For many of us April is a time of fresh flowers, baby lambs, shaking off the cloak of winter and feeling frisky under the emerging sunshine. But of course, here, at Horror Channel HQ the darkness is always here… thankfully. As we look ahead to the future of our world it’s hard not to feel a little dispirited, one look at the news and it seems the world around us is, or could, at any moment, fall crumbling down. And so it is with these morbid thoughts we bring you our world-ending season of catastrophe classics; some call it Doomsday, others Armageddon, we settled for ‘Apocalypse’ season. Don’t you just love a bit of doom and gloom?!
As most of you know, I present the film premieres on the channel, and this month we went hell for leather and took to former RAF base Greenham Common, once home to the UK’s nuclear weapons! Recently it was used as a location for the latest Star Wars movie and for us the bleak backdrop of tangled plants growing over disused tunnels was perfect to showcase the Apocalypse Season featuring three unmissable film premieres as well as a chance to catch Stephen King’s miniseries, The Stand.
I’ll start with my pick of the month; PLANET TERROR! Forming one half of Quentin Tarantino’s big Grindhouse renaissance back in 2007 Planet Terror is Robert Rodriguez’ slick sick zombie flick! This film is literally pus-filled fun from beginning to end as Rodriguez lets rip with all manner of gross out black horror comedy. A chemical weapon is accidentally released turning a small Texan town into a biohazard war zone populated by pus-oozing throbbing gooey face melting zombies! When sexy Go Go dancer Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) has one of her legs munched off by the creatures, her boyfriend fashions her a (now iconic) machine gun prosthetic leg! Somehow McGowan pulls off the peg leg look incredibly well and there’s some amazing action sequences involving McGowan as a human M16. Missing reels, celluloid scratches and dodgy dubbing complete the Grindhouse experience!
Planet Terror (Network premiere) – Saturday April 18th at 10:50pm
The Apocalypse Season actually kicks off on Saturday 4th April at 9pm with Stephen King’s THE STAND and is followed by the network premiere of THE MIST. Also based on a Stephen King novel and following similar themes, The Mist is a brilliant combination of ‘world gone wrong’ horror with character interplay, as themes of paranoia, religious fanaticism and the breakdown of society are interwoven with creature feature. A mysterious storm brings with it ferocious relentless beasts forcing a group of people to hole up inside a supermarket where it becomes clear two factions begin to form; the rational logical thinkers and the god fearing ‘fire and brimstone’ gang. The climatic ending of this film is grim and depressing and refreshingly not at all Hollywood!
The Stand – Saturday April 4th at 9pm
The Mist (Network Premiere ) – Saturday April 4th at 10:50pm
Next up THE DAY unusually does not set the action in the middle of an Apocalyptic event but rather 10 years after an unspecified disaster to explore what happens to the human race attempting to survive a new world. With everything we take for granted gone, the simple stuff like supermarkets for example, resources are scarce and people have been forced to make a horrendous choice. Hunt, or be hunted. You’d be surprised how tasty human thigh is once you’ve got over the moral dilemma of it all. Or you could just try and get by without resorting to cannibalism like our tough gang of 5 survivors attempting to find the Promised Land. With a stellar standout performance from Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism) and a stunning Shannyn Sossamon this is well worth a look.
THE DAY (UK Premiere) – Saturday April 11th at 10:50pm
The last title in our doom laden Apocalypse Season is cult 70’s title, DAMNATION ALLEY. In the wake of ‘nuclear war paranoia’ comes this hellish vision of the world post World War 3, when a nuclear holocaust devastates the planet, our survivors must face radiation fallout, freak weather, mutant cockroaches and demented rednecks. Can our gang cross the desert wasteland in their armoured vehicle without succumbing to the new threats raging the planet?
Damnation Alley completes Apocalypse Season on Saturday 25th April at 10:55pm.
But that’s not all folks. With two more network and two more UK film premieres in April you need never channel hop again!
OUTLANDER (Network Premiere) on Friday 3rd April at 9pm
Ron Perlman and John Hurt feature in this epic Sci-Fi actioner which sees the fusing of advanced alien technology with ancient Viking weaponry. A man from a far off world crash lands on Earth during the reign of the Vikings, but brings with him the most feared monster in the universe, a giant dragon of a beast known as the Moorwen. Can they pool their skills, weapons and technology together to bring down this mighty titan? With amazing creature design this is an epic watch!
SKINWALKERS (Network Premiere) on Friday 10th at 9pm
In this lycanthropic tale only one gene separates man and beast, some are born with, some without it and for thousands of years these ‘man/beasts’ (or werewolves) have lived alongside us, but that’s all about to change. An ancient prophecy depicts the coming of a child who, on his 13th birthday will decide the fate of the werewolves. Two factions of the wolves have risen; one that wants to protect the child and one who wants to kill him. Can single mum Rhona Mitra save her boy from the mouth of the wolf?
MISCHIEF NIGHT (UK Premiere) on Friday 17th at 9pm
I wasn’t aware of this but apparently the newest date on the horror calendar is actually the night before Halloween that our crazy friends across the pond call ‘Mischief Night’; a time of silly pranks and nasty games to get you in the mood. Don’t they just love spinning things out? Well for one girl (with psychosomatic blindness) games go too far when a masked psycho torments her in her own home. When you can see what she cannot, it makes for a terrifying and tense thrill ride.
GRAVE HALLOWEEN (UK Premiere) on Friday 24th at 9pm
From the director of the I Spit on Your Grave remake and sequel comes this fusing of western horror with eastern mythology. Maiko, a young girl studying in Japan heads to the notorious (and factual) Suicide Forest with her college friends in order to perform an ancient ritual to release the trapped soul of her dead mother who committed suicide there months earlier. But while filming the ceremony for a school project sinister things begin to happen….
So with the end of the world coming in our Apocalypse season plus a whole bodybag of horror action – what’s to worry about?!