Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
By James Whittington, Saturday 10th October 2020
Robert Woods

Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?

RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were just trying to create something that we would watch, fun and contained, that wouldn't cost money.

HC: The cast are superb and really bounce off each other, did they have much rehearsal time?

RW: I play music for an improv comedy troupe here in Perth called The Big Hoo-Haa and pretty much all of the cast are members that have been performing fast paced off-the-cuff comedy together for many years, which was a huge help. They're all great actors, comedians and writers themselves and we knew they would all get along and just have a fun time with it. Evan Williams (Jackson) and Naomi Brockwell (Daisy) were the only ones that didn't know everyone else but they slotted right in. We shot for almost 2 weeks, generally starting in the afternoon and going to about 10pm and we all stayed together at the farm that was our location. In the mornings or between scenes I would often find the cast just running lines for upcoming scenes whilst having a meal or playing games which was encouraging to see because we certainly didn't have any time to rehearse whilst shooting the scenes.

HC: Were you nervous on your first day on set?

RW: I was very nervous on my first day on set. And it never went away. But it was definitely an excited nervousness. I remember we had scheduled a day off in the middle of the shoot and I drove to a local town and went to the cinema to unwind. But driving back to the farm and entering through those gates I was suddenly struck with a huge sense of dread at the realisation of what I had to get done now and not having any idea how to do it. I guess years of theatre has taught me to just embrace that and drive in head first. It's the only way to get anything done.

HC: Was there any time during the shoot that you thought you'd taken on too much?

RW: It never felt like I had taken on too much during the shoot, it just felt like there was never enough time to do all the things I needed to. The times where it felt like I might have taken on too much were before the shoot when I realised we had no producers so we'd have to organise everything ourselves and after the shoot when I realised I had to make something out of the crazy mess of footage I shot. The danger there was that I had NO time limit. It took about a year to put it all together, but that's including 3 or 4 months where I would just get so frustrated, I refused to even look at the footage anymore. But encouraging words from close friends that saw rough cuts helped push it through to the end.

HC: The movie plays lime Friends meets The Thing, was it hard balancing the comedy and horror elements?

RW: I liked the way the tonal shifts worked in the script and we shot so quickly and out of order that we all just relied on that and that it would all work when it was put together. Actually, the biggest struggle and one of the longest stumbling blocks came when I had an edit I was happy with and wanted to start composing some music. We watched the opening scenes with soundtracks from great comedy and horror films playing and it was really surprising that they all felt like they would work but they drastically changed the way you read the scene. Figuring out the sound of the music took a long time because it would easily pus the comedy or the horror too far that the shifts wouldn't work anymore.

HC: What's the most valuable lesson about directing you learned during the making of An Ideal Host?

RW: I guess the most important thing I learnt was you should have a producer, because I think I spent more time organising things than actually directing. I guess the other thing would be if you've got a good cast and a good script, that's 90% of the job done. I was reliant on them and just always trusted that it would be fun enough to watch these characters that my direction wouldn't derail it enough to be a problem.

HC: Will you be nervous when the movie gets its European premiere at Grimmfest?

RW: I'm not nervous, I'm excited! I'm just happy the film is finally getting out into the world and being seen by strangers, especially because there was never a certainty that would happen. We started this project as an experiment to see what we could do and made a rule that we would forge ahead no matter the setbacks, even if we only managed to shoot a few scenes we'd just use them on showreels and as experience for the next project. So, to have actually finished it and have it be seen by people feels like such a great accomplishment. I look forward to reactions to it, good and bad, I welcome them all.

HC: What's the worst dinner party you've been to?

RW: I think I avoid most dinner parties so thankfully there's been precious few incidents. If I go out, it's to the cinema and if I have people over it's to watch movies. The worst dinner party I went to had vegan desserts and they were all gross. You can totally get good vegan deserts but this was not them. To think you're going to get chocolate mousse but it's this bland soy bean paste stuff... It was very upsetting, I've never recovered.

HC: Do you believe in aliens?

RW: I don't know, I go back and forth, but either way it's an existential nightmare. I do like to think that if there is life out there, it's just as stupid as we are.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

RW: I'm back to my usual routine of work and going to the cinema, I'm lucky enough to live in part of the world that's back to relative normalcy. Finishing the film and getting it ready for festivals has taken up much of my time but I'm just now freeing up time to start the next project. Tyler and I have been meeting with producers and applying for funding, two things we didn't have the first time around, so we'll see how that goes.

HC: Robert Woods, thank you very much.

Horror Channel announces raft of premieres for February
Posted in Features, Thursday 13th January 2022
The Midnight Man - WEB1

February on Horror Channel keeps genre fans alive with the UK TV premiere of What Keeps You Alive - another suspenseful knife to the throat of 21st Century genre cinema from the deliciously warped mind of Colin Minihan, director of It Stains The Sand Red.

And expect more total shock and abject terror in the UK TV premiere of Paul Hyett's sinister sci-fi horror fantasy Peripheral. This twisted cross between Ex Machina and Videodrome boasts an astonishing performance from Hannah Arterton.

Plus, there are channel premieres for the gore-filled, stomach-churning zombie chiller Death Trench, Producer M. Night Shyamalan's claustrophobic supernatural thriller Devil, the...

Marco Beltrami and Brian Tyler's Scream scores get new releases
Posted in News, Sunday 9th January 2022
Scream Soundtracks

"Hello, Sidney"

Varese Sarabande celebrate the return of Scream with two very special releases. Marco Beltrami's scores from the first four films get the box set treatment via a 4-LP set, 6-CD set (exclusive to, and digital releases. Featuring a trove of previously unreleased material, both physical sets come in packaging that folds out into a Ghostface mask. The digital album is now available to stream wherever you get your music!

Meanwhile, Brian Tyler's score for the brand new Scream is getting an LP, CD and digital release as well... The expanded 24-track CD and digital version of Scream: Music from the Motion Picture are out n...

Who ya gonna call for help in the Afterlife?
Posted in News, Wednesday 5th January 2022
Ghostbusters Afterlife

From director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman comes the next chapter in the original Ghostbusters universe, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, available to Download and Keep on January 10th, to Rent on Digital on January 31st and also on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Starring Carrie Coon (Gone Girl, The Nest), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It), McKenna Grace (Young Sheldon, Gifted), Annie Potts (Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II) and Paul Rudd (Ant-man, Avengers: Endgame), the film is written by Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman.

When single mum Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children Finn (Finn Wolfhard) and ...

Stagefright - Blu-ray review
Posted in Reviews, Thursday 30th December 2021
Stagefright CoverStagefright
Shameless Entertainment
Certificate 18

Also known as Aquarius, Deliria and Bloody Bird, Michele Soavi's bold directorial debut Stagefright finally gets the Shameless treatment. Released at the backend of the slasher trend this 1987 effort takes the genre in a far more artistic direction than most of the era and stands up to close scrutiny to this day. More recent movies such as Halloween (2018) and Climax (2018) seems to have taken some themes from this which is a fine reminder of why slasher movies don't just start and end with the more famous franchises.

When a masked killer infiltrates a group of actors rehearsing overnight in an isolated theatr...

Horror Channel ushers in 2022 with zombie invasions
Posted in Features, Tuesday 21st December 2021

Evil-Dead II-WEB2

January weekends on Horror Channel are invaded by the undead with the UK TV premiere of Lin Oeding's newly-flavoured zombie horror-comedy Office Uprising, and the two highly acclaimed Zombie apocalypse road movies - Stake Land, receiving its Channel premiere, and the sequel The Stakelander, enjoying a UK TV premiere.

Plus, there are channel premieres for the bone-chilling The Wretched, directed by The Pierce Brothers, Sam Raimi's classic Evil Dead 2, once again starring the demon battling Brue Campbell and the original Dolph Lundgrem/Jean-Claude Van Damme futuristic thriller Universal Soldier.

Here's everything you need to know:

A VHS classic on the 8th as Je...

The best kind of honey trap! Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest is coming to vinyl
Posted in News, Thursday 16th December 2021
Doctor Who Hornets Nest

On limited edition vinyl for the very first time, Demon Records presents Doctor Who: Hornet's Nest, the unique audio adventure that first instigated Tom Baker's remarkable return to the role of the Doctor.

This release will include an exclusive, frameable portrait of the Fourth Doctor - every copy of which has been individually signed by Tom Baker himself and is just one of the treats inside this stunningly designed package which also includes an impressive, die-cut removable outer sleeve houses a hornet-adorned lidded box, inside which are 10 individual, exquisitely illustrated LP sleeves featuring full cast and credits for each story.

Also included is The Do...

Interview with Abigail Blackmore, writer and director of Tales From The Lodge
Posted in Interviews, Tuesday 14th December 2021
Abigail Blackmore 1

Ahead of Horror Channel's Xmas Day broadcast of her horror comedy feature Tales From The Lodge, director Abigail Blackmore recalls the brutal weather conditions, the challenges of casting and the joy of playing at FrightFest.

HC: Thanks to Horror Channel, Tales From The Lodge finally gets its UK TV premiere on British TV. Excited or what?

AB: So excited! I know a huge amount of people watch the Horror Channel so I'm hoping it opens TFTL up to a whole new audience.

HC: Looking back to its showcase screening at FrightFest in 2019, what are your abiding memories?

AB: It was a wonderful experience! FrightFest has long been one of the highlights of my ...

Interview with Barbara Crampton, star of chilling horror Sacrifice
Posted in Interviews, Wednesday 8th December 2021
Sacrifice Image 1

Barbara Crampton is a Horror Channel favourite. This much loved and much admired creative is starring in the UK TV premiere of Sacrifice, which is showing December 12th at 9pm on Horror so we chatted to her about this movie and her plans for the future.

Note that there are some spoilers for Sacrifice in the interview.

HC: Can you recall how you felt the first time you stepped onto a TV or film set?

BC: Yes, I remember the first time I was ever on a television set, it was for the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, and it was my very first job, and I had one line, "Hi. I'm your cousin Trista from Colorado". It was to the character Marlena Evans and subsequently I had w...

Stagefright to be released thanks to Shameless
Posted in News, Saturday 4th December 2021
Stagefright Cover

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...

Scream - Legacy cast posters revealed
Posted in News, Saturday 4th December 2021
Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”)

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...

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...

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...

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