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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The Last Post

The Last Post, my very first short film, starring Jean Marsh, Kimberley Nixon and Darren Bransford, is now online!

You’ll find the link below – I really hope you enjoy it. We were lucky enough to screen it in 15 festivals over the past 6 months, including a fantastic screening at the London FrightFest, and at Fantasia in Montreal, as well as in Sitges.

The Last Post is the story of Colette, an old lady in a nursing home, who is visited by a mysterious stranger no one else seems able to see…

Expect atmosphere and nostalgia rather than scares and gore, by the way.

Here’s what the web said:

“A successful, contemplative mood piece, as touching as it is effective, and hopefully a mere taste of what this promising director might have in store” (Fangoria)

“Without a doubt a piece of narrative art that can only leave you cold when you have no heart at all” (Screenread)

“A quietly tender piece, spooky, saddening and very well acted. A thought-provoking masterpiece” (Gorepress)

“A beautiful and touching debut… I look forward to seeing more from Carolyn” (Ain’t It Cool News)

“Leaves us ‘haunted’ by feelings of joy or even peace” (DreadCentral)

“Incredibly atmospheric and involving” (FanGirlTastic)

“A haunting and poignant short that oozes class and sophistication” (HorrorTalk)

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…

And our Halloween Kid narrator is…

I’m incredibly proud and happy to announce that legendary actor Sir Derek Jacobi has joined the Halloween Kid team! Sir Derek recorded the narration for the film today, and he was such a joy to work with. As a kid, I’d seen him in a Channel 4 miniseries, Mister Pye, which had absolutely terrified me – an idea which ties in nicely with the themes of the film.

I truly cannot wait for you all to hear it!

To celebrate the nearing end of post-production, here are a couple of new stills from the film!