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Interview with Iain Ross-McNamee director of Crucible of the Vampire
By James Whittington, Sunday 27th January 2019
Crucible of the Vampire Blu-ray packaging

Making its World Premiere at Cannes Film Festival and garnering rave reviews at other major festivals, Iain Ross-McNamee's gothic chiller Crucible of the Vampire is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 1 February.

This will be followed by its home entertainment release on 4 February on dual format DVD and Blu-ray and on digital platforms courtesy of Screenbound Entertainment.

Here he chats about this retro-feeling piece of cinema.

HC: What inspired you to write Crucible of the Vampire?

IRM: I chose the location first and wrote the story around it with my two co-writers, John Wolskel and Darren Lake. The idea of people feeding off others and getting up to no good behind closed doors seemed particular relevant for Britain at the moment.

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HC: Did you create it with a cast in mind as Katie Goldfinch in particular is perfect as Isabelle?

IRM: We put a lot of effort into casting and I found Katie amongst 5,000 other actresses. You have an idea in your mind of the look of the actor you want, but their vibe has to be right. Katie did a great, emotional audition, and as she had had some religious influences I guessed that she would understand Isabelle as a character better. She's great as an actress as she really wanted to throw herself into the role. It's harder than you'd think to find actors who will do that.

HC: Did you have much of a budget to play with?

IRM: The budget was pretty modest in film terms. Most people I've spoke to are guessing it far higher than it was. We definitely put everything we had on screen.

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HC: Was it all shot on location and where did you find such an amazing house to shoot in?

IRM: It was all shot on location in Shropshire. Amanda, my producer used to go to boarding school there, funnily enough. She didn't see any vampires though.

HC: What was the hardest sequence to realise?

IRM: Probably the hanging sequence at the start of the film. Even with proper rigging it's still a potentially dangerous stunt. It was performed by our stunt coordinator, Justin Pearson who's very experienced. We did two takes as it isn't something that you can keep doing multiple times, changing angles. We also had a larger cast so it was an expensive day on set and we had to get everything shot with available light. Overall it was a difficult sequence to get right in the time we had.

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HC: The score adds a lot to the film, how did you choose the composers and will there be a release of it?

IRM: The music is integral to Crucible of the Vampire. I worked with Michelle Bee on the main score who worked on my first film, The Singing Bird Will Come. She did a great job catching the mood for the ballroom sequence and the main Crucible theme that features at several points in the story. We may well release the soundtrack, possibly on vinyl to keep with the retro feel of the whole project.

HC: The movie has a very European horror/Jean Rollin tone to it, would you agree?

IRM: Some people have said that. I'm probably more influenced by Korean/Japanese horror but maybe something else is coming though there. Funnily enough, we did talk about filming it in France originally.

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HC: Do you believe in paranormal events or is there always a scientific explanation for everything?

IRM: I think most paranormal events are explainable but a smaller number less so. My dad was a vicar so he would get asked for help with paranormal occurrences from time to time. It wasn't something he would talk about with me. I do remember one time taking a phone call while he was out from a woman who had a poltergeist in her house. She was describing what was going on as we talked on the phone and sounded absolutely terrified. I can still remember that conversation vividly.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

IRM: I'm currently in the middle of filming on I Saw Black Clouds, which is a psychological horror story starring Nicole O'Neill (Red Sparrow, Penny Dreadful), Rachel Jackson (The Party's Just Beginning, Beats) and Larry Rew (Underworld). It's being released as a full motion video game and then later as a feature length movie. It's definitely the most complicated thing I've written and making a story with overlapping narratives and characters has been quite a challenge, as you need to be constantly thinking in a more three-dimensional way than usual. It's driving the cast and crew a bit crazy, but we have a week left until we wrap.

HC: Iain Ross-McNamee, thank you very much.


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