Interview with Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th October 2020

Hosts is a dark, brooding and sinister movie from two very talented creatives, Adam Leader and Richard Oakes. Here they chat about this outstanding movie.

HC: Have you always been fans of this genre?

AL: Yes, the first film I ever watched was the original Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eight years old. That turned me on to the horror genre, and since then I became absolutely horror obsessed. Every weekend, my dad would take me to the video store, and I'd choose the most messed up movie I could find for him to rent for me.

RO: Yes, coming from a family with a sister 7 years older than me, I was always fascinated by the films her and her friends used to watch. I walked in on them watching Peter Jackson's Brain Dead at about 6 or 7 years old and fell in love with the darker side of cinema from then on.

HC: Where did the idea for Hosts come from?

AL: One night, my ex complained of seeing a strange blue orb outside the window that backed on to the garden. I went outside to check and took a knife with me just in case. Obviously, nothing was there but that experience really inspired me and I thought it'd go down well as a scene opener for a film. So, Rich and I jumped on the phone and put a rough storyboard together of scenes, combining all the weird and wonderful ideas we could think of.

HC: Did you write it with a cast in mind and what is your writing process? Do you split up the script or lock yourselves away in a room?

RO: We'd always had Neal Ward and Nadia Lamin in mind for Hosts. They're our best friends and we wanted to give them the opportunity to shine with their incredible talents. Those parts were essentially written for them. The rest of the cast were bought in via recommendations or auditions that we held, and each and every single one of them absolutely nailed it. We wouldn't have changed any of the cast for the world!

AL: As for the script, I went away and put the first draft together over ten days, essentially locking myself away, yes. We then both read through, made notes and suggestions to each other or how we could improve it, make it more visceral, add things, take things away etc and I'd keep going away and coming back with new and improved versions until we both agreed we were happy, had a solid story and could move forward with the project. I think there were seven or eight versions in total.

HC: How did the rest of the cast react with Neal Ward and Samantha Loxley who play the "possessed" couple?

Well, this is testament to Neal and Samantha when we say that as soon as we called 'action', everyone felt a sense of intimidation and uncomfortableness in front of and behind the camera, which created the vibe on set that we wanted the overall film to inflict on the audience when they watch it.

HC: The movie has some really subtle effects such as eyes reflecting/glowing light, how was that achieved?

RO: We originally wanted to do it all in camera by using the reflective technique used in Blade Runner but it didn't lend itself the silhouette nature of the cinematography we had planned for Hosts as it added too much light to the actors face. So, I ended up sitting down for 6 months and added them in frame by frame in post.

HC: What was the atmosphere like on set?

Amazing. We were doing long hours through the night and the scenes were physically and emotionally draining for all of us, but the fact we were all so close with each other from so early on meant that the moment we called 'cut' we were all laughing and joking together. We were and still are like one big happy family.

HC: The film contains the most brutal table scene since Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables, what was it like shooting such a brutal sequence?

AL: Never did I ever think that we could have so many laughs and so much fun shooting something so downright disturbing and horrific. Some points during shooting, both Rich and myself just shut up and couldn't take our eyes off some of the cast, particularly Sam as she was gearing up to pounce!

RO: You know what, that scene never even occurred to me until you mentioned it. But yes! That scene in The Untouchables I saw when I was about 7 years old and it really disturbed me. Maybe it stuck in the back of my mind more than I realised. On set it was so much fun to shoot but also had a constant feeling of being grossed out as well ha ha.

HC: Will you be nervous when the film has its world premiere at FrightFest?

AL: I don't think so. I'm more excited for such a labour of love, blood sweat and tears to finally premiere at a festival we've only dreamed of being part of for a long time.

RO: Yeah, we are just excited to show people our disgusting creation!

HC: Do you believe in paranormal happenings?

RO: Nope, I think I find the home invasion side more scary, I lock my doors at night because there are real monsters out there in the form of humans. I don't lock my doors for ghosts. But mixing that fear of mine with Adams love of paranormal films is what makes Hosts such an original take on the home invasion genre.

AL: No. I don't believe in ghosts, god or the devil. But the idea of writing about fictitious and fantastical things in order to help elevate the emotion or metaphorical message of a particular story excites me. It's always fun.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

We've got two feature film screenplays completed and another in the process of being written. So it all depends on who wants to take on which script in terms of which film we do next. But rest assured, each film is just as messed up as the next.

HC: Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, thank you very much.

Supermarionation classic, Fireball XL5 coming to vinyl
Posted in News, Monday 23rd November 2020
Fireball XL5 Vinyl

Barry Gray's soundtrack LP to the 1962 series Fireball XL5 from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson will be released on vinyl early in 2021 on Silva Screen Records, the next in a series of Anderson releases which has so far featured UFO, Supercar and Thunderbirds.

This 7" single features two tracks from the upcoming album: Side 1 - Fireball (Don Spencer and the XL5), Side 2 - Zero G (Barry Gray and his Spacemakers) will be released on transparent Orange vinyl on December 18th.

Don Spencer's original 7" single release on His Masters Voice in 1962 reached number 32, remaining in the UK charts for twelve weeks. The original B side was another Don Spencer track, "I'm All Alone Again", ...

BBC Audio presents the immersive, multifaceted sci-fi drama Forest 404
Posted in News, Monday 23rd November 2020
Forest 404 Cover

BBC Audio are pleased to present an impressive and captivating environmental thriller, Forest 404, in a remarkable feat of audio publishing. Forest 404, publishing 21st January 2021, is a dystopian sci-fi drama series with an all-female cast, starring Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) as the lead, with original theme music by Bonobo, comprising of 9 drama episodes, 9 accompanying talks, 9 immersive soundscapes in 3D binaural sound and a bonus 'making-of' documentary.

The piece is set in the 24th century, after a data crash called The Cataclysm. Pan (Pearl Mackie), the protagonist, is a young woman with a boring job labelling old sound archive that survived the crash. She uncovers a set of soun...

Horror Channel unwraps its slate of seasonal shockers
Posted in Features, Tuesday 17th November 2020
Horror Channe; December Banner

Xmas hauntings, festive nightmares, sadistic serial killers and warrior priests...Be prepared for seasonal shocks a-plenty on Horror Channel this December, with a selection of prime-time movies including an Xmas Day screening of Frank Khalfoun's boundary-pushing Christmas crime slasher P2, starring Wes Bentley and the George Clooney/Steven Soderbergh produced Wind Chill, in which Emily Blunt spends Christmas Eve fighting off a horde of menacing apparitions.

Also unwrapped are John Carpenter's classic car-rage chiller Christine, vampire action thriller Priest, starring Paul Bettany, the high velocity sci-fi drama Skyline and the supernatural twister Sinister, starring...

VHS retro horror "Rent-A-Pal" starring Wil Wheaton coming to download and DVD
Posted in News, Sunday 15th November 2020

A huge hit from Grimmfest Online Edition in October, Rent-A-Pal is be released on Digital Download on November 16th and DVD January 11th.

Set in 1990, a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins) searches for an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of caring for his aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. Hosted by the charming and charismatic Andy (Wil Wheaton), the tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship. But, Andy's friendship comes at a cost, and David desperately struggles to afford the price of admission.

Creepy, exceptionally dark and with superb perform...

Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted in Interviews, Sunday 15th November 2020

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

Shocking... disturbing... The movie they tried to ban... Its score is coming to vinyl!
Posted in News, Tuesday 10th November 2020
Silent Night Deadly Night cover

Perry Botkin's chilling electronic score to the famed and much loved 1984 festive slasher, Silent Night Deadly Night is as charming, warm, disturbing and extreme as the movie. Immediately the record starts with the first time on vinyl track of a young child carol singer juxtaposed against the hard edged bombastic main theme. From there it doesn't let up!

In this cult classic Little Billy witnesses his parents getting killed by Santa after being warned by his senile grandpa that Santa punishes those who are naughty. Now Billy is 18 and out of the orphanage, and he has just become Santa himself...

Lovingly transferred from the original 1984 sessi...

Shaun Hutson's Progeny Spawns new novel for fans
Posted in News, Tuesday 10th November 2020
Progeny by Shaun Hutson

British horror legend Shaun Hutson releases a new hardback novel, Progeny and the paperback version of his hit 2019 hardback novel, Testament. Both novels are published by Caffeine Nights Publishing and supported with eBook and audio versions.

Progeny is the long-awaited sequel to his 1983 bestselling novel, Spawn. Caffeine Nights commissioned the original cover artist, for Spawn, Mark Taylor, to design the cover for Progeny. The artwork pays homage to Spawn while presenting a totally new book with a lovely classic horror retro feel.

"Progeny works as a stand-alone novel, but for fans who have read Spawn, there is a whole back story there that adds another leve...

All the creatures will be stirring in November!
Posted in News, Sunday 8th November 2020

Danse Macabre is pleased to announce the UK and Irish DVD and VOD release of Rebekah and David Ian McKendry's Christmas themed horror, All The Creatures Were Stirring on November 23rd..

Constance Wu (Hustlers) and Jonathan Kite (2 Broke Girls) headline a sensational cast in this devilish stocking stuffer of a movie in which an awkward date leads a mismatched couple to a strange theatre where they are treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories.

The movie received its World premiere at Chattanooga Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Film and was quickly snapped up by Jinga Films for worldwide distribution...

Possessor will take you over this November thanks to Signature
Posted in News, Sunday 8th November 2020

From the visionary mind of writer director Brandon Cronenberg (Antiviral), Possessor is a game-changing sci-fi thriller about elite, corporate assassin Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough, Mandy).

Using brain-implant technology, Vos takes control of other people's bodies to execute high profile targets. As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her. Possessor features a stellar cast including Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night, The Sinner), Rossif Sutherland (Guest of Honour), Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey), Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight).

Already building a cult...

Lock-down horror hit Host is coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Sunday 8th November 2020
Second Sight Logo

Second Sight Films shares the scares, as they announce the Blu-ray release of director Rob Savage's (Britannia, Soulmates) lockdown horror hit, the hair-raising Host. Fans of the affectingly contemporary, universally acclaimed Shudder Original film can expect a special feature packed edition release on 19 January 2021, following its theatrical and digital release later this year.

Six friends get together during lockdown for their weekly zoom call. It's Haley's (Haley Bishop - Angel had Fallen, Deep State) turn to organise an activity and instead of a quiz, she's arranged for a medium to conduct a seance.

Bored and feeling mischievous, Jemma (Jemma Moore - Wonder Woman, Doom...

Would you dare open the Book of Monsters?
Posted in News, Thursday 5th November 2020
Lyndsey Craine_Michaela Longden_Lizzie Aaryn-Stanton_Book of Monsters

Bring the Monsters home on November 30th with the Book of Monsters 2-Disk Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo from Dark Rift Films. Available for the first time on disk in the UK, Book of Monsters is a dark horror comedy in the vein of 'The Evil Dead II' and 'Shaun of the Dead' filled with practical effects driven monsters and intense, gory action.

Take on the forces of evil with the Standard Edition Blu-ray or become a fully-fledged monster hunter with the 2-Disk Collector's Edition. Limited to only 300 copies, the 2-Disk Collector's Edition features both Blu-ray and DVD version...

Johnny Kevorkian - Director / Writer / Producer 1972 - 2020
Posted in News, Thursday 5th November 2020
Johnny Kevorkian

It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely passing of one of the most talented creatives around, Johnny Kevorkian.

A familiar face at FrightFest and behind one of the most acclaimed sci-fi thrillers in recent years, Await Further Instructions he was working on new projects right up until his death aged only 48.

Originally from Cyprus, Johnny Kevorkian graduated in Film from the University of Westminster, London, before making several short films that were selected for numerous prestigious film festivals around the world, such as Edinburgh and Los Angeles.

In 2008 Johnny directed, co-wrote and co-produced his debut feature, The Disappeared, a grippin...

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