LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with David Howard Thornton, star of Terrifier
By James Whittington, Monday 26th March 2018
If you're a fan of slasher movies then you'll have to check out the bood-splattered shocker Terrifier. The movie is a full-blown, hair-raising homage to grindhouse slashers that introduces a new murderous icon in the form of Art the Clown. Art id surely destined to become a true horror anti-hero and here David Howard Thornton, the guy who plays art, chats about this brilliantly brutal movie and what he's up to at the moment.
HC: What movie or person inspired you to want to work in the film industry?
DT: I would say that would be the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit film wise. I was obsessed with that film when it first came out, and still watch it at least once a year when I need some inspiration. It meshes everything I love into one film, basically. When it came out, I wanted to learn everything I could about how they made it, which got me into learning about how films were actually made in the first place. I even made my own "set" in my backyard to recreate the opening cartoon. I loved the slapstick, especially! A passion was born in the summer of '88. That is where I also first learned about the amazing talented Mel Blanc. A year prior, I had started learning how to mimic cartoon characters. My first was Goofy during story time in the 1st grade when a girl I liked passed me a note asking me to be her boyfriend. I let out a "Gawrsh! A-hyuck!" and suddenly things clicked in my head. It wasn't until "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" that I learned that Mel did almost all of the Looney Tunes characters and that that was his job! It inspired me to learn how to do more character voices. Now I do over 200+ and 25 different accents and do work in animation and video games, which is ironic for someone that plays a silent killer clown!
HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies?
DT: Very much so! Though I was not one until my senior year of high school. Prior to that, I had let my mother's fear of horror films affect how I felt about them without ever watching them. It was not until some of my friends literally dragged me to a screening of Scream 2 that I found how much I enjoyed them. After that, I binged the crap out of them, especially during my college years, to catch up! I love all of the classics, especially The Omen, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the Nightmare on Elm Street and Child's Play films. The latter two are especially favorites of mine because they found that wonderful balance of horror and humour, which I think is needed in these types of films. It takes the audience on a bigger roller coaster ride when you are laughing one second and screaming the next, then questioning why you were actually laughing at something so messed up. So much fun!
HC: How did you become attached to Terrifier?
DT: I was already familiar with All Hallow's Eve and the character of Art that Mike Giannelli played so well, originally. I saw a posting on a casting website seeking a tall, lanky, actor with clowning and/or physical comedy experience to play Art. I contacted my reps immediately about auditioning and luckily got an audition. It was a fun audition too since I had to improvise the whole things since I was not given a script due to Art not speaking. Improv is my thing! I love to play around and experiment with scenes. Damien asked me to improvise a scene where Art cuts off a victim's head. I snuck up on my victim, knocked him out, sawed off his head, picked it up and tasted it, found that I did not like the taste and took out a salt shaker to season it, tasted it again, approved, threw it into my bag for a snack for later, and skipped off. I must have done something right since they asked me right there to come in for a makeup test. The rest is history!
HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it?
DT: I loved it! It took a lot of risks, especially on the gore and violence factor and I realized that it was taking the slasher flick genre back to its basic roots. Sure, there is not a deep and complex plot, but if you go back and watch the original slashers of the 70's and 80's you would realize the same was true with them. It literally cut to the chase, and what a great cat and mouse chase it is!
HC: Art is mute all the way through, how do you approach playing such a character?
DT: I grew up on the old silent films and have always idolized Chaplin, Keaton, etc. that were expert physical comedians. Plus, I am a big fan modern physical actors/comedians such as Doug Jones, Jim Carrey, and Rowan Atkinson. Growing up doing theater, I had always been that physical comedian type of actor, though I never had anyone that could personally help me perfect my skills. That changed back in 2010 when I was cast as Stefan Karl's understudy (he's most well known for playing Robbie Rotten on Lazy Town) in the tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical as the Grinch. For 5 years, I had the honour and privilege of being able to work and learn from a true master of the craft. Stefan is truly one of a kind in this field. You all should watch this man work. He is a master class in physical comedy. There were several moments on set when I was perplexed about how to tackle a scene when I would think to myself "What would Stefan do?" and I would do what first came to my mind and just play around with the scene. I'm sure Damien has hours of footage of me just playing around with different possibilities etc. I consider Stefan to be the Socrates to my Aristotle. I am truly blessed to know such an amazingly kind and talented man. Love ya, Big Guy!
HC: Did you stay in character at all to freak the other actors out?
DT: LOL! Actually not really unless they needed it from me. Most of the time, I would be joking around in between takes, especially if we were in the middle of a long night. I like to keep things light and positive. The funny thing though is that many of my fellow actors didn't know what I even looked like for a while since I always had to show up to set much earlier than they to get my makeup on since it was such a long process. They were more used to me as Art, than as David. It freaked them out more when it was my actual face! This is why I am still single. Ha!
HC: Was it a tough shoot as most of it seems to have been filmed at night?
DT: It definitely could be, especially since we always filmed at night, and mostly during the winter. I got so used to staying up late to film, that I am such a night owl now. I think the one that had the roughest was Catherine, who plays Dawn. The night we shot her infamous scene was especially brutal for her since she had to do all of that hanging upside down and naked covered in blood for several hours (we'd only let her actually hang upside down for 30 seconds) in 20 degree weather. She handled it like a true pro and never complained once. I have all the respect in the world for her after all of that, as well as for everyone else that I worked with. It sounds cliche, but everyone was awesome on this set. I adore them all!
HC: There's a lot of blood and gore, some of those sequences must have been bizarre to shoot. Do you have a favourite?
DT: I think mine was my "Buffalo Bill" scene mainly because it was such a shocking and disturbing scene, not only for the audience, but for my cast mates and crew. I've never done any nudity before, so this was new to me. Damien and I actually debated if Art would be nude or he would be wearing his clown suit. We figured the former would be creepier. I was hesitant about partial nudity, but I figured that if Catherine could expose herself the way she did, then I could too. The funniest part was that Damien asked me to bring a "c*ck sock" to set that day. Being my naive self, I asked him what that was, and he told me to bring a sock. Stupid me brought a bright white tube sock not thinking that it would probably show up on camera, instead of a black one. We managed to make it work. I felt so sorry for the crew having to see my skinny butt all night, and tried to make things as humorous as possible in between takes by singing different songs about butts etc. It was also Samantha's (Victoria) true first night of working with me on set, so that was an interesting way for her to get to know me. It was definitely a night when we all got to know each other REALLY well, to say the least.
HC: The make-up for him is subtle but very effective, did you have any say in what "he" looked like?
DT: Nope, that was all Damien's idea. As I told him, he's the artist, I am simply the canvas for him to paint his Art on. The man is extremely talented in the make up and practical effects department. He did all of that himself. He's got a true gift!
HC: I've a feeling Art is going to become a huge horror "star", would you like to play Art again?
DT: From your mouth to the Flying Spaghetti Monster's meatball ears! I truly hope so! I love the character and will absolutely return and plan on doing so! Damien and I are already spit-balling ideas for sequels. There is one kill scene that I have come up with that I especially want to do that is a very dark take on an infamous Marx Brothers' routine. We only introduced Art to the world in this film and have not even scratched the surface of who he is, and what he is truly about. We definitely have much more to tell about him and those that he impacts! I especially look forward to bringing in a truly formidable opponent for him to go up against in future films. After all, the Joker needs his Batman! I absolutely adore the character, especially since he blends two things that I love, physical comedy and horror. As long as the fans want more Art, we'll be there to make more films about him! Stay tuned!
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
DT: Right now, I am working on various voice over projects, and just got cast in an animated series that I still can't reveal yet. I'm also still filming episodes for the final season of the web series Nightwing: Escalation where I play another big inspiration for Art and my favorite villain and dream role... The Joker! I guess you could say, that I have a career in playing killer clowns! Now if only I could get cast as the adult version of Richie Tozier in the "It" sequel so I could go up against another infamous killer clown! How cool would that be to have me go up against Pennywise? If you are reading this, I am ready for my close up, Mr. Muschietti!
HC: David Howard Thornton, thank you very much.
DT: Thank you as well for taking the time in talking with me! Also, a big thank you to all of my fans that are reading this. This film truly would never have happened if it weren't for you all loving and supporting this character so much. This film is for you all. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I had making it! You all rock!
Terrifier will be released onto Digital on March 30th and DVD on April 9th.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Bill Watterson director of Dave Made a Maze
Posted on Sunday 4th November 2018
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 d...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Hyett director of Peripheral
Posted on Friday 2nd November 2018 Paul Hyett is a firm FrightFest favourite. His work jumps from genre you genre with ease but still retains that "Hyett" feeling in each piece. His latest work, Peripheral is having its UK Premiere at the FrightFest Halloween 2018 event so we decided to chat to Paul about this and his view on technology.
HC: How did the project of Peripheral come together?
PH: Peripheral was bought to me by the original producer, he thought I'd be a good fit. Originally he had pitched me a one woman in a room, contained location about bad technology theme. It didn't feel appealing as after Howl, which was a big film in terms of cast, VFX, stunts etc and I was looking for a more challenging film logisticall...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Julian Richards, director of Reborn
Posted on Wednesday 17th October 2018
Ahead of the World premiere screening of Reborn at FrightFest Halloween, Julian Richards discusses the torturous challenges of Daddy's Girl, why he wishes every actress was like Barbara Crampton and future plans, including directing the English language remake of Rabies.
HC: After six years away from directing, you have two films, Reborn and Daddy's Girl poised for distribution. Why these two very different films now?
JR: My previous film Shiver was completed in 2012 and it took longer for me to get back into the directing saddle because of commitments I had to my sales company Jinga Films. The company was growing quickly and needed more of my time and energy. We had grown from handling th...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jules Vincent, co-writer and producer of Alive
Posted on Thursday 4th October 2018
Grimmfest 2018 is well underway and delivering some memorable movie moments, and one of the best is showing on Sunday, Alive. This cracking film sees the return of Grimmfest favourite Rob Grant as director and has been co-written and co-produced by Chuck McCue and Jules Vincent. Here Jules tells all about this brilliant piece.
HC: Where did the idea for Alive come from?
JV: We'd talked about writing a horror screenplay for a number of years before we finally came up with the right idea. We're both big fans of classic horror and we love the works of Hitchcock, Carpenter, Friedkin, and Cronenberg so in a way we had a very specific style and feel in mind before we even had the story. A...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Olivier Afonso director of Girls With Balls
Posted on Wednesday 3rd October 2018
Grimmfest 2018 kicks off tomorrow and one of the many highlights of the four day event is the blood-splattered shocker Girls With Balls. We chatted to it's director Olivier Afonso about this fab film and his career as an SFX artists.
HC: What inspired you to write Girls With Balls?
OA: My co-writer and I we wanted to write a trash comedy to entertain an audience because we love festivals: the atmosphere, people screaming, laughing... Personally, I'm inspired by the eighties and nineties movies such as of Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, Alex de la Iglesia. We wanted to make a survival movie but with strong women, a girl ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted on Saturday 15th September 2018
FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.
Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?
Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Adam Green, director of Hatchet.
Posted on Thursday 13th September 2018
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV Premiere of Hatchet on Friday 14th Sept, director Adam Green gives an exclusive interview about his beloved franchise and what the future holds for Victor Crowley...
Hatchet is finally getting its first showing on UK TV, courtesy of Horror Channel. We're excited, are you?
I couldn't be more excited! I've always said that even though Hatchet may have world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, it was at FrightFest in London where "Victor Crowley" was truly born. FrightFest was "the screening heard around the world" and the UK audience was so enthusiastic over Hatchet that every genre festival on t...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tom de Ville, director of Corvidae
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
HC: This is your first short as a director, what inspired you to write this script?
TdV: I read a really interesting article about how smart crows are, in particular how they can hold grudges. Apparently a group of scientists had gone out and harassed a murder of crows whilst wearing masks. If they went back wearing the masks, the crows would remember them and fight back. If they didn't wear the masks, the crows would leave them alone. This made me start thinking about what would happen if someone tried to save a crow from a bunch of kids who were trying to kill it. Would the other crows from its murder remember this? And what would they do to help her?...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?
SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up wit...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ferdinando D'Urbano actor, writer, producer of The Laplace's Demon
Posted on Tuesday 28th August 2018
A stand-out movie from FrightFest 2018 tested the brain power of those who saw it. The Laplace's Demon is an incredibly powerful piece so we chatted to one of the creatives behind it, Ferdinando D'Urbano.
HC: I'd never heard of Laplace's Demon theory before, can you give us a quick explanation of what it is?
FDU: The Laplace's Demon is a philosophical theory of the early 1800s. Pierre Simon Laplace was a French mathematician who in his work "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites" (A philosophical essay on probabilities), theorized that if there were an intellect capable of knowing al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Andre Gower director of Wolfman's Got Nards
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
HC: You had already starred in a lot of stuff before The Monster Squad came along, did you think that this was just "another" acting job?
AG: At the time, it was just that. The next audition, the next project. However, once on set and seeing what you were a part of, we realized quickly that this was something bigger and more unique than anything we had done before or may even get to do in the future.
HC: Were you a fan of the Universal monsters at that time?
AG: I always had an appreciation for the classics even as a kid. As you mature, you keep that appreciation and learn more about it and how it affects the present and realize these were very important...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Rocco and Abiel Bruhn the writers and directors of The Night Sitter
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
HC: Where did the idea for The Night Sitter come from?
JR: From the beginning of this story, I had my childhood home in Nashville in mind as the perfect location. After several months of convincing, my parents allowed us to film in their house. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have grown up in the same location that we'd eventually film our first feature in! We were able to incorporate all the parts of my house that used to scare me as a child and weave them into a story about witches, which was extremely fun and nostalgic at times. While developing the story, I tried to recall the scary thoughts I had when I was Kevin's age.
AB: Finding an inspiring location (the house has this stran...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Friday 23rd November
Sunday 25th November
Saturday 24th November