ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Bill Watterson director of Dave Made a Maze
By James Whittington, Sunday 4th November 2018
William Watterson

At Grimmfest 2017 we had the chance to view one of the most original pieces of cinema we'd seen in a long time, Dave Made a Maze. Directed by Bill Watterson it's an intelligent, thought-provoking film that deserves to reach a global audience and will be released here early 2019. We chatted to Bill about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did this concept come from?

WW: Three places: Steven was underway on a script called 'Operation: Death Maze,' or something cool like that. Portions of it were re-purposed after he jibed with a story I told about my mom coming home and seeing an incredible fort that I'd build in my bedroom, and concluding that I'd gotten lost within it when I didn't answer her calls (I was at a neighbour's house; I'd left a note!). He really dug that concept of being in your own room but somehow being lost at the same time. Thirdly, it was fueled by the frustrations that so many of us face when it comes to trying to be creative and not starve in the process. It gets more and more challenging to remain playfully inventive as the struggles of adulthood take hold. The more the script developed, the more the story became a metaphor for the creative life itself.

HC: Its surely one of the most original movies ever made, how long did it take to write?

WW: Thank you! Hard to say; Steven had a good 60+ pages before I ever came on board, and we spent so many years fundraising and trying to attach talent that in the downtime we kept revisiting and revising, tightening and solidifying. Then as we approached the actual production days, budget and personnel meant that certain ideas had to be left behind (the pit of deadly stop motion spiders!) while others came about very late in the game (the zoetrope!). From those first 60 pages to us shooting the movie was about 5 years, but obviously that wasn't all time spent writing.

HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?

WW: No, all of the early drafts were written with Steven's friends in mind. All of the characters were originally named after people we knew. Write what you know, write WHO you know! We drifted away from some of the specifics as we doubled down on and exaggerated what was unique about each character, as we changed genders of others, combined or cut others. And then the cast brought each one of them to life in ways we never could have anticipated. Lines that I heard as high energy in my head came out quiet and were a hundred times more effective for it, and vice versa. That cast really committed and brought it off the page.

HC: The set design is incredible, did you have a vision of how it would look, or did your set designer come to you with the concepts?

WW: A combo of both, mostly the latter. We pulled a lot of visual references as we started having pre-production meetings, and we hired artists who worked within and appreciated the medium of cardboard. They brought that experience, plus a willingness to experiment. A lot of looks were also based on what materials were available to us on the day, between what we could get from the dumpster next door, and what we had left from our original haul of donated cardboard. Sometimes it was just well, we've got THIS, and we've got to make THAT, let's see what happens! It was in the writing that it was a handmade cardboard world, and the art department went above and beyond to bring that world to life, and to give each room its own personality.

HC: As a first-time director, what did you learn about the craft whilst making this movie?

WW: I mean... everything! If I had known how much I didn't know going in, I probably wouldn't have had the guts to do it. I certainly learned how important it is to have trustworthy, engaged collaborators. How important it is to set your people up to succeed by giving them enough guidance but also enough freedom to stay creatively inspired. Listen to your people and let them have fun, too. That you can't be over-prepared, but you have to stay flexible to the realities that present themselves on the day. That everything matters: you can drive all your decisions through your theme, what it is you're trying to say, so that the frame can always be packed with information. I got that from Sidney Lumet's 'Making Movies,' but seeing it actually pan out was an eye-opener. That making a movie is easily 100 times harder than you think it is. That we got lucky because we had no weak links. That scheduling is everything. That you have to pick your battles; some things will just not work out, so you have to let them go, but others you have to really fight for, or the movie will suffer. That there's always a solution, so stay calm and stay open, and let some things come to you.

HC: It has a lot to say about awareness of people's state of mind and mental illness, is that what you set out to do?

WW: Not explicitly in regards to mental illness, although the relevance of it, and other things like addiction, were certainly discussed as bigger picture themes, particularly when breaking the movie down for the actors. It was expressly a metaphor for the creative process: exaggerating and bringing to life the pitfalls and dangers and traps, some of the dark, destructive side that tends to come hand in hand with the burning desire to make. But that didn't keep it from being relevant to other experiences. The Maze was Dave's mind-once you're in it, who knows what you'll find!

HC: Its been on the festival circuit, did each city/country react differently to it?

WW: Hard to say... I was lucky enough to attend many of the festivals, but by no means have I been able to gauge every audience. Some of the humour in the wordplay obviously didn't always translate, and the producer just informed me that absolutely no one laughed at any point during a screening in Japan. But it's not necessarily a laugh-out-loud kind of comedy. I was thrilled that people in France, Mexico City, Brazil, Spain, Austria, seemed to connect to the relationship at the heart of the film, as well as its metaphors. Creative types knew it was a movie for them, no matter the country.

HC: You're a man of many talents; do you have a favourite job?

WW: Nothing beats playing bass. If any one of the many bands I was in had taken off back in the day, I'd never be doing what I'm doing now. It just can't be topped.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

WW: Writing scripts and breaking ideas for film and TV, trying to get that next thing made. I directed a couple music videos and a teaser for a TV pilot. Chasing every lead and trying not to become Dave at the beginning of the movie... trying to be more like Dave at the end of the movie.

HC: Bill Watterson, thank you very much.

WW: Any time!
Related show tags: GRIMMFEST
MORE ARTICLES
From the producer of The Exorcism of Emily Rose comes The Prodigy
Posted in News, Thursday 21st February 2019
The Prodigy Poster

In her much-anticipated foray into the horror-thriller genre, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Taylor Schilling stars in The Prodigy as Sarah, a mother whose young son Miles' disturbing behaviour signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken him.

Fearing for her family's safety, Sarah must choose between her maternal instinct to love and protect Miles and a desperate need to investigate what or who is causing his dark turn. She is forced to look for answers in the past, taking the audience on a wild ride; one where the line between perception and reality becomes frighteningly blurry.

The Prodigy is the latest film from celebrated horror director Nicholas McCarthy,...

SHARE: READ MORE
Matthew Holness' Possum to be released in March
Posted in News, Tuesday 19th February 2019
Possum Bluray cover

Possum is the debut feature film from writer/director Matthew Holness, co-creator and writer/star of the cult TV series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Starring Sean Harris and Alun Armstrong, Possum is a distinctive psychological thriller which pays homage to the British horror films of the 70s.

The film's unique and stylish exploration of a man's isolation and abandonment is accompanied by a compelling soundtrack from the legendary electronic BBC music studio The Radiophonic Workshop. Following its release in cinemas to wide critical acclaim, the film will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on 4 March.

The story follows disgraced children's puppeteer Philip (Sean...

SHARE: READ MORE
Everything you ever wanted to know about FrightFest... but were afraid to ask!
Posted in Frightfest, News, Tuesday 19th February 2019
FrightFest Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema

Central City Media have announced that the documentary FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema will be released on 4th March. It will be available digitally via iTunes, Amazon, Virgin Media, Google Play and YouTube.

Featuring a mix of newly recorded interviews, archive and behind the scenes footage, the critically-acclaimed documentary casts an unflinching eye over the history of one of the world's leading genre festivals. Follow the trials and tribulations of four unlikely partners, thrown together into a high-pressure festival environment, forging horror history that's been nineteen years in the making.

The organis...

SHARE: READ MORE
New trailer and poster for The Curse of La Llorona have been released
Posted in News, Tuesday 19th February 2019

The atmospheric and truly creepy trailer for New Line Cinema's latest horror, The Curse of La Llorona has just been released.

La Llorona. The Weeping Woman. A horrifying apparition, caught between Heaven and Hell, trapped in a terrible fate sealed by her own hand. The mere mention of her name has struck terror around the world for generations. In life, she drowned her children in a jealous rage, throwing herself in the churning river after them as she wept in pain. Now her tears are eternal. They are lethal, and those who hear her death call in the night are doomed. La Llorona creeps in the shadows and preys on the children, desperate to replace her own. As the centurie...

SHARE: READ MORE
Get to know the order of Slaughterhouse Rulez in March
Posted in News, Tuesday 19th February 2019
Slaughterhouse Rulez Blu-ray cover

Asa Butterfield (Sex Education, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children), Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders), Hermione Corfield (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) star alongside Michael Sheen, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the dark comedy, Slaughterhouse Rulez which is debuting on Digital February 23 and on DVD and Blu-ray March 11 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The movie is set at an elite boarding school where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness... and they're about to meet their match. This ancient and ordered world is about to be shaken to its foundations - literally - when a controversial frack site on prized school woo...

SHARE: READ MORE
New Brit zombie flick, Hobbes House has entered production
Posted in News, Tuesday 19th February 2019
Hobbes House Poster

Zombie Project Ltd has joined forces with producer/director Juliane Block (8 Remains, 3 Lives) on a Brit Indie zombie action thriller, Hobbes House.

Starring Mhairi Calvey (Abduct, Eden Grey), Kevin Leslie (Rise and Fall of the Krays), Makenna Guyler (King of Crime) and Waleed Elgadi (A Hologram for a King), the three-week shoot commenced on February 17 in locations around Bristol.

Hobbes House concerns down-on-her-luck Jane Dormant (Mhairi Calvey) who learns about the death of her Grandmother, and travels to a remote estate to attend the reading of the will. She's expecting a life-saving inheritance, but the trouble is, so is Jennifer (Makenna Guyler), her estranged a...

SHARE: READ MORE
Classic Dalek stories finally make it to print!
Posted in News, Tuesday 19th February 2019
Resurrection of the Daleks Book Cover

After the success of the new-era Target novelisations in 2018, which included books by Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, BBC Books have announced the publication of Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks, novelisations of two iconic Doctor Who adventures by Eric Saward, one of the show's longest serving script editors.

Resurrection of the Daleks has the universe is at war. Action takes courage... The TARDIS is ensnared in a time corridor, catapulting it into derelict docklands on 20th century Earth. The Doctor and his companions, Tegan and Turlough, stumble on a warehouse harbouring fugitives from the future at the far end of the corridor - and a...

SHARE: READ MORE
Swamp Thing to rise in HD
Posted in News, Monday 18th February 2019
Swamp Thing 3D Packshot Slipcase

Long before superhero movies were packing out multiplex cinemas, Freddy Krueger creator Wes Craven followed-up the success of Richard Donner's Superman with this fondly remembered DC adaptation that brings a comic book favourite to life!

Following the success of The Hills Have Eyes, Swamp Thing shows Craven adapting his style from less rough 'n' ready thrills and spills - and the result is an adventure thriller featuring a mutant-monster with good intentions, and a supporting cast of fan-favourites including Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Escape from New York), Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) and David Hess (The Last House On The Left) in one of his ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Evil Dead 2 - 4K trailer released
Posted in News, Monday 18th February 2019

With a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the cult classic Evil Dead 2 - directed by Sam Raimi - has been newly restored and will release for the first on 4K Ultra HD!

This thrill-packed, gore-led rollercoaster ride is a must-see for all horror fans and comes packed with over four hours of special features - including the new one-hour bonus feature BLOODY AND GROOVY, BABY!

After the shocking and notorious cult classic The Evil Dead impaled its way into the minds of a whole generation, visionary maverick director Sam Raimi decided to elaborate on its twisted scenario. Featuring B-movie legend Bruce Campbell in his most iconic role, Evil Dead 2 is a gore-fueled, splat...

SHARE: READ MORE
Hit the road with Horror in March
Posted in Features, Monday 18th February 2019

Apart from our Season of the Dead event throughout March, Horror also wants to take you on a couple of trips, dare you come with us to Ireland, France and a mythical forest?

Leprechaun Origins

A backpacking trip through Ireland sees the resurrection of a franchise on the 1st and a UK TV premiere for Leprechaun: Origins. Two unsuspecting young couples discover a town's chilling secret when the town's residents offer them an old cabin at the edge of the woods. Soon, they discover that one of Ireland's most famous legends is a terrifying reality. Another UK TV premiere on the 8th, Resurrection of Evil. Jackie Sullivan (Julie Benz), a troubled young woman with a serious alcohol addiction, i...

SHARE: READ MORE
All rise for Horror Channel's Season of the Dead
Posted in Features, Monday 18th February 2019

Be prepared for a Zombie invasion as Saturday nights in March on Horror Channel give rise to Season of the Dead, a collection of modern zombie movies. Highlights include the channel premieres of critically-acclaimed Maggie, a heart-breaking take on the Zombie genre starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Dante's Burying The Ex, a radical blend of classic horror and screwball zomedy. There are also welcome returns for post-apocalyptic zombie actioner Extinction, directed by Inside helmer Miguel Angel Vivas, Matthias Hoene's ultra-splatter comedy horror Cockneys Vs Zombies, starring Michelle Ryan and John Erick Dowdle's [REC]-inspired Quarantine.

The season starts on March 2nd in a movie that gives Arnold Schwarzenegger a real chanc...

SHARE: READ MORE
Two terrifying horror sequels will debut on special edition UK Blu-ray in March
Posted in News, Wednesday 13th February 2019
Candyman Farewell to the Flesh - packshot (88 Films)

88 Films will present two classic 90s horror titles on special edition UK Blu-ray for the very first time on March 25th. These thrilling sequels provided fresh follow-ups that satisfied fans of the much-loved originals, and now these impressive releases are set to terrify all over again with stunning new HD presentations and stacks of special features.

A true horror icon returns in this buzzin' UK Blu-ray edition of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. The sequel to Clive Barker's original 1993 shocker, this 1995 follow-up brings legendary hook-handed bogeyman Tony Todd back once again to spill the blood of anyone who dares...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Witchslayer Gretl
WITCHSLAYER GRETL
Saturday 23rd February
6.45 PM
Drag Me To Hell
DRAG ME TO HELL
Sunday 24th February
10.50 PM
Gallowwalkers
GALLOWWALKERS
Wednesday 27th February
9.00 PM