Saturday, 25 February 2017

Interview with Anthony Crowley by David Kempf


Anthony Crowley,is a Author & Poet of Horror & Speculative literature,and a non-fiction Author of Esoteric Studies and Philosophy.He also has written for Sanitarium magazine, Massacre Magazine (Founding contributor) and various Horror website sites, including lyrics and a little music composing.


When did you first become interested in writing?

Since I first held a Parker pen in my hand. I was about six years and it has been my passion ever since. I also learnt various styles of writing, especially calligraphy. I was fascinated with how the writing flow appeared to be incredibly artistic and decorative. I was then intrigued by Old English.


How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?

I was one of those children that often had bizarre and strange nightmarish dreams. To me it was a huge realization because the outside world in society played a key role. That was my initial inspiration. I then suddenly became addicted and appreciated the classic horror films of Hammer, Amicus and Universal. I used to focus on everything about the film, such as acting techniques, dialogue and camera directing. From that analysis from what I witnessed had fascinated even more. The Hitchcock films were also unforgettable and still are just like those I mentioned a moment ago


Is this a full time job?

I have many interests involved with creativity, whether writing, drawing, etc... I’m also a campaigner for naturist rights.


How would you classify the genre you write?

We are our own connoisseur to our special blend of creativity. I usually write for myself first and secondly for my readers. I find it a healthy, positive balance to write in more than one genre. I currently write speculative literature, historical, fantasy, spirituality, philosophy, science, naturism, etc.


Why do you think horror and fantasy books remain so popular?

Personally, I believe horror has never been outdated or left us. We are surrounded by horror every day in the news and the reality. Fantasy is an extension to our mind escapes which can be either dark fantasy, action fantasy and so on. My future novel series, titled Sorcero is a Roman dark fantasy idea which I’ve had for some time now. I think my readers will enjoy this adrenalin-fuelled darkness.


What inspires your stories?

There is inspiration all around us, past, present and future. I’m inspired by everything. The mind is a fascinating tool that can go travel so far.


What do you think the difference between American horror and British horror is?

Personally, I am favourable of Gothic literature and psychological themes. I enjoy reading my books which are written in British English. I maybe old-fashioned but it’s my preference. I have nothing against American style horror but I am into the classics.


What are your favorite horror books?

From those early Hammer films, I then came across the works of Dennis Wheatley who had a few adaptations into Hammer productions and another few of my early influences were Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe, H.P.Lovecraft. My favourite authors of today are Clive Barker and Jack Ketchum. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Ketchum last year for Fear Magazine.


What are some of your favorite horror movies?

The same as my favourite literature. I enjoy the old Gothic style films like Dracula, Frankenstein and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, though I also enjoy the classic Universal horror films too.


What do you consider your greatest accomplishment as an author?

I haven’t got there yet. I will let you know when it happens.
           

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Be real to yourself, believe in yourself and work hard.


What is your opinion of the new self-publishing trend?

It has its advantages and disadvantages such as the convenience and control of your work. The stigma that everyone can self-publish puts a dampener on it. Publishing a project is a special moment and I’ve noticed some newcomer writers and they haven’t got a clue what they’re doing because it comes down to confidence, courage and hard work but also it comes down to passion. Some minorities begin writing for the fantasy of being rich and success. It doesn’t work like that.


What are your current projects?

I’ve recently published my second full-length dark poetry collection, titled Libro de Lumine. It was an exciting project with much difference compared to its predecessor Tombstones. This collection focuses around life, death and the speculations surrounding the afterlife. The title which is also known in English as ‘The Book of the Light’ has a slight concept to some of the featured verses. Are we on Earth for a purpose? What happens to our human existence when we die?  Many people have been curious in believing that a certain light would appear when we die. Some people say it's a new beginning. While some people believe, it has a whole new meaning.

I think the book will appeal to many readers of horror but also to readers of other genres. I’m currently working on numerous projects, including another poetry collection, titled Stripped Verses which is themed around naturism and the great outdoors. A different direction but also something that is close to my heart. The book will be published by RFI Publishings. I am also working on my second novella, titled BeautEVIL. This will be my second novella since The Mirrored Room.

This story idea I had when I wrote Saturnalia which is featured in Ravenwood Quarterly and Demonology. Expect some dark themes and twists of an ancient demonic awakening within this story. I also have new industrial horror/survival horror themed short story “The Looking Glass” which will be featured in a new anthology, titled “Whirling World Standing Still” published by Tickety Boo Press


Please in your own words, write a paragraph about yourself & your work. 

I’m a positive, deep thinking, philosophical nature boy. I dislike wearing clothes. I guess I should use a pen name as the Naked Poet or something similar to that. Haha!  From the moment, I held a Parker pen in my hand it was like my destiny began to awaken. Away from the projects and creative time which is a rare moment I prefer the solitude and silence.

I’m a private person and I hardly socialize with many people. I feel awoken more so around nature and the environment. I speak to the trees and the stars in the sky. I’m also passionate about photography, art and cooking my favourite Italian and Indian dishes.

The last year I made the decision to quit eating meat and fish products. Honestly, I’m incredibly healthier now and my mind is in a better place all round. I also have an interest in script writing. I initially began writing my first script last year but at the moment I’ve had to put it on hold due to other deadlines, media interviews, etc.. I will also be making my first documentary film themed around UK naturism, which will be titled Nude Britannia. Early stages yet but it’s another direction in my creative life and something which I’ve always wanted to do. I campaign each week for equal human rights. I’ve never been such a political person but I think people should speak up and use their voice in the right direction to make a positive change.

Links
https://www.facebook.com/AnthonyCrowley.Author/ - Official Anthony Crowley Facebook Page
https://twitter.com/crowley_anthony   Official Anthony Crowley Twitter Page
https://www.instagram.com/anthonycrowleyauthorpoet/   Official Anthony Crowley Instagram
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7994907/   Anthony Crowley at IMDB


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Film News (UK): Bad Milo! And The Cottage amongst nine Horror Channel prems for March.


Horror Channel presents nine fear-filled premieres in March including the UK TV premiere of BAD MILO!, Jacob Vaughan’s laugh-out-loud comedy horror blending sharp social satire with copious amounts of slimy gore. Broadcast on Fri 31 March at 11.20pm, BAD MILO! stars Ken Marino as normal nice guy Duncan, who discovers that a cute bloodthirsty creature is living in his lower intestines. Every time he gets stressed, it crawls out of his rectum to feed on the flesh of those riling him up. This was a huge hit at FrightFest in 2014.


Dark laughs also run amok on Fri 3 March at 10.55pm with the network premiere of Paul Andrew Williams’ blood-drenched hostage thriller THE COTTAGE, starring Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith and Jennifer Ellison. Feuding brothers David (Andy Serkis) and Peter (Reece Shearsmith) abduct a young woman (Jennifer Ellison) and hole up in a remote rural cottage, But their hostage turns the tables and soon it’s all for one when they find that the deranged farmer next door is the real threat. Hellraiser’s Doug Bradley makes a cameo in this terror treat.
 
There are also network premiere for Irish hit SCHROOMS, a stylish psychedelic shocker, directed by Paddy Breathnach (Fri 10 March, 11pm), ADRIFT, Hans Horn’s emotionally wrenching sail into terror (Fri 24 March, 9pm), Steve Barker’s atmospheric Nazi zombie thriller, OUTPOST (Sat 11 March, 10.50pm), Rob Schmidt’s cult  cannibal chiller WRONG TURN (sat 25 March, 11pm) and Hammer’s THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB (Sat 4 March, 10.45pm).
 
Plus there are channel firsts for Dave Payne’s tongue-in-cheek horror romp REEKER, starring Michael Ironside (Fri 17 March, 9pm) and Nicholas Mastandrea’s vicious canine nail-biter THE BREED, produced by Wes Craven and starring Michelle Rodriguez (Sat 18 March, 9pm.
 
TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 | Freeview 70

Interview with Steven Kastrissios

Ahead of the World Premiere of his latest film BLOODLANDS at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Steven Kastrissios discusses the challenges of making the world’s first Albanian / Australian horror film.


So what have you been doing in the eight years since making your amazing debut with THE HORSEMAN, a FrightFest favourite?
 
Writing. I was just 24 when I shot ‘The Horseman’ and it was only my second feature script, so I wanted to expand my horizons and I wrote many scripts in completely different genres and styles. I developed other little projects and came close to doing other features with other people’s scripts but for various reasons they fell through, usually over the script. I also stumbled into music and that bled into my film work too.
 

How did BLOODLANDS come about as the first Australian/Albanian collaboration?
 
Coffee with my Albanian-Australian friend, Dritan Arbana. He told me about the blood-feuds and I instantly saw an idea for a story and also importantly, how to make it a viable production with limited means. Dritan is an actor with no experience or desire to be a film producer, but I trusted him and anointed him as my producing-partner and two or three months after that coffee, we were in Albania prepping the shoot.
 

Why have the Albanians shied away from the genre up to now? Because their own history is so frightening?
 
I’m not Albanian, so I can’t answer this exactly, but from what the crew told me, they had a solid industry decades ago with the USSR influenced propaganda films, but their local industry has had limited opportunities since. They tend to like local comedies more and deal with the issue of blood-feuds as straight dramas, which there has been plenty. There were no stunt-coordinators, armourers, special-effects make-up artists we could find there, so limitations like that would make it difficult for any budding local genre filmmakers. I have a post-production background so I had the advantage of knowing how to design shots where we only had to do certain minimal things on-set, like very simple make-up, and the rest would be completed in post. We could do things safely too, like have real guns but no ammunition on set. Not even dummy cartridges. No explosive squibs too. All this stuff would be done through a subtle use of VFX.
 

 
When did you come across the legend of the Shtriga?
 
During my initial research. There’s various types of witches in the Albanian and Balkan cultures. There’s even a witch that will maim you if you waste bread, so they have a witch for everything there! And fortunately the Shtriga myth fitted perfectly with the backstory I had in mind for my witch. 
 

Directing the movie in a foreign language? Much more difficult surely because you need to understand the performance shadings?
 
This was just another hurdle we had to jump through collectively, but people learn fast and adapt so it wasn’t a big problem and most of the cast/crew spoke English, so I had a team of translators around me at all times for when someone needed help understanding me and vice versa. Whilst I don’t have an ear for Albanian, I did have the advantage of being the writer and the fact that I’d based the main characters on my own family, meant that I knew these characters inside and out. 
 

How did you go about tackling the portrayal of Albanian people and their culture, which to outsiders still carries a lot of negative clichés.
 
I was not aware of the clichés so much, coming from Australia. Dritan filled me in on countless tales of Albania, but what we were exploring was at the end of the day, a horror story with fantasy elements. So we weren’t necessarily tied down to absolute reality all the time and the film is lens in a way that embraces the ominous horror elements, wherever we found them. And the story is set in the mountains of a rural village, so we weren’t exploring modern city life with local crime figures, which may be the clichés people speak of.

The Albania I saw, mainly when we were location scouting, knocking on doors and seeing into people’s home lives, gave me confidence to know that the story I’d written in Sydney felt authentic to Albania. Anything that didn’t fit we re-wrote with either the actors or with Dritan’s consultation beforehand, who translated the script for me. I’m half Greek and Albania and Greece share a border, so there was that familiarity for me as well. Although the two countries certainly have significant cultural differences, there is still a Mediterranean through-line that is similar.
 

What will Albanian audiences make of it do you think? When will it be released there? Will the film kickstart a genre industry in Albania do you think? Or hope?
 
I have no idea. I made the film for a global audience. The Albanian sensibilities in the arts is unique to itself, so it could go either way. There was certainly a lot of interest in the project when we were there shooting, so I would imagine there would be a natural curiosity about the country’s first horror film.
 

Are the Albanian cast stars in their own right, or did you discover them? 
 
They are all stars in my eyes. Gëzim Rudi who plays the father is one the most recognisable actors in Albania. Ilire Vinca who plays the Shtriga was in The Forgiveness of Blood and Suela Bako, playing the mother, has had a lot of experience too and is a filmmaker herself. But it’s the feature debut for most of the cast I believe.  
 

Bearing in mind how difficult it is to get indie genre films released, was it a conscious decision to not make the film in the English language?
 
Certainly having non-English language does hurt sales internationally, but what’s the alternative? Having Albanians speak English instead? People have suggested that, but I think that’s a terrible decision long-term that would seriously compromise this project. Albanian is an ancient language rarely heard outside of the region and it’s one of the few that has no root in other languages, so we should preserve it. Global audiences obviously do find foreign cultures of interest so we have that on our side and people so far do seem to be genuinely intrigued in a horror film about an Albanian witch!
 

And finally, what next?
 
I’m developing another little project while I make my first serious attempts to go to USA with a script I’ve been developing. In the past I only sent one script out to a handful of people in USA, and I wasn’t even there to do the pitch meetings, as I was based in Sydney and focusing on Australian projects mainly, with no desire to move. But after the fun I had in Albania and the speed of which it came together, I’m all for working internationally.
 
BLOODLANDS is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 25 Feb, 2.20pm as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Exclusive behind-the-scenes stills revealed as slasher horror THE TOMBS completes production

Templeheart Films, the producing company behind Paul Hyett’s HERITIKS and Andy Edwards’ IBIZA UNDEAD, are set to unleash a new kind of monster in THE TOMBS, which has just finished filming at The London Tombs, The London Bridge Experience’s horror themed tourist attraction.


Dubbed ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ meets ‘Friday the 13th’, the gruesome slasher stars Jessica Ann Brownlie (Valley of the Witch), Jess Impiazzi (The Only Way Is Essex), Marcia do Vales (Ibiza Undead), Jessica Cameron (Truth or Dare), Akie Kotabe (Humans), Anthony Ilott (Wrong Turn 6), Ayvianna Snow (Heretiks) and Devora Wilde (Rush). It’s directed by Dan Brownlie (Self-induced Nightmares, Serial Kaller)
 

Synopsis: A clutch of C-list celebrities and the tabloid press have gathered at ‘The London Tombs’ to participate in a publicity stunt for a new horror movie being launched  They and the cast are to take part in a filmed challenge in which their task is to find the skull of notorious necromancer Robert White. The tour guide actors are on hand to make their mission as scary as possible.


Little do they know that deep in the bowls of the building something has awoken and what starts as a night of frightful fun turns into one of intense terror when the evil entity starts stalking the claustrophobic halls of this maze of terror.
 
Some games just shouldn’t be played…
 

THE TOMBS, shot over a five week period at the end of 2016, was the first film allowed access to The London Tombs.
 
Director Dan Brownlie commented: “We were incredibly privileged to be allowed to film there. considering this was the first time that the attraction has ever allowed third party photography of any kind to take place. It was an fantastic opportunity not to be missed”
 

Producer Rachel Gold added: “With the success of attractions like ‘Secret Cinema’ and, the growth of interactive genre experiences, it was a great opportunity to create a movie where the actual film location is open to the public to experience for themselves what our film’s characters are going through.”
 
The film is set to be released later this year,
 
THE TOMBS is a Templeheart Films & The Attraction Movie Production, produced by Rachel Gold, exec produced by Elisar Cabrera, Lyndon Baldock & Kevin Kane. Directed by Dan Brownlie and written by Michael W Smith.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Interview with Colin Minihan

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film IT STAINS THE SANDS RED at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Colin Minihan chats about the creation of his ‘zombie love story’, the challenges of shooting in Death Valley and his new movie ‘Still/Born’.


Colin Minihan with Brittany Allen


Q: Are The Vicious Brothers still an entity? You’ve only co-directed ‘Grave Encounters’ under that moniker – ‘Extraterrestrial’ and ‘It Stains The Sands Red’ carry your separate credits. That’s the way you want it from now on?

COLIN: Our roles were just less defined when we made ‘Grave Encounters’ because we were both very young.  If we make a film together and feel like it's a Vicious Brothers film, then I think we’d use it again...But then again there are far too many “brothers” right now – it starts to feel a bit gimmicky. 


Q: ‘It Stains The Sands Red’ is such a terrific and deceptively simple idea, where did the inspiration come for the story?

COLIN: A combination of things. The main one was that I had just moved to LA and was eager to find an idea befitting of the desert – which I’ve always found to be extremely cinematic but never had a good idea for. I think after watching ‘World War Z’, I jokingly asked Stuart what hadn’t been done with zombies and could be done on a low budget… He responded something like,  “I don’t know… One Zombie?” -- It was a light bulb moment for me, like, “that’s it! ONE ZOMBIE!”


Q: Did the overall arc of the story change in the writing process? Molly’s zombie pursuer would always become her best friend, then confessor, and finally saviour?

COLIN: The lead character changed throughout the writing process. The first drafts were actually written for a male protagonist who was a struggling alcoholic and had abandoned his son in the city.  After rejecting that idea, we wrote this other script called ‘The Last Stakeout’, which I’d like to make someday, but then finally I pitched the new take on the story for ISTSR to Stu – which would follow Molly, a troubled Las Vegas stripper on her journey through the desert with and against the Zombie – who she would name Smalls. This version really clicked fast while writing… it wasn’t like pounding away at the idea by force. It came out relatively quickly, which is always nice and usually means it’s flowing well. It also felt more do able on a low budget as the flashbacks were extremely minimal and most of the shoot would be just two actors on screen, albeit one is in full prosthetics.


Q: You play with zombie clichés brilliantly, and upturn them like an expert. It makes the movie a constant surprise as a result?

COLIN: We tried to just let Molly’s character arc guild the end result of the script. We knew we needed to break her down throughout and get there in an organic way – it was very challenging to write this film because she is talking to someone who can’t talk back. So she is giving exposition but it can never feel forced – it has to be earned. Which is very challenging in this case.


Q: Brittany Allen carries the movie superbly. She’s a Scream Queen favourite and you cast her in ‘Extraterrestrial’ too. Was it written for her?

COLIN: When the script was re-written for a female lead… We knew right away that it had to be Brittany. There was never anyone else. She is a character actor who has been acting since she was a child and is completely transformative in many of the rolls that she’s played… I hope people see how insanely talented she is with this film. It’s definitely her film. 


I also want to mention my pal Juan Riedinger (who is in ‘Grave Encounters’ as well). He brought a ton of depth to the role of Smalls and without his absolute commitment to the role, and his patience, this movie would not exist. He is both horrifying and lovable.


Q: The way Molly grows as a person from vacuous party girl to committed mother is superbly handled in the script by Brittany. That was always the core, the most engaging and surprising aspect of the movie?

COLIN: ISTSR was always a character journey through the desert. We were more inspired by Gus Van Sant's ‘Jerry’ more than anything while writing. 

 
Q: Talk about the filming rigours; where was the location (the Valley of Fire in Nevada?), how long was the schedule, and it looks a really difficult shoot?

COLIN: It was probably the most difficult shoot I’ve ever been a part of. We kind of knew that going into it as when scouting Death Valley as a possible location we had a close call, almost passing out from the intense sun on top of a dune.


This film is as indie as it gets. I didn’t even have an AD or Script Supervisor on set – and those are two of the main people a director leans on while making a film. We had no money so we had to be as economic and guerrilla as possible in order to pull off this sweeping story.  It was a rag tag group of like 10 people on set on any given day and the make-up crew was in a blood covered RV trying to get Juan camera ready.  -- At one point, Juan even slept in his zombie make up for three days straight because the application was so time consuming, never mind the time it took taking it off.   

Because of what happened in Death Valley in the summer (heatstroke), we aimed for the Las Vegas’ desert in November and December in hopes it would be mild and maybe a bit colder at night. Unfortunately it ended up being freezing cold most of the time, even during the day. If you watch the film it is actually taking everything in Brittany to pretend to be hot when really she is freezing. 


Q: The movie ends on an optimistic note, you see hope in an impending zombie apocalypse?

COLIN: If there is an impending Zombie apocalypse, we are all fucked. Much worse so than we already are.
 

Q: What can you reveal about your next project HAUNTED TEMPLE?

COLIN: ‘Haunted Temple’, aka ‘Temple’ is no more. Let’s skip this question. ha! 


Q: So finally, If not ‘Temple’, what is next?

COLIN: I have a new film that I am very excited about called ‘Still/Born’. It is in the final stages of post-production. It’s about a young mother trying to protect her new-born baby from a supernatural entity. It’s probably the scariest film I’ve been a part of. I co-wrote it and produced it and it should premier very soon.
 
IT STAINS THE SANDS RED is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Fri 24 Feb, 4.00pm as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Competition: Win What We Become on DVD

What We Become is out on DVD on 20th February and to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies of the DVD to give away.

Synopsis:
The feature filmmaking debut from Bo Mikkelsen, WHAT WE BECOME is a tense post-apocalyptic zombie thriller that’s the first of its kind in Danish horror cinema.

 A family of four is quarantined in their home as a mysterious virus spreads into town, transforming their friends and neighbours into zombies. As the military moves in to try and stem the outbreak, they are forced to the extreme in a struggle to escape alive. Also stars Ella Solgaard and Marie Hammer Boda.

Check out the release on Amazon by clicking the link below: (Opens in a new window)
What We Become [DVD] [2016]

To enter all you have to do is answer this easy question...

Who Directs What We Become?

To enter Email us on competition@mastersofhorror.co.uk with your answer, along with your name and address.



Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 27-02-17
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.



Monday, 6 February 2017

Interview with Simon Rumley

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film FASHIONISTA at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Simon Rumley reveals why he’s a fan of drugs in film and his planned foray into London gangster land…


Q: ‘Fashionista’ finds you back in Austin after ‘Red White and Blue’. What excites you about Austin so much? Could ‘Fashionista’ have been set anywhere else?

SIMON: I had such a great experience on ‘Red White & Blue’ for so many different reasons that it was only natural that, at some point, I’d return to Austin. With Tim League (exec producer), Paul Knauss (co-producer) and Karen Hallford (casting director) I’ve got a great bunch of friends who also happen to be great collaborators and they form the core of both films’ Austin based crew and most probably without them neither films would have happened. Beyond that, I love the unique style of Austin, the food, the music, the cinema, the clothes, the neon lights, the bars and of course the people. And although it’s a place which is constantly growing, it still feels it has an intimacy which places like LA or New York or London lack.

Fashionista’s evolution was very much a response to when I went back there in 2014 for a few days after spending a time there in 2009 and 2010 and noticing how much it had changed. Like most interesting places in the Western World over the last 5 years, it’s become gentrified; there’s more sky rise flats, more traffic, more upmarket restaurants and less locals. And, like most places which have been gentrified, there’s an erosion of some of the things that made it exciting in the first place. 

The whole vintage shop phenomena was such a massive part of the Austin that I knew in 2009 and although there are still a lot of these shops, there’s definitely less - even the one we shot in had to relocate literally two weeks after we shot there…So the lead character’s obsession with clothes in the film and her transition from vintage mash-up to designer clothes is probably not something that could believably happen in many places; I’m not sure Fashionista could have been set anywhere else in that case…


Q: It’s a film about addiction, from sex and body image to clothes and identity, but not anything drug-related. You didn’t want to throw that into the mix?

SIMON: I’m a big fan of drugs in films but, to be honest, I think all that needs to have been said has been said so I’m not sure what I would have been able to add to the genre. I’ve always been interested in a period drug film - Alastair Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend for example would offer a different perspective on the subject and I’m currently reading Johny Barleycorn by Jack London which is about his relationship with alcohol - not memoirs of an alcoholic as he’s keen to point out but alcoholic memoirs, set in 1913; fascinating to consider the power of alcohol through the ages. 

I watched Christiane F again as research for this film and films like Requiem For A Dream and Trainspotting offer definitive investigations into contemporary drug addiction so I’m not sure what the point would have been but more importantly, the film is about consumerism and clothes are something that everyone can relate to. It’s so easy to buy anything these days and clothes seem to be the epitome of the consumer’s purchasing power. Given that it’s a phenomenon that hasn’t been explored in cinema it felt ripe for investigation.


Q: All your movies are so unique, your subject matters, locales and atmospheres feel so new and virtually unexplored. Is that the only way you can personally approach film as an artistic medium?

SIMON: Ah, thanks!  From an early age, I’ve always thought that to make a mark, you should try to do something different, individual and unique. I think this belief is ultimately mis-founded; it might have worked at the beginning of the ‘Midnight’ phenomena for people like Lynch and Jodorowsky and Waters in the early/mid 70s but we’re living in such a culturally anodyne time that increasingly, people really just seem to want things that are similar to things they already know and understand and are thus non-challenging.

In terms of my own creative evolution, I definitely have tried to make every film different from the previous one and much of this is done through structure, editing and the visual aesthetics of the film. The structure to ‘The Living and The Dead’, ‘RWB’ and ‘Fashionista’ are completely different from each other as is the editing and the visuals. It keeps it interesting for me as I continue to explore what cinema is and what can be done with it as a medium.

That said, I’ve been trying to do more straight forward, linear films for a while now but things just haven’t worked out that way…


Q: Once more you completely pull the rug out from the viewer’s feet with some major surprises. Do you think of them first and build your story around them, or do they evolve organically?

SIMON: Yes; interested to see how people react to these moments! They all evolve organically to be honest although there were a few deliberate decisions to make some reveals as late as possible in the film.


Q: This contains flashbacks, flash-forwards, in fact flashes everywhere! How did you cope continuity wise?

SIMON: Ha! Good question. The script was written exactly how it ended up on screen so I’m not really sure anyone really knew what was going on apart from me and so continuity was a big issue. Continuity is an incredibly tough job and I usually find continuity people incredibly annoying and often not very good at their jobs. The only great continuity person I worked with was a woman called Helene Oosthuizen who did Club Le Monde and The Living And The Dead with me and I’d love to work with her again but generally I try not to have continuity people on my film since they slow the whole process down and often confuse it. On ‘RWB’ we didn’t have one, on ‘Crowhurst’ we didn’t have one and perhaps somewhat recklessly we didn’t have one on ‘Fashionista’.

This could have been a massive disaster since there are many scenes which chronologically flow on from each other but appear in the script in a non-linear fashion. The producer and I spent a lot of time making sure the shooting schedule accommodated this and we were also incredibly lucky to have an amazing Costume Designer, Olivia Mori, who not only sourced all these incredible and different clothes (I think Amanda Fuller’s character had over 100 changes) but also spent a lot of time working out the exact linear chronology of the piece. We met up two or three mornings and went through her interpretation of the script, just to make sure it was correct. By the time we finished this, it was watertight in her mind but even then things could have gone wrong but, thankfully they didn’t. But yep, this was an

incredibly challenging film but everyone, Olivia, especially, came through with flying colours.


Q: How would you crystallise your own directing style?

SIMON: Every script is different so I try to direct the script in order to get the maximum drama/tension etc. from it, using editing, music, camera angles etc. as a means to do this. This is probably why every film looks and feels slightly different.  


Q: You give director Nicolas Roeg a name check in the end credits. And you gave Amanda Fuller and Ethan Embry BAD TIMING to watch before shooting. Is he your main inspiration here?

SIMON: Yes - I watched a few films such as Safe by Todd Haynes, Christiane F by Uli Edel, A Woman Under The Influence by John Cassavetes and Lost Highway/Mullholland Drive by David Lynch. But yep, Bad Timing was the main one and I gave it to Amanda and Ethan to try to offer a rough idea as to how the film would end up visually. As far as I remember, that jumps pretty much back, forward and everywhere else. I’ve always been a massive fan and was incredibly fortunate to get the opportunity to work with him on my previous film ‘Crowhurst’, which he exec’d produced. I’d always wanted to try to make a film which has the kind of structure he’s best known for and having spent some time with him, I thought it was a now or never kind of situation.


Q: You’re working with Amanda Fuller again, why do you rate her as an actress, because she fits into your own weird universe the best?

SIMON: Not specifically that per se, but most actresses wouldn’t have had the courage to do what she did in ‘RWB’ or even ‘Fashionista’ so now you come to mention it, that must be something to do with it! She’s absolutely fearless which helps and she’s a complete natural, able to turn the emotions on and off like a tap which also helps. Added to this, she’s a lovely person and completely reliable so it’s always a pleasure to work with her and the results are always fantastic. I’m sure we’ll work together again sometime!


Q: Do you prefer being a resolutely cult director? ‘Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word was a departure for you. How do you plan balancing artistry with future commercial opportunities?

SIMON: After ‘The Living and The Dead’, ‘RWB’, ‘Little Deaths’ and my ‘ABCs of Death’, I made a decision to go more commercial, something I’m still working on but hope to crack with my forthcoming films. Johnny Frank Garrett was supposed to be the first film in this direction but for various reasons, that didn’t work out exactly how I’d hoped. That said, I’ve been very lucky to make 8 feature films and 2 anthologies and generally had the freedom to do what I wanted with them. If you keep the budgets low enough, these films are still ‘commercial’ in as much as they make their investors’ money back. That said, I’d like to work on a larger canvas, get paid more and get the films seen by more people so that’s definitely my intention henceforth.



Q: And finally, what’s next?

SIMON: I’ve got three projects which are shaping up well. The first which we’re planning on shooting towards end of March is a period based London gangster film about two  guys called Jack The Spot Comer and Billy Hill. They’re the missing link between Peaky Blinders and The Krays and there’s a fantastic story to be told about the ups and downs of their relationship and who, ultimately, was the King of The London Underworld. Given how this country maintains a fascination with gangsters, it’s incredible this story has never been told before because it’s ripe for dramatisation. 

Of the two projects after that, one is a revenge thriller set in post Brexit England and the other is a thriller set in the Mojave desert about a couple who are being shot upon by a sniper, based on an excellent novel called ‘Eyeshot’ by a very talented young writer called Taylor Adams.

FASHIONISTA is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 25 Feb, 11.45am as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.

More Titles by Simon Rumley

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Competition: Win The 9th Life of Louis Drax on DVD

The 9th Life of Louis Drax is out on DVD on February 6th and to celebrate we have a great competition for you and 3 copies of the DVD to give away.

Synopsis:
When nine-year-old Louis Drax inexplicably reawakens from the dead after his latest life-threatening accident, he becomes the patient of celebrated neurologist Dr. Allan Pascal (Jamie Dornan), who specialises in child psychology. Determined to uncover the truth of Louis’ bizarre existence, Pascal is drawn into both the child’s life and that of his fragile mother Natalie (Sarah Gadon), whose affections begin to cloud his judgements.

While Louis recuperates in a comatose state, Pascal sets about putting the mysterious pieces of the Drax family together, the truths of which begin to test the boundaries of fantasy and reality. Also starring Aaron Paul and Oliver Platt, and directed by Alexandre Aja.


Check out the release on Amazon by clicking the link below:
The 9th Life of Louis Drax [DVD] [2016]

To enter all you have to do is answer this easy question...

Who directs The 9th Life of Louis Drax?

To enter Email us on competition@mastersofhorror.co.uk with your answer, along with your name and address.

Terms and conditions
1. Closing date 13-02-17
2. No alternative prize is available
3. When the competition ends as indicated on this page, any and all entries received after this point will not count and emails blacklisted due to not checking this page first.
4. Winners will be chosen randomly and will be informed via email.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Interview with Chris Smith ahead of FrightFest Glasgow UK premiere of Detour

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film DETOUR at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Chris Smith tells us the importance of FrightFest, his love of ‘film Noir’ and  his hatred of reality TV…


FrightFest has premiered all your genre movies CREEP, SEVERANCE, TRIANGLE, BLACK DEATH, except GET SANTA obviously. Is this positioning an important part of the rollout process for you?

Firstly let me apologise for being away for so long and thank you for having me back. I wrote ‘Get Santa’ because I'd just had a son and was feeling like I wanted to do something that he could watch in the next 15 years. I expected the film to take a year to come together but it ended up taking four years. My son was by that time old enough to come to the premiere with a few of his class mates.
Back to the question, Frightfest is extremely important, not just to me personally, because it's always an honour, but it's important to the birth of the film. The Frightfest audiences are the first people to see it, the first to comment on it and it's nice that they're such committed fans. Putting a film out there, freeing it from the confines of the edit suite is exciting, but also scary. Frightfest, because of the audiences passion and knowledge of genre, make the process what it should be, fun. 


What was the main inspiration for the DETOUR script? Many have commented on its multi-narrative SLIDING DOORS-style vibe. Complicated to write the two sides of one story?

‘Sliding Doors’ and ‘Run Lola Run’ both came out the same year.  I must admit I was never inclined to watch ‘Sliding Doors’, but I know that, like ‘Run Lola Run’, it deals with the concept of different destinies being forged by blind change. Though actually neither of these films were an inspiration for ‘Detour’, which came about by chance.

It was early 2007 and I had just finished writing ‘Triangle’ and was in LA trying to finance it. I'd liked the film ‘Disturbia’, which had been a big hit and so for about three months Hollywood was trying to make Hitchcockian thrillers. An exec came to me and said she'd like to cook up a modern version of ‘Stranger's on a Train’. I think my brain was so wrapped up structurally from writing ‘Triangle’, that instead of two characters deciding to murder each other's wives, I cooked up one character, seemingly facing two destinies, based on one moral choice: To kill or not to kill? 

Was it complicated to write? Certainly not in comparison to ‘Triangle’ but it offered different challenges. I was really keen for the characters to shine through more than I'd achieved in Triangle, and this is tricky because you're asking the audience to question the narrative, rather than simply immersing them in a classical structure, and then you're also hoping they feel empathy for the characters. That is the main challenge for any film that makes you aware of the film making process.


DETOUR is full of film noir references, from the HARPER poster on the wall to the clip from the 1945 B movie classic DETOUR by Edgar G. Ulmer. What is it about the film noir idiom you like?

I've always loved Film Noir. I think it is, or rather was, the cornerstone of indie cinema. These are films often made often on the cheap and yet always brimming with colourful characters, taut story lines, and scenarios where a happy ending feels impossible, instead of inevitable.
 
The film that has always had the biggest effect on me is Fritz Langs' ‘The Woman In The Window’. My film ‘Detour’ is arguably more influenced by that, than the Ulmer movie that we reference in the film and borrow the title from. That said, both films contain a character who crosses a line and finds that the forces that drove him there, and the company he now keeps, will never let him free again.


A great cast of new and up-and-coming stars – Tye Sheridan, Bel Powley, Emory Cohen. You certainly know how to pick them, Eddie Redmayne in BLACK DEATH for example. Is it a knack?

Liam Hemsworth got his first role in ‘Triangle’ also. Is it a knack? I don't know. To me if you can't see that those actors are talented you're in the wrong job. When I got the audition tape from Liam Hemsworth I literally walked it around the office with my jaw dropped showing people. It was so glaringly obvious this boy was a movie star. It was the same with Eddie and all three of the leads in ‘Detour’. 


Tye Sheridan's performances in ‘Joe and Mud’ were electric. Emory Cohen lit up every scene he did in ‘The Place Beyond The Pine’s’. With Bel Powley it was a little different because I met her having seen nothing. The rumour mill was reporting that she was fantastic in the film ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’ but none of us had seen it The casting director loved Bel and the financier was happy to cast her on what he had heard, so I met her blind. We got on immediately; I thought she was so cool, funny and smart that I basically cast her on the spot. 


Great chemistry between the three leads - was it there from the beginning, or did it evolve gradually?

It was there from the beginning I think but the little choices we made in prep helped it along. We scheduled well so that we did all of the scenes in the house first; just me and Tye and Stephen Moyer. That gave us a real foundation so that when Emory and Bel joined the film, at the end of the first week, we were already working like a well-oiled machine. This gave me more time to concentrate on them, but their instincts were so good that there was very little in the way of notes.


Great solid anchors by Stephen Moyer and John Lynch too, whose maturity contrasts with the young cast on purpose?

Absolutely. They're the grown-ups but they still have their own problems and in some way are more immature than the younger characters. I think they're both great in the film.


DETOUR was shot in South Africa. How was filming there? 

It was shot mainly in South Africa but we also spent a week shooting in LA and Las Vegas. I love South Africa, it's a wonderful country, with great crews and so it was a no brainer to shoot it there to help with the budget. It also looks just like California. 


You’ve said the lighting owes a lot to Edward Hopper’s paintings? Can you elaborate?

Me and my designer joke that all feature films are either Edward Hopper or Carravagio. Film-makers use either artist as their inspiration, either consciously or unconsciously. With Hopper the emphasis is on framing and production design. With Carravagio the emphasis is on using practical lighting and contrast. This film is a Hopper.


It’s a film you want to watch again the moment its finished to see if you can catch all the clues and mis-directs you didn’t see the first time? Do you consciously like to manipulate your audience?

I'm a huge fan of Kiarostami. I'm drawn to film-makers that make you question the film-making process. Lars Von Trier is another I greatly admire.  Everything about film-making is fake and the film-makers' job is to make you forget this, but there's pleasure in being reminded too because it makes you engage in an entirely different way. 

I can't watch reality TV. It's ridiculous. The one thing it's not is reality. You see survival programs where someone is walking across the Sahara desert. Is he going to make or die of thirst? Give me a break! Behind the camera there's 20 camels packed full of water for him, the camera crew, the sound man, the medic, the fixer, the camel shepherd and the camels. There's probably a helicopter standing by.

I like stories where we acknowledge this deceit and try to make a feature. If you still feel tension when you are simultaneously acknowledging the artifice of the process, then I think you're doing something good. 


And finally, what’s next for you?

I'm working on a horror movie about a serial killer called The Judas Goat and a thriller called ‘The Undertaker’. Hoping to shoot either of them by the end of the year.


DETOUR is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 25 Feb, 4.30pm as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.



Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Film news (UK): Horror Channel launches Sci-Fear season


No one will hear you scream on Saturday nights this February as Horror Channel launches a Sci-Fear Season with four ultimate science-fiction shockers, including the UK TV premiere of William Eubank’s inventive and stylish fantasy head-trip THE SIGNAL starring Laurence Fishburne. There are also network premieres for Christian Alvart’s Lovecraftian survival thriller PANDORUM, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, and John Bruno’s visually stunning chiller VIRUS, based on the comic book by Chuck Pfarrer, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland. Plus there’s another showing of eXistenZ, David Cronenberg’s enigmatic body horror, starring Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Willem Dafoe and Ian Holm. The season runs from Sat 4 Feb to 25 Feb at 9pm.



Sat 4 Feb @ 21:00 – THE SIGNAL (2014) *UK TV Premiere


Nic (Brenton Thwaites) and Jonah (Beau Knapp) are MIT students engaged in an online altercation with the mysterious hacker ‘Nomad’. They get a lead on Nomad's whereabouts and, with Nic’s girlfriend Haley (Olivia Cooke), investigate an abandoned desert shack. Suddenly everyone loses consciousness, and Nic awakens in what seems to be a secret hospital. What’s going on? Where are Jonah and Haley? What is this ‘Extraterrestrial Biological Entity’ he’s being told about? And what does the mysterious Dr. Wallace Damon (Laurence Fishburne) want from them?


Sat 11 Feb @ 21:00 – PANDORUM (2009) *Network Premiere


Astronauts Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster) awake in a hypersleep chamber with no memory of who they are or what their mission might be. While Payton stays behind to monitor the radio transmitter, Bower ventures out of the chamber into the seemingly abandoned spaceship. The men quickly realise that they are not alone, and that the fate of mankind hinges on what they do next…
 

Saturday 18 Feb @ 21:00 – VIRUS (1999) *Network Premiere


Caught in a typhoon, a tugboat commanded by Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland) comes across a mysterious near-deserted ship. Excited to find a vessel that could be sold for as much as $30 million, Everton and his crew board and prepare to move the craft, despite the warnings of sole survivor Nadia Vinogradiya (Joanna Pacula). When a malevolent alien presence begins killing off the crew, it’s up to steely navigator Kit Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) to get the rest of them to leave before it's too late.
 

Sat 25 Feb @ 21:00 – eXistenZ (1999)


Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, who has long been fascinated by the ways new technology shapes and manipulates us, is in familiar territory with eXistenZ; a futuristic thriller which combines elements of science fiction, horror, and action-adventure. eXistenZ is a new organic game system that, when downloaded into humans, accesses their central nervous systems, transporting them on a wild ride in and out of reality. A leader of the field is game designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), but when she narrowly escapes an assignation attempt, she finds herself on the run with a marketing trainee (Jude Law) in a race against time as they try to prevent the pod containing the only copy of the eXistenZ game from being stolen. But what is the game, and what is reality?
 
There are also five further network premieres this month including TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL, Eli Craig’s endearingly cheeky tribute to suspense and slasher classics, SAW IV, Darren Lynn Bousman’s bloodiest of the popular franchise, Peter Hyams’s museum monster-chaser THE RELIC, starring Tom Sizemore, John Erick Dowdle’s REC-inspired QUARANTINE, and Marcos Efron’s 2010 gripping remake of AND SOON THE DARKNESS, starring Amber Heard.
 

Fri 3 Feb @ 22:50 – SAW IV (2007)
 
Despite Jigsaw's death, and in order to save the lives of two of his colleagues, Lieutenant Rigg is forced to take part in a new game, which promises to test him to the limit.


Fri 10 Feb @ 21:00 – TUCKER AND DALE VS EVIL (2010)


Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.


Fri 17 Feb @ 21:00 – QUARANTINE (2008)
 
A television reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside a building quarantined by the CDC, after the outbreak of a mysterious virus which turns humans into bloodthirsty killers.


Fri 24 Feb @ 21:00 – THE RELIC (1997)
 
A homicide detective and an anthropologist try to destroy a South American lizard-like god, who's on a people eating rampage in a Chicago museum.


Sun 26 Feb @ 21:00 – AND SOON THE DARKNESS (2010)
 
When two American girls on a bike trip in a remote part of Argentina split up and one of them goes missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realized.


TV: Sky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 | Freeview 70