Interview with Alastair Orr, director of Triggered
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2020
Alastair Orr

One of our favourite movies showing on Horror at the moment is Alastair Orr's superb shocker From a House on Willow Street. For FrightFest 2020 he has a new film for us all to enjoy, Triggered. Here he chats about both movies.

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

AO: I always loved films but it wasn't until my teens when I realised I could actually do it as a job. Growing up in a small town in South Africa, filmmaking was always seen as something that Americans do as a job - not us. We were very sheltered under the apartheid government in the late 80s so content was limited, if not censored. The video store was basically a Holy Grail where every week new stuff would arrive, sometimes it wasn't even that new, our latest releases could've been five years old. I would just watch these video tapes and didn't really pay much attention to how these films were made, but just watched out of utter enjoyment. My dad was cool with letting us watch whatever we want, he didn't really care about the age restrictions. It was only in high school, through an English class, that I started dissecting films and realised, hey, there's a lot of people that work on these movies and I could absolutely be one of them. My parents supported me with that decision and I got myself a student loan and went to the only film-school in the country at the time.

HC: We broadcast your movie, From a House on Willow Street on Horror Channel, what do you recall from making that movie?

AO: When I think back to that shoot all I remember is how cold it was. That threw us all. We're used to making films in the heat down in South Africa, but we wanted to avoid the rain with this one so we decided to shoot in winter. We could see the frost forming on our clothing as we were shooting. Everyone moves slower when they're cold so we were always running against the clock. It was an absolutely horrible process!

HC: What lessons did you learn as a director when making that film?

AO: I learnt that the director is going to get blamed for whatever decision gets put forward by producers, financiers anyway, so you might as well be an asshole and just do it your way anyway.

HC: How did you become involved with Triggered?

AO: I own a commercial production house and we wanted to do a film on our own terms. Every person that you go and ask for money from comes with their own set of rules and requirements on how that money should be spent. We decided to make a film with less money but something that we can completely control (well control as much as you can). We were working with the writer, David D. Jones, on a bigger film that we were trying to get off the ground when he pitched this low budget Battle Royale style film that we thought we could do with the money we had saved up.

HC: It seems to have been entirely shot on location, if so, how difficult was that?

AO: We shot on a horse farm that had these out trails that we could use. We only had budget for limited lights so it's basically the same 30m stretch of forest that we kept using. We found that if you lowered the lights and adjusted the angle the entire forest would change shape, so that allowed us to shoot the whole film in around 15 days. The biggest issue we had was the rain, as it poured down at least once every night. There were times when we were literally flooded out, with our lights being damaged and our vests breaking down constantly. I don't want to complain too much, but some people don't understand how hard it is to even make a crappy movie. There were at least 4 times while shooting Triggered when I got together with the producers and said, "There's no way we're finishing this movie." But the crew and cast always pulled themselves together and figured a way out of the holes we were in.

HC: What did the cast think of the shoot as it's a very physical movie set in a hard terrain?

AO: This was the first movie for a lot of our actors and that really worked to our advantage because they had no idea what they were getting into. They all became such great friends and were really up for anything.

HC: The technology used seems so cool, who designed that?

AO: There's this cosplay superstar called Brian Cargyle (Two Horns United) and he modelled and built the vests for us. They were a nightmare to shoot with because they kept breaking down with all the rain. We called an engineer buddy of ours out one morning at 2am to come over and supercharge them. He rewired them and set them up to remotes so we could control them. We had a TV remote mapped to all the vests so we could control whose vest is what colour and that they can change on screen.

HC: It's a sort of Hunger Games, meets slasher flicks meets Battle Royale, would you agree?

AO: Oh absolutely. We wear our references on our sleeves and poke fun of the films that came before. There was some dialogue that was cut from the film how this is essentially the same plot as Battle Royale. We always pitched it as SAW meets American Pie.

HC: There's a lot of effect shots, were they all done in camera?

AO: There was no way to shoot with real timers ticking down. That would be a logistical nightmare. So, we added all the timers in post - which in itself wasn't easy. We added some very small CG enhancements on the explosions. It's a very hand stitched film made by people that were really passionate about it.

HC: Are you just as nervous the movie is getting its UK premiere at a virtual event as opposed to a physical one?

AO: We all just wish we could be at FrightFest this year and have a great party with the audience. We were there in 2016 for Willow Street and it really is just the best festival experience in the world. There certainly is an energy at FrightFest in the cinema when you're watching these films and I don't know if that can be replicated with a digital version. We're glad that it can be seen though!

HC: Alastair Orr, thank you very much.

John Carpenter's Lost Themes III: Alive After Death
Posted in News, Friday 30th October 2020
John Carpenter Lost Themes III cover

Renowned composer and director John Carpenter has announced his first album of non-soundtrack music in nearly five years, Lost Themes III: Alive After Death, which is set for a February 5th release on Sacred Bones.

John famously called the first Lost Themes album "a soundtrack for the movies in your mind.". On Alive After Death those movies are even more vivid, with song titles among his most evocative as well. Lead single Weeping Ghost thrillingly conjures its title figure in a wash of synthesiser making the listener's neck hairs stand on end as the aural spectre stalks the halls of a dilapidated mansion.

Underpinning Carpenter's ...

A movie to cast a Spell on you
Posted in News, Friday 30th October 2020
Spell Key Art 1000 x 1440

Omari Hardwick (Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears) star in the terrifying thriller Spell which is being unleashed just in time for you to treat yourself this Halloween.

You're able to Devour this spine-tingling chiller on Download & Keep or rental formats from today thanks to Paramount Home Entertainment.

While flying to his father's funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise's (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Ho...

Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted in Frightfest, 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...

Horror Channel is now on Freeview channel 68
Posted in Features, News, Tuesday 27th October 2020
Freeview logo

Horror Channel has moved to Freeview Channel 68 so you may need to re-tune to ensure you don't miss out on our super scary Halloween line-up plus much more.

Any issues with retuning check the Freeview website.

Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
Posted in Frightfest, 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...

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