Interview with REBORN director Julian Richards

Ahead of the World premiere screening of REBORN at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, Julian Richards discusses the torturous challenges of DADDY’S GIRL, why he wishes every actress was like Barbara Crampton and future plans, including directing the English language remake of RABIES.

Julian Richards Interview

Q: After six years away from directing, you have two films, REBORN and DADDY’S GIRL poised for distribution. Why these two very different films now?

My previous film SHIVER was completed in 2012 and it took longer for me to get back into the directing saddle because of commitments I had to my sales company Jinga Films. The company was growing quickly and needed more of my time and energy. We had grown from handling three films a year to handling ten films a year and our titles were getting stronger. At the same time my wife and I decided to have a family and in 2016 we became parents to twins. I think we both underestimated how demanding parenthood would be, and understandably, I lost momentum with the directing projects that I was developing.

But I had no intention of giving up on directing and was always on the lookout for new opportunities. The first, DADDY’S GIRL came from an unexpected source; an Indian broadcaster Zee Studios, based in Dubai who approached me to help them put together a slate of three horror films that they planned to shoot in Eastern Europe. I sent them three scripts from which they chose DADDY’S GIRL for me to direct and OPEN 24 HOURS for Padraig Reynolds to direct. My sales company Jinga Films represents two of Padraig’s earlier films RITES OF SPRING and WORRY DOLLS, so I was happy to share this opportunity with him.

The next opportunity came during Cannes when I was asked by John Penney and Brian Yuzna to recommend directors for REBORN, a feature they were planning to produce in Los Angeles. I recommended myself, gave feedback on the screenplay and was quickly hired for the project. Of course, the idea of directing two feature films in 12 months whilst raising twins was daunting, but I had lost time to make up for, and with the support of my wife, Rosana, I (we) somehow managed to do it.

Julian Richards Interview

Jemma Dallender in DADDY’S GIRL

Q: DADDY’S GIRL is a contentious, challenging film, to say the least. Did you have reservations about the storyline, given the way the film industry is shifting morally and sexually?

The screenplay for DADDY’S GIRL that went into production is different from the original screenplay. The original had an Haute Tension-esque twist whereby several characters in the story turn out to be the same character, the protagonist, with many events taking place inside her mind. It was this deeply psychological context that attracted me to the script, but the producers didn’t like it and so it was removed. Without this twist, and with the torture scenes actually happening rather than being the machinations of a deranged mind, the project was in danger of becoming just another torture porn film, and being a sales agent as well as a director, I was acutely aware of the problems this might cause, particularly post #metoo. So, I introduced a new theme to the story, making both the killer and the cop Iraq war veterans and linking the torture to Abu Ghraib, turning the film into a metaphor for the anxieties of post Iraq war America. When I directed the torture scenes, I panned away or cut away from anything too extreme or degrading, focusing instead on the protagonist as she watches. Re-action is stronger than action, and horror is more effective when left to the imagination. The producers did question my direction, they wanted less clothes and more torture, but I did not want to make an exploitation film and personally I felt uncomfortable taking the material in this direction. Ultimately DADDY’S GIRL is not a film about a bad guy torturing women, it is a film about a captive women staving off the desire to commit suicide and choosing to survive instead.

Q: Jemma Dallender puts in a brave, compelling performance. What she your first choice for the role?

Actually, we first cast Jemma as the vigilante, but when two of the actresses cast to play Zoe pulled out we had to re-shuffle our cast and offered Jemma the lead. She jumped at the opportunity because she had never played a character like that before.

Q: You extract an equally commanding performance from Barbara Crampton in REBORN. What was it like working with such a genre legend?

When I read the script for REBORN, Barbara was the first actress I thought about for the part of Lena, so I was really pleased when she agreed to board the project. Actually another actress was already attached to the project but had to leave just before we started shooting, so when Barbara arrived she only had a couple of days to prepare. It was a fraught start to the production but she was like the cavalry coming to the rescue.

Julian Richards Interview

Barbara Crampton in REBORN

Barbara gives commanding performances in all her films, so all a director has to do is cast her and provide her with a good script with good dialogue. Occasionally I would step in and ask for a little less or a little more, but generally speaking, you just roll the camera on Barbara and often you get what you need in one or two takes. Working with Barbara is therefore a director’s dream. She comes fully prepared and is willing to go above the call of duty to get the best result for the film. I wish every actress were like Barbara…

Q: Even though REBORN is a violent supernatural thriller, at heart it’s a moving story of a young woman’s search and reunion with her birth mother. How did you find balancing the emotional narrative with the brutal tone of its visual effects?

It was the mother, daughter reunion aspect of the story that attracted me to REBORN. The script had a strong, dramatic, emotional through-line which reminded me of Frankenstein. Most horror scripts don’t have such a strong dramatic ingredient, so I knew that this was something special. However, the script was lacking in strong horror beats, so I did a directors pass, ramping up the kill scenes in which Tess uses her electro-kinetic power. The Omen franchise became an influence here, dramatic family scenes intercut with inventive murder set pieces. Of course, Carrie was also an influence, as was The Fury and Scanners. The film has a strong sense of nostalgia for the genre, so I introduced a meta-horror ending to give it a contemporary twist.

Q: Juggling a career as a film director with that of running an established sales and distribution company (Jinga) must be a constant challenge. How do you do it? Do both give you equal satisfaction?

I moved into sales after making THE LAST HORROR MOVIE. I put a lot of my own money into that film and needed to make sure that I got it back. I also wanted to learn more about the business side of films and sales seemed to be the most immediate and accessible way to do that. I never intended to switch career, but I did need to do something that would provide me with a more reliable income. Jinga went from strength to strength and by the time we released A SERBIAN FILM in 2012, we had established ourselves as one of the key genre companies in the World. It was, and still is, an incredible learning curve and it compliments my film-making in many ways.

I think the opportunity to direct DADDY’S GIRL and REBORN came because of my experience in sales, so although Jinga initially diverted me away from directing, it ultimately provided opportunities that I might not have got going through the conventional employment channels such as agents and managers.

Q: You made a massive impact with THE LAST HORROR MOVIE and many people are still hankering for a sequel. Is this on the cards?

I did toy with the idea, about doing something with Max on Facebook and Twitter etc., but technology and social habits are evolving so quickly that I was concerned that any script that we came up with would be dated by the time it got made. Also, the market has changed. There is not much of an appetite for found footage, and crime films are less popular than supernatural. If somebody out there has a viable idea and wants to write a sequel to THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, I would certainly consider making it.

Q: When you look at the Jinga library, are there any films you would have liked to have made?

Well, A SERBIAN FILM does spring to mind, but actually no, I don’t think I’m capable of that level of transgression. The three films I would choose are STILL/BORN, OUR EVIL and THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME. All have a strong family drama at their core which gives them a greater sense of reality, despite the supernatural events wreaking havoc elsewhere in their stories.

Q: You come from Wales but your last film shot there was the BAFTA Cymru award-winning SUMMER SCARS. Do you plan to return to your homeland to make more movies?

The first opportunity I got to direct a feature came from Wales, when I received lottery finance from Film Agency Wales to make DARKLANDS, which is arguably the first Welsh horror movie and which has been credited as kickstarting a new wave of UK genre production which continues to this day. Film Agency Wales also supported SUMMER SCARS, and without this support I may not have been able to achieve the level of success that I have obtained, so I owe them and Wales a huge debt of gratitude. I would love to make more films in Wales, particularly films that focus on Welsh history, myth and folklore. If any writers out there have a script that I could shoot in Wales, please send it my way and I would be happy to read it.

Q: Finally, what’s next for Julian Richards?

I am in talks with Israeli production company UCM to co-produce and direct the English language re-make of RABIES and I am also developing an action thriller based on the terrorist attack on British holiday makers in Tunisia. I am also involved as a co-producer with the English language re-make of THE HOUSE AT THE END OF TIME which is currently in development at Good Fear.

REBORN has its World Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, Cineworld, Leicester Square on 3 Nov, 10.40am.

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Arrow Video FrightFest unleashes an intoxicating six-pack of horror, sci-fi and fantasy for their popular Halloween all-day event, now at the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November. The 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four continents and includes two world premieres and four UK premieres.

The day kicks off with Julian Richards’ latest chiller REBORN, a Carrie for the Z Generation, starring the First Lady of FrightFest, Barbara Crampton, and featuring a stunning performance from rising newcomer Kayleigh Gilbert. Richards, famous for The Last Horror Movie, is with us for this World Premiere screening.

Next up is the UK premiere of PARALLEL, director Isaac Ezban’s first English language horror fantasy after The Incident and The Similars. Be prepared for an ingenious killer alternate-universe concept, pitch-black thrills and a top-notch cast including Brit-star Georgia King.

You’ll definitely keep your eyes wide open for the UK premiere of MARA, Clive Tonge’s intensely tormenting psychological thriller about Sleep Paralysis, This demonic jolter stars the dazzling Olga Kurylenko, with sterling support from Craig Conway. Olga is planning to attend.

Technology has no boundaries in our next presentation – the world premiere of Paul Hyett’s sinister and unsettling PERIPHERAL. Hyett’s latest sci-fi horror fantasy boasts an astonishing performance from Hannah Arterton and both Hannah and Paul will be present, alongside co-star Elliot James Langridge.

This is followed by the UK Premiere of Swedish blockbuster THE UNTHINKABLE, a nail-biting disaster epic reminiscent of The Mist and the Cloverfield franchise, with jaw-dropping action sequences, a gripping plot and punchy performances that will leave you breathless.

Last but definitely not least, is the UK premiere of The Onetti Brothers’ ABRAKADABRA, the final instalment of their fantastic giallo trilogy after Sonno Profondo and Francesca. This is definitely their wackiest, wildest and most twisted thriller yet, complete with film stock grain, a trippy Suspiria colour scheme and black-gloved maniacs!

Plus, we’ll be showing two fantastic shorts, the London premiere of comedy horror DEEP CLEAN, starring Paul Kaye, and the world premiere of Zombie romance THE PREDICAMENT, And of course there will be intros, Q & A’s, give-aways and a few special surprises…

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director, said today: “After a hugely successful Arrow Video FrightFest at the Cineworld Empire Leicester Square this August, we are thrilled to be returning to such an auspicious venue for our annual sort-of-Halloween, all-screaming, all-entrancing Shriek Saturday. Team FrightFest searched long and hard for the most trenchant, traumatizing and trend-setting movies, which we hope you’ll remember for a long time to come”.

Day passes (£45) and single tickets (£15) go on sale at noon on Saturday 6th October.
To book:
(Online booking only)


10.40: REBORN (World Premiere)

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Director: Julian Richards. Cast: Kayleigh Gilbert, Barbara Crampton, Michael Paré, Rae Dawn Chong, Chaz Bono. USA 2018. 80 mins.

Synopsis: A stillborn baby girl is abducted by a deranged morgue attendant and brought back to life by electro-kinetic power. On her sixteenth birthday, traumatized Tess escapes captivity and sets out to find her birth mother leaving a trail of horrifying violent destruction and chilling chaos behind her.

12:45 PARALLEL (UK Premiere)

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Director: Isaac Ezban. Cast: Kathleen Quinlan, Carrie Genzel, Georgia King, Martin Wallström, Ami Ameen. Canada 2018. 104 mins. |

Synopsis: Four friends living and working together in Seattle developing apps discover a mirror portal to parallel universes in their house. Faced with an impossible time crunch to improve a new parking app, they use the portal to get the job done. But while each alternate universe looks the same, there are small differences as they learn to their cost when each tries to take advantage of the time shifts.

PLUS….DEEP CLEAN (London Premiere)

Director: Matt Harlock Cast: Paul Kaye, Tony Way, Joshua Glenister. UK 2018. 15 mins.

A troubled kid forced into boring work experience on his Uncle’s road crew discovers it is hiding an amazing secret…

15:15 MARA (UK Premiere)

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Director: Clive Tonge. Cast: Olga Kurylenko, Craig Conway, Javier Botet, Rosie Fellner, Lance E. Nichols. UK 2018. 98 mins.

Synopsis: Sleep Paralysis: a comatose state somewhere between sleeping and being awake and experiencing horrific nightmares while unable to move a single muscle. Criminal psychologist Kate Fuller is assigned to the murder of a man who has seemingly been strangled in his sleep by his wife and the only witness is their eight-year-old daughter, Sophie. As Kate digs into the mystery of an ancient demon which kills people as they lie in slumber, she experiences the same petrifying symptoms as all previous victims and spirals through a chilling nightmare to save herself and Sophie before she dares fall asleep again.

18:00 PERIPHERAL (World Premiere)

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Director: Paul Hyett. Cast: Hannah Arterton, Tom Conti, Elliot James Langridge, Rosie Day, Jenny Seagrove. UK 2018. 89 mins.

Synopsis: Bobbi Johnson (Hannah Arterton), a young literary sensation, is struggling with her difficult second novel. While dealing with a crazed stalker and a junkie ex-boyfriend, Bobbi’s publisher convinces her to use new smart editing software. But soon the A.I. programme starts manipulating her work to suit its nefarious ends leaving Bobbi to suspect she’s being controlled by sinister forces. Fighting possible hallucinations as her deadline looms, is she just a hapless cog in a monstrous machine?

20:15 THE UNTHINKABLE (UK Premiere)

Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event

Directors: The Crazy Pictures Collective – Hannes Krantz, Albin Pettersson, Olle Tholén, Rasmus Råsmark, Victor Danell. Cast: Christoffer Nordenrot, Lisa Henni, Jesper Barkselius, Pia Halvorsen, Magnus Sundberg. Sweden 2018. 129 mins.

Synopsis: Midsummer in Sweden and the country wakes up to a high security warning. The TV, Internet and telephone signals are all down and a series of unexplained events take place without anyone knowing their source. As the shock and disorientation sets in, celebrated musician Alex is forced back to his hometown where he must reconcile with his estranged father and team up with his first love, Anna, in their struggle to survive the chemical rain and ominous military attacks.

22:45 ABRAKADABRA (UK Premiere)

Directors: Luciano Onetti, Nicolás Onetti. Cast: Germán Baudino, María Eugenia Rigón, Clara Kovacic, Ivi Brickell, Raúl Gederlini. Argentina/New Zealand 2018. 70 mins

Synopsis: Dante the Great, a prestigious magician accidentally dies during one of his riskiest illusions. Thirty-five years later his protégé son Lorenzo presents a magic show in one of the most important theatres in the city. But a series of violent murders begins to take place that seems to incriminate him. Will Lorenzo discover who and why before it is too late?


Director: Steve Baker. Cast: Coben Storer Goto, Carlee Baker, Harley Neville. New Zealand 2017. 15 min.

Three survivors are trapped in a car surrounded by zombies and one of them has leveraged his supposed inexperience to lose the keys on purpose, in order to win the heart of his unrequited love.

For full programme details:

FrightFest Halloween 2018 – Images | FB: /FrightFestreal | Twitter: @frightfest | IG: @frightfestUK | FB: /ArrowVideo | Twitter: @ArrowFilmsVideo | IG: @ArrowVideo


Press and publicity enquires:
Clout Communications

Halloween Season haunts Horror Channel

Haunted Halloween Season on Horror Channel

Horror Channel presents its Haunted Halloween season this October, taking possession of the nation’s TVs for thirteen nights with a supernaturally spooky selection of premieres and classic favourites, including the UK TV premiere of Jesse Thomas Cook’s THE HEXECUTIONERS, a nerve-shredding American Gothic tale of terror. There are also network premieres for the gripping US-remake of THE GRUDGE starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Carles Torrens’s paranormal chiller APARTMENT 143. Amongst returning channel hits are James Wan’s supernatural stunner INSIDIOUS, John Carpenter’s iconic THE FOG, and Lluis Quilez’s Colombia-shot suspense thriller OUT OF THE DARK.

Full film details of season in transmission order:

Fri 19 Oct @ 21:00 – APARTMENT 143 (2011) *Network Premiere

Haunted Halloween Season on Horror Channel

A team of parapsychologists sets out to investigate a series of strange phenomena taking place in a newly occupied apartment. With the residents plagued by telephone calls with no caller, mysterious shadows and flying objects, the team attempts to contact the “other side” in order to bring peace to the apartment. However, the investigation grows increasingly dangerous as the team delve further into the apartments mysteries

Sat 20 Oct @ 21:00 – THE UNBORN (2009)

Sun 21 Oct @ 21:00 – THIR13EN GHOSTS (2001)

Mon 22 Oct @ 21:00 – DEAD SILENCE (2007)

Tues 23 Oct @ 21:00 – OUT OF THE DARK (2014)

Wed 24 Oct @ 21:00 – THE FOG (1981)

Thurs 25 Oct @ 21:00 – THE HAUNTING IN CONNETICUT 2

Fri 26 Oct @ 21:00 – THE HEXECUTIONERS (2015) *UK TV Premiere

Haunted Halloween Season on Horror Channel

In a future world where sanctioned euthanasia has become an industry, Malison is has just started a job assisting suicides for the Rite-To-Die company. After a distressing first call-out, she is paired with seasoned veteran Olivia, and they head to the remote estate of a man on his deathbed wishing to expire via a Tibetan death. Soon the shocking reasons why this arcane method has been chosen become clear, as the demise-inducing duo find themselves fighting vengeful spirits determined to stop it.

Sat 27 Oct @ 21:00 – THE GRUDGE (2004) *Network Premiere

Haunted Halloween Season on Horror Channel

In this remake of the original horror, also directed by Takashi Shimizu, the action moves to Tokyo, where where American nurse Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim. Also starring Bill Pullman, Ryo Ishibashi (Audition) and Roswell’s Jason Behr.

Sun 28 Oct @ 21:00 – WIND CHILL (2007)

Mon 29 Oct @ 21:00 – CONFINED (2015)

Tues 30 Oct @ 21:00 – DEMONIC (2015)

Wed 31 Oct @ 21:00 – INSIDIOUS (2010)

There is also a small screen debut for Bruce McDonald’s atmospheric and impressive Halloween horror HELLIONS, and network premieres for Scott Derrickson’s terrifying THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE starring Jennifer Carpenter and Tom Wilkinson, Peter Webber’s HANNIBAL RISING, Greg McLean’s ROGUE starring Sam Worthington, vampire action thriller PRIEST starring Paul Bettany, and found-footage monster horror EXISTS.

Plus Stephen King’s popular sci-fi adaptation UNDER THE DOME returns for Season 2 from Wed 10 Oct at 8pm, with Season 3 kicking off on Mon 29 Oct at 8pm.

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138


Interview with HATCHET director Adam Green

Ahead of Horror Channel’s UK TV Premiere of HATCHET on Fri 14 Sept, director Adam Green gives an exclusive interview about his beloved franchise and what the future holds for Victor Crowley…

Interview with HATCHET director Adam Green

HATCHET is finally getting its first showing on UK TV, courtesy of Horror Channel. We’re excited, are you?

I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve always said that even though HATCHET may have world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, it was at FrightFest in London where “Victor Crowley” was truly born. FrightFest was “the screening heard around the world” and the UK audience was so enthusiastic over HATCHET that every genre festival on the planet seemed to call asking to program the film the very next day. A decade and three sequels later it’s about time that the film plays on Horror Channel, which feels like its natural home.

HATCHET is such a joyous celebration of the slasher genre. Looking back, who influenced you the most?

While I may have grown up on a healthy diet of all of the great slashers, my two biggest influences for HATCHET were actually not slasher films at all. John Landis’ AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and Tom Holland’s FRIGHT NIGHT were the two films that influenced HATCHET the most. The fact that those movies contained so much comedy made them massively entertaining, far beyond what audiences had come to expect from those sub-genres. There may be nothing funny about “Victor Crowley” and the violence/gore may be turned up to eleven, but HATCHET has a comedic edge that very few slasher films that came before it (intentionally) had.

Any more ‘HATCHETS’ in your murderous tool cupboard?

A major reason why the HATCHET sequels have succeeded is that they were planned out from the very start. In the first film I actually showed some of the weapons that “Victor Crowley” wouldn’t actually use until the later films and I held back crucial elements of his mythology to be revealed later on down the road. Of course it was also a risky move given that there was no way of knowing if I’d ever get to make the sequels.

Interview with HATCHET director Adam GreenOriginally I had only planned for HATCHET to be a trilogy, but when I decided to bring “Victor Crowley” back for more I planned out another complete roadmap for where it could all go. With the success of VICTOR CROWLEY (HATCHET 4) it looks like I’ll once again be able to make the sequels I have planned. I’ve been able to stay in love with “Victor Crowley” because I only head back into his swamp when I’m ready to do so. Given that HATCHET is a cult franchise and not a studio property, my crew and I have always been able to make each film only when we want to. The “Hatchet Army” has always been willing to patiently wait until I’m ready. Not every filmmaker has such a luxury and I have never taken it for granted.

You and Joe Lynch feature quite heavily in the new FrightFest documentary. Still the best of friends?

I’m pretty sure that Joe and I became common-law married a few years ago simply based on how much time we spend together. We’ve released a new episode of our weekly podcast (THE MOVIE CRYPT) every Monday for well over five years now.

THE MOVIE CRYPT has become a huge part of our lives and our audience’s lives as well. I speak on behalf of both Joe and Arwen (my Yorkshire Terrier and our other co-host on the podcast) when I say that our annual 48-hour LIVE marathon to benefit Save A Yorkie Rescue is the most important thing that we do in our careers every year. Our professions may come with a lot of cool perks, but no amount of success, standing ovations or awards can match what it feels like when our fans help us save hundreds of dogs’ lives every year. Last Christmas we raised $24,000.00 during our 48-hour marathon – all of which went towards helping homeless and abused dogs in dire need of foster and medical care. The President of the rescue sent us a book a few months later containing the stories and “before and after” photos of each individual dog that we saved and it was… emotional beyond words. For all of the struggles, hardships, and general bullshit that Joe and I may go through trying to make movies for a living, when we get to put all we’ve accomplished to use for something so positive it is all worth it.

You scare us a lot, but what scares you the most?

The easy answer would be to say that the decrepit old clown that sleeps under my bed scares me the most but the truth is that these days it’s the entire goddamn world that’s scaring the shit out of me. Mass shootings have become part of our daily weather forecast here in the US and this whole trend of social justice warriors claiming that they are offended by everything and assassinating people’s lives and careers just to make a public showing of what “wonderfully tolerant citizens” they think they are…? I mean, when does it stop? The most revolting aspect is that they’re doing all of this in the name of “change” yet they’re actively trying to destroy people’s lives over a bad joke they may have made a decade ago and may have even already apologized for since. Make up you minds, Assholes! Are you saying that you want change or are you saying that change is not possible? It’s a terrifying time to be an artist.

Interview with HATCHET director Adam Green

If you had to choose – Jason, Freddy or Michael?

Michael. Always Michael.

Do you still see yourself as a member of the ‘Splat Pack’?

Yes. I’m a proud member of the ‘Splat Pack’ and I always will be. I may venture off into other arenas but as last year’s VICTOR CROWLEY proved, I still find it tremendous fun watching a character get “fisted” with their own severed arm. Let’s not forget that even my sit-com HOLLISTON has included several exploding heads, sliced off fingers, stabbings, and burned off faces. Hell, “Victor Crowley” chopped my own character’s face to pieces with his hatchet in the first three minutes of the second episode in Season 1. I’m not going anywhere and I’ll never fully grow up.

Still rocking with HADDONFIELD?

For the moment HADDONFIELD has once again been put on the back burner. Until someone invents a way for me to clone myself I just can’t do it all. The resurrection of HADDONFIELD was never expected and it was really just dumb luck that when I randomly played a couple of our songs during 2016’s 48-hour live MOVIE CRYPT marathon the right people just so happened to be listening and suddenly there was all of this interest again. However, after how well our record “Ghosts Of Salem” was received and after how well our reunion show went at the Worcester Palladium last Fall (our first performance together in seventeen years!) none of us want to just sit back and watch this second lease on the band’s life pass us by. Watch this space…

We hear you’ve got various projects on the go. What can you currently update us on?

Much like I did with my last two films (DIGGING UP THE MARROW and VICTOR CROWLEY), I’m trying to keep whatever I’m working on secret but that said, my first novel “I, SURVIVOR” just came out and is available through Amazon. In VICTOR CROWLEY “Andrew Yong” (the only known survivor of the massacre) is promoting his autobiography “I, SURVIVOR” and, me being me, I thought “how cool would it be if the book existed in real life so fans could read Andrew’s life story?” So Joe Knetter (my co-writer) and I wrote the actual book! The book is going to surprise a lot of people…

Interview with HATCHET director Adam Green

On the comic book front, the first issue of the next HATCHET comic series (“Vengeance”) and the second HOLLISTON graphic novel (“Carnival of Carnage”) both come out in wide release around Halloween. My assistants at ArieScope have created a little documentary celebrating the 20 years of Halloween short films that I’ve made. The documentary will be available on-line around mid-September, just one month before the 20th annual Halloween short film is released. Aside from all of that, THE MOVIE CRYPT continues to release a new 2+ hour long episode every Monday morning and we’re gearing up for our 3rd annual 48-hour live marathon to benefit Save A Yorkie Rescue this December. Lastly, Season 3 of HOLLISTON continues to be worked on but I suspect it is still going to be awhile before all of our schedules line up to get back on stage together again. I know it’s been a long wait but the show has been through hell and back with all that has happened since our friend and co-star Dave Brockie died in 2014. When the show continues on it will be because we’re all ready and the time is right.

Will we see you at FrightFest next year?

I would be at FrightFest every year if it were up to me! I think my next FrightFest will be my 10th FrightFest, is that right? Somehow I keep getting older while Alan Jones keeps getting younger. I’m certain that he’s a vampire.

Hatchet is broadcast on Horror Channel, Fri 14th September, 9pm.

Mario Covone set to make feature film directorial debut with Genre shocker OVERTIME

Mario Covone

Mario Covone, writer of 2014’s critically acclaimed Reaper Comics horror series, Video Nasty, will make his feature film directorial debut helming horror movie OVERTIME.

OVERTIME centres on a teacher working late into the night at school, seemingly alone. But a presence is watching him from the shadows. Stalked through the winding corridors and trapped within, a sinister secret holds the key to his survival.

No stranger to political subtext within his work, Covone’s movie, which he has also written, explores the real-world issues of violence in schools, and the dangers of media scaremongering, whilst maintaining a traditional horror backdrop with twists and turns aplenty.

The cast and creative team will be revealed soon, as will the poster artwork, being designed by horror industry legend Graham Humphreys. Humphreys also painted the covers for Covone’s Video Nasty comic book run.

After the success of Video Nasty, Britain’s biggest selling independent comic series of all time, Covone set up his production company, Miracle World Productions, which is producing the film, due to start shooting in Jan 2019.

Covone said today: “Comics will always be a passion of mine, both reading and creating. But I feel the urge to test my metal in a new medium, one that I’m equally passionate about”.

Press enquiries:
Greg Day, Clout Communications

Useful links:
Instagram: covonemario

Interview with HELL IS WHERE THE HOME IS director Orson Oblowitz

Interview with Orson Oblowitz

You’ve done every film related job from producer and actor to cinematographer and editor. Was directing always the goal?

Poverty dictates…I would just take any position I could and figure it out from there, especially when I made The Queen Of Hollywood Blvd. where I just didn’t have the budget and had to take on as many positions as I could. Directing was always the ultimate goal though. Funny enough, the genesis of Hell came from a job I had done years before when I was camera operating on a feature film The Ganzfeld Experiment. It was a crazy production, and my dad was the director. The line producer of Ganzfeld was Julio Hallivis. We became friends and stayed in touch. Cut to five years later, I show Julio my first film The Queen of Hollywood Blvd. and he says “Hey man, I got a script I think you will dig. You want to make this film together?” and that’s how Hell Is Where The Home Is was born.

THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD was your debut feature and tribute to grindhouse. What’s your homage with HELL?

It’s funny because in my head I always saw this film as a noir meeting a giallo. I watched a lot of films such as Desperate Hours, Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac, Private Property, Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, and then mixing it up with Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace, Suspiria and The Bird With The Crystal Plumage.

in QUEEN, did she want her son to give her another role here?

Haha, yes she did, I love collaborating with her. If Fairuza Balk didn’t take the role of The Visitor, it was going to go to my mom. Sorry mom!

FrightFest’s Alan Jones was delighted to learn you had his book about Dario Argento, ‘Profondo Argento/Dario Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic’ (FAB Press, still available!), on set at all times as a reference manual. You see the movie in Giallo terms?

That book is the damn bible. It’s just a real amazing insight into the mind of Argento (who is a hero of mine), as well as a step-by-step manual on how the film-making

Interview with Orson Oblowitz

process takes place. The feeling in my stomach when I go to the first day of set is like the worse hangover of all time, for some reason Alan Jones’ book was something I could turn to and find a little comfort in looking at Argento’s own process and how he dealt with set-backs on his films. I actually fanboyed out a little when Alan emailed me regarding FrightFest. think what defines the giallo aspects of Hell, at least where I tried to add them are the masked intruders with black gloves. The stylized primary colors, which was directly taken from Bava and Argento. And ultimately, in Giallo films you have a synthesis of genres, mainly being a crime film meeting a slasher, which is really where I think this movie fits. As well as the small elements of camp similar to these which you would find in a film like Cemetery Man or The Church.

Is the main clue that all the home invaders wear black gloves?

The gloves were a definite homage. We also took the machete kill in our film from Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood. I really think the theme song written by Jonathan Snipes Is heavily influenced by Giallo scores as well. We were referencing the score for The Fifth Cord a lot.

What’s your favourite Giallo/Argento film?

Damn that’s a hard one. I mean, Suspiria changed my psyche, and I’ve seen it dozens of times at this point. I’ve watched Opera several times this year, the camera work in that film is so ahead of its time, I can’t really say I’ve seen anything like it before. I may just be inferring here, but I see Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible taking a lot of stylistic cues from Opera with the god-like POV and the roaming camera.

You call HELL “a neon nightmare”, can you explain that a little more?

A home invasion has always been a fear of mine. When I was a kid, I used to sleep in front of the door with a baseball bat by my bed. A weekend a few year ago, I was staying in the desert with my girlfriend and a few friends, we were hanging out outside, I turned to my buddy and said “What would you do if someone just showed up right now with weapons or something?” This film allowed me to explore my own personal fears and put them on screen. In the early stages of the project, my producers and I discussed the best way we could portray the “nightmare” on screen and really embraced this insane vibrant color scheme to intensify the violent descent the characters go on.

Interview with Orson Oblowitz

How hard was it to cast Fairuza Balk, she hasn’t been around for a while? Does this role signify her comeback?

Originally the role was written for a man, and I wanted to mix it up a little. So we changed it to a woman, we kicked around a bunch of ideas and when Fairuza’s name came up, it just felt right. She was super responsive and a pleasure to work with. My producers Julio and Diego Hallivis would sit on set with me trying to figure out ways for us to write her into more scenes because she just lit up the screen.

What about the other cast members, why did you choose them?

I owe a lot of this to my casting director Jessica Sherman. We wanted to have a strong cast and knew the film had this whole dramatic element we really wanted to embrace to differentiate it from other home invasion thrillers. It all came together very organically, from Zach Avery who has collaborated with my producers on several films and totally had a deep understanding of his character. Janel Parrish, who came in to meet with us and we just had a really good vibe and she just understand the role really well. Jonathan Howard put himself on tape and blew us away. We were having a really hard time finding the right person for the lead of Sarah, and then Angela Trimbur came in. I had seen her in Final Girls and Trash Fire. She kind of has become this indie-horror darling. She just really brought it hard and that’s how it happened.

You chose composer Jonathan Snipes who scored STARRY EYES to write the HELL music. What was the main reason for choosing him?

I just really dug the score of Starry Eyes. The melody he did for the theme song with music box, it was clear that he really cared about his work and had a large set of references he was pulling from. I sent him over the opening of Hell which at the time was temp scored with the Cannibal Holocaust theme song. He went “You had me at the Riz Ortolani song.” And that was that. I just love what Jonathan did. It’s really great to listen to as a stand-alone album as well. I would love to see it put out on vinyl someday.

HELL IS WHERE THE HOME IS plays at Arrow Video FrightFest on Sun 26th August, Cineworld Leicester SQ.


Adam Green’s HATCHET to receive UK TV premiere on Horror Channel.

Adam Green's HATCHET to receive UK TV premiere on Horror Channel.

Tony Todd in Hatchett

Twelve years after HATCHET, Adam Green’s jaw-dropping gory throwback to the Golden Age of slasher shockers, was first unleashed upon festival audiences world-wide, Horror Channel will be broadcasting its UK TV Premiere on Fri Sept 14, 9pm.

Admired for its genuinely funny script, standout performances and skilled diversionary tactics for consistent jumpy scares, HATCHET is still as sharp as they come. Joining horror icon Kane Hodder are Elm Street’s Robert Englund and Candyman’s Tony Todd in a timeless cult favourite that gloriously chops to the heart of why fans love the slice-and-dice genre so much.

Green said today: “A decade and three sequels later! It’s about time that the film played on UK TV and the Horror Channel feels like its natural home”.
Horror Channel blood-splattered September line-up also gives TV firsts for Kieran Parker’s OUTPOST III: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ (Sun 15 Sept @ 23:00), the third instalment of the hit Nazi zombie action horror franchise, Steven Sheil’s graphic underground thriller DEAD MINE (Sat 22 Sept, 9pm), set in Indonesia, and Will Canon’s haunted house horror DEMONIC (Sat 29 Sept, 9pm).

And that’s not all. There are also network premieres for the gory and hilarious 100 BLOODY ACRES (Sat 8 Sept, 9pm), the erotic, murderous three-hander THREE (Sat 1 Sept, 9pm) starring Kelly Brook, Billy Zane and Juan Pablo Di Pace, Jed Weintrob’s psychological serial killer shocker SCAR (Fri 7 Sept. 11pm) and BLOODSUCKING BOSSES (Fri 28 Sept, 9pm), a comedy horror from the popular Dr God Comedy team

Plus, to celebrate the series launch of Stephen King’s Sci-fi adaptation UNDER THE DOME (from Fri 21 July, 8pm for 13 weeks) the channel is broadcasting a marathon of King film adaptations including CHRISTINE, CUJO, THINNER & CHILDREN OF THE CORN (from Fri 21 July, 9pm).

Adam Green's HATCHET to receive UK TV premiere on Horror Channel.

100 Bloody Acres

Horror Channel: Be Afraid
TV: Sky 317 / Virgin 149 / Freeview 70 / Freesat 138


Interview with VIDEOMAN director Kristian A. Söderström

Ten Questions with Kristian A. Söderström, director of VIDEOMAN

So Kristian A. Söderström, who are you, where do you come from and what’s your creative arts background?

I grew up in Gothenburg Sweden and was a film fanatic from the start. I got me an education in film directing from UCLA in Los Angeles, but I’ve studied film theory and psychology as well. For many years now, I’ve been making short films and commercials while trying to finance feature films. I write and direct.

What’s the Swedish horror movie scene like? Is it a vibrant culture? Or has it been very limiting and hard for you to break through?

I would say that the Swedish horror and genre scene is almost non existent. I’ve had a lot of problems financing films. Some years ago I was asked by a commissioner at the Swedish film institute if a script I submitted was supposed to be a horror film or a drama. I answered ”It’s supposed to be both.” That was something they could not tolerate. Anyhow, horror has never been a popular genre with the film financers in Sweden. Experimental stuff is also tough. At the moment it seems like you either must make a nordic noir, a comedy or an obviously ”important” film. There are always exceptions to this off course, but generally speaking, not.

Is the movie autobiographical, are you that central VHS collector, Ennio, and is that your house covered in fabulous Italian posters and wall-to-wall videos?

The main character, Ennio, is a combination of three people I know. One of them is me. So there are definitely autobiographical moments in there. It’s not my house depicted in the film, altough I own a lot of Italian movie posters. I collect them, as well as movies.

You are clearly a massive Italian horror/Giallo fan, so in keeping with the playful atmosphere of movie choose: Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci?

That is a really tough adoration match…I will go with Argento though. He was the one that got me into italian genre cinema and his filmmaking inspired my desire to make movies.

Ten Questions with Kristian A. Söderström, director of VIDEOMAN

The ‘stolen’ video is ZOMBIE, any reason why you picked that title?

In Sweden in the early 80s, we had a similar thing to the UK to Video Nasties. A distributor called ”Video Invest” put out 26 horror titles. After a debate on national telly, these films were quickly banned from the video stores. Many years later these titles, from this particular distributor, became a VHS collectors wet dream. Therefore I wanted it to be one of these. Zombie, which for some reason carry the cover of ”City of the Living Dead”, was chosen because of the cover art, which I love. It’s also a Fulci film. The main character has a thing for Fulci, the same goes for me.

Of course Ennio’s VHS obsession is yet another of the many addictions you depict. Is that what VIDEOMAN is really all about?

On the surface it’s a film about film fanaticism and 80s nostalgia. Thematically, it’s a movie about loneliness, passion and addiction. The starting point of this film was me meeting a video store owner who had not taken a vacation for 14 years. He seemed to be imprisoned by his passion (films). The thought of how something you love can lead to loneliness and exclusion was something that really appealed to me.

Stefan Sauk from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Swedish version), Lena Nilsson and Martin Wallstrom (‘Mr. Robot’) are your main stars and they are all terrific. How did you go about casting them?

When deciding on which script to make as my low budget feature debute, my path crossed with Stefan Sauk, whom I kind of forgot as an actor. I liked him very much many years ago when he was making a very far out thing on television. I realised that he could bring the black humour and desperation that I needed for the main character Ennio. Stefan being long time absent from feature film work also fitted Ennio, who is trying to make a comeback, life-wise.

Lena Nilsson was an up-and-coming star in the 80s. She also had not worked in movies for many years. Stefan told me I should see her as he thought she was great. I did and was blown away by her naturalistic presence. Simone, who Lena is playing, like Ennio, has gotten stuck in the 80s. Both these characters were succesful back then, that’s why they’ve gotten obsessed with trying to evoke these times anew. Life seemed to be imitating art a bit with these two actors.

Ten Questions with Kristian A. Söderström, director of VIDEOMAN

Regarding Martin Wallström, I had been a fan long before MR Robot. In Robot he was so amazing and he got so much hype that I thought it impossible to get him in my small movie. He loved the script though and the rest is history.

Your poster tag line is ‘A Movie Can Change Your Life’, do you truly believe that?

Well yes, I think that’s possible. In the case of Ennio in ”Videoman”, the Zombie film becomes a financial life savior, like the bicycle in ”Bicycle thieves”. In real life I think that a movie can have a very strong impact. It can hit you in many different ways. It can make you question yourself and others, it can make you obsessed and so on. Sometimes you will never be quite the same after watching a particular movie. In a small way, or a big way…

Great score by Waveshaper and Robert Parker, how did that come about?

It’s great, isn’t it! John Carpenter is the reason that I wanted to have analogue synths on the soundtrack of my first feature. I loved him and his scores since forever. I’ve been a fan of the neo analogue synth movement ”Synthwave” since Nicolas Winding Refn’s ”Drive”. When I realised that Waveshaper, whom I adored, was actually Swedish, I had my producer track him down. Through Waveshaper I got to Robert Parker. These two side by side felt like a match in heaven, in order to reach the whole pallette of feelings in this genre bender of a movie.

You describe VIDEOMAN as “Dario Argento meets Mike Leigh”. Can you explain some more?

Dario Argento and Mike Leigh are two of my greatest influences. I’d like to combine realistic filmmaking (Leigh) with genre elements (Argento). I love complex characters that feels like real human beings and I also love the mood and storytelling of horror films. I feel like there often exists a segregation between commercial and ”important” movies, such that it must be either or. I want to change this. I think people like Ben Wheatly, Alice Lowe and Peter Strickland are breaking down barriers like these. They are very inspiring to me. ”Kill List”, ”Prevenge” and ”Berberian Sound studio” are masterful and innovative filmmaking.

VIDEOMAN plays at Arrow Video FrightFest on Sun 26th August, Cineworld Leicester SQ.


Interview with Await Further Instructions director Johnny Kevorkian

10 Questions with Johnny Kevorkian, director of AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

10 Questions with Johnny Kevorkian, director of AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

What was it about Gavin Williams’s script for AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS you liked so much, and what did you add to make it more personal to you?

Well, when I first read the script I thought: “How the hell am I going to make this!” It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I knew it was going to be a massive challenge in every way possible. Overall, this was a very unusual script and that also appealed to me. My main addition to the script was to push it in a much darker and serious tone overall, which is more my style of filmmaking. I’m pleased that I managed to retain the dark humour at the start but then move into a different and much more serious realm as things start getting nastier for the family.

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY producer Jack Tarling thought of you as director because the script is a solid character study in the same vein as your previous film THE DISAPPEARED. Can you see the similarities?

Yes, in some instances (apart from the VFX) there are lots of similarities to THE DISAPPEARED. For instance we are seeing our characters break down in front of us and observing how they subtly start to transform into someone else. Ultimately it’s all about characters for me when I make a film, if I don’t have a script which doesn’t have interesting or dynamic characters then its not something I’m interested in doing.

It’s extraordinary how the film’s subject matter has chimed with the current hot issues of misplaced authority and fake news?

The timing is pretty unbelievable, considering the script was written a few years ago! It’s really hit a raw nerve with the American audiences when screening it at Chicago. They are pretty much seeing what’s going on in the world played out in front of them. The family in my film are people who simply don’t know what’s real and what’s not in the news anymore!

10 Questions with Johnny Kevorkian, director of AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

Was it always a Christmas setting and what did that add to the horrific atmosphere?

Yes. Families tend to always argue when they get together over Christmas, it seems to generally bring out the worst in people. Now imagine locking those families together in one house and then dousing them with fear and paranoia. You’re left with the most extreme and horrible scenario imaginable, which is what AFI shows us.

There’s a definite David Cronenberg/John Carpenter vibe going on, how did you ensure to strike the right balance between homage and innovation?

Yes there are influences by such films as ‘The Thing’ and in particular ‘The Fly’ by Cronenberg, with the whole body horror elements. I was also very influenced by Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ as well as ‘The Twilight Zone’ episodes and 50’s paranoid sci fi films.

Seven people in one enclosed place like CUBE and the ensemble cast is amazing. Did the rehearsal period you insisted on before shooting engender that family-style cohesion?

Yes that was definitely a challenge for sure. Again, you want to be able to manage seven characters speaking at the same time but still keeping it as exciting and dynamic as possible. I was fortunate enough to be able to rehearse with the actors on the actual built sets, which really help with blocking and being able to play around with different ways to shoot it and for the actors to feel comfortable.

Dan Martin’s special prosthetic effects are wonderful. How important was it for you to do as much in camera as possible?

I had never met Dan before the film but I knew his wife Jen Handorf who introduced me to him and that’s how he became involved. The film uses old school SPFX techniques, prosthetics, animatronics, wires, puppeteers, shooting in reverse etc. and finding someone these days who specialises in these is hard. Fortunately, Dan is one of them. I presented Dan with a bunch of concept art, which I had worked on with my Creature Designer Steve Trumble and Dan immediately got the concept. It was then a matter of making them work, which he did!

10 Questions with Johnny Kevorkian, director of AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

How difficult is filming on interconnecting sets in one locked location?

We had the main stage as the living room and kitchen and dining area. I insisted on having that as one entire space so it would feel authentic and if the camera moved around that space then it could do so continuously. That’s where we pretty much shot most of the film, which made it easier. But we did have to shoot the bedrooms, bathroom and upstairs landing on the two other stages which did require careful planning,

Can you say something about Annika Summerson’s terrific lighting, how would you define the look?

Again I wanted it to look cinematic, rich and by her lighting style she achieves that excellently. By the second or third act in particular we played with colour a lot. Annika used a colour chart to map out the lighting colour changes throughout the film, For example, as we start to push the claustrophobia element then the house starts to darken and the dominant light source is the TV.

At the movie’s centre is an amusing concept regarding television’s last power push in this age of multi-visual platforms. But you play it completely straight. Was keeping the humour in check hard?

I think the humour is there at the start but then it dies away as things start to get more serious. Yes, there is a challenge making this insane scenario as serious and feeling as real as possible. There was always a danger it could go the wrong way regarding tone. So by really going for a dark tone and by the serious way the actors play their parts does definitely help that!

AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS plays at Arrow Video FrightFest, Prince Charles Cinema on Sun 26 August.

Interview with THE DARK director Justin P. Lange

Ten Questions with Justin P. Lange, director of THE DARK

Ten Questions with Justin P. Lange, director of THE DARK

THE DARK is based on your Columbia University thesis short film. Was it a difficult process expanding it into a full-length feature?

I never really saw this as a traditional short-to-feature type of deal, to be honest. My thesis film was my first real foray into genre filmmaking, so it was very much a trial-and-error process for me, almost like a sketch, in which I wanted to see what my version of a horror film would look like. Luckily, the short had some success on the festival circuit, which gave me the confidence I needed to launch into writing the feature. Some of the ideas from the short definitely carried over, but ultimately it feels like a totally different film to me.

You shot the film in North Ontario, Canada, but what’s the Austrian connection?

The film’s connection: the Austrian production company DOR Film were the primary producers, and the film was majority-financed by Austria, which makes it an Austrian film. While we initially intended to shoot in Austria, later in the process I was talking with my acquaintance Robert Eggers about his experience making THE WITCH, and he made me aware of a production incentive in Northern Ontario they had accessed, called the NOHFC. I brought it to DOR’s attention, and they ended up exploring the incentive, and eventually linked up with the Canadian production company First Love Films and decided to move the production to Canada.

As for my personal connection: I met Executive Producer Florian Krügel while we were both studying at Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program. There we became friends and collaborators, and even though Florian ended up leaving Columbia early to return to Vienna and continue his studies at the Vienna Film Academy, we wanted to continue working together, so he went on to produce all of my student films as well as develop the script for the feature version of THE DARK. It was through Florian that I met Klemens Hufnagl, as well as several of my other Austrian collaborators, who I consider to be like family. So it was important to me that we all make THE DARK together, and I was ecstatic when Florian was hired by DOR Film and they optioned THE DARK as the first feature film he would oversee at the company.


Klemens Hufnagl is credited as your cinematographer and co-director, how did that union work exactly?

Klemens and I have been working together as DP and Director respectively for years, so at this point we’re not only collaborators, we’re really good friends. As I mentioned, for most of the development and pre-production process, we planned to shoot the film in Austria, as a German-language film. I’m far from fluent in German, and even though I directed a student short film in Austria a while back that was German-language, I realized a feature film is a different animal altogether. Luckily, Klemens and I have a pretty seamless working relationship, so I really relied on him to help me through the Austrian prep – whether it be the painstaking process of going through the script line-by-line in order to translate it to German in a way that didn’t lose any of my specific intentions, helping me translate my vision for the film to a more authentically Austrian setting, or participating in the German-language casting process. All of which changed once we moved the production to Canada, at which point we were able to return to our normal routine of focusing our collaboration on achieving the desired look of the film. But regardless, it was important that Klemens be credited for the work that he did.

What was the look you wanted to achieve?

So much of the film is from Mina’s perspective. My priority with my storyboards was to design a visual language that created a strong subjectivity for Mina, so the audience would more easily align with her. I was also interested in reflecting Mina’s slowly expanding world, so in the beginning things feel slightly claustrophobic, and then as the kids break out of the woods the world starts to open up. Lastly, the fact that Mina and Alex are on screen so often, and they look the way they do…it was important to me to find ways to balance things out so that this story still felt like it was of our world. It was like walking a tight rope. Both the minimalistic sound design and the camera, during the present day sections of the film, reflect a sort of realism while still maintaining the ability to depart with some subtle flourishes. But then, during the flashback moments where we’re totally in Mina’s subconscious, we were able to let loose and play a bit more, both with sound and look.


You’ve said LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was a big influence. Anything else?

I grew up in a pretty strict household that didn’t allow me to watch a lot of things, horror films included. Whenever I did get the chance to see a horror film at a friend’s house, it would torment my dreams endlessly, so when I started writing and making my own films, I never felt like there was a place in horror for me. But then I went to film school, and was introduced to movies like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, PAN’S LABYRINTH, DEVIL’S BACKBONE, PSYCHO…they were like a gateway into this whole new storytelling world for me. They sort of invited me in to play, and I haven’t looked back since.

Horror is all around rather than the monster simply residing in the main character, Mina, so THE DARK is primarily a genre reversal? As much as I loved LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, after watching it I was left with this nagging question: what would the film look like from the perspective of Eli? It was like an itch I couldn’t scratch, and even though THE DARK wasn’t even on my radar at the time, I think that was the earliest seed of the film. I was interested in seeing a horror film from the monster’s perspective – and not only that, but also having an emotional journey with her. Part of that was finding the monster whose anger I could fully share and become consumed by, and that was Mina. The other part was seeing the world the way she sees it – this unfeeling, dangerous place, where everything is sort of a mirror for the source of her anger. Everything except Alex.

Aside from the zombie horror trope, THE DARK is really about two victims of abuse finding a common empathy and bonding together?

Very much so. At this early stage in my career, abuse and the cyclical nature that seems to go along with it, have been common threads that run through much of my work.

You call THE DARK a twisted fairy-tale?

There’s always been a certain fairy-tale quality to it for me, albeit probably more in line with the darker Grimm tales…so I guess at some point that’s why the term ‘twisted fairy-tale’ came to my mind. It’s about dark and twisted subject matter, but underneath it all there’s this layer of hopefulness to it. Subtle, yes…but it’s there…

Nadia Alexander and Toby Nichols are amazing as the ‘Babes in the Wood’, how did you come to cast them?

I worked with the wonderful casting director Lois Drabkin. I saw over 100 girls in total for Mina – all very talented performers, but for this particular role, I felt I needed someone very specific: I needed to cast the monster, and that wasn’t something that was easy to find. In fact, the only actor I saw who was able to disappear into the monster convincingly was Nadia. I knew it the minute she sauntered (yes, sauntered) into the room. She’s such a talented and emotional performer, but also incredibly versatile. She approaches her work and the characters she is interested in playing with a fearlessness I think we’re more used to seeing from actors who are much later on in their careers, which for me makes her all the more impressive.

Once I’d cast Nadia, I asked her to read with the actors we had in mind for Alex and help me with the decision based on her chemistry with them – and luckily we both loved Toby for the role. Similar to Nadia, I knew very early on Toby would be great as Alex; what I didn’t realize was just how great. Toby was only 14-years-old when we cast him, and he initially came off as quiet and reserved, but once I started to work with him I realized just how intelligent beyond his years he was. His instincts are uncanny, and his dedication is remarkable. He brought equal parts fragility and fierceness to Alex that I could have only expected in my wildest dreams.

The emotional release at the climax is quite something, a hard element to pull off?

To be perfectly honest, there weren’t very many easy elements to pull off in this film…I’m not totally sure I quite knew what I was getting myself into production-wise when I wrote the script. But by the time we were in pre-production, I had grown to care so much for these two kids, and so badly wanted to protect them, that I just used that as my guiding light through the entire journey. As long as I felt like I was doing right by Mina and Alex, and being true to them and their stories, I felt comfortable that I was making the right choices for the right reasons, and the rest would fall into place.

THE DARK plays at Arrow Video FrightFest on Mon 27th August, Cineworld Leicester SQ. It will receive a Home Entertainment release Oct 2018, courtesy of FrightFest Presents.