Unrestricted Views from MJ Dixon director of Bannister Doll House

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 film?
Bannister Doll House is the story of a family being torn apart by a supernatural presence that has infested their youngest daughter. We traditionally make Slasher-esque movies as a rule and with Bannister we really wanted to make something a little different. The film is very much in the vein of old school haunted house movies but approached with a modern folk horror style. We made it on a budget of about 1k back in February of 2018, with a handful of our actor friends and about 6 days of shooting. It was a real challenge but we made sure that we had the right people on board to make it work. The big thing we wanted to do was to make a killer doll movie that was a little different. So we decided to really focus in on the family drama element of it and I think that gives it a real unique spin to other films in this genre.

How did you get into making horror movies?
I always wanted to be a horror writer, ever since I was veery young, and films like Halloween and The Thing really secured that and when I left school that quickly became the natural progression, getting involved in local horror movies that we’re being made. Over the next few years I just started writing and making as much stuff as I could and trying to get my head around how all this filmmaking stuff worked. I won an award for a short film called EyeSpy in 2008, judged by Twisted Sisters Dee Snider and the first question people asked was “When will you make a Feature?” And after a couple of false starts Slasher House went into production in 2010 and I’ve just never really stopped. Bannister is our 7th Feature set in the Mycho universe (The world that is shared with all of our titles) and we’re about to start production on our 10th.

What is your view on horror in 2019 and how would you change it?
I think, in many ways, we have a great selection of horror in the modern world. The mainstream, like BlumHouse, really cater toward the cinema goers and more casual fans whilst we have a huge selection of Indies catering to almost every sub genre imaginable. I think theres a lot to be said for modern horror and with the likes of IT and Halloween 2018, it’s great to see some big budget horror that we just wouldn’t have had 20 years ago. If I could change anything, I’d like to see more of the horror Icons of yesterday more frequently on the big screen. There should be no reason why we’re not getting A new Freddy movie, or Jason movie or Leather-Face movie consistently every other year. I think thats starting to change, but It would be great to see the greats I grew up with back in the big screen more often.

What is your favourite horror film and why?
The film that started it all for me was Halloween. I genuinely believe it to be the perfect horror film. The base for which all modern horror drew influence, its just so perfectly executed and can teach you every lesson you need to know about what makes a horror film work. From writing, right down to cinematography, to acting its a masterclass in visual storytelling. I’ve never seen a film I like more.

If Hollywood came knocking and gave you anything you wanted what movie would you make and who would it star?
First and foremost I’d be great to expand our own universe with larger budgets, I think that although we’ve made great use of what we have so far, it would be great to really push ourselves beyond that with bigger and better resources. Other than that, I would love to make a Ghost Rider movie, based on the Marvel Comics, but really lean into the gritty Horror elements from the 90’s and early 2000’s with serial killers dressed as Scarecrows that control birds and Dollfaced shadows that eat children and the like, I’m a huge fan of that era of the comics and I’d love to bring that to the big screen.

Bannister Doll House plays 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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