Dead Northern’s top films of the year 2021

In no particular order here is our favourite films of 2021, from film festival premieres to big screen releases its been a great year for independent releases!

1- Psycho Goreman (Directed by Steven Kostanski) 

Siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) discover a glowing crystal whilst digging in their garden, in doing so they unknowingly resurrect PG, an ancient Alien creature who threatens to destroy the entire world. 

Psycho Goreman is simultaneously wacky, wild and witty, as Steven Kostanski delivers a vivacious love letter to classic 1980s B-movies. The film is brimming with impressive effects. PG’s design is practically flawless, as his extraterrestrial demonic exterior oozes a textured glow that stands alongside fellow horror movie monsters such as Hellraiser’s Cenobites and The Toxic Avenger himself.

The gory aesthetics washed across the film is a blast to watch, but the whopping effects are not the only punch packed. Plenty of savage dark humour is sprinkled throughout, creating many laugh out loud moments. The majority of the absurd comedy comes from Mimi, who is both extremely well written and entirely hilarious without coming across as immature and clumsy. Mimi’s quick comedic timing nails the scene, with one of the most memorable moments coming from Mimi, Luke, and PG’s garage band session where the film is interrupted by a two-minute song and dance break. And this is precisely why Psycho Goreman is entirely ludicrous, yet so very entertaining – it simply doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

You can check out our full review here.

2- The Night House (Directed by David Bruckner) 

Beth (Rebecca Hall) is grieving the death of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) after he suddenly commits suicide. Whilst searching for answers as to why he killed himself she unearths a sinister secret.

The Night House brews a slow, moody horror that ignites a melancholic spark to provoke intense sensations of dread and foreboding angst. David Bruckner demands the audience’s devout attention. The Night House delivers its terror through employing staggering reveals and bountiful metaphors, the film simply grasps us from the outset without becoming overbearing. The overarching significance of Beth’s journey becomes more and more suffocating as the sinister understanding of Owen’s death is revealed. Hall’s acting has to be one of the most exemplary performances throughout any film of the year, her devotion to transcending into an unhinged, morose woman stricken with heartache is unbelievably moving. 

The Night House is an outstanding entry into the world of horror, but beyond everything, the focal point of the praise emerges from Bruckner’s handling of death. The film wields a mirror technique that forces the viewer to look at their own understanding of grief, and how it would feel to actually experience a tragedy so deep that you forget the reality that resided beforehand. 

3- Wyvern Hill (Directed by Jonathan Zaurin) 

Beth (Pat Garrett) has begun to show early signs of alzheimer’s, leading to her daughter and son-in-law taking her in. However after their move to an old house on Wyvern Hill her symptoms begin to worsen as she loses her grip on reality. 

Wyvern Hill is a haunting portrayal of personal grief through an entwined tale of uncertainty, lingering memories, and the decay of reality. Director Jonathan Zaurin, joined with writer Keith Temple, constructs a deeply haunting narrative that lingers with the viewer long after watching, in response to the strangely cathartic world built throughout the film. Whilst the reliance of emotions and diminishing identity is important to the heart of Wyvern Hill, the film has a brutally callous edge that is not afraid to pull out all the gory stops to ensure that we will not forget it for a long time. The viewer is continuously pushed and pulled in every direction, mainly thanks to Zaurin and Temple’s deceptive motives; Beth’s perspective is not entirely meant to be trusted, with the disturbing visions she’s experiencing both confusing and alluring us into her eerie state of mind. This avoidance of settling into a formulaic plot shoves the film onto another level that many other horror’s wouldn’t even dare to go, making Wyvern Hill a film not to be missed. 

Premiered at the 2021 festival and winner of ‘Best feature’, you can check out our full review here.

4- Censor (Directed by Prano Bailey Bond) 

Enid (Niamh Algar), a particularly cautious film censor, views a heinous video nasty, inspiring her to embark on a journey to unravel what happened to her missing sister all those years ago. 

Censor births a retelling of the systemic delusions that were formed under the video nasty movement in 1980s Britain. This rise in hatred saw horror films being ripped to shreds by the media in a contradicting moral panic where literal laws were put in place to prevent the ‘innocent’ from getting ahold of so-called filth. Despite this movement being notoriously documented, not many filmmakers set out to taunt horror’s biggest scandal… Well, that was the case until Prano Bailey-Bond created Censor. The film devotes itself entirely to rarefied horror, with Bailey-Bond’s esoteric treatment of enticing panic alongside contemporary commentary forcing a stirring rendition of cinematic history. Provocative digs at film classification are rife throughout the film, with the various nods to the ridiculous rules even provoking the odd chuckle out of the viewer. But, the most dominating factor is the harrowing subplot that is explored. The feeling of loss experienced by Enid worms its way through the film’s emotional undertone, allowing the viewer to become lost in grief alongside Enid, creating a frightening account of moral turmoil. 

You can check out our review here.

5- Zomblogalypse (DIrected by Hannah Bungard, Tony Hipwell & Miles Watts) 

Zomblogalypse follows three rather amateurish survivors of a zombie apocalypse that destroyed life as we know it. To counteract the inevitable boredom that surrounds complete isolation they maintain a video blog to tell their story.

Zomblogalypse unleashes a world of chaos, fun and utter madness throughout, with the neverending laughs and gory effects creating a zombie film to remember. Zomblogalypse is an adaptation of the beloved web series of the same name created by Hannah Bungard, Miles Watts and Tony Hipwell. Pushing the film’s brave bravado into the spotlight is the immense comedic timing emphasized by the grand element of found footage. The entire premise of the film relies upon the banter between the trio as they navigate life post-apocalypse.

Through utilising the intimate vibe that found footage provides, the viewer becomes heavily involved within the story, almost joining the gang on their ridiculously hilarious journeys. There are many quick jokes that don’t even need a ‘song and dance’ to be funny, in fact, one of my favourite moments has to be the casual ‘days without bites’ notice board. But, rather than allowing the film to slip into a trivial parody, elements such as superb gory effects and a deeply original plot allow the film to rise above and become the most refreshing zombie film of the year. 

Winner of the Dead Northern Award at this years festival, you can check out our full review here.

6- There’s Someone Inside Your House (Directed by Patrick Brice)

After Makani (Sydney Park) moves from Hawaii to Nebraska it seems that all her troubles have been left behind, that is until a series of brutal murders erupt amongst the graduating class of the small town. 

There’s Someone Inside Your House may not have received stellar reviews across the board, which despite my praise of this film is not overly surprising thanks to mass audiences not being fond of the slasher genre revival. Over the course of recent years there have been many stabs at reinvading slasher territory, with the likes of Cold Prey (2006) and Terrifier (2016) all taking aim at reviving nostalgic horror.

However, although acclaim is found amongst these film’s target audiences, there still is a universal lack of general appreciation. Patrick Brice’s adaptation of Stephanie Perkins’ 2017 novel of the same name may have garnered a slightly rocky reputation, but for many (including myself) it hit a sweet spot. From the very first opening scene, it wouldn’t be impossible to guess the standard plot points. That said, the entire film revived this certain feeling that I haven’t felt in years whilst watching a horror. Do you remember when you first got into the genre? When you were watching some grizzly frightfest when you should have been getting ready for school the next day, but instead you’d be hiding behind a cushion and screaming for the unknowing victim to turn around to see Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees standing right behind them? Well, that exact excitement and boldness were recaptured within There’s Someone Inside your house.

If you want to forgo reality for a while and not pay attention to whether the narrative is socially significant, or whether the timings are truthful then this gem is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Not every film has to be a meaningful journey, sometimes all it takes is a creepy mask and some killer antics. 

7- Titane (Directed by Julia Ducournau) 

Alexia (Agathe Rousselle) has grown up with a titanium plate fitted into her head after surviving a tragic car accident when she was younger. Years later, she now works as a performer at a motor show, keeping her strange devotion to vehicles close. 

As with Julia Ducournau’s previous feature Raw (2016), Titane blasted through film festivals with ease, earning the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2021. Titane oozes a certain slickness that makes way for the intense titillation, dominating the screen and dictating the audience’s observations. Through this full-throttled antagonism that is paraded, an exploitative form of body horror is closely held, muting any concerns as to whether Ducournau is brave enough to ‘go there’, particularly through the symbolic bond between hardware and the body.

Documenting such controversial topics is not entirely foreign to horror cinema, with David Cronenberg’s Crash (1994) previously exploring those with Symphorophilia (arousal via car crashes). Crash focuses on this similar autoerotic asphyxiation towards vehicles; but do I dare to say that Titane goes above and beyond every ‘mainstream’ film that has explored similar topics. In a valiant way, the film leans into this void of understanding, we could easily pin fetishism to Alexia’s fascination, except her inner delirium runs far deeper than an obsession with something. Ducournau exaggeratedly taps into humanity’s primitive state of needs, forgoing traditional methods in favour of sculpting a mechanical outlook on intimacy and desire. 

8- The Columnist (DIrected by Ivo van Aart) 

Femke Boot (Katja Herbers) is a writer who is juggling pressure from her publisher to complete her book alongside handling a barrage of anonymous death threats online. Tired of the houndings she decides to take matters into her own hands. 

The Columnist exudes a magnetising charm that toys with your expectations and scrambles any form of routine when it comes to tropes. We’re all guilty of it, searching through some pointless comment section to read foolish replies that you fully know will tick you off. We just can’t help it. This animosity that comes with such child’s play was just screaming to be adapted for the big screen; luckily enough this is where The Columnist comes into frame. The film is very much reliant upon Femke’s character to show off the script’s devilishly dark humour and manically graphic kill scenes. And through this intriguing amalgamation of morally tainted actions comes a warming sense of gratitude, we totally end up routing for Femke. Hell’, I even cheered her on at multiple points, but the film doesn’t solely target her incessant revenge plot, instead, we are treated to a couple of interesting subplots to keep the pacing exciting, particularly Femke’s blossoming romance with a fellow writer, and her daughters journey into self-confidence. 

The Columnist may from the outskirts seem like another kill-revenge sequence, but it is truly a powerhouse of delightfully savage barbarism. 

You can check out our full review here.

9- Violation (Directed by Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Dusty Mancinelli) 

Miriam (Madeleine Sims-Fewer) along with her estranged husband Caleb (Obi Abili), visit her younger sister Greta (Anna Maguire) and her partner Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe) for a fun weekend trip. But, when the evening quiets down Dylan assaults Miriam, inspiring her to take revenge. 

Violation refuses to beg for our attention, nor does it take any pity when it comes to exhibiting the harsh truths that emerge from rape. Miriam confides in her sister, expecting to be met with anger and sorrow towards Dylan’s actions, not Miriam’s. Alternatively, she gets scolded by her own sibling and is quite quickly dismissed as being an attention seeker, igniting a stern fury amongst every viewer. Dylan as to no surprise brushes the incident off and acts stunned that his own sister-in-law would make such an accusation. Violation doesn’t just immediately revolt to an over salacious assault scene, followed by a barrage of cathartic kills. Instead, we are treated with a tortuously slow release where nothing (literally nothing) is shielded from our eyes. Sims-Fewer and Mancinelli understand that this subject matter is not to be miscalculated or fraudulently paraded, it is to be respected with a strong portrayal of accuracy; and it is through this emotionally encompassing evocation that Violation shines. 

You can check out our full review here.

10- Last Night in Soho (Directed by Edgar Wright) 

Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a wannabe fashion designer who moves to London to achieve her dreams. During her time in the city she finds solace in a place infused with such iconic history, but after she discovers her ability to travel back in time to the 1960s she discovers that everything is not as it seems. 

Last Night in Soho thrives through its own chaotic exploration into 1960s media and social culture. Throughout, the film is laden with stylish iconography of the swinging sixties, making you nostalgic for a time that may be totally irrelevant to the viewer’s personal history, but that’s where Edgar Wright yields his charm. We become entirely lost with Eloise in this twisted time scale, not knowing where we are headed next. Naturally, as a result, all of the eerie moments are harshened, exemplifying the fear factor. Accompanying the bold twists and turns is the dazzling aesthetics that are reminiscent of lush giallo films from the 1960s and 1970s. Neon lights douse the film’s daring climaxes with a warming glow, ensuring that the graphic violence has a spotlight the entire time.

You can check out our full review here.


Dead Northern’s ultimate guide to the best festive horror films

Amongst all the romanticised Christmas films drenched in sparkling lights and cheer is a plethora of gritty horrors ready to pack in some festive dread.

Christmas films have a deep rooted history within ominous themes; one of the most universally celebrated holiday stories is Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol, with ghosts and hauntingly dark scenarios creeping up in every scene. Therefore, it’s only right that horror and Christmas have continued their entwining to create one of the most entertaining and uniquely thrilling sub genres ever created.

With Christmas horror being such a niche corner in a brimming market it can be a task to comb through dozens upon dozens of films to find the best of the bunch. However, with it being the season of giving, we’ve compiled a complete watchlist filled with evil Santa’s, bloody snow, and children who will definitely be on the naughty list.

1. Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974)

On the night of their Christmas party a group of sorority sisters are tormented by a series of horridly vicious phone calls by an unknown assailant. There are many factors that make Black Christmas a fantastic film including brutal kills, a wide mix of characters and a cunningly sneaky ending. But the most harrowing moment will always be those chilling phone calls that will linger with you long after watching.

This is arguably one of the most well regarded horrors on this list, with the film spanning two remakes, as well receiving both cult and critical acclaim. This classic has been thought to have been the primary catalyst in kickstarting the slasher film, with rumours circulating that John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) was inspired by Clark’s relentlessly horrifying efforts.

2. P2 (Franck Khalfoun, 2007)

Angela (Rachel Nichols) is a dedicated career driven woman, but due to her habit of working late she is left stranded in a desolate parking lot on Christmas Eve, with a slightly unstable security guard. The age old ‘cat and mouse’ chase is one that will not grow old, of course there are examples that have fallen into the same old trap, but P2 defies stereotypes by amplifying the tension to the extreme. Angela plays a ferocious young woman who does not trample around aimlessly. Instead we see her in a bloody battle where she relentlessly fights with every effort. P2 is definitely a thrilling ride throughout that will not leave you growing tired, not even once.

3. Krampus (Michael Dougherty, 2015)

Krampus follows Max (Emjay Anthony), a hopeful young boy who’s only Christmas wish is to have a happy holiday without his dysfunctional family arguing. However, when the tension meets its boiling point Max rips up his letter to Santa and unknowingly summons the demonic Krampus. The blizzard setting combined with the threat of an evil anthropomorphic creature creates a tenaciously claustrophobic environment that firmly cements a sense of fear amongst the viewer. However, underneath all the eerie chaos is a comically absurd undertone that makes light hearted fun of itself, making Krampus an all around entertaining Christmas watch.

4. Christmas Evil (Lewis Jackson, 1980)

When Harry (Brandon Maggart) was younger he traumatically learnt that Santa was not real, he then takes it upon himself to take on the big role. However, he is met with ridicule and judgement, causing him to go on a rampant killing spree. Christmas Evil does not abandon the plot to focus on the bloodshed. Jackson takes time during the first act to keenly show how Harry’s innocence was destroyed, and then how his turbulent adult life is utterly disturbed and slightly immorally creepy, as he spies on children to decide if they are on his ‘naughty or nice’ list. Since it’s release, the film has become a cult classic, with the tragic tale of Harry’s descent coming across as both sympathetic and unhinged at the same time.

5- Await Further Instructions (Johnny Kevorkian, 2018)

The Milgram’s family Christmas takes a sinister turn when they find themselves trapped in their house by a mysterious force. Sci-fi horror is a difficult topic to get right even at the best of times, but when Christmas is thrown into the mix it would be easy for the film to be a convoluted mess. Yet, Kevorkian delivers a tense ride that twists the audience’s perception on who, or even what to believe. Await Further Instructions is similar to a wild episode of The Twilight Zone where we are compelled right through to the cryptic ending.

6. Body (Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, 2015)

Cali (Alexandra Turshen), Holly (Helen Rogers) and Mel (Lauren Molina) break into a seemingly unoccupied house on Christmas Eve in search of a thrilling festive night of partying. Body is somewhat predictable, with each twist being rather clear. Yet, the execution and build up throughout is ultimately tense and at times confrontational. The situation that the women find themselves in is positively nightmarish and morbidly riveting. Body is a cautionary tale that tiptoes into problematic relevant issues.

7. Silent Night, Deadly Night (Charles E. Sellier Jr., 1984)

After a young boy witnesses his parents murder by an anonymous man wearing a Santa suit, he is sent to an orphanage where his caregivers abuse him. But, later on in life he finds himself in a Santa suit. And it’s this trigger that lets years of pent up aggression rage outwards as he goes on a Yuletide killing spree. Although it may sound like a play-by-play slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night caused uproar, with many campaigns blasting its reputation as being traumatising for children, due to the poster displaying an axe wielding Santa. However, the film’s controversial reputation eventually wore off, with it eventually spanning an entire franchise featuring six films.

8. Red Christmas (Craig Anderson, 2016)

Red Christmas follows a mother’s battle to protect her family after a mysterious stranger takes them down one-by-one. The film stars Dee Wallace in the role of Dianne, the matriarch of the family. Horror fans will recognise Wallace due to her roles in The Hills Have Eyes (1977), The Howling (1981), Cujo (1983) and Critters (1986). Red Christmas captures its sleek look via the vivaciously vibrant lighting that features heavily in the second half, lighting up the scene like a Christmas tree. This independent Australian horror takes the home invasion label and twists it to create a bloody holly jolly story, filled with some of the most barbaric kills.

9. The Children (Tom Shankland, 2008)

A mysterious virus causes a group of young children to violently turn on their parents. This British horror has grown in popularity over the years, however it is nowhere near as acclaimed as it should be. The Children features possibly one of the most juxtaposed villains of all time, Children. The film narrowly questions the judgement of the protagonists, through forcing them to commit taboo violent acts against ‘the innocent’; of course it’s in the name of self defence, but there is still something heinous about small children being the aggressor that disturbs the viewer. Amongst the chaos is an unsettling vibe that is established from the outset, due to the bleak atmosphere airing a sense of tension throughout.

10. Better Watch Out (Chris Peckover, 2016)

Better Watch Out follows Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) who must survive the night whilst protecting a twelve-year-old boy she’s babysitting from intruders.
Throughout the film there are stellar performances by both DeJonge and her co-star Levi Miller. DeJonge realistically portrays a teenage girl who is involved in the usual love triangles and family dramas, and Miller eerily gives a stellar performance as a young adolescent with a hidden motive.
This film is too easy to spoil, so the less that’s said the better.

11. Anna and the Apocalypse (John McPhail, 2017)

Christmas, zombies, musicals what’s more to like? Anna and the Apocalypse is a genre bending horror that is based on writer Ryan McHenry’s BAFTA nominated short ‘Zombie Musical’ (2010). The film follows Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends as they battle for survival after zombies flood the small town of Little Haven. The undeniable charm of this catchy musical latches onto viewers, all the whilst packing in some gruesome looking zombies and plenty of jokes throughout. The best way to describe this amalgamation of a movie is if Shaun of the Dead (2004) merged with High School Musical (2006).

12. Dead End (Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa, 2003)

Dead End follows the Harrington family as they take a short cut on a long tedious drive to celebrate Christmas. The film is a purposefully discombobulated trip of a story, there is no opportunity to relax and enjoy, as the existential dread and alarming situations startle the viewer at every given chance. Both Lin Shaye and Ray Wise take on the role as a couple in dispute impeccably well, with their brewing woes only making matters more tense. However, the true appeal of the film is found within the potent twists and turns that ruin any hope that the audience may have for the characters.

13. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Jalmari Helander, 2010)

Rare Exports is a Finnish fantasy horror dedicated to all things dark and humorous. After an archaeological expedition a deformed Santa is unearthed, but he is not the ‘man with the bag’ that everyone knows. Instead he is a beastly creature hellbent on torturing anyone who steps in his path. What truly makes Rare Exports protrude from the crowd is it’s blunt treatment of dark humour; it’s not afraid to make fun of itself and in turn creates an entertaining watch perfect for those dark winter nights.

14. The Wolf of Snow Hollow (Jim Cummings, 2020)

The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a werewolf story, with a heavy focus on characterisation. We primarily follow John Marshall (played by Cummings), a troubled officer focused on getting to the bottom of the town’s mysterious occurrences. The trials and tribulations of the local police forces effort’s deliver an array of twists and turns that stop the audience from ever becoming certain of a clear path. To top off Cummings impressive affairs, is the immense cinematography that beautifully captures the snow covered landscape.

This weeks article comes via Grace from Film Overload, you can check out more of her work here.

Curiosity Corner News


It goes without saying that we’re huge fans of Fangoria here at Dead Northern. So here’s the low down on the January 2022 issue!

  • FANGORIA’s January cover features the new SCREAM! 
  • Our cover story is a conversation between Radio Silence (Tyler Gillett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and Chad Villella, the filmmaking team behind the new film), and franchise creator Kevin Williamson.
  • This issue will also look back at the entire history of the franchise (and just to earn that cheeky cover, we’ll include an article about the not-quite-real Stab film series).
  • This cover is going to SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Our newsstand cover will be different! 
  • Folks must subscribe by December 19th to get the exclusive Scream cover. They can use the code STAB5 to get 25% off a new subscription.

Get your subscription to Fangoria here

More info about Fangoria Vol 2 #14

Other articles in this issue include a conversation between Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill and Joe Hill on THE BLACK PHONE, a set visit from THE LAST THING MARY SAW, an interview with Lucky McKee on the 20th anniversary of MAY, a retrospective piece on the 100TH ANNIVERSARY of NOSFERATU, and a candid chat with the lovely and talented Devon Sawa (CHUCKY), covering his journey through the genre. Issue 14 also contains a round-up of the best deaths of the year, and the list of nominees for next year’s Chainsaw Awards. The issue also features new original art by Vanessa McKee and Spicy Donut (Devin Lawson). 

Again: this SCREAM/STAB 5 cover is a subscriber exclusive, which means you can only get the issue by subscribing to the mag for a year. Our newsstand cover will feature an entirely different image, as is our custom since issue 11. Considering our last subscriber cover (from only one month ago) is now selling on eBay for over $200, and considering SCREAM is the most eagerly anticipated franchise jump-start on the horror landscape, you might want to subscribe before December 19th to make sure you get this exclusive cover.

In case you missed it, you can get your subscription to Fangoria here

Curiosity Corner Events Interviews

Harrogate Ghost Walk – An interview with Paul Forster

We love Ghost here at Dead Northern and when we found out that our hometown of Harrogate now had its very own Ghost tour we had to find out more. So we tracked down the guide of the Harrogate Ghost walk Paul Forster, and took him out for a pint, because, who doesn’t like a local beer and a good old chinwag about the paranormal.

Q. You’re an entertainer by trade and the Harrogate Ghost walk isn’t your only performance can you give our readers some more details on who you are and what you do?

P. I trained as an actor and worked professionally as one on stage and for the radio for years. I also dabbled in close-up magic but I always found it to feel like a bunch of ‘tricks’. Then I found out about mind-reading which I believe is more personal and engaging as a performance. I started working as a mind reader out of my pure love of entertaining others. I have been making people smile and laugh at weddings, parties, and corporate events all across the UK. It’s always a thrill for me to leave people knowing I gave them a unique and entertaining experience at an event.

On a darker note, I also perform Victorian seances at some of the most haunted places around the UK. This recreation of a traditional parlour show aims to educate, entertain and scare the hell out of you in equal measure. My shows are all heavily researched, well-written, and rehearsed. I always attempt to take a real moment from history, something tragic, sinister, or simply interesting and use the story and characters to create a truly unique dark piece of theatre. 

So creating a ghost walk felt like a natural progression. Combining my training as an actor, my research and writing skills along with my love for the paranormal.


Q. Harrogate is more known for afternoon Tea and Spa water rather than Ghosts and the otherworldly, what inspired you to produce a Ghost walk?

P. I grew up in a haunted house, strange things often happened and I couldn’t explain them away. I would always seek out a rational explanation but when I often couldn’t I assumed something else was going on. When I visit another town, city, or country, I always seek out a ghost walk. I find it is a fascinating way of getting to know the area as well as the history, plus they’re mostly always a bit of fun and very engaging.

When I moved to Harrogate I found there to be no ghost walk. I thought that perhaps Harrogate wasn’t that haunted, but I was very wrong. It has taken me 6 years to get myself into a position whereby I could launch my ghost walk. I wasn’t working on it the whole time, other projects got in the way and the COVID hit me just as I was about to launch it.  


Q. The ghost walk takes you on a fantastic tour of Harrogate, and provides as much historical insight into the town as it does the paranormal, where did you find all of your information?

P. I have worked in the museum sector for a number of years and as such, I have a love for history and am a skilled researcher. I bought and read a lot of local history books, this allowed me to seek out some of the oldest buildings, or discover the former usage of some of them. I found a lot of the hotels were requisitioned by the army during World War II to be used as field hospitals, so naturally one can assume that these places could potentially be haunted. I spoke to staff and the locals and found that I was right. I started digging and interviewing people to find a wealth of spooky tales.

I put an advert out on Facebook and the local paper ran an article asking for people to come forward with their own ghost stories and I was inundated with a lot of haunted happenings. I have the local people of Harrogate to thank for a lot of my stories.


Q. What sort of reactions do you get when conducting research about a location?

P. I mainly get two reactions, the first is that businesses do not want to be associated with ghosts. This could be for a number of reasons like personal views on the subject matter, or that they don’t want to scare customers away. Secondly and mostly I get a lot of people sharing some wonderful tales of creepy stories and hauntings.


Q. The tour is entirely outdoors, have you spoken to any owners of the locations about doing an indoor event?

P. The original intention was to finish the walk inside a haunted location but due to the pandemic, I decided against this. I don’t think you need to be inside a building to fully immerse yourself in the story. The aim of my ghost walk is to provide a great story and some history in an entertaining fashion whilst encouraging people to visit the places in question in their own time. I get. A lot of local people exclaim that they’ve not been in half of the pubs, bars, or hotels we discuss on the walk. So I would hope that these people not only learn something new about their town but also visit some of the new locations we discover on the walk.


Q. Have you or any of your audience experienced anything paranormal whilst on the Ghost Walk?

P. This is an interesting question, as I believe that only the individual can answer that. What is paranormal to you may have a rational explanation to someone else. However… there was a photograph taken by a guest on one walk whereby it looks as though the light cast from a street lamp creates a face in some sort of mist which is hanging in the air. I assume the mist is caused by someone’s breath as it was a cold night but I cannot explain the face.

There was a young lady and her mum who were staying in the incredibly beautiful and incredibly haunted Crown Hotel who posted a review of the walk the next day. Along with some kind words about the walk, she went on to say that during the night, their suitcases were knocked over in the dead of night, with no explanation of how it could have happened.

Finally, at the end of every walk, we conducted a spirit bell session. This is an old Victorian method of communing with the dead. You ask a spirit a question and hope to receive one ring for a ‘YES’ answer and two rings for a ‘NO’. We carry out this experiment outside of the famously haunted Harrogate Theatre and we have had mixed reactions. On some occasions, the bell has rung and provided answers for every question, on some nights nothing at all happens and although this is disappointing it does demonstrate that the spirits are in control. 


Q. When Dead Northern joined you on the Ghost walk, we also experienced storm Arwen, and the joys of ice-cold torrential rain, wind, and sleet. We think that just added to the atmosphere, but it’s obviously not everyone’s cup of tea. When is your favourite time to do the tour?

P. Having only run the Harrogate ghost walk since October 2020, I haven’t had much experience of performing it at other times of the year. However, I would say that a cold, dark evening (with no rain) would be the best time for any ghost walk. I am looking forward to hosting the walk during the summer months as the weather will be much improved but I do wonder if the lighter nights may affect the spooky atmosphere, we shall have to wait and see.


Q. Harrogate’s a big town are there any places that you would have liked to get on the walk but had to leave out?

P. There are loads of stories from further afield. I include three of my favourite on the tour which includes the former Granby hotel, The Cedar Court Hotel, and Ripley Castle, the latter of the three having the most ghost stories. But there are some great tales which have taken place on the moors, such as a couple of farmers who were working late one night on the tops at Blubber houses. It was a dark night and a low mist descended without warning. Their field of view went down to a mere few feet. They decided to stay put where they were rather than risk injury walking in the dense fog. A few minutes passed when they heard what sounded like footsteps marching. Then from out of the mist came an army, a literal army of men dressed in old-fashioned clothing and armor marching over the moors. The two men stood on and watched as the soldiers marched along paying them no heed, their legs below the knee were beneath the ground. The army along with horse-mounted soldiers disappeared into the dark night air. I don’t include this story in the walk but I intend on changing the stories on the walk so that people who have already experienced the walk can come back again for some new tales.


Q. You’ve mentioned some of your other performances, what have you got coming up in the future?

P. I have a few Victorian séance evenings planned throughout next year which utilise real hauntiques, or haunted antiques. An object which has a spirit attached to them and a spooky tale to tell. I am really looking forward to an event with you guys, ‘My Bloody Valentine, The Seance.’ I have something really special lined up for this, a tale of true love lasting beyond the grave! I have tracked down a couple of incredibly haunted pieces and can’t wait to see what happens on the night. With the event taking place at The Crown Hotel, I am sure that we will experience some unexplainable events. The hotel is very haunted and the room we are hosting the event is known to have some ghostly activity from time to time. 


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Classic to modern: 10 Giallo films you need to see

1- The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Directed by Mario Bava, 1963)

Nora Davis (Letícia Román), an American tourist visiting Rome is viciously mugged and knocked unconscious, upon awakening she witnesses a brutal murder. Nora reports this to the local authorities, but no one believes her. After a cryptic phone call she fears she’ll be the killer’s next victim and sets out on a frenzied mission to find the murderer. 

Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much is largely considered to be the first giallo film, this full-bodied tale extracts archetypal horror elements such as threat, an illusory killer, and brazen imagery. Bava furthered these already established cinematic elements through exercising an accelerating level of suspense that will be seen across future giallo cinema. The film also creates an ever rising tension through employing a stark cinematography that basks in chiaroscuro shadows and transports the viewer into a dream-like world where the visuals completely take over. It can be said that The Girl Who Knew Too Much was inspired by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. Films such as Psycho thrive on this mentioned mystery and the whole thrill of the ‘whodunnit’ story. Throughout the film we are taken on this journey of discovery with Nora, the viewer plays a part in her involvement with the case. Future giallo films continued to use this

aspect of witnesses aiding investigations in retaliation to their fears of being the next ‘victim’. Thus establishing the authorities to be a secondary character whose importance is noted, but never fully deserving of any credibility as the protagonist typically solves the case on their own. 

As it was early days not every key essence of the sub-genre was featured in The Girl Who Knew Too Much, but what was established is the essence of what makes giallo cinema so recognisable, the element of judicial interference and stark visuals. 

2- Blood and Black Lace (Directed by Mario Bava, 1964) 

Model’s at a fashion house in Rome are killed off one by one by a mysterious faceless killer with metal clawed gloves. 

It seems that The Girl Who Knew Too Much left a mark on Bava’s cinematic inspirations as Blood and Black Lace was made soon after his 1963 breakthrough. The film hones in on everything that defines giallo. There is not an element that isn’t ticked off from the genres checklist, with a vivacious colour palette, a covertly dressed killer (trench coat and gloves), and sensualised murder scenes. The film pushes the boundaries that were creatively established during 1960s filmmaking, such as clear plots and a linear narrative. Each scene is treated delicately, there isn’t a single moment that hasn’t been carefully curated. For example, each death is warmed with a rich, elegant lighting that dares you to carry on watching and embrace the beauty amongst harrowing images. The film is set in a fashion house, meaning that couture and chic stylisation are at the core of the mise-en-scene. Plenty of lavish silks and velvets feature in several kill scenes, prominently forcing this contrast between harm and sensuality. 

At the time the implementation of eroticised gore was definitely a sight for sore eyes, little did Bava know that this would be a key factor in giallo’s progression. 

3- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Directed by Dario Argento, 1972) 

American writer Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) witnesses a murder attempt by a black gloved assailant in an art gallery. The killer is suspected to be a serial murder who is killing young women across the entire city. As a key witness Sam must help the police in their ongoing investigation before he becomes the next victim. 

Argento and giallo is a match made in heaven. There’s a reason as to why Argento is heavily tied to Italian horror, it’s his melodic combination of textured conventions and stylised symbolism that melts the barrier between horror and art. His early work of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage gets majorly overlooked within his filmography, but it is one of the richest films lurking within the entire genre. Bava may have given giallo its first lease of life, but Argento’s early work thickened one of the most important essences that would be seen in future giallo classics. This film revels in its own ludicrousness, the incoherent why’s, when’s and where’s of the murders are almost comically hazy, it wouldn’t be surprising if audiences even became irate at the films ‘big reveal’. Despite the ill-defined conclusion, it somehow works as a consequence of Argento’s fever dream bravado that takes the wheel throughout the film. The story (as does most giallo’s) works on coincidences and deceptions, moulding bizarre worlds that are supposed to take place in reality, but always seem disorienting. 

4- Dont Torture a Duckling (Directed by Lucio Fulci, 1972)

Chaos erupts within a small Italian town when it becomes clear that a child killer is on the loose. A reporter and the police must band together to find the culprit before it’s too late. 

Fulci within his own right is very much a key player within giallo cinema, Don’t Torture a Duckling is actually known to be an introductory film for many wanting to get into the genre. 

This film aided the bleakness and alienation of society that the genre thrives upon. The picturesque village may be pleasing to the eye, but beneath the surface is a corrupt town overflowing with perversion, paranoia, threatening attitudes, and simple-minded ignorance. 

Fucli dares the viewer not to applaud the braveness of the film’s themes. Sins, guilt, and repression are at the heart of the killer’s motives, which is primarily implanted through the heart of religion. This expression of sexuality within the village’s church is openly scrutinised by Fulci, in fact the town’s church is almost a central character, an antagonist. The notion of utilising religion as an ironic storytelling piece continues throughout 1970s giallo films, particularly in What Have You Done to Solange? 

5- What Have You Done to Solange? (Directed by Massimo Dallamano, 1972) 

Students at St. Mary’s Catholic School become the target of a sadistic serial killer. A teacher at the school becomes a suspect after his suspicious behaviour with the students arises, but the dots are not connecting, leaving the killer out on the loose. 

1960s and early 1970s cinema was rife with cult sub-genres melting with each other to form hybrid films such as What Have You Done to Solange?, gaining extra profit and merging various stylisations. The film masterfully creates surreal landscapes swarming with nightmarish thrills, jolting the viewer. Dallamano’s 1972 horror combines German Krimi cinema (City settings, cop thrillers, and revenge plots) with giallo to create one of the most underrated horrors to come from the 1970s. The catholic girls school setting delights itself in crude stereotypes, particularly that of exploitation amongst women. Whilst it’s not perfect, it is rivetingly entertaining by recruiting a shamelessly sexualised narrative, consisting of vicious kill scenes that Freud would have a field day analysing. Amongst all the hurrah of utilising taboo’s as a provoking tool, Dallamano does not forget the importance of the film’s visual flare. Each scene is painted with a quaint background of mundane terrains, but the dose of gruesome terror leaves a burning mark on the viewer, forcing an unforgettable reputation. 

6- Deep Red (Directed by Dario Argento, 1975) 

Musician Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) discovers the body of a murdered psychic medium. Leading Marcus and reporter Gianna Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi) to take it upon themselves to solve the case. 

Deep Red is known as one of Argento’s finest films, with the dizzying aesthetics, kaleidoscopic colour palettes, hazy perspectives, and impressive score securing a flourishing acclaim. Every scene creates an unfamiliar world where the tension grips onto the viewer and won’t let go, encouraging the audience to dismantle their expectations. Giallo continuously aims to startle, and Deep Red is one of the best examples for showing how and why horror is more than just quick scares and gore. Argento employs intricate camerawork that gives the result of a finely choreographed production. Rather than keep the camera still throughout the film, like a fly on the wall, Argento dances the lens around, emulating hectic and frenzied auras that make the panic of the kill scenes even more erratic and disturbing. Furthering this avoidance of stillness is the abrupt and shocking ending. Giallo may be known for its big reveals and double twists, but most of the time these revelations are so illogical and blasé that the viewer is left with more questions than answers, but Deep Red uses the infamous ‘red herring’ trope as a significant plot point in the investigation. Deep down the audience have known who the killer is all along and are told very much early on within the film. Sometimes the true horror doesn’t come from the unexpected, but what we already know. 

7-Tenebrae (Directed by Dario Argento, 1982) 

Successful author Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) receives a letter from a suspected serial killer claiming that Neal’s books have inspired them to go on a killing spree. Soon after Neal becomes involved in the investigation to catch the killer before it’s too late. 

As the 1980s began giallo cinema progressed and became fairly popular amongst mainstream audiences. The unholy trinity -Argento, Bava, and Fulci- had solidified a decent name for themselves as giallo masters, and with this popularity came a shift within the genre. There was a growing demand for slashers resulting in films such as Tenebrae becoming more operatic and less confined within small Italian landscapes as an attempt at branching out. Tenebrae is a key film in both eighties horror and giallo cinema thanks to the packed narrative that manifests into a convoluted extravaganza, encouraging the viewer to become lost within the mad world created. In fact the narrative is mostly of secondary importance, the story beats serves only a progression-based purpose for the kill scenes to shine, forgoing typical cause and effect. 

8- Amer (Directed by Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, 2009) 

Amer follows Ana throughout her childhood, adolescence and womanhood. 

Amer is a haunting and mystifying neo-giallo told in three parts as we witness three key moments throughout various stages of Ana’s life. Amer acts as both a retelling and a homage to great giallo cinema. The visual format in which the film is told reads exactly like Suspiria and Tenebrae, with the film’s nods towards neon lighting and duality (both metaphorically and technically via the continuous use of split screen). But rather than copy directly, Cattet and Forzani use giallo films as a creative vessel for their own highly original work to pour through. The displaced narrative never meets a clear conclusion, in fact the film plays out in almost an entirely surrealistic tone, drowning any chance at linearity. 

9- Piercing (Directed by Nicolas Pesce, 2018)

Reed (Christopher Abbot), comes across as a normal family man with a loving wife and newborn baby waiting at home, but this is all a facade. Underneath the disguise he hides a dark desire to kill. 

Piercing is one of those films where the simple plot premise spirals out of control action by action. The enigmatic whirlwind of events do not allow the viewer to breathe at all, instead you are stuck on this disastrous rollercoaster alongside Reed as his night shifts from one mishap to the next. It is difficult to line this film up alongside notable giallo films as Piercing is entirely individualistic, but the spine of the film comes from the complex relationship between psychology, sex, and violence. Pesce aligns these three devices to interweave a tale ridden with interesting politics reminiscent of Argento and Bava’s work. 

10- Knife + Heart (Directed by Yann Gonzalez, 2018) 

Anne (Vanessa Paradis), is a filmmaker who specialises in gay pornography. Her life begins to crumble when her editor and partner Loïs breaks up with her. To win her back Anne hatches a plan to make one of the most riskiest film’s yet, but when a string of horrid murders occurs both the production and Anne’s life is threatened. 

Knife+Heart erupted onto the horror scene with a unique magnetism that dedicates itself to honouring giallo cinema. The overall tone is electrifying without being distractingly flamboyant, most of the film’s allure is actually drawn from the characters lack of satire. The viewer sympathises with Anne and her film crew, and although the giallo elements ensure that boredom does not become an issue, the film grounds itself through the cultural connotations.

Throughout giallo films the police are seen as rather incompetent, with the outsider being the one to solve the crime (à la The Girl Who Knew Too Much), Knife+Heart continues with this tradition but in a new light. The police appear to dismiss the murders and refuse to raise alarm in response to the victims being gay men, forcing Anne and her friend Archibald (Nicholas Maury) to hunt down the killer themselves. Pesce regenerates the giallo movement in a modern perspective through exploring an exploitative based storyline but through a rare melancholic disposition. 

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The 1980s saw a rapid surplus of horror films seeping out from the woodwork. Not only was there a rise in interest for the more morbid side of cinema, but there was also a growing audience for slasher films. One of these great classics that has shaped the genre ever since it’s release is Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The success of A Nightmare on Elm Street soared for many years as the franchise birthed a further eight films, a popular comic book series, multiple documentaries, and merchandise. As with any franchise there is always the odd entry that did not garner much praise, in this case the culprit is the 2010 remake directed by Samuel Bayer. This shot at giving the franchise a new lease is colloquially dismissed. However, is it possible that the remake actually holds a hidden charm? Or is it entirely doomed? Let’s find out in the most scathing ‘Original vs. Remakes’ yet…

In the seemingly sleepy suburb of Springwood, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured clawed killer murders a group of unsuspecting teens whose parents were at the hands of his untimely death. 

The film is utterly aware of its strengths and uses them to its advantage, correlating a polished, witty and nightmare fueled horror. 

Craven earned a budding name for himself with the exploitation films The Last House on the Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977) lining his early career, the cult success of these films brewed for years, but it was A Nightmare on Elm Street that truly shot his director credits into the spotlight for decades to come. Thankfully Craven kept his talents primarily within the horror sector, earning a reputation for being rather masterful, supplementing dark humour to keep films entertaining, with A Nightmare on Elm Street beginning this ode to comic horror. Throughout the film there are numerous witty punchlines accompanied by an ever menacing grin from Freddy, cementing his place as an iconic horror villain that stands out from the crowd. He is personable, lively, and gruesome. Freddy’s personality certainly helps fasten the film’s reputation, ensuring his place as a horror sensation. 

As easy as it is to discuss Freddy all day this is definitely not the film’s sole edge, with the outstanding practical effects, unparalleled score, and tense symbolism all contributing to its notorious reputation. 

Speaking of those unmatched visuals, head of practical effects Jim Doyle, created incredibly innovative scenes on a shoestring budget (compared to nowadays), namely the infamous ‘bed of death’ scene. Glen’s (Johnny Depp) death displayed a tidal wave of blood spurting upwards from his bed, dragging him down into a deep hellish pit. To create the gushing blood effect an entire rotating room was created. The room was turned completely upside down via various crew having to manually turn the room like a dial crank, with Craven loosely strapped into a camera chair to the side. In true budgeted form the furniture was not correctly strapped or secured with safety wires, instead everything was simply nailed down. Adding to the risk was the fact that the red dyed water replicating the blood hit a tonne of wiring, causing the fluid to become electrified. Despite everything, the final product went above and beyond in creating one of horror’s most memorable scenes. 

This whole craftsmanship is what makes A Nightmare on Elm Street stand out. There wasn’t a chance for plenty of retakes and editing to glam-up the grungy effects, instead it was just a crew full of people risking their time and safety to create a future classic. The labour of love throughout A Nightmare on Elm Street is abundantly clear. There is a reason why the film has sat on a pedestal for all these years, it has an air of originality, a certain magnetism which allowed all of the sequels to follow. Craven’s 1984 visionary horror seems to only continue in its triumphant path, however the same cannot be said for the 2010 remake which only seems to amass negative attention. 

2010’s remake came into play thanks to Michael Bay, a filmmaker and producer who is known for his over-the-top effects (mainly explosions), quick pacing, and ability to make even the calmest of scenes seem erratic and completely overblown. During the early 2000’s it became clear that horror remakes were a quick one-way ticket to financial success, with the likes of The Amityville Horror (2005), The Hitcher (2007), and Friday the 13th (2008) making film financers such as Bay a quick buck. That’s not to say that A Nightmare on Elm Street was solely a money grab, but the roots of its purpose certainly seem that way. 

After plenty of rumours surrounding the remake, production began in 2008, with music video director Samuel Bayer being hired, alongside a hopeful cast including of Connie Britton, Rooney Mara, Jackie Earle Haley, and Kyle Gallner.

The central premise of Kreuger’s motive in both of these films is that his death was at the hands of these teenagers’ parents, as an act of revenge. The motivation for the entire film is an allegory about the sins of the ‘elders’ coming back to haunt the innocent, in a form of evil injustice. Both parties are wrong, yet the battle will always continue thanks to the mass ignorance of society. Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street may seem like just another slasher from the exterior, but it is a tale of repressed guilt that exposes the results of denial and shame. There are many gripes that the remake clutches onto, but the abandonment of Craven’s superb surrealism in favour of creating a watered down dreamscape is the worst of them all.

Through Bayer forgoing all of this buildup, we are left with another emotionally trimmed, lukewarm horror that shackles itself to all of the other mundane formulaic movies. 

One of the most common protests that audiences had with the film is that Freddy’s characterisation is entirely altered, so much so that there is not a single ounce of intrigue and allure to his persona. There is no scary voice, or trademark charm, unfortunately slapping on a red and green jumper and a claw hand is not enough. Worst of all there is zero sympathy towards his character. Freddy is not a model citizen, yet there was always this air of forgiveness over his actions. However, in 2010 he was made out to be a child predator. This was all part of the film’s attempt to make the remake a *very* dark and serious film that brews slowly thanks to an incredibly horrifying backbone. Instead of becoming this unsettling nightmare, similar to the Evil Dead (2013) remake, it simply tries too hard to be something that it’s not. Horrid themes do not always equate to fear.

We could be shown one of the most violent scenes known to cinema, but that doesn’t mean that it gives the audience the creeps. If Bayer would have focused more on fleshing out Freddy’s backstory and then infuse it within the characters emotional development then possibly the narrative would have worked. But it’s as if the writers have handed us a child abuse story on a plate and then just forgot to stir it into the rest of the film. 

Despite everything it’s not all doom and gloom. Arguments could be passed back and forth about this missed opportunity, but it does have to be said that the box office figures show that the intense marketing and buzz surrounding the film generated enough attention for it to be one of the most financially successful remakes of its time. It still remains the second highest grossing film out of the entire franchise. It may not be everyone’s favourite remake, but it gave horror a quick boost in mainstream cinema. 

Another redeeming factor is seen through the decent performances, particularly by Mara who played the titular Nancy. Her portrayal of a distressed teen is fairly grounded in reality and not overtly flamboyant and ridiculously written. Working alongside this is the attempt at recreating something fresh. The remake is not a play-by-play of Craven’s original, nor is it an entirely original story that uses the basic framework of a classic to take the tale in a new direction. Although the remake bears a reputation that generally airs on the negative side, it might have possibly worked as a standalone film if amendments were made, perfect for tween viewers who want an easy popcorn movie. 

Painting a grungy scene and blasting CGI over every possible image does not equal a “good movie”. Sometimes it’s not the budget you need or an over-thought subplot to make a film work, alternatively all a groundbreaking horror needs is a vivid imagination and an expressive story that is rooted from a passion for the genre. It can sound contradictory to comment that the film tries too hard, but at the same time doesn’t try hard enough, yet this is exactly the issue, the aching tangent becomes so tired thanks to all of the repetitiveness. Remakes can be excellent, even better than the original, but in this case A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is the standout champion.

Love to read more about the iconic horror villain? Check out our article on Freddy here.