An Interview with Ghostline Director Dean Whitney by Dean Sills

dwhit1An Interview with Ghostline Director Dean Whitney by Dean Sills

UKHS Dean, thank you for your time and welcome to UK Horror Scene. You were in the music business for thirty years, how did you get into Indie filmmaking and set up your own production company Undaunted Films?

DW – With the music biz basically winding down for me, I was forced to make some hard decisions on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The word “retire” isn’t part of my vocabulary. Sticking with my creative side, I wrote & self-published a baseball novel entitled “Pinch Hitter” in 2008. While working on a second novel a year later, I decided that the story might work better as a screenplay and began doing research on writing scripts and eventually hired a veteran Los Angeles writer to show me the ropes. Three or four screenplays later, I landed a Beverly Hills manager (also a script consultant) and wrote under her tutelage for two years.

After seeing how difficult it was for unknown screenwriters to sell scripts, I figured the only way I was ever going to see any of my scripts produced in my lifetime was to do it myself. I spoke with my manager about producing a feature film in 2011. Then I read a filmmaker magazine story listing five reasons to produce a short before tackling a feature and decided to go in that direction. At that point, I had no interest in becoming a director. However, at the urging of my manager and my wife, Judy, I decided to give it a shot. More research ensued and then I wrote and directed “The Body Bag”, a 17-minute horror short that was awarded “Best California Short Film 2012” by the California Film Awards. Having produced “The Body Bag” under D & J Films, we wanted a stronger name under which to produce our first feature. Borrowing the title of one of my earlier screenplays, “Undaunted”, we decided on Undaunted Films.

Side note: Judy is a former child actress who appeared in several notable films, including “The Birds”, “Marnie”, “The Errand Boy”, and “Spartacus”, and a host of TV shows, including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “Hazel”.


dwhit2UKHS – What is the main attraction of the horror genre and do you find them challenging as a writer and director?

DW – Behavioral researchers have been trying to figure that out for decades. I guess it varies from person to person. I grew up on the horror films of the 50’s and 60’s, which seemed to focus more on suspense and were quite tame compared to what we’ve seen in the past 20 years or so. Many of the modern horror films contain extreme gore and violence and seem to focus more on the suffering of the victims. As a writer/producer, the main attraction is the reality that it’s the only genre in which you can find success without the benefit of “big name” actors. (There are exceptions, of course, but not many). To date, I’ve written approximately 24 screenplays and only a few are in the horror genre.

In writing “Ghostline”, the challenge was concocting a story based on an original idea that moviegoers would find “scary” or “creepy”. And, being that our intent was to produce it on a relatively small budget, it had to be created with limited characters and locations. As a director, my challenge was to make it look and sound more expensive than it actually was. To accomplish that, we shot it on a Red (4K) camera, hired two of the best sound mixers and boom operators around, and spent a tremendous amount of time on the lighting.


dwhit3UKHS – Can you tell us about your supernatural-horror movie ‘Ghostline’ and where did you get the inspiration from to write a screenplay based around an unknown caller?

DW – I can’t give too much away, but the story revolves around Tyler and Chelsea, a charismatic young couple who move into a house that Tyler inherited from a deceased relative. Upon learning that cell phone service is basically non-existent in their area, they install a recycled landline. On the very first night they begin to receive “unknown caller” phone calls from a seemingly unstable young woman named “Ellen”, who insists that Tyler’s her ex-boyfriend, Eric. Turning to the phone company, they learn that the calls are coming from a ghostline which is an untraceable phone line from which one can make calls without having a specific number.

Given a new number, they believe their troubles are over. But the calls continue. That’s when they call upon a detective who eventually concocts a plan to draw Ellen out. However, she detects the deception and issues a threat: “I’m going to find you, Eric. And when I do, I;ll make you pay for what you did to me!” That’s when things really start to get crazy.

My inspiration for “Ghostline” came from a 1964 Twilight Zone episode entitled “Night Call”. It’s about an elderly woman who begins to receive phone calls from a man buried in a local cemetery after a phone line which was knocked down by a storm and lands directly on top of his grave. For some reason, that story remained etched in my mind all these years. Also, I once lived in a duplex that had a ghostline. I could call out, but no one could call in.

I should also point out that “Ghostline” was written as a trilogy and the sequel has already been written. We hope to get started on it sometime in 2015.


dwhit4UKHS – I did enjoy the trailer and your two main actors Rachel Alig and Zack Gold look great together on screen. Who did you cast first and did you have any concerns about finding the right cast for a supernatural-horror movie?

DW – Thank you. While mega-budget films have the luxury of working with casting directors who can bring in “A” list actors, we low-budget indie producers must rely on ourselves to find the best available talent for our projects. And that was a huge concern. Although there are many talented actors in San Diego where the film was shot, we
couldn’t find any in the 26 – 28 range with the qualities we were seeking for the lead roles. Fortunately for us, there are many fine LA-based actors & actresses champing at the bit to work on indie projects such as ours.

Whether it was a “gut feeling” or just plain dumb luck, Rachel and Zack were my first choices for Chelsea & Tyler even before we auditioned anyone. Out of over 1600 female and 1200 male submissions for the two roles, I seem to recall that we auditioned about 30 women and 20 men. While Rachel’s audition was as smooth as silk, Zack’s was not. However, when we later paired them together at the callback, their chemistry was obvious. We hired them a few days later. As it turned out, four of our cast members came from LA and the rest were local.


dwhit5UKHS – How long did ‘Ghostline’ take to make and did you encounter any problems during the shoot?

DW – Altogether it took about four weeks to get everything we needed. Thanks to a solid cast and crew and good planning and organization on our part, we didn’t have any major problems to speak of. Seems there are always minor issues that arise on film sets, such as equipment failure or people not showing up when they’re supposed to. Fortunately for us, we didn’t have any of those issues. We shot most of the film at a rented house, which was very convenient for us being that three of our crew members lived outside San Diego and needed a place to stay.


dwhit6UKHS – Do you believe in the supernatural?

DW – While I’ve always had a keen interest in the supernatural, I didn’t become a believer until fairly recently. To date, I’ve participated in six “ghost hunts” at various locations with The San Diego Ghost Hunters (ghost consultants on our film). Without going into any great detail, I had experiences on a few of them that were powerful enough to convince me that there’s something to the “other side”. In one instance, I was touched…twice! In another one, I made contact with the spirit of a deceased relative through the use of divining rods.
The last one (May 3rd) took place at an American Legion building (where we shot the bar scenes). At around 1:30AM, there was an incident involving me, a female board member of the American Legion, and the leader of the SD Ghost Hunters. While sitting at a table in the ballroom (where it had to be over 80 degrees) the board member suddenly felt a gush of cold air on her. Seconds later, we all heard a deep breath which was followed by both ladies feeling and reacting as if they were being attacked by an unknown entity. I immediately got up and walked around to where the board member was sitting and felt the cold air around her. There’s much more to the story, but suffice it say that we got out of there in a hurry.


dwhit7UKHS – What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?

DW – I’d have to say “The Exorcist”. Really freaked me out. To make matters worse, I went home to an empty house that night forgetting that I had left all the windows open. And it was windy. Once inside, I probably looked like Tarzan swinging from one light switch to another in an effort to turn on all the lights. Looking into the bedroom from the doorway, I could swear that I saw Linda Blair tied to the bed. Definitely turned me off pea soup for many years.

The other one that had an impact of me was the original “Night of the Living Dead”, which I saw at a drive-in in Long Beach, California. Going in, I knew nothing about the film, including the fact that it was in black & white. Really held my attention. Funny moment: At one point, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of someone standing next to my open window. Scared the living hell out of me! It was some guy who had gotten lost on his way back from the concession stand.


UKHS – Finally, are you working on any other projects in 2014 which you can tell UKHS about?

DW – Time permitting, we’d like to produce another supernatural thriller entitled “Kill Me Once” later this year. The script is ready and we’ve already started to look at a few actors. However, since my priority in 2014 is promoting “Ghostline”, it may get pushed into 2015. I’m also writing a novel entitled “Beast”, which is a drama based on one of my screenplays about a man born with beastly facial features.


UKHS – Good luck with ‘Ghostline’,’Kill Me Once’ and ‘Beast’. Thanks again for your time and keep up the great work!

Images courtesy:Dean Whitney and Ghostline.


MEET ME THERE: An Interview with Screenwriter Brandon Stroud by Matty Budrewicz

MEET ME THERE: An Interview with Screenwriter Brandon Stroud

meetmethere1New US indie Meet Me There has quickly become a real favourite here at UKHS towers.

The story of a young couple whose problems between the sheets leads them on a harrowing voyage of self-discovery through a weird little backwater town, Meet Me There blew both myself and Dave Wain away after we were privy to director Lex Lybrand’s early festival cut (you can read our thoughts on it HERE and HERE). Smart, scary and totally unique, it’s one of the absolute highlights of this year.

Continuing our coverage of this terrific flick, I recently caught up with Meet Me There’s scripter Brandon Stroud for a quick chinwag…

UKHS: So where did the movie come from? When I talked to Lex back in January he said you formed the screenplay from “a lifetime of stories”.

Brandon: I did. Destiny Talley gets our “based on stories by” credit because almost everything in the film is based on something horrible from her life. She grew up in a town called Atwood, Oklahoma, a town of 74 people that is nothing but a church, a few intersecting streets and a shit-ton of nightmares. She’ll just randomly drop stories about her hometown into conversation, like, “when I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to go into the woods because of druids having ceremonies,” or, “one day a guy in town killed a bunch of dogs and lined them up along the street.”

brandon1UKHS: That’s nuts. So there is stuff in there that has actually happened?!

Brandon: Yeah, a lot of it. I think the scariest thing in the world is real life.
Back in 2003 I wrote a novel called Seven Hill City, and I managed to get it optioned for a film twice. Both times it lingered in pre-production hell, so I got tired of not having a movie and decided to write something quick and easy I could just make with my friends on the cheap. Total throwaway horror movie. About fifteen pages into it I thought, “shit, wait, I could make this good,” and started throwing in all of Destiny’s stories. Eventually it became a story about her life, about our lives, and about the desperate effort to cope with that feeling like everything bad that’s ever happened to you has stuck around and started closing in for the kill.

I’m happy with where it went. It went from something I was going to shoot as easily as possible and throw up on YouTube into something I wrote from the bottom of my heart and all the best parts of my brain, made with people I love, admire and respect, playing film festivals. It’s crazy.

meetmethere2UKHS: I really think you can tell that there is a lot of thought and a lot of heart behind it. Meet Me There is just so rich in its characterisation, which is something that doesn’t happen all too often in the horror genre. From what you’ve said then, I take it it was important for you to give your characters as much depth as you did? Obviously after you decided it wasn’t just a goofy DIY shocker!

Brandon: I probably put too much thought into the characters I wrote! Ada and Calvin [the protagonists] have entire back stories in my brain that I didn’t come close to exploring in Meet Me There. Marlow has an entire life we don’t see her living. I think every character is an opportunity, you know? If you can make them matter, make them real, you should. Some just sorta breeze into the story and leave, but the ones you spend time with should be able to hold a conversation.

UKHS: So how much of you is in Meet Me There?

Brandon: There’s a lot of me in it. That Smurfs story in it is totally true, by the way. It happened in Virginia and not Ohio, but yeah, I’m that dude who misses out on an absolutely pointless amusement park opportunity and regrets it for the rest of his life. The way-too-many wrestling references are me, too.

meetmethere3UKHS: Are you a horror fan, Brandon?

Brandon: I am, but I got into it late in the game. I grew up in a video store. My mom managed a place called “Video USA” when I was little, so before and after school I’d sit on a stool behind the counter and watch VHS tapes all day. I stayed away from the horror because the box art scared the shit out of me, and my imagination would always take me somewhere darker than actually watching the films would. I got into horror as an adult, actually, when I realised there was an art to it beyond putting gross faces on a box. I’m a huge fan of older psychological horror. It’s almost therapeutic for me now that I’ve lived a chunk of life. You know, and I say that as someone who still totally owns the Friday the 13th blu-ray boxed set. I like it all.

UKHS: I ask because I said in my write up of Meet Me There something like how it was both familiar and completely different all at the same time. There’s the characters with a troubled past, a town with secrets… It’s a classic set up but executed in such an unexpected and almost anti-genre way.

Brandon: I think a lot of horror tropes are born from something real. The unknown, not being able to come to terms with the past… Towns full of people you’ll never understand, and the paranoia that comes from that. What makes them tropes is how people lean on them. It’s easy to put jock, cheerleader, black guy and a stoner into a crazy town where everyone’s trying to kill them, but I think it’s much more entertaining to put somebody like ME in there, explore how they’d naturally react to what was happening, and play with it.

Calvin and Ada could exist in any film, and that’s what I love about them. I care about them because they were around before the film, and could be around after it. The genre is one that provides endless possibilities for creativity and interpretation, and damn, if I had forty million dollars and a franchise opening every October I’d sure as shit be swimming in the freedom. If something worked before, make it work again, but make it work differently. Make it work like your brain wants it to work, not like you think it has to. Even if you fail miserably.

MEET 001UKHS: Looking at the film, was Lex’s visual take on the material close to how you saw it whilst writing?

Brandon: It’s hard to say. Lex’s visuals are something I can’t understate the importance of. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited to work with him… He can take something from my brain, filter it through his and make it truly beautiful. That’s an incredible talent. In a perfect world, I get to filter my stuff through his brain a few more times before he’s too famous to talk to me.

UKHS: How do you think actors Lisa Friedrich and Micheal Foulk took to their parts? Were they what you envisioned when you wrote Ada and Calvin? What did they bring to it? Considering their backgrounds in improv, did they and Lex do much improvising or did they stick pretty rigidly to what you wrote?

Brandon: Micheal and Lisa are amazing. They’re both great actors and talented comedians and improvisers, so they basically took fictional versions of me and Destiny and brought them to life. They’re not “versions” of anyone now, they’re unique, fully-formed characters, and that’s largely thanks to their input and thoughts on the story. I’ve made sure to ask their opinions throughout every stage of the film, and it’s helped tremendously. The best part of working with talented people is utilising those talents… Why work with a genius if you don’t want to learn from them and make yourself better? I feel like I’m a better writer now having worked with these people. Lisa, Mike, Megan, Dustin, Jill, Lex, all of them.

There are a few scenes in the movie that are totally improvised, yes, but they stuck to the voice we set up in the script, so it’s hard to tell which ones. That’s killer. I fully expected Lex and the actors to take the script and say, “okay, we’re gonna throw out pages two through forty and do this,” but they didn’t. The respect they gave the story was tremendous, and tremendously flattering. I couldn’t have worked with a more constructive crew.

mmtnew2UKHS: You said earlier about the wrestling connections, so let’s touch on them a bit. You and Lex are both big wrestling buffs, right?

Brandon: Oh man, wrestling… I write about it for a living and work in the wrestling business now. I do a column called ‘The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw’ over at – my day job, unbelievably – and ring announce for Inspire Pro Wrestling in Austin. Everything I write, EVERYTHING is full of wrestling references. When I wrote this, I challenged myself to not put any wrestling references in, and in the script, there are none. Then we thought, “Oh, we should cast Dustin Runnels for this,” and suddenly Goldust was in the movie. And when we cast roles, we ended up with Jack Jameson. He’s the guy in the cold open with the beard. He’s a pro wrestler.

And then when it was time to cast extras for the druid scenes we were like, “Who do we know?” And we ended up with a woods full of pro wrestlers. Folks like Leva Bates, Evan Gelistico, Addy Starr, Thomas Shire… These are all people who wrestle, all around the world, and they’re also people we know who are free to put on robes and mess around with blood and goats. Oh, and when it came time to pick wardrobe, whoops, suddenly Lisa’s in a Daniel Bryan shirt, or an UltraMantis Black shirt. I have a sickness, I think!

goldustUKHS: Completely! So what was Dustin “Goldust” Runnels like to work with?

Brandon: Working with Dustin was… I still haven’t totally been able to put it into words! This guy’s been a favourite of mine since I was eleven. He’s legitimately one of my five favourite pro wrestlers ever, and somehow he read a thing I wrote and liked it enough to want to be in it. It was serendipitous for us, too, because he’d shown up in the previous January’s Royal Rumble, but he didn’t have a WWE contract.

He shot our film, and then a few months later got his WWE job back. He’s forty-five and seemingly entering the prime of his career. He’s as good in the ring as he’s ever been, doing hurricanranas and Yoshi Tonics to guys and I get to say, “I made that guy wade around in a cow piss pond for a scene in our movie.” It’s unreal. Dustin’s an artist, man; he came in prepared and blew everybody away. His talent is absurd. We didn’t start writing Woodward with him in mind, but when he was sitting in that church saying the lines, we couldn’t imagine Woodward being anyone else.

UKHS: You said that Meet Me There is a project you’re passionate about. You must be thrilled then that now it’s starting to get out there it’s connecting with people in such a way. It’s got some real buzz behind it.

Brandon: I’m very happy with it. I had a moment during the New Orleans première about ten minutes in when people were laughing and reacting where I went, “Oh my God, this is real.” I don’t think I’d let my brain process it before then. One day I’m in a field outside of a church getting eaten up by chiggers, the next I’m in a theatre wearing a bow-tie, watching a movie I helped make. It’s my guts, and now you can see them!

mmtnew1UKHS: What’s your plan for it now?

Brandon: Lex handles a lot of the promotional stuff, but I’m happy to talk to anyone I can about the film. Getting it out there, getting it into festivals. We’ve even talked to distributors already, which is amazing seeing as we’ve had one official screening. Probably two by the time this goes up. I’m going to try to make sure I make it to as many of our festival screenings as I can. We’ve got one in Austin on the 20th that is kicking my ass, I can’t wait to show the film in the town it was born.

UKHS: Finally, how’re you going to follow up Meet Me There? Do you have any other film projects on the horizon, specifically any genre-friendly ones?

Brandon: The goal I’ve always had in mind is to make a movie, and have it do well enough for me to make another one, and just keep that going. There’s so much I’d love to do. The Seven Hill City adaptation will happen one day. If Meet Me There blows up and we sell out, I’ve got at least three great sequels in the tank before we’re doing a half-assed 3D reboot with Dustin throwing spears at the camera or whatever! There’s a really great part two in my head I want to get out. I’ve also talked to Lex about us collaborating on a sci-fi project, so that could be fun. Lots of stuff waiting to exist. I couldn’t be more excited.
Follow all the news about Meet Me There on their Facebook page HERE
Read the UKHS Lex Lybrand interview HERE
Follow UKHS’ Matty Budrewicz on twitter @mattybudrewicz


An Interview with the Zombies from The Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead by Dean Sills

An Interview with the Zombies from The Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead by Dean Sills


Our own Dean as a zombie

This interview is extra special in so many ways. First of all it’s my 50th interview at UKHS, it’s also actually two years this weekend since I first worked on a feature film. This honour goes to the stunning Zombie flick,
‘The Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead’, the film is out on DVD in the USA next week . I am delighted to bring 12 of the zombies to UKHS for a chat. Please welcome Louise Beaumont, David Alexander, Michael Boyce, Kelly Buckley, Tony Cartwright, Tony Crookes, Beverley Jacques, Paul Sutton, Andy Troth,Victoria Vardy,Sarah Tatkat Wilson and Jayne Wylie.

UKHS – Louise, before we begin I just want to say a huge thank you because you are the person who first contacted me from Safehouse Pictures UK regarding the work as a Zombie extra. I was truly bitten by the acting bug working on this thanks to Damian Morter, Nicola Morter and all the cast and crew.

I love the scene where you are eating the cat. I know you are a cat owner and animal lover so how difficult was it filming this scene and did you use any visualization techniques to make it look so realistic?

Louise – I found it a little strange as I had a cat at home but the actual cat’s body was made from a hairy cushion that belonged to me which was dyed black for effect. I am also a vegetarian but I really enjoyed doing the scene, acting it out came surprisingly easy, my thought process was, I have no feelings, I’m hungry and tried not to have any emotion in my face. The director gave me a few pointers with the arm banging on the fence but the rest of it came from my own initiative. Absolutely loved the experience.

escds1UKHS – David, the next question goes to you. Damian Morter brings to the screen his stunning storytelling and makes the movie come alive with his unique filmmaking. What makes Damian so special as a superb filmmaker and storyteller and how proud are you to have worked on this film?

David – It’s got to be that he is driven by the image and the story in his head and will not let anything get in the way of that image, not money, weather, dickheads or the police. On top of all that he’s a cool guy, he’s got the time of day for people, no ego. It was an absolute privilege and an honour to get to play out a childhood fantasy, as I’ve been a horror fan all the way back to the days of the Hammer House of Horror and a big Romero fan and I like how Damian has stayed true to the genre but put in his own special twist.

UKHS – Michael,what’s your best memory of working on The Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead?

Michael – This was my first experience being an extra in a film, the film crew became like an extended family. I met some amazing people along the way, from all walks of life, we had to amuse ourselves between filming to keep warm, we even gave the well know ‘Thriller’ dance a shot. Pamela Clare, the makeup artist was our choreographer, she did it so slow we couldn’t stop laughing at her. We all call Pamela, ‘PC’ but we nicknamed her ‘More Blood’ because she enjoyed making us drink blood for the shoot, this was stage blood not real blood , she covered us with it and then she came back with more blood.

escds2UKHS – Kelly, you became great friends with Paul Sutton during the filming. I love working with Paul, he makes every shoot so much fun.What was the funniest moment you had on set with him and all the other Zombies?

Kelly – The best part of being involved in ‘The Eschatrilogy’ was definitely the people I met, including my partner Tim. There were so many laughs and good times on set, making up zombie songs and parodies or doing daft dances to keep warm between shots. I think my favourite memory is of the poor dog walker who was so terrified at the site of 50 odd zombies she practically crawled through the boot of her car to escape us. I’m hoping she wasn’t too traumatised after, although she did get her picture taken with us all once she’d calmed down.

UKHS – OK, next question goes to Tony Cartwright. You were probably the most scariest Zombie on set. How long did it take you to get into character and which scene did you enjoy working on the most?

Tony Cartwright – Really!! Me, the most scariest haha! I like it, I would say, when I first joined the set, the year before completion, I was so nervous and it probably came out as looking scary. It was the first film set I had been on, everyone was so friendly, cast and crew, that I couldn’t wait for the next shoot. The awesome makeup artists helped me get into character with latex etc. I loved the scene where we had to chase the car, it took a few takes and me almost getting run down, when he reverse the car. But we had a great laugh that day with great people and the excitement/adrenaline rush running after the car, lots of blood and gore and a great director, Damian Morter. This film gave me the buzz to do more extra work.

escds5UKHS – Next question goes to Tony Crookes. Tony, I love that fact a few of us from ‘The Eschatrilogy’ have gone on to work on a number of other projects. What do you enjoy most about acting and how much fun did you have playing a Zombie in The Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead?

Tony Crookes – Yeah! It was awesome and I loved every Minute filming ‘The Eschatrilogy’ and meeting all the friends from the set. Well, the most I enjoy is seeing how different everyone is and how passionate people get . As an actor you can be crazy and be someone your not and no one will judge you . As a crazy guy I am, it’s so for me as every job, every director and every set is different. I was on set 3 full days of ‘ The Eschatrilogy’ and out of the films and TV I have done it has to be the one I remembered the most. How Damian, the director got everyone involved and he made you feel like you were a real zombie.The other people I met on set some are good friends as we are a zombie family now.The most fun I had was getting blood and mud thrown all over me and trying to catch someone to bite. It was awesome and I’m so honoured to be involved in the film.

UKHS – Beverley, you played a Zombie and a call handler at the Police station in the film. Which role did you enjoy playing the most and why?

Beverley – This is a difficult one Dean….I love being made up with all the blood & gore as a Zombie & on this occasion felt that I would miss out on the fun. However we had such fun doing the call handling awaiting being
eaten by hungry Zombies.This was mainly due to the great team I worked with. I must admit as we awaited the Zombies climbing the stairs I did get more & more scared. Damien did say when they burst through make sure the scream can be heard. Well, all I can say is that my mate Jayne could hear me in the basement & I was on the top floor.In fact they had to calm me down after I was that scared, haha! Very happy memories working with a very talented team.

escds4UKHS – Paul, ‘The Eschatrilogy’ was the first feature film you worked on. What made it so special and inspired you to do more zombie and acting work and go from being an extra to a supporting actor on a number of different projects?

Paul – The atmosphere on set and the people I met that day without a doubt. All these people who live within a 10 mile radius of me, and I’d have never met them without this film. Several are now close friends and some (including yourself Dean!) I’ve been fortunate enough to act with on other films. I also give complete credit to Damian and Nicola Morter for their friendly, fun attitude on set – had we gone onto the set of the film and it’d been a crap atmosphere, with a shouty, miserable director and a serious crew I wouldn’t have caught the bug to be in more films. Even in miserable conditions they kept us happy, entertained and the camaraderie on the set made us all a family. I’ve always loved acting and did 4 years of youth theatre. This film reawakened my love of acting and I’m blessed that I’m now getting to show people what I can do and am getting featured and lead roles in some very good films. Damian created a monster!

UKHS – Andy, I believe you worked on most of the segments in the film. Which scene did you enjoy the most and what was it like working for a superb company like Safehouse Pictures UK?

Andy – I enjoyed the ‘police station’ scene best, as there were fewer Zombie extras involved and therefore the makeup artists could spend longer on each person’s ‘look’. I felt that everyone at Safehouse Pictures was extremely dedicated to the project, hardworking and above all, eager to ensure that the film lived up to its full potential.

escds8UKHS – Victoria, on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate ‘The Eschatrilogy: Book of the Dead ‘ alongside other Zombie films and did you enjoy playing a Zombie.

Victoria – I would rate the film as an 8. It’s definitely up there with the rest and that’s not just because I’m in it, haha! I like the storyline and the fact its 3 stories from 3 different perspectives which all come together at the end. I do, it’s opened up a whole new world of scare acting for me plus we have the Zombie for hire group called Zee team events.

UKHS – Sarah, Can you tell us a little about the zombie makeup process and what was it like getting covered in fake blood and mud each day?

Sarah – At first it was a strange feeling but everyone was so nice and friendly I soon forgot what I looked like and just got on with doing the best job I could. I really enjoyed the process and learned a lot from the MUA. I found it really exciting to be there and get covered in blood and mud by professionals.

UKHS – The last question goes to Jayne.The first time you saw the film what was your immediate reaction and do you have a favourite scene?

Jayne – I felt really proud and happy to have been given the opportunity to take part in an amazing film! It’s odd seeing yourself on the big screen and I must admit the first time I saw it I spent most of the time looking for myself and friends and remembering where the scenes took place and what fun we had filming it! I think one of my favourite scenes (cos there are a few!) is the scene in the police station where Clay is coming down the stairs and sees the Zombies for the first time, his face is a picture!!

escds3UKHS – Zombies, thank you for your time.I truly wish we could all get together much more often because you guys rock! Apologizes to all the other Zombies from ‘The Eschatrilogy’ who I could not include in this interview.

The DVD (Region 1) will be released on 20th May and is available to pre-order at HERE

Image courtesy: The Zombies.Makeup artists: Pamela Clare and Anne Derbyshire.





An Interview with producer and script supervisor Sandy King Carpenter

Interview with Sandy King Carpenter for UK Horror Scene

S1UKHS: Hi Sandy! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! You seem to be a creative type who enjoys having a huge number of fingers in incredibly varying pies, does it ever get confusing or difficult hopping from one medium to another? Would you class yourself as a total workaholic?

SKC: HA HA HA!! Oh my God, I don’t think so. I prefer to think I just have a very active and interesting life. There are many ways to tell a story and they all offer interesting challenges and opportunities to reach new audiences. I find that there is a more organic flow than one might think from one medium to the other when the various avenues present themselves. My path into film making came from animation, which had come from my being an artist first, so there is more of a common thread between these worlds (say the comic books and the movies) than it might first appear.

UKHS: Of all your many projects that you have worked on, do you have a particular favourite that you find yourself looking back on with the most pride?

SKC: That’s like asking a parent to choose between their children. Most of the great memories come from the experience of working with great technicians and artists who become your family and friends. I love making movies. I love making comic books. I love learning new things and in our business, the technology is constantly evolving. There is no point at which you sit back and say, “Now I know it all.” I get excited when I’m driving down the freeway and I see film trucks headed down the highway at magic hour. I want to follow them like the circus. I want to see what they’re doing and how. So I might answer your question this way: that the film I am doing at the moment is my favorite and the most exciting. It’s new love–fresh and unknown.
BUT…I love “Big Trouble in Little China” to sit back with a big bowl of popcorn and laugh my ass off with.
“Vampires” to remember waiting for the sunrises in New Mexico to fly Valek across the sky.
“Rumble Fish” for working 104 hours a week in 115 degree heat and making an American art film.
“Starman” for finding true love.

UKHS: Having expanded your talents to the world of comic books, are you pleased with how they are now hugely embedded on mainstream conscious like never before or do you find yourself pining for the days when the world of comic book fans and makers felt more shall we say ‘exclusive and secretive’?

SKC: I’ve never been a fan of exclusive clubs. Whenever I find something I think is cool I like to share it, so I love that comics and graphic novels are finally getting their due. Finally mainstream is recognizing the great artists and writers who have been telling stories there, and much like current television, I think the comic world is expanding and the writing is getting even more diversified and better. Maybe I’m crazy, but it feels like a second Golden Age of comics to me.

S7UKHS: We seemingly can’t move these days for huge blockbuster pictures based on comic books, with their often incredibly varying quality, do you feel that there’s a slight case of over-kill in the market?

SKC: Not all comics make good movies and not all movies make good comics. It’s not one size fits all. I’m just pleased at the number who have gotten it right.

UKHS: Something that certainly can’t be ignored is the very male-dominated focus of both the films and fan-base in general. Having worked on the fantastic ‘Heroes’ anthology with Womanthology, do you feel as if you’ve made a significant step to stem the tide or is there more that still needs to be done to have female characters be on level footing with their male counterparts?

SKC: Actually, I did the second anthology, “Space”, which was the series that grew out of “Heroes”. Rene Deliz was the driving force behind Womanthology and I thought she did a brilliant job of showing publishers and retailers and readers that there was all this female talent in the comic industry ready to tell stories that all ages of females (and males) would buy. She proved we were economically viable and supportable. Little girls could be found in the corner of comic shops across the country reading that giant volume of Womanthology comics. Twice.

In general, the best way to push female character forward is to make them as interesting and as deeply flawed a their male counterparts. Make them WHOLE personalities. Gail Simone has always written amazing female characters and pushed Red Sonja right up to the forefront when she took it over.
EVERYBODY was reading it. That’s what it takes. You can’t whine and make it happen.

UKHS: As someone who’s dealt with their fair share of projects of the horror genre persuasion, what do you personally find is the best way to scare people?

SKC: Suspense and dread. It isn’t about the gore and the jumps so much as it is the underlying truths of personal fear.

UKHS: How do you personally see the state of the horror genre as it is today in comparison to what it was?

SKC: I think it’s gotten lazy. But I have faith we’ll cycle back into something more interesting. I’m glad the slasher/torture porn seems to have worn itself out.
I’m happy the Scandinavians seem to have infiltrated a bit and given us a bit of darkness.

S5UKHS: Are we any closer to getting the highly anticipated ‘Darkchylde’ film adaptation off the ground?

SKC: I sure hope so. We are currently finalizing the look book for the agents to take out and have just finished shooting some motion capture segments for the pre-viz for sales presentations. WETA has designed some great monsters for us and we have our visual FX team together and sets being designed.

UKHS: Much of John Carpenter’s iconic film scores have recently been lovingly pressed onto vinyl and snapped up incredibly quickly by die-hard fans. Does it surprise you at all that his music is still considered to be so influential and adored and do you find it a shame that these days there appears to be a distinct lack of effort put into a film’s soundtrack?

SKC: I’m not surprised at all by how popular his soundtracks are. He’s a great composer and some of his themes are truly iconic. While some soundtracks seem either over-amped or cliched, I am in awe of Hans Zimmer and Brian Tyler’s work. John Williams is still hammering them out and I thought Steven Price’s score for “Gravity” was really good. T-Bone Burnett does the unexpected.

UKHS: Increasingly today, a great deal of effort is being put into creating truly terrifying horror video-game experiences that often pack a great story with them. Are you at all concerned that with the direct interaction afforded by the game experience that audiences may end up turning their back on horror films altogether?

SKC: No. They are two different forms of entertainment. A good horror movie is like a good ghost story told around a campfire. Great Stephen King books read at night with a storm outside are another way to get scared. A massive roller coaster that turns upside down works, too. There’s room for it all.

S3UKHS: With the world increasingly focusing of the injustices of the “1%” and the terrifying manipulative powers of corporations, do you almost feel eerily prophetic when you look back on the satire of ‘They Live’? It certainly feels as relevant watching it today as it must have been at the time, if not more so

SKC: At the time we considered it political satire and still do. It was what we saw happening around us. Nothing has changed.

UKHS: On a personal note, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ is one of my all time favourite films and I still find it outrageous that it wasn’t the success it deserved to be at the time. When assisting with the script, did you feel that it was going to potentially be too ‘out-there’ for mainstream audiences or that it was so unique and exciting a project that it didn’t really matter?

SKC: No. It’s a great movie. Funny, timeless and discovered by new generations every incarnation of home video, DVD and Netflix that comes along. It’s a movie that succeeded in spite of a studio that made every effort to bury it. We believed in it. We still believe in it and Jack Burton and the Pork Chop Express roll on.

S4UKHS: The hugely-anticipated comic book series based on the film is coming out this summer, what, if anything can you tell us about it and is it the closest we’ll get to ever seeing Jack Burton again?

SKC: Eric Powell, the creator of “The Goon”, is writing the new comic. He and John have been working together to set the tone for it and I think fans of both the movie and Eric’s comics will have fun with the new book. BOOM! publishes good quality comic books, and from what I’ve seen of the upcoming art and covers and pieces of the stories, I think “Big Trouble” fans will have fun with them. As for the future of Jack Burton? I wish Fox would ask us to fire up the Pork Chop Express again. I think Jack and Wang could really shake the pillars of heaven one more time.

UKHS: And finally, if you had to select one film of your husband’s extensive back catalogue to watch on the couch on a lazy Sunday, which one would it be and why?

SKC: Only one? Damn. Give me two Sundays.
On a lazy summer Sunday it would be “Big Trouble in Little China” for the sheer fun of it. I have great memories of everyone involved in it and I love a comedy that I can lose myself in and laugh out loud.
On a dark and rainy winter Sunday–preferably with thunder and lightening–it would be “The Thing”. I have to say that this is my all time favourite movie of John’s. I think it is flawless film making. I’ve seen it dozens of times and the suspense still kills me. Jeb, the dog from the Norwegian camp, walking down the hallways looking in doors is terrifying. Testing for the blood…I still jump every time it screams. The notion underneath it all that you aren’t what you seem. Perfect.

UKHS: Sandy King Carpenter, it’s been an enormous honour, from all of us at UKHorrorScene, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to us!

SKC: Thank you for asking.




An Interview with Blaze of Gory writer Blaize-Alix Szanto by Dean Sills

An Interview with Blaze of Gory writer Blaize-Alix Szanto by Dean Sills

bog3UKHS – Hello Blaize. First of all, let me start by saying a huge thank you for chatting with us at UK Horror Scene. Can you tell us a little about yourself and when did your first start writing gory horror stories?

Blaize – Well, I’m 17 soon to be 18 and I’m super excited about it! I’m quite an outgoing person once you get to know me but other than that I like to keep myself to myself although the bright hair doesn’t really allow for that! I got into writing from a really young age (8/9) from writing in school etc. But I got into the horror scene during secondary school, there wasn’t really any reason behind it I just really enjoy being able to sicken people with something that isn’t real!


UKHS – I believe it was your mum who put you in touch with the film’s producer, David V G Davies after you wrote the first story. How excited are you that David decided to turn your stories into a movie?

Blaize – I am totally overwhelmed that this has happened all from a few stories that I wrote! I think what makes it even more amazing for me is the fact that I enjoy writing and I didn’t write my stories for anyone else so when Dave asked for them I was really dubious about it. Even now, when the project has been going for nearly 2 years I’m still overwhelmed by it all.


bog1UKHS – Which story did you enjoy writing the most and did you base any of the characters on real life people?

Blaize – I have to say that I can’t choose a favourite story if I’m honest, the one I enjoyed writing the most was If You Were Here because it was the story I got most engrossed in. None of the characters are based on real life people, it’s all made up.

UKHS – Congratulations on directing one of the segments ‘Beer Cellar’. Was it a nerve-racking experience directing one of your own stories or did you feel relaxed and totally at home?

Blaize – Being as I had never directed before, I was nervous at first but all the cast and crew were amazing and they made me feel so at home that I lost the nerves soon after we started filming. Dave was a massive help and he guided me through everything which made it all a little easier. As well as that I am so grateful to have been able to direct the segment as I made some life long friends and experiences that will stay with me forever.


bog5UKHS – What’s your favourite Horror movie and why?

Blaize – I couldn’t chose a favourite! There’s far too many that I enjoy. Although a film that I could watch over and over without getting bored is the French film Martyrs, its an amazing film and will always be an all time favourite. I don’t really scare much at films and I’m not squeamish but A Serbian Film made me physically throw up!


UKHS – What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Blaize – The only advice I feel is best is that what you write will never be good to anyone else unless you believe in it yourself. Write for yourself, not for others and don’t write for the sake of it, you need to really enjoy it to produce good work.


bog2UKHS – If you were stranded on a desert island which three items would you want to have with you?

Blaize – I have conversations about this with my friends all the time! Its quite a hard one, but it goes without saying that I’d have a pen and paper, none of these computers, I like the good old fashioned way. That counts as two things though! Damn! I would also choose to have myiPod because I literally can’t write without music, it helps me concentrate.


UKHS – Finally, do you have any plans to continue writing and if so will it be something that isn’t horror-oriented or do you enjoy the gore too much?

Blaize – I will always write because its something that I love to do, it’s a good way to vent and chill out. I think I will always write horror/thriller type stuff because I love how descriptive you can be etc. I aspire to write a book and have it published before I die!


bog6UKHS – Blaize, thank you for your time and all the best for the future.

Images courtesy: C Matthews

An interview with actress, scream queen and burlesque performer, Kaylee Williams.

One of the genuine joys of this blogging malarkey has been the opportunity that it has given me to speak to a wide and varied selection of creative individuals. Along the way I’ve spoke to authors, filmmakers, actors and many other talented folks who have been taken in by my pestering and self delusion masquerading itself as any sort of influential blogging talent.

In amongst that ever growing list of genuinely creative individuals, there have also a couple of very famous names, one of which just happened to be long time scream queen loves of my life. Someone once told me you should never meet your heroes, well the meeting may only have been virtual, but nevertheless, Adrienne Barbeau was loveliness personified. If you don’t believe me, you can read about her loveliness herself either here on UKhorrorScene (click on the NEW Interviews A-Z tab above ) or on my blog HERE


This particular article is in some way the polar opposite of that interview, because while this may indeed an interview with a scream queen, it is in this case one who is is just in the early stages of her career. I say ‘early stages’ because she may well be a fledgling when it comes to time spent in the business, but certainly isn’t a fledgling in terms of work output.

Kaylee Williams is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Since first falling into acting, she has become an established scream queen in the horror genre.

Kaylee was nominated for Best Actress in a Short for her lead role in The Many Monsters of Sarah Roth at the 2010 Oklahoma Horror Film Fest and won for Best Actress in an Anthology or Collection by NerdRemix’s Best of 2012 Awards for her role in the segment “Anti-Bodies” in the horror anthology Psycho Street.

Her most recent release is The Lashman (2014), a masterful contemporary slasher movie that I had the pleasure and privilege to recieve a sneak preview of just a couple of weeks ago, a review of which appeared previously here on UKHorrorScene HERE and once again on my blog at HERE

For these of you that haven’t read the review of The Lashman, or simply cannot be bothered to click on the link, Kaylee plays Jan, who is part of five school friends heading off on a weekend excursion into the hills for a weekend of fishing, swimming and campfire tales near their cabin retreat. For the group, it’s the chance for one final celebration before they have to go their separate ways to college and whatever different paths their lives will take them. Of course, there is a crate or two of beer to help the weekend along. And Mustard, lots of Mustard.


Kaylee (front right), before the screaming begins…

Soon after arrival at their secluded (of course) cabin, the friends are sharing a scary campfire tale about a local urban-myth. He is simply referred to as ‘The Lashman’ – a man from many years past who was treated pretty badly by the local populace and now whose spirit magically wanders the hills seeking violent and bloody revenge on those that wronged him….or even those who haven’t wronged him, he isn’t particular. However, little do they realise that a harmless campfire tale of revenge and murder is going to become very real for them and turn into their own worst bloody nightmares!

It’s a tremendous slasher film that confounds many of the boring and tedious cliches that have worn down the genre over the years that had regarded apparently ‘mundane’ things such as character detail hardly being anywhere near the top of their requirements list. In The Lashman, the characters are given time to breathe and develop before the carnage begins – and Kaylee’s role in particular caught my eye (and many others eyes , it has to be said).

It’s a performance that is ballsy, sexy and full of wit – the scene where she turns the tables on her jerk of a boyfriend and chastises him is particularly funny. …….. and my god can she scream – the requisite qualities of a horror scream queen are there in mucho abundance.

Kaylee then fell into my cunning ploy of befriending her on Facebook and then foolishly kindly agreed to give me a short interview. so it transpired that a few weeks ago I compiled my list of my usually cutting edge and insightful questions and sent them to the lovely lady. Unfortunately for me, due to her being as busy as busy could be she was unable to respond straight away. Despite my pestering, she was niceness personified, even when I asked her recently if she still had the questions, she was apologising profusely for the delay.

kw3So earlier in the week I was delighted to hear from Kaylee after she had found a window in her schedule to answer my questions – so here it is……

K) “Hey there! Here you go! So sorry for the delay! Thank you for your patience! :-)”
Me) Hey no worries 🙂
Firstly, Kaylee. Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to me – I’ll try not to bore you too much! As professional I felt it important to fully, er, research, your Facebook photo’s before this interview. So why does Facebook hate boobs?

K) “Ha, I don’t know, you would have to ask Facebook about its personal feelings about boobs. But even if FB were totally pro-boobs, I still wouldn’t be giving away anything for free, LOL.”

Me) Hey, congratulations on being nominated for best supporting actress at the 2014 Indie Horror Film Festival for your role in Ron Fitzgerald’s “Dark Realm” Project!! You can now lie about how it’s being nominated that matters & not winning

K) “Well I actually did win and I’m SUPER excited about that! It was a huge honor to be named Best Supporting Actress. I think I actually squeeled quite girlishly with excitement when my name was called, haha.”

kw4Me) I know that give done working other genres, but you’re mostly associated with indie horror. Was working in this genre by design or just a case of where the work happens to be?

K) “Honestly, it’s just where the work has happened to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing horror films and I plan to keep doing them, but I’m definitely also open to branching out and doing other genres.”

Me) The indie horror scene seems to be incredibly healthy at the moment on both sides of the pond. Why do you think this is the case?

K) “I think that it’s just such a popular genre that there’s always going to be new and interesting indie horror films being developed/released all over the world.”

kw5Me) I recently interviewed Cameron Macasland who directed you in the soon to be released The Lashman. What are your memories of filming that project?

K) “What first comes to mind is that it was HOT! We shot in Kentucky in the middle of summer and it was over 100 degrees every day. But it’s easy to forget the heat when you’re having fun. It was such a great cast and crew and we all had a blast working together to create a really awesome film. I’ve gotten to see it and I think it turned out great! It just had its premiere on April 19th. I’m really excited about this one. So far people really seem to be digging it.”

Me) So does working in ‘mainstream’ films interest you?

K) “Absolutely, if given the opportunity I would love to work in mainstream films!”

Me) Apart from your many film roles you are also a performer for the fabulously named, Gorilla Tango Burlesque – Provocative Parody For The Discerning Nerd – Tell us about this, it sounds simply amazing!

K) “We do nerd-themed burlesque shows and it’s tons of fun! Some of the things we have parodied include Star Wars, Super Mario Bros, Batman, Indiana Jones, and Star Trek. I currently play Princess Leia in “The Empire Brings Sexy Back: A Star Wars Burlesque Sequel,” Princess Leia/Han Solo in “A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque,” and various characters in “Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque.” I also got to play Luigi in “Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque,” which closed last year. I’ve been performing with Gorilla Tango Burlesque nearly every weekend since October of 2012 and I plan to continue performing with them for as long as they will have me!”


And a Billion Princess Leia fantasies are rekindled.

Me) I’d like to say many thanks for you giving your time & hope that the questions weren’t too tedious.

K) “Thank YOU for the interview!! ☺”

So there you have it, not only is she talented, funny, gorgeous and it seems a genuinely nice person, but to be honest she had me at “Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque”, which believe me is something I would have given my right arm to have seen, if only for the fabulous title of the piece itself – genius.

Kaylee Williams can be reached by her Facebook page HERE

The most wonderfully named Gorilla Tango Burlesque – Provocative Parody For The Discerning Nerd ‘s Facebook page can be enjoyed HERE

The Lashman movie Facebook page link can be found HERE

An Interview with Hayley Derryberry by Dean Sills

SONY DSCAn Interview with Hayley Derryberry by Dean Sills

UKHS – Hi Hayley, welcome to UK Horror Scene.

First of all I would just like to say you have the most fantastic name for an actress, it’s really cool. How did you get into acting and writing especially in the horror genre and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?

HD – Some actors get started in theater or commercials, I got started in the “Indie” world. I started my professional acting career in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and there was a huge scene of independent filmmakers there and where there is independent film there tends to always be horror. I expected that I would end up in horror, but what I didn’t expect is how much I would love it. The horror genre is one of the most forgiving for new filmmakers starting out with low budgets. It also has the most loyal and accepting group of fans that you’ll find anywhere. The best thing about working in horror is connecting with the fans.


hdb3UKHS – Your new movie ‘Rabid Love’ recently came out on DVD. You play the lead character Heather Ross plus you also co-produced and co-wrote the film. I did enjoy the movie and it was great we go to know the characters. How did you and your husband Paul J. Porter (Director and co-star) come up with the story and what’s it like working with your husband especially when he is directing you?

HD – The story was all Paul’s idea. And then, the script kind of formed around the locations and actors that we had available. It was changing down to the last day of shooting. The main driving force behind Rabid Love was to get our first feature film made and do have fun while doing it. We didn’t want to stress ourselves out too much because we knew we’d be doing most of the work on our own. Working with Paul now just seems like any other day. When we first started, we thought we should try separating our professional and personal lives and all that. That lasted about a day. Finally we realized that this is who we are and how we work. Our work is a part of our home life and visa versa.


hdb1UKHS – I love how the movie is set in the 1980s and at times it almost feels like it was made in the 80s. How did you find the perfect location and how long did the entire shoot take?

HD – Originally we wanted to find a very forest-heavy location, maybe something up north with a big lake like you see in many summer vacation movies. But Paul was just looking around on Google maps at Hanston, Kansas (which is where he spent a lot of time while growing up) and he saw a few wooded areas and a little bit of water and thought we might be able to do it there. Hanston was well located for us because it was close to Albuquerque and close to Kansas City and Paul’s grandmother lives there so we would have some local resources.
The town itself still looks like it is in the 80’s so it worked out great. The cabin where the characters all stay is one that Paul’s family rents out every year for hunting trips and it also looked trapped in time. I can’t imagine now trying to shoot anywhere else. I think the entire shoot was 5 weeks.


hdb2UKHS – What was it like working with Brandon Stacy (David) and the rest of the cast of ‘Rabid Love’ and have you worked with any of them before?

HD – Brandon and a lot of our main cast had worked with us on a short version of Rabid Love that we shot to raise money for the feature, then we brought on a couple more faces for the final shoot. The entire cast was amazing. We were truly lucky to get them. They were all real pro’s and we were even more lucky that they were willing to live with us out in the middle of Kansas for a month.


UKHS – How did you prepare for the role of Heather and how much of you is actually in her?

HD – Heather is pretty much me, or at least one of my sides. We actors tend to have multiple people trapped inside us. Heather is one of mine. For the feature I had to do a lot of running. I didn’t grow up doing any kind of sports and certainly no track but Paul did and he taught me a lot. I ran 5 days a week leading up to the shoot and learned how to jump hurdles. I ended up really enjoying the running so I kept it up afterward for myself.


hdb4UKHS – When you are writing about horror or comedy where does your inspiration come from?

HD – I’ve never been trained as a writer and I don’t think my brain works the same way that many of theirs do. For me when I’m writing, I kind of act out and visualize the scenes in my head as if I’m watching the movie and as long as I understand each character, I can figure out what’s going to happen in that scene. Its really important for me to build up each character and understand their backstories and motivations then writing everything else just falls into place.


UKHS – Can you tell us a little about some of your other work as an actress and which projects have you enjoyed working on the most?

HD – Like I said, I got started in the indie world. I’ve done a lot of low budget films, many of which never got finished or never got sold. My favorites are ones where I really get to develop a character. I’ve done a lot of bit parts on TV shows or bigger projects, but for most of them I don’t really get to do much with my character. The best is when I have a character with a major arc in the film and I really get to work on it. And then its even better if there are special effects involved. One of the coolest projects I’ve gotten to work on was Red, White, and Bluey last year in Australia. I had a major character in the film (White) and Paul and I got to fly out to Australia to work on it. Plus it was Sci Fi, so all around a really great job for an actor.


hdb5UKHS – If you were stranded on a desert island, which three items would you want to have with you?

HD – Clean drinking water and a boat, maybe some sunscreen. Sorry got to get back to my civilization. I love being around people. Solitude is not for me.


UKHS – I read that your favourite Horror movie is ‘Evil Dead ll’. I love how it mixes pure elements of tense horror with comedy. What do you love about this movie and why is it your favourite?

HD – I didn’t grow up watching a lot of horror films and the ones I did get to see always just scared me to death. So I grew up thinking that horror was just scary. It was in my late teens probably about 19 years old when I saw Evil Dead II for the first time. It was the first horror film that I saw that was fun. Then it was like I just got it: It is fun to scare the crap out of yourself sometimes. My favorite horror films are the ones that can scare you and make you laugh.


hdb8UKHS – Finally, are you currently working on any other projects which you can tell UKHS about?

HD – Paul and I are working on shooting another film soon, and I’ve been writing. There are a few projects that I’m working on as an actress as well, but everything is still in its early stages so I don’t want to make any announcements yet. Do follow me on Twitter. That is the best way to keep up with me. I’m @HaylzBellz and I look forward to connecting more with you. Thank you, Dean


UKHS – You are welcome, Hayley. Thank you for your time and keep up the great work.

Rabid Love is available to buy on DVD from in the USA – HERE

Images courtesy: Hayley Derryberry

Facebook – HERE

An Interview with Neil Stevens and Gary Rogers by Dean Sills

An Interview with Neil Stevens and Gary Rogers by Dean Sills

Neil Stevens

Neil Stevens

This month at UK Horror Scene we have a double interview with Neil Stevens and Gary Rogers. The two of them have worked together on a number of projects. Neil is a superb special effects make-up artist and Gary is a talented director.

Hi guys, welcome to UKHS and thank you for your time.

UKHS – Neil, how did you get into special effects make-up and what’s it like being a special effects make-up artist?

Neil – I’ve been interested in special effects every since going on a visit to Granada Studios when I was at school in the 80’s. We were shown the make-up room and a make-up artist gave me a fake congealed blood scab. After that I was hooked. I found some liquid latex in a shop and the other kids in my class would pay me a pound to do fake cuts
complete with stitches on them. It is a great feeling as an artist to create effects for our films that will get a reaction from people.

UKHS – Gary, how did you get into filmmaking and why horror?

Gary Rogers

Gary Rogers

Gary – I had a fascination with film and film making right back from an early age after seeing Star Wars at the Cinema. I watched a ‘Making of Star Wars’ program on TV and seeing the models being blown up running down fishing wires just fascinated me and I knew from that point I wanted to be working in films. Then in my early teens I saw Alien. That was a real turning point for the genre I loved! So how did I eventually get into filmmaking? I knew I needed to find like-minded people to get involved and make films. I stumbled across ‘Meetup’ and searched for filmmakers, which led me to Eugene. Eugene was passionate about writing so we started playing with ideas for filming.

Mine and Neil’s real break through was working on Bigger and Badder, the film that I first met Neil. Neil was already involved and through a mutual friend Steve Bosworth I was asked to shoot it as I had just brought the Sony FS100 which I convinced them was better than the Canon DSLR they was going to use! Bigger and Badder is a great horror and I guess this just paved the way for myself and Neil to do horror as Neil is an amazing sculptor and effects makeup artist.

Glass Cannon's Holmganga.UKHS – Neil, you have worked on a number of films with Gary including ‘Chestwyrm’ and ‘Bigger and Badder’. What do you enjoy most about working with Gary?

Neil – Gary and I first met filming on Bigger and Badder. His passion for film making was evident from the get-go. After such a great experience with working on Bigger and Badder we decided to start making our own films from that point. We have the same taste in films so we are on the same page with what we want to put on screen. We love practical effects and we’ll always push to make sure that we can achieve our effects in the real world. Gary is like any other artist except his brush is the camera and he uses that to create amazing shots.


UKHS – Gary, what’s your favourite Horror film?

Gary – As for favourite horror film, there are many, but it has to be Alien. I have so much respect for this film. Firstly it is real art! Ridley Scott is an artist and a master of light and Alien never seems to age or look dated. Even though I look at the chunky 70’s switches on the consoles it still looks functional even today. There has been so many Alien film clones since then and none ever come close to creating the atmosphere that Ridley Scott did all those years ago! I have to mention John Carpenters ‘The Thing’ though….. I love that film, scary as hell! I love the fact it’s all practical effects and even though looking a little dated today I am 100% sold on practical effects rather than CGI.

di1UKHS – Neil, Can you tell us how you got involved in ‘Crying Wolf’ and ‘Cute Little Buggers’ and how much time did you spend on set doing the special effects make-up?

Neil – My involvement with Crying Wolf and Cute Little Buggers came about after the director Tony Jopia saw me doing a demo at a horror convention in 2013 called Scardiff. We got talking and when they wanted to film some additional footage for both of the films they got in touch with me to do the make-up. I think I worked for about 12 hours on each film. It was a great experience, one which taught me a lot. I’m really looking forward to seeing both films finished and the reactions to the effects. I think people will have positive reactions to both films but especially Cute Little Buggers. I can’t think of anything like it that I’ve ever seen.

UKHS – Gary, what lessons has your career in filmmaking taught you so far?

Gary – There has been so many lessons along the way. Firstly it’s hard! Getting a project off the ground is hard especially getting people together at the same time. Trust has been an issue too. Everyone we work with currently I trust 100% which hasn’t always been the case. The ‘indie’ and ‘low budget’ filmmaking community is a strange place! I have seen so many arguments between people over what are really insignificant projects; you would think they were major Hollywood projects costing millions.

But at the end of the day I would say just go with an idea and shoot it. Don’t talk about doing things, actually make a date to go shoot stuff. Digital is cheaper than film! If it doesn’t look right shoot it again. You can only improve and grow as a filmmaker by practicing. We have pledged this year to shoot several projects, some big, some small all with the aim of improving what we do!


di2UKHS – Neil, what’s been your greatest achievement as a makeup artist and how long does the process of using prosthetic sculpting, molding and casting techniques take to create advanced cosmetic effects on each project?

Neil – Best achievement so far, I think make-up wise it is going to be Cute Little Buggers. I got to do some unique character make-ups on that film which took me away from the usual gore type make-ups I’ve done so far. As far as our best film achievement, it has to be Chestwyrm. We got into the Top 50 out of about 300 entries Worldwide, which for only our second film I think was pretty good. As far as the overall process of creating effects goes it really depends what the effect is. It can take a couple of hours to do a piece start to finish or several days.

UKHS – Gary, what do you love most about working with Neil and how many films have you worked on together?

Gary – Meeting Neil was quite a turning point. The reason we hit it off is that we both want the same thing, to make films. Just when you think you know what Neil is capable of he produces a new sculpt that blows everything else
before it out the water, he is full of surprises! Also when it comes to the scripts he will come out with a suggestion that turns the story on it’s head and makes everyone go ‘OMG why didn’t we think of that’! He’s a great ideas man! To date we have worked on 4 main films together, Bigger and Badder, Six Seconds To Die, Chestwyrm, Peter Crombie Teenage Zombie.


di3UKHS- Finally, are you both working on any other new projects which you can tell UKHS about?

Neil – Deserted Road Productions have some really exciting projects in the works including the second horror film I’ve written called George which will hopefully build on the success we have had with 6 Seconds To Die and Chestwyrm. I really don’t want to give too much away and spoil the surprise but to say George is a cross between Norman Bates and Mr Bean is probably the best way to explain him. We always like to add a little twist and keep people guessing with our films and I think George will continue that approach. Hopefully we will have George ready to release by the end of the summer and we’ll make sure UK Horror Scene are one of the first to see it.

Gary – Yes we have a few! As for horror we have started working on a short written by Neil called George. While not going into great detail there will be some amazing acting and just a little bloodshed! We are currently talking about two larger horror projects but really are just ideas for development at the moment and while not a horror project we are currently filming a hard hitting gritty drama called Consequence, a story revolving around the world of drugs and what consequences are unleashed for those involved…. Exciting times for all of us!

UKHS- Thanks guys and good luck with ‘George’ and ‘Consequence’. Keep up the great work!

For more info on Gary & Neil and their projects please check the links below.

Deserted Road Productions FACEBOOK PAGE


COPS AND WEREWOLVES: A FULL ECLIPSE retrospective with director Anthony Hickox

COPS AND WEREWOLVES: A FULL ECLIPSE retrospective with director Anthony Hickox

fe1It’s not everyday that you get to chinwag with one of your all time favourite filmmakers. Then again it’s not everyday a social media stalking campaign actually pays off without resulting in a restraining order. You see after spending two weeks grooming them like I were an online pervert, I finally got the sort of response I was after: an email. An email from a mysterious account known only as ‘007’.

“Hey there!” it read, “Just don’t ask me about the end werewolf!!!! Hahahaha.”
Fast-forward a few days later – after a little hotmail back and forth – and I was making a transatlantic phone call to someone whose work I had religiously obsessed over since I was fourteen. Keeping my fawning fanboy screeching in check and whacking my serious horror journo head on, I was about to talk to Anthony Hickox. Our focus? His 1993 lycanthrope gem Full Eclipse.

“God, I can’t even remember. Tell ’em to go on IMDb!” the Brit maverick laughs when I ask him to give you lovely lot a breakdown of his beginnings and career up to Full Eclipse, his sixth feature. “It all started with Waxwork (1988) but I’m not sure how it got from doing crazy low-budget gore-fests to HBO saying “Come and do Full Eclipse for us”. I think I might have done Extreme, a TV pilot, before then but I don’t remember the dates. Or they might have been friends with Pete Abrams of Tapestry, you know, where we’d just done the Warlock sequel. It might have been that way; I can’t quite remember exactly how.” Well let’s see if we can fill in some blanks…

Hickox was born into a film making family. His father, the late Douglas Hickox, was a director himself, the man behind Zulu Dawn and the Vincent Price classic Theatre of Blood. His mother Anne V. Coates meanwhile is the veteran Academy Award-winning editor of Lawrence of Arabia. Young Tony it would seem was destined for the movie biz. “Yeah, I don’t think I really had a choice,” he says. “My dad always said that if he was a butcher, I’d be cutting meat. Which is true because both of my parents worked all the time, so every holiday I had from school I’d be on a film set. Which helps a lot, you know? I mean, it doesn’t help you to make good movies ‘cos you either can or you can’t, but it certainly gave me the experience so that I wasn’t scared when I went to make Waxwork. Even though I hadn’t done anything before, I had the confidence and I’m sure that was a running help in it.”.

fe2A gleeful terror-comedy, Waxwork was part Hammer tribute, part eighties schlocker; an instant cult favourite that, for the next five years anyway, allowed the director to carve out his own unique niche as a key purveyor of lively B horror hokum. It’s a genuinely impressive run, from the excellent blood suckin’ and gunslingin’ Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1990); to his trio of ace sequels Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992) and Warlock: The Armageddon (1993); all the way right through to the mighty Full Eclipse: Hickox’s pièce de résistance.

“I loved doing Full Eclipse,” Hickox says. “It was a really fun experience, and we had a budget and we could actually do some stuff. It turned into chaos by the end because we went way over budget and schedule. We had all the HBO execs sitting on the set the last day and we had like six pages to shoot, and they were just like “Well we don’t care! We’re going to shut you down in two hours!”.

“There’s a new police force on the streets,” screams Full Eclipse’s tagline, “And they only come out at night!”. Decorated LAPD detective Max Dire [Mario Van Peebles] is burning out. His marriage is crumbling and now, thanks to the bizarre fallout of a nightclub shoot out, his partner Jim Sheldon [Anthony John Denison] has committed suicide. Soon, Max finds himself at the attentions of the mysterious and charismatic Adam Garou [Bruce Payne]; a high ranking police officer who shares Max’s increasing distaste for the scumbag criminals they have to contend with. Inviting Max to a special meeting with four other select officers [Patsy Kensit, Jason Beghe, John Verea and Paula Marshall], Max quickly becomes embroiled in Garou’s group The Pack: an elite squad of vicious vigilantes turbo powered by Garou’s werewolf serum. The only problem is, The Pack – and Garou in particular- are getting increasingly out of control…

Cops, vigilantes and mother-effin’ werewolves. Could it get any cooler? It’s hard to believe that a film with such a fruity premise was actually made for television; TV movies – back then at least – were hardly known for being so wild and wacky right? “Yeah, a big wild TV movie!” Hickox chuckles. “HBO wanted… I’ve forgotten who it was over there but he was a really nice guy, and they wanted to try and – well, they just liked the script – but they kind of wanted to do that Friday night action movie thing that they began after that. It ended up really successful for them too; like it ran for five years. I just liked the idea though. I love action movies and I love werewolves so it was just perfect!”

fe3Hickox’s attraction to the Michael Reaves and Richard Christian Matheson-penned screenplay – originally titled The Pack – was obvious in hindsight. Dissecting his body of work Full Eclipse is ram-packed with everything totally Hickoxian, from the adrenaline pumping set pieces to the bending, merging and subversion of multiple genre’s and conventions. More so, Full Eclipse continues to expand on Waxwork II and Warlock: The Armageddon’s core idea of regular characters transforming into superhero-like beings. Even beyond his horror work it’s a recurring Hickox motif. “That’s interesting,” the director says, “I’ve never thought about it like that. My favourite movie of all time though is North by Northwest where, you know, Cary Grant has to become, well, turn from a normal guy and become that kind of superhero. Obviously not in the mystical way, but he is put in these situations that he has to figure out and he has to become the guy that those pursuing him think he is. I guess it’s that I’m tapping into.”

“The script though didn’t actually have that much action originally,” he continues. “It was more just like the cop side: cops who become werewolves, kind of Judge Dredd, like the law and the executioner. I just added those two huge action scenes at the beginning. I love to blend genres; it’s fun as a director to try and blend. I kind of did with Waxwork, which was really kind of a time travel comedy as well as a horror movie. And with Sundown, I kinda love that, ‘cos I wanted to make a cowboy movie but no one was really making cowboy movies, and that original script came and I kind of rewrote it to become much more cowboy. The six shooters, the holsters… I did a TV pilot that never went too called Martian Law and that was cowboys on Mars. David Carradine was the bad guy and I literally… I mean, I did a full on western on Mars. The whole deal!”.

Never one to shy away from doffing his cap to his myriad of influences, Hickox stages Full Eclipse’s scenes of gun toting rough and tumble with real Hong Kong action-like flair. It’s a bold choice; a bold choice that makes Full Eclipse – along with his 1996 psycho drama Invasion of Privacy – one of Hickox’s most visually arresting movies. With his already keen eye for a ten-awesome shot, that’s really bloody saying something. “Yeah, I’d been watching all the John Woo – this was before everyone else started doing it – and I’d been watching all these crazy Hong Kong action movies, and I was like, “well this would be a great thing” about all the slow motion and all the double gun stuff. Of course, its been done to death since then but at the time no one had really done it, especially on American television. Now I’d always loved Sundown and the way I’d shot it really wide – like, there’s hardly any close ups in it – but I thought if I was going to be doing a TV movie, I’ve got to come close. I’ve got to get really close to try and make it stand out on a television screen. Tony Scott and the kind of movies he shot, those were a big influence too; where you just put it [the camera] on a 1000mm long lens and you kind of dig in and try find the moment. Most of those sets were three wall sets so the camera would be literally, you know, across the stage from the actors. It’s really interesting, but it helps kind of give it that really slick look, especially when you put a lot of smoke in there. I thought Sandi did a great job.”

fe4“She’s a tough girl and she has a real opinion,” Hickox says when I ask him to elaborate on his working relationship with Sandi Sissel, Full Eclipse’s BAFTA and Satellite Award nominated Director of Photography. “And I have got to say I got along really well with her, but she was very difficult to producers and stuff. She wouldn’t let them fuck with her, you know.”. As awful as it sounds, maybe it’s because she plies her trade in such a male-dominated area, I offer. “Maybe. There is hardly any female DP’s though. It’s really weird,” muses Hickox. “But, yeah, she was great. I loved her. I tried to get her on a couple more movies but she was busy, and I still want to work with her again at some point. She captured the look I wanted perfectly.”

Hickox is full of praise for the rest of his behind the scenes crew too. “All the costumes, you know; we had Tarantino’s costume designer [Jacqueline Aronson]. Everything was designed: all the suits, all the colours. There were very few accidents on Full Eclipse. We had a really good editor on it too, Peter – argh, what’s his name? I never know how to pronounce it! [Peter Amundson] But yeah, a big action editor. He’s still working on all the action movies. We had a really good team. It was just one of those things where everybody – the production designer, everybody- we all got along and we all had the same vision. HBO too; they didn’t hold me back at all. They just totally left me alone – well, until the last week where we went over and stuff! But creatively I had no, no nothing. They just said go for it which is why I think HBO right now has such quality. They pick directors they want to work with and they let them go and do what they want to do. They famously don’t try and control the film in any way: they hire you and leave you alone to do the movie. And that’s what good producers do.”

It’s hard not to smile hearing Hickox say that, what with his own experiences with meddlesome producers: first on 1997’s comic strip-based fantasy Prince Valiant (Hickox thought he was making The Princess Bride whilst the German producers wanted Braveheart), and then on 2000’s Jill Rips; an underrated serial killer thriller. “Oh my God, yeah,” he laughs. “Well, the problem with Jill Rips was it was originally meant to be Tom Berenger and we got… Dolph Lundgren. And, well, you know what? I should have probably just left the movie at that point but I can’t do that. Dolph’s a nice guy – we’d just worked together on Storm Catcher (1999) – but he was just wrong for the part, and the friend of mine who financed it was like “Just make it, Dolph’ll be great” and so we did the best we could. I actually love the way that looks too, by the way. I love the kinkiness and I love the fact I tried to make it look like a seventies porn movie, the whole thing. I wanted it to have that feel.”

fe5“But yeah, when everybody is kind of working towards – and doing – the same movie, usually something good will come out of it. Not always, but usually. As long as the creative team are all one vision, and the actors have to understand it too. We had a little problem with Patsy Kensit. She wasn’t quite used to shooting how we were.”. So was Kensit difficult to work with? Hickox pauses for a moment, chewing over a careful and diplomatic response. “Not so much difficult as… She came from a different place. We were all mucking in and it became a bit of a boy’s club. We were all like “Let’s just shoot, shoot, shoot” – I love to shoot and I hate just sitting around – and all the other actors understood that, but Patsy she was just like “Oh no, no; I’ve got my make up and my trailer” and we were all “No! Get her out, get her on set. We’re shooting!”. She didn’t know what was going on.”

Interestingly, round about the time she started appearing in Emmerdale eight or nine years ago, Kensit stated in a Sunday paper supplement that Full Eclipse was the most miserable shooting experience of her career. “Yeah, she actually mentioned it in her book as well!” Hickox cackles. “Somebody, a friend, said “Oh, you’ve just been insulted in Patsy’s book”.” Who hasn’t, I fire back. “Exactly! But, yeah, she was actually a friend before which is a bit weird, but she just couldn’t… She just didn’t understand the pace we were doing. And we were working long hours; sometimes like fourteen, fifteen hour days. We had five weeks which, you know, for a TV movie is a good amount of time, but we were packing a lot in and to light – to make it look like how it did – takes time. The lighting was just so important.”.

So what of the other members of the Full Eclipse cast? How were they to work with? “Van Peebles was fantastic. He’d directed before too which was great, and which was probably another thing with Patsy because he totally understood what I was doing, how I was doing it and… And I think she felt a bit left out. And, you know, he would encourage me to go even further all the time. I’d just saw that cowboy movie he’d made, Posse [which he also directed], and I thought he’d be great and I sent him the script and he said “I love it”. It’s funny because the part was never written for a black guy and, even when I sent it to Mario, it was written for a white guy. He said Full Eclipse was the first script he’d ever got that didn’t outright say “a black guy” in it.”

And Paula Marshall? “Oh, I love Paula. She’s great. She’s another one: she comes onto the shoot and she’s just fun to work with,” he says. Having starred in both Hellraiser III and Warlock: The Armageddon, it’s safe to say that she was once one of your stock players, yes? “It’s like, well, why not? Why not work with people who are good and that you know? It makes it so much easier every time you work them, so I’d work with the same people all the time if I could. I think it’s very important. Like when I work with Gerry Lively [Director of Photography and frequent Hickox collaborator], we don’t need to talk half the time because we just know what we’re doing together.”

fe6What about Bruce Payne then, I ask. Best remembered as the lip-smackingly wicked villain in the Wesley Snipes actioner Passenger 57, the English thespian is well known for his somewhat prickly on-set presence. He did, after all, give director Christophe Gans a bit of a hard time on the Lovecraft-inspired portmanteau Necronomicon. “Yeah, Payne… The name is quite appropriate!” Hickox chuckles. “But that’s what he does to get what he does, if you know what I mean. I’ve found with actors now that some are them are just like that: they don’t have to be fun as long as they’re good. And he was very professional. So, you know, he’d always be on time, he’d always do what he was told, he gave the performance… He doesn’t have to be a happy or joyous person on the set; that’s not what they were paying him for. I think he did a great job.”. And indeed he did. He’s completely electric actually, unleashing a turn of magnetic and seductive evil. Just look at the scene in which Payne’s Garou asserts his status as Top Dog over Kensit’s Casey Spencer: it’s quite possibly the highlight of the movie. On a cute interconnected side note, Payne would later assume the Julian Sands role in 1999’s Warlock III: The End of Innocence.

Irregardless of how problematic Kensit and Payne may have been, their behaviour was surely a cakewalk compared to the hell martial arts bloater Steven Seagal inflicted upon Hickox whilst making the 2005 dud Submerged. “Well, the script for Submerged was brilliant, I have to say,” he sighs. “It started life as a full on horror and sci-fi. I just thought wouldn’t it be great if you were stuck at the bottom of the ocean with fucking aliens on your submarine! So that was the original idea, and we story boarded it and we designed the creatures; like these little, mini kind of crab insects that could go down the drains of the submarine so you’d never know when they were coming. It was really interesting. And then Seagal came on board.”. So that’s how it turned into just another one of his garbled, straight-to-DVD action flicks? “Yeah. I met him at his house – which is when I should have realised it was all going to go wrong – but he was like “I love the script blah blah blah” and then I get a phone call like three weeks before we started shooting. We’d planned everything and he was like “I don’t think this movie should be on a submarine”. Erm, but it’s called Submerged and it is on a submarine! And then he was like “But I want a big opera scene,” – I mean, this is literally how it happened – “I want an opera scene!” But, you’re on a submarine! “Yeah, well I’ve decided I don’t like aliens and I don’t like monsters. I don’t want to be in a monster movie”. And basically that’s why it ended up like it did. We had no clue what we were doing: no script, and the whole mind control thing in the final film was made up the last week before shooting! It was really insane. At that point, again I should have quit, but I needed the cash.”

Though not entirely worthless, with Hickox’s visual verve and commitment to rapid fire incident as strong as ever, Submerged is perhaps the most frivolous of his films. It is though an almost near typical example of Hickox’s post Full Eclipse career, even if it’s not best representative of it on the whole. “Yeah, I sort of went off on a tangent that I’m now trying to get back from,” he explains. “I started getting… Well, you’ve got to pay the rent and I started getting these offers for like these ten million dollar action and thriller movies, like Blast (2004) and Submerged.” Full Eclipse then fits nicely between these two distinct phases, thanks to its potent mash up of good ol’ fashioned hare ’em-scare ’em horror and tough action. The more adventurous of you horror nuts would do well to give a bunch of these later Hickox flicks a look, the Armand Assante-starring caper Federal Protection (2002); the noir tinged erotic thriller Payback (1995), and Invasion of Privacy especially so.

fe9Even though Hickox moved away from horror it’s still easy to see just how much the genre courses through him, something the denouement of Invasion of Privacy can attest to. “Yeah, I kinda let myself go into my slasher head at the end,” he says. “I shot it a bit too slasher like when the rest of the film was… I was trying to do Polanski. I shot it all on 35mm, kinda doing Rosemary’s Baby. If you look at the sets, none of the sets have ceilings, which if you look at Rosemary’s Baby, you never see a ceiling. I was really doing my homage to Polanski with that style and the kind of weird relationships that he loves to explore. I think I went a bit too nineties slasher with the lightning and the rain at the end though. I mean, I love that, but did it need that in that particular movie? Should I have been a little more toned down, you know? I just love horror though; I don’t necessarily love all the new stuff, but I am a huge horror fan, like from the moment I could speak. I was always sneaking downstairs to watch Hammer movies late at night. And that’s why my Dad made Theatre of Blood; that’s the story. I was like, “You have to do a horror movie!””.

“Invasion of Privacy has got my favourite musical theme of all my movies though. It was an Angelo Badalamenti theme, who did all the David Lynch movies, and I just called him up and was like “I love your work, and I can’t afford you, but could you just do me a theme” and he said OK. So he did. He didn’t write the whole movie but he did me the theme.” What about the music to Full Eclipse, I ask. Gary Chang’s score is beautifully simple and slick. “Yeah, he did a great score. I don’t know what he’s up to now, but he’d just done – I think he’d done some big action movie just before that [ironically, it could either be the Berenger-starring Sniper or the Seagal hit Under Siege…]. I work with Guy Farley a lot [Last Run (2000), Submerged]; I like classical, you know. I like all the Bond themes and I’m a huge John Barry fan, but I really like what Gary did; that electronic kind of beat. He’s a really nice guy too.”.

Producers credits on his brother James’ Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995) and the Wes Craven-presented Carnival of Souls remake (1998) aside, Hickox wouldn’t make his return to horror proper until 2009’s Knife Edge. Sadly, critical and fan reaction was hardly positive: “Yeah, nobody liked that movie,” he sighs. A mature and measured throwback to old school woman-in-peril mysteries, Knife Edge was a refreshing change of pace for the generally more rambunctious auteur; the polar stylistic opposite of Full Eclipse’s white-knuckle elan. It’s far from perfect, sure, but it ain’t that bad either; certainly nowhere near as duff as its mass drubbing would have you believe. “Yeah, I very purposefully went for a very sixties Hammer look,” explains Hickox. “I think when we were originally going to make Knife Edge it was right at the beginning of that whole ghost-kid thing from Japan, and I think the problem with it was that we were just too late. We should have looked at the script and gone “You know, they’ve done it like a hundred times now and we’ve got to put something new in there”. It was actually not a very nice shoot either: we had another problem with an actress, Natalie Press [the films lead]. She made it very difficult. She’s insane! But then Hugh Bonneville [co-star] was just so great and so nice that he just balanced it out.”

fe7So what’s next for the idiosyncratic helmer? I take it there’s going to be more horror on the horizon, a return to Full Eclipse-style territory perhaps? “Well, I’ve started writing now,” Hickox says, “and I’m starting to become kind of successful on that front so hopefully I’ll be able to turn the career around and get back in directing the stuff that I want to do. I’ve just done a Mugabe script – Rhodesia- that Nick Cassavetes was doing, and then Ino Moxo that Peter Webber has signed on to about the Amazon. They’re kinda serious, big… They’re writing jobs, but hopefully one of them will take off and I can go, “OK, this is a movie I want to make”. It’s like if I can make money writing, so I don’t have to do all that shit, well that’s the way I’ve got to do it. After Submerged I just stepped back from directing for a sec and thought that I was just getting tied up in all this and that and not doing what I want to do. I did try with Knife Edge but… It’s the crazy, camp Dr. Phibes- style that I love. I want to do it kind of my way now.”

“Full Eclipse though,” he reflects, “was just one of those things that was just a really good experience; the kind that just doesn’t happen that often in movie making. You know, they say directing is compromising ‘cos you’ve got a budget, you’ve got a time and stuff. When you’re writing you’ve got all the time you need and anything you want, but when you’re directing, you’re constantly sorting out problems. With some movies, like on Prince Valiant, there’s a problem every day but then some, like Full Eclipse… It was fucking hard work yeah, but it wasn’t a problem. It just kind of worked.”

As our chat winds down – and the horror of just how much TalkTalk are going to sting me for for an hour-long international call becomes apparent – I’ve got just one more question that I need answering. It’s the one that’s been hanging over the both of us like the Sword of Damocles; the elephant in the room as it were. Well, maybe more the wolf over the phone: just why, exactly, does Hickox hate that end werewolf effect so damn much?! “OK, OK!” he laughs. “Well, my favourite werewolf that I’ve done is the Waxwork one. For some reason I just love that one by Bob Keen [Hellraiser, Candyman, Event Horizon]. I love Bob. And I love Tony Gardener [Full Eclipse’s FX man], but the thing with the end werewolf is that it was done very late so we couldn’t really work and refine it. It’s like a first draft of what it was meant to be, and it kind of just always pissed me off that we didn’t get into it earlier.”. I’ve always really liked it, I say. Compared to all the other actually really poor nineties lycans, from the surprisingly cheap-looking Rick Baker work in the horror-lite Jack Nicholson vehicle Wolf; to the tawdry CGI of An American Werewolf in Paris, Full Eclipse’s final beast looks ace. “Yeah, the design – it’s not really the design, it’s the fact it’s so unmovable. It’s kind of like wearing a suit of armour so it… Like the guy inside couldn’t even move the wolf’s hand it was that heavy! I kinda wanted a World War Z version of a werewolf; a fast moving one, that’s why he’s climbing all over the crate at the end. Like, CGI would have been great in those days! Emotionally, yeah it does what you want it to do, but it was all put together in the cutting, and it was tough to cut. It was just a guy in a suit, and that suit was really fucking heavy!”.

A massive, massive thanks to Anthony Hickox.

Find Matty on twitter @mattybudrewicz
For obvious reasons, Matty urges the uninitiated to check out Full Eclipse and everything else with Anthony Hickox’s name stuck to it !!

An Interview with Rudy Barrow by Dean Sills

rb1Rudy Barrow- Interview with Dean Sills

UKHS – The last time I saw you was on the set of ‘The Hooligan Factory’, so it’s good to catch up with you again and talk about your career. First of all, can you please introduce yourself to fans of UKHS who don’t already know you and tell us how you got started in acting and what was the first Film/Tv show that you worked on?

RB – Hi Folks My Name is Barrow, Rudy Barrow, I’m a British Actor, and I’ve been in many films over the years. As far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be an actor, so when the chance came up I took drama lessons at school, I was the first one to put my name on the list, My filming career all kicked off when I replied to an ad in my local paper, for extras wanted! I put my name down with the casting agent and bingo my first ever role was, in a film called Split Second, in which I played the part of a police officer. Some of the films and TV shows I’ve been in are. The Bill, Vicar of Dibley, A Killer Conversation, The Lee Mack all star cast, The Hooligan Factory, Evil Up Close, Exorcist Chronicles, Dead Walkers: Rise of The Fourth Reich, Blaze of Glory, The Wrong Floor, Torture and Apostle’s Manoeuvre.


UKHS – You recently played an Exorcist in Jason Wright’s ‘Blaze of Gory’ segment “Precious”. How did you get the part and what was it like working with Emily Booth? 

RB – Well I was in a film called A Killer Conversation, and the director, David VG Davies, recommended me to his director friend Jason Wright, as being a good choice for an Exorcist. I do believe that it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, also word of mouth Is still one of the best ways of making contacts/connections. Working with the one and only Emily Booth, was a real pleasure, we worked well together she’s a real pro, and easy on the eye too!


rb4UKHS – How did you prepare for your role in ‘Blaze of Gory’ and get into character? 

RB – Practie, Practie, Practie, at least 2 hours a night for a week I learned my lines, and then I learned to say them in different ways, I set up a video camera in my living room to record my performances, and when I was happy, I used that one on the day.


UKHS – Do you believe in the supernatural? 

RB – I believe that the is a force out there, which..yes could be called supernatural, put it this way, there are a lot of unexplained things that happen, which nobody, can explain. We are not alone!


UKHS – Which film have you enjoyed working on the most and what made it so special? 

RB – Well it would be a bit unfair to pin point any one film, but in my top 3 in no particular order I would have to be.. A Killer Conversation, it was so much fun to make, never laughed so much in my life, next up is The Wrong Floor, action and horror, I got to play the role of a scientist, loved it. Last but not least.. Apostle’s Manoeuvre, in which I play a very old man, a challenge in it’s self.


rb3UKHS – How would you describe your acting style?

RB – I would say that my acting style changes with each movie, but on the whole I try to be as natural as possible, I find it looks better on screen, and makes the whole film more enjoyable.


UKHS – What is your favorite horror movie? 

RB – My all time Horror/Scifi movie has to be Event Horizon… wicked film, I dare you to watch it at night… alone….an oldie but still worth watching.


UKHS – Finally, are you currently working on any other projects which you can tell UKHS about and how do you choose which projects to work on? 

RB – I’m still filming on the set of The Wrong Floor, and Torture, check them out by clicking the links below.

The Wrong Floor – Click Here for IMDB page

Torture – Click Here for IMDB page

I normally choose my projects by director, and script, and when
recommended a trustworthy sorce.

Please see my IMDB Page HERE

My Star Now Page HERE

Blaze of Glory IMDB page HERE

rb2If anyone is free – Film Director Brian Harley will be premièring his new short film, ‘Apostle’s Manoeuvre’ at the end of this month 30th April, in which I play lead role. The link is on facebook below

Apostle’s Manoeuvre première page HERE  

Thanks for the interview Dean, see you in the movies.

UKHS- You are welcome Rudy. Thanks for your time and good luck with all your latest projects.