Saturday, 14 January 2017

Can’t wait to see: Night Kaleidoscope

Grant McPhee’s stylish and trippy vampire feature Night Kaleidoscope was passed by the BBFC last week which implies a DVD release won’t be too far off. (The IMDB cites 4th February but we all know how unreliable that is.)

Synopsis: A cynical psychic investigator who peddles his gift for anyone willing to pay. His abilities depleting, he must take powerful drugs to induce his visions. After a series of brutal murders in the city, a contact in the police comes to him for help tracking down the killers.

Originally shot in 2015 as Land of Sunshine, the film stars Mariel McAllan, Kitty Colquhoun, Craig-James Moncur, Robert Williamson and Jason Harvey. Here’s a couple of stills and the trailer which was released a year ago.




Thursday, 12 January 2017

Let's Be Evil UK DVD this month

Vertigo Releasing put out Let's Be Evil on DVD in the UK on 30th January. The publicity calls it "a psychological sci-fi thriller set in Los Angeles" but don't be alarmed, it's actually a British horror film. Here's the press release:

Children’s skulls are thin. Despite the controversy over mobile phone radiation, step into the near future and the full dangers are still not yet disclosed. Irrespective, in order to avoid slippage down the international educational league tables, the government declares its intention to equip children with Augmented Reality Glasses. Trials suggest that being permanently ‘plugged in’ can significantly enhance IQ.

The potential benefits appear to be enormous, but the electro-magnetism adjacent to a child’s brain starts to cause unusual effects. Our audience is at first amused and delighted, and, in a breathtaking denouement, ultimately shocked, disturbed and horrified.

Let’s Be Evil is directed by Martin Owen and stars Kara Tointon, Isabelle Allen, Jamie Bernadette, and Elizabeth Morris.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Richard Driscoll is back with... The Kamikaze Squad!

Great news, everyone! Richard Driscoll, the UK’s worst film-maker, is up and running again and planning to shoot new footage this month. (Although, as we all know, ‘planning to’ doesn’t mean ‘will’.)

Did you see Suicide Squad? Then prepare yourself for the next best thing (if we ignore every other film ever made) – The Kamikaze Squad! Awesome title, Mr D. Probably your best since Strangers on a Plane. What is The Kamikaze Squad? Why it’s “a comic book superhero movie in the vein of Batman”. Well, um, yes. Because Batman is a comic book superhero movie. Here’s the synopsis, from a press release distributed on 27th December:

When disgruntled Police Detective Frank McMillian decides to take the law into his own hands after the death of his partner, he decides to retire from the New York Police Department and transform into The BLACK KNIGHT a Batman style vigilante hero to enforce his own type of law.

The KAMIKAZE SQUAD Is a story about a group of men & women with special powers that have been hidden from the public. But when New York is in turmoil from a chemical weapon attack by billionaire sociopath William Bard, Commissioner Rosen decides to call in the help of Superhero vigilante The Black Knight to lead the 6 outcasts in a suicide mission to stop William Bard.

Driscoll has set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the film plus an Indiegogo page which tells us: “Inspired by the BATMAN universe, The KAMIKAZE SQUAD is a whole new concept in superhero movies. Utilising talents that worked on such movies as Batman, Star Wars, Harry Potter, the James Bond films, Kick Arse, Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman. The KAMIKAZE SQUAD brings together a wealth of talent rarely seen in the low budget field.”

Sounds good and… hang about. Read me that list once again (and bear in mind that almost everyone in the UK film industry has worked on Star Wars, Potter or Bond at some time). Yes, he does indeed list a movie called Kick Arse! Presumably he means Kick-Ass. Remember, this is the guy who couldn’t tell the difference between Night of the Demon and Night of the Demons. Then again, maybe he’s planning his own take on the Kick-Ass concept, which he surely would call Kick Arse.

What else do we learn? “Filming is to take place from January 23rd. We already have the funds for filming by pre-selling various rights to the film but what we are looking for is the funds to enable us to finish Second unit filming & Post-Production funds to complete this Superhero movie and enable us to get the film released in August 2017. This will include 3 days filming in Los Angeles to shoot green screen effects plus editing, mixing and CGI work.”

For just $60 you can be an extra in the film, or for $750 you can have a speaking part. Despite the perk prices being in US dollars, filming will be in Sheffield. Can you make it? Please, if you can spare $60 (about 50 quid) it’s got to be worth it. I will publish here any report or photos I receive from this shoot.

You’ll notice that this is ‘second unit’ because as usual Driscoll is building this entirely new concept around existing footage. Here’s the cast list:


Everyone there has worked with Driscoll before so probably won’t need to shoot any new footage for this film – except for Tom Sizemore. Sizemore, who was convicted of battering his then wife in 2003, was allegedly dropped by his management after being arrested for beating up his girlfriend earlier this year. And when your career hits rock bottom (but your name still means something), that’s when Richard Driscoll comes calling.

Now here’s where the story gets weird. Because nothing is ever simple in Driscoll-land.

Here is a new listing on StarNow, posted just one week after that press release, with the same synopsis but calling the film The Black Knight. Well, people change film titles all the time, that’s fair enough. Driscoll is looking for a double for Michael Madsen and a double for his ‘lead actress’ which, given that you need to be 5’3” and don’t need to be Chinese presumably means Linnea Quigley rather than Bai Ling. Whether you need to look like Linnea now or Linnea when she worked with Driscoll in the 1990s on Kannibal isn’t definite. The playing range is specified at 18-35 but Quigley was already in her early forties (and looked it!) when she shot the footage Driscoll is apparently planning to reuse.

If you can double Madsen or Linnea you’ll be paid a princely 65 quid for your troubles. You could then invest £50 of that in being an extra in the film and still have enough for a pint and a cheap curry. But wait, there’s one more role: a speaking part which pays £120 (rather than charging $750). You need a playing range of 25-45 and a US accent, must be an ‘Angelina Jolie type', and shouldn't mind that “nudity may be required”. Who is this mysterious woman, stepping from her bath to give the main character a tarot reading? Why it’s ‘Historical character Elizabeth Bathory’!

Oops, my mistake. It’s actually a ‘historical character’ named ‘Elizabeth Bathroy’. (From the man who brought you ‘Edgar Allen Poe’ and ‘Philipe K Dick’.) Still, there's your horror element. Although how that fits into the Suicide Squad rip-off idea isn't clear.

Filming for these roles, we are told, will take place in Cornwall. Which brings me to this fascinating page for a company called Hofpix Media (‘hofpix’ = ‘House of Fear Pictures’), based just outside Redruth. Not Higher Nanpean Farm (which Driscoll no longer owns) but a charming barn conversion called Talltrees, formerly the location of a breakdown recovery business. As a convicted fraudster Richard Driscoll is of course banned from being a company director in the UK so how this has come about isn’t clear. Scroll down and eight films are listed on that page:

  • The Legend of Harrow Woods (aka Evil Calls)
  • Headhunter (aka Kannibal)
  • A Bad Day in Death Valley (aka Eldorado aka Highway to Hell)
  • Linnea Quigley’s Grindhouse Nightmares (aka Grindhouse 2wo, consisting of Man Hunt + Stripper with a Shotgun)
  • Blade Hunter (which has been listed twice on Indiegogo, raising a grand total of $354)
  • The Kamikaze Squad
  • The Black Knight (hang on, aren’t those the same film?)
  • And Accidental Exorcist.

This last is interesting because it’s not a Driscoll film, it’s a pick-up. Directed by a prolific B-movie maker named Daniel Falicki (and co-written by Warren Croyle of Chemical Burn Entertainment) this American movie is already available on Amazon Prime.

Well, I must say that’s all very exciting. No-one has donated to the Kamikaze Squad crowdfunder yet but, seriously, one of you should totally get the ‘Be an extra’ perk. Think of the £50 as an investment, because you will save more than that in drinks bought for you over the years if you survive a Richard Driscoll production. Oh, and do please check out the video on the Indiegogo page. It may seen like there's nothing in it beyond some names, but wait for the end. It's hilarious.

More news as and when I learn anything. Good to have you back in action, Richie!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

One I missed: The Gates of Vanity

Not unexpectedly, British horror releases from 2016 that escaped my attention have started coming to light. Here’s one I had never heard of that has just crossed my radar – The Gates of Vanity.

Synopsis: Ben, a family man befriends a homeless young man, inviting him to stay with him while his family is away. The young man begins to show signs of disturbing behaviour. A harmless rejection triggers off a psychotic reaction from the young man who holds Ben captive. Ben is broken down psychologically until he becomes completely subservient. The young man intends to blackmail Ben and control his life after Ben’s release. Ben takes drastic action to reclaim his life and protect his family.

Directed by Suj Ahmed, this is the second feature from Future Focus Films. It was released to VOD platforms, including iTunes and Amazon Prime, in September following a premiere at the East End Film Festival in July.

The film stars Eric Colvin (well-known to British horror fans for his roles in Adam Mason’s films The 13th Sign, Dust and Broken, and also in Zombie Resurrection) and Ery Nzaramba. Here's the trailer...

Friday, 6 January 2017

Two nights of British horror shorts in Germany

Next week the British Shorts festival in Berlin has two midnight sessions collecting together 20 of the best recent British horror shorts including films by Melanie Light, Lee Hardcastle, Nick Gillespie, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and the Bloody Cuts team. Both screenings are at Sputnik Kino
Hasenheide 54 (Höfe am Südstern), 10967 Berlin-Kreuzberg and kick off at one minute to midnight on the date given.

Saturday 14th January

  • The Simpsons Couch Gag (You're Next) dir: Lee Hardcastle, 2:00 Min.
    The film title says it all: the Simpsons meet the modern Horror classic You're Next.
  • Shortcut dir: Prano Bailey-Bond - filmmaker, 5:00 Min.
    Bad boyfriend. Sleeping girlfriend. Fast car. Full moon. When Kurt takes a shortcut he enters a supernatural realm and is forced to sacrifice a little part of himself
  • Rose dir: Tom Stoddart, 11:00 Min.
    A widowed mother struggling to cope with her daughter's dark secret is offered help by a mysterious doctor, leading to devastating consequences.
  • NSFW dir: Cosmo Wallace, 29:00 Min.
    When a blogger pretends to be a young boy online, his attempts to entrap a child predator lead to unexpected and horrific consequences in a nearby wood. With Karl Davies (Game of Thrones) and Danny Webb (Alien3).
  • Twine dir: Richard Heap, 20:00 Min.
    A hostile, serrated blade of a movie that follows the unravelling of a dark and twisted father-son relationship.
  • Pixel Soldier dir: chris landy, 19:00 Min.
    A group of computer game characters discover the harsh reality of life inside a war game.
  • The Birch dir.: Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton (Bloody Cuts), 5:00 Min.
    A bullied schoolboy takes drastic measures against his tormenter.
  • The Morrigan dir: Colum Eastwood, 15:30 Min.
    A young couple finds an unconscious young girl in front of their cottage and a nightmare is about to begin.
  • The Package dir: Damon Rickard, 15:00 Min.
    A missing package becomes the subject of increasingly violent tensions between two mysterious men.
  • The Inverted Peak dir: The Brothers McLeod, 5:40 Min.
    Exploration of the quasi-mysticism of a quest for enlightenment, a desire for transcendence from unseen masters. But who is in control?

Tuesday 17th January

Full details and tickets
  • Switch dir: Melanie Light, 4:30 Min.
    A man too sure of himself meets a strong opponent.
  • Containment dir: Sutt Watson, 13:56 Min.
    An infected scientist takes drastic measures to save his life. Not for the faint-hearted!
  • teeth dir: Tom Brown, Daniel Gray, 6:00 Min.
    The life of a misguided and intensely focused man, chronicled through his oral obsessions.
  • Nasty dir: Prano Bailey-Bond, 15:00 Min.
    1982. Twelve-year old Doug is drawn into the lurid world of VHS horror as he explores the mysterious disappearance of his father.
  • INK dir: Andy Stewart, 20:24 Min.
    A man decides to turn his body into a work of art.
  • Vengeance Rhythm dir: Chris Ullens, 3:13 Min.
    An extremely angry teddy bear. Music: Two Fingers.
  • The Organ Grinder´s Monkey dir: Dinos and Jake Chapman,15:15 Min.
    Pablo, a cockroach with artistic aspirations, wants to pursue his dreams and follows the untalented artist Ifans home. With Rhys Ifans, Kevin Spacey and others.
  • Don´t Move dir: Anthony Melton Bloody Cuts, 13:00 Min.
    “5 must die, 1 must live, I am here.” A film about accidentally unleashing a demonic force.
  • Samuel and Emily vs. the World dir: Nick Gillespie, 9:11 Min.
    A couple develops an interesting strategy to survive the zombie apocalypse.
  • Bobby Yeah dir: Robert Morgan, 22:00 Min.
    Bobby should learn from his mistakes but things are just too tempting ...

Monday, 2 January 2017

11 new British horror films coming your way in 2017

Based on previous years, we can expect about 75-80 British horror films to make their debut in 2017. Here are eleven that have announced release dates so far...

The Snare

dir. CA Cooper
"Three friends head to the seafront for a drunken weekend, only to be imprisoned on the top floor of their holiday apartment by a malevolent paranormal force."

A Room to Die For

dir. Dev Shanmugam
"Marcus Crowe is a failed writer who struggles with reality. His girlfriend, Jill, is desperate for Marcus to pursue a proper career. Broke, the couple find a perfect room to rent owned by an old couple, Henry and Josephine Baker, who take a keen interest in the young couple’s lives. They are shocked when told the old couple have a new born baby. Stuck in the house 24-7 Marcus spirals into paranoia and believes the old couple is spying on them. When he finds the horrifying truth behind the baby, the old couple’s real reason for renting the room is revealed."
  • Originally titled Rancour.
  • Jon Campling and Vas Blackwood head the cast.
  • UK DVD released on 16th January.
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Prevenge

dir. Alice Lowe
"A pitch black, wryly British comedy from the mind of Alice Lowe, Prevenge follows Ruth, a pregnant woman on a killing spree. It's her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth's actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father. The child speaks to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. Struggling with her conscience, loneliness, and a strange strain of prepartum madness, Ruth must ultimately choose between redemption and destruction at the moment of motherhood."
  • Directed by and starring Lowe, star of Sightseers, during her own pregnancy.
  • UK tour with director Q&As kicks off on 16th January.
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Cruel Summer

dir. Phillip Escott and Craig Newman
"Danny, a teenager with autism, escapes the inner city for the beautiful countryside as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Little does he know, that bitter Nicholas is hunting him, stemming frpm a lie created by the enamoured and envious Julia and Calvin. As the three close in on Danny, Nicholas' behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and violent, and Julia and Calvin must decide whether to go through with Nicholas' deadly plan."

Fox Trap

dir. Jamie Weston
"After a terrible accident leaves a young girl disabled, five years later, the group responsible are invited to a remote manor house in the countryside for a class reunion. Little do they know, they are being targeted by a masked maniac hell bent on revenge."

Don’t Knock Twice

dir. Caradog James
"To save her estranged daughter, a guilt-ridden mother must uncover the terrifying truth behind the urban legend of a vengeful, demonic witch."
  • From the writing team behind Howl.
  • German DVD out on 24th February.
  • UK cinema/DVD/VOD release scheduled for 31st March.
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The Creature Below 

dir. Stewart Sparke
"During a traumatic accident whilst on a deep-sea dive in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, Olive, a gifted, young marine-biologist discovers an unearthly creature. Losing her dream job, Olive smuggles the creature home, intent on studying it in her basement, unbeknownst to her devoted boyfriend Matt. Whilst struggling to re-adjust to landlocked life and recover from her recent trauma, Olive begins to realize that she and the creature share a symbiotic bond that drives her to carry out its sinister will. Plagued by gruesome nightmares, her fractured memories of what happened during the accident in the depths of the ocean begin to unravel and reveal an eldritch horror far older and malevolent than she could ever imagine, one which she has unwittingly set free. Olive's obsession leads to madness as her discovery consumes her entire humanity, with deadly results for those around her."
  • Originally titled The Dark Below.
  • US DVD released on 28th February.
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Necrophiliac: The Lustful Dead

dir. Jason Impey and Wade Radford
"Necrophiliac: The Lustful Dead contains the raw footage that was recovered from deceased Documentarian, Joe Newton after he had recorded the shocking and taboo lifestyle of Haydn Reef. The tapes have finally been recovered from the grizzly crime scene that took the media by storm. Joe Newton was found murdered in Haydn's home from what appears to have been foul play. The case remains unsolved."
  • US DVD released on 14th March
  • Jason Impey's website

Ibiza Undead

dir. Andy Edwards
"The Inbetweeners meets Shaun of the Dead in this riotously entertaining British zombie film. A group of young people head to Ibiza for the holiday of a lifetime - all the sun, sea and debauchery they can handle. Leaving the girls behind, the lads get in to an exclusive club where the performers are the undead. But one of the lads’ drunken antics lead to the zombies escaping their restraints… Soon all hell breaks loose and no one on the party island is safe."

Ghosts of Darkness

dir. David Ryan Keith
"Two paranormal investigators are unexpectedly thrown together in the hope of solving a 100 year mystery. Locked for three nights in a house with a dark and unsettling past, the two investigators must put their differences to one side and work together. They soon discover the myths and stories are nothing compared to what actually resides within the eerie walls of the mysterious House. Scepticism and showmanship are soon put to one side when the two investigators realise there is more at stake than just their professional reputation. For once they have stumbled onto the real thing, but this time it’s their own lives at stake."
  • From the director of Attack of the Herbals and The Redwood Massacre.
  • Originally titled Soulreaper, aka House of Shadows.
  • UK DVD/VOD release expected in March.
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The Chamber

dir. Ben Parker
"The Chamber revolves around a special ops unit, who commandeer a commercial research vessel and it’s submersible to locate a mysterious object at the bottom of the Yellow Sea. When an explosion causes the sub to overturn and take on water, the crew begins to understand that not all of them will escape and a fight for survival ensues."
  • Music by James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers.
  • Scheduled to open in UK cinemas in March.
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What other British horror films are heading our way in 2017. Which ones are you most looking forward to? Leave a comment below.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Checklist of 2016 British horror releases

There were 78 (wait: 79!) British horror movies released in 2016. How many have you seen?

For more details of films and releases see Part 1: January-June and Part 2: July-December.
  • The Apostate: Call of the Revenant (d.Andy Dodd)
  • The Attachment (d.Clement Ofoedu) 
  • The Autopsy of Jane Doe (d.Andre Ovredal)
  • Bachelor Games aka The Rules of the Game (d.Edward McGown)
  • Banjo – see My Bloody Banjo
  • The Beast of Bodmin Moor (d.Adam Starks)
  • Belly of the Bulldog – see Tank 432
  • The Blood Harvest (d.George Clarke)
  • Blood Lust aka Siren Song aka Siren (d.Benedict Mart)
  • Broken aka The Myth of Hopelessness (d.Shaun Robert Smith) 
  • Call Me – see Serial Kaller
  • The Carrier (d.Anthony Woodley) 
  • Cleaver: Rise of the Killer Clown (d.MJ Dixon)
  • Cryptic (d.Bart Ruspoli and Freddie Hutton-Mills)
  • The Curse of Robert aka The Curse of Robert the Doll (d.Andrew Jones)
  • The Curse of Robert the Doll – see The Curse of Robert
  • The Darkest Dawn (d.Drew Casson) 
  • Dark Signal (d.Ed Evers-Swindell)
  • Dead and Awake (d.Alexander Fodor) 
  • Deadly Intent (d.Rebekah Fortune) 
  • Death Walks (d.Spencer Hawken) 
  • The Demon Within aka 666: A Demon Within (d.Harold Gasnier)
  • Demons (d.Michael Munn)
  • The Devil Complex – see The Devil Within
  • Devil Dog Shuck Returns (d.Paul TT Easter)
  • The Devil Within aka The Devil Complex (d.Mark Evans)
  • Evil Souls (d. Roberto and Maurizio Del Piccolo)
  • The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund (d.Andrew Jones)
  • Female Zombie Riot – see Zombie Women of Satan 2
  • FirstBorn (d.Nirpal Bhogal)
  • Fluid Boy (d.Jason Impey and Wade Radford)
  • Footsoldier – see Survival Instinct
  • The Forgotten (d.Oliver Frampton)
  • Generation Z – see The Rezort
  • The Girl with All the Gifts aka She Who Brings Gifts (d.Colm McCarthy)
  • Good Tidings (d.Stuart W Bedford)
  • Hangman (d.Adam Mason)
  • The Hatching (d.Michael Anderson) 
  • The Haunting of Maria Marten (d.Michael Munn)
  • Hollower (d.MJ Dixon)
  • House of Afflictions aka Ominous (d.Anthony M Winson)
  • The House on Cuckoo Lane (d.David Hinds)
  • Immune (d.Steven Tayler)
  • I was a Teenage Merman (d.Tom Stavely)
  • Jacob – see Jacob’s Hammer
  • Jacob’s Hammer aka Jacob (d.Angie Bojtler) 
  • Kill Command (d.Steve Gomez)
  • K-Shop (d.Dan Pringle) 
  • Laboratory of Terror – see War Truck Disaster Drive
  • The Lesson (d.Ruth Platt)
  • Let’s Be Evil (d.Martin Owen)
  • The Lighthouse (d.Chris Crow)
  • The Lorelei (d.Mol Smith) 
  • My Bloody Banjo aka Banjo (d.Liam Regan) 
  • My Guardian Angel (d.Mumtaz Yildirimlar)
  • The Myth of Hopelessness – see Broken
  • Nekros (d.Michael J Murphy)
  • Ominous – see House of Afflictions
  • Once Upon a Haunting (d.Michael Munn)
  • The Ones Below (d. David Farr)
  • Onus (d.George Clarke)
  • The Other Side of the Door (d.Johannes Roberts)
  • Pandorica (d.Tom Paton) 
  • The Passing aka Yr Ymadawiad (d.Gareth Bryn)
  • Plan Z (d.Stuart Brennan) 
  • Preternatural (d.Gav Chuckie Steel)
  • Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper (d.Ian Powell and Karl Ward)
  • A Reckoning aka Straw Man (d. AD Barker) 
  • The Rezort aka Generation Z (d.Steve Barker)
  • Rites of Passage – see Survival Instinct
  • The Rules of the Game – see Bachelor Games
  • The Search Ends (d.Daniel Franks) 
  • Serial Kaller aka Call Me (d.Dan Brownlie)
  • The Sheltered (d.Dean Eyre, Gary Morgan and Martin Dallard)
  • She Who Brings Gifts – see The Girl with All the Gifts
  • Simon (d. Warren Badenski) 
  • Siren– see Blood Lust
  • Siren Song – see Blood Lust
  • The Slayers (d.John Williams) 
  • The Spiritualist (d.Carl Medland)
  • Straw Man – see A Reckoning
  • Survival Instinct aka Footsoldier aka Rites of Passage (d.Steve Lawson)
  • Tank 432 aka Belly of the Bulldog (d.Nick Gillespie)
  • Tear Me Apart (d.Alex Lightman) 
  • Torn: A Shock Youmentary (d.Justin Carter) 
  • Toxic Apocalypse aka The Wrong Floor (d.Marc Hamill)
  • The Trap (d.Fergus March) 
  • Under the Shadow (d.Babak Anvari)
  • The Unfolding (d.Eugene McGing)
  • Vampires: Lucas Rising (d.Jason Davitt)
  • Video Killer (d.Richard Mansfield)
  • War Truck Disaster Drive aka Laboratory of Terror (d.Ewan Rigg)
  • The Watcher Self (d.Matt Cruse) 
  • Worst Fears (d.Keith Claxton)
  • The Wrong Floor – see Toxic Apocalypse
  • Yr Ymadawiad – see The Passing
  • ZK3 (d.Michael J Murphy)
  • Zombies in tha Hood (d. Leon Mitchell)
  • Zombie Women of Satan 2 aka Female Zombie Riot (d.Warren Speed and Chris Greenwood)
  • 666: A Demon Within – see The Demon Within