ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Simon Rumley Director of Fashionista
By James Whittington, Monday 6th February 2017

Simon Rumley FashionistaAhead of the UK premiere of his latest film Fashionista at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow, Simon Rumley reveals why he's a fan of drugs in film and his planned foray into London gangster land...

HC: Fashionista finds you back in Austin after Red White & Blue. What excites you about Austin so much? Could Fashionista have been set anywhere else?

SR: I had such a great experience on Red White & Blue for so many different reasons that it was only natural that, at some point, I'd return to Austin. With Tim League (exec producer), Paul Knauss (co-producer) and Karen Hallford (casting director) I've got a great bunch of friends who also happen to be great collaborators and they form the core of both films' Austin based crew and most probably without them neither films would have happened. Beyond that, I love the unique style of Austin, the food, the music, the cinema, the clothes, the neon lights, the bars and of course the people. And although it's a place which is constantly growing, it still feels it has an intimacy which places like LA or New York or London lack. Fashionista's evolution was very much a response to when I went back there in 2014 for a few days after spending a time there in 2009 and 2010 and noticing how much it had changed. Like most interesting places in the Western World over the last 5 years, it's become gentrified; there's more sky rise flats, more traffic, more upmarket restaurants and less locals. And, like most places which have been gentrified, there's an erosion of some of the things that made it exciting in the first place. The whole vintage shop phenomena was such a massive part of the Austin that I knew in 2009 and although there are still a lot of these shops, there's definitely less - even the one we shot in had to relocate literally two weeks after we shot there so the lead character's obsession with clothes in the film and her transition from vintage mash-up to designer clothes is probably not something that could believably happen in many places; I'm not sure Fashionista could have been set anywhere else in that case...

HC: It's a film about addiction, from sex and body image to clothes and identity, but not anything drug-related. You didn't want to throw that into the mix?

SR: I'm a big fan of drugs in films but, to be honest, I think all that needs to have been said has been said so I'm not sure what I would have been able to add to the genre. I've always been interested in a period drug film - Alastair Crowley's Diary of a Drug Fiend for example would offer a different perspective on the subject and I'm currently reading Johny Barleycorn by Jack London which is about his relationship with alcohol - not memoirs of an alcoholic as he's keen to point out but alcoholic memoirs, set in 1913; fascinating to consider the power of alcohol through the ages. I watched Christiane F again as research for this film and films like Requiem For A Dream and Trainspotting offer definitive investigations into contemporary drug addiction so I'm not sure what the point would have been but more importantly, the film is about consumerism and clothes are something that everyone can relate to. It's so easy to buy anything these days and clothes seem to be the epitome of the consumer's purchasing power. Given that it's a phenomenon that hasn't been explored in cinema it felt ripe for investigation.

HC: All your movies are so unique, your subject matters, locales and atmospheres feel so new and virtually unexplored. Is that the only way you can personally approach film as an artistic medium?

SR: Ah, thanks! From an early age, I've always thought that to make a mark, you should try to do something different, individual and unique. I think this belief is ultimately mis-founded; it might have worked at the beginning of the Midnight phenomena for people like Lynch and Jodorowsky and Waters in the early/mid 70s but we're living in such a culturally anodyne time that increasingly, people really just seem to want things that are similar to things they already know and understand and are thus non-challenging. In terms of my own creative evolution, I definitely have tried to make every film different from the previous one and much of this is done through structure, editing and the visual aesthetics of the film. The structure to The Living and The Dead, RWB and Fashionista are completely different from each other as is the editing and the visuals. It keeps it interesting for me as I continue to explore what cinema is and what can be done with it as a medium. That said, I've been trying to do more straight forward, linear films for a while now but things just haven't worked out that way... fashionista - Ethan Embry and Amanda Fuller

HC: Once more you completely pull the rug out from the viewer's feet with some major surprises. Do you think of them first and build your story around them, or do they evolve organically?

SR: Yes; interested to see how people react to these moments! They all evolve organically to be honest although there were a few deliberate decisions to make some reveals as late as possible in the film.

HC: This contains flashbacks, flash-forwards, in fact flashes everywhere! How did you cope continuity wise?

SR: Ha! Good question. The script was written exactly how it ended up on screen so I'm not really sure anyone really knew what was going on apart from me and so continuity was a big issue. Continuity is an incredibly tough job and I usually find continuity people incredibly annoying and often not very good at their jobs. The only great continuity person I worked with was a woman called Helene Oosthuizen who did Club Le Monde and The Living And The Dead with me and I'd love to work with her again but generally I try not to have continuity people on my film since they slow the whole process down and often confuse it. On RWB we didn't have one, on Crowhurst we didn't have one and perhaps somewhat recklessly we didn't have one on Fashionista. This could have been a massive disaster since there are many scenes which chronologically flow on from each other but appear in the script in a non-linear fashion. The producer and I spent a lot of time making sure the shooting schedule accommodated this and we were also incredibly lucky to have an amazing Costume Designer, Olivia Mori, who not only sourced all these incredible and different clothes (I think Amanda Fuller's character had over 100 changes) but also spent a lot of time working out the exact linear chronology of the piece. We met up two or three mornings and went through her interpretation of the script, just to make sure it was correct. By the time we finished this, it was watertight in her mind but even then things could have gone wrong but, thankfully they didn't. But yep, this was an incredibly challenging film but everyone, Olivia, especially, came through with flying colours.

HC: How would you crystallise your own directing style?

SR: Every script is different so I try to direct the script in order to get the maximum drama/tension etc. from it, using editing, music, camera angles etc. as a means to do this. This is probably why every film looks and feels slightly different.

HC: You give director Nicolas Roeg a name check in the end credits. And you gave Amanda Fuller and Ethan Embry Bad Timing to watch before shooting. Is he your main inspiration here?

SR: Yes - I watched a few films such as Safe by Todd Haynes, Christiane F by Uli Edel, A Woman Under The Influence by John Cassavetes and Lost Highway/Mullholland Drive by David Lynch. But yep, Bad Timing was the main one and I gave it to Amanda and Ethan to try to offer a rough idea as to how the film would end up visually. As far as I remember, that jumps pretty much back, forward and everywhere else. I've always been a massive fan and was incredibly fortunate to get the opportunity to work with him on my previous film Crowhurst, which he exec'd produced. I'd always wanted to try to make a film which has the kind of structure he's best known for and having spent some time with him, I thought it was a now or never kind of situation.

Fashionista Amanda Fuller

HC: You're working with Amanda Fuller again, why do you rate her as an actress, because she fits into your own weird universe the best?

SR: Not specifically that per se, but most actresses wouldn't have had the courage to do what she did in RWB or even Fashionista so now you come to mention it, that must be something to do with it! She's absolutely fearless which helps and she's a complete natural, able to turn the emotions on and off like a tap which also helps. Added to this, she's a lovely person and completely reliable so it's always a pleasure to work with her and the results are always fantastic. I'm sure we'll work together again sometime!

HC: Do you prefer being a resolutely cult director? Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word was a departure for you. How do you plan balancing artistry with future commercial opportunities?

SR: After The Living and The Dead, RWB, Little Deaths and my ABCs of Death, I made a decision to go more commercial, something I'm still working on but hope to crack with my forthcoming films. Johnny Frank Garrett was supposed to be the first film in this direction but for various reasons, that didn't work out exactly how I'd hoped. That said, I've been very lucky to make 8 feature films and 2 anthologies and generally had the freedom to do what I wanted with them. If you keep the budgets low enough, these films are still "commercial" in as much as they make their investors' money back. That said, I'd like to work on a larger canvas, get paid more and get the films seen by more people so that's definitely my intention henceforth.

HC: And finally, what's next?

SR: I've got three projects which are shaping up well. The first which we're planning on shooting towards end of March is a period based London gangster film about two guys called Jack The Spot Comer and Billy Hill. They're the missing link between Peaky Blinders and The Krays and there's a fantastic story to be told about the ups and downs of their relationship and who, ultimately, was the King of The London Underworld. Given how this country maintains a fascination with gangsters, it's incredible this story has never been told before because it's ripe for dramatisation. Of the two projects after that, one is a revenge thriller set in post Brexit England and the other is a thriller set in the Mojave desert about a couple who are being shot upon by a sniper, based on an excellent novel called Eyeshot by a very talented young writer called Taylor Adams.

Fashionista is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Saturday 25th February, 11.45am as part of Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow 2017.


MORE ARTICLES
Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Posted in Reviews, Friday 18th October 2019
Ghostland - Music from the Motion Picture
Georges Boukoff, Anthony d'Amario and Ed Rig
The Omega Productions Records

Pascal Laugier's Ghostland (known in the UK as Incident in a Ghostland) was one of the highlights of FrightFest 2018 and proved once and for all that this director was a master of the sinister and murky.

Produced ten years after Martyrs, the movie was more considered in its tension building and was in its strange way a contained a classic fairy tale structure.

The movie concerns the aftermath of a brutal home invasion experienced by Beth along with mother and sister Vera. Forward a few years and Beth is now a horror novelist and has found solace in her w...

SHARE: READ MORE
Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Posted in Reviews, Thursday 17th October 2019

Halloween: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Expanded Edition)
Sacred Bones
Double Vinyl

Halloween 2018 was a box-office hit and gave the franchise a much-needed tension injection. It saw the return of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode and that of original director John Carpenter though he wasn't in the driving seat for this one. Instead he, alongside his son and godson, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies created the score and delivered an atmospheric piece which retained whispers to the past without drowning in them.

The soundtrack album was a hit as much as the movie was debuting at #12 on the Billboard Albums chart and #2 on the vinyl chart, o...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Wednesday 16th October 2019

Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?

PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...

SHARE: READ MORE
Dare you experience Kraken Screamfest: The Director's Cut?
Posted in News, Tuesday 15th October 2019

This Halloween, London braces itself for The Kraken Rum to deliver a unique bar and horror experience like no other, commissioning legendary horror mastermind Neil Marshall to direct every detail of the night. The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is joining forces with the esteemed Hollywood Director to present 'Kraken Screamfest: Director's Cut' - promising to bestow fresh new nightmares on even the most devoted fans of the horror genre.

Neil Marshall, famed for classics The Descent, Dog Soldiers and Game of Thrones, will be terrifying those brave enough to step inside the real-world creation of his darkest imaginings. Everything from the decor and the staff to the Kraken Rum cockt...

SHARE: READ MORE
Superb supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary to have UK cinema release on 25th October
Posted in News, Tuesday 15th October 2019

Wildcard Distribution is bringing the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary to UK cinemas on 25th October. The film will play exclusively in key cities around the UK with Odeon Cinemas.

Extra Ordinary stars comedian/writer/actress Maeve Higgins (Naked Camera, Inside Amy Schumer), Barry Ward (Jimmy's Hall, MAZE), Will Forte (Nebraska, McGruber, Last Man on Earth), and Claudia O'Doherty (Trainwreck, Love, Inside Amy Schumer, Long Shot) and tells the story of Rose, a sweet and lonely small town driving instructor who must use her supernatural 'talent' to save the daughter of a local man from a washed up rock-star looking to use her in a satanic pact that will reignite his fame.

The film wh...

SHARE: READ MORE
"It's the most zombified time of the year!" Anna and the Apocalypse is coming to Blu-ray
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019
Anna and the Apocalypse Bluray cover

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a zombie apocalypse Christmas musical?

Anna and the Apocalypse is set for its UK Blu-ray debut on 2 December in a feature packed double-disc edition, courtesy of Second Sight.

It's Christmas time and the sleepy Scottish town of Little Haven is under threat from a zombie apocalypse, forcing Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. But even zombies can't stop the teen drama: will Anna's best friend John (Malcolm Cumming) reveal his true feelings for her, or will her smu...

SHARE: READ MORE
Terry Pratchett's Discworld comes to vinyl for the first time this November
Posted in News, Thursday 10th October 2019

Terry Pratchett's Vinyl Discworld is a 15LP vinyl audiobook box set featuring seven classic stories, which will be released on Friday 29th November.

Following the very successful Good Omens, Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy releases on vinyl, Demon Music Group presents Discworld featuring the following stories:
Mort
Wyrd Sisters
Guards! Guards!
Eric
Small Gods
Night Watch
Bonus non-Discworld story Only You Can Save Mankind

41 Discworld novels were written, set on a fictional flat planet, balanced on the backs of four elephants, which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle. It is estimated that more than 80 milli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted in Interviews, Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

SHARE: READ MORE
13 nights of scares as Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season
Posted in Features, Tuesday 8th October 2019

For thirteen nights, from Saturday 19th October to Thursday 31st October at 9pm, Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season, a supernaturally spooky selection of the scariest movies, including the UK premiere of the ghostly chiller The Unspoken and the channel premiere of the terrifying thriller Pay The Ghost, starring Nicholas Cage.

Other highlights include Damiano Damiani's diabolical prequel to The Amityville Horror - Amityville II: The Possession. James Watkins' spine-chilling remake The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ti West's The Shining slacker-style indie sensation, The Innkeepers. the 2008 US remake of The Eye, starring Jessica Alba and box-offi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chris Bavota, co-director of Dead Dicks
Posted in Interviews, Sunday 6th October 2019
ChrisBavota_DeadDicks

Horror is the perfect genre for getting across very serious issues. Dead Dicks, which is showing at Grimmfest today does exactly that by looking at the sensitive subject of mental health. Here co-director Chris Bavota talks about this intriguing movie.

HC: How did you and co-writer and co-director Lee Paula Springer first meet?

CB: In case people don't know, Lee and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have 2 young daughters. Making movies somehow came as a natural evolution of that but wasn't really a part of our lives until about three or four years ago. We originally met back around 2004 through a mutual friend and honestly, we didn't really ge...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Robi Michael, writer and director of Every Time I Die
Posted in Interviews, Saturday 5th October 2019
Robi Michael

Grimmfest 2019 is well underway and one of the stand out movies so far has been Every Time I Die from director Robi Michael. Here he chats about this gripping movie.

HC: Was there one person or movie that you saw that made you want to be a director?

RM: Hard to think of one person or movie, because as long as I remember, it was clear to me that all I want to do is make movies - I was in love with films and decided to pursue it from a very early age. I was too young to realized what it takes to make movies or what is the job of a director. I can say that an early big influence in story telling is the legendary graphic novel writer, Alan Moore. Books like "Watchmen" and "V for...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event
Posted in Frightfest, News, Thursday 3rd October 2019
FF19-Halloween logoArrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.

The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.

The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty's Candy Corn. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Star Trek: Voyager
STAR TREK: VOYAGER
Wednesday 30th October
7.00 PM
Stir Of Echoes
STIR OF ECHOES
Tuesday 22nd October
9.00 PM
Tales From The Darkside
TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE
Saturday 26th October
8.30 PM