Welcome to Essex

Here’s a film recommendation I’ve waited a long time to share. Before I tell you why you should see WELCOME TO ESSEX, let’s wind the clock back a few years…

I’ve mentioned Ryan J. Fleming on this site several times previously. As well as being a connoisseur of all things post-apocalyptic (a number of the film releases I’ve written about here have been direct recommendations from Ryan), he’s also a roving reporter, a long-time member of MOODY’S SURVIVORS, and he even had a starring role as a featured zombie in AUTUMN: AFTERMATH. We can now add film director to that list.

It feels like decades, but it can only have been a few years ago when Ryan told me he was making a film. In this business it’s often hard to have a conversation with anyone who isn’t desperate to tell you they’re writing a book, editing an anthology, working on a screenplay, or directing their first movie. Much of the time these comments are just pipe-dreams or wishful thinking. In Ryan’s case, however, it happened to be true.

Over the following years, he told me about assembling a crowd of more than a thousand zombie extras for a scene in Brentwood High Street, about naming a character (actually a character’s husband) after me (no doubt as payback for AFTERMATH), and about Russell Brand appearing in the film. In 2013 (I think), attendees at the HORROR IN THE EAST convention in Lowestoft actually saw some footage, and we realised he wasn’t just making it all up.

Fast-forward five years, and Ryan’s debut feature – WELCOME TO ESSEX is finally out on DVD. I’ve had the pleasure of watching it, and I can tell you it was definitely worth the wait. I’m not going to review it here, I’m just going to ask you to support Ryan and his team and pick up a copy. Here’s the customary synopsis and trailer:

Overnight, the United Kingdom was consumed by an epidemic of terrifying proportions. The majority of the population were killed in a matter of hours as millions of recently-dead people returned to life and began to attack and kill the living. The disaster spread so rapidly that the government had no time to control the situation. The order to evacuate England was given. But it was too late. Now, the following day, a small group of mismatched survivors find themselves trapped in the famous town of Brentwood, hunted by large hordes of fast-moving corpses. They must learn to work together and reach the last-known point of rescue, Southend-on-Sea, or face certain death. Or worse.

What I love most about WELCOME TO ESSEX is the fact that it exists. The fact that a gent who passionately loves the post-apocalyptic genre can have the desire to make a movie, and the determination and conviction to make it happen. And on such a scale… this film looks the business and everything Ryan promised eventually appeared on screen, including a thousand zombie extras and Russell Brand. Okay, so it’s not the most original horror movie you’ll see this year, but it’s funny (often very, very funny), technically impressive, and filled with more passion and heart than a hundred Hollywood blockbusters combined. Congratulations to Ryan, the team at Smoking Monkey Productions, and anyone involved in the film in any way, shape or form.

WELCOME TO ESSEX. Buy it. Watch it.

Horror in the East – this Saturday

As I was saying the other day, time flies. It feels like only five minutes, but it’s five years this month since THEM OR US, the final Danny McCoyne HATER book, was released (note the careful wording there… the final Danny McCoyne book – the HATER story takes a new direction in next year’s ONE OF US WILL BE DEAD BY MORNING).

You might remember, THEM OR US is set in Lowestoft, the most easterly town in the UK. I launched the book there back in 2011 with a special event at the library (which features in the novel). We had a great time and, as a result, the annual HORROR IN THE EAST convention was born. After a sabbatical last year, I’m thrilled that the event is back. It’s free, and it’s this Saturday. Hope to see you there.

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Chapter 29 of TRUST and an end of the week/month round-up

First things first, chapter 29 of TRUST is now available to read over at www.trustdavidmoody.com. I have a few other things to tell you about, so I thought I’d round them all up here.

AUTUMN: HORROR IN THE EAST
Takes place in Lowestoft tomorrow. I’ll be there from 10am onwards, and it promises to be an excellent day. So if you’re in the area, why not come along? The event is free, and you get the added bonus of seeing the sights of Lowestoft, the town where much of THEM OR US was set. There’s more information at www.horrorintheeast.com and a schedule for the day can be found here at This is Horror.

SCREAM MAGAZINE
Will hopefully be in attendance this weekend in Lowestoft. Issue 14 of the magazine is available now. Click the cover for more details. It’s another issue filled with much goodness for the discerning horror fan, including interviews with some of the original Cenobites from Hellraiser, Alex Chandon (the director of Inbred), and Oren Peli (the chap responsible for Paranormal Activity).

GUEST POSTS AND INTERVIEWS
Finally, I was asked to put together a number of guest posts for Halloween specials during October. In case you missed any of them, here’s a list:

AUTUMN: HORROR IN THE EAST

I’m planning a lot of events for the latter half of 2012, but this is one I’m particularly looking forward to.

Earlier this week I posted about a new edition of THEM OR US (see here). You might remember that the book is set in Lowestoft, the most easterly town in the UK, and a place that I have family connections with. Cast your mind back even further, and you might recall that when the book was launched last November, we held an event in the town (and subsequently destroyed the place courtesy of some great post-apocalyptic artwork – click here for a slideshow).

As a result of the success of the event last year, co-conspirators Jo Wilde and Emma Bunn have organised a new horror convention to take place in Lowestoft this November – AUTUMN: HORROR IN THE EAST.

Details are just beginning to emerge, but here are the important facts: 1. The event will be FREE to attend, and 2. Loads of excellent authors have already signed up including Adam Baker, Jasper Bark, Conrad Williams, Wayne Simmons, Simon Bestwick, Iain McKinnon and myself.

Come and join us for a weekend full of horror and Haters down by the sea! Keep an eye on the official website and Facebook page for more information as and when it’s announced.