I know I’m not alone when I say that over the past few months I’ve watched a lot of films. A hell of a lot of films. I’ve also had friends – aware that I write about weird movies and cult cinema – asking for film recommendations. Particularly the low budget flicks with all of the blood, balls, and brains typically missing from big budget blockbusters. I ultimately collected these into a few social media posts, detailing three dozen films worth seeing that had largely gone under the radar, the neglected gems you’ve never heard of that are hidden in the depths of the streaming libraries. The posts proved very popular and it struck me that they might prove useful resource for others. Particularly in the current climate, where everyone’s exhausted all of the high profile new releases and reliable old favourites that Netflix, Amazon and co have to offer. Continue reading
The Royal Armouries is one of the oldest museums in the world, founded in the 1400s in London’s famous White Tower, viewable by appointment only. By 1660, paying members of the public were invited to visit this extensive Royal collection of arms and armour. In 1991 a major shake-up was begun, and much of the collection moved to a purpose-built museum in the northern English city of Leeds, which opened to the public five years later. In recent years, the Armouries generated some controversy when they began to acquire weapons used on iconic TV shows and films, such as LORD OF THE RINGS and STAR WARS. Continue reading
Mary Shelley’s timeless masterwork FRANKENSTEIN was first published 200 years ago. Mary began writing the book when she was still a teenager, and it is now recognised as not only a landmark work of Gothic literature, but also arguably the first true science fiction novel. It is through cinema, though, that most have come to know her immortal creation, beginning in 1910 with the first film adaptation, a silent movie generally known as the Edison FRANKENSTEIN (it was produced by the famous inventor Thomas Edison). The film’s director deliberately downplayed the story’s horrific elements, and the resulting 14 minute film is more of an amusing, pioneering oddity than a horror classic. Continue reading
Horror fans seldom greet the news of yet another Hollywood remake with much enthusiasm. It usually involves a well-loved classic being cynically resurrected as a cash-in. But if the team behind the revival are sufficiently interesting, or the film in question adequately iconic, then its possible to make exceptions. Continue reading
Ghost stories have long been traditionally associated with Christmas, and a good spinechiller can prove a welcome spooky antidote to the saccharine sentimentality of the season. Anyone likely to be in the Liverpool area over the next few weeks, who fancies an evening of ghosts and goosebumps, should check out The Haunting of Hill House, the new production at the city’s Playhouse Theatre. It comes with an impressive pedigree, adapted from a 1959 novel by America’s queen of psychological horror Shirley Jackson, staged in association with the legendary Gothic film studio Hammer.
Alchemy’s resident horror fiend Gavin Baddeley attends a lot of horror festivals, but he reckons the Welsh event, Abertoir, is among the best. So we asked him to report back on the best new fear flicks that previewed at 2015’s six day Aberystwyth marathon of the macabre… Continue reading
It’ll probably surprise nobody to learn that many of us here at Alchemy are keen horror fans. So we were very saddened to hear of the recent death of the director Wes Craven. The extensive coverage of his passing is an indication, not just of how well respected Wes was, but also how much more respectable horror has become in recent years. The UK’s Guardian newspaper, for example – not previously enthusiastic about horror films – dedicated no less than five pieces to the director on the day his death was announced. Continue reading
Decades after his death in 1993, Vincent Price remains one of cinema’s most distinctive and distinguished Gothic icons. Continue reading
We’re big horror fans here at Alchemy, so were concerned to hear that Dario Argento, director of such 70s cult classics as Deep Red, Suspiria and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has suffered a serious accident. In a scenario that sounds a little like something from one of his stylish chillers, Dario fell down a flight of stairs at his apartment in Rome. Happily, he’s now out of hospital, and being looked after by a private nurse at home. Everyone here at Alchemy wishes Italy’s maestro of menace a swift recovery!