Reece Sheersmith and Mark Gatiss
Bafflegab

Help crowdfund Blood on Satan’s Claw with Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith

Blood on Satan's ClawThem there Bafflegab people (producers of Baker’s End, The Scarifyers, Hammer Chillers and The Brenda and Effie Mysteries) have a new crowdfunding project on the way that will feature those highly famous League of Gentlemen people Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith:

46 years after the original film, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith are fronting a new audio adaptation of ‘70s horror classic Blood on Satan’s Claw.

Produced by Bafflegab Productions and adapted by horror writer Mark Morris, Blood on Satan’s Claw will also feature the star of the original film, Linda Hayden, alongside a stellar cast that includes Alice Lowe (Sightseers, Prevenge), John Heffernan (Ripper Street, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell), Ralph Ineson (The Witch, The Office) and Philip Hill-Pearson (Shameless, Good Cop).

Some scenes were recorded earlier this week, but Bafflegab will be starting a crowdfunding campaign in coming weeks to finance the remainder of the project. Crowdfunders will be able to receive exclusive rewards by donating towards production costs. There will be more details at www.bafflegab.co.uk or Bafflegab’s Facebook page in the next few days.

Mark Gatiss says: “I first saw Blood on Satan’s Claw in the Friday night horror slot on Tyne Tees television, when I was a kid. I remember it vividly because it scared the life out of me. It’s so distinctly different. The pitch for the film is so strange, and it’s very much in that folk horror tradition: dark, bucolic, earthy and genuinely disquieting. It’s a fabulous tale.”

Linda Hayden added: “It’s lovely working with Reece Shearsmith and Mark Gatiss, as they’re huge fans of the film. I’m really honoured. It was always a really atmospheric piece, and the script to this new audio really captures that.”

Scriptwriter Mark Morris says: “I was first captivated by its unsettling, nightmarish atmosphere at the age of 12 or 13, since when it’s been one of my favourite horror films. I leaped at the chance, therefore, to adapt and expand the original screenplay for this new audio version, and from day one this has been a real labour of love. The calibre of the cast we’ve been able to attract to the project is phenomenal, and a testament to the film’s enduring impact. Blood on Satan’s Claw is back – and I’m incredibly proud, this time around, to be a part of it.”

Blood on Satan’s Claw sits alongside Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man as one of the three films which make up the sub-genre known as folk horror. In it, a village in 17th Century England is overcome by a Satanic plague, after a hideous skull is found in the furrows of a farmer’s field. The village youth fall quickly under the devil’s spell and retreat to the woodland to conduct games of sexual violence and sacrifice.

Gatiss is, of course, correct: Tyne Tees television scares the life out of everyone. Fingers crossed, with a bit of your cash, he and Shearsmith will be able to scare you with this new version of the movie.

Audio and radio play reviews

Review: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries – Bat Out of Hull

Brenda and Effie - Bat Out Of HullIt’s time for the return of superstar guest reviewer Jonathan Dennis who once again has enabled me to avoid insanity by taking on some of my workload. This time, following his triumphant success at reviewing the first Brenda and Effie Mystery, The Woman In A Black Beehive, he’s turned his attention to the second part, Bat Out of Hull.

I’ll hand over to Jonathan after the jump, but first, a synopsis!

Plot
Welcome back to Whitby! Come and join Brenda and Effie for a night out at the Christmas Hotel, where a once-famous ventriloquist delights in causing chaos and putting the willies up old women.

Why does long-eared bat puppet Tolstoy seem eerily alive of his own accord? Why is Brenda walking about the harbour at night in only her night-things? And what is the secret of the olde-worlde toyshop tucked up an alley in Robin Hood’s Bay?

There is strangeness occurring at the seaside, and our heroines will be forced, once more, to beat off the forces of darkness before this night is through.

Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax, Dinnerladies) stars in episode 2 of The Brenda and Effie Mysteries. You can buy each release individually, or subscribe to the whole series. Subscribers will also receive a digital copy of Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective by Paul Magrs, plus an exclusive Brenda and Effie art print by artist Paul Hanley.

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries – The Woman in a Black Beehive

cover.jpgHello all. Well I may have been a lazy boy over the Christmas period, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has been one, too.

In fact, kind soul, philanthropist and all round nice guy Jonathan Dennis has been doing my work for me, reviewing the latest Bafflegab production: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries – The Woman In A Black Beehive. Bless him.

Bafflegab, of course, are responsible for the likes of the Hammer Chillers and the Vince Cosmos series, and The Woman In a Black Beehive represents the first of a series of Brenda and Effie mysteries, all written by the brilliant Paul Magrs as extensions of his original novel series.

For those who want to know more, here’s the synopsis, and you can read Jonathan’s review after the jump.

Plot
Welcome to the mysterious town of Whitby, where all the monsters and demons of old come to retire and live out the remainder of their spooky days and nights and eat fish and chips on the Seafront.

There’s a strange new landlady in town, opening a B&B by the harbour; a lady with a tall black beehive, nasty scars about her person and a very chequered past. Soon she’s teamed up with part-time witch Effie and together they investigate the mystery of the ghostly singing cat on the rooftops of the old town, and the savage maulings of old ladies in lonely alleyways. Also – there’s something very peculiar about the quite frankly awful oil painting Effie drags home from an auction. Can it really be coming to ghastly life?

Here we are at the very start: about to hear the truth of what happened when Brenda met Effie and hell was unleashed in Whitby for the very first time..!

Paul Magrs’ macabre creations are brought to life by Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) in episode 1 of The Brenda and Effie Mysteries. You can buy each release individually, or subscribe to the whole series. Subscribers will also receive a copy of Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective by Paul Magrs, plus other subscriber bonuses.

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: Hammer Chillers – season 1

Hammer ChillersA little while ago, Bafflegab Productions announced the launch of Hammer Chillers, a series of weekly audio horror plays produced in conjunction with Hammer. Each week, a new play – lovingly priced at a mere £2.99 per halfish-hour episode – was released. The authors were pretty impressive, too, with Stephen Gallagher (Eleventh Hour), Stephen Volk (Ghostwatch), Paul Magrs (Vince Cosmos) and comedian Robin Ince in the line-up.

But you know me. Finding the time to listen to all these and write a review of them. Surely that would be impossible?

Well it’s not, and now that all six episodes have been made available and are now available to buy en masse as a download or on CD come next Friday, it’s time to review all of them: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Follow me after the jump…

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: Hammer Chillers – The Box

Hammer ChillersSo here’s something interesting and new. Bafflegab Productions, which recently launched the Vince Cosmos audio play series, has developed a new series of horror plays for Hammer, which feature the likes of Stephens Gallagher and Volk. Here’s a press release:

Hammer has announced a partnership with audio specialist Bafflegab Productions to launch ‘Hammer Chillers’, a series of original audio dramas, which will be available as six weekly downloadable episodes from June 2013.

Continuing Hammer’s expansion into the development of original content, the first series of the all-new material comes from a host of acclaimed writers including Stephen Volk (The Awakening), Stephen Gallagher (ITV’s Eleventh Hour), Doctor Who and young adult novelist Paul Magrs, stand-up comedian and writer Robin Ince and award-winning horror novelists Christopher Fowler and Mark Morris.

Episodes are available to pre-order now at www.hammerchillers.com ahead of the 7th June release and are priced at £2.99 per episode. From the end of July, fans can also download the entire series as a package and order the series on CD which will include bonus material.

Writer Stephen Volk said: “Hammer films have been a massive influence on my writing from the days when I sneaked into the White Palace cinema in my home town of Pontypridd to see the likes of The Devil Rides Out and The Vampire Lovers. Now to be writing an audio drama under the Hammer banner is a dream (or nightmare!) come true.”

Simon Oakes, CEO and President of Hammer Films and vice-chairman of Exclusive Media commented: “Hammer Chillers are a fantastic addition to the range of quality original content that we strive to produce and we’re excited to welcome such celebrated authors to the Hammer family.”

Bafflegab Productions Executive Producer Simon Barnard added: “Hammer Chillers will be every bit as terrifying as their celebrated cinematic counterparts. We are proud to partner with Hammer and hope that our tales take listeners on supernatural journeys that will make them afraid to turn off the lights afterwards.”

You may have noticed that because I’m operating at my normal speed, that means the first episode, The Box, is already available to download. Nevertheless, review after the jump

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