Horror movies win New York billing

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Coming face to face with a serial killer would leave most folk quaking in their boots but Longridge man Mark Smith didn't bat an eyelid.

Movie fan Mark has been shooting horror films about fictional grisly goings-on in the town for five years.

One of his spooky short tales has already made an appearance on Richard and Judy's teatime TV show and now his talents behind the camera have got two of his movies on the bill of a New York film festival.

Shot on a shoestring budget of 100, Becky, a supernatural chiller, and Twisted Insanity, a thriller about a serial killer, caught the eye of festival organisers when Mark put them on social networking website, MySpace.

The 15-minute films will be screened just before Halloween at the Schoharie Scary Horror Film Fest, a not-for-profit event which will use its proceeds to help amateur film-makers.

Mark, 36, said his family and friends are supportive of his unusual hobby – especially his wife Tracy, 34, who stars in the movies in locations around Longridge and creates the gory make-up.

It's a far cry from Mark's first experiences behind the lens.

He said: "I used to film weddings but I've always been a massive film fan and thought I would give horror movies a go.

"I won't be able to get to the film festival but I was gobsmacked to have two of my films chosen. There's a lot of talent out there and it's a real kick in the teeth to Hollywood that people can make movies on a tiny budget."

Mark, a printer, is now working on his first full-length feature film, No Rest for the Wicked.