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An Interview with Philip Gardiner, Director of Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of the Blue Moon Inn

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2011

Philip Gardiner on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new film Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of the Blue Moon Inn - in a few words, what is it about?


Very simply it tells the tale of a special event that happens once every 100 years – the moon turns blue. We join a motley crew as they all come together to witness this special time, only to discover that somebody had planned the whole thing and he’s been around for centuries doing the same thing each time. It all goes nasty. And why not, better than just having a picnic.


What were your inspirations when writing Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of the Blue Moon Inn?


Well, I shan’t do it again, because once is enough, but this film was totally made with classic Hammer House in mind. Think 70’s British eccentric horror and that’s what this was an attempt to do.


You have (professionally) done quite a bit of research on the occult for your books and documentaries. In what way did your knowledge on the subject influence your writing Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of the Blue Moon Inn, and/or did it actually at times stand in the way of story development?


Well, of course, you use your knowledge when putting a film together like this, but as you rightly point out, sometimes it can get in the way. I have been accused of being too complicated, too confusing for folk, so I have taken some of that into account with this film, which is pretty basic, but, there are explanations for several myths embedded in the film. Not going too deep, helped me keep a fairly decent pace to the film and let it come almost naturally out of the characters.


Why did you use the borderline-iconic character of witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins in your film, and did this part of the story follow any actual myth?


Two reasons. Firstly because Hopkins is exactly as you point out, iconic. If you want cult eccentricity, then you might as well go the whole hog. Secondly, because he forms part of an occult explanation for why witches were persecuted in the film.


John Symes doesn't only play Matthew Hopkins in Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of the Blue Moon Inn, he is also credited with co-scripting and co-producing the film. What can you tell us about Symes, and what was your collaboration on the script and on set like?


John Symes (center)

John Symes was only recently let out of an insane asylum and I simply thought that using him in such a film would add more realism. The man is completely barking mad and probably one of the greatest living actors. He deserves to be picked up by the big film companies! Even if he is insane. But his insanity can be very useful when you need somebody to go over a script and help you iron out the rough edges…


What can you tell us about the rest of your principal cast?


I shan’t pick anyone single person out, because they were all hard working and gave it their all. Besides, I can’t stand any of them.


Your eclectic supporting cast also features qute a few non-actors who seem to pop up time and again in your oeuvre, like musicians Corjan and James Earnshaw, and metallurgist and writer Robert Feather. A few words about them?


James Earnshaw is a diamond. He will throw himself into anything and he is a very creative man. His band, No Redemption, have given us some fantastic rock songs! So listen up EMI, sign the buggers!

Corjan came along again this time, because he was missing being slaughtered and you know what these Dutch folk are like, they do like to get killed every now and then. He wrote and performed a brilliant song for the film and James directed the video for it beautifully.


How would you describe your directorial approach to the subject?


I closed my eyes, shouted "action" and waited until I got the footage back to base to see if it worked or not. Well, it’s a different style I bet nobody else has tried before.


Somewhere I have read your film was shot on location wherever, but now I seem to have mislaid my source material - so is that at all true, and if so, what can you tell us about your location as such?


We used a very old Inn called The Swan in Staffordshire and it was awesome. Supposedly haunted by spirits… yeah.


Films about the occult, even with setups similar to yours, have a long tradition in (English) horror. A few of your genre favourites?


The Wicker Man, The Omen, Dracula and all the Carry On-films… (they were horror right?)


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Any future projects you'd like to talk about?


I have totally changed style for this next one called Lady of the Dark: Genesis of the Serpent Vampire. It stars Melanie Denholme, who I can say, without reservation, scared the shit out of me making this film. She is absolutely fantastic. I shot with DSLR’s mainly and have attempted to create an artistic juxtaposition between beauty in imagery and horrific content (or some such crap...)


Your and your film's website, Facebook, whatever else?


The new film I’m working on is

Paranormal Haunting is

The Stone is

And Facebook is apparently somewhere on the internet.


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


Can I have that ice cream you promised me now and please take your foot off my neck, I answered the questions didn’t I?


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



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

is all of that.


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


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD