Thursday, 23 June 2016

Boots on the Ground - first images

Here's a press release and some stills from Louis Melville's new war/horror found footage picture:

New genre-centric British Horror and Sci Fi production company Last Bullet Films established in 2015 by Louis Melville (Last Horror Movie) and Louis Savy, creator of the Sci-Fi-London film festival, kicks off its production slate on June 1st with the start of principal photography on their ground breaking Afghan War-set Horror BOOTS ON THE GROUND. War ends at midnight, all five British soldiers have to do is stay alive till then.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND which stars Tom Ainsley (Versailles), Ryan McParland (The Survivalist), Valmike Rampersad (Bazodee), Ian Virgo (Before the Fall) and Sally Day (Ashes to Ashes) breaks new ground and creates film history by becoming the first British horror film to be shot entirely by its actors all wearing specially adapted 4K head cams; this fully immersive five person POV style of storytelling straddles the worlds of video games and conventional film narrative in a new and till now unseen way.

It has taken three years of planning to fine tune the technology and to devise new techniques of shooting that allows the actors to truly work in a full 360 environment.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND was inspired by combat footage filmed by British soldiers in Afghanistan and other modern war zones using their own head cams, then uploaded to social media.

The project is written and directed by Louis Melville and produced by Alex Francis (Moon), Louis Savy (The Search for Simon) and Louis Melville with VFX created by Academy Award winner Ben Kent.

Last Bullet Films aims for BOOTS ON THE GROUND to be ready for market early 2017.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Eight pop stars who wrote soundtracks for British horror films

(Please note, as one of the world’s least musical people, I’m going to make no attempt to describe any of this music.)

Vince Clarke
The guy from Erasure, Yazoo and early Depeche Mode provided the soundtrack for Blood, directed by Charly Cantor in 2000. A stunning ‘inverse vampire’ tale of a genetically created woman with addictive, narcotic blood, the film has frustratingly never been released uncut (except in France, where it was dubbed).

Tracy Thorn
Fifty percent of Everything But the Girl, Thorn composed the score for Carol Morley’s terrific 2015 feature The Falling, in which Maisie Williams is at the epicentre of a fainting sickness outbreak in a 1960s girls’ school.

Guy Fletcher
As well as playing keyboards in Dire Straits and on Mark Knopfler’s subsequent solo projects, Fletcher composed several film soundtracks including one for the awful 2005 movie Spirit Trap. (The cast included Billie Piper when she was still primarily known for her records and also Russian Eurovision singer Alsou.)

Robert Fripp
Steve Oram’s bonkers 2015 humans-act-like-apes feature Aaaaaaaah! includes among its cast former 1980s pop star Toyah Willcox. When her husband, King Crimson rocker Fripp, heard about the movie he offered Oram a collection of unreleased tracks from which to collate a soundtrack.

Graham Coxon
Steven Nesbitt’s 2010 film Curio, a sort of Misery/Psycho mash-up (with ghosts) features a soundtrack from Coxon, lead guitarist with Britpoppers Blur. The film was released in the States as Mother’s Day Evil.

Steven Severin
Former bassist for Siouxsie and the Banshees, Severin has provided the soundtracks for two British horror films: Robert Pratten’s atmospheric 2004 feature London Voodoo and Paul Burrow’s 2006 anglo-giallo Nature Morte. (He has also composed a score to accompany silent classic Vampyr.)

The only vaguely good thing about Octane, a terrible horror/road movie directed by Marcus Adams in 2003 (released as Pulse in the States), was the soundtrack by dance duo Orbital. Every single other aspect of the film was really, really bad.

Matt Johnson
In 2009, when Gerard Johnson needed music for his brilliantly bleak character study Tony, about a socially awkward psychopath, he turned to his brother Matt. Music fans know him better as the main guy behind alternative band The The.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Press release: Abduct, new UK paranormal thriller

Abduct is a 2016 UK produced Mystery, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller from director Ilyas Kaduji. Starring Sienna Guillory (Resident Evil), William B. Davis (The X-Files Cigarette Smoking Man), Jack O'Halloran (Superman), Mark Arnold (Teen Wolf), Mhairi Calvey (Braveheart), Art Bell (Coast to Coast). The film is set in a remote town called Fate in Texas, US. The plot follows a radio paranormal talk show host as he tries to help a young woman who is being hunted by sinister, dark forces.

The film is part of the Official selection of the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival 2016 and will have its UK Premiere at the Stratford PictureHouse 1st of May at 7pm and 4th of May 1pm.

In the minds of some paranormal groups, the fate of Humanity lies in the hands of a few open minded and dedicated individuals who investigate the occult connections to many of the unexplained phenomenon like UFO's, alien abductions, Demon possessions, the real Men in Black, The Shadow People, sleep paralysis and Ancient Aliens. These mysterious and dark phenomena have plagued thousands of people across the world. However, in the eyes of charismatic, paranormal radio host Ridley Kay, these topics are his passion as well as all fun and games... until a strange young woman called Crystal comes literally crashing into his life. Crystal is a Texan orphan with a horrible and tragic past. Her parents ritually abused her. One night, strange lights and sounds appeared outside her home. Crystal blacked out and later awakened to find them brutally murdered.

Years pass. Now a young adult, a paranoid Crystal flees her orphanage believing that otherworldly forces are after her. When Crystal arrives at a remote ranch in Texas, the adventurous Ridley Kay is forced to protect her but welcomes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study a real-life paranormal phenomenon first hand. The legendary real life radio host Art Bell also calls into Ridley’s show to help unravel some of the challenging mysteries that Ridley and his fellow investigator friends have to face. However, the strange lights and sounds follow Crystal wherever she goes. People get hurt and mysterious government agents seek to take Crystal into custody. No matter how far the young woman flees, they’re always fast on her heels; a sinister Woman and Man in Black named... Angelica Dark and Alistair Cruel are never far behind…

The film was shot in Texas - USA, London and Tintagel Farm - Wokingham in Berkshire.

The original edit of the film was 2h.40m long before being cut down to just under 2 hours leaving more than enough deleted scenes for the DVD extras and directors’ cut fans. The film was highly supported by its entire crew and cast that worked intensively and restless to bring the project to life. Post-Production was very demanding involving some pick up shots and lasted for several months.

Abduct was inspired by Ilyas Kaduji’s childhood fascination with space, aliens, ghosts and UFOs, as well as  classic Sci-Fi films of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T and Star Wars. He was also inspired by a magazine entitled The Unexplained: Mysteries of Mind, Space, & Time that quickly became a popular magazine published in the U.K. between 1980 and 1983 by Orbis Publishing. Then ten years later in 1993 a new TV phenomenon was born - The X-Files - and it had everything Ilyas could have wished for aliens, UFOs, cover-ups, action, adventure with a touch of romance.

William B. Davis, the X-Files Cigarette Smoking Man stars as Zane MacAlister in Abduct. His character, actually mentions the cult series in one of the scenes of the film.

Resident Evil star Sienna Guillory plays 3 different characters in Abduct.

Known for his role in Superman, Jack O'Halloran plays a sinister government agent who keeps stalking and tormenting the young woman who is haunted by strange events played by actress Mhairi Calvey who played young Mel Gibson’s love interest, Murron’s Mhairi in the film Braveheart.

Mark Arnold, known as Michael J. Fox’s antagonist Mick in the film Teen Wolf, plays the paranormal entertainer radio show host inspired by and based on the real life legendary Art Bell and his hit show that dealt with topics related to the paranormal, UFO’s and conspiracy theories.

Art Bell is an American broadcaster and author known as one of the founders and the original host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM. The show started back in 1984 in the US and Canada achieving audiences of between 10 to 15 million listeners per week. Art Bell plays himself in the film Abduct and helps Ridley to unravel some of the challenging mysteries that Ridley and his friends have to face. Interesting fact to note is that Art Bell did have the creator of  The X-Files, Chris Carter, on his show.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Cannibal horror Blood Lust coming to DVD in May

Some time ago I wrote a draft of a script that Benedict Mart was developing called The Wicked Mr Danior. Later, Ben asked me to write the screenplay for a project called Siren. I wrote a cracking treatment but didn’t pursue it, principally because the executive producers were insistent that the film – about a man lured to his doom by a mysterious woman on an isolated island – must be not only filmed on the Isle of Wight but actually set there.

Sorry, but half a million holiday-makers a year travel to the Isle of Wight via three regular scheduled ferry services. It’s not an isolated island where someone could be lured. I wished Ben well and recommended that the title be changed, perhaps to Siren Song, as there had recently been another British horror film called Siren.

Sometime later I heard from Ben that the film had finally been made, with no less than DTV king C Thomas Howell in the lead role (and with different executive producers). It wasn’t set on the Isle of Wight and the title had changed to Siren Song.

And so we come to 2016 when the film has popped up on, set for release on 3 May via Inception Media Group. It’s now called Blood Lust. Here’s the synopsis:

When Daniel is lured to an isolated island guesthouse by his new on-line girlfriend Kelly, his hopes for a romantic weekend get-away are quickly shattered. As other guests around the estate begin to disappear, he suspects that she or her monstrous sisters may have a gruesome menu planned for their dinner. Now he and a friend race to escape this wicked trap hoping to survive beyond the dawn.

Lisa Edwards, Fletcher N Brown and Brigitte Allen are credited with the script.

The Wicked Mr Danior remains in development hell. And if anyone would like to see my treatment that I wrote for Siren, which is very different to what eventually got made, just drop me an email.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Remembering Tony Luke

I don't normally write 'in memoriam' pieces of obituaries. Those of you who used to read my Devil's Porridge blog know that I only did a couple of posthumous tributes - to people I knew personally whose passing would otherwise go largely unnoticed.

I discovered today that Tony Luke passed away last month after a long battle with cancer. There have been a number of tributes on comics sites so his death has not gone unnoticed - except by me. I feel bad for not knowing until six weeks later. I feel bad for having lost contact with Tony in recent years. I feel bad generally: we were about the same age and we went back a long way, Hell, I knew Tony before he dyed his hair black.

In the early/mid 1980s I was a very active member of ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation Society. Tony was a member too and I would often see him at meetings, parties and conventions. ZZ9 attracted some interesting people in those days. (Dave Julyan, composer of scores for films including Memento and The Descent, was newsletter editor at one point.)

When I started working on SFX in 1995, one of the most exciting things was the opportunity to interview people I already knew who I felt deserved more credit for their work. Tony was one of those and I did a big sit-down interview with him in 1996. You can now read the full transcript here.

Tony invited me down to Brighton where he was shooting a short for the nascent UK SciFi Channel called Archangel Thunderbird, starring Eileen Daly and Doug Bradley. He had a nightmare dealing with some fetish guy whose job it was to tie Eileen up and who spent hours doing special types of knots. It also didn't help that the various gun props had to be smuggled into the location without being seen by the heavy police presence in town for the Labour Party Conference. I think in the end Tony reshot the whole thing.

Later, he contacted me about a pop video he was making for the indie band Urusei Yasura. I travelled to a Star Trek-themed bar in London where I got to play a nerdy sci-fi geek who spills a Klingon's pint and thereby somehow turns everyone into cartoons. I vividly recall phoning Tony from a payphone at Bath bus station (mobile phones were rare things in those days) to learn that the video was going to be number one on the ITV Chart Show Indie Chart that Saturday.

I don't know when my last contact with Tony was. It was some time ago and in fact I kept wondering where he had disappeared to. He was evidently still working, producing illustrations whenever his illness allowed. I guess we just tended to move in different circles. I'm not a comics fan and have no interest in anime or manga; people who do evidently knew Tony and still saw him sometimes,

In 2003 I interviewed Tony for a second time, by email, about his CGI animated feature Dominator. For that innovative film (and Archangel Thunderbird), Tony must be considered a significant name in the British Horror Revival. His work won't be forgotten, and neither will he.

Tony never became a household name or a big star. But he did what he wanted to do, his way, without compromise. He had integrity, which meant that he had fallings-out. He never considered that a problem. He was also a bloody good laugh. And I'm sad that he's gone.

If you haven't spoken to someone for a long time, get back in contact while you can. One day it will be too late.

Rest in peace, Tony Luke.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Northern Irish slasher film Braxton screens in Belfast on 17th April

Press release: Northern Irish slasher film Braxton will receive its hometown premiere at this year’s Belfast Film Festival. The film is expected to play at 8pm on Sunday 17th April at the Movie House on Dublin Road, as part of the fest’s “NI Independent” category.

Written and directed by 21 year-old Belfast filmmaker Leo McGuigan, the film is described as “a fun throwback to the popular slasher films of the 80s and 90s, such as Scream, Halloween and My Bloody Valentine”.

It was shot throughout Northern Ireland in the summer of 2014 by a then 19 year old McGuigan. The film had its US premiere in October of 2015, where it won the “Best Foreign Slasher Feature” prize at the Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, one of America’s biggest horror festivals.

“We’re really pleased with the reception the film has received so far,” McGuigan, who co-produced the film alongside Margaret McGoldrick (RTE’s Farr) remarked, “and the idea of unveiling it to a homegrown audience is exciting and terrifying at the same time. The film was genuinely a labour of love in every respect, and that’ll hopefully come through on the screen!”

The film features an ensemble cast of Northern Irish talent including Shaun Blaney (RTE’s Farr, Halo: Nightfall, The Frankenstein Chronicles) and Diona Doherty (Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model) and tells the story of a serial killer, Tommy Miller, who returns to a small town on the anniversary of his initial spree, forcing the original survivor, now police officer, (Blaney) to seek him out before it’s too late.

[Find out more about Braxton at, and here's the trailer. It looks great! - MJS]

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

DVD sleeve gallery: Tower Block

Tower Block, the cracking James Moran-scripted horror-thriller directed by Ronnie Thompson and James Nunn, was on Channel 5 this week. Here's a selection of the film's DVD artwork from around the world:

The original UK release from 2013 and the Italian DVD which used the same artwork.

The US disc and the German disc have the same basic artwork and photo of Russell Tovey. Apparently Sheridan Smith and Jack O'Connell aren't big enough in Deutschland to get their own close-ups.

Greece, Portugal and Russia all followed the German design.

Australia and Spain both opted for a slightly more colourful image.

Unique artwork for the Canadian release and the Dutch disc, both concentrating on the killer rather than the victims.

Japan always has to be different. This was the first DVD released. On the right is the second UK disc from 2015, by which time O'Connell was a big, marketable star.

Christ knows what this is. Might be Slovakian.