Exclusive Interview With Geoffrey Cowper Director Of Cargols!
By James Whittington, Saturday 11th August 2012

Geoff CowperManiacs, monsters, demons, creepy kids, apocalyptic visions, phobias, heavy metal meltdown and snails - yes, it's the FrightFest International Short Film Showcase, an eclectic mix of worldwide cutting edge short films, which is once again being presented by Horror Channel. It will kick-off at 1pm on Sunday 26th August at the Empire Cinema in London's Leicester Square.

One of the pieces showing is Cargols! (Snails!) from Geoffrey Cowper. This hilarious and affectionate kiss to the classic B-movies of old will satisfy the FrightFest audience's quench for a creature feature. We chatted to Geoffrey about this piece and where the idea came from.

HC: Cargols! is an inventive mix of schoolboy humour and classic B-movie monster movies, did the script take long to write?

GC: If I want to direct, I have to write, because if I don't write I don't have anything to direct! It was the final project in my last year of film school. So I did my best in a couple of months. Obviously during the shooting I was re-writing the script.

HC: Did you have much budget to play with?

GC: ESCAC, the film school, gave us 4500€ to shoot it. I spent 5000€ more to shoot it the way I wanted. Pipo, the producer gave me 1000€. And to finish it, ESCANDALO gave us 4500€ more after they had seen it. So, around 15000€.

HC: Who designed the creatures?

GC: First of all I wanted to shoot a giant African snail, but we realised they were a terribly invasive species and they were poisonous, so... finally a good friend of mine, Marti Pujol did the first design. He wanted to do the whole post-production, but realised it was a bit too much. So luckily we got in touch with a VFX School in Barcelona (FX ANIMATION 3D School) and together (and for free) their students with the help of their teachers re-designed the snail and did all the other digital effects.

HC: How did you cast the movie?

GC: For the scene at the beginning, a friend of mine and his then girlfriend agreed to do it because we've done things before. For the young cast, we did a casting at ESCAC, and only eight people came. Out of them the three main guys were cast, and first one to arrive ended up being the protagonist. Eva, the girl, was a friend of mine. She isn't a trained actress but I thought that next to Marc Ayala (Joey) they made a good couple. The painful boyfriend is a well known Catalan actor, who agreed to do the role for free. And George Goode, the Barman is a good friend and colleague of my dad. They both teach English. And since he is a Jamaican-English DJ/Rugby player I thought he had to be in it.

HC: There's some nice nods to classic monster films, are you a fan of these?

GC: Yes, indeed. My favourites are Jack Arnold's Tarantula, The Incredible Shrinking Man and They Came From Outer Space, Gordon Douglas's Them! (that's where the exclamation mark came from) and of course Nathan Juran's The Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman (and also the Daryl Hannah remake).

HC: Have you considered making this idea into a feature?

GC: Finishing the short film was tough enough (I had hair before the shooting). But, if a producer or a production company wanted to make it into a feature I would love to do it. Although I'm worried about what might happen to me.

HC: Are you nervous that the film is showing at FrightFest?

GC: Yes. It seems like an awesome festival. I hope I can make it there. Although Spain is in deep financial sh*t. But the idea of it being shown at the Empire Theatre makes me very happy.

HC: What advice would you give to someone who is making their first horror movie short?

GC: Well, in film school they said to me to take a risk with my final project short. Maybe I went too far. But the idea of making whatever comes out of your brain is pretty cool, so I would encourage any youngster to go for it and shoot whatever they want.

HC: Do you think its time for the giant monster movie genre to make a come back?

GC: Why not? At Sitges, I was able to see Joe Cornish's Attack The Block, and it was awesome, people loved it, so yeah I think there should be a come back. Of the modern monster movies I'm a huge fan of Cloverfield. And these films are a great way to criticise the social and political system, so f*** yeah!

HC: With reference to the movie how good are you at Guitar Hero?

GC: At the time of the shooting I could play any song at the expert level (my personal favourite Weezer's My Name Is Jonas). Right now I’ve lost it, and I'm more of a FIFA guy, I guess I'm getting old...

HC: Geoffrey Cowper, thank you very much

Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020

Butchers is a superb piece of horror cinema from Adrian Langley. Here he chats about this grim and gruesome piece and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for Butchers come from?

AL: Butchers came from two of Daniel Weissenberger's old screenplays - he writes a lot - and I remixed them with some ideas that had been kicking around in my head after having read those scripts a long time ago.

HC: Did it take long to write?

AL: Not at all. Because Dan's scripts were so full already, the initial working draft only took about two weeks to put together and then I did a lot of rewriting during the prep process to streamline it to what...

Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
Spare Parts

FrightFest is all about the diversity of movies, none more so than Spare Parts from director Andrew Thomas Hunt. This superb mash-up of gladiator-style fighting and a scorching soundtrack is desitined to become a cult classic so we chatted to Andrew about this movie.

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

AH: I did - from the age of 16. I was a huge fan of David Cronenberg's films, and when I discovered that he was not only from Toronto, but made his films here, it made me realize you didn't have to be from Hollywood to make movies.

HC: How did you become attached to this wild project?

AH: It was pitched to me at TIFF (Toronto Int'l ...

And the winner is... Benny Loves You!
Posted on Monday 26th October 2020

The winner of the FrightFest Horror Channel First Blood Award 2020 is... Benny Loves You!

Here, Channel Manager Stewart Bridle chats to its very talented director, Karl Holt.

Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 concludes tonight with an out-of-this-world premiere, SKYLIN3S. Here its writer and director Liam O'Donnell talks about this and the other entries in this sci-fi series.

HC: You've been involved with the Skyline series of movies from the start, where did the initial idea come from?

LD: Initially the idea just came from, we were sort of do it ourselves film makers and I had been living in the building we ended up shooting in. We had already been illegally shooting on the rooftop helipad for a pitch that we were developing and when Greg's (Greg Strause, director of Skyline) unit on the top floor and he walked in and saw this big, expansive view of LA...

Interview with Paul Tanter director and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Prolific creative Paul Tanter has delivered a real treat for FrightFest pass holders today, the blood-splattered shocker, The Nights Before Christmas. Here he chats about this cracker of a movie.

HC: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PT: Absolutely. One of my first cinema memories is my dad taking me to see Fright Night in 1985 and there being a promotional pack of vampire teeth on every seat. I was five at the time so I'm not sure how he snuck me in there, considering it's rated 18. I grew up watching The Omen films, in parts enthralled and terrified by them. I still can't pass that church in Fulham without keeping an eye on ...

Interview with Simon Phillips, star and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Seasonal slashers are once again coming into vogue but none as brutal as The Nights Before Christmas. Here, its star and co-writer Simon Phillips tells all about this movie.

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

SP: I don't know if I ever was sure I was going to be in the film industry but as a child I sure liked talking a lot and my teacher once shouted at me "They'd better pay you to talk when you grow up, because you sure like the sound of your own voice"... So perhaps it was always on the cards!

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SP: To be honest they terrify me... not the o...

Interview with Elza Kephart, director and co-writer of Slaxx
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
SLAXX_Elza_(C)photoB-Calmeau_0125FrightFest is all about originality and new talent and 2020 has been a belter of a year for such things. Slaxx from Elza Kephart is a prime example of the new and exciting creative talent that's out there at the moment. We chatted to Elza about this superb shocker.

HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?

EK: Yes, huge! I started my horror adventure when I was a pre-teen, reading Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice. If there wasn't a death I wasn't interested. From that, I migrated to horror films; when I was about ten, I watched Aliens, the Fearless Vampire Hunters, Exorcist 2. I might have been a little too young, I remember being re...

Hair scares, killer jeans, Santa slays and an invasion from above. Day 5 of FrightFest Digital Edition 2
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020

We reach the final day of FrightFest but what awaits us will ensure that the event ends not with a bang but with an alien invasion!

It's always exciting when new creatives release work and The Stylist from Jill Gervargizian is no exception. Everyone dreams of being someone else... but for Claire that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Her job as a hairstylist allows her to move through other people's worlds, but when the right target sits in her chair, she does more than observe the client's life - she ends it, and keeps a permanent souvenir. Her lonely life, meticulous method and shocking secrets are suddenly thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia, asks her to s...

Interview with Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020

Hosts is a dark, brooding and sinister movie from two very talented creatives, Adam Leader and Richard Oakes. Here they chat about this outstanding movie.

HC: Have you always been fans of this genre?

AL: Yes, the first film I ever watched was the original Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eight years old. That turned me on to the horror genre, and since then I became absolutely horror obsessed. Every weekend, my dad would take me to the video store, and I'd choose the most messed up movie I could find for him to rent for me.

RO: Yes, coming from a family with a sister 7 years older than me, I was always fascinated by the films her and her friends used to watch. I walked in...

Interview with Barry Keating, writer of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Barry Keating at NIGHTWORLD on 25/08/2017Barry Keating is a scriptwriter who has had quite a number of movies at FrightFest over the years. He's back with another shocker for 2020, this time the truth might be out there in Embryo. We chatted to him about this sci-fi chiller.

HC: We show another of your movies on Horror, Nightworld, what's it like writing a script, which has horror legend Robert Englund in it?

BK: When I found out they'd cast Robert in the role that was a very surreal day. At first I didn't quite believe it, but when the producer forwarded a message from Robert to me saying that he really dug the script I completely geeked out. I'm a hug...

Interview with Patricio Valladares, director of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Embryo image 1

Chilean director Patricio Valladares is back at FrightFest and this time he's taking us into the science fiction zone with Embryo. Here he chats about working with Robert Englund on Nightworld and this sci-fi shocker.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror and sci-fi movies?

PV: Yes, from my childhood, my old brother watched Jason Voorhees and A Nightmare on Elm Street film series at home with a couple friends in the 80s. So, I always went from the bathroom to the living room at night to watch from behind the sofa with them. I Loved it! I liked the ultraviolence and gore from Robocop. When I was 14 or 15 I was a metalhead, so I had lots of tapes of death metal and a lot of low ...

Interview with Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer, directors of Alien on Stage
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020

FrightFest always has a fine selection of documentaries showing, but none have touched hearts like Alien on Stage. This warm and loving look at an amateur stage production of the classic movie Alien has been placed in the running for the Horror Channel sponsored First Blood award so we chatted to directors Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer about this wonderful project.

HC: How long have you worked together and are you fans of the film, Alien?

We met working on a no budget British indie film in 2006 (I think) both working for free. Danielle was a camera trainee, I was the costume stylist. It was like going through a war together, it cemented our friendship and Danille...

Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Monday 10th May
10.55 PM
The Dead 2
Saturday 15th May
10.45 PM
Tuesday 18th May
9.00 PM