Showing posts from 2014

Happy Bloody Birthday, Behind the Couch

Behind the Couch turned 6 years old yesterday. Over the course of the last year I have revisited  Elm Street for its 30th Anniversary, fiddled with the Lament Configuration box during a Hellraiser marathon, had my work nominated for a Rondo Hatton Award , seen Claudio Simonetti perform a live film score for the second time, waxed lyrical about Vincent Price , written my 666th blog post , visited old cemeteries - at home and in London - and written reviews of old favourites , new favourites , French favourites , stuff I've found genuinely terrifying , and some classics I've never had the guts to write about before. I also caught up with my writer friends Christine Makepeace and Jon (Shocks to the System) Towlson to chat about their new books; a creepy Gothic novel and a study of politically subversive horror cinema, respectively. Away from blogging I have continued to contribute to publications such as Exquisite Terror and Diabolique – my essay on the represent

Kensal Green Cemetery

During a recent visit to London, a friend and I decided to explore Kensal Green Cemetery in the west of the city. Founded as the General Cemetery of All Souls by barrister George Frederick Carden in 1833, Kensal Green was inspired by the garden-style cemetery of Pere-Lachaises in Paris. Comprised of 72 acres of beautiful grounds, it was not only the first commercial cemetery in London, but also the first of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ garden-style cemeteries established to house the dead of an ever-increasing population. Campaigners for burial reform were in favour of “detached cemeteries for the metropolis” and in 1832 Parliament passed a bill that led to the formation of the General Cemetery Company to oversee appropriate measures and procedures concerning “the interment of the dead.” The company purchased land for the establishment of Kensal Green in 1831 and held a competition in order to select an appropriate designer. Among the prerequisites in the brief provided to entrants, we

Audiodrome: Mayhem, Murder & Morricone: Part II

Italian composer Ennio Morricone is responsible for creating some of cinema’s most evocative and powerful scores. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant film composers of all time, his work spans decades. While particularly renowned for his scores for Sergio Leone-directed Spaghetti Westerns, such as Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly , Morricone has written film music for almost every conceivable genre. Though they are not as renowned as some of his other scores, his soundtracks for various horror films, psychological thrillers and Italian gialli are among some of the most dazzling, unusual and nerve shredding scores ever compos Head over to Paracinema to check out the second in a two part series in which I examine some of Morricone's musical contributions to horror films, including John Carpenter's The Thing, Mike Nichols'  Wolf , and Dario Argento's The Stendhal Syndrome (pictured).  The following ar

In Conversation with INJ Culbard

Widely known for his graphic novel adaptations of classic literature, including collaborations on the acclaimed Sherlock Holmes series with Ian Edginton, INJ Culbard has also been making a name for himself with his adaptions of the work of HP Lovecraft. Having tackled At the Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward , and The Shadow Out of Time for SelfMadeHero, Culbard has now turned his attention to Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, with a strikingly beautiful adaptation of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath . I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Ian recently about his Lovecraft adaptations, describing the indescribable, the far-reaching impact of Lovecraft's unique brand of cosmic horror, and his forthcoming adaptation of Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow (!). Head over to Exquisite Terror to read our conversation .

Interview with Christine Makepeace, Author of 'Wake Up, Maggie'

Wake Up, Maggie , the debut novel from Christine Makepeace, former editor of Paracinema magazine, is the haunting tale of a middle-aged woman whose life is thrown into turmoil by the sudden relocation to a new home. Makepeace explores the devastating effects of trauma and guilt as Maggie battles her dark past, and confronts visions and memories of her long-dead brother which threaten the very fabric of her sanity. As shadows invade her domestic space, and dark thoughts plague her waking hours, Maggie begins a slow and harrowing descent into psychological anguish. I recently caught up with Christine to talk about her debut novel, the influences of Shirley Jackson, Gillian Flynn and Gothic literature, and the appeal of unreliable narrators… You once described Wake Up, Maggie as a story "about a sad lady." Can you talk me through the genesis of the story? How did it come to you? I'm shocked at how often I "pitched" the book that way. It's sort of tel

Before the Dawn: The Ninth Wave

Earlier this year when Kate Bush announced a series of live shows (her first since 1979’s Tour of Life ) fans the world over waited with baited breath to see what would happen. Before the Dawn , a 22 date residency at the Hammersmith Apollo, sold out within minutes of tickets going on sale. Despite several friends and myself trying on various sites, I was unable to obtain a ticket; until a friend of a friend revealed she had a spare. I was therefore lucky enough to go and see Kate perform on 16th September with said friend, and it was an evening we shall both treasure forever… Bush has almost always had a reputation for being reclusive, which has of course led to her being viewed through a particular shroud of mystique. In the words of one critic, she “got all the madwomen down from the attic and into the charts.” Few figures in contemporary music are as original, idiosyncratic and visionary as Kate Bush, and fewer, even those who share the same mythic reputation, could generate