ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Author Sam Stone
By James Whittington, Monday 4th January 2010
Writer Sam Stone has many strings to her artistic bow. She’s an author, poet and short story writer who is gaining a solid reputation and a loyal fan base. We had a quick chat with Sam to discover where exactly her ideas come from and what projects she has planned. ZH: How hard was it growing up as one of seven siblings? SS: It definitely wasn’t easy being youngest of seven children. We were very poor and most of the time I think my mother worried about where the next meal was coming from. I remember I always got everyone’s cast-offs and my mum used to shop at Jumble Sales. But when you don’t have a lot, entertainment is something that you make for yourself. So my sister and I used to play outside in the garden and my fantasy world was full of adventures, of witches and wizards. Or, after watching Jason and the Argonauts, my sister and I would go hunting for a golden fleece in a fictional jungle. It was certainly good for my imagination. Also, my mother loved reading. So the house was always full of books, mostly historical romances actually, and I chuckle at the thought because I’m just not into reading romances myself. But I read loads of them in those days because they were available. I picked up my first adult book when I was 11. It was The Collector by John Fowles. It was the scariest thing I’d ever read! I think it was the psychological depth that made it so terrifying. And that was it, no more children’s books for me! So I spent a lot of my teen years reading everything I could get my hands on and I started dabbling with writing at that time too. My childhood has a lot to do with my writing because my ambition to be an author began then. ZH: Is it true your interest in vampires began when you saw Christopher Lee in Dracula? SS: Absolutely. My sister Adele and I used to stay up late to watch Hammer films on the television. It’s hard to believe, looking at them nowadays, that I actually found Dracula frightening. But obviously I enjoyed the fear because we always wanted to stay up and watch some more the following weekend. I particularly liked Brides of Dracula – although Christopher Lee didn’t appear in that particular Hammer film, but Lee was the first Dracula I’d seen, and so remains the most distinct. I think the most impressive portrayal of Dracula that I’ve seen was Louis Jordan in the 1977 BBC adaptation. He got the sensuality, the alienness and the danger of the creature spot on. I also have a soft spot for George Hamilton’s rendition in Love at First Bite. ZH: Your Gabrielle Caccini piece won ForeWord Magazine’s Best Horror Novel Silver award in 2007, that must have been a proud moment. SS: Gabrielle Caccini was my first novel and out of the blue I received an email from ForeWord Magazine at the beginning of March 2008 saying I’d been shortlisted. I read the email over and over, wondering if I really understood it correctly. My book had been chosen from over 1500 titles, and it was one of four shortlisted in the horror category. I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic. The awards were to be held in LA in May. I knew immediately that I had to go to LA and be there. This was a huge thing. My sister agreed to go with me and we flew out for five days. Before the ceremony we met a lovely lady and fellow writer, Mara Purl, who writes the hugely successful Milford Haven series and she was up for an award in the romance category. I remember when the awards were underway I was gripping Adele’s hand as all the categories were read out and all the book covers were flashed up onto a huge screen in the Staples Conference Centre in the middle of LA. Then the horror category was announced and there was my book cover! The names of everyone in the shortlist was read out. This seemed so surreal. I’d been hoping all along that I’d get bronze, but thought I probably wouldn’t win anything at all. Even so, the bronze was announced and I looked over at Adele and whispered, ‘That’s it. But at least I was shortlisted.’ But Adele was looking at the screen and she gasped and squeezed my hand. I looked back and saw the cover for Gabriele Caccini there – I had won the Silver! I just burst into to tears. It was such a huge achievement. I’d gone from being a little girl with an ambition to be a recognised author, to standing in LA with a bunch of strangers who all thought my book was worthy of an award. I walked up to accept the award through applause and cheering … It completely blew me away. ZH: Why did you re-edit your first novel into Killing Kiss which evolved into the first part of your Vampire Gene trilogy? Was this so you could expand the story or weren’t you happy with the original structure? SS: Gabriele Caccini was originally written for my MA dissertation in Creative Writing. This process involved working with editors and tutors to hone and refine the prose. When it was complete, I was very proud of it and so I self-published it – not knowing anything much about the industry at the time – and although it won the award in LA, a lot of people in the UK publishing industry turned up their noses at the book because they didn’t believe it to be any good if it was self-published. At the first literary event I took it to, I met Terry Martin from The House of Murky Depths, who was starting out publishing a brilliant graphic novel/dark fiction mix magazine called Murky Depths. We kept bumping into each other at various events and we talked about the book. Terry and his wife had read Gabriele Caccini and loved it. So after talks with him, we made a deal for him to publish the Trilogy. Because he was then re-issuing Gabriele, we took the opportunity to give it a bit of a polish at the same time, and change the title to Killing Kiss which is more commercial and fitted well in with the ideas for the trilogy of books. I always knew it was going to be more than one book and so Terry listened to my ideas about the other two and how the three together become a complete story arc which takes my characters on adventures in time and space, exploring the whole background to vampirism in their world. ZH: What big changes did you make? SS: Mostly the changes were minor. But there was one major cut. Terry didn’t think that the original prologue actually did anything for the overall story, although he enjoyed it as a piece of writing. I was rather fond of it, but to be honest I’m not precious about cuts, so I took his advice and we removed it. I also had thoughts about where I wanted the story to go, and how I wanted it to lead on to the second book. So I added an epilogue. And that’s the only major difference, other than the odd typo that we corrected. But I do now feel happier that the book has been checked and proof-read by an independent editor. You get too close sometimes, and can’t see your own faults. I also think that everyone, no matter how big they get, should always listen to their editor; it’s a partnership. And after all you both want the same thing – to make your writing the best it can be. ZH: The second volume, Futile Flame was a huge success gaining much critical acclaim, has this spurred you on to consider extending the trilogy into maybe a 5-parter? SS: I was very pleased with the reception of Futile Flame. It’s a different sort of book to Killing Kiss in many ways, but the readers seem to love it. I’ve had emails telling me that I can’t end it there!!! But I did, and I’m looking forward to seeing the reactions when they read the end of the series. I think The Vampire Gene is going to remain a trilogy for now. But I never say never. There will definitely be off-shoot short fiction about the characters. ZH: Where do you get your inspiration for stories from? SS: Various ways. For example, my story ‘Tar’ which features in NVP Publications’ anthology Deadly Dolls – just released this week. I was over in LA for a holiday and my partner David Howe and I went to lunch with actors Frazer Hines and Roy Dotrice and agent Emily Danyel. During lunch Roy asked, ‘What are you doing this afternoon?’ Well, we had hadn’t made any plans, so Roy suggested we go to see the La Brea Tar Pits. As we were walking around the Tar Pit complex, what struck me was that there were an awful lot of wolf remains. David and I discussed it and then began talking about what a good story it would make if all the bones and skulls started to come alive. When we looked down into one of the tar pits that was being excavated, I thought, what a great place to hide a body. We spent the afternoon there and the ideas mulled around in my head. Afterwards, Roy bought Emily and I a model mammoth, as one of the creatures they have unearthed in the tar there are mammoths – which I still have and it’s a great reminder of a super day. I wrote the story some months later once I was home. But it just floated around in my head until the moment was right – and then, I wrote it in a couple of hours. It’s a little like that with most of the things I write, something will happen to germinate an idea and then I just think about it until it’s ready to be written. But sometimes when I’m really obsessing about a book, I have very vivid dreams. The world of the Allucians in Futile Flame was formed in a dream. And then I just had to write it down. ZH: Who would you like to play the characters in your books if they made it to the big screen? SS: Mmmm. That’s a tough one actually. I think I’d like an unknown to play them. Alexander Skarsgard – who plays Eric Northman in True Blood is very close though. He really looks like how I imagined Gabriele to be. As far as Lilly is concerned, I think she would definitely have to be an unknown actress. She has to be a down-to-earth and no nonsense girl. ZH: What genre would you like to move into next when the trilogy is complete? SS: I’m looking at writing a crime/thriller with a supernatural twist next. I think I’d like to give the vampires a rest for a while, but I love the supernatural genre – it gives such scope for stories and inventiveness. ZH: How do you relax when not writing or do you find that your mind is always forming plotlines no matter what you’re up to? SS: I’m a big fan of I’m a Celebrity… (Laughs). Mostly I love being around people. But there’s always a story floating around in my head. ZH: So apart from the third instalment of your Vampire Gene trilogy, what else do you have planned? SS: There’s a short story I’m particularly proud of coming out next year at the World Horror Con in Brighton. It’s called Fool’s Gold and it’s in a beautiful anthology published by NewCon Press called The Bitten Word. The book has a fabulous line-up with such iconic greats as Tanith Lee. I’m very excited at seeing that published. I’ve also been working as the editor on actor Frazer Hines’ autobiography, Hines Sight,which is available from www.frazerhines.co.uk. My partner, David Howe, has prepared this stunning hardback edition for publication, using all of his extensive publishing knowledge. My crime/thriller, Curse of the Catacombs, is itching and nagging me to be written, so hopefully I can start that sometime next year. ‘Fool’s Gold’ and ‘Tar’ are part of loosely themed series of tales which I’ve called The Lucy Collins Mysteries. Those of you who have read Futile Flame will know that ‘Lucy Collins’ is a pseudonym used by my vampire character Lucrezia Borgia, and the stories see her at various times of her life, solving murders, and getting up to all sorts along the way. People are also talking to me about audio books of Killing Kiss, asking me for film treatments and outlines for the Vampire Gene series, and sounding me out for short fiction as well … so life is quite busy at the moment. ZH: Sam Stone, thank you very much.
MORE ARTICLES
Sinister, Terrifier and Tower Block amongst Horror Channel premieres in November
Posted in Features, Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Psycho clowns, demented dolls and deadly snipers... Horror Channel is big on scares in November with eleven Channel premieres including murderous supernatural chiller Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke, Damien Leone's screamingly shocking Terrifier and the riveting urban thriller Tower Block, starring Sheridan Smith and Jack O'Connell.

There are also Channel premieres for two popular installments of the Chucky franchise, Child's Play 2 and Child's Play 3. John Carpenter's dazzling fantasy Starman, starring Jeff Bridges, two spooky black comedy classics - Peter Jackson's The Frighteners and Joe Dante's The Burbs, and the even more eerie John Carpenter remake of Village of the Damned - which stars Ch...

SHARE: READ MORE
The League of Gentlemen to release Precious Things in December
Posted in News, Monday 21st October 2019

Following on from the success of Demon Records' sold out 'Special Stuff' box set, we present the final installment of the characters from the fictional town of Royston Vasey in The League of Gentlemen's Precious Things.

Pulling together the original Christmas Special for the first time on vinyl ("Yule Never Leave", first aired on the 27th December 2000), and the three anniversary episodes from 2017 ("Return To Royston Vasey", "Save Royston Vasey" and "Royston Vasey Mon Amour")

"Yule Never Leave" is presented on 180g "Snow Slash" vinyl, telling the story of Vicar Bernice three unwelcome guests, and is detained from watching the boxing by stories of voodoo spells, German vampires, anci...

SHARE: READ MORE
Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Posted in Reviews, Friday 18th October 2019
Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Georges Boukoff, Anthony d'Amario and Ed Rig
The Omega Productions Records

Pascal Laugier's Ghostland (known in the UK as Incident in a Ghostland) was one of the highlights of FrightFest 2018 and proved once and for all that this director was a master of the sinister and murky.

Produced ten years after Martyrs, the movie was more considered in its tension building and was in its strange way a contained a classic fairy tale structure.

The movie concerns the aftermath of a brutal home invasion experienced by Beth along with mother and sister Vera. Forward a few years and Beth is now a horror novelist and has found solace in her w...

SHARE: READ MORE
Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Posted in Reviews, Thursday 17th October 2019

Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Sacred Bones
Double Vinyl

Halloween 2018 was a box-office hit and gave the franchise a much-needed tension injection. It saw the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and that of original director John Carpenter though he wasn't in the driving seat for this one. Instead he, alongside his son and godson, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies created the score and delivered an atmospheric piece which retained whispers to the past without drowning in them.

The soundtrack album was a hit as much as the movie was debuting at #12 on the Billboard Albums chart and #2 on the vinyl chart, o...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Wednesday 16th October 2019

Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?

PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...

SHARE: READ MORE
Dare you experience Kraken Screamfest: The Director's Cut?
Posted in News, Tuesday 15th October 2019

This Halloween, London braces itself for The Kraken Rum to deliver a unique bar and horror experience like no other, commissioning legendary horror mastermind Neil Marshall to direct every detail of the night. The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is joining forces with the esteemed Hollywood Director to present 'Kraken Screamfest: Director's Cut' - promising to bestow fresh new nightmares on even the most devoted fans of the horror genre.

Neil Marshall, famed for classics The Descent, Dog Soldiers and Game of Thrones, will be terrifying those brave enough to step inside the real-world creation of his darkest imaginings. Everything from the decor and the staff to the Kraken Rum cockt...

SHARE: READ MORE
Superb supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary to have UK cinema release on 25th October
Posted in News, Tuesday 15th October 2019

Wildcard Distribution is bringing the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary to UK cinemas on 25th October. The film will play exclusively in key cities around the UK with Odeon Cinemas.

Extra Ordinary stars comedian/writer/actress Maeve Higgins (Naked Camera, Inside Amy Schumer), Barry Ward (Jimmy's Hall, MAZE), Will Forte (Nebraska, McGruber, Last Man on Earth), and Claudia O'Doherty (Trainwreck, Love, Inside Amy Schumer, Long Shot) and tells the story of Rose, a sweet and lonely small town driving instructor who must use her supernatural 'talent' to save the daughter of a local man from a washed up rock-star looking to use her in a satanic pact that will reignite his fame.

The film wh...

SHARE: READ MORE
"It's the most zombified time of the year!" Anna and the Apocalypse is coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019
Anna and the Apocalypse Bluray cover

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a zombie apocalypse Christmas musical?

Anna and the Apocalypse is set for its UK Blu-ray debut on 2 December in a feature packed double-disc edition, courtesy of Second Sight.

It's Christmas time and the sleepy Scottish town of Little Haven is under threat from a zombie apocalypse, forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But even zombies can't stop the teen drama: will Anna's best friend John (Malcolm Cumming) reveal his true feelings for her, or will her smu...

SHARE: READ MORE
Terry Pratchett's Discworld comes to vinyl for the first time this November
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019

Terry Pratchett's Vinyl Discworld is a 15LP vinyl audiobook box set featuring seven classic stories, which will be released on Friday 29th November.

Following the very successful Good Omens, Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy releases on vinyl, Demon Music Group presents Discworld featuring the following stories:
Mort
Wyrd Sisters
Guards! Guards!
Eric
Small Gods
Night Watch
Bonus non-Discworld story Only You Can Save Mankind

41 Discworld novels were written, set on a fictional flat planet, balanced on the backs of four elephants, which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. It is estimated that more than 80 milli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted in Interviews, Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 nights of scares as Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season
Posted in Features, Tuesday 8th October 2019

For thirteen nights, from Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31st October at 9pm, Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season, a supernaturally spooky selection of the scariest movies, including the UK premiere of the ghostly chiller The Unspoken and the channel premiere of the terrifying thriller Pay The Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage.

Other highlights include Damiano Damiani's diabolical prequel to The Amityville Horror - Amityville II: The Possession. James Watkins' spine-chilling remake The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ti West's The Shining slacker-style indie sensation, The Innkeepers. the 2008 US remake of The Eye, starring Jessica Alba and box-offi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Bavota, co-director of Dead Dicks
Posted in Interviews, Sunday 6th October 2019
ChrisBavota_DeadDicks

Horror is the perfect genre for getting across very serious issues. Dead Dicks, which is showing at Grimmfest today does exactly that by looking at the sensitive subject of mental health. Here co-director Chris Bavota talks about this intriguing movie.

HC: How did you and co-writer and co-director Lee Paula Springer first meet?

CB: In case people don't know, Lee and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have 2 young daughters. Making movies somehow came as a natural evolution of that but wasn't really a part of our lives until about three or four years ago. We originally met back around 2004 through a mutual friend and honestly, we didn't really ge...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Pay The Ghost
PAY THE GHOST
Thursday 31st October
9.00 PM
You're Next
YOU'RE NEXT
Thursday 24th October
10.35 PM
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH
Thursday 31st October
10.55 PM