Unrestricted Views from Chris Hastings director and co-writer of The 13th

The amazing Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival is back for its second year, running from the 30th October to the 5th November, and so is our Unrestricted Views bringing you an insight to the people behind the fantastic fright fest of films on show.

Below we talk to Chris Hastings director and co-writer of The 13th which screens on the 31st of October at 9.15pm. Get your tickets HERE

Love Horror: Tell us about your film?
Chris Hastings: The 13th is a nod to classic films like The Wicker Man and The Fog. It takes as its starting point the Gospel of Judas (a real text which supposedly threw new light onto the relationship between Jesus and Judas). One theory is that Jesus and Judas had worked together to ‘stage’ the betrayal and that Judas had expected to ascend to the heavens for his work, but was then betrayed, in turn, by Jesus. It sounds like a theological episode of Eastenders and is one of only many theories (as the text is incomplete) but the tale excited me and was what formed the starting point of our film. The production was a truly international team, with filmmakers from Canada, Germany, Greece, Afghanistan, Ireland, Spain and the UK all involved in bringing the film to the screen. It was filmed entirely on the remote Greek island of Symi and we used a number of local people both in front of and behind the camera (and discovered some truly remarkable actors along the way), so there’s a lot of excitement there right now.

Love Horror: How did you get into making horror movies?
Chris Hastings: All of my earliest cinematic memories are horror movies. The first film image I remember (at least the one that’s scored into my brain) is the chest-burster scene from Alien. By today’s standards my parents would be considered terribly negligent but their – shall we say – liberal approach to what I watched means I had one hell of a cinematic education from an early age! So when I first started writing scripts and looking to direct, it was that same path I wanted to tread. Indeed, the next film I’m working on was very much inspired by Alien.

Love Horror: What is your view on horror in 2017 and how would you change it?
Chris Hastings: I could make the same complaints everyone does about the horror industry these days. Enough already with the cheap jump scares. More please with producers taking risks. But, in truth, horror is like any other genre. Unless you’ve actually got something to say, don’t bother. Without depth and meaning then you’re never going to get me emotionally invested and those jump scares are just like throwing snowballs at the sun. It’s why Get Out is – rightfully – so successful. Every time a film like Get Out breaks through we hope it’ll signal the change, but we’ve been saying that for years.

Love Horror: What is your favourite horror film and why?
Chris Hastings: The Thing. I have a theory that greatness only comes out of conflict, not on camera but behind the scenes. Whether Apocalypse Now. Bladerunner. The Shining. They were almost sunk by conflict or mishaps and The Thing certainly had its troubles. And what happens then is instinct. Brilliantly creative people working on adrenalin and fire. With a good chunk of luck. It’s why I think it’s Carpenter’s best film and why it’s probably my most watched film (next to Toy Story, but don’t tell anybody I said that!)

Love Horror: If Hollywood came knocking and gave you anything you wanted what movie would you make and who would it star?
Chris Hastings: It may sound slightly egocentric, but a movie about the Battle of Hastings. It’s where I grew up, I took the town’s name and I’ve wanted to make that movie ever since I was a kid. It’s a story I’ve lived and breathed most of my life. Hollywood has tried to make it numerous times, there’s been some TV films, there’s a low budget production that will likely get made, but the only way to do it justice would be a full scale, full-blooded £100 million blockbuster, Lord of the Rings meets Valhalla Rising meets Apocalypto! Dark, gritty, visceral with a big slice of panache. Oh, and because everyone does this in the film industry with true stories, I’d play fast and loose with facts so Harold would win! And he’d be played by Gary Oldman. And nobody should ever need to explain why they want to cast Gary Oldman in a movie!

The 13th screens at the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival on the 31st of October at 9.15pm.
Read more about the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival and buy tickets at www.unrestrictedview.co.uk/

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