ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS


Interview With Paul Davis Director Of The Body
By James W, Monday 26th August 2013

Paul Davis HeadshotThe world premiere of The Body has just finished at the Empire. We spoke to Paul Davis about this fabulous short and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for The Body come from?

PD: The Body was originally a screenplay written by my Producer Paul Fischer, based on an idea by film maker Mary Kerr (director of acclaimed documentary Radioman – also produced by Fischer). I was sent the script around September last year at the recommendation of Axelle Carolyn, who thought the story would be right up my alley after Him Indoors. The idea of a murderer using the cover of Halloween to transport his latest victim by dragging it through the street REALLY tickled me. I thought it was a wonderful concept and there was definitely something in this that we could do. The original script, however, while very good, I just thought was too ambitious for a short film. Fischer agreed to let me do a pass on the script, that I largely kept the same up until the third act. That’s all that I really drastically changed. Just gave the movie a real punch in the gut for its climax.

HC: Once again you’ve expertly mixed horror and humour perfectly, how long did it take to get the balance just right?

PD: Well, most of that was already there courtesy of Paul’s original script. All I really did was exaggerate it a little bit. As with any production that is blending comedy with horror, more often than not it’s how the performers deliver the material. In every aspect I was adamant to every department that this not be treated as a comedy. It’s shot like a horror film, it’s scored as a horror film and the actors play it deadly serious – and that’s why it’s funny. Alfie Allen’s character as the murderer was always interesting to me because he is playing the role as someone who’s just doing his job – yet those around him just think he’s ‘in character’ for his Halloween costume – which he totally plays up to and exaggerates – and Alfie nailed it. He played the part exactly how I wanted him to do it. There’s a lovely moment in the film where he’s ‘off the clock’ and no longer working and his personality does a complete one-eighty. I really think he did a wonderful job in this – as did the entire cast.

HC: How did you go about casting the short?

PD: The old fashioned way, honestly. Originally I imagined the characters being a lot older. Mid-to late thirties, and the first person I actually spoke to about the lead role was Mark Gatiss – who I’d met via Reece Shearsmith after showing him Him Indoors. Mark was interested but sadly the week we were scheduled to shoot was his last week on a West End play. Looking at other actors, I stumbled upon a photo of Alfie Allen in a suit and was just captivated by his look. In the nicest possible way, he looked like he could be psychotic. So from there he was really the only person we wanted – meaning the ages of all of the other characters then dropped to mid to late twenties. The character of Maggie wasn’t a difficult one for me. I’ve loved Hannah Tointon in everything I’ve seen her in (Tom Shankland’s The Children and The Inbetweeners) to name a few. It was when I saw her in an episode of the E4 comedy show The Midnight Beast that I knew we had to get her for Maggie. Not only is she absolutely adorable, but also she had a wonderful energy that was necessary for the character. The idea was that Maggie lives in her own world. Everything is great, everything is wonderful, live now, ask questions later. Plus, when you see her on screen, you can’t help but look at her – making the scene in which she meets Alfie all the more compelling because even he is completely drawn to her beauty. The supporting cast really is an eclectic mix of people I’ve worked with before and those I’ve wanted to work with for a while now. Christian Brassington (Hummingbird) is another alumni of John Landis’ Burke & Hare, and more specifically, he’s in the scene in which I was having my leg hacked off by Tim Curry – just watching. Not doing anything to help the poor screaming sod on the table. So this was my chance to get my revenge – in the loveliest possible way. I always recalled Chris from the day was shot that scene and he is just as lovely and brilliant as I remembered. FrightFest favourite Jack Gordon (Panic Button) was actually the very last person we cast for the movie. We already had another actor lined up, who then pulled out literally four days before we started shooting. The actor’s agent then mentioned Jack’s name, to which I immediately threw a Judd Nelson/Breakfast Club fist pump to the sky as I actually adored Jack in Sean Hogan’s The Devil's Business. So I really consider what happened there a blessing in disguise, as he was just perfect for the role.

HC: What sort of budget did you have?

PD: I’m not entirely sure on numbers, but I definitely had a bit more time and money on this one, than I did on Him Indoors. Fischer and I had a great Producer/Director relationship in which I told him exactly what I needed to achieve the shots I wanted to do – and if there was anything I couldn’t have, I had enough time and notice to do something a little more cost effective without compromising the intention of the shot. The main thing for me was making sure I had my choice of several key crewmembers to make this work. First up was my Director of Photography on Him Indoors, Eben Bolter – who for my money is one of the best up and coming cinematographers in the UK today. We have a very solid working and personal relationship and really gel on set. We’re both quick thinkers and problem solvers so if ever something wasn’t working, between the two of us we’d immediately have a solution that worked much better. He certainly brings out the best in me and I hope I do the same with him. I know we’re itching to do a feature together so, that’s always a good sign. Also back for more is my composer Osymyso. His score on Him Indoors was beautiful and I had every faith that he would deliver the goods once again on The Body. Having lived with the editing of the movie for several months and knowing every aspect of the movie back to front, then seeing it with Osymyso’s score was a completely different experience. He really breathed life into the film and I personally think he’s bettered the work he did on Him Indoors by a country mile. Especially the kicking track he did for the end credits. We were originally going to license a selection of pop tracks to put in the movie, but once we heard what Osymyso did, we kept all of his work in its entirety.

HC: Did shooting at night cause any problems?

PD: Well when you shoot entirely on location you’re always up against the elements. We had one where we lost half of the night to heavy rain – but we knew the forecast and were lucky to shoot all of the key moments before a single drop of rain appeared. The whole shoot was a very different experience for me – from that of Him Indoors (a short shot in two days in one location). On the first day, for example, we were shooting a party sequence with a crew of maybe fifty/sixty people and seventy extras. I’d never done anything on that scale before but I absolutely thrived on it. It felt like we were making a feature. Shooting in the middle of Bermondsey High Street with a dead body prop was interesting though. All everyone wanted to do was touch it, hence how the body got his nickname… Pat.

HC: Am I right in thinking that the opening shot is homage to the original Halloween movie?

PD: You know, it was never intended to be and actually did not think of it in that way until you brought it up. I guess unconsciously it could be – although it’s not really a POV shot. In the script it was described as a montage of shots rather than one long take. Originally we were going crane up from the street and hide a cut through the curtains, but once we saw the location and the balcony it had, I knew right there that we could do this in one shot. Also, there was a downstairs bathroom that we were originally going to use, but it was Eben who suggested the steadicam ascend the stairs. I think we managed five takes in all on that opening. The flat we filmed in had a speakers in the ceiling of every room, so we were able to play Swan Lake throughout the flat so that Rob, the Steadicam operator could really time his movement and hit his mark at the end of the shot.

HC: They film seems to be sprinkled with movie references, do you enjoy placing such things?

PD: To be honest I’d refer to them as Easter eggs rather than references. All of the little nuggets sprinkled throughout The Body are done so in a manor that doesn’t alienate anybody that may not get it. For example, in the script, the music in the opening shot was simply described as ‘Classical Music’. I specifically chose that section of Swan Lake as a nod of respect to the Universal Horror movies of the nineteen-thirties that opened with the same piece (Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Mummy and Dracula among those). So if people pick up on that, great, but it doesn’t make a lick of difference to the story if they don’t. And it’s not just horror too. I even threw in a nod to the first two Cannonball Run movies! So yeah, the Easter eggs are for the fans. The movie is for everybody.

HC: The Body will be your third premiere at FrightFest, do you still get the same sort of nerves before your stuff is shown?

PD: Oh God yes. I’d forgotten last yeah just how nerve racking it is – and I still won’t be prepared come August 26th at 3.30pm! To be honest though, nothing beats having your work played on that huge screen at the Empire to the FrightFest crowd. We even turned down a HUGE film festival across the Atlantic to make sure that the world premier was at FrightFest. It’s no contest for me. Wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m very proud of the movie and everyone who worked on it. I just hope the audience enjoy it.

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

PD: I’m afraid I’ll have to be vague on this one. I have two features in development at the moment; both are in writing stages at the moment. One is another production with Producer Paul Fischer and the other is a feature I’m co-writing with Stef Hutchinson – who Halloween fans will know as the director of the Halloween: 25-Years Of Terror documentary and a lot of the graphic novels. Both projects are horror movies; both very exciting and hopefully I’ll get to share more info soon.

HC: Paul Davis, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
First film to be released under the FrightFest Presents label - The Dark.
Posted on Tuesday 18th September 2018

The first film to be released under the FrightFest Presents label, the new venture from leading independent distributor Signature Entertainment and leading genre festival FrightFest, The Dark received its UK premiere at this year's prestigious FrightFest in London, and is perfect for genre fans who love nothing more than a backwoods shocker featuring ghouls, gore and flesh eating, but one done with panache and poignancy.

An undead young woman, Mina, stalks the 'Devil's Den' woods where she was killed. If anyone enters the woods, she kills them and feasts on the body. But when she stumbles upon a young blind boy named Alex in the back of a car, who shows signs of horrifying abuse, she can't bring herself to kill...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, the creative forces behind Crystal Eyes
Posted on Saturday 15th September 2018
Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano

FrightFest 2018 exposed attendees to horror from all over the world and one that made an incredibly stylish and retro impact was the superb giallo inspired shocker, Crystal Eyes. Here the co-writers and co-directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano tell us all about this affectionate love letter to the classics of the 80s.

Where did the idea for Crystal Eyes come from?

Crystal Eyes was supposed to be the third episode of our web-series called No Podras Dormir Esta Noche (You Won't Sleep Tonight) which paid homage to different horror sub genres in each episode, and eventually it turned into a feature film. We love Giallo si...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom de Ville, director of Corvidae
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
Tom de Ville director of Corvidae

HC: This is your first short as a director, what inspired you to write this script?

TdV: I read a really interesting article about how smart crows are, in particular how they can hold grudges. Apparently a group of scientists had gone out and harassed a murder of crows whilst wearing masks. If they went back wearing the masks, the crows would remember them and fight back. If they didn't wear the masks, the crows would leave them alone. This made me start thinking about what would happen if someone tried to save a crow from a bunch of kids who were trying to kill it. Would the other crows from its murder remember this? And what would they do to help her?...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Wednesday 5th September 2018
Director Stewart Sparke watches a scene

HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?

SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up wit...

SHARE: READ MORE
Less dialogue, more sound. Sennheiser presents 3D audio thriller, Final Stop
Posted on Friday 31st August 2018

The rustle of a newspaper, the sound of the bus engine far away, the steps of the stalker in the pitch-black night: The hairs on the back of every neck will stand up, thanks to the incredibly realistic 3D sound in Sennheiser's short film Final Stop. Writer and director Roxanne Benjamin uses the soundscape to create a thrilling atmosphere, with stunning audio recorded using Sennheiser's Ambeo Smart Headset. The result is a gripping 3D audio thriller which was shown at FrightFest 2018 to a very appreciative crowd and which you can view here.

In Final Stop, the protagonist played by Australian actress Phoebe Tonkin is on her way home from the city on a night bus. She soon notices a m...

SHARE: READ MORE
Fancy a western themed slasher? Lasso will be for you!
Posted on Friday 31st August 2018

Epic Pictures' horror label Dread Central has unleashed the trailer for their latest picture, Lasso, Evan Cecil's Western-themed slasher which premiered at FrightFest last week.

From Dragonfly Films, Lasso, produced by Elaine Gibson, Todd Myers and Evan Cecil, stars Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints), Lindsey Morgan (The 100), Karen Grassle (Little House on the Prairie) and Andrew Jacobs (Paranormal Activity).

The horror flick centers around Kit (Morgan) and Simon (Jacobs), two young leaders of an Active Senior Tour group, out on an adventure to a small-town Rodeo festival located deep in the woods. It's a great experience for the group... until they try to leave. Simon and Kit must save themselves...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ferdinando D'Urbano actor, writer, producer of The Laplace's Demon
Posted on Tuesday 28th August 2018
Ferdinando D'Urbano - Director of Photography Producer COL

A stand-out movie from FrightFest 2018 tested the brain power of those who saw it. The Laplace's Demon is an incredibly powerful piece so we chatted to one of the creatives behind it, Ferdinando D'Urbano.

HC: I'd never heard of Laplace's Demon theory before, can you give us a quick explanation of what it is?

FDU: The Laplace's Demon is a philosophical theory of the early 1800s. Pierre Simon Laplace was a French mathematician who in his work "Essai philosophique sur les probabilites" (A philosophical essay on probabilities), theorized that if there were an intellect capable of knowing al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Andre Gower director of Wolfman's Got Nards
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
Wolfman's Got Nards

HC: You had already starred in a lot of stuff before The Monster Squad came along, did you think that this was just "another" acting job?

AG: At the time, it was just that. The next audition, the next project. However, once on set and seeing what you were a part of, we realized quickly that this was something bigger and more unique than anything we had done before or may even get to do in the future.

HC: Were you a fan of the Universal monsters at that time?

AG: I always had an appreciation for the classics even as a kid. As you mature, you keep that appreciation and learn more about it and how it affects the present and realize these were very important...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 5 - FrightFest comes to a Climax
Posted on Monday 27th August 2018
The Golem

All good things come to an end and FrightFest 2018 is entering its final day. But there should be no tears, no sadness, as the event has been one of the very best of its 19 years.

But let's not dwell on it too much as there's another action-packed day of film fear for all attendees to enjoy starting with the world premiere of the brutal movie, Open 24 Hours from Padraig Reynolds.

Then its time to view a genre favourite of mine, the multi-story kind as The Field guide to Evil delivers a delicious amount of tales ranging from Greek goblins to possession in the German mountains. A love story with a ghastly and unique twist is next on the schedule as an undead flesh-eating ghoul form an unlike...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with John Rocco and Abiel Bruhn the writers and directors of The Night Sitter
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018

HC: Where did the idea for The Night Sitter come from?

JR: From the beginning of this story, I had my childhood home in Nashville in mind as the perfect location. After several months of convincing, my parents allowed us to film in their house. It's a pretty amazing feeling to have grown up in the same location that we'd eventually film our first feature in! We were able to incorporate all the parts of my house that used to scare me as a child and weave them into a story about witches, which was extremely fun and nostalgic at times. While developing the story, I tried to recall the scary thoughts I had when I was Kevin's age.

AB: Finding an inspiring location (the house has this stran...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Joanne Mitchell, director of Sybil
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
Joanne Mitchel Image 4

One of the best things about FrightFest is the Showcases of Shorts which is the way to catch undiscovered talent and unique ideas. Joanne Mitchell has been in the entertainment industry for a few years but has just directed her first piece, Sybil which is showing at FrightFest today.

We decided to chat to her about this amazing and disturbing piece as well as he plans for feature films.

HC: Have you wanted to direct for a while?

JM: To be honest I hadn't really thought of directing until Tracey (Sheals) sent me an email with her idea for Sybil. And I really liked the story and thought this would make a great short film and possibly a feature in the fut...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 4 - It's all about the Discovery
Posted on Sunday 26th August 2018
The Night Sitter

As Day 4 of FrightFest dawns its time check out what's going on at the Discover Screen.

As usual there's been a broad selection of films already shown in this room but today has the most eclectic menu of mayhem.

The Night Eats the World is a raw, stripped-down, existential zombie chiller based on the acclaimed book from Pit Agarmen which looks at the loneliness and pain of trying to survive an undead holocaust. This is stark contrast to Gonzalo Calzada's beautifully delicate yet striking Luciferina. Forming the second entry to his "Virgin Trilogy" it's the story of ancestral drugs, pagan rites and a perverted version of the eternal battle between Good and Evil.

A f...

SHARE: READ MORE
Frightfest Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Under The Dome
UNDER THE DOME
Thursday 4th October
8.00 PM
When A Stranger Calls (2006)
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (2006)
Tuesday 2nd October
9.00 PM
They Came From Beyond Space
THEY CAME FROM BEYOND SPACE
Sunday 30th September
6.35 PM