Horror Favourites – Sean Hogan

Perfectly timed for Christmas Sean Hogan the fabulous writer and director of The Devil’s Business tells us all about his favourite horror film to celebrate his new horror short WE ALWAYS FIND OURSELVES IN THE SEA.

This creepy Christmas themed tale of terror written and directed by Hogan and produced by the team behind FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD in the wintry tradition of the classic M.R. James hearthside tales and was made to coincide with the new anthology book YULETIDE TERROR: CHRISTMAS HORROR ON FILM AND TELEVISION by renowned authors Stephen Thrower (NIGHTMARE USA) and Derek Johnston (HAUNTED SEASONS).

YULETIDE TERROR: CHRISTMAS HORROR ON FILM AND TELEVISION, is a comprehensive new collection of essays set to deck your halls with insightful looks at all your festive fright favourites, from the BBC’s A GHOST STORY FOR CHRISTMAS series to SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (and the ensuing controversy), from Eastern European folk-horrors all the way up to the seasonal succubi of the “New French Extremity”—followed by a compendium of nearly 200 Christmas horror film reviews.

The book and short are being toured with a variety of events going on and you can find out more plus buy a copy on Spectacular’s website : http://www.spectacularoptical.ca/store/product/yuletide-terror-christmas-horror-on-film-and-television-2/ Sean’s short is also currently available to stream via Shudder HERE and should be available to watch free online over Christmas (details TBC).

“For my horror favourite, I wanted to talk about a Christmas ghost story – given that I’ve just made one – and finally settled upon Herbert Wise’s 1989 TV film of THE WOMAN IN BLACK. Adapted from Susan Hill’s novel by legendary screenwriter Nigel Kneale, this is a perfect example of what the best of UK TV horror does so well; economical of means yet superbly eerie and atmospheric, its relative simplicity only serving to augment the growing sense of dread present throughout.

Compare it to the 2012 Hammer version and it becomes clear why so many people hold the subtlety of the British television ghost story tradition in such high esteem: the cinema film is clogged with overdone gothic theatrics and lazily reliant on jump scares, whereas the 1989 film understands the value of the slow burn and that the simple wrongness of the Woman’s early appearances are worth a hundred cheap jolts. When you also consider the overt plot pilfering from RINGU and the sentimental copout ending (the abrupt horror of Wise/Kneale’s climax stands in stark contrast), the crass opportunism of Hammer’s production becomes all too apparent. Nevertheless, Susan Hill reportedly disliked Wise’s version, which only goes to prove once again that authors are often not the best judges when it comes to adaptations of their work (*cough* Stephen King *cough*).

All I can say is that it terrified my teenage self on its original Christmas Eve broadcast, and continues to chill all these years later. It can be difficult to track down these days, but if you fancy treating yourself to a ghostly Christmas present, it’s more than worth the effort.”

Check out the rest of our Horror Favourites by clicking the link. Buy the book YULETIDE TERROR: CHRISTMAS HORROR ON FILM AND TELEVISION online here Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television and Watch the special book trailer below:


Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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