LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Kevin And Matt McManus Producers Of Slumlord
By James Whittington, Thursday 3rd September 2015
One of the stand-out movies for me at FrightFest was Slumlord which was directed by Victor Zarcoff and produced by Matt and Kevin McManus it’s a tense and nerve tingling thriller played by a superb cast. Here the McManus Brothers chat about this cracking movie.
HC: How did you get into producing movies?
MB: We’ve been making movies since we were kids. We started out with a production company we created back in elementary school with our best friend, Andy Gould. Considering our initials, we only thought it natural to name the company MGM2. We’ve been making movies ever since. We used to make a lot of horror movies back in high school, so we’ve been itching to do a full horror feature for a while now.
HC: Are you two big horror movie fans?
MB: For sure. We’ve always had a love for the genre. We used to make haunted houses for the neighbourhood kids before we made movies. The kids would go through our house where they would see our friends act out scenes from our favourite horror movies and stories. The haunted house made for an easy transition into making horror movies ourselves. There’s something so satisfying about creating something and then watching it affect the audience.
HC: Why did you decide on Slumlord as a project and were you nervous that writer Victor Zarcoff hadn’t directed a feature before?
MB: We’ve always been a bit afraid of the possibility that there could be hidden cameras in the places you would never expect. I feel like that phobia is pretty common, and now with the prevalence of surveillance cameras on the rise, it’s becoming something that genuinely happens a lot. There are tons of stories out there about landlords videotaping their tenants, and the fear really struck a chord with us. If you want to see something really scary, look up hidden cameras online. They can sneak a camera into anything from a tissue box to a bottle of water.
HC: Were you involved with the casting? Neville Archambault who plays lowdown landlord Gerald is outstanding, creating one of the most sinister movie characters of recent times?
MB: We couldn’t be happier with Neville’s performance. When he came in to audition it was a no brainer to hire him. He encapsulated the role so perfectly, but you could still see the humanity behind his eyes. I remember showing our fellow producer, Ethan Rosenberg, the footage and he asked us, “Is this guy self aware?” His performance was so realistic, that Ethan was literally worried about having a crazy person on set. In reality, Neville is one of the kindest and most disarming guys I’ve met. He’s just that good of an actor.
HC: Did he stay in character during takes?
MB: There was one day where Neville has a particularly creepy scene with Brianne (Claire in the movie), I think it was their first scene together. When we were rolling, he was intensely scary, but between takes he’d break character and chat her up. You could tell he didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable around him. They would laugh and talk about other projects, and then once we’d go up for another take, he’d just turn it on again and be even more terrifying than before.
HC: Talking of Gerald, what do you think his backstory is?
MB: We played around with the idea of giving Gerald a monologue where he talks about where he comes from, and specifically the poor hand he’s been dealt in life, but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right direction to go. Gerald is trapped inside his own body, and by keeping his dialogue rather sparse, it helps add to his isolation. He has a real struggle with this animalistic compulsion and doesn’t know how to cope with it without resorting to extreme measures. This is all because he ultimately has no idea how to interact with the world around him.
HC: Did you spend much time on set?
MB: It was a 10 day shoot, which was pretty insane. Basically there was no time for downtime between takes. Our cinematographer, Jess Dunlap, is incredibly talented and able to work fast while still making the film look beautiful. Our actors had to be on point as well. PJ (who played Ryan) said the film almost felt more like a play. They would try to get their performance perfect in a take or two. It was a blast to shoot this way, but there’s a lot of balls to keep up in the air. I think the next time around we’ll probably add a few more days to the shoot!
HC: There are a number of urban horror movies over recent times, which ones stand out for you?
MB: As you'd probably expect, It Follows definitely stands out. It was such an amazing ride. It’s everything you want from a horror film.
HC: What do you think will be the next big thing in horror?
MB: It’s so hard to predict. I hope we see a turn toward more three dimensional characters. The horror films that I love revolve around characters I recognize in the real world. Whether it’s Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, or The Babadook, I love horror films with characters that feel relatable. It heightens the stakes and gives you so much more to latch onto.
HC: Are you nervous when your movies are played at festivals?
MB: We’re usually just really excited. Finally watching a film with an audience is why we do this in the first place. When you get that first audible reaction, any nervousness you may be feeling just washes away. That’s the great thing about horror films and comedies. If you’re doing it right, the audience will let you know.
HC: So, what projects are you working on at the moment?
MB: We try to keep a lot of irons in the fire, so right now we’re working with a few friends on producing a new feature to be written and directed by a close collaborator some time next year. On the writing side, we’ve just wrapped up a draft of a new screenplay we’re hoping to get going soon, and we’re working on a rewrite on a feature about fire fighters in Detroit. We’ve got a lot of stories we’re excited about and can’t wait to get back on set soon!
HC: Kevin and Matt McManus, thank you very much.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.
His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.
HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?
SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.
HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019
The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.
HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?
SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019 On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.
HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.
HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019
Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.
HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?
JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019
Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.
HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?
GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019 It was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.
HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?
LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.
HC: W...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 3rd March
Sunday 8th March
Thursday 27th February