In between writing, meetings and loads of other stuff, I’ve been catching up on a few movies I managed to miss over the last couple of years. THE MACHINE is a film I’d had my eye on since I saw it on the schedule of Grimmfest back in 2013. I finally got to see it last week, and I have to say, I was impressed. Stylish and smart, the film has an effortless Quatermass meets Blade Runner vibe which I couldn’t resist. Here’s a synopsis and the trailer. My thoughts follow:
Two computer programmers fall in love as they create the first ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence, which is designed to help humanity. But things go wrong when the MoD steal their breakthrough and teach it to become a robotic weapon.
A quick report back and a word of thanks to the organisers of Grimmfest for having Wayne and I along again this year. Although time restrictions meant we were only there on Sunday, we got to catch up with many fine folk and take in a couple of good movies: WITHER – a passable Swedish Evil Dead-esque tale and STALLED – one of the most original zombie movies I’ve seen in a long time (and yes, people are still making original zombie movies). I’ll get a full write-up of STALLED put together in the coming days. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Highlight of the day, though, was Wayne and I hosting a Q&A with Christian James and Richard Kerrigan (director and producer of STALLED), Paul Davis (director of THE BODY – a great little short) and Dominic Brunt (director of the magnificent BEFORE DAWN and a new short, SHELLSHOCKED). A lot of fun and an appreciative audience.
It’s always great to be at Grimm, and I heartily recommend you try and make next year’s festival if you can. There’s a very cool and relaxed atmosphere, a load of excellent films, and Sim, Steve, and the rest of the guys behind the event are passionate fans of (and contributors to) the horror genre. Watch for Sim’s second feature, WHITE SETTLERS coming soon. Keep an eye on www.grimmfest.com for details of next year’s festival and other screenings and events throughout the year.
Next up for me is SCARDIFF on 27 October at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff. I’ll be there all day, alongside a load of great guests including the mighty Bobby Rhodes – Tony the pimp in Lamberto Bava’s classic DEMONS. Ticket prices are held at £6.66 until 13 October, but get in quick because they’re selling fast. More details here at www.scardiff.co.uk.
I’ve just confirmed a couple of dates, so I thought now would be a good time to let you know about a few events I’ll be attending before the end of 2013.
GRIMMFEST – 3/10/13 – 6/10/13
Manchester’s brilliant international festival of horror and cult films again takes place at The Dancehouse Theatre this October. Another great collection of eclectic films are showing. Full information can be found at www.grimmfest.com, and I’ll be there on Sunday 6 October.
SCARDIFF 2013 – 27/10/13
A brand new horror event in Cardiff, organised by Fantasy Events, Shock Horror Magazine, and good friend Wayne Simmons. It takes place at the Mercure Holland Hotel, and I’ll be there all day. It promises a brilliant mix of guests and you can find much more information at Scardiff.co.uk.
AUTUMN: HORROR IN THE EAST 2 – 8/11/13 – 9/11/13
A return trip to Lowestoft – the spiritual home of the HATER books! – for this gem of a convention. Highly recommended. I’ll be there, and I hope many of you will be able to support this brilliant free event at the Aspire Centre. More information at www.horrorintheeast.com.
DAY OF THE UNDEAD – 16/11/13
Finally, it’s back to the Phoenix, Leicester for Terror4Fun’s 2013 Festival of Zombie Culture. Twelve hours of zombie movies, special effects, games, competitions… I don’t really need to say anything more! Details here at the Terror4Fun website.
The annual Grimm Up North festival in Manchester doesn’t receive sponsorship from film agencies, councils and the like. To help keep the festival alive, they’ve launched the Grimm Club. The cost for a years membership is only £10 (plus £3.50 p&p), and members will receive free gifts, regular newsletters and access to exclusive online material as well as discounted tickets for the festival and priority booking. Click the banner below to find out more.
You might remember me mentioning Iain McKinnon in my post about Grimmfest last month. I said you’d be hearing more about Iain, and here’s why: Permuted Press has just published his debut novel Domain of the Dead. I was honoured to be asked to write an introduction to the book, and you can see my endorsement on the cover above. It’s a great read – an exciting, fast-moving, traditional zombie novel with a cool cast and more than enough wild moments and flashes of originality and invention to keep even the most jaded fan of the Undead entertained this Christmas. As if that wasn’t enough, you can watch a trailer for the book (and an absolutely cracking zombie-short – The Dead Walk) over on Iain’s official website, www.domain-of-the-dead.com.
But if you want to see something REALLY scary, check out this picture of Iain and myself taken at Grimmfest when Iain was kind enough to host the post-screening AUTUMN Q&A session.
The Grimm Up North festival may be over for this year, but the organising team are already planning future events, so please check their website regularly.
They’ve just announced a few quick competitions to win merchandise that was donated by the guests, and you can get your hands on some signed books and T-shirts from me. To stand a chance of winning you’ll need to:
Just a quick, belated word about the Grimm Up North festival in Manchester last weekend.
It was a cracking event with a well-supported screening of Autumn taking place on the Sunday. Dickon Tolson (who plays Carl in the movie) was also there and the two of us sat down for a Q&A session after the showing. Huge thanks to fellow author Iain McKinnon (remember that name – more news about Iain coming in the next couple of weeks) for stepping in at the last moment and hosting the session. The Q&A was taped, and as soon as the footage surfaces I’ll post a link.
Thanks to the organisers of the event for showing Autumn and for inviting me along. Thanks to them also for shoving us in a room with a load of props from the workshop of legendary monster maker Bob Keen. As a horror geek it was very cool to be interviewed surrounded by bits of dead animal and severed limbs from Dog Soldiers, Cenobites from Hellraiser and the like…!
Special thanks to those fans who came along to see the film – I really appreciate your support and I hope you enjoyed the event. It was great to meet you all and to finally put faces to the names and email addresses!
Congratulations to the organising team for putting together a very successful weekend. Congratulations also to Carl Whiteley and the Zombie-Aid team for successfully breaking a few zombie-related records on the Sunday: a UK record for the number of people taking part in a Thriller dance, a double zombie wedding and, finally, taking the world record for the number of zombies in a shopping mall (beating even the world-famous Monroeville Mall immortalised in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead!). As we left the festival the streets of Manchester were filling with more than 1800 zombies – a very surreal experience! I thought I’d be getting used to the undead by now…?!
I can’t believe how quickly this year is going. Hope everyone had a good Halloween weekend. I certainly did, because I got to watch the AUTUMN movie on the big screen at Grimmfest! A full report will follow later this week…
In the meantime, a couple of new interviews are now available to listen to.
First off, Gregory Solis (author of Rise And Walk) put me in touch with Celina Andrade of Pirate Cat Radio in San Francisco and we spoke last week. You can download our conversation by clicking here…
Secondly, the final part of my interview with Vatikanet in Norway is available to listen to by clicking here.
Thanks to both Celina and Knut from Vatikanet for the great questions!
I’m planning to be there, along with Steven Rumbelow, the director of the movie. It would be excellent to meet as many of you who are going as possible so drop me a line if you’re planning to attend. It should be a cracking weekend with some great films being shown including Colin, The Descent Part 2 and many others still to be confirmed. On the Sunday the organisers are hoping to break the world zombie walk record with several thousand people staggering along the streets of Manchester! Oh, and I’m planning to be able to fit in a HATER book signing too.