Event Calendar
March 2012
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The Classic Horror Campaign is trying to get more vintage horror, sci-fi and fantasy films screened on television and we also like to alert you all to any upcoming classic horror tv screenings as much as possible! So we have started the CLASSIC HORROR TV WATCH in order to hunt down as many screenings on TV as possible and you can help us with this. If you notice in your tv listings guides any upcoming classic horror (or sci-fi and fantasy) movies or television shows being aired just pop a note on our Facebook page or tweet us at @horrorcampaign using the hashtag #classichorrorcampaign .

See below for some of March’s macabre highlights. Don’t forget that classic 80′s horror TV show Friday 13th:The Series can be found every Saturday and Sunday evening at 8pm on The Horror Channel. You can also catch Classic Horror Campaign supporter Emily Booth’s new series Horror Bites at various times and days throughout The Horror Channels busy schedules. 

  • Saturday 3rd March The Monster Club (1980) @12noon on The Horror Channel
  • Sunday 4th March Gremlins 2 The New Batch (1990) @4:15pm on Channel 5
  • Sunday 4th March The Awakening (1980) @10:55pm on The Horror Channel
  • Monday 5th March Circus of Fear (1967) @2:20am on Movies4Men
  • Monday 5th March Hawk The Slayer (1981) @4:00pm on The Horror Channel
  • Monday 5th March Plague of the Zombies (1966) @9:00pm on The Horror Channel
  • Monday 5th March Dead & Buried (1981) @11:00pm on Movies24
  • Wednesday 7th March The House of Whipcord (1974) @10:55pm on The Horror Channel
  • Thursday 8th March The Bloody Judge (1969) @10:55pm on The Horror Channel
  • Friday 9th March Death Line (1973) @10:55pm on The Horror Channel
  • Monday 12th March The Reptile (1966) @9:00pm on The Horror Channel
  • Wednesday 14th March Slumber Party Massacre (1982) @12:45am on The Horror Channel
  • Wednesday 14th March Alien (1979) @10:00pm on E4

It’s easy to forget that Michael Winner once earned his living by directing films. In fact, those of us who’ve seen the likes of Bullseye and A Chorus of Disapproval are probably trying to put it to the back of our minds. There are even some whippersnappers who are completely unaware that he’s been behind the camera – instead, Winner is simply that bloke from the annoying insurance adverts. But, back in the late 1960s through the 1970s, he had a fairly successful cinematic career, which included such films as Hannibal Brooks, Death Wish and The Long Goodbye.

Winner had already tackled the horror genre in 1972 with The Nightcomers – a prequel to The Turn of the Screw – when he joined forces with producer Jerry Konvitz on an adaptation of the latter’s novel The Sentinel. Konvitz and Winner collaborated on the screenplay, which is a very straightforward, no-nonsense take on an inventive tale. The plot focuses on a beautiful but neurotic model, Alison, who’s reluctant to marry her boyfriend, so moves into a great New York apartment which seems too good to be true. And indeed, that’s how it turns out to be… Alison is befriended by an eccentric neighbour, who introduces her to the other residents. They’re a weird bunch to say the least, but the one who freaks her out the most is blind Catholic priest Father Halloran, who lives in the top flat. What Alison doesn’t realise is that the apartment block contains a gateway to Hell, Halloran is its guardian, and because he’s getting to the end of his life, the building’s owners have chosen Alison to replace him!

The unfortunate woman’s life turns into a nightmare involving terrifying visions, and culminates in an inevitable but horrifying conclusion. Winner was criticised for using people with real-life deformities as the dominions of Hell in the film’s climax, and it’s true that that sequence is the most disturbing of the whole production – although it’s difficult to know whether that’s because the idea of what’s happening to Alison is frightening, or if the viewer is being manipulated into feeling repulsed by the unfortunate figures on screen. It’s perhaps un-PC to say such a thing, but if Winner is anything, he’s a director who knows how to be vulgar and to press the public’s buttons, although not always in the right way!

The film itself looks like a TV movie; all bright lights and little subtlety. But the most extraordinary thing is its cast – Chris Sarandon, Martin Balsam, Burgess Meredith, John Carradine, Ava Gardner, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Ava Gardner, Jose Ferrer and Jeff Goldblum all make appearances. That’s surely one of the finest line-ups ever assembled for such a project?! The Sentinel is worth a look for the curious; it’s a strong story, but Cristina Raines lets the side down somewhat as Alison – her performance is somewhat insipid. Sadly, the film wasn’t successful enough for Winner to collaborate with Konvitz again on his sequel novel, The Guardian. You’ll just have to read it and imagine what the film might have been like. I reckon it would have hit us right between the eyes – and, like The Sentinel, would be heaps better than anything Winner has directed in the past 25 years, including those infamous insurance ads.

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Amanda Norman
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