Wednesday, 17 August 2011

More pix from Hell and stuff about 'Mist'

Okay, I know the movie is now out and in the public domain, and that everyone has probably already seen it, but here are a few more stills from THE DEVIL’S ROCK, which I thought I’d publish for posterity.

The first one features Gina Varela slipping into transformation mode. The second one shows Nick Dunbar as a German soldier who has never been confronted with the sort of horror that he discovers in the Forau island bunker.

For those more interested in the mechanics of movie making, here are a couple of shots taken on set during production.

The first one shows director Paul Campion, lord of all he surveys, and makeup supervisor Davina Lamont at Wright’s Hill Fortress in Wellington, where we shot the exteriors.

The second one displays some frenzied activity in the gun-pit, with star Karlos Drinkwater in the background, and cinematographer Rob Marsh and cameraman Matt Tuffin to the fore.

On a slightly different, though I don't suppose it's a totally unrelated subject, one of my 2010 books of stories and novellas, both of which have made the final ballot in the British Fantasy Awards for 2010 (in the capacity of Best Collection), has been garnering some rather nice responses online.

WALKERS IN THE DARK was published by ASH-TREE PRESS in March last year, but as collections, anthologies of stories and so on tend to take a long time to be read in their fullness, only this year have I started to see regular extensive reviews, almost all of which, I’m glad to see, are positive.

This latest one comes from PAGE HORRIFIC, and is probably the most fulsome I’ve had yet. In fact I like it so much that I’m reprinting it in full, below.

One of the stories it singles out for particular praise is SEASON OF MIST, which I’m very pleased by as the reviewer, James Carroll (who is not known to me, I swear), correctly surmises that this is one of the most personal stories I’ve ever written; it is indeed, as Mr. Carroll says, semi-autobiographical – a couple of the people who in real life actually shared this experience with me have been in touch since the book was published, to talk about it, so it’s nice to know that I kind of hit the nail on the head.

Anyway, enough flowery prose from me. Those who aren’t fans of self-promotion, avert your eyes now (though these are James Carroll's words, not mine):

Lancashire native Paul Finch is yet another great writer who I’ve only recently discovered even though he’s been around for years, and this wonderfully dark and evocative collection blends supernatural horror and modern life with remarkable effect.

A young man travels to the Scottish Highlands in search of a missing woman only to become caught up in sinister events involving her Father’s new family and a jilted suitor in "The Formless". This dark tale of love and revenge is also an original take on the classic story of Macbeth which will have others writers wondering why they didn’t think of it first.

Up next is the novella length "Season Of Mist", one of the most stunning coming of age stories I’ve yet encountered. When children begin turning up dead after being violently beaten by a mysterious figure, a young boy and his friends attribute the murders to a local legend; the malignant spirit of a dead miner who is said to haunt an abandoned colliery. This tale of a young boy struggling with childhood fears and his newfound desire for an older woman is also a semi-autobiographical story based on Finch’s youth spent roaming the gutted wastelands of England’s industrial northwest, a world he describes in the kind of intimate detail that can only come from personal experience.

In "Fathoms Green And Noisome", a group of crypto-zoologists set out to explore an isolated lake in the Welsh mountains in search of a mythical creature only to discover that the real danger is among themselves. Finch conjures some astonishingly vivid imagery here and it’s testament to his skill as a storyteller that I was completely drawn into the reality of this monster hunt. My only complaint is that after such an intense build up I felt the ending was something of an anti-climax. Nevertheless, this was another superb story.

"Golgotha Way" has a war veteran become increasingly unhinged after a local cenotaph is desecrated and his fallen comrade appears to return from the dead. This is the shortest story in the collection but one of the most poignant, the view point shifting between horrific scenes from World War II and the present, as the veteran relives the pain and guilt of leaving his friend to die in order to save himself.

The most powerful tale however, is saved till last. "Walkers In The Dark" is an outstanding novella that blends dark age myth and history with modern day adventure when four students go in search of Viking treasure beneath a condemned monastery. This is absolutely riveting stuff, and to apply a simple label to it, or indeed to any of these stories, would be a great injustice.

This is imaginative fiction at its finest, and these highly atmospheric tales of haunted lives and innocence lost, transcend genre boundaries and ultimately defy classification.

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