Wednesday, 29 June 2011

First American screening for Devil's Rock

THE DEVIL'S ROCK will have its first official screening on the North American continent at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, which gets underway on July 15.

This is a pretty exciting development for us. Though the US and Canadian rights to the movie have already been sold, the North American landmass is a potentially colossal market, and as we want as many people to see the film as possible, we want the word to travel right across it.

In that respect, we couldn't really be in better comnpany at Fantasia. Look at some of the other movies that will be exhibiting there: Kevin Smith's RED STATE, the tale of a bunch of outcasts who fall victim to the worst kind of fundamentalism, and Robin Hardy's THE WICKER TREE, described as the 'spiritual sequel to the 1974 classic, THE WICKER MAN, not to mention sundry other fascinating-sounding forays into the world of movie terror.

We're defintiely in august company, and if THE DEVIL'S ROCK can hold its head up among contemporary motion pictures of that standard then we'll have done our job.

Director Paul Campion will be present at the Fantasia screening, along with stars of the film, Matt Sunderland and Karlos Drinkwater.

In related news, Paul Campion is interviewed at length on the GOREPRESS website.

It's the most in-depth interview that I've seen with Paul to date. He talks about the intensely detailed prep and research that we had to do to bring this movie to life, and how he handled the suicidally swift production schedule. He also heaps praise on all his staff, who were as professional as it was possible to be under such circumstances, and talks about one of our movie's most shocking moments, now being referred to in some online quarters as the "German Deep Throat". This was a scene I enjoyed writing very much, though apparently more than a few viewers have been horrified by it (well tough - it's a horror movie, ya know!).

But there's some good, informative stuff in there. For those interested in actually hearing Paul chat about the movie, you can tune into The Vue Film Show, Channel 4 on July 7th, 11.50pm, where he gives another interview.

If nothing else, it's worth listening to Paul because he knows what he's talking about. After all, he was schooled at the knee of one of the masters of modern cinema - Peter Jackson. It was quite an eye-opener for me, working through the script with him, and on occasion being told: "We can't afford to have a hand chopped off here. That would be too expensive. It costs five grand to chop off a hand, but only about two grand to chop off a finger and thumb. Can we keep the hand but lose the finger and thunb?"

Yep, that's the kind of surreal world I was living in while THE DEVIL'S ROCK was being born.

Anyway, those are the latest updates on the film, though folk may be interested to know that Paul Campion and I are now developing three other movies together, a horror, a thriller and a wartime actioner. In two cases the scripts are already written and all that remains to be settled is the money - you know, that famous bugbear of all creative artists who have the temerity to want to do this for a living? - but meetings in that regard will be kicking off next week, so fingers crossed (if they haven't been chopped off, that is).

It's always a delight to make the short-lists

I’m completely delighted to be able to announce that three of my recent books have been short-listed for the British Fantasy Award for 2011.

In terms of workload, this is proving to be one of the toughest years I’ve had since becoming a full-time author in 1998. Quite frankly, I‘ve never had as many urgent projects to work on all at the same time.

On one hand that’s a good thing (it certainly beats being unemployed), but on the other – working all day and every evening, weekends included, can be an immense drag. I feel as if I’ve been slogging through some of these particular jobs forever. However, I'm under no illusions that there are many tougher occupations in the world (I used to work in one), and in my chosen field now the rewards can be great. To be recognised by your peers as having achieved something worthwhile within the genre, which is basically what the British Fantasy Awards boil down to, is one such - and a massive privilege.

So here’s the deal with the BFS shortlists.

There are various categories. You can heck them out in full, all finalist nominees included, HERE.

You'll see that SPARROWHAWK has been nominated in the ‘Best Novella’ group, and that both WALKERS IN THE DARK and ONE MONSTER IS NOT ENOUGH have been short-listed side by side for ‘Best Collection By A Single Author’.

Believe it or not, this is a slightly difficult situation – for various reasons. To start with, in both categories I’m competing against close friends and colleagues. Secondly, though it’s wonderful to have two nominations in a single category, there is the inevitable possibility that it may ‘split my vote’ so to speak.

But what the Hell … these things happen. And it could be a lot worse. I could have no nominations at all. It’s just very gratifying to see three of what I consider to be my best books to date getting a little bit of positive attention.

SPARROWHAWK probably needs no introduction to anyone, not least because I focussed on it on this blog only last week, when a very decent review of it appeared in the superb BLACK STATIC magazine. It tells the story, for those who haven’t read it, of an Afghan War veteran in the 1840s, who is released from the debtor’s prison and allotted a mysterious task by a beautiful and enigmatic woman. Almost inevitably, this leads him into gave danger as the coldest winter in living memory descends on London, and an evil, supernatural presence makes itself known which will soon turn the entire notion of Christmas on its head.

WALKERS IN THE DARK and ONE MONSTER IS NOT ENOUGH contain five and eight stories respectively. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, remember that most of these tales are novellas, so these are still hefty collections. Rather than go through them story-by-story in a belated attempt to whet the appetite of those who haven’t yet read them, I’ll list the tables of contents and include the blurb from the back of each book.


In this dynamic new collection, Paul Finch draws on fact, legend and myth to create five terrifying tales spanning the length and breadth of Great Britain, from the mountains of Snowdonia to industrial Lancashire, and from northern Scotland to a run-down district of Liverpool. Readers will encounter the shape-shifting Baobhan Sith and the horrifying ‘Red Clogs’; search for the monstrous afanc of Wales; be haunted by the spectres of a war long past but not forgotten, and, in the spectacular title story, take part in a treasure hunt that goes terrifyingly wrong …


The Formless
Season Of Mist
Fathoms Green And Noisome
Golgotha Way
Walkers In The Dark


Eight tales of nightmares made flesh ...

From the icy wastes of the Russian steppe to the grimy backstreets of industrial north England, from the depths of the ocean abyss to a forgotten corner of inner London, Paul Finch brings you eight stories about monsters that will guarantee you never dismiss the notion of ‘mystery beasts’ again.


The Old North Road
The Tatterfoal
Hag Fold
The Retreat
Red In Beak And Claw

A few words now about the great time I had at the ALT.FICTION Literature Festival in Derby last weekend. It’s always a joy to hook up with fellow writers, editors and friends from within the industry. Their names are almost too numerous to mention. In fact, I’m bound to forget someone, but here we go.

What a pleasure it was to crack a few beers and spin a few yarns with Mark Morris, Simon Clark, Paul Cornell, Simon Bestwick, Gary McMahon, Ian Whates, Steve Volk, Rob Shearman, Adam Neville, Derek Fox, David Moore, Graham Joyce, Peter Crowther, Conrad Williams, Paul Kane, Marie O’Regan, Chris Teague, Martin Roberts, Helen Hopley, Sandy Auden, Mark Chadbourn, Paul Cornell … and of course the inimitable Sarah Pinborough (for direct links to many of these esteemed colleagues and the amazing work they’ve all done within the horror and fantasy genres, check the lists of links in the panel alongside).

Again, please forgive me if I’ve missed anyone off here. Of course it wasn’t just a social whirl. Full plaudits must also go to Alex Davis and his crew for planning, organising and staffing this great event. The QUAD is a marvellous facility in the heart of Derby City Centre, very accessible and very well equipped to provide this kind of unusual event. Once we were installed, everything ran like clockwork.

On a personal note, thanks very much for the organisers for inviting me and having me participate in so many activities. And thanks indeed to Chris Cooke and the other guys from the Mayhem Horror Movie Festival, who requested that I present screenings of the two Val Lewton classics from the 1940s, CAT PEOPLE and RETURN OF THE CAT PEOPLE.

I was honoured to be asked, and very much hope to hook up with the Mayhem boys again some time in the future.

ALT.FICTION is an excellent event, and, for anyone who is half-contemplating going next year, either as guest or punter, you have my assurance that you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Let us rekindle those old occult terrors

To thee thy course by lot hath given charge and strict watch that to this happy place no evil thing approach or enter in …

Check out this brand new cover for the UK DVD release my latest horror film, THE DEVIL'S ROCK, which goes on general release in Britain on July 8th, and is available on DVD from July 11th.

For those who don’t already know, it concerns a Nazi plot to unleash demonic forces to win World War II, and may, I hope, resurrect that rarest of animals these days, the occult horror movie.

Let’s not kid ourselves, these massively frightening films were once a staple of the genre, and only gradually faded from popularity as religious beliefs in the West began to dwindle. Some of the greatest horror movies ever made belong to that scholarly realm of candles, incense and priestly defiance (or priestly fear, in most cases) in the face of super-terrifying enemies from the infernal regions.

This is a corner of doom-laden supernatural fiction originally examined by ghost story writers of earlier eras – Sheridan Le Fanu, Algernon Blackwood, M.R. James and so on, but it would finally hit a global audience in the form of blockbuster motion pictures like THE EXORCIST (1973), LEGION (1990), THE OMEN (1976), ROSEMARY’S BABY (1967), THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (1968) and in my opinion the best of them all, NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957).

The quotation at the top of this article is lifted freely from John Milton’s epic 17th century poem concerning the fall of man, PARADISE LOST. It details the message given by the archangel Uriel to the archangel Gabriel, when charging him with protecting the Garden of Eden against the forces of chaos lying beyond its boundaries.

It was used to hair-raising effect in another ‘demonic horror’ classic, the Michael Winner film of 1977, THE SENTINEL, an adaptation of Jeffrey Convitz’s novel of the same name – both that book and movie were in no doubt that criminals and killers are backing the wrong team, and that no amount of psychoanalysis or sociologically-based excuse-making for bad behaviour will cut any ice when a soul faces final judgement. In fact, all of these movies (and the books and short stories that spawned them) took a very no-nonsense position on the subject of good and evil. Wickedness is wickedness; that’s all there is to it – and it comes with a horrific price-tag.

Even if we aren’t religious believers, there’s undoubtedly something about these books and movies that touches a raw nerve inside us. It evokes a latent fear, perhaps, that, regardless of our rational convictions, there may, beyond the thin veil of our corporeal world, be a realm of darkness where incomprehensible powers are seeking to destroy us body and soul purely for the pleasure it will give them.

This is not a popular message in our hedonistic, responsibility-free age, but it’s a message that is still there and it’s one we’ll hopefully rekindle with THE DEVIL'S ROCK. We’ve been a little bit naughty with this one, actually. We’ve chosen one of those few periods of history when genuine evil was unleashed across the surface of our world, and mankind had to struggle desperately – at great cost to himself – to constrain it, with no apparent assistance from the forces of good (though we don't know that to be true - do we?).

THE DEVIL'S ROCK is only a film of course. It’s important not to get too carried away, but appalling things still happen, and deeds are done that simply defy belief.

So now you know what you have to do. Keep strict watch ...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

DEVIL'S ROCK roadshow gathering pace

THE DEVIL’S ROCK UK roadshow is gathering breakneck pace.

The movie’s first ever screening in the UK takes place at The Hopsital Club in London tonight. It will be hosted by director Paul Campion, who afterwards will be fielding various questions and answers from an audience of diehard movie fans.

In about a month's time (July 29th, to be specific), Paul Campion, myself and two of the movie's stars, Gina Varela and Matt Sunderland, will attend a very special screening of the film at Cine Guernsey, in - yep, you guessed it - Guernsey, the Channel Island where the movie is set.

Gina plays Helena, a hostage of the Nazis who may, or may not, be a lot more than she seems, while Matt plays Klaus Meyer, an SS officer who will literally stop at nothing to win the war for Germany, though he soon realises that on this occasion even he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

(Matt is pictured above during what can only be described as a tough day at the office).

Meanwhile, anyone who is impatient to know more can possibly collar me at ALT.FICTION this weekend at QUAD in Derby, where I'll be on a couple of panels, hosting a movie-writing workshop, signing some books and hopefully drinking copoious amounts of beer.

For an even more immediate update, some rather nice new reviews of this movie have recently appeared.

The first comes courtesy of HORRORTALK, and the second is a Youtube review from THE HOUSE OF HORROR.

The former includes following quote, which, as the writer, pleased me no end:

A lot of people will instantly think of previous films that have tackled World War Two (DEAD SNOW, HELLBOY, SHOCK WAVES etc) but THE DEVIL'S ROCK bears no resemblance to these previous efforts other than its timeframe. For one thing, we’re not dealing with zombies here. The evil in this film is altogether more encompassing and it creates a dark mood for the entire movie. Even when the evil is not on screen, its presence is there. But also there is an emphasis on dialogue and a rapport between the two lead characters that make it more than just an all-out gorefest ...

Rather nice, I think.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Summer nights, but the winter still chills

Many folk of an artistic persuasion have a personal rule that they never read critiques of their work – or at least that's what they say.

I'm not totally convinced. Critiques of anything artistic are only ever going to be of limited value; appreciation of art - whether we’re discussing literature, painting, sculpture, music, whatever – is obviously subjective. However, all artists want to be appreciated, and the only way they can truly test this water is by listening to honest appraisals of their work. Now, in my personal experience, the very few people who are likely to approach me and talk about anything I’ve written, are those who are close to me – family and friends. And obviously they’re biased.

So if I genuinely want to know if my writing is hitting the spot, I have no option but to read the critics. And critics in the UK, especially where horror is concerned, don’t come any tougher than Peter Tennant, who writes for what in my opinion is Britain’s leading horror magazine, BLACK STATIC.

Tennant, a writer of no small repute himself is nothing if not 100% honest. He has no axe to grind, and no particular preferences as far as I’m aware – he simply says it as he sees it. I don’t agree with every view he expresses, as I’m sure he wouldn’t expect me to, but you always know with Tennant that he’s speaking from the heart. For which reason I’m quite pleased that he’s been so positive about my Christmas horror opus, SPARROWHAWK, which was published by Pendragon Press at the end of last year.

SPARROWHAWK is a festive-themed novella (currently under recommendation for a British Fantasy Award in that capacity), and it tells the tale of a former British soldier and veteran of the First Afghan War, John Sparrowhawk, who in the winter of 1843 is released from the Debtor’s Prison where he was serving time for running up a relatively modest bill at Soho’s gaming tables. Bitter, cynical, at war with everyone – especially himself – Sparrowhawk now faces a bleak future, until he is offered employment by the beautiful and enigmatic Miss Evangeline. All he needs to do is stand guard over a mysterious house in Bloomsbury for the duration of the Christmas celebrations. Because he has no other option, he agrees to undertake the mission. But now the coldest winter in living memory descends on London (this story was written during the coldest winter in my living memory – the Christmas of 2009), and from out of the ice, snow and frozen, curling mist emerges a supernatural foe who begins to torment Sparrowhawk with a very personal and intrusive kind of haunting.

I won’t quote Tennant’s entire review. It can be found in #23 of BLACK STATIC magazine, but here are a few choice paragraphs:

Finch excels, both in his creation of the Victorian milieu, with compelling portrayals of the snowbound streets and the lives of the poor, so that you can feel the ache of the cold as it gets into your bones and the hunger in your belly, and also in the way in which the attacking entities use Sparrowhawk’s psychology against him, so that his emotional well-being is more under threat than his physical person.

Finch also uses the novel to criticise the politics of the day, and by inference those of our own time seem firmly in his sights also, with plenty of correspondence to be drawn – British soldiers involves in a hopeless Afghan conflict, civil unrest at home over social conditions, etc. Scenes such as the victory feast at which Sparrowhawk’s vanity is massaged by a famous general of the conflict, and his memories of the Peterloo massacre, ground the book in our present day as much as they do the Victorian age …

Meanwhile, sincere apologies yet again for anyone who tuned in last Friday hoping to read the latest installment of POWER OF THREE. Unfortunately, due to my being literally up to the eyebrows in work at present, I can’t take the time off to continue this series on anything like a weekly basis. From time to time, however, there will be new installments, and I shall endeavour to post them in time for Friday morning coffee break, as, judging from the hits I get, that seems to be the feature’s most popular time of week.

For those interested, I wrote a short essay last week on the subject of “Why I’m not giving up on horror” – and it was posted on Steve Lockley’s lively and excellent blog, CONFESSIONS OF A TECHNOPHOBE.

If you haven’t seen it yet by all means check in. There are plenty of other dissertations on there as well - by my fellow genre writers and artists, who all have plenty to say on a variety of subjects.

My use of the above picture is a bit naughty, as it comes from the wonderful cover art provided by Zach McCaine for my 2007 book, STAINS. It referred to the novella, THE STAIN (currently under movie option for those interested), but there is a moment in SPARROWHAWK, which, while not exactly the same, this image quite neatly illustrates.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Land of witches will get its own screening

There has been another cool development in the saga of THE DEVIL'S ROCK

We now have a special screening on Guernsey, the island closest to Forau, the fictional World War Two strongpoint where the movie is set, planned for Friday July 29th.

This comes courtesy of Cine Guernsey (an independent cinema who offer local folk the opportunity to view classic, foreign and contemporary movies not otherwise available for public viewing on the island), who will be hosting the special night.

Afterwards there will be a dedicated question and answer session with myself, Paul Campion, the film's director, and possibly some cast members.

With its fine weather, beautiful beaches and blue sea-scapes, Guernsey is mainly famous these days as a glorious holiday location, but while many are aware of its sufferings during the Nazi occupation in the Second World War, less well-known is its history of witchcraft and demonology.

Like many remote rural places, there has always been faerie lore in the Channel Islands, along with tales of ghosts, headless hounds and the islands' own uniquely spooky version of the Will-o-the-Wisp. But in Guernsey these charming folk stories took a turn for the more serious in the 16th and 17th centuries, when a series of witch trials commenced, many of which heard bizarre evidence of curses passed, black sabbaths held and demonic beings summoned to Earth through doorways connecting with Hell.

In particular, witnesses claimed to have spied upon Satanic rituals at Rocquaine Castle (Guernsey's famous stone circle) and the Catioroc (a prehistoric burial site). Various kinds of devils and demons were named as having been invited to the island to commit atrocious acts.

In 150 years some 200 Guernsey folk were tried for witchcraft (compared to only 2000 in the whole of mainland England during the same period), many confessions were extracted by torture - even though this was illegal on the mainland, and those convicted faced brutal punishments; where in England a person convicted of causing death by witchcraft faced the hangman, in Guernsey a person merely convicted of witchcraft faced a much slower death by being burned at the stake.

Presumably, anyone wondering why we chose Guernsey as our location for THE DEVIL'S ROCK will now know the answer. We certainly couldn't have found a more appropriate place for a special one-off screening.

Pictured is La Gran'Mere du Chimquiere, a perhistoric fertility symbol at St. Martin's Church on Guernsey. Once feared by locals, it is now a tourist attraction. On occasion, pagan offerings are still left at its feet.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Stirring memories of CROSS AND FIRE

If you folks can forgive yet another indulgence of mine, here are some old but very fond memories - photographic stills from my first ever drama to be professionally produced.

CROSS AND FIRE is set in the fortress of Rouen in 1431, and tells the tale of four English men-at-arms who volunteer to form the execution detail for Joan of Arc. Each of them has his own reason for undertaking such a grim duty, but ultimately all feel comfortable in the knowledge that they are doing God's work in burning a witch. Only later on (in the second act), as a terrible realisation dawns that they might actually have burned a saint, do each man's personal demons come roaring to the surface. And when it finally transpires that, in the midst of the execution, as the flames licked at Saint Joan's chained body, Piers - the most embittered of the foursome - handed the unfortunate girl a crucifix, there is an eruption of anguish and violence ...

CROSS AND FIRE was originally intended for radio, but had its first production on stage, in the round, in the Water Heyes Studio, Wigan Little Theatre, in April 1991. It was directed superbly by top RSC man, Chris Robert, and starred John Churnside, John McCabe, Ian Cunningham and Richard Fisher, who all gave hair-raisingly intense performances. The Water Heyes is a very close theatrical environment. For most of the time the actors were within arm's reach of the audience, so there was no opportunity for any of them to 'take a break'. The set was dressed with rags, filth and straw, not to mention heavy concrete flagstones, to create the aura of a dungeon, and during the burning sequence, which happened offstage, the audience were subjected to real smoke and and the stench of charring flesh. To this day it remains one of the most satisfying experiences of my literary life.

Above, Piers (John McCabe), the leader of the doomed band and the one most culpable for their inevitable fate. Below, in descending order, Falcon (John Churnside) explains to Alain (Ian Cunningham) that wars are won through ruthlessness rather than chivalry; Edwin (Richard Fisher) reacts with horror as the truth dawns that they have just torched one of God's chosen, and that their souls are now damned.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Another summons for all Doctor Who fans

More Who-related matters are on the horizon this week.

First off, I'm pleased to announce that the audio-book version of HUNTER'S MOON, my new 11th Doctor novel, is now available, as read by Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams in the current TV show).

It tells a tale of gangsters and mercenaries, and is set on the Outer Rim, one of the least desirable corners of the Galaxy, in particular on the planetoid, Gorgoror, where ever kind of horror is waiting to be unleashed against the unwary. In its first few weeks of sales, the hardback version almost cracked the UK Top Ten, so BBC Books are certainly pleased with its progress.

A couple of independent reviews which have now appeared online, mention it thus:

I'm 40 pages into this book and already there has been a wealth of action and the world building is superb, painting a sleazy picture of a very nasty location. Looks like this will be another winner...


I really enjoyed this. The prose felt more detailed and the situations more dangerous than those of the average book. Nice setup and execution of how the Doctor defeated the badguy, too.

The brand new audio version can be purchased HERE .

In another Dr Who exclusive, I'll be at the official Big Finish Day at Barking Abbey School (Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex, IG11 8UF), this coming Saturday (June 11th), to sign CDs, books and basically anything that gets put in front of me. If you're toying with the idea of toddling along but the thought of meeting me doesn't whet your appetite, toddle along anyway. Many other luminaries of Dr Who will be present, including Colin Baker, Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Sophie Aldred (Ace), not to mention top writers like Rob Shearman, Marcx Platt, Alan Barnes, Justin Richards, John Dorney and Nev Fountain.

It's slightly naughty of me, by the way, to illusrate this article with the above picture, which is a publicity shot for HEXAGORA, my next Dr Who project for Big Finish, due out in October, but to be fair it does feature Sarah Sutton, who reprises her role as Nyssa. It also includes Janet Fielding as Tegan and guest-stars the legendary Jacqueline Pearce, who first made her TV name as the beautiful but deadly Servalan in BLAKE'S SEVEN, but is no less a powerful and domineering character in my new script. Anyway, I can't give any more details about HEXAGORA at present; you guys will just need to watch this space.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Let's scare Mummy and Daddy to death

THE DEVIL’S ROCK has earned itself the official insignia of adulthood, by being awarded an 18 certificate for its UK release.

Not everyone in the movie world would be pleased to receive news of this sort. In the good old sleazy days of the X certificate, it was almost a badge of honour to be told that your product was suitable for adults only. In later years, with the movie-going demographic changing and mega-bucks often at stake, many studio execs were less keen to receive this mark of notoriety as it had the potential to reduce the size of their audiences.

However, when it comes to horror movies, it’s still without doubt a good sign if you have a nice, big, fat ‘18’ against your name. If you make horror movies in order to scare the viewing public to death (which is certainly my motivation), it would hardly be a ringing endorsement if the chaps at the BBFC gave you a ‘15’ or, even worse, a ‘12’.

So … no worries of that sort for us. We are strictly for ‘adults only’.

On the subject of ringing endorsements, I’ve had my attention drawn to the website CINEMA SCREAM and in particular to an assessment of THE DEVIL’S ROCK by a reviewer who actually hails from the Channel Islands.

In short, he likes it an awful lot, and that touches me. It wouldn’t be true to say that the Islanders are the people this movie was made for – it was made for everyone (who’s over 18, of course, heh heh heh) – but they are the folk on whose blood-soaked soil this story was built, so if they like it I have to take that as a very good omen.

Anyway, enough of my inane gabble. Here, for your delectation, are some choice chunks from the review in question:

Based during World War II on a small island just off the coast of Nazi-occupied Guernsey, THE DEVIL’S ROCK defies its low budget genre roots to deliver an old fashioned dose of horror with shades of both Nigel Kneale and fireside stories from much further back.

The real achievement of THE DEVIL’S ROCK is that it defies all expectations. What we have, essentially, is a four-hander based in a series of concrete rooms and corridors, the premise of which seems like it was ripped from the more sensational end of the History Channel’s main obsessions. Director Paul Campion and fellow writers Paul Finch and Brett Ihaka have taken these ingredients and delivered a movie that looks and sounds fantastic. The comparison with Nigel Kneale might seem a bit overblown but, with its evil down in the deep and ancient powers that far outstrip any dream of a thousand year Reich, THE DEVIL’S ROCK is, thankfully, less a collection of jumps and bumps and more an old fashioned, thought provoking horror.

Guernsey has a long tradition of nightmares, both traditional and uncomfortably recent. Hundreds of years ago witches were burnt by the good people of the island, more recently Nazi forces worked and beat slave workers to death then buried them in the foundations of the numerous bunkers and watch towers that surround our coastline. These installations still stand today. The cultural commentator Jonathan Meades likened them to concrete fists but mostly they are scars. That Campion, Finch and Ihaka have rolled all of this together into one precise movie is something to be admired.

PS: Many apologies to anyone who tuned in on Friday morning expecting to find my lastest installment of THE POWER OF THREE. It's the same excuse as last time - I'm just too danged busy at present. The next bulletin will hopefully be on time next week, though at present my work cup is literally overflowing.