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An Interview with Dan Brownlie, Director of The Tombs: Rise of the Damned

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2014

Dan Brownlie on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your upcoming movie The Tombs: Rise of the Damned - in a few words, what's it going to be about?

 

It's about a press night at the world famous London Tombs scare attraction that goes horribly wrong when spirits of the plague victims buried beneath the attraction rise up and take over some of the animatronics.

 

How did the project fall together in the first place, and what can you tell us about your writer Michael William Smith, and your collaboration with him?

 

The project came about when I was at a press night at the London Tombs (for Haunted Magazine I think), and as we were being led around the tombs my brain started to think, "what if something happened to make this place real. People started dying but being a scare attraction no one would think the screams were anything to be scared of. Then when the manager (James) said that it was built on an actual plague burial site - well, that was the final piece and the story came together.

Michael was a friend of a friend who I heard wrote screenplays and such. I'm always one for giving people a chance as you never know what talent you are going find. And talent there was. Not only is he the fastest writer I've met but he's also very open and adaptive to tweaking the script to my vision. I will definitely use him again and strongly advise anyone looking for a script writer to track him down on Facebook.

 

You of course have to also talk about The Tombs: Rise of the Damned's very special killers for a bit? And what drew you to the film's slasher theme to begin with?

 

Slashers just seemed the natural way to go. The animatronics are lurking in the tombs stalking and killing people so slashers just seemed the natural choice.

The killers are all my own creations designed specifically for this feature. Each one has a multitude of influences - Charles Band's films Demonic Toys and Dolls is very much there. Killer Klowns from Outer Space, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Nightbreed, American Psycho and even my own short film Bear Scary. My favourite by far is our poster boy 'TeddyScare'. I absolutely love killer teddy bears and have them in some form or another in every feature film I have done so far. I put a lot of different influences into TeddyScare and he really seems to be the one everyone's rooting for. The London Tombs have even asked if he can be the star attraction in their Halloween event Phobophobia, so you know he's gotta be scary as hell.

 

Your actual location, The London Tombs - what do you find so appealing about filming there, and do you see any challenges in that respect?

 

I don't see challenges in the location, I see opportunities to create a more interesting shooting style. Shooting there will be amazing, the place is tailor-made to terrify people, even walking round there in the light freaks me out.

 

What can you tell us about your movie's approach to horror (as in suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?

 

There are no "vs", I really want to marry the two. Build a nice tense atmosphere, draw it out to get people on the edge of their seats and then BOOM sudden shock of gore and brutality. Knock the audience sideways.

 

Do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

I am very influenced by Tobe Hooper and Rob Zombie. I love extreme close ups, uncomfortable angles and erratic cuts. I want a tense frantic nightmare of a film. I want people to be blown away. We're utilising its claustrophobic atmosphere, circus lighting and long creepy corridors. The location films a lot of it itself.

 

Anything you can tell us about your projected cast yet?

 

We are keeping a lot of the roles open as we are casting in open auditions even for some of those already attached but we can say that Jessica Ann Bonner is green-lit to lead and Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here] has also been confirmed.

 

As far as I know, you are currently running a fundraiser for The Tombs: Rise of the Damned - so what can you tell us about your campaign?

 

Well as announced on our press night (on Monday the 13th of October), Templeheart have officially green lit the project so we are now going into pre production. We still have the IndieGoGo campaign up though as the merch on there is limited to this campaign so people can still buy the T-shirts, pre-order DVDs etc. 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-tombs-rise-of-the-damned

 

Once your funds are raised, what's the schedule, and even if it might be waaay too early to ask, any idea when the film might be released onto the general public yet?

 

We are hoping to shoot early next year so we can enter it into Film 4's Frightfest.

 

Any future projects beyond The Tombs: Rise of the Damned you'd like to share?

 

Beyond The Tombs we have the second film in my anthology series Self Induced Nightmares Part 2. A few of the sections have been filmed already so just waiting on the rest and I'll wrap it up with the narrative story.

I have a Tombs sequel in mind that would be awesome to do (mainly as it would mean the first one was a success). Serial Kaller has been accepted into Horror-on-Sea film festival and will also be released by Wild Eye Releasing along with my first anthology film Three's a Shroud next year.

 

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www.facebook.com/thetombsmovie

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Twitter: @TheTombsMovie and @brandBcorp

www.brand-b.com/

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Only a massive thank you to Templeheart Films and the London Tombs for believing in me and this project. To all those who have helped design T-shirts, posters, sponsored us, written articles, helped us and supported us. There are so many people to thank it's unreal but they all know who they are and that they have my gratitude.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD