A Guest Honey Mini-Review by Steph

I’m the sort of person who will watch pretty much anything if you tell me it’ll either have my stomach hurling, eyes flinching or heart racing, so when I read the synopsis for a movie back in 2007 called Catacombs, I was excited. The premise of cat-and-mouse in an underground tomb built using millions of human remains was something I liked the sound of, and when I saw that Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight's Tale) played the lead (Victoria), I thought ‘what the heck’ and rented it on DVD. 

The story: The locals hold an illegal party in a morbid labyrinth which Victoria attends with her group of friends - which, by the way, includes pop-star, P!nk. I thought that I might find this distracting, but her character was actually fairly believable (unlike Miss Hilton’s nauseating stint in House of Wax). Throughout the course of the party, one by one, the group is separated and Victoria is left running around the tombs alone, being hunted down by a ravenous murderer who is out to slaughter as many of the herd of teenagers dancing, drinking and falling about in ‘his’ tomb as possible.

Out of ten, Catacombs earns a score of five. It kept my attention, but like many other horror films, it left me wanting more. However, the film opened my eyes to something which I never knew existed; the Paris Catacombs. I had visited Paris once before and had heard nothing of it. Delving deeper, I discovered that this underground cemetery holds the remains of around six million people and covers more than 200 miles under the city of Paris (although your morbid curiosity will have to be content with the mile or so of tunnels that are legal to enter).

In 2012, I begged my husband and two friends on the way home from Euro Disney (who said a Horror Honey can’t love Mickey Mouse!!) to stop in Paris to visit the tombs. After some heavy negotiation we made our way into the city. Once resolved to enter the catacombs, we ended up queuing for two hours to get in! The operators are extremely strict about numbers and also about flash photography in certain areas inside, so I only managed to get a couple of photos. It was strange down there, dark and freezing cold as you might imagine and the atmosphere was so dense it made my neck prickle with goose-bumps. Both anti-horror friends found the whole experience quite morbid. My husband was curious, but I was honestly fascinated by what I saw. The stacks of bones were like an art-form that has been hidden away, deep within a bustling city for no-one to see. 

Last week someone contacted me about a trailer they’d seen for a new horror movie due for release later this month called, As Above/So Below (Released in the US on Aug 29, 2014). Besides hating the awkward name, I was instantly excited! A parallel universe, supernatural elements, a creepy dark location (which I have now actually visited) and a group of clueless archaeologists – surely makes this the perfect setting for a horror movie made in hell? BUT my big question is, how many times can one location be used to set a horror movie? For those of you who’ve not seen Catacombs, the whole premise is probably new to you but for those of us that have, is it going to be a boring, ‘seen-it-all-before’ disappointment?
Photo: Stephanie Boddy

Photo: Stephanie Boddy
Well, I don’t think so. It’s a different genre, with what I believe to be a whole load of potential. The trailer reminds me of Neil Marshall’s, The Descent which is a movie I absolutely loved, but for As Above to be comparable after watching, it’s got some bloody horror scenes to live up to. But I think it has all of the key ingredients of a decent horror flick. Directed by John Dowdle, it has the possibility of being good, really good, and with films like Quarantine and Devil under his belt, I am hoping that As Above/So Below becomes his acclaimed piece of work and gives me the nightmares that I so eagerly crave. 

Photo: Stephanie Boddy
For anyone who has visited the Paris Catacombs (or other eerie finds are apparently Ossuary at Kutna Hora, near Prague and The House of Mummies in Guanajuato, Mexico) – please get in touch. I’m eager to hear of some new, intriguing morbid places to add to my bucket list. Happy horror hunting!

The boring bit!
The name’s Stephanie Boddy – author of horror and the paranormal. No.1 bestselling paranormal novel, The House on Poultney Road has sold 8.5k copies worldwide in seven months; horror  novelette, The Secret People has sold 1k copies in one month. The anticipated sequel to The House on Poultney Road called, It Found Me, is due to be published towards the end of next month. I also write for The London Horror Society. My Facebook page has almost 12.5k followers and Twitter has almost 1.5k followers.