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Feast of gore Derry Girls star Louisa Harland takes on blood-thirsty vampire in new Irish horror movie

The Boys From County Hell blends the laughs with the gasps

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It’s love at first building site for the boys (and girl) of County Hell.

It’s love at first building site for the boys (and girl) of County Hell.

It’s love at first building site for the boys (and girl) of County Hell.

Derry Girls star Louisa Harland gets into battle with a bloodthirsty Irish vampire in The Boys From County Hell, a new horror comedy which blends the laughs with the gasps.

The Irish actress, who plays Orla in the smash-hit TV ­series, locks horns with a vampire-style character in the scary movie, filmed here last year.

It tells the story of a group of ­construction workers in a village in the North who disturb an ­ancient burial plot, setting the stage for a bloodbath.

The story builds on the folklore tale of Abhartach, an Irish vampire reputed to have stalked the countryside for his victims.

The undead ­character returned to feast on the blood of whoever crossed his path.

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Louisa Harland in Derry Girls

Louisa Harland in Derry Girls

Louisa Harland in Derry Girls

 

This is one of ­several fright night films on the way for Irish audiences, as filmmakers here embrace a new trend for eerie storytelling. It follows the recent successes of movies like horror thriller, The Hole in the Ground, starring Seána Kerslake, and psychological thriller Vivarium, both of which found wide audiences worldwide.

“We’re punching up there with the best of them in terms of the horror genre,” said The Boys From County Hell writer/director Chris Baugh of the growing trend for scary movies.

“If you think of something like The Hole in the Ground which went to Sundance, and Lee Cronin who directed that has gone on to make the new Evil Dead movie, that is as good as you can get in the genre.

“And if you think about the different kinds of films there are, like Vivarium, A Dark Song, The Hole in the Ground, Devil’s Doorway, there’s a really wide spectrum of all different types of horror films as well, and all different textures and flavours from horror comedy like ours, to much darker.”

The movie, in cinemas from this weekend, has won wide praise for its scares and cast including Jack Rowan, John Lynch and Louisa.

“She gives a very different performance in this,” says Baugh. “She’s so brilliant with the emotional parts and the physicality and she gets to have real fun.

“She has some of the best vampire-fighting moments in the movie. We were really happy with everyone we got because it was important to me that they feel like real group of workers out on the site. Real friends, who were all pulling for each other.”

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Jack Rowan can’t lose the head in the The Boys From County Hell.

Jack Rowan can’t lose the head in the The Boys From County Hell.

Jack Rowan can’t lose the head in the The Boys From County Hell.

 

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Baugh has loved his horror thrills ever since setting eyes on the iconic Nightmare on Elm Street as a boy.

“I remember that as a very formative experience. Seeing Freddy and the knives in the fingers, that will always be seared into my memory.

“For this movie, one of the big films that inspired me to write the script was an Irish film called I Went Down (a crime comedy starring Brendan Gleeson).

“I remember seeing that when I was quite young, maybe when I was in film school, and thinking, wow, that’s a real visceral Irish film, but people sound like we sound here, and it has the character and the humour that we have here and it’s very distinctly Irish, but it felt like it could work anywhere, because it was within the gangster genre.”

He added: “The turn of phrase we have here and the love of language and the humour that we get out of language is so great. Why would you not put that on screen?”

  • The Boys from County Hell is in cinemas from this weekend.

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Nigel O’Neill in the The Boys From County Hell.

Nigel O’Neill in the The Boys From County Hell.

Nigel O’Neill in the The Boys From County Hell.

 

One's to look out for...

The global lust to feast on the newly risen gore in Irish horror movies is increasing. Here are some upcoming fright-fests to shock you in your seat:

You Are Not My Mother

Hazel Doupe and Jordanne Jones are among the cast in director Kate Dolan’s movie, set in a Dublin housing estate. One day Char’s mother disappears without trace, only to return the following day. But her mother’s behaviour has changed and Char begins to suspect a malevolent force is at play in here.

Nocebo

Eva Green and Mark Strong head the cast of filmmaker Lorcan Finnegan’s psychological thriller, which recently completed filming in Dublin. It centres on a fashion designer who has been overcome by a strange and mysterious illness. A Filipino nanny offers to assist, using traditional means, only to discover a horrifying truth.

Wolf

Lily-Rose Depp and 1917 star George MacKay star in the psychological thriller that is based around an unusual

real-life condition called ­species dysphoria, where people believe they are an animal trapped inside a human body. MacKay’s character, who believes he is a wolf, is sent off to a special clinic to have his condition treated.

The Cellar

Elisha Cuthbert and Eoin Macken star in this scary movie that was filmed in Co Roscommon. It tells the story of a young mother whose daughter has mysteriously ­vanished in the cellar of a new house the family have just moved into. She has no choice then but to take on a powerful force to save her family.

Let the Wrong One In

Horror meets comedy in this movie set in the northside of Dublin. It tells the story of a teenage boy who discovers that his older brother Decco has been turned into a vampire. The dilemma he faces is this? Should he stake him through the heart, as you do, or help him, risking his own life and others.

Rising Wolf

Irish director and co-writer Antaine Furlong made this jittery psychological thriller that tells the story of a young woman who becomes trapped in a lift in a skyscraper in Shanghai. Charlotte Best plays Aria, who wakes up trapped in the elevator with no idea how she got there, or when, and she has to figure out what to do next. The movie is available on digital platforms from tomorrow.

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