Sunday, February 25, 2007

Man-faced cats - to the extreme!

I've been spread across two cities - London and Nottingham - and three projects - 'Mum and Dad', 'Deliver Me' and 'Damaged' (the Cinema Extreme idea) - this week, so my head doesn't really know where it's at. Whenever anybody asks me how things are going, and I reply with something along the lines of 'Really busy, but it's doing my head in", they (usually quite politely) remind me that it's better to be busy. The fucking smug know-it-all bastards. Here's a recap of the week:

Monday: In London for first casting sessions for 'Mum and Dad'. Scheduled to meet 18 people today, spread across all five main roles. See some good potential Elbies - which I was worried about in terms of auditioning because the role, though quite large, is entirely mute - and some good people for Lena and Birdie as well. Unfortunately, we only get to see one person for Mum and no-one for Dad - everybody who was scheduled to turn up didn't want to do it, mainly because of the nature of the script. Anna, the casting director, thinks that the introduction scene for Dad - which is, admittedly, quite raw - is putting people off. If it is, I don't know what I can do about it. I think changing the script would be a bad thing, because it would send out a message that elements of the film were up for grabs, and I worry about the horror of the film being emasculated. Surely there must be 50 year old male actors out there who like horror and don't mind a bit of wrongness?

Tuesday: More casting, but this time I have to take my daughter Betsy into the office with me, because we've got to head back to Nottingham in the afternoon (she's been staying with my own Mum and Dad near Heathrow, a notion which always seems to bring funny looks from people at the production office...). Betsy is fine hanging out in the office and seems to induce mass brooding in the staff. On leaving the office (still not having seen a potential Dad...) we arrange to meet up with Jeanie, who has just got back from Montana and is a bit insane with tiredness. Have a few brief hours as a family before Jeanie goes to bed and I have to start thinking about the next three days, which are to consist of the Cinema Extreme workshop. I remind myself to print out the application I put in and read through it before tomorrow. Thankfully, it seems to hold together - I am grateful to Myself-Of-Six-Months-Ago for actually doing the thinking back then, because it's going to take me a while to get back up to speed right now.

Wednesday: The workshop is to take place, handily, at Broadway, where I have my office. There are about 10 projects in this workshop (and about the same again for the two other workshops in London and Newcastle), ranging from emotional coming-of-age dramas, through atmospheric horrors to non sci-fi futuristic examinations of sex and emotion. I can't talk too much about the other projects, so a lot of what went on over the three days isn't going to make it here. I did, however, do some doodling in amongst my notes, so maybe I can talk about those instead.

Here's a weird man-faced cat crouching on a rickety fence. Don't quite know where that came from, but he looks quite worried/angry and he does have the words 'fuck awards' hovering over his back (with jagged teeth no less). I think it was during the time we were being told about the guidelines for the scheme - the timescale, length of projects, that sort of thing - and there was a discussion about whether the budget should include a film print or not. Some of the bigger festivals only take 35mm prints, so that would be an argument for having one, but it depends on whether you want to enter your film for BAFTAS, Oscars, Canne etc. Personally, I can't stand awards ceremonies, and think that the idea of worrying about awards at any stage of the filmmaking process is entirely detrimental to you as a filmmaker. Obviously, this isn't necessarily a popular or common view, so instead of expressing it in the group (it's the first day after all, and you don't want to come across immediately as the Grumpy Fucker), I decided to sketch this weird man-cat.

After introducing ourselves and our projects, we had lunch, then went on, in the afternoon, to take part in what was described to me as 'a smorgasbord of creative thinking techniques'. Some of these were quite interesting and helpful - although, for me, there was a little too much of a 'postive thinking', self-help vibe to a lot of it - and at least one of the exercises had a few people cringing, but most of the group said they got a lot out of it, so either they're fibbing to be nice, or what the hell do I know about anything. I probably tend towards the latter.

Thursday: The doodle for today was this: - a figure in a plaid skirt (kilt?) pointing at a big cat (what's with all the cats?) next to a rubbish clown. In order to emphasize the fact of the cat, it appears to have a sign, spelling out in lightbulbs 'Big Cat' above its head. Don't know what's going on with that, but the bit in the corner 'if my father was the king of Britain' refers to an example Matthieu from The Bureau (the Execs of the scheme, along with Film Four and the UKFC) was giving about creating psychological depth. From what I remembered, he described a writer thinking 'What if my father was the King of England?' and then having to dismiss the idea because his father couldn't be the King of England because it could never happen in real life (I may be misrepresenting him - after all, I was obviously too busy doodling rubbish clowns to have paid full attention). I wanted to say - 'What about if, instead of saying he couldn't be King of England because his character and backstory wouldn't lead him there, you instead changed England and the notion of the monarchy to fit your father?' but I didn't formulate the idea quick enough (and also didn't know if I'd fully got what he was trying to say) so I didn't. I did, however, not long after, manage to slag off Andrea Arnold's 'Wasp', which Matthieu had used as an example. I feel quite strongly about the film, so let rip a bit, but only halfway through remembered that it was actually a previous Cinema Extreme film and that The Bureau had produced it. Although this wouldn't change my opinion, it did feel, in retrospect, a bit rude.

Also today, we had a session of show and tell, which was really interesting. I wish I had prepared a bit better for this - I spoke generally about where I'm coming from as a filmmaker, but think now that I could have related it a bit more closely to the film I was pitching. In fact, typically, on the way home I had several much better ideas about what I should have done. That'll teach me.

Friday: Had to repitch our ideas today, and talk about what we'd learned. For me, it had been really good to get my head back into the project and to start thinking about shots and dialogue and character. I had good meetings with all the Execs, the majority of whom seemed to really respond to the project. I think the main task for me is going to be to try and get everything that I've talked about into a short script (20ish mins), without it becoming over-complicated.

There was a session this morning where Chris Cooke came in to talk about making the leap from shorts to features, but I ducked out of that (partially, it must be said, at his request. I think he thought I'd put him off.) I had just got the rough mix back for 'Deliver Me' so it gave me a chance to try that out, syncing it up with the film. I've got to be careful not to let 'DM' get lost in all the other things I'm doing - after taking so long to get the film together, it would be stupid to lose focus now.

In the afternoon, we had Peter Carlton from Film Four and Lenny Crooks from the UKFC New Cinema Fund come in to talk about what they're looking for - essentially 'unique visionaries'. While they were talking, I doodled this:

I think the figure on the right is an amalgam of Peter and Lenny (probably more Lenny to be fair), as they both have shaved heads. The figure on the left appears to be some kind of knight with weird fishlips. Don't know what's going on with that - maybe some kind of Holy Grail subconscious thing? (Although, having met with Lenny Crooks before and come away feeling that there's no way I'd ever get funded by the NCF because he doesn't like genre, that would seem to be a weird association to have.)

Managed to get quite arsey again during this session, this time about the idea of filmmakers from London coming up to the East Midlands to, in my charming term, 'scab money of us' by pretending to be from the region, but I think everybody seemed to take it in the spirit in which it was meant - I know that this region has quite a lot of public funding, but London does have a few other things to make up for it - like a massive commercial filmmaking infrastructure, tons of equipment to be blagged on downtime, and being the heart of the British Film Industry. Not to say that people in London have it easy, but then neither does anyone - it's all just swings and roundabouts.

Then that was it. Some of us had a brief drink together - in fact the drinking time over the three days was probably the most useful in getting to know where people were coming from - and then everybody disappeared off. And I went back to the edit suite to finish off syncing up and messing about with the sound mix.

As far as next steps for Cinema Extreme go, I've got to write a script now for delivery in April. I've got a fairly good idea of the story and a lot of the scenes, but it is still going to be a job, and at a time when I am up to my neck in it. I think I'm going to try and use the time when I'm on the train down to London to do it and just hope for the best. I'll just have to trust my unconscious mind to come up with some bright ideas.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Kicking wasps

Went scouting locations for ‘Mum and Dad’ today. Looked at four places in Sherwood and West Bridgford, all of which had something about them – good bedrooms, good kitchen, great living-room – but unfortunately not together in the same house. Emma, our location scout, is working really hard and seems to think that we’ll get somewhere soon, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed – ideally we’d like to get one location to serve for the bulk of the film, rather than have to try and piece the house together from different parts around the city, but the closer it gets to the shoot date, the more ready we’ll have to be to think about maybe doing just that.

Lisa had a meeting yesterday with Film London and Em-media and it looks like we’re going to get some money by the end of next week. She also said that they had signed off on the script – although both Sol from FL and Lizzie from EMM had the same note about one of the characters that they’d like me to look at (so signed off, but not quite…). At first I bridled – worrying about putting things into the script that might start opening things up and potentially causing more problems, (like kicking a wasp nest or something) – but then I just realised that I what I was actually worrying about was the prospect of trying to find the time (and headspace) to think about writing in the middle of doing everything else.

So, kicking myself up the arse, I sat down today (in between locations) and had a go at adding some more nuance to the script – attempting to flesh out the back story of this particular character, without impacting too much on what’s already there. I basically changed three scenes, adding a bit of dialogue for Dad, a horrible kissing moment and a suggestive bit of action in the Terrible Room At The Top Of The Stairs. I’ve sent it to Lisa (as my monitor for the Wrongness Quotient in the film) to see what she thinks.

Also yesterday, I appeared (live!) on the radio to talk about horror. It was Radio Nottingham, 9 in the morning, alongside Paul Welsh from Em-media (who assures me that I’ve misjudged him in suggesting that he’s not a horror fan…). It was only a quick thing – 20 minutes or so, with records and phone-ins (“That was Peter Cetera, ‘The Glory of Love” – and now it’s over to Gillian from Wollaton…”). I got to plug ‘Mum and Dad’ (although when I mentioned it was about a brutal and perverse family torturing and killing people at the end of a runway, the presenter’s eyes seemed to flash a little with concern for his audience…) and Mayhem, so I guess it was worth doing.

Over in another part of the world…Jeanie’s film 'Teenland' has just had its premiere at the Big Sky documentary festival in Missoula, Montana. Jeanie’s gone over there for the week (stopping off in a snowbound New York on the way), and is documenting it on her blog.
It’s great that ‘Teenland’’s finally getting out there – it seems like ages ago that we shot it. She also had a couple of meetings about her next film, which is in development at the moment and is due to start pretty much when I’m scheduled to be finishing ‘Mum and Dad’. Hopefully, I’ll get to work on it – then at least we’ll get to see each other this year…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Poundslayers (?)

I’ve spent the past couple of days in London on M+D business – meeting up with our casting agent, production designer, sfx designer and others. Because everything’s up in the air – we don’t have a definite cast, location or half the crew yet – there’s a limited amount I can actually say about what went on. At the moment, clouds of possibilities are swirling, mingling and dividing above mine and Lisa’s heads, and we really need to start nailing things down. Lisa’s working really hard to stick to our (terrifyingly tight) schedule, and we’re both having to zip back and forth between London and Nottingham (I might as well just give Midland Mainline my bank account details at the moment – despite hovering over the edge of starting production, we still haven’t actually been given any money by the funders (story of my fucking life, apparently…) so everything’s coming out of our pockets…)

To distract myself from having to think about things that terrify me (like how to shoot the film and who to get in it), and to leave Lisa in peace for a while, I scouted round Camden for an hour or two – and managed to pick up some bargains. First off, for £1.99, I got a DVD copy of Don Coscarelli’s ‘Phantasm’, which I’ve never actually seen before (and which means that sometime in the future, I can actually get to watch ‘Phantasm II, which I bought a few years ago, and which I’ve held off from watching due to a kind of geek OCD which demands that you don’t’ watcht the sequel before the orginal), then, in a discount and remainder bookstore, I picked up a digest-sized compiliation of early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby ‘Fantastic Four’ issues for 99p. Featuring not only the FF themselves, but early appearances by the Black Panther, the Inhumans, the Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom, it’s great stuff, filled with classic Kirby panels like this:

BOK! Indeed.

Finally, in a charity shop, I found this:

Yup, a big box Hong Kong VHS copy of Stuart ‘Re-animator’ Gordon’s H.P. Lovecraft adaptation ‘From Beyond’, complete with HK Chinese subtitles, for 99p.

The discovery of 'Street Trash" – again in classic big box VHS style – has led me to try and seek out more retro thrills (unlike Cooke, who seems to have spent the Eighties locked in a flat watching ‘video nasties’ over and over again until they became permanently etched onto the craggy terrain of his psyche, I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff, through being at university and reading loads of books which I now can’t remember.) Maybe I’ll try and make it a regular feature – ‘99p reviews’ or ‘Poundslayers’ or something.

It means I might finally get round to watching another BBVHS which I bought years ago and which has been decorating my office ever since – a reminder that David Cronenberg wasn’t always sold as the cerebral, arty, thinking-person’s horror director.

It's like someone described the film to the artist using semaphore across a foggy lake or something. What I especially like is the appearance, in the bottom left hand corner, of a bayonet. Just in case the rifles, shotgun and flamethrower fail to do the job, I guess...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mayhem Awakening!

Just a quick bit of self-promotion on two counts - 'Awake' the film we shot in the Lake District last summer is being shown tomorrow night as a supporting short for the Korean monster movie 'The Host', as part of the Gala Weekend to celebrate the move of Derby's Metro Cinema to the Heap Lecture Theatre at the University of Derby. We got asked by Sally who works at the Metro to provide a 'Mayhem' short, and because we've pretty much shown everything from the past two years in Derby already, Cooke suggested we put on 'Awake'. I'm quite happy for it to go on - even though the sound mix could do with some work... - because I think it would be good to get an idea of how it works for an audience, and also, with my 'Mayhem' hat on, I think it's good to have new films to present, to get people regarding 'Mayhem' as a source of new local, national and international horror. Myself and Gareth are going to try and get over there tomorrow night, and maybe do a bit of promotion (well, talking to people in the bar) for the next upcoming event - 'Mayhem 3', which we really have got to do something about planning, seeing as it's bloody February already...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

“Young people gotta live, too…”: Matthew Bright’s ‘Freeway’


Coming home late the other night and searching aimlessly through the hinterland of Sky channels, I tripped across Zone Thriller (companion channel to Zone Horror, on 322) to find that they were showing Matthew Bright’s ‘Freeway’.

For a while a couple of years ago, Matthew Bright was going to be the next great cult filmmaker, following ‘Freeway’ and ‘Confessions of a Trick Baby’, two films based on fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel respectively) – but then something happened. He made a film called ‘Tiptoes’, about a woman falling in love with her new husband’s dwarf brother (played by Gary Oldman on his knees) (no, I’m not kidding) and the Ted Bundy biopic ‘Bundy’ which was slated for its mixing of horrible rape and murder with throwaway comedy. Both of them were not seen by anyone. Since then, nothing. It was like all of a sudden everybody decided he was just too full of wrong.

The thing is, Bright had always been full of Wrong – both ‘Freeway’ and ‘Trick Baby’are twisted, fucked-up, perverted versions of archetypal myths, full of sex and violence. Like the bastard child of John Waters and Russ Meyer, Bright fills his films with vividly drawn characters and over-the-top dialogue. Like when the serial rapist-killer masquerading as a counsellor is quizzing Little Red Vanessa the hitchhiker about her childhood abuse:-

“Say it out loud Vanessa!”
“It felt like I’d been transformed into a human urinal…”

What in retrospect gives the film more of a frisson is the casting. Playing Vanessa, the trashy trailer park girl on the run to her grandmother’s house is (now Oscar-nominated) Reese Witherspoon, while the Big Bad Wolf ‘Bob Wolverton’ is played by America’s newest greatest hero (and extreme torture-junkie) Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland. Hearing Kiefer bark lines like “Get your fucking pants down, you fucking cunt!” to a teenage girl he’s planning to rape and murder is weird enough, but seeing him with a fucked-up jaw held together by sticks and wires after he’s been shot in the mouth by Witherspoon, his mouth drooling and distorted, speaking through a voicebox in his throat while he clings onto his prim wife (Brooke Shields, in another example of potentially stunt casting that actual helps the film) makes you realise how out of the mainstream Keifer used to be before ‘24’ put him back into the centre of the American consciousness.
Witherspoon is great in ‘Freeway’ – foul-mouthed, gun-toting, hard as nails, but still somehow sympathetic – probably because she consistently refuses to take any shit from anyone – parents, rapists, police, prison guards. She’s like the classic anti-social rebel from a Fifties B-movie. Except, instead of being a leather-clad biker, she’s a boobtube-wearing teenage girl. (With the follow-up (sometimes known as ‘Freeway 2’) “Confessions of a Trick Baby”, Bright goes even further, pulling off the enviable trick of making us feel sympathetic for a violent, murderous psychopath.)
Towards the end of the film, we move into a kind of ‘women-in-prison’picture (which is picked up and expanded in ‘Confessions of a Trick Baby’), with Witherspoon beating the shit out of the prison’s top dog within minutes of getting in there and inevitable lesbian overtones aplenty – “I’ll make out with you, but no fucking…”, before we head into the final showdown between Vanessa and the Wolf, precipitated by Vanessa’s prison escape and the discovery of Kiefer’s shedfull of young girl porn ( an incident which leads to Brooke Shields messily blowing her brains out in her bathroom.)

The film also features supporting cast stalwart Dan Hedaya, Amanda Plummer (as Vanessa’s prostitute mum) and a young Brittany Murphy, but the film really belongs to Witherspoon, who showed real potential here,far beyond the ‘Legally Blonde’ ditziness (or the ‘Walking the Line’ earnestness) that she’s shown since. Honestly, it’d be great to hear her barking lines like “Fuck you chipmunk face!” to a deformed Keifer Sutherland again…

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Street Trash: Pricklips and Bum Ooze


“Lower Manhattan. Life is cheap and gang warfare reigns supreme. Two brothers battle to break free from the clutches of the brutal Bronson and his vicious gang of street freaks. Together with a renegade cop, they set about cleaning up their territory…but they encounter a new enemy, a phoneminal new energy force that melts its victims in seconds. If you’ve never seen a melt movie then be prepared.”

That’s the back-of-the-box blurb for ‘Street Trash’, complete with spelling mistake (how hard is it to proof-read 70 words, for Christ’s sake?). Makes it sound like an action-packed horror-thriller, doesn’t it? Rather than the rambling, digressive horror-comedy it actually is…Not that I’m complaining, ‘Street Trash’ – on authentic big-boxed 1980s VHS for that extra frisson of low-budgetude – was a great watch.

Starting with a chase scene straight out of a silent movie (except with more’fucks’ and naked breasts), the film actually sets up the plot pretty quickly. A slob of a liquor store owner finds a 70-year-old crate of booze in a boarded up part of his cellar and decides to sell it cheap to the winos who seem to exclusively populate his shop. Within ten minutes, a couple of them are dead – melting away into puddles in a couple of fairly well-executed FX scenes - the first on a toilet in a derelict building, the second on a fire escape (dripping onto a yuppie who looks strangely like Tony Blair) At the same time, we’re introduced to the main characters, the two brothers who live in the junkyard, one a conscience-free drunk, the other a good-hearted innocent.

Then the film seems to forget about the whole ‘melting-booze’ thing and instead sets up a load of other characters. It’s like sTristram Shandy or something – the film keeps going off on tangents every time a new character is introduced, only finding it’s way back to the main narrative about ten minutes later, before veering off again. (Some reviews I’ve read have suggested that this was just a way to fill up the running-time, and some of it does feel like that, but it’s always watchable, and it does stay pretty much related to the junkyard and its denizens.)

In a way, it could almost be argued that the horror stuff is the stuff that’s tacked on and what the director really wanted to make was a film about a bunch of down-and-outs, all seemingly fucked-up by Vietnam. The lead baddie, Bronson, holds court at night, on his throne amongst the car parts, regaling his troops with tales of ‘war atrocities’, before falling asleep and dreaming of being attacked by Vietcong vampires, in a surprisingly (for the budget) effective and stylish imaginary sequence.

In fact, the film as a whole is pretty well shot, with some great steadicam stuff – the director Jim Muro is a DOP/Camera Op/Steadicam op and has gone on to do stuff on big Hollywood films – and handheld tracking, especially through the junkyard. There’s even a handheld vertical 360 turn during one of the melt sequences (which kick back in, along with the main plot, after about an hour). The design is great too – the film is full of grime, piss,puke, semen, blood and body ooze, every street is rubbish-strewn, every wall seems to have ‘fuck’ graffiti’ed on it and every hobo seems thick with dirt – you can almost smell them coming off the screen. The script – ‘enthusiastically’ performed – is relentlessly foulmouthed (“Go fuck your Dog, Ed!””Very witty, pricklips!”), although also strewn with scenes where characters narrate what they’re doing and thinking for the sake of exposition.

It’s also got its fair share of Wrongness – the comedy (always accompanied by Benny Hill-style knockabout music) centres around scenes like an extremely fat boss trying to rape his secretary and apparently suffering a heart attack in the middle of it, or a man getting his cock cut off, then having to chase it as the others play piggy-in-the-middle with it (the scene ending, incidentally, with a shot of the cockless hobo gripping onto the back of a school bus full of screaming kids as he tries to get his appendage to the hospital in time. Pretty much a dictionary definition of Wrong, right there…) There’s also a terrible fight scene – unconvincing, badly choreographed, badly shot – which is only partly redeemed by the fact that the victor drags the loser head first into a urinal, then sticks his fingers down his throat and vomits on him.

But, it has got one of the best beheadings I’ve ever seen, containing a shot that made me laugh out loud (well, it was funny…). And the end titles contain credits for ‘Perverted Rottweiler’, ‘Exploding Bum’ and ‘Receptive Whore in Van’. (What some actors wouldn’t give for a credit like that…). The end credits also, weirdly, feature a song, in character, by one of the actors – a clich├ęd Mafia boss who is only really in about three scenes and doesn’t have anything to do with the main plot – which seems to recap his part of the film. Very strange. But not in a bad way.

‘Street Trash’ – at least in my VHS version - is only about 80-odd minutes long, but it does get a lot in, and it’s always at least entertaining. I mean, I haven’t even mentioned the death-by-windscreen, human femur knife or the necrophilia.
Or the impossibly hard-boiled, muscle t-shirted detective (Sample dialogue when looking at a police report of a body - Detective:“Who found her?”, Desk Sergeant: “It’s on the chart.” Detective: (shrugs) Hey, come on, I read like old people fuck.”). Of course, the sound mix is muddy as hell (not helped by the fact that some of the actors have only a passing acquaintance with intelligible diction), the ‘melt’ stuff isn’t exactly explained or resolved and there’s sometimes an uneasiness of tone between the comedy and the wrongness, but, if filthy booze-soaked bums melting into equally flithy toilets is your cup of tea (so to speak), then it’s definitely worth a look. Of course, that’s maybe an acquired taste.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Beer, skittles, meat, bones, melting bums

We finally got approval from Paul Welsh today for the ‘Deliver Me’ cut, which means that we can start moving forward with the dub and the grade. Unfortunately, we’ve lost quite a few days out of the time that we’d orginally planned for Grant (our sound recordist/designer) to do the sound mix, so we’re going to have to try and reschedule those and find a new date for the dub, potentially pushing it back to the end of February. I should be feeling happy that it’s all moving forward again, but with all the stuff to do on ‘Mum and Dad’ coming up over the next couple of weeks, plus a Cinema Extreme workshop, losing time to work on ‘Deliver Me’ recently due to waiting for feedback, has left me feeling detached from the project. It’s been hanging around for so long now that trying to keep my enthusiasm and focus on it during periods like this – when it feels like it’s nobody else’s priority – has become increasingly difficult.

(Obviously, moaning about the fact that I’m getting the opportunity to make films (and, in the case of “Mum and Dad”, brutal and perverse horror films at that) is not the most endearing quality in the world, so I’m going to try and keep that to a minimum here, but I did think it worth mentioning that the world of Uncinema is not all beer and skittles. Or dildos and Pringles tubes, for that matter.)

Looking back at the edit, I think there are a lot of good things to be said about it, however much I’m finding it hard to even look at at the moment.
1) The performances are all great, really digging the meat and bones out of the script (and also adding some to it);
2) I got to shoot, and cut in, The Infamous ‘INT: Vagina’ Shot;
3) The flexibility of digital cutting means that I have had the opportunity to create shots in the edit which we didn’t originally shoot – one close-up in particular, which I had to steal from another scene, then play in reverse (one of about 4 backwards shots in the film, none of which, hopefully, are noticeable as such)…
4) … as well as a shot which is blown up to six times it’s orginal size, then cropped and tinted to become something else entirely and solved a problem which I had thought about before the shoot, then forgotten, then had an aching moment of cold dread about during the edit, before having a moment of left-field inspiration. (Or desperate clutching-at-straws luck. Whichever.)
5) The film really seems to work at its length – it’s currently running at 17 and a half minutes, but doesn’t feel like it – it feels like there’s a sustained tension all the way through. Of course, we haven’t watched it with an audience yet, and that’s the real test, but I don’t think that’s going to be happening any time soon…
6) Aaaand it’s back to the moaning already…

On a positive note, while scouring the charity shops in Sherwood yesterday I came across a big box VHS of a film called ‘Street Trash’, which Cooke has often told me about (and which I once saw at a car boot costing £4, when I only had £3 on me, and there was no haggling to be had). It’s an 80s low-budget horror, promoted as ‘the ultimate melt movie’ and one of the first reviews I came across online contains the words ‘completely indefensible’, ‘exploitation gorefest’, ‘insane cannibal Viet Nam vet’and‘incredible melting bums’. So, I don’t think I can go wrong with it, really. Or at least, not wrong in a bad way...