non-fiction

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Dog Soldiers and Dog Houses review

I know a lot of our readers, and certainly all of us at Erebus Horror, would regard themselves as knowledgeable when it comes to horror movies. Yet, if someone asked you to name the British horror flicks released in the last 20 years, how would you get on? Sure, you’ll probably start with the most popular ones; 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Dog Soldiers etc. But how many could you name before you get stuck? 10? 20? Maybe 50 for the more devoted of fans? The truth is, try as we might, we will all fail in comparison to MJ Simpson – author of Dog Soldiers and Dog Houses. Simpson truly is a pioneer and expert in the field of British horror films and this book proves why.

The work is a truly insightful encyclopedia, reviewing hundreds of British horror movies, many never before documented. Being UK-based and particularly interested in British horror flicks, we all thought we had a comprehensive knowledge of movies from the motherland – Oh, how wrong we were!

MJ Simpson, doyen of British horror film writers, has seen them. The good, the bad and the extraordinary. For 20 years he has been scouring the web for these films. He has then reviewed them on his blog British Horror Revival and in his previous book Urban Terrors.

Between January 2000 and December 2019, an incredible one thousand feature-length horror films were produced and released in the UK. Dog Soldiers and Doghouses is the first in a unique series of books cataloguing this amazingly prolific and largely undocumented corner of cinema.

Covering a 12-year period from 2000 to 2011, this book reviews 316 British horror movies. Cast and crew details, critical analysis, production history and release data are all wrapped up in an entertaining and informative half-page review, accompanied by a colour image.

From big screen blockbusters to backyard obscurities, from cinema screens to YouTube, with budgets ranging from £20 million to 45 quid (or less…), British horror cinema has never been so diverse. This book and its forthcoming companions are a guide to the true, hidden ‘British film industry’ which remains almost entirely ignored by the mainstream film press.

About the author

MJ Simpson is, apparently, the world’s foremost authority on 21st century British horror films and these books are the culmination of two decades of passionate research. He is the author of Urban Terrors: New British Horror Cinema 1997-2008 (Hemlock Books, 2012), which covers about a third of these films in more detail and context. He also wrote a couple of books about Douglas Adams.

Part of the original editorial team which launched SFX, Simpson has written for Fangoria, The Dark Side, Video Watchdog, Psychotronic Video, Shivers, Scream, DeathRay, Infinity, MonsterScene, SciFi Now, Starburst, TV Zone, Cult TV, Film Review, Neo, Doctor Who Magazine, Total Film, New Scientist, the British Medical Journal, the Funday Times and the Singaporean version of Elle.

He works by day in the Communications Office at the University of Leicester and sang the 1980s classic ‘Africa’ on what many people consider to be the worst TV show ever made.

About the book

21st Century British Horror Films, Volume 1: Dog Soldiers and Doghouses is a limited edition publication available exclusively online at https://mjsimpson.bigcartel.com for £20 plus postage*. It is 176 pages, A4, softback, and full colour throughout, with a foreword by horror expert Dr Johnny Walker.

* In an unprecedented offer, postage is free for anyone who wrote, directed, produced or starred in any film in the book!

Take it from us, it doesn’t matter if you’re a filmmaker, working within the movie industry or even if you’re British, this book is a valuable resource for any horror movie buff. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Did you enjoy the Dog Soldiers and Dog Houses review? Check out what we think of more literature here

The Horror Writer
The Horror Writer

The Horror Writer: A Study of Craft and Identity in the Horror Genre. Coined as “The most definitive guide into the trials and tribulations of being a horror writer since Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’…” Wow, that’s one hell of a claim; one which I was eager to verify.

Compiled and edited by Joe Mynhardt, The Horror Writer was released by Hellbound Books and contains a myriad of essays, interviews and valuable insights by some of the best in the business. Ranging from Bram Stoker Award© winners, bestselling authors, a President of the Horror Writers’ Association and many other distinguished writers, this book can aid anyone wanting to improve their craft. The full list of contributors include;

  • Ramsey Campbell
  • John Palisano
  • Chad Lutzke
  • Lisa Morton
  • Kenneth W. Cain
  • Kevin J. Kennedy
  • Monique Snyman
  • Scott Nicholson
  • Lucy A. Snyder
  • Richard Thomas
  • Gene O’Neill
  • Jess Landry
  • Luke Walker
  • Stephanie M. Wytovich
  • Marie O’Regan
  • Armand Rosamilia
  • Kevin Lucia
  • Ben Eads
  • Kelli Owen
  • Jasper Bark
  • Bret McCormick

I’m sure you recognise a number of big names on that list, all of which bring their own valuable insights/advice to help aid a writer of all levels. The Horror Writer covers a wide variety of topics such as how to connect with your market and carve out a sustainable niche in the independent horror genre, as well as how to tackle the writer’s ever-lurking nemesis of productivity.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a book that you’re going to read from beginning to end in one sitting (I mean, you could if you were inclined), rather it will serve better as a writing companion. The helpful contents section at the beginning of the book allows you to jump to whichever topic you want clarification of, or would like to explore in more depth. Writing good horror stories with powerful, effectives scenes, realistic flowing dialogue and reliable characters without resorting to cliched jump scares/gimmicks – it’s all there! The book even covers the delicate subject of handling rejection with good grace, and how to use those inevitable “not quite right for us” letters as an opportunity to hone your craft.

I know you’re probably sold at this point and have already jumped to the link at the end of this article to go buy a copy, but wait… There’s more!

There are also a number of perceptive interviews to provide an intimate peek into the psyche of the horror author and the challenges they work through. The authors interviewed include:

  • Steve Rasnic Tem
  • Stephen Graham Jones
  • David Owain Hughes
  • Tim Waggoner
  • Mort Castle

And, as if that – and so much more – was not enough, the book also contains Ramsey Campbell’s beautifully insightful analysis of the tales of HP Lovecraft. What more could you want?

Make no mistake, regardless of your writing ability – whether you’ve never written a book but always considered it, or if you’ve penned over 20 novels – The Horror Writer can be a useful aid for everyone.

Go check it out here:

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