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- Grimmfest 2018 – 10th Anniversary Full Line-Up Revealed
- Mayhem Film Festival 2018 announces THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY, MANDY, WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE, ONE CUT OF THE DEAD and NIGHTMARE CINEMA
- Grimmfest Reveals First Look at 2018 Programme
- A Life in Blood: Tales of a Horror Queen October 2017
- IT (2017) Review
White Settlers is an exciting up- coming British suspense/ thriller/horror film from director Simeon Halligan (who previously directed Splintered and also runs Grimm Up North – Manchester’s home of horror and cult films).
The screenplay is by Ian Fenton, this is Ian’s feature film debut as a writer.
White Settlers boasts an impressive cast , Pollyanna McIntosh from the brilliant cult film The Woman, also Burke and Hare and Exam. Alongside Pollyanna is Lee Williams who has been in many superb British TV programmes including Hotel Babylon, The Tudors and Teachers.
Pollyanna and Lee gave me the honour of answering my questions, so without further a do I will let them explain what White Settlers is all about and what has been involved in the filming of it.
Can you both tell us what we can expect from White Settlers, what’s it all about?
Lee – White Settlers is a thriller/horror about a London married couple who relocate to Scotland to renovate a farmhouse, and whilst there, external circumstances threaten their existence with chilling consequences. It becomes a race to survive; a cat and mouse game with the couple battling it out to the end.
Pollyanna – Tense suspense, some good frights, believable characters you can root for and a surprise ending!
It’s about a couple who move from city life in England to the country life on the borders of Scotland and are confronted by monsters on their first night in their new home.
How about some insight into your characters?
Pollyanna – Sarah is a city girl who’s ready to have children and wants her husband to take the final step away from the job he hates to be self sufficient in the country where they plan to run a B&B for tourists. She’s quite fragile and fearful of bumps in the night but as the story progresses she surprises herself with her resilience.
Lee – I read Ed as a guy who has one foot still in London and the other with his wife in Scotland. He loves her very much and her desire to make a new life for themselves supersedes his desire to remain in the city. He is a bit of a lad, quick-witted, always ready with a sarcastic or jokey comment to defuse a heated situation. But when things take a turn for the worst, he becomes serious – his survival instincts kick in and he will do anything to protect his family.
White Settlers looks to me like a lot of outside filming. I presume you feel quite at home with that Pollyanna after the excellent film The Woman. How does filming White Settlers compare to that?
Pollyanna – Yeah, we’re often at the mercy of the weather!
Well, it’s similar in that its a tight schedule, small crew, low budget, all on location and packed with hardworking creatives. There’s also a fair amount of stunt work and outdoor filming. I’m also playing lead again so, yeah, there are a few similarities. My character is very different to that of The Woman though and of course this is a British film set in the country I come from, Scotland. In The Woman I spent the film getting progressively cleaner but in this I start off clean and get dirtier and dirtier!
Am I right in thinking Lee that this is your first foray into this genre of film? What attracted you to this role in White Settlers?
Lee – Unlike Polly, yes, this is my first experience of this genre and I’ve loved every blood soaked, gory moment! More please! I’d like to turn things on their head and maybe play the bad guy in another horror movie and show just how evil and dark I can truly be!
Can you tell us about your ‘on set’ experience so far, any favourite moment? Tricky elements you’ve had to deal with?
Pollyanna – For me the on set experience has been a mix of fun and banter with a lot of intense fearful psyched up scenes. With a great crew like this one there are plenty of laughs to be had. Most of the jokes are in-jokes so they’d probably land pretty flat on paper but I’d say my favorite moments are those end of night shoots at 4am when we’ve been down to the wire and have still managed to squeeze the juice out of the scenes.
As far as “tricky elements” to deal with we’ve got stunts, prosthetics, animals, forests at night, rain, hail and wind and the bloody cold so…yeah, we’re pretty much covered in that department!
Lee – The blood! The first few days were fun, but being caked in this sticky red stuff all day certainly lost its novelty by the end of filming! Both myself and Polly were covered in scratches and bruises by the end of it – always a good sign that we have put in a proper days work!
How has it been working with director Simeon Halligan?
Pollyanna – Sim and our DOP have a great symbiotic relationship so it’s a pleasure to see them make it happen. He and I spoke early on about the film and as the first attached I’ve had the luxury of talking through story points with both him and the writer, Ian Fenton, as the script progressed. That’s a joy for me and I always feel lucky when directors and writers are open to that kind of collaboration.
Lee – Simeon was wonderful to work with – WORK being the operative word; very collaborative and open to discussion and ideas, loads of me and Poll’s ideas he used in the movie. I always felt my opinion was valid and enjoyed figuring out with him and Polly, how to make a scene the best it could be, working with such a short shooting schedule.
Do you have any bits of info you would be willing to leak to tease fans a little?
Lee – All I can say is that at one point, I get attacked by a character called Truffles, whose main objective is to eat whatever gets in her way! Ruthless!
Pollyanna – I think I’ve said enough…
One last question, (as we are www.ukhorrorscene.com). I remember the first horror film I watched at an early age was Evil Dead; I’ve had a love of horror since. Do you remember the first horror film you watched and the effect it had on you?
Lee –My first ever horror/thriller that I remember watching was on Betamax when I was about 8 years old called “When a stranger calls”, when the killer is in the house and keeps calling the babysitter asking, ‘Have you checked the children….”. Scared the absolute shit out of me! I also sneaked into the cinema to watch Nightmare on Elm Street. For me, as a kid, Freddy was the best boogeyman – very scary and extremely memorable. The remake sucked though! Please stop re-making classic horror movies!! Thank you and good night!
Pollyanna – The first experience I had of being scared out of my wits was Watership Down. Not a traditional “horror” perhaps but at 5 years old it was utterly horrific! I think that put me off for life! I’m a total wuss when it comes to watching horror. I avoid it at all costs!
Many thanks to Pollyanna and Lee for their insightful answers, I am very excited about this project and look forward to the film.
White Settlers will be released early 2014, it may be through Grimm Entertainment but nothing yet has been confirmed, with such a prestigious cast in place they are getting increasing interest from much bigger distributors.
Please check out the website www.whitesettlers.com for more info and pictures, also follow on twitter @WhiteSettlers
The Rising is a full length album released by Werewolves in Siberia , released on 12th March 2013 this is an electro synch soundtrack for the mind. The music is hugely reminiscent of 1970’s/80’s Slasher films whilst carrying the Euro dread of a late 60’s Giallo.
The Rising feels like a concept album with 7 tracks of varying length (from 1.48 – 5.25 minutes) and the tracks are neatly bookended by Track 1 – Introduction To A Nightmare and Track 7 – Return To The Nightmare , that gives the whole opus a start , middle and end that totally completes the album.
The joy of The Rising and what Werewolves do so well is you can relax , close your eyes and almost build the horror film mentally while the music plays, just imagine the horror, thriller or zombie epic unfurling alongside the waves of synthesiser that roll over.
Each track is different and brings with it fabulous textures of sound and all I can say is just track Werewolves in Siberia down and get everything you can . You will not be disappointed .
I recently caught up with Chris and he gave me this short intro into the history, present and future of the project –
Werewolves in Siberia is an electronic/horror-synth project that started sort of by accident. Chris Cavoretto is the man behind the project. After years of playing mostly metal and hardcore as well as running a small independent label, a break was needed.
After a few year absence from music, it was time for a new project. Upon starting a guitar and vocal solo project, the dabbling in recording began. With the dabbling in recording came the dabbling in synths.
This is where Werewolves in Siberia started. In two weeks time, “The Rising” EP was recorded.
Since then, a project covering John Carpenter’s Halloween Theme and The Misfits’ Halloween was done (with a cover of London Dungeon as a bonus) has been released as well as a four song split with fellow horror-synth lover Serengeti Yeti.
Remix mastermind, Ghastworks remixed two songs off of “The Rising” which was released for free download under the title “Double Feature (The Ghastworks Remixes)”.
Werewolves in Siberia takes the love of horror movies and especially the soundtracks to the fun 70’s and 80’s zombie and slasher films and has built an updated, yet very throwback sound. Every song has been written with a vision of a horror scene that could go along with it. What’s next? Maybe soundtracks…
My thanks to Chris for taking time out to chat and for the info.
I really recommend checking out Werewolves , this is a unique and audibly stunning project that is really welcome in the horror genre and I for one look forward with much anticipation to their future releases.
And here are a few links to their sites .
At the start of Feb I received a copy of I Didn’t Come Here To Die courtesy of Second Sight Films. I had very little knowledge of the film and was totally blown away by a funny , bloody and very clever horror film. After my review (here) I was still fascinated by this wonderful , refreshing take on the Slasher genre , so I contacted the writer/directorBradley Scott Sullivan who kindly agreed to the following interview.
I Didn’t Come Here To Die is your first full length feature , you write and direct it (amongst others) so how did it all come about?
The idea for the movie really came about when I was in a volunteer organization very similar to the one in the film. There were a few more people on our team, and we probably weren’t quite as secluded, but a lot of elements are really close. We really did have one project where we were working on out in the middle of the woods in Vermont, building a summer camp, and working with power tools. In real life nobody died; just a couple of scrapes and bruises. But as someone who’s bit of a hypochondriac, the movie is kind of my overactive imagination playing out some the potential worst-case scenarios that could’ve happened while working on that project. I hope the film just plays more as a perverted “workplace hazards and safety” video, and doesn’t dissuade anyone from signing up for a volunteer program, because it was truly one of the best years of my life. Just be safe, and don’t play with chainsaws!
The cast of IDCHTD are for the main relatively unknown , what was the casting process and did you have people in mind beforehand?
The only person I had in mind beforehand was Travis Scott Newman, who plays the cop that bookends the film. I met him a few years prior when I was in film school. He was the lead and one of my friends shorts that I was the DOP on. I always jokingly referred to him as my low-rent Bruce Campbell, and had always had him in mind for whatever I was going to do as a feature. Everyone else was just through auditions that we held at a coffee shop in Austin. We just posted on a few different websites, and held auditions over the course of two days. We just really lucked out that Austin has such a wealth of great acting talent.
The whole vibe from IDCHTD is fun even though it is a bloody feast , was this the case on set and was it a good shoot?
I think it was probably a bit more fun for everyone other than myself. I mean, it was a tough shoot for everybody. We only had seven days to shoot, practically no money, and I had the brilliant idea that we would all actually campout in an attempt to emulate what the characters were going through (FYI: bad idea). I just felt a lot of extra pressure on top of it all, because I felt like this was my one shot to really do something. I thought that if this failed, I was never going to get to make another film. So the fact that everyone was inexperienced (myself included), trying to manage multiple positions on the film, all the gore effects, and only having seven days to shoot it all…it was a bit stressful.
How did you go about getting the funding to do a full length feature?
I had shot the behind-the-scenes footage for a Christmas movie that the producer, Kim Waltrip, was making earlier that year. She asked me to edit together some of my footage to show potential distributors for that movie. She liked what I did, and that turned into cutting a sizzle reel, and that turned into cutting a trailer and some other stuff for them. So by the time I got to the end of all my work on that project, she was asking about what I was up to next. I told her that when I got back to Austin (this was all in California) I was hoping to try to get a horror movie that I wrote off the ground. She asked how much I was thinking of making it for, and when I told her she laughed because it was so little. I thought she was just being polite when she asked me for a copy of the script, but she was sending me emails pretty much every 10 pages saying how much she enjoyed it. I think we were shooting only about a month or month and a half after she first asked for a copy of the script. It all came together really quickly, and I wanted to make sure we had it in the can before anyone could change their mind.
When I saw IDCHTD , I found a huge nod towards Evil Dead and also a lot of slashers from the 70′s & early 80′s . Is this a favourite time and genre of yours?
It’s kind of an in-between thing. While I do love the horror films of the 70′s and 80′s; the first horror films I was really exposed to growing up were 90′s slashers like “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, “Scream”, and “Urban Legend”. I didn’t have any friends that were really interested in horror, and my parents were super-strict about the movies I watched growing up. So I kind of came into the genre little bit later in life. When I was introduced to the “Evil Dead” series, I actually came into it backwards, starting with “Army of Darkness”, then “Evil Dead 2″, and lastly “The Evil Dead”. So the comedy element of them ended up really sticking with me, and the horror came later.
As an avid fan of slashers , I hate camping. I just cannot sleep in a tent , every shadow makes me worried and I will lie awake all night . Is there anything from horror films that has had a real impact on you?
I’m totally fine with camping, and I’m generally not too worried about being hacked up by madmen, or having my dreams infiltrated by Freddy Krueger. The thing that really makes me turn away from the screen, is when people are cutting things out of themselves. There’s a scene in “The Ruins” where Lauren Ramsey’s character is trying to cut the vines out of her that I just find totally cringe-worthy. Heck, even the scene in the PG-13 rated “A Beautiful Mind”, where Russell Crowe thinks he’s digging a tracking device out of his arm, makes me grit my teeth.
If possible could you name your top 3 films of all time ?
Children Of Men
There is a wicked sense of humour in IDCHTD , but also some shocking moments . Was it difficult to try and find the right mixture of both?
As far as the dialogue went: I think that most people are pretty funny (or at least try to be), especially when around new people, or when thrust into awkward situations. I knew the horror beats that I was going to hit plot-wise, and I just wrote-in how I thought people would talk in between those beats. I don’t like walking out of a film feeling gross, or bad about myself. A movie can be gross, and have terrible things happen to the characters, but it can still be fun to watch. When I walked out of the theater after seeing “Drag Me to Hell”, I had a huge smile across my face. That’s really what I was trying to replicate here. Just a fun, fast horror film that left you with a smile.
As the horror genre develops where do you see it heading through the next decade or so?
It’s so hard to say, because it seems like the trends change every 3 to 4 years. It was the J-horror remake train for a while there, and now we’re on the found-footage kick hardcore. But the movies that inspired those trends, like “The Ring” and “Paranormal Activity” or “The Blair Witch Project” or “Scream” for the 90′s slashers, seem to come out of nowhere and surprise everyone.
I saw your short Stasche recently and found it hilarious , do you have any plans to maybe expand on that for a full length feature (please) ?
We joked about turning it into a feature when we made it, but everything I could possibly want to do was already done to perfection in “Hot Fuzz”. I’ve got too many other horror ideas to even think about it at the moment, but if I get burnt-out on those, maybe I could always take a break to write a feature about the mustachioed hitman again.
What do you think the secret is of a good Stasche? If I grow one I look like a paedophile rather than a Tom Selleck..
Yeah, if I try to grow something I just look like a hobo or someone’s dad. If I had the answer I’d be doing it myself, but for those who have it, flaunt that beautiful lip spinach!
What are your plans for the future? Anything in the pipeline you can reveal?
Nothing is set up yet. It’s been a full-time thing shepherding this film for the last few years, but now that it’s finally coming out, I’m starting to be able to focus on other ideas. As I don’t have Hollywood banging down my door and throwing scripts my way, it looks like I’m going to have to continue writing for myself. That’s fine; I’m just the World’s slowest typer. So may be a little while, but I don’t have any lack of original ideas.
If you ever do a shoot in the UK can I be an extra?
Outside of the horror genre are there any other genres you would like to have a go at?
I love science fiction just as much as I love horror, and nothing’s better than a crossover of the two. I still have yet to see a satisfying haunted spaceship movie. So that’s definitely something I’d love to try and tackle someday.
What was your grounding in film? How and why did you get into it and what maybe would you like to get out of it?
I’ve known I wanted to work in movies since I was 10 or 11-years-old, when I got a book on the making of “Independence Day”, and learned that there were film jobs outside of just the actors on-screen. Nearly everything I learned about film was self-taught. I learned how films are made through behind-the-scenes featurettes on DVDs, and about the intention behind them through the commentary tracks. I taught myself how to shoot and edit by trying to replicate scenes from some of my favorite films. From there, I just tried to follow in the footsteps of what many of my heroes did, which happened to be making a small film on their own. It’s really the only world I know, and I’d just like to continue to deal with issues that interest me in a fun, exciting, and entertaining way.
Many thanks for your time and any last words?
I’m just really excited that people are getting a chance to see the film. I’m pretty sure the 16-year-old, wannabe-filmmaker version of myself would’ve loved this film. If you stay through the credits, you’ll see that there was a ridiculously small amount of people that worked on it. It’s essentially a movie made by a few schlubs in somebody’s backyard. So for it to be getting any kind of release at all is sort of a miracle, but I’m glad that it’s really connecting with some folks, and I hope that it’s inspiring to other low-budget filmmakers. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me about it and spread the word!
I Didn’t Come Here To Die is released on DVD by Second Sight Films in the UK on 15th April 2013.