I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
For the sake of Twitter characters and in looking for something a little more punchy, I’ve now decided to call this feature The Graveyard Shift. (#GraveyardShift)
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.
As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.
You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to firstname.lastname@example.org
A new shift is about to begin and things are going to be a little different. The warden is…
The Beyond (1981, Lucio Fulci)
Most of these choices are going to be highly sentimental, and The Beyond is no exception. The first Fulci film I ever saw, The Beyond left a lasting impact on me, and opened my eyes to a whole new world of horror. I would have been about 13 or 14, and back then the uncut versions of these films were still banned as ‘video nasties’, so I had to read the Classified ads in the back of The Dark Side Magazine, send off a stamped addressed envelope, wait for the list of titles to arrive, then get my mum to write me a cheque for £10, for two films on one tape. The Beyond had Dutch subtitles along the bottom of the screen, but seeing my first full, uncensored Euro-horror film quite literally changed my life.
The Fog (1980, John Carpenter)
John Carpenter’s follow-up to Halloween is sadly often overshadowed by that classic, but over the years I have come to love it even more. I first watched this one by staying up late at my granny’s house with my best friend, both of whom have now passed away. At the time, we laughed through the cosy chills of The Fog. Hell, we were young and obnoxious. We liked GORE and VIOLENCE, and The Fog didn’t cut it. But something stuck with me, and I revisited it many times over the years, each time gaining a new appreciation for the subtle scares, for the handling of dread and tension, and for the incredible soundtrack. Now, it’s one of my favourite films.
The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)
There aren’t too many Scottish horror films, and there are very few legitimately GREAT Scottish horror films. The Wicker Man stands tall above all others. I remember reading about the VHS reissue in Shivers Magazine, and heading up town on release day to pick it up. It was, of course, the cut version, missing an entire song, and several essential scenes, but I loved it anyway. I adore musicals, and had no idea that The Wicker Man was also a musical, with characters bursting into song throughout. That, combined with the gorgeous Scottish island setting, the menacing performance of Christopher Lee, and Britt Ekland’s naked dance, made me fall in love with The Wicker Man.
Bullet in the Head (1990, John Woo)
Let’s take a brief break from horror. In 1994, Hong Kong cinema was entering the mainstream. John Woo had directed his first American film, and there was renewed interest in the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Woo’s film, the Van Damme starrer Hard Target, was getting its premiere on Sky Movies, and to celebrate, they were showing several of his Hong Kong films. The Killer screened in a horrendous dubbed and censored version, but Bullet in the Head played in its theatrical version. I had heard they were really violent, and being a crazed 12-year-old gorehound, I had a family friend record it for me. I had never seen anything like it. To this day, it’s my favourite film, a beautiful, sentimental melodrama about friendship, interspersed with the most outrageous, OTT gunfights and action I’d ever seen. Essentially a remake of The Deer Hunter, Bullet easily surpasses that film for me, and might just be the first subtitled film I ever sat through.
The Evil Dead (1981, Sam Raimi)
Yeah, the original. Not the sequel, not the remake, though both are excellent. Nah, for me, it’s always gonna be The Evil Dead. There was a cheapo video label in the UK called 4-Front, who would put out shoddy transfers of films and sell them for £2.99 in Poundstretcher. I saw many, many films this way, from Hellraiser III to Slugs to The Brood, but none impacted me more than Sam Raimi’s film. As usual, it was heavily censored, with almost every gore scene trimmed down, but what impressed me more was the atmosphere and the incredible shots. Shortly after, my friends and I set out to remake the film, and we did. It was terrible, but we had a great time, which sums up life pretty succinctly, I think.
A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973, Jess Franco)
Another life-changing moment for me came with this film, introducing me to Jess Franco, who would go on to become my favourite director. Listen, before you say anything, yes, I know he’s made some shit. In a career of over 200 films, it’s inevitable. But even Franco’s lesser movies are often more interesting than a dozen mainstream offerings. Frequently laying his obsessions bare, Franco had a knack for raw beauty, be it in his actresses, or his extraordinary eye for setting and architecture. Virgin revels in all of the above, also incorporating a sizzling Bruno Nicolai score, and an actual story, for you boring farts who insist on there being one. Redemption Video put this one out in 1994, and while you could argue that age 12 is a bit young to see a Franco movie, by then it was too late. I had experienced Jess Franco, and I needed more. To this day, I’ve seen around sixty of his movies, and I’m not even halfway through. Bloody hell, Jess!
Bloodsport (1988, Newt Arnold)
If I’m trapped in a graveyard indefinitely, then sometimes I’m gonna want to just unwind. Enter Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bloodsport. My ultimate movie happy place, Bloodsport is non-stop pure entertainment, like an adorable puppy desperate to win your affections. Van Damme is super young here, and what he lacks in acting talent, he more than makes up for with enthusiasm. The Hong Kong setting is well filmed, including a rare glimpse inside the Walled City of Kowloon before it was demolished, the fights are thrilling and varied, Donald Gibb provides excellent comic foil, and the Stan Bush songs on the soundtrack will get you totally fucking pumped to face the day.
The Fly (1986, David Cronenberg)
The first horror film to make me cry, I remember staying up late, after my parents had gone to bed, to watch The Fly. I also recorded it, and what you had to do back then was sit with the remote in your hand, so that when it cut to an advert break, you paused the recording, then manually resumed when the ads were over. In this age of Blu-ray and Netflix, that probably sounds absurd, but it had to be done. I even made my own VHS cover! Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis have never been better, and the screenplay by Cronenberg and Charles Edward Pogue is a masterpiece in ruthless efficiency. I’ll never tire of The Fly. Fuck it, I even enjoy the sequel.
My luxury item would be my pug, because he is the ultimate man of luxury, and just think of all the bones he could play within the cemetery.
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)
The Beach Boys are my favourite band, but the best solo album from any member came from their drummer, Dennis. It’s a raw and emotionally devastating journey, from a talent lost way too soon. Out of print for years, I had to resort to picking up an expensive bootleg on eBay, until it was finally reissued about a decade ago, with a bonus cd of the unfinished album he was working on when he drowned in 1983. Pacific Ocean Blues is an immaculate album, and one that has stood the test of time.
David Sodergren lives in Scotland with his wife Heather and his best friend, Boris the Pug.
Growing up, he was the kind of kid who collected rubber skeletons and lived for horror movies.
Not much has changed since then.
His first novel, The Forgotten Island, was published on October 1st 2018. This was followed by Night Shoot, a brutal throwback to the early 80s slasher movie cycle, in May 2019.
2020 will be Sodergren’s biggest year yet, with two new horror novels being published. Dead Girl Blues is a slasher-noir mystery, and it will be followed by a return to full-blown supernatural horror before the end of the year.
You can follow David on Twitter @paperbacksnpugs
To find out more about David please visit his official website www.paperbacksandpugs.wordpress.com
Find David on Instagram here
Dead Girl Blues
When a young woman dies in Willow Zulawski’s arms, it sets in motion a chain of events that will push her to the brink of madness.
A mysterious video is the only clue, but as Willow digs deeper into the murky world of snuff movies, those closest to her start turning up dead. Someone out there will stop at nothing to silence her.
After all, when killing is business, what’s one more dead body?
Part noir mystery, part violent slasher, Dead Girl Blues is the latest twisted shocker from David Sodergren, author of The Forgotten Island and Night Shoot.
You can buy Dead Girl Blues from Amazon UK & Amazon US
The Forgotten Island
When Ana Logan agrees to go on holiday to Thailand with her estranged sister Rachel, she hopes it will be a way for them to reconnect after years of drifting apart.
But now, stranded on a seemingly deserted island paradise with no radio and no food, reconciliation becomes a desperate fight for survival.
For when night falls on The Forgotten Island, the dark secrets of the jungle reveal themselves.
Something is watching them from the trees.
You can buy The Forgotten Island from Amazon UK & Amazon US
You can read the Kendall Review for The Forgotten Island HERE
A group of desperate student filmmakers break into Crawford Manor for an unauthorised night shoot. They have no choice. Their lead actress has quit. They’re out of time. They’re out of money.
They’re out of luck.
For Crawford Manor has a past that won’t stay dead, and the crew are about to come face-to-face with the hideous secret that stalks the halls.
Will anyone survive…the NIGHT SHOOT?
A delirious homage to the slasher movies of the 1980s, Night Shoot delivers page after page of white-knuckle terror.
You can buy Night Shoot from Amazon UK & Amazon US
You can read the Kendall Review for Night Shoot HERE
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