Your movie Dead of the
Nite - in a few words, what is it about?
A group of ghost hunters investigate a haunted manor and start getting killed
one by one and we have to work out who or what is slaughtering them.
Since one of the central elements of Dead
of the Nite is a ghosthunt, what is your personal take on
paranormal investigations and the like?
I am a big
believer, Sousila (the producer) and I regularly go ghost hunting around
the UK and have experienced some freaky shit.
Also, you take a
stab at so-called "celebrity" in Dead
of the Nite - care to elaborate?
No matter what the
genre I always try and make some social comment in my films and I think
this is a serious issue plaguing our society at the moment. We seem to
care and worship Z-list celebrities from reality TV shows more than firemen etc. who put their lives on the line to save ours.
inspirations when writing Dead
of the Nite?
Carpenter’s Halloween is always an
influence on my work, and I try to pay a little homage to it with the
smashing of the cupboard door scene.
Even though your story might
suggest it, your film thankfully largely stays clear of the "found
footage"-approach of shaky handheld cameras and a disregard for
aesthetics. So how would you describe your directorial style on Dead
of the Nite?
I had a clear idea that I wanted to try and create the found footage
style of film without making audiences motion sick. My directorial style
is also quite slow and steady, I hate that a generation of filmmakers feel
that the MTV video style has to be used on every project when a static
camera with great acting can be much more effective.
of the Nite features horror legend Tony Todd in a very prominent
role. So why him, how did you get him, and what was your collaboration
We had met Tony several years before and hit it off
and he said he wanted to work with us, so when I was writing the part of
Ruber, Tony just jumped out as the obvious choice. Luckily he responded
very positively to the story and came on board, it was a real capture for
us as it was his first EVER UK shoot. His performance is immense and
lifted the entire production to a new level, and I honestly think he is on
Candyman form in the film.
Cicely Tennant, Tony Todd
What can you tell us about the rest of your key
cast, and why exactly these people?
All credit has to go to
fellow producer and casting director Sousila Pillay who did a tremendous
job on casting the film. She not only got Tony but also Joseph Millson of
Dead 2: India fame and Simon Bamford from the Hellraiser franchise.
Sousila also managed to get Paul Fox who was just coming off George
Lucas’ Red Tails and Claudio Pacifico who literally stepped off Pirates
of the Caribbean 4 onto our set. Our leading lady Cicely Tennant puts in
an amazing performance as Amanda, she is a total bitch and I think
audiences will love to hate her.
Do talk about the
actual shoot for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was three weeks in South Wales and we
had the pleasure of shooting in a real haunted house (at one point we had
to stop filming as a ghost tour was going on!). We all experienced
something paranormal and our batteries constantly were getting drained
within seconds, even the non-believers quickly became converts.
All the night stuff was shot in the pitch black,
the cast and crew couldn’t see their hands in front of their face so it
made interesting for them to hit marks etc. plus they said it heightened
their senses as they couldn’t react to their fellow actors expressions.
Bizarrely once we finished, everyone couldn’t
adjust to being in rooms with light!
can you tell us about critical and audience reception of Dead
of the Nite so far?
It seems to have gone down well
so far, I think people have appreciated that we’ve tried to punch above
our budgetary restrictions. Everyone has commented it has plenty of jumps
and tension which is all the things you want to hear. People have also
commented how surprised they were that they are invited to laugh during
the film without it being an obvious horror comedy.
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
Well Dark Art Films have a wide range of
projects on the go from a romantic comedy with John Rhys-Davies &
Vinnie Jones to a claustrophobic thriller with a few horror greats so stay
tuned, 2014 will hopefully be a busy year.
What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and what can you tell us about your formal education on the
Simply put, none! I never studied film but always
had a passion for films so taught myself. I was fortunate to then get some
training from Stephen Frears and Ken Russell. I just continue to learn on
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to Dead of the Nite,
and your growth as a director?
I started off doing short
films with a heavy focus on social issues such as domestic abuse and the
homeless. I then directed the feature documentary Tattoos: A Scarred
History with David Carradine looking at why tattoos had become so
popular in Western society. We presented it to buyers
at the Cannes Film Festival and received dozens of offers for the film, but
it really helped open my eyes to the whole process of filmmaking from
inception to taking it to market. I think that sometimes affects when
I’m planning something as it forces me to question what is the market
value of doing something. It’s all well and good being a creative
ideologist but the harsh reality is this is a business run by accountants,
so you need to create films that have a certain marketability to them
whilst trying not to compromise your creative approach.
Is it true that you once
worked as a professional wrestler, too? Do talk about that era in your
life for a bit, and how does the wrestling world compare to the filmmaking
Yes, I was known as ‘the Pitbull’. In fact I am
working on a documentary about my training for one final match. We already
have interviews with RVD, Lita, D-Lo Brown and Chavo Gurrero and is great
fun getting back in the squared circle.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
have a massive man crush for John Carpenter… Halloween,
The Fog, Prince
of Darkness are all of my go to films. Fulci [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here]. I also
study Hitchcock and David Lean who both specialise in allowing the
audience to use their imaginations rather than spelling everything out to
Apart from Halloween and
favourite film is Clue with Tim Curry, love it. Also love Dark
Scott Pilgrim, Elf, Leon, Arsenic and Old Lace, Avatar, the old
horrors, etc etc etc…
... and of course, films you really
John Woo films, he’s so overrated - as are the
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
You can search for Dead of the Nite
on Facebook and
@deadofthenite on Twitter. You can also check out
Thanks for the interview!