Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Horror Show [EVENT]

The Horror Show launches genre’s only VOD Service
Hours before the official launch of The Horror Show, horror’s only VOD service, horror expert, journalist and founder David Hughes visited the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square last Thursday to introduce his exclusive new product ‘by horror fans, for horror fans’.

“We want to be the only place horror fans go to watch horror films,” said Hughes. It’s undoubtedly music to the ears of those genre fans that have unsuccessfully trawled through web pages of online VOD listings, dreaming of a ‘horror only’ version. It’s a nice idea, and one many are rooting for. But some have called it a pretty ambitious goal for this project, and criticisms waver about its success against Netflix and iTunes that already offer horror pics at discounted membership and subscription prices. But Hughes was adamant that there needed to be an alternative hub to Netflix, and expressed his confidence in The Horror Show being able to serve genre fans with something not currently on offer; “Netflix do a deal with Miramax to get genre films, but they are not in love with them… We wanted to create something a bit more curated, less random and an environment where people speak the same language and which has room for genre specific films.” 

Though mainstream horrors are likely to creep in, Hughes stated that the service’s primary purpose was to provide a legal platform for those to watch alternative “more interesting” films that are harder to find. “So many films are lost in distribution,” explained Hughes “and alternative films are dropping through the cracks.”  

Currently, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, Pontypool, Midnight Son, Who can Kill A Child, and Excision are among the 30 cherry picked feature films that the transactional, non-subscription platform offers for £1.99 - £3.49 each. These films prove that both the best of modern, indie and classic horrors are being incorporated, but most are, however, already released on DVD and readily accessible in the UK, and fans can only hope that the gradually increasing VOD library is able to gain more exclusive collections. It already has a couple of UK exclusives in its compilation, and it’s likely that this is where the service will flourish. But an interesting addition, which will surely draw customers instantly to the show, is the unique ‘Short Stack’ category, where customers can buy a selection of ten shorts for only 99p - a bloody good deal if the quality shorts continue to be swept up.

Speaking of which…

 Paul Davis’ Him Indoors, which premiered during last year’s Frightfest, is one of the new service’s Short Stack gems and purposely featured in the night’s line-up to represent the platform’s eagerness to showcase a bourgeoning talent of emerging filmmakers who can only, realistically, produce shorts on tight budgets. Just one of the few short films that the service had initially ‘mopped up’, this black comedy short, starring Reece Shearsmith (League of Gentleman) and Pollyana MacIntosh (The Woman), was entirely crowd funded. “We basically just bombarded everyone on social media everyday,” said Davis, who managed to raise £1000 over their £5000 budget from over hundred backers in less than a month. After directing the neatly recollective and deeply insightful Beware the Moon: Remembering 'An American Werewolf in London' (2009) nearly five years ago, he admits that making a short was his foreseeable gateway into making the feature film he’d longed to do: “I always wanted to make the leap from documentary to feature film… and I needed to make something smaller first because I needed money for a feature film.

“I had the idea [of someone hating the outdoors] when I was younger. And of all the guys who wouldn’t want to leave the house, I thought of a serial killer,” says Davis. In the short, Shearsmith plays mumsy killer Gregory who snatches anyone that comes to his door and casually, but brutally, murders them with kitchen utensils before wiping his brow and straightening his tie with a satisfyingly calm composition. “He’s sort of based on [Dennis] Nilson with the looks of Christie... he’s our make man,” explains Shearsmith and Davis as they both sat casually on stage, the former looking a lot less menacing in his casual cap and green jacket. Him Indoors is a complete knockout that playfully embodies the classic stereotypical sociopath who has no consequences, and thrives on amusingly sinister scenes with several laugh-out-loud moments. Having gained criticism for not being gory enough, Davis explains that he wanted it to be more about what you don’t see – “It’s my sort of love letter to De Palma.”

Hughes has rightfully considered Him Indoors “a win” for the VOD, and hopes that, due to the filmmaker receiving revenue on the sales from the service, it will encourage and cater for more young talent. Him Indoors is certain to gain more cult status and tag more followers now that it’s available to watch. It is being released on DVD next month or, as Shearsmith said, almost as if on cue, “you can see it on The Horror Show!”

It’s still very early days for The Horror Show, which is still in its first week of activity, and as more deals with distributors are processed, only time will tell whether its rental shop prices will welcome enough fans into their very own community VOD environment.

(Visit www.horrortalk.com for more of my published work, and for horror news, reviews, comment, reports & competitions)

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