14-16 and 21-23 Jan
The Southend horror festival returns with screenings spread over two weekends...
After an (understandable) two-year hiatus, Horror-on-Sea is back for two weekends at the Radisson Park Inn Hotel in Southend, which is offering discounts for festival goers. The event has a packed programme of over a hundred films, about a third of which are feature length, and a masterclass with local filmmaker Pat Higgins (Trash House, KillerKiller, Hellbride, and more).
You can read all about the venue and schedule here. It’s a truly international line-up, but for convenience, here are the homegrown feature films on offer.
Friday 14 January
Hosticide (UK, Geoff Harmer, 2021): ‘Disillusioned sales manager David Pettigrew is haunted by his unrequited feelings for a married employee. He seeks distraction elsewhere and sets off down a destructive path that can only end badly – for everyone.’
Saturday 15 January
VHS Forever, Once Upon a Time in Camden (UK, Mark Williams, 2020): ‘A feature length documentary following on from the success of the 2014 cult classic fan favorite “VHS Forever? Psychotronic People”. Taking the viewer back to the very origins of the Psychotronic shop and this time interviews people who worked there along with the regular customers who visited every week. We also take a look at some of the many varied mad, bad and dangerous psychotronic films which you could purchase from the notorious secret “back room” of the shop.’
They’re Outside (UK, Sam Casserly & Airell Anthony Hayles, 2020): ‘While filming a documentary about an agoraphobic woman, a celebrity psychologist is drawn into supernatural events.’
Beyond Fury (UK, Darren Ward, 2019): ‘Michael Walker has turned his back on his Special Ops past and is about to start a family with his beautiful wife Claudia. However, a chance encounter with crime syndicate foot-soldiers wipes out his future in spectacularly brutal fashion. Hell-bent on ultimate revenge, Walker reawakens the savagery that earned him the moniker “Angel of Death”, and unleashes an unrelenting wave of momentous violence.’
Sunday 16 January
Ouijageist (UK, John R. Walker, 2018): ‘Young single mum, India moves into her new flat and adds to the pressures of finding employment and meeting the rent when she and her friend begin dabbling with a Ouija board they found at the property. Evil powers are unleashed and mysterious deaths begin to occur.’
You Might Get Lost (UK, Jim Eaves, 2021): ‘After the tragic death of her son, Arlene loses everything, her husband, her home and she starts to lose her mind. When the mysterious Endeavour Institute offers her a chance to travel back and change things, she eagerly accepts and begins her journey to the past. Plagued by the memories of her alternate reality, Arlene must separate the real from the false without upsetting the delicate balance. She is unprepared for the terrible price she must pay for saving her son.’
Decline (UK, Sam Bell, 2021): ‘Ian lives a life full of hate, alone and lost he takes it out on the vulnerable people he sees around him, stalking the seedy streets of Portsmouth, looking for his next kill, never learning from his past, only fuelled by it.’
Death Ranch (UK/USA, Charlie Steeds, 2020): ‘1970s USA. Three African American siblings on the run from police take refuge at a Tennessee Ranch, unaware it’s on the hunting grounds of a Ku Klux Klan cult. Trapped and tortured, they fight to escape and take down the bloodthirsty Klan.’
Friday 21 January
Bad Moon Rising (UK, Alasdair MacKay, 2021): ‘Scream Team is a successful structured reality TV show in which it’s three stars, Lucy, Jordan and Pip go ghost hunting in various supposedly haunted locations. Structured is the key word here though, the girls don’t really believe in the paranormal or supernatural, that is until they accept an invitation to investigate strange goings on in a small Bulgarian village.’
Saturday 22 January
The Last Zombi Hunter (UK, S.N. Sibley, 2010). Synopsis to follow.
Surveilled (UK, James Smith, 2021): ‘Joe Brooke has dark interests. As well as working under the radar for low-level criminals as a surveillance operative, he also has a fascination with serial killers – his bookshelf is filled with biographies on the most notorious murderers of modern times. Ironically, however, Joe’s hometown of Clairmont is the home of the country’s latest serial killer. Three local women have been brutally murdered by an attacker dubbed The Clairmont Murderer, a copycat killer who re-enacts the sickening murders depicted in a series of violent crime novels, the fanatical popularity of which is sweeping through the country. Having recently watched a TV crime show highlighting the case, Joe finds himself embroiled in the world of The Clairmont Murderer when he witnesses some disturbing behaviour in the course of his work.’
Hate Little Rabbit (UK, Bazz Hancher, 2021): ‘After the death of her adopted parent’s Lacy Graham tries to build a relationship with her natural mother Samantha, this is made difficult by Samantha’s struggle with mental health. Just as they start to bond the unthinkable happens, Samantha is kidnapped. Who can Lacy trust, a strange ex copper, her weird friends or has a distant relative set his sights on revenge for her father’s actions? Time is running out if she wants to save the only family she has left.’
Sunday 23 January
All the Fear of the Fair (Director’s Cut) (UK, Chris Jupp, 2020): ‘After a roller-coaster accident kills a large party of school children the fair closes down. The owner vows to make amends by building a non-profit youth club filled with all the memorabilia he’s had to remove from the now deserted fairground. An unscrupulous property developer Mark Shepherd, promises to finish the club for the old man as old age and illness has halted progress on the club. But once it’s signed over to Shepherd he goes back on his word and proposes to change it into a lap-dancing club. All is going well, until a council planning officer arrives to inspect the building work and claims to be able to see the ghosts of the dead kids. The petrified developer refuses to believe her until one of the builders finds all the fairground paraphernalia behind a false wall, including a laughing clown. Then all hell breaks lose.’
Whisper (UK, Christopher Jolley, 2021): ‘A young Nurse is assigned to look after a patient in a remote location in the English countryside. As the night continues she finds herself terrorized by an unseen force that is connected with her patient.’
Harvest of the Dead: Halloween Night (UK, Peter Goddard and Terence Elliot, 2021): ‘It’s the day after the events of the first film and Sally Burns and her friends are preparing for a Halloween party. As the evening of fun kicks off, unbeknownst to them, The Plague Doctor and The Creature are preparing to join them.’
…plus many British shorts, and other films from all around the world.
Please note that the line-up might change (and I might have made mistakes in this article!) so make sure you refer to the official schedule when planning your wishlist.