If the prospect of chomping down badly cooked turkey at the in-laws' this Christmas still isn't enough to drive you bats, perhaps this spook-tacular new event will give you plenty of thrills and chills in the New Year.
From 18th-20th January 2013 a brand new scarefest – the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival – will turn the popular tourist destination into Southend-on-Scream.
The event is being brought to life by The White Bus, the team behind the Southend-on-Sea Film Festival, and will be based at the Park Inn Palace Hotel at the top of Pier Hill. Horror-on-Sea will feature new independent horror films from across the UK and around the globe, including Italy, South Korea, Canada, the UAE and, appropriately, Romania. Many of the film makers and actors will be travelling to Essex to showcase their work alongside classics of the horror and gore genre.
Thirty-eight movies – featuring Nazi zombies, terrifying hillbillies, vampires and ghosts – offer a monster choice of spine-tingling terror on a blood soaked platter. With bizarre and bonkers titles such as The Dorset Tooth Claw Massacre, Saint Dracula, Slasher House and Rise of the Appliances (when domestic machines attack, you're Dyson with Death! Ouch) what's not to like?
There are plenty of other delights for fright night freaks. Acclaimed, Leigh-on-Sea based film maker Pat Higgins (Trash House) is hosting a talk called Werewolves, Cheerleaders and Chainsaws: Filming with no Bloody Money! – and it promises to be a masterclass for future Wes Cravens and John Carpenters looking to direct their own horror films. If, like one of George A. Romero's ravenous zombies, you're still hungry for more, cult film connoisseur Darrell Buxton will be giving a talk on the elusive cult director/producer/writer Michael J. Murphy. He'll be joined by regular horror actor Stephen Longhurst to pick over the bones of low budget movie making.
Horror-on-Sea is the brainchild of Paul Cotgrove, Director of The White Bus. He says:
"I am a huge horror movie fan and for years I have wanted to put together an event for fellow fans of the genre. Box office returns and video sales prove people continue to love scary movies and as we've had four really successful years with the Southend Film Festival, here and now seemed the right time and place to do this. I am delighted we've got a huge variety of international movies screening during Horror-on-Sea – it is really is the best of the world's best - so there genuinely is something for everyone. I am sure this is going to be a really popular event."
The line-up is as follows.
Friday 18th January
Saint Dracula (Rupesh Paul / 2012 / UAE / 2h)
The tragic Prince of Wallachia waits in hunger and thirst for his long lost love
Fear Eats the Seoul (Nick Calder / 2011 / South Korea / 1h 48m)
The capital of South Korea is ravaged by a demonic epidemic
Zero Killed (Michal Kosakowski / 2012 / Austria-Germany / 1h 21m)
Disturbing documentary: People talk about, and film, their murder fantasies
+ Hambre (Mario de la Torre Espinosa / 2012 / Spain / 9m)
It’s night, and her daughters are hungry…
Gut (Elias / 2012 / USA / 1h 30m)
A mysterious video with an ugly secret that infiltrates into a family man’s life
+ The Escort (Joonas Makkonen / 2011 / Finland / 7m)
An unlikely road movie involving a boy, a woman and a man
Community (Jason Ford / 2012 / UK / 1h 30m) + Q&A
The horror has reached your neighbourhood
+ Zimmer (Vincenzo Pandolfi / 2012 / Italy / 7m)
A room, a girl and a photograph
The Legend of the 5ive (James P. Weatherall / 2011 / UK / 1h 30m)
Paranormal investigators unwittingly awaken an evil presence during a live webcast.
+ The Dorset Tooth Claw Massacre (Richard Elson / 2011 / UK / 7m)
Two couples on a road trip battle for survival against a deadly new breed of monster
Saturday 19th January
The Vampires of Bloody Island (Allin Kempthorne / 2009 / UK / 1h 48m)
In a crumbling Cornish castle, vampire noblewoman Morticia de’Ath concocts a sinister plan
+ Felicity (Gary Kittle / 2012 / UK / 1m)
‘Faux’ trailer for a horror drama
The Arrival of Wang (Antonio and Marco Manetti / 2011 / Italy / 1h 23m)
- Dead Walkers (Spencer Eastabrooks / Canada / 2009 / 14m)
A bounty hunter encounters a town cursed by the undead
- Rise of the Appliances (Rob Sprackling / UK / 2010 / 9m)
Domestic machines attack: ‘Dyson with Death’!
- Matasari (Piperkoski Ilija / Romania / 2011 / 23m)
She keeps pretending nothing happened…I don’t belong in this world anymore…
- Dead Story (Fran Mateu / 2011 / Spain / 15m)
Samuel’s life changes when he meets the supernatural Isabel
- Yellow (Ryan Haysom / 2012 / Germany / 26m)
A reclusive man hunts a serial killer in neon-lit Berlin
- Blood and Nuts (Nathan Hutchings / 2012 / UK / 22m)
A sleepy Cotswold village is plagued by a dark secret
- Venus (Richard Elson / 2012 / UK / 2m)
A man encounters a lonely, weeping woman
A translator is hired to help interview the mysterious Mr. Wang
+ I Am Lonely (Phil Haine / 2011 / UK / 8m)
Being the last man alive can be hell…
Werewolves, Cheerleaders & Chainsaws: Filming with no Bloody Money!
Pat Higgins (Hellbride, The Devil’s Music / Bordello Death Tales) Masterclass
(Laurel & Hardy Suite, Park Inn Palace Hotel / 2h)
Bloody Cuts (Ben Kent/Jonny Franklin/Neill Gorton/Jake Cuddihy/Ben Tillett/Joel Morgan / 2012 / UK / 1h 40m)
The infamous online horror anthology is brought together for one bloody programme
+ Lady and the Tooth (Shaun Clark / 2012 / UK / 8m / animated)
When the most precious commodity is teeth, a toothless man lives in mortal fear
Inbred (Alex Chandon / 2011 / UK / 1h 30m) + Q&A
Supervised young offenders visiting rural Yorkshire stumble into a blood-soaked nightmare
+ The Domestic (Mike Tack / 2012 / UK / 8m)
A man, waking from a drunken stupor, finds himself at the mercy of the maid from hell
Slasher House (Mj Dixon / 2012 / UK / 1h 29m)
Awakening in a cell in an abandoned madhouse, a girl is trapped with several serial killers
+ SatanV (Richard Elson / 2011 / UK / 5m)
A satnav turns a weekend in the countryside into the weekend from hell
Sunday 20th January
Haunted (Steven M. Smith / 2012 / UK / 2h)
Six unwitting contestants win the chance to take part in a live paranormal investigation
Forgotten Frights: The Unknown Terrors of Michael J. Murphy (2h)
Cult movie historian and genre critic Darrell Buxton joins us to celebrate the prolific movie output of the greatest horror director you've never heard of!
ZK3 (Michael J. Murphy / 2012 / UK-Greece / 1h 16m)
In the prolific director’s latest, a journalist enters a nightmare when she interviews a famous author
+ The Urge (Brian Barnes / 2012 / UK / 8m)
Can you control your addictions, or do they control you?
Eschatrilogy (Damian Morter / 2012 / UK / 1h 34m)
Anthology set in the world of zombies
+ The Shoot (John Foxen / 2012 / UK / 4m)
Two-handed psychological thriller
Nazi Zombie Death Tales (Pat Higgins/James Eaves/Alan Ronald / 2012 / UK / 1h 30m) + Q&A
Three ambitious films of terror set during World War II
+ Tasha (Spencer Estabrookes / 2011 / Canada / 5m)
Meet Tasha, who has survived by post-apocalyptic gut instinct and a very sharp blade
The Tentacle’s Claw (1h 8m)
A man uses mind control to take over the world, in the wonderful homage to BW classic horror
+ Refuge 115 (Ivan Villamel / 2011 / Spain / 8m)
During the Spanish Civil War, survivors encounter strange shadows at Refuge 115
Friday 25 January: Friday Fright Night double bill at TAP (North Road, Southend)
Scary Tales (Geno McGahee / USA / 2012 / 1h 24m)
Four high school classmates reminisce about their scariest moments
Dracula 0.9 (Emilio Schargorodsky / Spain / 2012 / 1h 21m)
A beautiful young woman conducts a passionate, but bloody, love affair with Dracula
Tickets cost just £5 per film, but a Weekend Pass – that gets you into everything – offers unbeatable value deal at just £50. For those who want to have a frightfully nice hotel break, the Park Inn Palace Hotel is offering special Festival rates: £60 for one night's Bed & Breakfast or £120 for three nights (single or double).
You can find full details at: www.horror-on-sea.com