ARTICLES

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

s GhostThis 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 INTERVIEWS
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
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
CHILDS_PLAY_Universal_2D_BD_Pakcshot_UKIt 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
Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
Urban Legend
URBAN LEGEND
Sunday 8th March
9.00 PM
Malibu Shark Attack
MALIBU SHARK ATTACK
Sunday 8th March
6.45 PM
Resident Evil: Extinction
RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION
Friday 6th March
10.55 PM