Interview With Simon Rumley Director Of Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word
By James Whittington, Sunday 28th August 2016

Simon-Rumley-300x189Today sees the European premier of Simon Rumley's latest movie Johnny Frank Garrett's Last Word. Simon is a regular at FrightFest and his work is always very creative and guaranteed to have the audiences debating their content. This makes him one of the most exciting directors working at the moment. Here he chats about this latest project.

HC: Is this the first movie you've directed that's not been written by yourself and if so did you find it restrictive in any way?

SR: I actually directed a short called The Handyman with Greta Scaachi. The script had won a screenwriting competition so was really great. Subsequently I also directed Crowhurst which wasn't initially written by me but I worked with the producer to come up with a script that everyone was happy with and on that I got an 'additional material' writing credit. With Johnny Frank Garrett, given that this was a 'Hollywood' film, things work differently over there and as a director I was brought on board to visualise the film the producers wanted to make. This was restrictive in as much as I would have, given carte blanche, treated the subject matter differently but that wasn't what I was hired to do and I knew that from the offset. Ultimately I was allowed final cut which in these situations is relatively unusual.

HC: You can tell it's a Simon Rumley movie by your use of colours and sound, were you tempted to add any more of your traditional style to it?

SR: Thanks! Well, as above, I was allowed final cut so, given the script, this is the best that I think I could have done with it. A lot of what is considered my 'traditional style' comes from how I write scenes and how I write a whole script so without having the luxury of writing this particular script, some of what would be considered my style is inevitably missing. I very much write to shoot and shoot to cut and although we do drop scenes in the edit, my scripts are usually very lean and there’s also a structural consideration which has an element of non-linearity.

HC: One of the stand-out performances is from young Dodge Prince; did he read for the role?

SR: Yeah, Dodge was amazing! Our casting director Karen Hallford held auditions in Shreveport and Austin for kids and I think Karen had seen him first and then brought him back and he did a reading which blew both of us away. He’s the loveliest kid, very bright, mature for his age and asked a lot of pertinent questions and really humbled some of the other actors; he's a complete natural and actually, can be seen next in the remake of The Magnificent Seven which I'm excited to watch. He comes from a very tight and loving family and I think he's an actor who could go all the way if he wanted to. Hopefully I'll get to work with him again some time.

HC: How do you look after a young actor when working on a movie with a dark theme like this?

SR: One of Dodge's parents was on set all the time and, as above, they're very grounded and nice people. I'm pretty sure they read the script first and went through the themes with him in an intelligent way. One has to be sensitive that these little people don't necessarily have the same stamina as adults or the same ability to concentrate so I always make sure they're OK and happy to continue whatever scene they're doing but Dodge was a real trooper and was always happy to do more, always wanted to get it to the point that I was happy. There's a lot of misconception about director's getting good performances from their actors but more than anything, this comes from the casting process and, with the producer and casting director, being able to spot that spark or that ability that will make that actor work for that role better than any other actor is the most important thing.

HC: What are the major differences of shooting a movie in the USA as compared to the UK?

SR: Well I've shot three features in the US now. What I like about shooting there is that lunch is usually shorter and you shoot for another hour or hour and a half a day which means you can get a lot more done in a shorter period than you can in the UK. I've often heard it said that the crews in the UK are the best in the world but I've found the crews in the US to be just as good.

HC: Though it states it's based on a true story how much is actual fact?

SR: The whole story about the juror and his family is fictionalised but everything around that is completely true; all the facts, the deaths etc, etc. There's only one death which is slightly fabricated and that's the teacher's although she did commit suicide.

HC: Do you believe people can be cursed?

SR: Not really, but that said, I'd preferred not to be cursed myself!

HC: You're a FrightFest regular; do you get nervous when your movies play at this festival?

SR: Yep, this is the 5th film I've shown in 10 years, staring with The Living And The Dead in 2006 so this will be a 10th year anniversary! FrightFest is always a slightly weird experience for me because I always find myself apologising that the film I'm presenting isn't an 'obvious' horror film, and actually, isn't really a horror film at all! I'd describe most of my films more as extreme dramas than horror films and although Johnny Frank Garrett isn't extreme in any really way, I'd describe is more as a thriller with supernatural overtones than an out and out horror film; I think it's creepy rather than scary.

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

SR: I've got a couple of features that I'm completing at the moment; one is Crowhurst - based on the real life story of Donald Crowhurst who entered a race to sail around the world non stop in 1968 and ended up cheating. It's a very sad story about the flip side of the British Empire and for all the success stories that we're fed this is one of failure and misguidedness. It features a tour de force performance from Justin Salinger. The other is a thriller called Fashionista which stars Amanda Fuller who was the lead in Red White & Blue. It has a great cast which also includes Ethan Embry (Cheap Thrills), Eric Balfour (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) and Devin Bonnee (Johnny Frank Garret's Last Word). It's set in Austin, Texas and is a non-linear story about a woman's fashion fetishism and how that adversely affects her life. I'd like to think it's quite an unusual/unique film and am looking forward to getting it out there...

HC: Simon Rumley, thank you very much

SR: Thanks and my pleasure!

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...

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...

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Cherry Falls
Tuesday 27th March
8.00 PM
Secret Window
Monday 19th March
9.00 PM
Dead Silence
Sunday 18th March
9.00 PM