LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS
Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
By James Whittington, Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate was the main genesis for Red Letter Day. The film took a year to write with rewrites and edits happening constantly.
HC: Was it a hard movie to cast?
CM: The film was extremely difficult to cast as we didn't have the budget for a casting director or for big name talent. My fellow producers and I held roughly twelve days of auditions and were extremely lucky to find performers that were perfect for the roles. During the auditioning process, we were blessed to discover that Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning (a personal favourite) actress Tiffany Helm lived nearby and was still acting so rewrote a role specifically for her.
HC: You've taken the theme of suburban paranoia, added a satirical slant and really ramped up the tension, is the short duration key to these themes?
CM: I wanted the film to feel as though the events were unfolding in real time all while slowly ramping up the tension, so the intention was always for the duration of the film to be relatively short (76 mins). I feel that audiences can become overstimulated with tense films and you to run the risk of losing their attention from wearing them out, so it was decided early on to keep the film lean and mean.
HC: The effects are superbly realised, did they eat up much of the budget?
CM: We didn't have a large budget for Red Letter Day but as horror fans ourselves, we knew that we needed to prioritize practical effects to please fans of the genre but also because I personally love practical gore set pieces. In my short films, I experimented with many similar effects that ended up in Red Letter Day so was able to write them specifically into the script knowing how we would attempt to pull them off during production. Stacy Wegner and the make-up team blew me away with their hard work and I am in love with the results.
HC: The film really delivers, if you pardon the pun, and it makes the audience really care about the characters, you must be happy with the end product?
CM: Thank you for the kind words! Myself and a small team of dedicated oddball Canadians worked our butts off to make a movie that we as fans of the genre would want to watch ourselves. The main goal for myself when making Red Letter Day was to make a film that combines some of my favourite aspects of the films that inspire me with themes and characters that are extremely close to my heart. I personally love the film (even after having seen it over 100 times) and look forward to showing it to my children one day in hopes that it will inspire an appreciation of the horror genre.
HC: This is your first feature as a director, what lessons in directing did you learn whilst in production?
CM: The biggest and most important lesson I learned during the making of Red Letter Day was that as a micro-budget production, you need to use everything that you shoot (as the schedules are tight and the production days are even tighter) so to always be rewriting and constantly picturing the final edit of the film in your head during the entire process so that nothing is wasted. The second biggest lesson I learned during Red Letter Day is that practical effects will often go 'wrong' but with the right camera angles and performers, those accidents can result in beautiful cinematic moments.
HC: Are you a good neighbour, for example would you take packages in for people who aren't at home?
CM: I am honestly the worst neighbour. I usually have too much going on inside my head and don't have patience for meaningless pleasantries. This is something that I am actively working on as I just had my first child and don't want him to turn into an anti-social weirdo like his father.
HC: Canada is becoming a hotbed of creative talent, who else should we look out for?
CM: Oh man, there have been so many great genre films out of Canada lately! It feels like a real horror boom is occurring in my country and I could be more happy. I personally cannot wait to see anything that Panos Cosmatos, Robert Eggers and Jason Eisner make next. As far as up-and-comers Rob Grant's Harpoon blew my mind and Trevor Anderson makes some of the finest short films in the world and will likely create a feature film that will have everyone talking in the next couple of years.
HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?
CM: I am raising our first child Arthur Campbell Macgowan (2 months old) with my lovely partner Heather while working on my next script - A rock 'n roll giallo! We are also finishing up the special features for the Blu-ray release of Red Letter Day which should be available from DREAD in November 2019.
HC: Cameron Macgowan, thank you very much.
Related show tags: FRIGHTFEST MORE FRIGHTFEST Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event
Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019 Arrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.
The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.
The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty's Candy Corn. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest favourite A Good Woman is Hard to Find coming to cinemas and HD
Posted on Thursday 26th September 2019
Directed by Abner Pastoll and starring Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson and Jane Brennan the superb thriller A Good Woman is Hard to Find will be released in Cinemas and Digital HD on 25th October.
Written by Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Ronan Blaney, the movie closed FrightFest 2019 to much acclaim this crowd-pleasing and violent kitchen-sink revenge thriller is a dark and daring journey through Northern Ireland's criminal underbelly.
Recently widowed mother of two Sarah (a tour-de-force Sarah Bolger) is desperate to know who m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Evan Daves star of Porno
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
In the bizarre and gruesome comedy/horror Porno, Abe, played by Evan Daves is a burgeoning pervert with a guilty conscience who works in a cinema and ends up battling a demon! Here, Evan tells all about this gory story. (Headshot - Matthew Murphy)
HC: How did the role of Abe in Porno come about?
ED: I had the audition come in through my agent. Adrienne Stern, the casting director, is great; she actually cast me in my first movie when I was 13, a comedy called "Harold" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Since then she's always been kind enough to bring me in for projects that I'm right for. When I saw her name in the breakdown I knew it would be a wacky, cool project - she has a great eye for that stuff...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Sara Garcia, star of True Fiction
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
FrightFest 2019 was contained some of the best psychological thrillers we've seen in a long time. One of the finest was Braden Croft's True Fiction which boasts incredible performances from John Cassini and Sara Garcia. We chatted to Sara about her role of lonely librarian, Avery Malone.
HC: Did you always want to be an actress when you were growing up?
SG: I've always been a performer. As a child my parents encouraged my artistic side through dance classes, singing lessons and after school performing arts programs. When I was very young, I dreamed of being a singer and as a grew older I gravitated more towards the dramatic arts. I didn't seek acting out as a profession until later in life. I fel...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Fernando Alle, writer and director of Mutant Blast
Posted on Thursday 29th August 2019
One of the wildest and most bizarre movies of FrightFest 2019 was Fernando Alle's gore-splattered sci-fi inspired feature, Mutant Blast. Here, he tells us the story about making this crazy piece of celluloid.
HC: Regular FrightFest goers will know you from your pieces Banana Motherf**ker and Papa Wrestling, why has it been so long for Mutant Blast to come along?
FA: I started making this film in 2012, and it has indeed been far too long. I figured that making a feature film would be 10 times harder than making a short film, but in fact it is at least 100 times harder. I am glad I was naive, because otherwise I would have cut a lot of stuff from the script and the film would not have turned out ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chad Archibald director of I'll Take Your Dead
Posted on Wednesday 28th August 2019
Chad Archibald has been behind a number of FrightFest favourites in the past including Bite which is showing on Horror in September. With is latest movie, I'll Take Your Dead wowing audiences at FrightFest we chatted to Chad.
HC: We last spoke a few years back about your fabulous movie, Bite, I loved it, and would you consider a Bite 2?
CA: I would love to do a Bite 2 if there was enough demand for it. Bite was the most fun I've had making a movie and I think if we made a second, we would just amp it all up. More goo, more gore, more laughs. I've got tons of ideas already so it's never off the table.
HC: Where did the story of I'll Take Your Dead come from?
...SHARE: READ MORE Fear: The Autobiography of Dario Argento is coming soon from FAB Press
Posted on Tuesday 27th August 2019
To his legion of admirers Dario Argento is a horror legend of the greatest magnitude. And to his genre filmmaking contemporaries he's an inspiration and an icon. Now, thanks to FAB Press we can get the whole story on this cinematic legend in the book, Fear: The Autobiography of Dario Argento.
For many years Argento's ground-breaking shockers like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebrae and Opera meant box-office gold. Now the maverick auteur, lauded as the Italian Hitchcock and the Horror Fellini, has written his autobiography, revealing all about his fascinating life, his dark obsessions, his talented family, his perverse dreams, and his star-crossed ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Abner Pastoll director of A Good Woman is Hard to Find
Posted on Tuesday 27th August 2019
A few years back we met director Abner Pastoll at the world premiere of his thriller, Road Games. 2019 and he's back with his new movie, A Good Woman is Hard to Find so we caught up with him just before its premiere at FrightFest 2019.
HC: We first met when you unleashed the "killer of a thriller" Road Games, what have you been up to since then?
AP: Making this new film! And trying to stay alive.
HC: How did you become connected to A Good Woman is Hard to Find?
AP: I was looking for a writing partner to collaborate with. My producer knew a great agent so reached out to him, asking for writing samples from some of his clients. One of those 'samples' happened to be a...SHARE: READ MORE Not with a whimper but with a bang! FrightFest 2019 comes to a close
Posted on Tuesday 27th August 2019
The final two movies of FrightFest 2019 gave the crowd exactly what they wanted from the festival; invention, fun and truly shocking cinematic moments.
The much talked abut Rabid remake from Jen and Sylvia Soska didn't disappoint and delivered a smart updating of the David Cronenberg classic. Rose wants to become a famous designer in the fashion world, but a terrible accident leaves her scarred beyond recognition. Undergoing a radical untested stem cell treatment, wallflower Rose turns into the belle of the ball and starts to realize her ambitions. But everything in life comes at a price and Rose's newfound perfection is no exception as she unwittingly sets off a bloody spiral of contagion. Well-paced wi...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Charlie Steeds director of The Barge People
Posted on Monday 26th August 2019 Ever wanted a horror movie set on a canal boat? Well your dream has come true with Charlie Steeds' new movie The Barge People.
HC: Looking at your CV you seem to be a big fan of the horror genre, can you recall which film inspired your career?CS: Absolutely, I'm a horror fanatic, that's why I'm making horror films! I got hooked on this genre by watching Stephen King adaptations. I looked for anything with King's name on and knew I'd love it, this one guy's imagination produced a whole world of unique horror stories, the Stephen King brand, it still amazes me.
HC: Has any one director or other creative influenced your work?
CS: I'm a huge fan of Lucio...SHARE: READ MORE Frightfest Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 25th December
Monday 16th December
Monday 16th December