Sunday, 27 October 2013

Late Night Terror!!!

Looking for something to keep you up all night this Friday and Saturday? Looking for some gruesome, disturbing horror and dark fantasy to follow you into your dreams? Then look no further...


We hope to see you there!

Monday, 21 October 2013

From Hell to YouTube

I love making trailers! So I made one for my book.



I also made one for my story, "The Curtain", featuring in Best New Horror 24.


I hope you enjoy them!

Friday, 18 October 2013

My World Fantasy Con schedule

Here's where I'll be and what I'll be up to:

FRIDAY 1st November

3.00 - 4.00 pm . . . I'm on the Machen & Modern Horror panel with Ramsey Campbell, Adam Nevill, Paul Finch, Tim Lebbon and Michael Kelly (moderator). [Cambridge Suite]

The Cabinet of Dr Probert  10.00 - midnight

For those who like to go to sleep suitably chilled, WFC is presenting a pair of special late-night reading events on the Friday and Saturday: From 10:00 pm through midnight on the Friday, The Cabinet of Dr. Probert will be hosted by Victorian psychiatrist and carnival showman Dr. Probert, ably assisted by the mysterious sleepwalker known only as Thana, who will open his cabinet of horrors to present three tales of fantasy and terror for your thrills and delectation. Allow yourself to be drawn gently toward the witching hour by stories from Angela Slatter, John Llewellyn Probert and Reggie Oliver.

SATURDAY 2nd November

noon - 1 pm . . . Launch/signing of The Tenth Black Book of Horror, along with editor Charlie Black and authors John Llewellyn Probert, Anna Taborska, David A Sutton, Gary Power, Ian Hunter, Mike Chinn and David Williamson. [Hall 8]

3.00 - 4.00 pm . . . Launch/signing for Best New Horror 24. [Hall 8]

Dr Probert's House of Horrors  11.00 - midnight

From 11:00 pm until around 12:30 am on the Saturday, the good(?) Doctor will return with his assistant Thana and a battered deck of Tarot cards to introduce three more tales of fantasy and horror in Dr. Probert’s House of Horrors, as those expert practitioners of the macabre Alison Littlewood, Thana Niveau and Ramsey Campbell do their best to assure you that there really are things out there in the shadows waiting to follow you to bed . . . Both spine-chilling events will take place in the Chartwell room, accessible from the 6th floor of the hotel.

And here's the master stalker list of what EVERYONE is doing and where you can find them.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Suspiria vs Black Swan

I'm just learning how to edit movies and the best way to practise is to make it fun. So I've been experimenting with some trailer mashups. Suspiria vs Black Swan is the one I'm most proud of.



There's some other silliness on my YouTube channel so go have a look at my humble efforts. I used some cheesy trailer templates to turn Halloween into both a romcom and a Bond film and I also had some fun with the iconic fight music from "Amok Time".

Thursday, 19 September 2013

random bits of news

At last! Of the many (oh so many!) stories I have floating around out there, a few are finally nearing publication. The World Fantasy Convention is imminent, which will see the launch of many books, some of which I'm in.

First up is The Tenth Black Book of Horror, published by Mortbury Press. I've had stories in volumes 7, 8 and 9 but this time marks my debut in the coveted Final Slot. It's possibly the most gruesome thing I've ever written, although I think it's actually kind of sweet and romantic. In a twisted, disturbed kind of way, but still... Anyway, here's the Table of Contents:

Stiff - Angela Blake
The Easter Bunny - Tom Johnstone
The Last Testament of Jacob Tyler - David Surface
The War Effort - Carl P Thompson
The Pre-Raphaelite Painting - David A Sutton
Christmas in the Rain - Chris Lawton
Deeper Than Dark Water - Gary Power
Marshwall - Paul Finch
Exploding Raphaelesque Heads - Ian Hunter
The Best Christmas Ever - John Llewellyn Probert
The Pygmalion Conjuration - Mike Chinn
The Boy - David Williamson
The Last Wagon in the Train - Andrea James
Dad Dancing - Kate Farrell
Guinea Pig Girl - Thana Niveau

Be sure to check out the OFFICIAL TRAILER, by Anna Taborska!

And then there's The Burning Circus, an anthology for members of the British Fantasy Society.

Foreword - Johnny Mains
Introduction - Ramsey Campbell
Doll Hands - Adam Nevill
Death Walks En Pointe - Thana Niveau
The Burning Circus - Angela Slatter
Where is Uncle Phillip? - Alex Hamilton
The Queen in the Yellow Wallpaper - Lynda E Rucker
The Peter Lorre Fan Club - Stephen Volk
The Garscube Creative Writing Group - Muriel Gray
The Sixteenth Step - Robert Shearman

In case you can't guess from the title, my story is a giallo set in the world of ballet. And if you have a fraction as much fun reading it as I had writing it, my work here is done.



Wednesday, 28 August 2013

FrightFest 13 report

Ah, FrightFest... how we love you! 21 films in 5 days and John and I are both missing the chaos and excitement. This was a truly fantastic year, made all the more so by the fact that we weren't honestly that psyched by the line-up. So there were plenty of pleasant surprises and unexpected delights. It's always so sad when it has to come to an end. But we've got loads of films to buy and see again, plus loads more that we missed that we now have to wait for and seek out. And it won't be long before FrightFest Glasgow rolls around and we can do it all again - on a smaller scale, of course.

But on to the films...

CURSE OF CHUCKY was the first delight. A return to form for director Don Mancini, this time with Fiona Dourif (Brad's daughter) as the unwitting caretaker of the infamous doll. (I hope we get to see more of Ms Dourif in future films because she's great!) Chucky went the way of Freddy in the latter films, descending into farce. CURSE makes him scary again. Before the film we were all given creepy Chucky masks to wear and the resulting photo of a sea of Chuckies is quite unnerving. (I hope Chucky hunts down those miserable bastards who didn't participate and makes them suffer!) Alas, I can't find the picture online but I photographed the screen when it came up on the slideshow. So forgive the poor quality but at least it gives you an idea. A guy a couple of rows up was actually dressed as Chucky, which was great! And thanks to him, I can just about find where we are in the shot (seats N27 & 28).



YOU'RE NEXT was next. A home invasion shocker by Adam Wingard featuring a criminally underused Barbara Crampton. I liked it but it didn't wow me the way it did most people. It had some very scary moments (masks are always guaranteed to terrify me) but I wish Mr Wingard would at least sometimes try to hold the camera steady or not swing it back and forth in lieu of cutting between closeups. (His wraparound segment of V/H/S was absolutely unwatchable.) The pedant in me was pleased that the killers got the apostrophe in the right place, although it might have been more authentic if they'd written UR NEXT instead.

2nd day, 1st film: THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT. This was an instant favourite and didn't get knocked from the top spot until the following evening. A found footage piece made by people who could hold a camera steady for long stretches of time (hooray!), it's well acted, unpredictable and very very scary. There's a sense of Blackwoodian/Lovecraftian awe and dread throughout, with an extremely unnerving ending. Don't read anything about it - just find it and see it!

We thought we were going to miss HATCHET III but we got back from lunch just in time for the credits (which means we'll have to buy the DVD to see the prologue we missed). Maybe it was the combination of wine and food and the company of our friends John Forth and Esther Sherman at lunch that already had us in such a good mood, but maybe it was just a fun, daft film. In any case, we really enjoyed it. We liked the first one, were unimpressed by the second, so we had no expectations of this one. Maybe that's the key to enjoying a silly romp like this. We had a blast and clapped and cheered throughout, particularly during one splendid cameo with some howlingly painful non-PC dialogue.

HAUNTER seems to have divided people pretty thoroughly, but I thought it was a very effective little film. The programme described it as "Groundhog Day meets the Others in Vincenzo Natali's chilling reverse-ghost story". That's about right and gives nothing away. Well worth seeing, especially for fellow 80s children, who will get a warm nostalgic glow from the production design. If I had to spend eternity in a band T-shirt I'd want it to be Siouxsie & the Banshees too!

V/H/S/2 was promised to be "better than the first one". That wouldn't be difficult, we thought, given how little we thought of it. "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger" and "10/31/98" were good and I loved the ending of "Amateur Night" (once I stopped feeling ill from the camera being waved around like a Freudian metaphor) but overall I was disappointed by the whole. V/H/S/2 is better. WAY better. In fact, it's on my FF14 top 5 list simply for the harrowing experience of "Safe Haven", directed by Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto. (Mr Tjahjanto was responsible for "L is for Libido" in THE ABCs OF DEATH, so we knew it would be intense.) The wraparound story for the videotapes is better, if no clearer about what actually happens, but it's really the only weak link. Adam Wingard is back for the first segment, "Phase I Clinical Trials", and it really scared me. Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sanchez follow with "A Ride in the Park", a found footage zombie story that's surprisingly poignant (my second favourite of the anthology film) and Jason Eisener has the final slot with "Slumber Party Alien Abduction", which I thought started off scary and then became a bit samey, relying too much on loud noises rather than genuine scares to make me jump. But overall definitely a recommendation!

I can't remember which day it was shown but another unexpected delight was the "Turn off your bloody phone" clip featuring Norman J Warren and David McGillivray. Norman said they hadn't done an Asian horror-themed one so they made up his beautiful friend (whose name I sadly can't spell!) as an Oriental ghost. Definitely my favourite of all the "bloody phone" clips!

The next day brought the moody, atmospheric Nordic Noir THE HYPNOTIST, which was good but not great. Lena Olin gave a great performance but her character was so obnoxious I just wanted someone to slap her. Unfortunately, the appearance of a certain character early on totally gave the game away for us and, while there were unexpected moments along the way, we knew what was coming in the final act. Brilliant finale, though!

After that came the crazy, trashy fun that was FRANKENSTEIN'S ARMY. I can't describe it better than the programme: "Call it a historical HOSTEL on Hammer Horror steroids, cyberpunk by way of classic Universal monster mayhem or found-footage taken to the next level, this inventive old-style freak show with gore, guts and gunplay is a midnight movie audience's wet dream and instant cult classic." Well, it wasn't in the midnight slot but that's otherwise 100% correct. And if you like that description, you're bound to enjoy the film.

We'd got up early that morning to queue for Discovery Screen tickets so we didn't see any of the other films on the main screen that day. Instead we watched the nostalgic documentary REWIND THIS, about the rise and fall of videotapes and the eccentric obsessives who collect them and refuse to watch films on DVD or blu-ray, preferring the utter trash that's never been upgraded to a better format. This was a real joy so I'm glad we caught it, as the documentaries never seem to make it onto DVD after the festivals. Though perhaps this one shouldn't anyway - just on principle.

This was followed by my Number One film of the festival, THE BORDERLANDS. When it started and we saw it was found footage, we both gave a little inward groan but it was absolutely the right format for the story. A techie and two Vatican priests go to the West Country (hooray!) to investigate a church where strange goings-on have been observed. To say more would be criminal. Just see it.

Sunday morning brought MISSIONARY, a disturbing stalker thriller about a Mormon missionary who becomes obsessed with a woman and her son, deciding that they are the perfect family he's always wanted. Very creepy. As if you needed another reason to slam the door in the face of God-botherers!

Next came Andy Nyman's Quiz From Hell 4: The Final Chapter. We came 2nd last year as The Blood-Spattered Bride and Bridegroom, but this year was a very poor showing for us. We were Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde and we tied with John and Esther (We Can't Feel Our Legs) in 7th place with 40 out of 50. Gah! It's all those soundtracks from modern films that trip us up.

It was a day of grim and bleak films and DARK TOURIST was next, "in the galvanising tradition of Taxi Driver and Monster", with a chilling performance by Michael Cudlitz as a man whose holidays consist of trips to important locations in the lives of serial killers. Seriously good stuff, full of ideas and imagery I still can't get out of my head, but I can't imagine I'll ever want to put myself through it again.

We accepted a dinner invitation from the lovely Sean Hogan after that so we missed the next two films, but were back in time for I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2. I love the original and I'm not a fan of the remake, where a girl who is raped and beaten and left for dead still has the strength, ingenuity and wherewithal to devise elaborate SAW traps for her attackers. The revenge bits in that were so extreme and outlandish I just couldn't buy into any of it and I actually found myself losing sympathy for her by the end. Well, the second one went the opposite way. The attack was horrific (featuring one excellent POV shot of her inside the box she gets buried alive in as it's dropped into the grave), but the revenge scenes this time were actually too tame. The main villain came to a suitably gruesome and cheer-worthy bad end but the rest were just - meh. Still, it was worth seeing if only for the startling announcement by Paul McEvoy beforehand. Apparently someone had been getting up to something naughty (by himself - and I'm assuming it was a male, however sexist that may be) during one of the films. Wow. I wonder if they need to make another clip of things one shouldn't do at FrightFest. If so I hope they get Camille Keaton to do it!


But before all that we got to hang out and chat with Simon Boswell, which was a real treat! I got to tell him his score for STAGE FRIGHT is one of my very favourites to write to.

The final day kicked off with Turkish short film "Baskin", which contained more horror in its 9 minutes than many feature films in 2 hours. Seriously terrifying, nightmarish stuff and a promising start to the day. It certainly woke us up!

French-directed Irish supernatural thriller DARK TOUCH came next. A bit CARRIE, a bit WOULD YOU KILL A CHILD?, it veered between searing social commentary and operatic Italianesque lunacy. There was some laughter at unintentionally humorous moments but that only emphasised the "Italian film" sensibility. With some spectacular Grand Guignol set-pieces and an unforgettable climax, it's my 2nd favourite of the festival and I can't wait to see it again!

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE is Jim Mickle's remake of the Mexican film of the same name and it's a seriously good horror film and one of the very best remakes I've seen. Intense and gruelling but extremely powerful. The characters all undergo a gender change from the original film, which creates an interesting new dynamic in this version. I didn't really like the original much so this was a pleasant surprise. But, like DARK TOURIST, I'm not in a hurry to watch it again.

My 3rd favourite film was BIG BAD WOLVES, an Israeli pitch black comedy/horror that kept me laughing, cringeing and guessing right through to the final shot, which is one you'll never forget. Oh, the extremes this beloved genre of ours is capable of! It's an example of truly stunning filmmaking and I can't wait to see more by these guys. It was the perfect closer but - sadly - the very last film ever to be shown on the Empire Cinema's main screen. We're promised that FrightFest will be back at the Empire next year, but in a different form, as the main screen is being replaced by an IMAX one. Who knows what that will mean but one thing is sure: we'll be there!

Empire Cinema Screen 1

So here's my Top 5 Favourites list:

1. THE BORDERLANDS
2. DARK TOUCH
3. BIG BAD WOLVES
4. THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT
5. V/H/S/2

Honourable mention: CURSE OF CHUCKY

And if you'd like to read John's more film-criticky Top Ten (with the bit about NINJA ELIMINATOR III that I can't believe I forgot to mention), you can find that at the House of Mortal Cinema.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

FrightFest is coming!

It's that time of year again - time to head to London and for five days of horror! (Beyond the normal horror of being in London, that is.) We survived the sleepy queue (6 hours of standing in the cold) and got our passes and ever since we've been counting the days until FrightFest. And it's not long to go now...

Last year we came second in Andy Nyman's Quiz from Hell (as "The Blood-Spattered Bride & Bridegroom") so we can't wait to see what he throws at us this time. We might try being "Dr Phibes & Vulnavia" to see if that improves our luck.

We're looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. And of course watching all those films! We always imagine we'll be completely "filmed out" by the end of it but so far that's never happened. All we want to do when we get home again is put on another film. Alas, the Bristol FrightFest all-nighter is on Halloween this year, so we'll have to miss it. Not only is it our first anniversary; it's also the World Fantasy Convention. But hey - it's not possible to watch every single horror film ever made (although we do try). And before we know it, it will be time for Glasgow FrightFest again!

Roll on, scary films!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sorcery & Sanctity

I have so many projects floating around that I can't talk about yet, which is why this blog has been gathering dust lately. But my contributor copies of Sorcery & Sanctity: a Homage to Arthur Machen just arrived in today's post so I thought I'd show you the pretty pretty book!

My story "Caerdroia" lies within. Here's a taste:

And again he brings her roses, not knowing, not realising.

Ione smiles and gathers them in her arms, careless of the thorns. His eyes shine with fascination, with enchantment and hopeless devotion. So rapturous, so reckless. Something in her stirs at the way he looks at her and she wonders what he sees there, how she appears to his eyes.

The afternoon is spent like so many others, forming words and pretty smiles, batting her lashes and pressing catlike against him with sweet assurances and promises she will never keep. He is blind to all but his na├»ve fantasy of her, the beautiful yet attainable village girl he presumes her to be. But she has learnt the art of flattery through the long lonely years and she knows that a woman’s eyes are the most deceitful of mirrors. It is the cruellest trick, and the easiest. And in trickery her kind have no equal.

Time passes slowly. Overhead the clouds congeal, thickening like scabs over the bleeding gash of the sun. Shadows crawl across the hills as though fleeing the dark woods. Ione sweeps the long dark hair from her face and gazes up at the emerging stars, the flicker of other worlds far away, worlds now long since dead.

Her lover speaks to her of beauty, of music and poetry and wonder. He tells her they belong together, forever. She pretends to be moved by his passion. It’s such bitter irony. If she could show him something truly wondrous he would shudder with a horrible dread. His eyes would go wide with terror if he were to encounter real magic. Then her beauty would take on a terrible aspect for him and he would hurl words like stones: witch, harlot, demon. For then he would see her only as something to be feared and hated, something to be destroyed.

----------------

The anthology is in honour of Machen's 150th birthday. The idea for the book came about at a meeting of the Friends of Arthur Machen and is edited by Daniel Corrick and published by Hieroglyphic Press.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Demons and Devils and Dennis - oh my!

Coming soon from Hersham Horror... a tribute to Dennis Wheatley!
My story is called "Little Devils".



Friday, 21 June 2013

BFS award nomination

I'm really excited to announce that From Hell to Eternity has been shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection!

I'm not going to canvas for votes because that's unethical (and silly) but I don't see anything wrong with being happy with the nomination. My fellow nominees are Robert Shearman, Joel Lane and Jonathan Carroll, so I'll be happy no matter who wins, as they're all fabulous writers whose work I love.

That's all. Just sharing the happy!

Oh! You can read the full list of nominations here. Congratulations to all the nominees!

This awards ceremony promises to be even more terrifying for me than in 2011, when John Llewellyn Probert and I presented the award for Best Film. Performing on stage is one thing; public speaking is quite another. If I don't win, I'm off the hook but if I do... forgive me if I just faint!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Exotic Gothic 5 - a first look

The highly acclaimed series Exotic Gothic, edited by Danel Olson, has reached its fifth and final volume. It's a bumper collection, 26 stories split into two volumes. They're available now for pre-order from PS Publishing, either separately or as a double slipcased edition.

front cover art: Apolinar Chuca
My story "Xibalba" features in volume 2. It's set in the Mayan ghost town of Tulum, where a group of students are spending their gap year. The ancient temple carvings seem to hint at dark secrets and a trek into the jungle leads them into the heart of an ancient and terrible mystery.

You can get them here:

Exotic Gothic 5: volume I

Exotic Gothic 5: volume II

Exotic Gothic 5: slipcased volumes I & II

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

"The Curtain" in Best New Horror 24

So excited to share that my story "The Curtain", from my collection From Hell to Eternity, has been chosen for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24!

Here's how Jim McLeod of The Ginger Nuts of Horror describes it:

"A diver investigates an unusual wreck, and discovers that a curtain between our world and another reality has been lifted. It's one of the most atmospheric stories I have read in a long time. Thana handles the diving scenes in such a way that the reader experiences the same sense of weightlessness, claustrophobia and isolation of the diver in this pitch perfect modern take on an Elder God story."

I finished "The Curtain" after diving the Thistlegorm in the Red Sea. The story was mainly inspired by the ghostly whispers I heard there. I put it first in my collection because it's possibly my favourite of all my stories. Here's a taste:

A soft munching reached his ears, but he couldn’t tell which direction it was coming from. It was never entirely silent in the deep. The sea had its own voices. As he swam towards more debris his beam illuminated a school of blue pinstriped surgeonfish, nibbling on bits of wreckage, investigating every nook and cranny. They swam languidly aside as he passed among them, as though he were one of them.

Another shoal of silver fish hung suspended before him. Unless the same one had followed him. The small fish dispersed and rejoined like liquid metal, reforming into a curtain. Mesmerising. He swam towards them, expecting them either to scatter in fright or flow around him as the surgeonfish had done. But these fish didn’t move.

Martin floated in the water, staring as they held their position. He waved his hands at them as though shooing away flies. Their tails flickered, but the fish remained in place. Unnerved, he tried to swim around them but the shoal moved to block his path. He’d never known fish to behave so strangely, storm or no storm. He had the distinct feeling that he was not wanted here. But that was ridiculous. Their illusion of choreography was merely the work of a hive mind; there was no conscious decision, no sentience.

After watching them steadily for a few moments he charged straight at them, arms out in front of him, Superman-style. Their slick bodies brushed against his bare arms as he penetrated the blockade and once he was through they scattered in all directions.

A boat had come to rest here, all right. Smashed bits of the hull littered the seabed, its jagged points like bayonets at the ready. His torch unveiled a mangled instrument panel, a circuit board, part of a propeller.

Dark shapes slid past the wreck, just out of range of the light. Probably just some of the larger fish that lived in the bay – barracuda, jacks or tuna. None of them were aggressive. But what if they didn’t want him here either?



Monday, 6 May 2013

The Music of the Night

I'm not neglecting this blog because I have no news. Really, there's quite a LOT of news but unfortunately, nothing I'm allowed to talk about yet!

So in the meantime, why not head on over to The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog where several of us writer-types talk about the music we write to. What inspires us, what doesn't, what we listened to when we were younger and what we listen to now. Some of it might surprise you!




Thursday, 17 January 2013

They're talking about me!

Or at least my stories.

I'm a terrible blogger. Blame Facebook, where I get out most of my urge to cyber-socialise. But I've just had my third super-fantastic review of From Hell to Eternity so I wanted to share the love.

First up is Pete Tennant's review in the Case Notes of Black Static magazine. My favourite bit? "If Gray Friar is 'the true home of British horror', then by publishing work of this quality they have shown that the genre's future is in safe hands." But that's not all! My other favourite bit is what he says about my story "Antlers": "A young woman looking for accommodation takes a detour right off the map and into a situation that is as shocking as it is grotesque, the story shot through with all the unease of a waking nightmare, like a surreal and British minimalist reinvention of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

This morning Jim McLeod posted his review on Ginger Nuts of Horror. I couldn't be more excited. Jim's a man who really knows his horror so his praise means a lot to me. (I'm extra chuffed that my book was a birthday present from his mother.) He says: "This is not a light read, her stories are layered, dark, melancholic and in a number of cases exceptionally chilling and disturbing." Hooray!

And a couple of weeks ago Adam Millard posted his review on This Is Horror. I couldn't have hoped for a better recommendation than this: "There is something here for everyone, providing you’re a fan of bloody good writing and thought-provoking prose. Niveau is one to keep an eye on. With From Hell To Eternity, it’s clear that she means business."

Yes, I do mean business and yes, you should keep your eye on me because I've got a taste for it now and I'm not stopping. There's plenty of Lovecraftian doom on the way from me, along with some J-horror weirdness, dead babies, body horror and uncomfortable juxtapositions of sex and death. And giallos. Oh yes, there will be giallos...