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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.
Related show tags: CHERNOBYL DIARIES MORE BOOTH'S BLOG Bloody British Season comes to a climax with The Descent!
Posted on Thursday 23rd November 2017
There's a lot we've got to be proud of here in Blighty. James Bond, Monty Python, David Bowie, and of course a healthy appetite for all things Horror, so over the past few Saturdays in November we've been enjoying our Bloody British Season which comes to its nerve-wracking climax this weekend!
The early noughties saw a resurgence in all areas of pop culture in the UK, and Horror was no different, with a slew of emerging directing talent making big bloody waves. Neil Marshall was at the helm with a film that took the genre in a new direction; down! He calls The Descent (2005) the sister film of his directorial debut Dog Soldiers, in that it features an all-female cast as opposed to the (nearly) all...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Enter the world of Silent Hill
Posted on Friday 17th November 2017
I am genuinely so excited about the network premiere I'm about to talk about. It's a film that the critics enjoyed panning, but the fans loved. My recent Twitter-bate confirmed there's a lot of underground love for this strange, dark film. It started out as a grimy, pixelated survival horror game by Konami on the PS1 back in 1999, and it was revolutionary for being the first computer game experience that was genuinely psychological. It had the ability to be truly unnerving and unsettling, and I for one could not stop playing it. It's time for reality to literally crumble as we enter the world of Silent Hill.
Touted by many horror fans as the best ever game-to-film adaptation (a notoriously tricky route...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A movie event with bite...!
Posted on Tuesday 7th November 2017
There is something incredibly primal about our fear of sharks. Just one look at the Great White Shark's gargantuan mouth peppered with oversized teeth designed to tear you in half and you can feel the fear pervade your entire body. We have always known about this supreme killer of the seas, but it was not until 1975 when Jaws was released unto an unsuspecting audience that the 'hysteria' surrounding the Great White Shark was born. Jaws has come to represent a huge turning point in the film industry. It invented the 'summer blockbuster', it was one of the first films to use high concept marketing and merchandise, and it continues to be deconstructed globally in film schools for its multi-layered metaphors, ranging from 'Vagi...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Keira Knightley digs deep in Bloody British Season
Posted on Friday 3rd November 2017
Britain has been put through the ringer over the past couple of years. However, we at Horror Channel are here to remind you all of our proud horror heritage this November, so Keep Calm and Carry On with November's Bloody British Season!
The early 2000s marked an exciting change in Britain within politics, fashion, music and indeed film. Everyone wanted a slice of Cool Britannia, the hub of all things fresh, edgy and zeitgeist. This high energy saw a resurgence too in the horror world, with directors such as Neil Marshall, Danny Boyle, and Chris Smith emerging to define a new wave of British, commercially successful horror; a movement that earned the gang of directors the enviable nickname of 'The Splat Pa...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Horror heads south this weekend
Posted on Tuesday 24th October 2017
This week I talk about an unusual UK TV premiere on Horror Channel; a film that plays more like a nightmarish experience than a traditional horror movie. The anthology horror as most of us know has a solid history in the genre popularised back in the '60s and '70s by Amicus Productions with such titles as Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), and The Vault of Horror (1973). Creepshow and The Twilight Zone took up the reins in the '80s, but the style went out of fashion until recently when it was brought back in vogue in the cyclical way that pop culture does, with the indie gem and surprise hit V/H/S (2012).
Tonight's terror comes from the same film makers as V/H...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Celebrate Valentine's Day this weekend!
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017
Back in the '70s and early '80s, 'holiday slashers' were all the rage and creaming it big at the box office. Black Christmas in 1974, Halloween in '78, Christmas Evil in 1980 and Silent Night, Deadly Night in '84. The producers of this week's infamous slasher wanted to pop a celebratory balloon and needed a public holiday not yet seen in a horror. As the Easter Bunny isn't usually considered terrifying, they instead settled on Valentine's Day, and thus My Bloody Valentine was born!
The original came out in 1981 and is considered a seminal cornerstone of the slasher genre, even touted by Quentin Tarantino as his favourite slasher of all time. Impressive credentials indeed. So what ingredients does it ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: We dare you to take another Wrong Turn
Posted on Wednesday 11th October 2017
You only need to be in one place on Friday the 13th, and that's here on Horror, where all things unlucky come to life in the most horrifying of ways! This week we're upping the fun quota with the last installment of one of the most popular cannibal franchises of recent years. It started in 2003 with Wrong Turn and the creation of those three memorable brothers; One Eye, Three Finger and Saw Tooth. What a gene pool that family's blessed with! It was the combination of such solid characters, the wild woodland location of the West Virginia Mountains, and an abundance of hot young flesh on offer that led to a lucrative franchise that's now 6 movies strong. Following the original film, it was FrightFest regular and all ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Horror celebrates the King in October
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
Stephen King fever is everywhere right now, and with the icon turning 70 last month, it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. This summer's IT reboot caused cinematic shock waves on a global scale, and the recent Gerald's Game is being touted as one of the must-see horrors of the year by the critics.
Let's be honest; the King movie adaptation has always been fraught with controversy, from both fans, critics, and even the man himself. While Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is considered by many to be one of the best King adaptations (and indeed the best horror film of all time!), King himself publicly criticised the film, writing and producing "Stephen King's The Shining"; a TV mini-series in 1997 ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: A pre-Matrix Keanu comes to Horror...
Posted on Friday 22nd September 2017
Back in 1995, the year 2021 seemed thankfully such a long way off. As the millennium dawned ever closer and prophecies of doom and demise were thrown around we reacted the only way we know how. With movies! The 90's saw a slew of paranoia fueled films exploring the increasing interfacing of humans with information technology, as for the first time in history the internet came to define and control our lives. The Lawnmower Man ('92), Hackers ('95), Strange Days ('95), Existenz ('99), and of course the daddy of the cyberpunk bunch - The Matrix ('99). But surely there was nothing to truly worry about, right? The Future's not here yet?! Well, according to our dystopian thriller on Friday, it'snow only f...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Big Ass Spiders and James Wan this weekend on Horror!
Posted on Tuesday 12th September 2017
Sometimes a good title is all you need to know exactly what you're in for; Nude Nuns with Big Guns, Lesbian Vampire Killers and now Big Ass Spider! Doing exactly what is says on the tin, our network premiere on Friday rides the current Mega Shark wave of 'bigger is better', but before you roll your eyes at this one (as I did) this is one seriously fun romp from start to finish with a fast pace, great script and brilliant comedic actors. You know you're in for a good ride from the outset as the film starts at the peak of the action, the camera pulls out revealing "Heroes" actor Greg Grunberg (who played lovable cop Matt Parkman) caught in the midst of chaos and carnage filmed in slow motion while a cover son...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: It's Violence of the Lambs this Friday!
Posted on Tuesday 5th September 2017
I am now fully recovered from five days of (on-screen) bloodshed at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 which finished last week. It was my 11th year at the festival presenting for Horror Channel since first cutting my teeth as the Horror Channel host way back in 2007. During this memorable year there was a film that really stood out from the crowd - Black Sheep - which incidentally gets its network premiere on Horror this Friday at 9pm! So I thought I'd scratch my brain cells and tell you a bit about this previous FrightFest hit.
New Zealand is known for a few things - namely Peter Jackson, an abundance of sheep, and Flight of the Conchords - and our Kiwi horror comedy this Friday has two ou...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog: Folk Horror gets an urban makeover...
Posted on Wednesday 16th August 2017
The term 'Folk Horror' has become widely used in Horror academia to describe usually British films that dabble in all things pagan and witchy. With a strong connection to our pagan routes, 'Folk Horror' was popularised by countless Hammer Horror and Tigon films in the '60s and '70s with The Witches (1966), Witchfinder General (1968), and The Blood on Satan's Claw (1971), although arguably the most iconic of the sub-genre is The Wicker Man made in 1973, which is now a beacon of worship in its own right!
With the death of hippie culture there was a hiatus within the subgenre in the '80s and '90s, however there has since seen a resurgence, specifically with the critically acclaimed The Witch in 2015; a ...SHARE: READ MORE Booth's Blog Archive: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 PICK OF THE WEEK
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