By Emily Booth, Friday 30th June 2017 This weekend's film premiere explores the terrifying yet grotesquely tantalising circumstances of one of the world's greatest tragedies of all time.
The fear of nuclear fallout is etched into the consciousness of pretty much anyone who grew up in the 1980s, which is largely due to the catastrophic Chernobyl Disaster on April 26th, 1986. When reactor no. 4 exploded, it emitted 400 times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima atomic bomb did. Surprisingly, there were only 31 direct deaths recorded at the time, but the magnitude of this disaster's aftermath is still relatively unknown, as even today more and more health problems amongst survivors are attributed to radiation exposure, such as cancer and birth defects. In nearby Pripyat, a town built for the workers of Chernobyl and their families, some 50,000 people were hastily evacuated, leaving behind all their belongings as they believed that they would soon be able to return... They were wrong. The town remains abandoned and dangerous to this day. This gloomy history provides the sinister backdrop for our Saturday premiere: Chernobyl Diaries.
Unsatisfied with typical, European attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum, a group of tourists head to Ukraine for a nose around the ghost town, Pripyat, accompanied by their 'extreme tourism' host, a local boy named Uri. After Ukrainian military personnel refuse them entry and tell them to leave (what good horror doesn't involve ignoring all dire warnings...?!), they find an alternate entrance and are soon happily taking selfies with the infamous town in the background. But is Pripyat as desolate as they thought? Ready to leave, the group heads to their van, only to discover that something has chewed through the wires, rendering the van inoperable. They are now trapped in this toxic town which is not quite as deserted as they thought...
This UK TV premiere brings to life the horror of this dead town and uses a little artistic licence to have some fun imagining the ways in which the nuclear disaster's after effects could manifest.
Now, 30 years later, you can officially visit Pripyat with tour companies who will acquire a government approved pass and organise your visit; there's even the option to stay overnight! While authorities say it is safe to visit, the 19 mile exclusion zone won't be habitable for a staggering 20,000 years, but this doesn't stop some 30,000 'extreme tourists' from visiting every year.
So what's the appeal? Akin to the inexplicable desire to stare at a motorway crash, it is hard to put your finger on what exactly 'attracts' us to this kind of horror. In the case of Pripyat, it really is frozen in 1986; propaganda posters and newspapers still lurk, toys litter the floor, rooms are kept shut, a huge and hopeful looking Ferris wheel looms over the town - scheduled to open just 4 days before disaster struck, it never had a paying customer.
A trip to Chernobyl is like walking through the apocalypse without ever having to live through the horror of it. Roaming the abandoned town, one truly gets a sense of the fragility of human life and how violently it can all come to an end and at the very hands of human error... Is it any wonder that we're so fascinated by it? If you can't quite head all the way to Ukraine for a spot of 'extreme tourism', then just sit back in the comfort of your own (low radiation) home and catch the UK TV premiere of Chernobyl Diaries on Saturday, July 1st at 9pm.
MORE BOOTH'S BLOG Booth's Blog: Get obsessed and possessed on Horror!
Posted on Thursday 20th July 2017
As many of you are no doubt aware, one of Europe's biggest horror film festivals, Horror Channel FrightFest, descends upon London's Leicester Square over the August Bank Holiday weekend. For 5 days, every fear, phobia and nightmare is dissected in new and horrifying ways in a festival that handpicks the very best in global horror, both big and low budget - high and low brow! It's all there and so will I be, presenting Facebook Live events and chatting to anyone I can get my claws on! I'm sure I'll see many of my faithful fans over the weekend, but to celebrate and give our beloved viewers at home the festival experience we present FrightFest Season; a retrospective of doub...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Get ready to meet The Tall Man...
Posted on Thursday 13th July 2017
Most horror fans will already know this elusive yet enigmatic man; villain of one of the strangest, most surreal and nightmarish horror movies in the stratosphere. If not, you've missed out (and, ummm, where were you in the '80s?) Not to fear though, because Horror Channel proudly has the network premiere of the one and only Phantasm this coming Saturday. Throw logic and plot out of the window for this one and just get swept up in its dreamlike quality.
The film came out in 1979 and has since snowballed into a huge cult favourite spanning 5 decades, with 5 films, countless comics, fan sites and merchandise. The word 'phantasm' actually means 'something that is seen or imagined but is not real', and it is Don...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Will you see The Apparition?
Posted on Thursday 6th July 2017
The network premiere of The Apparition this Saturday 8th July contains and eclectic cast including including Harry Potter's Tom Felton (no, he will never shake that mantle) Twilight's Ashely Greene (she won't either) and Sebastian Stan (Captain America) this is a supernatural thriller that aims to do something a little different.
It all begins in 1973 when a group of parapsychology students tried to contact a deceased colleague, it famously became known as the Charles Experiment, fast forward a few decades Felton and two others decide to recreate and soup - up the experiment for the technology age in a bid to prove the existence of the paranormal once and for all.
Cut to happy young c...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A movie with real bite(s)
Posted on Thursday 22nd June 2017
Summer is definitely here, and with it comes hordes of desperate, pale Brits bee-lining to the seaside where they can tentatively dip their toes in the big blue. Sheer bliss. But if, like me, you get 'the fear' as soon as you sense the enormity of the ocean (along with everything lurking in it!) and swim back to the shore as fast as you can, chances are you too were scarred (pleasurably!) by a screening of the one and only Jaws. I watched this seminal horror at a very young age and it cemented 'the fear' in my mind ever since. Jaws is an incredible film; it contributed to the horror movie rule book and broke records as a summer block buster.
Pretty much every 'nature gone berserk' horror since Jaws h...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: There's something in the water in this toxic town!
Posted on Tuesday 13th June 2017 Political and military unrest have always concerned a certain George A. Romero. Now famous for pretty much inventing the zombie film and lacing it with compelling social commentary, Romero single-handedly gave the zombie its metaphorical quality, one that can change depending on how you interpret the dribbling dead. But opposing the doomed zombie army is a more ominous force, one that is entirely human: the military. Romero's films often delve into this fear of martial law, none more so than his 1973 film, The Crazies, which isn't exactly a zombie film, but nevertheless shares many qualities with his subsequent film, Dawn of the Dead, in 1978. This weekend, we're showing the popular remake of Romero's The Cr... SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Enter a whole new domain of pain!
Posted on Wednesday 7th June 2017
From Demon Seed in 1977 to Videodrome in 1983, to Ringu in 1998, with every passing decade comes another step in technological evolution and with it a new wave of anxiety as the human race contends with a society run not by themselves but by computers, machines, and the elusive nature of A.I.
It's interesting to witness and live through these changes. I remember the 'dawning' of the internet! It only came into domestic use in the very late '90s and was at the time a hot topic for debate at my University; What impact will the World Wide Web have on us?! We weren't quite living it then - social networking was yet to be invented - but we still knew it would forever change us. The World Wide Web ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: "Burn her!!! There be Witches!"
Posted on Thursday 1st June 2017 One of the most brutal and corrupt periods in English history forms the backdrop to our network premiere this weekend as the true story of the infamous witch hunter Matthew Hopkins is laid bare. Made in 1968 by British company Tigon, Witchfinder General was directed by the up-and-coming 25-year-old Michael Reeves and stars the one and only Vincent Price in an incredibly chilling performance; one that the actor says is the finest of his career. But more on that later.
First, a bit of history for you... It's 1645, and civil war tears Britain apart as the Royalists battle the Roundheads for control. In these superstitious times, the bloodshed was not only on the battlefield, but in the Church too. Hund...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: The pint-sized, potty-mouthed killer doll is back!
Posted on Wednesday 24th May 2017 But did you know he was based on a true story? Yes the lore surrounding Chucky is actually pretty extensive. He burst on to the scene back in 1988 in the first Child's Play movie gaining notoriety and success for its unusual blend of shocking horror and tongue in cheek entertainment. Well it's not often you see a child-like doll shouting strings of colourful obscenities. Touching on various taboos such as the contamination of an innocent, the film's plotline and backstory was theatrical to say the least. A serial killer and practitioner of voodoo called Charles Lee Ray manages to transfer his soul to that of a 'Good Guy' doll as he lays dying in a toy shop. That very same doll winds up in the hands of six-ye... SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: No One Lives this weekend on Horror!
Posted on Wednesday 17th May 2017 With such a great film title I don't need to call my blog anything else, for this says it all. This is a bold punch-in-the-face thriller that delivers twist upon twist and doesn't let up till the final scene. A typical thriller or horror usually involves one psycho killer and a bunch of victims, but in this film you're never quite sure who you should be gunning for as roles are reversed and slick surprises are served to the audience totally derailing them from their usual genre movie experience. Meet 'Driver'; a strange name for a strange man. He and his lover are on a road trip when they're tormented by a ruthless criminal gang who think they've struck gold by targeting these soft, rich tourists. Trapped and tortured,... SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Hell hath no fury....
Posted on Tuesday 9th May 2017 Yup, we all know the saying but in our UK TV premiere on Saturday this is not just a woman who's been merely scorned but abducted, imprisoned, chained up and abused. She's got a lot to be angry about. The female revenge thriller is arguably a very contentious genre, one that's riddled with issues concerning the definition of feminism, voyeurism, and what is and isn't acceptable to be considered 'entertainment'.
It all started in 1978 with the film I Spit on Your Grave, which soon earned itself the coveted title of 'official video nasty' seeing it banned from British video stores under the 1984 Video Recordings Act. The film featured a long drawn out and painful to watch gang rape scene, and instantly became one...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Beware the Daybreakers!
Posted on Thursday 4th May 2017
The vampire film. Since its dawning way back in 1922 with the German expressionist film Nosferatu, this transgressive creature has enjoyed various mutations and metaphors, from Hammer Horror romanticism to gritty realism in films such as Abel Ferrara's The Addiction (1995) and Midnight Son (2011) where the vampire formed a metaphor for drug addiction. The vampire found new (very sparkly) light in the guise of the Twilight franchise which began in 2008 and opened up a whole new PG-friendly market; the teenage girl.
Suddenly everyone wanted an intensely good looking undead 'Edward Cullen' for a boyfriend and the franchise was insanely successful, but the horror audience shunned the films for obvious reasons. It...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Make a beeline for your wasp spray!
Posted on Monday 24th April 2017 Ah, the 1950's creature features, from atomic bugs to swamp monsters, it pretty much all began in the '50s as fears of nuclear bomb testing and the notion of outer space began to pervade the public consciousness, giving rise to a slew of creepy crawly horror movies. There are so many, but notably Them (1954), Tarantula (1955) and Wasp Woman (1959) with their exciting special effects were no doubt part of the inspiration for this week's Horror Channel premiere.
In the middle of hot and humid rural America, a gathering of wealthy privileged white Americans including the town's mayor (Lance Henriksen) come together for a rich old lady's annual summer party. But as the festivities get going, a nest of nasty...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
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