Exclusive Interview With Doghouse Writer Dan Schaffer
By James Whittington, Sunday 7th June 2009
Dan Schaffer is one of the most talented comic artists and writers around. His creation, Dogwitch became a huge critical success when it was released in 2002 and he has progressed to unleash even more creative pieces on a public that has lapped up every piece. On June 12th Doghouse, which Dan wrote hits UK cinemas so we decided to have a chat with this creative to discover what exactly makes him tick.   ZH: Were you a big comic book fan when you were growing up?   DS: I used to like 2000AD.   ZH: Did you have a favourite artist at the time?   DS: I was fascinated with detailed black and white art, so artists like Brian Bolland, Bryan Talbot, and Glenn Fabry were a big influence on me.   ZH: Is it true you got your big break as a cartoonist for a teaching union?   DS: Yes. I worked as a political cartoonist on the Career Teacher Newspaper for the NASUWT for five years.   ZH: You're best known for the amazing series Dogwitch, how did the idea come to you?   DS: Touched by the muses, I guess. Dogwitch is a big mixing pot of ideas that’s flexible enough to handle anything I felt like throwing at it. Its themes would change from one issue to the next. So one month you might get an outrageous splatter comic, but the next issue might be a neo-feminist fable, or an observation on fame and the media, or a revisionist take on some aspect of the horror genre. It was good fun to do and it put my name on the map.    ZH: Is the lead character of Violet Grimm based on anyone you know?   DS: She looks a bit like my girlfriend and certainly has her snarky sense of humour, but other than that, she pretty much came to life on her own. I used to say that drawing Violet always felt more like applying her make up.   ZH: She has added real vogue to the Goth movement, was this intentional?   DS: Well, it seemed like Goths were missing out on polka dot underwear as a fashion statement, so I wanted to put that idea out there!   ZH: You've also been involved in The Scribbler and Indigo Vertigo, how do you prepare and approach such differing projects?   DS: I just write about what interests, concerns or outrages me at the time. Indigo was a very personal book that grew out of my friendship with rock Singer Katie-Jane Garside, who wrote the words for it. The Scribbler is probably closer to the real me than anything else and comes from my general sense of outrage at modern hive mind bureaucracy. Indigo Vertigo was mostly guided by Katie's words but was very Lynch inspired on my side, the art. The Scribbler, which I wrote and painted, has its influences in old black and white episodes of The Outer Limits, and the films of Cronenberg and Shinya Tsukamoto.   ZH: Doghouse opens this week, how did you and Jake West first meet?   DS: We were introduced by a journalist who was interviewing us both for the same magazine. She thought we'd get along and hooked us up.                    ZH: Was it long before you formed the idea for the movie?   DS: The weird mix of gender politics, comedy and horror in Doghouse was something I'd been doing for a long time with Dogwitch, so I wasn't really in any rush to do it again, but my girlfriend dared me to write something with male leads, which was something I’d never done before (in comics I'm generally thought of as a bit of a feminist writer). So, Doghouse was going to be a comic for a while, but then I decided to write it as a screenplay as I’d somehow got myself a Hollywood agent off the strength of Dogwitch. But, sometime during the writing, it became clear that I this film needed to be made in the UK with a British cast and crew, so I offered it to Jake. We'd become good friends by then, and, obviously, he went spacky for it.   ZH: Did the script take long to write?   DS: Ah, that old impossible question. It took about three months to "type", but maybe a whole lifetime to gestate. It came from all the research into feminist theory I did for the Dogwitch comic. I wouldn’t have attempted something like this if I thought I wasn’t at least partially qualified for the job. I don’t even touch the keyboard until I’ve collected and insane amount of notes and ideas. How long this one took is anybody’s guess.   ZH: The movie has already gained many favourable reviews, how do you feel about this?   DS: Relieved, probably. Doghouse is, at its heart, a satire on male behaviour, it just happens to use "zombies" to reflect that. Writing a satirical piece in this genre was always going to be risky. If your audience misses the irony or takes this film at face value as a celebration of laddism, then what they’re going to see is the opposite of what its really about. That's why getting Danny for the role of the dick head misogynist was so great - he willingly and generously parodied his own public image for this film. Most critics seem to be reading between the lines and acknowledging the subtext, which is important for me as the writer because it means that at least some of that stuff has survived the process of going from script to screen.     ZH: The film has a great cast, were you on set at any time?   DS: I was there most of the time, sorting out script logistics, running lines with the actors, doing last minute re-writes to navigate the crap weather. It was an "all hands on deck" kind of production. I finally escaped halfway through post-production after painting those character intro stills (something Jake somehow talked me into).   ZH: Tell us about your next project, Stingers?   DS: It's a dark, psychological thriller, nothing like Doghouse. It’s like a demented, deconstructed neo noir crime thriller. It’s a real character freak show, everybody’s out to kill everybody else, and there are some dangerous plot ideas in terms of the way it’s written. It's my most well received script to date and has an amazing cast already attached. It's in pre-production now.    ZH: Will you move away from comic books and concentrate on scripting or will you always return to your comic book roots?   DS: I had to give up art but I'll still write comics if I can, or if they'll let me. I'm putting together the complete Dogwitch series in one big book at the end of the year, so that'll be my next little dance with the comic business.   ZH: Dan Schaffer, thank you very much   DS: Anytime, mate.
Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted in Features, Interviews, Friday 15th October 2021

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 routing for them.

HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from and what was your writing process between the three of you like?

MS: It originated with my friend Ed and I wanting t...

Universal Monsters are back on Horror Channel and Kim Newman is here to tell you all about them
Posted in Features, Thursday 14th October 2021
Kim Newman

Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the Universal monsters joining Horror for our Classic Horror Halloween event running from 30th-31st of October.

With Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), Universal Pictures introduced the lasting icons of horror... combining the presence of stars Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr with the make-up artistry of Jack P. Pierce (except for the Creature who came later in the day and was designed by the extraordinary Millicent Patrick ). These are the genre's cornerstone fiends, and - despite the way they have been domesticated an...

Horror Channel goes out of this world to bring Channel premiere of Brit sci-fi thriller series UFO from October 20
Posted in Features, Wednesday 13th October 2021

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing great cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Season 1 of the 1970 British science fiction TV series UFO, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by the Andersons and TV mogul Lew Grade.

One of the best of its genre, the 26-part series combines the remarkable talents of the Andersons with those of special effects director Derek Meddings. And with a stellar cast including Ed Bishop, Michael Billington and George Sewell, it proved a popular hit at the time.

Following syndication in the US and favourable ratings, a possible second series was plann...

Horror Channel - Now on Instagram!
Posted in Features, Saturday 9th October 2021

You can never have too much Horror Channel in your life, so follow us on Instagram too!

Find us at

Classic monsters will rise this Halloween on Horror
Posted in Features, Thursday 7th October 2021
Classic Horror Halloween Banner

Famous monsters rise again!

To celebrate the Halloween weekend on Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October, Horror Channel presents Classic Horror Halloween, two diabolical daytime marathons highlighted by five channel premieres, including Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the Creature, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolfman, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster, The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut, Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand and Revenge ...

Horror Channel sponsoring Grimmfest Online 2021
Posted in News, Thursday 30th September 2021
Virtual Edition

Horror Channel is proudly sponsoring Grimmfest Online 2021 which runs 14th-17th October and will offer audiences the chance to experience the live festival programme in the comfort of their own homes, as well as enabling them to catch up on anything they might have missed at the live event.

The virtual festival will complement and sit alongside the live festival, with much of the content crossing both events. Many of the feature films and shorts that play the live festival will also be featured within the online event but there will also be some online exclusives.

Grimmfest are excited to announce two exclusive feature film presentations only available on our virtual event an...

Would you dare enter? Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions coming home soon
Posted in News, Sunday 26th September 2021
Escape Room 2

Sequel to the box-office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions is available to Download and Keep on October 4 and to Rent on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on October 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Directed by Adam Robitel (Escape Room, Insidious: The Last Key) the movie stars Taylor Russell (Escape Room, Waves), Logan Miller (Escape Room, Love Simon), Indya Moore (Queen & Slim), Holland Roden (Follow Me), Thomas Cocquerel (In Like Flynn) and Carlito Olivero (Bad Samaritan).

In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly un...

Creature-Feature mockumentary Bigfoot Hunters to be unleashed soon
Posted in News, Sunday 26th September 2021
Bigfoot Hunters - Poster

Join the hunt for the legendary sasquatch in hilarious creature feature-comedy mockumentary Bigfoot Hunter.

Meet Brian Emond, a millennial clickbait reporter longing to work on serious news stories. Unfortunately for him and his producer Zach, their network has zero faith in them and sends them into the Appalachian Mountains in search of Bigfoot. Along for the ride is their guide, Jefferey, the only cryptozoologist to have encountered the legendary sasquatch in recent times. The three set-out into the wilderness with one goal: find Bigfoot. What could possibly go wrong?

Directed by and starring Zach Lampugh, a former Adult Swim editor, and Brian Emond, a comedi...

Horror Channel unleashes primetime premieres for October
Posted in Features, Tuesday 21st September 2021
Oct line-up-social

Horror Channel has seven weekend primetime premieres line up for October, including, at 9pm on Sunday nights, the UK TV premiere of Brad Paxton's supernatural thriller Incarnate, starring Aaron Eckhart, and the channel premieres of David Cronenberg's erotic psychological chiller Dead Ringers and Juan Carlo Fresnadillo's atmospheric fantasy Intruders (2011), starring Clive Owen.

Plus, there are four premieres at 9pm on Saturday nights: Darren Lynn Bousman's nightmarish mystery Abattoir, Iain Softley's Southern Gothic-style frightener The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson, dark horror comedy Mom And Dad, starring Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair and Mama, the Guillermo Del Toro exec...

Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted in Features, Interviews, 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 ...

Escape From New York score to be released on blue vinyl
Posted in News, Wednesday 8th September 2021

Originally released on the 31st of July 2015, the vinyl edition of John Carpenter's classic 1981 thriller, Escape From New York mirrored the expanded CD release from 2000, with over 20 minutes of previously unreleased music plus music from scenes deleted from the final print and original dialogue highlights.

The masters for that CD were re-mixed from the original multi-track session tapes by long-time Carpenter associate Alan Howarth.

This is the first time on coloured vinyl for this LP, all previous pressings having been on black vinyl and will be released January 21st, 2022 thanks to Silva Screen Records.

Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted in Frightfest, 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 ...

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