ARTICLES

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Stewart Sparke, director of Book of Monsters
By James Whittington, Wednesday 5th September 2018
Director Stewart Sparke watches a scene

HC: Your last movie, The Creature Below was two years ago, what's life been back since then?

SS: Since The Creature Below premiered at Frightfest in 2016 things haven't really stopped for myself and my collaborator Paul Butler. We were lucky enough to have the film released on DVD and VOD in over eight countries under various names. I think my favourite has to be Japan's Leviathan X: From the Deep! The film even had a theatrical release in Taiwan which was quite surreal as it was playing opposite Thor Ragnarok over there so overall, we've been completely blown away by everything that's happened. Paul and I are always coming up with ideas for films and as soon as The Creature Below was finished we were eager to start cooking up our next monster movie!

HC: How did the project for Book of Monsters come to you?

SS: Paul and I really wanted to do something completely different in tone to The Creature Below which was quite a serious and slow-paced movie. We've always had a thing for the fun, popcorn creature features of the 80s and 90s like Gremlins, Tremors and Deep Rising so we wanted to do something that paid homage to that era. Book of Monsters started life as a short film idea with a young girl having to fight off a monster at her eighteenth birthday party and was just a fun opportunity for us to play with creatures again and have some fun gags in there about coming of age stories. It wasn't until after our first film that we looked at the concept again and realised that it would make a great feature length movie with even more monsters in!

HC: Was the idea of using practical effects there from the start?

SS: We knew as soon as we settled on the idea for Book of Monsters that we had to realise the creatures entirely with practical effects. The film is drenched in so much 80s nostalgia that it was important we brought the monsters to life in the same way our favourite films to the era did and this gives the whole thing a true retro feel. I grew up watching Aliens and Braindead so I wanted to recapture the excitement of seeing those real, tangible monsters on screen, actually interacting with the actors.

HC: What was the hardest sequence to shoot and do you have a favourite moment?

SS: The toughest sequence to shoot was the initial monster attack which you can see part of in the trailer. Not only do we have a big, lumbering creature causing havoc, we also had six big practical effects driven deaths to contend with. All of these we're quite complex and required extensive planning to execute correctly. With most gore filled special effects you only get one chance to pull it off and we had to make sure that all the guts, blood and viscera flew in all the right directions! We also had about twenty actors on set at the time either running, screaming or dying so it was quite a challenge to overcome but I'm pleased to say that it went down a treat with the FrightFest audience who all laughed and cheered at the right moments!

HC: Who designed the creatures?

SS: The creatures were designed by the super talented artist Abigail J. Harding who created all these amazing monster concepts for us during pre-production. It was DDFX Studio (Paul & Mark Wilkins) who brought the monsters to life in the creature shop for the film and I couldn't be happier with the result. Their team went above and beyond to bring them to life on set and we not only had performers in costume but also puppeteers operating some of the smaller creatures so that our actors could interact with them.

HC: The score is a mix of synth and orchestra, can we expect a release of this as at all?

SS: Kyoto Dragon did an absolutely amazing job on the score for the film, not to mention the amazing 80s theme song (Ft. Villainest and Tommy Lazer) that plays over the end credits which had people cheering at the FrightFest premiere! Now that the film will be getting a release with Dread Central Presents I'm very hopeful that people are going to be able to pick up the soundtrack in the future.

HC: The poster for Book of Monsters was used to help promote FrightFest, you must be pleased with that?

SS: Yes that was quite a surprise and a huge honour! Paul Mcavoy called me a few days before it was unveiled and asked if it would be OK if they used the image of our three leads (Lyndsey Craine, Michaela Longden and Lizzie Stanton) as a central image in a montage of the films and of course I said it was OK! Little did I know they would be so front and centre with Lyndsey wielding the chainsaw dripping with blood! I have to give huge thanks to Ria Fend who designed the poster for putting our stars out there for everyone to see. Needless to say there were many photos of the cast and crew taken with the poster hanging outside of the Prince Charles Cinema at the festival!

HC: Having Hellraiser legend Nicholas Vince as part of the cast is pretty cool, how did you approach him for the part of Jonas?

SS: We first met Nicholas via the web on his show, Chattering with Nicholas Vince where he interviews a different horror filmmaker every week live via YouTube. Paul and myself were lucky enough to be invited on the show in the run up to The Creature Below's premiere at FrightFest. We had such a great time chatting to him and invited Nicholas along to the premiere and following FrightFest we told him about our idea for Book of Monsters and how we were very interested in having him play a character that is a far cry from the Chatterer. Nick plays Jonas, Sophie's dad in Book of Monsters and he is a key player in the emotional heart of the movie. He has some incredibly emotional scenes with Lyndsey Craine (Sophie) that required a lot of subtlety to pull off and I'm very pleased to say that he did an amazing job. I can't wait for people to see Nick's performance in the film and I think they will find it unlike anything he has done in a horror film before!

HC: What was your 18th birthday like?

SS: It was no where near as bloody as Sophie's, or at least I think so! A bunch of us went to Amsterdam on the ferry for the weekend. I can't say I remember much of it so it must have been good!

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

SS: Paul and I are busy working on several feature films, all of which involve monsters of some kind or another and buckets of gore. Our motto at Dark Rift Films is "We make monster movies" so you can expect lots more practical effects driven creatures to come!

HC: Stewart Sparke, thank you very much.


MORE ARTICLES
Nothing will prepare you for Chuck Steel - Night of the Trampires!
Posted in News, Sunday 17th October 2021
Chuck Steel Night of the Trampires poster

Animortal Studios, announces that its British-made stop-motion animated feature, Chuck Steel: Night Of The Trampires, is releasing into UK cinemas on Friday 29th October, in time for Halloween.

From the fevered imagination of two-time BAFTA-winning writer/director, Mike Mort (Gogs), and featuring the voices of UK comedy legends, Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) and Paul Whitehouse (The Fast Show) alongside Mort's, this homage to 80's B-movie excess is "one of the most extraordinary achievements by an independent animation studio" (Starburst), comes "chock-full of snappy one-liners and ultra-violent action"(Hollywood Reporter) tha...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Michael Mayer and Guy Ayal from the acclaimed movie Happy Times
Posted in Features, Interviews, Saturday 16th October 2021
thumbnail_HT_set_Marie Alyse Rodriguez

Happy Times, which is showing at Grimmfest Online, is a movie that takes the home invasion genre and turns it inside out! Directed by Michael Mayer and co-written with composer Guy Ayal, the movie is a bombastic, bloody and hilarious piece of cinema. I chatted to them both about this dinner party from hell.

HC: Where did the idea for Happy Times come from?

MM: The idea for the movie started forming when I was invited to a Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year's) dinner in Los Angeles. It was the first year of Trump's presidency and wherever you went all people wanted to talk about was politics. One thing to know about the Israeli expat com...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with D.M. Cunningham, writer and director of The Spore
Posted in Features, Interviews, Saturday 16th October 2021
DMC_SetPic copy

If you like your horror with a huge lashing of gruesome effects and a strong story then The Spore is for. Showing at Grimmfest Online, the movie from D.M. Cunningham is a smart take on the body horror genre. Here he chats about this movie which is guaranteed to get under your skin.

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

DM: I started out wanting to be a makeup effects artist. After seeing Night of the Living Dead and discovering Fangoria magazine I was hooked. Tom Savini was a huge influence on my trajectory toward becoming a filmmaker. It wasn't until later that I discovered that you could boss the monsters around on set being the director. That's...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
Posted in Features, Interviews, Saturday 16th October 2021
Father of Flies director

A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?

BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted in Features, Interviews, Friday 15th October 2021
Faceless Director

Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.

HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?

MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Hallowen Kills...on vinyl!
Posted in News, Thursday 14th October 2021
Halloween Kills Album Cover

Renowned composer/director John Carpenter and his creative foils Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies have announced details for the impending release of the original motion picture soundtrack for the fiercely anticipated second installment in the new Halloween trilogy, Halloween Kills, from Universal Pictures, Miramax, and Blumhouse, directed by David Gordon Green and starring horror icon Jamie Lee Curtis. The soundtrack will be released in conjunction with the film release on October 15th through Sacred Bones in a wide range of variants.

In 2018, David Gordon Green's Halloween killed at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing chapter in the four-decade franchi...

SHARE: READ MORE
Universal Monsters are back on Horror Channel and Kim Newman is here to tell you all about them
Posted in Features, Thursday 14th October 2021
Kim Newman

Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the Universal monsters joining Horror for our Classic Horror Halloween event running from 30th-31st of October.

With Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Wolf Man (1941) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), Universal Pictures introduced the lasting icons of horror... combining the presence of stars Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr with the make-up artistry of Jack P. Pierce (except for the Creature who came later in the day and was designed by the extraordinary Millicent Patrick ). These are the genre's cornerstone fiends, and - despite the way they have been domesticated an...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel goes out of this world to bring Channel premiere of Brit sci-fi thriller series UFO from October 20
Posted in Features, Wednesday 13th October 2021

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing great cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Season 1 of the 1970 British science fiction TV series UFO, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by the Andersons and TV mogul Lew Grade.

One of the best of its genre, the 26-part series combines the remarkable talents of the Andersons with those of special effects director Derek Meddings. And with a stellar cast including Ed Bishop, Michael Billington and George Sewell, it proved a popular hit at the time.

Following syndication in the US and favourable ratings, a possible second series was plann...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel - Now on Instagram!
Posted in Features, Saturday 9th October 2021
HorrorIGCrossPromotionV1

You can never have too much Horror Channel in your life, so follow us on Instagram too!

Find us at instagram.com/horrorchannel_uk/

SHARE: READ MORE
Classic monsters will rise this Halloween on Horror
Posted in Features, Thursday 7th October 2021
Classic Horror Halloween Banner

Famous monsters rise again!

To celebrate the Halloween weekend on Saturday 30th October and Sunday 31st October, Horror Channel presents Classic Horror Halloween, two diabolical daytime marathons highlighted by five channel premieres, including Bride Of Frankenstein, the celebrated sequel to the 1931 classic with Boris Karloff reprising his role as the Creature, Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman, featuring the original Wolfman, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein's monster, The Invisible Man, in which Claude Rains delivers a remarkable performance in his screen debut, Christy Cabanne's frightening chiller masterpiece The Mummy's Hand and Revenge ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel sponsoring Grimmfest Online 2021
Posted in News, Thursday 30th September 2021
Virtual Edition

Horror Channel is proudly sponsoring Grimmfest Online 2021 which runs 14th-17th October and will offer audiences the chance to experience the live festival programme in the comfort of their own homes, as well as enabling them to catch up on anything they might have missed at the live event.

The virtual festival will complement and sit alongside the live festival, with much of the content crossing both events. Many of the feature films and shorts that play the live festival will also be featured within the online event but there will also be some online exclusives.

Grimmfest are excited to announce two exclusive feature film presentations only available on our virtual event an...

SHARE: READ MORE
Would you dare enter? Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions coming home soon
Posted in News, Sunday 26th September 2021
Escape Room 2

Sequel to the box-office hit psychological thriller that terrified audiences around the world Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions is available to Download and Keep on October 4 and to Rent on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on October 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Directed by Adam Robitel (Escape Room, Insidious: The Last Key) the movie stars Taylor Russell (Escape Room, Waves), Logan Miller (Escape Room, Love Simon), Indya Moore (Queen & Slim), Holland Roden (Follow Me), Thomas Cocquerel (In Like Flynn) and Carlito Olivero (Bad Samaritan).

In this installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly un...

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
UFO
UFO
Monday 1st November
7.00 PM
Dead Ringers
DEAD RINGERS
Sunday 24th October
9.00 PM
Star Trek - The Original Series
STAR TREK - THE ORIGINAL SERIES
Monday 1st November
9.00 PM