Monday 11 December 2023

Interview with T. R. Napper - By David Kempf

T. R. Napper is a multi-award-winning science fiction author, including the prestigious Aurealis three times. David caught up with him for a chat.

You can also check out some of his books at

When did you first see the original Alien?

After I’d read the Aliens tie-in novel by Alan Dean Foster, and watched Aliens the film. Which is to say, I can’t precisely remember, as my most formative experience with the universe was the second film. I read the tie-in novel first, because I was too young to see Aliens, and my consolation prize was being allowed to read the novelisation.

So, it wouldn’t have been until the 90s that I watched Alien. My only regret is I never got to see it fresh, uncomprehending the horror of what was about to happen during the chestburster scene at the dinner table on the Nostromo.

Why do you think it was such a great twist that Bishop turns out to be the good guy in Aliens?

James Cameron sets it up well. Bishop (seemingly) has the same obsession over the xenomorph as Ash, and as such, anyone who has seen the first film will deduce that Bishop is going to go the same way. But having said that, I found the Bishop character had a gentle warmth, imbued by the performance of Lance Henrikson, whereas Ash always felt cold, calculated, distant.

Bishop’s arc within Aliens is significant, in some ways the most significant of the movie. He goes from being despised by Ripley and peripheral to the needs of the marines, to being trusted by her at the end, and absolutely central to the survivors making it out alive.

When did you first become interested in books?

Forever. As long as I have memory, books were part of my life.

When did you write your first story?

Not until my mid-thirties (not including the stories I was compelled to write in primary or high school). I never thought I could or would be a writer. My parents were working class, no-one in my family had been to uni, and art – be it music, books, paintings – was largely absent from our household. The expectation on me growing up was that I would do something practical, preferably something that would involve going to university (and thus change social classes), such as engineering.

So when I say I didn’t think about being a writer, I mean it quite literally. The thought did not cross my mind. It was never a secretly harboured ambition. Despite my love of books, I never conceived that I would be writing one.

I cannot remember the spark that made me write my first story (my first published short story came out in 2014). The urgent need was suddenly there, and I did it. That first story would have sucked, without doubt. But still, I never looked back, once the words started to flow.

When did you publish your first novel?

2022. My debut is titled 36 Streets. It’s a cyberpunk novel set in Vietnam in the year 2100. 36 Streets won both the major spec-fic awards here in Australia (the Aurealis Award and the Ditmar Award), and has done well abroad, as well (in fact my audience seems primarily to be in the UK and the US). All of which has been a massive fucking relief.

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

Look, I think there are an entirely different set of motivations depending on the reader or viewer. Some thrill at being scared, having the heart thump in the chest. Some have a fascination with the macabre. Some use horror as a means to explore trauma. It’s a genre that goes so far beyond the stereotype of gore and splatter: it can be contemporary, can easily speak to modern fears.

What are some of your favourite horror movies?

1) The Thing (1982)
2) Alien
3) Rosemary’s Baby
4) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
5) The Exorcist
6) 28 Days Later
7) Dawn of the Dead (1978)
8) Evil Dead 2
9) Predator
10) The Babadook

What are your current projects?

Aliens: Bishop has just come out, of course. I have two original works coming out next year: Ghost of the Neon God, and The Escher Man. Both are set in the same world as 36 Streets. Ghost of the Neon God is a novella, I pitched it as Mad Max meets Johnny Mnemonic. It’s about a rogue AI, a couple of petty crooks, and a terrifying escape across the Australian outback.

The Escher Man is set five years after the events of 36 Streets, but nonetheless is a stand-alone novel. That one is set in Macau. I think I pitched that as Total Recall meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

If you like your fiction dark, hardboiled, existential, violent, and high-octane, then I’m probably your guy.

Who would win in a fight between Bishop and David?

Much like in the cricket, when England plays Australia, Bishop - like England - would be the moral victor. Which is to say, Bishop would get smashed.

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

I am a multi-award-winning science fiction author, including the prestigious Aurealis three times. My short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, F&SF, Interzone, and numerous others, and has been translated into Hebrew, German, French, and Vietnamese.

Before turning to writing, I was a humanitarian aid worker, having lived throughout Southeast Asia for over a decade. I was also a resident in the Old Quarter in Ha Noi for several years, the setting for my debut novel, 36 Streets.  

Currently I live in Australia working as a DM, running dungeons and dragons campaigns for young people with autism for a local charity.

My fiction is cyberpunk. Which is to say it’s punk: anti-corporate, anti-elite, counter-cultural, and firmly on the side of the marginalised. It’s cyber: ice-cool tech, weaponised by the power for social control. It’s true cyberpunk: the literature of defiance.

Twitter: @TheEscherMan
Instagram: trnapper
Facebook: trnapper

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Interview with Simon Rumley

Ahead of NYX UK’s season of Simon Rumley films in December, the award-winning director talks candidly about therapy in filmmaking, his past fear of contracting AIDS/HIV and being kicked of out BAFTA.

Q: Simon, how pleased are you that NYX UK, the country’s only free-to-air horror channel, are presenting a season of your films?
Very! I've spoken to a few festivals over the years to do a small retrospective of my films, but it's never panned out. So, it's great to see all the films curated and playing under one umbrella.

Q: A tricky question, but which is your personal favourite?
Ha. Indeed. Impossible to say, of course! I love them all (which I wouldn't say about every film I've made) and they all have different qualities and, actually, I'm proud of the fact that they're all so different from each other - visually, stylistically, narratively, aurally.

Q: Is it true that THE LIVING AND THE DEAD is partly influenced by events in your personal life?
Indeed, it was 'inspired' by watching my mother die of cancer which happened only a few months after my father died of a heart attack. I wrote it initially as a nightmare, a way of trying to communicate the emotions I went through during this time. But as a few investors read it, I made it more grounded in a reality before going to the nightmare/crazed extreme that it does go to. But yes, it was a kind of therapy for me and very cathartic.

Q: RED, WHITE and BLUE is a controversial film which you described as a horrific descent into revenge, terror and tragedy. What inspired you to make it?
Well, this was also personal in its own way and came from my fear of contracting AIDS through having one-night stands. Back then, 2009, when I wrote the script, AIDS/HIV wasn't quite the death sentence it was in previous years, but it was still close. I also loved the reaction to The Living And The Dead which we premiered in Rotterdam and then played at many non-horror festivals. The question I got from almost everyone was 'Is this a horror film?' I liked that duality of the film's existence and wanted to do something similar with RWB - a horror film which isn't obviously a horror film...

Q: One of the powerful themes of RED, WHITE AND BLUE is the relationship between sex and death – which you again take on with ‘Bitch’ in the horror anthology LITTLE DEATHS. What drew you to the story?
Well, as above, but with RWB, I wanted to get across that contradiction of doing something that is supposed to be very enjoyable (sex) being also something that could kill you. With Little Deaths, the story is more a perverse revenge story so less about the death aspect and more about how love goes bad.

Q: Your short film THE HANDY MAN, draws you into the world of serial killers. Was it this theme that attracted you to the project?
The theme and the well written script. I didn't write it, but it won a British Short Screenplay Competition as judged by Kenneth Branagh. It was a neat, twisted, twisty, self-contained script which was a perfect vehicle for two great actors. It also had that timeless American Gothic feel to it and reminded me of paintings by Grant Wood and Andrew Wyeth. It was very evocative, therefore, too, and I felt we could have a lot of fun with it.

Q: What was it like directing Greta Scacchi?
Fantastic, as you'd hope and expect. She was a great collaborator, asked good questions, brought her own identity and interpretation to the character. As with all world-class actors, every take was compelling, and the hardest thing was deciding which ones not to use rather than which one to use.

Q: You’ve been described by Screen International as one the great British cinematic outsiders. Does this chime with you?
Ha. Well, it's nice to be called 'great'. And I'm thinking that some of the other great British cinematic outsiders would include Ken Russel, Powell and Nic Roeg. They were all summarily ignored by the greater part of our industry and if I'm lumped in with them, then very happy. And, yes, given the amount of support I've received from the industry at large, it does chime with me, and I was even kicked out of Bafta because I was too busy writing/producing/directing RWB in Austin to pay my membership on time.

Q: You’ve just written your first novel, THE WOBBLE CLUB. Are you pleased with the reception?
Yes, very much so. It turns out it's a lot harder to get 'official' reviews for novels than it is for films but so far, the few I've got have been overwhelmingly positive which is gratifying. And I recently received the first reporting and have already sold half the first print run in about five weeks so much better than I was expecting!

Q: it deals with the very tricky subject of eating disorders. How challenging was it balancing sensitive issues with a darkly comic undertone.
Well, I was reading Martin Amis' The Information during some of the writing and that was quite informative in its own way. A lot of his humour comes from word play and there's a fair amount of that in my novel but it's also been fantastic to hear people tell me they've had laugh out loud moments with The Wobble Club. There's a laconicism to the humour, I think, and it's never directed at the characters; I wanted them to maintain their dignity throughout.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?
Well, I have a few films in development/at casting stage. A couple are horror, a couple revenge type thrillers, a crime noir. Come January, I'm hoping to return to novel-writing if none of the films happen and that's more obvious horror than The Wobble Club...

Fri 8 Dec @ 21:00 – RED, WHITE AND BLUE (2010) *Channel premiere

Fri 15 Dec @ 21:00 – THE LIVING AND THE DEAD *Channel premiere

Fri 22 Dec @ 21:00 – LITTLE DEATHS (2011) *Channel premiere

Following all three films is a special presentation of THE HANDY MAN.

Freeview 289, Channelbox App, Roku, DistroTV

Monday 4 December 2023

COMPETITION: Win Creepshow: Season 4 on Blu-ray

Tune in to Creepshow in all its gory glory as Season 4 gets its home entertainment bow this December – alongside a brand-new Season 1 – 4 Box set. Based on the seminal 1980s cult classic from horror dream team, maestro George A. Romero and virtuoso Stephen King, this critically acclaimed TV series is an essential purchase for those in need of some blood-soaked, playfully dark and irresistibly eerie seasonal viewing.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and 3 copies of Season 4 on Blu-ray to give away.

Following its huge success on Shudder, Creepshow Season 4 and Creepshow Season 1 – 4 Box set are set to arrive on Blu-ray, DVD and digital on 11 December 2023. The Box set comes packed with special features, including in A Creepshow Animated Special, which sees Kiefer Sutherland (Designated Survivor, 24) star in Survivor Type based on the short story by Stephen King and Joe King (The Kissing Booth, The Act) star in Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, based on the short story by Joe Hill (NOS4A2). It also comes with A Creepshow Holiday Special starring Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect) and Adam Pally (The Mindy Project). Please see the trailers below.
Produced by Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead), the series features a slew of unique horror vignettes from some of the most lauded talent around, including Stephen King, as well as his son, writer Joe Hill (NOS4A2), Primetime Emmy® award-winning Rob Schrab (Rick and Morty, Monster House), Josh Malerman (Bird Box) and more.
Creepshow comic books come to life in this anthology series of terrifying tales hosted by the silent ghoul. There’s haunted dollhouses, werewolves, murderous goblins, villainous trick-or-treaters, the dead and medical marvels… just a few of the things to watch out for – you never know what shocks await you in the next chapter. Viewers will be immersed in a chilling world of suspense and gore over all four series.
Season 4 promises an exhilarating scare-fest like never before, as a fresh selection of spine-tingling stories are presented over six episodes. There are tales of stranger danger, immersive virtual worlds and everything from vampires and zombies to artistic sacrifices. It's an all-out rollercoaster of frights just waiting to be experienced.

This gorgeously gruesome series is the perfect homage to horrors of old. Good gory fun at its most entertaining, set the channel to Creepshow for a horror feast to sate your appetite for fear.

Buy from Amazon at -

Enter now for a chance to win.


Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 18-12-23
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.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

COMPETITION: Win The Exorcist Untold on DVD

On the 50th anniversary of one of the most legendary and influential horrors of all time, Robin Bextor (Oppenheimer: The Real Story) sheds fascinating new light in The Exorcist Untold. The documentary is set for its home entertainment bow this December, arriving on DVD and digital on 11 December 2023, courtesy of Reel 2 Reel Films.

And to celebrate we have a great competition and a copy on DVD to give away.

Uncover the bloody and beating heart of film history with The Exorcist Untold – an electrifying new documentary that delves into the legacy and influence of this groundbreaking, revolutionary and revered masterpiece. 

The Exorcist is a cultural phenomenon that changed the face of cinema, paving the way for numerous films that followed in its terrifying footsteps. It continues to haunt and captivate audiences and its legacy can still be seen across the cinematic sphere today, 50 years on.

By exploring the motivations of the creators, the genesis of this pivotal film and the historical and cultural contexts surrounding The Exorcist's enduring influence, Bextor’s film unveils the remarkable story behind its creation, the challenges faced during production and the profound impact it had when it hit theatres on Boxing Day, 1973.

Featuring fresh insights and commentaries from industry experts, historians, scholars and designers, including Dan Perri (Star Wars, Taxi Driver), Rich Cline, Dr. Sarah Crowther, Prof. Chris McGlothlin, Nat Segaloff and more, the film also presents rarely seen archive footage of William Peter Blatty, the Academy Award®-winning screenplay writer who penned the original book – which sold over 13 million copies – along with interviews with his wife, Julie Blatty. It also features seldom-seen footage of world-famous director William Friedkin (The French Connection, To Live and Die in LA) and is a must-watch for any horror fan.

Prepare to be possessed by The Exorcist Untold.

On DVD and UK digital 11 December 2023

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Enter now for a chance to win.

Who directs The Exorcist Untold?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 18-12-23
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.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.

COMPETITION: Win Werewolf Santa on DVD

Santa Claus is coming to town and he wants more than milk and cookies...

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

Santa is out for flesh, blood and mayhem. Having received its World Premiere at FrightFest 2023, this bloody brilliant comedy horror from Airell Anthony Hayles (Punch, Midnight Peepshow) – and featuring a cameo from the venerable Joe Bob Briggs (Casino, Face/Off) – is out on DVD and digital now, courtesy of Miracle Media.

Angsty teenager Lucy (Katherine Rodden – The Outer Circle) hosts a failing YouTube show dedicated to finding evidence of natural monsters. But, as she travels home to spend Christmas in Hastings with her bickering, divorced parents Carol (Emily Booth – The Reverend) and Charlie (Mark Arnold – Blade Runner 2049), her luck is about to change...

On Christmas Eve she witnesses Santa being bitten by a werewolf before turning into a lycanthrope himself. As Werewolf Santa starts wreaking bloody havoc in Hastings, Lucy, her friend Dustin (Charlie Preston) and her family set off on a madcap adventure to save their town from the bloodthirsty beast.

Armed with a rusty ice skate, a camera and a vague understanding of how werewolves operate, can Lucy save her town from becoming season’s eatings?

Keep an eye out for Werewolf Santa this holiday season for a blood-soaked, playfully demented, joyously unique Christmas horror feast.

Buy from Amazon at -

Enter now for a chance to win.

Who directs Werewolf Santa?

Send your name, address and of course the answer to

Quick Terms and conditions - For full T&C click here
1. Closing date 18-12-23
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.
5. Entries that come directly from other websites will not be accepted.