Outpost II: Black Sun Premiered at this years FrightFest 2012 and we caught up with director Steve Barker to ask him how it all came to be.
Lovehorror: How did the whole idea for the Outpost series come about and how did you get involved?
Steve Barker: The initial concept came from Kieran Parker, one of the producers. We’d worked together since we were kids and were developing a different film together. But as is the way with British independent film it was proving very slow going and KP suggested trying to put together a really low budget horror movie as a back-up plan.
His pitch was simply modern day soldiers fighting undead Nazi’s, which sounded to me like a great chance to make a love letter certain movies I’d loved as a kid, particularly early John Carpenter and Alien, so I was instantly in.
Rae was somebody I’d met and worked with on a Channel 4 new talent series called ‘coming up’ and he seemed like a perfect fit for the script, so the three of us just started pulling ideas together. Pretty soon we had a treatment and thankfully the people with the money went for it. The film ended up happening very fast.
Lovehorror: Did you always plan to do a sequel after the first film?
Steve Barker: Not at all. In fact I think we perhaps wouldn’t have been quite so eager to kill everybody in the first movie if we had known there was going to be another one. Making this movie feel like a continuing narrative without any character links to the first film was a nightmare at first; so much so that our main villain ended up being built around a background extra in the first movie that just happened to be wearing a lab coat on the day.
Lovehorror: For those out there uninitiated into Outpost can you sum up the story line leading up to this Outpost Black Sun?
Steve Barker: The first movie follows a group of mercenaries, hired by a shady businessman to investigate a mysterious location in war-torn Eastern Europe. There they find a bunker the dates back to world war 2 and the long forgotten technology inside is sustaining a company undead Nazi’s who lay siege to the mercenaries.
The sequel picks up the story right where we left off, and the events of the first movie have meant that the Nazi’s have broken out into world…
Lovehorror: How was making this movie different from the first?
Steve Barker: This film was very different to make. The first movie was about enclosed environments and claustrophobia. It was a siege movie about steadily building tension out of nothing. This movie was more of an action/adventure movie with many more locations, a much faster pace and a greater emphasis on action. However I wanted to keep as much of the same dark tone as I could and that was a huge challenge given that even though the film had a vastly increased scope we actually had a budget that was a only a fraction larger than the first movie and a the same very limited schedule.
Lovehorror: The sets and locations are extremely evocative where did you film?
Steve Barker: Both movies were shot entirely in Scotland. The exteriors were all shot around the Dumfries and Galloway area and all the interiors were built in Glasgow. I think James Lapsley (the production designer) and his team deserve huge credit for building the world as does Darran Tiernan (the DOP) for really bringing everything to life. As I said, we were working with a tiny budget and it’s really down to their skill and dedication that things work as well as they seem to.
Lovehorror: Can you tell us more about part three of the series Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz have you already started filming and without giving too much away what we should expect?
Steve Barker: I’m not actually making part 3 and what’s cool is that since Rae and Kieran were writing and putting it together whilst I was away finishing Black Sun I’ve managed to stay pretty much spoiler free. That means I’m finally going to be able to watch one of these films like a regular movie rather than something I’m sweating or agonising over which is pretty exciting.
Lovehorror: Rae Brunton has written both Outpost movies, what working relationship do you have with him?
Steve Barker: Who’s Rae Brunton? Oh, him… Actually I own him. His parents sold him to me for a very small fee and now I pay him in second hand kung-fu dvds.
Lovehorror: And finally what is your favourite zombie movie apart from your own and why?
Steve Barker: It’s probably a bit boring and obvious, but the first three Romero movies smash it for me. I’ve been enjoying the Walking Dead and what Danny Boyle did was cool. I’ve also got a sneaky love for Zack Synder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. Kyle Cooper’s title sequence for that is absolutely amazing.
Lovehorror: Thank you and good luck with your next one!