Abertoir Day Four

Am home from Abertoir 2011 and have had such a wonderful time, hence why there haven’t been any updates since the Day Three entry.  I’ve never been that much of a multi-tasker.  So these few entries, complete with photographs for some (hopefully up by the end of the night) should fill the gap a bit.  Also, Merchandise Monday will return next Monday, as the coverage will be completed by then.  Full reviews of one film from each day will be added to Altered Realities, but the reviews are currently a work in progress, so for now, just my personal highlights of Abertoir.


On day four I was able to catch the UK Premiere of The Dead Inside – a musical comedy horror with a helping of romance.  It was an original idea and certainly an entertaining yet touching watch, although at times there seemed to be perhaps too many elements at work.  Still, its great to see films like this being made as even with some flaws, they at least have the ambition to be different.  Am really glad I caught this one.


The only other film I caught on day four was Inbred and the screening was followed by a Q&A with director Alex Chandon, led by Hayley of Quadramania (find them on Twitter – @quadramania).  I won’t say too much about the film as I’m saving most of my thoughts for a review, but it was one of my favourites of the week.  The Q&A was also entertaining with discussions about influences, funding and visual effects.

Q&A with Alex Chandon


Next up was the Masque of the Red Death party.  The Abertoir team went to great lengths in decorating the Arts Centre bar with curtains, candles and costumes, as well as booking great bands in the LAZE, Ghostfire and Devilish Presley.  The Vincent Price themed cocktails and shots were great too.  My personal favourite was the Poodle Surprise.  The Tingler shot almost killed me though!  The night also featured a costume contest being judged by this year’s guest of honor – Victoria Price.  Following the party it was off to the Inn on the Pier, which I was told was an Abertoir tradition.  It’s a good tradition, but I think my liver now hates me even more than it did before.


Devilish Presley


My favourite of the party decorations

Abertoir Day Three

Due to a very late and partially sleepless night thanks to ‘Grave Encounters’ I have slacked on a great deal of viewing today.  I caught ‘The Selling’ and ‘Kidnapped’.  How can two films be so different and great while being shown back to back.  Again its a testament to Abertoir’s variety in their selections.  If anything I wish ‘The Selling’ had been shown after ‘Kidnapped’ purely down to how intense and disturbing the latter was.


‘The Selling’ was a fun and heart warming comedy about a haunted house and a man who is too nice for his cutthroat real estate agent job.  With a fun cameo from potential actor of the festival Barry Bostwick it’s a mostly silly affair, but a great feel-good movie too with enough movie references to ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Jaws’ and ‘Poltergeist’ to keep horror fans happy.  Its a great film and has strongly made me want to check out Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine’s other works.


‘Kidnapped’ on the other hand was the total opposite.  A gritty Spanish film concerning a break-in and subsequent breakdown of a family unit.  It is as tense as tense can be and is ahead of the curve in terms of innovation.  Like Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’, ‘Kidnapped’ utilises minimalistic takes, favouring long, lingering shots over high-speed Hollywood cutting.  Some of the split screen action is astonishingly beautiful, considering the content.  Am strongly considering a full review for this one.  One of the most uncomfortable cinema experiences I’ve been a part of.


So there it is…my rather short and extreme Day Three at Abertoir 2011.  Tomorrow’s schedule includes a comedy-horror-musical (it’s like someone made a film with me in mind!), German film Masks and a Masque of the Red Death party with live musical performances.  Expect an update on Saturday!

Abertoir Day Two

Following this entry I’ll be all caught up with my Abertoir highlights.  Five films played and pub quiz fun was had by all.  These are my personal highlights of the day.

Of the five films I went to three, those being ‘Some Guy Who Kills People’, ‘Village of Shadows’ and ‘Grave Encounters’.  With the exception of The Wicker Tree (showing Sunday at 2pm) and The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (shown Tuesday) I’ve not seen any trailers for any of the films showing.  It’s something I wish I could do more often, as I’ve found myself going in with no expectations of what I’m about to see and enjoying the films a lot more than I would have had I seen too much about them.  One of the most interesting things about Abertoir is the selection of films they have on offer to cater to every specific need.  The three films I saw were very very different from one another – ‘Some Guy Who Kills People’ is a comedy/revenge film, ‘Village of Shadows’ is a ghostly drama and ‘Grave Encounters’ was another in the long line of ‘found-footage’ films.


My favourite film of the day was ‘Some Guy Who Kills People’ and it deserves all the praise and publicity it can get.  A full review has been submitted to Altered Realities Radio and this entry will be updated with the link at a later date.  If you’re in the UK and looking for how you can see the film Newcastle Community Cinema (also on Twitter – @NewcastleCinema has a screening on Saturday 19th November at 8pm with tickets at just £5, which is a complete bargain for such a gem of a film.

The next film I saw was ‘Village of Shadows’, a french film about a town that nobody can leave.  The director Fouad Benhammou was on hand at the screening alongside Ornella Boule, who plays Marion in the film.  It is Benhammou’s first feature film and what a debut it is!  He stated in the Q&A after the screening that the French press had been rather unkind about the film and it had taken over 4 years to complete.  The main reason for the negative reaction to it is that it is so different to all the other horrors coming out of France at the moment.  Rather than being an ultra violent ‘extreme’ film, it is a tense ghost story without a single drop of blood.  It also uses genuine tension and frights rather than filling its soundtrack with sudden bursts of sound.  The results are unsettling.  It’s the kind of film that isn’t being made anywhere at the moment, but I really hope this starts a trend.  I am very much looking forward to whatever Benhammou comes up with next.

After a brief rest from watching movies (and going to answer questions about them in the pub quiz) it was time for ‘Grave Encounters’.  The best way to describe it is as a ‘Most Haunted’ episode gone wrong.  Television ghost-hunting team Grave Encounters head into an abandoned and haunted asylum and chaos ensues.  It’s presented as ‘found-footage’ but also subtly mocks the concept.  It has some good scares and tension-building but for me, even at a running time of 92 minutes (8 minutes shorter than ‘Village of Shadows’) it felt overly long.  It is unsettling and will definitely make you jump, but there’s nothing really memorable about it.  Watching it at past midnight definitely added a lot to the atmosphere.  It is scary though, which is the most important thing.

So that’s my Abertoir Day Two all wrapped up.  Tonight I will be watching ‘The Selling’ and ‘Kidnapped’.  I may even stick around for ‘Horny House of Horror’.

Abertoir Day One

First off, Merchandise Monday will return next week.  Circumstances beyond my control (mainly my laptop and car being stolen) meant that there was no way I had time for an entry.  Still, things are slowly getting back on track so things will be back to normal.  Also this entry is two days late *slaps back of hand*.  So today I’ll be posting my personal highlights from Day One and Day Two of the Abertoir Horror Festival (website here) and then tonight it’ll be Day Three highlights, even though I’ve not seen any films as yet today.  So on with the highlights for Day One!


As mentioned before on the blog, the Abertoir Horror Festival this year is in honour of the wonderful Vincent Price, so it was only fitting to begin the festival with a screening of short The Pit and The Pendulum, followed by The House of the Long Shadows.  The House of the Long Shadows is perhaps best known for being the film where Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing all appeared and interacted with one another in one film.  Sadly and surprisingly this is not available on DVD, although the reasons were unknown.  If anyone does know, please get in touch and let me know.  This was my favourite film of the day with some great lines such as Price’s “Don’t interrupt me when I’m soliloquising.”  It was also nice that the first film of the event actually concerned Wales…even if it wasn’t in the most flattering way.


Following this there was a debate on censorship, particularly concerning the BBFC.  All the more fitting since star of recently banned, then overturned film The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence), Laurence R. Harvey was a part of the panel.  He also stuck around for a Q&A after the film, in which he described his character Martin as a ‘problem solver’ and detailed how fun the shooting of the film was, meaning he had no idea how dark the material was until he saw it all put together.  Also on the panel was festival organiser Nia, researcher of the BBFC and extreme cinema Emma Pett and Martin Barker (who you may recognise from the Video Nasties documentary).  Barker began the debate by barging in, dressed as Mary Whitehouse, which meant that while there was a serious discussion it was also kept light and fun for the audience.  There are some attempts at photography below, although I’m still getting used to a new camera so the quality isn’t great unfortunately.


Mary Whitehouse interrupts proceedings


Laurence R Harvey, Nia and Martin Barker on the panel. Emma sadly off-screen.


It was in this discussion that I was convinced to stick around and watch The Human Centipede 2, despite being very cautious of the content.  You can read my review over at Altered Realities Radio by clicking on the picture below.


Also, follow me on Twitter (@caitd5) for more frequent, little updates.

Merchandise Monday

Happy Halloween!  Due to there being almost nothing on TV for Halloween tonight (aside from a repeat of the fantastic Psychoville Halloween Special from last year, followed by the first part of A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss I’ve abandoned the idea of doing a Halloween TV round up tomorrow.  Hopefully next year we’ll get some good new stuff to watch.  The fact that BBC2’s offering is Halloween: Resurrection tells you everything you need to know about the scheduling for this year.


So, moan over and onto the merchandise.  I wanted to feature something a bit special today because of it being Halloween and all.  While browsing Forbidden Planet earlier I found a listing for a new book, available to pre-order:


I’ve not heard that much about the book (if I had I would have been salivating possibly even more than I am now), but the description says it includes input from Christopher Lee, Sam Raimi, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg among others.  Even if Landis’ name on the cover doesn’t float your boat, one of them is sure to.  It seems to be a pretty definitive book, with input from monster makers, actors and directors offering more perspectives than just Landis could offer.  Expected in Forbidden Planet’s warehouse tomorrow, it’s priced at just £24.99.  I intend to start heavily hinting to family members about it as soon as possible.

So…what’s so special about a book?  Surely it’s the same as any other book.  Well, in addition to it arriving at the Forbidden Planet warehouse tomorrow, John Landis himself will be making an appearance to sign copies at the Forbidden Planet megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue from 6-7pm.  This means that in addition to owning a pretty nifty looking book, you could also have it signed by the man himself.  My jealousy is just a freebie on top of all that.  Get there if you can!  Full details available here.

Merchandise Monday

This week’s Merchandise Monday is further evidence that I need to be banned from eBay.  It’s getting silly now.  I can’t go a day without searching for little trinkets that I don’t need and certainly don’t have the space for.  Doing Merchandise Monday has become a very dangerous window shopping experience for me and my bank account, but it’s also great fun.

I’m a big fan of anthology or portmanteau horror films, particularly those by Amicus studios, but I think my favourite so far is The Vault of Horror.  It certainly has my favourite story of the ones I’ve seen so far – ‘Midnight Mess’ in which a gruesome discovery is made in an after-hours restaurant.  That one scene combines everything I love about horror – twists, turns, grim discoveries, the potential for camp and dark humour.

It’s a difficult thing to get any sort of merchandise from this film (unless you like taps, ropes or jars) but there is one thing I found that was a special piece related to the film:

The one I found is on eBay at this link and is currently at £19.99 with one day and 19 hours remaining to bid.  Only £2.01 postage if you’re in the UK too, which is hard to beat.  Now all I have to do is walk away from the computer before I go ahead and buy it myself.

Stay tuned to Scared Sheepless as tomorrow I have an interview with horror author Jake Bannerman.

Merchandise Monday

One of my many quirks is that I enjoy shot glasses.  Not just for drinking out of (although of course I rarely turn down a shot) but also for remembering places I’ve been or just simply for decoration.  They’re great for collecting because they don’t take up as much room as, say, a mug and usually have much more interesting designs.  While my usual criteria for a shot glass is that I’ve actually visited the place, I’m willing to make an exception for today’s item….

While having no desire to actually visit Elm Street (my nightmares give me enough trouble as it is!) I’m really fond of these shot glasses.  They look pretty sturdy, which is a necessity for anything I’m spending my money on and would make a horror movie themed drinking game all the more fun and authentic.  It seems like A Nightmare on Elm Street may be the go-to film for horror merchandise, considering it has already appeared not so long ago.

You can find the glasses here on Amazon for just £3.40, with free delivery in the UK.

Merchandise Monday

October is, somewhat predictably, my favourite month of the year.  Largely because my birthday falls on the 5th, but mostly because of the excitement for Halloween goodness.  Due to coming from a fairly quiet village there are very few Halloween activities which means I’m mostly at the mercy of my television on the night.  While I haven’t seen a schedule yet, I’m keen to celebrate Halloween television in any way possible.  For this reason I will post a detailed appreciation of the night on Tuesday November 1st.  With that said, on with the merchandise!


This week’s entry I found in my relentless trawling of eBay and comes from arguably the most recognisable horror franchises around – A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Somehow, I’ve managed to wade through all of the sequels, ignoring much of the declining quality in some of the later offerings.  Still, Freddy Krueger is an iconic villain and face of horror and he needs celebrating.  However, comedy was one of Freddy’s strong points, so there’s no need for an entirely serious piece of merchandise to do this.


This, as you’ve probably already guessed is a Freddy Wacky Wobbler.  I found it here on eBay for $12.99 (or £8.34 depending on where you’re buying from).  Obviously consider postage before you buy, but its a relatively low cost addition to a horror collection.  There are only two remaining on that seller’s page, so act fast!

Merchandise Monday

This week’s Merchandise Monday is a little more tame in the horror stakes, but certainly not in price.  Beetlejuice is one of my favourite films, largely because of the blend of comedy and horror that I love so much.  Even though titular character Beetlejuice is only present in the film for a relatively small amount of time the performance is a memorable one.  The merchandise this week too, is a far more rare item from The Monster Company than previous entries.


This is a Warner Brothers promotional bottle of red wine, stored in an official Beetlejuice coffin and is £59.99 which is quite a price, but this is quite a collectible.  The item listing does advise buyers to not consume the wine even though the bottle is unopened, but it’s such a special little thing I can’t imagine ever wanting to destroy it by having a glug of it.


As always, if you have some merchandise you wish to sell, or even something cool you’d like other people to know about get in touch via Twitter.  Scared Sheepless now has its own domain name and soon an email address will be set up for all questions and queries related to the blog.

Merchandise Monday

This week’s Merchandise Monday is another entry that concerns one of my favourite films.  This week it’s John Carpenter’s Halloween.  I love pretty much everything about Halloween – the music, Jamie Lee Curtis and particularly Donald Pleasance to name but a few special elements.  If there’s anything more fun than conversing entirely in the style of Dr Sam Loomis I certainly haven’t found it.  I know that Halloween is perhaps now best known for popularising the slasher genre and providing a market for churning out sequels and other slashers to the point of saturation, but it’s still a great film and needs celebrating.

At first glance this looks like a simple model bust like any other number of those available of different villains.  However, this one, available from horrormerch.com (link will take you direct to the item, for temptation’s sake) has a removeable knife, although hopefully not a sharp one and it also lights up.  As everyone knows, where there are hollow pumkins with faces, there must be an eerie light and this piece of merchandise has taken that into account in a wonderful way.  It’s listed at $44.99 which means its a perfect price for that special someone who needs more Halloween in their life.

As a note to readers, if you see any merchandise (or create any yourself) and you would like to see it featured here, just get in touch with me via Twitter – @caitd5 or drop me a message over on DarkMediaCity – slightly more formal username of Caitlyn on there.