Monday, 31 August 2015

Wes Craven (1939 - 2015)

“What a horror film does is not frighten so much as release fright. It is a vent. And all these fears are in us all the time, from our lives, from our youths, from the world at large; everything from the most complex societal things of waging war and class struggle to very simple primal things like fear of the father and mother and fear of abandonment as a child. So these are all inherent in us and civilization tends to gloss them over, encapsulate them, deny them; it teaches us a thousand ways to act like everything’s fine but underneath this surface there is a sort of cauldron. So what a horror film does is tap in and release that tension and it does it in a way that’s entertaining, amusing and safe.”
- Wes Craven, RIP

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Forthcoming Books - Update!

It's been quite a while since I last posted on this blog, mainly because I've been hard at work on two new books. The first is a monograph on Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind for Auteur Publishing. This book is now submitted and I'll post updates on the release date when I have them. The second is a follow-up to Subversive Horror Cinema for McFarland & Co, a study of 'gruesomeness' in 1930s American Horror Cinema. The manuscript for this is due in October so it's still nose to the grindstone for me until then! Meanwhile here are some photographs that I took during a recent research trip to Hollywood, L.A.

At Paramount

Finally found Maila Nurmi's grave in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Ready for your close up, Mr De Mille? C.B's grave at the Hollywood Forever.

Which classic 1930s monster movie is this script page from?

Glad to see Subversive Horror Cinema in the USC library!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Subversive Horror Cinema Nominated for Best Book of 2014 at the 13th Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards.

The nominations for this year's Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards ("honoring the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation") have been announced. I'm thrilled to say that Subversive Horror Cinema has been nominated for Best Book of 2014!

Making it all the sweeter, my good friend James Gracey over at Behind the Couch has also been nominated, for his excellent article on Tobe Hooper published in Diabolique ("Family Man", issue 20, March/April 2014)

Please vote for us!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Jeff Lieberman to be honoured at CINE EXCESS VIII

Jeff Lieberman (SQUIRM, BLUE SUNSHINE, JUST BEFORE DAWN), American cult indie legend, and forwordist of my book SUBVERSIVE HORROR CINEMA, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s CINE EXCESS cult film conference and festival.
The director will be in attendance, with his three seminal films all being screened over the course of the weekend and a special presentation by myself, "Bad Acid, Killer Worms and Deadly Dawns: The Films of Jeff Lieberman", during the conference on the Saturday.

There is also a special screening of the new 40th anniversary release of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) as the opening night film, which also includes a Skype interview with actor Ed Neal. This will form part of the “Scum of the Earth: Horrific Hicks on Film” season running throughout the weekend.
CINE EXCESS takes place in Brighton on 14th – 16th November with its distinctive mix of filmmaker awards and retrospectives, exclusive film screenings and a themed three-day conference. All screenings are open to the public.

Friday 14th November

Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, University of Brighton
7.30pm - Lifetime Achievement Award: Jeff Lieberman in conversation with Xavier Mendik, followed by screening of SQUIRM (1976), introduced by the director.

Venue: Late night at Duke’s at Komedia Cinema, Brighton
11pm - 40th anniversary screening of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974), with Skype interview with actor Ed Neal.

Saturday 15th November
Venue: Duke’s at Komedia Cinema, Brighton

9.30pm - Screening: BLUE SUNSHINE (1978) introduced by Jeff Lieberman.

Sunday 16th November
Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, University of Brighton 1pm-10.30pm ‘Scum of the Earth’ screening season, looking at ‘horrific hicks’ on film. Includes:

5.00pm - Screening: JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981), introduced by director Jeff Lieberman.
8.00pm - Screening: MIDNIGHT (1982), directed by John A Russo.

Further ‘Scum of the Earth’ screening season titles will be announced shortly.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Interview with Naila Scargill, Editor of Exquisite Terror

Since Naila Scargill started Exquisite Terror a few years back, the magazine (and website) has gone from strength to strength to become one of the most interesting and quirky horror zines around. Naila herself is a fascinating interviewee, as this wonderful piece with Keri O'Shea shows.

Read the interview over at Brutal as Hell.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Review of Justin Humphreys' Interviews Too Shocking to Print

The title might be a little misleading - there's little in the way of shocking in the interviews contained in this book - but this is a great book of essays, interviews and articles nonetheless. Humphreys has collected these interviews with often obscure writers, directors, visual f/x artists and production designers over a number of years, and the result is an affectionate glimpse into the fringes of Hollywood and some of the lesser known, often forgotten and overlooked talent residing there.

Read my review of Interviews Too Shocking To Print

Review of Beyond Fear: Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven and George Romero's Living Dead.


Author Joseph Maddrey has had a busy year: as well as editing A Strange Idea of Entertainment: Conversations with Tom McLoughlin (director of One Dark Night [1982]) he has published an in-depth study of the careers and works of three of the most important horror masters of all time: George A. Romero, Wes Craven and Stephen King.

Read my review of Joseph Maddrey's book, Beyond Fear: Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven and George Romero's Living Dead.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The House of Walker

Great news for fans of 1970s British horror cinema: London's Barbican is screening a season of Pete Walker's movies this November in an event curated by Cigarette Burns Cinema. Here's a chance to see classics like Frightmare, House of Mortal Sin and House of Whipchord on the big screen with introductions from the likes of Kim Newman, David McGillivray, Jonathan Rigby and Matthew Sweet, and Walker himself is in conversation with Jonathan Rigby on 22nd November. As an added bonus the films are screened in 35mm where possible.

Here's the line up:-

Sat 1st Nov
The Comeback + intro by Kim Newman

Sat 8th Nov
House of Mortal Sin + intro by David McGillivray and Kim Newman

Sat 15th Nov
Cool It Carol + intro by Matthew Sweet

Sat 22nd Nov
House of Whipchord + Screentalk with Pete Walker and Jonathan Rigby

Sat 29th Nov
Frightmare + intro by Jonathan Rigby

For tickets, visit the Barbican.

For more on Walker I highly recommend Steve Chibnall's definitive Making Mischief. There's also a chapter on Pete Walker in my own book Subversive Horror Cinema.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dark Delicacies

I'm just back from a trip to LA where, as well as enjoying the sunshine, I signed copies of my book at Dark Delicacies, a great horror bookstore in Burbank. Dark Delicacies is run by Del and Sue Howison. If you're ever in LA I'd recommend you look it up. I was just one of four Horror in Entertainment authors signing there on August 16th, 2014. The others were Alain Silver and James Ursini writers of numerous horror movie books including their latest The Zombie Film: from White Zombie to World War Z; Joseph Maddrey signing his new book, Beyond Fear: Reflections on Stephen King, Wes Craven and George Romero's Living Dead; and Justin Humphreys signing Interviews Too Shocking To Print! Also dropping in were the directors Tom McLoughlin and Victor Salva, and the iconic Lance Henrickson.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Shock and Gore 2014

I had a blast at this year's Shock and Gore Festival where I introduced a screening of George Franju's 1959 classic Eyes Without a Face in a brand new 35mm print courtesy of the British Film Institute.