LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS A chat with Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies
By James Whittington, Wednesday 2nd January 2019
Ahead of the Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies, on January 5 at 9pm, director Dominic Brunt and actor/producer partner Joanne Mitchell unpin the nappies...
HC: Attack of the Adult Babies will receive its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Are you both excited?
DB: I'm over the moon. As a fan of horror, I'm also a fan of the Horror Channel. It's an honour to have our work premiered with one of our favourite channels. The Horror Channel (along with FrightFest and Metrodome) took Before Dawn under its wing when that was released as our debut feature film. It marked our transition from horror fen geeks to horror film makers and we were well looked after indeed.
JM: We're delighted and incredibly excited that the film will get its TV premiere with the brilliant Horror Channel. We've always been massive fans and the channel has always been incredibly supportive of us and our movies as well as so many other film makers.
HC: What would you like TV viewers to take away from the film?
DB: We'd like viewers to watch it first and foremost as entertainment but to hopefully take time to reflect on any wider meanings and intentions. We've really enjoyed the fact that the film has been embraced as a roller coaster of gore and insanity!
JM:: Primarily I'd like viewers to just enjoy themselves and give in to the crazy ride. We dared to make something totally different from anything else we've ever made and are proud that it has been called a stand out horror movie. It's a lot of fun, and was to make too!
HC: Dominic, do you think your Emmerdale fans will be surprised/shocked to find you're directing full-bloodied horror films?
DB: I think they'll either ignore what I'm up to, in regards to horror films, or they go along with the idea and support what we have "out there" on Netflix and Amazon etc. I've been involved in genre festivals in Leeds for over a decade and Before Dawn was made almost eight years ago. We've had clips shown on day time TV from a couple of the films so I'm not sure there's any shock at what we do any more (although hopefully the content of our films is willfully so). Before Dawn and Adult Babies are pure fantasy without any spite, and you can't argue that we weren't sincere with our intentions regarding Bait.
HC: Joanne, you've played four characters in Emmerdale and you've recently appeared in a lead role In Coronation Street. How does soapland compare with splatterland?
JM: Oh my goodness, they couldn't be more polarised! However, each genre is a great platform for stories and characters, just that soaps are much quicker and very slick. With indie horror films though you can take more risks!
HC: AOTAB, underneath all the satirical fun and gore, deals with some pretty dark issues. Was it always your intention to make a politically-motivated horror comedy?
DB: I do believe you can make an allegorical, political point without being dull or boring or preachy. Bait is incredibly political but it is clothed and presented as a thriller and (hopefully) a gripping story first and foremost. I don't think we'll ever make a film that isn't a metaphor or allegorical of something other than the surface story.
JM: Yes, it was our intention - the idea of big adult babies making important decisions within our society tickled us - such a great terrifying image. We wanted to see how far we could take it - and I think we succeeded in taking it pretty bloody far!
HC: Class issues rear their ugly head. Dominic, do you feel they are just as embedded in UK society as they were in the past - hence just as topical?
DB: Always were and always will be. For one single instance, look at the laws on hunting as a microcosm of the whole of society and the laws imposed on the working classes. Who adheres to what, and who carries on regardless? Who turns a blind eye, and in some cases actively supports the breaking of the laws passed in the same parliament supposedly enforced by the same police force created for "all of us"? The anger is hidden but it is there. I'm 48 so I've seen the unions crushed, raves stopped, films banned, ancient monuments cordoned off and football monetised to the maximum, traveler friends assaulted and stigmatised for living an alternative lifestyle.
HC: The movie certainly caught the attention of reviewers, Hey You Guys called it "...the sort of deranged, balls-to-the-wall grossness that only ever seems to show up once in a generation". How confident were you that you that the film could chime with audiences?
JM: To be honest, you just never ever know. Audiences can be so different. The FrightFest audience, for example, are always very supportive, but then it went down a storm with the regional festivals too, as well as abroad. The French audience for example (Paris) was a surprise - the film had subtitles and I really wasn't sure if it would translate well, but they had a great time watching it and really got it. We knew it would work well within the genre festivals though as I think horror fans are open to seeking and watching something different, it is a wonderful exciting platform to keep telling stories. So hopefully the fans of the Horror Channel will enjoy it too.
DB: Well it's hardly the new Star Wars but within its own little niche, I'm absolutely delighted. We have to be thankful for a good release in the form of distribution through Nucleus and AMP supporting us, and then people like FrightFest and the Horror Channel being there to broadcast our ideas and stories. Otherwise you're shouting at a wall.
HC: Its chaotic sexual anarchy made it felt quite Orton-esque in some media corners. Was Joe Orton an inspiration? Who did inspire you? Were there any films that were particularly influential?
DB: I LOVE Joe Orton but he wasn't on our minds at all I don't think. It's more a visual representation of the old EC horror comics from the 50s which I like reading. We tried to make them flesh around Jo's story and Paul Shrimpton's script.
JM: There was a mass of influences really, both from myself and Dominic, especially regarding political figures, exploitative male bosses and various scandals from the society we live in, with movie influences including the Blob, the stuff, all the saucy Carry On and Benny Hill farcical kinky humour too.
HC: Joanne, it was your idea to centre the film around the world of infantilism. How did you first discover this clandestine world?
JM: It was an amalgamation of things really. I'd spent talking to a very intelligent and articulate young woman who was a dominatrix. She ran her own dungeon and was very successful doing so. She fascinated me. She spoke fairly discreetly about what her job entailed - from what I could glimpse of that world it was pretty bizarre and interesting: Businessmen who wanted nothing more than to spend the day regressing as an infant or baby, relinquishing all the pressures and stresses of their high powered jobs. It piqued my interest and my imagination.
HC: Dominic, the acting was very strong and the casting of cult TV comedian Charlie Chuck particularly stands out. Was it difficult to get the actors you wanted?
DB: I think at our level you have to cast and audition for the part rather than fill your film with faces and names. We were lucky to have Kate Coogan, Sally Dexter, Jo, Andy Dunn, Nicky Evans, Thaila Zucchi, Seamus O'Neil, Laurence Harvey, Charlie Chuck etc who are all character actors of much experience, but we are limited by a budget so you have to cast smart. They liked the script first and foremost (fortunately) and not necessarily the budget.
HC: Your production company Mitchell-Brunt Films has been going for seven years and you must be proud of what you've achieved so far (feature films Before Dawn and Bait) What plans do you have for the future?
DB: Several folders FULL of stuff. Also, 101 films are looking to re-release Before Dawn and Bait on BluRay, with lots of new extras. They've only been previously released on DVD, so we're very pleased and flattered about that.
JM: We've more ideas for films in the future and currently have one film in development, Lost Dogs by Jeff Lemire. I've also just directed my first short film, Sybil, which is currently doing the rounds on the festival circuit.
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