LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Tom Paton, director of Redwood
By James Whittington, Monday 4th February 2019
Ahead of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Redwood, director Tom Paton reveals the secrets of his prolific work-rate, talks about tackling the subject of fake news and the twists and turns of his new film Stairs.
HC: Redwood gets its UK TV premiere on Friday 8 February, courtesy of Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TP: Honestly, I'm so proud that Redwood has made its way onto Horror Channel. I've been a huge fan since the channel launched and over the past decade I've discovered so many horror gems on there from classic through to films I'd never heard of but now love. It feels incredible to know that someone might discover Redwood in the exact same way.
HC: Is it true you wrote the script in two days?
TP: It is, although I wouldn't recommend that as it caused me some serious stress. The production company had a very limited window of time to use the funds and location that the film was made on, so if we were going to do it then we had to move quickly. It was a real challenge to craft something at that speed that I was going to be proud of so I focused in on something that felt very real and tangible, but was happening within this world of vampires.
HC: The film is one of the lowest-budgeted to grace opening night at FrightFest. How did you pull that off?
TP: I have absolutely no idea how that happened! I was so blown away to find out that the movie was going to be playing at FrightFest that I had to pinch myself. I fully expected for us to be one of the more low key films, tucked away in a corner somewhere. When the programme was announced and we were one of the opening night films I had to pick myself up off of the floor. FrightFest has been the most incredible platform for my career and the spotlight it placed on Redwood. It's a debt I can never repay. Black Site (my third feature film) played at the festival the following year and I'm hoping that it's a relationship that will continue for many years to come.
HC: Although the vampires are ever-present, the film is very character-driven. Was telling the very touching human story your main priority?
TP: I'm as much a fan of a good jump scare as any modern movie watcher, but I do think it's a very overused technique these days. I felt that because the film was being made in this high-speed, low budget fashion, that it allowed me to make something a bit more restrained and character focused. Humanity is this strange, beautiful, scary thing and I really wanted the real horror to stem from something that we've all had an encounter with in the real world - cancer. The vampires are forever lurking just around the corner just like the illness and as a viewer you aren't sure when or how they will strike, or if they will at all. But it's that constant fear of them that I think plays as a strong external metaphor to what Josh and Beth are going through personally. It's more of a tragedy than a straight horror film I think.
HC: You shot the film in Poland. Why?
TP: We made the film with a Polish based production company, and it was really them that were the driving force behind the location choice. But I have to say, I would shoot in Poland again in a heartbeat. They have these huge, forest covered mountain ranges that really stood in as a good substitute for the USA and the crew over there were such a pleasure to work with. The cost effectiveness of shooting in Poland really helped us maximise the budget too, which is why I think the movie looks like it really escapes the trappings normally associated with a lower budget.
HC: Mike Beckingham, who stars in Redwood, also has a main role in your film Black Site. What makes your working relationship so special?
TP: I didn't know Mike before we shot Redwood but I could tell from our first meeting that me and him were going to get along well. He's a really charismatic presence to have around and filmmaking can be such a tough experience sometimes that having him on set becomes this really positive force creatively. We became really good friends during production and I started to feel that I could write something that would really play to Mike's strengths as an actor and so I wrote the part of Sam Levy in Black Site specifically for him. Hopefully we'll finish our little trilogy together very soon with something new.
HC: What is it about the genre that most appeals to you?
TP: Horror just gels so well with different types of storytelling. It's one of these rare things in the medium that plays well with others, so you can partner it with comedy, tragedy, action etc and allow yourself this ability to remix things you love into something new. No other genre really affords that same creative freedom. Redwood is a prime example; although the container is horror, under the hood it has comedy, cancer and character driven drama... no other genre would be able to support those tone shifts except horror.
HC: You're renowned for your prolific work-rate. You currently average a film a year and the quality is impressively consistent. What's the secret?
TP: Caffeine! But seriously, I'm just very good at approaching my career with a sense of momentum. I think as filmmakers we work so hard to build hype around ourselves and our projects that I see it as a waste to let that dissipate once the project is complete. So I'm just very focused on keeping the party going. This year I'm actually doing two movies instead, as well as having an animated adaption of Black Site in the works. I love what I do and only intend on speeding up really.
HC: Your next feature, Stairs, is currently in post-production. Can you tell us a bit about the supernatural thriller? What are your current plans for the film?
TP: Stairs is a totally different beast to anything I've made before. It's an ensemble film this time and really ramps up the action and horror elements from my previous movies. It's also a bit of a head scratcher. I've always focused on very linear storytelling and creating character focused stuff, but with Stairs I've changed that up and made something with a lot of twists and turns that features a huge dose of time-travel. I'm very excited for people to see it. The premise is that a team of special ops go into a war zone they aren't supposed to be in. They carry out their morally dubious orders and then find themselves trapped in an Escher-esque nightmare as the universe forces them to own up their sins. I won't give anything else away though!
HC: You're shooting a big budget space film shooting in 2019. What more can you tell us?
TP: The movie is called G-LOC and is indeed set in space. There's a lot of world building going on and i think we've created a really fun action adventure movie that sci-fi fans are going to love. Keep your eyes peeled for news on this one.
HC: We also hear you have got another horror film planned for July 2019. True?
TP: That is true. I'm tackling the subject of Fake News in a horror movie called The Manuscript. The story straddles two timelines and deals with a mysterious book that has evaded translation for sixty years and is steeped in mythology and murder... but is everything as it seems? You'll find out after I shoot it!
HC: Finally, Tom, when are you taking a break?
TP: I might have a holiday this year, we'll see if there is a little gap in there somewhere.
Redwood has its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel, Friday February 8 at 9pm.
Related show tags: FRIGHTFEST, REDWOOD MORE INTERVIEWS 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 Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.
His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.
HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?
SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.
HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019
The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.
HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?
SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019 On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.
HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.
HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019
Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.
HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?
JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019
Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.
HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?
GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...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 Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019 It was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.
HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?
LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.
HC: W...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chris Bavota, co-director of Dead Dicks
Posted on Sunday 6th October 2019
Horror is the perfect genre for getting across very serious issues. Dead Dicks, which is showing at Grimmfest today does exactly that by looking at the sensitive subject of mental health. Here co-director Chris Bavota talks about this intriguing movie.
HC: How did you and co-writer and co-director Lee Paula Springer first meet?
CB: In case people don't know, Lee and I have been married for almost 10 years and we have 2 young daughters. Making movies somehow came as a natural evolution of that but wasn't really a part of our lives until about three or four years ago. We originally met back around 2004 through a mutual friend and honestly, we didn't really ge...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Friday 21st February
Thursday 20th February
Tuesday 25th February