ILHM received a pleasant surprise during this week's DVD Releases, when the director of one of the releases took the opportunity to stop by and introduce himself! Pat Higgins is on the fast track with several genre releases making their way to DVD in only a few short years, and he has taken the opportunity to sit down with ILHM and discuss his past and future projects:
ILHM: Pat, its great to have you on today! It must be exciting to see the domestic release of Hellbride taking off across the web!
Pat: Good to be here! Yeah, it's great to see Hellbride out on the shelves and heading into people's homes. We're really proud of the flick, and people are really responding brilliantly to it.
ILHM: For anyone unfamiliar with the production company, please give us a little more information about Jinx Media.
Pat: We're over in the UK and based in Southend-on-Sea, which is just outside London. We shot our first movie, TrashHouse, back at the beginning of 2004. It's a goofy midnight movie with retro clothes, pink blood, guns, chainsaws and stuff like that. We got a terrific UK DVD release for it and made it into pretty much every rental shop in the country, which was fantastic. We followed that up by shooting KillerKiller and Hellbride back-to-back. KillerKiller has already been released all over the world, including a cinema release in Germany, and of course Hellbride is out in the US this week. Our ongoing mission is to make interesting, fiercely original horror movies on low budgets, and I reckon we live up to that.
ILHM: Are each of the scripts being produced through Jinx written in house, or do you also accept solicited scripts from outside writers?
Pat: In-house. Our scripts are fairly distinctive, and are one of the things that make us who we are. Plus, we're only a small company and the more stuff we can do in-house the easier it is for everyone!
ILHM: Many of the titles being produced through Jinx combine both words in the title with no space, ie KillerKiller, Hellbride, and TrashHouse. Is this a strategic way of differentiating yourselves on the market?
Pat: There wasn't any big gameplan behind it.. It came about because I thought 'TrashHouse' looked better than 'Trash House', and we decided to keep the same idea for the next two. It proves to be somewhat of a mixed blessing on things like search engines and listings sites, though, so we tend to have a version with a space listed as an alternate title.
ILHM: Where did the idea for Hellbride originate from?
Pat: I had this image stuck in my head of a furious bride-to-be breaking off her engagement by biting off her ring finger and spitting it at her prospective groom. It struck me as funny, in a sick kind of way, and was the seed from which the screenplay grew. The last line of the movie also popped into my head fully-formed, and was the first thing that I ever wrote down.
ILHM: What can fans expect to see in terms of blood, gore, and nudity in this film?
Pat: In terms of how extreme our movies get, we go for whatever feels right for the movie. This particular flick is like a romantic comedy from hell, so we stayed true to that mood. There's some nasty stuff in there, but the mood is pretty light.
ILHM: Do you find that it is easier to approach Horror / Comedies than it is to approach straight Horror films when writing and directing in the genre?
Pat: I've got a background in stand-up comedy, and that influence seems to creep into more or less everything that I write. I don't think I'd be able to write something with no humour in it whatsoever. The balance varies wildly, though. Something like KillerKiller has a very different kind of humour to something like Hellbride. There's also a screenplay I'm working on called House on the Witchpit which is far and away the darkest thing I've ever written.. The only jokes in that screenplay are pitch black. I think the screams will always need the laughs as a counterweight, it's just a matter of how those things are expressed.
ILHM: Are there any films that have had a direct influence on the writing or directing of Hellbride, or any influences in particular that have contributed to your own style?
Pat: Trace elements of The Shining, The Evil Dead, Gremlins and Fred Dekker's Night of the Creeps can probably be found lurking in every frame of my movies. Gremlins was the movie that really turned my head when I was a kid - I saw it over 50 times in the first year that it was out on video. I just loved how it could be incredibly sweet yet dark and violent all at the same time, and I still consider it to be the most subversive blockbuster ever made.
ILHM: England and Europe at large seem to be entering another "Horror Renaissance" after decades of silence following the fall of Hammer and Amicus. What is it liking being part of this new Horror revival in the UK?
Pat: I've just shot a chapter of an anthology movie called Bordello Death Tales, which meant teaming up with a couple of other UK directors (Jim Eaves and Alan Ronald). That was a great experience. Horror seems to be really finding its feet again in this part of the world, and as the technology gets cheaper I think more and more movies are likely to go into production. It's an exciting time all round!
ILHM: Are there specific actors and actresses that are closely tied to Jinx that we will see in Hellbride and recurring in future endeavors, or are each of the films created with their own set of unique talents?
Pat: We've got a fantastic pool of talent both in front of and behind the camera, and there are certain people who have ended up working with us on several projects. Cy Henty, for example, has appeared in just about everything we've ever shot. On the other hand, every film does have its own vibe and we need to be 100% sure that each actor is right for the role. We never cast people just because we've worked with them before, but we wouldn't turn them down for the same reason. We end up using Cy a lot because I think he's one of the most underrated actors in the country, and also because he pays me $100 every time I say that in interviews.
ILHM: What was your most memorable moment working on the set of Hellbride?
Pat: It was probably the most fun project that I've ever worked on. For the majority of the shoot, it just felt like the whole project was blessed; everything went right, all the time. If you want an example; we had a scene that took place in a nightclub. We'd dressed the set to look like a nightclub, but we arrived on set that morning and discovered that somehow we'd overlooked ordering any disco lighting. It just fell through the cracks. So I was just on the point of sending out runners to try and get a load of disco lighting on no notice whatsoever when our lead actor James Fisher turned up with a car full of disco lighting. For reasons totally unconnected with the project. It was just one of those weird times when everything always seemed to work out right. Except, of course, for the inevitable day when EVERY SINGLE THING went wrong, but that's a story for another time.
ILHM: Jinx Media has a full plate lined up in the coming year; tell us about some of the current and future projects we can expect to see in 2009 and 2010!
Pat: Well, our fourth film (The Devil's Music) is still playing festivals in both the UK and the USA and will be heading to DVD either at the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010. It won the Independent Feature category at the Festival of Fantastic Film in the UK, and a lot of folks have been calling it our best movie yet. After that, we've got Bordello Death Tales, which is the old-school anthology movie that's currently in post-production and was a co-production with Amber Pictures. Sitting in pre-production and development, we've got House on the Witchpit, Strippers vs Werewolves and Brainbath. So, yeah, we keep ourselves busy. I haven't slept since 2003.
ILHM: The floor is yours for any additional information you may have regarding Hellbride or any other topics we may have missed. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and chat with us, we wish you and Jinx the greatest success on your future projects!
Pat: Thanks for having me! Additional info? Um.. Well, Hellbride and KillerKiller are both available on DVD across the US. If you want to pick up our first film, TrashHouse, you'll need to import it from the UK, although we're working on finally getting a US release for it before the end of the year. Hit http://www.jinxmedia.co.uk/ for more info, and feel free to stop by and chat on the forums whilst you're there. Thanks again!
We want to encourage everyone to stop by and visit Pat at the Jinx Media homepage! ILHM has always been a huge promoter of Independent horror, and we are extremely excited to get some reviews posted shortly on KillerKiller and Hellbride in the coming weeks. Also, dont forget to keep your eyes peeled for The Devil's Music once it completes its touring circuit!