LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
By James Whittington, Monday 28th August 2017
More new talent seemed to be around at Horror Channel FrightFest this year and one of the stand out movies for me was Where The Skin Lies from Michael Boucherie. Here he chats about this emotional movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to be in the film-making business?
MB: Going to the movies with my family is a favourite childhood memory. There was no cinema in our home town, so it always involved a bit of a car trip. Afterwards we'd recount and quote our favourite scenes, for some movies up to this day. My mother also filmed and edited our home movies on Super 8, and she involved me in that. So, on some level I grew up with it. It didn't dawn on me that this was a valid career choice till in my late teens. At some point I just started to list all the things I wanted to do with my life and the conclusion that I had to become a film director was inescapable.
HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies?
MB: I'm a big fan of movies in general, but horror I do find particularly exciting. It's such a vast genre which allows you to explore and experience extremes of emotions. A lot of inventive stuff is going on in this field. It deals mainly with fear, and the sometimes successful and sometimes futile attempts at conquering it. It's an important emotion to deal with, I believe, in a medium as cathartic as cinema.
HC: How long did Where the Skin Lies take to write and did it change much over the course of writing?
MB: The script came about in a rather unusual way. It really started with the title and the location where we wanted to film. I pitched those two elements to my older brother David, telling him I wanted to make an ensemble horror film. He quickly came back with a playful concept and I knew we had something valuable from the get-go. David, who is a brilliant software engineer, wrote the first draft in his spare time over the course of four months. From then on, I reworked several drafts, mainly tweaking characters and relationships. But in terms of plot, very little changed. An important aspect of the way I work as a director, though, is eliciting the creative involvement of the cast. We went through a three-week long rehearsal process with a definite 'devising' type feel to it, which is quite unique for genre film. The cast was instrumental in building the characters, the way they relate, and their dialogue. We kept adjusting dialogue and character choreography throughout the shoot itself.
HC: Did the budget restrict anything you wanted to realise on screen?
MB: While working on the first draft, my brother and I continuously discussed what would be feasible on the low budget we'd be working on. The script is partly a product of our budget-consciousness. So, in a sense, we were able to realise everything we wanted on screen, because we didn't write anything that we wouldn't be able to.
HC: Did you have a cast in mind whilst you were writing the movie?
MB: My original plan was to work mainly with people I knew, including recruiting cast from the Drama Centre London. However, when the delightful Joy Harrison partnered up with me as the producer, she brought with her an extensive expertise and network. This allowed us to hold wider ranging auditions. I'm very happy with the cast we were able to assemble and with what they brought to the film. They were emotionally brave and very generous. It's been really rewarding working with them.
HC: It's your debut feature, did this add pressure whilst you were directing?
MB: Honestly not. I thrive on this kind of stress and it doesn't necessarily feel like pressure to me. It's more like a focussing force. The debut aspect didn't play for me at all. The pressure, if you like, comes from your responsibility to your cast and crew - they invest part of their life in making this film, so I believe it should be time well spent for them - and the responsibility to your audience. You're essentially asking strangers to trust you with an hour or two of their valuable time, and to pay for watching your film. You have to deliver something that makes it worthwhile.
HC: It has some really cool effects, were they tough to realise?
MB: I wanted to work with practical effects as much as possible. Firstly, it gives the cast something tangible to work with; secondly, it provides a more real feel to the environment you present to your audience. Any use of CGI should augment the visuals, never distract from the sense of reality. I had the pleasure of working with Alexandra Knights as SFX designer and artist. We planned and tested all the effects beforehand, which included designing a horrid skin disease from the ground up. The little CGI we used, mainly to clean up some shots and to animate some effects, were done by VC Studios in Belgium. They were very generous with their time, running test after test for me, till we got it just right. I'm very grateful for their commitment to the project.
HC: Are you nervous at all when your movies show at festivals?
MB: Where the Skin Lies has its world premiere at FrightFest 2017, so it will be the first time I'll see the film in a festival context. That's very exciting, of course. I'm looking forwards to seeing how an independent audience will respond to the film as a whole and to all the little bits that you hope elicit certain reactions. We've screened the film privately for the cast and crew, once in the UK and once in Belgium, and I do get nervous the moment the film starts rolling. You're constantly trying to imagine what each scene, each revelation, feels like to someone seeing it for the first time. Filmmaking is all about timing the reveal of bits of information. You don't want to spell everything out to your audience and disrupt the magic, but you don't want to be so obscure that it becomes unreadable, either.
HC: So then, what are you up to now?
MB: I'm writing a survival science-fiction I hope to take into production next year. It will ride that fine line between thriller and survival horror. Building on certain themes from Where the Skin Lies, it's going to be breath-taking in more ways than one. I'm really excited working on it.
HC: Michael Boucherie, thank you very much.
MB: It's my pleasure.
MORE ARTICLES A stalker finds himself the prey in Eye Without a Face
Posted in News, Friday 23rd July 2021
Do you know who's watching this very moment? Brand new horror feature Eye Without a Face from director Ramin Niami (Paris, Shirin In Love) combines chills, thrills and bloody murder to bring the voyeur genre bang up to date.
This edgy movie creeps on to digital 23 August for its UK Premiere from Miracle M.
Holed up in his LA apartment agoraphobic Henry (Dakota Shapiro) spends his days hacking into the webcams of unsuspecting local young women, seeing himself as their protector and guardian angel, rather than what he really is... a stalker. But his creepy peeks take a sinister turn as he starts to suspect one of his 'friends', Laura (Vladka Verevko), is a kil...SHARE: READ MORE See how music can kill in Sound of Violence
Posted in Frightfest, News, Friday 23rd July 2021
In thrilling new horror Sound of Violence, a young girl recovers her hearing and gains synthetic abilities during the brutal murder of her family. Finding solace in the sounds of bodily harm, as an adult she pursues a career in music composing her masterpieces through gruesome murders.
From the mind of talented new writer-director Alex Noyer and featuring a stunning lead performance from Jasmin Savoy Brown (2022's Scream, The Leftovers), Sound of Violence is being billed as one of the most original and shocking horrors of the year.
After its UK premiere at Arrow Frightfest, Sound of Violence on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from 30th August than...SHARE: READ MORE Exploitation movie that will bring out the Devil in you!
Posted in News, Friday 23rd July 2021
Directed by Domenico Paolella (The Prey/The Story of a Cloistered Nun), The Nun and the Devil AKA Le Monache di Sant'Arcangelo is a headily erotic tale of seduction and persecution detailing the sinful practices which spill out of a 16th century convent.
When the psychotically ambitious Sister Julia (Anna Heywood) vies to take the place of a dying Mother Superior by any means possible, other inmates start to lose their way. But things take a nasty turn when the nuns are subjected to a violent inquisition and their existence becomes one of torture and degradation.
Made just two years after Ken Russell's notorious Th...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces second wave of films for August Cineworld event
Posted in Features, Frightfest, Thursday 22nd July 2021
It's full scream ahead as Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces its second wave of hugely anticipated Discovery Screen and First Blood titles - a summer collection of provocative, edgy and transgressive entertainment to die for. There are fourteen World and ten European/International premieres amongst the thirty-four films on offer.
Eleven countries are represented, with titles ranging from Canadian entries Bloodthirsty, Amelia Moses' simmering LGBQT+ werewolf movie and sinister isolation thriller Motherly to Francesco Erba's As In Heaven, So On Earth, a stunning Italian blend of live action and Gothic puppet animation. Then there's Peter Bergendy's sumptuous Post Mortem, an epic Hu...SHARE: READ MORE V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask now at The Cartoon Museum
Posted in News, Thursday 22nd July 2021
The Cartoon Museum has re-opened (no advance booking required) with an exciting new exhibition which celebrates the cultural impact of V for Vendetta from the classic graphic novel to the cult film classic. Tickets are available now and the exhibition is open and will be running until 31st October 2021.
V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask will chart the rise from graphic novel, to hit film and now global phenomenon as a symbol of protest. Securing rare loans from the art department of Warner Bros, The Cartoon Museum will present a history of this modern classic with original artwork and covers, as well as costumes and designs that have never been seen in the UK before.
T...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel raises hell in August!
Posted in Features, Tuesday 20th July 2021
August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's number 1 destination for genre films revives some horror, sci-fi and fantasy classics - including Clive Barker's Hellraiser trilogy, which has one of the most stylish and ferociously original horror fantasy franchises ever and Night Of The Living Dead (1990), Tom Savini's colour remake of George Romero's original Night Of The Living Dead, which transcended the world of horror movies to become a film classic .
Other highlights include Re-Animator, the late Stuart Gordon's darkly comic classic, that has been acknowledged as one of the most celebrated, outrageous and original horror films of all ti...SHARE: READ MORE Fulci's The Psychic getting a Shameless release
Posted in News, Saturday 17th July 2021
Shameless is prud to present Lucio 'The Godfather of Gore' Fulci's The Psychic (aka Murder To the Tune of the Seven Black Notes) like never seen before, extensively restored from new 2K-scanned materials on August 9th.
Jennifer O'Neill, fresh from Luchino Visconti's The Innocent, plays Virginia, a woman who has had psychic powers since childhood when she sensed her mother's suicide... Now newly married, Virginia becomes plagued by waking visions of bloody deaths and meaningless torment. With the aid of her parapsychologist friend (Marc Porel), she tries to uncover the meaning of the unwanted visions only to discover they are premonitions of future deaths...
...SHARE: READ MORE Original Vs Remake: Which one do you prefer?
Posted in Features, Thursday 15th July 2021
Horror Channel has always celebrated the classics as well as the more recent chillers around. Inevitably we come across some remakes which have either caused celebration or contention among viewers.
But are all remakes bad? Here's five of the finest which are showing at the moment on Horror.
Night of the Living Dead (1990) SFX maestro Tom Savini was given the job of bringing George A Romero's all-time classic back to the big screen, and in doing so gave the classic a colourful retelling. Set during an unexplained event, namely the dead rising from their graves, strangers stranded in a house battle the undead as well as themselves. Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, and Tom Towles ta...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest resurrects its New Blood quest for new writers
Posted in Frightfest, Tuesday 13th July 2021
As Arrow Video FrightFest stalks the dark recesses of the big screen again, the search resumes for new writers in the horror genre through its New Blood initiative. New Blood reunites FrightFest with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures with its mission to find emerging UK-based writers dedicated to the genre and nurture their projects from script to screen. Queensbury is ultimately interested in buying the finished script rather than the idea, and so, this year all successful final candidates if selected should be able to send even a rough draft of the first ten pages of their script through with their acceptance.
Already the scheme has delivered two new projects: Broadcast ...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest unveils first wave of twenty-five films for August 2021 Cineworld event
Posted in Frightfest, Thursday 8th July 2021
Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's biggest horror and fantasy film festival, is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square from Thursday August 26 - Monday 30 August for five days of the very best of global genre cinema.
The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre and, despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, this year is no exception as the twenty-five films to be presented in the main screens are revealed. They include four world premieres and eight International/European premieres.
Global events over the past eighteen months have not only altered most people's lives but have had a profoundly i...SHARE: READ MORE Halloween Kills - New poster and trailer
Posted in News, Sunday 4th July 2021
Universal Pictures has unleashed the official trailer for Halloween Kills, coming to UK cinemas October 15.
In 2018, David Gordon Green's Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise and setting a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman.
And the Halloween night when Michael Myers returned isn't over yet.
Minutes after Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) left masked monster Michael Myers caged and burning in La...SHARE: READ MORE Space: 1999 - Soundtracks to get the vinyl treatment
Posted in News, Sunday 4th July 2021
The latest Silva Screen release in their series exploring the musical worlds of Gerry Anderson is the most extensive yet and incorporates two separate Double LP releases.
Space: 1999 (showing weekdays at 6pm on Horror) ran for two series from 1976 to 1977 and depicted the occupants of Moonbase Alpha and their struggle for survival when, after the explosion of a nuclear waste dump, the Moon is hurtled into space.
The series was the most expensive produced for British television at that time and the most musically diverse of all the shows made by Anderson for ITC. Gerry Anderson's long-time musical partner in all the previous adventures was Barry Gray and Space: 1999 proved t...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
Friday 30th July
Wednesday 4th August
Thursday 29th July