LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Journalist, Producer And Director Calum Waddell
By James Whittington, Sunday 21st April 2013
Way back in 2008 we spoke to journalist Calum Waddell about his work reporting on the horror entertainment world. Since then Calum has begun to work on creating acclaimed extras for DVD and Blu-ray releases of cult movies. More recently Calum has produced and directed the cracking documentary Slice And Dice: The Slasher Film Forever so we decided it was time to catch up with this talented fellow.
HC: Have you always been a fan of the hack n' slash genre?
CW: You bet I am mate! In fact, I grew up with these films. I still remember renting all the Friday The 13th movies when I was just ten years old and lapping them up because they are really just live action cartoons. They always reminded me of Road Runner - if Road Runner has a hockey mask and went about killing several coyotes in increasingly daft and inventive ways. So my love affair with slasher movies goes well back and I still get suckered into seeing the remakes - even when, usually, they disappoint. But what can you do? I was bitten by the proverbial hack n' slash bug a long time ago [laughs].
HC: What was the first movie of this genre that you saw and what did you think of it?
CW: I think it was Happy Birthday To Me back when I was four years old. I'm not making that up. I know that will horrify a lot of people but there you go. I remember vividly enjoying it - especially the opening chase in the car park which had my little sweaty palms grabbing the floor in suspense. Yes, I even remember sitting on the floor to watch that one [laughs]. It was a scary little rollercoaster ride for me and, to this day, I still rate Happy Birthday To Me highly. I would love to work on a special edition of it. Then, from there, I saw Bloody Moon - although it was on fast-wind so my older brother could show me the juicy bits - and Halloween, which scared the absolute hell out of me.
HC: How did your documentary come about?
CW: We were working on a Spanish slasher film called Pieces for Arrow Video back in 2010. Alas, we didn't really have any idea of what to do for it because we were not going near Spain and Lynda Day George still refuses to speak about the movie. We emailed her and tried to get to her through mutual friends and eventually it was apparent that nothing - not even my Scottish charm - was going to change things. So we opted to do a little featurette - just a wee 'how to survive a slasher movie' thing which would be quite general. Well, Pieces got knocked back in Arrow's distribution cycle and we eventually found other things to do for it, including getting its great star Jack Taylor onboard when we bumped into him purely by accident at the Sitges Film Festival that year, so we thought we would expand this slasher idea as a wee personal side project and just see how it all went. Thankfully, it went well, and two years later we had enough footage to begin to edit into a feature length project. But we never knew what the outcome of this would be - Slice And Dice really was just myself, Naomi and a film camera. It was a no budget labour of love.
HC: You've managed to interview a huge selection of talent, how did you manage that?
CW: It was mainly people that I knew from previous contact with them as a journalist. There were a few exceptions though - Corey Feldman we got at a convention and he was just really kind to us and gave us some of his time. It was very flattering. But really, I generally only asked people I knew or felt reasonably comfortable emailing to ask for their involvement. I am as shocked as anyone we got so many great faces in there! The first person we filmed was Emily Booth, in London in June 2010, and the last person we filmed was Eduardo Sanchez, of The Blair Witch Project, who we got at last year's Edinburgh Film Festival.
HC: Who proved to be the most enlightening interviewee?
CW: I'm not sure I would want to place any one person at the top of the pedestal because each personality gave us such amazing sound-bites! I know that is a copout - sorry!
HC: Was there anyone you didn’t manage to get hold of?
CW: Well, of course, we would have loved to have had John Carpenter and Wes Craven involved but it becomes tricky when this is just a side project and you don't really have a firm plan for it or anything. We never Kickstarted this or anything - it was done on our own time and frequently our own buck too. But in terms of the cultier world, it certainly would have been nice to have had Lynda Day George onboard! And Robert Englund, of course, who is a legend. We almost had Mark Patton, who was in A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 2, but he had to cancel his trip to Scotland for an autograph signing due to illness. He was sad about it too because we have Robert Rusler, his co-star in the movie in there, so having Mark would have been great.
HC: Will you be making more of the same?
CW: Absolutely! Our next documentary is an all-female one. It is called Scream Queen and it is all-women and no men. That is kind of why Slice And Dice only has three female faces - because we were shooting this other feature at the same time. We have some amazing names for Scream Queen - from legends like Lynn Lowry, Elvira, Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens, Patricia Tallman, Debbie Rochon and Sybil Danning to newer blood such as Elissa Dowling, Danielle Harris, Irina Voronina and Christa Campbell. We also have the great Lisa Wilcox, who battled Freddy in A Nightmare On Elm Street part four and five, and Friday The 13th femmes Melanie Kinnaman and Adrienne King, both legends of the great hockey-masked franchise. My partner Naomi Holwill is editing, filming, animating and everything else - just as she did Slice And Dice - so it is a real 'girl power' look at the challenges, compromises and also the accomplishments of being a female in a genre so often associated with masculinity or the stereotypical 'final girl'. Myself and Joe Venegas, who is our co-producer, are the only guys involved [laughs]. Naomi and I felt it was about time the genre's women got the sort of love letter documentary that they deserve.
HC: What's the best slasher franchise?
CW: Artistically I think it is A Nightmare On Elm Street - the first one is an absolute masterpiece, both aesthetically and thematically, and there are some great sequels in there too: three, four and New Nightmare being the highlights. I also love Friday The 13th though because, except for the truly awful remake which I still cannot believe they messed up, each instalment is just a lot of mindless fun.
HC: What makes a good slasher movie?
CW: I think suspense. Gore can be great but I love to be scared and the original Halloween is just brilliant for that. And Black Christmas too. Neither one of these has a drop of blood, or explicit violence, but they are both terrifying and well crafted classics - and the original Psycho still holds up as being creepy, don't you think? I think if you want to go down the route of 'the gore the merrier' then maybe it is best to have some humour in there - like Scott Spiegel's Intruder or Adam Green's Hatchet which are both wonderful. A formidable killer works in your favour too - Jason in the Friday The 13th films, who becomes more of a cartoon as the franchise goes on and is all the more enjoyable for it, and Leatherface as well. I think Joe Spinell is excellent in William Lustig's Maniac, so I'd definitely say fans should check out that one. And I like the sense of being placed somewhere that is just totally alien and disconcerting - the summer camp in the first Friday The 13th and Sleepaway Camp, the farmhouse in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the mine in the original My Bloody Valentine, the old shack in J.S. Cardone's seriously underrated The Slayer, the deserted ghost train in The Funhouse or even the disorientating hallucinations at the end of The House On Sorority Row, which are brief but effective. Then you have Scream, which works as both a homage and a genuinely electric and fast-moving serial killer shocker. So many things make for a great slasher movie but I still think it all starts from suspense. I should probably also add surprise. You need a good surprise don't you? The twist endings of Psycho and Black Christmas, kindly Mrs. Voorhees in Friday The 13th, the great gag that is the entirety of April Fool's Day - the 1986 film and not the horrible remake - and the final unveiling of Scream...
HC: Is there a place for the slasher movie at the moment?
CW: Absolutely. Hatchet has spawned its own franchise, and rightly so, and Dave Parker, who is interviewed in our documentary, created a fantastic modern spin on the genre with The Hills Run Red. I think Final Destination and Saw owe their lineage to the slasher movie and now we just need to wait and see if another big studio series will explode in the way that they did. The remakes are still drawing in crowds, such as the last Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but I think the older and more seasoned fans would rather see an inventive new take on the genre - such as Hatchet or The Hills Run Red - than another lavish retread of familiar characters from yesteryear. Or maybe the way ahead is to do new spins on films that are less well known - My Bloody Valentine 3D was good fun in that regard because it was not a direct rehash and it was made by someone who loves the genre. I think that showed in the final feature. But, hey, as long as the audience is there - and it clearly is - why not have more slasher movies?
HC: In your personal opinion, what is the finest slasher movie made?
CW: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the most intense slasher film ever made and it also an incredibly well made piece of moviemaking. And I love A Nightmare On Elm Street. I still rate the first Friday The 13th highly too. Halloween and Black Christmas as well. And Italian films like Blood And Black Lace and Stagefright... argggghhh too many! Do I need to just pick one?
HC: So what are you working on at the moment?
CW: We just got done working on an amazing slasher film from the 1980s for Arrow Video - Motel Hell, which is now getting a lavish special edition. I even recorded a commentary with the director Kevin Connor for that. And we have also just wrapped editing on the Foxy Brown extra features for Arrow and also work on Knightriders, Baron Blood and Deranged. We have lots more Arrow to come - it is always such an honour to do featurettes for them on films that Naomi and I both feel very strongly towards. We were like children in a toy shop when we got the last batch because there were so many personal favourites - Naomi is a huge fan of Foxy Brown and Knightriders, for instance. We've also done two hours of new stuff for Synapse on their USA edition of Demons and two hours of new stuff for Demons 2. These will be out later this year. We finished our work on Grindhouse's Cannibal Holocaust and we're just waiting to hear when that is coming out - I think fans will want that edition for the commentary we recorded with the stars Francesca Ciardi and Carl Yorke alone! It is really insightful and even quite funny. We have lots more Arrow upcoming too and, of course, Slice And Dice is available on May 13th on UK DVD with lots and lots and lots of extra features. We hope anyone who buys it enjoys it!
HC: Calum Waddell, thank you very much.
MORE ARTICLES Chilling modern folk horror coming from T. Kingfisher
Posted in News, Friday 14th February 2020
The Twisted Ones is the celebrated debut from T. Kingfisher. Published last year in the US, The Twisted Ones was shortlisted in the Goodreads Reader's Choice for horror and received rave reviews, now Titan will be bringing it to the UK market for the first time on 17th March.
When Mouse's dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be? Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather;s journal, which seems like nonsense until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described. Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face...SHARE: READ MORE The Breach - brand new fiction from M.T. Hill
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020
Award-winning author M.T. Hill returns with a new science fiction novel that blurs the lines between reality and fiction in a gripping exploration of the dangerous underground world of urban exploration. With hints of the claustrophobic terror of Sarah Lotz's The White Road blended with Philip K. Dick-esque imaginings, The Breach is genre-bending, pageturning read that aptly demonstrates why Hill is one of today's most exciting new voices in weird fiction.
Freya Medlock, a reporter at her local paper, is down on her luck and chasing a break. When she's assigned to cover the death of a young climber named Stephen, she might just have the story she needs. Digging into Stephen's life, Frey...SHARE: READ MORE A chance to see The Man With the X-Ray Eyes in HD!
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020
Get ready for a visual treat as Second Sight announces the first ever UK Blu-ray release of Roger Corman's seminal horror sci-fi classic The Man With the X-Ray Eyes on 20th April.
This 1960s cult favourite will be a sight to behold with a newly restored Limited Edition Box Set release, featuring stacks of brand new special features, including a new interview with director Roger Corman (The Little Shop of Horrors), commentaries and much more, please see details in full below. The set arrives on 20 April 2020 complete with new artwork, designed by Graham Humphreys, a reversible poster and a soft cover book with writing by Jon Towlson and Allan Bryce.
Obsessed with expand...SHARE: READ MORE His Dark Materials to get a stunning release on vinyl.
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020
Philip Pullman's bestselling trilogy of books has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide and formed the basis of the major HBO/BBC TV series His Dark Materials. Now, this stunning 9LP box set presents BBC Radio's full-cast dramatisations of all three novels thanks to Demon Records.
Follow the adventures of Lyra belacqua and Willy Parry, two children catapulted into a life-or-death struggle to save the future of the cosmos. In Northern lights 11-year-old Lyra discovers dark forces at work, involving kidnapped children and a mysterious substance called 'dust'. In the subtle Knife will finds an opening into a haunted world, where daemon-destroying Spectrobes roam. In the Amber spygla...SHARE: READ MORE What you can't see can hurt you! New trailer for The Invisible Man
Posted in News, Monday 10th February 2020
What you can't see can hurt you. Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss stars in The Invisible Man, a terrifying modern tale of obsession inspired by Universal's classic monster character.
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid).
But when Cecilia's abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threaten...SHARE: READ MORE Medieval carnage descends in Aliens: Phalanx!
Posted in News, Sunday 9th February 2020
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Infected and Alive delivers medieval carnage, as a pre-industrial society fights extinction at the hands of a massive infestation of Xenomorphs. Aliens: Phalanx is a wholly self-contained novel that expertly mixes horror and adventure, and adds an exciting new chapter to the canon of the Alien universe.
Penned by fan-favourite author Sigler (whose short story 'Dangerous Prey' in the Aliens: Bug Hunt anthology was incredibly well received), this is the eighth original novel in Titan's successful, ongoing Alien publishing program, and promises to be a must-read for fans of the franchise!
Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, va...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, 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 Award-winning filmmaker Scott Lyus set to direct debut horror feature film Walking Against The Rain early June 2020
Posted in News, Sunday 9th February 2020
The apocalyptic Biblical monster movie, shot on locations in the UK over a three-week period, will star Cruel Summer's Reece Douglas, newcomer Maisy Kay and James Swanton as monster creation 'The Forsaken'.
Set six months after a biblical plague has fallen upon the world, Walking Against The Rain tells the story of two strangers, Tommy (Reece Douglas) and Blair (Maisy Kay) who are navigating their way across a barren landscape in a desperate attempt to find each other. With their only form of communication being two soon-to-die battery operated radio mics and with a new evil in the shape of 'The Forsaken' tracking them down, they must learn to confront loss and rediscover a trust in humanity. Or...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted in Features, Interviews, 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 The last ever BBC radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy makes its vinyl debut!
Posted in News, Saturday 8th February 2020
First broadcast in 2018, the Hexagonal Phase is based on Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing..., the first - and, to date, only - official sequel to Douglas Adams's original book series. This is also the first ever publication of the original radio edits of the Hexagonal Phase, as heard on their original Radio 4 broadcast.
Presented on 3 x 180g heavyweight neon green vinyl, and presented in illustrated wallets inside a rigid, bound 20 page book, including a perspective sleeve note by Geoff McGivern and a concluding overview of the series' development by Jem Roberts, Adams's official biographer.
A Amazon UK Exclusive Edition contains a print signed by Geoff McGivern and is limite...SHARE: READ MORE Spiral - A terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW...
Posted in News, Wednesday 5th February 2020
A sadistic mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of SAW.
Working in the shadow of an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel "Zeke" Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city's gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer's morbid game.
Spiral stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, and Samuel L. Jackson, and is produced by the original SAW team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules. The film is directed by ...SHARE: READ MORE Knives and Skin - Original Soundtrack
Posted in Reviews, Thursday 30th January 2020 Knives and Skin - Original Soundtrack Nick Zinner Lakeshore Records
Knives and Skin from director Jennifer Reeder was one of the strongest and most original movies from FrightFest 2019. Its hypnotic and sometimes surreal plot contained some superb set-pieces of nerve tightening drama. To make the film even more memorable it had a score which added a delicate beauty to the whole experience.
Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl's mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the ve...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 19th February
Thursday 20th February
Sunday 23rd February