Ginger Nuts of Horror
Karen is a horror artist working on some new monsters for an exhibition as part of Dark Arts - a genre show as part of the Bram Stoker International Film Festival in Whitby (where Dracula came ashore, appropriately enough).
They take a lot of effort to bring into the world - she works literally from the bones up and spends a huge amount of time researching anatomy to make sure she's got them right. Only when the structure is sound does she produce a final drawing. That's when the real work starts. Children and animals may be difficult to work with - but they're not a patch on monsters. They turn up when they like, clear off when they like, hide - yes, Stephen, we can see you under there - and have a nasty habit of waking everyone up in the early hours of the morning.
Which is why she's running a Kickstarter campaign to fund further work and an art book revealing the stories behind each creature.
She has lived with this horrible lot for as long as she can remember and much to her parents mortification, has been drawing strange, many legged things since early childhood too. A few years ago, Karen decided to unleash the original Stephen on an unsuspecting public.
The response was amazing - he actually gets more attention than she does now, but that's as it should be. The images of him have gone down a storm - her favourite sale was to a customer who had bought one for a friends birthday, who sent before and after photos as the gift was unwrapped to the horrified cry of 'what have you done ???'
What more can a horror artist ask for :)
Over the last year, she has come to realise the personal relationships other people have with her monsters. She started telling Stephens story from the music that brought him into being (a cautionary tale of what happens if you listen to Alice Cooper for several weeks straight), where he lives, what makes him so special and why they get on so much better now. That touched people more than she'd imagined it could. It's not just about the drawings- it's about bringing people into their world, letting them wander around and experience something strange and wonderful. Everyone needs a little of that now and then.
With the help of her incredibly understanding partner Rich, Karen made a short video for the project to show what it's like doing all this from the artists point of view. They included some stop motion animation featuring the models she uses to work from and channelling their inner Nosferatu, made the whole thing silent movie style.
Everyone backing the project gets a unique set of rewards - including Stephens asylum file, which includes a map of the hospital he lives in, his patient notes, newspaper cuttings and specially created Rorschach cards amongst other fun things.
The Worst Parents on Film
Cinema has a long and illustrious history when it comes to parents who aren’t perhaps best suited to bringing up their unfortunate offspring. To celebrate the home entertainment release of Can’t Come Out To Play, out on DVD and digital platforms from June 22, 2015 courtesy of Signature Entertainment, we take a look back at some of the worst parents to grace the big screen...
Katherine and Richard (Can’t Come Out To Play)
When it comes to overprotective parents, it doesn’t get much worse than Katherine and Richard (Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon). Their son Andy is in very poor health, and he must stay within his home adhering to the strict instructions of his mother - who also forbids him from having any visitors. When Andy’s new friend Maryann begins visiting and is discovered, Richard is seemingly fine with the visits, but Katherine does not feel the same, and her behaviour grows increasingly erratic...
SIR CHRISTOPHER LEE
May 27th 1922 – June 7th 2015.
There are few actors who could be referred to as true icons of the motion picture industry; yet one such actor has achieved the sort of iconic status which eclipses that of his contemporaries. Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, a Knight Commander of the British Empire had been nominated for 30 awards of which he won 22, including the BAFTA Fellowship Award in 2011, the British Film Institute's Fellowship award in 2013 and in 1995 he was awarded the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award.
His filmography is extraordinary, having earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being in 281 productions during a span of 70 years. He has played such diverse roles as a spear carrier in a production of Hamlet, the painter George Seurat in Moulin Rouge and so many other performances that just to list them would take several pages.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland 1865)
The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath (Angry Robot, June 2015) is my first published novel and is best described as a dark adult fairy tale set in a topsy- turvy Victorian period, encompassing fantasy and horror elements.
The plot, in a nutshell: a little girl is locked inside a grandfather clock. She is rescued by a policeman who becomes her supernatural guardian. The Lord of the Underworld orders his assassin son, Mr Loveheart, to hunt her down because he wants to eat her and absorb her powers.
The book is played out in Victorian England, Egypt and the Underworld and reveals a variety of unusual and colourful characters, including fraudulent psychics, mesmerists, Jack the Ripper and bewildered Scotland Yard detectives.
I have explored a lot of themes within the book, but I think, if asked to focus on the most significant, it boils down to three areas:
I have been receiving a number of emails recently asking how much do I charge for reviews. The answer I give is always the same. I do not charge for reviews, hell I even feel uncomfortable having adverts on the site, certainly adverts that are of a horror nature. The reason for this is as soon as you start bringing money into it you have to begin to question the integrity of the site.
Just look at a recent issue of a genre magazine, their review section had me scratching my head in wonder. i know every review is a subjective point of view but when every review for a major publishing company or film company gets glowing reviews, and those from the lesser known places get on the whole negative reviews you have to wonder what the hell is going on.
It's something that i would hate to think anyone thought about this site. However running this site takes a lot of time and effort, from not just me, but also from my amazing team of reviewers, whose help is priceless. It also costs money, at this moment in time if this was a business it would be in administration. I spend more on the site than it makes, from website hosting fees to paying for adverts and stuff like SEO so that all the reviews and articles promoting all the writers, filmakers and general horror folks get the maximum exposure. Now i am not asking for money as that brings me back to the original point.
What I am asking is 1. if you like any of the sound of any of the products featured on the site please consider purchasing them through the Amazon associate links that feature on the site. These links give me around about a 7% return on all products brought through the link.
2. Please click the did you find this review helpful link on the Amazon review. This does two things it helps to increase my overall Amazon reviewer ranking, and it also means that my review will be at the top of the review list if it has the best helpful to unhelpful ratio. Wouldn't you love have a review from one of the top independent horror review websites as the first review people see. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet reviews from websites like Ginger Nuts carry a lot more weight than those from any old Tom, Dick or Harry. The reviews all contain a text link highlighting the site, which helps to boost my visibility.
3. Please share the reviews, articles etc. You can find a Facebook and Twitter share function at the bottom of each article, and there are multiple share options on the home page for places like Reddit, Tumbler, Pinintrest etc. Please use these functions every share helps to boost the google rankings for the site and bring in more viewers for reviews of what could possibly be your book.
The site has never been about making money it has always been about my love for the genre and with your help we can spread the world to the dirty uninitiated masses.
YOU CAN FIND ALL THE REVIEWS ON AMAZON HERE
I’m Still Me
Anyone who knows me knows that I love anything horror related. Give me a werewolf novel, zombie movie, or an end of the world story, and I’m a happy girl. Over the last year or so, I’ve found a new love – extreme horror. The darker, more disgusting, and more disturbing it is, the better. I want to cringe, I want to feel sick, and I want to be shocked. Does that make me weird? According to some, yes it does. I used to hide the fact that I love a genre associated with monsters and psychopaths, but I’ve learned to embrace it and will talk about it with anyone who will listen, although it’s still an uncomfortable subject for some.
Last year, writer/director Greg Francis put out a somewhat-overlooked horror film called Poker Night. Starring Ron Perlman and Giancarlo Esposito, as well as relative newcomer Beau Mirchoff in the role of the protagonist, the film earned only 44% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. It didn't perform any better with audiences, either. Even so, it certainly had a specific appeal to those who enjoy a dark, scary film with a hint of absurdity. In short, not a great movie, but maybe one to check out if you just love the genre.
Oddly enough, one of the disappointing aspects of Poker Night is that it had little to do with actual poker. With so many millions of people around the world obsessed with the popular card game, it was easy to expect the film would incorporate some gripping card playing scenes in the midst of its quest to scare. Unfortunately, while poker was involved, the title was more meant to describe a gathering of colleagues than any intrigue particularly related to the game. But still, it got us thinking....
What if a brand-new horror film did take advantage of the world's obsession with poker, and with gambling in general, to produce a film with a chance to reach a new, wide audience? Here are three ideas for such films we'd love to see made:
In Texas Hold'em poker, there are various community cards dealt over the course of the game. Poker News describes the fifth and final of these cards (aka "The River") as being dealt face-up, leading to a final betting round before "The Showdown," when players must show their hands. So basically, once you reach "The River," it's all on the line.
This makes for a dramatic (if somewhat cheesy) title concept for a horror film built around high-stakes poker. The premise could be simple: perhaps a pair of friends known to want to win at all costs splits up when one turns on the other in a high-stakes tournament. The winner goes on to fame and fortune in poker, with the scorned friend turning to the dark side of basement gambling. He commits crimes to make his money until he finally ends up in a game against his old friend, in disguise. On "The River," he's already put all his money on the line—so he bets that the winner takes the loser's life, revealing his true identity.
OK, it's a rough sketch, and you'd need to sprinkle a lot of genuine horror in along the way to make it intriguing. But when you consider it as a horrific version of Rounders, it's easy to see how it may attract a major audience!
"Never Land On Red"
Although it doesn't quite inspire the crazy following that Texas Hold'em does, roulette is still an extraordinarily popular casino game, both online and in real casinos. Ideally, a film concerning roulette would be set in Europe, because as Intercasino describes here in its explanations of the different kinds of roulette, the European brand offers the closest to 50/50 odds (between the player and the "house"). As written on the site, "Unlike American Roulette, European Roulette gives the players slightly better odds." This is because European Roulette wheels have only one "0" in addition to the 18 red and 18 black landing spots (which also include 18 even and 18 odd numbers).
The idea, though, is that a serial killing low-end casino thief uses roulette wheels as a judgment during his crimes—like a more sinister version of iconic Batman villain Two-Face's tendency to flip a coin to decide the fate of others. Dealers, hostages, etc. get executed by the killer every time a ball lands on red (which has some obvious but likely effective blood symbolism attached to it). Perhaps, in the end, the tables could be turned and the killer could be presented with the same situation. There could even be an ambiguous, teasing ending as the wheel spins and the ball slows down....
Initially this sounds like a silly premise, but it may actually be one of the more effective casino-themed horror films that could be made, as long as we're talking about the games remaining part of the action.
This film idea would be an adaptation, or at least a spin on an existing character. According to Comic Vine, there is a Black Jack comic character (from Archie Comics, of all sources). He's a police detective who earns the nickname of "Black Jack" after using a Jack of Spades card to cut a slit in drying concrete and allow himself to breathe after being walled up in a dark room.
Really, it's a great name and a pretty dull character. The idea of using a literal black jack to escape captivity is a nice starting point, but this could really work in a horror capacity if the character that emerges from a walled up room ends up on a bloody, lawless quest for vengeance. Maybe he could even leave the Jack of Spades on his victims in a Joker-ish fashion.
Ideally, there'd be some actual card playing involved, so as to avoid the trap Poker Night fell into (as in, not involving the game in a way that really has to do with the plot). But this could be a good start!
DEAD BY DAWN (2015) A REVIEW BY STEWART HORN
Dead by Dawn 2015
This is my first time at Dead by Dawn, even though it’s one of the UK’s best known and longest running horror festivals, and happens less than fifty miles from where I live. There are reasons: the timing doesn’t fit well with my day job, so I have to miss some of the films, and Edinburgh is one of the most expensive places in the world to find digs, so up to now I didn’t think it was worth my while. But this year I took the plunge. I missed a few things but saw plenty. There was one film on Thursday night that I quite fancied (Tusk) but it would have added around £80 to the cost of the weekend and I decided it wasn’t worth it for one film.
After I shot the 28 minute sci fi film The Crystal Crypt in 2013 (www.thecrystalcrypt.com), I was looking for a new passion project to work on. I always stretch myself thin with projects, but with a bit of the Crystal Crypt debt still looming, the next project couldn’t be as ambitious or large in scale (The Crystal Crypt was shot on a spaceship soundstage and the final film has CG, live action and hand-drawn animation).
Out of brainstorm sessions with my friend Jacob Gallegos and my brother Shahram Zargari, the idea for Susannah’s Lesson was born.
You see, my parents were always supportive of my love of reading. They almost didn’t care what it was. And so, when I was in 7th grade I picked up The Wastelands, The Talisman and The Stand expanded edition. I was hooked on King’s writing style instantly. Once I finished The Wastelands I went back and read The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three to catch up…after that I waited patiently for each new novel to be published in the series. My love of the Dark Tower has never waned or become lukewarm.
Both Jacob and Shahram knew this about me. The project, to them, was a no-brainer because of how close I had been to the source material. Plus, we could get away filming the short without needing to spend a ton of budget on location or special effects. But even more important than that, we could present the short and anyone who hasn’t read the series could still watch and enjoy it (without trying to figure out who is who and what the character back stories are).
We put up a Kickstarter and started a hashtag on Instagram to see if anyone even cared enough to see our rendition of the beginning of The Wastelands. The Kickstarter wasn’t a runaway success, but it funded and we were ecstatic.
A successfully funded kickstarter in your pocket meant that we had an obligation to those who pledged to finish the film. And finish we did. By saying that I don’t want to downplay Kickstarter’s role...on the contrary, other than helping us raise a bit of money, the platform really helped us in spreading the word...it has been as valuable as social media to get the word out about our project.
While a lot of the die hard fans like myself have had strong opinions on who they would have liked to see as Roland or Susannah, I myself am very happy with the work the entire crew put into the film. I’m very proud of what we accomplished and I hope that the source of the material itself, Stephen King, enjoys the fun little project as much as we do.
Shahab Zargari is an award-winning filmmaker. After years of creating original YouTube and Vimeo content, Shahab jumped into serious filmmaking with his year-long science fiction film project, The Crystal Crypt, starring husband and wife acting team Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt. During that year he also worked with the same couple on a short film titled Out of Time, and most recently finished his new project, a successfully funded short entitled Susannah's Lesson.
The concept of dystopian worlds is one that has always been popular in cinema, but seems to have captured film-goers imagination more so than ever in recent years... and with each story, there is often a tortured (and very good-looking) hero at the centre. To celebrate the release of sci-fi romance FREQUENCIES, arriving on digital platforms from April 13, 2015 and on DVD from April 20, 2015 courtesy of Signature Entertainment, we take a look at some of the best actors to take on the role of dystopian heroes...