Casting Call: CLUB VAMPORAMA (Marie)

Vamporama Logo.jpg

Rose of Eibon Productions is inviting applications for the role of “Marie” for its proposed comedy drama series Club Vamporama.

The entry at Casting Call Pro reads: “We have been providing unpaid news and feature content to a number of local tv programmes since 2016, but we wish to expand into drama. It is our eventual goal to evolve this company into a commercial concern, with appropriate financial rewards to those who work with us.

“One long-term project is Club Vamporama, which we intend to pitch as a tv series. Firstly, however, we will be producing a short teaser introducing the two central characters, Jenni and Marie, as well as ancillary material placing them in context.

“Initially, we have the budget to cover travel expenses (meaning location in the South Birmingham / Solihull area would be advantageous) and will provide a copy of the finished footage to all participants. The next stage will be to use this to attract funding for a full tv pilot, and that budget will incorporate appropriate salaries for all participants. This is the beginning of Club Vamporama‘s journey, and we’re looking for enthusiastic and talented individuals to join us.”

The additional information on Marie reads: “white / Caucasian, 5’8″-5’11”, age 24-32, slim build, good French accent, preferably pale, preferably long straight hair (ideally red). Can do gothic, ethereal, dizzy, mysterious.”

The deadline for applications is 10 June 2017, via CCP or by e-mail to

Viewpoint: The trouble with democracy? Everyone gets to vote.

[The following column was originally commissioned by the magazine Shoreline of Infinity, which decided against publishing it and immediately cancelled my column. We would welcome your feedback below.]

Back in the sepia-tinted Late 1970s, when I first entered the arena of local newspaper journalism, we would often receive packages from obscure publishers containing what purported to be an astonishingly innovative novel, an amazing collection of inspirational poetry, a life-changing guide into new realms of philosophy and arcane metaphysics. And very nearly without exception, they would be redirected straight into the wastebin.
       Trouble is, the scumbags sending these books out – at the author’s ludicrously inflated expense – were vanity presses, and they held absolutely no credibility with those of us whose words were committed to print by virtue of talent and effort. If that sounds harsh, I suggest you consider skipping this column.

By the late 1980s, I was spending my spare time co-editing the semi-pro magazine Critical Wave, which meant a name-check in the annual Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. It wasn’t long after our first entry appeared that the fiction and poetry began arriving, despite our stated policy that neither was being solicited.
       One desperate individual even sent us what I was fairly certain was the original typescript of his novel, without the courtesy of return postage; I just hoped the author kept a photocopy, especially as the covering note mentioned he’d been assured of its literary merits by one of those same vanity presses I mentioned (scarcely surprising feedback given their base business model).

Now, of course, we’re expected to live under the delusion is that there are no barriers to literary “success”: finance, advertising, ability. In actual fact, ready accessibility to such platforms as CreateSpace and Lulu makes it more difficult to get your work noticed, not less. For every Andy Weir, whose science fiction novel The Martian was snapped up by Random House a mere three years after he released it on Kindle, there are hundreds of other writers clamouring for attention.

Worse still, the industry has become deformed to the point that even those with proven talent are frequently expected to work for a pittance on the dubious grounds that such exposure will boost their career, an argument which ignores the obvious trajectory of such “promotion”: as soon as its beneficiary feels confident enough to charge for his or her services, another author, editor, artist or designer will have stepped forward to take their place.
       In such an economy, the culture is itself devalued: the so-called Digital Democracy claims to offer a wealth of opportunity, but it comes at too heavy a price for many of us.

Lifetime achievement honours for Alan Moore, George A Romero

The comics writer and novelist Alan Moore, best known for Watchmen and V for Vendetta, and Night of the Living Dead director George A Romero have been announced as this year’s recipients of the World Horror Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony will take place at Stokercon, being held in Las Vegas in May, but it is not known whether either will attend in person.

Awards committee chair Patrick Freivald described Moore as “a giant of speculative literature who has irrevocably transformed public perception of what a comic or graphic novel can be” and praised his “unflinching boldness”.

Romero’s career has had “an incalculable impact on horror and dark fiction”, he added. “From movies to TV to video games, one might be hard-pressed to find a horror writer who has not benefited from and has been influenced by his body of work.”

Above: Jacen Burrows’ cover for the latest issue of Alan Moore’s Lovecraft-inspired series Providence.

This is Horror announces annual awards

Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts has been named 2015’s ‘novel of the year’ by readers of the UK website This is Horror. Movie rights were snapped up by Focus Features shortly before its publication by William Morrow last June. The runner-up was Adam Nevill’s Lost Girl.

Winners in the other categories were: novella, The Box Jumper by Lisa Mannetti; short story collection, Sing Me Your Scars by Damien Angelica Walters; anthology, Cthulhu Fhtagn!, edited by Ross E Lockhart; magazine, Apex; publisher, Word Horde; film, It Follows; television show, Hannibal (season three); podcast, The Outer Dark; artist, Daniele Serra.

Beyond the farthest shore

A tender tale of a love strong enough to bridge the ocean between life and death will be the latest addition to Eureka Entertainment’s Masters of Cinema Blu-ray/DVD library.

The latest work from acclaimed Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Journey to the Shore explores the concept of mitoru, a belief that there are many levels of existence, not all physical. In his own words: “For the longest time, it has been my opinion that the body and the spirit exist on different planes. That is why I have always found it a little hasty to think that death takes both simultaneously.

“Despite this, whenever I thought of portraying ghosts in fictional terms, my inspiration limited itself to a story like: They become ghosts and do their utmost to exact uncompromising revenge. As you know, this type of ghost is a classic among classics and has long-existed in Japanese kwaidan (horror films), but also in Shakespeare.

“In Journey to the Shore, a completely new form of death appears. Better yet, the figure described here is fundamentally different from the usual ghosts or dead people one usually finds.”

Tabanobu Asano stars as Yusuke, a fisherman lost at sea but who is apparently drawn back to his wife Misuki (Eri Fukatsu) three years later. Strangely, she is not surprised by his return, merely puzzled that it took him so long, and readily agrees to accompany him on yet another journey.

Following screenings at this month’s Glasgow Film Festival, Kurosawa’s film will be released by Eureka in both Blu-ray and DVD editions on 23 May.

221B Barker Street

In the 129 years since his first adventure was penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes has faced a bewildering variety of challenges, from sinister supervillains to femme fatales, Jack the Ripper to Count Dracula, giant rats to genetically-engineered dinosaurs. This summer, however, the world’s greatest detective will encounter arguably his most bizarre foes yet, the dimension-jumping Cenobites from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser movie franchise.

Following Barker’s own works The Hellbound Heart and The Scarlet Gospels, Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell has been written by Paul Kane and will be published in July by UK imprint Solaris.

“I’m incredibly excited – if also more than a little daunted – by the prospect of this book, ” Kane said. “Readers can expect a very different kind of Holmes book, and a very different kind of novel featuring Hell and its famous Servants.”

Ghostwords TV: episode one online

The inaugural episode of Ghostwords TV is now available online, featuring an interview with Ramsey Campbell, news and reviews, editorial opinion and a personal tribute to David Bowie. You can subscribe to the feed here.

Not only scream queens: it’s Women in Horror Month

The seventh annual Women in Horror Month launched on 1 February, with the aim of promoting the immense contribution of women to the horror movie industry, both in front of and behind the camera.

Among the many events planned internationally are social gatherings in central London on 16 and 18 February, and special short film showcase and panel discussion at the Whirled Cinema on 23 February.

Nor does the schedule end on 29 February: the theme continues on 6-7 March with the sixth Jennifer’s Bodies Film Festival in Glasgow, featuring a guest appearance on Saturday evening by Tristan Risk, star of Mania, American Mary and the forthcoming Harvest Lake.

The WiHM website also hosts Ax Blood, an open blog for announcements and plugs for related projects.

Camden’s Film Fair launches 2016 schedule

Camden’s bimonthly Film Fair for fans of horror and science fiction movies and television hosts its first 2016 gathering on Saturday, 13 February. The headline guests are screen queen and Horror Channel host Emily Booth, actor Nicholas Ball and artist Graham Humphreys (who’ll no doubt be signing copies of his new artbook Drawing Bloodavailable at an exclusive £30 discount via Rose of Eibon).

Future events will be held on 16 April, 25 June, 3 September, 22 October and 10 December at the Electric Ballroom, Camden High Street, London, NW1 8QP (next to Camden Town tube station).

Eisner legacy aids comics free speech

A unique selection of comic books and related memorabilia from the personal library of the late Will Eisner is being auctioned on eBay in aid of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

All items include Eisner’s personal bookplate, featuring his famous creation The Spirit, and many are personalised to him.

Founded by Denis Kitchen (Kitchen Press) in 1996, the CBLDF aims to protect First Amendment rights of comics creators, publishers and retailers.