Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween Fiends!!! 'Halloween Night Terror' Fan Film Exclusive!

Well it's that time of year again, pumpkins have been carved, we have donned our most frightening costumes and took to the streets in our masses to ring in Halloween. Today we ask all of you 'Trick or Treat?' and our reply is treat, you wouldn't want our tricks!! So without further ado lets share with you today's post.....


"I've heard of kids trick r' treating, but this takes the mick! Have they been letting the loonies out for the night too? - Jack

In this latest addition to 'The Halloween Chronicles' collection, the mythos of cinema's infamous boogeyman, Michael Myers, expands and proves that on All Hallow's Eve, no-one is safe from the madman's grasp!

It is Halloween night in the state of Russellville, a few miles from the notorious Haddonfield, and resident, Jack Dennant (Ernest Vernon), wants nothing more than to forget all about the ghouls, ghosts & glowing pumpkins that line his street outside. But having turned some festive visitors away from his door chastised and empty handed, little does Jack realise, the festival of Samhain has one last deadly trick to play....

...on October 31st, HE makes the rules...


Written and Directed by Dave Hastings and filmed on location in the West Midlands, England, in association with Lightbeam Productions and Pat the Bull Films 'Halloween Night Terror' brings back psychopath Michael Myers, and on the most part pulls off a great effort compared to some of the 'Halloween' fan films we have seen in the past. The film is brought to life with a musical score written especially for the piece by James Callaghan of the Basement Film Group, Dudley, and gives the film that extra fear and dread that audiences would expect from a John Carpenter movie score. Aesthetically, the most striking element is how 'Halloween Night Terror' captures the iconic 80's feel of the orginal 'Halloween' movie. The end of the film delivers a great message which any viral ad's campaign would be proud of!! Bravo

We caught up with Dave Hastings Writer and Director recently who told us this about the project:-

It was made for the official website and their now defunct fan film competition which was pulled and cancelled at the last minute, which was gutting not only for our crew and cast, but also others who had made films for the competition. The good side of it is that we were definitely through to the final voting stage, so we’d been selected by the competition makers before it all fell through, which is a great feeling. And since it’s been online, we’ve had some lovely support and comments made about how its scared people, and how fans have enjoyed the storyline, and how we went back to the idea of Michael Myers/The Shape stalking on All Hallow’s Eve, pushing him back into the mysterious silent shadowy figure from the original classic Halloween. We just hope people continue to enjoy it. It was made by fans for fans.

We would just like to thank Dave and the rest of the team for giving us the opportunity to view 'Halloween Night Terrors' and look forward to sharing more of their work with all our fiends here at The Evil Eye.

Follow the team behind the short at the following links:-

Adam 'Evil Eye' Cutler

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Chernobyl Diaries Review

Horror – Starring Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Dimitri Diatchenko, Olivia Dudley, Devin Kelley, Jesse McCartney, Nathan Phillips, Jonathan Sadowski. Written by Oren Peli, Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke. Directed by Bradley Parker (2012)

Three young Americans – love birds Natalie and Chris, and photographer Amanda – are travelling through Europe. In Kiev, they met up with Chris’s brother Paul, en route to Moscow. Only, they never make it to Moscow, instead the four friends are joined by two other travellers, Zoe and Michael, and together they head off for a spot of ‘Extreme Tourism’ to Pripyat, the town close to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Led by a tour guide, Uri, the intrepid travellers discover that the supposed abandoned town is anything but.

I admit to being hopeful but with modest expectations as I sat down to watch Chernobyl Diaries. The movie opens promisingly with video footage of Natalie (Olivia Dudley), Chris (Jesse McCartney) and Amanda (Devin Kelley) enjoying their tour of Europe, before joining Chris’s brother Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) in Kiev. The opening sets up the relationships between the four main characters nicely, and – when Chris confides in Paul that he is going to ask Natalie to marry him when they reach Moscow – makes it quite clear what the characters stand to lose when the radioactive horror strikes.

The acting is good, the characters are likeable, the film has a modern, energetic feel and is well shot … buuuuuut … I couldn’t help feeling like I had seen it all before, only in a different setting. Dumb kids making dumb decisions … Who wants to go to Moscow as planned … aaaaand who wants to head to the creepy old town that has been abandoned for 25 years with Uri (Dimitri Diatchenko) the ‘Extreme Tour Guide’ in his dodgy old van? And the breaking of horror’s cardinal sins does not end there … the group – now joined by young couple Zoe (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and Michael (Nathan Phillips) – proceed to ignore warnings from the check point guards to stay away from the town, and, when finding themselves stranded in the town after the van is sabotaged, do annoying things like split up and head off into the deep dark woods to ‘investigate’.

One by one, the group are picked off by unseen foes, discovering mutant flesh eating fish, wild dogs and a ‘radioactive bear from Hell’ along the way. There is limited gore, but there is tension and it really isn’t a bad film. I don’t have anything terrible to say about it. But it offers nothing new to the genre and, for me, failed to reach its potential. I found myself on the verge of fear a couple of times but the movie didn’t deliver and my fear subsided, or, like reactor number 4, it ‘became one with the air’, in other words, my fear vaporised.

Seeing as I started with modest expectations, I can honestly say I wasn’t left overly disappointed … just a little uninspired.

Rating:- 3 out of 5
By Lisa Richardson

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Snuggle Bun Takes on the Walking Dead S3:E1 "Seed"

Season 3 of 'The Walking Dead' has arrived and to coincide with this epic event we have been given the privilege of sharing with you all 'The Snuggle Buns' thoughts on each episode courtesy of our friends over at NerdtopiaCast.  So fasten your seat belts, pull up a chair and get ready for the weekly Videocast ride into 'The Walking Dead' world!

Thanks again to 'The Snuggle Bun' and remember to check back each week for more Walking Dead action!

If you enjoyed this video review please support the people who made it happen here:-

Adam 'Evil Eye' Cutler

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What's On? A Fright To Remember - A Halloween Horror All-Nighter

This weekend in the heart of the Black Country, England, The Public Arts Centre, West Bromwich plays host to 'A Fright to Remember' A Halloween all-nighter in association with Scream Horror Magazine. The event kicks off on Saturday 27th October at 7:30pm and rolls on until 7:30am the next morning, so plenty of gore, scares and fun for all horror fans out there!!

There will be plenty going on over the 12 hour scaretastic event, check out the schedule here:-

19:30 - Short Film Showcase

Ella – (Dan Gitsham, 2011, 8mins)

Bobby Yeah - (Robert Morgan, 2012, 23 minutes)

Employee of the Month - (Olivier Beguin, 2011, Switzerland, 14mins)

Nursery Crimes - (Laura Whyte, 2010, UK, 3mins)

20.45 - Local Feature Screening:
DEADTIME (Dir Tony Jopia) (2012) (18)

DEMONS (1985) (Dir Lamberto Bava) (18)


Live performance by BIRDEATSBABY

GRAVE ENCOUNTERS (2011) (15) (Dir The Vicious Brothers)

Selected by SCREAM HORROR MAGAZINE – THE BEYOND (1981) (18) (Dir Lucio Fulci)

***Free round of espressos if you make it this far!***

Pick the final film of the evening/morning!

Simply choose your favourite from the shortlist below.

You can vote by emailing, tweeting, or posting your vote on the wall of The Public’s Facebook page!

CUBE – An ingenious thriller in which 7 strangers find themselves locked in a sadisitic puzzle.

ZOMBIELAND – Tips on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Contains a priceless cameo!

SCREAM – A self-referential touchstone of 90’s horror, in reverence to the slasher genre.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN – Crime caper turns vampiric all-nighter in the blink of an eye; grindhouse before Grindhouse, from Robert Rodrigez and Quentin Tarantino.

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – More motivation for staying awake all night!

£17.50 (Admission Only)
£20.00 (Includes Pizza)

This event is a true feast for all horror fans! For more information and to book tickets check out the links below:-

Book Tickets      Facebook      Twitter 

Adam 'Evil Eye' Cutler

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Heart-Shaped Box Book Review author Joe Hill

This week 'The Grumbling Gargoyle' gives us her thoughts on the extremely chilling novel Heart-Shaped Box penned by the hand of Joe Hill who just so happens to be Stephen King's son!

Judas Coyne is an aging death-metal rock legend with a penchant for collecting the macabre. Anything from cookbooks for cannibals to snuff films! Each of these strange and sinister artifacts serve to enhance his Goth/Rock image...and his fans love it! But his latest acquisition, purchased from the internet for a thousand dollars, is about to become the most dreadful and disturbing of all within his gruesome collection.

It arrives at his door in a black heart-shaped box. A musty old suit which used to rest upon the ancient frame of its deceased owner...and still the form of his malevolent, lingering spirit. Now wherever Judas Coyne goes so does the old man, a gleaming razor blade dangling from a chain suspended between his long dead fingers...watching...waiting...wanting more than just a place to haunt!

I need to get this off my chest...( no...not the hair before you ask!...I’ll wax that later )...It’s this: Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King. Why am I telling you this? Well for two reasons...1) You’ll find out in a moment...2) It’s my review and as such it pleases me to do so. I thank you for your patience. You see, the crux of the matter is this, it boils my blood when I read reviews regarding this author and so many compare his work to that of his father. Indeed one particular reviewer bought Heart-Shaped Box solely because Stephen King was Joe Hill’s father as he ‘always enjoyed reading King’s novels’ whilst another reviewer avoided Hill’s work because he was the son of Stephen King!!!! Unbelievable!! Maybe I’m mistaken here but from what I gather Hill + King, despite one’s relation to the other, are not conjoined! They share the same DNA not the same body!...not even the same pen!...(ok I’m not sure about the latter but I strongly suspect I am right about this).

The entire notion of such a comparison is ridiculous! Look at it this way. Apparently S. King’s father, Donald Edwin King, was a merchant seaman whom, when Stephen was two years of age, went out for a packet of cigarettes...and never came back, very sad I’m sure, but at a later date, did anyone in the King family freak out if S. King mentioned ‘popping out to the shops for some fags’ just in case he went all ‘Daddy Donald’ on them? Exactly!..Why would they? In essence, to those it may concern, would you simply please drop the ‘by association’ and other such preconceptions and enjoy the authors work in its own right, as a product of his individuality?...if not for the sake of Joe Hill, for the sake of all the poor sods reading this lengthy rant! Thus this Grumbling Gargoyle drops her case for the persecution!

Now for the really important stuff! This is one of the most chilling books I have ever read. The fear factor is extremely prevalent throughout. The terror doesn’t manifest itself in the form of gore or visceral carnage, for me a skilled writer doesn’t always need such gruesome embroidery to captivate an audience, Hill has you shivering and twitching and looking over your shoulder because the atmosphere he creates and cloaks you within is so palpably creepy!

There is a particular scene which, without giving any of the story away, still makes my flesh crawl to this very day...and given that it’s some time since I last read Heart-Shaped Box, for such emotional residue to remain within a an outstanding achievement for any author. I’m still not giving anything away when I tell you you read of the razor dangling from the chain held between the corpsed fingers of the deceased, the description is so well written, so graphic, so mentally menacing that the reader is lost inside the moment, struck by a surrounding silence as the readers own heart races against the pendulous rhythm of the blade as it swings back and forth...slashing through sense and sanity!

Characters are well developed, believable and infused with memorable personalities. Such as with Judas Coyne whom, despite being a rising superstar, is a damaged and complex individual who exists in a very dark place where the spotlight of stardom is quickly swallowed by the shadows of his despair. Georgia, his girlfriend, plays a good part too as his resolute companion battling alongside him to stay alive and exorcise the vicious spirit intent upon their destruction. Oh and you’ll also meet two very important star players...Angus and Bon...Judas’s dogs...who are definitely worthy of more than a few doggy treats given the ordeals they are subjected to!

So there you have it...Heart-Shaped Box...prepare yourself for a hair raising, sleepless night...I for one have had to brush my chest hair down a few times and I’m only providing the review!

Definite 5 out of 5
The Grumbling Gargoyle

Friday, 19 October 2012

USMZ, Interview with the zombie web comic creator Roman Montes de Oca

USMZ, a free zombie web comic, is the work of Roman Montes de Oca, a US artist who cites the legends HR Giger and Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell comic book creator, Alan Moore as his influences. We have had the great pleasure of talking with Roman about his work, his inspirations, future plans and zombies.

We are big fans of USMZ at The Evil Eye, what inspires your artwork?

My past experiences, and just life itself.

Were you interested in art from a young age?

Yes. I remember drawing on paper bags from the grocery store because we couldn't afford paper. The only reason I looked forward to school was for the art supplies. It's something that's always been with me.

What mediums do you work in?

As in all forms of art, creativity simply has no limits. I enjoy the mechanical, and geometric shades of drawing, but have recently explored painting, as well as sculpting. I enjoy the free flowing abstract nature of creating something from my hands.

How would you describe your style?

I haven't been in the field long enough to say I have a style yet. The dark undertones definitely speak for themselves. I'd say it's old school comic art mixed in with some modern horror themed genres as well.

Where did the idea for the comic come from, and have you always had an interest in writing?

I left for deployment to Somalia as a young Marine in 94', not knowing what to expect once I came back. (This was before texting, Skype, and all these Internet social networking sites, so contact with the outside world was rare.) I couldn't wait to come back home, to paradise. I kept imagining coming back on a ship to a red sea of blood, with the strange smell of death in the air, and off in the distant horizon of home, nothing but pain and destruction. And so the embryonic stage of USMZ came to life (or from the dead). I've always considered myself story teller more than a writer, and have always wanted to tell my stories ever since I could remember staying up late on school nights watching countless horror movie after another.

What does USMZ stand for?

I don't want to give away too much, but it's a secret that will be revealed later on in the series. Let the suspense continue.

Why zombies?

Zombies are the closest horror creature to humans. It's a representation of ourselves, and horrible potential invested in us all when we lose control. To think that our neighbors, family, and friends can turn to something with so much rage and power and yet still retain human like qualities, is horrifying. We fear what we do not know, and what greater fear than ourselves?

What is your favourite zombie film?

The original 'Dawn Of The Dead', to me, was ground breaking in the sense that it showed us how quickly such an epidemic can spread. It showed us the reality of how delicate our social psyche is when pushed to the brink of extinction. We crumble.

What are your future plans with the comic?

I plan on getting to issue 10 on the hard copies of USMZ, and then see where I go from there. As far as my web comic, I plan on continuing to release a new page once a week to show some deeper cuts of the USMZ story. I also have a few rough drafts for story lines that don't contain zombies. Zombies are my passion, but telling a good dark story is what I love to do best.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Roman, and we look forward to following USMZ’s progress.

You can follow Roman and USMZ at the following links:-

Interview by Lisa Richardson

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

'We're Alive' Zombie Podcast Review

Calling all zombies, our Pod-Master General is back this week with his thoughts on Wayland Productions zombie-tastic Podcast 'We're Alive'

Halloween is sneaking its wicked way towards us and, as it peeks its bleary and bloodshot eyes over last years headstones we thought, here in the basement of Evil-Eye towers, that it was time we showed you all some serious entertainment of the ghastly kind. By giving you a special dedicated to this particular podcast, that is exactly what we intend to do. 

I, myself, have a lot of love to give Wayland Productions. Cross that out. Start again. I have a LOT of love to give Wayland Productions. The entire Product that they deliver, from the well crafted Podcast to the beautifully set up Webpage, is handled with verve, humour and the utmost of professionalism. The whole thing is an absolute gem. Still, let’s not get over-excited. Everybody has their faults, don’t they? Yes, even at Wayland Productions they do. I mean, sometimes it takes them a whole two weeks to bring us as Podcast of such quality. Which means I have to wait that long with baited breath for the next episode. The swines.

So. Let us take this piece by piece. The writing on their podcast is top quality story telling containing, as it does, character arcs, chapter arcs, series arcs and, above all, the complete story arc. All of these threads are woven seamlessly into, through and even beyond each other. We often find stories that we thought were over, characters that we thought were dead, situations we had considered solved re-appearing. You know, just like in real life. It is this that I find enthrals me so much, keeps me in a state of suspended disbelief and something that a lot of television shows, films and even quite a few novels would do well to learn from.

The special effect and the score are both handled with equal aplomb. From the chaos and explosive resonations that come from being in the centre of an all out fire-fight all the way down to the creepy mood music of walking the halls of an ‘Empty’ apartment block. Everything fits. Everything is right. I can now, by ear, tell the difference between certain types of guns. I do not believe that that its something I could have picked up ANY where else.

The extremely fine actors are, from day one, firmly and wonderfully entrenched in their characters. One of the problems, in the past, with anything to do with purely audio entertainment is that the characters tended to get lost in the mix and started to blend into each other after a certain amount of time. Not here though. In ‘We’re Alive’ each and every character stands out like a fire in the darkness. I hear a split second of their speech and I know who they are and in what situation the story last left them. This is partially to do with the, as has been noted, excellent writing but has far, far more to do with the sheer vocal abilities of the actors involved.

On set with the 'We're Alive' cast

The Webpage itself is also a whole step above average. The homepage is set out to look like a lined paper exercise scrap-book. The same lined paper exercise scrap-book that each of the initial survivors are given near the beginning of series one in which to keep notes about their lives and about the enemy. It is just as blood spattered and worn as you would expect after all of this time (’We’re Alive’ has just celebrated its hundredth episode) and from here you have access to the release schedules, News, The story so far (Which I do not recommend reading unless you enjoy all of the spoilers that they have to give) and the usual ever present Forum. 

The level of detail that they have gone into is astounding. There is the Gallery with its cover art, production photos and even off-set photos. There are Promo photos of some of the characters, Fan art and even a shop where you can buy stickers, t-shirts and more. This is not just a Podcast - this is a complete, living, breathing lifestyle.

The 'We're Alive' Team

Did I say living and breathing? Yes, I did. The folk at Wayland Productions even take their show on the road for a few lucky folk out there. If that is not enough of a surprise there is even a companion podcast called ‘We’re Not Dead’ where the cast and crew are interviewed and questions from both the forum and from e-mails can be asked directly to the makers or even to just the public in general.

Sorry? What? You don’t even know what the Podcast is about yet? Okay. Lock and load. You’re gonna need it.

Wayland Productions: We’re Alive Synopsis
For Army Reserve Soldier Michael Cross, the world as he knew it ended in an instant. One minute he’s in college, and in the next, rioters are roaming the highway around him, breaking into cars, and literally tearing people apart. This is the day the dead walk. This is the world of We’re Alive.

We’re Alive: Features chapters packing performances and sound effects that rival movies and prove that modern audio drama is undead and well. Join our survivors as they band together, struggle to fortify a safe haven known as the Tower, and discover that zombies are far from the worst thing in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles where the rules of human decency no longer apply.

Little food. Little water. Little hope. Who is lucky enough to say “We’re Alive?”  

We’re Alive Review
Zombies, zombies, zombies. Whether you love them, loathe them or just enjoy unloading a twelve gauge into their giggly jiggly faces you have to admit that they are just not going to go away. Not only are they not going away, they are evolving, at least if  ‘We’re Alive’ has anything to say about it. More akin to the creatures found in ‘World-war Z’ and to ‘The Resident Evil’ games and films, these zombies are faster than humans, violent in the extreme (at the beginning), and, in perhaps the greatest change yet, able to plan and execute traps. That’s right. The current thinking in the show is that smart people become smart zombies. Whether this is an actual fact or not is a different matter. We only have the survivors notebooks and stories to go on, after all, but since we are there personally when they execute one of their plans, and we see and hear the carnage it causes, we know for certain that SOME of them not only plan - they plan well.

Worried yet? Looking to your window in the hope that you WON’T see a face peering in at you? No? Well, that is not all. They evolve. Some become behemoths, some become small scuttlers. Or so we are led to believe. You see…and here I place a spoiler alert of my own. Some of the later ones are discovered to have numbers tattooed onto their skin. The tattoo is always in the same place and it is always on the toughest, fastest, smartest and most virulent of the zombies. It looks for all the world like some-one is building an army of the infected.

Seriously…if you have not started listening to podcasts yet then here is THE place to start. If you are a fan of horror. If you are a fan of zombies. (Especially those fans of  ‘The Walking Dead’) If you are a fan of ANY well written story of any kind. Then get this podcast.

If you want to know exactly how confusing and worrying it is to have guns of all calibres going off in the middle of a fire-fight, if you want to feel the burn of worry as you wonder whether to hide or run, if you want to see pictures of zombies that are far better than anyone could ever re-produce for you (The pictures in YOUR mind) Then get this podcast.

If you want to give yourself THE most perfect present for the up and coming Halloween THEN. GET. THIS. PODCAST.  Rating 5/5

iTunes Download

Review by Peter G Staff (Pod-Master General)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Through The Looking Glass, Interview with Writer/Director Craig Griffith

Horror/Psychological Thriller - Starring Paul McCarthy, Jonathan Rhodes, Mike Langridge, Ros Povey. Producers Craig Griffith, William Charles & May Gwen. Executive Producers Mike Pringle & Mark Stevenson. Written and Directed by Craig Griffith.

Through the Looking Glass Synopsis
The Artist lives alone in a foreboding old house in the country. Once prolific he is now a desperate man at odds with his work and unable to paint. When he discovers a mysterious package left on his doorstep The Artist finds a strange mirror within and soon becomes wracked by horrific visions. Beguiled by the mirror his work becomes fuelled by the visions as he paints like never before. However, disturbing things soon begin to happen to him and those who enter the house. Escalating with each vision, with each brush stroke the mirror’s grip on The Artist tightens. Can The Artists untangle himself from the mirror's creeping influence before it is too late?


When we heard about a dark psychological horror that had been filmed here in the UK, in a real haunted house which is over 1000 years old and is even mentioned in the Doomsday book, we stood up and took notice! 

Craig Griffith, Writer/Director of 'Through The Looking Glass', talked to us recently about the movie and what it was like to film in such a daunting yet intriguing environment. So pull up a chair, turn out the lights and read the fascinating interview here:-

Thank you for joining us today Craig to talk about your film Through the Looking Glass. 
It’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

For those people who haven’t seen ‘Through the Looking Glass’ how would you describe it? 
Through The Looking Glass is a horror of the mind. A dark psychological thriller, challenging, thoughtful and atmospheric.  It’s a haunted house movie that explores the nature of obsession and how it can lead to a downward spiral of destruction. 
It started as an experiment with the idea being we lock ourselves into a real haunted house and improvise around the script depending on the way the environment influenced us. I thought if we were to put ourselves through the same experience that The Artist goes through and see where it led us this would inform the story and give the film an authenticity…but hopefully without the same horrific outcome.
I was really keen to make a film where things have to be worked for. I’ve always trusted that the audience is smart enough to work things out for themselves without everything having to be signposted, where things are hinted at allowing them to interpret for themselves. Of course this makes the film a hard sell as it’s not all blood splashes and big-breasted girls running around places we all know they shouldn’t be. It’s not an easy ride and there is no neat little package tying up all of the strands at the end. It’s ambiguous and left open to interpretation. That to me is scarier than “There’s a chase and then they kill the monster.” 
We do a lot of things in the film that you wouldn’t normally do, things designed to make the audience feel uncomfortable and disturbed. All to create a creeping sense of dread, so it gets under your skin as it goes along like the films that disturb me as a kid. The film is challenging and it doesn’t always make sense but all of that is on purpose to put the audience right in there with the characters so they feel what the characters feel and experience the disjointed nature of madness and fear. To create a film that stays with them long after it’s finished.
Don't look into the mirror
Who or what was your inspiration when writing ‘Through the Looking Glass’
I’ve always been more interested in horrors of the mind than blood and guts. Don’t get me wrong I love a good slasher flick but I find them funny in the same way as a roller coaster, they’re not really scary, they just make you jump. I’ve always preferred films that leave things to the imagination. Films that disturb you, that stay with you. Anyone can think up gruesome ways of killing characters or outlandish monsters but nothing is as scary as what the audience invents themselves. If I show you a monster some people will be scared, some won’t but if I leave it up to you, you’re going to scare the shit out of yourself. And that’s the great thing about horror as a genre, we all bring our own bag of fears to the table and that’s half my job done. All I have to do is suggest something and the audience will fill in the blanks. I’m more interested in the hint of terror. 
To me JAWS is the scariest film until you see the rubber shark. It’s the same with the first half of THEM. It’s the aftermath of the horror and the sound of the giant ants on the wind that stays with you. That’s what I love about films like ALIEN and THE THING it’s all about wracking up the tension with these slow tracking shots before the quick fire scares. It’s about creating an atmosphere, an oppressive tone. Ha, of course you could never accuses THE THING of leaving things to the imagination but it works because of the tension and paranoia more than the monster. 
The most inspiring aspect of these films is the way they use sound. It is such an important element and it so often gets forgotten about. Look at Robert Wise’ THE HAUNTING now there’s a real exercise in using sound to terrify. He knows that the audience is smart enough not to have to be shown every little thing, just compare it to the CGI-fest remake and there’s just no comparison. You don’t see anything in the original and yet it’s still a really scary movie even now. Films such as that, THE SHINING, THE EXORCIST and THE RING are psychologically disturbing and a lot of that comes from the sound and camera angles creating a tone and that’s what I was after. It was really that idea of using those elements to create the terror. 
The stately home used in the feature, Compton House in Devon is billed as one of the most haunted houses in the UK, did you have any strange experiences whilst filming there? 
Too many to count. To be honest there was a fair amount of practical jokes being played by everyone so it’s hard to know what was real and what wasn’t. We were all letting off steam but things did happen that none of us could really explain. 
One of the strangest things happened in the attics where the set of The Artist's studio was built. It was about 3 in the morning and we’re in the middle of the scene where The Artist is first influenced by the mirror. Suddenly all the power goes dead and we’re left there sitting in the dark. At first we think it’s a joke or that someone has accidentally turned the power off down stairs. So we shout down for them to turn it back on and we wait…and wait. The thing is the camera is also dead, which is strange as it’s battery operated. So we swap the battery and still nothing. By this point we’re all a little freaked and then suddenly I get this tingling sensation, the strangest feeling as if someone has put their hand on my head and I just…bolt. I mean I run, along with the rest of the crew in tow and we don’t stop until we got downstairs. Bizarrely the power was all on down there and everything was normal. We decide that there was no way anyone is going back up that night. So we switch the power off, lock everything up and go to bed. Next morning we find the camera in standby with a pretty much fully charged battery, but this is the weird part everything we had filmed the previous night hasn’t gone to tape. The tape had run through the camera, it’s all timecoded properly but there’s simply no image. 20 mins of fuzz with perfect timecode. I’ve used that camera for a long time and it’s never done anything like that before or since. I still can’t explain it. 
It was like that all the time. There wasn’t a day went by without at least one of us experiencing something out of the ordinary. I remember on another occasion we were on lunch, well when I say lunch it was actually midnight but for us it was lunch. I’m stood in the courtyard with Paul our lead actor. The yard is surrounded by stables that have been converted into office space. Suddenly Paul spots a green glow up in the windows so we check it out thinking someone’s left a laptop on. We go into the room and it’s empty, no laptop, no lights nothing. And that sort of thing quickly became normal for us. Lights switching off, doors slamming shut, props turning up in different rooms. We got to the point where we started to ignore it otherwise you’d just spend all your time running around like the GHOSTBUSTERS instead of filming. 
You know talking about these things now when it’s a nice sunny day outside the window they just sound crazy but when you’re there in that house, in the dark and the cold it’s much harder to rationalize. I’m sure most of it is down to the group dynamic or some kind of mass hysteria but if you ask me if there were ghosts in that house or if ghosts are real? I have no idea but I do know from my experiences things happened, things that I just can’t explain. 
Compton House (still from 'Through the Looking Glass')
Did you have Compton House in mind when you wrote the feature? 
Yes absolutely. The house actually belonged to a friend of mine. We met at film school and we shot a short film there, one of those horrible student films about relationships going wrong. It was a fantastic location and had real character and I always thought the house would be the perfect place for a horror film. The house is amazing and has been there in one form or another for nearly a thousand years, it’s even mentioned in the Domesday Book. From a design point of view it was ideal, we really didn’t have to do much as the house was actually being used as a butterfly farm at the time and was full of the most weird and wonderful things which of course all ended up as props in the film lending the environments an authentic atmosphere that we could never have recreated in a studio even if we had had the money which of course we didn’t. To be honest when you’ve got a location as great as that house you really don’t need a lot of money to make a great looking film.

Do you think filming in a haunted house fuelled the atmosphere of the movie? 
Without a doubt. With it’s bizarre, decayed rooms the house was a perfect fit for visually representing what was going on in the head of The Artist. It’s such a character in its own right and I always strived to get that across. The thing I’m most proud of about the film is how incredibly atmospheric it is. There is a real sense of dread to it all and that really comes from the feeling within the house. The tension in there is palpable and it never lets up. All I had to do was get that on tape. In fact after a few nights of filming we began to take our breaks in the family graveyard next to the house because it didn’t feel as scary even at midnight. We used to joke that we’d rather take our chances with the ghost outside than be cooped up with the ones inside. It’s a strange place to lock yourself into and if you were to ask me why anyone would do it I really couldn’t answer you. But without that house the film wouldn’t be half of what it is. 
Interior, Compton House (still from 'Through the Looking Glass')
You spent a long time in Compton House during the shoot, did this take its toll on the crew? 
Man, that crew was the best in the world. I know everyone says that but it’s true for all the shit I put them through. I mean I made them live in a haunted house with no hot water, no heating, it was the middle of February and we were all living in one room, sleeping on camp beds averaging 3 hours sleep a night. That’s hardcore. The paint was peeling off the walls, the wallpaper stained and torn, windows cracked, dead insects everywhere and a permanent dust cloud. So it was by no means a glamorous experience but no one ever complained, not once. 
The shoot was the most surreal time, it really was. It was unlike anything any of us had ever been involved with. It was just amazing to take this hardened cynical film crew down to that house and watch them fall apart. We were shooting mostly at night and clocking up 18 hour days so everyone was pretty wired but in a really great way. We were all there to make the best film we could and no one let their ego get in the way. I’ve never worked with such a dedicated, giving crew. We all felt it was a unique experience and something special to be a part of. But you can only work like that for so long. We were all extremely exhausted both physically and emotionally and the way you cope with that is humour, there was a lot of laughing, most of it nervous to be honest. To remove yourself from the real world and lock yourself up in a haunted house, it’s not normal is it? So you laugh or you go mad. We were going from being terrified one minute to laughing hysterically the next. There was a real buzz on that crew, everyone just bonded in a way I’ve never seen before and I put that down to being in that house. If we’d shot in a studio I don’t think it would have been the same. 
That house had a profound effect on people. Although we were working really hard there wasn’t a single argument. Instead all that tension came out in people questioning all sorts of things to do with life and death and everything else in between. It was great you’d hear all these debates going on about all manner of things on what it means to be alive, things you wouldn’t normally hear on a film shoot. The crew was asking some very deep questions.  
On a personal level I took to walking around talking to the ghosts, telling them what we were doing. Everywhere you went you felt like someone was always there and so for me it was a way of justifying the oppressive feeling I constantly had. In that kind of environment you really stop acting rationally and the odd things become normal. I never believed in ghosts before that house, now I’m not so sure. I saw and heard too many weird things for it all to just be practical jokes or the wind banging an upstairs window. 
After a while we all got used to it but then whenever a new crew member would join us you could see how weird it all was. We’d end up taking bets on how long before something spooked them. It was brilliant they’d come in all sure of themselves and you could guarantee within a few hours that place would get to them. There’s just this sense that you are being watched everywhere you go. You just can’t escape it. It got so bad that certain people couldn’t even be on their own; even while going to the toilet. So yeah it did take it’s toll. 
Paul McCarthy - The Artist
Was it always your intention not to give the characters in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ names? 
I could give you some convoluted answer here about how very clever or ironic I was being but I actually can’t remember how that came about. I was probably being too lazy to think up some decent names. I had a list but none of them felt right. I even toyed with the idea of giving the characters the actors’ names but that really is the laziest kind of script writing and I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night. It’s one of those things that really came about while I was developing the script. The way I tend to work is that I’ll write down the type of character I want and give them an archetypal name that tells me the characters function so I don’t get bogged down in trying to remember who ALAN is every time I’m writing him. For example one character will be MAD SCIENTIST, the next EVEN MADDER SCIENTIST and so on. It tends to stay like that until a late script polish when I’ll try and come up with clever or witty names that say something about the character, a good example of that is Darth Vader meaning Dark Father. But in the end I was never really happy with any of the names I came up with and it just stuck really. Of course it’s harder to sympathies with characters when they don’t have a name but I think it works in context to the film. 

The movie has received various awards and nominations, did you envision this when you first started shooting? 
God no. We made it for such little money it was hard to envision even finishing the film. My aim was always to make a film that would find it’s audience but I always thought of the film as being a small art house horror, kind of a cult film. I’ve always seen myself as a grungy filmmaker and I’m a real believer in just getting out there with a camera. I’m a bit thick headed like that. If someone says to me you can’t do it, then I’ll try even harder to prove them wrong I suppose. I get that from where I grew up. 
That’s why I set out to make the film. I wanted to see how far I could go in making a feature film off of my own back. Like everyone else I thought you needed millions of dollars, expensive equipment and big stars to make a film but of course you don’t. You just have to make your film with what you’ve got. The best thing to come out of the whole experience for me is the realization that I can make my films and get them out there and that I don’t have to rely on a studio for all that.  
The hard part has always been finding the audience but all that’s changing. It’s such an exciting time to be a filmmaker because the technology now allows you to make and self distribute your films and social media gives you the connection to the audience you would never have had even 5 years ago. Self-D has becoming a viable and credible route for filmmakers now. Clearly the Internet is making a massive difference and we’re at a stage now where the only thing stopping us from making our films is ourselves. I love the fact that there are people out there right now who get it and understand how it all works. They’re making these amazing films and more importantly getting them out to an audience. We might not have the advertising dollars of the majors but there are plenty of people out there who are willing to actively seek out films that are different and off the wall. There’s a real sense that people want to be part of discovering and sharing cool films for themselves, films that would never get made under the majors. I hope so anyway or I’m screwed. 
Ros Povey - The Model
Was it always your dream to direct your own features? 
Yes. As a boy I used to stay at my Gran’s house on Saturday nights and they’d have a late night double bill of horror films on BBC 2. It’d either be the classic 1930’s Universal horrors or the Hammer House of Horrors. We’d stay up late every week to watch it eating cheese sandwiches and drinking tea. I knew then what I wanted to do. Although I got sidetracked for a while being in bands, writing plays for a youth theatre and all the other things that occupy a teenage mind.  
I first started making films when my parents bought me a super 8 camera. I was 11 years old and I’d get all my friends to dress up in home made sci-fi or horror costumes and we’d run around rooftops and hillsides mainly chasing and fighting and then either someone would be shot or stabbed. They were rubbish but a lot of fun to make and I suppose they got my head around the idea of what it was to be a filmmaker. I’d cut the films all together and hold screenings at my house. I’d invite my school friends over and charge them 20p admission. So I guess I’ve always done it myself. It’s not really that much different to what I do now. Ha, the budgets are about the same. 
Filmmaking wasn’t something you did where I grew up. Ironically it’s where they now make all the BBC drama including DR. WHO. But back then in the early 80’s people looked at you as if you were stupid when you told them you wanted to make films. I remember telling my careers teacher at school that I wanted to make films and she just said I was wasting my time, that it would never happen and that I should get a proper job. There was a real sense of this is your lot in life and that’s all there is to it. I was 1st generation STAR WARS so I never bought into that. I thought you’re wrong, life is what you make it and I still believe that. 
On set, Director/Writer Craig Griffith (Left) and DoP Chris Britton (Right)
We see you are currently working on a project called ‘Nightvision’, what can you tell us about it? 
I’m not allowed to say too much about Nightvision or the producer will kill me. It’s essentially a transmedia horror project. It’s a new way of story telling that plays out on line and the audience is part of that. I love the cross over between movies and the Internet and this to me was a real chance to see what can be achieved by using the Internet as the platform for telling the story and not just another viral marketing thing. 
We’ve just finished all the work on it and it’s taken a year or so to get all the elements just right but we’re there now. We were determined to get it right so there’s been a lot of ripping things apart and putting them back together so that everything is as scary as can be which has been a brilliant process. My co-writer Kevin Moss and I have really pushed each other to justify every little element or idea. To be honest I think it was just a chance for us to insult each other for a year.  
Writer/Director Craig Griffith outside Compton House
When can we expect to see ‘Nightvision’ 
There’s no date decided yet. We should be starting our test runs in the next few weeks. From those we can finalise things and hopefully start to role it out not long after that. Well that’s the plan but you know how it is with new stuff. Who knows what it’ll throw up but I’m sure it’ll be fun whatever it is.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about? 
Right now I have a few projects on the go. I’m shooting my 2nd feature on a micro budget of about nothing. It’s a road movie called THE LONG ROAD. Basically I’ve bought an old MG Midget and I’m shooting hit and run style (no pun intended of course) as and when I can.
I’m also developing a Horror thriller called EVOLUTION CELL, which we’ve just started casting in the US. We’re talking to a couple of well know TV stars for that but it’ll depend on whether we get the money. We were supposed to shoot it a few years back with Brittany Murphy but when she tragically died it all fell apart. As you can imagine it was a real sad time. 
And then after that I have a whole slate of films, animations and even a graphic novel that I’d love to get made. You always have to have more than one project on the go because you just never know which one will take off.
Thanks again Craig for your time and we look forward to seeing your future projects. 

Through the Looking Glass is released on DVD from 31st October and will be available on Amazon and from

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Interview by
Adam 'Evil Eye' Cutler