LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With David Tillman Writer Of Hansel And Gretel And The 420 Witch
By James Whittington, Sunday 25th August 2013
Stoner comedy movies are usually designed for a specific audience but Hansel And Gretel And The 420 Witch takes the genre to the horror audience thanks to an inventive script from David Tillman. Here he chats about this movie, which is showing this week at FrightFest and what else he is working on at the moment.
HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?
DT: Yes and No. I love horror movies that deal with supernatural elements like Mama and traditional horror movies like Halloween. Those movies scare the shit out of me. I’m the perfect audience for them because I’ll jump and scream with the best of them! But I’m not a fan of torture porn. When it’s too real – something that could actually happen, then I can’t watch it.
HC: What made you want to be a writer?
DT: Control issues. LOL! No really. I love telling stories and the idea of writing them began to fascinate me when I moved to LA to pursue acting. It’s such a creative place but as an actor you have to be cast in something to get a chance to be creative. As a writer, all I need is my computer and an ice coffee from Starbucks and I’m creating. The more I write, the more involved I get in the characters’ lives and situations, the happier I am.
HC: Hansel And Gretel And The 420 Witch is quite a story, where did the idea come from?
DT: I was sitting around drinking beers (yes, contrary to popular belief, I was not stoned) with James Cotton, the producer and Duane Journey, the director when they challenged me to come up with a film idea for Duane to direct. It had to be something high concept but could be done low budget - and if it could piggyback on the marketing of a big Hollywood film, even better. The idea just popped into my head so l blurted it out: Hansel and Gretel And The 420 Witch. The witch uses pot to lure in teenagers so she can steal their youth and eat their bodies. Duane and James were stunned. We all knew in that moment, we had something.
HC: Were you involved at all in any of the casting as it is quite impressive?
DT: A little bit. I had written the role of Bianca for my friend, Bianca Saad. At first it was just a small role but as I was writing the role it got bigger and funnier. Even though I had written the role with her in mind, she still had to audition so I coached her on her first audition. I knew she could do it and went out on a limb for her and in the end, she was terrific in the movie.
HC: You play Norm, do you like being in front of the camera?
DT: I do. Acting was my first love for many years and though I still enjoy it, I have to say writing has taken precedence now. But had I not come here to act, I don’t think I would have ended up writing. So for that, I am very grateful. On a side note, if we were every lucky enough to get the sequel made, you’ll be seeing Norm’s identical twin brother showing up in a subplot!
HC: A lot of the effects are practical rather than CGI, do you prefer effects this way?
DT: Yes, I guess I’m old school that way. And fortunately the director agreed. He had spent many years working on low budget horror in the 80’s and 90’s and wanted to recreate that. We both feel practical effects have a more visceral effect on the audience.
HC: Can you explain what the 420 reference is?
DT: In America it refers to the Police call numbers for a marijuana related crime.
HC: Are you nervous that the film is showing at FrightFest?
DT: I wouldn’t say nervous. I think it plays better with an audience than it does but itself – especially with its target audience. The film had a limited theatrical release and I had the opportunity to see it with the perfect target audience – young college age – and they were cracking up and really enjoying the film. The next night I saw it with an older crowd – it wasn’t exactly crickets chirping - but it certainly wasn’t as lively.
HC: Do you think British audiences will get the humour?
DT: I hope so. I get a lot of comments from studio readers that my humour and style is very British. They kind of mean it like it’s a bad thing but I’m very proud of the comparison. I wrote this to be something like the great Sean Of The Dead but the producers felt it was too funny and were afraid it wouldn’t sell internationally and no matter how hard I tried to use the Sean Of The Dead defence, they are the producers and they have final cut.
HC: What do you think of the title change from Hansel And Gretel Get Baked?
DT: I love my original title because it says it all. I tried to come up with another title but couldn’t so I have to give kudos to the marketing team at Tribeca for coming up with a clever double-entendre title.
HC: Do you think the horror industry is in good shape at the moment?
DT: Sure. Horror continues to sell well. I recently saw The Conjuring on a Monday night and the cinema was packed! Congrats to the filmmakers for making an entertaining film and to the marketing team for getting it out there in the way that they did.
HC: What do you think will be the next big thing in horror?
DT: Gosh, I wish I knew. I’d be writing it!
HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?
DT: I have a couple TV series in development with Joel Silver’s company, Silver Pictures Television. One is a historical drama with a sci-fi twist and the other is a paranormal procedural show. I’m in negotiations now to write the movie adaptation to a horror novel entitled Slaughter House High. We are also shopping a comedy script that is very British in its humour. It’s called Rainbow Harbor and it’s about a conservative seaside village that pretends to be gay so they can become the next big gay tourist destination and save their local economy.
HC: David Tillman, thank you very much.
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
Monday 24th December
Tuesday 25th December
Tuesday 18th December