LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Dick Mass Director Of Saint
By James Whittington, Thursday 10th November 2011 The season slasher movie Saint has just been released onto DVD in the UK. This smart, funny and blood-drenched picture is a smart take on the hack n' slash genre so we had a quick chat with its director, Dick Mass to see where the idea came from.
HC: We know you mainly in the UK for Amsterdamned and more recently Killer Babes but your output very varied. Is there one genre you like working in the most?
DM: I like to work in different genres. I started with a horror movie called The Lift. I made action movies like Amsterdamned and Do Not Disturb (aka The Shaft) and I did comedies, The Flodder trilogy, Killer Babes. Saint again is a horror/action movie and currently I'm editing Quiz, which is a thriller.
HC: Where did the idea for Saint come from?
DM: It started about ten years ago. I wanted to turn this iconic figure, which is the epitome of good heartedness into an evil killer. I wanted to show the dark side of the St. Nicholas celebration, which is the biggest event every year in Holland on December 5th.
HC: Were you inspired by other seasonal slashers such as Silent Night, Deadly Night or evil Santa shockers such as Santa's Slay?
DM: Of course I'm aware of the Santa horror movies that were made. But I wasn't inspired by them. When I saw Santa's Slay, I had already finished the final draft of my screenplay. I didn't want to make a spoof, like Santa's Slay, or a parody of the myth, but I wanted to approach it in a serious way. I also wanted to give an epic feel to the movie. I also didn't want some guy running around in a red gown, murdering people.
HC: Did the script take long to come together?
DM: I started on the script about ten years ago. It took several drafts until I had the final one. So the script was finished 5 years ago.
HC: Saint has a very dark main plot but has plenty of moments of comedy, did you find it hard to balance both?
DM: I really wanted to make a dark brooding movie, with a lot of scary moments, but somehow the comedy elements always creep in. I hope the movie is both suspenseful and funny.
HC: One scene, where the three girls are walking down a street from school looks like a similar one from Halloween, was this a deliberate homage?
DM: It didn't start out as a homage. But it is almost inevitable to have a steadicam shot of three girls walking home from school and not being compared to the shot from Halloween. But Halloween is one of my favourite movies, and John Carpenter is a hero.
HC: There's a lot of CGI work in this movie, does that mean a lot of time was spent in post-production?
DM: I think we had more than 200 CGI shots.That took a few months in post. Our budget for the whole movie was around 5 million dollars. So we had to come up with inventive ways to achieve them.
HC: The rooftop chase is a particular stand-out, that must have taken months to prepare for, how did you go about shooting that sequence?
DM: That sequence was by far the most difficult to accomplish. We had to shoot galloping horses against a greenscreen and combine them with plates we shot on the Amsterdam rooftops. We had to figure out how to accomplish that. We ended up with a horse on a treadmill and a building ten foot high, 150 foot long scaffolding, on which the horse could run at full speed and provide us with the camera angles we needed. For a few shots we used a 3D computer generated horse.
HC: The movie has done very well in your home country, is it true its smashed movie records?
DM: It didn't smash all records, mainly because of the age restriction (16 and older). But it opened better than Blackbook (Paul Verhoeven)
HC: Have you had any negative feedback about using such a legendary character as a source of terror?
DM: There was a lot of controversy. Several St. Nicholas societies and parent groups protested the movie. They even tried to prevent the movie from being shown in the cinema. They also protested the poster. They even went to court, but lost. Because of all the commotion, the awareness was very good and that helped at the box office.
HC: Would you like to bring the evil St Nicholas back to the big screen?
DM: That depends on how the movie will be received by foreign audiences. We have some storylines worked out for a sequel. So who knows?
HC: You also wrote the soundtrack, how did you approach that?
DM: I always do the soundtrack for my movies. I play guitar and keyboard and work with samples. I tried to go for music with an epic feel to it. I think this is one of my better soundtracks.
HC: So what's next for you?
DM: I just finished shooting a thriller called Quiz which I wrote and directed. I'm editing right now. Quiz is a thriller about a famous game show host who has a dinner appointment with his wife and daughter in a restaurant. They don't show up. After some time a strange man presents himself at his table and he claims to have kidnapped the wife and daughter. He shows a photo on which we see his wife and daughter tied up. The game show host has to answer ten questions correctly within one hour if he wants to see his family back alive. So the man turns the tables around and plays the part of the game show host and the game show host is becoming the contestant. That is the start of an evening full of surprises, twists and turns. Quiz will be released in the beginning of 2012. Besides Quiz I'm preparing a big action movie called Para, which I'm planning to shoot next year.
HC: Dick Maas, thank you very much.
MORE INTERVIEWS 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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 ...SHARE: READ MORE 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 ...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019 It 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...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Thursday 27th February
Saturday 7th March
Tuesday 3rd March