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Frankenstein: The Metal Opera at Space Theatre review

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image provided by Frankenstein: The Metal Opera

Image provided by Frankenstein: The Metal Opera

It’s been a busy month for live theatre at the Hothouse with the London Horror Festival going hell for leather down at Camden Town’s Etcetera Theatre. Wednesday night took this roving (or should that be raving) reporter down into East London’s Isle of Dogs, where in the suitably Gothic surroundings of the Victorian Presbyterian Chapel that is the Space Theatre I eagerly awaited the performance of Frankenstein: The Metal Opera.

Inside the deconsecrated Presbyterian chapel the atmosphere was like a rock concert, with drums and microphones perched on the stage. Over the excited hubbub we could hear the howling of the Arctic winds, the creaking of the ship’s timbers, and the band (Richard Campbell on drums, Rhys Llewellyn on bass and Michael Pettit on guitar) took to the stage and rocked into the overture. Then we were on the ship trapped in the…

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Dead Funny review

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image sourced from saltpublishing.com

Image sourced from saltpublishing.com

There was much excitement down in the Hothouse crypt when a copy of Dead Funny was posted under the dungeon door. A collection of horror stories from our friends at Salt Publishing by some of the top names in British comedy, was it going to stand up (see what we did there) or fall flat on its face like so many other attempts to cross genre boundaries? Not that I’d ever point a bony digit at you, Lesbian Vampire Killers.

I needn’t have worried, each of the 16 stories within this slim volume are pretty good as you would expect when contributors include: Reece (League of Gentlemen and Psycoville) Shearsmith, Al (Pub Landlord) Murray, Charlie (Fast Show) Higson and Phil (Never Mind the Buzzcocks) Jupitus.  I can imagine, were the Pan Books of Horror stories that I enjoyed so much as a kid still going…

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Abbot’s Keep: A Ghost Story review

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image sourced from fantasticfiction.co.uk

Image sourced from fantasticfiction.co.uk

When recovering alcoholic Simon Fox comes out of rehab, he has nothing. A building collapse has left his reputation as an architect in tatters, his wife has thrown him out and his family are estranged. Then along comes old school pal Alexander Everett-Heath who invites Simon to join him at his old country house Abbot’s Keep.

Now Abbot’s Keep has a secret. It was formerly the home of the leader of a monastic order founded by Abbot Milroy, a shady churchman who made a fortune out of selling stolen holy relics. Life was sweet for Milroy until Henry VIII decided to break with Rome and help himself to the Catholic Church’s estates and rumour has it that Milroy had hidden a fortune in gold somewhere on the estate.

Everett-Heath has to go off on business and leaves Fox in charge of his dog, a metal detector…

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Peaceful and Greywing House at London Horror Festival

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image sourced from londonhorrorfestival.com

Image sourced from londonhorrorfestival.com

It was a very uncharacteristically warm and sticky October night at Camden Town’s Etcetera Theatre for my final night reporting from the London Horror Festival. There were two shows on the bill, both quite dark, but also quite different.

The Off-Off-Off Broadway Company’s Peaceful is a Victorian haunted house yarn. Laura Louise Baker is Ethel Charlesan, an old and crippled woman who lives alone in a rambling and creaky house. Convinced that she can hear ghosts she invites her estate manager Mr Coburn (Polis Loizou) to a séance held by the exotic lilac-gloved medium Mr De Villiers (Jaacq Hugo). Coburn recognises De Villiers as a fraud and the two come to a mutually beneficial arrangement before the séance kicks off, but is De Villiers just trying to hoodwink the old bat by playacting or is there something darker trying to break through?

More Henry James than MR, Peaceful was pretty intense stuff.

Find out more…

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Timeslip / The Atomic Man (1955)

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image sourced from networkonair.com

Image sourced from networkonair.com

The police drag the near lifeless body of a man from the Thames, a bullet lodged in his back. On the operating table his heart stops, to all intents and purposes the man is dead for seven seconds before the adrenaline shot kicks in and his heart starts beating again.

Investigative reporter Mike Delaney (Gene Nelson) thinks he has a scoop on his hands when he identifies the patient as Stephen Rayner (Peter Arne), a nuclear physicist, only Rayner appears to be alive and hard at work on a secret project. Meanwhile back at the hospital, the identical Rayner has regained consciousness, but the police are baffled by the answers he gives to their questions. Just as baffling, he fogs photographic and X-Ray films and sets off the radiography suite’s Geiger counter.

Image sourced from networkonair.com

Image sourced from networkonair.com

Thankfully, when Delaney plays back a recording of Rayner being…

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After Midnight (2014)

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image provided by October Coast PR

Image provided by October Coast PR

Catherine Annette plays Constance, a local TV newsreader in Los Angeles. Breaking news that night is the gunning down of her wayward sister Duffy outside the Candy Cat pole-dancing club where she worked. Haunted by the image of he dead sister with a bullet in her head, Constance takes a break from work to go undercover as a stripper at the Candy Cat. Every time Constance gets a promising lead with a witness, the witness gets bumped off. The race is on for Constance to find the killer.

Right, let’s face it, if you are watching this movie it’s probably for the surgically inflated tits rather than the plot, which has a dreadful, oddly predictable twist. Given the way that the narrative is set up, I can only imagine it was rewritten and tacked on during production because someone thinks all thrillers should end like…

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Ladybird and The Monster Hunters: LIVE at London Horror Festival review

Originally posted on The Horror Hothouse:

Image sourced from londonhorrorfestival.com

Image sourced from londonhorrorfestival.com

Image sourced from londonhorrorfestival.com

Image sourced from londonhorrorfestival.com

One of the great things about the London Horror Festival is the sheer diversity of shows on offer. Last night I took in two very different shows at Camden Town’s Etcetera Theatre, one knockabout funny and the other was rather more disturbing.

First up was The Monster Hunters: LIVE! A Knife at the Museum, a homage to that wild streak of psychedelically surreal creativity, which swept through British film and television during the 1960s and 70s that gave us some hit-and-miss Hammer Horrors as well as shows like The Avengers, Dr Who, Department S and The Persuaders.

So, it’s 1971 and Roy Steel (Matthew Woodcock), a hard drinking, womanising big game hunter, and Lorrimer Chesterfield (Peter Davis), an occult studies professor and possessor of the second largest brain in Britain (a kind of low rent Alan Quatermain and Van Helsing), are…

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