30 Day Horror Movie Challenge

So you might be aware of these 30 day film challenges, you’re asked a different question for each day and you answer on Facebook or Twitter. In the run up to Halloween the 30 day horror film challenge is very popular and I want to do a podcast version of it.

My plan is to cover every question in a series of podcasts on the run up to Halloween, my own answer as well as a selection of past guests, friends and listeners answers. So if you want to be part of it have a look at the questions below and send me your answers. Please expand where possible, I want your thoughts and insights and if you feel you need to physically talk about the film you’re more than welcome to send me a soundbite –
email your answers to 30dayhorrorchallenge@gmail.com 


Day 1.     What was your first horror film?
Day 2.     Favourite UK or Ireland horror film?
Day 3.     Favourite classic horror movie?  (pre 1970)
Day 4.     Favourite horror remake?
Day 5.     Horror movie not enough people have seen but deserves more recognition?
Day 6.     Best horror franchise?
Day 7.     What horror film would you show to introduce a kid to the genre?
Day 8.     Favourite horror film character?
Day 9.     Favourite zombie film?
Day 10.   Favourite horror film in the last year?
Day 11.   Favourite foreign language European horror film?
Day 12.   Horror film you’ve seen more than any other horror film?
Day 13.   Which horror film has genuinely scared you the most?
Day 14.   Favourite slasher horror film?
Day 15.   Film that scared you most as a child? (doesn’t have to be horror)
Day 16.   Favourite vampire film?
Day 17.   Favourite Scream queen?
Day 18.   Horror film with the best soundtrack?
Day 19.   Favourite horror director?
Day 20.   Favourite horror villain?
Day 21.   Favourite horror film adapted from a novel?
Day 22.   Favourite comedy horror?
Day 23.   Favourite found footage horror film?
Day 24.   Most underrated horror film?
Day 25.   Biggest jump in a horror film?
Day 26.   Most memorable performance in a horror film?
Day 27.   Favourite monster horror film?
Day 28.   Favourite Asian horror?
Day 29.   Favourite horror film to watch on Halloween?
Day 30.   All time favourite horror film?

Episode 34- Horror Video Games Special w/ John Mulvaney



John Mulvaney, guest from episode 33 stuck around to talk about horror video games from Castlevania to Doom to Resident Evil to Silent Hill, their history, evolution and some of his favourites. Also I’m pretty sure I told him I wouldn’t put up this picture of him playing with my Alien 3 joystick… but here we are.

Beverage: A selection of IPAs

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Episode 33- John Mulvaney


My guest is a local filmmaker/writer/jack of all trades John Mulvaney. John is an fellow Colaiste Dhulaigh Film Production graduate (he’s the sixth Dhulaigh graduate to guest on the podcast). He currently works in Script to Screen Media and writes for his excellent blog Nostalgic Attic, check it out.

Beverage: John brought his own homebrew Mulvale

Film’s Discussed: Carnival of Souls, Re-Animator and Lovely Molly

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Blood on the Boards: three of the best examples of horror on stage

Horror works pretty damn well on in film we know that but how has it fared on the stage? Without editing, special effects or camera tricks? Here’s three of the best.

The Woman in Black
Terrorizing theatre audiences since 1987 The Woman in Black is a very British ghost story, about young lawyer Arthur Kibbs and based on the 1983 novel by Susan Hill is reminscent of The Innocents or the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas specials. http://www.groupleisure.com/Upload/PageAttachments/page13725/images/woman%20in%20black%202%20main.jpg

The stage play approaches the story in a very different way to the film, it’s actually quite meta. A play within a play, opening with the older protagagonist Arthur Kipps reading a manuscript of his story documenting his experience with the woman in black, a malicious and vengeful spirit. He meets the actor who is to play him in The Woman in Black and they act out the story with the actor playing Arthur and the real Arthur playing the supporting characters. As the two act out the story the doors around the theatre creak and bang and the woman in black herself begins making appearances within the story…and within the audience… yeesh! A terrifying experience.

Evil Dead: The Musical
And now for something completely different… Evil Dead the Muscical is a Canadian production that bases itself mainly on Evil Dead 2  but also includes elements from the others such as the tree rape scene from number one, strangely played for laughs but they pull it off.

Is it scary? Well apart from a few jumps…no… but apart from a few jumps neither is Evil Dead 2. What it is is a thrill ride of a show, like a silly old ghost train and it’s funny… very funny, with dialogue you wish they had in the films such as this exchange after an attack from Ash’s possessed severed hand:
Annie: Eew! That’s gross we have no idea where that hand’s been!
Ash: Actually babe I know exactly where that hand has been because that’s my hand!
(shows her his stump, turns to the audience)
Ash: …but it’s still pretty gross.http://infini-tropolis.com/articles/images/edmusicalHEADER2.jpg
Any production attached to Evil Dead wouldn’t be complete without the blood and EDTM is gushing, probably the bloodiest stage production in existence, so much so that there’s a “splatter zone” the preferred seats for hardcore fans, right in front of the stage where you get to be splattered with blood along with rest of the cast the cast. It’s a hella lotta fun

On top of the comedy and blood is of course the songs, it’s a musical after all and they’re quite catchy, every time a character is turned into a deadite we get a blast of the reoccurring tune “Look who’s evil now”! but the stand out is “What the fuck was that?!” …a tune which sums up the state of… actually just watch it.

Ghost Stories
A British production written by Jeremy Dyson of The League of Gentlemen fame is a vignette type story, told in the form of a lecture by Professor Phillip Goodman, a Professor of Parapsychology who wants to discuss the pychosis of people who have had ghostly experiences. He has taped three interviewees, each with their own story, as each recording is played it’s portrayed on stage in the first one- actually I have to stop there, Ghost Stories has a “give nothing away” policy, it asks to keep the surprises underwraps… there’s not even any stills from the production available, the best I do to break up all this text is this:
From what I can see there’s no current productions but it may re-emerge at any stage. I will say that it’s terrifying, it’s 80 minutes with no intermission and no toilet breaks (or you’re out!) of nasty psychological horror with some incredible on stage effects. Throughout it individual people can be heard screaming in the audience… what was making them scream? No idea. It chills many senses… even smell, I’ll leave it at that.

A Short History of the Found Footage Horror Film

Here’s an article I wrote for the arthouse Irish streaming service Volta in conjunction with their release of the excellent Willow Creek.

With the release of Willow Creek independent Bobcat Goldthwait’s venture into horror and the found footage sub-genre. To celebrate Bren Murphy takes a look at the brief history of the found footage horror film.

The earliest example of a found footage horror film is Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980). The film doesn’t use the format all the way through but rather adapts it in the third act using traditional narrative at first to tell us of how a New York University anthropologist goes into the Amazon rainforest to find a missing documentary crew but returns only with their footage. He brings the footage back to New York to view, the rest of the film is that footage. We’re treated to an “unedited” documentary on cannibal tribes, showing the manipulation the crew uses between takes, artificially creating situations to film how the tribe reacts. Their methods however backfire and the true horror of angry cannibal tribe is caught on film. Cannibal Holocaust was an extremely controversial film, it used real life slaughter of animals and human death that was so realistic the filmmakers were arrested and made prove they didn’t actually kill anyone. It’s a tough watch and is really only for fans of extreme cinema, which is probably why this wasn’t the birth of new wave in the genre and a horror found footage film wouldn’t hit screens again until 1999 with The Blair Witch Project (1999).

Some of the earliest screenings of The Blair Witch Project where in fact on VHS tapes passed around college campuses, viewers sat down to watch the footage showing three students’ footage as they made their documentary about the fabled Blair Witch of Burkittsville, Maryland. The students end up getting lost in the local woods and seemingly stalked by an unseen force. After watching the film’s shocking finale, people would immediately wind up the old dial up internet connection and “Yahoo” the Blair Witch and the names of the missing film makers. They found websites confirming that what they had just seen was real, there was a legend of the Blair Witch and in October 1994 three student filmmakers went missing while making a documentary about it. Of course it wasn’t really real, it was the clever marketing of the filmmakers, who figured the best way to spread word of mouth about their low budget horror film was to make people think what they were watching was real. Eventually the film was picked up by a distributor and went on to be one of the most successful independent horror films ever made.

Surprisingly the success of The Blair Witch Project did not result in an immediate spate of found footage horror films hitting cinemas, there were a lot of smaller hard-core examples such as the August Underground series (2001 -2007) which remained just that, underground. The sub-genre was still so tiny that Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato tried to sue the filmmakers of The Blair Witch Project for stealing his idea. Which looking back seems as ridiculous as Howard Hawks suing anyone else for daring to mix romance with screwball comedy. It wasn’t for several more years that the found footage films started to spill into the cinemas, the leader of this new wave was the hugely successful Paranormal Activity (2007).

Paranormal Activity is a barebones found footage horror film about a young couple experiencing ghostly goings on, they set up surveillance cameras to see what’s happening while they’re asleep and it reveals a lot more than a cheeky poltergeist. It was a hugely successful film that spun off several sequels that replaced the annual Saw films as the big horror Halloween release. With that success came the release of more found footage horror films, we got zombies in [REC] (2007) a Spanish film with a documentary crew trapped in a building that’s the source of an outbreak, even the zombie master himself George A. Romero used the format for Diary of the Dead (2008) and a got big scale disaster movie with Cloverfield (2008) portraying a bunch young New Yorkers, who’s party is interrupted by a giant monster.

The found footage format works perfectly for horror for many reasons. It can add an extra level of realism to the film, unlike a traditional fictional film the characters acknowledge the camera and it’s operator like they would a documentary, the mix of fictional horror with a documentary style, something we associate with non-fiction can trick the viewer into thinking what they’re watching is real, this along with the simplicity of a film like The Blair Witch Project can be extremely, effective, something you could argue has been lost in the more recent examples of found footage which have used more and more CGI and gore. Willow Creek (2013) however is a refreshing return to this style. It very closely follows The Blair Witch Project’s structure.

Willow Creek is a very pared down Bigfoot horror film, a couple making a documentary travel to the Bigfoot mecca, Bluff Creek, Orleans. Bluff Creek is the site of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film which is the infamous footage of a supposed Bigfoot shot in 1967. The interview Bigfoot enthusiasts on the way to their campsite in the nearby woods. What Willow Creek does is something unique, make what’s considered a laughable figure of cryptozoology feel real and more importantly absolutely terrifying.

Watch Willow Creek on Volta here.

Episode 32- R.I.P 2013- The Horror Films of 2013



Charlene Lydon who is damn near a co-host at this stage returns to talk about the horror films of 2013. As well as being the programmer of the Light House Cinema Charlene also programmes Volta.ie where several of the films mentioned can be viewed.

Beverage: Gallo Family Pinot Noir

Films Discussed: Maniac, Lords of Salem, You’re Next, Evil Dead, We Are What We Are, Compliance, VHS 2, Curse of Chucky, Warm Bodies, The Conjuring, Citadel, A Field in England, In Fear, Blackfish and many more…

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Episode 30 – Chucky Special w/ Charlene Lydon



To celebrate the release of Curse of Chucky and the 25th anniversary of the Chucky/Child’s Play franchise podcast regular and massive Chucky fan Charlene Lydon joined me to talk about all six films.

Spoilers for the first five then a warning before we spoil the latest one.

Beverage: Hot Port for Charlene, Sol Lager for me.

Film’s Discussed: Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky and Curse of Chucky.

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To prove that Charlene is a huge fan of Chucky and not just the first person I grabbed to do this podcast because I live with her here’s two photos of her credentials – with the man himself and the other is her as Tiffany last Halloween



Episode 29 – Niall Cassin



My guest is a friend from my days studying film production in Colaiste Dhulaigh, Niall Cassin. Niall works is a banker during the day, don’t hold that against him- he also writes and directs on the side. Niall was always a very animated and funny guy to talk to about films in college so I thought he’d be a great guest and I was right.

Beverage: Guinness

Film’s Discussed: Trick R’ Treat (2007), The Fourth Kind and The Fog.

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