Knockbreda Cemetery

Situated on a long, sloping hill between Church Road and Saintfield Road in south Belfast, Knockbreda Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. I lived quite close to this cemetery for five or six years and, naturally, found myself wandering through it fairly frequently as, rain or shine, day or night, it not only offered peace and quiet, but pretty views of Belfast city, Black Mountain and Cave Hill. The cemetery is built around the little parish church nestled on the pinnacle of the hill, which was consecrated in 1737. It was designed by Richard Cassels, a lauded Palladian architect, and built by Lady Middleton, mother of the first Viscount Dungannon, Arthur Hill-Trevor. According to a nearby information board, Knockbreda Cemetery was a ‘fashionable place to spend eternity’ as it became renowned for its funerary monuments and exquisite mausolea which were erected by some of the wealthiest, most influential families in Ulster at that time. 

Amongst those buried here are…

Hopeful for Halloween

So the new Halloween trailer was officially released today, and you can check it out here. From what we know of this new instalment of the Halloween series, it’s set 40 years after the original, ignores events depicted in all the subsequent sequels (which essentially creates a cool sort of ‘choose your own adventure’ of the series as a whole, with at least three distinct narratives), features the much-loved character of Laurie Strode, now a mother and grandmother, and is being scored (and executive-produced) by John Carpenter himself. Sadly however, he will not be joined by Debra Hill, who produced and co-wrote the original Halloween back in 1978, and whose vital contributions to the film are so often overlooked, as she passed away in 2005. Carpenter and Hill had no involvement with the series past the third film, so his involvement here is hopefully an indication of the film’s credibility. He noted: ‘Thirty-eight years after the original Halloween, I'm going to help to try to ma…

Demon (2015)

The past returns to haunt the present when a young Polish groom is possessed by the unquiet spirit of a young Jewish woman on his wedding day. Based upon Piotr Rowicki’s stage play Clinging, Demon is Polish director Marcin Wrona’s third and, sadly, final film (he took his own life in 2015). A deeply moody allegory, it unravels as an exploration of the national guilt stemming from Poland’s direct and indirect complicity with crimes committed against its Jewish citizens during the Holocaust.

Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review.

Book Update: FrightFest Review

The latest review of my Devil’s Advocates book on The Company of Wolves comes courtesy of the lovely folks over at FrightFest, and it’s another really positive one. According to critic Steven West, book is a ‘multi-faceted, intelligent and highly accessible study’.

I’ve copied the full review below, and you can also check it out (along with a wealth of other film related reviews, news and features) over at FrightFest


The early 80’s saw a mini-boom of werewolf movies reflecting the revolutionary advances in transformative make-up effects, which ensured that David Naughton did not have to disappear behind a conveniently placed desk while morphing into AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. The John Landis movie and Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING brought a substantial degree of self-awareness and knockabout character-based humour to the sub-genre and have endured as modern horror classics. Other wolfman movies from the same period have enjoyed less latter-day attention, including Michael Wadlei…

Book Update: Warped Perspective Review

The latest review of my Devil’s Advocates book on The Company of Wolves comes courtesy of the lovely folks over at Warped Perspective (formerly Brutal as Hell). And I’m absolutely delighted that it’s another good one! According to critic Keri O’Shea, book is ‘lucid, detailed and meticulous, with exhaustive knowledge of the film, its inception and its interpretation [...] effectively crosses the divide between academia and fandom.’

I’ve copied the full review below, and you can also check it out (along with a wealth of other film related reviews, news and features) over at Warped Perspective.

The Company of Wolves (1984) really is a force of nature – a vivid array of stories-within-stories which capture the insurrectionist tendencies of Angela Carter’s book, The Bloody Chamber, a collection of familiar fairy stories reworked into unfamiliar forms. The film brings several of Carter’s tales to the screen, albeit via a new, modern framing device, one which links the humdrum with the imagi…

Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' Turns 200

Published in January 1818, Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic novel Frankenstein turns 200 years old this month. It tells of Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young scientist whose highly unorthodox experiments create a living, sentient creature assembled from the parts of stolen human cadavers. Horrified by his creation, Victor rejects and abandons the creature, who eventually seeks revenge on his creator. Mary began writing what would become her debut novel when she was 18. Published several years later, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus became one of the cornerstones of Gothic literature. With its themes concerning the destructive pursuit of knowledge and dangerous ambition, morality regarding scientific/technological advancement, existentialism and societal isolation, Frankenstein continues to wield incredible influence over literature, cinema and indeed other forms of popular culture to this day.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the novel, for me anyway, are the circumsta…