LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Writer Of Cockneys Vs Zombies James Moran
By James Whittington, Saturday 29th October 2016
Horror Channel is a big fan of James Moran. This multi-talented chap has been behind a number of stand out titles of recent years not just on the big screen but on TV too. Next week his superb shocker Cockneys Vs Zombies comes to Horror so we decided to chat too him about this and his other projects.
HC: What movie did you see growing that inspired you to become a writer?
JM: It all started with Doctor Who, which I've been watching since before I can remember - I used to sit and watch the entire end credits to see what all the names and jobs were, and made up my own stories to fit into the show. Later, I watched a lot of "making of" shows, that explained how the effects were done, the stunts, showed the directors on set - that made me want to get into the movies because it seemed like so much fun. The first movie that made me aware of the writing was A Nightmare on Elm Street (I was WAY too young to watch it, but did anyway), because it was the first horror movie I'd seen which allowed the victim to fight back, and fight back really well. It opened my mind and made me realise, I can tell stories in any way I want.
HC: Where did the idea of Cockneys Vs Zombies come from?
JM: Matthias Hoene, the director, had a title and a pitch, and really wanted to make a funny zombie movie with no-nonsense Cockneys dealing with the supernatural shenanigans in typically down to Earth ways. He and the producers asked me to write the script, but I was too busy in TV at the time. A year later, they had a script but wanted to go in a new direction, so asked me to start again from scratch. I went back to his initial pitch, approached them with some ideas I felt strongly about, they liked what I'd thought of, and I went from there.
HC: Did it change much from first draft to the final version?
JM: Not very much - there were a few more characters that got trimmed to save time, and for a film that's already got tons of characters, it initially had several more! One of the pensioners got combined with another one, and two more hostages got deleted because they didn't affect the plot (an excellent reason to cut anything). But mostly it stayed pretty much the same, just got tighter.
HC: Were you restricted by budget?
JM: Not in my head! I just went full on one thousand percent, assuming that for every five ideas I threw in, one or two would survive. I didn't think for a minute that everything would be achievable, there are always things cut out for budget reasons, so I made sure to overstuff it with mayhem so that there'd be plenty left. But they managed to do everything within the budget, I was amazed. The only thing we couldn't do was a bus crash, but it ended up being a funnier joke anyway, so I'm happy.
HC: The cast is amazing; did you write with anyone in mind?
JM: Alan Ford. Right from my very first meeting with Matthias, James and Mark (the producers) I said they absolutely had to get Alan Ford, because who the hell wouldn't want to see him smashing zombies to bits?! Also the storyline I'd come up with required a cool granddad character, and I wrote it for him from the very first line. I didn't know who else would play the other parts, and I was massively surprised every time there was a new casting decision, I kept asking if the actors had read the script or if the producers had tricked them into it... But I like to think I write fun parts to play, so even the smaller roles have something cool or crazy for the actors to do. I'm incredibly honoured that they took the roles and enjoyed them.
HC: Are you a writer who likes to be on set or once you've written your script you let the director "do what they want" with it?
JM: I like to be on set, but am very respectful of the director's authority - you have to have one person in charge, and I'm not one of those writers who stands there coughing if anyone changes a word, I'm just there to watch and help if I'm needed, or just enjoy the show if I'm not. I try to be there for big dialogue days in case the director or actors want some line changes or alternate options, which happened a couple of times. I'm not precious about the lines, we're all there to make a good movie, and that's my priority.
HC: Would you like to return to the zombie genre?
JM: Definitely! I've got another zombie script floating around that I'm hoping we can get made soon, and if something else came along in that genre and felt right, I'd jump at it. I've always, always, always wanted to make a zombie movie, I love them.
HC: What's the best zombie movie ever made and do you prefer runners or walkers?
JM: Dawn of the Dead, the original (although I love the remake too, they both exist as their own movies and do different things). The original is glorious. I have nothing against runners, but I prefer walkers. Walkers are way scarier because they seem silly at first, but they'll wear you down, quietly, you won't even know there's one behind you until it's taken you down. You think you've found a hiding place, you think you've got away, but they'll just keep coming, and coming, and coming, shuffling towards you, gaining in number, and they'll always - ALWAYS - get you in the end.
HC: You've written for a number of different mediums but which do you prefer?
JM: They each have their pros and cons, I love them all in different ways. With TV, you get the thrill of knowing that tons of people are watching your show right now, at exactly the same time. With movies, you get to sit in a room full of people and see, hear and *feel* their reaction. With comics, you get an unlimited VFX budget. With the web, you get instant feedback and see exactly where your audience is. They're all fun, because I get to make up stories for a living. With this screening of Cockneys on the Horror Channel, I get the best of the TV and film worlds, because it's a movie I wrote going out on TV! I'm very honoured it's playing on the Horror Channel, where it belongs.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
JM: Mina Murray's Journal, a modernised vlog-style adaptation of Dracula, with Mina and Lucy as the heroes - I'm calling it a Vladaptation... The first season is online now, at www.minasjournal.com. We're still taking Connie around to festivals, that's a short film written and directed by my partner Cat Davies, we produced together, and I edited. I wrote episode 3 of the current series of Eve on CBBC, I've got another couple of shorts I want to direct, a couple of features in the pipeline, and a TV series in development.
HC: James Moran, thank you very much.
You can see Cockneys Vs Zombies November 4th at 9pm.
Related show tags: COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES MORE ARTICLES Horror Channel celebrates Sci-Fi B-Movies with Classic Sci-Fi Weekend in April
Posted in Features, Tuesday 24th March 2020
Horror Channel also celebrates the Sci-fi B-Movie with a Classic Sci-Fi Weekend, featuring the channel premieres of mutant octopus-rampaging It Came From Beneath The Sea, Fred F. Sears' saucer-invading caper Earth Vs The Flying Saucers, Sears' rampaging alien bird yarn The Giant Claw, Jack Arnold's thought-provoking classic The Incredible Shrinking Man and Nathan Juran's Ray Harryhausen inspired 20 Million Miles To Earth.
Broadcast on Saturday 11 April and Sunday 12 April from 2pm, the season also includes more strange creatures and alien invaders with The Thing From Another World, This Island Earth and Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun.
Full film details in transmission order...SHARE: READ MORE Groundbreaking gore-fest, Revenge coming to HD
Posted in News, Monday 23rd March 2020
One of the most talked about movies of recent years, Revenge takes the classic exploitation genre by the balls, and now Second Sight Films is giving this groundbreaking gore-fest the Limited Edition Blu-ray box set treatment.
The release features stacks of brand new special features, including a new interview with debut feature writer-director Coralie Fargeat and star Matilda Lutz. Also included are new interviews with the film's cinematographer and the composer, a new commentary and much more. The movie arrives on 11 May 2020 complete with new artwork, designed by Adam Stothard, a poster and a soft cover book with writing by Mary Beth McAndrews and Elena Lazic.
Entitled CEO Richard's romantic...SHARE: READ MORE Screamers in HD, coming soon
Posted in News, Thursday 19th March 2020
101 Films presents Screamers (1995), which is title 013 on the 101 Films Black Label; the cult classic and, chilling sci-fi based on the Philip K. Dick short story Second Variety, and is being released on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK on May 4th.
The year is 2078. The man is rebel Alliance Commander Col. Joseph Hendricksson (Weller), assigned to protect the Sirius 6B outpost from ravage and plunder at the hands of the New Economic Bloc. His state-of-the-art weaponry are known as Screamers: man made killing devices programmed to eliminate all enemy life forms. Screamers travel underground, their intent to kill announced by piercing shrieks. They dissect their victims with sushi precision, then er...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Vendetta
Posted in Interviews, Thursday 19th March 2020 Vengeance Season on Horror contains the UK TV premiere of Vendetta, the superb all-male maelstrom of mayhem from Jen and Sylvia Soska. We chatted to these incredible talented creatives about this action-packed thriller and what they have planned for the future.
HC: Have you always been wrestling fans and if so, when growing up, who were your faves?
Sylvia: We got introduced to wrestling during the epic Kane brother storyline during the Undertaker and Heartbreak Kid feud that led to the first ever Hell in a Cell. I mean after that kind of an introduction; how doesn't the magic of wrestling have your heart for the rest of your life? If it isn't obvious, I'm a Shawn Michaels fan.
Jen: Und...SHARE: READ MORE UK TV premiere of The Soska Sister's Vendetta leads Horror Channel Vengeance Season in April
Posted in Features, Monday 16th March 2020
April is a wicked month on Horror Channel as cops and villains fight it out in the Vengeance Season, a hard-hitting violent action collection which includes the UK TV premieres of the Soska Sister's all-male maelstrom of mayhem, Vendetta, starring Dean Cain and Paul 'Big Show' Wight, and the fight-to-the death revenge thriller Blood Out, starring Luke Goss, 50 Cent and Vinnie Jones.
Broadcast on Saturday nights at 9pm throughout the month, the season also includes the channel premieres of gritty, bullet-fuelled The Prince, starring Bruce Willis, John Cusack and Jason Patric, and Martin Warren's The Heavy, starring Gary Stretch, Vinnie Jones and Christopher Lee.
Full film details in transmi...SHARE: READ MORE Discover the film legacy of Edgar Allan Poe
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
No one has influenced the horror genre more than the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe's works have inspired hundreds of films, and this influence is studied in universities around the globe. This is the first time ever that every Poe influenced film has been analyzed in a single book.
Poe Pictures is an invaluable resource to film studies programs and also a critical guide for every fan of these films.
Included is a detailed analysis and critical review of the importance of each film, perspectives from many who have worked on these classic films, and over 100 black and white photographs from the films. With insights into where Poe ends and cinematic liberties begin, Bruce Hallenbeck has fashio...SHARE: READ MORE Time for The Visitation from Silva Screen
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
The Visitation is the first commercial release of Paddy Kingsland's vintage Doctor Who synth score, to be made available in physical, digital and vinyl formats.
Based on Eric Saward's book, The Visitation is set in England during the height of the 17th Century Great Plague. The story follows The Doctor and his companion fighting Terileptic, a group of fugitive aliens plotting to make the Earth their new home by spreading a deadly plague. Directed by Peter Moffatt, the atmospheric period drama was initially broadcast on BBC 1 from 15th to 23rd February 1982 in four twice-weekly parts, and featured Peter Davison as the fifth Doctor.
Paddy Kingsland's arrival at the BBC radiophonic...SHARE: READ MORE For the first time in physical form the score to The Sun Makers.
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
The Sun Makers is the first commercial release of Dudley Simpson's distinctive Doctor Who score, to be made available in physical, digital and vinyl formats.
Famously, the Christian conservative campaigner Mary Whitehouse misunderstood Doctor Who to be a children's programme and thanks to her relentless fight, the BBC was forced to replace the programme's original production team. The new team was under orders to curb the violence and replace it with a more playful and comedic fantasy tone. The result was The Sun Makers, featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor and Louie Jameson as his assistant Leela. Robert Holmes's story was a clever and amusing spoof of bureaucracy and the tax system, ...SHARE: READ MORE Discover a new Eden in April thanks to Tim Lebbon
Posted in News, Sunday 15th March 2020
From the bestselling author of The Silence comes a brand-new, original eco-horror which will delight fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Josh Malerman, set in a near-future world in which self-preservation truly is the first law of nature.
In a time when Earth's rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction, the Virgin Zones were established in an attempt to combat the change. Off-limits to humanity and given back to nature, these thirteen vast areas of land were intended to become the lungs of the world.
Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventurers into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Attracted by the challenges ...SHARE: READ MORE Project Tic Toc is running once more on Horror
Posted in Features, Sunday 15th March 2020
For his third TV production, legendary producer Irwin Allen turned to the theme of history, past and present, The Time Tunnel.
The concept is nice and straight forward: Project Tic-Toc is an experimental Time Machine project which has been created at huge cost by the United States Government. So far, their efforts have designed and built "The Time Tunnel", a sort of multi-dimensional corridor you can walk down to enter "the living past or future" in any point of time. But after a decade the Government want real results after such an investment and ask for volunteers to prove that the project works. Up steps Dr. Anthony Newman (James Darren, yes, THE James Darren) who defies all attempts to stop him f...SHARE: READ MORE Eaglemoss' Hero Collector debuts new range of Ghostbusters Chibi merch
Posted in News, Friday 13th March 2020
Hero Collector - designers, manufacturers, and publishers of high-quality collectibles from across pop culture - cracks open the containment field to reveal a new range of Ghostbusters Chibi merchandise: fun pin badges, t-shirts, and socks, decorated with Ghostbusters art in the distinctive chibi-style of small, cutesy caricatures!
The new range includes a whopping 19 all-new pin badge designs, including all four original Ghostbusters: Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston, as well as Janine, Louis, and Dana! Their gear gets the same treatment, with the Fire House, the Ghost Trap, and four different Ecto-1 designs. And what would the Ghostbusters be without these six iconic g...SHARE: READ MORE From the producers of Sinister comes The Wolf Hour
Posted in News, Friday 13th March 2020
The Wolf Hour is the edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller where fear of the outside world greys the line between the real and imaginary.
July 1977. New York City is awash with escalating violence. A citywide blackout triggers city wide panic with rampant looting, crime and fire. June (Naomi Watts), once a celebrated counterculture figure, retreats from the chaos shutting herself inside the yellowed walls of her grandmother's South Bronx apartment. But her doorbell is ringing incessantly, the heat is unbearable, and creeping paranoia and fear take hold. Visitors, some invited, some not, arrive one by one, and June must determine whom she can trust and whether she can find a path back to her former se...SHARE: READ MORE Articles Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 5th April
Thursday 2nd April
Tuesday 7th April