ARTICLES

FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG


Interview With Dan Berk and Robert Olsen Directors Of Body
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2015
Body DVD CoverBody is one of the real stand-out movies of FrightFest 2015. Its a strong mix of suburban horror and traditional thrills that combine to make a film that's outstanding. Here directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen chat about this brilliant movie and plans for the future.

HC: When did you two first work together?

We met as randomly assigned roommates our freshmen year of college. When we graduated, we started a production company with a few close friends with the goal of one day making feature films. We eventually started to write together and it just kind of grew from there. We realized that we were better when working together, so our partnership expanded to include, writing, directing, editing - now we share a credit on anything we do.

HC: Who came up with the idea for Body?

As with everything we do, it was a team effort. We never pitch fully formed ideas to one another. We share our thoughts very early on in the creative process. That way we can both influence what the final outcome is. Many times the film we wind up with only barely resembles the initial idea. Body is no different - we wanted to make something in a limited location and just bounced ideas back and forth, taking bits from every idea and letting it snowball into a final product.

HC: How long did it take to write?

The writing was relatively quick. Once we had the concept, the story kind of wrote itself. We went through a few drafts, sent it out for some notes, did a few more, but the entire process was only a few months long.

HC: Did you have specific actors in mind whilst writing it?

Helen Rogers (Holly) was a close friend. We've always been huge fans of her and try to work with her whenever we can. That role was absolutely written for her. Other than that, we had always hoped we could get Larry Fessenden for Arthur, but that was more of a long shot because we'd never worked with him before and he's a busy guy. Luckily it worked out. Having his veteran presence on set really made everyone involved, cast and crew, really step their game up.

HC: What sort of budget did you have for production?

A very, very small one. We knew that would be the case as we would be raising the money ourselves. So we tried to make a film that had limited locations and focused more on performance than effects.

HC: Was it a long shoot?

It was a particularly short shoot actually. We shot the whole film in 11 overnights. We were able to do that because the vast majority of our film took place in one location. That allowed us to not have to load in/out every day. Being able to just walk off set and walk back on the next day and start shooting basically turned our 11 day shoot into a 15 or 16 day shoot in terms of effective shooting hours.

HC: This is your first full length feature, what lessons did you learn about the craft during the production?

The biggest difference is the physical grind over a longer shoot. When you're shooting a short film/music video/commercial, you don't have to take that into account as much. The days can be as long as they need to be because there's only a few of them and everyone involved would rather just get everything done in as few days as possible. It's tempting to do the same when you're on a feature, but it doesn't work that way. You have to make sure that everyone is getting enough rest. Otherwise you'll get to the 6th or 7th day and your entire set will be out of gas.

HC: What would you have done if you were the female characters in this movie?

That's the question that we want the audience to be asking themselves. We really wanted to explore the moral gray areas involved in a situation like this. Who the viewer sympathizes with (and if those feelings change) is a big part of the viewing experience. All that being said, I think we'd most likely chicken out, then again, we don't have a friend like Cali...

HC: Do you get nervous before your work is shown at a festival?

We definitely get butterflies every time. You never know how a certain audience is going to react and you have this recurring nightmare of half the audience walking out or some other AV disaster taking place. Luckily that has yet to happen, but any time people are seeing your work for the first time, it's a nerve wracking experience. A lot of nail-biting and knee-bobbing from the two of us.

HC: What advice would you give to budding directors and writers who want to make their own movies?

Know your limitations. You want to accentuate what you can do well at this point in your career, both creatively and financially. If you get too ambitious with the story you're trying to tell, it can blow up in your face. Try to base your characters on real people. We can write people in their mid to late twenties much easier than we can write young children or older characters because that's who we spend most of our time with. Maybe you work at a preschool or an old folks home and it's the opposite. Just try to stay in your comfort zone early on. You can experiment as you continue your career, but you might only have one shot at making a feature, so you have to put your best foot forward. Financially, the same method applies. You only have 50 grand to make your feature? Make sure you come up with a concept you can execute. A small, limited location thriller is going to be easier to pull off than an elaborate, effects heavy movie about a jewel heist. We're not saying you can't be ambitious, just don't try to bite off more than you can chew. Use whatever edge you can to make your film look better. For instance had a connection to this incredible mansion, so we got permission to shoot there and tried to showcase that whenever possible. We built a film around a resource that was available to us. Maybe your good friend is an SFX make-up artist, or your dad works at a diner you could shoot in - use whatever is available to you that would otherwise cost someone else more money and lean into it. You've gotta stretch your dollars early on.

HC: What shape would you say that the horror movie industry is in?

We think it's in great shape. Unlike some other genres, it's very concept and execution dependent; you're not required to have stars in it. It can be a lot easier to find distribution for an independent horror as opposed to an independent family drama. This is probably because there are a whole slew of moviegoers who want a more visceral experience and only go to see things that make them laugh or scare them. Whether that's a good thing or not is a different argument, but it's a pretty clear that that's part of the reality of this industry.

HC: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
Interview with Damien Leone director of Terrifier
Posted on Saturday 28th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Terrifier at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event today, director Damien Leone talks about the 'Art' of extreme clowning, his debt to Tom Savini and a terrifying Halloween experience...

Art, The Clown initially appeared in your 2008 short The 9th Circle, then the 2011 award-winning short Terrifier and in your first feature All Hallow's Eve. What made you decide to give him a fourth outing?

DL: Up until this point I never felt like I fully showcased Art's potential. I believe between the short films and All Hallows' Eve, there only exists about 20 minutes of Art the Clown screen time. For a character who's done so little, he seems to really resonate with horr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Mathieu Turi director of Hostile
Posted on Wednesday 25th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his debut feature Hostile at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Mathieu Turi shares his admiration for Tarantino, describes the challenges of filming in three continents and reveals his 'magic hour'.

You were born in Cannes so you grew up with film all around? When did you know for sure you wanted to direct?

MT: I think it's always been there. As a child, I used to steal my dad's VHS camera to make mini-movies. They were basically all about my Jurassic Park toys eating my dog or invading the garden. Later, I did more elaborate short films with friends, instead of studying. Then, I remember watching Braveheart and the making of the ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Marko Makilaakso director of It Came From The Desert
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film It Came From The Desert at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Marko Makilaakso shares his admiration for Roger Corman, love of B-Movies, spoofing and overcoming homeland obstacles.

It Came From The Desert is inspired by Cinemaware's cult 1980s video game, which in turn was motivated by the giant creature feature craze infesting 1950s Hollywood. What was the main inspiration for you?

MM: There's so many movies and makers which inspired ICFTD, but the main inspiration was exactly that; creature feature infested 1950s Hollywood films, and the legendary Cinemaware Desert games and creature features and action comedies I grew up with in the 19...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Can Evrenol director of Housewife
Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Housewife at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Can Evrenol tells us why film is a 'pervert's art' shares his feelings for Fulci and reveals his contribution to Horror anthology, The Field Guide To Evil.

Was it important to make your follow-up film to Baskin in the English language?

CE: I wanted to make the film available for a wider audience and to test myself with a different language movie. I thought it was a fun thing to do.

How do you describe Housewife? What would be your perfect pitch line?

CE: Man, I had this crazy f****d-up dream last night! Do you want to see it?

Like Baskin, Housewife shares man...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2017 event
Posted on Thursday 28th September 2017

Horror Channel FrightFest Halloween 2017 unleashes seven choice shockers for the 7th annual West End Halloween chillorama - a wits-end wallow in all things gruesome, gory and glorious.

This year, the all-day shocktoberfest is at the Empire Haymarket on Sat Oct 28, 2017 and embraces one world, one European and five UK premieres, spanning three continents.

From the emotional making of a low-budget slasher to zombie nightmares, Gothic horrors, an outrageously strange mind cult, a sci-fi alien action extravaganza, a comic strip creature feature and the last word in Killer Clowns, this year-s line-up is an eclectic mix of the quirky, unusual and extreme.

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director sai...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Damien Power, director of Killing Ground
Posted on Monday 25th September 2017

One of the best from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was a superior thriller, Killing Ground. This tension packed movie looked incredible on the big screen so we decided to chat to its director, Damien Power.

HC: Did Killing Ground take a long time to write and did it change as you progressed?

DP: It took eleven years from the germ of the idea to stepping onto location to start shooting. Luckily I wasn't working on it full time! Once we had a draft we were happy with, it took five years to put the financing jigsaw together. It's a long journey! The biggest change was that for a number of years it didn't really have a third act. It ended very abruptly at the moment of maximum jeopardy. Fort...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 5: Organs, pumpkins and emojis!
Posted on Tuesday 29th August 2017

The final day of Horror Channel FrightFest is usually the most anticipated especially towards the final movie of the event, more on that later. There was so much going on with what possibly be the strongest line up of the whole festival.

Anyone with even just the passing interest in cinema couldn't have failed to have been impressed by Lowlife, the superb thriller from Ryan Prows. When a simple organ-harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society's forgotten and ignored: El Monstruo, a disgraced Mexican Wrestler working as hired muscle for the local crime boss; Crystal, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black-market kidney transplant to save her husband's life; and Randy, a t...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017

More new talent seemed to be around at Horror Channel FrightFest this year and one of the stand out movies for me was Where The Skin Lies from Michael Boucherie. Here he chats about this emotional movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to be in the film-making business?

MB: Going to the movies with my family is a favourite childhood memory. There was no cinema in our home town, so it always involved a bit of a car trip. Afterwards we'd recount and quote our favourite scenes, for some movies up to this day. My mother also filmed and edited our home movies on Super 8, and she involved me in that. So, on some level I grew up with it. It didn't dawn on me that this was a v...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 4: No more camping holidays for me!
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017

Sunday is traditionally a more quiet day at Horror Channel FrightFest as the attendees gear up for a fourth day of cutting edge horror cinema.

This wasn't the case as the event packed as much violence, blood, gore, tension, skin-crawling and gory programme of movies yet!

Killing Ground, an Australian bushland nerve shredder is an exceptionally tight piece of work that tells a story retrospectively and then brings everything up to date in one, nail-biting conclusion. It's strange to find a movie set in the open claustrophobic but this truly is. It's also incredibly heartfelt and honest, no one is safe in this movie believe me.

We were back in Blightly for the next premiere which was the v...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 3: It's time for a change
Posted on Sunday 27th August 2017

A day of premieres waited for us on day 3 of Horror Channel FrightFest. It was also the day of two incredibly inventive and most talked about movies of the whole event, Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies and Adam Green's Victor Crowley.

Over in the Discovery Screens attendees had the chance to watch a gripping, psychological thriller, Diane. This complex, emotional and satisfying piece concerns one man's descent into a forgotten hell. The two leads, Carlee Avers and Jason Alan Smith bring a real life emotional depth (they are married in real life) to their characters. Played totally straight, the movie touches on areas few movies do and delivers a soulful and emotional conclusion. Another Frig...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sally Dexter, star of Attack of the Adult Babies
Posted on Saturday 26th August 2017

Sally Dexter is one of the UK's most respected actresses. Her performances on stage and screen have lead to acclaimed and awards over the last few decades. Now, Sally is the star of Dominic Brunt's incredible film, Attack of the Adult Babies, so we chatted to her about this unique movie.

HC: You've had an incredible career gaining huge acclaimed across both sides of the Atlantic, how did you get your first acting break?

SD: I guess it was at drama school- I went to LAMDA and we did a musical 'Babes in Arms' for our final show- I guess it suited my voice or something 'cos I got offers from 13 agents!!! I was flabbergasted!!!

HC: Are you a fan of the horror genre?

SD: I'...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 2: Witness the birth of a legend
Posted on Saturday 26th August 2017

Day two of Horror Channel FrightFest delivered some incredible pieces of cinema and even at times, it was educational!

Freehold is an atmospheric and emotional piece of film. Its begins traditionally enough as a home invasion movie, but it transforms into something far more sensitive. Javier Botet is superb as the stranger in the home of a once happy couple. His bizarre chats to two pigeons (its original title) at first seems odd but you discover the full story behind his reason for being there. I won't spoil it too much but it's a real highlight so far of the festival.

Over in the Prince Charles Cinema (where we'll be broadcasting Facebook Live tonight at around 7pm) we were treated to...

SHARE: READ MORE
PICK OF THE WEEK
Black Christmas
BLACK CHRISTMAS
Saturday 23rd December
9.00 PM
Cat People
CAT PEOPLE
Thursday 21st December
10.45 PM
I Spit On Your Grave (2010)
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2010)
Saturday 23rd December
10.40 PM