Best known as the leading purveyor of laddish gangster films such as We Still Kill The Old Way and The Krays – Dead Man Walking, indie film company Hereford Films has released its first horror movie today – The Exorcism of Karen Walker. Described as “gripping” by The Daily Star, the film centres on a couple who discover Kirlian photography apparatus in their new house. Intrigued by the concept of photographing peoples’ auras, they unwittingly release an ancient evil. Only the local psychic can help and she knows far more than she reveals. The cast includes Shane Taylor (Band of Brothers), Rula Lenska (Coronation Street) and newcomers Denise Moreno and Janine Nerissa Sothcott, both of whom are excellent.
The film is a real departure for Hereford and is being billed as the first ‘Hereford Horror.’ Hereford CEO and film industry stalwart Jonathan Sothcott explained: “Inspired by Blumhouse we wanted to try our hand at a low budget, US set horror film to see if we can make them in parallel with our gangster and action films. It’s a strong little movie but the market for horror is, frankly, incredibly glutted with product, so we’ll have to see if we can find our feet in a (red) sea of competition!”
Sothcott certainly has the credentials for horror – he wrote a biography of Christopher Lee, set up and ran The Horror Channel in 2004 and made documentaries about classic horror films such as Blood On Satan’s Claw. His genre pedigree as a film producer is somewhat less impressive, however, as he freely admits: “I made some real turkeys when I was starting out – they were made with good intentions but horror really does need to be special to stand out in that crowded market place. I’ve made vampire, werewolf, zombie and cannibal films and even a horror movie set on a plane about a possessed vase (no, really!) but none of them exactly set the world on fire.”
So how is The Exorcism of Karen Walker different? “Well,” explains Sothcott, “its set in America, which I think opens up the international market considerably. And its got a unique concept in kirlian photography. And it’s a good movie which the others were not!”
There are plans for at least half a dozen more Hereford Horrors, all with lurid titles such as Witch House, Demonicus and After Shock but they are all dependant on the success of the first one, which is released on DVD and digital today.