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An Interview with Stuart Simpson, Director of El Monstro del Mar!

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2012

Films directed by Stuart Simpson on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your film El Monstro del Mar! - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Killer vixens vs a giant sea monster.

 

If I had to guess two key influences on El Monstro del Mar!, it would be H.P. Lovecraft and Russ Meyer (though there is no nudity in your movie). How far off is my guess?

 

I'd say you were spot on!

 

El Monstro del Mar! is also reminiscent of drive-in and grindhouse monster fare from the 1950's through to the 70's. What do you find so appealing about these movies of old, and some of your favourites?

 

I'm a huge Roger Corman fan [Roger Corman bio - click here]. What I find appealing the most about his films are the boldness of concept and mashing of genres. He knew his audience and gave them what they wanted. Of course a lot of them are unintentionally funny but that's part of their charm. As far as old monster movies go, I really love the Japanese versions. I admire the hands-on approach of puppeteering combined with miniature sets, and there's just something cool about the abrupt sound effects and creaure designs from the 50s/60s.

 

Other sources of inspiration for El Monstro del Mar!?

 

I took character inspiration from my love of the Juvenile Delinquent genre, popular in the 60s drive-in, and the girl gang films of the 60s/70s (both American and Japanese).

 

How did the project come into being in the first place?

 

Nelli Scarlet

Kate Watts

Norman Yemm

After toying with the idea of doing a sea creature film with my friend and El Monstro del Mar!-producer, Fabian Pisani, I talked with SPFX artist Nick Kocsis about the practicality of building a creature on a low budget. We came up with a few potential ways and were confident we could do something worthwhile. I started to work on the script straight away. It was lots of fun to write.

 

What can you tell us about your key cast, and how did you get them?

 

I wrote the character of Beretta with Nelli Scarlet in mind. I had worked with her on a video clip before hand and thought she had a very striking look and stature that would be great for a bad ass gang leader. 

 

Kyrie Capri

Karli Madden

Kyrie Capri was another actress I had worked with briefly before, also on a video clip, and I instantly thought of her when casting for Hannah the innocent teenager. She has this sweet quality that shows through on camera and of cours she e is gorgeous.

 

I found Karli Madden from some auditions we held, and Kate Watts was suggested by Nelli after I told her I couldn't find the right girl to play Snowball. I met up with Kate and thought she was perfect. Plus I loved the idea that Kate and Nelli already knew each other and I could try and capture that familiar chemistry between them. 

 

Norman Yemm, who plays the grump old sea baron Joseph, was also suggested to me by a local filmmaker here in Melbourne, Richard Wolsterncroft, who had recently used him in his own film. Norman was very approachable and a real professional.

 

You have to talk about El Monstro del Mar!'s monster for a bit, and about the effects work that brought it to life?

 

Well when designing the monster I did a mock up with photos, combining different parts of ugly looking deep sea creatures together. I gave that to Nick Kocsis as a rough reference and then he went ahead and drew up some more details designs based on those ideas. We would bounce ideas back and forth until we were both happy and then he made a miniature version in silicon that could be used under water. We had life size versions of the tentacles, also made from silicon, that could be operated by puppeteers as well as miniatures of the mouth and the eye that we would insert into the house's window and doorway. So we basically used old school techniques, combining puppets and green screen compositing.

 

In my opinion, another key element of El Monstro del Mar! is its location. So what can you tell us about your location, how did you find it and how did you get to film there?

 

I had heard of the beach where the main shacks are from different friends and had always meant to check it out. So when this project arose I went and had a look, and once I saw all the rusty old shacks and the seaweed infected waters, I instantly knew it was perfect for our monster horror movie. Lucky for us Fabian knew one of the owners of the shack, and since it's such a tiny community it was enough of an in that we were able to talk the others into letting us take over the space. They were really great and generous with their time. The opening scene was shot in the same area as the first Mad Max film. One of my all time favourite films. I also grew up not far from there when I was a kid, so there's that connection too.

 

Unfortunately, traditional monster movies are not liked by everyone. So, what can you tell us about audience and critical reception so far?

 

Feeling lucky ?
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Find Stuart Simpson
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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
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Thailand  eThaiCD.com
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There's been a great response from the Creature Feature crowd. I didn't realise how hungry some people are for these types of films. I knew there was an audience but had no idea how many websites there are dedicated to the genre. It's awesome!

 

Any future projects you'd like to talk about?

 

I'm doing a very dark suburban horror as well as the final segment in a three part anthology. There's also our ongoing project, The Dark Psychosis, a free horror web series. You can watch the first episode at www.thedarkpsychosis.com. There's also a Facebook page so you can find out when the next ep is up - https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Dark-Psychosis/209898249033899.

 

Your website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

Find out about our latest productions at www.lostartfilms.com

El Monstro Del Mar: www.monstromovie.com and FB: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/EL-MONSTRO-DEL-MAR/180877555583

 

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

 

Please buy the DVD! I need $$ to continue making films. And any producers interested in working with me can contact me through the Lost Art website above.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Cheers!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

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
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

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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