A genuinely decent British horror film echoing back to the Hammer era, merged with straight edged drama that British films are beloved for The Sleeping Room is a film that will keep you up at night.
Having previously starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, Les Misérables, Judge Dread and Lighthouse Christopher Adamson takes on the role of the creepy Fiskin in The Sleeping room. We talked to him about making the movie and more.
Love Horror: How did you become involved in The Sleeping Room?
Christopher Adamson: Jeremy Zimmerman was casting director on Sleeping Room. Have been cast by Jeremy on lots of projects for the last 25 years starting with ROBIN HOOD PRINCE OF THIEVES. He recommended me for the part of Fiskin.
Love Horror: What appealed to you about playing the sinister character of Fiskin in the film?
Christopher Adamson: Loved the creepy, homocidal degenerate malevolence of the part and being filmed for the old fashioned ‘what the butler saw’ mutoscope sequences which eventually segue into snuff movies. the Mutoscope scene was filmed by Jake West who I worked with on Razor Blade Smile & Evil Aliens. For whatever reasons, these are the parts I get cast for. It is how I make my living and of course the characters are never boring.
Love Horror: You shot the film in Brighton during the winter which added a chilling atmosphere to it, what was the shoot like overall?
Christopher Adamson: During the day the sun came out and it was a joy to be in Brighton even if it was december. But at night sometimes the rain came down and the wind picked and suddenly one was being swept off ones feet when trying to walk along the promenade. Brighton has this mixture of old world victorian charm especially with the architecture of the older buildings coupled with a very go ahead 21st century ‘get up and go’ feel. It really helped with the locations being in this beautiful square off the sea front. We worked in some buildings that had not been renovated for some years so there were still original fittings from the 19th century. The skills of the art department helped to really set up a horrific feel with dark colours, dusty corners and general untouched decay. Overall it was a lowbudget shoot with a very hardworking crew, cast, director and producer where everybody was supportive of each other in wintry conditions.
Thanks to everybody especially John director, Simon cinematographer and team, design Lorna and her team, makeup lot having to dole out all the blood, David costume team for washing the socks etc and having to make sacking mask, Alex, Adam, Peter, Tanzi and all the backroom team and helpers from Brighton College just thankyou for making it all a pleasant experience even though everyone worked their guts out for a long period without rest. And as for the actors, they were at times brilliant.
Love Horror: Are you a Horror fan? If yes what are your favourite horror films and why?
Christopher Adamson: The older I get, the more I blanche at horror and then I watch James Whales’ Frankenstein and once more I become a fan. I am just about to film in a prequel of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre called Leatherface and so I watched the 1974 version and the 2003 film. I preferred the 1974 one. It seemed to have an innocence somehow compared to some of the chopped up limb movies you get now and which I have sometimes worked on.
Love Horror: The Sleeping Room is reminiscent of the hammer era combined with gritty drama, the scares are more subtle than jumpy, do you think that works more effectively in terms of getting under the audiences skin?
Christopher Adamson: Thats what I liked, the realities of living in 2015 plus hallucinatory horror. Homeless so you live in a van. For a decent wage you work as a prostitute. The young woman goes to her client and then suddenly sees a horrific vision: Fiskin, wearing his sacking mask, looking intently at her. I found that very unsettling. Aahh the good old Hammer days. I still watch Hound of the Baskervilles, Dracula, Fu Manchu etc
Love Horror: The film received its world premiere at last year’s FrightFest, what was that like to experience?
Christopher Adamson: Loved Frightfest. Had not been before but coming across all these afficandos and practioners of the horror genre. Loved the way crew, actors, directors, producers and fans all came together to feast on the gore.
Love Horror: How did you get into acting?
Christopher Adamson: When I left school I worked in a laboratory. I wanted to go to college either university or drama school. I was accepted at Webber Douglas Acadamy of Dramatic Art and managed to pull together money for fees and living expenses. I had done a lot of amateur theatre with lots of groups but drama school really turned one inside out. This school felt as if they wanted to break you down and you had to put yourself back together and in the process learn about ones psyche and body and use that knowledge to put together the characters one is going to perform. So, I go into drama school a happy go lucky long hair boho and come out a short haired very efficient professional actor. Ihave not stopped working since then.
Love Horror: Other than the horror genre you’ve been in blockbuster films including the Pirates of the Caribbean series, what were they like to work on?
Christopher Adamson: Have been very lucky to have been involved in some of these hollywood backed films. The first one of these was Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner. These films are logistical miracles. Hundreds of extras, very expensive cast & crew because of course with all this money the producers are spending they try and get the best practioners in the world. As Jeremy Zimmerman, casting director for Sleeping Room as well as casting Prince of Thieves said to me then ” one minute costs a thousand pounds” you do not waste time. Nowadays it is double that price if not more. And they are great to work on, especially if they are successful. But you do have to work very hard and be the best there is plus after months or more in a foreign land one feels as though one is trapped in a gilded cage because once you say you are going to do the job you never let them down. That is my principle fot the highest and lowest budget project.
Love Horror: Finally, what future projects do you have coming up?
Christopher Adamson: As I mentioned earlier, am off to film LEATHERFACE soon, a prequel to Texas Chainsaw Masscre. Also have been booked for a film next year shooting in Paris and I may be going to Manchester in the autumn for another shoot so fingers crossed on that one. But I am getting on in years so my rhythm is gentlier and there are times when it is okay to take it easy, I feel as though I perhaps have earned that.
The Sleeping Room is available On-Demand and Download now and on DVD 11 May courtesy of Second Sight Film