LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS
Interview With Suri Krishnamma Director Of The Dark Tourist
By James Whittington, Sunday 25th August 2013
The Dark Tourist (pictured) is a challenging, bleak and emotionally charged film that is getting a special preview today at FrightFest. It boasts an incredible script, bold performances and superb direction from Suri Krishnamma. Here Suri chats about this incredible movie.
HC: What attracted you to The Dark Tourist?
SK: What attracted me? When I read the script I ‘saw’ the film – it literally leapt of the page as if a hologram were attached. It’s hard to analyse why that happens sometimes - it just does. It also scared me a little as the layers of the obsessive central character peeled away revealing the horrifying truth of his character. Something in the writing was honest, too – the darkness clearly came from a real place. But ultimately what attracted me to it was the mind of the writer, Frank John Hughes. I spent 3 hours talking to him the morning after I read it – 3 intense and inspiring hours during which I understood his desire to make a film about intimacy (or a man’s search for and lack of) and about a kind of extended voyeurism. In the script, Jim Tahna (Michael Cudlitz) conjures the image of a dead serial killer who had once taken revenge on those who abused him in childhood. I was hesitant talking to Frank at first. I wanted to be absolutely sure that I wasn’t about to jump on board a gratuitous, ‘slasher’ movie – but that feeling evaporated quickly. For Frank, the film is about Intimacy (or lack of) and holding up a mirror to a sensationalist, morally bankrupt society. It took balls to write this movie. I knew Frank had had to look into some pretty dark places and I wanted to be part of it.
HC: Was it a difficult movie to get backing for?
SK: The film was fully funded when I came on board, so from my point of view the answer is ‘no’. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. All films are difficult to get finance for – and for a film of this kind that’s even harder. But even after I became attached the funding road was not a smooth one due to financial shenanigans where so-called ‘partners’ to the main investor stole money and walked away. The film would have collapsed entirely if it hadn’t been for the rock-solid support of our financier.
HC: How did you go about casting the movie?
SK: The script was written by Frank John Hughes specifically for Michael Cudlitz so he was already on board when the project came to me. He and Frank were good friends, having acted in Band Of Brothers together. After doing due diligence on Michael’s ability as an actor I was confident and comfortable with the casting – but it was only after sitting down face to face that I began to really understand why Frank had written this for him and what the possibilities were. But because of the history I also made it clear to Michael that he was a ‘blank page’ as far as I was concerned and that he should try to forget about any pre-existing conversations about his character – something that seemed to liberate him. When Melanie Griffith’s name was put into the frame for Betsy I knew this would be perfect, perfect casting. Her involvement followed her reading of the script which we’d managed to get to her quickly through friends of Frank’s. Frank and I then spent several hours with her discussing the role. This was a brave choice for Melanie – playing a woman carrying deep pain but who remained optimistic. This was not a glamorous role in any sense of the word – playing a character that Jim Tahna needs to be both attracted and repelled by. I think she needed to know that she’d be in good hands – that we were serious in our desire to make an intelligent but disturbing film that seriously looked at the issues of voyeurism and of what can become of disturbed people who are neglected by society.
HC: The film has a stunning central performance from Michael Cudlitz, did he stay in character between takes?
SK: You mean did he beat up the crew over lunch? No, but he did put his heart and soul into the performance which is palpable when you watch the film. As for ‘staying in character’ that’s a tough question to answer and only Michael can really share his method with you (something an actor often keeps private). Having said that I’d say it’s hard, if not impossible, to simply switch in and out of character when playing someone who has such deep, deep anger and, ultimately, is unrestrained in his capacity for violence. Quiet moments alone, before and after the most demanding scenes, were probably necessary. But I always felt that I was able to speak to Michael and not his character if that answers the question – even when his character begins to lose his grip on reality and, more shockingly, succumbs to the demons that inhabit the sewers of his mind.
HC: What was the atmosphere like during the shoot?
SK: Shooting a film on such a tight schedule is a challenge and everyone needs to be on their game. Our crew gave 100% and were good natured and extremely well focussed. There was simply no room for error – no opportunity to go back and limited scope to shuffle the schedule even in extreme circumstances – such as when Michael Cudlitz broke his hand in a scene where one of his punches went astray and caught the wooden base of a bed. With a swollen, broken hand he continued through the night, punching and acting - just bearing the pain. This kind of commitment rubbed off on the crew and I remember little grumbling. And of course they were incredibly respectful during the more intimate scenes when the cast were required to bare all in front of them.
HC: Did the script change at all during the shoot?
SK: Not significantly, no. In fact the only changes I remember us making were for logistical reasons. Frank John Hughes and I had a close working relationship and from an early stage we understood we were making the same movie. Frank was by my side throughout the shoot, so where dialogue changes occurred or other small tweaks were necessary he was fully supportive. Changes did occur in the cutting room – in fact the whole opening sequence was restructured and some cuts made to keep the story’s trajectory unambiguous.
HC: The film leaves the viewer with a sucker-punch ending; you must be pleased how the film faultlessly builds up to this?
SK: Thank you, I am. We intended the film to have a measured, unhurried beginning but once it takes you by the throat to not let you go. Too many films cop out when dealing with this kind of grotesque subject matter and we resolutely refused to do that.
HC: Are you nervous about the movie showing at FrightFest?
SK: I’m nervous/excited about every screening of every film I make – but anticipating seeing Dark Tourist in front of what I’m told will be more than a thousand people – and on the biggest cinema screen in the UK - somewhat enlarges that feeling! But I’m excited more than nervous. I love our movie…
HC: What do you think will be the next big thing in horror?
SK: Horror is not my area of expertise at all – but having now attended some of the terrific Frightfest Festival I’m learning!
HC: What are you working on at the moment?
SK: Developing a number of projects including an adaptation of Hamlet, a story set in the ‘60’s/’70’s on the Isle of Wight (the place of my birth), a conspiracy thriller set in the north of England and an urban gang-related story set against riots in London. I am also attached to direct a couple of other films – but as Woody Allen famously said – the best way to make god laugh is to tell him your plans for the future! I also teach at Norwich University of the Arts and am studying for a Science degree at the Open University, currently working on an Astronomy module.
HC: Suri Krishnamma, thank you very much.
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
Tuesday 25th December
Tuesday 25th December
Tuesday 18th December