INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Paul Davis Director Of Him Indoors
By James Whittington, Monday 27th August 2012

Him Indoors QuadLater this afternoon Paul Davis will be giving the World Premiere of his new horror short, Him Indoors. Paul as you might recall was the guy behind one of the finest ever horror documentaries, Beware The Moon which took a look at the creation of the incredible An American Werewolf In London movie.

Away, we decided to chat with Paul about this latest piece and his plans for the next part of his career.

HC: Hi Paul, we first met a couple of years back when your acclaimed documentary Beware The Moon was shown at FrightFest. What have you been up to since then?

PD: I was attached to two projects pretty much immediately following Beware The Moon, but after a family loss I took a back seat from career for a short while. Looking back, I wish I hadn't, because it's taken a long while to get back the momentum I had with Beware The Moon. I did a few acting jobs and wrote a book on horror movies in that time. I think the most liberating thing was actually walking away from the two projects I was attached to and just doing things on my own again. That's how the documentary got made, and I've now realised that you can’t rely on anyone else but yourself if you want to make things happen. I've since made this short, I'm in pre-production on my first feature and I couldn't be happier.

HC: Would you ever consider making such an in depth documentary again?

PD: No. That's the simple answer. I'm attached to another documentary project, but it's very different from Beware The Moon. That's all I can say on that one for now sadly. It's something I'm involved with, but considering everything that's going on at the moment, I'm not sure when I'll be able to work on it.

HC: Let's come up to date with your latest piece, the much talked about short Him Indoors; what's it all about?

PD: Him Indoors is about an agoraphobic serial killer, played by Reece Shearsmith on the verge of being evicted from his family home. We meet him just as he's half way through a plan that he believes will prevent him from having to face the one thing he's most terrified of, the outdoors. However, an impromptu visit from his rather boisterous new neighbour - Pollyanna McIntosh, puts him in a very awkward and nail-biting situation. It's a twisted little piece that, in my opinion, is as funny as it is shocking, but honestly, it doesn't matter what I think - I want the audience to laugh, to gasp, to bite their nails… the works. Reactions so far from the few that have seen it have been very exciting and encouraging, so now I'm just waiting to see how the rest of the world take to it - starting with my favourite audience in the world… FrightFest!

HC: Did it take long to write?

PD: Not at all. In fact, nothing has taken very long on the entire project - which has taken us approximately six weeks from start to finish. I wrote the script in one sitting, I think in about 4-hours, maybe less. When I sat down to start work on the initial treatment, I had the concept nailed, but I really didn't have sense of a story. I knew who my character was and I knew the pay off, so when I approached the script, I just really let the characters take me to where I needed to be. It was a lot of fun and I’m very proud with how it turned out. One of the advantages I had before I started writing the character was knowing that Reece Shearsmith would play the lead. I'd spoken to Reece several days before the script was written and he wanted to do it based on the concept. So having Reece's likeness and voice in my head as I wrote the character of Gregory Brewster (whom I named after seeing a Tweet from Reece that he was watching Fright Night) just made the whole process of creating the character much easier and frankly a lot of fun.

HC: How did you go about raising funds and casting the piece?

PD: The movie was entirely crowd-funded. I got in touch with James Pears, a producer friend of mine who I'd worked with last year (I played the towering villain in his short The Other Side) and we'd decided from the get-go that the only way to pull this off and make it look and sound as great as it deserved to be, was to go the crowd funding route. We set up a fund raiser on Sponsume.com and put up a bunch of cool rewards for people who generously donated, and we ended up making over a thousand pounds more than our target goal of £5,000. For shorts, I think that crowd-funding is wonderful. I can't begin to thank all 112 people who helped us make this by donating their hard earned money. I just hope they like the film.

With regard to casting, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Reece Shearsmith last year, by John Landis, and since then we've kept in touch and I actually recently cast Reece in my feature project Silent Night Of The Living Dead. When it came to this, I had him in mind from the first minute. I approached him with the concept and he really loved it. Reece really is a wonderful actor. He has amazing comedy timing, as we’ve all seen with his work with The League Of Gentlemen, but he's also a tremendous, serious actor. He can really bring on the drama and he plays this role dead straight. It's funny, but he's still totally serious in the portrayal - that for me is the only way the horror and comedy can really blend and not breach the realm of parody. He totally nails it. I was so lucky to have him play the part.

Selecting the actress to play his neighbour was interesting because when I'd decided that it was going to be 'the girl next door', I hadn't defined how I was going to play out her character. I had two actresses in mind, both representing very different ways in which I saw the character behaving. I had one actress in mind for a timid, more reserved version of Lizzie and then I had Pollyanna McIntosh for the boisterous, incredibly eager, in your face rendition of Lizzie. I really wasn't sure which version I was going to use until the point in the script where Gregory opens the door to her. Then I let HER decide. Thankfully, she wanted to be boisterous Lizzie, and so we got in touch with Pollyanna, she loved the script and wanted to work with Reece and the rest is history.

Also in there, in a very small role at the end of the film is the brilliant David "You made me miss!" Schofield. I met David back on Beware The Moon and he's such a wonderful guy and an amazing actor. He has a very distinctive voice (which was perfect for the part) and I kind of felt I needed to have someone from An American Werewolf In London in there somewhere. So when it came to this small role in the movie, I asked David and he was more than up for it. It’s funny because Reece, Pollyanna, David and myself were all in John Landis' Burke & Hare - yet I didn’' see any of them while on set!

HC: How long did it take to shoot?

PD: We shot the entire film over two days in two locations. The first day we were a little pressed because we only had the Steadicam operator on day one and also had one of our big special effects gags too -which malfunctioned and we ended up not getting the shot. On day two, which was all of the stuff between Reece and Pollyanna, we powered through it so quickly that we were not only able to re-shoot the FX rig that didn’t work on the previous day, but we also wrapped two hours ahead of schedule. Which always makes for a happy, smiling crew at the end of the day.

HC: With such an esteemed cast was it fun on set?

PD: I had an absolute ball on the set. Not just because of the cast, but the crew too were just wonderful! I admit that going on to the set as a first time director, working with a lot of people that have already worked with a ton of experienced directors, was very nerve racking. I didn’t quite know what to expect, if I'm honest. Saying that, there was not one point during that shoot that I felt like a first time director. Nobody treated me like one; therefore I had no reason to feel as such. It was a collaborative effort from the word go and I think the results are there on screen.

With Reece and Pollyanna, I thought there would be more improv between the two, but whenever they came up with something that wasn't in the script, they both came to me first, which I found incredibly respectful and just really hammered home that these guys trusted me as much as I trusted them. My love for them as both artists and human beings tripled over those two days. Most of what you see and hear on screen is exactly how it was written, but there are few gems in there that came out on the day that just made it so much better.

HC: Where do you get your inspiration from for your work?

PD: I watch a lot of movies. And I mean, A LOT of movies. I can’t specifically pinpoint a particular influence, as I'm pretty sure that it will change depending on what it is I'm making. On this for example, this is very unapologetically my love letter to Hitchcock and De Palma. It's very tense and very drawn out, but at the same time it has a pitch-black sense of humour that runs throughout. In fact, I purposely put a few things in the script that make a whole lot more sense when you go back and watch it a second time. It’s funnier the second time, I think… but the horror never stops being… horrible!

Of course, another influence is John Landis. He's one of the most inspirational people to be around and his movies just ooze fun! I want to scare the crap out of people and make them react, but at the same time I love making people laugh. Not a lot of people know but the likes of Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Marx Brothers mean as much to me as Frankenstein's monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man.

HC: You're multi-talented being a writer, actor and director; do you have a favourite job?

PD: You can add Editor to that list too. I figured editing my first short would be a good exercise and help me become a better director in terms of pacing and composition. I loved it. Was very liberating. Also meant that I didn’t have to rely on an editor to get it done in the short time were working in. This way my working hours were from when my eyes opened to when they closed and I didn’t have to worry about killing some poor guy by having him sat at Final Cut Pro all day… I could just do it to myself instead. When I work I do get tunnel vision. I become completely absorbed by what I’m doing and will happily work every hour under the sun to get the results I want. It doesn’t bother me at all. I do what I do because I enjoy it. Otherwise why do it?

I think I feel most at home directing. I had fun writing the script and can see myself writing my own stuff in the future, but nothing beats the feeling of being on set and collaborating with every department to create something wonderful. I really have a deep interest and respect for every job that gets done in every department on a movie set, so for me to be able to work with all these brilliant people is exciting to me. I adore working with actors too, and would never ask a performer to do something that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself - unless it was a stunt guy… f**k that!

HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to make their own horror short?

PD: Just do it! This answer was sponsored by the good folk at Nike. Honestly, that's the best advice I can give. Nobody gives you anything in this business, so you have to make your own things happen.

HC: What do you think will be the next big thing on horror?

PD: Whoever really knows? We can sit through three-years of torture porn and then suddenly there's a ghost movie hit and then we get one of those every year. As a genre, horror is consistently a top box office performer, but in terms of which sub-genre will dictate the trends and knock offs that subsequently follow a big hit? That changes all the time. We’re still in Paranormal Activity mode at the moment. Who knows what the audience will swarm to next.

HC: So what’s next for you?

PD: Well I hope that Silent Night Of The Living Dead, my first feature, will be my next movie. We’re still funding the project, which is going very well, and hope to be rolling by early next year. I'll be directing from a James Moran screenplay, with Reece Shearsmith, AJ Bowen and Tom Savini already attached to star in it. There are a few other things that I’m currently in talks for, but they're too early in development to discuss at this time - both very exciting though, one's another feature and the other is for television.

HC: Paul Davis, thank you very much.


Related show tags: AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
Posted on Friday 29th April 2022
Director Stewart Sparke watches a scene

A birthday bash becomes a bloodbath when monsters escape from a supernatural storybook, leaving a group of teenagers to fight for their lives and shut the party down in the UK TV premiere of Book of Monsters on May 16th on Horror. We chatted to its director, Stewart Sparke about this fun, retro-filled fright-fest.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a film director?

SS: I remember first realising that I wanted to make films during one of many viewings of The Mummy (1999) on VHS in my bedroom on an old 15" TV. I became quite obsessed with the film and tried to make all my friends come over to watch it ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Hyett, director of Peripheral
Posted on Wednesday 16th February 2022
Paul Hyett

Paul Hyett is a multi-disciplined creative whose work is as inventive as it is imaginative. His latest movie is a dark sci-fi chiller named Peripheral and it will have its UK TV premiere on Horror, Friday 25th February at 11.05pm.

Here he chats about this incredible movie and his plans for the future.

HC: How did you become attached to Peripheral?

PH: The producer Craig Touhy and I had been friends for a while and had nearly done another movie together and he'd liked the claustrophobia and tension of The Seasoning House so we met up to discuss Peripheral. When he pitched it to me, very much a low budget, contained movie, in one apartment. I must say I was a little hesitant. I...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Abigail Blackmore, writer and director of Tales From The Lodge
Posted on Tuesday 14th December 2021
Abigail Blackmore 1

Ahead of Horror Channel's Xmas Day broadcast of her horror comedy feature Tales From The Lodge, director Abigail Blackmore recalls the brutal weather conditions, the challenges of casting and the joy of playing at FrightFest.

HC: Thanks to Horror Channel, Tales From The Lodge finally gets its UK TV premiere on British TV. Excited or what?

AB: So excited! I know a huge amount of people watch the Horror Channel so I'm hoping it opens TFTL up to a whole new audience.

HC: Looking back to its showcase screening at FrightFest in 2019, what are your abiding memories?

AB: It was a wonderful experience! FrightFest has long been one of the highlights of my ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Barbara Crampton, star of chilling horror Sacrifice
Posted on Wednesday 8th December 2021
Sacrifice Image 1

Barbara Crampton is a Horror Channel favourite. This much loved and much admired creative is starring in the UK TV premiere of Sacrifice, which is showing December 12th at 9pm on Horror so we chatted to her about this movie and her plans for the future.

Note that there are some spoilers for Sacrifice in the interview.

HC: Can you recall how you felt the first time you stepped onto a TV or film set?

BC: Yes, I remember the first time I was ever on a television set, it was for the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, and it was my very first job, and I had one line, "Hi. I'm your cousin Trista from Colorado". It was to the character Marlena Evans and subsequently I had w...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Michael Mayer and Guy Ayal from the acclaimed movie Happy Times
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
thumbnail_HT_set_Marie Alyse Rodriguez

Happy Times, which is showing at Grimmfest Online, is a movie that takes the home invasion genre and turns it inside out! Directed by Michael Mayer and co-written with composer Guy Ayal, the movie is a bombastic, bloody and hilarious piece of cinema. I chatted to them both about this dinner party from hell.

HC: Where did the idea for Happy Times come from?

MM: The idea for the movie started forming when I was invited to a Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year's) dinner in Los Angeles. It was the first year of Trump's presidency and wherever you went all people wanted to talk about was politics. One thing to know about the Israeli expat com...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with D.M. Cunningham, writer and director of The Spore
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
DMC_SetPic copy

If you like your horror with a huge lashing of gruesome effects and a strong story then The Spore is for. Showing at Grimmfest Online, the movie from D.M. Cunningham is a smart take on the body horror genre. Here he chats about this movie which is guaranteed to get under your skin.

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

DM: I started out wanting to be a makeup effects artist. After seeing Night of the Living Dead and discovering Fangoria magazine I was hooked. Tom Savini was a huge influence on my trajectory toward becoming a filmmaker. It wasn't until later that I discovered that you could boss the monsters around on set being the director. That's...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
Father of Flies director

A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?

BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted on Friday 15th October 2021
Faceless Director

Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.

HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?

MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Tom Paton on the set of G-Loc-3-1

Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.

Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?

It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Soska sisiters-WEB-1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

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

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Gallowwalkers
GALLOWWALKERS
Wednesday 29th June
10.50 PM
Prey
PREY
Monday 27th June
9.00 PM
Howl
HOWL
Tuesday 28th June
9.00 PM