Brand New - Interview With Director Sean Hogan
By James Whittington, Tuesday 15th February 2011

Sean HoganWriter/Director Sean Hogan is one of the new exciting talents around at the moment. His writing skills have been called upon on several notable features and his latest work, Little Deaths will be getting its premiere at the Glasgow FrightFest later this month. In this candid interview Sean talks openly about his inspirations, this new project plus you can catch him on Horror on February 24th introducing three movies in another edition of our Director’s Night series.

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

SH: Well, I was always into films, but the idea of actually making them probably didn't occur to me for quite a while. When I was growing up, there wasn't much of a UK industry to speak of, and this was way before high quality digital equipment became so accessible/affordable. So I certainly didn't set out to become a director originally. I was always into art, and had ambitions of getting into special effects at one point - I remember writing to Bob Keen's workshop for advice on how to break in. But then I went to art college and hated it, and my priorities started to change. The only thing I enjoyed doing there was getting my hands on some video equipment and making a short with a friend, which might have planted the seed. And then, having been told by my parents to either figure out my educational prospects or else get a job, I took the path of least resistance and ended up on a media/drama course! Which involved a lot of practical coursework, and so by the end of 2 years there I was hooked. I was going to make films, one way or another. Definitely a recipe for a lot of future pain!

HC: Did you have a favourite director or writer when growing up?

SH: I certainly always loved horror as a kid, and so was fortunate to grow up on a lot of the seminal 70s genre movies - I remember seeing Dawn Of The Dead at about 8 or 9 years old and having my tiny mind absolutely blown. Which probably explains a lot! A bit later on my family moved to Hong Kong for a couple of years, and at the time there was absolutely no classification or censorship system in place there. So that was my real horror education - I could see any film I wanted to, and did precisely that. And by that point I was starting to figure out who the guys to watch were - Romero, Carpenter etc. I think that was definitely the time that I first started to figure out exactly what the director did. Pretty soon Cronenberg became a big favourite, and still is. Eventually I started broadening my horizons a bit and watching stuff other than horror, but it's definitely the stuff you watch at that sort of age that really leaves a mark on you. So maybe horror is a corrupting influence after all!

HC: What was it like directing your first feature, Lie Still?

SH: A leap into the unknown! I'd always been stubborn enough to know that I didn't want to try and 'work my way up' in the industry; I'd rather just scrape some money together and go and make something. Which is essentially what we did, but it took a few years to make happen. And whilst I'd made a lot of shorts in the meantime, they'd all been done relatively cheaply, so even the step up to making a micro-budget feature was massive. I suddenly had to run a full crew and direct proper professional actors and that kind of thing! So it was definitely a learning process, and a bit of a scramble at times. But also a hell of a lot of fun. I no doubt made a lot of mistakes and would do certain things very differently now. But I still like a lot about the film and it absolutely got my foot in the door, led to me meeting a lot of great people and helped pave the way for other things.

HC: Tell us about your involvement in Little Deaths, how did the project come together?

SH: A mixture of things, really. I'd been working for a year on a film I'd been offered post-Lie Still, and then the whole thing collapsed, which didn't put me in the best of moods. So I wanted to try and get something else going fairly quickly. And having done the festival circuit with my first film, I'd met a lot of fellow genre filmmakers whilst doing the rounds, amongst them Simon and Andrew. We all began to regularly meet up for drinks, and one day I just had a 'eureka' moment and came up with the idea of doing an anthology. So I pitched it to them, and that was that, really. I figured that there hadn't been a good one for a while, and we could do it relatively quickly and cheaply. Of course, things never turn out that way!

HC: Where did your story come from?

SH: Who knows how my brain works! Like I said, I was in an exceptionally bad mood when I wrote it, and it probably shows - it's certainly the most twisted thing I've written for myself to direct. I know that having made a very subtle, atmospheric film as my first feature, I wanted to go in the other direction and make something more confrontational. And I'd had the notion of writing something about power and sex games for a while, so that suddenly fell into place for me. I don't know - for me, the story is very much about the haves and the have nots, and I think I was very much writing from the position of a have not at the time, which probably accounts for its nasty streak...

HC: Had you worked with the other directors Andrew Parkinson and Simon Rumley before?

SH: Not at the outset, I ended up writing Summer's Blood for Simon to direct. I've since written another script for him - Teens, sort of a genre version of a Larry Clark movie. Again, very twisted, and I'm very fond of it - I think he'd do a great job with it. But who knows whether it will ever happen. Andrew is very much his own man and likes to fly solo - probably in an attempt to avoid too much industry bullsh*t. And there are definitely times when I can't say I blame him!

HC: What’s your opinion on horror cinema at the moment? Is it in good health?

SH: Well, I remember back in the 90s, when there barely was a genre, so anything is preferable to that. But I think it's a mixed bag at the moment. Horror thrives on freedom of expression, on the ability to be expressive, confrontational, weird, surreal, or just downright badly-behaved. And I think modern corporate Hollywood is just allergic to that kind of filmmaking. So whereas Carpenter's The Thing was produced by a major studio back in the 80s, for example, you'd never see that sort of film being made by Hollywood now (just a lazy cash-in prequel!) You do get interesting stuff coming out of the independent sector, but not with the frequency that you did in the 70s. So for me, a lot of the best stuff in the last 10-15 years has been coming from other countries: firstly Japan and the Far East, which really got me back into horror in a big way, and then more recently Europe. I think Let The Right One In and Martyrs coming out in the same year really summed up where the interesting work was going on; both of them are stunning films.

HC: Would you like to tackle a remake of a classic? If so which one?

SH: Having just put the boot into corporate Hollywood I should probably be careful how I answer! It's not an entirely black and white issue; there have obviously been great remakes, the aforementioned The Thing and Cronenberg's The Fly, for example. So it can be done. I think the question is: what is it you're remaking? Is it a classic that can't be bettered? Or is it an interesting idea that hasn't yet been properly done? In the second case, there's definitely an argument to be made. So whilst I don't generally sit around thinking of what I'd like to remake, the one idea that does appeal to me is doing a version of the Japanese Tomie films. I think there's a lot of great core material in there, but that none of the films really work as a whole. Meaning that I think you could really do something with them. Otherwise, not so much. I mean, whenever I hear rumours of a remake of Let's Scare Jessica To Death, I think I'd happily take it on just so I didn't have to watch someone else screw it up, but that's as far as it goes!

HC: So what’s the next project you’re working on?

SH: I'm currently editing another feature called The Devil's Business, a Faustian noir/horror. That should be ready later this year. And prepping a couple more scripts that we hope to get underway soon - one is a very black horror comedy, the other is a Polanski-style psychological horror. I like to try and keep busy...

HC: Sean Hogan, thank you very much.

Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020

Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.

It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?

JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.

When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...

Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020

Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...

You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?

AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...

Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020

Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.

His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.

HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?

SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...

Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.

HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?

JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...

Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019

The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.

HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?

SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...

Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019
On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.

HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?

TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.

HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...

Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019

Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.

HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?

JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...

Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019

Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.

HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?

GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...

Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019

FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?

CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...

Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019

Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.

HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?

CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...

Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019

Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...

HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?

PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...

Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.

HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?

LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.

HC: W...

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Joy Ride
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Night of the Living Dead
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