OK, I needn’t tell Scream readers what a big month October is for the horror genre it being the month we all celebrate Halloween (or Sam Hain as us pagans like to say) and Horror will be channeling the dead direct to your TV sets with a 2 week season of films celebrating the spooky, the spectral and scary!
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN SEASON Saturday 17th – 31st 9pm
Taking possession of your TV every night for 2 weeks comes Haunted Halloween to get us in the mood for this frightful fest where the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Featuring An American Haunting (premiere), Dark Summer (premiere), Grave Encounters, Cassadaga, The Abandoned, Stir Of Echoes, Stir Of Echoes: The Homecoming (premiere), Amityville 3 (premiere), Haunted, Forget Me Not, The Tattooist, The Torment, Solstice, Grave Halloween and The Possession (premiere).
For full listings see www.horrorchannel.co.uk
Of the above I thought I’d talk a bit about The Possession, if anything for its amazing true backstory… I do love a strange and indeed REAL urban legend. If you’ve never heard of the Dybbuk Box, then type it into Google; it’s one hell of a read! Originally owned by a 103 year old Holocaust survivor, the Jewish wine cabinet found its way on to Ebay, but with each new owner (and no one owned it for long) extremely bad luck, bad dreams and bad health plagued them. The box is said to contain a dybbuk, a restless tormented spirit with the power to invade and even possess its new owner. This part of the story is true, people who owned the box found it to contain a certain ‘darkness,’ strange smells emanating from within, and such bad luck they felt a need to get rid of the box. It’s creepy to say the least, and is the basis for the UK TV premiere of THE POSSESSION Halloween night, Saturday October 31st at 9pm.
Aside from the five film premieres we have on during Haunted Halloween we have a further six premieres, too much for me to wax on about individually so here’s my pick of the month!
DON’T LOOK NOW Network premiere Sunday 4th October 9pm
Wow. This 1973 horror drama from Nicolas Roeg is one of the most memorable haunting horrors you’re likely to see. Blending tragedy with terror, the film exists upon a multi-layered canvas exploring themes of loss, acceptance, religion, skepticism, grievance, fate, psychic powers, ghosts, to name just a few! The film’s two leads Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland play the parts of grieving parents with two very different perspectives – perfectly. Story-wise with the tragic drowning of their child a married couple head to Venice where the father works restoring churches. But with a blind and psychic woman informing them she can see their little girl, the two parents take very different approaches to grieving – and indeed to the psychic visions. But with the skeptical of the two seeing a small figure in the same red coat their daughter wore when she died, flitting from street to street among the gloomy canals of Venice, he finds himself compelled to follow….. Who is the more macabre? Who is really holding on to death itself? This is a strange, sad and haunting film with one of the freakiest endings ever.
BANSHEE CHAPTER UK TV Premiere Friday 16th 9pm
This is a bit of a weird one – both to describe and to watch, which instantly makes it a refreshing change from the haul of zombie/found footage flicks. Loosely based on the (again real) facts surrounding the U.S military’s secret experiments on human mind control AKA MKULTRA this film follows a female journalist’s descent into this world as she seeks to discover the truth behind her missing friend. It seems there’s a mind expanding hallucinogenic drug doing the rounds among America’s alternative enlightened, the drug her friend took before he disappeared. When her search leads her to famous author and hermit Thomas Blackburn a night of ‘drug taking’ unleashes strange evils, hideous visions and a strange signal that could be the beacon of truth she seeks. There are many ambiguities woven into this conspiracy theorist’s dream of a movie, catch this genuinely disturbing film in October.
PRINCE OF DARKNESS Network premiere Friday 9th 9pm
Two words – John Carpenter. His legacy of amazing horror movies alone is enough to make any fan watch his entire works. Of course, some are better than others, but Carpenter’s style is somehow both indie and mainstream ticking all the boxes for a fun roller coaster horror film whilst thinking outside the box and reveling in nasty gooey gore! Speaking of goo – there’s a ton of it here, green goo at that. When a priest (Donald Pleasance, Halloween) inherits a key to an abandoned church he discovers an ancient glass cylinder filled with a green plasma, it seems an ancient sect have been guarding this ominous artifact for thousands of years but now changes are occurring, in the earth and sky itself…. A life form exists within the fluid, it is alive and it is waking up! A real Science versus Religion horror thriller, this has a dark mood and an 80’s groove, some of which you’ve probably heard sampled on DJ Shadow’s brilliant ‘Endtroducing’.
CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE Network premiere Saturday 10th 10.55pm
You just don’t get cannibal flicks anymore! I dunno I guess that fascination with the diets of dodgy tribes was dealt with in one fell swoop with the shocking (and at times downright wrong!) Cannibal Holocaust and Ferox that no one could take it to any higher or lower places! But here we have a sharp little flick from 1980 which feels more like a cops shoot out movie, all to the funk beat of a 70’s action flick. This time though the human meat munching takes place in the city – not the jungle. While serving in the Vietnam War, two POW’s become infected by a disease that turns them into cannibals, but when they’re rescued by Norman Hopper (John Saxon), they bite him. Years later, the three are back in the city but it seems this bite still haunts Hopper – as does his craving for human flesh.
Other premieres to catch in October are:
Wishmaster; Saturday 3rd 11pm.
Book of Blood Sunday 11th 10.55pm
From the Dark Friday 30th 10.55pm
Plus of course all the premieres listed above in the Haunted Halloween season! See you on the other side