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#2 April 2010 www.fright-club.co.uk
M A G A Z I NE City Life Visit London s best horror movie locations Vampires What are their daily recommended nutritional requirements?
Saw We Unveil the Ultimate Game Plan Content only suitable for those 18 years or older
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Vampire films are hugely popular these days. This is why we have met with real life scientist Professor Chris Cooper to find out about his search for an artificial blood substitute. Does Daybreakers have parallels with the real world? Do real bloodsuckers exist?
He is also an accomplished musician and you can hear several of his tracks on the Cabin Fever soundtrack.
Saw Alive was unveiled at Thorpe Park two weeks ago. It is a Sawthemed live action horror maze and we went for a sneak peak. I canâ€™t spoil it for you but believe me, it is We also met David Hess (pictured genuinely frightening. You have to above) for a hugely entertaining try it and put yourself to the test. lunch. He played in The Last House on the Left (the brilliant original!) Read about vampires, serial killers and and recently in Smash Cut with the zombie frogs on the following pages. lovely Sasha Grey. He has some exciting projects in the pipeline and Sayoko, Editor interestingly speaks German fluently. email@example.com
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C o ntributors
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IsSue #2 Fake Blood Page 4 ________________________________________________________ By Chris Cooper, University of Essex Top 10 Horror Deaths Page 10 ________________________________________________________ By Claire Richardson Teen Screams: Prom Night Scares Page 16 ________________________________________________________ By James Whittington Blimey Guv’nor! The Horrors Lurking in London City Page 22 ________________________________________________________ By Sean Cockwell Cinéma Vérité and the Horror Film Page 28 ________________________________________________________ By Jay Slater Based on a True Story: Serial Killer Movies Page 34 ________________________________________________________ By Claire Richardson Do You Have What it Takes to be a Serial Killer? Page 40 ________________________________________________________ By Sayoko Tietz Who Killed the Most People? Page 42 ________________________________________________________ By James Whittington Confessions of a Fright Night Performer Page 46 ________________________________________________________ By Mark Bowsher Saw – The Ultimate Game Plan Page 54 ________________________________________________________ By Sayoko Tietz and Kerry Porter
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Fake Bl o od Essex, Vampires and the Search for an Artificial Blood Substitute. By Professor Chris Cooper, University of Essex What are the daily recommended nutritional requirements for a vampire? With vampire chic on the rise from the Twilight books and movies to the True Blood TV series, it is an interesting time to ask this question. In the old days Hammer Horror would have us believe that Count Dracula could survive exclusively on the blood of comely virgin wenches. But what if there isn’t a single wench left? Or what if the Count had pangs of conscience? These are questions addressed by more modern reimaginings of the vampire myths, such as the film Daybreakers by the Spierig brothers. In the Twilight movies the good vampires – whilst not vegetarian – at least make do with animal blood, unlike their evil cousins. The choice of victim is portrayed as a straightforward good versus evil decision. In Daybreakers
the situation is more complex. Animal blood is nutritionally inferior to human blood and the hero’s moral decision therefore involves real physical consequences. It also dooms a society run by vampires to preying on humans. This leads the anti-hero Charles Bromley, played by Sam Neill, to head a biotechnology company that farms humans for their blood. Does Daybreakers have any parallels with the real world? Of course real bloodsuckers exist. Indeed most people will have had an encounter with one – the humble mosquito. Due to its ability to carry the malaria parasite this animal is responsible for more human misery and death than any other. They are catholic in their tastes – feasting equally well on a variety of animal blood sources. However, the mosquito
Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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mostly feeds off fruit juice and nectar. Hunting animals for blood is the preserve of the females, who need extra nutrients prior to laying their eggs. It is most likely that the blood is needed due its iron content; indeed we humans use the same idea. From the black pudding of England to the blood sausage of France we treasure blood for its high iron content. There is even a vegetarian alternative in the juice of African “blood plants” that are high in iron is drunk as a restorative after blood loss. However, to look for an animal that lives solely on blood we need to turn to that staple of horror movies – the vampire bat. Three species exist that feed solely on blood; all hail from the American continent. Again they tend to feed on a variety of animals. Their mode of attack is
perhaps less dramatic than the eponymous Count. They hunt at night-time, spot a sleeping mammal (including humans) and make a tiny incision with their sharp teeth. Whilst the victim remains asleep they lap up their blood – real vampires don’t suck! The blood continues to flow, rather than coagulating, because the spit of the bat contains a drug that stops the clotting process. This molecule is called draculin – let no one tell you that scientists don’t have a sense of humour! The effect of a vampire bat attack is less dramatic than that of a fictional vampire – the animal after all wants to avoid detection to carry on its meal. The main problem is not that you will die from blood loss or be changed into a vampire; instead the transmission of rabies is the fear with over 70% of the (admittedly very low) incidents of rabies in
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Professor Chris Cooper shows off the colours of blood. Brown and green are bad! the USA being traceable to the are not looking to make artificial bite of a vampire bat. blood as a food supply. Instead we need it as a replacement for blood So what is my interest in blood lost during trauma or surgery. and vampires? I am a biochemist Why not stick to the real thing at the University of Essex working as Charles Bromley might say? on developing an artificial blood Well, just as in Daybreakers there substitute. I am the real world is a shortage of real blood; our version of Edward Dalton â€“ the ageing population results in an vampire haematologist played by increase in the rate of users over the Ethan Hawke character in donors mimicking the problems in Daybreakers â€“ just without the Daybreakers as vampires begin to good looks, acting ability and outnumber humans. Blood needs sensitivity to sunlight. to be typed (A, O, B etc.), is not long lasting and cannot be readily Of course in the real world we transported or stockpiled for major
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Injecting a vampire patient with an artificial blood substitute in Daybreakers emergencies such as earthquakes, wars or acts of global terror. There is the ever-present risk of infection – the vampire bat may have given 50 people the rabies virus, but thousands were infected with HIV-AIDS by blood transfusion services (and still are being infected in developing countries without rigorous testing procedures). There is a genuine need for a blood substitute that is universal, long lasting and guaranteed free of all future viral contamination.
gold – is big business. Almost 10 billion pounds is spent worldwide on blood; in excess of 1 billion pounds has been spent over the last 20 years in an attempt to create an alternative to blood. So what has this money managed to come up with? The first blood substitutes were completely artificial. If you have watched the James Cameron movie The Abyss you will have heard of “fluid breathing”, using oxygen-rich perfluorocarbon molecules to breathe underwater. The same molecules were licensed As Daybreakers reveals blood – red for use as a blood substitute in
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“Real vampires don’t suck”
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the 1980â€™s, but have since fallen out of favour. My work, and many others, has been based on modifying the natural iron-rich haemoglobin molecule. This is the protein that gives blood its red colour and is responsible for its key function of transporting oxygen. Artificial versions of this molecule have been used in several clinical trials. However, to date the worldâ€™s scientists have failed to produce a safe alternative to blood. What is the reason for this failure? Haemoglobin normally changes colour from red to claret as it transfers oxygen around the body. However, when it is damaged the iron in haemoglobin is oxidised (like a car rusting) to produce dysfunctional brown and green products (see photograph, page 6). Inside the normal red blood cell the haemoglobin is protected; outside it produces free radicals that can damage the heart and kidneys. The trick with artificial blood is to modify the molecule to be less toxic, but still perform the vital role of carrying oxygen around
the body. No one has managed this yet. The results may not be as spectacularly bad as the exploding patient injected by the vampiric Edward Dalton (see photograph, page 7), but the regulators have not been impressed enough to license the technology. Our present research uses genetic engineering tools to make haemoglobin less toxic and we have just submitted a worldwide patent. Other groups in France, Scotland and the USA are attempting to make artificial red blood cells using stem cell technology. Daybreakers envisages a race against time to produce an artificial blood substitute to save vampires and the human race from extinction. In the world of science, the consequences are not so dramatic, but the race is well and truly on! I take heart from the fact that a character called Chris eventually solves the toxicity problem of blood substitutes in Daybreakers, though am less enamoured of my namesakeâ€™s explosive fate a few frames later!
Daybreakers is out on DVD and Blu-ray 31st May 2010
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T o p 10 h o r ro r deaths This article contains spoilers!
Cabin Fever 2: Paul lives? Not for much longer. 1.Dance of the Dead: Don’t p*** off the zombie frogs In a high school biology class, dissecting frogs seems to be an everyday thing (yuck). When Jimmy tries to play the joker to impress his girlfriend he is told off by his slightly unhinged teacher. The situation gets worse when one of the girls doesn’t want to dissect the frog and the teacher does it for her in disgustingly graphic detail. On the night of the school prom a virus spreads from the local nuclear power plant and
turns the town’s people into braincraving zombies, the aforementioned biology teacher is attacked and infected when the frogs come back... as zombie frogs! Vengeance seeking zombie frogs! That’s got to be some kind of bad karma. 2.Final Destination: Ironic last words So, you’ve just narrowly avoided the Grim Reaper by getting off an ill-fated plane. You’ve decided to stay close to the other survivors when one of your group has just
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been killed under mysterious circumstances. Pretty smart, right? Now you need to continue with the good planning by not saying stupid things. The moment after Terry has a fight with the rest of the ‘survivors’ she angrily walks away, but not before saying, “I’m moving on, Carter. And if you want to waste your life beating the sh*t out of Alex every time you see him then you can just drop f*****g dead!” She is then hit by a speeding bus! 3.Cabin Fever 2: Paul Lives? Okay, so you must be the luckiest person alive to survive to the end of a horror movie... that or you’ve been left for dead but with your fate still uncertain. Whatever, your fate is ambiguous enough for a ‘fortunate’ return in the long-awaited sequel. If that does happen then I’m afraid your life expectancy is shorter than that of a blonde cheerleader in an 80’s slasher. Such is the fate of Paul in Cabin Fever 2. Left for dead at the end of the first film, he wakes up to find himself in the river, and mutilated by the flesh eating virus which killed all of his friends. When he staggers away to find
help and warn people about the virus, he is hit by a school bus full of teenagers. 4.Final Destination 2: Safety first Survival is incredibly unlikely if you are a character in a horror movie, especially if you have death on your trail. If you are fortunate enough to survive a potentially
“Vengeanceseeking zombie frogs!” lethal situation, there is no guarantee that you will make it to the end credits. After Kat crashes her car and (amazingly) survives, she is then killed mere moments later by the airbag opening late, as the rescue crews try to cut her out of the vehicle, and forcing her head back onto a jagged pole. 5.Scream: Garage door death It is never a good idea to be complacent in a horror movie, especially when your best friend is the serial killer’s main target. When Tatum goes to the garage
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to get beer for the guys, she doesn’t realise that she has been followed by the ghostface killer. Mocking and joking around, saying:
“Please don’t kill me Mr. Ghostface, I want to be in the sequel” thinking that it is her boyfriend. She realises the threat too late and tries to escape... through the cat-flap in the garage door. This is never a good idea with an automatic garage door and a psycho who is all too willing to make the most of any opportunity for an unusual and dramatic kill. 6.Repo! The Genetic Opera: Ventriloquist murder In a world where organ repossession is a way of life and people live in fear of deathby-sharp scalpel, it’s nice to see someone with a sense of
humour... albeit a sick and twisted sense of humour. After slicing a payment-dodging victim’s stomach open, the Repo Man sticks his hand into the wound, up his throat and pretends to be a ventriloquist, making the victim’s mouth move in time with his own singing. Plausible? No. Memorable? Absolutely. 7.House of Wax: Wax on... We all know that in horror movies, taking a short cut usually leads to a whole lot of pain. Well House of Wax is no different. A group of hapless friends take said short cut and end up dispatched in some horrific ways. The most memorable of which has to be the poor unfortunate Wade, who is a clear example of how curiosity killed the cat. Making jokes about serial killers is a big no-no, but he does it. Taking rides from strangers is also illadvised, but, he does it. We all know that exploring a killer’s lair when you should be running away is the biggest of all horror movie faux-pas, but yes, he does it and ends up getting caught,
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Repo! The Genetic Opera. Plausible? No. Memorable? Absolutely. stabbed, waxed up and put on the battle is won... no, the Black display in the psychos museum. Knight claims it is “Just a flesh wound”. The battle continues. 8.Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “It’s just a flesh wound” 9.Scream 2: Randy’s horror rules – Memorable death scenes are Never split up not limited to the horror genre. Sequel time again and this time There are some absolute classics we look at the consequences of in comedy movies too and the p*****g off a psycho killer. In the Monty Python boys really know first Scream movie, Randy was the how to dispatch a villain. King voice of horror wisdom, warning Arthur of Camelot must face the his friends against drinking, Black Knight in battle. The battle taking drugs, pre-marital sex and begins and after an epic duel King the death knell that comes from Arthur is victorious...oh, hold on, saying “I’ll be right back”. Good the Black Knight, with only one advice. What he didn’t mention arm will not yield. King Arthur was that you don’t split up when cuts off his other arm, surely chasing down a serial killer. Whilst
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â€œ...organ repossession is a way of lifeâ€?
Paris Hilton in Repo! The Genetic Opera.
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Dance of the Dead: a virus turns people into brain-craving zombies Gail and Dewey wisely stay together to search, Randy stands directly in front of an innocuously placed van, gets dragged inside and is quickly butchered by the very serial killer he was chasing. As this is happening, a group of students stroll by holding a ghetto-blaster, so the ear-drum splittingly loud music drowns out his dying screams.
horror deaths, one that really sticks with you after the film ends is poor old Parker, the party-loving, puppyloving frat boy. College and parties pretty much go hand in hand, as does drinking. What you donâ€™t expect is for a crazed killer to show up and ruin the evening by serving up a deadly cocktail. The students joke and say that you donâ€™t mix pop-rocks and fizzy drinks, but the hooded killer in this movie takes it 10. Urban Legend: Watch what too far and serves Parker some pop rocks followed by a shot of drain you drink! Whilst this movie is full of ironic cleaner. Nasty.
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Casbin Fever 2
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TEEn Screams: Prom NIGht Scares When you’re a kid, schools are scary places so it was obvious that film makers would tap into this urban fear early on in cinema history. Directors soon populated the hallways of High Schools and Universities with teenage monsters, zombies and multitentacled beasts. Here’s a quick look at some of the more infamous and obscure places of education that have been unleashed unto horror fans across the decades. Probably one of the first serious High School horror movies was I Was A Teenage Werewolf way back in 1957. It starred Michael Landon (yes, he from Little House On The Prairie fame) as a hairy adolescent with more than his end of year tests to worry about. Not as bizarre as it first seems as Michael J. Fox earned some of his cinematic credentials starring in Teen Wolf in 1985. We’ll come back to Michael later on. By the way, also in 1957 I Was A Teenage Frankenstein was released but I’ve no idea which monster won the box-office battle. As with all great genres these movies were musically lampooned when Spike
Jones & The Band That Plays For Fun recorded the track “I Was A Teenage Brain Surgeon” in 1959. Before the “torture porn” genre was given a name, Herschell Gordon Lewis, the “Godfather of Gore” himself presented to the world Scum Of The Earth in 1963. This grindhouse style shocker focused on the violent situations a student encounters whilst falling into the world of glamour modelling. One of the most infamous High School shockers came in the form of Stephen King’s disturbing story Carrie which was brought to the big screen by Brian De Palma in
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1976. Bold and blood-splattered it made a star of Sissy Spacek and featured the first screen appearance of one John Travolta as school bully Billy Nolan. A belated sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2 arrived in 1999 and the original story was remade for television in 2002. Another fan favourite is Prom Night from 1980, which starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen in one of his last serious roles. This straightforward stalk and slash effort where not so innocent teens are murdered by a crazed maniac is still an effective piece of horror movie-making and spawned three sequels, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987), Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (1990) and Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil (1992) though they lack the punch of the first. The original movie was remade, or as Hollywood likes to put it “reimagined” in 2008. For a more controversial look of school life one only has to check on the uber violent Class Of 1984. Released in 1982 complete with the tagline “We are the future,
and nothing can stop us”, Mark L. Lester’s movie was a brutal dissection of the education system gone totally wrong focusing on a gang of youths whose main goal was to bring misery on all they encounter. Rejected for video release in 1987 and spawning two rather fun science fiction style sequels it’s worth hunting out just to see a young Michael J. Fox being in a movie that’s far removed from a lot of his other family friendly work. Another contemporary favourite is Scream (1996) Wes Craven’s post ironic love letter to the slasher movies of the late 70’s and early 80’s. A young school-girl is stalked by a ghost-faced killer(s) thanks to the prior actions of her mother and her shady past. Penned by Kevin Williamson, the guy behind Dawson’s Creek, he went on to create the parasitic High School shocker The Faculty in 1998 which can be described as The Thing meets Invasion Of The Body Snatchers with a hint of The Breakfast Club! Star of The Faculty was Josh Hartnett who got his big break in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) which was based on
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Dance of the Dead
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Cabin Fever 2
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a story written by Williamson and was also set in a school, this time at a private boarding school. Rumours still abound that a fourth entry into the Scream series will be made, only time will tell. We can’t ignore the fact that the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992) movie and its incredibly popular TV spin-off which ran from 1997 till 2003 centred around a place of education. The adventures of Buffy Summers and her “Scooby Gang” helped pave the way for such movies as Twilight (2008) and the recent series The Vampire Diaries. Best of all was the short lived series Vampire High from 2001 which must have the most selfexplanatory title ever.
and those who came to dance have to fight for survival. This rare gem is a comedy horror which does hit on both counts being high in the gag quota as well as lashings of gut-munching. Truly inspired with a cast that really does get to grips with an eccentric script deliver plenty of chuckles as well as many memorable gross-out moments.
Coming right up to date the recent Megan Fox vehicle, Jennifer’s Body from last year is a wonderful mix of naughty behaviour and cracking, state-of-the-art special effects. Here a possessed young girl picks her way through her male classmates with maximum blood spilling for the gorehounds in the audience who were there not just to gawp at the incredibly Dance of the Dead (2008) is one good looking cast. of the most original horror movies to be set in an educational Well there goes the bell, time to establishment. Here the living be back in class. Hurry or the dead rise to eat the living at a prom resident werewolf might get you! Cabin Fever and Cabin Fever 2 are out now. Dance of the Dead is out on DVD 19th April 2010. “A night at the prom that makes Carrie look like Pretty in Pink” www.bloody-disgusting.com RE: Dance of the Dead
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The Horrors Lurking in London City London, being one of the world’s more recognisable capital cities, has had its fair share of visitors over the years. With our beloved Queen residing at Buckingham Palace and the iconic Houses of Parliament to amuse snap-happy tourists it may come as a surprise to hear of what horrors have taken place amongst its many streets. We’re not talking about the unsolved horrors of Jack the Ripper and his likes, but those of the celluloid horror variety. Many films may claim to be set in London town however of that number there’s only a smaller percentage that really are, the rest being confined to some major studio rather than troubling the natives with location shooting. That said, it hasn’t stopped the likes of vampires, serial killers, rage-infected zombie types, cannibals and demonic children from taking a proud stand amongst our capital’s numerous location opportunities.
Former Doctor Who Patrick Troughton could have done with his Time Lord ability of regenerating when Satan’s son Damien sussed what he was up to and made sure he got the point – literally – in 1976’s The Omen. His sticky end was filmed at All Saints Church in Fulham not long after having a revealing chat aside the River Thames in Bishop’s Park. Indeed director Richard Donner had no qualms at all about having the son of Satan go for scenic strolls along Parliament Hill, stop off at St. Peter’s, Staines for the church climax whilst his mummy finds that leaving Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow would be better by the front door than out through her hospital window. It is odd for a film so keen to cram as much location shooting in as possible that The Omen fails to take the viewer down into its very own version of Hell, the London Underground.
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Other filmmakers, however, have made the most of its harshly lit surroundings. From 1973â€™s cannibals-in-the-tube flick Death Line until the more recent rageinduced crazies of 28 Weeks Later (2007), the Underground has provided the ideal location to give movie-goers the extra shiver with their chills. The majority of these movies use Aldwych tube station, formerly of the Piccadilly Line until its closure in 1994, making it ideal for filming purposes. 2004â€™s Creep used it as a location along with Charing Cross
Underground Station, the latter of which again features in the classic An American Werewolf in London (1981) for the chase that finishes up miserably for one particular gentleman in Tottenham Court Road. Another wonderful comedy horror, Shaun of the Dead (2004), saw its main characters seek refuge from the undead hordes in their local, The Winchester, which was actually The Duke of Albany in New Cross Gate. More serious undead in both 28 Days Later (2002) and 28 Weeks Later (2007) fairly exhausted our
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capital’s population and it’s not surprising to see that they covered a lot of ground with their hectic and noisy running around. Location-wise the movies took in pretty much every nook and cranny the big city has to offer. In order for 28 Days director Danny Boyle to achieve the effect of key locations such as Piccadilly Circus and Westminster Bridge being empty, he used DV cameras to save on setting up time and closed portions of the areas for just a brief time to get the shot. Bram
creation Dracula was of course set in part in our capital city however very few of the movies based on it were filmed there. Of the many Hammer sequels that grouchy old Christopher Lee used to object to making, Dracula AD 1972 (1972) saw the infamous blood sucker partying down and trying to appeal to the younger set that were no longer interested in paying to see vampires at the box office. The featured Cavern coffee bar was actually an Italian restaurant on the Kings Road in Chelsea. And a couple of years later in The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974) there’s some location work
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in South Kensington, and a car step too far – all set around South chase filmed in Notting Hill. Kensington with the exception of the apartment block where Carole Bette Davis knew how to do lives which is behind Earl’s Court creepy and she excels in the lead tube station. role of Hammer’s The Nanny (1965) with the rather nice It’s not just completely bonkers house where she looks after her women that have their stories charges on Chester Terrace close to tell amongst the great streets to Regent’s Park. She’s not the of the London. With Peeping only insane female to have taken Tom (1959), the movie that pretty residence in London – there’s much killed Michael Powell’s also Carole, played by Catherine career before later going on to be Deneuve, in Roman Polanski’s recognised as the great film it is, classic Repulsion (1965). Carole sees a young man Mark Lewis slowly begins to feel increasingly (Carl Boehm) who uses his rather isolated as she fends off advances uniquely propped camera to kill from men until she goes that one women as he films their final
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moments. Powell used his own garden at Melbury Road close to Holland Park for some of the filming. Elsewhere the first victim Dora (Brenda Bruce) spends her final moments in Newman Passage close to Oxford Street and the Newman Arms nearby. Across London, real-life murderer John Christie gets the Richard Attenborough treatment in Ten Rillington Place (1970) with filming taking place at 6 Rillington Place
in Notting Hill rather than at number 10 no doubt for respectful reasons. Dig further and youâ€™ll find that these are just the tip of a very long list of noted genre movies filmed on location within our great capital. With the Jim Sturgess starrer Heartless about to be released on DVD there looks to be no end to filmmakers utilising the architecture and streets that lend so much character to their features; making London as much a star in their films as the stars themselves.
Heartless is out on DVD and Blu-ray 24th May 2010 Also check out London filmed Brit thriller Harry Brown out on DVD and Blu-ray 22nd March 2010
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Heartless Film Locations
1. Sclater Street, London. This is where the demon graffiti was. Noel and Jim walked down here a few times in the movie. 2. Jamie’s Block of flats. 3. Vinnie’s Shop where Jamie buys a gun. 4. Redchurch Street, where a lot of chase scenes are filmed. 5. Jamie picks up the rent boy Jeeko here. 6. Jamie runs from demons. 7. The demon house. 8. Demon fight scene was filmed here. For more exclusive locations photos taken by director Philip Ridley plus photos taken by ‘George’ (Timothy Spall) and ‘Jamie’ ( Jim Sturgess) look out for the DVD and Blu-ray on 24th May
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Cinema Verite the Ho rror Film Conceived in 1920s Russia, cinéma vérité - a form of experimental documentary-style film with naturalistic elements, lighting and techniques inspired by prevocational set-ups - was destined to be popular formula for the horror genre. Also known as ‘truthful cinema’, the vérité movement became popular in Quebec and France student films during the 50s, with Jean-Luc Goddard’s Breathless/À bout de souffle (1960) a more well-known example. Danish wildcard Lars von Trier flourished with the medium when he announced a variation upon the theme with Dogme 95, The Idiots/Idioternec (1998) being a cause célèbre where able-bodied actors pretend to be retarded for kicks. The greatest strength of a wellmade cinéma vérité movie is that it can engage its audience, as if to suck them into its celluloid world and imagination. Indeed, the viewer can often relate to what the on-screen characters feel and experience; it’s this play on real-life and socio-environment that can drive the movie and its audience as one. And the horror genre is an ideal platform. As video equipment becomes increasingly affordable and such features can be made on pennies, the cinéma vérité movie is an
attractive option for low-budget filmmakers. Also, language is usually not a pressing issue - it’s the horror mechanics that drive it home. That said, most fail as anyone can make one. Studentbodies atrocities such as Five Across the Eyes (2006) is such a testament that talent is necessary behind and in front of the camera. But once it’s done right, it can be a real horror show with a wallop that well and truly connects. The true life horror film such as those featuring serial killers
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Dread: “...horror sickly sweet, perverse and thick as gruel.” have experimented with cinéma vérité to a degree, often with success as it pushes the envelope of social awareness and relating to the actions of others as victim and predator. For example, John McNaughton’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) witnessed its two degenerates enjoying a home video where they inflict a miserable evening of physical degradation and mutilation upon a family. Suffice to say, it caused a furore with the British censors at the time, it’s deluded director, the late James Ferman, not only took his scissors to the 35mm, but also
altered the filmmaker’s vision. Anthony DiBlasi’s Dread (2009), based on a Clive Barker short of the same name, is a rare treat in that it’s a movie that is loyal to the author’s work yet remains effective, its horror sickly sweet perverse and thick as gruel. Three college students attempt to document what people fear most and its simplicity is key – once the protagonists’ insecurities are revealed, they can be manipulated against them with ease. Teenage angst runs confidently under the surface, rippling with testosterone
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and sexual desire,only to be derailed by its splatter hardcore finale that is electric and delightfully wicked. The camerawork is masterful while maintaining a home video vérité feel while bad boy Shaun Evans chews the scenery with his disturbing Gordon Ramsay chiseled looks. A scene where a vegetarian is forced to devour the flesh of her murdered boyfriend or face starvation is a real kick to the head. The rarely-seen Austrian Angst (1993) by Gerald Kargl also deserves a mention as its use of vérité style accelerates its personal horror to cathartic effect as the psychopath, brilliantly portrayed by Erwin Leder, goes to bloody work, the film being considerably enhanced by Klaus Schulze’s mesmeric score. You’ll never look at a frankfurter and mustard in the same light again...
“I am so scared! I don’t know what’s out there. We are going to die out here! I am so scared!”- The Blair Witch Project including a lengthy and graphic rape where the filmmakers join in, and gallows humour (“Once I buried two Arabs in a wall over there... Facing Mecca, of course.”) that is repugnant as it is outrageous. Also, Adam Mason’s Pig (2010) that is currently in post-production is destined to be a festival ASBO, featuring extreme hardcore splatter and all shot in one take.
The most accomplished vérité psycho film has to be the Belgian Man Bites Dog/C’est arrivé près de chez vous (1992) that pushed its boundaries with gusto. It was a radical feature in that it did not shy from extreme horror, Inspired by the Dawn of the Dead
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“Featuring authentic footage of executions and animal mutilation, Cannibal Holocaust is deemed the real deal...” (2004) remake, it was inevitable that the living dead were to be stars of the vérité. It was also ironic that George A. Romero, director of the Dead movies such as Night of the Living Dead (1968), was to shoot Diary of the Dead (2007) in such a fashion but failed miserably where an old dog couldn’t be taught new tricks. This was to inspire a povertyrow British production, The Zombie Diaries (2007), a loose anthology shot for a fistful of quid, it went on to make serious money worldwide. However, the most effective zombie vérité flick is [Rec] (2007). Without any fat to fry a rasher of bacon, [Rec] does not pull any punches, its aim to deliver shocks is delivered
without compromise and inspired by a so-so Hollywood remake, Quarantine (2008) and, of course, [Rec 2] (2010). The granddaddy of vérité horror has to be Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1979). A pasta paura shocker that went on to be an urban legend, it is arguably to that Deodato went too far in making a horror masterpiece. Featuring authentic footage of executions and animal mutilation, Cannibal Holocaust is deemed the real deal and its director was threatened with prosecution, his defence bringing the cast to court to show judge and jury that they were not killed on camera.
Blair Witch Project is out on DVD now. Five Across the Eyes is out on DVD now. Dread, starring Jackson Rathbone and Shaun Evans is out on DVD 29th March.
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Based on a True Story: Serial Killer Movies “I’m as cold a motherf****r as you’ve ever put your f*****g eyes on. I don’t give a s**t about those people.” - Ted Bundy In horror there are lots of subgenres which are out to terrify audiences in their own different ways. There are slasher horrors, where killers in scary masks stalk hapless teenagers and pick them off one by one. There are sci-fi horrors where the monsters are more obviously otherworldly. There are monster movies where supernatural creatures like vampires, werewolves and zombies chase down their victims. More recently there has been an increase in the number of torture horror movies where the scares come from what people will do to survive or what the killers will subject their victims to. These are just a few examples, but a universal factor in horror movies seems to be the use of monsters in various different guises to scare audiences, and arguably one of the most
terrifying kinds of movie ‘monster’ exists in true crime horror and thriller films. In these films the monsters are based on real people and/or events and the stories don’t just come from a writer’s imagination. Creative license aside, the scenes of horror shown in these films are based on things that did happen and on people who really did commit these evil acts. There are no super-human masked killers or alien creatures, just real and shocking acts against real people. It is possible that this is the reason why true crime horror continues to be a genre which draws in audiences and that true crime is one of the more terrifying of the horror genres. When the words ‘based on a true story’ or ‘based on actual events’ appear on the screen
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at the start of a film, it can change the way you look at the events onscreen. It makes it more shocking if there is something particularly unpleasant going on when you think that something similar actually happened. The lasting effect is also felt if, when the film ends, the criminal was never caught, as is the case with the Zodiac Killer, or if the perpetrator was at large for a very long time, as is the case with criminals like Dennis Rader, known as B.T.K. (Bind. Torture. Kill). Serial killers such as Ted Bundy, The Boston Strangler, The Zodiac Killer, Henry Lee Lucas, Aileen Wuornos and B.T.K. to name just a few have all been the subject of films detailing their lives, crimes, the reasons they killed and the police investigations. True crime films can build tension like few others as they rely on the reality to remain in the back of the minds of audience members.
Even if very little violence or gore is seen on screen, the tension is there, especially if you donâ€™t know much information about the actual case. After watching B.T.K. I had to double check that the doors in my house were locked, which sounds silly I know, but after watching a film, alone, about a man who would break into peopleâ€™s homes and brutally murder the people inside, I was feeling a little bit jumpy. Itâ€™s difficult to get your head around the fact that the people depicted in true crime horror films were able to perform such brutal crimes against other people, even though, like Dennis Rader, they looked like regular people with their neighbours and families suspecting nothing. One of the most intense scenes in a true crime thriller I have seen recently is from the film about the Zodiac Killer. The film tells the story of the investigation
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into the Zodiac murders and in one particularly tense scene the character Robert Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is investigating a potential Zodiac suspect. He is led down to a basement by a man he suspects committed the murders but he can’t leave until he finds the information he needs. Whilst in the basement with the suspect, he hears noises from the floor above, asking; “Is there anyone else in the house?” A scene like this in a slasher film would be tense in itself, but it’s the fact that the scene is based on real events that makes it much more frightening, especially if you don’t know the specifics of the case. True crime horror and thriller films show the dark side of human nature and it’s interesting to a lot of people to see a depiction of this
and also to see the way that law enforcement officers investigate their crimes. The intrigue is also in the fact that they seemed just like regular people until their crimes were revealed. It’s a scary thought that someone who seems so normal would be capable of such violence. Trying to figure out for themselves the reasons why certain people become murderous and violent is another reason why viewers are interested in true crime, for example, Ted Bundy was one of the most violent and dangerous of American serial killers but it is also well known that he was charming and managed to lure women using his looks, education and charm. It is fascinating to many people how someone who appears to be so normal could become so monstrous and elude capture for so many years.
Test your nerves! Boston Strangler, Bundy: Legacy of Evil, B.T.K. and Henry Lee Lucas: Serial Killer are out now on DVD
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Do you have what it takes to be a serial killer
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Who Killed the most ? History is littered with the horrific tales and deadly deeds of evil recidivists known as serial killers. Names such as Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader and John Gacy have had more column inches dedicated to them than any A-list Hollywood star. Our obsession with wanting to know every gruesome detail has helped push these psychos into a sort of anti-celebrity kind of stardom so here’s a list of some of the most prolific and terrifying urban monsters to have walked and stalked the city streets. Henry Lee Lucas is probably a name that most people would think of when considering the morbid subject. This one-eyed loaner paired up with Ottis Toole, another social misfit, and at one time claimed to have murdered over 600 people across America during the 60’s and 70’s. To confuse the police even more Lucas later confessed to thousands of murders but an accurate tally has never been calculated. The acclaimed but brutal movie from 1986, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is based on the life of Lucas.
most. John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown named Pogo, a rather sinister creation to say the least, and entertained at local parties. But behind his painted smile he hid a deadly secret. Gacy murdered 32 men hiding many of their dead bodies around and under his home.
Another serial slaughterer who kept his victims remains was the British killer Dennis Nilsen. With a tally of 15 he cut up his victims and stored their remains for months after the grisly events. He was caught in 1983 after five years of killing. Another Brit, Clowns are always slightly scary John Christie kept the remains of but a real one was scarier than his six victims in his kitchen and
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was sentenced and hung in 1953. An American who suffered from poor social skills was Theodore Robert Cowell, Ted Bundy to me and you. Charged with 30 murders from 1973 till 1978 (though it is feared he actually started earlier than this) his total is actually estimated to be closer to 100. Mainly using his hands as weapons he would strike his victims over the head and then strangle them. More often than not he would engage in necrophilia with the corpses of his victims. He escaped from prison twice but eventually went to the electric chair in 1989.
1978 to 1991 he bludgeoned and then dismembered his male victims, ate some of their parts and even had sex with them. Ironically he was beaten over the head and killed by his cell-mate Christopher Scarver in 1994.
In Britain one Serial Killer stands above all others, Harold Shipman. Suspected of killing between 215 and 260 people (though he was only tried for 15) most of his innocent victims were elderly women. Shipman was a GP in the Hyde area and from around 1978 until 1998 he systematically killed patients, sometimes with a lethal dose of diamorphene. He covered his tracks by making sure records were changed and was only arrested when a lady named Kathleen Grundy left £380,000 to him in her (forged) will and nothing to members of her family. Shipman always maintained he was innocent and committed suicide in 2004. Bizarrely he wasn’t struck off the General Medical Though his death toll seems paltry Council register until 2002. to others, Jeff rey Dahmer’s total of 17 stands out because of what his Brazil also lays claim to having poor victims endured during and a prolific serial killer. Pedro after their gruesome deaths. From Rodrigues Filho not only killed
“Shipman always maintained he was innocent”
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his own father but claims 99 other the insurers paid out. She was lives though he was only convicted hanged in 1873 but an error by the hangman meant that the drop of 70. was too shallow and instead of John Haigh was one of the more inventive serial killers to have existed. He had six known victims, all killed in a five year period and at one point claimed to have sampled the blood of at least one of his victims. He disposed of their bodies in a bath of acid and so lays claim to earning two nicknames The Vampire Killer and The Acid her neck breaking she was strangled to death. Apparently a plaster cast Bath Murderer. of her head exists somewhere. Mass murderers aren’t exclusively male either; many females have Surprisingly London’s most famous taken to slaughtering innocents killer, Jack The Ripper, was only ever through the ages. One of the most connected with 5 murders though infamous is Mary Ann Cotton his bloody legacy still haunts the who from her early 20’s killed an streets of Whitechapel. But perhaps estimated 21 men and children most surprising of all is that Ed during the mid 1800’s in the North Gein, the man who inspired Psycho, East. She used tea laced with arsenic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and to kill her victims, her motive was The Silence of the Lambs, was actually an uncommon one amongst serial only convicted of two murders. He killers, Mary murdered not for did however rob plenty of graves pleasure but for money, insurance and his home was littered with payments to be exact. She poisoned human bones, entrails, skin and husbands and children without strange clothing formed out of a care; her only interest was that human parts.
“...his home was littered with human bones...”
Henry Lee Lucas: Serial Killer is out now
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“We are not going to hurt you”
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ConfesSions of a Fright Night Performer The down side of spending ten months travelling through sub-tropical countries is that sooner or later you have to return home with no money and no job. And that leads you to a car park in Chatham late at night. While I was busy being unemployed my friend Ben decided to rope me into being a fright night performer with him. The theme of the fright night is the Wild West and it’s set in a haunted prospector’s mine. So that basically means donning hill-billy clothing and stupid Southern US accents and acting like inbreds. Right now, Ben and I are waiting in character for the first group to arrive in the car park outside Fort Amherst; a creepy collection of tunnels from the Napoleonic War set into the hillside.
more friends, Mort...” says Ben, stroking his axe. The group heading towards the Fort haven’t noticed us yet so we scurry up the hill that runs along the path and hide amongst the trees. They’re almost level with us. I let out an insane laugh and run down the hill towards them, soaked in fake blood, brandishing my machete. One cluster, mainly made up of girls, shrieks and scatters. One dark haired girl looks particularly petrified. I decide she needs a little attention.
The first group of people appear at the bottom of the slope, at “Hiii!” I project a loud gravelly US the other end of the dimly-lit accent right into her ear before switching to a soft, childish, car park. high-pitched voice. “You wanna “Think we gone got us some be my friend?”
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“Nooo!” She whimpers, shaking her head, her face crumpling with fear as she speeds up to get away from me. Her boyfriend, being very supportive, has backed away to clutch his stomach as he laughs hysterically at her. This is rather a good start.
done it when they were on their way in.
After a while a nervous quiet descends. One girl won’t even look at me and keeps hiding on her boyfriend’s shoulder. Another just keeps shrieking at me and telling me to go away and fornicate with “Hoooh!” Ben charges down the myself. I get the feeling we’ve got hill and breaks up a group of four a good group for the last tour. at the back who thought they’d slipped past unnoticed. We usher them inside and the tour begins. “You wanna be my friend?” I ask another girl. It’s almost pitch black but I can hear which way we’re going. Under “Yeah, alright, mate,” she answers the coarse howling noise being in a thick Medway accent, “where pumped into the dark cavern is d’you wanna go?” If you’ve ever the sound of shuffling feet. wondered what kind of a guy your typical Chatham girl goes for, But we’re not alone. The room the answer is someone covered is breathing, the shadows are in blood, in a car park, who she’s moving. I hear the occasional yelp just met. ahead of me or a hiss as one of the kids hiding in the engulfing Pretty soon everyone is queuing blackness reaches out and grabs outside the smoke-filled entrance someone’s arm. The shuffling to the tunnel. Ben’s hiding outside sounds get quicker. the toilets scaring the shit out of people coming out. He got in to We move from chamber to trouble for doing this the other chamber full of bloody bodies night but I argued that it would and crazed axle-grinder have been much worse if he’d wielding maniacs. People are
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“ You wanna be my friend?”
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â€œThe silence is pierced by the whir of a chainsaw.â€?
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seeming pretty freaked out by says the first guard. His tone is not very reassuring. Neither is the now. rather convincing gun he’s just Finally we ascend a narrow pulled out of nowhere. staircase and enter a large, wooden floor-boarded storeroom. It’s The boyfriend is pushed to his almost pitch black, echoey and knees, there’s a ‘bang’ so deafening apparently empty. Two shapes that you can feel it and in the hobble out of the darkness. blink of the strobe the kneeling, Open-mouthed security guards frightened boy becomes a lifeless in period clothing, all torn and shape on the floor. The smiles bloodied. Their faces are pale and have vanished. People don’t get a their eyes are dark. chance to take it all in as the girl screams and runs up to the body “We’re gonna need a volunteer...” laying in the dust, there’s another growls one, scanning the rooms shot, she falls and is still. for potential victims. The girl who was particularly freaked out Nobody moves. The silence is earlier pulls her boyfriend as close pierced by the whir of a chainsaw. as possible to her. Unfortunately People jump for the last time on one guard sees this. the tour as a man with sacking over his head steps into the light “You!” There’s a dark, decisive tone with a chainsaw in his hand. to his voice as he points at the Then the door on the far side of boyfriend. “Come ‘ere!” the room is opened and everyone heads out on to the hillside pretty The girl protests and the other guard snappish. To make certain they’re tears the boyfriend away from her. given a proper send off all of the actors chase them down the hill “No, no, no, no!” she whimpers. laughing maniacally and the air A few people even smile at how above Chatham is filled with screams. much she’s overreacting. “We’re not going to hurt you,” In the hut at the top of the hill,
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I stand over a sink scrubbing at the thick mix of golden syrup and red food colouring on my skin. The GCSE drama kids are laughing about the reactions they got from the crowd in the dark as they wash off their make-up. Two men in torn clothing are chatting about football as they get changed. A couple who don’t look as still or as terrified as they did 15 minutes ago joke with
each other and rub their bruised arms from when they hit the floor with great force. Someone gives me a friendly slap on the shoulder. “Same time next year, buddy?” I smile back at Ben. “Sounds like a plan to me.”
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See how the game continues in the next issue of Fright Club Magazine
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Look out for the next issue of Fright Club Magazine, out June 2010. In the mean time check out www.fright-club.co.uk for the latest Lionsgate horror news, reviews and competitions.
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Next ISsueâ€™s Theme:
Send us artwork and articles and get published. Deadline 14/05/10.
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