Archive for the video nasties Category

Halloween Countdown – the great directors – George A Romero

Posted in george a romero, halloween countdown, halloween movies, night of the living dead, the dead walked, the dead weekend, video nasties, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 10/12/2012 by vincentstark

Few directors can claim that they invented a genre but George A. Romero is someone who can make such a wild boast. Sure we had zombie movies, before Romero’s low budget 1968, Night of the Living Dead but Romero completely reinvented the genre and every single zombie movie since owes much,if not all, to the ultra low budget shocker that was, Night of the Living Dead.
Romero’s style was revolutionary – he tackled very real social issues in the form of gruesome entertainment. He followed up Night of the Living Dead with There’s Always Vanilla (1971),  a romantic comedy which the director himself calls, “a total mess.” After that he gave us, The Crazies (1971) which didn’t do well at the box office but has since become a cult classic and was remade 2010. Then he delivered  Jack’s Wife (AKA Season of the Witch) which showed a bored housewife dabbling with the occult. After that we had Martin (1978) which next to the zombie flicks may be Romero’s best movie.

Romero’s has influenced just about anybody who is anybody in the horror field. Stephen King was such a fan that the writer was thrilled to work with Romero on the 1982 anthology movie, Creepshow. But it is for his zombie trilogy – Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead that Romero will be most remembered. He returned to the undead with a fourth zombie movie, Land of the Dead in 2005 and  since then he’s given us Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead, but it is the original living dead trilogy that displays his best and most revolutionary movie-making.

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Seasonal Chills

Posted in the dead walked, the dead weekend, the undead, the walking dead, Uncategorized, video nasties, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 12/24/2011 by vincentstark

Christmas is a time of fun, frolics and ghosts.

‘My ghostly little tale.’

That was how Charles Dickens referred to A Christmas Carol which was first published in 1843 and has since become arguably Dickens most celebrated work. It has been adapted countless time into all other media – movies, TV, comic books, audio plays, stage plays and is largely responsible for the way we celebrate Christmas today. The Christmas of the book is not so much about religion but the cold winter and the even colder heart of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Over the years the book has become to be known as a Christmas tale, which it of course is, but it is first and foremost a paranormal thriller that terrified the original audience – Dickens had written of supernatural events previously when Gabriel Grub from the Pickwick Papers is visited by goblins, but with A Christmas Carol the author brought the paranormal to the fore.

“A national benefit and to every man or woman who reads it, a personal kindness.” William Makepeace Thackery.

Dickens has a social message behind his story, because he felt that the poor, many who had been displaced by the industrial revolution, should be provided for and treated humanly by society and by using ghosts to get his message across, he was picking up on an oral tradition of telling supernatural stories at Christmas. And whilst A Christmas Carol is the ghost story most associated with Christmas, it is worth remembering that M R James started writing his ghost stories to be told to friends on Christmas Eve, the frame story in “The Turn of the Screw” has a bunch of friends sitting around the fire on Christmas Eve And the Andy Williams  song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” has the line there’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago. The modern Christmas owes much to the Victorian idea of the holiday and the Victorians loved ghosts stories and each year the popular annuals would feature at least one festive ghost story.

And so remember this Christmas not all spirits come in a bottle and have a scary Christmas and a chilling new year.

 

 

But Stark has injected his own elements into the story. A pregnant woman and a plot thread I’ve not seen in a zombie story before. The ending threw a twist in and sets up the next part of the story, coming soon. Zombie stories are not a type I read a lot of, but I’ve come to expect good stuff from Stark/Dobbs/Martin, whatever genre he writes in.”  From the Amazon review by George R Johnson

“Hey, if you love zombies (and who doesn’t) this is a fab read. The author is proving a master at several genres, all his novels are well worth reading.” From the Amazon review by D. Menashy

Available now

A picture paints a thousand words…

Posted in the dead walked, the undead, the walking dead, tony masero, video nasties, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 12/19/2011 by vincentstark

The Dead Walked Book One: Outbreak will be available exclusively from Amazon for 90 days and should be on sale from Amazon’s Kindle store tomorrow, and will also be available from the Kindle lending library.

 

Early next year the book will also be available in all other eFormats.

The novella is the first in The Dead Walked Trilogy.

The cover art was done by Tony Masero, an artist whose works has graced the covers of many a book – I came to know Tony from his work on the Edge western series but he has over the years done many horror novels including books by James Herbert and Dean Koontz.

 

Check out Tony’s work HERE

 

 

 

And below is look at what went into the creation of the cover art for The Dead Walked, and what’s more later this week I will reveal Tony’s cover art for The Dead Walked Book Two which will see print next March.

Click on the image for a larger version.

 

 

Walkers, walkers everywhere – The digital dead

Posted in the dead walked, the undead, the walking dead, video nasties, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 12/19/2011 by vincentstark

I’m not really any good at  video games, never have been and couldn’t get around more than a couple of levels of Pacman and at Space Invaders  I was terrible – those alien gits always managed to destroy my houses and reach the bottom of the screen – GAME OVER. However from time to time I do like to pick up the X-Box  for a little slice of zombie splattering. And the range of zombie themed games is immense, for just as the walking dead have occupied our movie theaters for decades then so too have the digital dead claimed their place in the video gaming world. They’ve been here for a long time and have developed since the first zombie video game, Zombie Zombie which was released for the ZX Spectrum back in 1984.

The Wiki lists many dozens of zombie themed video games and I’ve never even seen most of them, let alone played them,  but below are just a few of the zombie games I have played  and would recommend to anyone who is in the mood for some not so gentle zombie bashing.

 

Resident Evil – Racoon City, population 100,000, was  a small mid-western town that thanks to the Umbrella Corporation has become overrun by the walking dead. This was, and still is, a great shoot em up game with just the right amount of puzzled. Progress is relatively easy and it always seems as if you are moving forward and of course there are hordes of undead to shoot, bash and splatter.

Red Dead Redemption, Undead Nightmare – this game takes two cool genres – the western and the zombie blaster – and sticks them in a pot, gives them a good stir and sets them free. An excellent game but the  original Red Dead Redemption was addictive enough, and now with zombies on the horizon the game is even more compelling.

Dead Rising is another addictive zombie game with some great gory sequences. The action takes place in Romero style in a shopping mall and for that fact alone I like it. There’s a lot of humour in this one and the range of objects you can use as weapons is bizarre – fancy bashing a zombie with a frying pan!

 

Call of Duty World at War: Nazi zombies – you can’t really escape the Call of Duty series at the moment and the zombie nazi mode in Call of Duty is great fun, particularly in multi-player. It’s basically a frantic shoot em up as you hide in a bunker and face off against wave after wave of nazi zombies.

 

Ghosts and Goblins – OK now this is one game that I did master and that was way back in the days of the Commodore 64. It’s a sideways scrolling shoot em up, jump over em. It may look old fashioned these days but it’s still compelling and it was great fun back in the day. Those zombies at the start of the game looked cute rather than scary but man this was fun and still provides retro gaming thrills.

 

My novella , The Dead Walked Book One: Outbreak is officially published early next year, but in an exclusive deal with Amazon will be available as a Kindle only title for 90 days.

The book will be available to purchase later this week.

 

Some said it was viral.

Others claimed it was an act of God

Either way, it mattered not, for the dead shall walk.

 

September was her favourite time of the year, and late September, when the autumn was just preparing to hand over to winter, when there was still a residue of the late summer warmth in the air, as well as the crisp promise of the iciness to come, had always been, as far as Missy was concerned, the finest chunk of that particular month.

Not for her was the spectacle of high summer, nor the morose beauty of mid winter. Of course they both had their fineries but these paled next to the season when the leaves glittered with reflected sunlight. It was the autumn, with September being the highlight of that season, which she loved – a time when nature put on its finest display as the lush summer growth was magically transformed.

The sky itself seemed to glow at this time of year.

September was a time of promise.

A time of rebirth.

Not this September, though.

This September, Missy would remember as, the time the dead walked.

 

 

 

Video Nasty

Posted in HORROR MOVIES, tacky movies, video nasties on 05/18/2011 by vincentstark

The British Video Nasty scare of the 1980’s was stoked up by the tabloid newspapers and ended up gaining so much ground that it resulted in The Video Recording Act 1984 becoming law, and saw a list of films banned for a great many years. The greatest majority of these were low budget horror films, but there were also some high profile movies, sinced passed uncut, that fell foul of the new legislation – this included the Exorcist and Straw Dogs.

At the time that home video recorders started to make their way into UK homes, there was no legislation to state what could and could not be shown. There was a system where films in the cinema could be certified and the X certificate was the equivalent of today’s 18 rating. But where children could be refused admittance to a cinema it was much more difficult to control who watched a video tape at home. These concerns were raised by the press and various viewers association. Another factor was that the main film companies were slow to latch onto video tape over concerns of piracy and as a result hordes of copies films came into the market, many of these were low budget Italian and American shockers.

Public awareness of the availability of these videos began in early 1982, when Vipco, the UK distributors of Driller Killer, took out full page advertisements in a number of specialist video magazines, depicting the video’s explicit cover; an action which resulted in a large number of complaints. A few months later the distributors of Cannibal Holocaust, Go Video, in an effort to boost publicity and generate sales that ultimately backfired, wrote anonymously to Mary Whitehouse (a truly batty old bird)  of the National Viewers and Listeners Association complaining about their own film. Whitehouse sparked off a public campaign and coined the term video nasty. Amid the growing concern, the Sunday Times brought the issue to a wider audience in May 1982 with an article entitled How high street horror is invading the home.  The oh so right wing Daily Mail then began their own campaign against the distribution of these films. The exposure of nasties to children began to be blamed for the increase in violent crime amongst youths and all manner of social ills. The growing media frenzy only served to increase the demand for such material among adolescents. At the suggestion of National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, the Conservative MP Graham Blight introduced a Bill to the House of Commons in 1983. This was passed as the Video Recordings Act of 1984 which came into effect on 1 September 1985.

The list of titles affected and banned by the act follows:

1. Absurd*
2. Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein*
3. The Anthropophagus Beast*
4. Axe*
5. The Beast in Heat*
6. The Beyond
7. Blood Bath*
8. Blood Feast*
9. Blood Rites*
10. Bloody Moon*
11. The Bogey Man
12. The Burning*
13. Cannibal Apocalypse*
14. Cannibal Ferox*
15. Cannibal Holocaust*
16. The Cannibal Man*
17. Cannibal Terror
18. Contamination
19. Dead and Buried
20. Death Trap
21. Deep River Savages
22. Delirium
23. The Devil Hunter*
24. Don’t Go in the House
25. Don’t Go in the Woods…Alone*
26. Don’t Go Near the Park
27. Don’t Look in the Basement
28. The Driller Killer*
29. The Evil Dead
30. Evilspeak*
31. Expose*
32. Faces of Death*
33. Fight for Your Life*
34. Forest of Fear*
35. Frozen Scream
36. Funhouse
37. Gestapo’s Last Orgy
38. The House By the Cemetery*
39. House on the Edge of the Park*
40. Human Experiments
41. I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses
42. I Spit on Your Grave*
43. Inferno
44. Island of Death*
45. Killer Nun
46. The Last House on the Left*
47. Late Night Trains
48. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
49. Love Camp 7*
50. Madhouse*
51. Mardi Gras Massacre*
52. Night of the Bloody Apes*
53. Night of the Demon*
54. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker
55. Nightmares in a Damaged Brain*
56. Possession
57. Pranks
58. Prisoner of the Cannibal God
59. Revenge of the Bogey Man
60. The Slayer
61. Shogun Assassin
62. Snuff*
63. SS Experiment*
64. Tenebrae*
65. Terror Eyes
66. The Toolbox Murders
67. Unhinged
68. Visiting Hours
69. The Werewolf and the Yeti*
70. The Witch Who Came from the Sea
71. Women Behind Bars
72. Xtro
73. Zombie Creeping Flesh
74. Zombue Flesh Eaters
75. Zombie Holocaust

All those marked with the asterisk are the 39 films that were finally prosecuted and banned. Most, if not all of these films are known under a variety of different titles, varying from their original language titles, foreign release title and the title given to a cut print.

Other film not banned but not carried by video shops because of adverse publicity included Friday 13th, Straw Dogs, Evil Dead. Although these films were not actually banned it was wrongly reported in the press that they were included on the video nasty list, and as a result shops were unable to locate copies because distributors, fearing prosecution didn’t carry the titles.

Films that had passed uncut for cinema release were often cut for video. The supply of unclassified videos became a criminal offence, as did supplying 15 and 18 certificate videos to under-aged people. As well as the low-budget horror films the Act was originally intended to curb, a number of high profile films which had passed cinema certification fell foul of the Act. In particular, The Exorcist, which was made available by Warner Home Video in December 1981, was not granted a video certification by the BBFC and was withdrawn from shelves in 1986. Similarly Straw Dogs was also denied video certification and removed from video stores.

These days the code has been relaxed considerably and many of the once banned films are now available. Since James Ferman was replaced as the head of the British Board of Film Classification it seems that a much more common sense approach is taken and films like Saw and Hotel are released in their original cinema form – it is beyond doubt that back in the 1980’s these films would have been banned outright.

That many of the films are forgettable and are only remembered today because of the controversy they caused is ironic. These films have been given a cult status by their notoriety that is quite frankly more than they deserve.