LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Short Cuts To Hell 2 Finalist Interview: Joe And Lloyd Staszkiewicz - Hubert's Ghost
By James Whittington, Saturday 4th October 2014
This year’s ShortCuts To Hell competition saw some incredibly inventive entries.
Here we speak to finalists Joe and Lloyd Staszkiewicz who are behind the paranormal short Hubert’s Ghost.
To vote for Hubert’s Ghost click here.
HC: Where did the idea for Hubert’s Ghost come from?
JLS: Despite it being a new idea we’d often talked about a way to expand the core concept behind Hubert’s Ghost for years. We've always been very fascinated with the origins and folklore behind Halloween. On that one night, the veil between the living and the dead is apparently at it's weakest, so in ye olden days people started dressing up in costumes in attempt to blend in with the evil spirits and go unnoticed. We’ve always thought about this and wondered what it would be like if this idea wasn't just confined to one night, and there was a really haunted town where people have to dress up all year-round. Also, every Halloween, you see blogs posting old-school pictures of how people used to dress up in those amazingly messed up, makeshift but awesomely creepy costumes. So we decided to combine that with the other story elements we had in place. Not only would these super-shit costumes keep costs down but they would give the film a very interesting style, with regards to character and costume design.
HC: Did it take long to write?
JLS: I probably took us about 30 minutes to write the first draft. We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. We then spent a few weeks tweaking and changing bits of the story and dialogue for various reasons. The three minute time constraint meant we had to be very strict with what went in the final script so we deliberated over it right up until we started shooting. We also had to ditch the part where 10,000 ghosts march on Hubert’s house and destroy it with ray guns before Hubert and his family escape to the Planet Of The Apes on a spaceship from the future. We weren’t sure that we could make that visual effect convincing enough.
HC: How much budget did you use?
JLS: We were allowed to spend £666 on the short as per the competition rules. This was one of our most expensive productions to date, costing about £30 which covered the cost of some paint, chopsticks, a bright orange harness and a load of ‘buy one get one free’ pot noodles. We try not to spend much. Mainly because we don’t have much. But I also think you don’t always need money to make something look great. Working with a strict budget really helps to focus your creativity. I’m probably only saying that because I’m bitter about rich people though.
HC: It has a wonderfully dark streak of humour running through it, were you inspired by any other horror/comedy movies?
JLS: We were inspired by a wide range of films and TV shows for this film. There’s obvious reference points like the films of Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and Laika. Really fun and quirky family films. But our main influence in writing and also in life is a 90s TV show that ran on Nickelodeon called The Adventures Of Pete And Pete. The main characters are two brothers, both called Pete. Their Mum has a metal plate in her head that picks up Mexican radio and the younger Pete has his own personal Superhero called Artie: The Strongest Man in the World. It’s utter genius and so funny without being stupid just for the sake of it. You really care about the characters in it and it has a lot of depth and heart. That’s something we aspire to.
HC: Did it take long to shoot and edit together?
JLS: It was quite a lengthy process. Definitely the most time we’ve ever put into a short film with regards to both filming and post production. We shot it over a weekend at an Oriental Brewhouse in Lincolnshire. I’m not really sure what one of those is but it looked great on camera. Eight of us worked on the film and all slept on the floor of the room that Hubert’s Ghost was mostly shot in. We didn’t get much sleep. Mainly because of the ghosts that kept throwing chess pieces and books at our heads. That could have been our brother Rowan, though. He was quite drunk by the time we decided to get some sleep. We’re always professional.
The post-production process took a few weeks. We had a lot of effects shots to complete, most of which were completely new to us. On top of that we wanted to spend a lot of time on the sound. I think the final sound mix had around 80 tracks of audio on it. We had a lot of fun doing it all though. Our parents had just opened a cafe in Nottingham so Lloyd and I would go down there every day and work on the film. Some of the older, regular customers often made snide comments about us wasting our time on “those machines” playing “Wars of The Warcrafts”. Little did they know we were actually playing Minecraft whilst scabbing free cups of tea.
HC: What was the hardest part of creating Hubert’s Ghost?
JLS: There’s always obstacles in film making but I wouldn’t say anything was particularly hard. Having challenges are part of the fun and it makes the end product so much more satisfying when you finally get there. The VFX shots were quite ambitious for us. For the most part, we went into filming without knowing whether we were going to be able to accomplish the shots that we had in our heads. We ended up pretty proud of what we achieved. If any Visual effects guru looked at it, they would probably laugh but I think for the majority of the audience that will see the short, it does the trick. Having said that, I suppose the toughest part was trying not to break any of the home owner’s valuable possessions whilst we were throwing people and objects around rooms and along floors. I’m quite proud that we left it unscathed.
HC: What did it feel like seeing your work on the Horror Channel?
JLS: Having your work broadcast to the general public is amazing. We feel very fortunate that Hubert’s Ghost has been screened at both FrightFest on the big screen and on the Horror Channel in the last few months. I’ll never get bored of seeing our films like that. We’ve both religiously tuned into the Horror Channel when Hubert’s Ghost has been shown. Every time it’s on we get picture messages from our friends who are also watching and feel as proud as we do that’s it’s being shown on TV.
HC: Do you have a plan as to how to extend this idea if it wins Short Cuts To Hell 2?
JLS: We always had the feature length idea in the back of our minds when working on the short. The style and much of the concept will carry over, but there will be a few key changes. Instead of the story being confined to the one haunted house, the whole town is super haunted, and so all the residents have to wear costumes. There will be such a weird and wonderful world that will aid a really interesting story. We are currently working on the script. Every story element is mapped out and we have a really clear idea of where we are taking it.
HC: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
JLS: We are currently concentrating on developing the Hubert’s Ghost script. We both work full-time doing freelance video, so we are just spending every bit of free time on this. Hopefully one day we can dedicate a lot more time to our own projects, like Hubert’s Ghost. Also, I need to paint my dining room because it’s just been re-plastered. I’m putting that off.
HC: Joe and Lloyd Staszkiewicz, thank you very much.
MORE FEATURES 13 nights of scares as Horror Channel presents a Haunted Halloween Season
Posted on 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 "We are all aliens until we get to know one another". Space 1999 lands on Horror
Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019
Imagine it is the 1970s, the space race has been won and news of trips to the moon are fading from public interest. But you want to see more than just people playing golf and taking rock samples there. You want to see the human race make a base there, to use it as a launch pad to help reach further into space and maybe one day we could populate it.
Step forward Gerry and Sylvia Anderson who in 1975 gave the world one of the finest and most adventurous Sci-Fi TV series ever made, Space 1999.
The premise is straight forward and smart: It is the (then) future and a base has been built and manned on the moon. Tragedy strikes on September 13th 1999 when an nuclear explosion causes th...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel is delivering the UK TV premiere of Patient Zero this October
Posted on Tuesday 24th September 2019
Horror Channel has five UK TV premieres in October, including pandemic action thriller Patient Zero (Saturday 12th), which stars Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci and Agyness Deyn. Humanity is battling intelligent, adrenaline-fueled creatures born from a viral super-strain. After being bitten, human survivor Morgan (Matt Smith) realises he is asymptomatic and can communicate with the infected, leading the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure.
There are also UK premieres for Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (October 4th) and Lake Placid: Legacy (October 11th) - two of the popular series of monster crocodile horror/comedy films created by David E. Kelley. Plus, gho...SHARE: READ MORE Star Trek: Voyager - A journey beyond
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
Created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor, Star Trek: Voyager introduced the world to the fourth Star Trek crew whose venture into space was a twist on what had gone before. Here the jeopardy was ramped up as Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her team become stranded far from home. This led to plenty of conflict between them all but also built relationships that wouldn't have normally occurred.
Voyager had more of a classic Star Trek feel and retained a classic Star Trek trope, that of having an array of characters who reflected a wide diversity of races and cultures. This led to plenty of clashes between the members as they strive to return home.
...SHARE: READ MORE The Devil's Candy gets its long-awaited UK TV premiere on Horror Channel
Posted on Wednesday 28th August 2019
Horror Channel has seven prime-time premieres in September, including the UK TV premiere of Sean Byrne's The Devil's Candy, an absorbing, unnerving and devastating ride into psychological trauma, starring Ethan Embry.
There are also channel premieres for David Chirchirillo's deadly dating thriller Bad Match, Chad Archibald's Bite, a fearless fusion of slime, shivers and shock, box-office supernatural horror hit The Pact, and Mick Garris's macabre tale of horror and eroticism, Sleepwalkers, starring Ron Perlman and John Landis. Then there's the original sly monster croc comedy Lake Placid starring Bridget Fonda and Bill Pullman, and psychic debunking chiller Red Lights, st...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel Manager Stewart Bridle rounds up some of the genre gems to catch at FrightFest 2019.
Posted on Monday 19th August 2019
It's the most terrifying time of year, one filled with fear, torture and overwhelming dread. I'm not talking about being strapped to some SAW-type trap but rather having to decide watch to watch from FrightFest's annual line-up. And in their 20th year things are even harder than before with a record-breaking 78 movies to choose from. But if making a decision is slowly killing you then let us help with some of the movies we recommend scaring yourself with...CRAWL Alexander Aja, the director behind such horror hits as Switchblade Romance, the 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D, returns with another gory genre piece that will do for the reputation of alligators what he previously did for... SHARE: READ MORE The Ford brothers chat about The Dead 2: India and Offensive which are both showing in our FrightFest Season.
Posted on Wednesday 14th August 2019
Ahead of the UK TV premieres of The Dead 2 and Offensive, (part of the FrightFest season), brothers Howard and Jon Ford discuss the trials and tribulations of filmmaking, healing wounds and why The Dead 3 won't be happening any time soon...
HC: We will be launching our massive 13-night FrightFest Double-Bill Season with the UK TV premiere of The Dead 2. Excited?
HF: Well it's a surprise, but a lovely one! Until I was asked to do this interview, I had no clue The Dead 2 had even been picked up by Horror Channel! But yes, I'm very excited.
JF: I hope the viewers enjoy the film. We went through much pain and effort to make this film, in tough parts of India. We were on a very m...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates FrightFest 2019 with bumper season
Posted on Tuesday 23rd July 2019
To celebrate FrightFest 2019, taking place in London during the August Bank Holiday, Horror Channel is dedicating thirteen nights to past festival hits. Amongst the twenty-six fearsome favourites, the channel will kick off the season with the UK TV premiere of Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford's India-based zombie road movie The Dead 2, the follow-up to their hugely popular African zombie adventure The Dead. There is also a UK TV premiere for Jonathan Ford's Offensive. Produced by brother Howard, this is a dark, violent tale of generational rage and revenge set in rural France.
There are also channel premieres for Julian Gilbey's harrowing British survival shocker, A Lonel...SHARE: READ MORE UK premieres provide summer chills on Horror Channel in July
Posted on Wednesday 19th June 2019 Saturday nights on Horror Channel in July sees the UK TV premieres of Casey La Scala's disaster shocker The Remaining, based on the Book of Revelations; Mark Young's contagious chiller Feral; Robbie Pickering's comedy horror Freaks of Nature and Nils Taylor's fearsome female thriller Quarries.
In the UK TV premiere of The Remaining on the 6th, a group of close friends gathers for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by apocalyptic biblical prophecies. The survivors face a horrifying, uncertain future as they scramble for safety, but as their world collapses around them in chaos and terror, will they choose real life through faith, or just t...SHARE: READ MORE Killer Thriller season sends shock waves through June on Horror Channel
Posted on Tuesday 21st May 2019
Summer kicks off on Horror Channel in suspenseful style with Killer Thriller Season - a selection of tense shockers including the channel premieres of Rod Lurie's 2011 pulsating remake of Straw Dogs, starring James Marsden and Kate Bosworth; the murder motel chiller Vacancy, starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson; and the 2009 remake of kin killer slasher The Stepfather.
The Saturday night primetime season also features psychological thriller House at the End of the Street, starring Jennifer Lawrence, and Neil LaBute's horrifying racial drama Lakeview Terrace, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson.
Here's more info on these killer movies...
David and Amy...SHARE: READ MORE Horror will be at MCM Comic Con London 2019, and you could be too!
Posted on Friday 17th May 2019
Horror will be at MCM Comic Con London 2019 and you've got the chance to be there too. More details on our Competitions Page.SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Horror's Channel Manager Stewart Bridle
Posted on Friday 10th May 2019 Stewart Bridle is Horror Channel's longest serving Channel Manager. He has guided Horror for almost a decade and has managed to bring to our screens many classics as well as introducing us to some new horror movie talent. In this, our 15th anniversary month we chat to Stewart about his role and some of the juicy pieces he has lined up for the rest of 2019.
HC: Have you always been a horror movie fan?
SB: Yes! I've always been interested and fascinated with horror and all genre stuff. I have an older brother who would manage to rent or get bootleg VHS of some great horror titles and I have memories of watching things like the original Dawn Of The Dead or slashers like The Burning while far too youn...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 22nd October
Wednesday 30th October
Monday 28th October