When I was eleven I was fascinated by my grandad’s super 8 family films. I started using his camera and editing the films. I soon got the filmmaking bug and was shooting Kung Fu films in my backyard with neighborhood kids.
Where did the concept for “Blood Moon” come from?
It came from Alan Wightman, the screenwriter. It was the product of his love of old school westerns and horror films. However, the concept of the ‘weird western’ has been around in comic book form since the 1930s.
How did it feel to combine the western genre and the horror genre?
It was such fun. The key to it for me was making a ‘gothic western’. I am a big fan of English gothic in literature, film, fashion, architecture etc. So, my English ‘gothic sensibility’ informed my approach to the material. And I did a lot of research into the comic book and graphic novel precursors to this genre mix. Those comic strips showed me that the mix could work, and that fed into my vision of the movie – a comic book tale come to life.
Who are some of your favorite directors?
Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Nic Roeg, Walter Hill, Francis Coppola, Martin Scorcese, Francois Truffault, Alfred Hitchcock…amongst many others.
What can you tell us about your next project?
It’s a haunted house movie. Can’t let that Gothic thang go…And hopefully a Blood Moon 2.
What challenges did you face making the film?
It was tough making a period piece on a budget. But as I have worked with many of the Heads of Department before, I knew they were great at keeping production values high in spite of having limited resources. The other tough calls were finding the right balance between action and drama, creature and suspense, gorey violence and unseen violence.
What was it like for you working with the cast?
I set out to make it an ensemble piece where the actors would feel that they were part of a kind of acting troup. We rehearsed quite a bit on set and the actors were fully involved with ‘getting it right’. This meant I was open to suggestions for script tweaks and dialogue changes if necessary. But you have to be strong with actors otherwise they will rewrite your film for you…
Did you have a favorite scene out of the film?
I love all the scenes which play with just atmosphere and silence. That’s pure cinema. But I also love the scenes with the killer funny lines from Hank (Corey Johnson) and Marie (Anna Skellern) – very quotable.
What advice would you offer to fellow directors?
Persist. And If you want to do a period movie then find a place where you have inbuilt production values before you spend a cent. And don’t be afraid of deep character in stories – it’s not all about the action.