Monday 30 April 2012

Countering the enemy - any way we can!

I seem to be flavour of the month for interviewers at present. Not, I hasten to add, because I’m looking for another job aside from writing, but because all of a sudden editors and publishers throughout the genre seem to want to know my opinions on stuff.

Well, okay … that’s an exaggeration. Basically, part two of my in-depth interview with THIS IS HORROR is now up and can be read by following the link. In addition, you’ll also be able to assess my views on various aspects of horror and science-fiction when another lengthy interview appears in the DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE in June this year.

This latter chat comes in advance of the new Quartermass type full-cast audio drama from Big Finish, COUNTER MEASURES (pictured above), the first four episodes of which will be released on CD this summer. COUNTER MEASURES tells the tale of a fledgling intelligence outfit which forms in London in the early 1960s, in response to perceived threats from extraterrestrial and other non-conventional sources. The unit is headed up by Doctor Rachel Jensen and Group-Captain Ian Gilmore, two non-regular Dr Who characters who first appeared in the classic story, REMEMBRANCE OF THE DALEKS way back in 1988. The original actors, Pamela Salem and Simon Williams, reprise their roles in this new series.

I was very flattered indeed to be asked to write the pilot episode for COUNTER MEASURES, called THRESHOLD. But no, I’m not going to say any more about it – except that it comprises horror, sci-fi and mystery in equal measure, and that it, hopefully, will have you reaching quickly for the next disc in the series.

On a slightly different matter, if anyone follows the link at the top of this column to THIS IS HORROR, they’ll see references to the first movie script I wrote (co-wrote in that case, or rather ‘script-doctored’ to use a real Hollywood phrase), which was actually made and got a cinematic release. That was SPIRIT TRAP, which hit the cinemas in 2005, and starred Billie Piper (in pre-Dr Who mode, and Sam Troughton (later of ROBIN HOOD fame). I mention it now because the film has gone on to gain some cult status, and a few people have asked me about it.

SPIRIT TRAP tells the tale of an old house in London, where a bunch of disparate students wash up in anticipation of their first year at college. Needless to say, there are all kinds of weird disturbances, the epicentre of which appears to be an old Russian spirit-clock. And yet again, no, I won’t be saying any more, because this time I’d much rather you went out and watched it. If it’ll help persuade you, this too has got some neat grisly and ghoulish moments (even if I do say so, myself).

And now, on a totally unrelated matter, I’m going to finish off with some more totally gratuitous images of the lovely Gina Varela. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by moi that many Internet surfers arrive at this site looking for pictures of the delectable Gina, who of course portrayed the gorgeous, naked, shape-shifting demoness in THE DEVIL’S ROCK.

So here are a few more: a stage-by-stage on-set portrait of Gina getting plastered (in other words, having her extensive make-up applied). Enjoy …

Monday 16 April 2012

More terrible truths and fearsome fictions

Well ... TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS is safely shipping, and I can actually say that with a genuine tone of conviction this time because, as this picture - posted on Facebook today by friend and fellow author STEPHEN BACON - will prove, the pre-orders are finally arriving in letter-boxes.

Secure in this knowledge, I can now start to talk excitedly about the next volume in the TERROR TALES series. Of course, somewhat ill-advisedly, I've already given away in earlier posts (and on other message boards) the title of the next book in the line, but I'm not going to repeat that error here - because I feel it's necessary to build up an atmosphere of eager anticipation.

So here are the first of a few clues, all relating to the anecdotal section of the next book (i.e. the 'true' tales of terror). Have a look at the trio of images below, and see if they reveal anything telling about the region of the UK we'll be focussing on - yet another one famed for its magnificent scenery and ancient monuments, as well as its intriguing folklore and twisted, blood-stained past.

A crumblng old manor house, the grotesque exterior of which only hints at the malignancy within.

A man and his demons - imaginary foes (or otherwise!), for which the innocent would suffer mightily.

A mysterious, glowing figure photographed on a lonely staircase - shaken witnesses say this spectral form doesn't look half as alluring up close.

To be honest, anyone who knows their spooky tales of old Britain should be able to join these dots, so there are no prizes for guessing the location correctly. I'll name the next anthology in a week or so, but suffice to say at present that I now have most of the stories in, and that they'll sit very comfortably alongside these genuine incidents of the bizarre and fearsome, and will make excellent additons to the ever expanding compendium of British macabre fiction.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Beauty and the Brute - two horny devils!

First of all, on a vastly more reverential note than the headline would suggest, happy Easter to everyone - even if the weather is a little strange here in the UK. After a relatively mild Christmas by the standards of previous years, we've now been hit by an Arctic April. As I look from my study window, instead of the normal spring cherry-blossom and sun-kissed grass, snow is blizzarding across a frozen wilderness. But never mind. Most of the people I know tend to live inside their own heads anyway, so what the heck?

Now onto the nitty gritty - a few items of news before we all kick back for a couple of days' holiday.

First of all, on the movie front, it's a case of Beauty and the Brute. Those of you who remember the last movie I wrote - THE DEVIL’S ROCK - will recall Gina Varela (left) as our pert and sensual demoness. Well, the first piece of casting has been made for the next film, DARK HOLLOW - an adaptation of Brian Keene's best-selling novel, and the object of evil in this one could not be more different. Shane Rangi is a muscular, 6ft 9ins Maori he-man, and followers of sdword and sorcery action movies will remember him, first of all, as the ferocious elephant-rider in LORD OF THE RINGS and, secondly, as Dagan, the gigantic gladiator in SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA.

It's now been officially announced that Shane (right) will play Hylinus, the horny monstrosity who in DARK HOLLOW is summoned from the Pennsylvania backwoods to indulge in some extremely nefarious goings-on.

I won't say more except draw your attention to the DARK HOLLOW FACEBOOK PAGE, where director, Paul Campion, who also directed THE DEVIL’S ROCK, posts regular updates (and I even chip in myself, with the occasional pearl of wisdom).

For that small but fortunate band who are interested in what I have to say generally, you might want to look up an extensive interview with me in the latest edition of the online horror magazine, MORPHEUS TALES. I wax lyrical for several pages about myself, my interests and my views on the art of writing and writing as a career.

I don't think anyone's going to actually learn anything from it apart from how much I can waffle, but I'm reassured by those who love me that it's a compulsive read. If you're so inclined, get in there and check it out.

on the subject of projects of mine, a few folk have been in touch recently, asking where TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS has got to. Well ... all I can say is chill the XXXX out!

Though we mentioned that it was available for pre-order several weeks ago, those with even longer memories may recall that we said it would actually be published around Easter-time. We'll actually beat that by a couple of days. I'm led to believe by a reliable source (i.e. the publisher) that TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS is now shipping.

Those who've already placed orders should be receiving it very soon. For those who haven't yet bought, here are a handful of extra enticements:

... the green hillside, where a four-footed horror dines on children ...

... the walled-off basement where ancient pictographs tell a twisted tale ...

... the country house where baronets rub shoulders with gangsters and demons ...

... the lonely cottage in the secluded wood, and the thing that came knocking at its door ...

Go on, admit it - there's no resisting that lot, is there? Keep watching this space, meanwhile, for the next one in this series - TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA. We're aiming for a June release with that one, so it's already in the works.