Monday, 24 April 2017

A Sad Parting: My Decision to Say Good-Bye to The Walking Dead

Like many of you, I was an avid fan of The Walking Dead. Sunday night was always something to look forward to with the latest episode. Over the past two years, however, I've become increasingly disenchanted with the series. In retrospect, the killing of Glenn was probably the death knell for me.

My decision to give a future pass to The Walking Dead, however, is based on various elements besides the death of one of its most interesting characters. The main difference between a graphic novel and a television series is that the latter has a real opportunity to flesh out characters rather than  rely on the formulaic hero versus villain theme. But in Negan, the latest villain, we see not a flesh-and-blood human being, but a caricature of evil--a bit like a leering bad-guy wrestler playing to script. How many times is it necessary to show someone beaten to death, branded with an iron or, in one case, thrown into a fire? And do we really need to see the main characters, Rick and Daryl, repeatedly emasculated? Granted they are fighting back at the end of Season 7, but for me it's like a wearisome cycle that never ends. Add to this a cast of ineffectual "supporting" characters. Am I the only one who finds Gabriel, Tara, and Rosita, to name a few examples, more annoying than effective? The Walking Dead has the dubious distinction of ending the performance of many strong actors while relying on inferior acting skills to keep the series running.

As reported by Wikipedia, "executive producer David Alpert said in 2014 that the original comics have given them enough ideas for Rick Grimes and company over the next seven years. 'I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what Season 10 is gonna be', Alpert said. 'We know where seasons 11 and 12 [will be].... [W]e have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we're lucky enough to get there.'"

There is a difference between "having material" and maintaining the freshness of that material.

In my mind, what started off as a thoughtful and exciting new series has taken an abrupt right turn.

Monday, 17 April 2017

INNER GHOSTS: Part 2


Here's some additional information on the film we showcased last week:

THE FILMMAKERS













 JOÃO ALVES (Director) is a multi-talented writer, illustrator, designer, animator, and VFX artist. After four years working professionally in animation, he wrote, directed, and pretty much everything else, the short horror/western BATS IN THE BELFRY (2010). The animated short did a worldwide festival run that lasted four years, and won several awards (MOTELx, Fantasporto and others) and was sold to Fearnet.com before getting a theatrical release in 2013. INNER GHOSTS is João
Alves' first feature. However, the director has more upcoming projects.












PAULO LEITE (Writer/Producer) is an EAVE graduate with over 15 years of professional experience. He has worked in Production roles in Film, TV, Commercials and Fashion. Paulo also has experience in Development, having helped many international producers with their projects, either as a writer, consultant, mentor or simply as a friend. Paulo regularly attends all the main film festivals and markets devoted to genre films in Europe, North and Latin America. Paulo has several other horror projects in development, including THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD that was selected to the Frontières Co-Production Market.


MIGUEL SALES LOPES, A.I.P. (Director of Photography/Editor) is one of Portugal's leading cinematographers with almost 40 film and TV projects in the last 15 years. He has worked in some of the most successful Portuguese films in recent memory and is well-known for the quality of his work. For INNER GHOSTS, Miguel went to the extreme of building himself the light equipment demanded by the film’s complex final scene.



 GABRIEL AUGUSTO (Producer) was born in Macao. He is an IPAM graduate with over 10 years of experience in Digital Marketing, Social Media and Branding, having worked with some of the biggest Portuguese companies today. He is one of the leading names in the business and a constant presence in markets and events. He has worked twice with the Portuguese sponsors of Cannes Lions. Gabriel won't miss a horror film. His personal taste goes for Asian horror as he is a connoisseur of
virtually everything ever produced.


 THE CAST


CELIA WILLIAMS is a British actress born and brought up in England. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before spending two years living in Brazil, since when she has been living and working in Lisbon. She performs in English and Portuguese, and also, once, in French. Her work has taken her very often to the UK, to London and to Edinburgh, to places all over Portugal from Bragança in the north, to the Algarve in the south, to Madeira in the Atlantic, and also to India. She has performed in a variety of genres including tragedy, drama, mystery, comedy, musicals, opera, radio, television series and feature films. Among many major roles on stage are Jean Cocteau's THE HUMAN VOICE in London's West End, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, DON'T WALK ABOUT WITH NOTHING ON, and BE MY BABY, also in London; Paulina in DEATH & THE MAIDEN, Elizabeth I in MARY STUART, Nora in A DOLL'S HOUSE, Stephanie in DUET FOR ONE, Gertrude in HAMLET and Judith Bliss in HAY FEVER IN LISBON. Celia's work in Portuguese includes various roles in TV soaps and series, for example EQUADOR and UMA FAMÍLIA AÇOREANA, O ÚLTIMO DOS MARIALVAS, APANHADOS NO DIVÃ and AUTO DA BARCA DO INFERNO for the stage, and the films PASSAGEM POR LISBOA and A MORTE DE CARLOS GARDEL. Her first venture into horror was ten years ago when she played the protagonist in MRS. DEVENPORT'S THROAT, a short film, part of a series written and produced by horror icon David McGillivray. She is now excited, and a little afraid, to take on the role of Helen in INNER GHOSTS.


ELIZABETH BOCHMANN was born in Lisbon in 1989 to British parents and was brought up in Portugal. As a result, she is fluent in both English and Portuguese. She has a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths College, University of London, as well as short courses on Technical Voice Production and the Method. She has worked mostly in theatre, performing in Portugal, England and at the Edinburgh Fringe. Since completing her degree, she has played major roles in PYGMALION, HAY FEVER, THE MOUSETRAP, RELATIVELY SPEAKING, THE PROVOKED WIFE, THE THREE SISTERS and ROMEO AND JULIET. She has appeared on TV in Portuguese soap operas, most recently JARDINS PROIBIDOS for TVI and in short films, including THE HUNCHBACK, written and directed by award-winning director Gabriel Abrantes and Ben Rivers. INNER GHOSTS is her first experience working on a feature film, ironically in a genre that she finds terrifying to watch. Her passion is, and always has been, acting. The feeling of being able to bring another character to life is an extraordinary sensation, and the challenge is to embody that person with as much truth and honesty as possible. Elsa is a tough woman with a complicated life. She has seen ghosts and demons for most of her life - so much that she turned that curse into a profession, designing demonic visuals for games and horror films. One of the demons she sees has become too violent as it demands something from her - something she will be forced to deliver.


IRIS CAYATTE was born in Lisbon in 1986 from a Portuguese/French father and a Finnish mother. She spent her childhood and teenage years moving from place to place (from the vast Finnish forest, to the desert of Alentejo, to Luxembourg and back to Lisbon where she completed the International Bachaleaureat at an international school. She is bilingual and works in Portuguese, English and is fluent in French. At the age of 17 she moved to London where she graduated from The Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008. Since then she has been busy working in major theatre productions. Currently she is preparing two different plays to be presented at the National Theatre in Lisbon. She has performed in major roles in plays by Arthur Miller, Brecht, Shakespeare, Sarah Kane, George Orwell, Paú Miró, Simon Stephens, Dostoyevsky, amongst others. On Film she has worked with directors such as Roberto Faenza in SOSTIENE PEREIRA, the infamous Fanny Ardant in CADENCES OBSTINÉE, Rob Marshal in NINE, Francisco Lobo in ELA and Paulo Furtado (aka The Legendary Tiger Man) in OBLIVION, amongst others. She also participates in television productions such as series and tv movies. On INNER GHOSTS, she plays Rachel, a woman with a keen connection with the other side.


WHO IS OUR AUDIENCE?

We feel INNER GHOSTS is a film for the audience who crave fresher horror concepts and is looking for films that try to give them a fuller emotional experience. With this in mind, we feelINNE R GHOSTS will be closer to the audience who loved THE ORPHANAGE and THE OTHERS (two stories of mothers whose love propels them to do the unthinkable) than the audience who is looking for the average zombie virus flick. Here are some of the films with whom we share creative elements: THE ORPHANAGE, THE OTHERS, POLTERGEIST.


HOW HAVE WE CONNECTED WITH OUR AUDIENCE?

We started tweeting about the film in 2015 as the film got financed and we started writing the script. We told very little about the film (nothing was spoiled) because we did not want to spoil the great twists that take place towards the end of the story. However, we wanted everybody to know that INNER GHOSTS is actually a horror film about love and the crazy things some people can do for it and because of it. So we started tweeting about the film’s theme, about the horror genre in general, about passion for it and some small creative tips we felt were relevant to those who wish to develop their horror stories. We managed to maintain an engaging relationship with our audience and as of March 2017 we reached some 25K organic followers on Twitter. We tweet to them every day. Find us here: https://twitter.com/InnerGhosts


CENTRAL CREATIVE ELEMENT

INNER GHOSTS explores themes and creative elements we are further developing into more horror films. We love writing horror stories and we will not stop.


For more information on INNER GHOSTS, please click here.

BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU IN YOUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN. THIS LOOKS LIKE A VERY INTERESTING FILM.

Monday, 10 April 2017

INNER GHOSTS

Behind the Walls of Nightmare is pleased to announce the Kickstarter campaign for the film INNER GHOSTS, which was selected to the Work in Progress section of the 2016 Frontieres Co-Production Market at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Canada.

Here's the synopsis, production details, and information on why a Kickstarter campaign was chosen.


SHORT SYNOPSIS

HELEN is a brain researcher trying to develop a revolutionary
therapy to treat degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. To
prove her theories, she needs to run cognitive tests on ghosts:
beings who apparently can act and remember without the need of
a physical brain suggesting that unresponsive patients whose
brains are too damaged to function can be accessed, somehow,
through their living souls. After the death of her mentor, Helen
finds an apartment inhabited by benign ghosts who agree to be
tested. The problem is Helen renounced her gift 15 years ago after
the loss of her daughter when she made a vow never to contact
the other side again. Things change when an artist called ELSA
begs Helen for some spiritual training hoping to get rid of a demon
who has been haunting her for many years. Helen reluctantly
accepts it unaware of the demon's true goal: finding her. Helen’s
tests with the ghosts are a success. The entities offer her the
design of a device that can communicate with the dead (and
possibly living patients), triggering a set of events that will bring
Helen face to face with the demon she has known all along. After
so many years, two enemies are about to meet for the last time,
showing us that revenge is a dish that’s still boiling hot.

Oh, but there’s so much more happening!


PRODUCTION DETAILS

Title: INNER GHOSTS
Producing Countries: PORTUGAL / BRAZIL
Genre: SUPERNATURAL HORROR / DRAMA
Length: 90 MINUTES
Language: ENGLISH
Locations: LISBON / CASCAIS
Cast: CELIA WILLIAMS, ELIZABETH BOCHMANN
IRIS CAYATTE, NORMAN MACCALLUM, AMANDA BOOTH
ANA SOFIA LEITE, PATRÍCIA GODINHO, JOÃO BLÜMEL
Director of Photography: MIGUEL SALES LOPES A.I.P.
Digital VFX: ANIBRAIN (INDIA)
Written by PAULO LEITE
Produced by PAULO LEITE and GABRIEL AUGUSTO
Directed by JOÃO ALVES

PICTURE SPECS
Shot with: RED DRAGON 5K RAW
Lenses: ARRI / ZEISS
ULTRA PRIME
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

© 2017 BAD BEHAVIOR ONE LDA



WHY A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN?

We wrote, developed and produced INNER GHOSTS because we love horror and we love the people who love horror films. Film is an expensive medium. It is much less expensive than it was 20 years ago, but still quite expensive if you really want to do it right. We are now in sound post and from the development until now, we were able to make every euro count. We took the project as far as we could go with what we had. Now we are thrilled to bring the project to the best community in the world: horror fans! You are the reason why we are doing all this, and Kickstarter has some of the best horror fans in the world! That’s why we are asking for your support. That’s why we are opening our film and ourselves to you.

Sound matters! The film turned out too good. We need a sound post that will do it justice. We will need real music. Real ADR. Real foley. Real sound mix. Real deliverables. So you will get not just the best horror story, you will experience the best film. We want you to experience INNER GHOSTS as true horror fans should!

Our Kickstarter campaign starts in April. Please check out the amazing rewards you can receive by supporting us. http://innerghosts.launchrock.com/.



In next week's post, Behind the Walls of Nightmare will look at the production crew, cast, and intended audience of INNER GHOSTS.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Recent Horror Novel Releases

If you're stocking up on horror reading material, here are some recent or upcoming releases that sound promising:

Adam Nevill's Under a Watchful Eye, which was released in January, is a supernatural thriller that explores the effects of a terrifying, other-worldly stalker on the protagonist's mind as it is engulfed in paranoia.

Ania Ahlborn's The Devil Crept In was released in February. It is the story of a small-town boy investigating the disappearance of his cousin and uncovering a terrifying secret in the process.










Christopher Golden's Ararat will be released in April. This is a twist on the discovery of the ark theme: what awaits humanity inside the ship is a hideous creature with horns.


On another note, my three supernatural novels, The Home Child; Fire Whisperer and Circle of Souls; and The Accusers are available as a spring special in Kindle format for .98 ($1.32 Canadian).


And for fans of Michael J. McCann's crime fiction, Burn Country--the long-awaited sequel to Sorrow Lake, a finalist for the 2015 Hammett Prize for best North American crime fiction novel--is now available.









Happy Reading, everyone!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Zombies with a Touch of Humour

I wrote in a previous post how much I enjoyed the first two seasons of Z Nation, and I'm now watching the third. If possible, it's even campier than the first two seasons and still very enjoyable. (My only complaint is that the "new" Murphy is driving me nuts, and I hope they'll modify his character very soon.)

The show succeeds primarily because it has a strong ensemble cast; interesting story lines; and the ability to laugh at itself--something that's unheard of in The Walking Dead.  Consider this dialogue: the survivors are approaching a vintage sports car and see that there are a number of bodies inside. One of them quips: "I thought it had that new corpse smell." Or consider the parody of Donald Trump in an episode in which two presidential candidates compete to take over the post-apocalyptic world. One of them promises: "I'm going to build a wall to keep out the zombies. And I'm going to make the zombies build it themselves."

Check it out for yourself  if you're looking for something new in zombie land!

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Enfield Poltergeist


I watched The Conjuring 2 on DVD recently and really enjoyed it.  I hadn't heard of the case investigated in the movie, but was intrigued by it and decided to do some research to share with you.

This is the story behind the case:

In August 1977, Peggy Hodgson called police to her council home in Enfield, England, after two of her four children claimed that furniture was moving, and knocking sounds were heard on walls. A police constable said that she saw a chair slide on the floor and "was convinced that nobody there had touched it."  Later claims included allegedly demonic voices, loud noises, thrown rocks and toys, overturned chairs, and children levitating. These claims attracted considerable press attention, and the story was covered in British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, until reports of these incidents came to an end in 1979. (Source: Wikipedia)

The case has been widely discredited as a hoax--similar to the Amityville horror alluded to in the beginning of the film. The main reason for this is that Janet Hodgson admitted to and was caught on tape fabricating some of the events. However, she claims to have invented only 2 per cent of them because she was afraid that investigators would not believe her. She maintains to this day that the majority of the supernatural events did happen. To read a recent interview with her, please click here.

The psychic investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, convincingly played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, have also been dismissed as benign, but delusional in their search for ghosts and demons. But others such as Maurice Grosse of the British Society for Psychical Research steadfastly maintained the authenticity of the events. (Grosse, a character in The Conjuring 2, died in 2006.)

You be the judge after listening to the actual voice recordings at the time!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OWgImgIRic

Monday, 6 February 2017

StokerCon 2017 Registration Is Open



The Horror Writers Association's second annual convention will be held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, from April 27-30, 2017.


Many well-known horror/dark fantasy writers will attend, including the following:


George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones
Elizabeth Hand, Wilding Hall, the Cass Neary series
Chuck Wendig, Star Wars: Aftermath, the Miriam Black thrillers
Peter Crowther, the Forever Twilight cycle
Bill Bridges, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, The Silver Crown
Tananarive Due, Ghost Summer, the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series
Gretchen McNeil, Possess, Ten, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels, When the People Lights Go Out
Becky Spratford, The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror (Second Edition)
Nancy Holder, five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, will serve as the event’s Toastmaster.


In addition to attending the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® dinner on Saturday, April 29, attendees can enjoy panels, presentations, Horror University classes, The Lucky 13 Film Festival, a mini-academic conference coinciding with the convention, special programming for librarians on Librarian’s Day (Thursday, April 27), high tea with your favorite horror authors, ghost tours and a harbor excursion for early arrivals.


For more information on how to register for the convention, please click here.






Sunday, 15 January 2017

Byron A. Martin Named Best Independent Film Producer--Canada


In case you missed this, below is an excerpt from the press release announcing the award:

(Toronto, ON) – December 20th, 2016. Canadian producer Byron A. Martin of Byron A. Martin Productions Inc., known for having produced some horror shorts such as A TRICKY TREAT and SERPENT'S LULLABY, has been awarded the distinction of Best Independent Film Producer - Canada by the 2016 Entertainment Awards (TMT NEWS).

LINK: www.tmt-news.com/2016-byron-a-martin-productions-inc

"Honoured to be awarded," wrote the Toronto-based producer in a statement he posted on social media.

The 2016 Entertainment Awards aim to reward the key players within the entertainment industry. In recent years, the entertainment business has evolved, changing how the world conducts business alike across a variety of industry platforms.

Surges in demand for quality entertainment corporations has paved the way for creativity, efficiency and cost effectivity thus providing organisations with an invaluable reach to clients and customers in all stages of entertaining.

The 2016 Entertainment Awards highlights the key players, creative individuals and innovative firms who have provided the world with new, cutting-edge techniques. They cast a centre stage spotlight on those, who through creative flare, commitment and hard work have developed and shared their ideas to fundamentally evolve the business world and the lives of consumers for years to come.

Byron A. Martin is an award-winning producer that develops independent film, television and documentary projects. To date he has produced almost 100 hours of television, filming projects in fifteen countries. He has produced projects for Disney, Sony, Universal, Turner, and Bell Media and managed productions for some of Hollywood’s leading producers (Jerry Bruckheimer, Sam Raimi, Lauren Shuler Donner, Raffaellla De Laurentis, Mark Canton, Dick Wolf, Laurence Mark, John Singleton, Ralph Winter and Don Carmody).

For more information about producer Byron A. Martin and Byron A. Martin Productions, please visit their social media sites:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bampinc/?fref=ts

TWITTER: @ByronAMartin

SITE: www.ByronMartin.com

IMDB: www.imdb.com/name/nm0003072/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Lost Gallows of Salem




Archaeology reports that the site of the gallows where the ill-fated victims of the Salem witch trials met their deaths in 1692-93 has now been identified as Proctor's Ledge. This site was first proposed by historian Sidney Perley in 1921, and his findings have now been validated by a research team.

Nineteen people met their deaths at this bleak location, pictured above. (A twentieth victim, Giles Corey, was pressed to death by stones.)

To read the full text of the article, please click here.

To learn more about the Salem witch trials, please click here.