Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
By James Whittington, 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 evil that even the demons of hell are afraid of him. It has elements of terror and humor. It was my favorite when I was little and is part of a compendium of European stories that speak of the relationships that certain characters have with demons from hell.

HC: Did the script change much during the writing process?

PU: The original tale is very short but I took the elements of it and developed it by doing something quite different but that keeps the soul of the story. I placed it in the nineteenth when tradition and superstition collide with the mentalities illustrated and modern. And just after the 1 Carlist War, a civil war, that took place in Spain generating a very suitable environment for a drama with demons. I added many characters that are not in the story and expanded the world of own story used element of the other legends of the Basque Country and the most universal demonic imagery, such as classic books of demonology.

HC: The cast are amazing, especially Kandido Uranga, Uma Bracaglia and Eneko Sagardoy, did they rehearse much together?

PU: We rehearsed, but they did not need many rehearsals, they are very good actors. It was a very hard shoot, in winter in difficult situations with many physical scenes... And they all looked like masters. Kandido with his high age, hammering blows, Eneko with the prosthetics and acting wonderfully and Uma being his first film behaved like a veteran in a recording that not all children could endure. A marvel of cast.

HC: This is your first full length feature, what did you learn about the art of directing when working on this movie?

PU: I've been doing short films for 15 years. I always tend to get into complicated stories of shooting: with ambience, action, monsters, fx... however, a feature film requires a lot of psychological strength. You have more pressure for the budget and you can not pass the time. Many times I had to react and modify the planning to be able to tell the story in time. I think that what I have learned the most is to adapt myself without stress.

HC: What sort of budget were you working with?

PU: We had around 3 million Euros. You know that is not a lot of money to make a fantasy movie located in XIX century with a lot of FX, action and VFX. Even in Spain this is the budget to make a casual comedy movie. We shot in 7 weeks, very fast. For me it was very difficult because I had to make modifications on the same day of shooting changing the storyboard lot of times (for example from 14 shots to 5 shot planes). But I think this is the work of the Director. You have to adapt to that you have. It was very hard, but you enjoy a lot these kinds of challenge and I think that the hardness and violence of the shoot is printed on the movie.

HC: Were there any pieces you couldn't create due to time restraints or budget restraints?

PU: Of course, action sequences, more creatures... For example Alastor the big Demon in the beginning had a mouth in his belly and he spoke from there. The last scene, was going to be bigger with more demons and souls and action... but we got to where we could. Anyway, I'm very happy.

HC: Do you have a favourite shot or moment in the movie?

PU: It is very difficult to say this... I love every appearance of Sartael. When it appears for the first time for me it was a dream come true. When I see this, I think... "Yes, I made a story about demons!" On the other hand, a love when Usue Patxi speaks for the first time. I think that there is the heart of the drama. It is very difficult to choose a part. It is my creature... I love and hate him from beginning to end.

HC: A lot of the effects seem to have been done on set, how did you achieve such amazing shots? PU: I have played a lot with the visual trick, most of the FX are made with animatronics. For example, in Sartael, the only digital thing is the queue. And we did not have cranes and cables for the action scenes, so I played a lot with the shadows and other theatrical resources. Finally, the shots are the result of a teamwork of acting, make-up, lighting, decoration, wardrobe ... All as one!

HC: It has a feel of Terry Gilliam to it, was he a big influence on your work?

PU: Terry Gilliam is one of my favourite directors. When I made the film, I do not have a reference when I work because I try to create my own style. But it is a fact that unconsciously he is a great influence for me. Fantastic cinema owes a lot to Terry and more of it has traces of fairytale. It is definitely an honour if my works are somewhat similar to his films. I admire him a lot and you do not know how happy I was when he finally finished his movie "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote".

HC: What is the film industry like in Spain and is there a large horror/fantasy movie following there?

PU: In Spain it is hard to make films. You have to work for years (In my case 7 years) to get the money to make a film. Also the theatres are full of foreign movies with a stronger industry behind them and it's very hard to challenge and if your film is a fantasy movie this is even more difficult. But there is a lot of public who love our genre. But I can't complain because my film has reached to UK! So I'm happy.

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

PU: I'm working on a couple of films of the same genre that are based in the Basque Mythology and folklore. I want to share the fantastic stories of my country to whole the World. But for that the public have to like my first movie... I cross my fingers!

HC: Paul Urkijo thank you very much.

Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
Posted on Saturday 17th March 2018

Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.

HC: How did 88 Films start?

RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

Interviews Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
Friday 30th March
8.00 PM
Day Of The Dead
Wednesday 28th March
8.00 PM
Saturday 24th March
6.40 PM