Just arrived back from a genuinely new experience – BLOODLINES at de Montfort University/Phoenix Arts site in Leicester, UK: this was a two-day event sharing an academic platform (Thursday) with a day of films and discussions (Friday), all centred around the British horror scene. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the academia – don’t ask! – but some of the speakers included Jonathan Rigby (English Gothic), David Pirie (screenwriter) and various other notable horror academics speaking on a variety of topics, from incidental music in 70s horror films, to Freudianism in cinematic versions of Frankenstein and the cult appeal of Ingrid Pitt.
The second day was composed of screenings and I was lucky enough to see a rare and beautiful print of Desmond Hurst’s English-Expressionist take on Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart (1934) – a visually-striking film with much more in common with German cinema than British (and, in my humble non-academic opinion, a flawed queerist-reading introduction where a horror of illness and ageing could easily have provided a more dissident critique). It was also a privilege to have the one, the only Pete Walker introduce his film Frightmare (1974) and I had great fun listening to him – a true gent with a demented streak! Afterwards the seminal classic Blood On Satan’s Claw (1971) was introduced by its incredibly humble screenwriter Robert Wynne-Simmons with the welcome addition of some additional material in the end sequence. Also directors Jake West, Johannes Roberts and Steve Shiel participated in an interesting panel on the state of UK horror before Jake introduced his femme-zombie horror-comedy Doghouse (2009), with some insider info on what had been cut from the print – and why (note: film studios do not always, or even often have sound reasons for making cuts to footage…)
To conclude a packed but fun day, director Johannes Roberts (Forest of the Damned, When Evil Calls) returned to show a test screener of his new film, ‘F’ (2010). I’ll hold out on a full review as (should webmaster Al Sex Gore want such a thing) I’d like to offer a full review to the Sex Gore Mutants website but I will say this; I haven’t seen When Evil Calls but I have seen and liked the vampire-romp Forest of the Damned (although it is a standard horror pic). ‘F’ is a complete break in pace and tone and a hugely creditable, progressive piece of work – look out for my thoughts and if you get the chance, look out for the film.
Arrived back exhausted and with that otherworldly sense you get from prolonged cinema exposure – now, time to pass out!