Your new movie Mask
of Thorn - in a few words, what is it about?
is a prequel to our 2014 release Legacy of Thorn. Set in
1988, The film follows Bethany Lovell on her Sweet Sixteen as she finds
out that she is in fact the target of Thorn the ruthless killer. Only this
time someone has come to stop him.
were your inspirations when writing Mask
I think the main inspirations came from Terminator,
Mad Max and Sixteen Candles, which sounds like strange mix I'm
sure, but it really leant itself well to the story that we wanted to tell.
As usual though the film is just packed with references to other horror
films and beyond.
of Thorn you return once again to the slasher motive - so what
prompts you to visit that genre again and again, and how hard or easy is
it for you to find a new approach each time?
I’m a life
long fan of slasher movies, so that's probably where it comes from. I think
the appeal is that it's a genre with rules, and the audience understands
those rules, making it much easier to subvert them without alienating the
viewer. We always go in with the slasher formula as a base and build from
Each time it's a little more challenging to do something new with
it, because once you've subverted something, subverting that again takes
you right back to the start, so you have to get creative with your
approach every time, I think, for the most part we bring something new to
the table with each film. So far we’ve made a battle royal movie (Slasher
House), a psychological thriller (Hollower),
a martial arts movie (Slasher House
2) and a retro actioner (Mask of
Thorn), all really based
on the slasher foundation.
What next, huh? A road movie? ;)
of Thorn is not your first movie featuring your villain Thorn
- so how has the character developed/changed over the years?
is the oldest of my characters, he really started life as my attempt to
make my own slasher villain in the vein of Michael Myers or
course, since then, he's become much more of his own thing, with a huge
developed mythology that we plan to dig into for years to come.
always developing and changing, we redesign him with each film to fit the
era and story and that a lot of fun, there are many places you can go with
this type of character and that means a lot of cool scenarios that we can
place him in down the road. And we plan to.
can you tell us about Mask
of Thorn's approach to horror?
Well, as I
said, it's built on the classic slasher formula. Group of teens, stalked by
a monster, picked off one by one. However, there is a lot more going on
than just that, we get to delve into the secrets of Avondale and why Thorn
keeps coming back there. Whilst there is a huge focus on the action, the
scares are there as well and it's actually some of the human elements in
the film that are really terrifying.
The idea was to make
Thorn like ‘the coming storm’ and his dread is kind of felt throughout
the movie, until he shows up and then, well, it's really felt in a
different, gorier way.
For the sake of
all the gorehounds among our readers, you have to talk about the gory bits
in Mask of Thorn
for a bit, and how were they achieved?
Yeah, as with the
last one, there’s a HUGE focus on the kills that made Legacy of Thorn
one of most popular films, we really wanted to get creative this time
round and although there are less deaths overall I think than in the last
film, we wanted to make these ones really special and I think it worked
out pretty well. Especially the death of Julia (Lydia Cashman) which took
about 3 weeks to build and 3 seconds to decimate.
We build all our
effects in-house and it's tough going, but it's very satisfying when
someones head explodes right or their head gets cleaved or crushed in just
the right way. In fact, I didn't notice until I was editing, but Thorn
crushes a lot of heads in this movie with just his barehands. Like loads.
Do talk about
your overall directorial approach to your story at hand!
think with this film, I realised early on that although the gore was
important, the characters were key and so I knew getting their
relationships right was going pull it all together. Giving them complexity
even if they were going to die shortly therafter was important to me
this time round and I think it helps the audience to empathise, or not,
with the characters when they survive or die. I really just wanted people
to feel something when each of these guys bit the dust.
always been a little bit of a challenge for me because I do that, camera,
sound and a pile of other jobs at the same time. There was a day on Mask
of Thorn though where we had a lot of people on hand and I got to focus
solely on just directing for about 3 scenes which was really, really great
and I think they are some of my favourite scenes to shoot.
can you tell us about Mask
of Thorn's key cast, and why exactly these people?
this has been our best cast yet, After some ‘difficulties’ over the
last couple years with casting I was really careful this time round with
who I chose.
Getting Bethany (Eve Oliver) and Olivia
(Sophie Bryant) right was obviously a huge part of it as their
relationship carries the story and of course Julia (Lydia Cashman) had to
be right to work off that. I can safely say that, in a million years, I
couldn't have chosen better, nicer, more talented actors and the same goes
for Maria Lee Metheringham who is introduced as Mina and she is just crazy
talented as an actress, stunt woman, as well as being a filmmaker herself
and it was a real treat to have her on board.
I mean I
could be here all day gushing about the cast, but our new Thorn (Atticus
Machiavellian) was amazing and really brought a new, fresh take to Thorn.
I have to mention Martin Payne too, who really brought an important
element of film to life for me and I really love working with him. Same
with Clarke Tribe who took the role of Young Cyphers, The teen boys too,
George Horn who plays young John from Legacy of Thorn
and he did a bang up
Eduardo Cupi and Michael Batty did a great job as
comedy relief/bullies and it was great fun killing them off. There are
obviously some new faces (Ketorah Williams, Alex O’Neil, Chloe Badham,
Tracey Chatterly) and some returning faces like Will Marshall [William
Marshall interview - click here] and Michael
Higham, but honestly everyone was great, I could go on but it would just end
up being the whole cast list and they were all amazing. Everyone of them,
I’ve never experienced anything like it.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
as you might be able to tell from my glowing review of our cast, it was
just great. I mean really, really great. I loved everyone involved, we
became a family and that made shooting a breeze.
It's kind of amazing
when you get that many amazing, talented, kind, decent people together, how
much of a difference it makes, every single person was there to make sure
that the film was everything it could be and they delivered above and
beyond. When they weren't acting they were getting stuck into production
and it just made it feel like a huge, positive team effort.
genuinely the best filmmaking experience of my life and I have had some
$64-question of course, where can Mask
of Thorn be seen?
of Thorn premieres at Horror
On Sea Film Festival January 19th 2018.
You can find out more at
hoping to bring it to VOD early next year.
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Mask
So far the response to the film
from critics has been overwhelmingly positive, I mean its a low budget
movie so I don't expect to hear that its the ‘The next Godfather’ but
I’m pleased with the reception it has had so far. I’ll know more after
the premiere in January.
As I mentioned above, Mask
of Thorn is not the first movie featuring the character
- but will you ever add another chapter to his story? And/or other future
projects you'd like to share?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
There is another
movie in the works, we teased it in the Legacy of Thorn credits, so
Wrath of Thorn will be Thorn’s next solo outing, which will continue where
Legacy of Thorn left off, that won’t be for a while yet, but
may just make
appearance somewhere else before then. That's all I can say for now.
of that we’re working on a new feature name Bannister Doll House, based
on one of the new killers from Slasher House
2 and next year we’ll be
shooting the ‘long awaited’ sequel to Cleaver:
Rise of the Killer Clown, which
may or may not be a killer clown road movie.
now producing Mycho Universe
shorts via our Patreon at http://patreon.com/mycho
the first of which landed on Halloween with
Killer Scarecrow Short Rough Patch.
As always we just have
too much going on and not enough time.
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
just like to thank everyone involved not just in Mask
of Thorn, but in all
our movies this far, I mean if you'd told me 5 years ago that we’d be
making our 7th feature I’d have thought you were a lunatic and it really
is a testament to the people who help and support us that we can still do
this. And of course, my wife and producer, Anna, for
making all of my brain vomit a reality.
Thanks for having me.