Interview With Kevin And Matt McManus Producers Of Slumlord
By James Whittington, Thursday 3rd September 2015

McManus Bros Director ShotOne of the stand-out movies for me at FrightFest was Slumlord which was directed by Victor Zarcoff and produced by Matt and Kevin McManus it’s a tense and nerve tingling thriller played by a superb cast. Here the McManus Brothers chat about this cracking movie.

HC: How did you get into producing movies?

MB: We’ve been making movies since we were kids. We started out with a production company we created back in elementary school with our best friend, Andy Gould. Considering our initials, we only thought it natural to name the company MGM2. We’ve been making movies ever since. We used to make a lot of horror movies back in high school, so we’ve been itching to do a full horror feature for a while now.

HC: Are you two big horror movie fans?

MB: For sure. We’ve always had a love for the genre. We used to make haunted houses for the neighbourhood kids before we made movies. The kids would go through our house where they would see our friends act out scenes from our favourite horror movies and stories. The haunted house made for an easy transition into making horror movies ourselves. There’s something so satisfying about creating something and then watching it affect the audience.

HC: Why did you decide on Slumlord as a project and were you nervous that writer Victor Zarcoff hadn’t directed a feature before?

MB: We’ve always been a bit afraid of the possibility that there could be hidden cameras in the places you would never expect. I feel like that phobia is pretty common, and now with the prevalence of surveillance cameras on the rise, it’s becoming something that genuinely happens a lot. There are tons of stories out there about landlords videotaping their tenants, and the fear really struck a chord with us. If you want to see something really scary, look up hidden cameras online. They can sneak a camera into anything from a tissue box to a bottle of water.

HC: Were you involved with the casting? Neville Archambault who plays lowdown landlord Gerald is outstanding, creating one of the most sinister movie characters of recent times?

MB: We couldn’t be happier with Neville’s performance. When he came in to audition it was a no brainer to hire him. He encapsulated the role so perfectly, but you could still see the humanity behind his eyes. I remember showing our fellow producer, Ethan Rosenberg, the footage and he asked us, “Is this guy self aware?” His performance was so realistic, that Ethan was literally worried about having a crazy person on set. In reality, Neville is one of the kindest and most disarming guys I’ve met. He’s just that good of an actor.

HC: Did he stay in character during takes?

MB: There was one day where Neville has a particularly creepy scene with Brianne (Claire in the movie), I think it was their first scene together. When we were rolling, he was intensely scary, but between takes he’d break character and chat her up. You could tell he didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable around him. They would laugh and talk about other projects, and then once we’d go up for another take, he’d just turn it on again and be even more terrifying than before.

HC: Talking of Gerald, what do you think his backstory is?

MB: We played around with the idea of giving Gerald a monologue where he talks about where he comes from, and specifically the poor hand he’s been dealt in life, but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right direction to go. Gerald is trapped inside his own body, and by keeping his dialogue rather sparse, it helps add to his isolation. He has a real struggle with this animalistic compulsion and doesn’t know how to cope with it without resorting to extreme measures. This is all because he ultimately has no idea how to interact with the world around him.

HC: Did you spend much time on set?

MB: It was a 10 day shoot, which was pretty insane. Basically there was no time for downtime between takes. Our cinematographer, Jess Dunlap, is incredibly talented and able to work fast while still making the film look beautiful. Our actors had to be on point as well. PJ (who played Ryan) said the film almost felt more like a play. They would try to get their performance perfect in a take or two. It was a blast to shoot this way, but there’s a lot of balls to keep up in the air. I think the next time around we’ll probably add a few more days to the shoot!

HC: There are a number of urban horror movies over recent times, which ones stand out for you?

MB: As you'd probably expect, It Follows definitely stands out. It was such an amazing ride. It’s everything you want from a horror film.

HC: What do you think will be the next big thing in horror?

MB: It’s so hard to predict. I hope we see a turn toward more three dimensional characters. The horror films that I love revolve around characters I recognize in the real world. Whether it’s Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, or The Babadook, I love horror films with characters that feel relatable. It heightens the stakes and gives you so much more to latch onto.

HC: Are you nervous when your movies are played at festivals?

MB: We’re usually just really excited. Finally watching a film with an audience is why we do this in the first place. When you get that first audible reaction, any nervousness you may be feeling just washes away. That’s the great thing about horror films and comedies. If you’re doing it right, the audience will let you know.

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

MB: We try to keep a lot of irons in the fire, so right now we’re working with a few friends on producing a new feature to be written and directed by a close collaborator some time next year. On the writing side, we’ve just wrapped up a draft of a new screenplay we’re hoping to get going soon, and we’re working on a rewrite on a feature about fire fighters in Detroit. We’ve got a lot of stories we’re excited about and can’t wait to get back on set soon!

HC: Kevin and Matt McManus, thank you very much.

Friendly Beast - FrightFest review
Posted on Sunday 18th March 2018

Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow was a true showcase for world cinema. One of the stand out pieces came from Gabriela Amaral Almeida who wrote and directed Friendly Beast, a film so visceral yet beautiful at the same time, it left an indelible mark on this reviewer's mind.

It's nearly closing time at a struggling restaurant. Staff want to go home while the boss struggles with money troubles and a desire for more power in his life. Enter two robbers, the catalyst for a violent situation, which the boss is initially able to contain and gain the upper hand. Suddenly, the already dangerous and explosive situation turns deadly; sides are taken, and people turn to the most abhorrent behaviour in an instant.


Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil - FrightFest review
Posted on Tuesday 6th March 2018

Ever wished that Terry Gilliam made more movies? The man who gave us Jabberwocky, The Fisher King and Brazil gave the world a new perspective and encouraged budding movie makers around the world to make their own visions and to stick by what they wanted to create.

Step forward Paul Urkijo whose demonic movie Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil just had its UK premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow. This film is the closest thing to anything Gilliam has made in the past but at the same time feels so original and fresh that it deserves multiple views just to appreciate the detail and love in every single frame.

Ten years after Civil War in Spain 1833, orphan Usue (Uma Bracaglia) seeks es...

Book of Monsters - Exclusive look at new poster
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018

Those of you lucky enough to make it through the snow to Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow at the weekend were treated to a quick look at Book of Monsters.

From the team that brought us The Creature Below a couple of years back, this female lead, action-packed monster movie draws inspiration from the cult horror cinema of the 80s and 90s including such classics as Scream, Gremlins and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With sick, gory practical creature effects and a dark comedic edge, the film promises to be a fun, bloody and sexy trip back to a time when making it through high school was truly life or death.

The film was successfully funded through Kickstarter in August 2017, raising 45,000 and became one...

Pyewacket - Frightfest Review
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018

You know the feeling you get when you see a film that you know nothing about, not even the title gives anything away and you view with an open mind and then it blows your proverbial socks off? Well this is exactly what happened to me with Pyewacket.

Confused and infuriated for being forced to move away from friends after the death of her father, Leah (Nicole Munoz) performs a blood incantation calling on an evil entity to punish her grieving mother (Laurie Holden). Immediately regretful, she realises she can't reverse the ritual curse and an unholy presence now stalks them both in their rural home.


Where do I start with such a movie? Well, let's begin with the sc...

Attack of the Bat Monsters - FrightFest Review
Posted on Saturday 3rd March 2018

For a movie that's had a longer gestation period than any project I've known of, Attack of the Bat Monsters looks as if it could have been made yesterday, or the 1950s where its set! More on this later, here's what the film is about:

The movie follows schlock impresario Francis Gordon as he and his intrepid crew attempt to shoot an impromptu monster movie in the three days left over from the film they've just wrapped. This is the 1950s Z-Grade movie industry as its never been seen before.

From the Saul Bass opening title homage (which is worth seeing by itself) the movie perfectly encapsulates the era of post-World War II guerrilla film-making. Attack of the Bat Monsters ha...

Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018

One thing that Horror Channel FrightFest prides itself in is by championing new talent. This year's Glasgow event is no different with a whole host of newbies bringing their first features. A real highlight is Paul Urkijo's Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil which is a sumptuous piece that Terry Gilliam would be proud of. Here he chats to us about this stunning movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil come from?

PU: I was inspired by the Basque story "Patxi Errementaria". He was registered by JM Barandiaran, an anthropologist priest who dedicated his life to recording stories and legends of the Basque Country. It is a legend about a blacksmith who was so ev...

Interview with Adam MacDonald, writer and director of Pyewacket.
Posted on Wednesday 28th February 2018

There have been a number of occult and demonic movies over the last few years but none have come close to the tension and terror of Adam MacDonald's Pyewacket. The superb piece of cinema is showing at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this week so I had a quick chat with Adam about this superior shocker.

HC: Have you always been a horror fan?

AM: It really started when I was about 7 years old when my older brother showed me Evil Dead. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it truly rocked me. The card scene in the film did not leave my mind for days. That film is stained on my brain. I was terrified. But then I had a realisation that I loved that feeling. It was primal. Then I watched The Shinin...

Interview with Kelly Greene, writer and director of Attack of the Bat Monsters
Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2018

Making movies can be a tough business but to have to wait almost two decades to release your work takes true dedication. At Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this weekend Kelly Greene's Attack of the Bat Monsters is finally unleashed. Here he tells us the story behind this celebration of 1950s creature features.

HC: You were inspired to write Attack of the Bat Monsters when you were researching 50s movies, did it take long to write?

KG: It took quite a while because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a video production facility while raising a 2-year old and 8-year old, along with my wife, who was also working. I would write at night between 9 and 11pm, and maybe a little more ...

Interview with Patrick Magee, writer and director of Primal Rage
Posted on Monday 26th February 2018

There's been a spate of "bigfoot-style, beast in the woods" types of movies recently but none have come anywhere near Primal Rage. This superior creature feature from Patrick Magee will be having its European Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this Friday so I decided to have a chat with this very talented and creative person.

HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in the film industry?

PM: Since a very young age I was always into, even obsessed, with movies. Specifically horror movies, monster movies really. As a hobby, I got really into special make-up effects and drawing. It got to the point where I was so obsessed with it, I decided when I was a teen that I ha...

Interview with Gabriela Amaral, writer and director of Friendly Beast
Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018

As we get ready for the trip to Scotland for this year's Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow I've been lucky enough to chat to Gabriela Amaral about her powerful movie Friendly Beast which is getting its UK Premiere at the event.

HC: Was there a certain piece of work or person that inspired you to work in the industry?

GA: Yes, there was. I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and I decided to study cinema because of him. In the beginning, I didn't know what would I do with movies. Would I be an academic? A film critic? A director? I just knew I had to live doing something that had to do with movies. I graduated in Communication Studies in Brazil where I studied horror movies and literature (specific...

Horror Channel FrightFest announces Glasgow Film Festival 2018 line-up
Posted on Thursday 11th January 2018

Be prepared to feast on a chilling cornucopia of savage shocks, unsettling surprises and devilish delights as the UK's favourite horror fantasy event returns to the Glasgow Film Festival for its 13th year, from Thursday 1 March to Saturday 3 March 2018.

This year's bold line-up, once again housed at the iconic Glasgow Film Theatre, embraces the latest horror, fantasy and sci-fi discoveries from ten countries, spanning four continents, reflecting the world-wide popularity of the genre.

Ghost Stories remains one of the scariest stage shows ever seen and on Thursday night FrightFest kicks off with a special screening of Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson's smash hit phenomenon. Starring Martin Freedman, ...

Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson join judges panel for FrightFest and Glasgow Film Festival's 90 Second Film Challenge
Posted on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Ghost Stories writer and director team Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson will join Hex Studio's Lawrie Brewster, FrightFest's Paul McEvoy and Glasgow Film Festival head honcho Allison Gardner on the judge's panel for the FrightFest Glasgow 90 Second Challenge.

Aspiring filmmakers living in Scotland are invited to create an entertaining Horror, Sci-Fi or Fantasy film within just 90 seconds.

Films must be shot in Scotland by Scottish residents and entries must not currently be available online. All submissions are free and must be received by Tuesday 13th February 2018. Filmmakers of entries selected to be screened will be notified by 23rd February 2018.

Here's where to apply and read terms and condi...

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