Tag Archives: The Amityville Horror

Phantoms of the Soap Operas

Silva bullet

The rather fantastically titled Strippers Vs Werewolves, from award-winning British Writer, Pat Higgins, begins filming today. Featuring a host of former soap talent, including Emmerdale’s Adele Silva, Dean Newman takes a look at those other stars who have swapped the world of soap for that of stalk and slash.

Melissa George

One of the most prolific scream queens to have swapped all things soap for the sinister is Melissa George who used to call Home and Away, as the character Angel, home before swapping it for a short stay in The Amityville Horror in the role of Kathy Lutz. More recently she’s also had a sense of déjà vu in ship based horror, Triangle, not to be mixed up with the early 80s North Sea ferry crossing soap drama, taking in Felixstowe, Gothenburg and Amsterdam, now that does sound like the stuff of nightmares!  She also turned up in Paradise Lost and 30 Days of Night.

Joe Absolom  

As Matthew Rose in EastEnders, Joe featured in one of the show’s more memorable storylines where he was in the frame for the murder of Saskia, who was killed by sometime sofa salesman and former Kray twin, Martin Kemp (who also features in Strippers Vs Werewolves by the way).

Ouija board horror thriller, Long Time Dead. It wasn’t the most original piece of filmmaking but was still nice to see British horror on the big screen.

A young Londoner and his friends use a Ouija board to hold a séance, triggering a chain of mysterious deaths that may be caused by an otherworldly force. It’s a brave if not original attempt at young Brit horror even if it does feel somewhat like an episode of Hollyoaks After Dark.

Hannah Tointon

This Hollyoaks moppet, whose sister Kara was also on EastEnders, left the relative safety of Chester for the rather effective and nasty British chiller, The Children. Set in an isolated large house hired for the holidays by two families it isn’t long before the holiday atmosphere is punctured by the accidental death of one of the grown ups. It turns out that the children are the ones behind the mischief and one by one each starts getting infected by a virus that sends them round the murderous twist like a handful of tiny Gabes from Pet Semetery. The film keeps you glued and guessing who’ll make the credits until the very end. Highly recommended.

Brookside Close

So far it’s been former soap actors that have turned up in horror films after leaving their respective programmes, but in a twist one of the sets has also become the star of its very own horror film! That’s right, Jimmy Corkhill might well have painted the letter‘d’ onto the end of Brookside Close when it was canned by Channel 4 in 2003, but in the great tradition of many a horror film it came back from the dead as a filming location for a low budget British horror film, Salvage, of course when used in the soap the Brookside soap set was home to such unspeakable horrors as religious cults, a body under the patio and Ron Dixon toupee…shudder. It was even penned by a Hollyoaks script writer.

Todd Carty

This former EastEnder, the Fonz of Grange Hill and crazy copper from The Bill recently swapped stepping out in front of the lens to behind it for his Directorial debut helming The Perfect Burger, a low budget children’s horror set in a school where the old head dies of gluttony and a new one instigates a healthy regime featuring nutritionally perfect burgers. All is well until children start disappearing.

Not sure whether Todd Carty is the next Tod Browning, Director of the 1931 version of Dracula and Freaks, but if he can channel the same audience responses of horror to his filmmaking as to his ice-skating on ‘Dancing On Ice’ then he is already halfway there!

Craig Fairbrass

From London’s Burning to potty mouthed thug in Cliffhanger, Craig Fairbrass, has had a varied career which also saw him pulling pints, picking up ladies and punching punters during a stint at The Queen Vic as Dan. Post pint pulling he has also turned up, minus a jaw, in White Noise 2 and on the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, still retaining his East End accent throughout. I even served him once in Blockbusters in Sidcup.

Matthew Marsden

Ah, Matt went a bit barmy as the character of Chris Collins, sloping off with Sally Webster and eventually holding her hostage. Them were the days. Since the days of Betty’s hot pot Mr Marsden carved out a short niche as a pop star and then found himself in various low budget movies, including Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. Since then he’s avoided any more snakes and worked himself up the Hollywood ladder with supporting roles in Rambo 4 and Transformers 2. If only Sally Webster could see him now!

Jennifer Ellison

As the character of Emily, Ellison spent her time on Brookside Close and decided to stick with housing of a different kind in the horror comedy, The Cottage, where she was kidnapped by Andy Serkis, as well as featuring in The Phantom of the Opera remake with Gerard Butler.

Nikki Sanderson

Another youngster from the cobbles of Corrie hoping to make it big in Hollywood! Nikki, who played Candice, went straight to DVD in The Boogeyman 3, where she ends up dying when taking a bath when the Boogeyman attacks her, continuing that fine tradition of near naked bathroom horror moments in the likes of Psycho and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Adam Croasdell

As Walford’s Dr Al Jenkins his tenure on Enders might not have been the longest but he certainly sent the ladies hearts a fluttering. Fed the line that his character was off to Cornwall, Croasdell was actually swapping Albert Square for Albert Scare for a plum role in Supernatural with the Winchester brothers. Not sure what Dot Cotton would have made of it all but he’s playing Baldur, the Norse god of light, can’t say I could have seen Dr Legg getting that particular gig!

Case 39 AKA Bridget Jones and the edge of insanity

Renee, steady, go

Is it a question of case dismissed as dismal or file under ‘E’ for enjoyable for this Renee Zellweger horror? Dean Newman discusses his notes.

I’m pleased to report that this chiller delivers some quite fun and effective hebegeebes and is neither the disaster nor bore that I had feared. It may not be the most original horror thriller ever, taking various cues from the likes of The Exorcist, The Omen and even The Ring, but it certainly more than held the interest.

Zellweger stars as Social Worker, Emily Jenkins, who is handed the Case 39 of the title and discovers all is not well at the Sullivan household where 10 year old Lillith is being abused and threatened by her mum and dad. Things come to a head when a concerned Zellweger gatecrashes the Sullivan’s with cop friend, Mike Barron (Ian McShane) to see the 10 year old being placed in the families’ oven, in one of the film’s standout moments and perhaps cinema’s greatest fridge pummelling outside of Tom & Jerry.

Jenkins takes the child into care, but nothing is as it seems and playing temporary foster mum is far from child’s play (save for the Chucky variety) and events and deaths soon escalate, including an impressive insect set piece that does for hornets what The Amityville Horror did for flies.

The child prays and plays on people’s fears, adding a further dimension to the proceedings, but can Zellweger’s character face her fears and save herself, the people close to her and her own sanity?

Zellweger follows in the footsteps of the likes of Naomi Watts (The Ring), Jennifer Connelly (Dark Water), Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Return) and Julianne Moore (The Forgotten and the soon to be released Shelter) into the realm of Hollywood women headlining oh so creepy horror but thankfully this isn’t as painfully slow paced as the recent likes of The Unborn (shame on you David S Goyer) and The Return, both of which were painfully dull and slow. Note to horror writers and directors, just because The Ring was a slow burner and did good box office it doesn’t mean that slow equals worthy or watchable horror.

Sure, Case 39 is not without its faults and isn’t going to top anyone’s greatest horror movie list but it does have a couple of nice memorable set pieces, as mentioned above, some effective jumps and a fine supporting cast, namely in the form of Bradley (soon to be ‘Face Man’ in The A Team) Cooper and Ian McShane.

For me I found this piece of horror hokum as much fun as White Noise and other recent child horror fare, The Children and Orphan, the latter which also shares a thing or two with this Omen-esque relation. It’s certainly a fun frightfest and I found it far more interesting and engaging than how the ‘story’ in Paranormal Activity, which sound design aside was rather trite, unfolded.

3/5