2019 set to be a blockbuster year for Hereford Films
If 2018 showed that Hereford Films was still the market leader in British crime films with the huge success of THE KRAYS – DEAD MAN WALKING, 2019 is shaping up to be an even bigger year for veteran producer Jonathan Sothcott’s London indie.
Sothcott, whose past successes include VENDETTA starring Danny Dyer, the WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY series, BONDED BY BLOOD 2 and WHITE COLLARHOOLIGAN is clear about his ambitions for the company: “I have a long term growth strategy for Hereford,” he explains, “2019 is about building a foundation on people, skills and innovation. The film market is evolving almost monthly at the moment and we have to adapt if we are going to survive. While our films still sell well on DVD, as The Krays proved last year, we are now aggressively pursuing opportunities to embrace new technology and delivery platforms – whatever it takes to get our movies seen by the widest possible audience.”
And there is quite an audience for these films – Sothcott’s movies have sold well over a million copies on DVD as well as being staples of Sky Movies and London Live programming. They are becoming increasingly popular with the press too – THE KRAYS DEAD MAN WALKING garnered a 4 star review from The Mail On Sunday while one from Sothcott’s back catalogue, GBH (aka RIOT) was The Evening Standard’s film pick last Sunday.
The future, however, promises a plethora of new geezer flicks for an audience hungry for Hereford’s trademark mixture of much loved TV faces (Martin Kemp, Rita Simons, Billy Murray et al) and laddish violence. Sequels on the way include WE STILL DIE THE OLD WAY starring fan favourites Chris Ellison and Ian Ogilvy and THE KRAYS – MARKED FOR DEATH, which sees the terrible twins cross swords with Soho serial killer ‘Jack The Stripper’.
Before that, this month sees the UK release of the company’s first so-called ‘Hereford Horror’ THE EXORCISM OF KAREN WALKER, which stars Rula Lenska, Shane Taylor and Janine Nerissa and has already won praise from The Daily Star as “gripping” and “spooky.” There are more horrors on the way with HP Lovecraft adaptation WITCH HOUSE and Hitchcock style thriller AFTER SHOCK due to go into production in the next 12 months. There are rumours too of an ‘Exorcism’ sequel.
Elsewhere, Hereford has optioned film rights to best-selling bare knuckle fighting biopic PRETTY BOY, which tells the story of fearsome underworld icon Roy Shaw and Bernard O’Mahoney’s LAST MAN STANDING, the last word on the Essex Boys murders. There’s also a gangland home invasion movie RECKONING DAY, written and directed by Adam Stephen Kelly and a casino heist movie called SWIPE which is billed as “Lock Stock meets Oceans 11.”
Pressed on the longevity of what he calls “geezer films” Sothcott is bullish: “there is a massive, loyal audience for these films if they are done right. RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER 3 and THE HATTON GARDEN JOB are two of the biggest home entertainment titles this country has produced in the last few years. This genre is a commercial juggernaut – its just about the only thing left that works on DVD as well as digitally and on television. I can’t see it going anywhere.”
There is also a range of Hereford merchandise on the way, spearheaded by soundtracks for WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY and WE STILL STEAL THE OLD WAY by Robert Geoffrey Hughes and Chris Hirst but with T-shirts, posters and mugs on the horizon. There have already been novelisations of VENDETTA and WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY and Hereford’s publishing plans moving forward include glossy coffee table volumes and ‘expanded universe’ novels. Sothcott notes: “we get asked for this kind of stuff all the time so it makes sense to launch an online store. I understand the demand: I collect movie posters myself. There will be special limited edition signed items too. I think our audience will be happy, and that’s the most important thing.”