THE RITUAL

I first met ADAM NEVILL in 2011, shortly after our mutual US publisher asked me to write a cover quote for THE RITUAL. If you look at my post about the book, you’ll see that he and I were born a year apart in the same city, but it took the involvement of St Martin’s Press in New York for our paths to cross. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few horror conventions with Adam recently (next up – The Birmingham Horror Con Halloween Special next weekend) and it’s been great to catch up again and compare experiences. Adam recently moved into independent publishing, and I wholeheartedly recommend his two recent short story collections.

The film adaptation of THE RITUAL opened in the UK last weekend, and knowing the book well and having had opportunity to discuss the production of the film with Adam (and the frustrations of film-making for authors – which we talked about on a panel in Liverpool recently – photo below courtesy of Dan Burgess Photography) I was keen to watch it. It didn’t disappoint.

Here’s the blurb and the trailer. Click the link below for my thoughts.

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. A place of dark ritual and home to a bestial presence that is still present in the ancient forest, and now they’re the prey.

As the four friends struggle toward salvation they discover that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees…

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I Am Legend (2007)

iamlegendposterYou might remember that a couple of months ago I started looking back at Richard Matheson’s landmark novel, I AM LEGEND, and the various film adaptations which have followed. I wrote about LAST MAN ON EARTH here, and eviscerated THE OMEGA MAN here. Now it’s time to look at the version I was dreading most. Alex Proyas’ 2007 I AM LEGEND starring Will Smith.

It’s funny how time affects your perception and enjoyment of movies. I originally loved THE OMEGA MAN back in the day, but hated it following my recent re-watch. Similarly, whilst I despised I AM LEGEND first time around, it didn’t annoy me anywhere near as much when I watched it again. It’s still horribly flawed, it still takes huge liberties with Matheson’s story, it still stars Will Smith (and I still can’t stand him), but it was… well, okay, I guess.

Here’s the trailer. Click the link for my thoughts.

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Steven Rumbelow – the director of AUTUMN – has passed away

I’ve sad news to report. Steven Rumbelow, who directed the 2009 movie adaptation of AUTUMN, has passed away. You can read Variety’s obituary here.

rp_51mrBhRXn3L._SS500_.jpgIf you’ve heard me talk about the AUTUMN movie, you might be surprised to hear this, but I think I’ve a lot to thank Steven for. I’ve been pretty vocal in the past about my feelings for the film – it was a valiant attempt to adapt the film for the screen, but it fell well short of its potential. The main cast was great (in particular Dexter Fletcher, Dickon Tolson and David Carradine) and some scenes really caught the look and feel of the novel beautifully. Technical shortcomings hampered production, and ultimately the level of the budget didn’t allow the film-makers to fully realise their ambition.

Some people loved the film, though. The UK’s well respected Empire Magazine called AUTUMN “surprisingly downbeat and intelligent“. 365Horror.co.uk said “It’s slow and thoughtful and mesmerising to watch, allowing the viewer to think and reflect. Rumbelow has created something worthy of the Romero tip of the hat here.Reviewer Nicholas Bergquist wroteIf you’re a bit tired of the same-old same-old zombie films, you need to see Autumn. If you’re just keen for a good horror movie that eschews standard formulae and obligatory kill counts, you need to see Autumn. If you want to watch a really damned fine end of the world tale that tries for a more measured pace… Autumn’s your movie.

But it’s fair to say, the criticism massively outweighed the praise. Also, the project never really stood a chance after David Carradine’s death and the subsequent leaking of an unfinished cut of the movie online which was seen (and slated) by hundreds of thousands of people.

I said I’ve a lot to thank Steven for, and I meant that. Watching the production of AUTUMN progress, both from a distance and when I was on set, and seeing how the film fared after release taught me a huge amount about the highs and lows of the movie business. I got to go to Canada and play zombie. I ended up on the DVD cover (yes, that’s me). I got to meet a number of very cool people along the way and was able to attend a number of film festivals and other events. Most importantly, in one way or another the movie had a huge effect on my demographic and made substantial numbers of people aware of my books who might not have heard of me otherwise. Someone once said to me it’s better to have a bad movie made of your book than no movie at all, and I’m inclined to agree. I think AUTUMN is a seriously flawed movie more than an out and out bad film, but I’m pleased it happened. I’ll never forget the thrill of sitting in the first UK cinema showing and seeing the words ‘based on the novel by David Moody’ appear on screen.

Visiting the set of AUTUMN in December 2007

Visiting the set of AUTUMN in December 2007 (pictured with Steven Rumbelow)

My sincere condolences go out to Rachel, Dickon, and the rest of the Rumbelow and Renegade Motion Pictures families.

Read the beginning of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH

For those of you who’ve not yet had chance to pick up the book, I’ve added the opening chapter of AUTUMN: AFTERMATH to www.lastoftheliving.net and you can read it here. Don’t forget, I have ten copies of AFTERMATH to give awayclick here to remind yourself how to try and get your hands on a copy. You’ve got until the end of March to enter.

Entering the Castle - illustrated by David Naughton-Shires

Plenty of disgruntled UK readers have been in touch about the long gap between the US and UK releases. It’s unfortunate and hardly ideal, but it’s just one of those things, I’m afraid. Scheduling issues meant that the UK edits couldn’t be completed until last month, whilst the US publisher had always planned to release the book this month. And before you start, I know it’s the same book, but each publisher releases their titles in their own house (and geographical) style.

You could always console yourself by watching the AUTUMN MOVIE again and venting your frustrations by yelling at the screen. It’s on the UK Horror Channel at 2:20am on Wednesday 21st March.

Ain’t It Cool News liked the AUTUMN movie

It was really great to see the AUTUMN movie featured over at Ain’t It Cool News recently.

“Rather than diving into flesh eating ghoul territory, Moody’s AUTUMN takes a more patient and scientific approach. In many ways, this is a thinking man’s zombie flick with some fun performances and decent effects… AUTUMN makes for a damn fine zombie experience… definitely worth seeking out for the geek in search of genuine scares and interesting takes on the sub-genre.”

As luck would have it, those of you in the UK can catch the movie on TV again in the early hours of Friday morning. It’s also available on DVD in various countries. Click here for more information.

The AUTUMN movie – UK TV showing

You can catch the AUTUMN movie starring Dexter Fletcher and David Carradine on The Horror Channel (Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 148) at 00:50 Friday 5 August.

Why not give it a go? This is the first time it has been shown in the UK since the book was re-released last October. Have people’s opinions changed since then? I’d be interested to hear…