Interview with Tom Atkinson, co-founder of the horror films reviews site, Love Horror
It was nearly 3 years ago now that Tom Atkinson and Alex Humphrey decided to set up an independent horror reviews site.
Frustrated by the lack of UK based horror sites in general, they noticed that many online reviews were more motivated by marketing than giving readers a fair and impartial opinion of how good a horror film actually was.
Motivated by this, and gathering together a handful of horror loving friends, they set about building a site which would offer the web community something a little different.
So, how did Love Horror come about?
Well, first off the name itself (Love Horror) came quite easily, which is weird as it's often really challenging to come up with a decent company name. We were all lovers of horror films, so using that as our banner made perfect sense. We wanted it to be clear that we were writing because of our passion for it.
Alex knew a girl from his university days (reviewer, Mad Woman in the Attic) who was equally as passionate about film and managed to get her on board. So we had the startings of a team.
Setting up the actual site was initially quite easy, using a platform that allowed us all to be able to contribute and publish to the site from different parts of the country if need be (with little web knowledge needed).
The final challenge was to find PR contacts to send us the horror films and news.
Was that hard work?
Intially it was. PR companies must get a lot of contact from people trying to get freebies, so even initialising that first contact with them can be difficult.
However, once a few reviews were published on the site, we managed to build some level of trust and started to get even more exciting opportunities like invitations to preview screenings and so on.
Once you have a reputation, PR people share their contacts and it all cascades, meaning that people then approach you with horror films, rather than you having to chase them.
Sounds pretty easy!
Unfortunately not. PR people are generally very busy, and easily forget how to contact, so you have to remain on the ball, constantly chase them for things that you are interested in. It's depressing to think of the horror films that we have missed out on just because we were overlooked by the people promoting them.
Have you had any other problems?
Our biggest challenge has been overcoming web hosting issues. We didn't realise it, but the original Love Horror site was running a lot of processes in the background that was causing a lot of strain on the servers that held it.
As we got more popular, this strain increased until eventually, our hosting company started to cut us off.
Eventually, we had to move the entire site, which was an arduous task. At times I was close to giving up on it all (as I'm responsible for the geeky web stuff). But we didn't want to let our faithful readers down, so we fought on and prevailed!
Sounds like a labour of love!
It's exactly that, but we all get a distinct sense of satisfaction from the knowledge that our readers are getting the unadulterated truth about the films that are released.
And the same goes for our sister site, Halloween-errific, which is all about Halloween (obviously). Because it's our favourite time of year! :)
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What's the coolest thing that you have been involved in?
We were lucky enough to be involved with a lot of cool stuff to promote the release of Saw 3D. I spend a day in a swanky London hotel having a special effects makeover to look like one of Jigsaw's victims. We were even invited to a special Saw event at Thorpe park which was excellent fun.
Frightfest is still our horror highlight of the year though. All those excellent horror films in such a short space of time. Our idea of heaven!
What plans do you have for the future?
Ideally we'd like to make sure that we have more content
more regularly, so we're going to be looking to improve that. Ultimately we
want to increase our readership and the more readers we get, the more
opportunities we'll get to review things - it's kind of like a circle - of
horror I guess.
We may even be starting up a Love Horror forum, watch this space.
We're always on the lookout for new writing talent too, so if there is anyone out there that loves horror films as much as we do and wants to write horror films reviews, we'd love to hear from them.
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