Synopsis – Christmas Slay
The story of ‘Christmas Slay’ begins on a wintry Christmas Eve in the picturesque Kentish countryside, the horrific murder of a loving family, and the capture of a Santa Claus obsessed blood thirsty killer. As Christmas dawns closer the following year, a group of college girlfriends decide to get away from it all and relax and party over the Christmas holiday, they decide to escape to the idyllic Mistletoe Lodge nestled within the beautiful snowy mountains of the Scottish Highlands, but what starts off as the perfect festive getaway of fun in the snow and a glass of eggnog or two, suddenly descends into a gruesome blood bath of terror, and a fight for survival.
Now you all know a little about this new Christmas Horror movie please welcome the director of ‘Christmas Slay’ to UK Horror Scene. Welcome Steve and thank you for talking to UKHS about your new movie.
OK, let’s get started with the questions, Steve.
UKHS – How and when did you first become interested in making films and why horror?
SD – I have always been interested in film and TV, I was bullied throughout most of my time at school so all my spare time was spend sat up in my room watching everything from Carry On’s to A Nightmare on Elm Street, but it was my families yearly holiday’s to Yorkshire and my Dad’s love of ITV’s Emmerdale Farm that first got me interested in the film-making process, every year we would visit the small village of Esholt and watch the show being made, which as a child I found truly fascinating and a little bit magical but it wasn’t until many years later when I had the privilege of meeting AD Lane and I became involved in his horror ‘Invasion of the Not Quite Dead’ that I decided that this is something that I really want to do.
SD – I am still very new to the industry and with the exception of playing the lead in every single school production ( just one of the reasons I was bullied ) and a little bit of acting in other peoples projects, I haven’t really had a great deal of experience of acting in the outside world, but the main reason for this is because all my attention has been on ‘Invasion of the Not Quite Dead’ which I am currently a producer on, and obviously ‘Christmas Slay’ which I am the writer and producer of and which is to be my first attempt at directing, I have been asked to help produce and direct other peoples films but ‘Christmas Slay’ is my number one priority at the moment, and a lot of hard work, on its completion I may venture out there a bit more but I really want to concentrate on writing my next feature and I will also be collaborating on films with a few friends.
UKHS – What is the inspiration behind ‘Christmas Slay’?
SD – There is so much inspiration behind ‘Christmas Slay’, I would say pretty much every horror from the 1980’s, but in particular films such as the early Friday 13th’s, Halloween, Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night and A Nightmare on Elm Street, I do enjoy modern day horror’s but I just love the look and feel from the classic stalk and slash genre, there’s a slight wobble to the camera, there sexy, there cheesy, they use practical FX, and there’s no CGI blood and gore, and I know its just my opinion, but to me that is what a stalk and slash horror is all about. And even though we will be going into production with our HD cameras, steadicams and sliders, its still a look I really hope to achieve.
SD- With the exception of the amazing James Payton we have so far only cast for our main shoot, but wow what a cast, for an indie film, I am honestly blessed to have such an amazing cast for ‘Christmas Slay’, there support and passion is just incredible, and its an absolute honour to have the extremely talented and beautiful Jessica Ann Bonner and Dani Thompson heading our line up with the legend that is Frank Jakeman.
I don’t really know what to say about Frank, apart from the fact that he really is a LEGEND, and even no you may not know the name, I can guarantee you would have seen him on TV or at the cinema at some point, I met Frank through AD Lane as he is the lead in his ‘Invasion of the Not Quite Dead’ and we hit it of straight away, he is just one of the nicest, most genuine people I have every had the privilege of meeting and its a honour to call him a friend, his acting talent is just unbelievable, and he has the ability to play any character with ease no matter how demanding the role, he will be playing the bad guy of ‘Christmas Slay’ and I know he will scare the shit out of a lot of people.
I had Frank in mind for the role of the bad guy before I even started on the script, and it was actually at AD Lane’s wedding in Wales that I first mentioned the concept of ‘Christmas Slay’ and Frank was in before I had even finished telling him about it, I honestly can’t say enough good words about him and his passion for the film, in fact he is so passionate he spent days drawing a very special piece of artwork for the project which we are offering in limited edition print through our website as one of our funding perks, I love the guy to bits.
I still haven’t decided how I am going to credit Frank in the end film credits yet though, Frank Jakeman or Frankie the Stripper, look it up on Youtube ( he will kill me for that later ).
UKHS – You will be filming in Bulgaria in February which will be quite a challenge. What can you tell us about the February shoot and how long will you be on location filming in Bulgaria?
SD – I have actually filmed in Bulgaria before, its a great place to shoot a movie, but the one thing I learned was not to rely on other people, we had so many wasted days due to waiting for props arriving, extras turning up etc… which is why this time round we are taking everything we need with us, ‘Christmas Slay’ is actually set in the Scottish Highlands but filming in Bulgaria has so many more advantages, the main one is cost as its a fraction of the price to film in Eastern Europe than it is to film here in the UK, the other reason is snow, which is a must for any Christmas based film, obviously you can’t guarantee snow but the village we are filming in is high up in the Balkans next to the biggest ski resort in Bulgaria, and February is usually there coldest month and when they have there greatest snow coverage so were fairly confident we will be filming in the white stuff.
We will be in Bulgaria for two weeks filming the main shoot with our main cast, and we are all very excited about getting over there and starting production.
SD – Ok that’s an interesting question, I will probable change my mind in a minute, but right now I would say Gordon Ramsey because he can cook the dinner and we both swear quite a bit ( him a LOT more than me), Vanessa Hudgens because she is serious eye candy and she can sing us festive songs while playing piano and Charles Dickens so he can recite A Christmas Carol, if I was lucky enough to be in a relationship that would change though and it would just be me and the missus ( if I had one ).
UKHS – Since it’s almost Christmas, do you have a favourite Christmas movie?
SD -I can’t say that I have a particular favourite Christmas movie, I pretty much love them all, but as long as I get to watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Elf, Christmas with the Kranks, and the Santa Claus some time during December I am happy, with Christmas horror I have to watch Rare Exports and I will probably give Saint another watch too.
UKHS -Finally, when will we see the film get released?
SD – Well my aim is to have a complete ready to show film by the end of November 2014 in time to have a premiere around Christmas of that year, and as were fan funded it my priority that all the amazing people that have backed our film get to see ‘Christmas Slay’ first and before anyone else.
In terms of a general release its hard to give an indication of a date, and I am not 100% sure what route I want to take it, I will most certainly be doing everything I can to try and get some form of distribution overseas, especially in America, but I am very undecided about the UK, I am very tempted to self distribute here and take ‘Christmas Slay’ on a UK City tour through independent cinema and release the DVD through a website but I am not sure yet, it would be a dream come true to see Christmas Slay on a shelf next to the latest release in Tesco ( other stores are available) but I don’t no, I have a lot of thinking to do.
Image courtesy: Steve Davis