The Halloween Kid World Premiere

The first public screening of The Halloween Kid has just been announced!

The Halloween Kid will premiere at the prestigious International Children and Young People’s Film Festival in Malmo, Sweden, in March.

I’d never thought of it as a children’s film while we were making it, but once someone had suggested the idea, it seemed to make sense. Like the works of the people who inspire me (in this case, geniuses like Edward Gorey or Guillermo del Toro), it mixes fantasy and the supernatural in a way that seems suitable for children. And the lead is seven years old.

To celebrate, we’ve put together a little teaser trailer!

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Hooked: Be careful what you fish for…

We’ve just started submitting The Halloween Kid to festivals around the world, and while we wait for their replies (it could take a while…), I thought I’d put some pics from my previous shorts online.

The short film I shot before The Halloween Kid, Hooked, was a goofy 1-minute twist on the slasher film, which I filmed with a bunch of friends, purely for fun, on a beach in Los Angeles last June. I was spending a few weeks there, and thought it’d be fun to shoot something with some of the fantastic technicians and producers I knew there.

Our budget was around $200. We thought of a place where we could film for free – a beach – and an idea that wouldn’t require any major SFX, costumes, or large numbers of actors or extras, and could be shot in a couple of hours.

And since we would be shooting in a public place without a permit (think Ed Wood…), our DP Will Barratt (who shoots all of Adam Green’s films) decided to limit camera equipment to the Canon 5D, a portable monitor and a small box of lenses. Unit base was a bunch of towels in the sand.

DIY at its finest. We even had to give up on the monitor at some point, because we couldn’t risk getting the batteries wet once we started filming in the water.

Of course, things didn’t go smoothly. The first problem we encountered was that by complete chance, we’d chosen to film on the one day of the week the El Segundo Junior Lifeguards train on this usually deserted stretch of beach.

So our menacing fisherman, RA Mihailoff (Leatherface), suddenly found himself surrounded with dozens of kids. You can see a few of them in the background of this pic:

Thinking on your feet and solving unexpected problems is one of the best parts of filmmaking… So for a full hour, we shot close-ups, and we didn’t waste any time.

Things got tougher still when time came to film our mermaid (Clare Grant, of Team Unicorn fame). The waves had started to grow stronger by that point, and Clare found it extremely hard to stand waist-deep in the sea. On several occasions, we had to jump in the water and go rescue her before she got swept away.

This is why the film doesn’t exactly have the epic aquatic battle I’d originally envisioned, or long, lingering shots of our beautiful mermaid…

Needless to say, we were all drenched by the end of the shoot. And sunburnt!

Left to right: costume designer Oakley Stevenson, producer Theresa Eastman Schifrin, Clare Grant, RA Mihailoff, Axelle Carolyn, editor/runner/partner-in-crime Neil Marshall, lighting and sound marvel Annette Slomka and director of photography Will Barratt.

Missing here are music composer Joseph Bishara, and VFX artist Jamison Goei. We’d originally hoped we could do the effect practically and create a really cool monster, but decided that in the very few hours we’d have to shoot and in the windy and wet conditions we’d have to work, it’d be madness.

At the end of the day, we rewarded ourselves and the cast and crew with a Mexican meal. Hurray!

The film can be seen on the FearNet website. It’s pretty funny, if you keep in mind the guerilla conditions we filmed it in…

October books…

Thanks to our new backer Damon Rickard! Don’t forget you can get involved here!

October is always a fantastic month for horror fans, and fans of literary horror have many reasons to rejoice. Here’s my selection of horror books released this month… (For full disclosure, these are for the most part not books I’ve already read, but books on my pre-order list…)

Monsters in the Movies, John Landis

Landis’s book may not be rich in text, but this coffee table book is so beautifully put together and rich in illustrations that it may well become a must-have for monster movie fans. While I personally wish Landis had sometimes given more of an opinion on the films he mentions, this is the kind of book you can get lost into for hours.

On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears, Stephen T. Asma

I’m a huge fan of cultural histories (my favorite being David Skal’s The Monster Show), and as such, I can’t wait to read this study of monsters throughout the ages. Unlike Landis’s book, this seems text-heavy and the focus is more on mythology and literature than film history, so these two books could complement each other nicely.

The Night Eternal, Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

The third and final book in del Toro and Hogan’s vampire saga. Need I say more?

The Empire of Death, Paul Koudounaris

Subtitled “A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses”, this is fairly self-explanatory. I expect a richly illustrated volume, which should help me discover new and unusual things to visit and places to travel to.

Black Light, Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton & Stephen Romano

No idea what to expect from this novel, to be honest – but the simple fact that it is the brainchild of some of the most successful writers of the Saw series (and of The Collector) is enough to get me interested. It seems to be a supernatural tale: all the better!