Sunday 22 October 2017

The Snowman Film

When I first saw a movie poster for The Snowman, I thought it was a Christmas slasher movie. I've done more reading and now realize that it's a movie adaptation of Jo Nesbø's eponymous book. Nesbø is a Norwegian best-selling author known for his Harry Hole detective. The Snowman is the seventh novel in the Harry Hole series.

Unfortunately, the movie is receiving very poor reviews despite its director Tomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), executive producer Martin Scorsese, and stellar cast, including Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole.

The main problem, according to the various reviews I've read, is that it does not capture the essence of the original novel and is largely incoherent in terms of its editing and screenplay. The Chicago Tribune also notes that

Among all of this [the incoherencies of the movie] is some truly gruesome imagery, and unimaginable violence, deployed cavalierly, and committed primarily against female victims. Our antihero Hole is himself a bit of a boor, roughing up his female partner to make a point, because he's got to save the day, his way. What a guy. With a perplexing tale and some very odd creative choices, it's so easy to laugh at The Snowman, but this kind of tale shouldn't inspire laughter.

If you've read the original novel, you may still be interested in seeing the movie adaptation with the caveat that it will not live up to its source, according to most of its critics.

Here's the movie trailer.

Sunday 15 October 2017

Just in Time for Halloween: The Serpent

The Serpent, which is to be released on DVD on October 31st, is described as a romantic escape into nature that turns into the ultimate moment of reckoning when a husband and wife are trapped in a tent with a deadly snake. Unable to escape and with certain death looming, the couple find themselves spiraling into a dark and dangerous space of which only one can survive as the tent becomes a heated confessional to a cataclysmic truth.

Judging from the synopsis and the trailer, The Serpent has all the earmarks of a good fright movie: isolation, betrayal, the fight for survival, and, in this case, an evil villain that is literally a snake.

Check out the trailer below to see if you might be interested:

Monday 2 October 2017

October Horror DVD/VOD Releases

Based on the trailers I viewed and the film descriptions, these October releases look promising.

GHOST STORYIn this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife. (Available October 3rd on DVD)

THE CRUCIFIXION  - Based on a true story, when a priest is jailed for the murder of a nun on whom he was performing an exorcism, an investigative journalist strives to determine whether he, in fact, murdered a mentally ill person, or if he lost the battle with a demonic presence. (Available October 6th on VOD)

NIGHTWORLD - When Former LAPD Office, Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deep into the building’s sinister history, and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building in the basement that will do anything to be set free into our world. . .  (Available October 20th on VOD)

For other titles, please see

Sunday 17 September 2017

New September Horror Film Releases

In the lead-up to Halloween, there are many new horror films being released in September. Here are two you might like to check out:


There's something truly terrifying about sinister clowns, and Stephen King's Pennywise is among the
scariest. This film has been touted as the most-awaited horror movie of 2017. It's getting excellent reviews and has an 85% rating in Rotten Tomatoes, which states that the film is "well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core. It amplifies the horror in Stephen King's classic story without losing touch with its heart."

For the trailer, please click here.


From the director of  Black Swan, this film has an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle
Pfeiffer, and Kristen Wiig. A young woman renovates a Victorian mansion in the countryside where she lives with her husband. A stranger knocks at the door one night and becomes an unexpected guest, and soon his family joins him. Suddenly, her husband becomes friendly and accommodating with everyone but her.

For the trailer, please click here.

Stay tuned for more next week!

Sunday 10 September 2017

September Horror Releases: Part 2

Here are some additional September releases to look for:

What are the Bamboo?

They are from China.

They look just like us.

They live by night.

They drink human lifeblood but otherwise keep their distance.

And every century, they grow white blooming flower.

A boy named Kyo is saved from the precipice of death by a Bamboo, a vampire born of the tall grasses. They start an enjoyable yet strange shared life together, Kyo and the gentle Bamboo. But for Bamboo, communication with human beings is the greatest sin.

The horror genre's greatest living practitioners drag our darkest fears kicking and screaming into the
light in this collection of nineteen brand-new stories. In "The Boggle Hole" by Alison Littlewood an ancient folk tale leads to irrevocable loss. In Josh Malerman's "The House of the Head" a dollhouse becomes the focus for an incident both violent and inexplicable. And in "Speaking Still" Ramsey Campbell suggests that beyond death there may be far worse things waiting than we can ever imagine... Numinous, surreal and gut wrenching, New Fears is a vibrant collection showcasing the very best fiction modern horror has to offer.

Nilhollow—six-hundred-plus acres of haunted woods in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens—is the stuff of
urban legend. Amid tales of tree spirits and all-powerful forest gods are frightening accounts of hikers who went insane right before taking their own lives. It is here that Julia Russo flees when her violent ex-boyfriend runs her off the road . . . here that she vanishes without a trace.

State Trooper Peter Grainger has witnessed unspeakable things that have broken other men. But he has to find Julia and can’t turn back now. Every step takes him closer to an ugliness that won’t be appeased—a centuries-old, devouring hatred rising up to eviscerate humankind. Waiting, feeding, surviving. It’s unstoppable. And its time has come.

NOTE:  All book descriptions are from

Sunday 3 September 2017

September Horror Releases: Part 1

September is shaping up to be an interesting month in terms of new horror releases. Here's a few to look for:

Written by the father-son team of Stephen and Owen King, this novel provides an ironic twist to a
classic fairy tale. In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.

One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.

A novel by Jeffrey Ford: All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation
was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child.

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

A novel by Kay Howard: In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible
power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it. Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

NOTE: All book descriptions are taken from

Please stay tuned next week to Part 2 of September releases.

Sunday 27 August 2017

A Real-Life Man in Black

I discovered that Huffington Post has a weird news section which reports on such things as a calf that's a dead ringer for Gene Simmons. Recently the newspaper featured a unique listing from NASA for a planetary protection officer

. . .who would help thwart the spread of extraterrestrial life ― 'intentionally or unintentionally' ― on Earth and to outside solar systems.

'Planetary protection is concerned with the avoidance of organic-constituent and biological contamination in human and robotic space exploration,' the job listing states. That basically means preventing extraterrestrial life forces ― no matter their size ― from spreading during space travel.

There are only two positions like this in the world, the other being with the European Space Agency.
Among the job listing requirements are frequency of travel and proven diplomatic skills in negotiating win-win solutions.

For the job listing itself, see

For the full text of the article, see

(By the way, if you would like to see the calf that looks like Gene Simmons, please click here:

Reprinted from my Goodreads blog.

Sunday 6 August 2017

The Dark Tower Film

Fans of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series may have mixed feelings about the new film, which has opened to generally negative reviews (Rotten Tomatoes: 18% for critical response, although the audience response is more favourable at 63%).

It is billed as a "science fantasy western" that continues the themes of the Dark Tower novels. Part of the problem may be trying to capture the essence of a series of novels that spans King's writing life. Critics have denounced the plot as incomprehensible and unfaithful to King's novels.

The film features Idris Elba (fans of The Wire will recognize him as the actor who plays Stringer Bell) as Roland, the last of the lone Gunslingers. Matthew McConaughey stars as Walter o'Dim, the Man in Black, an ageless deceiver and sorcerer.

The Dark Tower film has an interesting history. It started production in 2007 and has had three successive directors: J.J. Abrams; Ron Howard; and finally Nikolaj Arcel (with Howard in a production role). A follow-up television series is planned for 2018. (Sources: Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes)

Monday 24 July 2017

A Survivor of Dunkirk Recalls the Battle

I came across a newspaper article regarding a 97-year-old man and survivor of the Battle of Dunkirk who went to the premiere of the movie Dunkirk. He was amazed by the visuals of the film, which brought back his own sad memories of the battle. Here's an excerpt from the Global News article:

Theatre goers watching the premiere of Dunkirk at Calgary’s Westhills Cinemas on Friday night got a surprise encounter with a 97-year -old man who was at the battle in 1940.
The Battle of Dunkirk took place during the Second World War between the Allies and Nazi Germany in Dunkirk, France.
Calgarian Ken Sturdy, dressed in a jacket adorned with medals, viewed the movie and was impressed by what he saw.
'I never thought I would see that again. It was just like I was there again,' Sturdy said.
'It didn’t have a lot of dialogue,' he added. 'It didn’t need any of the dialogue because it told the story visually and it was so real.'
'I was in those little boats picking them out of the water,' Sturdy said. He was a 20-year-old signal man with the Royal Navy helping evacuated soldiers reach waiting boats from the chaos on the beach.
'I had the privilege of seeing that film tonight and I am saddened by it because of what happened on that beach,' Sturdy said.

As the article points out, more than 68,000 British soldiers were captured or killed during the battle and retreat and over 300,000 were rescued over nine days.

Mr. Sturdy admonishes the younger generation to view the movie as an exploration of the moral implications of war:

'Don’t just go to the movie for entertainment. Think about it. And when you become adults, keep thinking,' Sturdy advised.
'Tonight I cried because it’s never the end. It won’t happen. We the human species are so intelligent and we do such astonishing things. We can fly to the moon but we still do stupid things. . . . So when I see the film tonight, I see it with a certain kind of sadness. Because what happened back then in 1940, it’s not the end.'

For the full text of the article and an accompanying video, please click here. 

Monday 17 July 2017

Farewell to George Romero

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of George Romero. Although he has been lauded as the master of the modern zombie genre, his signature film Night of the Living Dead was also an important social commentary on the racial divide in the United States, and it is for this that I will always remember him. As a Hollywood source describes it:

Night of the Living Dead arrived at a time when American idealism was starting to sour. The momentum of post-war progress and the hope of early 60s counterculture had all but evaporated in the year of the Watts riots and assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. The film was a potent piece of speculative satire: a low-budget, tightly scripted horror film that posited as its protagonist a young black professional (played by Duane Jones) who struggles to navigate the neuroses and hysteria of his white counterparts while fending off an undead horde. The film's closing moments, in which Jones is 'mistakenly' shot by the police cleanup crew, remain one of the most stinging incidences of irony in cinematic history.

In fact, Romero had been asked to write an episode for the television series The Walking Dead, but declined, saying that the show was more soap opera than social commentary.

Mr. Romero made a guest appearance at the Ottawa ComicCon this past May, much to the delight of my son Tim, who has all of his movies and admired him greatly. My son was able to meet him and because it was nearing the end of the convention and not overly busy, Mr. Romero took the time to talk to Tim and even have a picture taken (without charge) of the two of them. Tim had ordered, through eBay, foreign movie posters of the Living Dead franchise. He took them with him to ComicCon to get autographed. Mr. Romero was delighted to view the posters, which he had not seen before. He was a kind man who made an indelible impression on my son.

The light of the horror world is dimmed greatly by his passing.

RIP George Romero: 1940-2017

Monday 26 June 2017

The Changeling: 1980

I was scrolling through the television listings yesterday afternoon and chanced upon The Changeling--not to be confused with the 2008 movie of the same name but with different subject matter--and felt compelled to stop and watch it once again. I've seen it about eight times, and I'm sure I'll watch it again.

What's so striking about this movie is its excellent cast, including George C. Scott as the protagonist, and its atmosphere. Very few movies have evoked such a strong theme of loss, sadness, and regret. The sets are stunning, and the panning, wide-angle shooting of scenes in a huge house ironically creates a sense of a world closing in on itself. The sound effects and music are also effectively used to heighten the tension. And what makes it even more credible as a horror/supernatural film is the believability of Scott as the central character. This is not a man easily given to flights of fancy: this is someone looking for rational explanations and ultimately being unable to find them.

As one critic wrote of the film:" [It is] a solidly made, genuinely creepy and effective ghost story of a type the movies rarely attempt and even more rarely get right." (Ken Hanke)

If you haven't had the opportunity to watch this classic of psychological horror, please check it out. It's one of those movies that never seem dated despite the fact that it was made almost 40 years ago.

Monday 19 June 2017

New Horror Releases: May/June 2017

Here are some recent horror releases. (All product descriptions in this post are taken from Amazon.)

SACCULINA by Philip Fracassi (2017 Journalstone / 99 pp / trade paperback & eBook)

"The story is exciting, and terrifically scary." -- The New York Times

"SACCULINA is a smart, terrifying, and poignant tale of creeping menace. I devoured it in one frenzied sitting... this Fracassi guy is damn good." --Richard Chizmar, author of A Long December and co-author (with Stephen King) of Gwendy's Button Box

When Jim's big brother Jack is released from prison, the brothers--along with their broken father and Jack's menacing best friend--decide to charter an ocean fishing boat to celebrate Jack's new freedom.

Once the small crew is far out to sea, however, a mutant species rises from the deep abyssal darkness to terrorize the vessel and its occupants.

As the horror of their situation becomes clear, the small group must find a way to fend off the attack and somehow, someway, return to safety; but as the strange parasitic creatures overrun them, they must use more extreme - and deadly - measures to survive.

THE DOLL HOUSE by Edward Lee (2017 Necro Publications / 102 pp / trade paperback & eBook)


It’s a horror house, a slaughter house, a devil house. And it’s something else, too:

A doll house.

Reginald Lympton collects doll houses, and now that he’s acquired the rare Patten Doll House, he can boast the most preeminent collection in the world. But after visions too abominable to reckon, and nightmares blacker than the most bottomless abyss, he discovers in short order that his acquisition is not a prized collector’s item at all but a diabolical thoroughfare designed to serve the darkest indulgences of the King of Terrors.

Now, Edward Lee, the master of hardcore horror, has penned this audacious homage to the master of the Victorian ghost story, M.R. James.

BLACK STATIC no. 58 (May/June 2017)

The May–June issue contains new dark stories and novelettes by Mark Morris, Helen Marshall, Tim Casson, Gwendolyn Kiste, and Joe Pitkin. The cover art is by Joachim Luetke, with interior illustrations by Joachim Luetke, Warwick Fraser-Coombe, and Vince Haig. Features: "Into the Woods" by Ralph Robert Moore; "Notes From the Borderland" by Lynda E. Rucker; "Case Notes" by Peter Tennant (book reviews and an in-depth interview with Richard Chizmar); "Blood Spectrum" by Gary Couzens (film review).

 To check out reviews in The Horror Fiction Review, please click here. There are a number of other books reviewed as well that might pique your curiosity.

Happy Reading!

Monday 29 May 2017

Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula

For both fans and scholars of Bram Stoker's Dracula, there is an alternate version of the story now available with a very interesting history.

In 1900, Icelandic publisher and writer Valdimar Ásmundsson began translating Bram Stoker's world-famous 1897 novel Dracula. This Icelandic edition, which was titled Makt Myrkranna (literally, "Powers of Darkness"), included an original preface written by Stoker himself. 

Makt Myrkranna was published in Iceland in 1901 but remained undiscovered outside the country until 1986 when Dracula scholarship was astonished by the discovery of Stoker's preface to the book. However, no one looked beyond the preface and deeper into Ásmundsson's story. 

In 2014, literary researcher Hans de Roos examined the full text of Makt Myrkranna, only to discover that Ásmundsson hadn't merely translated Dracula but had penned an entirely new version of the story, with all new characters and a totally re-worked plot. 

The resulting narrative is one that is "shorter, punchier, more erotic, and perhaps even more suspenseful than Stoker's Dracula." 

Powers of Darkness represents the first-ever translation into English of Stoker and Ásmundsson’s Makt Myrkranna. There are also marginal annotations by de Roos that provide readers with historical, cultural, and literary context. There is a foreword by Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and bestselling author, as well as an afterword by Dracula scholar John Edgar Browning, (Source: Amazon: publisher's description)

This is the Amazon link:

The book is available in hardcover and audio formats.

Monday 22 May 2017

The Trump Presidency: A Real-Life Horror Story

Stephen King has added his voice to those expressing concern over the presidency of Donald Trump.

What encourages me the most about this move is that King is a populist writer and may be able to reach people in ways that the media and the Hollywood elite could not.  And I also assume that King has had no problem withstanding the constant barrage of abuse that is being sent his way by Trump supporters.

In fact, I'm not worried at all about the ability of high-profile Trump critics to survive his presidency. But I am concerned about Trump's de-regulation of environmental protection; his insistence on turning a blind eye to human rights abuses; his overhaul of health care in the US that will leave so many vulnerable; his cuts to programs that benefit seniors and the poor; and his flagrant disregard for ethics while in the White House.

Ironically, many of Trump's policies will affect the various groups who supported him and thought he would make their lives better.

To read King's tweets, please click here.

Monday 1 May 2017

Upcoming Release of Alien: Covenant

Fans of  Alien can look forward to the release of Alien: Covenant directed by Ridley Scott. This film is a sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus. (Scott directed the original Alien movie, as well as Prometheus.) In November 2015, Scott confirmed that Alien: Covenant would be the first of three additional films in the Alien prequel series, before linking up with the original movie.

In Alien: Covenant, the crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

Here's a link to the official movie trailer for a sneak preview.

Alien: Covenant is scheduled for release on May 18.

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


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


 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 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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


Monday 10 April 2017


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.


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!


Producing Countries: PORTUGAL / BRAZIL
Length: 90 MINUTES
Language: ENGLISH
Director of Photography: MIGUEL SALES LOPES A.I.P.
Written by PAULO LEITE
Directed by JOÃO ALVES

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



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.

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!

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).


"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:


TWITTER: @ByronAMartin



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.