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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Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film FASHIONISTA at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Simon Rumley reveals his love for Austin, Texas, why he’s a fan of drugs in film and his planned foray into London gangster land…

Q: ‘Fashionista’ finds you back in Austin after ‘Red White and Blue’. What excites you about Austin so much? Could ‘Fashionista’ have been set anywhere else?

SIMON: I had such a great experience on ‘Red White & Blue’ for so many different reasons that it was only natural that, at some point, I’d return to Austin. With Tim League (exec producer), Paul Knauss (co-producer) and Karen Hallford (casting director) I’ve got a great bunch of friends who also happen to be great collaborators and they form the core of both films’ Austin based crew and most probably without them neither films would have happened. Beyond that, I love the unique style of Austin, the food, the music, the cinema, the clothes, the neon lights, the bars and of course the people. And although it’s a place which is constantly growing, it still feels it has an intimacy which places like LA or New York or London lack.

Fashionista’s evolution was very much a response to when I went back there in 2014 for a few days after spending a time there in 2009 and 2010 and noticing how much it had changed. Like most interesting places in the Western World over the last 5 years, it’s become gentrified; there’s more sky rise flats, more traffic, more upmarket restaurants and less locals. And, like most places which have been gentrified, there’s an erosion of some of the things that made it exciting in the first place.

The whole vintage shop phenomena was such a massive part of the Austin that I knew in 2009 and although there are still a lot of these shops, there’s definitely less – even the one we shot in had to relocate literally two weeks after we shot there…So the lead character’s obsession with clothes in the film and her transition from vintage mash-up to designer clothes is probably not something that could believably happen in many places; I’m not sure Fashionista could have been set anywhere else in that case…

Q: It’s a film about addiction, from sex and body image to clothes and identity, but not anything drug-related. You didn’t want to throw that into the mix?

SIMON: I’m a big fan of drugs in films but, to be honest, I think all that needs to have been said has been said so I’m not sure what I would have been able to add to the genre. I’ve always been interested in a period drug film – Alastair Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend for example would offer a different perspective on the subject and I’m currently reading Johny Barleycorn by Jack London which is about his relationship with alcohol – not memoirs of an alcoholic as he’s keen to point out but alcoholic memoirs, set in 1913; fascinating to consider the power of alcohol through the ages.

I watched Christiane F again as research for this film and films like Requiem For A Dream and Trainspotting offer definitive investigations into contemporary drug addiction so I’m not sure what the point would have been but more importantly, the film is about consumerism and clothes are something that everyone can relate to. It’s so easy to buy anything these days and clothes seem to be the epitome of the consumer’s purchasing power. Given that it’s a phenomenon that hasn’t been explored in cinema it felt ripe for investigation.

Q: All your movies are so unique, your subject matters, locales and atmospheres feel so new and virtually unexplored. Is that the only way you can personally approach film as an artistic medium?

SIMON: Ah, thanks! From an early age, I’ve always thought that to make a mark, you should try to do something different, individual and unique. I think this belief is ultimately mis-founded; it might have worked at the beginning of the ‘Midnight’ phenomena for people like Lynch and Jodorowsky and Waters in the early/mid 70s but we’re living in such a culturally anodyne time that increasingly, people really just seem to want things that are similar to things they already know and understand and are thus non-challenging.

In terms of my own creative evolution, I definitely have tried to make every film different from the previous one and much of this is done through structure, editing and the visual aesthetics of the film. The structure to ‘The Living and The Dead’, ‘RWB’ and ‘Fashionista’ are completely different from each other as is the editing and the visuals. It keeps it interesting for me as I continue to explore what cinema is and what can be done with it as a medium.

That said, I’ve been trying to do more straight forward, linear films for a while now but things just haven’t worked out that way…

Q: Once more you completely pull the rug out from the viewer’s feet with some major surprises. Do you think of them first and build your story around them, or do they evolve organically?

SIMON: Yes; interested to see how people react to these moments! They all evolve organically to be honest although there were a few deliberate decisions to make some reveals as late as possible in the film.

Q: This contains flashbacks, flash-forwards, in fact flashes everywhere! How did you cope continuity wise?

SIMON: Ha! Good question. The script was written exactly how it ended up on screen so I’m not really sure anyone really knew what was going on apart from me and so continuity was a big issue. Continuity is an incredibly tough job and I usually find continuity people incredibly annoying and often not very good at their jobs. The only great continuity person I worked with was a woman called Helene Oosthuizen who did Club Le Monde and The Living And The Dead with me and I’d love to work with her again but generally I try not to have continuity people on my film since they slow the whole process down and often confuse it. On ‘RWB’ we didn’t have one, on ‘Crowhurst’ we didn’t have one and perhaps somewhat recklessly we didn’t have one on ‘Fashionista’.

This could have been a massive disaster since there are many scenes which chronologically flow on from each other but appear in the script in a non-linear fashion. The producer and I spent a lot of time making sure the shooting schedule accommodated this and we were also incredibly lucky to have an amazing Costume Designer, Olivia Mori, who not only sourced all these incredible and different clothes (I think Amanda Fuller’s character had over 100 changes) but also spent a lot of time working out the exact linear chronology of the piece. We met up two or three mornings and went through her interpretation of the script, just to make sure it was correct. By the time we finished this, it was watertight in her mind but even then things could have gone wrong but, thankfully they didn’t. But yep, this was an incredibly challenging film but everyone, Olivia, especially, came through with flying colours.

Q: How would you crystallise your own directing style?

SIMON: Every script is different so I try to direct the script in order to get the maximum drama/tension etc. from it, using editing, music, camera angles etc. as a means to do this. This is probably why every film looks and feels slightly different.

Q: You give director Nicolas Roeg a name check in the end credits. And you gave Amanda Fuller and Ethan Embry BAD TIMING to watch before shooting. Is he your main inspiration here?

SIMON: Yes – I watched a few films such as Safe by Todd Haynes, Christiane F by Uli Edel, A Woman Under The Influence by John Cassavetes and Lost Highway/Mullholland Drive by David Lynch. But yep, Bad Timing was the main one and I gave it to Amanda and Ethan to try to offer a rough idea as to how the film would end up visually. As far as I remember, that jumps pretty much back, forward and everywhere else. I’ve always been a massive fan and was incredibly fortunate to get the opportunity to work with him on my previous film ‘Crowhurst’, which he exec’d produced. I’d always wanted to try to make a film which has the kind of structure he’s best known for and having spent some time with him, I thought it was a now or never kind of situation.

Q: You’re working with Amanda Fuller again, why do you rate her as an actress, because she fits into your own weird universe the best?

SIMON: Not specifically that per se, but most actresses wouldn’t have had the courage to do what she did in ‘RWB’ or even ‘Fashionista’ so now you come to mention it, that must be something to do with it! She’s absolutely fearless which helps and she’s a complete natural, able to turn the emotions on and off like a tap which also helps. Added to this, she’s a lovely person and completely reliable so it’s always a pleasure to work with her and the results are always fantastic. I’m sure we’ll work together again sometime!

Q: Do you prefer being a resolutely cult director? ‘Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word was a departure for you. How do you plan balancing artistry with future commercial opportunities?

SIMON: After ‘The Living and The Dead’, ‘RWB’, ‘Little Deaths’ and my ‘ABCs of Death’, I made a decision to go more commercial, something I’m still working on but hope to crack with my forthcoming films. Johnny Frank Garrett was supposed to be the first film in this direction but for various reasons, that didn’t work out exactly how I’d hoped. That said, I’ve been very lucky to make 8 feature films and 2 anthologies and generally had the freedom to do what I wanted with them. If you keep the budgets low enough, these films are still ‘commercial’ in as much as they make their investors’ money back. That said, I’d like to work on a larger canvas, get paid more and get the films seen by more people so that’s definitely my intention henceforth.

Q: And finally, what’s next?

SIMON: I’ve got three projects which are shaping up well. The first which we’re planning on shooting towards end of March is a period based London gangster film about two guys called Jack The Spot Comer and Billy Hill. They’re the missing link between Peaky Blinders and The Krays and there’s a fantastic story to be told about the ups and downs of their relationship and who, ultimately, was the King of The London Underworld. Given how this country maintains a fascination with gangsters, it’s incredible this story has never been told before because it’s ripe for dramatisation.

Of the two projects after that, one is a revenge thriller set in post Brexit England and the other is a thriller set in the Mojave desert about a couple who are being shot upon by a sniper, based on an excellent novel called ‘Eyeshot’ by a very talented young writer called Taylor Adams.

FASHIONISTA is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 25 Feb, 11.45am as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.

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Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film DETOUR at FrightFest Glasgow, Chris Smith tells us the importance of FrightFest, his love of ‘film Noir’ and his hatred of reality TV…

FrightFest has premiered all your genre movies CREEP, SEVERANCE, TRIANGLE, BLACK DEATH, except GET SANTA obviously. Is this positioning an important part of the rollout process for you?

Firstly let me apologise for being away for so long and thank you for having me back. I wrote ‘Get Santa’ because I’d just had a son and was feeling like I wanted to do something that he could watch in the next 15 years. I expected the film to take a year to come together but it ended up taking four years. My son was by that time old enough to come to the premiere with a few of his class mates.

Back to the question, Frightfest is extremely important, not just to me personally, because it’s always an honour, but it’s important to the birth of the film. The Frightfest audiences are the first people to see it, the first to comment on it and it’s nice that they’re such committed fans. Putting a film out there, freeing it from the confines of the edit suite is exciting, but also scary. Frightfest, because of the audiences passion and knowledge of genre, make the process what it should be, fun.

What was the main inspiration for the DETOUR script? Many have commented on its multi-narrative SLIDING DOORS-style vibe. Complicated to write the two sides of one story?

‘Sliding Doors’ and ‘Run Lola Run’ both came out the same year. I must admit I was never inclined to watch ‘Sliding Doors’, but I know that, like ‘Run Lola Run’, it deals with the concept of different destinies being forged by blind change. Though actually neither of these films were an inspiration for ‘Detour’, which came about by chance.

It was early 2007 and I had just finished writing ‘Triangle’ and was in LA trying to finance it. I’d liked the film ‘Disturbia’, which had been a big hit and so for about three months Hollywood was trying to make Hitchcockian thrillers. An exec came to me and said she’d like to cook up a modern version of ‘Stranger’s on a Train’. I think my brain was so wrapped up structurally from writing ‘Triangle’, that instead of two characters deciding to murder each other’s wives, I cooked up one character, seemingly facing two destinies, based on one moral choice: To kill or not to kill?

Was it complicated to write? Certainly not in comparison to ‘Triangle’ but it offered different challenges. I was really keen for the characters to shine through more than I’d achieved in Triangle, and this is tricky because you’re asking the audience to question the narrative, rather than simply immersing them in a classical structure, and then you’re also hoping they feel empathy for the characters. That is the main challenge for any film that makes you aware of the film making process.

DETOUR is full of film noir references, from the HARPER poster on the wall to the clip from the 1945 B movie classic DETOUR by Edgar G. Ulmer. What is it about the film noir idiom you like?

I’ve always loved Film Noir. I think it is, or rather was, the cornerstone of indie cinema. These are films often made often on the cheap and yet always brimming with colourful characters, taut story lines, and scenarios where a happy ending feels impossible, instead of inevitable.

The film that has always had the biggest effect on me is Fritz Langs’ ‘The Woman In The Window’. My film ‘Detour’ is arguably more influenced by that, than the Ulmer movie that we reference in the film and borrow the title from. That said, both films contain a character who crosses a line and finds that the forces that drove him there, and the company he now keeps, will never let him free again.

A great cast of new and up-and-coming stars – Tye Sheridan, Bel Powley, Emory Cohen. You certainly know how to pick them, Eddie Redmayne in BLACK DEATH for example. Is it a knack?

Liam Hemsworth got his first role in ‘Triangle’ also. Is it a knack? I don’t know. To me if you can’t see that those actors are talented you’re in the wrong job. When I got the audition tape from Liam Hemsworth I literally walked it around the office with my jaw dropped showing people. It was so glaringly obvious this boy was a movie star. It was the same with Eddie and all three of the leads in ‘Detour’.

Tye Sheridan’s performances in ‘Joe and Mud’ were electric. Emory Cohen lit up every scene he did in ‘The Place Beyond The Pine’s’. With Bel Powley it was a little different because I met her having seen nothing. The rumour mill was reporting that she was fantastic in the film ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’ but none of us had seen it The casting director loved Bel and the financier was happy to cast her on what he had heard, so I met her blind. We got on immediately; I thought she was so cool, funny and smart that I basically cast her on the spot.

Great chemistry between the three leads – was it there from the beginning, or did it evolve gradually?

It was there from the beginning I think but the little choices we made in prep helped it along. We scheduled well so that we did all of the scenes in the house first; just me and Tye and Stephen Moyer. That gave us a real foundation so that when Emory and Bel joined the film, at the end of the first week, we were already working like a well-oiled machine. This gave me more time to concentrate on them, but their instincts were so good that there was very little in the way of notes.

Great solid anchors by Stephen Moyer and John Lynch too, whose maturity contrasts with the young cast on purpose?

Absolutely. They’re the grown-ups but they still have their own problems and in some way are more immature than the younger characters. I think they’re both great in the film.

DETOUR was shot in South Africa. How was filming there?

It was shot mainly in South Africa but we also spent a week shooting in LA and Las Vegas. I love South Africa, it’s a wonderful country, with great crews and so it was a no brainer to shoot it there to help with the budget. It also looks just like California.

You’ve said the lighting owes a lot to Edward Hopper’s paintings? Can you elaborate?

Me and my designer joke that all feature films are either Edward Hopper or Carravagio. Film-makers use either artist as their inspiration, either consciously or unconsciously. With Hopper the emphasis is on framing and production design. With Carravagio the emphasis is on using practical lighting and contrast. This film is a Hopper.

It’s a film you want to watch again the moment its finished to see if you can catch all the clues and mis-directs you didn’t see the first time? Do you consciously like to manipulate your audience?

I’m a huge fan of Kiarostami. I’m drawn to film-makers that make you question the film-making process. Lars Von Trier is another I greatly admire. Everything about film-making is fake and the film-makers’ job is to make you forget this, but there’s pleasure in being reminded too because it makes you engage in an entirely different way.

I can’t watch reality TV. It’s ridiculous. The one thing it’s not is reality. You see survival programs where someone is walking across the Sahara desert. Is he going to make or die of thirst? Give me a break! Behind the camera there’s 20 camels packed full of water for him, the camera crew, the sound man, the medic, the fixer, the camel shepherd and the camels. There’s probably a helicopter standing by.

I like stories where we acknowledge this deceit and try to make a feature. If you still feel tension when you are simultaneously acknowledging the artifice of the process, then I think you’re doing something good.

And finally, what’s next for you?

I’m working on a horror movie about a serial killer called The Judas Goat and a thriller called ‘The Undertaker’. Hoping to shoot either of them by the end of the year.

DETOUR is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 25 Feb, 4.30pm as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.

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