Interview with Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
By James Whittington, 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 on them watching Peter Jackson's Brain Dead at about 6 or 7 years old and fell in love with the darker side of cinema from then on.

HC: Where did the idea for Hosts come from?

AL: One night, my ex complained of seeing a strange blue orb outside the window that backed on to the garden. I went outside to check and took a knife with me just in case. Obviously, nothing was there but that experience really inspired me and I thought it'd go down well as a scene opener for a film. So, Rich and I jumped on the phone and put a rough storyboard together of scenes, combining all the weird and wonderful ideas we could think of.

HC: Did you write it with a cast in mind and what is your writing process? Do you split up the script or lock yourselves away in a room?

RO: We'd always had Neal Ward and Nadia Lamin in mind for Hosts. They're our best friends and we wanted to give them the opportunity to shine with their incredible talents. Those parts were essentially written for them. The rest of the cast were bought in via recommendations or auditions that we held, and each and every single one of them absolutely nailed it. We wouldn't have changed any of the cast for the world!

AL: As for the script, I went away and put the first draft together over ten days, essentially locking myself away, yes. We then both read through, made notes and suggestions to each other or how we could improve it, make it more visceral, add things, take things away etc and I'd keep going away and coming back with new and improved versions until we both agreed we were happy, had a solid story and could move forward with the project. I think there were seven or eight versions in total.

HC: How did the rest of the cast react with Neal Ward and Samantha Loxley who play the "possessed" couple?

Well, this is testament to Neal and Samantha when we say that as soon as we called 'action', everyone felt a sense of intimidation and uncomfortableness in front of and behind the camera, which created the vibe on set that we wanted the overall film to inflict on the audience when they watch it.

HC: The movie has some really subtle effects such as eyes reflecting/glowing light, how was that achieved?

RO: We originally wanted to do it all in camera by using the reflective technique used in Blade Runner but it didn't lend itself the silhouette nature of the cinematography we had planned for Hosts as it added too much light to the actors face. So, I ended up sitting down for 6 months and added them in frame by frame in post.

HC: What was the atmosphere like on set?

Amazing. We were doing long hours through the night and the scenes were physically and emotionally draining for all of us, but the fact we were all so close with each other from so early on meant that the moment we called 'cut' we were all laughing and joking together. We were and still are like one big happy family.

HC: The film contains the most brutal table scene since Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables, what was it like shooting such a brutal sequence?

AL: Never did I ever think that we could have so many laughs and so much fun shooting something so downright disturbing and horrific. Some points during shooting, both Rich and myself just shut up and couldn't take our eyes off some of the cast, particularly Sam as she was gearing up to pounce!

RO: You know what, that scene never even occurred to me until you mentioned it. But yes! That scene in The Untouchables I saw when I was about 7 years old and it really disturbed me. Maybe it stuck in the back of my mind more than I realised. On set it was so much fun to shoot but also had a constant feeling of being grossed out as well ha ha.

HC: Will you be nervous when the film has its world premiere at FrightFest?

AL: I don't think so. I'm more excited for such a labour of love, blood sweat and tears to finally premiere at a festival we've only dreamed of being part of for a long time.

RO: Yeah, we are just excited to show people our disgusting creation!

HC: Do you believe in paranormal happenings?

RO: Nope, I think I find the home invasion side more scary, I lock my doors at night because there are real monsters out there in the form of humans. I don't lock my doors for ghosts. But mixing that fear of mine with Adams love of paranormal films is what makes Hosts such an original take on the home invasion genre.

AL: No. I don't believe in ghosts, god or the devil. But the idea of writing about fictitious and fantastical things in order to help elevate the emotion or metaphorical message of a particular story excites me. It's always fun.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

We've got two feature film screenplays completed and another in the process of being written. So it all depends on who wants to take on which script in terms of which film we do next. But rest assured, each film is just as messed up as the next.

HC: Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, thank you very much.

Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Final film of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 is a fangtastic (sorry) twist on the vampire movie, Sean Nichols Lynch's Red Snow. We had a quick chat about this blood-splattered shocker which has a deep vein of humour running through it.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Snow come from?

SL: I was trying to get a different horror feature financed and was struggling to get it off the ground. It was a frustrating period for me, and I honestly felt like I'd never get to make another film. I happened to run into Dennice, who I knew from my film school days at San Francisco State. We got to talking and I started to think about how great it would be to just drop everything and ...

Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

Director Alex Kahuam has brought to Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition a brutal and intelligent film, Forgiveness. Almost devoid of dialogue, it's an excursion into the raw side of reality. Here he chats about this movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when growing up which made you want to go into filmmaking?

AK: When we were kids my brother and I my parents took us a lot to the theaters and this is where everything began for me. I just loved the experience so much and till this day I thank them because they triggered this on me and for many years filmmaking has been my life. While growing up Hollywood films have always be...

Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Sarah Appleton

The final documentary of FrightFest Online Edition looks to one of the most misunderstood genres out there. The Found Footage Phenomenon dissects this often over-looked type of movie with interviews from many key players. We chatted to co-writer and co-director Sarah Appleton about this very informative piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

SA: Yes, I grew up watching Hammer horror movies and Japanese horror because my dad was a film critic, so I used to look through all his VHS tapes he'd taped off the late night tv and pick something to watch. Evil Dead II was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, aged about 8.

HC: Can you recall the first fo...

Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

As we enter the final evening of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 there's still plenty to look forward to starting with a belter from directors Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon, Night Drive. Ride-share app driver Russell picks up his Hollywood fare Charlotte... and his whole life turns upside down. Slipping him a wad of cash, she hires him for the rest of the evening. Their first stop at her ex's place sees Charlotte running out the door clutching a tiny suitcase being chased. They make their escape, but accidentally run over a pedestrian, setting in motion a chain of gruesome events that will go to places Russell could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. What starts off as a simpl...

Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

There are a number of monochrome movies at FrightFest this year and one of the stand out ones is Josh Stifter's Greywood's Plot so we had a quick chat with him about it.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when you were younger that made you want to be in the filmmaking business?

JS: Beetlejuice. I saw it when I was 5 years old. My family all got the flu and my mom went and rented it. This was back in the day when you didn't have access as easily to movies so if you rented a movie, it often would get watched a couple times before it was returned. Since we had nothing else to do, we all just laid around sick watching Beetlejuice over and over. I became obsessed. It was the first tim...

Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Based on his own graphic novel 'Generous Bosom', Conor Stechschulte has written a tight and tense script for Ultrasound which is showing today at Arrow Films Fright Online Edition. We chatted to him about the process of bringing his original idea to the big screen.

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

CS: I did! At about 7 or 8 I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to wanting to be a writer. My formal education is in visual art, but I've always had narratives at the heart of all the creative work that I make and have never really stopped writing in one form or another.

HC: Was there any one person who inspired you?

CS: I can't...

Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

The feature debut of Rob Schroeder, producer of Sun Choke and Beyond The Gates, Ultrasound is a startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery and playing today at Arrow Films FrightFest Online Event. We chatted to Rob about this chilling movie.

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

RS: Not really. When I was young, I loved going to the movie theatre every week, but I didn't see filmmaking as a career because in my town I didn't know any filmmakers. The movies were always so special for me and even sacred, so at a young age I did sense the magic.

HC: How did become attached to this project?

RS: I developed the project, by reaching out to Cono...

Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Peter Daskaloff Anitdote

Peter Daskaloff has brought his nerve-jangling movie Antidote to FrightFest Online Eidtion 2021 so we chatted to him about this complex and intriguing movie.

HC: What is your writing method when working alongside someone else?

PD: I usually write alone. But for Antidote, I had to hire a co-writer because the subject was complex. I needed another set of eyes to look at it from outside my box. Matt Toronto was recommended to me by my executive producer, Ian Michaels, who has worked with Matt before. The collaboration was a bit bumpy, but the resulting script turned out pretty good.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

PD: I had a casti...

Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

As In Heaven, So On Earth mixes the found footage genre with incredible animation to deliver a truly unique take on the format. The movie effortlessly moves from its gothic animation to cutting edge technology footage and brings together a tale which is emotional and utterly heart breaking in equal measure. We chatted to its writer and director Francesco Erba as it plays at FrightFest Online Edition 2021.

HC: Where did the idea for As in Heaven, So on Earth come from?

FE: As in Heaven, So on Earth was born not only from one specific idea but, as very often occurs, from many different ones, different influences and life experien...

Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Writer Casey Dillard is back alongside director Glenn Payne but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to Casey about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted, apart from Killer Concept, what have you been up to?

CD: Mostly avoiding Covid and trying to find work-arounds so that I can still perform safely.

HC: Where did the idea for Killer Concept come from?

CD: Glenn wanted to make a simple movie with minimal people while our core filmmaking team was unable to go to work so we kicked around a lot of ideas and KC wa...

Interview with Glenn Payne director and actor from Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Director Glenn Payne is back alongside writer Casey Dillard but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to him about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since you brought the superb movie Driven to FrightFest, how was that movie received across the world?

GP: Thank you for the kind words! We've felt very blessed by how warm the reception's been for Driven. We knew the story was different, given the entire thing takes place inside one vehicle, but the characters really seemed to resonate with people. I think that's a huge testament to the per...

Interview with Chad Crawford Kinkle writer and director of Dementer
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Chad Crawford Kinkle Dementer Image 2

A movie which is bold not only with its storytelling but its casting is playing today at FrightFest. Dementer from Chad Crawford Kinkle, is an emotional, raw and very real feeling movie built around a care home which delivers some of the most effective acting you'll see at the event this year. Here he chats about this superb film.

HC: Where did the idea for Dementer come from?

CK: The idea was really years in the making. I had always wanted to do a film with my sister but my mind always went to doing a documentary of some sort. Then one year at Sundance, I watched the movie The Tribe and it sparked an idea that I could set a narrativ...

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