Hello Andy, welcome to UK Horror Scene. Before we begin I would just like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.
UKHS – What got you into filmmaking and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
AE – I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I was about four, and saw a double bill of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back at the cinema. I knew that if I couldn’t be a pilot for The Rebellion, then the next best thing would be to learn how to make movies.
I studied Film at University – but this was back in the day when the two choices of format were VHS or 16mm film, so a world away from the options filmmakers have nowadays.
UKHS – Who is your favorite film director?
AE – Way too many names to mention…Off the top of my head I think directors such as Takashi Miike, Chan-wook Park and Lars Von Trier are all making consistently interesting movies at the moment. But my all-time favourite would probably be David Lynch.
UKHS – You previously directed the short film ‘Six Ghosts’ about a young couple who are both haunted by 3 ghosts. How long did it take you to write and direct this short film and do you believe in ghosts and the supernatural?
AE – This had a very quick turnaround actually. I’m friends with a band called Johnny Foreigner, and they asked if I’d be interested in shooting a music video for a song off their third album. Despite zero budget, I thought it would be more interesting for everyone involved to make a narrative short, and have several of their songs weaved into the soundtrack. It was then quite a rush to write, shoot & edit a ten minute film and get it ready for the album’s release.
As for real-life (or real-death) ghosts – I’m very interested in the supernatural – but unfortunately I’m way too rational to believe any of it, and consequentially, ain’t afraid of no ghost.
Six Ghosts on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/40857294
Johnny Foreigner: http://www.johnnyforeignertheband.com/
UKHS – The horror anthology film, ‘Three’s A Shroud’ won the British Horror Award at the British Horror Film Festival 2012, congratulations on this fantastic achievement. You directed the segment ‘The Time Traveller’s Knife’ which is all about a group of young girls who are celebrating Halloween when a masked killer begins to strike until only one remains. Can you tell UKHS a little about your segment and some of the influences that inspired you to make this?
AE – The Time Traveller’s Knife very much wears its influences on its sleeve – the pub the film is set in is even called “The Carpenters Arms” after the great John Carpenter. And then, added to the traditional slasher mix, I threw time travel in there. And whilst not
anywhere near as much of a timey-wimey headfuck, the movie Primer was an influence for the time travel elements.
I had hoped that by combining these two genres I’d end up with something unique – but after making the film I then watched both Triangle and Time Crimes which have a similar mix of time-travel and horror. Quite possibly I pre-cognitively was influenced by these films before I saw them due to some kind of time-quake.
Three’s A Shroud has been with a couple of distributors but fingers crossed, should finally get released sometime later this year so you’ll all have the chance to view it for yourselves.
Teaser Trailer for The Time Traveller’s Knife:
UKHS – David V G Davies also directed one of the segments ‘Over Developed’ in ‘Three’s A Shroud’ and you have teamed up with him again for ‘Blaze of Gory’ How did you get involved with ‘Blaze of Gory’ and did you enjoy filming your segment ‘Monster’?
AE – I loved making Time Traveller’s Knife for Three’s A Shroud, but I wasn’t interested in getting involved in another anthology straight away. It’s bad enough with three director’s egos involved so when Dave told me there’d be NINE for Blaze of Gory I was very apprehensive. However, what changed my mind was the unique nature of the film’s writer and her quite frankly disturbing vision. And I thought that if that could hook me in, it could also hook in an audience.
The filming itself was crazy as usual (there is still blood in my grouting which won’t come out), but by working with a cast and crew who I was largely familiar with, it was a lot of fun and we were able to shoot quickly and efficiently.
UKHS – It’s great to see the beautiful, talented actress Victoria Broom (Deranged, Zombie Women of Satan) and the very talented actor Martin Hancock (Kingdom of Heaven, 24hr Party People, Coronation Street) in your segment ‘Monster’. I didn’t know much about Victoria but I am now a fan.You have previously directed both of them in your other projects, did you enjoy working with Victoria and Martin again and will we see you team up with them again in the future?
AE – Even before I came on board, Dave was considering Victoria for the lead of “Stacey” for the “Monster” segment. I didn’t think that role would quite work for her, but as we both still wanted her involved, I wrote the role of “Nurse Jessica” especially for Victoria.
As for Martin, I met him via a mutual friend and asked him if he’d be in “Six Ghosts”. I didn’t really think he’d say yes considering his amazing CV – but he did and was a real pleasure to work with. With a young and relatively inexperienced lead in “Monster”, I wanted to fill the rest of the cast with actors with charisma and experience – so Martin was first on my list, and Victoria, along with Peter Saracen and Demetri Turin all fit that bill too. At one stage Martin was going to be involved in Ibiza Undead, – unfortunately the schedules didn’t work out but hopefully we’ll get to work on something together soon.
UKHS – I love the teaser trailer for ‘Monster’ along with the other ‘Blaze of Gory’ teaser trailers. The actress who stands out the most is the Sensational newcomer Sandra Veronica May as Stacey. I feel she is an actress to watch out for in the future. How did Sandra land the role of Stacey and what was it like working with her?
AE – This was a tricky role to cast – it’s the lead role and the emotional core of the film, but the character has virtually no dialogue and spends most of her time restrained in a cell. I knew I needed a very special actress for this role, which required extensive casting calls and auditions.
I’d kind of naively hoped that I’d be able to uncover an unknown star in the making – but after working with Sandra on this film, I actually think I’ve succeeded. She’s a mesmeric presence in the film and audiences are really going to be drawn in by her performance.
It’s a pretty harrowing script – yet she was a joy to work with despite what I threw at her (which was largely a LOT of fake blood). She’s a raw talent who definitely has what it takes to succeed in this business, and hopefully I’ll be working with her on future projects too.
UKHS – You specialize in horror but what genre of film would you refuse to make and why?
AE – If someone was paying me to make something, I probably wouldn’t refuse any genre! Being a horror/sci-fi/thriller fan, to me most rom-coms are like holy water to a vampire, yet I worked as a script consultant on a low-budget rom-com called “Red Heart” because I believed in the talent behind that film. The principles of either screenwriting or directing are largely the same, whatever the genre.
AE – I wouldn’t like to say which is the hardest – but writing and directing are the ones I actually enjoy so they don’t feel so much like hard work. Producing on the other hand, at times feels like hard work of Sisyphean proportions.
UKHS – Finally, can you tell us about your new movie ‘Ibiza Undead’ and the challenges you faced during the shoot in Ibiza?
AE – Ibiza Undead is my first full feature as a writer and director, and is pretty much Ronseal. It’s a zombie movie set in Ibiza with a glamorous cast that includes Matt King (Super Hans from Peep Show), Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey), and Emily Atack (The Inbetweeners). We shot on location in Ibiza in October, and the film is currently in post-production.
And “challenges” doesn’t even begin to cover it! Deciding to shoot my first full feature abroad, on the ultimate party island, with a script that required prosthetics, extras, boats, cars, underwater stunts and explosions was maybe an act of madness. Still, I had a great time making it, and when the film is ready to be released to the world I’ll give you much more of a lowdown!
Ibiza Undead on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IbizaUndead
And twitter: //twitter.com/ibizaundead
UKHS – Thank you, Andy. Good luck with your projects and keep up the great work.
Image Courtesy: Enna Cooper, Eva Lewucha and Paranoid Android Films.
Andy on Twitter: //twitter.com/eds209