Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
By James Whittington, 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 valid career choice till in my late teens. At some point I just started to list all the things I wanted to do with my life and the conclusion that I had to become a film director was inescapable.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies?

MB: I'm a big fan of movies in general, but horror I do find particularly exciting. It's such a vast genre which allows you to explore and experience extremes of emotions. A lot of inventive stuff is going on in this field. It deals mainly with fear, and the sometimes successful and sometimes futile attempts at conquering it. It's an important emotion to deal with, I believe, in a medium as cathartic as cinema.

HC: How long did Where the Skin Lies take to write and did it change much over the course of writing?

MB: The script came about in a rather unusual way. It really started with the title and the location where we wanted to film. I pitched those two elements to my older brother David, telling him I wanted to make an ensemble horror film. He quickly came back with a playful concept and I knew we had something valuable from the get-go. David, who is a brilliant software engineer, wrote the first draft in his spare time over the course of four months. From then on, I reworked several drafts, mainly tweaking characters and relationships. But in terms of plot, very little changed. An important aspect of the way I work as a director, though, is eliciting the creative involvement of the cast. We went through a three-week long rehearsal process with a definite 'devising' type feel to it, which is quite unique for genre film. The cast was instrumental in building the characters, the way they relate, and their dialogue. We kept adjusting dialogue and character choreography throughout the shoot itself.

HC: Did the budget restrict anything you wanted to realise on screen?

MB: While working on the first draft, my brother and I continuously discussed what would be feasible on the low budget we'd be working on. The script is partly a product of our budget-consciousness. So, in a sense, we were able to realise everything we wanted on screen, because we didn't write anything that we wouldn't be able to.

HC: Did you have a cast in mind whilst you were writing the movie?

MB: My original plan was to work mainly with people I knew, including recruiting cast from the Drama Centre London. However, when the delightful Joy Harrison partnered up with me as the producer, she brought with her an extensive expertise and network. This allowed us to hold wider ranging auditions. I'm very happy with the cast we were able to assemble and with what they brought to the film. They were emotionally brave and very generous. It's been really rewarding working with them.

HC: It's your debut feature, did this add pressure whilst you were directing?

MB: Honestly not. I thrive on this kind of stress and it doesn't necessarily feel like pressure to me. It's more like a focussing force. The debut aspect didn't play for me at all. The pressure, if you like, comes from your responsibility to your cast and crew - they invest part of their life in making this film, so I believe it should be time well spent for them - and the responsibility to your audience. You're essentially asking strangers to trust you with an hour or two of their valuable time, and to pay for watching your film. You have to deliver something that makes it worthwhile.

HC: It has some really cool effects, were they tough to realise?

MB: I wanted to work with practical effects as much as possible. Firstly, it gives the cast something tangible to work with; secondly, it provides a more real feel to the environment you present to your audience. Any use of CGI should augment the visuals, never distract from the sense of reality. I had the pleasure of working with Alexandra Knights as SFX designer and artist. We planned and tested all the effects beforehand, which included designing a horrid skin disease from the ground up. The little CGI we used, mainly to clean up some shots and to animate some effects, were done by VC Studios in Belgium. They were very generous with their time, running test after test for me, till we got it just right. I'm very grateful for their commitment to the project.

HC: Are you nervous at all when your movies show at festivals?

MB: Where the Skin Lies has its world premiere at FrightFest 2017, so it will be the first time I'll see the film in a festival context. That's very exciting, of course. I'm looking forwards to seeing how an independent audience will respond to the film as a whole and to all the little bits that you hope elicit certain reactions. We've screened the film privately for the cast and crew, once in the UK and once in Belgium, and I do get nervous the moment the film starts rolling. You're constantly trying to imagine what each scene, each revelation, feels like to someone seeing it for the first time. Filmmaking is all about timing the reveal of bits of information. You don't want to spell everything out to your audience and disrupt the magic, but you don't want to be so obscure that it becomes unreadable, either.

HC: So then, what are you up to now?

MB: I'm writing a survival science-fiction I hope to take into production next year. It will ride that fine line between thriller and survival horror. Building on certain themes from Where the Skin Lies, it's going to be breath-taking in more ways than one. I'm really excited working on it.

HC: Michael Boucherie, thank you very much.

MB: It's my pleasure.

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...

FrightFest and Glasgow Film Festival send out challenge to aspiring Scottish filmmakers
Posted on Wednesday 20th December 2017

FrightFest, in association with Glasgow Film Festival, are delighted to announce an exciting new initiative to discover the next wave of emerging Scottish talent. FrightFest has always championed new film-makers since its inception in 2000. Now, for the very first time they are encouraging talent to rise to the challenge of creating an entertaining film within just 90 seconds.

The winning shorts will be screened both at the Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow Film Festival event, held at the Glasgow Film Theatre on the 2nd/3rd March 2018 and FrightFest's London event in August 2018.

The rules for submission are that films should be no longer than 90 seconds and be in the Horror, Thriller, Scie...

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Star Trek: The Next Generation
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