INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview with Johannes Roberts, rising young director of Forest Of The Damned and When Evil Calls
By James Whittington, Friday 1st December 2006

ZH: How young were you when you decided you wanted to become a movie director? Was there one specific movie that you saw which inspired you?

JR: I was actually about to head off to university to study history when my godmother asked me what I would really enjoy doing. I said I like watching films and she persuaded me to do a film degree – talk about close your eyes and jump. Platoon was the first film that really made an impact on my life but it was actually watching Cujo, the old Stephen King movie about a rabid dog, that made me want to become a director. The way Lewis Teague, the director, moves the camera is amazing. He ended up directing the Dukes of Hazard TV reunion – oh well! I’m a massive King fan and it’s through a love of telling stories that I do what I do…oh no wait…it’s to get the girls. Doesn’t work though.

ZH: Your first movie, Sanitarium, came out in 2001. Was it a happy experience and are you pleased with the end result?

JR: Sanitarium was awesome. I spent two weeks sleeping in a padded cell living off crisps. The film is flawed no doubt but I’m really proud of it. There’s blood and sweat in that movie. And working with Uri Geller was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. He was a lot of fun. I used to love it when he’d phone people he didn’t know. He’d say his name and they’d never believe it – very funny.

ZH: Zone Horror is currently showing your 2005 movie Forest of the Damned. Did you have more creative control on that movie compared to your first?

JR: Sanitarium I co wrote and directed so I guess in a sense I had more freedom on Forest but by the time I got to Forest I was much more worried about the commercial aspect so that really controls you all by itself. When I did Sanitarium or Hellbreeder I didn’t think for a moment about the selling of it. Just went out and shot what I wanted to shoot.

ZH: So how did When Evil Calls come about?

JR: Ben Grass, the producer, had just left Sony to form a company, Pure Grass, to make mobile entertainment. He was looking for a horror director and approached my agents at ICM and they suggested me. Ben and Zone Horror pretty much let me do my own thing totally. I really respect that Zone put such a lot of faith (and money) into something that was really a massive risk. Ben’s a real pioneer. If he could just learn to be punctual he could take over the world.

ZH: Where did the idea for the story come from?

JR: The basis of the story is based on the old story Monkey’s Paw: you make a wish and it comes true in a horrible way. I just honed it with my writing partner Chris Leonard into something that was contemporary and didn’t involve evil mobile phone masts – seriously, the mobile companies were big on that one.

ZH: How different is it directing a movie that’s being made for mobile phones rather than a normal cinema movie?

JR: I had to paint in quite broad strokes. I took a decision early on to go for a gross out style of horror, as opposed to psychological, as I figured that would work better on the small screen. The characters are quite broad as well but shot wise I lensed it in a similar way to how I would a feature film.

ZH: Horror writer Shaun Hutson appears in Episode 12, “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”. Seeing as though he has a cameo in Forest of the Damned was this your idea?

JR: Yeah man, I love Shaun! He’s crazy. God knows how many pills he has to take every morning to stop him turning into Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining but he’s a great laugh. I didn’t get to spend too much time with him on this one but I have no doubt we’ll work together again soon. It’s my ambition to turn him into the next Marlon Brando… it may take some time.

ZH: Did you insist that it should be gory and not be watered down just because it was for the WAP format?

JR: I really tried to push right from the beginning to make sure that we spent a lot of money on effects. I really shot balls out without thinking about any ratings issues. We’ve had a few interesting moments where it looked like no one was going to take it because of the gore content but in the end they all have! Some of the episodes are really quite full on to say the least!

ZH: Was it a difficult shoot then? What was the atmosphere on set like?

JR: The film was a blast. Zone were behind us all the way and Ben, the producer, just took all the s**t so I just got on with playing with monsters! I have a crew of people around me at Gatlin Pictures, my production company, and we’d just come off two back-to-back feature films so we were all quite battle hardened and slick. There were a lot of problems: it was a massive cast and quite a big operation for the money but hey, I had fun. I think you might have to ask the production crew for the real picture! But I just get to set each day and be like: “what is it today? Naked volleyball or killer clowns and lesbian cannibalism?” What a job man! Not sure it’s quite what dad had in mind when he was paying my school fees!

ZH: Do you find clowns creepy in real life?

JR: No, not really. I’m just a massive fan of Stephen King’s IT. Oscar was awesome as the clown; he really bought it to life!

ZH: Can you see this form of entertainment taking off?

JR: Actually, yes. I watched the episodes on a phone and they really work. Obviously that’s because I’m an amazing director but I think the technology really supports it – the episodes do look great.

ZH: What does it feel like to be part of something very unique? Were you aware that such a series had never been made for mobile phones?

JR: I’m really proud of the whole venture. As I say hats off to Zone for taking the risk and to Ben for dreaming it up!

ZH: Do you have a favourite episode?

JR: Hmm… the one where Hilary gets her arm chopped off in the garbage disposal is great but I think they’re all pretty good.

ZH: Would you another series for mobile phones?

JR: No. How much money? Oh alright then. No seriously I’d have no problems with doing it again. It was a blast and man what a cast to work with!

ZH: Johannes Roberts, thank you very much.

MORE INTERVIEWS
Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on 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 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Soska sisiters-WEB-1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
DAWN_OF_THE_DEAD_3D_BD_SLIPCASE_PACK_ (1)

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
SHAYNE WARD NEW PROMO HEADSHOT 2020-6

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
FAITH MONIQUE INTERVIEW PHOTO

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Quiet Ones
THE QUIET ONES
Thursday 23rd September
9.00 PM
The Rezort
THE REZORT
Tuesday 28th September
10.45 PM
Highlander
HIGHLANDER
Wednesday 29th September
9.00 PM