The Phantom Carriage's German Poster

Continuing on with our ghoulish venture into the history of haunted cinema, we head straight into the 1920s. Film had changed drastically since the last blog. No longer where films restricted to being merely a couple of minutes long, but had since become even more lavish. The US was enjoying an economic boom which helped build up the big Hollywood studios, but elsewhere budget restrictions were giving way to some of the most beautiful, artistic and jaw-droppingly awesome films, especially with the German Expressionist movement including Metropolis (1927).

German Expressionist films like Nosferatu and The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari were being celebrated like crazy. Whilst short lived, the movement’s influence can still be seen today (hello Tim Burton!) and many of these directors would be encouraged to come to Hollywood in later years and create some truly impressive masterpieces (mainly Film Noir). Following quickly on the German’s heels were the swedes. There’s more to Sweden than ABBA, meatballs and women – much more! In fact, one of the great films of the 1920s was the ghost film, The Phantom Carriage.  Directed by Victor Sjöström in 1921, The Phantom Carriage (orig. Körkarlen ) tells the terrifying tale of a hooded coachman (think ol’ Grim Reaper) who is cursed to take the souls of the dead.

Based upon a book of the same German title and recently released on DVD & Blu-ray , this film has become a classic! The legendary  Ingmar Bergman was a huge fan of this film and reportedly watched it at least every year. Take a look at this clip from the film too. Spot anything it may have influenced?

Yep, that’s right! Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining!

Besides this and the brilliant original The Cat And The Cannary (remade a few years later with the hilarious Bob Hope) and several more (!) Christmas Carol movie adaptations, ghost films of the 20s were quite quiet, which is no wonder really since the term ‘horror genre’ had yet to be defined. When Universal’s instant hit, Dracula burst onto the screens, scared eager audiences and gave birth to the Horror Film officially, it wasn’t long until ghosts joined in the spooking fun. A whole array of titles quickly followed, most of which were low budget. Included here is Supernatural, The Ghost Walks, The Ghost Goes West and several others.

Join us tomorrow for one of the greatest classic Haunted House films of all time…

Pre-order this incredible ghostly thriller here!

Break-out horror movie smash of the year that has been electrifying hardened genre fans and non-horror fans alike, “The Pact” combines the supernatural terrors of “Paranormal Activity” with the tense atmospherics of a serial killer thriller to create a unique, modern-day take on the classic ghost story.

And it’s out on October 1st! Pre-order yours here.

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[REC] Genesis is an action packed, romantic gore fest of a possessed zombie movie! With limbs flying everywhere, chainsaws roaring, blood spraying and love in the air, this is simply a must-see film for all horror and undead fans. But what is it like being a zombie caught up in all the slaughter? Well, we’ve been lucky enough to catch up with actor José Mellinas, star of the film as one of the blood-thirsty, flesh-devouring sprinting undead to tell us a little about his role, the film, the experience of filming and much more.

So, keep your chainsaw revving and your eyes on the lookout for any brain-eaters, as José Mellinas explains exactly what it was like to be a zombie.


Hi there José! Before we get started could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is José Mellinas, I´m 24 years old and I´m from Lleida, Spain (as is Jaume Balagueró [the director of the first two [REC] films!). I am a professional actor. I´ve done film, television and theatre. In [REC] Genesis I played a wedding guest who becomes one of the zombies. You can see me in the kitchen and chapel scenes. What´s more: I also put my voice to all the infected people in the final mix sound editing of the film (watch the Blu-ray features!).

Currently I’m focusing on my theatre career and have recently worked on the post-apocalyptic film The Last Days (the Pastor brothers) and I’ve done casting for the film Grand Piano, directed by Eugenio Mira with Elijah Wood.  I am also the webmaster of [REC] INFECTADOS POR EL MAL, the largest [REC] Spanish website.

So, José, playing the part of an infected zombie in one of the most successful modern horror franchises is quite an achievement! How did you the get the part? Did you have to audition for it?

As a fan of the franchise, I assure you, it’s a dream come true. Back in May 2011, when Filmax announced [REC] 3: Genesis & [REC] 4: Apocalypse, I promised myself that no matter what happened, I NEEDED to be part of one of them. Finally, after some battles, I was able to get an audition. Paco Plaza okayed and Ana Isabel Velásquez, casting director, confirmed the wonderful news to me.

The make up in this film is incredible and the zombies are truly terrifying. How long did it take to put on all the zombie make-up and what exactly was involved?

Due to the large number of actors, David Ambit - [REC] trilogy make-up artist – divided all the zombies of the film into two groups: “Luxe” and “Deluxe”. “Luxe” was simple make-up for short sequences and background action. “Deluxe” -where I belonged- consisted of a more graphic, heavier make-up. I had three different make-ups for the film, which changed according to the scene. Applied in less than one hour. The latex and lenses did wonders, giving fabulous on-screen results.

Being covered in blood must have been quite strange, but I imagine a lot of fun. How did it feel to play a zombie? Did you manage to scare anybody?

Oh yes! It was devilish fun. Everyone wanted to be a zombie! And yes, I enjoyed scaring the other actors. It was the perfect opportunity. To give you one example of many, the actress Jana Soler (Tita) could not even look at me because she was terrified of me. Ironically, when I was working on the movie I was employed at the Salon del Comic de Barcelona as a zombie. A classic zombie, Romero style. I had to scare people 24/7. Those were intense days! My face managed to suffer from so much latex.

Looking at these photos I’m not surprised people where terrified!

The infected in [REC] Genesis move very quickly, rather than the traditional slow, shuffling zombie. Could you tell us how you moved? Were there any classes to perfect the infected run, for instance?

Once I was fully characterized, I played a lot with my body language, and I stretched my physical abilities. The [REC] and [REC] 2 zombies were great references, but I wanted to bring something new, something of my own. So I was inspired by some animals, like spiders and Pitbulls. Although there were no lessons to perfect the infected run, each actor was self-taught. In the first scene I shot as a zombie -not in the final cut- I was slow and clumsy. I was excited because it was my first time, but the fan-boy in me thought: “I want to run!”

What was it like working on the set of [REC] Genesis with such a great cast and crew?

It was magical. There was an air of extreme verisimilitude during filming. Everything was calculated and controlled, even in the midst of chaos. I made very good friends and met some lovely people. The same people who made [REC] 1 & 2 possibly. Paco Plaza has said in interviews that the extras were chosen selectively, and I can confirm that. The cast and crew were extremely professional, full of talented people. They taught me a few things. And I’ll tell you a secret: I had never attended a royal wedding, and the wedding of [REC] Genesis was the first one I went to, so now you can get an idea of why this film is special to me.

So, are you a big fan of horror films then, José? What about zombie movies?

I absolutely love them! The horror genre is, without any doubts, my favourite genre. Since I was five, I enjoyed unforgettable movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th. Basically, it´s my life: I could talk about it for hours. And zombies have always been important to me, too. One of my favourite movies, without any doubt, is George A. Romero´s Dawn of the Dead. I absolutely love it! But I don’t want to forget other great zombie flicks like Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Braindead, Night of the Creeps, [REC] 1 & 2, 28 Days Later and, of course, Edgar Wright´s Shaun of the Dead. Because, as the great Al once said, dogs can’t look up.

Well you clearly have great taste in film!

Now that you’ve played a zombie, you’re probably a little more prepared for a zombie outbreak than most people. So, what would you do if you found yourself surrounded by the living dead?

As a movie buff that I am, I would take note of all the zombie movies I’ve seen. Oh, man. I would like to see a Dawn of the Dead scenario, in that big mall, running and playing around. Now that would be cool.

You’d need some kind of zombie-killing weapon to survive of course. What would be your weapon of choice?

I guess I would be a creative zombie killer. But, you know, a chainsaw would be pretty epic! With Tino Casal´s Eloise as a background song…

Great choice! You really can’t beat the ferocious power of the chainsaw when it comes to dismembering the infected living dead, especially with such a catchy soundtrack!

Finally,  what do you think  it is that makes [REC] Genesis so enjoyable and highly recommended?

Look, we live in an era in which it is difficult to surprise the audience. That audience wants to be surprised, taken to new lands. [REC] has been completely renovated by its own father, Paco Plaza. If you’ve seen his Christmas Tale, you’ll see that both films are in the same line. Now there is more black humour, more blood. It’s more raw, more fun. It´s wild! By expanding the universe of [REC], new doors have been opened. A sequel has to be respectful to the franchise´s spirit, and [REC] Genesis does that.

Nicely said, José. Well, I think I can hear the screams of the infected racing towards us now, so it’s probably best to end it here!

A huge thank you for sharing your experience on staring in one of the most fun horror films in recent years.

To find out more  info about José Mellinas, be sure to check his very own website, !

And don’t forget to look out for a flesh-eating José in [REC] Genesis (out on DVD and Blu-ray now!) Pre-order yours here.

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