Interview with Andy Collier and Tor Mian, directors of Sacrifice
By James Whittington, Thursday 22nd October 2020
Sacrifice 1

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 is well underway and the first film up stars FrightFest favourite Barbara Crampton. Here co-directors Andy Collier and Tor Mian talk (not so seriously at times) about this Norwegian nightmare.

HC: Have you always been horror movie fans?

AC: When I was 12 the local video rental store wouldn't let me take porn films so Evil Dead and Zombie Flesh Eaters was the next best thing. And an unhealthy obsession grew from there.

TM: I've never been a horror fan. What kind of sicko derives entertainment from other people's suffering? I only continue to work in the genre while my blood debt to Andy remains unpaid. After that it is romantic comedies all the way (!)

HC: It was inspired by the short story "Men of the Cloth" from acclaimed writer Paul Kane as well as the works of HP Lovecraft. Did it take long to combine these elements?

AC: Ha! It was a strange cosmic inevitability. It started off as pure folk horror but when we moved it from England to the Fjords the spirit of Cthulhu took over and each draft became more and more Lovecraftian. Paul's original story has a lot of HPL inspiration anyway, but we drifted right into Cthulhu Mythos territory. I even have a backstory about the real life Viking colony in Greenland which did a Roanoke and vanished without trace In 900AD (or whenever it was) having fallen foul of Lovecraft's Degenerate Esquimaux cult. It's a great backstory. Tor wouldn't let me put it in the script though as apparently it was "boring" and "irrelevant". Next time!!

TM: To be honest you can combine HP Lovecraft with anything. You just need to shoehorn in some tentacles.

HC: Did you write the script with a cast in mind?

AC: Yes and no. Originally, Barbara was played by James Cosmo. But then we decided that a female leader with a sympathetic side would be more interesting and, in a way, more Lovecraftian. The islanders are just trying to survive as best they can, in a pretty unfortunate situation...

TM: I always write my scripts with Chow Yun-fat in mind. Unfortunately, his agent felt playing a Norwegian Cult Leader was not the right fit, so we approached Barbara Crampton instead.

HC: What's it like directing an icon like Barbara Crampton?

AC: It was a pleasure. She was awesome. She loves the genre, understood the material very well and even helped some of the other cast to explore their characters in interesting ways.

TM: When an actor reaches icon status they can no longer be directed. You just call action, avoid making eye contact and hope they don't have you fired.

HC: The scenery is sublime, almost a character itself, did it take long to find the correct locations?

AC: Ha ha, a happy accident, caused by me being very bad at map reading. I booked an air bnb which seemed to be close to the area our Norwegian producer suggested we scout... but it was actually a 3-hour drive away. When we arrived there, very late and very tired, we were just blown away by the location, so we shot the film right there.

TM: Finding suitable locations was actually relatively easy as the entire region was so breathtakingly scenic and the Norwegian locals so accommodating. A small part of me still feels guilty that they unwittingly helped facilitate an ode to infanticide rather than the tourist board informercial they were expecting.

Sacrifice images

HC: There's some really cool and subtle effects, which sequence was the hardest to realise?

AC: Thanks! We tried to be subtle. The soft robot tentacles were all made by me after watching a YouTube video quite by chance... and surprise, surprise, none of them actually worked properly. Who would have thought that SFX might be difficult to pull off?! So, we enlisted an expert SFX guy Mike Peel and we got there in the end, but the shooting ratio was maybe 200:1 for those scenes. I now have a strange phobia about rubber tentacles. Which is unfortunate because Tor's house is full of them, which he says he uses for "research purposes".

TM: The hardest sequences to realise are rarely the most intricate ones. This is because when everybody isn't distracted by a writhing, tentacled, Demon Spawn they are invariably counting down the seconds till lunch.

HC: How cold was it for the cast when the sequence in the river was shot?

AC: The cast were all wearing wetsuits under their robes. I, however, was FREEZING!

TM: It was certainly cold enough that their complaining was very vocal and very tiresome. Thankfully hypothermia makes it difficult to speak so I didn't have to listen to it for too long.

HC: It has the feeling of other classic Pagan horror movies; do you have a favourite one?

AC: Yeah, The Wicker Man, obviously! So much so that we tried to take this as far as possible from that. TWM is sunny, we are dark. Edward Woodward was reluctant; Isaac is oh so willing...

TM: Certainly not. Frankly, I'm saddened that cinema has made Paganism synonymous with violence and horror. It's actually a largely peaceful religion cynically misrepresented by a film industry exploiting the odd human sacrifice here and there. If Hollywood gave other religions a similar treatment, there would be absolute outrage. I hope our film 'Sacrifice' presents a more even-handed and nuanced take on things.

HC: Why do you think HP Lovecraft's work is still so revered?

AC: Fear of the unknown, fear of the dark, is the most universal fear. When we lived in caves, we huddled around the fire at night terrified of what hideous things might be roaming outside. I'm not talking about Stone Age man, either... I grew up in Sheffield in the 1980s.

TM: Because neither racism nor tentacle porn will ever go out of style.

HC: Will you be nervous when the movie is shown at FrightFest?

AC: I think it will be more nerve wracking than a live screening - impossible to judge the audience reaction so it will be like waiting for a school exam result to come in the mail...

TM: Not at all. Fortunately, I am a clinical masochist so negative reviews give me immense sexual gratification.

HC: At the start Isaac and Emma find themselves in a rather creepy social situation, what's your worst bar room incident?

AC: Any time I go to a bar with Tor. Somebody's face inevitably gets smashed into a hard surface at some point during the evening.

TM: As somebody who has worked in a bar; everyday can be considered the "worst incident" when the drunken paying public are involved. If we lived in a civilized society, we would all stick to drinking alone at home like me.

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

AC: A few things in the pipeline. A medieval western and a Trumper Joe serial killer are the two that seem least likely to go absolutely nowhere.

TM: We were actually deep into preproduction on a new project until recently. It's an epic globe spanning, post-apocalyptic horror that follows a race war precipitated by a civilisation destroying pandemic. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put that on hold for now.

HC: Andy Collier and Tor Mian, thank you very much.

AC: Thank you!

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Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

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Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

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Chad Crawford Kinkle Dementer Image 2

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