Tag Archives: horror movies

Classic Horror Campaign: London Horror Scene

written by: Etienne Vasquez (THT London)

One of the benefits of living in London has been the increased exposure to the British Horror movie scene. In early November of last year, a friend recommended that I catch a screening of Vampire Circus in London that was taking place in April of the following year. Without question, I put it in the calendar and when the time came, I showed up to an intimate setting at the back of the Roxy Bar down by London Bridge. The event was sponsored by Rick Gladman, founder of the “Classic Horror Campaign” here in the UK. The screening included Vampire Circus, a 70’s Hammer Film classic and Night of the Demon (1957). I enjoyed the screening so much that I eagerly looked forward to watching the next double bill. I was also intrigued by the campaign and I began to think of ways in which I could lend my support.

Thankfully after a few months, I had the pleasure of attending another double bill at the Roxy to see “Cat People” and “Scream and Scream Again,” two films that were both interesting and bizarre (check below for trailer). Before the screening, Rick was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time to discuss the campaign, the support process, and also touch on some interesting thoughts about the horror genre.

 Etienne: Talk about the campaign a bit. How did the campaign start and where does the inspiration to get this started come from?

Rick: Well, the whole inspiration, the whole thing was the initial BBC 2 Horror Double Bills back in the 70s and 80s where there used to be mainly really old films, black and white films first. They used to start them around 10 at night, sometimes a bit later, so kids would often stay up to watch them. Then they’d have a little gap, and they would have a Hammer Film, and Amacus, and sometimes a lot of American 70s exploitation films. George Romero’s The Crazies was filmed one year. Stuff I used to read in horror magazines, and I thought, yeah I’m staying up to watch that. Kids used to watch it with their families a lot and when you got older, you’d stay up to watch the later ones. But every summer we’d look forward to what’s going to be on the BBC 2 Horror Double Bill season. And then one year, it just wasn’t on, they had no advertisements and I’m like, what’s going on? And it just disappeared and didn’t come back.

I find now that the way television is…if they’re going to show a horror film, it’s some junk from the last 10 years. Just some mainstream, crap. It’s not that I don’t like modern horror films, but most of them are pretty rubbish in my opinion. But there’s just nothing on. It’s almost as if they’re trying to negate that anything even exists, if you know what I mean. Not just in horror films, but television in general. It’s all about crappy reality programs or films that have been out in the last 10 years and are in color…

Etienne: So perhaps a lot of history is being lost?

Rick: It’s about nostalgia, its about cultural history, it’s about our film heritage – especially since a lot of the films were British. It’s also about introducing a younger generation to these films. Part of it is raising awareness. We have a petition that we want to present to the BBC once we hit 2,000 signatures.

Etienne: You guys are close now? Last time I checked you were at 1,600 signatures.

Rick: Yeah, it’s actually really heading up now. So when we do that we’re going to do some big publicity thing, we don’t know what yet, maybe a big flash mob maybe? Present the petition, get some publicity. Now it appears that Eileen is quite happy to take part, Emily as well, so it seems we’ve got the celebrities on board. It helps.

Eileen – http://www.eileendaly.net/newsite/index.html

Emily – http://www.emilybooth.co.uk/


Etienne: Now that you’re getting this support, and the ball’s really starting to roll, where do you envision this going? Aside of course from the immediate goal of getting the double bill back on BBC 2.

Rick: Well yes, that is the ultimate goal. I think where its heading now is more screenings around the country. We’re doing Manchester next week and Brighton in August. I think then its working on arranging some type of larger festival, but one that’s based around classic horror films, which for us is anything from the silents to the 1980s. I do have a cutoff, in my tastes I don’t, but in the context of the Classic Horror Campaign, you have to cut it somewhere. And the website (http://www.classichorrorcampaign.com/) as well, its starting to get more and more popular and we’re trying to do an A-Z of every classic horror film ever reviewed. We’re getting different bloggers and writers sending us their reviews for free, you know, of different classic horror films and we post them and keep them on our database

Etienne: How are you getting access to these libraries of classic horror films? Is it just from personal collections?

Rick: Yes, to a degree. We have a guy who’s on the technical side who deals with that really. He also sources the rights and approaches companies to find out whether they need us to pay. There are fees, but then a lot of companies either dont respond or they just say, “just go for it” cause they get publicity for it I guess.

Etienne: Great. Well for people who are reading this, what can they start doing to help support or continue to support the campaign?

Rick: Thank you, good question. Very important – sign the petition. It’s online, it’s free, so sign the petition. But also, email the BBC. That is so important. I don’t know, see I can’t get the feedback to find out how many people have already offered to do this, but we are trying to push people to do that. If the BBC is suddently inundated with tons of emails, they might say, “Maybe there is something behind this.” Some people have already gone ahead and done this, but it needs to be bigger. Email the BBC, go on to their website, find different email addresses.

Etienne: And of course continue to come to the screenings.

Rick: Yes, come to the screenings. Please come to the screenings. If people don’t come, we can’t afford to do them and that’s a bit sad.

Be sure to Check out The Classic Horror Movie Campaign website at www.classichorrorcampaign.com 

Some fun questions:

Etienne: How did you get introduced to the world of horror? You’re clearly a big fan of the genre with a lot of knowledge about it.

Rick: I think, when I was a kid, like really little, probably local cinema. The first film I can remember being taken to see was the re-release of Snow White, the Disney movie. It was the horror aspect of it, the imagery that appealed to me. So I think it was actually Disney films initially. But also trailers they used to show in between even the kids films, they used to show the Hammer films – grown up films, whatever was out, quite nasty films, and I’d be intrigued by the trailers. And then it was definitely the BBC, not just their late night horror double bills, but they used to do things earlier in the evening like classic sci-fi monster films. So I guess monster films on the tele, on tv, and then I was allowed to buy horror comics and the magazines and I started reading about it and I became more and more knowledgeable. It became somewhat of an obsession, it was fun.

Etienne: Any favorites?

Rick: Vampire Circus. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_Circus), which is what we screened last time. That is an ultimate, absolute favorite of mine. But I also like some of the newer stuff, I say newer but…I love the Friday the 13th films. I love them, I absolutely love them. Umm, Freddy Krueger, they’re really great films, especially Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, number 7 I think?  Really good film, very clever. Stuff like that I like. I do love the Cat People, which is a really weird film.

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Chuck of the DEAD

This would be sick, as an episode or a TV film. Either way, chuck plus zombies would work.

Art Work by “I AM ZOMBIE”


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INSIDIOUS REVIEW (eerie, creepy, and Darth Maul)

Insidious is a horror movie that really stops short of being an equal to greats like “the exorcist” and “the Ring.” The overall film has a great feel to it, an amazing score, great opening credits, pretty decent acting, but a plot that doesn’t quite wrap itself up properly, and gets lost in attempts to make it grander.

In the beginning we’re offered a brief and effective introduction to what this film will feel like, very eerie, creepy, with subtle haunting imagery. The opening credits were something right out of a Japanese horror film, and the title screen shot resembles classic horror films from the early 60’s and 70’s. The entire first half of the film was perfect, Dutch angles, uneasy environment, built-up tension that was so prominent that your stomach felt tight.

The story begins to leans towards a default “haunting” film, where the audience is led to believe that this will be a Grudge/Ring-esq film, where there is a tragedy that leads the family to be attacked by whatever ghost is not at rest. However, the film makes a complete “u-Turn.”

The father Josh Lambert, played by Patrick Wilson, begins to have visions of his son Dalton, played by Ty Simpkins, who has mysteriously went into a coma-like state, that doctors have no treatment for. It’s later found out that the son is having outer body experiences, which leave his body vulnerable to spirits who are trying to find a “host.” Renai Lambert, the mother who is played by Rose Byrne, contacts ghost specialists, who show up and bring an unnecessary comic relief. It’s then found out that the father has the same outer- body experience ability, and he has to go into a netherrealm and find his son. The entire thing comes off as being beyond cheesy, and the characters are just way to excepting of the situation. After this whole reveal, it becomes more thriller, less horror, and very humorous.

When the big reveal finally showed the Insidious ghost, or demon, the overwhelming likeness to Darth Maul is completely counter productive to what they were trying to accomplish. Even though they emphasized how terrifying this demon was, the entire mood was gone once we saw him sharpening his claws in a playroom while “tip-toe, through the tulips” played in the background. All of a sudden the film turned into Wes Cravens new Nightmare. It seems as though, if they wanted to, that the Insidious Demon could be marketed as a reoccurring horror icon, which would be an interesting possibility, even if it sacrifices the entire feel of the film. The scariest part of this film was the “old lady” who’s character design was relentlessly frightening, no matter how many times you saw her. Overall, Insidious was a great idea, that was executed well for half of the film.

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ROMERO’s RESIDENT EVIL SCRIPT (what the fuck is wrong with Hollywood?)

This is just to re-cap, something that should have never been:

There was a huge mistake that was made back in 2002, a mistake that has taken a series, which has been a pinnacle influence in gamers and horror fans across the globe, and turned it into nothing more then a overdone pop culture waste. That was to allow Paul W.S. Anderson to direct the Resident Evil franchise over George Romero. Though I have seen the tragedies, which are the Resident Evil movies, in hopes that at least one of them would resemble or portray the Games high influence of the zombie genre, I even find myself watching them as if they’re completely unrelated to the games.

In a world where the Matrix never existed, or where Hollywood didn’t try to hard to bank on a “Wachowski brother’s” rip-offs, George Romero’s vision for resident evil would have been brought to the big screen. George Romero originally stated,

“I don’t wanna make another film with zombies in it, and I couldn’t make a movie based on something that ain’t mine”

however he later reconsidered, and developed a fantastic script. Even though the script was received positively from critics and readers, it was eventually declined from the movie producers.

After George was fired, they decided they wanted to make the film more action oriented, to market a younger teenage audience. They Hired the Mastermind behind the god-awful Mortal Kombat films, and gave him a huge budget to make crap. Romero’s script is practically flawless; in that it has all the elements that made everyone love the first game, great use of the mansion, the laboratory, interesting characters and accuracy to the source material. Only downfall is that it was only the first draft of the script, so some of the Romero’s dialogue is, well, Romero dialogue.

Paul W.S Anderson doesn’t paint homage to the series in any way. Even though we will never get the chance to see Romero’s vision brought to the big screen, his script is online for people who want to read Resident Evil, as it should have been. (Attached is also the link to the Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2) commercial directed by Romero)



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World War Z struggles for funds.


Max Brooks “World War Z” film adaptation is having some financial issues. The large scale of this film, (post apocalyptic environments, millions of zombies etc) has caused the production to over shoot their financial means. According “vulture,” paramount has been dragging their feet with the production because they cannot acquire the $125 million dollar budget. Even with Brad Pitt involved in the production, they are still outsourcing to potential investors for the film. No official statement has been made from paramount, however director Marc foster did say that he “doesn’t mind releasing a PG-13 version” of the film, which would help gain more investors. Pixar presets world war z? Yikes.


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HATCHET 3! Chicken, biscuits and trilogy!


I’ll say it again, Chicken, biscuits and trilogy! Hatchet 3 has officially been green lit, from the video and DVD success of the second installment, hatchet 2.
The film will continue from where the last one ended, and will obviously feature the new horror icon victor Crowley. Hatchet 3 is being produced by Ariescope productions and Dark Sky films.
There aren’t any official details towards the cast and production however “Writer-director Adam Green said: “We already had a possible story-line for HATCHET 3 worked out before we began shooting HATCHET 2, so my cast, crew and I are beyond excited to see that the story and legacy of Victor Crowley will indeed continue. For a little indie movie that I dreamt up when I was just eight years old, it has been absolutely surreal to watch it turn into a modern-day slasher franchise.”-(quote from BD news)
It’s good to see a new traditional icon getting recognition.

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After School thriller is an original Zombie short written and directed by Christopher Cruz, a teaching Artist for the New York City Organization, LEAP. The ten-minute short is a three-part film about a school (in the Bronx) that gets taken over by a zombie outbreak. Christopher guided his students (grades 3-5) in all elements of film making, screen play writing, costume design, story boarding, editing, etc. The children did extensive research using George Romero’s original “Night of the Living Dead” and tried to re-create the same ominous atmosphere that he so effectively accomplished. The film tells three stories, the first is about a class who begins to act “strangely,” a local news crew believes the behavior is based on the outbreak of a new flu virus, but they are quickly proven wrong. The film closes with a two children who fall asleep in class, and wake up to realize there entire school has been evacuated, well, by the living at least.


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