ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview With John Shackleton, Managing Director Of Movie Mogul And Judge On 666 Short Cuts To Hell Competition
By James Whittington, Thursday 23rd May 2013

John ShackletonFrightFest and Movie Mogul, in association with Horror Channel, are challenging aspiring filmmakers to make a short horror film - the best six of which will be shown on Horror Channel and at the 2013 Film4 FrightFest event. Its called 666 Short Cuts To Hell Competition and the overall winner will receive a prize fund of £6,666 and the opportunity to develop a horror short or feature idea under mentorship from Movie Mogul, for a possible 2014 production.

Here one of the Judges and Managing Director of Movie Mogul John Shackleton talks about his career, what he looks for in a short movie and what features he has planned.

HC: When you were growing up was there one movie in particular that kick started your love of the horror genre?

JS: The first horror film I ever saw when I was a kid was The Amityville Horror, which frightened the bejesus out of me! I had mates who were mad about horror with vast VHS ‘video nasty’ collections, stuff like Cannibal Holocaust, Evil Dead, anything banned with an certificate X on it was a must have for them. It wasn't ever really my scene until films like Hellraiser, Nightbreed and Hardware started to capture my attention. I went to college to study design and media and then the first horror film that had me entirely hooked was Evil Dead 2.

HC: What was it about it that captured your attention?

JS: I think it was a combination of things, mainly timing. I was becoming more aware of what goes on behind the camera and starting to learn how to make films. ED2 unashamedly made you aware of the voice of the director, with crazy camera angles, cheap gore and inventive camera rigs. I just thought it was utterly brilliant. I can't watch it now because it’s the most watched film of all time for me, I've totally worn it out!

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

JS: I was always art based at school and quite creative, and went to work in an ad agency originally on a traineeship. At 19 I went to college to do my design and media HND. They had cameras (Super VHS), edit suites and TV studios. I made up my mind there and then that I was going to be a filmmaker, although I had no idea how I was going to do it.

HC: Could you tell us about your company, Movie Mogul?

JS: I was freelancing as a producer/director in Cardiff when I hit upon the idea of creating a 'community generated film fund'. This was before filmmaking had entered the crowd-sourcing arena in the early days of Sellaband. MM was set-up on the back of a Technium award to help pilot the idea. Movie Mogul Fund (MMF), garnered much press interest and support, but sadly failed to generate sufficient funds to take the winning film into production. This was a film called Retreat, which later went into production on a much higher budget with Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell. MMF's commercial failure cost me personally and I was forced to review the direction of my company. Re-aligning my own personal filmmaking career with the objectives of MM, and with the help of some private equity, MM became a film production company. The business plan was simple – to make commercially oriented feature films for the lowest possible price point. Everything turned around with Panic Button.

HC: How did the 666 Shortcuts to Hell competition come about?

JS: The film industry is a tough nut to crack, and you’ve got to be quite savvy to get by nowadays. There’s a lot of untapped talent milling around, and so few opportunities to make a splash, get ideas financed, films shot, and then seen, it can seem like a really daunting prospect. Technology and access to equipment is no longer an obstacle, as it was even just 10 years ago, so the barriers are motivational ones. How do I start? Where do I start? What kind of thing shall I make, and then who can I take it to when it’s done? I just love filmmaking challenges, and it struck me that with the help of Frightfest and Horror Channel, we could offer a competition that removes almost all of the barriers to entry and levels the playing field a little, to see if we can unearth some genuine talent, with something fresh to bring to the horror genre.

HC: What do you look for in a horror movie script?

JS: First and foremost, if it's supposed to be scary, gory, tense, chilling or even funny, then it simply has to deliver on that level! A good concept, strong idea or original hook is also a great asset to any film. Perhaps something a little different, a scenario we’ve not seen before. Stories that subvert expectations, and deliver on their promises (without pandering to cliché) will always stand out for me.

HC: What advice would you give to anyone making a horror short?

JS: Let rip with your imagination. Avoid cliché. Take chances. Really go for it. You've absolutely nothing to lose, and this is a fantastic opportunity to get noticed.

HC: Now that the torture movie genre seems to be finally dying off, what do you think will be the next big thing in horror?

JS: Supernatural stories seem to be enjoying a resurgence, but I'm sure that the next BIG thing, will be something we don't see coming!

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

JS: We're working on a Sci-Fi/Action movie called We Are Monsters. It nods to many of the horror sub genres, such as vampires, werewolves, alien invasion, mutants, survivalist, but it is also a hearty rites of passage of tale with a pertinent hook, surrounding the difficult financial times in which we now find ourselves.

HC: John Shackleton, thank you very much

For more information on 666 Short Cuts To Hell click here


MORE ARTICLES
Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted in Features, Interviews, Tuesday 14th September 2021
Tom Paton on the set of G-Loc-3-1

Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.

Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?

It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Escape From New York score to be released on blue vinyl
Posted in News, Wednesday 8th September 2021
SILLP1493-EFNY-visual-blue-transparent

Originally released on the 31st of July 2015, the vinyl edition of John Carpenter's classic 1981 thriller, Escape From New York mirrored the expanded CD release from 2000, with over 20 minutes of previously unreleased music plus music from scenes deleted from the final print and original dialogue highlights.

The masters for that CD were re-mixed from the original multi-track session tapes by long-time Carpenter associate Alan Howarth.

This is the first time on coloured vinyl for this LP, all previous pressings having been on black vinyl and will be released January 21st, 2022 thanks to Silva Screen Records.

...
SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
RedSnow-poster

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 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted in Frightfest, 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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted in Frightfest, 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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
NightDrive-poster

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
GreywoodsPlot-1

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Ultrasound-1

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
Ultrasound-1

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted in Frightfest, 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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted in Frightfest, 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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 5th September 2021
KillerConcept-2

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Articles Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Tales From The Darkside
TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE
Sunday 26th September
8.30 PM
Star Trek - The Original Series
STAR TREK - THE ORIGINAL SERIES
Wednesday 29th September
8.00 PM
40 Days and Nights
40 DAYS AND NIGHTS
Saturday 25th September
6.40 PM