ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Keith Wright Director Of Harold's Going Stiff
By James Whittington, Tuesday 30th April 2013

Keith WrightDuring May the Horror Channel is proudly giving four fright flicks their UK TV premiere. The first is on this Saturday at 10.55pm, Keith Wright's superb shocker Harold's Going Stiff. We spoke to Keith about this acclaimed movie as well as his plans for the future.

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

KW: I was in my early teens when my parents hired a VHS machine and I started renting loads of films, mostly horror stuff that I was way too young to watch, like The Evil Dead, Basket Case and Deadly Spawn. I became a obsessed with monster movies, special effects and Fangoria and before long I started mucking around with an old Super8 camera.

HC: Where did the idea for the Harold's Gone Stiff come from?

KW: It was a combination of things. I knew that zombie films had a pretty strong fan base so I went down that path in order to have a better chance of distribution, which I knew would be tough to get. The story itself is really an allegorical tale of ageing and illness with zombies, romance and comedy thrown in for good measure. My grandmother suffered from dementia for a number of years before she eventually passed away and experiencing what she and the family went through really gave me something solid to explore whilst writing the script.

HC: Was it hard balancing the humour and comedy elements?

KW: The only way to approach it is to be as instinctive as possible. What works on the page can end up playing shockingly bad on the screen, so as you move through the various stages of editing you really have to allow the film to inform you what's working. Quite late in the edit I actually chopped out a load of gags just because they felt tonally wrong for the film, even though they were getting decent laughs in test screenings.

HC: You didn’t have a large budget, did this have an impact on the story or did you write it with this in mind?

KW: We pretty much funded the whole film on two Tesco credit cards, so you can probably guess just how low our budget was. It was a case of turning all our weaknesses into creative strengths and making the most of everything and everyone we had around us. I really enjoyed working like that because it became a really personal and fun way to make a film. We had a tiny crew of about six people, we shot it like a documentary in available light, we used locations rather than build sets and we managed to shoot the whole film in nine days because of that approach.

HC: It's an amazing film, packed with pathos with stunning performances from the lead actors. How did you go about casting the movie?

KW: We didn't have the luxury of a casting director so we held a series of open casting sessions in London and Barnsley. That's pretty much how we found our entire cast and crew. In Barnsley we put word out on a local radio station inviting people to come down and have a go at acting. That's where we ended up meeting the brilliant Sarah Spencer who went on to play Penny in the film. She'd done a bit of acting before, but some of our cast, like two of our vigilantes, had never acted before in their lives. So we had a mix of professional and non-professional actors which gave us a nice naturalistic feel. I'd already worked with Stan Rowe who plays Harold and I had him in mind whilst writing the script.

HC: Kim Newman has said that the movie is "Blackly funny and surprisingly touching, this zombie mock-doc is far more inventive than it has any right to be” that's quite a compliment.

KW: I've been a massive fan of Kim Newman for many years, so when I read his positive reviews it brought a big smile to my face. When you make a film you've got no idea how it's going to turn out or how it will be received, so when you start to get that kind of feedback from people you admire it's bloody great.

HC: You must be pleased the movie is getting its UK TV premiere on the Horror Channel?

KW: Absolutely, everyone who's worked on the film is really excited about the premiere; we want as many people as possible to see our film. I've managed to catch so many indie gems on the Horror Channel that I might never have seen, so it seems a fitting home for our little Brit pic.

HC: Do you think its time to let the zombie genre rest for a while as there's been a huge resurrection in its popularity?

KW: I don't think so, I’m sure there’s more to be had, it just means being a little bit more inventive with the story and finding a different take. There was a fair bit of scepticism when I was developing Harold, but that just made me want to do it even more. It's the same with found footage films; right now I'd love to do one just because it would be a massive challenge. No one has ever, to the best of my knowledge, done a found footage comedy for example, there might be plenty of reasons not to go there, but it’s at least worth exploring.

HC: Do you think the British film industry is in good health?

KW: There seems to be a lot of emerging talent out there, I think mainly because it's now easier to make your own films with little or no money. I don't really know if it's in good health to be honest, I feel very much outside of any film industry at the moment. If your passion is for filmmaking you just have to get on with it and hope someone takes notice of what you're doing. We've achieved most of what we did completely independent of any funding or development bodies. Now if someone like Warp or FilmFour were to come along and bung me 500k to make my next film then I think I'd have a different answer.

HC: So what are you working on at the moment?

KW: I'm sticking with the horror and dark comedy genre for now. I've got two projects that are at a very advanced script stage. The first one's called The Desperate Ones, which is a survival movie featuring an arts and crafts club. The second is Gruesome Twosome, a revenge film about two woman battling an underground cult who kill dogs. That one’s a really unusual dark comedy. Hopefully, with the current success of Harold's Going Stiff, we can pull in some funding interest. We'll need to because my Tesco credit card is maxed out.

HC: Keith Wright, thank you very much


Related show tags: HAROLD'S GOING STIFF
MORE ARTICLES
Obituary - Director Mojica Marins known to millions as the creator of Coffin Joe
Posted in News, Thursday 20th February 2020

Pop culture icon and global genre star, Mojica Marins, known to the world as Coffin Joe, sadly died recently aged 83. He had been suffering from pneumonia after wrestling with ill health for several years.

Here, Betina Goldman from One Eyed Films pays her respects.

With sadness and regret we would like to share the sad news of the passing away yesterday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, of the filmmaker Mojica Marins, legendary Master of horror Cinema, Director, actor and creator of the memorable evil, cult character Coffin Joe.

With of over 40 feature films as Director and over 60 films as actor, working in extreme financial challenging conditions in Brazil, in a long and twisting road that ev...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel gets beastly in March with Creature Feature season
Posted in Features, Thursday 20th February 2020

Carnivorous sandworms, murderous ant hybrids, a giant snake and deadly creepy spiders... Horror Channel gets beastly this March with a Creature Feature Season - a monstrous collection of creature carnage, which includes the UK TV premieres of It Came From The Desert, Marko Makilaakso's smart, funny and very creepy homage to Ray Harryhausen, and Micah Gallo's skin-tingling directorial debut Itsy Bitsy, every arachnophobe's worst nightmare.

Broadcast on Friday nights throughout the month, the season also includes the channel premiere of Tremors, Ron Underwood's affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, starring Kevin Bacon, and the star-studded jungle snake nightmare Anaconda, s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Discover how to create incredible SFX with this new guide
Posted in , Thursday 20th February 2020

Ever wanted to try your hand at creating movie-standard SFX? Well now you have the information at hand!

Uncover the secrets of horror makeup in the third volume of the acclaimed special effects makeup series. Learn how to apply gory, realistic, and captivating scar and wound makeup from leading Japanese special effects makeup artists. Discover the hidden tricks behind special effects makeup, mask-making, and more.

Acclaimed as the best book series ever published on Special Effects Makeup - whether you are a beginner preparing for a Halloween party, or interested in more complex techniques, this is the definitive guide covering everything from basic facial makeup styles, and simple sc...

SHARE: READ MORE
Dorothy McShane is back. Do you know "Who" she is?
Posted in News, Thursday 20th February 2020

Past, present and future collide as the Thirteenth Doctor meets classic Doctor Who companion Ace - in the first epic novel from the woman who played her, Sophie Aldred; Doctor Who: At Childhood's End.

Once, a girl called Ace travelled the universe with the Doctor - until, in the wake of a terrible tragedy they parted company. Decades later, she is known as Dorothy McShane, the reclusive millionaire philanthropist who heads global organisation A Charitable Earth.

Dorothy is haunted by terrible nightmares, vivid dreams that begin just as scores of young runaways are vanishing from the dark alleyways of London. Could the disappearances be linked to sightings of sinister cr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Is home where the heart is? Not in smart sci-fi shocker, Vivarium
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020

Following rave reviews at the BFI London Film Festival (2019), sci-fi thriller Vivarium will be released in UK and Irish cinemas and on digital on 27th March 2020 courtesy of Vertigo Releasing and Wildcard Distribution. It will also open the Virgin Media International Dublin Film Festival on the 26th February, and will be shown at the Glasgow Film Festival on the 27th and 28th February. The film stars The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg and Green Room's Imogen Poots, and is from the producers of cult hits Mandy and The Void.

The movie won the Gan Foundation Award at Cannes Film Festival (2019), and Imogen Poots was awarded Best Actress at Sitges International Film Festival ...

SHARE: READ MORE
New anthology that will enchant and thrill!
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020

"It's the prick of blood, the bite of an apple, the evil eye, a wedding ring or a pair of red shoes. Curses come in all shapes and sizes, and when you least expect them..."

Editors Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane present Cursed, an anthology of unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse from an exciting line-up of bestselling and award-winning authors. From the traditional to the modern, this collection gives us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables from a carefully cultivated selection of brand-new stories, folk-horror poetry and modern classic tales.

Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, and they will all impress you with their origina...

SHARE: READ MORE
Ravers! A movie we'll drink to!
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020

Party like there's no tomorrow with Ravers, the blissfully violent and drug-addled horror set in the shady underground of illegal raves!

A group of clubbers descend on an abandoned warehouse for a night of twisted techno and hedonistic drug-taking, but the illegal rave takes a blood-stained turn for the worse when the whacked-out partygoers discover a case of energy drink 'Renergize'.

Little do they know, the experimental drink caused a factory worker to butcher his colleagues months earlier and soon the party descends into violent carnage. Caught in the middle of the slaughter is Becky (Georgia Hirst), a germaphobic journalist who must overcome her crippling-fea...

SHARE: READ MORE
The hunt for Vlad the Impaler will begin in March.
Posted in News, Tuesday 18th February 2020

Game of Thrones meets Vikings - with a Dracula origin story - in this thunderous tale of seven fierce warriors in 15th Century Turkey, tasked with hunting down the vicious warlord Vlad the Impaler, to put an end to his cruel reign of terror.

Think of The Magnificent Seven crossed with Conan, as the unstoppable wing-backed warriors close in on their foe - with and a superbly sinister performance from Turkish star Erkan Petekkaya as the villainous Vlad Dracula, the 'heir of the devil', and the inspiration for vampire mythology.

In the middle of the 15th Century, in the depths of Turkey during the Ottoman Empire, the land is torn apart by horrendous atrocities and bloody murder...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, 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
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
Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Extraterrestrial
EXTRATERRESTRIAL
Thursday 27th February
10.45 PM
Quarantine 2: Terminal
QUARANTINE 2: TERMINAL
Sunday 1st March
10.55 PM
The Row
THE ROW
Friday 28th February
10.50 PM