Wednesday 30 October 2019

Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis - Director of Swallow

Ahead of the UK premiere of SWALLOW at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his debut feature, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the horror genre.

SWALLOW is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?

Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say “script is coin of the realm”. The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out.

The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I asked my colleague who the best independent producers in the business were, and she said, “Mollye Asher and Mynette Louie, but you’ll never get them”.

I watched their films and was floored by how incredible they all were. As luck would have it, both Mollye and Mynette decided to work on the film. Amazing, inspiring, driven producers like Mollye and Mynette will support your vision, collaborate with you, and fight passionately to bring that vision to the world. Once we had the finished script and our team, we brought on an amazing casting director, Allison Twardziak, and we cast the lead roles of the film. We were incredibly lucky to have the brilliant Haley Bennett come on board as Hunter, and once she joined the production, along with the marvellous Austin Stowell, I knew we had a powerful film on our hands.

Raising the money was a bit of a challenge in the United States because independent film studios often don’t want to take a chance on a first-time director. Through Sundance Catalyst, we raised some money in the United States, but the bulk of the financing came from France, from our incredible investors Charades and Logical who took a chance on an unusual script, and I’m so glad they did, because they were absolutely wonderful to work with.

Haley Bennett is outstanding in the film as Hunter. How did you cast her?

We were so incredibly fortunate Haley Bennett accepted our offer to play the role of Hunter. She’s a profoundly brilliant actor, collaborator, and artist who delivers a tour-de-force performance in the movie. I’d seen Haley in Girl on a Train and was deeply impressed, so we made an offer and thankfully she accepted. Haley has a remarkable ability to evoke different layers of emotion simultaneously. She wears many masks throughout the film, layered on top of each other and she can convey all those layers of emotion, all those masks, simultaneously in just the twitch of her eye or the way Hunter fixes her hair. Haley was also an executive producer on the film and very devoted to the project. I got so incredibly fortunate that someone as committed, empathic, and imaginative as her brought Hunter to life with such specificity, authenticity, and heart.

Hayley Bennett in SWALLOW

Haley’s character suffers from a condition called Pica, an eating disorder that involves swallowing progressively dangerous non-food objects. What drew your attention to that particular illness?

I remember seeing a photo of all the contents removed from the stomach of a patient with pica, all these objects spread out like an archaeological dig. I wanted to know what drew the patient to those artifacts. It seemed like something mystical, almost like a holy communion, and I wanted to know more. I got in touch with the world‘s leading expert on pica, Doctor Rachel Bryant-Waugh, and she was kind enough to read the script and be a consultant on our film. Although pica is a relatively obscure condition, I felt it could be representative of any rituals of control, any reaction to a difficult situation, any obsessive behavior, and therefore, universal.

The film revolves around issues of control, repression and identity. How autobiographical is the story?

The film was inspired by my grandmother, Edith Mirabella, a homemaker in the 1950s in an unhappy marriage who developed various rituals of control. She was an obsessive handwasher who would go through four bars of soap a day and twelve bottles of sanitizing alcohol a week. I think she was looking for order in a life she felt increasingly powerless in. My grandfather at the behest of the doctors, put her into a mental institution where she received electroshock therapy, insulin shock therapy, and a non-consensual lobotomy which resulted in the loss of her sense of taste and smell. I always felt there was something punitive about how my grandmother was treated, that she was being punished for not living up to society’s expectations of what they felt a wife and a mother should be. I wanted to make the movie to show my grandmother, wherever she is, that her suffering did not go unnoticed. So much suffering goes unnoticed in our world today, and I think through the power of cinema we can increase empathy, fight prejudice, and heal psychological wounds. 

SWALLOW is beautifully shot, creating a sharp, clinical edge that makes the luxurious world Hunter inhabits somehow fraught with danger. Tell us how you approached the design and look of the film?

So thrilled you feel that way! I was extremely fortunate to have an incredible, imaginative, devoted design team. Our visionary cinematographer, Kate Arizmendi, our inspired production designer, Erin Magill, and our amazing costume designer, Liene Dobraja, evoked Hunter’s world with such detail and subtext. In order to Illustrate Hunter’s psychological movement, Kate and I developed a rigid visual vernacular, a strict set of camera direction rules that we broke at key emotional moments. Kate had the idea to shoot the film with Master Prime lenses because, as she put it, “Pica is all about textures”, and the Master Primes allowed her to illustrate the textures of Hunter’s world in mystical detail. In a film that’s all about little objects and the tyranny of environments, Erin Magill brought such specificity of space and vibrant color to Hunter’s world. And Liene, who is so good with expressing the characters’ inner cosmology through what they wear, created a wonderful wardrobe journey for Hunter. We wanted Swallow to take place in a stylized world that became more and more realistic as the film progressed in order to reflect Hunter’s growing psychological clarity. Like a perfect pane of glass with a crack slowly forming in it.

Research has shown that more children are swallowing objects than ever before and that adult cases are on the rise too. Why do you think that is?

Interesting question. We are living in a world that is becoming increasingly chaotic and because of that, I think rituals of control are on the rise.

While I’m not a mental health professional, I believe OCD, eating disorders, cutting, all these rituals of control can often be related to past trauma or situations that people feel powerless in. We very much consider Swallow to be a feminist film, and in America, there’s no denying that a certain kind of old-world patriarchy has become newly emboldened.

With the Trump presidency, we’ve seen a reinforcing of patriarchal paradigms, a silencing of dissenting voices, and a rollback of reproductive rights.

We are also fortunate to be living in a time where there are many powerful new voices and activists fighting back; more films directed by female filmmakers, and more films with female main characters that explore these issues. I hope Swallow is one of those voices of change, and I hope it raises awareness and makes people feel seen and less alone.

Do you think horror films can help us deal with and understand troubling and mentally-challenging issues?

I do. Fear is the oldest emotion, the first emotion. To paraphrase Rainer Werner Fassbinder, “Fear eats the soul”. I think horror movies are a powerful tool which allows viewers to manifest their fears in a safe environment, a communal environment. Once those fears are manifested on the crucible of the screen, they can be experienced and processed in a way that facilitates catharsis for the viewer, providing a greater understanding of what they’re frightened of and why. Once we understand our fears and what drives them, we can emancipate ourselves from a cycle of terror and anxiety. We are fortunate to be in a new renaissance of horror with incredible, personal, socially relevant films like Get Out, Babadook, and Hereditary. Because horror is a genre that is inherently extreme and uncomfortable, I do agree that horror has the hardwired capacity to take on challenging topics. As a lifelong horror fan, I truly believe that powerful, thoughtful horror movies can change the world for the better.

Do you have an affinity to the genre?

Yes! I’ve been horror fan my entire life. When I was six years old, I begged my parents to rent a horror movie for my birthday, and they obliged with a delightful screening of The Blob. Swallow has many little horror film references within it. For example, when Hunter puts the red gels on the window, another Erin Magill innovation, it’s a direct homage to the glorious colors in Argento’s 1977 Suspiria. My fantastic, passionate, inspiring editor, Joe Murphy, and I, bonded over our mutual love of unusual, obscure, art horror films.

Finally, we hear your next film is going to be a supernatural horror. Can you reveal a few details?

I’m working on a feminist supernatural horror movie, among other scripts, but I can’t reveal the contents at this time.

SWALLOW is screening at 6.15pm at Cineworld, Leicester Sq. on Sat 2 Nov, as part of the Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween all-dayer.

Monday 28 October 2019

Competition: Win Prey on DVD

Prey  is out on DVD on 4th of November! 

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

Prey is a mysterious and gory chiller from horror powerhouse Blumhouse Productions the team behind Get Out, Us, The Purge, Sinister and Insidious.

Toby (Logan Miller; Love, Simon), a high school senior struggling with behavioural problems, is placed on an uninhabited island in order to improve his ways. However, despite being told he is in isolation, he soon realizes he is not alone, teaming up with Madeleine (Kristine Froseth; Apostle), as they are pursued by a deadly entity.

Reminiscent of cult hits Donnie Darko and Lost - is a mind-bending and disturbing new shocker. Prey for your life!

Starring Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth and Joelene Anderson. Directed by horror maestro Franck Khalfoun (Maniac, P2).

Signature Entertainment presents Prey on Digital HD 28th October & DVD 4th November, 2019

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 11-11-19
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.

Competition: Win The Invitation on Blu-ray starring Logan Marshall-Greem

The Invitation is out on Blu-ray on 4th of November! 

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

From acclaimed director Karyn Kusama (Girl Fight, Jennifer’s Body, Destroyer) comes taut psychological thriller The Invitation, which premiered to great acclaim at London Film Festival and now gets a Blu-ray release, complete with a slew on special features from Second Sight on 4 November 2019.

Reluctantly accepting a dinner party invitation from his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard – Into the Woods) at the house they once shared, Will (Logan Marshall-Green – Spider-Man: Homecoming, Prometheus) and his new partner Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi – Roots, Ballers) gather with old friends to toast new beginnings.

But Will and his ex-wife share a tragic past, and as paranoia mounts and tensions build, he begins to wonder what is real and what is imagined. As the claustrophobic evening grows increasingly sinister, Will starts to realise the lives of everyone he loves might be in danger…will they make it through the night?

Buy from Amazon by clicking here (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win just answer the question below.


Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 11-11-19
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.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

SINISTER, TERRIFIER & TOWER BLOCK amongst Horror Channel premieres in November.

Psycho clowns, demented dolls and deadly snipers…Horror Channel is big on scares in November with eleven Channel premieres including murderous supernatural chiller SINISTER, starring Ethan Hawke, Damien Leone’s screamingly shocking TERRIFIER and the riveting urban thriller TOWER BLOCK, starring Sheridan Smith and Jack O’Connell.

There are also Channel premieres for two popular instalments of the Chucky franchise, CHILD’S PLAY 2 and CHILD’S PLAY 3. John Carpenter’s dazzling fantasy STARMAN, starring Jeff Bridges, two spooky black comedy classics - Peter Jackson’s THE FRIGHTENERS and Joe Dante’s THE BURBS, and the even more eerie John Carpenter remake of VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED – which stars Christopher Reeves in his last publicly released film before his career-ending injury.

Plus, there is Hammer’s gloriously volcanic stone-age horror CREATURES THE WORLD FORGOT and the nightmarish, perceptions-bending Blair Witch sequel, BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2.

Full film details in transmission order:

Fri 1 Nov @ 22:50 – TERRIFIER (2016) *Channel Premiere
Brace yourselves as a maniacal clown named Art begins his twisted reign of terror on Halloween night, setting his sights on three young women and anyone else that gets in his way! Move over Pennywise, because there’s a new clown in town and this one is a thousand times more violent and a million times crueller.

Sat 2 Nov @ 21:00 – THE BURBS (1999) * Channel Premiere
Tom Hanks stars in this hilarious satire of modern suburban life. When Ray Peterson becomes convinced that his new, intensely private neighbours are members of an evil cult, he struggles to get behind their closed doors with outrageous results.

Fri 8 Nov @ 21:00 – CHILD’S PLAY 2 (1990) *Channel Premiere
Chucky's back, continuing where the chilling original left off, with Chucky's toy company rebuilding the original doll to prove that there was nothing wrong with it. Mistake. Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) goes on a rampage, slicing and dicing with his unique brand of dark comedy. With Jenny Agutter

Sat 9 Nov @ 21:00 – STARMAN (1984) *Channel Premiere
An alien (Jeff Bridges) observing life on Earth becomes stranded near the Wisconsin farmhouse of recently widowed Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen). The alien, otherwise known as Starman, clones the human form of Scott Hayden, Jenny’s deceased husband. Due to be picked up by his mother ship in three days, Starman is in dire need of human assistance. Thus Jenny becomes an unwilling participant in a trip that becomes a dangerous flight across the U.S.

Sun 10 Nov @ 22:55 – CREATURES THE WORLD FORGOT (1971) *Channel Premiere
Julie Ege stars in this variation on One Million Years B.C., playing a cave girl who becomes the object of a fierce battle between the contenders for the throne of the tribe's recently-deceased chieftain. The last of the prehistoric adventure films from Hammer Studios,

Fri 15 Nov @ 21:00 – CHILD’S PLAY 3 (1991) *Channel Premiere
Young Andy has grown up and attends a military academy – too bad the killer doll Chucky still wants his soul. Thrills and chills abound as Chucky stalks Andy relentlessly, murdering those in his way with even more wicked wit and ghoulish playfulness.

Sat 16 Nov @ 21:00 – VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995) *Channel Premiere
A strange mist overcomes an idyllic coastal town, causing ten local women to become mysteriously pregnant. Soon, these women give birth to albino children who turn out to be mind-controlling demons. The town doctor (Christopher Reeve) is the only one capable of destroying this otherworldly force…

Fri 22 Nov @ 21:00 – BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 (2000) *Channel Premiere
After spending a night in the hills of Maryland, four young fans of the original Blair Witch movie descend into a nightmare realm of murder, madness and perception-bending supernatural horror in this sequel.

Sat 23 Nov @ 21:00 – THE FRIGHTENERS (1996) *Channel Premiere
Blending laughs and scares director Peter Jackson brings his imaginative talents to this tale of a psychic con artist who teams with three friendly ghosts to stop the rampaging spirit of an executed killer.

Fri 29 Nov @ 21:00 – TOWER BLOCK (2012) *Channel Premiere
When a teenager is brutally murdered by two hooded figures, Becky (Sheridan Smith), Kurtis (Jack O’Connell), Paul (Russell Tovey) Neville (Ralph Brown) and the other residents of the Serenity House tower block are too scared to give detectives any information. One year later and someone has taken justice into their own hands. Picked off one by one, the tenants are under threat from a mystery sniper who has also set traps throughout the building, holding them prisoners in their own homes.

Sat 30 Nov @ 21:00 – SINISTER (2012) *Channel Premiere
Desperately in need of a bestseller to revive his struggling career, true crime writer Ellison (Ethan Hawke), moves his family to the scene of his most recent story; the unsolved, gruesome murder of a loving, happy suburban family. Shunned by the local community and strained by his obligations to his family, the discovery of a batch of home movies in the attic offers Ellison shocking proof to the crime he is investigating and the terrifying realisation that his investigation may be putting his family in mortal danger.

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

Wednesday 16 October 2019


Hailed as “one of the best horror TV series we’ve seen in years” (Sci-fi Now), THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE arrives on Blu-Ray™ and DVD from 21st October 2019 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

To celebrate the release of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE we’re giving you the chance to win a Blu-Ray™, packed with special features, including exclusive bonus content including three extended episodes and director commentary from creator and director Mike Flanagan on four episodes.

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE is the critically acclaimed, modern reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s legendary novel, published in 1959, about five siblings who grew up in the most famous haunted house in America. Now adults, they’re reunited by the suicide of their youngest sister, which forces them to finally confront the ghosts of their pasts… some of which lurk in their minds… and some of which may really be lurking in the shadows of the iconic Hill House.

Certified Fresh with a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and nominated for six Saturn Awards, including Best Streaming Horror & Thriller Series, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE has been renewed by Netflix as an anthology series, telling a new story each season.

Buy from Amazon by clicking here - (Opens in a new window)

For your chance to win a DVD copy of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE simply answer the following question:

Competition Closed

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 28-10-19
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.
THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE arrives on Blu-ray™ and DVD on 21st October 2019.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie

Ahead of the International premiere of UNCANNY ANNIE at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

Welcome back to FrightFest. It’s been a while. Excited?

Very excited. This is very much a homecoming for me having spent the best part of two-years now making movies in Los Angeles. What makes it all the more special is that after two shorts and a documentary, this marks the first time I’ve had a narrative feature film play at FrightFest, and on the 10th anniversary of my first FF appearance. So this one means a lot to me, as it was something I’ve longed to do ever since BEWARE THE MOON in 2009.

Tell us how UNCANNY ANNIE came about?

UNCANNY ANNIE is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu’s INTO THE DARK movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off INTO THE DARK last October with a feature adaptation of my short film THE BODY (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released.

With THE BODY taking place on Halloween, it literally was a right place/right time scenario in which my co-writer, Paul Fischer, and I had literally just written a spec first draft of a feature version, and within a week it was sold to Blumhouse. The feature starred Tom Bateman (Vanity Fair), Rebecca Rittenhouse (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), Aurora Perrineau (If They Could See Us) and Ray Santiago (Ash Vs Evil Dead). I’m still hoping it’ll drop in the UK at some point. I know Sony Worldwide own the rights outside of the US, so we’ll see what happens.

Until then… the series did well enough to get a second year at Hulu and that’s when I got the call to return to Halloween and make UNCANNY ANNIE, which was my opportunity to do something completely different to THE BODY. Essentially I wanted to make a kids horror film with blood and swearing – inspired mostly by Joe Dante’s THE HOLE and Robert Rodriguez’s THE FACULTY.

What were the particular challenges you faced?

Oh man, where to start. First of all these are super low budget movies, but of course, with the Blumhouse brand comes huge expectation, so these are very ambitious films for very little time and money. With THE BODY being my first film, every day was a learning experience. I at least had a bit more money and a few more days on that one compared to UNCANNY ANNIE. When it came to Annie I was faced with a three week prep from the day I received the script (which was being re-written), a 16 day shoot, and under $1m to do a movie that ended up with over 200 VFX shots.

That said, coming into this film I knew that this is exactly how these movies are now made – and they’ve just completed 12 of them in a year. That is an insane and impressive achievement. So for me it was about coming in and making the best damn movie I could within those parameters. And that’s the same with all of the filmmakers on this. Sophia Takal, Nacho Vigalondo, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Daniel Stamm, Patrick Lussier… doesn’t matter if it’s your first movie, or your eighth. We all get the same shake. And what’s great about Blumhouse is that they give you the freedom to create your movie with 100% encouragement.

All that aside, the biggest challenge for me was post production. My mother sadly passed away a week before my director’s cut was due, so I had to fly back to London and consult on the edit from London. It wasn’t easy, but we eventually got there, and I couldn’t be more proud of the film, and excited to share it with a FrightFest audience.

Your breakthrough movie was the much praised documentary BEWARE THE MOON: REMEMBERING AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (2009). John Landis introduced the film at FrightFest, Was that a defining moment in your career?

It certainly was at the time, and without BEWARE THE MOON I wouldn’t have met Reece Shearsmith, which means HIM INDOORS wouldn’t have happened, which means no THE BODY either.  So it was definitely the moment that kickstarted everything for me. I got to say thank you to John by giving him a cameo in my feature adaptation of THE BODY.

You began your career as a writer / journalist, specialising in horror cinema. Would you say those roots have helped you grow as a filmmaker?

Absolutely. Not only in the sense that your own research leads you to discover movies that had previously passed you by, but had I not been a staff writer at Horrorhound in 2006, I would never have written the 25th retrospective on AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON that lead to the documentary

In terms of my current projects, they’re littered with Easter eggs to movies I love. It’s always fun when someone sends me a tweet that they’ve spotted something new.

You’ve also written a couple of books: LOST IN THE SHADOWS - The Story of The Lost Boys and BEWARE THE MOON - The Story of An American Werewolf in London. Any literary plans for the future?

I’m an ‘idle hands’ kind of guy. I can’t sit and not do anything. These were done purely out of frustration, waiting for movie projects to green light. They were a lot of fun, but I have no desire to do anymore.

I also did some creature performing during that time. I played a sand monster in a Mark Gatiss written episode of DOCTOR WHO (which reunited me with Reece Shearsmith) and then spent the best part of a year on SOLO – A STAR WARS STORY as a wookiee.

Do you have a favourite bunch of horror movies? You’re not allowed to list AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON!

I do, but you know what, the older I get the more I feel my sensibilities getting tamer and tamer. I couldn’t watch a movie like MARTYRS again. Or LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT for that matter. One thing that has never changed is my love for THE EXORCIST, which to this day I still believe is the greatest movie ever made. George Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD also remains a comfort movie of mine – as is De Palma’s CARRIE. I watch that movie whenever I’m about to start shooting a new movie. It’s my lucky rabbit’s foot.

How do you view the current state of the genre, particularly in Britain? Are there any current home-grown directors you admire?

I think horror across the globe is thriving. The world is a mess right now, and from chaos comes creativity. It was the same in 1968 and it’s the same today. That said, I’d love to see more studios and production companies taking a chance on UK talent. I’ve made two movies studio movies for Blumhouse yet I’d still love to make a movie here at home. The horror genre in Britain continues to be treated as an embarrassment that is kept on the naughty step. There’s a lot of pissed off creative people out there, and Brexit has only pissed us off even more. The British Jordan Peele or Ari Aster could be lying in dormant, but we’ll never know that until attitudes in British film funding change. This is the home of Hammer Horror, for Christ sake! It’s time horror became a staple of the British film industry once again. The talent is there… USE US!!!!

As for home grown directors who I enjoy and find inspiring… Edgar Wright, Neil Marshall, Corin Hardy, Ben Wheatley. I also loved Alice Lowe’s work on PREVENGE. I’d love to see more women having opportunities to tell genre stories in the UK. I don’t think we’ve caught up with the US yet in that respect.

Finally, what’s next for you?

UNCANNY ANNIE came out I the US on October 4th so right now I’m reading a million and one screenplays to make sure what’s next is something I believe in and feel passionate about. There are a couple of things in the pipeline, but until anything is signed, I can’t really talk about them. In addition, I’m also writing my own material again, which is pretty much what I’m spending my time doing right now.

UNCANNY ANNIE is at 3.15pm at Cineworld, Leicester Sq. on Sat 2 Nov, as part of the Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween all-dayer.

Paul will be introducing the film.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

13 nights of scares as Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season

For thirteen nights, from Saturday 19th Oct to Thursday 31st Oct at 9pm, Horror Channel presents a HAUNTED HALLOWEEN SEASON, a supernaturally spooky selection of the scariest movies, including the UK premiere of the ghostly chiller THE UNSPOKEN and the channel premiere of the terrifying thriller PAY THE GHOST, starring Nicholas Cage.

Other highlights include Damiano Damiani’s diabolical prequel to The Amityville Horror - AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION. James Watkins’ spine-chilling remake THE WOMAN IN BLACK, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ti West’s The Shining slacker-style indie sensation, THE INNKEEPERS. the 2008 US remake of THE EYE, starring Jessica Alba and box-office supernatural horror hit THE PACT.

Full film details in transmission order:

Sat 19 Oct @ 21:00 – THE UNSPOKEN (2015) *UK TV Premiere

In 1997 the close-knit Anderson family vanished from their home without a trace. No bodies were ever found and no explanation satisfied curiosity. For seventeen years the house has remained undisturbed...until now.

Sun 20 Oct @ 21:00 – AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION (1982)

A hard-hitting prequel to The Amityville Horror, this tells the 'true' story of the Montelli's, a dysfunctional Catholic family who arrives in the Amityville house years before the Lutzes of the first film. Sonny, the eldest son, is horrifically possessed by a sinister supernatural presence rising up from a secret basement room, and the rest of the family, including family priest Father Adamsk, appear powerless to stops the unfolding evil rampage.

Mon 21 Oct @ 21:00 – THE INNKEEPERS (1998)

After 100 years of silver service, the Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees – Claire and Luke – are determined to uncover proof that the hotel is haunted. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of amateur ghostbusters begins to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the establishment’s long unexplained history.

Tues 22 Oct @ 21:00 – STIR OF ECHOS (1999)

After he is hypnotized at a neighbourhood party, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) changes. He sees things he can't explain and hears voices he can't ignore. As the horrific visions intensify, Tom realises they are pieces of a puzzle, echoes of a crime calling out to be solved. But when his other-worldly nightmares begin coming true, Tom desperately tries to rid himself of his eerie, unwanted powers.

Wed 23 Oct @ 21:00 – THE MESSENGERS (2007)

The first English-language horror entry by the Pang Brothers and produced by Sam Raimi  this suspenseful supernatural thriller centres on the dysfunctional Solomon family, who leave the fast paced life of Chicago for the secluded world of a North Dakota farm. Amidst the tranquil sway of the farm's field of sunflowers, Jess, 16, soon realises how terrifying seclusion can be when she and her brother Ben, 3, begin seeing ominous apparitions invisible to everyone else.

Thurs 24 Oct @ 21:00 – FLIGHT 7500 (2014)

From the director of The Grudge comes this spine-chilling journey into fear. On a flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, a plane is shaken by severe weather. When the turbulence subsides, a passenger suddenly dies—and a supernatural force is unleashed, overtaking the passengers as they desperately fight to figure out what it is and how to stop it.

Fri 25 Oct @ 21:00 – THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2010)

Based on the classic ghost story, The Woman in Black tells the tale of Arthur Kipps, a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Working alone, Kipps begins to uncover the town’s tragic secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.

Sat 26 Oct @ 21:00 – THE POSSESSION (2016)

From two acclaimed masters of horror - producer Sam Raimi (EVIL DEAD,) and director Ole Bornedal (NIGHTWATCH), comes a terrifying true story of how a family must unite in order to survive the wrath of an unspeakable and malicious evil. Divorced Clyde and Stephanie Brenek see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box covered with arcane Hebrew inscriptions she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst,

Sun 27 Oct @ 21:00 – THE NUN (2005)

Years ago, a cruel and merciless nun turned a boarding school into a living hell for her students until they could no longer bear the abuse, causing her undiscovered death. Now, the alumni are being brutally murdered one by one. Feeling a familiar and evil presence, the surviving women regroup to save their lives and lay the nun to rest one final time.

MON 28 OCT @ 21:00 – THE EYE (2008)

Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba), blind since childhood, undergoes surgery that successfully restores her sight. But unexplainable shadowy and frightening images start to haunt her. Not knowing if they are an aftermath of surgery, her imagination, or something horrifyingly real, Sydney becomes convinced that her anonymous eye donor has somehow opened the door to a terrifying world only she can now see.

TUES 29 OCT @ 21:00 – THE PACT (2012

Following her mother's funeral, Annie reluctantly returns to her childhood home - a place she would rather forget. Then as her sister Nicole and cousin inexplicably disappear, Annie is forced to unlock the doors to the past to discover the hidden secrets of the house and in doing so finds a room that she has no memory of. Things take a sinister and terrifying turn as Annie soon realises she isn't alone in the house...

Wed 30 OCT @ 21:00 – BOO (2005)

Written and directed by Anthony C. Ferrante and Dog Soldiers producer Davis E. Allen, this jump-out-of-your-seat movie bursts with goo and gore and neat homage as a group of young friends spend Halloween in a dilapidated hospital, and soon find trouble-a-plenty in the ghoulish form of a psychotic spirit intent on escaping the dank wards.

Thurs 31 Oct @ 21:00 – PAY THE GHOST (2015) *Channel Premiere

Almost a year after his young son disappeared on Halloween night in New York City, Mike (Nicolas Cage) is alone and haunted by terrifying visions of his son. Determined not to let go, he researches all the cases of missing children in the city and comes to a horrifying conclusion: that every Halloween a vengeful ghost surfaces to abduct three children and if they don't recover their son within a short window of time on All Hallows Eve, he will be lost to the spirit world forever. Following a series of terrifying clues, Mike is led deeper into the ancient curse that could destroy him and all he loves.

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

Monday 7 October 2019

Interview with Michael J. Epstein By David Kempf

When did you first become interested in filmmaking?

I have had a lifelong interest in film and filmmaking, but only really started making films once digital technology made it feel cheap and accessible enough. I had played in bands for many years and had some success with music videos. We worked with other directors to make a few videos that opened some doors for us, including: 2008’s The Motion Sick’s “30 Lives” video, which was played on a number of TV networks including some secondary MTV channels and ended up in several Dance Dance Revolution games and 2011’s Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling’s “Episode 1 - Arrival” video, which ended up on Time Magazine’s most creative videos list. 

After those videos, it made sense that in order to be sustainable, we’d have to make our own videos. So, my partner, Sophia Cacciola and I started buying gear and creating our own videos for almost  no money, which were also pretty successful.

How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

I have always loved horror. As a kid, my best friend and I would go almost every day to the video store and look for the weirdest, most outlandish bizzaro movies we could find. We loved browsing the horror section looking for the goriest or more compelling box art and images. 
It was just natural that when Sophia and I started making films, we both wanted to work in the genres that we loved most - horror and sci-fi. But I would also argue that genre is a misdirected concept. I sort of like the “fantastique” concept more than I like specific genres like horror or fantasy or sci-fi. I would say that we love and make films that are not based in realism. Nothing is more boring to us than watching something similar to what we already see in real life. 
I know a lot of people consider horror to be a “lesser” genre, but to me, true drama is the least elevated genre. By not transcending realism, there is little space for subtext or any content that actually drills deeper into the audience’s brain, leaving a lasting impression. Now, that said, a lot of stuff that gets called “drama” is really actually fantastique to me. Bergman, Fassbinder, Cassavetes, Altman, and a lot of other creators transcend reality in their presentation of “realistic” situations. 

I just saw Altman’s The Long Goodbye the other day, and on the surface, it’s sort of a realistic film, but its entire subtext is built around how Marlowe can’t fool his cat. It’s a fantasy film pretending to be a crime drama. I don’t think there is any meaningful difference between the presentation of that film and a good horror film. People considering genre are usually using arbitrary metrics that I do not really agree with as capturing important elements of film. In short, I don’t like realism unless I’m watching a documentary. 

Do you have any personal beliefs in the paranormal or supernatural?

Not at all. I follow the absolute rules of logic and science in which we must assume something to be untrue or non-existent until we have sufficient evidence to reject that it’s possible that something does not exist. I do not think paranormal or supernatural phenomena of any kind meet that criteria. 

That said, I grew up obsessed with the paranormal and supernatural. I read every book I could find in the library about ESP, UFOs, unexplained phenomena, etc. I always found the stuff super compelling, despite that, even at a very early age, I didn’t really believe in any of it. 

Maybe it was just the age and timing, but when I saw Children of the Stones, it really freaked me out and left me with a lasting impression about those sorts of powers and phenomena. When I visited Avebury in the mid-2000s, I still didn’t want to touch the stones!

So, I guess even as logical and skeptical as one can be, it’s still possible to be freaked out by the suggestion of the supernatural. 

Which of your movies is your favorite and why?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I like things about them all and hate things about them all. It’s too easy to remember the challenges and compromises when you look at your work. We approach each film with a different purpose and a different need for exploration, so it’s never really easy to compare them to each other in terms of our goals.

I guess if I have to look for external validation, Blood of the Tribades, which originally came out in 2016, has been picking up new reviews and coverage, even in 2019. The sustained interest means a lot to us, and it’s even more amazing that we have been included in a number of comprehensive articles on the history of lesbian vampire films. It was such a specific, niche film with the specific goal of exploring that genre through a flipped lens, and getting some recognition for that is really quite moving. One of the newer reviews from this year actually made me cry because of how much the movie spoke to the writer and for them, filled the exact contextual hole in the history of that narrow film niche that we wanted to fill. 

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

Because they are not constrained by realism, fantastique films can use fun, compelling, challenging content to reach well below our surface perceptual understanding of the world. They have the opportunity to recontextualize everything in our lives and to change the way we see our realities. More broadly, to me, this is the specific role of art, and the abstraction of fine and high art is well accepted throughout the world and throughout history. With film, we are really only beginning to see that wider understanding of the break from reality amongst critics and scholars. Fans have known since the beginning! Even as a little kid, I knew horror was different and reached deeper than realistic drama. 

What inspires your stories?

We always try to bring something surprising to people who follow our work. We make sure that each project has a purpose and a different goal while ensuring that our DNA is still clearly expressed. We are big fans of theme-driven filmmaking and so far, the constant interwoven thematic threads present in our work seem to be the most relatable element to our audience. We want to start conversations and get people thinking while they have fun watching our movies. 

They always start with a kind of existential question. We want to explore who we are and why we do the things we do. A lot of our films are about performative identity and questions about the existence or non-existence of a true self. We love stories testing how the same person sent on deviating paths can find commonality. Sometimes, like in our first film, TEN, this is about how performance shapes the self. When does a performance start to become your reality? For Magnetic, we actually have the same character replicated many times, each embracing a kind of classical path like art, science, or religion. In Blood of the Tribades, we explore the degradation of memory and tradition. And most recently, Clickbait is the manifestation of all of these themes in internet popularity culture. All of these ideas and controversies about social media and the internet really date back to the beginning of human consciousness. And if there are other lifeforms in the universe, these are probably universal questions for all forms of sentience. 

Essentially, all great stories are about fears and insecurities and the comforts we might find to address them. We just hope that people can find something useful for navigating their own lives in our work, even if that is just a momentary escape from reality.

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

I am not sure how much of a difference exists anymore, but I grew up watching tons of Hammer and Amicus films, and I think being in an environment that once lived a certain history makes it more compelling to include. American cultural history is so relatively short that we have very little to draw from. There is a lot of American horror about the safety of the suburbs being a lie, for example. That is the greatest American fear from my generation. British horror often explores class subtext or other types of societal structuring that is not as pronounced in the US. 

There is probably also a strange history of film dictated by the imposed censorship in each country. I love 1970s Italian films, and a lot of the content was cut for both British and American releases. Filmmakers can only make the movies they can sell, so that historical censorship has certainly led to within-safety-zone boundary pushing, which differs in each country.         

What are your favorite horror books?

I am a bit embarrassed to say that I’ve read very little of what is widely considered horror. I have never been a big Stephen King or Lovecraft fan, for example. Even with modern writers, I don’t tend to be drawn to horror, which works better for me in visual metaphor. These days, I don’t get to read as much as I’d like. I find myself watching 400+ movies a year and constantly reading scripts and writing, so my fiction reading tends to be limited to a handful of books a year, sadly. This is quite a turn, as I was an avid reader as a younger person.

When I read, I tend to love more dystopian, sarcastic science fiction or speculative fiction. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author. Philip K. Dick is probably second. I also love the humor of Douglas Adams and the imagination of Neal Stephenson.         

What are some of your favorite horror movies?

 My all-time favorite horror film is probably Phantasm, and I love the entire series. It’s just such a great subtextual exploration of how we cope with and come to understand death across our lifespan. It has so much wonderful imagery and storytelling that I keep coming back to it. 

I’m also a huge fan of The Abominable Dr. Phibes, which is probably the most fun movie ever made. Beyond that, I love 1970s Italian films like Deep Red, Short Night of Glass Dolls, Lisa and the Devil, and many, many more. 

If we blur genres, I usually describe The City of Lost Children as my favorite film ever. I could probably also watch Barbarella or Death Race 2000 on repeat for the rest of my days. 

In very recent years, the new Suspiria is probably my favorite modern horror film. 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as a filmmaker?

Everything about filmmaking is surreal to me. The fact that I sometimes sit in a packed movie theater watching something I was involved with making still feels like a fantasy every time. Not everyone will like everything, but those moments where you hit someone with something that sticks deep inside of them cannot be surpassed. That is everything I always wanted to do with creating, and when it happens, it means the world to me.  

Do you have any advice for new filmmakers?

Everyone is going to try and stop you and tell you that you should not be making films. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. Just be ready for a lot of rejection and a lot of mistakes and failures. If you can cope with that, just keep creating and working hard to get better and achieve something closer to what you envision. 
Celebrate your successes, but not for too long. Keep going forward!

I have also solemnly sworn to always answer this question by saying to make sure to shoot your movie with 180-degree shutter angle. I keep seeing indie films at festivals shot unintentionally with shutter-speed technical problems. Don’t do that.

What are your current projects?

We have four micro-budget feature film projects that seem to be going forward. A lot of the timelines on these will just depend on money, and projects collapse all the time, so it’s hard to say too much about them yet. The only one we can talk about is a documentary currently in post-production about women’s experiences in rock music, as part of the Women of Rock Oral History Project, for which we’ve been shooting video interviews for years. 

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

Sophia Cacciola and I run the production company, Launch Over, with a primary mission of creating socially conscious narrative and documentary films, especially in the horror and science-fiction genres. We’ve release four features so far: social satire horror, Clickbait (2019); vampire throwback, Blood of the Tribades (2016); cerebral time-loop trance, Magnetic (2015); and deconstructed murder mystery, TEN (2014).  
We hope to see you at the theater! 

Friday 4 October 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event

Arrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.

The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 2 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.

The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty’s CANDY CORN. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer and cool score, say hello to a new twist on a Halloween tradition

This is followed by a 80s throwback horror comedy, WE SUMMON THE DARKNES. From Marc Meyers, director of My Friend Dahmer, this UK premiere delivers gore and guffaws with gleefully twisted abandon.

Next up is the International premiere of UNCANNY ANNIE, directed by Paul Davis, who gave us the fabulous documentary Beware The Moon: Remembering ‘American Werewolf In London’  This dice-throwing game of death and survival kicks off the second season of Hulu’s Blumhouse-produced series Into The Dark and Paul will be introducing the film.

Then there is the UK Premiere of SWALLOW, a warped fairy tale, posing provocative questions about the expectations imposed on women and the psychologically damaging effects of patriarchal culture. Anchored by Haley Bennett's knockout performance, this bold and atmospheric film marks the feature directorial debut of Carlo Mirabella-Davis.

The 8.30pm film is the UK premiere of TRICK, from Patrick Lussier, director of Drive Angry and the My Bloody Valentine remake. This surprising slasher delivers graphic shock after shock.

The finale presentation is SCARE PACKAGE which introduces us to the next generation of horror directors, Each of the eight talented filmmakers has selected a different horror sub-genre, taking aim at the tropes and overused clich├ęs we find all too often in horror films.

Plus, we’ll be showing THE HAUNTED SWORDSMAN, the latest in acclaimed puppeteer Kevin McTurk’s Spirit Cabinet series. Corin Hardy, who backed the hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, will be joining us to introduce the acclaimed short.

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director, said today: “Get your knives out, your chainsaws revved up and your machetes raised as FrightFest,  the UK’s biggest and best genre event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday November 2 for a morning of mayhem, an afternoon of anguish and an evening of evil in a day of the dead extravaganza. Happy Halloween everyone!”

Day passes (£47) and single tickets (£14.50) go on sale at noon on Saturday 5th October.

To book:
(Online booking only)


11.00: CANDY CORN (European Premiere)

Director: Josh Hasty. With: Courtney Gains, PJ Soles, Tony Todd, Sky Elobar. USA 2019. 85 mins.

Synopsis: It’s Halloween in Grove Hill, Ohio. A traveling carnival arrives for the weekend and local outcast, Jacob Atkins, is hired as one of the freaks in the main attraction, ‘Dr. Death’s Side Show Spook House Spectacular’. But the local bullies are planning their annual public hazing of Jacob, only this year things go too far, a monster hungry for blood is created by one of the carnies … and revenge never tasted so sweet.


Director: Marc Meyers. With: Alexandra Daddario, Logan Miller, Keean Johnson, Johnny Knoxville. USA 2019. 87 mins

Synopsis: Be careful what you pray for! It's 1988 and people are terrorised by a nationwide rash of apparently satanic murders, which appear to be connected to kids who go to heavy metal concerts. Three girls meet three guys at one such gig and go back to Alexis' family's country house for a debauched after-party. There the boys learn to their horror that the girls are not the enthusiastic rock fans they seem to be, but something much more terrifying.


Director: Kevin McTurk. With: Jason Scott Lee, James Hong. USA 2019. 16 mins.

Synopsis: Kevin McTurk’s handcrafted epic puppet film, follows a Ronin samurai (Jason Scott Lee) on a supernatural quest for vengeance with only a severed head (James Hong) as his guide.

15:15 UNCANNY ANNIE (International Premiere)

Director: Paul Davis. With: Georgie Flores, Adelaide Kane, Paige McGhee, Jacques Colimon, Dylan Arnold, and Evan Bittencourt. USA 2019. 80 mins

Synopsis: On Halloween night, a group of college students get trapped in a mysterious board game that brings their darkest secrets and fears to life, where they must play to escape…and win to survive.

18:15 SWALLOW (UK Premiere)

Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis. With: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Denis O’Hare. USA 2019. 94 mins.

Synopsis: Hunter is a newly pregnant woman whose idyllic existence takes an alarming turn when she develops a compulsion to eat dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she is forced to confront the dark secret behind her uncontrollable obsession.

20:30 TRICK (UK Premiere)

Director: Patrick Lussier. With: Omar Epps, Kristina Reyes, Ellen Adair, Tom Atkins. USA 2019. 97 mins.

Synopsis: Halloween night in Benton, New Jersey, 2015, and the student they call Trick suddenly freaks out and causes a bloody massacre. Injured by his friend Cheryl, Trick is taken to hospital but miraculously escapes…. and every October 31st returns to cause further murderous mayhem. Detective Mike Denver promises to bring the seemingly unstoppable killer to justice – a vow that begins to border on obsession as he becomes convinced they are dealing with a supernatural entity.

22:45 SCARE PACKAGE (UK Premiere)

Directors: Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar  , Anthony Cousins, Mali Elfman, Emily Hagins, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan, Ryan Spindell, Baron Vaughn. With: Gabrielle Maiden, Baron Vaughn, Noah Segan, Tristan Riggs. USA 2019. 103 mins.

Synopsis: Chad Buckley is a lonely horror aficionado spending his days at his struggling video store, where he argues with his only regular customer, Sam. When Hawn, an unsuspecting applicant, shows up, Chad teaches him about the Rules of Horror, much to Sam’s chagrin, illustrated by different hilarious horror shorts, each one geared at cleverly subverting a unique set of terror tropes. As Hawn learns the ropes, he suspects Chad of something sinister, while he too may have a secret of his own.

For full programme details:

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Interview with Nicholas Vince ahead of his one-man show I AM MONSTERS!

Behind the masks…ahead of his one-man show, I AM MONSTERS! at The Pleasance Theatre, actor and writer Nicholas Vince describes his monstrous journey…

You’re best known for your portrayal of the Chatterer Cenobite in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Kinski in Barker’s Nightbreed. What is it you remember most about playing these iconic monsters?

The many talented people and long processes involved in creating the makeups. I may have brought life to the characters, but it was the makeup artists (Nigel Booth on Chatterer, Cliff Wallace on Chatterer II and Neil Gorton on Kinski) who sculpted and painted them based on Clive Barker's designs. Before we reached filming those guys spent weeks creating the masks.

Most of all I remember the laughter. OK, wearing Chatterer was extremely restrictive in terms of seeing, hearing and speaking, and Kinski was early starts and 5 hours in makeup, but there was a great atmosphere on all the films. In fact on Hellraiser I was threatened with death by the sound engineer as my laughter in the dressing room was ruining takes on the nearby set.

How did you first become attracted to monsters?

Aged eight I borrowed a copy of The Golden Treasury of Myths and Legends by Anne Terry White from the local library. It contained stories from Greek, Norse, Celtic, French and Persian myths and legends. I must have run out of time to read all the stories as I clearly remember the Greek and Norse stories, and less so the ones at the back of the book. Obviously, the stories are written about the heroes, but they interested me far less than the Minotaur, Medusa and Sphinx.

You were born undershot and had to have major surgery aged nineteen. Can you describe the experience for us?

Basically, I was born with a smaller than usual top jaw meaning my upper teeth closed behind my lower, rather than the other way round, which is normal. The surgery lasted nine hours, during which they detached the upper jaw and using pieces of bones from my hips as wedges moved it forward. It was a pretty trying experience as I was in intensive care for two days afterwards, during which I nearly died. Following that I had my jaws wired together for six weeks. Mum served my portion of family meals on a plate to check I was getting enough and then liquidised it. I remember fish and chips required a lot of salad cream so that I could suck it through a straw.

In your one-man show you talk about being gay but remaining closeted during the 70s. How did this impact on your relationships?

Once I'd moved away from home, I was able to come out to close friends, but not my parents. That didn't happen until my mid-thirties. I do regret that as they were very loving and when a relationship fell apart with a boyfriend, it meant I missed out on their support. And not being completely out, by which I mean just keeping quiet about relationships, being an apparent loner, it complicated my friendships with good looking straight men, as I was afraid if they realised I fancied them they'd either cut me off or beat me up.

How did you meet Clive Barker?

At a party in Crouch End. We got chatting and he invited me to model for him as he was preparing paintings for the covers of the UK hardback versions of his six volume collection, The Books of Blood. So my face, and other parts of me, appear on the covers of most of the books in that edition.

Is it true that the design of the Chatterer was partly inspired by your own facial reconstruction?

Yes. I'd told Clive about a documentary I'd seen about facial reconstructive surgery where they'd obviously used a similar technique to my surgeons, as the only cut was between my upper lip and gum and they'd peeled the face back so they could detach the upper jaw. The flesh of the face was held in place by clamps, much like Chatterer.

To play the Chatterer, you had to wear a mask and makeup that were extremely restrictive. How challenging was that?

I could only see a portion of the floor through a small hole below my left eye; had false teeth in so speech was like having my hands shoved in my mouth and muffled hearing due to the foam latex mask. So, I had a minder with me at all times leading me onto set holding hands, like a toddler and then they had to relay instructions from behind camera by shouting through the mask. The costume was very tight fitting as they'd taken a life cast of my torso so it could be made as close fitting as possible. I could only lift my arms to shoulder height.

Someone recently complimented me on my 'meticulous performance' and I realised that's one of the strengths of Chatterer. We could only do short sequences with me as I had to learn my moves quickly and I worked hard to replicate them accurately, but that stillness and precision give him a great deal of power.

And the make-up for Kinski in Nightbreed was reported to take two people five hours to apply. Is that true?

Yes, up at 3am for a car from Streatham to Pinewood for 4am and the makeup chair for five hours. But I just had to sit still for that time. The two guys who applied it, Neil and Mark, were on their feet all that time making sure the pieces were properly applied and you couldn't see the edges. I wasn't allowed to fall asleep, so they had a VHS player and I remember watching Steve Martin and John Candy in 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Which was frustrating as I also wasn't allowed to laugh either!

You left acting after Nightbreed to concentrate on writing comics for Marvel and collections of short horror stories. What is it about the writing process you find so alluring?

It's the fun of telling stories and talking to readers.  In many ways it's more challenging than acting as there you have a script and you're putting the flesh on the bones, but with writing you're faced with the sometimes terrifying wastes of a blank page. I remember Peter Atkins, the screenwriter of Hellbound: Hellraiser II, telling me when I first started writing, "Nick, there will be a time, at least once a day, when you'll wonder why you ever thought you can write."

He was right and the only way I've found to get through it is to do research, which as a writer said at literary event the other day can be, "Research, bordering on procrastination." And then it's just a question of writing something, anything, as you can polish it.

And I guess the allure for me, is that I get to get some of the really weird stuff in my head out and into the world.

In recent years you've returned to acting in UK independent horror films, such as Hollower (dir. MJ Dixon), Book of Monsters (dir. Stewart Sparke), Borley Rectory (dir. Ashley Thorpe) and For We Are Many (Lawrie Brewster and Paddy Murphy). Do you have further roles in the pipeline?

There are a couple, but I'm waiting for them to be released before I can talk about them. I did do an interview for the extras on the Arrow Video release of the theatrical and director's cuts of Nightbreed, which they're releasing on 28th October, and which is available for pre-order. I believe this is the first UK release of the film since the VHS version back in the 1990's.

Do have any other plans for I AM MONSTERS! after its premiere at the London Horror Festival?

People have been very interested in the show and I've had enquiries about taking it to Liverpool and Las Vegas. Both of which would be really cool, as Liverpool is Clive's home town and I've never been to Vegas.

Nicholas will be opening the London Horror Festival 2019 with his one-man show I AM MONSTERS!, from 8th to 10th October (7pm) at the Pleasance Theatre.

Tickets: 020 7609 1800