Horror Favourites – Martin Gooch

Martin Gooch is a BBC trained Director. He directed the BAFTA award winning and EMMY nominated Spooks Interactive (BBC/Kudos) and was a two time BBC New Director of the Year winner.

Martin GoochHis latest film Black Flowers is a sci-fi road trip of epic proportions with a female super hero. Following a nuclear apocalypse, the world is left without modern comforts, leaving the survivors to return to their primitive instincts to stay alive.
A mother and daughter struggle to survive this cruel new world and embark upon a perilous journey through a mutating, radioactive wilderness as they battle lawless scavengers, deviants and worse in their quest to build a better life.

Black Flowers has its UK premiere at this week’s SCI-FI-London Film Festival.

Here Martin tells us about his early horror influences…

When we were kids my parents were not really cinemagoers and didn’t really watch TV (we had a black and white until the royal wedding in 1980). We never had a VCR or DVD player and just didn’t watch movies at home, it just wasn’t a thing we did, so I never really got into horror, horror, horror as such: because I wasn’t 18 and there was simply no way to see the films.

Black Flowers However when I was about 7 (and my brother 10) we had a baby sitter and she wanted to watch The Fog on TV, so we all stayed up late to watch it. It was terrifying, I absolutely believed it was a true account (I was 7 remember) and it scared me to death. I went to bed and built a fort of cushions so the dead ghost pirates wouldn’t get me, I even slept sleeping upright for several nights. Terrifying. I haven’t watched it since.

Many years later (1987) I changed school and my new friend Alex had a VHS player! and LOVED horror films. He was obsessed and had every single X-rated uncut horror film on VHS.  I’d go round his house and we’d watch Day of the Dead and all the zombie films which basically put me off bacon flavour crisps for life.
But then I saw Monster Squad, which isn’t really a horror, but does have Dracula and Frankenstein in it (as well as others) and I loved it, so I sought out An American Werewolf in London which I just thought was mind changing, and I discovered I really liked the supernatural films: Vampires, werewolves, ghosts and the like, rather than slasher films.

Medieval dead: Army of Darkness – blew me away with it’s violence and gore but also humour and Sam Rami is a hugely watchable director. It just looked like a huge amount of fun to have been on that movie.
I loved Carry on Screaming, which is a comedy horror, but just superbly done, and with great performances. I loved Young Frankenstein, and I thought A Company of Wolves (not really a horror, but does have beheadings and werewolves and stuff like that) was superb and really influenced me as a filmmaker and I really lovedThe Others.

The Blair Witch project came out just after I left college and we all dutifully went to see it. I thought it was rubbish, but when we were walking home through a grave yard (hey – it’s England, we do that sort of stuff) there was a sudden gust of wind and the lytch gate slammed shut and we all screamed and ran terrified out of the graveyard, so that clearly had some effect on me!

I have watched most of the classic horror films, but I prefer the supernatural and the clever films. I liked The Fly, but just felt sad for Jeff Goldblum, as he was just trying to invent something cool to impress his girlfriend and it all went wrong, he didn’t mean to be a monster.

I still don’t think the definitive Dracula, Frankenstein or Werewolf movie has been made, there is still plenty of scope for that, and I’d love to see a really good Yeti film. (I’ve written one if anyone is interested). And of course Nazi Vampires would be excellent (I’ve written that too!): which is worse Nazis working for Vampires or a Vampires working for Nazis? Let me know.

If it came down to it and I had to select just one movie that was my favourite horror then it would be: Alienwhich I first saw in about 1984 (age 12) and it blew my tiny mind to bits. I love sci-fi (and fantasy), and I had just seen nothing with production values like that before – I really believed it all and felt for the Nostromo crew and so wanted them to live. I have always been surprised that none of the follow up movies have been able to create that sort of emotional attachment to the cast. For me the Alien film was not about the Alien but about the crew. Superb.

My latest film The Female led, Sci-Fi Post apocalyptic Black Flowers will be having its UK Premiere at the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival on 16th May.

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