LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS
Interview with Sam Ashurst director of Frankenstein's Creature
By James Whittington, Saturday 25th August 2018
HC: Why did you choose to film James Swanton's acclaimed play, Frankenstein's Creature?
SA: I made a music video for Channel 4, and they gave me a small budget to shoot it in a day. The budget was small enough to raise independently, and I looked around me and realised I had all the crew I needed to shoot an actual feature film, not just a music video - if only I could shoot a film in a day! Then my friend Dan Martin, who did the effects for films like Human Centipede II and Freefire, said that he'd been given advice that if you want to shoot a film in a short space of time, you should option a play. I'd worked with James on another, much smaller thing, and was blown away by his talent. I knew he had a one-man Frankenstein play that he'd written and performed, so I asked him to send it to me. It was one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read, it gave me the same feeling as Rutger Hauer's 'Tears In Rain' Blade Runner speech, so I immediately asked to option it. Thankfully James trusted me enough to let me adapt it!
HC: It plays out like a confessional from the creature itself, as if it's pouring its heart out, did you fear this theme would be lost?
SA: This is a great question - I'm not actually concerned the theme will be lost, as I feel like there's a couple of ways to read the film, and I'm open to all of them. The film version has a new narrative as far as I'm concerned, I see it in a different way to the original piece, because of the elements we've added, and the location and so on, but I'm happy for people to experience it however they want. What I am hoping people really appreciate is what a feat of acting this is from James, how complex a performance he delivers in one take - he commands the screen for 90 minutes. I just hope people don't think we've tricked them with hidden edits - it's all James, and it's unreal.
HC: How did you go about transferring it into a piece on cinematic theatre?
SA: We shot it on the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's novel, so I thought it would be cool to try to imagine what it would be like if there'd been a feature-length adaptation back then. I thought it would be fun to make my first film in the style of the very first films, which I haven't really seen before. So, I combined the approaches of the two main pioneers of cinema, the Lumiere brothers (who used a fixed camera to make very representative films) and Georges Melies (who used costumes and magic tricks to make fantasy films), and I'm really proud of how it turned out. The cinematic elements - the music, the dissolves, the slow zooms and so on - really add another dimension to James' astonishing play and give it a unique atmosphere.
HC: Its visually striking and James Swanton is magnetic on screen, did he change any of the original script for this cinematic adaptation?
SA: He did, he updated it very slightly - I don't want to give specifics because of spoilers, but he added something I was blown away by. Hopefully people who've seen the play and go on to watch the film will appreciate the addition.
HC: Did you have to give Swanton much direction or change some of his performance for this version of his play?
SA: We did a week of rehearsals, as we had to re-block the piece for the space, and I wanted to make subtle changes for maximum cinematic impact. I wanted to amp up a couple of horror elements, so we really worked on a couple of the silent moments, to add tension. Mike Muncer of the Evolution Of Horror podcast really reacted perfectly to one of those new scary moments, so I'm pleased those elements work.
HC: The constant dripping of water adds a real chill to the piece, seems to fade and then increase as the creature speaks, does it or was it just my imagination?
SA: I'm really glad you picked up on that - the dripping was actually a bit of weird luck. I'm hugely influenced by Tarkovsky, Andrei Rublev is one of the big influences on our film, and anyone who's seen Stalker will know about the dripping water in a key sequence in that film. But we didn't artificially create it - the water was dripping at the location on the day of the shoot by pure chance, so we kept the noise in the film. It really adds to the hypnotic atmosphere, and yes, you're not imagining things - we are adjusting it to mess with your head as much as possible! Frankenstein's Creature is intended to be a trance film, in the tradition of stuff like Inland Empire and, more recently, Mandy - so any element we can use to slightly disorientate the audience really helps create that weird feeling that'll hopefully stay with people.
HC: Was it hard to get the right person for the score, which by the way is as atmospheric and hypnotic as Swanton's performance?
SA: Thanks so much for that compliment, I love the music so much. Johnny Jewel, who worked on the score for Drive, Lost River and Twin Peaks: The Return kindly gave us an hour of music, because he loves the book and is a big supporter of independent cinema. It was another weird bit of luck, I emailed him to request a specific song, which turned out to have been inspired by Mary Shelley's novel - I had no idea! - which then led to him giving us all of that perfect music. The score feels like it was written for the film, like they were meant to come together. There's been a lot of that on this project.
HC: How did the legendary Graham Humphreys become involved in the poster creation?
SA: Graham is a friend of James and I, and he's just an astonishing artist - we all grew up on his incredible VHS covers, and he just keeps on outdoing himself. His recent art for the release of The Old Dark House is some of the best work of his career. Graham shares the same taste as James and I, and I had a pretty clear idea for what I wanted from the poster - and Graham didn't just deliver on it, he over-delivered. Seeing his painting for our film was one of the most moving moments of this process for me.
HC: So, what are you working on next?
SA: I'm in very early pre-production on the next thing. It's very different to Frankenstein's Creature in so many ways, but I'm really excited about it. I've talked to James about it, I basically want him in every film I ever do - schedules allowing - and I'm talking to someone else cool to lead it, so we'll see. The plan is to make seven films then stop, so I want them all to be as good as each other!
MORE FRIGHTFEST Interview with Paul Hyett director of Peripheral
Posted on Friday 2nd November 2018 Paul Hyett is a firm FrightFest favourite. His work jumps from genre you genre with ease but still retains that "Hyett" feeling in each piece. His latest work, Peripheral is having its UK Premiere at the FrightFest Halloween 2018 event so we decided to chat to Paul about this and his view on technology.
HC: How did the project of Peripheral come together?
PH: Peripheral was bought to me by the original producer, he thought I'd be a good fit. Originally he had pitched me a one woman in a room, contained location about bad technology theme. It didn't feel appealing as after Howl, which was a big film in terms of cast, VFX, stunts etc and I was looking for a more challenging film logisticall...SHARE: READ MORE Slay bells ring in Secret Santa!
Posted on Sunday 21st October 2018
Christmas dinner turns bloody in Secret Santa, the ferocious, gore-soaked horror comedy from the creators of Jason Goes To Hell and Texas Chainsaw 3D.
A Christmas Eve gathering takes an unexpected turn after a family guest spikes the punch with a military grade version of truth serum sodium pentothal. The already dysfunctional group comes unstuck in a blizzard of drug-induced, painfully candid outbursts, and upset soon turns to carnage after the head of the family runs amok with a fork, triggering festering loathings and savage reprisals.
The second film to be released under the FrightFest Presents label, the new venture from leading independent distributor Signature Enter...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2018 event
Posted on Thursday 4th October 2018
FrightFest unleashes an intoxicating six-pack of horror, sci-fi and fantasy for their popular Halloween all-day event, now at the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3rd November. The 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four continents and includes two world premieres and four UK premieres.
The day kicks off with Julian Richards' latest chiller Reborn, a Carrie for the Z Generation, starring the First Lady of FrightFest, Barbara Crampton, and featuring a stunning performance from rising newcomer Kayleigh Gilbert. Richards, famous for The Last Horror Movie, will be at this World Premiere screening.
Next up is the UK premiere of Parallel, direct...SHARE: READ MORE 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Frightfest Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 26th December
Monday 24th December
Tuesday 25th December