January 17, 2011

Interview with Robert Morgan

British filmmaker Robert Morgan has written and directed several short horror films, considered by many to be some of the creepiest things on the internet. It's been said that "He is going to be bigger than Burton," and that his films are "like a Clive Barker pencil drawing come to life." I first saw his short, "The Man in the Lower Left Hand Corner of the Photograph" a year ago, after being introduced to it on a horror forum. All his films are on his youtube account, or his website, and "The Cat With Hands" is one of the best things I've ever seen on youtube. I recently got the chance to interview him, and ask him a few things about his films, and about the genre in general.

Me: First off, which would you say you prefer working with, claymation and stop motion, or live acting?

Robert Morgan: First off, I enjoy both animation and live-action equally - I like the
control that you have with animation, but i like collaborating with
people too, which is what Live-action offers. I try to alternate between
the two.

Me: You had several films coming up, Bobby Yeah, The Eyes, Pandy-monium, Hard-on, and Teenage Apocalypse, on the animus films site, but Bobby Yeah is the only one I've seen on your own site. The animus film site doesn't seem to have been updated for some time, is that information out of date, and are those films still being developed? When can we expect Bobby Yeah?

RM: The only new film I have coming up is Bobby Yeah - all those other films
on the Animus website are - for now - dead. I still hope to make
Pandy-Monium one day, but it will have a different title. I'm no longer
affiliated with Animus films, so i don't know why those dead films are
still listed on there. Nothing to do with me... Bobby Yeah will be done
in a few weeks. I just need to do the final sound mix and picture grade,
then it will start showing at film festivals. It is unequivocally the
best film ever made, so look out for it.

Me: Your 48 hour film, Overtaken, was really creepy, despite the short time it was filmed in. What were some challenges you faced in filming the whole film in two days?

RM: Overtaken was great fun to make. We arrived at Jersey (a small island in
the English Channel) with no idea of what we would be making, then we
had to pick out of a hat a genre and a title, and were given a couple of
actresses. We then had to deliver the finished film 48 hours later. So
it wasn't just filmed in 2 days, it was also conceived and edited in
that time too.
We just went and shot a load of improvised material, then spent the
first night editing it and figuring out what the story could be,
suggested by what we'd shot. Then we spent the second day shooting more
stuff that would make sense of it. Then, when we edited it together, it
made absolutely no sense, so with about ten minutes to go before the
deadline, i improvised that voiceover, which was an attempt help it make
more sense. The greatest challenge was to make something that was both
original and entertaining, yet still made some kind of sense. I'm not
sure how much we succeeded.

Me: What are your top five feature length horror movies?

RM: My top five horror movies are, in no particular order:
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The Tenant (1976)
The Unknown (1927)
Lost Highway (1997)
The Shining (1980)

I also really love 'Don't Look Now', 'Seconds', and 'Audition' so that's
my top 8 horror movies! (Seconds isn't so much a horror film, but it's
still sort of horrifying. Actually, not sure how much of a horror film
Lost Highway and The Unknown are either, but they're all pretty scary!)

Me: Speaking of feature length, Jeremy Knox's review of Monsters says that you're working on a feature film. Can you tell us a little about it?

RM: I am working on a couple of feature-length projects, but here in England
it takes forever to make these things happen.
One of them is a psychedelic horror film set in Fiji, about dead
children avenging colonial atrocities, but that isn't financed yet. I'm
sick of waiting, so I'm shooting a zero-budget feature this year with a
Canon 5D, with the same team who made Overtaken. That one's a about a
girl who moves into her dead Aunt's flat and starts being haunted by a
man made of dead skin cells...

Me: Last of all, Monsters injected mindbending horror into a fairly common scene among siblings, from the point of view of the children. What techniques did you to make the entire film bring back that sense of childhood fear?

RM: Monsters was, in my mind, a bit of a failure - it's not as crazy and
scary as it should have been. I just didn't have the time - or the
experience - to do it properly. It should have been way more delirious
and feverish.
But as for techniques - the plan was to blur the lines between the
reality of what was happening to that kid, and the fantasy of what was
going on in his head, so that you'd never be sure when he was imagining
things. Kids have very over-active imaginations, and when you're scared
as a kid, your mind gets carried away and things can get very scary in
your mind. I'd like to remake that film one day and do it properly!

His videos are definitely worth watching, and you should keep an eye out for Bobby Yeah, the trailer for which, is complete madness, in the best possible way.

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