Tuesday 29 January 2019

Second Sight films acquires UK distribution rights to George A Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD and MARTIN

Second Sight Films is delighted to announce it has acquired the UK Home Video and VOD rights to two classic films written and directed by celebrated filmmaker George A Romero. Following a licensing deal with producer Richard P Rubinstein, CEO of New Amsterdam Entertainment, the UK distributor will be re-issuing the highly-acclaimed and much in-demand George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Martin

Slated for release later this year, Second Sight plans to give the legendary films the full Special Edition treatment that it is renowned for. Recent releases from the company in newly restored Limited-Edition Blu-ray Box Sets include cult classics When A Stranger Calls/When A Stranger Calls Back, The Changeling and Xtro. All featured stacks of bonus content and stunning packaging and have become real collector’s items.

Dawn of the Dead and Martin are set to arrive on Blu-ray complete with a host of brand-new special features, making them ‘must-buys’ for all horror fans and collectors. Further details on the company’s plans will be announced in the coming weeks via Second Sight Films’ social media channels.

Richard P Rubinstein, CEO of New Amsterdam Entertainment said: "I was pleased that we could reach an agreement with Second Sight in the UK for the Home reissue. Chris Holden and his team have a deep appreciation for the films as do I."

Chris Holden, Managing Director of Second Sight Films said:

“We are very excited to have acquired Blu-ray and VOD rights to these George A Romero masterpieces for the UK and thank Richard P Rubinstein for the opportunity to represent such iconic and revered films. We are looking forward to producing the kind of special editions their cult status deserves.”

Dawn of the Dead, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest horror films of all time, arrived ten years after the seminal Night of the Living Dead. It ushered in a new era of zombie films, showing the director once again ahead of the curve mixing biting political satire with state-of-the-art-gore for a genre defining masterpiece that packs as much of a punch today as it did 40 years ago.

With a zombie epidemic escalating, a small band of survivors seek refuge in that shrine to capitalism, the shopping mall. But the undead, still possessed by an instinctive desire to consume, have had the same idea… What follows is a nail-biting thrill-ride and fight to survive. Oh, and watch out for those helicopter blades!

Martin saw the director doing for vampires what he did for zombies – putting a decidedly modern twist on centuries old folklore. Both disturbing and darkly humorous, it was Romero’s own personal favourite.

Believing himself to be an 84-year-old vampire, a young man stalks his victims, sedates them and uses a razor blade rather than fangs to draw blood. But is he really a modern day Nosferatu, or just a very disturbed individual?

Celebrating a quarter of a century as a UK distributor of classic and cult films on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD, Second Sight Films has earned a reputation as one of the most respected experts in its field and continues to distribute high quality in-demand cult classics in premium editions. 

For more info on these and other titles visit http://www.secondsightfilms.co.uk/

Lawrie Brewster chats about AUTOMATA - premiering at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow

Ahead of the World premiere of the darkly erotic AUTOMATA at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019, director Lawrie Brewster tells us about his record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, the growth of Hex Studios and his fascination with creepy dolls.

Q) AUTOMATA has earned its place in Kickstarter history as the UK’s most funded narrative film ever. Why do you think that happened?

The reason this happened is because there is a disconnect between a swathe of the audience, in our case a genre audience, and commercial distributors. Because commercial distributors and broadcasters for that matter, are so adept and so accustomed to selling a type of predictable product, that a form of repetition occurs whereby films that might not fit the mould, are simply not sold, and hence not usually produced. With Automata, and with all of our films at Hex Studios, we utilise that underserved niche, to produce unique genre films, which would be considered both unpredictable and even risky. Despite the financial merit of our achievements, when met with these facts, most industry types bury their head in the sand and plug their ears.

Q) You have described the film as a glorious celebration of gothic horror. Can you elaborate?

Myself and Sarah Daly, we both grew up on classic Hammer Horror, Amicus and the American International Pictures (particularly those produced by Roger Corman and Vincent Price.) That, coupled with a great love of Gothic literature, and the art-movement which shares its name. It places the raw intensity of human emotion and the supernatural at its core, aspects which are of great importance to the human experience. In this respect, it provides a perfect field of creative exploration, with a rewarding sense of rich storytelling, romance, and spine-tingling chills. Our film celebrates all those influences mentioned in the above and adds to them an adult sense of perversion. The idea, that something can look pretty, beautiful even on the outside, and be pitch black on the inside. Gothic narratives, are a great way to explore such theatrical depictions while retaining a deep sense of psychological narrative. 

Q) As with your previous features, there is a supernatural fusion of historical narrative with contemporary themes, but would it be fair to say that AUTOMATA is your most darkly erotic?

That is a really interesting question because, with my head down working on the film it is easy to lose a sense of the outside perspective, especially of anyone's new perspective. If you’re to describe the film as a dark erotic Gothic Fantasy / Horror then that is fairly compatible with its influences. Additional influences stem from the Marquis de Sade, and of the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, among others. We examine adulthood, some aspects of perversion and the manner in which we may become complicit in thoughts and deeds we’d admonish in others. So, to answer your question I would say, yes.

Q) Some of the main cast have appeared in your previous films. Does this reflect a close collaborative process? Take us through the key casting process.

Yes, we do take a collaborative approach to our filmmaking. I was always inspired by the John Waters ‘dream team’ approach and I do enjoy our team feeling like a family. Of course, each film brings new talent a well, but we do offer a strong sense of appreciation and loyalty towards those we’ve worked with both in front and behind the screen. With casting, there is a sense of repertory theatre, but the benefit of this model is that it allows us to grow our talents together. From each film, myself and our actors can discuss where we can take our talent forward.

Q) Literature seems to be a huge inspiration in all the films you and co-creator Sarah Daly have made through Hex Studios. Are there literary roots to AUTOMATA?

There are definite literary influences, though they may be difficult for me to singularly identify. Broadly speaking, me and Sarah take influence from Gothic authors such as M. R. James, Edgar Allen Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Henry James and modern authors such as James Herbert. This particular film takes additional inspiration from the works of the Marquis De Sade, and of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. In general, we produce so much pre-production material and research for the histories that abound in the sliver of story told by our films, that they almost feel like adapted novels, rather than specifically produced screenplays.

Q) Where do you think our fascination with automata, particularly with automaton dolls, comes from?

I’ve always had a fascination with creepy dolls and have found Automaton to be of particular interest. I hadn’t thought of producing a horror film specific to that subject, until I saw one depicted in the horror film ‘Gothic’ directed by Ken Russell. I wondered then, with so many ‘creepy doll’ films why the story of a such a doll hadn’t been told before. Also, in the context of a Gothic Romance, which the period of those creations would be ideally suited.

Q) Without giving too much away, there is a magnetic, perverse beauty in Alexandra Nicole Hulme’s interpretation of ‘The Infernal Princess’. What challenges did bringing the doll to life present?

Primarily our challenge was to produce the correct balance of what might present the ‘uncanny valley,’ that so-called determinator of the line between ‘life like’ and ‘artificial’ that we find so disturbing. Alexandra Nicole Hulme produced a brilliant performance, which I believe presents the uncanny valley experience for the audience, while also creating a sense of humanity and sensuality in her portrayals of the doll and it’s living muse, in the flashback scenes. Alexandra also choreographed careful movements and a magnificent clockwork dance, which is truly quite breath-taking to behold.

Q) AUTOMATA is to receive its world premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019. How important is your relationship with FrightFest?

We’re honoured and delighted that FrightFest have chosen Automata to be a part of FrightFest Glasgow. I’m a huge admirer of everything that FrightFest has built and achieved for the genre community of filmmakers and fans. If it weren’t for FrightFest, and it’s commitment to present a diverse range of genre films to its audiences, then studios like Hex would struggle to find the appropriate platforms to share our films. Through our relationship with FrightFest, we are able to support that event, and receive their support in such a way, that we can build an alternative path for films to reach audiences outside the traditional market model. FrightFest is a pillar from which new independent films can be supported. 

Q) Hex Studios has created a YouTube Channel, which currently has over 270K subscribers. Having shrewdly released Kate Shenton’s EGOMANIAC, what future plans do you have for the growing indie supporting platform?

We’ve two channels now, our main channel for which we hope to produce more Horror themed prank videos, web series and indie film presentations of the type you mention. Our overall aim with the channel is to create a platform and a voice for independent horror genre film-makers that will allow us to grow together, while expanding the audience for us both. We also have a new channel: ‘Hex Creepypasta’, which will be focussing on narrated horror stories as well.

What does 2019 hold in store for Lawrie Brewster?

2019 will be our biggest year yet, in which Hex Studios will be distributing a number of feature films, including two of our own productions Automata and our portmanteau For We Are Many. We’re also looking to produce several web-series, while developing new feature films, as well as distributing two hard-back books, filled with terrifying short stories. While our plans are somewhat broad and ambitious, our target remains niche, which is to say, we aim to produce great horror entertainment for an audience that feels underserved. While so many are being ‘too cool for school’ or begin meta-ironic and retro, we’re instead quite earnest and traditional. Horror is a timeless and beautiful thing and we do our best to keep the candle alive… even in its darkest vaults!

AUTOMATA is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 2 March, 1.00pm, as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019. Lawrie Brewster will be attending. 

More info.. 

Arrow Video - April 2019 releases

Arrow Video’s April line-up is bound to put a spring in the step of film fans, with a mind-boggling Japanese sci-fi, a rare and wonderful giallo, a cult thriller penned by John Carpenter and an 80s horror rarity. All the releases are laden with specially commissioned extras, including interviews, commentaries, and new artwork. 

Terra Formars – On Blu-ray from 1 April 2019

The ever-prolific Takashi Miike, the director behind the likes of Audition, the Dead or Alive trilogy and Blade of the Immortal, returns with this intergalactic epic in which a team of space explorers find themselves pitched against a horde of oversized anthropomorphic cockroaches.

In the mid-21st century, humankind has been forced to look to colonising other planets as a means of combating overcrowding on Earth – their first stop, Mars. With a population of cockroaches having been introduced on Mars some 500 years prior to help prepare the way for human colonization, a manned mission sets out to the red planet with the aim of clearing away the bugs. Upon arrival, however, they discover that the roaches have evolved to huge, vicious creatures capable of wielding weapons.

Based on the popular Manga series of the same name, Terra Formars is an action-packed space adventure brought to life by one of Japan’s most celebrated contemporary filmmakers. 
• High-Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original uncompressed Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA options
• Newly-translated English subtitles
• The Making of Terra Formars - feature-length documentary on the film’s production featuring a host of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
• Extended cast interviews
• Footage from the 2016 Japanese premiere
• Outtakes
• Image Gallery
• Theatrical and teaser trailers
• Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork options

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by Tom Mes

Pre-order the UK BD from Amazon.co.uk

Iguana with the Tongue of Fire - on Blu-ray from 8 April 2019

One of several ‘animal-in-the-title’ cash-ins released in the wake of Dario Argento’s box-office smash The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire is a gloriously excessive giallo that boasts a rogues gallery of perverse characters; violent, fetishized murders, and one of the genre’s most nonsensical, red-herring laden plots (which sees almost every incidental character hinted at potentially being the killer).

Set in Dublin (a rather surprising giallo location), Iguana opens audaciously with an acid-throwing, razor-wielding maniac brutally slaying a woman in her own home. The victim’s mangled corpse is discovered in a limousine owned by Swiss Ambassador Sobiesky (Anton Diffring, Where Eagles Dare) and a police investigation is launched, but when the murdering continues and the ambassador claims diplomatic immunity, tough ex-cop John Norton (Luigi Pistilli, A Bay of Blood) is brought in to find the killer…

Benefitting from a sumptuous score by Stelvio Cipriani (Nightmare City, Death Walks on High Heels) and exuberant supporting performances from Valentina Cortese (The Possessed, Thieves' Highway) and Dagmar Lassander (The Frightened Woman, The Black Cat), The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire is a luridly over-the-top latter-day entry in the filmography of acclaimed director Riccardo Freda (Caltiki – The Immortal Monster, Murder Obsession). An archetypal giallo from the genre’s heyday, Freda’s film is presented here in a stunning new restoration with a host of newly produced extras.

New 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio
Original English and Italian soundtracks, titles and credits
Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
New audio commentary by giallo connoisseurs Adrian J. Smith and David Flint
Of Chameleons and Iguanas, a newly filmed video appreciation by the cultural critic and academic Richard Dyer
Considering Cipriani, a new appreciation of the composer Stelvio Cipriani and his score to The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire by DJ and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon
The Cutting Game, a new interview with Iguana’s assistant editor Bruno Micheli
The Red Queen of Hearts, a career-spanning interview with the actress Dagmar Lassander
Original Italian and international theatrical trailers
Image gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Andreas Ehrenreich

Pre-order the UK BD from Amazon.co.uk

Black Moon Rising – on Blu-ray from 15 April 2019

Buckle up for ride in the Black Moon, a sleek, high-tech supercar, powered by hydrogen and capable of speeds of over 300mph!

Tommy Lee Jones (Rolling Thunder, Under Siege) stars as Sam Quint, a master thief working for the government who hides a computer disc loaded with evidence of corporate crime in a prototype supercar, the Black Moon. When a gang of thieves steal the car, Quint seduces their leader, Nina (Linda Hamilton, Terminator), to get to the disc. But in order to reclaim his property, Quint and Nina must break into an impenetrable skyscraper and take down Ed Ryland (Robert Vaughn, The Delta Force), the head of a dangerous stolen car syndicate…

A fast-moving, hydrogen-fueled action thriller written by John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing), Black Moon Rising has earned admiration from cult movie audiences for its thrilling chase sequences, pounding synth score, and slick direction courtesy of Harley Cokeliss (Battle Truck, The Glitterball).

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original 35mm interpositive
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Uncompressed PCM 2.0 stereo audio and alternative 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary by Lee Gambin, author of Show Me: The Making of Christine
Black Moon Ascending, a new interview with director Harley Cokeliss
Thief in The Night: Producing Black Moon Rising, a new interview with producer Douglas Curtis
Sound of Speed: Composing Black Moon Rising, a new interview with composer Lalo Schifrin and film music historian Daniel Schweiger
Carpenter’s Craft, a new video essay on co-writer John Carpenter’s screenwriting career by author and critic Troy Howarth Making Black Moon Rising, an archival documentary featuring behind the scenes footage and cast and crew interviews
Alternative Hong Kong version scenes, a presentation of selected scenes from the Hong Kong theatrical version with a different
score and sound effects
Theatrical trailer and radio spots
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

First Pressing only: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kieran Fisher 

Pre-order the UK BD from Amazon.co.uk

Scared Stiff – on Blu-ray from 22 April 2019

TV star Mary Page Keller (Pretty Little Liars) appears alongside Andrew Stevens (10 to Midnight, The Fury) as a couple terrorised by an age-old curse in this much-underrated late-80s offering from director Richard Friedman.

Keller plays Kate Christopher, a singer who moves into an old colonial mansion with her son and psychologist boyfriend David (Stevens). But when they make a strange and gruesome discovery in the boarded-up attic, it soon becomes clear that the mansion carries with it a dark and blood-stained past – and one that is about to terrorise them in the present.

The second feature helmed by Richard Friedman, who went on to direct such genre favourites as Doom Asylum and Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge, Scared Stiff (AKA The Masterson Curse) builds to an astonishing practical FX-laden climax sure to please fans of 80s horror.

Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements Original uncompressed Stereo audio
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Brand new audio commentary with director Richard Friedman, producer Dan Bacaner and film historian Robert Ehlinger
Mansion of the Doomed: The Making of Scared Stiff – brand new documentary featuring interviews with Richard Friedman, Dan Bacaner, Robert Ehlinger, actors Andrew Stevens and Joshua Segal, special effects supervisor Tyler Smith and special effects assistants Jerry Macaluso and Barry Anderson
Brand new interview with composer Billy Barber
Image Gallery
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector’s booklet with new writing on the film by James Oliver 

Pre-order the UK BD from Amazon.co.uk

Final WRETCH Trailer Blurs Lines Between Found Footage & Traditional Cinema

The final trailer for Wretch has been unleashed in anticipation of the film’s digital and OnDemand release on January 29. Described as "The Blair Witch Project on acid," the psychological horror/thriller stars Spencer Korcz, Megan Massie, and Riker Hill. 

Watch the trailer here...

The plot follows three friends struggling to piece together fractured memories after a drug-fueled night in the woods. In the process, they’re forced to confront guilt, jealousy, and a supernatural presence that threatens to expose their true natures.

A laser-focused exercise in creeping terror, Wretch tackles dark and topical issues while building a constant sense of mystery and dread. Fans of the movie will have the opportunity to chat with the filmmakers live in conjunction with its January 29 release.

“This is a movie that begs to be discussed,” says producer Nic Brown. “So we’re throwing our WTF Online Release Party where people can tweet the Wretch Movie on Twitter or join the Facebook event and have the entire cast and crew respond in real time.”

Wretch is written and directed by Brian Cunningham, whose previous films include the horror-comedy Overtime, the acclaimed haunted house documentary Monsters Wanted, and the recent Loss Prevention, starring former WWE Superstar Al Snow and veteran actor Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Commando).

“We wanted to make something that is as much about the characters and their life situation as it is about the monster,” states Cunningham. “The focus is on dread and a sense of doom as this monster gets closer and closer, and you start to unravel the story bit by bit. I think there will be some genuine surprises for even the most jaded horror fan.”

The movie mixes found footage with cinematic elements to create a world of shifting perspectives and ever-changing reality.

“The visual approach we took was really unique,” says Cunningham. “From the first frame, we wanted to be in these characters’ heads, and it’s a dark and conflicted place to be. The result is a movie that feels rough and real, where you aren’t really sure where reality ends and delusion begins. It was really exciting to reject the traditional approach to filmmaking and focus on what is right to bring people into this intense story.”

Wretch will be released on digital and OnDemand on January 29 via ThoughtFly Films. It's available for pre-order on iTunes.

The Wretch WTF Online Release Party begins at 6pm EST/9pm PST on January 29. Fans can tweet to Wretch Movie on Twitter with #WretchMovie or join the Facebook event page to interact with cast, crew, and other viewers in real time. 

Saturday 26 January 2019

"Crucible of the Vampire" - A review.

A young girl gets more than she bargained for whilst looking at ancient artefacts in rural Shropshire, in Iain Ross-McNamee's modern day gothic chiller "Crucible of the Vampire" which is getting a limited theatrical run Feb 1st, ahead of its home entertainment release.

The owner of a rather large, but somewhat dilapidated, stately home up in Shropshire claims to have found the missing half of a medieval cauldron, that was once owned by matthew Hopkins, the infamous Witchfinder General. So the museum dispatches one of their curators, young Isabelle (Katie Goldfinch), to verify if its real, or if he's just trying scam the museum.

But whilst the artefact does indeed match the half held by the museum, it seems that's not the real reason Isabelle was lured there and owners Karl (Larry Rew - Underworld : Rise of the Lycans), his wife Evelyn (Babette Barat - The Loutus Eaters) and eccentric daughter Scarlett (Florence Caddy) are harbouring a very dark secret. One that involves blood, black magic and demonic worship. Though she may have found an ally in Robert the groundsman, played by TV actor Neil Morrisey (Men Behaving Badly) appearing in a non-comedy role for a change. Who has also suspected something isn't quite right with the place.

Directed by newcomer Iain Ross-McNamee, the film kind of had a made for TV feel to it, but was an interesting enough occult chiller, although the vampire aspect only really comes into play during the last 30mins or so.

Not overly gory, but some "interesting" scenes between Isabelle and Scarlett more than made up for it.

If you like vampire films, or gothic horrors, you'll probably enjoy it.

"Crucible of the Vampire" is released to selected UK cinemas Feb 1st from Screenbound entertainment and will be available in a special UK BD/DVD Combo pack later that month.

View the trailer on YouTube

Pre-order the UK BD/DVD from Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Danishka Esterhazy talks about LEVEL 16, which premieres at Glasgow FrightFest

Ahead of the UK premiere of LEVEL 16 at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019, director Danishka Esterhazy tells us about the long journey to get her film made, the empowering nature of female friendship and her love for Sci-fi. 

Q) It has been 10 years since first draft to a world premiere at Fantastic Fest. Quite a journey. What inspired you in the first place and what kept you going?

Yes, it has not been an easy road with this film. I wrote Level 16 right after graduating from film school and I had hoped that it would be my first feature film. But I could not find any investors or broadcasters or distributors who wanted to support the film. I love science fiction, love dystopian films, but I had not seen many (any?) with a primarily female cast. Most science fiction films have a large male cast with maybe one or two female actors in smaller roles, most likely the love interest. But as a Sci-Fi fan, I wanted to see more stories about women, with women in the lead. So, I wrote Level 16 and I never gave up on the idea. I was lucky to find a producer (Judy Holm) who loved the story as much as I did. Together, we continued to fight for the film until the film industry evolved and caught up to our idea!

Q) When writing the script, did you always visualise it as a genre movie? Were there any particular influences in that area?

I definitely knew that I was writing a genre film. I had two main inspirations. The first was Logan’s Run - a film that I really loved as a child. I’ve seen it dozens of times. I loved the contained world of the domed city and the idea that the hero had to uncover the truth by questioning everything he had been taught by the system. My other inspiration was Jane Eyre — one of my favorite novels. I loved the early part of the novel that takes place in the Lowood Institution for orphan girls. In an early draft of Level 16, the two main girls were named Jane and Helen. But as I continued to rewrite and revise (I wrote sixteen drafts of the screenplay) the story evolved and changed into the unique world of the Vestalis Academy.

Q) Did any personal experiences inform the writing process?

I did use my own memories and experiences as a teen girl throughout the story. As a teen, I felt very isolated and oppressed by the educational system. I felt that my school was more interested in fostering conformity than feeding young minds or encouraging free thought. What helped me get through that experience was the close relationship I had with my best friends. 

At the age of sixteen, friendships are intense and powerful. In film, the friendship between teen girls is often portrayed as toxic or competitive. But in my experience, it was empowering. I wanted to show how the friendship between young women can be one of the most important relationships in life. And how powerful young women can be when they come together and support one another. 

Q) The basic premise of a group of young women incarcerated in a prison-like institution could have easily been moulded into a voyeuristic story of sexual exploitation. How did you resist going down that road?

I did receive notes that encouraged me to add titillating scenes. A specific note that I remember is “you have to show the girls showering naked or you will never get this film made.” I was shocked and dismayed to get these notes. Also enraged, which drove me to move in the absolute opposite direction of story-telling. To make sure that the girls in the story are never treated to a sexually exploitive gaze. To make sure that the story is about their inner life, their intellectual and emotional transformations. And I did shoot a scene in the showers. With the actors fully clothed! Shooting that scene felt like a vindication.

Q) Although described as a "A dystopian thriller", the film has also been cited as a timely story of feminine empowerment and sisterhood. Do you go along with that?

I have been a bit amused to hear the film described as “timely” because it took so long to get funded. But I think the film would never have been greenlit if not for the recent #timesup and #metoo movements. The film industry has not been a welcoming place for women. But I am glad to see that things are beginning to change. I am feminist and proud to wear that label. 

Q) Doctor Miro, as played by Peter Outerbridge, is one hell of a creepy psychologist. A kind of Lector meets Dr Frankenstein. And both Sara Canning’s performance as a Stepford-wife headmistress and Katie Douglas’ heroic teenaged Vivien, are spell-binding. Take us through the key casting process.

I am so proud of our cast. They each embraced their characters with such passion and nuance.

Peter Outerbridge is an actor I have watched and admired for years. I still remember seeing his amazing early performance in Lynne Stopkewich’s Kissed. So I was thrilled when he agreed to play Doctor Miro. Because I knew that Peter would bring subtlety and realism to the part — that he would never dip into melodrama.

Sara Canning was the lead in my first feature film Black Field. We have been friends, and mutual fans ever since. Sara is a brilliant actor who digs deep into every story. We had wonderful discussions about the history of Vestalis, about Brixil’s past, about the themes and layers in the story. Watching Sara as Brixil, you can see so many emotions and thoughts that are never expressed. It is a performance that is enjoyable to watch again and again.

I didn’t know Katie Douglas or her work. She’s a young actor just emerging on the scene. But in her very first audition she had me spellbound. She has such range and talent. She would make unique yet perfect choices. Every day on set she would surprise me — in the very best way. I see very big things in her future.

Q) What do you want audiences ultimately to take away from the film?

Level 16 is a story about friendship. So what I want most is for the audience to care about Vivien and Sophia. To be afraid for them, to cheer for them, to feel heart-break for them. But it’s also a cautionary tale about what could happen in a society where the rich can exploit a vulnerable underclass. What can happen when human life is undervalued and when luxury, perfection and glamour are pursued without restraint.

And finally, I hope that people will reflect on how we educate girls. When writing the script, I read educational manuals for young women from the Victorian period up to the 1960s. Those manuals demonstrated such a shocking disregard for female intelligence and independence - indeed, they seemed designed to stamp those qualities out. Today, the books and toys and lessons aimed at girls do not seem that different. Our educational system fosters inequality from childhood. I hope my film will shine a light on this issue. 

Q) Do you think there are still misconceptions about female directors working in the horror genre?

Unfortunately, yes. When I was trying to raise funding for Level 16 I was told: “women don’t watch science fiction” and “women don’t direct genre films”, which is ridiculous. Being a woman director who loves genre, who wants to make genre, is never easy but the audience has always been more progressive and diverse then the industry. We just have to get past the gatekeepers to our audience.

Q) The genre is currently at its most vibrant and popular, pushing boundaries and asking tough questions of audiences by reflecting relevant political and social issues. Do you think this will attract more female directors into the fold?

There are so many female directors already out there. They don’t get the same access to funding and the same attention in the press. But they are quietly making extraordinary films with small budgets. What we need now is to see women directors given access to the same budgets, the same tools, as their male peers.

Q) So, what’s next?

I am about to fly to Cape Town to shoot a horror film for Warner Bros. and Syfy Channel. I can’t say anything about it yet — not even the title. But I am really excited to make this film! There will be lots and lots of blood…

LEVEL 16 is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Fri 1 March, 1.15pm, as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019. 

More info about this and other films the Arrow Video Frightfest and the Glasgow Film Festival can be found at...


EVIL DEAD 2 makes its UK 4K UHD debut March

Cult classic EVIL DEAD 2 – directed by Sam Raimi – has been newly restored and will release for the first time on 4K Ultra HD!

After the shocking and notorious cult classic THE EVIL DEAD impaled its way into the minds of a whole generation, visionary maverick director Sam Raimi decided to elaborate on its twisted scenario. Featuring B-movie legend Bruce Campbell in his most iconic role, EVIL DEAD 2 is a gore-fueled, splatstick masterpiece that gleefully stomps on the entrails of good taste whilst puking in the face of Hollywood with no apologies.

This thrill-packed, gore-led rollercoaster ride is a must-see for all horror fans and comes packed with over four hours of special features – including the new one-hour bonus feature BLOODY AND GROOVY, BABY! EVIL DEAD 2 will arrive on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on 4th March 2019 and is available to pre-order now 

Special Features

Audio Commentary with Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Bruce Campbell and and Greg Nicotero.

Blu-Ray Disc 1 :
Audio Commentary with Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Bruce Campbell and and Greg Nicotero.

Blu-Ray Disc 2 : 

Bloody and Groovy, Baby! - Tribute to Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2
Shallowed Souls: Making of Evil Dead 2
Cabin Fever : A “Fly on the Wall”
Road to Wadesboro : Revisitng the Shooting location with Filmaker Tony Elwood
The Gore the Merrier: Making of Evil Dead 2
Interview with Bruce Campbell

Disc 1: 4K Ultra HD Film
isc 2: Blu-Ray film and commentary (as above)
isc 3: Blu-Ray special features (as above)

Pre-order the UK 4K UHD from Amazon.co.uk

Pre-order the UK BD from Amazon.co.uk

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REDWOOD and THE TALL MAN lead Horror Channel’s February line-up

February on Horror Channel sees the UK TV premieres of films by two highly talented directors: Tom Paton brings a fresh spin to creature-in-the-woods mythology with REDWOOD, a nerve-shredding chiller that will make you think twice about going camping, and THE TALL MAN, Pascal Laugier’s follow-up to his classic Martyrs is another sensational thriller of astonishing depth.

There are also channel premieres for Luls de la Madrid’s unholy supernatural shocker THE NUN, John Dahl’s white-knuckle thriller JOY RIDE, the Wachowski Brothers’ stylish, neo-noir crime caper BOUND , starring Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon, and Alexandra Aja’s intensely disturbing MIRRORS, starring Keifer Sutherland.

Sat 2 Feb @ 21:00 – THE NUN (2005) *Channel Premiere 

Years ago, a cruel and merciless nun turned a boarding school into a living hell for her students until they could no longer bear the abuse, causing her undiscovered death. Now, the alumni are being brutally murdered one by one. Feeling a familiar and evil presence, the surviving women regroup to save their lives and lay the nun to rest one final time.

Fri 8 Feb @ 21:00 – REDWOOD (2017) – *UK TV Premiere 

After some bad news back at home, musician Josh and his girlfriend Beth head out to a secluded national park in search of some clarity on the situation they’ll face when they return. But the couple get more than they bargained for when they ignore the advice of Park

Rangers and venture off the trail, coming face to face with The Redwood’s legendary wildlife. Starring Nicholas Brendon, Tatjana Nardone, Mike Beckingham, Muzz Khan, Jessica Jane Stafford. 

Sat 9 Feb @ 21:00 – JOY RIDE (2001) * Channel Premiere 

It’s the summer break, and three college students are ready to embark on a cross-country road trip. But what was supposed to be a vacation turns into a terror-driven nightmare game of cat and mouse when a psychotic trucker decides to stalks them. 

Sat 16 Feb @ 21:00 – THE TALL MAN (2012) *UK TV Premiere 

In the depressed Canadian town of Cold Rock, children are disappearing, Witnesses say they have seen a Tall Man at the scenes of the crimes, When this ‘tall man’ kidnaps the son of Julia Denning (Jessica Biel), the town nurse, Julia finds herself at the centre of an unravelling legend. 

Fri 22 Feb @ 21:00 – BOUND (1996) *Channel Premiere

Ceasar’s a guy who launders money for the mob. Violet's the woman he's been keeping the past five years and Corky is a beautiful ex-con who just got out jail. What's the last thing that would come between them all? Could it be two million dollars in a suitcase on a desk in an apartment in Chicago? Or something else entirely…? 

Fri 23 Feb @ 21:00 – MIRRORS (2008) *Channel Premiere 

From Alex Aja, the acclaimed director of Switchblade Romance and The Hills Have Eyes, comes a re-imagination of the South Korean horror hit Into the Mirror. Ben Carson is a troubled ex-cop relegated to security guard duty at a department store. The fashionable store has a tainted past due to a fire that resulted in horrific fatalities and injury. And now some mysterious deaths of employees and customers are occurring beside the floor mirrors. Ben begins to suspect supernatural powers at work and starts to investigate the strange and eerie events…

Weekdays @ 20:00 from Thurs 7 Feb - SLIDERS, Series 3 (1996) *Channel Premiere

This one-hour science fiction series chronicles the travels of four people who ‘slide’ to parallel dimensions of Earth, experiencing and exploring the world as it would be if a different path had been taken, either personally or historically. Stars Jerry O’Connell, John Rhys-Davies, Sabrina Lloyd and Cleavant Derricks.

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138