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About Andy Deen

A horror fan for as far back as I can remember . The first things that scared me were Doctor Who and the BBC ghost stories . As an early teen the video revolution came along and with it the Video Nasty campaign , and through all that I immersed myself in all things nasty. I love Slashers, Haunted House Stories and Devil Worshipping/Panic Films . I watch too much horror , listen to loud Heavy Metal and enjoy the odd tattoo \m/\m/

Bad Milo! And The Cottage amongst nine Horror Channel prems for March.

horrorchannellogoSky 319 / Virgin 149 / Freesat 138 / Freeview 70

Bad Milo! And The Cottage amongst nine Horror Channel prems for March.

rsz_badmilo-2Horror 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.

rsz_the_cottage-web3Dark 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.

rsz_shrooms-web2There 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
www.horrorchannel.co.uk | twitter.com/horror_channel | facebook.com/horrorchannel

An Interview with Director Steven Kastrissios ahead of World Prem of BLOODLANDS at FrightFest Glasgow!

rsz_bloodlands-steven_kastrissiosAn Interview with Director Steven Kastrissios ahead of World Prem of BLOODLANDS at FrightFest Glasgow!

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 ?

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.

rsz_bloodlands-web1How 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.

Arrow announce an Amazing line-up for May 2017 !!

arrowArrow announce an Amazing line-up for May 2017

Not only does May see two whole Bank Holidays to enjoy, it also sees the release of a fantastic slate of cult cinema from Arrow Video, with a healthy mix of giallo, cult crime and gore to keep fans happy.

First up sees the Limited Edition Blu-ray release of Dario Argento’s 1985 classic, Phenomena. Starring Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth) and Donald Pleasence (Halloween), Phenomena sees a schoolgirl with an uncanny psychic link to insects stalked by a mysterious killer. Set to another pulse-pounding score by Goblin, Phenomena is released here in a brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative that has been produced exclusively for this release. A must for fans who want to see the film like never before.

May also brings not one, but two crime classics from Italy and Japan. First comes The Climber, starring cult actor Joe Dallesandro (Flesh for Frankenstein, Blood for Dracula). The Climber is a prime example of Italian crime cinema and follows the rise and fall of Dallesandro’s smalltime drug dealer, Aldo. Filled with brawls, fistfights, shootouts and explosions, this is an excellent action-thriller. The other big crime release of May is Cops vs Thugs, Kinji Fukasaku’s masterpiece and one of the greatest films to come out of 1970s Japan. Echoing other great crime films, Cops vs Thugs is set in a world where there is no honour among thieves – or cops for that matter – and personal honour and duty among friends means everything.

For gorehounds, May also sees the arrival of two grisly Limited Edition classics. Brain Damage is Frank Henenlotter’s bad taste head trip that follows parasitic Elmer (voiced by late night TV horror host, John Zacherley) and his ability to induce euphoric hallucinations in the people he comes across. However, his trips come with a nasty side effect and leave the victims scouring the streets for Elmer’s favourite food – brains! – resulting in some of the best bad taste gags in cinematic history. Later in the month, Evil Ed gets a Dual Format Special EDition release. This ode to the splatter flicks of the 1980s unfolds gore scene after gore scene as a mild-mannered film tech loses his grip on reality after being forced to watch hours of grisly film footage. The result is a smorgasbord of flying limbs, exploding heads, busty babes and creepy creatures! A must for splatter fans everywhere.

rsz_phenomena_exp_boxset_vis_v0c_pb9kvmfPhenomena – on Limited Edition Blu-ray on 8 May 2017

One of the later classics from Dario Argento’s golden age, Phenomena is a unique giallo that blends genre tropes with more than a hint of the supernatural. As well as a host of special features, this Limited Edition release includes a brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative, produced exclusively for this edition.

rsz_brain_damage_exploded_vis_nopin_moalsutBrain Damage – on Limited Edition Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD on 8 May 2017

Frank Henenlotter’s ultimate head trip finally arrives on Blu-ray with this spectacular Dual Format release. Boasting some of the best bad taste gags ever committed to celluloid, Brain Damage is seen here in all it’s glory, complete with a host of limited edition extras.
For more information and images visit HERE

The Climber – on Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD on 15 May 2017
An excellent example of Italian crime cinema, The Climber stars cult favourite, Joe Dallesandro, and delivers high-octane action in a brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative.
For more information and images visit HERE

rsz_evil_ed_3d_bd_uk_fae4zrfCops vs Thugs – on Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD on 22 May 2017

Arguably Kinji Fukasaku’s greatest cinematic achievement, Cops vs Thugs is a hard boiled classic that easily ranks as one of the best films of 1970s Japan. Released by Arrow Video in gorgeous high definition, this is one of the most thrilling and moving cops and criminals films of all time.
For more information and images visit HERE

Evil Ed – on Limited Edition Dual Format Blu-ray & DVD on 29 May 2017

If Evil Ed is a blood-soaked love letter to 1980s splatter cinema, then this Arrow Video release is a Shakespearean sonnet. Complete with two versions of the film and a host of special features, this Special EDition is a must for anyone who’s spent time in the “Splatter and Gore department”.

Screenbound announce the launch of two brand new Euro cult film labels!!

Screenbound is delighted to announce the launch of two brand new Euro cult film labels, Maison Rouge will specialise in Euro Sleaze and Black House Films will focus on Euro Horror.

Maison Rouge kicks off with two classic titles, the first is from master of Euro Sleaze Jess Franco – Female Vampire (aka Bare Breasted Countess) – which arrives on DVD on 6 March 2017, followed by two Patrice Rhomm classics Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg on DVD 13 March 2017 and Elsa Fraulein SS set for release on 17 April 2017.

The first release from Black House Films will be zombie classic Zombie Lake from French horror maestro Jean Rollin, set for DVD on 20 March 2017 and Juan Fortuny’s Crimson on 17 April 2017.

Screenbound’s managing director Alan Byron said: ‘When Screenbound started as Odeon Entertainment 13 years ago with several music productions, our first step into film sales was representing Nigel Wingrove’s Jean Rollin and Jess Franco Euroshock and sleaze titles for Salvation Films. In a sense, we have now come full circle by launching our own new cult labels – Maison Rouge and Black House Films – which will showcase the best and basest of Euro Exploitation over the next three years. Maison Rouge will focus on sexploitation and once established will bring in new as well as retro cult features. Its sister label, Black House Films, takes its inspiration from the Church of Satan and will release dark, Gothic horrors from the 1960s to 1980s.’

Both imprints are being released on DVD with each having multiple poster art cards inside for collectors. Most releases will have special features included and a selection of titles will be released on limited edition Blu-ray with O Cards.

Alan Byron continued: ‘Plans are already in place to pick up another 20 films for these labels which already have a distinctive design appeal that is being appreciated by the fan base’.

rsz_bbcEuro Sleaze maestro Jess Franco, directs and also makes an appearance in this cult vampire movie from 1975. Lina Romay is Irina, the beautiful last descendant of a family of vampires from distant Bohemia. When she takes Austrian writer, Baron von Rathony (Jack Taylor), as her lover, her gluttonous lips devour him, as he surrenders his body and soul to her.

Title: Female Vampire aka Bare Breasted Countess
Release Date: 6 March 2017
Cat No: MR001
Certificate: 18
Running Time: TBC
RRP: £9.99
Special Features: Erotikill (Horror Version), Destiny In Soft Focus, Words For Lina, Trailers: Female Vampires; Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg; Elsa Fraulein SS

rsz_helgaThis notorious 1970s women’s prison classic set in South America, takes its cue from Don Edmond’s classic Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. Stillberg is an ominous fortress turned detention camp for political prisoners and under the command of Helga Stiver, an ardent follower of the party in power, she brutalises the female prisoners who are stripped and tortured at will. Lisbeth, the daughter of the opposition leader arrives at Stilberg where she too, falls prey to the sadistic Helga, until local rebels help them fight back against their captors and attempt escape. Nudity, violence, fetishism and lesbian catfights – what more could you ask for? Patrizia Gori, Malisa Longo, Richard Allan star.

Title: Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg
Release Date: 13 March 2017
Cat No: MR002 Certificate: 18
Running Time: TBC RRP: £9.99
Special Features: Alternative Clothed Scenes, Trailers: Bare Breasted Countess; Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg; Elsa Fraulein SS

rsz_elsaA train full of beautiful young women has been ordered to service the men aboard; men being taken to help fight for the Nazis. Elsa, the leader, specialises in torturing those whose loyalty to the Nazi party comes into question. A group of brave Frenchman plot to derail the train and plan an attack that will strike back at the Third Reich. Malisa Longo, Olivier Mathot, Patrizia Gori, Pamela Stanford, and Claudine Beccarie star.

Title: Elsa Fraulein SS
Release Date: 20 April 2017
Cat No: MR003
Certificate: 18
Running Time: TBC RRP: £9.99
Special Features: Trailers: Bare Breasted Countess, Countess; Helga, She Wolf of Stilberg; Elsa Fraulein SS

rsz_zombielakeYoung, nubile women are disappearing without trace in a small lakeside town in this cult classic zombie movie. The superstitious locals blame ‘The Lake of Ghosts’, but the town’s mayor (Howard Vernon) is unwilling to investigate. When another woman is found dead with her throat ripped out, a reporter discovers that the lake harbours a terrible secret dating back to World War II. Now the locals must become resistance fighters once again – and take on the returning Nazi zombie Stormtroopers who are back from the dead.

Title: Zombie Lake
Release Date: 20 March 2017
Cat No: BH001 Certificate: 18
Running Time: TBC RRP: £12.99
Special Features: Trailers: Zombie Lake; Crimson; Oasis of The Living Dead

rsz_crimsonWhen a robbery goes horribly wrong and the gang’s leader, Jack is shot in the head, a group of criminals go to extreme measures to save his life. With the help of a local doctor the gang devise a unique plan – to kill their worst enemy, throw his body in front of a train and use the brain from the severed head as a transplant. The operation is a success and everything seems to be as planned…That is until the brain’s former owner starts living out his murderous past. Starring Paul Naschy, Silvia Solar, Olivier Mathot.

Title: Crimson
Release Date: 20 March 2017
Cat No: BH002 Certificate: 18
Running Time: TBC RRP: £12.99
Special Features: Trailers: Zombie Lake; Crimson; Oasis of The Living Dead

Monster Charity Project 2017 – Make-A-Wish UK

14906816_10153951383160978_1251873130526858894_nMonster Charity Project 2017

rsz_15541197_10157836219330368_7899376132559077312_nFrankenstein’s Monster as you have never seen him before, completely customised in unique designs by some of the UK’s top artists from the prop-making and movie Special FX make-up industries.

25 of the UK’s top prop-making, sculpting and SPFX make-up artists have been brought together to take part in a unique charity project. Each artist has been given a bespoke Frankenstein-inspired monster bust, created and supplied by SVFX University of Bolton Special & Visual Effects team, with the simple instruction: Customise him into any design you like.

Once customised, the artists then donate the finished bust back to the Monster Charity Project organisers who will auction them off via an online auction site. 100% of the proceeds raised from the auction will be donated to Make-A-Wish UK. All the artists and the back room project crew donate their time and skills totally free of charge.

Last year the same project team raised a staggering £28,000 for Make-A-Wish at Star Wars Celebration London with a similar project featuring an iconic Star Wars Helmet. 30 artists took part creating such custom designs as Deadpool, Judge Dredd , Batman and a Studio Ghibli inspired design.

rsz_horrorcon_brum_11The busts will be going on a UK tour during 2017 taking in such conventions as Horror Con UK, finishing the year at Creaturegeddon where many of the featured artists can be seen sharing their work and also available for a chat. The Monster Charity Project is also in talks to have the display featured at the very popular Grimmfest event in Manchester.

People will be able to start viewing the completed busts from May 2017 via various social media outlets and the above mentioned conventions, the project busts then go to auction on October 31st 2017, ending November 5th 2017

For Further information and updates you can follow the project and all its progress at:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/The-Monster-Charity-Project-2017-1154419357915280/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/monsterproj
Instagram: https://instagram.com/monstercharityproject

Chris Alexander and Barbie Wilde announce their new feature length horror film project Blue Eyes

rsz_blue_eyes_postcard_1BLUE EYES

Deeper than love. Darker than death.

Executive Producers Chris Alexander and Barbie Wilde are proud to announce their new feature length horror film project Blue Eyes, starring electronic music legend, performance artist and actor Nivek Ogre (Skinny Puppy, Repo! The Genetic Opera, Queen of Blood).

Blue Eyes will be directed by Chris Alexander (Blood for Irina, Queen of Blood, Female Werewolf and the upcoming Blood Dynasty), with a script written by Alexander and Barbie Wilde, actress (Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Death Wish 3) and author (The Venus Complex, Voices of the Damned). The script is based on an original story by Wilde.

Funding via Kickstarter to be announced. In the meantime, follow Blue Eyes on Twitter (@BlueEyes_Horror) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/BlueEyesHorrorMovie).

Official Synopsis: Gazza Hunt is a man living on the edge, a man whose life has been battered down by bum luck and bad decisions and who has simply given up. Homeless, hopeless and wracked by addiction, Gazza’s desperate existence is interrupted one night when, wandering in the woods, h e follows a glowing blue light to a freshly dug hole in the earth where he finds an ethereal, nude sleeping beauty, perfect in every way. But, as Gazza soon learns, this woman isn’t asleep. She’s dead. And yet somehow Gazza is still uncontrollably drawn to her…this blue girl…with those blue eyes…

About Chris Alexander
Chris Alexander is a Canadian-based, internationally published writer, composer and filmmaker and has served as editor-in-chief of such notable film magazines as Fangoria, Gorezone and Delirium and film websites ComingSoon.net and ShockTillYouDrop.com. As a filmmaker, he is the writer, director and composer of the award winning vampire film Blood for Irina, its follow-up/sequels, Queen of Blood and Blood Dynasty and the erotic drama Female Werewolf. Alexander has also composed original music for films like Joseph O’Brien’s Devil’s Mile, Larry Kent’s She Who Must Burn and Chris Walsh’s stop motion horror film The Shutterbug Man (starring film legend Barbara Steele). His full length solo electronic music album Music for Murder is out now on the Giallo Disco label.

About Barbie Wilde
Barbie Wilde is best known for playing the Female Cenobite in Clive Barker’s classic British cult horror movie, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and for portraying a vicious thug in Michael Winner’s Death Wish 3. In the early ‘80s, Wilde danced and sang professionally at the top nightclubs and rock venues in New York, London, Amsterdam and Bangkok with her group, SHOCK, which was signed to RCA Records. In the 1980s and 1990s, she wrote and presented eight music and film review TV programs in the UK.

In 2012, Comet Press published Wilde’s debut serial killer novel, The Venus Complex, prompting Fangoria Magazine to call her “…one of the finest purveyors of erotically charged horror fiction around.” In 2015, SST Publications published a full color, illustrated collection of Wilde’s short horror stories called Voices of the Damned in hardback, paperback and Kindle. Voices of the Damned features artwork and illustrations by some of the top artists of the genre, including Clive Barker, Nick Percival, Daniele Serra, Ben Baldwin, Vincent Sammy, Tara Bush, Steve McGinnis and Eric Gross.

About Nivek Ogre
Nivek Ogre is a Canadian musician, performance artist and actor best known as a founding member of the industrial band, Skinny Puppy. Ogre has been involved with many other industrial music acts such as KMFDM, Rx, Pigface, PTP, The Tear Garden, The Revolting Cocks, Ministry and his side project ohGR. He also composed two music tracks for the computer game Descent II. His current projects include ohGr and the reformed Skinny Puppy. Ogre has appeared as Pavi Largo in the rock opera film Repo! The Genetic Opera, as well as Harper Alexander in the comedy-horror film entitled 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams. Ogre is reunited with Repo! Director Darren Lynn Bousman for the musical short film, The Devil’s Carnival. In 2014 he starred in Chris Alexander’s Queen of Blood.

In March Production Commences on Elliott Maguire’s The Ferryman

rsz_ferrymanTHEY’RE HERE PRODUCTIONS Presents…

THE FERRYMAN

PRODUCTION BEGINS IN MARCH 2017

“THE FERRYMAN”
After a failed suicide attempt, troubled and lonely teen MARA finds herself stalked by a malevolent entity.

As much a psychological drama as a horror film, The Ferryman explores important themes such as depression and alienation in the modern world, while also delivering a truly terrifying cinematic experience. In the writing process I took inspiration from classics such as Let The Right One In and Candyman, to create that deep sense of evil, while creating characters that the audience actually care about”.

“The Ferryman” is set to begin production in March 2017, with a fantastic cast that includes NICOLA HOLT as MARA; GARTH MAUNDERS as ROLAND; SHOBI RAE MCLEAN as JULIA; VELTON J. LISHKE as THE DETECTIVE; PAM ASHTON as THE NURSE; and PHILIP SCOTT-SHURETY as THE THERAPIST.

Shooting will take place in and around Manchester throughout March and April, with the production taking inspiration from Sundance hit “Tangerine” and shooting on the iPhone 7, allowing a level of intimacy rarely seen in the horror genre and pushing this advancing technology to its limits.

You can follow the production on Twitter @ferrymanmovie and Facebook @ferrymanmovie, for all other enquiries you can contact the team on [email protected]

Links
http://theyrehereproductionsltd.co.uk/

Interview with Director Chris Smith ahead of the FrightFest Glasgow UK prem of DETOUR

Frsz_christopher_smith-1rightFest 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.

rsz_detour-bel_powley-webA 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.

rsz_ffgYou’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.

Signature Entertainment presents the tense new shocker Pet on Digital 6th March and DVD 13th March 2017

rsz_1rsz_pet_packshotSignature Entertainment presents the tense new shocker Pet on Digital 6th March and DVD 13th March 2017.

IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING NEVER LET IT GO

This haunting, psychological horror follows Seth, a lonely man working in an animal shelter. His monotonous routine is broken one day when he bumps into Holly, a girl from school who he soon becomes obsessed with. However, when she rejects his advances, Seth’s obsession reaches a terrifying new level, with Holly hiding secrets of her own.

Helmed by Award Winning director Carles Torrens (Apartment 143, ABCs of Death 2.5) and starring Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings trilogy), Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl, Black Swan) and Jennette McCurdy (Between, Sam & Cat), Pet is a dark and disturbing love story asking how much you could sacrifice in the name of love?

rsz_dominic_monaghan_and_ksenia_solo_in_petSignature Entertainment presents Pet on Digital 6th March and on DVD 13th March, 2017

UK Feature ‘Cruel Summer’ Gets a UK DVD & Digital Release on Feb 6th

DVD Template 30.10.03CRUEL SUMMER DVD & Digital Release Date: 6th February 2017
Certificate: 15 | Running Time: 80 mins | Genre: Horror Distributor: Solo Media & Matchbox Films

The amazing Cruel Summer gets a UK DVD & Digital release on Feb 6th. Written & Directed by: Phillip Escott & Craig Newman Starring: Danny Miller (Emmerdale), Reece Douglas (Waterloo Road), Richard Pawulski and Natalie Martins.

Cruel Summer got a 10/10 review on UK Horror Scene back in 2015 from our writer Elliott Maguire and you can read that here – http://www.ukhorrorscene.com/cruel-summer-2015-review/

Danny (Richard Pawulski), a teenager with autism, escapes the inner city for the beautiful countryside as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Little does he know, that bitter Nicholas (Danny Miller Emmerdale) is hunting him, stemming from a lie created by the enamoured and envious Julia (Natalie Martins) and newboy Calvin (Reece Douglas Waterloo Road). As the three close in on Danny, Nicholas’ behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and violent, Julia and Calvin must decide whether to go through with Nicholas’ deadly plan.

So do yourself a favour and check out a unique and haunting UK film that will stay with you long after the end credits!!