Unrestricted Views from Gary Smart Producer and Creator of the Dark Ditties Finders Keepers & The Witching Hour

Returning to make the Halloween period all the more petrifying the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival is back running from the 28th October to the 3rd November, and so is our Unrestricted Views bringing you an insight to the people behind the fantastic fright fest of films on show.

Tell us about your films?
Finders Keepers is the third story in our Dark Ditties series. The story centres around two inept poacher brothers, Roy and Barry Smiley (Bruce Jones and Oliver Smith) who stumble upon a ‘dead’ man (Simon Bamford) in the woods with a briefcase secured to his wrist. After taking the case back home and seeking the help of their locksmith friend Larry ‘The Latch’ Kasdan (Neil Cole) the brothers are soon mixed-up with two gangsters (Mark Wingett and Stanley Rawlings) who will do anything to get the case back for their mysterious boss Mr. Benoit (Kenneth Cranham). Like all the Ditties, Finders Keepers links to another with this one being a sort of prequel to ‘The Offer’.

The Witching Hour is our first feature-length Dark Ditty and it tells the story of Samantha Carter (Jamila Wingett) who has been having the same dream since childhood of a dark, demonic preacher called Tyberius Krane (Ethan McKinley). Desperate for help, Samantha seeks the help of Selwyn Parsons (Ian Gelder) and Marvin La’Fantome (Bruce Jones) the hosts of fledgling TV show ‘The Witching Hour’ produced by George Sinclair (Mark Wingett). Seeing this as an opportunity to get back on prime TV, the devious and manipulative Selwyn and his clairvoyant partner Marvin convince Samanta to go to the Benoit (Kenneth Cranham) Mansion and face Krane once and for all.

How did you get into making horror movies?
I first started making horror through originally making (and still making) retrospective horror documentaries on such classics as ‘The Return of the Living Dead’, ‘Hellraiser’, ‘Fright Night’ and ‘Stephen King’s IT’. A few years ago, I thought “why can’t I tell my own stories and make my own films?”. So, Adam, Neil and I set out to create the ‘Dark Ditties’.

What is your view on horror in 2019 and how would you change it?
I think that horror is really progressing in 2019, we’ve had the likes of ‘Us’ and TV shows like ‘Creepshow’ there seems to be a real taste for horror again and it seems to be getting stronger and stronger, which of course is fantastic!

What is your favourite horror film and why?
My favourite horror is ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ it’s a very personal film for me for lots of reasons. It was a fave of mine as a kid, I later became very good friends with actor Don Calfa and Beverly Randolph, and it was my first venture into the horror industry with the publication of my first book ‘The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead’.

If Hollywood came knocking and gave you anything you wanted what movie would you make and who would it star?
I’d like to make a psychological horror like ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ starring Robert Englund. Its cliché I know having a horror icon in your horror movie, however, I am good friends with Robert and I’d really want to showcase his acting chops beyond Freddy Krueger. Robert is an amazing actor and could really sink his teeth into a gritty, powerful role given the opportunity.

Dark Ditties Finders Keepers & The Witching Hour both play at the  Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival which runs 28th October to the 3rd November. Click the link for info and tickets.


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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