Back in the early 1990s, when my friend Martin Tudor and I were publishing the journal Critical Wave, we had an editorial philosophy of helping raise the profile of writers, artists and other creative souls we felt deserving of a wider audience. It has been pointed out on many occasions since that we probably did so to the detriment of our own professional careers, and that we could have used those same contacts to get ourselves a news-stand distribution deal, but I guess our focus was elsewhere. By the time SFX hit the racks in 1995, Martin and I were just a year away from giving our enterprise up as an interesting but expensive experiment (paying Critical Wave‘s debts off only took another five years).
The creative landscape has transformed utterly over the two decades since, and by no stretch of the imagination for the better. Even a shallow trawl of social media reveals vast numbers of would-be novelists, illustrators et al, clamouring for attention and getting drowned out by everyone else. There is an astonishing amount of self-delusion, of course, especially from people who seem to believe adding “author” to their username magically makes them one. I’ve recently been exploring setting up a new magazine, with more formal distribution, but finding a fresh angle is dispiritingly difficult, and the likelihood of financial viability worryingly slim.
Meanwhile, Chrissie Harper and I came up with this cartoon last year, which pretty much summarises our joint misgivings about the current state of affairs…
Rather shockingly, it’s been three months since my last confession my most recent posting here, during which time Monsters premiered at Leicester’s third Grindhouse Planet Film Festival and The Forbidden Lady appeared as an extra on Arrow Video’s release of Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion. Chrissie and I went down to London just before Xmas to meet up with my old friend Norman J Warren (photo below), who’s busy supervising the 2K remastering of his back catalogue, but other than that, neither of us have exactly been caught up in the social whirl. If social media has indeed replaced old-fashioned face-to-face interaction, it’s a rather dull and uninspiring substitute for the energetic pub gatherings and rambling early-hours conversations I used to enjoy so much back in the final quarter of the Twentieth Century.
The new trailer from Vamporama Films for Monsters. Written and directed by Chrissie Harper from an idea courtesy of yours truly, featuring Liam Woon as ‘The Man’. We’re hoping to premiere it in late November.
For the past few months, I’ve had to keep it zipped about a project Chrissie Harper and I had in the can but couldn’t discuss until the distributor which commissioned it made a public announcement. At 3pm on Friday afternoon, Arrow Video officially confirmed it will be releasing The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion on Blu-ray in January, with our documentary The Forbidden Lady among the extras. Full details here.
I was over in Coventry yesterday, cooling my heels (and a lot else besides) in a massive grocery warehouse alongside my Vamporama Films colleague Chrissie Harper and actor Liam Woon. We were there for principal photography on our new horror short Monsters (the photographs above show Liam during the final rehearsal and a sample clip with preliminary grading). More news soon.
Well, not exactly, but I am currently hunting for a new address (amazingly, only the third I’ll have had for any significant period) whilst I empty this manse of thirty-plus years of accumulated detritus before putting it on the market. It may be a vain hope, but maybe the move will also provide some perspective and a little more direction along my career path, which more frequently resembles a disputed right of way across an abandoned firing range.
More news to follow, I guess. Meanwhile, I should be making a more upbeat announcement very shortly about a documentary project I’ve just completed with Chrissie Harper, my partner in Vamporama Films. Stay tuned.
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).
There’s a new project in the pipeline at Vamporama Films: a gothic short entitled Monsters, to be directed by Chrissie Harper from a script she’s conjured out of a story idea of mine. More news soon, but for now, here’s a detail from one of Chrissie’s storyboards.
Back in July 2016, I was asked to be a guest on Carl Jones’ weekly movie show The Big Picture, which aired on the regional channel Big Centre TV. We had a lot of fun, as you can see here, and that appearance led to my colleague Chrissie Harper and I producing a series of news reports for Carl. Sadly, neither The Big Picture nor Big Centre TV survived the year.
I interviewed the actress Dagmar Lassander at the 2016 Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester. I can’t say too much at the moment, but my colleague Chrissie Harper is currently editing footage from our conversation on stage into a short documentary, under the working title The Forbidden Lady. More news soon as I’m able to announce it.