Horror Club Screening – Shiver directed by Julian Richards

The queue to get into the second Horror Club evening at London’s Horse Hospital (4 December 2012) got a pair of foreign tourists excited enough for them ask me what was going on. I explained that I was going to a splatter film screening and although this was free you had to have your name down on the door to get in. Basically it was an event for the cognoscenti only! And to attract them (and me) there were free beers and free Horror Channel coffee mugs too.
The real entertainment began when Emily Booth and Billy Chainsaw introduced a trailer of upcoming Horror Channel TV premiers of recent low budget splatter movies. Then it was on to the main feature, a special preview of Shiver directed by Julian Richards. What I found myself watching was a low-key police procedural comedy about a goofy and retarded psychopath who ‘terrorises’ (I’m using the term ‘terrorise’ very loosely here) the city of Portland in the north-west United States. Franklin Rood (John Jarratt) is The Griffin, a serial killer who tape records his female victims telling him how powerful he is before he despatches them by strangling them with steel wire (he then cuts off their heads to keep as souvenirs). When Wendy Alden  (Danielle Harris) survives Rood’s first attempt to murder her, The Griffin becomes obsessed by the one that got away. Despite going after Alden with a vengence, Rood doesn’t succeed in killing her. Since the cops are a bunch of bumbling idiots, it is Alden who finally offs the bogeyman after he has been captured once but escaped from custody. The film is a riot of light-weight B-movie cliches and very retro in an eighties way – you could easily forget you are watching something shot in 2010. Shiver isn’t scary, indeed it isn’t anything special, but you can laugh along with it and at it.
The Horror Club event climaxed with a Q&A featuring director Julian Richards (born in Newport, south Wales, 1965). Initially Billy Chainsaw conducted the interrogation and then the audience took over. Richards seemed modest and likeably enough, saying that had Shiver been made a few years earlier he’d have been working with three times the one million (he didn’t specify dollars or pounds) budget it was made on and a shooting schedule that was twice as long as the three weeks he actually had to film it. Richards was also very honest about how little control he had over the movie – having the actors he used and other matters dictated by the producer. That said, Richards seemed to be fudging when he talked about the difficulty of getting the film distributed being down to disagreements between various parties. This is a movie that has sat around for a couple of years without a release and I’d say that has more to do with a changing cultural environment than personal infighting.
Horror Club proved to be a fun night out – but that was more down to the audience than the movie, with some viewers talking through parts of it, while others told them to shut up. Personally I’m all for audience participation at this type of screening and view those begging for silence as a part of this. The free beer and Billy Chainsaw’s banter helped things along a lot too! So a top night out despite Shiver being a very average low-budget movie.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Fred Deller on 2012-12-05 14:03:46 +0000

I thought b-movies were supposed to be average to bad….

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-12-05 15:11:16 +0000

Sounds fun. The Horse Hospital is on my radar because of The Neutrinos. Can you tell us a bit more about that, maybe?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-12-05 15:57:00 +0000

The Horse Hospital as I guess you know hosts a lot of different types of screeimomg and performance, as well as exhibitions…. In fact I’ll be reading at the Horse Hospital on Friday evening. All sorts of things go on there and it’s in central London very close to Russell Square.
@ Fred Deller – some B-movies are very good!

Comment by Milly Tent on 2012-12-05 16:44:26 +0000

But the real horror club is at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP! That’s the Conservative Party HQ!

Comment by Filthy Phil on 2012-12-05 17:31:59 +0000

How many audience members climaxed at the Q&A ‘climax”?

Comment by Guy Fenton on 2012-12-05 18:34:02 +0000

What’s Julian Richards best film?

Comment by Ivan Reitman on 2012-12-05 20:29:30 +0000

I seem to recall a rather better film with the same title by David Cronenberg – just add an ‘s’ for Shivers!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-12-05 23:23:09 +0000

@ Filthy Phil – if you were present at the screening I’m sure you’re the only one to have an orgasm at the cliimax….
@ Guy Fenton – I haven’t seen that many of Richards’ films or any of the episodes of TV soap Brookside he directed. But I didn’t like his best known film The Last Horror Movie at all when I saw it, so I guess I like Shiver best.

Comment by Gary Goodwin on 2012-12-06 00:08:11 +0000

I thought Julian Richards was a British television and radio presenter, writer and archaeologist with over 30 years experience until I read this blog!

Comment by Ian Wright on 2012-12-06 01:41:38 +0000

You can’t trust anyone with a stupid name like Julian to make decent films or books or music – with a name like that they either had an aspirational mummy or daddy or a private education. Think of Julian Temple and all the terrible films he made – and his aspirational Tankie family and Oxbridge education!

Comment by Julian Moss on 2012-12-06 15:13:56 +0000

Well Julian isn’t that bad… it is way better than Jeremy for example, or Hubert! My parent weren’t aspirational and I didn’t have a private education, I guess you must have grown up with someone you didn’t like called Julian… A brother perhaps?

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-12-06 16:59:22 +0000

Julian is a nice name not necessarily a de facto tosser!

Comment by Lorraine Chase on 2012-12-07 00:00:55 +0000

Reminds me of a seventies advert – “I’m only here for the beer: it’s Double Diamond!”

Comment by John Smith on 2012-12-07 01:34:56 +0000

I bet Mister Trippy drinks Carling Black Label.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-12-07 14:24:09 +0000

Well it didn’t surprise me but maybe it will surprise some readers to learn that the free beer at the Horror Club was Becks.

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-12-07 16:19:51 +0000

All the beers mentioned are pish, like the films of Julian Temple: hell is watching his Glasto doc – where he makes an appearance as a faggy old bee-keeper licking Michael Eavis’s arse – and drinking Carling Black Label at the same time….

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-12-07 16:27:42 +0000

Indeed! Just imagine how much better the cultural industry would be if Adnams Ales were sponsoring everything in sight rather than Becks! That said, I’d rather have a fine Islay malt than a beer any day or night – and I think TMITIM is more partial to red wine!

Comment by Steve Hyde on 2012-12-07 18:09:02 +0000

A title like Shiver just leaves me feeling cold!

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-12-08 00:25:34 +0000


Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-12-08 00:26:27 +0000

Make mine a gin and tonic!

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-12-08 18:48:28 +0000

Make mine a red Corbieres – a very good unpretentious swilling wine. Jean Claude Carriere – who wrote the screenplays for Bunuel’s last six films – has said that within his lifetime this is a wine which has definitely improved and so can be read, or drunk, as a sing of human progress (of which there has been very little since about 1968). He should know -his father worked in the wine-trade and Bunuel gave him the gig because he wanted to work with a writer who loved wine… To adapt the Lenin of Christianity St Paul: Take a little Corbieres for thy belly’s sake. It’s also good for you because it’s a reminder of the rebellious eccentric 19c poet Tristan Corbiere. Corbiere was also the horse which won the Grand National in 1983, trained by Jenny Pitman. I placed a bet and won £200, a lot of money at that point in time. Did I get some envious stares when I collected my winning from a Brixton betting office! I’ve won fuck-all since unless you include Oscars – which I don’t because names like Sam Mendes are put forward. SHIVER is a better film than anything that bland mediocre cunt ever put his name to.

Comment by Steve on 2012-12-08 19:39:35 +0000

Stewart – comments are now closed on the post where you mentioned Charles Radcliffe’s talk at Housman’s so I thought I’d highlight here that part of it is now online:

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-12-08 20:28:48 +0000

That was a very good talk much of it pertaining to Guy Debord. Does anybody know what he liked to drink drinking as he did in great quantities?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-12-08 21:49:09 +0000

I don’t know what Debord drunk but I’m sure someone does…. Answers here please! I’ll have to try a Corbieres sometime. Poets as a betting guide – it’s a wild card!
@ Steve unfortunately to cut down the amount of spam and the negative effect that has on bandwidth usage I’m unable to leave the comments open for very long. However I can open up that thread again, post the link and close it.

Comment by Steve on 2012-12-08 21:54:50 +0000

Thanks Stewart.
Considering how Debord ended up, I would say that the main value to be derived from knowing what he drank would come from avoiding it!

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