Your film The Eschatrilogy - in a few words, what is it
Frustrated and angered by man's arrogance and lack of fear, a demon
called "The Storyteller" brandishes his own punishment on a small
community. Infecting the inhabitants, he causes them to release their own Inner
Monster, turning friend against friend and father against son. Observing
their turmoil the demon logs and documents three stories which take place amidst the
chaos. These tales offer a warning for future generations to come, to be remembered
and revered by all...
Basically, The Eschatrilogy consists of
three shorts, right? Were they always intended to eventually add up to one
feature film or did that just happen in the process?
never Intended this to become a feature originally. I had just shot my
first feature, and wanted to up my game and mess with makeup and special
effects, so a zombie film seemed logical, cheap but with the right mix,
extremely fun, I also had never shot in high definition before, so this
was my practice piece.
It was actually after we had shot the first version of A Father for
the Dead, I was a little unhappy with the fact the film had no real
depth, it was just a zombie film, so I started looking at the hundreds of
zombies we had in it, and I began to imagine what their fates had been...
this is how the layers grew.
The Eschatrilogy being a zombie movie - is that a genre you are at
all fond of, and some of your genre favourites?
I am not a
huge zombie fan at all. I do love the original Romero trilogy, especially Day
of the Dead. It's a very dark and grungy film, it has the same
seediness of Fulcis' movies but a hell of a lot more class [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here]! Zombie
Flesh Eaters also has one of the best "Rising" scenes, which always
had an impact. I was especially interested in the thought of a
"zombie" which had memories and the capability of controlling
their hunger and rage - they evolve as such. Romero did this so well in Day
of the Dead (less so in Land
of the Dead) that I wanted to try and get
a balance... that's how my "stalker" zombie grew, I gave him a
particular memory and reason, which I also shared with the audience,
hopefully they can also connect with his pain.
sources of inspiration when writing The Eschatrilogy?
Where to begin! I am a huge John Carpenter fan, and have tipped my hat in
numerous places throughout the movie. Also Stephen King his stories have
had a massive impact on me, especially his anthology collections. The
Stand and his TV movie Storm of the Century were also a big inspiration.
few words about your zombies, and of what denomination are they (as in
slow moving vs marathon running, the voodoo vs the flesh-eating variety,
They are the classic kind, slow and marauding (easier
to control 250 of them at a time). And it is more the voodoo aspect, as
it's a supernatural force that brings them out... not an infection.
How would you describe your directorial approach
to your subject at hand?
Like my sex life - Hard and Fast.
No modern zombie film without
violence - so how far are you going in terms of blood and gore, and what
can us about your actual effects work?
The original short
was very gruesome, we went full-out blood guts and shit everywhere! We had
no help then from outside companies, that we used the raw meat/corn syrup
route. We had some fantastic MUAs and a good team on SFX, using latex and
sillicone, to make whatever we could! The gore toned down as the stories
developed, I started to focus on the right effect rather than any effect,
but the hounds still get their share and there are several big gags
throughout the movie. Due to the fact we had no real budget, they are all
pretty much practical on-set effects. As time went on we have had some
great help and donations from companies like Skulls Direct, Dempsey's
Blood and Charles Fox, that we were able to do a little more than your
average Joe zombie flick. Nikk Sanderson and Sally Laughton did a fantastic
job on The Storyteller's make up and design, and my wife developed the
costume which was very impressive.
What can you tell
us about your key cast, and what made them perfect for their roles?
are all very hungry for the game, which I admire immensely! If it wasn't
for my "Stalker" zombie played by Dan Wellard, I'm not sure if
any of this would have happened. His performance in the original short was
very impressive and he had a tortured soul expression on his face that had
me asking what had happened to him in life that was so sad and terrible. I
then sat down and wrote his story, which then escalated into three more.
Tim Grieveson and I have been best friends for years so it seemed a good
idea to have us playing opposite each other, Tim is relatively new to
acting but has a charm that make people warm to him, It was very hard
working with him though, as the little shit always tries to make me laugh,
and succeeds the majority of the time!
few words about the actual shoot, and your on-set atmosphere?
Ha! I think it was tough on a lot of people, I am very demanding and
aggressive in my approach to filmmaking, and when there is no real budget,
and everyone has jobs and lives to get back to, you have to work fast.
Which means there has to be some level of order, which can be hard when
you are all basically mates at the end of the day and I am screaming at
people for smoke machines and all sorts, I'm surprised I haven't taken a
far as I know, The Eschatrilogy has premiered only very recently.
So what can you tell us about audience and critical reception so far?
was a great night, everyone really seemed to have fun and it was a great
atmosphere and a damn fine turnout! It was quite tough for me, because the
film wasn't ready yet, but we were under deadlines for festivals and such
and we wanted to gauge a reaction and a feel for what needed to be done
for the final cut and world premiere. It was a good test screening.
actually started out as an actor, right? So what can you tell us about
Damian Morter, the actor, and did you receive any formal training on the
Damian Morter in Eschatrilogy
I acted a great deal as a kid, I was involved in
Drama at school and outside workshops, performing in plays and other
workshops around the country, I even had the part on a radio soap called The Seasiders when I was
thirteen. I drifted out of it in my
teens as I felt it wasn't "cool" and felt that pissing away
several years of my life drinking and playing rock music was far more
important to my development. I got the bug again in my early twenties, and
posted my ugly mug on Star Now, and started applying for small student
films. I couldn't afford much at the time, so experience was going to be
my only means of training.
What can you tell us about your first time in
front of a movie camera? And do talk about some of your early acting jobs!
the first film I was in was a short film for an Oxford Brooks student. I
played a Russian drug dealer... (my accent came out sounding like Arnold
Schwarzenegger, as do all my other accents) It had a scene at 3am in a
busy Oxford Underpass, I was there with the director and camera man, and
one other actor, and we were harassed by some drunk blokes as they made
their way through the subway. I took one look at the other actor and the
two crew members, and thought I was going to have to fight fucking hard if
it goes awry with this back up behind me! Luckily the drunks got bored and
I haven't been in anything fancy at all, a couple of B grade movies,
nothing to talk about... sorry to those filmmakers... mainly me! lol
made you eventually pick up directing? And what can you tell us about your
filmwork as a director prior to The Eschatrilogy?
have been obsessed with film since I was four or five years old, and my
old man brought me home a VHS of The Terminator... I went mad for it and
have not stopped watching films since, literally I watch a film a day! The
main reason I started to direct was all the crap films I was acting in.
Everything I did was just... well... not very good. Not to say I could do
any better but I was going to try damn hard. A lot of the student films I
was doing, and smaller production company stuff was either gangster, or
shit comedy... nothing original anywhere, but it did give me the
opportunity to learn from all the filmmakers I worked with. I would invite
myself out with them, and even persuade them to let me watch the editing
process asking annoying questions along the way. In the end, their parents
supplied my education through them.
My first film was a short thriller type thing called Loose End.
It was a 45 minute betrayal action flick shot with two of my friends as
crew and actors. It wasn't very good.
My next project Bicycle Day was different, I had married Nicola who came
on as a producer (basically to organise the mess I left wherever I went),
but she took on so much more and pulled me a small crew together. We shot
the film over the course of a few weeks in the forests of Loxley South
Yorkshire. The cost of DV tapes was our budget which came to £90. It was
a revenge/slasher film with a very small cast of 6. The film went on to be
screened at a few festivals as well as being nominated for 5 awards
winning 1 in a US festival. Although hugely flawed I have a soft spot for
that film and would one day like to revisit it with a little money
and directors who inspire you?
Richard Stanley (Dust
Devil, Hardware) is a director who hugely inspires me, a proper rogue. He has
great vision and storytelling qualities, and has had a terrible time
within the industry but has the grace and courage to hold onto his ideas
and not let them be corrupted. I've also had a slight obsession with Corey
Haim since I was a kid, I think it's the drama that surrounded him, the
kid that had it all and we all wanted to be... and obviously his descent
into drug addiction... I always hoped he would make a comeback, damn
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The classics! Psycho, Alien,
Dust Devil, The Fog, The Thing, Halloween,
Nightbreed (waiting to see the Cabal Cut this month), The Wicker
Jacob's Ladder... and could write them down all day! I also like a lot of
the Stephen King TV movies like Storm of the Century, The Shining and
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Rom-coms - I like a decapitation or two!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten
Grimfest World Premiere 7th October!!!
Thanks for the interview!