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An Interview with Philip Gardiner, Director of Lady of the Dark: Genesis of the Serpent Vampire and Dark Watchers: The Women in Black

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2012

Philip Gardiner on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Two new movies of yours are about to be released, Lady of the Dark: Genesis of the Serpent Vampire and Dark Watchers: The Women in Black.

Let's talk about Lady of the Dark first: In a few words, what is it about?

 


Ultimately, it's about living with nature. The “snake” has no reasoning powers, it simply is. It feeds, procreates without thinking about it. We reason everything, we fall in love with our possessions and each other and yet forget how fleeting these things really are. We own nothing, we are in essence energy having found consciousness through the biological form of the human. Same energy as the snake. So, what happens when we collide with nature? When the mind of a conscious man or woman morphs with that of a cold-blooded natural animal? I predicted a hellish clash and used the ancient serpent worship myths to tell the tale in a modern setting. Not surprising when I've written so many books on serpent worship (which are in many ways all about living in balance with nature anyhow).

 

What were your inspirations when writing Lady of the Dark, and to what amount is the story rooted in actual myth?

 

From a visual point of view I was inspired by many of the really arty shorts you find on vimeo.com. There's some serious talent on there. Don't know if I succeeded! Yes, the film is based on ancient myth. The serpent can be found in every religion of the globe. In the Bible it's the only animal to speak with its own voice. It is wisdom, it's good and bad. It's as many things as humans want to create. I simply envisaged an ancient serpent race, having once been proud and ruling over the earth.

 

With Lady of the Dark being a vampire movie - is the vampire a creature that holds any special interest for you?

 

I find the whole vampire thing fascinating, but probably not for the same reasons my daughter does when she watches Twilight. What's it really all about? Where did it really originate? The concepts of eternal life, life in the blood, the existence between the world of light and dark, life and death.

 

Lady of the Dark is pretty much a one-person-play, just like your earlier Cam Girl. What made you choose that approach again?

 

I had done a few films with plenty of people in, and in all honesty I needed a break and to show that I could make a film without any help. Was damned hard work.

 

From the looks of it, Lady of the Dark seems like a tour-de-force for your leading lady Melanie Denholme [Melanie Denholme interview - click here]. So what can you tell us about the shoot as such, the on-set atmosphere, and of course about Melanie Denholme?

 

Mel is a professional. She learns lines at lightning speed and delivers them beautifully. She has that look that will set her apart from the LA glamour types too. We worked from dawn till dusk and everybody did a wonderful job.

 

Dark Watchers: The Women in Black - again, what is it about?

 


Well, it's about three girls, two of which hunt out UFOs. Then a man in black appears and things go strange. Ultimately it's about what they said at Woodstock, getting back to the garden.

 

Dark Watchers: The Women in Black touches subjects you have touched upon in your documentaries as well, right? So did your work as documentary filmmaker in any way influence Dark Watchers: The Women in Black, regarding plot and background, and have you based any of the characters (e.g. the doctumentary filmmaker in the movie) at least in part on yourself?

 

Some of it is a what we Brits call "taking the piss". I think there will be a lot of folk who will recognise themselves. I'll leave it up to them to see if they can see that clearly. I'm not in it dude, no!

 

(Other) sources of inspiration for Dark Watchers: The Women in Black?

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (original) was probably one, but in all honesty, it's a strange film with so many weird things happening that it probably just emerged out of the screwed up brain of the writer whilst popping a few magic mushrooms.

 

What can you tell us about your cast and crew, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Can't stand any of them. Useless, every last one of them.

Seriously, best bunch of guys and gals I've ever worked with. Very hard work on set, but a lot of fun too.

 

Especially with both Lady of the Dark: Genesis of the Serpent Vampire and Dark Watchers: The Women in Black, you seem to have developed a puzzle- or maze-like, atmosphere-heavy directorial style. Why, and would you like to elaborate on your directorial techniques for a bit?

 

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Yes. I can't stand watching whodunnits because within the first 5 or 10 minutes you know who's dunnit because they follow formulas. So, throw out the formula and aim to tease and confuse.

 

If you compare Lady of the Dark: Genesis of the Serpent Vampire and Dark Watchers: The Women in Black ... what can you come up with?

 

I hope they're very different, because that's what I aimed to do. I don't want to be a one-style Director, I want to show I can do anything from horror to sci-fi. All I need now is a nice big budget :)

 

Any future projects you'd like to talk about?

 

Working on a one day shoot film. No script. It's probably the maddest thing I've come up with, so we'll see. Living on the edge, eh!

 

Your/your films' website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

Well, you can find mostly every link you want by going to www.gardinersworld.com.

 

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

 

Thanks to folk like you, us Indie's get noticed, so thanks to YOU dude.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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