Welsh Demoness speaks to Adam Southwick the Executive Producer of upcoming crowdfunded suspense/horror Cain Hill. This is the movie us horror hounds have been waiting for as it plans to echo back to the old school style era of the 1970’s and 80’s. With the genre rife with CGI, excessive jump scares and style over substance, Cain Hill will prove to be a refreshing change and a new direction for horror.
Cain Hill centres on a group of unsuspecting victims who plan to spend the weekend in an abandoned psychiatric hospital infamous for several mysterious disappearances. It transpires into a classic cat and mouse game as they are terrorised by a deranged psychopath armed with a thirst for blood. The film promises to be scary, suspenseful and will remind us why we fell in love with the likes of Freddy, Jason and Michael in the first place.
In this interview Adam discusses crowdfunding, classic horror icons and working on low budget but high quality horror.
Welsh Demoness: As stated in your Indiegogo campaign, Cain Hill is a horror film that plans to bring back an old school style of horror; it sounds like a film that long-time fans have been waiting for. Do you feel there is a void in the genre in terms of mainstream films being too reliant on gore, jump scares and CGI in order to be effective?
Adam Southwick: Definitely. While I love a good jump scare moment in a horror film, and a believable bit of gore to make the audience a little uncomfortable, I do feel that the jump scares are almost over-done now in modern day horror movies. I grew up with films that were rife in suspense throughout and that only had a few jump scares at most; building tension through a prolonged scene and the use of the film’s score. Films like the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise, where you always knew that Jason was following and hunting his victims and you were waiting to see where he would emerge and how he would find them. Or ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ where you knew Freddy was likely to pop-up in the next teenagers dream but you were waiting to see HOW exactly and what he would do. ‘Cain Hill’ follows in the footsteps of the classic horror mould, and horror greats like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre were definite inspirations for Director Gene Fallaize and Producer Tony Cook in the making of this film.
Welsh Demoness: How did the project materialise?
Adam Southwick Producer Tony Cook and Director Gene Fallaize were first approached with the story in early 2016 by Michael James Dean. Gene and Tony are currently producing two big-budget movies, but are both fans of the horror genre, and so when the opportunity to squeeze a low-budget horror into the schedule arose, they were both excited by this, and so they adapted the story into the final script and opted to shoot a film in the style of the classic horror’s, filled with suspense, dread and fear that aims to leave the audience on the edge of their seats.
Welsh Demoness: Tell us about the decision to choose Indiegogo at your crowdfunding platform? What are the overall goals?
Adam Southwick We looked at various crowdfunding platforms before opting with IndieGoGo, which is a platform we have used successfully with Cupsogue Pictures for other projects in the past. IndieGoGo was chosen mainly due to its flexibility, as it offers a flexible target where the funds are released to the campaign no matter how much of the total is raised. Other models, such as Kickstarter, only offer campaigns along an “All or Nothing” basis, meaning the funds are not released until a campaign reaches its total fundraising target. Obviously with crowdfunding there is never a guarantee that you will reach your end goal, but with film shooting schedules locked into place it is better to be able to receive the funds you have raised so far rather than waiting until a target is reached further down the line, at the risk of possibly never receiving the funds should a campaign fail to reach its total target.
Welsh Demoness: What are the advantages and disadvantages of low budget filmmaking?
Adam Southwick The advantages of making a low-budget film are that it allows more creative freedom for the Producers and Director, without the constraints of studios and investors. It allowed us to utilise some old-school filming techniques that were employed on the aforementioned horror classics that we aspire to pay homage to, and it allowed the cast and crew to shoot within a short schedule, and due to the other projects that Gene, Tony and other cast and crew members are committed to, this was an ideal situation.
The disadvantages are that certain aspects of the production can prove challenging when working within a limited budget. The cost of the location impacted on our budget greatly, as we needed to shoot in the right location that could help to build the suspense and atmosphere befitting of a psychotic killer playing a game of cat and mouse with a film crew. On top of the location costs, we still needed to hire equipment, pay for props, vehicles and costumes, construct and dress sets not to mention catering for and covering the expenses of a professional cast and crew, along with other expenses. Then there is the post-production to think about, when a movie really comes to life.
Welsh Demoness: There are some excellent actors and actresses set to star in the movie, could you tell us a little bit more about the casting process?
Adam Southwick The majority of our casting was done at Elstree Studios in London, where we held auditions for several of the key character roles, with the exceptions of the roles of ‘Chester Lockhart’ (Phill Martin) and ‘Mary Price’ (Hannah Jacobs). Phill Martin (‘Pan’, ‘Prometheus’) is someone who Gene and Tony are working with on one of their other projects, and so Gene wanted to cast him in the role of ‘Cain Hill’s antagonist; ‘Chester Lockhart’, and at 7ft tall Phill certainly fits the bill to step into the shoes of a horror movie monster.
Hannah Jacobs plays the story’s protagonist and was cast through an audition process held by Gene and Tony that was featured as a part of E4’s TV show ‘Stage School’.
On top of this, we have Gemma Atkinson (‘Emmerdale’, ‘Hollyoaks’) who Gene has worked with previously on ‘Airborne’, and who was happy to come and join us on ‘Cain Hill’. We also have Alex Zane (from ‘Rude Tube’, and Sky Movies) who was approached initially to see if he would consider giving some coverage to ‘Cain Hill’, and following on from discussions decided that he would love to be a part of the movie himself. Finally, we have also managed to enlist the services of Michael Parr (‘Emmerdale’) through connections with Producer Tony Cook.
Welsh Demoness: Who are your horror movie filmmaker influences?
Adam Southwick The first name that always springs to mind for myself when thinking of horror influences is Wes Craven. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ is the horror franchise that I mostly grew-up on; it is certainly the first one I grew to love, and I loved the suspense Wes created in those movies with wondering where ‘Freddy Krueger’ would appear from next and the manner in which he would set about his next victim. I also loved how he carried forward and enhanced that tension into the ‘Scream’ franchise; with the main difference being that the antagonists in ‘Scream’ were real people as opposed to being the vengeful spirit of a serial killer stalking victims in the dream world. Something about ‘real’ people makes that horror just a little more terrifying for me.
Other notable influences for myself are Sam Raimi (especially for many of the films he has produced), George A. Romero and in more recent times Rob Zombie for the tension and fear he created in ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ and ‘The Devil’s Rejects’.
Welsh Demoness: Scott Spiegel (Writer of Evil Dead 2) is linked to the project, how did he become involved?
Adam Southwick Scott is good friends with Gene and Tony, and is already attached to another upcoming project that Gene, Tony and myself will be working on called ‘Dark Ascension’. As you have already mentioned, Scott has a background in the horror scene having written ‘Evil Dead 2’, along with being the co-owner of Raw Nerve, which produced the ‘Hostel’ franchise. Scott has been a valuable contact to have on-hand and has offered his tips and advice during the making of ‘Cain Hill’.
Welsh Demoness: Finally, what is it about that 70’s style of horror e.g. Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre that appeals to you?
Adam Southwick I would have to say it is the suspense and tension that is often lacking in many of today’s horror films. While there is still some tension in the genre today, much of it is alleviated by quick jump-scare tactics that are endlessly employed and repeated, and many of the films today follow the same formula.
The 70’s and 80’s style horror’s maintain the suspense where as an audience member you are willing the protagonist to run, to hide or to escape! Watching these films left you gripped; be it to a cushion or to the edge of your seat, and in some cases leave the audience shouting at the screen to run!
The films of the 70’s and 80’s also didn’t always display the gore that you see in today’s movies, and left much to the audience’ own imagination, which can sometimes be more daunting than having that picture painted out for you.
Finally, I think there is an element of nostalgia that appeals to the 70’s and 80’s style horrors. These films created characters that, even as antagonists, we have come to love as fans. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Leatherface are characters that have stood the test of time and people still remember today. With the exception of the ‘Ghostface’ killers in ‘Scream’, there are no memorable characters from the modern day horror’s that stand out. In ‘Cain Hill’, our aim is to introduce the world to another memorable character that the audience will remember; the 7ft monster that is ‘Chester Lockhart’.