FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Interview With John Shackleton, Managing Director Of Movie Mogul And Judge On 666 Short Cuts To Hell Competition
By James Whittington, Thursday 23rd May 2013
FrightFest and Movie Mogul, in association with Horror Channel, are challenging aspiring filmmakers to make a short horror film - the best six of which will be shown on Horror Channel and at the 2013 Film4 FrightFest event. Its called 666 Short Cuts To Hell Competition and the overall winner will receive a prize fund of £6,666 and the opportunity to develop a horror short or feature idea under mentorship from Movie Mogul, for a possible 2014 production.
Here one of the Judges and Managing Director of Movie Mogul John Shackleton talks about his career, what he looks for in a short movie and what features he has planned.
HC: When you were growing up was there one movie in particular that kick started your love of the horror genre?
JS: The first horror film I ever saw when I was a kid was The Amityville Horror, which frightened the bejesus out of me! I had mates who were mad about horror with vast VHS ‘video nasty’ collections, stuff like Cannibal Holocaust, Evil Dead, anything banned with an certificate X on it was a must have for them. It wasn't ever really my scene until films like Hellraiser, Nightbreed and Hardware started to capture my attention. I went to college to study design and media and then the first horror film that had me entirely hooked was Evil Dead 2.
HC: What was it about it that captured your attention?
JS: I think it was a combination of things, mainly timing. I was becoming more aware of what goes on behind the camera and starting to learn how to make films. ED2 unashamedly made you aware of the voice of the director, with crazy camera angles, cheap gore and inventive camera rigs. I just thought it was utterly brilliant. I can't watch it now because it’s the most watched film of all time for me, I've totally worn it out!
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: I was always art based at school and quite creative, and went to work in an ad agency originally on a traineeship. At 19 I went to college to do my design and media HND. They had cameras (Super VHS), edit suites and TV studios. I made up my mind there and then that I was going to be a filmmaker, although I had no idea how I was going to do it.
HC: Could you tell us about your company, Movie Mogul?
JS: I was freelancing as a producer/director in Cardiff when I hit upon the idea of creating a 'community generated film fund'. This was before filmmaking had entered the crowd-sourcing arena in the early days of Sellaband. MM was set-up on the back of a Technium award to help pilot the idea. Movie Mogul Fund (MMF), garnered much press interest and support, but sadly failed to generate sufficient funds to take the winning film into production. This was a film called Retreat, which later went into production on a much higher budget with Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell. MMF's commercial failure cost me personally and I was forced to review the direction of my company. Re-aligning my own personal filmmaking career with the objectives of MM, and with the help of some private equity, MM became a film production company. The business plan was simple – to make commercially oriented feature films for the lowest possible price point. Everything turned around with Panic Button.
HC: How did the 666 Shortcuts to Hell competition come about?
JS: The film industry is a tough nut to crack, and you’ve got to be quite savvy to get by nowadays. There’s a lot of untapped talent milling around, and so few opportunities to make a splash, get ideas financed, films shot, and then seen, it can seem like a really daunting prospect. Technology and access to equipment is no longer an obstacle, as it was even just 10 years ago, so the barriers are motivational ones. How do I start? Where do I start? What kind of thing shall I make, and then who can I take it to when it’s done? I just love filmmaking challenges, and it struck me that with the help of Frightfest and Horror Channel, we could offer a competition that removes almost all of the barriers to entry and levels the playing field a little, to see if we can unearth some genuine talent, with something fresh to bring to the horror genre.
HC: What do you look for in a horror movie script?
JS: First and foremost, if it's supposed to be scary, gory, tense, chilling or even funny, then it simply has to deliver on that level! A good concept, strong idea or original hook is also a great asset to any film. Perhaps something a little different, a scenario we’ve not seen before. Stories that subvert expectations, and deliver on their promises (without pandering to cliché) will always stand out for me.
HC: What advice would you give to anyone making a horror short?
JS: Let rip with your imagination. Avoid cliché. Take chances. Really go for it. You've absolutely nothing to lose, and this is a fantastic opportunity to get noticed.
HC: Now that the torture movie genre seems to be finally dying off, what do you think will be the next big thing in horror?
JS: Supernatural stories seem to be enjoying a resurgence, but I'm sure that the next BIG thing, will be something we don't see coming!
HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?
JS: We're working on a Sci-Fi/Action movie called We Are Monsters. It nods to many of the horror sub genres, such as vampires, werewolves, alien invasion, mutants, survivalist, but it is also a hearty rites of passage of tale with a pertinent hook, surrounding the difficult financial times in which we now find ourselves.
HC: John Shackleton, thank you very much
For more information on 666 Short Cuts To Hell click here
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Ruth Platt, director of The Lesson
Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2017
On the eve of Horror Channel's network premiere screening of The Lesson, director Ruth Platt talks about the decision to quit RADA, why her film isn't 'torture porn' and what the future holds.
The Lesson received its World Premiere at FrightFest. How did you react when it was chosen? And what was the experience like?
RP: I was really excited when I found out we'd been picked - we got a call from the team, and they were passionate about the film, and they are such a knowledgable and experienced small team, Greg, Paul, Alan and Ian, and it meant so much. Especially when the making of it had been such an arduous and difficult process! I had no idea how people would react to the film - it was su...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Shackleton director of Panic Button
Posted on Wednesday 15th November 2017
As social media horror feature Panic Button gets a remastered DVD and Download release, writer and producer John Shackleton reflects on the film's inspirational journey.
To start at the beginning, what was the genesis or the seed of the idea for Panic Button?
JS: The model of how to make a film actually came before the concept. I'd made a short film with a group of trainees using a bunch of self-imposed restrictions for practicalities sake, to make sure we completed and delivered within the three-week timeframe of the training scheme, who were my employers. The rules were quite simple - no more than five minutes' walk from the office (we couldn't afford a van), no dialogue (we did...SHARE: READ MORE 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 Interview with Dominic Bridges, director of Freehold
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
One of the stand out movies from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was the psychological chiller, Freehold. Dark and at times truly unnerving, the film caused quite a stir and will be released onto DVD on October 9th. Here the film's director Dominic Bridges talking about this superb debut.
HC: Where did the idea for Freehold come from?
DB: Based on personal experience my wife and I suffered a miscarriage whilst trying to buy a house in London whilst the Estate Agents had us bidding against ourselves... I reacted badly which was embarrassing to my wife and myself it all felt like too much fighting for a roof over our heads just tainted the whole of London for us and we moved also the realisation...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 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 Interview with legendary actress Barbara Crampton
Posted on Tuesday 15th August 2017
Ahead of her eagerly awaited presence at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, genre icon, actress and producer Barbara Crampton talks exclusively about her latest film Replace, battling chronic fatigue syndrome and her passion for supporting new talent.
Q: Replace raises questions about beauty, body image and growing older, issues that many feel plague the Hollywood movie industry. What is your view on this subject?
BC: The best movies reflect our inner world, our hopes, our good intentions, trials and our demons. Growing old and the fear of death is endemic to all, not just the movie industry. Just when you begin to figure it out your back aches, your skin starts to wrinkle and you gain weight...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of See No Evil 2
Posted on Tuesday 4th April 2017
Jen and Sylvia Soska are two of the most exciting creatives around at the moment. Their work is visceral, dynamic, exciting and above all bloody entertaining. We've chatted to these multi-talented Canadians about their work to date in the build up to the UK TV premiere of See No Evil 2 this Friday on Horror.
HC: It's been while since we last chatted and apart from See No Evil 2 what have you both been up to?
SS: It has been a while, but it's really cool that we get to chat again. We hosted a reality horror gameshow from Matador, GSN, and Blumhouse called Hellevator that was like Saw: The Gameshow!. We had a blast making it. I really can't even believe that was a job a person could have. We're st...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with 'Life' star Rebecca Ferguson
Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Previously starring opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Emily Blunt in Girl on the Train, Ferguson steps out as the lead, standing firmly in front of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in the Horror/Sci-Fi spectacle Life, which opens in cinemas across the UK this Friday.
Starring as Dr. Miranda North, Ferguson plays the last astronaut on-board an International Space Station which has recently caught a space probe containing the first sign of extra-terrestrial life. Studying the life form quickly turns from fascinating to a complete catastrophe, as the organism rapidly grows strength and intelligence - with the desperation to prey upon those within its reach.
We spoke with Fergus...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 17th December
Monday 18th December
Sunday 24th December