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 FRIGHTFEST
Arrow Video FrightFest announces August 2020 Short Film Programme
Posted on Saturday 8th August 2020
FrightFest August Short Film -logo2

The films may be short, but there is no shortage of scares as Arrow Video FrightFest 2020 showcases the best new short films from the UK and around the world, with six countries representing three continents. From under-the-bed monsters to monsters in front of your eyes, from the sinister and the creepy to the wickedly human and the not-so-human, this year's selection shines a spotlight on upcoming filmmakers.

The UK is represented with a record eleven entries. There are world premiere screenings for Werewolf, where game night just got dangerous, A Bit Of Fun, where a girls' night in brings out the dead and The Beholder, in which you'd be wise to ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Airell Hayles writer and co-director of They're Outside
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
Airell Hayles

FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to Airell Hayles whose movie They're Outside mixes found footage and pagan horror genres to great effect.

HC: Where did the idea for They're Outside come from?

AH: This idea for They're Outside came from a couple of things. I remember as a kid hearing that my uncle suffered mild agoraphobia, and when I learned what it was, I was fascinated by this idea of some people being kind of scared to leave their homes. Of course, the recent Covid-19 events h...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Fionn and Toby Watts, directors of Playhouse
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
Toby and Fionn Clapper 1

FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to talented brothers Fionn and Toby Watts who have delivered a gothic, creepy piece named Playhouse.

HC: Was there one film or person who influenced or inspired you to become film makers?

FW: As a young boy I remember being absolutely blown away by the image of The Terminator's exo-skeleton rising from the flames. Around the same time I saw Candyman at a sleepover (rented by my friend's 'older' brother...) and it was such an i...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest announces August Digital Edition line-up and Horror Channel sponsors talent-seeking First Blood strand
Posted on Tuesday 28th July 2020
FrightFest Online-Logo-3_NEW

The UK's most popular horror and fantasy film festival celebrates its 21st bloody year with a special Digital edition, showcasing twenty-five films, from Thursday 27th August to Monday 31st August, including seven world premieres and sixteen UK premieres. Ten countries are represented from four continents in a deadly, daring and diverse programme exclusively presented to UK audiences.

Passes and tickets will go on sale Saturday 1 August and details on how to access the event and choose which films to watch are on the FrightFest website. All film screenings will be geo-locked to UK audiences and only accessible from within the United Kingdom.

The men...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel highlights six summer weekend shockers in its August premiere line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th July 2020
Horror Chanel - Aug banner

August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's most popular small-screen destination for genre fans presents six summer weekend shockers, five FrightFest hits including the UK TV premieres of Julian Richards, Reborn, a Carrie for the Z Generation, starring horror icon Barbara Crampton, Jordan Barker's Witches In The Woods, an unrelenting assault of pure terror, Alistair Legrand's highly unusual genre-blending chiller, The Diabolical and Milan Todorovic's sharp-teethed, seductive Killer Mermaids. All these films received FrightFest premiere screenings.

There is also a channel premiere for another FrightFest title, The Windmill Massacre, where Friday The 13th...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Tony and Ryan Smith co-writers of Volition.
Posted on Tuesday 7th July 2020
Volition

FrightFest 2019 delivered some amazing movies and one of the best was Volition from the talented brothers Tony and Ryan Smith. Now that the movie has been unleashed onto Apple TV, Prime Video and other Digital Platforms we chatted to them about this acclaimed movie and their plans for the future.

HC: You both hail from South Africa, what's the movie industry like in that country at the moment?

TDS: I believe the South African film industry is very healthy and it's a place Ryan and I would love to revisit and make a movie about. I have a number of filmmaker friends who film there and absolutely love the people, the scenery and the incredible crews.

HC: Did you know from an...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest to present August digital edition
Posted on Wednesday 24th June 2020
FrightFest 2020 Banner

Arrow Video FrightFest will go virtual over the August Bank Holiday, presenting up to twenty-five films from Friday 28th August to Monday 31st August inclusive.

There will also be additional online content including special guest intros, Q and As, and a short film showcase. Plus, some free Live events are at the planning stage. Passes and individual tickets will be available and go on sale early August. The films will be geo-blocked for viewers in the UK.

More details will be announced in the coming weeks, alongside the line-up of films.

Ian Rattray, FrightFest co-director said today: "Although we can't recreate the special atmosphere of our public gat...

SHARE: READ MORE
Important news from team FrightFest
Posted on Tuesday 2nd June 2020
FrightFest Halloween 2020

Due to the continuing Covid-19 restrictions on social distancing, Arrow FrightFest's traditional five day event in August has been regretfully put on hold. Instead, the organisers are planning to expand their traditional all-day Halloween event at the end of October.

Alan Jones, co-director, said today: "Sadly, we won't be able to come together and celebrate our 21st year in the summer but rest assured, we will make our London Halloween event one to remember. FrightFest has always been about the genre community joining together, not just to embrace films but to demonstrate our unique spirit of supportive closeness".

Details on dates, venues, films and tick...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020

Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.

It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?

JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.

When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020

Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...

You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?

AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest announces Glasgow Film Festival 2020 line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th January 2020

Welcome the transgressive, the traumatic and the terrifying as Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's favourite horror fantasy event, returns to Glasgow Film Festival for a 15th fantastic year, from Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March, 2020.

Thirteen is lucky for some as that's the number of new films being presented at the iconic Glasgow Film Theatre, embracing the latest genre discoveries from around the globe, spanning four continents, including one world, two European and seven UK premieres.

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director, commented: "Welcome to another banner FrightFest and another invitation to explore the horror fantasy genre's fertile harvest bursting with creativity, ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019

FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?

CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Boo
BOO
Sunday 16th August
10.35 PM
Patient Zero
PATIENT ZERO
Friday 21st August
9.00 PM
Tales From The Darkside
TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE
Sunday 16th August
8.30 PM