Horror Favourites – Thomas Clay

FANNY LYE DELIVER’D, written and directed by Thomas Clay and starring an incredible cast of Maxine Peake, Charles Dance, Freddie Fox and Tanya Reynolds will be released by Vertigo Releasing across digital platforms on 26th June 2020. We had the great honour of chatting to director Thomas Clay who told us all about his favourite horror film.

Fanny Lye (Peake) lives a quiet Puritan life with her husband John (Dance) and young son Arthur, but her simple world is shaken to its core by the surprise arrival of a mysterious young couple in need. An unexpected visit from the local Sheriff causes events to further escalate, changing Fanny’s life forever.

Rupert Preston, CEO of Vertigo Releasing said, “It is very rare to find such a uniquely UK independent genre film that is so original and also accessible to an audience – FANNY LYE DELIVER’D is that film and Thomas Clay has delivered it”.

Clay said of his third feature film, “in FANNY LYE DELIVER’D, I am exploring the English Revolution in microcosm. There are no Kings or Queens, no royal courts. Just common people with competing opinions and agendas – the Puritan, the Ranter, the burgeoning Quaker, the Royalist in disguise, accompanied by the ‘mob’ to whom he panders. And Fanny in the centre of all this, the common woman who must adapt and survive and forge her own path through all the violence and upheaval that revolution inevitably entails. Alternatively, you might see it as a western – a ‘Puritan Western’ – or a thriller, take your pick. For me, it is all these things.”

Below Clay continued and too us all about his favourite horror film:

“I imagine everyone will roll their eyes, but my favourite horror is The Shining. The simplicity of the family gradually losing their shit inside those meticulously designed sets. The performances, the set design, the costumes, the camerawork and the music must all be in perfect harmony, no single aspect of the film allowed to dominate the other, this is what Kubrick teaches us. The result, like all of Kubrick’s later work, is a film you can watch over and over again.

Last year, I finally got to visit the Kubrick Exhibition and some of the props from The Shining were there, including the model of the maze and the framed photograph of Jack in 1921. I couldn’t resist pulling out my pocket camera and spontaneously re-enacting Kubrick’s shots, as close to a mystical experience as any firmly atheist film director is likely to enjoy.

A wonderful recent film with echoes of The Shining is The Lighthouse. Dripping in atmosphere, very precise and both actors blow the doors out.

Arguably a horror film, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is another firm favourite. When I was growing up, this was pretty much the only film that could scare the shit out of everyone in the room. That and Elem Klimov’s Come & See (which I won’t put forward, knowing it to be a step too far, even if the reveal of the corpses behind the cabin is THE most horrific thing in all cinema). This is Lynch’s last great film in my not-so-very-humble opinion. The culmination of a period of insane creativity that began with Eraserhead. The inevitability of Laura’s demise, the film travelling strange and circuitous routes as it draws inexorably closer to the horror and tragedy we all know is coming, lends it a unique emotional power. The footage from Fire Walk With Me towards the end Season 3, as Lynch bafflingly offers Laura a reprieve, simply reminds us, painfully, of what used to be.

Plenty more one could talk about, of course. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ruggero Deodato. The House on the Edge of the Park was a far greater inspiration on The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael than A Clockwork Orange ever was. Anything by Jacopetti and Prosperi I’m there. Un Chien Andalou. Vampyr. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Tenant. Possession. La bête. Dawn of the Dead. Don’t Look Now. The Devils. Alien(s). Suspiria. Woman of the Dunes. Society. Cruising. They Live. In other words, nothing you haven’t already seen.”

Fanny Lye Deliver’d is released on digital 26th June
The official soundtrack album is out now on CD and digital formats


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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