But after this I'm getting offline. Somehow still being online at six raises the chances of still being here at 8.30, and being knackered. Anyway, as I was saying:OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! WANTWANTWANTWANTWANT!
I just about died reading this. Not only is here is a guy writing horror stories set in Northern Ireland, they're vampire
books. And this is all just so encouraging considering that what I am writing is suspense/horror which is locally set and which very much relies on that sense of place...
See, I've come to the conclusion that there is a rich vein of good horror fiction in this place that is only just beginning to be tapped. (I can't apologise enough for using the kind of cliche beloved of the mainstream media when discussing the genre; I'm just tired enough that no other phrasing springs to mind.) I began to realise this when I heard about Battle of the Bone
- and let me tell you, I wish I'd heard about it soon enough to participate in the shoot when they were looking for extras.
Battle of the Bone
(released on DVD today), a movie in which rival sectarian factions come together to kick zombie ass, came about because director George Clarke was advised that he wouldn't get funding unless the film involved the Troubles. I love the subversiveness of his riposte; the fact that it's a chance to mock both genre and local cliches, and the fact that this is a local film made by local people (that cliche was
intentional, and there will be more LoG
-ness later) rather than opportunistic use of Troubles-related stuff by film-makers from elsewhere who don't necessarily understand what they're playing with.
So, what was I saying about horror and Northern Ireland? Well, I've got a theory. The present generation of up-and-coming film-makers, novelists and other creators grew up during the Troubles and absorbed mordant humour, a sense of the fragility of life, and a polarisation of "good" and "evil" (which of course varied according to one's perspective) as prime influences. All those things can play into an appreciation of, and desire to play around with, the horror genre.
Historically, horror has been a genre which waned during major conflicts and prospered during peacetime; other people have written much more incisively than I could about why that's the case (this being but a humble fannish blog from one who hopes to turn pro), but it strikes me that there is a small but growing movement of people here who are synthesising both their heritage and the conventions of the genre to produce something distinctive, and an audience ready to appreciate these works. I'd happily count myself among the passengers/drivers of either bandwagon. You might be interested in the website of Yellow Fever Productions, the people behind Battle of the Bone. The one caveat is that there are some flashing images in the site intro.
In other incoherence-inducingly exciting news, the Radio Times
informs me that new TV goodness from members of the League of Gentlemen will soon be upon us. Psychoville
(with a cast including many interesting people, of whom Dawn French particularly pleases me) began shooting recently, and - oh my stars and garters! - Mark Gatiss's Crooked House
will be shown over Christmas, and is a portmeanteau horror featuring stories in the M.R. James mould. It will be on BBC4, appropriately enough, since the channel has already featured new James adaptations and last year repeated the very popular old ones during the Christmas period. As if many of you were not quivering with delight already, the cast will include Derren Brown in his first acting role.
*listens to thuds as everywhere, fangirls fall off their chairs raving that the Tivo must be set with the utmost care, etc. etc.*
I thought you'd be pleased.