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Curiosity Corner Events MisAdventures

Dead Northern does the Harrogate Ghost Walk!

Paul Forster has invited Josh and Gareth from Dead Northern to experience Harrogate’s first Ghost walk! And given that Harrogate is the spiritual home (pun intended) to the Dead Northern Horror Film Festival we thought it would be rude not to take him up on that offer.

First things first, it’s Winter, in North Yorkshire! At the best of times, that would mean some pretty brutal weather but on this particular night, Mother Nature decided to put on a real show for us! With weather warnings across the United Kingdom, and especially harsh for the North of England, right where we are.

Whilst most folk would look out the window and opt to stay in the warm and stick on a movie, we put on our big boy pants (and took some spares), coats & scarves, and set out into the dark, cold, windy Harrogate evening. Telling ourselves that nature’s special effects of howling winds, freezing rain, and creaking trees are just going to add to the atmosphere.

Paul Forster Harrogate Ghost Walk
Paul Forster Harrogate Ghost Walk

The Ghost tour starts at 20:15 outside the Royal Pump Room Museum, and it doesn’t take long before Paul has us engaged in stories both paranormal, historical, and comical. Now, we don’t want to include any spoilers as we 100% recommend that you experience the Ghost Walk for yourselves. So we won’t include any more of the specific locations but the Ghost tour stays in Harrogate town Centre.

Like it says on the tin, this is a WALK and the tour is a decent track around town. Harrogate does have a few hills so we recommend a decent pair of shoes and wrap up warm if you’re joining in the winter months.

If you’re a visitor the walk doubles up as a fantastic tour of Harrogate as well as a spooky adventure. If you’re a local, the Ghost Walk contains a great deal of history about the town! Do you know where the jail was?

This isn’t just a walk around town with a guide yelling anecdotal yarns about otherworldly experiences though. The tour contains as much lesser know history of Harrogate as it does the supernatural. It’s obvious that Paul has done his research and this is a tour with purpose and direction, so if your find yourself wondering why you have stopped outside a building, you can be certain that it is because it’s haunted.

Paul Forster - Harrogate Ghost Walk
Paul Forster – Harrogate Ghost Walk

The Ghost stories themselves are interesting, engaging, and unique to Harrogate. This is a refreshing change, given that we’re so close to York, a city that is known globally for Ghosts and the paranormal and tends to steal the limelight.

It’s also worth noting that if you’ve got any ghost stories of your own do let Paul know, he loves to listen to the audience as much as talk, and if your story is from Harrogate who knows your story may become part of the tour!

Whilst we didn’t see any Ghost this time. We’ll definitely be back, this is one of Harrogate’s best and most unique events and we thoroughly recommend it.

Paul Forster - Harrogate Ghost Walk
Paul Forster – Harrogate Ghost Walk

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Categories
Reviews

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.

Categories
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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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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Dead Northern has been on the Harrogate ghost walk, and we can confirm it is awesome.

For our full take on the ghost, walk click here

We recommend experiencing the Harrogate Ghost Walk for yourselves.

For more information about the Harrogate Ghost Walk go to https://www.harrogateghostwalk.com/

Get Tickets for Haunted Harrogate’s Ghost Walk at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/harrogate-ghost-walk

Categories
Reviews

Five found footage horror movies you’re missing out on

1. The Bay (Barry Levinson, 2012)

There’s something in the water… The Bay ignites one of our worst fears, the dark unknown in the deep depths of the sea. The film opens with a young news presenter retelling the events of a town’s death due to waterborne parasites that feast upon human flesh. The found footage elements push forward confronting graphic effects posed against a scenic seaside town, almost creating a Jaws meets Cabin Fever mashup.

We see a plethora of alternative sides to the tragedy as the film uses the guise of an undercover documentary extracting ‘raw’ footage from the victims phones, video calls, and digital cameras. This devastatingly gruesome story entwines a complex eco-horror motive to somewhat expose a possible situation; the overtly realistic portrayal combined with a plausible scenario leaves us with the trembling fear that this terrifying ordeal could come true.

2. Hell House LLC (Stephen Cognetti, 2015)

Hell House LLC follows a group of budding haunted tour creators as they tackle their biggest project yet; the taking over of an abandoned hotel which was supposedly the ground of satanic rituals. Haunted house attractions and Halloween haunts have become staples for avid spooky-seekers, but with such popularity comes an inherent manufacture of extravagant proportions. Suspicious rumours regarding the intentions and reality of these events have risen in recent years as many conspiracists speculate that the body props are real.

So, what if you were to take this gossip and place it within a haunted house narrative. Hell House LLC takes us through the uncovering of what really happened the night that tragedy struck a Halloween haunt. Through the lens of our characters we see one of the scariest of clowns since Pennywise, a hauntingly chilling piano playing on its own, and an array of frightening abandoned rooms. Similar to classic found footage horrors, the film’s footage is primarily ‘lost footage’ unearthed at the scene, creating an immediately unnerving atmosphere when we learn that what we are about to see is entirely ‘real’.


Despite the use of the gimmicky true story trope, Hell House LLC has proven its legacy with the film blossoming two follow up pieces.

3. Lake Mungo (Joel Anderson, 2008)

Lake Mungo follows the Palmer family’s painful journey of grief and understanding after their teenage daughter Alice, traumatically passes. Unlike many other similar ghost stories this film truly roots its effective power within the emotive culmination of anxiety and loss shown frequently across the film. Alice acts as a mysterious figure who we never get to meet, yet are so bound with that we become involved with the Palmer’s dim reality.

Lake Mungo is as much of a mystery drama as it is a horror, thus to avoid spoilers it’s best to take a leap and watch it for yourself. But, one important sting that the film constantly abides by is the lost trick of minimalism to conjure scares. Do not expect bountiful jumps or gore, instead Anderson shows little to expose a lot.

4. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (Beom-sik Jeong, 2018)

Gonjiam follows a simple story, a group of internet horror explorers seek out their next big haunt at an abandoned asylum. However, they soon get more than they bargained for after the building’s long haunted history may be true. With a formulaic plot a thorough execution is necessary to create a memorable film.

Gonjiam does just this as we witness unnerving visuals and a biting tension that won’t quit. It’s within the second act where our fear is amplified; the looming dread lingers with the asylum walls coming to life. Similar to Grave Encounters, there is an overwhelming sense of apprehension where we feel that there is no escape from the horror, making Gonjiam a fantastic found footage film.

5. Exhibit A (Dom Rotheroe, 2007)

Exhibit A is a British horror following the life of the King family. This seemingly normal household is harbouring a harrowing secret that is soon exposed. The film flows through the eyes of Judith King, the daughter of the family after she takes it upon herself to start documenting their daily life. The opening scene immediately throws a dark spell upon our expectations with a still of Judith’s camera being labelled as crime scene evidence.


The normality of the King’s day to day life is gradually pulled apart as seemingly mundane comments and events soon become unsettling and grimly motivated. None of these sinister undertones would be possible without the incredible performances. We become entirely immersed in the façade due to the realistic character executions throughout. Exhibit A utilises the ‘kitchen sink’ British realism trope to its full advantage to deliver a distressing tale of deceit and betrayal.

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

Categories
News

This week in horror – News round up 20.02.21

This weeks horror news round up is brought to you by Grace at Film Overload!

New details surrounding Jordan Peele’s upcoming horror finally released

Jordan Peele has become somewhat of a horror mastermind in recent years, with his majorly successful projects including Get Out (2017) and Us (2019) storming through the horror market with ease. With this bravado surrounding his ventures, it’s no surprise that audiences across the board have been anticipating Peele’s latest directorial feature.

Although the upcoming untitled film has been kept tightly under wraps, we have been given a brief sneak into what’s to come; Keke Palmer has been officially cast as the lead, and Daniel Kaluuya will also star. The expected release date is not until July 2022, so fans will have to hold onto their seats for just a tad longer.

Shudder renews Creepshow for a third season

Creepshow has kept audiences both entertained and horrified since George A. Romero brought the beloved horror comics from the 1950s alive in 1982. Of course as with most horrors Creepshow has not remained a one-hit-wonder as sequels and an entire tv series have followed in its footsteps.

It now seems that this legacy is only destined for further continuation as Shudder has ordered a third season for their wildly successful anthology tv show. Creepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero has confirmed the third season will be the most ambitious yet, with the promise of some brand new storylines set to keep you up at night…


Season three is set for release later this year.

Netflix announces new series following Wednesday Addams with Tim Burton returning to the directors chair

The classic Addams Family will bless screens with their spooky charms yet again as Netflix has announced that the most morbid of the Addams ‘Wednesday’ will receive her own dedicated live-action tv series. Wednesday is set to return with her dark gumption as she battles her unpredictable psychic abilities, all the whilst investing a perplexing supernatural mystery.

Tim Burton will return as the director, with the creators of Smallville Al Gough and Miles Millar writing this very anticipated series.

Florence Pugh to star in Apple TV+ new sci-fi flick Dolly

Florence Pugh has been gracing the horror world since 2018 with her lead role in the chilling British film Malevolent, and of course the extremely successful Midsommar (2019). Pugh now returns in this upcoming sci-fi film Dolly, with Apple TV+ producing. This majorly intriguing storyline is based upon a short story written by Elizabeth Bear.

Dolly follows a robot companion doll who kills their owner, however the plot swiftly darkens when said robot asks for a lawyer. The film is majorly in its early stages, with a script not fully written nor a director chosen. Yet, it can be assured that Dolly has the potential to be a great success.

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

Categories
News Reviews

Review – Bloody Hell

With the fluency of director Alister Grierson, Bloody Hell has blasted onto the horror scene with an assaultive force cementing its position as being one of this year’s most surprising and devilishly indulging films. Writer ‘Robert Benjamin creates a story dripping with satirical hilarity and brutality, all whilst not falling victim to cheap cliches.

The tour de force that is Bloody Hell takes us on a wild ride as we follow Rex (Ben O’Toole), a recently released convict who unwillingly ends up in a sadistic Finnish family’s basement ready to be feasted upon by one of modern horror’s most barbarous households. However, can Rex’s internal monologue save him from the pits of hell?

It can be said that a film is dominantly character or scenario based, rarely both. Grierson carefully tiptoes between this line through creating an impressive character study without abandoning the richly entertaining narrative. O’Toole craftily carries this film with an incredible performance. We see Rex in two alternative lights, there’s his presentable persona and then his inner discourse whose valiant introspections create a devil’s advocate soliloquy.

Thrusting this rogue ‘bad-boy’ exterior even further is the film’s adventurous take upon what can be a risky sub genre; action horror. It was Rex’s heroic actions straight out of Die Hard that landed him in prison in the first place, and it seems that his time in solitude has only affixed this persona. This innately thrilling allure is what makes Rex the ultimate vigilante, with his fight or flight gutsiness exhibiting what we all wish we had the ability to do in the presence of a Nordic cannibalistic family.

Rex’s jovialness does not wear thin, but let’s not forget to mention the other piece in this twisted puzzle. The torture family trope is not entirely rare within horror, we’re accustomed to uncouth rustic families with an appetite for flesh living in an awfully convenient rural setting. Thus, it’s rare to be taken by surprise. However, we soon learn that this disturbed unit’s dynamics are much more complex than an insatiable appetite for flesh. Quite simply, Rex’s hosts are far from ordinary.


This erratic ruthlessness is not just exhibited through the characters, but also through the stimulating visuals. The sporadic hyper-stylisation is temptingly inviting, from the forthright confrontational cinematography through to the foreboding soundtrack denies the viewer any chance of normality.

This surreal horror warms with an eccentric satirical timing complimenting the surreal elements that are feathered throughout. This aligns with Bloody Hell’s use of frenzied camera work and unorthodox storytelling methods, making this a varied banquet with something for everyone.

Bloody Hell is available to watch via DVD/Blu-ray and VOD right now!

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

Categories
News

This week in horror – News round up 05.02.21

This weeks horror news round up is brought to you by Grace at Film Overload!

The Midnight Club’s cast line-up finally revealed

Image result for the midnight club

Mike Flanagan has become a beloved horror mastermind in recent years, with outstanding hits such as Oculus (2013), Hush (2016), The Haunting of Hill House (2018) and The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) all residing within his extensive filmography. His latest project The Midnight Club has been closely watched since its announcement; now we’ve finally got a taste of what to expect as the cast has been released.

Top cast names include Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Zach Gilford (The Purge: Anarchy) and Matt Biedel (Phoenix Forgotten).

This exciting new Netflix series is based upon the 1994 Christopher Pike book under the same name. The story follows a mismatched group of five terminally ill patients who all reside at Rotterdam Home, and to keep themselves entertained they all meet at midnight to tell the scariest of tales.

Cloverfield sequel in the works

The found footage hit Cloverfield (2008) recently celebrated its 12 year anniversary earlier this year. Although the success of the original film spanned two semi-linked follow ups, we have yet to receive a direct sequel. However, the long awaited plans for Cloverfield 2 have been officially announced.

Unlike the original, the sequel will not be a found footage style horror. Although this is certain we are still majorly kept in the dark about the events of the film in regards to whether it will focus solely upon sci-fi elements or be a straight horror. Another confirmed detail is that J.J. Abrams will return to produce this highly anticipated sequel.

Viggo Mortensen joins forces yet again with David Cronenberg for an upcoming horror

David Cronenberg is a horror auteur, with his signature body horror style creating some of the most memorable films within the genre. Viggo Mortensen has recently stated that Cronenberg will return to the genre with an upcoming project they have been working on.

Cronenberg and Mortensen have previously worked together on Eastern Promises (2007) and A History of Violence (2005). Although these two films were drama based, Mortensen has hinted that this upcoming project goes back to Cronenberg’s horror roots, with the script being written quite a long time ago.

‘Censor’ becomes a firm favourite at this years Sundance festival

Sundance Film Festival has notoriously created buzz around some of the most iconic modern horrors including Hereditary (2018) and It Follows (2014). At this year’s virtual festival the same fate has been met by the upcoming social-commentary based horror ‘Censor’ (Prano Bailey-Bond). Censor follows a film censor who embarks on a mission to discover what happened to her missing sister.

The film thrives upon the video nasty hysteria that plagued the 1980s, this culturally significant event caused havoc upon the industry. Censor reclaims this panic through utilising the event as a backbone to portray the complex narrative. Censor does not have a confirmed release date, but we suspect it will be released at some point later this year.

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

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News

This week in horror – News round up 30.1.21

This weeks horror news round up comes from Grace at Film Overload!

Frightfest hit ‘The Columnist’ sees a March release

The Columnist and How Horror Fandom Prepares Us for Crisis – /Film

The 2020 Frightfest Film Festival saw a lot of hits make their debut, however one that stood out from the bunch is The Columnist (Ivo van Aart). This slightly satirised tale of vengeance tells the story of Femke Boot (Katja Herbers), an established newspaper columnist who is suffering from a terrible case of writer’s block.

But, her life soon gains back some speed after she exacts brutal and bloody revenge on her abusive tormentors when their online harassment pushes her over the edge. Soon audiences will get a taste of this aggressive tale as The Columnist is lined up for a brief theatrical run and a direct VOD release in March.

Latest trailer for Paradise Cove promises a thrilling excursion into the unhinged

The highly anticipated upcoming horror Paradise Cove shows Mena Suvari and Todd Grinnell battle it out with a deranged woman who unknowingly lives underneath their floor boards. Suvari and Grinnel star as a married couple who move to a luxurious Malibu residence to renovate a disheveled house, however their harmony is soon disrupted when a mysterious woman makes herself known. The trailer pays homage to nostalgic 1990s cat and mouse home thrillers. This psychological thrill is set to be released via VOD mid-February.

Shudder premiers a total of 11 original films across 11 weeks

The go-to horror streaming service Shudder announces its plans to premiere a whopping 11 films all within 11 weeks. Hunted, The Queen of Black Magic, A Nightmare Wakes, After Midnight, Shook, The Dark & the Wicked, Lucky, Stay Out of the F**king Attic, Slaxx, Koko-di Koko-da and Violation are all set to hit our screens very soon.

More Importantly, these films aim to present audiences with a refreshing hit of originality, with each film representing independent filmmaking and deriving from over five different counties. Shudder has been churning out hits for a while, but 2020 saw the release of Host, Impetigore and Anything for Jackson; all which saw critical and audience acclaim. Fingers crossed for the same success with the new releases.

Eli Roth’s History of Horror renewed for a third season

Eli Roth is the director of horror smash hits including Cabin Fever, Hostel and Green Inferno. With his experience in the genre comes a distinct level of knowledge and expertise, and it seems that his voyage in presenting an unnerving study into horror’s most iconic monsters and subtopics has only just started.

History of Horror’s has been officially renewed for a third season; both the first and second season guest starred a plethora of horror masterminds including scholars, filmmakers and award winning actors. Although it’s highly entertaining to watch our favourite stars discuss the grisly details of beloved films, one aspect that takes center stage in every episode is the discussion regarding the rooted societal and cultural repercussions that horror has.

Despite the details surrounding the new season being rather hushed, we can be certain that season three will be the most haunting and darkest yet.

Willy’s Wonderland showcases villainous puppets battling a chaotic Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage has become a modern day horror extraordinaire, with his roles in films such as Mom and Dad (2017), Mandy (2018) and Colour Out of Space (2020) showcasing him in the most disorderly brutal form.

But now we get to see Cage in his most wild role yet. Willy’s Wonderland is an action packed horror directed by Kevin Lewis. The film follows Cage as a mysterious janitor who works the night-shift at a once thriving entertainment establishment. But, when the centre’s animatronics come to life he must fight for his life in the bloodiest of battles. Willy’s Wonderland is set for a February release via VOD.

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

Categories
Reviews

Review – Dark Whispers (Volume 1)

Anthology horror can force a hellish crusade of amalgamated visions to ultimately create a blended film artfully formed to deliver a starkly dark piece. Although this seems like a complex myriad to achieve, Dark Whispers (Volume 1) smoothly executes a faultless entry into the anthology horror terrain.

The Australian film consists of ten chilling chapters from across the entire country. With an anthology framework it can be difficult to capture an entire short story from beginning to end without being too brief, yet Dark Whispers (Vol 1) overarching framework allows for each story to shine equally, regardless of its length and overall strength as a standalone piece.

This framing has a simple premise, but it’s an age old tale that works seamlessly. Creator and director Megan Riakos presents ‘The Book of Dark Whispers’. When Clara unearths her mothers secret ‘Book of Dark Whispers’ she discovers that each page contains a cryptically twisted story that promises the most chilling scares.


One of the most noteworthy components across the entire premise is that each and every segment is directed by a female filmmaker. Of course this fact holds bountiful promises within its own right, but to have this revolutionary concept be brought into the world of horror holds a whole achievement on an impressive accord.

Amongst the cast are Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey) and Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) who feature in the segment ‘The Ride’, a darkly comic thriller which was backed by the BBC and Asher Keddie (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) who is terrorised by a stalker in the chapter ‘The Intruder’.

Each haunting chapter is woven to express equal measures of devilish hope, delusions and grief, all tied together in a horrific labyrinth. In one particular segment ‘Birthday Girl’ (Angie Black), we see a nervous woman enter into an elevator from hell. Her nerves are only heightened when a somewhat innocent young girl enters the lift with her, however as each floor descends, a parade of questions are thrown upon the woman until she is left in a bumbling mess of mysterious guilt and grief.


The second segment ‘The Man Who Caught a Mermaid’ (Kaitlin Tinker) is possibly one of the most interesting chapters to originate from the entire film. The short film follows a middle aged man with an unorthodox obsession over supposed mermaids. The mockery from fellow townsmen and his wife do not bother him in the slightest as he is entirely convinced that he will be the first person to capture a living breathing mermaid… or so he thinks?

Each chapter not only explores a different topic, some even delve into alternative forms of filmmaking. Gloomy Valentine (Isabel Peppard) uses stop motion animation to portray a rather emotive story following a lost soul attempting to remould her broken heart. Stop motion is not necessarily an unfamiliar technique within horror, but it is rare and more importantly it is very difficult to achieve a strong sense of horror when the audience cannot make that physical connection to the characters. Nevertheless, Gloomy Valentine manages to both tug on the heartstrings all the whilst maintaining a steady sense of creeping unease throughout.

Quite impressively Dark Whispers (Vol 1) was selected for a plethora of festivals, including Berlin Final Girls Film Festival and Cinefest Oz. And it’s no wonder why.

Dark Whispers (Vol 1) is a unique take on the anthology sub-genre that excitedly keeps audiences on the edge of their seat. An eclectic mix of short stories with something for all tastes, as long as those tastes are twisted!.

DARK WHISPERS (Volume 1), releasing on all major digital platforms across the UK and Australia on 25th January 2021.

This weeks article comes via Grace from Film Overload, you can check out more of her work here, including our 10 must see anthology horrors.

Categories
Interviews Reviews

Review – In Search of Darkness: Part II

When the rapidly successful In Search of Darkness (David A. Weiner, 2019) hit screens audiences were gripped by its engrossing take on eighties horror and critics were enthralled by the absorbing and ambitious love letter to what is possibly one of the greatest decades in horror. Thus, it’s no surprise that In Search of Darkness: Part II burst onto the scene with deserved appraisal.

In search of Darkness Part II
Purchase of part II included 3 posters of original artwork, copy of part I and retro pin badge.

After how much content was covered the first four and half hour entry, it bears the worry that Part II would just be a replica and repetitive. However, what we get instead is a more unique and refreshing film that delves into a variety of horror sub topics and a delightfully varied array of films that combined both well-known classics and some more obscure gems that thrived in the 1980s. The film relies heavily on reminiscence and a nostalgic sensibility, yet there is no bounding exclusivity that confines new spectators to the decade; in fact the film is almost an educative bible for those new to horror, acting as a vivacious horror encyclopaedia.

Geretta Geretta Demons
Gerreta Geretta in 80’s cult hit Demons


The four hour long runtime can be intimidating even for seasoned cinema fans, but the film uses cleverly placed sections to not only aid an easy digest for such a long runtime, but to also add depth to the surrounding contexts. As each year is discussed an additional associated topic is presented, with some of the highlighted subjects including the ever present ‘Cinema Horror Italiano- Giallo‘ and the ‘80s Italian Invasion’. Here, we are given a detailed depiction as to why Giallo cinema lingered throughout the decade and how the three maestros ‘Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava’ ruled in power, with their graphically horrifying and pathbreaking filmmaking taking centre stage in their filmography.


Part II takes what worked well in its predecessor and accelerated it; the remarkable line-up consists of some of the biggest contributors within horror, including Tom Atkins, Linnea Quigley, Caroline Williams, John Carpenter, Tom Savini, Joe Dante, Robert Englund, and Cassandra Peterson. This comprehensive cast list had heaps of involvement within eighties horror, introducing a sense of richness to the production, with plenty of behind the scenes knowledge bringing new light to the classics.


Speaking of classics, Part II divulges into a medley of films ranging from slashers to harrowing revenge tales. Rather than solely discussing the big mainstream hits of the decade, we are shown the somewhat forgotten hits such as Alone in the Dark (Jack Sholder, 1982), April Fool’s Day (Fred Walton, 1986), Mother’s Day (Charles Kaufman, 1980), Vamp (Richard Wenk, 1986), and House (Steve Miner, 1985). To accompany each film is an enlightening insight into the cultural context that most of these films were released in.

One particular area that is deeply discussed in relation to Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (Fred Olen Ray, 1988) is the video nasties. As home video soared so did the number of so-called ‘exploitative’ horror films on the market. Unfortunately, due to a mass moral panic over the British public’s wellbeing, 72 films were banned in the UK over fears of them corrupting children’s minds. Part II divulges into this important era for horror through discussing both the absurdity of the nasties and which films were the most prominent.


The film is clearly a demonstration of dedication to a beloved genre. From the outset a sense of togetherness is displayed, that depicts horror as a one-of-a-kind genre that manifests devoted fan bases and remarkable characters that linger within pop culture. Whether or not you are a diehard eighties fan or a newcomer, In Search of Darkness: Part II has something for everyone.

If you want to be part of the ISOD community check out their YouTube, where they are delivering regular interviews with 80’s legends for their new CLIPSHOW.

We interviewed creator Robin Block and director David A. Weiner back in October 2020, in an exclusive interview for the festival where we played Part I to celebrate the release of Part II.

Check it out below: