Your upcoming movie The Neighbours
- in a few words, what's it going
to be about?
is the story of a down on her luck woman whose neighbours may be
murderers or worse…
What were your inspirations when writing The Neighbours? And
is any of this, however remotely, based on some "horrible
neighbour"-stories of your own?
always loved the idea of ‘the thing on your doorstep’ and horror
invading your home, a traditionally safe place of refuge and that the
person living nearest to you could be a monster. I am lucky to have had
great neighbours but it doesn’t stop me wondering what they are doing
behind closed doors!
Do talk about your movie's approach to horror for a bit (as in
suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like)?
I think good horror is not about which is preferable, which is better, I
think there is a place for all aspects if the characters and story is
involving. In The Neighbours
I cover all – there is suspense,
horror hiding in the darkness, jumps, gore. All of these are necessary
ingredients to my particular concoction but the underlying approach is
that of believable characters that you can empathise with plus a great
have chosen to shoot The Neighbours
on 35 mm film - why is that
then, and where do you see the advantages but maybe also challenges
shooting on film?
look that can be created using 35mm is unlike any other look – the depth
the richness of colour, the use of the grain, it all helps to create the
feel of he world I want to create, however I have no aversion to digital
and will shoot digitally if the budget and schedule doesn’t allow for
35mm – digital film cameras are so advanced now that the look they can
give would fit perfectly fine – it’s just celluloid would be truer for
the feel of the piece.
What can you tell us about the
intended overall look and feel of your movie?
is about broken souls, the similarities between my heroine
(Rebecca) and my villain (‘Sister’) are more than they think, so I
have created two looks – both individually pertaining to the specific
character (dark cold colours for Rebecca to indicate a lack of light in
her life contrasting with bright, gaudy Baconesque reds and yellows for
‘Sister’ indicating a ‘false’ sense of light and brightness)
however each showing a lack of truth of character. But the overall
‘look’ is that of hopelessness and isolation.
will star horror icon Lynn Lowry in her British film debut - so why her,
and how did you get her even?
have always been a fan of Lynn’s, I have loved her innocent sweet look
that can also turn evil if required, plus her range is perfect for the
complex part of ‘Sister’. What she does, she does out of love for her
brother and to bring a certain sense of sympathy and pathos to the role
requires a sensitive and intelligent actor, which Lynn provides in
abundance. I was honoured to have been found by Lynn who saw my film page
and wanted to read the script so imagine my delight when she read it and
wanted the part of ‘Sister’. Once she said that, in my mind, there was
never any doubt!
Mark with Charlotte Mounter
What can you tell us about
the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
part of Rebecca will be played by Charlotte Mounter, who is an experienced
and wide ranging actress who I had the pleasure of working with on Mark
Bousfield’s wonderful short film Ghost Nets, which will be coming
soon. Charlotte will bring a believability to the role that will tap in to
a lot of people’s day to day feelings of being trapped and isolated in
either work or home life and she can convey that ‘walls closing in’
aspect of Rebecca that leads her to even more danger. Charlotte is a
deeply intellectual actress that will make the audience really feel for
in the cast is Sarah Langton who plays Dee, Rebecca’s best friend, and
also a reminder of happier times that Rebecca has had. Sarah’s naturally
happy persona is perfect to counter Rebecca’s doom and Dee’s tragic
journey will be brought to life perfectly by Sarah’s sensitive
far as I know, you're currently running a fundraiser for The Neighbours
- so what can you tell us about your fundraising campaign?
am currently raising money through IndieGoGo and initially looking for a
small amount to shoot 2 days then edit that and try to raise the rest of
the budget for the remainder of the shoot (about 6 days in total, around
your funds are raised, what's the schedule - and any idea when and where
the film might be released onto the general public yet, however
the first 2 days will be shot mid September with the rest shot mid
November 2015, so with a bit of luck I am looking for a March, April
completion and possibly a May release (coinciding with my birthday!)
Any future projects beyond The Neighbours?
most definitely – I have a feature script ready entitled erica –
a creepy little tale of fantasy and murder!
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
a child I wanted to be Boris Karloff [Boris
Karloff bio - click here], but when I saw Psycho at an
early age I knew I wanted to be a film director, telling stories and films
are my favourite things so to be able to do this is a privilege and an
honour. I have worked for nearly 30 years in the industry so all of my
training has been on the job.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to The Neighbours?
have made 2 short films so far, Surprise and a short version of erica, which I took successfully to the Cannes Film Festival.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
would say I am sensitive to the needs of the cast and crew but especially
to the audience so I create an atmosphere where we can tell the story as
best as we can for you the horror fan.
Filmmakers who inspire
horror I would say everyone inspires me in some way whether it’s the
heavyweights (Carpenter, Argento, Bava [Mario
Bava bio - click here], Cronenberg, Romero) or the guys
that have pioneered (H.G. Lewis [Herschell
Gordon Lewis bio - click here], Tobe Hooper, James Whale). Outside of
horror I would say Tarkovsky, Bergman, Kubrick for inspiration of
character development, but of course my main source of inspiration is the
master Alfred Hitchcock who made me realize the importance of the
Your favourite movies?
The Shining (a true lesson in building tension),
The Wicker Man (for
its jolly sense of doom!), Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, The Black Cat (1934)
- the list is endless.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I deplore factory-produced horror that condescends to the audience and shows
website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
horror films are the lifeblood (sic) of the industry and the fan base is
one of the most loyal and discerning there is, so projects like this are
made FOR the audience and to offer something that will please, terrify and
ultimately satisfy them is something that is paramount to me, and I hope I
for the interview!