Monday, 30 March 2020
Ahead of Horror Channel’s broadcast of HELLRAISER and HELLRAISER II: Nicholas Vince, who played the Chatterer Cenobite, reflects on tackling monsters, his new one-man show and his love of Vincent Price
Horror Channel are broadcasting HELLRAISER and HELLRAISER II: HELLBOUND. How does it feel being part of such an iconic franchise?
I feel extremely fortunate. And I'm grateful to Horror Channel for screening the films, as there's a chance for people who've not seen them before to watch them. I've introduced the films at various screenings and I'm always delighted there's often a 50/50 split between fans of the films and first timers.
You’ve spoken a lot about your experiences of playing the Chatterer Cenobite. Looking back, how much would you say it has defined your career?
Oh, it made my career. It's given me the chance to work with some really interesting young film makers such as MJ Dixon, Paddy Murphy, Stewart Sparke, Katie Bonham, Federico Ichi Scargiali and Lawrie Brewster. And it led to writing comics for Marvel in the 1990's. It's opened many doors for me, particularly in terms of meeting fans of the films who've been very supportive too.
I AM MONSTERS!, your well-received one-man show, reveals the depth of affection you have for Clive Barker. How would you sum up the impact he’s had on your life?
The impact has been extraordinary. Clive is not only extraordinarily talented, he's been very encouraging of all my writing and acting. When I decided to write some short stories in 2012, the first thing I did was re-read his Books of Blood to get some insight how great short stories are written.
The show reveals not just your love for playing monsters but how much, at certain times in your life, you’ve felt like a monster yourself - being gay but remaining closeted during the 70s and being born undershot and having to have major surgery. How much of your life experiences informed your portrayal of the Chatterer?
Good question. At the time, I was mostly concerned with the mechanics of making the costume and mask work, and hitting my marks on set. I did use a technique I'd learned during a mime class at drama school, where we had to bring in a cardboard box, put it over our head and make it into a character. We weren't allowed to decorate or cut it. That makes you both vulnerable and gives great freedom. Firstly, you can't see the audience, which is freeing; but you also have to rely entirely on your imagination and experiences to give the character life.
It's taken me decades to finally articulate a back story for Chatterer which I'm happy with, which I did in the short story Prayers of Desire.
Is it true that the design of the Chatterer was partly inspired by your own facial reconstruction?
Yes, that's right. I mentioned to Clive a documentary I'd watched about facial reconstructive surgery, during which I realised some of the techniques shown must have been used on me when I was 19 years old. It was really a brief conversation and I'd forgotten about it until after filming when Clive pointed out he'd remembered and incorporated what I'd described into the design of the Chatterer.
Are there plans to stage I AM MONSTERS in the future?
Yes, I'm working on some dates for later in the year for the UK and USA.
How important is the ongoing connection you have with your fans?
That's very important to me. It's something which I was taught by Clive. I used to meet up with friends when he did book signings at Forbidden Planet in London. I once saw him sign for seven hours without a break and he drew a picture along with his signature, and whilst he did that he chatted, answered any question and also asked questions. I've always tried to emulate that attitude when I meet fans, or as Clive would say 'enthusiasts'.
What ‘monster’ movies do you personally admire? Have you a favourite?
I'm a big fan of Vincent Price and the Edgar Allan Poe films he did with Roger Corman. My all time favourite is MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. What I love about Price in that film is that the monster he plays, Prince Prospero, isn't a classic monster makeup, but he's chilling. Of more classic monsters, then it would be Lon Chaney Jr. as WOLFMAN, Claude Rains as the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and Robert England as Freddy Kreuger.
If you had the choice of playing any of the iconic monsters, which would it be?
THE ABOMINABLE DR PHIBES, as played by Vincent Price.
Finally, what can we expect to see you in next?
They've just released Ashley Thorpe's BORLEY RECTORY onto Amazon Prime in the UK, narrated by Julian Sands and starring Reece Shearsmith. There are three other feature films nearing completion and aiming for release later this year.
I'm also working on my third volume of short stories, which has my Chatterer origin story as the title, PRAYERS OF DESIRE which is due out at the end of Spring 2020.
HELLRAISER is broadcast on Friday 3 April @ 22:50 and HELLRAISER II: HELLBOUND on Friday 10 April @ 23:15.
Friday, 27 March 2020
One of the most talked about movies of recent years, Revenge lends ‘pitch-black humour and a cunning feminist agenda’ (★★★★ Daily Express) to the classic exploitation genre, and now Second Sight Films is giving this groundbreaking gore-fest the Limited Edition Blu-ray box set treatment on 11 May 2020.
The release features stacks of brand new special features, including a new interview with debut feature writer-director Coralie Fargeat and star Matilda Lutz (Medici), whose performance is ‘gripping — a powerful mix of Lara Croft and The Bride’ says The Sun. Also included are new interviews with the film’s cinematographer and the composer, a new commentary and much more.
Pre-Order from Amazon UK here - Link opens in a new window
Tuesday, 24 March 2020
Horror Channel also celebrates the Sci-fi B-Movie with a CLASSIC SCI-FI WEEKEND, featuring the channel premieres of mutant octopus-rampaging IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, Fred F. Sears’ saucer-invading caper EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS, Sears’ rampaging alien bird yarn THE GIANT CLAW, Jack Arnold’s thought-provoking classic THE INCREDIBLE SHINKING MAN and Nathan Juran’s Ray Harryhausen inspired 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH. Broadcast on Saturday 11 April and Sunday 12 April from 2pm, the season also includes more strange creatures and alien invaders with THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, THIS ISLAND EARTH and JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN.
Full film details in transmission order:
Saturday 11 April @ 14:00 – THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951)
After crashing their car in the Scottish countryside, pregnant couple Rachel and Matt Hopkins are offered shelter by a local farmer and his family. That evening Rachel realises the farmer's daughter is a missing child from the news and attempt to leave the farm and get help, but the family capture and imprison Rachel and Matt. It soon becomes clear they want their baby….
Saturday 11 April @ 15:45 – IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955) *Channel Premiere
While on a routine mission, Cmdr. Pete Mathews (Kenneth Tobey) runs into trouble when his submarine is nearly sunk by an unknown creature, which is identified as a giant octopus from the nether reaches of Mindanao Deep. The beast has been awakened by nearby nuclear testing and now, radioactive and monstrously huge, the rampaging leviathan is heading toward the North American Pacific Coast.
Saturday 11 April @ 17:20 - THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955)
When atomic scientist Dr. Meacham is chosen to take part in a top-secret research experiment, he quickly discovers that he is really involved in an evil scheme by alien Metalunans to take over Earth. After he and Dr. Adams make their escape, they are whisked away in a flying saucer to Metaluna, where they are blamed for the destruction. Will interstellar negotiation save the day or will the scientists be forced to take part in a treacherous battle to the death?
Saturday 11 April @ 19:10 – EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956) *Channel Premiere
UFOs from a doomed star system invade Earth with plans of world conquest. Surrender is not an option so the human race must fight to the bitter end. Special effects are by Ray Harryhausen.
Sunday 12 April @ 14:00 – THE GIANT CLAW (1957) *Channel Premiere
When a strange flying object is spotted, it is believed to be a UFO. However, it turns out to be an extraterrestrial bird made of anti-matter which leaves a trail of death and destruction in its wake.
Sunday 12 April @ 15:30 – THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957) *Channel Premiere
While on a boating trip, Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is exposed to a radioactive cloud. Nothing seems amiss at first, but several months later Scott realizes that he's shrunk in height by several inches. He sees a doctor, who admits that he's baffled. As Scott continues to shrink, decreasing to three feet tall, he becomes bitter, and lashes out at his wife, Louise (Randy Stuart). He begins to fear a cure will never be found -- since even as he becomes a national sensation, he's still shrinking.
Sunday 12 April @ 17:10 – 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957) *Channel Premiere
A manned space flight from Venus crash lands in the Mediterranean, losing its most precious cargo: reptilian eggs from the planet's surface. Italian zoologist (Frank Puglia), his American granddaughter, Marisa (Joan Taylor), and returned astronaut Calder (William Hopper) must battle to the creature before it destroys everything in its path.
Sunday 12 April @ 18:50 - JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (1969)
Two astronauts unravel more than a mystery when they set out to explore a newly discovered planet hidden; there are two weeks left before two planets collide, but Russia and the USA refuse to co-operate.
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138
Thursday, 19 March 2020
The Soska Sisters on the set of VENDETTA with Dean Cain
You’re back on Horror Channel. Excited?
Jen: Deliriously. We love the Horror Channel! It's our favourite place to be. Thank you for having us back!
Sylvia: LOVE the Horror Channel. It feels a little odd because you guys usually are the first to show our work and Vendetta showed up late. I won't even begin to mention the long-awaited Hellevator.
Finally, your UK fans get to see VENDETTA on British TV!
Jen: I'm so happy it VENDETTA has finally invaded British airwaves. The UK has always been so gracious and supportive of us and our work leading back to the Dead Hooker in a Trunk days. It's only fitting to have VENDETTA follow suit. It's no secret we love our British fans and hold a special place in our hearts for them. I'm excited for them to finally be able to enjoy what I like to call our "Punisher" movie.
Sylvia: Maybe it's happened because the UK has been the most supportive of our work, so Vendetta is now going to be a smash hit and we can finally get to work on the sequel. See who hasn't been horribly murdered and there's still a vendetta to take them out. We're pretty excited to see what the reaction to the film will be - we have a lot of fun directing action and working with these incredible stunt teams.
VENDETTA was the second film you made with WWE Studios (SEE NO EVIL 2 being the first). What made you want to step back into the ring with them?
Jen: Honestly, I'll try anything twice.
Sylvia: It was part of Lionsgate Films' action six-pack which was six action films. We did so well for them on See No Evil 2, they wanted us back. I'm not sure on which side, but someone asked if they wanted to hire girls for their action films and the reply was you've obviously never seen a film by the Soska's before.
Jen & Sylvia Soska with Dean Cain
Jen: Good guys play AMAZING bad guys, just no one ever gives them the opportunity. Dean Cain is such a good man. He's a real life superhero. It's a nice break from reality for him to be a bad guy. Mason isn't really bad and to that point neither is Big Show (Victor Abbott). They're both victims of their circumstances, they're both doing what they feel is the best from some pretty bad options. Paul and Dean both trained so hard for the film. Paul is a literal giant, so we adjusted the action for him. He's lethal.
Sylvia: I've never worked with a team so ready to go and push themselves in a film. That was so important to making this film because we only had 15 days to shoot it & every day there was a coordinated fight sequence for Mason, played by real life Super-man, Dean Cain. He would come to set with this great attitude, look out for everyone, kill it on camera, then head to the gym with the stunt team when we wrapped to get the fight perfect for the next day. I would work with Dean forever if I was so lucky. Paul was also a big surprise as we are huge wrestling fans, so we had been fans of his work for years, but I had no idea what an incredible actor he was. So dedicated and down to earth. When you're the biggest guy in the room, you figure out how to put people at ease, he has this charisma and star quality. He was such a pro with the fights too.
Kimani Smith was our stunt coordinator and Dan Rizzuto was our fight coordinator, and with Vancouver's finest stunt people, they created this very down and dirty prison style of fighting. We had so many stunt actors and actors who could do action in the roles to make sure all the violence was completely amped up.
The film has been described as an “all-male maelstrom of mayhem” and “hell in a cell”. How would you describe it?
Jen: That one summer I spent in an all-male prison, ha ha.
Sylvia: I adore 'All-male maelstrom of mayhem'. I could call it face punch, the movie.
The Soska sisters with wrestler Paul ‘Big Show’ Wight on the set of VENDETTA
VENDETTA heads up Horror Channel’s VENGEANCE SEASON. Have either of you had reason to be particularly vengeful in your lives?
Jen: I work in film. I am blessed to have seen the worst of people as well as the best. Kindness can be mistaken for weakness and people will try to take advantage of you when you have a good heart. I've learned to be guarded, not vengeful. I'm a Catholic. I'll wait on the wrath of God, ha ha.
Sylvia: The best advice regarding vengeance came early in my career from a very successful friend, he said the best revenge is to live a good life. The people who hurt you only win if you sink to their level to destroy them. Just do you. Be kind, treat people with respect & the whole world will open up to you.
You obviously have a great affinity with the wrestling world. Have you ever been tempted to get into the ring yourselves? After all, you are trained in stunt work and the martial arts…
Jen: Is it that obvious? We would love to step into the ring... and not just sneak in when they set up pre show, ha ha. I have a life-long love of wrestling. Working with wrestlers has only increased that love. They are so dedicated and driven. I'd love the opportunity to wrestle ourselves. I have a dream about both Sylv and I training at two different wrestling schools, coming up with gimmicks, everything, without the other knowing, and then coming together to fight each other. That would make a fun reality series.
Sylvia: The only two things I promised my Dad that I wouldn't do that I actually didn't was get a tattoo & become a professional wrestler. That said, we would need next to no motivation to get in the ring. We wanted to wrestle the Bellas, but they are lovely mommies now and the timing never worked out. I feel we would make pretty killer manager types.
When you look back to the days when you were forced to make ‘Dead Hookers In A Trunk’ with your own money, do you still feel you’ve got that independently-spirited drive?
Jen: Absolutely. We are far from having unlimited time and budgets. Vendetta, like all our features, was made in just 15 days. You have to know what you want and be able to roll with the punches. Having an indie spirit always saves the day because your first notion is to come up with creative solutions and not burn money. How do you make an action movie like Vendetta in 15 days? Well, it helps if there are two of you.
Sylvia: I'm so grateful that we spent that money on DHIAT, never made a dime back; my family remortgaged our childhood home to be the first investors in American Mary - so we know the weight of financing probably deeper than a lot of people. We've yet to have the big push on our films, we're still very much auteurs with a very loyal and somewhat niche audience.
How encouraged are you with the current mood to attract more women directors into genre film-making?
Jen: Right now I see a lot of talk and not much action. You see women being hired, but you don't really see them being supported to having an ongoing career. It's more like, great, we hired a women, let's find another one. I don't see established female directors getting as many calls as they should. Genre has always embraced women in front of and behind the camera. I'm happy to see the fans in support. I think a lot more has to change than a few women getting hired here and there but not really being supported to have on going careers, even with the same companies.
Sylvia: I used to be really sexist about it and throw my support behind any woman who wanted to have an opportunity & I found so many times, the people who were reaching out for help weren't the ones who needed it. I think it is important to promote filmmakers of every diverse background so that we can get more perspective and grow in our ability to empathize with lives we would never live, but at the same time, we cannot fill these places with people who have no interest in the arts and are using current political themes for a seat at the table. I used to think it was cruel how comedians made newcomers prove themselves before letting them into the group, now that I've been doing this longer, it seems essential.
Finally, what’s next for you both?
Jen: Finally an original film, our long awaited original monster movie, BOB, which is like FIGHT CLUB meets HARVEY. And we also appeared in Glenn Danzig's new feature, DEATH RIDER IN THE HOUSE OF VAMPIRES which was so much fun to shoot. I can't wait for everyone to see it.
Sylvia: It's been almost ten years since we've made an original film, so making Bob is surreal. There's a project that did not come from us that we are very excited about, hopefully we can announce that soon and it will premiere in the UK!
VENDETTA, which kicks of the VENGEANCE season, is broadcast on Horror Channel, Saturday 4 April at 9pm.
Monday, 16 March 2020
April is a wicked month on Horror Channel as cops and villains fight it out in the VENGEANCE SEASON, a hard-hitting violent action collection which includes the UK TV premieres of the Soska Sister’s all-male maelstrom of mayhem, VENDETTA, starring Dean Cain and Paul ‘Big Show’ Wight, and the fight-to-the death revenge thriller BLOOD OUT, starring Luke Goss, 50 Cent and Vinnie Jones. Broadcast on Saturday nights at 9pm throughout the month, the season also includes the channel premieres of gritty, bullet-fuelled THE PRINCE, starring Bruce Willis, John Cusack and Jason Patric, and Martin Warren’s THE HEAVY, starring Gary Stretch, Vinnie Jones and Christopher Lee.
Full film details in transmission order:
Saturday 4 April @ 21:00 – VENDETTA (2015) *UK TV Premiere
When his wife is killed by a criminal that he put away, Mason (Dean Cain), a hard-nosed detective, deliberately gets arrested in order to get revenge. While inside, Mason discovers a new criminal enterprise that those behind it would kill to protect. Pushed beyond his limits Mason will stop at nothing for vengeance.
Saturday 11 April @ 21:00 – THE PRINCE (2014) *Channel Premiere
Bruce Willis, John Cusack and Jason Patric face off in this fast-paced action thriller. A mechanic - and retired assassin - with ties to the underworld is drawn back into the life he gave up when his daughter is kidnapped. To rescue her, he must confront his former rival.
Saturday 18 April @ 21:00 – BLOOD OUT (2011) *UK TV Premiere
When big city detectives refuse to further investigate his kid brother's gang related murder, small town Sheriff Michael Spencer (Luke Goss) drops the badge and goes undercover to find his brother's killer and avenge his death. Also stars Vinnie Jones, Val Kilmer, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Tamer Hassan.
Saturday 25 April @ 21:00 – THE HEAVY (2009) *Channel Premiere
During a routine hit, “Boots” Mason (Gary Stretch) learns a hit has been placed on his own life when a crocked cop, Dunn (Vinnie Jones), tries to kill him. While seeking his revenge, secrets kept hidden are exposed and no innocent bystander is safe as bullets fly. In this world where you can trust no one, all bets are off! Also stars Christopher Lee.
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138
Sunday, 15 March 2020
Magic is released on Blu-ray on March 23rd.
With the continuing popularity of creepy dolls on screen from Hugo to Annabel via the many incarnations of Chucky, we meet one of the original devilish dummies: Fats…the side-kick from hell. Adapted for the big screen by William Goldman from his best-selling book, Magic is directed by Richard Attenborough and arrives on Blu-ray on 23 March 2020.
Corky (Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs, The Two Popes) is a shy magician who just can’t get a break, but when he introduces foul-mouthed ventriloquist doll, Fats, to his act, his star begins to rise. With the chance of hitting the big time finally on the cards, the pressure starts to get to him. In a panic Corky flees the big city, returning to the security of his hometown. When he reunites with old high school flame Peggy (Ann-Margret – Tommy, Grumpy Old Men), love could be in the air. But Fats doesn’t approve and he’s about to create carnage. Who’s really pulling the strings?
It’s time for some Magic…but beware, the demonic dummy will have you screaming for mummy.
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Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Heather Slawecki holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Widener University. She began her writing career as a feature writer for the Bucks County Courier Times and has spent the last twenty-five years as an award-winning senior copywriter.
On a personal note, Heather is my cousin and we are almost the same age. She's a mere two days older than me. I am very proud of her for finding her voice and writing this trilogy. Our grandfather Harold loved to read novels. I think he would be very proud of her today.
So am I.
When did you first become interested in writing?
I fell in love with writing as a teenager. It was a great outlet for me. I still have my diary from fifth grade. It’s hysterical. I was fortunate to have extremely good English teachers who helped inspire and encourage me. I started out in nursing school but was excelling in my writing and literature classes. I made the decision to change my major to English. It didn’t go over well at first (haha). But I have no regrets and have made my living writing from the minute I graduated from college.
How did you get involved in murder mystery fiction?
It’s a genre that I gravitate toward when reading. I love unraveling a good mystery. The more twists and turns the better.
How did you go about finding a suitable publisher?
By trade, I’m a copywriter and have a plethora of knowledge about marketing and promoting. I have a few friends who tried traditional publishing and found it frustrating. Most first-time authors won’t find an agent, and the rest find themselves doing their share of promoting themselves anyway. So, I did my research and developed a plan for myself—including starting my own publishing company.
Tell us about all the hard work that went into writing a trilogy.
I never set out to write a trilogy. But when I got to the end of the first book, I knew I had so much more story to tell. So, I kept writing and writing and writing. The struggle came with the third book. It was the hardest because I had to bring everything together and make sure I didn’t disappoint my readers. It’s also the most complex and involved the most research. That took time and meant folding things into the first two books. So, there was constant editing of all three books along the way. A lot of hard work went into 310,000+ words.
What do you see as the primary difference between British and American mystery?
I really enjoy reading both British and American mystery. Ironically, in college, British Lit was my favorite. I do think British novelists have a knack for creating good old-fashioned spooky and ominous settings to go with their plots.
What are your favorite books?
I have a wide range of favorites. Call me extremely unoriginal, but Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite. When it comes to murder mystery, I love all of Michael Palmer’s work. I’m very intrigued by medical mysteries, probably because of my nursing background.
Michael Crichton was brilliant. I read Jurassic Park in one day. I also enjoy John Grisham and Dan Brown. The Firm and The DaVinci Code are up there on my list!
What are some of your favorite movies?
I’m all over the place on movies. It depends on my mood. If I like a good book, I’ll look for it in theaters. The Hunger Games—Good stuff. I also love to laugh and could watch We’re the Millers and Horrible Bosses once a week. Again, not very original here, but my favorite movie of all is The Sound of Music.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?
Knocking out a trilogy all at once!
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Take your time. Do it right. Don’t rush anything, do your homework, and don’t neglect the editing process. Make sure your work is tight. Then do your research and find the right method of publishing for you.
What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?
I think it has its ups and downs. The market is saturated with some pretty terrible books because of self-publishing. But thankfully, there are some fabulous self-published authors who have changed the game. Most people no longer turn their noses up if you say you’re self-published. It seems to be more of a personal choice, not an only-option for those who couldn’t find an agent. I never looked for one!
What are your current projects?
I’m knee-deep in promoting the Element Mysteries which are releasing right now. I’ve started another book that is more supernatural. Plus, I have a non-fiction project that will likely publish next year. I’ll have to switch gears from desensitized fiction murder to real life crime. I may actually need an agent for that one!
Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself & your work.
I think some of the tribulations in my life have led me to the most triumphs. My favorite quote is “there is no strength without struggle.” I believe success is a combination of both passion and persistence. You have to be one hundred percent committed and believe in yourself. I’m extremely proud of all the three novels in the Element Mysteries series. I think if you can read and re-read your own work and still love it, that’s what it’s all about. That’s success right there because the whole world is subjective. You have to love what you do and what you create.
Find out more about Heather at