FrightFest and Movie Mogul, in association with Horror Channel, are challenging aspiring filmmakers to make a short horror film - the best six of which will be shown on Horror Channel and at the 2013 Film4 FrightFest event. Its called 666 Short Cuts To Hell Competition and the overall winner will receive a prize fund of £6,666 and the opportunity to develop a horror short or feature idea under mentorship from Movie Mogul, for a possible 2014 production.
Here one of the Judges and Associate Editor of Total Film Rosie Fletcher chats about what she likes to see in a horror film and what she thinks will be the next big thing in horror.
HC: When did you decide that you wanted to become a journalist?
RF: I've always wanted to write; it’s all I've ever wanted to do. I didn’t really realise that film journalism was actually a job someone could do until quite late on though – journalism meant being Kate Adie or a Fleet Street hack when I was growing up. I started my career in journalism working for Which? magazine writing about dishwashers and toasters – the film criticism I did on the side for the love of it for a couple of years, writing about horror films until I got my first film job at DVD Review magazine (now closed).
HC: Is it a difficult career to progress in?
RF: Yes because everyone wants to do it and there aren’t many jobs, though if you really want it, are willing to slog and learn and persist, and if you’re happy to get paid little or nothing for sometimes years, then it’s absolutely worth it.
HC: Who has been the most fun to interview from the world of horror movies?
RF: Clive Barker, hands down. Lovely, passionate, warm, funny, man who extended my interview so he could show me artistic pictures of erect penises. Although William Friedkin was also amazing.
HC: You had a brief cameo in the movie Colin, how did that come about and would you like to do more?
RF: I’m in five shots! Colin was the first film set I ever visited and I was the only journalist on set. I was full time at Which? at the time and writing for a website called Horrortalk.com and trying to teach myself different kinds of film journalism. I’d never written a set report before so when I heard about Colin I asked if I could come for a visit and interview the cast and crew. Turned out Marc Price, the director lived very close to me so we’ve stayed close friends ever since. My husband is also in the movie, as ‘man breathing out portentously’.
HC: Which horror movie kick started your love of the genre?
RF: Quatermass And The Pit scared me and fascinated me when I was quite little. The Omen trilogy was very special to me and taught me the joy of clever horror and good kills. Dolly Dearest, Head Hunter and the truly hideous Death Doll taught me that even sh*t horror can be fun.
HC: What was it about it that captured your attention?
RF: I like stories. I love Greek and Roman myths – you can see lot resonances in horror. I love the unfettered imagination which is possible in horror. And I like films which make me feel something, even if that’s fear, shock, excitement or revulsion.
HC: What do you look for in a horror movie?
RF: Originality. Insights into the human condition. Subtext. And a decent amount of creeping terror. Gore I can take or leave though anything really audacious will generally appeal to me.
HC: What advice would you give to anyone making a horror short?
RF: For me a short should be complete and able to stand alone on its own terms. A trailer for the feature you want to make, or an FX show reel does not make a good short. Have a story. Have characters. Have a narrative arc. And if you can be scary, even better! Also, you don’t need money to make a good horror short. Use whatever resources you’ve got.
HC: Now that the torture movie genre seems to be dying off, what do you think will be the next big thing in horror?
RF: Found footage is obviously still going strong and shows no sign of abating. The zombie thing is finding a second life on TV after The Walking Dead with The Return and a second season of In The Flesh on the way. I'm very happy to see that James Wan and the Insidious team seem to be taking us back to a time of actually scary supernatural movies (which I'm very fond of) with The Conjuring and Insidious 2 incoming. The Woman In Black did great box office and Hammer has The Quiet Ones on the horizon which looks promising so we might see a new era of Hammer. And I’m also hoping there’ll be a bit more female directed and female orientated horror on the way after Excision and American Mary, with Black Rock and Carrie out later this year. Also, I’m always up for another Final Destination movie.
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
RF: The latest issue of Total Film as well as some horror bits for SFX magazine and their upcoming Zombie special. Plus I might write a book. But everyone says that, don’t they.
HC: Rosie Fletcher, thank you very much.
For more information on 666 Short Cuts To Hell click here