LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Short Cuts To Hell 2 Finalist Interview: Joe And Lloyd Staszkiewicz - Hubert's Ghost
By James Whittington, Saturday 4th October 2014
This year’s ShortCuts To Hell competition saw some incredibly inventive entries.
Here we speak to finalists Joe and Lloyd Staszkiewicz who are behind the paranormal short Hubert’s Ghost.
To vote for Hubert’s Ghost click here.
HC: Where did the idea for Hubert’s Ghost come from?
JLS: Despite it being a new idea we’d often talked about a way to expand the core concept behind Hubert’s Ghost for years. We've always been very fascinated with the origins and folklore behind Halloween. On that one night, the veil between the living and the dead is apparently at it's weakest, so in ye olden days people started dressing up in costumes in attempt to blend in with the evil spirits and go unnoticed. We’ve always thought about this and wondered what it would be like if this idea wasn't just confined to one night, and there was a really haunted town where people have to dress up all year-round. Also, every Halloween, you see blogs posting old-school pictures of how people used to dress up in those amazingly messed up, makeshift but awesomely creepy costumes. So we decided to combine that with the other story elements we had in place. Not only would these super-shit costumes keep costs down but they would give the film a very interesting style, with regards to character and costume design.
HC: Did it take long to write?
JLS: I probably took us about 30 minutes to write the first draft. We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. We then spent a few weeks tweaking and changing bits of the story and dialogue for various reasons. The three minute time constraint meant we had to be very strict with what went in the final script so we deliberated over it right up until we started shooting. We also had to ditch the part where 10,000 ghosts march on Hubert’s house and destroy it with ray guns before Hubert and his family escape to the Planet Of The Apes on a spaceship from the future. We weren’t sure that we could make that visual effect convincing enough.
HC: How much budget did you use?
JLS: We were allowed to spend £666 on the short as per the competition rules. This was one of our most expensive productions to date, costing about £30 which covered the cost of some paint, chopsticks, a bright orange harness and a load of ‘buy one get one free’ pot noodles. We try not to spend much. Mainly because we don’t have much. But I also think you don’t always need money to make something look great. Working with a strict budget really helps to focus your creativity. I’m probably only saying that because I’m bitter about rich people though.
HC: It has a wonderfully dark streak of humour running through it, were you inspired by any other horror/comedy movies?
JLS: We were inspired by a wide range of films and TV shows for this film. There’s obvious reference points like the films of Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and Laika. Really fun and quirky family films. But our main influence in writing and also in life is a 90s TV show that ran on Nickelodeon called The Adventures Of Pete And Pete. The main characters are two brothers, both called Pete. Their Mum has a metal plate in her head that picks up Mexican radio and the younger Pete has his own personal Superhero called Artie: The Strongest Man in the World. It’s utter genius and so funny without being stupid just for the sake of it. You really care about the characters in it and it has a lot of depth and heart. That’s something we aspire to.
HC: Did it take long to shoot and edit together?
JLS: It was quite a lengthy process. Definitely the most time we’ve ever put into a short film with regards to both filming and post production. We shot it over a weekend at an Oriental Brewhouse in Lincolnshire. I’m not really sure what one of those is but it looked great on camera. Eight of us worked on the film and all slept on the floor of the room that Hubert’s Ghost was mostly shot in. We didn’t get much sleep. Mainly because of the ghosts that kept throwing chess pieces and books at our heads. That could have been our brother Rowan, though. He was quite drunk by the time we decided to get some sleep. We’re always professional.
The post-production process took a few weeks. We had a lot of effects shots to complete, most of which were completely new to us. On top of that we wanted to spend a lot of time on the sound. I think the final sound mix had around 80 tracks of audio on it. We had a lot of fun doing it all though. Our parents had just opened a cafe in Nottingham so Lloyd and I would go down there every day and work on the film. Some of the older, regular customers often made snide comments about us wasting our time on “those machines” playing “Wars of The Warcrafts”. Little did they know we were actually playing Minecraft whilst scabbing free cups of tea.
HC: What was the hardest part of creating Hubert’s Ghost?
JLS: There’s always obstacles in film making but I wouldn’t say anything was particularly hard. Having challenges are part of the fun and it makes the end product so much more satisfying when you finally get there. The VFX shots were quite ambitious for us. For the most part, we went into filming without knowing whether we were going to be able to accomplish the shots that we had in our heads. We ended up pretty proud of what we achieved. If any Visual effects guru looked at it, they would probably laugh but I think for the majority of the audience that will see the short, it does the trick. Having said that, I suppose the toughest part was trying not to break any of the home owner’s valuable possessions whilst we were throwing people and objects around rooms and along floors. I’m quite proud that we left it unscathed.
HC: What did it feel like seeing your work on the Horror Channel?
JLS: Having your work broadcast to the general public is amazing. We feel very fortunate that Hubert’s Ghost has been screened at both FrightFest on the big screen and on the Horror Channel in the last few months. I’ll never get bored of seeing our films like that. We’ve both religiously tuned into the Horror Channel when Hubert’s Ghost has been shown. Every time it’s on we get picture messages from our friends who are also watching and feel as proud as we do that’s it’s being shown on TV.
HC: Do you have a plan as to how to extend this idea if it wins Short Cuts To Hell 2?
JLS: We always had the feature length idea in the back of our minds when working on the short. The style and much of the concept will carry over, but there will be a few key changes. Instead of the story being confined to the one haunted house, the whole town is super haunted, and so all the residents have to wear costumes. There will be such a weird and wonderful world that will aid a really interesting story. We are currently working on the script. Every story element is mapped out and we have a really clear idea of where we are taking it.
HC: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
JLS: We are currently concentrating on developing the Hubert’s Ghost script. We both work full-time doing freelance video, so we are just spending every bit of free time on this. Hopefully one day we can dedicate a lot more time to our own projects, like Hubert’s Ghost. Also, I need to paint my dining room because it’s just been re-plastered. I’m putting that off.
HC: Joe and Lloyd Staszkiewicz, thank you very much.
MORE FEATURES Horror Channel gets beastly in March with Creature Feature season
Posted on Thursday 20th February 2020
Carnivorous sandworms, murderous ant hybrids, a giant snake and deadly creepy spiders... Horror Channel gets beastly this March with a Creature Feature Season - a monstrous collection of creature carnage, which includes the UK TV premieres of It Came From The Desert, Marko Makilaakso's smart, funny and very creepy homage to Ray Harryhausen, and Micah Gallo's skin-tingling directorial debut Itsy Bitsy, every arachnophobe's worst nightmare.
Broadcast on Friday nights throughout the month, the season also includes the channel premiere of Tremors, Ron Underwood's affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, starring Kevin Bacon, and the star-studded jungle snake nightmare Anaconda, s...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 Horror Channel marks February weekends with eight action-packed premieres
Posted on Wednesday 15th January 2020
Killer parties, virtual dinosaurs, zombie flesh-eaters and Milla Jovovich in top form...Horror Channel makes February an action-packed month with eight premieres, including the UK TV premiere of Matty Beckerman's savage sorority slasher The Row and the channel premieres of Simeon Halligan's neon-drenched Mancunian horror thriller Habit, starring Elliot James Langridge, Roxanne Pallett and Jessica Barden. Plus there's the eerie psychological thriller Can't Come Out To Play, directed by John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), starring Samantha Morton, Michael Shannon and Peter Fonda.
There are also Channel premieres for the 2019 version of Cabin Fever, a remake of Eil Roth's 2002...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel beams in Captain Sulu for "George Takei selects Star Trek" on Saturday January 25
Posted on Monday 6th January 2020
George Takei, the legendary Star Trek actor, personally introduces some of his favourite Sulu episodes from the Original Series.
"George Takei selects Star Trek" will take over Horror Channel on Saturday 25 January, from 3pm, showing four specially selected episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek: The Original Series.
Here are George's chosen episodes with transmission order:
3pm: Star Trek: The Original Series - The Naked Time A rescue party goes to save some scientists on a dying planet, but they are all dead when the team arrives. Can McCoy save the day?
4.05pm: Star Trek: The Original Series - Shore Leave The crew enjoy some downtime on a peaceful p...SHARE: READ MORE 10 of the best from 2019!
Posted on Sunday 22nd December 2019
The last 12 months has been a prime year for the horror genre fan with titles that stretched well-trodden ideas mixed with some truly original pieces.
We've had sequels, remakes, and more than our fair share of true oddities and for once the good outweighed the bad.
Here in no particular order are ten of the best the year had to offer either at festivals, in cinema or home entertainment.
The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot Sam Elliott and Aidan Turner are The Man Who Killed Hitler and then The Bigfoot the critically acclaimed, genre-bending, breath-taking adventure that sees a legendary American war hero as a young man and in his twilight years, taking on two very different adversaries. Decades after serving in WWII and assassinating Adolf Hitler, Calvin Barr (Elliott/Turner) is enlisted as the only man for the job: to hunt down the fable...SHARE: READ MORE "Danger, Will Robinson!" - Time to get Lost in Space with Horror
Posted on Wednesday 18th December 2019
Created by Irwin Allen and set way into the (then) future, Lost in Space is one of those cult TV series that Hollywood is rightfully proud of. Allen, of course had already given the world the gripping series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-68) and would go onto create more classics such as The Time Tunnel (1966-67) and Land of Giants (1968-70) and produce cinematic thrills as The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974).
Originally running from 1965 until 1968 and across three seasons and an incredible 83 episodes, the series, set in 1997, brought the space age to homes across the globe, just a few years before we made it to the moon.
Influenced by the classic...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel kicks off the New Year with a Stranger Fears Season
Posted on Tuesday 10th December 2019 Horror Channel kicks off the New Year with a Stranger Fears Season - a retro-flavoured selection of 1980s influenced modern horror, which includes the UK TV premieres of Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski's hard-core hospital horror The Void and Jackson Stewart's throwback paranormal fantasy Beyond the Gates, starring horror legend Barbara Crampton. Broadcast every Saturday night throughout the month, the season also includes Todd Strauss-Schulson's entertainingly subversive slasher fantasy The Final Girls and Lowell Dean's stylish, rage-fuelled WolfCop.
There is also a UK TV premiere for Mathieu Turi's terrifying and moving horror thriller Hostile and channel premieres for Barry Levinson's brutal and ...SHARE: READ MORE Seasonal shocks aplenty on Horror in December including UK premiere of Tyler MacIntyre's Patchwork.
Posted on Thursday 21st November 2019
Wayward werewolves, genetic mutants, a female Frankenstein, man-eating spiders and the return of The Creeper... Horror Channel provides plenty of seasonal shocks in December, including the UK TV premiere for Tyler MacIntyre's incandescent comic horror Patchwork, a modern spin on Mary Shelley mythology, mixed with fun gore and a cheeky tone. It received rapturous applause when first screened in the UK at FrightFest Glasgow 2016 and will delight fans of classic 1980's scream fests.
There is also a UK TV premiere for spider-infested supernatural thriller Guardians of the Tombs, starring Kelsey Grammer and Channel premieres for martial-arts futurist thriller Ultraviolet, starring Milla Jovovich, werewolf chiller...SHARE: READ MORE Renowned Author and critic Kim Newman takes us on a nostalgic trip through Horror Channel's Classic Monster Marathon Day on Sunday 24 November.
Posted on Tuesday 19th November 2019
When Universal Pictures secured the rights to Bram Stoker's Dracula, the property had just been made popular by a Broadway theatre adaptation. Stage star Bela Lugosi got his career-making (and-defining) gig as the Count ('I... am... Dracula') because Lon Chaney, star of Universal's silent Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame, had died and left a gap few thought anyone would ever fill. At the time, the industry classed Dracula as 'a mystery play', lumping it in with the old dark house spookiness of The Cat and the Canary. After the first talkie vampire became a big hit, folks started talking about 'horror films' and 'monster movies' - and the genre as we know it nearly ninety years later was founded. With Dr...SHARE: READ MORE All you need to know about Horror Channel's Classic Monsters Marathon!
Posted on Monday 11th November 2019
On Sunday 24th of November, Horror Channel is celebrating the beginnings of cinema horror with Classic Monsters Marathon.
Kicking off at 1pm, it features some of the most iconic monster movies of all-time, including: Ted Browning and Karl Freund's Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi as the infamously seductive Count, James Whale's genre-defining Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff, Karl Freund's mesmerising The Mummy, with Boris Karloff further establishing himself as one of the great horror stars in film history, The Wolf Man, with Lon Chaney, Jr. as the original werewolf and the pulp horror classic Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Dracula is first on the list starti...SHARE: READ MORE 10 things you might not know about Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Posted on Saturday 26th October 2019
It's the one where no one came home. It's the one without Michael Myers. It's the one that stalled at the box-office but gained a huge cult following over the last 37 years or so!
Yes, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the movie which split the Halloween fanbase right down the middle but was supposed to be the relaunch of the brand name.
Here's 10 fear-filled facts you might not know about this classic horror and catch the movie on Horror October 31st at 10.55pm.10) The film was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace who also provides the voice on those classic Silver Shamrock commercials. 9) Speaking of which, the infamous Silver Shamrock jingle is actually the old nursery rhyme... SHARE: READ MORE Sinister, Terrifier and Tower Block amongst Horror Channel premieres in November
Posted on Tuesday 22nd October 2019
Psycho clowns, demented dolls and deadly snipers... Horror Channel is big on scares in November with eleven Channel premieres including murderous supernatural chiller Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke, Damien Leone's screamingly shocking Terrifier and the riveting urban thriller Tower Block, starring Sheridan Smith and Jack O'Connell.
There are also Channel premieres for two popular installments of the Chucky franchise, Child's Play 2 and Child's Play 3. John Carpenter's dazzling fantasy Starman, starring Jeff Bridges, two spooky black comedy classics - Peter Jackson's The Frighteners and Joe Dante's The Burbs, and the even more eerie John Carpenter remake of Village of the Damn...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Friday 28th February
Monday 2nd March
Thursday 27th February