LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
By James Whittington, Friday 15th October 2021
Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.
HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?
MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routing for them.
HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from and what was your writing process between the three of you like?
MS: It originated with my friend Ed and I wanting to do something creepy with identity. I also was inspired by Seconds and the head scratching format of Jacob's Ladder. The crazy thing about the film is now with Covid and mask wearing and all that, the movie really takes on a whole other relatability, I think. Writing between the three of us was basically passing the script back and forth over a number of months and trying to spin things. It wasn't always easy, especially with a puzzled story like this, where there are a number of competing narratives going all at once, and none all that clear!
HC: Did you research any of the science mentioned?
MS: Absolutely. It's fascinating to discover that full face transplants are real and they really happen. Reading about these case studies certainly informed the story and made things more grounded. I can't imagine what it must be like for everyone involved.
HC: Was it written with a cast in mind?
MS: Not really - but I think we got very lucky, especially with Alex.
HC: The structure to the movie is complex but revels itself in the final reel, was this hard to get right?
MS: Did we get it right? I'm still wondering about that! But seriously it feels great when someone gets it, or at least gets their own version of getting it and walks away feeling that we've come full circle. It's a bit of a steep rabbit hole to climb out of, but I hope we managed to do it.
HC: Was it all shot on location?
MS: Yes, all in Charleston, SC.
HC: The score plays an incredibly important part to the film, was there any pieces you couldn't get to use?
MS: Thanks. In the end I'm really happy with how the score helps the atmosphere and plays beautifully with some of the emotional stuff. This was a tricky one to score and we didn't have a lot of resources. Sometimes when one is pressed against the wall with time and money, you actually find these limitations land perfectly.
HC: It plays like David Cronenberg was given a Twilight Zone episode; would you agree?
MS: My nipples are getting hard. What a compliment, thank you!
HC: The effects are superb, did they eat away much of the budget?
MS: Well yes, we actually had to raise a little more money after we wrapped for the VFX. We decided to augment the makeup with some digital work on his face - which meant EVERY SHOT of his face. So we ended up doing like 400 or more digital effects. We had a model made that tracked his face as it moved, and we just slightly pushed and pulled things as the movie progresses. It was incredibly time consuming. And sometimes so subtle, producers wondered why we were even bothering, but I think in the end, that subtle difference, almost unconsciously, makes a big emotion difference. But I wanted his face to tell its own story. That was really important to me. And with a 20-day shoot, you can't spend all day in makeup, so the post digital work allowed me to play arounds with that.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
MS: I recently shot a non-genre movie, "The Royal" which is currently finishing, and have a couple of sci-fi and horror projects being set up. Hopefully I can get one of them going early next year.
HC: Marcel Sarmiento, thank you very much.
MS: Thank you for watching and I really appreciate your kind words!
MORE ARTICLES Stagefright to be released thanks to Shameless
Posted in News, Saturday 4th December 2021
Combining graphic, blood-splattered set pieces with his trademark wit and filmmaking elegance, Michele Soavi's (Dellamorte Dellamore, The Sect, The Church), Stagefright is now unleashed in a new 4K restoration.
When a masked killer infiltrates a group of actors rehearsing overnight in an isolated theatre, thesta ge is set for carnage! Featuring an abundance of over-the-top kills and spills, shot with Soavi's typical style, marvel at the mayhem as the iconic chainsaw wielding 'Owl Man', delivers a bloodsoaked performance for the ages.
From one of the masters of Italian horror, Stagefright is at the pinnacle of 80s slashers. Michele Soavi was schooled by Dario Argento and Terry Gil...SHARE: READ MORE Scream - Legacy cast posters revealed
Posted in News, Saturday 4th December 2021
It's always someone you know.
Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town's deadly past.
Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers) and David Arquette (Dewey Riley) return to their iconic roles in Scream but will all three survive?
The cast also includes Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.
Paramount Pictures and Spyglas...SHARE: READ MORE Finally, Argento's masterpiece to get 4K restoration release
Posted in News, Saturday 4th December 2021
From master of horror Dario Argento (Suspiria, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) comes Phenomena - one of his most eccentric and unique thrillers, featuring telepathic insects, maggots galore, and even a razor-wielding chimp!
Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly), daughter of a world-renowned movie star, arrives in the so-called "Swiss Transylvania" to attend an exclusive girls' school. However, a vicious killer is targeting the pupils, and sleepwalker Jennifer finds herself in the assassin's headlights when her nocturnal wanderings cause her to witness the death of a fellow pupil. Aided by paraplegic entomologist John McGregor (Donald Plea...SHARE: READ MORE Video nasty classic Don't Go in the House will reopen next year
Posted in News, Saturday 4th December 2021
A legendary title from the Video Nasties era, Joseph Ellison's relentlessly bleak and disturbing Don't Go In The House has lost none of its power to shock in the decades since it was first censored by the BBFC and seized by UK authorities.
Donny Kohler (The Sopranos' Dan Grimaldi in a gripping central performance), a disturbed loner unhealthily obsessed with fire, comes home from his factory job one day to find his abusive mother has died. Now all alone in the large Gothic mansion he calls home and consumed in an inferno of insanity, he is finally able to fulfil his violent revenge fantasies against her. Soon, any woman unlucky enough to enter...SHARE: READ MORE Hammer returns from the grave!
Posted in News, Wednesday 1st December 2021
Network Distributing has concluded a deal with Hammer Films to form Hammer Studios Ltd. The new company will manage and control Hammer's interests in its substantial library of content such as The Woman in Black (2012), Let Me In (2010), Dracula (1958), The Abominable Snowman (1957) and The Quatermass Experiment (1953), and will see heavy investment both in restoration and new production development from both its owned and newly created IP.
Network's Managing Director Tim Beddows and Financial Director Jonathan Lack, and Hammer's CEO Simon Oakes will head the new company.
Network Managing Director Tim Beddows said: 'This partnersh...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel premieres zombie musical Anna And The Apocalypse on Xmas Day
Posted in Features, Tuesday 30th November 2021
There is a Xmas Day treat in store for genre fans, with the Horror Channel premiere of Anna And The Apocalypse, a pure gore delight with a mental, maniacal and magical edge. John McPhail's infectious zombie musical stars Ella Hunt, Mark Benton and Paul Kaye.
Anna is looking forward to the end of high school. But while her widowed father dreams of university, she has other plans - jet-setting around the world to experience life before settling down. Suddenly a zombie apocalypse threatens her sleepy Scottish town, forcing Anna and friends to struggle, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the living dead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. Shaun O...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel unwraps eight UK TV premieres for December including Tales From The Lodge, Aquaslash and Sacrifice
Posted in Features, Tuesday 16th November 2021
Horror Channel comes bearing gory gifts for the Xmas season, presenting eight UK TV premieres, including Abigail Blackmore's gruesome and comically dark Tales From The Lodge, starring Mackenzie Crook, Sophie Thompson and Johnny Vegas, cosmic chiller Sacrifice, starring horror icon Barbara Crampton and Aquaslash, a mad exploitation slasher harking back to the classic 1980s era of gushing blood and teenage turmoil.
Also showing for the first time on British TV are Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's romantic body horror Spring, Greg McLean's supernatural horror The Darkness, starring Kevin Bacon, deadly thriller, Desolation, Brit mon...SHARE: READ MORE Swallow to get an extra special release.
Posted in News, Monday 15th November 2021
Second Sight is delighted to announce Carlo Mirabella-Davis' visually stunning, critically acclaimed feature debut Swallow is set to receive a fantastic Limited Edition Blu-ray Box set release, complete with a slew of fascinating new bonus content this November.
Haley Bennett (Hillbilly Elegy) gives an outstanding performance as Hunter a young woman who on the surface appears to have it all, the handsome, successful husband, the idyllic house, and a baby on the way. But is her life as perfect as it seems? As domineering husband Richie (Austin Stowell), and his overbearing family put pressure on Hunter to play the dutiful wife, she becomes overwhelmed and powerless. Desperate to reclaim contr...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel takes off with premiere of action series Airwolf from Thursday 25 November
Posted in Features, Thursday 11th November 2021
Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult action thrillers to its audience and this trend continues with Season 1 of the 1984 US military drama series Airwolf, created by Donald P. Bellisario and produced over four seasons.
A renegade helicopter pilot, Stringfellow Hawke, played by Jan-Michael Vincent, is given the chance to know the whereabouts of his imprisoned brother if he conducts daring missions for a shadowy intelligence agency. Hid first mission is to go to Libya and steal back a high-technology military helicopter, code-named Airwolf, at all costs. With its riveting, high-tech, battle scenes, AIRWOLF is consid...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel invaded by week of Sci-Fi Horror
Posted in Features, Wednesday 3rd November 2021
Horror Channel goes extra-terrestrial with Sci-Fear Week (Saturday 20th to Friday 26th, 9pm), in which strange science, terrifying tech and insidious invasions takes control, highlighted by the Channel premiere of jolting sci-fi thriller The Last Days On Mars, starring Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai and Olivia Williams. It also includes the channel premieres of 1980 British science fiction movie Saturn 3, which stars Farrah Fawcett, Kirk Douglas and Harvey Keitel and XTRO, an unsettling slice of Sci-Fi Horror and one of the few British films that landed on the UK film censors' infamous 'Video Nasty' list. The week also includes Scanners, Ce...SHARE: READ MORE One for your Christmas list, the new book from Kim Newman
Posted in News, Wednesday 27th October 2021
From the award-winning author of Anno Dracula comes a masterclass in wit and cinematic vision as the legendary maestro of horror teams together two icons of page and silver screen in a daring and horrifying tale that puts a twist on the genre, as only Kim Newman can. Something More Than Night promises to be a genre-bending horror thriller that brings together two icons of the 1930s.
Hollywood, the late 1930s. Raymond Chandler writes detective stories for pulp magazines. Boris Karloff plays monsters in the movies. Both understand that these streets are dark with something more than night. Under Home House, the mock gothic mock mansion of a film mogul, is a mad science du...SHARE: READ MORE 88Films to release the classic euro horror The Doll of Satan
Posted in News, Tuesday 26th October 2021
After her uncle dies unexpectedly, Elizabeth Balljanon inherits his sprawling castle. The walls are crumbling, the electricity doesn't work and there's a fully equipped torture chamber in the cellars but interior decoration is the least of her worries: a black-gloved killer haunts the halls at night and, even worse, the tales she's been told about the castle's ghosts might not be stories after all...
Part giallo, part modern-dress Gothic, The Doll of Satan is a gloriously ripe slice of Italian horror, heady with atmosphere and steamy eroticism too. 88 Films has rediscovered this genre gem and given it a superb HD release in the UK for the very first time.
Extras...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
Tuesday 7th December
Thursday 16th December
Monday 13th December