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Sam Raimi - Hail To The King Part 1
By James Whittington, Sunday 17th May 2009
It’s been years since Evil Dead director Sam Raimi has helmed a real horror movie but on May 27th he returns to the genre with the critically acclaimed shocker, Drag Me To Hell. Here in the first of a two-part feature we take a look at his early career and how he inadvertently influenced a generation of horror moviemakers.   Samuel Marshall Raimi is probably one of the most unassuming figures working in the industry today. Born in 1959 he grew up fascinated by cinema and even before he reached his teens was creating his own movies. Sam roped in childhood pal Bruce Campbell for his early pieces that were mainly homage to the classic comedy group The Three Stooges. Together with Robert Tapert they went on to create Within The Woods in 1978. This 32-minute shocker, shot entirely on 8mm film stock was made to show investors so the budding film director could get his picture The Evil Dead made. This short is still unavailable to buy even though fans are screaming for a release. Few know that another picture, It’s Murder was also created to help bring the money in.   When The Evil Dead (or to give it one of its many alternate titles The Evil Dead: (The Ultimate Experience in Gruelling Horror) was released it made little noise in the United States, but here in the UK (1982) there was a tidal wave of publicity, a lot of it pretty negative, mainly because of the many violent sequences the movie contained. The plot is straight forward enough; a group of teenagers go to a shack in the woods and listen to a tape that contains forbidden incantations from Necronomicon Ex Mortis also known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. When the tape is played all hell is unleashed and evil demons possess the innocent party causing much bloodshed and death. Controversial and shocking the movie is in parts brutal, packing a bloody punch that never lets up. It was placed on the “Video Nasty” list in 1984 along with 38 other titles. We had to wait until 1992 for it to get an official release and then nearly another 10 years before we could legally buy an uncut edition of the movie.   The appreciation of The Evil Dead grew steadily with horror fans and Raimi’s unusual film style and inventive camera angles caught the eye of movie producers ending with Columbia asking him to produce an original piece. Crimewave released in 1985 was a bizarre and surreal cop comedy/drama but the finished product wasn’t the box-office draw that they had hoped for. So Raimi decided to return to what he knew best and delivered The Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn in 1987. This revisited the original idea of The Evil Dead and turned the effects, laughs and gore up to 11! Crammed with more visual gags and plenty of blood (though not as graphic or controversial as the original) this was an adrenaline action piece that proved Raimi’s unique style seen in his first few movies wasn’t a fluke.   It seemed obvious that Raimi would turn his attention to comic book action and although he was unable to secure the rights for the project he wanted to handle (its rumoured that Raimi wanted to make a big screen version of 1930’s radio show The Shadow) he created an original anti-hero in 1990, Darkman.   Darkman is a vibrant and as you’d expect over-the-top piece of cinema which stars Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake a scientist who is burnt and left to die by a mob boss. He is then subjected to radical new surgical procedures that destroy his ability to feel pain. This in turn increases his inability to control violent outbursts. Add to this a new skin that covers his badly burned body that last just under 100 minutes and you have a truly original take on the superhero genre. Though it performed well at the box office and gave Raimi the revenue and clout to make Evil Dead III, (better known as Army of Darkness), Raimi would soon go on to produce even bigger and more original movies. His best work was yet to come.   Next time we’ll take a look at his box-office blockbusting Spider-Man series of movies as well as his TV work and eventual return to big screen horror.
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Top 5 werewolf movie transformations
Posted on Saturday 10th February 2018

Come on, admit it! The biggest reason you watch a werewolf movie is to see the much talked-about transformation. You know, the bit of the movie that usually gets all the film budget (no matter how big or small) and the sequence where the rest of the movie will be measured.

Here's our top 5 but what are yours? Don't forget to catch Horror's Season of the Wolf, Saturdays at 10.55pm?

The Wolf Man (1941)
Though not Universal's first werewolf movie, that was Werewolf of London in 1936, this was the biggie. Unleashed in 1941 it was a major success and made Lon Chaney Jr. a real star. His laconic take of a weary man cursed is truly engrossing but what probably makes the movie famous is the transformation scene, well the lack of it as unlike the sequels the main transformation is of his feet! There is a dissolve at the end, but this is backwards, wolf to man but its ...

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There's something in the trees... it's coming! Top 5 Werewolf Songs!
Posted on Friday 2nd February 2018

Of all the horror genres out there, probably the Werewolf genre has made the largest footprint on the charts. From Shakira's She Wolf in 2009 to Killer Wolf from Danzig in 1990, the hairy-side of horror has inspired many musical artists, obviously with varying levels of success.

In celebration of Horror's Season of the Wolf, here's our top 5 favourites from the last few decades.

No list worth its fur would start without Werewolves of London from Warren Zevon. Recorded in 1978 and taken from the album Excitable Boy, it's a mainstay of BBC Radio 2, whose listeners incidentally voted that it had the best opening line to a song. Its inclusion on the soundtrack to An American Werewolf in London gave it a cult status but hearing it in the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise 1996 flick The Color of Money gave it a new lease of life. The B-side, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner was...

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The Howling - A franchise with bite
Posted on Sunday 28th January 2018

Based on Gary Bradner's novel of the same name, The Howling is one of those werewolf movies that dared to be more vicious than its predecessors and yet still retained a more traditional tone. Horror is proud to be showing this classic on Saturday 3rd February as part of our Season of the Wolf, so here's a quick timeline of The Howling franchise and personal opinions of the movies. Let us know if you agree via email and our social feeds.

Directed by Joe Dante in 1981, The Howling took the young director to new heights after cult hits Piranha in 1978 and Rock N' Roll High School the following year. Though the movie only took some of the ideas from the original story, it was strong enough to earn itself a lastin...

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Bark at the moon this February on Horror
Posted on Friday 26th January 2018

Horror is taking you deep into the woods during February with a selection of movies that celebrate the finest of fearsome flicks all about Lycanthropy, Season of the Wolf. Each Saturday at 10.55pm we're bringing you tales of terror that are dripping with blood and will have you barking at the moon with delight.

The season starts on the 3rd as Dee Wallace, Christopher Stone, Patrick Macnee and John Carradine battle a brutal beast in Joe Dante's superb feature, The Howling. A female reporter is attacked by a notorious serial killer and to get over her trauma she is sent to 'The Colony', a remote mountain resort. But there her problems really begin, as the residents are werewolves. We bring you contemporary h...

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Wes Craven - The Nightmare Man
Posted on Thursday 4th January 2018

"Horror films don't create fear. They release it."

Wesley Earl Craven, Wes to his friends, was born in Cleveland, Ohio August 2nd 1939 and became one of the most respected and acclaimed creatives of his generation. When he died on August 30th 2015 it came as a huge shock to all, especially those of us who heard the news whilst attending FrightFest. Gone was the man who gave the world Krug Stillo, Pluto and Horace Pinker as well as the career defining creation of Freddy Krueger. He made stars of Michael Berryman, Johnny Depp and Robert Englund and rejuvenated the horror genre not once but twice.

Horror will be celebrating the work of Wes Craven throughout January so here's a quick look at...

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Horror's Top 10 Films of 2017
Posted on Thursday 21st December 2017

It's been quite the year for horror. From home invasions to adult nappies and right through to cannibalism and dancing clowns, the genre has seen a slew of critical and commercial success over the calendar year. But which were our favourites?

Below, take a look at Horror's favourite films of 2017. We couldn't bare to rank the excellencies, so we settled for alphabetical order. So kicking off with A, we have:

Attack of the Adult Babies

If you're after a movie that's almost beyond description, then Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies is for you. At first this satirical shocker seems like Benny Hill on acid with plenty of leggy nurses dressed in seductive uniforms, but the movie...

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Wes Craven Season welcomes in 2018 on Horror
Posted on Friday 15th December 2017

Throughout January, Saturday nights at 9pm will be devoted to a Wes Craven Season as Horror Channel presents a retrospective of the late great genre director's career. Four of his supernatural shockers and scream-filled slashers will be broadcast, including the network premieres of serial killer chiller My Soul To Take, his macabre masterpiece The Serpent And The Rainbow, his diabolically electrifying Shocker and the goofy, gory satire The People Under The Stairs.

There are also network premieres for Franck Khalfoun's superior psychological horror Maniac, starring Elijah Wood as a scalp-loving serial killer, David S. Goyer's pulsating possession thriller The Unborn, starring Gary Oldman and Ham...

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The Evil In Us and P2 receive their UK TV premieres on Horror Channel in December
Posted on Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Christmas nightmares come early on Horror Channel, as the UK's primary TV destination for genre fans serves up the UK TV premieres of Jason William Lee's slick and stylish modern take on the zombie virus, The Evil In Us and Frank Khalfoun's boundary-pushing crime slasher P2, starring Wes Bentley.

There are also network premieres for Adam Egypt Mortimer's deeply-cutting supernatural revenge chiller Some Kind Of Hate, Ruth Platt's astonishingly bravura art-house horror The Lesson, Travis Oates' powerfully disturbing thriller Don't Blink, starring Mena Suvari and Glen Morgan's gruesome Black Christmas, a remake of the classic 1974 seasonal slasher, starring popular scream queen Mary Elizabeth Winstead....

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Horror Channel devotes November to Bloody Brits and rampaging sharks!
Posted on Thursday 19th October 2017

November on Horror Channel has a distinctive cutting-edge with a Saturday night prime-time Bloody British Season, celebrating the new wave of British horror movies that reinvigorated the UK horror industry in the early 2000s. There are 9pm network premieres for Neil Marshall's sensational werewolf debut feature Dog Soldiers (2002) (Saturday 11th), his monstrous all-female star cast follow-up The Descent (2005) (Saturday 25th), Christopher Smith's underground ghost train journey through hell, Creep (2004) (Saturday 18th), and Nick Hamm's psychologically gripping The Hole (2001) (Saturday 4th), with Keira Knightley in her first significant film role.

And the cuts get deeper with a Sharkmania Marathon...

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Horror Channel celebrates Stephen King's 70th year and goes Southbound this October.
Posted on Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Works by Stephen King feature heavily this month on Horror Channel, which celebrates the icon's 70th year of one of horror's most prolific and popular authors. There are network premieres for his fearsome feline anthology Cat's Eye, starring James Woods and Drew Barrymore; his darkly weighty cautionary tale Stephen King's Thinner, directed by Tom Holland in his directorial debut; the science-fiction action horror Maximum Overdrive, starring Emilio Estevez; and the 2009 adaptation of his short story Children Of The Corn.

Horror Channel has eleven film premieres in October, including the UK premieres of Southbound, a chiller compendium from the creators of the V/H/S franchise; Mitch Wilson's gruesome...

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Horror Channel FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2017 event
Posted on Thursday 28th September 2017

Horror Channel FrightFest Halloween 2017 unleashes seven choice shockers for the 7th annual West End Halloween chillorama - a wits-end wallow in all things gruesome, gory and glorious.

This year, the all-day shocktoberfest is at the Empire Haymarket on Sat Oct 28, 2017 and embraces one world, one European and five UK premieres, spanning three continents.

From the emotional making of a low-budget slasher to zombie nightmares, Gothic horrors, an outrageously strange mind cult, a sci-fi alien action extravaganza, a comic strip creature feature and the last word in Killer Clowns, this year-s line-up is an eclectic mix of the quirky, unusual and extreme.

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director sai...

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Drag Me To Hell, Starry Eyes and Black Sheep amongst nine prime-time film premieres on Horror Channel in September
Posted on Sunday 20th August 2017

Horror Channel has nine prime-time film premieres in September including the UK premiere of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer's stunning contemporary occult tale of Hollywood ambition and possession, Starry Eyes.

There are also network premieres for Sam Raimi's ferociously terrifying Drag Me To Hell, Eli Roth's splatter sensation Hostel, Mike Mendes' ultimate B-Movie experience Big Ass Spider, Jonathan King's zombie sheep gore comedy Black Sheep, James Wan's creepy killer-doll horror Dead Silence, starring True Blood's Ryan Kwanten, Robert Longo's cyberpunk action thriller Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves, Bryan Bertnia's home-invasion chiller The Strangers, starring Liv Tyler and John Carp...

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