FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Interview With Kevin And Matt McManus Producers Of Slumlord
By James Whittington, Thursday 3rd September 2015
One 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.
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
Saturday 23rd December
Friday 15th December
Saturday 16th December