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13 Days of Horror - Stu Bailey of White Raven Down
Games, Brains & Headbanging Life
As part of 2019’s 13 Days of Halloween, we here at Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life thought it would be fun to see if some of the bands and artists we love had any interest in horror. It turns out quite a lot do so we turned it into an interview.
1. First things first…introduce yourself please!
Hi my name is Stu Bailey. I play guitar for heavy rock band White Raven Down.
2. What are your top 3 favourite horror movies and why?
The Exorcist – I’ll never forget watching it in the cinema which was the 25th Anniversary UK re release I think.. The effect it had on the audience… and me… I was 17. Me and a mate of mine totally shat our pants.. I dropped him home and there was this alleyway he had to go through to get to his house.. well he started walking then his mind must’ve started to playing tricks on him..he quickened his pace a bit, which got a little faster and then faster still until it became a full on sprint..I watched him run down it laughing.. ha ha!! But in all honesty I was just glad I didn’t have to go down it.. lol. I appreciate the effects are dated etc but that just adds to the tone for me… I love it.
28 Days Later – My first encounter of seeing running infected/zombies on the big screen.. It was terrifying for me.. I was on a date and she was squeezing my arm so bloody tight I was getting pins and needles in my left hand.. The atmospheric way in which the movie was shot along with the film grain made it feel like a b-movie to me.. and I was totally into that.. Also at the time I was working in London and the eeriness of seeing London deserted was just mesmerising/fascinating and made me think.
Pet Semetary – For a weird reason this.
I read the Stephen King novel as an open study of evil at school. I have always been an animal lover and the story makes you ask questions if you would do the same thing for your beloved pets… The book absolutely creeped me out as I thought I was seeing things behind me in the bathroom mirror.. ha ha!! Scared the crap out of me.. not long after I read the book I saw the 1989 movie and although it had its flaws I was engrossed into the story because of the affection I had for the book.. And surprisingly enough I really, really enjoyed the 2019 remake!!
3. Do you remember your first experience with horror? Was it at a young age?
My very first experience of horror was at a young age… 5 or 6 years old.. I watched Jaws.. The suspense of not seeing the shark until late on in the movie really excited me.. then when it came the blood and shock really hit home.. The idea of losing a limb, blood and drowning at the same time freaked me out.. you would think that would put me off swimming but I love the ocean and particularly scuba diving.. lol.
I went from Jaws to Schwarzenegger Action movies to Hellraiser and A Nightmare on Elm Street movies from the age of 7 to 10 years old.. we had a guy who would bring VHS movies in the back of his car and I would hire 2 or 3 for a week at a time… It was that that got me into Night Of The Living Dead, Halloween, Evil Dead, Phantasm, Nightbreed, The People Under The Stairs etc.
4. What era of horror is your favourite & why?
I would probably have to say the 80’s were a pretty cool era of horror for me..
I loved it that the effects were practical, basic and tried to out do the last gory movie… and in places it got ridiculous… but hey we’re horror fans and sometimes the gore doesn’t have to make sense.. lol.
I’m thinking Evil Dead territory here.
5. What frightens or creeps you out in horror?
I gotta say gory doesn’t creep me out.. subtlety creeps me out more and when I’m challenged to think about something… being left alone with my own thoughts… that’s what creeps me out along with found footage films.. that said I do remember the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre creeping me out with the ultra realistic violence… again it had that b-movie feel that I seem to get drawn to.
6. Who is your horror inspiration? Be it a director/actor/author etc.
An author I have always loved is the English author James Herbert.
His trilogy of The Rats, Lair and Domain were just gripping for me.. his descriptions of gore were detailed enough for me to really picture the death scenes… I now have an absolute intolerance of being around/near Rats all because of this man… and I was raised in the country surrounded by mice and rats.. lol. So you would think I’d be fine with things like that but I just cannot handle them at all.
I wish someone would make movies of this trilogy and do them really really well… We have the technology now unlike when “The Rats” was made into a movie called “Deadly Eyes” in 1982. The Rats were dogs in Rat suits.. lol.
He has other great novels that would make brilliant movies too.. The Fog, The Survivor, The Magic Cottage, The Spear to name just a few.
7. Do you enjoy modern horror or do you look to the past for your fix?
I would say I would usually look to the past for my horror fix.
“Hellraiser”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, Night Of The Living Dead”, “Demons” are all movies I can revisit at anytime.
But I gotta say I just finished watching the new Ash vs Evil Dead. All 3 series.. And I bloody loved it. Bruce Campbell as Ash brought up to date with the modern, completely over the top gore and one liners is just magic to me… Loved every minute of it and I’m really gutted it got cancelled. I highly recommend it.
The modern TV show of “The Exorcist” I really got into… it’s not a re telling, it’s a continuation of the the original story brought right up to date.. both series were brilliant but Disney Studios bought Fox studios who made the show and Disney were never going to continue with the project. It was a real shame as I’d love to know what happened to the characters next.
I also have a love for modern foreign Horror movies.. I think they capture the essence of tone and atmosphere of some 70’s and early 80’s American horror movies like “The Entity” and “The Exorcist” for example.
I love the Spanish zombie movie “Rec” 1 and 2 in fact I thought they were really, really well executed and brutal on the nerves. French zombie horror movie “Horde” is also a favourite of mine.
Spanish possession movie “Veronica” I loved recently. All low budget, dark gritty movies. But then big budget Korean zombie movie “Train To Busan” really grabbed me too.
8. What horror movie is universally beloved that you just don’t like?
I enjoy most horror films in one way or another but I would say that my least favourite type of horror movie would be serious slasher films.. and I suppose the pinnacle of that would be something like “Friday the 13th”.
9. If you could shoot one horror cliché/trope into the sun to never be used again. What would it be?
I think that would have to be the mirror set piece.. I think that it’s been over used over the years.
10. Same question but about type/style. What type or style of horror would you happily never watch again?
11. What gets you excited when watching horror?
The unknown. I love being drip fed information or snippet of visuals on a kill scene, so when we do eventually see the monster or whatever we get a full sense of dread and fear.
12. Have you had any real life scary experiences? We’re talking supernatural or something that can’t be reasonably explained.
Yes I have.
My wife and I were in bed with the bedroom door open to the landing area. one night around 2 or 3 in the morning there was a flash of intense white light and a sound of burning.. the sort of sound you hear if you were to ignite a gas stove.
This came from the landing area.
My wife and I both woke up immediately.. I walked out onto the landing and all of the adjoining rooms.. no electrical burns (it was a modern house so the wiring was good), all the lightbulbs worked, it was a calm night with no lightening outside, it was a quiet close so no traffic lights. We cannot explain it and we both experienced the exact same thing.
1. Favourite overall franchise (3 or more movies)?
Right now I’d say Evil Dead.
2. Most memorable character death?
28 Weeks Later – Robert Carlyle as an infected kills his wife digging his thumbs into her eye sockets and gives her a beating. Very realistic and the emotional context in which that scene occurs makes it harrowing.
3. Best horror twist?
Saw – Jigsaw in the room the whole damn time!!
4. Favourite Stephen King book?
Pet Semetary as I said earlier. Second favourite is Cujo.
5. Best remake of a horror movie?
I Spit On Your Grave and Night Of The Living Dead.
6. Worst remake of a horror movie?
Total Recall… what a pile of shit. lol. Horror wise A Nightmare On Elm Street.
7. Favourite horror villain?
Freddy Kruger from A Nightmare on Elm Street or Pinhead from Hellraiser.
8. It’s Halloween night…you settle down with some popcorn to watch…what?
My wife hates horror movies so we’d probably have to go with some sci-fi (which I also love) and then watch a horror movie in the morning as I’m an early riser.. lol. It would be The Conjuring!
We’d like to thank Stu of White Raven Down for taking the time to speak with us. You can find our more about the band by checking out their Facebook Page and website.