Film News (UK): Horror Channel unleashes eight premieres for June


Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 / Freeview 70

Horror Channel has eight prime-time weekend film premieres in June including the UK premieres of RETREAT, Carl Tibbets’ ‘ménage a trois of terror’ starring Thandie Newton, Cillian Murphy and Jamie Bell and R.D. Braunstein’s smartly gripping I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE – widely seen as the best of the series.

There are also network premieres for Jennifer Lynch’s uncompromising and dark chiller CHAINED, William Malone’s gruesome cyber thriller FEARDOTCOM, starring Stephen Dorff and Natascha McElhone and Michael Reeves’s highly acclaimed WITCHFINDER GENERAL, starring Vincent Price.

In a deadly virus catching month, other highlights are first channel showings for John Pogue’s [REC] inspired scareline QUARANTINE 2 TERMINAL, Breck Eisner’s critically-acclaimed remake of George Romero’s 1973 movie, THE CRAZIES and James Cameron’s directorial debut PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING starring Lance Henriksen and plenty of flying killer fish.

Full details of premieres in transmission order:

Fri 2 June @ 21:00 – QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL (2011) *Network Premiere

A bizarre disease, unleashed in a run-down Los Angeles tenement killing everyone, has somehow mutated and got out. Now, aboard Flight 318, the first symptoms begin to show. As the infection begins to takes root, all on board begin to transform into terrifying, bloodthirsty killers. Forced to land at an isolated terminal, and surrounded by armed government agents, the crew and passengers grow increasingly desperate. The only question now is how far they will go to survive…

Sat 3 June @ 22:50 – WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) *Network Premiere

Set during the English Civil War, Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price), a lawyer and self-appointed ‘Witchfinder General’, tours the Eastern counties instigating witch-hunts and extracting ‘confessions’ under torture. When a young woman, Sara (Hilary Dwyer), is raped by Hopkins and her priest father murdered, Sara’s lover, Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy), a soldier in Cromwell’s army, vows revenge. The last and best film of director Michael Reeves’s tragically brief career, Witchfinder General has received broad critical admiration

Fri 9 June @ 22:45 – I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE (2015) *UK TV Premiere

After her harrowing experiences in 2010, Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) has taken the name Angela and is now working in an anonymous office job. Attending a rape support group to find closure, she meets feisty Marla Finch (Jennifer Landon) and they become firm friends. Then Marla suggests that Angela join her in taking revenge by proxy on the abusers they hear about in their secret sessions…

Sat 10 June @ 22:55 – FEARDOTCOM (2002) *Network Premiere

When four bodies are discovered among the industrial decay and urban grime of New York City, brash young detective Mike Reilly (Stephen Dorff) teams with ambitious Department of Health researcher Terry Huston (Natascha McElhone) to uncover the cause behind their violent and inexplicable deaths. The only common factor shared by the victims? Each died exactly 48 hours after logging on to feardot.com. Also stars Stephen Rea and Udo Kier.

Fri 16 June @ 21:00 – THE CRAZIES (2010) *Network Premiere

Anarchy reigns when an unknown toxin turns the peaceful citizens of Ogden Marsh into bloodthirsty lunatics. In an effort to contain the spread of the infection, authorities blockade the town and use deadly force to keep anyone from getting in or out. Now trapped among killers, Sheriff Dutten (Timothy Olyphant), his wife (Radha Mitchell) and two companions must band together to find a way out before madness and death overtakes them all.

Sat 17 June @ 22:55 – CHAINED (2012) *Network Premiere

A trip to the movies becomes a nightmare for Sarah (Julia Ormond) and her young son Tim (Eamon Farren) when they are kidnapped by Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio), a deranged taxi driver, and taken to his remote home. There the nine-year-old sees his mother murdered – but it isn’t the last slaughter he witnesses for Bob enslaves Tim, chains him up and forces him to bury his victims’ bodies. As years go by, Tim is allowed some freedom only if he turns killer himself. Now the reluctant protégé must make a choice between following in Bob’s bloody footsteps or breaking free.

Fri 23 June @ 23:00 – PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING (1981) *Network Premiere

James Cameron’s directorial debut centres on a mysterious batch of eggs that have been left unrecovered from a sunken naval wreckage off a popular Caribbean island resort. When a series of bizarre deaths occur, scuba diving instructor (Tricia O’Neil), her biochemist boyfriend (Steve Marachuk) and her police chief ex-husband Lance Henriksen) try to find the link between the mutant strain of piranha fish terrorising everyone and their lair at the bottom of the sea…

Sat 24 June @ 23:00 – RETREAT (2011) *UK TV Premiere

Taking an isolated break on an uninhabited island, Martin (Cillian Murphy) and Kate (Thandie Newton) are about to find that their island retreat is about to become a prison of unimaginable terror. When a blood-soaked stranger (Jamie Bell) stumbles through their door claiming an apocalyptic virus is sweeping across Europe, their lives are turned upside down as they face what could be the end of everything they know. Using all means necessary, they must fight to escape the approaching threat. But escape is only the beginning of their terrifying fight for survival…

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 | Freeview 70
www.horrorchannel.co.uk | twitter.com/horror_channel | facebook.com/horrorchannel

Press enquiries:
Greg Day, Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889 861646

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Film News (UK): First pictures of Nadia Forde as gangster wife Rita Comer from the set of ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON


Actress & presenter Nadia Forde is currently shooting Brit gangster thriller ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON in which she plays pregnant Rita Comer, wife of the notorious gangster Jack Spot Comer. Comer (played by Terry Stone), alongside fellow gangster Billy Hill (Leo Gregory), ruled organised crime in London in the 40s and 50s and paved the way for the Kray Twins and The Richardsons.

Currently shooting on locations in the East End, Nadia said “Rita comes from ten minutes from where my family grew up so researching her background was really interesting. It’s an exciting challenge playing her as she was a real person. There’s so much to her story and I want to do it justice. She was a very loyal, strong and ultimately brave woman and she provides a moral compass within the story.

She added from the location in East End’s Brick Lane: I love working with Simon Rumley, the director, and my fellow cast members and it’s been a special experience to spend the past couple of months back in the 1940’s and pregnant!”


Above: Nadia Forde with Terry Stone *Jack Comer & Geoff Bell (Darkey Mulley)

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FILM NEWS (UK): CAT’S EYES singer / songwriter Rachel Zeffira turns to crime for latest project

Rachel Zeffira, the talented, award-winning Canadian soprano, famous for her work as one-half of alt-pop duo ‘Cat’s Eyes’, has composed a number of songs for director Simon Rumley’s historical gangster thriller feature film ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON, which is currently shooting in the East End. Rachel also appears in the movie as a singer in a 1940’s’ club band, which includes Sam Doyle from ‘The Maccabees’ on drums, Faris Badwan from ‘The Horrors’ on trumpet; and Sam Becker from ‘Wunderground’ on bass.

Zeffira commented: “Simon sent me the script for ‘Once Upon A Time In London’ which referenced music from the 1940s. He mentioned a few songs from that era, nostalgia ones like ‘I’ll be Seeing You’ and a few songs by Kurt Weill. When I was around 16 I used to love those songs, and I remembered that I’d written a few in a similar style at the time, that could possibly be useful now. I tracked down a couple of the rough recordings and sent them to Simon, and he thought they’d be right for the film.

She added “Our original choice for trumpet player, Chris Cotter, couldn’t make it, so I asked Faris if he could step in. Faris is 6 foot 6, has quite a distinct look which definitely isn’t 1940s, and he doesn’t play trumpet. Until being on set, I’ve only ever seen Faris look like he’s the singer from The Horrors…so it’s testament to the talent of the hair and costume designers that they actually managed to make him look like a 40’s jazz musician”.

Director and co-writer Simon Rumley said: “Having been a fan of The Horrors for a while I was excited to check out Cat’s Eyes. I went to their seminal gig at the Scala and have been a fan of Rachel and her music ever since. We were hoping to collaborate on a previous film of mine which didn’t happen so when ‘Once Upon A Time In London’ came along, Rachel was the only person I thought of to sing in the Modernaires Club”.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON dramatises the violent reign of two of London’s most notorious gangsters, Billy Hill (Leo Gregory) and Jack ‘Spot’ Comer (Terry Stone). Charting the legendary rise and fall of a nationwide criminal empire that lasted until the mid-fifties, this is the brutal story of post-war organised crime which paved the way for the notorious Kray Twins and The Richardsons. Described as ‘Peaky Blinders meets Legend’, the film also stars Geoff Bell, Jamie Foreman, Doug Allen, Andy Beckwith, Roland Manookian, Justin Salinger, Holly Earl, Dominic Keating, Kate Braithwaite, Nadia Forde, JJ Hambeltt, Simon Munnery and boxers Frank Buglioni, Steve Collins and Joe Egan.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON is a Gateway Films & Ratio Film Presentation, directed by Simon Rumley, written by Will Gilbey, Simon Rumley & Terry Stone and produced by Terry Stone & Richard Turner.

Press contact:
Greg Day, Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889861646

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Film News (UK): SEED OF CHUCKY, THE DIVIDE & DAYBREAKERS amongst Horror Channel premieres for May

Horror Channel has eight prime-time weekend film premieres this May including the network premieres for Don Mancini’s killer-dolls spin-off SEED OF CHUCKY, starring Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly & Billy Boyd, Xavier Gen’s unsettling post-apocalyptic horror THE DIVIDE and the epic vampire-battling DAYBREAKERS, starring Eithan Hawke and Willem Dafoe.

There are also UK premieres of José Manuel Cravioto’s pulse-pounding thriller BOUND TO VENGEANCE and Mary Lambert’s evil-spirited gripper URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY. Other highlights are first channel showings for Stephen Kay’s monster in the closet chiller BOOGEYMAN, Jamie Blanks’ teen slasher URBAN LEGEND and Ryuhei Kitamura’s mystery-man rampaging NO ONE LIVES.

Full details of premieres in transmission order:

Fri 5 May @ 21:00 – BOOGEYMAN (2005) *Network Premiere

Tim (Barry Watson) is haunted by traumatic memories from his past, linked to the death of his father. Desperate to resolve his issues, he returns to the house where he grew up. But while Tim wants to convince himself the ghostly memories he carries are just a figment of his imagination, he is plagued by a crippling fear that can only be resolved by facing up to the ‘Boogeyman’. Also features Lucy Lawless.

Sat 6 May @ 22:50 – DAYBREAKERS (2009) *Network Premiere

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into a vampire. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival. Meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of the undead on a way to save humankind. This classy chiller is packed with many disparate genre influences, not to mention a fine performance from Ethan Hawke and a truly fun turn by Willem Defoe as a futuristic Van Helsing with a Big Secret.

Fri 12 May @ 21:00 – URBAN LEGEND (1998) *Network Premiere

Students at New England’s Pendleton College have their own urban legend — 30 years ago, a demented professor killed six students and then committed suicide in Stanley Hall. But when a real series of strange deaths begins occurring on campus, assertive student Natalie (Alicia Witt) suspects they’re murders based on urban legends and soon realises she’s the next number in the killer’s body count. A starry cast includes Robert Englund, Jared Leto, Tara Reid, Joshua Jackson and Brad Dourif.

Sat 13 May @ 21:00 – BOUND TO VENGEANCE (2015) *UK TV Premiere

A young woman, Eve (Tina Ivlev), is held captive in the basement of a sexual predator (Richard Tyson). Against the odds, she fights back, and manages to escape her malicious abductor. However, after discovering she may not be the only victim, Eve unravels a darker truth and decides to turn the tables on her captor. A subversive revenge tale with an unusual twist.

Fri 19 May @ 21:00 – URBAN LEGENDS: BLOODY MARY (2005) *UK TV Premiere

A homecoming-night dare turns into a runaway nightmare for a trio of high-school friends who unleash an evil spirit in this terrifying entry in the Urban Legends series from Pet Sematary director Mary Lambert. Abducted by a group of high-school jocks, the trio, although rescued, witness their tormentors falling prey to a deadly but unseen menace. Could it be their imagination or could the spirit of Bloody Mary truly have returned from the grave to seek vengeance? This is the third and final instalment in the Urban Legend series

Sat 20 May @ 22:55 – NO ONE LIVES (2012) *Network Premiere

Fourteen students are murdered and the crime scene offers no clues as to the whereabouts of the one person who could be the only survivor. Months later a gang of robbers screw up their latest heist and mug a couple in a car instead. What they realise too late is that the driver is the killer responsible for the student massacre. Then it’s Psycho vs. Psychos in a taut, tension-laden cat-and-mouse chiller that sees both sides trying to outdo the other.

Fri 26 May @ 21:00 – SEED OF CHUCKY (2004) *Network Premiere

Billy Boyd voices Glen, the orphan doll offspring of the irrepressible devilish-doll-come-to-life Chucky (again voiced by Brad Dourif) and his equally twisted bride Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly). Glen heads for Hollywood, where he brings his bloodthirsty parents back from the dead. Much to his horror they go on a spree of murderous mayhem. Cult film director John Waters makes an appearance, as does hip-hop artist Redman. This is the fifth in the popular series of Chucky (Child’s Play) horror comedies and is directed by franchise creator and writer of all five films, Don Mancini.

Sat 27 May @ 22:45 – THE DIVIDE (2011) *Network Premiere

From Xavier Gens, director of Frontier(s), this post-apocalyptic shocker explores the nightmare unravelling of humanity under the most extreme circumstances imaginable when New York City is decimated in a nuclear holocaust. As the survivors sit in the makeshift fallout shelter the ‘divide’ begins. With no one knowing the evil each person in the group is capable of, trust issues arise, paranoia emerges, factions form and values are debased in a brutal and visceral vision of a broken future. Stars Rosanna Arquette, Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Biehn and Lauren German.

www.horrorchannel.co.uk | twitter.com/horror_channel | facebook.com/horrorchannel

Press enquiries:
Greg Day, Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889 861646

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FILM NEWS (UK): First look at Simon Rumley’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON

(left to right) Andy Beckwith (Sony the Yank), Terry Stone (Jack Comer), Josh Myers (Moisha Bluebell)

Leo Gregory (Billy Hill)

Currently shooting on locations around London ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON dramatises the violent reign of two of London’s most notorious gangsters, Billy Hill (Leo Gregory) and Jack ‘Spot’ Comer (Terry Stone) and charts the legendary rise and fall of a nationwide criminal empire that lasted until the mid-fifties and which paved the way for the notorious Kray Twins and The Richardsons.


Left to right Justin Salinger (Harry White) & Jamie foreman (Alf White)

Described as ‘Peaky Blinders meets Legend’, the film also stars, Holly Earl, Dominic Keating, Geoff Bell, Jamie Foreman, Doug Allen, Andy Beckwith, Roland Manookian, Justin Salinger, Kate Braithwaite and Laura Carter. Joining the eclectic ensemble are comedian Simon Munnery, boxers Frank Buglioni, Steve Collins and Joe Egan, footballer Jamie O’Hara, singer / TV star Nadia Forde, Union J’s JJ Hamblett and magician Ali Cook.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON is a Gateway Films & Ratio Film Presentation, directed by Simon Rumley, written by Will Gilbey, Simon Rumley & Terry Stone and produced by Terry Stone & Richard Turner. Co-Producer: Tiernan Hanby, DOP: Milton Kam, Costume Designer: Michelle May, Makeup Designer: Emma Slater, Production Designer: Anna Mould


Holly Earl as Aggie Pickett

Left to right: Josh Myers (Moisha Blueball) & Terry Stone (Jack Comer)

Press contact:
Greg Day, Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889861646

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FILM NEWS (UK): SIMON RUMLEY TO SHOOT ‘ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON’

Simon Rumley (Director of Red, White & Blue, Fashionista & Crowhurst) has begun a six week shoot on the brutal gangster thriller ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON for Gateway Films.

Dramatising the violent reign of two of London’s most notorious gangsters, Billy Hill (Leo Gregory) and Jack ‘Spot’ Comer (Terry Stone), ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON charts the legendary rise and fall of a nationwide criminal empire that lasted until the mid-fifties and which paved the way for the notorious Kray Twins and The Richardsons.

Described as ‘Peaky Blinders meets Legend’, the film also stars Holly Earl, Dominic Keating, Geoff Bell, Jamie Foreman, Doug Allen, Andy Beckwith, Roland Manookian, Justin Salinger, Kate Braithwaite and Laura Carter. Joining the eclectic ensemble are comedian Simon Munnery, boxers Frank Buglioni, Steve Collins and Joe Egan, footballer Jamie O’Hara, singer / TV star Nadia Forde, Union J’s JJ Hamblett and magician Ali Cook.

Director and co-writer Simon Rumley said today: “Having spent the last decade or so writing and directing thematically disparate but collectively extreme dramas, it makes absolute sense for me to progress to the gangster genre where love, lust, greed, paranoia, betrayal and violence are every day occurrences. The story of Jack Spot Comer, Billy Hill and their respective battles to become King of London’s Underworld has remained one of Britain’s most dynamic, thrilling and untold stories, but we’ll be exploring it in depth, with psychological dexterity and aiming to make it a unique viewing experience and a great British film.”

Producers Terry Stone and Richard Turner added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Simon Rumley, one of the UK’s most exciting directors. This is a fantastic and long overdue story about the founders of organised crime in Britain. We have an incredible cast and the film promises to be a must see for all true crime fans.”

ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON is a Gateway Films & Ratio Film Presentation, directed by Simon Rumley, written by Will Gilbey, Simon Rumley & Terry Stone and produced by Terry Stone & Richard Turner. Co-Producer: Tiernan Hanby, DOP: Milton Kam, Costume Designer: Michelle May, Makeup Designer: Emma Slater, Production Designer: Anna Mould

Press contact:
Greg Day, Clout Communicatuions
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889861646

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Film News (UK): Soska Sisters head up Slasher Season on Horror Channel

Get ready for hooks, surgical knives and power saws as Horror Channel adds a cutting edge to April’s schedule as the UK TV premiere of the Soska Sisters’ SEE NO EVIL 2 heads up a season of contemporary slasher films. The season also has the network premieres of Stewart Hendler’s sadistically slick SORORITY ROW with Carrie Fisher, the darkly deranged GIRLHOUSE, and Nelson McCormick’s axe-crazy PROM NIGHT.

Fri 7 April @ 22:50 – SEE NO EVIL 2 (2014) *UK TV Premiere

Fri 7 April @ 22:50 – SEE NO EVIL 2 (2014) *UK TV Premiere

A group of friends pays a late-night visit to the city morgue to surprise Amy (Danielle Harris) on her birthday. But the surprise is on them when the one-eyed corpse of brutal psychopath Jacob Goodnight (Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs) unexpectedly rises from a cold sub-basement slab. Their wild party quickly turns into a terrifying slay-fest as the sadistic mass-murderer resumes his savage rampage complete with hooks, surgical knives and power saws. Also stars Katharine Isabelle.

Fri 14 April @ 22:50 – SORORITY ROW (2009) *Network Premiere

A sorority prank goes wrong and a girl is accidentally murdered. Desperate to get on with their lives and avoid taking responsibility for their actions, the surviving sisters and their male accomplice agree to dump the body and never speak of the incident again. Just after graduation, however, a mysterious killer begins stalking everyone, leading the survivors to fight for their lives against a masked maniac with a deadly modus operandi.

Fri 21 April @ 22:50 – GIRLHOUSE (2014) *Network Premiere

In an attempt to make some extra cash while away at college, Kylie (Ali Cobrin) moves into a house that streams content to an X-rated website. After a deranged fan hacks in to determine the house’s location, she finds herself in a terrifying fight for her life.

Fri 28 April @ 22:50 – PROM NIGHT (2008) *Network Premiere

After surviving a horrible tragedy, Donna has finally moved on and is enjoying her last year of high school. Surrounded by her best friends, she should be safe from the horrors of her past. But when her prom night turns deadly, there is only one person who could be responsible – a man she thought was gone forever. Now, Donna must find a way to escape the sadistic rampage of an obsessed killer. A loose remake of the 1980 film of the same name.

Other highlights this month include the UK TV premiere of Benni Diez’s enormously fun creature feature STUNG, which airs on Sat 29, 10.55pm. When illegally imported plant fertilizer infects a local species of killer wasps, a nearby fancy garden party at a country villa gets thrown into turmoil when the swarm attacks. Laying eggs in their human prey, the wasps mutate into 7-foot tall predators with a severe attitude problem. Stars Lance Henriksen.

Plus there are channel firsts for Irvin Kershner’s cult classic THE EYES OF LAURA MARS, (Sat 1 April, 11.05pm), starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, Rupert Wainwright’s remake of THE FOG (Sat 15 April, 9pm), starring Selma Blair; Stuart Hazeldine’s gripping EXAM (Sat 22 April, 9pm), starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Jimi Mistry, Gemma Chan and Colin Salmon; and David Hackl’s killer bear actioner INTO THE GRIZZLY MAZE, (Sat 8 April, 9pm), starring James Marsden, Thomas Jane, and Billy Bob Thornton.

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 | Freeview 70
www.horrorchannel.co.uk | twitter.com/horror_channel | facebook.com/horrorchannel

Press enquiries:
Greg Day, Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889 861646

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Film News (UK): Bad Milo! And The Cottage amongst nine Horror Channel prems for March.

Horror Channel presents nine fear-filled premieres in March including the UK TV premiere of BAD MILO!, Jacob Vaughan’s laugh-out-loud comedy horror blending sharp social satire with copious amounts of slimy gore. Broadcast on Fri 31 March at 11.20pm, BAD MILO! stars Ken Marino as normal nice guy Duncan, who discovers that a cute bloodthirsty creature is living in his lower intestines. Every time he gets stressed, it crawls out of his rectum to feed on the flesh of those riling him up. This was a huge hit at FrightFest in 2014.

Dark laughs also run amok on Fri 3 March at 10.55pm with the network premiere of Paul Andrew Williams’ blood-drenched hostage thriller THE COTTAGE, starring Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith and Jennifer Ellison. Feuding brothers David (Andy Serkis) and Peter (Reece Shearsmith) abduct a young woman (Jennifer Ellison) and hole up in a remote rural cottage, But their hostage turns the tables and soon it’s all for one when they find that the deranged farmer next door is the real threat. Hellraiser’s Doug Bradley makes a cameo in this terror treat.

There are also network premiere for Irish hit SCHROOMS, a stylish psychedelic shocker, directed by Paddy Breathnach (Fri 10 March, 11pm), ADRIFT, Hans Horn’s emotionally wrenching sail into terror (Fri 24 March, 9pm), Steve Barker’s atmospheric Nazi zombie thriller, OUTPOST (Sat 11 March, 10.50pm), Rob Schmidt’s cult cannibal chiller WRONG TURN (sat 25 March, 11pm) and Hammer’s THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB (Sat 4 March, 10.45pm).

Plus there are channel firsts for Dave Payne’s tongue-in-cheek horror romp REEKER, starring Michael Ironside (Fri 17 March, 9pm) and Nicholas Mastandrea’s vicious canine nail-biter THE BREED, produced by Wes Craven and starring Michelle Rodriguez (Sat 18 March, 9pm).

TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 | Freeview 70
www.horrorchannel.co.uk | twitter.com/horror_channel | facebook.com/horrorchannel

Press enquiries:
Greg Day, Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889 861646

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Ahead of the World Premiere of his latest film BLOODLANDS at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Steven Kastrissios discusses the challenges of making the world’s first Albanian / Australian horror film.

So what have you been doing in the eight years since making your amazing debut with THE HORSEMAN, a FrightFest favourite?

Writing. I was just 24 when I shot ‘The Horseman’ and it was only my second feature script, so I wanted to expand my horizons and I wrote many scripts in completely different genres and styles. I developed other little projects and came close to doing other features with other people’s scripts but for various reasons they fell through, usually over the script. I also stumbled into music and that bled into my film work too.

How did BLOODLANDS come about as the first Australian/Albanian collaboration?

Coffee with my Albanian-Australian friend, Dritan Arbana. He told me about the blood-feuds and I instantly saw an idea for a story and also importantly, how to make it a viable production with limited means. Dritan is an actor with no experience or desire to be a film producer, but I trusted him and anointed him as my producing-partner and two or three months after that coffee, we were in Albania prepping the shoot.

Why have the Albanians shied away from the genre up to now? Because their own history is so frightening?

I’m not Albanian, so I can’t answer this exactly, but from what the crew told me, they had a solid industry decades ago with the USSR influenced propaganda films, but their local industry has had limited opportunities since. They tend to like local comedies more and deal with the issue of blood-feuds as straight dramas, which there has been plenty. There were no stunt-coordinators, armourers, special-effects make-up artists we could find there, so limitations like that would make it difficult for any budding local genre filmmakers. I have a post-production background so I had the advantage of knowing how to design shots where we only had to do certain minimal things on-set, like very simple make-up, and the rest would be completed in post. We could do things safely too, like have real guns but no ammunition on set. Not even dummy cartridges. No explosive squibs too. All this stuff would be done through a subtle use of VFX.

When did you come across the legend of the Shtriga?

During my initial research. There’s various types of witches in the Albanian and Balkan cultures. There’s even a witch that will maim you if you waste bread, so they have a witch for everything there! And fortunately the Shtriga myth fitted perfectly with the backstory I had in mind for my witch.

Directing the movie in a foreign language? Much more difficult surely because you need to understand the performance shadings?

This was just another hurdle we had to jump through collectively, but people learn fast and adapt so it wasn’t a big problem and most of the cast/crew spoke English, so I had a team of translators around me at all times for when someone needed help understanding me and vice versa. Whilst I don’t have an ear for Albanian, I did have the advantage of being the writer and the fact that I’d based the main characters on my own family, meant that I knew these characters inside and out.

How did you go about tackling the portrayal of Albanian people and their culture, which to outsiders still carries a lot of negative clichés.

I was not aware of the clichés so much, coming from Australia. Dritan filled me in on countless tales of Albania, but what we were exploring was at the end of the day, a horror story with fantasy elements. So we weren’t necessarily tied down to absolute reality all the time and the film is lens in a way that embraces the ominous horror elements, wherever we found them. And the story is set in the mountains of a rural village, so we weren’t exploring modern city life with local crime figures, which may be the clichés people speak of.

The Albania I saw, mainly when we were location scouting, knocking on doors and seeing into people’s home lives, gave me confidence to know that the story I’d written in Sydney felt authentic to Albania. Anything that didn’t fit we re-wrote with either the actors or with Dritan’s consultation beforehand, who translated the script for me. I’m half Greek and Albania and Greece share a border, so there was that familiarity for me as well. Although the two countries certainly have significant cultural differences, there is still a Mediterranean through-line that is similar.

What will Albanian audiences make of it do you think? When will it be released there? Will the film kickstart a genre industry in Albania do you think? Or hope?

I have no idea. I made the film for a global audience. The Albanian sensibilities in the arts is unique to itself, so it could go either way. There was certainly a lot of interest in the project when we were there shooting, so I would imagine there would be a natural curiosity about the country’s first horror film.

Are the Albanian cast stars in their own right, or did you discover them?

They are all stars in my eyes. Gëzim Rudi who plays the father is one the most recognisable actors in Albania. Ilire Vinca who plays the Shtriga was in The Forgiveness of Blood and Suela Bako, playing the mother, has had a lot of experience too and is a filmmaker herself. But it’s the feature debut for most of the cast I believe.

Bearing in mind how difficult it is to get indie genre films released, was it a conscious decision to not make the film in the English language?

Certainly having non-English language does hurt sales internationally, but what’s the alternative? Having Albanians speak English instead? People have suggested that, but I think that’s a terrible decision long-term that would seriously compromise this project. Albanian is an ancient language rarely heard outside of the region and it’s one of the few that has no root in other languages, so we should preserve it. Global audiences obviously do find foreign cultures of interest so we have that on our side and people so far do seem to be genuinely intrigued in a horror film about an Albanian witch!

And finally, what next?

I’m developing another little project while I make my first serious attempts to go to USA with a script I’ve been developing. In the past I only sent one script out to a handful of people in USA, and I wasn’t even there to do the pitch meetings, as I was based in Sydney and focusing on Australian projects mainly, with no desire to move. But after the fun I had in Albania and the speed of which it came together, I’m all for working internationally.

BLOODLANDS is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 25 Feb, 2.20pm as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.

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Film News (UK): Exclusive behind-the-scenes stills revealed as slasher horror THE TOMBS completes production

Templeheart Films, the producing company behind Paul Hyett’s HERITIKS and Andy Edwards’ IBIZA UNDEAD, are set to unleash a new kind of monster in THE TOMBS, which has just finished filming at The London Tombs, The London Bridge Experience’s horror themed tourist attraction.

Dubbed ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ meets ‘Friday the 13th’, the gruesome slasher stars Jessica Ann Brownlie (Valley of the Witch), Jess Impiazzi (The Only Way Is Essex), Marcia do Vales (Ibiza Undead), Jessica Cameron (Truth or Dare), Akie Kotabe (Humans), Anthony Ilott (Wrong Turn 6), Ayvianna Snow (Heretiks) and Devora Wilde (Rush). It’s directed by Dan Brownlie (Self-induced Nightmares, Serial Kaller)

Synopsis: A clutch of C-list celebrities and the tabloid press have gathered at ‘The London Tombs’ to participate in a publicity stunt for a new horror movie being launched They and the cast are to take part in a filmed challenge in which their task is to find the skull of notorious necromancer Robert White. The tour guide actors are on hand to make their mission as scary as possible.

Little do they know that deep in the bowls of the building something has awoken and what starts as a night of frightful fun turns into one of intense terror when the evil entity starts stalking the claustrophobic halls of this maze of terror.

Some games just shouldn’t be played…

THE TOMBS, shot over a five week period at the end of 2016, was the first film allowed access to The London Tombs.

Director Dan Brownlie commented: “We were incredibly privileged to be allowed to film there. considering this was the first time that the attraction has ever allowed third party photography of any kind to take place. It was an fantastic opportunity not to be missed”

 

 

Producer Rachel Gold added: “With the success of attractions like ‘Secret Cinema’ and, the growth of interactive genre experiences, it was a great opportunity to create a movie where the actual film location is open to the public to experience for themselves what our film’s characters are going through.”

The film is set to be released later this year,

THE TOMBS is a Templeheart Films & The Attraction Movie Production, produced by Rachel Gold, exec produced by Elisar Cabrera, Lyndon Baldock & Kevin Kane. Directed by Dan Brownlie and written by Michael W Smith.

Press enquiries:
Greg Day
Clout Communications
greg@cloutcom.co.uk 07889 861646

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