Here’s our interview with horror film maker Charlie Steeds. I’ve been so impressed with Charlie’s work especially in Cannibal Farm. He’s definitely one to watch.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I’m Charlie Steeds, director of indie horror films Escape From Cannibal Farm, The House of Violent Desire, The Barge People, and most recently my snowbound thriller Winterskin (working title). These were all made through my production company Dark Temple Motion Pictures which I set up to create my own brand of retro-styled horror movies.
What got you into horror?
I was totally terrified of all things horror throughout my childhood, 18-rated horror was absolutely forbidden, and so that attracted me to it even more as a teenager. I was drawn in by Stephen King film/tv adaptations, stories that had such strong characters and well crafted narratives, alongside the horror. That got me hooked.
How long have you been film making for?
I’d made short films constantly throughout my teens. At age 21 I left film school and shot my first feature. Once that found distribution, a little unexpectedly, I turned my attention to making horror movies, which was always my passion. Shooting Escape From Cannibal Farm in 2016 was a dream!
Who’s your biggest influences in the horror world?
Stephen King, John Carpenter and Mario Bava. King is my idol, just look at all these brilliant horror stories he’s written, each one with incredible characters and themes, central to the horror at its core. That’s horror done properly! Carpenter is just my favourite director to watch, his style, his directing choices, he’s horror movie perfection. Bava’s films have had such a broad influence on cinema, from films like Alien to Friday the 13th and even Pulp Fiction… his use of camera and lighting has inspired me like no other filmmaker could.
What’s your favourite type of horror?
Two things; action-packed horror that gives me an adrenaline rush (example, EVIL DEAD 2), and/or great characters and themes (example, CARRIE). I don’t find horror scary, so I’m not looking for cheap scares (example PARANORMAL ACTIVITY).
What’s your favourite horror film/Films?
Phantasm! That films holds the essence of independent DIY horror filmmaking, its so charming, and such an imaginative concept. Also Ilove The Shining, Suspiria, Hellraiser… The Devils Rejects is my guilty pleasure, I have seen that horror film more than any other. If we count Aliensas horror, then that too!
What’s been your toughest challenge on set?
The budget, the budget and the budget… It affects everything, things you wouldn’t expect. It affects time, time to rehearse with actors, time to perfect a shot. It limits the stories I can tell and what I can achieve within the films. I’ve always tried to include as much action into my movies as possible, there’s a seven minute ‘barge massacre’ sequence in The Barge People that I can’t wait for horror fans to see, but ultimately my films (until now) have had to rely on dialogue to tell the story. That’s all changing as the budgets increase, there’s already a major difference across my four horror feature films.
Can you tell us about Soho Horror Fest?
Soho Horror Fest is a weekend packed with new horror movies (a lot of them showing for the first time in the UK) at the ultra stylish Karma Sanctum Soho Hotel, on November 10th/11th, right in the heart of Soho, London! I’ve hosted many cast and crew screenings of my own movies at this venue, and myself and actor Barrington De Le Roche thought it’d be the perfect place to start an annual horror film festival. Our programmer, Mitch Harrod, has selected an epic line up! You can check out our full program here: https://www.sohohorrorfest.com/2018-programme-1
What can we expect next from yourself?
My budgets are rapidly increasing, so you can expect bigger, better films, and a lot more of them! Sharper scripts, wilder concepts, higher productionvalues all around and more elaborate blood/gore/creature FX. The movie I’m about to begin shooting is very different to the films I’ve made so far, so that’s exciting, it’ll be one to keep you awake at night!