INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Steve Barker and Rae Brunton Writers Of Outpost 2: Black Sun
By James Whittington, Saturday 25th August 2012

Outpost II CoverA few years ago the film Outpost was released to great critical acclaim. This atmospheric and dark piece gave the Nazi Zombie genre the serious kick that it needed.

Now the characters are back in Outpost 2: Black Sun so we decided to talk to the writers Steve Barker and Rae Brunton about this and future Outpost movies.

HC: How did you two first meet?

RB: Well, I had written a half-hour script called Karma Cowboys, which was commissioned as part of a series showcasing new talent on Channel 4 and I first met Steve when he was brought aboard to direct that. Out of all the writer and director teams put together on that series, I think we were the only two who genuinely got along. When Steve moved to Scotland, I rode shotgun in a car full of all his belongings and - between him listening to cricket on the radio and me nearly getting us killed on a slip-road near Glasgow - we talked about doing something else, feature film shaped. It always seemed inevitable that we’d work together again…

SB: I think Rae's summed this one up perfectly, other than that it was probably my fault that we nearly died on the slip-road.

HC: Where did the idea for the original Outpost come from?

RB: It was kind of born out of necessity. Steve had moved to Scotland with the intention of making a film there with our producers, Kieran and Arabella. Film financing being what it is, though it’s very hard for first-time film-makers to get stuff off the ground. When one project stalled, Kieran was casting around for other ideas and, because it's often the way that low-budget genre movies are many people's route into film-making, he started toying with horror stories. So the original idea for Outpost came from Kieran. He came up with this very simple high-concept of a bunch of modern day soldiers who find themselves surrounded by an army of undead Nazis. Within those parameters, Steve and I were invited to do pretty much whatever we wanted. I came up with the idea of this weird machine that gave the story an engine and the whole thing grew from there.

SB: Wow, Brunton's answers are unusually thorough today. That's exactly what happened.

HC: Did you decide that from the start it would be a serious Nazi Zombie movie?

RB: I think so. As a writer, my instinct is always to try and mine a bit of humour but, while they were never against the odd laugh, I remember that Kieran and Steve were both keen that Outpost should never be tongue-in-cheek. And I agreed with that, because, unless it's done with surgical wit, I tend not to like stuff that winks too hard at its audience. All three of us absolutely revered the whole kind of B-movie horror that we were working in - it was exactly the kind of stuff that had thrilled us in the past - and I think we wanted to honour how seriously all those films took themselves. And in an odd way, I think playing such a lunatic story with a straight face is actually its own kind of fun.

SB: I think simply because I saw the initial concept as something that would give me an opportunity to make a love letter to certain movies I loved as a kid, it genuinely never crossed my mind for a second that we would do anything other than play it straight. At the time we made the first movie the torture-porn explosion was in full swing and I really wanted to make something the harkened back to early John Carpenter or Alien, something that did everything with light, shadow and suspense so the idea of going for a more Sam Raimi, Evil Dead 2 style or what the Dead Snow guys did later just never came up. That tone worked so well in those movies but at the time I don’t think we ever even discussed going that way.

HC: It was a critical success so why a four year gap between that and the follow up Outpost: Black Sun?

SB: There's really no one simple answer to that. At first we never really considered the possibility of a sequel and for maybe a year we looked at doing other movies, then when the first movie turned out to be a bit of a success, not just in the UK but also abroad, then people started pushing for it. After that it became a long to-and-fro around writing the script, where the money would come from, and how much money we'd eventually have. All of which would always mean looking at the script again. Then finally, at the end of all that it took about a year to actually make the movie. The film industry and independent film financing in particular has always be very unpredictable so when you factor in that this film got put together in the midst of a global economic meltdown and then the recession that followed I'm still a little amazed that we got there at all.

HC: How did you approach writing this much anticipated sequel?

RB: Well, it's awhile since we wrote Black Sun now, but as I remember it there were a lot of different ideas kicked around. The one thing we all agreed from the outset though, was that we wanted our sequel to be distinct from its predecessor. None of us wanted to do a simple, bigger and badder re-tread of the first film. We wanted to expand the world some, reveal a bit more about the history of the machine and, I think in general, deliver something that felt altogether more epic in scale. Early on, we didn’t even know whether we wanted to go back to the same bunker at all. We had ideas for an entirely new story set elsewhere. In my initial treatments, Wallace was very much the lead. It was very much Steve’s idea to run with a female protagonist and all the Nazi Hunter stuff that fleshed out Lena's character came from him. After that it was a thousand conversations and just as many rewrites…

SB: Like Rae says, all the initial ideas came from not wanting to repeat the first movie. In that film we’d tried to use mystery and suspense to steadily crank the atmosphere through the first half of the picture and we could do that because the movie was fresh and the audience wasn't entirely sure what was coming. Going into Black Sun my feeling was that if I simply tried to do that again it would quickly become tedious because the audience had already seen what was ultimately around the corner. The sequels I've always admired are the ones that try and do something new, you risk alienating your original audience but I thought it was a risk worth taking, so once we’d decided to shift genre slightly and try something that was tonally different it became about trying to introduce elements into the narrative that would force us keep those promises to ourselves. So the character of Lena came from the fact that there were no female characters and there were no civilians in the first movie. Simply having her there was going to force us to write and shoot things differently. So yeah, pretty much everything in life that caused Rae pain around that time was totally my fault. I'm frankly amazed that he still talks to me, although I didn’t get a Christmas card this year.

HC: Did you have more budget for this instalment?

SB: We had a tiny bit more. Unfortunately the film was so much bigger in scope that it always felt like we had less. It really was an insanely small budget for the kind of scale we were trying to put on screen and it's a testament to the dedication and skill of everybody that worked on it that people seem to think that it cost five or ten times more than it actually did. In the end I think we made the movie for less than an episode of Doctor Who.

HC: How did you go about casting?

SB: Well outside of Julian Wadham and Johnny Meres coming back we had to find a new cast since we'd killed everybody in the first movie. We cast Lena first and I probably saw 70 girls in 2 days for her, but Catherine came in on the first morning and just smashed it. Richard Coyle was somebody I'd loved in so much other stuff and the financiers let me offer the role of Wallace to him. He was away shooting Grabbers at time so we couldn’t meet, but thankfully it turned out that he really liked the first movie and after we’d had a long chat on the phone he took the role. I think everybody else auditioned in the traditional way and just like the first movie I think we got really lucky with who we got.

HC: It retains the very dark and intense atmosphere of the first, was this hard to achieve?

RB: I can't speak to the production or directing side of things at all, but in terms of the writing, once our story was set the tone was pretty much dictated. We had a Nazi army on the march in modern day Europe - the atmosphere couldn’t be anything but dark!

SB: You'd think that making something that dark would be easier but actually it's really hard work. You have to be very careful about the colour palette which means production design, costume and even make-up have to work very closely together and be planning way ahead of the shoot. I also tend to use a lot of smoke (probably because I saw too many Ridley Scott films as a kid) and that’s really time consuming on a tiny budget. Add all that to the fact that the script was so different and I started out feeling pretty nervous about the tone on this movie. Then it became obvious that my usual DP, Gavin Struthers who shot the first movie wouldn’t be available because he was already committed to a long running job and I got really scared. Thankfully the brilliant Darran Tiernan rode to my rescue. I'd seen two movies he’d shot and even though they looked nothing like I imagined this film looking it was obvious that he had a wonderful eye. Thankfully he really liked the first movie and from the moment we met all of my nerves simply evaporated. What I love about his work on this movie is the way that without ego getting in the way he seemed to instinctively understand where we should retain ideas about light, colour and shadow from the first movie and where to bring something new to the table. I really do think that he’s an amazing talent.

HC: What was it like shooting this and the third part back-to-back?

RB: In fairness, there has actually been a substantial gap between the production of the second and third film, almost a year between shoots.

SB: I'm not making part 3 and what's cool is that since Rae and Kieran were writing and putting it together whilst I was away finishing Black Sun I’ve managed to stay pretty much spoiler free. That means I'm finally going to be able to watch one of these films like a regular movie rather than something I'm sweating or agonising over which is pretty exciting.

HC: When part 3 is released will you move away from horror for a while or will you stay within the genre?

SB: Well I've just finished one script and am about to start work on another. Neither are straight horror but both certainly contain very, very dark elements. I've always loved genre movies and my instincts usually take me towards dark thrillers, sci-fi and horror so I think that even if I move away a bit, the work will probably still be within spitting distance.

HC: Are you nervous about the movie showing at FrightFest?

RB: Terrified!

SB: I am literally too frightened to properly answer.

HC: What advice would you give to people wanting to make their own horror movie?

RB: None. I'd wish them the very best of luck!

SB: Always make what you want to see, not what you think others might want you to make. And then give it all the love, thought, care and attention that you've got.

HC: Steve Barker and Rae Brunton, thank you very much.

SB: No, thank you


MORE INTERVIEWS
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
Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
CHARLIE STEEDS EDITED-23

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
It Cuts Deep Image 2

At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.

HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?

NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.

HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?

NS: It Cuts Deep is a hor...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Robert Woods

Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?

RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were j...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chad Ferrin, writer and director of The Deep Ones
Posted on Friday 9th October 2020
Jeff Billings and Chad The Deep Ones

H.P. Lovecraft's influence on horror cinema is immeasurable and continues to this very day. In fact, today at Grimmfest a movie called The Deep Ones is showing so we asked its writer and director Chad Ferrin and how the great man himself has influenced his work.

HC: When was the first time you heard or read anything by or about HP Lovecraft?

CF: My parents worked nights, so the television was my babysitter. I must have been around six years old when I saw an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery called "Pickman's Model". Seeing that monster carrying off Louise Sorel terrified me beyond belief and seared the name H.P. Lovecraft into my...

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
Christine
CHRISTINE
Sunday 16th May
9.00 PM
Post Impact
POST IMPACT
Sunday 9th May
6.35 PM
The Vault
THE VAULT
Sunday 9th May
9.00 PM