Tag: Birmingham Horror Group

Photo Album: David Sutton, 2016

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I interviewed the author and editor David Sutton at the October 2016 meeting of the Birmingham Horror Group, the text version of which subsequently appeared in the magazine Fear. We first met at the third Fantasycon, held at a nearby hotel in February 1977, so we were well familiar with each other’s work (I’m holding a copy of the journal I co-edited, Critical Wave, which carried a feature on Fantasy Tales, the award-winning digest he co-edited).

Photo by Chrissie Harper

Photo Album: Victoria Price, 2017

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Victoria Price (daughter of Vincent) was to have been a surprise guest at the first Birmingham FearFest, organised by the Birmingham Horror Group, but ticket sales were sadly insufficient to justify going ahead with the convention. However, Victoria joined Birmingham cake designer Annabel de Vetten for a special event at the city’s historic Electric Cinema, where I interviewed them both for local television.

Photo by Chrissie Harper

Photo Album: Adam Nevill, 2017

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I interviewed British horror author Adam Nevill at the February 2017 meeting of the Birmingham Horror Group (you can see the poster here). Footage appeared on a local tv channel (see here and here), and the print version was published in the UK magazine Fear.

Photo by Chrissie Harper

Victorian Horror

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The Birmingham Horror Group held its second ‘Mini-Movie Marathon’ last night, at the Victoria pub in the heart of the city’s theatre district. One of the evening’s unexpected pleasures was meeting and hanging out with Irish filmmaker Simon O’Neill, who’d flown in from Dublin to represent The Man With My Name, his documentary on Italian screenwriter Giovanni Simonelli (A Cat in the Brain, Bloody Psycho).

Photo by Chrissie Harper

An Old-Fashioned Horror Convention? No Fear. [2]

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It’s four days since I posted about the Birmingham FearFest, during which time I believe we’ve sold one additional ticket. I’m giving it until next Monday before making a final decision, but it would take a major shift in reality for this event’s fortunes to turn around. We’re grateful to everyone who tried plugging it via their social media outlets, but it appears to have little or no impact. Then again, neither did a print in The Dark Side, back in mid-February, so traditional media seems just as ineffectual. It’s not just that I don’t know the answers, I’m no longer even sure what the questions are.

Time Czech

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Saturday evening found me back at the Two Towers Brewery, but for once it was not the Birmingham Horror Group which drew me there but Czech Club Birmingham, which had invited me to introduce a screening of the 1977 time travel comedy Zítra vstanu a oparím se cajem (aka Tomorrow I’ll Wake Up and Scald Myself with Tea). You can see the footage on YouTube, though it would have been nice to have the use of a real time machine to fix my comment that Josef Nesvadba was born in 1912 (it was actually 1926, a year he shared with the first true science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories).

An Old-Fashioned Horror Convention? No Fear.

One of the long-term plans for the Birmingham Horror Group when it launched in December 2015 was for members to host an old-style horror event in the city, as opposed to the soulless, commercially-orientated merchandise and autograph fairs which have proliferated since “geek culture” became fully monetised. After all, what’s the point in hanging out with friends in a pub, discussing old episodes of Doctor Who or your favourite comics, when you can stand in line to pay £45 to be photographed next to John Barrowman (£10 extra if he wears his “Captain Jack” overcoat) or buy five versions of the same superhero reboot with different covers but the same identical Manga-style interior art? In fact, why even hang out with friends in the first place, when there are thousands of “friends” willing to give pretty much any passing comment a ‘like’ on Facebook?

Well, I believed there was still life in the original concept — and boy, does it look as though I was wrong. Running the monthly group has long ago ceased to be the fun it should have been, the erratic turn-out proving most “fans” are now only willing to show up if there’s some kind of gimmick, like a guest speaker or a free screening, and prefer to scurry back to the warm glow of their computer screens as soon as that part’s over. As for the Birmingham FearFest, ticket sales have been embarrassingly lack-lustre, and we’re currently facing the very real likelihood of having to pull the plug on its incubator. It’s been suggested to me that it could simply be postponed until later in the year, allowing a new round of publicity, but I’m not convinced I have a sufficiently deep reservoir of energy or optimism.

A little over thirty years ago,so many people turned up at a Novacon I chaired in Birmingham that we ran out of programme books, and we’d printed more than 500. These days, I find myself quite literally unable to run a party in a brewery. The world has allegedly evolved, but I’m not sure whether I want any part of this latest mutation; it clearly wants no part of me.

Updated 4 May.

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Down the Tube [4]

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I’ve become somewhat of a regular fixture on Made in Birmingham TV of late, and Saturday saw my fifth report in a row for Birmingham News Weekend Magazine. The first two focussed upon the recent Blue Orange Theatre production of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the next two featured extracts from Adam Nevill’s appearance at the Birmingham Horror Group, and the latest concerned a local pub being honoured by Birmingham CAMRA. In due course, all five will be available via YouTube.

On the Air

Back in the autumn of 1993, I made several appearances on The Way Out, broadcast live on BBC Radio 5 each Friday night from Birmingham’s famous Pebble Mill studios. Shortly afterwards, Radio 5 was re-engineered beyond all recognition into 5 Live, ending my blossoming career as the show’s resident horror and science fiction pundit, whilst the studios were closed in 2004 and demolished the following year.

Anyhow, my rather busy Saturday began with a call from the regional station BBC Radio WM, so that morning presenter Mollie Green (no relation) could ask me about the Birmingham Horror Group, that evening’s guest appearance by Adam Nevill and plans for the first Birmingham FearFest. You can hear our conversation via the link above.

Saturday Night Fervour

Had a rather busy Saturday. Even as I was driving into Birmingham for the latest gathering of the Birmingham Horror Group at the Gunmakers Arms, Lee Bannister was introducing Chrissie’s and my report from the Blue Orange Theatre for Made in Birmingham TV’s Birmingham News Weekend Magazine.

Shortly afterwards, I was on stage with author Adam Nevill, discussing his influences, his new novel Under a Watchful Eye (a terrific read, by the way) and the impending movie adaptation of The Ritual, which had only been announced two days earlier. The conversation was filmed for use on two separate Made in Birmingham TV shows, the general material for Lee and the film-related footage for his colleague Carl Jones’ daily cinema slot. In addition, the interview will be transcribed for a forthcoming issue of the magazine Fear.

[Photograph above by Chrissie Harper]