Budd Of The Dead

Greetings and welcome to a new section entitled BUDD OF THE DEAD!! This is a place where I (Sarah Budd) will be posting a variety of film, TV, book and Horror Event reviews done in my own frightful way. My major obsession is Zombies so expect a fair amount of the undead but I intend to throw a few monsters, hauntings and a shed load of gore in for good measure!  I do hope you will join me. 


This October proved to be one of my busiest and all time favourite Halloweens ever as I got to tick a major ambition off my bucket list. In the weeks leading up to and concluding on Oct 31st I was a scare actor at a local scare attraction called PrimEVIL situated in Lenwade Norfolk. Having attended as a customer the year before and being impressed by the enthusiasm and skill of the scare actors I wondered if I would be any good at it. A post on social media went out on their page asking for potential scare actors so I figured it wouldn’t do any harm to fill in an application form. Surprisingly I was invited to attend an audition, with no professional acting skills just a few zombie walks under my belt, an interest in all things horror and an enthusiasm for scaring people, I muddled through and miraculously made it into the PrimEVIL scare crew 2016!!!

The attraction is split into 5 zones. THE DARK a maze which is plunged into darkness so you have to rely on your other senses to get you through but you are not alone, MAYHEM MANOR a long forgotten resort full of crazed psychos, FORREST OF FEAR a walk through the woods infested with ghouls and chain saw wielding Hill Billies, ZONE 64 EAST DEADWOOD a maze where zombies and the infected are craving your brains and the CARNEVIL OF TERROR where clowns and carnies will drive you insane! All these attractions required suitable scare actors plus there was also a STREET TEAM of actors going around the venue between the attractions scaring the customers in the queues.

Our first training session was also the casting as well, bet you can’t guess what I was hoping for!!! Cutting a potentially waffley story short, to my utter delight I was cast as a zombie in ZONE 64!!! Once fitted for costumes it was off to our attraction to begin zombie training. After a few sessions training with the other members of the team and getting to know our way around the maze we were to call home we were ready to scare the crap out of some paying customers. There was even a team of make up artists on hand to zombie us up every night, which was great to start off with but eventually we all got a bit tired of constantly having sticky blood in our hair or around our eyes as when it dried and congealed you couldn’t close your eye properly or when you blinked your eyelid stuck to the top of your eye socket making you look like a sub-standard Cenobite or something!
 I adored my place in ZONE 64. I was stationed about halfway through the maze behind some barrels in front of a rope bridge that was out of bounds to customers which meant after my initial scare I could run over the bridge and double team scare the groups the other end with a fellow zombie. I had the added bonus of a strobe light just down the track from me and a whole horde of zombie mannequins near by so there were a host of distractions around for many potential scares. The groups came through thick and fast so we were on the go pretty much solidly for about 4 or 5 hours a night obviously we had breaks but you have to be a fairly active person as you are constantly moving about and not in a normal way either so muscles ache that you don’t really seem to use in normal moving about.

Because of the distractions around me I could mix up my scares so I wasn’t doing the same one constantly. With the mannequins near by it was the perfect place to do a statue scare as a lot of people thought I was also a mannequin and depending on their reaction meant I would stay still for as long as possible then shuffle up behind them without them noticing till the last minute or move and chase them down the track towards the strobe. Another one was hiding behind the barrels and launching myself over them in a frenzy and would mix up what kind of zombie I was (fast or slow) between groups. I also messed with them in front of the strobe light too. I’d stand in front of it so they knew someone was there but they couldn’t see me properly, run at them and watch them scatter! This was the most dodgy one though as it was really hard to judge how far away they were so there was a risk of running straight into someone which I narrowly avoided a couple of times. There were endless possibilities and I tried as many as I could with mostly positive results. I got quite carried away at times and ended up covered in bruises from kicking and throwing myself at the barrels, I’m no Howard Sherman but I tried my hardest and gave it my all. I found that the more scared people got the more I wanted to scare them but also found the ones who didn’t really react made me want to try and scare them even more! There were however some people who just wouldn’t react at all, would think it was funny to try and scare the actors, try and abuse the no touching rules (scare actors weren’t to touch the customers and vice versa) by standing in your way or making sure you walked into them so they could complain and just being plain rude and abusive towards us. It is to these people I ask a few simple questions. Why? What exactly are you expecting to achieve by doing this apart from making yourself look like an arse? Why spend £20 plus on a ticket when you refuse to embrace the atmosphere? Maybe don’t bother next time or better still have a go at scare acting yourself if the rest of us are so shit at it (plus it’s tremendous fun, until you end up with a twat like you that is!!)! I’m not going to waste my time telling you about the pissed people that turned up and were promptly escorted off the premises.

Luckily the idiots were in the minority but there were also the people that got too scared and had to be escorted from the mazes due to panic attacks brought on by the scare actors. I’m not ashamed to admit to being partly responsible for one occasion in our maze but it did make me feel a bit bad, they did calm down and were fine but it felt a bit odd dropping the raging infected zombie act to say “Oh my God, I’m so sorry. Are you ok love?” with a fellow team mate offering them a drink of water and a banana. It felt great to scare people though and a lot of them were really up for it, many of their reactions will forever remain etched in my brain.
 The final night being Halloween meant everyone on our team was incredibly pumped and the customers were really keen for a truly frightening experience. That night alone I made 6 different people fall over, one guy admitted that he literally just wet himself, I chased 5 fully grown men screaming like girls down the track into the strobe light and got them again the other side of the bridge and then the slightly unfortunate moment of myself and fellow zombie team mate causing a lady to have a panic attack. All in a nights work!! That night was probably my favourite but there were many others that were just as successful. It was a truly amazing experience enhanced by the great people behind the scenes organising us, creating the mazes, costumes and make up, but most of all the other scare actors.

Especially the ones I was lucky enough to call team mates and our tireless team leader who made sure he regularly checked on us all throughout the nights and was there in a flash if we needed him. It was like a little family really we’d all been thrown together but at the end of it all we felt quite emotional and I do actually still miss the times we had. There was a big after party for us so we could all have one last piss up and say our good byes. Who knows what will happen next year but it would be good to see everyone again.

Having been to PrimEVIL as a paying customer and now as a scare actor I really recommend this attraction and rate it very highly, it gets better every year and is by far the best scare attraction in my area.


HorrorCon opened its doors earlier than usual opting for May rather then July this year but still in the marvellous setting of the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham. In attendance this year we had Sid Haig, Heather Langenkamp, John Jarrett, Linda Hayden, Thom Matthews and Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira. We were treated to a talk from Sir Christopher Frayling, Cultural Historian, Lecturer and Writer, on the history of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Lord Byron’s Dracula stories as both tales are key to horror, of course, and they are both reaching the 200 year mark of their writing.  As well as this there were exhibits and talks from Demonologist Jason B Love, Project Paranormal with true stories of hauntings, The Monster Charity Project, SPFX demos, body painting and Pandora’s Box Zoo with their collection of Tarantulas, Snakes, Lizards, a Prairie Dog, Skinny Pig (a hairless Guinea Pig) and a Tegu! There was the Scareplay competition for all the amazing CosPlayers, a zombie photo booth, axe throwing and rifle range plus a DJ and a quiz. All this and screenings of short movies plus all the shopping was more than enough to keep us busy all day. Before the first Q&A we watched a short film called “You’re So Cool Brewster”, a dedication to Tom Hollands 1985 Fright Night film and featured interviews with Tom Holland, Chris Sarandon and William Ragsdale which was a great little opener. I only sat in on Sid Haig and Heather Langenkamps Q&A’s which were very informative.

I missed Cassandra Peterson’s in favour of catching some short films and didn’t catch John Jarrett’s as I was partaking in some essential retail therapy. I was disappointed that Thom Matthews and Linda Hayden didn’t do any Q&A’s as I would have loved to have heard about their experiences. Thom Matthews in particular as Return Of The Living Dead is a favourite of mine but it seemed they were only doing autographs and photo ops. I was however pleased that I managed to squeeze in some short film screenings, it was a very mixed bag of horror treats. My favourite of the films I saw was Dawn Of The Deaf, a British short directed by Rob Savage and due for release later this year about a group of deaf people who survive a sonic pulse that turns everyone else into zombies. A brilliant idea that was made to be a short and really well done, there were a few others I enjoyed and a couple that really didn’t appeal to me. The traders and stalls were great as always but I'm pretty sure the prices are starting to creep up. Last year most of the T shirts were £12, this year they were up to £15, I also saw some average looking picture fridge magnets for £10 each!! Not particularly cool but I guess that is to be expected. Every aisle seemed to have some kind of creepy cupcake, artisan marshmallow or horror themed chocolate stall instead of just the 2 last year. However humorous a human centipede chocolate bar is or how great some triple choc, caramel, gnash filled severed finger cupcake is I'm not spending over a tenner on something that takes minutes to consume but hey, that’s just me being a bore they certainly seemed popular. On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed HorrorCon 2017 and for the organisers it was a great success. Ticket prices were still very reasonable and they totally nailed the entry this year. Priority ticket holders got their wristbands sorted out very promptly and when 10am came around we were in. They changed the way into the building this time, taking us through corridors and into the Face Of Steel room which was very dark and gloomy with creepy music and zombies waiting to greet us as we went in, this was a fantastic touch and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next year!

Article by Sarah Budd

Photos Courtesy of Sarah Budd & Martin Crundwell

WALKER STALKER CON - LONDON 4th/5th March 2017 

The Olympia Exhibition Centre in London played host for the second year running to the only UK convention of one of the greatest TV shows ever… The Walking Dead. Such is the popularity of this show that it has spawned its own convention dedicated to the show and all things zombie, namely Walker Stalker Con 2017. Boasting a larger cast list then last time it was set out mostly the same as last year (report here) which I was pleased about as I was concerned they had moved the panel area to a more enclosed location but they kept it out in the open for easy access.

As well as Norman Reedus, Ross Marquand, Chandler Riggs, Greg Nicotero, Charlie Adlard and David Morrissey who attended last year. We also saw Scott Wilson (Herschel Greene), Tom Payne (Jesus), Lennie James (Morgan), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene/Rhee), Austin Amelio (Dwight), Steven Ogg (Simon) and Irone Singleton (T-Dog) to name but a few. The main pull for most of us though was to catch a glimpse of the most talked about cast members in recent times; Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) and Jeffery Dean Morgan (Negan). Andrew Lincoln was only there on the Saturday this year. He only did the Sunday last year which I was gutted about as I missed him, but this year I finally managed to see him! He was the only cast member that didn’t have an autograph booth, but I’m figuring he was crazy busy doing photo ops. He did do a panel which you had to pay extra for to get in but they did have large screens either side of the stage and because it was quite open you could see him without actually going into the panel area so we could see and hear everything that was going on. It was great! He is a funny, happy, out going person who was pleased to answer the silly questions as well as the serious ones. He talked a lot about the emotions he went through shooting the scenes from “The Day Will Come When You Wont Be” which saw the deaths of 2 loved characters and left Rick a broken man for a time. He was also joined on stage by Chandler Riggs who plays Carl Grimes and it was great to see the way they interacted with each other. There did seem to be less panels going on this year but I think I picked the best day for panels, as not only was it Andrew Lincolns day but we also had a panel from Scott Wilson and David Morrissey together talking about their time and experiences on the show as Hershel and The Governor. There was also a brilliant and informative panel from Greg Nicotero (Producer, Director and SPFX artist on the show) who once again made my day. His panels are always so much fun and he buzzes with enthusiasm its hard not to get excited when you see him. This year we were treated to truly amazing viewing of videos from his own personal phone of Andrew Lincoln trying out Lucille on Greg and then JDM having a go as well!! 

Something I would never have seen had I not been there so felt very privileged. He also talked about the process involved with creating a fan favourite of the current season, Winslow, the gladiator type zombie from the episode “New Best Friends”. This year I even managed to pluck up the courage to ask him a question; I wanted to know what his thoughts were on the social media outcry about the violence used on “The Day Will Come When You Wont Be” and since then had noticed that it seems to have toned down a little, was this intentional and when will the violence return? I got a really awesome response if a little long winded but the main gist of it was a resounding “no” he does not listen to or read anything on social media, so he says, so couldn’t give a fuck if people are offended and yes we will soon be getting back into the violence we are all used to on the show very soon. Since Walker Stalker Con we have now seen what he means by this in the recent episode “Bury Me Here” which brought some harrowing scenes to the forefront. A great man that I could happily listen to for hours. That was about it for the panels, I was a little disappointed that I missed JDM’s panel which was on the Sunday. 

There was a rumour going round on various Walker Stalker FB groups that they were trying to stage a mass “kneel” when JDM turned up which would’ve been great but that never happened. Might have been something to do with the fact that we didn’t see JDM at his booth until late into the afternoon on the Saturday, I’m guessing he too had a lot of photo ops that day or he was just being fashionably late?! His booth was next to Norman Reedus’ so once he’d turned up we got to see quite a lot of them posing together which was every fan girls dream, its hard to describe just how hot they both are in the flesh!! I was pleasantly surprised at how close we could get to them this year as last time you couldn’t get anywhere near Normans booth, this time it seemed much more relaxed. When we were sat in the panel for Hershel and the Gov, Norman Reedus walked round the back of the panel to get to his photo op session, which totally took us by surprise and left us wishing we had sat further back in the panel as he was shaking hands and taking selfies on the way through! They really had managed to squeeze in a lot more guests this year as they added a whole new row of booths along the mezzanine. As well as all the cast members from TWD there was also Freddie Highmore and Nestor Carbonell from Bates Motel, M.R.Carey author of The Girl With All The Gifts, Eugene Clark aka: Big Daddy from Land Of The Dead (again!) and the great Denis O’Hare who I adore in all his forms in the American Horror Story series.

The cosplayers were out in force again this year with Negan being the most popular to portray, I’ve never seen such a collection of leather jackets and baseball bats in one place! The Walkers wandering about were really awesome too. In another part of the building there was a Walking Dead themed Walker maze complete with a Negan character re-enacting the last part of “Last Day On Earth” from season 6, plus a green screen zombie photo booth all run by the guys from Silent Studio Productions which was great fun for a fiver. The shopping and official merch was pretty much everywhere, with so much to choose from shame it was all so ridiculously overpriced but this did not stop me buying a few bits that I just had to have! I said in my report last year that I would have to get myself a weekend pass this time around but when I saw the prices I kind of wept a bit. I nearly ended up not coming at all this year as even the day tickets had gone up quite a lot just for general admission, but they did do a deal where you could get day passes on a buy one get one free offer which worked out nicely. It really isn’t worth forking out for anything more as pretty much everything is charged on top of what you’ve already paid, plus there was a massive cock up in the queue for wristbands. Some of the VIP ticket holders had been mashed into the line with us General Admission people which meant they didn’t get in any earlier then us which for them was not cool!! The whole thing is a massive money making exercise and one that probably a lot of us really cant afford but we still make the trek down, for what I paid I had an amazing day and hopefully will be attending again next year!!

Article by Sarah Budd

Photos Courtesy of Sarah Budd


2016 was indeed, despite all the doom and gloom, a good year for horror movies so in keeping with the trend and peoples love of lists here are my top ten movies. Unfortunately my list is rather light on zombie films as ashamedly I have not yet seen the most critically acclaimed ones such as TRAIN TO BUSAN, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, SUMMER CAMP or NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE this will be rectified soon but alas will not be on my list. Had I seen any of these I expect my list would be slightly different but there is no doubt in my mind that my number one would stay the same. So without further ado:-


The long awaited film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, rewritten and zombified by Seth Grahame-Smith, the Bennet sisters now strive to find suitable husband material with the added inconvenience of a zombie plague. I liked the book but thought it was a little light on zombies so hoped the film would be a bit more lively which it was. Matt Smith as Parson Collins was hilarious and yes maybe the CGI was a little OTT at times but I really liked the zombies especially at the end. Don’t expect this features on many top tens but I enjoyed it.

9. THE BOY (William Brent Bell)

A well to do English couple hire an American au pair to look after a doll effigy of their son. Great atmosphere, chilling and creepy with a grand performance from Lauren Cohan. This film takes a dramatic turn of events towards the end from what you would expect.


A group of snowboarders in the Alps have to battle a horde of zombies when a chemical used in the production of artificial snow infects the locals. A fantastic nod to the great 80’s zombie movies, brilliant special effects, hilarious kills and zombies. Extremely good fun.

7. GREEN ROOM (Jeremy Saulnier)

A Punk Rock band score a gig run by Neo Nazis and after witnessing a murder are held prisoner. Great soundtrack, violent visuals and awesome performances from Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart.

6. BLAIR WITCH (Adam Wingard)

Heathers brother, James, is sent a video that shows his sister may still be alive after disappearing 17years earlier in the Black Hills Forest, so he and some friends go back there to find her. I love the way Wingard incorporates the same sounds and feel from the The Blair Witch Project and brings it more up to date in technology with the use of Blue Tooth technology and drones. Shame the over hype did put people off it but I really enjoyed it.

5. BASKIN (Can Evrenol)

Turkish Horror/Fantasy movie about 5 policemen answering a supposed distress call from colleagues in a feared part of the country known to be filled with Black Magic and satanic rituals. A great movie rammed with disturbing visuals, revolting creatures and gore a plenty. A little confusing at times but has a few interesting twists.

4. THE WITCH (Robert Eggers)

A family in 1630’s New England battle against witchcraft and ancient forces. A real slow burn but so haunting and effective. A great story with amazing dialect and acting from all involved including the animals.

3. SOUTHBOUND (Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvarth, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Chad Villella, Tyler Gillett and Justin Martinez)

A horror anthology with seem less links to each other. Devilish creatures and dark secrets all contribute to a really great film that will leave you feeling quite uneasy. The stories are not typical to these types of anthologies that fall into making their stories all very similar but have loads of different things going on that tie in together. Not a huge budget movie at all its gore effects are great, some of the ghostly figures can be a little odd but the acting is also very good.

2. IN THE DEEP (a.k.a. 47 Meters Down) (Johannes Roberts)

Two sisters on holiday in Mexico go out on a shonky boat ride and go shark watching in an ancient shark cage with, funnily enough, disastrous consequences. This movie has claustrophobia and suspense by the bucket load. You will be on the edge of your seat, sweating profusely throughout! Great acting and the sharks are brilliant.

1. DON'T BREATHE (Fede Alvarez)

Three down and outs break into a blind Vietnam veterans house to steal his fortune but end up trapped and hunted by the man they thought was weak and easy to steal from. By far the best movie I saw in 2016. A great twist in the plot with masses of action, suspense and great characters. Not just my favourite movie of the year but probably one of the best (non zombie) movies I’ve seen for years.

Also want to do a quick mention of some of the other enjoyable movies that didn’t quite make it on my top ten: - ZOOMBIES (Glen Miller) and 2LAVA 2LANTULA (Nick Simon) for pure entertaining stupidity. 31 (Rob Zombie), DEAD RISING: ENDGAME, (Pat Williams), THE CONJURING 2 (James Wan) and THE SHALLOWS (Jaume Collet-Serra) all good movies but didn’t quite make it. Also big love for Adrian Tofei’s found footage stalk-a-thon BE MY CAT: A FILM FOR ANNE which is definitely my favourite indie low budget movie by far.

Movies I wish I’d never watched would be THE NEON DEMON (Nicholas Winding Refn); I just did not get it. I also had no interest in the subject matter and found the whole thing way too pretentious, arty and just plain boring I’m afraid.  The other being DARK COVE (Rob Willey) for kind of similar reasons, apart from the pretentious nature, as they wouldn’t know what that means, for the shear fact that fuck all happens for 50 minutes!!!!! I’m sure there were more but unfortunately these two stick in my mind as a complete waste of my time.

I am eagerly awaiting the new Chris Sun creature feature BOAR and, of course, SKY SHARKS by Marc Fehse to name a few. I hear rumours of another DAY OF THE DEAD rehash, sorry remake, which I am dubious about. Either way I am sure 2017 will leave a blood trail of fabulous new horror for our delectation!

PARASITES *** U.S.A. (2016) Director: Chad Ferrin 80 mins

Driving through a really rough part of town in their big, expensive, shiny truck 3 college friends end up lost and travelling deeper and deeper into unchartered tent city territory. They get a puncture and on getting out to fix it are descended upon by a large gang of hobos who threaten, beat and kill all 3 of them. Well, so they think anyway but one of them, Marshall (Sean Samuels) survives and makes a break for it stark bollock naked through the streets pursued by head hobo Wilco (Robert Miano) and his gang of blood thirsty, murderous bums most of which seem to be named after the weapons they brandish (Spade, Chains etc). Marshall spends the rest of the night fighting off bums, witnessing cruel situations of abandonment and domestic abuse and endlessly running around trying to find someone in authority to report the murder of his friends to.
The acting is great from pretty much everyone involved especially Robert Mianos (Donnie Brasco) portrayal of Wilco as the foul mouthed, bloody minded, raging homeless overlord. Sean Samuels doesn’t falter in his role of Marshall and there is a brief appearance from Joe Pilato as a ranting, drunken War Veteran now living on the streets. That being said I found the many running scenes arduous and unnecessary. The continuity of these scenes seemed way off a lot of the time. A brief example of this is a scene where Marshall is being chased by a really annoying screaming chain wielding assailant. On the long shot Marshall is easily way ahead of him but they cut to a close up and chain hobo is right behind him, cut away again and he is way behind again. They did this quite a lot, I am assuming to create tension and suspense but it seemed to only make it flat and quite frankly it did the exact opposite and just annoyed me quite a lot.
The very effective John Carpenter inspired soundtrack adds some great darkness and atmosphere throughout so hats off to Matt Olivo for that. The same cannot be said for the versions of American Folk classics “House Of The Rising Sun” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” sung by Miano and Samuels, nothing wrong with their singing but I wasn’t really feeling it and felt they were badly placed within the film as in not the best backtracks to endless running montages.
The ending is very Romero-esque in its bleakness though and the SPFX are perfectly reasonable with some good slicing and impaling effects. I really like the idea of this and for the most part enjoyed it but found the drawn out chase scenes let it down a lot.

WHAT'S LEFT OF US (EL DESIERTO) **** Argentina (2013) Director: Christopher Behl 98 mins

This is a film set in a post apocalyptic world. It would seem everyone is either dead or a reanimated corpse shuffling around looking for fresh meat, all apart from 3 people holed up in a house together trying to survive and wondering what happens next. They seem to have been there a while as they have a pretty tight set up, early warning systems and attempts to keep the stench of death and swarms of flies from their door. The 3 people Axel (Lautaro Delgado), Ana (Victoria Almeida) and Jonathan (William Prociuk) are embroiled in their own problems, playing with each others emotions in a dangerous love triangle communicating their true feelings via video messages. This is a zombie movie but if you’re expecting non stop action, hordes of the undead, blood, guts and humorous one liners then you’re best off sticking with Zombieland or Cockneys VS Zombies and the likes coz this movie aint that. It’s been a while since I saw this movie but it is still fresh in my mind and I can’t stop thinking about it so this lead to this review. Despite the lack of zombies this is a really well shot, brilliantly acted and enticing movie. The camera work and attention to detail is first rate, the soundtrack is well placed and effective. There are parts in the movie where they hold a zombie captive and the sound effects of its odd wheezing noises are really chilling and totally brilliant!
Not big on action or gore but a well told and sad story. Not just for zombie nuts but people who appreciate a well told tragedy, trust me it will stick with you for a while after you’ve watched it.

THE COOK *** U.S.A. (2013) Dir: Joshua Miller 90 mins

TV star Jim (Jeremy Castaldo) is grieving over the loss of his sister and returns home to throw a party in her honour with a bunch of friends. The party takes place outside at Mourning Woods, as things kick off some drunken revellers looking for a place to shag stumble across a house belonging to The Cook. A feared, psychotic, tattooed, shirtless, shamanistic man who is busy cooking up the most potent, psychedelic meth ever and he doesn’t appreciate guests. Cue a veritable smorgasbord of delightful practical gore effects, everything from a harpoon through the head to disembowelling, decapitation and everything in between. It feels to me to be a typical Slasher movie, very reminiscent of the familiars (Halloween, Scream etc) but because of its obvious low budget it falls short of these in production so maybe more likened to Charlie’s Farm and such like. The camera work is unbelievably trippy and the whole film has a great surrealism to it with the added bonus of a fantastic and unrelenting soundtrack. The Cook (Wade Blevins) himself is a very imposing and fearsome bloodthirsty maniac but unfortunately the rest of the cast are devoid of any likeable characteristics and really cringe worthy to watch, some of the fight scenes are laughable only relieved by the various mutilations. Luckily the infrequent dialogue is overlapped with the great music and crazy hallucinations. You can forgive the actors as it would seem, if you watch the end credits, that most of the cast had numerous roles behind the scenes as well, Jeremy Castaldo being responsible for the music. This movie is a lot of fun to watch, cant help but think you may need to be on copious amounts of drugs to truly appreciate it but enjoyable all the same.


It is getting close to every horror fans favourite time of year. The supermarkets and pound shops are filling up with scary masks and costumes, the weather is turning and almost everything edible is laced with pumpkin spice. October is upon us and we are all eagerly awaiting Halloween!! As this time of year grows in popularity, more and more scare attractions are appearing across the country. It has become a tradition now for me to organise a Halloween trip for my circle of friends and this year we decided to visit Scaresville – The Haunted Village. Situated at Kentwell Hall near Sudbury this Tudor mansion with its surrounding farmland and buildings were restored in 1970 and opened to the public. Scaresville has been happening here since 2006 so is celebrating its tenth year.
The event is set up all around the buildings and farmland so there are many different scares happening as you go through. The whole experience lasts an hour and a half. There is no let up, no stopping for breaks, once you are in that’s it till you reach the end. If indeed, you make it to the end that is. At least this is what they boast anyway. It is aimed at groups and when you book your group (8 or more people) you choose a time slot and are given a group number. Once you arrive you are shown into an area done up like an olde worlde fair with entertainers such as Magicians and Tarot Readers and also gives you a chance to grab some hot food and a drink before your group is called forward. Once called you are given the usual safety briefing warning of loud noises, strobe lights and uneven ground to name a few. Once the spiel is over you are encouraged to go into single file with your hands of the shoulders of the person in front, the door is opened and when you are all through you are plunged into darkness…… your Scaresville experience has begun. Obviously I’m not going to tell you every little detail, a lot of scare attractions tend to follow a similar pattern, many if not all the building scares are mazes predominantly in darkness set up to disorientate you with scare actors in a variety of costumes lurking around corners and sneaking up behind you to catch you out. One of the scariest for me was ending up in a room with a light that blinked on and off containing a Weeping Angel character. I shit you not, I was actually terrified by this. There is a small let up once you are outside as you can kind of see what is approaching and some bits are tamer than others. Another unsettling part was the abattoir section which was very wet, messy and ridiculously claustrophobic. There are also places where you are forced over wobbly bridges and to climb through net traps. As expected there were quite a few areas that housed the infamous killer clowns and chainsaw wielding hill billies. The biggest let down for me though had to be the Zombie Zone, I got all excited as I passed the sign entering said zone, I think I only counted 3 zombies one of which was in a hammock in a tree that we saw well in advance and the other 2 briefly appeared and then wondered off again. Their attempted scare was to kind of cock their head to one side which kind of reminded me of the way my cat looks at me when he decides to walk in on me on the loo! Plus none of them had make up they just wore masks which I thought was a bit of a poor show. There was another zombie type area more likened to The Crazies, containing dismembered corpses (mannequins) on tables and a couple of zombiefied nurses but again they didn’t do enough with it in my opinion.
When you have completed the event you end up in a nice cosy bar area where you can enjoy a nerve settling alcoholic beverage and chat about your experience, which was a nice touch. On the whole I did enjoy the Scaresville experience. I think they put a lot of time and effort into the set, surroundings and FX but I found the majority of the outside scare actors unenthusiastic and predictable with a distinct lack of zombies. Inside the buildings there were a number of times I jumped, was caught out and scared by quite a few of them though so fair play. Plus there was an awful lot of screaming going on from the other groups going round before and after us so they did their job and everyone who went seemed suitably freaked out at the end! If you are able to get to that part of the country and you are a fan of scare attractions then I would definitely suggest a visit. I believe tickets are still on sale for later on this month but be aware that prices for this particular event increase dramatically the closer it gets to Halloween.

If you think this is something that would interest you for 2017 then keep an eye on this page:


DEAD DAD ** (2015) Origin: U.K. Duration: 25 mins Director: Lee Burgess

Dead Dad was originally filmed in 2007-2008 as part of a collection of shorts to be combined into a feature film called Dreaming Of Screaming. This and two other shorts, torture flick Looking Good and a vampire film called Lady, were to play homage to Euro Horror filmmakers of the 70’s and 80’s. However it was thought that due to the pace of the different films it wasn’t going to work so writers John Ninnis and Lee Burgess (also the director) decided to keep the films separate. This particular one was finally completed in Feb 2015 on a budget of £600 and was shot in Trelewis and Bedlinog in South Wales. Dead Dad is the story of Joe Turner, a recently widowed man who, whilst watching the local news his TV channel changes to a graveyard scene which turns him into a zombie. We are all familiar with Pontypool and the recent adaptation of Cell where contamination happens via music or mobile phones so if these are plausible then why not through the medium of TV too however far fetched it appears to be?! This recently deceased man is also a single dad to a toddler who he seems to still remember so goes about his fatherly duties as a zombie but is being harassed by a bumbling and awkward social worker who seems nice at first but grows suspicious of Joe’s recent changes and tries to take the child. Joe Turner is played by Chris James-Jones and he does an excellent job of zombieing, I am very impressed by his skills. The social worker is played by Kirk John Moore and is really quite odd and all over the place but is funny especially when planning his actions by talking rather loudly into a brick sized Dictaphone and then discovering a one armed zombie in the shed. There is also a separate story going on with the female news reporter from the local TV channel who is great at not taking herself too seriously! The make up is adequate but a few to many close ups don’t really help to do it justice. The kid isn’t in it much but there is an endearing scene with his zombie dad which is quite sweet, if you like that kind of thing, if you don’t then there are a few nods to the zombie greats. The best thing about this short is the music. The score is written and performed by Yorgos Pangagiotopoulos (I really hope this is their real name!) and it is fantastic! The synth and the reverb really help create the classic 80’s zombie movie sound; there is also a brilliant scene of our zombie dad driving off in his car to hunt victims with a hilarious tune reminiscent of Benny Hill! In conclusion this is a pretty good tribute to the great  80’s zombie B movies right down to the dodgy acting!

You can check out DEAD DAD via the links below:



THE BATTERY ***** (2012) Origin: U.S.A. Duration: 100 mins Director: Jeremy Gardner

The Battery is the tale of 2 baseball players, Ben (Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (Adam Cronheim) forced together during the apocalypse and trying to survive. Ben is the one taking out the zombies, always on the look out, scavenging and embracing the lawlessness and great outdoors whereas Mickey seems constantly distant, moping about with his headphones on, more interested in his ex and finding a comfy bed for the night, oh, and terrified of the zombies. We follow them as they travel around New England trying to find a safe place without being trapped in. The film is pretty much just Ben and Mickey interspersed, very sporadically with some very well done old school slow zombies who although number few at the start do pick up as the film progresses. They eventually manage to contact another group but it was probably best they hadn’t. During a showdown with a desperate individual Ben tries to talk him down by saying “Don’t you think we’ve got enough to worry about without worrying about each other”, very true statement given what then befalls the unfortunate pair. For a low budget film the acting is fantastic from all involved but, of course, especially from the 2 main characters who also wrote, directed and produced the film. The way they interact with each other is highly amusing but also, given the incredibly claustrophobic nature of it especially at the end, they really show the boredom and tension involved with such a situation. The film features a great original score by Ryan Winford who used beer bottles and toasters, as well as the usual instruments, as percussion and also has songs from bands Wise Blood, The Parlor and there is an awesome scene where a drunken Ben sings along to Rock Plaza Centrals “Anthem For The Already Defeated”. This film has won various awards and also spawned a making of feature length documentary called Tools Of Ignorance: the Making of The Battery which if you enjoyed the film will be a welcome accompaniment. I most definitely do not have a bad word to say about this film, really I would have liked to have seen a few more zombies ideally but I do love a good zombie film especially ones that try to be different, it just makes them that bit more appealing. Totally love this film!


As I mentioned in the TURNTABLE OF TERROR article on LORDI, they have been involved in one horror short, a feature length film and a documentary. Here I will attempt to provide a short (who am I kidding?!) review of said features.

The Kin ** (2004) Origin: Finland  Duration: 33mins  Director: Lauri Haukkamaa

This horror short was co-written by Mr. Lordi and starred himself and the band line up from The Monsterican Dream era in fact this film originally was only released on the special edition of said album, but I did manage to find it on YouTube. It is the story of a writer, Anna, who is trying to get her book on monsters published and following a tragic accident in  her family, sees monsters (played by the band), similar to the ones in her book start to materialise and cause mayhem and havoc by murdering and maiming seemingly innocent people. Shot in a way very reminiscent of your typical horror B movie, almost Lovecraftian in places. It features drawings courtesy of Mr. Lordi and the score also has his input but it doesn’t feature any Lordi songs.  It is rather over indulgent on setting the scene, I find the acting below average, it drags a bit and to be honest there is no where near enough Lordi monster action for my liking but when they are there they look great, there are some very good effects, gore and skull slicing. It’s definitely something you would expect from a band like Lordi to create and feature as a bonus DVD. An acceptable offering but if I am to agree with some other reviews of this short it would appear I need to watch this a few times to fully understand it. Unfortunately I can think of plenty of other things I could do to occupy myself for 33 mins to bother giving it another go…. sorry guys.

Dark Floors *** (2008) Origin: Finland    Duration: 85mins  Director: Pete Riski

This film features the band line up from The Arockalypse era, of course, playing themselves, as the monster element of this film. The main plot is centred in a hospital, a father, Noah Huntley (28 Days Later, Dracula Untold) takes his wheelchair bound Autistic daughter, Sarah, in for a brain scan as she is getting increasingly more insular and drawing dark pictures of monsters. There is a power cut and Ben (Huntley) in his frustration at the time it’s taking to investigate his daughter’s problems takes her into a lift and attempts to leave. A nurse, Emily, played by Dominque McElligott (Moon) jumps in with them to try and persuade them to stay. When the lift door opens to the next floor the whole hospital has changed, its dark, deserted and destroyed, there are hideous monsters lurking, killing and hunting for Sarah. Ben, Emily and 3 other passengers from the lift must fight for their freedom or die trying. Again this is a format that has been done many a time but the dark lighting and camera work creates an intense atmosphere and it moves more swiftly than The Kin. Lordi themselves do a fantastic job and we get to see a bit more of them this time although I cant help thinking they could’ve played a bigger part still. They wrote and performed the song over the end credits called “Beast Loose in Paradise”. The other characters are quite engaging but occasionally flat on delivery, that being said it is, of course, worth a watch.

Monsterman (Monsterimies) ***** (2014) Origin: Finland  Duration: 85mins  Director: Antti Haase

This documentary started shooting in 2010 after Babez For Breakfast was released to document Lordi’s, or predominantly, Mr. Lordi’s struggle to keep the bands momentum going after the hype had died down from their Eurovision success. The director, Antti Haase, was a childhood friend of Tomi Petteri Putaansuu aka Mr. Lordi…. was being the operative word here. This documentary was meant to be an official release from the band but after the final cut both the band and their label dismissed it on the grounds that it is untrue and gives a false image of Mr. Lordi’s private life, yet despite this it is still in circulation so if it was really that bad or falsified surely they would have fought harder to stop its production? I have to say that I found this film very moving, an emotional roller coaster in fact. It is shot superbly and at no point do you see any band members faces unmasked unless you count Awa but that is, of course, after she has left the band. It shows the wonderful bond Tomi has with his parents and pets, the way he interacts with fans and just how dedicated he is to his monsters and music. It is said in the film that Lordi is nothing without Tomi and that Lordi will end only when Tomi is no longer with us and after watching this I truly believe that statement. I feel sad that Lordi were not happy with this film as it made me relate to them/him even more than I already did in fact I have developed a serious fan girl crush on Mr. Lordi because of this! It shows the hardships, the highs and the lows of living the Rock N Roll dream. By the end of the main feature I was an emotional wreck so to try and calm myself down a bit I decided to watch the extras and out takes which totally lifted my mood. Not only is Tomi a legend in his own lifetime he is a true comic genius. My advice to you is if you were to watch just one of Lordi’s film exploits please, please give this a go!

31 **** (2016) Origin: U.S.A. Duration: 102 mins Director: Rob Zombie

On Halloween 1976 we follow a crew of carnival workers travelling through a town in the arse end of nowhere USA get stopped on the road, attacked and those that survive the attack get kidnapped and forced to play a horrific game known as 31. The rules of 31 are fairly straight forward, survive 12 hours in this huge industrial warehouse whilst being hunted by some rather unsavoury characters such as Nazi dwarves, giant men in tutus and crudely made up hideously violent clowns, all with their own ways of taunting and dispatching their victims. They appear at different intervals during the game as the odds on the captives switch depending on their chance of survival whoever manages to make it through the 12 hours wins….or do they?
This latest Rob Zombie offering has a welcome feeling of familiarity to it as it’s the same era as House of 1000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects but is an entirely different idea to those films. It, of course, has Sheri Moon Zombie as one of the lead female characters, Charly. Alongside her we also have Meg Foster as Venus Virgo and Jeff Daniel Phillips as Roscoe, with other previous Zombie favourites such as Lew Temple and Ginger Lynn putting in grand supporting performances. Malcolm McDowell appears as one of the aristocratically wigged and powdered game leaders Father Murder. The aggressors are by far one of the best parts of the film with names like Sick-Head, Psycho-Head and Death-Head but the most terrifying of all had to be Doom-Head who we see in the prologue merrily chopping up a Pastor with an axe. Played by Richard Brake (Hannibal Rising, Game of Thrones) whose wiry frame doesn’t come across as particularly menacing at first but combine that with corpse paint and knives and he turns into a blood thirsty psychopath! The film is fast paced and holds your attention throughout from the black and white introduction to the humorous one liners, good acting and a great soundtrack courtesy of John 5 (formerly of the David Lee Roth band and Marilyn Manson, now the current guitarist in Rob Zombies band) interspersed with classic 70’s tracks ending quite hauntingly with Aerosmith’s Dream On. Rob Zombie seems to take bashings from most critics slating almost every movie he has done yet despite this constant abuse he keeps doing his thing and creating great horror movies his own way. I have always enjoyed his efforts. The only slight criticism I have of 31 is that the gore just wasn’t as much as I had hoped. It didn’t seem as graphic as it so easily could have been had a little bit more time been spent on it (it was said at the start of the film that it had been filmed in something like 22 days!), instead he opted for excitable, hyper active camera work and a shed load of fake blood, it was possible to just use you imagination in these moments and the suggestion of it was still effective. He got plenty of slashing and chain saw action in to keep us happy. 31 was possibly the best introductory film I could have chosen for my first ever experience of FrightFest as nothing portrays the essence of horror more then a Rob Zombie film! Don’t let the haters sway your opinion of his work they are all worthy efforts and 31 will not let you down.

FLY TRAP (2015) *** Origin: USA  Duration: 81 mins    Director: Stephen David Brooks

This Thriller/Sci Fi/Dark Comedy is a gem of a movie! Since it hit the festivals it has won and been nominated for various awards and, it would seem rightly so. It is low budget and contains only the slightest hint of SPFX for it is not about action scenes or brutal murder but more psychological, feeding on paranoia, sense of reality and, to an extent, Stockholm syndrome. James Pond (Jeremy Crutchley) is an English Astronomer who is on his way to start his new job at UCLA. His car breaks down outside a small, quaint, seemingly normal suburban house. Knocking on the door he is greeted by Mary Ann (Ina-Alice Kopp) who invites him in to use the phone but all is not as it seems. Despite her odd behaviour and very forward approach he ends up sleeping with her before realising he is now a captive inside the house, basically being used to reproduce. He and Mary Ann are not the only ones in the house, Jimmy learns that Mary Ann has others to answer to, intriguingly named Gilligan and The Skipper this is where Jimmy really starts to question just who or what these things really are. This is very dialogue heavy and really builds around the crazy full on relationship of Jimmy and Mary Ann and the bond formed in just a short space of time. It is by no means boring at all, the humour is well placed and effective; don’t expect a laugh a minute it happens quite subtly. Jeremy Crutchley (Black Sails) is fantastic throughout and does not falter at all, in my opinion, he carries the movie from the prologue right through to the dodgy dancing and desperate attempts to escape. Ina-Alice Kopp is good as the quirky yet alluring Mary Ann but tails off a bit at the end and Jonah Blechman plays Gilligan with an odd and eerie habit of whistling to make things really quite awkward. It ends differently to how I had expected, to allow for the final monologue. The script, direction and camera work is great as it is pretty much filmed entirely in the house and primarily in the bedroom, it all flows well. The music is sparse but also effective. Given that this is not normally my kind of film I would definitely recommend it and could quite happily watch it all over again.

DARK COVE (2016) ** Origin: Canada   Duration: 84mins   Director: Rob Willey

I was excited to see this film after I saw the trailer and when I watched the main feature I realised just how misleading some trailers can be. I didn’t have massively high expectations as it’s about five Twenty-something grad students that go on a three day camping trip to let off steam, drink, smoke weed and do mushrooms….. blah blah blah familiar story. With films like this though you expect some kind of gruesome deaths and people doing horrendous things to survive don’t you? I sat through 50 minutes of (bad) dick jokes, sexual innuendos, weed smoking montages and a boring philosophical discussion about life and career choices before anything remotely interesting happened. The acting at first was actually okay though. You have the two Jock guys, one of which is played by Rob Willey who also directed it, the loser guy who constantly cracks bad jokes and makes lewd sexual comments and two girls who are actually not too annoying and don’t even get their boobs out (sorry!). Once their camp is set up they meet a perpetually drunk English guy who is with two Aussie surfers, they all get together, have a party and one of the surfers goes back to one of the girls tent with her. Things get a bit out of control and he tries to rape her. The other Jock hears his friend screaming and saves her by dragging the surfer off her and beats him to death. The other three original campers witness this and agree he was a sleaze and deserved it. They then have to bury the body and deny any knowledge or involvement, easier said then done as the dead surfers friends go looking for him and needless to say the truth comes out and one of the Jocks looses it, kills a few more people whilst a bewildered Park Ranger wonders around looking for non existent bears, don’t forget all this happens in the last half an hour!! The English guy is probably the most likeable in my opinion as at times he is quite funny when he’s not singing but the award for best over actor goes to the other Aussie surfer who at one point is so over the top you think he’s about to give himself a hernia. My favourite part of the film is right at the start when they are compiling their list of camping essentials which leads you to think it’s going to be an alright film but it goes downhill from there. The music is a mixture of Hip hop and god awful teen Pop Punk which is not to my taste at all. I think the actors did their best with the script they had, the camera work was well done and the special effects were few and far between given the fact that not a lot happened and there wasn’t much call for them say for a bit of fake blood being splashed about the place I’m afraid. Something to watch on a rainy day when there is nothing else happening!!


HorrorCon has just shut its doors on its second successful year. It took place on the 9th and 10th July at the Magna Science Centre in Rotherham. The building is fantastic, it used to be a steel mill and bears a lot of features from those days, and so has a very eerie, industrial feel to it. It apparently was also built on the site of a Roman Fort and thus rumoured to be haunted, so a brilliant place for a Horror Convention! Last years HorrorCon was kind of a tester to see how popular it would be and if they would be able to do it annually. I can’t remember how I came to hear about last years but I do remember the guests that drew me there. There was Ken Foree, Bill Moseley, Tom Savini and was one of the last UK appearances of the late Gunnar Hansen. I had an amazing time there and really hoped that it would return the next year and it appears I was not the only one! The organisers, sisters Wendy and Gill Bell, local to the Sheffield/ Rotherham area, themselves huge Horror fans wanted to develop and organise a Horror Convention on a similar scale to the larger Comic conventions to appeal to all horror fans, and after the response to last year brought it back for an even bigger and better event this year.

The venue is set out into lots of individual areas. There is The Big Hall which holds a vast traders market, bar, guest signing tables and has the Q&A area. A separate room for photo ops, a room for Body Art live demonstrations, a fantastic area set aside which shows the bare steel bones of the building, which last year was the venue for the scare experience known as THE PIT (which was really fecking scary I might add) and this year called THE ZOMBIE ROOM where you could have your picture taken with a caged zombie (very Land Of The Dead esque…. love it!!) , attend Zombie Survival School which involved target practise with knife throwing, crossbows and rifles or maybe have a bit of a mosh to the crazy covers of their resident band Iron Sphincter, zombified to the nines and feasting on brains!!. There is The Phoenix Room theatre that screened various independent short movies with a chance to quiz the directors after and a small room next to the photo ops that housed the amazing artefacts, antiquity’s and oddities of Mr. Punch’s Cabinet of Curiosities. The first room you come to is called The Red Hall which is where you find the SPFX make up artists, demonstrations and props, a small scale market bizarre and this year there was a bunch of weird and wonderful creatures (Pythons, Tarantulas and lizards) you could pet and have your picture with. So I think you will agree there is an awful lot to see and do. As well as the guests last year they mixed it up a bit by introducing lecturers, we had Dacre Stoker (the great grand nephew of Bram Stoker) come to talk about the mythology surrounding vampires and werewolves. We also had hilarious lessons on how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse from the guys at The Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies. This year we were treated to lectures from Jason B Love a world renowned Demonologist recounting tales of true demonic infestations and Magician Ashton Carter who has a passion for the paranormal and story telling.

Anyway, I’m sure you want to hear about the guests that attended this year, well we were certainly in for a treat; in fact I spent the majority of my day in the Q&A sessions. First up was Ian McCulloch who played Greg Preston in 70’s TV series “Survivors” and went on to play Peter West in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), then again as Dr. Chandler in Marino Girolami’s Zombie Holocaust (1980) changing briefly from zombies to aliens in Contamination (1980). A very chatty man and talked a lot about the “video nasty” era and how he ended up playing the characters he did plus how he is still amazed and humbled at the popularity of these movies, not being a horror fan himself. Next up we had David Naughton who played David Kessler in An American Werewolf In London (1981). He gave us great insight into the SPFX and the length of time it took to create his transformation. Plus his career beforehand working in theatre productions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and dancing in Dr. Pepper adverts! After Mr. Naughton the room started to fill up even more in anticipation of the next guest, Kane Hodder. Despite his intimidating size he is of course a lovely guy and over the moon to be at HorrorCon.  He talked about his career as a stuntman which subsequently led him to take on the role of Jason Voorhees from part 7 onwards of the Friday 13th movies, Victor Crowley from the Hatchet franchise and many others. He was asked at one point, if there was any iconic character he hasn’t played that he wished he had, who would it be? Pretty much as soon as he said the name Michael Myers then he appeared (cosplay of course) and spent the rest of the Q&A lurking in the corner waiting for Kane.

After that the next guest was the fantastic Doug Bradley, very well known as the lead Cenobite, Pinhead, of the Hellraiser movies and has since acted in many other horror films and had parts in TV series such as Judge John Deed and Doctors. He has also lent his voice to spoken word tracks and introductions to tracks on Cradle Of Filth albums. A very open and talkative gentleman he went into a fair bit of detail about how and why he won’t be in the newest Hellraiser offering and despite his dislike of any type of Heavy Metal he is delighted to help out on Cradle tracks and is incredibly envious of Dani Filths voice. The room emptied a bit for the final guest, but Linnea Quigley was a delight and spoke about her roles as Dolores in slasher Graduation Day (1981) and Denise in Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) before landing the role of Trash in Return Of The Living Dead (1985). She described how she literally froze her tits off filming her nude scenes in the pouring rain and the stick she got from the extras on her apparent exhibitionism which was completely uncalled for. She went onto how she came to collaborate with Hal Kennedy on the hilarious Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout (1990). Still very passionate and enthusiastic about modern horror today, she approves of the CGI approach especially the blood but only from the actor’s point of view of it being a lot less messy!  As well as the guests, the comperes of the sessions were also well known in their fields. We had Gary Baxter (Actor, Director, Writer and Composer), Tony Earnshaw (Author, Broadcaster and Film Festival Director) and Darrell Buxton (Film Critic, Writer and Editor) who were there to get the ball rolling to ask some in depths questions and field ours. This is the first time at a convention that I have sat in on every single Q&A as I was really interested in what they all had to say. Unfortunately, due to this fact I missed out on watching any of the short films playing in the Phoenix Room theatre apart from Metamorphosis. A four minute gem about a genetic experiment gone wrong, written and directed by Robert Nevitt and features Nicholas Vince (the Chattering Cenobite from Hellraiser) and Tony Earnshaw also plays a few of the characters. The other shorts were Vampire flick Seize The Night, written, directed and starring Emma Dark. Dead Town: Episode 1 Road To Nowhere, a zombie comedy originally designed as a web series by Peter McKeirnon and Psychological horror short The Railway Carriage by Dean Sills. As well as all the guests mentioned already also in attendance was Fenella Fielding, best known for her performance in Carry On Screaming, and Scream Queen, model and Horror channel presenter Emily Booth who were there signing autographs and posing for photos. Horror authors Matt Shaw and Shaun Hutson were also in attendance in The Big Hall ready and willing to answer questions, sign books and sell their wares. Graham Masterton was scheduled to appear but unfortunately could not due to health problems.

Of course no Horror Convention would be complete without a Cosplay competition! Known as Scareplay it was sponsored by the Smart-FX team with many awesome prizes. It seemed to me to be a very hard decision for the judges as the costumes were outstanding and ranged from popular Horror icons such as Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers etc to people who had really used their imagination and created their own monstrous characters. There did seem to be an abundance of scary clowns this year though with at least two really well done Twisty’s from AHS Freakshow who I adore!!
I can hold off no more about the traders markets my friends, no word of a lie the shops are to die for!! I was like a woman possessed buzzing from stall to stall spending my hard earned cash on so many beautiful things!! There were stalls selling Horror movie t-shirts, prints, paintings and posters. Stalls selling weapons (if you’re into that kind of thing), masks, intricately drawn independent comics, horror themed cup cakes and fudge even cute, cuddly, zombiefied, crocheted animals!! There were of course an abundance of DVDs and Blu Rays of everything from Action, Comedy and Monsters to Splatter, Supernatural and many, many Zombie movies!! What I didn’t see a great deal of though were soundtracks either on vinyl or CD but maybe, by this time, I was blinded by everything else going on and just overlooked them, they certainly weren’t obvious any way. There were stall for businesses to promote themselves such as local film festivals. The main sponsor of HorrorCon 2016 was Horror/Dark photography company Horrify Me, who had their stall in prime location by the autograph booths and were there to chat to and showcase their incredibly vast, dynamic and beautiful collection of Zombie, Vampire, Autopsy and Dark Boudoir photo shoots available to us, if we dare!

The greatest thing about the shopping was the prices which I thought were exceptional, even the official merchandise was incredibly reasonable. T- Shirts were all about £12 and DVDs starting from around a fiver. Of course, if you wanted to you could spend hundreds on some of the paintings, masks and collectables. The restaurant and bar were also well priced as far as I could tell but because of everything I wanted to see and do I plain forgot to eat or drink anything; clearly breathing in the atmosphere and all the shopping was enough to sustain me!! Ticket prices for the event were very competitive compared to other conventions based down south. I got Priority Entry tickets which cost £24.90 each including booking fee, this was just for a day ticket though I think for a weekend ticket you were looking at about £40 each which is an amazing price!! I do however have a small complaint, the doors opened for priority ticket holders at 10am and we got there about 9.45 expecting to queue for a bit, it was pissing down with rain (which cant be helped I realise) but we were still stood in the rain at 10 with no hint of being let in. Eventually the doors opened and they started sorting out wristbands but we still didn’t get into the building till after 10.30, which was a little disappointing but I soon got over it!

This convention has pretty much nailed it all in a short space of time and I can see myself returning year after year, it’s a great location, amazing prices and has something for every kind of horror genre fan. On the Saturday night they even had an after show movie night at the local cinema just down the road in Sheffield where they were showing Return Of The Living Dead for a really good price if you showed your HorrorCon wristband which is a tremendous idea especially if you have a weekend pass! I remember leaving last years con feeling exhausted but happy I’d seen everything. This year I also had an amazing time but I feel like there was a fair bit I didn’t get to see enough of so its pretty glaringly obvious that for next years event I will be getting weekend tickets!!


Season 1: 13 episodes  Season 2: 15 episodes

Origin: USA Created by: Karl Schaefer and Craig Engler

This TV series is a Horror/Comedy show set a few years into a zombie apocalypse. Murphy was a prison inmate before the zombie apocalypse and once it broke out was used, along with others, to test vaccines for the outbreak. Just as he was injected the lab was over run by zombies and he was bitten several times but remained seemingly unchanged. This makes him a potential walking cure for the virus which means he is incredibly sort after. The main plot of both series is to get Murphy to the CDC in New York to create a vaccine.

He starts out with a group of soldiers escorting him but when we meet them he is down to just one soldier, Hammond, with him and as the episodes play out and progress he ends up with a small group of survivors from different walks of life trying to help get him to the CDC. With the help of a guy calling himself Citizen Z (a former computer hacker taken on by the NSA and based in the Arctic) , the sole survivor after the outbreak at the Northern Lights listening post he runs a radio broadcast out of the doomed outpost, with access to satellite cameras all over the states he can see the carnage caused by the ZA as it unfolds and with little radio contact tries to guide the intrepid group to their destination. This all sounds pretty serious and it is a genius idea and setting but the characters and the many ridiculous zombie frequented situations are absolutely hilarious!! Where shows like The Walking Dead have you immersed, deeply involved and perched on the edge of your seat, watching as well known characters meet their demise you’d be lucky to finish a cup of tea watching it. Z Nation is a definite take away pizza, 6 pack, put your feet up and laugh your arse off kind of show. Not a show to be taken too seriously but as it develops you find yourself getting more attached to these people. The writers Karl Schaefer (Eerie Indiana & Eureka) and Craig Engler (Zombie Apocalypse & Rage of the Yeti) set about creating this series with a deliberate over the top, truly bat shit crazy look at a zombie apocalypse featuring everything that The Walking Dead would not even dream of. They claim that The Walking Dead is just a bit too serious and have proved that even though their take on the ZA is ridiculous it is just as endearing. In the first few episodes of series 1 you get a really angry and fast zombie baby and a bus load of zombie children. In other episodes you encounter zombie bears, Amish zombies, giant zombie infested cheese wheels, stoned zombies, a phenomenon known as a Zunami and my all time favourite thing ever a ZOMBIENADO (Yes people it finally happened and I truly believe we need more of them!!), nuclear zombies and even half zombie half plant symbiosis. In the second series we are introduced to Z weed, oh and in one truly bizarre episode they end up in Roswell and find what they think are zombie aliens!! All kinds of types of zombies are in there from the super fast to the slow more decayed ones.

The characters are fantastic and really well acted. Murphy, played by Keith Allan (Rise of the Zombies), is supposed to be unlikeable. He is sleazy, under handed and only thinks of himself but as the series progress you can’t help but have a soft spot for him. As he gets bitten early on in the first episode but doesn’t turn, due to the vaccine he was given, he doesn’t really stay human but becomes a kind of half zombie with hilarious consequences. Some of the other characters are Lt. Roberta Warren (Kellita Smith) and Charles Garnett (Tom Everett Scott), ex National Guard soldiers who join the quest to get Murphy to the CDC after their original camp is over run but eventually end up as the leaders. Doc (Russell Hodgkinson) is a happy go lucky psychiatrist and recovering drug addict, the elder of the group but seems to get into the most trouble. Addy ( Anastasia Baranova) is probably my favourite character; she has her own vulnerabilities and past experiences but is a total badass when it comes to fighting zombies. Her weapon of choice is a metal baseball bat with spikes in it, this has now become my number one option if/when the ZA happens. Mack, played by Michael Welch (who was apparently in the Twilight films?!), is Addy’s boyfriend quite moody but very protective of his girl and a dab hand at killing zombies. Then we meet a guy who at first starts out as just being known as The Kid (Nat Zang) , he is a very talented shooter and is trying to hit ten thousand zombie kills so is then called 10K (we do find out his real name eventually!). As great a marksman as he is he has a naivety about him that is kind of odd but annoyingly really attractive. Finally there is Cassandra (Pisay Pao) a loner they rescue from being eaten who then nearly gets them all killed. In the second series we meet a bounty hunter called Vasquez (Matt Cedeno) who joins the team and has an agenda all of his own. And of course we have Citizen Z (DJ Qualls off of Road Trip), he appears throughout most of the episodes in series 1 and has a few episodes dedicated to his character so we can make up our minds if he is really loosing it out there all on his own. Over the series there are guest appearances from the likes of Bill Moseley, Harold Perrineau, George RR Martin and Missi Pyle.

I personally feel this is a truly brilliant series that keeps your interest throughout and leaves you wanting more, whether it is even more crazy zombies or actually finding out the characters stories and following their journey. There are some sad times and even some of the more permanent characters don’t make it but they always seem to keep it fairly light on the emotion so you don’t become too attached I guess. The budget is no where near on the same scale as The Walking Dead but they have done brilliant things with what they have. The zombie make up and special effects are done in the 80’s kind of style of zombie, mostly blue and green with a truck load of fake blood which I really approve of. I have raved about this series ever since the first episode and advised all other zombie fans or The Walking Dead fans to watch it and some of them did but to be honest they don’t seem as excited about it as I am. Even though I have said not to compare it to The Walking Dead some of them have and really don’t like it but I consider myself a fan of both and believe it is possible to enjoy both series as they are so different from each other. If you are a fan of zombie flicks and having a laugh you will love it. The second series has just finished and I know a third series is on the cards and with a bit of luck many more to come.

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