Big hearted horror fans

There’s a really interesting new documentary being released next week about Video Nasties. For those of you who aren’t in the UK or are too young to remember, hundreds of horror movies were banned here in the 1980’s as a result of an over-zealous attempt to introduce censorship legislation to deal with the rapidly expanding (at the time) home video market. Back in the day, as I recall, the blame for pretty much everything deemed to be wrong with society was laid firmly on the shoulders of those sick and twisted individuals who produced and/or watched horror movies.

I mention Video Nasties to illustrate how we horror fans often get a lot of bad press, and it’s not fair! Just because we watch / film / write about the living dead, vampires, werewolves, serial killers, alien invasions etc., doesn’t mean we’re necessarily bad people! And here’s a little proof for you… two die-hard horror fans who are doing it all for charity.

Carl Whiteley is the driving force behind Zombie-Aid – an organisation which puts together a number of zombie walks throughout the UK each year. The Christmas number 1 is always a big deal over here, but this year Zombie-Aid is aiming for the first Halloween number 1 by launching a charity single (it’s already number 1 in the pre-order charts). Please click this link and spend a couple of minutes and £1.25 ordering the download. Not only is it for a good cause, but with enough supporters they’ve got a great chance of hitting number 1 on 31st October, and generating masses of publicity for future Zombie-Aid events. (By the way, the Manchester Zombie Walk takes place during the Grimm Up North Festival. For a full festival programme, click here.)

Lyle Perez-Tinics is best known around these parts as the brains behind the Undead in the Head book review site. Lyle has turned editor for his charity effort, a new zombie anthology book: The Undead That Saved Christmas. As well as an introduction from SG Browne (Breathers), it includes a stack of original zombie tales and comics. All profit will be used to provide Christmas presents for foster kids at the Hugs Foster Family Agency.

Please support both Carl and Lyle’s projects. As horror fans, we may well have black, cold hearts, but these two are showing that they’re in the right place!

Grimm Up North

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…?!

Did you see the film, either at Grimmfest or on TV? Why not click here and add your thoughts to the discussions on the forum?