favorite author, but also because the term “tell-tale” indicates telling someone information with no holds barred. And “The Tell-Tale Heart” is the scariest story I’ve ever read! I believe Poe was a natural master at understanding fear and human emotions. His personal tragedies and mistakes were very clear to him, so he dealt with them by writing about them. I hope that Tell-Tale Press can reflect those kinds of writers—those who want to speak to our cores by holding up a mirror to both themselves and to ourselves. And I also want to publish writers who just want to get good stories out there, like Poe wanted. He simply wanted to make a living as a writer, and I hope that I can offer a small part of that for modern independent writers.

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

The differences are based in the histories of both. America is a younger country that has a faster pace and specific conditions that we have created. My favorite example of good American horror is THE VVITCH. The tagline was “A Puritan horror story”, and I believe that is truly uniquely American and something that wouldn’t necessarily be understood in other countries. Great Britain is older and has evolved slower than we have, so their horror has a more organic feel to it, like it comes from an old world that existed long before us. I recently watched GHOST STORIES on Hulu, and I loved every minute of it because it had that feeling throughout. However, we can still see a lot of the same societal problems being addressed in British and American films and books. Humans, no matter where they come from, all have the same instincts, fears, and emotions, so we’re going to connect to all types personal and societal problems no matter where we originated. It’s part of the human condition.

What are your favorite horror books?

I like a lot of older fiction, like Jaws by Peter Benchley, The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, and The Shining by Stephen King. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe is the scariest story I’ve ever read—scared me to death when I first read it in junior high school. To me, “Annabel Lee” is the most beautiful poem in the world. I also love Lovecraft’s work, specifically At the Mountains of Madness, The Call of Cthulhu and “The Statement of Randolph Carter”. But I’m also really amazed by new stuff that is coming out, such as Josh Malerman’s Bird Box (I read it long before it was a film) and the work of Nick Cutter (The Troop and The Deep in particular). also really love the independent extreme horror work by Christine Morgan and Betty Rocksteady. Christine’s White Death is extremely well written historical horror fiction, and Betty’s The Writhing Skies is beautiful surrealism. And I will always recommend Kristopher Triana as my favorite indie horror author. I loved The Ruin Season and Shepherd of the Black Sheep, and Body Art is the most disgusting yet incredible extreme horror I’ve ever read.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Jaws is my absolute favorite movie of all time, in general. I like a variety of horror films, though. Event Horizon, Alien, Cujo, The Mist, The Orphanage, The Shape of Water, Signs, Hereditary… those are movies that got under my skin and had both visceral and emotional impacts on me. There is also a special place in my heart for Jaws 3D. It is my guilty pleasure. I mean, Dennis Quaid in shorty shorts? Yowzer!

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an editor?

Being able to help authors take apart their work and rework it so it becomes a four- and five-star masterpiece. I am so lucky to get to work with people with such talent and drive to create high-quality entertainment for readers.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Learn the craft of writing. It’s the best advice I can give you. I receive too many manuscripts that have wonderful ideas, but the execution is extremely poor because the person has never really learned how to write. This includes grammar and syntax, learning about pacing, learning what needs to go and what needs to stay in your story. I like to direct writers to learning about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, which is a great base guideline to help you organize and refine your story. I wrote about it in Tell-Tale Press’s blog, The Raven’s Writing Desk. Plus there are always local community college classes, online workshops, and plenty of beta readers out there to help you. We are very lucky to live in a time where information is right at our fingertips!

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

I believe it’s a great opportunity for authors to be able to get their work out there. The problem is that too many people who don’t care about the craft of writing are putting work out there for cheap prices. That drives the prices down with readers expecting to be able to read something for next to nothing, and it hurts authors who truly have amazing stories to tell. Writers now have to be expert marketers in order to get their work noticed, when it used to be that they could safely rely on the big publishers to do all the heavy lifting for them. I believe the days of authors being able to make a living off writing—like Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Dean Koontz, Mary Higgins Clark, and others—are completely gone. We will never see books in mass market like that anymore.

What are your current projects?

Phoenix Fan Fusion is coming up May 23-26, which is our local pop culture convention. I have a table there and will have a computer available to show folks how the website works. I will publish our next round of anthologies, Creatures, starting May 23. It will be a total of fifty short stories and eight novelettes. All of the stories are free to read on the website, then each anthology by genre will be released on Kindle for 99 cents. We will be selling handmade dice bags, book bags, and pencil pouches at the table. And we will have a raffle for AZ CARE Rescue, a local foster-based, no-kill cat and dog rescue that I volunteer for and adopted three of my cats from.

After that, I have lots of plans for bringing in more writers and readers, so I hope people will stay tuned to the website and Facebook and Instagram pages to learn more.

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

I am someone who has a lot of classic training and real-world experience in editing and writing. However, I am always willing to learn more about what I can do to help writers do better in their own works I believe that if you choose to tackle something, whether it’s a job or a hobby, you go all the way and do it right. I also do my best to learn from my mistakes and to help others learn from them as well.

Personally, I am a nerd/geek and have been since I was a kid. I love movies and books. My current pop culture obsession is Game of Thrones. I’m also an animal person with four cats, three dogs, and four horses. I’ve done a lot of work in animal welfare, specifically to help our government and horse owners enforce and revise the Horse Protection Act, which makes it a felon to inflict a specific type of cruelty on show horses. I currently volunteer once a week with the above mentioned animal rescue.


Monday, 6 May 2019

Interview with Duncan Ralston - By David Kempf

Duncan Ralston is the author of the horror collections Gristle & Bone and Video Nasties, the novellas Wildfire, WOOM, Where the Monsters Live, Scavengers and Ebenezer, and the novels Salvage and The Method. His screenplays have won and placed in several major competitions.

When did you first become interested in writing?

That's a great question.

I guess I'd been interested in writing since I was very young but I started writing horror for myself, as in not for school, when I was 15. I'd begun reading Stephen King and Clive Barker around the same time, so I'm sure the two are correlated – but a fair amount of credit should go to my younger brother, who'd started taking art more seriously. Until then, drawing had been what I loved to do most, aside from playing with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures. I gave drawing up entirely, partly out of spite, to concentrate on writing. And aside from a few minor transgressions – doodling while on the phone, etc. – I never went back to it.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

I used to write a fair amount of fantasy-tinged horror in my teens due to my love of Barker and King. I typically write horror and thrillers now. I'm more interested in horror that's grounded in reality. The dark corners of the human psyche and all that. Which is likely why I prefer writing about ghosts over other supernatural creatures.

Anyway, I've always been interested in dark stuff, and I've always had an affinity for scaring people, grossing them out and making them laugh. It helps when I can do all three at the same time, which I can while writing horror.

Is this a full time job?

I work in television, behind the scenes. Writing is a hobby that takes up a fair amount of my free time. Much as I would love for it to be a full-time job, I worry attempting to make it my only source of income would take much of the fun out of it. Fortunately, I like the job I'm in.

How would you classify the genre you write about?

I usually use the term "dark fiction," as it encompasses anything from splatterpunk to crime fiction to transgressive, which gives me a fair amount of leeway in regards to what I can write.

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

There are countless studies about the appeal of horror, the psychological basis behind it, but I don't buy into most of that junk. Is it the sort of "thrill-seeking behavior" psychopaths exhibit? Or Jung's "primordial archetypes" buried deep within our "collective subconscious"?

It probably seems odd to call horror "escapist," but I think a fair bit of its appeal is escapism. Horror is a safe place to explore not only our darkest fears but our darkest urges. Is horror more popular now because the world is generally a safer place? Maybe. I doubt if we were living in a state of constant fear we'd appreciate horror as much as we currently do.

What inspires your stories?

Anything can trigger a new story idea. My wife likes to joke that I'll find some way to twist even a nice memory into a horror story. She's not wrong. After a great dinner on our first trip together I jotted down notes for a cannibalism story from Gristle & Bone, "Fat of the Land." A story in Video Nasties was inspired by Robin Williams's death. Woom came to mind almost instantly while watching the movie Room, with inspiration drawn from Black Mirror's "White Christmas" episode, Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac, and the early books of Chuck Palahnuik. The short story "Baby Teeth" arose from finding what looked like a baby's tooth in the cupboard of a house I'd been renting at the time. Some ideas hit me so strongly I have to follow them to their conclusion. Most fizzle out before I even write the first paragraph.

Tell us about your book Video Nasties: A Horror Collection. You must be a fan of anthology film and TV shows. Which one is your favorite?

I have a deep appreciation for the anthology format, and fortunately there's no shortage of it on television these days. My favorites at the moment are American Horror Story and Black Mirror, despite a few weaker stories here and there.

Video Nasties was born out of my love for '80s horror of all kinds, but in particular, Tales from the Crypt and John Carpenter. I'm not a huge fan of themed collections, and I wanted to provide a wide range of horror, from psychological to "creature features" to body horror – the sort of hodgepodge you might find over the course of an anthology series. The title story is my most obvious homage to those stories that inspired me, featuring a dead horror director trapped in one of his own VHS movies for decades, and the film buff who literally stumbles across it.

The original version of the collection was bookended with stories about video horror (the Twilight Zone-inspired "How to Kill a Celebrity," in which a young woman becomes an editor of "standby" obituaries for TV news, once opened the book), and I'd planned to have my spec pilot screenplay, Imaginary Monsters close the book. But I dropped the screenplay as the collection was already fairly long, and I didn't think "Celebrity" was a good indicator of the other stories within, so I moved that as well. The titular story is a novella, and I think it's a decent story to end on – asking the reader to question what is fact and what is fiction.

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

Difficult for me to say, as I'm kind of stuck in the middle in Canada. The subgenres are all relatively the same. Gothic horror in the UK has its US equivalent in Southern Gothic. Both places have their own brand of folk horror. Both sides of "the pond" have their "literary" writers and their "pulp" writers. I guess the only real difference are the subtle variations in the language.

What are your favorite horror books?

My top three haven't fluctuated much over the years. Stephen King's The Shining, which I've loved since I was 15, has held up very well (just reread it last year). It's a masterclass in tension and dread. Also Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, for its obsessive portrait of a serial killing yuppie. Then Richard Matheson's Hell House. Because Matheson.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Jacob's Ladder, Candyman and In the Mouth of Madness. I could watch any of them over and over again.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

Not quitting the business when I've had plenty of opportunities.


Oddly, my biggest accomplishments so far haven't been for writing horror. My crime thriller screenplay, Ebenezer – an adaptation of Dicken's A Christmas Carol, with Scrooge as a hitman in the "Bleak House Syndicate" – placed highly in a handful of prestigious contests this past year. I'm pretty proud of that, although the accompanying novella hasn't fared so well.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. You don't have to be a scholar, but at least learn the basics of grammar and punctuation. (You can't be a carpenter without the proper tools.) Always be learning, both in your writing and the business side. Be prepared for plenty of failures and rejections. Find likeminded people, whether in person or on the internet. Play nice. But don't compromise with yourself.

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

It's where I started, and my refuge when publishers go under or cause me grief. In 2016, I created a small press, Shadow Work Publishing, to republish my first two books and the novels of a few fellow ex-Booktrope writers. I've helped put out a bunch of great books over the past few years, including the VS charity anthologies and even non-fiction (Chad A. Clark's Tracing the Trails, a huge book about Stephen King's writing career, co-published with Darker Worlds). Some recent successes for Shadow Work have been Chad Lutzke and John Boden's Out Behind the Barn, which was just nominated for a This Is Horror award, and VS:X (the second VS anthology), nominated for a Splatterpunk Award last year. One of our latest books, Palace of Ghosts by Thomas S. Flowers, has been getting some excellent word of mouth – I think it's a great book and I'm proud to have helped put it out into the world.

I do feel like there may be a glut of new writers who don't have the necessary tools when it comes to grammar, sentence structure, etc. – but I'm not going to fault them for giving it a go. It seems like even the trad pubs aren't immune to typos and grammatical errors these days anyway.

It does mean, however, that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get seen. This has always been a problem for indies, but it now seems to be the case for established writers as much as newbies.

What are your current projects?

I've just finished a large novel about ghosts, which may or may not lead to a series. I'm currently working a spiritual sequel to my "extreme horror" novella, Woom, and revising a novel in wrote in 2012 about some supernaturally endowed older women.

Also, I'm tinkering with screenplay adaptations of my first novel, Salvage (about a ghost town submerged beneath a manmade lake) and my novella Where the Monsters Live (about a father hunting a pedophile while living undercover in Miami's former sex offender colony, "Bookville").

For six free short stories/novellas and to get the latest updates, join his website: www.duncanralston.com

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Interview with David McGillivray

Ahead of Horror Channel’s premiere of Pete Walker’s SCHIZO, horror and sexploitation movie writer/director David McGillivray reflects on disastrous scripts, his volatile relationship with Walker and writing smut for Julian Clary

Q: SCHIZO is unusual in your body of work with director Pete Walker because the concept and narrative were not of your choosing. How much of a problem was that for you?

Huge. I thought the script that we re-worked was terribly old-fashioned and this led to big arguments with Walker that ended our relationship.

Q: You often play a cameo in the movies you’ve written – you’re ‘Man at Séance’ in SCHIZO. Any particular reason?

I liked to write myself parts so that I could observe Walker at work. He was an extremely talented exploitation director who influenced the remainder of my career. 

Q: SCHIZO exhibits many Hitchcockian references and Pete Walker cites Hitch as a hero. Is he for you too?

Yes, of course. Psycho is one of my favourite horror films. 

Q: You’ve written many films for many people in so many genres, but what’s your own personal favourite?

My first film for Pete Walker, House of Whipcord. It was very exciting because it was the kind of film I’d dreamed of writing.

Scene from SCHIZO

Q: Just prior to SCHIZO you wrote a pop opera in the ROCKY HORROR vein for Pete Walker titled SVENGALI based on George du Maurier’s Gothic melodrama. Do you regret that project being shelved?

No, it would have been a disaster. Walker realised this and cancelled it almost before I’d typed the final page of the script. 

Q: Your autobiography Little Did You Know is published in June. Rumour says it’s not your typical memoir though, so what’s it all about?

I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say that after its publication I will never work again.

Q: Your love/hate relationship with Pete Walker is common knowledge. Are there any more scandalous revelations about that in the book?

Oh yes…

Q: You write a lot of the material for comedian Julian Clary. How did that business relationship begin and is this the nearest you can get to the Golden Era of the British sexploitation film you so brilliantly essayed in your book Doing Rude Things? 

Writing smut for Julian Clary is my day job. I enjoy it immensely. I have written for him for something like 37 years. In Julian’s latest show, which tours the UK before playing the London Palladium on 8th June, unsuspecting audience members are subjected to so-called ‘Heterosexual Aversion Therapy.’ If you sit in the front row, you deserve all you get.

Q: You’ve announced your next film project is The Wrong People based on the novel by Robin Maugham. So you have no intention of retiring from the film industry just yet?

I love movies. I am fresh from a meeting with a director who bravely has chosen to take on this project. But In all likelihood it is so controversial that probably it will finish both our careers. If Little Did You Know hasn’t finished mine already. 

Q: Finally, SCHIZO receives its Horror Channel premiere on Sat April 27th. Will you be watching?

I’m pleased Horror Channel viewers will get the chance to see it, but will I be watching? Certainly not. I can’t bear to see my own work, which is all dreadful.

SCHIZO has its Channel premiere on Horror Channel, Sat 27, 10.40pm.

LITTLE DID YOU KNOW: THE CONFESSIONS OF DAVID McGILLIVRAY is published by FAB Press and it out from June 1.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Dark forces invade Horror Channel in May with alien invasion season

Dark forces arrive on Horror Channel in May when the UK’s most popular genre TV channel unleashes INVASION SEASON: a collection of Saturday night alien attack sci-fi movies. The line-up includes Chris Gorak’s Moscow-set apocalyptic fantasy, THE DARKEST HOUR, Colin Minihan’s wonderfully effective sci-fi shocker EXTRATERRESTRIAL, Scott Stewart’s compulsive alien home-invasion thriller DARK SKIES and the high velocity alien battler drama SKYLINE, directed by Greg and Colin Strause.

Full film details:

Sat 4 May @ 21:00 – THE DARKEST HOUR (2011) *Channel Premiere
Young entrepreneurs Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) find themselves stranded in Moscow, alongside fellow travellers Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachael Taylor), fighting to survive when an alien attack devastates the city. They must somehow fight back against a deadly invisible enemy that can find and disintegrate them at any moment.

Sat 11 May @ 21:00 – EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2014) * Channel Premiere
Still reeling from her parents' divorce, April (Brittany Allen) is dragged back to the vacation cabin she spent fond summers at as a child accompanied by a group of friends. Her trip down memory lane takes a dramatic and terrifying turn when a fireball descends from the sky and explodes in the nearby woods. The college friends soon find themselves caught in the middle of something bigger and more terrifying than they ever thought possible.

Sat 18 May @ 21:00 – DARK SKIES (2013) *Channel Premiere
The Barrett family start to experience an escalating series of disturbing phenomena occurring around their suburban home, leading them to believe that they are being targeted by an unimaginable deadly force. They soon realise that they must uncover this deadly mystery, by any means necessary, before it’s too late.

Sat 25 May @ 21:00 – SKYLINE (2010)
The residents of Los Angeles are awakened in the dead of night by an eerie light which is hypnotically drawing people outside before they suddenly vanish into thin air. As the world unravels, a band of survivors soon discover they must fight against the onslaught of a mysterious alien horde. Who or what are these extra-terrestrials and how long before mankind succumbs to their overwhelming power?

There is also the UK TV premiere for Roxy Shith’s blood-thirsty psychological thriller PAINKILLERS and channel premieres for pulp horror anthology, TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS, helmed by Freddie Francis and Neil LaBute’s horrifying racial drama LAKEVIEW TERRACE, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson,

Plus, the channel also premieres Paul W.S. Anderson’s RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION, with Milla Jovovich, returning as iconic heroine Alice.

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138

Website: http://www.horrorchannel.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/horrorchannel
Twitter: https://twitter.com/horror_channel

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Interview with Peter Stray - Director of Alien Party Crashers

John Carpenter and Joel Schumacher were big influences on Peter Stray’s script for Canaries, now being released in the US as ‘Alien Party Crashers’.

 I imagine you must be a real horror buff, sir – there’s some great nods in this!

Thank you for noticing! Hopefully there are homages without becoming fromages.   I watched a lot of John Carpenter prior to shooting, plus The Lost Boys definitely influenced the tone and look. Shooting in the Jaws locations was partly a nod and partly as I’m lucky enough to know people who live there, but we didn’t want to do anything like outright replicate shots.

When did your love of the genre begin – and was it through films, books, video-games?

Definitely film - I think early kid scares from Temple Of Doom, Arachnophobia and even The Goonies played a part in getting into light- hearted horror as a thrill-ride. Now I think about it, my / our generation got some content that kids nowadays would never be allowed to watch!

Did you always intend to make movies?

I trained as an actor but I was always fooling around with VHS video cameras and even learned to edit on the big VHS editing banks.

How much have the likes of George Romero and Stephen Herek influenced your own work?

They’re top filmmakers - Romero can’t not influence horror. But for inspiration, I looked more to John Carpenter, Joss Whedon or Katherine Bigelow honestly! And it’s not just horror directors - a lot of my character banter is inspired by writer directors like Hal Hartley - I recently showed him the film and he loved it!

How would you describe this movie? It’s definitely got the funnest ‘plot’ of a recent horror-sci-fi movie!

Thank you! I think a big part is that Wales is sort of an underdog in the UK and doesn’t get featured internationally “playing itself” very much - so I wanted to feature some great Welsh characters alongside Americans and Brits...

Could you imagine doing the movie without today’s effects?

I can but it would take longer! I met the legendary Douglas Trumbull recently and was really interested in the idea of doing a film w old fashioned model work, though I thought Milk VFX (oscar winners for Ex Machina) did a great job of realizing my UFO design

I imagine there’s been some real perks having a GAME OF THRONES star do the movie? What kind of doors did it open?

Pub doors!  - Seriously Robert Pugh is a legend. He was very generous with his time and has come to several screenings. And let’s not forget Kai Owen from Torchwood. All the cast in this are great and whether you know them or not, hopefully you will soon.

Is there a sequel planned?

Oh yes. Double yes. I’m interested in investors and we are talking to several people about this. I love these characters and will continue this in any format - including me drawing a “graphic novel” in crayon.

Get on iTunes now!

Buy on DVD from Amazon.com Here
Also on Digital from Amazon.com

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Interview with Michael Ventrella - By David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing?

Always. Even as a kid I was writing stories for my family. In High School, I started a humor magazine for the school and wrote a musical comedy the drama department worked on. I wrote for the college newspaper. I edited my law school newspaper. I started a magazine called “Animato” about animated films. I wrote for live action role-playing games and published gaming books and guides. And of course, as a lawyer, I write a lot of briefs and memos.

About a dozen years ago, I decided to finally write that book I’ve always wanted to write.  I was thrilled when a publisher bought it. A minor publisher, yes, but you have to start somewhere.

How did you get involved in fantasy?

I was an early Dungeons and Dragons player in college, having already been a fan of fantasy literature. (I’m so old that the game didn’t even get started until I was in college.) I was the DM most of the time, writing the adventures. Among my regular group were Mark Waid, who later went on to be one of the most successful comic book writers of our day, and Bud Webster, who had many stories published in various SF and fantasy magazines.

Then, in 1989, I helped start one of the first major fantasy live-action role-playing games out there. We’re still around; I have chapters all over the US and Canada.  (http://www.AllianceLARP.com)

Does your job as an attorney influence your writing?

Everything influences writing. As a lawyer, I have to be organized and meet deadlines so maybe he discipline I’ve gained from that has helped.

Tell us how you came up with the concept of a vampire politician.

I heard someone say “Those politicians are all a bunch of bloodsuckers!” and I thought “Hmmm…”

I was mostly interested in what it would be like for a politician to be able to charm anyone to do their bidding, so the book is much more about power and its abuses than it is your traditional vampire book. It’s a political thriller more than a horror thriller, but it also has a lot of humor. All my books do. I think humor is a part of life, and stories just aren’t real if people aren’t sometimes making jokes and doing stupid things that in retrospect are funny. Still, my books aren’t comedies. People die. Bad things happen.

Tell us about your collaboration with Jonathan Maberry. 

I met Jonathan just after my first novel came out and he was very encouraging and invited me to his monthly coffeehouse down near Philadelphia. It was about a 90 minute drive for me, but worth it. I learned so much from him about pacing and storytelling, and I took a few courses from him over the years. I’m so glad for his current success and jealous that he was able to move to sunny California, where he teases me with photos of the weather.

A few years ago, we were talking about Sherlock Holmes and I mentioned that I was starting work on an anthology of “what if” Sherlock stories:  What if Sherlock were an alien? Born in the middle ages?  A woman? A child? And so on. He was intrigued and asked to work with me on it, and who am I to say no to Jonathan? We’ve since had two anthologies of Sherlock stories published by Diversion books (“Baker Street Irregulars” and “The Game is Afoot”), and it’s also available in audio books at the following link - amazon.com)

Jonathan is also working with me on my latest project: A “what if” book about the Beatles. We’re using a kickstarter campaign and, as I write this, have about a week left. (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/667435382/across-the-universe-tales-of-alternative-beatles)

How would you classify the genre you write about?

I guess light-hearted adventure with reluctant every-day heroes. Closer to “Guardians of the Galaxy” than “Black Panther.”

But mostly I like breaking expectations.

My first two novels are young adult fantasy novels, which take the “hero with a prophecy” and turn it on its head. What if there was a great prophecy but the wrong guy is identified as the prophesized one? So in “Arch Enemies” and its sequel “The Axes of Evil” a young bard with no special skills has to figure out a way to solve the mysterious prophecies using only his wits while, of course, many people try to stop him and kill him to prevent him from doing so, unaware that he really isn’t “the one.” Can’t say more without huge spoilers.

“Bloodsuckers: A Vampire Runs for President” involves crazy conspiracy-minded people who claim that the presidential candidate is a vampire. No one takes them seriously, of course, including the main character, a reporter who likes the candidate’s politics. Then there’s an assassination attempt, and the reporter is framed for it and discovers the truth while being rescued by these same “conspiracy nuts.” The only way he can prove his innocence is by proving vampires exist, but that’s difficult when he’s public enemy #1 on the run while some of the vampires are trying to kill him.

My latest is “Big Stick” – a steampunk adventure featuring Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain. The main character is a black woman in 1898 America. I wanted someone who had real hardships to be accepted at the time but who could overcome the adversity to stop a national conspiracy to assassinate the president.

There are also a bunch of short stories, many of which feature the characters from the first two novels.

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

We all like to just imagine fun “what if” stories, don’t we? To believe in make-believe?  This also applies to superhero stories and science fiction.

And we sometimes all like to be scared and to know deep down that everything is actually fine, it’s just pretend.

What inspires your stories?

Oh, what doesn’t?  I’m always interested in political struggles, whether in a fantasy world, the modern day, or in Teddy’s time. Who has power, who doesn’t, and how people use their power to keep it. 

But mostly, I just think “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

What are your favorite monsters?

Do politicians count?

What are your favorite horror and fantasy books?

I’m more a fantasy person than a horror person … I prefer a good thriller to a horror story if you get the difference.

My favorite fantasy writers include David Eddings, Tad Williams, Jody Lynn Nye, and George R.R. Martin (who hit me with a stick jokingly when I predicted the “Hodor” plotline. Seriously, read about it here:  https://ventrellaquest.com/2016/05/24/hodor/)

As for thrillers, no one beats Jonathan Maberry. Seriously, I’m not sucking up. I have lots of writer friends, but he’s one whose books I grab as soon as they’re released and read instantly.

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

I am not in the slightest bit interested in what I’d call “violence porn.”  A good suspense is better. You know – The Shining, Alien, The Thing, Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead … and, since I like humor as well, Shaun of the Dead.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

As an editor of short-story anthologies, I’ve been able to work with authors I’ve always loved and read: Spider Robinson, David Gerrold, Jonathan Maberry, Jody Lynn Nye, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Allen Steele, Steve Miller, Sharon Lee, Keith DeCandido, Gail Z. Martin …

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Lots. Too much to list here. My blog is full of stuff I’ve learned along the way (which is why it’s called “Learn from My Mistakes”). Go to the blog and scroll down the right side for “Mike’s Comments.”  https://michaelaventrella.com

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

It depends.  If you are hiring professionals to edit your work, design the covers, and otherwise make it look and read like a book coming from one of the major publishers, then more power to you.

Too often though, new writers get all excited about their first book and self-publish it and then wonder why it doesn’t sell well.

It’s so hard to look at your own work objectively. Everyone thinks their children are prettier and smarter than everyone else’s. Trust me on this – I wrote stuff years ago (before self-publishing was really a thing) and sent it off to various magazines and agents and got a bunch of rejection letters. Looking back on what I wrote then, I see that it deserved to get rejected, but I wasn’t experienced enough to realize that. I’m so glad I didn’t have the opportunity to self-publish it and embarrass myself and possibly taint any future work I would do.

Writing is like playing an instrument or learning a sport or learning to sculpt. You’re going to suck at first. You get better the more you write. Be patient and work hard and then send your work out to see who likes it. If no one wants to buy it and publish it, then maybe they’re telling you something. Maybe you shouldn’t publish it, either. Keep writing. You’ll get better.

What are your current projects?

1. The Beatles anthology called “Across the Universe” (mentioned above)
2. A sequel to the non-fiction book I wrote about the Monkees’ music (seriously). Hey, it sold pretty well, and the publisher wants one on their solo careers.
3. A non-fiction book called “How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative” with illustrations from Washington Post editorial cartoonist Darrin Bell. Should be out within a few months; still in the editing stage.
4. A sequel to “Big Stick” where Teddy gets involved in the Spanish-American War, but it’s not about what you think it’s about
5. A new shared world anthology that I’m working on with a noted fantasy author. Can’t reveal details yet.

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

I love it when readers tell me they couldn’t put my book down and were surprised by the twists and turns. I try so hard not to have predictable characters and plotlines, and that pleases me the most. I also like it when people tell me that at various points, they were scared shitless or literally laughed out loud.

On my web page, you can read reviews of all my books, read interviews I have done with other authors, and read my advice columns for new writers. https://michaelaventrella.com

Friend me on Facebook and Twitter for more, but stay away if you hate puns or liberal politics!

Competition: Win Leprechaun + Leprechaun Returns on DVD

Leprechaun + Leprechaun Returns are released on DVD 1st April in a double pack.

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies on DVD to give away.

Horror’s smallest terror is back to reclaim the treasure that’s been lost for 25 years in LEPRECHAUN RETURNS. With Mark Holton reprising his role from the cult-classic LEPRECHAUN (1993), this deadly, wisecracking franchise is back in all its gory glory and now available in a new double DVD pack with the original movie LEPRECHAUN from 1st April.

When the sorority sisters of the Alpha Upsilon house decide to go green and use an old well astheir water source they unwittingly awaken a pint-sized, green-clad monster. The Leprechaun wants a pot of gold buried near the sorority house, but first he must recover his powers with a killing spree—and only the girls of AU can stop him…

This brand new outing from the classic franchise will be available on DVD in a new double pack with the original movie LEPRECHAUN. Go back to where it all began… J.D. Beding and her daughter Tory (Jennifer Aniston) take a break at a summer house which is unfortunately located on the site of an evil leprechaun's stolen gold - and the leprechaun will stop at nothing to get it back! J.D., Tory and local boys Nathan, Alex and Ozzie team up to prevent the leprechaun's trail of magic and murder as he tries to drive them away from his treasure.

Click here to buy from Amazon (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who directs Leprechaun Returns?

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

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 08-04-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Monday, 18 March 2019

FRIGHT NIGHT and THE FINAL GIRLS leads Horror Channel's April line-up

Coming up in April, Horror Channel premieres two playfully affecting horror comedies that both pack a mighty punch.

Todd Strauss-Schulson’s entertainingly subversive slasher fantasy THE FINAL GIRLS, receives its UK TV premiere on Fri 19th April, 9pm, whilst Tom Holland’s voracious vampire classic FRIGHT NIGHT will get its Channel premiere on Sat 13th April, 9pm.

Also, on Friday 12th April, 9pm, there is a TV first for Takashi Shimizu’s turbulence-driven supernatural thriller FLIGHT 7500, starring Amy Smart and Ryan Kwanten.

Plus, In an petrifying scare-packed month, there are channel premieres for Peter Dukes’ solve-or-die horror ESCAPE ROOM (Friday 5th April, 9pm), Colin McCarthy’s darkly murderous OUTCAST starring James Nesbitt (Sat 6th April, 9pm), James Watkins’ spine-chilling remake THE WOMAN IN BLACK, starring Daniel Radcliffe (Sat 20th April, 9pm), Kim Henkel’s twisted sequel TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION, starring Matthew McConaughey and Renée Zellweger (Sat 26th April, 10.35pm),  and Pete Walker’s cult psycho-shocker SCHIZO ((Sat 27th April, 9pm),

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138

Competition: Win Next of Kin on Blu-ray

Next of Kin from Tony Williams arrives for the first time on UK Blu-ray + download and on-demand on 25 March 2019

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 2 copies on Blu-ray to give away.

Directed by Tony Williams this 1982 Ozploitation classic stars Wolf Creek’s John Jarratt alongside Jackie Kerin and Robert Ratti and gets the high-def treatment complete with extensive special features including director and cast commentaries, Not Quite Hollywood extended interview and commentary from its director Mark Hartley, interviews from the documentary and two short films from Tony Williams. The film is set for release on 25 March 2019.

Linda Stevens has just inherited Montclare, a retirement home left to her by her late mother. When she finds a diary belonging to her mother, she discovers tales of strange goings in within the old mansion – taps turning themselves on and off, candles lighting and mysterious voices in the night. When history begins to repeat itself Linda’s nightmares are just the beginning. Montclare hides a dark secret and Linda is in mortal danger, can she unlock the mystery before it’s too late?

Click here to buy from Amazon (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Who directs Next of Kin?

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

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 01-04-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Interview with Minty Comedic Arts by David Kempf

When did you first become interested in writing and movie analysis? 

From a very young age I’ve always loved writing stories, I loved making up characters and wacky situations, when I was 8 at school I created a character called ‘Ninja Duck’ who of course was a crime fighting duck who used ninjutsu, hey it was the time of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I first discovered I liked analyzing movies at 10, and it’s not so much I liked it but something that naturally happened to me. All the other kids at school were talking about a movie called ‘Ace Ventura Pet Detective’ and how funny it was and re-enacting scenes and saying lines from the movie and I hadn’t seen it. I wanted to join in and asked my parents to rent it for me from the video store, and this is controversial but after watching it I felt outraged, I just felt what I had seen just wasn’t funny. It was obnoxious, and I was sitting on my bed in my bed room and my brain was reviewing the movie and calculating what it was exactly about the movie I didn’t like, and why it didn’t work for me. What redeeming features it had, how good was it from a film making perspective and yes without knowing it I had written my first review, only it was in my head. Apologies to those who love Ace Ventura.

How did you get interested in watching Fantasy/ Horror? 

I’ve always loved fantasy movies from as early as I can remember, even as a toddler I can remember watching VHS tapes of movies that my parents had taped off the TV like Ghostbusters, Goonies, Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies. I loved them but the one tape that stood out to me from the bunch and got me completely consumed with love of fantasy and movies in general was Superman III (yes I know it’s not the most popular one of the bunch but I was a kid). I was just so intrigued by the idea that Superman can be two people and how he can go from Clark Kent to Superman and be the same guy but so completely different, looking at it from the perspective of an adult it’s a credit to the talents of Christopher Reeve. As for horror well this is more interesting, when I was about five I walked passed the living room at the family home in England and saw my eldest sister. She would have been a teenager at the time sitting on the couch all by herself watching a movie. I walked in and saw a shark fin on the TV screen, my parents ran in and carried me out and said I was not to watch the movie, it was a movie called ‘Jaws’ and children aren’t allowed to watch it or they will get in trouble. My parents then walked away thinking they had deterred me but I snuck back in the room and hid behind the couch my sister was sitting on and looked up at the TV screen. When I looked up it was the moment when ‘Jaws’ attacks the beach and the very moment I looked up was the shot of the man’s severed leg sinking to the sea bed. That right there was my introduction to horror; I had never seen anything like it before, it had the most profound effect on me. I was terrified but needed to see more, I gave a scream, my parents came back in the living room and told me that if I watch the film Jaws will come after me and eat me, and no joke for about a month I was scared of having a bath and sinks and taps in general out of fear Jaws was going to come out of them and get me, but it was that fear that was part of the joy of it all if that makes sense?

Is this a full time job?

No I wouldn’t say so, it takes a lot of my time and I enjoy it greatly because I love sharing my thoughts and perspectives of movies and I love the ability to communicate with people as communicating with people in real life is something I really struggle with . So it’s nice that YouTube has allowed me that platform of communication but I have other creative ventures that also takes my time that I’m trying to get off the ground. I do lots of photography and love taking pictures of natural settings/ landscapes and city graffiti or as I call it Street Art, depending on if it’s not crap and not just a squiggle. I also make a lot of graphic design artwork, which I’ve been doing for a very long time, way before the videos, and that is also another venture I’m trying to explore. For me never having a moment when I’m not being creative or making something isn’t really an option as I feel like I always have to be doing something.

How would you Classify the genre you most enjoy watching? 

Well the genre I enjoy the most is those crazy feel good 80’s movies which I think most people tend to like, you know movies like ‘Back to the future’, ‘Gremlins’, ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Teen Wolf’,’ Bill and Ted’, etc. I think that in the 80’s there was a boom in fantastical movies that were outlandish, very pop (for their time) and were designed to make you feel good and happy and optimistic, and I guess this was a retaliation to the 70’s when cinema was very dark and gloomy. So that’s how I would classify the genre, it’s like pop candy, very high in sugar with hyper-activeness, very sweet, looks and tastes good and is so addictive people even now are trying to replicate the recipe.

Why do you think Horror and Fantasy books remain so popular?

Because ever since the dawn of our existence we have loved telling stories and passing tales on to our young, from illustrations on the walls of caves from many thousands of years ago, to the creation of theater, to people sitting around the camp fire sharing tales and stories. We love to get enthralled into a landscape of make believe and tales that aren’t a reflection of our own lives but ones we can observe and psychologically live through. I think books for hundreds of years have been the main gateway to access this story telling phenomena to the stage where it’s naturally part of our day to day life routines, like car keys and bathrooms. And why horror and fantasy? Because people love getting a kick out of the unexplained, unfathomable, and terror, that’s why we go on scary rides at carnivals. I think there is something very healthy and positive about reading horror and fantasy books and am sure it will continue.

What inspires you the most about movies?

It would have to be the creativity, the fact that what you are watching has come from someone’s mind, the fact that someone wrote the story and that people crafted whatever particular movie you may be watching, made the sets, created the effects etc. I guess I really appreciate movies as modern art forms. Just look at The Shining, the whole movie is one walking talking masterpiece of art, so much, so that nearly 40 years later we still can’t seem to figure out exactly what the movie is about and are still trying to decipher the damn film. I love that power that movies have that they can bring that passion out in people and can motivate and inspire people. So to sum it up with a simple sentence the fact that movies tend to have very positive impacts on people’s lives and I guess become a part of their lives

What do you think the difference between American Horror and British Horror movies are? 

Well to me I think English horror tends to be very old school, take the Hammer horror movies for example, they had creepy haunted castles, lightening in the background, accents raging from posh to cockney, usually set in the 1800’s. I guess this was a trend set by Dracula and other such tales that ensued but that’s just a guess. Then along came three important Americans that actually changed and modernized the horror landscape, those being Stephen King who thanks to Salem’s Lot, took the vampires out of Transylvania and put them in a modern American setting. Stanley Kubrick who took the creepy ghosts in the old haunted house full of cob webs and bones and put the ghosts in a modern hotel in his Shining movie and of course Steven Spielberg who created the modern suburban ghost story with Poltergeist. So I think with America it’s all about putting the horror in the here and now. I think even modern British horror films have an old school feel about them in terms of presentation for example ‘Caliber’ or ‘Dog Soldiers’, whereas American ones do tend to feel more polished and modern. Also I think American horror does tend to be more ground breaking and pushes boundaries after all look at Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wes Cravens Nightmare on Elm Street, a new age of provoking horror which lead to the video nasty censorship in Britain in the 80's. Sadly, here in Australia we don’t really have a large selection of horror movies. I think the one that is most recognizable and the one that everyone asks me to talk about is ‘Wolf Creek’ which I think was made as a retaliation of the real life shock and fear created by what was known as ‘The Backpacker Murders’ which took place in Australia in the early 90's. Once again, that’s speculation though.

What are your favorite horror books?

Ah great question, now this is kind of cheating but I just love, and I mean love love love love love the 1950’s horror comics, you know the Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror and all that lot. I often visit a comic book store in Melbourne and buy a heap of graphic novels that are comprised of several issues of these comics, and each time I read a different story it never fails to leave me either shocked, or appalled (in a good way). I love the inventiveness and imagination, and the stories weren’t just about being gross and horrific just for the sake of it. They often had lessons in them about not being selfish or greedy, be kind and caring to others, always be honest, and never be deceitful. They were basically telling readers not to be an asshole and that life is better if you’re a decent human being and if you’re cruel to others then that cruelty you inflict on others will come back ten folds upon you, yea they could get pretty grim. That’s the power of storytelling, a story that can leave you with so many emotions and thoughts and feelings. One story that deeply affected me with these comics was the tale of an old man who wore a top hat who spent his life and a park bench challenging passers-by to a game of chess and each game without fail he would win. The word of his Chess genius ways spread and an organization wanted to hold an event to show case the old man’s Chess playing abilities, but he kept refusing and didn’t want the attention. He just wanted to live a quiet life playing Chess on his park bench and he was basically bullied into it, and at the start of the event the anthem started to play and the old man didn’t want to take his top hat off and people were giving him looks.  so instead of taking it off, he shot himself in the head with a gun he had in his pocket and it turned out underneath the top hat was like a joined twin double head on top of his own head. The story made me so sad, because he just wanted a simple life and didn’t want people to know his secret and because he was forced into this situation he felt he had no way out. I told the man at the comic book store how I felt about that story and he said “yes but isn’t it good that that one single story made you feel all those emotions.”

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

My favorite horror movie of all time is Poltergeist, I saw it for the first time when I was 13, it scared the hell out of me, and there are certain things about the movie I have really come to appreciate about it more in my adult life, namely the Jerry Goldsmith score. I mentioned it in a previous video but what it is about Poltergeist is its power, for example in the scene where Carroll Anne gets pulled into the other side through her closet Goldsmiths music is so epic. It’s almost Biblical and God like, its displaying that something beyond our compression and real of understanding is happening in this otherwise mundane suburban home, that really intrigues me and creeps me out. It’s actually my dream to go to America and visit the poltergeist house and film an episode of me standing out the front of it, I don’t maybe a 10 best Haunted Houses in movies list. My other two most favorite horror movies of all time is The Shining and An American Werewolf in London.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? 

Earning my Silver Play button on YouTube. All my life I’ve never won an award or trophy or certificate or anything saying “job well done.” I struggle with certain things due to being on the autism spectrum and having certain learning disabilities, I was always told by teachers and doctors that I won’t really amount to anything and no joke at Parent teacher Interviews events at school (which is when parents meet up with teachers to talk about the child’s progress). The teachers would often flat out tell my parents I was “dumb”, hey, it as the 90’s a completely different time. So it’s nice to have this special unique thing that actually acknowledged that I’ve achieved something and done a good job. I hate to give a Hallmark Card answer but I hope that my other great accomplishment is being a good son/ brother/ uncle, special shout out to my dear sweet sister Beckie.

Do you have any advice for new writers? 

I don’t think I’m in a position to be handing out advice as I’m only a YouTuber with 160k subs. So I’m no ‘Pewdie Pie’ but if I was, I would say you just need to engulf yourself with a ridiculous amount of determination and set out knowing you will be the best that you can be no matter how much others may put you down for it. Each time you have a setback use it as a motivation to keep going and to do better, but above all enjoy yourself, if you’re not having fun then what’s the point? Fill what you do with your own love and passion.

What is your opinion on current YouTubers? 

Ah man I love YouTube and there are some channels that I adore, yes I do like the movie and review related ones. I’ve always adored The Angry Video Game Nerd, I can still remember seeing his ‘Back to the Future’ review for the first time and it changed my life and made me discover this strange world of online video reviews. I really enjoy ‘Oliver Harper's Retrospective Reviews’ and I’m glad I discovered his channel. It showed me and I think others in the YouTube video review community that movie reviews don’t have to be the comical screamy shouty sketches like you would get from the Nerd and the Critic. I really liked how he uses an almost documentary style, I every now and then chat with Harper and consider him a friend and I know he’s working on a documentary at the moment so best of luck to him. I also love videos that aren’t anything to do with movies, I love ‘Exploring with Josh’, who is this young lad with an almost Vanilla Ice hair doo who goes to abandoned places and just looks around, he’s even been to Chernobyl which is amazing. There’s an Australian channel called ‘How Ridiculous’ which is basically three very funny guys dropping things from great heights, and I love it. I think there are many wonderful and talented people on YouTube and I’m thankful the YouTube platform is there so I can see these peoples content and what they have to offer the world.

What are your current Projects? 

Well basically just being a decent person and ready to lend a hand where I can, I plan to keep making videos, trying different kind of videos here and there and I like to keep things fresh by out of nowhere reviewing a movie no one would have ever thought I would do. Every day I get at least 30 requests of movies to look into which is really nice because it’s nice to know what I’m doing is having a positive effect on people, so please keep them requests coming. I’m thinking about starting an art show with some of my artwork and calling it ‘Expectations’ or some artsy title like that which will make me look unique and intelligent when in reality I don’t really know what I’m doing, jokes aside I just hope people will enjoy my art pieces. And I hope to continue to learn more about photography and perfect the craft of it, but I think photography is something of a side project for me, if anything more of a hobby.

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

Minty Comedic Arts is (hopefully) a fun positive place and experience where all are welcome where lovers of pop culture can get together and celebrate movies (and pop culture in general). I like to think I have a unique take on movies and love to share my thoughts and opinions on them by unearthing information I have found out about them. In order to get more understanding about said movies so we can maybe get an inside into their creative processes, if anything explore a movies DNA, after all movies are kind of like time capsules of the time they were made in so maybe we can learn more about the world at that time in general. I like to mainly focus on movies that I feel have been over looked over the years. I want people to watch these underrated films and, to give them a fair go. I think there are movies out there that have been shrugged off as being no good as they didn’t make much money in the box office or no one understood them at the time. It could also be because they came out at the same time as bigger franchise movies, I like to get those movies (and put them on public display) and show that they do have merit. Above all I hope I make people happy. I know I just talk about Pop Culture but I know how tough the real world is. My message is a simple one, no matter how tough things get, no matter how sad your heart may feel at times, no matter those tears that roll down your face, just remember this one thing, everything will be ok, the best is still to come.

Check out the Youtube page

10 Amazing Facts About SwampThing by Minty Comedic Arts 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Competition: Win Possum on DVD

Possum is released on 4th of March on DVD and Blu-ray

And to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 DVDs to give away.

Possum is a stylish, unique, dark and twisted tale from writer/director Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, A Gun For George, The Snipist) following the story of a disgraced children's puppeteer who returns to his childhood home and is forced to confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets that have tortured him his entire life. The film features compelling performances from Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Prometheus) and Alun Armstrong (Krull, The Duellists, Sleepy Hollow) and original music by the Radiophonic Workshop.

POSSUM is the debut feature film from writer/director Matthew Holness, co-creator and writer/star of the cult TV series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace.  Starring Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible, Southcliffe) and Alun Armstrong (Frontier, Get Carter)

Click here to buy from Amazon (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.

Competition Closed

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 18-03-19
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Interview with Perry Blackshear, director of The Rusalka

Ahead of the UK premiere of THE RUSALKA at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019, director Perry Blackwater tells us about the joys of collaboration, his love of fairy tales and finding romance in horror.

Can you give us some fun facts about your background and why you wanted to direct?

Our family got a little webcam when I was I think 11. It could record at about 5 frames per second, and it had a 6-foot cord from the computer so your camera setup options were pretty limited. And I just loved it so much. I made probably hundreds of minor epics in that one room. I think my most infamous was about a toy panther who defeats a trio of evil triceratops. My parents still believe it’s my best work.

How did you gather together your repertory company of producers/actors Evan Dumouchel, MacLeod Andrews, and Margaret Ying Drake, the trio also involved in THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE as well as THE RUSALKA?

We made They Look Like People with just what we could save up from our jobs, it was a very intimate operation. But we promised ourselves we would be proud of what we made, and proud of how we did it. Our team really fell in love with each other as collaborators, and it was always in my mind that I would write another movie and we would produce it together. They Look Like People was still doing the festival circuit, but we were hungry to keep making work that we cared about with people we really liked.

You described THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE as a psycho bromance about love, friendship, and nightmares.  What’s your log-line for THE RUSALKA?

Oh God, did I describe it as a psycho bromance!? Haha well, I suppose that’s not a million miles off. Going off my previous template, then, The Rusalka is a supernatural romance about love, murder, and a water demon. Someone called it Let The Right One In by way of the French New Wave, which made me smile.

Your choice of THE RUSALKA as your follow-up feature comes from your love of pagan European fairy tales. Can you explain some more?

I grew up obsessed with myth and fairy tales, and Slavic mythology has always been especially dark and mysterious to me. The Rusalka seemed like such a perfect character and something I hadn’t seen before in a feature film. She’s someone cursed to hurt people forever, but it’s not her fault. In fact, she’s only in this position because someone betrayed her.

There are three years between the movies, what were you doing during that time, especially when you say you write very quickly?

Haha, I was working full time, unfortunately. I also wrote and directed another movie! I was editing the two simultaneously for a while, which I am first to admit is not 100% ideal…

You’ve said your directing inspirations are Paul Thomas Anderson and Ingmar Bergman, both easily discernible in your work so far?

I really admired PT Anderson, especially when I was in college because he would write for his actors, he was so actor-centric. It seemed like he loved to make movies with a small group of rotating collaborators, friends and good colleagues. As far as Ingmar Bergman, I am always startled by his emotional intelligence and the depth of his understanding. Through A Glass Darkly is one of my favorite films. But what really sold me on him and his process was one behind the scenes clip I saw of Winter’s Light, where there was rattling on the audio. And the footage is of the entire crew, including the actors, trying to figure it out all helping each other, all being jovial, building something together. The cast and crew were small, maybe twelve people. What a dream.

THE RUSALKA couldn’t be further from THE LITTLE MERMAID fables of old, or even SPLASH – you deliberately go for the harder mythic aspects, hurting the person you love not because you have to, but because you want to?

What I loved specifically about the Rusalka myth was this idea that it was similar, and yet distinct from Vampires. A vampire drinks your blood because if it doesn't it will die. A vampire NEEDS to kill you. A Rusalka just REALLY WANTS to kill you. So you get the opportunity to watch that struggle. She is divinely compelled. I thought, what a wonderful way to talk about love, co-dependency, addiction, obsession, it was just so rich. Can she fight who she is? If she can’t, what does that mean?

Why did you make Evan’s character Tom mute? Did he find that difficult to play?

In the original story of The Little Mermaid and many of the old tales that share similar DNA to The Rusalka, the mermaid/Rusalka/spirit is often mute. I wanted to reverse this, to put a new spin on a fairy tale. Evan was amazing, in the dialogue I didn’t write the hand gestures or how he would communicate, I just wrote the dialogue in and he figured it out! It’s always difficult to play characters whose lives fall outside of your own personal experience, but Evan quickly found Tom’s emotional core, and then he just knocked it out of the park.

Interesting that both Evan and MacLeod play similar characters to their roles in THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE?

It’s funny you should say that as I think they were actually quite different! For example, I would say Christian was a skinny loser who went crazy aggro and became a beefcake because of all sort of insecurities about himself and his manhood. Tom is a religious innocent who has shut himself off from life because of a childhood accident. Wyatt was a caretaker, a medic who lost his adulthood to a failed relationship while developing a mental illness, his fundamental drive is to help and protect others but his mind and history stand in his way. Al is a methodical man consumed by grief and anger, to the point where he barely knows who he is. I do think, however, that the intimacy of our sets and the fact that I write for these actors does mean that while many things shift, certain personality traits can carry over in some way. There may be more parallels than even I realize. And they certainly look pretty similar!

You’ve just completed your third movie, which you say is a brother/sister supernatural tale. Any more details?

Hmmm, it is very mysterious, this is true! I can confirm it is a brother-sister story, and it is supernatural. And it is the siblings against a demon, on the streets of New York at night. And it’s very dark.

THE RUSALKA is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 2 March, 10.45am, as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019.  Perry Blackshear will be attending.

The film will be released as THE SIREN, courtesy of FrightFest Presents, on May 20, 2019.