LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Brand New - Exclusive Interview With Director Simon Rumley
By James Whittington, Monday 6th September 2010
Simon Rumley came to prominence in 2006 when his sinister chiller The Living And The Dead played at FrightFest. Raw and truly original it captivated the audience with its sombre tone and top drawer cast. He returned to FrightFest this year with his latest movie, another hard-hitting dramatic piece called Red, White & Blue so we decided to chat to him about his work and where the idea for the movie came from.
HC: You were last at FrightFest with your film The Living And The Dead, do you think you've changed as a director since then?
SR: Well that's an interesting question since although people seem to think I'm quite prolific, I didn't direct anything during this period. I did a lot of travelling and a reasonable amount of writing. With each directing job you naturally amass more experience and more confidence but I guess I've changed more as a person than a director although I'd be hard-pushed to say in exactly what way. A lot of people think being a director is the coolest job and I'd agree and everyone thinks that on set and in the movies everyone answers to the director which is also true to a point but what people forget is that the director is really subservient to the script. So although The Living And The Dead is completely stylistically different to Red, White & Blue, that's because the scripts are and I suppose it comes more from my desire to continue to try to do something different with each film…
HC: What inspired you to make Red, White & Blue?
SR: With my travels with The Living And The Dead, I met a lot of people who said the film was more horrific than any horror film they'd ever seen but that it wasn't a horror film and I liked that contradiction. So, for Red White & Blue, I sat down with a specific desire to do exactly the same thing, and in this case, it involved distilling the conceit of what a typical horror film is (in my opinion, a murderer chasing a victim, trying to kill them) and then trying to recreate that in a fashion that hadn't been seen in the horror milieu before; a subversion of the genre in a way.
HC: It’s a very bleak, raw film, with a lot of hand held shots, were you aiming to make this as real as possible? Meaning at the start we seem to be voyeuristically watching Erica, is this the effect you were after?
SR: Yes, it is really. Many people have commented on how violent the film is but in reality, it's nowhere near as violent as most Hollywood films today. The reason it seems violent however is because I've tried to invest screen time in getting to know, understand and empathise with the characters so when they do get hurt, it seems much worse than if it was your average film with no or little character development. The first half of the film is much more in an indie/slacker kind of style and so yeah, we see Erica doing the most mundane kind of things like reading a book and eating some sweets or playing chess; every day life kind of things to reinforce that she's a 'real' character before all the awful stuff starts to happen!
HC: How did you go about casting the movie?
SR: Well Noah we got on board at the beginning of pre-production which was great; he was the first person we went to for the Nate character and it was really exciting to meet him and for him to decide he wanted to come on board. Marc Senter I'd seen in a film called The Lost which I liked a lot and thought his performance was excellent. It had a combination reality with brutality and charisma so I figured Mark would respond to the role and do a great job which he did on both accounts. For Erica's role, we had a lot tougher job trying to get the right girl! I spoke to a few slightly better known actresses on the phone but they all, ultimately, declined the role which in the end was a good thing because they were in their late 20s and in reality too old for the part. We also tried to cast this in Texas but that was a non-starter from the beginning. Two weeks before we were due to start filming we still had no lead and one of our Execs suggested we do some open casting in LA so this is what happened. We saw about 40 girls (via internet since we were in Austin at the time) and Amanda was pretty much the only girl who seemed right for the role and had the acting ability. I flew in for a day and saw our 'top 5' girls and Amanda won hands down. I think we flew her out on the Wednesday and started filming on the Saturday so it was all pretty tight...but in the end worth it
HC: Noah Taylor does stand out here, did he stay in character at all and how did he prepare for the role?
SR: Indeed, and he just won best actor at Fantasia which is a great achievement. Noah didn't stay in character (luckily for him and for us); he's very much a natural actor and can really turn the emotion on and off like a tap I think. In terms of his preparation for the role, I know he listened to a guy called Alex Jones who has his own radio station in Austin, Texas - he's political theorist/talk show kinda guy I think. I know he also mentioned the books of Jim Thompson to me a few times. I think he grew his hair and his beard a bit longer too! To be quite honest, I don't really know what he did but however he did it, he did it very well!
HC: It’s an emotionally strong film; did the atmosphere on set reflect this?
SR: Thanks! The atmosphere was usually if not always a great one so not really no. To be quite honest we were shooting so quickly that everyone had to concentrate so hard on what we were doing that there was little time to get too involved in the emotional context of the film. That said, there were some scenes where everyone was a lot more respectful of the subject matter and what the actors were going through - the family torture scene for example and all the stuff with Amanda (who plays Erica) when she was tied up, there was a discernibly different atmosphere...
HC: The subject seems to about mortality and what we do with our lives, is this right?
SR: Yes this is correct. Of course it's about many things - love, loss, friendship, sex, violence, terror etc. In many ways, more than anything, this film is a tragedy because the ultimate outcome that all these characters suffer is an unnecessary one and could have been avoided if treated in a different manner. In this respect, the film is about the futility of violence more than anything
HC: So what other projects are you working on at the moment?
SR: Well the first thing I'm doing is a radio play for US producer/director/actor Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid (who had I Sell The Dead play at last year's Frightfest) for their Beyond The Pale series which will be coming out on iTunes and Amazon as podcasts around Halloween I believe. My segment is called British And Proud and is about an ex-public school boy type who marries a girl from Sudan and then meets her family in Africa and inevitably gets more than he bargained for... I'm also quite close to making a film in China at the moment - in Shanghai and rural China so that's very exciting. It's called Stranger and I've been describing it as Duel meets Lost In Translation - it's more of a chase movie/thriller than a horror film but it is about a regular guy confronting his own mortality. Apart from that there's one film I'm attached in the US to direct called Crime Scenes which is about a bunch of people who've all been victims of violent crimes and how they come together to sort their lives out. It's a fantastic script by a guy called TS Faull who wrote Grim Love and I've been developing it with him for the last year and I think we're just about to send it out. If you imagine Paul Haggis' Crash written by Chuck Palahniuk you'll have a vague idea about it and in my opinion it will be in the same kind of cult classic territory as Usual Suspects, Fight Club, Memento, Pulp Fiction etc. So yeah, pretty excited about this!
HC: Simon Rumley, thank you very much
MORE ARTICLES Kim Newman looks to the future and reports on Horror's up and coming Classic Sci-Fi Weekend
Posted in Features, Monday 6th April 2020
The 1950s are remembered as the rock 'n' roll years - Bill Haley and Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry - but also as the dawn of the atomic era, the height of the cold war, and the decade when science fiction movies reigned. A fad for futuristic design meant cars sported sharkfins like Flash Gordon's spaceship, and refrigerators were streamlined behemoths like the lumbering robots of pulp magazines. It was an uneasy, nervous decade - caught between optimism and terror, envisioning future homes full of gleaming labour-saving devices but also beasts from outer space or the dawn of time rampaging across the land, leaving radioactive debris in their wake. At the end of the classic The Thing From Another World (1951), ...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel has such sights to show you with broadcast of Hellraiser Trilogy
Posted in Features, Wednesday 1st April 2020
Fridays on Horror brings you a box of not so nice delights as we open a puzzle known as the Lament Configuration and deliver Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.
We begin April 3rd at 10.50pm with Clive Barker's Hellraiser. Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) has solved the mystery of the Lament Configuration puzzle box, a sort of evil Rubik's cube. Unfortunately he inadvertently opens a doorway to Hell and, in death, enters the world of the Cenobites, a race of sadistic supernatural beings led by a bald Cenobite (Doug Bradley). Brought back from the edge of damnation by the blood of his brother, Larry (Andrew Robinson), Frank rises to feed on the souls of others. But he needs ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with actor Nicholas Vince star of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Posted in Interviews, Monday 30th March 2020
Fridays in April on Horror will deliver to you three of the most viscous and acclaimed horror movies ever made, Hellraiser, Hellraiser II: Hellbound and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. One of the stars of the first two movies was Nicholas Vince who brought so much to the character of "Chatterer".
Here he, err, chats to Horror about how he become involved in such memorable movies and his plans for the future.
(Photo credit Dawson James Photography)
HC: When did you first meet Clive Barker?
NV: I met him at a party in May 1984. We got on well and he invited me to model for him; for his painted covers of the first UK hardback editions of his Books of Blood.
HC: What...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates Sci-Fi B-Movies with Classic Sci-Fi Weekend in April
Posted in Features, Tuesday 24th March 2020
Horror Channel also celebrates the Sci-fi B-Movie with a Classic Sci-Fi Weekend, featuring the channel premieres of mutant octopus-rampaging It Came From Beneath The Sea, Fred F. Sears' saucer-invading caper Earth Vs The Flying Saucers, Sears' rampaging alien bird yarn The Giant Claw, Jack Arnold's thought-provoking classic The Incredible Shrinking Man and Nathan Juran's Ray Harryhausen inspired 20 Million Miles To Earth.
Broadcast on Saturday 11 April and Sunday 12 April from 2pm, the season also includes more strange creatures and alien invaders with The Thing From Another World, This Island Earth and Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun.
Full film details in transmission order...SHARE: READ MORE Groundbreaking gore-fest, Revenge coming to HD
Posted in News, Monday 23rd March 2020
One of the most talked about movies of recent years, Revenge takes the classic exploitation genre by the balls, and now Second Sight Films is giving this groundbreaking gore-fest the Limited Edition Blu-ray box set treatment.
The release features stacks of brand new special features, including a new interview with debut feature writer-director Coralie Fargeat and star Matilda Lutz. Also included are new interviews with the film's cinematographer and the composer, a new commentary and much more. The movie arrives on 11 May 2020 complete with new artwork, designed by Adam Stothard, a poster and a soft cover book with writing by Mary Beth McAndrews and Elena Lazic.
Entitled CEO Richard's romantic...SHARE: READ MORE Screamers in HD, coming soon
Posted in News, Thursday 19th March 2020
101 Films presents Screamers (1995), which is title 013 on the 101 Films Black Label; the cult classic and, chilling sci-fi based on the Philip K. Dick short story Second Variety, and is being released on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK on May 4th.
The year is 2078. The man is rebel Alliance Commander Col. Joseph Hendricksson (Weller), assigned to protect the Sirius 6B outpost from ravage and plunder at the hands of the New Economic Bloc. His state-of-the-art weaponry are known as Screamers: man made killing devices programmed to eliminate all enemy life forms. Screamers travel underground, their intent to kill announced by piercing shrieks. They dissect their victims with sushi precision, then er...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Vendetta
Posted in Interviews, Thursday 19th March 2020 Vengeance Season on Horror contains the UK TV premiere of Vendetta, the superb all-male maelstrom of mayhem from Jen and Sylvia Soska. We chatted to these incredible talented creatives about this action-packed thriller and what they have planned for the future.
HC: Have you always been wrestling fans and if so, when growing up, who were your faves?
Sylvia: We got introduced to wrestling during the epic Kane brother storyline during the Undertaker and Heartbreak Kid feud that led to the first ever Hell in a Cell. I mean after that kind of an introduction; how doesn't the magic of wrestling have your heart for the rest of your life? If it isn't obvious, I'm a Shawn Michaels fan.
Jen: Und...SHARE: READ MORE UK TV premiere of The Soska Sister's Vendetta leads Horror Channel Vengeance Season in April
Posted in Features, Monday 16th March 2020
April is a wicked month on Horror Channel as cops and villains fight it out in the Vengeance Season, a hard-hitting violent action collection which includes the UK TV premieres of the Soska Sister's all-male maelstrom of mayhem, Vendetta, starring Dean Cain and Paul 'Big Show' Wight, and the fight-to-the death revenge thriller Blood Out, starring Luke Goss, 50 Cent and Vinnie Jones.
Broadcast on Saturday nights at 9pm throughout the month, the season also includes the channel premieres of gritty, bullet-fuelled The Prince, starring Bruce Willis, John Cusack and Jason Patric, and Martin Warren's The Heavy, starring Gary Stretch, Vinnie Jones and Christopher Lee.
Full film details in transmi...SHARE: READ MORE Discover the film legacy of Edgar Allan Poe
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
No one has influenced the horror genre more than the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe's works have inspired hundreds of films, and this influence is studied in universities around the globe. This is the first time ever that every Poe influenced film has been analyzed in a single book.
Poe Pictures is an invaluable resource to film studies programs and also a critical guide for every fan of these films.
Included is a detailed analysis and critical review of the importance of each film, perspectives from many who have worked on these classic films, and over 100 black and white photographs from the films. With insights into where Poe ends and cinematic liberties begin, Bruce Hallenbeck has fashio...SHARE: READ MORE Time for The Visitation from Silva Screen
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
The Visitation is the first commercial release of Paddy Kingsland's vintage Doctor Who synth score, to be made available in physical, digital and vinyl formats.
Based on Eric Saward's book, The Visitation is set in England during the height of the 17th Century Great Plague. The story follows The Doctor and his companion fighting Terileptic, a group of fugitive aliens plotting to make the Earth their new home by spreading a deadly plague. Directed by Peter Moffatt, the atmospheric period drama was initially broadcast on BBC 1 from 15th to 23rd February 1982 in four twice-weekly parts, and featured Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor.
Paddy Kingsland's arrival at the BBC radiophonic...SHARE: READ MORE For the first time in physical form the score to The Sun Makers.
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
The Sun Makers is the first commercial release of Dudley Simpson's distinctive Doctor Who score, to be made available in physical, digital and vinyl formats.
Famously, the Christian conservative campaigner Mary Whitehouse misunderstood Doctor Who to be a children's programme and thanks to her relentless fight, the BBC was forced to replace the programme's original production team. The new team was under orders to curb the violence and replace it with a more playful and comedic fantasy tone. The result was The Sun Makers, featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor and Louie Jameson as his assistant Leela. Robert Holmes's story was a clever and amusing spoof of bureaucracy and the tax system, ...SHARE: READ MORE Discover a new Eden in April thanks to Tim Lebbon
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
From the bestselling author of The Silence comes a brand-new, original eco-horror which will delight fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Josh Malerman, set in a near-future world in which self-preservation truly is the first law of nature.
In a time when Earth's rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction, the Virgin Zones were established in an attempt to combat the change. Off-limits to humanity and given back to nature, these thirteen vast areas of land were intended to become the lungs of the world.
Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventurers into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Attracted by the challenges ...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 15th April
Friday 17th April
Sunday 12th April