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.

Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted in Frightfest, Tuesday 27th October 2020

Butchers is a superb piece of horror cinema from Adrian Langley. Here he chats about this grim and gruesome piece and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for Butchers come from?

AL: Butchers came from two of Daniel Weissenberger's old screenplays - he writes a lot - and I remixed them with some ideas that had been kicking around in my head after having read those scripts a long time ago.

HC: Did it take long to write?

AL: Not at all. Because Dan's scripts were so full already, the initial working draft only took about two weeks to put together and then I did a lot of rewriting during the prep process to streamline it to what...

Horror Channel is now on Freeview channel 68
Posted in Features, News, Tuesday 27th October 2020
Freeview logo

Horror Channel has moved to Freeview Channel 68 so you may need to re-tune to ensure you don't miss out on our super scary Halloween line-up plus much more.

Any issues with retuning check the Freeview website.

Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted in Frightfest, Tuesday 27th October 2020
Spare Parts

FrightFest is all about the diversity of movies, none more so than Spare Parts from director Andrew Thomas Hunt. This superb mash-up of gladiator-style fighting and a scorching soundtrack is desitined to become a cult classic so we chatted to Andrew about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AH: I did - from the age of 16. I was a huge fan of David Cronenberg's films, and when I discovered that he was not only from Toronto, but made his films here, it made me realize you didn't have to be from Hollywood to make movies.

HC: How did you become attached to this wild project?

AH: It was pitched to me at TIFF (Toronto Int'l ...

And the winner is... Benny Loves You!
Posted in Frightfest, Monday 26th October 2020

The winner of the FrightFest Horror Channel First Blood Award 2020 is... Benny Loves You!

Here, Channel Manager Stewart Bridle chats to its very talented director, Karl Holt.

Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 25th October 2020

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 concludes tonight with an out-of-this-world premiere, SKYLIN3S. Here its writer and director Liam O'Donnell talks about this and the other entries in this sci-fi series.

HC: You've been involved with the Skyline series of movies from the start, where did the initial idea come from?

LD: Initially the idea just came from, we were sort of do it ourselves film makers and I had been living in the building we ended up shooting in. We had already been illegally shooting on the rooftop helipad for a pitch that we were developing and when Greg's (Greg Strause, director of Skyline) unit on the top floor and he walked in and saw this big, expansive view of LA...

Interview with Paul Tanter director and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Prolific creative Paul Tanter has delivered a real treat for FrightFest pass holders today, the blood-splattered shocker, The Nights Before Christmas. Here he chats about this cracker of a movie.

HC: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PT: Absolutely. One of my first cinema memories is my dad taking me to see Fright Night in 1985 and there being a promotional pack of vampire teeth on every seat. I was five at the time so I'm not sure how he snuck me in there, considering it's rated 18. I grew up watching The Omen films, in parts enthralled and terrified by them. I still can't pass that church in Fulham without keeping an eye on ...

Interview with Simon Phillips, star and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Seasonal slashers are once again coming into vogue but none as brutal as The Nights Before Christmas. Here, its star and co-writer Simon Phillips tells all about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

SP: I don't know if I ever was sure I was going to be in the film industry but as a child I sure liked talking a lot and my teacher once shouted at me "They'd better pay you to talk when you grow up, because you sure like the sound of your own voice"... So perhaps it was always on the cards!

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SP: To be honest they terrify me... not the o...

Interview with Elza Kephart, director and co-writer of Slaxx
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 25th October 2020
SLAXX_Elza_(C)photoB-Calmeau_0125FrightFest is all about originality and new talent and 2020 has been a belter of a year for such things. Slaxx from Elza Kephart is a prime example of the new and exciting creative talent that's out there at the moment. We chatted to Elza about this superb shocker.

HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?

EK: Yes, huge! I started my horror adventure when I was a pre-teen, reading Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice. If there wasn't a death I wasn't interested. From that, I migrated to horror films; when I was about ten, I watched Aliens, the Fearless Vampire Hunters, Exorcist 2. I might have been a little too young, I remember being re...

Hair scares, killer jeans, Santa slays and an invasion from above. Day 5 of FrightFest Digital Edition 2
Posted in Frightfest, Sunday 25th October 2020

We reach the final day of FrightFest but what awaits us will ensure that the event ends not with a bang but with an alien invasion!

It's always exciting when new creatives release work and The Stylist from Jill Gervargizian is no exception. Everyone dreams of being someone else... but for Claire that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Her job as a hairstylist allows her to move through other people's worlds, but when the right target sits in her chair, she does more than observe the client's life - she ends it, and keeps a permanent souvenir. Her lonely life, meticulous method and shocking secrets are suddenly thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia, asks her to s...

Interview with Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
Posted in Frightfest, Saturday 24th October 2020

Hosts is a dark, brooding and sinister movie from two very talented creatives, Adam Leader and Richard Oakes. Here they chat about this outstanding movie.

HC: Have you always been fans of this genre?

AL: Yes, the first film I ever watched was the original Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eight years old. That turned me on to the horror genre, and since then I became absolutely horror obsessed. Every weekend, my dad would take me to the video store, and I'd choose the most messed up movie I could find for him to rent for me.

RO: Yes, coming from a family with a sister 7 years older than me, I was always fascinated by the films her and her friends used to watch. I walked in...

Interview with Barry Keating, writer of Embryo
Posted in Frightfest, Saturday 24th October 2020
Barry Keating at NIGHTWORLD on 25/08/2017Barry Keating is a scriptwriter who has had quite a number of movies at FrightFest over the years. He's back with another shocker for 2020, this time the truth might be out there in Embryo. We chatted to him about this sci-fi chiller.

HC: We show another of your movies on Horror, Nightworld, what's it like writing a script, which has horror legend Robert Englund in it?

BK: When I found out they'd cast Robert in the role that was a very surreal day. At first I didn't quite believe it, but when the producer forwarded a message from Robert to me saying that he really dug the script I completely geeked out. I'm a hug...

Interview with Patricio Valladares, director of Embryo
Posted in Frightfest, Saturday 24th October 2020
Embryo image 1

Chilean director Patricio Valladares is back at FrightFest and this time he's taking us into the science fiction zone with Embryo. Here he chats about working with Robert Englund on Nightworld and this sci-fi shocker.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror and sci-fi movies?

PV: Yes, from my childhood, my old brother watched Jason Voorhees and A Nightmare on Elm Street film series at home with a couple friends in the 80s. So, I always went from the bathroom to the living room at night to watch from behind the sofa with them. I Loved it! I liked the ultraviolence and gore from Robocop. When I was 14 or 15 I was a metalhead, so I had lots of tapes of death metal and a lot of low ...

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