Ginger Nuts of Horror
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...
People seem to react strangely when I describe certain subjects as “beautiful.” When I look at a cinema monster, an H.R. Giger painting; the surreal entities that inhabit the works of Bosch, Goya, Werka and numerous others, they seem to think that there is an air of contrivance; of conscious perversity, in the expression.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Clive Barker's Cenobites, Cronenberg's Brundle-Fly, Carpenter's Thing, the eponymous Alien...there is a particular kind of beauty in their strangeness, their grotesquery, and it lies in the conception and elaboration of the image; the existence of these entities as projections of imagination, and therefore of human preoccupations, human concerns, no matter how bizarre or other-worldly they might seem. This is something that the best horror, in any format, acknowledges, either consciously or otherwise; that what begins as fright, disturbance or disgust can very quickly become (or occur in tandem with) aesthetic appreciation; one that takes into account the imagination and craftsmanship required to realise such an entity.
Cameo Cinema Edinburgh March 21st 2015
So, what on earth is this you might ask? Let me tell you...
All Night Horror Madness is an event that takes place in both Edinburgh and Glasgow (I attended the Edinburgh night, at the Cameo Cinema, which precedes the Glasgow event), where five 'classic' horror films are shown from roughly eleven pm until the next morning. In between the films (many of which are original 35mm prints) are 'lost' trailers and a raffle with some very sweet prizes. It is the brainchild of Matthew Palmer and he compères the early half of the event with the ever entertaining Ian Hoey. This was only my second time attending one of these events, but it won't be my last. But, without further ado, on to the films...
Oh, I also need to mention that three of these films were chosen after the last event by audience vote. The Thing was top by a long way, then Slugs and Halloween III (if I remember correctly); so blame those that voted :-P
To celebrate Adrian's stop at Ginger Nuts of Horror as part of his blog tour we are proud to not only have an exclusive in-depth interview with him, we are also proud to present an exclusive excerpt from his new book The Wolf At His Door.
Ilene Rune has lived with a secret for 21 years that threatens to destroy her marriage, her life, and all of humanity. But how can she tell her son, Alec, that his new boyfriend, Jared, may be part of that secret?
Investigating a brutal murder, Detective Lance Herald enters a dark world of fairy tales and fantasy—that shakes his belief in what is possible and imagined.
Lucy Rune cannot fathom what happened the night one brother was slaughtered and the other critically wounded—but she does know, her boyfriend, Rene, who was also attacked is changing.
Geraldine Bloom, Alec’s grandmother, has the gift of foresight, and has waited for years for the evil that wants her grandson to come for him.
Alec Rune wakes from a coma to learn his twin brother has been murdered—and that he is the only witness. But he remembers nothing of the night.
Werewolves, genetics, and a thrilling murder mystery intertwine in this “multi-layered and unpredictable” (Christine Coretti) horror novel that builds to “an absolutely epic ending” (thegayUK.com).
Excerpt from The Wolf at His Door
I've been revisiting some old favourites, recently; films to which I have (arguably strange) sentimental attachments. My Mother introduced me to all manner of film and fiction when I was a child, her library still vast and varied; the TV and recently pervasive technology of video providing more (I still have fond memories of visiting the local video rental; a darkened, chapel-like space above the local grocery store, its shelves stocked with images that still lodge deep in my memory).
Horror was always the subject towards which I gravitated, the painted covers of titles such as Alien, The Lost Boys, It, The Thing, The Evil Dead drawing my eye far more insistently than the smiling, primary coloured efforts in the children's section. My Mother being my Mother, I was never censored or disallowed from watching whatever I wanted, but was always informed of the difference between the contrived violence and horror on screen compared to that outside, whose consequences were very real.
Ginger Nuts of Horror is proud to present an exclusive excerpt from M. Jess Peacock's new book, Such A Dark Thing - A Theology of the Vampire Narrative in Popular Culture.
Evil, death, demons, reanimation, and resurrection. While such topics are often reserved for the darker mindscapes of the vampire subgenre within popular culture, they are equally integral elements of religious history and belief. Despite the cultural shift of presenting vampires in a secular light, the traditional figure of the vampire within cinema and literature has a rich legacy of serving as a theological marker. Whether as a symbol of the allure of sin, as an apologetic for assorted religious icons, or as a gateway into a discussion of liberationist theology, the vampire has served as a spiritual touchstone from Bram Stoker's Dracula, to Stephen King's Salem's Lot, to the HBO television series True Blood. In Such a Dark Thing, Jess Peacock examines how the figure of the vampire is able to traverse and interconnect theology and academia within the larger popular culture in a compelling and engaging manner. The vampire straddles the ineffable chasm between life and death and speaks to the transcendent in all of us, tapping into our fundamental curiosity of what, if anything, exists beyond the mortal coil, giving us a glimpse into the interminable while maintaining a cultural currency that is never dead and buried.
Published by WIPF and STOCK PUBLISHERS
""Equal parts fan-boy adulation and academic analysis, this delightful book expresses such joy and enthusiasm in either mode: in both, the author shows what it is to be passionately engaged and intellectually stimulated by the subject. The section on liberation theology and social change also takes the vampire narrative into new areas of interpretation and application that I found especially exciting and invigorating. Those who identify as either fan or critic (or both) will find here fresh insight into and inspiration from their favorite monster--a sort of bracing antidote to Twilight!"" --Kim Paffenroth, author of Gospel of the Living Dead "
I distinctly remember the sharp pain shooting up my leg from my knee as I whipped round awkwardly in my chair to stare at the radio and smacked it into my desk drawer. It got a second hammering on the bedframe as I scrambled over the rumpled covers to grab anxiously at the volume dial and depress the record and play buttons, hoping fervently that there was nothing irreplaceable on the C90 cassette in the deck. I recorded about three minutes of uninterrupted song eleven minutes into a movie songs compilation tape, effectively eliminating half each of ‘Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis and the News and Seal’s ‘Kiss from a Rose’. Under different circumstances I’d have been pissed off about this bad luck but I was over the moon with heart-in-mouth excitement about finally catching my radio wave unicorn. This was my first infraction into a musical landscape that would grip my fragile little brain tight and not let go. First though, I had to get the rest of the song on tape and not have some dickhead DJ talk over the last fifteen seconds. Most importantly though, I now had a song title and a band name to go on now: Yesterday Went Too Soon by Feeder. I was fifteen, I was addicted, and I was on a mission from God to find more about this music.
but for some stupid reason he’s swinging a pissing sabre about.
You know that feeling when you go to see a film, and you’re all full of anticipation because you loved the book? And then you get there, and the film is so disappointing that it makes you want to gouge out your own eyes, because you can’t stand to watch it any more? But you carry on watching it, choking back tears along with mouthfuls of popcorn, because you’re waiting in hope for that one great character you love, to appear at any second? But what if that character doesn’t come? What if the film massacres that great character even worse than the story itself? What if we’re just left hanging?
In a particular order, a countdown if you will, from 3 to 1, here are my personal, most disappointing screen adaptations of great characters of all time.