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
Students of the occult and devotees of the darker fringes of history will be delighted to hear that the Royal College of Physicians, in Regent’s Park London, are planning an exhibition dedicated to John Dee. A pioneering scholar – learned in mathematics, philosophy and navigation – Dee was one of the most fascinating and brilliant figures at the 16th century court of the English queen Elizabeth I, universally admired for his learning. 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
The first weekend of September will witness an intriguing first, in the shape of Britain’s only ever academic werewolf conference. Held at the University of Hertfordshire, and entitled ‘The Company of Wolves: Sociality, Animality, and Subjectivity in Literary and Cultural Narratives – Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Feral Humans’, attendees can hear papers with intriguing titles like ‘Wolf Children’, ‘The Sound of the Cinematic Werewolf’, and ‘Werewolves and Paranormal Romance’. Other events include a visit to the 18th century grave of a local ‘wolf boy’, a lycanthropic antique magic lantern show, and an opportunity to ‘walk with wolves’ at the nearby UK Wolf Conservation Trust. Continue reading
There can be few people better qualified to document California’s Deathrock scene than Amelia G and her partner Forrest Black. Lifelong devotees of the dark side, Amelia and Forrest’s long association with the West Coast’s most ghoulishly glamorous subculture has recently borne fruitin the shape of an arresting, new full-colour photobook. Continue reading
The British Library’s exhibition ‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’ has been enjoying justified praise – indeed we visited it recently and were very impressed. Continue reading
Damnation came hot on the heels of the warmest Halloween on record. Buried deep in the labyrinthine depths of England’s Leeds University, and in its tenth year, the festival’s now firmly established as a red letter day in the heavy metal calendar. Particularly for fans of the genre’s more extreme bands, as Damnation concentrates on less overtly commercial sounds, from the most whip-crack fast and vicious, to the eerily experimental and atmospheric. Continue reading
What could be better than combining the two best things in the world, which is exactly what they’ve done at Cakeageddon, a ghoulish synthesis of cakes and Halloween. Billed as ‘the world’s first edible horror farm’, Cakeageddon is a scary visitors’ attraction on a farm near the English city of Letchworth. Haunted houses – or even haunted farms – that promise to terrify the paying public are nothing new this time of year. What makes this special is that all of the grisly props and spooky settings are lovingly sculpted from cake, and hence edible. If you dare…
Decades after his death in 1993, Vincent Price remains one of cinema’s most distinctive and distinguished Gothic icons. Continue reading
Dark culture vultures should wing their way to London this autumn, as the British Library are hosting an exhibition celebrating 250 years of Gothic literature. Continue reading
Alchemy have become regular visitors to Bloodstock Open Air festival. While we were hard at work on the stall, our resident metal fiend Gavin Baddeley was swanning around enjoying himself. Here he explains why he reckons Bloodstock’s become an essential date in the metal calendar…
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!
While the dusty realm of the library’s seldom seen as a hive of excitement, a recent discovery at the library at Harvard University’s Houghton Library has been causing something of a stir. For experts have recently confirmed that a volume in the library’s collection is bound in human skin. Continue reading