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 Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020

Butchers is a superb piece of horror cinema from Adrian Langley. Here he chats about this grim and gruesome piece and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for Butchers come from?

AL: Butchers came from two of Daniel Weissenberger's old screenplays - he writes a lot - and I remixed them with some ideas that had been kicking around in my head after having read those scripts a long time ago.

HC: Did it take long to write?

AL: Not at all. Because Dan's scripts were so full already, the initial working draft only took about two weeks to put together and then I did a lot of rewriting during the prep process to streamline it to what...

Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
Spare Parts

FrightFest is all about the diversity of movies, none more so than Spare Parts from director Andrew Thomas Hunt. This superb mash-up of gladiator-style fighting and a scorching soundtrack is desitined to become a cult classic so we chatted to Andrew about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AH: I did - from the age of 16. I was a huge fan of David Cronenberg's films, and when I discovered that he was not only from Toronto, but made his films here, it made me realize you didn't have to be from Hollywood to make movies.

HC: How did you become attached to this wild project?

AH: It was pitched to me at TIFF (Toronto Int'l ...

And the winner is... Benny Loves You!
Posted on Monday 26th October 2020

The winner of the FrightFest Horror Channel First Blood Award 2020 is... Benny Loves You!

Here, Channel Manager Stewart Bridle chats to its very talented director, Karl Holt.

Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 concludes tonight with an out-of-this-world premiere, SKYLIN3S. Here its writer and director Liam O'Donnell talks about this and the other entries in this sci-fi series.

HC: You've been involved with the Skyline series of movies from the start, where did the initial idea come from?

LD: Initially the idea just came from, we were sort of do it ourselves film makers and I had been living in the building we ended up shooting in. We had already been illegally shooting on the rooftop helipad for a pitch that we were developing and when Greg's (Greg Strause, director of Skyline) unit on the top floor and he walked in and saw this big, expansive view of LA...

Interview with Paul Tanter director and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Prolific creative Paul Tanter has delivered a real treat for FrightFest pass holders today, the blood-splattered shocker, The Nights Before Christmas. Here he chats about this cracker of a movie.

HC: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PT: Absolutely. One of my first cinema memories is my dad taking me to see Fright Night in 1985 and there being a promotional pack of vampire teeth on every seat. I was five at the time so I'm not sure how he snuck me in there, considering it's rated 18. I grew up watching The Omen films, in parts enthralled and terrified by them. I still can't pass that church in Fulham without keeping an eye on ...

Interview with Simon Phillips, star and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Seasonal slashers are once again coming into vogue but none as brutal as The Nights Before Christmas. Here, its star and co-writer Simon Phillips tells all about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

SP: I don't know if I ever was sure I was going to be in the film industry but as a child I sure liked talking a lot and my teacher once shouted at me "They'd better pay you to talk when you grow up, because you sure like the sound of your own voice"... So perhaps it was always on the cards!

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SP: To be honest they terrify me... not the o...

Interview with Elza Kephart, director and co-writer of Slaxx
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
SLAXX_Elza_(C)photoB-Calmeau_0125FrightFest is all about originality and new talent and 2020 has been a belter of a year for such things. Slaxx from Elza Kephart is a prime example of the new and exciting creative talent that's out there at the moment. We chatted to Elza about this superb shocker.

HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?

EK: Yes, huge! I started my horror adventure when I was a pre-teen, reading Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice. If there wasn't a death I wasn't interested. From that, I migrated to horror films; when I was about ten, I watched Aliens, the Fearless Vampire Hunters, Exorcist 2. I might have been a little too young, I remember being re...

Hair scares, killer jeans, Santa slays and an invasion from above. Day 5 of FrightFest Digital Edition 2
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020

We reach the final day of FrightFest but what awaits us will ensure that the event ends not with a bang but with an alien invasion!

It's always exciting when new creatives release work and The Stylist from Jill Gervargizian is no exception. Everyone dreams of being someone else... but for Claire that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Her job as a hairstylist allows her to move through other people's worlds, but when the right target sits in her chair, she does more than observe the client's life - she ends it, and keeps a permanent souvenir. Her lonely life, meticulous method and shocking secrets are suddenly thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia, asks her to s...

Interview with Barry Keating, writer of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Barry Keating at NIGHTWORLD on 25/08/2017Barry Keating is a scriptwriter who has had quite a number of movies at FrightFest over the years. He's back with another shocker for 2020, this time the truth might be out there in Embryo. We chatted to him about this sci-fi chiller.

HC: We show another of your movies on Horror, Nightworld, what's it like writing a script, which has horror legend Robert Englund in it?

BK: When I found out they'd cast Robert in the role that was a very surreal day. At first I didn't quite believe it, but when the producer forwarded a message from Robert to me saying that he really dug the script I completely geeked out. I'm a hug...

Interview with Patricio Valladares, director of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Embryo image 1

Chilean director Patricio Valladares is back at FrightFest and this time he's taking us into the science fiction zone with Embryo. Here he chats about working with Robert Englund on Nightworld and this sci-fi shocker.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror and sci-fi movies?

PV: Yes, from my childhood, my old brother watched Jason Voorhees and A Nightmare on Elm Street film series at home with a couple friends in the 80s. So, I always went from the bathroom to the living room at night to watch from behind the sofa with them. I Loved it! I liked the ultraviolence and gore from Robocop. When I was 14 or 15 I was a metalhead, so I had lots of tapes of death metal and a lot of low ...

Interview with Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer, directors of Alien on Stage
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020

FrightFest always has a fine selection of documentaries showing, but none have touched hearts like Alien on Stage. This warm and loving look at an amateur stage production of the classic movie Alien has been placed in the running for the Horror Channel sponsored First Blood award so we chatted to directors Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer about this wonderful project.

HC: How long have you worked together and are you fans of the film, Alien?

We met working on a no budget British indie film in 2006 (I think) both working for free. Danielle was a camera trainee, I was the costume stylist. It was like going through a war together, it cemented our friendship and Danille...

Interview with Marc Price, director of Dune Drifter
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Marc Price

Marc Price, the guy who once made a movie for £50 (remember Colin?) is back and this time he's delivered a far-out sumptuous sci-fi flick, Dune Drifter. Here he chats about this amazing movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Dune Drifter come from as its very different to what you've done before?

MP: I'm a big sci-fi fan. It's a genre I've always felt quite close to. The storytelling tropes appeal to the way I enjoy structuring films. World building and character all in one explosion of information and behaviour is something I tried to do in Colin and it's something I've always found myself flirting with. Even in Nightshooters there was a degree of world building when getting across the ...

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