The Last Laugh with Martyn Pick – Questions for the cast and crew of Heckle

Heckle was made after the writer/ director team had a hit with the short werewolf horror/ comedy film Blue Moon that played ScreamFest in Hollywood at the end of a successful festival run, and the creative team wanted to make a feature horror together. Voodoo films later came on as partners to bring ‘Heckle’ to life and it is about to receive its world premier at Octobers FrightFest.

Joe Johnson, at the top of his stand-up comic game, decides to share a Halloween weekend away with a group of friends. They decide on the theme of a 1980s retro party, and jokingly suggest that if they get drunk, high, and behave badly enough, hopefully they’ll attract their own psycho killer. The joke is suddenly very much on them though, as in turn they reach their grisly demise at the hands of The Heckler, an uninvited guest out to turn their nostalgic horror movie fantasy into a terrifying reality, before delivering an unforgettable punchline…

The premise of a stand- up comedian going too far with an audience member was an exciting premise, and the story and character of Ray Kelly caught the eye of Steve Gutenberg who took the staring roll in the movie. Also in the film are Nicholas Vince (Hellraiser), television celebrity Dani Dyer, the late Clark Gable III (grandson of Gone with the Wind’s Clark Gable) and Pop star Toyah Wilcox.

Below we have The Last Laugh as we put the cast and crew of Heckle through our exclusive questions:

1. How did you get involved with Heckle?
I directed the horror short “Blue Moon” (2016) which Anthony Hayles wrote. It got into ScreamfestLa (the top US horror festival) and we went out for its premiere there at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. On the trip we came up with a plan that would build on this fun collaboration into a feature.
We didn’t want to get bogged down with elaborate special effects and went for Anthony’s script “Heckle” which could be managed with a small group of actors in focussed locations. We could then be tight in on the really compelling characters and the psychological tension between them…
I always enjoy the immediacy and spontaneity of shooting horror! That fast explosion of dark emotion…

2. What scares you?
Lack and compassion and empathy as a hip/ironic badge of honour…

3. What is your favourite horror film and why?
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” 1974
It is seared into my memory because for years you couldn’t see it (it was banned in the UK). There was a published synopsis in the magazine “House of Hammer” which I compulsively reread until I had it memorised! It sounded so much rawer and grittier than anything that had been seen before..
Finally, I got to see it a few years later at Portobello’s Electric Cinema through the loophole of it being screened in a film club. It definitely did not disappoint as a brutal rollercoaster ride….
But beyond that primal punch is creative quality of Tobe Hoopers film which always impresses on repeat viewings…
Theres the textured art direction which gives the overpowering sense of rural decay. The brilliant avant garde flash cutting in the opening scenes. The proto sound design that is years ahead. Most of all there is the extraordinary black comedy in the grotesque characters and Hoopers hyperreal staging and camera angles…

4. Tell us a joke?
Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one – and let the other one off.

The film will be out at noon on October 24th as part of the Halloween FrightFest digital edition-


Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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