Fears of a Clown

Spending 12-14 hours a day in haunted tunnels, preparing a serial killer’s lair and tying a man to a rusty counter. We were back for another week on Clownface. Read our previous posts about it here and here.

Drakelow Tunnels, Clownface

Mickey at the entrance to Drakelow Tunnels

When Producer Mark messaged us before filming even began months ago, he asked if we knew of any abandoned nuclear bunkers or tunnels that would be perfect for a serial killer’s lair. Naturally, we said yes. Two years ago, we spent a night ghost hunting in Drakelow Tunnels, a huge labyrinth of tunnels built into cliffs of Kidderminster to house the Rover Shadow Factory during the war. People died there and paranormal teams investigate it regularly. You can read our blog post about our visit here. What better place for Clownface to take his victims? Luckily, Mark and the director, Alex, loved it as much as we did and it became Clownface’s lair.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceMonday morning was a 5 a.m start for us as we had to fetch Phil (Clownface) and the mountain of food that his partner, Ella, had cooked and prepared for cast and crew. We took one look at the bags and thought ‘that is not fitting in the Mini.’ Luckily, being Tetris champions and owning a Smartcar meant we fitted everything in then headed up to Kidderminster for a 14 hour day of filming. It was cold in the tunnels. The warmest the tunnels reach is 10 degrees C. And there’s only power for part of it. As the actors would not be wearing much, we brought heat patches with us they could stick under their clothes to provide some warmth. And we brought a portable heater. We loved being back in Drakelow and between shoots and on our lunch break, we went exploring. It was weird seeing it with lights on. When we went, we were told there was no power. That was a lie. Most of the rat holes we used as shortcuts to other tunnels had been bricked up. Mostly we filmed in and around tunnel 4. One of the haunted tunnels. The room which became one of the sets is actually a room we did a vigil in.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceCat assisted the second assistant camera guy, Josh, writing down scene numbers, takes, slates and camera lens for each take. Lynx took behind the scenes photography and we both did set dressing, which is our main job on the film. As again, there were no runners who could drive, Lynx had to fetch two crew members from Wolverhampton. Having a driving licence is actually a requirement for a runners’ job so it was annoying that one of us had to constantly be pulled off set to do this. Unfortunately, there is no phone or internet signal for two miles around the tunnels, so she had to drive for a while until maps came online. Driving new places on our own really heightens our anxiety, but when the only people who can drive are the camera crew, the producer and us, there isn’t a choice. But forcing us to confront our anxiety is a good thing. Later, Lynx accompanied Mark back to the converted barn we were staying in to check in and try to cook the jacket potatoes that wouldn’t cook. We generally only use the microwave to melt our ice cream, and as they were pushed for time, only some of the potatoes cooked.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceWe finished filming at 11:30 p.m. and that was only because a scene had to be cut due to lack of time. We got back to the barn at midnight, but didn’t get to bed ’til gone 1 a.m. as we had to refrigerate the food and wash out the slow cookers. The barn had separate dorm style bedrooms, so we shared a room with the actress, Hannah, and the makeup artist, Brooke. Ours was a lovely, peaceful room.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceTuesday was a 9 a.m. unit call, so we were up at 7:30 then had to wait for everyone else to get up, so didn’t make it to the tunnels ’til 9:25. Lynx continued photographing behind the scenes then fetched Hannah from the barn at 1, while Cat was Josh’s assistant, and took over the photography and set dressing when Lynx was driving. We also helped the gaffer, Ben, set up lights, rather than just guarding them. We were in a different area today. The owner had added metal beds and bedside cabinets which weren’t there when we visited the tunnels two years ago. Lynx thought she was seeing things at one point when she saw glowing green eyes and a shaggy dog. It turned out to be one of the owner’s gorgeous Spaniels. Not a ghost dog. We finished filming at 10:30 we think but didn’t get to bed til 11:35 after doing all of the washing up, even though off set, it’s not our job.

Jay, the gorgeous Collie at the barn

On Wednesday we got up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. to be on set by 6 a.m. We did more washing up and cleared away all the crisp packets that had been left outside. Ten feet from the bin. Seriously, even our dog knows how to pick up rubbish. We took Alex to set and were there at 6, ready to start. The owner wasn’t. Neither was anybody else. We had no phone signal to warn the others who arrived by 6:45. The director of photography, Ben T, was blasting My Chemical Romance from his car so we danced outside to pass the time. He kindly cleared his back seat of camera equipment so Alex and we could sit in. We danced to his great music and napped. Somehow, we knew this would be the best part of the day.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceThe owner arrived at 8. We could’ve had an extra two hours in bed! So not only had we been deprived of sleep, we’d also lost two hours of filming time so scenes had to be cut. We were back in Tunnel 4 today and again helped to set up some of the lights. We covered the crash mats in blankets to make a bed but then had to fetch a bed from another room and dress that instead. Lynx went to fetch the actor, Tom, from Kidderminster train station. Most of the day was spent re-dressing the bed and checking continuity. Lynx took Phil back to the barn in the afternoon then took over on sound after the sound guy left at 6 to do a night shift. Cat took over on behind the scenes photography and continued set dressing alone as well as being Josh’s assistant. Ben T reckoned we’re really good at doing sound and that we should go into it 🙂 It’s times like these that having anxiety can be a good thing. We get so anxious about getting things wrong that we channel it into being extra cautious and doing the best job we can.

Drakelow Tunnels, Clownface

exploring with producer, Mark

We got back to the barn at 7 then went to Sainsbury’s to get ice cream. We only got internet and phone signal when we were driving so we took the opportunity to contact our mum and sister while sat in Sainsbury’s car park. We did more washing up before going to bed then Mark took over washing up duties. We swear the washing up breeds when our backs are turned. We should start charging for cleaning duties. Those who refuse to wash up have to pay us £1 per plate and 50p per mug and piece of cutlery. During this week, we could’ve bought our hearse with the proceeds. And had change left over for a coffin.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceThursday we got up at 4:45 but had to wait for gaffer Ben C and Alex, as Ben C had the keys. So at 6 a.m, we were doing flexibility stretches to pass the time. Yoga at 6 a.m. Next we’ll be going on retreats. We moved everything out of the storage cupboards and took the lighting equipment and our prop box to the new set: Clownface’s lair, which was in a rusty industrial kitchen. We were in our element set dressing this with our creepy props and torture tools. That was our favourite part of the entire film. Lynx took over on sound briefly for the afternoon while most of Cat’s time was spent blowing out and relighting the tealights on set. She’d be told to blow them out then relight them almost immediately. This happened a few times and she was tempted to start setting people on fire. People burn longer than tealights, though they’d have to film without sound, as this scene didn’t require agonised screaming. Then she was told to clear the front bench for a killing scene, so she did. Then immediately got told it should’ve been the back bench. So she had to use the continuity photos on her phone to re-dress the front bench exactly how it had been. After rehearsals, they decided it should be the front bench after all. Again, people were lucky they were not set on fire. We had a whole range of torture tools. It is not wise to piss off the props women. Josh was impressed Cat managed to keep up with the note taking whilst constantly dressing the set and tending to the candles.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceWe got to shackle Clownface and tie him up. He insisted it was done properly. In between takes, we were throwing his dressing gown on him to warm him. We also got to briefly be makeup assistants. Filming finished relatively on time. Our evening was spent doing *drum roll* yes. A shit ton of washing up. Where the fuck does it all come from? There’s 16 people, not 1600! We retired to our room at 9 to do flexibility stretches and hide from any more washing up, but that meant Mark did it in our absence. We’re so glad there’s only 3 humans in our house. And we have a dishwasher. Plus the residents of Casa Raven know how to use water and a sponge.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceOur last day, we got up at 4:45. Unit call was again 6 a.m. We knew no one else would be up early but we also knew there would be yet more washing up to do. We were right. This was despite us doing 3 or 4 sinkfuls the previous night and Mark did more than us. And there were countless beer cans scattered everywhere. Ten feet from the recycling bin. Checkout was at 11, so we couldn’t leave until the barn was clean and tidy. Us and Mark were sick of the constant washing up. Then we discovered someone had drunk our soya milk, leaving us with none for breakfast. That was it. Cat ended up yelling at people after overhearing that we should apparently be doing stuff as everyone was late. Think tiny Welsh Hulk bollocking a room of men. Not even sorry. We should’ve unleashed the Hulk earlier. Lynx then got sympathy hugs from Josh, Alex and Phil. So due to the clean up, Cat was late bringing actress Dani to set. Lynx and Mark stayed behind to clean the barn and throw late risers out. On route, Cat was sent to fetch gaffer tape, only for people to be angry that the actress was  late to makeup. Then don’t send the actress’s driver to fetch gaffer tape, knowing the actress was in the car! Lynx yelled at people for that, defending Cat who still wasn’t back. The logical thing would’ve been to get Cat to drop the actress off then send her to fetch gaffer tape. But logic was clearly having a lie-in that morning.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceWe were back in the original set so moved the bed back in and dressed it. We had to do a lot on continuity and blood clean up between takes. And hold a ladder so Ben T didn’t fall off and die, or more importantly, break his camera. There was enough time to film a scene that got dropped from the previous day. After we loaded the car, a police car drove in. Us and Phil went over to speak to the officer. Apparently it was unusual for the blast door to be open at that time. We told him about the film and assured him that the death scenes and blood were not real. He looked at Clownface’s makeup and asked if he was a victim. We replied “he’s the killer!” You know it’s a proper indie film when the police stop by. We drove Phil home then returned to Casa Raven, regretting that the next day, we would be doing an hour’s polefit lesson, followed by an hour and a half polefit workshop then driving to Hastings for an overnight ghost hunt. Providing we could stay awake.

But despite the rage we unleashed on Friday, we did enjoy working with everyone. Again, we were amazed at how excellent all the actors are in their roles. Their emotion is so so realistic, take after take. We cannot wait to see the finished film.

Oh and we got some good news: our travel article about our misadventures in Paris won second place in Writing Magazine’s travel writing competition and our burlesque ghost story has been shortlisted for an anthology. On Saturday we start working on Dave’s Emoji of Horror film. We’ll not only be crewing it, we’ll also be acting in it. Then in Spring, we start filming our own film! The Black Kiss. A story from our Romance is Dead trilogy. We’ve already written the script and started collecting props. Not that we’re excited or anything. So our writing career has taken a bit of a curve at the moment and we’re thoroughly enjoying the new challenges and experiences. And for these two films, there will no more washing up!Drakelow Tunnels, Clownface

 

Clowning Around

Late nights, early starts and exposing our arses on film. We were back working on Clownface.

We’ve been away at horror conventions/literary events every weekend since 23rd September, so haven’t had much time to blog. And we also returned to Clownface for two days.

Clownface

us with Clownface aka Phil

Unfortunately, a lot of crew and extras dropped out last minute, so the crew consisted of the director of photography, Ben, his assistant, Rich, the sound guy, Barrie and us. And yet, it was the smoothest shoot yet. We arrived at 1:30 p.m. on the Thursday, ready to dress the set for a party scene. Unfortunately, as the fairy lights kept getting moved around, nobody knew exactly where they were supposed to be and nobody had taken continuity photos. (That was one of our jobs on the August block but we couldn’t make it to the block at the beginning of October.) We used footage from the film to guess the location and exact angle of hanging and we think we got it right. We also spread sequins everywhere, hung silver shredding from light fixtures and lamps and covered a table with empty bottles and cups. For people who have never been to a house party, so got our ideas from TV, we think we did ok.

We reprised our role of second assistant camera (operating the clapperboard) and also our least favourite role of guarding the floodlight. This time, it was out in a dark country lane. Standing a goth in a dark lane was never going to be a good idea, but luckily Rich had a high-vis jacket so Lynx wouldn’t be run down by passing motorists. Our mum’s Mini, Mickey, was parked outside the cottage’s front door so is on screen for most of the exterior shots. He didn’t complain about the length of shooting time, and didn’t once demand makeup. He was a true star. The lead actresses, Hannah and Abi kept everyone entertained between shots by doing a brilliant rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody in the back of the car.

Clownface

guarding the light

Then we had our first experience in front of the camera – as extras in a party scene. So as Cat was operating the clapperboard, she had to wait outside, shivering in her finery, work the clapperboard then run in and take her place as an extra. Then the director, Alex, asked for volunteers to do stunts. Naturally, we volunteered, as did a couple of extras. The producer, Mark, chose us because we do gymnastics and as Mark put it, we’re great at falling over. You only have to watch our Calamityville episodes to know we’re well practised in the art of tripping. The scene involved party goers fleeing the house and we’re so drunk, we trip, landing on a crash mat. Abi then helps us up and half carries us out of shot. Alex wondered if they should get Phil (who plays Clownface) to teach us how to fall, as he’s a stunt guy. Mark assured him we knew what we were doing. We did it perfectly. Apparently, it looked very realistic. There was one problem:

Short dresses and fishnet tights.

Yes, the rest of extras ran out to exposed arse cheeks and lacy unmentionables, take after take. It’s a good job we’ve been keeping up with our squats. Then the scene had to be shot from behind. We tried to argue that it was unnecessary, but we were outvoted. This time, our arses would be immortalised on camera. Even worse, was when they shot a close up. Fortunately, we started off lying on the mat, so Abi kindly adjusted our dresses to make sure there was one shot where our dignity wasn’t sprawled onto the gravel next to us. Luckily, we only got minor injuries – Cat consistently landed on her pre-injured scaphoid bone (she kept falling over in woods and landing on it. Proof we were perfect for this role) and Lynx took the skin off her elbow in the same place every time and finished the shoot wearing a Paw Patrol plaster. But it shows our falls were identical in every take. You usually have pay a lot of money for that kind of professionalism.

Clownface

Cat with her sound equipment

The next scene was shot outside, so Lynx was again on light-guarding duty, operating a large LED light. It was freezing, so between takes, we wrapped the actress, Leah, in our coats so she wouldn’t get too cold. Clownface kept us entertained by doing impressions of Mark Hamill as The Joker. As we were working through the night, lunchtime was 11 p.m. As there were no runners, we had to fulfill that role so spent our breaks doing all the washing up and constantly sweeping up all the grass that got tracked in from outside. With about 16 people on site, there was a lot of washing up.

We were extras again in the next party scene. Mark asked us what we usually do at gatherings. Our answer of ‘sit in the corner with the home owners’ pet’ wasn’t helpful. There were no pets. Instead, we stand in the doorway, blocking it, then walk in front of the camera. Alex wanted us on screen quite a bit. So not only did we get to work on our first horror film, we got to be in it too. And we feel it adds a bit of realism to it. All the actresses are stunning so the film needed some regular looking people to balance it out.

We finally finished filming at 5:30 a.m. and set up our airbeds on the living room floor among the camera equipment and cases. All the beds were taken. We had a good five hours’ sleep and were up at 11, cleaning the cottages with Mark and doing yet more washing up before everyone else got up. Lynx made a trip to the co-op to buy more Red Bull then we started preparing for filming. We covered windows in tin foil, as the scenes were meant to take place at night then we got to stand in for Hannah and Clownface, by Cat chasing Lynx up the stairs, so Ben could get the lighting and camera angle right. That was a fun piece of unexpected exercise. Again, we spent our time between scenes washing up.

Most of the shooting took place inside, which was nice and warm. Although the small bedroom provided some filming problems. The scene there between Hannah and Clownface was incredible. It was so realistic. Hannah is an fantastic actress and it really showed in this scene.

Clownface

Lynx in her high vis vest

The sound guy had to leave at 7:30 p.m. which meant we had to take over sound. He gave us a crash course but had to leave before supervising us. We panicked and didn’t want to do it, but we had no choice. There were no other crew members. It turned out to be easier than we feared – like the clapperboard was. The final shots were outside. It was freezing! As Lynx was put on light guarding duty in the middle of the lane again and Cat was on sound, there was no-one to operate the clapperboard. In the end, we roped actress Leah into using it and Cat taught her how to do it. We were glad our mum insisted we take our big coats, even though there wasn’t room in the car.

We wrapped at 11:45 p.m. and helped Ben and Mark load their equipment into their cars. We cleaned one of the cottages and did the last load of washing up before heading to bed. We had to be up at 6:30 a.m. for Birmingham Horror Con and managed to clean the other cottage before we left. We had to make a quick stop to buy Red Bull as ours had vanished. We got to the horror con at 8:20 a.m. The security guard said “you’re a bit late aren’t you?” Us ” we had to buy Red Bull.” Yes, that is more important. Never mind Clownface killing people in gruesome way, us without our morning Red Bull is true horror. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

If you want to hear us recount our adventures and talk about all things horror, don’t forget to tune into our radio show, The Graveyard Shift, every Friday 7-9 p.m. on Vitalize Radio.Clownface

All Aboard!

paddleboardingWe’re always up for new challenges so when our polefit studio owner KT invited people to a paddleboarding session, we signed up. And then googled what it was. Basically, it’s a cross between kayaking and surfing, where you stand on a board and use a paddle. Our first thought was ‘this will be so much fun.’ Our second thought was ‘we’re going to faceplant in the water.’ Our third thought was ‘we’re going to faceplant, smack our faces on the boards and the rapids will carry our unconscious bodies through the kayaking course’. (For non-anxiety sufferers, this is known as catastrophizing – always imaging the worse case scenario for every activity.) Despite us being utterly convinced this would end badly, we paid up. Though when the health and safety forms mentioned the possibility of death, images of our unconscious bodies floating downstream seemed suddenly plausible.

paddleboardingWe were excited. And then nervous. We met KT, her hubby and three other polefit ladies in the Cardiff International White Water Centre, ready for our session. We were a little concerned that the women’s wetsuits didn’t go small enough and hoped they wouldn’t put us in kids’ ones. Fortunately, they didn’t. But the wetsuits were too big for us. Cat had to roll up her sleeves into cuffs so they wouldn’t cover her hands. The good thing about the wetsuits was that they were plain black. The worst thing about the wetsuits was that they were wet. And the boots were wet. The suits we could cope with. The soggy boots was not pleasant.

paddleboardingWe squelched our way outside to retrieve our lifejackets then headed down to the cage. Sadly it wasn’t a cage for seeing sharks, but was where the boards and paddles are kept. Our guide, Dan, lined everyone up on the deck, shortest first. That’ll be us then. We practised paddling on our left side (straight stroke to go forward, semi circle to turn, forwards to reverse) then side stepped to the right and practised paddling on our right. It was really tough and we doubted our ability to move the boards. We were then taken to our inflatable boards. Dan said the guys needed the bigger boards and the smaller women needed the smaller boards. Unfortunately, some other women from another group who were bigger than us took the smaller boards, so we had to have regular ones.

We pushed the boards into the water and carefully climbed on. At first, you start off kneeling then once your confidence builds, you stand up. Dear god, your thighs get a good workout! We paddled around the small area, crashing into the sides, boats and other people. But we didn’t fall in. Though Cat inadvertently made someone else fall in. They were heading for a collision and she managed to turn at the last moment. He crashed into kayaks and fell in. LOL.

paddleboarding

the swan is watching us

Then it came to standing. This is it, we thought. This is the moment we get dunked like apples at Halloween. We placed our hands on the boards, got to our feet and slowly stood. We wobbled, but didn’t fall in. The trick was to drop to your knees if you lost your balance or were heading for a collision. Again, we paddled around the small area, crashing into boats and other people. But we didn’t fall in. Our mate, Bryn, who was our photographer, was very disappointed.

paddleboardingThen Dan asked if we wanted to go out on the river. Why the hell not? So we left the training area and picked up our boards. This is where having the smaller boards would’ve been nice. We have short arms and legs. Having to carry the board under our arms meant they were almost trailing on the ground. And they were heavy. We lugged them to another area, carefully climbed on then paddled our way down the River Taff. It was really relaxing. We’d completely got the hang of it and felt totally safe and confident. Until a boat came and the wake unbalanced us. But we didn’t fall in. Lynx was almost knocked off by some floating plant, but swiftly dropped to her knees and avoided a dunking. If there’s one place you don’t want to swim, it’s the Taff. Rats frequent it then have showers so they feel clean.

paddleboarding

future olympic paddleboard champions

We then started dreaming of doing this regularly. Or even buying our own boards and paddles and cruising down any water way we can find. They inflate so we could take them travelling. Hell, we could even form an Olympic team! We could be the first Olympic paddleboard champions. Turns out the boards are expensive and paddleboarding doesn’t seem to be a competitive sport. Yet…

30 East Drive

When the chance to investigate ‘Europe’s Most Haunted House’ comes up, who is going to say no?

30 East DriveThis is the first time we’ve ghost hunted since 2016, mostly due to lack of time, money, and places not emailing us back. We’ve missed it. And what a way to return by spending the entire night in a famous location. 30 East Drive in Pontefract is known as the ‘poltergeist house’. It’s even listed as that on Google Maps. In recent years, it’s come to the attention of ghost hunters and lots of groups investigate there. In Most Haunted, they had marbles and knives thrown at them and Karl was famously dragged up the stairs by a poltergeist, but the white rope attached to his belt points to a less paranormal explanation. Mind you, Most Haunted could make a rabbit hutch look like a terrifyingly scary location.

Does 30 East Drive deserve its spooky reputation?30 East Drive

In August 1966, the Pritchard family – Jean, Joe, 15 year old Philip and 12 year old Diane – moved into the house. Not long after, Philip and his grandmother saw chalk dust fall from below head height. They summoned Philip’s aunt, Mrs Kelly, to come see it. She went to the kitchen to fetch cleaning stuff when she slipped in a pool of water that had mysteriously appeared. As she tried mopping it up, more water appeared.

30 East DriveOver the years there were several strange incidents: green foam coming from taps and the toilet even after the water was switched off; the tea dispenser being activated and spilling tea over the worktops (clearly a British spirit); lights turning on and off; plants leaping out of their pots and landing on the stairs; cupboards shaking; photos being slashed; and numerous objects levitating or being thrown, including a solid oak sideboard.

30 East DriveIn 1968, the press dubbed the poltergeist Mr Nobody. The Pritchards called him Fred. During exorcisms, walls seeped holy water (not sure how they knew it was holy. Did it recite the Lord’s Prayer?), people had their faces slapped or were pushed down stairs and when christian songs were sung, Fred’s hands appeared to conduct them, wearing women’s fur gloves. We find that detail a little odd. Why women’s gloves? Did they make his hands look more shapely? He also poured a jug of milk over a sceptical aunt’s head. Diane was the focus of the haunting, so many of the scrapes and bruises happened to her. At night, he’d rip off her bedclothes, pull her hair and slap her face. As she neared the end of adolescence, Diane’s hair stood on end and she was dragged up the stairs, with visible finger marks on her throat.

30 East DriveWe’re not sure when the family left, but there doesn’t seem to be any reports of poltergeist activity after Diane’s teenage years. And nothing in the following years until 2012, when a film was made. Neighbours said the house wasn’t haunted. One even said “my house is more haunted than that one.” Clearly, we picked the wrong house to visit. We should have split up and gone to visit the neighbours instead. We might have had a more active evening, sitting with them, watching soaps. Until one of us ends up at the local murderer’s house.

30 East DriveIn 2012, a film, When the Lights Went Out, based on the Black Monk of Pontefract was released. It’s directed by Jean’s nephew, Pat Holden. The producer, Bill Bungay, bought the house and still owns it. He had a photo taken on his iphone of him and the film’s two starlets. His phone died, even though it had 75% battery and the photo wasn’t in his library. Weeks later, it reappeared. We don’t class this as paranormal – this happens with Cat’s phone on several occasions. It’s very annoying. Bill’s photo is blurry. Again, not paranormal. Whenever Cat gives her phone to someone else to take a photo, it’s always blurry because they don’t wait for it to focus. During the filming of a documentary, the kettle would switch on and off, the thermostat would go missing and the researcher was pinned to the bed in Diane’s room. The producer’s keys went missing and nobody could find them until someone opened the hoover they’d brought to dress the place. The keys were inside. We suspect this was probably a prank.

30 East DriveOn Valentine’s Day 2016, Bill was washing up and had the urge to turn around. A domino levitated from the dining room table and launched at him, narrowly missing him. After that, others objects were launched at him, each time, narrowly missing. These were a marble thrown from the ceiling that chipped the varnish off the piano board, two screws thrown from the ceiling, and a red ball.

30 East DriveAnother time he closed the side gate, blocking it with a concrete block. People ran out through the kitchen door, saying the keys had gone missing. He turned around to see the gate was open, the block pushed aside.

30 East DriveThe legend attached to the house is that it’s haunted by the Black Monk. He allegedly raped and strangled several girls in the 16th C, cutting out their tongues so they couldn’t scream. That is a plot taken from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus where Lavinia is raped and has her tongue cut out and her hands cut off so she can’t identify her attackers. The monk was apparently hanged on gallows on the top of the hill and his body thrown into a well, which the house was supposedly built on. A neighbouring house was having damp work done and a stone well was discovered under the buttress. No mention of any bones though. We’ve researched executions many times and not once does it ever mention people’s bodies being tossed down wells like January’s Christmas trees. Pontefract Friary once stood where the hospital now is, 0.7 miles from the house. It housed the Blackfriar monks, who wore black. But there is no evidence to support the theory that he haunts the house.

30 East DriveThere is no mention of a monk during the time the Pritchards lived there. They witnessed the hauntings. They never said it was a monk. Think people have come to this conclusion based on shadow photographs taken by visitors. Though one looks suspiciously like a finger. We did a Google search for old maps and information on a gallows being in the area and could find nothing. We couldn’t even find the hill on Google Street View. The immediate area is flat. That’s not to say a hill doesn’t exist, but if it does, it’s not as close as paranormal sites claim it is.

We drove the 215 mile trip to 30 East Drive full of expectation – that this was overhyped and we’d spend our evening sitting in a council house, bored. Well slap a crystal ball in front of us and call us Mystic Meg because our prediction came true. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. an hour and a half after our fellow investigators – Jack, Laura and James from The Spirit Diaries and Helena, Alex and Liz from Boleyn Paranormal, along with guest, horror writer Ian Sputnik. In our defence, our mum wasn’t home and we couldn’t leave until the iguana had had his bath.

30 East DriveWe set up and started investigating in one of the bedrooms. After we’d finished riding the rocking pony that is. We’d brought a plasma ball with us, as we’d seen it used in Cross Hands Cinema and it seems like a cool idea, if it works. After 45 minutes of nothing happening, we went into Diane’s room. Whilst we’re young looking for our age, the poltergeist clearly wasn’t fooled into thinking we were teenage girls and left us alone. There was no knocks, no taps, no creepy breaths, not even a Barbie doll was flung with malevolent force. We went downstairs for some Red Bull and vegan chocolate coins then headed into the living room with Ian.

Cat rifled through the record collection, dismayed at the taste in music. The she noticed her trousers were covered in what appeared to be talcum powder. Someone had coated The Carpenter’s record sleeve in talc. Presumably for use as a trigger object and hadn’t bothered to clean it. For shame, previous investigators. Luckily her trousers were PVC so wiped clean.

30 East Drive

this started the album cover photos

Cat and Laura went into the coal cupboard and amused the ghost by reading out a joke on a Penguin wrapper. The only peculiar thing that happened was the motion sensor light going off in the living room. We all ignored it, thinking Jack had set it off. Minutes later, Jack was moving and the light wasn’t going off. It wasn’t him. We kept testing by having different people wave their arms but no one triggered it. Helena suggested the phone in front of it might have set it off, so Lynx texted it, to see if the vibration from the notification set it off. It didn’t.

We returned upstairs to the master bedroom, hoping things picked up, as it was now 1 a.m. As the ghost refused to show, we set the camera on a tripod and took a photo of the five of us lounging in the room, bored. Cat commented that it looked like an album cover and suddenly, the night improved. We spent the next half an hour going into every room and posing for album covers. The photos got more random with every room. It’s hard to be creative with minimal props but we made it work.

One bedroom had a poster of the poster of The Osmonds. Five of them, five of us. We recreated it but without the terrible hairstyles and fashion sense. We didn’t have enough people to recreate The Beatles’ St Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club poster. Those photos were the highlight of the whole night and it energised us into trying Diane’s room one more time. We played monks chanting and a christian hymn – Lord of the Dance – hoping for Fred’s gloved hands to join in. He didn’t. At 2:15 a.m. we called it quits and all slept in the master bedroom.

30 East Drive

recreating the Osmonds poster

See the theory with poltergeists is, they’re generally attached to one person – usually a teenage girl, so if that person isn’t there, neither is the poltergeist. Nobody lives in the house, so there’s nobody for it to attach itself to. In our opinion, it’s overhyped and overpriced. We’re glad we went because we can say it’s not as haunted as people claim it is. Supermarkets are more haunted than 30 East Drive – things randomly fly off the shelves when you’re nowhere near them and the self-scan checkouts think ghostly items are in the bagging area. Paying to sit in a council house in Yorkshire is not worth it. Most haunted house in Europe? The scariest thing about it was the carpets and wallpaper.30 East Drive

Clownface

We’ve spent six days watching a man in a clown mask kill people. No, we weren’t taking part in a brutal murder, we were working on an indie horror film, Clownface. It’s now on Kickstarter, so you can back the project here.

Watch the trailer. Facebook. Twitter

The closest we’ve ever got to a film set was filling in and sanding down screw holes in a cave set of Sherlock. So we were surprised anyone would want us anywhere near their film. We were initially hired as runners but then got promoted to costume and set dressing. Basically, there was a goth character who was our size and somebody had to provide the costume. Goth clothes aren’t cheap so hiring goths for the costume department is a great money saver. On the drive up, we happened to read the call sheet and discovered we were also down as hair and makeup. We laughed. Our hair can best be described as ‘low maintenance’ and as we’ve had short hair since we were 8 and haven’t visited a hairdresser’s since we were 10, we have no idea what to do with it other than dye it and spike it up. Our look is best described as ‘dragged through a hedge’. As for makeup…we hardly wear it and we can’t do any of that fancy shit where you use contouring, highlights and shadows to make you look like a different person. We were dreading this role.

Clownface

sheltering from the rain with Alastair, Ben, Rich, Laura and Alex

The director, Alex Bourne, kindly put us and five others up in his one bedroom flat. Jack and Laura, who you may remember from our ghost hunting/urb ex adventures, joined us. It was a bit of a squish but we all fitted. We never sleep well in new places so after a terrible night, it was a 7 a.m. start as call time was 9 a.m. If we thought eight people in a one bedroom flat was a squish, it was nothing compared to when the rest of the cast and crew arrived with the camera equipment. Our first thought was of escaping, but it wouldn’t make a great impression, and jumping out of a first floor flat window is never a good idea, so we fought our natural instinct to flee. Everyone was given a 330ml bottle of water with their names on and were told to keep hold of it and refill it, as if it got lost, it would not be replaced. We laughed. Turned out, it wasn’t a joke. We were glad we’d brought a week’s supply of Red Bull and our own water. We shared our Red Bull with Alex and Phil, who played Clownface. You have to keep killers happy. We’ve seen what he can do with a knife and some creativity.

The first scene was shot on a street. As the character we were dressing wasn’t needed until later, we had nothing to do except stand around looking creepy. That skill actually landed us a part in a play a couple of years ago. The second assistant cameraperson (AC) couldn’t get there until after lunch and the Director of Photography (DOP – cameraman), Ben, needed someone to operate the clapperboard. Our fear of getting it wrong was overwhelming, but we couldn’t say no. There was nobody else. Jack and Laura were being extras so it had to be us. Fortunately, Ben was lovely and patient as he explained what we had to do and assured us it didn’t matter if we got it wrong. There’s more to operating the clapperboard than just snapping it shut. We had to write the slate number, which changed every time the camera angle did, the take number, scene number and which camera lens was used. Then write notes on it. One such note was: “Fucked up. Ignore clapperboard.” Now we’re glad we had to do it because we learned a new skill and experience. We also learned how to hold a reflector board to help keep sun off the actors’ faces. Who knew polystyrene could do such a technical job? While Lynx filled in the role of 2nd AC, Cat cued in the actors then had to hang on to Ben as he ran down the street filming, to make sure he didn’t fall flat on his face. We are not the best people for this role – we trip over all the time. Especially when there’s cameras involved. Luckily this ended well.

After that, we reverted to our original role as runners to fetch the second AC, Suki, from Wolverhampton. We had no idea where Wolverhampton was or how far from West Bromwich it was. We hate driving new cities for fear of getting lost (panicky meltdowns aren’t as funny when you’re on your own) and this time, Lynx would be on her own without Cat navigating, as Cat was operating the clapperboard. Though to be fair, Cat doesn’t always pay attention to SatNav, so there might have been less chance of Lynx getting lost. To say she was anxious would be an understatement. But again, there was no choice. And we have to say, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and Birmingham, sort your road systems out. They’re not easy to navigate without a co-pilot when you have to check SatNav to make sure you’re following it correctly.

Clownface

filming isn’t always glamorous

After lunch, which Lynx spent driving to Wolverhampton, it was time to meet our goth character and kit her out in our clothing and makeup. Fortunately, her makeup is supposed to look a mess. It was unintentional, but worked out well. Dear filmmakers: if you want your actors to look like drug addicts, give us a call. We have the talent. Fortunately, the actress, Leah, was lovely and it was a pleasure to work with her. And she didn’t mind the “Bollocks, it’s smeared all over your face.” The main actress, Hannah, had lovely eyeliner flicks. We took one look at her perfect makeup and hair and asked her to do her own. This scene was shot in the park. Leah asked us to sort her hair so it would stop falling in her face. We had no pins so slapped a load of wax on it and stuck it to her head. We could totally be hairstylists now! We later moved to the street and while Lynx took Leah and lead actress Hannah, back to the flat for a costume change, Laura and Cat stood in for them to trial camera angles. Having a short goth stand in for a short goth character worked well.

That evening, we caved and fled the flat. Everyone was really nice, but we spend all day on our own with our animal army, so we find being around a lot of people overwhelming. We need time to be alone to able to function. Being alone is like being able to breathe. When we worked in our mum’s school, we’d take regular trips to the art storeroom to recover from being around people for an extended period. So we spent Monday evening in Tesco with Jack and Laura until everyone had gone home. Plus we wanted vegan ice cream. Everything is better with ice cream.

On our second day, we again fulfilled the second AC role until early afternoon when Lynx fetched Suki to take over. Today, we were in woodlands, which made us happy. There were ducks, moorhens, baby moorhens, giant cygnets and dogs to keep us amused. If we can’t escape people, having animals around helps keep us sane. We again operated the reflector board, took photos and Cat had to guide Ben backwards through woods and make sure he didn’t fall over. Again, we’re not suited to this role. Cat has fallen over so many times in the woodlands where we walk our dog, that she’s damaged her scaphoid bone. We also learned how to do an ‘end board’ with the clapperboard for the scenes without sound. Basically, at the end of the scene, you hold the clapperboard upside down then flip it the right way. Lynx practised the flipping but every time Alex yelled “cut” Ben switched the camera off so none of her end boards were filmed. Cat’s one attempt was, but only because she threatened to kick Ben if he switched his camera off. As Leah wasn’t needed until 9:30 p.m, we resumed our runner roles by driving Alex to the next location with the camera equipment. Nobody believed the equipment would fit in General Pinkinton, but he proved them wrong. Lunch break was spent moving from the woods in West Bromwich to the cafe in Wolverhampton. It didn’t serve vegan food. Our lunch consisted of a bag of crisps and a tangerine. We were again glad we packed our own.

We weren’t needed for set dressing, apart from moving some tables and chairs around and tidying up, so we spent most of the rest of the day reading and standing outside in an alley of sorts. This was definitely the boring side of filmmaking. We don’t cope well with boredom. We like being busy, so being runners is the perfect role for us. We dressed Leah and did her makeup. This time it smeared all over her face and we only had wet toilet paper to get it off. This made it worse, so we covered some of it with foundation. Again, her messy look and the night time shooting saved us. Makeup is definitely a department we’d gladly give up.

Clownface

guarding the light with Nathan

As there was nothing for us to do (the location was too small for unnecessary crew to be there) we spent the next couple of hours guarding a floodlight in the alley to make sure nobody knocked it over. We were cold, bored and hungry (the chip shop next door cooked their chips in with the meat so we couldn’t eat there, and sorry Mark but hummus sandwiches?…um, no. We have it on good authority that not even lesbians eat those). Nathan, the assistant producer, kept us company on our light guarding mission. But then we got to do another job – guard the floodlight out the front of the location and make sure pedestrians didn’t fall over the cable. It’s a glamourous world. Finally, we were allowed into the warmth. For all of three minutes when we were summoned for another job. Guarding the floodlight out the back. Will, we like you, but at that moment, we were ready to lynch you.

Finally, filming finished at midnight. Our enthusiasm had been replaced by hunger headaches and we point blank refused to ferry anyone else home. It was unprofessional, we know. But we were the only ones who hadn’t eaten. We were on the verge of collapsing. That and we have a Smartcar, so one of us would’ve had to beg a lift off someone else. We loaded our car with equipment then kept trying to persuade the cafe owner to let us tidy up or wash up. He was having none of it. Then they closed the road we needed to get back to West Bromwich. Fortunately, Lynx’s daily drive to Wolverhampton meant she could direct Cat to the city centre where SatNav finally stopped trying to send us down the closed road. Damn it, Helen, we were just as tempted to drive through the cones as you were, but Wolverhampton loves its speed cameras and we can’t afford a fine.

We made it back to the flat at 1 a.m. to find we were the first to arrive. And we didn’t have a key. To say we were pissed off is like saying an erupting volcano is only a bit of ash. We’ve never been so glad to eat a bowl of cereals. Then the toilet paper ran out. It was a tense night.

Wednesday we were back in the woods for a Clownface killing scene. Lynx had to take the sound girl to the train station then fetch Suki so didn’t get to the woods until after lunch. Cat got the glamourous job of squirting water on a tree to make it look like someone pissed on it. This got dubbed ‘the piss take’. Lynx had made the realistic looking urine from water and a teabag. Cat then operated the reflector board. We didn’t have much to do that day, but we did trample down holly and bushes for Ben to stand on that patch. Part of our job as Costume was taking continuity photos so if the actors changed, we could make sure everything was put back right, including wisps of stray hair, whether their collar was up or down and even the pattern of blood on Clownface’s arm. We also took a lot of behind the scenes photos. Not our job, but considering we took 1000 photos on a five day stay in Paris, not taking photos is an alien concept to us. Clownface kept us entertained by dancing between takes. We also brushed down the victim as they kept resetting the scene.

us and Jack having fun in the playground

Then there was a 3 hour break for the victim to have prosthetics done. To our logical brains, it would’ve saved time if the prosthetics were done while other woodland scenes were shot then cleaned him up for his first scenes. But the film world is incredibly illogical, which hurts our brains. Lunch was more hummus sandwiches. We helped ourselves to some strawberries and congratulated ourselves for bringing our own crisps and chocolate. Us, Jack and Laura used the time off to escape being around people. Working 12 hour days with no lunch break to escape constant human company was starting to drain us. So we went to the awesome children’s playground that was the other side of the park. After playing on the roundabout, we spied the fireman’s pole. You know how obsessed we are with polefit. We couldn’t resist. Cat did a Kitten spin followed by a Genie spin. Lynx did a Back spin then a child’s voice on the platform above the pole said “Can I come down now?” *scowls* damn it, kid, we were being impressive! Some people have no respect for sport.

We still hd a couple of hours to kill, so we sat on a bench, refusing to rejoin the others. Alastair, the behind the scene photographer found us and interviewed us. The interview had to be paused four times for us to pat passing dogs. Well, it was paused for them to pass. We insisted on patting them. We then bumped into Ben and 1st AC, Rich, so the six of us went for a walk.

The woodland scene overran by two hours so the final scene back in Alex’s flat was cut. We were secretly pleased and paid a visit to The Veggie Chippy in Birmingham. Delicious vegan chips and a range of vegan pizzas and vegan meat. They even said if we phoned an order in, they would bring food to the set if we finished late. We can’t recommend them enough. You get so many chips for the price. We paid another visit to them the following evening.

escaping people at the dinosaur exhibition

Thursday was a day off so we went to Dinosaurs in the Wild in Birmingham’s NEC. We were the only ones without kids and were the most excited. It was fantastic. Then we sat outside in the picnic area, relishing being alone. Apart from the crying, screaming kids who were ruining our tranquility. We were about to leave when the kids left, so we stayed an extra twenty minutes to make the most of it. When we returned to the flat, we were once again, locked out. So we went to Tesco and bought some snacks and drinks for the cast and crew cos we felt sorry for them. Who knew Mini Rolls could bring such joy to people?

Friday was a much shorter day. We were back in the woods. Lynx went to Tesco to fetch cleaning supplies then we removed all the bird poo from the benches the actors needed to sit on. We were asked to be extras to walk past in the background but the scene was cut due to timing. We haven’t seen the footage but we’re positive our walking was Oscar-worthy. We wanted to steal someone’s dog for the scene to add authenticity. We hadn’t long started when torrential rain stopped the filming. We quickly put Hannah and Second Assistant Director Jess in General Pinkinton, while lead actor Richard sheltered in another car. Us, Alex, Laura, Ben, Rich and Alastair, all sheltered under the polystyrene board which was protecting Ben’s equipment. We got soaked. The rain hammered down for about half an hour. Every time it looked like it was stopping, it started again. Quitting and going home was looking very appealing. The only thing that made it bearable, was knowing we had vegan cupcakes from The May Bakery waiting for us. Eventually it stopped raining and the sun came out, but we were already wet. Everyone got to leave early today. Just as well, because we had a 10 a.m polefit lesson the next day and needed some sleep. The mood was brightened by a chocolate lab puppy called Maggie running into the set. Every film set needs a puppy to cheer up the cast and crew.

The following Tuesday, we picked Jess up and drove up to Wolverhampton for the mid-week shoot. We were all staying in Jess’s friend’s house, where filming would take place. We went to Nando’s on our own for the first time in an unfamiliar city. *Slaps bravery stickers on selves.* Helen tried to send us down a bus lane, but we were wise to her games. Unit call time the next morning was 8 a.m. This time exists for starting work? Grumbling, we went to bed at 11:30.

We were up at 6:30 and an hour later, went out to buy breakfast and lunch for everyone and ended up going to a few shops to get everything. The cast had requested Cornflakes and Mark insisted the Rice Crispies were a good substitute. Our response of “they asked for Cornflakes, they’re getting Cornflakes,” was swiftly followed by “No-one eats fucking Rice Crispies!” In fact we know of only ONE creature who eats Rice Crispies – our duck, Peking. This time there was a runner but she was two and a half hours late and then went home a few hours later. So we again took on the role. Today we were classed as ‘Art Department’, meaning we were in charge of set dressing. We’d brought ornaments and props up with us, including some of our weapons collection and dressed the set ready for filming, taking continuity photos every time something got moved. Alex had tacked newspaper articles to the wall and when we came to take them down (and later put them back up in exactly the same place), our pixie height worked against us. Part of our job also involved carrying a heavy chest of drawers in and out of the room every time they needed to change camera angle to shoot from the corner.

After lunch, we did the washing up then were about to set dress the hall, only to find it had already been done. This is what we were hired for so we were a little narked. It looked staged. With permission from Alex, we took everything away. We left a row of shoes lined up and draped a scarf and some jewellery over the bannister post. That’s what our bannister post at home looks like.

Most of our time that day was spent reading, apart from carrying furniture and tacking up scarves that kept insisting on falling off the walls. However, when filming wasn’t been done in that room, the scarves stayed up. Bloody typical. When filming was over, we packed everything up, ate our ice cream, tidied the kitchen and did some more washing up. We left an hour early and took Jess home.

Our first experience of working on a film has certainly been interesting. Cast and crew were incredibly lovely and made us feel very welcome and treated us as part of the team, not newbies. We’ve learned so much (bring your own food and drink) and have really enjoyed seeing how a film is put together, what the different departments do, how much is involved in even the shortest scene – a two minute murder scene took several hours due to all the angle and POV changes – and that we can read a Game of Thrones book in a week when things are slow on set. For people who like being alone and like working alone, we’ve learned that we’re good at following orders and doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. We can now do the role of runners, set dressers, costumes (well, goth costumes), we can operate the clapperboard and reflector board and we’ve learned to speak up when we don’t agree with something. (No-one. Eats. Rice. Crispies). That’s a huge thing for us, especially with people we don’t know. Whilst we wouldn’t want to do this full time – the waiting around would drive us insane – we had a lot of fun and can’t wait to do the next block of filming. Just please don’t put us on makeup.

Clownface

hanging out with Laura and Jack on set

 

Guards! Guards!

Humour, sacrifices and dragons. Guards! Guards! had it all. Sadly, this was to be Monstrous Productions’ final Pratchett adaptation. We’ve loved every play we’ve seen and we’re gutted it’s all over. This was a fantastic play for them to go out on. We’ve not read the book but will definitely be buying it now. This was another play to feature Sam Vimes and fitting for their final act. Jes Hynes fantastically reprised his role of Vimes from Nightswatch.

Guards! Guards! follows a rather large dwarf, Carrot, played hilariously by Christopher Maxwell, who is sent by his adoptive parents to join Ankh-Morpork’s City Watch. He memorises every rule in the law book. It’s a shame the rest of the city haven’t. He makes his presence known by marching into the Thieves Guild and arresting their president. But a law-abiding Watchman is the least of Vimes’s problems when a Brotherhood steal a book – How to Summon Dragons – and use it to, well, summon a dragon. See, only the rightful king can defeat a dragon so in order for Ankh-Morpork to have a king, there needs to be a dragon. It’s all about destiny. That and a promotion to king’s aide for Lupine Wonse.

Vimes and the rest of the watch are in the Shades when a large dragon incinerates three people. The people’s charred silhouettes on the wall is bound to draw attention, though not as much as a freshly painted wall in the Shades would. But regardless of how dodgy some people are, a giant dragon turning them into ash is bad for morale. With the help of a swamp dragon, Errol, Vimes and his team are tasked with finding and stopping the dragon. That’s not easy when it’s summoned with magic and promptly disappears.

This was the first play that featured the Librarian – a wizard who was accidentally turned into an Orangutang and refuses to be changed back. We love the Librarian in the books so were thrilled he was in this. Lowri Belson was superb as the book-loving ape. She injected so much character and personality into a role where communication was done solely through facial expressions and “ook!” And the occasional “eek!”

The show was hilarious, with added things like Death playing with a fidget spinner, Brother Watchtower replacing his mask with a cat one and Errol flying across the stage on a wire to fight the dragon. What we love about Monstrous Productions plays is the cast always look like they’re thoroughly enjoying themselves. Sets and props used are always minimal and work so well. Everyone was superb in their roles and made this a fantastic play to end on.

We have loved watching the plays and even enjoyed being in one. We’re sad it’s over. So it’s best to sum it up with a quote from the great man: “It’s still magic, even if you know how it’s done.”

Cast:

Sam Vimes – Jes Hynes

Corporal Carrot – Christopher Maxwell

Nobby Nobbs – Josh Flynn

Sergeant Colon – Eamonn Corbett

Lupine Wonse – Josh Stevenson-Hoare

The Librarian – Lowri Belson

Lady Sybil Ramkin – Becca Smithers

Brother Watchtower – Asher Townsend

Brother Dunnykin – Matthew Hitchman

Brother Plasterer – Jamie Gibbs

Brother Doorkeeper – Loz Shanahan

Brother Fingers – Loz Dixon

Dibbler – Harry Spencer

Lord Vetinari – Michael Dickinson-Smith

Death – Matt Burnett

Carrot’s Dad – Pete Belson

First Guard – Matt Edwards

Second Guard – Tony Beard

Urdo Van Pew – Terrance Edwards

First Worthy – Ellen Warren

Second Worthy – Katya Moskvina

Chief Assassin – Gareth While

Archancellor – Steve Durbin

Voice at Door – John B. Dent

First Citizen – Paul Wooley

Second Citizen – Sarah Roberts

Zebbo Mooty – Nick Dunn

Warrior – Richard McReynolds

Bunting Carrier – Howard Dickins

Knowlessman – Bethan Lisles

Servant – Luke Belson

Voice in Crowd – Nelson Cotrim

Crowd – Sarah Burrow

 

London Comic Con

London Film and Comic Con

Us and Sarah

Yesterday, we did something that we’d never thought we do – went to London Comic Con. It shocks people when we tell them we’ve never been to London. There are places we want to visit – Highgate Cemetery, the Tower, the Dungeons, the Chamber of Horrors – y’know, pleasant touristy stuff, but London terrifies us. Its population is almost three times the size of Wales’s. That’s why it scares us. Deep down inside the healing versions of ourselves, are still the social anxious wrecks that used to be in control. And when it comes to London, these demons rise to the surface and dissuade us from going.

London Film and Comic Con

Oogie Boogie

London Film and Comic Con

Thor. He even sounded like him.

But Ron Perlman changed our minds. We’d already agreed with our mate, Andrew, that the three of us had to meet him. Then he cancelled. We didn’t. Andrew tries to persuade us every year but we never end up going. This year was different. Some members of our gym class, Sarah, Lloyd and Ellie, also wanted to go so the six of us travelled up in Sarah’s minibus. And this time, we were in costume. We like to theme our costumes – Freddy vs Jason, or we go as the same thing – Silent Hill nurses, ghost pirates, etc. This time, we went as Mileena and Kitana from Mortal Kombat 9. Mileena is Kitana’s clone (mixed with blood from a Tarkatan warrior, hence her teeth) so it’s perfect for twins. Being the eldest twin, Lynx was Kitana. Being the evil twin, Cat was Mileena. It’s one of the few games we’ve played on the PS3 that isn’t Streets of Rage or Golden Axe. We bought the costumes because we have no sewing talent, although we did make Kitana’s fans. Well, we painted fans and cut out the blades from card, painted them and glued them on. We even colour co-ordinated our nail varnish and underwear with the costumes, seeing as the costumes didn’t cover a lot.

London Film and Comic Con

Hellboy

London Film and Comic Con

Green Arrow

London Comic Con wasn’t the crush we expected. We thought we’d have to fight our way down the aisles. Or use our usual method of letting Andrew create a path through the crowd and follow in his wake. He’s 6’5 and an ex rugby player. People move for him. The traders tables were more spread out than they are in Cardiff, allowing for wide aisles which made it a pleasure to walk through. Being 5’1 in a crush means you’re armpit level with most people. It’s not a nice place to be. Loads of people loved our costumes and we couldn’t go anywhere without people wanting photos of us or with us. One teenager was a little embarrassed so his mum pushed him forward and we flanked him. One photographer ambushed us before we’d even got inside. We looked fabulous still wearing our hoodies. A few photo journalists took our photo and had us do fight poses, though one didn’t know who Mileena and Kitana were. Even the ice cream van man outside wanted our photo!

London Film and Comic Con

Son of Harpy

One of the highlights was being asked to do a fight scene for a 360 vr headset. We had to stand either side of the camera, looking like we were squaring off then circle the camera pretending to fight. Luckily we still remember our karate moves, though we may have to take up tessenjutsu (the art of fighting with war fans,) and sai fighting. The guy was really impressed and asked if we’d choreographed it as we were perfectly in sync. Nope. We were terrified we’d cock the whole thing up as we didn’t have time to practise and had to wing it, but Andrew said it looked cool. We don’t always wear costumes when we go to cons, but when you do, you experience the event differently. Had we gone in our regular clothes, we wouldn’t have been asked for photos, or been asked to do the fight scene. Although we do often get asked who we’ve come as. Maybe we should say we’re cosplaying C L Raven.

London Film and Comic Con

Boba Fett

And then we attempted to talk to a celebrity. Mark Sheppard, who plays Crowley in Supernatural. If there’s one thing we shouldn’t be allowed to do, it’s talk to celebrities. In Wales Comic Con last year, Cat attempted to flirt with Tom Wlaschiha, who plays Game of Thrones’s Jaqen H’ghar. It went like this: Cat “You’re actually really hot in real life.” Tom “You’re going on my list.” He plays an assassin. This wasn’t a great list to be put on. We vowed we would not disgrace ourselves in front of a man who plays the king of Hell. We broke our vow. Spectacularly. At first he looked confused, like we were speaking another language. Then we joked about kidnapping the cast of Supernatural. He looked scared. Even more so when Cat asked him how fast could he run. That’s when threats of the FBI were bandied about and we decided leaving was our best option.

London Film and Comic Con

Us and Steven as Jason Vorhees. We meet at most cons.

It was a big thing for us to wear such revealing costumes. We’ve always hated our bodies and never exposed them. We didn’t wear short sleeves until we were 17. Then we started polefit and were forced to get our legs out. As we became more advanced, we had to wear less clothes so our skin would help us stick to the pole. So we’re now more comfortable revealing our bodies, however, we still hate them. Cat gained weight from fluid retention after going on the pill last year and can’t stand looking at herself in the pole/gymnastics videos. Whereas Lynx feels she’s too skinny. We’re not fishing for compliments or comments counter-arguing this, we’re just explaining why wearing the costumes was a big deal for us. Especially since our legs were covered in IPL burns and polefit bruises and we also had polefit bruises on our arms and hips. Plus Cat has the big burn on her stomach from the baking tray incident. But people loved the costumes and we met many Mortal Kombat fans. We will be bringing Mileena and Kitana back for Cardiff Film and Comic Con in September. We have a table there, so come along, say hi and let us dance.

London Film and Comic Con

Twintality!