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 Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
It Cuts Deep Image 2

At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.

HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?

NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.

HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?

NS: It Cuts Deep is a hor...

Interview with Chad Ferrin, writer and director of The Deep Ones
Posted on Friday 9th October 2020
Jeff Billings and Chad The Deep Ones

H.P. Lovecraft's influence on horror cinema is immeasurable and continues to this very day. In fact, today at Grimmfest a movie called The Deep Ones is showing so we asked its writer and director Chad Ferrin and how the great man himself has influenced his work.

HC: When was the first time you heard or read anything by or about HP Lovecraft?

CF: My parents worked nights, so the television was my babysitter. I must have been around six years old when I saw an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery called "Pickman's Model". Seeing that monster carrying off Louise Sorel terrified me beyond belief and seared the name H.P. Lovecraft into my...

Interview with Cody Calahan, director of The Oak Room
Posted on Friday 9th October 2020
The Oak Room - Director Headshot (Calahan, Cody) (Photo Credit - Miz Monday)

If you like your horror to have a "Twilight Zone" style twist then The Oak Room is for you. Showing today at Grimmfest we chatted to its director, Cody Calahan.

HC: We show your movie, Let Her Out on the Horror Channel here in the UK, what was the best thing you remember from making that movie?

CC: Experimenting. I definitely played more on that film than any other film I've done. Whether it was with the camera movement or editing, everything seemed very experimental. That was very refreshing.

HC: What did you think of the script for The Oak Room when you f...

Interview with actress Mary Madaline Roe, star of They Reach
Posted on Thursday 8th October 2020
Mary Madaline Roe

Grimmfest continues to champion new talent in front and and behind the camera. Mary Madaline Roe is the star on the superb retro chiller, They Reach and here she chats to Horror about this festival favourite.

HC: For someone so young you've built up an impressive resume, can you recall how you felt when you first walked out onto a movie set?

MMR: When I first walked onto the film set, I was very excited and ready for this day! I had been anticipating the first day of filming for about a year. All the cast and crew were delightful to work with and felt like we were a family. I've learned so much from They Reach as it was my first major role.

HC: Are you a fan of ...

Interview with Brea Grant, the writer and director of 12 Hour Shift
Posted on Wednesday 7th October 2020
Brea Grant BW35-020

12 Hour Shift is one of the best from Grimmfest 2020. The movie stars Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth and Mick Fole and is a grim, funny, dark and hugely entreating piece which has been written and directed by Brea Grant. Here she chats about this superb movie.

HC: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to be in show business?

G: Not really. I grew up in a small town and I didn't know anyone who made their living in the film industry. I acted in plays at the local theater but Hollywood felt like something for other people. It wasn't until I was in college that I started realizing that you could make a living making movies and I moved to Los Ange...

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10.55 PM
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