Five FrightFest Facts From Alexis Bruchon writer and director of The Woman with Leopard Shoes

The Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow is back to present a six-pack of tasty titles; an extravaganza of the dark arts that will leave you stirred, shaken and shocked. The FrightFest titles will be available to view between 5th and 9th March on the online platform Glasgow Film At Home Want to know more about the movies? Check out our Five FrightFest Facts and find out!

Remember Here Comes Hell, that black and white mystery thriller that caused a Glasgow sensation? Well, here’s your next retro fix, first-timer Alexis Bruchon’s impressively old school yet ultra-modern noir thriller that twists, turns and twists again. A thief is engaged by a mysterious woman to steal a box from a house. The job goes well but, as he’s escaping, dozens of people arrive for a party. The thief just has time to hide in a study. Confined in this little room, he tries to flee but things take a turn for the worse when he makes a shocking discovery…

1. Tell us about your film?
With pleasure! The Woman with Leopard shoes is a contemporary black and white thriller showing only one mute character on the screen trapped in one single place in a tricky situation… More precisely, it tells the story of a thief, engaged by a mysterious woman to steal a box in a house. The job works well but, as he’s leaving, dozens of people get into the house for a party. The thief has just the time to hide in a study. Confined in this little room, he tries to escape but things turn for the worst when he makes a discover…

It’s my first feature film (and in fact my first experience behind a camera) and it has been a wonderful training experience because I also wrote the script, edit, composed the music, the sound (there was no direct sound during the shooting so I had to record and mix all the sounds you can hear) and the photography. I’m an illustrator so drawing and storyboard were very helpful. It’s a family project because we built the set in my parent’s house! they were very helpful during the shooting (and the play both a character!) and most of all because the main character is played by my own brother Paul Bruchon who is incredible on screen! he literally hold the film on his shoulders because it’s the only face we see during 80 minutes! the film has only cost 3000 euros (2600 pounds)… it’s very few so we had to be inventive for every scene.

2. How did you get into making horror movies?
I’m a film lover, especially genre films lover and I always wanted to make one. I have made several graphic novels (which are never published yet) and I realized that I didn’t like making comic books very much and it was more of a way to express the frustration of being unable to make a film…because films are expensive and require a lot a people (which is I think, a wrong reason because we can do films for almost nothing, especially now with digital…). At the beginning I wanted to make an horror film but I had this old idea coming from the beginning of Eyes wild shut. Cruise and Pollack are in the bathroom with the unconscious escort girl and, I don’t know why but the idea of something secret, dirty, during a fancy party fascinates me!

My biggest fear was to make an homage or a pastiche but of course there are many elements linked to the classic form of the genre. I was inspired by many films, Noir films of course like The Killers and Murder my sweet from Robert Siodmack, Rififi, The Prowler, Kiss me deadly etc… but also a lot by horror films, especially from Freddie Francis and Jacques Tourneur. Robert Wise’s The Haunted is a huge inspiration (because the horror is off-screen) with three other films: See no Evil by Richard Fleischer, Le Cercle rouge by Jean-Pierre Melville and a rare western by Henry Hattaway, Rawhide which is also a one location film. Giallo was important too, especially Martino’s Torso, (this final part in the villa, a real masterpiece!) or Fulci’s Gialli because of their twisted scripts.

3. What film would you love to see screened at FrightFest and why?
Ouh tough question… may I have a double features program?

I would say Lucio Fulci’s The New York ripper, a very violent, punk, nihilist serial killer film. I love it because it is totally politically incorrect. Fulci was deeply catholic and it’s incredible how he describes a modern city as a real hell! but most of all, it’s a bloody good trash thriller and it’s almost a sequel to one of his masterpiece: Don’t Torture a Duckling with the Donald Duke voice.

In second choice… lets’s go with Alice sweet Alice a very strange film made by an unknown director named Alfred Sole, I think it’s his only film. The movie is very graphic, vicious… and gorgeous! it’s the story of a young girl who is suspected to be a serial killer. The film is made of incredible sequences like the murder of the heroine’s little sister in the church or (my favorite) the killing of this woman in the staircase (there is a shot of her in the rain which is in my memory for ever!).

4. If you could create your own award to give at the FrightFest, what would it be and why?
I think it would be « the Golden Handyman » for the best DIY film (and the winner is… your wallet!). one of the greatest joy of making the film was the total absence of money! we have the cliché of Cinema as an expensive art and it is! (and I truly love big budget films) but, I think we can really make no budget films with a clever work on image and storytelling, without a pound especially today with the digital. I think it’s a matter of control: if you have a script and a concept that allow you to control the entire film in a pocket, so there is no problem! for example, we have built an entire set, a real room with furnitures and specific architecture for almost nothing and we have built travelings and lights equipment with just pieces of metal and wood… and we shoot with a DSLR and cheap lenses! All is a matter of size and control and in our case, we were not making Lawrence of Arabia! Of course the danger is to start with a budget in mind and then write the story… I think it’s the worst solution. If the story is expensive, you will have an expensive movie. I’m about to shoot my second feature in March in the same conditions, the set, the equipment and the story are all ready! it will be a horror film this time a sort of strange ghost story. It’s will be close and different from The Woman with Leopard Shoes because it’s the second part of a trilogy around the same concept: One character, one situation, almost no dialogs. The third feature will be a paranoiac thriller…

5. If your life was made into a horror film, what would it be called and who would play the starring role?
It would be called « Dial N for nightmare » starring Vincent Price (I love Vincent Price!) . It would be a sort of Roger Corman film with smartphones. I look like a man from the fifties with smartphones… I don’t like them and they dont like me. I’m the guy on the street who can’t use his cellphone correctly, screaming « it’s allliiiiiiiveeee, it’s alllliiiiiveeee!!! »! for me it’s mystery… I’m a very good friend of computers but frankly, this horrible tiny (broken in my case) rusk in my pocket looks like a Universal monster for me!

Book your tickets for the movie HERE and check out the trailer below:

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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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