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A new novella is being published to commemorate the centenary year of the birth of British actor Peter Cushing. The book is written by Stephen Volk, the well known scriptwriter who penned screenplays for Ken Russell's 1986 Gothic, the BBC's controversial Ghostwatch in 1992, and the 2011 supernatural thriller The Awakening. The story is titled Whitsable, the name of the seaside resort where Cushing spent the last years of his life and mixes fiction and fact. The fictional part is an account of how the actor, famous for his screen portrayals of vampire hunter Professor Van Helsing, is approached by a small boy who is convinced that his stepfather is one of the undedad.
The UK's leading horror novelist James Herbert passed away on March 20th. Herbert, who was often referred to as 'The English Stephen King,' was one of the precursors of a grittier and gorier horror novel. His first books Rats (1974) and The Fog (1975) left an indelible impression on a generation of teenaged horror fans and his subsequent books were all highly popular bestsellers. A number of his books were adapted for the big and small screens, but failed to acheive the same acclaim as the novels they were based on. Following film versions of The Survivor (1981), Deadly Eyes (based on The Rats, 1982), Fluke (1995) and Haunted (1995), last year saw the final Herbert story adaptation to date with the BBC's three part mini-series The Secret Of Crickley Hall.
During Halloween 1992 the BBC aired a TV programme that provoked in viewers something akin to the hysteria unleashed on October 30th 1938 by the Orson Welles radio adaptation of H.G.Wells' War Of The Worlds, when hundreds of panicked listeners really believed that a Martian invasion was underway. The television programme in question, Ghostwatch, purported to be a live transmission from a team of reporters investigating poltergeist activity in a notorious haunted house, intercut with links to the studio in which a moderator (renowned chat show host Michael Parkinson), a psychic researcher and other guests discussed the existence or otherwise of the paranormal. As the broadcast progressed, frightening events unfolded in the house, strange occurences started happening in the studio and 'viewers' started phoning in to report simultaneous supernatural happenings in their own homes. The 'live-reality/ mockumentary' format was so convincing that thousands of frightened and irate viewers blocked the actual BBC switchboards for several hours.In the following days an eighteen year old with learning difficulties commited suicide, reputedly as a direct consequence of viewing the programme, and a number of children were also treated for post-traumatic stress disorder after watching the show. Ghostwatch has never been repeated on British TV (although it was released on DVD by the BFI some years ago).
In 2008 a YouTube channel was launched to collate viewers' memories of watching the original broadcast, an idea which became the genesis for a proposed documentary detailing the development, pre-production and making of the programme and the subsequent nationwide furore. Now, at last, the documentary is finished and available on DVD. With a running time of 90 minutes the programme includes exclusive interviews with key cast and crew members. To see a trailer and for more information go to:http://www.lawmanproductions.co.uk/
In The Flesh is a new mini-series commissioned by BBC 3, comprising three ninety minute episodes narrating the problems faced by Luke Newberry, a rehabiltated teenage zombie, and the challenges that he and his family have to meet in an effort to come to terms with this completely new medical condition - known as Partially Deceased Syndrome- and with the prejudices of society at large towards PDS sufferers.Written by Dominic Mitchell, the show is directed by Jonny Campbell and stars Kieren Walker as Luke and Kenneth Cranham as 'Vicar Oddie'.
More information at :http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/intheflesh/
JInx Media, the British micro-budget horror movie production company founded by Pat Higgins in 2003, has pulled off a seemingly impossible feat. Not only have they produced half a dozen cheap but inventive genre movies over the course of the last decade but they have also managed to sell their films all around the world, while picking up rave reviews and awards at genre festivals along the way.
Since the first film Trashhouse achieved the distinction of becoming probably the lowest budget production ever to appear on the shelves of a major high street video chain back in 2004, the company, fronted by Pat and his producer wife Pippa, have made and marketed the 'romantic comedy with people getting their mouths sewn up' Hellbride, the slasher movie with a BIG difference Killer Killer, and a chilling mockumentary titled The Devil's Music. More recently they co-produced the horror anthologies Bordello Death Tales and Nazi Zombie Death Tales.
In January 2013, during the Horror-On-Sea festival held in Southend, Pat gave a highly informative (and amusing) talk about the trials and tribuations of ultra low budget film making in the UK. JInx have made the video of this show, titled" Werewolves, Cheerleaders And Chainsaws", available to view for free online "as a thank-you for 10 years of support from the horror filmmaking community'.
More info about Jinx Media and the video at: http://jinx.co.uk/