Life’s a grind(house) [2]

A couple of images from Sunday’s interviews at Leicester’s Grindhouse Planet Film Festival, featuring organiser Marc Hamill and award-winner Liam Banks. Meanwhile, Marc announced today that he’s already taking submissions for the 2017 event. Great to hear it was such a success.


Life’s a grind(house)

Just returned from a brief but rewarding 90-mile round-trip to Leicester’s Shed Venue, where I talked to Roasted Films‘ Marc Hamill about organising the first Grindhouse Planet Film Festival, as well as Superfreak Media’s Liam Banks, fresh from winning the event’s 48-Hour Movie Challenge with his faux trailer for Night of the Demented Virgins from Hell.

Centre-stage again… [4]

Further to my attending last month’s Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester to conduct Dagmar Lassander’s guest interview, I’ve now been approached by Pan Macmillan to interview Adam Nevill at a Waterstones promotion for his forthcoming novel, Under a Watchful Eye. If all goes according to plan, the event will be held in the centre of Birmingham, Adam’s former home city.

Update 21/11: Unfortunately, it appears Adam’s schedule is rather over-loaded, so the event has been cancelled.

In the Picture [7]

As anticipated, Big Centre TV was officially absorbed by the Made TV network (becoming Made In Birmingham TV) as of 1 November, making my interview with Alan Jones – premiered on Halloween morning – the final item aired under the former’s Big Picture banner. We made our debut on the rebranded channel just under a fortnight later, when The Lowdown Birmingham showcased my conversation with Edith Scob. A further interview, with director Norman J Warren, is currently in the pipeline.

Escape From Old Trafford [2]

Further to my review of John Carpenter’s Manchester gig, I’ve been contacted by the BBC Radio 4 consumer magazine You and Yours regarding widespread allegations that the Victoria Warehouse was dangerously overcrowded. (Not that you’ll read anything about this controversy on the venue’s social media pages, of course, or amongst the feedback on SeeTickets’ website.)

Meanwhile, the podcast 80’s Picture House carried a lengthy and detailed report on the event, as well as promoting the Twitter hashtag #ReleaseTheRants. I strongly recommend you listen in.

Putting the Face to the Eyes

As well as interviewing Dagmar Lassander on stage for the 27th Festival of Fantastic Films, my somewhat hectic Saturday schedule included a short chat with Edith Scob, whose haunting performance was central to 1960’s Les Yeux Sans Visage (known here as Eyes Without a Face). It’s currently at the editing stage, but should be available soon at my and Chrissie’s YouTube channel.

Postscript: The interview was screened on the cable channel Made In Birmingham TV (formerly Big Centre TV) on 12 November.

Escape From Old Trafford

I once had the enormous pleasure of meeting the director John Carpenter at the National Film Theatre, where he’d presented a lecture on his idol, Howard Hawks. I pointed out that he’d paid homage to Hawks’ westerns (Assault on Precinct 13) and science fiction (The Thing), but never tried his hand at a ‘screwball’ comedy. He joked that he might do just that, but with only two movie credits this century (2001’s lacklustre Ghosts of Mars and 2010’s barely-released The Ward), it’s unlikely we’ll ever see him in Bringing Up Baby mode.

In any case, Mr Carpenter is now pursuing a different path, albeit one which feeds on his parallel career as a soundtrack composer: rock star. Which is why Saturday evening found me at the Victoria Warehouse, a short distance from Manchester United FC’s home ground. The European leg of his Release the Bats tour had originally included two nights at Manchester’s Albert Hall, but a switch in promoters precipitated a conflation of both events into one venue, a massive concrete box with all the ambience of a multi-storey car park (and comparable acoustics, according to some who ended up standing at the back). A makeshift sign near the entrance alluded to Escape From New York, but the building itself was a far more convincing nod to that movie.

Doors opened at 6:30pm, and most of the 4,000 ticket-holders seemed to have made their way inside by 7pm, but other than a couple of technicians, the stage remained empty until 8:30pm. Luckily, I’d managed to finesse my way into the balcony area, which offered very limited seating, but the vast majority who’d expected to watch the concert in relative comfort were instead forced to stand for three hours with a restricted — or non-existent — view of the 75-minute set.

The sole saving grace was the performance by Mr Carpenter and his band, which was excellent, although the balcony may have been the only place where it could be properly enjoyed. In amongst the instantly recognisable Halloween, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China et al, we were treated to tracks from his two volumes of Lost Themes, belted out in a mesh of synthesiser and heavy guitar.

So, great gig, lousy location. To quote Beth Abbit’s review in the Manchester Evening News, “It’s disappointing that this highly anticipated opportunity to see a hugely iconic movie man at work was hampered by an unsuitable alternative choice of venue.”

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In the Picture [6]

My latest news report for Big Centre TV makes its debut during tomorrow morning’s edition of Good Morning, with repeats during the day. It’s an extract from a longer interview with FrightFest’s Alan Jones, due for a print appearance in The Dark Side. As usual, it’s Chrissie Harper behind the camera.

The channel’s in flux right now, as it becomes part of the Made TV network, but I was very pleased to take a ‘phone call on Friday from one of the programme hosts, expressing his wish that we become a permanent part of the line-up.