Tag Archives: Linnea Quigley

My 5 horror festive favourites

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us. A time for tinsel and mistletoe and carol singing and Santa Claus. A time of joy, festivity, and good wishes for all. For me, and many like me, it is a time to crack open the Christmas horror films that sit so well with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. There are some great horror films that sit amongst my regular favourites of Santa Clause the Movie, Elf and Fred Claus and this is the only time of year that I allow myself the privilege of sitting down to my five horror festive favourites:

Silent Night Deadly Night

This film tells the story of Billy who witnesses the violent death of his parents at the hands of a criminal dressed as Santa Claus. Subjected to more horror at the hands of a pretty mean Mother Superior, he grows up and manages to live a pretty normal life. That is, until Christmas rolls round. On Christmas Eve, he is forced to “play” Santa at a toy store and his violent childhood memories resurface. Billy transforms into a Santa-dressed murderer who must dole out punishment to all he encounters.

My brother introduced me to this annihilation of Santa Claus as a friendly, caring, present giver. And I’m so thankful to him for ruining this perception. A very poor remake (simply titled Silent Night) starring Jaime King was released in 2012 that I wasted one Christmas Eve watching. Stick to the original and get ready to have all of your illusions of Santa Claus bust wide open. Plus the “antler scene” with horror legend Linnea Quigley will stick in your mind long after the credits stop rolling.

Black Xmas

A young boy named Billy (a popular name in horror, huh?) witnesses his mother kill his father so she locks him in the attic while she starts a new family with her lover. Over the years Billy witnesses love cherished upon his sister until he finally snaps and kills his mother and her lover. In the present day, a group of sorority girls, living in Billy’s childhood home, start receiving intimidating phone calls during their winter break. One of the girls then disappears begging the question, has Billy returned? And if so, who will survive?

Now I love the original film Black Christmas. It’s a masterpiece in storytelling, is totes creepy and stars the wonderful Margot Kidder. I am a stickler for preferring originals to remakes but Black Xmas is just so mean. And gross. And bloody good fun. It sticks to the original story and characters but is brave enough to take a step further with the grossness of Billy and his mother’s relationship. Sometimes it is better to rely on atmosphere and your own imagination but sometimes I want to be shown something downright disturbing. And this film delivers that. I highly recommend you give it a go. But beware, it may put you off Christmas cookies for good!

Red Christmas

A typical Australian family are enjoying Christmas Day when a stranger knocks on their door. This stranger is very… well strange, wrapped in bandages and wearing a hooded cloak. His name is Cletus and believes that the mother of the family (the fabulous Dee Wallace) is also his mother. Not taking rejection well, Cletus sets about tearing the family apart (quite literally) on the most magical day of the year.

I was introduced to this new horrific Christmas tale at this year’s FrightFest; it was one of the films I couldn’t wait to see. And I really enjoyed it. The character of Cletus is not a villain we’ve seen before and the introduction of an abortion clinic storyline is new to the horror genre. I appreciate Craig Anderson trying some different with what could have been a run of the mill slasher film. For me, it takes a welcome place amongst my festive favourites, which I will enjoy year on year.

Krampus

A dysfunctional American family are forced together for the holidays and their disillusionment of the Christmas spirit deeply affects the youngest son Max, who unwittingly unleashes the wrath of Krampus; the demonic anti-Santa Claus, complete with hooves. Krampus and his band of evil minions lay siege to their home, forcing them to fight for each other in the hope of surviving the holiday.

I had very high expectations for this film as the original story of Krampus could be a really terrifying tale if told in the right hands. And I originally thought this film had failed. The film lent itself to a horror comedy rather than scaring the pants off me. But once I sat down and thought about it, I realised that the film thoroughly entertained me and the ending really was rather horrific. Also you can’t go wrong with a bit of Toni Collette and I am very happy to see her stretching her acting muscles in horror once again.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

This Finnish film follows a young boy and his friend who believe a secret mountain drilling project near where they live has uncovered the tomb of Santa Claus. However, this is not the jolly, red-cheeked Santa children know and love. And when his dad captures a wild old man in a wolf trap, we discover he may know the answer to the recent slaughter of reindeer and disappearance of local children…

In a similar vein to Krampus but much better, this film is brilliantly-executed with brilliant performances. This is a festive film I highly recommend you take the time to watch this December. But be warned, you will never think of Santa in the same way again.

What are your horror festive favourites?

Horror Con UK 2016

I recently went to Horror Con UK 2016. This is my first time at any horror convention so I was really excited. Among the guests were the amazingly talented David Naughton (David Kessler from An American Werewolf in London), Doug Bradley (Pinhead from Hellraiser 1-8), Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th 7 – 10) and Linnea Quigley (Trash from The Return of the Living Dead). I have never seen a horror actor in the flesh, most likely because I get a bit weird around famous people and become a bat-crap crazy fan girl around famous people whom I worship.

Horror Con UK 2016 logo

Arriving at the Magna Science Adventure Centre at 10.50am, it quickly became clear I should have opted for a priority ticket as there were a dozen cars driving aimlessly in circles trying to find a parking space. Eventually, I decided to park on a side road and was quickly followed by the other cars. It would have been nice to have signage to advise you what to do in an overflow situation or a parking attendant. Then we saw the big queue waiting to get inside. In the rain. I could see there were only two people at the front to scan tickets and give out wristbands. Luckily, one of the security staff had the bright idea to form a second queue to get people out of the rain. This kind of initiative should already have been thought about and executed.

However, once inside, I forgot about the painful exercise of trying to get into the building and focussed on checking out what was on offer. The first person I encountered was Twisty from American Horror Story: Freakshow who followed me around the room. Brilliant start to proceedings. I then headed to The Big Hall to check out the stalls. There was everything from paintings and drawings to brain cakes and bloody finger pens to figurines and signed merchandise, such as Freddy Krueger’s glove (already sold by the time I got there so my bank balance could breathe a sigh of relief).

Having fun with Twisty
Having fun with Twisty

At one side of the hall, the special guests already had a long queue of fans clutching puzzle boxes and Jason masks, ready for signing. Now, I realise that I am a complete idiot for not knowing this, but I queued up at the end of the day to meet David Naughton (he had the shortest queue at the time) and saw fans handing over money and this is when it dawned on me that you have to pay for their signatures. What does Homer Simpson say? Oh yeah, d’oh! Anyway, when I got to the front I apologised to David for not knowing this as I had no cash on me. He was very polite and we had a quick chat anyway. My boyfriend imparted a little wisdom about how York (where we live) supposedly has more pubs per square mile than anywhere else in the country – if you were at the Q&A you’ll know why we were talking to him about York.

The highlight of the day for me were the Q&As. I attended David’s, Kane’s and Doug’s. I even asked Kane a question (after a few pints for Dutch courage), which my boyfriend filmed so I can relive the moment over and over and over again. They were all relaxed, informative, friendly and funny. It was a delight to hear them talk about their careers, give us tid bits about the films they’ve worked on and the people they’ve worked with and allow us the opportunity to ask questions without any censorship.

I was particularly looking forward to the Scare-Play competition as I fancy taking part next year. I was disappointed to see a small audience turn out for this part. In future years, they should announce activities such as the Q&As and the competition to boost audience numbers – it is so easy to lose track of time. There were a vast number of different costumes for the competition and everyone had gone to great efforts, in particularly the voodoo man – he looked incredible. The competition was pretty badly run. Each contestant was called up rather than calling them up according to the category they had entered (best film character, best original character, etc.) The worst part was when the wrong person was called up for the best film character award. Very awkward.

All of the Scare-Play contestants looked great
All of the Scare-Play contestants looked great

At the end of the day I went back through the stalls to buy myself something to remember this great day. I came across a stall manned by ‘Uncanny Broderz’ who were selling some brilliant drawings of Freddy, Pinhead, etc. at only £3 a drawing. I was gobsmacked. And I had no money. I went to the front desk who were offering cashback only to be told they had sold out ages ago. Apparently, they “thought £7,000 would be enough”. Obviously not. I know, I should’ve brought cash with me. Fortunately, I bonded with the guys on the stall over my love of Freddy and gave me their card, telling me to get in touch.

Overall, I had a really great day, which was definitely helped by the cheap bar. I loved seeing so many people dressed up and enjoying all things horror. The convention had also hired people to walk around in costumes, including a brilliantly costumed Jason, a bloodied Michael Myers, a freaky scarecrow type guy with a big machete, giggling clown girls and zombies. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, the vast options of stalls selling merchandise, gooey treats, hosting tombolas and the sponsors, ‘Horrify me’, speaking to visitors about their photography packages. You could even get a tattoo. There did seem to be a missed opportunity on social media as lots of people were tweeting about/to Horror Con UK but nothing was coming from them, not even re-tweets. Event communications is essential to getting as much promotion as possible and to get conversations going. This, I think, needs to be looked at for next year.

I am definitely intending to go back. I heard that last year you entered into pitch blackness and were attacked by zombies so I am eager to see what horrific delights may be in store for visitors next year. And, if Horror Con UK organisers are reading this, if you can get Rob Zombie, Robert Englund, Bill Moseley and Tobin Bell as special guests, I’d really, really, really, REALLY appreciate it. Long live horror.