Your new movie Millennial
Killer - in a few words, what is it about?
We set out to try to show that
perhaps the first step on the housing ladder could be the first step on
the road to hell!
From what I know, you had your hands in giving Sam Mason-Bell [Sam
Mason Bell interview - click here] the basic inspiration for
dreaming up Millennial
Obviously Sam wrote the script
after I said to him that I had a rental property where the tenants were
moving out and it would be empty. Free location! Hence Sam went away to write
something very simple, single location and limited cast….
To what extent can you
actually identify with Millennial
Killer's title character, a man who's no
longer in tune with today's youth?
Not directly obviously, as making
films is a much safer way of expressing your views on the world! But I
find it very interesting that the film is divisive to an extent. There
does seem to be a generational thing with those of us of a certain
generation, not the millennials, wondering if the Estate Agent
actually has a point! Especially when you see some of the characters he
has to deal with. But the movie's very much focussed on the
increasing madness behind the serial killer’s character, with a subtle
hiding of his true motivation behind his killings. What you see is very
blatant – but you need to listen to understand why he is doing it. It
has the opportunity of making the audience work a bit. And that’s nice.
At least to me, Millennial
Killer also has a comedic side to it - would you at all agree, and if so,
could you talk about your movie's brand of humour for a bit?
It’s strange. Darkside Releasing, who are distributing the film, added a ‘comedy’ tag on the
marketing materials, and we felt that was wrong so asked for it to be
changed. It is now tagged as ‘Dark Comedy’ or, perhaps, a bit
satirical. And I suppose, at its heart, it is. It is a horror, sure
enough, but there are moments of levity in it, mainly to exaggerate the
millennial characters to make them more deserving of their fates. So yes,
whilst we didn’t realise it from the script, what was caught for the
screen is comedic – and I think it works…
A few words about the flat Millennial
Killer was filmed at, and what was it like filming there?
A rental property and unfurnished
made for a great free location! Sam and the cast and crew were there
overnight (Saturday to Sunday) to shoot most of the film. As the owner of
the flat, and with timings being restricted due to real work and travel
commitments for the main crew, that meant the creation of the look for the
master bedroom was undertaken by me on the Friday night, working until
early in the morning, before going shopping the next day before the cast
and crew arrived.
Being totally empty we were able
to move kit and unwanted crew(!) into rooms not being shot in at the time,
although we did use every part of the flat – except the attic which is a
bit of a regret actually.
Sam talks about the hectic nature
of the cast movements. Having originally talked about a very simple, no
budget, film, with limited cast and crew etc, what he came back with was a
cast of about 15 characters and the nature of the film making demanded
that every castmember was scheduled to arrive, do their scene, film their
death, and get out with travel arranged around that. A rather larger
undertaking than I’d originally imagined!
What can you tell us about
your overall production approach to your story at hand?
The need to schedule cast arrivals
and transport, including having to pick them up from, as it turned out, two
different railway stations (thanks to engineering works on the railway!),
and making sure all arrived when required, plus the need to protect the
property and not annoy the neighbours (something we always try to preserve
obviously – but more so when you know they know you!), meant that the
production took on greater importance. Add the need to prepare the flat,
and return after the end of shooting to clear it down, and also ensuring
the health, safety and well-being of all cast and crew – even those
forced to sleep overnight in the killer’s “master bedroom” – and
the on-set production kept me working the whole length of the shoot. But
it all worked out in the end.
After completing the shoot, and
the pick up day a bit later, it’s the moment when the director contacts
the producer and says “I think we need another ten minutes, but I have
an idea.” So starts an extra shoot with new characters and a need to
embellish the story to ensure the motivation of the killer is
identifiable. That was fun receiving the message…
Do talk about your key cast,
and why exactly these people?
Simon Berry, as the killer, was
accidental. When originally conceived, Sam was talking about a simple film
with limited cast and location. The killer being quite an interesting
character and was written for me to play. Then the magnitude of
the production became apparent and so I suggested to Sam that I could see
huge problems if I tried to both act and produce – and that’s when
Simon stepped in about 2 weeks before the main shoot. All the clothing he
wears was planned for me and so he literally stepped into the Estate Agent
suit for me (needing a belt to keep the trousers up!). Knowing his
strengths from other occasions of seeing him on screen and working alongside him, I knew he could do it. I look at the film now and cannot see
anyone else, including me, playing that character so well. His
masterstroke was changing his hairstyle specifically – even if he did
moan about the cold for weeks afterwards!
Alice Mulholland, as the key victim, can
easily hold a film screen with her acting and does so magnificently.
There’s a moment in one of the trailers (which, as producer, I watched
seven times in succession before signing off on it) where I flinched every
time with the perfection of the scissors, the sound, and her reaction.
We also cast for some of the
roles. A mixed response to that – there was one new cast member I’d
have liked to have had more involved and he was pushed into doing more
than originally planned, but there was a limit to how much
more we could use him, there was one who was okay but seemed
slightly out of their depth with the speed of filming, and there were two
‘no shows,’ necessitating me and Sam to step in as characters when
neither of us originally intended to be seen.
A few words about the shoot
as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
We kept the overnighters to those
cast and crew that we knew would cope with it. Many having worked with
Trash Arts and H B Films before know how shoots happen – at speed and
with a lot of improvisation when they are designed to be shot that way –
meant that we probably work more as friends than as colleagues, if that
$64-question of course, where can Millennial
Killer be seen?
Darkside Releasing are
distributing the film on Blu-ray as part of The British Collection
that we seem to have ensured they had to create to cope with the output
they are potentially getting from the
Trash Arts and H B Filmss
collaborations on producing horror films! We also network well, and
Killer at Horror on Sea Film Festival in January
2020 created links with Tom Lee Rutter/Carnie Films and
Day of the
Stranger [Thomas Lee
Rutter interview - click here] – which led to us introducing him to
Darkside, and other filmmakers may be heading towards them as well…
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of Millennial
We’ve submitted to many film
festivals, Cardiff International and Horror on Sea being the only two who
have actually screened Millennial
Killer. Audience reaction at both of
those festivals was very positive; it seems the film is liked by an
audience, but not by festival selectors/organisers. That may be in
reaction to the millennial generation against the serial killer’s
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
We shot a feature film in
September/October 2019, originally aiming to release it at the end of
October 2019 – or on “Brexit Day” – but we did have issues on the
shoot and were probably one of the few people desperately hoping for
continued delays to Brexit in order to tie the release of the film in to
that exit from the European Union. The film is called Monstrous and
is set on the day of the referendum back in 2016 and tells the story of
one household during that day. Having missed the original release date, we
are now taking more time in post-production with that, and the current
CoVID-19 pandemic and ‘lockdown’ situation is actually allowing us to
complete post-production work on it to enable it to be released/distribution after the ‘lockdown’ gets lifted. That might become very
important when UK independent filmmakers are restricted from shooting
projects at this time.
Thanks for the interview!