Horror Favourites – Will Thorne

Will Thorne is a Writer/Director and Producer. Starting out in the film industry working on features, commercials and music promos he fell into a career in Comedy/Entertainment television, after getting a job on a Lenny Henry sketch show. Working for UK Independents such as Tiger Aspect, Endemol and Avalon, he has spent time in development and worked on production for primetime shows for BBC1, ITV1, CH4 and MTV.

Will went on to become an integral founding member of Lemonade Money, directing all their BBC entertainment and comedy strands, as well as Music content for C4. He also directed music promos and content for the likes of Universal Music and Sony’s video departments as well as 4Play short doc. on DJ Shadow, before returning to scripted comedy on BBC3’s Live At The Electric.

He wrote and directed his first short, ‘For Rent’ in 2010. Adapting a play of ‘Cider with Rosie’ he then directed his second short ‘Rosie’ in 2012. Starting to develop more shorts and feature ideas he set up Break Em Films in 2013. Working with new writers and other directors. Will produced Nathaniel Martello Whites’ first short ‘Slap’. He worked with Nathaniel again and also Joel Fry to Direct ‘Gannets’ and also Co-Directed ‘Talking Traffic’ with Nathaniel.

In 2014 he began developing and producing feature doc. ‘One Man and His Shoes’ with Yemi Bamiro, and in 2015 began writing ‘Silent Night’ a crime thriller set in London at Christmas. In 2020 both feature films released theatrically and on home entertainment in the UK, with One Man and His Shoes featuring at both SXSW and the London Film Festival.

Below Director, Writer & Producer Will Thorne talks about his favorite horror film:

“I love Horror as much as any other genre but I’m a massive scaredy cat, and literally jump sometimes when my phone rings. So I generally watch them once, to reduce the probability of a heart attack. With that in mind, because I don’t normally have favourites, the two I’m going for are ones I have in fact watched a bunch of times so they must be my ‘favourites’ by proxy.

Before I talk about them though there’s a few others I think are amazing but have lost out on the ‘only seen once’ technicality. Nicolas Roegs’ ‘Don’t Look Now’ gave me shivers and the editing is phenomenal. One thing I love about cinema is that you can watch an old film, that’s of it era but something about the way it was made, the way it tells it’s story will never grow old or lessen it’s impact. I’ve not gone back for a second helping because of said scaredy cat traits but do feel I want to see again.

I thought Heredity was great in every respect. Great idea, very well directed and performed. So much so that it is on my watch again list, I just haven’t got around to it. What I also loved was the hype around it. The story of the ’scariest trailer ever’ getting played accidentally in a PG screening, people fainting all that stuff.

Really great horrors create that mystique and literal horror/tension before you’ve seen it. The Exorcist is probably the most famous version of that, and a bit like Don’t Look Now created a similar vibe in me that I’ve only seen it once. When it was re-released in the late nineties, we went and saw a late night showing and it stuck with me that week, that vision of the devil.

So there you go, three horror films to note of general high esteem that I would recommend full heartedly but the two official favourites have to be Pyscho and Bad Taste. We’ve just done enough high-brow so lets get stuck into Bad Taste first.

What a film. I LOVED this growing up. It had everything apart from a budget! If you’re of a certain age you remember the VHS cover in your local video shop clearly. A monster, holding an AK47, giving you the finger! I just had take a moment to re-read that line but it’s true. I could just end my eulogising there to be honest, if you’ve never heard of it or seen it, do I need to sell it any more? If I do then perhaps I just need to tell you it was written, produced and directed by Peter Jackson (yeah, him…) and he also plays multiple roles in the film, as one of the puke drinking aliens, who invade New Zealand, looking to take over that corner of the world, for their fast food franchise made up of human produce.

My brothers, friends and I lapped up this film as youngsters. Guns, action, suspense, silly jokes and visual gags, gore, toilet humor, car chases, aliens, crude visual effects the list goes on. When our local video shop sadly closed, selling of its stock, we bought their copy of it and could watch it as much as we liked. The sequence where he nails the guys/aliens/Peter fu*king Jackson’s(yeah, him!) foot with a steak, and then discovers the rope with nothing on the end was something that used to land every time with full suspense, I think that moment made an impression and stayed with me.

You’ve got loads of funnies in there and people eating in brains, even as I type this I want to go watch it and be 10 years old again (I had older brothers…).

Psycho is just an OG of films in general. If classic, iconic films were having a dinner party, it would sit confidently near the head of the table and everyone would stop to listen when it spoke. But as far as it’s horror chops go, well the top shot as the detective comes up the stairs, and mother comes running out of the door you least expect, gives me one layer of goose bumps deeper that normal. Oh and it birthed a whole sub-genre of slasher movies.

I’m a sucker for a twist and this one has a massive one in the first act! I’m a big Hitchcock fan and this is him playing the hits but with an edge. I don’t think I need to go on about the film itself, as it’s all been said. I enjoyed the documentary 78/52 immensely and loved that Scorsese referenced using the style of cutting for Raging Bull. Even the best, steal from the best.

Like Heredity and The Exorcist it also came with a reputation that turned screenings into an event. I’m not sure if it’s the original “made people faint in the aisles film” but it did, as folklore goes. It had cut outs of Hitch himself, outside screens pointing at his watch, glaring at you not to enter the cinema late, he had a first act twist not to be missed.

I think that history, and maybe the constant pastiches meant that even growing up in the 80s and 90s it was a film you were always aware of. I remember as a kid when it came up, the way my Dad said “Oh yeah, Pyscho” and gave me a look with a raise of the eyebrow, to let me know it was not to be taken lightly, before mimicking that famous soundtrack. It was more than a film, it was an experience, like you’d actually meet a psycho in the flesh.

When I did finally watch it much, much later when I was nearly twenty, it did not disappoint. I face my scaredy cat fears and revisit it often, just to watch a master at work. What I’ve learnt from these two very different films, is that while you should think twice about checking into a rain soaked, empty motel, Derek’s don’t run.”

Silent Night will be in UK CInemas from 11th December, on Digital Download from 14th December and on DVD from 28th December

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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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