Horror Favourites – Mark Sheridan

With the UK and Irish release of Mark Sheridan’s occult horror CRONE WOOD this Feb we managed to grab the director to chat about what scary movies he loves the most.

Elva Trill (Line of Duty) and Ed Murphy (Vikings) star as a young couple who embark on a camping adventure in the countryside. They choose Crone Wood, an infamous spot with a history of witches and folklore. But as the darkness settles, strange noises can be heard and mysterious lights are spotted between the trees. What starts out as a curiosity, quickly descends into a nightmare as the two discover that the horrors of Crone Wood go far beyond local legend. Thrown into a world of cults and ritualistic murder, they quickly discover that pagan Ireland is alive and well.

Combining the authentic pagan ritualism of The Wicker Man with the emersive found footage style of The Blair Witch Project CRONE WOOD has won the support of Asda and Morrisons, two leading supemarkets that will be stocking the DVD. Other outlets where the DVD can be pre-ordered include Amazon, HMV, Simply and Base.

Below Mark Sheridan discusses his favorite horror film The Wickerman:

“My favourite horror film shifts and changes but the one I seem to come back to the most is Robin Hardy’s The Wickerman. Anyone who has seen Crone Wood will easily see the influence the film has had on me.

I’d been deep into horror since my teenage years but somehow this one had slipped me by until my early twenties. The then newly released directors cut was the closing film of the Horrorthon (Irelands annual horror film festival). All I knew was the name and the eye grabbing poster that spoils the ending.

From the first moments I was caught off guard, Howie, a repressed police officer hears of a missing girl and suddenly soulful folk music filled the cinema as we swept over idyllic images of Summerisle. This film was not trying to make me jump. I was so used to the formula we all know and love in horror films that I wasn’t sure how to process it. I think what makes the film so enduring is its calmness, its comfort presenting all of this as matter of fact with no need to over dramatize it.

As the film progresses, so did my view of Howie, from a closed-minded character that was pitiful, to a sympathetic one. I couldn’t help but feel for him and his beliefs as he is mocked at every corner and toyed with and eventually pays the ultimate price for them.

The Wickerman succeeds in the same way Texas Chainsaw massacre succeeds. There isn’t one particular scene that defines its achievements. It’s the film as a whole that works on you, gets under your skin and unnerves. Sure we have iconic images such as the candle made from a human hand, pagan animal masks, Willow’s dance of seduction and of course the Wickerman himself, but none of these really accurately summarises the journey the film brings you on. The warm and friendly songs that fill the film tempt us to embrace their world, to see it the way they want us to.

When we finally reach the steps of the Wickerman, Howie’s resignation to the inevitable is matched with our own. Resistance is futile. A group of people caught up in religious zealotry cannot be reasoned with. The terrifying truth revealed. Alone we cannot win. We see the seductions, the attractions, the simplicity of it all…but also the inevitable end. The most telling moment, before Howie is carried to his destiny is when he calls out Christopher Lee’s Lord Summerisle and points out that if the sacrifice doesn’t work this time, his head will be next. A moment of reality seems to dawn on Summerisle, but it is too late for them to question, they will carry on regardless and worry about consequences another day.

Its not a traditional horror film but it is a unique one. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it to treat themselves, and if you haven’t seen it in a while, revisit.”

CRONE WOOD is available now DVD and VOD to stream and download from Sky Store, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Apple TV.

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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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