Here you can read some amusing, cautionary, or simply informative horror related true stories submitted by this site's readers. As this section is new, it's currently quite bare, but it should hopefully expand in due course. If you have any interesting anecdotes you'd like to share and have added to this section, please get in contact with us.

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Always The Censor, Never The Classifier
(Submitted by the BookOfTheDead.ws Webmaster)

Much as I would like to write here praising the people at the British Board of Film Classification for their hospitality and helpfulness, I can't. So I've written out the story anyway lest anyone else find themselves in the same situation. So, a friend sent me a link to the BBFC website, which seemed to offer the ability for anyone to come in and view their records of any film they'd classified;

"Anyone wishing to view the Board’s records should email helpline@bbfc.co.uk and should provide a list of film titles and release dates. We will check the availability of each file and contact you to make an appointment to come in and view the records. No file can be removed from our building. We only charge for this service if we have to recall a box from our external archive and the cost is £17.24 for up to four boxes. You will have to complete a Copyright Acceptance Form before viewing and you should refer to it for terms and conditions."

I thought this would make excellent research material for this website. I emailed the helpline address above but heard nothing back, so I called the helpline to make an appointment and re-sent the email through while I was one the phone. I was told I should be OK to look at The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II folders, but not the Army Of Darkness material as it was still within their 20 year limit, a policy created to protect any examiner or expert named therein.

I took the day off work and caught the train to visit the BBFC located in Soho Square, Central London on the 27th of February 2012, turning up at 9:30am and waited to see one of the Information Officers, who I shall call 'F'. She explained that she'd been away the week before so was a little rushed, but took me upstairs into a side room and handed over the two folders. I was told I couldn't take any photos, but I could note which pages I was interested in and get them to make photocopies on my behalf, as they would need to get clearance from any person named on each document, which might take a little time if they had to track people down. I looked through both folders, there was a wealth of material there, probably over a hundred pages in each folder; including examiners handwritten notes on each of the films, letters between lawyers, letters between the BBFC and Palace Pictures, and even a prototype version of the 1990 The Evil Dead re-release VHS cover. I went through both folders, putting to one side any documents I wanted, and finished after about an hour. Then 'F' asked me to send her an email briefly reiterating what I wanted photocopies of, just so she could forward it on to management, using my Smartphone I did that while I was standing in her office, and she verified she had it. Then she gave a little talk about what they do in her department, explained how they are trying to publicize the research service they offer, showed me a few things, and then I left.

On the 1st of March I got an email back from 'F' saying "...sorry, but I've lost the email you sent the other day. I purged too much. Could you send it again..." so I sent it again. On the 30th of March I got another email asking me to re-send it, which I did, from two separate email addresses I use this time, and still heard nothing back. On the 16th of April I called and spoke to someone else in her department, and was told 'F' was away till later in the week. I briefly explained my situation and was told they only make photocopies of documents in very rare legal or educational circumstances, and he made it clear it was extremely unlikely I was going to get photocopies for my research purposes.

Confused, I thought it best to speak to 'F' directly. On the 23rd of April I got through to her, she said she hadn't heard back from me and could I email her again which I did (the fourth email now), to two separate BBFC email addresses while on the phone to her, and she acknowledged she'd now received my email. Within two hours I got an email back to say unfortunately they couldn't make copies, but I could go back again and take notes if I wanted to. I took this up as a complaint that same day, speaking to someone else there. I was told they'd spoken to management but the decision stood, but pointed out in a later email that I should have been under no illusions as I had signed & agreed to the 'Copyright Acceptance form'. I have a copy of this form, and it does not say that photocopies of documents cannot be made, simply that the decision to do so is at the BBFC Director's discretion. Further to this, they said "as our website says - No file can be removed from our building - this applies to copies too", which is somewhat confusing? Why would anyone apply to the BBFC for copies, if the copies they made for them could never leave their premises, that is nonsensical? Finally they also said there was never any guarantee made that they would provide copies in any case.

At no time did 'F' mention that it was unlikely that I would be allowed copies of anything, and didn't even indicate there might be any problems, she actually made it seem a mere formality, just so they had in writing who I was and what I wanted the information for. I even had a conversation with her over blacking out the names on any paperwork rather than going to the trouble of tracking people down, as it was the dates & situations that were important to me, rather than who specifically said what to who. If she had made this clear, I would have taken much longer and made careful notes, but here I am two months later, a day spent in London, emails back and forth, and nothing whatsoever but this fairly dull story to show for it. All it would have take is one sentence to point their policy out.

Ladies and gentlemen... The BBFC.

Sam Raimi & The Fixed Competition
(Submitted by UK reader David)

Evil Dead has been part of my life since I first saw the original movie in a fleapit cinema in Liverpool many years ago. Back in 1987 I had got my first job at a radio station in Manchester; Piccadilly Radio, which was the city's only commercial radio station at that time. To coincide with the release of Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi had come over to the UK and was doing a promo tour of press, TV and Radio, handled by PSA PR who at the time did quite a bit of film and video PR to radio and TV.

I found out that he was coming in and flipped! I managed to get to meet him and sit in on the interview he did with the presenter, which I found tremendously exciting and I was very starstruck. I think Mr Raimi was genuinely surprised to meet someone in UK Radio who both knew who he was, knew his movies, and actually loved them as well. Sam himself was quite quietly spoken and very well mannered. I remember that he called the DJ interviewing "sir" all the way through it, and was pretty much the same whilst the interview was happening and when the mike was off. Very unassuming and gentle, with a very dry sense of humour. He was still clearly quite shocked in some ways by the huge fuss that The Evil Dead had caused and that people could get so upset about a movie.

The PR person also gave us some prizes to give away, including a signed Evil Dead II movie poster, a signed VHS Video cassette of The Evil Dead, but best of all, was a customised Walkman. Truth be told, it wasn't the most expensive Walkman out there, quite a cheap brand. They'd added custom made stickers to make it look like the tape recorder from the movie, with some of the detail of the Graham Humphrey's UK artwork on it as well. Inside there was a cassette with the incantation on it, along with some music and sound FX from the films.

It was decided to give these away on air via phone callers. I immediately called a friend of mine and told him that I would fix it for him to win the Walkman, whilst I nabbed the VHS. All highly unethical, but I did it, so what can I say? Needs Must!

My friend kept the Walkman for many years but in a house move, somehow it went missing. I know that the PR company had several of them made up to give away during the promo tour of the UK, but I've never found out who else might have got them, and neither have I got a photo of them, but they did exist, and maybe somebody out there who used to work in UK radio or tv might still have one gathering dust in a drawer.

The MP & The Tea Chest Of Nasties!
(Submitted by UK reader Swofty)

'Samhain Magazine' was published in the UK from late 80's to the early 90's. Despite it's humble zine beginnings, it got as far as being available in many newsagents in it's day. Horror fans would boldly advertise uncut material alongside classic horror in the personal adverts in the back pages, which ultimately proved to be its weakness because UK 'nasty' fans had developed a false sense of security by that point, as the early 80s nasties witch hunts were some 8 years hence.

I remember my best mate covertly taking me to a house in Staffordshire (you'd think we were buying drugs) to meet the dude who had Ilsa: She Wolf of The SS, Salo: 120 Days of Sodom AND Men Behind the Sun alongside The Guinea Pig films and other tamer stuff like 3 (I repeat) THREE mint condition Palace copies of The Evil Dead. I remember asking if I could buy one, and he looked at me like I'd asked if I could fuck his Mum.

A week or so later my mate called me sounding panicked. As it turns out, the 'Samhain Magazine' readership crew regularly mailed each other their hand written 'got' & 'want' lists and the police had somehow infiltrated the chain. The 'Ilsa dude' had been raided at his home and had managed to tip off my mate that he could be next, and he asked me to hide a tea chest full of 'nasty' copies.

At that time I was dating a girl who also dug video nasties along with anything else that might be considered rebellious. I was eighteen, she was sixteen. Her mum was an aide to a scandal dogged senior British Member of Parliament at that time. I thought it safest to hide these 'nasties' at her house rather than mine, and my mate, girlfriend and I agreed to never talk about it from that day on because of risk to her mum's high profile job, but 'the aide/mum' for two or three nights unwittingly allowed one single pre-cert Palace copy of The Evil Dead (and a shit load of other 'nasty' copies and a few 'nasty' originals) to survive to this day!

A Poor Excuse For A Terrorist...
(Submitted by the BookOfTheDead.ws Webmaster)

Back around 1999 when I was at college doing an HND in 'Theatre & Media Production'. I lived in a flat with 3 other guys my own age. We were all into making films and such. I got into collecting airsoft replica guns, There was one type of machine gun I really wanted (A Colt M16A1 assault rifle, as seen in Dawn Of The Dead), but I couldn't get one cheaply. I could however get a slightly different type of gun cheap (a Colt M4 carbine) and modify it easily to make what I wanted. I worked on this for a few hours at college, then decided to take some portfolio photos of the work I had done.

Just to finish off the roll of film I just took some quick 'joke' photos of my friend posing with the gun with a black scarf over his face (although I think all this might have been his idea, not that I'm trying to shift the blame). Poses included pointing the gun out of the window, at a flatmate's head, and standing over a supposedly dead body. I took the film into Jessops, a photo processing shop and came back an hour later to collect them. When I asked for the photos I was asked by the assistant to wait a minute and take a seat, then a police officer came out and took me into a back room and went through the photos quizzing me. As well as the various gun photos, he said one of the photos looked like a bomb (I'm not sure how stupid a terrorist would have to be to have guns & bombs and take photos of them all, but anyway it wasn't photo of a bomb, it was a glass bottle I was making a mould of). After a few minutes explaining, it was decided they would were going to search my flat. I was escorted in a police car back to the police station, where we joined 2 firearms officers and drove on to my flat. I was a little worried by this point, not only because of the search (I had a large collection of very nasty horror films, most of which were illegal import copies) but also because one of my flatmates had bought himself a blank firing pistol only the week before and liked messing about with it in the flat. fortunately when we got there no one was in and the 4 officers had a poke about my room, equally fortunately they didn't spot the horror films and immediately recognized the modified M4 rifle wasn't real. After a nerve racking 10 mins or so they left with a warning about being a bit more sensible next time. coincidentally my friend, the person in the photos, walked past the officers in the corridor outside as they left. They didn't say anything directly to him, but once he'd passed them he heard one say "that's the guy in the photos", something that didn't make sense until he had heard the full story.

Actually I had some funny times in that flat, like the time I set up a special effects test shoot. Once we'd finished I had a bucket of fake blood left over. Because the blood mix had food ingredients in it, it would have got mouldy within a week or two, so it couldn't really be stored. It was decided between us that the best way to use it up was to put it into water balloons and throw them out the window... onto the traffic on the busy high street... 4 stories below... luckily we didn't cause any accidents, so that was the main thing, but we did managed to splatter the side of a bus! Actually that wasn't the only thing that got thrown out the window while living at that flat. We threw out a most of a dinner set, plate by plate... although it was at about 2am so there was no one around to hit, and we were moving out over the following few days so much of the stuff would have been thrown away anyway (not that it makes it ok). We also used the last remaining bit of fake blood to leave sinister messages written on the inside of the kitchen cupboards for the new tenants. All sounds totally idiotic now, but it was very funny at the time!