Horror in Brighton!
Our sunny seaside city is known for many things; a tourism mecca, impressive architecture, iconic landmarks and spectacular views, but perhaps less obviously for its thriving horror fan community. We’ve all seen ghost hunter Silus conducting his Ghost Walks while passing through The Lanes and heard the stories of the haunted public houses and the tales of ghostly screams coming from Clayton Tunnel. It’s not surprising then that last year’s travelling World Horror Convention was hosted in Brighton. The domineering pier and dark skies gave the event the perfect backdrop. But what many Britonians are unaware of are the independent movements of certain residents to bring horror back to the masses, for audiences old and new.
My first encounter with this was last winter when I first attended the monthly short film club, Moviebar. Battling the elements I made my way to The Cornerstone pub on Elm Road, sat in a comfy chair and was treated to a free selection of brand new short horror films, from both local and national talent. There was something special about sharing a love of these films in a social setting. After many successful years, host Chris Regan has moved Moviebar to the more central venue the Caroline of Brunswick on Ditchling Road. Not just horror films are featured but that is where Chris’ film love lies and you can find him there on the first Monday night of every month.
The Caroline of Brunswick pub is no stranger to the horror scene, hosting earlier in the year the latest Brighton Shocks season; a 60 day-long festival of free cult screenings including the best from the so-called video nasties list and the exploitation genre. The venue’s lovely first floor screening room makes you feel as though you are sharing a secret with the rest of the audience as you climb the stairs.
Even cinematic stalwart The Duke of York’s picture house is embracing the retro horror scene of late with its late night chiller features. Most notably with their zombie all-nighters, Jaws revival and live transmission of Frankenstein. They even screened William Castle classic The Tingler one late Friday night.
I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember and it seemed a natural progression for me to be involved in a campaign to encourage the BBC to bring the old horror double bills of the 1970’s back to terrestrial TV. The Classic Horror Campaign was founded in Brighton by local resident Richard Gladman because he felt that television no longer catered for the classic horror fan and felt that there was still a place for these films in today’s culture. And it seems that the public agree as now over 1,700 people have signed the petition. To promote the campaign we have organised a series of film screenings celebrating the double bills with features like Night of the Demon, Vampire Circus, Cat People and Scream & Scream Again. The next double bill will be at Brighton’s Komedia on the 21st August with the original House on Haunted Hill and Asylum.