Carrion Films on FEARnet

All three Carrion Film animations – SCAYRECROW, THE SCREAMING SKULL and THE HAIRY HANDS are to be screened on the webs most popular horror destination FEARnet, with The Hairy hands commencing the season on July 23rd. The films will be joining a wide variety of short films including many by established genre stars.

Following The Hairy Hands premiere, The Screaming Skull will  begin its run the week of September 3rd with Scayrecrow showing from September 24th. Each film has a filmed introduction by director Ashley Thorpe and regular actor Edward Berry.

FEARnet is adding over 75 new rarely seen videos to its already extensive online library this year, launching with 15, and adding 3-4 each week. This expansion is part of FEARnet’s triple-play strategy curating the best films and specialized programming for the desired viewing platform, whether that be TV, VOD or web. Apart from showcasing the Carrion Film Triptych the wide variety of shorts will offer fans an exciting opportunity to see work by established genre stars, such as “Jack Chop,” “The TiVo” and “The Tiffany Problem” by  Adam Green; “Seasons Greetings,” by Trick R’ Treat scribe Michael Dougherty; and Paul Solet’s “Grace,” which spawned the 2006 cult hit of the same name. In addition, fans will be able to enjoy “30-Second Bunnies Theatre” parodies of genre favorites like Alien, The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, among others, as well as the viral video sensation “Zombie American,” starring Ed Helms of “The Office.” Ranging from 30 seconds to 20 minutes in length, all short films featured on the site were handpicked by genre stars and FEARnet staff, including FEARnet’s own president and general manager, Peter Block.

Director Ashley Thorpe: “I’m delighted to be able to finally make this announcement as we’ve been preparing this since last year. It’s wonderful to have been selected for the network. Although two of the films were available for a limited time as downloads a few years ago, this is the first time that the animations will be widely available. So until the films become available on DVD / Blu-Ray this is absolutely the best way of seeing them. I can’t think of a better company to be hosting our work.

“Shorts are important to the film community at large,” said Sarah Shannon, FEARnet’s director of programming. “Some are funny, some are creepy, and some are scary. It doesn’t matter how long it is, as a horror fan, you can still get what you want from it. And the acquisitions FEARnet has made are long-term, ensuring that these shorts will be available to be viewed for years to come.”

FEARnet is a multi-platform programming service delivering original and acquired horror, thriller and suspense content as a cable TV network, a video-on-demand outlet and web portal. FEARnet, a partnership among Sony Pictures Television, Lionsgate Entertainment and Comcast Corporation, features a robust lineup of popular titles from major film studios and independents, encompassing 300 plus movie titles a year, including 27 world television and 11 theatrical broadcast premieres. The Network is distributed to U.S. cable subscribers across the country on various systems and is often ranked as the number-one free VOD movie service available in more than 27 million homes. In 2011, the website, FEARnet.com, was the world’s leader in the genre category among total uniques and duration per visit.

This initiative also marks the first time that FEARnet.com fans will be able to directly rate and critique short films on the site so please tune in and show your appreciation with a complimentary vote!

Said Lawrence Raffel, FEARnet’s vice president of digital content: “This new social networking aspect basically recreates the feel of a neighborhood video store where employees used to recommend videos for patrons. But, now, the fans themselves have the power to weigh in and present their thoughts about a short film, while building their reputations on the site as citizen film critics.”

Hell Hounds and Night Hags – Ashley Thorpe on Radio 4

Carrion Film writer / director Ashley Thorpe has been interviewed by Ann Widdecombe for her BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Hell Hounds and Night Hags’. The programme is an examination of Dartmoor legends; their origin, their influence and their continued fascination.

“No disrespect to you Sir, but the dangers of the moor are plentiful. We may have civilised the outskirts of the moor, but for all our wants, for all our faith, it’s still a wilderness out there Sir….if all the unclaimed bodies, scattered in their shallow graves rose from the moor, the dead would outnumber the living. The earth out there is alive with their stories.” – The Demon Huntsman

The BBC 4 team contacted a number of experts and witnesses from across the region and our very own Ashley Thorpe was chosen to recount the myth of the ‘Hairy Hands’, having been terrified by the grisly tale as a child and subsequently inspired to make the animated film in its honour. The interview was recorded whilst traversing the famed haunted road  between Postbridge and ‘The Two Bridges’ (the ‘B3212’ or ‘Carter’s road’ as it was once known) to lend the broadcast an air of eerie authenticity. ‘Hell Hounds and Night Hags’ is scheduled for broadcast on Radio 4 at 4pm, Monday 9th July.

Ashley Thorpe: “It was wonderful to be asked by them (BBC 4). The production team seemed very familiar with our work and our commitment to celebrate the regions mythology. I hope this sort of programming is the first of many as there’s a wealth of material. In fact after recording I was discussing with the producer how it’s about time that someone take another stab at something like ‘Westcountry Tales’… According to Ann they had – previous to my recording – interviewed someone who claimed to have been attacked by the Hands, so I’m looking forward to hearing the programme as much as everyone else! It’s a story that’s always been close to my heart having been terrified by it as a wee nipper so it was especially fun for the BBC team to interview my Dad (Robert Thorpe)  due to him actually ‘playing’ the hands. I bet when he was sat there roasting under the lights covered in latex and sugar puffs he didn’t think he’d end up on the ‘Beeb beeb ceeb’ …”

Since the early twentieth century, drivers and cyclists have reported suffering unusual accidents whilst travelling the stretch of road (the B3212) between Postbridge and Two Bridges. In many cases, the victims reported that their vehicle had swerved violently off the side of the road, as if something had taken hold of the wheels and wrenched it out of their control.

Ann Widdecombe – ‘Hell Hounds and Night Hags’

In most instances, the victims ran into a verge and survived. Their experiences remained a local curiosity, until June 1921, when Dr. E.H. Helby, the medical officer for Dartmoor Prison was actually killed when he lost control of his motorcycle and sidecar. His two daughters survived. Shortly after Dr Helby’s death, there was another incident in which a coach driver lost control, injuring several passengers who were thrown out of their seats. Then, on August 26 1921, an army Captain reported that a pair of invisible hands had taken hold of him and forced his motorcycle off the road. After such a bout of such bizarre ‘attacks’ it didn’t take long before the story was picked up by the London newspapers and the story became a nationwide sensation.

Though horror cinema has had its share of disembodied creeping hands (Amicus studios ‘Doctor Terrors house of Horrors’, ‘The Beast with five fingers‘ and Oliver Stone’s ‘The Hand‘  are but two notables) the actual story of ‘The Hairy Hands‘, and its core myth (often linked to a mining explosion or a local murder on the particular stretch of road) has hitherto largely been ignored outside the region that spawned it.

The Hairy Hands‘ was the first Carrion Film animation to focus on a specific Dartmoor myth and was created in association with the UK Film Council, South West Screen and the Exeter Phoenix. The short film stars Edward Berry and features voiceovers from Doug Bradley, Nicholas Vince and BBC Devon DJ Jo Loosemore. Subsequent forays into the regions legends have resulted in ‘The Demon Huntsman’ for Glass Eye Pixs ‘Tales From Beyond the Pale’ and an assortment of ghostly stories for mooted portmanteau Hell Tor.

Carrion Screaming! for latest updates

With a new short ‘Borley Rectory‘ ( a Glass Eye Pix / Carrion Film joint venture) in production and the ambitious feature ‘Spring Heel Jack‘  deep in development, Carrion Film has launched two alternative platforms to satiate those hungry for updates.

Apart from this site (and a presence on Facebook), regular updates will now also be posted via Carrion Screaming on tumblr and director Ashley Thorpe’s account on twitter. Visitors can expect unseen artwork from  the previous animations aswell as exclusive concept art and storyboards for films currently in production or development. There will also be occasional ‘video updates’ – wryly christened by the crew ‘Carrion at your convenience‘ – wherein the Carrion Film team will give insights into production and the challenges a true independent faces getting  material ‘on screen’.

Carrion: So how did the ‘Carrion at your convenience’ thing come about?

‘Carrion at your convenience’ – Edward Berry and Ashley Thorpe in ‘Pete n Dud’ mode.

Director Ashley Thorpe:We , Ed and myself, were filming a series of introductions for Fearnet and between takes  took the opportunity to just give a brief update on what was going on with ‘Borley Rectory‘ and reflect upon the making of ‘Hairy Hands‘. Well, that was the plan..of course it collapsed into a sort of ‘Pete and Dud’ thing about Tom, ha ha, but it was fun to actually  talk, even briefly about what was going on.

Carrion: It’s been a while since you’ve been involved in anything ‘public’…

Ashley Thorpe: “I’ve been writing first and foremost but yeah you’re right…though it’s been a busy couple of years since ‘Hairy Hands’. Although we had ‘The Demon Huntsman‘ out last year, to the outsider it must seem a very barren period in terms of material. Long term prep work. There’s been a lot of writing – the feature for a start  (Spring Heel Jack) – which was – is – the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. On top of that there’s been a couple of commissioned short scripts for other production companies so…can’t really discuss them but it’s all out there…waiting in the wings.”

Carrion: ‘Borley Rectory’ was initially intended to be a very modest ‘found footage’ thing to be shot very quickly last year wasn’t it? Now ironically it looks to be the most ambitious short yet…what changed?

Ashley Thorpe: “Yes, it was originally going to be something very simple, experimental actually, looking at the relationship between perception and expectation in ghost photography. Ghost photographs are almost always of a very poor quality and I wanted to play with those textures. Regardless, our pitch for local funding failed so I took it away and completely re-wrote it as something of a beginners guide to the haunting whilst utilising the look of classic ghost photography. Then of course Julian Sands became aware of what we were doing and then we have Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid behind it at Glass Eye Pix. Not a bad position to be in launching into production…”

Carrion: So initially funding was the main issue…

Ashley Thorpe: “Funding is always the issue. ‘Hairy Hands‘ was originally going to be part of ‘Hell-Tor‘ – the proposed Dartmoor portmanteau…”

Carrion: Is that still a possibility?

Ashley Thorpe: “Oh yeah. In fact I recently wrote another story for it called ‘Crows Mere‘…  The point is that I lifted the story out of it because funding became available and it seemed like a good little piece  to adapt within their perameters. I think you have to be like that. Constantly spinning the plates, coming up with stories so when something comes along, you’ll have something ready or at least available to adapt. The arts grants are shrinking or vanishing completely and there’s precious little public money around. Crowd funding seems to be the way the industry is gravitating. I’m certainly not resistant to it. I’m resistant to the ‘access all areas’ things that go hand in hand with crowd funding. That sort of access is fine retrospectively. But I do think mystery and anticipation are very important too. Carrion Film has, without sounding pretentious,  always had a certain mystique to our productions…once locked into a production we pretty much lock down, and whilst I believe that its very important to maintain that sense of mystery… “

Carrion: The new platforms…

Ashley Thorpe: I simultaneously also think that it’s very important to recognise and appreciate your audience and the fact that they are genuinely  interested in the process as much as the final result. It’s a nice excuse to open the vault a little, not give the whole game away but open the lab and hint what’s on the slab, right?. I have a lot of artwork, especially for Spring Heel’ that I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Glass Eye Pix and Julian Sands join Borley Rectory

After months shrouded in secrecy Carrion Films is proud to announce the latest updates on the project, namely that the films narration will be provided by Julian Sands.

The British actor, who has worked with Directors as diverse as Ken Russell, David Cronenberg and David Fincher, recorded the narration in December 2011 in London.

We are also delighted to announce that Borley Rectory will be a joint Carrion Film / Glass Eye Pix production with legendary Indie Producer Larry Fessenden and Writer / Director Glenn McQuaid (‘I Sell the Dead‘ & most recently ‘V/H/S’) acting as Executive Producers for the project.

“When l first came across Ashley Thorpe’s work as a film maker l was struck by his originality and passion,” states Sands. “The poetry and sensitivity of his images were compelling and extremely moving. When l heard he was developing a project based on the notorious Borley Rectory l had to be involved. Working on this astonishing piece has been immensely fulfilling and l am happy to have joined his reparatory…” Julian Sands on BORLEY RECTORY

Following the award winning Hammer horror inspired fictions SCAYRECROW, THE SCREAMING SKULL and THE HAIRY HANDS, BORLEY RECTORY is the next in a series of gothic shorts inspired by what British Director Ashley Thorpe believes to be the neglected aspects of British horror heritage.  It’s an approach that has led to the Devon based artist  being marked as leading something of a British Horror revival.  Editor in Chief of Fangoria Magazine –  Chris Alexander  “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.”

Director Ashley Thorpe “Borley Rectory is essentially an animated documentary, inspired by a genuine haunting that caught the worlds imagination during the late 1920’s.  It’s going to be something quite old fashioned, very textural, with a house very much a projection of the personalities within it – Haunted house as voyeur. It’s a subject that seized my imagination as a child after stumbling across the legend in the Usbourne Book of Ghosts at the local Library as a kid…”

“I’d  recently interviewed Julian for Fangoria about his work with Ken Russell on ‘Gothic‘ and after seeing the previous animations he expressed a genuine interest in what was next. He’d heard of Borley previously so when I explained that we were panning to do a study of the haunting in our style he leapt into the project with total abandon, it was pretty incredible really… And I couldn’t be happier for the film to be made with Glass Eye Pix. I can’t think of a better, more like-minded group to make this happen. They’re so genuine about what they do. I’m excited about the future.”

States Fessenden, “It is a pleasure to see how much inspiration Ashley draws from his local myths and surroundings: I believe strongly that the sense of place is an essential character in any good story, and after his wonderful radio play THE DEMON HUNTSMAN captured the feeling of the Moors, I knew Glass Eye would want to get behind the next Thorpe production.” McQuaid adds, “Ashley is a unique and soulful voice within the horror genre, and having already collaborated with him on Tales from Beyond the Pale, it’s a logical and exciting step to jump into another project together.”

Exec Producer Fessenden’s production outfit Glass Eye Pix has been responsible for dozens of celebrated independent films including THE INNKEEPERS, I SELL THE DEAD, THE LAST WINTER, THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and STAKE LAND, as well as the critically acclaimed TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE series of radio dramas.

BORLEY RECTORY  is in pre-production and will begin filming 2012.

Ashley Thorpe Rondo Award Nomination for Fangoria Interview

Carrion Film is proud to announce that  Ashley Thorpe (‘Scayrecrow’, ‘The Screaming Skull’, ‘The Hairy Hands’) has been nominated for a Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for ‘Best Interview of 2011′ for his Fangoria interview with genre legend Peter Sasdy.

The interview, which ran in Fangoria issues 308 and 309, was conducted at the 2011 ‘Fantastic Film Weekend’ Bradford curated by Tony Earnshaw and coincided with screenings of the director’s most admired works including ‘Countess Dracula‘, ‘The Stone Tape‘ and ‘Hands of the Ripper‘.

The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror awards are particularly special as they are voted for by the general public and are designed to recognise research, scholarship and creativity in the industry ultimately keeping classic horror, science fiction and fantasy  vital and innovative.


 Ashley Thorpe –It was my first ‘face to face’ interview and I’m amazed that it turned out so well as I was extremely nervous and desperate to make a good impression…something which fell flat on its face when I pulled out my microphone and it promptly fell to pieces. Not exactly the impression I was going for but it at least launched proceedings with a laugh! I keep saying it but none of it would have happened if it weren’t for Tony Earnshaw. He ensured that it all took place and what’s more treated me as if I was just as special as his guests of honour. To get to watch an original print of Hammers ‘Hands of the Ripper’ sat beside its director is a memory I’ll always treasure.”

To read RONDO AWARD NOMINATED Peter Sasdy Interview – FANGORIA (c)

The actual award is based on the image of classic horror actor Rondo Hatton (‘House of Horrors’, ‘Jungle Captive’, ‘The Brute Man’) and the award ceremony is currently held at the Wonderfest convention in Louisville, Kentucky USA. The categories include Best Movie, Best Magazine, Best Blog, Best Website and Monster Kid of the Year.

Ashley Thorpe is nominated in category 14 – Best Interview. If you would like to vote for any of this years nominees, head to the Rondo Hatton Classic Award Site and email your completed ballot to David Colton at taraco@aol.com by midnight, April 1st, 2012.

Ashley Thorpe / Peter Sasdy portrait by Mark Davis 2011. Fangoria Peter Sasdy interview used with permission.

Borley Rectory Teaser to premiere at Buried Alive Film Fest

Whilst the production  of the next Penny Dreadful animation is still in its infancy, attendees of this years ‘Buried Alive Film Festival‘ will be the very first to see a teaser trailer for what many are calling Ashley Thorpe’s most accomplished film yet – ‘Borley Rectory‘.

“BA!FF is proud to host the world premiere screening of 2010’s “Visionary” award-winning filmmaker’s teaser for his next short. Be prepared to get a taste of the most haunted house in Great Britain.”


The new short reassembles the team that made the award winning ‘Scayrecrow‘, ‘The Screaming Skull’ and ‘The Hairy Hands‘ with Exeter based Award winning filmmaker and Director of ‘Cineon‘ Productions Toby DeBurgh added to the mix. Specific details of the films production have been sparse and highly guarded, specifically regarding the films cast and choice of narrator.

Writer / Director Ashley Thorpe : “Borley Rectory is certainly in some ways a deviation from the previous films stylistically and in terms of content. It’s essentially an animated documentary, which I thought might be an interesting form to explore a subject like this. Borley Rectory, whether you believe Price or not regarding the validity of the haunting, was at least a place that attracted a wealth of quite eccentric characters over the years and each of them brought something of their personality to the house and by proxy to its reputation. I was talking to Stephen Volk recently and he commented about a haunting reflecting an absence in a person, a potentially fatal flaw in their character projected, and I find this a very interesting perspective…

Borley Rectory was a Victorian era mansion located in the village of Borley, Essex. It was constructed in 1863, on the site of a previous rectory and destroyed by fire in 1939.

The house gained a reputation for being  haunted after a series of residents reported unsettling phenomena. In 1929, the story of Borley was heavily covered by the Daily Mirror. Notably, it was investigated by paranormal investigator Harry Price in 1937, who described it as “The Most Haunted House in England“, a phrase which caught the imagination of the press. Price wrote two books on the subject, both of which were bestsellers.

The choice of BA!FF for the World Premiere was an obvious one according to the Director. Last year Ashley attended the festival where Curator Philip Nutman chose three Carrion Film animations to be a part of his ‘Philip Nutman’s Nightmares‘ slot. Ashley was subsequently presented  with the festivals very first ‘Visionary Award‘ . Though both Ashley and Edward Berry were planning to attend this year’s festival in person they have unfortunately had to decline due to scheduling conflicts.

‘Borley Rectory’ is due for release in 2012 and all future developments will be announced here.

‘The Hairy Hands’ at Celluloid Screams

Carrion Film animation ‘The Hairy Hands‘ is one of the short films playing at this years ‘Celluloid Screams‘, Sheffield’s horror spectacular. The festival runs from the 21st – 23rd October and promises another weekend of the very best in new and classic horror cinema.

“We’re delighted to be screening THE HAIRY HANDS at Celluloid Screams 2011. Director Ashley Thorpe clearly has a deep passion for both the horror genre and the subject matter contained within his unique body of work, and the style and execution of his films make him a talent to watch” Robert Nevitt, Festival Director.

Sheffield based horror festival ‘Celluloid Screams’ is the brainchild of Filmmaker Rob Nevitt. Starting in 2009, the festival – showcasing the very best in both new and classic horror cinema – grew rapidly and essentially from the rabid enthusiasm of the fans.

ROB NEVITT: “Celluloid Screams began initially as a short series of horror screenings at the Showroom Cinema, most of which sold out, which confirmed for me that there’s a rabid audience for horror in the North of England. Shortly after that we began preparing for our first edition… We were extremely fortunate to have presented the UK Premiere of ‘Paranormal Activity’ in our festival in 2009, which was a definite coup for our first year, but for me the main highlights have been our guests such as Fulci legends Ian McCulloch and the incomparable Catriona MacColl who was our guest of honour last year.”

The festival opens with a gala screening of Alex Chandon’s demented gorefest INBRED, which gives a new meaning to the phrase “Northern rural hospitality”,  UK Premieres of German giallo MASKS, Noboru Iguchi’s  J-Horror TOMIE: UNLIMITED and Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s COLD SWEAT. The festival will also feature  revival screenings of classics such as HALLOWEEN, VAMPYRES and RE-ANIMATOR.

Carrion Film Director Ashley Thorpe: “I think the thing that I find most interesting about Rob’s festival is its approach to screening short films. There’s still a tendency to treat the medium like a curiosity, an anomaly in filmmaking… Short films have a tendency to be ‘ghettoed’ into their own slot and as such often become marginalised in the festival schedule. What Rob is doing, and I hope that more festivals take note, is for the films to be screened before a feature, like a thematically linked support or ‘B-Movie’. I’m amazed that more people don’t do it.”

Closing the festival this year is the Celluloid Screams Secret Film, the now-annual tradition that will be revealed on the night. In addition to the films, the festival includes merchandise stalls, giveaways, a specially-commissioned art exhibition and even a special  5.9% Festival Ale, so there’s plenty to occupy every horror fan!”

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)!

 

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).