Exclusive Interview With Geoffrey Cowper Director Of Cargols!
By James Whittington, Saturday 11th August 2012

Geoff CowperManiacs, monsters, demons, creepy kids, apocalyptic visions, phobias, heavy metal meltdown and snails - yes, it's the FrightFest International Short Film Showcase, an eclectic mix of worldwide cutting edge short films, which is once again being presented by Horror Channel. It will kick-off at 1pm on Sunday 26th August at the Empire Cinema in London's Leicester Square.

One of the pieces showing is Cargols! (Snails!) from Geoffrey Cowper. This hilarious and affectionate kiss to the classic B-movies of old will satisfy the FrightFest audience's quench for a creature feature. We chatted to Geoffrey about this piece and where the idea came from.

HC: Cargols! is an inventive mix of schoolboy humour and classic B-movie monster movies, did the script take long to write?

GC: If I want to direct, I have to write, because if I don't write I don't have anything to direct! It was the final project in my last year of film school. So I did my best in a couple of months. Obviously during the shooting I was re-writing the script.

HC: Did you have much budget to play with?

GC: ESCAC, the film school, gave us 4500€ to shoot it. I spent 5000€ more to shoot it the way I wanted. Pipo, the producer gave me 1000€. And to finish it, ESCANDALO gave us 4500€ more after they had seen it. So, around 15000€.

HC: Who designed the creatures?

GC: First of all I wanted to shoot a giant African snail, but we realised they were a terribly invasive species and they were poisonous, so... finally a good friend of mine, Marti Pujol did the first design. He wanted to do the whole post-production, but realised it was a bit too much. So luckily we got in touch with a VFX School in Barcelona (FX ANIMATION 3D School) and together (and for free) their students with the help of their teachers re-designed the snail and did all the other digital effects.

HC: How did you cast the movie?

GC: For the scene at the beginning, a friend of mine and his then girlfriend agreed to do it because we've done things before. For the young cast, we did a casting at ESCAC, and only eight people came. Out of them the three main guys were cast, and first one to arrive ended up being the protagonist. Eva, the girl, was a friend of mine. She isn't a trained actress but I thought that next to Marc Ayala (Joey) they made a good couple. The painful boyfriend is a well known Catalan actor, who agreed to do the role for free. And George Goode, the Barman is a good friend and colleague of my dad. They both teach English. And since he is a Jamaican-English DJ/Rugby player I thought he had to be in it.

HC: There's some nice nods to classic monster films, are you a fan of these?

GC: Yes, indeed. My favourites are Jack Arnold's Tarantula, The Incredible Shrinking Man and They Came From Outer Space, Gordon Douglas's Them! (that's where the exclamation mark came from) and of course Nathan Juran's The Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman (and also the Daryl Hannah remake).

HC: Have you considered making this idea into a feature?

GC: Finishing the short film was tough enough (I had hair before the shooting). But, if a producer or a production company wanted to make it into a feature I would love to do it. Although I'm worried about what might happen to me.

HC: Are you nervous that the film is showing at FrightFest?

GC: Yes. It seems like an awesome festival. I hope I can make it there. Although Spain is in deep financial sh*t. But the idea of it being shown at the Empire Theatre makes me very happy.

HC: What advice would you give to someone who is making their first horror movie short?

GC: Well, in film school they said to me to take a risk with my final project short. Maybe I went too far. But the idea of making whatever comes out of your brain is pretty cool, so I would encourage any youngster to go for it and shoot whatever they want.

HC: Do you think its time for the giant monster movie genre to make a come back?

GC: Why not? At Sitges, I was able to see Joe Cornish's Attack The Block, and it was awesome, people loved it, so yeah I think there should be a come back. Of the modern monster movies I'm a huge fan of Cloverfield. And these films are a great way to criticise the social and political system, so f*** yeah!

HC: With reference to the movie how good are you at Guitar Hero?

GC: At the time of the shooting I could play any song at the expert level (my personal favourite Weezer's My Name Is Jonas). Right now I’ve lost it, and I'm more of a FIFA guy, I guess I'm getting old...

HC: Geoffrey Cowper, thank you very much

Arrow Video FrightFest 2022 announces bumper Glasgow Film Festival line-up
Posted on Thursday 20th January 2022
FrightFest Glasgow 2022 - headline banner

The UK's No.1 horror and fantasy film festival is back in person at the Glasgow Film Theatre, which for 17 glorious years has been FrightFest's second home, as part of the internationally renowned Glasgow Film Festival.

From Thursday 10th March to Saturday 12th March, FrightFest opens its terror trove to present twelve tasty treasures; an extravaganza of the dark arts, embracing the latest genre discoveries from around the globe, spanning eight countries in three continents, which includes World, International and UK premieres.

Alan Jones, co-director of FrightFest commentated: "It's with great delight and with every single b...

Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Final film of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 is a fangtastic (sorry) twist on the vampire movie, Sean Nichols Lynch's Red Snow. We had a quick chat about this blood-splattered shocker which has a deep vein of humour running through it.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Snow come from?

SL: I was trying to get a different horror feature financed and was struggling to get it off the ground. It was a frustrating period for me, and I honestly felt like I'd never get to make another film. I happened to run into Dennice, who I knew from my film school days at San Francisco State. We got to talking and I started to think about how great it would be to just drop everything and ...

Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

Director Alex Kahuam has brought to Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition a brutal and intelligent film, Forgiveness. Almost devoid of dialogue, it's an excursion into the raw side of reality. Here he chats about this movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when growing up which made you want to go into filmmaking?

AK: When we were kids my brother and I my parents took us a lot to the theaters and this is where everything began for me. I just loved the experience so much and till this day I thank them because they triggered this on me and for many years filmmaking has been my life. While growing up Hollywood films have always be...

Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Sarah Appleton

The final documentary of FrightFest Online Edition looks to one of the most misunderstood genres out there. The Found Footage Phenomenon dissects this often over-looked type of movie with interviews from many key players. We chatted to co-writer and co-director Sarah Appleton about this very informative piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

SA: Yes, I grew up watching Hammer horror movies and Japanese horror because my dad was a film critic, so I used to look through all his VHS tapes he'd taped off the late night tv and pick something to watch. Evil Dead II was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, aged about 8.

HC: Can you recall the first fo...

Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

As we enter the final evening of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 there's still plenty to look forward to starting with a belter from directors Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon, Night Drive. Ride-share app driver Russell picks up his Hollywood fare Charlotte... and his whole life turns upside down. Slipping him a wad of cash, she hires him for the rest of the evening. Their first stop at her ex's place sees Charlotte running out the door clutching a tiny suitcase being chased. They make their escape, but accidentally run over a pedestrian, setting in motion a chain of gruesome events that will go to places Russell could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. What starts off as a simpl...

Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

There are a number of monochrome movies at FrightFest this year and one of the stand out ones is Josh Stifter's Greywood's Plot so we had a quick chat with him about it.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when you were younger that made you want to be in the filmmaking business?

JS: Beetlejuice. I saw it when I was 5 years old. My family all got the flu and my mom went and rented it. This was back in the day when you didn't have access as easily to movies so if you rented a movie, it often would get watched a couple times before it was returned. Since we had nothing else to do, we all just laid around sick watching Beetlejuice over and over. I became obsessed. It was the first tim...

Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Based on his own graphic novel 'Generous Bosom', Conor Stechschulte has written a tight and tense script for Ultrasound which is showing today at Arrow Films Fright Online Edition. We chatted to him about the process of bringing his original idea to the big screen.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to become a writer?

CS: I did! At about 7 or 8 I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to wanting to be a writer. My formal education is in visual art, but I've always had narratives at the heart of all the creative work that I make and have never really stopped writing in one form or another.

HC: Was there any one person who inspired you?

CS: I can't...

Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

The feature debut of Rob Schroeder, producer of Sun Choke and Beyond The Gates, Ultrasound is a startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery and playing today at Arrow Films FrightFest Online Event. We chatted to Rob about this chilling movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be in filmmaking?

RS: Not really. When I was young, I loved going to the movie theatre every week, but I didn't see filmmaking as a career because in my town I didn't know any filmmakers. The movies were always so special for me and even sacred, so at a young age I did sense the magic.

HC: How did become attached to this project?

RS: I developed the project, by reaching out to Cono...

Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Peter Daskaloff Anitdote

Peter Daskaloff has brought his nerve-jangling movie Antidote to FrightFest Online Eidtion 2021 so we chatted to him about this complex and intriguing movie.

HC: What is your writing method when working alongside someone else?

PD: I usually write alone. But for Antidote, I had to hire a co-writer because the subject was complex. I needed another set of eyes to look at it from outside my box. Matt Toronto was recommended to me by my executive producer, Ian Michaels, who has worked with Matt before. The collaboration was a bit bumpy, but the resulting script turned out pretty good.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

PD: I had a casti...

Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

As In Heaven, So On Earth mixes the found footage genre with incredible animation to deliver a truly unique take on the format. The movie effortlessly moves from its gothic animation to cutting edge technology footage and brings together a tale which is emotional and utterly heart breaking in equal measure. We chatted to its writer and director Francesco Erba as it plays at FrightFest Online Edition 2021.

HC: Where did the idea for As in Heaven, So on Earth come from?

FE: As in Heaven, So on Earth was born not only from one specific idea but, as very often occurs, from many different ones, different influences and life experien...

Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Writer Casey Dillard is back alongside director Glenn Payne but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to Casey about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted, apart from Killer Concept, what have you been up to?

CD: Mostly avoiding Covid and trying to find work-arounds so that I can still perform safely.

HC: Where did the idea for Killer Concept come from?

CD: Glenn wanted to make a simple movie with minimal people while our core filmmaking team was unable to go to work so we kicked around a lot of ideas and KC wa...

Interview with Glenn Payne director and actor from Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Director Glenn Payne is back alongside writer Casey Dillard but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to him about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since you brought the superb movie Driven to FrightFest, how was that movie received across the world?

GP: Thank you for the kind words! We've felt very blessed by how warm the reception's been for Driven. We knew the story was different, given the entire thing takes place inside one vehicle, but the characters really seemed to resonate with people. I think that's a huge testament to the per...

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