Your movie Bordello
Death Tales - in a few words, what is it about?
PAT: It's an old-school anthology, with an Amicus
kind of vibe [Amicus history -
click here]. My chapter's called Vice Day and is about a strange and
dangerous meeting between a beautiful webcam girl and a frustrated
politician blowing off steam. Things get dark.
question, why a bordello?
PAT: We talked
about potential locations that would offer up opportunities for sex,
violence and secrets. A mysterious, stylised version of a bordello came
top of the list. The location itself is this wonderful gothic model built
by Harold Gasnier that owes more to the Addams Family mansion than the
How did the project come
together in the first place? And how did you all meet to begin with?
JIM: My wife was about to have our first child and I
knew I wouldn’t have enough time to put together a feature, so thought
I could maybe collar two other filmmakers to work collaboratively on a
third each of a movie.
PAT: Jim suggested it to me at the cast and crew
screening of his brilliant movie Bane. He fancied doing an anthology. I
brought Al Ronald on board, who I'd worked with previously on several
films including KillerKiller (which is out on DVD in the UK for the
first time this autumn). It just slotted together really well.
AL: I had worked for Pat as director Of photography
on a bunch of his previous movies: Trashhouse, HellBride and
KillerKiller. As well as doing a bit of a stint for him in front of
the camera for The Devil's
Music. In between those I had gone off and
made my own feature Jesus Versus The Messiah, so Pat knew I could
write and direct. He and Jim concocted this insane idea to do an
anthology film and I was thrilled when they asked me to get involved.
were your inspirations when writing your respective segments?
JIM: I wanted to do an 80s video nasty - something
with vibrant colours and a lot of blood. I always remember watching
‘The Burning’ through the crack in the door when I was little and it
shit me right up! Obviously having watched it since I see the comedy
value in it - but I was going for something similar – something dirty
nasty and bloody!
PAT: I’d been fascinated with the idea of doing
something involving webcams for quite a while; I loved the opportunities
for deception and misrepresentation that they opened up!
AL: For Stitchgirl I wanted it to be a mix of a lot
of things I love. From Tim Burton, to Looney Tunes via The Evil
And of course the entire segment is homage to The Bride Of
Frankenstein, my favorite horror movie.
talk about the directorial approach to your segments for a bit!
PAT: It was strange having most of the dialogue
conducted via webcams; it meant that a lot of the time my cast were
talking to laptops rather than other actors. We tried to make sure that
they still had performances to react to by recording rehearsals, so when
you see Cy talking to a laptop, he's actually reacting to Danielle's
line-readings from rehearsals several weeks beforehand. It was a very
quick shoot; my segment was three days filming altogether.
JIM: I found Stuart Gregory through our Producer
Steve Barnes - we had a chat - then he put some glasses on and gave me
that serial killer stare and I knew I didn’t have to do much. He made
our ripper come to life - I just had to light him up and get the blood
flowing. It was important to me that the movie flow – I’ve tried to
make sure that each scene had a smooth ending/beginning – I wanted to
keep the pace up – especially since I had the first slot.
AL: This is the first film I have made where my focus
was on creating a visual style on a low budget. I wanted to try to make
it look as much like an old-fashioned horror movie as possible. Hence
shooting in black and white and the expressionist lighting style. There
are also a couple of shots which are intentionally out of focus to try
and mimic the look of an old film. I tried to control the look of
everything on screen for this film, something I have never attempted
what extent did you coordinate your segments with one another, storywise
AL: We are careful not to have stories which may be
too similar, but apart from that it is anything goes. In some ways the
more they contrast, the better. By the end are all just excited to see
each others films.
PAT: We tried to make sure that we didn't end up
covering the same territory too much; we needed a bit of thematic space
between the three stories so that the movie would work properly. They
all take place in the same building, of course, but the 'reality' of the
three stories actually feels quite different. We've all brought our own
creative sensibilities to the table!
Natalie Milner as the recurring character
in all of your segments - what can you tell us about her, and what were
your collaborations with her like?
AL: Natalie had a lot of work to do on this movie. I
think she did an amazing job of keeping the character consistent across
three different scripts of varying tone and writing styles. No matter
who wrote the Madam Raven scene, Natalie always managed to make the
character work the same way. A tricky thing to achieve.
JIM: Yes, she really nailed the character – I think
the character originally came from Al’s script and we ported it across
to other characters within Pats and mine – but she managed to walk
from one segment to another without seeming out of place.
PAT: She's a superstar. I'd worked with her on a
movie called Hellbride a couple of years beforehand. Ideally, we'd have
brought Raven back as a linking character on the sequel, but schedules
didn't work out.
Do talk about the
rest of your respective casts for a bit!
AL: Eleanor James is Stitchgirl. Seeing her costume
and developing the silent mannerisms is the closest I have come to
seeing an image in my head made real. I think her performance is
brilliant. And she makes it look so easy. She really created a
sympathetic, funny and tragic character out of nothing. She was great to
work with and we both felt a little bit sad when she took the costume
off for the last time. We grew quite attached to Stitchgirl! And
the fact that Stitchgirl doesn't talk left the bulk of the dialogue to
Julian Lamoral Roberts as Doctor Whale. Julian just lifts the whole
movie to another level with the gravitas of his performance.
PAT: I'd worked with both Cy Henty and Danielle Laws
before, which was a bit of a must because my story is pretty much a
two-hander and I knew that it would entirely stand or fall by their
performances. Danielle was comfortable with both the sexy, confident
side of her character and the more vulnerable, human side bubbling away
beneath that exterior. Cy could be both likeable and terrifying. I can't
imagine my story working anywhere near as well as it does if I'd cast it
JIM: I should really mention Amber Pictures regular
Tina Barnes. I gave her what on paper looks like a wafer thin part but
she made it into something real - which really helps sell the
opening scene of not only my segment but the whole film!
What were your
respective shoots like?
JIM: I’m stood there filming a half naked pole
dancer in a bar with last nights lager sticking my shoes to the ground,
men everywhere watching the action on stage and I turn to see my 8
months pregnant wife taking stills… it was strange to say the least.
But it was also fast - our schedule was very much defined by the arrival
of our daughter so we HAD to get it all done in time.
PAT: Fast, fast, fast. The third day of my three day
shoot in particular was one of the most frantic I can ever remember. We
had an insane amount to get through and very limited time, but somehow
it all came together. The day we all spent together shooting the
sequences in the bordello reception was a lot more relaxed. It was good
to see Jim and Al again - we're very rarely in the same room together!
AL: The cast and crew worked so hard on Stitchgirl.
We had a very limited time to shoot everything in Doctor Whale's room.
One night in fact. It was a long, exhausting experience. Much coffee was
consumed. But was a brilliant shoot, we had a lot of fun, particularly
when we did the musical number.
Do talk about audience and
critical reception of Bordello
Death Tales for a bit!
PAT: I love that there's absolutely no consensus
between reviewers. Different people enjoy different parts of the movie.
It's a fun flick to watch with an audience; Jim's story makes them
squirm in their seats quite early on with some of the OTT torture stuff,
and they never quite settle down again. They never quite feel 'safe'
with this one!
AL: I'm glad people have accepted the movie the way
they have, it was a labor of love for us and a bit of a gamble. People
really seem to get it.
JIM: It's always interesting to read the reviews and
see which segment people liked best or their reasoning for loving/hating
a particular scene/segment.
What can you tell us
about Bordello Death
Tales' follow up Battlefield Death Tales/Nazi Zombie
JIM: Well it was dejavue for me a little bit – we
were about to have our second child and once again I knew I couldn’t
do a feature and we’d had such a good experience on Bordello Death
Tales we all
knew we wanted to do another one. I was on the fence until Al mentioned
setting it during WW2.
PAT: That was another project that dropped into place
beautifully. Shooting something set in a different historical period is
a challenge enough for big budget productions; for a micro-budget flick
it's a pretty huge mountain to climb. We hoped to diffuse that a bit
with the tongue-in-cheek disclaimer at the beginning... After all, if
you're looking for historical accuracy, you might prefer to watch
something that doesn't have a load of zombies, ghosts and demons in it.
But, no. We still get emails from people pointing out historical
innacuracies in uniforms and guns. It was a great fun shoot, though,
particularly the big battlefield scene where we had stuff blowing up
(which was a first for me). The pyro team were experienced and
AL: Well, it's a very different type of movie, with
different sorts of scares. It's a whole new flavour of Death
Are you planning to make any more Death
Tales-movies? And any other future projects?
PAT: I'd love to do another Death
Tales. I think I'm
meant to be more coy about it than that, but I would. As far as other
stuff goes, over at Jinx Media our development slate is absolutely
packed and we're hoping to get another project in front of the cameras
very shortly. We've got a few projects that we're really excited about,
including House on the Witchpit and Chainsaw Fairytale.
AL: My first feature Jesus Versus The Messiah is
due to be released on DVD later this year thanks to the guys at Cine Du
Monde. We are all very busy with our own projects much of the time, in a
strange way Death
Tales feels a bit like a holiday, but I have a feeling
it might be a question of 'when' rather than 'if'.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
JIM: I’m going to be making a feature next – and
announcing it soon so watch this space! As for Death
Tales… I’m not
planning on having anymore children so I don’t have an excuse to make
another one – but never say never!
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
JIM: Well there’s the Death
Tales Facebook page:
The Amber Pictures
and my blog : http://jameseaves.wordpress.com
PAT: Hit https://www.facebook.com/jinxmedia
and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @zcarstheme. I imagine Jim's
already plugged the Death
Tales one. Oh, and I write for Huffington Post
about films and all sorts of other stuff:
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I sometimes do live shows about filmmaking; you can check one out for free
for the interview!