I was offering her a part in 'Groin' and tried a bit of allure
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The Independent Culture
"So I said to her: 'Listen woman, your life is my life. Your blood is my blood. We are joined together in a union of darkness, and there is no escaping. We are bonded in our strange journey to the creative majesty of Hell.' And you know what she said to me?"

"What?" I ask.

"She said: 'I'm sorry. What did you say your name was again?' "

"Oh God. How big did that make you feel?"

"This big," says Steve, pressing his finger and thumb together. "It made me feel as big as the heroes in The Terror of Tiny Town."

Everyone roars with laughter at this, except me, for I have never seen the film and have thus missed out on a patently marvellous horror movie joke.

"They're very small," explains Steve. "Midgets. It's a midget movie." "Aah," I chuckle.

We are sitting in the corner of "the ambient room" of a small central London suite of offices and screening facilities.

This is not always the ambient room - it becomes apparent when one's eyes get accustomed to the ambient half-light. It is usually the photocopying room. But they've draped a large, pink cobweb over the photocopier, and a slightly smaller pink cobweb over the fax/ modem, and now 30 horror movie geeks/ actors/ directors are swapping stories about the day they met Ellen Bancroft, a bit-part actress from the Seventies who appeared in Dracula's Dog (aka Zoltan, Hound of Dracula), and also Dracula has Risen from the Grave.

This is the Screaming Blue Murder pre-Christmas party, Screaming Blue Murder being a production company for very low-budget horror (Screaming), sex (Blue) and horror (Murder) movies. They have only been in operation for six months, and their roster is, consequently, slightly limited to date.

"We have put money into a splatter film called Seven Seas of Gore, a kung-fu film called My Fist, Your Groin, and a Far Eastern sex film called Tiny Tits and the Dragon," explains Steve, SBM's MD. "Which is how I met Ellen Bancroft. I was offering her a part in Groin, and I thought I'd adopt an air of mystery - you know, bit of allure - and interest her that way.

"So I started going on about our blood being each other's blood. But it was simply the wrong tack, in retrospect." "What did she say?" I ask.

"She said," (Steve adopts a seductive French accent), " 'I am not a horror queen anymore. I am now a tennis queen. I love to play ze game of tennis'."

"So did you say that you were each other's racquets?" asks a short man from the back. "Joined together in a union of... um... tennis... um... I can't think of a joke. Damn."

"He's a script writer," explains Steve. "He wrote Seven Seas of Gore. He's always trying to come up with jokes. Poor fellow."

The scriptwriter's name is Alex L'Occitane: "I don't just write horror," he says. "I've written comedy, surrealism, action-adventure - and I once wrote a powerful psychological thriller called The Geiger Counter about an entire family struck down by radiation poisoning, and they slowly turn into mutants. Growing extra heads, you know. Body Horror. Like The Fly. But all set in Bristol."

"It was great," says Steve. "But we couldn't get funding. Warner Brothers said it was too shocking and original."

"Bastards," says Alex.