LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Julian Richards, director of Reborn
By James Whittington, 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 three films a year to handling ten films a year and our titles were getting stronger. At the same time my wife and I decided to have a family and in 2016 we became parents to twins. I think we both underestimated how demanding parenthood would be, and understandably, I lost momentum with the directing projects that i was developing. But I had no intention of giving up on directing and was always on the lookout for new opportunities. The first, Daddy's Girl came from an unexpected source; an Indian broadcaster Zee Studios, based in Dubai who approached me to help them put together a slate of three horror films that they planned to shoot in Eastern Europe. I sent them three scripts from which they chose Daddy's Girl for me to direct and Open 24 Hours for Padraig Reynolds to direct. My sales company Jinga Films represents two of Padraig's earlier films Rites Of Spring and Worry Dolls, so I was happy to share this opportunity with him. The next opportunity came during Cannes when I was asked by John Penney and Brian Yuzna to recommend directors for Reborn, a feature they were planning to produce in Los Angeles. I recommended myself, gave feedback on the screenplay and was quickly hired for the project. Of course, the idea of directing two feature films in 12 months whilst raising twins was daunting, but I had lost time to make up for, and with the support of my wife, Rosana, I (we) somehow managed to do it.
HC: Daddy's Girl is a contentious, challenging film, to say the least. Did you have reservations about the storyline, given the way the film industry is shifting morally and sexually?
The screenplay for Daddy's Girl that went into production is different from the original screenplay. The original had a Haute Tension-esque twist whereby several characters in the story turn out to be the same character, the protagonist, with many events taking place inside her mind. It was this deeply psychological context that attracted me to the script, but the producers didn't like it and so it was removed. Without this twist, and with the torture scenes actually happening rather than being the machinations of a deranged mind, the project was in danger of becoming just another torture porn film, and being a sales agent as well as a director, I was acutely aware of the problems this might cause, particularly post #metoo. So, I introduced a new theme to the story, making both the killer and the cop Iraq war veterans and linking the torture to Abu Ghraib, turning the film into a metaphor for the anxieties of post Iraq war America. When I directed the torture scenes, I panned away or cut away from anything too extreme or degrading, focusing instead on the protagonist as she watches. Reaction is stronger than action, and horror is more effective when left to the imagination. The producers did question my direction, they wanted less clothes and more torture, but I did not want to make an exploitation film and personally I felt uncomfortable taking the material in this direction. Ultimately Daddy's Girl is not a film about a bad guy torturing women, it is a film about a captive women staving off the desire to commit suicide and choosing to survive instead.
HC: Jemma Dallender puts in a brave, compelling performance. What she your first choice for the role?
JR: Actually, we first cast Jemma as the vigilante, but when two of the actresses cast to play Zoe pulled out we had to re-shuffle our cast and offered Jemma the lead. She jumped at the opportunity because she had never played a character like that before.
HC: You extract an equally commanding performance from Barbara Crampton in Reborn. What was it like working with such a genre legend?
JR: When I read the script for Reborn, Barbara was the first actress I thought about for the part of Lena, so I was really pleased when she agreed to board the project. Actually another actress was already attached to the project but had to leave just before we started shooting, so when Barbara arrived she only had a couple of days to prepare. It was a fraught start to the production but she was like the cavalry coming to the rescue. Barbara gives commanding performances in all her films, so all a director has to do is cast her and provide her with a good script with good dialogue. Occasionally I would step in and ask for a little less or a little more, but generally speaking, you just roll the camera on Barbara and often you get what you need in one or two takes. Working with Barbara is therefore a director's dream. She comes fully prepared and is willing to go above the call of duty to get the best result for the film. I wish every actress were like Barbara...
HC: Even though Reborn is a violent supernatural thriller, at heart it's a moving story of a young woman's search and reunion with her birth mother. How did you find balancing the emotional narrative with the brutal tone of its visual effects?
JR: It was the mother, daughter reunion aspect of the story that attracted me to Reborn. The script had a strong, dramatic, emotional through-line which reminded me of Frankenstein. Most horror scripts don't have such a strong dramatic ingredient, so I knew that this was something special. However, the script was lacking in strong horror beats, so I did a directors pass, ramping up the kill scenes in which Tess uses her electro-kinetic power. The Omen franchise became an influence here, dramatic family scenes intercut with inventive murder set pieces. Of course, Carrie was also an influence, as was The Fury and Scanners. The film has a strong sense of nostalgia for the genre, so I introduced a meta-horror ending to give it a contemporary twist.
HC: Juggling a career as a film director with that of running an established sales and distribution company (Jinga) must be a constant challenge. How do you do it? Do both give you equal satisfaction?
I moved into sales after making The Last Horror Movie. I put a lot of my own money into that film and needed to make sure that I got it back. I also wanted to learn more about the business side of films and sales seemed to be the most immediate and accessible way to do that. I never intended to switch career, but I did need to do something that would provide me with a more reliable income. Jinga went from strength to strength and by the time we released A Serbian Film in 2012, we had established ourselves as one of the key genre companies in the World. It was, and still is, an incredible learning curve and it compliments my film-making in many ways. I think the opportunity to direct Daddy's Girl and Reborn came because of my experience in sales, so although Jinga initially diverted me away from directing, it ultimately provided opportunities that I might not have got going through the conventional employment channels such as agents and managers.
HC: You made a massive impact with The Last Horror Movie and many people are still hankering for a sequel. Is this on the cards?
JR: I did toy with the idea, about doing something with Max on Facebook and Twitter etc., but technology and social habits are evolving so quickly that I was concerned that any script that we came up with would be dated by the time it got made. Also, the market has changed. There is not much of an appetite for found footage, and crime films are less popular than supernatural. If somebody out there has a viable idea and wants to write a sequel to The Last Horror Movie, I would certainly consider making it.
HC: When you look at the Jinga library, are there any films you would have liked to have made?
JR: Well, A Serbian Film does spring to mind, but actually no, I don't think I'm capable of that level of transgression. The three films I would choose are Still/Born, Our Evil and The House at the End of Time. All have a strong family drama at their core which gives them a greater sense of reality, despite the supernatural events wreaking havoc elsewhere in their stories.
HC: You come from Wales but your last film shot there was the BAFTA Cymru award-winning Summer Scars. Do you plan to return to your homeland to make more movies?
JR: The first opportunity I got to direct a feature came from Wales, when I received lottery finance from Film Agency Wales to make Darklands, which is arguably the first Welsh horror movie and which has been credited as kickstarting a new wave of UK genre production which continues to this day. Film Agency Wales also supported Summer Scars, and without this support I may not have been able to achieve the level of success that I have obtained, so I owe them and Wales a huge debt of gratitude. I would love to make more films in Wales, particularly films that focus on Welsh history, myth and folklore. If any writers out there have a script that I could shoot in Wales, please send it my way and I would be happy to read it.
HC: Finally, what's next for Julian Richards?
JR: I am in talks with Israeli production company UCM to co-produce and direct the English language re-make of Rabies and I am also developing an action thriller based on the terrorist attack on British holiday makers in Tunisia. I am also involved as a co-producer with the English language re-make of The House at the End of Time which is currently in development at Good Fear.
Reborn has its World Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, Cineworld, Leicester Square on 8th November, 10.40am.
MORE ARTICLES Two terrifying horror sequels will debut on special edition UK Blu-ray in March
Posted in News, Wednesday 13th February 2019
88 Films will present two classic 90s horror titles on special edition UK Blu-ray for the very first time on March 25th. These thrilling sequels provided fresh follow-ups that satisfied fans of the much-loved originals, and now these impressive releases are set to terrify all over again with stunning new HD presentations and stacks of special features.
A true horror icon returns in this buzzin' UK Blu-ray edition of Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. The sequel to Clive Barker's original 1993 shocker, this 1995 follow-up brings legendary hook-handed bogeyman Tony Todd back once again to spill the blood of anyone who dares...SHARE: READ MORE A Grimmfest double-bill event to celebrate Horror Channel's Season of the Dead
Posted in Features, News, Wednesday 13th February 2019
Grimmfest will be presenting a Zombie Double Bill, in association with Horror Channel's upcoming Season of the Dead on February 20th.
The evening is being held at Plaza Cinema, Stockport with doors opening at 6.30pm for a 7pm start and contains two celebrated gut-munching must sees back on the big screen; Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.
Shaun of the Dead is the cult horror/comedy starring Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield and Nick Frost and directed by Edgar Wright, this is your chance to embrace the famous George A. Romero parody on the big screen as a man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother and dealin...SHARE: READ MORE Former nasty, Cannibal Terror arriving on Blu-ray
Posted in News, Tuesday 12th February 2019
First there was Cannibal Holocaust... Then came Cannibal Ferox... But somewhere in France, someone was already hatching a plot to cash-in on the Italian intestinal classics with Cannibal Terror.
Now, 88 Films are giving Blu-ray life to one of the most bizarre gut-munchers ever made from 11 March.
With no budget, no professional actors and no flights to Amazonia, Cannibal Terror instead gives us Deodato and Lenzi on a cash-strapped level and the end result is The Room of cannibal movies!
Brilliant and blood-soaked late night entertainment, Cannibal Terror was one of the UK's infamous 'video nasties' - showing that our beloved c...SHARE: READ MORE Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - New clips
Posted in News, Tuesday 12th February 2019
Entertainment One UK has released new clips for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the upcoming anthology series of horror tales for children, from the visionary mind of Guillermo del Toro. We've a selection of those clips below but here's what the movie is about first:
It's l968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind... but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large.
It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has t...SHARE: READ MORE Are you ready for The Green Inferno AKA Cannibal Holocaust 2 on Blu-ray?
Posted in News, Tuesday 12th February 2019
For years fans waited for the release of a sequel to Ruggero Deodato's trendsetting Cannibal Holocaust, yet it would take almost a decade for The Green Inferno, also known as Cannibal Holocaust 2, to arrive... and it wasn't what followers of the Italian cannibal cycle were expecting. Thanks to 88 Films you can now see one of the most discussed sequels of all time from 11 March.
A group of enterprising adventurers venture into the Amazon jungle in search of a missing professor but soon the youngsters encounter more than they bargained for - European colonialism is exploiting the rainforest and the nat...SHARE: READ MORE Pet Sematary remake - New trailer and poster!
Posted in News, Thursday 7th February 2019
"Sometimes dead is better."
Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary will be opening its gates to UK cinema goers on 5th April.
Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family's new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.
First published on November 14, 1983, Pet Sematary spent 32 wee...SHARE: READ MORE The unsung classic Next of Kin coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Tuesday 5th February 2019
Lauded by Quentin Tarantino in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood, Australian creep-fest Next of Kin is set for its first UK Blu-ray release courtesy of Second Sight. It will also be available on download and on-demand.
Directed by Tony Williams this 1982 Ozploitation classic stars Wolf Creek's John Jarratt alongside Jackie Kerin and Robert Ratti and gets the high-def treatment complete with extensive special features including director and cast commentaries, Not Quite Hollywood extended interview and commentary from its director Mark Hartley, interviews from the documentary and two short films from Tony Williams. The film is set for release on 25 March.
Linda Stevens has just in...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tom Paton, director of Redwood
Posted in Interviews, Monday 4th February 2019
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Redwood, director Tom Paton reveals the secrets of his prolific work-rate, talks about tackling the subject of fake news and the twists and turns of his new film Stairs.
HC: Redwood gets its UK TV premiere on Friday 8 February, courtesy of Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TP: Honestly, I'm so proud that Redwood has made its way onto Horror Channel. I've been a huge fan since the channel launched and over the past decade I've discovered so many horror gems on there from classic through to films I'd never heard of but now love. It feels incredible to know that someone might discover Redwood in the exact same way.
HC: Is it true y...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with journalist and documentary maker Calum Waddell
Posted in Interviews, Saturday 2nd February 2019
Calum Waddell has been involved in writing, reviewing, making documentaries and teaching about movies for over a fifteen years. His knowledge on cult movies has been used by such labels as Arrow Video and 88 Films as well as appearing in magazines such as Total Film, Fangoria and DarkSide.
We managed to talk to Calum about the ups and downs of his career and his plans for the future.
HC: When did you decide that you wanted to become a journalist?
CW: I am not sure I ever was a journalist [laughs]. Maybe just a for-hire film writer more than anything else! But my biggest inspiration about cinema was and still is Kim Newman, whose work I discovered at a very young age...SHARE: READ MORE The Best of 80s Scream Queens - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Saturday 2nd February 2019
The Best of 80s Scream Queens 88 Films Certificate 18
For those of us of a certain age, the 1980s was a time of the video cassettes and computer games and whilst our adoration of pixels may have diminished our love for 80s horror/thrillers remains. This triple-bill from the good folks at 88 Films is a reminder of the golden age of direct-to-video releases and the scantly clad ladies who helped make them such a rental hit as well as the notorious director behind them all, David DeCoteau.
Now, DeCoteau was behind the classics Creepozoids, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge but these t...SHARE: READ MORE Second Sight Films to bring new life to Romero classics
Posted in News, Monday 28th January 2019
Second Sight Films has announced it has acquired the UK Home Video and VOD rights to two classic films written and directed by celebrated filmmaker George A Romero. Following a licensing deal with producer Richard P Rubinstein, CEO of New Amsterdam Entertainment, the UK distributor will be re-issuing the highly-acclaimed and much in-demand George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead and Martin.
Slated for release later this year, Second Sight plans to give the legendary films the full Special Edition treatment in the same way they did for Blu-ray Box sets of cult classics When A Stranger Calls/When A Stranger Calls Back, The Changeling and Xtro. All featured stacks of bonus content and stunnin...SHARE: READ MORE Will you be Scared Stiff by this Blu-ray release?
Posted in News, Sunday 27th January 2019
TV star Mary Page Keller (Pretty Little Liars) appears alongside Andrew Stevens (10 to Midnight, The Fury) as a couple terrorised by an age-old curse in Scared Stiff, the much-underrated late-80s offering from director Richard Friedman which is getting the Blu-ray treatment on 22 April.
Keller plays Kate Christopher, a singer who moves into an old colonial mansion with her son and psychologist boyfriend David (Stevens). But when they make a strange and gruesome discovery in the boarded-up attic, it soon becomes clear that the mansion carries with it a dark and blood-stained past - and one that is about to terrorise them in the present.
The second featur...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 24th February
Wednesday 20th February
Monday 18th February