Monday, 11 August 2014

Actors vs zombies in Opening Night of the Living Dead

Here's one that slipped entirely under my radar. Opening Night of the Living Dead is the first feature directed by actor Joshua Dickinson, adapted from his own stage play which was a hit in Edinburgh back in 2009. In a nutshell, an amdram group are performing Romeo and Juliet when a zombie outbreak happens - and the show must go on.

Sounds and looks great. Although the 60-minute film isn't on IMDB yet there's a Facebook page which says the cast includes Amy Bellwood (Branagh's Cinderella), Joe Leat, Roger Parkins and Callum Hale, as well as Dickinson himself.

ONotLD was filmed at the Quay Theatre, Sudbury (in Suffolk) last summer with £4,000 of funds from Kickstarter and is scheduled to premiere in that very same venue this Sunday, 17th August. A handful of tickets are still available at £7/£5 - grab 'em while you can. If you can't make it, the film  is also lined up to play Ipswich and Colchester later this year.

I only discovered the existence of Opening Night because I was researching Joshua Dickinson's background for my review of Ed Boase's The Mirror which plays Frightfest the following week, giving Dickinson two premieres in the space of eight days!

Not to be confused with Opening Night of the Living Dead, a zombie short directed by Shalena Oxley in 2008, or Opening Night of the Living Dead, a zombie short directed by Jonathan McDevott in 2010, or Opening Night of the Living Dead, an unreleased zombie feature directed by Brian Bazala and Jay Lavley in 2011, Those are all American. Joshua's film is solidly British, and all the better for it.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Legend of the 5ive fina11y 6etting re1eas3d

Back when people thought it was cool to randomly replace letters with numbers, James P Weatherall made a film called The Legend of the 5ive. Shot in 2009/10 and first screened in October 2011, the film has sat on the shelf for a few years (apart from a screening at Horror-on-Sea in January 2013) during which time the basic premise - a found footage movie about a ghost-hunting show - has become something of a cliche in low-budget horror cinema (see Dark Vision for one of the most recent examples). Which may be unfortunate, or may be why a distributor has now picked it up.

Fenix films will release The Legend of the 5ive on DVD in the States on 9th September; it's up on Amazon now. No idea what it's like.

Synopsis
All Hallows Eve – the perfect night for your first ghost hunt, to find that irrefutable proof of live after death, at least that’s what sceptical documentary film‐maker Julia Marsh was told when she joined Greg Connell and his team ‘Paranormal Investigations Inc’ for their live Halloween special.
   Their location: a remote farm in deepest, darkest England. Their mission: to uncover the truth behind the legend of the ‘Screaming Spectres of Emerson farm’ known locally as ‘The 5ive’.The legend of the 5ive
Rumour has it, three hundred years ago, five mysterious strangers were found butchered on the land. Their bodies placed in such a way to form the points of a giant pentagram, their deaths said to be so violent, so hideous, that you can still see their screaming forms running from whoever or whatever killed them.
   The Live show begins and the World Wide Web watches as the team quickly records evidence of paranormal activity. Unexplainable images, unearthly sounds, poltergeist activity and the revelation of the name Anne Foster; the name you call upon three times to reveal the fate of the five. Spotting a rare ratings opportunity Greg Connell leads the team in an impromptu midnight séance, calling Anne Fosters name from the points of the pentagram, as the witching hour strikes.
   At exactly 12.15am their live webcast inexplicitly dies and Julia and the team find themselves thrust into a horrific fight for survival. The evil they called forth will deliver the terrifying truth.
   This horror feature is the debut from director James P Weatherall and takes the reality of TV’s Most Haunted, the cold horror of the Blair witch and mixes them together with an equal measure of subtle dark humour to create a disturbing but ultimately entertaining movie.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Trailers for 'Daly Does the Dead' Trilogy

Milton Keynes maverick Jason Impey has posted the trailers for three new comedy horror features which he is making with the Grande Dame of modern British horror, Eileen Daly. Daly Does the Dead is a series of features in which Eileen, Dam Cullingworth (The Eschatrilogy, Molly Crows) and Justin G Gibson play a team of paranormal investigators.

They encounter ghosts in Mr Crispin (previously announced as Mr Crispin at Your Cervix!) and Hollywood Betrayed, and vampires in First Bite is the Deepest. Jason variously contributed as DP, editor and executive producer of the three films which are being made under Eileen's Gyspsyphilia Productions banner. No news yet on distribution.





Friday, 8 August 2014

Graph of British horror films since 2000

This is kind of fun. A graphical representation of my master list of British horror features released since 1st January 2000. Can you see a trend?

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Whatever happened to... Room?

An anonymous commenter over on this post from last December has alerted me to a finished but unreleased British horror feature simply called Room.

Here's the synopsis, from an archive of the movie's website:

‘Isolation can be healthy’
Writer/Director Lee Russell’s first feature,  ROOM promises first class thrilling occurrences with pinnacle suspense.  Produced to a low budget, ROOM takes you through the brain winding journey of a budding police cadet as he unknowingly becomes part of a plot, isolated within the confines of a morbid 12th floor apartment.

There was a screening at Cineworld, Chichester in 2009, which my commenter says he attended, but the film has now completely disappeared. All we're left with is this two-minute trailer and this poster:

Unfortunately that credit block is too small to make out, but here's some info from the website on the people who made Room:

’Epitome-Chi’ are a collaborative team of young, talented filmmakers - all with individual spirit and dedication which when combined makes the most creative, innovative work force in Southern Britain.

‘ROOM’ being their first feature film; the team have pulled together, and produced what could be 2008’s best debuting micro-budget movie, costing a total of £2,500.

Since 2003, many of the team have spent their youth time with a camera and a cutting room, making and experimenting with demo adverts, music videos, corporate videos and short’s.  When the Script for ROOM came about in late 2005, the group slowly but surely formed.  The rest is classed as history...

The TEAM:
WRITER/DIRECTOR/editor: Lee Russell
Production designer: Lewis Simons
1ST AD AND ASSISTANT CAMERA: Lily Ross
2nd ad: Claire Stibbon
3rd ad: Shinji Ishigaki
sound/boom operator: Simon John Bowles
Set decorator/ assistant grip: Chris Faiers
Grip: Carl Fenn

From various sources I have ascertained that the cast included Heather Darcy (Grave Tales, Till Sunset, Attack of the Zombie Vampires, In Search of the Great Beast 666), Kate Walsh (currently playing a villager in The Hobbit Part III!), Trevor Byfield (The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Beyond the Rave), Laura Stevely, Samantha Ramm and Bob Chambers.

Here's a longer synopsis from CastingCallPro:

This chilling psychoanalytical thriller brings a whole new meaning to confinement, both physically and mentally.

Continuing his search for a new place to live, police cadet Tom O'Leary finds himself locating flat 358, what the local newspaper has lead him to believe is a 'luxury apartment'. After managing to find the location, he stumbles across a young lady by the name of Rachel. A very pleasant girl, Rachel introduces herself and they begin to chat, before Tom eventually decides to take a look at the flat. Tom becomes baffled and slightly concerned after discovering the door to 358 to be open. 'Poor' would be an understatement to the condition he discovers the apartment to be in. As fate takes its course and Tom discovers more and more about the room, he increasingly wishes he hadn't taken an interest to the advert in the paper. Becoming delusional, he enters a world he has never been before. After becoming trapped in the confines of the apartment, Tom not only has to work to find a way out, but also finds himself having to work in order to come to terms with family related guilt and self inflicted illness which will slowly but surely bring him to his knees. After living in the room for nearly a day with no medication to subside his condition, Tom begins to realise that he shouldn't be concerned as to who has locked him there, but instead, 'why' have they locked him there.

So what has happened to Room? It's not on IMDB. It's not on YouTube, it's not listed on IMDB and the last post on Lee Russell's Facebook page was two years ago.

Monday, 28 July 2014

A Vault of Victims coming to DVD in September

A new British horror anthology from Will Metheringham and friends is lined up for a US release in September through WorldWide MultiMedia. Metheringham, director of The Photographer: Inside the Mind of a Psycho, has teamed up with his missus, Maria Lee Metheringham, and their mate Anthony Brems for the three segments of A Vault of Victims.

Death, Murder, Love Triangles, Evil Teddy Bears and Sex Galore. Three wickedly sexy tales in this terrifying anthology that are sure to make your blood curdle while fulfilling your deepest fantasies. In Sweet Mirror: A timid girl finds an escape from her sexual repression in a mysterious old mirror. Her new confidence allows her to confront her inner demons. In Terror the Bear: An evil teddy bear plots the demise of a group of self-absorbed students. In Hidden Camera: Steve's secret recordings are found by his girlfriend Lyndsey and her plan for revenge is death. Horrifying, deadly and dangerous consequences abound behind this Vault of Victims.

Here's the Facebook page and here's the trailer. Astute BHR fans will spot that the middle story, Terror the Bear, ploughs a similar furrow to Karl Holt's award-winning 2006 short Eddie Loves You. That's alright - there can never be too many films about psychotic cuddly toys!



Metheringham is apparently finishing off a feature called Snuff Reel and also prepping a sequel to his debut - The Photographer 2: Inside the Dark Room.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Can't wait to see: C Thomas Howell in Siren Song

Here is the trailer for Siren Song, the first feature from Benedict Mart. Shot in Cornwall earlier this year - during all those really bad storms - this tale of cannibal psychos on a creepy island is the first British horror title on the CV of B-movie legend C Thomas Howell, a man more commonly to be found in the output of Fred Olen Ray or The Asylum. And those who know me will understand that this is far from  a criticism - quite the opposite!

Siren Song focuses on two friends, one of whom pursues a relationship with a mysterious woman who part owns a guest house and who he has been dating online. Problems occur when guests at the isolated guest house begin to disappear and the guys discover the truth about the woman and her monstrous sisters and how they must escape from a mysterious island if they want to survive beyond dawn.

Ben tells me: "I had the idea a couple of years ago and commissioned a friend Lisa Edwards to write the story retelling the Siren myth with their song sung though the web. Also with the outbreak of the horse burgers scandal, what are we eating? Both ideas intertwined so well together.

"We had a fantastic team from the camera department headed by Tobias Marshall who with the help of  the gaffer, Martryn Culpan, lite up Polperro Harbour during one of the smaller storms. The production designer Heather Dunn did a fantastic job in set dressing the siren 'hotel'; many of the rooms got a complete face-lift to fit our narrative. Also our editor Tom Kemplen fine-tuned the narrative of the film and post house team Onlinepp gave their outstanding commitment to the project, which we are very grateful for."