LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Paul Hyett, director of Heretiks
By James Whittington, Tuesday 7th August 2018
Paul Hyett is a firm, FrightFest favourite. His work is always a much anticipated event at the film festival and this year is no exception with the world premiere of his latest work, Heretiks. Here he chats about this and future productions.
What first attracted you to actor Gregory Blair's script?
When Templeheart gave me the script of Heretiks (although it was a different title at the time), the one thing that really grabbed my interest was the opportunity to do a creepy period horror, set in 17th Century England. I'd already shot a war-set film, a contemporary werewolf film and here was an opportunity to do a film set in the 17th century where young girls were put on trial for witchcraft, of which some were drowned, hanged and so much worse. It was a truly dark and fearful time in the history of England, one that I was keen to portray on screen, and adding to that a supernatural element, was hard to resist.
What did you and your Seasoning House co-writer Conal Palmer bring to the final screenplay?
Conal and I did an extensive rewrite, as I remember, at the time it had vampiric nuns. I was keen to ground it and get rid of that story element but I loved this tale of these younger girls brought to this priory, so worked more on the relationships between the younger girls and hierarchy of the older nuns. And then we brought in the mythology of the supernatural element of the film, creating the flashbacks and why the priory was haunted. We then a did a lot of work of Persephone's journey and the background she left behind and then really worked on all the characters one by one, we really wanted to give everyone their own unique character and background. We also brought the themes of religion more strongly forward and both Conal and I especially worked on the dialogue to give it a more olden style. And after working on the slow burn build up, I felt the film needed to go full tilt in the last act, thankfully Templeheart liked the direction we were taking it.
What a coup casting Clare Higgins, the Hellraiser icon herself, as the Reverend Mother. What was it like working with her?
It was wonderful to have Clare. I grew up with the Hellraiser films, so to have her on a film of mine was great. She was a consummate professional, and she really anchors the film. It's hard for an actor when they're portraying a character that you don't want to give away their true intentions too early, and I think Clare got it pitch perfect.
And Michael Ironside is another genre icon too, it must have been fun directing him?
It was wonderful, a childhood dream. He was so lovely to everyone, really chatty, and just was so approachable to everyone on the cast and crew. It was great talking to him about Scanners, Total Recall and so many other films of my youth. He was so full of stories and anecdotes. I'd love to work with him again in the future.
Your actress muse Rosie Day turns up again, as she also does again in your next movie Peripheral. Is she your lucky charm?
Haha, yes, Rosie and I love collaborating at work together and we're great friends, so yes, we'll keep working together.
Hannah Arterton is your lead in both Heretiks and Peripheral, so Rosie might be replaced? Say it isn't so?
No, of course not, there are lots of reasons why you use certain people for certain roles, sometimes due to availability, schedules and also the right fit for the role. For example I saw Rosie as the perfect person to play Shelley in Peripheral and she nailed it perfectly, and Hannah I saw as the character of Bobbi, and she in turn nailed that role. I look forward to working with both Hannah and Rosie in the future. They're truly talented actresses and lovely to work with.
The Priory is a wonderfully evocative location, where is it?
We split the shoot into two places in Wales, the upper floors were shot at Margam Castle and the lower floors were shot in Tretower, a medieval court. They were beautiful locations, we just had to be very careful, bringing in specialists just to supervise a lit candle, so you can imagine the bigger FX sequences were challenging. But the locations were beautiful, the grounds around them outside, were so vast and breath taking, I feel it gives the film a more realistic feel then if you'd just built sets.
We're seeing a lot of nuns in horror at the moment, why has it become a trend?
I don't know why, although I've noticed a trend of religious horror getting more popular over the last few years, horror seems to have these trends, whether it's post-modern social commentary, or home invasion, torture porn etc., it's always trying to work out what is going to be the trend in a year or two? With Heretiks we felt you could't go wrong with a retro-style religious period horror featuring nuns.
What was your biggest Heretiks challenge?
I think mostly shooting in real locations, like Margam Castle and Tretower court, there could be no drilling in walls to attach anything like stunt cables, you couldn't throw blood about in case it stained the medieval stone work, we also had to build sets within these locations but couldn't attach or drill them into the actual location, we just couldn't risk anything, but I think the biggest challenge was the endangered bats that were a protected species. We couldn't harass them, distress them, and certainly not harm them. We risked a large fine and a prison sentence. So whenever one flew out, we had to call cut and let it fly about and do its thing until it was happy for us to continue. I remember one scene that we needed a fireplace roaring in the background for continuity, and a bat had got itself settled in the chimney, I did seriously consider going in with a stick if no-one was watching.
Pleased to be back at FrightFest? Tell us some of your favourite memories from past appearances.
I love FrightFest, it's been so important in my formative years in the last decade or so and I feel so wonderfully supported by Alan, Paul, Ian and Greg, from my time as a prosthetics artists, to my first movie, and their continued support to Heretiks. If I had to choose a memory, it was the phone call telling us that we'd been selected as opening film for The Seasoning House, and then the actual screening at the large Empire screen, was the best night of my life.
Heretiks plays at Arrow Video FrightFest on Saturday 25th August, Cineworld Leicester Square.
Related show tags: FRIGHTFEST, PAUL HYETT, ROSIE DAY, SCANNERS, THE SEASONING HOUSE MORE ARTICLES Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted in Interviews, Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE James Herbert's The Shrine is now a movie and known as The Unholy
Posted in News, Monday 14th June 2021
Thrilling and unsettling, horror movie The Unholy is available to Download & Keep, Rent on Digital, on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 2 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Written and directed by Evan Spiliotopoulos, from the producer of Evil Dead and Don't Breathe, Sam Raimi, The Unholy stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("The Walking Dead"), Katie Aselton (The Gift), William Sadler (Bill & Ted Face the Music) and newcomer Cricket Brown, with Diogo Morgado (Son of God) and Cary Elwes (Saw) and is based on the book Shrine by James Herbert.
The movie follows a young hearing-impaired girl who is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak and heal the sick. As people from near...SHARE: READ MORE Acclaimed Spanish psychological thriller The Offering gets UK release date
Posted in News, Saturday 12th June 2021
Sovereign has announced the UK release of acclaimed Spanish psychological thriller The Offering on 30th July, in cinemas and on Virtual Cinemas and VOD.
Jan, mysterious and marked by a profound sense of guilt, tries to win back the love of his ex Violeta, who is now a psychiatrist, with a family of her own. Jan's complex and perverse plan to reunite him with Violeta, 20 years after the events that led to their separation, will have severe consequences.
An erotic, intense and revealing adult thriller, with powerful central performances from Alex Brendemühl (Transit), Anna Alarcón (A Thief’s Daughter) and Verónica Echegui (Fortitude), winner of Best Support...SHARE: READ MORE From the creators of What We Do In The Shadows comes Wellington Paranormal!
Posted in News, Saturday 12th June 2021
Wellington Paranormal follows hilariously hapless officers Mark Minogue and Karen O'Leary as they are assigned to the new Paranormal Unit of Wellington's police force, tasked with tackling the increasing number of local crimes and misdemeanours of a supernatural nature.
From Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, the visionary creators behind What We Do In The Shadows, comes the smash hit New Zealand comedy series which has taken the UK by storm.
Dazzler Media presents Wellington Paranormal: Season One on Blu-ray, DVD and Download-to-Own from 5th July.... SHARE: READ MORE The Quanderhorn Collexion almost ready for download!
Posted in News, Friday 11th June 2021
The Quanderhorn Collexion, the acclaimed cult BBC Radio 4 sci-fi comedy by Rob Grant & Andrew Marshall is to be available for download on 16th June from BBC Digital Audio.
It is London, England, 1952 and we meet the mercurial genius Professor Quanderhorn (James Fleet) - a maverick scientist with absolutely no moral compass. Join him and his rag-tag crew on their frontal-lobe-knotting escapades as they: Battle insane hybrid creatures: the Gorrirrel and the Squirrilla, to the death! Become Gods to a Stone Age tribe Are engulfed in a Martian invasion of Earth Escape shipwreck on the Moon in a spacecraft powered by anger Evade multiple fien...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel adds First Wave to its weekday evening Sci-Fi Zone
Posted in Features, Thursday 10th June 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with suspenseful, action-driven drama First Wave, which stars Sebastian Spence as Cade Foster, a former security specialist, accused of murdering his wife and now on the run, determined to expose a vast alien infiltration on Earth.
Helping him in his quest is "Crazy" Eddie, a computer hacker who works on a web tabloid, Paranoid Times. Out to stop them is Joshua (Roger R Cross), an alien hit-man, whose mission is to eliminate them before they can expose 'The Gua' (who live among humans in the form of hybridised genetic clones), a...SHARE: READ MORE Super 8 - 4K review
Posted in Reviews, Monday 7th June 2021 Super 8 Paramount Home Entertainment Certificate 12
The popularity of Stranger Things sparked an interest in all things retro sci-fi/horror 80s style but for many the true resurrection in interest came from a corker from J.J. Abrams, Super 8.
It tells the story of six friends who witness a train wreck while making a Super 8 movie, only to discover that something unimaginable escaped during the crash. They soon discover that the only thing more mysterious than what it is, is what it wants.
Bathed in retro chills and period detail, Super 8 manages to capture the innocence of youth with a punchy script and a very talented teenage cast. The smart part though i...SHARE: READ MORE They killed his wife. Framed him for murder. Now he hunts them! First Wave coming to Horror
Posted in Features, Monday 7th June 2021
If its action packed, sci-fi infused drama you are after then First Wave is the series for you. With Hollywood legend Francis Ford Coppola on board as one of the Executive Producers the series ran for 66 action-packed episodes which managed to combine high-quality drama with a cool conspiracy theory strand.
The series concentrates on former thief now Security Specialist Cade Foster (Sebastian Spence), as he struggles to uncover an alien conspiracy by deciphering prophecies from Nostradamus as well as being on the run for a murder he did not commit. Along the way he meets The Gua, an alien race of hybridised genetic clones who are focused on enslaving the human race.
Now, the problem with informi...SHARE: READ MORE Coming soon from Arrow Video, The Sergio Martino Collection
Posted in News, Saturday 5th June 2021
One of Italian cinema's most celebrated and prolific filmmakers, Sergio Martino worked across a range of genres, but is arguably best known for his giallo thrillers. This collection from Arrow Video (due 2nd August) brings together three of his finest with a solid collection of extras for each movie.
In The Case of the Scorpion's Tail, recently widowed Lisa Baumer is summoned to Athens to collect her husband's generous life insurance policy, but soon discovers others are willing to kill to get their hands on it. In the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, abrasive drunk Oliviero amuses himself by holding d...SHARE: READ MORE Dario Argento classic to get a 4K release
Posted in News, Saturday 5th June 2021
In 1970, young first-time director Dario Argento made his indelible mark on Italian cinema with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage - a film which redefined the 'giallo' genre of murder-mystery thrillers and catapulted him to international stardom. Thanks to Arrow Video the film will get a special 4K release on 26th July.
Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante, We Own the Night), an American writer living in Rome, inadvertently witnesses a brutal attack on a woman (Eva Renzi, Funeral in Berlin) in a modern art gallery. Powerless to help, he grows increasingly obsessed with the incident. Convinced that something he saw that night holds the key to identifyi...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted in Interviews, Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE The Soska Sisters and Alexis Kendra bring female fear factor to Horror Channel in June.
Posted in Features, Tuesday 25th May 2021
This month, Horror Channel highlights the work of female genre talent with the Channel premieres of Rabid, the Soska Sisters visceral remake of David Cronenberg's body horror classic and The Cleaning Lady, written by and starring Alexis Kendra (Goddess of Love), who also produced the much-acclaimed twisted psychological chiller.
Rabid (on the 12th) is the hugely welcomed remake of David Cronenberg's body horror classic from directors, The Soska Sisters. It received its World Premiere at FrightFest 2019 before being released worldwide. They are the first filmmakers to re-imagine one of Cronenberg's films and the fellow Canadian was very impressed with the ...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
Sunday 27th June
Saturday 26th June
Friday 25th June