Booth's Blog - Antiviral
By Emily Booth, Saturday 5th November 2016
Emily with meat cleaverIt seems Andy Warhol hit the nail on the head with his prophetic quote 'everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes'. Craving fame has long been a growing concern, but now seems to have reached fever pitch. What with reality TV and social media, dreams of fame are becoming totally achievable. From celebrity-obsessed magazines, to people posting their entire lives on social media to be scored and validated by the rest of us, it seems we are all aiming for perfection and popularity on a grand scale. And are we surprised?! As we're bombarded with images of, for example, Kim Kardashian and her extreme wealth, her fortunate life achieved by simply having her own reality TV show, of course other people with nothing will wish they had the same.

Of course people become addicted to tapping into the kind of life they will probably never have. With envy comes obsession. I find this subject fascinating, and I'm clearly not alone, considering Brandon Cronenberg's astounding Antiviral, which gets its UK TV premiere this Sunday on Horror.

In Cronenberg's vision of a bleakly superficial future, getting closer to your favourite celebrity has never been easier, and it's all at the tip of a needle. Perhaps making a metaphorical comment about people going under the knife to look like their favourite celebrity, in Cronenberg's future common people can now be injected with the diseases and infections of their chosen celebrity, tapped directly from the source, and thereby become contaminated with a part of their actual biology; albeit with some nasty side effects. This sickening service has, in this version of the world, become big business. We follow Syd March, a salesman of celebrity viruses, as he injects himself with various cold sores and flus to take them direct to clients on the black market. However, when he contracts a lethal disease from a very famous actress, he must solve the mystery of her death before his time is up.


Brandon Cronenberg has clearly inherited his father David's love of body horror, and interest in how the body and society integrate with science and technology, as he paints a picture in pure white of a seemingly flawless clinical world; a world devoid of any real human connection, but rather a cold and depressing existence of 'us' and 'them', and our desperation to close that gap. We are taken to a sinister restaurant where customers can eat a steak lined with the cells of their favourite celebrity, another metaphor exploring how utterly we want to consume them, and how willing they are to give themselves to us, for a price of course.

It's not often you find a horror with a completely original story and a fresh social commentary that reflects the world today. I love films that do this, bringing an extra depth that actually gets your grey matter working, and the horror genre provides the perfect stage on which to explore the human condition through fantasy and fear.

The film itself is beautifully shot, albeit rather bleak. Every frame has an intention and is thought out, while the acting of the lead (Caleb Landry Jones, Byzantium and soon to be star of the Twin Peaks remake) is chillingly perfect and underplayed. Brandon Cronenberg is definitely one to watch, and I'm so glad there's a director out there still pushing boundaries and making us think! Look out for his next film currently in pre-production, Possessor, which also follows themes of body, money, and invasion. It's a Brave New World...

Antiviral gets its UK TV premiere on Horror this Sunday 6th November at 9pm.

Related show tags: ANTIVIRAL
Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
Posted in Interviews, Saturday 17th March 2018

Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.

HC: How did 88 Films start?

RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films...

Dario Argento's Tenebrae gets definitive vinyl release
Posted in News, Thursday 15th March 2018

Waxwork Records is thrilled to present the complete soundtrack vinyl release of Dario Argento's Tenebrae. Scored by three former members of Goblin in 1982 (Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli, and Massimo Morante), the synth driven score makes it's definitive and expanded vinyl debut. Waxwork is excited to offer the most comprehensive version of the soundtrack album on vinyl to one of the most important Giallo films ever made.

Unlike the soundtracks that Goblin had previously contributed to the films by Dario Argento, the music of Tenebrae incorporates heavy electronica and dance music blended with rock and disco elements for a unique hybrid of genre and composition style.

Extensive usage of early an...

Exclusive stills revealed as supernatural horror Quail Hollow enters post-production
Posted in News, Monday 12th March 2018

Quail Hollow, starring Marcia Do Vales (Ibiza Undead, Heretiks), Peyton Wich (Stranger Things, The Darkest Minds) and Thomas Francis Murphy (The Walking Dead, Mindhunter) recently wrapped a haunting shoot in Louisiana.

Directed by Spaniard Javier De Prado (making his feature film debut) and produced by UK's Templeheart Films in association with EnMar Productions, the pulse-racing paranormal thriller centres on twin sisters Sunny and Mila (played by Marcia Do Vales) ...

Hitchcock and Herrmann get special release for Record Store Day 2018
Posted in News, Sunday 11th March 2018

More Record Store Day 2018 news has reached us and fans of the work of Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann are in for a treat. Silva Screen Records will release a Double A Side 7 Inch on transparent amber vinyl containing two pieces of Herrmann's most famous work.

Side A contains Prelude/The Nightmare from Vertigo and Side AA has North by Northwest Main Titles, this release is limited to just 1200.

Bernard Herrmann is the undoubted master of the film score and his music for Vertigo and North By Northwest remain as vital a component as the director, actors and script. Vertigo crackles with tension as James Stewart's character Scottie goes through an emotional wringer. Herrm...

Doctor Who adventures to hit vinyl for Record Store Day 2018
Posted in News, Saturday 10th March 2018

Demon Records is to release an eclectic collection of records as part of 2018's Record Store Day. The releases, which will be only be available at independent record shops on Record Store Day on Saturday 21st April, contain two that will interest Doctor Who fans; vinyl editions of Doctor Who - City Of Death and Doctor Who - Tomb Of The Cybermen.

Doctor Who: City Of Death
City Of Death is a classic from 1979, starring the fourth Doctor Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and Julian Glover. Featuring linking narration by Lalla Ward and previously unreleased on vinyl, the two hour story is presented on 2LP heavyweight translucent green vinyl, and features newly commissioned gatefold artwork, sleevenote...

A crime to be solved by those pesky Meddling Kids!
Posted in News, Friday 9th March 2018

A nostalgic and wickedly entertaining take on classic pop culture touchstones such as Scooby Doo and the Famous Five shot through with Lovecraftian horror, Meddling Kids subverts the genre to create a modern classic that will delight fans of Grady Hendrix's My Best Friend's Exorcism and cult television programme Stranger Things. A New York Times Bestseller and shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Horror, Meddling Kids is a reminder of the fun and adventure we can all find at the heart of our favourite stories, no matter what our age.

Summer 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster - another low-life fortune hunter who would have ...

A brand new comic complete with its own soundtrack from Waxwork Records
Posted in News, Friday 9th March 2018

Waxwork Records and Comics has finally announced the debut issue of Poser.

Long thought to be an urban legend in the underground music scene of Redondo Beach, Poser is back to carve a gory slash through the heart of Los Angeles in this brand new multi-issue horror-comic book series!

Penned by Matt Miner and illustrated by Clay McCormack, Poser is a brand new punk rock horror-comic series that Steve Niles (30 Days Of Night) calls "relentless and brutal" and Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, Tokyo Ghost, Hellblazer) raves is a "master class in sequential storytelling". Poser features colors by Doug Garbark and Letters by Taylor Esposito.

In continuing with Waxwork's acclaimed combination of origin...

88 Films offers a trilogy of Far Eastern films
Posted in News, Thursday 8th March 2018

One of the UK's leading labels in cult Oriental awesomeness brings back a pair of classic Hong Kong swordplay shockers in The One Armed Swordsman and The Dragon Missile and introduces British viewers to a contemporary example of the Korean wave in Sea Fog. All three are available from March 26th in tempting special editions!

88 Films seem to have outdone themselves once more with the release of The One Armed Swordsman, the martial arts epic that is widely considered to be one of the most influential and important wuxia movies ever made! Directed by the legendary Chang Cheh (The Brave Archer) and featuring dynamite duels and limb-lopping set pieces galore, this bombastic widescreen mix of arthouse aestheti...

A horror/comedy with a serious message, Kate Herron's Smear.
Posted in News, Thursday 8th March 2018

Described as "One of the best horror shorts to come out of this year's Frightfest" (LoveHorror) and featured as 'One of the Best Shorts at the 61st London Film Festival' ("Gets more and more sensational with every watch... Pure Genius") by Flickering Myth. Smear is a lube-tastic horror-comedy inspired by Gremlins, Tremors and Little Shop of Horrors, about a woman going in for her first pap-smear test starring in the lead, Sophia Di Martino of the BAFTA-nominated Flowers and Nick Mohammed.

It also stars Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter), comedians Ben Target (Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year), Mariam Haque, Briony Redman and Katherine Bennett Fox of The Free Association.

Made by filmmaker Kate He...

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