The Screaming Skull joins ‘Little Terrors’ in Toronto

The award winning carrion Film animation ‘The Screaming Skull‘ has been chosen to join a select group of award winning shorts as part of the monthly series ‘Little Terrors‘, co-presented by Rue Morgue and production company Unstable Ground.

You’ll be treated to two hours of the craziest, goriest, most disturbing and off-the-wall short films the genre has to offer, followed by an in-depth Q&A/meet & greet with some of the filmmakers.” Rue Morgue.

The event will take place Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Toronto’s newest rep cinema, The Projection Booth (1035 Gerrard St. East). This month’s theme is ‘Fear of the Dark’ with ‘The Screaming Skull‘ rounding off the evening’s entertainment. Sadly Director Ashley Thorpe will be unable to attend the screening due to previous commitments.

I love the fact that the Skull still has legs,” jokes the Director. “In the light of all the – wonderful – exposure  ‘The Hairy Hands’ has received recently, its eerie cousin has been somewhat relegated to the shadows a little. But then, it’s a very different animal: its purposely slower paced,  funereal almost  – certainly compared to something like ‘Scayrecrow’ – and has that long POV sequence that borders on abstraction. But I have to say that I’m very fond of it. It  has a textural quality, a tone to it that I like, it doesn’t compromise… and I think also that in terms of sound design Mick absolutely excelled himself. It’s his best work for me certainly.  So I’m personally thrilled that ‘Screaming Skull’ is still of interest and finding its audience…and to be finally screened in Toronto is fantastic. I am absolutely thrilled. Wish I could be there.

The Screaming Skull‘ was completed in November 2008, hot on the heels of sophomore effort ‘Scayrecrow‘ and though initial responses were mixed the film has since gone on to receive a number of accolades including a ‘Best UK Short Film’ nomination at the 17th Raindance Film Festival, a Judges award at Horror UK and ‘Best Animated Short Film’ at last year’s ‘Night of Horror Film Festival’ in Sydney Australia.

The screening is also continued proof of ‘Rue Morgue magazines’ support for the Carrion Film animations, which has so far included an ‘Abbreviated Terrors’ feature, favourable reviews and an interview with Ashley conducted by Stuart ‘Feedback’ Andrews on Rue Morgue Radio (May 2010).

A full trailer playlist of the evenings selected films can be found on YouTube.

SCAYRECROW to join ‘Little Terrors’ October !

It has just been announced that following an enthusiastic response to ‘The Screaming Skull‘ aswell as  a personal plea from Rue Morgue Radio’s Caustic Critic Stuart ‘Feedback’ Andrews that the film play a big screen in Toronto, Carrion Film favourite ‘Scayrecrow’ has been rushed to the October line up for Toronto’s ‘Little Terrors‘ short film event.

(Scayrecrow) A gorgeously animated hypnotic love letter to both Hammer horror and the folklore of the British highwayman” – Stuart Feedback Andrews Rue Morgue Magazine

Scayrecrow‘ was made with funding from Exeter Phoenix’s  ‘Project Greenlight‘ commission in 2008 and the Devon produced film has since gone on to win numerous accolades including 2009’s Media Innovation Award.

Carrion Film can also reveal that there is also the possibility that ‘The Hairy Hands’ may also be selected  for November’s event.

Fangoria salutes British Horror

Legendary horror periodical ‘FANGORIA MAGAZINE’ has saluted British Horror with a dedicated issue celebrating the very best from the Spectred Isle! It features a cover painted by Carrion Film Director Ashley Thorpe.

Now, I love Hammer, but there’s something so unique about Amicus, something that – after a suggestion from three decade FANGORIA vet and Amicus know-it-all Phil Nutman – gave me the urge to use this fine issue of your favourite periodical to explore it and the state of British horror past and present. It just…made sense. And when UK animator Ashley Thorpe offered to dip his brush into oil paints, slapping them to canvas and giving us an exclusive impressionist painting of Peter Cushing as Tales from the Crypt’s undead Grimsdyke…well, here we are, and I hope you’re pleased.” – Chris Alexander.

And as if nabbing the cover art gig wasn’t enough, Issue 305  also features Ashley’s detailed examination of the Victorian Penny Dreadful  – ‘Dreadful Pleasures’ or the secret History of British Horror – and their cultural importance, specifically in the development of Horror and popular culture. Here is a brief excerpt:

Thanks to the movies, which is to say Universal in the 1930s and Hammer in the 1950s, we tend to think of British horror as defined by the mostly late Victorian likes of Dracula, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dorian Gray and the Hound of the Baskervilles (and the pre-Victorian gothic science fiction anomaly of Frankenstein). That’s one story,’ notes novelist and critic Kim Newman. ‘The other is more scurrilous, populist (frankly, working class), socially-aware and unexplored – the penny dreadful relates to Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors, Tod Slaughter-style stage melodrama, the prurient crime reporting of the tabloids, urban legends like Sweeney Todd and Spring-Heel’d Jack and the Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead. It’s the world of Varney the Vampire, Dick Turpin and the Blue Dwarf, Wagner the Wehr-Wolf, the Face at the Window and the String of Pearls, Captain Kidd hung in chains and the Jack the Ripper letters.’ – Ashley Thorpe / Kim Newman.

Ashley Thorpe interviewing Hammer Director Peter Sasdy at the National Media Museum for an article to appear in a future issue.

Ashley Thorpe interviewing Hammer Director Peter Sasdy at the National Media Museum for an article to appear in a future issue.

Although the Director (an avid reader of the magazine since his school years) has contributed to FANGORIA before – contributing various articles and interviews with British artists such as Les Edwards and Stephen Thrower – this is the first time that Ashley has provided artwork for the legendary magazine.

Established in 1979, Fangoria magazine was not initially conceived to be a Horror periodical. The first issue was designed around the original “fantasy film” concept for the magazine, yet proved to be an abysmal failure, as were several issues that followed, all continuing with the same conceptual approach.

Two phenomena allowed a young Editor Robert ‘Uncle Bob’ Martin to reshape the magazine and bring it back from the abyss of debt. First, was the immensely positive audience response to one of the articles that appeared in the first issue of Fangoria, an article that celebrated the craft of special makeup effects artist Tom Savini, and his splatter effects for Romero’s 1978 film ‘Dawn of the Dead’.

Second was the palpable stench of defeat that was surrounding Fangoria. With its demise all but certain, senior employees and the two owners of the publishing firm stood back from the fray and allowed the untried young editor to take the lead, reshaping the entire book according to what he believed would work.

Issue seven, with a cover story on Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen Kings ‘The Shining’, was the first issue of any national magazine to wholly concern itself with horror film as produced in the closing quarter of the 20th Century, with no trace of daintiness about its subject matter. It also was the first issue of Fangoria to achieve a profit. Subsequent issues would sharpen the focus, but by issue twelve, the formula was well-set, and remains largely unchanged to this date. (Ref: Wikipedia).

FANGORIA Issue 305 is on sale now in all good newsagents & comic / cinema stores.

CARRION FILMS TO PLAY ON CON IV

Scayrecrow‘ and ‘The Screaming Skull‘ have been selected to be screened at this years ‘PlayOnCon’ in Birmingham Alabama USA. The films will form part of ‘Philip Nutman’s Nightmares‘ – the award winning author / producer’s continuing tour with the films across the United States.

Philip Nutman & Ashley Thorpe pictured at 'Buried Alive' Film Festival 2010

Philip Nutman & Director Ashley Thorpe at the 'Buried Alive! Film Festival' 2010

Play On Con (POC) is a four day fantasy and science fiction fandom convention held each year in Birmingham, Alabama–the Magic City!

The event features Interactive and energetic events that welcome new fans as well as old including Gaming (the best board, rpg, live action,video, and card gaming),Parties ( Nightly and daily!) hospitality events thrown by award-winning party hosts, and award winning films and animation.

Special guests this year include horror’s renaissance man Voltaire – As a musician, he is a songwriter whose music can best be described as a collection of murder ballads, tongue-in-cheek exercises in the macabre, with just enough bawdy songs about Star Trek and Star Wars to keep a convention audience rolling in the aisles. Many know him for his songs “Brains!” and “Land of the Dead” from the Cartoon Network show “The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy”.

The fourth annual convention will be held Friday, July 29 – Monday, August 1, 2011 (with bonus events on Thursday before opening and on Monday night after closing)!

 

Borley Rectory rises

Although the last 18 months has produced a high profile radio play – ‘The Demon Huntsman‘ – for Glass Eye Pix and the long postponed launch into pre-production on Carrion Films first feature ‘Spring Heel Jack‘, there hasn’t been a ‘Penny Dreadful’ short released since 2010’s ‘The Hairy Hands’. All that is about to change…and the stimulus for this was something tantamount to extraordinary.

Director Ashley Thorpe: “Although the last year or so have been amazing in regards to higher profile ambitious projects, I’ve felt that we’re long overdue for another short.  The feature is in good hands and is developing nicely but it’s a long term project and I don’t think that anyone at Carrion Film wants to sit around and just twiddle their thumbs waiting for the machinations to start. You know, the shorts are spontaneous, and relatively quick to produce. Ok, 6 months may not seem that quick, but you can wait 6 months for a feature script to even be read let alone signed off! Getting a feature off the ground is as much about business as filmmaking. The shorts were genuinely devoid of much of that. Besides, the shorts were always an opportunity to experiment with ideas and approaches that later – hopefully – would be assimilated into future projects, so with such a major project looming, the production of something like ‘Borley Rectory’ is absolutely essential. It’s definitely time to make a film for the love of the form again.”

“Ghostly figures of headless coachmen…a nun – believed to have been bricked up within the walls …a screaming girl at the window of ‘the blue room’… and dragging footsteps in empty rooms. The scene of the ghostly visitations is the Rectory at Borley, a few miles from Long Melford, Suffolk. It is a building erected on part of the site of a great monastery which, in the Middle ages, was the scene of a great tragedy. The present rector, the Rev. G. E. Smith, and his wife, made the Rectory their residence in the face of warnings by previous occupiers. Since their arrival they have been puzzled and startled by a series of peculiar happenings which cannot be explained, and which confirm rumours they heard before moving in…”

Daily Mirror, June 10th, 1929

Could you elaborate on the use of actual footage shot at Borley Rectory: ...”Ha ha. God, it sounds like the Jack the Ripper diaries doesn’t it…The impetus for this one literally fell in my lap whilst working on Spring Heel.  I was given some fragments of purportedly actual footage shot at Borley Rectory before it burned down.  Now the interesting thing is that – perhaps due to the degradation of the stock – you can in places see something strange at work on the film. So it got me thinking about ghost photography, EVP and all that, and what if we added to these genuine fragments and created a longer sequence exploring the effect of the form itself on the audience and explore their expectations.   The fascinating thing about ghost recordings, whether audio or visual, is that they tend to be very low quality, and as a consequence an interplay is created between the form itself and the expectations of the audience. You tell someone that there is a ghost in this photograph and you hand them something very degraded, grainy, they’ll start to see shapes, figures, faces. It’s exactly the same with audio recordings, they’ll hear voices. Their mind is constantly generating patterns to make sense of what they are seeing or hearing.  The focus of their attention subsequently narrows and they’ll often start seeing and hearing things which aren’t there, but rather are being drawn from the textures of the form and given shape by the expectations of the audience. I find that fascinating and it applies very strongly to the Borley Rectory footage…But then, what do I know…maybe a ghost was caught on film.”


 

Triple Bill at Fantastic Films Weekend

Carrion Film’s animated horror triptych  – ‘Scayrecrow’, ‘The Screaming Skull’ and ‘The Hairy Hands’ – have been specially selected to be shown amongst the very best of British Horror as part of the National Media Museum’s 10th Fantastic Films Weekend.

“Ashley Thorpe – a unique talent in British genre production” – Tony Earnshaw, National Media Museum.

Artistic Director Tony Earnshaw: “Our tenth edition is deliberately retro in mood, wallowing in some of the best from Hammer  and Amicus…Our guests include Peter Sasdy, purveyor of such fare as ‘Countess Dracula’ and ‘Hands of the Ripper’ and Jonathan Miller, the man behind ‘Whistle and I’ll Come to You’ – still regarded as the best televisual rendition of any M.R. James tale.”

“And with the deaths of Ingrid Pitt and Roy Ward Baker we honour their memories with screenings of ‘The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires’ and ‘The Vampire Lovers’.”

Appearing as part of a slot entitled ‘The British Horror revival’ the films will be screened in the proud company of such genre greats as ‘Plague of the Zombies‘, Hammer’s Karnstein Trilogy and the ‘Vincentenary’ – a selection of films to honour the life and work of Vincent Price.

Director Ashley Thorpe: “I’m very honoured for the animations to have been deemed worthy of being seen along side such legendary films. Extraordinary really. This festival is organised and patronised by dedicated aficionados of 1960s and 1970s horror from the Hammer and Amicus stables, all that rich brooding gothic stuff that feeds and influences my work It’s such a wonderful event. It’s all my obsessions made manifest. I’ll be  there as much as a fan as I will be as a filmmaker. I want to see everything!”

The Director will be in attendance for the screenings aswell as acting as a British correspondent for Fangoria Magazine., so look out for an extensive interview with Peter Sasdy  in a future issue.

The festival began in 2002 as a weekend event focusing on classic ghost stories and the supernatural. Over the last nine years it has evolved into a must-see showcase of classic chillers, sci-fi shockers, fantasy epics, vintage TV shows and rarely seen gems from the vaults. FFW runs the gamut from the stark monochrome classics of the silent era through to the latest digital epics. The festival is also unique in that  – wherever possible –  the screenings are from archived film prints rather than digital projections.

The line-up of guests has included filmmakers Robert Fuest, Julian Richards and Robert Pratten, writer and broadcaster MJ Simpson, film archivist Jonathan Sands, actress Jenny Agutter and the cult figures of spfx ‘supremo’ Bob Keen and Robin (The Wicker Man) Hardy. Amongst its patrons are Jeremy Dyson (League of Gentlemen, Ghost Stories), Alan Frank (The Films of Roger Corman),  and David Pirie (A Heritage of Horror – English Gothic Cinema 1946-1972).

 

 

Spring Heel Jack – The story begins…

It’s official – Award winning novelist/screenwriter/producer, Philip Nutman, has signed on with Tom Atkinson to produce Carrion Film’s first feature: SPRING HEEL JACK. The film has been written and will be directed by  Ashley Thorpe.

“Hell is empty…all the Devil’s are here.”

Executive Producer Philip Nutman: “Ashley has written a brilliant script which transcends his visionary short films, and I am excited to be working with the man whom I consider to be the most talented filmmaker in Britain today,” said expatriate Nutman from his office in Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S. “This is going to be a revolutionary motion picture which will stun audiences with its visual verve and emotional pitch. This is the project I have been waiting years for to entice me back to Britain to make a movie. I just never expected it would lead me to Exeter!

Writer / Director Ashley Thorpe: “Yeah – Well, after 2 years of procrastination it looks like it’s finally going to happen! And much of that is down to my Producers – I don’t think that I could have a better team on board. I honestly thought that SHJ was going to directly follow The Screaming Skull, but I had this feeling that this one had to simmer a while, ferment…I didn’t initially envision that SHJ would be a feature at all, but after long discussions in Atlanta with Philip it became very obvious that it was far too ambitious to be a short. I think that the experience I gained from writing the radio play for Glenn and Larry (The Demon Huntsman – Tales from Beyond the Pale ) also helped its development as I gained the confidence to approach it as an actual story with a definite arc. I wanted this one not only to have  a visual depth but an emotional complexity.”

The first hint of publicity came via an audio trailer  intermission heard during ‘The Demon Huntsman‘, an original snippet of script read by Indie maestro Larry Fessenden. The director is cagey however about going into specifics in regards to narrative.

I haven’t felt this excited about a project since ‘Scayrecrow’. It’s going to be real Dickensian nightmare, chocked full of juicy period details, emotionally dark, visually gothic…the culmination of everything so far –  and while it’s definitely ‘the next big step’ for the Penny Dreadful series we’re all agreed that the film should retain those textural qualities that the previous animated horrors possessed. It’s going to be demented.

Spring Heeled Jack first appeared in 1837 and was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with a diabolical physiognomy: clawed hands, and eyes that “resembled balls of fire”. Many stories also mention a “Devil-like” aspect. Spring Heeled Jack was said to be tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman, and capable of making enormous leaps over walls and rooftops. Several reports mention that he could breathe out blue and white flames and that he wore sharp metallic claws at his fingertips.  The urban legend of Spring Heeled Jack gained immense popularity in its time due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and ability to make extraordinary leaps, to the point where he became the topic of several works of fiction.

Apart from Philip Nutman and Tom Atkinson the production is set to call upon a wealth of local talent (including award winning Devon filmmaker Toby DeBurgh who is on board as DOP) aswell as editor James Harrod (interview coming soon) and Professor Mick Grierson resuming his role as composer / sound artist.

Edward Berry fans will be pleased to note that the Carrion Film regular has also been confirmed in a ‘yet to be disclosed’ supporting role.

Further details are expected to be posted on the Carrion Film site in the not too distant future.

‘The Hairy Hands’ in Rue Morgue magazine

Carrion Film ‘The Hairy Hands‘ has been reviewed by Rue Morgue Radio’s Stuart Feedback Andrews for Rue Morgue Magazine issue 110.

The latest from animator Ashley Thorpe (RM #98) plunders an obscure British folk tale about a pair of spectral, disembodied hands that terrorise motorists on the winding, windy hills of Dartmoor.

Starring the unmistakable, metallic rasp of Doug (Pinhead) Bradley’s voice work and playfully riffing on the likes of David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock and EC Comics, The Hairy Hands sees a solitary con-man named Cole (Ed Berry) speeding through the dreaded moors on a black, deserted night. He’s just suckered some poor lady out of a sizeable chunk of change and almost gets away with it until the fabled, severed hands show up to put an oink in his ointment. With his characteristic approach of combining still photographs with painted backgrounds, Thorpe beautifully captures the haunting isolation of the ghostly moors in the evocative, gothic style so abundant in his previous work.“ – Stuart Feedback Andrews, Rue Morgue Magazine

To download Hairy Hands trailer.

Carrion on the Radio – ‘The Demon Huntsman’

Christmas is a time of rituals… and one very dear to our hearts here at Carrion Film is the Christmas Ghost Story. This year, Carrion Film is proud to announce that, following a number of weather related postponements, Ashley Thorpe’s ‘The Demon Huntsman‘ – written for  Glass Eye Pix  ‘Tales From Beyond the Pale‘ Radio dramas – will be available from nightfall January 11th 2011 (1.11.11), bowing out the critically lauded projects first season.

“Awesome. Great dialogue, some real thrills, and the resolve pitch-perfect… and appropriately tragic.”
– Larry Fessenden (CEO Glass Eye Pix New York)

Though not perhaps strictly  a Carrion Film project on paper Ashley Thorpe’s latest Dartmoor chiller is undoubtedly one in spirit. The story, like 2009’s  ‘The Hairy Hands‘,  was initially set to be part of Carrions first feature ‘Hell Tor‘ before being adapted into a radio drama. Though the subject material is well ‘within Carrion canon’, the script marks a significant departure for the Director.

Director / Scriptwriter Ashley Thorpe  –  taken from a recent interview with Exeter’s Phonic FM’s maverick DJ Lee Rawlings: “I wouldn’t  necessarily call it a departure. A development, yes absolutely. In fact the play is archly Carrion Film. It’s the most ‘Hammeresque’  thing I’ve ever done and it’s steeped –  drenched – in rich Devon mythology.”

“I would also say that it’s somewhat a hint of things to come. Though I’ll never shy too far from that visual, ‘painterly’ sensibility  I’m simultaneously fascinated by  narration and its tonal qualities too, so the radio play has been a fascinating and enlightening project to have participated in, given me an insight into new possibilities and collaborationsand to have been chosen to bow out the first season is a great honour.  I’ll be sitting listening to it with my eldest son Josh much in the way that my Father sat with me all those years ago listening to M.R James adaptations… By candlelight? Ha ha, of course, one should never do things by halves…I may even get my Frockcoat out.”

An article recently written by Ashley exclusively for FearNet,  gives a little background on the myth: “The most famous Dartmoor – set story is undoubtedly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. Conan Doyle’s inspirations to write the story were numerous (a visit to Cromer Hall in Norfolk and stories of the mythical ‘Black Shucks’) but the inspiration for the Baskerville legend itself and the landscape wherein it is set was inspired by the legend of Richard Capel – a violent and powerful 17th century Devonshire Squire who enjoyed something of a horrible reputation.”

“He was known to be a persecutor of village maidens, often imprisoning them and subjecting them to horrible cruelty. He was reputed to release them onto the moor, persuing them on horseback, hunting them like animals until they’d fall from exhaustion only then to be set upon by the Squire’s hounds.  On the 5th of July 1677, Richard Capel died (I suspect much to the relief of the local townsfolk) and he was laid to rest in a sepulchre in the churchyard above Buckfastleigh. It’s perhaps interesting to note here that the original dedication within Conan Doyle’s novel is to his good friend Fletcher Robinson, a journalist who lived at Ipplepen, a mere 6 miles from Buckfastleigh. But I digress… ”

“Such was the mans evil it is said, that upon his death demonic hounds  came baying across the moor to mark his passing. Some variations of the story say that they howl beside his grave every year at the anniversary of his death. Others, that Capel rose from the dead and rides still to this day beside them, looking for further prey upon the bleak landscapes of the moor…”

Inspired by the classic radio shows of Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Karloff , Peter Lorre, and Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre productions , TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE is a half hour downloadable audio program featuring notable thespians such as Vincent D’Onofrio, Ron Perlman, Angus Scrimm, Shea Wigham, James Le Gros, Joe Swanberg, and Kevin Corrigan.

The Demon Huntsman‘ s cast is headed by Michael Cerveris : Tony Award winning actor for his work on Broadway (most notably for his lauded run in ‘Sweeney Todd‘) aswell as appearances on ‘CSI New York‘, ‘Fringe‘ and film appearances in ‘Cirque Du Freak‘ (2009) and ‘Stake Land‘ (2010).

Conceived during a fog-drenched car ride by Fessenden and frequent collaborator Glenn McQuaid (I SELL THE DEAD, effects supervisor on THE ROOST and THE LAST WINTER), this project continues the mission at Glass Eye Pix to celebrate individual voices in the arts and to reassert the broad palette of moods that comprise the horror story.

DEMON cast members Campbell, Joel Garland, McQuaid, Aidan Redmond, and Cerveris


From Rue Morgue.com : “Known for his visually voluptuous animated short films, it’s great to see Thorpe explore his familiar universe of forgotten British folk lore without the aid of his distinctive images. But thanks to a juicy little script, some fine voice work and an absolutely brilliant soundscape by the Tales From Beyond The Pale crew, The Demon Hunstman takes us on a galloping, midnight jaunt through the rain-soaked, lightning-riddled Devonshire moors. It beautifully captures Thorpe’s aesthetic and joins the ranks of his earlier works as yet another charming love letter to the sumptuous Hammer Horror Film.”

All episodes of TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE will only be available through the website  but will soon be downloadable from iTunes, amazon and other outlets. In the New Year, all of Season One will be presented in a deluxe CD package featuring artwork by Rue Morgue artist Gary Pullin.

To download ‘THE DEMON HUNTSMAN’ visit ‘Tales From Beyond the Pale‘ – Available NOW!


Ashley Thorpe gets Buried Alive in Atlanta!

Carrion Film triptych ‘Scayrecrow‘, ‘The Screaming Skull‘ & ‘The Hairy Hands‘ (written and directed by  Ashley Thorpe) have been chosen to be screened as part of Atlanta’s annual ‘Buried Alive‘ horror festival  on November 12/13 at  the historic Plaza Theatre.

The films are scheduled to be shown twice as part of ‘Philip Nutman’s Nightmares‘ special shorts programme, with the Devon based Director making his first U.S festival appearance as special guest. After each of the screenings Philip Nutman will be hosting a Q & A with the director.

“Three award-winning shorts from the most unique British filmmaker since Clive Barker unleashed his macabre visions upon the world. Artist Ashley Thorpe’s stunning blend of live action and animation is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Miss at your peril!” – Philip Nutman

Aswell as attending the festival in person, Ashley will be spending the following week working with the acclaimed novelist and film producer on a number of yet unnamed film projects. Rumours abound however that due to Ashley’s obsession with all things Hammer and Philip Nutman’s unequalled knowledge of Amicus, that their collaborations will be something of a  love letter to both of those studios glory days.

Director Ashley Thorpe: “Obviously this is a great honour and a fantastic opportunity. All three films  screened in a 71 year-old, haunted movie palace that was a grindhouse in the 60s with burlesque shows — then  a porno theatre in the 70s, ha ha, just seems so perfect somehow! On top of the festival itself, then to have the opportunity to spend my time in the city as a guest of Philip Nutman is pretty incredible. This is a man who has worked in this industry since he was 19 years old and has interviewed or worked with nigh on every single one of my influences, everyone from Clive Barker to Peter Cushing, so apart from  being fascinated to see what comes out of our collaboration I’m looking forward to some priceless anecdotes! “

The animations are scheduled to be screened on Friday 12th November 9:45 pm onwards and Saturday 13th November 4:30pm under the banner of ‘The Penny Dreadful Fever Dreams of Ashley Thorpe“. Check the official site and full festival schedule for further details.

FESTIVAL UPDATE:  ‘VISIONARY AWARD’ AT ‘BURIED ALIVE!’ ATLANTA

News has reached us via an exclusive announcement on the ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland‘ site that the triple bill screening of the Carrion Film animations has reaped a very special award: The newly created ‘Visionary award‘.

Ashley Thorpe’s a troublemaker. The Buried Alive! Horror Film Festival had to create a new, special awards category just for the SCAYRECROW himself at the behest of our valiant jurors — the VISIONARY AWARD. Congratulations Sir!” – Philip Nutman

The Fifth Annual Buried Alive Film Festival invaded Atlanta’s historic Plaza Theater November 12-13th, showcasing the best in international short and feature length independent horror films. Hosted by author and horror evangelist Phil Nutman, the festival boasted the southeastern premiere of Frank Hennenlotter’s “Herschell Gordon Lewis, The Godfather of Gore” documentary, as well as screenings of Terry Gilliam’s short, “The Legend of Hallowdega,” and Greg Nicotero’s “United Monster Talent Agency.”

FEEDBACK FROM TELLURIDE HORROR FESTIVAL

Editor in Chief Chris Alexander just sent this over following the screenings at the recent ‘Telluride Horror Festival’ where the Carrion film horror triptych was screened as a triple bill for the very first time.

Chris Alexander: “As an avid fan and flag waver of the unique work of Ashley Thorpe, I had the chance recently to see his imagery for what felt like the first time, on the big screen. It’s one thing enjoying these creative, compact, imaginative and reverent works at home, alone. It’s quite another to see them blown up, both visually and aurally in a vintage opera house with a full house nestled deep in the mountains of Telluride.”

“I had the honor of introducing SCAYRECROW at the header of the low budget UK zombie film COLIN. It was remarkable. The detail in the images, the haunting doomed love story itself, the live action penny dreadful movement of it, the music….all extra breathtaking. And then to have it chased with rounds of enthusiastic applause, the see it get “got” by an audience who truly appreciated it….remarkable and unforgettable.”

“In many ways it felt like a vindication for the words I’ve been spouting since Thorpe’s movies first fell on my radar: this guy is going places and – although Hammer Horror is back in an “official” incarnation – Thorpe’s gothic miasma’s are the honest offspring of those “pure” supernatural melodramas that changed the face of dark fantasy cinema.

Ashley Thorpe and all at Carrion Film would like to express enormous thanks to Chris and his endless enthusiastic support.

Triple-Bill at Telluride Horror Show

October 15-17, 2010 marks the first-ever Telluride Horror Show, a 3-Day horror film festival in world-famous Telluride, Colorado and  Carrion Film animations (‘Scayrecrow‘, ‘The Screaming Skull‘ & ‘The Hairy Hands‘) have all been selected to be screened. If that weren’t honour enough – each of the films will also feature an introduction by Editor in Chief of Fangoria magazine –  and cineaste of the extreme and the obscure –  Chris Alexander.

Chris Alexander on the Penny Dreadfuls (excerpt taken from an interview conducted circa September 2009): “… it is my pleasure, as both a lover of horror films that break rules and refuse to behave and gothic, stylized shockers that bow and kiss your hand before they cut your throat, to wax rapturous about Ashley Thorpe.”

“Thorpe’s visionary and reverent animated gothic melodramas SCAYRECROW and THE SCREAMING SKULL are throwbacks to a gentler age of terror, especially that of Hammer Studios, the Victorian terror machine that I live and die by and that from 1957 – 1975, pumped out the sort of swoony stiff collared horror films that, well, just aint made no more…But Englishman Ashley Thorpe aims to change all that. And he’s altering the face of fearsome animation to boot.”

From the site: “For three days, horror fans are invited to experience the latest independent horror films in Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House and Nugget Theatre. Feature films, short films, special programs, guests, and a party or two. If you love horror flicks then you don’t want to miss this….”

Apart from a world class selection of international shorts and features, the festival also boasts the presence of Tom Holland; the legendary writer/director responsible for some of the most successful films in the horror genre including “Fright Night,” “Child’s Play,” Stephen King films “Thinner” and the TV mini-series “Langoliers.” Other television credits include episodes of “Tales From The Crypt” and “Amazing Stories.” His work as a writer also spans the cult film depths of “Psycho II,” “The Beast Within,” “Cloak and Dagger” and many more.

After the premiere of his new series of short films (created in the great tradition of anthology shows like The Twilight Zone) ‘TWISTED TALES’, Mr. Holland will take the stage with Fangoria’s Chris Alexander for what will no doubt be an exceptional Q&A.

Director Ashley Thorpe: “ I love that the films are slowly being seen as a body of work, as part of a greater project, that’s very personally gratifying and absolutely the way I’d always hoped that they would be seen. I’m also obviously and personally very thrilled for the films to be introduced by Chris as he’s been there pretty much from the beginning, coaxing and encouraging our progress every step of the way. And closer to home my son Josh (pictured) is very excited about it all, he’s absolutely over the moon that he’ll be seen on a big screen in the States.”

Scayrecrow‘ and ‘The Hairy Hands‘ will be shown on October 15th at the Nugget Theatre (‘Hairy Hands‘ supporting feature ‘Phasma Ex Machina‘ and ‘Scayrecrow’ running as support short for British Indie hit ‘Colin‘) whilst ‘The Screaming Skull‘ is scheduled to play on the following day with a yet to be announced feature.

DOUBLE COVER CREDIT IN HALLOWEEN RUE MORGUE

Carrion Film has a double presence in this years Halloween issue of Rue Morgue Magazine. Firstly, Glass Eye Pix Horror Radio project ‘Tales from Beyond the Pale’ receives a special feature covering each of the assembled stories and authors in detail as the eagerly awaited Radio series nears its broadcast date.

Carrion Films contribution to the project is ‘The Demon Huntsman‘: the tale, penned by Ashley Thorpe, is once again inspired by a genuine Dartmoor myth of the Huntsman and the Whisht hounds of Dewerstone, and simultaneously another love letter to the golden age of Hammer horror.

Producer Larry Fessenden (taken from Fangoria.com): “The expanded TALES website goes live October 19, at which point the casts will be announced, and the first episode will be downloadable October 26. “We’ll premiere one a week from then on,” Fessenden tells us. “Then eventually, for the Christmas rush, we’re gonna have a CD available, with all the beautiful cards made by Gary Pullin, the art director from Rue Morgue magazine. So that’llbe a fun little package,  and eventually they’ll get on iTunes as well.”

The second article is an interview that Carrion Director Ashley Thorpe recently conducted with graphic artist Derek Riggs (most famous for his seminal Iron Maiden cover art). The interview gives a colourful insight into the artist, his influences (and invariably some of Ashley’s) and the stories behind some of his most iconic images.  The Halloween issue, featuring a fantastic ‘Psycho‘ retrospective,  is on stands internationally now!

Hairy Hands seize Raindance

18th Raindance Film Festival 2010Carrion Film animation ‘The Hairy Hands‘ (directed by Ashley Thorpe) has been officially selected to be screened at the prestigious 18th Raindance Film Festival 2010, adding to a plethora of festival screenings for the Ashley Thorpe directed short.

The previous animation ‘The Screaming Skull‘ was screened at last years festival to critical acclaim, garnering a Best UK Short Film nomination.

From the official press release: “Raindance is the UK’s largest independent film festival, showcasing shorts and features from around the world and specialising in independent films and directorial debuts. The festival has a strong legacy of showing alternative, usually more edgy films; hosting premieres of The Blair Witch Project, Memento and Christopher Nolan’s first feature. “

Sitting on this year’s stellar jury are: Charles Saatchi, renowned British film critic and historian Derek Malcolm; one of Alfred Hitchcock’s original sound producers Ernie Marsh; Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh; Lemmy from iconic metal legends Motorhead; writer, illustrator, musician and filmmaker Dave McKean; Alison Owen (producer of Shaun of the Dead, Elizabeth, Brick Lane, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Chatroom and Tamara Drew), Joe Bateman Festival Director at Rushes Short Film Festival and Mark Herbert head of Warp Films, producer of award winning films such This is England and Dead Man’s Shoes.”

Director Ashley Thorpe: “Hairy Hands at Raindance…really didn’t expect to be there two years on the trot. It’s all a little overwhelming at the moment. We knew when Tom and I put this one together that this one was supposed to be a bit more of a mainstream effort, but the demand to screen it thus far has been quite extraordinary. It played in Rio yesterday, and I don’t think you could ask for a more wonderfully weird place to screen a film about Dartmoor! Raindance in particular is an important festival to be part of, as it has this sincere commitment to the fringes of pop culture, the darker peripheral stuff, which is where my interests tend to lie anyway.”

“The next 6 months are going to be a very exciting time for Carrion Film, there’s so much on the horizon, … a number of new productions are up and running including of course the radio play with Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid (Tales from Beyond the Pale), some very exciting international collaborations, some amazing festivals lined up in the States, and something that will absolutely take the Penny Dreadful project to the next level. Suffice to say, the House of Carrion knows a lot more than it’s telling…”

As always – watch this site for exclusive updates and interviews.

‘THE HAIRY HANDS”

Dartmoor: the dead of night…953 square kilometres of desolate moorland…1,000 ghosts… and a fugitive racing a haunted road to meet one.  A haunted house movie set in a moving car and based upon a genuine Dartmoor legend it draws upon such influences as Alfred Hitchcock, EC Comics and ‘The Hammer House of Horror‘.

‘The Hairy hands was produced in co-operation with the UK Film Council, South West Screen, Devon County Council and the Exeter Phoenix and was made between June and November 2009.

The Hairy Hands’ will screen at Raindance as part of  Shorts programme 9, on Sunday 10th October at 1:30pm. Check the festival site for full details of screenings and events.

THE HAIRY HANDS JOIN ABERTOIR!

The Hairy Hands‘ has also just been selected for screening at Wales’ premiere horror festival ‘Abertoir‘. Running between the 10th and the 14th of November the Aberystwyth based festival this year boasts live performances by Punk legends ‘The Damned‘ and  – something of a horror first – the chance to actually join the ranks of the dead and become part of the undead movie ‘The Zombie Diaries 2‘,  on Tan Y Bwlch beach as they film on the Sunday!

From the official site: “With more than 20 films on offer from around the world, including UK premieres, cult screenings and classics, we are delighted to be offering a massive variety of other events that will give fans of horror something truly memorable. Films, music, theatre, book signings, special guests, prizes and bar promotions will turn this peaceful seaside town into a haven for lovers of the macabre- so lock up your grannies, Abertoir is coming!”

For full details on events and special guests as they are announced visit www.abertoir.co.uk or their official Facebook page.


Carrion Films invade ‘Philip Nutman’s Nightmares!’

Triple Bill with Philip NutmanRespected author and filmmaker Philip Nutman – seen by many as the authority on Amicus Horror – has chosen Carrion Film terror triptych ( Scayrecrow, The Screaming Skull & The Hairy Hands) to be part of his special prime-time “Philip Nutman’s Nightmares: My Favorite Horror Shorts”  at Atlanta’s ‘Buried Alive‘ Horror festival’s opening night. There is also a suggestion that the three films may also be screened a second time the following night as part of the competition. This marks the first time that all three films have been selected to be screened at a single festival. Philip Nutman explained some of the reasons for his decision:

Philip NutmanI believe he (Director Ashley Thorpe) has a uniqueBuried Alive 2010 vision and a distinctive talent, that his works deserve to be considered alongside those of The Brothers Quay and David Lynch (especially the early works). They also contain flashes of the arcane poetry of early Kenneth Anger — at least in my eyes — but when all is said and done, they are pure Thorpe… it’s clear the blood of Hammer and Amicus run through his veins, and as a fellow Englishman I know all the influences and passions only too well. Remarkable. Superb — and very creepy. I can’t wait to see what dark delights you gentlemen will surprise us with next.” – Philip Nutman.

Philip Nutman is a multiple award nominated novelist, critically acclaimed screenwriter and producer who has published over 2000 feature articles, essays and profiles over the last 3 decades. He is Fangoria magazines longest serving reporter (writing his first article at the tender age of 18), and covered many of the top horror movies of the 1980’s. As president of RPM Filmworks Inc, he is currently developing a number of projects for the big screen.

Full details on the ‘Buried Alive‘ screening will be posted as soon as they are officially released.

All three films have also subsequently been requested for inclusion at  the Blacklist Art and Film Festival in San Diego and the Telluride Horror Show Colorado (this year guest hosted by ‘Fangoria‘ Editor in Chief  Chris Alexander). More details on these festivals will follow shortly.

THE SCREAMING SKULL AT SALT LAKE CITY…SLCFF poster 2010

Carrion Film animation ‘The Screaming Skull‘ has also been selected to be screened at this years ‘Salt Lake City Film Festival‘. Led by a creative team of artists and event coordinators, the Salt Lake City Film Festival was designed to provide exposure and commercial avenues for independent films.

From the official site: “In 2010, the Salt Lake City Film Festival has grown in numerous ways. In addition to our usual home base of the Tower Theater, we’ll be showing films at The Post Theater at the University of Utah on Saturday and Sunday, the Broadway Theater (for our opening night film only) and Brewvies Cinema Pub for late night showings on Friday and Saturday.”

The Screaming Skull‘ will be screening at 07:00 pm, Friday 13th August at the Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City.

Big Screen in the ParkHAIRY HANDS IN THE PARK!

Exeter’s Big Screen in the Park, wherein Northernhay Gardens is  turned into an outdoor cinema,  will be supporting  the Devon and Cornwall movie scene by showing local shorts before the main feature. Included in this years schedule is  ‘The Hairy Hands‘ which will be the supporting B – movie for Guy Ritchies ‘reinvention’ of legendary Victorian sleuth ‘Sherlock Holmes‘.

Screenings, which take place from Wednesday to Saturday August 11 to 14, start at 9pm, but gates open at 7pm, giving plenty of time to settle in and nosh down on your picnic or other refreshments.

Other local shorts that will be showing are  Andy Oxley and David Williams’ ‘Day of Rest‘, ‘La Legend-Dali‘ by Tom Austin, and Jerri Hart’s ‘Plan B‘, all made with  support from the Exeter Phoenix Digital team.

Venue: Northernhay Gardens, Exeter, Devon, UK. Entry is £2. Visit the Exeter Phoenix site for full details of each of the screenings.

Blacklist Art and FilmSCAYRECROW RIDES IN SAN DIEGO!

The phantom Highwayman rides stateside this month as Carrion Film  favourite ‘Scayrecrow‘ plays the ‘Blacklist Art & Film Festival’.

Taken from the Festival site: “The Blacklist Art & Film Festival: champions of gore and advocates of fearless creativity invade San Diego to deliver you from mainstream culture damnation. Rinse your mind of formulaic conventions by joining us in a unique multi-media blitzkrieg of unapologetic creativity and exploits. Award winning horror film atrocities, mind-bending artwork and a night of rock n’ roll mayhem await your depraved souls. The Blacklist Art & Film Festival is a celebration of the World’s emerging talents and unknown innovators of Art, Film & Rock n’ Roll in an effort to inspire the next wave of artists with original and unconventional content.”

The festival takes place August 28th, 5-10pm at the Birch North Park Theatre.

Scayrecrow‘ will be riding stateside again very shortly so watch this site for details!