Here’s a very brief clip from Manchester’s seventh Festival of Fantastic Films, back in 1996, as I introduce the charming David Warbeck to his audience. It’s extracted from a longer compilation of festival footage edited by Elmar Podlasly.
I’ve just seen a copy of the first progress report for this year’s Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester. It includes a report on last year’s event, and there’s me in the middle photograph, interviewing the delightful Jenny Hanley on stage. The resulting article appeared in February’s issue of The Dark Side.
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.
Ann Robinson has the distinction of having appeared in three separate iterations of Wells’ The War of the Worlds: the classic 1953 movie, the 1980s tv spin-off (recreating her role as Sylvia Van Buren) and the 2005 remake (in an unrelated cameo alongside her 1953 co-star, Gene Barry). We met at the 1995 Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester, which I was covering for The Dark Side.
Sometimes, a great opportunity comes along and you just have to wing it. I met the lovely Catriona MacColl on the first day of the 1996 Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester, and we hit it off quite well. The great thing about this particular event is that the guests and members mix freely, most often around the bar, and there’s a level of casual intimacy you could never get at one of those massive autograph fairs.
That encounter proved rather helpful the following afternoon, when the festival chair approached me in somewhat of a fluster and asked if I could fill in as on-stage interviewer for David Warbeck, as the original host hadn’t turned up (I knew the person in question and later ascertained he’d never actually agreed to attend). Much as I disliked taking over without my usual investment in research, I figured it would be fun, so headed downstairs to meet David, at which point I discovered (a) he was fresh out of hospital following a vicious attack at his home, (b) was still feeling extremely frail and (c) would rather not be there. Thankfully, Catriona, who co-starred with David in Fulci’s The Beyond, was on hand to reassure him I was “one of the good guys” (award-standard acting, there) and the tension ebbed away. As it turned out, David was one of those interviewees who was a breeze to work with; I simply steered our conversation along as and when needed, occasionally pointing him towards the films I knew the audience was particularly interested in hearing about.
In retrospect, David’s frailty might have been exacerbated by the cancer which would take him from us the following July, aged just 55 (I’m not sure if he was aware of it at the time we met). Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to record the interview and so produce a version for publication, although the organisers did later release an edited video, parts of which appeared as an extra on Grindhouse’s 2016 Blu-ray release of The Beyond.
Photos by Ann Green
Tut tut, I neglected to mention here that the two episodes of our series In Conversation With filmed in Manchester last October are now both available to view on YouTube: Jenny Hanley and Jonathan Rigby. Chrissie and I hope to shoot the fourth episode next weekend.
Meanwhile, extracts from my on-stage interview with Jenny earlier that day should appear in the next issue of The Dark Side, due out 15 February. Those mentioned include Christopher Lee, Roy Ward Baker, Dennis Waterman, Anouska Hempel, Peter Walker, Roy Boulting, Peter Sellers, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, Roddy McDowall, Ian McShane, George Lazenby, Harvey Weinstein and her mother, Dinah Sheridan.
Among the projects Chrissie Harper and I are currently working on is an online series, In Conversation With, which kicked off by interviewing actor Demelza O’Sullivan (who starred in our short film All Bad Things…) and now features actor / television presenter Jenny Hanley (recorded when we met up in Manchester). Both are available via our YouTube channel.
Went up to Manchester yesterday, to interview Jenny Hanley and Jonathan Rigby for the 28th Festival of Fantastic Films. Both guests and audience seemed to have a great time, and my conversation with Jenny was recorded for use in a future issue of the The Dark Side. The photographs above were taken by Chrissie Harper. (No, I wasn’t kneeling next to Jonathan; he’s just really tall.)
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.
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.)