LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Farren Blackburn Director Of Hammer Of The Gods
By James W, Saturday 24th August 2013
The best thing about FrightFest is the varied programme of movies the four guys create. This year has an exceptionally wide-ranging selection and one that stands out is Hammer Of The Gods (pictured). Here its director, Farren Blackburn chats about this and other areas of his career.
HC: How different is directing a movie to TV?
FB: At the lower budget end its not much different at all, infact in many ways its harder because the chances are the tv budget will be higher. With Hammer Of The Gods for example I had less than half the budget I had when directing The Dr Who Xmas Special. But in terms of creative vision I don’t approach film and television any differently because I always set out to push the visual ambition of the project as much as possible. There used to be a notion that big cinematic images didn’t work on a small screen and television was reliant more on mid shots and close ups but we watch movies on the TV all the time and so I don’t really buy into that.
HC: What attracted you to Hammer Of The Gods?
FB: When I first read the script for Hammer Of The Gods I knew instantly that version of the film could never be achieved on the budget but I saw a Hearts Of Darkness theme running through it and felt if we pushed it more in that direction, made it more of a psychological journey for our main character we could scale things back a bit in a way we could afford and make a kind of Apocalypse Now with Vikings and who wouldn’t want to do that!!!?
HC: How much pre-production went into it?
FB: We had 8 weeks pre-production on Hammer. During this time I had to work on getting the script as good as it could be, developing a visual take on the material, the mood and the tone of the movie, cast it, work with my Heads of Department on Production Design, Costume, Make-Up, Locations, plan fights and stunts, the lot and the time is never enough!!!
HC: Was it a difficult movie to cast?
FB: Casting is crucial so in that sense every project is difficult to cast. But my approach is less prescriptive, I don’t look at someone the minute they walk through the door and decide whether they are the character or not, I work with them in the audition to see what the character could be in that particular actor’s hands. For Hammer I wanted a diverse band of Vikings, each with their distinctive look and personality but who would work as a cohesive unit so it was challenging. But I was really pleased with everyone in the movie. What was also key on Hammer was that everyone had to be prepared to get their hands dirty. We didn’t have the budget to pamper anyone, there were no luxuries, sometimes no toilets and on certain days we were all dropped at the bottom of a mountain and had to walk for 2 miles to get to where we were shooting, all of us carrying kit, actors included. I needed everyone to know what they were in for but my lead Charlie Bewley lead from the front and when your main man is mucking in no-one else has any right to complain!
HC: It must have been a tough shoot on the actors due to all the fights?
FB: Hammer was a tough shoot for many reasons least of all the challenge that many of our locations set us but choosing those landscapes was a way to achieve real production value on a low budget. It was a very physical shoot for everyone but when you factor in the number of fight sequences, the actors really needed to be at the height of their fitness. The stamina required to keep the level of intensity up was insane but what young male actor wouldn’t relish the chance to ride horses and get involved in some serious fight action?
HC: A lot of the effects are practicle; do you prefer to CGI?
FB: The way we approached the visual effects in the movie was partly down to budget but also down to the fact that I like to do as much as I can in camera. The movie has an offbeat tone to it, a strangeness, almost supernaturally heightened at times but I didn’t want it to feel fantastical, I still wanted it rooted in a reality and I think that would have been lost had it been very heavy on CGI.
HC: Are you nervous the movie is playing at Frightfest?
FB: I am nervous and excited at the same time. I am delighted the movie is playing at Frightfest as it means tonally what I set out to achieve, I must have to a certain degree. As a filmmaker you always want your project to be seen by a committed and passionate audience and I think without doubt it will find that amongst the people who attend Frighfest.
HC: What will be the next thing in Horror?
FB: Tough question and in honesty I don’t know. I guess we had the latest take with movies like Paranormal Activity. Horror has infinite possibilities but for me you can’t beat a good old fashioned Ghost story!!
HC: Farren Blackburn, thank you very much.
MORE INTERVIEWS 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 Interview with Joanne Mitchell, director of Sybil
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
One of the best things about FrightFest is the Showcases of Shorts which is the way to catch undiscovered talent and unique ideas. Joanne Mitchell has been in the entertainment industry for a few years but has just directed her first piece, Sybil which is showing at FrightFest today.
We decided to chat to her about this amazing and disturbing piece as well as he plans for feature films.
HC: Have you wanted to direct for a while?
JM: To be honest I hadn't really thought of directing until Tracey (Sheals) sent me an email with her idea for Sybil. And I really liked the story and thought this would make a great short film and possibly a feature in the fut...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Mort creator and director of Chuck Steel Night of the Trampires
Posted on Saturday 25th August 2018
HC: Where did the character of Chuck Steel come from?
MM: I came up with the character of Chuck Steel in 1985 when still at school. I used to doodle this square jawed action hero in my English book when I should have been concentrating on the lesson. Over the years he developed a bit as I drew him in various adventure scenarios, usually involving monsters of some kind. I made a Super8 short film with the character when I was experimenting with animation and I also made a college film featuring Chuck a few years later. These were basically just Chuck fighting monsters for 10 minutes or so but I was learning about how to construct scenes and action as I went. Later in my animati...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 24th October
Saturday 27th October
Tuesday 30th October