ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Tim Van Dammen director of Mega Time Squad
By James Whittington, Tuesday 14th August 2018
Tim Van Dammen director of Mega Time Squad

You played a Street Demon in director Jason Lei Howden's FrightFest favourite Deathgasm. Is the New Zealand film community that small?

I didn't play a street demon; I am a street demon. The film community in NZ is small enough for most active people to know most other active people - but the genre scene is small enough for us all to know each other by at least one degree of separation. Many of my friends worked on or acted in Deathgasm and they needed a night shoot of 'street demons' so I donned my tie-dye and offered to help out. It was a lot of fun and I think Jason and the team did an incredible job.

Have you met Peter Jackson and do you see him as the ultimate Kiwi role model?

I have met some of his major long-time collaborators like Richard Taylor (production designer) who put me in touch with Jamie Selkirk (editor/post supervisor) who mentored me through the postproduction of Romeo and Juliet, so I spent a lot of time at Park Road Post but I have never met Peter Jackson. He is certainly one of the great Kiwi legends and for filmmakers he would be the ultimate role model. His work has inspired me since I was five years old and living in a caravan when I saw a news piece about Bad Taste being selected for Cannes. I remember my dad laughing his arse off about the sheep being hit by the rocket launcher and ever since then I wanted to be a filmmaker. Then when Braindead came out I realised that filmmaking was something I might be able to do - I just needed to find a fresh approach. I still remember gagging as Tim Balme pulls the dog tail from his mother's throat... Braindead is so good.

Not many people get to write with William Shakespeare as you did with your 2013 feature debut Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song. That must have been a great experience?

Haha, yeah, I think that credit was a legal thing. Shakespeare really didn't deserve it, after all he only wrote the verse. I'll give you a moment to recover after that hilarious joke... It was fun trying to Kiwify Romeo and Juliet but the difficult part was filming it as an opera. Coming from music videos I was used to shooting to music but to shoot the full play in its entire original text, all set to a series of songs, and to try to make it emotionally moving was a major challenge. It taught me that I had a lot to learn in terms of storytelling.

You've directed over 180 music video for some top Kiwi and international acts. Can you name some we would have seen?

Mega Time Squad Image 2

It's hard to tell which videos you may know because the music scene varies so vastly from country to country. My band, Collapsing Cities, was signed in the UK around 2008/9 and we toured and did the big festivals so maybe you saw something then. I used to make at least a video a week so it's hard to remember them all. My most popular videos were 'Just a little bit' - Kids of 88, 'Standing in the Rain' - Sola Rosa, 'Autumn - Artisan Guns, some The Naked and Famous stuff... but these were more popular in Aus, NZ, Germany and the US... the UK is pretty unique in its music scene; when my band supported the Artic Monkeys I was surprised to see that they had platinum records hanging on the wall at XFM... so antipodean.

Where did you get the idea for the Mega Time Squad script?

I wanted to do a time travel movie and I thought it would be cool if it were about a guy who went back in time to hang out with himself. But then I wondered if it would funny if he jacked himself off... Then he would feel weird about it and go back in time again to stop himself from jacking himself off and there would be this weird love triangle between a series of copies of the same guy. Then I came to my senses and realised that there was a better way to approach this idea. What if he helped himself commit a crime or escape the punishment for committing a crime? What if he time travelled to help himself steal a bunch of cash but once he got it he didn't want to share the cash with himself? What if he time travelled so much that the various versions couldn't remember which version was which? Then what if they started killing each other? This seemed like a better angle than a w*nkfest.

Mega Time Squad Image 3

Time travel stories can often be so convoluted, how did you avoid that?

I drew a kind of map of the time travel and decided that the only "rule" was that when John time travels he moves in time but not in space. I was more focused on how to make time travel new again or at least address it from a less familiar perspective. I felt like we'd seen enough time travel movies where we follow the same character going back over and over again so I wanted to show the story from more of a third person point of view. We travel with John the first couple of times but after that we follow whichever version of John is driving the story. It's not really about time travel, it's about a lovable idiot with a time travel device who thinks time travel is cool because he gets to hang out with earlier iterations of himself.

Any favourite time travel movies you looked at for inspiration?

I watched as many as I could find and I loved most of them but the one that influenced the way this film worked was Time Crimes. Mega Time Squad is a very different film in both tone and premise but it's similar in that there are multiples of the same guy in the same timeline and that's what Time Crimes achieved very well. You'll notice a dozen or so nods to various movies in the Mega Time Squad but they are not so much influences on the film; instead they are films that I imagine that John (the main character) thinks he's in.

Did your script have to be so vulgar, or is that the NZ way?

I didn't notice it was so vulgar until the sound designer played it to his kids. While I was writing it I was spending a lot of time with my dad and that's how we talk. A big chunk of the dialogue is made up of direct quotes from my dad and his mates. I wouldn't say 'it's the Kiwi way' but I do think New Zealanders and Australians have a more relaxed and cheerful attitude towards vulgarity than many other parts of the world. Etymology section of answer: I was recently in Rome where I saw an original 'vulgar' fresco on the wall of a church from 150AD depicting the Emperor instructing slaves who were dragging St Clemente out of the ocean and the text in the fresco read "Hurry up you sons of bitches!" That's where the term 'vulgar' comes from.

Mega Time Squad features some amazing special effects considering, one assumes, the low budget. How did you manage it?

I've been deep into VFX software since I started my career as a video artist showing in art galleries until my band was signed and I moved into making music videos and then into making films. After spending years making VFX-heavy content and then doing the VFX on Romeo and Juliet and some more on Deathgasm I have a pretty good command of the discipline. I understood that there were going to be a lot of constraints around the formal aspects of the film because, as you mention, we had no money. So I needed to work around that with regard to camera movement, for example, while still being able to pace the film and give it a cinematic feel. It was a challenge, and if my past endeavours hadn't taught me the limits of what I could pull off competently at this budget level, I probably would've felt that I'd bitten off more than I could chew. As far as conceptualisation, my only rule on Mega Time Squad was that I wanted the VFX to be inherently silly while remaining cool and being something that I hadn't seen before. Hopefully that's what James and I achieved.

How would you best describe Mega Time Squad?

Its an absurd time travel crime comedy with a big heart about a lovable rural idiot with modest aspirations who uses a time travel bracelet to steal the money needed to fulfil his dream of moving to the neighbouring town... but he f*cks up the time travelling bit.

Mega Time Squad plays at FrightFest on Thursday 23rd August, Cineworld Leicester Sqaure.


Related show tags: DEATHGASM
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with exploitation legend David McGillivray
Posted on Wednesday 24th April 2019
Pete WalkerAhead of Horror Channel's premiere of Pete Walker's Schizo on April 27th, horror and sexploitation movie writer/director David McGillivray reflects on disastrous scripts, his volatile relationship with Walker and writing smut for Julian Clary.

Q: Schizo is unusual in your body of work with director Pete Walker because the concept and narrative were not of your choosing. How much of a problem was that for you?

DM: Huge. I thought the script that we re-worked was terribly old-fashioned and this led to big arguments with Walker that ended our relationship.

Q: You often play a cameo in the movies you've written - you're 'Man at Seance' in Schizo. Any particular reason?

DM:...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Abner Pastoll, director of Road Games
Posted on Thursday 21st March 2019
Abner Pastol

Horror Channel loves to promote new talent in the industry and one of the most exciting new directors around is Abner Pastoll. His first feature, Road Games, is an adrenaline packed killer of a thriller which is showing on the channel on March 22nd at 9pm. We decided to chat to Abner about this tense movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AP: Yes. I remember being as young as 4 or 5 and just knowing with such clarity that I needed to make films. My family had a cinema, drive-in and video store, all of which certainly enhanced my obsession with movies of all shapes and sizes.

HC: Was there one film t...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Zach Lipovsky, director of Leprechaun: Origins.
Posted on Thursday 28th February 2019
Zach Lipovsky

On March 1st, Horror is bringing you the UK TV premiere of a real corker of a shocker, Leprechaun: Origins. The movie follows two couples backpacking through the Irish countryside who end up spending the night in an old cabin, and learn the terrible truth about Ireland's most famous legend. So begins a living nightmare... The movie is a smart entry into the franchise so we decided to chat to its director, Zach Lipovsky.

HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to work in this industry?

ZL: Yes, I grew up as a child actor. Mostly as an excuse to be on set and not at school. I was quickly more interested in making movies than acting and from the age of 10 started shooting silly pro...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tom Paton, director of Redwood
Posted on Monday 4th February 2019
Redwood Poster

Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Redwood, director Tom Paton reveals the secrets of his prolific work-rate, talks about tackling the subject of fake news and the twists and turns of his new film Stairs.

HC: Redwood gets its UK TV premiere on Friday 8 February, courtesy of Horror Channel. Excited or what?

TP: Honestly, I'm so proud that Redwood has made its way onto Horror Channel. I've been a huge fan since the channel launched and over the past decade I've discovered so many horror gems on there from classic through to films I'd never heard of but now love. It feels incredible to know that someone might discover Redwood in the exact same way.

HC: Is it true y...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with journalist and documentary maker Calum Waddell
Posted on Saturday 2nd February 2019
Callum Wadell

Calum Waddell has been involved in writing, reviewing, making documentaries and teaching about movies for over a fifteen years. His knowledge on cult movies has been used by such labels as Arrow Video and 88 Films as well as appearing in magazines such as Total Film, Fangoria and DarkSide.

We managed to talk to Calum about the ups and downs of his career and his plans for the future.

HC: When did you decide that you wanted to become a journalist?

CW: I am not sure I ever was a journalist [laughs]. Maybe just a for-hire film writer more than anything else! But my biggest inspiration about cinema was and still is Kim Newman, whose work I discovered at a very young age...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Iain Ross-McNamee director of Crucible of the Vampire
Posted on Sunday 27th January 2019
Crucible of the Vampire Blu-ray packaging

Making its World Premiere at Cannes Film Festival and garnering rave reviews at other major festivals, Iain Ross-McNamee's gothic chiller Crucible of the Vampire is set to arrive in UK cinemas on 1 February.

This will be followed by its home entertainment release on 4 February on dual format DVD and Blu-ray and on digital platforms courtesy of Screenbound Entertainment.

Here he chats about this retro-feeling piece of cinema.

HC: What inspired you to write Crucible of the Vampire?

IRM: I chose the location first and wrote the story around it with my two co-writers, John Wolskel and Darren Lake. The idea of people ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Corin Hardy, director of The Nun
Posted on Sunday 20th January 2019
The Nun blu-ray cover

The Conjuring universe expanded recently with the box-office chill-filled thriller, The Nun. It's just been released onto Blu-ray and DVD so we had a quick chat with the very talented director of this gothic entry, Corin Hardy.

HC: How did you become attached to the project?

CH: I had made The Hallow and that had caught the attention of James (Wan) through his company Atomic Monster and he sent me The Nun script, I am obviously a die-hard horror fan, and I knew all of James' films and was particularly a fan of The Conjuring movies so I was quite intrigued as to what this story would be as I am always on the lookout. I have my own films I want to develop and make and I'm ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of zom-rom-com Ibiza Undead, we ask actress and producer Marcia Do Vales 10 scary questions.
Posted on Tuesday 8th January 2019
MDV Image 1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of zombie rom-com Ibiza Undead, we ask actress and producer Marcia Do Vales 10 scary questions.

HC: When did your interest in horror films begin?

MDV: About the age of 11 or 12, I started enjoying watching horror films, after my parents had gone to bed. I remember watching Child's Play with the volume turned off, sitting directly in front of the TV so I could quickly turn it off if my parents came in.

HC: Tell us about your first horror film role.

MDV: In my first film role, I played The Girl in The Reverend I found myself working alongside the legendary Rutger Hauer who was cast as the Devil. He had his own private room...

SHARE: READ MORE
A chat with Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies
Posted on Wednesday 2nd January 2019

Ahead of the Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Attack of the Adult Babies, on January 5 at 9pm, director Dominic Brunt and actor/producer partner Joanne Mitchell unpin the nappies...

HC: Attack of the Adult Babies will receive its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Are you both excited?

DB: I'm over the moon. As a fan of horror, I'm also a fan of the Horror Channel. It's an honour to have our work premiered with one of our favourite channels. The Horror Channel (along with FrightFest and Metrodome) took Before Dawn under its wing when that was released as our debut feature film. It marked our transition from horror fen geeks to horror film makers and we were well looked after indeed.

JM: We're delighted and incred...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Leprechaun Returns director Steven Kostanski
Posted on Monday 17th December 2018
LR Image 3

Horror's smallest terror is back to reclaim the treasure that's been lost for 25 years in Leprechaun Returns which has just been released across all streaming platforms. We spoke to its director, Steven Kostanski about this movie the challenges of carrying on a much loved franchise.

HC: How were you approached to direct Leprechaun Returns?

SK: The producers contacted my manager and he sent me the script. I had a few conversations with them over the phone discussing the direction they wanted go, and once I saw that they were looking to get away from the seriousness of Leprechaun Origins I knew I wanted to do the project.

HC: What did you think of Suzanne Keilly's script when y...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Bill Watterson director of Dave Made a Maze
Posted on Sunday 4th November 2018
William Watterson

At Grimmfest 2017 we had the chance to view one of the most original pieces of cinema we'd seen in a long time, Dave Made a Maze. Directed by Bill Watterson it's an intelligent, thought-provoking film that deserves to reach a global audience and will be released here early 2019. We chatted to Bill about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did this concept come from?

WW: Three places: Steven was underway on a script called 'Operation: Death Maze,' or something cool like that. Portions of it were re-purposed after he jibed with a story I told about my mom coming home and seeing an incredible fort that I'd build in my bedroom, and concluding that I'd gotten lost within it when I d...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Hyett director of Peripheral
Posted on Friday 2nd November 2018
Paul HyettPaul 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
Interviews Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Darkest Hour
THE DARKEST HOUR
Saturday 4th May
9.00 PM
The Nun
THE NUN
Monday 6th May
9.00 PM
The Day The Earth Stopped
THE DAY THE EARTH STOPPED
Saturday 27th April
6.40 PM